Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Otherworldly

Man, it tastes good, down there at the bottom.
The later verses turn their audience
Into exegetes, into exegete.
"You get the feeling Beethoven believed
He was writing a market-pleasing thing
Then found the project growing more tangled.
Or perhaps he meant all along to veer,"
Wrote a magazine critic. "What I shit
Is better than anything you've ever
Thought," the self-same critic quotes Beethoven,

As evidence "Beethoven himself took
Some pride in the work." He couldn't hear it.
He can't hear it still. But the last verses,
So desperate and so close to the brink
Foolishly they endeavored to describe,
Are done. The sun slips away from the stones
As they, ineluctably, slip away
From their temporary lord and master,
The self-same sun that never heard music,
Not even the dreamy music of spheres.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Darkest Parts of the Forest

Shallow, tatty carpet that I like
To imagine impossibly deep
As a moss-carpeted well of green
Stone through which I fall to the other

Face of the always night-facing world,
The unlicensed poetry of life.
Sentence structure decays in the roots.
Is the fear of this local darkness,

Living only in the outside mind
Of mythology, green hell, black woods,
Frost giants, stone trolls, golden-eyed cats.
I believe in every lunatic

Cackle I hear coming toward me
And receding without touching me.
Where no witch, no cottage, no fairy,
The bones of Hansel and Gretel lie.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Freeze Beer

You may know the canard
About the universe
Being perfectly bent,
Which is also known as
"Anthropic Principle."
Where else, divine sophists

And sophistic divines
Like to ask, could we find
A world with properties
Like those found in water,
So perfectly suited
For life as we know it?

Like we know it. I froze
Beer once, decades ago,
Leaving it overnight
Outside a motel room
In Chipmunk, Idaho
So that it would keep cold.

That night, power lines froze,
And I woke up toasty
Thanks only to the wood
Stove I overloaded
To dangerous fury
Against worlds made for ice.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Asag Restored to the Mountains, After a Passing Storm

"We don't know anything! Awareness! Aaaaagggh!" -Sarah's summary of these poems

The mountains that you have handed
Over shall not be restored. Oh,
But they shall. Their triumph's assured.
The mountains belong to themselves

When their stones are no longer mined,
Their armies of plants victorious,
The me of civilization
Vanquished, just a matter of time,

As if time gave birth to litters
Of matters, and this was but one
Of them, which in a sense holds true.
Now what? An aetiology:

The study of causes equals
The myth of origins, equals
Every story, every me we
Made about experience, in

English, a self referring to
Itself, in Sumerian a
Chunk of culture, one of our gifts,
Civilization, or curses,

The same thing. The lights of cities
No longer gleam in the distance.
"We live in a world where humans
Are in the minority," said

Jay Varma in New York City
When its human population
Had never been higher, a place
For the rats humans made easy,

For viruses rats made easy,
For all the things content to live
Among the classifications
Of stones by human languages,

Attributed to divine lords
Of thunder who broke the mountains
And brought the rebellion of plants
To newly cultivated knees.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Sleep for beer and fight for scotch,
Then joke away the gin because
The common meter's lost its touch
And the good lord dislikes hymns.

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Because You Are a Wolf"

God loves an allegory
The way any father loves
The child most resembling him;
That's it. That's it? There's nothing
Wiser than that you can say
As an English professor
Long retired? It's Boxing Day.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"Where Are They Now the Sins of Omission"

He's forgotten
More than I will
Ever be given,

Whole languages
In which he wrote
Becoming ghosts.

I can name names.
I can't name things.
Some are angels,

Some angels sing
Only the name
Of their own Lord,

Holy, and vain.

He could name things
No names could name.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Watchman, Zion Massif

You can't get inside that head
Because anyone inside
That head can't get out again.
Either we're all alone here
In the mountains, or we're all
Illusions of one mountain.
Either way, sleep to morning.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All of His Works Are Lost

I don't, actually, want to live
In a fair universe. You may
Want as you please. The universe
I inhabit may not be yours,
Where the best way home is sometimes
To turn around, back as you came.
Home, such as it is, means nothing
To me, by which I mean nothing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

They Are

They are as they are. I am as I am,
And what I am, nonetheless, comforts me.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Snow Canyon Solstice

Green, black, red, white--earth rarely provides
Such colors in such proximity.
Blue and grey against the white, against

The dun, against the ochre, olive,
Subtleties even the eye grown used
To garish exaggeration finds

Discomfiting, like the odd power
Of old taboo expressions, so gone
We've got no equivalents. God's flesh.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Nothing lives its whole life in the air.
Microbes are borne aloft to make seeds
For ice-crystal lattices of clouds,
But they don't belong up there. Like us,
They're passengers, and down on the ground
Or in the drink, everyone hunkers,
And no souls use archaic phrases
Like "borne aloft," except for the dead.
Life's got to clutch earth's speech to make sense.

Friday, December 19, 2014

In Touch with What My Culture Might Regard as the Infinite

Grilled chicken, strong beer, and seedless red grapes.
From the middle of the second decade
Of the twenty-first gospel century,

A middle-aged American surveys
Increasingly exhausted memory
And dredges the days when vinyl was all

The funk one had, a black disc lying flat
On a platter while the frail, eternal
Teenager wiped life clean with a felt pad.

Restaurants have replicated themselves
In the dusk of the parliaments of memes,
And nothing is the same remains the same.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sans Everything

The great, rectangular stones
In nonhuman formation
Tumbled down the arroyo
All one autumn afternoon
For a million years or so,
Scrabble tiles thrown by the world
Of blanks, words sans lettering.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

High Noon at the Oasis

These voices might as well be bees
Beside me, the bees beside me
Voices. I'm drowsy from choosing
One inevitable escape
From these plaintive murmurs humming
Like calendars, like bicyclists
Busy on bended knees. Life is;
Life isn't. Sun. Peace. These. These. These.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Riparian Mind

If you could have seen it then,
This is what you would have seen--
The rabbit brush going gold,
Green cottonwoods yellowing,
A person in a parked car,
Windows down, a spot to think,
A million years eroding.

Monday, December 15, 2014

By the Falling Dark

It's been a long time since I remembered
How much I've been forgetting. Gaps, like sleep,
Deep sleep, have a way of being themselves
Forgotten. Sitting here beside the creek,
Shoulder moon and sunset delicately
Balanced but shifting, small birds contending,
I congratulate myself on the names
I have given things, better names than those
Others have given them, worth forgetting,
Then I know all my own names, forgotten.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Way Made Difficult

We can accept the silly parts
Of life as allegorical,
The way the faithful read scriptures

When forced to choose between nonsense
And a free interpretation.
Consider the soul of the cow

In Zoroastrianism.
But beauty and boredom defy
Easy rationalization,

The way to understanding them
Made harder by pedestrians
Who talk loudly, by buzzing flies,

By shades that shift continually,
The sparrow that lands on the bench
So near, then wings away from, me.

When I turn my head slowly, grace,
What I would like to see as grace,
Is the real, moss spring beside me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Barrier

Read enough old stuff and you start
To wonder about all those black woods
And impassable barriers. People

Inhabited pretty much everywhere
Then that they do in greater numbers
More recently. But the romance

Of the thing, the image of that
Beyond, back of which, heaven,
Midnight or nothing obtained,

Seems more plausible in another age.
There are barriers still to face,
Naturally. Try hiking past the gate

Of dying, where the guards' horses
Piss on the sleeping haiku poets'
Pillowed dreams. Try flying

Past the heliopause, the heart
Of the galaxy, the bent back bow
Of time. Never mind the damn arrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

No Moon World

Trickster. Nothing has evolved
To live solely by this silver,
Unreliably bright, unreliably

Gone. Everything affected by this
Must remain vulnerable to it.
Moths. Schools of fish. Even the spiders

And the squid who make use of it.
Anything white and bright becomes
An alternative form of ambush.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Probing the Border of Regret

This is not a real forest. This
Is mind forest, the memory
Betraying itself with itself,
Weaving oversimplified myth,

The previously fantasized
Residue of previous minds,
A thick, tarry distillation
Of moss-paved avenues, darker

Arches higher than any trees,
Canopied with unfamiliar
Varieties of needles, leaves,
And stars, haunting me all my life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Oh, It's My Birthday, Oh, It's My Birthday, Oh, Oh, Oh, It's My Birthday!"

On Sequoia's fourth birthday
Our house takes outside in:
A tipi filled with stuffed bears
Wearing paper party hats
Glows in one corner. Aspens
Drug down from the mountains stand
Dressed in lights and dream mushrooms.

Moss and sprays of fragrant pine
Decorate table and hearth.
Even the mice are confused
And keep invading the house
Despite the mild December,
Keep getting trapped, ushered out
With long drives into real woods.

