Some poems cannot
be written for fun.
You do it because you
can’t be quiet about it.
All you can do is grab on to
something stable before
getting crushed by
the missed opportunity.
When I Knew
When I knew
that I was saved
I stared at my
at the rising dew.
I did not know
how. I just knew.
The way a bonobo
studies teeth, or how
A Way Out
Today, the cloth of the cosmos
came undone at the seams—undone
like a bootleg Gucci handbag.
Today, entire continental coasts
were consumed in a New York minute,
the Pope declared heaven is not real and
Saturn was sucked into the belly of a black hole.
Today, all semblance of order evaporated into
the organic air of an American Spirit cigarette—
the bright yellow pack with that mild, additive-free taste.
Today, the ice caps melted, capitalism collapsed and
nothing will ever be the same again, as all Hell broke loose.
Today, for the first time, my son climbed out of his crib.
Set Forth in the Blood
This love for my children hatches in seconds and
is more powerful than famines and wars.
Entire continents could be swept away in a deluge of divine
retribution, but this embryonic necessity sweeps over me—
a towering burst of protective rage overlapping every square
inch, like hippos lurking under the infinite emptiness of a river.
Let’s face it, we are set forth in the blood.
There are hours
past midnight when
sleep won’t do.
“Romeo Had Juliet”
the computer, and a
tumbler of bourbon.
There are hours
that cannot be boxed in
on a calendar—
those moments when I am
not and I am all the same,
When I fall for
loneliness of staying up.
Dishes in the Earth
We are dug out
like dishes in the Earth,
and looked at by anthropologists
with curving, symmetrical smiles,
the way a daffodil
blooms in a radiograph.
Do you ever question if everything
must be seen after all?
Sometimes I do.
And I think my mind is a reflection
of demolition. Rare and dangerous.
Like a meteorite
of emptiness streaking on fire.
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image: George Payne