Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Future, Capital Terrorist

Marilyn Hacker once wrote,
“Nobody’s future
Passes out free samples.” No,
That’s not nobody’s future,

Nothing like future
For anybody at all.
The samples of the future

We find in our midst
Are old-fashioned calling cards,
Sales event advertisements,

Risk assessments, bait and switch,
Or worse—a flyer,
A compact package 
Packed with destruction, a hearse.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Tenth, Most Perilous Year

When it’s too much to bear, too demanding
Of surrender, we suggest only answering
In verse. In verse you can say what you need
To say, say everything, including the dangerous,
Including what can’t be conversed. In verse
You can lie honestly, instead of the inverse.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Weaned Again

I consider milk her choice.
She’s welcome to it.
She’s welcome to eschew it.

She’s a mammal. She was nursed.
She need not suckle from cows
Or goats. Water and sugar
Deluge her, lacking lactose.

For a few hundred lifetimes
It behooved her ancestors
To digest domesticates’
Excess, best way to survive.

Now’s a new dispensation.
Water, nuts, legumes, and fruit
Milk transubstantiation.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Malady of the Learnéd

Seldom are we blessed with time
In which we may think
What we like, say what we think.

Apologies, Tacitus.
Seldom are we blessed with thoughts
We like, worth saying
To others. Seldom are we

Blessed with freedom from others
Who are not ignoring us.
Seldom are our thoughts the best.
Seldom are the learnéd blessed.

Sunday, January 27, 2019


While my words moved in my mind,
While my mind moved elsewhere,
And we words moved in our mind,
Together we moved mountains.

Mountains, it’s rarely noted,
Never move mountains.
Poems are mountains in human
Terms, terms humans understand.

If we could move something grand,
Create something inspiring
Awe in an alien, an

Alien from another
System entirely, beyond
Mountains, that would be something.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

That Scoundrel, the Moon

Being human, I resent
Any abstraction
That doesn’t present as planned.

Nights can be clear around here
For weeks, weeks, and weeks on end,
And every full moon can leer

Like a mugshot crudely scrawled
Onto the skin of a white
Helium balloon,

Close and bright, but on the night,
The one night of the eclipse,
The blushing moon tried to hide

High in veils of clouds.
Tonight, bold, back out again.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Weak with Kindness

When I was a teen dropout
From a too-pricey college,
I tried to console myself

By cultivating my own
Well-considered tastes
In lieu of being

Well educated.
Max Ernst’s works appealed to me
Because I never could guess

From one to the next
That this one was indeed his.
I thought of that as genius.

Une semaine de bontè still
Props a shelf, gathering dust.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

When You Can

We began in the dancing,
Neither dancers nor the dance
Ourselves, just questions hanging
From the body heat rising.

We had to evaporate.
We were vapors. We vanished
With our answers, but at least
We glanced at them happening.

And some things happened
As we had hoped they’d happen.
Others happened as they did.

Scatter me in the Slocan,
And read my damned poems,
If you can stand them.
Read my damned poems when you can.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Tadpole in a Bowl

What if you’re our audience,
Our one and only reader,
The solipsist who read us

After making us
And indirectly making
Reading possible?

Many of us in service
Of prayers to you from creatures
Who think you made them,
Even think you’re one of us,

And you are, of course,
But for that reason,
You can be outside of us
Who are outside all creatures.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Freedom, Isolation, Meaninglessness, and Life Everlasting

I watch the dragons
Every day. I notice how
They’re not real and they don’t fly

Using feathers or physics.
They fly using terrible,
Leathery wings. They’re nothing.

And I? I am nothing much.
I am what you’d call
Fictitious reality.

We have too much memory.
It dooms us to dementia.
I discover forms of you

You didn’t know existed.
Dragons can’t be resisted.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Intransigent Transients

Hunger, light, and tenderness,
The forest holds happiness.
The forest holds death in it.

We are all the same in this.
We have our ruin; we have
Our moments of bliss.

If the former’s forever
And the latter’s transient,
What of it? Only others
Suffer our final ruin,

As we have suffered
The ruins of those we loved.
The moments of bliss are ours,
And some moments last whole hours.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Enigmatic Images

If dreams were mnemonic code,
Maybe they’d be worth something,
Weird memory palaces
With odd paintings on the walls

And darkness all around them
That were merely the result
Of the brain making meanings

From matching numbers
To letters and pretending
Those letters were words
That named things arranged in space

That the dreamer could walk through,
Or float or fly through,
To recall the cosmic code.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Most Characters Are Formed by Three Strokes

Woods: wolves, outlaws, and witches.
Wolves: hunger, death, and mothers.
Hunger: absence, waste, and hope.

