Poem for Now and Later



And then you wake. The engine room

Again, that ratio of silence to roar

Where each feels like the other. 

It’s kind of old fashioned to wake,

A little too decided in its means,

But the imagination is constrained

By the needs of the senses, which run

Yet are themselves run. A game

In which stretching toward is coming back 

No closer. Like going

From smooth to rough, but only like.

Or brass, if brass were rain

That taught you how to measure loss.

First the bed, which is so very

Forgiving that you often lose your place

In the trial, forgetting that it is

About some misplaced ornaments,

About still only having surrounds.

Then the aubade outside or beyond 

Where almost lives each bird

That flies or sits, making up a way

Through the enterprise. That’s about it

Yet far from it, the least of it.

Not so much that you have to do

Something, but want to, driven

Like a broom through stained glass.




Sweet Timothy



Paul Robeson, Malcolm 

X, Betty Shabazz

Joan Crawford, Judy

Garland, Aaliya 

Preston Sturges, Otto 

Rank, Jam Master Jay

All were interred, are now

In Ferncliff as easily

As the Common Star

Lily opens in the national

Parks of California 

After heavy rains

Their graves are not

Different from the other

Flat markers

In lowcut grass

As much alike as they 

Can be without being

At all the same, minor 

Variations of name, number

Available for reuse

Despite having occurred

Many times already 

Thus avoiding novelties

Of a day yet to come

Between the agreed-upon 

Ones (it doesn’t

Exist so much as

Hover at the edges

Of the calendar)

You wake up in 

A dateless agreement 

Not to speak of it 

So it moves around

Silently across 

The word boundaries

Lost in your mouth

Holding whatever is 

Impossible to say

The post- of the pre-

A name for un-

Disturbed earth

Or anonymous jar

Of a brother’s ashes

Traveling vertically 

Through the horizontal plane 

Every day of the year

In total ignorance

Of that system of dividing

Experience into

Familiar blocks

The strict plot of day

Where strangers will

Stay strange

Across the odd hours

Especially in

A mild white April

Unending soft cloud

Or clouds and the last

Of the dew combine

To make the green

Greener while walking

In White Plains, thinking

Of the East Bay rioting

With wild flowers

Thus I was

And finally am

In as many as two 

Places at once, at 

Least two times, now

Able to confess

No one or thing exactly 

Dies, carrying 

Like a distant order

To disperse

Stop holding the street

In memory of 

What happens on it

In all the cities

If you wait for spring 

It comes back

If you forget to 

It returns 

Neither is acceptable

Even if you get 

The hillsides you want

Exploding with silver 

Lupines, which are truly 

Blue and what you want 

Is also orange poppies

Tucked judiciously scant 

Among high grasses

Destroying borders 

A little at a time 

Trading bodies 

With surrounding earth

The sun can’t reach 

But knows is about 

(Hovering) like extra 

Domains almost not 

In space but of it 

All of its anywhere to

Which the living bodies are 

Reactions, under-

Whelming, over 

Calendrical, in-

Voluntary accounts 

Of inevitable

Collisions, the one 

With the other then

The other with

The one standing there

Being killed by having

No other place to go

Casting shadows 

Of inadvertence

Across the cemetery 

Morning not

Only this April 

But every presumed 

Theater or front

Spring holds somewhat

Differently for each 

Of its fugitives

At risk of being sent

Under or left

To their own devices

Standing separately

Kicking at nothing

Dirt where the grass

Grows less well 

Because visited

By agitation

In the photograph

They are turned 

To regard the potter’s field

Where they is my

Parents though also

Anyone else who comes

Where their child is 

Part of that remixing

April has prepared

So that you can’t know

Where one thing ends

The next begins

But can feel it go

To look at it (the

Month the grass

The photograph their stare

The limits of all 

These properties) is to 

Be knocking nearly absent-

Mindedly on a door

The difficult one

That doesn’t exist 

Till you wish it

Gone again 

Before you’re done

Conceiving it ajar 

So after can come

Going house to 

House all at once

Bringing what 

Poppies, primaries


The transpersonal 

Laughter thereof, an April 

Full of numbered dates

People appear to have

Made the mistake of

Being born in

Though none did

None would have 

Chosen this, preferring 

Something much else

A kinder version

Of the facts 

Dates run cruelly

Toward a greener 

Theory of mind, time-

Lapse photography 

From the beginning of

The first section of 

The Waste Land

Where things are caught

Becoming other things too 

Fast, speeded- 

Up photography

Made of roots

Avant, après

La lettre, which is 

French for let’s

Ditch the present 

Without leaving it

For any stray fantasies 

Of saving daylight

Detaining it in

Conveniently invisible

Materials made 

To touch 

An actual edge in 

Time, doorway

Thereof, closed 

Ajar, silent English

For the earth is mostly

Unwatched clocks

Little ones telling 

Off time, the cold pockets

Thereof, the ofness 

Of there, future

Already here

In the wrong month 

One of those 

All of which 

James Baldwin, Béla

Bartok, Thelonious Monk

Remain remains

Not chosen

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