A lonely man in a lonely room,
considering all that he looks at;
but all we can see is all that we are,
and he wonders what starts if you stop it.

The cherry-topped table, round and oblong,
makes scurrilous reference to time long gone
when every woman and every drink
was a sign to his inner swine to think
that never until now had his power full grown
to possess that which is owed to him alone.

Dust bunny cadres under a cross-stitched quilt;
could he find a more suitable vehicle for his guilt
than the dead skin and hair bits that hide beneath
a bedding once used, bringing unrestful sleep,
but derelict now, as life grows weary,
no energy left for sin? Oh, so dreary
the time that is left us, corrupted and without
the space to live outside suspicion and doubt!

There once was a boy who looked like a bird,
when he dressed, when he spoke,
when he picked at his teeth;

when he sat up, and when he lay down,
when he put up his Christmas wreath;

when he looked out the window, to see something he heard;
when he opened up Webster’s, to look up a word;

he could look at a bug that crawled on a leaf,
or put on a hat, and call himself “Chief,”
but no matter what, I’m sure you’re assured,
all that he did, he did like a bird.

The boy’d been alone every day of his life,
he had no one but himself to play with.
The boy had no name because, being alone,
there was nobody there to give it.

The quickest path to knowledge is
not a gentle curve, like a road
up Midwestern hills one might stroll
up on a spring day; the fastest
path to knowledge is a jagged
path, infested with sharp corners
and double backs, where for the most
part you have no idea where
you will be next.


This whole fucking project would be near easy
if he just fucking knew what he wanted.
But I sit here and sat there and spat on the windshield
and not one drop of rain got us further –
just falling with shadows cast on the seat
tiny dimples in unblemished upholst’ry
Remember when she sat there?
The veins of a leaf are the roads that I drive on
and nature has no destination.

The office is there, that nodule of cellulose,
that auburn spot is my house;
patches of green are businessless, nowhere,
stuck in between nature’s paths, preset and programmed,
perfectly carrying out an order
that no one has given and no one has heard.
For all its harmony and collective activity
no intention can be found, no free-will or proclivity,
for nature know no destination.

The leaf is trapped on the glass in front of me
the tinkling and cracking of drops in late day
the flat light and grayness make the green all the more
And where was I, when did she sit here?
I missed the office and I’m driving away.


I want to remain in a constant state of hunger
until this thing blows over.
I need the weight gone, and climbing to the top
I need the air, the water, and the desire.
The tower will not stand.
I told him I was going, and he told me it was nothing,
but he had not the youth to permit it.
So I left that day (the sun greeted me out
on the green lawn near the dusty yellow road.
Amazing how grass in a desert wind grows
when you water and water and water.)
Now the road chokes on dust and me with it,
I can’t see the way for the bees.
And nowhere, not nowhere, can a man sit down
if he is not in a constant state of hunger.
Rest is a motion, a noise, a momentum,
unchanging as it carries you onward.
I would like to get off, driver – but he looks away,
and through Arizona we leave behind the day.

Translucent brown and amber ought,
through thousands of a thousand years,
be finely cut and kingward brought,
but this perfect, humble, sweet sweet candle,
she lit it just for me.

We live not within the splendor, the world the world adores,
we live among the many things that things alone could savor.
We live among the wood, with oblong corners and nails and knots,
darkened grains are stories formed within the lofty, lumbering lots
and nightly lighted on our wall; our own short lives
do but despise the time the lines remind.
But this candle – see the candle, see her light it just for me.

A carpet floor, a carpet warm, a carpet that we found.
Before our door, the words make clear: you are not welcome here.
There is only so much carpet, see, the world to go round;
if we guard not goods and places found,
we haven’t the wealth to buy it.
But notice now a cinnamon smell, an odor over the musk,
over the dust, the pine, the reconscu alofting in the air –
we smell the sweet smell of the candle now,
that she lit just for me.

We live amidst the spiders,
up in their corners, hiding away,
patient and dinner will come-
We live in plain things, things that are what they are.
The robes we wear are fashion-free
and warm against the cold,
and the does often, unbidden, come, with the dampness
and the brute-strength boars of sickness, death,
But there, the perfect candle, she lit it just for me.

Close together, we warm our hands, on the body each provides;
these hands – was it these hands? These hands, they do not cry –
they haven’t the memory – time slips by unrattling, for them.
But I remember, I looked in the candle, that she lit just for me,
and I thought, “I should leave, to go outside,
the trails out there to walk,
to find the place where I have not gone – before I too have died.

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