I think I am sunk.

I could not open the front door today,
I could not eat, watched Frasier
from the couch balancing books
I know I will never get around
to finishing.

I wish I could infiltrate the Paradise
inside me, caulk all my gaps, and
slick around the street like mercury, that
I could be like the the women on the Metro,
balancing coats and produce bags
like the sword and scales.

Instead, I watch the soap stains
on my countertop barnacle together.
This must be what the Universe
felt like before God got the courage
to crochet the earth out of blackness,
to make phone calls,
to leave the house.

Lying on the couch with a cemented spine,
skin grazed by the liminal
glow of nighttime talk shows,

I am thinking heavily
on the inability to think of anything at all,
I am realizing that my icebergs
are only what you might see standing
on the golf deck of a passing cruiser.


Karma salvage kit

1. Last spring
I dozed in incense
& still remembered what
it meant to spend days
spilling rainbows of sand
onto a tabletop
so children in
San Francisco could see it fan out.

Now I only remember why they are
destroyed, how mandalas are ways
of making endings less traumatic,
ways to turn millions of years of fear
into a numbered kit: creation, destruction,
creation, destruction,

2. Now I remember mandalas
in the poetry of an ex-lover
who remembers me only in his work,
and only as the one to tell him
all things will pass,
that every moment is just the stem of hair
you find in your bedsheets days
after the fact,

I remember Nag Champa
as the young flame laughing
at me for being so American,
buying the box instead of the sleeve,
not realizing plastic is no sanctuary,
that you can slide or rip it
and the world will be no more disrupted
than if you hadn’t,

I am the method through which
revelations are extracted,
I am the magnifying glass
of all my lovers.

3. I watch the twin stars
of Venus and Jupiter
pinned in the July night like sewing pins
and wonder what Maitreya
would think of me now,

ignoring spirals and my breath,
opting to stay awake at 4 instead,
drinking less coffee now,
but bathing in cortisol
that could be hushed away
like a child from the edge of a pool

through a half-hour a night
of silence, sitting,
searching for impulses that are
directions and not destinations.

According to Leonard Cohen
& Allen Ginsberg,
a bit of the divine flows
even from the taps of
truck stop bathrooms.

4. In this life,
I intend only to
wash my face.


Image by kaylakro (Kayla Kromer) via Wikimedia Commons

Isaac Williams is studying English at UCLA. His poetry has been published in The Nervous Breakdown, Poetry Quarterly, Glitterwolf Magazine, and Eunoia Review.