Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dorothy, Ogden. Ogden, Dorothy.

It's not that I dislike society.
It's just, for me, that company
Will never transcend the category
Of booze, food, good oratory--

One serving's a buzz, too much feels enough,
Consumption too continuous
Feels like killing myself. Just between us,
I loathe myself when I am us.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Black Kite

Mystes. If it weren't for all
That hasn't been yet but is
Going to be happening,
We couldn't be happening
At all. The future causes
The past. And what you will be
Opens the mouth of you are.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Apple Blossom Spring

No, there is no change
Of death in that place
Where nothing, nothing
Ever happens. Papa
And Sukha collect
Petals blown from
Trees full of more
And more of the same
To make pretend cake
Forever. Alright?
Says Sukha, gathering
Under confused bees,
Obliviously. Alright?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Disingenuous Baobab

"know if ever beau joueur—or rather, I suppose, belle joueuse—was born, it is that small slight child at my side"

In the game that has the fetching
Name, belle joueuse, my daughter plays
The serenely happy gambler
Contented to play lose or win
All day if she has to. She's good.
She's not afraid.  Of noises, yes,
But not of this. Not of mistakes,
Not yet. Point out where she was
Wrong too often, and she'll play
Another game. Serves you right,
Old brain. You play to avoid pain
And can't bear to watch her bet
On each new long-shot discovery.
You, me, think we know why she
Lost that round. She smiles wickedly,
So great the gain of finding something
Out for herself, for her, so small the cost.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Fairy Orchestra

How bird choruses coordinate
So much competition so sweetly

In multi-species orchestrations
To delight human ears, I don't know.

It makes no sense. It's Panglossian,
Purely illusory. I love it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Feast of Subtleties

"I'm done."

There's such a thing as surfeit
Of entremets, of enough
Incredible processions,
Edible simulations
Of castles, boats, Melusine,
Bird knights in pastry armor,
Surprises sweet and bizarre.

Delight in the in-between
Of unannounced confections
Betwixt meat and potatoes
Can reach an extreme. I love
That we've been here and nowhere
All at once, all these years, but
Now we need time to digest.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For Just Now, Then

It's okay. It's just now. Then again,
Up until three years ago
I didn't really know

These quick-lidded waves, their wink,
This wry face of the flat lake,
Hiding by marshes, existed,

Even though I lived up the road
And rolled to work with the glare
Of sun off the surface in my eyes.

I never noticed. I always went back
Home, to the city, to the airport,
To the mountains, too far.

Now I'm glad it's not New Zealand.
These clouds of words in my head
Form more than sufficient torment

For me. I don't need sand flies
To eat me alive every time
I wheel to the lake view to feel peace.

This one's not so beautiful, it's true,
And it's shallow and trashy
Along the unkempt margins

Where picnickers and hunters
And whoever have left their pickings,
Droppings, and leavings.

But it has ducks and the sense
Of distance time alone provides.
The jetties and orchards age

In the way woods age everywhere,
That magic of encircling and then
Releasing their countable rings,

Silvered, moss, beetles, splinters, flowers,
Hymns to the nonhuman hunger
Of the rooted, reaching things.

These stupid words! They won't leave
Me be. There aren't enough birds left
In the weeds to eat the damn things.

Sunlight wreaks its havoc. It's just
Perfect how everything's becoming
A complete mess before it curls under

Those cold lips kissing the shore
Again and again and again,
Until the hard and rotten bits wear smooth,

Forgotten and beautiful again.
When I'm near this, this thing I need,
I'm almost the movement in the scene

As it's moving, almost a moment.
It's just hard to be in the composition
And have to move with it, have to

Move now, to be this poorly phrased part
Of all the parts that have to go on for
Getting near what we need now, then.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Drunk

Wonders why there have to be
Alcoholics and only alcoholics
Anymore. Even people who prefer

Chocolate to bourbon now
Find they are mere chocoholics,
And those randy desperadoes

Who used to pride themselves
On conquests are just sexoholics,
And visionaries are dreamoholics

And the god-besotted and monkish
Are irresponsible deioholics,
And those who eat meat and guns

As an alternative lifestyle to hope
Today are Apocalypholics,
And those who ignore the End

In favor of frocks, shopaholics,
And poets who actually prefer
Fooling around in a stuporous daze

With their verses to any other stupid
Thing they might do, for shame,
Are, well, something melancholic.

