A Mirror Sees Only Itself

“my nature/is a quagmire of unresolved /confessions”
                        –Robert Creeley, The Door
I resist autobiographical
Interpretations others imply
When they ask about my work.
I do not write to you, nor
Even for you. I am no
Placebo to numb your pain;
No multi-car pile up
To drive by relieved
That it is some other;
No prurient desire to linger
Over, dripping hunger
Like an open wound.
Yes, I write this; yet, you
Come only to see yourself.

(October 12, 2017)

she did not respond

“for it is always that the other will simply ask no question whatever about these unaccustomed glasses that the other will see, in the fact, no sign.”
–Roland Barthes
and there he was the person who
he was looking for all this time
as if anyone else could step forth
other than the one who waited there
his pen obliquely scratched the page
like an old dog lost in his sleep
there is no other other than you
he said to himself slowly
so even he could comprehend
that his words had no meaning
except to the one who listened
except to the one who heard
he lay down next to the still water
and admired his reflection in the pond

(June 25, 2017)


“I Hallucinate my Desire”
–Roland Barthes
It was not her,
But the cliché
He clothed her in
With which he fell
In love; it was
She he wanted
To be, not himself—
The staid mockery,
An easy fool
To be displaced.
Caught in his own
Clichés as well
As others, he said
Too much too soon,
Or too little too late;
As if some other
Past could be
Rewritten into
An iteration of all
He could not become.

(June 1, 2017)

It is Itself Enough

apologies to ws

no explanations
until later, he
a difference
between his hands
heavy on my shoulder
now and the ache–
the moon’s crescent
here now, and Paris
then, but not him
the sky’s less grand,
or am I smaller?
wisdom was simple,
or we were naïve:
despite the poison,
the drowning in air,
the grappling panic,
I am here without change;
patterns are patterns
even when I see them.
the house across the street
goes dark;
there are no screams
(July 11, 2016)

My Thoughts are my Own Alone in the Hearse

            –a response to a pedant
“It is June. I am tired of being brave.”
                        –Anne Sexton
The hierophant explains with a sigh,
this line’s often twisted and de-contextualized…
Perhaps, or love for the line itself–
arbitrary time (with its attendant meanings
of spring’s rebirth and clichéd weddings)
weighed down by a vast unknown ennui,
divorced from  the solitary sad pebbles
along the path toward a grave echoed
so–solidified all for the moment,
then like a tide emptying into the sea,
re-contextualized within an anonymous
infinite collage where meaning’s framed
often only in a confession to trivial
interpretations rather than strict
dogmas of convenience preached
by those privileged and O, so, unaware
that there is often a vast divergence
between what is said and what is heard
yet still moves someone to speak again
the fragments, scraps, and wisps of air,
what little bits remain within the mind
like sea glass left unsung upon a shore

(August 8, 2015)

The Library

“What do they know
and feel we do not know?”
William C. Williams, Paterson
I know only this
faint glimmers
of light in a line
an unsourced shape
what I bring
to what I read
what I take away
the book remains
I’m changed
but incomplete
our conversation’s our own
my own your own
each hears a different voice
to a different ear
a vague outline
a blurred picture
of you I carried
but lost years ago
(February 4, 2015)

Read For This: a Lecture

Past words pirouette off the page,
like apparitions at their stations,
to reanimate an old thought
into a different mind’s age.
A pithy phrase or sensuous line
catches the ear in a whisper,
slows the thought to a clarion
even this reader might hear.
To know what happens, look
at what remained: the tattered book,
the cited scrap, one has saved
to write through the bookish dark.
What drives us to our age
resembles what drove us before:
to slip past the smoke and hate,
to sway in the dancer’s slightest gait.

(July 4, 2014)