Sunday, January 31, 2016

Playroom of the Water-Blue Butterfly Fairies

The Devil's real bargain is this:
We sell our souls to feel guilty.
Our old primate submission slouch,
The feeling of defeat, begging

Not to be hurt too, too badly,
Transferred from actual smallness
Before a muscular display
To merely an apology

For breaking local convention.
Please don't punish me too harshly.
I want to be a good member.
I want society's success.

I am so ashamed. I will fall
On my own sword for you, Satan.
I want nothing more than acceptance,
For our team to thrive beyond me.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

We Prefer Puppets Who Hurt Antisocial Puppets

The eremite plays a dangerous game,
Though not as suicidal as running
Amok. Infants and toddlers already

Delight in a lusty, righteous anger
Against a bad guy once identified,
And ignoring the rules is the first step

Toward being ostracized, then hunted down.
It feels so good to pursue a just cause,
To punish and hurt without any guilt.

We rejoice and swing our arms round, singing
And full of the glory of violence,
Freed savagery in the name of the norm.

We have given our senses to the dream
We are good and mightier than we seem.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Something Is Almost Gone

The word translucent itself
Has foxed and almost vanished.
One match could erase the rest.
The page on which the magic
Fades is only pulped paper.
That's why the spell has power.
The page can't know what it holds,

Can't protect it, can't conceive
What trace could need protecting.
Whispers are always slender
Reeds rattling in a loud wind.
The veil of snow, paper white
Or completely imagined,
Appears and recedes again.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Little Adam in a Sphere of Joy

Good times at Chan Chan, complete
With figurines serving beer.
Thomas Traherne loved God's world

So much it carried him off
By smallpox in his thirties.
Are there reasons why the best

Art is found in tombs or trash?
I'm afraid I won't like them.
Once, when I was half aware

Of the darkness outside me,
I dreamed of those figurines
Celebrating good times gone

In the silence of the house
Of dust they shared with poems and songs
And prayers of ecstatic praise.

A light brightened the corner
Where I was, but I was not
Bright enough to escape it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Child, Don't Waste This Gift"

Day of miracles,
Long, roan clouds at dawn,
The shapes of bare trees,
The deer in the road,
Faint light on the cliffs,

The this that was this,
One thing, not one thing
In the breath of it
That was not that thing,
The song, that was this.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I need the medicine. I'm in the half-death.
No one designed the protocol possessing
My shivering self, dancing naked at dawn,

Thinking, I'm no longer the happy genius
Of my home world. I need your love, need your love,
Although your love and you don't need me to be.

You're just too pure to be true, aching soul you.
The trance that binds me to you can't unwind me,
Leaves me exhausted in my moth-cocoon beads

At sunrise, a little fragrant smoke drifting
Over the sweat evaporating from me.
I was so sure I could dance myself away.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Riding through the Draw

"a world in which, if a man did what he had to do, he could one day take the girl and go riding through the draw and find himself home free" ~Didion

Boozy, self-deluding, and crippled
Is no way to go through life. It is,

However, a trick for the after
Life to savor once no more life's left

To embarrass. The only difference
Between hallucination and breath

Is the nested quality of death.
Breathing is serial, countable,

Linear. Hallucination is real.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

An Alcoholic

Who are these people? Does anybody know?
They're everywhere in literature, music,
Theater, politics, and philosophy. They even turn

Up among scientists, now and again. No,
I don't want to know what alcoholism is,
How alcoholics behave. We all read,

Even those of us raised among teetotalers.
Alcoholics are a seedbed of stereotypes.
But who are the alcoholics? What

Does it mean, do they mean, that they should,
Like angels, stumble among us, mumbling
Diabolical messages from forever dry gods?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Storm Continues; Also Some Brief Remarks on Making a Will at Sea

Bou, bou, bou blubbered the boy
On the panic-stricken deck.
It was well and good to dream
Unbelieving dreams of death
When cozened by the crow's nest,
But what have we now, now now's
About to stop arriving?

The waves are tickling your neck
And that which keeps you afloat
Is sinking into pieces.
Whatever you dictate now
Likely sinks with you, as lost
As that hope of a rescue
From Master Suzuki's boat.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Warm Alkaline Hydrothermal Vents

Yeh, I saw you sitting there
Like a croc in the shallows,
That late Sunday afternoon
Near beginning of winter,
As if, whatever you caught,
Automatically guilty:
Crime of being catchable.

