A pigeon in dramatic lighting and the title Poetry

  On the bank  (2002)    
  Pythagorean jamboree  (2007)    
  Fifty fishes’ mouths  (2008)    
  Settled  (2012)    
  Inexorable temporality  (2015)    
  History  (2015)    
  Juicy exceptions  (2016)    
  Mercy  (2016)    
  Göttingen  (2017)    
  FHI at Oxford  (2018)    
  Scars and stories  (2019)    
  Bubble ontology  (2020)    
  Cloud Being  (2020)    


On the bank at the end
Of what was there before us
Gazing over to the other side
On what we can become
Veiled in the mist of naïve speculation
We are busy here preparing
Rafts to carry us across
Before the light goes out leaving us
In the eternal night of could-have-been







The astral glockenspiel quivers
As our bodies align in the orbit of Venus;
Galloping stallions and mares
Print with their hooves, pixel by pixel,
The lights and shadows of mortal life,
Pink flesh for the gods’ inspection ‒
Who clap their hands together at the sight;
For the heavens love the authentic peep.
Whence the orbs appear to us sublunars
Empty, mute, and dimly lit;
While on the other side the jamboree,
Abuzz with primal harmony,
Fluoresces with the ecstasy of being.





See the plucked chicken
Its throat ineptly slit
Over the abattoir drain
Bleeding its life away

See the man running
Running for his life
Chased by a rabid dog
The pit-bull called Eternity

See the fountain gushing
From fifty fishes’ mouths
Various parabolas
Same filthy water





Took the path of least resistance
Ended up in this hole
Snug and comfy in my circumscribed existence

Sometimes, awake in bed,
I look up at the moon-disc and wonder
What winds are sweeping the heath now, what outlaw riders

But less and less frequently





into the hopper goes
the queen of hearts
two-faced treachery
the extra ace
sighs and jubilations
the tangled neurons of the scholarly head
thorns and twigs
the little louse and the fat king
all that was born goes into the hopper

and in a bloody mist spits out
the woodchips of history

a nice jogging trail

you who lope along here later
with thoughts of dinner
mind what you tread underfoot
The ambitious gaze of Napoleon?
The cries of Latimer?
Though surely the odds favor a bumpkin fart





A river of blood
incipient in dark caves
dripping from bats
then out into the open
winding through agricultural fields
and battlefields
collecting tributes
a rat’s skull, a caterpillar
the petal of a hyacinth
widening as it goes along
and picking up speed
down to where we are now.
And then?
Maybe round the next bend
Not much longer
Already can be heard
the murmured rumor
of the final fall
into the great turbine.

If we weren’t so busy making ends meet
If we weren’t so busy
If we weren’t so busy doing nothing
If we weren’t so busy whistling a ditty
Might we not wonder:
How do the blades turn?
And what do they power?





the young ones glimmer briefly
like fourth of july firework
then fall to dust

in the nursing home sits an old rocker
all that remains are his fading tattoos
smells like centenarian spirit, how low

well listen up youth, here comes philosophy
like a hand outstretched from the back of a limo
scattering Benjamins for y’all:

strut on you arrogant pricks
shine on you daughters of ivy
occupy your privilege like a desert garden

fig-nude amongst almonds and apricots
let us feast our eyes on your impudence
as you slurp that rough-shelled coconut with a pastel straw







mercy for all that hurts
mercy for the puzzled stare
mercy for the faceless victim
the forgotten
the irrelevant
the ill at ease
the silent pain inside
is it still yesterday
the cry hangs in the air
the echo won’t die down

crank up the volume, let the booze flow
distribute the zip bags with the synthesis
cosmic ravers
how hard we must laugh
how loudly celebrate
how ravenously kiss
to mute the sigh of a woodlouse





the rush the rush the rush
the fuse that’s burning down

information glitters
rain of idea sparks
the thing is sprinting
skipping, taking off
to the waiting black powder

now everything is happening
faster than you can think
at the speed of genius
at the speed of a thousand geniuses competing
at the speed of a civilization-powered light beam
this special time, maybe to be revisited later
but not really experienced as it unfolds
we can see what should be done
the vase falling slo-mo to the ground
but we cannot help it
the signals take too long from brain to muscle
we are like statues
saucer-eyed witnesses
to explosive fate
and so it is done
now it is out of our hands
cast into the realm of higher forces
where what will happen will happen

what started as clueless curiosity
everything done without purpose
sheltered from moral responsibility
by blindness and childishness

our stupidity a little fig leaf
that hides the raging erection
or makes it possible to pretend we cannot see





the big creaky wheel
a thousand years to turn

thousand meetings, thousand emails, thousand rules
to keep things from changing
and heaven forbid
the setting of a precedent

yet in this magisterial inefficiency
there are spaces and hiding places
for fragile weeds to bloom
and maybe bear some singular fruit

like the FHI, a misfit prodigy
daytime a tweedy don
at dark a superhero
flying off into the night
cape a-fluttering
to intercept villains and stop catastrophes

and why not base it here?
our spandex costumes
blend in with the scholarly gowns
our unusual proclivities
are shielded from ridicule
where mortar boards are still in vogue





All our power is gone
Our time came, it went
Name tags have been replaced
Different mints in the drawer

Their fear is gone so their love is too
Though the nicest ones retain enough fondness
For a two-minute chat
Before some other duty calls


But don’t think we walked away with nothing
We left with scars and stories
And so our dream was fulfilled
For all we ever really wanted
Was something to say
And something to leave unsaid


The grandchildren are gathered
To see the scars and hear the stories
But they will not sit still would rather have their own
Adventures, their own scars and stories

Well then let us watch them play

Let them come to us with their scraped knees

Let them tell us what’s what and how it’s done

We will kneel down on our clicking knees
And blow gently on their boo-boos
And we’ll listen closely to their accounts
Thus are our scars shown, our stories told

And then we’ll serve ourselves the cognac





Soap bubbles
Big wobbly ones
Smaller spheres of a sociable sort
Even one inside another
Immaculately conceived

Thought bubbles
Inflating multiplying drifting
Rearranging and annexing
Little rainbows of wishful thinking
Enclosing gases of concern

Life bubbles
Reflecting what
Long faces mouthing commands
Secret dreams of hubba bubba
Ancient purposes served at night

World bubbles
Foaming profusely at every seam
Sideways longways always
Started and restarted
Editing the heavenly concordats

Let’s wash the thing with love, and pray, and wait

If you hold your breath and listen
You may hear in the other room
A lowering hiss
And the question about to be asked
Milk sugar lemon





we glide on invisible rails
grades of pressure and temperature
filaments of gas distinctions
clouds going through clouds
the sunbrush how daintily it dabs
our furious contours
so adamantly asserted
with claims upon claims
and puffing cumulus pride—
we bestrut our moment
making from nothingness and air
what was called a summer scene

an hour or so before the rain




(There is also the earlier work Synkrotron, in Swedish.)