Sunday, July 31, 2016

As Soon As

As soon as you’ve authentically commenced to realize
you’re indistinguishable from the weirdest object –
most unspeakable event – most alien egregious
circumstance your eyes have seen, can see, will see –

as soon as you accept, like your inevitable death,
that you are irremediably cursed – and irredeemably
immersed in every doomed outcome of every awful thing
you’ve done, were in, are in, or ever will be in –

it’s time to let the fun begin.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

This Just In

Two microbes have reportedly been found
to have evolved to sentient life. Nano-probes reveal they have
vocabulary and an alphabet and memory, bewilderment, a sense
of their mortality, ennui and the ability to plan.

Parthenogenetically conceived, they have no need
for the microbial equivalent of woman or of man
or anything besides themselves to reproduce.
Scientists deduce from their apparent lack

of interest in the world they also lack the interest to attack,
or gain advantage, or engage in any enterprise injurious to us.
In other words, we need not make a fuss: we needn’t
bother with their miniscule inefficaciousness –

we needn’t query their uninteresting
existence any more.
They’re something, for the moment –
and quite possibly forever – to ignore.


Friday, July 29, 2016

My Favorite Creature

Strange to contemplate a face –
saddled in its skin – prey to chromosomal
intimacies like a mother’s eyes, a father’s chin –

odd to think how very unsurprisingly akin
it is to every other face: symmetrically
proportionate, predictably in place: 

except for you, my dear.
You are inimitably here
in every feature.
You're my favorite creature.


Make Love to the Moon

Do not fear you will not wake 
nor try to wake too soon. 
Make love to the moon.


Play the Game

Our differences are manifest,
it’s clear we’re not the same.
But that's what makes the game!


Eventuating Circumstance

Eventuating circumstance –
attenuating forms –
Existence’ cool response to us

eventually warms.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ah Yes.

How do you tell if someone is happy?
How do you tell if it’s true?
Why does it matter to you?
Because everything matters to you?
Ah yes, ah yes. Me too.


Sometimes The Sun Ain't Fun

the sun
ain't fun.


Describe Desire

Describe desire.
Say what you require.
Let's coincide -
ride out on the next
outgoing tide.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mary Ann and Archibald

Most flowers grace
the Spring and Summer.
Not so the nasty Filzy-Flowers
Mary Ann and Archibald:
they’re a bummer.

We don’t know why.
Most Filzy-Flowers aren’t
this malevolently sly.
But every time we try
to interview these two

they spit a toxic pollen at,
and often accurately into,
our collective eye.
Belligerent and blunt,
they make you dearly

want to pass them by.
We’d say don’t say hi.
Inaccurate, in fact,
to say they even flower.
They only glower.


What Used to be Me

What used to be me now is we.
A head just popped out

of my knee.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

She Required Something Else Instead

Since she was convinced
imparting sense by parsing out
the lingua sacra of philology –
whose adamantine simulacra –

surgically sharp slices
of abstraction –
while purporting to reveal
what could be known and said,

in fact were crushing
sense till it was dead,
well – she required
something else instead.

And so, like Ezra Pound
(though who knew
why he gave up sound),
she’d give up words:

toss the weightless
turds up in the air
and watch them
not go anywhere.

She grew her yellow hair
as long as it would grow,
and daily combed it
to a golden glow –

as if she could find in its lyrical lines
the signs of a sensual means
of detecting the trembling tenet
she so hoped was there –

like the delicate pulse
of a bird or an elf –
the elsewhere she couldn’t
find anywhere else.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Two Tulips in a Pot

Some people think
they’re brothers,
but they aren’t.

Others are quite
certain they are
more than friends,

they’re lovers –
but they’re not.
All we really know

is every day
in every weather,
cold or hot,

they come back,
to the same bench
in the park,

from noon
to one o’clock,
and sit as close

as if they were
two tulips
in a pot.
It seems to be
their lot in life:
their spot.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Things, and You

Have you ruthlessly
to want to throw
the thing away
to have a chance
of getting underway?

Or is it rather that
the thing you've tended
endlessly to misconstrue
must have at last
to rid itself of you?

Things are
alive, too.


The Oddness of "Retirement"

