Monday, October 31, 2022


At last, this city's over-
zealously verdant 
parks and private gardens—

which, heretofore, were rich 
with their fulminating 
yellows, greens, and oranges—

have finally 
lost purchase 
on every last leaf 

and been stripped 
without notice 
of each pleasing flower.

What a bittersweet, 
almost punitive 

to see their great 
tiaras start to slip 
and fall to rust—

to watch lush fields crumple, 
and wither, and dim—
to finally begin 

to look as stricken 
as the rest of us.

Friday, October 28, 2022


Walking past, it is 
consoling to see 

how the scant flowers 
still clinging 

have begun to look 

raffishly waving 
on increasingly crisp 
persuasive breezes

and offsetting now,
from their frail 
and threadbare bushes, 

the garish Halloween decor 
which besots these 
nonplussed neighborhoods. 

How I wish 
all those other things 
I always fail to notice—

the moments 
when I'm standing 
right where I'm supposed to be, 

or feeling (mostly) 

with the small things 
I'm afforded—

could spring 
from the dregs of my 
mind like this

and make themselves 

Thursday, October 27, 2022


Something very much like 
treasury mounds—
fortunes of wood chips 
and gold leaves and cinders 

over which 
a last few worker bees 
and rodent sentinels scurry—

are piled up high 
beneath this throne 
of the last remaining 
queenly robin: 

a bony
upturned hand of oak—

her sticky bare head, 
which once humbled her 
in spring, 

now her majestic 
autumn crown;

the trilling intermezzos 
of westerly wind, 

which once served 
as scourge of her 
balance in this place,

now flow about her 
in decorous folds: a royal 
byzantine cloak.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Think of it: 
"redness" isn't even 
a thing that exists.

And yet—there it is 
(or has 
got to be, anyway),

darkening your mind
with its 
quiescent images:

this defensible suicide 
every evening 
around six; 

this florid vermilion 
of courage—
not panic—

as half the planet 
turns its back 

on the face 
of that slowly 
asphyxiating man.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


When it's time 
to pry open 
the fissure between 

the fierce buttress 
known as 
how it works 

and that redoubtable mainstay 
why it is

the trick 
is to use only the unconscious 

of those devious fingers 
your mind must employ  

to cover the eyes  
while it tickles 
your soul; 

anything less 
than bewilderment

is useless—it is 
far more enriching 

to suspect 
than to know.

Monday, October 24, 2022


One must learn to be cautious 
in knowing 
what one knows 

never to swing it around 
too judiciously, 

for the known 
forms such a smooth-worn, 
hospitable hilt

that the deadliness 
and weight 

of all 
to which it's 
invisibly attached 

are about as salient 
to the hapless wielder 

as the mythic holy spear was 
to a naive boy 
like Parsifal. 

One likes to think 
one can cup the situation 
in one's hands—

or grasp
the thing in itself 
on demand, 

but the truth is that 
none of us can ever reach 
to touch the tip 

or finger the edge 
of the blade unscathed; 

all we can do 
to the facts of the matter is 

grab for their 

Friday, October 21, 2022


Those very rare 
moons, which ought to be 

but instead 
go on, wraithlike, unmercifully 

all distorted 
with the somnolent haze 
of pollution 

til you'd swear 
they were fuller, and much
nearer by than usual—

only prove to me now, 
as I pull the shade down on this 
last apartment window, 

how I've never loved those 
whom I've lost 
half as well 

as I do on the nights 
when I know they're not

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Only after 
it's finally over 

does a life come 
to rest at its 
plainest equilibrium—

like a seesaw in the park 
in the stillness 
of night, 

long after it's abandoned 
by its heedless 
young riders. 

In the midst 
of all that 
contrary motion 

and jockeying 
for position, 

it would have been 
too difficult, too confounding  
to admit: 

one will soon be
much closer, more dependent 
in his mission

on those forces 
which oppose him 

than he's able 
to predict.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


With the chance 
of precipitation finally 
in decline, 

only the occasional 
cumulus cloud lingers—

like a doubt 
in the mind of an 
innocent child—

in the purest blue 
sky of unblemished afternoon.

To think: a mere 
of miles away 

from fires and riots 
and torrents of rain, 

every right angle 
in this stainless city 

is kissed 
with the promise of light 
til it gleams; 

even the streams 
of oncoming faces 

seem so refreshed 
as to have only just 

yet, the look 
in their eyes is so 
perplexingly familiar, 

I must have seen it before 
in my dreams.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


Of course, 
all of life's little 
hideous particulars 

stubbornly refuse 
to refine—

just like legions of cells 
in the womb 
don't distill themselves;

instead they 
break loose, run amok,
and divide.

But what's still kind 
of nice is: those hard, 
stubborn clots 

(in which everything 
that happens to you 
soon becomes fused 

to your biased 
and fearful and 
vague recollections)

eventually combine 
into something like a spine—

which then winds 
its way thickly through 
all that is you 

to support,
and to nourish, 

and, ultimately, 
to design—

into the highest 
kind of art 

all of the shit which 
fashioned it first.

Monday, October 17, 2022


Technically, there's room 
and time enough 
in this universe

for any foolish thing 
you could do 

to begin 
to ring true 

For instance, 
instead of calculating 
and folding 

the vast edges 
of longing 

in on one another 
to create wings 
for all the captured, 

you might instead 
confine yourself 

to the wearisome limits 
of the infinity 
which exists 

by sheer definition 
between 0 and 1.