It's that kind of existence.
It always is. The dreaming
Of lives within lives, embraced
And embracing. Our tree grows,
Branching speech and dancing roots,
A mystery, a human,
As we all grew, inside out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poets Write of Smoke

Some words mean what they meant
Five thousand years ago,
What they mean, more or less,
In our related world.
There must have been a word
For this phenomenon

Somewhere, maybe near here
Among the creosote,
Transplanted cottonwoods,
Yucca and scorpions,
The cloud shadow that smokes
The cracked white cliffs like glass.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Variations on the Moon

"Between the instant of awareness and the vast emptiness"

Between the instant of emptiness and the vast awareness,
The moth of inattention flutters. Between the vast instant
And the awareness of emptiness, the contending doubts
Of lives lived within too many nested stories about lives within
Lives die. Between the emptiness of awareness and the instant,
The vast moth rises on powdered, tatty wings and sighs.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

After Taste

Seems are not as they thing. You think
I am joking. I am, for now. I am, but I am not
Goddamned joking. I have never been
That funny, for one thing. I am
What I seem. I seem many things. You seem
To me an eloquent nothing, and nothing means,
Lest you find me unseemly, everything
To me. Break bread together. Honor knees
Conviction, vivisectionists' honors be, in
The groin. I am the etymology, the grinding
Abyss, little hollow, snout in the ground.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Interior

I am cold inside, but I am a forgiving man.
Fog and darkness move away from the reluctant cliffs.
Language meant to help us find a way, communicants
Caught in webbing language made, has lost inflections bred
For the bones that wished to sing through their meandering.
Tighten belts and dream impossible recoveries.
Heat will find us, even colder than the moon conceives
Darkness on her starry face, that which we call the pearl,
Turning midnight, built, irrelevantly, by the sun
Falling into place in milky near-imaginings,
Backboned night's relinquishing assertions to a truth
Battered by the million-starred, the apparitions lost,
Found in minds whose sinking, nightly, will again pretend.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Scythian Archeology in the Altai

Means nothing. Means are nothing
To me. When I am absurdly wealthy

I shall study whatever indolence
Concerning the desperate lives

Lived before me I please. Please
Remind me not to regret

My lost poverty when I finally find
My old disease put paid to, at ease.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Decoupage o'Death

1. "a decoupage of memories, both individual and shared"

A phrase ricochets around the web
And ends up lodged in a wiki page:
"The origin of decoupage is thought
To be," the phrase repeats and repeats,

"East Siberian tomb art." There it is,
The legacy of mustachioed Scythians,
Tattoed and riding on horseback in layers
Of felt on felt, the unfeeling heroes' origins

Portrayed at death as on a poet's stage.
Why do you care about this? Why
Do I? Savor the clues to a madness
More ancient than me, more ancient

Than you. Then the world unfurls in
A banner of felt on felt, a Matisse
Old and ill, but still, so damned
Creative. I am. I am entombed

In my art in my feelings, in felt.
Feel me. We cut ourselves
Out so easily. We layer our lives
So carefully. Koloksai unhorsed, free.

2. "The shooting star spot painting"

Death is death. End of story.
Not that stories mean, really,
Anything. But death is death
And after words, well, things
Might in their own way begin again,
But that's another story, isn't it?

3. "You want to sit outside, don't you?"

One day, toward the end of summer,
Ethan stood talking to the Professor
After a breakfast no one else had
Attended. Ethan was rueful, clearing

Plates and setting aside food
For appetites that might come later.
The Professor was appreciative,
And trying to show it, patting his belly.

"You need to ask her about that
Other world of hers," the Professor
Suggested. Ethan shrugged. "I don't
Know, Milton. What do you want

Me to find out from her that might
Actually help anything?" The Professor
Picked his teeth and chuckled. "What
Can she give you? Narrative? Simple description?

You've got yourself a girlfriend who's a specialist
In death, even if she can't remember it.
You say she says she sees something. Well,
How new or how boring is it? Is it

Some kind of heaven you think
She's witnessing? Some kind of hell?
An inside or an outside? What is it?"
"I'd say it was an outside," answered Ethan.

4."I heard him tap his cane"

He dreams and forgets
Same as the rest. Dreams
Of happiness and death.

Forgets what he dreams.
Life and good health to him
Are as meat, drink, and breath.

Layer his remembering
In salvaged scraps to create
An image of breadth and depth.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

At the Last Bend of Creation

Wordless vocals wind around
The courtyard of Coyote Gulch

And wind has nothing much to do
With them or you, me or the singing

Of the small birds hidden from these.
The cafe is closing soon, but don't

Indulge your incessant longing
For nostalgia for an end. It reopens

Every morning, as it has done
Since before I found this two-

Top stop in the fragmentary shade.
Odysseus never knew who was

Who when the underground opened
For him. Everyone's thirsty, now and then.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Unexpected Desert Life

With my unexpected lizard wife
Where half-expected monsoon rains
Tear tiny bits of roofs and soil away,

Accidental sculptors that only work
In pathetically fallacious fits,
Then go to sleep for half a year

While the precarious sandstone piles
Left crack an odd hard frost at a time
And wait on the next fire or next rain.

No verbs wanted here, just thick
Ochre begging beggar's description
And lizards, saints in my age of sage.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Always Valiant in Pursuit of Hopeless Metaphor

"the silhouette of retrospective good times when we still believed in summer hotels and the philosophies of popular songs"

Still do, damn me. Retrospectively
Must be
My good times, recently. Nothing

Seems much stupider to me
Than those
Two words who
Can conjure so much weepage

From saints and fools. Good. Times.
Now is a good
Time for good
Times. Now is never. Times

Are one, soul of the holy, Zarathustrian
Bovid, the stolen,
Allegory, oh! my visionary cow.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Circular Insanity

It's eight o'clock.
I need to pick out my clothes.
Tomorrow is another (you're
Only, you're always a) day
Away. We pay the bills
Our younger selves
Accrued, as our elder
Selves somewhere cackle
At the thought of running
Out on us and our recurrent debts.
For this, we seek, who are
Not capitally enriched,
Nor foully bewitched by indifference,
Some employment.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Like Yesterday

It buckles my admittedly
Many times broken, buckled knees--

Not that a million years ago
These sandstones sank in lava flows--

No. I embrace the vertigo
Victorians invented so

Many gone hopes ago. The stun
That comes from my casual sun

This spinning, earthen year is this:
The last of the packed black lava

I can see spilling down the red
Iron-oxidized slopes in place

A hundred million years or more
Before it tumbled to them, blood

Of magma, fire of forgetting
The myth that Earth was made for life,

The last, most recently cooled stone
Pillow ink was no less ancient

Than twenty-seven thousand years
BP. It looks like yesterday.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Embrace the probable your world
Keeps telling you, that you will not
Live as long as, right now, you would

Like to, that you will suffer more
Than you have as yet before you die.
Find peace with this, not for yourself,

Since for yourself it doesn't matter:
Your self will likely suffer anyway;
Enlightenment isn't yours to take.

Embrace the probable for those
Who will remain, those like you,
But who will contemplate you,

If they contemplate you at all,
As you never will be able to, one
Life, whole, a biography outleant.

Remember how, when you were
Young, you would admire a life
Of creation and accomplishment,

Only to find yourself feeling badly
When you read about that life's end
In cruelty, abandonment, poverty?

Make peace with these rules again
So that those who encounter you
After you've left may feel better than

You yourself felt then. Set them free
From feeling badly for themselves.
Let them know you knew. They can, too.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Great Gift

Last summer we rented a shack in the woods.
Robins bounced in the grass, shat on porch railings,
And nested under the eaves. Every morning
We pulled the tattered bedroom window curtain
And watched them feed their chicks while we discussed them,
Griped about a poor night's sleep, and planned the day,
Which never tired of refusing all our plans.
One dawn I read Sarah an opinion piece
About the most peculiar partisanship
Of wildlife web-cams, those monotonous feeds
Of creatures getting on with human-free things.

The grist of the piece was a fine incident
In which a broken-winged eaglet enlisted
The mad sympathy of thousands of viewers
Who refused to leave "Nongame Wildlife Service"
Alone until they had broken the bent rule
Of nonengagement to kill the broken thing
Humanely. What exercised the irony
Of the editorialist was the rich
Contrast to this sympathy for the eagle,
The mother of which had fed it ripped pigeons,
Their own unlaid eggs spilled with their viscera.

A few mornings later a cherubic squirrel
Scampered up the porch post to snatch baby birds.
Sarah drove him off on the robins' behalf,
And we savored the irony of falling
Victims to our own bewildered sympathies.
A day later still, while we were well away,
The squirrel returned and succeeded. Our mornings
In the shack in the deep woods seemed poorer then.
The robins moved on, and, after awhile, we
Moved on, too. The world remains full of robins.
The murderous squirrel we never saw again.

This afternoon, a thousand miles and some months
Away from there, lying on my back staring
At an indifferent ceiling, what comes to me
Is another bit of trivia from that
Opinion piece. The truly impressive thing
About wildlife web-cams is not what gets caught
Wildly happening, but mostly what is not
Happening in the forever recording
Of things, mostly animals doing nothing.
This, it suddenly seems to me, is the gift
Of direct cinema: the Earth is boring.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

These Poems from Time, the Impartial Deity

God is that from which can't be
Stolen, that which can't be offended,
Giver, always giving, change,

The unfathomable tunesmith of nothing,
Liberally bestowing grace notes
Of delight and disappointment.

