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.