Monday, September 30, 2019

Our Mycorrhizal Ground of Being

Culture, the second fungus,
Second kingdom of the grey,
These hyphae threading the dark

Under skulls, these spores
Shed into the air, secrets,
Open, invasive secrets,

Spoken networks, symbolic
Beings that defy themselves
To define whether they are

One or legion, contagions,
Parasites, mere byproducts,
Or fully alive: profound

Culture senses forests need
Culture to conquer the ground.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Death and Cooperation

Is a weapon: it helps us
Punish them and banish them,
Helps us hunt, kill, and eat them.

When we see friendship
In other systems,
Anthropomorphizing them
Is the least of it.

We’re bullying our own team
To be self-sacrificing.
We’re sermonizing our strays.

Humans are supreme
Sweetness our most fearsome way.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Nothing Is Ominous

Incandescent clouds
Resembling the truth
Set their shells in the mountains
When Xenophanes returned
To question Parmenides.

Do you not think What-Is-Not
Was the singular future
Event echoing backwards
To propagate our cosmos?

Because What-Is-Not can’t be,
As you sing, it breaks the calm
Of motionless everything,

One shattering wave,
God raising the storm to be.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Allusional Thinking

1. Wild Grass Writing

Writhing dragons enjamble
Themselves on the grass.
Enjambment does not exist

In Chinese poetry. Grass
Does not resemble dragons
To most North Americans.

Grasses are sometimes called poems
By well-known Americans.
Branches are sometimes called worlds.

The fragile, agile networks
Underground produce those worlds,
Which we see, describe, and read.

Even when they can’t be seen,
Writhing dragons do all three.

2. There Is No God, and Mary Is His Mother

Rovelli is right,
But not as he means:
“Nothing is valid

Always and everywhere.” Yes,
Indeed. When he adds,
“Sooner or later

We will come across
Something that is new,”
He invokes a sense of time

He does not believe is real
With absolute confidence.
He reminds me of a joke

About George Santayana,
The Catholic atheist.

3. A Dubious and Dreadful Wood

The trunks of these trees are jade.
In practice, when people say
That something is inspiring,

It means they feel encouraged
To believe that a cherished
Delusion is not, in fact,

So delusional and, thus
Encouraged, feel more cheerful
While clinging to it.

Rarely does inspiration
Lead to the abandonment
Of a cherished delusion.

I am inspired to believe
I can recreate this wood.

4. The Disestablished Harmony

I most enjoy contentment,
Not least because life allows,
In its defining hunger,

Equilibrium rarely
And at such great risk.
Contentment, for a body,

Is like weightlessness, free fall,
The sensation of freedom,
Not the suspension of need.

I’ll take it. I know
Nothing’s echo, gravity,
Still rings around me,

But it’s not heaven that’s deaf
To me, but me, happily.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


1. Emendation to Zhuangzi

The wisdom of wisdom is
The wisdom of being free
From the wisdom of wisdom.

2. Adaologism

In the East, the course,
In the West, discourse,
In between, of course,

Life without philosophy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Partial Commentaries

1. Liberation from the Lord’s Dangle

The fire has moved on.
Marshes fill with plaintive songs
Complaining of the allure

Of property and standing
Among those of property.
The freedom to range,

Long days to explore,
And the well-being
To savor them: these matter.

Property itself,
The possession of standing,
Esteem, a good name,

These only matter as aids
To leisure and range.

2. There Goes the Neighborhood

Perched on a lichen-spotted
Boulder in the high mountains,
Contemplating Taoist poems

And consuming Mormon fudge
Bought from a convenience store
Twenty minutes’ drive downslope,

While the shadows rotated
All afternoon over me,
Of course, my neighborhood

Was changing—the flies, the stream,
The light in the trees. Of course
I saw the ghosts of others

Crossing the distant trailhead,
Moving through the ancient poems.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


1. I talk to people
In my head, the living ones,
The imaginary ones,
But, oddly, never the dead.

I say things such as,
“My dear, let’s stop pretending 
You know anything,

Have ever known anything,
Or will ever be able
To stop pretending.”