True, you'll never be 
remembered for your toil, 

but its toll might resound
like a pledge 
to the forgotten

that it's meaningless 
to place limits 

or choose 
between distinctions 

when the unbounded truth 
which infuses 
all of time is:

we are always both 

and earning
our lives.

Friday, October 14, 2022


It's a pretty 
tough task: getting rid 
of old memories.

After years, you 
might manage fitting some 
into boxes 

and folding closed the lids—
or turning the keys 
which lock them in—

or closing your eyes and 
spinning the knobs which 
scramble up their combinations; 

but the sensation you get 
is so confoundingly 

like sitting in the silence
between Act I
from the next, 

or the sensation 
of dreaming about 
what you'll eat for dinner 

when you haven't yet 
swallowed the last 
bit of your lunch—

that you cannot ever bring yourself 
to truly 
get rid of them.

The best you can do 
is place them 
on the highest shelf in the closet 

with some other old stuff 
which is broken, soiled, 
or all used up, 

but which somehow, you still 
sense is too precious 
to ditch. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022


I'm sure it's 
pure kneejerk 
Commutative Property, 

but the way 
I can stand in the raw 
Midwest wind 

and feel I'm 
so tall and yet 
trifling for my size 

as I'm fractionally 
divided by spangles of light 
and shadow on the underside 

of something 
which seems to
so willingly die 

every Autumn 
in order to outlive me 
in the longrun 

makes me realize: 
they're a bit blander, perhaps 
than the ornate gold crosses 

which have hung 
about the chests of good 
Christians for centuries,

but it's no wonder,
where I'm from, our saviors 
are the poplars. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022


At the end 
of the day, 

when appearance 
and reality lose 
their distinctions—

when concealment 
and distraction are
priority one

and there's nothing 
but news scrolling 
across our TVs—

we may be too numb 
to pay attention 

to the scientists' 
breathless declaration 
from the podium 

that they've finally 
utilized the latest technology 

to chop up 
that tiny 
inscrutable thing 

(the thing that comprises 
the bulk weight 
of all of us)

and discovered, 
once and for all 

that it really 
is made 

out of:
much smaller pieces.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022


So often, your own motives 
feel vague 
and in doubt,

but in the gray 
haze of rain, there are just
so many mirrors—

puddles, glazed shop 
and car windows, 

and the diffident looks 
of strangers streaming past 
with glass eyes—

that each step away 
from dry home 
that you take 

might finally reflect 
something true, 

which you, if only for 
these few examined moments
can epitomize.

Monday, October 10, 2022


Unceremonious, but just 
as efficient

as bile—
that's the way 
we like to work, 

no matter 
how unconsciously, 

at distilling 
and dissolving all our
large, hard problems

down into burdens
our stomachs 
can handle. 

It's like—we know 
it's not pretty now, but 
after a while, 

we'll only have 
to worry about 

begging decomposed, 
parts of one another 

for what used to be 

but now 
has crumbled 
into pardon.

Friday, October 7, 2022


We know that 
have always been a gamble, 

and a gambler 
is nothing 

if not 
more than a little 
unstable. But still, 

we think 
we can play smart 
and win 

the full kit of another's 
invisible bits 

arrayed like loose chips 
on a blackjack table.

It's like we're only hearing
one half 
of a conversation—

not between 
who's left 
and who's leaving, 

but between a ghost 
and its hollow machine,

between the disappointingly 
gritty concreteness 
of matter 

and the abstract 
song of its animating 

Thursday, October 6, 2022


They say Love 
conquers all,  

but they've got it 
slightly wrong—

for although it may 
prevail in the end, 

it's too blithe  
to override 

and far too irresolute
to vanquish. 

It would seem 
to prefer 

not to do that 
nasty work;

for it's much 
more romantic 

too look nice
and take credit—

like the lusty 
white moon 

which derives 
its cachet

from a sun 
which burns 

tirelessly bright
just to light it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022


From now on, 
in order to help minimize 
your confusion,

every day 
shall cancel out 
the one that came before.

This way, 
the middle-grade 
place where you are 

shall always be 
the same as the place 
where you came from—

and yet,
new to you—

and yet,
dripping wet
with significance. 

True: with such 
a barrage of new 
beginnings to upend you, 

you'll never uncover 
the source of your 

but henceforth, 
you'll find yourself 
compelled to agree 

that bewilderment 
at your pain 
is a small price to pay 

for the chance 
to forget: you both inflicted 
and deserve it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022


Last little 
threadbare mauve 
zinnia of the bunch:

it's enough 
to give me courage 

watching you flaunt 
the first frost 

with that kind 
of pluck—but also 

more than enough 
to get me thinking: 

wouldn't it just 
be amazing 

if there wasn't so much 
stiff competition 
out here among us? 

That way, 
the last man standing 

wouldn't be 
haughtily declared 
the winner, 

but instead 
viewed devoutly as 
totem of grief

who must 
hold this poignant vigil 

over all his lost 

Monday, October 3, 2022


Imagine: despite all 
the bright self-
assurance he gave,

even Superman 
couldn't stop the sun
from going down.

Where does that old fire 
go? he must 
have wondered; 

why won't she 
stay with us? Why won't 
she wave?

Imagine, though, 
the bravery 
inherent in such impotence:

what good 
are all the flints 

and the wicks 
and the matchsticks 
in the world

when there's no longer 
any day left 
to save?