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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)

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Weeks Before Winter Solstice

W

                                      “and I am

out with hanterns, looking for myself”

                        –Emily Dickinson

Despite the lights in the house,

The darkness penetrates.

It assumes positions in corners,

Presumptuous in its domain.

Like lions pace a cage’s confines,

I am lost in loops of thought

Looking for a set of keys

Which will let me inside.

Yet, there is no rest within

Nor without which can comfort

Enough to bring a closure;

Locked in my obsessions,

I worry each item in turn,

Tangled like tumblers at a fair.

(November 26, 2018)

Obsessive Voice

hand-holding-1082154_960_720

 

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)

 

 

 

 

Snapshot

source

 

As laconic waves lap the shore,

Children’s laughter catches the breeze;

And seagulls’ cries pierce the sky.

 

In the moment before it happens,

No one notices the clouds overhead

Casting shadows on the ground.

 

Recently, I saw an old photograph—

A typical summer beach scene:

Two young blonde women lean over

 

A railing in modest bathing suits.

They look out over the crowded beach

Toward the soft clouds on the horizon.

 

Everyone seems happy. Everyone

Exists in the moment, oblivious

To the candid moment they are in.

 

The caption reads: Germany, 1936.

It could have been any day;

It could have been today.

 

 

*(historical note: Dachau opened in March, 1933)

 

 

(October 15, 2018)

Ballistics

volleyball-serving

The young girl thinks

constantly of the proper

manner to serve

a volleyball true.

 

The smack-smack

of leather against

the polished wood floor

dominates and supersedes

 

the hard-lined proofs

of geometry; the arc

and vector, with

the slightest bump,

 

returns her to the game’s

concrete abstractions.

 

(September 19, 2018)