Monday, April 22, 2013

If Only Angels Were Held Accountable

The accordion says hello,
And then, I'm so sorry, and then
Goodbye. Pianos say nothing

Because no one asks anything
Of any piano-forte,
And very little of guitars,

Next to nothing of violins,
Cellos, clarinets, or flutes,
And not enough of saxophones.

The accordion asks questions
Of its own, and of its own kind,
The kinds of questions poems should ask.

Bagpipes, banjos, ukuleles,
Forever ask for forgiveness.
The harp, that sinful thing, escapes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Whatever

I know a game
I didn't invent
Called "One
Left to Live."

It's like the desert
Island discs of time.
One year, one month,
One week, one day.
(No one plays

One second, except
Hangmen and gunmen,
So I've read.)
You get to say
What you would do

If some impossible
Entity allotted you
An exact amount of time
To worry about what
To do with that time.

Personally, I might
Stop playing such games.
More likely, I'd quit with
The fancy prosody or any
Poems. I used to have

One comic strip
Left on my fridge
That showed two cops
Arriving at a door
Answered by a weird,

Disheveled woman
Who tells them,
In her word balloon,
"I'm sorry about all the screaming,
Officers! I just believe in living

Each day
As if
It were

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sandy Island Reflects

How long can I float this,
My addiction to nonexistence?
I'm not ashamed to have been

Never anything more than a fiction--
The black island, the strip of sand,
The warning on the satellite map

Copied from the naval map
Printed from the pen and ink
Cartographer's elegance, exactly

Following the coordinates
And eyewitness description
Of the captain of a ship of hellequins.

I'm only sad I never took advantage
Of the fact no one could find me
But had to avoid running aground.

I could have hidden a gone world,
Gems, alien spaceships, lost
People with prehuman languages,

All kinds of vulnerable and wicked
Things safely in my keeping,
In the keep of my not a damn thing.

But I deceive myself, now,
After being so long not being.
There are no witches or nymphs

On islands that do not exist.
Islands that do not exist belong
To cartographers, Australians, and God.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Complete with Emily Dickinson Installed

"You need an extra light over there?"
The man asks the man in the lobby.
Because the wind is blowing outside
And street lamps twitch on in the twilight,

This could be classified as a scene.
Because the man in the lobby drinks
Peat-reeking scotch from a paper cup
With his back to the flat screen TV

And the screeching, grisly news footage,
Resisting with his every last thought
The urge to empathize, to rise up
Or at least write down some worthy screed

Against human injustice and pain,
This could be classified as a scene
In a play about the cowardice
Of the middle-class tourist escape.

But because the question was for light
And was asked with lilting politeness,
And, even without rhyming, held song,
This could be classified as a poem.

There's a house not far from the hotel,
A nineteenth-century thing of brick
That stands in a field of raw spring grass
Without a candle in the windows.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Five Felt Way

Why is it the end
Tends to disappear
Into the green guise
Of spring or absinthe
Or whatever good

Looks thin and needy
Enough as it dies
So prematurely
That we who will die
Ourselves salute it?

I don't want to be
Dying all the time.
I don't want to be
Whining, rhyming lines.
I want to be good,

So perfectly good
That when I must die,
Which is to say, go
Without a return,

My departing fling
With conning the world
Ends in contentment,
Not yearning come-back,
Not hungry, not ghosts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


"Pliny the Elder imagined that fossil shark teeth had fallen from the sky or the moon, and named them 'glossoptera' (tongue stone)."

"To tabulate the time intervals between the successive entries in . . . these Lamentations is to tell the story."

Because change is all we have
To keep our names and settings
Separate, and change erases

Every name, every sorrow
Comes confused with others.
Lamentations for the masses lost

Among ruined palaces of memories
Blur dirges for citadels lost and buried
When formal invasions with burnings

And defacings of local inscriptions
And their brick-built temples were weapons new
As were temples and chiseled inscriptions.

This is not, never was, nor will be
News, but we can still forget it,
Still mistake our children for our ancestors.

