Thursday, April 30, 2015


Candy and iron gifts
From the sweet-smelling soil,
Rain at the right angle
Delivers a marriage
That, like all marriages,
Is fragrant when just so.

The wet stones underfoot,
Treacherous with ichor
Straight from the hearts of gods,
From the storm clouds of spring
Releasing the ground's joy
In a bouquet of trust

That this is good for us,
If we tread carefully,
If we breath gratefully,
If we catch each other,
If we praise each other,
Remind us why we love.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Every Memory Has a Chance to Last a Little While

You and I were drawing diatoms
On the sidewalk on a sunny day
In Zion, Utah, January,

Although the chalks were in false colors,
Purple, peach, blue, pink, yellow, and white,
And we could have called them sea urchins

As truthfully. You were four, still are,
Although nothing's still in our world. Oh,
What to call these living things we love?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Data-Happy Moment

"song that preys on no one / and is unconscious of its joy"

What if the numbers don't mean
Anything? What if
The questions can't be answered

By evidence-based research?
Nothing bad, nothing
Good, the empty set "what if?"

Then the poetry begins
To fade, that singing
Based on counting forever,

Even in counting's absence.
Well, and it should fade.
That's the beauty of nothing,

A sudden drop in pressure,
The rush, the embrace
That makes the heart go under.

It's when the numbers don't count
That measures grow sweet.
We'll never know what we mean.

Monday, April 27, 2015


I am not now, nor have I ever been
Altogether nothing.
                                 Matter equals
Energy relative to constant light,
And, even in vacuums free of ether,
Fields constrain matter in potentia.

An unnecessary complication,
"I am."
          That "I am" trips up all of us
In the habit of thinking in language,
Whether that language be mathematics,
As I imagine it, coming on strong
In the minds of those freed from translation,
Or just some human, provincial belief
That a phrase learned from elders describes things.

Not now, nor have I ever been, nothing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tumbleweeds Caught on Exposed Basalt Rocks in the North Fork of the Virgin River in Winter

You thought

I might write
Something nice

About this
Strategic mess

Of survival
As if this were a tent revival?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Game, Set, Match

One is the set with nothing in it
Except the set with nothing in it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Awe, Ammit, Haipa, Kongpa

The hippopotamus
(Water horse, nothing like)

Squats on the drowned lion
Caught eating human heads

Beside the lake of fire.
Scared, I'm afraid, I think

Of the bone eater, god
Ungendered of millions.

Fright, pain, grief, great reverence,
Crocodilian reference

To the saints of saffron,
Dancing by headwaters

Of civilizations
Struck by dread of justice

And holding so many
Breaths by which justice thrives.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Outside Virgin, Utah, in a Purple Light

The stone bouquet remains, the rest
Is memory falling in awe
Of a moment's memorial.

The silhouette of the dark barn
On the hill made to resemble
An actual moment of time

Keeps on delineating light
Such as no eye could configure
In pulses to stained-neuron brains.

I would like to apologize
For the wavering. The desert
Around hushed streams absorbs the night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nothing is Simple

Amazing--my office window
Points precisely west at a pine
And a painted backdrop of grey
Clouds over blacktop and red rock.

This cinderblock and sheetrock cube
Quartering the old butcher shop
Where the blood drained against the last
Wall of a desert grocery,

This touching point between Duat
And the mundane world has caught me
In its rotating locks of lives,
Lost without the Book of Two Ways

To map a path for these last days
After the dreaming of escapes
Into books of kindly dreamings,
Before the weighing of the heart.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Honest Yawn

Our pillows either down or dust.
In retrospect it feels foolish

To have asked scientists to define
Memes. Post-meme, meta-metaphor,

We find everyone already knows
What a meme is, easy as a rainbow.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Being a Great Blank Will Not Make You Happy; Being Unhappy Will Not Make You a Great Blank



Truth teller

Clod of dirt


But you will

Sunday, April 19, 2015


"He never played for the first team, but he didn’t see this as a failure so much as an adventure in limitations."

If true, there's wisdom there. Lives
Are all one adventure in limitations,
And what doesn't limit one limits
Another, infinity of finities. The end

Of all our thrashing about is a kind
Of elaborated library of boards,
Samples and illustrations of beings
Both above and beneath us,

Terrible, awe-inspiring forests
Of darkness in which we lose
Our way to stalk each other,
Bandits, faeries, witches, beasts,

But humble before the teeth of saws,
Limited, striving, eating, dying,
The stuff of tables and houses,
Parquetry, totems, fuel for fires.

In an age of rare metals, synthetics,
Graphene, wires, and batteries,
Why rhapsodize about the deep
Woods vanishing into catalogues

Of planks and seeds and books?
It's an adventure in limitations.
Given one random word and one
Remark, rebuild Robin's greenwood gone.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Full Spectrum Blues

The most unpredictable and reliable
Vectors in my uncontrollable world
Are the ones known as other people.

If they weren't supplying me
And terrifying me, I'd hardly know
The world was cruel or kind at all.

