plans were never

plans were never
a map but how they
do get us to every
next place we never knew

close your eyes and

close your eyes and
make it dark, keep
your mouth shut
let your bark be
worse than the bite
you never had

all those books on

all those books on
all those shelves
longings intact
all that
waiting

Atlas holds the

Atlas holds the
world, countries
colored pink,
green, wars and
grief, lavender,
yellow, blue,
sweetly colored,
like young women
in organza
in the garden
in the summer,
many years ago

Do you know

Do you know
the muffin man?
Do the birds
fly over you
and the fish
stay decently
enclosed in water?

elegant and vivacious, with

elegant and vivacious, with
restless eyes, a woman settles
down to boredom as if she planned
and meant it, as if she has no
other thought in mind, and lives
there forever after, taken for
granted by everyone she surprised

hard to know what to say

hard to know what to say
when there’s a face inches
away hanging on every word,
like you’re the last hope,
like what you say next
will matter terribly

here’s a chair

here’s a chair
two arms there and there
feet flat
turn your face to
catch the window’s light

if lists

if lists
could do what they propose,
we’d live
our lives on paper, our rooms
could be
smaller and
our proposals more grandiose

out of this blank

out of this blank
silence we begin
to tell the story
however dull
however much
it never was true
but now we cling to it.

the absence

the absence
where it was
is growing
my dream was
to have held
this place in shape
more and more
as days go
by I dream
a long flown dream

pretty little

pretty little
caterpillar
squash goes the shoe
the naughty boy
looks around for
the next piece of luck

tired of all that claims me,

tired of all that claims me,
I am leaving on a train, a
rickety contrivance, along
tracks made of desperate
conjecture, the mind’s last resort

1 Your interesting article

1
Your interesting article
on crepes suzettes
has come to my attention.
I feel in duty bound
to ask for further meanderings
of your sweet tooth mind.

2
Have you considered
spun sugar fluted in forms
delicate as glass
that break to ecstasy
with each bite, clatter
around the teeth like
angelic presences, are
swallowed down the throat
in a perfume of desire.

when you’re troubled there’s

when you’re troubled there’s
no thought in it
a stew in the mind
of wanting it otherwise

a wish it were still time gone by
when dreams of vague futures
included happy endings

Vexed by aching thought

Vexed by aching thought
he stands, fear
in his heart that
any moment now
it will all come clear.

That moment of gathering,

That moment of gathering,
goodbyes in the terminal,
shuttling through
along the runway.
The ludicrous explanation
of life-saving techniques
to people who will be
properly strapped in
when the plane aims itself
at the ground and they dangle
forward, hang from their laps
in mid-air within the confine
of a shape all the way down.

She said,

She said,
“I never drink wine, and I don’t
smoke, and I don’t drink hard liquor.
nothing alcoholic, and I
don’t eat meat or wear fur, and I
live in this world not harming any
thing at all, not anything at all.
“I don’t give my children any
sugar or my husband any
fat and they like it like that.”

She said,
“He never said he loved me and
I never said anything at
all and we went our seperate
ways because that’s how we were, and
now when I think back, I think it’s
just as well.” And she sat back
in a chair she had never liked
much but didn’t intend to get
a new one until this one was
used up.

one by one

one by one
they fill the space
troubles
come to stay
eat everything
in the kitchen

look me in the eye and tell me

look me in the eye and tell me
you haven’t made a plan that’s
going to send you up the river,
down the creek, through the hoop
with flames at your feet.

I mean to return to my body

I mean to return to my body
improved by the mindlessness
that claimed me, caught me in
its blind grip and sent me out
to all the places I wouldn’t
have gone if I had thought

He went out for cigarettes.

He went out for cigarettes.
She went out of her head and
years went by. They called it love
because why not. Everything
gets called something so you can
talk about it. Have a look
at what gets called love and you’ll
see what I mean. Talk about
slippage. She went to Boise.
He went distraught waiting for her
to get home to the new carpet
and the old habits. They just
couldn’t live without each other
and there’s no reason why they
should. Talk about a phone bill,
they called constantly, just to
make sure where they were, and said
“I love you”, and hung up the
phone into their own void of
“Guess I’ll go to bed now.”