The gutter projecting over the lawn
From a roof that had no gutter drips
Away from the house, digging a new

Trench where we did not want
Erosion. A bird erodes under
The window against the reflection

Of which, full of sky, it died.
Laughter belongs to the nearby
Restaurant where the sodden

Climbers come to wet their beaks.
Waterfalls festoon the peaks
Waterfalls carve away. You see

What this means? No want
Matters as much as too much.
Change partners when we dance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Seventeen Hymns

I am late. No one
Is early. The heat
Breaks the tent
And the dry leaves

Fall. I am that
Which has fallen. I
Am that which falls.
Counting keeps me

Company on long
Journeys, such as life,
Which is not long, which is
Eternal: I am not. I am.

Monday, November 24, 2014


1. Red Desert Sod Black Rock Road

Here, forty-degree
And higher temperatures
Are routine

Until autumn, and yet
Few nights breathe during
Which water, conceivably

Could not freeze. This
Is the landscape of true,
Revealed religion. Seethe,

The dust and your gods
Whom you believe, inscrutably,
Breeze beyond me.
2. Devices

I flatter the natural world.
I am an irrigation canal

A mule-pulled water wheel,
An Archimedean screw,

A backyard sprinkler system
Fueled by monsoons in the desert.

I am mud. I am dry. I am
A surveillance photograph

From a chopper, from a drone
Kicking up dust. Beautify. Desertify

The hanging gardens of Balkh,
Of never, said Ezra, in Babylon.

We're so righteous the sparrows
Keep their bathing eyes on us.

3. Zion

No, not that one.
This one. Right mind
And wrong mind

Said Zarathustra, who
Knew. Pastoral or
Pastoralist, who knew?

The longhorns graze the green sod
In their paddock, far, far
From origins, so close to home.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Of Perfect Fungibility

Wallace Stevens wrote money
Is a kind of poetry. The US
Supreme Court ruled money

Is a kind of free speech. Isn't it
The whole point of money, the dream
Of perfect fungibility, one thing

Translating everything, everything
Exchangeable in an ideal world
Of discrete and equal units,

Like voters, like dollars, like
Typewriter keys composing
Infinite patterns of words?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Is Not Being

Why do we not spend more time in contemplation
Of why what tempts us most to guilt and regret--
Food, drink, talk, sex, nakedness, gratification,
Defecation, gossip, dreams, ornamentation--
Are all essential to the human condition?
We are ashamed of being animals, we are
Ashamed of being human, we are so ashamed
Of being. Our hungers and humiliations
Are one. In our devotions we seek salvation,
Enlightenment, reconciliation with what
We are not and cannot be, what is not being.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Humans are the way nature tortures
Herself. Nature is the way Earth uses.
The moon has barely any uses
And is far from being
The only moon. Apollo

Astronauts, named for the sun
God of a recent pastoral tribe
Of a recent species, recently
Scratched an itch left over
From when something without artifice

Knocked two careening rocks
Sideways as they spun around
A trivial example of a sun.
Thinking about such things is the way
Flesh formed from clay tortures herself.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

To Read

Imagine a world where everyone's one
Of the best. You would not get bored,
Only turn each page in eagerness.

One writes with charm
And an ironic twist
About his dog. Another writes

About an argument she has
With her husband about
An argument they observe

Between lovers. Another complains
About the distrust of men,
Which he pretends is distrust

Of desire. Another imitates
Greeks as Chinese, punctuation
Excepted, hymning her strange towns.

Another sits in his cinderblock cell
Of an office, yearning toward
A blue sky he has turned away from

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exceedingly Machined

Old time, I'm told, is still
Flying. Gather the light
On the Watchman. Gather

The shadows on water.
There's no dust fine as air
Despite dust in the air.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Few words
In English,
It seems to seethe,
Murmur as aptly
As the commoner's term
For the common, dragonfly,
The same. It whizzes by all those
Who cannot hear its wings, who break
Down in dry heaves and drier tears
Here by the monsoonal stream
The dry wash has to dream.
Smaller than it was,
Still your terror,
Jeweled life

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Poor Creatures of Abandoned Belief"

The cloud on the horizon
May or may not be. Rising
Winds may. Darling buds may not.
Gods and goddesses can't. Don't
Tempt me with trick enjambments.
I am not the way. Way past
Waywayanda, silly lake

Near nothing much, New Jersey,
A boy on crutches, father
In a wheelchair, grandfather
In a boat for fishing dreamed
Of something much murkier,
Scarier than the waters
Dark, the godless wilderness.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Grand Owl Habitat

The Virgin bookstore shadow box,
Joseph Cornell in one corner,
Seems always open as I pass
And always closed up when I stop.

Every carefully arranged display
Of taxidermied ephemera I love,
So long as I can call it someone
Else's art. Else, I'm wary. I'm afraid

Of the miniature asiatic lion
Tucked inside the owl's claw,
Of the tiny, elaborated angel pinned
Behind him, no shoulder to cry on.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

To Illogical Conclusion

"A signal from our body (sic)
Can change the very thoughts
We think." Oh pronouns,

I don't mean to mock you,
And I don't need to play games,
But you do. The very thoughts of you

Are both forever we and forever me.
It's sick. The signal never comes
From one, communal body,

Although every multicellular
Body is as much communal as one.
There is no we that isn't me,

No me that isn't we. You,
On the other hand, I can't
Compel or speak for. Signals

Followed my bliss. You'll see.
I'll raise you, then. We're tangled
In skeins of curse-slicked grammar.

"Where's the pony in my horseshit?"
Asked Al Pacino, interviewed.
I'm sorry, famous Al, but there isn't.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mind Swakopmund Salon

Everything is getting lost. Everything
Is. Kim Crumbo has disavowed being
Hayduke. Hal Cannon has just queried him
About the corridors, the rewilding
Of the cowboys' lonely minds. I've a mind
Full of the fogs I saw fill Swakopmund
When our silly tourist propeller plane
Needed to find a place to land after
Buzzing the diamond mines, the Skeleton
Coast, the red ochre rock art in the dunes.
Rhyme something, goddammit, rhyme anything.
Niles has admitted to being a boy
Genius in love with geodesic domes.
When you are dead, who will introduce you?
Who can open one's mouth, once forgotten?
The black dog named Blue waps tail: Moddey Doo.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twenty Minutes for Nonsense, a Benison

People can always be made
By other people like them

To confess themselves freely
In twenty minutes or less.

We savor, Orwellian
Each one, this hypocrisy,

This glibness, this daft, dab hand
At cruelty among us.

We ask, for too high a price
(Because we ourselves pay it),

An innocence premium.
Enough with the innocence.

Enough, I guess, with the rest.
We build our markets of bones

Upon the middens of wolves,
Of gods, of angels, ourselves.

What is most amazing, crazed
As may be, in the deep end

Of the shallow pool of "Man,"
Is that we have some presence

Within our nonsense, the gift
For nonsense, a benison.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The little cherubs are charming
With reddened lips and white faces,
Pretending to grown-up darkness
In their batwing-black leather wings.

What have poor bats to do with them,
These primitives of lymphocytes
In the blood stream of culture, these
Baby angels? Their innocence

Is their greed. Bats' innocence is
Irrelevant as bats' greed. Here
The flocks of the cancerous young,
Singing their divine hosannas,

Rise up into the baleful sky,
The bird's egg blue of their blandly
Faberge god. "We will replace
Anyone who questions our faith."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At this Point Fragmentation Ensues

I only exist in your world.
I call revenge silhouette. Your move.
Babies are having babies
As babies have always had

Babies, sooner or later, sketchy
Or later again. They remain
Primitive angels. You only exist
As them, my fictitious resistance.

Last try. This unjust world is just
A cave of shadows. You and I
Are not beings chained inside.
We're the shadows, entertaining.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Long-Term Memory

Through Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
Enabled us all to indulge
In the fantasy of attending
Our own funerals in time
For fine tears and eulogies. What
He did not treat us to was what
Disappointment it would be to return,
Not for the momentary encomia, hosannas,
But for the long amnesias,
The obliterating hungers for their own hosannas
Among all the long, distal
Tom Sawyers to come.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Brown Study

A glow. Green and a breeze.
The decisions of just now
Taking precedent over dreams

Decided long ago. Language
Old-fashioned, sturdy, pious
About the upstarts in the tall grass.

Lichen on the sharp rock
Here under the dusty cottonwood
As there under the mossy oak.

If you can add this riddle
To the others in your store
And sell them, tell me more.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


He made it through life
Poor man, without any
Mistakes, poor soul, and died

With all his wits about him,
Poor man, with no one
Left alive, poor soul, to see.

I placed him in the ground,
Poor man, and planted
All my mistakes, poor soul, above.

I brought tour busses full myself,
Poor man, to see the flowering
Cenotaph, poor souls like me,

Who believed ourselves indebted
To him, poor man, who taught us
How to vanish, poor soul, sans anything

Like a substantive regret. His bones
Poor man, evaporated in his ashes
But his shape, poor soul, remains,

A testimony to the grace of vanishing
Away from a guilt-obsessed species, poor men,
Toward pure soul, blameless, in the end.