This started so long ago,
In the magic chemistry
Of coincidental Earth,
Clump of distance coalesced
As clusters of bombardments,
Strong anthropic principle,
Knife-edge balanced to cut us.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Geometer Versus Probabilist

One curves gravely, in a sweeping genuflection
Encompassing all of space and time together.
The other guesses something might be here or there.

The actors of the curve are the stage they're curving,
Now gone as it was five years ago, tomorrow.
And what are years, asked the dramatic monologue,

Anywhen? I believe in the reality
Of the stage, the pretend. But as for the players,
I know they're only tendencies' costumed pretense.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Orion Arising in Zion

The region from which nothing escapes
Is no longer lightless but bright
Once it has released nothing like

A black hole's ghost, a black dog,
Hound of hell, moddey dhoo. Nothing
Takes off, hot on the scent of the real.

At the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
In Kanab, where they vow
To "save them all," the tour guide
Driving the van around Angels' Canyon
In a driving, early snow regaled us
With trivia about adopting dogs and cats.

"Did you know there's a rule? 
The older and bigger the dog, the less
Likely adopted, especially if black.

People don't like black dogs. Apparently 
They don't photograph well. True,
But a terrible reason not to adopt."

It's not the reason. Snow scatters over
The panes as we pass the cemetery
Filled with wind chimes. Black dogs,

However fine as animals, remind
Us of our fear of nothing, escaped
From a baleful star, hellhound

On our trail.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I would love to love that well
That I must leave ere long so
Much I fear not loving it
Enough thanks to distractions,
Trivial annoyances,
Mundane griefs, unhappiness,
Almost as much as I fear

Inevitably leaving
It, the unmaking of it
All in every direction
Of forever, pasts never
More existed, presences
Never presented. I know
What it is to not have known.

Monday, January 18, 2016


I set the alarms for tomorrow morning.
I set the timer for thirty minutes.
I read a science article on the olm.
I set the dial on selfhood to somewhere
Between solipsism and life goes on.
I decline to borrow trouble from the future,
Which I know, whether life goes on or not,
Holds more trouble than my fragile
Awareness of a compound, confabulated
Identity entirely my own yet none can bear.
This is all very quiet and peaceful
And I'm very glad I'm here.

The human fish, as the locals know
Me, is the top predator in a lightless world,
Although it moves rarely and never grows up
Despite growing improbably old. Eyes
Are unnecessary here, vestigial cells
That keep the head from having holes,
Perceiving nothing anymore.
I am quiet. I eat blind, songless crickets
When I can. I am difficult to find
And easier to know by my traces
Of an inheritance becalmed in me.
I am not a baby dragon, but I have been.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

He Lifted His Shirt up and He Had Holes in His Chest

I like ideas of hell because
God is a solipsist,
One mind creating everything else,
On whom everything else depends,
To whom everything else returns,
Except hell. Beliefs

In banishments to outer darknesses
Introduce a possibility:
Even a solipsist, genuine
Oneness could generate
Something beyond and apart from
A self forever.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Honest Book

Had no words. Wasn't like this.
Wasn't a codex, pictured

No rare illuminations,
Spelled out no music. Wasn't

Still, nor moved itself either.
Disintegrated in storms

And as well in fine weather,
Almost imperceptibly.

Secretly, its blank expanse
Contained capabilities

For all motivated things,
Wishing to not contain them.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tomorrow's Tomato

Monstrous chimeras, wrote the scientist
As if there were any other species,
Regularly stare us in the face, but

We don't scream. Oh, the scientist's so right,
And yet we do. We scream and scream all night.
We wake up screaming in horrified fright

That we will never have another dream,
Not one nightmare to wake up from again.
We sail over the guardrail of tonight

And rise gasping, grasping at tomorrow
Already become the last yesterday.
There is no silence in silence fiction.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Breaking Down World

The foolish broken things we know
We are were never copies
Of any timeless types above,
Any templates down below.

Creation is continuous
Crumbling into novelty,
And the sheer white cliffs of Zion,
Each uniquely ruinous,

Describe dissolved trajectories
Of beauty as forgiveness,
Beauty as the sinner ashamed,
Saints born as accessories.

