Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sunday Best

conversation disappears whatever
sparkling flourishes of phrase display
one's wit and brilliant grace of mind
evaporate amid distraction or the hearer's
own self-image and inadequate attention
why bother if it's not recorded can't be used
in a superior medium yet these are the
precious moments when you're actually there
face to face with the yearned-for other
speaking from the newly waking heart
in your Sunday best if anyone notices or cares
here is the chance to be yourself in words
gestures can't be seen on radio and video
emphasizes crooked teeth and personality
that's all it is you have to love it

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Trousers

consider trousers
what a construction
can you make them
can you live without them

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Is

what is my life
what is this color
aquamarine
red-orange
creamy white
blue and yellow
a cluster of girls in red
a boy swimming laps
car
shopping
lunch
a nap
what does it mean
nothing
it's just what is

Friday, December 13, 2019

Edge of Reason

world gone wrong
again events obtrude
even here in Oregon
we receive the news
two-fifths are stupid
falling as a herd
for the cunning man
barest edge of reason
tips fragile balance
to the lower end
the sensible resign

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Out Ahead

everyone around him knew the secret
he tried to figure it out by pretending
it was easy to go along got out ahead
without serious effort running lightly
not quite touching the solid ground

later he learned they were lost in space
playing the parts they were cast in badly
dependent on familiar levels of oxygen
and other inexplicable phenomena he
just happened to have stumbled into

the body systems call the shots if we
are talking about what actually exists
strip away art and there's nothing left
you will be secretly and truly dead
still imagining something going on

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Actual Reality

this is me
sitting in my chair reading The New Yorker
is this a thing to do
is this really my life
I do this every day or something like it
every evening for a few hours
or play the piano or watch a movie
later I read Gertrude Stein
while brushing my teeth and going to sleep
does it matter what it's about
does "virtual reality" mean anything to me
I want actual reality
and this is it

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Feel Good

I feel "bad" when I feel bad
my health and vigor virtue
though it isn't really it's
ideal parents lucky genes
mild excess sensible habits
like three prunes a day
ever vulnerable to chance
change age inevitable end
can I feel "good" even dying
mortality is not immoral

Thursday, November 21, 2019

You Fall

you gradually get used to it
as it inexorably advances
nothing to be done but
follow along cheerfully
keep up as well as you can
watch your footing relax
trust your angel is ready
to catch you as you fall

Monday, November 18, 2019

Creeping Up

before reading writing
first you open the file
then words appear in it

what you have thought
takes the form of words
arranged in even lines

nine stanzas on decline
taking different forms
be ready for surprises

gradually creeping up
and suddenly revealed
years having elapsed

you know you're old
yet uttterly yourself
productive having fun

meanwhile older still
laugh at your limits
continue making art

eat healthy exercise
whatever your thing
keep right on doing

decline is underway
denial useless time
leaving you behind

read Pessoa √Čnard
Andric Stein write
everything you can

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Fades Away

what you can't see exists less
vividly shifting boundaries
color-matched dimensionality
reduced to imagined memory

what you can't see clearly still
lives internally consistent not
quite explaining itself to you
you learn to live with it how
to navigate the blur starved
for specified information on
street names faces stories you
pick your way through slowly

what you can see is infinitely
dense referential glowing in
annual rings of transformation
you never knew so deeply as
now as it slowly fades away

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Random Relief

beside the inundation of cities
everything else seems trivial
although I won't be here then
so it shouldn't matter to me

we're relatively safe on well
watered higher ground only
earthquake to worry about
and our own disintegration

so I can read about astrology
if I care and all the other
magazine concerns random
relief from the rising water

Monday, October 28, 2019

What I Feel

what I feel in the afternoon
obvious sunlight pouring in
through my huge window is I
can't do anything what about
chores what I feel doesn't do
meaning pull up my pants or
stash away the letters from
sweet friends long gone here
again as memory as history
or plastic against the drafts
ahead of the punishing night
what I feel beomes the poem

