Observe, as you lounge in one place,
At some busy café—you, too, will be disgusted by the human race.

The picky ordering, customers unsatisfied;
The nerdy college couple who kiss each other’s hands with loud smacks;
The slovenly old, with old-person smell that attacks;
Severe young men whose severity is impossible to hide
By expensive haircuts. Women have more skill in appearing

Tolerable to judgment’s discerning;
Nature wants to breed, the female needs to appeal
And that appeal is always a step ahead of learning;
Still, one can see the insanity that creeps
Through young women’s brains
Who must navigate the rot of fruit and meat and grains.

A cute dog is tied up outside,
This changes nothing about the colored hair and beer-bellies inside.
The weak chins, the wide jeans, the postures indicating ruthless wills,
The faces, unpleasant, resembling various animals.

The only exception to the hideous parade
Are children, who good people, in an act of goodness, made.

These dear ones make me rise above the place
To admire the city, the world, my face.

You, with the muscles and tattoos, if only you knew how ugly you look—
I suggest you throw away your Harley and read a book.







Here at last, I make my confession:

I never cared about any of you—

I chose poetry as my profession

So nobody else could tell me what to do.


Restaurants, stadiums, fancy clubs,

Expensive cars and beautiful snubs,

Car crashes, suicides from broken loves,

All the shit of the world; getting old,

Death, I turn all this shit into gold

With a stubby pencil, a scrap of paper; I hide away

To conceive what you have to slave over every day.


“How was your weekend? The concert?” It was great!

No, it wasn’t. I’m happier and went to bed at eight.

You need to appear happy.  Social lies. I revel

In the truth. You struggle to find your level.

The concert wasn’t “great.” You lie. I know

As you run down the street, late for your show.

Writing poetry cannot be stopped

By businessmen, or time, or love that flopped.

I have a rock concert in my head—

You paid a hundred bucks to get a headache, instead.


Your actors and your infrastructure, the research you do for your book

Has no interest for me. I, the poet, enjoy every moment. Take a look.

I also experience things; I love, I love to throw a ball.

The difference is you experience things partially; I feel it all.


When I think of a line and reach for my scrap of paper and pencil number two,

I feel as much desire as your costs and burdens bring the useless desire which burdens you.




I can no longer hate and love.

No more of this casual dating.

Loving the one you hate is a prison.

There’s a beauty in simply hating.


I can no longer hate and love

Like Catullus, whose single book survived. (The world wasn’t waiting.)

Optimistic women and their rules,

Their pop culture—I find their desires grating.


Hating one you love is the worst emotion one can feel;

If there’s love, hate inevitably enters, because fear

Of losing one you love is real;

Nothing prevents the tainting of the beautiful;

Whatever is beautiful produces the horrible;

Beauty and sadness are twins; God, a golden tear.


I can no longer hate and love,

So goodbye, love, goodbye.

I had a million poems for you,

Intricate and opposite and sly.





Kindness is advertised, and I am told,
Kindness is better than desperate love, desperate and bold,
Or passionate love, inquisitive and sly.
William Butler Yeats has said that a kindness will charm
Even the mad, roving lover’s troubled eye.

Courtesy, Yeats said—his best poem quoted to me by a cautious friend—
Is how my daughter must be chiefly learned—kindness and courtesy, the shore
Where wave-crashing beauty comes to its ship-wrecked end.

We were so bold to love, and we put out on the salty sea,
A sea of confusion and tears, the sea now seems to me.
But though I lie, hurting on the beach, kindness is a what, not a who;
I do need kindness and courtesy; what Yeats says is true—
But the kindness I need must come from you.








“Einstein For Beginners” will never work.
A little information makes you look like a jerk.

Do you remember what you were doing
When you first heard of light-years?

Do you remember what you were doing
When things changed for everyone?
When you looked up and saw
The eight minutes twenty seconds old sun?

Did things change for you?
Of course they didn’t.
Poe discovered the Big Bang. Nothing is new.

Do songs originate, or soothe your fears?
Look at the light, shining on your little dears.

Songs make us love, cry; then, broken-hearted, we listen for even more tears.

Is now impossible in a very big place?

What is now to a distant star?
Already in the past. That’s what you are.

Was that a moment ago I kissed your face?
I’m thinking about love and the intricacy of careers.

I would like to do mathematics but I don’t know how.
I feel the sun on my face—
I feel in the vast universe there can be now.

A little bit of heat. A little bit of glow.
Your love for me. That’s all I know.


When love died, and they removed my heart,
I asked them, upon waking, Did you get it all?

