Friday, June 21, 2024

ON FIRST ORDERING AVOCADO TOAST

Somewhere inside, 
you knew it 
from the start of this: 

buttered bread is
buttered bread;

someone's just
charged you double 

for the gauche 
decadence of 
all those extra vowels—

charged you 
triple, perhaps

for a charred, 
pockmarked carb 

and a fat source
that won't flow—

charged you 
probably 
quadruple, in fact

simply as a test, 
not of hunger, but 

of credulousness. 
And, due 

to the sunk cost 
of this one small 
indiscretion, you

have paid them. 
Now, looking back

from a certain, 
detached,
well-fed viewpoint, 

one could 
rightly ask: 

which one of you 
is the asshole?


Thursday, June 20, 2024

TOTALLY BANANAS

Back when we
were firmer
and smoother, and 

more than a little 
ungainly, 

we didn't think
that we were lovely. 
We thought 

that so much 
malicious under-
ripeness 

was a burden 
to be spurned, 

and we longed to invest 
in maturity's soft- 
and sweetness . 

But now, looking back 
with greater 
poise—but also 

weakness—
we realize 

that the bruises 
of maturity come 
with a cost: 

we must have first broadcast 
our desire
to be consumed

the instant we found 
we were finished 
being green. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

SEAMY

After the last distant 
and longing clang 

of churchbell vesper 
song is diminished 
and fades, 

the able, charmed silence 
of twilight descends 

to swathe, in its 
shadow, half this gently-
tilting planet.

And then—out 
come the rats 

from the west 
to the east, 

from their dark wombs 
of nests underneath 
the parkways 

to raze our grand empire 
of Day to the street 

by reclaiming 
all our most thoughtless-
ly tossed 

post-dinner bags 
of warm trash 
as their feast. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

CONTRIVANCE

Beware words 
which at first appear 
open as the air, 

for even they 
must be mounted 
in some very particular frame, 

and are only meant 
to offer 
one particular point of view. 

It's hard to notice 
how subtly 
and slowly they accrue, 

until they're assumed 
to be ancient 
as the mountains

and self-evident 
as the sediment which 
constitutes our planet—but 

recall from past litanies 
of mistakes you've 
been engaged in

how a wall made of glass 
was still a wall 
nonetheless—and so, 

virtually any thought 
you might presume to be 
transparent as well

is potentially false—
and cruel—
and vindictive 

as a window 
in a prison cell. 


Monday, June 17, 2024

COMME IL FAUT

Howling down 
from the frozen and
desolate peaks 

of some ancient, sibylline   
mountain range, 
a proper wind—

by the time it meanders 
through the amber waves,
and cools,

for an instant
or two, all the impotent 
plains of the Earth—

decrescendos 
to a whisper,
much to the relief 

of its workaday 
fools and sinners. But 
much to the chagrin 

of its politicians 
and philosophers, 
who can't abide 

a whisper,
unless it's made
of words.


Friday, June 14, 2024

NO TAKE BACKS

Sometimes, saying "sorry" 
after the fact

is worse than 
not at all;
it can never correct 

the full extent
of the injustice,

and tends to leave
the aggrieved 
bereft 

of a most-pleasant 
fantasy of sweet 
revenge exacted. 

Moreover, 
such expungings are, 
at best, sacrilegious 

to the autocratic
enterprises of history 
and physics, 

both of which contend 
that every action, once taken, 
casts with a firmness 

the faultless exactitude 
of the world we live in, 

and it'd be a fate, 
not just worse, but  
more impossible than death 

if we ever endeavored 
to go back. 


Thursday, June 13, 2024

PARTY TRICK

Most of the time, 
whenever I'm 
engaged, 

I find myself resisting 
an urge to slip away 

from whatever I'd 
begun to say. Although 

I know the art
of conversation 
is crucial, 

the sentence I'm dispensing 
feels more 
like a party favor—

like a school child's 
fortune-teller 
crafted out of paper—

an amusement flitted 
deftly from the pocket 
of my pants, 

first flapping, 
then unfolding before 
the eyes of my supporter 

as beguilement 
and suspense begin 
to mount in equal measure

toward the flimsy crescendo 
of one of several 

predetermined
points of order. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

ADVICE TO YOUNG ADULTS

To not act 
on passion would 
seem like a sin, but 

salvation's 
not about that—it's 

all your offhand 
choices and 
run-of-the-mill opinions 

which, at long last, 
coalesce into 
the voice of pure reason: 

every last advantage you have
will have to be abandoned, 

for, when all 
chained together, even they 
will constrain you. 

