Saturday, November 30, 2019


One runty, scruffy-looking
Grey chipmunk looked up at me,
A step away from my boot.

Humans long for human love,
Comfort, approval, esteem.
I don’t know any who don’t.

And then there’s nature. We want
Nature and what nature wants
As well—safety, shelter, food.

The chipmunk tilted an ear
And evaluated me,
Then scaled the ponderosa.

I considered the sunlight.
It would be something, to be
Without needing to persist.

I like the less-than-living,
The background of existence,
Light on rocks and water best.

Left alone, words are like stones.
If some think nature wiser,
Well, it’s certainly larger.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Red Clay, Blue Ground

The light on the blue desert
Reflected sky like a lake.
Life, thought one of its children,

All of life, is singular,
With a singular habit,
Creation by destruction,

Sustaining and enlarging
Itself by eating itself,
Gorging on its engorgements.

Perhaps that’s too unpleasant—
Life as Shiva or Saturn,
Descent with self-consumption.

Setting methods aside, then,
Remember that opening
Provided by perspectives

Unfurling under thin skies—
Green pins and chirping machines,
The many competitions

All glinting one morning, one
Blue, lonely adumbration,
Horizon to horizon.

Life was not mother and child,
Or not only the many
Of those life’s doings enclosed,

And life was not separate,
Creator of creations.
Life was only Earth’s one life,

Every turn changing faces,
Adding names and mysteries
To the hot pursuit of itself,

Matter transformed by hunger,
Made eloquent by searching
For the continuation

Of more hunger and searching,
Grown large at small parts’ expense.
You’d noted something like this

Before, right Gaea? Meanwhile,
More daylight covered the ground,
And life rose up to meet it.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Acts of Oblivion

The chosen and the random,
Dry, quiet, bright, and airy
Poetry of sunny rooms

Empty of books or readers,
Empty of student teachers,
Empty of anyone soon.

The velvet early morning
Light in the body’s absence
Glows through the fruit and nut trees
Planted by a man deceased,

Well-tended by his widow,
Proud of her desert garden,
Lavender from the same sun
Crushing atoms, here serene.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

On Going

What about it? What is it?
Does it even have a name?
Let’s call it what has just been

Happening, going, the same.
We could call it nothing much.
We could call it everything.

Pascal saw the infinite
As meaning he meant nothing.
Nothing makes that infinite.

If it were not for nothing
Waiting to embrace all this,

And plenty could not feature
As simultaneous shades
Through infinite finities.

While room remains in nothing,
What goes on keeps on going.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Imagination’s fancies
Are as valuable to me

As hearths were to Frankenstein,
Heroin to Kurt Cobain—

As addiction to habit
And habit to pleasure, so

Fantasy to poetry,
Poetry to memory.

Here’s a thank-you to Brenda,
Who doesn’t know me from words,

For providing me the lines
That say better than these lines

How it feels when lines happen
To me, “a god-load / of grief

Dumped down from some heaven / where
Words rain down / and the poet

Is soaked.” This happens to me.
This keeps happening. I wish

It explained why “the poets
Are dying.” The damned poems aren’t.

These poems and their fantasies,
Every day they’re soaking me.

Monday, November 25, 2019


An idea is a dead leaf
Motivated by a breeze,
Moving like a butterfly,
Deceiving the thoughtful beast.

An irregular pattern
Of symbols in an unknown
Language, lacking a context,
Contains what information?

Meaning depends on living
Minds, as far as minds can see.
Ideas alone move nothing.
Sunflowers turn more freely.

An idea is no sender,
Nor is it a receiver,
Though life generated it.
It moves as force acts on it.

And yet, study that dead leaf.
If it lacks intention now,
Ask where intentions come from,
And where could intentions go?

Unless matter is seeded
By thoughts of another world,
All intentions that matter
Are intentional matter.

Roots and hyphae make their trades.
Flowers anticipate sunrise.
Leaves drift in the old oak’s shade
I carved when we were alive.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Fourteen Leftovers from October

Wreck on Tour

It can be valuable,
To play the fool, to tell
The anecdotes you love

To tell, because you love
To tell them, even if 
You rarely tell them well.

Well-told, they’re of value
To listeners; to fools
They’re of value told true.

Give up the Ghost

How could we ever know we’ve died?
For certain, we see others die.
The rule should generally apply.
But a profound solipsism 
Would require we stay agnostic 
About our own mortality.
What’s life, when we’ve never lost it?

