Before Whom the Chaos

the first person lives
who will be 1000

as once, the first person
to enter space
was alive

born of that starry substance
to be returned
as once
the first woman

who would
circumnavigate
the world

and the first man
who would fly, both
head
over heels

and the first person
who would
sit atop
the animal

how odd
that must
have been

when suddenly the
other animals
failed
to recognize either

and were consumed

like the first person
who would kill
another

how tight
will he squeeze
her finger, how strong

could he be alive
somewhere

the first to rule, the first
with more
than he needs
or who needs more

as once
the first child was born
who would leave
its mother

where does one go
if not
to new people
new family

there would have been
no one

Maya

human animal awareness
peaks
at the edge
of physical boundary

such as
out of the woods
& into a clearing
or reverse of that

into greens
that when mixed together
appear black
some have thorns

so they all might
some are oily
& poisonous, so
they all might be

we appear on a hill
at the edge
of a cliff, below which
a river

beyond which
the stone shaved
clean
by wind

membranes of
cities, the towers
neck tied
& black of dress

the first doorway
opened
& the first pen

an absence
a finger slick with berries
the first wall
a raft

possibly
a door

or the green wall
of medicine &
fibrous material
fruits
& soft bedding

The World is a Joke but Still

short term
photographic
memory loss

your face, infrequent
by his hands
because your body

a poem finds
the bathroom
in the dark

a narrow victory
a game won
of its own making

then ignored, another
game created
before the last has ended

imagine
being made to carry
your winnings

would you ever win?
save it
for the end

the big stuffed air
the face-sized
balloon faces

the world is a joke
& still, he
wants to fuck like

it’s serious
the world is a joke
learning to tell itself

knock knock
himself
at the door

pounding, afraid
being just him
is the secret

a punch line, or
in this case
a name

there was something
great he
was going to say

something important
he thinks
long & hard

before he speaks

The Ancient Reptilians

every dinosaur book starts out
a long long time ago, or
before
there were buildings, cars

before the trees were gone (once
when they had never been)
before
the leaves were different

and as gluttonous drinkers of sun
they stood, broad faced and brachial
before
their necks. maybe we say instead

instead there were dinosaurs
very unlike cartoon dinosaurs, who
before
becoming huge and terrible

could fit in the palm of your hand
their feathery hearts bled out
before
receding, flooding again the plains

of their limbs to move. they’d tense in
vegetation, wary of their own feathers
before
in agitation, taking flight

this is before and during the
beginning of time
before
enough collective damage

had been done to call it the past
before there were roads
before
the whispering of animals into rooms

of our dwelling. be it houses, clothes
as fire eats the air
before
air has had enough and shoos it

when at once it has always been
like the ground to a foot in a shoe
before
the biggest thing on Earth was God

Apnea

the trees, their leaves dipped like eggs
into cups of dye, the one flaming oak
on Flaming Oak Cove that has not changed
noticeably, but tonight appears more
red than yellow, an act of collective
memory I contain only part of. I contain only
part of what it takes. I take things out of
the forest and lay them flat onto paper, like
these trees, too much on purpose. I
build my web between birds and train
them to fly in unison above tall grasses,
ponds, collecting bugs. but only in poems
only on weak bones perched in your mind
someone saves me each morning. is that you?
or do I save myself? have I somehow timed
the jump back on correctly, all these times
in a row now… how have I not stayed too long?
all that is coming is me being there for good