Thursday, October 17, 2019

What My Murderer Thought

Dr. Seuss mixed with Ginsberg? Yeah, some
people have sort of said that. “Like giving 
good head to the Cat in the Hat!,” opined 
an acquaintance of mine yesterday about one

or another vociferous verse I’d subjected him to 
which I thought was just fine. I just spew out 
the stuff, I explained. He looked pained. “Well, 
you’ve spewed out enough,” he then grunted 

as if he were tough and he took out a shotgun 
and shot me. But now that I’m dead 
I just keep writing more. Some habits defeat 
breath and death with their depth and their 
breadth but what god knows what this one 
has got me? I think I write just like Pussy Galore
freshly back from a weekend of whoring.
But my murderer thought I was boring.

It Wasn’t Too Much to Expect


However unwittingly, two men
quite fittingly found themselves
sitting companionably in proximity
on a late afternoon F train today,
each as if humming a kindred tune --
reframing refrains of the other.
One held a smartphone whose size,
shape and color resembled the hue
and the contours and heft of a cup
from a thermos his neighbor held up

about at the level the phone occupied, 
from which on occasion he'd sip.
The eyes of the man with the phone
seemed in tandem to sip data out
of his own cyber brew, and suddenly
somehow I felt I knew more than
before that flirtations transpired
between the unseen and the seen —
sipping data or tea unobtrusively
seemed to join both in a mystic
romance of relation: it wasn’t too 
much to expect an impalpable thought
and a palpable touch to beget yet
another grand dance of creation.
Or so I decided I'd bet as I watched
the unknowing duet of two men
with a thermos and smartphone get
separately off at the following station.

Friday, October 11, 2019

My Charmed Life

My entire life has been charmed but I didn’t begin to realize how charmed until I moved to New York in 1975. I got the full gust of it then in the ways it engulfs a hungry horny sensitive 24 year old: it is of course equal to any energy level you bring to it.
‘Charmed’ isn’t what you’ll always assess later as ‘good’ although I hold the strength of its hold on me as ultimately life-giving and therefore life-saving. But you can be charmed into a kind of insanity - indeed if you’re here for 44 years (the very fact of which proclaims you wanted to be) I can’t see how you can avoid stretches, some short, some much longer, of whatever particular insanity you can’t get to any self-realization without having dived into head-first. These are private insanities and can kill and derange you but, survived, they can be the making of you, and they are nobody else’s business.
But when you’re 68, forty-four years after having gotten here at 24, and in a sweet state of warm shock register that someone (after all these years) still wants you to play hard stuff from the first chair of the first violins in a pretty great community symphony orchestra (as I have the honor of doing in Broadway Bach Ensemble’s next concert) and someone else entrusts you with the invitation to write reviews for an arts journal about any number of disparate plays and pieces of performed theater and music (as I have been invited to do for artspress) you awaken yet more widely and deeply to the effects of having been subjected to this city’s relentless exertions of charming you into its center - which happens, as it turns out, exactly to be YOUR center, gratifying the most private glories specific to you imaginable.
Hence my having just now been in Carnegie Hall’s adjacent ‘organ’ Weill Hall, on whose stage I once sat nervously to turn pages for Diana Fanning playing a recital with cellist Dieuwke Davidoff - oh, Diana, what year was it, 1982? - and where I’ve just been now to listen to the formidable playing of pianist James Dick in order to write a review of it.
There is nothing wrong with this ‘picture’ - this sprawl of my New York life. Nothing at all!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Devil Rap - in 3 Parts

Part 1: Why There are Guns
We’ve no taste for shared reality.
We don’t wish to take issue with issues
and issuers: those who feel bound
to expose or repose in the clouds of their
bias, espouse or reject what they’re told
they’re supposed not to like. We’ve not 

read or heard a single report, exhortation
or warning or fiat or promise or threat,
any bet or surmise or pronouncement that’s
not just another ass-backward and epithet-
trumpeting blah-blah amassing like toe jam
in some puny god’s dirty feet. There’s no
woman or man in the street to entreat
to amend or affect the least bit of this
unlovely mess, except with a gun. Which is
why there are guns. Hardly a trenchant
analysis. Stop and go, status quo. Things
go on as they do. As we do, as you do.

Part 2: Should Ball Come to Bat
Have we caught the virus too?
Why are we writing these isms to you?
What has become of the boy
who had no reason not to enjoy
every breath of each bit of the life
that unerringly entered him, rife
with more interest and wonder
than ever could let any blunder
occur. To aver, to occur – catch
that verb that allows us to scratch
at the blur of the itch, that wonderful
bitch of an itch which makes carping
a richer arena of twitchy complaint.
You don’t have to love every last
little thing that goes past you:
though you might want to note it.
Noting it may be the ticket. For example
you smack down a fly then you flick it
away with a fingernail not ever
noting if it’s still alive. It might be
alive, after all; flies have resources
that tie them to living, as many
as you do, should ball come to bat.
But why are we speaking of that?
Part 3: Pleading the Fifth
Change – beneficent, maleficent or impotent – occurs
as a product of sometimes centrifugal, sometimes
centripetal random amalgams of force more akin
to geology, meteorology, protozoology or throwing dice
than human intention. Outcomes – idiot exigencies! –
breed half-assedly flatulent sum-ups deploring,
abhorring, adoring according to whims blindly based
on a rank mash of willfully specious and misconstrued
data purporting to offer the shattering incontrovertibly
serious matter to go through to follow what grunting
conundrums of creature are left who by reflex decide
what we ought to believe, which in toto amounts
to contrive to crush all of what’s gone on before, then
to virally post in what fashionable nouveau media still
may be spluttering on their reputedly brilliant if ghastly
resolves, net-effecting to draw yet more volatile crowds
of bedoomed disaffected and all but erased human souls
for whom nothing remains but to pack themselves back
into black-painted bleachers, forced to endure yet
another long haul of a wait for the usual tedious
creatures to bumble again into stagelight to put the old

show on once more, each pray-wishing something or
someone would kiss them or fist them, though destined
of course never ever to be either fisted or kissed or in any
way touched. Pleading the fifth (un-rushed), they search
for what myth might be found, pricked by bubbles that
pop from the ground of the tiny bits left of the dregs with
the texture of rotting Cheez Whiz of primordial fizz.
This is the sentence they’ll end this thing with.