Music for the apocalypse
Sounds like lots of other music—
It makes waves and repeats waves—
Rumbles, tinkles, calls, answers
Not necessarily loud,
Nor even too ominous.
Daily hymns. Then it’s on us.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Music for the apocalypse
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
An Expanse of Sea Is Mostly Dabs of Blue
Monday, September 28, 2020
Ruminating’s a good word
For it, really—don’t blame brains
For working a little bit
Like multi-chambered stomachs.
Thoughts, language, explanations,
We evolved to process these.
It’s all part of the breakdown,
And why should ruminant brains
Switch off to reduce methane?
We can survive on stubborn,
Well-defended weedy stems
Of patterned information
Most animals would starve on,
Thanks to our ruminations.
From birth, human baby skulls
Get stuffed with words and syntax
That set up ecosystems,
And it’s all symbiosis
From then—the environment
A human needs to thrive in
Is made of other humans
As much as an ant’s real niche
Is not tropics or grasslands
But a humming colony
Of conspecifics. The price
We pay is rumination,
Scenes, social situations.
It’s cumbersome. Human heads
Are heavy weights, and our minds
Are sluggish, complicated,
And tend to outgas nonsense.
Worst of all, our parasites
Include devilish ideas
Capable of tricking us
Into giving them shelter
At the expense of fitness,
These we have as well as bugs
Caught by other animals.
But stop trying to switch off.
The mind may have its toxins,
But our brains need to digest.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
What’s not considered virtuous
Always slides sideways into vice—
Anywhere where people are rare
Visitors, I like being there.
I like being light, easy
To float away on a breeze,
And then I see tumbleweeds
Blown up against barbed wire, trapped,
And I think, maybe better
To find a patch of pasture,
Root down and risk exposure,
Anywhere beside a creek,
Or anyplace halfway green,
And stay there, if I can stay,
Even if it means winter—
Not my vice, if I can’t leave.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Don’t get invested in this.
There’s just no comparison.
The moon keeps drifting away.
The earth’s rotation’s slowing.
One day the sun will explode.
There are no immortal poems.
Sure, you’d love to be well-loved.
Not to worry—you’ll forget
And be, in turn, forgotten.
So, why are you doing this?
Look, I can give you a glimpse
Of a chipmunk on a rock,
A lizard doing push-ups
On a green-grey lichen patch,
A poet pleased to keep notes.
Friday, September 25, 2020
Venus rising in the East, Mars
Setting in the West, Orion
Hunting the Southern Sky. Moonless.
I doubt most of the commuters
Out on the highway this morning,
Notice any of this. That’s why
I’m here for them, their Explainer.
I don’t see anything human
About it, this cosmos, although
Popped out from possibility.
How shall I explain this wisely?
Astrologers paid attention
To the lights, their patterned movements,
Any matched happenings on Earth,
And where did that get us, beyond
Excuses for violent men,
And silly newspaper nonsense
About what today will be like
For humanity, sliced by twelfths?
Oh, yes, I guess—astronomy,
And, eventually, physics,
Calculus, moon landings, space probes. . .
It may pay to pay attention,
But not in your lifetime. It takes
And so long as observations
Keep going, you should keep going
To work. Someone will explain things.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
The childhood of your child is a strange kind
Of loss—there’s the infant you knew a year,
Gone for good, and then the chatty toddler—
Those were whole, rounded beings you’ll never
Encounter in the round again. Some days,
You’ll be surprised by how you ache for them.
You have a reward each time, the new child
Emerging gradually from the lost ones,
The kindergartner, the grade-schooler,
The surprisingly tall, thoughtful pre-teen
About to descend into the maelstrom,
The imago as anticipation.
But, if you happen to rise at dawn, leafing
Through memories while the stars disappear,
You may catch yourself mourning the living.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
As an organism certain it will die,
Awake and aware of itself part of the day,
Dreaming and forgetting most nights.
What a strange experience it is to live
Among sun-eating trees and calling birds,
As a creature that consumes lives to live,
A being made mostly of arguments and words.
What a strange experience it is to be
Enumerating the strangeness of things,
As if one had prior experience of worlds
More familiar, no strangeness to things.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Every song ends incomplete,
Every tale fakes the ending,
Every joke is a version
Of the crack nothing begins
With an ”n” and ends with “g.”
Time to try to just accept
This weird world, to ride it out.
Nothing special’s going to change
About the ways change happens.
Start with an end. Ends in G.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Conviction and judgment precede
Awareness it’s a life sentence.
Oblivious, the paragraph
Begins anew. Life is wanting
More life. Desire can never be
Satiated, never—in monks,
Saints, sages, black cats fast asleep
On a red rug in pooled sun,
In anything breathing, growing,
Reaching, feeding, feeding, wasting.
Begin again. Oblivious,
The next paragraph advises
Calm in the face of dread, restraint
In the hollow stomach of need.
The quest is futile, but without
The repetition of excess
Of desire, continuation
Of the quest for more of the same
Futile, temporary relief,
Being stays uninteresting.
Oh, completely oblivious
To this, the next paragraph sings
Hymns in praise of brief existence.
Look. It’s good when it is. It is
Good enough, or could be, without
Having to live. Oblivious.
Friday, September 18, 2020
These Metameric Lyrics
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Are sorcery and sanctity
The only means of withdrawal
From the common life? The hermit
Of dusty waysides wants to know.
In old, orogenic ranges
Worn down to serial foothills,
Life’s crimes against humanity
Settle like spores in the sepals
Of returning wildflowers each spring,
While crimes against wildflowers, foothills,
And assorted ecosystems
Writhe in human dreams. But up here,
Where the mountains are still growing,
And the wings of the rock wrens rush
Right past the wayside hermit’s ear,
A kind of traffic, excited
With life and by the reflections
Of sun in the valuable pines,
It’s hard to say what is to blame
For the beauty of aggression
When a nuthatch scatters the wrens
With its manic, head-down pounding.
No. Sorcery and sanctity
Are only short-term distractions
From the self-evident answer,
Which is hunger. There’s hunger here,
And hunger where the world’s more tired,
And hunger in crimes of all kinds—
Hunger in peaceful withdrawal,
In the whispers of wings through air.
Hunger was an astonishment
To angels. Why introduce this?
Lucifer asked before he fled.
This morning, from a hungry tree
Being eaten by hungry beasts,
The morning star shines visibly,
Which isn’t a star, not really,
Lifeless, reflective, not hungry,
Lovely, withdrawn, astonishing.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
“When home is not where you are born, nothing is predetermined.”
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Monday, September 7, 2020
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
For trees—reproduction is
How the woods move. Otherwise,
They only die or regrow.
The nuts and seeds, though, the blooms,
They can really move, and do.
Poems, too. If words were pollen,
Lines would be seeds and poems fruits
Or at least wind-blown cotton
Infected with worms and grubs
But sometimes still capable
Of seeding new waves of woods.
If life itself could suffer
As lives do, life would grow old,
But life just renews and moves.