Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Here It Comes

"Kill stuff, eat stuff, things kill you.
Wish that there was more to do,"
Daughter sighs after playing
The avatar of a wolf
For an hour on her tablet.
Father looks out the window,
Trying not feel afraid.

"Blink, and they grow up," he told
An acquaintance yesterday.
"Blink again, and you've grown old."
"I try not to blink," replied
The older man. They chuckled.
Now he's watching the weather,
Clouds like wolves. Don't blink. Don't blink.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hermetically Porous

I extend into the world
My bodily penumbra
Of life associated
With me, my ecosystem,
Or, actually, my body's,
Or the continental shelf
Of life forms including me,

A microbiome. A home
For genome variety,
A trailing cloud of glory,
However dim, however
Gory the particulars.
I know this because I read
The words, those trickiest germs.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Another faint acquaintance,
Jeremy, is out of it,
Lucky nonexistent ghost.
Life is too much, not enough.
I heard he jumped off a bridge.
I see him falling cleanly,
Perhaps actually diving,

Muscular forty-something,
Brawny Aussie carpenter.
Left behind? A pretty wife,
Two good-looking kids (girl, boy),
An insurance policy
Said to cover suicide.
Some of us won't do as well.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Here upon me it will be
And I will no longer be
Available, least of all
As an unpredictable,
Breathing body with a self
To be flourished like a bat
Echolocating its prey.

Here upon you it will be
And you will no longer be
Around to witness going,
No longer reappearing
As if you were the same thing
As before you disappeared,
The same flame in the candle.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


All of life is comforting
And unsettling as fairy
Tales. All life is fairy tale,
So don't mock me for greeting
The invisible as I
Cross any bridge with running
Water crosswise underneath.

Either bridges are their cross
To bear or they are bridges'
Crosses, and we are crossing,
Always crossing, both of them.
Here's a spider on my knee,
No idea what spiders mean
To tales. Jump! little lost beast.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Book of the Battles of Ours

This island we call the world
Is not, but who does not fear
The shame of having been wrong
About the nature of things?
Ants are flying in the shade.
Once there existed a text
Apparently extolling

The victories of a tribe
As victories of their god
Before setbacks caused the tribe
To reimagine their god
Creator of the cosmos,
Impossible to defeat.
Ants! We can't fly long enough!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

When You Aren't

Death is the reef and you're right,
Moana, whatever lies
Beyond, no one knows how deep
It goes, how far it goes, why
It goes, or if it goes. I
Am dying to know, myself.
Feel like I was born to die,

Just like that singing fiction
Felt she was born to voyage,
But the secret of the sea
That interests me is whether,
Once one surrenders the lust
For finding solid islands,
Sinking can last forever.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Sometimes it dawns on you that
The house's most intriguing
Part is the door you opened
And closed but never noticed.
Then, one day when you're locked out,
You consider how the door
Has been built to prevent you

From entering against it.
A gate's the moving heart of
Sedentary residence,
The word that swings from the real
To the artificial world,
The wild to the domestic,
Death to the game with hinges.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


The problems with me are me,
The dilemmas of myself
Are my self. Your problems are
Yours, not made by you yourself.
Your confusions are like mine,
Apposite not opposite.
We're in this mess together

Never to get out of it
Except individually.
Oh, what am I writing? thought
God. These commandments can't work
But to perpetuate terms.
I meant to be a jealous
God of people, not their words.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Breaking the monotony
Of time changing into time,
All this superficially
Plausible turns out to be
Basically true, which gets us
Nowhere beyond a physics
Tutorial about time.