Friday, November 7, 2014

They're Totally Different

A roly-poly, a pill bug,
Looking like any of its kind
Meanders through dry pine needles

In the corner of the garden
I have borrowed from a few banks.
Pill bugs have more independence,

Are more individual than
I, any human, can pretend.
A tiny child called my daughter

Applies sand as pretend makeup
With which to rouge my wooly cheeks.
Cute, eh? Small lives like mine sometimes

Tend to look that way. "We should get
A scrabble table to keep right here,"
Says the child's mother. Looks that w

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Too Light Verse

1. Greenhouse

Animals love animals. Animals
Love food. Plants and whatnot
Ought not to feel smug about this.
As far as animals know, plants

And whatnot ought not to feel
At all. Animals feel. Feelings
Were made for animals by animals
Before them. Alright then.

2. With the Moon?

The moon and the phone
Glow white tonight. One took

No mind at all. One took
Quite a few billion. Why

Does one mind feel so shy,
So awry, for not being satisfied

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In the Timing

And that, I should think, is enough
Of all that for just now. It's late
Already and I said I would

Be home early. No one ever
Is home early, early enough
For everyone. We're always late

Either for our others we share
Our domesticated lives with
Or for ourselves, wanting to be

Back in time to have enough time
To catch our others with others
Or embrace our others for hours

Or savor the nonexistence
Of any others, of ourselves.
And that, I should think, is enough.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Unimpressed by the Trees

The ape congratulates himself
And hugs his inadequate arms
Around his cotton-swaddled ribs.

Oh but the clouds are thundersome
And handsome, their high whites seeded
By bacterial lives aloft.

There is music somewhere, somewhere
There is science, darkness and light,
Somewhere are hearts breaking the night.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Death of Angels

They're only potentially immortal.
They have no wings. They're neither black nor white.
They don't fall. They do stand in the roadway
And glow slightly, if the day's dark enough,
Brightly if it's night and there are no lights.
They don't actually carry messages.
They are carriers of another sort,
And once one has seen you, it infects you,
And you hallucinate amazing things
And wake up convinced that you're a prophet
Ready to carry the divine message
Conveyed from the mouth of your bright angel,
Whose name and purpose you're convinced you know.
You may start a religion. You may fail.
Either way, you're relatively harmless,
Your madness only a human madness
Other humans adopt or not, killing
You or your followers, or getting killed
By your followers as numbers dictate,
As humans have done and had done to them
For thousands of years. The angel escapes,
The defense mechanism effective
Once again. Because there's so few of them,
We really know nearly nothing of them
Beyond their effects on those who've seen them
And whose accounts cannot quite be trusted.
Nowadays, they're as likely to be called
Aliens as angels, but origins
In interplanetary fantasies
Likely do little more to explain them
Than origins in bright divinity.
We hardly know what they are, but we can,
And we can even, with some luck, kill them,
Although no one's ever dissected one,
Since they implode to ashes at their death,
And no one's yet observed their behavior
Beyond encountering their defenses,
Which no one can witness without visions
And subsequent sense of self-importance
As a chosen individual, blind
To all real memory, beyond that first glimpse
Of the human-like thing called an angel.
But I have. I have stood aside and seen
Without having been seen, without blinders,
Without visions, without false messages.
I'm here to tell you we can study them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Love holds us, which is
The way we have of saying
How hard we hold each other

In this tiny space called time,
The hairpin curve, the exact
Goodbye that Einstein

Could never see, never
Forgive. What I'm gonna do,
The toddler asks as answer.

This is how it's gonna go.
Dinner after the nap that never
Happens. I don't need my sleep.

I'm tying your shoelace. I
Don't need sleep. I'm not
Gonna miss anything. Me,

I'm gonna hold fast. Don't worry,
I'm not untying. I'm bored.
You have to be just like that.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


A camouflage cap
Crossed the view
Before anyone,
Including the wearer,
Her brown hair back
In a bun, thought
To capture the moment,
Give it the gift of glass,
And let it be bought.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Semantic Ghost

Minutes when
Birds and bats
Share the air,

When my hands
Grip the wheel
And I sing,

When the watch
On the stream
Spots the flood

Rising in
A black tongue

Sliding on
The ochre,
Mean the most.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Good Listener

He has remained
Awake in dark
Rooms with women
Crying, cursing,
One at a time:
His relatives,
Growing older,
Forgetful, rank
As the elders
They once cared for;
Wives, friends, lovers
Loathing themselves
Or someone else,
Sometimes, briefly,
Him, his shadow
In their dark rooms,
Keeping his thoughts
Drowned in a well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mature Poets

There are two kinds of thieves: the kind
I am and the outlaw someone,
Probably divine, would intend

Me to be. When Bob Dylan took
A few phrases from the poet
Of hopeless confederation,

Tuberculosis and visions
Of poesy, Suzanne Vega rose,
Unbidden, in print, to defend

Him, more or less, along with those
Who joined her at the barricades
Whose profession is to profess

That dying, coughing, hopeless art
Called English. Dylan, she noted,
Without considering his name,

Has been a cool songwriter, and
Would probably enjoy being
Called an outlaw, as wouldn't she,

Her quotation of herself next
To vaguely similar Rumi,
Translated, would have us believe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The messenger waited
For our reply. "A fly

Is in our world because
A fly made other flies,

Made other flies." We lie
Because we need something

Approximately true
To give the messenger

To give the world, and lies
Approximate truth best.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Monologist's Dialogue

The man at the cafe
In an unfamiliar land
He used to know too well

Perches like a walrus
Among songbirds, listening
To beauty and the phrases
He no longer understands.
The window in the air remains
A bit ajar, almost shut.
A balcony on the other side
Of the grey expanse of tar
Water should hold someone
Looking back at him, leaning
On a railing, smoking,
Even if only himself. But no.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


It's the kind of blip I can't resist:
The iPhone mistakenly labels
A track meant for Zen Meditation

Called "Echo of the Sacred"
As "Echo of the Scared." Indeed.
Sometimes a tiny error reminds me

Of what is true about error, deep
Below the broken seas of peace,
The ubiquity, the sacred fear

Of randomness ready to release
Each tranquil moment from pure
Tranquility is the word please.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Busy Intersection in Saint George

Don't name anything yet.
Your emotions don't belong
To you. What look like clouds

Have no discontinuity with blue sky
Or puddled streets after yesterday's
Hard rain. The heat today fades

Into the mind of nineteen thousand
Other days, experienced and forgotten.
Slow down, the edge is near

Even if the end it promises
Is nowhere to be found. Now,
Name anything you want. It's ok.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"The Happy Fungus Hunter"

In the temporal art of words,
They can sometimes refer
To past and future both. I like

The idea that a natural
Historian writing of the current
State of biology in 1892

Thought himself either
Happy hunting fungi or a hunter
Of the happy fungus.

It's a trick of the art of words
To first create and then delimit
Time past and time future,

Then allow us to shuttle
Back and forth on this loom,
Itself itself unweaving forever.

Secrets inhere in here.
The person parsing greater joy
In the fungus or the hunter

Discovers the past, internal,
Happier and external or, out there,
The happy future, self-referential.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Writer Self

Any writer who expects
Audiences with different tastes
From the writer risks contempt
From them or from the writer self.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Telling

A squeak from the garden, somber,
Pleased. Could be a close relative
Or distal. The heat on the stones

In August turned the green long-ago
Leaves of the fruit and cotton trees
Gold before their time

And will do so long after mine,
Year on year. Like the present,
There is no time before or after

Noon lays her heavy woolen curves,
Sheathed in tightly woven gold
But brittle descriptions, blankets

Faced with the memories I have left
Spread out to break as they dry.
Language aches without her rhymes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oure Hour

Misspell pure. Ignore
Offered corrections.
The sun and the bees
Remain to conspire
Against outer space.

Their spaceship travels
Through interstellar
Clouds of time to bring
Dust so much older
Than these motes of song

Flaked off and falling
As words, broken bones,
And variable
Dreams slowly turning
Hour thoughts into gold,

That the eye of God,
Another mistake,
Can't tell whether
We're meant to measure
Meager time or hymn.

Monday, October 20, 2014

People Wanting the Thing They Can't Quite Have

In a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere,
I stumbled on a mushrooming thunderstorm
And was glad. Tomorrow is payday. The rest
Is silence. No, silence is not. The clouds close,

And the wind picks up around the leaky house
I bought from the bank and the man who built it.
He lives in a schoolhouse, now. The bank sold out
To a bigger bank. All the Nilometers

Employed by the pharaonic priests of Egypt
Only kept priests in business for, at the most,
Their own lives. Happiness must measure what's left.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pivot Bone

Culture continues to remodel
Us, the way we replace natural

With artificial, chainsaw-carved bears
Climbing the posts of motel lobbies

Where once the real bears ate ancestors'
Unlucky cousins. We're so lucky,

We are the remnants of what was once
A world of individuals, closed

Completely to others' perspectives,
No matter how closely related.

We move like ants, fungal-addled ants,
En masse to the twig tips of our world

And raise our heads to sprout fruiting spores
Which, unlike infected ants, we both

Shed and accept, a new solution
For vector-dependent existence,

Cutting out the long, quiescent phase
Of lying low, awaiting new hosts,

At least in most instances. We live
Whole lives of cultural confusion,

Mobile, commingling ecosystems,
Skulls like terraria in contact

With each other, where every species
Invades and competes with invaders.

