Conversation in the time of paranoia

“There’s no time,” she said,
“Any moment now will be
the too-late moment.”

“Can’t we tell
ahead of time?” I said.

“Don’t be an idiot,” she said

“Well,” I said, “that certainly
narrows down the possibilities,
with idiot ruled out.”

“Now you’re just being a jerk.”

“What, that’s not allowed either?”

Coffee

I sit at a table riddled with worm holes,
As manufactured as the chained and slashed
Surface on which I write, burn marks
Sealed in polyurethane gloss, all for

A borrowed twilight, an impermanence
Enshrined for eternity, or as near it
As artifice can come, fuzz-box guitar
Scratching through the conditioned air.

Outside, the latest mercury vapor lamps
Dressed up gassy, the rhythmic flicker
Punctuating the entrance, everywhere
Authenticity for sale, at a premium.

I examine my coffee, dubiously.

All there is

Is it possible to add anything
to a life, to ensure no alley
is left unexplored, no mystery
unexplained, no new device,

no diversion, no distraction
to hurry us along toward
the end of it all, the last
deceit, the final jest?

Shall we die wishing for one more
object, a last lunch, an unread memo?
Shall we panic at the end, unready,
as if no one had told us about this?

False idylls

Ah, we say, what a life!
and yet …

We are the heirs of discontent
we carry all colors among us
to their inevitable conclusion

Our eyes are rising swiftly
under an aging sun

What nourished our forebears
we find merely annoying
All those Bible Prophets mute
as sacks of sand

To build dikes against
a flood which never comes
and yet …

here we stand
precisely in their footpads