Friday, September 21, 2018

Left

I left you your side of the bed
like an honor
the kind gesture of not taking up more space

I left you space, spent
two years wishing
for more, and one

wasting it,
waiting for something to happen,
hoping it doesn't,

getting
everything and nothing that I want
as if

time were about desire
as if
missing you were about you

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Orchard Beach

People say Orchard Beach is dirty.
Everyone does—the chuckling Bronx stranger,
the Manhattanite in sand-colored heels,
the Brooklyn native shaking her head.

And sure, there was a condom in the water,

but only one, and no one stepped on glass
even though we crawled in the sand
on our hands and knees hunting for shells
and shell-shards.

In the Fifth Year

In the fifth year of being alone
you begin to feel it, an unknown thing pushing 
through the thinning walls of your heart.
At first you are afraid; you understand
you are an egg shell

and the monster will break you.
It happens slowly. In the sixth year
you are pieces. In the seventh
you are the monster
but no one has noticed. 


Saturday, December 2, 2017

I Does Not Point

I does not point up;
it's lateral, flat on a page
like a short black thread
or a leg bone in the dirt.
I begins sentences it cannot finish.
I is the symbol of an upright thing
knocked down. I points at me
like a finger: You. You. You. You.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Those Moments

I have had more of those moments lately where
suddenly you are pointedly aware
of being alive, and it’s not a pleasant feeling at all,
it’s more like the way you feel rising in a plane,
a nauseous awareness that your body has organs
and is meant to stay on the ground. Only my moments
don’t take me anywhere. They leave me stranded
in a strange silent bubble, an anti-oasis,
in the jungle of everyday life, like a gnat
in a colorless balloon, overly aware of its gnat-ness,
until I am the balloon, or nothing, or myself.
And my choice is clear: stay suspended,
waiting for a revelation (which never comes),
or close my eyes, let the lukewarm cacophony
consume me again.

The Business of Poetry


I never figured out the business of poetry. Verse,
I mean, stanza, the strictest sense. But I have
found the poetry in business; it is a quiet thing,
trembling between the ribs of all who make
money. There is no language for it. The poets
write to readers and the sellers, of course,
write to buyers. But what if, like a strange year
of Jubilee, the slate was washed clean, Dante
told the girls at the mall about hell, J.C.
Penney wooed hippies with song? I’d be down.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

God, You Break

God, you break my brain.
You want the credit for everything
from the Big Bang to the atoms of my nose,
glory-hungry, insatiable for praise.
But you do 99-point-Lord-knows-what percent
of everything you do invisibly,
knowing your hand will never be seen
let alone thanked. 
You love us as much as Jesus,
who you killed. Let die. Let choose to die
at the center of web you built --
you're him, the prey,
and the spider, and the father of spiders,
and the web. Unspeakable:
mighty, weak, the ugliest, most beautiful,
most selfless self-fulfilling self,
like darkness in a blinding light.

My Brain Popped

My brain popped open
for a second, and shut
with so little explanation,
just a scribble on a wall:
"Be back."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Four Prayers

I.
God, you come and go
like the wind in the trees,
attending to endless invisible business.

Remember when you were fire
and I was wood?
Life was much easier then.

II.
God, if pain is your megaphone
I think you've turned me deaf.
Teach me sign language. Please.
I can't read lips.

III.
My God, my God,
why haven't you forsaken me?
I feel you sitting around,
beside me silent in room after room,
waiting for me to trip on some truth.

Why play this game? Why not terrify me
all at once with your burning face,
or leave me at peace in the cold?
You tease me with matches hidden
under carpets, under rocks.

IV.
God, if you can do anything,
can you free me from myself?
I am tired. She weighs me down.

The Search

I am looking for leaders.
I am trying to be open

to Rilke, whose poems sing hauntingly
in both my languages 

but his worship smells strongly
of rot. I try to ignore it. And I know

my nose is sensitive, I know
how few clean worshippers there are.

I am waiting for someone
who sounds like a fool

and writes like a child 
and loves truth more than I do.