Herein a newer evolution
Emerges as inexorably

As the old, on the corpses of which
Are built libraries and pyramids.

As vectors, we become more streamlined,
Better at carrying messages

Competing to be carried. Random
Decisions, for instance, better ape

The unpredictable universe,
Making it slightly more guessable,

And therefore we are those animals
Who first cast the pivot bones, burning

Scapulae to read the cracks for ghosts'
And gods' advice on where to hunt next,

Reading entrails, tea leaves, and comets
For the wisdom of a clueless world.

We're getting better. Newer models
Of that which inhabits us predict

Without frequent recourse to agents
Imagined to be somewhat like us.

Culture is becoming itself, not
Needing mimesis to masquerade

As the thought of a god in the skull
Of a bear painted red at the mouth

Of the blackness of a cave system.
More tightly packed, we pivot open.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


"Crossing a threshold guarded by demons"

Independently of us, no,
Our gods and ghosts are never real.
But insofar as we are real,
Insofar as we are, they are.

The ocean is an animal.
The lake is a mind ocean feeds,
A distillation. Nobody
Crosses the lake without a doubt.

I would not like to be pure, but
I'm not convinced every crossing
Improves the hybridized demon.
Some lyricists write for the eye.

The flower of the full moon blooms
Shadowy amalgamations
Of accumulated impacts
As it floats across the water.

Friday, October 17, 2014


"It was common for twenty innocent bystanders to die in an amok."

Common. Can we bear it?
The implication
Of our inclination
To havoc amok?

The lesser angels
Are our nature, nurture,
Trumpets. Music hath charms

That go to war. All drums,
Screamed the Godfather
Of Soul. You are all drums!
The heart beats thunder

Against broken ribs.
The only times we're calm
Are when we're sated,
Or when we're in such pain

We can see the Angel
Whose teeth chew the breath
Turning its back on us,
Or when we surpass

Our death in our rage.
I still believe in calm,
But I'm scared of it.
'Siss im Blud, but no balm.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thirty Two

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
—Andre Gide

What have you found, now
I've kept you far from shore
These six or seven years or more?

We've floated north, floated south,
Seen the distal constellations shift,
Seasons reverse, sea in our mouths.

Dream, the mixed forest, gathers
The light of the mountains, a green
Fire you once said you'd rather

Trade for red and open outback.
Every traveler has a right to change
Her mind. I doubt that

You thought you'd find, fishermaid,
Your blue-eyed intensity in the desert
Weird of a small, blonde mermaid.

But I don't know. You are your own
Universe coasting over open worlds.
We sail together and we sail alone.

Night's depths are never ours. Light
Spans the story of her dark; love,
Across oceans, pulls her cross-starred kite.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Every Writer Has a Voice

I don't recognize you.
I don't want to. I want
You to rip me out

Of you. Don't be
Anything recognizably
As it should be. I

Wish I could drive you
Into the woods where
I cease to be.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moth Catcher

It's the Kootenays.
Wear what you want.
Wear nothing out.

"On the count of three,
Everybody yell your name!"
"Ehhhaaaaa!" Crowd sounds like.

Standing in line
At Kaslo Fest, lightning
Popping, cottonwoods

Dropping gobs of cotton
Along with wind blown leaves,
Gentlemen pissing

Into ranks of plastic buckets,
Harpoonist and the Axe
Murderer banging

Out the complaint
"They don't make 'em like
They used to." No, they don't.

Monday, October 13, 2014

And the World Is Full

The lake is neither
Alive nor a thing.
It is the center

Of infinity,
Which has no center
And is nothing but

Center everywhere.
The water enters,
Turns, lifts, and returns.

The lake winks an eye,
Swimmer an iris.
I am a pupil.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


As a pun, invented by serendipity, meaning some kind of play on fake jewelry. That's me. Foolery. A darkly luminous idea.

Somehow, tomorrow, I have to drag this carcass across the surface of the lake.

Howard the bear brought his seventy-five pound saxophone. Oh Death, won't you spare me over to another year?

The shifting continues. I have to be at the marina in an hour, and likely immersed like a true Baptist in two. The lake is a great, cold jewel, darkly luminous, and I am a fool.

Everyone knows I'm going. Nowhere to hide if I drown. I make a play for my soul, tell myself if I cross over I will have the mojo to live.

And here I am. Water fine. Swim went quickly, too quickly. Didn't savor the green gold endless underneath below me long enough. Floating is flying. Crossing over is better than lingering on the shore.

Nightfall and the thunder appears contented to mutter in the mountains  over Valhalla and the glacier, on the other side. I sit on the borrowed porch, listening, pleased with my foolery now. I came here from the thunder side, came here on my own two arms dragging me over the green world. Going back may not now be as frightening to contemplate, I shouldn't wonder.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


When the like strikes me,
I'm hourless. We nip
Potato chips. We
Sip lemon mint tea
In Diana's woods

Where rabbits sometimes
Hide behind humans
When they chase. The flowers,
The bean plants, the sun,
The weird brown lizard

Who haunts Diana's
Studio shadows,
The mountain, the lake,
Beauty "like living
With a grand old friend,"

The rumble and roar
Of the rural road
And forever mowed,
Manicured golf course
Rising from below,

All beg conclusion,
A witticism,
A plot twist, crisp, quick,
Slightly ironic,
Enough time to go.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Loons Calling in the Waves

Once, when I was an undeserving
Professor of Anthropology,
I attended a lecture in which
A physicist who tried to capture
The smallest observable units
Of time discussed ultra-stop motion
Photography, the thinnest slices
Of millionths of millionths of seconds.
Something had just happened, even then.

We say "one thing leads to another"
And mean consequence by a cliche
That should suggest continuity,
As each thing is irretrievably
Linked to every other thing, nothing
Distinct, nothing still and nothing free,
Nothing indivisible, nothing
Timeless in its own space. Like most fish
I did my best to rise to this bait.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Harold III

Two loons passed, calling in the waves.
It was time for me to get out and past
Time for me to get in.

I heard another explanation
In June for the missing name.
Perhaps the plaque in memory
Of Harold from his loving parents
Had not been torn away from the bench
The year before by petty vandalism
But by someone vagrant, desperate
For small change, who ripped away
The cashable piece of copper.

The bench, however, remains. Seven
Summers gone and counting, but who am I
To concern myself with Harold
Or loons on the lake, or anyone,
Or motivations, or whether to get out
Or stay in? Remembering
Is everything. Is everything.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


This language is the only gift
I have ever inherited,
The feudal expanse ancestors
Carved out and fought over, nothing

I earned or created myself.
Outside of these pretty patterns
Arrived as bequests from outside
My flesh, I am not I, just breath.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Odyssean Companion

"At this point he no longer knew what animal he was, dog or frog; perhaps a hairy toad, an amphibious quadruped, a centaur of the seas, a male siren." ~Eco

A man overboard between
Shipwreck and the broken beach
Tries to keep focused on what

Can be seen, what he forgot
Was important once begun.
His shoulders are in the sun,

His legs dangle behind him.
His hands grab the waves. He swims.
All that there is left to think

Is whether and when to sink.
Everything courses around
Mind dreaming only of ground.

All his life on land he slept
Hard, the better to forget
That the sinking comes before

The depths. While we are, there's more
To be. No one can sink first
Before encountering worse.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hunting with Audubon

"[Hummingbirds] are easily caught by pouring sweetened wine into the [chalices] of flowers--they fall intoxicated."

Intimacy must be fatal:
Intimacy with another
Of one's conspecifics, winking
And groaning deliriously,

Intimacy with another
Of the entangled in this world,
Bats fowled in delicate netting,
Insects iridescently pinned.

Intimacy, conspiracy,
Tete-a-tete we bow our dreaming
Worlds alongside one another,
Never knowing if we're living

Together, remote from others
Together in another world,
Separately in one real world,
Or all alone in only one.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Choices We Think That We're Making

I'm sipping organic lager
From a squat brown bottle. I'm back
In the past, last July in fact.

Here are the books I've digitized
To consume from my mobile phone:
Vikings, Species, Happiness, Risk,

Poetry, Poetry, Poesie,
Seneca, the Mary Celeste,
Signals, Wolves, Whores, Don Quixote.

Statistics reveal the hazards
That, if I hazarded a guess,
I've unavoidably taken.

Techno pumps dumbly from magnets
Outside of the sidewalk cafe.
There's a chance I'll live to read this.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Incognitum

Confronted by recent discoveries
One rummages round for analogies.
In an interview about his new movie,

"Lucy," the director Luc Bresson,
Whose films I've never enjoyed,
Avers that cancer is "dying

Of immortality," thinking perhaps
Of those "immortal cells of Henrietta Lack."
Recently, a comparative gene study

Found that the longer-lived species
Have done a more ruthless job
Of editing out the free-riding fragments

Of ancient retroviral infections,
Thus cracking down on a major source
Of rogue carcinoma behavior.

Somehow, we could put these
Little snippets of news back
Together and set them in motion.

Even longevous humans keep
A lot of retroviral DNA heaped
In the cracks of our gimcrack genes,

And nowadays, lack of other
More pressing threats permits
Attacks from awakened engines within.

