Saturday, September 30, 2017

Journey to the West

The skin of the globe peeled off
In a continuous curl
Extending the day
Far, far away in the west.

Seeing my chance, I started
Driving out that growing map,
Delighted to know
Either worlds could be revised

Or my world had been a dream.
I never reached the sunset.
I never came back.

Each moment was another
Without returning,
Far, far away in the west.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Impermanence Is Permanent

Ask any fresh corpse.
It will tell you can't stop change,
Evade it or undo it.

It's done. On to something else
Which, when done, will be done, too.
The doing is undoing,
Which can't be undone.

Some things are not gone
But hidden. They may appear
Again before they're all gone,

But what's gone stays permanently
Gone. That's the magic.
As long as you're here you are
Impermanent. Then you're not.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Our aspects of attraction
Scarcely overlap
With aspects of partnership,

So that one wonders
If partnership means that much
To the meandering bed

Of fitness finding its way
To the sea. What binds partners
Is the surface attraction,
But what attracts us

Is relentless gravity.
You see? We've got it
All backwards. Invert the trope.
Deep love's bonds are the weakest.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Witness and Participant

Timur, ruler of central
Asia, destroys all Delhi.

Of course he didn't.
No one animal, no soul
Takes down a city alone.

He had a better army.
Somehow, they answered to him.
They made him the scourge of God.
A man on the wall,

As lame as Timur,
Watched his city fall, witness
And participant. No life
Exceeds its own perspective.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

If Stephen Crane Had Lived a Little Longer, He Wouldn't Have Lived Very Long

Then the man said to the universe, fuck it.
I'll dare you and defy you and do as I please.
Fine, rumbled the universe. You'll just fall
Apart double quick. So I did.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Would You Rather Be a Fish?

I wish it weren't so, but
Imprecision's the hallmark
Of reality.

Nothing passes in units;
Only in partial units
Is the world measured.

I've experienced being
The fragment of the poem that
Ends the Jarmusch film.
When you have no choice, you choose,

Like a good stoic,
The choice that's been given you.
I just wish it didn't mean
I had to choose an ending.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Our failure to remember
Our past lives is an intense
Form of our failure

To remember our lost dreams.

Our failure to remember
Our future is worse,
If only because we don't

Believe that failure failure.

We don't think we've forgotten
Our future; we think
Future hasn't happened yet.

We define it so.
And yet, we suspect our dreams
That we forget remember.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Twenty-three hours, fifty-six
Minutes, four seconds.
The remaining three minutes,

Fifty-six seconds
Are just a rounding error,
Although a resounding one.

Our days are slowing
Although too slowly for us.
By the time the rotation
Fits twenty-four cesium

Hours exactly, there likely
Won't be any humans left
To note the moment.
Something will still watch the stars.

Friday, September 22, 2017

How to Find Out if Your Gardener's Lying

I am an expert
Of the whole and cannot hope
To describe the part.

Quantum physicists tell us,
Is amplitude squared.

You can't take the root
Of probability and
Derive amplitude.

You can't know the sign.
No one ever knows the sign,
Not even the sign.

I count trees in your garden
Grown from unearthly delights.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Redemption Is Heaven

I rolled by without a pause,
The eventuality

Of breaking at the same time.
Experience is
Entities being broken,

The kind of statement linguists
Judge and then deploy.
But just then I was thinking
About how we lack stories

Involving truly
Ordinary characters
Redeemed without transcending
Themselves. Transcendence is hell.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Emperor of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Preface by the Divine Pen:
Buddha's opened eyes
In the shape of blue lotus

Flower will open the eyes
Of the people to nothing.
Until he had eyes,

Michael Ondaatje
Observed, he remained a blank.
Nothing so approximate
To the honest stare of God.

There was a sutra
On birch bark, lost long ago,
That told the actual truth.
The one who wrote it burned it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


He gave an invited talk.
"Give me wealth or give me death"
Was the gist of it.

He thought about the word, gist,
And its narrow usefulness
In English, a sufficient
Incompleteness shrugged.

The number itself
The dream's interpretation,
The dream's interpretation
The essence of the number.

One. Two. That's the gist of it.
Whole, once multiplied, is not
Ever whole again.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Random and the Made

In a civilization
Forever beyond repair,
As all always are,

A small figure stood
Swaying against the starlight.
I'm just waiting for something

To happen, he said.
A storm responded, blotting
The stars, offering lightning,
A tempest tailored for him.

Ah, he said, I see, but that
Is no different from saying
I was made for this storm's sake,
When we're all one thing.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Every god's a cube
Opining your resistance
Is futile, so surrender.

I say those who have to ask,
Including those who demand,
Have not got your surrender
Securely in hand

And for that reason should not
Be surrendered to.
Surrender to what compels
Surrender. Everything else

Comes from among the vanquished
Begging a secondary
Victory by faith.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Makaris Lament

Patrik Johnestoun might nocht fle.
How forgotten will you be?
Will one phrase you turned
In the lathe of your neck last?

Will your ordinary name
Be attached as a label
To anything orbiting
This battered planet?

You rucked the sheets of your bed
To make it more inviting.
No one lies in it.

Someone you never met will
Smooth the mess you left,
Which was all of you you left.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Early Onset Constellations

It's not the what; it's the how.
How you will lose your true love,
Your way though the woods,

The name you once gave yourself,
The records you kept,
Your sense of joy in the world.

