Thursday, November 30, 2023


Year after year, 
a poet's complexion
seem to worsen: 

each new pockmark 
or pimple 

is a line we
should have written;

every blemish, some 
vague image unexpanded, 
gone to waste;

every wrinkle, a metaphor 
we've failed 
to expand on—

or abandoned 
for the sake of some fetish  
with concision. Yes, 

little by little, 
our skin dries out 
and starts to tighten, 

as we feel 
entire stanzas—open spaces
deep inside us

closing their shutters, 
locking their doors, 

growing dusty 
as our cheeks fall 

and our jaws 
become rusty, 

until one day, 
we're left 
with no expression 

but the blank 
verse of rueful 
confusion on our faces. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


The faithless 
are those who survive 
long enough 

to watch their once-ripe 
goals become 
fermented into mush 

which they scoop up 
and store in a mason jar 
with the label hopes and dreams.

The sour stuff seems 
to work great 
as an offering 

to those featureless 
angels who'll watch 
over their graves.

It's not 
that they believe 
that these magical creatures 

will come 
and alight and 
eat the stuff—

it's just that 
they know 
from bitter experience 

that nothing 
in the universe works 
without pay.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Difficult as it is 
to be understood, 

it seems it's 
harder still 
just to be seen. 

We point to 
the sky and say 
azure blue 

or sage green 
for the sea, as if 
it were true.

Worse still, we 
look inside 

and describe things 
we find there as

or cunning

or disciplined
or young—but then 

hoard away those attributes 
like the balance 
on a gift card 

stored safe  
inside our wallets 

with no intention
to redeem.

Monday, November 27, 2023


On the big screen, explosions 
and flames hit us 

strikes us as 
so much more pliable. 

It's as if, watching, 
we're passively 
excited to remember

how suffering 
cannot be 
visited upon us

or until 
it's invited. 

We are too entranced
to notice, but we 
might as well be thinking:

if only 
this body 
was as tractable as fire—

if only 
this mind was 
that reliable. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


In brief: it would seem 
that my 

has a mind 
all its own. 

When I try 
to pin it down 

light cone,

it slips past 
the confines of all 

and taunts me 
from the dark— 

like some 
suave super 
villain who's just 

busted out 
of prison—

simply by 
not paying 
any attention. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


After what feels 
like weeks, you'd think 
it would be 

such a relief 
to see the sun—except that 

the tiny kiss of heat 
that you feel 
in your cheeks 

feels so much more loaned 
than deserved. 

This small grace, here 
and then gone 
in a heartbeat, 

feels like the hours 
you forfeited to sleep 

last night, now 
to fortify your bones.

From ligaments 
to fingertips, you once again 
feel whole

as you know, 
for a moment 

you don't face the day 

Monday, November 20, 2023


It's a pity 
how often 
God gets trapped 

inside his 
own creation; his unconscionable 
moods, his pure 

and ethereal 
mastery over all ideas—
all of that 

gets tugged back inexorably 
to the dirt, 
weighed down 

by the animal concept 
of drag, which he invented.
And yet, 

never on his way 
to the ground does he 

with ineffable intent 
to wound and 
scar the planet—even as 

its worship turns 
to love and desire 
for distraction—

for namelessness 
still sits above 
all need to harness a crisis, 

and that which is 
clever would
never prescribe 

its own divorce 
from that 
which is kind.

Friday, November 17, 2023


Lately, I think 
there are too many ways 
to be open—

too many agreeable sounds 
I can make 

which burst from my 
throat in a flame 
in between us, and 

would seem 
to irradiate 
my plain and cold reticence 

in pulled-tooth 
display of ingratiating 

Privately, I may worry 
about the cost 
of these displays—

worry how many words 
from my finite supply 

I can frack 
from my insides, 
pipe away, and set ablaze 

before my polite, hollow
body collapses—but

how could I possibly 
not agree with 
what you say,

whatever the inward 
price I must pay?

Thursday, November 16, 2023


Some of us plainly 
cannot resist; 
we think 

that to speak a thing 
with passion 
and repeatedly 

is the most efficient 
way to feed our 
hunger for significance—

while others insist 
on that tack's 
exact opposite;

like hoarders, they 
the tiniest bits 

of fly-by-night 
language which chance 
to come near them. 

But of hunger 
of course, this is not
the reverse: their craving 

firstly, is 
to capture—and then 
after, to regurgitate. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Whenever I think 
back on all the 
totems I have worshiped—

the uncanny 
animals, precious 
found objects, 

and solid, vivid gods,
now gone translucent 
black and white

and sorted flat 
in stacks inside
the book of memory—

I do not lament 
the present 
loss of their quintessence, 

but rather—feel emboldened 
by the foolishness 
of hope, 

for their domicile there 
has made it 
too clear 

that it may still be 
possible, even under 
such attack, 

for a substance 
or a presence which is faded 
or invisible 

to live on in 
consciousness, disguised 
as its own lack.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


Shortly after dawn—
the way 
a rising sun 

causes the great 
hulking shadows 
of roofs 

to slide off old
fence posts and move 
along the lawn 

in the park across 
the street from the 
place where I sleep—

and all I can wish is 
that I might 
still live 

and find myself 
awake and walking 
out my door to witness this

so many more 
times that, 
before too long, 

I absolutely 
fail to even 
notice it.

