he dreams a lot

he dreams a lot
and calls it thought
she likes to shop
and calls it work
“I’ve got so much
to do today!”
In every way
they’re busy with
vague hopes
to get them through
all the days that
come and go
and here’s the next

A wall of fire,

A wall of fire,
an army,
in the mind
Ancient river valleys
A place we remember
however much we
were never there

When I knew I

When I knew I
wanted him near me
all the time, a conspiracy,

holding their breath,
scared of consequences,
rooted in love,

Let me show you the garden
enough flowers there
to cover over, to cover

over all this blighted life
The flowers cover
over even that.

Don’t listen to

Don’t listen to
critics who know better.
News and its sidekicks
cut hope short, abort
your effort. Don’t listen to
sad old used-to when fear
walks in to say today’s
not worth it. As if it ever was.

Was it enough

Was it enough
something of her own
The obdurate cycle
of intending
something of her own
The struggle to
maintain
something of her own
Was it enough

Awkward and foolish the woman who’ll

Awkward and foolish the woman who’ll
figure in history as a great lover
a woman of great passion, a poet’s
happy muse, lives her life like
spending money, knows she’s in the way,
dies and clears the path for conjecture.

The negative shows all reversed

The negative shows all reversed
white irises in black eyeballs
hair an ancient gray
rough trees are white lace against
dark sky and her face is
the face of a fury with white
white lips and small black teeth
only the curve of the smile is the same

Cheese dripping from the

Cheese dripping from the
fork Bleet Bleet
A car in the street
Is it too late now
Mouth open to
take a bite

What’s to save his life?

What’s to save his life? Jeopardy surrounds him. His dreams have shrunk to fragments. No one believes him now when he says he has a plan. When he says there is a future in his mind. His hand, the left one, cradles his penis for comfort. His right hand hangs in the air, waits for daylight. Daylight on his eyelids is more than he can bear this morning, unlike any other. He thinks he smells coffee. A little wife in a little kitchen, that’s the ticket. Is that asking too much? The smell of bacon with an egg cooked just for him. What’s to save him? He lies dreaming, thank god it’s summer, the park in bloom. Any minute now he’ll open his eyes and be a man with money in his pocket and the pocket won’t have a hole in it. How much went through that hole before he found it? How much fell right on out of his life seconds after he thought he had secured it. Everything. All of it. Enough to break a heart.

Flung out of doors by the latest statistics…

Flung out of doors by the latest statistics, standing in rain and snow, fingers colored by cold, all for pleasure, he thought, “I never meant to not do it right. How did I get here, to this? How did it all come to this?” Swilling the smoke through his lips, his teeth, smoke in great raging furnaces around the soft inside flesh of his cheeks, blackening his teeth, while outside, exposed to fierce weather his nose changed color, paled to white and his lashes froze into teensy tinsy icicles, each containing one fragile hair.

I had never thought to be

I had never thought to be
this lonely
despite living my life
this lonely
with only brief respites
this lonely
was the winner
before I ever thought

When the cloud of stuff blew out

When the cloud of stuff blew out
of that box and away, they
didn’t know what it was,

all they knew was what was left
and it was Hope. Maybe what
blew out was just as good–

new and fearful joy, changes
due to happen when everybody
wanted it to stay the same.

Fear justifies itself. Worrying
about what flew out of the
box was enough to prove it.

(And we all owe Eve. Without her
we’d still be mindless in Eden,
looking at two trees.)

“My mama always said”, the orphan got

“My mama always said”, the orphan got
in the habit of saying–
Ignore the loss, she had decided, now
that everybody’s grown up.
All the mamas are elsewhere and just words
in the mouth, so she gave her
self one, invented one just the way she
wanted, an expedient
mother who says, or used to say, things co-
gent to the moment, and the
orphan sailed along with the best mom of
all, living in Florida,
trips to Europe, excellent taste, and the
orphan expanded under
the aegis of such a mother and
became a heartfelt success.
Started a line of shops, coast to coast, called
Mother’s Best.

another morning on its way…

another morning on its way to sunset and dark night, how can anyone fear death we have rehearsed it so often, we all get it right when showtime comes

another day of plans

another day of plans
made before the day arrives
here is tuesday
intending to be itself
and here, written onto
paper, how it is to be spent,
as if the days
gone past knew something

time over there and time over there

time over there and time over there
and here in the middle am I, eyes open
ears at the ready and prone to speak

an open body a heart that’s

an open body a heart that’s
true an open mind the wind
blows through and blows and
blows and where it fell nobody
knows but they’ll know it again
when they see it.

