Friday, February 24, 2017

I think good poems—if you can call them good—
are written by people who care so deeply
about everything around them that they’re
almost paralyzed. I think those people are like
the proverbial squabs who’ve inadvertently
dined on arsenic-ridden succotash during
ill-advised raids on one or more seaside
picnics featuring one or more picnickers
attempting to do away with one or more
other picnickers via said deadly corn
and lima bean concoction—wherein the fateful
side dish symbolizes “things of the world”
as tempting fare; wherein arsenic stands for
the mesmerizing hold romantic suffering
exerts on the most emotionally vulnerable;
and wherein squabs are sweetheart kids who,
good with words, deft in action, hyperalert,
weirdly vigilant, and desiring to document it all,
inadvertently eat or lick the most apparently
delectable picnic item upon which they
and their fellow young domestic pigeons (poet
friends) have swooped, and oh buddy, they pay
the price in the form of good poems, and
publishable—fine fodder for literary websites.
They pay the price in the form of a life-
changing delusion that everyone’s listening.

• • •

Depth of Field

Thursday, February 23, 2017

She took a close-up shot of all
the blue and purple in the yard,
our old brick house blurry
in the background—posted it—
her friends replied with hearts.

When I explained the growth
was broadleaf weeds she said
she didn’t care. It’s beautiful,
and we should keep as-is.
I said they’re henbit, corn

speedwell, some dandelions
too, and if we don’t treat them
they will obstruct the grass.
She said but they’re so small.
I said but they won’t last,

they bloom just for a minute
as spring is coming on; she asked
what does the yard guy say?
I called him, and he advised
Let the Lord do his thing.

Let the Lord make it green,
he will, that’s how he works,
he does his thing, it all gets
green. We can treat the weeds,
reseed and fertilize, or wait.

I thought hard for us all—
my only hesitation being
I didn’t want the grass to fail.
Then told the yard guy, we will
wait and see what the Lord does.

• • •


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One Way

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One way to find out how beautiful
and ostentatiously decorated
everything is is to wake up at a friend’s

condo somewhere in suburban
Orlando and head out for a day
at Epcot and, on the way, to Google

a much-needed Starbucks pit stop
and then drive off in a slightly
wrong direction and pull over to turn

around in a parking lot and notice
suddenly your car is surrounded
by colorful murals and piles of flowers

and painted signs and sweetness,
really so much beauty and joy and life
that it almost can’t be the shuttered

Pulse—25 minutes from Epcot
and its 49 dining locations, one
for each of June 12, 2016’s dead.

• • •


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

One always does better when
one doesn’t quite know what
one is doing than when
one does and is tired of doing it.

• • •

Your Poetry

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Your poetry, my son, manages the balance
between irreverent and irrelevant
better than any poetry I can recall off the top.

I mean, it’s rock solid one moment (when
you compare today’s mild rain to your mom)
and then it slips into some inside jesting

the way one squid slips into another squid’s ink.
It’s as though you’re already the best
so there’s no sense in besting anyone else

or even in stopping the onslaught of words
just to wonder. Ponder. Wend your way
back on-topic. Your poetry, my son, does all

this and in the space of only a few hundred pages.
It is dandy, irrepressible—a poetics for the ages.
Unbeatable if all but unreadable.

• • •

Learning to See

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I had forgotten to read. Not how to—to.
It was a time of deep personal vexation
was what I told myself. I checked my phone.
Typed madly at my laptop. I’d
forgotten to listen, not completely
but deeply—to my children, friends, ex-wife.
Her friends, my pastor, our neighbors.

I couldn’t hear anything, and now I’m learning
to read and to hear again, and to that end
I did Walgreens’ buy-one-get-one reading glasses
deal. Somehow during those fast years
I’d also forgotten how to see. Not totally
but up close, and that’s just what I need now—
to learn to be close again and know what’s there.

• • •

Same Boat

Monday, February 13, 2017

I’ve been running around like—well
not a chicken, but a person
with its head cut off.

Twitching on the ground, that is.
I’d spent Sunday listening to Janáček
and drinking Molotov

cocktails at a park that overlooks
an empty river that runs through
the village near the croft

I now call home. Full of leaves it was
and sparse—raspy, hoarse, I mean.
Then I trod softly home,

and today has been a significant b.
just in terms of neurons
popping and snapping

as I lie here prone under cold
and cloudless skies. What is
the meaning of life?

I have no clue. I made mistakes
yesterday I can’t revise/undo—
nor, it seems, can you.

• • •


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Das Ewig-Weibliche
Zieht uns hinan.

• • •


Saturday, February 11, 2017

I rode my bike tonight
the length of Wake
from river’s edge
to Corbin Street
under the moon,
and my heart ached
for time gone by,
sweetness forsaken.

• • •