out of nowhere
love drops by with a jarful of ladybugs
and a bigbag of Fritos
has to have hotsauce
on everythingeven Fritos
love is unexpected
tells us she originated
from a roster of diagnoses as long
as the unitedstatesconstitution
and the lovers who came
some heavyhanded all
a disappointment some
of them now are the ladybugspots
tells us all this while we are enrapt
we would follow her anywhere
into the jar, down the hole
she wears a sunlit halo askew
when she wants to and it makes music
and just like that she's
glancing at the rearview
the ceiling is painted with ladybugs
and it’s morning
where to tie your star
It isn't a question of if:
We take it for granted the world
will soon end.
We've known this since ancient time.
Any day now
they will play the credits:
the dramatis personae
all left for dead in a . . .
firestorm? A frozen wasteland?
An irradiated plague-infested drought-stricken
country lorded over
by merciless cow-eyed scavengers?
What is the so-called
ended world? It stopped
spinning? Is gravity
suspended, all green things
withered, all animals corpsed
and rotting and earth
become barren as the moon
but for roaches?
the world will not end.
I am certain the earth
will outlive our scourge.
Cheerless reassurance perhaps
against the promise of extinction;
all I know is: the green fuses
of flowers still urge
from cracks in the stone.
the singular point of discontent
I rode the original surprise down into existence.
From the first instant, the primal surprise,
part shock, part question: What am I
And here's Time.
I know it because things move around,
things made of matter constantly
change their position. I wonder
if it ever stops, time,
if it ever does what's the difference?
Somehow it seems there is goodness
once we settle in
the original compulsive act
is generosity. We care
but still can ask
how minerals contain feeling?
I rode the original surprise down into existence.
And after the surprise, my annihilation?
Am I a candle going out,
or a bomb going off,
a light switch or say
a placental birth, messy
And in the end, despite my urge
to compel the objects of my desire to align,
the surprise will be allowed.
tossing off about form
I envy writers skilled enough
to compose formal poems
who toss off sonnets or
forms I scarcely can pronounce
much less execute.
So I set myself to writing
a formal poem (and have yet
to manage it seems).
No matter the form I fail
often by the first line
to concoct anything presentable.
I find my success hinges at this point
on creating my own form, which I have done:
a baganellestina, consisting of three stanzas,
each of which must begin with the word
pecker. The poem must contain the name of the form,
baganellestina, at least twice. Each stanza must be composed
of a different number of lines, in no case less than seven nor more than twenty-six.
The first stanza should serve as an introduction to both the form and the poem itself.
The second stanza should in some way indicate the structure
and formal requirements of the poem,
and the third stanza—which, like the two preceding it, should begin with the word
pecker—ought to digress tangentially from the subject of the poem thus far,
and while prolonged technical explorations of Indo-Syraic archaeology may inexplicably be juxtaposed with casual mention of data acquisition and the seven deadly sins, these latter may at no time be enumerated,
nor shall revelatory details from the personal life of the poet be divulged.
The poem must once and only once violate its own form
and should in every case with a verb conclude.
in a dream
A man is inside a camera. He squinches
one eye and peepholes at the green world.
Outside outside the dream a man in the dining
car of a train spills cola on his camera.
Inside the camera it is raining cola.
My dream is dissolving in soda cries the man.
I can see green, and I will not
get there, no not ever.
(this passes for piety)
When he was a boy, his mother fit glasses over his eyes
to help him see God.
The lenses focused very far away,
and went dark when he looked in the mirror.
from beef to breath
Every melty bite of this cheeseburger
triggers a billion biochemical reactions--
That's called nature.
It breathes my breath--
we share that job, nature and I.
I can breathe just fine if i will it
though I forget for days at a time
while nature breathes me.
Does nature make my decisions?
Nature pumps my heart I think
and precipitates my emotions
but I do the math.
Wait—is that me flexing my diaphragm,
gathering hemoglobin from the atmosphere?
Does nature think my thoughts?
This is the seed of madness
for which the lotus is the salve.
of the dollmaker
who built the world and you
a doll made of peoplestuff.
The dollmaker stuffed you
full to bursting with longing
and urges. So you set yourself
to filling the dollhole
(the funeral march of the dolls!)
I was a doll for a time
but now, well,
I'm a whole dollfull
you grow weary or
injuries add up or
you lose your love of dolldom
(dolling around is all we've ever known!)
