Thursday, April 4, 2013


I installed a
smaller flea
door in the
dog door in

my door, then
locked each of
the three doors
from the

inside to prevent
the intrusion of
time.  I am now
too far inside

to hear myself
when I dream.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Making Do

What if a much
of a whether it's
wind laid down
its weapon and

wept?  A crow,
sensing it's not
time yet, waits.
A staircase the

weather is climbing
creaks with age.
"Mud", reluctantly
riming with "flood",

makes do with
the water it has.

Monday, April 1, 2013

As A Rule

Common sense, shorter
in person than on
the big screen, is
accessible only on

horseback, and then
only when weather
permits.  A premise
becomes a promise

after a painful
round of vowel
swapping.  Things
that can't go on

like this exit
to the left.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Famous Last Words

Not all last words
are famous.  Most
aren't, in fact.  Goethe's
famous request for

more light ("mehr Licht")
is famous primarily
because Goethe was
famous, though a

request for more
light at the moment
of death has a
certain comic quality

that might perhaps qualify
it even without Goethe's help.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Less That Is More

When the day becomes
so bright that we
begin seeing things
with our ears, distance

rounds its corner.
Certain words buried
in the wind can be
heard dragging

their meanings
behind them.  We
are careful not
to remember more

than is capable
of having happened.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Early confusion between
"cataclysm" and "catechism"
led to an annoying
hierarchy of old men

playing with matches
in the sacristy.  My
grandfather, fond
of saying the opposite

of anything said in
favor of just about
anything, let his
mood swing open

slowly like a
barn door.

Friday, March 22, 2013

After Bei Dao

I take evening's
shortcut through
the meaning of
life to postpone

passing through
death's door.  A
little girl delivers
a freshly-picked rose

to the morning.
The conductor
chases a lion back
 into a symphony's

cage.  Another day
falls from its nest.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where The Bathroom Was

A large house
in history had
a staircase leading
up to the basement.

Once my eyes
had adapted to
the darkness,
I abandoned that

house in favor of
a house in which
everyone waved to
me as a favor.

Later that day I showed
everyone where the bathroom was.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

At Random

In my longer
poem dreams
change hands
faster than

money.  The
audience, chosen
at random, collapses
before it can

applaud.  All of
which proves
nothing.  Nothing,
in fact, invades

the outer edge of
meaning and winks.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Something I once
did because it was
there had to be
done again because

it was still there.  The
pleasure and pain
occasioned by repetition
are still there

long after the train
has pulled out,
leaving us no choice
but to prove that

life goes on until
it dissolves in death.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The paint on her
sainthood had scarcely
dried when she was
canonized and placed

as a statue above
the side altar.  Clearly
she would have had
the good sense to

ignore such
carryings-on as she
carried on with what
seemed worth doing,

polishing the pain
off the souls of the needy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The needless to say
nods, knocking
doubt off its
pedestal.  Sincerity

arrives in a suit
borrowed from the
inventor of telltale
twists.  I don't

care what I mean
by any of this.
I am too

to be bothered
by what you want.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Father, having already
placed Paul in the
park, tried again
to remove the veil

from his mother.
Meanwhile, we sat
near the edge and
watched a gigantic

machine crush
rocks into pebbles,
pebbles into a
fine mist that spread

across the meadow,
hiding the future.

Monday, March 11, 2013


When I was young,
I thought chopping
down the truth
was the best way

to get at the
cherries in the
upper branches.
I thought the

Bible had a ladder
you could use
to ring the bell
on the top rung.

When I was young,
I was growing older.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To No Avail

The promises sleep
makes are kept
in death.  Or
so it seems

to those of us
above ground.
Somewhere south
of where we

finally figure
things out life
begins.  The
mind flexes its

muscles in the
dark to no avail.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Snow, erasing the
scars from a
field, places
a candle between

two clouds in
anticipation of spring.
The past lies before
us like a motherless

child whose father
has been left
dreamless and alone.
There is nowhere to

go but away.  The
morning takes forever.

