Monday, December 31, 2012

After Bei Dao

We enter this world
with paper, rope,
and a shadow.
The shadow slowly

twists itself into
the shape of death.
Snow melts in
a song about

summer.  Reaching
up, a farmer pulls
wheat from the moon.
A flock of sheep

spills from the
meadow into morning.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tooth And Nail

The two lips
forming above
and below an
incision speak

the truth.  Blood
flows downhill,
delivering oxygen's
lifeboat to the sea.

An animal on the
run (turning to
daylight in a
hunter's rifle sight)

slows to a walk,
swallows itself.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

for Joe Green

Having sketched
what I thought
a prayer might
look like when

uttered inwardly
and then released
into the air like
a helium-filled

balloon, I took
up pen and paper
and wrote out
in longhand a

complete biography
of the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Every man's secret
ambition is to
wake up in time
for death.  A

woman's unfulfilled
wish stands at
the window and
waits.  We are

born naked
and buried in
borrowed clothes.
The answer everyone

knows is the
wrong answer.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Sometimes late at
night you can
feel the universe
shudder as it

wonders where
the exit is.
Then, if all
goes well, you

fall asleep in
the dent you've
made in your
bed.  You wake

up swimming
in light.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After Bei Dao

An old tree
topples, shedding
bits of torn
paper from

its branches.
A portrait of
the ocean enters
the spread wings

of a seagull.
A rainbow
dries its damp
feathers under

a predictably
new sun.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Without Which

I can honestly
say I don't give
a whimpering bang
about how or when

(or even why).
I lie with my
eye closed and
wonder without

benefit of a
rudder or compass
or overwrought concern
as to where or

what if a much of
a whether and which.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Time, a temporary way
of looking at things,
will have been something
else when all is done

and said (I say this
with my mouth closed
to protect myself
from death).  All

evils will join hands
in the end, amen.
Words stationed at
strategic points in

the literature will
fall asleep on cue.
Coming Off It

Many immoral
brutal things are
gone:  the clench,
the sigh, the grinning

widow, the monkey
wrench's pipe-fitting
pinch, the wrack
and inch necessary

to reach the wind.
Not even the least
likely rhymes will
be able to capture

them in time for
coming off it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


A star I can
easily step over
while helping
Franz Wright

vacuum his
desert is gone
by morning
(by "morning"

I mean "mourning").
Meanwhile midnight
is making a
mockery of what

we have not
succeeded in becoming.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Medias Res

A man shooting off
his mouth at what
he thinks he sees
is using real bullets

and has to be brought
down by a member
of the swat team
before he accidentally

hurts someone's feelings.
An old woman in the
parking lot who clearly
doesn't know any

better is scolding us
for not being real.

Monday, December 17, 2012


A flower in the
mirror, growing
out of your eyes,
seems so firmly

rooted in vertigo
that it rings like
an underwater bell.
A book claiming

to be the history
of the world ends
abruptly on page
zero, exactly as had

been foretold by a
pair of loaded dice.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

After Bei Dao

A fetus, having
periscoped its birth,
surfaces shortly
before dawn.

Days drop into
the water like
depth charges,
exploding right

on schedule.
A farmer plants
his hands in
the ground and

prays for rain.
My hair turns white.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Father dies first,
clearing a path
for all to follow.
He lights a

candle underground,
restoring the sight
of those blinded
by death.  Momentum

becomes a monument
to stasis.  Life's last
caesura, arriving
late, stops,

marking the

Friday, December 14, 2012


A girl protected by
the color white
plays in a meadow
watched by a

wolf.  The wolf's
instinctive fear
of any color it
can't smell keeps

it at bay.  The
girl sings a
song the wolf
wishes it could

eat in time
for death.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

After Bei Dao

The years I
have spent
learning how
to waste my

life line up
on the fence
like birds.  I
climb a ladder,

dragging gravity
behind me.
In the evening
I listen to the

sound of fish
forgetting each other.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Night hides its true
feelings in a lofty
idea about the
origin of ecstasy.

Skinnier than a
hairpin, taller than
the smallest tree,
morning's hidden

motive locks itself
up in the tomb
of the unknown
conscientious objector.

The rest is
history in reverse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Your silence tells
us everything we need
to know about
death (at whose

door we begin
standing at birth).
The costumes we
discard while waiting

accumulate in a
corner of the room
that consists entirely
of exits.  I awake

each morning with a
name I can't pronounce.

Monday, December 10, 2012

for Jerry

As I watch
the wind carry
your words away,
I can't help

remembering the
games we played
as children (and
still play today

in translated form).
We whittled your
body down,
forcing it to

fit in an
urn of our choosing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


When a word
is made flesh,
its letters tremble
in anticipation.

Angels lean back
into their armchairs
and hum.  The
milk of grammar

rains down from the
ceiling, preparing the
way for the poet
and his colleagues

in crime.  Matter
begins to matter.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


A wise old owl
eats what moves
at night as the
still moon looks

on.  Time tiptoes
through history's
dark room in
search of a

better ending.
We are too quick
to die when the
dropped hat hits

the floor, hoping
(still) for more.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Having drunk from
the dark milk of
predawn, we
gather around

death's door and
bow our heads
in fear.  Words
dribble from the

lips of a priest
who seems duly
unconcerned.  Dirt
pelts the lid

of what's left of
one dearly departed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


God, who gives
us this day our
daily dead (Hoover),
is broken into

bits of bread by
a priest who finds
himself thinking
about the fish

that got away
instead of concentrating
on the celestial slices
he deposits one by

one on the tongues
of the dying.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Exchange

The song a
deaf boy
applauds reminds
his blind friend

of a painting
he likes to look
at with his
eyes closed.

The blind boy
opens his eyes
to listen to the
song his deaf

friend enjoys looking
at with his hands.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The sound of a
lake catching fire
mimics everything
I ever thought

about prayer.  The
immaculate deception
is all I can remember
of my earliest

childhood and its
hooks.  I open
my umbrella
upside down to

protect myself
from impure thoughts.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Noon (picking
up where it
left off the
day before)

drops like a
hammer, driving
shadows into the
ground as if they

were nails.  Nothing
else is permitted to
happen at that
moment.  No

difference of opinion
utters a sound.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


God had just
begun to believe
in himself when
he accidentally

pulled the plug
and went down
the drain with
the bath water.

