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Tim Kahl




Dich verwirret, Geliebte, die tausendfaltige Mischung

Dieses Blumengewühls über dem Garten umher

—Goethe, Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen


You are confused, my love, by the mix of a thousand folds

   Within these flowers throughout the garden

—Goethe, The Metamorphosis of Plants


Expect all flowers to eventually become white, 

Goethe [may have] said. 

Every color of the spectrum as one, all the colors mixed. 

The mix is the Ur-phenomenon, seeking its higher purpose. 

Night and day settle into cycles and I must commit. 

                I choose among the day’s faces

that turn toward the litter of ordinary objects

[like the ones that are sent by a friend through the mail]: 

   candy necklace and cigarettes, a green marble that 

   looks like an olive, sequins, a color Xerox of 

   a young girl holding a notebook, 

   wooden matchstick, quartz, a temporary tattoo 

   of Elvis, a dried yellow flower, Kleenex, 

   a white bar napkin with the word 

   DISTANCE written on it.

We flatter each other with our moods 

and try to remember the shape of the other, 

the quality of the skin, if the pores were open. 

To be left with proof and valid principles. 

       Goethe [may have] said, facts are

all that can be seen of theories. 

I could expect white flowers to 

figure out that they are skeletons. 

I might speculate on how the dead feel 

as they dance on my pillow,

how the treasures in an old friend’s care package

still spark my fondness for innocence ten years later.

A notion of how sentiment works is a parody of itself.

      Schwärmerei. Goethe [may have] said, 

theories are for the impatient 

who would like pictures, concepts, just words 

to replace what really happens.

Experience and hypothesis—they are false together. 

The summer days grow longer here, 

but I can’t always wait for the next thing 

to be folded into the mix. I wander 

and observe the garden 

      as Goethe [may have done], 

record the infinitesimal changes and my concern.

Why do I linger in the deep recesses of the present?

Everything that's calm

is probably a dream.




Rushing To Consequence


Is a brain really more important than a shell?

Which is bigger? Each distorts the image of the other.

Oh, and there is a man's shadow! It grows longer

in the name of beauty as if it were rushing 

to consequence in the late evening when

a turtle decides to re-enter the water. A turtle's

world moves slowly, it lives longer and in 

a hundred years no one remembers its decision,

only its beautiful entry.






There are no words for hello to echo off 

the twisted trees on the lone hill

as the white sand extends itself for

miles along the river, sighing,

which way are you going?

which way are you going?


The need for acknowledgement here 

is less, just seeing is enough. 

And that which goes unseen is rumored

like the giant sloth that  twists

the heads off humans. The trees are full of eyes.

The feeling of being hunted tickles

like the feeling of being freshly shaven.


Here the men launch false attacks 

as greetings. They speak of a time when

women ruled over them, those women who 

lived near The Lake of the Mirror of the Moon

and dove to the bottom for the green stones,

guided to them by the spirits. Then they carved

the stones in the forms of animals and gave them

to their lovers who came to hunt them

when the moon was the shape of a drawn bow.

And the next year when the men came back,

the male infants were returned to them,

the females were gathered into the fold

where their bodies were brightly colored

by the most beautiful among them.


The women marked a man with the hope 

he will be a survivor in the forest, the eyes of

the trees bringing sickness with them.

Men taunt these eyes and wear their

green amulets to protect against 

kidney stones, colic and epilepsy. 

They got those green amulets from their fathers

who got them from the women without 

husbands. Those amulets bring good luck

in hunting, and when a questioning light 

strikes them, the stones plainly acknowledge:

This is the son of an Amazon woman.

This is the son of an Amazon woman.


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