Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Stairs Go Both Up and Down Without Ever Moving"

By stairs, she meant poems.
By up and down she meant tone,
Down dark and up light.
By unmoving she meant
Of permanent value, but
Secretly they're always crumbling.

Inside their molecules, atoms move.
On their collective surfaces, treads
Wear down into soft scuff hollows.
The whole of them twirls around
A planet, a star, a spiral galaxy
Escaping away from all the rest
Into a pointless pointillist solipsism.

But she's right. They're obstacles.
They're accessible accessories
For obligatory African bipeds.
They go up and down without
Ever moving me to tears, damn them.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Ancestor of Tomorrow's Posthuman Herds

A widow neighbor tells the story
Of the morning she woke up to find
A magnificent multipoint buck
Stretched out on his side in her fountain.
"So strange! I couldn't believe my eyes."
Someone listening at the table
Full of jovial people chatting,
Eating Indian and drinking wine,
Expects another funny story.
"What was he doing? Taking a bath?"
"No. He was dead. Someone had shot him.
I found his trail of blood on my fence.
He used to come down with his women
By my stretch of the river to browse.
He must have been trying to escape.
He knew he would be safe on my land.
He got over the fence, but he died."
She shrugs. "The hunter knew not to come
To my door to ask for him. Poacher."
There's murmuring, and then talk moves on,
But the pathos of the tale lingers,
Not because a deer was shot and ran
But because of the implication
That he was attempting some magic,
Some tragic effort to make it home,
As if home could heal him. But he failed
A little short of his goal and fell.
This resonates with our fairytales
And we all feel it. But talk moves on.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


The reason hiccups are hard
To get rid of is because
Their cause is not embodied.
Their cause is elves, the dark

Minions of dark energy,
The same reason the cosmos
Ceased slowing down and sped up.
Elves themselves are mysteries,

Naturally, more strange Not There.
"Thus, seeming nothingness seethes
With power. And whatever
It is, it grows (hic) bigger."

Everywhere we look, we see
(Hic) invisibility.
Everything's hiding behind
Us, nothing we can believe.

The speed with which we expand
Each rib's remoteness from rib,
Galaxy from galaxy,
Exceeds (hic) gasp (up) our grasp.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On the Darkening Green

North brook makes stream sounds.
The light moves over
The broken landscape.
Yes, it's all broken.
Bits of rock cracked off.

I would like to be
Me, uniquely sweet,
But I am I, sour
Like every other
I I've discovered.

The stream's a mercy,
With its sound; the light's
A mercy; the rocks
Feel kindly, breaking
As I have broken.

I take dictation
From a brain that hosts
An English language
And various dreams.
Still, I'll tell you this:

Nothing's ever still.
When I was unloved
And young, I knew it.
I know I'm old, loved,
And in love with you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

There's a Reason for the Name

I've read Jez Butterworth thinks
There's a countervailing wind
Called Mercy that blows against
Life's prevailing ruthlessness.
I think of this when the flags
That usually billow taut
Hang lifeless in Hurricane
On a calm, indifferent day.
They've never been, never will
Be alive. They're strips and rags,
Whatever they symbolize.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Piccole Cose

One morning, the cup of tea
Delivered to the bedroom,
The toddler out on the couch
Enjoying a Little Bear,
The husband having walked back
To the kitchen then shower,
Sarah got up, quietly,

And made the bed. The husband,
Showered and dressed, noticed her
Absence and wandered the house
On crutches, calling her name,
Puzzled until he found her
Cross-legged on a cushion
In the back, and she kissed him.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

This Can't End Well

Oh, I suppose it could.
We all clutch tales of those
Who left the rest of us
Behind them, peacefully
Composing their last words
We're hoarding, memento

My grandfather was one
Who seemed to go nicely,
Age eighty-five, at home,
In bed, asleep, the end.
That's what Grandma told us.

