Saturday, February 29, 2020

This Unnamed

I would rather be here than
In a story, rather be
Here than in a dream. I want

These phrases to take my hand
Like children who want to show
A new place they’ve discovered

I never knew existed,
Never imagined seeing.
I want to recognize it,

Not for what it is (I can’t),
But for the fact it’s neither
Fiction nor a place I’ve been.

I will be its alien,
And I will be contented
Names brought me to this, unnamed.

Friday, February 28, 2020

21,000 Days Drawing Breath (and a Decade Spent Counting the Days)

Eight months watching a kitten grow
Into a cat. A few populations remain
Anumeric, or nearly, and live whole lives
Hardly counting at all, much less their days.
Chinese sages, long lovers of counting
And numerology, traditionally ascribed
36,000 days as the extent of their lifespan,
Which is a nice, round number packed
With factors, working out to about 98
Years and change, not unreasonable, not
Impossible, less extreme than the current
Limit pegged to Jeanne Calment, but more
Ambitious than the Biblical three-score
And ten. Funny humans. Ask us our size,
And we hover around the mean. Ask us how
Long humans live, and we cite the extreme,
Like children still hoping to grow into giants.
It’s hard to peer far into the world beyond
Personal fears and desires. We try. We try
To shift perspective, but perspective
Doesn’t help us much. We know enough
How multidimensionally finite we are, but
After we have noted the sun is a minor star
And our planet a little blue fleck of oceans
Boiling with lives, at least until we eat them,
Our own lives ravenous specks in the boil,
And so on and so forth, one still wonders
About the latest pang in one’s own torso,
The numbers in one’s own cash account,
The good opinion of strangers, the rumbles
Seeping from old plumbing down the hall.
Say this for us—the range of our concerns,
The capacity to worry about a bite to eat,
Appointments, friends, fairness, plagues,
And planet-annihilating disasters—to say
Nothing of our fascination with the stars—
Is wonderful and scales up and down, fast
As beads zipping along an abacus. We care
For nothing and no one except ourselves—
Our close kin—our oldest confidants—
Our teams—our communities—our towns—
Our nations—our people—other species—
Ecosystems—Mother Earth—our angels—
Our ancestors—our divinities—sometimes
Extraterrestrial life forms we are sure exist
And might yet matter to us, might already.
We focus only on the next moment—next
Decades—past centuries—history—
Antiquity—prehistory—the origin of Life—
Extinction—the heat death of the universe.
We care across combinatorial perspectives.
We do not lack for various perspectives. We
Know our scales, but we can’t steady them.
We can invent and reinvent justice, behave
Unjustly nonetheless, and courageously
Fight injustice, all in one nation, one village,
One lifetime, one single day. And we live so
Many days. Today, the body composing
These phrases is already up to 21,000 days
And counting, although the counting itself
Began later, much later than the breathing.
That’s a pretty fair fraction of 36,000,
Longer than a lot of lifetimes get, although
Sometimes it feels as if the first five, loosely
Numbered, decades didn’t really count yet.
Only what animal behavioral ecologists call
Reproductive maturity woke this machine,
And, six weeks after the astonishment of an
Actual infant dependent drawing breath,
Holding that utterly helpless human asleep
On this bony chest, everything counted.
The anchor of the scales, the fulcrum of all
Coordinate dimensions became that skull
As soft and dimpled as a fine cantaloupe,
Something that could sprout a world tree,
And the long unfolding of her experience
Initiated nearly simultaneously a sequence,
A parallel tendril, this other infant, this baby
Dragon, this tiny leviathan of words, poor,
Entangled, ineptly self-consuming creature,
Ourobouros with the tip of its tail poking
Clean through the back of its skull, still
Growing in the shade of her growing tree—
Twins, in a manner of speaking, as twinned
As any constellation so named, as any
Constellation to its name, the tree daughter
And these phrases curled around her roots.
Ah, how many variant scales rotate around
That image of the tallest tree in the forest,
The forest in the desert, desert in the night.
Night. Half turn. New life tightened the ties
To numbering, and a more careful counting
Of days began, one with all the turns noted,
Every calendar date considered, assigned
A poem of its own—growth against decline.
But we must keep a sense of perspective.
If my daughter is world to me, these poems
Flying around her a part of her atmosphere,
I know we are all together little things, little
Even in an only-human scheme, aphorisms
In a slender sheaf tipped into a dull volume
In one massive, crumbling, underfunded
Library of an increasingly weak empire
Where universities are shortly to be burned.
Just to justify rescuing us would require
Explaining each aphorism, when explaining
Any aphorism is explaining a joke—once
You have disassembled the intricate bones
To show how the jaws work, you’ve broken
Its toothy capacity to bite. The smoke
From the latest wars and wildfires drifts,
And we tremble in the dark before the wind.
But that scale’s grim. Each our day begins,
All these mornings for our proffered souls,
Proving the minuscule pebble spins. Count
Our blessings. The fulcrum of the world
Holds, even if the world itself slows—even
That helpless newborn is now a sturdy girl,
That kitten has grown to become a fine cat,
And some poems continue, cooly, to uncurl
In skeins while life remains to foolish sages,
Breathing beings fond of counting the days.
May small contentments spin a while this way.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Pellucid Dreaming

