Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Man without a Body

The spirit breathed deep in Niagara Falls
Where Model-T grandparents honeymooned,
In the reek of Coney Island hot dogs,
Never imagining that Coney once

Meant rabbit, not processed pork sausages,
In the hot suntan lotion wind over
The Grand Canyon's South Rim, one traveler,
Vague and lost among the globe-girdling hordes,

In the steaming cold of the Yellowstone
Caldera, alone with a life long gone,
Reduced to ashes, who was delighted
That morning to be in America,

The spirit of the thing encompassing
All the conquered beauty of betrayal,
The madness that is patriotism,
The simple longing for belonging here

Where no one can belong, new arrivals
Every day, here at the end of a year
Marked by the arbitrary calendars
That designate dates imaginary

As having a being, having body,
Having schemes and choices, having a home,
Having a country to gnaw on, a bone.
The sun sets on all that. It really sets.

Earth never revolved around it. Spirit
Never managed to become one with breath
No how matter how deeply drawn in, how sharp
And heady, how sharp and painful the quest.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"I May Sound Shallow, But I Feel Like My Job in Life Is to Be Happy"

The server flirts with the cripple
Who radiates that confidence
That comes with embracing the worst

As if it were a long-lost cousin
To whom one bears a resemblance
But no more than to some strangers.

She would never call him that word,
In her uniform of black slacks, blue
Blouse, androgynous black necktie,

And carefully cultivated
Professional mannerisms,
Just as he would never mistake

Her flirtation for genuine.
Simplest exchanges are contracts,
As the two matrons sipping red

Wine in frail, enormous glasses
At the neighboring table prove.
They joke and praise each other well,

Raise their bell-like glasses gently
And toast each other leaning in
Like judokas for an arm bar.

We have to disagree to agree
On how to disagree, the price
We pay for peace and deception

About ourselves and our others
Appearing no more than a word
Of kindness, tension in our thighs.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Barely a Ghost in Her Own Song

Even though you're almost dead
Don't ever lose your sense of wonder,
The clothesline of prayer flags
In the windy dark under high desert

Night backboned cliffs sheer as sliced
By a knife. The stars, the stars,
The incorrigibly meaningless stars
Sprawled out in feline nonchalance,

Midnight's chanteuse of light,
One voice combs out of many
The little hints that something had to be
Out there that used to be in here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Spherical Dice

Probability doesn't have edges,
At least not when it comes to perspective
Or personal good or bad fortune.
It's not like a storm front we use it
To describe. Once the wind starts
Blowing one way, good or ill, we can't
Expect more of the same, not at any
Given bend of the day that began
Well for us, or for us quite badly.
Fortune isn't for us. It doesn't alter
Likelihood during our hot or cold streaks,
And yet we have to endure it
Because, however unlikely, probability
Rules. Uncertainty is our certainty.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"A Man in the Midst of Dissolving"

The fact that you were born someplace
Doesn't make it belong to you.
It may make you belong to it.
Take a slab of sidewalk. A home

At driveway's end is a found poem.
Lost poems are more interesting,
Especially those you know were lost.
Don't expect to find the others,

The people and pets in that home
That you never knew existed.
The bones under the stained carport
May not have mattered to someone,

May have been the ribs of a deer
Brought down by a bitter winter
By a stone-tipped arrow, by wolves,
By bullets, by wasting disease.

Or they could have been just like yours,
Unique in the error they made
Rendering you brittle as twigs,
Blown glass, imitation Delftware,

But glowing under the black loam
With the magic of belonging,
Finally, to a place and not
To your haunted flesh dissolving.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Muskrats, Possums, and Bird-Eating Spiders

"I preferred books of poetry, since they allowed more breaks for spying. . . . A spy who, once again, didn't know what he wanted to find." ~ Alejandro Zambra

"In an infinite universe, anything is possible but that doesn't make it probable." ~ Nick Lane

"His failures went unnoticed, his successes earned him no praise." ~ Salman Rushdie

"It is disturbingly like watching . . . slow possession by a demon." ~ Helen MacDonald

"Happy as you go in, sad when you leave!" ~ Hans Dudeldee

Too many quotations will spoil the broth.
We sneeze, inhaling these little black flecks,
Hurting our ribs, and our souls fly from us.

They were never ours anyway. The names
That the conscientious attach to them,
That the sly hide away, never owned them.

Souls are. Spiced languages invented them.
They're our ghosts, after all, the great spirit
We inhale piously and then explode

Like the spores of a fungus, exploding
Pollen carried on the wind, on the back
Of a bat, the wings of a bumblebee.

The bat doesn't own the pollen, the spores
Disinterested in even the wind.
Bumblebees didn't invent the triggers

Of orchids and other dependent things.
Humans, as such, as bodies here and there,
Never planned to bear the seeds of monsters

Any more than the genes of the microbes
We also carry, dancing Totentanz
To the tune of endless Armageddon

In an infinite universe of myth,
Provocations, impossibilities
(Something impossible must be

Impossible still in infinity
For infinity to include the thought
Of an impossibility), and lies.

There are no single spies, only whole hosts
Of spies like bright beetles, armies of poems,
Fortresses of fairy tales surrounded

By blooming, buzzing forests primeval,
All ranged against the lust of likelihood.
The secret ingredient is not there

But in the silent, hunting predator,
Feathered in hunger, rock, water, and bone,
Saturn fond of anonymous children.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Fate Tectonics

We know the Word was African
But won't somebody tell me just
What is the soul of a man? Gone
Irrelevance of continents

That couldn't exist before maps,
What can your ocean-licked borders
Tell us about our migrant selves?
We were like any other lives

Increasingly reproducing
Ourselves in the teeth of hunger,
But we got caught up in a new
Competition to succeed us.

Who shall we crown victorious?
Which invention won over us?
We know the word was earth and clay,
But we'll never know why the Word.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Lively One Is Lying

I like my silent self so
Much better than my social
Self croaking over dinner
Among other social selves

Late at night when I'm lonely
And Blind Willie Johnson growls
In his tenor false bass doomed
To die too young in my skull.

Well who dies too old? Who lives
In Beulah land forever?
I can almost be content
When I put prison that way,

Pascal's death sentence: all souls
Shuffle through the prison yard
Before their personal turn
To discover nothing was

Ever and never will be.
When I am silent, watching
The night stirring its haunches
To hunt the world, I am free.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Parlay Parley

"Loving and liking are the solace of life,"
Wrote Dorothy Wordsworth, addicted sister.
Nature always betrays the mind that loves her.

If one could parlay the dire gifts of words
Into the transubstantiation of flesh
So that one could leave with the gifts, nothing left,

But the gifts run off and into other minds
Or sit stupidly, inky bits and pieces.
The world continues to do what it pleases,

And it pleases the raw world to deceive us.
We love, we like, we find solace in the air.
We believe that we existed. We weren't there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Can't Cant

When I was young, I wanted those
Whose insights I had found profound
To have lived admirable,
Profound lives. I just chucked aside

The ideas of those who failed me,
The drunks, junkies, and suicides,
The hateful in personal life,
Syphilitic misogynists.

Poverty I could forgive, but
Not extravagant bankruptcies.
What a fool I am. If insight
Had to equal ability

All the best teachers and coaches
Would have proved the greatest scholars
And performers. Each poor person
Caught between worlds must disappoint

Us somehow. Whatever it is
That is not free as the ideas
Nor as ancient as desires,
The semi-real being who's stuck

Being created by body
And culture, but can never leave
The former and never evade
The latter, deserves forgiveness.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Every poem is a liar, a fake accompli,
None more so than the beautifully brave.
Verse dissembles power by resembling truth,
But only the righteous creator
And the self-righteous proclaimer
Of the righteousness of the creator's verse
Are ever really deceived. Power is not
Deceived. Power gets it straight, a gardener
Understanding that the beauty of the invasive
Is a weed in the plot of righteousness, whether
Power's a nativist trying to restore an Eden
Of timelessly indigenous botany
Or an artificialist hedging end-shaped
Oases of bonsai potted paradise. Power is
Not amused. The creator remains
Bemused, but that's because again nothing
Got created, ever, least of all by such creative
Types. We're none of us poetry, all typists.
Every atom's clinamen annoys us, swerving
Flies inside our eyes. Clever
Universe to invent an inventive system
That exploits each honest liar for a host,
Heavenly hosts of undead angels arguing
Over whose deadly parasite's the best,
Most moving, most important, best dressed,
While God and no-God time rejoices
In rust and moldy gusts of infectious laughter.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

When I Swim in the Pond That Is Language

I think about which team I think
I'm on, which team hates my entrails

Enough to eat them with gusto,
Locavore gumbo, true foodies.

I think about Ken Gordon, boy,
Secular Jew, Republican

Rhapsodizing at the zoo
In New Orleans, twenty years gone,

About various fish dinners
He'd had, made, basted, or tasted.

I think about Pat Smith, old man
In the farthest back, restroom row

Of the bus jet planes have become,
Telling me that he was Baha'i,

Laughing at the silly Mormons,
Bragging about his kids, showing

Yours truly selfies he'd taken
With gorillas in the Congo,

Fretting about retirement, son
Of a man who migrated north

After a lynching, ex-husband
Of a woman who thought he wasn't

Black enough to deserve friendship
With his friend, Stokely Carmichael.

