I’ll tell you what I think of me

I’ll tell you what I think of me
as if I speak of you and you
will sit dissatisfied, at times
I’ll add a compliment with your
name and behaviour attached
to catch your attention back,
it’s hard work, this conversing

a harmony that’s more

a harmony that’s more
conjecture than counterpoint
a speculative thread
beside the melody that
relentlessly continues

slim and tidy

slim and tidy
with painted toenails
future plans
and nothing yet
to change the subject
so fast we hardly notice
a rest and a space flash by
while we grapple
with the rocks and
gravel of meaningful time

I’ll get it just right

I’ll get it just right
then I’ll sit in it
it will stay just as
I’ve placed it all to
be and that will be
a rest that will be
home that will be where
all my friends can find
me when they want to
if they can stand it
and me then like that

an air of

an air of
sweet roses
comes winging,

singing as
it comes, runs
through this

place of such
variety I had
never hoped

for something
good in it

Haiku

another coup d’etat,
another regime brought low,
another high coup

Being in love means

Being in love means
somebody else makes
you happy, breathe
a little sigh of
downright relief,
here hold this.

imagination’s puny flame is all

imagination’s puny flame is all
will light our way along the corridor
that is endless until we reach
the one last wall and in it
the one last flower
we pluck away,
and then,
and then

She has no reason not to jump

She has no reason not to jump
and loves the notoriety.
She has no reason to be
like you and me.
She soars then plummets,
tomorrow’s headlines
in her mind.
She hits the ground.

work in silence

work in silence
don’t let’s quarrel
let’s pretend
we’re where
we mean to be

the house woke

the house woke
in the early morning,
turning Mommy into Mommy,
activating the children
on their little springs,
Daddy put his Daddy suit on
and sat at the table
until Mommy poured coffee
all over him and
when he jumped to hurt her
she shot him and
when the children screamed
she shot them,
now she’s in the garden
watering the morning glory,
counting new flowers,
It’s all so quiet
she thinks she’ll
make a fresh pot of coffee
and think of what to do today

scrumptious, there’s a word…

scrumptious, there’s a word to get you started, to lift and brighten a gray day, a day like this, when a young woman in a summer dress, stands in a doorway, her face glowing as the sun will not and says “Scrumptious!”

reconcile ongoing time

reconcile ongoing time
with speech,
say we’re still here
and will be again

Ignore the loss, the orphan decided, now

Ignore the loss, the orphan 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.

black and white, coffee and cream,

black and white, coffee and cream,
a day and a night spent dreaming

when my own true love stood singing
by a creek in sunshine,

a thick thick fog turning air to lace
laying moisture on the face of

who walked through that day’s soft light,
memory is such a fragile vase

to hold such recollections

a great day

a great day
on sale
to be had
for money

bring thought to the event

bring thought to the event
to prove it, order meat
for dinner, order sleep
for bedtime, order love
for loneliness and feel
stupid in between

clean sheets, white wrinkled cotton,

clean sheets, white wrinkled cotton,
clean and fresh and me in them,
another morning to leave the bed
for all my life has become,
miles of telephone line and pounds of mail
hammer daily nails in my coffin that will
be plain pine, plain pine, no fuss,
straightforward and unadorned
as I wish it all was now but the
only place I have it simple
is in my bed with clean sheets

In the parlor they spoke

In the parlor they spoke
all there was to say,
solved nothing, ten thousand
places times ten thousand
times, all the seconds
making minutes, all the minutes
making years, now was the end of it.
Blame and anger rode horses, rode them
down, trampled them under. With no grace
and no dignity it ended, left them
stranded with nothing left to say,
left them bereft of the beginning
when love charmed their eyes,
when hope and certainty
seemed their future.

reality is not enough

reality is not enough
to justify this life where all I hoped
for must begin again daily, each
and every day a beginning with
no hope for gains tomorrow, tomorrow
the same again, the same beginning,
and all these fruitless beginnings
bordered by the walls of nightmare dreaming