The night I missed the lottery,
I dreamed I won the lottery.
At first, when I woke up I dreamed
Of an autobiography

Starting more euphoniously—
“The night I won the lottery,
I dreamed I won the lottery”—
But soon I was awake enough

To remember I wasn’t in
The lottery, and no amount
Of dreaming compels victory
For non-combatant bystanders,

Unless one imagines symbols
Can be read out of dreams, meaning
Something won metaphorically.
Screw that. I’d rather be wealthy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Where Great Clouds Go Sailing

“I, poor hermit, what do I know of these scientific questions which are still so perplexing?”

I am stunned by the magnitude
Of neighborhoods. Both driving through
The tangled nests of cul-de-sacs
And zooming on digital maps,

I can’t believe how many lives
Live out in spilled, honey-less hives
Of stringy, headless villages.
I know we’re legion, but still. This . . .

I’m not awed by demographics.
Large numbers are only numbers.
Our neighborhoods are compounding 
And confounding, not countable.

Drive subdivisions in the dark,
Nearly anonymous exurbs,
Or rural bedroom communities
Where a few shadows walk their dogs.

At dawn, people get on with lives 
That blew them into these corners.
Children line up for the school bus.
Today might be garbage pickup.

Every neighborhood is unique.
Entire worlds curl up in them.
They’re everywhere, like pottery
Shards where middens were abandoned.

Fall into any neighborhood
And land on a random planet
Where ghosts pile up in drifts against
Hearts beating hard against panic.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Of Thoughts Impossible in Poems

We can describe our bodies now.
We can lay out our politics,
Our childhoods, sorrows great and small.

We can raid the pop lexicon
Of tech and fashion and science,
Maybe mix in Greek allusions.

No generations of poets
Have ever been more free than are
We who breathe in this century.

We have forgotten how to think.
Did poets ever know that art?
We express. Which pressed thoughts were ours,

Uniquely ours, those ideas found
First in poets, exclusively
Associated with poets?

Lucretius was summarizing.
The mystics were memorizing,
Squeezing divine rules into verse.

What poet wasn’t packaging
Found profound ideas, making them
More memorable, portable?

What poet thought through poetry,
By means of poetry alone,
To suggest some fresh solution?

Again, maybe mix in the Greeks.
Parmenides, Xenophanes—
They still get credit for ideas

That appeared first in their verses.
Ideas are not impossible.
But even for them, one suspects

Versifying was handicap,
A kind of costly signaling,
Feats of thinking while bound in chains.