Friday, October 25, 2019

Like Me

normal is 1945 we
won the war things
can only get better

forget the past it
doesn't apply real
life discontinuous

yet Shakespeare
came to London
like me to New York

Elizabeth as fearful
as Trump embedded
in ambitious loonies

it doesn't matter no
woke person cares
it's almost the end

rewind not possible
with this app smile
mourn the world

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pleasure Calls

then pleasure calls the easy
lazy autumn day gone summery
we walked in the park and talked
what else can possibly follow
chocolate and an empty hour
to fill with memory and hope

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

So Far

easy for me to say whatever
happens is fine my immediate
world is peaceful harmonious
I am solvent work only as much
as I like gladly filling my days
with friends music exercise art
loved and loving so far healthy
even while the world burns in
ruin the future no one's friend

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Knowing Better

the way things are is neither permanent nor necessary
I read in The New York Times which acts as if it were
so do we all what else if we are lucky even then knowing
better this is it and what we think doesn't change a thing
but our own experience of our lives which is all there is

Filling Time

as I read I keep thinking what I
might or should be doing instead
how soon I will move on to other
possibilities as the coffee and pot
take effect the afternoon already
well used the necessity of filling
time coming round again later on
read play the piano watch a movie
until midnight when I go to bed
after a few last hands of solitaire

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Up to Date

(for Emanuel Peluso)
is there anything more to say
once we're up to date on our
attachments movies books or
the latest political squabbles
was there ever what did we
talk about or did we need to
the day itself sufficient unto
ourselves reforming again in
the context of possibility now
we are old retired from work
and further romantic questing
I still yearn to converse be
friends and improve our lives

Friday, September 13, 2019

More So

shall I tell you everything
that occurs to me in my
narrow vocabulary feebler
by the minute wonderful
filling the shoes of strict
precision evocative verbs
absorbed into had and got
no one cares I said again
a way of excusing laziness
limited research overhasty
leaps into pointless print
beating myself up doesn't
make me better or repair
entropic drift so change or
stay the same and more so

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Seven Minutes

will he waste the seven minutes
before breakfast or seize them
in a rush of words still ready to
create expression even if he can't
remember what he meant to say

better follow the feeling if it's
good if not too bad he counts on
naturally smiling weather inside
warmth self-generating even as
winter says look out here I come

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Flying Debris

does the past even exist
oh to oneself certainly
it is everything you are
but hopelessly private
reconstructed of shards
shattered over and over
flying debris you live in
just able to stay calm
enjoy the ride and not
expect it to make sense
though it perfectly does

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Driving Faster

the better man realizes
he is in the middle after
all alternatives exhaust
lowered energy limits

driving faster than his
father he still arrives
later devalued money
flowing like gasoline

competition itself lies
for the sake of ego its
action compromised
before its life begins

the son always rises
from the father's ash
burnt as the traveling
man erases all roads

Monday, August 19, 2019

Changes

everything changes even if we
don't believe it think everything
stays the same plodding through
the seasons over and over while
we ourselves gradually expire in
fatalistic bemusement older and
wiser finally accepting ourselves
as we deteriorate hardly noticing
everything else is changing too

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Off Limits

it's only me I can speak for
my circumstantial self white
a man I can entirely accept

others I can't imagine or
presume to think are much
different or much the same

off limits or my victims in
spite of personal good will
never to be reconciled with

all the mistakes we all keep
making the best of a nasty
history we never learn from

Monday, August 12, 2019

Watching the Light

if it isn't words it isn't anything I can
use or have purposes for disguised as
absent-mindedness like lying in the
hammock beside the creek listening
and watching the light slowly change

if it is I can do something with them
with or without explicit intentions to
marry and see what happens nothing
to be afraid of or live alone and do
exactly what I want my whole life

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Real Things

can be awake when asleep
think of real
things I was going to
drifted off

or being cryptic
"camp" as irony
against flatness
I studied in New York

the dead alive again
practicing theory
a form of madness
but enjoyable

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Still Here

endless doing wears thin
ongoing crisis wears out its welcome
anxiety of identity makes it hard to eat
where is the liberation pill
wise words enable calm

breathe you are not alone
molecules interpenetrate exchange
everything is still here
not a breath but my own
looking for the way not out but in

Friday, July 05, 2019

Expiration Date

it all seems like a mistake
now that we realize the cost
how can I be important one
of billions knowing and using
the same simple words poor
me on a trivial planet dying

