Results for category "2019"

26 Articles

Being gradually

Being gradually diminishes, dissipates
Our luck is indeterminate, unintelligible
“If you don’t get the spicy,” he said,
“don’t bother to paint”
Conflict ridden, stale marriages
leave the survivor haunted with grief—
each sullied life led alone

The elderly, wrinkled, wretched witch
of the west is still in the gym spryly lifting
weights—give her a magic broomstick, send her
away and she’ll fly and glide into a dark night
sky as if to show you how your life might
withstand injustice, feebleness, tyranny because
you’ll never get close to her sad broken soul

He amuses us—and when talking of
himself he imagines himself a member
of his audience, thus joining in the applause
for himself—he thought if you weren’t a
businessman you were certainly good
for nothing and he immeasurably enjoys
the sound of his own voice

There are some who will lie
straight to your face and take great
offense if you call them out—They’ll
provide no proofs because they’re liars
who can only obfuscate and offend
In the 18th century “Europeans
scarcely visited any coast but

to gratify avarice and extend corruption;
to arrogate dominion without right
and practice cruelty without incentive”
That eminent old man had “little to care
from censure or praise since most of his
acquaintances were feeble at best
and at worse in their graves”

“He knew he should visit his mother
and though he tried to go he couldn’t
Though he wanted to go he didn’t”
The holidays chill and isolate those
with fractured families but I just need
a little love to steady me—civilization’s
veneer before it gets torn away

“She’s a truly good person but
she’s so fucking lost”—we became
familiar with the art of the fractals and
collage—I went after the drowning soul
but couldn’t help her, she’d have taken
us both under—“It’s a most unreasonable
fancy that we’re bound to live forever”

“Her bulldogs put their heads on her
knees or pawed at her legs to comfort
her with little whimpers of concern”
We’re fragments of light trapped in a
dark realm, hindsight imposed on history—
I had such hopes then—“Don’t believe
the tale if you can’t believe the teller”

-December 28, 2019-


He preferred to live in a world
of transparency and numbers,
broke the German codes with their
infantile fantasies of military glory
Her betrayal is a subtle mutation
of muted light in the mist, the
stale grey fog of Brittany

Her black willful eyes soften
into beautiful, soft-eyed solitude
Outside it smells of rain and burnt
leaves in a dangerous, hostile crag
where we perceive the similar in
what’s different, the different in the
similar, and leave behind the

limitations of hope and reason
Restraint liberates invention
Engagement in a task and
we forget its meaninglessness
The movement of thought can
be more interesting than any thought—
She betrays me in a hurtful grey fog

Just a bit of ocher and a touch
of green—we don’t express nature,
we are nature—all our pleasures
spiced with the taste of ash, a clear
sense of grey, each in the glory of
solitude—we seize our powers by the gift
of sharp forms and the terrors of survival

Each day they felt their love
had one less day to go
When I love I don’t think
about meaninglessness,
but my heart is made of leather
and I never reach solely outward 
Perfection through collision

and conflict—explosions in the fog,
the deadlines, we need to prepare and
the days of the great revelations are here  
as we engage in a series of long
complicated events slow, determined
and, if we’re not prepared and if
we’re betrayed, then what

will happen to us next?
After the First World War
so many soldiers returned
shattered, had no jobs and
found their wives and sweethearts
had abandoned them
Whatever they gave was 

so easily taken away
How cruel were the times like sea
smoke air over cold water mists—
Ancestral metaphysical error grips
the inevitable strife of life, grips
his burgeoning leather heart as it cracks,
sears and scars with each betrayal     

-December 14, 2019-

Early fall evening

Other people, other minds—
Early fall evening, darkness into
night—It’s quite cold outside
They died apart—don’t
let the courts take your life—
clever shallowness, self-
congratulatory complacence,

laziness in the stillness, stone sadness
He lived as a hunted man, never
stayed long in one place,
trial and error reason, exile
It takes so little for some to go
savage, but he didn’t— his cognitive
map, his internal representations clean

but not together, so clear and so flat
The mysteries, the essence, the salt
honey sweetness—she extolls each of
her plans with every intention of following
through—makes each meticulous plan and
then doesn’t exactly—because appearance
is a part of reality, neither the whole nor

the end— because marks like them
together don’t get it—and he wants to
be her hero and she plays him just
for that—“No morality without autonomy”
What we see every day is so hard to
see, our obvious strides hide us away—
hidden heroes all, tough and true

