Sunday, September 30, 2018

Illuminating Blaze of Infernity

Dark man, Nathaniel, dark heart.
We all go into the dark.
We all come out of the dark.
He carved that dark into art.

There’s a turning in deltas
When the tide comes in
Or goes out, when we’re hard put

To tell, which way gravity.
Nathaniel wore darned morals
Like sock puppets, inside out,

So we found it hard to tell,
Reading past a century,
What he meant by his sinners
From saints. Which way gravity?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hay in a Haystack

Out of loneliness
Into delight, or maybe
Peace, wrote Jessica,

Habitue of tiny
Bedrooms on trains, doll
Homes in museums.

The world is irrational.
The haystack is full of hay.
We use a magnet to find
The needles of whole numbers

And miss everything
We can sense but can’t
Describe or say, Jessica,
Thin straws of lonely todays.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Poem Without Pronouns

How is the soul, come
Fine afternoon? How
Can the cognitive system
Connect the felt but unseen

Movements of the self
With the seen, unfelt
Movements of the cosmic else?

Even self observation
Can fail at imitation.
The mist on the horizon,

Proper and common,
Would wish to collapse
Into the name of a hope
Replacing the horizon.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mathematics As Sign

Sometimes the most common things
Are the hardest things to see.
Take it from your mind. Take it
From your dear old me.

Ah, the strange things that happen
Once you start thinking
About probabilities
When infinity’s involved.

Everything goes to zero
That doesn’t make it to one.
There’s your soul, your whole,

A final quartet, unstrung
Instruments under nimble
Fingers performing as tongues.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Enough Crumbs Piled Together and Compounded Make a Mound

You can’t

The words

By damned
White ants.

They have
No eyes;

They have
No wings;

They’re born
To eat

The ends
Of things.

But add
Them all

To life’s
Toll, and

Seems grand

To life’s
Damned ants.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Now and Never

Two eras must concern us
Although others mostly do:
What has just been happening
And what is the longest view?

Their between or their reverse,
Deep past and middle distance,
Form the nonetheless for which
We yearn in our resistance.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Notes for a Narrative Therapist

I prefer not to become
An addict, an alcoholic,
So I need you to become
My opioid, my alcohol.

You will not approve of this.
What human wants to see herself
As methadone in flesh and blood?
You’re still a helpful substitute.

You offer the anodyne
Balm of self story,
Stories of a self
That can become someone else.

Only that which is
Irreplaceable is real.
And narratives are
Forever replaceable.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

St. George and the Drag Queen

The sacred and the profane,
The trivial and the profound
Have only themselves to blame
For being driven underground.

I don’t want to talk to you,
Said the sacred to the profane.
The trivial has no use,
Opined the profound. I hate stains.

In the end, they banned themselves,
And made their own pairings taboo.
Search for the sacred now in Hell,
The profound stuck to your shoe.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Love Middle Acts

Fuck all of you conventional wits.
I adore the second verse. The middle
Is the closest to the facts, the best,
In medias res. The rest is bullshit,
Origins and conclusions, never ending
Any of it. Parachute me into act two.
It’s only a transition might yet prove true.

Friday, September 21, 2018








Thursday, September 20, 2018

I’ve Come to Take You Home

“For every body in this place,
There was someone who mourned their loss,
Even if they didn’t know why.”

We were the living and the damned,
Damned because we were living, and
Living because we were the damned.

I see it means that you can see.
And although I am a member
Of this species of crying ape,

Don’t think for a single second
That I’m brought easily to tears.
If I cry, the world is ending,

Or the outcasts have saved the day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

No Port in Air

Nothing is burning,
But surely the haze
Of this evening’s horizon,
Dusty rose and smoky blue,

Must mean something other than
The fact that nothing’s burning.
All we’ve ever known

Included nothing,
Some sort of nothing,
And wound up with nothing left.

But if this evening’s lying
And nothing’s really burning,
We’ll have lost our emptiness,
The point of our returning.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Slim to None

Poetry is what I do
To what I read, what I think,
What I encounter daily,

And that’s the ungodly truth.
The pain is just a program
Written by our culture gods.

I know my bones can break more
Easily than yours.
That doesn’t half make me not

Wholly what you are. What’s that?
That is what you see in there.
Watch me break, you. Just watch me.

There’s a couplet hiding here.
It will seize you unaware.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Die End

Is a speck in Namibia, so named
Before this darkness ate us all alive.
Or no, after this pale darkness made us.
It feels like the middle of nowhere now,
On this blue pebble of cosmic nowhere,
But it’s time to seek shelter from the storm
That sweeps over nowhere as well as home.

Once upon a shift in time, I was wed
To a Herero shadow in these sands,
Dressed in the petticoats of those humans
Lutherans converted and Kaiser damned.
My story is nothing, is what I know,
And neither, although larger, is their own.
The point, in each of us, was shadow grown.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


We are changes in time,
All these shoes someone built
For showing, not for feet.

We point your escape.
For you, we toe the line.
Meters are boots as feet.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


A poem can be both composed
And improvised, if
You let it stand. Don’t fix it.
Leave it fixed as is,

Slowly decaying
Recording, not of moments,
Of the creation.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Descent and Variation

Grieving her mother, grieving
Her mother, grieving.
Herself her mother,
Her mother herself.

