Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wool and Copper

Love lives beyond our pledges
Meant to shelter it--your hand,
My hand on our first meeting
When you were welcome, welcome,
And all the winds wandering
Stirred the soul within the soul
Housed in moonshine midnight hours,

When we saw what did not move
Opened by the star's own pulse--
Let all be well, be well. Well,
Our splendid isolation
Was woven with love whispered.
Our whispers mixed with others
Out there somewhere, together.

Friday, April 29, 2016

To Be the Watcher and Only the Watcher

Insufficiently alive to be hungry,
Insufficiently dead to lack awareness,

Survivor of accident, epiphany,
And enlightenment, the watcher floats, alert

In every sensible dimension, unhurt
And oblivious to possibility

Of pain. This is the condition, past serene,
Devoutly to be wished, not the other one,

Unmoored among nightmares, silent in the grave.
Give the complicated human hybrid this

Blessedness neither body nor mind, bless this.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

And There Was Nothing To Be Done About It

Hume's philosophy was that Hume's philosophy
Would appeal to us if we felt like liking it,
Whether or not his philosophy was correct.

A Cretan could not have put paradox better.
Name me a cosmologist who explicated
The arrow of time as Cupid's arrow, asking

Whose victim heart the barbed dart forever aims at.
A consistent direction, Aristotle knew,
Implies a target, if only dissipation.

The great archers, those who bullseye infinity,
Having shot wait expectantly for what they know
To trace the full arc, find its mark, and murder them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Psyche Peering into the Pyxis of Persephone

Gradually she realized she was caught in a world where she could wish but she could not move. A calm voice spoke in her ear. "I am the enemy you killed, my friend. Now let us sleep." As a result, she had a vision that was at once both disturbingly alien and surprisingly familiar, of the moving principle that is life. His name was Veri and he sang shocking songs about the underworld. He knelt in the moonlight and leaned his ear to the shining waters. "Isn't the present better than the past?" he sang. "I have three black flakes on my feet, the ashes of my infants I cannot scrape from me." He turned to her as she sank into the waters from which he rose, hanging upside down, a reflection.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Having Just Escaped from the Truth

I cherish what lies I have left.
The droning acoustics of wind
In the canyon like a long throat
That suffers catarrh, the deer

Staring back at me from soft brush
That blurs the distance between us,
And the procession of hurling
Motor cars commuting through this

Sunset growing later and later
In the rigidly humanized day. . .
All of these things will bother me
If I live to read this slaughtered memory

Of a time when I, too, sat on the edge
Of the bed at six every morning,
Mumbling dreams like a mouthful
Of cold oatmeal, color of winter landscapes.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Two Places

There are no places, only changes,
And change is temporal, but,

Between the changes, where and when
There are only more and more changes,

One could sense agglomerations,
Galactic centers, black holes, whatever,

A great concentration of changes
That changed the general atmosphere

Of mostly lesser, gentler changes,
And in one lesser, one declining change,

The almost pause between two such
Massive counterweights of plunging,

Pendular differences, time's chaotic
Rush against its periodical self, I

Felt my faint byproduct soul arising,
Lifted into the distance, a wanderer,

What I had always wanted to be,
Liminal being in a moonlit forest

To which nothing like me could belong,
Awaited by no one and in no danger,

Suspended by the immaculate tension
Between the spider web and the stars.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Butterfly at the Wrist

It has a name. It has
Several of them, but don't
Breathe a one. You'll disturb

It's tranquil equipoise
That tranquilizes you.
You'll leave it, but not yet.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

An Imperfect Window

Conceive of a word such as concept.
The word is not the concept. It is

A word: concept. It is not between
Us and the world. It is not the world.

It is not how we conceive the world.
It is not us. It is. Four-square, paned,

An item in a world of items
None of which exist as distinct things,

None of which is nothing. It wavers
In the light of the cold afternoon

That reaches through it to the sick bed
Of the convalescent mind, dreaming

The small birds on the branches outside.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Growth

Of information is uneven,
Pocketed in general decline
In our thermodynamic cosmos,
But then the pockets themselves must be

A kind of information, inert
And inherent, playing out as heat
Coruscates through them, complicating
The local as the whole falls apart.

How much complexity could have been,
Had to have been packed into the start
That an Earth could arise and derive

So much elaborate minutiae
Like a skin of dementia on a god
Who had no idea what was divine?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"These Forgotten Great Beams of Light"

The world is echoing like a struck bell.
It's time to close the curtains for the night.

