Saturday, May 31, 2014

Convalescence

Drinking more than six men
And talking more than twelve,
The man with a seer of a monkey
Goes about from inn to inn

Inquiring of the number of customers
Within, just as a happy coincidence.
I'm with him. What will become
Of me, I hope he answers nicely.

This is the ancient meaning of invalid
In several antique tongues. The head
Hangs heavily as unloved fruit
On the narrowing neck of the saint

Whose future is the answer
A madman elicits from a con artist
And his prognosticating monkey.
You see? said Don Quixote,

Displeased with his own prognosis.
Read a lot, ride a lot, see a lot,
Fall off your scrawny horse plenty,
You'll die saintly. Me, I feel better already

Friday, May 30, 2014

Plum Lucky

How reprehensible the fellow enamored
Of the flowers growing weedily by the roadside.
Sure do appreciate you, sing the nodding heads.

Does anyone dark of heart as any starred, dark
Night bedewed with dark matter and invisible,
Habitable planets know of a way to rise

Above those nodding charms? Why are they so polite?
Humbly they attract the hungry bee, secretly
Designing ways to withhold protein-rich pollen.

They didn't count on me, wastrel down on his knees,
Down on his pluck, ready to scrutinize petals
And behead the best among them. That's why I'm pleased

But dubious, bedazzled, unlike worker bees,
Those genetically enchained pollen predators
Who harbor no illusions of sweet fruits from flowers.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We Are Tourists

The peacock blue sky without eyes
Fans its feathers over drab rocks.
One variant of the many
Worlds hypothesis holds our world

Is likely a simulation,
Given that, if any one world
Perfected the technology
And art of pretense well enough,

Simulators would get busy
On so many simulations
Of worlds that any given world
Would be statistically likely

To be an artificial one.
Plus, there's the mysterious point
That mathematics fits this world
A little suspiciously well.

Digitized acoustic music
And digital music alike
Unscroll smoothly with faint birdsong
And the whispering of breezes

In my ears, rowing into me
Or into what I think is me
From over that open blue sky,
Being simultaneously

Distinct, indistinguishable.
It's getting late. The moon will rise
Soon to the music of the spheres.
Time for me to be getting home.

But first, what I would like to know
Is how can we use this world's math
To ascertain the likelihood
That this world's mathematically

Unlikely to be and likely
To be unreal, mathematics
Seeming to work too perfectly?
If we are in a universe

That's itself a simulation,
Just as our brains simulate it,
By God, what's it simulating?
Who or what within this are we?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Sound of the Drum That Signaled the Night Watches

Beginning with the seemingly simple
Task of defining the risk of dying,
The founders of the state of insurance
Worked their way backward in contrapuntal,

Crablike elegance, mincing and waving
Their pincers at the hissing sands of time.
Inside each crab, a tiny, monk-like flame
Lit the dim lamp of absurd awareness

Of the absurdity of awareness.
Why would it ever matter to matter
What happened to matter on conversion
Into one more energetic gesture

Of an over-sized claw on the long shore
That defines the edge of this enigma?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Risk Homeostasis

Everything we do to be safe
Entices some new recklessness.
The successful rehab provides
An excuse to start back smoking.

The lack of need for a rehab
Is a good reason for gorging,
The diet triumph yields shopping,
The windfall from frugal saving

A reason for paragliding,
Airbags an excuse for driving
Too fast down country roads at night
When the moon is up and shining,

Even the escape from marriage
To some lunatic derelict
Is all the more reason to date
Or to join the ladies who lunch

In narrow dresses believing
They can't get too rich or too thin.
Gregor Mendel, celibate monk,
Indulged in feasts, cigars, and peas.

Prince Hal sobered up for warfare.
Mother Theresa found herself
Strangely attracted to lepers.
The healthy young tempt everything.

