Friday, May 24, 2024

STANDPOINT EPISTEMOLOGY

Ironically, it's only 
the uncertainty 
which never changes; 

it keeps perfect 
pace with us, like horizons do
while driving:

never even swerving 
from our center 
of attention, 

but never for 
one second conceding 
to be caught. 

Does this conceit
intrigue you, 

or does it only leave you 
more distraught? 

Remember: 
the next thought you think 
could be your last,

and the answer 
that comes through 

may be 
addressed to you, 

but of course, 
perhaps
it may not. 


Thursday, May 23, 2024

COMING OF AGE

Unfortunately, 
the contact high 
is temporary. 

Unfortunately, supplies 
are, by their very definition, 
limited. 

When we're born, 
so much light 

and pressure come 
flooding in, 

we cannot think
to grasp for the handle 
of anything.

But soon, we have 
no recollection 
of the bottomless; 

the infinitude of stars 
fits into our mouths 
like a fist.

Perfect darkness 
gets abstracted 

by the forceps 
of their language,

dissected with tweezers 
into the absence 
of our genius—as if 

learning to use 
a word 
such as fathomless 

was same as 
comprehending it.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

THE RUB

It would seem by the time 
we become who we are,

we will be old enough 
that we might 
be no one—or worse 

and more 
accurately: nothing 
much to anyone. 

There may finally be 
questions we are
old enough to answer, 

but the young 
will not yet know enough 
to ask them, or care.

There'll be proverbs 
we've finally had time 
enough to memorize, 

or antics we'll dispense 
like ladle-fulls of vinegar 
 
from the trusty but 
shriveled-up cask 
of experience, 

but the days will pass 
in silence, uninspired by 
our crimes. Yes, 

the very day we realize 
we have brought 
about life's goal, 

if we are lucky 
enough to be recognized 
at all, 

it'll be by the puzzling-
yet-illustrative way 

in which we've managed 
to ignore the admonitions 
of a lifetime 

for something which 
looks, from a distance, 
like a lifetime.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

STOP AT NOTHING

How hard 
and long we are 
willing to practice 

perfecting 
the art of our own 
insignificance.

With great, shiny ranks 
of equations and 
numbers 

and quantum 
computers that chew through 
the syllabus, 

we are reckless-
ly determined 
as that crab they call Cancer 

to see things as they 
really are: devoid of all color, 
smell, taste, and texture—

atomistic, 
genotypic, quantized, 
and molecular—in other words, 

as perfect-
ly endurable 
without us. 


Monday, May 20, 2024

INEVITABILITY

We think that life
is a melody, 

but rhythm's 
more the gist of it: 

we sweeten in time 
with the rate of years' increasing;

we soften 
and fill out, 

while dying 
every minute. 

In pursuit of our truth, we lose 
touch with where we come from.

In pursuit of our freedom, 
we are innocent as apples 

destined to fall 
from their tree in autumn;

blushing 
as they ripen 

to their own 
destruction. 


Friday, May 17, 2024

GUESSWORK

Do you see 
how there's always 
a veil over things— 

a protective film 
on the touchscreen;

a haze of steam 
on our feelings;
a windshield 

between the joyriding 
brain and the landscape 
of reality?

Try as we might to believe
in our memory

and cry out 
to our contemporaries 
that we understand their pain,

the truth is 
we don't so much 
"state the case"

as pray; 
the truth is

declaring 
what the truth is 
makes as much sense 

as recounting 
last night's dream 
in the stark light of day.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

GIVE AND TAKE

At some point, 
it's alright to call it 
a night—

to tan 
for ten-to-twenty 
in front of the TV, 

to give those ropy 
muscles an 
Epsom salt soak, 

to raise your palms 
and kiss 
each majestic, 

and mountainous peak 
of their blisters. 
It's no joke 

to do the easy thing 
and cue up some music 
you already know, 

light a few candles 
and keep repeating 
as they glow 

that greatness 
is transient, 
and sometimes 

genius is 
ad-hoc—that even 
the illimitable 

Johann Sebastian Bach, 
despite all his leaps 
toward the glory 

of God, still would fall
back on the same 
dozen notes. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

TO SPRING

When you come, 
we will always call you 
mercurial; 

when you leave, 
it seems we 

are the ones 
who have changed. 
Besides, 

if your darkness 
and your light

and your warmth 
were so variable—
if your winds 

were so 
undisciplined,

and your rains
were so terrible—
then why 

aren't the incipient 
flowers more afraid? 


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

TO GOD

In the beginning, you 
were the word 

and the silence. 
You were 

light but 
also darkness.
You gave us names 

for you. You 
gave us 

stories, too 
many stories: 

how the world began, 
where the dead 
belong, 

what the unheard 
soul should sing.