This happened when
no one was watching,
which explains why
there is no film

or even a memory
of it anywhere.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The House

In one wall there was a door.
There was a knob on the door,
and when you turned this
knob, the door opened.  You

were then able to go inside
the house if you wanted.  The
inside was divided into rooms,
some small, others large.  Sitting

in a small room made you feel
larger than you were.  Sitting
in a large one made you feel
smaller.  You could adjust

your size by quickly walking
from one room to the next.

Friday, November 30, 2012


In memory of
all I've forgotten,
I swim through
the dark like

a half-demented
hitchhiker. A century
comforts its seasons,
each of which had

hoped to be the
reason life goes on.
Impatient rhymes
wait at the end

of each line,
trembling in anticipation.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


A white parrot,
it is said, sleeps
in the color blue
and dreams the

wet dream of
a nearby lake.
This cannot be
confirmed, only

said.  That being
said, let us move
west to where
the wilderness is

and, lying down
in it, die.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


At the bottom
of the mirror's
pond a memory
sleeps in deep

liquid.  Looking
up, it sees itself
rising to the surface,
only to sink again.

It thinks it's a
ping pong ball
that's a pebble.
It senses that it

ought to remember
what it's unaware of.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Parade Grounds

Love leads each
of us to the parade
grounds by a
different route.

One guy, for
instance, has a
toothpick in his
mouth, while another

appears not to be
concerned about anything.
My chance came
when she arrived

unexpectedly in a
dress she wasn't wearing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Your Turn

Almost anything
is something a
poem can start
out with if the

poet wants it
to.  The poet is,
after all, in charge.
You would do

well to remember
that as you
open the book
and start reading.

Okay.  Now it's
your turn.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Now that there are
more poets than
there are readers
of poetry, let the

book burning begin.
Franz Wright is
essentially right
about being wrong.

A poet's frown becomes
a reader's easy excuse
for going insane.  A
tree standing on

tiptoe scatters
the dawn.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Time forces a smile
on each of us as we
await the embarrassing
click of the shutter.

I was as strong then
as I am wrong now.
I am older, yes, but
still bereft of wisdom's

comforting counsel.  I
juggle words I will
never have the good
sense to use in a

sentence that says
what I mean.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Many ingenious
lovely things
are gone, replaced
by less lovely,

even more
ingenious things.
The sound of
life going

on in the next
room reminds
me of the
noise the air

makes turning
into wind.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Trapped inside a silence
he had agreed to years
earlier, he pretended
not to notice the

lovely young women
in white.  He didn't
mention to himself
how wonderful they

were, how the slightest
movement of their
bodies suggested
a symphony no

composer had had the
courage to compose.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A woman in gray,
whose son is in
Mexico City but
can't imagine

why, sits on her
veranda and sips
iced tea through
a straw.  A slice

of lemon floating
in the glass of
iced tea insists
on appearing

yellow to anyone
who looks at it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

At The Window

Wisdom's widow,
dressed in darkness,
stands at the
window, looking

down on what
she can no
longer see.
Men selling

hats swat
flies, flying
off the handle
at the mere

 mention of
a dropped hat.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

As Planned

Dressed in pink,
she falls into
the well of his
eyes and enters

a dream about
starting over at
the beginning.
The dream is

filled with flowers
that have difficulty
smelling as sweet
as they need to

in order for everything
to turn out as planned.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Hell is probably just
a less than totally
satisfactory heaven
in which some of

the fruit is a little
overripe.  Bookkeepers
can be heard bouncing
off the walls in an

imaginary recording
whose colors run
down the broad
side of a barn in

predictably unpredictable

Friday, November 16, 2012

A bird

At noon, of
course, every
light bulb goes
blind.  Lanterns

lean against a
fond memory of
night.  Shade
shivers darkly in

its skin.  A fountain,
lifting up its arms
in prayer, babbles
as if it were a

brook.  A bird
postpones its flight.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Having been informed
by mail that I had
inherited the
kingdom of heaven,

I briefly considered
moving there with
my dog and some
of my furniture.

The rest I would
have sold had I
decided ultimately
to make the move.

As it is, I am
tentatively happy here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


They are too young
to remember when
people died delighted
with how long they

had been required to
wait.  In those days no
one had to demand that
the slack be taken up.

It was taken up more or
less automatically (more
more than less, even though
there was still the nagging

problem of too many
dreams per square inch).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I can understand
how my insistence
on coming to pick
you up for our

date in a parked
car might annoy
you.  But the
parked car is the

only car I own.
It is parked where
I left it when
it ran out of

gas one night and
refused to go on.

Monday, November 12, 2012


My grandfather had
a fear of being
buried upside down
and not being able

to see the sky.
It was an irrational
fear (as most fears
are).  To placate

him, we bought him
a casket with a window,
through which we
could clearly see

him staring up at us
through his eyelids.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Having determined'
that a perfect
name for each
thing existed

only in theory,
he gave each
thing an alias
and an alibi.

A "tree" wasn't
a tree, but could
pass for one
in a pinch.  A

"man" pointing at it
could say "that tree".

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It took an entire
crew of angels
to resurrect her
body and reattach

it to what was left
of her soul.  When
she began fading
into the background

of the memories
of those who had
known her, a
chair was brought

in for her to sit
on, permanently.

Friday, November 9, 2012

In English

It's hard to figure 
out sometimes what
hobbies the girls
are likely to have,

what degree of heed
they pay to whatever
they pay heed to.
What seems at

least partially legible
is the interest they
show in interesting
things while at the

same time thinking about
themselves in English.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


What had seemed
a mere mention
of itself in passing
became the gospel

according to John.
Tulips yawned and
cracked open like
walnuts.  Time's

cup overflowed,
not with joy, but
with even more
waiting.  Inertia

seemed content in the
chair it was sitting in.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Joseph Of Cupertino

The word "tall"
is a short word,
shorter than the
word "short",

though not quite
as short as
the word "all".
The word "levitate"

describes an action
that is unable to
occur outside the
imaginations of

Joseph of Cupertino
and his followers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Time is a garden
in which memories
grow until they've
become large enough

to be afterthoughts
dressed in pink.
My cousin is
the gardener.

