In last night's movie, a young writer
and an older, married with children French woman
fall in love. They did not meet during a village massacre
and money is no object, Manhattan
the place I was priced out of. But after everything has happened
she cannot leave her children, not even for love, because of love,
the love that brooks no serendipity.
Here, in my family, love is taken for granted
except when it's withdrawn and then even the trees lose all meaning,
familiarity. Now it is almost dawn:
this and that must get done in committee or alone.
Don't reach, go slow as the day will allow.
But that's not what I came to say.
Perfect rest v. having a destiny.
A complete breakdown in self-discipline.
It begins by saying nothing I do matters under the eye of eternity.
Hamlet x 5 centuries.
Add to that all the science--chemistry, physics--calculus and music
I don't know. I have sat next to, at weddings,
brain surgeons and robot engineers. I hit the street
choosing a church on Fifth Ave. or Trinity Cemetery, walking the
In the subsequent late night movie, a wealthy
altruistic doctor arranges for the murder
of his neurotic concubine. His guilt provides us
with an opportunity to consider
the concepts of faith and forgiveness, that all will be well in the end
after a period of meaningless suffering.
In this way the seasons have been circulating for eons via convexity.
I don't know what I'm doing but I'm doing it anyway.
You trust in genetics, God, prosthetics or prayer, whatever
gets you to the morning. That's when the sun,
a billion trillion nuclear detonations per second
warms yr bones.
You may remember an old lover who's gone before
or continues to exist on another plane, in another ecstasy.
Having installed a new toilet seat
and made a few philanthropic donations
I can kick back tonight and watch movies, right?
Not. I'm ridding myself of another addiction
like illegal drugs via caloric restrictions
getting enough sleep for two people or more
and reading none of the dry words in books from the library.
When there's nothing to do, when I'm bored or dreary
I'll sit still and watch from the window, I'll wait
for the weather to change, which it will.
Beautiful summer day. You know you're gonna die
that's why you know no joy.
Obsessed with self, there is no answer
unless religion, tv, stories, sports matter.
So what if nothing rhymes and I don't
bring my life into an expressible state
or fight purposelessness, anomie. No one writes.
Running the gauntlet alone. A good day to die, the Apaches say.
For men like us dying's easy, it's living that's hard.
And since dying's much like living, that's hard too.
There's some contentment in letting community decide
your place in it. We're not talking to you.
Really, it's a perfect day. Every leaf is out
that's coming out. The grass is high
and unidentified yet another year. Being knowledgeable
is the best defense against your insignificance.
Can't stop the quince from blossoming
or my sons from smoking, speeding.
The best that can be done or said's a blessing.
Less tv, less guessing
about the effects of your anger unless
you want to be an angry man forever.
Coming from the funeral with friends,
talking on the telephone. OK about being alone.
Alive, almost sure of it. Whether I'm a visitor
to my life or the actual owner.
Mature poets steal, most are masturbators.
This house could use a good cleaning
and emptying out. I should subscribe
to the local newspaper, do my job well,
do less until one thing's done well.
What would that be? Old, and yet so young.
There are a million poets, I'm poet #500K.
Plenty of mysteries, infinite philosophies,
prayers, laws and unwritten rules.
That's why we go to school, life's complicated.
All I do not know: ATP, probabilities,
the glorious revolution, meiosis and mitosis
and all I'll never see, the bottom of the ocean,
the palm at the end of the mind, a wolverine.
There are certain indicators, undeniable,
inexorable. Forget-me-not, is that all I want?
To get lucky, you gotta be careful first.
To be great, you gotta be willing to sound BAD.
Although we cannot make the sun stand still
yet will we make him run. Brave revelers.
Signed engagement letter attached.
Attachment to self and to things to do.
Spring is in its prime again
each leaf beautiful
much is edible
birds and peepers are musical at dawn.
The days walk slowly
toward Utah and Italy.
My left nut hurts.
Joy overwrites death.
Well, well. You're well
alone in your brain
only a negligible fraction
escaping as words and actions.
Every leaf that's coming out
is out. Including the self
to the west and south
a golem, mandragon, an elf.
