Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Entangled in the impassable

forest, I turn dejectedly,
only to find the way out
too obscure for me to discern.
With resignation and
quiet foreboding, I try to
clear a new path, and
for my trouble I am engulfed
in a sea of sticky grass
that rises above my head;
the land is intent on
drowning me.
I thrash and grapple with
the tangled mass
as the hot sun glares at me,
draining my sweat and my strength.
I finally break through
and find myself in a land
not my own,
and in my relief
at being anywhere
that I can catch my breath,
I no longer
bother to notice
that I am bereft of

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I find its lack

of scar tissue
startling and unsettling.
It has no instructions,
and its uses are unclear
to me, although I've heard
whispered intimations
that it might fit comfortably
under the stairs.
It's right in front of me
but its visage is
too strange and
too preposterously
for me to grasp.
It's set off my
alarm bells,
because any day now,
I just know
the damned thing
is gonna blow up
in my face.

The tangled limbs

were matched by voices
frayed from mad,
straining assertion.
No silken words
could stem the tide of
now well advanced,
and the insipid pleas
of the well-meaning
buffoon wringing his
beautifully smooth hands
from a safe distance
were lost in the
happy uproar of
righteous murder.

Monday, April 28, 2008

He shifted uneasily

in his chair as the
young one,
still foreshadowing
looked at him with eyes
that conveyed accusation
and betrayal.
"You didn't tell me
how hard it would be."
You wouldn't have understood.
You were more interested
in nap time and learning to walk.
"But couldn't you have made me
It was enough
just to civilize you.
"But there was no hint of
the suffering out there."
You weren't ready to know it.
"But you knew I'd find out."
We tried to delay that part as long
as we could.
"So why did you bring me here?"
Because we needed you so much --
we just didn't know it
until we met you.
And the boy-man
without understanding,
and secretly wished his
father would embrace him.

Friday, April 25, 2008

His manly cape

fluttered in the hot wind,
his compelling shirt
clung to his
heroic physique
as if it were greasepaint,
his tights proclaimed
and the sheer magnificence
of his shoes
would have awed
all spectators
(had there been any).
And as he boldly strode toward
the searing, popping, steaming
lava field,
he almost felt sorry for
the poor son of a bitch
it was belching out of.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It spat out

remnants of gore
from its voracious mouth,
its lungs greedily sucking in
the night air as it stood on
the trembling mountain.
It looked with hate-soaked eyes
in every direction,
seeking signs of
threat and blood.
Seething and panting
in its bottomless fury,
it tore the cowering, shrieking
off of one final hapless "opponent".
It clambered up the final
dark pathway to the summit,
and standing on it in contempt,
it howled its victory
to the mutilated valley below,
the absurd days
of sapiens weakness
now happily forgotten.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Haikus (Go)

I drift without aim;
confused impulses take arms;
I amuse myself.

Old ties rekindled,
I revel in happy times.
Memory is kind.

Restless spirits walk;
I look at them absently.
Their faces are mine.

"All right,"

he said with a weary sigh,
already aware of what the
tiresome mob in front of him
was going to moan to him about.
"what is it this time?"
A spokeswoman, braver than
the rest, edged forward
in jittery hesitation.
"Could you just give us
a hint,
a sign,
a clue,
anything at all,
even an albatross
(if need be)
to let us know
what you had
in mind?"
He laughed at her
earnest gestures,
and then said
in casual irritation,
"How the hell
would I know?"

Monday, April 21, 2008

He stands transfixed,

letting the tropical full moon
bathe him in its viscous light,
listening to a world at rest
and asking himself
what grand culmination,
what great project,
what ultimate contribution
will be the denouement
of an uncertain life?
The trivial question falls
to the ground unnoticed
and unmourned,
as he watches the nocturne
in silence.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The madhouse reverberated

to the sounds of the frenzied,
terror stricken
wandering about it in directionless
pointing with wide-eyed
to the grotesque cartoon figures
leering at them from every shadowed
And as the inmates
shrieked in comic-book
they never
noticed the sky
outside their
cringing in fear
as fiery, howling
death pierced it,
in anticipation.

It sneaked up on me.

