ArchivesSite MapSubmitOur GangHot Sites
tearing the rag off the bush again
Four New Poems by Pat Nolan PDF E-mail




In the binary month of a binary year

the anxiety of one day seeps into the next

each little disappointment kills a larger

hope bad news in the mail

complication of fears exacerbates

all the aches and pains fastened

to worry by the glue of gloom and woe


“his bitterness survived him

and tainted future generations

a strange and foolish galoot”


there is always a price to pay

for being different

in need of that newfangled awe

befitting the god of love


but with age comes a certain responsibility

to act my age


jar of another speed bump

what it does to forward determination

how genius can be stuffed

in the pursuit of stubborn resistance

a density poignantly rejected

to possess authority known as author

effacements self-reliant calm

in the commonality of all


distracted by needless worry

heedless I bump into myself

a case of nerves and tiny ailments

the entire underpinning

questionable shaky prone to collapse

self-torture’s miserable state of being


or ponder the difference

between a kaon produced

in high energy collision

with electrically charged forms

being about a thousand

times more massive than

its electron and a koan

as a paradoxical form used

to abandon ultimate dependence

on reason and enter into

sudden intuitive enlightenment


robins keep their appointment

with the freshly mowed roadside

at this particular edge of dusk

not quite dark a rain squall

whitens the air as a damp filter


there are words I should define

but faced with the dictionary

I can’t remember what they are

I don’t want to map my thinking

I just want to leave footprints


standing in line the woman behind me

thought it funny to unlock my knees

her name spelled with a secret vowel

only revealed once you speak it


my dreams parallel my waking life where

nothing much gets accomplished either


I can’t believe I said “doodle bug”

not “you cry baby middle class snot”


