Thursday, July 11, 2024

PERSONIFICATION

The way the light 
by which I

write is 
elemental—

but in no sense 
compulsory. 

The way the wind 
wends through birch trees 

to buffet me in 
short sleeves 

at this spot 
on the planet

on this particular instant, 
but never 

can be said to have 
properly had a beginning. 

Perhaps this 
is what we mean 

by essential:
a thing like hunger

which never was 
invented, yet

comes to us unbidden,
grabs hold 

of the void in us firmly 
by the handle, 
 
and fills it 
to the brim.



Wednesday, July 10, 2024

HEAD-ON

After everyone who smiles 
when they say your name 
has died—

after every insincere 
prophet out there
eye-witness-testifies—

after the government 
files are 
declassified 

and you learn, 
as the tide 
turns, that God 

was never 
on your side—then 

you may know 
how the horror film 
heroine feels: 

like the black hole 
at the center 
of the universe,

or the last one 
which vicissitude has 
deigned to leave alive—

not out of grace 
or compassion, 

but as a plot line,
as test 
of her capacity 

to look head-on
at the epiphany 
as it dawns in her mind 

that, this whole time, 
the calls have been 
coming from inside. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2024

INDEPENDENCE DAY

Cool morning, 
for July;
white dew intensifying 

scent off the pines.
No more 

tapped mines as 
relationship metaphors;
silence 

is general—freedom 
is mine. 



Monday, July 8, 2024

WELCOME TO MY MASTERCLASS

Just know this: 
a certain chill 
is essential.

An iciness, 
wherever it's 
applied, 

will act as a signal 
to bring blood 
to that place.

In just the same 
way, you can't 
pontificate 

or ramble; 
you must write 
with restraint 

before your 
audience 
will assemble

or any latent 
meaning can begin 
to radiate. 


Friday, July 5, 2024

MUSEUM PIECE

How cruel 
that the futile, over time, 
becomes the natural—

that barbarism, 
give or take a few 
millennia, grows canonical. 

Temples burn 
and cave paintings fade, 
but 

something harsh 
and unusual 
remains in their material—

some residue in the ash 
of our past inhumanity
yearns to be discovered.

And when, at last, 
that savagery's 
unearthed, 

lifted 
and placed under glass 
on display, 

we pay 
in cash, and we form 
a neat queue 

to view for ourselves 
how little 
has changed. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

DISLIKE

It's a thrill we feel 
deep in our bones, this 
self-loathing.

For once, we are
at one. For once, 
we are part of something—

we are part of 
the problem; 
we are wolves

in wolves' clothing, 
and we hunt our own
revulsion—not 

with a fury, 
or even 
as a joke, but 

because we're so 
engrossed by vulnerability 
exposed 

that we long to catch 
up with our goldbricking
souls

and hold them so close
that they choke.


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

PROP POEM

Relax, dear 
reader, you don't 
have to stick 'em up; 

this poem's not 
fully-loaded like 
Leaves of Grass was

this poem (compared 
to that one) is more like 
a cap gun.

You know how, 
sometimes, you feel braver holding
something in your hand, 

more for the look 
and the feeling 
than anything?

But it's safer
if you practice with 
something more synthetic 

as you toy 
with the idea
of hauling-off eventually 

and holding-up 
your audience with
something that's authentic. 


Monday, July 1, 2024

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

I think I 
get it now: these bodies
aren't temples—

they are small
locked rooms, which 

we're doomed 
to get to know 
too well

after pacing them
in circles 
for forty years or more. 

Before long, we know
the placement 
to the millimeter
 
and relish 
the smell 

of every stained 
stick and nicked-
up corner of their furniture.

And soon, 
we become so at-one 
with all the clutter 

that we don't think 
to to clean 

or run a quick 
vacuum 
underneath it anymore,

because 
even though we 
can't function without it, 

we don't even know 
it's there.