through the halls of wisdom

through the halls of wisdom
rings the knell of all the things
once held so dear
by all those dead people

another non-event has claimed us

another non-event has claimed us
here we are, how does it happen,
words so twisted we come by such
an agreement as this, to come to
this place and stand smiling
as if this is what we mean

Haiku

birdwatcher
identifies
the high cu-cuckoo

three in the morning,

three in the morning,
going toward eight
when I can
decently be awake,
I lie here, waiting
for stalwart day to
come, flinging color
into the sky

All those faces in all those photographs,

All those faces in all those photographs,
all those unseeing eyes looking straight out
all that tragic and mundane living
punctuated by sometime joy

time to begin again

time to begin again
to pull it all up
as fresh green grows
let frailties lie there
float them along

all these years gone by with

all these years gone by with
not one sensitive rhapsody,

not a mystic rose to be
had, not a god or goddess

claimed for my own muse,
owned onto a page,

caught into these ineptitudes
will I never be worthy

of unembarrassed presumption

This language I

This language I
live my life in,
I never thought
to be so tied
in all this thread

an idea never meant

an idea never meant
to have you hang around
it wants a little rest
when the book covers
close it gets to lie there
unchanging
needing no one

today, I’ll say, is as

today, I’ll say, is as
good as any other
my heart, I’ll say, my heart
is as unscathed
as if it all had worked

an overture of love

an overture of love
of all that’s to come
a nip on the lips
a hand smoothing down
along the hip
a gale in the heart
a raging joy carries
all before it all
but the mind that
lags behind, knows
its turn will come later

tomorrow always came

tomorrow always came
and will again when we
least expect it, we might

not even see it for
what it is until it
was yesterday

Haiku

on a limb
the sweet bird sits
the stuttering

anytime’s the time for me

anytime’s the time for me
to have in mind, I planned
only yesterday to clear this
space, to leave it blank
then thought again

too late now

too late now
to put it back,
eyes in a stare
see it all
go wrong

all that saves my life

all that saves my life
in these remorseless days
is the garden that sits
telling its story all summer long

Tomorrow I’ll let it matter

Tomorrow I’ll let it matter
When I’m stronger, when I’m
better looking, and everybody
that sees me will give me
the best of everything they’ve
got that can help me, even if
it means depriving themselves.
Because that’s the kind of guy I am.
I need what you’ve got. The stuff that
really works. I can’t stand one more
iffy prospect spreading out
before my eyes like a view.
I need stuff that’s proven and
effective and makes me look good
just by putting it on and you say,
Here, this is for you.
And I believe it. I recognize it
when I see it. Even if it’s
the first time I can see it’s
for me. That’s what I need.
Real friends. People who’ll put
my interests ahead of theirs. The
world’s a selfish grinding place.
Everybody out for just themselves.
I’m going to change all that,
give you the chance to give.
It isn’t asking too much.

ampersanding right along,

ampersanding right along,
every next thing added on,
scads of next things every day,
adding on in every way,
covering what used to be,
with lists of continuity,
the ands intact, the ands control,
the ands forever on a roll,
& us
& them
& in between,
& everything we’ve heard
& seen
& smelled
& touched
is all contained,
is ampersanded in our brains

This Begins April

Intense expectation
oils the wheels
and we’re off,
sliding toward
the next thing coming.

all that rhapsodizing

all that rhapsodizing
self-indulgence,
everybody singing
I did it my way

In a room overheated, …

In a room overheated, filled with the colliding perfume of banks of flowers, a woman awaits the cue that will launch her onto the stage, as if there is nowhere else, as if all she ever meant to be is this woman of someone else’s imagination in these clothes she never chose

all that can’t be helped

all that can’t be helped
accrues,
a weight
in our heads and hearts,
all we
resist regretting

there are other versions

there are other versions
your choice is as good as any
among such a plethora
a mantelpiece of marble made ornate with carving
a fire burning all winter and most of the summer

all the meat of all those bodies

all the meat of all those bodies
troubles the murderer’s mind
there is a growing space
he thinks of
filled with
slaughtered torsos
this year’s crop
so much to do
as he stands at the
side of the road
his thumb out
as the old pickup
pulls to a stop
gravel and dust
settling and
waits for him
to walk forward
and climb in

opposite ends of the room

opposite ends of the room
and they’re dreaming
about meeting in the middle
like those movies where
music rises up from nowhere
and eyes then arms then
lips are locked into
getting on with the happy ending

