with, without, within

who is this man who wishes for a gun in every stranger’s pocket
but winces and cowers,
his eyes gone shriekful and
stance slumped
at the mere thought of greeting
a stranger without a house?

Wise Woman

I journeyed there with notebook,
pencilcase, and tape recorder,
and brought a slice of the rhubarb pie
my mother prepared just for her –
and I asked, ma’am, how might I
live a good life –
and she said:
“Always use a bottle brush when washing your glassware,
and everything else,
you’ll suss out on your own.”

The Day That Is Worth Living For

Could be tomorrow, or the day after,
or a year out, or perhaps months ago,
but there will be one, at least,
a hundred for some,
thousands for others –
a handful for me, I hope –
there will be days that stick in the mind
like a new and well-loved flavor,
coloring the enveloping weeks,
days where the dull seems sharp again –
has the sky always been so blue?
has the weather always been so fine?
was all on this world made for me,
and made with love?

The Invention Of Magic

This is living fantasy;
seeds that grow to trees and
fierce cats that consume flesh and
draw power from it;
this is all just magic,
some ensorcelled fire hanging low in the sky
burning the sight from any who let their looks linger;
how can this be real,
beasts of steel roaming their ritual paths
afraid to veer onto natural earth
for the simple mud is their deadliest enemy;
and all of it, all of it,
on a single drifting dot
in a hazy piece of pointillism.

Who Are We To The Future

No individual legacies here,
just the sum – what notable trait
possess our moment of lineage?
the poxes we’ve survived?
the nothings we’ve invented,
bringing old ideas back and
failing them yet again?
are we not the descent of
a dark age;
the bringers of our own catastrophe,
will they not remark how the many recoiled
at the whims of few,
and were dragged, screaming,
to drown?
will they not wonder why,
out of the abundance of slaves,
few broke their manacles
and strangled their masters?

One Day Older

I don’t know what body matches this name,
nor face, nor have any feeling
(real or imagined)
of the fundament of them;
I am unaware of their feuds,
their frenzies, their history,
I do not know them –
neither do you, though you pretend –
nor do I grasp where they emerged,
and how they gathered such support,
yet I find myself staring, blankly,
at once bereft of curiosity –
I have need for many useless trivia
and yet this is not among them,
I do not know this famous face,
although perhaps someday I will.

The Lion As A Scientist

Which lion, where, and when,
found a man within its den
and stopped before him, and with a leer
found that he was absent fear
and paced a study of the subject,
saw pulsing veins within the neck
surmised an angle of attack
and cautiously, let the man go back –
which lion, in what far year
first saw and slew a lonesome deer –
and sunk his jaws through a brittle spine
and passed this knowledge through all of time

Perhaps You Should Just Sit

This is not the day for great action,
this is not the day for tedium –
now is the moment of least urgency,
all needs are met, all tasks are done,
let us not hurry to invent new ploys,
nor grasp for the plows of the future –
this moment is unalloyed,
still, shining, precious,
enjoy it as it is
and speak no more.

The Private Newspaper

Here it is, fresh from the press,
one edition, a solitary print,
the major headline is for me to know
and every lede is exhumed and
stretched out like a tanning hide –
I will ask,
“did you see the paper?”
“no, of course not,”
because it has served its purpose,
spread no gossip and revealed many truths –
I should like to make another some day,
some day,
when there is something new to examine.