Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Six Common Places to Place New Year’s Eve

1. The Unknown

One odd sound and I forget
Everything I thought I knew,
Attending to one new thing.

Ensoroborous, beware
Us, your you are aware of,
Curled dragon of awareness.

2. The Dying Bit

What’s not animal hunger 
Is mostly embarrassment,
Including for animal hungers—

At this point, it’s only that—
Shame—that half keeps me human,
Doing human-approved things—

And sometimes I suspect shame
Is all humanity is,
Shameful feelings, shameful things,

Beings artfully shaming
More easily shamed beings.
Obligation, shame, the same—

And if that word seems too strong,
Go back to embarrassment,
Name unmentionable names.

3. The Mouse’s Mouth

The range of human concerns
Often astonishes me.

“Who would build a road facing 
Directly into the sun?”

The cashier laughed, recalling
A tourist who asked her that.

The well-dressed man with a beard
Cradled his phone in the back

Of the store, next to the racks
Of fizzy drinks, and intoned

Something about how sugar
Was more dangerous than fat,

But a newspaper headline
Over his shoulder fretted

Whether it was possible
Humans could smash the planet.

4. The Worm Larder

Bite the worms neatly in two.
They’ll keep still while they regrow.

While they regrow, moles can hold
A larder of worms surplus

To kill and eat them later.
Why they regrow, moles don’t know.

At every stage, something’s changed
And something the same remains,

No matter how you slice it.
But bigger slices grow more change,

While sameness gains in slices
As they’re sliced ever smaller.

That’s one mysterious clue.
Small’s more same; change grows larger. 

5. The Book of Epitomes

I suffer from the error
Of philosophers—I think

The value lies in the whole,
Greater than its heaped-up parts,

When anyone reading this
Sees no building, only bricks.

Poems are just epitomes,
Summaries, spoliation 

Of once pre-existing wholes,
The better to index them.

6. The Moon and Moon-Shaped Cloud

Dragons stir and clouds gather.
One dragon circles the moon,

The moon as seen from below,
The moon now with a halo.

Enso, the dragon, sunya,
Cipher, neither head nor tail.

Why do circles make symbols?
Changed and not-yet changed shape one.

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