Late March,

sunny, chilly, the wind brisk but toothless.
March, as March should do, marches on,
winter grudging every degree of discomfort displaced.

On mornings like this I used to walk the railroad tracks
past factories in the low piercing light
kicking up dust, examining the artifacts left by passing trains —
bottles, bean cans, scattered pages of illegible text,
and the occasional leg bone of a vanished
furry animal, hobbled off or eaten whole.

I was looking for anything new, it didn’t matter what.
There would be sudden neighborhoods,
unfamiliar soil, sometimes a pool hall,
a secondhand store,

or a diner. I would sit and imagine
what it would be to live there, to always order
the same lunch, to indulge in idle
ruminations with the help.
In the long, slow afternoons I would watch
them fill the rows of ketchup bottles
on the counter and the tables.

Always filling, never washing.
It occurred to me that at the bottoms
of those bottles lay the remnants of the
Original Primal Ketchup in its few remaining molecules.
I couldn’t guess its age, much older than me.

We can never escape the past,
it is our stuff, our formless substance.


We put these offerings out
into the blunt nothing of tomorrow,
then wheel about and drift off
impatient to gather more

and all our works and amusements
all delights and suffering
lie unclaimed
sliding into yesterdays

they will waste until our bones
are no more than a smear
beneath a rubble

until we and everything
known to our kind
have vaporized and seeded the cosmos

and somewhere the light is lifting
and fragments gather into wholes

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.

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.