Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Here stripped, here made to stand,
Phrases poached from poets
Who poached from worlds gone by,
Which had poached from who knows
How many centuries,
Many generations,

Come and gone like coral
Polyps building a reef
Their descendants would need
And never understand,
Pull themselves together.
We will stand and defy
Naked need for meaning.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Toxo Cultura Ex Cultura

I have deposited so many thousands
Of oocytes, line after line, verse
After verse. They can stay dormant

For thousands of years and yet,
Perhaps with a little effort by new hosts,
Be translated and valid again.

I am not the rat, the chimpanzee
Whose behavior was made docile,
Who wanted to approach the cat,

To investigate the leopard. No,
I am the leopard, twitching
And salivating at the sight

Of incautious minds approaching,
Their instincts dulled by language
Ready to read and be read.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Since That Time Girls No Longer Swim in That Lake

The way I remember it
It was more like a puddle,
At best a small pond. It had
Nothing to recommend it
Except that the girls who swam
In it appeared beautiful,
Unbearably sexual

To me, a lost virgin teen
Hirsute and twisted and small
Like a fairytale creature
Surreptitiously ogling
Straight legs, smooth skin, taut stomachs,
And, most desperately urgent
To me, the clinging fabric

Outlining damp mysteries.
I stayed long enough to burn
So badly I may yet die
Of skin cancer from staring
At the laughing girls that day.
When I found the fairytale
I had survived years later,
I read I was the merman.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


It happens to us, not we
To it. We happen to us,
Not us to we. Us happens
To us, not us to us. Too
Much happens to us, poor us.
Us happen nothing at all.
Look out that sunlit window

The last line conjured for us.
Light, most unreliable
Of narrators, deceives us,
Neither particle nor wave.
How lighthearted I've become
Here near the end of the poem.
I must trust I will not fall.

Friday, May 27, 2016

No One's Ever Seen a Mind

The mind is one
If one wants it,
Wants to see it.
Wayward thinkers

Rarely travel
In far enough
Because we want
To go outside.

It should occur
To those of us
Who crave the woods,
The wilderness,

That the forest
Is suspicious
As metaphor,
Branched like a mind.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Midnight Emails

"You just muttered in your sleep,
'Stories are weird...imagine
You were to walk down a path
And see...(mum mumble mumble).'
I wanted to record you,
But then your words stopped. Too bad.
Much love, your devoted wife."

Devoted and entertained
Apparently. Our daughter
Woke me another three hours
Into the night, a nightmare.
I lay awake two more hours,
Then dozed until a nightmare
Of my own. I flipped the car,

Landed on my head, screaming
And convinced now I would die.
After a while upside down,
Crushed under car and darkness
I took out my phone and saw
It was madly changing dreams.
Then I woke. Stories are weird.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In die Begin Was die Woord

I've been thinking of a man
Who gave me some memories,
Who thought of himself, as we
All do, as me. On his first
Visit to South Africa
To give a talk on Blombos
Cave and its eerie ochre

Parallels, I remember
He sat in an inn's garden
In Stellenbosch each morning
Listening to string quartets,
E.g., "Death and the Maiden,"
On headphones, sipping rooibos
And watching the hummingbirds.

His hostess was a widow
Who called him "The Professor,"
Which he admitted he liked,
Since no student called him that.
A Bible in Afrikaans
Was in the drawer by his bed.
Weird, but he knew what it said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Rather Enigmatic Goddess

To say the least, my scholarly friend.
Hecate, Persephone, Demeter
Bereft, Imperatrix inferni--

All Brimo the terrifying
Nurse of Medea and Orpheus,
Of the genuine hordes of the dead,

Those who earned their deaths through
Awareness of living when alive.
Katabatic winds canyon tonight.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Passageway between a warm world of being
And a brilliant blue world of being aware,
The animals formerly known to themselves
As neither animals nor angels but souls
Have yet to come to terms with how right they were.
They have given birth, not to themselves, to selves
That spiral indolently, exquisitely
Above them, describing and offering thoughts
For the universe to think about itself,
Perpetual hosannas to holiness
While souls erode on the foreheads of golems.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wick & Wax

Papa tries to explain to Sukha
How the candle works and why the wick
Needs the wax, the wax the wick to burn.