The parrots are frantically chattering
In the park of traumatized veterans,

Reciting their lists of what can go wrong
For individual social beings

Used to flying in noisy formation
Over silent forests composed of trees

That would be just as contented to grow
Each alone in a vast, sunny meadow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Big Racket

The horror at the heart of it all gives way
To a little pleasant sighing at the margins.

The storm has a certain, authoritarian
Charm viewed from a distance.

Big doings. How exciting. If the world
Gives way, will our ways rearrange

Themselves in some way favorable
To our way out of this dull evening?

We watch and wait and catch our breaths,
Torn by the hope against hope, the hope

That we couldn't have dreamed a way
Out of this as glorious as what

Broke all the piled-up anticipation
Of the ways this day would break for us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Time Changes With Time

It's not so nonsensical. Subdivide
The process and what you have left
Is innumerable other aspects

Of the process. And for the process
To have innumerable aspects,
An infinity of aspects, despite

The impossibility of an infinity,
Infinity being only every and one,
The process must differ from the process,

And once this reasoning starts,
It is bottomless and infinite and partakes
Of the changes to the changes

Which are always changing, always
Were, and never, nowhere, no when,
Other than the infinity of changes change is.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Poetal

The Portal busted open,
But it wasn't what we thought.
We hoped for a world we could
Imagine and live in, both,
Not an imaginary
With no flesh and blood inside,
Extending imagining

To the sort of world a phrase
Might imagine for itself.
It was as if a spaceship hatch
Blew out. Everything out there
Real. Nothing in here survived.
The Library of Babel
Has one language, none of ours.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Varieties of First-Person Testimony

"an article published in the Philosophical Transactions for October 1699 offered an attempt to formulate a mathematical model for assessing the value of eyewitness accounts. . . . After some impressive calculations, he arrives at a ratio of 5/6ths believability per person"

One sixth of what I thought I saw
Could be confirmed by other methods
Devised by other seers. Five sixths
Was either false or disreputable 
Or impossible to confirm. I thought

I saw a strange little man with a beard
And a limp pass through my world
Almost unnoticed by those who should
Have thought to ask themselves, what is that
Out-of-place shadow shape doing here?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Dice Are Loaded Three to One in Favor of Worldliness

The clouds part overhead.
The rain slow sand stops.
So much still needs to be done,
Always needs to be done,

Which only means a steady
State of accomplishment and weather.
We are not racing Red Queens.
We are what the Red Queen sees.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Stories Are Fairies; Fairies Are Stories

Say hello to Themselves.
I'm not shitting you. They're coming.
The stories we tell are the fairies we fear.

Let me try this again. The fact of the myth
Is the reality that myths are. It's not
What they tell us about the world,

It's how they become the only world
In which we can survive. Story is
The trickster God; the Erlkonig is real.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


For Pantagruel

When there ceases to be ballocks
In the world, or any other 
Appurtenances for the fitness
Of forever dividing flesh,

Then the flesh itself will become
Holy, rare, and irrelevant
To the messengers in the air
Who once depended on living,

The way humans once had horses
To carry and drag them around
Then no longer needed to breed
Them except as nostalgic pets

And expensive toys to bet on.
Thus ran the official answer
To the unofficial question,
When will we cease to suffer lust?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What's Left

The surrounding incoming
Continues, cold and detailed
As ever, the grey storm front

As insistent as anything
Healthy youth experienced,
Albeit more nebulous.

Roofers staple gun a roof,
A barky dog barks and barks.
Jets rumble and small birds chirp.

The stench of windblown brush fires
Stinks. It's delusion to think
Anything diminishes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Toothbrush, Bus Ticket, Paycheck

The constant indexical chatter
Is driven by greed and restless
Curiosity about the world
And all it contains, reality
That can't keep its dirty hands
Off its data. That anything
Should be sacred, mundane, or profane
Is not just an aberration. It is part
Of the new dispensation
And it began with names,
And it netted the Earth,
And it will sing its own praises,
Sacred, mundane, or profane
To itself when the last throat is dust
In the ashes of the last human chest.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Haunting Phrase

The man with a month left to live
And the other with decades left
Can't recognize each the brother
In the mirror haunted by eyes.

Uncertainty is forever,
And doubt's a cumulus of hope
In the shimmering green iris
That belongs to the summer sun.