Just when I thought I had it
hidden under enough protective
layers of leathered, worldly armor,
enough coats of frost-bitten cynicism,
and a strong
enough facade of masculine detachment,
it assailed me
and the creaking buttresses
that hold up my fragile interior
collapsed under the merciless
assault of the song Always.
And there it was, the tender
surge of warm, salty feeling,
and the involuntary welling up
of my eyes, because she was
sitting next to me, and I wanted her
to know that what she was hearing
was really coming
from me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I wish I could tell

how much of my fiery
was really the product
of seeing
the bones of the
helpless being
crushed in smirking
and how much was
simply the outcome
of neurons
gone berserk,
and the useless
frustration of
not being able to
the tired demons
that even now still
sit on my shoulder,
yawning as they stab me
bored, practiced,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The obedient one reported,

"All the punchlines have been
All the loose ends have been
tied up.
All the goal posts have been torn
All the smiles are now umbrellas.
All mountains are now
All dogs have had their day.
All souffles have risen.
And all the darnedest
things have happened."
He then held his breath, hoping
it was enough.
The Chairman replied,
"OK, but has everyone kissed and made
Crestfallen, the little man whispered,
"No, I'm still working on that."
And he slouched off
with slumped shoulders
and a tired heart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We are the sum

of what we once were,
the product of selves
we never fully knew,
a swirling,
continuously evolving
concatenation of
moments strung
together through
the shadowlands
of experience.
The days elude us,
until we look back
at what we thought
was happiness,
and wonder how it
that we didn't

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

They are no longer

at the bright, glowing center
of creation.
They were once
the definition
of reality itself;
now they are a footnote
in an unread book.
They will not be noted
for their glory-besotted
Their mundane concerns
will dissipate in the dull
unwinding of the clock.
Their imaginings and
deepest expressions
would be of no interest
to any mind from a world
beyond theirs.
Their single atom of a home
is no longer under the
eye of One who cares only
for them.
Their real claim to greatness
is that they're made out of
the same five-and-dime
stuff everything else is,
and they know it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Their boundaries aren't perfectly defined

like the picture of an exotic
marketplace in
National Geographic;
they're more like
a moving sketch
where the lines
in suggestions of
raw action
and loosely-defined
arcs of movement.
And as they judder
through spacetime
they usually veer
closer to Pollock
than Primavera.

No truly great

love affair ends with a simple
but eloquent letter.
It doesn't wind down over
a quiet dinner or end in an
explosion of angry, mutually
immolating passion.
It ends at someone's bedside,
with the other one looking on
in anguished helplessness,
finding whatever solace they
in the calm harbors of
or the idealized
hopes of eternity.
Or it ends in the
news that leaves
someone shell-shocked,
feeling as if they
themselves had been
torn out of the book
of life, and contemplating
the Grand Canyon of
that has suddenly opened up
at their feet.
And however hard the
parting is,
the true lovers
wouldn't have it any
other way.
They know how the story
of their intertwined love
must end.
But the quiet exaltation
they have found in the
celebration of their lives
makes them willing
to hold each other's
until one of them
can no longer
at least in this world.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The woman over there

by the cafe
is being eaten alive
over the expense report
she faked.
The married man
walking past you
there is lashing himself
for thinking about his
old girlfriend in that way.
The woman by the news stand
just had a twinge about the time
in high school she lied to her parents.
And that guy whistling to himself
as he walks across the street
killed someone in '92 and the
cops never found out.
He's cool with it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The chains

intersect everywhere,
bouncing off each other
at oblique angles,
changing the direction
of other chain conga lines,
causing collisions
that give birth to
multitudes of other
chains, all sweeping
through spacetime
with blind, omnipotent
passing through
unwitting recipients
who juggle them
artlessly and then
kick them forward
with unthinking
blindly creating
the future.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

