Nothing Is Everything

A change is come upon me, and I understand what it is.

So many of the threads and pathways I have followed throughout the course of my work, for many more years than I have been posting here, have been showing signs of being nearly at an end for a while. The poems make it clear: Over and over, they focus on the moment when one lets go and everything changes in an instant. The platform drops, the rope snaps taut, the neck is broken–but the hanging one is not dead, and was never even unconscious. Something happened, and now they are somewhere else. We could describe that instant as many ways and times as we like, but why? I would now like to do something else, something I could not do before.

Poetry has always meant so much to me that I have kept it in view at all times. Every decision I have ever made has been intended to further its active presence in my life. Honestly, without poetry, I have had no life, and that is how I wanted it. My vocation has been more compelling than any potential competing interests, even relationships and family, the things that mean so much to others. This is changing now, but not ending; where the present path comes to an end, we will see where we are, and what poetry feels and sounds like there. It will be an adjustment, but all of poetry is my home, so soon I will feel as at home as I have ‘here.’

My inclination is to be quiet and wait for things to take shape, but I suspect that the passage in-between will be as interesting as any other, and may be valuable in the end as documentation of a process. So I will continue to post, but with no expectations as to the sort of content I will have to offer, starting today. Work has already happened, and it is different.

6 March 2021


Nothing More

She looked far away, to the foot of the mountain.

She saw something moving. She saw it so plain:

I shall be standing alone when the sound of

its weeping has tendered the meaning of pain

a sooth-word of medicine lately extracted

as if from its veins in a poisonous form

and cured among snake-doctor patients for lack of

superior vessels. And now as the storm

that produced the first lightning that sought out and hit her

has risen again and proceeded to pour

shafts of pointed electrical power so bitter,

she stares at the place–she still hears the wind roar–

but there’s nothing alive there; there’s nothing that’s moving;

only the strange wind that blows through her mind

remembers the time of the universe wooing

itself through the spirits its own self designed

to appear at the stroke of importunate midnight–

as slowly she draws closed her curtains and eyes.

Nothing is moving, and nothing is hidden;

nothing that’s present grows nothing more wise.

The future is not completely unknown. Here is a clue: Nothing. No-thing. Neither is, nor is not.


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at
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