Up All Night

up all night, when day comes one doesn’t
belong to it somehow, having traveled
great distance to arrive in a place
materializing for the first time,

or discovering the world has gone on
without you and you’re something of a ghost,
still, there’s a peace in it, the morning with
its birds and garbage trucks, and the usual

sensory disturbances, meteors,
distant fireworks, and that damned noise always
in your head like a world full of June bugs, the
sound of those swamps along the Pascagoula,

like places people have never been or
should not go into, all that ochre mud
and oppressive moss and cypress trees,
you don’t remember fishing, just that

someone caught a gar, but you remember
the boat low and slow and being afraid
to dip your hand in, all those prehistoric
things under that muddy water and on

the banks tiny creatures popping up from
the mud like strange flowers blossoming,
unless you’ve conflated that with another
time and place, South Carolina coast

a host of small crabs erect and waving
as if telling you to go away, the
things one’s mind returns to, though when you get
down to it, you don’t have a memory

for fine detail and suspect other people
invent that lavishment they recall,
while you recollect only flashing
images and feelings words can only

sneak up on and stall the revelation,
now this morning sky and you’re thinking how
you’d like to spend the day just watching clouds,
just watching the way they do, without

thinking they look like anything else,
just trying to look through seeing,
to get clear of seeing, that magnetic
pull to make the world cohere, though of course

one is clear of all of it soon enough,
that wash of feeling one could have been
anywhere but here one is, till letting go
comes upon you more stringently than

hanging on to what anyway—dreams and
expectations, things that seem to have
continuity because they don’t exist–
how panic can feel like exhilaration

as if one has things still to experience
that bring joy, not mere release from sorrow
but something that busts up into the room
with its own kind of glad, how to get

the past to let go of you, you have to
relinquish what it has taken that’s gone,
how now I know you talk to the cats when
you think nobody else is awake.

How we loved our paradise

How we loved our paradise of silks and breezes,
noisy water in the distance, comestibles nearby,
libations, sleeping in whatever god’s pajamas and
sneezing their incensey perfume, how we pawed
through things and went without shoes, you tied my
hair in a knot and tried to throw me off the roof, oh
how we laughed, we were so good at laughing, we
were so not good at everything else except perhaps
sleeping, and sex, oh we rode those magic carpets
bomblets whistling down to left and right and in the
hazy distance a sheathy zeppelin gliding whale-like
through air you could breathe up there if you were up
there but we were down here and the long holiday
was becoming a not holiday, a kind of anti-fetish, oh
everything was just so nonetheless, the sky the color
of a stone, you polished my shoes for me and sent
me off to look for work, oh how I looked for work and
trudged from till to till how distant our paradise then
as I ironed my iron-worn skirt, when nothing I did
was good enough and there wasn’t even any sex, I
started forgetting about that somehow, to my
consternation, I recall, oh we weren’t laughing then
or even speaking and all the doors that would be
slammed had been slammed and there were no more
words, the look I caught on my face passing a mirror
was like death like something had slammed into my
head and lodged there and I’d have to wobble about
wincing like that with it forever, like some alien thing
had crawled up inside my life to brood—out out out
I’d say but everything was rushing in, rushing into all
the troughs and hollows flooding corridors and
floating the lamps and how I longed then how we
longed separately for our easy long ago days when
we didn’t sleep on ice and didn’t faint not very often
or just fall out with grief all the lost people and all the
lost things and weariness oh the weariness what a
weary weariness it was, so so weary, we wore muu-
muus and overalls and accidentally took our daytime
meds one night oh what a night that was–pacing
waiting sleep never coming then the day arrived like
coming down from lsd without having had any of the
fun that was so like things then, everything was
aftermath without having any of the before until we
forgot about before and there in our forgetting a new
world erupted in the midst of things, one in which we
were suddenly gallant and vaguely tipsy with
all that forgetting but not really caring much at all
after all falling in our boney way into our cushy scroll
the shreds of all our thoughts like bedding in some
short creature’s cage oh how all hinges were loose
then how we rolled this way and that looking for the
thing inside that was like a counterweight,something
anything to outweigh suffering or trick it into
shuffling off bye now and don’t come back but we’d
forget that too from minute to minute we were good
then at forgetting forgot our keys forgot to put on
our outdoor shoes forgot how we had once hated
each other and ourselves forgot in fact all the years
intervening between about 25 and then whenever
then was, forgot, forgot, forgot,and there we were—
the people we would always be, every moment like
bobbing up for air in the ocean on some bright blue
day with its frightening horizon where all time stops
but still not like the last day on earth though maybe
a bit like the last but one, suddenly this
spaciousness in which nothing much was expected to
happen, so anything could.

