The morning grew clear toward mid-day,
no clouds, just a west wind
to stir your memory.
How you thought truth was in you,
how you swore allegiance to companionship,
how you lived in the night
and passed judgment on the light,
a light you rejected, a payback,
a settling, a comeuppance,
how you failed to notice, even then,
that you hadn’t the status to be rejected,
how you slowly saw, slowly, grudgingly,
that rejection was neither of you nor for you,
and how little it mattered.
Later, you try to start over,
still wearing the skin you were born in,
all those scars the only evidence.
Just before the final extinction
Just before the final extinction
There were strange and wonderful creatures
Elusive slabs of silver
Darting through the water
Among shape-shifting bulbs
Trailing fierce limbs
And some barely-there whisps
Still deadly with near visible
Strands of poison
And the stone-clasping tendrils
Living dually beneath and above
The frothing rock wacked about
By unseen surrounds
Miniscule bits buzzing through the air
But strong enough to pierce the
Thick outards of others
To suck their vital fluids
Long bendy tails with no body
Slinking among roots and shoots
A mouth at one end and nothing at the other
Lumbering bellowing lumps
With long tusks
That dazzled white in the pristine sunlight
Oddest of all, a bipartite creature
Split nearly symmetrical
Nearly similar but cruelly not
Moving by alternating stilts
Spindly and unbecoming
The two halves bound in eternal embrace
Clutching each other’s throat
Desperate to let go
But trapped, trapped by fear of succeeding
The Word Fire
“The word fire,” says Sensei,
“does not burn your lips.”
But say, Sensei, that the word fire
Burns your heart, the heat rising
Through your neck, and, yes,
Singeing your tongue on the way out?
What if the word eagle
Makes you feel like soaring,
All the while tethered to your
Earth-born dreams, that seem only to rise
Or the word dying, though it seems a lie,
Still feels dark and wet, not exactly cold,
But too thick for that?
I think, Sensei, that even your
Ancient schemes cannot touch
Your finger points only to a place
Where the moon might have been
What dogs lack
What dogs lack is perspective.
There are no dog priests.
No dog poets barking rhythmically at the hollow moon.
No dog inspectors, no dog police.
A sniff is just a sniff, a scrap is just a meal.
They fill no days pondering the meaning
Of the star- rooted sky,
Or why a corpse will disappear
Slowly, like yesterday’s breakfast.
There is nothing sacred or profane,
Nothing indelible stamped on the
Hide-like souls of dogs.
They eat. They shit. They sleep.
They’re in heaven or hell, one the same as the other,
They see no difference between
A special day or no particular day.
You can’t sell a dog an insurance policy.
They like the warmth of a human body,
The sound of deep sleep,
The feel of an embrace across the depthless
Helix, as distant as love, as close as touch.
If there’s food, they will eat all of it.
Along About Now
Along about now,
A particular group of photons,
Some 200 million light years away,
Is heading in our direction.
They’re out there.
At the same time,
A delegation is leaving my face,
Bound for cosmic intersection.
After all the debates have passed,
Long after the poor old Earth
Has been wrung free of its
Infection of life
Their memories wiped clean
Will pass in the distant night
As unaware of our anguish
As we are of their fate
Voyager 1 is expected to leave all solar influence behind, and slip into interstellar
space soon, very soon. It will be the first man-made object to do so.
An inconsequential piece
Floats miraculously out
From the sun
So long, goodbye
We’ve heaved you gone
And yet you write back
As if you’d found work
Beyond the heliopause
Where strange bits of nothingness
What do they make of you?
Too smooth, too rough?
Too many kinds of things
To be of any use to entropy?
I do hope
Things work out for you.
How Swiftly Came
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