Dementia, the shiveriest night terror
In all of giftedom, scales the coiling
Pagan dragon of introspection

And punctures him in the mouth
Of his fire with a long, sharp sinking mystery.
Tainted gorge regurgitates

In the dragon's throat, a broken moon
Floating up from the boiling moat
Where he fell among the short-term

Armies of creaking mnemonic siege engines,
Inquisitorially demonic cortical devices,
A heap of hissing, smoking wishbones of retention

To tug and pull apart until the necromancing
Meaning snaps, and there, sir, goes
Your prophecy. Pal, you had it good

Once upon a time, but the sooner
You prate about it, the scarier.
Around the table, loud crusading

Pirates, back from the holy
Land of what was once known
In person, proudly dump loot

From the makings of other times
In other minds, piles of rubble
Prized as complicated puzzles.

Once that's done, it's for everyone
Disguised and almost done to grab a bit,
A leftover, glossoptera, a holy relic.

Strepitus, tenebrae, it's a big noise
To make in your shadows, concluding
By slamming your book shut, banging

Your head on the pew. Still. This isn't the end.
For you, but not for the you you knew,
Rerouted crowds of sin-apt congregants

Have to finish the thing, to find
Their own suffering and, with shuffling
Respect to your dissolving rest,

For your silence, one by one, to leave
The cloistered chapel, querulous, unbelieving.
Later still, the hidden musicians lug

Assorted reeds and strings off stage behind the nave
Into the wings, pinching smoky wicks
Snuffed shut behind them, whispering,

As they step, bone by bone, around the abyss
That surrounds your wide-eyed sarcophagal swoon,
Too quietly to hear their own failing farewell in the dark.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rufous-Sided Towhee

When the beast myself, driven by hungers
Created by parasitic words caught
From the deep, fungal cave art of writing,

Roams for days away from green anything,
Labyrinthine nights bizarre with torchlight,
And deep into heaped imperfections

Of similarly infected creatures
Glowing like transparent fish with monsters
Of phosphorescence accumulated

Behind blank, flat eyes and laboring gills
Or, like those eusocial sisters, tricked ants
Standing on hind limbs from twig ends of trees

With pale grey, fruiting bodies throwing spores
From their possessed heads, nerves, and antennae
Into the wind so that some dreams survive,

I wake up in a foreign cavern, bright
With the precisely delineated
Memories of songs truly without words,

Without words even behind the making
Or theory of the nonsense that they trill.
First comes their rasp, like the squawk of a jay,

That always fools me, then the sweet outburst
Of a melody so fragmentary
That my beastly heart snatches after it

Too hard. The other beast, waking in me,
Ready to shed spores from my nodding head,
Claws at thought. What is the name of that bird?

Monday, April 15, 2013


"To surrender to the urgings from group selection would turn us into angelic robots — students of insects call them ants."

The ants have it. They
Don't know the meaning
Of wegotism.
We do. We argue
Over who should do

What and when to whom.
We've lost it, we two,
We everybody.
We don't speciate
By population

Anymore. We split
Apart in our heads,
In our beds, our towns,
Our kingdoms, our faiths.
Death comes. We make haste

To appoint someone
To wear a black robe
Or sport a third eye
To act out the part,
Death, proud for our sake.

We can't agree who
Will have to survive
Long enough to say
Who will be assigned
Judge and jury then.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


After the long drought,
Then storms of flowers,

To hear the rain pouring
Over the rungs of the ladder

That's propped against
The gates of paradise

And, quite accidentally, leaning
So hard it tilts the local moon

On her back, is to know
The exact moment when desire

For what might yet be
Attained balances

Against cloudy superstitions
That to ascend we fall

And not to ascend
We fall. I want

To have that death
Grip on the rails

That lashing rain
Cannot make slip.

I want to get to
The next rung.

The moon, as such, would be
Unfortunate to reach

In vain, but when
Light finally wanes, those gates

In the starry rain,
Diminishing, might leave

Me. I want to know exactly
What remains just then.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


"I'm a vessel between two places I've never been."

--Let's see how well we handle
This much before we complain
About not having enough,

Said the contented vessel
Carrying nothing wiser
Than Eeyore's birthday balloon

Between two spaces that will
Never be. Skinny the Pooh,
The improbably stuffed bear

Who can't ever be filled, begged.
Sukha, who held him, asked--What
Are we gonna do, Pooh? --Who

Knows, who really wants to know?
Asked her thin bear in return.
--We're all hungry. We want food.

