Wednesday, November 11, 2020

What I Guess I Came to Say

 What I Guess I Came to Say

(the video is maybe worth seeing, mostly because of the light that dims at the end, exactly on cue, which it did entirely on its own recognizance.)
The practical reality of doing what I do
seemingly impracticably makes me climb
back into reinventing plans to mimic who
I think I was or what I did the last time
I believe I had succeeded: that’s a pain
with little prospect of a gain: “again”
is not a notion to rejoice in: but to feign
a former me, to re-ingest some madeleine
to re-inhabit memory - may be the best
maneuver I could conjure up to shoo in
inconceivable catastrophe, to fail the test
of being serviceably human, ergo ruin
the renewal of what had been an ability
I now had lost: to render calm accord
from those so rageful with malignant incivility,
no calm could now arrive except by sword.
But that would be uncivil and untoward.
Then, at last! I now recall their favorite condition.
“Hit the ground!” I yell as I move forward.
With great relief they do. They love submission.
One twists and turns and burns
to find a serviceable way.
I suppose that’s how one learns.
I guess it’s what I came to say.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Bubbly Ding Dong




City stone is mostly what my art observes

to find its way. From 1880s scroll and column

on my block I heard today what bell deserves

my notice, and for whom it has to toll. Solemn


though this business may appear, New York

fears nothing about death. It plays ping pong

with it, and life - can’t wait to pop the cork

to toast the art it spawns with bubbly ding dong.


Hence the pitcher and the lizard here, I think:

who find themselves in lurid hues a city bell

would welcome. They’ve drunk the drink.

Feeling well. Not in hell. Art’s rather swell.


It’s amazing how little things matter. They

don’t matter at all, and they matter the most.

Every life we bring on we will shatter. Hey!

But don’t leave in a huff. Make a toast!

Sunday, November 1, 2020


Snide Little Tease




What are all these terrible proclivities, anxieties?

In how many guises of exuberance do quakes

of terror hide? Life can be a snide little tease –

an acrobatic malady, a viral wheeze that makes


us watch trapezes full of inept fliers falling

from the ceiling. These unfunny circuses reach

into all our psyches, hearts and eyes, appalling

anyone who pays them any mind. Spirits beseech


you: offer to whoever wants it, all you’ve got –

your marriageable self, your favorite raccoon,

a chicken-burger-fries chain with a parking lot –

offer it to God or the woman in the moon,


or a brilliant astrophysicist, or witch on a broom.

Give your every penny, Eurodollar or doubloon.

Divest yourself of everything: empty every room.

Do it years and years from now or do it very soon.


Or hoard it all forever in a cellar in your house.

There may be worse and better things to do as well.

Some will parade themselves, some hide and grouse.

Some make a boring heaven, some make a happy hell.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

We are Candy Bars and God is Crazy


Boundlessly unfounded chaos would appear to be

the order of the day today from Speonk to Bombay.

It’s not that any thing might happen but that every

thing must happen which contrives to drive one

mad. “Does it serve justice that such coconut-

stuffed heads as ours be driven nuts as well?” or so


the clan of crania I’d just impelled to sprout up

from my neck and shoulders into an incarnate form,

now queried God. Who out of mirthless laughter

hollowly replied, “Because you cannot be dissuaded

from believing there’s a cosmic truth, your reality

both must and cannot happen: you’re Ambivalence


made flesh. Maybe, baby, you’ll discover you have

never lived. To see if you exist you must subject

yourself to infinite varieties of ands and buts and ifs.

Recall infinity knows nothing of ‘before’ or ‘after’.

And candy bars are lazy.” (As I, albeit vainly, have

implored you to accept, we are those candy bars


and God is crazy. There’s more (God’s hungry for

us sundry sweets!) but it avails us little to explore it –

undermined and undermining, all the rest at best

is hazy (God’s synonym for hellish). He wants His

valedictory goodbyes to ring with language we will

relish: He does orate them stirringly, then – oh, with


what relief! (but no surprise) – He dies. Ambivalence

personified to such a pitch, God couldn’t find a way

to scratch – alleviate – that old hellacious itch. Ergo

the Universe he made could not stay made. That’s

the skinny on why we’re no longer here, though it

may seem we are. They’ve bedded my eight crania


into a comfortable and capacious booby hatch. Every

being “here” appears to think God’s busy running

worlds as usual and all is fine. They’ll find out

soon enough that nothing anymore belongs to God,

long gone. When we sit down at dawn at breakfast,

I perceive the real design. Everything is mine.