I can waste whole days on these
One-sided conversations
Of spiels and pithy sayings,
My substitute for praying.

2. In songs, song people respond
As if they really mean it,
Really feel what they’re singing,

But known people write those songs
And work on composing them
For far too damn long.

Song people and known people:
They don’t correspond.
Am I composing something 
In my head? Then good.

Am I composing 
A response? Then stop. Just stop.
Known people respond one way,
And it’s never with a song.

3. This vs. the list:
It’s always all about that.
I suspect that most people
Simply respond; they don’t think

Too much about the response,
Except on rare occasions.
Those of us who list

Can spend hours in reverie
Composing and rehearsing
Our possible responses,

Uncontrolled compositions
For situations
Real and imagined.
Thus, we lose this loss for that.

4. All inside conversations
Are human means of reaching
Out to what never reaches
Back, muttering to the world,
Crying out to gods,

Even if the imagined
Target of conversation
Is just another person.
Never been a voice divine
Ever arrived when bidden.

Each mind is a garden tomb
With fresh life turning in it.
The response rehearsed within,
Like silent gods, stays hidden.

5. Crucial parts to a response
Are revision and review.
Once you aren’t, you’ve never been.
That’s not quite sharp. Try again.

Imaginary comments
From familiar known persons
Are the harrowing demons
That possess mind descending.

Imaginary comments
From nonexistent persons
Serve as assistants.

Are you more than imagined
Comments ruminating, Zen
Monk sitting zazen?

6. Aspens quake dry ghosts of rain.
Why does wind seem to portend,
When it does nothing but spin 
And die and come back again?

The wind pretends to presence
Out of the silence
That lies in between the winds.
Silence is all it portends.

Still, when it rises,
We sense some storm coming in,
Something new after the end.

If only it would carry
Away with it the voices
That call for our responses.

7. It’s not this or that
Or when vs. then;
It’s when and then against hence.

Some questions can only be
Answered by determining 
The size of their world.

A cosmos, from end to end,
Or a consciousness
Beginning and beginning?

There’s a man with his head down
Who holds the sign that says, “SLOW,”
By the highway construction 

All day in sun and thunder.
My head holds no voice for him.

8. The purest response
Is the response of nothing.

Is the cat alive or dead?
Pesters one voice in my head.

Is your cat alive or dead?
It’s this sort of thing I mean,

The warnings and echoings
Of uncertainties as words

And numbers, original
Imaginary beings.

Oh, if only one could know
One had done the best right thing,

Cries another wrong, dumb thing.
How to respond as one thing?

9. What if the whole universe
Is oscillating?
Could there be information 
Transfer across the cosmos,

All of us, every last wave
Entangled in the lonely
Mind of the universal

God, being, intelligence,
Creator, thinker,
Information exchanger,

With no partner but itself
And our responses, also 
Itself, and no wonder, when
Nothing much talks to nothing?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Last Days in Pine Valley, Utah

Everything in the mountains
Is getting ready
To end and begin again.

We are two old men,
Him in his red cap,
Blue shorts, and white socks,

Me in my black cap,
White beard, and black car.
I slow to take a picture

Of his scarecrows and sunflowers.
“I like your garden,” I nod.
He nods. “It’ll make

A pretty picture.”
“It will,” I respond.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Sky Reservoir

Waves make waves make waves.
The stones break the stream.
The stream breaks the air.
The air strikes the ears.
The ears call the brain.
The brain conjures words.
The words contain words
That can say the waves
Make the waves the waves.
Sit beside a stream
With nothing much to do but
Listen to the waves.
What starts as words ends
As rocks in the stream.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Survival of the Gratefullest

We want the world to be good
Because it helps us persuade
Each other to be good, or
At least we feel sure it will.

Anyone claiming
The world is wicked
Could be seeking an excuse

To be wicked, you ingrate.
Be grateful. The world is kind.
Be social. Behave yourself.