Sunk in winter I thought

Sunk in winter I thought
to sleep forever
now early morning light
blinds my eyes. It snowed
again last night the world
lies obscured by white.
When the snow melts, when all
is apparent again
I`ll know more than I
do now where the holes
in the sidewalk are and
where it all went that
now lies so hidden

the villa is closed now, not open to the public,

the villa is closed now, not open to the public,
all its holdings covered in white cotton sheets
shaped like ghosts of what they hide from view,
from me and you, we’ll never see them now those
lovely artifacts from a privileged time, sweet
curves to charm the eye, shadow veils the rooms,
the shutters work so well, hiding and closing
works so well, the villa with its bars and locks,
its shutters closed tight and locked, is held
in the grip of an effective refusal, it refuses
us who would have loved it, it was inviting once
but that was long ago and only shows in fading
catalogs, its life lies now in description that
fades on pages stored in random closets and is
called, “the year we went to Italy”

with a sense of relief he

with a sense of relief he
thinks to sleep but
hears a sound something
has fallen something
somewhere is very wrong

will you keep it down, please,

will you keep it down, please,
I’m trying to live a life here,
will you keep your dog home,
shitting on your own grass,
will you please give your awful kid
the gun in your own house,
will you please stop
bleeding your bad taste in music
into my ears, keep your bad colors
on your interior walls, confine
your stain to your own life,
confine the pain of your
stupid by-products to your own
site, keep your spill to
yourself and I’ll keep mine by me

Time passes as if

Time passes as if
it’s a relief. Oh
good, there’s that day done,
as if we achieve
it that time passes.

the roots must finally

the roots must finally
be the flowers, in
a vase, not pretty
but original

satin and silk

satin and silk
at breakfast time with flowers on

the table and an able joy making its way
into the day to say good morning

put yourself in graceful posture

put yourself in graceful posture
smile and be softer when you’re not
when really you are raging
when really you shouldn’t be here
wouldn’t have come if you’d
known how the real inside
and the assumed facade would
be so at war that all the false
face would crumble like this
leaving your sweet smile a mad
grimace your graceful pose askew
and all your intentions bereft

I think of your hair

I think of your hair
and it sustains me,
the curve of your back
is enough to feed my eyes,
I think of your sigh
and I am sustained
all the way to paradise

A girl in a green dress looks both ways

A girl in a green dress looks both ways
steps off the curb, into a street I know.
She is young, the sun is in her hair.
That extra bit of the more than. A
young woman can step into a street
and all the heavenly choir start up.

I work here, in this town.

I work here, in this town.
I live here, that’s my house,
that’s my car, my garbage can
waiting for pickup,
I have a phone in there, the number’s
in the book, every thought
I haven’t had yet
hovers in its place.

humming a tune under her breath

humming a tune under her breath
she fairly skipped from the room,
a roguish smile on her lips,
a plan in her mind, a hope
for the future, the sound
of her song in the air, she
left the room, the room inhabited
by all who had watched her
go, who sat now, appalled
at the implications of
her smile

it was to the good that he
could make something of this
world, having risen from
nothing at all, from a
poor boy’s broken shoes
and hunger, it was
surprising he could have
become his own ideal, all that work to let him be a dressed up sausage with a mindless appetite

looking much the same as usual how can the world keep rolling in its orbit , carrying this growing weight of pain

nature doesn’t care, it goes on through seasons, that’s what nature does, however much we describe it all as if we matter to it, it doesn’t care

tensions relax in the spring, eyes have outside to look at and the birds fill the ears, at least I think that’s what happens, something like that, I won’t try again to say just how it works, I’ll just pretend that when I said it last time it was for once and all,
ravens are indicators, mean more in their sight and whether they fly in ones and multiples than

the blush of dawn and birds rejoice
insects sweetly hum
and summer comes with flowers

he carried his face as a part of his dress
he donned his face for the street he walked
out with his face intended to look good with his tie
he never heard farther than his ears, his tongue only spoke expedient phrases and he believed he mattered despite all
the indications that the world noticed him not at all

And now, to begin again.

And now, to begin again.
That’s a finite number,
the beginnings we get.
How many times did
Mrs. Robinson start
over, her husband the
drinker lose his job,
her son steal a car,
the neighbors stare,
and she begin again,
making it up, making
a whole new face to
let them see. Hard
times she said, sailing
forth, a basket on her arm
as if she meant to shop.

Cheese dripping from

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

I read the paper

I read the paper
mornings, fill my
mind with worldly
thoughts, feel
a part of it

We talk and laugh and drink

We talk and laugh and drink
a cup of tea a glass of wine
the ground beneath us
hurtles in its orbit
us with it caught to
a shape in space

the explanation

the explanation
grows its own
life and walks
all over the
subject, elucidating
it to death, for
simplicity’s sake

skin of thin paper

skin of thin paper
not written on,
stretched over bones
shapely as secrets
his eyes are blue,
his nose knows everything

Plan to be

Plan to be
sensible
all your life.
Think to think
it through all
along the
way. Day by
day call it
ideal that
you mean to
be sensible.