But we know it's not so
For most. The cottonwood,
Gnarled and broken, hacked down,
Animals torn apart,
Accidents, homicides,
Protracted diseases,

Excruciating lives.
No wonder we supply
And fortify ourselves
With so many stories
Of happier endings,
Miraculous ascents,

Dreamy eternities.
As humans, we observe
Other species' word-free
Lives, naive, innocent
Of foreknowledge of death
We imagine just ours.

But look how all creatures
Strive, tremble, and struggle.
If anything, we're those
Beings uniquely lost
In fogs of denial.
They know the end. We won't.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Nobody knows where I am,
Although you walk all over me.
I'm a green secret, found
And found, footnote in the ocean.

No, I'm not an island.
I'm not your archipelago.
I'm my accidental,
My broken hasp of transition.

"Just like zat, ach, one day
You are very healt'y, zen,
Next one, too sick to walk."
Elderly Europeans chat

In the lingua franca
Of my salt and sun oasis.
I can't remember when
I wasn't too sick on your terms,

But here I am, hiding
In my brilliant light, day and night.
You could, if you could care,
Count the days and years that lead me

From where you start counting
To when I began to name me,
But you don't have to. Do
The math. I am a mystery

Filled with overgrown lives,
Slumbrous and ready for taming.
Little wavelets of breath
Sustain dispirited spirits

Who long to betray me.
Shhh. Your world is out there, waiting
To proclaim me. I'm gone.
I'm the last green flash of your sun.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"And the I (O I have fallen down)"

Eye, oh eye, paired spectators over
The bridge of an invisible nose,
What is the language using us for?

Some of us, we don't carry ourselves
Well. You may infer we can't bear it,
Cold and lonely, lovely works of art

Suffering eternities alone
As specks of dust on a blue-green dot
Hugging a burning spark in the dark.

Further and farther, father, our gold
Disc carried into cold. Ad astra,
After all difficulties perceived,

Ad astra sequi. Difficulties
Have wings, gravity has theorems,
Humanity has collaborations,

But you and I have only spun glass,
Steering spinning tires over the sand
Until everything becomes lenses.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I cannot bear
My daughter's eyes,
Her irises
So fathoms deep

Open ocean
Could not compare.
She's just a kid.
She laughs. She screams.

She stubs her toes,
Acts rude, annoys
Sleeping parents
At all owl hours,

And generally
Finds typical
Human offspring
Ways to behave.

But those peepers,
Jeepers! Heart breaks
Like waves on rocks,
Like rocks in waves.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Thrown Out

Crossbones, "overcharged with dead,"
Festooned gate a shrine
"People of all faiths and none"
Give "The Outcast Dead":

Here lies thoughts' new favorite haunt,
Not the hard world's patch of dirt,
Bear pits, London Town,
But the quick-limed pile of words'
Shivery mythology,
The outsider curse.

A space made by faith
For unconsecrated filth
As defined by faith,
That dark repository
Clutches all unhallowed bones.

I love her for that.
My ghost will adore her more,
Once I'm done building
This, my own pile of banned bits
And bobs of a life's lost lives.

Oh, I'm so sorry for you.
What in your writing
Could not have been done better
In other genres?

Here. The larks are ascending
Over the echoes of bones
Recovered from crows.
Intersections of remains,
Vortices of stolen words
And borrowed phrases

Remain in the soil.
We're so eager to destroy
Evidence of life,
So eager to recover
Any evidence of life.

We don't recycle
Like the spinning world, the moon.
Brown smoke and black dogs
Barking line the parade route
Through smoldering funerals.

Dug Up

A young man who's been around
The wide world lectured
On dances for ancestors
Who died digging mines.

You keep doing it all day,
Every day until you die.
He began to dance
The Tanko Bushi, miming
The hard work of digging coal.
Does smoke choke the moon?

"Mourning," "love," "prayer,"
Mormon students tried to guess
His gestures' meanings.
He explained the dance to them,
Explained ancestor worship,

Worked his way backward
From the dance to the closed mine,
The mine to Obon,
Obon to "great suffering,"
And Buddhism to Shinto.