She demands more and more and
gives less and less— the weakness
of our secrets, like a fallen
woven web of stone, the feeble
intellectual endowment of most
of us and our obvious dependence
on fond pleasures and passions

She said “I couldn’t
awaken from this nightmare
because I was awake already”
Love always goes one way
dictated by needs and he’d never
say “You’re traumatizing me”
His internal map—hot-tempered,

friendly, as sweet as Dad’s bet—
“You lose nothing to suppose
there’s a god” and then guess what—
Nothing exploded and became, 13.7
billion years ago, the whole damn
universe, the violent stars in the dark,
the muted sweep and noise of life

How desolate the first dark of
cold fall’s evening into night
as it descends from today
within our stony bleak allure
Nature never makes the same thing
twice and today the sun was so spotty
green, not yellowish green like yesterday,

not brownish spots, the way it was last
week—the hurt, the rejected, the sad—
this is a solitary, fiery, tragic, mad
adventure, each stride unique,
with a stone as our heart’s sad
allure, other minds, in the early
fall evening, darkness into night

-November 30, 2019-

We set a bona fide

We set a bona fide signal, a special,
feral noise—hell’s gates are always open,
the damned are there by choice—
It’s good to feel strong, healthy again—
“You don’t write serious, you write funny,”
she said, “Not at all about the starved,
the outraged, naked nameless dead”

Well I, for one, have much more respect
for funny now “They tried to make me go
to rehab, I said, no, no no,” she sang
That wasn’t defiance—sad Amy
rehabbed four times, failed and died—too late,
too late, so slowly does time unwind— for the
lovers of truth and those whom truth defies

Action denies human richness
Friendship is vulnerability
Politicians stake our truths on their
appearances—their fights always
over anger and material strides—
their political ideals just pretexts in
hell because they want to be there

A scent of cedar or pine,
rotted leaves, decayed bark, silence,
rest—moonlight over spider webs,
flighty forest streams and dreams,
where each meaning is the result of
“one will, one health, one soil, one
 sun, perfection, silence and rest”

as if we could write our way
to sheer essence because you’re mine
within a non-linguistic course, pattern,
separation, being—your coarse
grifter’s mask of unbearable deceit
and suffering, withering in gleams of
the low winter’s sun against buildings

made of steel and glass—how we disappear
into the glare and blur of unconstrained light,
as spontaneously as a tree bears fruit, like
a clever shallow essence, as successful as
a revolution that takes its stock from the
flawed corrupt state rebelled against—
I’m your safety, your oasis, your rock

-November 16, 2019-

Oh that crescent

Oh that crescent moon, 
a sweet white-light crescent
where a black outline curves,
moon-perfect, thin and round   
Melancholy, broken connections—
no guaranties, no promises—
nerves extra-sensitive, exposed

“You don’t love the oppressed”
she told him, “rather, you hate the
oppressors” the hard hearted ruthless,
well-educated rulers, famous patrons
of the arts and war, so expensive
these arts, expensive these wars,
so mean, sly, bitter, and cruel

When the wolf’s rage overwhelms us,
possesses us such that nothing
can stop us, what truths transcend
culture, transcend time? Some
evil caused by a lack of zealotry,
perhaps, or zealotry the evil cause,
the coiled mentality of then?