And if we defeat our killers
And leap into longevity,
There are strange diseases of age
We still die from rarely but will.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sur la belle ├ętoile

Is there any ugly star?
Our sun in our eyes comes close,
But we love it and need it
And know not to look at it.
The ones at night break our hearts,
One by one and heart by heart,
Although the whole panoply

Visible desert camping
On a bedroll, by the car,
Proves alien heartlessness
In a language neither math
Nor profound faith comprehends.
That one there's the loveliest
Cries the brain, the lonesomnist.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Idiocy

Cut the bullshit. Never mind
If your goddammed gods are mine.
Worship whomever you like,
But vote without violence.

"While I'm inside this darkness
I can see no difference
Between death" and what I see.
Your anonymous masks me.

Here I am. Wo bist du? Hier
Bin ich. Love lives in the end,
I believe, even as lives
Led in the Teutenkreuz dance

Jerk and gibber to the end
Of their Owl Creek Bridge gibbets.
The bonfires on Maidan Square
May rise, may confuse us all,

As the streets of Homs confuse,
As the packed squares of Cairo,
As Red Square, as singing throngs
Of the free Rus confused

Us, but god and godless, each
And every one, I will trust
In universal suffrage
Before I trust any one.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Representative for the Lower House Man

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Rubs her drunken eyes near Toquerville
And bursts into uncounted blossoms.
(Toquerville is a town in Utah,
More or less equidistant between
Saint George, where the poet was working,
And Springdale, where the poet then lived.
The poem's first line is a quotation.)
All of this was back in early March,

A time lost to imagination,
What one appalled critic called a pool
Of mud and blood. Well. What but design
Of darkness to appall. Do the math.
The best evidence for creation
Is that our universe, or the world
That appears to be our universe,
Is a simulation. If not, why
Would mathematics work perfectly

Consistently to describe our world
Before we had discovered our math?
And what has this to do with cherries?
If the world is best described by math,
Then for nonsense, poetry's the best
Way to populate the barricades
Against the ruling party's decrees.
I love numbers and politicians
Equally. I just don't believe them.

The majority party in house
Had better be truly popular
To cast their votes against me. I'm old.
I existed before votes counted.
Nothing's equal before me, except
Votes registered by mythology
Of purely equal strengths in numbers,
Not in spite of contrary belief
But as I believe contrarily

Friday, May 23, 2014

Probability Does Not Exist

In its own time, an event
Is always very modern.
The shining truck startles me,
Pulling up alongside me
On the gravel, grinning girl
In the front seat peering down.
Someone hops out of the back

And runs over to the plaque,
Reading it quickly, arms crossed,
By my shoulder, and then sprints
In return, clearly quite pleased.
"It says the architect was
A Mormon settler from Maine,
A pioneer!" The truck leaves.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quiet

Clouds shifted and chirped. You
Knew what was likely
To have happened in
At least a few cases. Control

The music by playing
Only familiar digital
Recordings. Pray
The equipment won't break.

Then you forgot. The control
Of a moment's performance
Depends wholly on what
Goes on lost inside of you.

You heard the end coming. You
Forgot you wanted to listen. You
Turned off the system to catch birdsong
You'd heard. Clouds shifted.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Crazy Ant Poem

Today, the myriad bits

Of me my brain produces,

That infest my brain, compete

Like crazy, running around,

Pouncing, biting, denouncing

Each other, carried away.

What's wrong with me, anyway?



Any secular mystic

Would instruct my warring parts

To quiet down, go away,

Enjoy this now; breathe the day.

It's sunny. It's getting warm.

You're blessed with a family,

Haven't gone broke, lost your home,



Been diagnosed terminal,

Or thrown into prison yet.

Be here freely and be free.

But who are they talking to

When they tell me the true I

Isn't me? Which? I or me?


Seems like they're talking to me.



And why would my true I need

Their advice, anyway? Why

Would a me leap to believe

The best strategy for me

Is the immediate end,

In this glowing morning sun,

Of all my fighting to be?



