shriven

verb:
to have received the confession of; to have imposed penance on; to have granted absolution to

parmenides on forgetting

denial is not negation or erasure
but the simple statement that something
is not something
and gone and never having been
what cannot be remains
incapable of thinking.
there was not a thing
in the past that ceased.
how would it cease? the universe
has no share of nothing.
if it is not here it cannot
have been here, cannot
have ever existed.
let us turn
from this path of inquiry.

moth

in the bathroom i see
a moth on the window trying to get in.
i wonder how it sees lightness,
knows where the origin of light is and why
it comes to it. is its world a gradient
of light and darkness like mine, details
in shadow less pronounced and clarity
clustered only where darkness isn’t,
or is it a world where light is not
the reason for travel but travel itself,
where to move toward light is to move
at all, warped paths beat into tense
explosions of solidness, a thousand
roads bent round the place where it says
it began in an instant of knowing, where
the darkness is a bounded unknown.

west

there is no season here
for despair or respite
from the drone of time,
the hum it generates in friction
with all we wished we would be.
no autumn south of winter
signals to the birds that cold
nears. that it is time
to leave.
no day east of night wakes us
eggshell thin from dreams
or cradles the earth
in shadow.
run from here in every line
of flight that will bear you
like a maple key on the breath of god.
rest where the sun sets
for all things in time return
to where they sleep.

directions

in life, left and right is the difference
between a heart and no heart.
don’t miss the next turn
or take the wrong exit.

adjectives

time beats the adjectives out of you.
or they settle like down
in a favorite pillow. still there,
but bunched together at the bottom
in a shape with empty space
that fits you perfectly.
it is not the structures they support anymore,
but the person they accommodate.
when they aren’t in the way,
i can sleep.

friend

my nails are still painted your blue.
it remains at my invitation.
i am lucky to know you, and to
have known you before you left.
when you return, we will talk again.
there will be no need for old color.

bedtime story [parmenides]

once there was a turtle sitting

on its nest. together

they composed the universe.

the universe shouted into its phone

so you want to fuck other people

the phone also is the universe.

the universe shouted into itself

so you want to fuck

there are no other people.

where would other people come from?

things do not come from nowhere.

the universe did not begin to shout.

to begin would mean

there was a time without shouting.

instead, the universe

hummed contentedly in the nest of itself

like it always does.

weeds

weeds are a sign of difference
between one kind of life and another.
the life desired thrives with care.
the forgotten life survives anywhere.
cement and glass are no obstacles
to the underlying strength
of our evaded potential.

emptiness

like a trick cane with a knife inside
it cuts in the hands of those who know
it is there

determiner [fragment]

this of slamming prison gates
this of violent winds
this of blood and burden
burning in the abdomen

this is that presented
this is that before
this is distant ice age
knocking on the door