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Linear Circles

L

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,

not the butterfly landing on her hand.

I fear pat endings’ homilies,

as if someone turns off the lights.

(February 15, 2019)

Obsessive Voice

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He picks up a rock,

He puts it down.

 

He picks up a rock,

He puts it down.

 

He tells himself:

Don’t pick it up;

 

He picks up the rock,

He puts it down.

 

He tells himself

He is stupid—

 

He tells himself

Not to say such things.

 

He tells himself

He is stupid

 

For saying such things,

Then says them again.

 

He tells himself

Don’t pick it up.

 

He picks up the rock,

And puts it down.

 

(October 15, 2018)

 

 

 

 

Turning Point

write-sales-letter

advice to my 15-year-old self

 

Keep writing; it defines you.

you are about to meet your wife;

she is not your current crush.

 

Your dad is dying.

In a couple of months, he’ll know.

It will take two years.

 

Except for your wife,

who you do not know yet,

no one thinks like you.

 

Poetry will save you

now, and again forever:

so read more, write more.

 

You will become who you are.

Quit German, learn Spanish.

(September 17, 2018)

No One Watches the Train Fall from the Broken Bridge

 

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His problem has nothing to do with the train which travels steadily through the night. Everyone is content, if not happy, on the train, reading opinions they already agree with, drinking champagne, eating delicacies imported from foreign countries. They pretend they do not like the food, but wish they could eat as well at home.  All of the people on the train are facing the same direction, which gives them all a strange comfort.  A few of them look out the windows, but it is too dark to see the trees in the forest. It all follows along so logically, like a math problem in high school where rats scuttle east over well-polished wing-tips at a variable rate of three feet per second. They stop randomly to nibble on discarded bread crumbs dropped with nonchalance by the passengers on the train. Meanwhile the train travels south at a consistent seventy-three miles per hour directly toward the crumbled bridge which once traversed a chasm one thousand feet deep and a mile wide. There is no question at the end that one must answer. However, there is an answer; there is always an answer. No one watches the train fall from the broken bridge. No one hears the explosions as it crashes into the rocks below, or the last cries for help of those who are momentarily still alive.  On a trail nearby the train tracks, a monk moves through the dark as if he has been here before, thinking vaguely of other things. He pauses, peers into the dark, then wanders off along his way. The monk’s tangentially wandering mind is not enough to mark the train’s passing beyond the silence which lingers in the mountains for several hours after the sun has risen again.

 

(July 6, 2018)