The world is so poetic

Leaving the subway station,
the tile floor is bandaged
with hundreds of magazines
all featuring Britney Spears,
and the headline,
“Living with Mental Illness.”

between the covers
I realize I have
stepped over a dead bird —
a wingbeat from the exit.

We who write

We who write, who laud, who sing,
who odalize, mocked and ignored,
due to the inefficiency of our words,
our song, sentenced to sing seeds
upon dry earth, infertile ears that will
not hear, hearts that will not bleed,
the seed is landed on stone, forsaken
revered haunted lyric exiled to the plain
where no dreams may occur

Poetry is Poverty

Reading Raymond Carver, I listen to him plight his impoverished life;
Jesus! Bad enough I listen to myself itch and scratch at my lack of cash.
I guess someone should have told us, “listen pal – when you take
on poetry, insert a V, and spell it poverty.”

Don’t know if that would have worked. For either of us.
Neither of us here too long, it’s the poems we expect to stay.
Our riches will fall from the mouths of those who recite
our miserable songs of unhappiness – and delight.

This Poem Is To Be Read In A Mirror

once the pencil scribes, the mark remains
lead stains and creases, the paper is informed
fabric, stitched, etched, scratched, yarn’s
single thread woven into warp and weft,
pencil stroke the shuttle cock’s path, the chain
of alphabet flows back into the lead, the hand
leads, reaches back to before to pull meaning
into the eye of you anew clean through, though
it makes an indelible mark for life.


I dare you to find the words to describe:
the competently flowering cauliflower
cumulonimbus cloud popping fresh white
silhouetted against towering lapis lazulian blue,
peek-a-boo, mantle of coal dust streamers attend,
and it is all majestic and the placid lake mirrors it all;
when suddenly torrents of Hell-fire and lightning unleash
upon our neighbours on the other side, while we sit
on the dock, enjoying the warm sunshine and the show.

And then there’s this beautiful rainbow.

Rehearsing the story

Standing in the hallway, remembering not to remember,
what happened, what will be discussed, what is to come,
imagining the questions, rehearsing the answers, the looks,
“try not to look back, look away in fear, perhaps cry.”

the stupidity of writing

the stupidity of writing is believing
you have something to add to everything
that has been written, some sequence
of words worth reading after the Psalms,
all of Shakespeare, Borges, countless
poets of science, scientists become poets,
the endless avalanche of those who had something
to say even after everything had been written,
who could find new space in all of Creation
just as it unfolds before them, blank pages
waiting to be filled with more words,
more dreams, more stories,
or so I tell myself.

confession to Michael Dennis

I’m reading Raymond Carver and thinking of my friend Michael –
not just because he recommended Carver to me, but also because
when he is in his stride, Michael writes like Carver. I call it confessional
poetry. I wrote lots of it. Until I got tired of seeing “I” all the time.
A quick aside: I once read about a man who wrote a novel whose
entire content consisted of words that did not include the letter “I”.
I can relate. Nonetheless, there is something in the delicacy of Carver’s/ Michael’s ruminations, memories, crows, cars and moments of paradise,
all these tangents — they really create something out of moments
that may, or may not, have ever happened. They keep you guessing that way.
So, I’m reading Carver, and I realize, dammit, the man has just written a poem,
gone to another plane, taken a little diary from his existence – and I am hostage
to him: I will watch the man race for his life across the bridge
that crumbles behind him. We will stare, excited, scared and transfixed, cheer
for him, certain he will fall, anticipate the carnage, secretly pray he makes it.
Except, as the last trestle falls into the gorge, he stands upon the other side,
triumphant, his arm raised in tribute to us—the unbelievers, the small,
the afraid, his readers, and we think, after something like that, you can look
back, reflect, and say to yourself, it must feel good to get that all written down.
Because it means something. No goddammit – no, in fact – it means everything.

To Write

I start to write at the computer anything/ something new rather than the solemn build of transcribed long hand from sketchbooks— and simultaneously, I observe that when I take a handwritten poem to digital, it is really my belief that by putting the poem onto the computer that I will make it real, that it will transform into the poem; while another parallel thought states that I am taking the song out of the word every step to the printed page, that the whole cannot be reconstituted, but is rendered as it is re-manufactured again and again, as far from foot stamp, bone rattle, lung wheezed urge to make-a-word-for-it can be;

and simultaneously I ponder two more thoughts: ain’t it the fact the more restrictions you put upon your audience, the less people will listen to your poem; the poem upon the page will have one chance and one chance only— your choice, you, the reader — to sing.

it is now and we are awake

it is now and we are awake
24 hours a day, the years a-trembling
tear in our panscopic eye
we cannot sleep until we feed again
there are crops, resins, fibres, boats,
chorales to be tended. To finger weave
and bind cause to event, motion to shadow;
our dangled finger tips write stories on
the surface of any medium, the harp
our palimpsest, angels’ feathers plucked
to make nibbed pens.