are friends forever

do they emerge, wholly-formed of clay
and light, do they
spill sunlight from their mouths and
shed tears more precious than diamonds, do
they know who and how they are, do they
know how much will be lost with them,
how much would be paid for them, do
they rise in the morning and
fall in the evening (we can only suspect),
do they last beyond warranty,
through repair, do they
survive earthquakes, the hurling of stones,
do they stay with us, from town to town
and life to life, do they
remember our faces or
do they end up,
abandoned,
in a crinkle-metal junkyard
with all the rest?

when i pass

do not weep for me as i pass
this brain has made ascent to ash
these feet have walked the final hall
and all of me has gone to lull

do not weep for me – who knows,
perhaps something of me still grows
if not here, then somewhere brighter,
lovelier, livelier,
with nights deeper and days lighter,
some place neither far nor near.
and if you weep – i will not hear.

lures

they say all clouds have silver linings,
they’re wrong,
but they say that.
there are fish that live their entire lives in darkness,
monstrous fish,
with heads like the naked steel of tractor engines,
and bodies like the scribblings of children;
and deep in the dark, remote places,
places even mankind cannot ruin,
there are creatures with long, slender lures,
bright-shined and dangling
in front of thin, sharp, teeth.
And certainly some would approach that silver light,
bright and pure,
with no regard for the endless hunger
that supplies it.

malignant motion

and here they are, dozens, hundreds,
thousands of malignant motions,
every day repeating, every day
spreading through the population;
these are the numbers we see too often,
the nonsense riddles,
the lack of reason for a
taut bowstring.
they’re spreading now, now,
faster than ever, until
every ounce of flesh,
every splinter of bone,
is working towards some
purposeless purpose.

the fungibility of outrage

Our fuses have been pruned and shaped
as bonsai branches, grown
short, unnaturally numerous; prodded
with terrifying constancy.

This world produces only matchsticks,
waiting to catch and burn
until you sport another cinder;
everything is aimed at you, or me,
for no purpose but to enrage;
does it matter what you’re enraged about?
or is this rage a seething wave,
separated only by the momentary shape,
then settling, homogeneous,
slaked back by the sea?

field dress

some sounds stay with you,
like the first mention of love,
and unfortunately,
this is one of them –
this sonata of butchery,
the first cut from neck-to-tail,
the hiss of warm innards
round or long or lumpy
spilling onto the snow, steaming,
and the scrape of a buck-knife,
along the hollow of a carcass, the
scratch in the ribcage,
the pooling of blood
and evil odor
where a heart was racing and
a stomach was churning,
only moments ago.
some sounds stay with you,
like the first mention of love,
and some are left behind,
steaming,
staining the snow.

spontaneous mastery

we are obsessed with the instant prodigy;
the child’s fingers gliding the piano with
the surety of industrial machinery.
we are obsessed with the doing-of
and not the learning of;
we see the spontaneous masters and
play our comfortable lie:
if i was born that way –
if i only had the time –
if my parents had pushed me –
that would be me;
the sure mitigation of
motivation, the gloze
of missed glories