Friday, March 31, 2023


It's a curious fact
that, first thing
in the morning, 

all who re-arrive, 
at that instant, 
to their bodies 

swear that they know 
what it's like 
to be old, when

simply by finding themselves 
all together

(whether or not they 
voluntarily chose 
to rise; 

whether to an impish sun 
blithely spilling its brightness 
on water, 

or to the muted 
pall of rain out beyond 
their windowpane),

the riser doesn't just
bear witness to the dawning; 
they participate in it,

comprising, with a 
yawn, the very essence of startling 

just for a moment, 
to have done 
nothing wrong, since

every shining thing 
is young.

Thursday, March 30, 2023


Never focus 
on arriving (it seems 
that, somewhere, 

you have heard this);
what's important 
is the journey. 

But I'm curious 
what some of these 
dingy paths—

these choked 
city streets, oppressed 
with traffic, for instance,

or the dull 
late-March sidewalks, 
all rimmed 

with debris 
and depressing, 
headless tulips—yes, 

I'm curious 
what these sorts 
of passages 

would say about that. 
Might they, in fact 

a difference between 
our striving and 
our need 

to stride? My, how 
excessive, how quick-
ly complex 

the simple physics 
of our drive 
for contentment gets.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023


If your intent 
is the preemption of all 

the least 
appalling method 
is unwavering faith 

in the bulwark 
of concealment.

For instance, always 
keep your face 

while you hesitate 
to ask,  

and keep your hands 
shoved deep 
in your empty front pockets 

whenever you 
chance to go out 
in a crowd—

that way, no one 
with whom you interact 
will suspect 

that your face can relax 
and your hands 
will unclench 

only when warmed 
by the amicable friction 

the obviousness
of your disappointment 

and obliviousness 
of its lack.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


is a word 

is begun 

not with 
a plosive tensing 
of the tongue, 

but with an act 
of observation:

of the apple-
cheeked school-

through the park, 

as new snowdrops 
and crocuses 
the hard 
mud there.

And it ends not 
with a fricative 
rush of voiceless air, 

but somewhere 
in our hive 
mind's eyeless 

access to perfection: 
a bitter-
sweet winter 

as it dies 
upon the Earth

precisely and 
exquisitely as it did 
in our dreams;

the realization
that nature 
is composure itself:

the next day 
just laid 
bare and plain,

the way it plainly 
has to be.

Monday, March 27, 2023


Ironically, it's
the accommodating 
taste of old age—

all the wild 
notes, now dried 
and stiffened 

into spare
and sweet 
and handy truths—

which deigns 
to reject 
as inadmissible

the impetuous 
rudeness, the acerbic 

which wreathes 
and tinges the still-

eyewitness testimony 
of youth.

Friday, March 24, 2023


Little violin I'm 
hearing, singing 
in the distance:

despite what I imagine 
to be your sturdy, 
hollow hull 

and those two fantastically 
feminine, swirling-yet-
resolute, f-shaped ear holes, 

I suppose you're 
really nothing 
like a skull—

or, for that matter,
an envelope 

stuffed with some 
brutally honest letter. 

to me, at this 
moment, you are more 
like a shelter—
a dark and dusty 
room in the cellar 

where exactly one
determined writer 

and his husk 
of old desk can 
just barely fit 

(provided he 
sits hunched 
uncomfortably enough)

hoping to scribble 
out a new and 
desperate poem

frenetically inspired 
by your abstract, 
distant singing, 

enchanted by 
melody's lack 
of a metaphor, 

and fantastically 

Thursday, March 23, 2023


It's time to speak 
up about this: the perfect 

does not exist. Just like
hypotheses can never 

be tested. The best—and
in point of fact, the most 

scene we could imagine 
would have to be 
something like 

an airport at night: only
criss-crossing runways 
of featherweight particles 

of radiant light; a scaffolding 
for creamy, contra-
positive shadows, 

and for silences
of pure white—as opposed 
to that black variety, since 

every soul living 
is already staring so 
hard at that kind 

twenty times 
a minute—every time
they blink their eyes.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


The most extraordinary thing 
that our eyes 
will ever see 

has got to be 
plain old 
rotational symmetry. 

For it's practically unimaginable 
how our
faulty geometries

could bolster so much
swagger to a
negligible point. 

