Monday, July 31, 2017

Nearly Beloved

I'm the poet of the car
Parked by the side of the road
Where you wouldn't want to see
A car parked alone.

The soul in the car
Does have loved ones, at least one.
Nothing tragic to see here

Except preoccupation 
With how we are here,
When here's not here, only near.

I used to think things happened
Now. Now, I think they just did.
What is was, is gone,
And is always nearly here.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hat Trick

Don't be too quick to explain.
Things change. Things change faster than
You can explain them.

What else are you going to do
Since you're still alive?
Things change while you explain them.
Explanations don't survive.

I'm scared of your scrutiny,
You cried in your sleep.
I am no one's deity,
But it's my Shabbat you keep.

I'm the man who comes around
And passes the empty hat.
I can live with that.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


I am lonely for a god,
Fairy or demon,
Something other than human,

Not to talk to, but to hear,
To have answer me.
I prefer signs to voices,
But if wind had a message,

I'd listen. I certainly
Do my best to sit and read
Any hint of a pattern
Maybe meant for me.

People slightly comfort me
When they're not alarming me.
But people are me.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Something has to happen soon
Or we will all die waiting
And that will be it--

We'll be the nothing
That happened while we waited.
Check the news again for me.
Any reports of missiles?

Little, blue-ceilinged
Room furnished in browns and greens,
What can you say for yourself

While we wander around you
In our small conveyances
Trying to pretend we aren't
Under house arrest?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fata Morgana

Even if the world is real,
No two people share a world,
Not even mutely,

Much less in the retelling,
However much overlap
Tricks us into thinking that
Lives are fully shared.

My dark-haired lady in dreams
Is back to haunt me
After twenty years away.

The feel of her arms and back,
The exactness of her skin
Touch me in a way
No one should touch me today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

School Tomorrow

Those of us raised up to be
Ready for Armageddon
Or who, slightly older, lived
The Cuban Missile Crisis,
Who were not wealthy enough
To feel safe, not desperate
Enough to feel the sweetness

Of another day to live,
Grew up with disappointment
In the recurring, chore-filled
World that kept resurfacing
Every dawn it didn't end.
We came to crave that mercy
Of disaster, erasure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Promise and the Threat

Repent one day before death.
No one left around to care,
Words dance in their formal wear.
It is dangerous to be
Counted, passive as a corpse
In the hands of the washer.
God was proof there was laughter.

Couples argue over chores.
Chores are all keep us alive.
Chores extend infinitely.
Before arguing, they slept.
She screamed and her nightmare crashed
Through the roof of his dull dreams,
Crushing them all instantly.

Monday, July 24, 2017

An Everlasting Faint

A small wind wets stone beach with
Breakers from the narrow lake.
Someone whoops it up on shore.
Someone takes notes in the woods.
Intention can be disguised
More easily than the lack
Of intention is hidden.

It's a disaster out there,
But we fail to address it.
We want a different collapse,
Death by everlasting feint.
A red squirrel crosses the porch.
It has no idea I think
Its life pathetically short.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Memory is a lover
With too short a memory.
I had some lines about this
Already composed, but then
Life interrupted and I
Forgot what I had to say.
Here I am, nonexistent,

A form marooned in a form,
A convention with nothing
To show for my surrender.
A daughter and a mother
Fought as if bedtime were death.
Father thought in fact it was.
Memory is no lover.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Mandrake of Heaven

I see you wriggling, young god
Underground, seeking fungus
For some sort of assistance.
You want to announce yourself
Anointed among the plebes,
Elect among the normal
Run of stunted human things.