I loved her, winter, spring, summer, and fall,
A memory for every type of love: I see them all.

The winter when we fell in love, it was warm,
Warm for winter, and not a storm.

When spring brings the first warmth creeping,
I see us among flowers, and then I start weeping.

When a summer rain hits the roof of my car,
Or the roof of the house when I lie in bed, there we are.

The warm kisses. I wish I remembered them all.
Our love was like a second summer in the beginning of the fall.

Winter’s coming.  Oh my heart! I hope they got you all.
Otherwise I will die—of cold—in the dark and cold—that grows in the fall.





The jealousy of the ugly

Forbids you and I.

The morality of the ugly

Prefers the beautiful die.


Beauty belongs to nature. Kurt Cobain—

Remember him, with his hurt and pain—

Said, “nature is a whore.”

Yes, she’s unfaithful. She wants more.


Beauty takes many tries,

But that’s what nature wants and gets.

My mother has no regrets

When she looks into my beautiful eyes.


Children. A problem that explodes.

Morality ages each day. But nature reloads.



I have a theory that you will be more difficult
If you have a difficult name.
When I kissed the two of you, whose names were the same,
Whose names were very common, I knew
Humility, not difficulty, would be the theme from both of you.
And I was right.
We took turns, and pleased each other throughout the night.
But her? With the difficult name?
She kissed me once. Once.
Now love is no longer praise, but blame.



I always knew poetry
Was sentimentality
Which only the dearest hearts expressed.

Philosophy is cold,
But not the heart that is distressed.

It’s not that poetry sings,
Though sentiment is close to song;
Poetry sings the heart when the heart knows the world is wrong.

“But the world is not wrong,” she said.
“Is the cloud that covers the sun a lie?
The world is not wrong.”
And even as my poetry sang,
hilosophy coldly told me why.



“When I get you alone…” –old song

Love desires privacy.
I understand you less and less
The more we are intimate.
I see more of you in rumor,
Less of you in the eye.
Privacy demands more privacy.
The public becomes a spy.

How bitter to find
Love is not a picture
You bring home
But a picture-spoiling mind.

I know you less and less.
Your public beauty
Is a private guess.
I would know you,
But beauty is an intimacy that owns—
Covering to undress.






Enter picture. Exit poetry.

Enter flattery. Farewell truth.

Enter crowds. Goodbye muse.

Enter vanity. Patience, adieu!

Ugh. This poem is crap.

It was my eye, not I, who fell in love with you.









Love does not need my help;
My poems can be quiet now.
All that I asked them to do
I got through kisses, anyhow.

There’s more than enough sky
For stars— see? they gather above
In layer upon layer; what poetry finds
I found for real, later, when I was in love.

The quiet teenager feels
All that is necessary to feel,
So that’s not exactly what I want
As I admit this isn’t real.

There are many ways to love,
And quiet love is usually the best.
Love does not need my help.
Kiss. Then we’ll rest.




To live is to be in error all the time.

My poems are mistakes

Saved only by their rhyme.

You shouldn’t think I know what I am saying

In these mistakes, which surely are a mistake to write.

I write them for you, who are not mistaken.

Nor your kiss. Nor this night.



“The void is blind but has a mind.”  —old poem

This guy doesn’t have much to say.

But he’ll listen to you, even if you talk to him all day.

Stupid is smart.

The beautiful offend the ugly more each day.

Kindness pities the ugly—kindness works hard, so more ugliness will stay.

Stupid is smart.

The universal void has articulation—the something that comes from nothing, mere talk.

What really happens has nothing to do with what we say.

Consciousness of the void, of death, is painful; if you see me taking a walk

And talking to myself, that’s the poet mixing articulation with pleasure,

The hope and joy and beauty of lonely love.

Stupid is smart.

To think about truth (the void) is painful.

Consciousness as poetry is simply pleasure mixed with talk.

But pleasure made articulate is beautiful and what is beautiful offends the ugly.

The ugly conquer at last—their ally, the void.

Stupid is smart.

I was beautiful and articulate and loved you, and you dumped me.

You were beautiful but you saw ugliness closing in.

You were beautiful but you knew ugliness would win.

Stupid is smart.

That’s how you broke my heart.




You strove to be good. And then you met me.
I measure myself by how much I can see.
I saw your hands and feet
And all your other things.
And found them sweet.

I heard there is a land where those like you
Must hide the foot within the shoe,
Where love is covered from head to toe.
Is this wisdom?  Or a desire to know?

