Friday, June 30, 2017


O drop of seeming flow for
Meaning. O string of language
Coiling around my ankles
And mounting up to my chin,
Go away. I'll go away,
Too, if that's necessary
To really be rid of you.

The late sun hammers the lake,
The fresh water, the soma
Worth drinking now no one knows
What the original drug
Really was. Drink real water,
O drop of seeming. Sob hard
For what could have been meaning.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Old Shuck

What was the dark dog haunted
The edge of the western world?
I want to suggest it was
A hound in outline only,
Nothing actually to do
With dogs or ravening wolves
At all. It was the shadow

Of the hungry mind hunting
Another soul to infect,
Another brain to digest.
It was the panting poet,
Nightjar, incubus, demon,
The future racing the night
To eat its eyes by daylight.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Of God Without Qualities

All traits amount to change, which
Generates, disintegrates
Simultaneously and
Continuously, although
At ever-varying rates.
The boredom in the classroom,
The deer head through the windshield,

No places, just passages
That make, by unmaking, you.
And responsibility?
A lake behind an ice dam,
Accumulating slowly,
Breaking unpredictably
And gone, again and again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


I'm your own allegory
In real time. Here are the woods.
They contain no fairytales.
They contain no narratives.
Narratives can't be contained.
They wing through, migratory,
Or fall dead to forest floors.

The horror story depends
On something like normalcy,
Something one could violate.
These woods you can't violate
Even if you cut them all
Down for houses, ships, and farms.
Those were your thoughts you cut down.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Clear Image of Itself

I play with this trivial
And highly monotonous
Heptasyllabic poem form
That I like, sort of a cross
Between Japanese choka,
Zoroastrian gatha,
And Shakespearean sonnet.

It's too small to mean too much,
Too capacious to be true,
Too regular to be brave,
Too loose to be demanding,
Too tidy to be memoir,
Too daily to be profound,
Too declarative to be

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Song of the Sybil

Lars, penates, asuras,
Demons, heroes, demigods,
All the little helpers fail
Outside of the village hearths.
It is the end of the world
For whoever sings the end.
I have not been of service;

Neither shall I be spared, nor
Any of my familiars,
Augustine, Eusebius.
The purity of our lords,
The deepest antiquity
Of our hymns and traditions,
Short and shallow as our lives.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meta Metta, To the Rocks and the Hills

As are the hills to the sky,
As is the sky to the world,
As is the world to the sun,
As is the sun to the night,
As is the night to to the night,
As is the night to nothing.
I'm sorry, Gary Snyder,

I do savor your crickets'
Soft autumn hum, slowing down
As each night's temperature falls,
And I get your perspective,
But you know the trick gathers
Strength with each iteration,
And wisdom leads to darkness.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Hermit Prophet

My universe doesn't speak
To me, however much I
Chatter and chatter at it.
I am that squirrel in the trees
That always amuses me,
Furious nothing hears me,
Driven mad by my own voice

Barking at the universe,
You have to believe before
You can believe you believe,
And if you don't believe you
Believe, I believe you've fooled
Yourself about your beliefs.
Nothing ever believes me.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ars Moriendi

It's back in fashion again,
Most since the Victorians,
Maybe most since the fifteenth
Century and those woodcuts
Before the colonial
Aurora borealis,
Dawn of the violent night.

Half a dozen self-help texts
Appear, reviewed together
In The New York Times en masse,
"Books on How to Grieve and Die."
The less we know about it
From watching others do it,
The more we want to be told...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Everything's Lighter Than This

Etta James and Jonathan
Edwards agreed, we disgust
God, our filth and misery,
Like spiders over the fire,
Although Edwards thought we could,
Contrite spiders, save ourselves,
While Etta thought God just laughed.

That's how analogy works.
Imagine someone holding
Us over a fire, laughing
As we wander the desert
Searching for him, and then think
What that does to perspective.
Awful Gods we have in us.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Galaxies Are Swirls of Milk

The way comparison works
Begins with local reference,
A butter-obsessed hymnist
From a pastoral people
Who thinks of nothing richer
Than abundance of butter
And maybe some honey when

Trying to describe the sky
And its abundance of lights,
The earth and its abundance
Of life, the short-lived in time
Tokens for more durable.
Ah, the universe is rich
With such butter and honey.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ash Any Day

You're looking for help from things,
From other people, the world,
All unlikely to help you,
Although some might and some do,
And others just look to you.
I am, you say to yourself,
Ready for the flames, but no,

You're not. You're dying piecemeal
By hanging on to your life,
As almost everyone does.
You keep trying to escape,
A rabbit burrowing near
A volcano, determined
No ash will collapse your home.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

There Is No Real World and This Is the Only World There Is

Although most folks would not think
"Expanse of dichotomy"
A good line of poetry,
The real, the unreal, the more
Or less real mark one helpless
Expanse of dichotomy.
Things you can choose to define,

And manipulate, and use
To help understand the world
Teeter into either/or,
Becoming neither. I would
Imagine dichotomies
Themselves come close to falsehoods,
But you see the trap, don't you?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Idiot Diaries

Unmindful of common things,
The idiosyncratic
Self, unmoored, is hazardous.
As threads become unwoven
They get tangled. Winter, real
Winter is coming, never
Mind how easily denied

The warm before the storm is.
More books breathe inside my head
Than you'll ever read in bed.
The beauty of being dead
Lies in being the monster
Not the one portraying it
As such who's never seen it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Song of Release

Although the end of the poem
Is missing, no speaker is
Opposing him, no one makes
An argument against him.
The debts are not forgiven,
The slaves will not be released.
The city will be destroyed

As if it had never been
Settled, for its refusal
To forgive the debts of slaves.
And the slaves? Their destruction
Will serve as their sole release,
Will serve as release for all
Kings, senators, owners, poems.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Mobers of Misoughry

In the light of the eclipse
All creatures looked like confused
Souls who don't know where they are.
Given sacred order and
Darkness pitted against it,
The priests and poets sang hymns,
The mobs found targets to cleanse.

