alarming thing

the alarming thing
does not wear off         wears off
where words come from         condensation
the thing you’re         housed by
that you         clothe and feed
the trudge         the small bed
the dreaming thing         the bower bird
crowd of neon         shiny things
oh the things I         make for you
for you        for you        for you
the talking pond         take it back
to the laboratory         see what it is
oil sands         an abrupt cold spell
populations         slow cave
even dying one         must not be able
to believe it         one must think
this must be         what dying feels like

In the far away

In the far away, something close,
the electrified matter of touch,
how it runs from skin to bone
and sits in your being,
what love there is in human hands.

The cool of the screened porch,
outside inside, bowls in our laps,
peas still warm from the garden
so many to shell, so much light
in that sinking time of day.

The mockingbird’s back–
who shall I be for you
any everything, even not bird,
and who shall you be–
for me? All I am is sound.




we alight

we alight
a branch, a pencil
someone’s hand
imagined home

our submarine, our coast
our delight, our new skin
our body bag

our moon, our outer space
our buddy the robot
roved out of orbit
left behind
is reprimand

the power hand
a lie, a command
a storied put-together
duct tape, spite
spit, static

our mystery scene
our screen seen
our camera that
shaky trope
our all again

Tenancy by the Entirety

The joining that bears but one divorce,
the adumbration of our last address,
the occupation where already
asunder was, the yoke, mortality
observed, a rolled-up rug. We loved
in the interstices of states,
electricity, pressed clothes, and ice,
each day a room someone just left.
As hours grew small, our tenancy spread out,
our entirety was a slow circuit,
but we were not perturbed.
There were a few things that we knew:
that altogether sun is a good thing
and rain, that what drives apart does not
release, that our wonder won’t resolve,
that unfolded things still bear a crease.


They see us when they look at us,
animals do, the way we cannot see
each other.  Do they, one wonders,
ever look at the world in any way
that is not seeing, is their seeing
like being seen, no difference,
just being.

How little of that we can stand.
As soon as a future comes to mind,
the present is spoiled with loss–
loss of something the present has
that the future won’t, loss of
something we think the future will
have that the present doesn’t.
Not like real losses that stop time
and allow no interval in which to
even know what it is but the state
we’re in, like only being, maybe,
maybe only not.

When animals watch, they become
what watching is.  We think they
hope and fear as we do, we think
their watching is anticipating or
watching out. But unlike us, they
know how not to know, they know
how to occupy an empty space
in which something may happen
or something may not.

Surely their watching doesn’t
haul quite the freight of ours–
after all, we sometimes watch
for things to make them happen,
we can look at things and make
them disappear, we can make
things mere objects in our minds
so we won’t see them.

When watching falls away from
being, there’s no seeing, we
watch from outside ourselves,
watch out for things that have
already happened and cannot
be prevented or undone, watch
for things that have never
happened or never will, or for
something that will happen
but won’t be what we want
or will be what we want but
we no longer want it.

All this watching and wanting
my mind feels its way through
on its way to the scene of
all the looking and watching
you do: the way you must
look when you watch women
strip, how you look and look
and look at photographs of
women’s private parts,
parts for which women become
mere frames, how looking
keeps you safe from seeing,
how what you really pay for is
watching yourself in the scene,
watching yourself getting
what you want over and over
again, and never getting
enough of it.

That night the car hit me, I
thought you’d been hit too, as
natural then for my only thought
to be for you as it must have been
for you to pull me away from further
harm. But then we were mortal, and
there was something not to love
in that, how untouchable being
wounded made me, how solitude
settled down around me, a house
locked up tight from outside.

There was a couple sitting at a
sidewalk table watching us as we
dragged ourselves out of that street.
Later on, an image of them took up
residence in my mind as the first
thing I saw when I suddenly wasn’t
dead. Even so I didn’t think it strange
they just watched–early on I learned
not to count on other people for
much of anything. I counted on you
just to live life with me, and you did
until you left me with a past in which
you didn’t, that past in which I
didn’t know what you knew until
you didn’t care if I did, you.

At least it was a familiar state
of being: a mind so empty it had no
room for anything else, the depthless
look of things like a revelation I was
seeing life as it really always had been,
a conviction hard to shake even ten
years on.  No way of looking at it
conjures up anything not flat or empty
to see, not even what that eternal
couple may have seen, sitting there
serene as gods or cats, watching us
with their naked faces, unabashed.


© 2012

Part of the Part

This is the part, alas, in which we meet
our posey rosy end, remembered things
that never were, things undone despite their
doing, broken things that just fell apart,

shiny things that really were quite shady,
thoughts we’d not wanted orbiting our heads
like Saturn’s spinning detritus. Our parts
require our meaning all the stupid things

we’re meant to say, the sorrow sunk beneath
the earnest face, the broken voice we smooth
through all the words that make our world unmade.

This is the part where no one

This is the part where no one stands up or
someone does but can’t think of what to say,
tongueless bell—see, like that: all the words
already used up. We leave, who knows where
we go or where we’ve been when we return.

Who will stand up for us? No one at those
impromptu concerts of the past where the
things we thought we knew approximate just
about anything else–stars, lace, something
that flew out of someone’s breezy red car.

That’s what you get for listing off to the
side, it taking forever to get out
of bed or creep down the block . Nonetheless,
If you were here for an eternity,
you could wear this old slow rock away.