Can lines be used as climbing ropes,
As kite strings vanishing in mist,
As ways to get to the unknown,

As proofs are and syllogisms,
As lenses and simulations?
Are there ideas impossible

To reach, except by way of poems,
Thoughts never thought until expressed?
Why can’t a poem pose a question

Which only a poem can answer?
Caver, I braid lines to dangle
Into the lair of that monster.

Monday, February 24, 2020

This Order

(Or, Excerpt from a Marginal Outburst to a Passage by Ian Stewart Concerning “Impossibly Complicated” Initial Conditions)

Yes, but why are they impossibly complicated? Specified, of course (smash the bottle a million times under precisely controlled conditions, you won’t get the same precise disorder twice), but then how is that so crippling? 

What if entropy increases by the conversion of the simple to the complex, the less specified to the more specified and the expenditure of heat can do nothing but specify? No, that feels silly as stated.

Nothing can be replicated, that’s why. Time exists because nothing exists twice, not in any dimension, because of the absence of perfect duplicates. No bit of the cosmos matches any other bit absolutely exactly. (There’s a possibly falsifiable hypothesis there, I suppose, but not for a mere poet.) All replication is approximation, and each approximation involves irreparable loss. Nothing exists twice because no two slices of spacetime, however close, however fine, are truly identical or forever the same.

Time and space, the spacetime continuum if you like, are neither one an emergent property of the other (pace Smolin) but are together equally emergent properties of incomplete differences at all scales in any (including mathematically “higher”) dimensions. 

Both the absolute pervasiveness of difference and its inevitable, simultaneous incompleteness in all phenomena, however large or small, through to infinity, is the ground ontological condition, the ontological foundation of all known, experienced, prosthetically observed, and measured existence. (And it doesn’t functionally matter, for us, if difference is “in here,” that is, a product of us as observers, or “out there” as a part of reality beyond our observations. It wholly pervades all our available means of observation—wholly—so, if it is only in us, it doesn’t matter except as idle speculation to guess as much. Us or out there, endless incomplete difference is all we’ve got, all we’ve ever spotted, from our bodies to our languages, from our geometry drawn in the dust to our subatomic particle colliders and gravity-wave detectors.)

From that fact, all the rest, all the other conditions—entropy, spacetime, entanglement, and all their apparent paradoxes—derive inevitably. This absolute perfusion of difference that is somehow never complete difference, the difference of the infinitely, variably similar, the perfect pervasiveness of incomplete difference within any and all phenomena, however defined, measured, confined, sliced, expanded or bounded, always then and there, whatever we ever find of there or then—this is everything. All bits only somewhat different, nothing exactly the same.

You can’t go back because nothing can match. You can’t easily get from the smashed bottle to the former whole because you can’t ever get two smashes (nor two whole bottles) the same, not in any dimension you care to enumerate or name. There is no perfect symmetry. Even reversible equations cull change.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hours Are Accidents

Shadows grow as long as they’re going to get,
But then they don’t merge so much as dissolve,
As if the dim is seeping from the ground
And swallowing the last of afternoon.

It’s hard to see this, anymore, in town
Or outlying bedroom communities,
There being so many varieties
Of recently invented, short-lived lights.

Find an empty field somewhere, as scruffy
As you like—it doesn’t have to be wild,
It doesn’t have to suggest fine nature,
It just needs no lights. See? Dirt grows the night.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


“‘Nothing’ is the force / That renovates the world—“

Ancient Captain Obvious,
My own ancestral spirit,
The residue of humans
Giving each other advice
About how to be human

(Which, when you think about it,
Is rather fascinating—
Either we need help being
What we are or we compete
By misdirecting others)

Never really existed,
That golden man, the great sage.
He emerged, like a fable,
From the clay of grave cliches.
To be human, be a ghost.