Which tree are you in the wood?
Which singer in the choir?
I was knowing you only to know
The desire to know desire.

I love you more than what you are.
I also love what you represent.
I love your hands and feet
And also you, dressed in white, under a white tent.




Poised between her and her:

One who is here and one who is gone.

One switched me off and this one switches me on.

The one who switched me off was one I loved dearly.

The one who switches me on?  I see her a bit more clearly.

I think of the one who is gone

As a wife who wasn’t a wife.

She was a catch that wasn’t a catch,

A life that wasn’t a life.

This one here? The poet? Poetry cannot be steady.

She might leave me any day. Possibly

Today. But what is a poem? I am ready.






The design of the vine.

The light on the girl.

The ancient, ancient, ancient, world.

Some need to drop their clothes.

They don’t have one of those:

A lovely face with a lovely nose.

Some need to expose

Their sad, angry vanity.

They lose their clothes—and their sanity.

But this one has a face

More beautiful than disgrace.

This one has a face lovelier than

Things others might do to a man.

This one has a body, too—

Which plays sad music.

Maybe she will play for you.



In our vista, love argues with nature.

The long look begins with you.

Everything that belongs to a view

Begins with your eyes—a looking which love longs to look at, too.

Love begins with a looking heart,

And if the view expands, and love gets as far as art,

Love resembles those paintings which fulfill

Every standard of beauty, they are so beautiful.


To be caught in paintings,

Framed by the foreground’s overhanging leaves,

Green and brown undulant hills in the background—

Would you like to be in a Van Gogh painting?

Is a love a love which always has to be?

Always spies the eye which this vista found?

Even as identity is a sameness which grieves?


If love must be love, which always must be,

So the lover can always know you—

Half-way between here and there,

He will always be late as he comes past each door.

And there: far in the distance are smudges: the poor

Who live poorly, and do not love anymore.




If I’m in a really good mood, and feeling super confident,

I look at everything which other people worship and adore

And say, “Are you kidding me? Who needs that?”

And without getting into the details of what I ridicule—

Every authority, every cherished belief—

I think you’ll agree with me that it’s easy—you’ve done it, too!


But now I’m going to take this cynical detachment and aim it at you.

You’re a selfish fraud. You lie constantly to yourself and others about many things.

See? You and I know how easy this is, and we both know it’s true.


But hyper-cynicism is the most useful state of mind,

Much better than being obsequious, agreeable, cliquish, or kind,

Because it allows you quickly to get to the heart of the matter.

You can be ignorant about something for years when you fawn and flatter.

When you stand in ignorant awe of something, you never know,

In your worship, what it really is; but when you ridicule beauty and genius,

Your malicious mockery falls into passionate imitation-–the key to knowing it,

And soon, you are playing Mozart, or you are beautiful, and then you are ripe

For fresh ridicule, which is the secret, you realize, of all knowledge.

Love grows (it does!) as you go deeply, unashamed, into your own vanity.

It allows you to love another’s vanity. Hate. Love. Imitate. Make fun of me.

I said I was amazingly confident, and this is true.

When you are depressed and self-loathing, you despise everything, too.

But this is different. This is not illness, where you push food away;

This is the best love, the best poem. Love like glue.







The only thing worse than no attention

Is too much attention.

And love is that perfect compromise

Where all the attention that would be too much

Lives only in the lover’s eyes.


Yes, you had a certain flair.

But now the only compromise

Is when you watch TV,

Giving it attention while knowing your attention doesn’t matter.

Was it more difficult with me?


I think that woman is the most profound

Of all the creatures.


Hers, the love my heart found

The more I examined her rural features

As she was examining mine—

In sweetest, cunning secrecy,

With careless, smiling modesty.


How can my description convince the wise

No beauty equals hers—the beauty of her love for me in a beautiful woman’s eyes?

How do I describe her passionate fire

Without describing my desire,

And her desire, which makes her eyes unique,

So that my desire describing her desire cannot possibly speak?


Tell me what I am supposed to say.

She talks. She is beautiful. She walks away.


There is no woman, no star,

Whose light cannot reach me.

The universe is made of something

Which is nothing, which is far,

And whose light is the light

Which shows me a small light in the darkness of a car.








Do bees sleep and forget their hive?

You stroked one’s fur until slumber

Woke in him what dreams remember.

I do not forget you. A bee’s purpose is alive.

In their humming there is no tune.

Oh! But there is a violin! There will be one soon.

You and I enjoyed a music as only one

Sound could be enjoyed, as two

Could be folded into one. It is fled.

