Sonnet XI

The house falls down. There’s nothing to be done
about that. She reclaims the things they stole.
Studs rot. Drywall crumbles. Her fingers run
up walls to grasp, down foundations to hold.
Whole continents move. Even those whose bone
lies calcic in its unmarked, homemade tomb
are ground under. Part limestone or part loam,
all lost. Yet vacant bellies hold a womb
whose children are a million years apart.
Gills or no they swim to fill the sea
with grandchildren. They casually discard
that parent who they curse as absentee.
Beside her deathbed they erect a town,
but she’ll outlive them all to tear it down.

The Wine Of Now

So many words
How could you have said anything
We have
left off paying in volume

Then sit in silence
As worship
this is among
As fealty
this is also

The moment of bread
The wine of now

The gifts
intentionally confusing
of who
for who

Are those strings
full of electric words buzzing
We have
left off singing in volume

Butterflied

The body
injected with plastic
cracked open and
vaguely obscene
organs arranged
some of them even
butterflied

This is the kidney
you need just one
but you have two

It occurs to me that
if you take slices
close enough everything
resembles everything else

But if you take a slice
here and a slice there
everything is different
and you might ask

How can these things
fit together?

Which is an honest question
and the honest answer is
there’s a lot of same old same old
until everything has changed
and you just didn’t notice it
because you think about it
too much you think about it
all the time you think about it
and it makes you think about it
deeply think about it
madly think about it

My Liking Precedes Me

Among the somethings never
before said, this.
It wasn’t difficult to write,
except that it’s balanced
finely on two decades
of effort,

a culmination.
It provokes at the same time
pride and envy.
I have done this,
though not to my liking.

My liking precedes me,
a small dark smudge of feathers
whose words are mine but not mine.
I chase it as it narrates the future
and mocks the past.

You should be anyone other than yourself,
it says.

Among the few things never
before admitted, that.
It was difficult to write,
balanced finely on two decades
of failure.

Senseless Beast

The sea turtle mounts the beach
and the cycle continues.
The senseless beast who knows nothing
but to return once a year
to this place and no other.
We who look on are able
to nudge driftwood aside,
allowing a few more children
to make it.

A desert monument loses its features
and the cycle continues.
The senseless beast carves another
a kilometer away.
This one will endure, though it
is the same stone.
To we who look on this seems
different somehow,
though it is not different.

Inflationary

One of the risks of living in an inflationary universe
is a growing collection of strangers
who like nebulae drifting apart
only weakly interact.

I imagine there might be a universe
in which accretion happens naturally
and all the things and people
gather in the same place.

It might collapse into a singularity,
sure, but at least it wouldn’t be
the cable guy laying wire down
as if that’s enough.

North

The glaciers retreat.
Skeletons beneath, ground to dust bloom.
The impossible seed, the mosses
who wouldn’t die
bloom.

A word echoes in the calving frenzy.
The sounds we know,
if not the cadence.
If we could understand,
what would we know?

Those who spoke died, and those who listened.
From their bubbling organs
a new and better tune:
A mist that rises and
continues to rise.

We who listen will die.
The palm trees marching north will
swallow our bodies.

For now, I stand on the corner of this and that,
listening.
I hear everything and know nothing,
or I hear nothing and still I know nothing.
I am a short spool run out of thread
too soon.

The Lamb

The dazzling lamb–
who has the right to look upon
its roots?

Even its shade as the sun:
We tear away our second skins,
we peel them back to reveal
the bloodied underbelly.

The water clogged with
our viscera– now-skeletal
we present ourselves
to the book,

the word. You must have even
new bones, its says,

and the pain
begins afresh.

minimum wage

we so often forget
it’s hard to move
to ask to move

ladders made
of bootstraps
no-
one can climb

as above
many splendoured emperors
piss
trickles down

save for your retirement
they say

your replacement is a robot
they say

the world isn’t fair
they say

skinless grapes pressed to their lips
half-drunk juice of rubies and emeralds

litter held aloft on
minimum wage