Like most gardeners,
he is unreliable.
He allows time
to bribe him

with brief pauses
that never end.

Monday, November 5, 2012

At The Present Time

I often imagine
you trying to write
the poems I write,
but not being

able to because
you are not me.
This problem you
have of not being

able to be me
is, I am told by
people who
say they know,

at the the present time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Gulls, too far
inland, seem
to object to
the way I write

as I cautiously
walk out of one
way of behaving
into a treeless

field.  Lord, the
summer was so
grand.  Let the
wind blow freely

through the land.
It's time.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


An orchard my
memories liked
to hide in was
torn down in

the fifties to
make room for
post-war housing.
Some of my fondest

memories ended
up in the rafters
of three-bedroom
homes.  I like to think

of them as termites
eating into the wood.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Out in the dew-coated
garden a tulip
parts its lips
in anticipation

of a promiscuous
sun.  Noon
nods its head
in agreement.

Everything that can
goes smoothly, running
every stop
sign between

here and what's
left of hereafter.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Every Yesterday

I spend most
of my days
waiting for a
letter that was

never sent.
Knowing it was
never sent
relaxes me,

allows me to
reach evening
without a hitch.
It's a letter I

address to myself
every yesterday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In Anticipation

Of the three things
that can save America
one is knee-high
to a grasshopper

and another is
invisible at eye-level.
No one has the
faintest idea what

the  third one is,
or even whether
it actually exists
outside rumored

conjecture.  America
trembles in anticipation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


He said he was
willing to die
as long as
everyone else

promised to die
too.  He didn't
want to be the
only (i.e. the last)

one to do it.  The
others nodded
their heads in
in what may or

may not have
been agreement.

Monday, October 29, 2012


At your suggestion
I was reading
between the lines
of your poems

when I came
across a message
in one of them
that you had clearly

hidden there, then
promptly forgotten
about.  I won't
embarrass you by

repeating the message.
The poem was titled "Untitled".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Second To None

In an old, almost
invisible photograph
of girls lounging
around in their

one-piece bathing
suits time seems
to be sucking
its thumb in

anticipation of a
pause.  The First
Cause finishes
second to none

in a poorly run
race to the finish.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

for Joe Green

The boat Robert
Bly and a friend
went out to see
who could write

the best poem
in is riddled
with dry rot
now.  It sits

in a museum
in Minnesota
and invites visitors
to imagine it

with fresh oars
pulling for shore.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Lake waves lap
lightly against the
shore's moist edge.
Canoes bounce up

and down in the
wake of a passing
speedboat.  I
have no stake

in this and
fall asleep in
the tall grass
that seems to grow

everywhere except
where it doesn't.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


It would be
awkward if
someone showed
up as John

Ashbery before
John Ashbery
was finished
being John Ashbery

(will anyone ever
be Wallace Stevens
again?).  Most
things that happen

happen in the normal
course of events.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

for Jerry

We are all, of
course, lined
up to be knocked
down.  What

goes without
saying is repeated
in (near-perfect)
silence.  I held

your hand to
lead you to the
end of yourself.
You had to close

your eyes to ber
where everything is.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I want to thank
you again for
holding my breath
during takeoff

and for having
my best interests
at heart every time
you advised me

not to enjoy myself.
If my attempt to
extricate your nose
from my business

caused you any
discomfort, I apologize.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trouble Ahead

Berries ripen in
a garden over which
two women dream
of each other by

accident.  The nothing
else that happens is
biding its time.
Kettles of perfected

decay should be
stirred with care.
A rainbow's end
of uninterrupted

ecstasy threatens
our very existence.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Modus Operandi

The one noticed
by more than one
travels the short
distance between

two points.  A
glance darts out
to greet him.
A new play

consisting entirely
of stage directions
is being performed
in Braille by

actors pretending
to be blind.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


On a day replete
with rumors of
something being
done about it

on the other
side of town,
possibility plunges
into a deep hole

for safe-keeping.
A move clearly
designed to separate
the men from

the boys remains
strangely stationary.

Friday, October 19, 2012

No Cure

Holes are hands
the darkness extends
in a curious offer
of friendship.  Stepping

into one shaped like
a wishing well can
alter the way
you dream on

chilly winter nights.
Children can be heard
chopping down trees
in the forest

behind the barn.
There is no cure.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A True Thing

A true thing always
stands perpendicular
to the ground it
grows out of,

like a tree.
Contrary to popular
belief, God does
not involve himself

in the making
of trees. He
is too busy

the apple of his

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Trying to multiply
his lifetime by two
cut his blessings
in half.  Counting

them did little to
keep the inevitable
at bay.  Drinking
milk in the dark

with your eyes
open can help
alleviate the pain
of being alive

at an inopportune

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Candidate Speaks

I have scraped
together enough
half-truths to
hoodwink the gullible.

The people will
elect me if I let
them touch the
hem of my garment.

My garment is
woven from the
ruined lives of
those I've wronged.

The majority will vote
for me out of envy and despair.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Those Of Us

A battle of
wits between the
forces of evil
and the forces

of good has ended
in a draw, giving
rise to the not
so bad yet far

from perfectly
ideal.  This
comes as a great
relief to those

of us directly
affected by it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


There will always
be things to be
sung of and things
to be lamented

in the dark before
dawn.  The dimwit
inside me flicks
a switch, flooding

the room with doubt.
Restacking the
chips I have let
fall where they

may now takes
up most of my time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Just another day
or dog in the long
journey from here
to now.  Gas approaches

disguised as glass
for rhyme's sake.
Something within
spelling distance

refuses to budge.
Every third bird
senses the approach
of winter and exits

through an open
door in the sky.

Friday, October 12, 2012


During a recent
visit with the
shadow of my
former self, it

became apparent
that we had both
attended the
same high school.

I took pleasure
in knowing that
the two of us
shared more than

just a name and
an alibi.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Getting older every
year is wonderful
for the wrong reason,
resembling more

than anything else
an obligatory
donation to another
unworthy cause.