I think about how he whispered
To me as the plane nearly broke

Into pieces in a shuddering
Storm over the Windy City

That he suffered motion sickness,
That nothing in America changed,

That there are angels well-disguised
As people who land in our paths

And block our way, diabolus,
"It all happens for a reason,"

And "we're all on the same team here."
But we're not. We're a league of teams.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I Am a Violin Played by a Hair Dryer

I didn't write one word of this. I planned
And, once I had planned it, it existed.
Goldsmith generated the actual
Text you will likely never be reading

When he was giving a talk at Princeton
That went viral on social media
After a celebrity mimicked him
And another thousand immigrants drowned

Somewhere between the razor-wired borders
Of monorhymed jihadist verse, comic
Haiku contests describing weird Utahns,
And the heartfelt graffiti of the young.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Incredibly Old Woman

She seems quite grandmotherly, but
She has no descendants unless
You count her own flesh the substance
Of her indefinite descent.

She's the queen of growing in place,
Carrying the princess in her.
She's cloned her cells so many times
They can't recognize each other.

Every cancer, every virus
She converts to her duration.
She is whatever's left of her,
Whether dexterous or sinister.

She's her own long lost twin sister,
Her own father and mother, her
Trickster self hovering over
The cloud of selves that cover her.

She's not the Earth, not the mother
Of us, but us, our departure
At the heart of her arrival.
She's not old. She's not a woman.

She is the author of her own
Allegories and metaphors.
She doesn't have nasty habits.
Whatever fierce or feral is,

Whatever wilderness might be,
Whatever civilizations
Were, could be, she is not and is.
That's how she got so old. She eats.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Tasmanian Ghostwriter

"I like poetry because there are no miracles in it." ~Natalie Eilbert

Only a silent howl of freedom at his death.
Everything's inevitable once it occurs,
And we experience nothing hasn't occurred

At least that once to us already. There's no end
To what we've already experienced, to fate,
To the destiny of the done until it's done.

One person hates her body enough to harm it
Because it let her down so often being harmed
By other persons' bodies who hate their bodies

For wanting to do harm to bodies. Never mind
Ever able to unwind itself from the flesh
It consumes and by which it is consumed, the life

Producing the necessary precondition
For every suffering, suffering-inflicting
Self destined to know itself destined to not be

Anything to itself but destiny to selves
Craving the conversion of real flesh to fictions
Hidden by lost names as the lost Tasmanians.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chansons d'Instapoet

There's no term, no measure of impotence
For the powerlessness of witnessing,
Beginning with the fact that the witness,
Though the soul of honesty, is crippled

By the deviousness of memory
And the deviltry of good intention.
Past the last bend of memory, what's left?
This is why greeting card verse works the best.

We're always falling in love with ourselves
And paving the road to personal hells
With reassurances that are no help
Except as we hang prayer flags from the shelf

Of all the advice we've ever received
And denied as irrelevant to thieves.
The most ancient of us won't outlive these
Most instantaneous of media

We once collected, bagged, tagged, and posted,
The culmination of denial, hope,
The disbelief in causation that poems
Stoke, the conflagration of all poets.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Asympatric Speciation

Faith, kindness, genius, reward:
Purely human metaphors
As all our metaphors are,
As we are all metaphors.
What odors are to others
Word theaters are to us,
The code that keeps us apart.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Cows of Professor Valley

We're a digital ape in an analogue universe,
The night of dreams spent talking to celebrities
While the dragonfly glowed blood-red in the window,

The tying of one impossible-to-separate event
To another impossible-to-separate event,
Breaking the bone of the world into pieces

And then reassembling them again, scarring
Them not in the least, only our own experience,
The child crying out "Nightmare!" to begin the day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Or Dreamful Ease

To catch the organism as a whole
In the process of getting older, no,
You can't do that. You can't catch a process

And even when you think you see movement
You've just noticed how many inbetweens
You must be missing for change to seem smooth.

Smooth. Restful. Not quite dead. Not quite extinct
But quietly capable of watching
The awareness of what awareness missed.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"The Quiet Urgency of Common Daylight"

How many days within a day!
Today was a black high country sky
Cold with stars and a dark courtyard.

The next today was a long glow
And a daughter playing fairies
While her mother slept on the couch.

Today was also a sunstruck room
Bare and urgent to caresses,
Or it was plein air on the lawn,

Painters and easels and children
Playing under the cottonwood
Hours as the last leaves blew away.

And today was ten other days.
So many days within a day
But a week is always a week.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Knight of the Knives

No apocalypse looms for him
On his way out of the system
There is nothing there is nothing
He repeats to himself breathing

He could pretend he is too sick
How is it despite disaster
After disaster he's still here
This can't go on too much longer

Now that I know I could have walked
Like a unicorn through the walls
And not die like the tapestry
Of myth captured in the Cloisters

I saw before being captured
By my own love of myth myself
He said he said he said he said
And then the wheel wound down and wept

I recall as a boy a book
Sat in my church's library
A cautionary paperback
For missionaries and our ilk

About the Mau Mau uprising
Of the Kikuyu in Kenya
As a machete massacre
Almost a martyrdom of white

Missionaries and families
With the lurid title The Night
Of the Long Knives it would be years
Before I knew of Hitler's purge

Of that name 1934
Decades before I discovered
The old German connotation
Of that phrase as general vengeance

Or heard that South African whites
Deployed it to express their fears
Of what would happen on the day
Or night Nelson Mandela died

But I knew the term was magic
Darkness and nightmare attending
The pure excitement of the end
He said he said he said he said

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Life Under the Saffron Sign

In the direction of Zion
Here are the mountains of the moon.
Everything sings a sad love song,
Sad because songs produce no love

Only more sad and lonely songs
Of endlessly feeling sorry
For the singer. Her throat's a torch.
We were born into a contract

That guaranteed a debt no god
Nor benefactor could repay.
What are we saving our selves for?
The end of the world's drawing near,

Monster always getting closer,
Oh now, oh now, oh never here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Steven! Steven! Allow Me to Finish! Please! Hear Me!

I'm hoarse from shouting at fools
Silent inside my own head
And from listening to fools
Probably outside my head.

Everyone wants to be heard
And acknowledged in the right,
Most of all the silent types.
Their voices barely whisper

From all their shouting inside.
And what is the good of this?
The man shouting at Steven.
Steven shouting at the man

Hosting international
Radio hour of shouting.
Are voices substitute for
Or more incitement to war?

Doesn't matter. No one is
Capable of listening
To anyone anyway.
Please finish off my hearsay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Everyone wants to channel fire
Come here flare up over there there
No there no stop leave us alone

Do not leave me to die of cold
Do not burn the skins off of me
Do not persuade me of the fact

That you are me unlike only
Perhaps in that you cannot be
Persuaded while I cannot be

Monday, December 7, 2015

Of My Life Nothing

Of him remains, of my Greek
Master, of the free, the dwarf
Of impossibility

Of Primo Levi himself,
Endless enchained melodies
And fresh special editions,

Of the decision to end
Decisions, speculations
Why middle-aged, middle class

White evangelical men
In middle America
Would choose in droves to join him

In the storyteller's quest
To end the endless mess in
Immaculate conclusion

Sunday, December 6, 2015

As Fit for the Fire as Any Little Clockmaker

Our words become our monuments
Even as we disown the building of them,
Even as we borrow the stones.

For example, when the illustriously
Lustreless speaker completed a degree
And flew free to the Black Forest

And the old grounds of wars ancient
And recent, there stood an entertainment
Complex reconstructing Colonium,

Although the original fort stones
Had long since gone to walled huts
And cathedrals, the cathedrals

Bombed by the allies to the ground,
Under which hid more well-dressed stones
Of the original, colonial Cologne.

How to explain the urge to inscribe
With a pencil on a napkin a dictum,
A prayer tucked between the stones there?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Stanley Moss Argues with His God

Well it must be his. Whose else is like?
Ralph Stanley's Death and Rabelais's
Franciscans bear it some resemblance,

But I feel it belongs to Stanley,
Reading to a recording device
Digitizing his ninety-year old

Voice repeating, "so help us or don't
Help us," into the ear of the ghost,
The ghost great within us we still birth.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Indestructible Oleander

However pleasant or not, the world
Remains reliably unpredictable,
Mysterious heat under a bathroom tile
As if someone had installed

A heated floor. Then a flood.
Surely nothing more than a burst pipe,
A headache, a damage, a claim,
An expense of cash and a waste

Of same. But what if the monster
Under the ground really lives,
The breathing dragon, the tongue
Of fire that licked the stones' children?

A great disturbance is pooling
In this countryside of pooled cubes
Of black lava. It will warm us
Before it bursts and ruptures

The world that forgot that magic,
Even the poisonous oleander used
To invading and surviving, no matter
What tried to take it down. Destruction.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Probably related to weird,
Akin to bend and wind,
What is the long prehistory
Of a common word worth?

The crickets are pulsing more slowly.
Halloween has long gone behind.
The feasts of the dark of the hemisphere
Are looming with their fires.

Before anyone lived in a town.
Before anyone plowed a line.
Someone heaped up a giant
Cross in a square of mimetic desire.

We are the copying ape.
Copying made copies of us,
Of our dog-wolves and our cattle.
But the copies are alive now

Themselves, coursing
Through and under us
Like ghosts rushing under
A bridge, and we're worthless.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Ghost Ethnographer

"A lifetime isn't enough
To know how a person will
Behave." Only death would know

What a ghost would consider
Appropriate behavior.
Death's the ghosts' ethnographer.

