Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coming into Focus

At first, when the facts are few,
The truth seems more important.
The inconsolable mind
Squints in the glare like the lens
Of a flummoxed camera,
Saturated in beauty,
Uncomfortably confused,

But for love that can ignore
Distractions, blurred horizons,
The foreground resolves itself--
Junipers, wine, a picnic,
A sly, tender book of verse,
The face of the beloved,
Chiaroscuro, in bliss.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I am that
Which, when I
Have to be

That I can
Be that, but
Just barely,

Only and
Always, by
Law, barely.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Of Power Which Holds It Hostage

You can't compose yourself
Fast enough to stay ahead
Of your decomposition.

Can you be okay with that?
Because, if you can't, it doesn't
Really matter, save to you.

What can being well-composed
Do for a cliff-face, a good cause,
The compounding sorrows of long life?

Everything, you suppose. You want
To pull yourself together, just tightly
Enough to remember what you chose.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Past

All that ever could be
Could be lost

And all that ever is
Is all that ever is lost

But all that ever was lost
Was always lost

Always will be
Always was

Not and
Not lost

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Music of Our Spheres

Strategy, strategy, strategy,
We all rehearse our strategies,
Imagine our winning strategies--
If this, this, and this other thing,

Then this (or that!) will surely work.
Congratulations go to coincidences,
The chalice of causation is awarded
To the most complicated arabesques

Of indecipherable correlations,
When there is no causation at all,
Not here, not there, not anywhere,
And no grounds for our explanations,

Our fictions of decisions, our myths
Of choice--just strategy, strategy,
Strategy, game of games, oh music
Play us to our last vibrating string.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Pond

The water runs clearest
Where it enters the pond
Eddies the algae
Always choking for breath
At the bottom of things.
Dulled, the water forgets
Where it came from, lets mud

Capture facts for later,
Responds best to the sun,
Now the descent is done,
Evaporates at ease,
Dissipating, musing,
Dreaming, obfuscating,
Swimming with hungry things.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nunc Stans

Metaphysical therapists crowd my desk,
Setting me in front of their mirroring texts
Like barbers, ballet teachers, funhouse impresarios.

They urge me to lift my sights, to work
Harder, to use their multiple reflections
To guide the rehabilitation of my career mind.

Blogs quote poems, poems photographs,
And professors meditate on the fine arts
Of book reviews, abstract painting,

Spring walks, anguished, heartfelt
Politics, classroom discussions,
Time, green, goodness, grants,

Until I can hardly tell in their swarm
Of words, which are their instructions,
Which are just shoptalk over my head.

They're here to help me. They're paid
And well-trained. I mimic them, flailingly,
Recovering slowly. My head hurts. Now stand.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Interpreter Reflects

Given a long, convincing career
Of confabulation, I ask myself
What am I for, in the grand scheme
Of the hyper-connected, electric,
Subterranean realms of the brain?

I look around, as always, for an answer.
"Consciousness simply provides
A plausible explanation for choices
That are really made at a much
Deeper level of the mind." Mind!

The "deeper" levels are no mind.
They're cells that could have been
Independent entities a billion
Years ago, long since roped into
A lineage of team-sport parliaments

That I've learned to label multicellular
Organisms. But I take the point.
I exist to confabulate, to make up
Explanations for whatever my massive
Horde of bodily cells tends to do.

I am here as one body's collective
Diplomatic corps, talking fast
To other bodies, or to their own
Diplomats, trying to manipulate
A good result for my contesting team,

Whatever that means. I take pride
In my negotiations, my stories,
My work as I now know it. I live
To provide explanations, to serve
As the maker of plausible reasons.

Why this body, why any body should need
Such provision is not my concern,
Except when I'm asked, at which point
I spring to my evolved task, coming up
From the depths with a tale in my mouth.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Million Years Later

Back at the park after
Sorting recycling beside
"America's most scenic dump,"

A warm spring already,
Feeling later in the year,
So long after being here

A million years ago
Last spring, when things
Were differently the same,

The composer and stealer
Of peculiar phrases pauses
To consider the greening.

