Friday, November 30, 2012

The Infinite Being Wanting To Be

Here it is, up from underneath
The shoulders of the rocks
Resisting and supporting
The forest that roots into them.

The secret hangs as mirrored fruit,
Rolling slowly, shining inside
Out from under the unique drop of dew
That drips from every tip

As the whole world incompletes a reflection
In the eye of a swift, caught diving
Through the reconstructed sunlight
That causes it to shine within itself

As though it were coming from outside
Itself, as though it were itself,
As though there were no outside about
It, as though it had been once.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Paradox

We remember the passages we savor.
Our fullest attention alone makes
The merest moments momentous,

The lazy hours, the drifted afternoons
That otherwise slip into the sun
And vanish, remain glowing only

When we forget all the rest
Beckoning to be recalled likewise
And dig down into the incoming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gatha Parasomnia

"Reassuringly, the texts people send when asleep often make no sense."

The small cry
Of the dark
Of the night

Rimmed with light
Keeps me up.
In this state,

Neither poem
Nor a prayer,
The long dream

Of a fall
From the small

Of not quite
A planet,
Dim grey ice

In distant
Orbit lost
To the fire,

Home as light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


"a giant has lived quietly for the past 80,000 years"

I live in the roots of me.
I die each fall from my leaves,
Sporadically branch by branch,
And am reborn out of fires
That send me back underground
To consider why I am
Not one, not many, not gone.

Fantastic monsters scrape horns
Against my skin and flay me
With their short-lived teeth. Holes cut
The heart of me where trolls squat
In their huts made from my bones,
Wanting to be close to me,
Not one but many, soon gone.

I tremble as I perish,
And I tremble as I thrive.
All the smaller lives within
The smaller lives within them
Hum one dream of profusion,
Almost individual,
Mostly many, mostly gone.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Here goes nothing
Looking like leaves
Pushing like wind

Scattering clouds
Driving fast cars
Up scenic routes

Picking up pace
Idly twirling
Contrails around

Its long fingers
Like cool tendrils
Of now you see

It as being
Perfectly clear
As the blue sky

Over here right
In front of you
Now no you don't

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Lost in the forest somewhere,
Just lost enough to be glimpsed
Now and then at a distance, wanders

A flawlessly mythical creature,
The last perfectly normal life,
Horn growing out of its head.

It's annoying really. A beast
Should have the decency to go
Into proper hiding if it doesn't exist.

All the nasty, stained, wasting,
Rutting, confused, and ravenous
Trunks and backbones of the woods,

Mottled with chancres
Veiled in the leaves, must
Pretend we had a choice

To be these undignified, bitten
Fruits dropped to the ground.
Finger the serpent, the woman,

The man, the maker of the man,
The tree that sprouted us out
To manipulate the bees, whatever.

It's still got to be that satin-sided
Gold-chokered ungulate of genius
Prancing in the shadowy tapestry

That haunts all our living and dying
Mistakes with its snowy sinews,
The ideally real and therefore not.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Exorcism for the Dispossessed

Experience, my dear, is the most
You will ever own of anything,
Including yourself, the experience of memory.

Disown everything else about everything, including
Yourself, including your memories. You can't
Have them. You can't keep them,

And you may not much savor
The experience of always trying hard
To grab what's too precious to hold.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Three Bar Blues

People care less about
Stories than people think.

Just stop telling stories
About yourself and see

How many people ask,
"Why the hell did you stop?"

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Let me just say up front
That the preacher was correct.
There is nothing, nothing
New under the sun. But,

He caught you napping
If you thought he meant
By nothing, not anything.
He meant nothing.

Oh nothing, nothing,
Nothing is new, nothing
Is forever, is new forever,
Under, around, and deep

Inside the hard-hearted core
Of the burning, burning, soon
To be swallowed by darkness
Too heavy to escape sun, son.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The deep strangeness of the ordinary--
Water in the shallow lake,
Words in the head,
Birds running across the road
As shotguns pop over the marshes.
A boat in full camouflage paint
Goes by behind a chittering truck.
Seagulls keep to themselves,
Screeching like bickering children.
The clouds sneak up on the eyes,
Fly away, sneak back and close in.

How does any of this happen,
Always being and always gone
In order to be something being at all?
The nouns and verbs themselves
Are not themselves, are haunted.
Time is the barefoot ghost stepping
Through the middle of us, the spirit
Everyone human names
In order to worship and appease the unnameable,
A joy to observe,
An ache in the bones to survive.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The hour, as Suka might say,
If wheedling for more time, is
"Just a little." So it is:
Half past one in the morning
Of the day after the date
One hundred and forty nine
Years since Lincoln's best address.

I can't sleep. Or if I can,
It's thus I'm not doing it
Of a splintered night. The moon,
That sphere composed of impacts,
Is somewhere past the highway,
Telling me something I can't
Wait to hear. Just a little.

Monday, November 19, 2012


"write a 300-word letter to someone who changed your life"

I must admit I am
Who I am, insofar as I am,
Because of you, lusus naturae,

Not a person but legion,
Not a name but all the names
And the beast within them.