Thick description, notation,
Careful quantification,
And, of course, random sampling

All suggest that people are
Transformed by death. They do not
Laugh or carp. They are calmer.

Most of them are small children
And infants who lived rural
Lives for a few years or hours.

There are more males than females,
More soldiers than generals,
And not a lot in their prime.

The whole society lacks
Industrious middle age
And, because they are dead, do

Little to improve themselves.
It's a myth justice matters
To ghosts. They have no motives,

They have no motion, they are
Indifferent to existence,
However detailed their lives

And different from each other.
I invited them to be
My informants. They declined.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In Narrative He Had Little Interest In

I have the voice I want but
Not the voice I know that
Other people outside of me

Can hear. I have the voice
I earned through years of not
Being my self self-consciously.

There are only so many lives
The billions of living lives
Could stand to sit and listen

To attentively. None of those are
Me. "She's a sweety," says the old
And well-coiffed Saint George

Matron at the table next to me.
So much evaluation, so little
Time. Apparently.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Nor Am I Out of It

Let's say Dostoevsky earned a stay
Of execution that afternoon.
Let's say the endlessly intricate
Atavisms favored by journalism
Never did other than worsen
An existence in the cell of a skull
By hastening its extinction.
Let's say nothing. The world,
Forever shrinking and expanding 
Again, new frontiers, less Lebensraum,
Refuses to behave our selves
More basely than our selves behave.
This is nonsense. The night descends
The way a curtain raises to reveal
The real actors, still in costume, out
Of character, sweating and grinning
To our sustained and envious applause
So close to the untouchable stars.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The End of the Dream of the Universe Existing

Neither what I know nor what I am
Deeply curious about I write
With one eye closed, hemisphere sleeping,

One eye open, hemisphere hungry,
Diving dolphin, dozing crocodile,
The whole that's only ever half there.

This is a recipe for failure,
But few among the wholly alert
Realize energetic success

Is equally failure's recipe.
Brutally terrible disaster,
To quote the cosseted teenager

Standing and peering precociously
Down the precipice of history,
Looks like a lesson for the future

When the future was still capacious,
An adolescent future, as dark
And overstuffed with odd bric-a-brac

As any sadder old man's attic.
The whole, if it were to come to life,
Would catch fire and disappear tonight.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

First Self

"Their looks tell the whole story,"
He told the Associated Press.
"You can't describe looks on people

That are lost. They look totally
Lost--shocked and lost."  A lamentable
Feature of institutional culture

Is that cooperation entails murder
Of one kind or another, as you may
Recall reading here before.

Sleep is the personification
Of rest but it is no second
Self, no self at all. Seneca,

Scoundrel, knew best that holiest
Loyalty is the mother of death,
And he practiced daily, but he lost.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Unbuttoned Bellies

A man had three sons
And the middle son
Was only a tiny bird
That shocked everyone

When he flew from his mother
Fully fledged at birth without
An egg to protect him
An egg to chip.

Then he broke and he
Broke and he fell and he
Broke and fell and broke.
The real meaning of fell,

Dark and old as the dark
Even in the bones of a bird
Born from a woman shocked
To see her sun fall from

Her own morning. Now
Commence explanation.
Slide down into the first
Indentations between

The bones and press
Down hard and think.
What does it mean
To be a wonder tale

With plenty of glass
And mystery to scatter
But no magic? The bird
Boy grew up, a bit,

And married a woman
Who didn't mind conversing
With a bird. They nested
And had one bird and one girl.

The rumors that their bird
Had to be raised in a Skinner Box,
Fed on lizards and Greek myth,
Are false, and thus it was that

Odysseus was a mower in hell.
And if I have not yet died,
Then I am still living
Happily to this day.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Benediction

When I was young, an old kids' tale
Said that a ring around the moon
Like that betokened morning snow.
Oh, how fucking ardently I

Believed. I wanted it to snow;
I always wanted it to snow.
I wanted snow enough to swath
The world in quiet white for months.

I've learned, since then, that snow can trap
You without food or company,
Hunkered in the mountains,
Waiting for spring to set you free.

I've become acquainted with snow's
Terrifying witch sister, ice.
I know now, I know. But I wait
In the unlikeliest Zion

And hope the unlikeliest hope
That tonight the haloed full moon
Promises tomorrow the snow
On snow on snow on snow on snow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beth's Four Boys

The first time she talked to me
About it, I thought she'd never
Come to term before. I know

A few small things about the small
Things that can go wrong in utero.
I worried for her and for outcomes.

I didn't know she'd had three boys
Already, one of them halfway
To being his own species of tree,

Tall and weedy at fourteen. No,
I thought she was hanging on,
Hoping to finally be a mom,

Why ever and for whatever
Billion years of reasons that was.
So, the day she stopped by

My office to tell me she was going
To have a boy and name him
Jacob, I rejoiced, albeit wrongly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pink Clouds over Pine Valley, Dinosaur Tracks on Johnson's Farm

Pretty, ordinary morning commute,
No Armageddon in store or in sight.
"Who knows what we're doing
Or why we're doing it," a coworker

Asks, rhetorically, of course
Once the office work has begun
As if nothing would ever end
Recycling normal and strange

In the strangely normal course
Of all happening, the endless
Reconstruction of the ramifying past.
But then it was all never been

Never could be again, never
Anything having ever happened,
No such person, no such thing.
There were no clouds left over Zion.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dandiprat's Confession

So, how could a self be built from scratch?
The beginning of all deception
Lies in self-deception, in the lie

That I am I and that it will be,
Because I am I, different for me.
No, it will not be different for me.

I am neither beginning nor end
Of any new thing, anything old.
It will be the same with everything.

An infinitely divisible
Prerequisite for a universe
In which things have ever existed

Is change, continuous change in all
Dimensions, starting from any when
Extending, no when, ends without end.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thus Ended Assyria

Bit of dirt. People crawling
Like the flies crawling
On the people over it.

The territory
Is a terrible trembling.
We will die.

We will all die.
In the calm lands
Observing the end

Of the old, tortured patch
Of eternally resurrected
Torment no one thinks this.

In the calm lands,
Nothing as serious
Could happen,

Which is why
It is so lonely when
What can happen arrives.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


She pulled out a god.
She pulled out these three
Things from this boy's throat:

Wool. The poor. Chastity.
Together they gave her
Opportunity for ecstasy,

The divine communion.
She shaved all her hair,
Wore only horns

And a loincloth, transforming
Herself from a woman
Into an animal capable

Of diving the future.
It did not please her.
It did not give her pleasure.

She knew herself
A part of the things
That must end, again and again,

And found her magic
Insufficient to save the boy,
Herself, belief, the god.

Friday, November 20, 2015

But Come, Let Us March Confidently Forward!

We're not going to nag you about it. No.
We're not going anywhere, not really.

We're a fiction in search of characters.
We're the remains of juniper branches

We burned in the hearth on the cliff ourselves,
Never doubting someone would come notice

Our damp, discreetly ashen black remains.
Here we were, bunked down with the pack rats, glad

For a bit of temporary shelter
We could pretend we could stand forever.

Every ant, every amoeba, every
Bacterium is an army moving

On its stomach, every stomach as greased
In its own fashion as the fat-slicked scales

Of well-evolved snake bellies whispering
Questions we pretend the Great God did not

Want us to answer or hear over here
In the heart of the garden we knew well

Enough to name in terms betokening
Wonder that any garden grew from stones

At all. Come. We must arise and go now,
If only because all nows disappear.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Don't Bury Me"

Fareed Shawky was everyone of the one
Hundred billion or so humans gone before
Him, not into the unknown, into unknown

Unknowns of smug and ordinary old men
(Of which, however many go, we have more
On the way, and even more old women, too),

And into the unknowable unknowing.
This isn't fair, not to him, poor little boy,
Little living creature trying not to die

And afraid as any old man or woman
Leaving gates of ivory behind for horn,
Not to any of us who know we will be

Abandoned by the living because we aren't,
Abandoning selves because we never were,
Abandoned to the jackals of memory.

It's the sweetest, most horrifying request
We make of each other, the most desperate
Honesty. I am not dead yet. Fight for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Though Its Advance May Be Slowed

I'll be right back. Thanks. You're welcome.
The messages keep arriving
From the messenger who has left

The long, lingering suspicion
There were only messages there
Ever, or that messengers live

Alone, receiving and sending
Letters that will evaporate
Like disappearing lemon ink

But without the capacity
To be re-read by anyone
Again, there being nobody

Ever, except the messengers,
Each observing the others
Vanish into messagelessness.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On the Utility of Long Codpieces and the Convivial Drinking of Beggars

The worst was that his writing
Kept compounding the banal
With pitch-dark inscrutable,
Which was highly suspicious.

Had it been only banal,
It would be easy to read,
Easy to dismiss. Readers,
If any, would feel secure.

Had it been inscrutable
In every line, it would be
Hard to read, hard to dismiss.
Readers would reserve judgment.