A sensualist, a dynamo, an angry
hedonistic wolf—your Mom projects
her bad choices onto you—she’s
the one who deserves bad luck
when all you ever wanted to
do was dance, the thinnest
of the thinnest lines, to hold to

We walked the street of the dead,
down to its southern edge
to the feathered cobra temple
at the dawn of the north-star gods
They thought, before your sacrifice,
“If I make a trophy of my enemy’s
head, all his power is mine”

Patterns of vibrations in the mind,
functions of nerves and neurons,
habitual associations, ruminations,
the mental universe of then
“Jade is precious, rare and green,
signifier gem of plant life, Spring—
our greatest celestial stone”  

He thought to make a merchandise
of his mind, neither to be regretted
nor praised—a million sperm will
find their way to nowhere, but not
the sperm that became part you—
Fortune is a coiled black cobra,
luck our life’s stark maze  

You know something, sometimes
people do change—they listen to
themselves and change while
certain of their retained essence—
intricate, delicate, strange, we’re
a blip in the crease of now—crescent-
white with our perfect black coils

-November 2, 2019-

As any noxious

As any noxious totalitarian knows,
human morality is easily warped so that
the murder of the so-called freakish, the vile,
the foul is now downright legal—But what if
your very body rebels against this crass trick
of the legal, this mediocre warp of your morality,
to asphyxiate you down until you gag?

As a boy I thought that no matter
what anyone was drinking, they would
have preferred to drink an orange soda
My brother Matt thought everyone’s
favorite color is red—look at the
Coca-Cola can he said, bright red
(just like our bloodiest wounds)

As she carries the food to her bed-
bound ill husband, she stumbles, drops
it, stubs her toe, breaks it, angrily cries out
“God damn it, I’ll get it myself,” he
screams, but nausea churns within
him now and he can’t get up
Life’s cruelty is a distinct red rose

Is this the suffering of the damned
and, accordingly, should we be glad?
Dad’s death shatters my view
The slaughter block—
the rapid onslaught of oblivion
We’re bit players here and on
this crass big stage we drown

Stale visuals, familiar forms, different
ways—she makes a pact with the fitness
gods and thinks “I’ll never be ill”
He wasn’t seeing other lives, he saw,
instead, the imprint of his own gaze
He was a troubadour who turns
our life into song, who saw

a ceaseless struggle for mastery and survival
When you go to war a part of you won’t
come back and no political system or
moral code will obliterate or tame our
basic savagery, our predatory natures
When the bombs fell some unlucky few
boiled to death in roiling river waters

When I was twenty Mom got sick
and I couldn’t help her
On that ceiling in Rome, God
and Adam almost touch 
She died but I’m still trying to help
her—They’ll never touch, because
sin is real and grace is not

“She’s a mediocrity like me but
she writes like an angel”
We can refuse to be the victims
or their executioners, human malice
so intractable, human luck so irrepressible
They almost touch but never do
and I couldn’t help her

I saw a blackish, brackish furred squirrel
scratch its ear with its back foot,
leap from the sidewalk and clasp
a brown barked tree, cling to it
on all fours, all in one leap—god damn
you’re good at this squirrel, you’re good
She wasn’t a performer, she  

was an artist who never paid
enough attention to her lovers
to know whether she hurt them
What if we meet in a street full
of splendid strangers?—Recovery is
always a mess and talent doesn’t relax
An ancient artist carved, without

metal tools, a gigantic tiger’s jaw
within a human head in stone
How do we overhear ourselves?
What do we tell ourselves when
we talk to ourselves—who is left to speak
to us then?—With whom do we go
mute, who do we talk to, who is left?

-October 19, 2019-

She’s sexy

She’s sexy, funny, smart and sweet
He’s happy within his garden-like flares—
those puffy reddish flowers lifted in the air
in early Fall’s chill or in the late Spring
Close study of her surfaces shatters lies,
permits truth’s more determined inventions
and lets her star-shaped voices thrive

The brain’s grey, jelly-like and full of water
The distant roll and wash of the sea—
She’s become the sun to me
I’m a modest man of modest means
Predestination’s a fantasy of control,
too idiosyncratic to follow like fate’s
deep quiet for those who fight,

those who work, and those who pray—
the depredations of time, the innate will
to survive, the way life crushes us
Predestination—the fate I didn’t control
He doesn’t travel but loves to listen
to travelers’ tales, how they’ll
sometimes say “You’re a bit player,