Sukha is five and loses interest
In the explanation well before
It gets anywhere near to the heart

And well before she loses interest
In observing the candle gutter.
Papa wonders which is he, which she.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Origin Myth of Origin Myths

Beyond human-human interactions
There were always plenty of exceptions

To each purported rule. Natural laws weren't
Laws at all, on the other hand. Sometimes

They just were what was with no excuses,
No revisions, no interpretations.

Humans knew perfectly well what this meant
Or sensed it, but did not acknowledge it.

The rule of games was games need rules; the rule
Of law meant rules renew. All myths are new.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Do Not Read This Out Loud

I composed these poems
In the ear of the mind, in
The unblinking eye of the mind
Alone with itself like a small

Animal hibernating
Without actually sleeping,
Turning and settling
And turning again,

Half dreamily, half
Restlessly in its nest,
And I expect them
To be best read

Just like that.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Clive James and His Autumn Maple

It is relentless, this thing
Of things happening, coming
To pass like calendars, clocks.
Pick a target. Watch it loom
Mechanically as the dates
Tick away. Another day
And you're still here. Another.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cyrus Cylinder

Yahweh and Marduk, shy gods
Hand in hand, bow before me,
Their sanctuaries restored.
Their modesty becomes me.

I am the philosopher
King you were imagining.
I can afford charity.

Dreams and portents heralded
My appearance in your world.
In size and respiration,

Consumption, defecation,
Yes, I've been another ant
Such as the twitched lot of you.
But in narrative I rule.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sargon Legend

My mother was a changeling.
Akki, drawer of water,
Appointed me gardener.
Inanna was my lover.
With bronze I conquered mountains.
I am as humble as you.
I am as great as I am.

Can you riddle my reasons
For chipping these claims in stone?
I'm first of your Moses, first
First of your Arthurs, the king
Disguised among commoners,
Lord of all you were and are.
I am your self, the I am.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Winning and Losing

Presentists, eternalists,
Perspectivist physicists,

Running their chronologies
In forward and in reverse,

The Aeneid to Amis,
Amis to the Aeneid,

What did they think they played at,
Batting around their symbols

Presented to them as gifts
From the pasts they'd created,

Pasts that never existed,
Pasts that always existed?

Winning and losing outline
The boundaries of a game,

And a game has boundaries
Because it's only a game,

And the function of "only"
Is to mark the unreal edge

Of the real and the unreal,
A real device, the only

Real device, the invention
Of what never from ever.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

I Have a Very Personal Relationship With This Universe

I think of it as a partner--
A capriciously indifferent
Partner immune to persuasion,
Yes, but a partner nonetheless.

I have conversations with it
In which I address it complaints
Or offer sage observations,
Describing nature to itself.

Occasionally I do wish
For things, for improbable luck,
For a message explicitly
Addressed to me, something helpful.

Most of all, I confess, I think
Of the two of us as a pair,
A closed system, each comprising
The other. I do not despair.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Captatio Benevolentiae

Now I remember I knew
A long while ago I had
Already begun my forgetting.

If I can recall this much,
Surely I earn sympathy?
Dementia does not mean demented.

Friday, May 13, 2016

We Have All Only Always Belonged to the Past

Death, quoth the paper of record,
Goes in and out of fashion. Life

Is also for the dying. Yes?
Life is also for the living

Would be more aptly surprising,
But the living are the dying,

The obsessing, the denying.
For myself, I don't like the claim

That mourning should be communal.
We're too unkind to loneliness.

We're always improving our death
Or supervising someone's death

Or sticking communal noses
Like dogs into stinking corpses.

Collective consideration
Of death, rituals, funerals,

Elegies, eulogies, dances,
Wakes, sermons, cemeteries, pyres,

And piles of possessions, flowers,
All of it, including the books

Mulling it like bitter cider,
Are signs we are slaves to lost selves,

To ancestral ghosts even more
Than to actual ancestors.

Confronting death does not help it,
Nor does mythologizing it.

