Obligato

you ask why I don’t write a poem
about what’s coming down all around
us as we speak

what’s to say about a life in the wilderness?

but it’s not like I haven’t tried god knows I’ve given it
all I had, spent my quota of midnights
so many poems fluttering in the blowback
utterly panicked
rhymes scattered like shell casings
meter cleft in the borning
aground on the shoals of the dead

wanderers always think they have a home
beyond the vapor trail but you and I,
my weeping friend, know we’re already there
the time has come, my dear, for reckoning

‘tis the past and not the future beckoning
and so in this hour of false redemption
we offer thanks for a return
to mere abomination

A face, tall

a face, tall, engaging
flickers in and out
of consciousness
strong and fragile
here and gone,
all the years and minutes
piled up against the door,
a window not open,
just cracked, the strain
too much

for a poor sparrow of a man
to peck at like some lonely
grass filled afternoon
misted edgewise into memory
out of reach, out of reach

these years have brought me here
I can’t say it’s much to look at
but here I am, regretting
nothing and everything at once

and still…
that face

Relics

Already obsolete
before we know it
like white-haired gramps
parading hot rods

toys lovingly restored
by the unrestored.

Oleg shines his car
lives in a world of
Naugahyde and
cherry red paint.

Today a barista
poured an exact replica
of a certain mountain
in Japan.

I drank it.
Goodbye to my
dreams of Basho.

A man is in a sphere

A man is in a sphere
all he knows is
what hits the outer membrane
–a series of taps,
bright lights,
red, green, sepia
seeping through

a great shaking
and rumbling pervades,
some rhythmic,
some not

from these scraps
an omniverse
known only
to himself

emerges, like some
great and vast
butterfly, floating
above a sleeping figure.

So long ago

A poem written six years ago.

So long ago,
I got to know him well,
Always reaching, always looking
For a reason to keep living,

Even knowing
How alone we all are,
How he lived inside his head
Where no one could see the struggles,
No one could know how wrong they got it,
How, even he, in the end,
Gave up hoping for it
To change somehow,
Went from telling us how
To simply asking why.

Well, it’s a fair question, that.
Only, there can never be
An answer, no matter
How hard we stare
At the universe, demanding.

The universe only stares back,
Blankly.

Why had God forsaken him?

Why had he been so deluded
To think it would be different

From fear,
From loneliness,
From deception,
From illusion,
From cheap deliverance,
From intoxication,
From imagination?

Sitting and listening
To the sirens at night,
I imagine a million of them,
An endless stream of Jesuses
Asking the same question.

Why