And you can't use a chain 
to pull your 
virtue, anyway; 

you must 
get behind and push it;

grow through sin—
slow as old Issa's 
young snail did;

take the levelest 
possible road 

to the top of this world's
tallest mountain. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

ADVICE TO YOUNG CHILDREN

Don't be too eager 
for the love you'll
be craving, but 

don't take what comes 
either, or you'll 
take it to your grave. 

It's just as important 
to speak your mind 
as it is to speak politely, 

but never say excuse me 
when I'm sorry's what 
you mean to say. 

And when the ones in charge 
begin to spurn you—
when they assure you 

you're dust,
and to dust you 
shall return,

only to then 
turn around and ask you
for your sympathy—

try not to laugh in their 
mortuary faces; 
just say 

I'm sorry 
before you turn 
and walk away. 


Monday, June 10, 2024

ADVICE TO NEW LOVERS

You probably don't 
have to cling 
to spontaneity; 

improvisation 
is easier 
than it looks.

Witness 
how the buckthorn slings 
its tendrils through the garden rocks. 

Every inch, 
every moment 
is a trim, haiku-like stanza 

about how 
boundaries, memory, 
money, love, family—

beauty, truth, 
and even death—all 
shall one day come 

to fail us,
not just suddenly, 
but thrillingly. 


Friday, June 7, 2024

ALT+SHIFT

You would think 
it would take an 
ayahuasca trip

or delirious 
vision on day six 
of a fast, but 

more often, you're 
drying dishes 

when you finally 
cotton-on: 
it's the 

tiniest of objects 
which really 
weigh a ton. 

The seed 
of a Riesling grape 

is the prototype 
for heaven; 
and God—just like 

Daedalus 
was condemned
to roam his maze—

God is that figure 
which never 
can be drawn: 

the pinprick 
of light

where all space 
and time 
came from—

the unphotographable 
inside of 
an electron. 


Thursday, June 6, 2024

CHUTZPAH

Funny how 
the things we most 
want to know 

are the things we know 
we never can: 

when (and if) 
the universe began,

what made 
contrary Mary's
garden grow, and 

how long it will take 
our spectacular castles 

to crumble 
into sand. 
It's as if 

our brains 
think they can 
construct the answers  

from haphazard 
hints, red herrings, 
and coincidences.  

But perhaps this drive 
to aggrandize our ability 

reflects better 
on the doggedness 
of our hearts, which, 

even as blind batters 
before the pitcher 
of fate, still 

tap the plate and swing 
for the fences. 


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

DISSENSION IN THE RANKS

The great war 
of our selves

is fought 
part
against part.

Of our 
high marks 
and our base fears, 

we like to think 
it's night 
and day;

the contrast 
always seems clear, 
we say. Yet, 

if our souls 
know confederates 

on both sides 
of the line—

and lives 
must be lived 
in real time—then

when exactly 
does day end 
and night start?


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

THE TYRANNY OF PARSIMONY

If the one thing which 
Nature can't abide 
is a vacuum, then 

how is it possible 
that we abhor 
redundancy? 

Shouldn't we too 
embrace life's 
many multiplicities

which provide 
such good insurance 
for obliqueness 

and endurance? Instead, 
we fear variety
of experience 

because we think 
it might blur 
the unique;

we're convinced 
that bounty 
and strict repetition 

might obscure 
the one lonely 
and mythical angle 

from which Truth
can be glimpsed 
instead of just wrangled. 


Monday, June 3, 2024

DELIMITING FACTOR

Intellectually, we do not 
take issue
with finitude, 

but you'd have to be lonelier 
than a genius
ever could be 

to see how 
everything 
you're no longer doing 

constitutes an ending—
and every ending 
is a fortifying thread 

in the terminal shroud 
of death. But 
for what it's worth

death—only 
to these truly 
godforsaken, ironically—

no longer reads
like the opposite 
of life, but rather

like the inverse 
of a messy and difficult 
birth.