Had he been writing in times
When writers could be sentenced
To death or torture, to life,
He would have been funnier

For camouflage, and at least
Secret readers could chuckle
Private chuckles in the dark.
But he wrote as lives are lived.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Philosopher's Stone Offering Plate

Panurge had nothing on him as a kid.
Once, when he was barely seven or ten
He noticed that at the back of his church

The polished silver and scarlet velvet
Offering plates the congregation passed
On their way out the door were often filled

With ostentatiously loosely folded
And uncurling large denominations
Of what wasn't rendered unto Caesar,

And this in a true Baptist church no less.
He perfected his own palming technique
And then asked his father for a dollar.

On his way out of the cinderblock nave
The next Sunday he targeted a ten
And deposited a one in its place.

He got good at this. He became better
At recon, scanning the plate on approach.
Each Sunday another one for twenty.

But where to spend the pirate's treasure chest?
It accumulated in a sock drawer.
His mother found it, and he was well whipped

For all his dexterity and wisdom
About the ways of resources and men.
He never prospered gainfully again.

Here endeth a lesson.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Desire to Dispute by Signs Only, without Speech

There's not a single human
So far who hasn't been
Conceived somehow and born
On this planet, so I can't think

Of why anything we've left here
Would offend it, except insofar
As we are ourselves offended
By our earthy selves. Our messes

Might be construed as offensive
And undeniably invasive on Mars,
But what are we invading here
Except our evasively invasive cousins?

We are not nice. Gaia, our mother,
Is not nice. The question worth
Asking twice is whether night's backbone,
Anywhere, were ever, ever nice?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"While Mediocre Ulysses Was Preferred"

Arithmetic growth introduces
A division that leads to doubling,
Rather than simply getting bigger.

If we were not prone to growth, we would
Never have been forced to come apart,
To divide and attack each other

For what? More growth, more divisions,
More problems with wars and appanage,
Counting coup by probability,

So all that's natural is at war
And quick to use nature as a means
To supremely unreasonable

Laws and ends. Dissembler! Who can trust
You over the brave face of Ajax?
If you win, you won because you lose.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Sea Permitting Further Passage

One more evening, one more day.
Scan the horizons and hope
For a sign that's not a sign
But the miracle itself
That breaks the ripe world apart,
The pip bursting out of the waves,
The island of tomorrow

Emerging like a solid
Country that could sustain you.
Grasslands are oceans, deserts
Are seas, night skies are the deep,
Permitting further passage.
It's the persistence of change
Disheartens the mariner

Seeking a constant shore. No
Amount of exploration,
No matter how intrepid,
Can promise to carry you
Far enough to safe haven,
Voyage beyond limits, past
Resupplies of loneliness.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chronic Inflammation

And what else would life be?
Matter inflamed with pain,
With want, with faith, with change.

A tiny swimming pool
Beside a brown hotel
Under the sandstone cliffs

Is ringed with aching souls,
Swollen, gravity-struck
Flesh easing flesh one way

Or the other, sauna,
Swim, conversation,
View. As good as it gets,

Observes one visitor
To another stranger,
Rubbing an injured knee

And soaking in the sun.
I can't trace the accent.
No matter. No answer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

At All

Let's, shall we say, personify
Him for a bit, for the sake
Of irrelevant allegory. How dark

Is the center of the place
No light can escape? And if
No light can escape, what is

Light in such an escape-proof place,
Except another variety of the dark?
Is there variety possible, there, at all?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I Am No Scholar to Catch the Moon in My Teeth

A soul is a thing in the sense of a word.
A word is a thing in the sense of a sound.
A sound is a thing in the sense of a breath.
A breath is a thing in the sense of a life.
A life is a thing in the sense of a lie.
A lie is a thing in the sense of a soul.

Let those who are without souls
Make noises with their mouths.
Let those who have no words
Breathe as if they meant it
Although they could not mean it.
Let those who cannot breathe
Stand for the facts, fall for the truth,
For mere being. Let them be. Let them
Alone. Let those who've never lied confess
They have no soul. Not one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Piper at the Gates of Gone

One more flash-flood mark on the tangled bank,
Mud and grasses hanging from bent branches
And the odd archaeological scrap
Deposited, another faerie flag

Of intricately tattered human hopes,
The page of a paperback book, a skein
Of toilet paper, a bit of plastic
Clothing manufactured so far from here

The oceans could not conceive of a world
Dry enough for destruction by a  flood.
What water lifted and carried down, wind
Will rearrange more gradually. All gone

Except for shepherds' carvings in the bark's
Torn strips, qui cum sapientia cadit.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The I of Each Is to the I of Each

A kind of fretted speech, like a grill or a guitar,
A wee dram of unexpected
Complications near a small, unpointed  star.
You can get carried away with your wanton

Comparisons, your allusions to worlds
Of fervor you never, will never know.
But strum a chord and feel self-gratified.
The world is cruel enough. Be glad before

You sigh.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Swimming for Shore

Every human life's an occurrence
At Owl Creek Bridge, the timing
Between the knowledge, the hallucination,
And the snap barely variable,
Although there's no denying
The hallucination was richly detailed.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Glad in It

"This is the day that the Lord hath made!"
Harriet Bond Wetherbe Jeffreys
Would chant to wake her many children,

Mostly to rouse them by annoyance
And by her own bombastic pleasure
In having a righteous thing to say.

"Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
Yesterday, rejoicing in being
Still around under the sun, her son,

Mark Edwin Jeffreys was explaining
To his quizzical child how many
Members of his family had died.

She stopped him on Grandma Harriet
Because their lifetimes had overlapped
By a few months but they hadn't met.

Sequoia Athena Jeffreys asked
For more information on Grandma,
And in the manner of the era,

Sequoia's father typed Harriet's
Name onto a gleaming piece of glass
And was gobsmacked to see photographs

Of his own mother he'd never seen
Before, floating out there named and tagged.
Of course, they were low resolution

And he'd have had to buy membership
In this or that ancestry service
To see the higher resolution

Reproductions of his mother's face
In a bad bob in the Depression,
Smiling shyly on a World War farm.

But it was enough. He could hear her
In her forties and fifties, singing
To wake up the kids in New Jersey;

He could see her whiskered, edentate
Grimace of a smile near the finish.
"Oh let us rejoice, let us rejoice,

And be glad! In! It!" All that we are,
Every song, every verse, every word,
Every image, every memory,

Even our hoarded, reconstructed
Own, comes from, or heads out, outside us.
But we can't escape our locations

Within each passing frame of mammal.
His mother was everything she was
Not. Him, too. His child, too. Forever,

A village audience attending
To the circus performers passing
In alien tents, the opera

Singers left over from somewhere else,
The circuit preachers, the lecturers,
The love that visits, inhabits, leaves.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Barbisol and Brylcreem

When I was a boy, men smelled like men,
Which is to say they smelled like products
Of artificially made perfumes.

They put products on their faces, they
Put products in their hair; their razors
Scraped along their snowy cheeks, nethers

Were scraped in discrete shapes by spouses
Known as housewives who birthed wet children
In clean rooms under brightly lit tubes.

When I was a boy, we drew faces
On our notebooks. The basic idea
Was to start with something like Kilroy,

Then add increasing amounts of hair
Until you ended up with something
Like Charlie Manson or John Lennon,

Spectacled, sauntering Abbey Road.
The idea of young boys is to slowly
Transform into what their fathers hate,

But no generation quite succeeds.
My father spent his last years bearded.
My beard looks suspiciously like his.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We Murder to Connect

Cooperation is another kind of competition.
The inside of the shuffling circle of Emperor Penguins,
Starving and carrying eggs on their feet in Antarctic dark,

The outer periphery of campfire tales of Noah's Ark,
And everything in between, remain ways of drawing strength in,
The better to conserve and amass and send it out again,

"Excretion of waste to pay down the debt" owed to entropy.
Cancel that. Without cooperation, no competition.
The concentric rings grow ever outward, inventing life, death,

Predation, parasitism, the total wars of humans
And eusocial superorganisms, exquisitely tuned
And prolonged, euphonious, harmonious, polyrhythmic,

Symphonic orchestrations of sacrifice on the inside,
Pitiless, fiery walls of chaos and random cruelty
Approaching, dissolving every luminous calm from without.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fable of Fables

The abundance of expensive,
Exotic raw matériel
In fabulous lands, lost, broken
Bow in hand, souls bowed down, broken,

The royal seal signing defeat,
Compact cylinder made to roll
Over the clay of a new day,
All these lost, apposite clauses:

Together we were meant to slip
Past the horned gates of meaning made
And maintained by brainier selves,
Ourselves, the council of the gods

Ensconced in dull billions of skulls,
Contesting, commiserating.
She saw a skull. She washed it clean.
As she was about to go home,

The well-washed skull called out to her,
"May you become queen, even if
You are first turned into a snake."
Gratitude overrules thunder.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Aspens and Orange at Navajo Lake

Repetitions reassert
The atmosphere of wonder.
Humbaba's forests regroup
And regather, in tatters,

True, but not in surrender.
This lake was, after all, trapped
By all-consuming lava
Long after Gilgamesh ruled,

And even now the basalt
Boulders are ink, almost bare,
Except for the strange aspens,
Small gold pennants fluttering,

Colonizing black-bricked rocks.
But forest birds bring songs back,
And human hunters clamber,
Blazing orange everywhere,

Following their horned monsters,
Lust, bellow, rut, and batter.
The names are all wrong, altered,
But the game's beyond words' range.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Hominid Libido

Makes no sense. Wears pants.
"Skepticism is the chastity
Of the intellect, and it is shameful

To surrender it too soon." Pretend
That any animal remains a mensch
When the animal's pulse is wrenched

By naked embarrassments. The hand,
So delicate, so used to all kinds of tools,
Fumbles at the entrance of the real.