Friday, April 12, 2013


In the light, not in a stream of light
But so far in the light all light shines
Somewhere beyond and surrounding you,

You disappear into the crossroads
Of metaphor, darkness, and knowing
You are neither the god nor darkness

But appreciation that forgets
How to be grateful without trying
To come out into the light again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


"Know when to lift your eyes and when to look closely, to scrutinize."

Prediction is in the bone.
Go back fast, fast as you can,
Quick little spider on thread,
Spinning down the latest silk

Route to the future, and stop
Only when you get to when
Wen wasn't yet quite an art
Branching from one stem, nor love

The basest of another,
Cognate with delusion, when
Oxen shoulders and turtles'
Under-boxes harvested,

Segmented, scratched, and dated
Were heated, cracked, consulted,
And reinterpreted. What
Were they asking bones back then?

A good day for childbearing,
A bad day for invasions,
Eclipses as good omens,
Comets bad tidings for kings,

Everything you'd want to know
Tomorrow, when tomorrow
Was three thousand years ago.
When do you want to know, then?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poor Argos

The rhetoric of images
Continues to torment me.
A long time ago, I knew

An emphatic professor
Who would bellow at students
"Be concrete, God damn it!"

Pushing the heels of his hands
Into his own eyes in frustration,
As if miming grisly old Oedipus.

I was young then. I stared hard
At everything and didn't expect
I could ever be caught far off guard.

I wondered. Was the sin of mellifluous
Or even slangy abstraction so great
As to make for despairing self-mutilation?

Then I ran into the poets.
Not the antique, oratorical poets
Whose flourishes could go on forever

Without any phrase homelier
Or more easily visualized
Then some allusion to a goddess.

No, I spotted the Imagists,
All long gone into the ground,
Canonized or forgotten themselves

Now, metamorphosed except, somehow,
Even now, even when one eschews
The minor tyrannies of parseable

Intent, one still feels one must chew
The scenery a bit, like a salad,
In deference to their healthful crudités

Of concrete reference, or else
One hasn't really kept watch.
I like vivid images as much as any

Reader, especially the surprises,
Sights linked by strange conceits,
No matter how personal or impersonal,

How arcane, radical, quicksilver
Tricky, musical, or message-delivering
The poem as a whole pretends to be.

I'm not immune to looking sharp.
I don't dislike dreams served bright
Blue and wide as eyes. There's verse

In the misleading appearances
Of describable things--this moony,
Sorrowful, heifer-white hill wrapped

For a cold spring under wretched,
Barely budded blankets of scrub
On her hunched shoulders, the grey

Pointillism of my night watchman's
Thoughts dissected, the distraction
Of a light, late flurry disguising

The knife of the ice that slips below
The fanned-out, feathery pale leaves
At my moonlit feet. But I hate the concrete.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Words Etched on Soap

There's a legend
About the poems
The jailed poet
Found in the frost

Of her prison's
Small blue window,
White fairy world
Of thieves in woods.

I'm sorry, son,
But you can't write
Anywhere near
Finely enough

To be, yourself,
One of the brave
Thieves of the woods
Taunting tyrants,

Not well enough
To make up for
This foolishness
You make of life.

You're a creature
Finite. You make
Such dumb mistakes.

This is one such
You'll forget. Wash
Your hands once. Right,
Wrong, words have gone.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Passing Green River at Midnight

When you know that you're done teasing God
With your "Thou hast" and "Thou hast not yet,"
And you already tired of London
Back in another millennium,
You may find yourself on a freeway
At some ungodly hour of darkness
In the desert, haunted by truckers,
Troopers, trains, and the orthogonal
Mammals making mad dashes across--
Well whatever this black asphalt means.
Once again, life in the subjunctive
Runs around frantically in your thoughts:
Old man, you should have camped somewhere else,

You should have stayed home, you should have found
An inn while there was time to find one.
What is it about you and the long
Way home? You could have made up your mind
Ages and ages ago and been
Contented with the cards as counted
Against you in God's blue dive of dives.
You could have remained in New Jersey,
Birmingham, Salt Lake City, Moab.
You could have turned off the ignition
And found the final meaning of home,
Before you became so much the way
And so little arriving at last.