I missed the notice
in the Times, I missed
the recipe for summer
cookouts and the
fashion colors that
might have brought
me up to date,
no news to speak of
no timely food
no latest flair
I’m a poor pathetic
creature, ah me,
caught to last week’s
paucities
“so far as applying pressure is concerned”,
(this is the detective talking), “we are depending
on you to behave in every way as a gentleman
should”, (instead of handcuffs)

All these years gone by and she comes up with

All these years gone by and she comes up with
now she wants to grow. The kids grew. I grew.
Now she wants to grow. The difference is
the rest of us grew without disrupting
the whole house. We didn’t need a loom, or
a potter’s wheel, or whatever the hell
occurs to her today. She watches the
women’s shows on television, and they’re
full of shit like how to be artistic
with old egg cartons. Or how to turn junk
into lamps and planters. She doesn’t even
like plants but now she’s got to have plants for
all the planters. It’s like we live in a
junkyard that’s going back to nature. All
those vines. Except they’re more yellow than green.
She forgets to water them so they’re dropping
dead leaves all over the floor. And since she’s
stopped cleaning they stay there. It’s June but when
I go home it’s like summer’s over. It’s
like fall, with all the dead stuff, and I
shuffle through the leaves on the floor to get
to the bathroom, to get to the tv.
That’s why I’m at the bar so much. I figure
give her a year or two she’ll get over
it. She can grow. She can stay the same size.
I just don’t see why my part is I have
to sit in the middle of dead leaves while
I’m trying to watch the Series.

mind going every which way while my feet head north

mind going every which way while my feet head north
I’m taking time and circumstance down this street
with its elms mind in Italy and back again in a moment

again, it’s one too many again, listening to the poets,

again, it’s one too many again, listening to the poets,
when they were young love rode from their tongue onto
the paper with a lovely flow, love and desire and questions
about what the people in the world were with the world
and each other, a largesse of feeling and themselves

in it, caught to dreams…

in it, caught to dreams and future hope, now that they all have some money and some power they boss the world around as if time gave them the world like daddy’s business, as if they’ve moved into poetry’s three piece suit, with power on their mind, it’s a poor substitute for youthful hopes, maybe poverty and not being acknowledged is necessary to artists, maybe it’s an ideal because it keeps them where they don’t own it

a willow flute to call love forth

a willow flute to call love forth
a dewy grass for caution
as dew dries so dries the heart
just that quick the fresh sprung
joy is gone

the wind spun the sign

the wind spun the sign
around and now the arrows
point every which way
where they point the place
they say is there is not

A wall of fire

A wall of fire
An army
in the mind
Ancient river valleys
A place we remember
however much we
were never there

Self Evident

memories bring flags of surrender
to the table where you sit
making your present life prove worthwhile

Haiku

high cheese is fragrant
high tone is elegant
haiku is brief

a solvent buyer appears

a solvent buyer appears
all is changed to suit
the money we are so used
to it walk through altered
streets and lives
feel normal albeit dispossessed

who is she

who is she
looking out
to rooms she’s
never seen
will never
see and smiling
down the years

the telephone rang and

the telephone rang and
when he answered his voice

went angry, every phone
call invites response and

we show our variety, we
need never leave home,

we can just sit by the
phone, in the room, in the house

as many as they could manage…

as many as they could manage was what they wanted, gathering in troubles like picking berries off a bush, my bush, and mine, they claimed their territory, and now their lives were set, with each their bush to water and make it grow, saying “Now I call that a bush” they’d think proudly, every morning, as trouble overwhelmed them

Haiku

doves in their dreaming
coo, high overhead
high coos

white rooms

white rooms
floorboards
stripped of wax

a bed
piled with blankets
a bed
covered
with plain white

I’ll start here
with nothing to
keep my heart
from being glad

the treasure’s

the treasure’s
lost again
that for years
was a myth

a seaside like butter,

a seaside like butter,
hot and melting on the tongue,
all the faces shining
in this picture not yet taken,
then click the shutter goes

wherever she was,

wherever she was,
the air
became complex,

nothing had more
substance
it just seemed so,

she walked down
a street
making it busy,

after her
departure,
her friends often

wondered what had
just happened

the street stays

the street stays
to remind her
of all that’s gone
away and all that’s
come to fill the spaces
left
She sits in a chair
at the table,
at the window,
watching the street