You rub up hard against the raw world,
Wanting the miracle, the meaning cooked
Up out of nothing more than the want.

Miserable, darling medium-sized ape
Hunkered down in a shadow, hoping
To be or not to be caught unseen.

Want cover you cannot recover.
Other mammals must musth or musk.
You mist or miss. Muss your misplaced mane

Of extravagant hair against some naked skin.
What you wanted was some idea of what
Was want, once done come and gone again.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Costumes: Groovy Girl, Bun-Bun, and Bordello

Maternal grandma bought the blanket,
Typically tacky, overpriced, under-thought
Gift from grandma, the kind drove Mama crazy.

Scarlet, artificial, satiny on one side, fluffy
As a feather boa on the other. Mama
Derisively named it "the bordello blanket,"

But it was immediately loved by Sukha.
Before long she would sleep under nothing else
But "bordello," fuzzy side down. Linus

Was scarcely more attached to his blanket.
This went on for a couple of years, until
The parents themselves forgot the creepy

Implications of calling a little girl's blankie
"Bordello," shouted casually at rest stops
By the highwayside on long drives, "Have you seen

Her bordello?" Everything is just a thing in the end,
No matter how we tried to constrain it by name.
Then, there was the garish pink stuffed bunny

With outrageously outsized ears, entirely synthetic
Fluff, also from grandma, that morphed from "grandpa rabbit"
To velveteen reality, to a boy bunny, to "bun-bun,"

Who eventually became a girl, replete with a name
As long as her worn, occasionally laundered ears,
"Bun-Bun Pearl Daisy Daffodil Athena Jeffreys,"

Just one of us, as ridiculously and hopelessly
Slathered in unstable nouns and genres as everyone.
Don't get me started on the arrival of "Groovy Girl."

Friday, October 30, 2015

Culture Changes

"By frequent dissections gain a perfect knowledge of that other world which is man."

It's October. It's going to get colder.
You're not under the Southern Cross
And headfirst Orion the Hunter
Anymore, soldier. You're norther.

Don't care what hand the statisticians
Predicted most likely to win.
That's not the hand you're living in.
Any given moment now, a bullet hurtles. Been

Downhearted ever since the day bereft,
Ever since the day bereft of someone
Willing to shill the ghost of someone else.
The rule of awe gathers dust on the shelf.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


"Alas, how long ago this morning seems this evening!"

Lunch breaks I drink beer, read books, and write poems.
That's all the wisdom I have about that.
Day breaks and I'm likely as not awake, hoping
To have some moonlit morning to myself,
And that's all I can know about that.
Night breaks over the cliffs of Zion, scattering
Sparks of colored lights on the anvil of West Temple,
Conflating near and bright with dim, old, far,
Farther than anything I can imagine about that.
I break, and the surprise of the familiar reminds me,
Nothing anything can do about that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Humanity's Incomplete Memoir Composed of One Thousand, Seven Hundred, and Forty Syllables, Exactly, Plus One

A great while ago the world had not yet begun,
Or a great while gone the world was over and done.
What you have to keep down in the hold of that thought
Are the differences, facing away from the sun,
In infinitely divisible: only one.

Everything you are is something that you were taught
Had to be, couldn't possibly be as it ought.
The atoms, sands, gems on the miraculous shore
Shining with story's cruel weapons, cunningly wrought,
Are trivial, repetitive, and gods' whole plot.

It's all transmutable, incorruptible ore,
This shifting, reducing, incompletely sieved store
Of entropy's golden granary, forever
Finer equilibria, ever less is more
Or less ever distant from the shadowless door. 

You would like, I know, plainer language, but never
Was the jargon of your slang-slung present ever
Anything any tongue could spit clear of the past
Entanglements descended from other clever
Entanglements descended from myths, whatever 

Brains have to do to a brain to make the mind last.
Cursing's archaic as euphemistic hold fasts.
It's only to embellish my language, said John.
Generations of thieves stealing from thieves, outclassed
By the weird endurance of what's stolen: contrast.

A great while ago the world was already gone,
Our best ideas stolen by ancestors. Gods yawned 
And stretched their frames on Newton's particles of light,
Then slept in tents and dreamed of rosy-fingered dawn,
Battles prophesied, monsters slain by monstrous brawn.

There was not is not will not ever be delight. 
Kaikias, nor'easter, attracts the clouds tonight.
A monkey, all it does is beshit and ruin.
Life is a pet to give black-holed galaxies fright,
A peculiar appurtenance for what's not right.

That was random, said the student, long gone, who, in
An effort to shame the professor and loosen
The ligatures binding her, attempted escape
Via the time-honored madness of those truant
Souls who long to be departed, flown, winds' true win.

She didn't succeed. It's never successful. Rape
Is the strategm, inherited from the Cape
Of Good Hope, around which ancestors assembled,
Hungry, wherever were the most convenient caves
And spoke, as speak we all yet must. Gods have a shape 

That we gave them as we gave them, as we trembled
With fearful, terrible dreams that we resembled
The features of the divine, nothing we hated
More, everything we knew we had to let crumble
With age and time and neglect, the final temples.

A great while ago, all the world's hopes conflated.
The pointless poet, soul of nothing, orated
Before an angry crowd of gentlemen. The dark
Rain, sweet as it was in evening air, abated.
Time for gods to own up to what's been created.

Here is what Atra-hasis took on board his ark:
Every last word that could be encoded as marks,
So that the myth of life--maintenance, waste, and lies--
Could be preserved to reinfect the world. A lark,
Not a raven, not a dove, came back with the spark 

Of green in beak, song in throat, of the world outside
The little madness that is how the truth survives.
A great while ago, the world converged on the back
Of a hapless thing, rudely great and darkly wise.
Black, torqued lines, concentrating: what is is what tries.

Somewhere where you won't exist, you're under attack.
What was all of your life, bone, for others's a snack.
You would gather your skirts and squat down in the gloom,
But you've been gone so long now, the world's bric-a-brac 
Barely ashes your detritus. What's left is lack,

And you've not been invited to comment. Your womb
Was between your ears and bore gods and monsters, doom
In every narrative that didn't pretend loss
Was a kind of pause or exchange rate. The warped loom
Of ideas on which you racked worlds has no more room.

What thou lovest well sinks with the rest of the dross.
Nothing will not be reft from thee. That is the cost
Of over-stuffing memory in the first place,
Encoded, packed small, notes on foxgloved pages lost
In the fire that comes from compression, from dried moss

Like those delicate examples you used to space
Out as decorations to dress up the disgrace
Of a gone world going down long unwinding roads
On the dashboard of your truth, your engine of grace
Chugging along, for now, fed, oiled, and then replaced.

The rule of do what you will you'll never follow
No matter how many overruled failures goad
A departure from what will happen every time.
After the night's mare, the moon in the morning showed
Silver universes of reflection that glowed.

How comes the devil then to be so loath to climb
Down the ladders of cavern chimneys cloaked in grime?
Funny old thing, the pattern of surprise, the joy
Of an ever renewable innocence, time,
The advanced leglessness coiled in the common slime.

It takes narrative expenditure, this quick toy,
This arrival at a mingled shape, an alloy
Like the riddle poems Gargantua could compose
And recite or pretend to ignore. Topless Troy
Was a cute companion of any stable boy.

Slowly, slowly all hidden things will be exposed,
Emerge into the light and appear to be close,
Bright, here, and now before disappearing for good.
How to tell the hidden from the lost? No one knows, 
Despite unscrolling caricatures that propose

Spackling black gaps with bland pretend facts. No one could.
Small conceals and terrifies smaller. The dark wood
In which monsters content themselves with hunting dreams
Is itself a tattered, moth-eaten rug that should
Slip off the stones and sink into the sea and would

Do so. Nothing's speechless. Everything's as it seems.
Our degringoladia in excelcis gleams
From the illuminated manuscripts that drain
Out of every eclipse's reflections on beams
From every simultaneous gloaming, the streams

Of every coronal dawn and sunset all at once, the world, ringed brain,
Pando, the colony organism, the rain
Feeding and darkening the over-entangled
Plot of dirt from which the over-determined pain
Of being a thing feeding on its own refrain,

Which is, I am that I am, however mangled
I might seem, however bedraggled, dark-spangled,
Innumerable legion of disparate things,
However my offshoots can't count, my fire-fangled
Autumn glories dangle down. The truth has strangled

Every more honest lie. Summer's what autumn brings.
The moon and the sun hang from invisible strings
That wrap around their insidious me and you.
Every divinity's a pendulum that swings
In the grooves between human shoulders, human wings.

The combatants walked barefoot in the morning dew,
Holding hands and keeping absurdity in view.
You would never conceive the morning dew was not
Left behind by the violence of being true
To the violent notion that some things are true.

There was a possibility languages caught
That nothing could have grasped, but it's left us distraught.
We talk and talk and gesture and scribble and shun
The thin but unwavering evidence we've bought
A devil's bargain from every demon we've sought.

We crumble, having lost the race we'd thought we'd won,
An island of toppled statues, silent and stunned,
Faint, arrogant smiles still luscious under the sun.
A great while ago our world was over and done.
A great while ago, the world had not yet begun.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Broken Sonnet

Looks like something else, disturbs
The universe of Shakespeare,
Genghis Khan, caves of fossil
Bones of apes somewhat like us,

The anonymous mothers
Of the original names--
It is not what it appears
To be trying to disguise.