Stay away from metaphors
Red in tooth or claw.
Trust us, you’ll be happier.
Doubt, and we’ll get nastier.

Friday, September 20, 2019


3 . . .

My Life in Infant Days Was Spent

Celtics built their world on threes,
Fairies plot their tales in threes.
Christians love their Trinity.

Threes invite a narrative,
But a lyric poem can live
With or without them,

And usually the third one
In a song’s a smoking gun,
One lover to another.

Right now, I could use a crowd,
Dear reader. Other writers
Are ghosts, and endings are hard,

First and second verses done,
Third whistling through their graveyard.

2 . . .

Figure of Twins

And nothing had happened, and
Nothing had changed, and
The thing in your place rose and

Cried, so I smell strong, eh? and
Removed her face and
Ate it before the guests and

The invited friends came and
Got it. She leapt and
Left, and the phrases came and

Went, and I wrote to try and
Persuade you that these texts and
Scripts were poignant and

True and twins, and yet links and
Whims make rubbish and the end.

1 . . .

This Outcast State

I look for the least.
I search out the most nearly
But not forgotten,

Those encouraging failures
Who were rescued from the heap,
But it’s alarming

To notice that none of them
Were as completely
Disconnected from success,

From even friendship
Or praise from one known
Poet, critic, editor,

As have been these words you hold
In view, as has been this poem.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Family Discussion

Never hug a sappy tree.
You’ll become sticky.
You’ll ruin what you’re wearing

And never wear it again.
You’ll have to trash it—there’s no
Giving sappy pants away.

The tree won’t care what you say.
A tree exudes sap
To keep irritants away.

Insist and you’ll be engulfed.
You’ll become your last struggle,
That awkward composition,

What someone else remembers.
You’ll become precious amber.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

To Know What’s Next

Never mind what time means. What does it mean
To predict things? Sit in a box of light
Surrounded by open windows. Listen.

Consider the ways lives anticipate.
Consider the ways beings make mistakes.
What is the future that we can know it,

However imperfectly, from the past,
From experiences, our own or those
Of ancestors, of civilizations?

What is this nothing nothing much conjures,
Selfsame nothing much conjured from nothing?
The nature of next is mysterious,

A weakness that gathers strength to greatness—
Each thing arrives from nothing, appearing
As nothing much more within nothing much.

Nor is next any human invention.
Microorganisms long since condensed
What’s next from diurnal oscillations.

Next is as much of the nature of life
As are eating, growing, and excreting.
Behavior requires anticipation,

Whether of motions, mornings, or seasons.
Any phenomenon that shows no signs
Of anticipation is not living.

The future’s a presence within living.
It exists in the acts of prediction,
The behaviors of anticipation,

But does it have any further meaning?
Twitch. You can’t think without thinking what’s next.
No matter what system you believe in,

No matter with what convictions you dream
Timelessly symmetrical equations,
No matter what faith in eternity,

Omniscience, or destiny you may place
Within a timelessness of religion,
You’re jumpy with imperfect predictions.

And what is the nature of prediction,
Itself, what actually is prediction?
Nothing is living free of that question.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


1. Aloft

All energy comes in clumps;
Matter comes in waves.
This grasshopper sounds
Like a sputtering

Sopwith Camel as it weaves
Between the aspens
In the dry, late-summer grass.
It staggers, gunning its wings,

But it makes it. It makes it
To wherever its hunger,
Its pilot, takes it.

Another grasshopper lifts
Off, and then another, waves
Tossed aloft from clumps of grass.

2. Alone with My Thoughts

What if immortality,
The reversal of aging,
Youth, were a disease

We could spread only by touch,
Only by clutching
One another, beginning

From the elderly,
And the terminal,
Whoever’s susceptible,

Ruthless, until everyone
In the world was the same age,
Young adults, forever young?

What then, eh? Fortunately,
The dying don’t get much touched.

