Wednesday, November 30, 2022

JITTERBUG

The unmappable 
stars,

the unshakable 
sea,

the unspeakable, recalcitrant, 
irrevocable things 

that jitterbug in the vacuum-
space between 
you and me—

such barren 
and rootless 
and vain names we give 

to things 
which have sung, for 
so long now, in pitches 

which extend 
far beyond the highest edge
of our existence.



Tuesday, November 29, 2022

IT'S COMPLICATED

When we still feel
so sure 

about who 
we should love, 

it's the loss 
of all we knew about 
how 

that most
crushes us.



Monday, November 28, 2022

DEPARTURE

Again and again, 
what is gone 
tumbles forth 

in the drum of our minds
as a stone
to be polished;

it rolls off 
our uncluttered tongues 
so discretely 

that we measure 
its weight, and then call that
the truth. 

But what persists 
cannot be 
parsed or counted,

or owned 
any more than the air 
that fills the room; 

while we mill around
and think and speak, it wafts 
between us invisibly,

evocative as perfume
or the taste of good honey
to our taciturn senses,

and so inexplicable, 
even to our voices, that we 
fudge it slightly 

in our recollections 
and judiciously call it 
the beauty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

BAD ANALOGY

Even though 
it would be more 
straightforward,

we don't want to believe 
that grief works
like a street, 

on the other side of which 
are all the places 
we need to be.

That would mean
that all we had to do 
was wait patiently 

for the traffic to abate 
before we take 
our opportunity. 

But really, we don't dare 
venture across 
until we're ready—

and we're loathe to be ready 
(even going so far as 
to resent the conceit 

that we will be 
eventually)—because
readiness suggests 

we've accepted the premise 
that this absence could infest us 
in the first place. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

READY OR NOT

It seems now, in 
everything 
still to follow, 

nothing at all 
will rigidly follow.

We've been told
there is so much light 
we can't see,

but none 
that won't use us,

none 
that we might not 
someday be—

and that 
where words would never
dare to go, 

feeling 
still remains.

But nothing will change 
the feeling of dismay 

that the weather today
would dare be 
so fair 

or shame 
that food still tastes 
pretty good.

We think: if we could 
hurl ourselves hard 
into that wall of all experience 

and burst, in an instant, into 
frenzies of pigeons...

but no. Only you 
could do that 
and get away with it.




Monday, November 21, 2022

ALL THERE IS

There ought to be
no such thing
as culmination,

for there aren't any limits 
to those things 
which stay hidden. 

All of the options, 
all of the spurs 
and passions that we weigh 

are measly little bulwarks 
against the pure flood
of confusion. 

So I guess it must be 
true, then—

there really is 
no extent 
to what is possible;

there are just a few
prerequisites. 

Firstly, that the beautiful 
must stay shackled 
to the temporary; 

and second, 
that an absence, the instant
it is felt 

must then remain 
unbearably 

present 
for the duration.




Friday, November 18, 2022

AFFIRMATION

Do you still wish 
those errant, 
ungovernable parts of you—

that uniformless 
gray 

which sometimes 
smears the blue 
sky of your body,

those bottle caps 
and six-pack rings 

and rusty left boots
in your oceans
in your brain—

would submit 
to your rule 
and keep themselves contained?

Is the Earth 
the raison d'ĂȘtre
of the moon?
 
Does the sun 
ever seem to be 

ashamed 
of the rain?



Thursday, November 17, 2022

PORTENT

By this point in autumn, 
the moribund sun 

has begun to take its 
own appearance 
a little too self-consciously—

draping itself 
in stiff muslin of clouds 

so that none can see 
how pale, how 
slight it has become 

and keeping even lower 
as it lopes its daily rounds 

to avoid being 
spotted—or, heaven forbid, 
adored—

by stark, starving crowds 
of finches, for instance,

who, instead of singing it 
sumptuous hymns,

are compelled to dart and argue 
on the dusk-
darkened grounds

over cold, hollow husks 
of yesterday's bread.



Wednesday, November 16, 2022

MASTERMIND

I guess I can only 
believe it 
when they tell me 

that eternities 
of time 

and all 
of vast space 

had to converge
like a car crash 
and congeal 

just to create the rough, 
serrated edge 

of my milky-white, 
brittle right-
hand pinky fingernail. 

And yet, it makes me 
nervous enough 

to chew the thing 
clean off 

to know that 
there ought to be 
so many melodies—

discriminate 
and ancient, and all 
bundled up inside of me—

which only some set of fingers 
distant and opaque to me

knows how 
to choose from—and to truly 
play well.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

SEMIPRO

No poet 
worth their salt 
would ever tell
the truth—

that everyday's 
epiphanies 
are little more than 
consolations, 

or that passion 
and fervor 
are handy tricks
of rhetoric 

but are hardly 
prerequisites 
and are no one's 
responsibility. 

They withhold 
such thoughts not 
because they know 
that they ought 

to come across, 
above all, as both 
conceptual 
and real—but 

because 
they've been told 
by low murmurs of, 
prosaic wind 

that just being there 
to misapprehend those
is a feeling 
so much bigger 

than any thin 
description of 
experience will 
ever feel.


