Biography

Self portrait of my
middle
perhaps end years

This is what I have seen.

This is what I will be.

There
just there
a plain of rippled mockery
–lambasting my white privilege

And everywhere
everywhere the aging pull of gravity

You will think you
see my blood
–and it is there–
but not where you imagine

You can see the rolling hills
I have never lain upon

Behold the artifice/artifact that
constrained me

And if you pick just the right detail:
my soul itself

Atlas

A pebble that needed no support

no ligatures between firmament
and
firm ground

Are we reaching
or digging

Is this some new titan
holding up the heavens

How long until the bough breaks
And
down
we tumble
down

Brown bones
of the world
Bronzed but brittle

Did He merely dream
Was he only hoping
that there was some weight upon his shoulders

Because what if not?
What if it was only
open hands
and an indifferent sky

On Looking into Riley’s Ovid

Much have I read in this kinda too-long tome
and really, what I keep thinking is:
Damn, these ancient gods
they really liked turning people into birds
…and trees
so I wonder
What Jungian race-lust does this reflect?
What does it say that we want so badly to fly
…and be still?

Uncountry

Like something off a stupid cat poster
Ugh, Mondays
I’m possessed by this kind of
Certainty
A sort of existential dread
Shaped like Lego bricks piled atop each other
Floor to ceiling
A certainty that I simply cannot
Do
This
Much longer

No, any longer
This chair begins to feel iron maiden-esque
The rotting, peeling faux-leather vinyl surface prickly as spikes being twisted in
The meaninglessness
Purposeless anchor drag
A day lived in service of acid-reflux career and Dust Bowl bank account

And in this bargain-rate despair
I think on the inevitability of death
The simple fact that all this must end
Will end
Someday
I recoil in horror
Feel it
Bone deep
Lost in an aching spiral of
Dear God, not this
And
Dear God, all of this
Anything
Forever please

Poem: ebb and flow

sometimes
smooth, blue doldrum
then, suddenly
riptide
like Plato’s democratic man
inconstant constitution
like a planet in retrograde
creeping backwards across the night
but the next moment
a radiant magnesium-burn minute
there you are                                                                    everything you meant to be

for a minute

pupa

across the underside of the sky
someone has dragged a brush through thick S-shapes
leaving a slurry of gray and pink

my daughter asks why
not the childlike why of why do dogs have tails or why do birds not wear hats
not the why of pudgy toes and baby fat

a why built of struts and scaffolds
on evolutionary theory and biological imperatives
what made us this way, she (grown now) wonders aloud
that we see this
and know beauty

Stolen

Like the wisdom filched from the bite of the fruit
All that I know, I’ve snatched from without
Vellum-thin sheets of tree pulp
splashed with words

I think about it
as I walk through the house in darkness
navigating familiar geometries
even though, with lights out and empty of voices
it seems alien
the space around all blues and quiet
save for the faint creaking of wood against wood
foundations and struts bending with shifting weight and time

I think of a conceit from Tomasz Różycki: evaporated time
and as I walk, I steal it
make it mine
imagine the sturdy frame of the house is sturdier still
carbon fiber shell
a capsule
hurled out into the abyss
to somewhere beyond the laws of physics
here, time bleeds off the thick rivers
into the air
you can breathe it in, savor the musk of it
Really know it, like a pheromone of being

Now, traipsing into biology, I will pilfer from Bruno K. Öijer
the notion of gigantic cells:
now, it is house as one cell and me an organelle
and the wife and the children, each turning, gyrating parts,
serving a function within the whole
I read somewhere that if the aliens watch us with powerful telescopes from other galaxies
they will see our cities as living things,
great sessile beings
with Fords and Hondas in their bloodstream
and we, mere mites

but what if I am
here in the blue-black
the last human being
what if the world has ended
like Aleppo or Homs
what if while I slept in the little room in front
that looks over the street
an unnoticed apocalypse struck
but with the sound turned down
a world of quiet rubble
out with a whimper, not a bang

and if I am about to meet God
what do I say to him
(he must be a him
to have built a world like this
a mother never could)

what are your questions, my son
nothing, I say
I have understood everything
and it has left me vacant
a house with no lights on

marathon

his shins are white hot rods of bronze
heated soft
and his calves have swollen to melon size
the planks of his feet have passed beyond simple pain
transfigured into a state outside of matter
maybe a Platonic form out there
but here
gone
no longer part of him
so that he’s running
on stumps

the news is a blaze
raw energy and bright light
but is it urgent
enough for all this

so he takes his respite
in the pied shade of an olive tree
the rocky shore still visible on his left
they can learn
the outcome
tomorrow