a screen door into the backyard

a screen door into the backyard
a shadow growing darker
a fan whirring
to stir the air, a smell in the air
of disaster enroute, fear, fear,
distress and time passing

when all felt lonely

when all felt lonely
a rhyme and rhythm came
a little shape
to let us rest
a pattern for the mind

the story had hoped

the story had hoped
to have a breather
before it collided
with itself
and now must think again
in language on paper

a plethora of named

a plethora of named
streets I’ve never heard of,
but will, hopefully,
recognize when the time
comes, and I say,
this is very confusing,
she says, oh, that
was the shortcut, I
can make it simpler
but it’s longer, and
begins again

where and how did that man live

where and how did that man live
hiding poverty and rage
concealing his days from
the eyes of those who loved him
that he never saw again

The sleeping dog jerks its legs,

The sleeping dog jerks its legs,
chasing something in its dream.

The ferris wheel turns in the
summer night sky. Lights circle,

stop and start again, in
Mexico, years ago, a

carnival. A head filled with
pictures, remembering elsewhere.

a rambling discourse, loosed free into the

a rambling discourse, loosed free into the
air, as if birds flew there, a conjecture
that moves along a decent progression,
gathering meaning as it goes, meaning
to think a line that holds,
intending all that, each time she opens
her mouth the thought explodes outward, a flock
of birds, let loose and gone, leaves her bereft
of every next moment’s reason, she stands
in that field where nothing holds and begins
again to gather her resources

what’s to save his life, jeopardy surrounds

what’s to save his life, jeopardy surrounds
him, his dreams have shrunk to fragments, no one

believes him now when he says he has a
plan, when he says there is a future in

his mind, his hand, the left one, cradles his
penis for comfort, his right hand hangs in

the air, waits for daylight, daylight on his
eyelids is more than he can bear this morning

unlike any other, he thinks he smells
coffee, a little wife in a little

kitchen, that’s the ticket, is that asking
too much, the smell of bacon with an egg

cooked just for him, what’s to save him, he
lies dreaming, thank god it’s summer, the park

in bloom, any minute now he’ll open
his eyes and be a man with money in

his pocket and the pocket won’t have a
hole in it, how much went through that hole

before he found it, how much fell right on
out of his life seconds after he thought

he had secured it, everything, all of
it, enough to break a heart

the prison stretches in the sun,

the prison stretches in the sun,
breathes the breath of all
held there, the eyes
look out daily and at night
stare at cement ceilings,
I didn’t mean to do it,
I didn’t mean to do it,
too late now, too late

A painted face on canvas,

A painted face on canvas,
a woman looking into
this time she has come to,
from that time
no one is alive to remember,
and her clear gray eyes.

What would you

What would you
wish for if you could?

The thinking woman’s
second thought.

The photographs have all been snapped.

The photographs have all been snapped.
The children are ugly now, wanting sleep.
wanting home, no more gorgeous picnic
and the strange man with his camera.
They’ll go to where he lives, he says,
they’ll like it there.

a night redolent

a night redolent
of too many flowers,

a woman who has put rouge
on her face

a dream that insists
despite space and time

what passes for linen

what passes for linen
elsewhere, sheets and towels,
and plastic roses, caught
in unreal time, waiting
for my life to come back

the picture is of things to eat

the picture is of things to eat
the paint seems hardly dry
the food the artist saw
a hundred years ago is art
now, all those apples

Haiku

someone you don’t like
you tell.
“take a haiku!”

what pap we cook to eat

what pap we cook to eat
looking and voting and
staying secure as if it
were more than
this year’s tone of voice

the past no longer exists as it once did,

the past no longer exists as it once did,
bits in books carry a flavor of today’s ideas,
it is an idea, the past, we name it to
pretend it still is here, we talk about it
and the future, lords of the world and time, that’s us

a mirror on the wall shows

a mirror on the wall shows
a window across the room
nobody looks into one
or out the other
they share a common fate
and neither knows it

what are we given…

what are we given to see us through this, childhood stories of the travelers each with a talent, one can swallow the ocean, another can grow his neck to any length and will never drown, what else did jeopardy require? eyes to see around the world and back again, a breath that could blow a hurricane. Our stories are not so expedient. Our talents are seldom miraculous. Disaster seldom coincides with the gift, the solution inherent in our non-existent skills. Too often we watch it all go down. Too often we could not imagine what could have prevented, what could have stopped, what could have corrected, what could have repaired the damage as the disaster unfolds its history in our life as if that story had found us for its pages

the outside view becomes

the outside view becomes
a part of that wall
where the door was meant
to hold it out,
now there is
a smell of grass

a mirror on the wall

a mirror on the wall
holds the room repeating all
it can reach, a love affair
with limitation, while the room
goes on beyond, has a door
I walk through into the hall,
down the stairs, through the
front door, out of the house

what is it do,

what is it do,
again,
where went it through
the teeth,
when blew the gale
then said what words,
who is never
lets it free,
is dangling
from a thread,
is history
is all the
past, rushes daily
on its way is
influence
what future

