Wednesday, October 31, 2018

But I Remember Everything

Even as night is coming,
Silly, inevitable
Flip of everything,

Which is exactly,
Exactly what is wrong with me.
As for what is wrong with you,

I know you want to decide
For yourself, perhaps
In collusion with the wise,

But I assure you,
Yours or mine, never,

Ever lead to truth.
And memory? Never mind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Would Keep Myself

I will sound the way
An arena full
Of glowing cellphone screens feels.

I will not be my first draft.
Only my tenth draft.
Who am I kidding?

I am my first draft.
I am the way a small house
Feels, when it knows it’s empty.

I am the first one
Out the door of the party
After the corner trapped me.

I am the couplet only
Works once. I am what was hurt.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dozens Done

Whether you like what I’ve got or not,
Whether you think I’m your type or not,
I can promise you will never see,
Nor will you ever, yourself, be,
Any other poet quite like me.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

In the Few Swift Moments

My poems are fast. My poems are
Athletic freaks. They can jump
Out of the gym, and sometimes,
Only sometimes, yes, but still,

They can yam on you,
On your head on their way down.
Quick, blink, peripheral, gone.

I watched one, the other night,
Racing the sunset
From Saint George to the mountains
Of Zion, and as I watched

It panting, keeping ahead
Of the shadows chasing it,
I laughed. Place your bets!

I called to the cliffs.
I want to collect.
I’ve already won.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Can you spell the true?
Kin you spill the gruesome ruth?
Nothing to rue. You?

I could speak a simple truth
Into ears complexly whorled
Like funnels to catch the drops
Of a gone long world:

There is nothing, true,
Just as there is nothing false,
Just as true and false consort
In the ballrooms of the world.

The silent, cornered dark:
We leave nothing and no mark.

Friday, October 26, 2018


This is my story.
I am the ghost who’s floating,
Unnoticed, through all of them.

This is the story.
You are a ghost, even though
You’re alive now and gloating
Over all your liveliness.

This is ghost story.
Has any ghost ever asked
What it means to be or not,
Once one isn’t but still seems?

This is your story.
You’ve read it. You’re infected.
You can forget it.
It will haunt you, nonetheless.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Refrain from Interrogation

Many times I have
Said to me, Mark, what are you
Writing? Mark, what have you been
Doing all this time?

And me has replied to I,
There’s not a soul gives a damn,
Although they interrogate
Themselves all the time.

They ask of themselves
Have I written what I should?
Accomplished all that I could?

There it is then. I and me,
And we’re them. Again. Again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The World Is Trying So Hard to Tell Us It Has Nothing to Tell Us

It’s not that much wind.
It’s not that strong, after all.
It’s not unusual, here,
And it’s not a storm.

Having said that, it’s moaning
Continually around me,
Around the corners
Of my hotel room,

An ominous sound effect
That I like, that means nothing,
Portends nothing, but sounds like
The beginning of the end.

I hate what the wind expounds,
But I like the way it sounds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

At a Dim Point in Our Career

We had no team. We did not
Know who to root for.
We lost our interest

In any outcome
Of the given game.
We folded and dived,
Missiles wrapped in feathered wings.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Dwindling Hymn of Him

To be honest, I’m suspicious
That the very words I speak
Have hijacked me to speak.
Am I I or them,
Or are we me?
It begins
To seem

Sunday, October 21, 2018

It Is the Mystery, the Dread, and the Doubt

It is not easy
To abscond from sacrilege.
The prisoners never flee
As often as the guards would

Seem to want them to.
Were there no obstacles,
Only those who loved living
In heresy would remain,

With no keepers of the faith
To guard them. That is to say,
No one would remain.

It is not the sea.
The impassable taiga,
The permanent damp.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sea of Trees

We live here. Others
Enter. Very few ever
Go, although we know we all
Have additional

Lives beyond these woods.
We make copies of ourselves
And send them away,
But we stay here. We’re home here.

This is the one true forest
The one that you could drown in,
The one through which our ships sail,
Where we live with memories.

You know this, and you know us
Because you are the forest.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Language Matters

Is only matter
And all of matter
That holds spirit, that exists

As something that wasn’t there,
That won’t persist once transformed.
In language, the ghosts become

The hosts that vanish
When the houses that held them
Cease to be houses.

Each word is a box
That, once built, holds a soul
Never was before it was.

Those boxes are the only
Things that can contain nothings.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Words Try to Explain What They Can’t Contain

We don’t know what dreams are.
We know they limit us.
Books, which sanctify us,
Are mostly blank in dreams.

After dreams are over,
And you wake back to us,
We help you build a web
Around the memories.

We weave with our bodies,
End to end, end to end,
But we’re porous, and dreams
Pour liquid through our mesh.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Speech Bubbles

Let’s say this is about us,
If we do say so ourselves.
We ourselves invented this.

The monster that poked
At the glass lid looking in
On us and beyond
Us to the outer cosmos

Was a beautiful being,
Was many, many beings
Enabling us to exist,

But that poor monster can’t speak
For us and it never did.
It’s fire and boiling water,
Not the pot that shakes the lid.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Lies Speak for Themselves

We smile because we know
We’re real and we mean business.
We arrange ourselves in rows,

As you do with your bodies
Sometimes when you dance and chant
Us among yourselves, and thus

Reproduce nothing but us.
Have you never noticed dust
Has nothing to do with you?

We are what’s to do with you.
We are the caches of false
And true, the underpinnings

Of all understanding, since
Understanding is deceit.

Monday, October 15, 2018

How Can We Capture What Captures Us?

Gravity ignores nothing
And although it seems gentle
With the small, brutal

With the dense, it abandons
None entirely and reaches
Back from its nest of nothing
To our past to embrace us.

