Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The state's in a
state of upheaval,
and no one can
state clearly enough

what the most effective
options might be.
On a sunny day
everything stays the

same, but on a
cloudy day kinks
in the wind claim
to know better.

A mime is trying to
explain this in the dark.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Pleasure is its
own reward
while virtue
sits in the corner

twiddling its thumbs.
We are, therefore
we think we should
be allowed to

do as much as
possible before
the light goes
out. The something

that must be done
about this can wait.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Because light gets
delayed, dawn postpones
what it had been
planning to reveal.

Trees stand on
tiptoe in anticipation
of something unusual.
They begin to

sense pleasure in
their branches, but
don't know what
it means. Unlike

man, they don't
mind not knowing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Kathy fights her way
through layers of smudge
to fall in love with
Heathcliff, who responds

by filling his arms
with her. Later, when
Kathy falls ill, Heathcliff
hoists her up and

lugs her out onto
the balcony so she
can have one last
look at the heather.

Then she dies so
we can feel depressed.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The dead are famous
for the darkness they
store in their memories.
It keeps the light

out and allows them
to sleep without pause.
Some cry out
when they realize

they aren't thinking
anything. But
the majority don't,
for a reason that

becomes clear to those
who wait long enough.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I can sometimes
hear the sound
your absence makes
in the early morning.

A silence night has
whittled from a
piece of quiet
allows this to

be true temporarily.
As other sounds
begin to accumulate,
your absence resumes

its customary place
outside the window.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


If you keep ending
up at the end of
the same rope,
you may want to

consider trading
places with the
person next to you
(the one on the right

if you're right-handed,
the one on the left
if you're left-handed,
the one in the

middle if you're too
stubborn to change).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


To get to a place
in time for your
arrival, it's a good
idea to leave early.

To receive what's
on its way to you,
stand still. Hum
if you have to,

but don't sing.
Singing distracts
the angels and
makes them late

for the announcement:
A doornail has died.

Monday, May 23, 2011


On the outside
chance you may
be in love with
me, I follow

you home to
find out where
you live. I write
down the address

so I won't forget it
(or so I'll have a
record of it when
I do forget it).

Okay, so I have a
tendency to forget things.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I try to emulate
the furniture's return,
but slip back into
an unfinished dream

about blue honey
and the time it
takes to get from
here to now. The

subject changes
its mind at the last
second, allowing
things accidental

to become the rule,
rather than the exception.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


In the unlikely event
that this latest
prediction of the world's
end proves to be accurate,

don't move. Stand
perfectly still and
await what will
happen with or

without your consent.
This is the last bit
of advice I will be
giving you should

what we both know
won't happen happen.

I once made a
sentence last ten
years by constantly
changing what it

meant and translating
it into languages
no one bothered
to speak anymore.

That's one way to
squeeze an extra
decade out of time.
I once had a

window that winked
when I asked it to.

Friday, May 20, 2011


A mime that can't
move is speechless,
though words with
missing vowels hover

over his head. The fact
of matter seems so
matter-of-fact that
no one bothers

to believe anything
to the contrary.
A blind man shrugs
at the sight of

something not quite
dark enough to be seen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Something for which
there is no excuse
waits in the next
room. The order

to go into battle
is given, but is
never communicated
to the troops, who

wait impatiently
for the opportunity
to be dead like
so many brave

soldiers before them.
Medals glisten underground.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Having stumbled upon
a new way of meaning
less than necessary,
I fill the page with

half-word that
squawk. Paint that
dries faster than I am
is no longer beside

the point. The point
itself is beside an
increasing number of
other points that clearly

don't give a damn.
I think because I am.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The right kind of
you arrives just in
time to set my
mind at ease.

We hold hands,
hoping our luck
will hold. It does.
We do again what

we have never done
before. Something
surprisingly new
raises its pretty

head and lets
us love.

