It wasn’t love but desire for love that drove them.

Whoever. Ancient. I did love their words, and do, still,

today, spring, the season being all of now I need;


ancient spring but the smell a present, only 

present. They named the season for being first, arising

like water from the rock…source. To them, ver, a word


in Latin but Melbancke wrote In vear, the husbandman lop

their trees, to the intent that afterward they may growe

the better while now I prune the apple and


remember crape myrtle, azalea, camellia, jasmine, all

abloom by now back there

all fill a mind with nearness.


But an airplane passes. I hear it. And various drones

that mean a kind of being—the vacuum cleaner,

the floor polisher, also flies and bees


and a distant ocean, an interstate,

a mother’s Singer, sounds,

the electric typewriter from a past


switched on, waiting. Or a ceiling fan

like blood circulates mindless

of the season, the smell, the inner ear.






























If it is true that 

Velazquez intended the exposed weave of canvas

to indicate brickwork in the wall of the Jardin

de la Villa Medicis in Rome, then

how modern! of him to allow the thing itself


to shine through the simulation.  Some people are critical of

Like all Virgos, I am skeptical     vague statements. I tend rather

for instance, of astrology.            to be critical of precise statements: 

                                                    only they can be labeled “wrong” 

                                                                   —Raymond Smullyan


Q: Can you hear me?

A: No.




An interest in the lifespan

of clouds informed his vision

of the impossible (the old use

of shine, to be transparent—


through paint the canvas shines; or,

the paint is thin stuff,

it shines through)


Q: Can you see me?

A: No, you are shiny.




Did you observe his The Forge of Vulcan?

A piece of iron glows orange

or seems to—in Abbeville I would watch

my uncle at his forge make metal glow

and what would shine would be turned

and twisted into use.

But it seemed to me I could see

through the iron into the source of shine, atomic. 253 
































There will be morning, and there will be evening

and between is the life lived, leaving out the darker hours.


A life in the light as a burden, as a cost, a calculus

of straight-edged shadows. Of blinking into the sun.


A science of vision was once upon a time

how to paint pictures, how to draw, how to 


remember the small shadows of a face. Fact.

(But what IS the probability that a random chord


of a circle is larger than the side of an inscribed

equilateral triangle? Not the answer but the asking


can make a life in the light.) Evening as in

leveling, rounding the corners, softening


the edges. It is evening now and he thinks

he sees the child he was or loved among


the leaves, some shrubbery or other whose green

substitutes for night, whose interior could hide


any number of small animals or children

peering out calculatingly.254 































She promised her mother she’d be home by puberty

but the times do change, the expectations and the frippery

of culture, and besides, it would be too late by then any

way, any Tao. How could we hope


to raise young humans to be other than they want

to be. By “we” I mean those of left at the lapping edge

of the future, people of the beach, watching for the triangular

sail to see if it is black or back at all.


Here is what numbers once were: A group of people 

buy hens together. Each person contributes 8 wen, and 3 

wen are left over; 7 are contributed, and 4 is the deficit. 

How many people, and 


what is the cost of the hens? Chiu Chang Suan Shu 

(“Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art”). My personal

favorite is the paradox of material implication; as they

say, ex contradictione sequitur quodlibet.


Speaking in the traditional future subjunctive she

promised to be home, and home she was in time

if not on time. It was a new world, where farms are

server farms, cost Google millions


per month to cool—the principle of explosion proves

everything, she said to me that evening, both of us

avoiding the ghost crabs, admiring the squadrons

of pelicans cruising, lusting


after the dolphin displays, the play of splash and glitter

in the setting sun. See, there is life there yet, yet

being ambiguous. And yet. People live here,

you’d be amazed, the poet wrote. 








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