Let me tell you a secret.
Change is real and time is change,
But time is not. Only change
Can be found by searching out,
More closely examining
What is, which is what changes.
From what? Who knows how to say?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hermit's Complaint

I'm a social animal,
Albeit one of the least
Warmly social of my kind,
Produced by a universe
Whose only other signals
All say, "I don't want to talk."
Most of my kind ignore this

And talk to night anyway.
Talk to trees, beasts, and angels,
Invisible, us-like gods.
I'll admit I'd like to talk
With any, if the answer
Weren't another Bayesian
Prophecy of more silence.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Golden Eyes

The fairies of accident
Surround my misadventures
With garlands of lucky breaks,
Enough to raise suspicions
I am a fortunate fool,
But not enough for escape.
I could have been had quickly,

Been effortlessly reeled in,
No necessity to work
Me, wear me out, wear me down.
But sometimes the cat must play
With the mouse not because mice
May escape, but just to play,
Because predators need to play.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Never Growing Up

A favorite aphorism
Of people who patted me
On the head was, "Big things come
In small packages." The damned
Saying made no sense to me,
Who felt the condescension
Without knowing what that meant.

Why did it make me so mad?
Because I was small? Smarter
Than them? Just didn't get it?
I don't know. Didn't know who
I was then. Don't know who I
Am falling apart as now,
But I know smugness fools us.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Overt Similes

Are like little footbridges
Over artificial streams.
Bridge essence is metaphor.
Causeways of metonymies
And synecdoches connect
Islands to their continents.
Soft travel until we face

The chasm. What trope could fly
Kite string clear across that gap?
There's a secret rhetoric
For life on the precipice
Over the unbridgeable
That's perpetually in sight.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Crisis Strikes a Settled World

And no hero arises.
No horrors are overcome.
Most institutions collapse.
The rest are run by despots
And the thugs loyal to them.
No ordinary human
Finds a magical mentor,

But some manage to survive.
The ones that do glorify
The bandits, thugs, and gangsters
As samurai, lords, and knights.
The descendants of the few
Sing a time none ever knew
As filled with heroes and light.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

At the World's End Somewhere

Until we're well crossed over,
Until we've crossed over and
Vanished in the crossing, we
Must stay. Nearly everything
About that gnomic sentence
Is uncertain. Happiness
Is to the last uncertain,

Much maligned for being so.
Wisdom's what should be certain.
But wisdom literature,
Weirdly, has much to do with
Medicine, more uncertain,
Even, than poor happiness
Left holding fast to the days.

Monday, May 15, 2017

You Might Someday Turn Into Yourself

It's only the future I
Ever regret. Random lots
Are fairest because no one
Has been eliminated
Before opportunity
Rears its ugly, feathered head.
I can deal with the outcome.

It's the incoming kills me.
What's next? What are all the ways
This moment could slip sideways?
No wonder Now a la mode
Feels like someone offering
To shoulder a heavy load.
I am almost beyond hope.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Theatre Intime

It's all always Kali Age,
Has been always, always will.
That we imagine other
Ages never were, never
Will be, speaks to our magic
But doesn't alter the case.
We are stages where sages

Come to pretend to be wise,
But that we can host such ghouls
Does not mean they stay with us,
Still less that we go them.
A box cannot think outside
Of the box, but strange things can
Climb and sleep and die inside.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


What, exactly, is reborn?
Answer wit with greater wit.
The game is played to a crowd
Who have had their minds made up
Like beds by doting mothers.
Can you shake any made beds?
One? Watch for twitching eyelids.

The principle caught in dreams,
Like the iron in the fire,
Will glow and may be twisted.
Idea souls skitter sideways,
Sparks wanting to start something.
Bend the windflower to your will,
The borrowed will that made you.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Language Is a Limestone Cave, and Every Thought's a Signifying Fossil

Long as weeds and green grass grow
I'll signify more and more.
If you say I can't, I've died,
You don't know who is this I.
There's no body can contain
This monkey in the distance.
I'm branch to branch, chance to chance

Brain to brain, and brain to brain.
The lion of awareness
Lit to rage by my nonsense
Was still caught in the lion
Pulped by this elephant world.
The lion sought revenge, but
I've found another lion.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Yvonne Gilmore's Cross Has Faded

The calligraphy is gone.
Purple plastic flowers bleached white
Lie in a circle, trampled
Around the still standing cross.
The glory of memory,
Efforts to commemorate
Loss of a life the living

Wanted back, never to lose,
Whatever stories were told
About that cross and that life,
Including one's own grim poem,
Disintegrate as they change.
What is new under the sun,
Forever, is what is gone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