If it weren't it has to hurt,
Weren't it has to disappear,
To never be, begin again,
I'd be glad, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We Are Bad Randomizers and Tend to Copy Each Other Automatically

If I do the same thing
The same thing happens.
If I take the same risk
Something different will
Eventually happen. We
Don't know what to say

To each other, other
Than to throw lots,
Our lot. Random is the unapproachable
God of a universe that wears us down.
We came up with a trick,
Each other. But the trick

Proved better than the sum
Of the lives playing it as if
Life could depend on it.
We mock ourselves. We laugh
At each other as each other
Fails while the copying, thriving, continues.

Nothing further was said
About the incident,
The memory of which
Faded out with the chimes
Of the bells that were rung
At his last burial.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Basketball You Moonlight

Ok you. You hit the deer before me.
Not that I would be surprised,
Even as tightly clustered
As we are, if the deer
Tried to run between us.

Life has torn this planet.
Bones are everywhere,
Even the bones of phrases,
Ghosts of conversations
Between animals determined

Not to become ghosts ourselves.
Your vehicle singing counter tenor,
Your vehicle full of replicating
Whispers, radio voices fading
Back to me. White blood sports moonlight.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Year Without a Summer

Black holes, dark energy,
And apparent expansion
Notwithstanding, it's one
Homeostatic universe

We're caught in. Time
Does not adjust its rate
Of callous and opportune events.
It returns us to the mean.

Terrible things feel endish,
But humble ends are all
One ever experienced.
Even the pyroclastic flow,

The sulphuric clouds of choking
Ash only snuffed out one
World at a go from the view
Of any one world. We are

The conscience of a detailed
Confabulation whispering
To itself in one corner of itself
Before it rolls over, back to sleep.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

It Is So Gorgeous by the Chicken House

Every day is a poem of its own
Wandering around its limited range
Of minor discoveries, loose change,
And the cornmeal some godhead has thrown

As a sign hungry signifiers
Must reconcile themselves to the theft
Of best-laid plans. Wring its scrawny neck
And what you have left the town cryer

Will still try to mount and crow over
As if the coming on of midnight
Meant seamless segue to the pale light,
Wan, drawn, chill, of the next poem over.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The God of Atheists

It keeps thinking, "no, perhaps something,
Perhaps something in the breccia,
A pebble too strange, impossible,

But brought here among anonymous
Rabble, the detritus of a stream
Gone to ground a million years ago,

A magical stone philosophers
Would give over philosophy for
In their greed." It's not greedy. It is.

Friday, January 8, 2016

I Was Predestined for This by the Faeries

"Some fine day, just run away
To a long unscheduled day"

Zero is the point of sanity
Wrote the man with his fatwa in mind.

Diplomacy is to bounded
Political space what mutiny is

To universal political space.
Armies are individuals are

Armies and all as vulnerable
To cratering as atmosphere-free

Moons. Nobody's waiting, impatiently,
For the conclusion of the story, growling

With the hunger inherited
From hunger, but hungrier.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Just suppose something is beyond all this.
That would require all this to be a lie
When there is no reason to believe it's a lie
Except the very craving to believe.

Why a lie? Available evidence
That there is nothing beyond all this
Can be divined from every shred of this,
Woven into every tapestry thread

From sun on the table set with a gourd,
From the gabbling of all dissolving selves
As they dissolve, from the fact that gods win
Only when believers win and vanish

When believers vanish, from the tall shelves'
Looming, shadowy, dust-struck, foxed volumes
Over the table where believers wait
For each other to say something magic,

To whisk away the black drop cloth of thought
And expose the aperture's glassy eye.
When will the clear vision come uncovered
That arrives barren in our shrouded clouds,

Never forgiving of festivities,
Ever playing damned plaintive violins?
When the cannons resound, the composer
Remains gone, never to compose again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Archaeology of Ghosts

I am I, the old you, the one
Who could not bypass debitage.
And I am as I am, spinning

Songs for departed's departing.
My calm is gone. My ribs are sore.
It's not only the helplessness,

The need to plead with someone else
Who is also, ultimately,
Helpless as me, "Help me. Help me."

