Monday, July 31, 2023


Shoot straight, 

were we made to feel 
for one another 

no matter what
or not? 

You'd think 
that a grammar 

of love
would be simple;

would flow 
with the changes, 

as it does
in the hymnals—

but intuitions 
and affections flicker 

like the red walls 
of vestibules 
packed with votive candles.
All of which is to say 
that, focused 
as we are 

by a little sanctity  
and ritual, 

the picture's 
not okay; 

we're still getting 
mixed signals.

Friday, July 28, 2023


may be our most 
archetypal fear—

but it's also the most 
groundless, since 
there's so much more here 

than our fiercest 
combatants could hope 
to defend. For example,

hands are so numerous, 
there is always one 
to lend—

and time 
is so ample that it never 
quite advances. 

And the blue sky 
blushes out so wide that, 
what could be the chances 

that you ever would 
run out of vintage 
sermons to mistrust 

from the glut of ancient 
gods who still must 
float and make their homes there,

their vengeance 
too great to be blighted 
by death, yet

so infinite-
ly diffuse, it just feels
pleasant now instead?

Thursday, July 27, 2023


        After James Wright

You might think, 
one day,
in passive time 

with the rhythm 
of a hammock swinging—

as you blink 
away the dispassionate 

and feel the raggedy  
tops of tall grass blades 

tickle the dangling
tips of your fingers—

the great poet 
was right: I have wasted 
my life. And yet,

standing between
a real feeling 
and the truth 

is the fact that 
you never decided 
or chose to.

And who knows—
that skinny divergence, 

that small act 
of defiance 

might alter the future 
as well as 
the past—

as you oscillate 
there in the breeze 
killing time—

from deep 
in the center of your story 
on out,

one bleary vowel, 
one rough syllable 
at a time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


I used to imagine—not 
unlike most—

that the gig was 
to simply keep 
playing our roles; 

we were heroic, 
dynamic characters 

whose roads through 
hard times led to 
changes for the better.

But now, the whole plot 
has gone on for so long 

that I've come 
to suspect that our job 
is much stranger 

and less glamorous 
than that. In fact, 

we're now working 
in those black times 
after the show,

swimming through oceans 
of slow-scrolling credits, 

and trying to determine 
for something 
like "certain" 

which strange collection 
of symbols we were. 

And meanwhile, 
our customers—an emotion-
purged audience—

grow restless and mumble  
their disparate ideas

when it's appropriate 
to get up and go.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


Here's how I want you to think 
of things now: 

your job is
to fold and tear 

all your old 
strategies for coping 

along their suddenly-
obvious perforations.

You'll notice 
in doing so

that beliefs, feelings 
and sympathies 

are no longer things 
but processes; that is 

to say: modular affectations.
For instance, 

even your nascent-
ly blooming intention 

to follow these 

was much less 
a thought 

than a 

Monday, July 24, 2023


What on Earth 
did we think we
would do with 

all these vestigial 

With so many 
disabused-of thoughts 

and jealously hoarded
obsolete feelings 

still stacked
to the rafters in 
cordoned off spaces, 

it's a wonder we 
have room 
to breathe—let alone 

face the prospect 
of cleaning up 
or leaving.

Besides, in the shape 
they're in, 

how could we escape—
I mean,

how could we 
ever hope to
sell these old places 

and move to a newer, 
cleaner state 

of being—especially 
knowing, in our 
moth-eaten hearts,

that it wouldn't take long 
to cram a new one 
with bygones

and antique 
emotions from floor 
to ceiling?

Friday, July 21, 2023


In the maze 
of the mind, unlocked 
doors lead 

to questions—
some of which tend 
to dead-end 

at problems—problems 
which the burly

possibly in-league 
with his clever friend 
the engineer, 

work to a fever 
pitch of effort 
to resolve—til the poet,

ever floating 
in that bath which fills 
synaptic gaps,

to stir from his open-
ended nap 
to spill a few non 
sequiturs, which 
dissolves them.  

Thursday, July 20, 2023


Actually, it's a blind: 
hindsight is poor 
as the rest 
of your vision.
And with distance, 
failures sometimes wear 
smeared halos of affection.
Just as sheer darkness 
(all those lightyears 
of opacity and ignorance)
connects the stars, 
so too are your 
past fiascos, banes, 
defeats, and cataclysms 
subject to the cataract fog 
secreted by the intellect. 
In fact, the mind's eye 
can't envision
passing through such a 
miasmatic gap 
to behold up-close 
that which it cannot 
crawl back to. 
What sorts of distortions 
and smudges 
would be rendered? 
Much more importantly,
how much contempt, 
prolapse, and bewildered 
disgust with your past 
would you expect 
to see reflected 
in that sort of light?

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


True love 
is knowing 

that life's 
too short to 
change too much. 

It's both never 
saying never

and never 
getting clever. 

Yes, true love 
is so 

it'll rhyme 
the very same 
words together 

over and over 
and not feel 

And it isn't 
merely kind 
and patient—

it's a doormat 
and a sucker;

it'll spend the night
in a parking lot, 

or waiting up 
in a candle-

snuffed kitchen 

And even if 
true love thinks 
it saw something, 

true love won't
bring it up

true love is
knowing better.