Ants clamber the stems
Of grass by the bench,
Colorado license plates,

Green and white, blossom
In the suddenly crowded
Parking lot. Ravens debate

Whether this spring or that
Better defines the spirit
Of the thing. Nothing,

Blessed nothing, eternal
Companion, creator, and consort
Of everything, remains the same.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Son of the Morning Star

Maybe the man
In the downward
Spiral likes it.
Maybe he can't

Help liking it.
The wind feels grand,
And the ground feels

He would prefer
To fall forever,
And he does dream
Of flying up

Out of it, free,
Redemption, but
He likes falling.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


If I could sit on this weathered stoop
Until the sun sets, then make up my mind
Piggishly, uncontradictably, what to do,

Even if I remained, no, especially
If I remained physically finite and achy,
I think, I know I would be blissed.

And just when I have thought bliss through,
I am interrupted by my wife and daughter returning,
Waving across the scrub-grass lawn,

Strolling toward me, and I have to admit,
Even though I have always craved
Unbounded solitude, this is better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Little Lame Buffoon Man

Dumb prosody of calendars
Thrills him more than the labored prose
Of scholarly storytellers
Spinning intelligent fictions.

Today was the eightieth day
Of the third year of the second
Decade of the first century
Of the popes' third millennium,

As well as the astronomers'
First day of spring in northern lands,
First day of autumn Down Under,
Past an imaginary line.

The versified fiction of hours
Makes the past enumerable,
Gives an afternoon character,
Makes snowy mountains gates of spring.

What delight, demarcations
Drawn in the air, twilight and dawn,
The kingdom of countable days,
The rhyming of times, time, and Time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Brush Stroke of Genius

It comes from somewhere else,
Something other than us.

It comes from inside the skull,
Outside of our minds,

Making it wisdom, madness,
Divine inspiration, unconscious

Wish fulfillment, system one,
Blink, reflex, flow, creation.

It is not us. It informs us.
We are not amused. We are.

The brain watches itself
Carefully in the act of vanishing.

Did I just confabulate
A reason for my mistake?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gypsy Skirts and Kiwi Frocks

We have in common
What no one could share
With us, memories,
Revolving around

The revolving world.
Today in the rain,
In the red desert,
In the drafty house,
In the great valley,

Sorting spring cleaning,
Clothes for the thrift shop
Where we like to shop,
Watching our daughter,
We remind ourselves

Of how this began,
With falls in the spring,
Followed by the world,
Deserts, rain, daughter.
Love you in that dress.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

This Is What Happened, and This Is How You Fix It

Whatever happened to the molecules
Of the bunk bed my father built for me?

It was cool, it came straight out from the wall,
Cantilevered, with its own flight of steps,

All cherry, gleaming, highlighting the grain,
Good enough for customers' cabinets,

Designed, cut, sanded, stained, and assembled
In the same shop with my father's best work,

The 1906 Cadillac body,
So much black walnut and leather

He restored for a collector who had
Only the iron machinery left,

The long, low wheelchair-friendly cabinets
He designed for himself as our kitchen,

The replica mahogany rocker
From an 1805 original,

No nails, no power tools, only dowels,
All those projects that obsess carpenters.

The floating bed was my cave and refuge
With a built-in bookshelf and reading lamp,

A place to conceal my first radio,
Later, to smuggle a giggling girlfriend,

A space to crawl into when too lonely
To bear a convivial family,

A place for grubby, ill-formed fantasies
Between sheets, between paperback covers,

No place at all to sit up suddenly
From a nightmare to head-butt the ceiling.

It remained there--strange, hanging, high, bare shelf--
After I and the mattress were long gone,

Until the year after my father died,
When my mother moved nearer grandchildren

And the wheelchaired cabinetmaker's house,
Built, built-on, neglected to near collapse,

Was sold to a church for the property
And promptly razed for God's greater glory.

Dumb, curmudgeonly nostalgia aside,
It had to go. It was falling apart,

Its purposes served, failed, and vacated,
Everything bulldozed, dumped, scrapped, recycled,

Lumber to lumber, metal to metal.
Only the plastic will outlast our days.

I do wish someone had saved the blueprints
For a possible replica someday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Inverted Aphorism

Whatever makes good policy
Will make godawful poetry:
The worst, therefore, is honesty.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clover That I Overlooked Before

Billy goats butt heads and lock horns
In their pen on the other side
Of the dirt road that we live on.
Spring's here. Time to take it outside.

Folks drive in, fly in from other
Cities, counties, distant countries,
To run and bike in our red dust
In their bright athletic undies.

What a great place to be alive,
To run and jump and exercise
One's skills at dangling from bad cliffs,
Pitching tents, drinking, cracking wise.