I know what my relatives,

Evangelical, would say.

Come back to Jesus, today.

My Mormon neighbors would say

Pretty much the same, although

What they would mean would remain

Sinful, between you and me.



More, behind desultory

Admonishments and polite

Invitations to the Church

Or the Ward meeting tonight,

Lie the vast religious plains

On which massed armies contend

For the right to command me,



Any me, including you,

To destroy or to ignore,

As god's prophecy may be,

Any other you or me.

If you ask any of these

What exactly's wrong with me,

They'll spurn or burn you, gladly.



So. Let's turn then to self help

And to the Jacob's Ladder

Of twelve rungs to the kingdom

Of blissful repentancy.

I have sinned. I'm a sinner.

My responsibility

Is mine own and mine alone,



I testify, mercy me.

I will lose weight. I will choose

To live. My longevity

Will prove my testimony.

I will recycle, really,

I will. I will redeem me,

And I will shop frugally.



I will live inside the truth

Of budgeted resources

Faithfully, eternally,

Please. Oh mercy, mercy me.

There is a truth eludes me.

No one, no body unasked

Would other than ignore me.



We give advice just to say

We heard you, now go away,

Or to pocket some meaty,

Gricean chunk of gossip

We can share with other friends

Whom we want to admire how

Well we can communicate.



What else could a body do

To survive nonsense blown through

The portals of awareness?

You've met those few who do care,

The ones with the vacant stare,

Who strain in pain to contain

The mandate of love to be fair.



A body built to compete

With a socially fine-tuned

Brain falls apart at the seams

When social rules become real.

The result is one fuzzed ant

Climbing to the canopy

To pose, throwing spores in air.



It's a cultural jungle

Out there, assuming culture

Does evolve and is out there.

Driving hosts mad is just one

Strategy among many,

Including encouraging

Hosts to fight and be healthy,



And if cancer can evolve,

Why can't culture? Two cancers

That we know of have escaped

The suicidal assault

On the body that spawned them,

One among Tasmanian

Devils that spreads by biting



Other devils in the face,

And one among dogs that spreads

Genitals to genitals

Its genome having been traced

To a single animal

Several thousand years ago.

Billions fail but one succeeds.



As cancers, so cultures go,

As cultures, so go ideas,

Including ideas of me.

One siblicidal fig wasp

Might make it out of the fig,

That pink pulp filled with fragments

Nothing inside left to eat.



And once free that creature finds,

It's just begun to compete.

Homicidal invaders

Batten on their victories

Until the next invaders

Usurp what they'd taken

As theirs forever and free.



In Texas, crazy ants spread

At the expense of fire ants,

As gods at expense of gods,

New me at expense of me.

They're immune to the venom

Of fire ant stings, seemingly

Or at least statistically.



They're disorganized, of course,

But that makes spreading easy.

They groom themselves with their own

Acid from their abdomens

And ninety percent survive

Well-organized fire ant stings

Instead of just forty-three.



There's no advantage to this

Except numerosity,

But I can't help admire them

As I wage my war for me.

I want their immunity,

To be one in that ninety,

And I want to win. Crazy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Get Out of the Car

Said Edward Abbey and says my wife.
No one commands you back
Into the car seat who wants you to savor life,

But I savor life here anyway.
Parked in the dune, wind humming
The panes, here's my gone away.

The dune blew down from those sandstone cliffs.
That fly-strewn carcass of a deer
Tumbled down, too, to lie against a drift.

Edward Abbey, iconic iconoclast,
Wrote his funniest fiction not too far from here,
But he and that's all back in the past.

There's nothing to this living art
Thing seen from the front seat of a truck,
Nothing to sitting once you start,

And no one eager to hand you a prize
For being glued here and motionless
In a hunk of metal god meant you to drive,

But here's where I find my awakening
Thoughts running closest to my dreams,
Dislocated, broken, muffled, weird, still, me.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lustreless Phoenix Laments Resurrection

The difference between
Imagination and discovery
Is that, if the discoverer
Dies with all notes consigned

To the flames, someone else
Might, perhaps will inevitably,
Rediscover whatever the lost
Continent was. That's not

The way it goes with imagination.
Burn my soul, my soul will not
Return as such but thanks
To someone else to haunt you.