The parts keep
adding up to the
whole, forced
to do so by some

cranky old Greek

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In Mid-Air

Wanting to simulate
sincerity, the
candidate plugs
his soul into

a wall-socket
nearby and switches
on the neon
sign above his

head.  Everyone
applauds in apparent
compliance with
the implied

command hanging
there in mid-air.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Our imperfect knowledge
of the future darkens
our description of
life as we know it.

Although we live
to die, none of us
is dying for a
chance to stop

living.  That one
word in the dictionary
no one seems
willing to look

up probably
defines us.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I am always ready
to climb mountains
that are flat
on my way home

and to wade
across shallow
lakes that leak.
I willingly

lock myslef up
in a cell I can
easily escape from.
I do these things

for the good
of all mankind.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

You're So Vain

Your insistence
that you are the
"you" referred to
in my poems

only strengthens
my resolve to
exclude you with
even greater emphasis

than before.  The
fact you are convinced
that you have to be
the "you" referred to

in this poem convinces
me that you couldn't be.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More Often

The same force
that changes the
minute to an
hour and drives

the flower through
some purely hypothetical
green fuse paints
my body pink.

I notice this,
of course, while
taking a shower,
something I seem

to be doing more
often than necessary.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Like This

The sound must
seem an echo
of the sense,
yes, but music

and meaning
must be dance
partners if things
that can't go

on like this
are to continue
going on like
this, if inertia's

to remain the
stepchild of surprise.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


The fascinating
thing about his
ideas was their
ability to cannibalize

themselves on their
way to the forum.
The resulting empty-
headed lecture drew

applause from those
too young to remember
the time when people
died at the end

of their lives by
not breathing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Beauty's the beginning
of a terror we
invite in because of
its unbroken vow

not to strike us dead.
No warning in the
blood prompts us
to fly away.  We

refuse to court
the actual, that
familiar skeleton
hanging in the

doctor's office like
a rude remark.

Friday, September 28, 2012

At Hand

And then there
were sixteen
reasons not to
return home

You began to
believe in words
as birds again,

confusing everyone
around you.  The
nothing that could
be done about

anything caught
fire in your hands.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


There might have
been birdsong in
the morning if the
trees had decided

to live.  A small
puppy pretending
to like you in exchange
for food grows

into a dog that
barks at your
enemies.  My
passion convinces

an old prayer to
lead me into temptation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Now that you
are gone, I get
along as best
I can.  I find

my way through
the wall using
a door.  The
distance between

me and everything
I ever dreamed
of expands pretty
much as predicted

back when I bothered
to predict things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Disguised As Pleasure

The first shall
be last, the last
first.  Those in
the middle of

the line can
go fuck themselves
for all I care.
Someone who almost

knows you thinks
we should go
out on a date.
Your eyelashes

look even longer
than last time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Moment
for Mister Ron

When I get
tired of never
knowing when,
I force something

to happen.  I
purposely drop
my fork at
dinner.  Everyone

around the table
looks at me,
forced by me
to do so.  I

have enjoyed sharing
this moment with you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The recent discovery
that this is not the
real world, but
merely a reasonable

facsimile, has eased
the concerns of
those who had bet
their last dollars

on beauty and truth
and their reciprocal
relationship in the
poem by Keats.  This

poem is an unreasonable
facsimile of that one.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


It's fun to watch
the light at noon
scurrying around
frantically in search

of its shadow.  It's
one of the many
tricks nature
enjoys playing

on itself.  The sun
doesn't care whether
you look at it or not.
The moon wishes you

would mind your
own fucking business.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Turning toward you
as you turn away,
I decide to
worship the ground

you walk upon
for fun.  I
become the invalid
you can't get

rid of.  Uneasily
adored, you continue
turning until time
becomes just one

more possible way
of looking at things.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Even more unsettling
was the fact that
light had begun
causing leaves

to rustle, flags
to flap, something
the wind had always
handled heretofore.

Air, incapable of
budging, had retreated
into small clusters
of bubbles that

resembled ponds.
Something was clearly amiss.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Leaning into the past
for protection from
tomorrow's tornado
only works if your eyes

are dotted with dreams
of tooth fairies and mildly
prophetic prophecies.
I address God using

the familiar form
of the verb "to be".
His answer is a noun
rounded to the nearest

zero.  I worship in a
hollowed-out church.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


One way of staying
ahead of the game
is to write elegies
for people who aren't

dead yet.  You must
begin, of course, with
your own.  And don't
try to cheat by writing

your elegy in the future
tense.  Any attempt to
avoid death by keeping
the future safely behind

you will result in
a stiff penalty.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birth Of The Sonnet

At some point
the poet decides
to write only
poems he can

escape from at
a decent hour.
Epics he has
written are

whittled down
to size.  Odes
are asked to
become odds

and ends.  Elegies
die in the line of duty.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Transit

The irony inherent
in an angel's
shadow threatens
to undo man

and creation too.
Kindness only kills
when kept too
close for comfort.

Asleep on the hard
bed of his mortality,
a man awakes
with a small

dent on the inside
of his thoughts.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Is the poem over
yet?  No?  Okay,
I'll try to think
of something more

to say.  I got lost
yesterday.  Today's
no different.  I
am writing this

in words.  I had
considered using
numbers (1,2,3,
etc.), but decided

against it at
the last second.

Friday, September 14, 2012


A season's taste
on its first day
quickly gives way
to a sense of having

wasted one's time.
Eternity hides its
noise in the rime
of melting snow.

There's nowhere to know
once the verdict's in
(no familiar place
other than ago).

The sound of being here
echoes in an empty ear.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I lunge toward
you in a stationary
move to be all
I can be.  We

are lost when
our fate forgets
to happen at
the prescribed

 moment.  We
tire of trying
again and settle
for a peaceful sleep

in which we die
without making a sound.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


What went around
returned too late
to matter.  Trying
to escape you,

I shape you in
the image of
someone I used
to know when

I still knew how
to know her.
I look at myself
from behind through

two mirrors that
recognize each other.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


What I believe
you will believe
for the time being.
I'll let you know

when it's safe
to doubt me
again.  A cyclone
inside what we

used to think was
true is working
its way toward
the outskirts.

The all-clear will
sound when it's gone.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Every woman tries
her best, I think,
to give birth to
God.  Many are

called chosen by
their mothers and
try to sell themselves
as special on the

open market.
There are fewer
and fewer takers
as time goes by.