Feeling adores itself

Feeling adores itself
too much
The body walks itself
into trouble
And the Little Red Hen,
who can do it all,
has chosen
to keep it for herself

clear or murky waters,

clear or murky waters,
a flash of shining under surfaces,
and it’s snatched from there
to here, totted up on a line
carried home and cooked for dinner

a dream in abeyance

a dream in abeyance
never got to the starting post
cavorting in the field
holding up the race
finally disqualified

time to get up

time to get up
to not win the lottery,
time to put water
to boil to start
today’s efforts
minus luck

she wants a commitment

she wants a commitment
he thinks it’s a prison
he wants her to
be here forever but
not call it anything

mysteries were not meant to be opaque,

mysteries were not meant to be opaque,
mysteries were made to be a veil
of chiffon, translucent and shimmering,
mysteries long to be seen through,
want to be perceived, otherwise
they would not persist, they appear
and stay there, will not let us go
until we see beyond the drama

I think to do it

I think to do it
with thought. If thinking
can’t do it it won’t
be done. A shovel
digs more shovels. A
fork forks forks. A knife
cuts knives. A dream dreams
dreams. A thought thinks
thoughts flawed on linear
condition, requires
more than one dimension.
Start some music and
put on water for
tea. I’m in the soup
that won’t quit.

give the tree you bought

give the tree you bought
that was a mistake,
to your neighbor,
ask her to plant it
in the back where every
spring you’ll borrow the
sight of it flowering

any way gets you to

any way gets you to
where your history resumes,
had you thought to escape,
your head in the clouds
your feet glued to clods of dirt

Fear justifies itself. Worrying

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

all they knew was
what was left was Hope. What
blew out was just as good–

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

His rapid plunge to mediocrity

His rapid plunge to mediocrity
showed he was serious in his pursuits.

Couldn’t stop long enough to get good.
Didn’t know the difference. Didn’t see

where he could’ve done it otherwise and
couldn’t have, rushing to find his level.

just don’t stop,

just don’t stop,
that’ll turn
the trick, just
don’t stop, legs
peddling air,
jokes gone stale,
however much
they don’t want
you. just keep
pushing it

Set out

Set out
on a journey
with sunny days
in your mind,
sunny days and tables
made delightful
by good food
and charming
fortuitous company.
Beginnings are
fraught with hope.
Beginnings dazzle
our eyes and
obscure
our memory of rain.
We forget
the most obvious
things and set our foot
into that
fatal first step

there’s nothing wrong

there’s nothing wrong
with plans more grandiose
than likely, a house
with suites of rooms
for everyone I love, above
a river with a bridge,
and on that far side
a park with deer
a place to sit and
breathe air softened
by moisture rising
from the moving water

When I dream of you it’s

When I dream of you it’s
a remembering, with changes
for the better, more grace,
your face made sweeter
divested of anger, your nature
improved by a softer touch,
a flower here and there
a charming vista
you have a better view through
my thought than your own, now
you’re a sweetheart with
softer edges and a future

Unlucky hope holds back the

Unlucky hope holds back the
future, stuck in the mind
of it. Hope precludes knowing
all can go wrong and does
when hope’s the basis. Sad
old hoper caught again.

these premises have

these premises have
been vacated showed
in her eyes
her eyes
were all that
had once been here
and now was not

sweet girls in summer dresses

sweet girls in summer dresses
skin browned by sun
hope that is an idea is fading
this drying wind blows
so softly it is not noticed
takes summer with it
all the bloom off those sweet plans

moral and ethical vigor

moral and ethical vigor
becomes a boxful of outdated ideas
each time history
changes the subject

I never relished

I never relished
hearing sad stories
meant to wring the heart
I always hoped for
sweet salvation to
save the day, the year,
my life, from sorrow

in this latest morning

in this latest morning
as it arrives,
only thought
will see me through,
poor muddle of a mind
where have you gone
and will you please
come home now

soothe the pain in your

soothe the pain in your
strangely constituted heart

values ethics and
attitudes

enough to change the subject

my uncle who flew kites from the nearby hill,

my uncle who flew kites from the nearby hill,
who flew kites on lightweight nylon rope for cord,
a harness around his body, and he leaned back
to shift the ballast against today’s wind,
my uncle who flew kites from a harness
fastened around his body and was pulled
in rhythms with the wind that blew, my uncle
who flew kites has gone to heaven now

She bought tight clothes

She bought tight clothes
and fruit for the
table, filled the room
with expectations
based on what
he said he liked.
But he was wrong.
He didn’t like it
at all. He left
her there, at home
in his error.

the morning mist is almost gone

the morning mist is almost gone
the dewy grass is drying
the hopes are withered in the sedge
the latest world is dying

Without fear I imagine you

Without fear I imagine you
here, a villain back of the door,
a lack of grace in your face,
a dream in your eyes of loss
and pain, as once again
you try to realize
dreams of murder, and fail.

what can I bring you to show I care,

what can I bring you to show I care,
what can I fill my hands with,
what can I pass from my life
to yours, what can I bring you
in these empty hands

persons of this

persons of this
place will say words
I know by heart, but
never heard and
won’t until they say
them. words that will
echo in my grave
if they are not
said here and now

the telephone rings once

the telephone rings once
but no one’s there,
evoking all the voices
I might have heard

The poles it all suspends between

The poles it all suspends between
A wash line with diversity
someone else’s history
as we pass, looking through the
window of our ongoing plan

Struggle is the story of humankind.

