but aren't they all random?



A Pocketful of Poesy was a Poem-a-Day(-on-Average) Blog* up until the great derail of 2013. The impossibly-high standard of quality proved impractical to keep up, without a book deal. But don't take my word for it: click RANDOM and judge for yourself! And feel free to offer your critique.
*based on poem rate for calendar years 2009-2012. Also, kidding about the book deal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

do not disturb

monsters have made my bed, and I
don't wonder why I can't sleep at night
the sheets drawn so tight, you could bounce
a roll of quarters, I can't kick the corners
out, and I can barely slide myself down
in and snug. When I have, when I've worked
my way in and snug tight, it feels like
my limbs are paralyzed, and I'm ready to go
without a fight

"piece love and understanding"

A lot of people seem
to have lost friends, or
blocked, cut off, de-friended
people, de-personed people, un-
personed

friends, now former friends

over the recent political thing.
Me, I don't know. I don't get that.
But it's up to them, you know?
You can't make a person
care enough about politics
to not
withdraw
from public discourse
they personally disagree
with.

It's not people's job
in most cases, to care.
They're not being paid
for the aggravation, so
it's something they may do:

Withdraw.

Some people feel
unpleasant viewpoints belong
someplace else,
other than in their face. And I agree
- that's totally their own call!
Your face, your call. I say:

people should sink down
into their own little insulated bubbles,
and hey, hate everything outside of them
(which we know is the problem)

That's how progress works! Eventually,
if we keep at it, working hard, we will achieve
complete harmony: to agree with everyone
we know, and to completely fail to understand
all others

as the greater part of the world, neither understanding
us, nor caring for our concerns, necessarily
grinds us under
altogether

which is only right,
from that perspective.

just to see

can it possibly be?

that my presence here?
is as hateful to you?

as it is to me?

I hate to say this
I've never been a sadist, but
maybe I'll stick around
just to see

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

track

seems not worth
the effort you put in
but it's too late
to get it back
so what - continue?
or turn back
step off the path
cut off cross-country?
to what end?
there's nothing out
in those directions, either
now.

read in

you can't read in
between the lines, there's
nothing written, there
by anyone
you'll strain your eyes
there are no messages
in code, implied
you can't
read in

but if you try
you'll find
whatever you decide
you've found
whatever your mind thinks

between the squints
and glares
and blinks

share alike

Share alike?

Do you want some of mine?
Hey, yours looks pretty good, too!
Have a bit of mine? No? Okay.

Yours looks pretty good too.

I bet it is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

do math no harm.

I will do math no harm.
Though I may hate it,
sometimes. Not always, but
sometimes - I may and do. But
I will do math no harm. Though
I could easily crush countless numbers
under the grinding wheels of language, art,
repurpose numerals as mere design elements,
deconstruct their meaning and what they symbolize,
with their minus dash, plus cross, division slash
(or bar and dots) and that damn X or asterisk
that means to multiply, I must simply

be the bigger man than that. I will let math
lie. I will let it play out.

I will let math roll on, proud,
unbowed, implacable as always

as if universes were built
upon it.

almost lost a leg

it's to do with
the intersection
of the infinite
and the mundane: anything
can happen, and almost did.
And if you're honest with
yourself: that leg of yours
isn't so secure
and invulnerable
as you'd like to think.

The other interesting aspect is,
I did almost lose a leg! Probably.
And so did you,
if you think about it.

For me probably, and probably
for most people probably, if we could be
honest with ourselves, if we could be
aware of the many horrible things
that almost befell us and -
- owing to the timely intervention
of chaos - did not befall;

if for every one of those, we could
have a leg, we'd be centipedes
but instead, we're left
with our own leg, whole.
And infinitely not lost. Our leg,
un-severed, provides a glimpse:

the huge web
of interconnectedness
that we traipse through obliviously

each morning, and on through the day. It seems
likely to the brink of certainty

that each of us

could easily look back on our lives, and say
"how many, many instances there were
where we - all unknowing - very nearly

did
lose a leg."

memory sucks us dry

I have a strange memory
of passing a book in bed.
Each of us reading a chapter aloud.
We were into a routine,
and a glass of water passed
from side table to side table as well.
Reading out loud can be taxing.
We enunciated, as if on stage,
only more softly. Conscious
of mistakes, but weighing
the greater disruption
- whether to smooth over and on, or
exacerbate by backing up,
repeating?

