Paralysis

Nothing out, nothing in,
just some vague breeze,
a distant flapping,
not clear, not near,

A reminder
of something unremembered …

Is it time to go?

Is it time to pack
my pockets with
bits of string,
mysterious faded notes,
strange fragments of
other lives?

Or start over,
let the past remain aloft
overhanging
skin and blood alike,
no denial,
no justification,
no recourse to fame and fortune
or disgrace?

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

Elegy for two lives

In my mind’s lens, my father’s
Face is smooth and petrified
Like an ancient lake
Steeped in mountains

It’s true, isn’t it,
There can be only one infinity
This is impossible:
Life without limits

Moons exist for no one
Though everyone thinks
They’re just
For dreaming

Question, they say, all of it,
Take nothing as given,
Give nothing up, erase all
Boundaries, be eternal.

He tried, and I tried after him.
Only we didn’t know
His freedom was my razor wire,
My freedom was his failure.

Traces

Sometimes I follow ancient
trailing wrinkles, vague traces
of paths untaken, no use
to anyone now
after all the promises
have spilled out through
careless whim, unforeseen
swirls of hope and fury
all hung up to dry without regard
to logic or poetry

The crones of darkness linger
beneath a pointed finger, no singer,
but a low murmur, a thin skulking
wink of a man

Sometimes I sit in an empty room
with a bell and ring it,
trying to pinpoint the moment
it stops its waning tone.

That’s how a life is

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