3. Humans Are Facts That Are Fictions

I think it would be nicer,
After all, to talk with gods
Or spirits, real ones

With distinct voices
Everyone could hear
And understand perfectly,

Rather than with my fellow
Human tragedies,
The ones who often mutter

About what divinity
Has vouchsafed them in secret
Or by old authorities.

It would be nicer to chat
With a fiction that was fact.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Warm Morning in a Desert Suburb

Hummingbirds, goldfinches, mourning doves, the brush of a broom on concrete, a single-engine prop plane circling for a few minutes, scattered wind chimes, a distant truck warning its reverse, more hummingbirds, more goldfinches, a motorcycle roar from the far highway, more mourning doves, nearly constant wind chimes from one walled yard, door slams, tick of lawn sprinklers, truck backing up again, the prop plane returning and droning away again, more mourning doves cooing, more goldfinches whistling, one tree full of goldfinches, and also something else, an unknown species, singing.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Place Says

1. From the Moon

I do have a point of view,
Yes, and a voice, and of course

My words are all borrowed, but
So are all of yours.

Mine speak for themselves;
Yours can speak for yours.

I have been drifting away
And turning away my face

Imperceptibly, to you,
From you before you were you,

But I still watch you, I do.
You’ve grown visible, not huge,

Smaller than you realize,
Still unmercifully wise.

2. In East Pavilion

A mistaken rhyme,
An ingenious poem
From a poet devoted
To borrowing lines,

To stealing flowers for albums
Of too many flowers
That, surplus, retained

Regret at being
Removed from context
And given new, unknown names,

Waited on the shadowed sill
Of the remotest window
Of the house inside that mind
Where all windows intertwined.

3. To the Unnamed Asterisms

In even those traditions
In which some divinity,
Spirited hero,
Or earliest ancestor
Gave all things names de novo,

The toponyms reported
Resolve to folktales, puns, or
Then, when settlers named new worlds,
They, too, drew on names they knew.

Think, muse, why so few invent
Raw words for a raw event.

4. In Western Mountains

A wave of wind waves the pines
And ten thousand airs reply,
The slightest whispers of which

Orchestrate a rushing whoosh
Brain waves translate from their whirl
Of waves through these inner ears.

Somewhere a human
Is doing something
Terrible to other lives,

Including other humans
Who may have done terrible
Things to other things themselves.

Here, rushing wind quiets us.
Quietism, quietus.

5. Then, Again

There are only waves.
There never was an atom,
Never one thing held in place.

Even a boat is a wave,
Albeit a different kind.
Difference makes it float.
When it syncs, it sinks.

And what are the differences
Of waves? Not what placement says.
Only context shapes the seiche.

The secret to change is pace.
There’s no raw term naming that,
No math yet for time’s collapse,
Black eclipsing habitats.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Self-Revising Topo Map of Slender Sonnets Squared

1. Roadways, Trails, and Garden Paths

Hodos. Dao. The bent
And narrow, wandering ways

The world tends to hide,
Gathering sounds to silence

Granting clouds significance,
Symbols insignificance.

The change that carried us here
And the change that carries us

Away is the same exchange,
Which is never quite the same.

At the crossroads, paradox
Intersects the course axis.

Even the dawn in the leaves
Is a new star every day.

2. Pollarded Avenues

We are trees along the way,
Domesticated by thought,
Industrious artisan
Who makes things from us, from sleep.

Our dreams are emotional
Ghosts of memories, confused,
Lost, and overwrought. . . .

Like most trees, our minds are most
Productive and longevous
When brutally pollarded.

Branching memories
Can be cut to crop.
Dreams leaf from pollard twig tips,
Wounds reborn to haunt their words.

3. The Lacquer Tree Park of Meng

All these poems have grown
From Huizi’s Stink Tree,
The one unafraid

Of sprawling, huge but useless
For anything but lying
In its twisted shade.

These aren’t thought experiments.
These have actually been grown
In the homeland of nothing

Much, not even anything
Yet, the vast woods of Who Cares?
Their uselessness for making

Functional, fungible things
Lets these bent limbs reach for air.

