David Wolf



Towels only. In the bin. Think of the thymotic as you disintegrate in your hammock, listening for the gar’s song. Where’s that option sheet? Famous? How so? Focus. Frying like your brain in the public domain. Can we call the sky turquoise? Late arrival after late arrival.

You imagine moving toward the owl’s call. Evening’s leavening shade. Only nexus? Only a learned yawn?

Torpor heightens, a sustained yank of yield, an old take on the whole mess of time’s innards creasing.

Dispersal lingers—actually its smoke—over an obvious improvidence. Blustery nothingness totters. Empty grind of ruin to rot, atomized—today’s distractions scatter the remains of what, the latest exodus?

More havoc rustles free of the trunks in the attic, minutiae mocked on cue. Your overfilled kettles of ideals spill forth.

Or was it just a gravelly dream and a dead sway toward the rewrite of sanity’s overwrought narrative deep in the headland ground down?

To opine pickled as a tier of odorless nonesuch, to fail to scatter the hail’s expiring exchange: the toss that does not fade.

Ceaseless as fog in dreams only—a jab at the initial melody rallies dissonance, extending a oneness, useless and salient.

Forgetfulness at high tide like frost on the leaf, curious as false unction, or just rolling forth from source to source.

Pleased as understatement’s blatancies, lilac intransitives, curses dear to the onion’s splayed melody: arcing inscape’s nod.

Mind’s truncated song, utensils idling in the jammed drawer as we rejoice, qualms aside, now to utter what overshadows, what ignites the lingering clutter of sincerity’s exultations.

Lyric assurance and timely episodes astir, a revival of the rumpled inner view—and a vintage gone awry . . . O larking grape.


missives sweetened, ontology rusting in the peppered harping of ego’s roost . . .

open to a restive platter of hooey, a day, mist shifting, emblematically ripe

riffing now, perception’s handle falsely elevated, vastly rearguard, but what does the moon owe you?

pageantry’s hindrance, earthenware’s realized form: how many other layers rival your most straightforward posturing?

hinges creak like an etched sense of the redo, a makeshift tall order, a faint rally on the palette

endleaves give pause as you relive the cover’s maudlin feel . . . and the odor of remembrance in pages held fast

reversals barely mentioned, slide off, some too rare—perhaps what we have is an earlier shine taken to the arcane

. . . may the mire be sieved on par, the runic plunge hidden in folds of illusory heft blanching at eked-out ratiocination


spirited winnowing at dawn all faltering gloss . . . as the atonal reign of prophecy’s echo rings more decay

sung to the tune of . . .

sliding along the horizon, the bulbous cargo ship—
sodden wad of chew between gum and lip—
fish pond Sunday evening, unctuous Tuesday afternoon—
cry of the chaos mongers, cry of the loon—

life is meaningless? —snip, eep, pip,
butterfly on the woodpile tells me to get a grip
could the sky be peeling to a more idyllic hue?
ruddy lake turning a stoney blue

four caws of the crow woke me from nettled sleep—
dreams a-roiling the sizzling shallow deep—
exertion’s surface charms: a heap of ballyhoo—
I’ll doze until a gale renders free the morning dew

The prospects ooze? Salute the seasoning. What emanates now only sharpens the shred. I’ll wave to the onrush, keep to the nadir. Speck or spark. Care assumes the onus, garish in noon light. Ate? Tanked circus of the eaten.

Inscrutable hulking sun. Moody, sound. A grating and sour singe—go thank yourself. Even you. Sans retinue?

Run as you go, flow as we flow, shave the smile from your face. Regard the chemical haze drifting into the empty bay. Wavelet rush of wing-weary plunge. A dog’s single bark at the singular lark. A sufficient hunch to tighten the long-faced empirical flicker.

magnitude’s haze, alloy of wisdom with its knotty graces, a soothing bewilderment easing an answer’s rosy dissolve

David Wolf is the author of five collections of poetry, Open Season, The Moment Forever, Sablier I, Sablier II, and Visions (with artist David Richmond). His work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, decomp, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Poet & Critic, River Styx Magazine, and numerous other literary magazines and journals. He is a professor emeritus of English at Simpson College and serves as the poetry editor for Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts.
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