We listened in the hush of a midnight bed.

Your kisses were tender. It was then I knew.

I think it’s possible this bee’s dream is you.



We don’t love what flatters us.

I could not lie to either,

Though I tried, telling her,

Who was not smart,

“I love your mind!”

And telling her, ugly as a fart,

“I love your body! Can I kiss your behind?”

So none love me now.

Lying is best. But I don’t know how.

So, what can I do now

But take revenge in poems

Which say, fuck it, here’s the truth?

I can tell it because I am its truth.

Only we are the truth, and the lies

Everything not us; even our eyes

Show copies, so nothing original

Exists; only we, ephemerally beautiful,

Coy and partial, stuck in time and place

Are real. Nothing else. Not a trace.

So this is the truth, because it’s me;

The sole attraction of my poetry.

I can only love the physical;

The physical moves me to love, not you;

And that’s why I’m helpless talking to these two:

She, who is smart, I do not love,

Though our talk is delightfully witty,

But then I am stupid with this one,

For I am smitten by the pretty.

And never have the two lived in one.

I’m blinded by the physical.

So who the hell am I, to praise the sun?

I fail to love all things. Even my poetry

Fails. It divides me.



As you examine the ruin of your life,

Which, in your mind, you call yesterday,

A once-happy past that brings you sorrow,

In a present that disappears,

You understand—as you count your tears—

You will only be alive tomorrow.

In your yesterday, you always are,

So in its death is all your life.

In this moment, vanishing,

You glimpse tomorrow’s star:

Strange place! where you shall die,

And forget this moment—which made you cry.



There is a kind of all-knowing, beautiful person

Who is certain—their beauty proves it—that we are all alone.

To them, a conversation always has a different tone.

When they see pictures of couples, a certain smile

Plays across their lips; they think: She’s going to leave him for a while.


Are you beautiful? And harassed? Don’t you feel alone?

And when you talk with someone, do you hear a different tone?

The sacred is not safe when you come into view.

It’s painful to think, isn’t it? that everyone’s untrue—

And the proof is in their eyes when they’re alone with you.


To complete the picture, you have no children.

Religion sighs. Tension swells. God inquires of his angels,

Angels in hell, angels in heaven: Is there anything we can do?

The heavens remain serene and beautiful. There is no help from heaven.

Then one leaves the one they love alone with you

And you prove what everyone knew.

Ever since you were a little girl, you heard it in their tone.

This is what beauty proves.

Everyone’s alone.












I, too, find this world mean and ugly.

When I am sad, it is sadly beautiful,

But this is a passing mood, and not the truth.


Accidental verdure trailing across the top of an industrial fence outside the train

Can bring a momentary feeling of reprieve: heroic verdure!  Then the entire stained world seems okay.

This feeling lasts as long as I am sad. Beautiful moods attach themselves to sad ones.


But I find no beauty at all when

I dwell on wronged and fallen humanity, and how asphalt and trash

Are the essence of every city, and cleaning and flushing is an operation

That never ceases, and human loneliness and its bewildering pain

Afflicts even the sweetly innocent who try

To be good and tender before the very door of truth.


Inside that door, which is iron and spotted and gray,

I sense eternity, whose darkness is our darkness,

A rich, beautiful darkness, which never quite goes away.



The writer types types.
And typos!  The darling little typos!  Bambinos!

I had a crisis this morning and thought (as I typed my typos)
There are no people!  Only types.

The interesting woman has only three choices in men:

The dullard. Boring, boring, boring.  No way.
The braggart. No way.
The weirdo.  Interesting, but cannot be bragged about: eccentric, not publicly accomplished.

If the weirdo is cute enough in his weirdness and not too weird in a threatening or excessively weird manner,
She may go that way, and give this weirdo her love.

But this doesn’t seem particularly fair to women.
What kind of choice do they have?
The world is not a nice place for women.

But obviously, the lesson is:

Types are the only thing shown.

And the only type which has any validity is you.

Writers type types.
Writers attempt to make types interesting and beautiful.

Writers are trapped in types as they type
Even as they try to escape them.

This is what I am desperately trying to do
As I type these types (without typos) for you.




If you want to know what the soul is—

You tribes who love poetry—

I will tell you by the time you turn around;

I will illustrate with a simple example I found.

Listen. If you try and define the act of sex,

As it is commonly known by everyone

It is defined by only two things.

Stop me if I go astray, if I am wrong:

It is sexual exertion and orgasm.

This is sex, whether the person is beautiful or not.