We each read well,
in strong voices,
clear and warm.

I don't remember what book.

I don't remember what bed.

I don't remember what us.

Who were we?

reality and you.

Reality is an angel
with a busted halo and one wing
in a sling. Reality
holds the cards, but face-out,
so it can't see its own hand.

Reality
has roughly the same effect
whether you're a stiff breeze,
or a smooth rock
sunning in a shallow tide pool. Reality

cheats when it has to.

Reality gets more interesting
the less you pay attention to it.
Reality has a way of sneaking up
on the insane.

Reality encompasses many,
many different kinds of
cheese - most of them equally
valid. Reality

has a little bit to do
with you,
and a little bit to do
with me.

Reality
doesn't want to know what love is.
Reality
keeps intruding on your dreams.

Reality wasn't the first thing
you became aware of.

Reality decides whether or not it exists.

Reality would prefer to remain anonymous.

Reality is not to be anthropomorphized.

Reality has never lost a fight.

Reality is a splendid and convincing
liar. Reality beats the alternative. Reality
has nowhere else to go. Reality gets
the most out of itself. Reality
has never been wrong about one thing.

Reality takes the rest of us for granted.

Reality doesn't have much
to say for itself. Reality puts its best foot right
where you might not want it. Reality
seems a bit too much, sometimes.

Just sometimes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

not much good

I see not much good,
in all I do
and anyone is free to find

whatever good there is
to keep,

and to discard
whatever good there ain't

when I look back,
I weep
at all good there ain't

but sometimes, I am comforted
when someone mentions something I disdained

and said that it was good

to them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

abashed the devil

the first thing God creates
and loves - is light

God saw, and said: it's good

the light said: no
you're wrong
I'm not

the whole world since has understood
that God's opinion goes too far.
Sees too much good

- not what we see:

the worst in us.

and we accuse
what God loves best
of devilry

banquets of words

As to banquets,
they're only for whoseover wishes a morsel!
there is no command to gorge. When laying one out,
I just cook what the ingredients
turn into on the way through the kitchen.
If nobody shows up to eat them, well,

As Jem the Gelfling, (or was it Jen?) the Gefling said,
in response to the question

"What is writing?"

"Words that stay."

The uneaten banquet
of words, at least, will keep.

And maybe later I'll sweep
through, graze it over myself,

- realize what I REALLY meant -

so next time, I'll be able
to cut to that one sentiment

say one (1) sentence

that hits that intent, square.

It's happened!
But the banquet laid bare
is often the key.

A catalyst
for later-developed supplement-pill meal substitutes

which, thanks to improvements in technology,
are every bit as god damn delicious

Criticism? Please

Oh, don't worry about insulting.

I'm okay with my style, enough to take THAT
from anyone whose opinion I can hear
and rate. Right? I hope. Aware
as I am of its limitations,
its many imperfections - I know
my style, and I'm okay with it.
Enough to know that it can be annoying
too, but it's always been the best
that I can do.

words, for what

Words are for what they're worth,
don't let
me inflict
or afflict you! Take
what you can get: what's useful, and leave
all the rest

- if it doesn't
make sense,
it's me who has failed
to put that sense in, I'd say.
Sure,
no point in you putting
more thought into it than I
did!

I said
what I meant,

at best.

as if I think!

think too much, you say

I assure you, it would take
way more thought and work to put
what I mean in a casual conversation
into words in some other form
other than how it flies
off the fingertips, trips from the tip
of my tongue. I essays
no essays, and the words come
pretty much out, how they come
with no thought. You

who say I may think too much
have beaten me to the first thought
upon the matter, upon
my own words.

Most of the time.

songwriting advice

a second-verse flashback, maybe?
Take us back to an earlier stage
between these two. What's going on
back then, that led us to now?

...or that could lead us back again
to the charged and magnificent hook,

refrain

(reprised in past-tense iteration, perhaps
- maybe this river swim is a metaphor,
but maybe it's something that
played out once before, and has
been burned into mind
in a kind of perfected picture
ever since?)