The survivors of the mobs
Nursed grievances and vengeance.
Memory tamed the eclipse
Of the sun, predicted it,
But memory only stoked
The smoking, blood infernos
Of the souls who were afraid.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Every ferryman's the same,
From Charon to Sakhalin's
Old convict Chekhov nicknamed
"Good-Looking Can't-Remember-
My-Relations," from John Lee
On the lam at Lonely Dell
To Aqen, the mouth of time.

Sin and killing got them there,
Back-and-forthing fixed them there,
Leaning on their poles, telling
Their tales, ignoring their fates.
Know what a ferryman is?
In a word, word, gift of speech,
That cold obol in your teeth.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Description of the Life of Poor Unfortunates

Taste at the root of the tongue
The unreal of what is real.
Duchamp praised Picabia
Because, he said, he'd forget
Every previous painting
When starting work on the next.
Duchamp was such a kidder.

Nobody who forgets gets
To begin work on the next,
Unless it is the exact
Same thing we had to forget.
At last I am awake! Real
And unreal, new and never
Before, all false distinctions.

Monday, June 12, 2017


At the root of the dream you
Can interpret your dream as
A radish rooting into
The soft soil of home, swollen
With desire to be consumed.
No, that's too foolish. Scratch that.
It's true, but too far ahead

Of the reasons you need truth.
We all find our ways to dig
Through the world we search for food.
There's got to be something there,
Even if only something
Preoccupied with substance
Of consumptions we don't crave.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


...this show was taped before a live studio audience...

The ghost in the machine is
The machine. Just consider 
The search for consciousness as
The search for the presenters
Talking on a TV set. 
Knowing the set won't find them.
They're out there. Now imagine

The TV set is your brain.
The presenters correspond,
I'll wager, to the culture
Your brain translates and presents
But did not invent. Real sets
Are artifacts, however,
Of culture. The loop is closed.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Words strike rock. There's no answer.
The mind reminds the body
That its precious self is not
Something that stably exists.
Neither are you, snaps the self.
The body only complains.
Words are tenants, in and out

Of the seedy apartments
Mind manages as body
Provides. The self is in bed
With the words, those gold diggers,
Those foreigners, those miners
Obsessed with drilling for ore
Meaningful only to them.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Day of Disappoinments

Wasn't so bad. Things worked out.
At least it wasn't the day
Of illness or disasters.
Of course, you regret a day
Of disappointments, long, long
After you've learned to look back
On a day of disasters

With fondness for all the good
Things following contingent
On those disasters. The day
Of disappointments only
Holds the things you meant to do
You didn't manage to do.
Nothing's so hard to forget.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bill Knott's Magic Carpet

Willing to pull this rug out
Under my own feet, daily,
I am on the horizon
Like a line with a figure
Hunkered down in the middle,
Silhouettes against the light.
You wouldn't see me even

If you could, my glass of port
In one hand, a creditor's
Subpoena in another,
My long view from higher than
Any sensible person
Obtains because what person
Would haul out a rug to fly?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Most Storms Don't Amount to Much

Two squirrels compete in a fir
For a territory. Two
Spiders contest prime driftwood
Real estate down on the shore.
Birds announce activities
And intentions in the spruce.
A dying man chats with them

All, or at them, while thunder
Grumbles like an uncertain
Watchdog, not about to lunge
But clearly considering
The possibility. You
Tempt me to wait to tempt you
The swimmer says to the sky.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What's Coming Is Going

For Buddha it was a sort
Of suicide: "in his wise
Discretion, our spiritual
Leader passed away," goes one
Translation into English,
A nonexistent language
In the time of decision.

Despite renunciations
Of the ordinary world,
The godlike hero prophets,
Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed,
Et alia, are always
Credited as deciders
Because we want them both ways.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nutshell Sutra

A summary prophecy
For life after infancy:
Years go by and then you die.
Even Jesus no longer
Walks the desert on two feet.
Buddha's left the Bodhi tree.
There's no language not a cry.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Eine Klein Bottle Nachtmusik

Imagination's a world
Totally unconditioned
By experience, say some,
World of poetic genius.
Of course, it's all built from bits
Of experience broken
Down and partly composted,

Experience strained and parsed
Then reassembled as lies.
How that happen's the question.
I have never been to Mars,
Much less the rings of Saturn,
But my mind holds a night sky
With Earth as one dot in it.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


The worst is not, so long as
We can say, This is the worst.
Therefore, this too could be worse,
Still and as always before,
Could be worse. Could be better
As well, although entropy
Discourages such thinking.

We have been force fed dying,
A vile cabbage slurry pumped
Into the esophagus,
And living was the black pipe
Jammed in the architecture
Of the face by which we fed
On our first food, which was air.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fatal Paronomasia

Every story read is one
More floor to fall from, higher
Than the last. I'm on a ledge
A few thousand stories high
Now, thinking of another,
But a cold wind is blowing
Hard enough to unsettle

Me and I could be falling
Already, plummeting past
Once upon a denouement
Again and again losing
The plot. That's why the wind's cold.
Shedding stories means falling,
Uncertain how far I've got.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Daily Immersion

I am now so close to death
Its hot breath warms my shivers.
No hero stuff with this verse
Tonight. Get in and get out
Quickly as you can. Count coup.
A foolish consistency
Serves a hobgoblin just fine.

Drag yourself down to the lake.
Prove you can still swim again.
Once you can't, there's your excuse,
But for now the fact that you
Are still a something aware
Of being a something else
Dares you, get back in the lake.