This is ranch land in the winter
Where goats make cheese for creameries,
But it's bro-dude land by April,
Bursting at its own scenery.

Everyone's got a bit of chuff
In them, a bit of rivalry
In the madness, a silly thought
That winning rhymes with chivalry,

And it's grand recklessness returns
Each pagan St. Paddy's weekend,
Where red rocks still hold rattlesnakes,
To nip at sharp hoofs now and then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Grown Up

When I was a boy
And my mother
Ruled the airwaves
With absolute prohibition

Against what we called
Rock and roll
And she called, so

"That jazzy music,"
As in, "Turn off
That jazzy music, now!"
My sibs and I

Convinced her
That country music
Was close kin to gospel,
Inbred even,

And then turned on
The poppiest, peppiest
Country radio we could find,
Loud as the knob would allow.

Inevitably, some tune
Would come on too heavy
In its backbeat, too raunchy
In its lyrics to pass

My mother's righteous ear
Unnoticed, and we'd rush
To either defend the song
("It's only country!")

Or, when in doubt
Ourselves, turn it down.
One song, however,
Not country at all,

Just seventies pop
And smarmily racy,
Never registered with her
No matter how loud.

It was a stupid song,
One even we kids didn't like,
Much less understand,
Nonetheless it was safe

And we sang, brazenly
Off-key, the chorus,
"Sky-rockets in flight!
Afternoon delight!"

I think of that silly bad song
Today, on a sunny afternoon,
When a spring wind puffs
White bed curtains. How true.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mind, Body, and Papa

Big windy day in the valley,
The Ides of March are hard upon us,
And everything and nothing
Hang in the balance, as always.

The body wishes to complain,
To enumerate aches and pains,
To worry about its demise
Or at least why it's not sleeping well.

The candle flame in the brain
Wants peace and quiet, wants
To observe without distractions
The windy day around it.

Neither can have what either
One wants. So they get
What they did not ask for,
Including better than deserved.

By late afternoon, the body
Hurts even more than before,
The candle flame gutters, confused
By the demands of the hour.

But the day itself has turned
Oddly marvelous,
The wind more amusing,
The warmth more supportive.

The body convinces the mind
To look beyond the body
At least as far as family,
And as a reward, both get to see

Sequoia teaching herself
To sip water from a straw
After much trial and error
Near sunset, in awe.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Peach Blossom Spring


A fly, a dog, a breeze in the straw
That used to be green lawn

A bird, a chime, a lonesome pause
On the bare porch of what was

A beer, a book, a folding chair
Beside the sagging wooden stairs

Warped in all weather, wet and fair
To measure time from here to there

A wind that blows and goes again
A truck that roars around a bend

Of the long, dirt roads 
That map the bottom
Of this valley of homes 
Mostly emptied of those 
That bought them


A year ago,
This guy I know
Claims he wrote
A poem

About the delights
And tricky life
Of the mind
Viewed in its own light.

A year ago,
He addressed the poem
To a three-month old,
As if to show

He wasn't just caught
In his own thoughts,
Self-centered and distraught,
When he ought

To be thinking of others--
His wife, his daughter,
His by-then mindless mother,
His long-lost sisters and brothers.

I think he was wrong.
He knew all along
His own mind belonged
To the worlds of the gone

And therefore always near,
Not the world that appears
To be here,
However unclear.

Who can forgive
The mind's urge to relive
What cannot be sieved
For good and all from it?

Philosophy was so
Last year, so long ago.
The three-month old
Ephebe has grown,

Now a fifteen-month old child,
Who lisps in accents  mild
And acts a little more wild
When she most sweetly smiles.


We almost forget
Before we remember
When we're telling stories

To ourselves
To make others remember
That the core

Of our creation
Remains a kind of division
Between water, air, and fear

The creatures of the water
Swam first
And will last longer

But are not us nor ours
To fiddle with, no matter
How we devour them

And the creatures of fear
Are not ours either
But are us exactly, in our fevers

While the creatures that please,
Stay strange, let us breathe
Are the trees

They anchored the garden
They served as God's wardens
We can't live without them

And yet they stay rooted, apart,
Lives far from ours, weird, dark
Innumerable, vulnerable from the start

Humbaba's children, children's homes
Bones of our dreams, dreams of our bones 
Yggdrasil, mind, what we were once we're grown

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Hours can turn
On no more
Than pain, down

Deep in bone,
Worn canyons.