I was chosen to be
one telling you this.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Intent on becoming
everything the arrogant
are, he decides
to run for office.

He allows blown-up
photos of himself
to blossom on
billboards and

banners.  He learns
how not to say
anything with his
mouth open.  After

months of careful
planning, he's elected.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I used to think
the Blessed Virgin
was hot when
I was young

enough to have
such thoughts.  I
scarcely notice
her now.  I

used to picture
her in three-inch
heels to infuriate
the parish priest.

I'm older than
that now.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Temporary Sanity

Forgive me for
falling asleep
midway through your
sermon about death

and its expanded
role in the modern
dream.  I felt a
need to wash

God's hair in a
river that never
returns while hanging
onto gravity's belt

buckle for balance
and temporary sanity.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I could smell
my guardian angel's
body rotting in the
closet as seven

gold-plated bullies
sat on their oil
drums counting
the days.  There

was no longer
enough toilet paper.
There was suddenly
too much profundity.

Tomorrow refused
to be another day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Signs in the birdshit
suggest an impending
end.  But an end
is always impending

and couldn't be
an end if it weren't.
That's the tub the
rub lies in.  Dreaming

helps a little now
and then.  Other
times it doesn't.
Dreaming after death

is not recommended
in any of the handbooks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The last-minute save
we tried to requisition
was out of stock.  I
can hear the night

grinding its teeth
in the dark.  The song
angels are said to sing
in heaven is silent.

There is nothing
more beautiful than
a poor girl's blouse
being worn by the

wife of a billionaire.
She looks so cute in it.

Monday, September 3, 2012


When I first met
you, you were still
looking for a story
to explain your life

with.  You felt free
to want everything
you didn't have, or
at least the opposite

of what you already
had.  I could almost
feel you trying to
trade yourself in

for a new improved

Sunday, September 2, 2012


She sleeps through
dawn as if guilty
of every sin she
wishes she'd

had the courage
to commit.  A
dream wrestles
her naked body

to the ground,
her virginity
glowing in the
dark like Jesus.

The gap between
here and now narrows.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


An old blood-stained
altar offers its
meat to God,
whose inaudible

voice deafens
those who hear it.
I rub the bruise
limitation leaves

on my soul
and head for
higher ground.
I flap my wings

in vain and build
an ark out of daydreams.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Even More

I used to cruise
the street you lived
on in a Hertz rental
car, delivering the

news of my love
to your doorstep.
Then I got a
life and punctured

my swollen notion
of who you were.
A lot has happened
since then.  Even

more, I suspect, is
scheduled to happen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


My practice of
selling windows in
civilian life enables
me to sleep through

anything, even earthquakes
up to a Richter-scale
reading of five
point two.  I let

the chips in my
dream fall where
they may.  Then I
carefully gather them

into neat stacks of
red, white, and blue.

Friday, August 24, 2012


The skin of a
wild one who
throws her phone
number at me

becomes fluent
in six languages
when touched.
She dances in

private through
my wildest dreams
about her, then turns
into a goal I once

had of always
being about to begin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Father

When my father
died, I inherited
his worst memories
of the good old

days.  I remember
him whenever
rain interrupts
what I had

been thinking.
His hopes cling
to mine as
if trying to

avoid death
by drowning.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The mid-point between
in-between and among,
when met halfway,
pleases Aristotle

one mild morning
as he sips a
warm breakfast
beverage.  He

swallows half
an egg whole.
He gets up
from the table,

prepared to die
if Socrates did.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I was so sorry
to see you leave
I wished I could
throw my hand

after you to wave
goodbye again.
But you had
already bent

out of view
around the corner
we managed to
turn into a

nightmare we
couldn't wake up from.

Monday, August 20, 2012


As I wait for
something to happen,
an imaginary trot
to nowhere gallops

through my thoughts.
I stir my imagination
without moving
an inch.  The time

tries harder to
become later than
it was, but can't.
It's as stuck on

now as I am stuck
on you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Circumstances

Because I always
seem to be driving
past the one I
love in a parked

car, let me stay
a while and repeat
again things I
can't possibly

mean.  Time is
the time it is,
always and forever.
The circumstances

stand around,
congratulating themselves.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Whose pelvic zone
held midnight hostage
filled the hole
in my head

with bated breath.
(A chick returning
to its shell
compensates for

any loss in lust.)
I am as nervous
as a black cat
waiting for its

chance to bring
you bad luck.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Child

A child thrown
from the moving
vehicle of its
mother's death

survives by bouncing
creatively along the
pavement.  It is
now four years

old and able
to laugh when
tickled, to cry
when locked

out of the house
at night.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I invited a humid
woodpecker from
another poet's poem
to perch on a stanza

in my poem and peck
on any wood he might
happen to find there.
There was, of course,

no wood in my poem.
Nor was the woodpecker
actually humid.  The
poet I told you about had

attached that adjective to him
to make him more interesting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Elegy For Ayn

A hawk, perched
on its ledge of
air, prepares to
swoop down and

dismantle another
sparrow for the
good of mankind.
Ayn Rand tries

again to understand
why she's dead.
The dirt clod
in her mouth

tries in vain
to explain.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gilded Age

Bred white, raised
on white bread,
they nose into
the white pillow

that wastes the
world.  The chance
peace was given
was brief.  A

thief in sheep's
clothing is just another
billionaire who

doesn't know how
not to want more.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Wading through wet snow,
an audible squishiness
beneath my feet, I
contemplate the

willy-nilly nature
of things, while refusing
to think thinking is the
cause of my existence.

I turn my attention
to a window behind
which nothing will
happen (the man who

lives there doesn't
know he exists).

Sunday, August 12, 2012


In those days
(I explained to
the grandkids),
if you wanted to

get a message
to someone, you
wrote it down
on a "oiece of

paper", put it in
an "envelope"
and "mailed"
it to the person

you wanted to
get the message to.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Farewell, my lovelies.
Moonlight has not
made me its hero
in many moons.

