On the verge of changing

On the verge of changing
my mind, new bowl to put the
same old oatmeal in.
What I think thought is,
thinking I think. Ah well,
here I am, it’s me again.

A dreamer, sweet and tender boy,

A dreamer, sweet and tender boy,
wafting amidst unlikely joy,
his dream a carapace of
diagrams all in the mind.

every morning gets later and later

every morning gets later and later
as if I frittered it away, as if
I had anything to say about it,
every afternoon slides toward evening
without me planning anything at all,
and when I sleep my dreams lead
busy lives I never can remember

He doesn’t think it

He doesn’t think it
is a joke because
he has no sense of
humor but if he
had a sense of
humor he’d be
surprised by how
often he’d need it

how long ago did this young man

how long ago did this young man
begin to kill his mother in
his mind, conjure up the hammer
that this day’s light brought
to his eye and hand, and this
is how a dream comes true

I won’t be subjective anymore. I’ll hustle

I won’t be subjective anymore. I’ll hustle
my head to notice all I need to maintain

distance, enough distance from my life
to let me take a view. With that view

in mind I’ll be out of my life
intelligently. I’ll say what I see

as onlooker of a vacated space. I’ll
state reality as if it still pertained.

include it in your plans,

include it in your plans,
that a miracle will happen
any day now, relieve you
of the burden you know is
growing even while you
dream it away, even while
you dream it solved
by the miracle to come

My vicious

My vicious
turn of mind,
what others
blame me for,
began as
a twisted tongue,
a statement
misplaced and
mistaken.
And the world.

One morning I grabbed

One morning I grabbed
it quickly didn’t even
stop for breakfast
but it got away anyway,
turned into later

reflections in glass

reflections in glass
a shatter of passing time
an almost never was
is what time is and where

Troubled by insistence

Troubled by insistence
Deprived of commonsense
he never knew
adjacent miracles

the airport turned on this morning,

the airport turned on this morning,
a full-scale toy with all the boys
flying their planes and all the passengers
going in and out, the venders played shop,
the money changed hands and
everybody played their parts

songs are every kind of mood,

songs are every kind of mood,
fill the air with themselves,
fill the mind with what it
always knew.
take us endlessly
home to ourselves

she has no idea of the terms

she has no idea of the terms
of which she speaks but insists
she owns them and no response
will ever inform her because
she doesn’t understand the terms

pity the

pity the
fortunate
who don’t
know what’s
coming

news tells us the stories are going on,

news tells us the stories are going on,
ramifications and even conclusions sail
through the air, to be caught into a little
box in a little room where one person knows
what day it is and makes plans of her own

meaning to do

meaning to do
better later
a fear that what’s
got isn’t secured
a scatter of
solutions like
buckshot and a
happy ending
dependant on
the continuing
good will of others

light enters the western sky,

light enters the western sky,
sends ribbons of color ahead
to say the day is here, the
latest night is going, is gone,
is replaced by gaudy joy that
spreads to show day owns it all,
the sky and the land beneath,
reclaimed from dread shadow

I meant it to be different,

I meant it to be different,
my life, those years ago
when first I planned and thought
and looked in mirrors,
sending that girl
forward to be a woman

Hold firm to what your heart

Hold firm to what your heart
tells you. Monday’s heart.
Tuesday’s heart. Every day of
the world the heart states
its case. Hold firm
to what can carry you,
but expect a wild ride
and an unpredictable ending.

he published his life in

he published his life in
a cheap edition, for the sake
of those he never knew

who treat his grave like a park
now, throwing the ball and running
to kick it

not thinking
whether who lies here had
thought to tell them something

Flung out of doors by the latest

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 tiny icicles,
each containing one fragile hair.