I thought if I just worked hard enough

I thought if I just worked hard enough
that would make it all be ok. So
I worked real hard. And when that wasn’t
working I worked harder, so finally
that’s all I was doing.
Even when I tried to have fun it
was work for me, even when I was
in bed with my wife, going to a movie,
it was all muscle, just muscle. I was
tired. I was exhausted. I couldn’t stop.
I didn’t even want to stop. I didn’t
need rest. I needed to be right. I needed
all that working to pay off. I needed
the movies to be good ones because it
was work for me to get there. I needed
promotions and bonuses and more training.
I needed my wife to have orgasms
like payday. I needed my kids to love
me and respect what I did for them, all
that work. I don’t mean `needed’, I mean
I worked for it. I worked for all of it.
I worked and worked. I learned more
about working. I got better and better.
So now I should have everything I want.

Her voice when she spoke was

Her voice when she spoke was
all he could have hoped
melodious and soft,
weak and nearly trembling.
His heart went out to her.
His voice when he spoke was
all she had expected,
strong and slightly loud,
meaning to own whatever
it took as a topic,
which just now was her.
She relaxed, feeling safe,
feeling he would deal with
whatever happened. They
fell into each others’
arms and through the floor and
through all the intervening
years, to stop here where
neither ever meant
to be, a mean old man,
a nagging old woman,
in a dilapidating
house with upkeep problems.

going forward stays

going forward stays
the same
the broken bits still tumble
that were Troy

her letter arrived

her letter arrived
shortly after
her departure,
how are things there,
she asked, and
wish you were here

give words

give words
a personality,
call it
an idea, let thought
do all
the work and call it thinking

a footpath crosses the field there

a footpath crosses the field there
early morning crows racket the air
a ditch brings water like a creek
without the clarity, a brackish
smell of green delights the day

All those men

All those men
yelling poems
own the air.

Top of their lungs
prove words
are theirs.

Amplified
speakers
blast their
insistence,

I love you,
the scream,
or, I hate you.
Just like home.

drowning, a hand above the water

drowning, a hand above the water
grabs the last bit of air and sinks,
not to rise again, sinking and rising
in such slow time
and we do finally not rise again,
there is not even that one hand above
the water to tell the world goodbye

her heart was mollified

her heart was mollified
by daily happiness
she settled into it
an emotional has-been
still doesn’t
know what happened
or whether it was
someone’s fault

in time I’ll do what

in time I’ll do what
I would do now if
there weren’t perfection
to consider

the ceiling leaked long ago

the ceiling leaked long ago
left stains like maps

foreign countries waiting
for a visit if she can ever
get the money together.

“I’ll go there,” she decides,
looking at a medium sized blob
that spreads to be a lot of coastline
afloat in the sea of flowered paper

With fine compliments we parted.

With fine compliments we parted.
Visions of discourse in our heads.
Bodies configured to rambling
venture and a dread of failures
yet to come. Had you thought to be
my darling? Had I thought to dream
of you? In abeyance, here’s
remembering. Here’s the gift of sweet
forbearance. History tells
itself forever. Here’s my spill
of disconsolate poison. And
yours, I assume, is the same.

we live invisible

we live invisible
to ourselves, believing
others see us not at
all, an agreement as
if decency pertained

the inevitable road

the inevitable road
has as its only trick
a shimmer of apparent
alternatives, choices
glimmering in haze
adjacent to
the inevitable road

simple furniture

simple furniture
a simple house
simple things to do
and a woman screaming

real things in the picture,

real things in the picture,
if I went there they’d look
like this and I could touch them,
home again here’s the picture,
to remind me I can touch something
elsewhere by going there

mirrors change

mirrors change
the shape of the room,

glow with light
from here

that comes again
from there

I think to live

I think to live
a simple life
and when I`m gone
the wind will blow
it all away

her final words were I think I’ll start over,

her final words were I think I’ll start over,
she had that knack, to begin again when she
should have given up, finally there was an
ending, it all just stopped, all those beginnings
left with threads dangling, all those ideas
that meant to be successful, a total story

darkness carves the day away,

darkness carves the day away,
cuts the last light into streaks
in the western sky, darkness
carves a shape in the day
to show us it has arrived

all the world adores itself

all the world adores itself
and dances in the streets where
views stretch out off every hill
above the town and only
the map is lost that was to
tell you how to go to get
there and you look for it when
you remember it like a
hat or a shirt you wore last
year “Did I give it away,”
opening another
closet, another drawer,
“Has someone taken it?”

