They say our planet is ending + I believe them—belief not in the manner religion is bred—but, simply—I see the end. Drive from Barranquilla to Santa Marta along Colombia’s Caribbean coast + it waits there already—Ciénaga—Ciénaga is our plastic-wrapped end. A fishing village whose entire topsoil is monochrome plastic decay. I drive past Ciénaga each […]

Height of Beauty

Secret obsessions, private mad endeavors, finally, unintentionally, revealed are so fragile they break the beholder’s heart. Which beckons the ask: why is heartbreak so beautiful? From “Letters from Max,” by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo.

You Know, Zen

I finally got it, got Zen, thanks to Matsuo Basho, Haiku master of and for all time. Zen is the eternal captured in the moment. The simple conveyed by the complex. It is the power by which haiku, that uninterruptible conscientious brief burst of words, implies all forms, all poems. Basho was a wonderer and […]

World on a Page

What I love, so much, about Anne Carson is how much world she packs onto a paper page. Below is page 2.5 from “Autobiography of Red” an orbit-altering read.

Last Drops

Sometimes, a lot of the times, when I read Sharon Olds it is a small, non-central phrase that does me in. Seldom is it the grand finale. Often, it is a line tucked into the middle, like a “last drop of something,” that makes me come back to it, come back to the poem, in […]

Whistle While You Wait

The Poetry Foundation’s site come in mighty handy while waiting in line. Example on this is brief, perfect poem above. Other photo in this post is the internal patio of the Poetry Foundation’s Chicago headquarters, which I recently had the chance to visit. More on that later. Later like when I am waiting again in […]

Intimate Wonder

Places of wonder abound. Or do they. This is something I wonder about. Does wonder have more to do with mood/temperament of observer or with design/purpose of place. By the way, I am leaving the question marks out on purpose. In order to convey the certainty of my lack of certainty. These are not rhetorical […]

The Most Miserable

Pictured above is the best book report I’ve ever read, about the actual best book I have ever read. Yes. I think. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” will have to make a more thorough appearance on here soon. Time is ripe for a reread. But, back to this current post, which is about Claudia Rankine’s “Don’t Let Me […]

Poems Heavy as Poached Game

Scenes from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds’ first book of poems “Satan Says.” In the background, Paola Pivi’s solo exhibit at the Miami Beach Bass Museum.

Confucianism’s Progressive Respect*


Confucianism is not a philosophy, not a social system, not a Way, but a religion at whose center is an all-powerful, loving God who engendered an order-seeking universe. This godly force is symbolized by the character Tien, which is often translated as “Heaven.”  Confucius sought to translate the law of God into the law of […]

Mimetic, et al.

“Mimetic” is my Word of the Day. Synonymous (yes, at once!) with “echoic,” “apish,” “slavish” and “canned.” From John D’Agata’s genre-bending, lyrical, US-centered tour of the essay’s recent history: “The Next American Essay.”

A Zorse

A “zorse” is the word to use when speaking of the offspring between a zebra and a horse. Also, say this out-loud: Kanye is half cannon, half ballet. Half canonical, half prey. From Sarah Blake’s “Mr. West”


The fascinating thing about fascination is fascination itself. Obsession works in similar ways. An obsession, a swallowing up of will by all encompassing drive, takes over in inexplicable ways. Callings exist beyond a mere sense of purpose. Why else would there be an entire book of poems on Kanye? Poem “God Created Night and It […]