It's a sunny Saturday
When the long gas filaments
Gleaming like clouds in the light
Near the black hole and are gone.

Can information be lost,
Not just hidden or misplaced,
Not knowing just compacted,
Wisdom too dense to displace?

Information's not knowing;
Information's not wisdom.
Knowing's nothing, the nothing
Free, alone, that comes and goes.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Angor animi

The anguished soul, as cultured
As a cheese whose curds have mixed
With mold from loaves left in caves,
Peers out, compound self, from eyes

Fringed with bacterial dust
And despairs before turning
Away. Everything gathered
To witness must dissipate

And transubstantiate. Trace
Remnants kind to forensics
May inform another day,
But the revenants gibber

Without consideration
For themselves or for the selves
That might be formed from pieces
Of the thing no longer them.

The thing considers its end
In the pure concentration
Of that about to consume
The many to become none.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

al-'umm al-jāfiya

If it weren't for the beasts we 
Compose as scholarship, we 
Would all live like professors
Pretending not to be beasts

In strange poses, indisposed
By our disposable world.
Laud the old and durable
Over the throw-away wraps

Piling up in the landfills,
But it's all disposable:
Everything to be disposed
To the act of becoming

Other things. Composition
Equals decomposition,
And what we hate about trash
Is its tendency to last

When we so longed to dispose
Of it. Mountainous middens
Arise from life's dreams of life,
Trucks of waste per gram of self.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stable Entities

When it comes to death, it's as if
All the songs and poems and stories
About sex were penned by virgins

Contemplating the strange prospect,
Except that this transformation
Is not an initiation

Into a new experience
But the end of experience
Itself and of its memory,

Which is all of experience
One ever experiences.
Forms eddy, stable entities

Similar to earlier forms
Of themselves. They don't contemplate
What they'll be when they've never been.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Young Ghost

"For his gloves, sixteen hob-goblin skins were used, and those of three werewolves for the trimming."

So that really was my last swim.
I think back to when my mother,
My wife, my father were young ghosts.

It's not how long you lived that counts
In that world. How long you've been dead
Is your age. I won't come back here,

I'm afraid. I'll never come back,
A free man, to swim in this lake.
And that's okay. Everything is

Okay in the world of young ghosts,
No one getting any younger
Except when, like ridiculous

Giants spun from breviary
Flasks, we're allowed to start over.
Next nonexistence! Now, begin.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Now Look Down

The constellation Orion
Over the crescent moon rising,
Fire on the side of Pine Mountain,
Otherwise, the sky was iron.

A line, amphisbaena, writhed
On the mountain's misericord.
The red and white Zion sandstone
Browned. Hiding behind it, bronze dawn

Burned its own line, cliff after cliff,
Horizon upon horizon.
The long day traveling upright
In prayer for a merciful night

Rose with the plane and flamed over
The Vermillion Cliffs, the wired, tired,
Paved and irrigated desert,
San Juans' scallops, expired glaciers.

Twenty thousand years since the world
Was cold enough, kept to itself.
The bright metal bird flew halfway
Back up to the dark, an arrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Last Summer Day Alone in Zion

I tell no one, but I keep meaning
Never to come back. Why, I can't say.
It's a perfectly lovely small town

In a mostly rich and peaceful land,
Proud of grandiose geology,
The kind of place people strive to reach.

And then, here I am again, thinking
How unlikely it is that I'll be
Back here, at least in this condition,

Ever again. I struggle to mow
The lawn leaning hard on my crutches.
I look up at the Watchman, red-faced

At sunset, the glow of a million
Artfully posed tripod photographs.
I love this place. It doesn't belong

To me or any incoherent
Mythology, save the redolent
Dream of escaping from what we love.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As a Yesterday When It Is Passed, And As a Watch In the Night

Hasn't anyone else noticed
That on Earth at least, everything
Except the decelerating
Planet itself accelerates?

Perhaps it's only perspective,
But I doubt it. The more recent
Remains over-represented;
The deep past should appear lesser.

Instead it extends and extends.
Everything changed more slowly then,
When the Earth rotated so fast
The sun spun around in eight hours.

Here. The first half of life on Earth,
No, at least the first three quarters,
Was given over to oceans
Of single-called organisms.

It's not that there are no fossils.
The fossils are small and boring.
Even granting a late-ish date
For the appearance of real life

And an early date for the start
Of multicellularity,
Three quarters of life's history
Was for free, little cells only.

In another tenth of the time,
Assuming one counts time by years,
Circuits of our spitball around
The distant orange of our sun,

Life had exploded into forms
Elaborate, large, and grotesque.
Those, in another twentieth,
Had finally conquered the land,

Generating forests and wings
Of multiple innovations
And enormous, lumbering things.
Despite mass extinctions, nothing

Much shifted suites of strategies
For another twentieth, then
The luxurious Cretaceous,
Another extinction event,

Whose fault, perhaps, was in the stars,
And there's only a fortieth
Part left now since first emergence
Until the moment I write this,

And that fortieth is the age
Of mammals, the great crescendo
Of complex individuals
Culminating in the Blue Whale,

Largest animal ever was.
But that symphonic explosion
Crested with two one thousandths left
For a new bipedal madness.

And of that two thousandths one half
For recognizable culture,
And of that thousandth, two thirds
For spreading around half the Earth,

And of the third of a thousandth
Remaining, say, four fifths of that
To get to the heart of the us,
Then another nine tenths of that

Heart of us as we are to get
To the lip of anthropocene,
The first half of which was quiet,
Until agriculture took hold,

The first half of which was quiet
Until literacy took hold,
And of the fifty centuries,
Forty the same, only the last

Ten grown, globally, out of hand,
And of those ten, only the last
Two traveling faster than horse,
One flying, and half of one launched

Into monitoring orbits
The last half of a half have turned
Into a single web of mind,
Spinning itself Fibonacci.

The days, however, are longer,
And the dark at the end the same.
Life devours the rock's rotations
Escaping the end of life's games.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Survive long enough, and even
In the absence of great ruin--
War, quake, eruption, hurricane--
You will be bound to remember

Buildings you once inhabited
And were sentimental toward
Never to be revisited
Because they no longer exist.

The home your parents took you to
Torn down decades ago, the dorm
Demolished, the hospital wing
Where you were delivered, transformed

Into ten condominiums
Where you grandfather died, bulldozed
After that for a shopping mart.
They haunt your thoughts. They taunt you

With the thought that what's remembered
Is what could be inhabited.
Correct. The buildings you can touch
Are no more what they were than those.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tentative Wolf

Everyone's God is a good god
Because they're all the same
Under the names. I don't mean

To claim they're all names
For the one, same good God.
I mean all the names are the same.

Whatever you may have exalted
As above all else, however different
In particulars (and I do believe

In the differences of all particulars),
Is not entirely different from divinity
Defined under another name by someone

Else. The differences are the proof
The similarities point to the truth:
The names of the nameless are the name.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Stars Are Far Beyond Height

I imagine Mr. Bradley
Making measurements night by night,
Seeking out stellar parallax,
The aberration of the light

Discovered, quite to his surprise,
Instead. Instead, that's what it's like
In this corner of a cosmos,
Always the unexpected sight,

Neither magical nor dreamed of,
Only wholly not what the bright
Ideas we had promised we'd find,
Only what we must like, despite.

We've got no choice but to take fright
In constant strangeness, take delight.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thirty Three Boxes of Light for Sarah

In our base-ten system, the squiggles
Look like a pair of threes, but they mean
Eleven threes, nine implicit, invisibly known.

What's hiding in there? All the Vedic deities,
All the miracles of Jesus, all the degrees
Of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the Star of David,

The numerical equivalent of Hebrew amen,
Al Ghazali's universal age in Heaven.
Forget all of them. Where were any of them

Thirty-three centuries gone? Nonexistent.
Somewhere in Sumeria, maybe, someone
Had noticed something mystical, symmetrical

About that number, but then again, maybe not.
Can we assume the number has always been
There, regardless of notation or our awareness

Of integers that cannot be expressed as sum
Of different triangular numbers? The protons
In arsenic atoms, the bones in the average spine,

Counting the coccyx, have been around
Long enough to suggest this number
Thirty three is itself, in some sense, ancient,

Intrinsic to our universe. I don't know
How, though, and I don't trust myself.
Counting anything relies on assumptions

That similar things have repeated something
The same. What? Thirty three boxes of light
Are each different, different from each other,

Different from themselves, within themselves,
Different when opening, when open, when shut
Tightly on themselves and sinking into retrospect.

What does a year of a life by those lights
Add to a chain of such demarcations,
Folding their exquisite lenses in to begin again?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

That Sounds Like Fun

The world will not get better, 
The world will not get worse,
If you follow the letter
Of the law composing verse.

You can take comfort in that
For yourself. Readers can, too,
When they think, "Done there. Been that."
But it simply isn't true

That a blessing or a curse
Well-written alters matter.
The world will not get worse.
The world will not get better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Yol Tengri

And out of nothing awake. A monkey
Can read Nietzsche; he just can't understand
What all the fuss is about. Finally,

I feel part of something. On the one hand,
There is the deal for the making. Other?
I have no soul of my own to trade in.