And in the end, isn't it 
nothing short 
of heartrending 

to watch, from 
the boundaries, how much
everything's changing 

so precisely on the premise 
that there's one thing 
that can't?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


I know you 
think you're made 
of parts, 

but really, there is just 
this body. Trust me:



as you earn 
each gold blip of 
bewildering world, 

these shall be 
your duties. 

And I don't mean 
irksome obligations;
I mean

taxes you must pay 
on the beauty.

Monday, March 20, 2023



Ten minutes 
from now (or possibly 

the large language model 
chatbot will speak 

it can conjure you 
haiku in the original, 
if you ask it to—

and you don't 
even have to say please.

But what does it mean 
to extrapolate 
from this?

And how 
do you repay a small
favor to a computer? Perhaps 

just by pondering 
the possibilities.

Friday, March 17, 2023


Even in the hands 
of such a 
parsimonious doctor, 

form will still 

and meaning 
must concentrate—

if only due to time's 
vigorous erosion.

Such mutable things
as wheelbarrows 
and chickens 

might likely seem 
a chastened century later, 

and will never escape 
the omnipotence 
of erasure.

If he somehow 
knew then

all that we've
forgotten now, 

his most profound 
work, from beginning 
to end, 

might take up 
one line 

and read: 
"so much depends."

Thursday, March 16, 2023


It seems almost 
ridiculous how 
all of life's particulars 

stubbornly refuse, 
over time, to refine—

how blood 
and saliva don't distill 
like a wine—

how frangible 
stem cells don't 
collapse, they multiply. 

But at least we catch 
a break when all the dots 
start to connect, 

and all of those 
stubborn, hard knots 
where life's events 

soon will get 
fused to our biased 
remembrances of them 

eventually combine, 
and then cement 
into a spine—

from which long, 
nervy pipes unspool 
and start winding

with generous 
thickness through all 
we now are 

to structure and 
nourish and, eventually, 
to animate 

some overlaid 
insouciant part, which 
didn't used to be there 

into a piece of 
appreciable art.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


The way in which darkness 
will twice
bookend day—I suppose you 

could call that haiku 
if you chose to. 
But haiku itself 

would never 
give away 
the name

of streetlamps 
which cast creeping 
shadows through park grass,

or the blueness 
of evergreens 
against skies' rising bruises—

least of all, 
of deftly transposing 

as one mug of tea  
warms the countertop
and cools.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


On one hand—
just a slight series 
of deftly pitched words, 

flung with 
just the right spin to affect 
a sly curve 

could, irrevocably, 
destabilize the world. 

Then again—
on the other, it's probably 
safer by a long shot, 

to haul off and 
send discourse 
running in all directions 

than it would be 
to ever risk coming- 
off as lazy 

or too slow, or late 
to the party, 
or cagey—or worse, 

some deceptively 
benign word 


Monday, March 13, 2023


        (for Hammerhands.)

So you no longer want to 
play music anyhow—

for what music 
could coax renewed 
substance from shadow,

or transcribe absent echos  
to original score,

or soundtrack 
winter's deaf, blank 
finality of snow? 

But somewhere deep
in the twitching 
of muscles;

in the shadows 
where capillaries drum 
along bones;

in the labyrinthine swirls (as 
a seashell 
by the ocean) 

of the exquisite folds 
of the inner 
ear, you notice:

that as long as 
you're able, by 
definition, to persist,

you can never 
bear witness to such 
suitable silence—

through each triumph 
and each stillness, 

in greatest 
gratitude and grief, 

your delirious, 
lunatic heart 
will keep repeating 

the only note 
it knows.

Friday, March 10, 2023


When we 
can't kiss, but can still 
quietly walk 

around the perimeter 
of this indescribable 
feeling and listen—

when it seems certain 
that no room is left 
in the inn

for the bigness of the 
thought we've been 
trying to hold in, 

but still, there 
are a few 
rickety windows

we can reach and fling 
open to let in 
some air—

when we can’t find words 
for the despair 
which devours us, 

and yet, it doesn't feel 
all that capricious 
to sing 

with some friends in 
a bar about 
frivolous things—

that's when 
we're finally ready 
to admit 

that there's no 
rationale, but 
it must 

stand to reason:
we can probably live 
without the touch 

of true meaning,
as long as there‘s 
the feeling.