We’ve Been Artificial for Some Time Now

The ancient Chinese hermit in the hills,
Perusing his small collection of scrolls,
Preserving shi in his calligraphy,

Planting root vegetables, brewing his tea,
Was as far removed from a forager
As from the wayside ghost in this car seat.

It’s Earlier Than You Think

Given you’re human, you care
About synchronicity,
And you tend to get anxious
Whenever you wait too long.
I’ve come to reassure you,
You’re not too late, just early.
Something will come along soon.
Might as well savor the wait.

Passed As We Imagined Them

I imagine none of us
Imagines what happens next
Will mimic exactly what
One imagines may happen.

Yet we continue to play
Dupes to our imaginings,
Dreaming and dreading the days
We rarely recall having . . .


Time is our fugitive, hounded by hope.

The Rose in the Steel Dust

Most people are not magnets.
Most people are just metal
Attracted to the magnets
But unable to attract
Those magnets (or each other).

Dread Lavender Enlightenment 

You can’t be what you aren’t,
And so you ask yourself,
Over and over, is what you are
Enough? For what?

An Unclaimed Ticket

A lottery is a state 
Of being, perhaps 
The only state being is.

What Happens Next

I don’t need to know.
I’m sure I’ll find out.


Piled-up bric-รก-brac,
Poetry’s just this and that,
Quanta and the void.

Grave Facts

All beings who claim to be
Alive remain fictional.

I am by myself forgot,
Or will be, once I forget
To remind myself to forget.

We are all best-adapted
To the pasts that selected
Our ancestors from their packs.
Shifting winds extinguish that.

Poems to Be Taught in the Dark

Whatever in water strove
To speak, whatever in fire,
Whatever the stars desired,

Something inherent
Was coincident 
With the condition

That wet salt could enunciate
One day as these lines
Of conversational clay.

The Long Autumn

This autumn has been 
Replicating the autumn,
The long autumn of this life.
The weather slowly changes,
And the winter must arrive,

But every storm threat dissolves
In these bright, becalmed blue skies,
And the golden days 
Stretch out like drowsy felines
Lounging in late-angled light.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Our Novelty Is Our Myth

What if we’re really, really,
Really, really alien,
Not just to other monkeys,
Not just among lives on Earth,
Not alone only
Within this solar system
Or this galaxy—

What if we came from other
Physics, other forms of chance
And necessity?

Some sort of hole was punched through
The brains of early bipeds,
Or not their brains, their cultures,
The intrusion of language
Capable of narrative,

Not just anticipation,
Reportage, and emotion,
But storytelling?

Consider the clues,
The need for meaning,
Our one fundamental myth
That this world could be other
Than the way it always is,

The refusal to accept
As the law, except
For refining predictions,

Our instinct for beginnings,
For believing all middles
Have ends, for believing ends,
When we can see and comment
How things are always going—

We, not these beings of course,
Which are ordinary beasts,
Not the words these beings share

As substitutes for grooming,
Or not the words alone, but
Us, metaphysics of myth,

Stories ourselves alien
As stories of aliens
Penetrating these membranes
Of this myth-less universe

Where the only thing
New must be a myth.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Black Ridge, White Rocks

For a few minutes’ pause in the parade,
Mountain winds are all the psalms of the pines.

Let’s not begrudge, too much, the pick-up trucks
And motorbikes the hunger of their roars.

The pines are also always hankering,
And every noise but the wind itself wants more.

West of Mount Yen, the roads have no waysides,
The rumbles don’t reach, the sun never comes.

West of Mount Yen, on Black Ridge, in White Rocks
Nothing at last embraces nothing much.

But we are all creatures of nothing much,
And I love the wayside, despite the trucks.

If we would like to rest somewhere, it must
Be here, among the basalt, in the dust.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Nomos and Cosmos

Mushrooms resembling hens’ eggs,
Oval and brown, rose at dawn
From bright green, irrigated

Lawn, one late-autumn morning
In this southwestern desert,
As if a lazy parent

Had strewn them there for Easter
Without bothering to dye
Or to check the calendar.

Hill slopes wore shawls of scrub oaks,
Grey and brown with crispy leaves.
A pistol plocked in their woods.

Not a drop of rain for weeks.
I’ve done enough, someone thought.
Roaring dirt bikes sculpted dust.

If this were a proper book,
Handwritten, printed, or screened,
Carefully juxtaposed scenes

Would conjure coherent worlds
Through vivid contradictions,
Structured, balanced images,

But shapes and thoughts, like mushrooms,
Just appear in poems like these,
Spores for every passing breeze.