Friday, March 8, 2013

After Bei Dao

Language is a
shadow leaning
toward the east
at sundown.  We

knock down midnight's
door, releasing
morning from its
self-imposed promise.

A match polished
into flame reveals
a homeless child
huddled in the corner.

We return, hoping
to get lost again.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Beauty has been
described as a strict
adherence to every
rule except one.

The exception, in
this case, doesn't
so much prove
the rule as render

it indistinguishable
from truth in the
famous poem by
Keats.  This is

reportedly everything
we need to know on earth.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Some Cultures

Stopping to check
your watch is
believed in many
cultures to age

you beyond your
years.  Some of
those cultures
have passed laws

forbidding the
manufacture or
sale of watches.
Other cultures poke

holes in their boats
sinking them just in time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This Thing

Listening with a
valve open, the
blabbermouth responds
with what it takes

to be taken for granted
by those who refuse
to give up.  Other
things are also

true, but not as
true as this thing
is.  This thing is
beautiful because

of its strict adherence
to every rule.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I work from home.
My job, to lose
gracefully, requires
a certain sense

of non-entitlement.
They say my talent
is rare and compensate
me accordingly.  I

have earned so much
money losing gracefully
that I have begun
to feel like a

winner who will
soon be fired.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The time and blood
we have on our
hands is scrubbed
off each evening

by the orderlies.
Our hands are
then dried, using
white towels that

resemble chastity
and the cleanliness
wedged into the
crevice between

God and not

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Before And After

Many of the breasts
of the native African
women featured in the
National Geographic

were first-rate.  They
were, at any
rate, the only
ones we were

permitted to look
at with our eyes
open.  The was
before the days when

shooting small children at
school had become commonplace.

Friday, March 1, 2013


There is plenty of
parking in Wyoming,
more than enough
to satisfy the needs

of those who feel
inclined to park.  It
is possible (easy
even) to park

in the middle
of nowhere in
Wyoming, which
consists for the

most part of long
stretches of nowhere.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cinematically Speaking

Real persons, living
and dead, were
being resembled
coincidentally.  The

one person being
paid to care about
things didn't care.
The movie continued

winding its way
through a plot
no one was
bothering to follow,

since all of the characters
had left in protest.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Not having to answer
every question is
a luxury one would
like to have when

standing in front
of a large crowd
of angry protesters,
especially when several

of the protestors
have already tossed
shoes at you in
an obvious expression

of dissatisfaction with
who you are.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Snowfall in North
Dakota in winter
warrants the
wearing of warm

clothing.  Taking
misfortune in
stride and the
hard truth of

death lying down
is recommended
if one wishes
to avoid the

frustration of always
going against the grain.

Monday, February 25, 2013


It's nice to be
kept dry by
the building you're
in during a

rainstorm.  It's
nice not to
have to go out
into the ugly

wet.  It's
nice to have
enough matches
to start a

fire in the

Sunday, February 24, 2013


The garden in which
death experienced
its first growing pains
is Eden-like in its

eagerness to end
badly.  Snow marks
the spot with a
wider shade of

pale.  Paw prints,
added for emphasis,
leave a trail that
leads to the cute

little girl dressed
in red.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I ate your precious
plums because I
was hungry.  End
of story (beginning

of digestion in
the early morning).
I had an appointment
downtown and needed

the calories in the
plums to propel
me there.  I wish
I could say I

was sorry, but the
calories were delicious.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Rest

The sheriff set
out armed only
with the wrong
end of a rope.

The weather held
its breath as if
advised to wait
and see.  Dirty

Dan danced inside
the saloon like
an inarticulate
acrobat.  The rest

is either history or
not worth mentioning.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Only beauty was
able to set her
body free from the
eye of the beholder.