Dream dreams

Dream dreams
in bed, your head
will explode
some day.
All they’ll find
where you were
will be a soft
pile of ash…
“Don’t open the door!”
Too late.
There you went
blown away
by the breeze

“Barring accident, which seems

“Barring accident, which seems
most improbable, this is a case
of murder or of suicide.
“Well, thank god,” she thought,
“that covers all the bases
and someone’s in charge.
Who names it gets it.”
Now she means to think of
everything else in the world
and if there’s nothing
to claim her she’ll drink
her coffee with a clear
heart and an open mind

disaster alters the

disaster alters the
terrain, covers every
random surface
one smooth sheet,
hides every
mislaid plan

frightful engravings in old medical books,

frightful engravings in old medical books,
imaginings that caused life and death,
caught to a mind, stupid or sullen,
and here it comes, a knife in its hand

he stands making faces in the mirror, seeing all those

he stands making faces in the mirror, seeing all those
twisted faces looking back, and they’re all me, I’m all
that, he thinks, feeling secure enough to leave the house to
face the world

blind wisdom gropes

blind wisdom gropes
through this thicket
grove, no songs here
no joy, just piece
by piece a gathered
direction, a path
that cannot hold it
is so seldom traveled

I had a fight with her and I won.

I had a fight with her and I won.
I was right, that’s the point. I wouldn’t
have won if I hadn’t been right, but
I was right so I won. That’s winning,
it means you’re right. There’s no such thing as
winning a fight if you’re wrong. If you’re
wrong and win then that just means the fight
isn’t over yet. So I won. And
I thought, `Good, now we both know I’m right.’
But she wouldn’t shut up about it.
She kept right on like I hadn’t proved
my point. Like what I said was just nothing.
Like all the ways I showed her I was
right didn’t even get said. I said,
`There’s no point in going on and on.
You know I’m right so shut up. Can’t you
even be a good loser, you bitch.
Can’t you just once be glad you know what’s
what instead of going to so much
trouble to be wrong like it’s special.
Like your goal in life is to be wrong.’
But she couldn’t hear it. She kept on
like the fight wasn’t over, like nothing
got proved. She went on like I didn’t
matter. Like the more I was right the
more she had to say. Finally I
just said she was right to shut her up,
I said, `Ok, have it your way’.

It’s often like

It’s often like
that, head askew,
looking back to
where it could have
been a happy
ending.

pertinence and brevity,

pertinence and brevity,
a nose for news
a vocabulary to fit,
a wit that gives us
what we need
then shuts up

My second plan is to forget the first

My second plan is to forget the first
entirely, the hope that didn’t work. My
second plan includes a change in all the
cast of characters and a geography
more suited to my need. My second plan
includes grabbing all I ever wanted,
includes greed and compensation. My
second plan is I live my life while I
labor at forgetting the first entirely.

promise to be as if it never

promise to be as if it never
happened, start fresh and new,
a new beginning, face blank
with non-thinking, I can do that,
I can be another me, walk like
my history hasn’t happened yet,
as if I’ve sprung from blank pages

Sun shines

Sun shines
in shattered sky

a new day
to put together

the jig-sawed pieces
pink with pink

blue with blue
a hand at the end

of an arm holding
a bouquet of

flowers eyes and
smiling mouth

in a face
and a title along

the lower edge
says “Happy Day”

The traveler, carving a

The traveler, carving a
career of requests, a seat
at your table, a taste of
your food, asks to rest, asks for
kindness, asks for all of it

whoops, almost got

whoops, almost got
knowledgeable
and smart again
time to back up
put habits on
with clothes
and walk out
into the world

water seeps hidden

water seeps hidden
down a hill,
the earth holds
yesterday’s rain
and pain gets held
in thought as if
it needs a home
and means to stay

there’s a kind of man who’ll

there’s a kind of man who’ll
call a woman a whore because
she makes love to anyone
other than him, he’s convinced
she’s crazy when she leaves him,
he always gets left,
hates the women who left
almost as much as he hates
the woman who’s with him now,
who has no idea of her future,
how soon she’ll be another whore
and then a crazy one

the future that knows

the future that knows
better is enroute
this moment passes
unsuspecting no
warning of remorse
to come is coming
is knocking at the door

She firmly put the cake back in the tin.

