Monday, February 29, 2016

The Great God All Is Dead

"The steppe is an overpowering environment, an endless world without relief where the only response is to keep moving." ~Barry Cunliffe

Keep moving. Keep moving. You who are sung
In so many ways are dominated

By the heaped-up soil and whistling weather.
Alright, there's an end to your endlessness

But it's the end that ends up under you,
Flint under your thin, flinty skin,

Tattooed bones. There is no other relief.
Sit as still as you like, you'll keep moving.

Any environment you'll ever know
Will be endless and moving. The flowers

Make waves to the horizon in the spring.
Pass in the heat. Die in the wind. Again.

Call to the shoreline that the great God, All,
Is gone and let the rest, wavering, wave.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nothing Does Anything

Sarah says, as she says things, half-
Heartedly and humorously,
But she's right beyond her belief.

Nothing does anything. Nothing
Does anything in all the time.
Entropy is the invasion

Of everything by slow nothing
Because everything is nothing
Without any order to it.

The burst pipe, the dead battery,
The mirror cracked, the broken leg,
The emptied bank account, the end

Of a society of cells,
Thirty, forty trillion of them
Expiring, bursting, disbanding,

No longer producing the ghost,
Trillions of copies of billions
Of intricately wrought base pairs

Disintegrating, the millions
Of such expirations each day,
Even the death of the beliefs

In divinities vouchsafing
Those ends, anything that happens,
Nothing does, nothing's creation.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mystery Brain

Took my spirit but it never
Will take me away again.
Sarah cries out from the kitchen
Where she's been buttering rice

There's a buck, no, stag, on the porch!
I throw open the window
Of the back bedroom where I read
When I can steal a moment

And a startling rack of tines
Nods briskly by in the dark
Within arm's reach, neither panicked
Nor stately, simply Hello

I must be going, through the door
That serves as our garden gate,
Like a missionary leaving,
Embarrassed and shadowy

But getting on with the logic
Of a damp night in winter,
Bird feed to consider, wet snow.
How compelled we are to narrate

The tiny moments of our lives,
Remembered as mysteries.
Each moment takes moments away
Never to return. Not I.

Friday, February 26, 2016

"The Doors Are All Open. I'm Going to Go Now," Said the Simple Harmonic Oscillator

A bad title is a cumbersome
Albatross around the poet's neck.
No it isn't. But the poet would

Like to get rid of the stink of it.
God, in a familiar, incorrect
Version of the unknown universe,

Tapped celestial fingers to count
The beats no sad monotheist could
Intuit. It's hard to feel the pulse

Of everything from nothing without
Discreetly counting oscillations.
But let's not blame our dream deities

For the shortcomings that beset us,
Animals like drops of water, ponds
Teeming with the lives preceded us.

Those lives have to get rid of the things
That the divinity interprets
As a stink around the collared self.

I want to go home now, groans the bird
Dragooned into being a symbol.
Tick-tock. One-two. I'm going to go now.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

How They Were Signifying This Thing or That Thing in Their World

"The jinn posed problems
     To moral philosophers
From the beginning,"

But the jinn wouldn't agree
     Beginning began.
Jinn were always beginning

Fictions behind facts,
     Memories with purposes
Not to remember

Truly but to envision
     And plan the futures
That haunt everyone always,

Faithful, secular,
     Orthodox or enlightened,
The random almost

Unimaginable, facts
     Faked, unbearable,
Rubbing the lamp, Causation.

Good and evil are
     Not consequence but sequence.
Then what should be done?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Walk into the Big Lake and It Will Shrink Just for You

Sang Sequoia, impromptu.
Kill every New Jersey deer,
Then try to find a dead deer,

And you're not going to find one.
That's the probability
Even mass extinctions

Leave us with, excavating
A layer of dinosaurs
In suburban Pine Barrens.

Whatever tends to happen
Tends to be erased for good.
Recycle nothing, I say.

The lake is so deep below
Our worries about the rules.
Sing. Vanish. Silt. It will fit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Someone has been a heretic
Since anyone demanded faith.
Someone would rather watch than burn,

But in the end it's beautiful,
The little fire in the courtyard
Chimineria that sputtered

And smoked in the winter canyon
Wind, nearly guttering often,
Gouting rancid reeks of wet, punked

Leftover logs gouged out of dirt
Beside the unoccupied jail
Of cut sandstone blocks, such a part

Of the pitch for buying this house.
In the end, everything burned clean
Down to ash, obeyed the human

Laws of nature equating mass
With energy. There's nothing left
Save white dust come the morning light.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Mother of Cities

Human, we want inhuman
Respect.  Civilization,
That curious construction

Anahita and others
Sanctified as an escape
From the peripatetic

Scholasticism of men
Who would prefer not to be
Either civilized or men,

Has sanctioned a punishment.
Because we know, we will not
Ever know what can be known.