ant navigates a vast listless sea of shag

persistent irony of daily life

sweep paper floor made to look like wood


swift moving clouds leave sunshine in their wake


does not my aura contain as well as emanate

a pure spectral body of surrounding light

as if I could actually see the strings and

strands connected to the physics of being


steady rain streams down a pale transparent code


evening imposes a kind of silence

a stillness of the moment

joined as it were to the mood of transition

I step out of myself


sometimes I’m my mother

sometimes I’m my father

sometimes I’m just me waiting to be


desire happiness mindful of all

the suffering it will cause

treasure the inconsequential

for more momentous matters

omens read into the unexpected

to explain a failure

in predicting the future


garden of purple and white

asters wag in the wind

edge of fog sieves the light

to understand those wavelengths

demark a cold neutral cast

neither inviting or terrifying

but pressing with its stillness

a cocoon-like transcendence

it’s what I expect and accept

an abeyance in the ripening

buffeted by a hardening breeze


thump the remote

wake up the battery


how I drag my weeping carcass

across the landscape and sing

in a tongue yet to be understood


connect the dots the dots the dots


alone the empty house inhabited by shadows

and excuses for not getting out of bed


the older I get the better

feel I get for the inevitable


waiting to turn the ignition off

so I can listen to the last of Lady

Day’s breathy lilt on the radio

in what sounds like an intimate

nightclub atmosphere and reflect on

the incredible richness and bounty

of the moment and what a beggar

I am to appreciate it so little


yet morning’s roar of machine shattered

stillness projections of ego reconfirm

my status as the center of attention

where surface frivolity hides a deeper demon

quaint perceptions lead to unusual conclusions


rain wet streets mark a change of season

low spots along the road as puddles resume

birds gather in joyful congregations

the air streaked with delicate splash


transition from one moment to the next

full of holes gaps light year spans

the pace of eons with each breath

conscious of the unconscious


a snarl of hair triggers


vague giants march out of morning mist

silhouettes edged in softness

a day of no sun and pale spumes

the trees shedding a steady fine glaze

as awakening color adds its transparency


you never step into the same stream

twice Heraclitus was fond of saying

what he didn’t say

 you still get wet







Awakened by ache

most of day expired

illness while more often than not


also a monumental waste of time

bathed in the cold light of calculation

a world of computational excess

I could die tomorrow

and that would sum it all up


long for enlightenment of early sun

as it lays orange marks

across frosty blades


this my own personal Daoism

a principle of purity

in essence


as the application of spontaneity


ebb and flow of mist at ridge top

raises and lowers a curtain on

the saga of ancient trees

ranks of giants stand shoulder

to shoulder in drifting vapor

testifying as a chorus of beauty

the archetypes of centuries

reenact their drama awesome

in their stature and stillness

the slow bleed of smoke from

a chimney feeble before the white

cast of billowing atmosphere

overpowering the wash of its grace

a squall’s sudden intermission


thoughts and ruminations evaporate

before the vast emptiness of the page

pearls of wisdom go unstrung

brilliant insights go unset


just the topmost

tips of trees bathed in gold

still in shadows

rank upon rank belong to cold


tangled up in the ropes of dysfunction

head held under the waters of regret

an accomplished sadness bereaving the unknown

puzzle of relationships further unsolved


so it is that I cling to life like lint

that blur at the periphery

what’s always passing me by

failure at the things I wish to accomplish

successful at things I could care less about


lost in movement the acrobatics of language

finally settle down

sparks whose glimmer

fade in memory


how long have I been

walking around

with my fly

at half mast


(the poet captivates his audiences

by turning them into accomplices)


as I know emotion deserted by reason

can be flushed out in laughter

yet I’m reminded daily

the brain fails to understand itself


over the phone

“no brain is an island”

my brother informs me to which I reply

“no brain is a salad”

we speak in code he and I

a redundancy of childhood

when the world was light

and we chased our shadows

instead of now

the other way around


take comfort in music each note information 

played in sequence

instructing wonder





just as when writing if by chance

I use a word


in time it will

align itself

with meaning


compelled to ask

am I really

as irredeemable

as I feel


if dogs are considered domesticated

why not men


I see it even in

            the kitchen drawer

telltale signs of entropy

how order gives way

                                                to chaos

I’m still working on

a unified theory of furniture


(cat underfoot


chalk it up to just another

misstep in the delicate

dance of            




in my fugitive life

            I fly from the inevitable

my radical beliefs make room for moderation


“in search of equilibrium

            the biosphere evolves

around us

            its many grains of sand

we will be left behind

                                    soon enough

consumed by a soup

            toxic and single-minded”






against deepening shadows of a forested

hillside translucent trees gather

                        the last of the lingering light


aesthetics knows of a sentiment

            of culpability

of unease in the face

                                    of the finished product

the incomparable erudite polyglot

George Steiner has written           

being is



            and naming isolates

                                                disrupts unity


even more than in philosophy

it is through poetry

human consciousness experiences free time


Law #1: at the edge of chaos

                        act without trembling hands


time change

                        mind change

spare change


Law #2: be alert for the door ajar

onto the adjacent possible


as space tends to be flat

                        in the absence of matter


so speak the mute soliloquies

as the stream

            of consciousness

                                    of every human psyche


out of wisdom comes grief

knowledge begets sorrow

intelligence is lethal


“you can lay your baggage on my door step

but that suitcase don’t belong to me”


what am I supposed to think


a stretch of days covered in

a shroud of anticipation

becalmed in a sea of anxiety


I talk shamelessly about works

I have written as if they were

                  fait accompli

while in a parallel universe

each word uttered

                                    each supposition

ensures their flaws

diminishes them

as if they were done to death


hounded by this deep pessimism

I retrace my steps

                                    day by day

I have the honor of being me

why can’t I accept that


same with the physics lesson

I learn from my socks

when there are two of something identical

one is always missing


mist smoke shadows lifting light rising


observation reflects

the average of all

possible histories

at the edge of every moment

the past redefined


in my futile attempt

to diagram the limitless

I am bound only by mind

(what the Chinese call “the square inch”)

there is however

a probability

I suffuse the universe





In a dream

my father

calls me


crazy but

I object

to that



I want



more specific

the word

he comes


up with

is rash

I asked


for it

awakening to

the truth




A singularity

is anything

but singular


steady particle

string streams


make it up

in the way

that I am


composed of



I come in

proximity to

and similarly


need to hog

all the light




< Prev   Next >