But somewhere along the line, 
you let us 
do the talking. You stopped 

even telling us 
what to believe in. 
You decamped 

with our memories, 
our petitions,

our offerings. 
Because you do 
not listen, 

we feel we can
ask you anything.


Monday, May 13, 2024

TO THE SPOKESPERSON

Ever wondered: 
what does one 
blank space 

have to do 
with another?

Whether the air 
that hovers 
over the becalmed lake 

is anything like 
the empty sheet of paper 

before which 
you sit hunched, in pursuit 
of the answer?

If so, 
congratulations, 

you might be called
a poet—that is 
to say, a tortured creature 

damned to confect 
the explanation

that every kind 
of absence might be 
custom-

made 
of language. 


Friday, May 10, 2024

SOURCE

What we think of 
as joy 

is only 
peace-in-motion. 

What we take 
to mean peace 

is just love 
that's been frozen. 

But love 
is the tough one,

because it has no 
antecedent; 

it never evolved, 
and it did not begin. 

It exists 
the way light does

as a pretext 
for seeing. Or 

as heat does 
for living. 

Or like gravity—only, 
the analogy to force 

is quite coarse 
and and confusing.

Because sheer love
is so absolute 

that doesn't make us 
do anything. 


Thursday, May 9, 2024

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

Perhaps it's 
mistaken 

to equate "peace" 
with "rest," since 

the best of our 
persuasions, beliefs, 

and opinions 
all seem 

to shrivel like 
leaves whenever 

some stress causes 
life to cleave, and it's 

much more like 
a reflex 

to frantically 
close that gap—lest we 

find ourselves 
trapped 

in the uninhabitable 
space which 

now spontaneously 
seems to exist

between 
the startling feeling 

of having been 
awakened 

and that helplessness which is
so often confounded 

with the certainty 
of sleep. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

TO MY DYING BREATH

On my last day 
on Earth, you'll wish I wasn't 
such a coward 

who dreamed 
of sequences viewed 
out of order, 

and squandered your predecessors  
begging pieces 
of advice 

regarding things being 
other than they were—and 
how to get there. 

But you'll only have 
a moment, so 
you'll have to be concise: just say

I never learned to see 
the beauty 
in what's necessary—

which would have to be 
the first, if not the only 
prerequisite 

of any 
life worth living 
twice.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

UNRESOLVED

When the spent stars 
at dawn, commence 
to their wavering—

long overdue 
in disappearing, but 
not yet gone—

who am I 
to keep my eyes fixed 
on their glimmering, 

wishing on their embers
(every wobbly 
last vapor)

only that they 
could keep their 
lucky arms unfurled? 

I am not the kind 
who would starve 
in a forest 

just to spare 
the wild and brilliant 
plumage of its birds;

so why would I impose 
such a stagnant thing 
as beauty 

on the strange 
and mercurial soul 
of this world? 


Monday, May 6, 2024

UNSEEN POWER

The evening light 
grows dim 
as my conviction 

that it's never too late 
to be taught. And still, 
I walk on, lost 

in thought, past 
slumping shoulders, 
weeping trees;

past slow-moving 
pigeons, just begging 
to be caught. But 

this malaise 
of imperfections, 
these defects 

are distractions; this world
I know
cannot be such a brittle star.

If anything, it's 
a mousetrap—a lazy 
seduction: 

all things appear 
weaker than 
they really are. 


Friday, May 3, 2024

HAVE MERCY

There's a message for us—
written, perhaps, 

in the postures 
of gnarled and
prodigious old trees

who never grew guardian
limbs this sturdy 

to harbor 
the likes of these 
avian refugees; 

whose vigilant branches 
were never quite conscious 

of the hives in their 
midst, or their 
startling fragility;

whose thunderous trunks 
were never intended 

to shelter slender squirrels
in their winter
dens of rest—and yet? 

And yet, despite 
all of this, nevertheless...



Thursday, May 2, 2024

ULYSSES PACT

Lucky me—
so thrilled to be a penitent 
servant 

to such a rough, devious 
master 
as poetry; 

forswearing 
understanding, I commit still
to her handcuffs 

for the masochistic privilege 
of coveting 
her keys.


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

A DEPARTURE

The thought is never far 
from the top 
of my mind 

that I would do anything 
to stop myself 
from decomposing. 

And yet, 
there's something 
in experience  

which shows me 
this is wrong:

it's something about 
the comforting feeling 
of a lozenge on the tongue; 

the way I perceive 
the sweetness 
more clearly 

the more its clean edges 
seem to soften 
and dissolve;

the way I seem 
to love 

even the smallest 
bit of my understanding 
most

the instant 
before it's gone.