There's no art to it.
The world is full and each loss
Is required for something new
To squeeze on through and be lost

In turn, you too. The dark lawn
Is heavy with stars
And Indian Summer warmth.
Barefoot, you stand, look up, lost.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Faith Must Be Asymmetrical

Hope's more fierce than gratitude.
We are more normative in
The company of children.
You have to make it

Dark enough to want to see
The light. The thunder itself
Is thrilling enough,

Always sounding like the voice
Of god or giant
For beasts of conversation.

For all these reasons we pray
More in advance than in thanks,
Obey more among toddlers,
Fear answers we seek.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Way and Its Weakness

Is there is no Way.
An infinity of ways,
And a cosmos determined

To ring the changes on each,
But no one Way among them,
Which is why the Way
Is so appealing, abstract

Or anthropomorphic. One
Path among them all,
One wisdom of surrender.

There's no path of righteousness.
There's no wisdom to dying.
There's no getting lost.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

There Is No One Left

There is no true place
Where the cat is. There
Are, perhaps, places where cats

Are not. Everything gives way
To everything, constantly.
It's always all everything
Gone all of the time;

There's never an honest pause
In the long melodic line.
We guess. We move things.

Schrödinger's shell game
Always wins. It's amazing
How a world so full comes up
Empty every time.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lava and Zebras

Lust is a big dog
And love is an undersized
And panicky dog walker

Prone to drop the leash,
I told her when she left me
To go chase after her dog
And leash it to a new wrist.

But I'm neither dog
Nor walker nor wrist, myself.
I'm bones of Hagerman horse
Eroding under lava

In a land I could still love,
Were my kind not extinct, nor
Zebras exotic.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Now It's Over, and Not Over

I can't push myself,
I can't seem to push myself
Out of that one-way window.

Without relation to me,
Without interest in me,
The glass reflects me,

And because no one else sees,
No one needs to see
That truer, ghostlier me,
I know what breaking it means.

I've lived a reflective life,
A life of self-delusion.
There's no other side
After that window's broken.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Foucault's Comic Book

God, something minatory
In your inertness.
Luridly tattooed pages,

The dove, descending,
Sway gently over the world.
Which Foucault is the Foucault,

The superhero
Who will defeat the divine
Mystery, stone deity?
Who will roll away the stone

To reveal the emptiness,
Not even a corpse?
The parabola of doubt
Describes the arc of belief.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Claiming true, a bit
Of a stretch, pretty Saro,
Bee bread or royal jelly

For you? Your mother had said
You were a princess,
Not intending compliments,

But you were another thing,
Neither a worker nor queen.
A rare kind of pretender,
Mind of a worker,

Royal sensitivities,
A gift for getting others
To attend to you
Without believing in you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Pretty Saro

Reek of wet hay fades.
You first came to this country
When you were twenty and five,

Half-hoping ballads
Would be sung about your love
Or maybe not, I don't know.

You saw many fair lovers
But never saw yours
Who sat near you, uplifting
As a matter of honor

Your wings to the air.
You left him for fair weather
And another who kissed you
Through your feathers on a dare.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Buildings in Lakes

I want to go home.
My home is under water,
Was under water before

I was born, I think.
Otherwise, why is it I
Have no memories of it

Brilliant in daylight?
I only remember it
Moodily lit, dark and green,
Roofless, fuzzed with living things.

I want to swim down
And search carefully through it
For the unanswered riddle
Drowning's written into it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

People in Books

Everybody knows
That almost nobody looks
Like people look in movies,

But not enough people now
Read regularly
To know nearly no one looks
The way they're described in books.

We're mostly battered tubers,
Lumpen potatoes.
We're mostly sallow, spotty.

It's not that there's no beauty.
It's the ratio writers
Keep twisting, wanting
Like the rest of us less us.

Monday, September 4, 2017


Everything you gain, you'll lose,
Whether squandered or conserved,
Including caring,

And including you.
I'm working on a grimoire,
Full of spells to pull me through,
Full of spells against the truth.

When it comes to loss,
Magic's no worse than hard proof.
One pretends what we can't do,
And one can't let us pretend.

Hermes Trismegistus, you
Must take loss away from me
And set us both free.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Night Danger

A delusion is a lie
About the world seems to come
From the world, not you.

When delusion's discovered,
The only way to survive
Is to recover with more
Reasonable lies,

The kind you know come from you,
Not the world. It's the skill set
Of the damned and it damns you.
You try to distrust

Everything the world tells you.
Still it tricks you. Still you lie
And say you weren't fooled.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Swastika Laboratories

If you pass through Swastika,
Ontario, a village
Just west of Quebec,

You will find the Swastika
Fire Department and a sign
For something named Swastika

Try as you might,
You won't find a swastika:
All those signs for Swastika.
Never a swastika sign.

This is how words infect worlds,
Echoing Hakencreuzen
Too tricky to show.

Friday, September 1, 2017

River of Wolves

The dead are alive with light.
They shine through the eyes of wolves,
Those running grey waves
Surrounding the drowning deer.

When the deer have been consumed,
Full wolves will lie down and dream
Of being humans,

The most terrible
Predators the world has known.
Their hides will twitch. Jaws will snap.

The deer will look through their eyes.
The deer will speak like humans.
This is the wolves' fear.
Only their eyes are alive.