Results for category "2018"

26 Articles

What if…

What if all of my bad choices
explode into dense night air
in a resonant plume of iridescent
blue light—enough to lighten
dark night—as transitory as a momentary
sun in brackish steep light, streaky
sweet light in a blue horizon?

That would be grand, wouldn’t it?
I can feel the tongue sizzle of cold
orange soda, from the vintage soda
machine in our apartment’s laundry room,
just 25¢, so cold on a hot spring baseball
day, as sweet sweat covers me, happily
played, because we played all day as children
will, our furious, relentless homerun days

If I see the ball, I can hit it
Coarsened in my own light cone
I can see just one piece of our past
and from this I’ll interpolate the whole
I know what kind of love you’re looking
for and when it’s yours you’ll treasure it
mostly, like an afterthought of what
was done in this time, in this place

Afterthoughts fleeting and ambiguous
They led the charge against us and 
we mowed them down—They were
downright arrogant, futile and mean—
Revenge, unless you’re mentally unhinged,
do the math for once and forget it,
it costs too much, you can’t have it,
it’s just some futile dream

Popular, vituperative fantasies of revenge
People live in their memories like 
herd animals as stupid as sheep
That old man said from behind his
imposing cherry wood desk—“I don’t
know if I’ll hire you but I sense that
I can trust you with thousands of
dollars—you’ll never steal from me”

How could I turn her down?
I won’t give up on you 
Who you are determines how you’ll fly
Gravity is a foundational force—We’ll
all fall and we’ll fall at the same time—
our depths felt in every crevice and detail
Not perfection but a standard
Perfection’s a dumb herd animal

That childlike, sweet green apple crunch
“You think I’m a woman and
you can mess with me because I’m
weak—Try it bitch
You’ll find I’m also a man
and I will fuck you up”
In a dream from far away my
brother gives me his shoes

We each have our own smell
The depth of his love was 
felt in every crevice and detail,
utterly subconscious and strong
Style expresses personality
Birds gliding in circles  
together is called “soaring”
Is devotion and love the same?

We were gliding together that day

-December 29, 2018-

We perceive

Within each other’s lives,
we perceive the young woman
through the veil of her old age
Here the streets are quite old and clean
Most of life’s responsibilities annoyed
him and he avoided them in slyness, reticence
and, as a last stab, with callousness and charm
I get lost sometimes in this quarry 
where I loved every inch of her
Entropy usually goes up, rarely stays down
“Lonely but free” it’s human nature that
suffers and our divine nature that doesn’t
When adults bitterly quarrel and decide,
nevertheless, to go on anyway they’ll
act as if nothing’s gone wrong and
nothing changes—yet, if you told
Dad you had an itch he’d advise
you to scratch it and if you said
“My arm hurts”, he’d tell you your
arm had a cold, so be tough—if wise
enough, Dad was no doctor
All their world’s to be found 
in a grain of sand—That’s a kind
of humility isn’t it? Our laws are
laws in reverse but time is lawless
and doesn’t reverse— Time’s the trickster
who doesn’t care who he hurts but time’s
greedy and we’ll usually beat him
We hurt each other when we play 
the trickster in this wild, wormy world
of memories and regret, with vast spans
of time before we’re born and vast spans of
time after it—here nothing’s divine,
eternal, no forever and our bodies have
no corners, the animals have no
corners, even the insects are round
Ours is the art of continuous variation
The Indians say that if two people
love each other eternally they’ll
come back to this earth as twins—
sometimes in two bodies and sometimes
in one body to fight together and live
in this rugged, tough, indifference
For these twins the very rocks live—
all of this world in specks of dusty stone
When you lured me into to your life,
hot to get what you wanted, and  
then kicked me out to a quarry of
vicious, dangerous, jealous stone
was your war, as the sycophants say,
short, glorious and oh so cost effective?
We don’t choose whom to love
in our blood, we’re just born that way
Animals differ from one another—
some build nests and some don’t
some live in caves, others in bushes
Some even get along with no
kind of home—free from arid
formulas, spontaneous, their after-
thoughts fleeting, ambitious
We see an ugly ogre’s face
in the smoke as sycophants  
collapse within us, pollute our
air, as we try to catch our children before
they fall—A clown’s a funny man, that
trickster, a tragic man all the same—joy
and sorrow paints his face, joy and pain
at once—Nature’s neither sad nor glad,
it just is and my fine lady?—she still has
that spark in her eyes, it never dies