But here you pass, ferrying sleepers
Who would prefer to be home abed
Or at least in a tent by a fire,
Through this Armageddon of orbit,
The nightly turn from the sun to the truth,
And you figure you should keep driving.
     Sometime later, along the river
Shored only by cliffs and your headlights,
A woman rushes into your glare,
Arms flailing, cigarette in one hand,
Trying to flag you down in the dark.
And, for no reason to do with you,
You stop. Your spouse wakes to cradle her

In all her irrational sobbing
About a car in the ditch, too much
Fear, a little blood, some alcohol,
No victims beyond this mystery,
And she crawls into the car praising
You to God as you drive up the road
To the place in the cliffs where she lives.
She gets out, thanking you profusely,
And disappears through the door under
The one lighted window where, she says,
Her friend is waiting, and you wonder
Hard, heading back home, about that friend.
You get to bed. You begin again.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monsieur Dasein a de beaux moments

"The most beautiful moments, the most
dreadful quarter hours," to quote the wag

with a perhaps a touch of envy at the staggering
ambition of his totalizing contemporary.

You don't have to be a huge fan of either,
nor of opera, nor even of animated parodies

involving carrot-chomping cartoons in blonde
wigs and horned iron helmets to feel the pull

of that witticism, to feel, in a slightly offended,
slightly contented sort of way, your life

resembles that remark. Moments remain
memorable for being unretainable,

for never remaining, not even even for
one moment, while clock wings, sundials,

moons, seasons, calendars, forever
entertain the stunning power

of appearing stupendously inert
at any moment of closer inspection.

You can feel this, yes, and yet never
guess whether the quarter hours

are the actual authors of the beauty
with which the moments, passing

as these rustles of light rearranging
shadows, manage to enchant us.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Argument of the Trees


Juniper-piñon have at it,
Knotting roots through overgrazed ground.

The one with the tiny blue cones
That could pass for dusky berries

Appears cheerier, but twisted,
And holds the older, drier soul.

The spikier one the jays love,
The one with desirable seeds,

Takes the aloof, optimistic role
Appropriate to monastics,

Grows mystic, an elf tree of life,
An incense for eternal flame.

It hugs and shares the higher ground
While juniper devours scoured dirt.

The shorter-lived beasts move through both
Thoughts under branches of language,

Perpetuating a debate
No jay, coyote, or spider

Will ever span from end to end.
The horned gods themselves will forget

Their advancements advocated
By browsing lightning-struck notions

Of what belongs where and whether
Trees can or should keep faith. Begin. . . .


I advance a parable
Of equanimity, states
The juniper. I admit

I have the greater fortune
In the current disaster.
Others' loss of habitat

Has been my gain. But recall,
Individuals arise
And then find themselves stranded

When the next twist in the winds
Sweeps the ground from under them.
Populations never know.

I found myself congenial
To the ground in which I grew.
Envy me. I find myself

Tonight at the outer edge
Of the moisture my roots hunt.
Pity me. Discovery

Disabuses me of hope
And other things with feathers
You, for instance, would require

For any seeds to take root.
Envy me. And so on. This
Is the wisdom of borders.


Friend, I watch you thrive and am content,
Smiles the pine, a little spikily,
From lofty, precarious retreats
Where the air is cooler and clearer,

Though neither cool nor as clear as once.
Every abbey in the mountains falls
Under the sway of this or that reign,
But the green wheel spins eternally.

I savor your equanimity,
But feel no need to participate
In distinctions of one and many.
I rejoice in my community,

And in the resilience of the true,
The authentic, the dependent
On one another. I love the blue
Of the birds that steal and save my thoughts

For later, ineluctable fates,
The fresh incarnations of one life.
There is no winning or losing. This
Is the faith of quiet withdrawal.


I would love to have faith for faith,
But I know how intent you are
In keeping your faith in yourself,

Which can't help keep deceiving you,
Replies the juniper in turn.
And so they go on together,

With none, least of all them, knowing
How much longer this partnership
Can continue coexisting,

Although the latest threats to them
Secretly still crave to see them
Contesting, canyon by canyon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Zion Eno

We arrive from the east.
We're three in three million
Visitors to the park,

Hopeful of making home.
We listen to music
From another country.

