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.