We thank the world
by living. We pray

in rust & suture
in pistil & pine.

This ruined world
my only prayer:

if I can't love it for me
I will love it for you.



We hide
from one storm
in another.

I could be a bullet.
I might be one already.

where sunlight comes
wrapped in plastic,

every action
tortures someone,

every noun
holds a horror

a mouth,
a hand,

a busted
puzzle of gestures,

a bullet's
eager hole.



There is a long hallway
of identical doors.
Each door closes as I near.
Each handle locks.
Florescent lights sizzle & blink.
Somewhere, someone
pokes gently at the high notes of a piano,
a ting,
a ting,
a pause,
a ting.

Even though I know
each handle will be locked,
I try each handle.
And each handle is locked.

Heather finished radiation Friday.
She wonders at the money & time
spent keeping her maybe-alive,
people flying across the country,
driving up the coast,
taking over classes,
the ports installed into her body,
the tattoos for radiation,
the drips, & burns of care.
Then a man looks at a crowd
of bodies through a scope.
Bodies enter & exit the crosshairs.
He flexes his finger
just the twitch an eyelash,
& just like that, it happens:
another lock clicks.

Once on Sommer's porch
Tina asked "What's the point of art?"
I was quick to erect
some structure
of meaning & presence
& this & this
& another & another.
This was back when I was proud
of the nooses my mind
could knot, proud
of the noises arrogance makes.
And when I had finally shut up
Sommer said We humans
have this ability
to create guns,
we are creative enough
to kill everything.
But in art
we use all that creativity &
we don't kill anything.

Hopeless, Heather said
after I told her
about the doors & the hallway.
That's what you're feeling.
She was right. Hopeless!
I was amazed!
all these feelings
could be in
one dumb word,
how a word
can open a door
like that.

Such a beautiful word: hopeless.


Hope, from the Indo-European
kēwp or kwēp,
to smoke, to boil.
Cognate of vapor,
cognate of smoke.
And less which is a boat,
a boat made of smoke,
that teeters, drydocked
in the empty hallway.
And somewhere
that someone
poking a finger gently
at the piano
discovers a chord
& plays it once.

The chord fills the hallway,
& the Hopeless, a boat,
my boat of smoke,
rises atop the chord
& floats past the locked doors,
which will,
for the duration of this fantasy,
remain locked.

We try to make the world

And that is nice,
the theories, the cranes,
the movie on a hot summer day,
get that popcorn oil
deep into your fingerprints,
sip that ice-cold Coke.
And we find beauty
like something off in the distance,
something stumbled into,
poison ivy,
a festival.

It doesn't help,
But it helps.

What chord?
I'm glad you asked.
It is a C major
with a retained sixth,
the chord that closes
Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde."



What remains of
a house sewn shut?
It holds everything inside.

We are each capable
of walking through a door.

My house is in order.
I am ready to go.

The blood is on the door.
My blood is blood.

Night gathers.
I gather.

The night.
I gather.