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?

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