Blood line

As luck would have it
I was born who I am,
propelled into wonder
and deep disturbance,

pushed from behind
by fear and tedium,
compelled by curiosity
to delve and burrow.

Shall I say my fate
has formed me,
or have I moved through Earth
not spellbound, but spellbinding?

No use complaining, no
point in shallow grievance.
Fate works not by force
but seduction.

The big Was

First, the big Was, expanding suddenly
Too quick to glow, too far to measure
Like blood coagulates, in lumps, relentless

Blind recognition yearning to recombine
Into the breadth-less infinite, one by one,
Across the fleeing everness

It was the lumps, after all, without them
Nothing is born, nothing dies
The lumps, flailing, contact and contract

Lend each other mass and meaning
Become vast in becoming spent
In the large and slow entropic resistance

Fragments of causation forgoing randomness
Blinding recapitulation, a first worm wriggles
Your father, my son, your mother, too

Born in that salty swilling dawn
Descending on down time’s narrow tunnel
Until all that’s left is dawn

Diptych for a late Spring


You are meaningless, it is said,
without those who went before
in whose long shadows you strive,
in whose helix you twine

Ghosts, you call them,
wraiths with no claim to substance,
until, in a mirror,
you see them bounding through
your fate,
great feet tramping up the path
you thought was yours alone.

How can you be so like them?
How can it have gone unnoticed
so long?
Is nothing left to separate you?


Fine, let’s have it, then.
I’ll be the last witness
to poll the seasons.

But you’ve lost your will
to power, haven’t you?

Would you think your
reflection grotesque, off-putting,
if you saw me now?
Would you see an empty mask,
devoid of all you held dear?

As you wish.
We are both powerless
to divine our true meaning.

Free will

What parts of me lie buried in unstoned ground
Dreams and fears alike leached out
Into the indifferent clay?

What parts of what I am pleased to call
My own invention come down
Through the ancient crossfire of nature and nurture
To the ultimate epi-me,
Striding vainly along memory’s boulevards
Grasping at the heart of things?

Isn’t that, too, some determinate of blood and soil?
Of circumstance stenciled onto a genetic landscape,
Long fixed, long before I thought to uncover it?

Go back far enough, and we are all progeny
Of blind, pointless chemical replication,
Some accident of electromechanical impulse
Upon a sludge.