Wednesday, August 3, 2022


 The Nominalist

We’re all seeking it 

Can't quite put a finger on it

Not sure what to call it.

Try to name it and there’s a gap

A skip in the record

A sigh instead of soothing words

A pause when the poet 

Runs out of breath before

She can conjure the next rhyme 

Leave some spaces on the pages

Where the words can breathe

And figure out for themselves 

What they really want to mean 

But that’s a lie.

The best pauses

Lack all meaning 

While remaining indispensable.

Em dash periods of ellipses 

Frantic gestures of her hands

Cutting and twirling through empty airs

Amplifying the clumsiness

Of hollow desiccated words 

Some mutter my god, my lord, my savior

Not to knock prayer but 

Silence is even better.

The best approach if you feel

The need to speak is a lousy poem

That careens down dusty halls,

Crashes through hedges and gardens 

And tears a hole in your heart

Just before it brings it all together.

The root of all religion, in fact,

Is a poem not god,

For god is too busy

Locked in his study

Trying to find the perfect 

Rhymes for shalt and begotten.

Just write your poem

If you want to find the proof

Of whatever god has left behind.

Let’s read it together,

This triumvirate of words 

I love you I miss you

Do you like the sound of my voice

The caress of your fingers on my arm 

Doesn’t it feel nice?

Let's call this kinship

Or consider it love

So I know what to call it

When I ask myself why.


I’m a nominalist

I don't know a damn thing

Except the words in front of my face.

All I see is a ledger of script

Line after line after line 

Columns and rows, both sides of the page.

I see words everywhere:

In the wending together of vines

In the sprouting of weeds in asphalt cracks 

In the sullen rook perched high up in a dead tree 

The beautiful hidden language 

Where the words mean nothing

Until they are spoken,

Like magical incantations

Animating all we can possibly mean.

Point at something

I'll tell you what it is

Start crying or laughing or clenching your fist

And I’ll tell you what you feel

But that’s the extent of it.

Comfort me begins with a C

Hold me half rhymes with holy.

Can we stop using the word poetry

Can we cut the words in half

Make the page bleed

And call it collateral damage?

I keep slashing at the void

With pencils and pens 

And keyboard strikes 

A fusillade of shots, mostly blanks.

I miss my mark

And often more than twice

But fire away, I say.

Give yourself the green light.

I’m not always accurate

But I aim to be precise

For even the unnameable

Must have its own label


No comments: