A door draws my mind into the idea
of an ideal room behind. It becomes heedless,
totally blind, to the real knob in its palm.
But reality is bland, my hand thinks, jejune.
Now, who the hell on earth listens to a hand?

The Cat Left Behind after the Squatters Were Chased Out

I am just an unlonely cat.
I am a loner but I am a tiger.
My family has left me this house.
It’s falling down, so I sleep on the roof.
The grass and trees are closing in,
so things will be shaded, greener soon.
Being a cat, I like that. (It’s summertime.)
The house was condemned, my family
driven out. They left me behind.
There’s some paper taped to the door
I cannot read. Sometimes I sit and look at it.
Sometimes I go through the busted window
and look for them. I cannot bring myself
to move my little Gore-Tex mouse from where
the kid last threw it. They were very poor,
so I took them in. Now they are poorer
without this house. Without me.
I am unlonely and rich.
I am a cat. The streets and the woods
are my palace, my house. They may
come back. They may not. You see,
I am a cat. I am out nothing.

no pity

Embezzle the universe,
steal everything it has of worth,
suck the juices from the rind,
make love to its ghosts
then the friends of those ghosts
and so on to infinity.
Stay up all night
stealing power and stealing feeling.
Leave nothing on your plate.
When the monsters in white everything
finally come for you (and they will)
be broke and exhausted
from a recent orgasm, dance, poem, wave, whatever,
some sort of explosion, anyway.
When they try to put you in a wheelchair,
throw it off the cliff into the ocean
and crawl to the nearest fix
of everything at once.
Don’t listen to your grandmother
who died rich and begging
others to tell her that her life was good.
If you don’t know, if you have to ask others,
it clearly wasn’t.
Though she looked regal in her coffin,
the white hair and sparkling jewels,
she was like the sixteen-year-old who took pills
and vanished before she was formed,
all the wild, sparkling nights ahead
trapped in the sinking stone of her body.
It doesn’t matter how many years that woman lived.
She was the same as the young girl
who swallowed the pills out of fear.
Take no prisoners in this life,
and especially not yourself.

The Animal

The suddenness of it all,
the coyote in the dumpster
behind the Dollar Tree
jumping out of it,
fleeing the human,
the goofy talking kids he ran between,
making them scream,
weaving across the highway,
missing speeding grills
by mere inches,
made it into the deep brush
grown up around the railroad tracks,
on fire at this time of day
with the dying sun,
and there he disappeared.
It is phenomenal
to be alive
at the same time
as things that struggle for survival
with this much style,
using the spark
of the specific gift,
the singers,
the screamers,
the runners like him,
or those who wrench
the horrible facts of existence
into stories
that buoy us as the gods
once lifted us, when we needed them.
We have a crazy gene
or two for this,
coded to move
us to the tune
of well-played bullshit
of any sort that’s geared
to survival,
though it makes us
crazy, though it
probably means
nothing but what
it is, it still is,
and always
our desire for it,
to be a part
of it, weirdly
comes on
and at us
and all we can say is,

Hell yes,
I want to be
a coyote too.

Poetry Koi Pond Anthology

Well, there are a few bright, odd-finned ones,
motley ornamentals,
feeding on colorful flakes
near the top,
sort of interesting
to watch,
for a few minutes
Then you notice yourself getting
a little tired
of their constantly open mouths,
blowing too similar bubbles.
After that,
it’s mostly the bottom feeders
of the pond
doing their thing
and feeling quite special
about it,
as ever,
all of it really just
what you expected
when you plunked down
twenty bucks
or whatever
for the privilege
of feeling this
pointless envy.
You’re still jelly,
even though you know
they’re all just
a school of fish
in each other’s shit
and sometimes
swallowing it.