Libraries in the Mind

As my grandmother lies dying, half a world away,
I search the Internet for what it is like to die,
For how to deal with grief, for wisdom from ancient Stoics.
I imagine I am in a dim and cloistered library, leafing through books,
on Virtues, cardinal and theological.

This has been coming, as it will for me too.
Go gently, without rage, and reap the blessings sewn in youth.
Blessings should be sewn past that too,
Even in those earthen depressions we trundle through.

I will miss you.

Yet Another Ten Haikus from the Mechanical Turk

I hate haiku, yeah.
It is very hard to write.
The sky is blue, yeah.


The glorious Trump
Orange skin and hair so fair
Nothing can stump him


Golden curled crown prince
Born into nobility
Competent leader


Go duffy in here
Hit your dance left right, go girl
Go duffy on them


I’m breathing the air
In and then out of my lungs
I must be alive


E birthday today
Love his crazy butt so much
Happy birthday boy


Flowers in a vase
Sitting atop the table
Bend towards the sun


staring at a screen,
never engaged in working,
i am a worker


Sitting in the park
My son plays in the hot sun
It will be snack time


Maybe not today
Perhaps later, tomorrow
I will die slowly.

Eighty-One Days Ago

Eighty-One Days Ago your body was discovered
Laying down, without life.
Many rejoiced at your end;
Many smiled in secret;
And many more mourned.

Days later, in suits they stood,
And in rows, to watch your casket pass
Up marbled steps, to be laid
In Repose before your peers.

The time for mourning, though,
Was over shortly after your body was found.
In place of politic behavior,
Calculations, coldly made, immediately commenced.

Eighty-One Days Later, there is no resolution; and none
To be found for at least 81 more.
A respectful period of quiet reflection
Was not observed, but then, perhaps
You were better served by the cacophony.
(Perhaps not.)

On A Boat I Drift Idly

On a boat, I drift, idly
This way and that, backwards and
Forwards. The current bears me
where it will. I paddle rarely.

As the current bears me, so
can I bear it. Not aimlessly,
But also not purposefully.
That control which I have,
Is slight. A ripple here and there
Will invariable diffuse into nothing.
Don’t make waves; it is an impossibility.

Make the best of what you have.
Feeling powerful is overrated.
So to, though, is feeling powerless,
Despite it all.

Short Declarations

Boredom. Apathy. Ennui. Whatever.
Throw back a bourbon. Throw back another.
Put on the music.
Solve a problem. Jive to the beat.
Get stuck. Squint your eyes.
Figure it out. Jive some more.
Play those drums in the air.
Bob your head. Back and forth. Side to side.
Hit your desk in rhythm to the beat.
You are there.
You are there.
You are there.
There you are.
There you go.
Sobriety returns.

But on the Inside, It’s Very Different


Incredible! Unbelievable! Really? Just Disgusting!
I can’t believe you would treat me like that!
Don’t you know who I am? You’re such an ass!
You’re nobody important; who do you think you are?
Forget it. I will take my business elsewhere.

I walk – no storm! (actually, I suppose, walk) – away,
Disgruntled, upset, and steaming with indignation.
How silly; I’m nobody important. But still!
Can you believe how he treated me? Fuck!


Really? OK, Whatever.

I walk away.
I go on with my day.
I’m somebody important.

Fragmented Tinkering

As I drive into work I have a thought
(Because when else would I have a thought?)
About how many people – me too! – find pleasure
In watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube.

But there is a soul-enhancing joy to be had,
By opening up your gadgets, seeing how they work,
And tinkering. You can take an old radio, and
Make it new, and with a little know-how even
Stream the audio of that Let’s Play video to it.

Maybe Locke and Marx were right, and that to
Own yourself, you must own your things,
And to own your things, you must tinker with them,
And on YouTube you can watch others tinker.

A Stoplight in the Pre-Dawn Morning

In the dark just-pre-dawn light,
I am sitting at a red stoplight,
At the edge of a town and an agricultural preserve.
The contours of hills are only just becoming distinct.

I glance in my rear-view mirror.
Behind me is an old, beat-up Toyota Corolla.
A couple is sitting in the front seats, barely illuminated.
They quickly lean over and peck eachother on the lips,
Before the light turns green,
And they drive on to their jobs picking Avocados from the groves
That grow outside of town.

Romance, Effendi, Romance

We sit and eat Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs, while watching
My parents’ dogs. What should we do now? she asks.
We could spend the evening writing poetry to each other, I say.
I’m so exhausted, I just want to watch TV, she says.
That is OK too, I say, and together we watch HGTV.

Later in the evening, she asks me, disbelievingly, what kind of poetry I write.
I guess realist poems, I say. I have never let her see my poetry.
You should write me a romantic poem, she says.

I am taken back to the Middle-East in colonial times,
When it was full of adventure, and pyramids, and tombs, and effendis,
And Sol Bloom and the Streets of Cairo and Maurice Jarre.
You could wear khakis then, and their pressed seams would remain immaculate,
Their soft but stiff fabric unsullied by sand or dirt or the decomposing detritus of ancient mummified Pharaohs.
Such wonder, such romance!
But now in their place are grubby terrorists with self-made IEDs.

She yawns, and I pour the rest of the wine into our glasses.
Tomorrow we will need to get up early.