-December 14, 2018-

It’s a ruin

Hair and beard alluded to here
Look, how his finger points upwards
It’s all complete though not entirely
there—the thing that makes it great is
a ruin from the start like the walnut
wrinkled face of a grotesque man’s age
as jellied light streaks from behind him

I won’t cry about my real troubles
so I cry about unrelated sorrows hardly
mine—She’s a free Indian spirit
Money, to her, is meaningless, tedious
work is a no-life, she needs to feel
the brutal outside cold and seeks the spirit of
circular paths instead of our safe square lives

The rot she drinks may finally kill her
I judge, reason and live for comfort
in boxes—each day’s rage and
uncertainty are contradictory narratives
held in my mind at once—a world
of simultaneous narratives as
she grazes and graces my life

A resigned, insecure curiosity,
a coarse kind of humility
our long and venerable history—
that part of her that can so easily
get on without me as I pause,
judge and prescribe—as I
sit and cry about nothing

One raw evening without even
thinking, I moved to close her
jacket to cover her neck from
the cold and she remarked on it,
that it was just like me to do that
I think about her at least once
a day, sometimes more, no

specific time, time’s random
Her spirit is everywhere
It’s my vision and my power
How quick the days go
Don’t let the smooth taste fool you
Tiny deviations in density, little
fractures, a little pizazz

wasn’t too much to ask for
Pleasure and pain are twins
and can’t be conjured, or made
plain, the one without the other
We went to Italy, Jamaica,
Peru, lounged together in the
Dominican Republic…

Sometimes it looks like a duck
Sometimes it looks like a hare
It won’t appear as both at once
but both of them are there
She called it “The black pearl”
I called it “The Sphinx”
Everything we know is everywhere

-December 1, 2018-

What the singer hears

What the singer hears as she
sings, she hears from behind
the song as the violinist hears it
from behind the violin, like a
substitute for tearful, powerful
lovers so deep, like a substitute for
unbearably sad and hateful things,

as she tortures herself and
she tortures me, in a language both
conventional and arbitrary that
brightly compels her feverish mystery
We mistake the tools of destiny for
the results, stated problems for their
solutions, that reality of people and

things in an underground,
conventional crush and he hates every
kind of goodbye because when anything
finishes he knows he’ll die
We think suffering’s contingent and
except for our bad luck every
sad loss would be different

Where she goes chaos is home,
the woolly world of people and things,
destiny’s incomprehensibility
I stare down the street because she
said she’d be here any moment now,
she said so, any moment, multiple
Mona Lisas smeared over in white

From behind the song, energy,
emotion, agitation, messiness
We control what we can and that’s
struggle enough, like a bitter
residue of bashed dreams
She doesn’t come, so this is how
it ends, it ends in her absence

The rain won’t touch her
the cold can’t assail her, like the
pain within her, determined to
maim her, life’s misery and loss
“Something’s going to get me
Don’t know what it is
Don’t know when” and the song:

The rivers will have no water
The earth will no longer yield green
The fields will yield no corn
Animals, deprived of fresh grass
will die, fertile and forgetful earth
will end in fire, its surfaces burnt
to tinder as its shifty surfaces burn

“We’re six people and a baby
to feed, but the baby don’t eat much”
Stasis and balance, creative
compulsions, alienations brought
on in rash colors and suffused with
depths because this quest requires our
scars, our broken hearts, our damage