Change, infinitesimal change,
Infinite, all-pervasive change

Birthed life and death as conjoined twins,
Birthed our desire to rescue them

One from the other, the other.
There's nothing to save or sever,

Nothing wisdom serves to salve well
When your death's good as another.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


The canned pop
Music thumps its tin
Synth beats and bleats
Processed vocals
From the ceiling
Of the empty cafe
While the traffic staggers
By in the bald sun.
I have found
The spiritual center

Of the universe.
BBQ chicken pizza
From a microwave
Arrives with a napkin.
There's nothing bland
About this blandness
Nothing sad about this
Suburb in the cliffs
Of a continent housing
A sort of empire, nothing

Any ancestor of the elderly
Couple who just pushed in
From the parking lot
Would even recognize
As possible, as part
Of the real. The swift
Blobs of glass and gears,
The clanking recordings
Dropping from above,
The bare contrails
Out competing the clouds,
The lights, the weird
Food, the strange

Clothing on our lumpy bodies
As we ease into plastic
Booths and sigh. We are
Magic; we are caught
Up in an enchantment
Unimaginable to the wizard,
A world of fairy in which we
Move like zombies, feel
Like clods. I am glad

To have lived through this,
Moved through this veil
Our ancestors conspired
To breathe into a life
They could not live
That lives past all
Of us. I bend
My bound head to the food,
Domesticated beast
Eating domesticated beasts
Under the tutelage
Of swift, disembodied
Spirits mysterious to me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stories Told by Alkinoos

If Theagenes of Rhegium and Porphyry of Tyre
Could interpret Homeric story as spiritual allegory
And the far greater Hawthorne could turn
That niche genre against itself,
I don't see why I can't reinterpret the world.

Everything that happens, happens allegorically.
The moon is a rabbit that stands for surrender.
The stars are our thoughts. We are the spells
That enchant us. Farther, no, further, in the same
Direction: our abstractions that we allegorize,
Wisdom, inconstancy, pilgrim, death, and time,
Are themselves allegories for abstracter themes
That we can sense but never know. God
Stands for something greater, more telling
In this universe that is an allegory
For what could be more strange.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


The third stage is problematic
Especially when attempting 
To distinguish it from the fourth, 

Is the third stage a transition,
A holiday in the dark woods?
Is the third stage running away
From situations?

I want to live in the forest.
I want the forest to be home.
I want to not have to leave green

Monday, May 9, 2016

Naturally Gifted Students of Free Verse Enchained

For my goal I am choosing to look into and decide what I need to do for law school.
This week I want to find one article and talk to one person.
Build my business by marketing my concealed firearm class better.
The obstacle of not opening yourself up to others is one we all share.
Fortnight: to track my progress.
This week i plan to 1) get more colors to categorize my notes.
How I plan to overcome this is by looking on other websites.
Based on how many times I am able to meet with the same librarian, I will turn my phone off, make sure the TV is off, and tell my friends no.
Work and school are both out of my control, so I will look for other areas within my control to manipulate.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Golden-Mantled Sa

Time was, fragments
Felt more profound
Than any whole,
Their missing limbs,

Their paint-stripped eyes
Staring blankly,
Scrubbed of context.
Nowadays, songs

Are the new pure,
Preferred bereft
Of instruments
They were sung for,

Barren vocals
Backed by silence,
Drums, guitars gone,
Half voice, half ghost.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Verse of Graves

Who owns these graves or others?
The grave where the flood enters?
The gifted Sumerian
Narrator is the owner.

The grave in the upland grass,
The slope of the hill? Gatha
Master of the cow-eyed soul
In the roots of that pasture.

The north grave is far away
For the two men who walked there.
The monks that wandered away
From the swords float in repose.

Whose grave is a mystery
To worlds that seek their authors?
The grave that everyone doubts?
Deities wander the waste.

Whose house is under the hill
Quadrangular, stones sunk deep
Under grass and withered leaves?
The daughter who never left.

The grave of the woods in snow?
The one who was hunted down
By axes, tree roots, branches
Advancing at his window?

Whose grave in two continents,
Lost to both of them, under
The tumultuous weather?
She understood disaster.

The grave on which ripe fruit falls?
The solemn burgher lies there
Having touched reality
And lost imagination.

