Today’s Date

Sometimes life is good to me,
showing up on my porch in a tuxedo
with a bouquet of fresh flowers and a sheepish grin
as if to say I’m sorry about the time I pushed you
and skinned your knees and how I broke
all my promises and forgot
to call you yesterday –
but I love you, we’re really beautiful together.
Forgive me?

And I can – this time,
every time,
I forgive life for its abuse and neglect

and when it throws stones at my window,
calling my name in some shitty
romantic gesture

I still put on my best dress
and let it take me
to the dance.

Jouissance

Seek to be full of the moment,
to be full in the moment,
to take the moment and pocket it
like a thief getting away with something.

You are enjoying this too much,
the birds seem to say.
Their songs are not for you
but listen anyway.

Woolf called this a
“moment of being”

so seek, now, to be more
than you have ever
been

and to ignore the chime
of the hours when they
come for you –

tell them no, thank you,
you are listening to the
birds today

like a child with her ear
against her parents’ door,
straining to hear something
secret and terribly
important.

Cinquain Chain: Link #36

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains at a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should not be thought, or so
we think

We think
we know what our
eyes are doing when our
ears are listening to the soft
tick, tick

tick, tick
of the bones as
they settle and soften
in their assigned places in the
mirror

mirror
yourself in the
same place Sylvia saw
terrible fish – grasp what you can
before

before
it leaves your hands
the way all wild things must.
Let it go before it gasps and
goes limp

goes limp,
slips through your last
frightened fingers into
the gas, into the last space left
to them

to them
that see the world
for what it is. They see
into the dark corners that we
do not

Do not
go wandering
or wondering where they
make their homes – those are unholy
waters

waters
where reflections
are more real than the
faces that cast them and move with
free will

free will
not be easy
and easy will never be
simple and the hardest things are
never

never
land is a far
away place where nothing
ever happens, no one dies and
we’re bored

we’re bored
of the same old
hero with his thousand
faces and nothing new to say
to us

to us
who take off our
rings, put on our mother’s
fur coat, pour ourselves a vodka
and sleep

the sleep
of the damned and
we’re all damned, aren’t we?
We’re all going to sleep. Some choose
not to.

Knot 2:
some don’t have a
choice. Some don’t have a chance.
None can choose to choose or not to.
We lie.

We lie
on beds of our
own making, knitting and
knotting the threads with arthritis
fingers

fingers
that yesterday
moved with conviction now
tremble to pull this thin string taut,
shaking

shaking
the earth beneath
us, angering the gods.
The Fates cannot trust us with their
scissors

scissors
we will abuse
like children who cut their
own hair and run forth with death in
their hands.

Cinquain Chain: Links #33, #34, and #35

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains at a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should not be thought, or so
we think

We think
we know what our
eyes are doing when our
ears are listening to the soft
tick, tick

tick, tick
of the bones as
they settle and soften
in their assigned places in the
mirror

mirror
yourself in the
same place Sylvia saw
terrible fish – grasp what you can
before

before
it leaves your hands
the way all wild things must.
Let it go before it gasps and
goes limp

goes limp,
slips through your last
frightened fingers into
the gas, into the last space left
to them

to them
that see the world
for what it is. They see
into the dark corners that we
do not

Do not
go wandering
or wondering where they
make their homes – those are unholy
waters

waters
where reflections
are more real than the
faces that cast them and move with
free will

free will
not be easy
and easy will never be
simple and the hardest things are
never

never
land is a far
away place where nothing
ever happens, no one dies and
we’re bored

we’re bored
of the same old
hero with his thousand
faces and nothing new to say
to us

to us
who take off our
rings, put on our mother’s
fur coat, pour ourselves a vodka
and sleep

the sleep
of the damned and
we’re all damned, aren’t we?
We’re all going to sleep. Some choose
not to.

Knot 2:
some don’t have a
choice. Some don’t have a chance.
None can choose to choose or not to.
We lie.

We lie
on beds of our
own making, knitting and
knotting the threads with arthritis
fingers

fingers
that yesterday
moved with conviction now
tremble to pull this thin string taut,
shaking

shaking
the earth beneath
us, angering the gods.
The Fates cannot trust us with their
scissors

Cinquain Chain: Link #29

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains at a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should not be thought, or so
we think

We think
we know what our
eyes are doing when our
ears are listening to the soft
tick, tick

tick, tick
of the bones as
they settle and soften
in their assigned places in the
mirror

mirror
yourself in the
same place Sylvia saw
terrible fish – grasp what you can
before

before
it leaves your hands
the way all wild things must.
Let it go before it gasps and
goes limp

goes limp,
slips through your last
frightened fingers into
the gas, into the last space left
to them

to them
that see the world
for what it is. They see
into the dark corners that we
do not.