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Closing Night

something is to be said but what
is it the window is closing night
is outside trying to get in time a
magazine rapid-firing newsmen
fill blank racket patriotic poses
curdled fame tanks raw dissent
strategic spoilage poisonalities
on display call in when you can

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Tai Chi

children's voices from the creek
tai chi in the park on a hot day
four of us sync with our teacher
smell of cut grass slow precision
sun spots like unwanted attention
hot breezes off the pool parking
cooling when the direction shifts
specimen trees fine companions
bow to each other at conclusion

Saturday, June 08, 2019

After All

after all we used to think possible
what remains we have composed
to be like this here now for a time
refreshed by the changing seasons

after all we are still who knows it
listening for hints of unspoken joy
itches aches pains the aging body
better able to bear the old routine

after all the moment come move
on the day breakfast and all that
ready to receive and giving back
blessings grateful to be our own

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

What I Mean

if I can't talk to you there's
no one between us only air

this the way it is then words
hopeless only action speaks

you don't wait for approval
or care what I am thinking

interesting if true love truly
on another level altogether

I believe what I must must
avoid saying what I mean

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Rabbit Thoughts

for Walt Whitman

nature is a problem now
growth needs to be cut back
beauty an accidental remnant

my ceaseless musing hurts
without revealing its sources
in turmoil like incoherent soup

possible solutions never stick
cleaning the field for more dirt
rising sun watching in dismay

what we have done to deserve
this only too obvious heedless
instinct pushing its own button

such a situation uncreated calls
for leaps of joy beyond when
failing legs no longer spring be

mellow in your later years be
happy to have loved be glad
not to have made things worse

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Even Women

we are all immigrants nothing but
some fleeting glimpse or sense
remains of where we came from
ancestors moving out long ago
driven off or hoping for better
remembering only recent moves
that somehow happened to us

we are all veterans of wars
we didn't wage or want to be
surrogate suffering inescapable
drafted without exception or
escape to Canada nowhere safe
all threatened by poisoned air
water animals mass destruction

we are all women even men
in burly trucks showing off
exulting in power underfoot
even women calling the shots
know better the limits of life
encased in muscle sturdy bone
drawing down the balance

we embody our time and self
descended from a better dream
depleted by not mere difference
but degradation impermissible
arrogance in privileging this
above all as if final throes
had never been seen before

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lively Lingo

"a slow-spoken orotundity" the mark
of a true writer himself getting along
finding lively lingo on any subject
living in Paris kids or aging or not
like Neil Young preserving the craft
and art for still adoring younger fans
whatever New Yorker readers may like
to think about in freshly lucid words

Monday, May 20, 2019

How It Feels

everything is recorded is that
God at the knobs not that you
can actually replay it etched
as it is ridiculous I realize but
that's how it feels otherwise
nothing matters would be
closer to the truth time erases
as it goes though some of us
try to save murmurs as it passes

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

This Comma

once more for your approval
not knowing the many dubious
decisions an editor had to make
if you ask me I could tell you
why this comma this paragraph
break word removed replaced
but we are six thousand miles
apart so you just say it's fine
and it is the story what counts

Monday, May 13, 2019

Going Along

would I have chosen this
had I known I was choosing
what to do or going along
as I freely did not knowing
what would work out how
the days arise from nights

each moment anticipates
more of the same and less
if we know what we are
by what we do again our
ending implied in choices
nested inside necessity

dignity requires decisions
when nothing is quite free
within the frame of politics
and culture we never know
we helplessly embody like
termites in our own abode

so here we are today sun
rising behind clouds light
filtering through confused
impressions of our relative
well-being as if we know
what's good for the world

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Naked Mirror

o belly where did you come from why
do you bulge diligent I exercise dutifully
do my swims and workouts not that I
don't enjoy them but here you still are

this is not how I think I look or used to
skinny in my youth flat-fronted now I
look away from the naked mirror hoping
clothes can make the man I want to be

Monday, April 22, 2019

Ready or Not

I don't really mind that the day
goes by with nothing much done
the situation is ripening my destiny
gradually or suddenly to be revealed
I observe this happening what can
I do but what I do ready or not