By the ford a fresh grave's dug.
But who owns this grave? This grave,
Just this, and not another?
This grave? Ask me. I know it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tortoise Jump

"I cut up my old bamboo underwear to make boots." ~Sarah

You would have me believe that reason
And common sense favor sensible
Behavior, but I know that the truth
Is insensate and favors nothing

And that what is generally considered
Sensible is part of the delirium
That orchestrates our species' slavery.
So sue me. I lived poorly and died

Meanly, and you may evaluate
Me and everything I did how you please
Or simply, more likely, forget me
And move on with your own miseries.

Pretend that the bunny says jump.
The bunny says jump. She jumps.
Pretend that the kangaroo says jump.
Kangaroo says jump. She jumps.

On and on through a brilliant afternoon
When there was no paying work to be done,
And her mother was making puppets,
And the spring laughed its dry laughter

At the way we approach the ends of things.
Pretend that the hunter says jump.
The hunter says jump. She jumps.
Pretend that the tortoise says jump.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

One Minute

We say this to each other, meaning
Something like wait, I won't be long,
Although we rarely come close

To completing whatever we begged
To be left alone for one minute
To do in anything less than many minutes.

It's a silly span, infinitely longer
Than the sum of the infinitesimal
Moments we imagine we experience,

Related to no known natural pulse,
And yet too damn short for our purposes.
I need to perish and resurrect myself

Miraculously by an act of severe attention
To ludicrous improbability, infinitesimally
Close to a miracle before I die.

Just give me a minute. A minute,
Just another minute, one more
Minute, please, one minute.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Are You Not Strangely Changed?

No change is other than strange
And nothing is unchanging;
Argal, everything is strange.

The park bench conversation
Over sandwiches two years
Ago leaves only park bench

Molecularly the same,
More or less. The picnics spread
On the same picnic blanket

In multiple locations
Across multiple nations
Have hardly a memory

Other than the forlorn sight
You found so melancholy
You often photographed it,

Of the blanket on the grass,
Abandoned by picnickers
Who returned for it later

Or never. Conversations,
Or their revenants, carry
Those changes as lost echoes

Somehow shaping future air,
But you, you who ate and loved
And spoke those words into air,

Even if the air remains
Altered by you forever,
Are, like them, no longer there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Synoikismos, Diokismos

Fission, fusion, merge and scatter,
The only ingredients a witches' brew
Needs are people, crowded together,
Sedentary, migrant, displaced, broken
Into bits of poppets made for dancing
Disembodied simulations, faces
Rising out of the crowds like fishes
Surfacing in cloud-reflecting ponds.
We will meet again, if not on time,
Synchronously, if not in time
Together, then in time passing
Current across current, lips
Whispering, hips and fingers,
Bits and dreaming, we were whirled.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Figurine

Not exactly a doll, nor a puppet,
But close, close to both, her painted face peered

Up at a peculiar angle from the knees
Of her maker. Her hair was glossy brown

Paint on a bulb of papier-mâché head,
Nose long as an English aristocrat's,

Eyes cornflower blue, expression solemn,
Body all stitched cloth and cotton batting.

One who was near to as emotively
Unalive and mutely severe himself

Pondered his projection of persona
On this bit of stringless marionette

Made by another person than himself
For a purpose uncertain to either.

A personality turned and twisted,
Hanging a bodiless thought in the air,

A kind of invisible, silent ghost
Composed of nothing but composition.

All he held dear was suspended between
Whatever was real, whatever real feared.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


I can feel it now, the serpent gathering
Its coils in soft arabesques around my knees
And beginning, so, so carefully, to squeeze.

I can't decide what this means or what I mean,
Although I know too well what it means for me.
Could I be Apollo, one of many gods

Celebrated for wrestling snakes and dragons,
Symbol of triumph's divine authority,
Or Laoccoon, Asclepius, Adam,

One of the punished, or Nirah, half-serpent
Himself, at war with his own inhuman legs,
Writhing backdrop for Satan's comet crossing?

I could mean anything hidden in meanings,
Although it means I can mean nothing to me.
Smooth, gliding scales cinch hypnotized destiny.