They turn on a dime, insist

They turn on a dime, insist
they’re just the way they’ve
always been. They think you
should want for you what
they want for you. They’re
prepared to make you happy
ever after.

a man’s home is his

a man’s home is his
castle where the rattle
clatters dried peas
in a pod his body
atwist clutches the
padded arms of his chair
wanting something
to hold him safe
in this place where time
rushes to get away

We were so short

We were so short
of saucepans it all
went raw. Raw was
the order of the day.
We were so short
of hope the air
turned vicious.
Wishes were knives,
our hearts their
holders. Our lives
have suffered
these lacks. Our backs
bear the weight of
all we’ve never had.

the mundane world must be our joy

the mundane world must be our joy
the daily be our heaven, the usual
rushes our way bringing more of
the same and we live in it

the nurses are all looking elsewhere,
they get so busy, that’s why they
like their work, so much to do,
so little time, so many to ignore

A museum, a gallery, whatever

A museum, a gallery, whatever
such repository is named, holds goods
like loot, each item certified fit
for worship and all those onlookers

do it in a silence as in a sacred
place we hold our tongues
Things, brought in from the
outdoors of rambling time

and held here like Kings-X,
to be silent around
Things, hoarded and held,
invoke this kind of thought we think

as if we’re in a garden cleared of weeds
by the effort of others
Those others never knew we’d be here,
never knew these objects would be

all that was left of their
loquacious lives, gone now to silence

A long hot summer continues,

A long hot summer continues,
grass and flowers shrivel
and so do we. Where are
those jolly days that might
have been, that we are told by the most stupid sources once were, as if every childhood had a swimming pool, every child a grandmother in a doorway with a plate of cookies, we are being destroyed by false memories of lives that never happened, described on television and in the papers as our good old days, the long hot june and july with august almost here, continues, roses brown on the bushes and where are we in all this describing where have our lives gone now

Smiling he backs away, fading

Smiling he backs away, fading
as if into distance. He means
to go elsewhere with someone else
and have it all be different.

a list of losses, each

a list of losses, each
weighed and measured,
cataloged as real, a
list of losses hovers
so near thought, as if
it were part of all
that has not been lost,
the list cries itself
into today’s reality
so specifically what
is most noted is what
is not here, the list
of losses circles
like a moon, reflecting
light onto the moment’s
landscape, rises the tides
and causes decision to be made,
it is finally the list
of losses that lives
as substance, all else
seen in that reflected light.

trouble and hope

trouble and hope
tumble the days
like dice

who lives next door,

who lives next door,
saying good morning when they choose,
a polite voice in daylight
that at night rages and weeps,
the sound seeping through
the intervening wall

a starnose mole

a starnose mole
knows nothing of stars
pushing its way through
dark earth

the ceiling of its tunnel
is its grocery store
a worm falls to lie
on the tunnel’s floor

and here comes mole
making rounds
eating as it goes
shoving black dirt aside

with the nose
it has never seen

subject to laws she

subject to laws she
did not understand

she would have fled,
caterwauling

along cliffs and
quiet roads, been a

nuisance to those
who love decorum,

if she had had
her wits about her

a little thought all on its own

a little thought all on its own
cut from the head that launched
it has a way to go before sleep
claims the world away from it

sometimes

sometimes
I dance around
in my underwear,
sometimes even less,
sometimes
the least little thing
is too much.
It was hopes I had
in mind. Loping along
with wings
made of feather,
a body
made of skin,
a dream
made of air and
hair flowing
like silken thread

I’ll never be

I’ll never be
gregarious again
it’s filled the world
with people I see once

a hushed silence,

a hushed silence,
what kind of silence is that?
what silence ever raged

with no sound at all,
was shushed by a finger
to Mama’s mouth,

and now
is even more quiet,
hushed and being good,

waiting to rage again