Were things different then, or were they
the same? Now
could the seeds of today's storms be seen

yet floating on the breeze
of that younger day? And if so,

how?

Better work on the chords a bit as well.

what's left of home

back to nothingness,
like a week in the desert

like the words too hard to sing along
as a favorite song
goes on,
and on

and I can't turn it off, 'cause it meant
so much

to you
and me

to us.

I remember how much
we had - it was not so long
ago, that my life
was forever
right.

For the first time in my life,

I know
I'm wrong.

and I won't be fixed tonight

8:03

8:03

at 8:03 a.m. that day
I knew what you have meant to me
but I can't say
what all you'll mean - each day
pass by, to futures seen
in glimpses, calculations made
through haze and fog, through crystal
balls. It's not predictions that make ways -
it's will combined

that knocks down walls

and all my will is in your cause.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"fine"

When I say a fine day, a fine
morning, when I respond that I am

"fine,"

I do not mean okay.

Or passing middling. I mean:

Fine. Like fine things, fine
like treasures of rare work
and craft, like sunsets and smoke rings;
fine, like the sea at noon so bright,
so swathed in dancing carpets of glittering white
diamond sparks that the midnight blue deep
between those close-packed stars
seems as dark and as black as space -

fine. Like the fog of golden dust,
filtering into a redwood cathedral,
hung in silent still rays
as the sun stops in,
to pray.

homecoming

If you catch a fish you intend to keep
as a forever friend, don't throw it back.
But if to vegan ways you convert mid-cast -
just apologize, with a hearty laugh!
Mr. Fish won't mind, as he flies waveward
- splish silverly back into blest wet
scales meeting blest wet gills breathing
blest wet air - or what passes for it,
in that blest wet world.

cougars

...what's the distinction
To me, see, a cougar is...

I'm too old for a cougar.

Cougars are out there
going after dudes
who are in their twenties (And more power
to 'em! A toast to you, "happy hunting,
and willing prey!"). And

they dress like they want to belong
to a demographic. I think. And they
believe they're damn sexy, or at least,

you get the impression that's what
they want you to think - but
it's all sort of a...fierce projecting
of that attitude. It's a shoulder-chip,
it's a matter of:

you better see it that way or else, PERSONALLY OFFENDED.

I generalize. Of course, I generalize. In general,
I generalize: valid. Not valid in specific, though
I've met a few cougars! Some self-described,
others otherwise. I find them great fun
to hang out with, in general

they love my vicious fashion critiques of passersby
and my smart sense for cocktails, they're usually quite
cosmopolitan, sophisticated,
highly-opinionated,

and it's rare that a cougar will not be able
to back up her opinion with some basis, if
you're curious to hear where she's coming from!

In short, I've nothing against cougars at all.

ladylike

I picture her
as ladylike.
I mean class
on a level
that does not aspire
to mere aristocracy.

This

is how she's always presented herself
to me.

time to waste part one

The best wasted time
is on each other.
We lavish it
on those with whom
wasted time feels
most sinfully rewarding,

and though we get next
to nothing back besides
the enjoyment

of that sin - of time
not well-employed, so much as
well-wrung, we find such time
strung out, well-wasted, and we
are ever on watch for opportunities
to do the same thing, to waste
time so precious, again.

The second-best wasted time
is meaningful work.
But that kind is oh so rare

you could waste your whole life looking
for just one chance to waste time like that.

The most amazing of all is when
an each other finds itself
- each, in the other -
not only an endless stretch of time
well worth wasting together, but also
a meaningful work to be made, created
by two pairs of hands in an effort
understated, elegant, with joy
in the making and love in
each day's labor.

time for that, most people
will never get to have

what we have. Here,
let's waste it

while we can!

part two: time, wasted

time goes in a different
- not direction, really
there's one way which
is forward, and time

flows differently, in
different places or spaces
or speeds, when you have
taken time to celebrate

with perhaps, far, far
too much champagne
or was it prosecco,
or was it cava,
or was it simply
"sparkling white"