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Needy Lips

the mind is a field of play
disobliged of remorse
forms announce themselves shyly
hidden by their particulars
matter only in themselves
without needing to be seen

substance flows like milk
warmed for needy lips
transformed in consuming
existing in becoming true
before the moment is gone
marked only by pleasure

what happens is all there is
where you are in it unknown
still making moves you
diligently inch along
joyfully doing your part
as the seasons revolve

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Similar Trees

remote and foggy coast to live
somewhere other exotic impulses
take away everyday cares desire
a memory silent sparks expired

or wandering forest similar trees
conspire to ignore me when I cut
thinking only to let in more light
and shade they heal live wounded

secretly in cities hidden by doors
and multitudes lost among others
private histories privileged first
forgotten dreams the realer place

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Our Kisses

to be intimate
loving companions
is all I want
and have to give
romantic to the core
affectionately close
our kisses speak
whatever else
can't be said

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Here I Am

here is where I am now
on this fertile planet amid
far-flung spinning galaxies
surrounded by walls and furniture
on the border of our town USA
wearing this envelope of air
molecular gravitational
slouching on my pillow

I is this body
what we agree I can be
defined by shifting circumstance
and age increasingly
as if there could be doubt
or any other outcome
and personal history
no one knows
and I remember strangely

am is the personal to be
not forever but long enough
first person present tense
until these molecules disperse
existence is required
awake or sleeping dreaming
happy or appalled my
beautiful world despoiled
by our very existence

and then actually be here
not only breathing
awake to the whole shebang
take it as what it is
a sheer fiasco forever worse
and continue to live

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Am I Dead?

I'm talking to myself
and there's no one there
did our connection fail
or am I dead surely not

Outage

one can still write without electricity
Dickens did fine by candle in the long
cold wet foggy English night like this
howling in the unfamiliar black stars'
glimmer seen again without town light

how anyone stay awake doing nothing
hard to read no recourse to entertaining
screens unwarmed by virtual contacts
here in time but far away in space
huddling together till morning comes

Monday, March 25, 2019

Warming Up

partly cloudy is also partly sunny
which makes everything different
warming up I wore a T-shirt the
clouds went away entirely and
everyone in Oregon was happy

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Rolling Down

crows playing
sliding and rolling down
snow-deep windshields
again and again
rolling over on the snowy hood
made her laugh
we can still have fun

Sunday, March 17, 2019

No One Knows

anything you say may be true
but only some of it is and no one
knows how it will turn out what
the future thinks may be wrong
too we are not self-correcting
but continue to stupidly blunder
repeating our obvious mistakes

One Line

what takes as long to say as do
sometimes hours pass thought-free
or quick as one line and it's done

warm weather promises old ease
as if we all could be young again
knowing nothing of what's to be

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Stroke

after her children go
I won't be free for
any of my out-of-house activities
maybe not even out to my studio
unless I make an arrangement

I am open to change
ready for what comes
and will adapt as needed
glad to be needed
glad to be of use and true to love

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

This Body

inside these clothes myself
this body living life this
mind transcending time
as if aging still as new

not as seen but costumed
for the period projecting
class in the form of taste
an inescapable disguise

naked sleeping clothed by
bedding furniture a house
even then a public actor
minding his own existing

skin organ not boundary
liminal film encloses it as
well as natural sciences
and all you can ever think

Friday, February 22, 2019

Still Me

still me peeking out of my hoodie
discovered at the lake in-on water
walking and continuously surprised
this I can remember when all is lost

all these twos one is part of recur
as independent other-sidedness voting
with feet and hands for adamant odds
counted without reference to extinction

still here under ever-changing clouds
inevitable rain and bright sun cheering
inspiration flags the winning car I
drive into the future past myself

the hood holds in brain hair muffles
clock time running on regardless
examining questions of identity
unspent unextinguished even now

writing talking my self arises magma
magnetized by the field it grows in
remove obvious images yet not alone
infinite inner vista loving detail

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Begin Again

is there anything here
to begin again with
besides bare being
memory of ways of doing
everyone has forgotten
too much to lose
we must change our lives
inside and daily habit
we so long enjoyed

the rhythm shifts
but the beat goes on
as long as we know it
listen for the tune
and whistle