My favorite forest,
having caught fire,
is charred and ugly.
Photos of the

Mars-scape float
down from space,
filling my screen
with desert places

and (so far)
no human races.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Saint Augustine

On days when you
feel shot from a
cannon, it's best
to avoid riding

on buses that
require exact
change.  Saint
Augustine knew

better than to
start believing
too soon.  He timed
his life perfectly,

leaving the study
of silence for last.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Man

A man bends
his wife around
an idea he has
of what a

wife should be
(Edson).  It
doesn't work.
His wife hides

herself in
who she was
before she
met him and

escapes through
a hole in the ceiling.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

After All

The train carries
him past houses
he'd like to live
in, to ask questions

in over dinner,
grow old and
older in until
there is no old

left to grow.
Then the tunnel
with its tightly
shut eyes.  A

house to be carried
out of after all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


What if everything
that's impossible
has already happened
somewhere else?

A lab in which
beauty can be
created in a test
tube is located

somewhere in the
middle of nowhere.
The virginity of
indecision sits on

the fence, leaning
this way and that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

In These Here Parts

It may well be
that an angel
fans the furnace
face of IS with

wings, but we've
never seen it.
Or even heard
tell of it.  In

these here parts
we whack the ass
of IS with sticks
until he douses

the crops
with rain.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


My ship cruises
through the night,
its flags ablaze
to tempt your gaze.

Your presence
allows darkness
to drag midnight
to within sight.

We haul our
collected self
off to bed and,
screwing it into

original sin,
invite infinity in.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Moonlight, which
becomes you when
you're moonlit and
is currently being

augmented by a
formation of flickering
fireflies, marches
across the night

as if thoroughly
convinced of the
distance between
now and then.  Your

rearrival in the morning
makes my timepiece tick.

Friday, August 3, 2012


A poet is trying
to show us
how clever he's
convinced he is

by choosing words
at random and
gluing them to
the page.  We

pretend to appreciate
what he's doing,
then burn what
he's done while

he sleeps in
his happy dream.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


They say the
operation was
successful, that
I will now live

as close to forever
as it's possible to
live under the
terms of the new

contract.  The few
minor details that
still have to be
worked out all

begin with a 'd':
darkness, decay, dreams.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The last thing we
need is more
poets chasing the
paparazzi around

town on motor scooters.
Let's continue waiting
instead for the end
of whatever this

turns out to have
been.  If a poet
can point something
out, that's different.

There aren't enough
words to go around.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Something that always
has to end like this
rimes with how
she pulls us back

into a silence
she wears at night.
We reinvent the
telephone to

reach her.  Death,
a dark vine at
the edge of the
porch, is poised

to come inside.  The
phone rings off the hook.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Spring exists again
everywhere.  The
tulips crack open
and smile.  The

names for things
change like days
on a calendar.
The rose is as

as ever, even
without its name.
Forgotten things

trade places with
things remembered.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Problems have a
way of solving
themselves.  For
example, there

will be sufficient
fury one day to
precipitate action
against the utterly

shameless way
in which the
wealthy continue
enriching themselves

at the expense
of everyone else.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


In a long dream
in which money
is changing hands
and hands are

missing their fingers,
I enlist the aid of
the enemy of my
arch rival.  He

is promptly uprooted
by silence.  The two
kinds of people
there are in this

world trade places
for the second time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wise Cartographers

Wise cartographers wait
for the dust to settle
before touching
pen to paper.  Will

the earth continue
being round?  Or
will it flatten
out the way it

did centuries ago?
Wise cartographers
wait until every
question has been

answered before
filling in the blanks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Australia

In Australia clocks
move counter
clockwise, if
they move at all.

A left-handed pitcher
(called a "northpaw")
is given the ball
and asked to strike

out as few batters
as possible.  Auto
mobile races are run in
reverse, with the car

crossing the finish line
last declared the winner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Undressed To Kill

An object invites
me to look inside
it, hoping to be
immortalized in my

memory of what
I see.  Life goes
on starting and
stopping.  I remember

the first dream
I met you in.  You
were sitting across
the room, nude,

pretending not
to look at me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Water echoes the
few scant clouds
this sky has
managed to scrape

together.  We had
agreed to part
here, where the
river refuses

to come ashore.
You still demand more
than original sin
can deliver as you

search for a new
movie to star in.

Monday, July 23, 2012


When there is
no old left
to grow, I will
lie down in

who I am
and, closing
my eyes,
concentrate on

what little's
left of the
future.  I
hope you can

make it in time
to see me off.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

As We Know It

In some fantastic
way, though the math
is all wrong, everything
adds up to life

as we know it.
Life as we don't
know it is an
idea whose time

has not yet come.
An idea whose
time will never
come was planted

in our dreams
at birth.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Her Dream

Objects in her dream
are arranged according
to color, type, size
and proximity to the

ideal object we all
dream about.  Leaves
do not fall in her
dream.  They wait

patiently.  The dust
in her dream
collects in one
place, from which

it can be easily
whisked away.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Dropped as an
infant into the
well of his
mother's death,

my father made
the most of the
darkness he swallowed
there.  In an old

photo from his
early childhood he
stands staring into
the future as if

destined never
to get there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


It was good
to be in heaven,
though I was,
to be perfectly

honest, less conscious
of my happiness
than most of
the others.  I

don't think I
was less happy,
just less aware
of just how

perfectly happy
I was.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


He left a rent
check on the table
before shooting
himself in the

geometric center
of his diminished
capacity to see
beyond the moment.

The landlady
was grateful
and whispered
a prayer under

her breath for
his continued success.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Every poem is
a false start
that can never
really know itself.

A man stops
singing, hanging
himself from a
rafter of his hope

for the future.
An object passing
through us on
an earnest quest

for permanence
ceases to exist.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Forgive me for
always addressing
you without actually
knowing who you

are.  A soft
rain that never
reaches the earth
reminds me of you.

A bird that
flees underground
from a danger
that has no name

resembles what
I think you look like.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


If a mime speaks
while no one
is watching,
does a sound

fall over in
the forest?
Turning, I
tear my

memory of
your death in half.
Staring at the
object for three days

locked in his
thoughts forever.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Words

Your gaze, faking
injury, fails to
reach its object
again.  Light

scatters in
patterns we could
never have predicted
without your help.

I thought I should
be the one to
tell you that
we have figured

out a way to touch
you with our words.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Papal infallibility aside, the sound doesn't necessarily have to seem an echo of the sense.  But it's nice when it does.  Just ask the bees when they are murmuring innumerably.