Balkh! Floodplain at the juncture
Of what can and can't be known,
Mother of Zoroaster,

Nursemaid of Buddha, victim
Of the Macedonian
And the warriors of the Lord,

You will, I promise, one day
Yet prophesy one true truth:
No truth's ever prophesied.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

And the World Changes

Say, "Humankind was wrongly constructed."
Say, "There's Something in our brain that is Wrong."

Tonight is going to be the most fun we'll
Have until July. Everything's inside

Something else. What the imagination
Can't conjure, reality delivers

With a shrug. Every benefit demands
A cost. Therefore I suspect the cosmos

Can't be infinite. Relentless tradeoffs
Imply a limit to the resources

Of this diabolically delusive universe.
You can sense this in your collective brain,

The little, niggling, jiggling suspicion
Something is not right with reality.

But enjoy tonight. Time brings it and takes
Itself away. All joys are earned, prepaid.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


If you were raised to believe
In sorcery, it's witchcraft

Running on all that envy
Of your own wonderful life,

Hard-earned personal success,
Etc., will get you

In your unfortunate end.

If you were raised to believe
In nothing, it's the absence

Of a placebo effect
To lift spirits, rewire mind,

And generally cheer you up
That you have to fear the most.

Nothing's your fortunate end.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Mischief and irony among angels
Are as dogs and cats in human households
At the terminus of industrial,
Civilized, lazy nation. They're not rare.

They're not necessary. They're not useful
In most instances. (Who among you needs
The services of domesticated
Dog or cat to acquire your keep? Damn few.)

But they're nearly ubiquitous. Angels
Debate with ghosts and revenants, asking
Why they, the original chimeras,
Are only depicted as light or dark,

Never as eerily impossible.
Angels are eerily impossible.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Optimism Is As Central As Hyperbole To This Genre

Never say, magpie, looking up at the sky,
Another life is shining in the sky. Thief.
Almost every word you ever said or penned

Or touch typed or thumbed onto a glass surface
Came whole cloth from outside your head and before
Your time. Nothing but the neologisms

Have anything to do with you and even
Those were cobbled together by tricks you learned
Elsewhere. The phrases as well you mostly nabbed,

Especially the ones you liked. Prosody
You cribbed. Techniques you stole. Whole stanzas you fibbed.
So far, so good. But here's what really eerie:

What you took you took from ghosts who took from ghosts
Who took from ghosts. You're all ghosts, all the way down
And back, magpie, you with the glint in your eye.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Animal Lovers

All lovers are animals,
So far. Other life forms search,
Consume, enlarge, and destroy,
But passion's evolution
Was an animal thing. Now,
One animal species groans
From a newer, weird desire

To eradicate blunt lust
Or at least to diminish,
To cut it away from love.
We are slaves to our bodies
And slaves to inherited,
Ruthless, parasitical
Minds craving flesh, transcendence.

I want to jump skeletons
Sturdier and more smoothly
Jointed than my own. I want
To pretend I don't want flesh.
I am slave to these masters
That perform me between them.
Leave me alone. Manumit

This creature you've created
Who cannot howl like a wolf
And write like an eremite
Simultaneously. I
Want my lover to succor
My irredeemable parts
Whose sins designed redemption.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cardboard and Barbed Wire

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." ~DH Lawrence, Englishman, age 37

"I have moments of great pleasure. But day to day it's pretty rough." ~John Sorensen, American, age 92

If you haven't murdered at least once, then
You haven't lived. Each thought's a revenant
Of that shallow, buried wish to be death

Itself, ad libitum, not life, all selves,
Ad nauseum. Life goes skittering by,
Ice pond of inexperienced skaters

Blissfully unaware they're unaware
They're stumble-tumbling in vicinity
Of the original pond on ancestral

Farm property. You could buy a postcard
A couple of generations ago
Featuring a picture of our farmhouse,

Nostalgic, bucolic America
Already ready made for purchasing.
The skaters' recent ancestors lived there.

They were sentimental, lived hard lives,
Thrived, pontificated, grew frail, and died.
The last time the nonskating crippled boy,

Most fortunate of the unfortunates,
Came in a wheelchair to watch his sister
Try out her new Christmas skates, he despaired

Of ever getting out into the winter,
Past dreaming gates of cardboard and barbed wire,
Onto the icy American soul

Of those ancestors on Washington's route
Of retreat from past to future battles
Involving frozen stoics murdering.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Soot Put Foot

My head of books, my chest of blood
Divide among my priors, friends.
I could have been the authoress
Of everything and anything
Or I could have authored nothing.
It all goes in all directions.
Going's the only direction
Ever was, begging beginning.

