Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ferryman on Upward Mobility

No matter how hard you tried 
Mate, you’re still here

Being taken down a river 
At low tide— 

So put up your obol and shut up, 
Hold your hands over your eyes,

Enjoy the rest of your ride. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Love is More Than a Series of Hackneyed Rhymes and Worn-out Clichés

That is 

Only if you save it,
But not for a rainy day— 

There’s not a cloud 
In the sky— 

You won’t go away. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Morning Constitutional Amendment, Article One

We the people 

How little we understand 
Of what we see— 

(Flash of insight)—as in 
How did that false dawn get past me? 

Time to stop gallivanting 
And look again 

At what we didn’t see.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Away from the Pressure Cooker

Our breakfast nook


outside our kitchen 
and we’re miles away, 
taking our time 

(fast breaking slowly) 

savoring the start 
of one more day. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reading Dynamics

Having run through 
Ten thousand years of history, 

And finding myself 
Myriad pages ahead of where 
I would normally have been, 
I now felt strong enough 
To demolish everything— 

Even that immense blank wall slowly
Building up inside me. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dressed to Kill

From a distance, the well-dressed 
Man approaching was an unknown— 
As he came closer, I couldn’t believe he was 

That shepherd in galoshes I saw 
Each morning hard at work at his stable, 
Up to his knees in mud and manure. 

Holy shit—this man now walking 
The streets looked so unbelievably 
Clean-cut and innocent he looked 

Just like one of us, 
A sheep in wolves’ clothing. 

Doppelgänger Ascendent

So far, so good but 
There's one thing I have to tell you 
Before I leave the summit— 

You’re going down with me. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trying to Find the Right Word


In the bureau of the abandoned, 
Stark is not the word 

For these photographs, 
Stark is never 

Stark enough. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Found Poem: When I Was Twenty-three

—for Elisabeth, whose words I found to be wise beyond age 

Back then, I felt nothing 
Like what the doctor had ordered. 


How perception can change 
Over time, and not so bad 

My younger self, I think now, 
But as I say that’s not how 

I thought then—ugly 
I thought then, sad 

To remember that 
Perception now but better 

Than nothing feeling nothing again. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Damn you, ham 
Actor forever 

Forgetting your cues 
For the last time, 

The world is not your oyster— 
Now, spit it out 

And get off the stage. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stairway to Knowledge aka The Book of Life?

So many, 

Innumerable perhaps, 
But one only 

Steps one at a time,
And that’s not open 

For discussion. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Creep on Wall Street

Not an order, officer 
But a crawling 

Subaltern of worm not worthy enough 
To crawl away from, staying 

To face the rot. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monsanto Man on Tractor, 9 AM

Out walking, 

Smelling something faintly 
Evil in the air 

And not knowing exactly where 
It’s coming from, 

We finally come across a man 
At a crossroads somewhere 

Among the myriad olive trees 
And ask him where he’s been 

Spraying since daybreak to find out 
Just where we can proceed safely, 

Only to have him shoot back with a 
No problem, folks. I’ve just finished. 

You can walk anywhere. 

Definitely Not Lemmings #37-40

I suspect the sudden jump(!) in non-lemmings has everything to do with William Michaelian’s response to my recent post regarding his A Listening Thing; I thank him for his gesture and welcome Gabriella Mirollo, Brad and Kiki Thome, a Canadian residing at These Temporal Rooms, and an artist who prefers to remain anonymous—I thank all of you, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

At a Loss for Words

I think that most of us have been--at one time or another (to repeat an oft repeated cliche)--"at a loss for words"--and I think I've been there more often than most of you, although I have no way of knowing if that's true or not, but perhaps that's not what's important right now. I think what's important for me right now is to tell all of you I've been trying to find the right words to describe this amazing book and I'm still at a loss. What now? Will William Michaelian/Stephen Monroe hold that against me? Of course not and I appreciate that fact but I also want them to know that even if I am at a loss for words, I can still find enough to say they have given me a gift that is priceless, and I'm inexpressibly grateful for that.

It's That Time Again


In these all-white courtyards where the south wind blows
Whistling through vaulted arcades, tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That leaps in the light, scattering its fruitful laughter
With windy willfulness and whispering, tell me, is it the mad
   pomegranate tree
That quivers with foliage newly born at dawn
Raising high its colours in a shiver of triumph?

On plains where the naked girls awake,
When they harvest clover with their light brown arms
Roaming round the borders of their dreams-tell me, is it the mad
   pomegranate tree,
Unsuspecting, that puts the lights in their verdant baskets
That floods their names with the singing of birds-tell me
Is it the mad pomegranate tree that combats the cloudy skies of the

On the day that it adorns itself in jealousy with seven kinds of feathers,
Girding the eternal sun with a thousand blinding prisms
Tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That seizes on the run a horse’s mane of a hundred lashes,
Never sad and never grumbling–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That cries out the new hope now dawning?
Tell me, is that the pomegranate tree waving in the distance,
Fluttering a handkerchief of leaves of cool flame,
A sea near birth with a thousand ships and more,
With waves that a thousand times and more set out and go
To unscented shores-tell me, is it the pomegranate tree
That creaks the rigging aloft in the lucid air?

High as can be, with the blue bunch of grapes that flares and celebrates
Arrogant, full of danger–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That shatters with light the demon’s tempest in the middle of the world
That spreads far as can be the saffron ruffle of day
Richly embroider with scattered songs-tell me, is it the mad
  pomegranate tree
That hastily unfastens the silk apparel of day?

In petticoats of April first and cicadas of the feast of mid-August
Tell me, that which plays, that which rages, that which can entice
Shaking out of threats their evil black darkness
Spilling in the sun’s embrace intoxicating birds
Tell me, that which opens its wings on the breast of things
On the breast of our deepest dreams, is that the mad pomegranate tree?

--Odysseus Elytis, translation by Edmund Keeley

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Again and again, this weathered
Barely discernible face

On a blackened cliff.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Matter of Antigravity

Hypothetical absolute
Glittering absence

Of attraction, leading us
To a sobriety

That will not go away.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Something on Your Mind?

Some say running frees the mind from worry—
The more you run, the less you mind.

So run if you must but don’t hurry things—
Soon, too soon you’ll find yourself with nothing

Running through your mind.

NB: Do not misunderstand me--Conrad is a thinking man's runner: One who never runs out of thoughts.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Worry Beads 1, Rat Race 2

Some out-of-the-box thinking
Greek once told me

With each click,
You’ll find one less
Clack to worry about—

So what’s this string
Of boxcars doing still
Racing down the track?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Untitled (2)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

seed pods bur sting

in cemeteries

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

something’s definitely underfoot, silent

little green things are forcing
their way up through

unsuspecting earth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Conceptions of a Too Fertile Mind

American Beauty in the West Wing

After a painstaking search
Of the house and the grounds,

The knife in question was found
Planted in the heart

Of an immaculate rose bed.


gay blade


In the heart of the heart
Of the country,

Whoever has the balls
To sing

The body electric
Is in for a shock.


fodder for the machine

All the way

From the back of the class,
Sent to the front

By an electrifying
Drill instructor—

As in animal prodder.


bedtime story

All the world over, rosy-

Cheeked kids like you
Are being put to sleep;

In the abattoir, pale
Insomniac butchers count

Brainless sheep.

NB:  An old one, but perhaps still relevant.

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