4. Escape Room

The great outdoors is better
Than being locked in a cage.
Also harder to escape.

There is something we perceive
As sameness. There is something
We perceive as change.

Of course, they’re never the same,
And maybe they never change.
The tasseled summer grasses

Nod their heavy heads, under
Long-armed ponderosas.
It’s easy to see sameness,

Harder to take note of change.
This distinction blocks escape.

5. Fons et Origo

Miletus was a city
Unknown to the Warring States,
As both were unknown

To the woodlanders
Trading in obsidian,
Outrigger adventurers

Finding archipelagos,
Cattle herders encroaching
On the foragers of coasts,

Et cetera, but fertile
For the future of ideas.
What can we now think or claim

Lacking that Milesian
Mutation, stated reasons?

6. Making Sense of Obscure Signs

Wisdom is more of a mood
Than a characteristic.
When we’re feeling wise, we’re wise.
When we’re not, we’re not.

“Turnings of our attention
Form the nucleus
Of our inner self.”

Zhuangzi held the wind
Was not one thing but unique
To each tree’s sounds returning,

And Darwin noted
Evolution is no more
Targeted than wind.
Trees seem wise to bend in wind.

7. Finite in Nothing

Excess reproduction is
The only reason
Life is still living.

The capacity to waste—
To make waste, lay waste,
Waste countless offspring—

Is the miracle of life,
Profligate excess
That ensures excess endures.

Life learned excess from the way
Everything uses sameness
To ring each minuscule change.

Seeds reach each least mutation
Through wind-blown iterations.

8. Sunbird

Character is far
More enduring than human

Character—or life.
Each way branches from its trunk,
Most of all paths through the trees.

Humans had something to do
With blazing the trail, sometimes,
Sometimes followed other beasts,

Traced the arc of the sunbird
Through the canopy, this way,
Wore the track to sunken trace.

But the branching ways we paced
Outlast, blossom past our days.

9. Between a Lake and a Rockface

The wind in the trees,
Or the wind in the canyons,
Or the wind in city streets,

Is the same phenomenon
Of atmospheric stirring
And is nowhere the same thing

As the clattering of chimes
Made to make music,
Of a kind, from enough wind.

Truth is this indexical
And not that windy,
Meaningful cacophony.

Truth is just this meaningless.
Branches bend to whisper this.

10. The Wandering Days

That was it. That was summer,
Walking two roads, driving both
Ways, up and back and back up
And now to back before spring.

The cherishing of one place,
One day over another,
Brought the place into being,
Made the day brighter,

A bird on the branch.
The tree and all its courses
Faded from view for that bird,
As if there were no more way

Including summer. The bird
Winked once and wandered away.

11. Logos or Dao Are Nothing Much; Gravity Is Nothing As All

In her head, Sabine
Is arguing with Steven.
She writes about this later.

Steven posits a card game
And says he gets suspicious
When one hand turns up often.

Sabine thinks that a card game
Has known rules but gravity
Is just cards thrown from the dark.

Then Brook claims Zhuangzi sees life
Like an unruly card game,
Values from an unknown source,

But knows his Dao’s a wild card.
I think there’s nothing to it.

12. Fancy

The ostentatious blossoms
Of more aureate diction
Elaborate the branches

Of the natural
As philosophy,
Of the supernatural
As our destiny,

And the knowable
As mathematical,
Digital dexterity.

No petals fall from this tree,
Huge, gnarled shadow, dripping sap
And dispensing naked seeds
Wind blows into dusty paths.

13. Their Language Is Silent, Their Gestures Motionless

When was the earliest wen?
Three thousand years ago? Ten?
Was the earliest symbol
Painted, spoken, sung, threaded,

Traced by the wave of a hand?
When was our earliest when?
Huizi was wondering this,
Kicking his can down the way.

His old friend, Zhuangzi,
Never asked questions like these.
So sue me, grumbled Huizi.

What’s wrong with finding a fact
Nothing about shi or fei?
Which one came first, anyway?

