The Revisionist

The latest revision of this unruly draft
plagiarizes pieces, whole chunks, alas
from the now abandoned previous pass

The carcass, once vibrant and meaty
now quartered with care, leaves little
for the vultures but a dour scent
and some tufts of hair

The new revision is on to something now
it can smell it, the crux of it
oh man, oh wow

But the bits and pieces arrayed
in a flashy, bold new architecture
suggest nothing much new, hint that
another slaughter and rending is due

The latest revision now bears no resemblance
to its ancestors, has seemed to lose the thread
of that something-or-other need be said

Perhaps the current jumble is a total loss
with nothing to salvage, a deposit of dross

(15 revisions)

Just Plain Crazy

So, karma's like a virus
infecting innocent thoughts
with promises, always
of something hopeful and new.

It's all just recycled
confusion, perceived as appealing
converting innocent thoughts
into the machinery of delusion.

Seeing things as empty
of any reality whatsoever
is lunacy, they will say
whose views are hijacked
by the ingenuity of display.

Better to be crazy like a Buddha
than just plain crazy, any day.

Enough Rope

So I gave them enough rope 
like you said, and they 
tied me up with it.

I bring this up, because 
if you'll recall our conversation 
you had said, and I quote...

Yes, I'll hold.

A Word Apart

The space bar keeps the words apart
as if they want to fight
but if they ran together all
it wouldn’t be quite right.

A little space is what we need
for us to get along
a little time to catch our breath
correct me if I’m wrong.

So let me tell you this one thing
my lips upon your ear
let’s enjoy ourselves apart
for six months, no a year.

To this she said a decade
would hardly be enough
and gathered all her things in arm
and left in quite the huff.

I said I didn’t mean it
but she’d gone and hadn’t heard
now my space bar mocks me
at the end of every word.

Well now I’ve gone and done it
to deny it would be wrong
I went and done wrote lyrics
to a goofy country song.


A Word Apart originally appeared here October 5th, 2016.

Catwalk

Catwalk grating with treatment.

it's nice when things are smooth to touch
our fingers like this very much

and good when walkways claw and grip
our feet don't like it when we slip

especially when we're way up high
as we could fall and maybe die

before we've had a chance to mend
our evil ways: we meet our end

Refraction

The light that we see by
provisioned as much by sight
as by a persistent radiance

Has little angels dancing
on the heads of all its little pins

Seeking always the refraction
that fans it all out
into rainbows

How is this different
from visions of the Blessed Virgin

Appearing again, and again
in unexpected places
to the solace of the faithful

The wonder of the crowds
and expectation of the Absolute

Cardinal Rules

At the very break of dawn
they rouse us from our bed

Their calls addressed to everyone
awake, asleep or dead

You know us in the daylight
by our bright and piercing red

In the dark you know us
by the noise we make, instead

Dealing with thick stands of bamboo is a new birding experience for me. The property here is surrounded by them. Birds enjoy excellent protection within the maze of vertical shafts: no Sharpie is going to swoop in there, that’s for sure. No telephoto lens will penetrate either.

I hear cardinals all the time around here, but rarely see them. I was on the fourth floor, the roof of the stacks, when I caught this one, and still I’m aiming up its skirt as it sways on a bamboo pole some 20 feet above.

The Arbiters of Moonlight

An amortization as periodic table
        as a protractor stabbing pinholes
        in the charts of a then comes wonder

These are the geometries of heaven
        the wavelengths of moonlight

The scholar studies it, a merchant
        ponders its returns, a poet
        lurks in its blue shadows, scribbling
        charcoal rubbings from the reliefs

These are the trade guilds of heaven
        the arbiters of moonlight

What seeing saw, the feelings felt
        are the joins and fittings
        where everything that comes together
        in congregation, parts


(Graphic: Selectively tinted photograph of temporarily arranged steel scraps.)

Check

Winning Texas Hold’em against robots
with imaginary money is no substitute
for a full and productive youth

But the days are as long as
as a life is short, and the cards
gaze up at you from your hands

See right through that poker face
and catch you thinking of something else