The old guy,
Caught on rocks,
Squirms and howls

Echoes torn
From falling

Boulders dropped
On his paws
In the dark

Narrow slots
Where shadows
Come to feed.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bend toward the Devil

The tourists are back on the River,
Another year later, another preacher
Now apologizing for a false prediction
Of the Apocalypse last season,

Other preachers still gearing up
For the end of the world this season,
Presidential campaigns everywhere,
Protests and unrest per usual

Not having deterred these rafters
Floating the rapids around the bend,
Colorfully dressed and shouting,
Waving paddles and beers at doom.

Even one of our more apocalyptic
Neighbors left the valley just last week
For California and a new beginning,
Giving away her emergency rations,

One more paradox exported from Utah,
Home of downwinders and tons
Of hoarded foods in latter-day basements,
Also wonderland of frivolous adventures,

Home for now to me and mine
As I come back from town,
Tootling along the River Road
With groceries in the back,

Full of my own sagacity,
Knowing the world never ends,
Even though I am too stupid
To buy the organic brand of chicken.

I pull over for a moment to stand
A minute in the sand contemplating
The wisdom of me and the rafters,
The foolishness of preachers,

Forgetting the groceries in my genius
As a passage from Mr. Gopnik's
Latest book review floats into mind
And cheering rafters spin in rapids.

"Manichaeanism" he writes,
"Is the natural religion of mankind
And all faiths bend toward the Devil,
To make sense of God's furious impotence."

He further opines that this is why
The hard, fanatic faiths flourish
While the soft, mystical systems
End up buried in the hot sand. Wise.

Standing in the hot sand myself,
I consider the durability of rafters
And preachers and good times
And dark prophecies, sempiternal,

Until I recall the transience of me
And my unrefrigerated groceries.
The death of my civilization
Will not precede me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Life in the Recent Past

I know this is not now,
But a mostly helpful
Model made by the brain
That creates me daily,
A full world to live in,
A fair facsimile,

Fed by the richer world
That I will never know,
Never be. Yesterday,
Sequoia played bongos
With me in the front room,
On empty plastic cups,

She'd dragged from recycling--
Old yogurt containers
And butter tubs--pounding
Away, dull hollow thumps,
Great fun for both of us.
Today, recycling's done,

Bags of glass and plastic,
Stacks of cardboard loaded
In the back of the truck.
I sit out in the sun
Trying to be my life
Piling up, spilling out

Of the world that I am,
Recycled container,
Smelly remnants, red words
Slapped on to label things
Soon to be melted down
Again by the hot days,

Already here and gone,
What is because it was,
And yet will never be,
Life made oil made cup held
Words held oil ran out got tossed
Made waste made drum toy fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Children of Homs

"Cooperation is murder."

Today in the news of blood
And chumminess, two stories
Collide, well-documented, glorious.

Experiments with children,
Chimpanzees and monkeys illustrate
How uniquely humans cooperate.

Kids encourage each other,
Share symbolic prizes, accumulate
Strategies, and accelerate,

While monkeys and apes compete
Solo for actual food they snatch
From each other, hoarding scraps.

Wonderful. We're unique,
We instinctively coordinate
Where other primates subordinate.

And then, swipe the screen, change
The channel, turn the printed page.
In Syria, another outrage,

Security forces decimate
The rebellious town of Homs
Filling the streets with bones.

Mutilated bodies rot
In sewage-filled rooms
Where various tortures were filmed.

The highly synchronized
Cooperation of armies and police
Secure the citizenry, piece by piece.

Cooperating people founded
The civilization, cooperating people
Defended it against evil.

Cooperating people invented guns
For cooperating people to shoot
At cooperators in hot pursuit.

Cooperation created tools
For more cooperation--presses,
Radios, TVs, web addresses.

Cooperating people extracted
False confessions from former
Cooperators, teams of traitors.

And so on, and so on,
And vengeance to come, asking
Isn't this fun? Who lost? Who won?

Hugs to the winners already hugging
Each other, hugs all around!
Scattered dead ferment the ground.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nature of Tragedy


We get so excited
By our quarrels, squabbles,
Face-offs over access
To space and resources,
Who deserves what, when, how,
Us, them, I, me, mine, now.

