Sunday, August 29, 2010


A touched dog wags
automatically. He
eagerly awaits
what no one wants.

He's no cat, the touched
dog, trapped in no mystery
beyond the bone he
buried by mistake.

His memory's a mine
shaft he falls into in the dark.
The touched dog is
only what you think he is,

a sleeping pet someone let
lie at the feet of man.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Sometimes I purposely
spend a whole week not
doing something. It could
be anything. Flying

to the moon, for example,
though not flying
to the moon's not
as exciting as some

of the other things
I don't do. Guessing
the location of every
goat in Mongolia,

for example. I don't
do that a lot these days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Realizing how many
of the stars I see
are no longer there
makes me wary

of sitting down
on this chair,
which may
or may not be there.

I always try
(we all do,
I suspect)
to mean more
than mere words
can manage.

The words
weighted down with
more than I can mean.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


What pleases me the most,
I guess, is guessing
the right answer to
the wrong question.

I prefer it to anything
vice versa, although
holding the winning ticket
to the wrong raffle

can be fun if it's
not too sunny.
If it is (too sunny),
I put my sunglasses on.

Then I eat dinner,
but only if I'm hungry.

It recently occurred to me
that not dying is a lot
of fun. I try to do it
by not doing it as much

as I can. Other stuff
gets in the way, of
course, like golf, which
I don't play and wouldn't

enjoy if I did because
of all the sand traps
and artificial lakes.
I'd rather go to the beach

and not swim than spend
the whole day not playing golf.

The best part of any
act of contrition
is the pleasure
it deposits in the next

room. No one can
go there, of course,
there being no "there"
to go to. But everyone

wonders just the same.
It's as if something
that didn't matter did,
but then stopped mattering

as soon as someone
turned to look at it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


When shooting an arrow,
allow for the wind.
Before predicting the future,
erase what cannot happen.

When cutting corners,
avoid invisible pitfalls.
Before climbing a tree,
check for bashful bears.

When breaking bread,
tiptoe past the penthouse.
While leaning this way or that,
embrace unlikely lovers.

When doomed to happen again,
proceed without your pistols.

Monday, August 23, 2010


A new set of rules
has moved in next door
and barks like a rotten
philosopher. Nothing

can be done about this
because, as the wind
reminds us, rules
are rules and breaking

them leads to sorrow,
calamity, and other
niceties too numerous to
matter. I'm over here

minding my manners and
breaking promises one by none.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Sometimes my dog
barks at nothing.
Or barks at what
he thinks (wrongly)

is something. This
would be a lot truer
if I had a dog. But
I don't have one, and,

in fact, I'd like take
this opportunity to congratulate
myself on not getting one.
I can't tell you how wonderful

it is not to have to listen
to all that barking.


We begin the day thinking
we will write a sonnet.
But how quickly everything
turns to prose. Quiet
letters at the beginning
tell us that. What
else do they tell us?
That we are careless,
too careless perhaps?
That life is like that,
a gradual turning
to prose? Then
each of us must take
a stand, pro or con,


and if the judgment goes
against us, well, that's
life, isn't it? We die,
and our death is described
in prose, because when
you come right down
to it, we weren't important
enough for a sonnet.
And that's the sad thing,
death without a form
to funnel it into, getting
rid of it that way,
the way we would some
foul liquid no one


wanted to drink.
But can you blame us?
By now it probably has
little pieces of stink-
ing stuff all over it.
And who knows what
diseases are inside it
as silent as liquid bells,
but with fingers that
reach out to strangle
our most delicate whim?
And in the end what
can we do but swim
for it, and what


can we do in the end
but drown, hoping
a sonnet will bring
our death to something
great like a fast game
of baseball? And if it doesn't
happen, well, we mustn't
give up because there's
still prose to put it
into the way we would
some nose that wasn't
pretty or a car that
brought us nothing but grief
along that long highway of life.


Sometimes the beginning's
a true beginning.
Then everyone breathes
a little easier, heaves
a sigh as the rime
falls closer to the end.
And isn't that what we've
always wanted, time
that we could bend
the way a plumber
does a pipe that
doesn't fit? Or
maybe that's not it
after all. Beginning's


are like that, never
betraying the end
until quite a bit later.
No, they are not
at all like the friend
who feels he's got
to tell us about the movie
we had wanted to see,
but can't now because,
let's face it, he's
robbed us of whatever chance
we had to experience
whatever it was we
thought we


wanted to experience.
Is it just by chance
that we now find
ourselves at the beginning
of sonnet number seven
(and that, in fact, the seventh
line is already upon us,
then gone like some
jet-propelled moment
we had wanted to savor
but couldn't because,
let's face it, "time
marches on")? Rime
does too, only


not quite as fast.
But does it matter?
Isn't this the twentieth
century, complete with
automobiles that almost
drive themselves and
"liberated" verse? Not
to mention bananas
(did I almost forget
to mention bananas?).
So you see, my friend,
rime isn't everything, and,
if we are lucky, life goes
on even in prose.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


More than anything else
life seems to be
a way of gradually forgetting
what the question was,
then sitting down
at the table
to eat what's left of dinner.

Friday, August 13, 2010


When someone you love
suddenly drops dead,
don't bother to finish lunch.
You can eat later.

In fact, you can do
everything later. Have to,
actually, because of some
definition of what's true.

You can't (I guess I'm
saying) do anything
earlier than now. If
you try (and some have,

apparently), you will
die sooner than before.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The truth has a darkness
of its own to return to
after what happens happens.
I won't say it hides there,

but waves curling up
onto the shore have
no idea where it is.
Questions hanging like

hooks from the mouths
of those who care remain
unanswered. Things recently
forgotten refuse to turn

around in time to tell
us where we've been.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Writing as I always try
to out of nowhere,
I end up here where
you are. And though

I don't know your name
or why you breathe,
I use you to wonder
about things that

you aren't, but could be
if your hair were longer.
I hope this is okay
with you, and that

you're not secretly planning
to turn into who you aren't.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The setting of the sun
inside my body is slow,
though not imperceptibly so.

Dream water leaks
from what I think
I mean by "early".

Now is here and
here is now and
heaven is at hand.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Success chooses its victims
carefully, carving the correct
wound into each system.
The onlooker cannot

buy back his innocence.
Because it is all one,
it is everywhere,
but only as actual

as indifference allows.
The edge of your footprint
trembles as you contemplate
moving forward.

It is impossible to overestimate
the importance of standing still.