Placing your name
in quotation marks
for self-protection is
a right implied

(though not specifically
guaranteed) in the Second
Amendment.  The
Second Amendment,

like all amendments,
is subject to amendment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


While existence is
being negotiated in
the maternity ward,
the dead open

their meeting with
an invocation:
"Let the forgetting
begin."  The

First Cause
is frozen in
place, first
place.  Those

who can't wait
wither on the vine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Id Est

She's with God
now, i.e. alone.
She finally knows
what she doesn't

know, i.e. everything.
I'm sorry I
wanted to kill
you last night.

It won't happen
again, i.e. it
will, but with
less fanfare.

I'm going out,
i.e. goodbye.

Monday, February 18, 2013


As the sky leaks
a drop at a time
from its container,
the vanishing point

vanishes, then
reappears disguised
as a half-hearted
belief in the

efficacy of concerted
effort.  A janitor
assigned the task
of sweeping up the

scattered bits of
broken laws resigns.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Ounces Of Prevention

To prevent a close 
friend from committing
suicide repeat any
word beginning with

the letter zero several
times in rapid succession.
Then invite the friend
to lunch, your treat.

This method works
so well that, in the
majority of cases,
the friend, whoever

she is, is happy for
the rest of her life.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Father

Schooled in the
rhetoric of risk
versus reward, I
watch a songbird

cough up blood
and almost lose
my footing.  My
father snored in

syllables no one
could translate
into an essay on
the importance of

deep sleep.  He died
one day at a time.

Friday, February 15, 2013


When desire can't
settle on a single
object, a city
springs up on the

banks of a wide
river.  Snipers are
deployed in the attics
to prevent the

spread of joy.
The dead are placed
underground where
they can more easily

locate the exits
from history.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


When something you had
wanted to sleep on
wakes you up, agreement
nods in the next room.

Do not be alarmed by
the dozen or so crows
lined up outside your
window.  They are

nothing more than
figments of midnight's
imagination.  Beauty
continues its never-ending

task of decaying in
the garden.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I mistook your
shadow for a
clandestine meeting
between two

contradictory mirrors.
I exchanged your
name for the
question "why".

Having resolved never
to call you again,
I left my memory
of you outside

to shiver
in the dark.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The line between
heavy impasto
and bas relief
is often a matter

of interpretation,
as is the line
between bas relief
and sculpture and

the even more interesting
line between sculpture
and the nude bodies
of the men and women

strolling at this very moment
through the sculpture garden.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back Then

To be different
without having to
change was my
goal back then.

To stay the
same without
having to remain
seated is my

current goal.  To
believe strongly in
something without
having to be too

specific has always
been my goal.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sky

When the sky
becomes such a
huge responsibility
that you just

can't go on, sit
down on a park
bench and explain
life to yourself

in terms even
a five-year-old
child could
understand.  If

by some miracle
this works, don't move.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


One by one the
lightning bugs turn
out their lamps,
forcing dawn's

window to open.
A poet resolves
never to speak
again. He buries

his favorite word
in a small grave
outside town.  He
deposits a flower

on the grave each
morning at noon.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Either Way

Either it's a terrific
day for a picnic,
or you've ruined
my life.  Either

way, the way
seems dark and
peppered with
potholes.  That

girl we sent to
Catholic school to
study chastity has
returned with

handprints all
over her body.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Having turned the
adjective that described
it inside out, we
waited behind a

tree to see what
would happen.
You leaned your
head against my

high expectations
while we waited.
A bird sang its song
backwards.  We

were still waiting when
time dropped its anchor.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


A cookie happily
assumes the shape
of the instrument
used to cut it.

Man, created
in the image
of God, does
not.  He pulls

away from the
mirror and tosses
a grenade into
God's bedroom.