Uncertainty's in each moment
And doubt's a cumulonimbus
On the darkening horizon
That threatens unexpected storms.

All eyes have their angels that are
And their angels that aren't. What shines
Between what could and couldn't be,
Belief is our divinity.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Panchavedi, Shadvedi

After the fourth, empty beat,
The concept of soul's silence,
Comes the comedian's brag,

Lacerating mockery
Of self-aggrandizing selves,
Of ignorant assumption

That assumes the nominal
Is not only cardinal
But ordinal, improving

With each increase in number.
The comedian's alter-
Ego was in fact correct.

Wisdom never increases,
True, but all of the counting
Was silliness otherwise.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hapax Legomenon

The sacricolist of vocabulary
Haunts the scathefire ashes of amarulence,
Poking etymologies with pointed sticks
Hoping to find just the right obrumpent coal
Still containing the scelidate dragon's soul.
Everyone the world's defeated seeks redress,
But not everyone blames the world. If you do,
You must pursue your redemptions in the teeth
Of that which vanquished you. Magical thinking
Sends you in search of scorched earth, the dragon's lair,
Gardevisured, scanning fumificating
Heaps of dead and dying words for one meaning
That the dragon birthed, preserved, egg undeserved
Of origin, gold, molten key to your dreams.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Disordering Power

Distance is no more
Than velocity
Against time, that's all.
We, absolutely
Obsessed with this myth,

Measures of Marduk
To European
Mystic physicists,
Hurl ourselves, faster

And faster, plotting
Ourselves against time,
Believing it means we
Have a position,
Have come a long way.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Silent Poetry Auction for No One at the Big Hand Cafe

Being a human social being, I
Can't help but find it humiliating
The way a bodily extremity
Wrings out our terribly pathetic screams,
The juvenile cries of Mama! Ah! Ah!
Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh no! No! No!
The sharp journalist already wounded,
The jogger at the barrel of a gun,
The first-time mother in delivery,
The broken-boned professor on the ground:
We howl without a shred of dignity
And even those who live to remember
Do not remember how loudly we howled.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"Putting Words in a Notebook that No One Will Read"

Jhumpa Lahiri's childhood play
She recaptured, she writes, seeking
Out another tongue I'll never

Worry about reading again,
Although, it seems, a translator
Betrayed her, and now I read her

In the language of an empire
From an empire in Empire State
Magazine. Unread me. I win.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cinna's Realization

They don't want my poetry. These
Mobs have nothing to do with me.
They're responding to someone else
Cleverly redirecting them
To have nothing to do with him
And nothing to do with themselves
Except that, like the locusts, these
Seek to eat what's in front of them
Before what's behind bites their feet,
Seizing me devouring my own
Future poetry as I flee.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Thirty Four Years After Abe Vigoda Died, Abe Vigoda Died

My wife has led an Abe Vigoda life.
Only now can she emerge from it, now

That Abe Vigoda has finally died.
She doesn't know who Abe Vigoda was,

Much less that a magazine reported
Him dead when he was sixty, a minor

Mistake re a minor celebrity
The year that she was born, a running joke

For thirty-four years since he posed
In a coffin holding the false headline.

Keats, Shelley, both of the Cranes, a Bronte
Or two, all could have fit the afterlife

Of Abe Vigoda's phony post-mortem.
Life's the only afterlife the living know.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

That Lucky Little Mermaid

Digitally recorded, Orpheus,
Copied and stored in underground bunkers
In a cloud no naked eye could see, thought,

The fact that I will end but not my song
Makes me feel anything but immortal.
What poet wouldn't take the mermaid's choice,

Walk on the land at the cost of a voice?
Who wants to float, beheaded but singing
Down the recycling stream of nights and days?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Death of Rats

A mind composing a poem is a mouse
Nosing, exploring, to find its way out,
Whether from trap or lab or gothic pile
Of other squirming mice doesn't matter.
The persistent intent is flight from fright.
Death's in the past. The future's extinction.
Meanwhile, claw, scrabble, and gnaw at the cauled
Impossibility of life, born cloaked
In a veil, a shroud, an obstacle cloud.
Some mice get out. Not enough for a mouse.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Noble Delusion

The full reality of others,
The being of other persons, things--
Against these, solipsism is sin.

But let's cast lots. Full realities
Have a way of fully vanishing,
Including my full reality.

Several billion full realities
Have gone, leaving billions more behind.
Could there be one solipsist, somewhere?