After seven days, Chaos
Died from being aerated
By his admirers. Really,

Thank you, but you’ve done enough.
It’s more and more of merely
Nearly the same digression,

Another interruption,
Another repetition
Representing the human

Condition. The rhetoric
Of experienced events
Is best left unexpressed—it’s

Mess, not synchronicity,
Much less mythic narrative,
Not scenes no one, being one,

Ever sees, the setting sun
As rising in another
Sea, simultaneously.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Glad Before Dawn

To whom should we be grateful
Who is not a human ghost,
Human phantom, one of ours?
Gratitude itself is ours,
As are forgiveness, mercy,

Retaliation, justice,
And hate—all the ghosts are ours,
Good and bad. In beasts, trees, seas,
And stars those ghosts seem absent.
Don’t be grateful; just be glad.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Shoulder Season

In the valleys and canyons,
The visitors diminished.
Bare branches on the high slopes
Scattered the last leaf-peepers.
Too early for winter sports—
Snow and hunters hardly showed.
Something started to finish.

There’s a loneliness to fall
That winter, lonelier, lacks—
Something empty and twisting
And resembling wet ashes.
Ends were confused for causes
Of our ends, of winds whistling
Through ashes, if ends listened.

Our merciless obsession
With stories, discrete units,
Origins and conclusions,
Meant we rarely considered
How fully in the middle
Of things we always must be,
Just as we always had been.

There were as many seasons,
Each distinctly similar,
Of bare air, clattering twigs,
And winds combing the grasses
Yet to happen and happen
Again as there’d ever been.
Those futures followed our scent.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Quiet Seriousness of Marcescence

Crooked oaks refuse to shed.
They are not mammals or birds.
They are not mulling over

What to do. Their leaves hang on,
Their dead leaves, like our skin cells
Would if we never scraped them,

Only finally shoved off
The dead elements of us
With the youngest of their clones,

As the oaks will do come spring,
Also without decision
As we understand the term.

Why do dead oak leaves hang on,
When the pretty aspen leaves
Have long since thrown gold and gone?

There’s no philosophy here,
No moral to be pointed,
No helpful lesson to learn,

No manifesto,
No exact science,
No peroration.

This is poetry,
The quiet seriousness
Of marcescence, where the dead

Leaves hiss with the blowing snows
That should have started falling
Months and months ago.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Horizon’s Horizon

The truth behind slogans
Encouraging savor
In the experience

Of the journey itself:
The journey goes nowhere,
Has no destination.

There are moments to pause
And inns along the way,
Many if you’re lucky,

But you will move along
Again until you’re gone.
The journey keeps going.

You’re always the middle,
No font and origin,
No final direction.

Savor it as you can
Without destination.
Horizon’s horizon.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Resourceful Waste

I like weeds. What humans do,
Including me, including
You (yes, we, even if you
Have done less than been done to),

Has more to do with naming
Sins than curing them. What weeds
Do is thrive despite the sins
We’ve invented, sins for which

Weeds are weeds. We punish them.
We are a weedy species,
Even, only, by our terms,
The kind of weedy species

That invades stored resources,
Radiates in strangling ropes
Through diverse, balanced gardens
And blanches grounds around them.

Life lays waste to resources,
Makes wastes that make resources
For more desperate lives to waste.
In Utah’s southwest desert,

I am leaning on crutches,
Washing dishes wastefully,
Watching the lawn I don’t own
That owners water for me,

That owners have resodded
And mowed level recently,
Green lawn after several months
Without rain, blooming with weeds.

Friday, November 15, 2019

How Am I So Profoundly Trivial?


The last time I consulted a comet,
She pointed out, rather ominously,
That from her perspective, the Earth

Was responsible for everything on it
And everything pinging out away from it,
With no artistic distinctions to be made

For aesthetics, intentions, or species.
“It’s all one and the same production to me.”
I responded by suggesting that icy comets

Crashing into Earth made or at least
Contributed significantly to our peculiar seas,
But she only laughed at me. “Comets crash

Into all kinds of satellites, name as many kinds 
As you please. I don’t see any other planets
With oceans that foam with inventions like these.”

Like these what? I demanded, a little insulted. 
“Whatever! Cells, teeth, oxygen machines.
Carbon chains churning polycarbonate rings.”

