Deep Breath

April 15, 2014

Fearing winter like an old man now,

Fall’s chill settling in, the evenings dark,

I worry my mind’s furrows with the plow

Of thought, each pale idea dropping like a spark

Whose fire’s burned out. I brood like ashes

In an arctic hearth, clinging to my days

With cold-cracked hands, feeling no more the flashes

Which in youth promised the world — and then delivered this.

But what’s “this”? Just what I think it, nothing else;

All its brute nature’s but my frown or grin.

And now, so late as now, can’t I replace

All raw reactions with deep breath? Can’t I at last begin

To give no heed to prize or peril

And live like old Diogenes in his barrel?


April 1, 2014

When the moribund rebound,

Return upon the merry-go-round;

When the ash is flame again

And flies again on phoenix wing;

When the slumb’ring heads start up,

Eyes arising like to bulbs;

It’s then we say a spring has sprung,

When some ending’s rebegun.

meditation on peace

March 18, 2014

meditation on peace


March 11, 2014

Silent clay now is my father

Silence deeper than deaf ears

Clay laying unbodily asunder

A timeless now unknown in years

His is a being of emptiness

Mine less than the dark is mine

A father but of thoughts

Charlotte Smith

February 28, 2014

Charlotte thought her life would be too long

And now she has been dead two-hundred years.

I linger on her words, like still-wet tears

Remaining though the eyes are dry, are gone

Into a place sans sight and sense,

A not-place that her longing never knew,

For though that longed-for peace she linked thereto,

There’s not a piece of it in nothingness,

No way to ease your head when it grows tense

Only with worms, stringing the skull from crack to crack

Where once electric currents ran amok –

And all to make you long for rest, no less.

Ah! if for peace and rest you have a thought,

A void should be avoided and not sought.

paean to pain

February 25, 2014

in praise of pain I raise my pen

(and quickly put it down again)

The Lovesong of Samuel Lear

February 17, 2014

People in love are horrific.

They mince and they prance and they preen.

If you asked them they’d say it’s terrific.

But it’s (rationally speaking) obscene.

And what’s worse is it happens so often.

(Though it never will happen to me).

You see them, from cradle to coffin.

Congregating so damn cheerily.

Whether natured or nurtured this illness.

Has no cure and they’ll love all their lives.

They’ll love all their colouring pencils.

Then they’ll grow up and love all their wives.

Oh I never will love, I swear it.

I’ll avoid it, creep by like a crab.

For whenever I am disappointed.

I point it and stab stab stab stab.

Sad occasion dear

February 4, 2014

We sociopathic poets! Of all of us,

Who would not kill for “Lycidas”?

Milton himself, although a friend to King,

For its dear sake would have him drown again.


(But I don’t ask that tragedy inspire –

It is enough if it lets me retire

Into the peace misfortune brings

When it befalls my family and friends.)


January 28, 2014

Fall, lofty verse! Great Aeschylus is dead!

(An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head.)


January 21, 2014

Some day the boy, a boy no longer,

Will think of him, long dead, his grandfather.

Today they sit enveloped by my sight

In this fog of future. The old man and I

May share these thoughts of teleologic bent,

But the boy has only popcorn and contentment.

His thought lies in the future. But some day

He might remember this café,

Its stillness and the old man’s voice

Telling him things I have no need to write.

Anticipating this place in future thought,

The old man shares his presence with great art,

Each gesture so deliberate, each look

So wise, like the author of some living book,

A scribe of torah, knowing no new testament,

But hoping, praying, willing some fulfillment.

Tall Tale

January 11, 2014

Short Saul sat too high a horse
And so the world is worse

Thales in the well/Boredom

December 11, 2013

While the water bore his body up

his mind bored up the drill-hole, past

the ground,

   to the small circle of sky.


Why would the world conform to any concept?

When in a well it is enough just

not to drown –

why dream of being dry?


May 5, 2009

under me, over me, underground streams —

intestines, veins — murmur, purr as i pour

my love in, inch by inch; freckles, star-

like, beneath my back-bound fingers braille their beams

from shifting constellations, skies in waves

reflecting choppily and swallowed; all

vessels greeted greedily, rise and fall,

lungs life-sucked on entry and only grave

and ragged gills surviving, and snapped gulls

in surf awaiting surfacing fish, and

fishermen, awoken by the sun, man-

ing aching boats — naked, skin-thin hulls

putting out upon moon-chastened seas,

rising and falling; bodies, bodies, bodies


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