There are no souls because
Souls are the only apparitions
Could be called what was. See?
I'm gone. You can't recover me.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Risk of Contentment

What might happen and what might matter
Walked into a bar together. Chance,
Pollution, purity, and danger
Followed after.  "Anger produces
Optimism," what might matter said.
"People don't panic in disasters,"
Replied what might happen, placidly,
In her usual sanguinary
But hypnotically stately fashion.

"Here: 'Everything exists just by luck,'
Runs one copyrighted translation."
"Formally study uncertainty
And you will discover a certain
Exhilarating ability
To stand in the square and predict things,
A disciplined form of prophecy."
"Don't be tempted to complacency.
Confidence inters all decency."

"Events such as winning lotteries
Conform to chance, but what if chance lit
On you? What guilt would be caused by it,
What resentment if the lottery
Were that rare winning ticket to death
By cancer at an early age, won
By someone who was uncommonly
Healthily behaved, without cancer
In the genes?" "Can one love random things?"

"Who said, 'The most important questions
In life are, for the most part, only
Problems in probability'?" "You
Wouldn't want to pollute that question
By putting purity in danger,
Would you?" "I would." "But that's cruelty."
"Randomness is cruelty. That's why
There's the tendency to deny it."
The argument went on over beers,

As if no one cared who overheard,
As if the subjects of the debate
Weren't sitting in a booth, meek but near,
Near enough so that purity's ears
Were burning, danger had to pretend
Risk hadn't been raised, and pollution
Sat frozen to his bench, not breathing,
Half hoping no one would notice him.
It was the beginning of evening;

How could such an evening ever end?
Believe me, there are thirteen-hundred
Twenty-six ways of dealing a hand
Of just two cards, and what might happen
And what might matter truly were
A couple of cards, especially
After a few beers, but they were drawn
From an infinitely staggered deck,
Lumpily shuffled, with lots of blank

Choices and dark matter blended in.
So objective probability
Couldn't possibly apply to them,
Which made it all the more distressing,
Given seeming openhandedness,
That this quiet evening in the pub
Drew straight to ineluctable ends,
Jokes about clergy, mating insults,
Poets trading fisticuffs outside,

Infinity tending once again
To the same old, same old things, despite
The claims of danger to purity,
The scowls of dejected pollution,
The boasts of chance that it had to win.
Nobody and nothing ever win.
Nothing and nobody always win.
Only fearsome symmetry demands
Everything play its hand to the end.

And here's the end: a brawl erupted.
The bartender, decision, burrowed
Under the clean, hanging shot glasses,
Hunting the safety on her shotgun.
Statistics, most easily fluttered
Of disciplines, wet himself and fled.
What might happen evaporated.
What might matter wrestled purity.
Pollution kissed danger. Chance was dead.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Precisely

No adverbs allowed.
We are strictly here.
Nothing you can't see
Means appositely
Between you and me.

Breathe. Count breaths slowly
Backward towards you
At the last second,
Frantic, swervingly,
Fighting life freely.

Start new. Ungainly
Body armatures
And fragile egos
Are yours. Contumely
Is humanity.

I'm not being silly.
I'm not avoiding
Truth, nor you, truly.
I'm not that funny.
Funnily, I heard

That Sid Ceasar said,
Curmudgeonly, "He
Who lives for his goals
And not for living
Life, lives foolishly."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Faith

I believe that the dead are
As "banal as the living."
I believe that they exist
In the same spaces we do,
Bounded by rounded squash skulls
In part, and by submerged streams
Descending through mists of art

Such as language and picture
And community dances,
In part. We commune with them
So unsatisfyingly
But so well, as we commune
With ourselves, and I have faith
As we are, we are lonely.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Princess of Entropy

The deadlines I respond to are never and now.
Our daughter loves to knock down block castles I stack.
I compose my life around her impish fits,
Usually performed deliberately and with glee.
She is the exultant princess of entropy.

