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.