We’re always making nothing
From something, a new nothing,
A freshly labeled item,
A name—emptiness, the void,
Homer, Zoroaster, God—

And then producing, presto,
This nothing that is something
As the author of something
Where before there was nothing—
Number lines, infinities,

Epics, monotheisms,
The entire, damned universe.
It’s a trick where the rabbit
Produces an empty hat.
We need not-being to be,

Could not even hope to think
Clearly about what is not
Until we had a symbol
For not as something that is,
When something is what it’s not.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Sunset Canyon Ranch at Dawn

Gut the farthest clouds.
All you can see of me now
Is grace in outline,

A negative cast
Like that gap between the bones
And the solid stone

That once was the flesh
Of a person in Pompeii—
Like the perfect skin

Turned coal, the hair red,
By the tannins in the bog,
Nothing inside them—

Like the emptied shell
Of the beetle cored by wasps
After the wasps hatched.

Like that. Why is it
That an excavated husk
Seems mostly grotesque?

Something has escaped.
Something substantive has left.
Applause for the gone—

Wave a fond farewell.
We can manage it for clouds,
For phenomena

Not trying to live—
The beauty of this mesa’s
Backlit silhouette,

The mountain cutting
A puppet in a cloud bank,
The world that is left.

The stationary
Traveler left a fine shell
Legacy in rocks

That became the cliffs
Surrounding the emptiness
Of this canyon ranch.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Suburban Hermit

Old man at the window, deer in the dark,
Observing the waning-crescent moonrise
Running just ahead of an amber dawn.

What do you want, reader, from them, from him?
Something simple and uplifting, something
Personal, emotional, grieving, raw?

Something speaking to your experience?
You don’t need to be told the moon rises.
You don’t need to know the deer are out there

Browsing lawns and golf courses, dodging cars,
Dying on the highways like people do,
Moving into the mountains when it’s hot.

Nonetheless, the old man thinks about you,
At his window in the floating daylight.
If you come to this poem, knock on his door.

There’s something he badly wants to tell you,
Something he believes you’re desperate to know,
But now he’s old and can’t remember what.

Remind him.
He’ll be home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


And so, the little beetle,
Who secretly wished to live
In a toddler’s picture book,

Sang the song of permission
To do as a beetle pleased.
Folding her iridescence,

She wandered along a log,
Shining like a speck of sky,
And she did not see the world

As monster or invalid
She had to outwit or heal,
Nor as a giant scarab

Brilliantly echoing her.
She saw it as happening
While she nibbled on an ant,

While she was ruminating
That it was really something,
This beetle being a world.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Principle of Position

An abacus in the dust,
Its gaps all gods in hiding,
Clicks its broken beads and shouts

Like old Hollywood gangsters,
You can’t get nothing on me!
Stir the shadows of the leaves

Over knowledge in the dirt.
Like wind in passing whisper,
And from nothing we derive

The one that turns out to be
Everything else, nothing much.
Faith and doubt began from this

Conflict over figured ground.
Can you see the pattern lie,
The ancestral accident,

Like the way we feed and breathe
Through a fork stuck in our necks,
Like the blind spots in our eyes,

That what once was good enough—
Some, a clump, comparison
Of things more, or less, the same—

Left us too loose-wired for none
As less or of no interest,
Nothing just something not there?

Of course we thought gods came first,
Or magical ancestors,
Or just the one God of dust.

We sensed we were from a void
Or chaos, some kind of mess,
But it had to be something.

We were a long time stumbling
Over counting devices
And the reckonings of priests

Before it dawned anywhere
On anyone, the magic
Was moving in the cipher

Shadowing the abacus,
The absence that spawned the one,
Divine gravity of none.

Monday, February 17, 2020


Fantasy is to dread as
Stimulant to exhaustion,
As drink to excess caution,

Alleviating the worst
Symptoms briefly, for a cost.
My workman father would fix

A thermos of hot coffee
The size of a small cannon
To take to work each morning.

He always came back empty.
He would stay wired all evening.
He would sleep four or five hours.