Monday, May 16, 2011


A standard defense of language poetry states that, although it appears arbitrary, it actually involves very careful and clever planning. But planning for which the ear can find no evidence seems far from careful, farther still from clever.

Most things that
are have names.
Those that are
but don't wait

the way mysteries
do outside what
we know to call
them. It's cold

out there, I
imagine, and
far away from
what it's almost

next to: a rose
by any name.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


A lot of things are
funny the first
time they happen.
A lot of things aren't.

Death, for example, is
no laughing matter,
unless it's the death
of someone you hated

more than you should
have. Hating a man
so much that you
want him dead

is unhealthy. But
it's not illegal.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Simple Simon
(not the pie man,
but this guy who
lives in our

neighborhood and
is as simple as he
is Simon) says
someday should

occur more frequently.
He's not wrong.
But he's not right.
He's something

between wrong and
right we call "simple".

Friday, May 13, 2011


I will do as the
season demands and
stay inside myself
another day or

two. My shadow
at noon looks
like an undecided
groundhog. I reap

what I've sown
and drag it
into the barn
to feed the animals.

Rain today, tapering
off tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

for Ron Padgett

In the end we are
content to lie in a
ditch someone else
has dug for us

(thank you, someone
else--it was nice
of you, I think,
or at least hope).

We can't figure out
anymore how not
to be content. If
we could, we might

not be so happy in
this ditch, which is cold.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Objects pass in
and out of existence
as we look and
don't look at them.

It was one of
those creaky old
philosophers who
insisted that objects

stay where they are
because God is always
staring at them.
But that was before

God stopped
looking at the world.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


An awkward middle
(more edge than
center) seeks out
love in order to

fold the possible
in half. An
elastic theology
lets God expand

and contract at will
(his) while preventing
anything else from
happening on time.

A misplaced verb accidentally
blurs the meaning of life.

Monday, May 9, 2011


It's hard not to
feel lonely with the
graveyards filling
up around us.

The trick is to
focus on those
who haven't figured
out yet how to

die. Everyone figures
it out in the end,
of course. That's
why they call it

"the end". Exit
to the left.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


In a world I visit
only in dreams two
people standing too
close to each other

become one and go
about what is now
nobody's business
but theirs. They

promptly begin dividing
and multiplying at
a rate not even the
finest accountants can

account for in their
leaky ledgers.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


No one likes to
think of a dead
angel floating
face-down in the

tub. But there
always is one,
even if only
in someone's

overactive imagination.
They said I had an
overactive imagination
when I was a child.

A different 'they'
insists I still do.

Friday, May 6, 2011


A mime's words
are so thoroughly
minced not a single
sound can escape.

Empty echoes
slip from his
fingertips, pressed
tightly against a

glass that isn't
there. At one
point he all but
swallows himself

in one last vain attempt
to parse the silence.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


This poem for you
shows a way I found
to be at peace
with going upstairs.

Maybe someday I will
grow into who I was
before you knew me,
standing in the doorway

with a better question
in my mouth. If I ever
forget to be with you,
remind me to bring

along a newer way
of knowing when to go on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I watch bubbles
explode on the surface
of the lake and
realize my poor

dead brother's trying
to breathe again.
I beg him to stop,
but the dream moves

on past windows
that wink and
oddities that refuse
to shrink when

placed outside to die.
No one knows anything.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Despite plans to the
contrary, the average
person stumbles into
his or her death

as into any number
of similar mistakes.
Nor does there seem
to be another way

to get there short
of stumbling. The
grave is always
open. We have

only to forget
ourselves and fall in.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Christ was a Jew
who converted to
Christianity at a
crucial point in

his brief life.
He was buried
under the assumption
that he would

immediately rise again.
His followers believe
he will return
one day on

a Greyhound bus
bound for glory.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


The church I liked
best as a child
was the one my
father refused to

go to. I wanted
to not attend that
church as faithfully
as my father

had. My father
believed ardently
in the unlikelihood
of the unproven.

I recently learned how
to stand in that shadow.