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The beginning squeezes back

like a hermit crab retreats

deeper into its ever-tightening

shell. This moment opens

into and closes off the last

and next, as we each pretend

we are a cumulative consequence.

God, if extant, does not care

about time and its causes, the click

and clack of the marble rolling

through preordained mechanics,

nor the butterfly landing on her hand.

I fear pat endings’ homilies,

as if someone turns off the lights.

(February 15, 2019)

Chromosome Damage

(in progress)

DNA string against black with clipping path

(23)

Lights break auras

As night deepens

The rain. The solstice

Grows closer through the dark;

Grim days shorten.

(28)

Half-way back

To summer’s long heat—

In afternoon hours,

It hurts to step

Outside as if someone

Near waits with knives.

(14)

Patient enough now

To watch all this unfold

Into spring.

(40)

Outside, another cold day:

Most of the leaves have fallen

From the sycamore outback;

Its white bark stands in contrast

To the stark grey sky. Beauty

Lives with our view.

(43)

Nietzsche said, among other things,

We experience only ourselves—

Even when I shift toward you,

It remains me who must see

The shadow which falls starkly

Between us on the floor.

(36)

If no one hears the Eliot allusion,

Does it make a sound?

Or should one pretend

A studied nonchalance

To carry one through the late afternoon?

(39)

Thus, an old ritual snickers

To a close, the porch lights

Turned on, the curtains

Drawn. I feel safe,

Less exposed, contained

With the pattern—

A spider moves toward motion.

(34)

We’ve woven our disparate dreams,

And become subsumed beneath the totality

Like ocean waves rolling upon themselves

Far from shore.

(28)

My anger sits at a distance,

It does not go away—

It whispers discontent

Like whip’s end striking wet flesh.

(41)

Ubiquitous as fear,

The air tightens

Without provocation.

Yet, still we sing,

Sing our song,

As if redemption

Can be gathered

Like bags of wet cotton

Blotched with blood.

Whirligig

“Desire is a moment with no way out”

            –Anne Carson

I parse each moment’s possibility

Pretending the past can be reconciled

With present desires. Memory wears me

Like a palm stone smoothed from idle handling,

Until no difference exists between 

Me and what I have perceived to be me.

The unstable threads interlace with all

The lies, the truth, the last dry sip of gin.

The metaphor for myself unravels:

The little that was left unsaid is said,

And the air sparkles with embarrassment.

I have built constructs out of Tinker Toys,

Vast whirligigs of simplistic ideas

To clack and flail in an ignorant wind.

(December 6, 2018)