-November 17, 2018-

The cool breeze

The cool breeze, the old trees,
the bright leaves—heaviness
decays into lightness
When you’re not with me,
your enemies say you’re
a person I wouldn’t know
Truth is what works and

love’s just a shadow—
I won’t give up on her and
she won’t give up on me
If love burns it’s never slightly
I walk quickly, goal or not
Judgment and knowledge
aren’t ever the same

We’re specks in the vastness—
This is serious, sensuous
The people here are known
to be crazier than coots
Meters, tempi, moods—
our simultaneous narratives
We make it strange but not

harsh, like a Nordic girl in
some tawny, jazzy, autumnal park
Happily we walked parallel
to the carousel, focused
on its ceramic shapes in the
fullness of revolving space, our
dark energy inside our dark matter

My certainties, uncertain
My deeper rules, all new
Joe DiMaggio, they say
would, in retirement, watch
a professional baseball game
and could usually predict, from
the body language of the players

which team would win even
when the team he chose seemed
sure to lose—he’d just know
The Pagans knew that if there are
gods they’ll take care of us when
we’re dead and if there are no
gods then everything just ends

We may feel a lasting burn
even after the event, after
the cause, is forgotten like some
shadowy torch wrought in
shadows—here then gone, the
inevitable impermanence—each
of our days together, so precious



-November 2, 2018-

Love fails

Never speak of it
Always think of it
My unique window,
my spectral, inescapable view
We don’t live long enough
to state our absolutes—like
some grief that robs the heart

Love fails 

Gave it the best I’ve got—
every time
The comprehensibility of
a pointless universe
“I come and go as I please;
I answer to no one”
I’d share the stars with you

Love fails  

The substance can be outrageous
if you stick to the form,
if you get under the skin
of another’s life and then
keep going because you
relish your truth each
time it’s found

Love fails

What do you do when
some friend of yours says
“Don’t come around here any
more” and where do you go?
The thirst, the restless search
The universe is 13.7 billion years
old, and 137 is a magic number

Love fails

Unexplained and inexplicable wonder
Vodka stench on her breath—
It’s cold out and I think to myself
“Where is she? Is she cold
and alone and wet or passed
out on the street?”  “I don’t
want to burden you” she says

Love fails

I awoke at 1:15 a.m.
and you were gone,
your hooded robe in disarray
on the floor, and an empty
ice cream cup upside down
in the hallway—no goodbyes,
just the spitefulness of pain

Love fails

My heart twists for you
each time I see what you’ve
left behind—your purse, a can of
energy drink, two empty vodka
one-shots—one-shots like a stab
to the heart—how she hurts
in this whirlpool of pain

Love fails

I would hold her hand—
I’d wonder if she wanted me
to hold her hand or just let me
Someone gets close to me
and then leaves—We took
a walk together long ago—maybe
we weren’t supposed to but we did

Love fails

Blonde hair that flies up
from her face,
hands in the air,
a blank stare—
her blue eyes are blank
“If I’m shaking they won’t let me
through Security and onto the plane”

Love fails

The terror of cancer is easy to see
The inner pain of the addict
requires more imagination, more
empathy—“Why does she do it?
Why won’t she seek treatment?
Why can’t she stop?
What is this awful disease?”

Love fails

It rained all morning,
cold and wet, and she’s gone
I hope she’s not on the streets
She left her purse in my room, took her
phone and an expired passport, and her
bank card—“My love, won’t you partner
your life just a little bit more with me?”

Love fails



-October 20, 2018-

I’m told

I’m told that 99.9% of earthly
species are now extinct and that
in 100 million years the sun
will implode with heat and wrath and
our earth will be, like the planets above
and the moon before us, uninhabitable
With 100 billion stars in our galaxy

and 100 million (and still counting)
galaxies, why are we so alone?
She keeps her money in her shoe
as fall leaves dry and decay into
wild wet colors like glistening
sea stones beneath us while the
the moon stabilizes the earth’s tilt

and time heals nothing but
conceals all, so deeply flawed, so
heavenly, as if freedom is the work
of anxiety, hesitation, errors and terror
Behold the robust water bears,
moss piglets, they can live anywhere,
reside in unconscious paradise

and have done so for at least
100 million years
We are lovers again because
our love becomes us and
here we are in all innocence
and this is how we partner
and we’re as miniscule as

the stars in a 100 million galaxies
Lively and robust, much is on
my mind as my earthly guides
falter in search of a resonant,
public reality of signs—so far
our advertisements are visually
more vibrant than what’s advertised

