“I’ll sue you!” the door said as the first screw fell out.
Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door before,
I guess I’ll take my chances.”

— Philip K. Dick, Ubik.

It’s nothing like opening a door,
more like, making a move in mahjongg.
Boltzmann could define
it for me; Dirac could simplify
the math; Frost would mourn
its passing.
It’s still not opening a door.

An open door is not a door,
much like a broken window…
Plato could do this better
They don’t do anything.
We turn the knob; exert
a force.

The door has no story.
If only that door could talk…
Maybe it would lie?
Tell you a cat,
to quote Schroedinger, instead
of a tiger.

If they could talk would we
have the right to
go outside (the cat
subverting) the room by removing
the hinges?

Like most of our inventions
they’re admirable and efficient,
but that which defines them
destroys them and only we
can revive them
by a choice.

It’s a door’s life
and it’s its story,
and that fits.
Ours is nothing like opening one.


First written in the fall of 1991 on an upper floor of the Atlanta Hilton, surrounded by doors.  This and Escher were the first things written after I’d sworn off writing workshops forever.  I believe it might be the only good opening line I ever wrote to a poem.