The handwriting was
not on the wall,
but under the
floorboards.  This

explains, I suspect,
why the ship sank,
and why autumn,
with all its hymnals,

continued inching
toward October.
So many things
have become unavoidable

that there's no room
left for us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Moonlight enables us
to read in our
sleep.  I hope
this doesn't turn

into a novel written
by someone I
hardly recognize.
I try to keep it

simple and as
silent as necessity
allows.  The ode
inside an elegy

I wrote upon your death
recites itself at dawn.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sleeping Beauty's Breakfast

We try to open
her eyes in a
new window, to
photoshop her

out of her
overlong sleep.
Elves hired
to prepare her

breakfast each
morning (just in
case) tiptoe into
her bedroom in

the evening to watch
her not wake up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Very Hard'

The passengers are
asked to clap on the
way down.  Clapping,
the pilot points out,

takes your mind off
your mind, which tends
to dwell on the
inevitable at the

expense of the
miraculous.  Yes,
the ground is
hard when met

at such a speed,
very hard.

Monday, July 9, 2012

for LDH

They say your
dream, in which
I'm always awake,
causes my insomnia.

They are wrong,
of course, as
usual.  My
dream, in which

you sleep soundly,
is the root cause
of war and
natural disaster.

I am trying
to wake up.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Your Diary

I had to make
some minor
revisions to your
diary when I

came across it
in that hiding
place you
foolishly thought

was secure.  You
are no longer in love
with Douglas, as
originally stated.

You are now in
love with me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


You were dressed
as a lucky guess
that night.  I
was wearing the

John Greenleaf Whittier
raincoat Kenneth
had lent me.
It wasn't raining,

but it was the
first of our
many first dates.
I was so

happy to see
you I cried.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Having selected sleep
from the drop-down
menu, I remain awake
beside my sheep.

I am the shepherd
whose April is
inadequate.  Contrary
to what you've heard,

I am not at the end
of my hope, whose
beginning I have
tried in vain to mend.

I have miles to sleep
the promises I keep.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The walls and ceilings
have been constructed
in such a way that
my applause returns

to me in the form
of an echo.  I am so
relieved to hear it.
I had been afraid

that the poor
and starving might
have figured out
a way to get

their hands on
what is mine.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No Beginning

Cruel to be kind
his kind,
God ignores
the ignorant,

while pasting
stars on the papers
of those who
study.  Then he

turns on the
sprinklers.  Since
the Word withdrew,
there has been

no beginning,
only an end.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Lot Less

Like most people
who are not like
most people, I've
always had a

special fondness
for things I can't
imagine.  I can't
imagine why.

Can you?  If you
can, you're even
less like most
people than most

people are.  A
lot less, actually.

Monday, July 2, 2012

All That Remains

Towns that don't
have a rail to
ride undesirables
out of town on

can apply for
financial assistance
to the Bureau Of
Alcohol, Tobacco,

And Frivolity.  When
their application is
denied, they can chop
down a tree and chip

away until all that
remains is a rail.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


In the middle of
what's halved, we
have and have not.
No one has any

clear idea why.
Anyone who says
he does, is running
for political office

and must be ridden
out of town on a
rail.  Any town
that doesn't have

a rail must get
one immediately.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Past Perfect

No one was more
surprised than I was
when my neighbor's
pants caught on

fire after he had
lied about where
he had been the
night before.  His

wife had a fire
extinguisher, which
she was prepared
to use if and

when hell ever
decided to freeze over.

Friday, June 29, 2012


An object swimming
in a snowstorm has
an antirepresentational
bias that should be

obvious even to anyone
not listening.  Beauty's
biggest flaw is that
it encouragtes the

hope death is only
too quick to undo.
The nothing that
can be done about

any of this is
knocking at the door.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Marlowe felt like an
amputated leg.  But
how could he know
what an amputated

leg felt like?  I didn't
ask him.  I just
digested the image
and continued on

down the page.  I
was nearing the
end of the chapter.
My voice sounded

like someone tearing
slats off a chicken coop.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Underwater Advice

 In a manner of
speaking crossed
with stars little
horses inhabit a

barn.  A child runs
with scissors along
a long corridor,
searching for an

answer to seventeen
age-old questions.
If any of this is making
you uncomfortable,

wake up.  That's
what I did.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Is it just me,
of is cause gradually
abandoning its claim
to be the reason

one thing leads
to another?  Clocks
have lost weight
in recent years,

leading me to suspect
that time is on its
way out (that
it's just a

matter of time).

Monday, June 25, 2012


Light lines up
along the fence,
dropping yellow
circles onto the

sidewalk.  A man
walks from one circle
to the next, as if he
were a performer

exiting the stage
one spotlight at a
time.  When the
light reaches the

end of the fence,
it stops trying.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Less Frisky

Underwater dreams
are best, so fish-like
in their serenity,
so ready to dart

away at the first
suggestion of danger.
I'm impressed
by your ability

to sleep in the
traditional way,
feet-first and friendly.
I had expected your

legs to be longer,
less frisky.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


As snow descends
the stairs, carrying
winter in its arms,
we pause again to

wonder.  Under the
moon's thin light
we slowly imagine
our way back into

warmth.  An
angel gets up
from the snow
and, brushing itself

off, becomes a being
we can't believe in.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Without Warning

Meaning is always
shorter in person,
and less necessary.
A promise without

a premise condones
disappointment.  I
was the earliest
of four children

and the easiest
to touch.  My
approach to pleasure
was deemed "heroic"

by the critics.  I was
born without warning.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner ate
your fucking plums.
Or says he did.
(I've noticed he's

not above lying
for a fee.)  He'll
write an angry
poem at someone

who's fucked you
over if you agree
to buy him lunch.
He'll turn your enemy's

brain into an adjective
if you offer him a beer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Real persons, living
or dead, sometimes
enjoy being resembled
coincidentally.  Allowing

a character in your
novel to die is still
a crime in some
countries, as is saying

you love strawberries
when you don't, or
having unprotected
sex with your

neighbor's wife
or daughter.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In a museum
in which each
sculpture of a
woman is an

actual woman found
by Marcel Duchamp,
the future refuses
to happen.  Beauty

finds solace in
sophistry.  Irreconcilable
differences divide into
groups of yes and

no and I don't think
so but maybe.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Meaning is regarded by
many as the stepchild
of an unconsummated
marriage.  The first

time I saw Paris,
she was half-naked.
Now she wants her
own set of keys

and a gun that fires
unfulfilled wishes.
She insists there is
no real substitute

for butter.  She's
right about that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Sometimes it's harder
to say what you're
seeing than it is
to see what someone

else is saying
(Hoover).  There is,
of course, no
remedy for this.

