Galapagos

Reaching outward towards some island
traced out in hyphens and hieroglyphs,

in lamp-lit hours, drifting shapes,
cinnamon-tinged mysteries of life’s arrangement.

How: inventing a story to fit that sweet desire
for how things lunged forward with or without us

into a Galapagos, held in distant regard,
some classic inched down, only a name.

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Freckledark

Frowning for his wallet,
right and left
the hand sorting
as if this were a billiard slot
in too-blue denim,
the mathematician wondered
of and on, gravity and love

who was kind or wise
or punch-drunk enough between courses,
while the sleeveless waiter
subtracted plates for laughs,
that easy substitution,
to gift the children the hours
so they might name intervals
of light and dark and space.

Fingers tickling the harmonica slide
of keys while standing struck
in freckledark, passing from quietsmile

he thought of strained tomatoes
seeds and pulp twinned and unmeshed,
passing through the universe’s sieve
of strange music, before and after.

They would be gathering up themselves,
presents, papers and steadying
towards their adult cages and nods

for the journey into well-thumbed nearenough
and its additive spell,

  less lemonfrost and more humdark.

He would buy them a chemistry kit,

  tomorrow?
or whatever best suited
its notyet shape,
that they might create
or compound metals and numbers new,
something to turn the world over
and inside out again,

the word for it
just out
of his fingers’ fumbling grasp.

Magnesium days

Writing to be read, not read into,
a sleight of hand that glimmers sweetly
up in a whirling test tube
caressing quick-burn dreams in its sight
then dispenses into chemical days.

And time-bound, it feels like
yesterday’s ferment, soured, sweet
a busy chef stoking the feast
and genuflecting in our direction
so we might barely scrape the glaring bright.

This would be magic, not only awe,
in other ages, other lights.
Instead this elemental world asks nothing
though we reassemble its toy-kit parts
into misery and dreams and approval.

The Thermodynamics of Verse

Laser eyes, they report, and iron jaw,
Send them into a quivering silence
Propelled from his heated glare like
That silver line expanding in escape.

Tampered words disclosed unknowing
Show her voice doctored by a prescription
Boiling down the quicksilver of her song,
Displacing it with a shock of lead.

I see both ways, good and bad, as do they
Where they run from both like mercury
Fearful of the wrong dangers
Unaware that hot air always rises.