She firmly put the cake back in the tin.
She could see he thought he had been cheated
but she never knew by what and suspected he
didn’t know either, just wallowed in it,
unquestioning, cheated, cheated,
meaning all he wasn’t,
never had been, never had the prospect of being,
but that didn’t mean he didn’t have standards.
He knew what he wanted, seeing it all out there.
Seeing others have it, all of it he didn’t have.
He could never live a happy life, seeing so much.

on the shores of a distant lake memory makes a place

on the shores of a distant lake memory makes a place
for itself, a grassy bit of quiet holds the thought
of me as I was then and will forever, however much
I am not there and the place has changed, thought
has such competences

memory
can save our lives, time travel is the way to go,
in our heads and hearts, no need for a Hollywood scientist
to take you there where you were first

give me a kiss that’s sweet and tender
and I’ll give it back to you in all those
love songs from a time when love songs
made it all so simple and I wish we
didn’t know better, as if the times
have changed, but they were always
like this, broken hearts and fading
vision, sad histories in layers, and over
all, those songs insisting love was simple

Let me show you the garden

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.

It’s nearly dark

It’s nearly dark
and I’m alright.
Perfectly alright.
Just fine thank you.

Darkness
approaches
shot from hell.

But I’m just fine,
my mind on sunrise.

he sings

he sings
in all weather,
his voice negligible,
easily ignored,
growing daily
more desperate,
he sings

fresh smells lift

fresh smells lift
fragrant in this
stale air of everyday
problems, how we love
fresh skin, fresh eyes,
a new dream, how we
love what hasn’t shown
its faded aspect, how
we long for every latest
thing to grow a total
shape, a form, to speak,
to answer our hopes
with the right words

dream a dream

dream a dream
and then wake up
put some coffee
in a cup
put some sugar
and some milk
remember faces
old and new
drink a bit of coffee
while all
that happened
in the night
leaves your thought
and lets your muscles go,
is finally
only a fading feeling,
a thing, gone now,
that almost stayed

All this. And more to come.

All this. And more to come.
No lack of more to come.
No place to hide, No empty
rooms. Matter wins the day,

when your friend

when your friend
Koo, comes through
the door, say “Hi, Koo.”

Frightful stories

Frightful stories
invoke laughter,
from throats
inclined toward
each other as
stories pour
back and forth
from open mouth
to open mouth

how brilliantly other people

how brilliantly other people
say it all, lovely to read their
words into one’s own apparatus
and have the experience of
thinking without the effort

I can’t think why he needs it she said

I can’t think why he needs it she said
He said I never use it now and that
left her up the alley of her own conjecture.
Obviously she misunderstood even though
she knew he lied. He used it now. He used it
all the time. He just had.

it is late

it is late
and I am thinking of all those
people who speak
to let their tongues own the
past,
who think
to let them own the future in their
thought,

all those people who slaughter time
with ownership,
who never know how ugly they are
in any present moment,

standing stretched
to own it

one, two, three, numbers seem so simple,

one, two, three, numbers seem so simple,
they’ve got their future figured and
just keep going, four, five, a dream
goes walking and never comes back,
six, seven, eight, when they hated
each other enough they parted, nine,
ten, eleven, twelve, will I never
be content, why is it all so hard,
are other people’s lives really as
simple as they seem to be, twelve,
thirteen, fourteen, and so on

Specimen days

Specimen days
parade their wares,
who’s to choose
among so many
mornings, so much
heartache. Here is
today. Here is noon
to say hello.
Morning, afternoon,
and night, what has
come, will come again,
caught in the seasons
as if they
truly change.

They sit in their same old

They sit in their same old
chair and dream no dreams.
Today and yesterday are the
same. Tomorrow will be too.
Sometimes they smile a mile
of same day smiles, looking
down the years. When it
stops it will still be the
same only no longer here.

you thought it would

you thought it would
all be easy
you galloped to get here
where you are now,
waking from the dream
you thought was a plan

Whenever she asks him a question

Whenever she asks him a question
he has a trance he goes into. It’s
like he left the room, like he’s
in another country where day and
night are different than this place,
this room, this moment where she
sits looking at his blanked face,
his vacated body, his refusal to be
a response to anything she has in
mind. She looks at him, waiting for
him to come back, wondering how
she’ll ever find out what she needs
to know, moment to moment, day by
day, year after year will be like
this. All her future shows in this
voided moment, all her future.

