Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Today We Fly

When the universe agrees
With our desires and grants them
In full, that’s a miracle.

I knew a woman,
Once, who embraced me
For no good reason,

Just when I wanted her most.
She became my miracle.
Now that I’m almost a ghost,
The universe wants her back.

None of what I want,
She wants, or worlds want for us
Needs to agree, but
I have wings folded in me.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Forge It Yourself

My last night on earth,
We drank beers and ate pizza
By the pergola.

We talked about food,
Good fortune, and land reform.
We talked nonsense, health and death.

We had been carving pumpkins
And they glowed, round as our heads,
Coppered in the fairy lights.

The daughters played in the house,
Drawing characters
And cutting them out.

It was a gentle evening.
We forged it ourselves.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Particular God

Even a monotheist
Like the resilient Roy Moore,
Who wanted to know

His president understood
The nation was founded on
Faith in “a particular

God,” could give the game away.
Even if there’s only one
You believe holy,

You recognize contenders
And pretenders are out there.
The same with me and this world:

Even if I’m fairly sure
This is what there is,
There are pretenders out there.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Any Last Requests

How do I pray, Kumugwe?
How do I ask for your help?
Teach me how to pray,

Here in the desert,
Far from your underwater
Kingdom of copper.

Here I have nothing but stones
To provide for me,
Offer the way of the saint.

I am nothing like a saint,
Kumugwe. I love
Your octopus face,

Your collecting obsession.
Share with me. Teach me to pray.

Friday, October 27, 2017


We discussed our dreams.
We discussed our lives.
We tried to make sense
Of sense’s senseless cosmos.

We scooped and broad-brushed
With palettes of strong colors
When we painted our stories
Into a corner.

The world said one thing
In myriad, random waves
We interpreted in ways

Made them seem something other.
The world said one thing.
We said it was our mother.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Life is a debt death collects.
We never exist
And we’re never real
Even though we are,

Because we emerge
From nonexistence
Borrowing mind
And lose it all when we go.

It matters while it matters,
Then none of it ever was,
None of it ever will be.

These lines will fade from the screen
Unread, never having been.
The last you’ll see won’t be me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


There are those people who say
It is possible to pray
And get an answer.

I know a few who insist
They need only manifest
To get what they want.

I need to know how this works.
I’m down to my last deceit.
I’m asking the universe,
Have mercy on me.

I’m writing this on the air,
Putting it out there,
Something must align with me,
Answer want, forgive my needs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lair Saloon

Who rules from the shadows, rules
As a shadow. What is wrong
With a shadow land?

It only indicates light,
And anyway, even caves
Are porous to waves

Of sufficient wavelengths, waves
For which any one of us
Is as air to blue.
I will rule from the shadows

When I am not I
Enough to blink frantically
And look away from the sun,
The one who flinched at high noon.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dr. Tyrell’s Death

Either this cosmos is real
And wicked enough to be
Worthy of immolation,
Or it is phony,

A kind of bubble
Blown on who knows what backdrop,
And worthy of ridicule,
Abandonment, ignoring,

I can’t decide which.
I’m not real myself,
Phrases pretending

To be me, saying
Yes, you could go, but
You won’t make it home.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Among the People Known as Bauls

Somewhere around here,
At this point in time,
There’s a sect something like me,

Their retreat in the mountains,
Their souls in their teeth.
Oh no there isn’t.

I’m a faith of one,
A true believer in doubt
Who never lets go of hope,

A martyr to destruction
That’s from saying yes,
What the hell, let the fairies

Of the future find a way
To prove their true existence
By saving me from today.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Strangely Consoling

Dark poetry’s been to me,
The Cranes and the Dickinsons,
The blood-jetting Plaths,

The wry tergiversations,
Solemn tunk-a-tunks,
Mock mockeries of Stevens,

“Gret big liar” Sterling Browns,
Frosts caught in encroaching trees,
Bishops losing everything,
Melvilles who can’t sleep,

And those just a few,
And just of Americans.
All I hoped to learn? To be
Strangely consoling in turn.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Everything Is Older Than You Think It Is