They say sex is desired by nearly all

And night and day we hear its call.

But I do not desire sex

If there is not some beauty in the mix

Which we agreed has nothing to do with sex;

But I will not have sex without it.

But how can I have sex if sex is not what I am after?

How can I refuse a glass of milk

When there is only a glass and milk?

Sex without beauty does not exist for me:

It has never happened and will not happen.

Then exertion and orgasm do not exist for me

Unless something else is present which has nothing

To do with the act itself: beauty.

The soul, then, is like this beauty,

Which is everything, and yet nothing

In terms of how we behave in the physical world.












What I thought was variety was not variety at all:

Variety of grass. Variety of film short. Variety of tall.

What I thought was variety was not variety at all:

Variety of virtual, variety of very tall envying the tall.

What I thought was variety was not variety at all:

Everything was similar. Equality led to my fall.

What can I do next? A surprise, to love you well?

Apparently not. You left me—to every variety of hell.





When I was a lady, and all

My suitors were ignored who loudly came to call,

I dreamed of a humble one who wrote

Music. I loved each quiet note.

There is a loudness that is not heard

As loudness—now everyone may hear the bird

Who once sang on my window-ledge

Only to me—my secret privilege.

The bird only sang to me!

My secrecy and my vanity and my poetry

Became intertwined.

Talk to me of the rock arena, but that’s no interest of mine.



Before love spoke, there was no love.

In the old days desire had no voice, only a sharp spear

For hunting—breeding sensation and fear.


In our day, desire is made of speech.

But since this change,

The poet grieves and thinks,

How strange! that love is yet beyond his reach.


There’s nothing in words love cannot express:

Words create desire and tell us how to dress;

Love is now a document, a deed.

Love is simply everything we read.

All we say is love, every word a bird-call

In the ever-writing mating tree.

Love has no will or force; only nights

That drunkenly happen. The spear writes.


Love has no art; all love is speech; all speech is poetry;

The poet is not heard over chattering society,

When love is mistaken for criminality,

Great lawyers are writing the poetry.


Thousands of beauties I saw!  And they all looked the same.

Does beauty have a thought?

Does desire have a name?

No. The lover has fought

For kindness, not fame.





Until I’m captured again

I will love the chain, and pretend

You are on the other end.


You captured me—almost—completely.

But since no one is ever free—

Again and again you torture me,

For that is what you and your beauty

Did, if not intentionally—

Well, that’s how my slavery

Seemed, as if you knew all you are to be

The one thing capable of enslaving me,

And your beauty still does, because dreaming of it

Is now my routine and habit,

Your mind the one mind I cannot escape,

Since the philosophy of love became the world I made.


They say one’s own mind should not invade

One’s own mind, but that’s what we do,

As we try to decipher the false from the true

Hopelessly. In the meantime, my hope?

To feel your love tugging on my rope.






Incapable of love,

All you do is seduce.

You are not the real fruit—

But the perfume, the juice.

Incapable of thought,

You fashion the noose.

You revel in surfaces.

Your philosophy: the excuse.

Incapable of love,

Here’s what they deduce:

Okay, she’s beautiful,

But she’s crazy, so what’s the use?

Incapable of love,

You flatter at first.

You pretend kindness.

Then you bring the worst:

You hide your empty nature

In mysterious unavailability,

And wear your victim like a glove.

That’s why I love you! You are a god,

And gods cannot love.




When you see the weather coming over the trees

You wonder what the world is hiding:

In the next town, perhaps, she is on her knees,

The rain clearing, the brightening sky

Changing the whole look of her room.

She is begging God to tell her why

She is unlucky in love, even though she is beautiful,

But what’s amazing, is my poem will.


At this very instant I am getting answers for her,

The clouds unfurling more clouds from its cloud army

In one power packed display over more clouds in the distance,

Separating one neighborhood from another,

A cunning trick by the weather,

In what you find charming as branches hover over

The summer it always seemed to rain.


I’ll woo her back with poetry

Because that’s how I won her first.

Maybe she doesn’t love me—

Maybe my poems will fail—

But miss a chance to love? To love her! That’s worse.


I already love her, the Muse knows that’s true,

So my poems should be easy to write

For love makes everything easy,

Almost too easy, I found,

Because ease produces spite.


It’s so easy to smile, and kiss a smile, too,

Oh I used to laugh and weep

With joy just to be near her,

Acting strange, I was so in love,

But love that easy is not easy to keep.


True feelings annoy those whose feelings are not true,

Who need to think before they speak;

I know because I was like that once, too,

Calculating the impact I made,

And terrified of seeming silly, or weak.


