every word then every single word then

Then I was crushed into thinking about the disasters. Meeting

the bits that reconvened. Their faces had me in pieces, too.

Whichever pronoun took the long view, I was there in spirit.

Something solid happened, caught our breath. We stayed home.


“Then” “I” “was” “crushed” “into” “thinking” “about” “the” “disasters.” “Meeting”

“the” “bits” “that” “reconvened.” “Their” “faces” “had” “me” “in” “pieces,” “too.”

“Whichever” “”pronoun” “took” “the” “long” “view,” “I” “was” “there” “in” “spirit.”

“Something” “solid” “happened,” “caught” “our” “breath.” “We” “stayed” “home.”


Mind without a moment. A scenario.

You’d imagine there’s an incident to which

this refers. Of course there is.

There's always an incident.

the other way

You’d like me to set The Modern off
        over there beside the ruined jeans you
                made me wash too many times when we
were apartments together back then.
        The Modern would appreciate a break
                for insight, purposeful clarity, for steel
girders and roses, even. Bread for the hungry.
        We’ll sort an array of lunch food, ordinary
                contemporary bologna, cheeses swiss and
cheddar. Dreams will come once The Modern’s been
        subdued and the work’s been done to uninvite
                its grimy kids from our 50th anniversary.
Type type thunk on the Smith-Corona.
        You can say it’s not old as a path. But it’s
                just that longing, back from a long white nap.

inside a house

Slight birds.

Whose music is our music. A wickedness. Accompanied.

By inflation. These trees have organized. My time.

Into space.

We were wholly frustrated then.

No one in that world would dare speak of “components.”

Too many ears, you see. So who do you say they are?


One. Just one.

Who has written this. Our something. At last.


The object is incarcerated, reporting from there things

like “My guts lie down on the rue de la paix”

like “Everything explains them, then morning”

like “Ponder amnesia before you take my white aura for intelligence”

like “It’s possible that these dead birds have noticed everything we’ve done”

like “Exceptional stunts” or “Apparent disclosures”

like “My inadequacy rushes past school and resolves itself in your kind regard”

like “This childish urge to rebel cracks everything like marbles.”


The object is misconstrued that sent you this far. Whose terrific airs. Look.

Listen, we’ve been undermined by the weather. We’ll sit in chairs. Watch


the object taking form. A wave in [to, from, about] the day we couldn’t get back/to.

then closer

Breaths. Which are flowers the god sent. Even the plain speech my prepositions strike. Harsh. Unwilling. My dogma. Blinks.

The truth here offers you a cigarette, but you refuse it. For an unusual reason. It scrutinizes your face. Disapproves. Then nothing happens.

There’s too much going on. Here. Even the mess blown about follows a course. Of course obscure to us. Plastic unbeautiful rope frayed blue. In a grim heap.

you can count

1) Someone stayed up all night scratching color into rough paper. Something solid from the northern beaches. The cold’s a present from the sky. A crushed 40 oz. and helpful plastic everywhere. Once out of the equation, a subject blushes and is irked by its own emotional accidents. Watchers and snarky students have opinions. So the sky takes the top half of the page, as if it had an idea, a plan for it.

2) From the baroque earth, you notice many pairs of hands sprung up, to till the soil of expectant heaven, also baroque. The Real takes shape, verging on ‘a character in a play’ with which nobody bothers anymore. The bother’s been consumed by a few rococo resurrections. Along the lines of radio waves approaching distant ears. Flat as a cyclone. As all writers face the predictions and perils of a touching solicitude. This one, for instance, goes on past early agonies to inoffensive laughter at sunrise, at hammocks, at liberty.

3) As people say, it’s clear that one doesn’t understand how people say things. Awkward must be real, tipped over and leaking the actual into these public rooms. Take my card, lady. You never know.

four expository paragraphs

The unspoken rule suggests the roughest or smoothest surfaces of stone. These will be applied as needed in the event of speech. Most of what you read. Most you will not understand. So hush. In the event of speech something always breaks.

“My hands are getting smaller and more beautiful in a way. Not manly, never that.” He never hit a person or threw a rock. With them. He has an arrangement, a deal, a covenant even. With them. A raw and common empathy for the zipline.

You’d want to bring the ends together with a twist, of course. Anyone would. You write it. And then you think about it. The embarrassment of you. In this body’s amalgam. No one said it was okay to be this. Much of a mess. Had you needed permission there was just a question. From it. So what if some one. Had. What of it.

And still. There’s one who consents. Almost. As father or mother. A jurisdiction hovering o’er consistently nervous choices. Puts the boy back.

another argument about poetry

Strange flowers, you say, an operatic

they-are-nothing of morning noon or in

the going-dark day. Just in the absence,

you say, when all the others stop they

come to something in the cracks of our

metallic puddles. A dream of tangles. A

load of penitential downspouts. So smart

to have been asleep, approaching the eye

invisibly taken for Terror or rude Joy,

dream’s bubble popping around the kids.

We looked past his fitful signal into an

oval gap but didn’t know how to get there.

as a monument in

motion useless as useful ‘what

were we talking about’ we

weren’t talking you were

staring at a space between

your eyes and the letter F

‘I was considering the sufficient

wreckage of these my later days’

and yet big people still take

little people by the hand and walk

them to school ‘this is love and

is called love’ of parent for

child ‘yes’ this is common among

them ‘but kept from some as if

they knew’ yes not everyone gets


‘yes there’s no work to do’ I

meant there’s no go for some

‘just clouds, you see’ right

good I get it now just clouds


and if you saw me now I couldn’t

justify anything ‘there’s nothing

to do’ doing nothing at any rate

‘but grinding stumps’ hardly that

even ‘then just go to your room’

go to your room yes ‘unfit for

company’ as they say step away to

it ‘a room without books’ grieving

room ‘for grief’ as they say get

over it ‘how strange that you

never had children of your own’

left behind in a quiet room ‘the

world was unmanageable’ nobody

to open the door ‘nobody to knock’

more’s the pity and treeless the

world. ‘I grieve the books I rid

myself of’ books you couldn’t ‘


no I couldn’t so I’d pick them

up to hold and study what

they might have done ‘where

they might have gone’ of course

their way

The sky is only light and brightly now.

One car then another and so many more insist on their own place in motion. 

A friendly and aggressive honk. The risk can multiply and divide.

If I walk the sidewalk, I’m an object subject to observation.

A subject among objects is a king and a queen on substantial pavement.

I’m afraid of the oversight and the judgements that come with it.

The sky completes a circle with a guess.

like one propped up in the elder hostel

whose moronic compilation of difficult messages says

“funny that it was a misunderstanding all of it”

you thought we were hungry after our books, now pale sand …

with others we’re lost in the day, their ideas about light

sagging into their darker choices like whiskers, but

what is it you love in this flat early gleaming, a bird?

he insisted

that’s not true

well, that’s not true

it happens while the grass-

cutting proceeds with abandon or

the bright red engines howl and honk

down the tree-limned avenues of Hyde Park

it happens all the time

an actual experience

I met a young cowboy as an old coot,

and this is what she said, sir:


“The monotony, yes, I just commented on this this morning.

It gives one the sense that to organize and cooperate rests

on the same excitations that form stones—and stone forms.”


“Once you stop it all, there might be a great kind theory to hold you up.”


“All the beauty belonging to itself. These are rough days.”


“Finally, the language manages to recuse itself in these matters.

Since, if he doesn’t feel deeply about anything, he will be forgotten.”


“Otherwise, we’re all unapproachable.”