God blinks, then
causes himself again.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

After Beo Dao

Fish, embarrassed
by their anchors,
study the sky
from underwater

and dream of
flying.  A star,
turning out its
lamp, lies

down in the
dark.  An ostrick
buries its head
in the sand,

the inevitable.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Evening empties its
ashtray.  I seek
solitude in
numbers again,

confused (as usual)
by the beating
of my own
heart.  There

being nowhere
to go but away,
I refuse to leave.
Like the sun, I

have burned my
bridges behind me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Almost Immediately

Noon times two
equals the sum
of its missing parts.
A student enters

the room on
tiptoe to avoid
waking the teacher.
A doctoral candidate

in math who has
buried a hatchet
in the skull of his
professor realizes

almost immediately that
he has made a mistake.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Stepping through dawn's
crevice, you come
across an object
in search of its

shadow.  Just when
it seems more can
be expected of
life, evening slams

shut its door.  The
sky drops a heavy
blanket over the
top half of the

earth.  A bird teaches
its song to swim.

Friday, February 1, 2013


A river flows
through your
room, carrying
the familiar

farther downstream.
The moon has
shrunk to the
size of a smile

in your dream.
Poetry is wounding
you in the usual
spots.  A rosebud

clenches its fist
in protest.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Memento Mori

Afraid we won't
notice the moment
of death and
foolishly go on

living as if nothing
has happened, we
resolve to pay
closer attention

to the sound
time makes as
it turns its
back on the

future and races
into the past.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Beauty is never
less true than
when it thinks
truth is beauty

or when it turns
left (instead of
wrong) at
midnight.  No

one knows this
better than a
poet locked into
an earlier century

and forced to write
the wrong poetry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In the ongoing
struggle between
matter and energy,
light tries to

maintain a more
or less constant
speed.  A sunflower,
sipping sunlight

from the morning,
slowly turns its
head toward dusk.
A tightly wound clock

changes trains
at midnight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

At Last

I'm nothing now
but a traveler
trading places
with strangers

who hold secret
meetings inside
me.  Desperate
for good news,

I rent messages
from the stars
to reassure
myself as I

prepare for the
last roundup.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

After Bei Dao

A shadow negotiating
with the light
asks for more
time.  The sun

raises a cloud's
curtain to announce
the end of winter.
An insomniac's

pillow opens its
eyes and stares
at the ceiling.
Nature renews

its contract
with the moon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Eternity is a
metaphor for
the patience the
earth shows as

it spins like
a top on its
axis.  Night
circles the

globe in
search of
the horizon
on which time

its knot.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Way

A boy growing
up learns how
to control reality
in his dreams.

He takes an
elevator to the
top, then allows
his dreams to

continue skyward
until gravity
loses its grip
on them.  He

turns into starlight
at death's door.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Existence is
the mother
of necessity.

the mother
of invention.
Death is
the mother

of beauty.
Beauty's the
mother of terror.

the mother
of Mother.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The history of failure
is the shortest
distance between
the hands of

an old clock.
Youth hides its
secret inside the
invisible logic of

the fairytale.  The
wind, desperate to
find out what love
is, tosses a

brick through
your window.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


A sleeping bee
releases its
honey-coated dream
into the night.

The night knows
more than it
lets on (it
always has).

The best cure
for loneliness is
to paint the distance
between you

and the future
a different color.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tired Of Words

Who has no
home will never
build one now.
I get so tired

of death and
its arguments,
how this proves
that and that

proves nothing.
Ice melts in
the memory
of an infant.

January leap
frogs into March.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


The most interesting
thing a person can
do by far is die
unexpectedly in

the middle of the
night.  Even the
morning is caught
off guard.  Especially

the morning.  Every
object in the room
wonders what has
happened, the bed,

the dresser, the curtains
on the shattered window.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

After Beo Dao

Darkness is a
door which allows
the saint to
draw near.

