Tuesday, January 31, 2012


My uncle, trying
to get ahead of
the curve, forgets
things in advance.

He insists he no
longer remembers
certain future events.
He has no memory

of having died yet,
for example. He
says he is late
for next week's

appointment with
last year's doctor.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Ben Lerner says in
a poem that the
right to have it
both ways is either

inalienable, or it isn't,
that we can't have
it both ways. He
is either right, or

he isn't. He can't
have it both ways,
except inside a
poem, where he

can have it however
he damned well pleases.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


We had been gluing
light to the ground
to make the day last
longer. Then we

hit on this idea of
adjusting the clocks.
So we did that.
We made the clocks

work overtime (with
no added pay) to
delay the onset
of evening. We

leaned back into
our idea and smiled.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The applause dies
down, then dies.
The audience is
carried out on

one humongous
stretcher. Attempts
at resuscitation are
entertaining to watch,

but unsuccessful.
The play is cancelled,
as is the check.
The playwright is

shot, then
invited to dinner.

Friday, January 27, 2012

for Peter Schjeldahl

A nondescript sculpture
rests in peace in the
corner, but the paintings
on the walls are

striking in what they
don't depict. Alligators
in agony, for example.
I didn't have time

to see everything, but
there wasn't much
worth seeing, at
least from this

distance. More
about this later.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Nothing has been
happening more often
than usual recently.
I counted sixteen

times in the last
two days alone.
Some see this as a
trend, or as some

sort of warning.
Or as an equal measure
of each. I see it
as a prelude

to the second
coming of Something.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This particular model
child comes in a
variety of sizes
and shapes, but

only one color.
It comes in the
color child. This
one has a special

talent for being
heard but not
seen. It screams
at the top of its

lungs while sobbing
softly at the bottom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

for Hosai

While the dead
are busy writing
cards for the

living, an unwritten
law finds its way
into print. I have
removed a dozen

dazzling words
from what you
say and used
them to make

a word-bouquet
to please you.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Once a mouth
I reinvent your
name. Once an
ear I hear you

outside the
door. Once an
eye I open the
window to let

the wind have
a look. Once a
death I die
inside because

things that can't
go on like this do.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

for Asad

The piece combined
found objects (bits
of string, some colored,
some invisible, rag

remnants, discarded kits,
rubber dumplings, icicles
that refused to melt,
allegorical plumbing

fixtures) with found
sound (a bilabial plosive,
a vowel that hummed, a
couple of African clicks).

The art was in the
manner of combination.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


An angel loses
his wings for her,
lowering himself
down a rope of air

to reach her.
To fall and
love, to love
to fall,

is to crash,
of course.
She knows what
no angel knows,

having been here

Friday, January 20, 2012


Every autumn the
trees apologize,
knowing full well
they will be

repeating the mistake
time and time
again. Autumn
says it's sorry

without meaning a
single word it says.
Daylight tightens
its schedule at the

insistence of some
old calendar.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Kidnapped letters
found in her
closet were indicative
of a desire to

make everything
last forever. She
had hidden them
among her shoes,

which were too
numerous for any
number to count
or make sense of.

How many shoes she
needed remained a mystery.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

for Tyce

A new kind of
music that can
be torn out of
books and eaten

is all the rage
in Arizona
(which is where
all the rage is

these days). Flecks
of hope have
begun adhering
to the windows,

making it difficult
to see out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Midnight means every
word it says. Noon
knows better than
to last more than

a nano-second.
An archaic torso
tells us to change
our lives. We

change them into
deaths at the last
second. Halfhearted
dreams hover out

of reach as we
kiss ourselves goodnight.

Monday, January 16, 2012


A rose resembles
honey in several
nameless ways.
Feeling fine

like dust (the
way dust does)
is not what
is meant. Something

else is, something
no one knows
what. If you
call a rose

by a different
name, it dies.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

for Brittany

The missing link
between plant and
animal is the
hypothetical tree

that took the
first courageous
step out of the
forest. After

that it was goodbye
forever to the
grove and its
tiresome addiction

to standing still
inching skyward.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


When leaving the
Atocha Station, you
will have to decide
how you want

to leave it. If
your plan is to
leave Madrid, you
will want to leave

the station on
a train. If you
have just arrived
in Madrid, you

will find it easier
to leave on foot.

Friday, January 13, 2012


He is prevented
from speaking by
the almost certain
knowledge that what

he is about to
say has already
been said countless
times before.

No one knows
exactly how many
times it has been
said before. This

is because the number
of times is countless.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


His words seem
forced into meaning
like a janitor's
lunch pail. But

there is no way
around who he
is. He blocks the
halls with his

insistence on the
color white. He
wipes away time
with a wet rag.

He is here to
stay and say.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


We could spend
our whole lives
like this, saying
goodbye at the

airport, promising
not to write
too often. The
weather seemed

written by Raymond
Chandler. It was
so LA. Something you
said was so hard not

to take the wrong
way that I didn't.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Leaves fallen or
reflected obscure
a pond's surface.
Autumn's alias

derives from a leaf's
annual dance.
People are always
growing younger

in my dreams while
I continue aging
at the edges. This
is the fault of

the tree, which
hides its age inside.

Monday, January 9, 2012


He writes post-modern poems most post-modernly aimed mostly at post-modern poets everywhere and nowhere.

Death's parenthetical
caesura is more
than a mirror
one steps into

in order to reflect
on one's idea of
absence. Waves
arrive with what

they depart with.
A phone, tired of
waiting, hangs
itself up and moves

on to the next
item on the list.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The only poetry worth
reading these days is
poetry that's so similar
to the poetry I write

that it might as
well be my poetry,
and actually is my
poetry now that

I've had a chance to
take a closer look at it.
You might want to take
a closer look at it too

if you don't want to risk
being wrong about everything.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Conjecture's overlong
lecture's lost on me
as I rededicate
myself to the color

of quiet. I am
familiar with most
of your dreams,
though I missed

the one from which
you were reportedly
missing. I missed
it on purpose because

I didn't want to risk
not seeing you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Invitation To Tea

Everyone's a critic these days, especially those whose credentials don't float when tossed upon the water. Ignorance burrows into the brain like a worm into damp soil. It comes out the other end knowing everything. My grandfather knew everything because he had never read a book.

Because of the spiders,
my wife won't park
in the garage. Because
of the alligators, she

refuses to park at
the curb. She drives
until she runs out of
gas, at which point she

calls me to come get
her. I do, much
to her surprise. My
wife is surprised by

everything, even
the doorbell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


A voice has been
torn from the recording,
ripped out of a poem
forcefully enough

to cause permanent
injury. I don't think
it could have been
my voice as I listen

to myself singing.
But it was someone's
voice. The sound
of myself clapping

convinces me I
am your audience.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Dividing our undivided
attention into thirds,
we set out to
become the first

trio to conquer
the world. Our
failure became
the stuff of legend.

If you puncture
it with an ice pick,
it bleeds liquid
regret and self-

recrimination. Not
bad, considering.

Monday, January 2, 2012


A hard place to reach that's worth the climb: Where what you would like to do and what you know you should do are redundant.

He had learned to
approach September
carefully, listening
for the sound each

leaf makes as it
switches from
summer to fall.
He was now able

to extract the
color of murder
from a lineup
of likely suspects.

He was ready to die
at a moment's notice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Death is by its
nature premature,
even the ripe death
Rilke held out for.

When life's broadcast
gets interrupted for
this important
announcement, all

is lost. A swan floats
away from its disease,
feeling ugly again.
Every death is

premature in every
important sense.