Prime among the numerous conditions which apparently don't bewilder other Americans but bewilder me is the idea and practice and the evident assumptions which adhere to "retirement." It's up there with "vacation" or "weekend" or "holiday" or "going on a date", to none of which I can truthfully say I've ever subjected myself. "Vacation" suggests vacating - turning a swatch of time into a vacuum which sucks you into presumably another world for a little while, and then, when you come back, like waking from a dream, dumps you back into the "real world." Like vacation, "weekend" and "holiday" similarly purport to most of the American populace to signal release from "the daily grind" - they are what seem to me disturbingly artificial ways of demarcating time, so that we can claim we've "gone somewhere" or "done something" distinctly Other than "the daily grind." TGIF to me is a horror. Why not TGIM (Monday) or TGIT (Thursday)? Why not, in fact, thank "God" for everything? "Going on a date" is also a gruesome idea to me: to call it a date is to lard it with the heavy grease of expectation. "Is this a date or, um, are we just going to the movies together?" I would opt and have opted in every case to call it the latter. And "Marriage"! - oh my.
Well, I'll stop.
Except to return to the extreme strangeness of the notion of retirement.
I suppose I have my parents to credit or blame for my incomprehension of what this could mean - or rather, what possible allure it could have as a state or stage of life. My parents early developed, and sustained at a fast simmer forever after, what I enjoy thinking of as"the habit of art." (Title of an absorbing play Donna encouraged me to see in London years ago in which Auden dropped in on Benjamin Britten for a while, fomenting, as Auden did with anyone he dropped in on, extremely colorful distress.) My mother's art which had become a habit was not only that every day at about 2 or 3 in the afternoon she sat down at her drawing table to paint, but that every rhythm in her life attested to a similar desire to create esthetic order out of the undifferentiated: from mopping the kitchen floor on Thursday to taking our neighbor Mrs. Holland (Steve Holland's mom) out on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. to Stop & Shop to going to St. Mary's Episcopal Church early in the morning on Sunday - largely, I think, because it left plenty of time to get to Wallmark to benefit from weekend sales for which she'd clipped coupons. I lived with her in the last year and a half of her life and I not only got to see at close range the beauty of these rhythms but to participate in them. It was an orchestrated life - the adjective used with purpose: tone-deaf though she arguably was, she knew what the heart & soul of music is - and how to create & play it. Her life was a kind of music.
My father's was too. The focus for him (before he lost all ability to function from Alzheimer's) centrally became taking care of the grounds of the house. This he did - as he did everything - with meticulous art. I would learn in my 30s from Richard that a central aim in Jewish observance amounts to the pursuit of "the sanctification of daily life." This my father knew & practiced as thoroughly as the most enlightened rebbe.
"Retirement" was a foreign notion to them. I suppose I've more than suggested why. I don't intend a diatribe here - I think what I may be claiming mostly is that I probably have several screws loose in this inability to grasp the value of what so many other people clasp eagerly & warmly to their hearts. (I'm not, for example, crazy about Christmas.)
July 25 marks the 73rd anniversary of my parents' wedding. I'll celebrate it with pics tomorrow. But for now here they are at one of their heydays. ca. 1967 - at about the age I am now - taking on the sea breeze full in the face as they survey the view. They were never to retire from what this suggests as a stance. They were to die - sure - which I suppose we might call forced retirement, but I feel more drawn to seeing as another door opening to permit new pursuits undreamed of back here in the incarnate world - pursuits for which we may be richly preparing by refusing ever to retire.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hell, and Freud

Why is Hell held to be hot?
Its fondness for orange and crimson
and brown would suggest, I’d opine, it is not.

Devoted to varied gradations of red,
its Freudian palette suggests the reverse:
leaves all yearnings unfed, unavoidably prods

and implies the perverse, the accursed, the untold:
Hell is worse when it taunts with the colors of warm
while you’re endlessly seized by the cold.

(In Hell you get chalk, never cheese.)
Therefore reasonably, if unseasonably,
one infers you’d not burn there: you’d freeze.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Bottom Line

Today as we walked by each other,
waving hi, and sighing, I dissolved again
into the silly private exercise of existentially

attempting to construe just what the bottom
line of being here amounted to: the best today
that I could do was say we’re passing through.

But where’s the hoop-de-doo in that?
It doesn’t capture your peculiar mottled colors
or your jolly fat or the serenity of that small

passenger who inexplicably appeared to have
adhered for an excursion on your back.
And so I dare now to resolve that I shall never

try again to fry reality into a thin reductive
phrase. Bring on excess, not lack!
Let’s get lost in that thick lovely haze.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Ghosts

Some ghosts enjoy an entourage
of ectoplasmic bodyguards
who, while they don’t of course
guard bodies, do enjoy the high

regard they get from other souls
who troll this solar system solo.
Snob-allure may stick, post-death –
glamour and mystique adhere.

So status clearly often matters
in the Great Beyond, at least until
the ghost responds to an intensifying
understanding that it doesn’t.

Then the ghost, with entourage,
or sans, will disappear: not because
it was important, but because –
oh, thankfully! – it wasn’t.



Melvin won’t stop dancing –
he’s never ever through.
Then just when you can't stand it,
you resort to dancing too.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Oh Well

You’d like to sleep the day away
& yet you can’t forget
your pet who’ll need to pee & poo
and otherwise depend on you.


Grand Poobah of Genies

The grand Poobah of Genies
came to visit you last night –
as blue as several shades of sky –
sweet scheme of azure light –

a dream you’d hoped to have
but didn’t dare to think you could –
but here he was to reassure
that dream was here for good:

two senses of “for good” of course:
the first that it would stay –
the second that it was a boon –
a virtue – to allay

the doubts you’d had about your life,
the fear your soul was lost
in random clouds of random strife:
for which you’d thought the cost

was far too great to calculate
or meet, but now you saw
your sadness lose its place to love,
and love become the law.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In the Hope She Will Stir

In the hope she will stir,
he is looking at her,
but his chances appear to be dim.
She isn’t quite looking at him.

I was sure, in their story,
I’d find allegory:
I can’t. Maybe you can find one.
If not, then I guess we are done.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Mystical Logistics

When I’m with you, darling, over time,
I find I’ve no idea who “you” are
nor the slightest notion of what
could be meant by “me.” “Me” is like a flea
you want to kill because it makes you itch.

Does this somehow suggest a richly
necessary mastery of self-forgetting –
part of the logistics of becoming those
deep-diving mystics we once breathlessly
professed we yearned to be?

Perhaps we’re where we wanted to arrive:
the point from which we might derive
the whole encompassing, encompassed
view: the there of here, the here of there:
eternal, ever rare and new.

But I can’t breathe, can you?
Wherever this is, there's no air.