My hand, like
an old key,
has memorized
the lock.  The

dead snorkel
underground in
search of air.
A snowstorm's

butterflies cling
to the window.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Way

I want to concentrate
on one particular
aspect of you as
heavy seeds attached

by toggle switch
to lengthy loops
leading us out
of literature are

being planted in
someone else's inaccurate
garden, having
already resigned

myself to the futility
of never knowing why.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Painter
for Asad

Nature is pleased
with the seeming
simplicity it uses
to lull us into

a false sense
of security.  Let's
face it, we are
always between

the sea and what
we see.  A self
portrait of what
we thought we

saw is all we
have to go on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

for Said

A song awaits
its encore off
stage, holding
its breath for

emphasis.  Moonlight
skids across the ice
in the direction
of morning.  Nothing

that matters fails
to exist this time.
The road is littered
with rose petals

that resemble
self-fulfilling prophecies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A New Century

We gallop after
gold in our
dreams, changing
horses in the

middle of nowhere.
An old century
turns into a
new century

without making
a sound.  The
truth hammers
itself into the

ground to protect
itself from us.

Monday, January 14, 2013


The cat's goals
and my own
intersect like

metaphors.  She
longs for food.
I agree to feed
her.  She begins

to purr.  I fall
in love.  She prepares
to leap.  I lie down
in a safe place

and dream
until morning.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

After Bei Dao

I have examined
the bones of a dead
star and determined
that the mystery of

life will always
be intact.  What
remains unclear
in evolutionary

history is the
role of the lover's
tongue.  I raise
my rifle and draw

a bead on the
distance between us.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The corpse hanging
above the altar
seems out of
solutions now as

it sheepishly
turns wine into
water, its body
into bread.  The

newer bells hold
their tongues,
humming hymns
back into hymnals.

An uninspired wind
blows out the candles.

Friday, January 11, 2013

After Bei Dao

The road ahead
bisects a setting
sun, permitting
the passage of time.

Three adjacent
mountain peaks
ride their camel
through the eye

of night's needle.
Can morning
be far behind?
The words of

the poet echo
in exile.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


History, working its
way through a
tree stump's rings
toward the beginning,

has yet to change
its mind and turn
around to face
the future.

The large box
I bought to
store my

in is

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I was sitting
on the porch,
listening to the
leaves debate

whether and when
to fall, when
nothing happened
so convincingly

that I thought
I had died.
When nothing
happened again

almost immediately,
I was sure I had.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Along The Way

In one sense,
of course, we
are (have always
been, will always

be) exactly the
same age.  We
begin and end
at zero.  Something

keeping track of
us in the dark
seems incapable
of counting.  Periodic

adjustments to the clock
keep us on schedule.

Monday, January 7, 2013


It is said that
in an even deeper
sleep we wake
with eyes shut

and see everything.
The unfamiliar
turns around there
(it is said) and

shows its true
face.  Apples
ripen as ideas
and do not

need to be

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Something misleading
in the center of
why we dream
makes us mortal.

A frozen tear slipping
from her cheek
shatters on the
pavement.  The

pattern it creates
signifies nothing
(a fact which leads
her into temptation).

An ill wind blows
her dandelion out.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


A man sits
on the sidewalk,
tasting the thought
of bread. A

passerby offers
the man a penny
for his thought.
The man demands

less, convinced
that his thought
is worthless.  The
passerby, passing

by, begins
to rain.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Our parents never
teach us how to
die (except ineptly
by example).  And

we never really
pick up much
on our own
(unless coming across

a flock of dead
birds at dawn
counts as some
sort of introduction).

I practice starting
over at the end.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


An angel's shadow,
set ablaze by its
own sense of irony,
allows an unusually

ill wind to scatter
its ashes over an
otherwise idle countryside.
Children playing in

the patterns this
windfall produces
are called in at
dusk and ordered

to dream a new
tomorrow into being.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year

In the name
of the sun,
the moon,
and the holy

distance between
now and never.
People painted
onto canvases

outlive their Masters.
A lute string
breaks in time
for eternity.

The needless-to-say
 nods in agreement.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Poem

A poem (the poet
says) is born in
the distance between
a hunter and the

animal brought to
an abrupt half in his
gun-sight.  It stays
there until every

riddle is solved,
until the last bit
of light from the
last star touches

the lens of the
last telescope.