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Metaphor’s Threat

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (74)

It is hard to hear 

what must be said

easy to fall 

into cliche

a pair of shoes 

softly worn old

they know the way 

to take you home

as cows wear down

 a simple path

between one place

 and another

no difference

 really matters

our thoughts carve out

 the same channels

and run like rats

 trapped in a maze

never pausing

 to look for more

than what was there

 the last time here

repetition 

a common thread

comforts us all

 with old ideas

and traps us too

with such fools as I

(July 11, 2020)

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) 

to define is to limit

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is thought

poetry is words

poetry is silence

poetry is emotion

poetry is gibberish

poetry is vague

poetry is ambiguous

poetry is precise

poetry is concise

poetry is babble

poetry is light

poetry is dark

poetry is mind

poetry is heart

poetry is hidden

poetry is everywhere

poetry is pervasive

poetry is absence

poetry is laughter

poetry is tears

poetry is love

poetry is hate

poetry is simple

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is metaphor

poetry is plain

poetry is complex

poetry is slant

poetry is curved

poetry is bent

poetry is straight

poetry is cubed

poetry is convex

poetry is obtuse

poetry is infinite

poetry is hermeneutic

poetry is occult

poetry is transcendent

poetry is god

poetry is zen

poetry is buddha

poetry is Christ

poetry is religion

poetry is atheist

poetry is glib

poetry is serious

poetry is dirt

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is earth

poetry is air

poetry is fire

poetry is water

poetry is elemental

poetry is irrelevant

poetry is submission

poetry is dominance

poetry is coy

poetry is rude

poetry is blatant

poetry is obvious

poetry is obscure

poetry is orgasmic

poetry is impotent

poetry is sex

poetry is flirtation

poetry is destruction

poetry is resurrection

poetry is creation

poetry is filth

poetry is shit

poetry is dust

.

poetry is nothing

poetry is everything

poetry is breath

poetry is death

poetry is ice

poetry is tongue

poetry is bowels

poetry is piss

poetry is you

poetry is me

poetry is us

poetry is other

poetry is privilege

poetry is poverty

poetry is gender

poetry is genderless

poetry is cadence

poetry is dissonance

poetry is power

poetry is gravity

poetry is nature

poetry is voice

poetry is spit

poetry is sight

poetry is blind

(April 11, 2020)

as if he must explain

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (32)

after dad died

I would wear his shirts

they were too large

for my adolescent body

.

thin wisps of skin 

like spider’s silk

drift in the wind

.

each new mask adhered

to and was shaped by

the one that came before

.

my feet are numb now

as if on fire

.

as the ground slips away

I grasp for space

.

I don’t know how I got here

or where I’m coming from

I’m tired and out of breath

I need to sit down 

.

when asked I don’t know

who I am or where

.

I think of my father

and how he died gasping

for air drowning in phlegm

.

and my collar grows tight

.

(February 24, 2020)

As He Peered over his Glasses

She spoke without preface,

as if sh knew him:

each sentence a non-sequitar

even to itself; no beginning

no end, no predicate

to bend into an open heart.

Askew to his position,

she formed a fulcrum

with no place to stand

like surf far out to sea

crashing against itself.

Until in a froth of inaction,

he drowned, swallowing his words,

as if they mattered.

(August 21, 2019)

Agoraphobia

Outside,

the trees and bushes seem

to vibrate in the bright heat;

as if any moment, they’ll collapse

into their own shade, exhausted.

*

Inside,

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.

*

August

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)

Confession as a Form of Explanation

My story is true in so far

as it is my story. The lines

I must maintain for my belief

to be justified are many.

I fear questions lest it all falls

like a child’s tower of blocks falls,

tumbled across unstable ground.

Although I know that the truth lies

for I formed each one on my own,

turning them over and over

like rosary beads until smooth,

they still allow me to believe

each stone lies firmly on the next.

With no one to doubt what I say,

the facade I have built is real

I explain to myself myself:

I live forms of happies

As long as the ever after,

and the hero is always me.

(June 30, 2019)