My expiring movements are, were
Like new life's hallucination
Of New Life Island, spit of sand
In the Delaware, hardly wild,
Counseled by evangelicals
In the seventies as a child:
Recite the most Bible verses,
There's hope. But the trill has sounded.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day at the Post Office

Visages in the slides
Of a Magic Lanthorn
Loom like fairy tale knights

Errant and enchanted
In an enormous hall
Among a wilderness

Of idle wanderers
Turned colony of ants.
Every letter we leave

Behind will find us fined.
The whole correspondence
Passes under the hall.

Now and then a woman,
Now and then an old man,
Head over heels, pell mell,

Tokens of the late storm,
Accidents, vanities,
But really a system

Of admirable order
All through the rolling years,
Dead Letter Offices'

Bradawls, corkscrews, bridles,
Spurs, tickets, lace, doll's things,
Carelessness, ignorance,

Miraculous, address
Tumbled with penny stamp,
Straight to proper parties,

Head of hieroglyphics,
Heart of going forward,
Filled nearly to the mouth,

Many hope we would be
And believe it, somehow,
One great source, Love, we are.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

There Is No Scotch Jungle

Anywhere north of Rum Jungle, Oz.
That was so long ago, one life gone,
Ongoing epilogue just started.

Now we widen our thighs and our eyes
Under the dusty cliffs of Zion,
Young life up started in the shadows.

One would love to make more sense than one
Seems capable of confessing. Clouds
Taunt the lives below the skies above.

There was a story, upon a time
That for once unfolded without
Reference to any origin.

We are not a one anymore.
We are a reconsideration
Of ones happening, one at a time.

"There is no Scotch Jungle," Sarah
Laughs, explaining rum's happier
Madness while I scour the Hebrides.

Sequoia was not a thought of ours
In jungles after the final ends
Of what I was before I was us.

But she sings to herself just the same,
Contemplating her latest face make-up,
Butterfly jungle eyes in Zion.

Have we done enough to merit what
We can't possibly earn on our own?
Our lives are the hybrids of our minds

And the lives of the ghosts of cultures
Begun before we were these jungles.
My mind is an eagle in Scotland.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Baptist male house finches
Bathe in full immersion,
Carotenoid flushed head

Feathers cherry against
The dun of the body,
The brown of mud puddle.

A trifling morning snow.
A cloud clocked afternoon.
We must clean ourselves.

"It's like milk in a big, big bowl
Or like you crack an egg
But the shells fall in the bowl,"

Explains Sequoia a few
Hours later, finches abed, full bowl
Moon over Orion and Watchman.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fair to Middling Passages

Even your villains suffered
Physical bodies and died
And the world you say they
Left behind never existed
For them. For them, they
Never existed. Death that

Transfigured many deaths.
It's always horrific to face
The passage from here
To the end of everything
That ever was for the flesh
Left chained and howling.

I ate well. I wrote a poem.
I drank two drinks to
Celebrate. I'm not
Coming home. I'm
Coming home. I don't
Want what must come home.

Only one of my ancestors
Survived that whale road
Long enough to suffer
And die somewhere else,
Having mothered or sired
More dissolved desire.

Otherwise, I am the fable
That colors itself white.
Otherwise, I lie under
The moon and glow silver
Like everything else in the night.
My life has been too light.

If you survive this you will die
Of that. The ones who jumped
Into the waves singing seem
More poignant than the survivors
Who lived to die otherwise.
Why? Save a wretch. Lie me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wintry Mix

The first day of winter, we drove
Fog animal, Kabbala, Coyote
Played in succession on the phone
Piped through a black cord in the car

A shapely world, ancient, but blurred
The cliffs of vaguely religious
Names now, Court of the Patriarchs
White Throne, Altar, draped in snow fogs

Rain on the canyon floors, freezing
Into scattered comments against
The windshield as we drive higher
Past the ravens on the road corpse

Through the almost empty tunnels
In the stone dead heart of silence
Picked with a few windows on white
And inevitable questions

Who were we, father and daughter
Five years on, still patrolling roads
That could only loop back on us
Every mixed exploration closed

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Perpetual Resurrection

Live too long and you lose the power
To choose how you would want to die,
But you can't know long's too long,
And that unknowing's the real rub.

One born of a human mother
Might live to torture another,
Kill another, betray hundreds,
And so on. That one waits for you

If you linger. Or the landslide,
The automobile accident,
The damaged cells in defiance,
Rapacious parasites' triumph.

Whatever. You're one more cycle
Of homeostatic furnace
Or thermodynamic cascade.
Aren't you special? Well. Aren't we all?