a fool who’ll

a fool who’ll
never change,
caught to
habits of error
including remorse

looking for natives to see how they do it,

looking for natives to see how they do it,
to see water turned again to water,
to see bread and meat eaten by
real mouths and to see bare feet
making their way along dirt paths

history lives its life…

history lives its life out throughout my frame, the war of the roses in my kneecap, discovery of radium in my eyelid, my body and the blood in it is a map of all that ever happened anywhere, all those voices stating all their platitudes, all that death, all the rivers of long gone blood flows in my veins, as it does in yours, when the latest world wants to tell you about attitudes remind them you’re a product and include it all, as do they

I thought if I could

I thought if I could
get her I could
do anything.
When you’re young
you think one thing
means something else
like step on a crack
can break your
mother’s back. I don’t
mean I’m superstitious,
it was just–
she stood for everything.
She just stood there
looking so far away,
like I could never
get there where she was.
And I had to have her.
And it was all easy,
she just buckled.
I just said some
dumb shit to her
and bam she was mine.
So then I did all
the other stuff, the job,
the house, the kids.
And it turned out
I never had what I wanted
again. Getting her
didn’t mean anything.
It didn’t mean anything.

look back to this moment

look back to this moment
as if it had rights
here, as if
this moment
should have hung
in time
against its future

I’m someone else now never to return

I’m someone else now never to return
to who that was I can’t remember
but photographs show how she wore her hair
and sometimes smiled, I’m darker and older
and heavier and look at her, wondering
why she didn’t stay, if I knew now what
she knew then she’d still be here, and
where will I be next year,
who will I be the next time I look

I prefer everything

I prefer everything
just the way I like it
If you want to talk it over
start with that

his answers arrived

his answers arrived
before the questions,

he cut and shoved
them, the answers he

had brought from home
and meant to make fit

goodby floats in the air, a string

goodby floats in the air, a string
to thread them both in separate
directions, a thread, a goodby
to each from each and their backs
are facing each others backs as
they leave to go far away and farther

Died young, well, still alive,

Died young, well, still alive,
really, but so what,
that kind of dead that
walks on its feet and
never knows the difference.

ceremonies over

ceremonies over
cemetery nearby
we walk in a file
two and three
at a time
grateful
for the weather

a lethal smile

a lethal smile
and a spill of
blossom,
for the senses,
that will go
anywhere promising
rapture

any day is a day like

any day is a day like
any other unless you’re
in it, any day in any
town, waking in any bed
is usual, unless it’s you,
in this bed, this day,
this place, and all your
life around your shoulders

colors are enough,

colors are enough,
that peach, shaded
yellows and pinks,
that blue bowl
filled with apples

he could have told her he

he could have told her he
never meant to stay but
between now and then
the food would have been
uneatable, salt tears
in the sauces
and he loved her smile

I’ll just go now,

I’ll just go now,
with no fuss.
I’ll be gone
any minute now,
the door closed
behind me.
There’ll be a blank
space then, where I am now.
There’ll be
a lack of attention
to it
on the part of all.
Did you hear me?
I’m going now.
Do you notice
I’m quietly leaving?

Look in the mirror.

Look in the mirror.
Wonder who that is,
looking back.
You’ve never seen
that poor bastard in
your life. You know it’s
you but you haven’t
even been introduced.

sit on the verandah

sit on the verandah
drink tea and
watch ducks
navigate the pond
it is summer
you are living
a very long unfinished
russian novel

we stopped at a corner

we stopped at a corner
we paused, looking at cars,

he walked away toward a
brief few years and death,

I went home, made the bed
and still live here

They all pinned their hopes

They all pinned their hopes
on me. All they had was me.
so I had to do it all
for me and for them
and then for everybody
they brought along as part of
the package. I did it all.
Everything they thought I was,
everything they thought I could
do, I was it and I did it.
And we were all happy but they
finally ran out of thought
like a dead end alley,
no place to go, nothing to be
and they blame me for it.

such heartbreak

such heartbreak
we live our lives in,
it hardly seems
there could be enough
hope to sustain us

the brilliant dead cut loose by time,

the brilliant dead cut loose by time,
the disciples who owned them, knowing them so well, see their own darling dispersed like spring air, see what was their own being used however they choose by the upstarts.