Like a tourist exposed to magnificent
sights but who doesn’t really see them,
these falsities of unity aren’t free
What you use to mediate vibrantly
determines what you see
Science is symbolic forms,
a system of signs, a pluralistic policy

of simultaneous narrations
in search of our perfect zone where
her inner light reflects upon my own
Jean Rhys wrote “I don’t write when
I’m happy but I’ve never had a
long period of happiness
Has anyone?”

Truth always illuminates—
It isn’t true just because it
seems so to you and your bilious
tribe of power-mad, privileged louts
Ask yourself now how many Romans felt
secretly gladdened by the bloody murder
of Caesar, that populous liar and tyrant


-October 7, 2018-


Shattered—like an ill man of
strict veracity and measures;
like an illness before recovery;
like relentless, anxious worry

Like TV sketches in which the cups, we
note, they drink from empty cups
How glorious to eat too much and
fall into a peaceful, ominous sleep

My nights are savage—and you,
Gramps, were your nights savage too?
It’s an indirect view of planets far away,
lifeless planets, their pock-marked moons

Bodily failures, addictions—
She shouldn’t have to suffer this way
Attention is love some say and ice,
as any bartender knows, floats

Paris imagined isn’t as fine as
the actual Paris— “The starry life
above us, the moral life within us”
Reason rages to tragic like

Nietzsche’s loathsome philosophy of power
(abused by the later-day Nazis and fascists),
a fiery response to Christianity’s cruelties
(even today, sadistic nuns, pedophile priests)

You can’t possibly list all your beliefs
in some rash stretch for better measures
Science is about survival in experience
It neither proves nor approves us

Being human is chronic
Our progress comes from conflicts—
Conflicts demand diversity and you
do worry, harden and exhaust me

No matter what we like there’s
always sacrifice
Nothing’s so hard as to not
deceive ourselves about that

When she goes to her special
place she can’t be reached
“Something there that was my own
is given away or taken from me”

We don’t own what we make
Savage nights full and plain—
They drink their nothing in a pretense
of cups and Gramps watched a lot of TV



-September 22, 2018-

Frustration in

Frustration in wide hospital corridors resonates into
night like a slow taut walk past large exit signs that
show us the way to damp humid streets; like a sorrowful
pain electrically shot from our hearts to our knees;
like a tenderness and neuropathy in tired scorched
feet; like a love that fails because my lover is
sick again and I can’t really help her and she

would wordlessly leave me as I scurry
to catch up with her, find her a car and
send her off on her way home without me
to nag her about treatment as she’s
convinced that I’m judging her, don’t
really know her and won’t let her be
We don’t choose who to love except
that we kind of do—love echoes us

As we feel the ancient moonlight and
I do what I can to make it not hurt so
in this marred world of caustic polarities,
where our creative acts choose, make, discard
and keep and our being is the result of the
conditions under which we live because we aren’t
and there are no universal beings; and because
nature applies to us without regard to our welfare,

I would celebrate the authenticity of play
in this anguished churn of turmoil and possibility
however inadequate my wishes always play
I am sometimes so sure of my vision and then I
think—my passions are strong, my understanding
is feeble and pride’s my intoxication
The truth’s a whole with no parts and all of my
carefully wrought order will, of course, dissipate

