FRIEND OF A FRIEND. April 12th, 2017

I’m certain she knew what she hoped I’d infer
though she stopped euphemistically short of a slur.
You’re earthy, she said, and I knew what she meant;
sophistry couldn’t obscure her intent;
I wasn’t the sort she’d have sought for her friend

so both of us knew that we’d have to pretend;
assuming she thought me perceptive enough
to filter the message and tumble the bluff.

THE ENLIGHTENMENT. February 24th, 2017

I balk as superstition’s arrows
wing at snakes and hit the hiss,
knowing firmly fortune farrows
as it will and doesn’t miss,

which is itself a fateful view;
if I cast fortune as a force
that won’t distinguish me from you
and romps from every wonted course
I must be superstitious too,

but trammelled by a class of laws
I can’t construe as gods or fate.
For all I might commend my cause
there’s nothing to propitiate.

THE LEAP. January 26th, 2017

On bare and bifurcating branches
squirrels traffic news and food
shifting swiftly, deftly,
from the borders to the brood.

And in their automatic progress
neurons ply a like terrain
harvesting the senses
for the cradles of the brain,

adding novel junctions
to the matrix of a map
the way, perhaps,
darting squirrel leaps across a gap.

INSIDE MAN. January 20th, 2017

More, perhaps, than it appears,
this, the sum of fifty years;

the content of a spotless room,
the net and nest of one for whom

an analgesic order brings
relief from all disordered things;

a meagre scene to contemplate,
were it not the world put straight.

UNIVERSE. January 5th, 2017

The tilted bowls of telescopes
pan the particles and waves
that arc off far coronas
or slip the grip of stellar graves.
They sieve atomic signatures
that glimmer in the static sand
adding weight to what we hope
to live to come to understand,
for ours is a contingent claim;
the dust we are is all we hold,
and prone, amid the cosmic wrack,
as stars ignite and stars grow cold,
we dabble in a heedless stream
that could wipe our encampment out,
before the scouts we send out roving
find a suitable redoubt.
And some promote this untrod Eden
claiming we should be prepared;
that exodus alone will let us fix
what cannot be repaired.
They’d slough this soiled planet
for the prospect of a fitter one,
for some unsullied frontier
humanity can settle on
that wants for governance and flags
where none supposed they flew before,
and novel fruits are waiting
to be eaten to the core.

OTHERWISE ENGAGED. November 25th, 2016

I’ve gone years without caresses;
helping women out of dresses
doesn’t stir me like it used to.
Solitude, that’s what I’m used to.
Certain urges I can bury;
sex has proved unnecessary.
I can live without the crutch,
or tenderness of love, and much
of what I know about
myself is fodder for the doubt
that wells up when I dwell on what
I think it best I haven’t got.
Will I die alone? I might.
I’m okay though, I’m alright.
I don’t find myself beset
by pointless longing and regret.
Instead I watch my tics and habits
multiply like wild rabbits
relishing, to some extent,
the kind of life one might repent.