On a Sunday afternoon
You could find him on the couch,
Snoring slightly, on his back,

His eyelids weirdly ajar
As if caught by a snapshot,
Mid blink, and yet fluttering.

His naps. The man loved his naps,
Whenever he could get them.
He never quite lost the house,

Thanks to my mother’s nursing
Career and frugal habits,
Thanks to his helpful parents,

But the future was always
Claws out and racing toward him,
Chasing him into the night.

On the couch he could daydream
Of wealth until he drifted
Into another short nap.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

What You Are

You are a mass of cells that have adhered
To each other all their lives, that signal

To each other, depend on each other,
Kill themselves on schedule or surrender

To being reabsorbed by each other,
Clones that go along with the neighborhood,

Sensing collective specializations,
And you are nothing like any of this.

One winter morning you stand on the edge
Of a blackwater tarn in the mountains,

And you watch rain and snow, then rain again
Join the surface, and you watch the small waves

And the faint shapes disappearing below
The silver mist that rises, and you know.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Don’t Forget February

We can be exquisitely,
Unexpectedly lovely.
Rarely—but it delights me.

Blooming hot-air balloons—huge,
Harlequin, floating mushrooms—
Loomed in the blue, dreams moving

One morning over Kanab,
Utah—one boring morning
For closed stores and winter chores,

As far from tourist season
As Kanab got any more—
And for the purest reason—

That physics favored flying
Those brilliant, harmless galleons
Through atmosphere chilled and still.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Love Poem to Poem Love

This is just another
One of those things we share,
This habit of fusing
Two to one in a pair,

Mangling up the numbers—
Each one a self, each two
A one, each double self
A hall of one in two,

One end infinitely
Vanishing, the other
Endlessly repeating—
Poem loving poem lover.

You were my first among
The ghosts, introduced me,
So meaning, mystery,
And story seduced me,

When it was you I loved,
Guest in your reflection,
Hosting your reflections,
Home and resurrection.

We love sharing faces
As bright eyes love a mask—
The chance to inhabit
What no one will ask. Ask.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Can You Imagine?

Every heaven, every utopia,
Every Shangri-La and Peach Blossom Spring,
Lubberland and Big Rock Candy Mountain,

Every paradise is a cargo cult,
Imagining never-experienced
Magic stitched out of happy accidents.

My heart breaks for how incomplete they are,
How colorful, spare, and unmagical,
How flimsy, unconvincing, and unreal.

There are white heavens, serene and austere.
There are green, greedy gardens of Cockaigne,
Heavens of abundance and sweets to eat.

There are heavens of being together
With those gone before us, with divine love.
There are heavens patched of all of these dreams.

We scrape together things we remember
Of life that seemed better than most of life,
And we heap up little piles of blessings,

And we try to step into them the way
We so easily inhabit fictions
Rich with Earth’s familiar imperfections,

But even if we are faithful, even
If we are Milton or Dante, we fail.
We yearn for a bliss we can’t imagine,

Bliss we try imagining anyway,
Only to find—imagined perfect bliss
Is a dull and sorry place to visit.

If someone, enchantress or magician,
Could conjure a pure world as delightful
And wondrous as one threatened with conflict,

As vivid and achingly glorious
As golden clouds above a battlefield,
We might as well perish from gratitude.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

An Inessential Universe

I am an intersection
Of shifting circumstances
Prompting intermittent words

That have no conversation
Or illustrations in them.
Contemplate your surroundings—

There’s the world being the world.
Do you like your surroundings
Or dislike your surroundings?

There’s the world being the world.
You are an intersection
Of drifting circumstances.

One famous Buddhist concept
Is that no essential self
Exists. How liberating

Is that for the gasping flesh?
Everything lacks an essence.
Fair enough. Then, in essence,

It’s an inessential world.
It’s the world being a world.
It’s a world being the world,

As am I and as are you,
As I am and as you are.
Do you like your surroundings?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Don’t Bother Trying to Explain Yourself

The only time someone wants
An explanation is when
They expect they won’t like it.