Pace Bresson, the scuttling crabs of replication
Are not immortal, however. They are
Undead, windup toys with springs

Still coiled, ready to pop up
In the coffins of our genomes
And go on a rampage until indeed dead.

There's a microscopic story in there
For the kind of black-hearted soul
Who mistrusts stories. Come again?

Faith. Have faith. The beasts will win,
The little interregnum of beliefs
Yield to their gnawing with relief.

Friday, October 3, 2014


"Remove the yearning."
Blue haze and crows crowd the lake
Where woods are burning.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Loose Change

In front of me, the gone-away
Parades the pretense known as now.

Now the helicopter shudders
The hazy, hot, blue summer air.

Now the sound of a hammer bangs
From behind green neighborhood scrim.

Now a squirrel barks down by the lake,
A pick-up truck accelerates,

A waterfall on the far side
Hums under the calling of crows.

Now voices from a hiking trail
Float up. The far-away recedes.

It's been a hard day for the heart,
Flushed by lack of sleep, frustration,

Bursts of exercise and complaint,
Love-making, fantasy, despair.

There's bad news in the air. There's war
And the rumors of more out there.

But it's alright now. It's quiet.
The gone-away glows. I don't know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Non Voyage

"It was as if he had written a poem about a graceful antelope who had the back half of a leopard and the habit of flying over the arctic ice."

Nothing exists. Each moment is
Always the changing of the guard.
Even the past does not exist,
As the past is what is changing,

And what is changing is likely
As not the riddle of the naught,
Change as what was, and nothing
Is on the way. The exact thought

Of being a being is lost
In the identification
Of the infinite and empty
Set as none and the same. Monsters

Of the imagination fly
Over arced, antic ice. We are
The saddle between the leopard
And the last of the antelope.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Who Was the Me That Did That?"

Something ordinary is happening or
Something extraordinary is happening.
I'll let you know if something impossible happens,
But something is always happening, for sure.
Any other claim made about what is
Or is not, is good or is not good, true,
False, or hypocritical remains
A value judgment, a little myth,
A story about what happens, what happened,
What might happen if or might have
Happened otherwise. Myths happen,
To paraphrase bumper sticker wisdom,
One of the many ordinary ways something is
Happening, always happening, with or without . . .
Who was that?  What just? What's happening?

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Knife and a Piece of Bone

I think I'm going to have to give
Up on going swimming anytime
Soon. Wind and thunder move

The waves around. Runes
Were used for short and intense
Communications, says this book.

What runes had to say seems not
To have been a whole lot, but what
We want them to say, riddling magic.

Mind of the lake, kenning of
God, carve air how you will, I will
Carve your water still, knife on bone.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


If you can, look closely at your hands.
Let's say every day is a life, every night
A reincarnating exhaustion, every
Waking moment a new existence.
If you can, look closely at your hands
As they wash the cups and plates,
As they fold the laundered unders.
So much attention, I am told,
Is worthy of extravagant caution.
For a person with a soul,
Nonexistence is not an option.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sancho Panza's Sly Intent

Believe nothing or everything
As the wind blows and the nose
Suggests any opportunity to feast.

Hide behind a fog of proverbs
And bottomless appetite
For contradiction and nonsense.

Feel around the world as around
The rim of a bowl in the dark.
To be happy, be full. Anticipation

Is memory agitating the tongue.
There could be something good
Here, if only you could get at it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

White Moth

Peace of the evening gown lifted
In that shift of changing spectral light
Implicitly weightless, I worship you.

Faintly, gently strip away description.
You are whole cloth. You are not
Anything I may ever be. Shade me.

The corridor fills with moonlight.
Piece of the moon interfere with me.
You feint a wing and bare me, kiss.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The wonderful part of this world
Is that there are no parts to this,
And we know it. We know it well
Enough to invent fine nonsense

Such as names, syntax, virtues, sin,
Diversionary divisions,
Directions, insides, outsides, sides
To choose, rules for choosing, ruptures.

The best part of the forest is,
Simply is, where the roots and rocks,
Fungal hydraulics, dreaming mice,
Bacteria, bones, and poems fuse

And are one. No one can be one.
Not one. Only everyone can,
And that's the whispered mystery.
We know that we aren't as we are.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chiaroscuro Seas of Tranquility

One unnaturally buoyant needs ballast.
I've got grit. I've got sand. I've got lead weights
Wrapped in long lines around light awareness
That mind is a moon pretending to be

A balloon pretending to be a boat
Bouncing over the broken reflections
Where waves intersect interminably
To suggest choppy myths. surface and depth.

Nothing floats, nothing sinks, notes the stoic
Dreamer of fine-drawn, drowned infinities,
And yet we're put paid to pretend our ends.
Were not. Were. Crescent. Can't care. Crescendo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Grey Wolf Glares at the Dwellings of the Gods

"I will write one bad line too many, it will reverse itself and, seizing the pen from my affrighted fingers, proceed to erase all of me."

Thought and memory circle noisily,
Lovely ravens of black abstraction,
Always getting into mischief,

Hopping and thieving, perching
On my shoulders, sociable lovers
Of carrion. My shoulders! As if

Anything meat and bone belonged
To a pronoun like me. Worlds sing
A round, chatter amiably, pull

On the oars of desire, swing out
Over the bowed shield of the lake
Thought and memory make. Reflect

On the silver skin. Ravens, osprey,
A mother ruddy duck, ducklings
In her diving wake, everything below,

Keel of a longboat shaped, shadow
Of interference in the light, waves
On waves, on and on, change goes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: Rutabaga's

Bald eagle crossed from right to left.
Loon coo-hooed out of sight. Nothing
Out of place in the world of the lake,

So why should I distrust it? It's not
That I don't; only I can't.
On the whole the odds are good

That the lake and the town, the birds
And the people with open windows
And store fronts on the whole are real,

And I am, too, even if none
Of us will ever be able to check
On the rest of us without us.

A man with a problematic face
Hopped the garden wall outside
Rutabagas Natural Foods

And asked me if I were the philosopher.
Said we'd been introduced. Said
He wanted to "share." I didn't

Trust him half so much as the eagle,
The loon, the cold shouldered lake,
Although he was my best guarantor

Of the rest of them. I was wary. I stalled.
He pursued then finally left, although
I was wholly unpersuaded, me alone.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: Bannock Point

I imagine in the possible world
Without awareness it is autumn
And hardly any tourists now come out

To the lookout, despite the hemlocks
And scattered gilded stands of birch. Am I
Right? You could take it as evidence

That you and I have shared the world between
Us, who can never be certain, however
Tempted, anything is beyond awareness.

The forests around the lake are changing
Out there; the stars, the ice fields,
All the things beautiful to us wheel

And burn, grow taut and collapse.
The punishment for never being
Around for dying, hence immortal

Awareness, always an as is, pace
Parmenides, isn't age or boredom,
Reserved for ordinary living. Peace

Is guaranteed to us, assuming you are now as I
Was. It is that we never get to transcend
Being, since we are, as we must be, being.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: Garbanzo Plays the Hidden Garden Gallery

The future hasn't happened yet,
Or it has happened and is past.
The future never really happens,

Which is part of why I wonder
How we ever manage to get
To sleep knowing we never die.

Awareness is of fresh contrasts
Receding among the bric-à-brac
Of the richly textured past, never

More so than in the cases of sleep
Or wakeful forgetting, experiences
Observed only in the even

More distal aftermath than most,
As varieties of inference called gaps,
The darker shades of contrast.

There is the animal, addicted to life,
And perhaps some smaller distractions.
There is the compound awareness,

Part product of flesh, part product
Of the long, thin generations of culture
That whip and coil through it.

The latter is more used to vanishing
As part of being aware at all, but
Would rebel against flesh for immortality.

The future, which was out there
In a hidden garden, a possible world
Without us, impossible to visit,

Is one among the fading pasts, images
Of what we all were wearing, the swallows
Flicking white in the evening, the music,

The friends, the gossip, the art, the little
Girls in lurid frocks having fun, one
Daring the other to eat grass. Last night's

Drama. Why do the dying take pictures?
Who are we saving them for? Truth,
Beauty, and thumb pianos. We laughed.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: DCT Chambers Rte 6

If you're real, the chip trucks are still growling
Out there, without me, DCT Chambers
Emblazoned on them, fore and aft, tonight,

Same as they were when I was aware
Of them, their engine brakes, their grinding
Gears, spacing the motorbikes

Out along the Crow's Nest,
South of 6, along the Sinixt
Trade routes for which six

Seems to have been significant,
The word for it attached in three
Languages among the sighing trees.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: Max and Irma's Cafe

Syphilitic alcoholics and impolitic
Hermits are responsible for too much
Of the species' best poetics. I'm

Talking to you, Emily and James,
Gustave and Arthur and Li Bo.
A man with muscular arms hobbles

Past the rain and sun soaked plate
Glass to look out at the indifferent
View. By now there's more truth known

Than we ever wanted to know. Hell,
The food is good, the hills green, the mist
Delicate rising in plumes from the pines.