The Same Three Steps Over And Over And Over


Two monkeys at the Braneshire Zoo have become psychotic from living their lifetime in captivity with each other. Mikey, 25, and Neena, 30 have been napping long hours and trashing their toys and walking the same three steps forward and backward over and over again. Dr. Rob Robb, animal psychologist and erstwhile marriage counselor has a plan for psychotherapy to save the primates from their madness. He plans to “vary their menus and give them unbreakable toys.”

vary their menus give them unbreakable toys vary their long psychotic unbreakable naps give them menus vary their together give them unspeakable boredom vary their psychotherapy save them from captivity

the       same       three       steps forward and backward and forward and backward same         three         steps same         same         three steps     steps     steps over over over over over over over over

save the monkeys from madness vary their menus and unbreakable toys save the monkey madness vary their primates and madden their menus save the monkeys from psychotherapy vary their madness and save the toys from the monkey step madness



Two psycho monkeys at the Braneshire Zoo are the subjects of a novel form of therapy. The primates’ psychologist—who has already varied their menus and given them unbreakable toys—is now training them to thread needles in the hope that learning to sew will lessen the tedium of captive togetherness.

rhesus reversus mod 5    Neena (l.) and Mikey (r.) learning to sew!

vary their menus give them captivity toys vary their  l     o     n     g  monkey napping hours give them unbreakables vary their captivity give them umbrellas and psychedelic menus the same three steps over and over and over     and  over again and again and again

S1: I feel so fuckin’ bad about this. You know, we really were negligent in not noticing their distress sooner. I thought they were fine until people kept asking where the ‘dancing monkeys’ were. I guess despair may look like dancing to some people. But it’s not dancing. S2: I kept trying to explain to the reporter–yes, the one with the whole-body reptile tattoos–that Neena and Mikey are not “psychotic” and that interventions for stereotypy are not “psychotherapy.” But she said, “Look, nobody will read something like “Monkeys Lose Hope,” but everyone will read “Psycho Monkeys.” S1: Do you think she’d go out with me, I mean, if she got to know me better? S2: She also asked me if the obsessive stepping thing might be some form of primate culture, like yam-washing. Oh please.

____________________________ Inspired by an article about three polar bears by Steve Newman, “Earth Week,” 1 April 1989 The San Francisco Chronicle altered image; original from http://awionline.org/lab_animals/rhesus/pho80-92.htm

Clouds So Like

In the rubble of the future we long
for our past, desire comes over you like
a voice in the trees, our green disaster
away from the interior, our hope to find
along the estuary some device
to break the tight frame within which
earlier in those louche apartments where
we never were, all the stars we could see
and the sound of a million little wheels
and that mournful call outside, machine
or animal, we couldn’t tell, or so far
underwater, what fragile purchase sand
sound occluded, seeing and being seen,
the water sonorous and morphing like
something from another planet but then
clouds so like icebergs, the crew took affright.






A day longer than a day

A day longer than a day–
water under a piling,
plying sand and silt away
till everything is water
and sky–heat lightning,
ponderous clouds.
How off the track the wheel
of other lines, the little you
the big one orbits round,
the last lost creature
In the spirit jail.



Behind the shelf

Behind the shelf the occupied heart sleeps
in its little jar–you cannot put your hand
on it, so it occurs to you that you
are haunting yourself. Nonetheless, there is
sweetness somewhere, consciousness like some
confection churned from the labor of
what’s left. It’s pain that’s the true little death.
The things you believed were not the things you
believed in, just your basic crenellation
and arrow slits, light shooting in whenever
you are not shooting out. We could not hear
the tree falling, we heard its aftermath,
like some errant tornado backing up
to fill the spaces it left behind or
you there moving at some spooky distance
from yourself and all your darling tendrils.
This big space I had for you, coterminous
alas with the outer wall where the
patrols are napping or whoring or
conspiring with wolves and beavers, who
suffer as we do upon losing a mate.
Wondering the opposite of looking–
how we could set so much of us aside
only to find it waiting in the lapse.





Close Enough

The nudibranch family two blocks away
answers a mighty summons from the past,
desire for love like a roof overhead, light like

light from stars long dead, like the afterlife
of your feelings now you know. There is
no god of creatures, only rocks and rain,

no thought of you in any mind, just static
and a random cat escaped from physics,
rolling in sunshine, close enough to joy.


our disengagement, our disapproval
of the proceedings, just not caring more
about the artifact or the scary
presence of the morph, or the untoward
requisition of articles of proof,
our reluctance, our fading steamy thread
of love, our forbearance, our petit fours
our migraine, popliteal vein, our rain
and portal nightmare, our more than passing
acquaintance with gravity and all its
grave stuff, the notes we wrote pertaining to
the stock, and yes the demon in the woods,
the afterlife of celestial motion
our little spinning turn on earth


“Prairie Dogs Disperse When All Close Kin Have Disappeared”

We waited. We longed for your warmth. The way
you know us better than we know ourselves.
The way you brought the squash casserole to
Thanksgiving. How we loved that casserole.
The way we saw you once—alone, gazing
out the kitchen window at the back yard
looking a bit as if you’d lost something,
then another time in full moonlight
standing at the edge of the yard during
a party like you were listening for
something in the music. Oh it was dry
in our world without you—your peripheries
were all your own, for you were firmly in
our hearts. Sooner than later, we lost
all interest in nourishment and our
reproductive success. What could have been
so bad in our little house in our little
town that you’d leave like that? Was it some
careless thing we said? Whatever it was,
we didn’t mean it, or didn’t mean it
that way. Was it that time one of us hollered at
the moon? Or when one who won’t be mentioned
got deep into the moonshine? Did you just
wander away on a whimsy, or were
you escaping or inescapably
drawn elsewhere? We looked and we waited,
disappearing one by one, here then gone.
We dispersed—each to our own loneliness
without our kin, without you. If we had
a place to stop, we’d wish you to come home.




The title is the title of an article by J. Hoogland, “Prarie dogs disperse when all close kin have disappeared,” Science http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1205.long