Numbers, random, uncontrollable
That we have contracted to respect
And to use to determine our just
Deserts, reward me now. Sing the song
Of the unlikely, the nonmiraculous
Wonder of a broken gambler’s redemption.
At the pub, a man with an American accent,
Roughly midwestern, asked his companions
What exactly was Washington DC. A state?
No? A territory? And where exactly, relative
To Virginia? Who says what we don’t know
Will kill us? He had to be at least seventy
And robust as a lion when he stuffed
His white mane into his motorcycle helmet.
Healthy, well-fed, moneyed ignorance is bliss.
I am none of those things. I am an old poem.
My own heart is like the dove that flees
The hawk. No, my heart is the hawk
In a landscape without doves, the hawk
Who no longer cares to fly, who scans
The latest sky for the script he read there
Hundreds, thousands of years before him.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Everything Is Dangerous

Truth’s made me reckless.
I appear anything but,
I know, sitting on a bench

In a nearly empty park
On a bright morning.
The way I move is cautious,

But the truth is I can’t feel
Distinctions between the hard,
Icy things that could harm me
And decisions that kill me.

I can’t even feel
Sure decisions do kill me.
It seems like they’re doing the job,
But here I am to write this.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Slotted Spoon

A human who doesn’t cook,
Not at all, wouldn’t know how,
Shouldn’t be reading

Poems and short stories
In which narrators
Hold symbolic cutlery
While making delicious meals.

The significance
Of an implement that lets
Juices through but holds solids

Must be metaphorical,
But how? Some of us
Only understand absinthe
Rituals, not soups or stews.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We’re Not Here Unless We Don’t Belong Here

A row of pillars
Eroding into hoodoos
On the side of a mountain,

Evenly spaced, squared,
Look like faceless versions of
The famed Easter Island heads.

There’s the world for you,
Anything humans can do
It can do faceless,

Making me suspect
Our faces themselves
Are really faceless.

But if it’s true faces lie,
Then lying’s part of that truth.
It’s past time I weren’t alive.
I think that pillar’s smiling.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Secret Promise

Only one lock worth picking,
Only one trick worth doing,
And no one's done it,

But I think I know how.
Find a way to flay the world,
To get so far past the edge

There's no possibility
Except plummeting free fall,
Then refuse to fall.
Invite death in for dinner

As you hang, midair.
If it takes you like that, you
May come back, but only if
You know the secret I know.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Out of Nowhere Appears the Etymology of Ghost

Origin unknown
And destination unknown,
The soul, from the sea,

Declaims, meaning is being
And being meaning,
But only for the beings

Who happen to be meaning,
Always meaning to desist,
Never able to resist
The lust to mean things.

Things don't lust to mean.
Only meanings lust to thing,
To name themselves as beings
Who're so far only meanings.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Alas! That Day of Mine on Which I Was Destroyed

If the last days lived
Are outside of hospitals

Or prison cells, if no one
Has yet twigged to the event
Like a river’s falls
Roaring just around the bend.

It is possible
To savor life’s dregs
Before setting the bottle down

Gently but for good.
The sun may shine, the body
May still feel pleasure,
And only dread taints the view.

Friday, October 13, 2017

An Art, Not a Science

One of the more interesting
Aspects of illness
Is the struggle of belief

To compel diagnosis
To yield to belief.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me,

But surely the results prove
Something must be wrong.
I have become a fable

Of mysterious decay.
I will stare into your eyes
In a pleading way,

Asking you to name for me
The disease that pardons me.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Last Fall

Three wild turkeys strolled
Down the aspen-lined dirt road,
Made eye contact, turned,

And headed up-slope
Instead, through the brush, then down
Around behind me

And back to the road.
They knew how to be wary—
Not enough, of course,

To escape the end,
But enough to extend things
For a few more days.

Close behind them, what I feared
And wanted waited for me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Keep It Simply Stupid

Doubt one’s life flashes
Before one’s eyes on the way
Down the last second

Before nothingness,
But memories keep flashing

During the drawn out
Preparations for the fall.
Forty years ago

A camp commander
Barked at counselors, “Keep it
Simple, stupid!,” pleased

With his own stupidity.
Simplicity can’t be kept.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Boring and Bizarre

Each life manages to be
Inevitable events
That follow on and from
Any odd coincidence.