It's an expert 
at passing you 
your jacket 

without sniffing it 
or first patting 
it's pockets, since

true love 
truly loves 
playing it cool—

when it thinks it 
hears truths 

which it doesn't 
truly love,

it doesn't raise 
a fuss; it's

"yeah, that's fine, 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023


From that very first 
catastrophe of dawn—

to the loud Lauds 
of galloping cars, 
wind, and rain; 

then, the chatter 
and nibbling, 
bit by bit 

in this or that 
room, until
all sacraments are gone—

to the gradual 
slouching, the slow 

with its penitent 
crawl towards 

between twilight's 
wine and slight

as they swim 
through your mind and
play out on television—

nothing and no one 
you'd shudder 
to mention 

as noiseless 
or voiceless 
ever seems to come.

The miracle, such 
as it even exists
to be witnessed, is

there never comes
a second's-worth 

of perfect 
blameless silence

all day long—no
not even one.

Monday, July 17, 2023


Turns out human 
evolution was a 
balancing act: 

winnowed instinct 
to a half-empty glass;

walking upright 
borrowed dignity 
from the quadruped class. 

But what no one ever mentioned
is that opposites 

that our fetish for abstractions 
which are stylish,
rich, and opulent 

could yet mesh with 
concrete weakness for the 
destitute and derelict—

that, at base, we are all
made up of a universe 
of specks, 

half of which possess 
what the other 
half lacks—and that 

some days, we are 
gobsmacked, others ruined 
by that fact.

Friday, July 14, 2023


how the littlest 
gash of white light 

which swims past the iris 
in the eyes 
of a friend—and, 

at the bedside, 
how the meagerest drip 
from a night light

will abate, in those 
great tracts of land 
deep inside us,

some vast and ever-
roving pestilence 
of black. Perhaps 

that's why the endless 
of stars 

has never 
done more than
the littlest bit 

to bore 
or discourage their
bewildered observers. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023


Your benevolence, 
forgiveness, and largesse

may someday 
transform you 

into less of a 
noble stump 
of the Giving Tree 

and more of a fixture 
in an old 
public restroom.

Abusive and abused, 
one by one, 
they will come; 

they will 
need you, not 
beseech you.

They will spill
all they reject 
from their guts, 

and then flush—
and expect 
you to simply 

and refill. 

And yes, 
by grace, somehow, 

no matter 
how many times 
you swallow, 

the well in the middle 
of your soul 
keeps refreshing.

You alone know
that the level 

draws lower  
and closer 

to the drain line 
each time. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


The problem was never 

so much as 
revelation. Now,

after eons
worth of bait-

and desertion, 

every last 
gesture on Earth 
has been inverted—

instead of classic
dramedies, starring 
Tin Pan Alley carnage, 

is subversive, 

and feeling self-
righteous, a decisive 
plan of action.

And to think—
only yesterday, 
all of humanity 

(or so say the glyphs 
in an old book that's
tough to translate)

once was roundly 

for speaking 
one language.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Little innocuous 
wisp of cloud, 

in the time 
it would take to jot 
this down, you 

will have subtly 
rearranged. Why 

do you never 
stick around 

to demonstrate
how, even 
when I know, 

I don't really know
to help me
come around 

on how mighty it is, 
under sky

like ours, to change 
one's mind?

Friday, July 7, 2023


Given all the vastness, 
there must be 
a planet 

that's gentler 
and less thoroughly 

than this one. 

But wherever 
exists that more tender 
place to land, it's 

probably so distant 
it'd exhaust us 
just to get there. 

So perhaps 
we'd do better 

to work on getting 
less offended 

by the penchant 
of this world 

for the relentless 
and indefinite. 
In fact, perhaps 

the world's sadness 
is a special kind 
of balm;

an outgrowth 
of our gratitude 

for the time 
it has taken us
to get this lost

and the fortune
of time which is 
still on offer 

to pay 
off the interest on 
the opportunity cost.

Thursday, July 6, 2023


Sooner or later, 
we all try on 

those loaded 
clothes which 
the monist wears—

before its base parts, 
the chaste 
whole is paraded:

one Circle, 
from which wretched
arcs are created.

Surely, Unity
is a fabric

whose richness 
we can't fathom—
and yet 

such a fine habit 
fits tight, 
and it itches. Plus, 

with what 
will we pay 

when the time 
to tithe comes, 

our pockets 
now empty, even 
of atoms?

Wednesday, July 5, 2023


Lets pretend 
for a minute, o
severed head, 

that you exist—
not to be seen, 
but, in the limit, 

to speak to me—
defend me, 

befriend me when 
I'm stuck
for an ending. 

In the mirror, 
it seems that my 
own face's creases 

are multiplicative 
and deepening—
and yet, still 

I am reluctant 
as an apprentice 
to admit 

that fairy tales 
have endings,
and horse tails 

may have endings, 
but works of art 
(like knives) 

just have their 
and their ends. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2023


When I close 
my eyes and lie 
quiet at night, if I'm 

just right, I can finally 
hear my heart—

but I don't 
exactly mean 
the beating—it's

the rhythm 
of each tiny 
valve clicking open 

and closed again 
which speaks to me 

in a kind 
of Morse Code 
that's both 

and self-

everything you can't see
will be borne
witness to eventually, 

but though 
is all to the good, 

that won't necessarily 
mean it's 

Monday, July 3, 2023


Lately, I suspect I'm 
my insouciance  

and spates of obsessed 
for weightiness—forsaking 

all meaning 
to focus 
on timing—

in the hopes that 
this surfeit of 
vacancy and lack 

may yet 
amalgamate into 
a mallet—

a mallet which 
one day, I'll be able 
to swing 

and whack 
all those nonchalant moles 
of regret 

that keep popping 
up from these holes 
in my feelings.