Syncretism confused them.
It should. He explained
Monks imported from China,
Buddhism's missions'

Spread, natural disasters
Blamed on Buddhists, natural
Disasters Buddhists
Blamed on Shinto, finally
A truce. No more disasters?
No. More disasters,

The divine essence.
A listening poet thought
Of the Ainu,
Arctolatrous outsiders
Far from London's baited pits.

Well, bears, prostitutes,
Indigenes, unbelievers,
Wonder, fear, and love,
All to be feared, held sacred,
A skull-pine skull still weathers.


Pathway of the gods:
Really, wholly are nothing
Like one another.

Borges thought reality
Favored "symmetries
And slight anachronisms."

I have been really
Devoted to poetry.
I will be wholly

Devoted to these remains,
Though my devotion will be

After I've escaped
The fixed temple of these bones
To enjoy chaos.

You can't appease hungry ghosts.
You can't appease poems.
The outcast dead, hung from trees

Or flung on dung heaps,
Have already forgotten
And become holy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I should like to hold out a little longer.
I should like to be rewarded for my sins.
I should like to forget the rest in the peace
And confidence that comes from the blank within.

Monday, February 16, 2015


It's not as if this faint moon
Won't appear rounder.
Our edge of the starlit path
Is quiet that way.

To cause to measure, to bind.
Friendship among the cowboys
Required spit-in-hand
Agreements be effective,
Required ears and eyes, Mitra,
Argus Panoptes.

Coyote cloaks the light
The slow elk reveal as dawn.
That's all we herd here:
Bullish suns, heifer moons, stars.
The rest is eternity.

Thus friendship becomes
Trust, loving-kindness, witness,
Justice of the peace,
Salvation, bodhisattva.
Miroku must herd the cats.


Well, a god can be a word.
A word can be god,
Sing the cowboys, so I've heard,
Cow words in gods' ears.

Shall I catalogue claimants?
Xiang Haiming and Empress Wu,
Gung Ye, Lu Zhong Yi,
L. Ron Hubbard, Adi Da,
Claude Maurice Rael, the end
Of the middle time,

Jackalopes, each one.
The origin is closer
To the end of days,
And the best mythology
Comes from forgotten frontiers.

Here in the red rocks
Winter moons silver, the old
Songs are long lost, or
The new songs misbegotten.
I can howl. You howl with me.


I like tempting fate.
I'm no matador, just red,
Red as a blood moon
In a rubicund eclipse.

The best I could do
Was thank your divinity
For a bit of view
Along with the mystery.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Liubi, Libet, Lubhyati, Liaupse, Love

To go searching for blossoms

In directions never crossed
Before, never known,

Never imagined, the new
Adventures of the last age
Of the awareness

Of awareness as nothing,
The infinite uniqueness
Of phenomena.

Friday, February 13, 2015


"The three-and-a-half-mile section has not had a train on it since 1962."

"Sailor, you were glad / and whistled Sion by that stream."

The last crickets of autumn
Were shrill in the wind.
Things separate gradually.
They don't fall apart:

Sunsets, autumns, moonrises,
Expiring sense, inspiring
Songs, melancholy
In the tympani of those
Who were not born to hear them.
The last crickets stopped.

Winter never stops.
How can anyone bear this
World never the same,
Never discontinuous,
Never exactly new? How?

Play it for humor
Or play it for tears, it plays
You like a fiddle
In a long gale. You can't doubt
It will go on without you.


You and I can talk as friends.
We hail from twinned worlds.
We understand each other.
Characters answer

Back and forth like wind-plucked strings
Unaware of paradox
In their harmonies.
Allow me to make myself
Less clear. The storm this winter
Frets without our rage,

But Ruskin was wrong.
The world is not pathetic
In response to us,
True enough, but our pathos
Is a product of the world

To which we respond,
However deludedly,
As its own reply.
Sounds too deep for us to hear
Breathe words, aghast, in our ears.


The professor rasped. Let's keep
This simple, students.
Once upon a time there were
Real rhapsodists, real
Singers with living cultures.