Struggle is the story of humankind.
Flesh laid into the metal mouth
of time that chews and chews.

remember, memory is

remember, memory is
imagination, so, keep
it in mind that you’re
making it up and
changing it as you go

My miseries and my joys

My miseries and my joys
have ever been eaten at
by daily life.
And here I am, as I have
always been,
living in this day’s needs,
in this moment’s crack-the-whip.

kick the old man who sits

kick the old man who sits
at the side of the road
pretending to receive wisdom,
talk your way through
the latest old-fashioned
avant-garde tedium,
refuse the poets yelling
their this year’s product,
learn to recognize
bosses and salesmen

in the dark of the night

in the dark of the night
alone in my bed, afloat
in the history I resist

I never thought to be

I 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

gutless figures

gutless figures
wooden legs
open holes
in faces
uninformed speech
formless minds
parroting
and when
they’re ignored, the
hurt feelings,
they wanted
so to be loved for
themselves alone
to be mistaken for real

Any plan makes the next thing

Any plan makes the next thing
you hadn’t intended happen,
becomes the table where food
is meat with a heartbeat.
Something you had thought to eat
and walk away from becomes
a lump of disgust in your
throat, thought turned
monstrous, shifting in and out
of its own history. Meanwhile
it’s later, you’ve got a bus
to catch, a job to get to,
a list of what to do
today, and breakfast won’t
lie there and let you eat it.

flying in the world’s worst plane

flying in the world’s worst plane
the food is bad the pilot’s voice
incomprehensible, crackling like
coded messages while we move in
air made turbulent by ineptitudes
this plane would fly smoother
if it were newer and larger and
we would feel better if the seats
were softer the colors other
than orange and wine if the aisles
were wider the captain’s voice not so
dominant despoiling the air finally
we must focus on the place where
we mean to arrive where we will
walk out of this into an achieved plan

hey diddle diddle a guy

hey diddle diddle a guy
on a fiddle a scam
in his pocket
a lie in his eye

lamented history

lamented history
stains the face with
past mistake and stays
to live a public life

Nightmare carries

Nightmare carries
me everywhere
I hadn’t
thought to go.

the rage of the prophet became excessive

the rage of the prophet became excessive
there was nowhere else to go than the
street, the city block, the whole
wide world, wide world, wide world,
himself in it like a speck, raging

sum it up,

sum it up,
what have you got,

this time

seeing how his life

seeing how his life
was lived by all around him
himself a shape where they
were not, a shape he
once had been

The waiting paid off, the girl’s

The waiting paid off, the girl’s
excited voice rings sharp from the
phone, a long shot, look at us,
we’ll be rolling in it, and he
hears a knock at the door, the phone
in his hand he hears
the sharp rap of authority

the “arts” described into being

the “arts” described into being
continue to be, paid for by eyes
in heads, tongues in mouths, ears
in noggins, hands at the end
of wrists and the smell of
vanished sweet perfume

We want the cake intact,

We want the cake intact,
our own name emblazoned
on it in stuff sweet enough
to eat and when that one’s
gone there’s another
in the cupboard on a shelf

Call that shelf your future hopes
keep it stacked with what looks like
you may want it someday then
that day comes and there it is
or a blank space shows
lack of thought in years gone by

It’s not a defense for today’s
lacks that you never thought
of future needs back there
when life spilled in such largesse
you thought it would stay that way
you never thought of yourself
thin and needy with the shelves
all bare and no love knocking at the door

The rush of goods stops
you’re left with what
washed up onto the shelves
looking through random assortment
to see whether there’s enough
to call it a life

you’ve got to cut the

you’ve got to cut the
losses you haven’t
had yet but will if
you’re not careful, whoops,
too late
now start again

It’s so precious

It’s so precious
It stands for life
Over there
On a rock
And we watch it

a sausage case, stuffed and walking,

a sausage case, stuffed and walking,
the age of reason on its mind,
a fatty that won’t stop eating,
thinking of Tom Paine, Now there
was a thinker, how do you get
to know what’s-what like that guy did,
and when’s breakfast

any night now I’ll

any night now I’ll
go to sleep
quite casually and
dream of you
and how will you be
then in that place
of my darkened heart

