Archives of Autumn

Four Seasons (Autumn detail); Marc Chagall (CC BY 2.0 Chris Rycroft)

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
—John Keats, “To Autumn”


The surplus hostility of this September
gusts heedlessly against our innocent home,
straining the easy satisfaction of evening walks

among rotting crabapples and saffron leaves.
It’s more than a metaphysical nuisance, this
bare nothingness compromising the foundation
upon which we once dared to imagine building
pellucid cities of the future: it’s an aggregate dusk

experiencing a slow aggression that saps whatever
remained unmentioned (once), an undying form
multiplying the pluralistic unities between
the hours exuded from the first promise of a day (oh
the day, the day!) and the work of speaking it closed.

Lacking halos, our heads nonetheless circle the block
seeking little beyond what is now frankly unmistakable:
there are concrescences of actual joy in the fading light
tripped into the twilit air by feet softly scampering
across pristinely empty parking lots and newly-
poured sidewalks, chasing ever-retreating shadows

beneath fluorescent auroras. Should we wonder aloud
at the occasion, exclaiming the anxious woe and worry
ambushing our sleep, questioning this effortless delight
and elation? Or should the chill wind of eventual
understanding and unambiguous emergency embroider
the night with what will continentally jump Vallejo’s
interstate to batter again, someday, our only child’s

only home? “Okay boomer,” she might say, if she
could, if she knew (condemning us too, of course),
but the knowledge we’ve struggled to glean can voice
little about the planetary nexus of real want and so
we will wait some time before even thinking about how
to communicate it all—certainly not this Hallow-e’en
of candy and dinosaurs—how to put it in our throat.

In the meantime, our incinerated sunshine recorders
clog entire oceans of canalized intensifications
with unmeasurable tristesse and abandoned surrealism;
or, the fall, already begun, finishes its wintry sentence.


In November, I want to resist my feelings
of animalevolence and again turn societies of
ordo rerum and powetry into apotropes and
naphtha feuilletons of fluddering superwords;

I want to write, to assemble, to inconditionate.
But I also want to walk, to walk fearlessly away
from the poetry office through realms of sightless
dancers and old gods and then turn, once again,
outside, opting for beauty and prehension and bare,
dead trees awaiting their hibernal attire. It’s

quite an ask. Not just the sand and coral of
everyday labor but permitting the gadfly arising
from desire’s simplest murk to murmur over
appetition’s datebook its insistent mantra:
it could be otherwise; people could act otherwise—

sure. It could; they could.


In space, hit et nunc, before parting, old main flaunts
blisteringly red ivy and everywhere last night’s storm
remains. We futilely ignite our watch fires toward
the cell towers of morning, severed by wind and rain
like the undersides of the afternoon’s clouds floating
neglectfully just above the town and the hills. We lack
power and some means of communication. Nevertheless,
winter was able to announce itself clearly in the groans
of our cramped domicile; and the chill battering our
exhausted, unprepared populace indicates how our

responsibility barely extends past the sixteenth floor
of pathetically repurposed orchards and presses. It
dissolves immediately upon contact with expatriate
Brooklynites taking refuge in the gentrified mountains
of their own oversoul. Called to account by firmament
and collapse, it despairs, admitting failure, knowing
nothing of the region’s flora or how it might retain
a foolish aprevernal bloom for even another minute.
But for flowers, the world cannot stop, for
it is flowers
and so we are.