I’m the star” where black Americans
were run down by water hoses, chased
by dogs, on a bridge at noon
one hot summer’s day
Antelopes seek no reason for
the grey wolf’s savagery and all
operatic voices, even the most

remarkable will deteriorate— She sings,
“I knew life was sad, so often bad,
but this sad, this bad, really?”
She sang this in her prime
Every song seeks to deaden our pains
You and your lovers don’t love me
but you’re not fate, you’re not

the universe—his address book’s old
and full of the dead like a cemetery
Memorialize her if only because
she passed through this world,
became imprinted in your brain,
a stoppage in your mind,
treated like a nobody when

she’s regal, special, no don’t laugh
You know I’m right, so special
Our revelations in spirit-selves, never
sated, self-consciousness so strange,
enter the hidden garden’s special
place where rough-shod longings
vanish and all the grey depths clear

-October 5, 2019-

Human is wolf

Human is wolf to human—
emotion, pathos, movement
Lips parted in pain,
her frown, the downward
strain of the sufferer
Goats grazed by the roadside
and I can’t find her   

Here’s a famous photo:
Old angry white men on a trolley
where young angry black men scream
Severe disapproving Southern ladies also ride
The broken-down are slumped in an alley
Gamblers and drinkers stoop in an old saloon
Lots of alienation on the assembly lines

Segregation south and north
of the Mason-Dixon line—
bitterness, dissipation, discontent
All those goddamned happy bullshit
stories with their beginnings, middles
and ends—in the space before we lived,
in the space to which we’ll die

We can guess the truth by
the way the rule-makers lie
She relieved as no one else could
my isolation, my loneliness
Hell’s gates are always open—
Freedom’s just a short walk away and
history is liberty made conscious

That jerk was admired as a
character, an entertainer—
though of limited cognitive ability
and generally dubious behavior
We humans are savage
Wolf to wolf to human—
Hollow, mean and nasty  

-September 21, 2019-

Relentless 2

Mom couldn’t, in her last illness,
ever find a comfortable position
as the noumenal world
before her life and after
her death

the way the sun will shine
even after great loss, sickness,
or damage within my own skin
This is how we live—
the thirst, lust, search, the
personal relationships so

close, but not too close,
like an art more sportive than military
where the radiant lights strike
she’s sprightly, joyous even and
when she works hardest it looks
like she isn’t working at all

Hey, I’m that gambler who enjoys
gambling only when I win
“An expression has meaning
only in the stream of life”
As if I couldn’t see the
difference between the smoothly
organic, and the crude mechanics

of human made things
as we hide our lack of perception
in an imposing apparatus of obscurity,
intricate flourishes and false phrases, in the
immensity of new and unheard of difficult
jargon that sounds oh so learned

Money was a key and though old
I can still acquire, have for myself
and selfishly own a few more things 
although not for long— In another
day I sought for my true wife, my
true other, sometimes used

substitutes and just
never found her…
Our lives can turn ugly here
in the dark where my animal
spirit is our spirit where,
lucidity of expression
is dauntless and lost

as the noumenal world
before our lives and after
our deaths, because I’ll
never grasp death within my own
skin and because you left some stuff
behind to signal how you aren’t done

with me yet
Change is our lifeblood
and like a radiance of light
it shows us what’s sweet in
this world within a whirlpool
of love as deft as delight 

-September 7, 2019-

We live

We live life forwards, understand
it backwards, as one tedious
task follows another, our futures
non-predictable, non-determinative

I saw a bowl of red roundish apples,
peered into the empty corridor, saw
your melancholy absence, bitterness,
exile and like some kind of liar who has

mastered the art of talking about
everything while saying nothing,
I think this is our new politics so—
I’ve determined not to be an invalid

even after my latest illness—
Did you think I’d always be one
and is that why you ran? We shift 
from crisis to crisis, wallow 

in the rubbles of long done
cosmic wars, sense each other’s
needs, as if the deep was always
there, how it swirls, tugs and hugs 

Part god, part human,
part animal, part human,
so let’s touch despite
our collective wisdoms,

despite the anguish of  my illness,
despite the fight of our lives
within friendships that don’t last, 
and can’t last forever given

what we’re made of 
You’re a diligent if not 
a profound thinker—
Don’t misunderstand, the

question is good, I’m  
just saying it hasn’t an answer
because the good questions
don’t and the life you seek

you may not find because 
life isn’t kind and our internal
flight from the intolerable is
neither divine nor just madness 

-August 24, 2019-