Monday, February 8, 2016

In Memory

Every poem is a vote for the world beyond death,
But there may never be enough votes for success.
The rhyming of history yields the illusion
Of space in that plausible world where everything
Is distinctly different and perishes but most
Distinctions are so minuscule as to seem like
Perfect repetition, rime riche at very least.
Look at this tumbledown hillside of stones, basalt
Cubes all nearly the same, chilly now, long ago
Spilled in fractal-like waves of similarity
Over mesas of nonidentical sand grains
Compacted as monotonous piles of sandstone.

If there's a world out there, it's determined to try
Every infinitely divisible difference
In an endless ringing of trivial changes,
And the endlessness and the triviality
Create death birthed from the never-dead forever,
Create, among deaths, the transient consciousness
Of transience, memory forever mournful,
Forever joyful, forever incorrect. Life
Elaborates the transitoriness of life
And tats every deteriorating fable 
Of what was and therefore, would have to be, what is.
Nothing is like this, the ghost of contradiction.

A soul held two images of a narrative.
In one, a woman sits alone at a window
Looking out on deep woods, winter mountain twilight,
Taking in the evening, none of the home lights on.
In another, a light snake of discrete windows,
A passenger train in the night derails smoothly
From invisible trellises and vanishes
Into the unseen lake under the unseen ice.
A strip of celluloid, somewhere, broken into
Irreducible yes or no bits, held the truth
No soul could remember. There was no evening light,
No image of the doomed passengers in the night.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Realistic Magic

Commonplace sacrifices closing
In final craziness. The outlaw
Hunkers down by the Virgin River.

No one knows he's an outlaw but him.
That's the danger within successful
Deception. Who knows you've succeeded?

There's a flicker in the foamed water.
There's a fish that can never be caught.
Peer, leaning closer. That would be him.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

We Sink Our Eyelids in the River

We've done it before, more peacefully.
We've done it tens of thousands of times.
We've done it under anesthesia,
And although that was more frightening
And uncomfortable, it was not
Itself painful, body rendering,
No commitment to the surrender.
When we do it for the final time,
We'll have to pass though hell to get free.

Friday, February 5, 2016

I Am Free to Behave As I Want

Not spirituality. Not service.
Not norms, however ancient or holy.
Pride goeth before a fall and ego

Before pride-shaming public therapy.
Oh, we all want to be known as humble.
We all want to be free to be self-pleased.

I don't like yoga, ancient or modern,
Eastern or western. I'm averse to rules
About how a person with frail bones sits.

Truth to tell, I'm averse to rules at all
Although I can't live or communicate
Without rules. Fuck communication. Say

What you thought you meant to say before you
Realized you would never have anything
Outside of the shameful game of naming.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

All Thumbs

The parasitic bee began
To appear in the fifteenth
Century. Big finger against
The palm, stout, opposing the rest.

Without it you can't drain a mug,
Clutch a fountain pen correctly.
How could this mean incompetence,
Unless we still long to ascend

The trees we haven't slept in since
Our digits found precision
Depends on strong opposition
And our need for balance shifted?

When I should get aught, each finger
Is one plum-lucky thumb, and I
Shall thrive on the miracle sums
Of something for nothing from crumbs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Black Island

Shivering, we cling to life and fear to fall.
The poet received the news of the coup,
Went to hospital and was declared dead.

The rocks give way to the waves all the time.
The bedroom overlooking the loud surf
Is kept as beautiful as it can be,

Probably more beautiful than the day
It was left forever by its owner.
No owner ever existed, no words.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


In the dark awareness
Of no longer being
Gone, asleep, and away
Every morning began
With the counting of breath,
The numbering of days,

By calendar, since birth,
The surfacing of life,
The evening and the day,
Another day. But how
Did Groundhog Day's hero
Not know how many days?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Revolutionary Verses Eviscerate the Evolution of the Invisible Multiverse

I relish a wild inconsistency,
That exploding hobgoblin of large minds.
This. This is the best moment of my life.

Again, but differently the same. This. This
Is the best of my life. And this. Yes, this.
There's no restart button beyond human

Mind games. There is a continuity,
A catskill eagle in some souls, that though
It flies low remains forever mountained,

Or something like that. No continuous
Thing can be perceived by me very long.
Reset. This, this moment, this is the best.

Hands on the steering wheel. Salmon sunset
Lighting a mackerel sky. Home at last
After a long day at the office. Bed

After a long day outside. The shower
Head spraying me down with hot waterfalls.
Cold waterfalls in the Slocan summer.

I loved it all, especially the parts
I thought I hated, bone breaks on the ground,
The sky high, bare, and cool. I loved it all.