So many things will lie down in the road.
The moon squats at the end of the morning,
Gibbous, waning, raising white skirts hip high.

What is the meaning of all this? What is
All this fuss about meaning? It's nothing
If I don't expect anyone to take

The time, to waste their time, or to buy time
From me, hanging from crossroads in blue air.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Waiting for Moonrise Over the Watchman

By dawn the algorithms will have given
Their automatic birthday greetings
And your inbox will overflow. You can't

Measure time more directly because
Measurement itself is time, every act
Of measuring being an extension of time.

The undersides of the clouds above
The black cliffs that surround you
Glow and fade as they pass over the invisible

Moon while you wait, alone in your courtyard
Until, finally, a gimlet eye, stabbing white,
Fixes you from the mountaintop, a spear

Of reflection, a single point worth watching
Because the sheer edge of the mountain allows
Your slow eyes to see the motion of the full moonrise.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hollische Schlange, wird dir nicht bange?

"The cars marked BV + MS are still out there."

I like to think I've seen one
Or two, stalled in the Utah
Desert under the Book Cliffs.
I certainly saw rail cars,
Explosively colorful
Against the sandstone, tagged
With garish graffiti, parked

Against the next end of time. 
Five thousand misunderstood
Trips around this small fat star,
Someone tried to explain us
To the gods, explain the gods
To us, why there were serpents
Thunder had to destroy.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Carry On

Angor animi, and I am certain
I am as close to the end of the world
As anyone contemplating rifles
With fixed bayonets charging one's trenches.

Not that I expect I will understand,
Once the actual moment is at hand,
How all momentum shifts in its narrow
Cot like a dreamer, unaware it ends

Continually, meaning it never was,
Not ever, nor anything else, either.
We are never so clever as we thought
We should be when everything never was.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Our Acts

Are not discrete, do not come
Tied in tidy packages.
Messy grasps that spill over
All the lines drawn in the sand
Rooting into the out of
Your cotton-picking mind world
Are all the blurs you conjure.

The cliffs collapse without acts.
The skies repeat their patterns
Of deceptions without acts,
Slightly different every night.
Nothing repeals itself twice.
As if nothing would suffice,
Hours sing songs past parallax.

Friday, October 9, 2015

In the Glaring Sunshine of that Endless Afternoon

Complete with camels and lecherous pop songs cooking
Sous vide under the August Zion crescent moon's flare
That couldn't care less what mischief we were up to then,

As now, a vacuum. Nature abhors nature and makes
More and more of her, like a bronzed, half-drowned mariner 
Dragging weeds and seashells up from the riptide and down

The moonlit, laughing beach. I'm the representative
Of humans being humans, culturing gross nothings.
I will come back here in a hundred years. You will see.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Consider the Aardvark

I know I am human because I am typical
For my species in creating a nest of proud exceptionalism
And then finding myself aggrieved by my loneliness 
Within it. We are primates, after all, first among creatures,
As well as Homo sapiens, last survivor of our genus.
We claim we are unusual, for mammals, in being monospecific,
But what genius but us created genus and gave one to us?
Scanning our planetary taxonomy net, there's rather more
Categories with one species than with any other number,
And yet we are lonely, sighing expressively into our beer
About our uniqueness in our self-conceived, selves-riddled universe.
Have you ever seen an Orycterupus afer,
Monotypic within the family Oryctero podidae,
Monotypic within the order Tubilodentata?
We, you, I alone created this special place for it.
Did you feel exceptionally lonely, seeing it?
Did it look like it thought it might be lonely, too, to you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rickety Towers of Surreal Detritus

Geochemistry gives rise seamlessly to biochemistry,
Proving the Unified Theory of Anything: I was, have been,
Immortal as long as I lived; we were, had been, alive.
Gunshots pop from the sound of the local interview,
And the young woman doing the interviewing only
Shrieks a few times in surprise, falls, and cries
Out "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Then she's dead,
Never to cry in sudden realization something terrible
Has happened, oh my god, again.

                                                          Electrons looking
For a place to rest. Nothing more. More nothing. More less.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Even if you have life's maintenance machine
Well-oiled, even if you're just the mechanic
To keep it running, you need supplies, friend,
And you need to be able to reel them in.

If you can't, that's the end. You're the rest
Of what you couldn't, yourself, collect, fuel
For something else's little, hungry misery.
The bugs who need fodder crawl over your skin.

But it's a three-part argument to your mind,
Raised on flesh and human deities. Resurrect
Your wish to continue just at the last nonexistent
Moment and recollect your reflective mysteries.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Sequence is an aspect of the world. First, early organisms converted entropic decay into climbing lives. Much, much later organisms scavenged waste oxygen to fuel multicellular complexities. Plants and fungi elaborated chemicals into pharmacopoeia of weapons and defenses. Some things turned minerals into jaws and teeth. Some things turned minerals into teeth-deflecting armor. Some things piled all that bone into architectures capable of scrambling across continents, capable of flight. Clever crows and apes turned sticks and stones into disposable technology. Linguistic apes broke down sequence into fragments regurgitated as portable narratives. Sequence is an aspect of the world; stories are of humans only.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

We're Missing Orphans and Outcasts of All-Swallowing Heaven

A general feature, ridiculous and mysterious,
A prediction that is not a prediction, something went wrong.
It is my intention to astonish you all, although none
Is likely to be impressed any time before I am gone.

Everyone deals with pity. Empathy fears being pitied.
During last year's war, our memories sifted through the rubble.
An observation tower sat on the village perimeter,
And we tried to remember to keep everything in past tense.

Ally the human ability to think narratively
With human capacities for boredom. Inevitably,
Increasingly elaborate clocks were invented to smash
With increasingly elaborate time-delay explosives.

Tempus redux. The knotted arrow flew in all directions
But the eye could only sight along the line uncoiling
And see there's something missing. There's everything and there's nothing,
But even with everything and nothing there's something missing. Dark

Is the metaphor handiest to a vision-addled ape.
Dark is what we notice, what we do, inwardly, outwardly.
In central New Jersey's potato fields, the dragon's black tongue,
Barbed, licked us lightly, like babies, arrowing from toxotes.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Spiritless Spirit Being

Bekenstein's bound has been
Leapt, and the remaining
Shape of Yahweh's event

Horizon has wavered
And released a little
Signature entropy.

He's in there, outta here.
Pine Mountain Bluegrass Band
Warms up in the mirage

Curling up from the mist
Outside Zion Canyon.
Disorder is just lost

Information; the cause
Was heart attack. Hawking
Thought he was wrong. I thought

No one but me could be
So right, no matter who
Me just happened to be.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Diddley Bow

My jitterbug, my monochord zither,
What sobs can I draw out of you today?

Everything that happened, stays unhappened.
The only philosophy that can work

Moans in its chains and grooves like the sea
Moments before the tsunami comes back.

Take Elmore James over Elmore Leonard.
Taking sliding groans over mysteries.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Surprise Is the Nature of the Universe

'"People need to be able to waste time, make time, lose time and buy time. This will be our major task."'

"The only real thing in his life was his dreams."

The transparently slow moon
Climbs, apparently. The deep,
Indeed, the no-such-thing-as,

Truth itself, climbs from the depths
Of the dry, abandoned well,
Long black hair glossy with wet,

And cries like a cicada
From impossible delight,
Discovering everything

At risk must be surrendered
Just as the long years buried
Give way to blinding-bright night.

I have expended my life
On life's continuity
Only to break clear of it,

My alien, imported,
All-important, borrowed self,
My curved moon honed like a knife.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Locked Nest

In time-lapse photography
From remote wilderness sites,
You see it for the dragon,
Spiny monster that it is.
It is not milky, it is
Not like a spinal column.
It is the original

Devouring serpent in night,
Poised with its mouth opened wide
Over us, a falling sword
With a black hole in its hilt.
Comprehend mythology
Only when standing under
The eye of our galaxy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


"[P]sychologists from the University of Virginia . . . found that introverts prefer the mountains, extroverts prefer the ocean."

"As a hobby, mountains appeal to those people who in normal circumstances are said to have a great deal of time on their hands."

We are in sum an
Extroverted ape.
Look at the coastlines
From orbit at night.

Concentrated light
Attends bleak cities
Outlining the plates
Tectonic. Oh well.

Tsunamis never
Did betray the heart
That loved beach. I am
A poem composed here

In the mountains where
Disaster reaches
Stonier fingers.
I like loneliness,

Aloneness: I make
No fine distinction.
I admit I crave
Cold lakes to swim in.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Drier, Hotter, Quieter

Truth. The desert deserves you.
There are no stars otherwhere
Can light up dimmed brains like this.

You come home from dreaming home
To discover you were here,
Well outside of anywhere

When you were you, blue, and true.

