How to dance

Always the world tilts dangerously
toward the brink, begging only
a finger’s nudge
–all it would take—
deftly moving aside
at the last moment
like a taiji master

a dance so subtle it fools
no one and everyone alike

the world does not end
does not even refuse to end
but continues out of indifference

–Wait – you say – it ended for me
and perhaps you – and I say
no, we are still here
even as we dispute the very
fact of existence, proof, you see,
of our errors

How swiftly came the killing season

This first appeared in Exileschild 11/22/16. Strange how poetry adapts to its context.

How swiftly came the killing season
swept in from hinterlands
just when we had remarked upon
the sameness of it all.

How soon the must-not-be-named
became quotidian.
Weren’t we standing there,
thinking how wise it was

to not raise a ruckus
about minor disturbances,
how preferable to simply
turn our backs to the foul wind?

What good will be our platitudes
tomorrow?

Once I saw Ozymandias

There, in a glass case
in the Cairo Museum
lay Rameses II, who imagined
that all who looked upon
his works would despair.

Desiccated, a shrunken pith
of a man, he reminded me
of nothing else but
the last slab of salted cod
at the closing of the market,
unsold.

Despair, indeed, my king,
but not the way you imagined.

Dark natter

We’ve lost the will to listen,
instead expressing and expressing
without end, without impression
as if we were generators and not motors,

as if beams of reality flowed
brainless and wantless
toward – what? Tomorrow?
There is no tomorrow,

today only, in a false succession
of todays. How can there be
expression, alone and only?
There must first be an emptiness,

gradually filled with the stuff of galaxies,
or more remote still, of giant gas clouds
or invisible matter, so dark.