It rolls backward to the dawn.
You can hear it in the notes
Of the violin
Playing in the rain.

Yes, it spoils the instrument.
Everything disintegrates
That isn’t alive,

And everything alive dies.
Still, it is continuous.
There are no breaks in the chains.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Compensatory Ape

Physicists sometimes defined
Time so matter’s density
Was pretty nearly constant

Through space on large scales
But diminishing
As the cosmos expanded.

That was the way things happened.
Someone held small differences
Constant, and things leapt
Into focus. Constancy

Furnished the corrective lens,
And we gasped at each first glimpse
Of a saturnine beauty revealed.
We gasped. We saw what we saw.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

One Defines Oneself

We are changes in changes,
Or, at least, we were
The smells of high, mountain pines,

Of black mud on either side
Of the shrinking stream
That wound its way down
Through the end of the summer,

Of the duff of dry needles
And dust—like all smells
For humans, stronger than us.

We can’t conjure them,
Once they’re gone, but once they’re back,
They can jar our memories
And conjure us. Changed. We were.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


My job has been, Cassandra-ish,
To warn the members of my tribe
About the world that renders them
In all the senses of that term,
Although they are not listening.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Love Vine

This is what a god of love
Would say to you, if a god
Of love existed:

“You are not anywhere close
To what I am. I entwine
Myself around the branches

Of oaks I parasitize
And sometimes do my victims
Favors with my small, woody
Suction cups attached to galls

Hiding parasitic wasps
Who die and are mummified
Because my vines are nourished
Even by your parasites.”

Sunday, September 9, 2018

This Isn’t My House

When you get a moment, stand
Somewhere and mutter,
This is the world, just the world,

And if this is not the way
It is, well, it is
The way it has been,

Right up to quite recently,
Becoming. That’s it.
If, for the rest of your life,

You thought nothing else,
You wouldn’t be wrong.
You wouldn’t ever be wrong.

You know why. You know this world.
You know the look in its eye.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Neurons, Billions of Neurons

Pick any truly random
Group of, say, a thousand folks
Gathered from around the globe,

And I guarantee
They’ll produce the same
Range of behaviors

Between them as any
Other similarly
Chosen group. We’re that

Limited as a species.
It’s only that every group
So picked would have different

Technological know-how
And not one of them enough.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Massacre of All Innocence

Melissa Studdard is right.
Life is “a windshield dirty
With love.” Love is every bug

Slapped splat against unforeseen,
And therefore unexpected

Glass. Love, life, longing.
There’s nothing else breeds
The awareness, finally,
Of the ends of love.

Drive through Idaho
In summer and recollect
That what your shield collected
Never had a choice of rest.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


None of us were important.
None of us made the others
Proud to have known us.

There will be no books
About our networks
Of famous acquaintances.
We were, and had, none.

A little bread and cheese and
A lot of beer and whisky.
That’s what we meant to others.

For what we meant to ourselves,
You’d have had to know us well
Who didn’t know ourselves well,
Who knew we meant massive things.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

That Whiter Host

The answer is never as interesting
As the queasy guesswork that precedes it.
Because a soul is known to lie, it does not
Follow that each time it speaks it does so.

“Farm Sixteen dug sweet potatoes. From what
I could see, almost all the men working
In the dry fields were stealing things to eat.”
In an age of plenty, guesswork begins.

In scarcity, nothing is as subtle.
This is what we who know no scarcity
Tell ourselves as we smell cigarette smoke
At dusk, conning our sources for how bad

It could get. Look at yourself, say ourselves.
I agree with Emily we’re haunted.
I appreciate the way she haunts me.
But Emily, you never existed,

Not to yourself, not anymore, and I
Will be relieved of my existence, too,
And my ghosts will go with me, even you.
Our words are our ghosts fomenting our souls.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Treetop Cradle Galaxy

Sometimes a small thought
Is not such a worm,
Is not a caterpillar
Munching the leaves of the brain.

Sometimes a small thought
Is an infant angel curled,
Neither worm nor alien,
Neither rodent nor human,

The offspring of a notion
That words like angel and ghost
Are constellations,

Stories tying together
Real acquaintances
At very great distances.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Nude

The nude, anachronistic,
Elegant figure
Without a purpose,

Laced up her track shoes,
Tossed her abundant black hair,
And strode out into the night.

She didn’t care she
Was going nowhere.
She was past caring who stared.

In her own mind, she assured
Herself, anyway,
This was all a dream,

And it was, and good for her.
Wish we all dared toss our hair.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Character

“Almost none of us commit
Suicide, and almost all
Of us self-destruct,”
Said a character

In a disaster movie,
An allegory,
Possibly, about
Evolution or cancer

Or the way love creates death,
Hard to tell exactly which.
Later, the same character

Promised we would all
Be scattered to our atoms.
So what else is new?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Rest, a Space in Time

Every last invalid longs
Sometimes to be lost outside,
To lie next to creek and trees
Under a forgiving sky.

It’s only that’s what’s longed for
By the dependent is more
Frightening and riskier
Than what’s desired by others,

Although it’s the same desire.
There’s  no escaping. There’s just
Beauty for a while. But be
Brave with time. Give us a smile.

More fragility requires
More bravery to survive.