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

We Like to Think We’re Taken Care Of

...Being Cared For

Has anything caused you to consciously reinvent yourself in a way you never could have imagined?  (question on Quora)


Now there’s a question you can take to bed with you - really only to subject it to every measure of sensual persuasion you’ve got to see how long it will take to succeed, and to what degree you and it will convince each other you have succeeded, in prodding, seducing or cajoling each other’s substancelessness - yours & the question’s - into one of only two possible manufactured ‘emotional’ outcomes: feeling excruciatingly exposed or hopelessly beyond any chance of ever being understood. There’s a kind of aching ecstasy to be had here for a very short while.

The most obstinate kicker of a single word in the question arrives in the form of its lethal adverb ‘consciously’.

Consciousness of oneself is an entire impossibility, at least if the condition sought is framed for you as some version of ‘objective’. The great lie we cannot help sustaining about ourselves is to believe (pathetically in the effort to keep sane) that we can in any way - say through the agency of the great fabrication so many of us ferociously refuse to refuse - the substanceless abstraction ‘Soul’ - manage to separate from our thoughts and physical sensations in order thereby to ‘see’ what manner of thing they (and we by the illusion of contrast to ‘them’) may really be. The circumlocutionary syntactical maneuvers we attempt in the cause of finding and inhabiting a ‘stance’ of clarity of perception which can permit this impossibility are heartbreakingly vacant of power. They are little whiffles of swish in an imaginary wind which of themselves harbor no wish to help or hinder, heal or infect, add to or subtract from any of the arbitrary forms or imagined principles governing the ‘substance’ we are convinced are what gives us shape and shadow. Language inevitably breaks down in the face of any mission foisted upon it to describe a single ‘thing’ definitively. We are and we exist entirely as Unknowing. We are remarkable for our persistence in face of this Unknowing. All there is, is Unknowing. That’s it. There’s nothing to make of anything else. If you don’t end with your mental exertions dissembling in and into a blithering heap - well, there’s no other way out but that. The heap will deconstruct into a blither and be what it only ever was or could be: Unknowing.


I wrote a poem ten years ago, September 30 2010, which I dare to suggest may offer a little peace in these troubling matters: it entertains a notion I still am unable to clasp completely to my soul and heart but which tenaciously retains a sort of hold on me. I can’t banish it to oblivion. It traffics in the sentimental notion of faith. I abide with its possibility.


We Like to Think We’re Taken Care Of

Being blankets and suffuses, underlies and overlays; nothing

doesn’t have a cover from which nothing isn’t made: everything

is anything you like: constellated atoms spike and swoop

and promulgate their warp and woof to keep you fizzing

in a grand and infinitely busy camaraderie. Biology is physics:

sentiment is quarks. Everything’s a spinning whiz: whirling like

spaghetti twirls on forks: proximities in endless overlapping

families of probabilities and permutations of exacting essences

of star. We like to think we’re taken care of. Perhaps we are.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Sorcery's Zeitgeist - 2020

Sorcery's Zeitgeist - 2020
Comes around, goes around, but it won’t come back.
Systems we relied on insubordinately crack,
attacked by rabid forces we had not dared to predict.
Kittens’ wounds, although assiduously licked
by mama cats won’t heal. Everyone’s attacked by rats –
decided, undecided – Republicans and Democrats.
Treasonably trapped by an intentional iniquity,
unreasonably wrapped into occasions for obliquity.

Monday, September 21, 2020




Things devolve, reveal themselves to be extraneous

extremities, eventually obtruding obfuscating

tender slender and insensate lines that bunch up

like the spines of broken babies’ bodies thrown into

a common grave: little ones whom nobody can save;

geometric chaos waiting for a wave to sluice them


back into the sea in which, disintegrating, they will

find escape, at last, from obloquy. Is contempt

the generating force that drives the green fuse through

the flower? Dylan Thomas didn’t promise happiness.

Who can promise that? And yet, and yet, I rise

to shave my head in public and to dye my beard


a tawny brown and raise an arm alluringly so it can

frame my gleaming pate, somehow rendering to it

a lyric sense of biceps you would be attracted to,

if things like that attracted you. My drawings start

as sketches and then grow to wretched and unruly

size, indefensible: complex for no good reason, or none


beyond a treason in the soul which strives to hoodwink

roaming eyes into regarding its thick overlays of colors

given texture by the random sticky use of crayons,

bleeding markers, pencils, waxy, wet, fat, thin anointed

implements of my decision to provision space with

something I can bear to see, as wise. I like them when


they’re done. They seem to have such fun, all blundering

and wondering, caring not a whit that their multiloquy –

the quality of never being other than excessively

loquacious, never shutting up or saying anything that

matters (bodacious and capaciously rapacious are

the sorts of rhymes whose visual equivalents it traffics in)


– more than deserves that obloquy those tender slender

and insensate lines that bunch up like the spines

of broken babies’ bodies thrown into a common grave

nobody can save. Sometimes I wish my drawings would

behave. Other times I don’t. Indeed, I must confess

I rather love it – much prefer it - when they won’t.