All that changes when you really fall in love;

But love’s a funny thing.

Before you are certain they really love you

Or how it will play out in life

You feel like a singer who cannot sing.


Nothing at all is easy,

Except those feelings which make you mad,

And happy and ready to love,

To give yourself to that great worship

Of love, which is religious, it is so sad!


So alarms are raised in the lovers,

Because they are flirting with madness

And regular life doesn’t like that.

Ordinary life is jealous of love;

It laughs at religious sadness.


We all have that moment when we are young,

When, truly ready to love and adore,

A priestly voice takes us aside and whispers,

“Don’t you get it? It’s all a show.”

When we hear this we don’t quite love anymore.


Oh we may fall in love, later,

But we love doubtfully; normal life

Makes us feel self-conscious and afraid,

For we have joined ordinary life:

Someone else’s job, weighty children, unhappy wife.


The need to love, really love, though, never goes away,

Never goes away, or fades,

Even as we stumble through life, fake-smiling,

Failing at everything—because we don’t love,

Even if we manage to win a prize, or get good grades,


Because we know there is easy love,

Like playing sad music on guitar,

Even though we don’t play guitar;

We know love is spectacular and easy

And we want this ease to define what we are;


No more obstacles or hesitations,

No more calculations, no more freaking out.

We take up God’s guitar

Made by God and play what God already knows,

And love lives, and there isn’t any doubt.


This is what I do with poetry,

Which makes me a spectacular lover, and true

And mad and happy—and her?

I love her. She lives in my heart

In perfect ease! Muse, there is no need to woo.














Love is that tragedy
Which is always affecting me
In funny ways.
A composer died of a broken heart,
But listen how beautifully his music plays
And still it lives, and will live forever.
The composer said yes
When she said never.

Love is that poetry
Which is always affecting me
In funny ways.
A poet died of a broken heart,
Yet listen how his poetry says
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
The poet said yes
When she said never.

Love is the whole of me
Which is always affecting me
In funny ways.
I am excited when I walk in the fields;
Every flower I see reminds me of her
And they will remind me of her forever.
I, too, am blessed. I said yes
When she said never.



I cannot love.

I can drive a car.

I can be kind.

I can work.

I cannot love.

I can play the piano.

I can write poetry.

I can feel excitement.

I cannot love.

I can cook and tend a garden.

I can avoid sleep.

I can sleep.

I cannot love.

I can be enthusiastic.

I can converse with strangers.

I can be calm.

I cannot love.

I can stand up for myself.

I can let others have their way.

I can think of several things at once.

I cannot love.

Don’t tell me I don’t know what love is.

You know what I know—don’t you, Liz?


When do you love the doctor?

When I am sick.

And when do you hate the doctor?

When I am well.

When do you love the lover?

When I am sick.

And when do you hate the lover?

Stay. And I’ll tell.


I need to write this poem fast.

This inspiration will not last.

Yes, look how love between two people disappears

In a cloud of tears.

My inspiration’s source will always exist, though.

Remember when you were young and bored in school and everything seemed slow?

The attempt to write fast

Does not help inspiration last—

And even the inspiration’s source

Immense as it is, will not stay its course.

It falls, knocking me down like a giant tear,

Aching inspiration heralding her cry in a future day: “I’m here!”

I had to write this poem fast.

Her kiss missed my lips.

If life is good, be happy!

And if not, be happy!

Because none of this shit, baby, is going to last.












The earth taught her children to befoul her.

You are my Central Park.

You are the landscape for loving a shadow’s deepening.

You are the landscape for which I apply.

You are the landscape not of talk or thought

But the glittering that goes on in the sparrow’s eye.

In the middle of the gleaming, teeming city I return to nature.

In your body I slowly know nature as I never did.

Where is the snake—feeding on the minnow in the stream—I hid?

Your trees, your fertility, your face of faceless architecture

Emitting sighs, would make Frederick Olmsted drop

And Wordsworth his cunning Prelude stop.

Of course I had long plans, and still do,

But when I became your friend

I realized that you were long in the planning, too.

You did not simply go along or get along

And that is how I found you in my song.

I had to amend my every idea of nature.

The Central Park of my youth where I found polliwogs was you.

You, the vista and the view.

You, the tangled branches shading the stream;

The snake-filled stream which haunted me in many a silent but riotous dream,

You, my prophecy—had you been seen,

Walking the margins of the dream-park with your plans,

Would I have fallen deeper? It is a joy to analyze—

Even though I cannot, when I peer into your eyes.