Thursday, March 9, 2023


When I close my 
eyes, do I still 

in Plato's sense 
that a shadow exists:

in the absence 
and because of 
the light? And

in my diminished state, 
will I fear 
the brave sun, who, 

the benevolent 
look on his face, 

shall not be denied, 
or obscured? 

In the dark, I can 
feel the right and 
ruinous effulgence 

of the voice of that star, 
which is above 
all admonition,

like a thunderbolt—
cracking huge blocks 
of form and matter 

extant in my mind 
into slivers of 
this essence, 

which I, 
thus accosted, must
open my eyes 

if I ever hope 
to measure. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


We have it 
on good, if somewhat 
tacit authority—

we can even taste it 
in the fear (which comes 
drizzled in lust)

constantly secreted 
by the tips of 
our tongues—

that some perilous, 
inky, imperious 

should inexorably appear 
at the end 
of every sentence.

Life's labor, then, consists
in approaching 
this limit,

as doomed stuntmen 
who ride for the edge, 
but don't hit it—

until we crash 
and wreck 
that babble tower, 

with silence 
as our penance.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023


Art may 
instruct us

in so far as 
it doesn't. 

The most striking

or words 
of a poem 

are, at best, crumbs 
of dust

which the weakest shaft 
of errant light 

that meanders 
though a window 

may seem, for one 
bright moment, 

to transpose
into a road—

but the end of that line 
is a cul-de-sac  

where we loop
through the circle 

of knowing 
what we knew 

as the marvelous friction  
of that fraught recollection 

warms some frozen
feeling back.

Monday, March 6, 2023


If your cares won't 
collapse, and 
you can't 
get to sleep,

instead of 
the cheap stuff 
like blessings 
or sheep,  

try counting 
the billions 
of other people's 

those delicate, 
crepe paper-
textured things, 

but dignified 
as a second-
prize rose—

which, up to
this minute, have 
and closed—

not reflexive- 
or self-possessedly, 
not in brief or 
by design, 

but both helpless- 
and definitively:
for the very 
last time.

Friday, March 3, 2023


Roots that dig deep
enough to feel 
the heat of hell,

and tips that reach 
to scrape the diamonds 
undergirding heaven;

appendages which shake, 
bend, and 
quiver themselves to pieces 
with the littlest hint
of oncoming wind, 

yet which always resolve 
to remain spread 
wide open 

and stiff 
in the pose of 
perpetual giving;

but above all, 
a fierce and 
obstinate reluctance 

to admit 
when you've been killed
and abandon your position, 

and just as fierce 
a willingness  

to come back 
to life in six months 
and forgive.

All of this—
and nothing less, 

and all of the time, 
and all of your life—

is what it will take 
if you ever expect,

in spite 
of the callous 
vicissitudes of seasons,

to stand in the dirt—
and the light—
and to live.

Thursday, March 2, 2023


I guess this is progress—
finally, I've begun 
to wonder 

what I'm supposed to do 
with your pictures.

After all 
these years, your face 
still looks the same to me, 

whereas I'd swear 
up and down, I'm so 
very much older 

even than I appear 
in the mirror 
at this moment—

old enough, at any 
rate, at least 
to understand 

how the pieces of us 
which might still interact 
are far 

from the proper or 
obvious suspects. 
It's a bit like 

how the instrument 
which is responsible 
for singing 

is itself, in practice, 
mysteriously silent—

and the similar 
mechanism by which 
the song's witness 

is compelled to linger 
there and listen, 

while equally 
primitive, is completely 
invisible—or at least 

remains very
ingeniously hidden. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


When I make a point
to say it, does the pathos
of a half-moon 

made of crinkled-
but-unblemished paper 

in a sky 
of ink make 
sense to you? 

My guess is—the linguists 
were wrong 

about the world we interact in 
being really made 
of grammar. 

But perhaps, 
what there is 
is a pyramid 

of syntax—a chain 
of command 

in those words
which are good—

a hierarchy 
of all those
mysterious phrases

which swirl and tumble 
and jockey 
in our chests 

like still-
forming pearls for the 
chance to be expressed—

yet which 
cannot be grasped 

or appraised, just