All the Things That Never Happened

Papa Legba picks the locks.
I'll throw my lot with Legba.
I'll be Papa Legba, not
That I could know what he thought
When, on his slow crutch, he caught
The small songs of shifting rocks,
The tumblers of the cosmos

And translated turns to keys.
I'll be him because I please
Mad improbability
By fooling with locks like these.
These are all the things I dreamed
When I controlled the dreaming.
No dream knows the gate's release.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Idiocy

Clarify why Stephen Frye's
Comments count as blasphemy
Without discounting your own
Problems with theodicy.
A cosmos born from one mind
Only gets what's in that mind,
And perhaps not all of that.

How human to want to boot
Evil to the curb, outer
Darkness, to give all credit
To the home team for goodness,
Then quarrel over whose team
Is the home team, whose evil.
Teams came from the mind of God.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Great Fool You Think You Are?

Yoda wins the lottery.
Hope's not the same thing as truth,
Nor the other way around,
The way mangles it, he does.
How could even a puppet sage
Cope with recalcitrant hope?
This is what a nickname does

To a prior sense of self.
Any name is a notion
Trailing clouds of story
And the associations
Dig their roots into the brain
Shoot their tendrils through its thoughts.
The story is I was wise.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Latch in the Wilderness

Devil-may-care, seductive
Freedom wafts like an odor
From enigmatic pathways.
The darkness that terrifies
Entices us with maybes.
The young doctor with TB
Imagined the infinite

Taiga riddled with secrets
He knew better than to seek.
It's not just lust for stories
Brings us to despoil the woods
We'd half-hoped would swallow us.
Somewhere a magic something
Turns the keys that free belief.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

I Saw It Move

A block of very old snow
Slid down the slope abruptly
With the speed and skittering
Motion of a tumbling squirrel.
Is or is not the substance
Of the world always alive?
Sun warmed and loosened the snow.

Sun generated the blocks
Of elements from which snows,
A whole planet, could be made.
Distortions in early waves
Began the star nurseries.
Life then, from the very core
To the flicker of my eye.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spruce and Aspen

Typical birds and rodents
To call to their own species,
Typical humans to fish
From the shore, lurk in the woods,
Imagining languages,
Orchestrations meant for us
In species-specific songs,

None of us more foolish than
Any other one of us,
Any other helpless thing
Trying to metabolize
The light. I am as quiet
As I can be, sifting through
The branches of what wants me.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nobody's Dementia

No one truly knows his own
Begetting or forgetting,
Telemakhos, but so what?
Begetting and forgetting
Is what a living mind does.
A gone mind forgets nothing.
A living mind's agony

Is merely being living
And knowing it. Forgetting
Is a mercy in the end,
An inverted cataract
Where all the rocks and crushing
Start the end that gathers up
Into glass serenity.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Polytropos, Monotropos, Zero

Who preaches failure will come
To grief as surely as those
Who preach useful behaviors.
How charming, how merciful
It would be if the reward
For defiant surrender
Shaped a universal shrug,

But it doesn't. There's a glee
That lasts surprisingly long
In saying, I can't beat you,
I won't try, I'll fall and see
If my dumb luck rescues me.
Then there's the ground, more detailed,
And no more turning aside.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No One Made the Lamb

Whatever makes you happy
Now will one day make you sad.
Embrace that fact and you can
Understand why monks and nuns
Attempt surrender. No one
Can trust enjoying living
Short of treating living like

Caressing a predator.
I'm in love with tiger's fur
On breathing tiger. I fear
The teeth, sure. I'm terrified.
I wake up mornings certain
There's no happy ending here,
But love it when the world purrs.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Holy Release

I compose small blocks of text.
Call them by whatever name
You find more or less correct,
They're the same. They save me pain.
Honesty, dishonesty
Can coexist within them,
Allowing me to breathe free,

Or a little more freely.
The thought is secondary
To the relief; the relief
Is tertiary to faith
That acts of composition
Can carry kernels in them
Of futures rooted in them.