I paced the porch and considered the morality

Of the bridge between home and nature.

The talk of the “Father of Landscape Architecture”

Posited against you smiling in the swamp—

This is where I thrilled to journey, not knowing then

That loving the earth was incest,

And reading downward a sin.

I can only vow to love you under sky and sky

More, even more, when I love you again,

And this time at no time be afraid to die.






To you, the only one who knows this,
I dedicate this,
Simply. Without a sound. Without a kiss.

I learned from you what is best for me.
You improved me. That was part of our destiny.
There was… love, but it is not polite to talk of that.
And I won’t. Losing weight from worry isn’t good. Everyone should get fat.

My adoration for you is unceasing.
Strange, strange, strange! how we died, and now are dead to each other—
But we still live, in the songs of afternoons, as before, feeling love
For a million things.

We died to each other
And perhaps that’s why
My love can live and die for you every day;

Because love died, and dies again and again,
I love you now more than I loved you then,
More than when I touched you, and held you close

And the uncomprehending would glimpse us: crying
By the sea, or kissing as we walked: two ghosts.

Do not doubt that for us love still lives.
Where there has been love, even the broken gives.


She was like my mother, self-loathing and sad,
Comparing herself to others, and always feeling  bad,
Taking out her aggression on yard waste, alone.
I saw my lover as my mother, unconsciously. Groan.

She was sweet and friendly at first—
I fell in love; it was too late.
For the soul that loves this is the worst:
To fall in love with hate.

Everyone’s heart is a house.
She took me to her house
But left me at the gate.

She was sweet and friendly at first.
I fell in love with hate.
By the time I got to know her
Oh God! It was too late.

I was madly in love,
Madly in love with hate.

She had secrets, secrets galore.
Hateful secrets. Which made me love her more.

Hate can be loved, and once love begins,
It will love hate forever.
Love simply loves. And the world thinks it sins.

For one who loves love, this was an unkind fate.
To love only love—then fall in love with hate.

It is sad to be hateful; I don’t sympathize with hate.
I don’t wish to describe her this way. Ah, but now it is too late.

Love is normally patient, but not when love loves hate.
She had nothing else to do. And so she made me wait.

She was like my mother, worrisome and sad,
Comparing herself to others, and always feeling  bad,
Taking out her aggression on yard waste, alone.
And then she wrote me angry messages on the phone.

She took me to the house and left me at the gate.
She was sweet and friendly at first.
Then we kissed. I discovered my fate:
To love her. To love her. To love hate.



I suffer because I love.

I hear sighs in the corridors of the day.

I long for suffering love, because this is what will stay.

If I must suffer, love, let me suffer because of you.

Suffering without love is unimaginable.

And not something I’m prepared to do.

They say sufferers are losers, and those who do not, win.

They are right! I would love to inhabit a sly, seductive grin,

But I think all eventually suffer, and I am glad

It is you who makes me sad.

Suffering is proof of love.

Too much laughter and joy

Will annoy.

There are holes everywhere, leading into the earth.

We are going to fall into one,

So what is joy worth?

As I am going down,

I want to think on you—your kiss, your sorrow, your frown.



Unfortunately there is one

Who cannot love; who is a photograph, but not the sun.

A photograph is produced with a sudden, narrow light

On a flat surface: sometimes we mistake it for real sight

And evidence of the thing, as if the thing were a thing’s flight.

She does not want to be seen; she looked unhappy

When, by accident, a poet ran into her today.

All he needed was a moment’s glance to see

A face lined with anger and misery.

All love begins with accident; the accident of place,

The accident of a kind voice murmuring through a kind face.

The accidents of love are kind even to the one

Who cannot love; who is a photograph, but not the sun.

Poets are those who fanatically want things to be just right.

Poets choose a photograph over living, a picture over sight;

They prefer an image to living, if the image, not living, looks exactly right.

We were that rare combination, since beautiful poets are rare;

Most of us, when we see beautiful life, only stop and stare,

But there are those, and it is sweet, trembling and rare,

Who are the beautiful life, who can create it with their voice,

With the deliberate way they look and move; beauty is a choice

They succeed in making with their very being—

They are the beauty you and I are only seeing.

And now in the picture of this poem I give you a picture of one

Who hides, because she is a photograph; she is not the sun;

Who hides, because she could not finally love, and the shame

Of this is too much, and she is reduced to taking snapshots of blame;

She is miserable—in her life the accident of love has returned to accident,

In which most of us wait and suffer and hope.