It's a problem
rooted in language,
which is in turn
rooted in mystery,

magic, melody
and mimicry.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Going back to
what you said
earlier, do you
actually believe

the end is near,
or are you just
saying that to
get every woman

in the world
to sleep with
you?  Choose
one.  Or both.

Or neither if that
is your preference.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Driving in the best
sense of the word
seats four and is
capable of parallel

parking without
human intervention.
The latest cars
tell you where

you are and
compare it with
where you should
be at this advanced

stage of your

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The astronaut who
shot God dead
was given a
ticker-tape parade

upon his return
to sanity.  The
fact ticker-tape
was a thing of

the past did
not seem to
bother him.  He
brushed the glitter

from his hair and
waved to himself.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


On a day when
goatherds spar
in the barnyard
and money is

no object, a
bird best known
for mocking other
birds dies of

natural causes,
obscuring the theme
of a widely-read novel.
Time, unwilling to wait,

side-steps a
well-placed caesura.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The safest place
to be these days
is gone.  Getting
there's another matter.

North Dakota,
they say, is pretty
close, if you can
figure out a way

to get there.  Finding
it is thought to
be the shortest
distance between

a straight line and an
even straighter line.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Too Many

The greatest period
of prosperity following
my great depression
was the one I was

out of the country
during.  When it comes
to the question of the
left hand, I am of too

many opinions to
be helpful.  A freckle-
faced freshman arrives
with a note from God.

I read it with both
eyes closed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Having shot himself
in self-defense, the
narcissist takes a
picture of himself,

using a cell phone
and a precisely
positioned alignment of
self-conscious mirrors.

His reward is an
appearance on
yesterday's Today
Show at exactly

half  past midnight
and two bars of soap.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


When a giraffe
vomits in the treetops
(early Hoover), the
other animals

berate it for
not having been
more considerate
of those resting

in the shade
at the base
of the tree.
Some entities

(God) are too tall
for their own good.

Friday, June 8, 2012


When longing's reach
exceeds its grasp,
another suburb
springs up.  Native

Americans are moved
to make room for
the cavalry.  Walmart
crushes the competition

in its competition
crusher, a converted
trash compactor that
lusts for blood.

Several poems
go unpublished.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


She ran her fingers
through his comb
while resting her
head on his rapidly

improving prospects.
Later, she worshipped
the ground he was
buried in.  He,

for his part,
had never been
dead before and
didn't know what

to do next or how
long to wait.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Modus Operandi

There is no real
plan.  I pick
up a word and
go.  Looking out

the window to see
what the weather's
like, I remove
anything that might

remind me of
tomorrow.  I look
back over my
shoulder to see

what lies ahead.
I stop at the end.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


After cause-and-effect
withdraws its explanation
for why things that
can't go on like this do,

a number of things that
can't have happened
happen.  Though we
know the reason is

unimportant, we ask
anyway, partly out of
habit, partly out of
respect.  The answer

given is understandably

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thoughts Of A Young Girl

It's much too
beautiful a day for me
not to write
you a letter, so

I jump from the
tower to prove
I'm not insane.  I
want to thank you

again for crying over me.
Had you not been
the daughter of
my late employer,

I might have
written you sooner.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


The fourteenth way
of looking at a
blackbird involved
voluntary blindness

and was therefore
never attempted.
Of the thirteen
ways described

by Stevens only
eleven could be
duplicated in
subsequent trials.

Of the eleven, three
were identical twins.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Modern Life

I sometimes experience
moments of such
profound uncertainty
that I deed everything

I own to my
imaginary sister.
I then deliberately
take everything out

of context in order
to confuse the
enemy.  When that
doesn't work, I

fall asleep and
dream that it does.

Friday, June 1, 2012


A ping-pong ball
from Japan washes
ashore and is
the losing number

in a lottery confirming
the inevitability
of death.  A
lamp lights up

a room in vain
(every eye is
shut for decency's
sake).  I take back

everything I ever meant
about meaning.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Abandoning the figure
has proven that
abandoning the figure
proves nothing.

The museum floor,
littered with bits
of broken language,
is building a

tower of meaning
out of babble.  A
blind man watches
porn in his imagination.

The best are full of
a lack of all conviction.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


In the deepest parts
of the deep South it is
believed that if you
look at any animal

long enough, it becomes
an alligator.  There
also exists there the
notion that it is

wrong to rape
a woman who is
willing to have
sex with you.

Just have sex
with her, they urge.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No Solution

Trees slice
the sunlight
into shards
of its former

self.  Shade
drops from the
trees like
ripened fruit.

It is always
either morning,
noon, afternoon,
or night.

There is no
solution for this.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Perhaps Not

In my will
have requested
that pieces of
my dead body

be distributed
to the meek
so that they
 may continue

to believe that
I once existed.
Perhaps this will
help them to

understand why.
Perhaps not.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


To illustrate
how much the
quality of education
has declined over

the years, my
grandfather, who
was yanked
out of school

after the third
grade so that
he could help
out around

the farm,
knew everything.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Snow's plentiful around
here in winter.  Our
women put it up in Mason
Jars to ease us through

the summer's unbearable
heat.  In this as in virtually
every town in the region
the law requires

that all open
doors be walked
through at least
once a day and

that every closed
door be opened.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Something I had
been unable to
imagine in my
wildest dreams

turned up in
one of my tamer
ones wearing
a raincoat and

what may have
been the beginning
of the end of
something almost

certain not to exist
in anyone's lifetime.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I'm proud to say
that all of my guesses
have been educated
at fully accredited

schools.  I am
what I like to
imagine you are
in a world created

by John Ashbery.
It is a world in
which the warm
milk of morning

is trying to warn
us about ourselves.