When you're a male

it begins to stir in you
before you know what's
The ones you always
become the ones you
want to be near
whenever you can,
even though you make a
fool of yourself more often
than you admit.
Wild, hopeless, delusional
rips through your
You spring to attention
even in public times,
when the consequences can be fatal.
If your line of BS is good enough
you begin to live your dreams
in high school;
others simmer in frustrated
onanistic loneliness.
Unbargained for consequences
arrive with jarring suddenness.
By the time you're 18,
the ancient genes inside
you are DEMANDING,
INSISTING, that you
about reproducing them.
(And they kick you where
it hurts every single day.)
You find that competitors
roam the plains, stalking the
prey, ready to smash you down
in the hot pursuit.
(And even the closest buddy
can trample you without warning.)
You're at the top of your
game, but often without
a player on the other team.
You erupt in rivers; no wall
is safe.
Your lovers can't believe
that you want another one.
And then, through the decades
you find yourself
being given a less prominent
role in the game. You're
spending more time on the bench.
You search for something
beyond just destroying the bed,
as you try to imagine what it's like
in their head, and as the world demands
your attention to a wall with
a hundred different windows.
Hard lessons are absorbed;
younger men now carry the
action to its heights.
And then, finally, nature or life
or God or the Universe or whatever
starts pushing you off the field, as
your usefulness in continuing
the race shrivels to nothing, in more
ways than one.
And at the end, it's not pushing you,
it's kicking you with muleish hammer
blows, shouting,
"Get out, get out, get out! You had your
shot. Now clear the way!"
But memories persist
longer than one might think,
and maybe a few of them raise a smile,
if nothing else.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The happy savages

stood there on the
moonless night,
stripped naked to the waist,
roaring with sanguinary
in the ghostly light of the
mustard-gas yellow
held over their heads
by merciless arms.
They laughed at the prospect
of seeing their enemies'
faces being melted;
they longed for the
sweet stench of the
opposing army's corpses.
Once again
Hadar's cleverest
prepared to celebrate
a festive occasion.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I used to hope

that there would be a day,
some day
in the indefinable future,
when everything would be
explained, and the whole
tapestry would be
unwoven, the paths of
its interlacing
and interconnected
strands revealed in
all the simplicity that
only looked complex
to my unaccustomed eyes.
Every secret would be
every private mystery
would be resolved,
every wound would be
everyone would be whole,
and everything would
make sense.
I now hope
that we can figure out
a way for us to get
the yard in shape
before we get too old
to take care of it

Monday, April 7, 2008

"It could be worse for you",

he said. "Why, there are
stick children in Africa
being inspected
by vultures, as if they
were lobsters in a
seafood restaurant
There are people
praying to be released
from the agony of their last
withered hours.
Right now, two parents
are holding their lifeless
ragdoll daughter,
and there is an old man
forgotten and rotting
in a sunless corner of
an infested nursing home.

Cheer up."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It unfolds around us

in a sinuous way,
washing through our
heads in a wave of
rapidly erupting,
rapidly extinguished
flickers of energy,
its contours glimpsed
for an agonizing moment
and then, with impish
pulled away from our
helpless view,
leaving us bereft
and entranced
in the same

Saturday, April 5, 2008

He looks at himself

looking at himself
and he tries to step
outside of
the infinity of mirrors
but the door is locked
and his image just keeps
in an endless
row, no matter
how bizarre a face
or rude a gesture
he makes,
and he shuts his eyes
and tries to take
a furtive peek
but the mirror is never
not even for a microsecond,
and there's no way
to look behind it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

He looks so doggone nice

doesn't he?
Why, he just
radiates waves of
sweet, down-home,
biscuits 'n' gravy love.
Only his diary knows
that his fondest wish
is to see the entire world
holding hands
in the sweet
of universal
rigor mortis.
He could finally
relax then.
It would finally stop
following him.
And he wouldn't have
to sing himself
to sleep
any more.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Everything returned one day.

No one had ever seen the like of it.
Skate keys from 1938 showed up,
all shiny and ready for fun.
That jacket the blonde headed guy
left in the theater was there, and it had been
dry cleaned and everything.
Armies of proud washing machines
rolled down the street
cheered by excited throngs,
ready for happy and productive
All the murder weapons came
back, too, serial numbers fully
legible again.
And people who hadn't been seen
for a while
made unexpected visits
at unexpected hours.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

They are unseen

but omnipresent.
They are silent,
yet their words are
heard constantly.
They are ignored
but they run
the world.
They have disappeared
but their hands
still hold the reigns.
No one knows their names
but the future is theirs.
They are dead
yet they will outlive
us all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

For some of them

it will never be over,
at least not until the
final bridge has been crossed.
They will always live
in that steel day,
always see the beloved friend
turned into a spray
of raw hamburger,
always know the
ghastly exhilaration
of running through mad storms of
whistling death,
always hold the buddy from
boot camp as he breathes his last.
No day that followed
has ever meant as much to these
men, and never having been there,
I cannot know what that
particular screwdriver driven into
the brain feels like.
But I will always respect the
boundaries of the darkened room
where those memories reside,
and I will never casually urge
other men to find out
where the door to their own room