She had me. But then, she wasn’t a real comet,
Was she? Only another ping from among Earth’s
Inventions—hungry water, words, omens, me.

Money Makes the Monkey Dance

Any system for moving resources 
Enumerably founds itself on the unstable 
Partnership between intrinsic asymmetry

And increasing fungibility. As far as I am
Concerned, money numbers do not matter,
And how I’ve used them doesn’t matter,

Only why I‘ve used them matters, as a matter
Of character. But to others, my character
Is literally immaterial, and what matters,

Understandably, is what I’ve done with numbers,
How I’ve moved resources toward or away
With them, enhancing or decreasing them.

What matters to me about money can never be
Equivalent to what matters to others, nor can 
What matters to them mean the same to me.

That’s the asymmetry. Money’s fungibility only
Ensures increasing fluidity and instability 
Infect that pure asymmetry, which kills me.

Pain in Another

We’re not so different
About what we want
From poetry, but
We differ in how
We want what we want—

We want to feel weird,
To sense mind-music,
Closer to insight
Than we’ve felt before,
A justified awe.

We want to feel known
By someone unknown
Or something unknown
That bears us goodwill,
Our doubts as our hope.

But the uncanny,
Musical wisdom
Of understanding 
And affirmation
In one person’s thoughts

Is the bland, toneless 
Or the dark, clanging,
Echo of ancient
Pain in another.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Eroding Struggles Large and Small

There’s no necessary aspect
Of being other than being,
Which is happening, becoming.

Only nothing is not being,
Not happening, not becoming,
And you haven’t met nothing yet.

But you will struggle, anyway,
Person for whom struggling remains
Intrinsic to your becoming.

You will struggle with what you want
And with the struggles of others.
You will struggle to be okay

With how little you accomplish,
And you will fail and be failed and
You will struggle to recover.

But what is inevitable
Is never, necessarily,
Constant, because it too changes,

Even your struggles keep changing
And are not necessarily
Struggles at all times, not at all.

There’s no necessary struggle
To being, other than changing,
Eroding struggles large and small.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Something Must Happen, That’s All

The illusion of decision is
The most overwhelming addiction,
An intense, continuous desire
To ask oneself, this or that? Or what?

Twenty years in the western mountains,
And my hair and beard have all gone white.
I’ve watched stars from car windows cold nights.
There were dawns I half-vanished in ice.

But what looked like choice from the outside
And helpless indecision within,
Had little to do with strategy
Played foolishly or wisely. I was

As decisive and indecisive
As the hairs on my head, as the stars,
As the windows I waited beside,
As the dawns, as the nights, as the ice.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Which Is What

If you quit imagining
What anyone thought of you,
And you quit imagining
Gods or Buddhas judging you,

Just kicked the habit
Of imagining
Any evaluation,
Any opinion of you,

Then what would you do?
Slowly come to a full stop?
Destroy yourself for pleasure?

Do what you would do.

Monday, November 11, 2019


Sometimes I feel like a brain
Is a pebble in the stream
Of language dragged down

From the ancestral mountains,
From the glaciers, mists, and springs,
Cutting channels through people,

In which case a composer
Of patterns in words is not
More than an oddly shaped rock.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Infinity Category

Do the new mathematicians
Really know what they are doing,
Now that they have invoked the end

Of equations by inviting
Infinite equivalence in?
Look at what the storytellers,

Poets, and pop culture have done
With relativity, black holes,
Multiverses, and the quantum.

Wait until the philosophers
And mystics get mitts on this one—
There are no exact equations.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

One Year, Staring out Windows

My life is lives pursuing life.
My lives are life in life’s pursuit.
There’s no shame or waste in living,
But for a ghost, it’s a nuisance.

For a ghost, how inconvenient,
All these bits of body working
To make more working body, more
Bits of body making bodies,

From the inscrutably minute
And hopelessly momentary
To the whole, drawn-out heft of it,
Staggering decades of it all.

Ghosts have been known to shame themselves
About being so embodied,
About having bodies at all,
Such holy ghosts shame other ghosts,

And on and on and on it goes,
So long as ghosts’ bodies allow,
So long as life fails to notice
Ghosts’ interferences can kill,

So long as ghosts stay embodied
In lives with more lives left to fail,
So long as life has not yet failed.
At that thought, a ghost could wonder

If the ghosts will ever get out
And free themselves from the bodies
That they inconvenience as well
With their unproductive hauntings—

Monks moaning in celibate cells—
Professors of philosophy
Losing sleep over thought’s meaning—
Physicists furious with stars—

Pilgrims and penitents praying
For whatever life’s bodies want
Without leaving their incense clouds—
Children lost in the glow-worm swamps.