This is neither time nor place
To pretend to be
Something no one ever was:
Someone never been.
Our cultures thrive in our throats.
We scrape them to discover
This beauty we are can't be.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yama Fukami

Deep in the mountains
A bridge of corpses crosses
A river gone still.
That the corpses are of leaves
And the river of winter

Could only matter
To the chattering monkeys
Who bite each other.
The leaves had a strategy
The rivers will freeze over.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

No Poem's a Mistake Not Worth Making

Can I shake myself
Enough to know why more lies
Lie ahead of me?
I am a coyote, come
Down from my night hills to feed,

The trickster, the tricked,
Enjoyment of savagery
So deeply human
In me, these grotesqueries
Survivors call mystery.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Take It As Read

I've read that Aristotle,
While still a student

In Plato's Academe,
Was called "The Reader,"

By which mockery was meant
That he had no wisdom, no
Ideas of his own,

As if any words spoken
By wisdom spilled, de novo,
From a wordless brain.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Last Veterans' Day

I am not waiting for time
To show me better

Thoughts. I carry to evening
All that I wanted

From the day, a light so mild
I could only watch through glass,
Shadows gathering

Soft as moths on the sidewalks,
The humming of transmuted
Traffic, the parade.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Devas, Asuras; Daiva, Ahura

In listening to machines,
The inner ear dreams

Of the need to be elsewhere,
But here is pleasant,

And the inner ear confused.
There are no automata.
The natural world

Includes inner ears, machines,
Philosophers, viruses,
And hospital wards.

There is no unnatural.
There is comfort, discomfort,
The mysterious.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


The old clock glows gold
Or green and purple

To turn a symbol of how
Compressed symbols get.

Every faith succeeds the next
Looking over its shoulder
And scoffing too soon

Because time's no time left.
The dual here is now going
Gold sunsets at dawn.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Nothing

You can't know what I was not.
All my texts are lost

And my name only preserved
Embalmed in abuse.

Zero, now it's proved useful
To build civilizations,
Fortunes and empires,

You can acknowledge and love,
But that I summed everything
Exactly, you can't.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Katie's Lunch Hour Jig

Sun in the long pub windows.
She said the artist

Missed no opportunities
To work on a sketch.

Here's an opportunity.
Men by the windows talk shop.
Light hits high, white walls

Of the skyscrapers outside.
Irish music you can't sketch
Mourns lost wars, lost loves.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chanson de Geste

A body is
A body is
A body. Soul!
Cries the body

To the body,
Oh so lonely
Being only,
Oh, so soulful.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I'm Done

Said Sarah on a boulder
Nearly the size of a house,
Said I, out back Sesfontein,
For no reason other than
It had been a hard, long drive
From Opuo on bald tires,
Said a god on the seventh

That would become the sabbath
And then its permutations,
So say we all, every time
The body, oh, the body!
Collapses into a chair,
Into itself, into life
Beneath a white, lifeless moon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Clap the Glad Wing

To have been, in any sense,
In the least way, alive
Is to become immortal.
The fragment infecting
The virus infecting
The bacterium being
Gobbled by the bacteriophage

In the guts of one small
Molluscan, say, or arthropod,
Has been counted and blessed
And will forever spin molecular
Pattern past the gates of heaven,
And all the viruses and bacteria,
All the mollusks and arthropods

Will have their happy eternity
As well. In that case, all
Really shall be well and all
Manner of thing shall be well.
Otherwise, no. No goodness
To a scheme confined to bipeds,
Even if every biped were saved.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Gravity's Fretsaw

Saint George-to-Denver,
And the toponyms
Must stretch to cover
Expansive desert's
Cracked topography.

From a jet, they pin
Down chamfered puzzle
Pieces--Snow Canyon,
The KT, Zion,
Bryce, Hell's Backbone, Burr

Trail, Capitol Reef,
Canyonlands, Arches--
A run of jagged,
Crumbling red ridges,
Buff bluffs, dark lavas,

Sinuous streams cut
By spiderweb roads,
Which, from orbit, could
Hardly complicate
A blue planet's sheen.

Springdale is in there,
And Castle Valley,
More common names of
Uncommon places,
If there are any

Uncommon places
In America.
I've looked at Utah
Long enough to know
That puzzles know more.