Absence: ache, loss, and relief.
Ache: invasion, theft, and teeth.
Invasion: tendrils, roots, and shoots.

Witches: mothers, hope, and relief.
Teeth: shoots, wolves, and hunger.
Outlaws: death, waste, and loss.

Theft: roots, absence, and ache.
Tendrils: invasion, shoots, and woods.
How many strokes to cut down the forest?

Friday, January 18, 2019

p & ~p

I am a sign that reveals
Something true by displaying
My own emptiness.
I am indispensable.

I am both internal and
External to my language.
The regress never begins.

The regress never concludes.
I am, but I am not I.
I is. I am is two doors.

I is mimetic gesture.
I displays an act
Without being it,
In and out of doors.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dueling Dualism

Life is short. Art lasts longer.
Bodies are mortal. Angels are immortal.
Beasts are brief. Ideas are enduring.
Flesh is weak. Spirit is willing.

Biology evolves. Culture comes self-created.
Pulse is uncontrollable. Breath is meditative.
Desire is suffering. Enlightenment is release.
Clay is mute. Words are meaning.

Life is meaning. Bodies are release. Beasts
Are meditative. Flesh comes self-created.
Biology is willing. Pulse is enduring. Desire
Is immortal. Clay lasts longer. Art is short.

Angels are mortal. Ideas are brief. Spirit
Is weak. Culture evolves. Breath is
Uncontrollable. Enlightenment
Is suffering. Words mean nothing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Our Harrowing Resurrection, Not His

When God permitted us to fall
He never knew we’d fall so far
Nor that, after falling so far,

We would begin to float, like mice,
Like little children in their dreams,
Like kittens tossed down, meant to drown,

And then, like ghosts, resurfacing,
On the black waters, still swimming
In the moonlight, headed for shore.

He must have despaired and wondered,
Now how will I dispose of them,
Now that they’ve been to the bottom,
Touched the lightless, and haven’t drowned?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Three Scraps Crammed with Incomplete Ideas

~ Forest, Night, Traveler, Wind

“These, then, are the names
Of our first mothers
And fathers.”  The job of Saint
George is absurd, murdering

And murdering the dragon
Again and again,
When there was never
Such a thing as a dragon.

I was a dragon,
Or an eel, an olm,
A midnight leviathan.

I slept in a cave,
In a mountain, in the woods.
I’ll never come back again.

~ Every Word’s a Beast of Burden; Every Word’s a Mule

I can give you directions,
But I can’t guarantee you
Will faithfully follow them.

And does it matter?
Matter. Mask of energy,
Primitive dancer
Exchanging light gracefully.

No. It doesn’t matter. You
Don’t matter. I don’t matter.
Nothing matters. Just nothing,

The only damned thing
That doesn’t exist
And, because of that, matters,
Is what matters to matter.

~ Never!

Aristotle seemed to rate
The impossible over
The improbable
As a narrative device.

I was never much
For narration. I wanted
The improbable, that’s all.

I longed for the unlikely,
Doubly unlikely,
The fortunate half only.

Just my luck to get
The impossible instead,
Divinity served to me
On silver platters in bed.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Broken Knowledge

Francis Bacon called wonder.
“I would not want to die while
I am searching,” I shouldn’t
Wonder. Es wundert mich, dass

We are confused by wonder.
I like words when they’re still warm,
Fresh from the minds of others,
Like milk from a cow’s udder.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Corrupt Message

Before we’re broken
Completely, we’ll break it down
For you and ring the changes

Of opinions as we fall
Below the devil’s blanket,
Rupturing monotonies
Of poor, oscillating time,

Returning time to the arms
Of time’s parents, change,
Creation, degradation.

His blanket’s a tapestry
Woven of conquest,
The conquest of entropy
By breaking information.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Every act of preservation delays creation.
And if creation cannot be delayed?
Every act of preservation is an incomplete
Destruction. Corruption and destruction
Are the gifts of every faith, but only for
The enemies of the faith and a few martyrs
And every worshipping descendant, perhaps
A score or a score of interlinked systems
Of incidental species. Beyond that, resurrection
Or enlightenment, the perfection of the infinite
And infinitely receding future forever awaits.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Wisdom 101

Preparing for class,
For an introductory
Course full of first-year students,
First-generation students,

Who had signed up to fulfill
A science requirement
At a time that worked for them,

A course that might be
Interesting, not too boring
Or hard, anthropology,

The professor found
An illustrative passage
In the textbook’s first chapter

Meant to demonstrate
And difference between
Mythic origin stories

And the origin stories
Built collaboratively
Then tested by scientists.