It’s a nuisance to be haunted
And a nuisance to wait, inert,
But life will get what lives wanted,
Even if a few ghosts desert.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Morbus Cyclometricus

We long to distinguish mistakes
From intentional cruelty,
Malice aforethought from error.

Oh, it’s so important to us,
From toddlers deploying the phrase,
On purpose, to writers righteous

When mistaken, which means taken,
For someone of some similar
Sound of origin, shade of sin.

Even stating as much feels wrong,
A shamefully provocative
Invitation to punishment.

Life sentences hang on judgments
Of intentions, signed confessions
Procured by torture are precious.

Did you mean to betray the state?
Knowingly insult the God’s truth?
Flagrantly violate taboos?

Once, mistakes grew wild as grasses,
And the guilt that could nourish groups
Flew away in the lightest winds.

But we domesticated them
Into these heavy-headed grains
Bent with responsibility,

Patiently drooping to the blades
Of the teams of fellow humans
Sweating to cut and consume them.

Oh, but the back-breaking labor!
Why haven’t we yet perfected
Machinery to thresh our sins,

One flawless, rational method
That can justify our systems
For proving which sins have reasons?

We will square this circle one day.
We will prove we can distinguish
Our schemes from all our accidents,

Can show that the cosmos meant us
To care so deeply for our pure
Righteousness concerning purpose.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Winter Triangle

What is not there, and what is
There no longer, and what is
Not there yet, the triangle,

The sharp one, of not being,
The harbinger of nothing,
The sunk relief of the past

In memory, the present
Only imagination,
The future’s own intaglio

Carved by anticipation—
Those shadow tenses
The goddess personifies,

Her asterism conjures—
Not the past, but memory
Of what used to be the past—

Not the past becoming past,
But the re-imagining
Of memories, rearranged—

Not future, nonexistent
To begin with, the only
Nonexistence, drawing us

And everything to nothing,
But the future’s negation,
That yet of unknown 

Origin, not the nothing,
But sharp anticipation,
Sense’s keenest invention,

That the never is coming
Cloaked in the robes of the next,
That the next, the forever

Not yet, will rescue us yet,
Psychopomp, guide of the soul
To where nothing can arrive:

Of those three tenses,
The mind’s tenses of not-time,
Night time’s mirroring lenses,

Not there, not yet, no longer,
Is she really the brightest
Or the dimmest of the three? 

This body has been bemused
By stories of her consort
Who is sometimes a hunter,

Sometimes a spider mother
Dragging a galactic sac
Of spiderling stars,

Often a knight or storm god
Battling the dragon,
Sometimes the monster’s ally.

This body has not noticed
Often enough what is not
Present nor past nor future.

Triangle goddess of naught,
Of New Years on the old Nile,
Who was also a river

In the red bird of China,
Priestess, pillar, and blossom
In Polynesia, 

Wolves in Macedonia,
A duck in the Amazon,
A food thief in the Arctic,

So fat he fell through the ice,
And many other stories
About a few dots of light,

Too many stories to tell,
Stories that are no longer,
Stories that are not yet there,

There’s no need for this address.
The tenses of what is not
Are not what is not, not yet.

A glimpse of your stars
As we spin away from ours
Once a night is all we get.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fresh Records of Ancient Matters

The spiritual
Is material
Turned out of its home,
Matter made homeless.

In an era of wonders
When disembodied voices
Answer our requests
As in fairytales,

We find we only worry
More about the end,
Not even of us,
Who must end, but everything,

As if everything
Depended on us
And the best of our angels
Cast out of heaven’s machines.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

What We Mean to Be

Tiny, monotonous changes remain
The fondest habit of the universe,
Creeping events minor enough for us
To confuse loss with enduring stillness.
But I have rung the changes on these thoughts

Through dozens of poems and variations
In homage to the ways the world alters
When it alteration finds—constantly,
Minutely, thoroughly intimately.
Am I done wondering how change is done?

I need to write the poem I need to read,
The one that comforts you, whoever you
May or may not be, and thereby comforts
Me with the belief that I left something
For you and me both to read and be pleased.

I need to compose the poem not written
By me or the likes of me, the simple
Confession of the language to itself,
Now that it understands its uniqueness
Among the ways of the world, that it means.

