Pat Nolan


When I want to hide
               something from myself
                                             I put it in plain view
the distant past can be five seconds ago

if nothing else I did well on the phone today
I must have mouthed all
               the platitudes about art
                                             at one time or another
a blustery spring day throws the trees
into spastic dance plays the Aeolian harp
between my ears as in ancient times did I

(poets don’t write epics or odes any more
                                                            only episodes)

significance of the bronze temple bell
struck once
                              at birth
                                             reverberation decaying
into silence over a life’s span of years

warm breeze invades my cool shuttered room
day passes the halfway point
                              a center pole
               in the tent of time
                              hands up stretch eat
                              come back
                                             to earth

incubation over
                              spring arose and
released the first wave of flying
flitting things
                              don’t wonder
                                             we are not alone
other life precedes and will likely follow
our span if even tens of millions acid
reflux the chalk of time will soothe

                              the illusion of power
                                             all the more dangerous
               in the presence of others
like a foreign language
                                             becomes suspicious

               “what was I thinking”


What’d I do with it had it just
in the other room
                               under yesterday’s
no right there
                               that last letter
where it was all along
mischievous chiding self
                               clucks a tongue
with cliché
                               memory shot or
                               talk show interlude
the bizarre questions existence
to posit comfortable fantasy
don’t know
                               never will
don’t care
                               what’s mine
and what’s more is mine
and more is more
                               my gain my loss
at tax time
                               but mainly
I’m strictly for me
                               and if not for that
then what I see and it
belongs to me
as part of that
                solid matter
                               I have no choice
but to believe
                               even though
it’s always there
I am not always being there


Hummingbird pink
flowers implied

could have been a raven
wing spread on misty blue

cat focused world shut out
bug or bee bigger game could be

attention span’s fragile gossamer

look away gone away
look again gone again

a flight of geese across the page
at the source of alphabet


Birds up before dawn nap at noon
woman with twin babies pushes a double
stroller self in exile safely said silent
the machinations of the soul appear as
a huge check-off list attended to daily
at each point in time another clue to
identity then the no-identity of no-time
the imperfect circle that expresses a span
shadowed in regret the day continues
vague success of kicking the machine
light filtered through a paler blue
wheels on the truck spin backwards
all the dogs on the block visit the same
message board and the shaggy one
eared cat even walks mean nothing
set in stone yet the breeze more ancient
a testament to every breath man in hat
occupies the meditation of his walk
from light to shade the heat of the day
leavened by the not-so-distant sea


Rusted muffler
                rough idle
                               oil leak
tune up
                way overdue
                               steering shot
dents and dings
                bald tread
                               on all four
brake squeal
                granny tranny
                               (needs lotsa help)
clutch slips
                one headlight
                               high beam only
pitted grill
                Mexican blanket
                               seat covers
radio ripped out
                windshield crack
                               but amazingly
never out of gas


Lightning naps and other
engaging forms of sleep
day marches through
its artificial compartments
each hour an additional
weight to listless life forms
who like dust alight
whenever the breeze blows
among open magazines and
piles of library books
over worn socks nightwear
school notes hair brushes
facsimiles of an existence
scattered or strewn as
the archeological refuse
of a dig in progress
who’d dare disturb this
sanctum with wakeful thought
radio drones on persistent
static or a steady rain
a backdrop for the weaving
of dreams into memory


Why do I worry
this moment has already happened

I am always
just barely
                              in the past tense

shallow breeze hot dry tree
debris scutters lethargically

the spirit of chaos
               visiting in
                              the guise of smoke

an outsized narcissism
what I do and why I do
belong to different camps

must there be a reason

river as the source
a continuing flow on
the horizon of consciousness
beyond the tall trees world
wide to the peripheries

perspective of a lifetime
not a path but a field of attention
span of spontaneous transformations

Pat Nolan's poems, prose, and translations have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the US and Canada as well as in Europe and Asia. He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry and two novels. His most recent books of poetry are Exile In Paradise (Nualláin House, Publishers, 2017) and So Much, Selected Poems Volume I 1969-1989(Nualláin House, Publishers, 2018). He also maintains Parole, the blog of the New Black Bart Poetry Society. His serial fiction, Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius, is available for perusal at odetosunset.com. He lives among the redwood wilds along the Russian River in Northern California.
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