The rest of the time, their own
Take on you will do just fine.
They’ll explain themselves to you,

Of course, given half a chance,
And you should listen, and think,
How much their self-serving crap

Resembles that voice you hear
Prattling in your inner ear
Proudly explaining yourself

Every damn day of the year.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Absolute Zero Is OK

The ultimate rebellion
Would be to accept nothing

Exists to rebel against,
And nothing caused everything,

And cause is the same fiction
As every divine fiction.

The ultimate rebellion
Would not be the cause of change,

Being only different
As all things are different.

The ultimate rebellion
Would be put down easily

And sloppily by jackboots
Stomping, stomping and shouting,

“Thus we refute rebellion!”
And then? Success at nothing.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Nel Fitto Del Bosco

Why do the dead not return?
They do but only briefly.
They do and they continue

To live like everyone else,
For a while, like everyone
In the forest of the failed

Suicides. All the gallows
Turn into woodsy cabins,
Cottages in deep shadows.

These woods have their own voices.
These woods invented voices.
Don’t jump when they speak to you.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Gleeman Sniffs His Armpits

I wanted to be an American writer, but in America I found I was Spanish.” ~Javier Cercas

I wanted to be a memoir writer, but in life I found I was a poet.

I wanted to be a playwright, but in a play I found I was a poet.

I wanted to be a speculative writer, but in a portal fantasy I found I was transporting poets.

I wanted to be a science writer, but in experiments I found a statistically insignificant poet.

I wanted to be a Great American Novel writer, but in the belly of Leviathan I found I was a helpless poet, abandoned by God.

I wanted to be a screenwriter, but on TV I found I was a ridiculous parody of a poet.

I wanted to be a song writer, but in the third verse I found I was acting like I wrote the moon in riddles of crap poetry, as if music were my waiting room.

I wanted to be a writer of wisdom literature, but in collections of sagacious sayings I found I was a foolish poet.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Trauma Analysis

“daliegt der ganze Unterschied”

How the bones bore it
Holds the clues forensics needs
To tell a sequence,

Which fractures came first 
And how, and was there enough
Time to heal between,

Enough for scarring?
We will begin with a scene
And end with a scene,

Bare-boned narration.
(Between scenes—reconstruction
And exposition.)

Scene one: plump baby 
Crawling through high summer grass,
Gummily grinning,

Halo of dark curls,
Left arm in a plaster cast.
Odd detail, that’s all.

This kid is lucky.
He will get medical care.
He will be well fed.

His bones will be set
By orthopedic surgeons,
Set and set again.

A simple x-ray
Will reveal how well he’s healed
And how many times.

With his parents’ help
He will sail through school, despite
Frequent absences.

He will have options.
He’s a male American.
He’s cheerful. He’s white.

This is not the end.
He will grow up. He will work.
He will marry twice.

The bones keep healing,
The cumulative effect
Twisty nonetheless.

Surgeons add metal.
Surgeons cut old metal out.
Scars get hard to count.

Decades to go yet.
He arrives at fatherhood
Late, but he gets there.

This kid is lucky.
Despite mixed tenses, he finds
Time to read and write.

The forensic arts
Love their counterfactuals.
What would he look like

If reconstructed
As if he’d never broken?
Clean-limbed? Tall? Still white.

This kid is lucky.
The breaks will accumulate 

But regularly
Enough he can recover,
Mostly, between them.

Note the spiral tracks,
The exquisite layering
Of the injuries,

Like a palimpsest 
In which the parchment itself
Scraped away each text,

Not quite completely.
Next to blank reconstructions
Of the unbroken,

The reconstruction
Of the broken is haunted
With whispering ghosts.

And now he’s searching
For a closing scene to show,
But he’s not quite done.

