February 27, 2014

is there a better beginning to a country song than this??

I never tried as hard as I could
I’ve seen more than I understood
Like my father who came back from the dead
“I needed just one more drink,” he said

— from Silver Jews, “Long Long Gone

February 3, 2014

Are PDF Files Vehicles of Secret Government Surveillance?

No, probably not; at least, I don’t believe so; as far as I know, no evidence exists to support the hypothesis which has nonetheless become the title of this little poem in prose, perhaps due to the characters’ easy suggestion of a Personal/-nel Data File, but mostly for the shock, and for what happens to what follows: ideas of enforced ubiquity; of ‘the only way’; of the only way to say certain things, unpopular things, at unpopular times, before the recent regreening of our fields; of a feeling too hugely empty of meaning to fail—provided you didn’t run into your tail.

January 25, 2014

Close-up on dead astronaut

(a work in progress)

Close-up on dead astronaut, stiff in a spacesuit,
end over endless fall, the camera circling
closer, making outer space feel cramped.

I’ve been seeing a lot of this sort of thing lately

I come home, walk around outside
in the cold before sunrise, until I get tired
and lay down by a window you shoot me looking through
—all for not appearing in your mirrors.

January 16, 2014


Against my better judgment, I am drawn into an argument on the internet. I write out, then delete, a number of potential replies to a particularly irritating comment about the essential differences between men and women. My typing grows heated, full of misspellings, stacatto. Like a drugged lunatic, I root out my own bad teeth, soft incisors of unclear diction; I push clauses and sentences around in a whirl, trying to wrap my payload of meaning in a cruel casing of the most aerodynamic language. At last, exhausted, I slide from my chair onto the floor. The cursor blinks on through the night, an eye reversed, projecting what it reads, scrolling over and over the single word remaining on my screen, Assholes

January 14, 2014


The night is mild and cloudy. I sit on my porch and I watch the lights of an airplane pass overhead, followed a minute later by the lights of the same airplane, in the same direction, but slower this time; so slow that when I go inside to make dinner and come back outside to sit on my porch and eat it, the plane is still there, seeming to move more slowly than ever.

I have been reading The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach, but I can’t remember whether the essence of Christianity is that the individual directly embodies the species, or that the individual is freed from the obligation to embody the species, or a third thing entirely.

It occurs to me that the first plane wasn’t necessarily traveling faster, could merely have been flying lower.

January 13, 2014


I followed you to your house and watched you eat a TV dinner, and I thought, That’s her; she’s the one. The way she slits the plastic covering. The way she peels back the plastic covering, stirs, and continues microwaving. The way she removes and discards the warm, steam-sogged plastic covering, holding it gingerly with the tips of her fingers like a stranger’s used tissue. Alas! I am in love. Soon realizing that my love was impure and despairing of it, I drove home; but not before sitting in the car for a time with my hands on my head and groaning, which groans eventually became the song “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and hit #3 on the Billboard charts in 2001.

December 12, 2013

I give up.

What’s your name?

October 6, 2013
October 3, 2013

The Plain Sense of Things

  by Wallace Stevens

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.

It is difficult even to choose the adjective
For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.
The great structure has become a minor house.
No turban walks across the lessened floors.

The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.
The chimney is fifty years old and slants to one side.
A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition
In a repetitiousness of men and flies.

Yet the absence of the imagination had
Itself to be imagined. The great pond,
The plain sense of it, without reflections, leaves,
Mud, water like dirty glass, expressing silence

Of a sort, silence of a rat come out to see,
The great pond and its waste of the lilies, all this
Had to be imagined as an inevitable knowledge,
Required, as a necessity requires.