Tuesday, April 16, 2024

TO APRIL

The great rabbles
of clouds in your 
quicksilver sky—

confounding,
combining, 

compounding
one another—
are somehow 

less foreboding 
than the ominous way 

they loiter there
all day, holding on
to their rain.


Monday, April 15, 2024

CLIFFHANGER

If this were a movie, 
we'd think 

we've been shortchanged. 
And no wonder: 

the storyline's
meandering; the moral
won't cohere. But 

though we're alone in this 
cavernous theater,

and no one 
would be the wiser, 

the reason 
we haven't yet 
gotten up and left 

is simply because 
we can't—at least, 

not the we 
that we think of 
as us

See, somewhere between 
the start of the joint

and this particular 
maddening scene,

we've failed to notice 
the plot's 
beside the point.

As long as we're here 
to watch it progress, 

this life, 
by necessity, must 
be bereft 

not only of a happy 
or ambiguous ending—

but a proper 
ending all together. 


Friday, April 12, 2024

AFFIRMATION

Your duress, though 
intangible, is a matter 
of fact. Yes, it's less 

material than, say, 
an egg which is 
made of FabergĂ©, 

and yet: there it 
sits, every bit
as intact 

and impeccably 
jeweled in the pearls 
and enamel 

which you forged 
with great care and 
fastidiousness 

in the just-as-
immaterial furnace 
of your stress—yes,

every bit 
as lavish and loving-
ly constructed—

perhaps not quite 
as elegant, but
every bit as frangible.


Thursday, April 11, 2024

SEDIMENTAL FEELING

What were the magic 
words that formed 
the world? 

For an instant
most mornings, I suspect 
that I just knew;

but soon, there's a tide 
in the ocean 
of my mind 

dragging out to sea 
all the things I think
are true—and then 

washing mixed-up bits 
and pieces of them 
right back in again—

until most 
of the detritus I can 
see along this beach 

is made up of stuff 
so self-
similar and small

that it's impossible 
for me to count 
each individual particle. 

The best I can do 
is try to put 
the view to use

and give 
one collective name 
to them all.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

HOLDINGS

It's impossible
to know 
at the very beginning 

what you'll eventually 
discard 
or outgrow 

and what is worth 
clutching to your soul
just in case. 

It's like how 
you still think 
abnormally hard 

about whether 
to toss 
that pickle jar

which you haven't 
thought to open 
in over three months, 

or keep it there
for three 
or four more 

just because 
you have 
the fridge space.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

EKPHRASIS FOR THE PIN-UP GIRL

Even solid gold 
comes off messy 
when it glows 

from its post as 
the trove of her hair—tangled 
in the bearing 

of all that she must know,
too highly regarded 
to be tamed by a comb— 

as she gazes 
out from underneath 
all that wealth without a care,

eyes less daydreaming 
than floating, just above, 
or possibly below 

some effortless truth
about the nature 
of allure 

which you or I, being 
cheap and human, would have 
foolishly discarded.


Monday, April 8, 2024

SHADOWS

For almost as long 
as there has been light, 
something has been there 

to get in the way of it—
casting its absence
as a twin left behind,

a piece of the dark 
in the shape 
of its essence,

recognizable 
in an instant, and yet built 
out of nothing 

and showing us—we 
who are filled
with such questions, 

we who blockade light 
ourselves with these 
bodies—even less 

than those 
selves, even less 
than the night. 


Friday, April 5, 2024

NO ASYLUM

One would think 
that, with the rain clouds 
now parting

and the light drizzling down 
like honey 
from the sun 

on the wet city streets 
which are glistening 
like tongues, you too 

would get
sweetened, would be cleansed 
of what was wrong. 

But in truth, there's no 
asylum in a world that bests
its flaws;

it's a dirtying feeling 
when you sense you 
don't belong. 


Thursday, April 4, 2024

ALL THAT JAZZ

Is it possible 
for life to be both 
enjoyed and endured?— 

for the little you have left 
to be the most 
for which you hope? 

The preachers
say no—that our purpose 
shall be known—

while the politicians
split the vote by angling 
for an either/or; 

but the rest of us don't 
bother sending soldiers 
to that war, since 

we already know 
the answer is: sure, that's 
what music is for. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

SYNTHESIS

We're bred 
to think ourselves slaves
to affection—

to assume what we seek 
above all is closeness. 

But in truth, what we 
crave is a strange 
combination 

of intimacy 
and remoteness. 

Perhaps that's why 
in centuries past, 
brave men 

would helm the sterns 
of great boats, 

and, spurning common sense, 
sail off the edge 
into seas unknown 

only to yearn 
for the first sight of land

and dream under bright stars 
of their dull
lives back home.


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

CONTINGENCY

Like a musty old chess set 
whose knights were 
long lost 

and have since been 
replaced by two 
snatches of cloth, 

or the rusty stock pot 
with a frying pan 
for its cover 

that's too trusty 
to replace, even 
at trivial cost—so too 

can a heart 
still be 
jury-rigged to work 

even with a few 
of its parts 
snatched out, 

mislaid by 
the user, or 
accidentally tossed. 


Monday, April 1, 2024

GAPING

One would think 
that understanding 

would look different 
than bewilderment—at least 
from the outside, 

but the truth is
but it doesn't. 

The truth is, it looks 
exactly like you: 

stopping short, 
gobsmacked 
in front of a shop window 

at the sight of 
not the twin—not even 
the shadow—

but the stranger 
who's depicted there, 

thick, cold, and 
impenetrable. 

It looks like you losing 
and gaining 
sight of the facts

that a gap 
can take up space
and mass—

that some reticence is 
plainly visible—

that certain lacks 
feel solid, vast, 

and, though slight, still
quite unbridgeable.