Monday, November 14, 2022

LITTLE TROUBLE

It's there—
in those disorienting 
little white blips 

which appear 
and dance zigzags 

when you shut 
and clench 
your eyelids;

which seem to flaunt 
consequence 

and silently 
push back 

against your mind's 
own disorienting- 
but-steadfast denial 

of what you 
could never call 
absolute black

that's where 
the very last and 
as-yet unexplained 

mystery that's left 
in all of modern 
physics lives: 

that tiny 
but stubbornly 
irreducible constant, 

that little corpuscle 
of troublesome 
noise in the signal 

which laypeople 
still call their sense 
of intuition. 



Friday, November 11, 2022

EVANESCENCE

Our beliefs are not 
the crystals 
we would think; 

they don't accrete slow  
until they're sharp, hard,
and beautiful. 

Rather, they 
are bubbles—

mysterious dirigibles 
borne by the wind 

and birthed from breaths 
which we blow 
though magic wands, 

resplendent 
in the sun and streaked 
with magic colors—

but none of them 
built to withstand 
the mildest altitudes 

or suffer the slightest 
external pressure—

and which bequeath 
at their deaths quick 
felicitous pops 

built to make a child laugh
and then flee
from its memory.





Thursday, November 10, 2022

BOUND

When the day's at its end, 
get as still
as you can, 

and you may hear, 
hidden within 
each pulse of breath, 

the very next line 
to a pledge 
of allegiance 

which you must have 
somehow memorized 
very long ago 

right down 
to every last syllable 
and inflection. 

And you know 
you can't quit while you're 
still in the middle; 

you are no volunteer
here; this is sheer 
conscription. It's like—

every instant 
you're alive, there's this 
frantic drill sergeant

shrieking at you 
with his 
repetitious numbers

to keep 
the production and pace 
of your life 

moving smoothly 
at the very same
speed all the time—

with no regard at all
for its length 
or direction. 



Wednesday, November 9, 2022

AUBADE

Maybe, our love 
was not a gift
made for us.

Maybe it doesn't function
like a service 
or product, but 

more like a process—
like nuclear fusion 
in the sun,

where everywhere 
you looked, you'd see tons 
of doomed couples 

breathlessly speeding 
head-on 
toward one another, 

colliding and expiring, 
to create 
something rarer,

something heavier 
and just a little bit more 
precious than they were—

not to mention, 
a tiny fraction of heat 
and of light 

which might make 
the lives of some
billions of others 

far, far away from there 
a little more 
possible.




Tuesday, November 8, 2022

SPECIFIC CANDLES

The best love poems
are always 
trying their best 

not to come across 
as too dull 
or too clever.

They often involve rhyming 
the same words together, 

over and over 
and over 
and over. 

The truest ones 
don't settle for 
"patient" and "kind;" 

they describe love 
as "sucker"
and "enabler" 

and are not scared to show it 
waiting forever 

in parking lots 
scanning all the outbound 
faces from the car

or sitting alone 
in darkened kitchens, long after
specific candles have dwindled. 

But most importantly, 
the best love poems
don't reveal much;

like our lives, they're over 
far too abruptly
for that—

besides, even if 
they saw something,
they'd probably lie—

or talk around it 
on the sly—or just 
never bring it up.



Monday, November 7, 2022

END TIME

By November, 
any hesitation has been drowned
in early shade; 

anywhere you look, all life 
has begun 
to uncomplicate.

All feel 
the centripetal pull—

irresistible 
as the center of a 
famished black hole—

from clock hands 
that whir toward 
their end time, invisible. 

Some can even hear it: 
that imperative 
of the thinning air 

daring them
to carry their coherence 
for much longer. 

While the deaf 
are unceremoniously stretched 
and bent, squeezed and rent 

of even their unutterable 
concept 
of halcyon. 



Friday, November 4, 2022

MISSION IMPROBABLE

With that first slap 
of existence, 

you are told
congratulations;

you are contestant number 
eight billion 
and one—

you are 
the chosen one—you 
will be upgraded.  

And just like that, 
you're an 
astronaut, 

an intrepid explorer 
of inscrutable territory. 

Your experimental endeavor 
(which you cannot 
decline): 

to hurtle, in this 
gangly vessel, headlong 
toward the future—

flying at the fantastical 
rate of one second 
per second, 

each and every second—
and then, 

when, at long last 
and terrible cost, you 
finally arrive, 

to promptly check-in
on the status 
of the rest of us.


Thursday, November 3, 2022

PREORDAINED

Kaleidoscope 
of colored leaves, 

tumbling erratic
in shifting streams
of wind, 

though such 
an obvious 
fate has befallen thee—

collapsed,
soaked in torrents,
then dried 
by the breezes—

would that the stems, 
hearts, and edges 
of our lives 

come through it all 
so vivid, 
so crisp, and 
so clean.


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

GOSPEL

The good news is—
Eternity 
does exist;

the bad news 
is—you're in
the middle of it already. 

Not to mention,
as rewards go, it's less  
a cash settlement 

than it is 
an inheritance 
which is marred by stipulations.

What you want 
from such a heaven is 
to finally be together again;

what you get 
from it instead is: an utter lack 
of separation. 










Tuesday, November 1, 2022

THIS IS IT

Even if I were able 
to live 
in the moment,

it would still feel 
like suicide 
when the next one arrived.

And even though 
tomorrow, 
I will just as likely say 

that I shall trust 
and heed nothing 
outside of that day, 

I still cling to the fate 
which has found me in this one
as if to slow its passing by. 

By now, I know the stars we use 
to find our position 
have long ago exploded, 

but still, I 
can't remember 
what I've lied about last, 

or the child I must have 
been before I ever 
got the chance.