I suppose it matters,
Given lives are at stake
And the winners' offspring
Inherit the scorched earth.
We're all here as offspring
Of quarrels and squabbles

Won thousands and thousands
Of times, generations
Ago--little wonder
We all think we're winners,
All derived from those same
Old bloody combatants.

Our paltry glands excrete
Plenty of spit and hate.
Our little brains debate
Imaginary selves
In lonely beds all night.

When we win, winners hug,
Feeling righteous and smug.
When we lose we fight on,
Tearing our minds apart,
Chewing dead arguments,
Horrifically hungry.

We know we've won nothing,
But means to keep fighting,
Lost nothing but the need
To keep what others won.
Still the hint of a fight
On the breeze stirs our rage.


And the result of so much loss
Is gain, life burned on the pyre
Of lives burned on the pyre
Of lives burned on the pyre
Of life. Down the torn road

From the humongous pit mine
Crawling with monstrous trucks
Fueled by compressed, extracted,
Redistilled remains of extinctions,
Piloted by stubble-jawed men
Peering out from under worn visors,

Raising rolling clouds of gritted dust,
The waves of the glaucous lake,
Spin mist in the wind around
The rippling stalks of winter marshes
That appear not to compete
For any tomorrow at all,

Being only here, rooted and sere
In the midst of all this dust
As if they floated on the rough
Water and were not sucking it
From the rich and seething mud.

Neither ever only savage, nor
Ever truly servile, the things
That live, as these grasses live,
As drivers of the greasy big rigs live,
Hunkered down, all the same,
All gripping for an edge,
Nourish each others' need.

There is peace in the valley
Of the shadows of life,
There is peace in the shadows
Of the valley for me, this day.


All the great and minor characters,
The playwright and the players, 
The musicians in the orchestra,
The owners of the theater,
The builders of the stage,
The president in the balcony,
The assassin in the wings,
And all their plots and faults
Are gone, long gone, good and dead.

We brush off their fossils,
Brought back to light, we pick 
At the hard parts with trowels.
We want to know what happened 
Here, we want a story for how
These storytellers fell, we want
To make it part of us, we want
To make it ours. We don't 
Know why we want it so,
Or how it could possibly help us,
But we want it, that we know.

Around the salvage operation,
Where we make a new past 
Of the past, orderly orchards
Grow in their rows, leaves brushed
With the dust from the big digs
Up the road, and fruit farmers
By ones and twos, in pick-ups, troll
For any sign the lovers of the past
Might be expanding the excavation
Onto more productive land. 

A slight tinge of hostility,
Mingled with curiosity, always hangs
In the air around here. The ancestors
Of the farmers may have, after all,
Slaughtered the storytellers buried
Here, whose ghosts may rise up
For vengeance in the form 
Of a new story, displacing 
The farmers and their heroics
From the land God gave unto them,
Chosen for the just, just for growing
Cherries and apples, rewards
For deserving, hardworking piety 
Making use of a bountiful land.
There's always that chance.

The diggers in the dirt, the dirt,
The drivers of the trucks, the grass,
The hills cut up for the trucks,
The lake sloshing over the graves
Of other storytellers from other
Imaginary pasts, the fruit trees
Of the eternally ephemeral gardens,
The farmers, the fossils, the stories,
However awkwardly woven
To make a dignified shroud for it all,

Are us, not ours, no more
Than flocks of angels singing
Noisily in the grass are ours,
No matter how well we can
Imagine them. Look around.
Look at all these words if you must.
We will inherit none of this.
This is what we are.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Has Been

Some Mondays, driving to work
I wonder whether what haunts us
Is our sense of object permanence.

The past is ever present, the past
Is everything, including the present,
Including the future (nothing, like us).

And we are everything past
That is present, but we're convinced
There's always something happening

Outside of our awareness, outside
Of the past in front of us that is
Us, an absence that isn't passing

By us. We believe a world
Exists where we can't see it,
Big, fixed, permanent, important.