This is the part, isn’t it, where you call
your own bluff and don’t confess to the
particular things you had in mind, the
part where you discover someone’s
silence wasn’t the reserve of deep thought.

The god who strolls in this garden we tend,
has some bad news about the weather plus
a few things we’d forgot we’d done or not.
No use in that was then—it runs down
into the earth for ages, this stacked ruin.

What did anyone feel in any new
place with all the dead underfoot, living
much as we do except for their patience
and obdurate good cheer, except that we
love them as we do not love each other.

Even in this late limning of our hearts,
the abandonment procedures require
amnesia about the part where we were
staking listless roadside trash and our
future—already aflame—barreled past.






In your muggy prehistoric, we roam,
we rage and root up monstrous vegetation.
We converge at roiling waterholes
or in warm seas you call raging. Consider
our volcanoes, our smog, our canopies
and canapés, our lack of ice and
entertainment. Taxis. Cosmetics.
We are always open-mouthed, fussing,
grumpy preludes to grappling and ripping
or just showing off our dentition.
Our flanks commandeer broad air while you
are safely far from underfoot, small,
chittering in rank leaves or underground,
hiding out from your first apocalypse.





Black Butterflies

We waited to hear and never did—
now winter comes and waiting ends
or all there ever is is waiting.
We’d have settled for mere hailing or
old news or old recriminations—
we long ago gave up on love declared
and other things we thought we knew.
Nights by the fire it’s the past I see—
my dresses and my hats and boots, things
you burned before you burned my books.

Buy You Now

eisberg 4 cmprsd strch mod 5

Buy now. Special rate. Just for you.
Just for the you that you buy for.
Our remoteness will meet your remoteness.
If your remoteness is unavailable, no problem.
Read our information. We will be happy.
We will be happy to delete you at any time.
But we hope you won’t want that.

As a matter of fact, we know you won’t want that
when you know what we know.
That’s because satisfying you satisfies us.
And we hope you will be satisfying us now.

There’s more.

You can save money for a future self
simply by opting for perpetual refilling now.
That’s right.
You can refill us even after you are dead.
And for a small and negligible
nominal fee, you can purchase our
extended ephemerality.

It is new.
It is now.
It is all for you.

Little differences mean a lot.
All our differences are big.
So they mean a lot more.
We are fountain-like and becoming.
We are tinseled and infamous.
We are protean and submersible.
We want to show you everything we are
so you can know everything you are.

You are special. We know how special you are.
Tell us about yourself.
We want to know everything.
Share with us your photographs and friends.
Your street views and near me’s.
We will share. We will share our secret.
We will be friends. And your friends will be ours.
We will all be all our friends.

Let us show you
how real all our real things are.
Our real things are more real
than any real things you’ve seen before.
So when our things meet your things,
all your things will be more real too!
We will empty your emptiness out
and fill you up with ours.

How cool is that?

You know you want it.
And it is so totally possible.
The same special you
even more special
than you are

altered image; original image University of Washington

Traveler, Dream

One hears the cipher in what the other says,
this impossibility, frail but bristling,
so unlike an afterthought, the gates already
down, always happening and always over,
the you that patrols fences and quibbles

over boundaries, the trouble we have
seeing others as ourselves in our poor
translation. We crawl out amazed things
look the same after all that work and the din
of endearments. But we’d persist despite

the sink holes we fly over in our dreams
as if we really know the things we dissect—
deserts, crows strutting the road or shuddering up
from empty trees, plank roads, mud. It did in fact
always end the same way—as if mortality

were not secure but could be contracted,
factories of replication churning
and then the way you have to concentrate
to see living getting done until there’s no
need to imagine one could have proceeded

otherwise. Love, then, so like the wind—known
only by its effects, clothes flapping on the line,
trees’ shivering sway, nature’s own light shifting
like a strobe, the heart like an animal loosed
from long captivity. Our gaze a mask, our

little armor for a stroll, a casual
but precise repast. Looking back, lies still look
true so sturdy was the moment of belief—
that little space in which things seem what they are,
the other not your fellow but your cage,

an abiding inside, the seamless folly
of your captured state, your dreams unlocking
every door, the time to settle far past.
Nonetheless, one walks out, one cannot regret
what arrives already done, the invisible

thing you loved, panic coming on like flashing
particles suspended in the medium
you’re made of, the past no longer a place
to visit, no one ever really there. When there’s
nothing left in you but thirst or hunger, someone

comes out to chase you away. So much for
knowing the disaster comes, or how deception
unravels the future too—but one still hopes,
there is no blame, no use bemoaning the
mundane mojo of wanting to live,
knowing that you’ll go on foot from here.


Later, Now

Leighton Lachrymae Met - crp 3 flp tnt

What dissolves later is all front, that
creeping shell, that anybody’s house.
Nonetheless, percentages have been
stable for a week, so the fat sits. We
marvel that the outward motion of the stars
opens such depths to view: as under, so above.

The places you can’t go are monumental,
your only real estate a heart, a phantom
fence. Oh, just look on past it!
There are no details where we are now,
just routine executions—that clamoring
queue so loves a spectacle that any
seeming thing can rule. Windows nailed shut
last week have so far kept our houses empty.

Still, all that can be said about the kingdom
is that we wander its vast wastes, attracting
armadillos and sundry wildlife with our
noisy instruments and luminous radar, now
that the respite of your tenderness is gone.

altered image; original image: Leighton, “Lachrymae” Metropolitan Museum of Art