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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)

Beg Prudence

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“go in fear of abstractions”

                        –Ezra Pound

 

In evening’s corners,

As Dark stalks the streets,

Times’s serrated silences

Gnaw even king’s bones,

Content in the certitude

Another mundane day has,

Once again, passed unmolested

Into Memory’s vague grasp.

 

No need to fear, abstractions

Are ubiquitous as starlings

Murmuring along the eastern hills.

They pulse and turn back on us

Like cold-clotted blood,

Until we can no longer breathe.

 

(October 11,2018)

Where One Learns as What One Learns

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My old tai chi master

watched his students

study their college texts,

then laughed explosively

into the silence

of the courtyard,

our open air dojo.

We all looked up

like gazelle’s scenting

the air. He laughed

again, then said,

“There should be a book

on how to watch clouds.”

We looked at him quizzically.

“All it would say

on every page—

Look Up!”

 

(August 28, 2018)

Perpetual Reinterpretation Machine

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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

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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)