The Chestnut Received

July 20, 2015

What needed to move, a few leaves among the chestnut trees, moved.
–Marcel Proust

Charles Garçon was confounded by the sun.
In summer this gnomon-like man
would sit among the chestnut trees
and watch time move by attending to
the shadows as they crossed lines
which were both too imaginary and
too real to be precise. In winter he
would laugh about those ‘summer fashions’ he
no longer believed in: to go to bed
before the sun had set was an absurd discovery
whose meaning could not be left unsaid;
the torture that was philosophy’s—
the parrot in the hall being a caged being,
the cage of which was made of cheap wire
and expensive noise; the chestnut received.

Garçon, Goodbye

June 28, 2015

A microscopic riot in the rug—
as creatures so hideous they remind us
of dinosaurs beneath the twisted fabric
battle the battle of their lives.
There is intense silence.
Charles Garçon waits on the floor, alone.
Pretend to be nothing, he thinks, not even a song.
Yet the notes he makes are meant to be sung.
And so he sings, cannot help but sing.

He has no voice—no vice, I mean—
but no one cares. He is not good nor well.
But when he sings, his rug becomes a grave.
The monsters all float away.
It seems no one cares, or cares to stay.
The tiny dinosaurs are dead.
It is as if a meteor has hit the earth—again.
A yellow cloud springs from the Yucatan—again.
The earth grows cold—again.

Goodbye Garçon, goodbye.
You were once the apple of my eye.
Charley, I have no more to say to you.
Perhaps I was never sorry.
Perhaps I was never blue.
Garçon, goodbye.


June 22, 2015



May 14, 2015


The World without Poetry

May 11, 2015

Hold this match still. Hold it high.
How light always exceeds itself.
The poetry of this pasture,
despite the smell of tobacco—
indeed—a cigar—a Cuban—
a light that is always ash white—
deceives the eye as well as the nose.
You think it’s night, don’t you?
You think it’s a field of soybeans.

You fool the eye, and, look, you fool no one.

The rain has remade a solemn forest into
a jolly field of microbes that no one still alive
can smell or taste, much less see or hear.
Hence the poem, this poem.
Only it can discern the rain as it redraws reality
in this ultimate darkness. Only it can see
the world without poetry.
How it grows, glows.

Belly Dancer

March 22, 2015

For John Looker

Skin white as chalk, she stands alone.
Her numbness moreover
has left untended what it came to uncover:
the webs of the brain are webs of light.
The moon will rise early this evening.
It will turn celestial and fly across the lake
in a reflection of a reflection.
At least we think it will…
A gifted child of the earth,
it might end its life forever this evening—
this coming summer’s evening—
prurient and tingling,
as though it were only a belly dancer sent
to entertain only us.

The Emperor, Incomplete

November 2, 2014

So he began his journey to the clouds.
On a day for kite flying, he flew his kite.
On a day for whistling wind, he whistled.
His life was to be like an island in a storm-less sea,
Protected by the clay warriors buried in the sand,
He was to live a life of fragile inquiry. .
The Emperor could call out from anywhere
And expect a servant to know the answer to his questions.
How could he know the land would turn to mud?
How could know his eyes must remain in situ?
Snakes and lizards, frogs, mosquitoes, snails—
They were nothing but names to the Emperor right now.
All he wanted was to fly with the thunder clouds,
Among their lightning, their haloes, their hail.

Her Reverence

September 7, 2014

It seems for her, reverence still came down
to little toads alongside little frog ponds
in gardens of toil and tuition.
She stops, screams, inhales.
It is as if a bee has landed on her lips.
A toad jumps, tries to escape, fails.
Likewise, it seems all ideas should be
a pasture of places, not plagued
by ugly wart-toads asking stupid questions.
The bees have trespassed on her world forever;
the frogs have always laid eggs in her mud.
Her reverence is like a snake uncurled.
She could taste the nape of his neck
as she began to pull his skin apart.
So calm, the life of a plant.
So many seeds to scatter.
Her body’s tears resembled a rainbow.
Her reverence was hot inside her, like a bee.

On the Horizon

August 22, 2014

The wave glimmers and waits.
So still, it could be nothing but dry earth.
Or, it could be an ancient statue—

To see through those stone eyes,
a galloping horse over a dry land mass,
a race to fulfil the sunlight’s challenge.

We say, ‘we’—to name the new creature.
We hear its thunder.
It is born. The first wave crashes.


Perhaps but Once

July 25, 2014

Perhaps. But once it had begun
it was as if it were a human voice
as patient and as skilled as any poem
could ask for in its subtle grace and poise—
a warmth, for growth perhaps,
for words so softly spoken, they seemed
content to talk amongst themselves; for a thought
to scratch the soil for mud worms in a drift
of mud that became the lake we dreamt of
when we dreamt of his dreaming eyes, forever clear.
These are his lips, parted and wearing a smile,
perhaps but once, as though in a last consideration,
his mouth left open like a jack-o-lantern
atop a galloping, breathless horse.


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