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As in the Last Days of Pompeii

In these next darker days,

Shadows walk in laughter

upright and self-righteous,

and we have no where to hide.

Ash floods the bitter sky

filling the streets, the rooftops,

our lungs with thick death.

With no time to cast bones,

our glazed eyes watch

the portents unfold into heaven.

Panicked, we rage in the street,

or cower next to a wall,

 a silent witness to the fall.

(September 17, 2020)

Featured

What I Imagine When Someone Explains my Poetry to Me

He stands on a small rock

in the middle of a river;

the water rushes past

an obvious metaphor.

He ignores the danger,

and leaps the gap to land

on the next wet stone

barely within his compass;


And there, as he teeters,

searching for his balance,

he hears the falls hunger,

then is neither here, nor there,


but lost in the churning froth

of some other’s creation.

(September 6, 2020)

radius

The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated with end.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

I do not know where I am

nor by extraction where you

are in relation to me

other than someone else

.

when I look at you you become

the object of my sentence

a reference toward action

that is wholly defined in me

.

my eye contains the complexity

deep within the oyster’s pearl

layer upon layer’s luster

shines with time’s light

.

an accumulation of vision’s

blind devotion to itself

(April 14, 2020)

the lethargic day’s disquietude

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (50)

time does not flow forward it folds and turns

as mind rattles from thought to thought like rain

drops into puddles making the water

wetter as it vanishes from itself

.

the flow turns inward like the subduction

of one tectonic plate to another

it circles back in an eddy’s slow twirl

until its start is lost within its end

.

time takes its time to tell what time it is

what with the past’s present nature

contending with the present’s obsession

with tomorrow’s constant unravelling

.

then quite suddenly it’s no longer there

like your last stagnant puff of fetid air

(April 9, 2020)

the illusion of narrative fragments

from an untitled serial poem (3)

and nothing specific is ever learned

it’s more a pervasive atmosphere

an inescapable context which traps

us in a web woven and rewoven

moment by moment knitted from our flesh

and residue left from this dark frenzy

*

daily we fall deeper into the tale

yet there is no white rabbit to follow

only desire to ride us like harpies

the news the neighbors our friends all screaming

into a discontent none can escape

nor explain enough to be forgiven

*

as if there could be a strong enough god

to save us from our own stupidity

(January 5, 2020)

Fairy Tale Endings

from an untitled serial poem (2)

tufts of dark fur

scraps of red cloth

broken glasses pools

of wine the remnants

of someone’s meal

are splashed across

the cottage like blood

on a butcher’s apron

she is not here

neither is he

one fled

one’s dead

birds hop and sing

on the window sill

a family of rabbits

nibble grass

along the path

the door lies shattered

on the ground

dry splinters of wood

punctuate the grass

with unvoiced cliches

(January 3, 2020)

Start the Way You Intend to Go

from “an untitled serial poem”

grey and cold all day

the year begins again

cedar pollen drifts wildly

I can feel the shredded bark

deeply behind my eyes

trying to cut a way out

I’m not surprised but fear

all that has changed enough

to become a normal day

as wolves claw and slaver

at the door

(January 2, 2020)

note: I am starting a series of 140 poems, the length of each poem will be a set number of syllables determined by a random number generator. each poem/stanza will organically arise from the previous poem/stanza in the series in the manner of a renga without following the traditional renga’s syllable parameters. Additionally there is another requirement put upon every tenth poem/stanza in the series which will connect it to another “ten” poem/stanza following abstractly the traditional rhyme pattern of a Shakespearian sonnet. This is the second time I have written a longer poem following this self-imposed system. The first was called “Sonnet: a rengaThis is the beginning poem/stanza of the new series.