The writing about was the writing.

Ways We Avoid the Future

At a party, pick up a bench and throw it straight at the consequences.

Don’t watch the car hit the roadblock. Wonder whether it’s troubling that you aren’t troubled by the clanging danger, but decide instead to continue resting your head in the familiar lap of broken.

Sleep for two years, waking up to feed the cat and delay the inevitable.

Ask her how she places emphasis so skillfully, and really listen to the sounds of her answer. Study him as he cultivates an attractive standoffishness.

Practice, practice, practice.

Leave halfway through the movie. Pull up roots quicker than they push down. Weed the yard; leave every home you tend to.

Collect excuses, and build a careful museum to house your collection.

Reads like a prayer (but isn’t)

The writing about the writing is the writing. Let me pick up at the beginning let me believe the circle let me push past the absences let me bury my dead. It reads like a prayer but isn’t.

July is furious with me. I woke up this morning and the scar from the graft was burning after months of calm. I note the dates as they arrive, but refrain from counting them all at once.

July has stuffed herself down my throat and I am breathless. There hasn’t been a single day this summer where the sky’s turned California-blue, whereas I am all California-blue.

When it hit, did you remember that you said you’d never survive to see it? And after, did you wonder if perhaps you shouldn’t have?

Apologies for all of those moments when I didn’t, but never for those when I did.

An explanation?

Arbitrary arrangement of coincidences. Somewhere between it happened and why did it happen. Somewhere between it. She isn’t gone so much as missing.

I’m never being straightforward with a pronoun. There was a reason. An explanation? A promise — to close a window.

The stubborn walk home from the train, sulking. Really didn’t ever know what I was doing, even when I ought to have known. When literally pressed against a wall, back down.

This feels like a line in spite of.
This feels like a spiteful line.
This line feels like spite.

Idea of compass. Suggestion of circle. A spinning song,

I’m all fragment and it doesn’t suit me. I’m all gone with missing. There is no asking for her(e).


Walking the length of the boardwalk, the half-constructed buildings

Feels like tipping, like the bucket is going to spill

Folded up, all edges —

Even the sharpness is a circle

Transformation without cutting —

A small white boat, sharply absent ocean

Birds climbing upward, a carving

Marked impossibly far from the thin yellow lines of sun.

Elbow room

(Space for movement)

What code
Is outgrown, too old for breaking

A singular reality

Really, counting days
Before going under

A new line,
Perhaps by empty

That the echo
Would have been enough

Science, though
Hollowed out
Is not reassurance

A window is left obscured

Fuzzy field of vision,
Whispered word

Repeated: repeat, repeat, repeat,

What code
Is too old, breaking
Structure before going

A new line

The Howling Bottoms of It

Let’s say I’m stronger than I think. That’s not the same as strong enough.

A perfect circle is not a problem solved. A perfect circle is not a line but doesn’t preclude the existence of lines. I have probably written nearly exactly that sentence before.

Two plates, twelve screws. Will I ask to keep them? Would I keep them in a jar next to the urn, my souvenirs of the saddest year, my proof of a singular reality in which these ashes and these pieces of metal belong wholly to me.

Let’s say that I might have scraped it, the bottoms. Let’s say that it’s always been that way. That’s not the same as finished.

Isn’t it pretty, the completeness with I am erasing myself from the story. Isn’t it clever, that the story is writing me back in. What I am in conversation with is obscured intentionally. From me, too. But the story remains informed.

The writing about the writing is the writing is the story is the circle is a line and where we meet, again.

Let’s say that I am not a character. That’s not the same as being real.


1. For You

You exist in ink. But this was promise
Finally, my silence. A strange kind of redemption
But I will never be strong enough for
All that I can’t know to protect from
What I’ve tied up in you and what you were.

Pilgrimage for a disciple cannot
Rebuild that road and thusly wanders.

I am plagued.

2. And You

You exist, but I have left you be.
It is purposeful, to keep you tangled and safe.
Late at night, staring up at a painting, forms
A couch, a catch. For that once,
Holy conversation, when you asked if you could.
I will not separate you out
Or mention forgiveness.

We know that I pretend, you and I
Have seen the howling bottoms of it.

3. But You

You exist in my bones. How many versions we’ve created
Convenient mirrors to distract. How I’ve grown
Used to your inhabitance. How I’ve used you.

You do not deserve this company I allow
You to keep. But a poor arbiter I remain
Indoctrinated not fully but full with an echo
Off of a tinny roof and summer rain.
Cure the nightmare,

I am waiting.

The referent refuses

The referent refuses to remain steady in frame of something more like, when we were stuck that time which falling –

And “try to keep perspective” on what might be a different kind of settling altogether. And “keep calm”. Keep outside the situation altogether.

Before it was distilled, before there was too much context, wasn’t it better? Wasn’t it easier? “It was never easier.” It wasn’t ever easier.

The middle of the night is one of the longer scenes. The settings aren’t complex but the range to be evoked is overwhelming.

I try to remind myself that I am just a vessel. Or, I am collecting experiences. Or, what a memory is and is not worth.

Sharp, enough, yet

This that prefers action verbs. This that writes. “This that” will have to do away with.

Remember memorizing villanelles to recite to your brain to slow it. Appropriately obsessive compulsive. Auden and Bishop as weapons.

As a child took to fight image with word and that quiet order of repetition.

Behind this: entryway, unguarded. Instead of this, exacting and precise.

Not to draw up the plan but to write the plan. There is a literal problem of geography that is complicated by chronology.

The outline isn’t sharp, enough, yet. This/that is throwaway. This that is everything.

Specific, worth and purpose

Last night I was in the shower and I called out to E. and to myself: I will never enjoy one minute of my life. There are too many conceivable contingencies each with specific anxieties. I was not being dramatic.

Earlier in the car we’d talked about leaving the kitten alone overnight. I said to E.: It’s not separation anxiety. It’s much more specific and obvious. If I’m not with him, he will maybe drop dead.

The problem is circle not syllogism.

I have been worried about poetry again. About my poetry its worth and cursed purpose. How it stands in the way of the story. This is my project, then, perhaps: To worry the poems to death, to kill them and let the story live.

Yes it is, absence-defined presence. It is two stories, that which did happen and that which did not happen. And all the iterations of what might. I cannot abide a one-sided conversation; this is worrisome.

And suddenly there is no window.