It's half her fault that I've been writing poems faster
Than I read them. Writing destroys poems; only slow
And analytical, loving reading builds them.
Everyone who wants to write first without reading
Senses this, as our daughter senses destruction

Is a power more vested in her than creation.
Is it really getting to where I prefer poems
To fiction, science, science fiction? I resent
Myself for behaving like everyone I've met
On a plane, in a bar, as a dinner guest, who

Told me, shyly, proudly, "I write poetry, too,"
But could barely itemize a single poet.
The stuff feels absurdly precious to me these days,
Every reading of someone else's lines needing
My attention and happy patience, as with blocks

I carefully arrange into odd towers and castles
For a toddler to destroy. I think of my dad,
So good at building things. I think of the lost lines
I memorized and now know only as forgot.
I kick another pile into a scattered mess:

Everything true is too counterintuitive
Or everything true would have been easily guessed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In Belated Memoriam Maxine Kumin

I had one skinny book
Of your poems, you
Tall and horsy, looking

Confidently middle-aged
On the cover. Your Retrieval
System. I bought it for your age,

The same as my mother,
And because it said you'd won
The Pulitzer, and the other books

By other teachers I knew
Seemed not so well regarded.
To tell the truth,

I was ignorant. I was eighteen.
Beyond memorizing a little
Bit of Shakespeare,

Hopkins, and Pope, poetry
Was new to me. I wanted,
Weirdly, to be a poet,

Based on no experience
Of reading much or writing
Any at all. The virulence

Of this sudden sickness led
Me, not one of your students,
To put one delirious scrawl bred

Out of a memory of gold
Days in a hospital bed, spent
Dazed and, as I was later told,

Near death at age seven,
In your campus mailbox,
Anonymously. Eleven

Days of checking surreptitiously
Later, my pages reappeared
Covered with your judiciously

Thoughtful, somehow maternal,
Generously encouraging remarks
And stern suggestions.

It was the first and last time
A prominent poet took the time
To comment on my lines.

I carried your book around
With me, along with Baudelaire,
Bishop, Williams, and Pound,

All in narrow paperback selections.
I lost track of your work and your contemporaries
Mostly, except your friend Sexton.

I grew old and disappeared. I wrote
Or didn't. I read mostly other things
Than poems. I could quote

Whole sections of Retrieval System,
Then just my two favorite poems,
Then just a few lines, phrases. I wonder

If you ever wondered about
The effects of your gentle gifts
On those who forever remained without

A proper means of thanking you,
Living lives outside the world
Of workshops and magazines,

Of readings and prizes
And critical reviews. You're gone.
Too late for me to say it, but thank you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recently

Soon I'm going
To not be more
Permanently. Still,
I can't see why,
Given I'm gone
Most of most nights
And quite happily
Anticipate not being
A being as such,
That fact seems suddenly
To so much concern me,
Who's not been around here
Much, recently.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Schizodreamia

A cyclist rolls behind me
With a tire sound like a breeze.
I look around. Something's wrong.
The sight of the cyclist's wrong.

That sound could not have been him
With calves bulging, his waist slim,
Fat tires hardly whispering.
Leaves? Twigs? I keep listening.

I forget why I am not
I again, unhappy thought
Recycling through fallen years,
Riffling them like wind. One fear

That only voices suffer
Is that we're one another,
And none of us uniquely
One, winds whisper bleakly.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jeanette Rankin Hall

My palm is on the outer wall
Of the restored two-room stone
Home labeled "Adams House"
In Utah's Dixie South, built
By Mormon settlers sent
By Brother Brigham to prevent
Any Civil-War era over-dependence
On cotton from the warring states,
An immaculate box of pink sandstones
Roofed in slate, with two chimneys
And white cornices in the Virginian
Style imported by those masons
Converted along the way.