- it was all of these, as the bottles
with their labels

will remain in the room
to testify. A few
upright,

several
lolled or rolled
across the available surfaces, lounging

time

is sparkling white,
when you take time to drink it in
and blink, and propose

a toast, a proposition.

a proposal, if
you will

so will she,

maybe

time wasted part three

All we can do
is measure it out
with whatever watch we keep,

in the sleepless watches
of the night and always
to very little if not no
purpose,

we waste time.

wasted time part four

Ah, time
is wasted. Wasted
on the young, and the old,
wasted on us. Of course
it is wasted! We couldn't
make a thing with it
if we tried,

we haven't the infrastructure.

advice on "go for it"

if I don't see someone
attractive in the moment, I go for it, I
there isn't much in the way
can't just justify if you
are the stars out, and the moon

look, tonight

there was obviously fate, which
proved on second attempt

to be

I can't believe

I am proud of her. I can't believe
how far she's come, but still
I'm not the only one
who should be proud: she
did it all, everything
it takes and more

she did the work

of cutting loose dead weight,
and turning loose,
and turning out,
and showing fate
the door.

if money was ass

if money was ass
baby I would hold
yours up to the light,
before I cash that

OW

cha-ching!

wait

that won't even make sense
it should have been
if ass was money

anyway, baby
I can see your ass
is not a counterfeit

it's the genuine bill of goods
see? there's that little reverse-face
presidential tattoo, just there hiding
on the right side

wait

that's not your ass

this
is a hundred dollar bill.

Just what do you take me for,
baby? Am I some
commodity? is this some
transaction? well

NO SALE

my love is for free or not at all!

baby,

what's the meaning of this attempted filthy lucre?
you can't sell love in this state baby! What a pitiful
state if you could! oh yeah

that's right. we did
bet on the game didn't we. I forgot. I won, huh?

in your face

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ah, ouais

"tout le monde l'aime l'amour,
pas maintenant - toujours, toujours"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a conspiracy of pernicious influences

Well, the abortion van
was late again, so I practiced assault
weapon drills with my friends
while we carded the neighborhood kids for IDs
- we refused to supply them with cigs
or with weed or with alcohol, but
we drew catchy cartoons
that were targeted straight
to their childhood views and abused
their impressionable minds, entertained
within inches of lives
to embrace all the strangest and vilest
video games, the most violent
movies and music
and comics and sports. The kids,
fully programmed,
replied "EAT OUR SHORTS,"

- a retort we included
in our full reports.

body mind survival

body mind survival
is after all, often enough
a surpassing concern for those of you
of less than considerable intellect!
or personal advancement, in terms of,

you know.

The rest of us, sure, get over it
, and die.

soon enough,
you will give up
give in, and stop
the useless struggle. Join us
but we, the enlightened, somewhat

will have gone before, gone on ahead of you, and

it puts the lotion

it doesn't want to spread its wings and fly,
it wants to hunker in and down,
and safe and sealed
in walls
and ceiling, and

be shut, secure

and frown.

Drown.

down,
as I slip

the surface breaks
with bubbles from
every last breath

I took

my memory tells me
there is other air
to breathe, deep beneath

so I sink, to look

more spam

"Need Anything for Your Trip?"

asks the email from Alaska Airlines.

yes

yes, there is. Could it come quicker?

I've got a ride,
and a place to stay,
but there's too many days
in the way between now,
and when that plane
comes swooping down,
to spirit me up among sun and clouds,
then dip, bring me back
through a morning fog
to rain-kissed earth
in a town, in a woods
by a river so wide

where I walked with my love
one time in the mud of the bank,

giving just as much thanks
as her sweet, dumb dog

268

Some of the best work I've ever done
was under some damn fool arbitrary deadline. I want
to make that clear. I have not stretched and gessoed
one canvas, since homework stopped being assigned.

And painting was my first love! Anyone who says
"do it unforced, do it natural" is not doing it,
is my guess. Or if they are, bully for them. Me

I need a bully. Even if it has to be me, if I don't have
some damn fool arbitrary deadline to meet, even if it
is as simple as: "Play 3 songs a day" - which by half way
through the third has me in the mood to write, even if
it is "write 365 poems per year" - which on the face of it,
well, seems a bit excessive.