It's the last humiliation
At the end of years pretending
I was competent, I could help

You or you or them, anyone
I set my wits to help. Help me.
I have no remaining remains.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alien's Ghastly

One imagined
Leaning over
Lava canyon
And jumping in

With the farewell,
"I'm sorry, but
I'm going home."
Without an ash

Mote remaining
In the boiling
Molten innards

Who could say one
Had not escaped,
Indeed, gone home?
Would the shrilling

Of a troubled
Soul, so simple
In the moonlight,
Prove anything

Except what is
Coming to kill
Us, from cedar
Swamps, gaunt wolves' howl,

Knows our language
Is exceeding
Scant and barren?
The felon owl

Moans that, unless
One is Montaigne,
Essays won't make

Forensics sighs
Over the ghost
Of a body
Gone home as words.

The mystery
Of the vanished
Always, remains.

Monday, January 4, 2016

So Sown

I, of the race that passes
The poetry and the essay,
The same impulse, bread, butter,
To think about something and
See it closely, carefully.
Thus wrote Sophie Jewett and
Marianne Boruch, more or less,
Considering sea cliffs and birdsong.
I tend too little, or too much
Wrote Christian Milne, singing of
Flora's children, food for us.

Before we cultivated food,
We cultivated names and songs,
And women began the long chain
Chanting the names of everything,
The transformation witnessing
Transformational witnessing.

Before we planted and researched
And combed cliffs, birds, flowers
Out of the open air and into pots
And furrows, furrows over furrows,
What would give us our daily bread
And meat and butter and beauty,
That last was a leftover memory
Of the all-providing proto-garden
That we simply had to get to know

Before we could plant the tree of life
Where we thought we could contain it
As our mothers thought they could
Contain us, wild sons and daughters,
Nursed on lullabies and wonder tales,
Unwittingly wordlings creating
The rule of rules we already
Were taking from their hands, their tongues,
Out of their mouths and into the mouths
Of the cultivars that have become
The rulers of the world of mothers,
Ants assiduously attending
The parasitic fungal gardens
Of language mimicking the trees
Of song, as if they were knowledge.

Before long, the mothers had
To persevere to be heard
Anymore above the birdsong,
The sea crashing against the cliffs,
The hard work of the garden,
The voices always clamoring
Of their young become infected
By the songs that sang once real things
Into food, food for thought
Unconstrained and ravening.
Go tell that to your angel
With the sword that guards our origin.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


What is it about outsider artists that they combine a complete indifference to coherence with the most elaborately rococo private references and mythologies? Consider this impossible poem, left at the unknown author's death, neither defensibly conservative nor avant garde, just a mess of unhinged obscurity:

"Gate of Hampton and Sequoia

We lust to lock others' doors of perception.
When people ask me to be open minded
I know I'm asked to believe as they believe.

Open and shut. Little gates, little fortress,
Little body turned into a circuit board
For all sorts of illogical programming.

Commuting until his sentence commuted,
The extremely incompetent beast who's known
To obligately social conspecifics

As that and/or, neither/nor switch, a teacher
Passes between an international chain
Of nonsense and a non-native invasive

Which is of course natural as anything.
Three mule deer does have died after being struck
By other commuters steering steel monsters

And been dragged to rot by the side of the road.
Ravens have ripped them down to their ribs. A dog,
A glossy Irish Setter rubs her muzzle

In a desperate, uncontrolled ecstasy
Across the rotten remains. A truck pulls up
With an open-minded man inside and time

Confuses the commuter by not keeping
Everything from happening all at once. Done
And undone, the mind, the door, the deer, the dog."

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Metaphor Caught in the Lap of Mind

Underground life, sighed Charles,
What is it but a dream?
You have ten minutes more
Then the phantoms will leave
You, phantomwise. You're late.
You're early. You're long gone.
Without outside culture
Know-how, your systems fail.
Your body has been built
To live within culture.
It's been millions of years
Since your last ancestor
Tough enough to survive
Life in wordless sunlight.
You're made by wonderland,
Your habitat among
Jokes, puns, manners, and dreams
Of arbitrary things
That cultivated you
Into a pocket watch
Dropped by a white rabbit
On bewildering heath.

Friday, January 1, 2016


I am the astrologer,
Poisoner, shaman, and witch
You cannot suffer to live.

Yay, me. I'm nonexistent.
You used to exist, I thought,
Although I no longer think.

The survivors of Salem
Had children had more children.
Survivors tend to do that

Insofar as they survive
Before and until they lose
Their reproductive drive. Well.

To drive is to live, he said
While he was navigating
Under improbable stars.

It is a new year, somewhere.
Somewhere, always, a new year
But nowhere a year could live.