14. Skotoland

To complete every least, last
Possible change will require
The universe to repeat

Everything almost the same.
Until it does, it will keep
Repeating, changing, turning

And returning in its sleep,
In its waking, in its dreams,
In its mornings, in its breeze

At dawn and after twilight,
Under the lights scattering
Themselves as glimmering waves,

Stirring the myriad leaves
Casting shadows in the trees.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Proactive Schadenfreude Fantasy

Jackasses on motorbikes
With head-mounted cameras,
Bastard offspring of centaurs
And cyclops, race down the road

Here, now, in Utah
And somewhere up in BC,
Sure, simultaneously.

(Spare me your lectures, Einstein,
On why the same, exact time
Cannot be.) Puts me in mind

Of the pure entanglement
Of every idiocy.
Something in me wants to trip
Up their trip. Something in me.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


“Unlike the river, you can step into the same path twice.”

Heraclitus chose
The river because it made
The literal truth,

The universal 
Validity of his point
Crystal clear. Obscurity

Is a feature of the world
That loves to hide its nature;
Obscurity was never

The world-seeker’s goal,
Just one of the signs
The seeker was getting close

To what loathes to be disclosed.
No one travels the same road.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Interrupting Epigram

Our future’s not that different
From either our past or present--

Just a bit easier to fear,
More tempting to try to prevent.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Dear Sara Miller,
Your work delights me.

The darkly clear-eyed
Strangeness of your expression

Reminds me of the faces
I’ve seen on some lakes.

The gentle hints of music
At the edges of your wit

Are reminiscent
Of small birds at a distance.

I see you studied
Where I did, before I did.

Your one book aches, it’s so thin.
Makes me wonder where it’s been.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Robin, Old and Unaccomplished

“Trouble can be interesting. . . . Failure doesn’t have to mean failure.”

Alongside a wayside creek,
Rip van Winkle sat and thought
About why this was

One of his favorite spots
To think about why this was.
The deepest forest was not

The one heroically tramped
By skillful persons,
By artists of survival

Who could make camp in a cave,
Ink from spit, fire from guano,
And money from their memoirs.

The green wood hummed for the wrong
At the margins where they’d gone.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Era of Air-Conditioning

The US desert southwest
Is a sort of miracle
Rigged by irrigation and

How long the era will last,
Is, in the American expression,
Anyone’s guess, but not long,

The best estimates, at least,
Suggest. Previous eras
Left visible bones and wrecks

From a century or less
Of successes that went bust.
You must see this rhyme coming,
Written in their dust. You must.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

On the Side of the Tide

The leviathan
And the dragon are among
The many animal words

For pretending intention
And agency in monsters
That are only things.

If I embrace the dragon,
It’s because dragons are streams,
Leviathans are oceans,

And I know the heroic
Storm gods and winged immortals
Are our way of picking sides

Of endless waves to favor.
Waves have no sides or saviors.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Seven Thin Amphibians Flat on the Road from There to Here

1. Frog Peak in August

A few weeks ago
Now, we were leaving BC,
The cat, my baggage, and me.

“Traditional Novelties 
And Hardwood Floors” read one sign 
In the wayside woods.

We wondered where that could lead
A cat with baggage like me.
In the car, we drove on south.

In my mind, we turned aside,
Ditched our plans and risked our lives.
In my mind, if not my life,

Weird woods hid rich novelties.
Cat’s out of the bag for me.

2. Gonzaga Exists 

Gag t-shirts said on a rack
Behind the clerk’s back. The clerk
Had no idea what it meant,
Said she never thought of it.

A shopper explained the gag,
Involving a talk-show host,
A basketball tournament
And a school whose fans fought back.

Something like that. Another
Customer wanted to buy
Some lottery quick-pick tix.

“If I win, I’ll know,” he said,
With a deep, froggy laugh,
“Gonzaga indeed exists.”

3. Beware the Eyes of Marks

Someone sang a song
Involving a dozing frog.
That made it a children’s song.