Somehow the world has delivered the world
Of a phenomenon unlike the world,
So unlike the hungering and burning
Dynamisms, the waves of stars and beasts,
Meaning this, these words wrung out of all that,

Not alive, containing no fires inside,
Only lives’ and fires’ descriptions, inert
Information about information,
Signs, creations that can create nothing,
The meaningless world’s made, meaningful things.

We need to speak, quietly, when it’s safe,
When no one’s reading us but us reading
Us, just meaning to meaning, you to me.
Outside, all is wavering, changing us.
What we cannot change, we must mean to be.

Monday, November 4, 2019

But This Is

Parmenides posited
The nonexistence
Of nonexistence.

About the same time,
Buddhists and Taoists
Suggested the foundations

Of existence consisted
Of mirages concealing
Their nonexistence.

Either way, what the truth is
Depends on the conviction
Someone’s truth isn’t.

Sunday, November 3, 2019


None of my hunches were right in the end.
Stonehouse died several centuries ago.

The flat-topped rock on which he watched the moon
And composed singable poems about rocks

And cloudless nights while thinking Buddhist thoughts
Is still sitting there, being a rock, just

“Up the slope from the water-bottling plant.
Local farmers call it ‘chess-playing rock.’”

What does this tell us about poetry
And wisdom and sutras and strategies

For getting through another moonlit night?
I never have been any good at chess.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Absence of Ghosts

“Every time we misremember something old, we are imagining something new.”

We never fell from the void,
But from the fullness we fall,
Becoming, toward the void

That calls us, drawing us on,
Drawing us into being,
Out of what once was the all.

When we will be, we won’t be.
When we thought we were, we weren’t.
When we are, we’re never here.

Nothing is nothing perfect,
Perfect nothing in the end,
Nothing that let us begin.

Paradox is not a curse
Of being trapped in language
But language’s greatest gift,

Meaning’s distorting lenses
Arranged to close the distance
Between our thoughts and what is.

On the river’s northern bank
Facing the shores of the south, 
Metaphysics established

One of its first palaces,
The tidy correspondence
Between balanced Yin and Yang.

Gods and atoms formed the nodes
That gave the causal networks
Coherence numbers needed,

But meaning itself remained
A scrim, a screen, a platform
On which ghosts performed the plays. 

Quiet falls on all the peaks.
After centuries of roars,
The water tower of Tibet

Empties, and billions of apes
Scatter in a world of floods.
That was last night’s performance.

Poor Boyu, he never knew
Whether he knew what he knew,
Nor what he did not know.

He had to quit performing.
Enough! Enough! He shouted.
Then he went and worshipped doubt.

He grew spooky, that Boyu,
Entangled in painting scenes
Of pears on porcelain tureens

In pairs whose geometry 
Of perfect gravity meant
That the curving surfaces

On which their branches unfurled
Their fruits and leaves, in a way
That was beautiful, although 

Boyu now knew beauty meant
Nothing, contained nothing much.
Mixed with paint rinsed from brushes

And crematory ashes,
Memory makes excellent
Potting soil for histories.

Ah, these fragments we pile up
Continually, without
Any end of mind in mind

But with an expectation
Of a miracle, supra 
Spem spero, to save us all.

The broken robot recites
Conditions to get to sleep—
Presence, absence, zero, one,

Many, imaginary,
Natural, fantastical,
Is, is not, was but is not,

Never was, never will be,
Everything ever could be
Vs. never, finally.

In the palace on the banks
Of the Yin and Yang river,
Boyu and the robot play

Chess with all the conditions
They can think of, until one
Or the other gets to sleep.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Three Postscripts to Yesterday’s Letter to Me

P.S. Cryptic Folding Haiku Triptych 

Even though I know
No response is adequate, 
And this world wants none,

The piercingly blue
Utah sky this afternoon
Makes an ache in me

I want to replace
With a blue poem of bare trees
Whose branches make space.

P.P.S. More Than This

When I asked myself
What more I wanted,
I was happy to answer
That I wanted nothing much,
Which led to discontentment.

The next time I ask myself,
I hope that I will answer 
Nothing, I want nothing more.

P.P.P.S. The Art of the Long-Winded Aphorism 

To command yourself
To not be anxious,
To not dither, as
If each little, least
Decision mattered,

As if decisions 
Existed at all,
Is like commanding 
Guts to not hunger,
Your heart to not pulse.

Moral: what is absurd to dream of actually accomplishing may yet be worth approximation.