Monday, January 31, 2011


We know the sound of two mirrors facing one another, but what is the sound of one mirror turning around to look at itself?

A tantalizingly wide way leads to
my impossible future, impossible because
I can't be there, having been confined
to this moment by an overzealous gatekeeper.

I wish I could find myself doing something else
instead of being so nostalgic about things
that haven't happened yet. You are a
changed person. I can tell from the way

you resume the same thing over and over.
I admire your method of stumbling into
a backward way of seeming accidental,
slowly disappearing into the sunset

while everyone else is focused on the other sunset,
the one painted onto the wall by an anonymous muralist.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Wait until you're older
to read this. What it
means hasn't been
born yet. What it

used to mean died
an incorrect death
at the hands of one
no longer qualified

to believe a word
I say. Most of it
will be repeated
several times, but

only after it has ceased
to matter even to me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Sometimes something
in the center of
what's old is
trying to be new

again. It can't,
of course, but
nevertheless makes
a noise it tries

to hide from those of
us who know better.
The noise is a lot
like the noise

an old man makes
trying not to die young.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Time flows in
all directions now,
trying to get there
before us. The

severed head squawks
like a chicken as its body
scampers across the
yard in disbelief.

I crack time
from an egg and
teach it to talk.
Water begins drinking

itself in pursuit of
a different tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Now that humanity
has lost its way,
can we begin at least
to beg for a little

more mercy? I
see no reason to
step on you just
because you're lying

underfoot. I'm more
than willing to take
the long way around
you at the risk of not

arriving. We look so
much alike, you and I.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm not sure what's
meant by an old man
skipping along a roadbed.
But I have some

clever ideas about death
I'd be willing to share with
you after they finish
drilling for oil in

my brain. A bug
still delivers the elixir,
of course, and disillusioned
men still drill themselves

into the ground day
by dreary day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


No one bothers
to finish children
these days. They drop
them off and ask

themselves what others
think. No one answers.
No one points a finger
in the direction of

direction. Nothing needing
doing's getting done.
Nothing's as unlikely
as forever is impossible

to build a fence around.
Until next week again.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Convinced she had cancer and that water was the cure, she drank and drank until she had washed herself out of her body. "Death by drowning" the medical examiner called it.

Black in its
borrowed dress,
fact crawls away
like a saint

in search
of a ladder.
Nothing I hear
passes between

the goalposts
of meaning.
A piano,

knows where
it goes away.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Mortality bruises my
thoughts as I watch
you carve your
nudity out of my

need to see you.
Listening to the
sounds neither of us
makes anymore,

I can't help wondering
if anything was meant
to be what this is.
Or is this just one

more example no one
has the courage to elude?

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Trapped in a city
an anonymous higher
power had directed
her to, she didn't

know which way
to turn. She turned
around, but noticed
that everything around

her was changing
without being different.
This didn't so much
startle her as convince

her once and for all that
truth was a myth in disguise.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Going to a shopping
mall to shoot everyone
is becoming more
popular in America.

Oh, beautiful for spacious
skies, etc. A new
hate-exchange just
opened in our mall

here in town. Red
necks swap reasons
for despising everyone
insufficiently like them

to be considered human.
It passes the time.


For those who insist there must be no 'I' in the poem. Please understand. The 'I' is there, whether you mention it by name of not.

Those children starving
on your plate are all
but brainless now,
making your permission

to sleep official.
No one can guarantee
or prevent what
a dream might say

on its way to a clearer
understanding of what
mystery is. The smell
of burning monk is making

its way into your
underinhabited hallway.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Nocturnal landslides
allowed her to bounce
her equations off
the wall. Dogs in

the mirror made
everything more
difficult. I refuse
to be you if you

insist on remaining
yourself. I married
you on the assumption
you were a plan I

had devised to reconstruct
you from the ground up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I select from a
book of nostalgias
one to which

stick like glue.
A primitive ecstasy
barges in, its head
crawling with crickets.