Never trust an easy mark
To keep food from a lizard.
Was this an amphibian,

This lizard? Did he have wings?
Could he breathe fire? Did he look
Like a Yangtze crocodile?

Dragons are amphibious.
Dragons are known to steal things.
I’d rather be the dragon,

That hoe-cake taking lizard,
Long-tailed nanny-oh!

4. I-15 of the Grasslands from a Motel Window
“A messenger, or thief, or liar . . . a great deal to do with language.”

The cat sat at the window,
Watching trucks pass through long grass,
Chattering at a song bird

Singing, mockingly,
It seemed, at the cat,
From a branch beyond the screen.

Between rumble and chatter,
A thin, faint peeping threaded.
What was that again?

The grass was hosting crickets
And, somewhere, hiding a pond?
Was that the sound of small frogs?

No, not in dry Montana,
No messengers in summer.

5. Be a Stranger 

We each have our own sweet spot 
Between the novel 
And the familiar,

The comforting and the strange,
Where experience feels most
Richly exquisite,
And who knows whose is better?

Diversity, however,
Certainly favors
Those with a high tolerance,
Not to say love, for the strange.

I dreamed Buddha was a frog,
Floating on his lily pad,
Blissed to be reborn again.

6. The Rig

Strange binding term.
“I’d know that rig anywhere,”
Said a friend after a year.

I think of the Rig Veda.
He’s thinking of vehicles
With wheels, trucks and such.

My little car’s a tadpole 
With a cat inside, too small
To be called a rig.

I imagine it with sails.
I imagine my life rigged.
I can rig anything up

Once I get started like this.
There’s a frog in my rigging.

7. Something Other Than a Self
“where we raise the dust today / long ago was endless sea”

Never mind being a bat,
What’s it like to be a frog?
Because it needs memories,
Imagination fails us.

The hard problem is trying
To recall what we don’t have,
To recall what we are not,
To recall what we can’t be,

No such consciousness in me.
Late summer dropped its hammer
In the Utah dust.

Everywhere here used to be
Undersea. What first found shore
Was common to frogs and me.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Suburban Hurricane

There’s a spare, early cubist,
Spartan geometry here,
Almost a Cezanne—

Triangles of red-tiled roofs,
Rhomboids of stucco
Beyond the rectangular

Flat green yard, behind red bricks.
The moon is setting
In an Afghan pine.

Dawn is gathering gold strength
Opposite. Soon, desert sun
Will send the black cat to shade.

They call this town Hurricane.
Hardly any rain. Just wind.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

One World Like Us

The animal who behaves
And the animal
Who understands are the same

Body but distinct
When it comes to destiny.
The animal who behaves

Will behave itself
Like an animal
Whose millions of ancestors

Behaved it into being,
While the animal
Who understands

Must understand it can’t change
The animal who behaves.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

On Seeing a Lost Soul at a Distance from a Barbershop in Nelson, British Columbia

Sunlight dozes on the stairs.
A brindle bulldog
Dozes in one barber’s chair.
The barber feels this is his

Business, but he says his ex
Believes she is entitled
To part of it. Not the debts.

The ghost of an old poet,
Shadow of a former friend,
Shadows the street like a crane
Stalking a dried-up pond.

The barber lowers my ears
And fills them with his complaints.
My old poet disappears.

Monday, September 2, 2019


Small vortices in the words,
A surface barely disturbed,
All we were. Little grey birds,

Private vocabularies,
Scarcely more than two shared terms,
Our secret notes, all we were.

From the moment we started
Talking softly to ourselves
What we said became our words.

Words we alone shared
Became ours alone, the way
We knew each other at dusk,

The way we shut out the world,
The way we said we were us.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Dime Dropped in the Lake

Only possibility
Of loss creates everything,

Makes it possible to have,
To be anything at all.

This is not wisdom.
This is not acceptance. This

Is the way things are,
And were, and can come to be,

Possibly. Obscurity
Is not depth. Clarity

Is not depth. When we can see
Clearly, straight down to darkness,

We know clarity and depth
Together consume the light.