Aaron was stacking
the last of last year's
firewood. He found
a spotted salamander--
under the final log
with a worm and centipede for a meal.
I exclaimed Rare species!
but it's common, fossorial
lives in moist woods
under cemetery stones and memorials.
and adult beetles.
One more season and one more after that.
Your last words will be reticent or reckless
as your earliest efforts
at divination and the scientific method.
Like a delusion.
A late night movie.
Expect to forget
and be forgotten. Information.
How soon after cryogenesis
can one cry or ejaculate?
In a strong marriage, a long marriage
much cannot be said, should not be said.
The spots on one's skin will be wisely ignored.
Differences of opinion are tolerated, not debated.
Your memories may disappoint your partner
as not those she has selected, refracted.
Over dinner for two at the Mill on the Floss
it could be dangerous to compare wills, losses.
Or it might result in belly laughs, Shakespearean
revelations, the night he got us lost in the woods
or she peed her pants at a party. The marriage was Faustian,
in a good way, like going to a job in the Garden of Eden.
Having survived 25 years, knowing 50's impossible,
what else do we know? Raised 2 boys, painted 3 houses.
Which is it: you can't get started unless
you're riding some current bigger than your reporting voice
or the best time to write is when you don't have much to say
and without plenty to say about everything you'll get better right
Form is very often a betrayal of reality.
Although we are initially drawn to poems by their passion and
we are convinced by the formal means invented
for their impelling motives. Every accidental crack or dent.
Not just mildly disquieted but actively repelled.
Running for the River Styx, the doors of Hell pell mell,
there must be a crack, deep and unmendable, in the poet
that the poet must forever try to mend. Or not.
While mortal poets imitate, immortal poets steal.
That's plagiarism. Fortunately the public feels
less strongly about poetry than television,
communism and aging gracefully through meditation.
Now I'm being silly. My silly indefatigable lusting,
silly sadness, silly arguing and silly trusting.
All I do not know about our nation's history, wars
and what showering the people you love with love does.
Ransacking apothegms, algorithms
and selling the loot as memes
and feelings. Bearing fardels
with the warrior's skull.
Working over Birk's Works and other tunes my saxophonist admires--
Cheesecake, Blackbird--for the theoretical, applied mathematics inside
or alternately an abstract audial harmonization of the Big Bang and
Would you rather have the fever break or something great happen
The young senator or never pissing glass again.
Look one way, from another come the heart's missed beats.
Can I call you back? We're trying to get my truck out of the mud.
Who does he think he is, Nelson Mandela?
"Lieutenant, this corpse will not stop burning!"
Writing cannot save you but can it ease the way?
What does Tagore say?
More movies about dying men.
Will my letter to the editor be in the funny pages?
Will I even be able to read it?
Did I send it to the wrong address? I've seen my death face and it's not
Maybe I can watch your varsity games from a viewfinder in the
If I don't finish The Iliad, maybe there's a library there.
Maybe. Maybe is a long, long time.
Read an epic to the bitter end.
Visit with friends? They'll not come in, so no need to hide out.
I never had anything wise or gentle to say to my parents.
About bladder function. They got the same treatment
as every other soldier. Which systems shut down first
and how. The mail keeps coming even after you've stopped barking.
Notwithstanding an impending tsunami
we must figure out why there's water in the basement.
Always nice to have a mystery to read on the plane.
Each poet, every essayist, has what's called a voice,
a personality or, more accurately, a deep crack
repellent and unmendable, that the writer must forever try to mend.
Homer tries several ways to explain the slaughter:
by describing how a spear pierces a warrior's jawbone or armor,
how Achilles' and Agamemnon's hissy fits contribute to the pain of being
and how the gods, esp. Zeus, are passionate, confused, obtuse.
A callow youth even as a man. He was afraid and therefore could not
comfort or help.
Perhaps he has a question he'd like to ask but isn't sure what it is or how
to ask it.
The hero loses urinary control.
The virtuoso loses interest in her bow.
The expert forgets to do the research.
How do cancer cells and bacteria cooperate to kill
the host (you). The way yr mum & pop
fuck you up. It's unavoidable and it's not your fault.