We were those two poets: beautiful, loving in cinemascope,

An affair like a long porn film, lived; not watched; it was paradise;

This is what joy truly is: a beautiful porn film; porn that is beautiful and nice,

Made by, and for poetry; in the country, and in beautiful escapes;

But she is not the sun; she cannot love. So roll those tapes.










I made that poetry proudly,

A little bit of emotion, an idea or two.

In love, I write for the one I love.

But was there ever a you?


I, in love, loved loudly,

Too much emotion, which emotion knew.

In poetry, I write to one I love.

But was there ever a you?


How can I tell you, my only love!

Of these feelings that writing knew?

It is you I write to, my darling.

But was there ever a you?


Why do I ponder this?

To question this is absurd.

Of course you exist! You do!

I only question the word.


“Blue moon, I saw you standing alone.” —old song

They grew apart
For they were as together as they could be.
She couldn’t feel.
He couldn’t see.

They grew apart
As only lovers can,
As only a woman and a man
Who love deeply, can.

They grew apart,
Making themselves beautiful—beauty, their revenge.
Beautiful face, hard heart,
Hard heart until the end.

When they loved, they were brave.
Now they do not love.  And they save what they can save.






A man cannot say, ‘I will compose poetry.’ The greatest poet cannot say it, for the mind in creation is like a fading coal… —Shelley, Defense of Poetry

Oh poetry revels in picturesqueness;
Bushes, flowers and vines
Coiling around broken friezes,
Odors bursting from slaved-over lines
As you walk in the garden—
Holding your palms out to the rain
Sailing, dropping mistily down,
While workers die in the mines—
Through nodding narrow greenery.
Tourists in Italy stood a long time.
If you can, picture Hawthorne or the Brownings,
The life of literary sculpture
Passing away into a more beautiful music
Which in turn passes away.


I thought: What is this world?

What is all this? And then I saw four letters

Staring at me from the label on a stranger’s coat,

Their back to me on the train.

T-O-M-S. And it grabbed me by the throat.

“Tom’s” suddenly flashed upon my brain.

The answer was simple, delicate and fine.

The world—everything thought, seen and felt—is mine.

Here is the secret to the whole world.

You couldn’t figure it out, my sweetest girl.

You couldn’t figure it out, psychiatrists and sages,

Priests and gurus, poets through the ages.

The transit authority stamps its “T”

On the sides of trains—and that’s me.

If the truth were announced, everyone would look.

I don’t want that. The secret is not found in a book,

Or in anyone’s mind; it’s not a crude matter of fame,

Because the truth of the world and the world are not the same.

It is the truth of all time, and it begins with a “t.”

I didn’t see it because I was too close to it—the truth is none other than me.

She—who I loved—was never able to see.

She told me that on two separate occasions the answer almost came,

While she was in a meditative revery,

But it was lost! She recounted this bitterly

While I, her lover, listened helplessly,

But now I laugh, for the truth is known—

She almost found the truth because she was profoundly alone

And nearest to the secret—the secret that she was the secret.

But poor blind thing! A searching—but not a great—soul—she lost it.

Though—profoundly timid—she never wrote poetry,

I knew she was a poet—it seemed obvious to me.

“Tom,” she would cry, in our ecstatic embraces,

“Tom! Tom! Tom!” Cried among kisses drenching our faces,

Love speaking my name, beautiful and sublime,

Reminding me! Reminding me! That life is—mine!





Poems write me

Even as I die in this boring life

With business matters dangling over the days and the wife.

A sentence keeps me in line.

The soil is usually a line or a phrase,

Which may end up being the pretty flower,

The title, or the poem’s (yawn) most important line.

Helpless, I let creation have its say.

If a line is what struck me first, it will probably stay.

Of course, I may end up throwing what fell from the sky away.

Oh, and the root of every inspiration is you.

In this poem, for instance, you wait in the stem.

There you are. Strike that line. No, that will do.

Poems write what they please. I don’t write them.


The universe spins in a certain direction;
That’s how we know we’re—here.
This line moves at a certain speed:
Music finds its beat.  Conversations are clear.

But it’s not the business of poetry to tell you this:
Science is factual; what’s scientific about a kiss?

I did not wish to intrude on science’s domain.
But delightful kissing will make the kissing poet vain,
So love disguises itself as wisdom, making itself even more plain.

I write right-handed,
But throw with my left hand.
I am going to throw my signature at you.
I want to do something dumb;
Paint with my left hand, to make the drunken Muse come.

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