We laugh through the tunnels
Our daughter imagines,
Excitedly, contain

Not mere dinosaur bones,
Real dinosaurs. Good myths
Keep just such mystery,

The chance of being true
In dark places: listen,
Return to light, breathe in.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Welcome to the soap-box
Derby of well being.
Gravity rules the race.
Contestants disappear

Down a bottomless hill.
The winners, or at least
The most admired, are those
Staying upright longest

And gone farthest downslope
At the moment they crash
And vanish, although points
Go to high speed and style.

You can whittle corners,
Become a trim machine,
Build out of balsa,
Organics, yoga, prayer,

Nothing but earth-friendly
Materials. Your wheels
Spin in calm contentment,
Parasols, robes, and flags

Protect your decorum.
You may glide forever,
Serenely over cliffs.
You are out of control.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aesop's Academic Synonyms for Acedia

"To be sullen in the sweet air is the sin of acedia."

1. The Turtle's Deliquescent Dive

It really is, so far as we know, turtles
All the way down. Demonstrate the difference
Between turtles and any phase shift they missed
Between shells and stubby tails and leathern feet.
Here, psychology ends and biology
Begins; here biology ends, chemistry
Begins; here chemistry finishes, physics
Takes over, and here there be monsters, the end.

You don't think so? What does anything rest on?
What does everything rest on? What is the rest?
Guess. Lacustrine, glittering guesses are best.

2. The Camel's Otiose Tourist

"I dare say you wish to know
How the Plague is going on
At Cairo?" Oh yes, I wish
So devoutly to be told
How the latest tarot pull
Might affect me in Cairo.
Go away. Stop reminding me

So much of my silly self.
It's not that I wish to be
Any other beast than you
Or me. I'm only so tired
Of being a beast at all,
Weary as I live and breathe
Of speaking as you to me.

3. The Word Mule in the Bureau of Homeland Torpidity

Information is not intrinsically
About anything. I misquote of course,
Which is the braying idiot's license.

Real poets are more rigorous. They learn
To disrespect physicists, the atoms
Of Democritus, without relying

On gibberish cribbed from their disrespect.
Illegal, border-slipping, mule poets
Smuggle others' notions in their phrasings,

As if a poem could embody insight
The way equations model mystery.
But there are worse things to be than a mule.

Personally, I pity the strata
Compressed in arabesques of deception,
As if the rocks that layer the fossils

Had any choice in what they collected
From the past for some future eureka.
It's true, I may have to apply myself

To the fierce bureaucracy of language,
Begging admittance past the gates of scorn,
Putting up with armed puns that accost me,

But at least I'm permitted to apply.
And the reward is always a surprise,
The night sight of thought's guardian angels

Struggling up the wall of the universe,
Overloaded and exasperated
By the weight of patrolling beasts' parole.

4.  Toad's Last Estivation Dream

One is always the most impressed
By someone else who is doing
Cheerfully and well whatever
One least wants to do at all. Oh,
To be turtle, weight of the world
Of turtles on my shoulders. Oh,
To be sullen in the sweet air!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Belated Tuesday's Eastermath

How hard is it to add a little glee
To the memory to make it adhere?

Easter Sunday, well anticipated
By those with surplus sugar on their minds

And by those desirous of holiness
Or a little fun, free time, done is gone.

The calendrical world moves on, never
Keeping up with the slowing rotation

Of our planet of life, never fitting
Amorphous anamneses that named time

The glorious lord of life. Let's love it.
Let's love it as we ought. Let's be gleeful

In our Fabergé eggs of retrospect.
Let us open and close our shells and laugh.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Surprise Sutra

(For the Eight Hundred Fools, One)

We never know, going away,
Whether we will ever come back.
Sometimes, we assume that we will.
Sometimes, we assume that we won't

And then weep all over ourselves.
But we don't know. Not even when
It's a short walk. Not even when
It's death. So we tell each other,

Gravely, never, ever assume.
I presume that's why we're always
Convinced that we've learned our lesson,
And that's why we're always surprised.