Infinite Watched Pot (a reading)

Infinite Watched Pot

“That is, if you write it has it happened twice”

—Michael Palmer, Notes for Echo Lake

I woke and now it is now; the sun’s setting.

Was the writing the thing that happened?

Would today happen without being written?

Are they two events or one?

I see something—

like a car crash,

or water boiling on the stove.

One’s disconnected,

one’s intentional, possibly

even a causation; for example;

I’m hungry, so

I hop in the car for a burger.

She was in a hurry. It was

raining. She slams through a yellow light.

The driver in front of me dies

on the wet street. Or,

I’m still hungry. I hold dry

pasta knowingly, and watch

as the tiny bubbles form

on the bottom of the pot.

Did anything happen?

I am hungry, and will be

each time you read this,

even if I was the driver

who died, or I just wrote

it down; even if something

more than this

was in my thoughts

as I waited for water

to boil.

(May 3, 2020) 



the trees and bushes seem

to vibrate in the bright heat;

as if any moment, they’ll collapse

into their own shade, exhausted.



they are framed in the window.

I watch them from across the room

from the chair I’m sitting in.

I am cold in the conditioned air.



has begun. Soon, I’ll be back

at work, teaching my students

to find meaning in the mundane

details which often overwhelm us.

(August 3, 2019)

Perpetual Reinterpretation Machine



It is familiar enough

to be familiar, but no

more: a scratch in the dark

which stops when you stop

to listen to what you think

is a sound somewhere nearby,

but it’s just you thinking

in the silence to the dark.

It’s absence breathes heavily

as if aroused with metaphor

still clinging to its half-formed kiss.

It waits on memory to form

a shape which conforms to desire’s

simple reduction to a truth.


(August 17, 2018)




All Memory Wears Nostalgia’s Taint



It’s not fair to compare

one to the other where secrets

are apropos to a love affair,

or some distant war as far

as that goes. Yet, what’s to be

done to stop it? What metaphor

within yourself were you willing

to sacrifice? As long as one

doesn’t mind water swallowing

your words, it’s simple enough

to drown in any nearby river.

I, too, hold my expectations

at a distance in order to live—

I’m not sure what occurred,

or even if we were just lovers.


(August 15, 2018)

Dream Journal #33: Projections



She infused your words with hers

as you did not say what she intended.

The words in the letter in the dream

swirled and slipped across the page.

You began to read like a film voiceover,

then her voice became stronger erasing

your words as she spoke your confession.

You knew she knew you knew she wrote

to you she thought; but was unsure

the letter, your letter, her words said

as much. If only she did not know

the letter, as her desire, was a dream;

and no amount of bland exposition

could explain away her obsessions.


(May 2, 2018)




As blood from wine,

He is transformed;

The words solidify—

Lift from the page

Like a starling murmur

flows in morning air.

Obsessively, his thoughts

Turn and return

To the slightest wisp

She might, in passing,

Have whispered.

Memory is present

Always to form

A different future.

He writes and revises,

Remembers and reforms,

As if a candle’s smoke

Can reshape a flame;

As if all the words

Are uttered correctly,

He will be reborn.


(February 5, 2018)

Still Point



“Our awareness leaves us defenseless”

–H.D. The Walls do not Fall, 27




Like an assassin’s garrote,

A grape vine swirls around

The surrounding trees;

It pulls itself toward light,

Tangling through the clotted

Branches, among the shadow.


At dusk, the edge

Of the earth’s present;

Unlike the dawn,

Where it’s disguised

In a radiant light.

To be aware is to vanish.

Totality’s moment

Slips past unnoticed.


(January 26, 2018)



He Sees He Says



He resists his clichés

With their tiny reins

Guiding the blinder’s

Simplistic vision.

“Everything’s okay,”

he says, yet knows, as she,

it is all just a lie:

her questions, the feigned

interest, are too much—

too coy in their intent

for him to be okay.

He feels his answers

Thicken like cataracts

Clouding all before him.


(January 15, 2018)




The familiar voice, a constant whip, rips

Bits of metaphorical flesh to fleck

The truculent air like a moist firework.

If one listens— the recriminations

Claw, maul, snag and cut to reshape the past;

The pressure provides us old forms to drape

Like silk shrouds upon the dead and dying.


I hear the fears of my world, the cold doubt

Niggling each broken phrase, like a dry catch

At the back of the throat. I do not know

What to believe, or which patch can still fix

The tattered fabrications, or which will

Transform into the next tale to be told

Before the voice begins to speak again.


(December 29, 2017)