Days go by without more between us than

Days go by without more between us than
pass the salt and we decide to go to
this therapist. After a few weeks what’s
really happening is nothing is happening.
I say that therapist is a useless
twerp and she thinks so too. We both agree
that the therapist misses the important
stuff, never gets to the important stuff.
So we get more and more disgusted. We’re
paying him all this money and we just
sit in his office like lumps, and come out
of there real relieved to get away. Then
we talk about what he didn’t get this
time, how he fumbled it this time. We want
to stop going but what would we have to
talk about, he’s what we have in common.

five past eight on a thursday morning,

five past eight on a thursday morning,
newspaper in the driveway, flowers
in the yard, weeds to be pulled
and a dozen plans made by others
to include my time and being,
bed grows lumps and hollows,
things to do, I rise, as we all do,
to a morning caught in a web

He wants

He wants
what he knows,
and seeks it
constantly.
Is not
surprised when
once again
it appears.
For years now
it has been
the same.
He calls it
a quest,
that he
never rests
in looking
for what
will not
surprise him
when it’s found.

I can’t remember now

I can’t remember now
what youthful thing it was
I did to point me toward
this place where all my joy
and sorrow sits in a
box with a lid on it.

In a back room

In a back room
on a pallet
on a wooden floor
a girl has a baby
that will live
to be a headline in
all the newspapers
twenty years from now

the place is small but

the place is small but
we are still too few
to fill it, the place
is small but we are
not yet enough to need
a larger, the place is
a close fit and rubs
our shoulders, squeezes
our thighs, closes
down our minds, and
we are not enough
to think of more

tepid soup and

tepid soup and
a slab of cod
reminded him
that life was seldom
what one hoped

Sitting on the

Sitting on the
front stoop told you
who was what. You
had to sit on
the stoop where you
belonged. Only
the hot guys got
to sit at the
top and the dumb
kids sat at the
bottom. All the
fighting went on
in the middle.
I knew where I
fit in on the
stoop. I sat higher
and higher as I
got sharper. I
miss it. I haven’t
known where I am
since I left there.

no more living

no more living
lives we’ve read
in books by people
who are dead

I’ll go again some day soon

I’ll go again some day soon
to a dirt road flat on the
ground it’s cut from,
to a smell of ditch water
freshening the air with green,
to peace of mind

I don’t have anything

I don’t have anything
to say but thought
I’d call anyway.
How are you? Has your
life got straight, your
health, your love, your
plans for your future
which has gone by now,
did they work?

Foolishness speaks,

Foolishness speaks,
of desperate courage
that will not let go
When it’s hopeless
walk away, live to
hope another day

dead image, a lie, meant to lie

dead image, a lie, meant to lie
hangs in the air and we make room for it,
smear it on our faces, infest the world
with our selves, improved

carried into progressive

carried into progressive
generations, everything
that mattered from
the first, now the values
show as extricable and
here come the collectors

for years the cards

for years the cards
predicted ruin,
implied a future
no one could
want for one’s own,
and yet, if it’s
all there is,
then here it comes

himself here

himself here
and now where he
meant to be otherwise

as he had always
meant to be otherwise

meaning to be otherwise
had come to be
expected of him

Dream a little dream,

Dream a little dream,
call it yours
you’re in it,
but say you dream it,
as if you
carry water to the well.

I think to myself

I think to myself
“I’m thinking out loud,
in words, addressed to
no one” and I answer,
“That’s quite true.”

in an airplane high above us

in an airplane high above us
someone is vomiting in a tiny
cubicle, the thought of landing
is so severe, there is only
one place to go, only below
is the option, only the world

Just when it looked all over

Just when it looked all over
another breeze
blew through, another sun
shone out,
another tree moved
in the soft air,
leaves trembling

my thought is

my thought is
nowhere to be
seen and here I
am again
pretending

One thought

One thought
in one head,
one word,
the pivot
for all that followed.
Years after, we
wonder how we came
to this place,
in this guise,
to have these people
and this place
for our history.

something sweet and tender

something sweet and tender
a mended past and a
blooming future

with a short poem

with a short poem
by the time you’re
thinking you don’t
like it it’s over

when thought does not guard the gate

when thought does not guard the gate
what joy occurs, when thought loses
its grip, when mindless and random
wins the toss and thought is shoved
out of doors, shrinks, while
unruly gains the day,
then what joy pertains

the mind lets

the mind lets
thinkers win
in the mind