An ancient bell
bangs against its steeple,
releasing wishes
into the startled air.

Tongues below
caress an edible god.

Monday, January 17, 2011


A different way of
looking at things is
often the same way of
looking at things on

a different page. By the
same token is actually
by a different token
tossed into a deliberately

identical fountain. I'm not
making this up. I'm
tearing it down so that
you can see what it

might have looked like if
someone else had made it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Anchored in mother
bone, yet more than
mere meat hanging
from an idea,

I stand alone next
to ungodly ago
and numbing
sheets of same.

I carry my average
violin with me
everywhere I go,
disappearing into an

ancient cave that
remembers how to be there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Something is rubbing
out the metaphor man
is. A stick figure
rehearsing absence

depicts what we will
inevitably become
if the future has
its way. Fortunately,

I know none of this and
continue believing with
all my heart that doubt will
reinvent itself by gradually

erasing the unlikely
metaphor man is.

Friday, January 14, 2011


It was the barbarians, of course, who turned the Romans into ancient history, where they had to stand in line behind the Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, etc., before it became their turn and they were permitted to set about conquering Gaul and systematically redirecting water into more convenient locations.

Perfect order
strives to be
a mother to its natives.
Beauty, a giant

for whom both size
and solitude are
essential, is an
abstraction whose face

would be hideous if it
weren't permanently installed
in a mirror of mandatory
perfection, a tenacious

particle (almost)
of the skeleton of ether.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


An oboe
holds its breath
for want of
a more perfect pain.

I hold you
in what is
left of my hand.
Ribbons of cow

spittle thread the
wind as winter
wipes what it knows
from the sky.

A snow falls
nameless into now.

Monday, January 10, 2011


A dream, to succeed,
must first plant itself
in us like a seed
that sees the future.

An overnight snow
kept us inside
ourselves barking
at the sunrise.

Something soul-like
flying past new windows.
My bride, guilty
as a cross, glided

gently through me to be
near the words we whispered.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


It's the same as saying
life goes on even though
it may not. Reality
creates a pattern and slides

it under the door. Meanwhile,
I keep digging up bits
of a language I buried
a long time ago. But

when I put the words
together, either nothing
happens, or something is
said, but in a voice so

low not even the neighbors
can remember what I mean.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


With you into a silence
only night can explain.
The telephone and its story,
one that leaves the art part out of Oslo.

Often I would see you walking there.
Other times the moon would seem to slip
between the trees. Or I would imagine
myself interrupting you as you were about

to say something. I never know what.
I always assume more than can happen
and end up having to forgive myself again.
Then I close my eyes and pretend

it has to be Tuesday. As if that
could be the answer to a prayer.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Out of the Teflon
pan into the choir
loft. Let us sing,
or not sing, as

the mood moves
us. From here
to there. Out of
this into that.

Out like lamp
light when the
switch switches
off. In even

the out door in the
unlikely event of rain.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


What the wind forgets
in the mountains remains
largely untranslatable.
Still, I try in my

scarcely adequate way
to mean at least a small
part of what you think
I should. Token smiles

from across the room
invite us down a steep
flight of stairs into
a memory of what

might have been, but
managed not to be.

Monday, January 3, 2011


The where and when
we won't know until
it's too late, the wherefore
not even then. Larger

examples of what's
not possible arrive
in boxes labeled
"Fragile". Please stop

meaning every word
you say. It makes my
head hurt and my
feet eager to move

at least away, and
maybe farther than that.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


They say he took
his soul out and
flung it straight
into the mirror

without breaking
anything (it was
one of those old-
fashioned mirrors

made of water, like
the one Narcissus
fell into that
day when he was

bent over the bank
trying to get in).

Saturday, January 1, 2011


His exceptional height
left him with a fear
of falling into himself
(autoacrophobia, I think

they call it). His
sense of who he
was shifted with
the tides, but he

never forgot where
he came from because
he never knew. His
mother refused to

tell him for fear he
might find himself there.