There were ponds before there were
Beavers. There were apes before
Any had cultures, but now
You are what evolved in you
And your kind to build their own.
You exist because beavers
Dammed you. Is that not true, Yu?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Duhkha Sagara

Welcome. There are seventeen
Ways of looking at a ghost.
Mythical, historical,
Logical, hysterical.
All right, I won't name them all.
It's easy enough to say
Your life is out of control

In blessings and tragedies,
But in inexorable
But slow decay? That's bitter,
A pill you'd rather swallow
Than ever taste on the tongue,
Which is where it sits, fizzing,
The ghost seen as a memoir.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fulfillment Glimpsed from a Distance

Any good knife will offer
To help the wound. A good knife
Knows it's a scalpel and knows
Injuries are surgeries
Intended to heal the world.
Yes, even the best scalpel
Needs help, needs sponges, stitches,

Well applied anesthetics,
Nurses, surgeons, and so forth.
Nonetheless, a clean scalpel
Is essential to unveil
Malign or disconnected
Tissue to suture, excise,
Singing, I am needed here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Exciting Life and Lonely Death

It was a two-character,
One-act drama, with a bit
Of comedy, at least wit,
To leaven in the oven.
The audience, easily
Preferring exciting life
Over lonely death, was tricked

As to who was the lead, who
Was the understudy. Death,
Not the usual cartoon,
Was a shy boy with a job
To do that could only be
Done alone. Life ricocheted
Around the stage. Those who watched. . . .

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Real Ghosts Aren't Dead Yet

My investment decisions,
Of credit, effort, and time,
Had followed my convictions
As night follows day. One day,
Night fell. The sun that returned
Belonged to other persons,
Was no longer real to me,

Threw a strange light, like shadow
Masquerading as sunlight,
Like the undeniably
Sunlit but pallid candor
At the peak of an eclipse,
Like the ghost of clear weather
When ashes float on the air.

Monday, July 17, 2017


In hiding, in hiding I
Am who I am intending.
In full view, I am not who
Anyone intended me
To be, and least of all me.
I am hidden, murmuring,
The mystery of what you

Know, or care to know of me,
That I know you and know who,
Despite your close-held secrets,
You desperately want to be.
Surrender desperation.
Do your worst, you will achieve,
Nearly what you meant to be.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

First-Person Poetry

I have a secondary
Meaning: an oracular
Device, never intended
To sing mellifluously
But to offer harsh riddles
In indifferent prosody.
I'm not the sage I wanted

Made available to me.
I am the sage you wanted
To ignore repeatedly.
Who knows whether the Urim
Means yes, whether the Thummim
Means guilty? We must consult
The random to find the mean.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Counting Without Numbers

Infinite swarms of events,
Each infinitesimal,
Spell out the momentary
Correlations of self's sense
Of its failure or success.
And awareness? What of it?
An algorithm caught it

And now it can't coalesce.
Human interrogations,
Each a harsh irrelevance,
Reach for the momentary
Convictions someone has done
What they'd prefer to have done.
Sense that mass. Don't number it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Most Generations Are Lost

I would have preferred better
Claim than not to have ever
Existed. A baby tooth
From Denisova Cave tests
Twenty thousand years older
Then the next oldest adult
Molar found in the same cave.

Same species, same location,
The child perhaps ancestor
To the man. All of human
History could have fallen
Into that gap, twice over,
And disappeared, as if not
To have ever existed.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Signs by Which Thought Is Expressed

It says nothing, has nothing
To express. The signs subsist
Like hemipterans on it,
Their commensal parasites
Allowing them to survive
On nothing but the thinking
Of it. It expresses them

The way stems express aphids,
The way we express bedbugs.
They congregate at the feast.
Oh, for hungry ladybugs,
Houses in flames, children gone,
To divest us of these pests,
Except we know they are us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Sky was blue and sun was grey.
It darkened a sunny day.
Gratitude's from suffering
Momentarily recessed,
So suffering I suspect
Was created for this world
To generate more respect.

A little hole opened up
Like a window in the world.
I have to die very soon
And don't know to do it.
The window's too hard to reach
On my own and I don't wish
Slowly to be pushed through it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


When I was alive it was
Seductive to be alone
With no one. Now that I'm gone,
I'm happy to be no one,
Not even someone alone.
Yes, it is a paradox,
A contradiction, nonsense,

Not even the teachable
Nonsense that is a koan,
But parked on the empty bridge
Between creek and thunderstorm,
I am what everyone is,
Only now I am no one
And rain falls onto the stones.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Can You Live Here?

