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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)

Too Many Conversations to Slough Off

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After the teacher conference

spent listening to others

speak of techniques

to hold their students

locked around an idea

of reading and writing

with little actual reading

or writing of consequence,

 

I am reminded of a Greek

statue of a wrestler,

who stands silent

scraping sweat and

filth from his arm,

his day done.

 

(November 11, 2018)

Obsessive Voice

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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)

 

 

 

 

Even Sleep Worries Me Now

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Inside dream’s not different

than day— I’m pursued

by doubt, dumb beasts

that plod along in herds.

I hurl myself away,

before I am trampled.

I wake bruised on the floor.

Then, embarrassed, without

transition, I return

to bed to sleep. I kick,

and shout out warnings

against the shadows

that crawl beneath my skin,

slowly feeding as they go.

 

(June 22, 2018)

 

Committed to Ritual

 

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The days and nights pass

in calm acquiescence. As

expectations lurk without

patience, sad laughter slips

into conversation’s pauses.

We each drink to avoid the

silent ramifications: there’s

nothing to say; and, what’s said

means nothing. A stock phrase

spills from a stock question

in a communal recitation.

Only empty gestures remain

to conjure, with a hollow

dance, the clichés of love.

 

(May 10 2018)