But if I have to write three hundred and sixty five
poems a year, I write two hundred good poems a year.
Many of which I consider very good. And perhaps twenty

will be

of such a

thing!

I can't conceive they came from me. They came
through me.

They exist because I had to write them. Only because I made
myself have to write them. They were not in me, waiting. They
never would have come out if I had not already gotten the machine
fired up, running hot, spitting out pig iron alternating with gold
ingots and fire.

Okay. So if I don't have to write any poems, then I will
write ten poems in one year.

All doggerel. Free-verse doggerel. Stuff like "my love for you
is like a"
crap, basically.

To those of you who feel work must be produced "freely,"
unforced, without arbitrary deadlines -

Hey! How's your work coming?

Well, I hope.

Coming along well!

Day 318

I should have 318 by now.
I'm at two-sixty six. That's
short by fifty two. This poem-a-day
pace kills me each November. It
gets so I don't even care to rhyme.

See? Is this poem? Does this count?

Well sure it does. Look at it. It's in
that sort of

"versified" blocky format. It's clearly
free verse. Or at least, very cheap
verse.

Two sixty seven.

own world

the rain falls down
on us both from outside
it's a world that we share,
but it's different for each.
Far above - over both of us, it seems to me
there's a mile-thick cloud,
and we're both underneath
but you smile like the sun

I am soaked to the bone
as the rain's coming down
hard on both of us, right?

each in our little world,
I am standing in rain.
But I'm standing by you -

keeping warm in your light

too involved

my thoughts are too involved. I think
of one thing, it suggests another and I have to say
the next link in the chain, it suggests a train
and my mind keeps hitching cars as the engine
never stops

gathering steam. It's amazing
if it stays on track, but more often, no: this train
goes off-road,
cross-country,
a tangent some may call it, but
there's a more prosaic term
for a train-wreck.

If I could remember what it is. But
how can you stop, when each link seems to fit
and lead inevitably to the next, which is worth saying,
which bears repeating, even - and as the pileup
starts attracting news copters, I keep piling on
cars. At some point,

here it comes!

get ready for the caboose.

Oh, yes thank god finally

a complete thought.

too soon

it isn't as if
anyone can tell right now. For one,
it's a secret. Can't say. For two,
the truth has yet to be known! For
three, it won't matter if or if not,
once you've made the call.

Twice, if necessary.

the human hearts

the human heart's a fathomless reach
down a bottomless depth
up a wingless lift
with its tether, snapped
by its endless stretch -

in a stringless gift,
from each,
to each

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

to now and future genius, bitterly

Please keep writing, dear

especially
write angry. Especially
write sad. Especially
write passion. Write it just
as hard as you mean it, so that
as happiness comes

you will have the means to write that
too, and as hard or as soft as it needs to be,
it will be

written.

An author
is the world's only means
to enlarge itself.

Without writing, the world
moves ever on, and stays the same size
leaving everything behind
as everyone dies.

But when you write, you have power:
to find one piece of life that matters,
and fix that piece in place. Good,
bad, incontestably hard
or incomprehensibly easy, you have power
to find and fix a truth in place.

For anyone to see
who can recognize it,
which is potentially:

for an infinitude.

But don't write it for those
endless generations of unborn bastards. Instead
write that shit for me

please. Or if you must aim higher,

for yourself, would work too

just fine

our archaeology

Love is everywhere we look
but if you look too hard, you'll see
reflections of a deeper truth -
it's troubling, it troubles me

the love we see at first, at glance
is but appearance - what appears,
but digging deeper, we'll discover
something underneath, I fear!

There'll be no end to hidden depths -
the deeps we dig, as deep we go -
there's something more that we'll unearth,
just underneath the love that shows -
more love?

It seems - yes, there's more love!
It lies, concealed,
like secrets lie
untroubled, under surfaces,
to trouble us when brought to light
by raising question in our minds:

what lies beneath? Just deeper down?
We'll sweat and toil and never rest
to get beneath this love we've found,

to find what's underneath it all
- more love, I guess. But can we know?
it seems ridiculous, somehow
the more we dig, the more we know
this find seems unbelievable.

It seems too rich. It seems so big!
We'll labor on to verify
together - 'til we die,

we dig