watching Thelonius Monk get interrupted by his

watching Thelonius Monk get interrupted by his
life by anything that isn’t in his head
watching him be told by the usual studio
fool “all right let’s take one” as if his
“one two three go” makes the music happen
watching him smile at the two girls with
English accents who have brought paper for
him to sign the least good morning from
him is a gift an instant when all that
music in his head must stop when he must
show that he knows there are other people
in the world that he knows there is a world
that he knows it won’t let him be that it
claims him just because he walks there

time to get to work now, time

time to get to work now, time
to join the day,
stuck at the closet, exhausted by
available colors
will that shade of peach against
that rust brown make this day real

The only time I bust

The only time I bust
faces is bar fights in
strange places where people
don’t know me. Then I can
cut loose. Somebody says
will you move your stool. And
I think Boss, Wife, and I
flatten them, I kick their
butt, I leave them mangled
and I get away with
it because of my Mama.

strawberries for the guests

strawberries for the guests
in a crystal bowl
far removed from the dirt
they grew in as are we

Silence ate the city,

Silence ate the city,
deadened
all there was to hear,
left
all the ears hanging in air.

No mouth to ask
Did you hear that?
No mouth to answer
What did you say?

No I wouldn’t,

No I wouldn’t,
even if I
could, which I can’t
because I won’t.

Me and you and them too

Me and you and them too
went for a ride in
a borrowed canoe.
(No, that won’t do,
it has to be bigger
if they’re there too,
coming the way
they always do,
invited or not,
start over.)
Me and you and them afloat
in a borrowed
broad beamed boat,
and where should we
all go now?

landscape holds

landscape holds
us to be
in place
anyplace
any time
that tree
this sand
her hand holding
this flower

in a hurry

in a hurry
it flashes past
unripe
unready
and wrong

I could have led

I could have led
a life that left
my heart intact
Red as roses
Wilted as hope

here comes the muffin man

here comes the muffin man
to stuff her mouth with bread,
here comes the coffee pot
to wash it all down,
there goes her resolution,
lost before she remembered
she meant to do it differently
this morning, thank god for tomorrow,
all the resolutions
tidied into the future

green shimmer of satin and

green shimmer of satin and
wine red shimmer of satin,

robes hang on a fancy hook,
on a bedroom door, in an

early morning town
where the crime rate is rising,

perfume in a charming bottle,
a decorative stopper to daub

the ears, the neck, the wrists,
with fragrance,

and the sound of sirens
down the block

Frightful stories

Frightful stories
invoke laughter,
from throats
inclined toward
each other as
stories pour
back and forth
from open mouth
to open mouth

dreaming inhabits days

dreaming inhabits days
lives there like it’s home
expects to be welcome,
who wants reality any more

dreaming doesn’t mean to
be intrusive, has only
you to be in, knows it’s
reciprocal, never had a problem
of unrequited anything

dreaming inhabits the
house in the guise
of thought, friends
and lovers, and
cheerful futures

every night I go through
hours of strangers I’ll
never see in the daylight
with their faces clear
their motives apparent

beauty skin deep

beauty skin deep

what’s a shadow?

less than paint,

it emulates outlines

A lady went a walking

A lady went a walking
all she dreamed was in her head
her feet addressed each step
by step and as she walked she wept
her heart with nowhere else to be
in silence kept the pulse in her
throat marking time, the pulse
in her wrists marking time

And when you

And when you
thought you’d go away
what did you mean?

How long did you mean it
before you saw
the road unwinding goes
nowhere? It stays in place.

And where
were you,
dreaming of moving?

capture that thought

capture that thought
and make it mine
word by word line by line
nail it down in writing
and forever after
it will be the same
stretched on the page
for other eyes
and I’ll be elsewhere

Every day I’ll dance

Every day I’ll dance
this mind’s fandango.
On days filled with
sunshine, street scenes
caught out of time,
on days when the
weather is advantageous,
I’ll dance this
mind’s fandango

He used to

He used to
be better
and now he’s
not but now
people like
him more.

hunters with fierce eyes

hunters with fierce eyes
reach the kitchen, they
are going to kill the cans
stored on shelves, and
when they’re done they
will have a gala feast

invent your self into summers

invent your self into summers
long gone, reshape your story
to suit you better, make unique
childhoods easy in your heart, say,
“how sad, poor baby, setting off
to school in bad shoes”, and
walk away into better times