Reverse it, and it is news

In the echolating
Ear of the era of bats.
How about that!? I'm going

Where I've never been before,
When I've never been before,
Where bats eat bugs by starlight.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mares' Tails and Trumpet Flowers

The road to work bestrews the blue
Skies with silly clouds repeating
Patterns, bewitching similarities,

The one aspect of the infinite
Differentiation that fools us
Into believing some things

Are, stay the same. They aren't.
They don't. Nothing is coterminous
With itself, much less identical

To anything else. Hence,
No time like the present is
The present. Likenesses, never

Identical likenesses, are receding
And shifting into an infinity
Of finities, indignities forever,

All you, always, except when none
Of you, ever, were. The road
Home or to bed, at least, from work

Shows emptied skies
Of different hues. Explanations are
Easy. Predictions are harder.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Monstrous Sunflower

I want more. I want a line
Of them, all monsters, all tall
Enough to make one believe
In incredible shrinking

Men technologies. Giants
That sway above my rooftop,
Peer big, round, eyeless faces

Over my cracked backyard wall,
Nodding in the heat, doubling
In the wind but not falling,

Elephantine, comforting,
Jack-and-the-Beanstalk flowers,
They would confirm the absurd
Hope magic towers our hours.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nothing Is Something

A man I barely know and rarely understand
Happened to observe to me that on the sixth day

Of January, seventeen-nine, The Great Frost
Of Western Europe, coldest winter in a half

A millennium (do the math and pity peasants
Of the High Medieval century even more),

Began. Four days later, in a bitter cold world,
Abraham Darby made cast iron in a blast

Furnace using coke fuel. The Industrial Age
Had begun. Will it ever be so cold again?

Will the Thames, the Rhine, or the Seine ever freeze hard
Enough for those who are not dying to skate them?

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Don't try to fix everything,
Is what my muse said to me,
Just try to keep it going.
I will, have, not, won't. Trust me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Alexandrines Mistake

If I could, I would compose in monorhymed couplets
Ad infinitum. I can't. I rant syllabics.
I'm an old, nude, crippled dude gimping in the dark:

If I were good, I should improvise daft paeans
To the gods of goods and man's impotent hard-ons.

But I am bad and not afraid to declare it
Would take a bad God to make life, grin, and bear it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lone Pine Cafe

"Those in the know can leapfrog to the naming of parts."

One American dies, mean,
Every ten to twelve seconds.
Somehow, that seems low to me,
But I blame the media.
I am an American,
After all. I rode shotgun
In a Westy van driven

By my stepfather-in-law
While my mother-in-law dozed,
Prone, snoring, and unbelted
On the mattress in the back.
She had called him a liar
When he claimed the van couldn't
Reach interstate speeds, wanting

In his subtle way to take
The back roads through Idaho,
Past the Nez Perce surrender,
The salmon-free salmon town,
Into the vague forever
That had become what was left.
Left, left, I said, take the next.

He did, not wanting insults
About his veracity
To betray his confusion.
We passed a bad accident.
Another American
Thrown from his pickup truck, dead,
Outside the Lone Pine Cafe.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lake Missoula

Bonneville, Agassiz,
The prehistoric
Late glacial giants
Built up the future
Behind their ice dams

Until they collapsed,
Roaring to the past,
Ripping out gorges,
Hemorrhaging fish,
Depositing bones.

When they gave way, they
Went fast, more than once
Pooling, then tearing
Down the bouldered world.
Who knows what was lost

No one knows was there?
Doggerland, Black Sea,
They flooded and filled
Rather than emptied.
Levees burst both ways,

But the torrent tears
One way, destroying
Our past it creates.
Little trickles still.
We'll know when we don't.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Failure to Take the Scenario Seriously

"The medical school at the huge London hospital where I now work uses role-playing . . . to select the doctors of the future. The nervous candidates must show their ability to break bad news by telling an actor that their cat has just been run over by a car. Failure to take the scenario seriously, I am told, results in immediate rejection."

I am your doctor of the future today. 
How are you feeling this yesterday evening?
I am not a counsellor but a huntsman,
And the wilderness of the future's my woods.

What big pets you have! What big houses you have!
Yes, you got it. Red Riding Hood ate the wolf.
All along she was the huntsman, he hunted.
Reverse he and she if you like, no matter.

It's the doctor, who's made of ticky-tacky,
In the boxes, little boxes, and they're all
Just as mean as me in violent ganglands
Of late nineties Moscow. The nineties tried it,

And died trying. Boasts aside, no one captures
The zeitgeist, which is the haunt of the future.
We absorb the body blows as the blown waves
Absorb the winds of change. It's all wilderness.

That's why your cat was run over by a car.
What hadn't happened, ever, became what had,
And that was the signature of the future
Autographing the tragedy of your past.

I'm so sorry. Your approach 
Was truly original.
But doctoring's not for you.
The future changes the past,
Resistlessly and always,
And that's all we ever know
Of change or beauty or death.

What pompous jerks you people are. I'd be glad
If your cat was dead not half alive instead.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Tin Bender

Space is only another kind of time.
The last time I visited
The Harold Bench, it was hot

And I'd done too much talking
About the nature of things
In a crowded hall the night

Before, mugging for the crowd
In the muggy summer air.
I've been aging. I needed

Notes to keep myself on track.
When I said Aristotle,
Newton or Einstein out loud,

I was wandering within,
Thinking of a profession
I'd never heard of, bending

Tin. A friend told me of it
The day before that, same friend
Told me, some years ago, now,

That a vagrant might have wrenched
The brass memorial plate
Away from the Harold Bench

To sell for a little change.
Seemed hardly worth it, to me,
Back on the bench in the heat,

Seeing the scar, the lake, boats,
Fish jumping, a few tourists,
The stream turning into space.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Song Dogs

Someone wrote ghost trees weather
As if they had their tombstones
Paled all their lives inside them,

A fond bit of imagery
For the seawater-poisoned
Forest sunken in silver.

Coyotes are the poets
Of the raven-haunted world--
Not the eloquent ravens

Themselves--gaunt echoic yips
That trick the believer's ear
Into thick imaginings

Of how the forest was home
When the northernmost monkeys
In water-proof furred jackets

Jumped from cedar to cedar,
Close to the ice-mouthed mountains,
Never dreaming of exile

From the twilight, the glaciers,
The song dogs and longer-toothed,
Carnivores, all howling things.

We belonged to ourselves once.
We recognized our voices
As the voices of shadows.

We were not always talkers
Bunched up at the equator
Where every soul remembers

The same damn day forever.
The song dogs growled and warbled.
We wanted to believe them,

Believe our speech came from bones
As lifeless and silvery
As moonlight after drowning,

Although we leaped easily
In our downy snowed mantles
Through the ghosts we surrendered.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


It's a long time coming, this going.
I still have Anthony's paint bucket
As a mystery phrase on my phone,
Along with a note that "we are slaves

To something we'll never understand."
All that was eight years ago and change,
Not a single piece of this sequence
Yet composed. The rain on the truck roof

Blows in from the lake of yesterdays.
There's a wheezy, squeezebox arrangement
Of the ballad of the privateer,
Largely unsuccessful Captain Kidd,

Hanged for crimes while better criminals,
Some named in the ballad, evaded
The noose and completely disappeared,
Playing on a file from my laptop.

My note had something to do with time.
I had stolen a seat on a plane.
No one ever really disappears
As everyone really disappears.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chaos Terrain

The moth in the airport. Sarah
Saw a small, brown moth. This was years
Ago before the just gone now,
Salt Lake City, two-thousand eight.

Interrupted from time to time
By the faint, hallucinating
Mathematician's objections,
Even a poet may eat lunch,

Even a philosopher may
Be correct twice a day, even
A cosmologist may step back
From an untestable vision

Elegant, unforgivable
As the impossible serpent
Who speaks and has not lost his legs
To the story creating them.

We're almost to Jupiter's moons,
Speaking of mythology, we're
Almost to where a brown moth, lost
Might not have to mean anything.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Never Shoot an Armadillo

I was working on a talk
About time, getting nowhere.
Time is a human madness.
The season then was summer,
Melancholic, nostalgic.
Trying to philosophize,
I was also counting days,

Counting the waves on the lake,
Counting summers at the lake,
Counting bank account burn rate,
Counting in and out of sleep,
Counting lake crossings, paddled,
Swam, motored, sailed, and pondered.
Counting the strokes, the feet deep.

There's only one anything.
When you break it, other things
Are their own things. Nothing breaks
Down. The angle of sunlight,
The shifting breezes, whitecaps,
Portly swimmers, bathing caps,
Ants milking aphids, chasing

Away hungry ladybugs,
Wasps chewing pulp to paper
Nests in the gathering shade,
It was summer, Canada.
The lake was immaculate,
And I thought about Texas,
Where folks have shot themselves by
Armadillo ricochets.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Old Grand Pianos

Worrying takes up cognitive capacity.
He was neither a worldling nor a struggler.
Atropos of nothing, he smiled

At the dappled sunlight on the cherry-strewn
Lawn between the dark cabins of light
And decided to worry no more, to surrender

To chanting the old poems that said
Everything to him, made no sense
To anyone else, waking him in the night:

"Explain what is not.
I am what is not
Dead, and the world
Explodes with metaphors.

Magic negates itself.
The moment it happens
It ceases to be magic,
And the whole world's else."

By these and other foolish forms
Of deflorestation, the days proceeded
To shower him with curled petals. Soft. Soft.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Language Is the Event Horizon of Awareness

I am no photographer, no recorder.
I'm caught between the desire to remember
And the duty to erase, not the other
Way round. I'm poised where time

Both dilates to infinite stillness
And accelerates into oblivion.
I'm a beautiful idea with real mass
That can never observe itself observing,

An observer that can only catch
The act of observation, never
Anything outside of the act itself.
"I really want a little hut

That you can sit up in, with blankies
And pillows underneath, where you can hide
And no one can see you, but how
Do I do that? How, Papa, how?"