Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Tower of Learning

The Tower of Learning is dark
And ominous, made of stone and shadow.
In its center, a spiral staircase leads
To rooms upstairs, locked and esoteric.
Masked sentries guard every door,
And birds of prey and wisdom perch
On the windowsills in the long silent hallways.
With a torch, I stalk the grounds,
As I traverse your body at night,
As I delve into your mind by day.
In the end, you are not so mysterious,
Not as much a bloody chamber enigma
As all that gothic lore would have me believe;
Rather, your essential structure is familiar,
And my ring of skeleton keys serves me well.
Still, my eyes do take their time adjusting
To the singularity of your configuration,
To the bends and folds of your cells.
So I blow on the fire in my hand,
And the room flashes brightly,
Brilliantly, and for an instant, I glimpse
The interior of the tower of you.
Instead of church bells in your belfry
I see your body, uncanny and naked,
Reclined on your side on the orchard floor,
Bathing in a bed of red apples.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I. Poem for Morning

Sweet potential, romantic readiness.
The baby slept through the night.
What stretches out before you is unknown,
Let us bring all the gods into this dawn
And ask nothing of them. Let them be.
I will fold my blessing under your skin,
We will breathe our forms into this day.
What a motley promise is life!
Though I dreamt again of my own death,
I pledge to meet you here again at nightfall.
Yet, the promise of happiness is but a promise,
And never the thing itself — fingers of sunlight
And the play of shadow on our bedroom wall.

II. Poem for Noontime

We have made it halfway without harm.
The noonday sun is hidden in gloom.
For lunch I had a cheese quesadilla,
And I read the newspapers of doom.
Why does the business of daytime
Seem so paradoxically parenthetical?

III. Poem for Bedtime

Let us reflect upon the suffering of others,
Without which our happiness is not possible.
They buried our soldiers in Virginian earth,
But nobody saw, though the dignity of each man
And woman requires our moral attention.
I wanted to tell you something I remembered
About an intimation I had when we first met,
But I’ve forgotten now... Begin with your childhood
And tell me please the story of your life in detail...
Do we want to practice wakefulness in our dreams
Tonight or shall we merely sleep deeply and well?
Because even consciousness ends eventually...
Tomorrow let us transform the world into our vision!
And before we sleep let us wade in an ocean of kisses.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

There is no teacher

There is no teacher. There is no teacher
Anymore. Not in here. Not in this mind.
The situation is dire, dire is my teacher.
There is no student. There is no student
Chasing the teacher through the alleyways.
My condition is critical, critical is my teacher.
There is no ancient framework, no ancient
System in which I work to justify everything.
There is no teacher because there are no problems!
No problems! Do not introduce chaos,
Chaos is my teacher. Do not introduce disorder,
Disorder is my teacher. There is no teacher
Anymore. No chalkboard, no classroom, no rubric.
No Book of Law, no Law of Book, no Homework.
There is no teacher besides the dawn and the day
And the woman and the baby and their cries.
There is no teacher. There is no teacher
Anymore. I am hereby released from my
Studies so I return redoubled to my studies.
I grade myself harshly, I usually fail, but I no
Longer give teachers my blood and money.
For there is no teacher. There is no teacher
Anymore. Fear is the teacher; go into fear.

Friday, September 12, 2008


“Don’t mesmerize yourself with words,” said my father, Mr. Radiant-Effulgent. I’m being ironic when I call him that. He worked in the Department of Justice and smoked Lucky Strikes. “I’ve been reading about emptiness-awareness-bliss,” I told him. “Damn those hyphens,” he said, “ever since your mother kept her maiden name, that’s been my feeling.” He stoked the fire with a stick. “Are we going fishing?” I asked. “In the morning,” he said, gazing up through the dark woods at the dark sky. “I’m afraid of big words,” I admitted. “You should be,” he said, “you should be petrified.” He poked at the fire, causing great red-orange sparks to leap about. “My English teacher, Mr. Polyphiloprogenitive, says that the sesquipedalians are dead.” My father pulled out his penknife and said, “This is how you whittle a stick.” Watching, I grew anxious, like an unevolved existentialist. “Am I stuck in a metaphor?” I asked him, “Are we both?” “What’d you say?” my father piped. I said: "What are we fishing for exactly?” He said: “For fish, my boy, for goddam sea bass.” We turned to stone and sat there for an eternity-moment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Man & Woman

“Spin around and let me look at you,” he said but what he meant was every woman is a Buddha. He thought she looked like Betty Draper from Mad Men and he saw Betty’s image superimposed over her own but what he said was, “You look wonderful.” She said, “Aren’t you sweet,” but what she thought was your tie is not straight. She straightening the knot of his tie. He guided her to the door of their apartment with his hand firmly on the small of her back and she said, “I’m so excited!” when what she was really feeling was a thousand points of light cascading through the limbs and cells of her body. He was feeling like he wanted to ravage her right then and there before they went out and she was feeling the same but they missed it and instead they would have tired and slightly drunken sex later after the party. Standing on the corner, they waited a few minutes for a taxi and he said, “You can never get one when you want one, right?” but what he had wanted to say was something like I would be happy in a Turkish prison with you you are so goddam beautiful and after all all women are Buddhas and you are the one in the center of the tanka painting of my heart. He felt a pang of cowardice for having not said at least something of the sort. He said, “You are so beautiful,” and she blushed and again felt a deep sexual attraction for him, her man. She thought about having sex with him, maybe in the taxi, or in the various places she had thought about having sex with him throughout the day. As he opened the door for her, she said exactly what she thought, “You look like Don Draper,” and he laughed because he had had the likewise Betty thought about her earlier and after all this was why he had married her because they lived in the moment so well together, they thought and communicated their thoughts so well together, at least most of the time. He looked into her eyes before she ducked into the taxi and he wondered what it was in there in her eyes that he worshiped and he thought I worship you I worship you I worship you and he said, “Get in there, you silly goose.”

The Two Remaining Mysteries

There are two more things I need to know.
First, who killed Kennedy. Second,
In Chandler’s The Big Sleep, who pushed
The poor Owen Taylor and his car
Into the bay. Who are these murderers?
Once I know these facts I will be
Completely and utterly satisfied.
All my thinking-flow will abruptly cease.
Origins and particle accelerators be damned.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ride of the Valkyries

To feel sad when it rains seems cliché,
but such is my felt sense this morning.
I feel her willful silence beating inside,
like the dreadful space between thunder.

How many ways have I numbed myself
to this tragic parade of our lost love?
How many identity projects, work emails,
how many whiskey saviors served neat?

But what purpose lie in my playing the song,
Andrew Bird’s Sovay, over and over again?
The longer we hold on, the more we suffer,
and the more meaning our story holds.

Fergus taught me to turn from my brooding,
and open into the vast expanse of sky.
But this transcendence breaks down under
its own weight when the sky is full of tears.

Do real heartbreakers savor this sense,
this bittersweet cleaving of two hearts?
Am I one? Are you? I fall through the song,
deeper and harder, until this ache is pure.