Sound I'd never heard before,
Not in my fifty-five years,
Big wind literally pulsing
Down a long wooded canyon,
An increasingly panicked
Heartbeat ahead of a storm,
A chopper rotor pressure

Making my ears throb, head hurt,
A kind of whooshing hammer.
Earlier, a mountain goat
Had run through the scene. Since then,
An hour of the creek rushing
Downhill, but nothing until
That wind I wanted to mean.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Yes, Borne, cultural does rhyme
With natural, but the way
Daughter rhymes mother, the way
Magnifying glass rhymes glass,
The way parasite rhymes host.
You are, my fictitious friend,
Cultural, unnatural,

Natural and cultural.
The little tag of the man
Credited with making you
Will outlast the breathing thing
It tagged. You are natural
The way a monster with wings
Resembles caterpillars.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Farmers Ate Wonderbread!

Donna explained why she left
The plains of Saskatchewan
And came with her eight children,
Mixed hers and step, their father,
Her various arts and crafts,
And camping gear to stay here,
A few acres at a time.

You can still see her baskets
Dangling from many local
Women's arms on market day,
When you can also buy things
Grown and bottled on her farm.
The children are mostly grown.
Two acres are up for sale.

Friday, July 7, 2017


Curls up to the left, rising
Into the heights where it stops,
Out of sight. Decades ago,
Throughout North America,
That phrase meant good, amazing,
In the language of the young

Who are now old in these woods
And haven't said "outta sight"
Unselfconsciously, at all,
For years. What is out of sight
Is not amazing, is not
So different from what we see,
Past rising up before us.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gamble of Gambles

Lord of the meeting rivers,
Things that are standing shall fall.
The moving ever shall stay.
Afternoon smelled of damp sand,
The top layer powdering
To dust after two days' sun.
If bodies are wandering

Temples, then the embracing
Shadows of these creekside firs
Are penitent worshippers
Stretching to follow the god.
The eternally moving
Hopes to be carried away.
Can't get ahead of the day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red Oaks

In his last, bad, bitter days
He appeared to be brooding
Over lyrics drawn from lives
Long gone and more difficult
Than even his fractured days
Had been. Crying won't help you.
Praying won't do you no good.

It's a kind of helplessness
That can't be escaped without
Reaching past what's known about
What has been. You point your car
At a cliff fringed with red oaks.
You pick up speed, dodging trees.
And then you're hanging in the air.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Profound Ditty

They're refilling the gas tanks
At the station. Wasn't drink
Or drugs, wasn't the gambling,
Didn't do nearly enough
Of any, sometimes didn't
Do none. Wasn't the shopping.
Didn't want much anything,

But it was still the spending,
The loathing of the money,
Of the income. Pick something.
What it was worth I doubled,
Goods and services alike.
Bought my way to the bottom.
Scraped the bottom of the tank.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Garden Concert Between Thunderstorms

The last hymn Leonard Cohen
Sang to his God could have been
The j'accuse of a man
Facing his execution.
Consider this cheerfully
Listening to happy friends
Try out songs in major keys,

After covering Cohen
On banjo, ukulele.
"When the sun shines, you know why
You stay," sings Deej. Gary plays.
I want a crack the darkness
Can get out of. I don't care
If the light gets in today.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Bad Beat

Short of certainty, there are
No rational decisions.
You played the odds, more or less
Precisely in accordance
With measures of the unknown.
Maybe you flaunted the mean
Tendency and somehow won.

Maybe you used a crib sheet
Giving you the best bet odds
And lost. More of you would lose
Doing the former, more win
With the latter strategy.
You were never more of you.
You were only you to lose.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

All the Time

I forget all of the time
Whether there's maybe a key
Could unlock the trees to hell,
Hell being the trees themselves,
And beyond them nothing else.
I forget this all the time,
And yes, I forget the time.

I'd forget my pronouns if
Language weren't here to gall me,
Thought, the fungus of the mind,
Mind, the fungus of the brain,
Brain that forgets all the time.
The wind in infected trees
Sounds pretty, and that's the key.