The most enormous ocean of all is past-time.
The dead and all their goods hover and float
below a surface and the newest to arrive
ride the surface looking down into all that wealth
for what they want and need. Back at the beach
the goods are laid out, to be thought about.
And when the ones who thought they had it all
in their pocket start screaming they’re given
no respect at all. Newcomers ignore them, act
like they have their own relationship with
what they’ve gathered, won’t hear the old
strictures of last years interpretation,

mean to start over as if none of it ever got said, look at the screechers knowing they’ll also die, in the near future, and then we can have some peace around here, they hardly notice the vehemence, the galloping gesture as the disciples fight to regain the size they had when their hero was alive, the newcomers are at work rebuilding the edifice. meaning to improve it, to make it suit themselves

two lovers, or three,

two lovers, or three,
or a hundred, intertwined
in rapture,
one war or a hundred,
ripping lives
out of the earth,
discarding them,
all that flesh of human kind,
all those stories never told

work in silence

work in silence
don’t let’s quarrel
let’s pretend
we’re where
we mean to be

yesterday’s left-overs

yesterday’s left-overs
in the morning paper
all that sorrow
sounding rational
all that stupidity
in words we understand

what’s below would eat us alive

what’s below would eat us alive
if it could, as we go swaggering
in any brilliant Spring,
convinced of our worth
by the weather,
what’s below, shadowed by
last year’s fallen leaves
rotting to mulch would eat us
if it could, and will
a long time in the future
of this day so filled with
life and living that nothing
chills our expectations,
on days like this
we live forever every minute

they don’t need me there…

they don’t need me there and I need me here, in my bed with nothing in my head, with a tired sag in my muscle and resistance to ever getting up again, they don’t need me there and I need me here so here I’ll stay

sun batters

sun batters
seedlings with
spring largesse
the seedlings
bow their heads
to the burden of it

ownership and

ownership and
the grab, wanting
all he never
did himself but
means to get in
his hands, and then
how he’ll hang on,

here’s a job and there’s a boss…

here’s a job and there’s a boss holding my future in a pocket, here’s a chore and there’s a description of how it will be if I do it right, I live in this permanent effort aimed at someone who always knows better, always has the last word, and never knows the story of how this present time gets passed. It seems the time has come to add lying to my job description

In pursuit of clues

In pursuit of clues
we had not known would
happen, it began,
“Oh look”, someone cried.
We were well dressed in
sensible shoes. That’s
what a story can
do, give you what you
need before the need
arises. That’s the
lie at work, that you
come to a final
page, all the issues
resolved, love affairs
resolved, murderer
caught, sun risen,
and the words, “The End”.

our happy days came

our happy days came
after the world
stopped interrupting
us with promise,
we settled down, we
got quite cozy

the least phrase will do,

the least phrase will do,
the bowl that holds
nameless flowers, the
tiniest smile, any least
thing is enough to set us going

you can’t, while planning the future,

you can’t, while planning the future,
exchange the present for a description
canted to the shape you mean to have,
an interpretation you invite in
the weakness of logic, the frailties
of imagination, the door which will
close behind you and you will find
yourself as you are now,
in the land and time of all you dread

time past rides heavy and heavier

time past rides heavy and heavier
holding more with every hope that passes
finally there is only now to have
and only transient future joy
however much it has not arrived

Spring hovers to arrive

Spring hovers to arrive
The day is promised away
what matters is shelved
priorities are out of synch
will is irresolute and Spring
overdue. By the time it arrives
it will be mid-summer

more and more the man

more and more the man
he dreamed of turned to
stone, dead on a park
bench, waiting to be
discovered in a
present he knows nothing
of, escaped at last
into the past.

if the sun would shine

if the sun would shine
the buds would start, the
air would change. The proof
would catch us unaware
although we’ve waited

I won’t bore you with all

I won’t bore you with all
that hasn’t happened lately
just a note to say hello
out there, hello out there

here comes morning and

here comes morning and
poof, there the dreams go,
a shatter of shards
a bit of a face,
a head that turned to
look, a sudden street
you’ll never see again