Big Band Theory

It all began with music,
with that much desire to be

in motion, waves of longing
with Nothing to pass through,

the pulsing you feel before
you hear it. The darkness couldn’t

keep still, it began to sway,
then there were little flashes

of light, glints of brass
over the rumbling percussion,

the reeds began to weep and sing,
and suddenly the horns

tore bigger holes in the darkness—
we could finally see

where the music was coming from:
ordinary men in bowties and black

jackets. But by then we had already
danced most of the night away.

♦ ♦ ♦

Why We Die

Someone spilled salt
or stepped on a crack,
someone left a window open

or looked back, a mistake
that small was all it took
to let death into the world—

which means we never had
a chance at immortality
like the one Calypso offered

Odysseus and he turned down
for no good reasons–I want
a good reason life is dangled

in front of us for only
so many years and then
snuffed out, I know I could

appreciate beauty even if
it went on forever—lovely
word, the way it lingers

on the tongue—I might even
give up sex and go back
to being a single cell, to

multiplying by dividing,
if I could still feel the touch
of sun or wind or water against

a membrane, if I could sense
the difference between night
and day, if the little Mars

rover I lived in picked up
any signs of life, I don’t even
believe in getting out of the way

of others clamoring in line
to try this ride, I just want
to stay right here watching

cows drink from a pond
on a moonlit night.

♦ ♦ ♦

Glen Gould Humming

If you don’t want the sound
that could be coming

from any kid in headphones
accompanying your precious

Bach, call me and I’ll come
to your house and collect

every record you own
that reminds you this divine

music was written and played
by mere mortals with sweaty

palms and opposable thumbs—
and you can forget about the man

you believe intrudes
on otherwise perfect preludes

and fugues.

♦ ♦ ♦


Sorrow rises as if you
were the well, filling,

chills the stones, seeps
into the cracks between

them: how many people
would have to drink

from the little silver dipper
to carry your sorrow away?

from Sharp Stars



from The Writer’s Almanac:


Sweater Weather:  A Love Song to Language

The Underworld


from The Poetry Foundation:

Body and Soul

Saying Things

from The Academy of American Poets


from the web

Beyond Recall

from Eureka

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