Cottonwoods refuse the February
Wind, refuse to bend or sway
Their stunted heads along the creek
That feeds the reservoir from which
Today one hundred thousand thirsty
Cattle and their cattle-eating humans drink
Or draw water for their baths and lawns. I sway,
In my usual, unsteady-ever-since
Childhood way, balancing against
Such cut rocks as I look up
Into the fast blue scudding past red cliffs.

Thirty years since, I taught my first
Class, a dropout myself, and thought
The same damned thoughts as now
In Montana's Rankin Hall: how trivial
Is this history that squares
Its corners with a plaque,
Compared to these dropped rocks themselves,
Cut and stacked for us by us in alternating cells.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Useful

Raymond Carver, not yet sober,
Not yet cancer riddled, answered
An interviewer asking him
If he felt godlike when he wrote

Saying at most he felt useful,
Like he was doing useful work.
What is useful work, I wonder
Half asleep and headed under,

Resigned to this night, electrodes
On my chest, face, and head, supine
In another hospital bed.
I wrote before I went back down

Borrowed phrases that consoled me,
Altered phrases, torn, turned around,
Avoiding stories when I could.
Stories end. Ends are never good.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"There Is No Science of the Soul"

How much life can anyone get
Away with, wonders Mark at night.
He's recently started thinking
Of himself in the third person

Again, everything else feeling
Too raw, too intimate, the language
Refusing to allow distance
Constructed without a pronoun.

Not that anyone would accuse
Him of intimacy. Arrogance,
Maybe. Pretension, certainly.
How much can one get away with?

He parks his car by the roadside
In view of the stratigraphy
That passes for the skin of life
Peeling away from the present,

Hinting at buried origins.
That life should be buried at all
Bemuses him. Why not a life
That went without killing itself

With the effort to keep going
At the expense of life itself?
Virga trails a man-o'-war scrim,
Crossing the rocks, leaving no mark.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Johnny Bucyk

Mark wonders about Johnny
Bucyk, left wing for the Boston
Bruins, circa the late 1960s
To judge from the poster of him
In uniform, skates, sideburns
And brylcreem on the wall
Of the south desert sports bar.
He's posing for a face off.
He looks pretty damn proud,
The year 2014 unimaginable
To him, to anyone then.
1984, 1999, 2000, 2001,
Sure, even stardate 2121,
Or whatever was either
Close enough or far enough
Away, but not today, not
An ordinary, boring future
That features his semi-anonymous
Poster as kitsch memorabilia
For a nationally franchised grill
Out in the worst country
For ice hockey this side
Of the Sahara. Johnny,
Johnny, are you still with us
Still full of some kind
Of steel-bladed hope?
Will your kids or your grand kids
Or any descendants someday find
The tattered remnants of your pose
Inside the long-condemned ruins
Of this suburban dump, you dope?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kraken

The other thing that comes up
Out of the depths of nonconsciousness,
Is nothing so Freudian nor even
Helmholtzian, William Jamesian
As all that. It's an argument.
It's the argument of arguments,
The principal business of whatever
Part of whomsoever isn't directing
Movements and assessments
In the theater of quarrel, where
The regurgitating brain, sick
Of enculturation and social
Regulation, heaves a dark yawn.
I loathe the habit, but I'm a wimp
Whimpering against it. I win
Another imaginary debate
With my imaginary stalking
Horses or worse, again and again,
But the swirl of the words
In the theater doesn't belong to me,
Nor their victories. The beast
Rises from the deep to claim
For its imaginary maw each time
Imaginary victims.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leviathan

"The soul was supposed to be indivisible, not divisible like a walnut."

"The shadow's the thing."