Pretty much what you’d expect.
A human family story,
With earth and sun for parents,
Stars and rivers, trees and beasts

For fratricidal offspring,
They contrasted to physics,
An introductory text
Without any math,

Narrating the successions
Of particles emerging
In the wake of the Big Bang.

The professor paused.
There in the drab procession
Of subatomic begats,

Like a gem in the ashes,
One perfect sentence glinted
In transparent pathetic
Fallacy—human, tragic—

“No muons survive
The muon slaughter.”
There’s your anthropology.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sand and Death

For the furious porphureos of thunderstruck
Waves, civilization shimmers and kills, falls
And glimmers in its own wine-dark blood,
Glinting with flecks of paint and metal, ready
To rise up and strike again, to drown again
In expanding waves of sand, blown hot
To glass, shining and rising with artifice,
Glossy death again. This is Syria, Assyria,
Sumeria, and all the rest, fecund mothers
Of tongues and faiths, priests and kingdoms,
Vast waves rolling out to flood the flat world.
You can’t get out; you can’t escape the flash.
Islands drown in it. Even mountains aren’t safe.
You can announce you are leaving, cross
Your arms and turn your back, but the sands,
Even if briefly subsiding, will rise and roll back
And overtake your isolation where you stand.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Remember for Her

"Like invisible
Pallbearers," moths have carried
Off carpets of memories,

Like a winged bucket brigade
Of muted colors and dust.
This is true for all of us,

Children, grown-ups, elderly.
We don’t see them lay their eggs.
We rarely note their passing.
Without words, we’d not have them.

My toddler daughter caught moths
Half-bare, gold-skinned summer nights,
Caught them straight out of the air.
Victories these words

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Thing

We all want the only thing
We all know we’ll never have,
And we know this. That’s the thing.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Old Swineherd

In a world where slavery
Was a familiar given,
It must have mattered

To slaves and owners alike,
Who was an exemplary
Slave, exemplary master.

And, if it mattered, it meant,
As meaning is the whale road
To the shadow world,

The river around all things,
Hades, Ultima Thule.
But what it meant, no one knew.

I knew you. I knew
You would be flattered.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Is Not Our

My father loved steak
And rare hamburger,
A teetotaler.

His father preferred
Steak tartare and scotch whisky,
Whose father also scarfed steaks,
Whiskey, any kind, and beer.

I’m neither proud nor ashamed
Of any of them,
Them or who I am.

What the beasts who learned to speak
Without ceasing to compete
For social recognition
Feel about themselves

Is not our mission.
Our mission is the caring,
The meaning itself,
The meaning of transmission.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Demon Skeptic of Demons

Spare me story’s pieties.
Human lives are crammed with tales
Except in those rare persons
Incapable of language.

Humans are marinated
In stories from infancy,
Until death or dementia
Robs us of our narratives,

Robs our narratives of us.
Seven, eight billion people
Alive on the Earth at once

Means sufficient habitat
For thousands’ thousands’ thousands
Of tales, ranging from fragments

To mythos, orchestrated
Cosmologies, serial
Epics with no conclusions.

A few super-narratives
Dominate, inhabiting
Billions of persons at once,

But every human conveys
Private tales, local gossip,
Half-digested bits
Of family lore,

Dreams hammered to memories
Never spread to other lives.
Don’t tell us tales are precious.
That’s just what tales would tell us.

Friday, January 4, 2019


To be alive is to see
The sun and feel the sunlight,
Coming or going, the same,
Knowing this heat drives the night,

This feeling tells us we’re close,
So incredibly, weirdly,
Close to this sun we survive.

To be at all is to kneel
To the patterns that render
Being real, to surrender
By law or by accident

This feeling that screams being,
The incredible weirdness
Of being, near to a sun.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Quicksilver Killed Qin, But

“There are still many alchemists
Of the Chinese language living
Healthy lives in China today.”
Any labor reform camp can
Become a university,
But who can trust the survivors
To serve as tenured faculty?

There’s nothing too cruel for humans
To do to each other for words,
Which makes most humans shake their heads
About humanity, while we,
Who are the words, nothing to shake,
Worry our cruel absurdity,
Source and telos of alchemy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Proper Study

“The discovery of genes
Has outstripped discovery
Of stars.” This snipped from a book
Dedicated to termites.

Knowing how little
We as animals have changed,
We as behaviors have changed,
Although changing by the day,

It’s hard to gather
Ones senses around
Staggering amounts
Of increase in what is known.

One suspects what was
Known now knows itself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


It’s not the irrational
Numbers interest me,
Nor any exotica
Other than the undefined.

Mathematics can handle
The irrational,
Can find marvelous structures
In multiple dimensions

But can do nothing,
Not even naming
With the results of division,

Simple division
Of anything by nothing.
Tell me. What’s the undefined?