Awake! you suspect
another way—outside the playroom
still dollish but . . . lighter?
the door to the playroom is:
What is outside the playroom
you ask the other dolls.
One beams you a dollsmile.
It feels important:
a demand made merely by
the realization that you are
- We were elsewhere?
You are here, on this shore
that is as certain as the sand.
for some it taunts
write your name. Leave
a mark. Tell us what happened,
how it taints you.
Write it in the sand before the tide.
Call it a legacy if you will--
and yes, you will,
you urge and urge,
All Nature urges through you saying,
write it in the sand.
The world's best scientists
meet to study whether the earth will continue forever
or whether the end is in sight.
One scientist says
the earth’s orbit spins in synchronicity with man’s ignorance so it will go on forever.
One scientist says
god has thrown heaven’s garbage into this hole and the weight of all that garbage exceeds critical mass so we will all be killed.
One scientist who was raised
in a good home says
look at how many organisms coalesce
and reproduce. Cell division all of nature and the deep oceans are very divine.
One scientist says,
The first scientist
who was the greatest scientist of all
stands in front of the committee and says
listen to me.
One scientist in the back of the room
pulls the fire alarm.
Listen to me listen to me says
the first scientist as the committee scrambles from the room.
Isn’t this beautiful
says the scientist whose family loved him.
Mountains are liquid
You can see this.
Watch the mountain.
Watch closely, for some time.
Watch for ten million years.
Stay as long as you like.
The earth heaves up a mountain.
Or the mountain heaves up itself.
Watching will not tell us which.
The mountain crests
from the earth into the sky then
crashes down, or dissolves, melting
back into the earth like a great stone wave,
a wave breaking so slowly. It says,
I am no more solid than rain.
The world urges mountains
in their season
urges apples from branches, urges
babies from their amnion.
They are of a piece.
An apple is a mountain. An apple
from blossom to flesh
fills with juice,
drops, urges back to soil
to make more apples.
No one demands this, not god,
it happens. You might say
all of it is a verb.
She is in the kitchen I can
hear her screaming
at her sister in the backyard
dragging on a clove
cigarette stroking her cockatoo,
a rescue cockatoo that won’t fly
eats raisins and talks
it says Pete is a dumb fucker
it says Oh boy oh man.
She screams at her sister
Won’t you please
I’m begging you
don’t make me
ask again. She heaves
an unopened can
of tomato paste out
the screen door where the
screen is torn off.
It arcs over the lawn and hits
her sister square in the ribs.
screams back god
dammit I fuckin hate you
the bird jumps
from her shoulder to the ground
can't fly and picks
its armpit with the pointy
beak tip not an armpit
not a wingpit maybe
I can’t stop
what to call it while
she is still screaming
at her sister who charges
for the back door intent
I think on retribution for the sauce
can attack. Stay
away from me I told you
I told you so many times.
You fucking canned me you
twat. Her sister slaps
her face open palm leaving
red fingerstreaks. She cries
while her sister remains indignant
until they break and collapse
on each others’ shoulders
faces in the armpits
wet sobbing until
she shoves her sister away.
You stupid cow I hate you
go fuck yourself you whore.
And her sister
goes out for the bird.
The windmills kill birds
Oh, I see.
I might have brought it up. But
not having to do with me, just
the wind is a very deceiving thing.
First of all,
we don’t make the windmills
in the United States. They’re made
in Germany and Japan. They’re made
out of massive amounts of steel, which goes
into the atmosphere, whether it’s in
or not, it goes
into the atmosphere.
The windmills kill birds
and the windmills need . . .
for the most part they don’t work.
I don’t think they work
at all . . .
and that bothers me,
and they kill all the birds.
You go to a windmill, you know
they have the, what is it?
The golden eagle?
And they’re like,
if you shoot a golden eagle, they go to jail
for five years
and yet they kill them by,
they actually have to get permits
that they’re only allowed to kill 30
in one year.
The windmills are devastating to the bird population, O.K? . . .
So, if I talk negatively,
I’ve been saying the same thing
for years about you know,
the wind industry . . .
Some environmentalists agree with me
because of all of the things
I just said,
including the birds,
and some don’t.
But it’s hard to explain.
* Original text by Pres. D. Trump, verbatim, in an interview with the NYT Editorial Board, 23 Nov 2016.
Poems from Other Days