Monday, November 13, 2023


In truth, the last 
time you perform 
a certain task 

doesn't feel 
very much at all 
like the first.

What it tends 
to resemble, almost 

much to your 
frustration—is just the next-

Which at least makes it 
easy to grasp 

the resentment 
and ennui you feel while 
stumbling through the work.

Sort of like 
coming again 

to judge 
the living 
and the dead: 

it feels somewhat 
or counterproductive 

in a kingdom 
which has 
no end.

Friday, November 10, 2023


Even with so much 
else to do, 

I still choose 
to walk around
in silence

and keep my eyes 
fixed on the 

And even if 
everything here
that I witness 

is an internal 
construct, that's not 
so bad; 

at worst, that just means 
that the whole thing's 

at best, 
that this city is 
entirely mine.

It's a solitary 
task and a
tall responsibility, 

but only an oyster 
can conjure a pearl. 

Each fleck
of thought is a first 
draft's first line;

so I touch one foot, 
then the next
to the earth, 

creating and abandoning 
possible worlds—

then colonize 
the realizable 
space with my mind, 

and watch 
as it organizes time.

Thursday, November 9, 2023


There are so many days 
when I don't speak 
to anyone; 

I see lawns and endless 
sidewalks, gruff local 
traffic, dogs.

And this is remarkably 
fine with me. 

these silent things 
and I, we get along 

as Adam 
and all of the 
creeping things in Eden. 

Then again, If I were him, 
humanity wouldn't have 
lasted too long.

I'd have balked 
at the thought 
of giving up 

an inch—
one single iota 
of lonesome perfection; 

I would never have consented
to the overnight 

of a smidgen 
of that which was 
given to me—let alone 

the indispensable 
of my rib cage—

just for the sake 
of a little 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Everything is clean 
and bright—

and wireless,
and paperless, and 
state of the art—

here in the new-built 
and practically 

Worldwide Arena 
of Free Information—where,

for the first time 
in history, all spectacles 
are equal, 

and everyone is always  
sitting in the best seat.

Though, of course, 
for some reason 
(which nobody remembers), 

only those court-side 
are privileged enough 
to know 

what really goes 
into the bratwurst 

which they bark for 
from our happy and eager 
herd of roving vendors.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023


Though it sounds 
as if it is, compassion 
really isn't that big 

of a thing. In fact, 
it's so little, so muted 
and innocuous,

so easy 
to miss, that it's 
difficult to resist. 

It's less a flaming sword 
than the edge
of a knife 

where kinship meets 
up with and annihilates self-

it's that end point 
which knows—like a 
rain blade knows the river;

like the youngest
frail animal knows
where its nest is—

that there's somebody 
out there at this 
very minute

in need of more help 
than they're willing 
to ask for—

or maybe, more help 
than they realize 

Monday, November 6, 2023


or other, we are always 
so sure 

of those degenerate 
thoughts which we will not

that our cravings, 
our fears, and our doubts 

are itinerant 
drifters, stray hounds, 
and street walkers 

to be rounded-up 
and driven from our
nice, peaceful towns. 

But what of our 
convictions, our wild 
dreams, our hopes? 

For we know 
that they, too, must be 
roaming these grounds, 

singing on our 
corners and sleeping 
in our bus stations—

yet we hesitate 
to crack down on these 
sorts of riffraff,  

since we're so much less 
confident about
their motivations.

Friday, November 3, 2023


We think we can hide
the disconcerted grimace 

of disbelief 
from our erstwhile 
transcendent faces, 

and forestall our 

yet tremendous 

by attending 
to the this 
specious present. 

And we're good
and always 

getting better—at it. 
But we're wrong 

to posit what's next 
as perplexing; 

it's this life 
which is so 

and complex. And 

it's death 
which is so aching-
ly simple 

that it blends with the 
of every breath, 

even when 
we forget:

it's the nexus 
where all doubt 

and talent 
must cancel; 

the place 
where all our grieving 

Thursday, November 2, 2023


That there are incalculable 
between stars, 

where the blank 
that stares back at you 
benevolently regards 

the offenses 
you've carried outdoors 
in your head, 

ought to remind you 
of Catholic 
school confessions—

before screens of that black, 
muted fabric 

and waiting 
for some litany of 
rote interrogations 

to reach inside 
and soothe your seething 
reservoir of poison. 

Only, this time,
instead of that bid 
to confess, 

your hope is that 
this tapestry 
may yet 

disarm you 
with quite a different 
set of questions:

How have you been 
scarred, my friend? 

And how long 
has it been since then? 

And did you not 
invite that knife in?

And if so, 
for what reason?

Wednesday, November 1, 2023


It's a small consolation 
to the dark 
horses out there 

that late afternoon light—
so tardy 
and dull 

as it falls strangely 
cold upon a crumbled
old brick wall—

after churning 
through a vast and vacant 
vacuum full of waste

in a timeless 
yet infinite race 
against inflation—

being born 
of umpteen billion 
apocalyptic furnaces' 

compulsive and
hysterical urges
to keep burning—

and with no real
objective, save 
to surge until it fails— 

could ever have 
prevailed against 
the threat of ruination

and should plausibly 
appear to have
made it here at all.