Tuesday, July 12



bespattered, yet
saving the best for last

consciously prosaic
for the job at

hand, dispelling
moments of ambition

two years after
our last, if not best

efforts to pick
the right vehicle


a lengthy attack
implicitly questioning

an evening of
stifled joy

key phrases

will to persist
drawn out & accepted

but that doesn't make
it any less political


to be learned
if not remembered

his only source
of warmth

to read at least
a proper letter

what he meant
when he called him-

self a proper
Jeffersonian democrat


becoming everything
up on the edge

at this level
as good as it gets

in part because
of the ability

of ordinary people
to run their own

lives, considering
biweekly visits


coming across
vague ideas

spilling forth from
her, what was

left out both
amused & intrigued

picturing her
without clothes on

obsessions and


just out of earshot
across a body

of water,
on the one hand

lyrical abstraction
if not, certainly

on the wane
nothing at all

names worn


implicit in all,
even without it

approaches diverge
better indicators

of lasting value
utterly gorgeous

set to work
amounted to some

thing delivered
by hand or sea


middle of night
best for last

one still eye
obviously done

nothing to say
grammar useless

not willful strategy

notes on three
ceremonial occasions


uncancelled lecture
just out of

reach exceeds
grasp of high-end

trade publishers
their tiny essays

too clumsy
for my liking

two years before
intended expirations


no abiding democracy
as well as humans

can do it, the well of

one page of the book
yellowed, dog-eared

considered worth
saving moments like

this, still half in love
with Yvonne Goolagong

--Halvard Johnson

Friday, July 8

Live Feed 7/8/05

forensic teams in sterile suits
open season on tourists
no known threats of follow-up bombings
extra officers riding trains, patrolling stations

thwarting attempted attack
downgrading alert levels
increases of arrests
under anti-terrorist laws

determined to get on with their lives
what's happened has happened
on the inside track

Thursday, July 7

Works in Progress, 27

maneuvering around car-sized potholes
designing legal strategies
speaking solely in terms of racial justice
examining burial pits and naked skulls

sticking to issues that directly affect them
bemoaning the cautiousness of today's athletes
co-opting the arguments of their opposition
tracking Latino immigrants at the border

supporting any effort to unionize
failing to generate meaningful responses
feeling the centipede in oneself
getting some good poems out of it

rewriting the country's labor laws
seeing a psychic map of our obsessions
building electoral coalitions that will win
emphasizing the overlapping interests of the affluent

slumbering until nightfall
setting this brain of mine afire
reaching irritably after fact & reason
shunning easy consolations

subsidizing extinction industries
helping women victimized by male violence
doubling the sign-up bonus for volunteers
supporting the troops while doubting the war

naming the dead
waiting for him to break silence
descending the steeps of the soughing twilight
assimilating foreign cultures

freeing the slaves
admonishing those who do evil
stamping out political brushfires
democratizing the US

getting in touch with the cable guys
swinging the birches
testing the waters
pushing radical music agendas

getting out the vote
fetching water from the well
educating the masses
confessing to our personal demons

clearing minefields from past wars
laying them for wars yet to come
staying executions, pardoning the innocent
blurring the boundaries, the borders

reading maps in the dark with the top light off
folding them all back up rightly
cramming them into the glove compartment
getting moving again in the right direction

cooling our heels
voting early and often
keeping our fingers crossed
paying full-price for our journey

assembling a glossary of oft-used phrases
keeping silent while the tea is poured
maintaining an inventory of our beliefs and belongings
finding time to clean up around the house

making the world safe for plutocracy
clearing the minefields and cow pastures
converting analog files to digital
rereading An Anatomy of Melancholy

fighting the high cost of prescription meditations
comparing the works of Proust, Gide, and Sartre
putting something aside for a rainy day
asking for another user's name and password

scanning the shelves for news
cleaning up after the latest tsunami
taking care of our parents
looking forward to end-of-life decisions

reassessing works already completed
exterminating the brutes
removing the snow from the car
rebuilding the old road from Fredrikstad to Skjeberg

getting more bang for the buck
setting something aside for that rainy day
worry about what to really worry about
getting back to the Bang, the Big One

teaching the Chinese how to speak English
learning more about Purim
cashing in on Homeland Security
making that list of things to make lists of

deciding whether or not to escape to Canada
enhancing revenue without raising taxes
learning more about hematology
mapping talk-free zones in public parks

making the punishment fit the criminal
recovering our senses
fitting the glove to the hand
dialing for (four) dollars

laying mines at the Prose/Poetry border
celebrating the rebirth of death
transferring data from www.blogger.com
counting the years from start to finish

unpacking after the last long/short journey
saying goodbye to the dead
finding trusty pocket tools for indoor use
pleasing others in letters

recouping ancient losses
moving data from there to over here
scanning the text as rapidly as possible
keeping Kandinsky in mind

replacing old maps with new ones
preparing the cat for summer camp
paying the bills in advance
brushing up on our Spanish

stealing stones from the temple
building a nearby church
stealing stones from the church
building a nearby bank