Where did you come from?
Where will you go, roaring as usual,
Into the dark when done?

The birds outside my window,
However hungry, however alive, don't know you,
Nor do their favorite branches,

Nor the stones under trees,
Nor the precious things hiding under stones,
Nor the greedy ball itself

That we all spin around
Hanging on desperately, pulled down, even you,
But all this is you.

You've eaten so many gods,
Devoured so many civilizations busy hymning you,
And made all you devour.

You are the invisible boundary
That an animal's brain imagines is there,
But not the fiery tongue

That babbles from the tower
Of darkness, "fools, your reward is neither
Here nor there." Only words,

Only meanings, only prancing bestiaries
Every sinew and gene now gone under,
And neither sound nor paint,

That's you, empire of nothings,
Elaborator of all explanations, interpretations of dreams,
Not the poet, the poem,

Not the sweating, bearded man
On his back on the rickety scaffolding,
The angels on the ceiling

That he daubs, that's you,
You, the only true maker of things,
Artifice the artificer, the sign,

The nongenetic transmission of information,
The information transmitted, the tower of madness,
God sprouting children to eat.

I want to thank you
Because my thanks are slaves to you,
Because you are my thanks.

Every pattern that I reccognize
As encoded, as meaningful, as a tool
For describing and understanding worlds

Is you. I am only
The recognition you've made of your self,
Vortex spiraling into the night.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

This Almost Poem

For Gary & Deej, in two voices . . . 

I know I can't be
The one good thing
Personal to each
Anguished identity,

Much less comforting
To those who need
Someone exemplary
Of their own to feel

Less alone. I'm not
Of almost anyone's
Own, and disownably
Non-exemplary. But

I want you to know,
If you care to know so,
That if you stink,
If you're unkind,

Or supposed so,
If you're the last creature
Your neighbors would want
To admit as their own,

For whatever reasons
Your particular age
Finds despicable,
I love you. I may

Be wholly afraid
Of your violence,
If violence defines you,
But I love you, anyways,

And I wish you well
And hope and comfort
From the welling-up depths
Of this almost poem.

(Although, I feel
Compelled to add
As postscript: screw you
If you think I'm sentimental.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Rest

Well, it ends, of course, and it goes on as well.
Depends on what you mean by it. One life
Or the whole mangled, each-other-devouring lot,
Your own life, as you introspect, or the rest.

I haven't been able to quite quiet my own
Restless thinking about this blank wall
Since I was first tangled enough to read
The translucent writing spidering over it.

I was a child then, and because I haven't moved on
I'm a child still, the offspring of all the rest
Of those poor children, little nested dolls
Never growing littler, except in perspective,

Back to whatever vanishing point you wish
You could imagine. I can't. I don't care
For origins much anymore. They're not the same
As endings. They always yield to more,

Whereas endings have each a tiny side door,
Like the kind weird rodents make into trees
Or, more sadly, like that next to the piled-up bones
In Herculaneum near the last shaft of air.

Friday, November 16, 2012


It is not dark, not yet--
So much has to happen,
Always has to happen,
The promise, not the threat.

But it's true, one sun's set,
And down in the green woods,
Becoming the black woods,
Twilight collects its debts.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Nothing recedes like the seasons. The geese
On the sandbar in the temporary
Middle of a stream pattern old enough

To have sawed through a million years of stone
Breathe dragonish atmospheres and repeat
Their honking mad narratives of return

To palmier times in balmier climes,
Except that geese do not narrate narratives,
They dance them, and even then not as rites

But as patterns older than most rivers.
It's not a lack of words should worry them.
Words are not the stories storehoused in them

Any more than bricks are architecture.
Words are fripperies flippant poets make
Portents by showcasing them like stacked dolls

With brick-red lips painted on porcelain smiles
To smirk of universal betrayal
Artifice makes of our physical need

To sink, to cut, to embody pure want,
To keep embodying all the way down.
Oh what should it mean if it means nothing?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The face glimpsed in the broken tile, half lost
Under river water and memories,
Shading two parts Baudelaire, one part Freud,
And three parts malignant elf, does not smile.

He's still in this game, and he's still cheating,
But these are not his gods, not his rulers,
Not his rules. He lives in the woods and lies
In the teeth of each Götterdämmerung

That aims to spit him out. I still love him,
Even though I know his old deviltry
Is no good for me. We all need devils,
Most of all ourselves, to play pranks on us,

But the day moves on, until I lose track
Of that trick of the light created him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Before All This and After All That

The emptiness was comforting,
In that, like zero, it wasn't
Odd, only strange. There was no time

To spear, nothing heavy on hand.
The sky blurred with the little bits
And pieces left hanging fire. Smoke

Comprised entirely of water
Steaming out of contact with earth
Hung from the mouth of the canyon.

The wanderer's reflection passed
Over the wanderer's shadow,
An elliptical commuter

Scripting the vortex of this fall
Down to the last gold rivertree
In the first old snow. I'm in here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Culture the Monster

You are not you. I pity
The tale of you, the window
In your artificial cave

That lets in the slant of light
That oppresses you. Lovely,
These afternoons as you age.