Do not
go wandering
or wondering where they
make their homes – those are unholy
waters

waters
where reflections
are more real than the
faces that cast them and move with
free will

free will
not be easy
and easy will never be
simple and the hardest things are
never

never
land is a far
away place where nothing
ever happens, no one dies and
we’re bored

we’re bored
of the same old
hero with his thousand
faces and nothing new to say
to us

Cinquain Chain: Links #25 & #26

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains by a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should never be thought, or so
we think

We think
we know what our
eyes are doing when our
ears are listening to the soft
tick, tick

tick, tick
of the bones as
they settle and soften
in their assigned places in the
mirror

mirror
yourself in the
same place Sylvia saw
terrible fish – grasp what you can
before

before
it leaves your hands
the way all wild things must —
let it go before it gasps and
goes limp

goes limp,
slips through your last
frightened fingers into
the gas, into the last space left
to them

to them
that see the world
for what it is. They see
into the dark corners that we
do not

Do not
go wandering
or wondering where they
make their homes – those are unholy
waters

waters
where reflections
are more real than the
faces that cast them and move with
free will

Cinquain Chain: Links #22 & #23

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains by a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should never be thought, or so
we think

We think
we know what our
eyes are doing when our
ears are listening to the soft
tick, tick

tick, tick
of the bones as
they settle and soften
in their assigned places in the
mirror

mirror
yourself in the
same place Sylvia saw
terrible fish – grasp what you can
before

before
it leaves your hands
the way all wild things must —
let it go before it gasps and
goes limp

Cinquain Chain: Links #18 & #19

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny Crabcakes and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains at a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

and Po,
the old poet,
knew that life in the world
is just a big dream and not worth
spoiling,

spoiling
with nought but wine
since we ever know that
nothing will never be the same
again

again
I see my own
eyes peering out at me
from someone else’s face – I must
free them

free them
before they rot
the soft skull that holds them.
Some thoughts should not be thought, or so
we think

Cinquain Chain: Links #14 & #15

All aboard the cinquain train! Johnny and I are chugging along… 

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains by a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man.

one man
walks alone, as
kind as his dreams will
let him be, real eyes seeing more
and more

and more
than won men can
handle, more than bartered
men can bet on, until they close
their eyes.

Their eyes
flicker like light—
bulbs in dusty attics,
following him into the dark
places

places
no man should go
until he has learned the
way of the rat and the raven
and Poe

Cinquain Chain: Links #10 & #11

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny Crabcakes and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses. 

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains by a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until –

until
time stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Enough
of this wasteland
pantomime, this taste that
still waits on the edge of our tongue’s
desert,

desert
of the mind’s end,
end of the places where
we can offer our selves any
comfort.

Comfort
yourself knowing
there are seas beyond these
sand dunes, once you blink and open
your eyes

your “I”s
left behind like
so many broken shells
once you realize mankind is
one man.

Cinquain Chain: Links #7 & #8

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny Crabcakes and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

To land
in a place such
as this, to fall like bombs
into an abyss. Sky becomes
water.

Water
waits for what falls.
The bones of thoughts lie half-
remembered, settling, eaten
by time

by time
which wavers like
curtains at a window
devoured by moths, mice, and men
until —

until
it stands with a
backbone of its own and
says with breath from a distant wind:
enough.

Cinquain Chain: Links #3 & #4

The continuation of a poetry exchange between Johnny Crabcakes and myself. We are forming a chain of cinquains in an effort to unchain our muses.

Around
what dead thing are
the vultures circling?
There is always a corpse somewhere
nearby.

Nearby,
there are blossoms
breathing in the dark night.
Why is the air so empty in
our dreams?

Our dreams
where we descend
with stones in our pockets
like Virginia into the dark
water —

water
which bears the weight
and weeps to consume us
and delivers our bodies back
to land.

White Noise

It’s back again – the familiar itch
that tugs at me like a whining child:
when is our next adventure?

Day-to-day life is a steady drip of white noise.
My ears have forgotten how to hear
and need the sound of foreign tongues
to remind them.

Here is the voice again,
nagging, necessary:
Do you remember France?
Do you remember cathedrals
and fresh-baked croissants
and sunflower fields as far
as the eye can see?

Yes, I remember,
and I cannot breathe in this town
that is too small for me

the way a jar is too small
for a trapped insect

the way a backyard is too small
for a fenced-in dog

the way this body is too small
for the voice that pounds
all day long like a fist,
like the chime of a clock,
harsh and insistent —

When is our next adventure?
When? When?