It comes up
In earnest conversation,
Now and again,

The hungry shadow.
Life is hungry.
Shadows are not.

But what if?
Souls are predators,
Giant eye spots


Trailing behind them,
Open or crumpled,
Impossible Polyphemus moths.

They descend slowly
In the brains
Of social apes

And feed hungrily
On the nectar.
Or. They rise.


I am one.
I can swim
All night, phosphorescently,

In your dreams,
Leviathan of God,
Child of Poseidon,

Angry at being
Slighted by you,
By you unsighted.


I can't speak.
I can't open
My crumpled wings.

I can't eat
The thinking thing
That eats me.

But I am
Not your brain,
Liar. I am.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Theoryful and Theoryless

"A sane man gone mad
And a mad man edging
Toward sanity" are one.

Miracles must "start far
Back enough." Sagebrush
Of the glaciers. Bosh. Stuff.

It was never the wormwood
In the green fairy gave visions.
Just the hooch. Just enough.

The artist never knows
Where, why the artistry descends
And, like a behaviorist's pigeon,

Exhibits all manner of superstitions,
Every one them artier and harder
To predict than arithmetic,

Even when the artist is an Einstein,
A Newton, a Pascal, a Pythagoras.
In fine, truth never understands

The imagination that gives
Truth a reason to live, that breathes
Pneuma of John von Neumann

Into the game. The same
Magic that predicts curds
Can be mistaken for brains

Predicts brains can turn
And yawn like lions in wagons.
I have not yet begun the night.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spookism

Culture is the abode of God,
The home of all souls. Words
Were the beginning of whole
Numbers, of whole worlds,
Of wholes. Nothing was part
Or parcel of other . . . Oh.
I don't know. The creek
At the top of the scenic road
Through Zion runs free.
All the dams well below.
Turkey and deer, also tourists
In rental cars and on bicycles,
Crowd its ever-crumbling shores.
Cross over, cross over,
Drink your fill. Mists and snow
Wraith the sheer canyon walls.
Rocks from fires, water
From the rock, life
From water, word
From the lives tumbling out, God,
Spirits and spooks of all kinds,
The thermodynamic cascade.
We were always correct, reading
Faith backward, immaterial
And material are linked after all,
Only it's the latter started higher,
Up in those seraphic veils.
You can't resist. You're a tear
On a tear down the cliffs,
A momentary swirl
In the words for the world
That return as your soul,
Braid of old words pooling,
Passing through the momentary
Vortices of you, downhill.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Own Kind

I love Kay Ryan
Because she reminds me
That although there may be
Greater things to do
Than cutting a line
Like the bezel
On a diamond,
When enjambment
Itself is so abstruse
And illiteracy such a problem
Ever since scribes unionized,
There's nothing or few things
I like better to see
One of my own useless,
Invaluable tribe
Do and do
So much better
Than me. Thank you.
I'm free.

Friday, May 2, 2014

What

If everyone got
What they wanted

And spiraled off
Into innumerable,

Separable worlds,
Would anyone

Know none were
Special, none alone?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Liturgy

Every clown knows the language
And imagery of formal lamentation.
You don't need black velvet
Or painted-on tears and a flower.

A man named Lauren, hunting dog
And ATV attached, pulled alongside
My parked car in the grey and red
Rocks of a local park last winter.

I took him for a hunter and believer
In the locally dominant system.
He was neither. He was a retired
Plumber who had served in 'Nam

And hated guns and was not
Overtly fond of Mormons. He was
Garrulous, as was his hound.
I laughed at their barking. Some

Acquaintances are worth making
Via happenstance. "Be a citizen!"
Shouted Lauren, roaring away,
Old yaller blue tick howling behind.

There were old men, when I was
A boy and Vietnam was loaded
And hippies were raw topics
To discuss at the dinner table,

Who could curse and spin BS
About wars that were long before
My time. Pretty soon they were
Mostly gone. Old Lauren too, soon