Quiet Mischief in a Damn Fine Universe

a shirt button strikes carpet
like a mouse tapping a conch shell
with a pine needle

the button threads dangle
in the happy memories of their
tightly crossed youth

when the air moves slowly
we don’t call it wind
and tree leaves abandon their chatter

the crunch of gravel beneath tires
falsely accuses silence of a mischief
that no one cares to name

the language takes its glory
in noise making, and tangles us
in an infinite knot of meanings

but silence knows no mischief
and so we busy ourselves
with gossip about its secrets

Pay Day

Better be the con man
Than his mark there is no doubt

Except he’s going into debt
And the mark is getting out

Many lives ago their roles
Were switched so now he’ll pay

For what he had conned out of him
On that cold unlucky day

So if one day you pester me
with lessons set to rhyme

I hope I recognize the debt
I owe you at that time

If I don’t the thing will just
Keep going, what a bore

And we’ll engage in doggerel
Like this for ever more

Click Bait

the greatest architect of all
the tallest church spire built to date
points to the sky, the heavens’ loft
where nervous angels fidget, wait

come and rest your weary mind
let impulse self-propelled, abate
when all is said and done you still
jump up to go, you’re always late

when resting, things aren’t getting done
this thought that teases as we wait
there’s always something in the queue
a deadline looming, what’s the date?

always one thing more to do
or entertain, a great debate
to argue, or some plan you made
this train of thought and all its freight

but everything you’ve seen and heard
the flowers smelled, the apples ate
one vast and empty matrix full
of clicks on shiny mental bait

attachment and its object rise
together in a spacious state
and dissipate as one together
where early is the same as late

the gap between before and later
where everything appears innate
defies the yearning grip of mind
so how you like them apples, mate?


by day they implore you to follow your dreams
but by night you reenter them, helpless it seems

to prolong the ecstatic empassioned embrace
or escape from the orks in a slimy dark place

then you open your mouth, you’re unable to scream
and you wake with a start, it was only a dream

so follow your dreams, find the gumption you lack
it’s just like on Twitter, they’ll follow you back

to your bedpost when weary your bones go to bed
and you drift off to sleep with a vague sense of dread

The Dharma of Surfaces

cocksure prickly puppet show
extravagance, the cash, the blow
the Nietzsche cults, the in-the-know

the craving, preying, aching minds
the politics, the cards, the blinds
the peaks you climb, the bind you’re in

see trickster wily surface win
with skin deep skin, the outside-in
behind the thin veneer of you

is everything, and empty too
of form, but forms and starts anew
gives birth to air and sky to blue


I do all my banking
at the edge of a cliff
how apt is the teetering
three legged stool with
one leg hovering over
in balance of the balances
soaring and plunging like
black-backed gulls
against storm-black skies
and gale force overdrafts

The Nemodine

trout fishing in america shorty
likens selfsearching soulbends and
thatch bugs all racy bongbilges to
netted bintatters and cavendorm happs
(and the nemodine naps on a sallowended sasslap
the pleasurebits puff and tartop goo
awaybid and gone the
spatnips and candledips fury)

the last bottle of wine
in the universe a-go-go
zips and headmingers all of a piece
dance and screwdabble slurpgully
mankos and liverspots and breels
(the nemodine prats his poorpopple snaps
and gortended peepers
allowgot and longtomb floral)

san francisco bid a fond farewell
to the wheelchaired gimpany and
abooted pongshop kappatik and
rainbit battalip of his whory face
bungscent in nosebone shandles
(the nemodine raps on his placaphors’ back
needlip and neednone
he kneedeeps in songbelch blather
that damneeded livelong dayjob)

—with all due respect to Richard Brautigan and James Joyce

The Wake of Hearing

cut string zombie ukulele
banging out the merry dirges
at the wake of hearing aids
the silence gathers dusty motes
the melodies deprived of notes

rest in peace thy merry tunes
unseen by eyes that listened for
a scent up-wind of rustled leaf
the smell of rusty midnight blue
unstrung by time and played by you

kite string whipped by windy gust
swings and sings and puts on airs
you heard it back when you were small
that trick sound plays in foggy din
record it, play it back again