Think about the shadow of work
All our lives we were there
Just as in love
We were under someone’s shadow
Long dark scroll of hair
On the nape of a neck
When we visited the ocean we stared at it
From long rows of metal chairs
We were an army of the paralyzed
It was okay to be obliterated by wincing blue light
Is the hawk passive as it flies
Looking for blood to become hunger
Our dreams wonder to themselves
While we are asleep and paralyzed
In between asking themselves
If we are the real ones
If we are the real thieves


Artificial Intelligence

The term implies there is a genuine article
and we are it. The paragon must be five
paltry senses that only vaguely understand each other,
wired together into a sort of bickering council.
Because our say-so reality closes us in,
closes us under itself like a bell jar
so clear we can no longer even see it,
because we die in that protectorate of the senses,
we believe past any rational leap that nothing,
no one will ever get past us. Evolution broke the mold.
It is the most artificial intelligence anyone could imagine.

[3 a.m. crickets, wall of sound: the ghosts of monks chanting in the yard]

                                        Their mind mass slows to the cool
September air, the tempo a function of temperature,
their self-explanatory dying, told without pity. Count the beats
to know how much impersonal darkness they have left.
I can’t hear it impersonally. I want to personify the sound.
I believe there is someone making that sound,
even if my someone is only dark splinters on the ground.
I feel it’s talking to me, and somehow performing my mind.
If I can’t take it any longer, I will throw open the front door
of my house and yell at them. They will grow quiet for a moment
as if listening to me. And then they (no they there) will continue
their chant. The sound will close back over me
like starlight, and I will drown in that.

A Grocery Cart

A grocery cart
is a constructive use
of metal holes
made small enough
to hold things in.

Our minds are probably
no different.
It’s just the holes
are much smaller,
and so is the merchandise.

Sometimes, it’s people
who push the carts,
and sometimes it’s nobody:
the wind. A ghostly cart
just rolls across a parking lot

all by itself, like this poem

on its little haunted wheels

squeaking.  bitching.

The Gnomist, The Circle

For a man to prepare for death, he must draw a circle around his life. The larger the circle is, the more miserable he is. Over decades, he learns to rein in the circle, choke it down to a small radius. A radius not even as long as the distance from his shoulder to his arm. That silly, burgermeister distance. Then much smaller than that. The radius of his eye to his chin, then the radius of an eyelash, then a personal geometry of pain emaciated down to the radius of a single hair on that one eyelash. On certain days, if no one speaks, he can almost convince himself he is an amoeba. Certainly on those extremely quiet days he feels like an amoeba lit by a flashlight. He feels pellucid.

He is now looking down one single hair of one of his eyelashes, like looking down a wife, and the other eye is squinted shut. This might as well be the first microscope ever in existence. The goofy ass of a man looking down the eyelash might as well be Leeuwenhoek. I bet he was a goofy ass of a man, anyway.

That narrow line of sight on that airstrip of the eyelash hair is the full extent of this man’s new sphere of existence. The other eye is tortured shut like the half of consciousness that is pure ice cream, that molten planetary core of liquid ice cream, constantly agitated by the neutrinos in the agitator-cogitator (like a Versailles-size pool of chocolate in sacred, liquid form, tortured by giant stainless steel mixers constantly churning everything, apocalyptic, Aztec bumper cars) that target the cerebral, planetary core of ice cream. The otherness of mind with which we catch the prettiness of pretty women or pretty men as they float past us mostly pretty ectoplasm racing for a bank. That thing.

He is looking down one hair of one of his eyelashes, the eye that is open. He begins wailing, apologizing to some sense of Otherness, maybe not a god this time, wailing at it, apologizing to it, that he even needs a single eye, a single hair on that single eyelash to look down like looking down the sight of a gun.  To take off from this like the mobile doom that is a doomed airplane. To exist. And that it feels the need to even exist. That it feels a joy. With or without a sight on its gun, its eyelash. The disembodied feeling of joy itself. Wailing and apologizing for that too. That it enjoys being an animal so much and losing time the way that animals do and apparently love to do.