For what it’s worth

When a commenda was formed,
a swan feather and a handshake,
maybe a smile between the two,
officiated a single trading mission.
(An unofficial finger found its way
onto a pair of eager lips, exploring)
Outside that dusty Venetian office,
the sinking edifice becomes a feeling:
hope, confidence’s pendant. Though
it is anxiety that stops its swinging back.
One stayed precociously with the wares,
the other stayed with a silk heartache.

Continue reading For what it’s worth

Missed connections

Missed connections

There are two words intrinsic to the tracks

Not ‘departure’ and ‘arrival’; too mechanical.

Coal in the engine, ink of the blueprints,

dead signs sneer above meaningless destinations.

Be on your way now, you’ll find nobody here


Nor the two ‘farewell’s severing a connection

like wagons uncoupling: were we ever a pair?

The conductor hides his lies, tips his hat;

the question leaves the station

the answer drowned out with a whistle


What about ‘leaving’ and ‘staying’? One left behind,

tears trail from second class to your cheek.

the sunset limns her hair, the sun sets with her.

The train has left; you’ve nothing left of her

Yet the station thrums with laughter and speech


Maybe a stranger pair: ‘waiting’ and ‘hoping’:

if only the train would speed up, to hell with safety regulations!

howls your desperation to be there, damn this isolation

inside a train that smells of separation, like the tracks

could diverge at any second. He could leave at any second


But petrichor is the scent of what’s been done, not what is to come.

The water what has become the rain has a purpose,

it’ll put out a fire somewhere, or lessen a thirst (of open-mouthed children

sheltered within the shade)

nothing obliges the water to always rain on your parade




The conductor smiles, “depart for arrival,”

His farewell, a knowing half-truth, he tips his hat.

Leaving is heading for wherever you’ll stay,

hope is knowing you’ll get there, perhaps on the next.

(there’s more than that one melodramatic train.) Just wait.


There’s really just one word intrinsic to the tracks,

to the station, too. Nothing drastic, definitely more mellow

than most would think.


Step out of the train and meet her eyes.

There’s no “goodbye”

only “hello”

Hey, Joost Zwagerman

Don’t look back at us down here
our arbitrary reactions are expected:
hopeless, sad, angry, quick to blame
You gave us the audacity to admit
that death makes us feel a way

Your book sales are breaking roofs
Nothing sells like suicide
The ads, our tragic mythologies
to make you seem better than you were
that killing your own was undeserved

I hope you’re happy.
No, I really do.
That high outside your corpse
hope you are alright, more okay
than you were inside,
writing one long obitual essay