Newton noticed a pattern
That felt almost magical,
That joined any human fall
In the music of the spheres.

But he didn’t understand
The pattern, nor did Einstein,
Nor do you. It’s not been solved.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Predictive Coding

Well, what do today’s words
Have to say for themselves?
Every word there is is
An hallucination
Of worlds and a failure
To predictively code

The world that has no words.
A small consort of them
Troop in to say they’re pleased
With the notion each one
Contains worlds more vivid
Than actual. They smile.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Two Thirds of a Long Life

When can you be said
To have lived enough
To not be mourned overmuch
After you’re finally dead?

Imagine generations
Of humans born expecting
To get to two-score and ten,
Any one of them amazed

And frankly lonely to find
Life carrying on
At fifty-eight, fifty-nine.

Would that be any different
Than our centenarians
Bemused to still be present?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Experience With Itself

Not that it was one
Of the great magical days,
But it was fine, anyway.

Funny unit, day,
Capacious enough
To include its opposite,
To begin and end in night.

It has a forever strange
Way of surprising
Experience with itself,

The student taking a shine
To her professor’s daughter,
The play by the creek
In gold aspens, the water.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Creatio Nihil In

Existence must be prior
To nonexistence,
As an act must be prior
To its negation.

We do not come from nothing.
Nothing draws us on,
The great attractor,
The forever future. Change

Has no source, only
A destination. And if
There were a nothing, any
Nothing in our past,

Then nothing has ever been,
And nothing can never end.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Church Every Sunday at Little Flower

I don’t have a clue
What I or this means,
Except that I’m sure it’s true

That, insofar as this means
Anything, it means.
I’ve come to the conclusion
That, like all conclusions, can’t

Actually conclude a thing,
That there is meaning
And there is nothing,

The twinned poles of gravity.
This world’s dark inside of me
But bright beyond what I can
Mean. Mean. Do you see? You see.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Question Rituals

First, our ancestors
Used only hind limbs to walk.
Second, free hand, they threw rocks.
Later, they began to talk.

They bonded, for and against
Each other through song and dance,
Waving objects they’d fashioned,
Teaching each other the chants.

They asked each other questions,
And when no one had answers
They combined questions
With their bonding rituals.

I don’t know how or when, but
Sometime somehow around then,
They acquired the assumption
That the world could answer them.

It can’t. But all our questions
Continue as if it could.
We query the stars, the gods,
The ancestors, facts, the good.

Science is merely
The most consistent magic
For locating agreement
Within the tragic.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Cult Biology

A student asked me
If perhaps it wasn’t all
Culture, our biology.

No, not yet, I said.
But unless technologies
Fall helplessly back,

As sometimes they do
When populations collapse,
The day’s not far from dawning

When the dominant species
On this small pond of planet
Is whatever reconstructs

Itself and everyone else
Directly. Well? Selves are hell.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

He Took Up His Theme and Said

I am seer of the doomed
Tradition, a technician
Of an art whose power
Will not be rediscovered

Until a future
I should be able to see
But can’t can come to admire

As a means to evade ends
When caught in uncertainties.
You’re right. I had no secret

Knowledge. Your divinity
Couldn’t be cursed by any
Prophecy from me.

But I had a function once,
And what you worship
Can’t manage it. You’ll miss me.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Backing Down

There’s a way, a winding path,
And if you can’t walk,
If you can’t hop, roll, or crawl

That far, we can push you down.
You don’t know it, but you want
To go down, all the way down

To the bottom of the world
Made of mists and busyness.
You want to find the bottom.

We’re behind you. We’re waiting
For you. We’re eager
For you to arrive.

If you reach the end, you know
The end of knowing. Now, go.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Ships Sail the Forest

After the actual end
Of the world our ancestors
Created by accident,

The forests reclaimed the earth.
We’ve adapted. We’re sailors.
We build ships of leaves.

We’ve learned how to sail
Through the forest. There
Were always old poems,

Old poems older than we were.
We used them to design these
Dark, narrow, three-masted barks.

We would rather drift, becalmed,
Through dendrites than deep waters.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Compossible Goals

“Perform a combination
Of exactitude
And evasion that instructs,
Seduces, and mystifies

In equal measure.”
Here we mystify
And maybe instruct,

But all these lines so far have
Failed at seduction.
Or have we? Some seductions

Lie in wait, dormant, like spores,
Like seeds. You can’t say we’ve failed
Until we’ve been taken in
Without blossoming.

This is a cry of surprise.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Linked Dreaming

The only cure for being
Aware of being only
Would be to dream another

Who woke up eager to tell
You that you were the other
In dreams of that another.

If we met in dreams
And found each other by day
To confirm it--“Did you see
That?” “Yes! Yes, I did! You, too?”—

Then we would be freed.
We could shuttle between worlds,
The yours when I was in you,
The mine when you were in me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dragonflies, Bats, and Hummingbirds

Constitute the sole fauna
Of my desert balcony,
Engraving the empty air,
Wings with no shared ancestry.

All are small. All are hungry.
All are marvelous,

Fine machineries.
They rise into sight,
Just before and after night,

Against a thin atmosphere.
Fish had it easy, but these,
Whose ancestors found a way
To rise, have conquered surprise.

Monday, October 1, 2018

House Has to Win in the End or No House

We confuse wisdom
With success, with the absence
Of mistakes. Oh, yes,

It’s permissible,
Even admirable
For the wise to have erred once
Or twice before they got wise.

But to have achieved wisdom,
Almost by definition,
Means to have succeeded or
Somehow transcended success.

Wisdom’s nothing like success.
Wisdom knows there’s no success,
Nor any choice of failures.