Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

My Argument with Sartre’s Math

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.
— Jean-Paul Sartre

We outgrow the soil
from which we grew
our early fame and infamy,
seeds flung by storms
into new, forgotten grounds.
Or, we compost our youth.
George Sand’s sturdy suits,
love affairs, tobacco smoke
for menopausal altruism.
Malcolm X’s white devils
for brotherly love’s final gun.
Mark Twain’s naive Finn and Jim
for the dark Mysterious Stranger.
Ram Dass’ Harvard spin with LSD
for Now’s inner God of Stroke.
My father’s four kids—cut losses—
for a Spirit World pardon of a line
of broken boys-turned-our-fathers.
My early LDS one True Church
for many truths, my groping
hungry ghosts for natural mind.
For what blooms will you be known
after your long, weedy life?
Change the metaphor, writer, fisher,
hope your readers understand
your denouement and fall with you,
uncaught by the unknotted net.

2019

Couplets of Snow, Alone

Friday, December 13th, 2019

The sky starts as flakes, lands wet.
A juniper drops glassy beads, one by one.

The Frigidaire’s high whine goes dead.
Silence brings the flat white sky inside.

A cat crunches kibble in my closet head.
A black dog stares out my window eye.

Snow buries words within my chest.
I don’t look for a shovel or sun.

2019

Softly

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Flakes land softly like the damp cloth
of a death midwife
cooling a dying woman’s brow

where little heat remains
sweet with the scent of medicinal sweat
clammy and velvet new hair.

Snow hands wring out silence
deep inside the cold, a clarity
so clear we wrongly call it light.

2019

Your River

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Smart speakers offer manual options for volume
for people like you whose giggle, talking ridiculously
to plastic, quickly turns to awe and bossiness.
Hey, Google, play “River” by Leon Bridges.

Hey, Google, 75% volume. Hands free, music makes
a soundtrack for cooking, cutting onions.
Hey, Google, 100% volume. Constant visual overlay
these days. Memory’s relentless mind screens couple

with memories of small screens, fingers scroll songs,
click video versions: a black father’s blood-spattered
white t-shirt, his baby crying, calmed on his chest, tiny
red-wet fingers, Black people in white, standing in water,

not the literal river you misremember: they sing in rain
enhanced by a hose, join the onion on the cutting board.
This isn’t video. Your husband is out buying avocados
and blue chips. The song story thunders through you just

below a rolling memory of the morning he held you up
on your feet, thighs and knees giving out with father grief,
beneath your cry, are you going to leave me, and the song
came on spontaneously, the river song, the song

now always a stream in the dark of your son’s room,
smelling of unwashed clothes and an old dog,
the room, looking into the kitchen, where he, your love,
sat with you on a messy floor-mattress, untangled

antique knots of abandonment, your face a river.
You say you are always waiting for what you deserve,
that being left is what you will get for what you gave
and have been given, your narrative inheritance.

He asks, can’t we rewrite that end? I want to, you say.
Songs shuffle. Onions gleam. The kitchen glows yellow
with the promise of a new mythology, a river flowing
without water, without gravity, without a final sea.

Here’s Leon Bridges’ song, River

Cohen’s New Antidepressant

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Following a joyful litany of faces, pastries
Fruits and bosoms, Leonard Cohen ends with
I am so grateful to my new antidepressant
And I think not much of it, no judgment
But no gratitude, either, in my ignorance,
For pharmaceutical panaceas. It is not yet time
To release that sputtering trope: Rise
Above neurosis with your mind. And we hope
It won’t kill us, the darkness in which we shine,
Groping for yet sometimes blind to intermittent sun.

2019

Leonard Cohen, flame dear,

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Give me your danger
Your simple eye and word
So I may have the courage
To write the beautiful bore
The helpless mother-terror
Each day of my slow burn.

2019

Two Meetings

Friday, November 8th, 2019

1
millions of tiny
blue symbols
hung in the heart
a pregnancy of sky
fly out of me
touch everything
fill space
endless charm
of hummingbirds
not-hummingbirds
crowding the void
changing the world
the world endless
flowers not-flowers
into a humming
invisible blur
wings not-wings
fly back into me
not-me so my mind
may meet itself
blue and rest

2
Blue symbol
cubit balloon
not-balloon
hung before the heart
hovers gently
bumps along
destroys the world
touch by touch
mountain by mountain
sea by sea
bounce by bounce
cloud by cloud
moon by moon
sun by sun
love by love
pops every thing
and me meeting myself
popped empty

2019
with thanks to Khenpo Rinpoche

All Fires

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

All fires end somehow.
Rain and shovels sink in
Or snow snuffs them out
Like a god, before the town
Wakes, sleeping with its
Yellowed photos stashed
In countless car trunks.

2019

Bad Dog Haiku

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

I sweep tufts of hair
From my bedroom bamboo floor
Where dogs aren’t allowed.

Two couch cushions chewed.
What means more? Dog or couch?
Turn cushions. Hide holes.

2019

Greyish Birds

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

greyish birds flicker
in the hearts of still piñon
winter’s SA nodes

Homemade Apocalypses

Friday, October 18th, 2019

#1
Driven by indefinite predators, you run
through the multistoried city puzzled together
like a colossal le Corbusier parking garage, leap
knotted streets threaded through with gurgling
orchestrated streams. Traffic fog stands
in pillars of light and shadow like fluctuating
headlights cutting through an ancient forest,
casting dirty Jacob’s Ladders, beaming
from low hanging firmaments of grey concrete.
Unable to escape, peer off the edge
of architectural monstrosity, this last Wonder,
witness a vista of Trump Tower-sized cubes
of refuse baled together with twists of iron twine,
receding into the stinking distance, the horizon
a rusted Donald Judd sculpture of postindustry.

#2
Walking a hotel hallway without hurry,
your small herd of humans knows the earth change
not the way wild animals do, limbic, in bones
before brains, but—with nowhere to run
on earth from earth’s gorgeous shockwave—
by the way a giant new update of gravity
gently sucks you into slumped piles of yourselves,
the unknown babe in your arms at once slack faced,
like you, full of useless bones and bright-eyed
with collapse, the surprise of benign paralysis,
the premonition of a future anthropologist,
evolved android drawing you piece by piece,
scattered as you will be throughout the others,
taking notes on your precise whereabouts
when it all went down, a diagram of destruction.

Before Jack Fest

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Wax, falling moon
Nicotine grin
Inhaling me west

2 October 2019

Better Church

Monday, October 7th, 2019

A throng of poets
Is better
Church than church.

2019

Sorrow Stones

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Sorrow
stands
up

Untangles
the
cold
river

Imitates
a
cairn

Imitating
me

2019

Strings

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

Tethered to the puppet
strings of two dogs
arms and legs tugged
by scents I cannot sense
I surrender to nose joys
made not for me
but for these dogs now bowls
for love my grown boys cannot hold.
I let my masters linger hungrily
sniffing shadows
while I pause over here
on the dark road looking up
waiting to move on.

2019