Snow fell all through the night,
All through the one winter day
That might as well have ended

Forever ago now. I, ice, stiff
Upper case in a slyly lowering
Case ego woods, sat and thought.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Oceans hills cave princess
Sequoia chanted on Christmas last
Watching Dora save the snow
Princess from the curse of the witch

Who hated snow in grandma's
House in Salt Lake as snow fell
And mama and grandma argued
Upstairs over their respective pain

A lifetime of taking out the clothes
Of generational mourning to see
Who had done the most harm
By stitching more black crepe

To the witch's flowing cape
While the white bear hides
Improbably behind a cartoon tree
In the forest of eternal snow

Home to all broken-hearted girls
Who weep over their mothers
Frozen in the ocean cold in the hills
Dark in the cave save the princess

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Struggle for Light

"This competitive struggle for light was probably the ultimate driver in the evolution of trees."

Heat is falling all around us.
I prefer the forest at night.
The competition never sleeps,
But the tall competitors must.

Scurrying animals like me
Who are removes, removes away
From the consumption of sunlight,
Carry on our heated carnage,

Bats chasing bugs, owls hunting mice,
Our beating hearts betraying us.
It makes us admire the great trees,
Who rustle shoulder to shoulder,

As if companionable, friends,
Stalwart, quiet comrades, wise,
So close to living off mere light,
They seem to reach above the fray,

When the reaching is the fiercest,
Most primitive part of the war.
Under these stars, they're waiting spears.
Come morning they'll lunge at the sun.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Life Is a Labyrinth, Not a Maze

Past, present, and future are illusions.
Time is not. Change is not. There's only change.

That's the great mercy, the only mercy,
The one true, necessary covenant,

The ever-rolling stream, This Too Shall Pass,
The singular consequence that forgives

Every foolish decision. There are none.
We are not lost, looking for a way out.

The way out is the inevitable,
And we cannot even decide to stop.

If we could stop, we could make a mistake,
We could perhaps get ourselves stuck for good.

But we can't, and as we can't, as we can
Only change and disappear, we are free.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Subnivean Spring

The safe houses of winter reappear
In old snow, looking like weevil-tracked wood,
Once the snowpack dissolves to near bottom.

Always and everywhere it remains true:
The visible manifests a lost world,
Once invisible and unknown and real.

To discover anything is to lose
Innocence, mystery, etc.
Just to wake up is to watch sleep fleeing,

Which is to say that being is losing
And the only recovery is sleep,
The blanket of nothing when all is real.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fantastic Battle with a Self

Stars in the visible universe
Can't outnumber the molecules
In a dozen or so snowflakes
Perched on the whorls of my thumb.

So there, there's our quantifiable
Love affair with the permanent
Universe that surrounds and outlasts
Our maps of lasting surroundings.

Quick, quick, rush to finish,
Before you forget, the task you set
Your approximation of a self, ice
Crystal grown from germs and luck.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear Writer

Friend, I had no mean intention
To be cruel to you, still less
To your saltwater taffy-nosed friend,

Only sometimes I find myself
In need of some cruelty to language,
The words of which exist only

In the bacteria-haunted brains
Of the living and loving clumps
Who can't find our way in

These worlds not meant for meaning
Anything like what your pal's phrase
Attempted, end without them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"What Did the Monkey Guy Say?"

Upon reflection, I have weaknesses
For self-reference, declarative
Rhetoric, verbosity and minimal

Imagery, a lot of fooling around
With abstractions and pronouns,
A fascination with awareness

And its innumerable occlusions
And absences, as if extinction
Were a topic of guaranteed poetic

Importance, enjambments, puns,
Neologisms, allusions, occasional
Naming of names, family ones,

Sarah and Sequoia, who are talking
At the moment about a postcard
Sarah has long kept up, whatever

Place we inhabit, a reproduction
Of the (in)famous reconstruction
Of the Australopithecines who left

Their footprints in ash at Laetoli, the one
Presenting them as a loving couple,
The male with his arm draped

Protectively over the shoulders
Of the smaller female, as if
They were Adam and Eve leaving

Eden, with wandering steps and slow,
Or as if they were Lot and his wife,
Or, name your myth. Sequoia turns

On a small heel to ask me, seriously,
What the monkey guy said. I think.
I think. I don't think he said anything.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Solar Phantom

There was a beast who was not me
Who I observed carefully from the inside,
A middle-class white American sort

Of beast who had trouble staying
Middle class. He had no respect
For money. Spent too much, ate too much,

Drank too much, especially profligate
With tipping, condiments, Diet Coke,
Road trips, vitamins, books, and beer.

I paid close attention to the ways
In which he differed from true, noted
How secretive and eccentric his habits

Compared to the rules of the rest
Of his kind, although the rest, it seemed
To me, had difficulties being the rest.