Meaning clears the way through nonstop

Meaning clears the way through nonstop
verbiage, chops at bramble each
next footstep. Growth closes behind,
forward and back a mutual mystery.
That’s why days are named. Monday
Tuesday Wednesday go past as if
you know something. Towns have names
to tell you where you are now
and where you were last year.
And people, there goes George, here
comes Alice.” Hello, everybody.”
Even together they’re one at
a time. That’s what drink and drugs
do, blur the edges, let
everybody be a lump,
“All together now, sing.”

now the ozone’s gone the chatter

now the ozone’s gone the chatter
we call meaning rises through
the holes into the suck of
the vacuum nature hates, fills
it with meaningless importance,
makes it just like home
for the boys and girls
who dress up funny
and go to be there

Invent larger than life-size

Invent larger than life-size
into the common day. There it
sits, a blob of thought. All the
sculpting of reason cuts it to
shape and circumstance. Poor blob
never asked to be born, will be
almost anything to be something.

I’ll just wait here

I’ll just wait here
in the offing,
against the future
when my life comes back

over the edge and through the woods

over the edge and through the woods
to promises broken we go, a song
on our lips, a tear in our eye, and
a tawdry list of alternatives

something sweet and tender

something sweet and tender
a mended past and a
blooming future

something in my throat

something in my throat
wants to weep
to have its say
into the day
that has not gone wrong
but may, in a fraction of
time not to be recovered
ruin it all
spoil everything
all those years ago

the fish for which

the fish for which
she sent to the seashore
went bad enroute to
the table
her guests
choke on the
smell she screams
for alternative dishes.
can’t bear
the taste of
one more failed plan

the soft sweet dream

the soft sweet dream
the simple hope
eaten alive by the
future looking back
to make sure it
didn’t forget anything

An open mind, a flap

An open mind, a flap
in the wind, a nothing
closed and nothing intended,
open to every breeze
that blows whatever grit,
a clutter of culture.

Travel broadens,
broad as the Sahara
killing travelers with
its very attributes,
bones crisp in hot sun.

Where do men get

Where do men get
that voice that
“informs” as if
they know and
they use it with
the women
they’re next to and
the women
duck their heads and
look flattered.

Young men fire their guns and join the plot,

Young men fire their guns and join the plot,
a part to play in what they think the drama

is. Schematics lead us astray. It is
such a value, to be shapely. We long

to not blow in the wind despite every
day being a new one then an old one.

when I remember,

when I remember,
the tag ends come

grisly bits
still shredding
into red water

when the shark
takes its bite

Villains among us, spewing pap

Villains among us, spewing pap
called speech. Bland and stupid,
just like home. We arrive
unprepared and unlikely

The turn of time sits

The turn of time sits
on the tongue. Speaking
holds it. They do it
daily, put their tongues
to passing reality
as a woodworker shapes
a table leg on a lathe.
They change it. Say it
in their turning words
and give the day revised
to us in their description.

the butler with the poison in his pantry

the butler with the poison in his pantry
tells the doctor everything but the doctor
cannot take his eyes off the really
splendid shoes the corpse is wearing,
red and new, curving to the foot,
three inch spikes for heels,
the doctor’s heart is madly aflutter
while the butler talks of cyanide

memories like a picnic

memories like a picnic
bag of random food

sandwiches spread
with edible pastes

reaching into the
bag where it’s

all dark in there
there’s a smell

of something’s
rotten there’s

a question of whether
it’s safe to reach

in at all

If I begin to

If I begin to
apologize I will see more
and more, all the way to
the grave and those poor
people who must dig it

I am because I think, that’s

I am because I think, that’s
supposed to be education.
You know that guy said that
and it made him famous.
And if a tree falls in
a forest and there’s nobody
to hear it that’s a big deal.
That’s how those hot shots think.
They think they’re so much. Like
nothing happens if they’re not there.
A light bulb is on in a room
and they’re not there, they think
forget it, no light bulb. Some
people never got a light bill,
some people got their head screwed
backwards. The more they think
the less they count. Without that
lightbulb they don’t see, they’re
nothing. That’s education. You ever
been in a room full of those people,
they get together and talk that
shit, and they think they’re thinking
because that’s what they name what
they’re doing, they name it thinking.
Then they say I am because
I think. That’s education.

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

examine

examine
your
life
how to
live in
all
that
memory