Stories end—lives don’t,
Not while still inside of one.
Present what has been

Or what could happen?
An unusually small man,
Legs like random twigs,

Arms like random twigs,
Makes small hops on black crutches
Through bronze winter grass.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

It Is Not Otherwise

I see my west. No fantasies
Return as such. I’ll be remade,
Music of an honest silence.

Try finding apt analogies
For the foolishness of wisdom.
Life, in sum, is not a problem

And admits of no solution.
Imagine the impossible
Narrative of the perfect life,

A life, at least, we must admire.
How likely that that life’s maker
Left us the set of instructions?

Why would we trust such instructions?
We ponder and we hunt for clues
In the ruins, clues we pretend

Could be assembled as wisdom
We could consult for instructions.
How disappointing when the life

We presume produced the best clues
Makes for an awful narrative.
We toss out the clues and harrumph.

But that’s not it, not apt enough.
Awareness is spindrift; wisdom
Is the enlightenment of ants.

I have tried those analogies
As well, and others. They all fail.
This futility is just fine.

Futility only exists
For optimistic Sisyphus.
For once, leave the stone where it is

Or push, if to pulse is to live.
There’s no need to get to the top,
No analogy. Wisdom is.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

What Is Faith?

Confidence in the face of uncertainty.
Trust caught in the teeth of doubt.
Conviction in the absence of evidence.
Defiance of all the available facts.
Costly payments demonstrating allegiance.
An installment on a plan of future reward.
Wariness exchanged for full membership.
An expression of the desire to believe
Things will turn out better than they seem.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Mock Departure

You have not previously
Seen the world. You have ambled,
Sampled, eaten, resisted,

Complained, protested, escaped
(Well, you did try), and scraped by.
You have not seen. You have looked.

Our views are not similar
Because we are close; we’re close
Thanks to our similar views.

Sufficiently simple views
Are more likely similar,
And to a greater degree,

Which leads to spooky action
At a distance, the reason
Simple things coordinate

So well, so non-locally,
While gorgeous complexities
Move next to no one next door.

What Leibniz called, “perfection,”
And Lee Smolin terms, “action,”
We could also name, “absence,”

Absence of high entropy.
We’ll get high eventually,
A soupy, self-same cosmos,

But pure similarity,
The universal fiction
Of space, nothing happening,

Will take time. Meanwhile, we tick
Around our cyclical lives
Of less and less difference,

Converging in perspective,
Getting closer as we go,
Treading on each other’s toes.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Moons and the Human Conscience

Even when it comes to morals
We seek out equilibrium.
People lauded for good deeds

Like to do a little dirt.
Prisoners in holding cells,
Ashamed of themselves, are kind,

Are kind because they are ashamed,
Just as the charity workers
Exploit because they’ve been so good.

Research supports this. I don’t
Cotton to claims of causation,
But I know oscillation,

And the cosmos has many
Smooth pendulums, among them
Moons and the human conscience.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A Calendrical Model of Warfare

Don’t confuse loss with regret.
They’re barely on speaking terms.
If you have a healthy hand

And you find yourself in sun,
Place a palm on the surface
Of your dashboard or a chair

Or a lichen-crusted rock.
There. Loss is ordinary
On a world lit by a star,

A living world of seasons,
Weather, shadows, night and day.
Leave regret for those without

Any way to know the world
Not foretold by calendars.
Defeat is not departure.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Nothing Comes to Mind

“Still the birds were bawling through the mists / Terrible, invisible / A million small evangelists”

Are we law-like or fact-like?
I think we are law-like facts,
Stuck with the fact of laws.

Sun sets behind indifferent
Roofs jutting chins at the air.
It is a terrible thing

In the old way, the awful,
Awesome, terrific, sublime
Way, to be only meanings,

To be the sole survivors
Of this tournament thus far
To get by by lies and laws.

I listen to everything,
Everything else inhuman,
And I hear nothing, singing.