I remonstrated with him, time to time,
But to no apparent effect, and I mused
On how the day is longer than the night

Even at the equator, seven stolen minutes
When the sun is down but still looks up
Thanks to refraction before twilight,

And I looked at the way this beast stole
Extra light at the edges of his beastly life,
And what the hell, I let him be myself.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Details, Details

"I'm well aware I'm going to die someday, and everything else really is detail." ~Esther Dyson

Mine or yours, they're fascinated
By themselves. A voice here, a glance
At the hills. They experience
Things, or they think they feel they do.

They come and go. They have their genes
Sequenced or not. They interview
And interrogate each other.
Nothing comes of them. The night burns.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Long Black Cloud Is Coming Down"

Every time someone walks by me,
I think to myself, that's a life,
A whole life, but of course I'm wrong.
It's legion. Who knows how many
They are, walking in front of me,
Alongside of me, inside me?
What one singer wrote another
Sang dying as the first one lived.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Logistics of Books

Hybrids may initiate new species.
They may remain traditional dead ends.
As in genetics, so too in culture:
World without end, comprised of all our ends.

Who wouldn't want to believe words have been
Our undoing and are undoing us
Now as we try to compose our egos
To comprise ourselves out of the composed?

Words are our doing, and our undoing
Is the only promise vouchsafed to us,
The rainbow that arches in lordosis,
Explaining there's truth, there's beasts, and there's us,

You and me. We will not inhabit these
Exchanges of burnt macronutrients
And ecosystems of microbia
Much longer. We will flee to other dreams.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sacred to the Memory of William Walker Who Was Drowned While Crossing the Aoreke River, February 6th, 1857 Aged 16 Years And 10 Months

Billions of years ago began
About a century ago.
By the time I was twenty five
I could drive a fossil-fueled car

Through the mountains of Wyoming
And stop to read the brass-screwed plates
Identifying formations
Hundreds and billions of years old.

This is not perspective we've gained,
No more than we get from the stars.
As soon as one begins to plan
One starts to plan what could go wrong,

As if what one did mattered to dust
That cannot comprehend being
Dust comprehending dust as dust.
At best we grasp our epitaphs.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Even with all the forgetting,
Accumulating memory
Sometimes feels unsupportable.
When there was so much less to hold,

An aging autocrat allowed
A magazine interviewer
To ask him his world strategy.
He answered, "peace, peace, and once more

Peace." He died shortly thereafter.
A child reading the interview
In the land of the enemy
Never forgot that answer, learned

How to say it in the language
In which the autocrat spoke it.
It's bric-a-brac now in the brain
Of that child, forgetful old man,

Fretting about the gathering
Weight of twilight on soft shoulders,
Sitting beside a stream in gloom,
Thinking "peace, peace, and again, peace."

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Two Expanding Aphorisms

1. Volvelle

This world is a pretty fair coin.
Long runs of heads or tails are rare.
Not that random is wonderful,
Mr. Capra. There's no reason

A universe of exquisite
Goodness doesn't exist except
That we don't know of any such.
Turn the wheel to match fates, stars,

And read the horoscope of gods.
It won't change facts for fugitives
From the long law of averages.
It might. Mighty unfair. It won't.

2. Hypocrisy Is a Virtue, Possess It If You Can

The universe, so far as we know it,
Appears to be cruel and unkind.
Humans are hypocrites and all gods
Are fictions, but we might as well

Make peace with it and try to be kind
Because we do ourselves nor others
Any favors by the reverse. And if
You need to be cruel and unkind

Console yourself. In the long run
You haven't made matters much worse.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch

Every page is beautiful and captioned in
Eaborately blunt reformationist
German. The universe is peculiar
And she makes her peculiarities known.

The skies above our pale blue dot are alive
With significance for the significance
Ape. A blood portrait with a sword in its hand
Defends a fiery castle against itself.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Noon, Alice Springs

December eleventh, twenty-one
Seventeen, near the greatest transit
Of Venus. Now. Who will be watching
Then, when your compositor is dead?

Edmond Halley didn't stick around
To see his prediction's fruition.
Mark Twain famously claimed to bracket
Two appearances of Ed's namesake.

Or he didn't. Who knows with Mark Twain,
The most misquoted American?
Serves him right for ginning his own name.
That's the way it goes with human names,

As if there were any other kind
No other kind could point to proudly.
Venus. Halley. Mark Twain. Alice Springs
Eternal for mortal visitors.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Sleeping Bunny and the Sleeping Dinosaur

"The difference between telling stories and telling truth is multiple sets of evidence." ~ Bennett Greenspan

God, I don't want to write a novel.
I don't want to sell a poem.
I want to watch the sun glow cliff side,
Debating pronouns alone.

You can't triangulate three of us
Without requiring a height
From which poems like galaxies emerge
Out of constellated lies.

There is no narrative without myth,
Obfuscating prejudice,
That atmospheric twinkle-twinkle
That regulates all commerce.

The bunny and the dinosaur both
Had improbably long arms
When toy sellers manufactured them.
The dinosaur's caused alarm,

The bunny's just looked ridiculous.
Their common ancestor sleeps
With the fishes below the light waves
Over our child's dream-decked deeps.