"Something's gonna steal your carbon."
The man turns on a downtrodden heel
In a cloud of hemp smoke, his face

Scarred with pocks, one eye askew
And weeping. I love him as I love
The literature of the lost and foolish,

As I love the moss and the fog
Clinging like death to the hemlocks,
As I love truth, distantly. Don't hug me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Letters to the Possible World: Almost On Carpenter Bridge

The last proposition ever to fall
From grace into falsification,
The least testable possible hypothesis,

Solipsism is at issue here. Can I
Reach out to a world forever
Beyond me, little Moses

Granted a glimpse of the constant
Promised land outside of any
Experience he will never have of it,

Today, for instance, sipping a slow
Calm, almost on Carpenter Bridge,
Almost in the Slocan Lake, but not,

Not yet. Out there you are in the not
Ever, the aether. I will write to you,
And you will ask if I exist beyond you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Nature flips a fair coin to choose the state.
Someone announces the results in words.
Diverse parties dispute those terms until
A few generations or centuries,
Possibly a few millennia pass,
At which point the words get resurrected
As divinities and/or axioms,
To wit: everything's motion; nothing is.
Sunya or asunya, maya, Mayan,
Take your pick. Contrast is all. Contrast is.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Riddle Thief

"Woe to the once-hallowed trickster. In ancient mythologies, the riddler-thief and agent of change held a position of prestige. Now, we don’t know what to do with him."

Who shall I steal from for today?
There are divinities who don't
Scruple to punish their servants,
Even if both divinity
And servitude are human dreams.
To wake from either you need me,

Loki W. Coyote,
Messenger interlocutor,
Dissembling craven underling,
Intermediary blurring
The terms of maze and labyrinth,
The something you glimpsed in a well.

I am an empty container
Once the container's been broken
And the emptiness is what's left.
I'm the game outside arenas,
The war about no boundaries,
The lawgiver of lawless things.

I'm wholly your own creation,
Holy after your destruction,
The gap that makes the axiom.
What you see's what you make of me.
What you seize is gone before me.
I'm the signal that means there's noise.

I don't fit into hierarchy.
There's no good way to punish me.
Only foolishness rewards me.
I'm gab, quicksilver in your ear.
In my smoky, showy boasting
I'm beginning to disappear.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

La Misma Nada

Would anyone say that the thin stuff of space intends to sin?
Are those pits of light we see at night in clean air in error?
Should we wince at the wickedness of the rocks we lean against?

You know the answers, and it's only distaste for the answers,
The unanthropomorphicized emptiness answers suggest
Even to wildly anthropic minds, that alters your best guess.

And yet. The simplest combinatory molecules are you.
You are the thin stuff of space, the scorched stars, rocky earth made flesh.
Everything clever as everything. Let nothing you bereft.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Zero Solus

Nothing makes people
Like hypocrisy.
We can't acknowledge
How few our options--

To be enlightened
Requires a pretend
Transformation or
Too much solitude.
Our social selves hate

Something or someone,
Serene as we seem.
The world of mind sticks
In our bloody brains
And won't let us be

Too simply. We are
Creatures who make love
Out of carnal need.
We are bad at bone,
Or at least all weak.

We can accept things
And fail place or show.
We can compete to be,
Be good, be redeemed,
Fine hypocrisies.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Well, we're all hidden in
The midden in the end.
But it is eerie how
We nearly always dream
Of invisible things
Almost risibly weird--

The elves and trolls under
The toll bridge, the wee folk
Dancing dragonfly wings
In the rye, the hidden
Buried, unbidden spooks
In the ground. Good riddance.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pastoral Mnemonic

There was beauty in the day
Under consideration.
There were grey mice with black eyes
Looking for a place to hide.
There was a yellow kayak
At the mouth of the fast creek
And a man in it, fishing.

There was snow on the mountains,
Sun on the lake, a swimmer
Shivering on the stone beach.
Winds herded the sheepish clouds,
And a woman with a dog
Watched as another woman
Pushed a noisy red mower

Through the long grass and flowers
Where the mice had gone to hide.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Go on. Facing the opposite direction,
Returning the straight and narrow in exchange
For opposition, you're going to have to stop.
Etymology will be to memetics
What the domestication of dogs and wheat
Was to genetics. Meantime, the corkscrewing
Senses of a word doubling back on itself
So that it means the opposite of itself
As well as opposition itself, again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


There's always something left
To say; there's not always
A good way to say it.

Two years ago, the Bay
Rode high at the boathouse;
Six years ago the sun

Sat bronze on calm water
Into late September,
And then, whatever now

Is is passing along
From years before the mast
To more years beforehand.

We can't even decide
If the past that's before
Us is in front of us

Or always behind us.
Everything thus before,
Whether in front or back.

We're so turning around,
Rotating on ourselves,
Blank axes, we're the logs

Washed up on the stone shores
In winter by the Bay,
Driftwood piling all spring

During the runoff, spun
By the high and subtle,
Low and reassuring

Murmuring of the waves,
Awkward, mysterious
Of origin, cut, dropped

By heavy weather, wind,
Sloppy harvesting, or
What? What goes before us?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sin Sunya

To not love the going away,
However painful the going.
To make rules that specify love
As a necessity. Nothing

Is a necessity. To make
Daisy chains of cause and effect
When correlation is enough.
To insist upon not struggling.

To cause harm. To know what harm is.
To fear harm. To compose phrases
Concerning harm. The terrible
Is large or small but always part

Of the going. To dice a world
In such a way you slice the odds.
To be happy. To be grumpy.
To be expanding with nothing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Light Falls on Water

When Lou Reed died, my mind turned
To Laurie Anderson's riffs
On her "Transitory Life."

At first, it was all about Lou,
And her song sung then recorded
The lament of a widow,

Although of course she wrote it
Years before his death. I knew
As much, but heard what I liked.

Then it was all about me,
And for a couple of months
I heard the song as a dirge

For declining middle age,
Me, dour, bejowled penitent
Pretending to understand death

While clawing at trees of life,
Frantic to scramble away.
Acceptance makes poor pretense.

A feminist threnody
Is what the song became next.
I caught the doleful fragments

Referring to grandmothers
Embalmed in pancake makeup,
Baby boys preferred to girls.

This was less amenable
To a masculine ego.
The song began to recede,

But as it faded away,
The chorus interpreted
The verses ironically

And my sense of what it meant
Was tipped off balance and fell
Toward a wry mordancy.

The gleeful bankers, winners,
And sailors, the grandmother,
The never-born baby girls,

The mouse trembling in the trap,
The treasure locked in iron,
Making their nests in my ear,

The shifting pronouns, the chant,
The keening, the light that falls
On water sail through us all.

No one really needs to care
How cross-hatched phrases must mean.
No one intends to get here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Foxglove, Loosestrife, Lupines

When that I was exceptional
To myself, exceptionally young,
I composed unexceptional

Songs to be sung about flowers
Beside the New Jersey highways
And waysides in August,

Loving invasives as pretty
As loosestrife in crumbling,
Crowded Not-Quite Manhattan so

Much my brain obliterated,
Repeatedly, names of other flowers
Too adjacent. So many years,

So little learned, that I stumbled
Again and again over foxgloves
And lupines, forgetting

Their names, substituting
My first love, loosestrife, as a name
For everything vaguely reminding

Me of flowers in summer when
I was so unsure and unemployed
I was free in my irresponsibility,

Not happy, not contented, just
At loose ends. I would learn
To doubt the value of these simples,

Little things to human events,
Would learn to strain after great
Themes and the horrors of stories,

Those disgusting human inventions
Unlike any greedily innocent
Invasive botanizing that crept

Into the gardens of sniveling divinity
And tempted me, you, a few.
Anyone's worth contentment.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Weedy William wants to know
How what is good misleads us so.
Wandering lights, gone out to play
Beckon towards another day.

When I asked him, he gave me
His best beady-eyed stare. "You mean,
You don't know inconsequential
Consequences? Gullible

Fool you are then, my William."
Not your William! I said. I am
A believer of another
Sort. "Explain!" was his retort.

I can't explain.  What was not
Lost is found again. The sunk cost
Of believing is the grieving
Of what was lost believing.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wait's News

Umbratilious, atrabilious,
The only one who ever was
Sits in the sun of perfection
Waiting for all the worlds to end.

There's a newsstand on the corner
Where a handful of memories
Accrued, but there is no newsstand,
Only the memories accrued.

Were it not for the shame, the end
Would approach humbly and be glad.
Those within these worlds who manage
To perish of nobility,

The patient patient whose illness
Cannot be down to behavior,
The warrior in a righteous cause,
The impossibly elderly

Slip into radiant shadows,
Their good, sweet tergiversation
Inevitable as the one
From one to zero and below,

And as inscrutable, as true.
For the rest, the tabloids wait us,
The wagging tongues of the bereaved,
The evil flowers of our minds,

Petals and sepals limp, lolling,
Nothing like the glad incoming
Of worlds that surround the garden
Of good and gone. One could rest here.

The descent should be as joyful
For the wicked one attempting
Heaven and just short of heaven.
One loves this world that does not care.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I am a giver of gifts. Honor me.
A long time ago, before words,
Your ancestors discovered the gift

Of rewarding gifts precisely, thus
Encouraging others to give gifts
In certain hope of reward for suffering.

