Three Poems

Anything But That

What else can you expect, living in this
bungled up firmament, the seraphic I-don’t-know
uncorked & flowing over? So simple, the soul
sloughed someday off; so angular, the protracted desire


of what-could-be. Logic says there’s something
comes after what is, that if it’s this way first,
it’s that way next. So you start out saying one thing
& end up saying something else & anyway


it’s February; we should pretend it’s cold.
My neglected heart grins like a loon returned from the south
while my overdrive brain downshifts & believes
whatever happens to you just happens to you.


Rhyme & reason have become unfashionable. Certainty
confounds us but let me tell you, the alternative’s not so pretty either.
Someone said nothing is whole, that one plus one is still one
& do unto others but I just don’t know. The tests say


I can’t handle complex systems. Imagine if this were all one big
celestial accident. The senselessness piles up
& with time the mass becomes hot enough to shine. So simple,
the shine, & so beautiful. Its beauty may put you in shock.

The Moon's Invisible Army

Each thought in my head is a missile,
shiny sectioned green metal against
a yellow sky, & each thought thunk
is an explosion of me. For example:


the quality of mercury I love the most
is that it can always scatter & re-
constitute. Boom! Or: your long arms
can either turn me away or hold me close. Boom!


Living my life in the distant pink
buildings of Backgroundsville, I long
for the full-color of the foreground. I want
to be the first thing you look at, my face


brightly colored with any of one hundred
hundred emotions. On normal days it is blank,
a question. Cradle me in your platinum arms
& hold my head through the long & dreamless


night. I wish I could tell you what it is
that attacks me from the skies, but my terrors
are invisible. Night beasties start their long march
from the moon. I would make my body


into a sledge hammer if I could; I’d knock
each wrong thought from the sky & pound down
the door to your quietly ticking heart.


Cleaning today, I found a cricket in the house,
surprised by the sudden changes outside,


& I brushed him from my cupped palm
onto the porch. All night I stare at my hands,


slowly forgetting their shape, & listen
to my neighbor practice the saxophone.


I’m amazed that his mistakes sound so good.
Tiger lilies outside my window beat slow time


against the screen, six-petaled heads bobbing
burnt orange, mute tongues curling & streaked


like the sky, streaked with the fading of two stars
shooting at once. The man alone in the life raft


screams “Land!” every day, rehearsing hope
so he’ll have it right when the time comes. Soon


there’ll be sun bursting bold through windows
& an end to the brassy solo from next door,


but for now it’s just moonlight, calm,
blue, the moon shrugging, giving it all up,


settling instead of blaze for glow.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.