I'm happy to torment you,
And I thank you for your home,
But I am not what you think.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

You Have to Be Good to Find What Isn't Hiding from You

The owl, who is not wise,
Who is a dim bird, said

That's the privilege of being God:
You're always laughing.

And the branch on which
The owl sat shrugged

Off its unusually heavy load
Of early November snow.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Neighbor Understands Mountains

Pull up a bit. Drink the fire
In the clouds. The canyon walls

Are simple things, cracks and stones.
Nothing inside of them wants

To help you or to hurt you,
Even if they enclose shells

And bones of desires as keen
And unkindly as your own,

And as pointless. Take a breath
On the small ledge of this poem.

Everything around you falls
Together around a star.

There are no natural laws,
Only crazed, cracked tendencies.

Friday, November 9, 2012

As You Are Part of It

"omnis cultura ex cultura"

A recent sort of beast is roaring.
It has no belly but it eats,
No shape but it takes many forms,
No species but it brings legion.

Where it bellows, life and death
Startle up and fly in all directions,
Although it is not alive, not dead.
Explain this wood sphinx to itself.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Whatever experience was,
Memory makes better, better,
And worse, conversely, worse, until
Nothing's left but a golden cloud
Or a pitchy smudge in the mind.

The past is a constant dreaming
Comprising everything altered
And everything that is present,
Exaggerations vanishing
Together into the blur.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The inscrutable face of the god
Who has neither face nor divinity
Peers from the clinquant surface

Of a lake in a late autumn sun.
Nothing belated about that glance
From the hard world into the dark

Heart of the mind without one thought
Capable of diminishing the glare
Reflected from the shrug of the god

Who tosses the mane of the world, which is
Why the mind welcomes and retreats in the face
Of its own confusion from that look.

And yet, nonetheless, but still
Stammers the songbird on the bare
Branch of the tree near the lake's edge,

Out of that emotionless shimmering,
That sum of too many minuscule waves,
From above and below and across

Comes occasionally a mercy,
The appearance of a mist, gentle
Rain from heaven evaporating

On contact with the certainty
That it was not meant to be,
Was too kind, too generous, and yet,

Nonetheless, but still, it is.
It has taken its place in the happening,
This wink of the shield-bright countenance.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


We're playing games in the woods,
Hide and seek in root and trunk,
Toads, chipmunks, crickets, and stones.

The sun is low but brilliant,
Shafting through the buttresses
Of memory, supporting

What? A crown of mere twig tips,
A sky that doesn't need help?
The fabulous monster prowls

Among ordinary beasts
And orchestrates our small lives
As games that are that monster.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Need for Disenchantment

When things grow dense over the land,
The odd thicket or coppice meant
For quick cropping hardly stands out
As being just right for stopping
Forward progress through enchantments
That keep us from our place of rest.
But the secret of enchantment
Is that we can't quite resist it,

Can't recognize the barrier
To home is this magic we prize,
Can't keep our thoughts from rooting down
Through the tangle of what is not,
Can't see the trees for the forest,
The frost harvest under the leaves.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Endowment

"There is no known cure for the ills of ownership."

I will go down with this damn it,
Because I made myself from it
In the first place. These woods are mine
My commons, my comedy, mine

By the divine right of effort,
Unstinting tilting, assorted
Sawmills and hollows, open glades
And small brooks babbling in the shade.

I'm not far enough gone in thought
To deny that these woods are not
Intrinsically more valuable
Than anyone else's baubles,

But because they're mine, I made them,
That poor thing, my mind, parades them
As if it were them, which it's not,
Although they are it, as it thought.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hoodoo Sunrise

Shadows stepped out
Of the trees and approached
The cliff as the light grew.

Despite some red,
Clouds blocked the glory
And dawn came cold and grey.

The shadows grumbled
And conferred, whether
Any hope of magic remained,

Some having traveled
A long way for this, before
They rejoined the stones.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shape Is a Word

"What shape is a mountain, a coastline, a river?... Questions once reserved for poets and children."
~Benoit Mandelbrot

What shape is an equation
Describing a dark forest
Torn here and there with questions
Mathematicians have left
Behind them, empty with light?

The rough and complicated
Repetition of edges
Aphorisms generate
Approximate a known world
That I know is not this world,

Just another pretty park
Contrived of regulations,
A fraction of a whole song,
A metaphor of a bridge
Insisted in wilderness.

What shape is a word, our ghosts
Veiled in the down pouring rain,
Legs and wings in constant drone,
Tangled singing from pure throats?
Frantic signals hide the sign.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


"Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

This sky can't possibly be,
Horizon to horizon
Blue that only I can see,

Whittled to the bare untruth
Of an elegant wisdom,
A sharp, polished serpent's tooth

That slices in so neatly
To deliver its venom
So infinitely sweetly

It feels unfair to complain
That a beauty so common
And plain as the sky brings pain.