The uncanny, the undead, and intrusions
Into the home, inherently pathetic
Whorls of collapsing testimony, sheer
Absurdity, semantic objects, spatial
Episodes, corpses, ghosts—in short, the Gothic
In any of many manifestations.
We’ll tell you a secret. We’re it. Insofar
As you’re us and we’re part of you now, you’re it,
Too. Get used to it. Every time a human
Tries to spook another human, what spooks them
Both is the medium. Your Gothic is us.
The house was fine, the bones lay still, night and day
Flew by full of the usual hungry lives—
Predators, parasites, phagies of all kinds—
Before we turned up inside a few bowled skulls
And started churning out signs, mists, and dark mind.
All language, all art, and all storytelling
Especially, are embodied spookery.
Conversation’s uncanny, filled with undead
Revenants of earlier conversations,
Experiences, the thoughts of long-gone lives.
Every voice that means a thing seems pathetic,
Whimpering from under the stairs of your ears,
Trying to get you to listen, folded in
Layers of secrets, earlier encounters
With ancestors not even your ancestors.
Yes, you read that right. Your ancestors always
Made babies, each of them, never failed, not once,
Not one generation—one unbroken chain
Linking you backwards like everything living.
But our ancestors often were spoken to ghosts
By those who had never had, would never have
Flesh children. Sorry we’re such an intrusion.
~ A Common Horde of Petty Tyrants
They think of themselves as political,
As true Patriots, echt Volk, Rus, Great Han,
Which is funny, since their identities,
Homelands, ethnies, are interchangeable—
They’re a common human type, not special,
Nor their dictator, their God Emperor,
Whatever particular psychopath
They revere, wherever, whatever year.
It is, in fact, their very commonness,
Their swollen numerosity alone,
Which brings their chosen overlord to power,
Nurturing torture, protecting gross crimes.
Themselves neither righteous as they believe
Nor as wicked as what they enable,
They’re ordinary souls who want to win,
Citizens, beasts who eat and shit and sin.
Their small boss shoved to the top of a heap
Of skulls and hailed as a genuine god
Is never so much of a genius. Luck
Plus hordes of petty tyrants—all you need.
Later, society will chew the bones
Of the Great One, sometimes for centuries,
Tear apart the circumstances, pick at
The tiny brain. Pointless. Hordes form the Lord.
The most political poet,
The most revolutionary
Who ever lived—also the most
Scribe of colloquial speech—
Is a makeover artist
In the language of every poem.
Ayyuqi, Nezami were right—
The poet is like the woman
Who tends to the bride’s appearance
Before her wedding. That’s even
If the bride’s own most fervent wish
Is that the groom not last the night—
Even if she’ll have to tell him
Stories every night for three years
And more to keep herself alive.
Beauty is never innocent
In poetry; beauty is wise,
An all-purpose tool, a good knife.
Whatever job poems have in mind,
Someone wants to get that job done
Up fine, bright truth armed with disguise.
~ So Long as You’ve Got Your Own View
This. This ridiculous emptiness
When everyone else is somewhere else
Doing something else (and I do mean
Everyone, not one human being
Visible or audible from here
Where there’s view for a few miles around)—
This, when I can get it, rare enough,
Is what I love, and why I seek it.
I rule my life by natural light,
And why else live in a desert, right?
Even in liminal winter-spring
At elevations as high as I
Can traverse in an old compact car
On all-but-bald tires, the sun’s insane,
A mad artist you shouldn’t stare at
Who smears the palette with the canvas
And then chisels down into the paint,
Incising fine lines deep as chasms
And then more lines like chasms in them.
It’s light that could cut you to ribbons,
That sieves you, leaves you cubed as delight.
That’s what I like. No apologies,
Although secretly I’d like someone,
Anyone to cry, Yes! Yes, me, too!
~ Statistical Trends in Irregular Brain Activity
Hiding out like robber gangs
In the aperiodic
Parts of brain activity,
Smooth waves avoid detection.
Posses in the canyonlands
Scan for faint oscillations.
A fine plume of scale-free smoke?
Could be random burning or
Or is it all in our heads?
A statistical structure
Crops up mysteriously
Wherever you look closely.
Canyons could contain hidden
For those who can read the signs
From the clues in their own minds.
That’s a snake curled by your boot.
~ Said When
Just because you’ve done enough
Doesn’t mean you won’t do more.