She’s not beautiful because she pleases
She pleases because she’s beautiful
There are many who are smarter than me
but not in a way that matters to me
The suicidal Mr. Bourdain went one
time for that show of his to Mississippi
and saw one backwater city after another
where he sampled greasy gravy laden southern

food and said everywhere “This is so good,
so good” All I could see was each stink-hole city
with its fat laden southern food that looks like slop
Of the jury in Alabama that wrongly convicted
the Scottsboro boys in the thirties the defense
attorney wrote “If you ever saw those creatures,
those bigots whose mouths are slits
in their faces, whose eyes popped out

like frogs, whose chins dripped with
tobacco juice, bewhiskered and
filthy, you would not have to ask
how they could do it” That’s still an
embedded rot in this fucked-up
country that even today gives us
the current Republican party and
its disgusting stink of a president

Personal beauty is a trifle compared
to the essence; “gusto” requires good
taste and should imbue everything
we care for and everything we do
We begin as children by believing
everything grown-ups say; credulity
gives way to caution; “Are you
untrustworthy, unreliable and selfish?”

A friend of mine started a career (as it turned
out a short career) as a college philosophy professor
Unfortunately, he was tasked with teaching
a bunch of brute idiot jocks one of whom said angrily
(while pounding his fist in his hand) “You know
prof, I could really use a C in this course” which was
not my friend’s vision or hope for teaching as
he so struggled to master Kierkegaard and Nietzsche

Skepticism might be good or else
it may paralyze especially when we see
how wretchedly old age etches itself
upon our faces, undermines our gusto and
turns to havoc our grand, pristine essence
Long before life here something from space smashed
into and scathed our earth, cut into a big chunk of it,
hurtled it into space, and made of it the moon

You are my punishment, my devotion, my other
I’m now 26 years older than my father was
(he was a philosophy professor, by the way)
when leukemia killed him so I should think
of him now as the younger man—but I don’t
I continue to age as my gears still smoke
I can’t see them but I feel them—
my life’s gears still gyrate and smoke



-September 8, 2018-


When asked

When asked why he plays
it differently each day, Debussy said,
“Each day the feeling is different”
Sleep echoes death in the night
Where’s the someone who loves
you most of all and won’t give up
on you—where does she go?

I don’t believe you—you’re not her
You don’t need a passionate person
like me—You might get by just fine
with an affectionate one
or no one at all—
I can’t take too many more blows like
this and you’re not her

Really into it, she screams at the TV
soap opera characters as if they’re real,
“You little slut, leave him alone!!!”
A fine attorney, he could represent
the views of others with precision, empathy
and good taste—or curse at the TV when
his team’s shortstop makes a mistake

The violence of the violin sounds
and soars above and within disparate
orchestral chords as if the orchestra is
an ocean of chords or a cycle of conjecture
and refutation—as though it were a world
of conflicted polarities and that orange life’s
violin cut— so hard, spontaneous and robust

Some measure their passing moments
in cycles of weeks or days—he sees time
pass as soap bars that dissolve and
melt away in his daily showers
She was more beautiful than she
needed to be and it didn’t end well—
She didn’t really want me

Their poverty secures their freedom
because desires and possessions are
the despot’s strongest fetters
In a drink with 18 ingredients the
individual tastes disappear
In a sandwich with three different
meats slathered in coleslaw

the individual tastes obliterate—
The essence goes if you smooth it
away—like a love that did her no good
You’re in a restaurant with colleagues
from work—this isn’t dining with
friends for fun—you’d best affably
charm if you can and keep

the personal to the conventional
and be a tad guarded without being rude
You don’t want to be embarrassed, laughed
at or harassed—and it isn’t about your personality
It’s about your income—Debussy rarely gave of
himself but when he did it was 100% and
many found that unnerving—too much

In TV land every living room or
kitchen table has a big bowl of fruit displayed
which no one ever takes from—If I were the violin
solo in a great and lengthy complex concerto of
what life would I robustly sing?—Understand
your own temperament, use what you’ve got—
Nothing worthwhile is simple

Look up at a cloudless night sky
and there it is, the past, how it continually
shines—from reflex to volition we
suffer in want of what we can’t have
Existence isn’t a lonely struggle—
It’s as if our dark matter collides in a wondrous
slide of barely perceived light clusters



-August 25, 2018-