Information became the first currency,
And cooperation became worthy.
Privacy was the sacrificial lamb,

Language and gossip the altar
And blade. That's the latest
Version. Today, two kayakers

Rushed in to hand me their lenses,
Polarized products of friendliness,
So that I could better spy on the sun.

Four concentric rings of rainbows
Surrounded the god that burns against
Scrutiny, here reduced to a pleasantry.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Each breath is borne by the mysterious
Cooperation of many millions
Of oxygen-burning little lives.

We call this cooperation "lungs."
Or we call it the sign of life.
Does it matter if it's matter?

We seem to mostly think so.
We inhabit a parable about ourselves.
A tiny, flickering phosphorescence

Twinkled at the crest of a long, dark wave.
Below and generating that glow
A million billion monsters grew

And bred, divided and warred
And consumed one another, until
They burst from the inevitable

Obesity brought on by insufficient
Waste. Ruptured suffering
Broke loose as a vast intake, a gasp,

And lights flickered from that foolish fire.
The moon, indifferent cluster of fractures,
Rose and drowned the yearning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Abstract Number None

We are all figures, none of us signs,
None of us incalculable, none
Transcendently meaningful now.

There is a hinge, however, in us
That allows for moral accounting,
The ghost of a sign, a convenience.

The accounting is arbitrary
And essential: no human escapes
The deciphering gaze that matters.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Norse runes and Mayan god glyphs
Encoded cycles of thirteen. Our Gregorian
Calendar contains four seasons of thirteen,
Snugly fitting into fifty-two weeks. If

There existed, ever, outside of a word for this
Experience of the intermittent stream
Misunderstood variously by itself
As an awareness, a self, an eye, a thing, and if

That self in its thing caught the faintest whiff
Of a smell, an approximate incense, wood smoke
Incensed with the vaporous appearance of temporizing
Contemporary explanations of existence, and if

That self in its cell decided to call it quits
After being confounded by being transparent
In the equivocal fogs of learning, leaning like
A silvered wood, moss-devoured boathouse in the mist

That falls and falls without falling, finally, down this
Increasingly irrelevant, slippery slope, creaking
And cracking, then gone, into the nonsense
Below the reeking, fishy surface of everything, unmissed,

Uninhabited, an unhouseled house of the margins, and if
The solution to all the dissolute weariness closing in
On the carious shore were to  rebuild the rebuttal,
The doughty redoubt out of fresh cedar sticks and splits,

So that these ever-cloudy hopes were forced to fit
Their clinging selves around precisely arbitrary,
Geometric, tongue-in-groove dimensions
In which that corner matched, tongue-in-cheek, to this

One, a solid seeming structure that willed to list
But will not, will remain symmetrical, purposed
And repurposed, until the end of time or some other
Such fuming fireside dream of an apocalypse, as if

A thing with tilted shapes braced to fit could miss
The irony of an entirely wooden spirituality,
An entirely immortal soul made of mortal matters,
An undesirably self-referential kiss, a velvet fist

Of fingers clutching themselves as they itch
Inside their lathe-and-plaster glove of heaped-up,
Nailed together, glued apart at the seams
Lives before they were them or this was this

Or it was possible, however risible, even to mix
Such metaphors, such a whipped-up contrivance
Of new wood, old words, cheek pecks and pecker-fretted
Doubts about what will hold against gods like this

Thing named for a life, which is as all life is,
One damn continuous rhythm after another, impossible
To contain or constrain by number or name
But weirdly amenable to mixed-up weirdness, like this

Heap of sweepings in the corner of its own dry bliss,
Keeping fifty-two birthdays company under cedar shakes,
Under the dry rot of the eaves, of bending shelves that shall
Compress to shells comprised of calendars, then this.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Waiting for the Clouds to Part

Six shades of silver
On the lake. On again,
Off again. Again, six
Shades of silver, same as
Three times six years ago
In Scotland, the Shetlands.

No one gives a shit, lad,
No one, not even you
Anymore. It's too cold
In those islands of days
Before. Here, it grows hot.
These nights are longer, now,

Although the days are, too.
Eternity awaits
Even the silvered mouse
That snaps the pantry trap
As the human, thinking,
Sips the last light out back.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Barren Cow

One word can mean too many things.
The things a word may mean are words.
Numbers, however abstracted,
Are only more words, words, words, words,

Obsession with counting caught up
Into arithmomania,
The conviction that some names name
Meanings beyond any naming,

The reason why mathematics
And philosophy rub shoulders
More often with divinity
Than with their cousin, poetry.

Words dance a quadrille, complaining
That they are only words, no things.
They dance tarantellas housing
Automata that ignore them.

Pause. The word stark, in English, means
Or has meant, the same thing, complete,
Severe, rigid, a barren cow.
Words can come to terms with monsters.

We give our monsters up to words.
We give up ourselves, the patterns
Of interference shaking out
Between monstrous, monsters, and us.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ever So Slightly Numb

Complacency can't be
Such a terrible thing.
It will kill you, of course,
But so will everything,
Joy, anxiety, trust.
Immortality is

A cloud on a cold spring day
When the days already are
Long enough to be summer,
And eternity sprinkles
Goose flesh promises of death
On the ever-dreaming beast
Then retreats, into the sun.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fantasies Are Organisms

That which hovers, vaguely,
Over the surfaces of the waters
Is troubled by the teeming things

That stir up from beneath to feed
And be fed. They will not
Leave the surfaces alone,

And all the mirrors of reflection
Scatter, miserably broken charms
Which that which thinks can't be.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back at the Lake

At the beginning of June it was
Sunny and the water was clutching
Cold, and I splashed out into it,

Unable to keep myself from thinking
That the water was spectacular
For my usual first short dip in it

But too cold, even a few quick
Strokes from shore, to not want
To turn around inside and flee.

The four locals who fell out
Of a borrowed canoe, I realized
In that instant, had not a chance,

Didn't matter drunk or sober,
Didn't matter life preservers or not:
Once their canoe was over

And they were out there in the deep
Water I love and romanticize always,
They were over, too. So too would

Have been me, have been you.
I warmed off in the sun on the bench
Then got back in, as I have to do.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Watch for Changing Conditions

Evenings at the Greenbriar Inn
In Couer d'Alene, long times ago
When our adventuring was done,

When our dog was none, our daughter
Was one, our musical artist
Of the evening was eighty-some,

I would be your huckleberry,
The sun would be singing love songs,
And you would be mine, gold long time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Duke of Nevers

Maturity coincides with dissolution.
The great whitewashed concrete M
On the side of Mt. Sentinel rose
Over the rooftops as I walked.

It was not a dream, although
I've dreamed of it often enough.
Dreams are more vivid, less
Memorable. I walked up there, once.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Unusual Bones

Life is one long sortie
In a war where every
Now and then someone
Signs a fresh peace treaty.
I sit in my hotel
Imagining I own

It or something like it,
A bookstore for instance,
Or a pub or cafe,
Or all three things at once
In one, adorable
Cottage beside a stream

That makes cheerful noises
Across the chuckling rocks
Worn slowly within it.
The rocks I love because
They can't contend against
That uncontending stream.

I would call my budding
Dream of a warless self
"The Emancipated
Mole" and sell frothy pints,
Books with uncut pages,
Hot coffee, sandwiches

And sundries by the stream
That customers could hear
From my open windows,
Surcease from love or war,
From complaints of bankers,
From importuning gods.

I have unusual
Bones bending in cages
Around the usual
Heartbeats alarmed by mind
Fluttering like a moth
At assimilation.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Hard to imagine the shield of a goddess
Once consisted of the stretched hide of a goat
And the fearsome apotropaic visage
Of a wild-eyed woman sticking out her tongue,

But the supernatural world evolves along
With the roiling ecosystems of culture,
A game in which the islands and continents
Exist only briefly in comparison

With the archipelago-hopping species.
It's a kind of flying world our brains have made
Possible, filled with impossible beings.
Everything that thrives among us transcends us.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Someone with whiskers lies back
In the front passenger seat
Of a Subaru Outback in evening sun.

Pedestrians stroll past with plastic
Bags and sunglasses on their eyes.
Gossipy conversation fragments

Drift along with the dust and a boy
Sneezes. Not a soul, least of all
The whispered someone blesses

Him. A little wind, a little hymn
To wanton erudition and useless
Drollery: more simply, just a breeze.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Now Departing for White Island

I am not, I believe, the first
Person to doubt my existence.
The glow of the impossible

Moon, the satellite of Earth's moon,
Echoes, a torch inside my eye.
The wounded animal I am

Pretending to interrogate,
And on whose sole behalf
I intend to negotiate

The shoals of alien atolls,
Told me everything. I don't know
How wandering selves, resurgent

After so many nights growing
Nothing more dreadful or thoughtful
Than brittle hair and fingernails,

Can constellate philosophies
Out of varieties of waves
And threaten to beach on far shores,

But I am not the thing that knows.
I am the thing those things that die
Invest with lust for afterlives,

A spokesperson for the creatures.
I am, in their flesh, immortal,
The green-eyed wave in their going,

And, if I am not mistaken,
I am conceived as mistaken,
Ship shaped for one eternity.