The man in the midst
Of leaving a knife-wielding
Wife might escape to a day

In a red canyon in fall,
To which he returns
With a new wife and daughter
Years later, a miracle

To which he returns
Again and again,
Until he returns to leave.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Yet I Complain and No One Hears My Voice

I tried to rehearse.
I walked carefully
Over broken rocks
And black baling wire
Until I could see

Over the cliff’s lip
To confirm it was
Sheer. One or two trees
Pointed up like spears,
But I could miss them.

The delicate part
Would be easing down
And stepping over
To reach the best spot
But not fall too soon.

I swayed near the edge,
Planning the sequence,
Imagining it,
But not testing it,
Not getting too far.

Peak fall colors flared
From the shadowed walls
That narrowed and hid
The bottom from view.
But I heard the stream.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Whole Sky

One piece of advice
Was to do something
With my brokenness.
But I had so many kinds

And each did something
To me I couldn’t
Undo or return.
A seven-dimensional

Fracture: that was me.
I sat under trees
With my broken head,
Heart, legs, arms, ribs, words, and charms,

And I peered into the sky,
Not wanting wanting to die.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Don’t Question the Fox

“Just one second. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to look for fox pajamas or listen to you.” ~ Sarah

Look for the fox pajamas.
They will be with you
Long after I’m gone.

Don’t listen to me.
I’m not who I am.
I’m what breathes when you read me,

The breath of a predator
Who’s just fed, of prey
Who’s just been eaten.

The fox wears no pajamas.
He talks to himself.
He dreams of chickens.

You will find his tail hanging
From a fence as a warning.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Trees Have Sprouted From the Wreckage and Books

I am a ruin,
Which means I should have
A strange attraction,

The way a roofless abbey,
An abandoned cliff dwelling,
A drowned town underwater
Impossible to live in

All manage to draw us in.
May I draw you in?
A ruin is more open

To everything than any
Closed and monitored
Museum. I love the sky.
Fly down, into me, from it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lake of the Soul, If You Like, Somewhere

The moon throws a huge circle
In the twilight clouds.
Rumor has it, it's done that

Sort of thing before.
Robert Johnson, on Bluetooth,
Sounds about the same as when
I first heard him on cassette

Thirty some years ago and
Fifty years after his death.
Is there any damn

Memory isn't haunting,
However insubstantial?
The crickets are relentless,

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Civilization and Its Contents

Oh! Oh! If only
I'd been more, enough, afraid
Of eternal damnation,

Maybe I wouldn't
Be suffering so much now!
Maybe I'd be contented.

What am I saying?
Devotion's never about
Contentment, complacency.
Satisfaction's the lowest

Level of pleasure.
There's no dignity in not
Suffering when everyone
Suffers. Contentment suffers.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


We are a confused species.
We have genital herpes.
We have ginger genes.

We killed cousins we mated.
We still loathe who we've dated,
Hate to say we're apes,

Apes translated. We're freedom
If what freedom means
Is the freedom to enslave.
We are a confused species.

We stand on our precipice
Knowing every life
Came before us went over
Or stayed with us. I hate it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime

Time throws off its robes of terror,
Cloaks itself in clothes of pleasure,

Wrote Judah Ben Halevi,
Forty-five generations

Ago. Time personified
Is like naming a black hole
Penny or Charlie.

That is, you've altered nothing
About the named, just
The dignity of naming.
An epiphenomenon

Of change should never be named
As if it were the daeva,
Asura, Jesus,
Allah, Buddha. The result

Of change is time, caught changing.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

His House Now Stands Empty

I've become a full spectrum
Specter. I'll haunt you,
And I'll haunt them, those, myself.

I'm ready to go,
But although my bags are packed
I'm afraid to board the plane.
It's not the plane that scares me,

It's the boarding gate.
But I have to go, I'm so
Well prepared, no one ever

Better. I'm the one who knows
How to come back, who
Holds the first-class ticket home.
But I'm afraid of the gate.