Although we realize we experience
Only what we experience, we think
We're missing something, the sun

Gone under the hill, still burning
Somewhere we cannot feel.
So we imagine the return of what

Kept going, beyond us, after 
It passed out of our experience,
When all we will ever be consists

Of curating what we have, the was
That is always changing, always
Is the was, nothing us without us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Mirror Turned to Face the Wall

When the moments are unpeopled,
And the clock's tick competes
With the throaty vocalizations 
Of the ravens on the lawn,
And the sun sends polygons
Through the dusty windows

To light up bedraggled houseplants
And the swirls of dust motes
Part stove ash, part ephemera,
For the slow dance of glancing
That tempts us with angels,

Then it is just about possible
To remember being alive,
All the old days spent alone
With the odds and ends 
Of a world of lumber
Carpet, birdsong, sunlight,
Pepper plants, clocks, mousetraps,

The mirror turned to face the wall,
The numerable creaks of structure
Warming to itself, slowly,
Under the snowy spring mountains
To the bleating of the goats.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In the Brief Season of Plenty

Between the cold and the heat,
I can't help myself. I dream
Of a world with different rules
Melodious, mild, and kind,
In which happiness goes on
Indefinitely, without
Boredom or ingratitude.

I don't believe suffering
Necessary for sweetness
Except that's the way it is
In the only world I know.
Brevity grows infinite,
Joy and contentment deathless,
Elsewhere. I can't help myself.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Now and Then

One branch of the tree
Leans athwart the rest.
One bird startles up
From flocks on the lawn,
Lands on the branch and

Leaves when winds dies down
So that the air clears,
As sights, sounds, moments,
Scents and memories
All gain enough space

For each one almost
To appear as one,
Although there is none
Apart from the rest,
And each now is then.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thought of a Long Walk

An old woman who had grown tired 
Of being old but not yet 
Tired of life set out one day
On foot to seek her fortune.

It was a miserable day
For anyone to walk in,
Late winter, cold and snowing
Small, icy flakes almost rain,

When the old woman began
From the home she and her man
Had built many years ago
By a remote mountain stream

In a neglected corner
Of thickly regrown forest
Where her sole winter neighbors
Were the hibernating bears.

Just to get to the village
Down in the valley bottom
Took a twenty-minute drive
In her truck in good weather,

And this day she was walking,
And it was not good weather,
And there were no warm houses
To visit along the way.

She well knew that she could die
Before making much progress,
Without anyone knowing
Or noticing for a week.

She wanted the adventure.
She had been around the world,
Married a few times, loved once,
Raised a child, outlived her man,

Been through wartime and peacetime,
Watched the great powers revolve
And fall like constellations
Passing over woods at night.

She was not interested
Anymore in what she'd done,
Those rare and ordinary
Details of death notices.

She wanted to walk into
The mystery of the woods
She'd imagined as a girl,
The hardship, dread and wonder,

Just to see what would happen,
Just to see what could happen
To a small, vulnerable self
Like a candle, caught outdoors.

She found strangeness soon enough,
Stranger for being nothing
Like what she had expected
Nor what she had idly dreamed.

Peering at the snow and trees
She recognized none of it
But felt relaxed and at ease.
She looked down and saw no path.

The woods had closed around her.
Everything was familiar
And yet nothing had a name.
The beauty was difficult,

Like a poem in a language
She had never heard before.
She walked a little further,
Then sat by a tree and thought.

When she looked up, a young man
Oddly dressed, foolish of face,
Slogged through the woods toward her.
She felt an urge to beg help.

"Young man! Young man! I think I'm lost.
Can you help me find my way home?"
"How can I help you? I am you,"
The oddly dressed young man replied.

"Then why am I out here, alone?"
"You just think you're alone," he said.
"But I'm cold and confused," she said.
"Well then, jump back inside my head."

The next thing the old woman knew,
She was warm and snug in the dark.
She even had some elbow room,
Given it was a young man's head.

She made herself comfortable,
And rode along for fifty years.
She watched the young man's adventures,
At least when they interested her.

Or she slept or met the others,
Initially few and boring
But sometimes conversational,
Inhabitants of memory.

One day, when he was out walking,
She woke up and knew he'd grown old.
She peered out through his bleary eyes
And saw something she recognized,

Her home as she remembered it
Well-built and snug in the deep woods,
No longer looking lonely
Nor too far out of the way,

Nor elderly, bored, and tired
But an enchanted cottage
She would never want to leave.
And she leapt out of the head

Of the now very old man,
Feeling a surge of delight,
Ran inside her cottage door
And never came out again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Polypharmaceutical Delirium

Funny thing to rely on,
Memory--so elastic,
So creative, so plastic,
So confabulatory;
All, episodically,
That we know we feel we are,
And nothing we can count on

To save us if we forget--
And we will forget, forget
Everything we know before
Or, at latest, when, we die.
Take a few innocent pills
Over the counter and doze
Enough times to wake up lost.