Monday, December 31, 2007

On the Prospect of Playing String Quartets

It’s a little bit like sex.
You bring your body and your background

and whatever expertise your nervousness
has not completely teased away –

and face internalized assumptions that what
lies ahead is pleasure:

while the secret measure of the thing
brings terror. What’s the error?


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Take this: put it in a song

Amber, bronze, mahogany onset of Brahms –
Piano Konzert, Number Two – last small
warmth-against-the-winter: let its cello serenade

ensue – then lose it in a woozy waft and shake
of snow – let’s pray for early January ice to come
and splinter: stay and never go: let’s never have

another spring or summer: let an upward
snow-drift gather, slumber into glacial cliff –
an Ice Queen palace filigreed with folderol

and fractally Victorian snowflake geometry –
let all this soft encroaching rhythmic freeze
make crystal out of all our parts and needs

and settle them into the gentle unpredictability
and fits and starts of some new grand subzero
physics: breeding subtle quantum scherzo

quizzic intuitions which transcend all messy meaty
heat. Let’s be cold and sweet and magical
and strong. Take this: put it in a song.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

After 'OFF'

There is no silent night.
I press and click and shift all levers,
buttons, prompters, dials to “OFF” –
and then: the grand eternally internally

returning roar! – sufficiency soon
drinks itself into an ever-rising More:
timbres of inanimate apartment house –
refrigerator motor and a subtle nervous

trill: cooing, billing in the groin –
and on the window sill – quite like
the faint rejoinders I can just make out
from the monogamously married

pigeons on the fire escape:
there is this moment every night, before
I fall asleep: I doff my cape and face
the whisper of delivering my

consciousness to fate: doesn’t take
long for the cake to bake and frost
and cut and serve itself and fill the void
with fat and crumb: no ear is deaf;

no mouth is dumb; no stomach
isn’t ravenous. Every moment is a portal
to a cavernously echoing mad
smorgasbord: hungry, gaping, crying

to be fed: rash assonance and circus
in my head: rhyme-zone of a dream-land: –
time honed to a scheme grand

enough to wield distraction – feed

the tummy with the waddles and
the wobbles of its modicum of sense:
exact for me a dense big bang –
pack it into something I can hang.


Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Resolution

(Careful, buddy: this
could get you killed.)

Today’s the day for saying no.

Or rather, shoveling your no-no’s
like a pile of snow and packing
them in igloo blocks into a poem
so they don’t so baldly show.

(Careful, buddy.)

Have you noticed? People
are extravagantly delicious.
Sometimes the only thing to do
with one is lick it like a lollipop

then leave it on a non-stick
surface so that when it wants
to make a break, it can.

Forgive my ambiguity.
“It” means man.

(Careful, buddy.)

Here’s what I don’t understand.
Why put up a front?
Why don’t we do what we want?

Next time I snap my fingers
you will cheerfully appear.
Or, hell, crawl like a cowed dog –

fearfully near. Next time
I’ll be the boss. You’ll be the whim
I simmer to a fine soft foam –

or give a toss. Wrestle in
the rain and loam until we’re
muddy. Won’t stop until some

blood is spilled, or love is milled.

(Careful, buddy: this
could get you killed.)


Thursday, December 27, 2007

New York Barbie Wonders

Lime sherbet against black? – she hoped that someone
might just make her clothing’s colors smack of life
today: in some extraordinary way! And yet Manhattan
winter days conveyed a kind of softer glory whose
rewards demanded, she began just barely now through
her tight-coiffed and pink appurtenance of head
to understand, a subtler story: every time she went for

glitz, the city seemed abruptly to resist – strange,
she thought: New York with all its clamor – and its rep
for glamour – but her hot pink tulle, electric crimson voile,
and glossy purple satin all looked out of sync – did not
do justice to this pearly air of late December’s brink:
she wondered what of her innumerable bright adornments
and accessories would keep her from obsessing over –

yet more loss. She was a Barbie doll after all, a plastic
toss of latency, a temporary dream of little girls: two pointy
tits – a painted face like 1950s vamp Anne Francis –
and a hunger for a whole lot more than Ken. Sitting
stiff-legged on a window sill – left again, bereft, by yet
another fickle pair of hands – she wondered what the color
was for happiness – how would she get it? – when?


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Fled the sky in bits and shreds to flit and settle
into feathered, soft, round day – inveigling its
insinuating way – bound for the bottom of the well
of me – as if to cover, briefly, with its velvet gray down,

several tiny creatures made of May – lost winged
things flung from Spring – dazed – without a dwelling –
pastel ghosts of warmth – small bewildered swellings
formed of petal and of sway – paradigms of butterfly

and blossom – so dismayed by their alarming brush
with gossamer perfection they’ve forgotten time
and space – and now are nothing but the glimmered
shavings of some past remembered state of grace –

aberrations from another season – blind to gravity
and reason: fading as December day becomes
a freezing blight – and as the gray turns into colorlessly
darkened lack of light. I am made of May, and they

have looked for me like family: but they are exhalations:
not susceptible to human sight: gone as soon as felt.
Tricks my mind plays, after all the dissonance
of Christmas, as solstice clouds turn into night.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Brain Freeze

Cerebral diversion! – perils of ingenuity.
Does a kitten think of hope and death and count
vicissitudes? One doesn’t know – which is

perhaps precisely to assert one can’t forget that
every abstract thought is no less an effusion
of biology than spit. (If only that, or anything, were it!)

“I’m just gonna hang out with my cousin.”
“What’s wrong? You don’t seem yourself.”
“I told her you would be there.”
“Tell me I came back and did this for nothing.”

Stabs at prescience: careful divagations of the mind:
“why can’t we ride like normal people?” Ha! – but
here’s the ticklish rub: the fickle tub of a coagulated

cream: the brain: the center, drain, apotheosis
of the dream: spattered paint. You flatter yourself
you’re Jackson Pollock; but you ain’t. You might …

however … not not be – entirely.


Monday, December 24, 2007

The Fairies Win Tonight

Sibilance – a spray of esses –
whispered and effeminate –
vigilance – all eyes kept wide –
what fairy sprites arrive?


You’ve sought the heavy reddened
meat of life, the palpable, the rich
and full, the body and its pull –
all gravity and sex and sweat –


but here, at once, all glance
and wonder – evanescence –
hush – the lightest barest touch –
meandering: flesh made wry
seductive ambiguity – a breath.


All your masculinity harrumphs,
implodes and grumpily unloads
and backs into its cave. What
is there to save? Nothing’s
definite, so what’s the point?


What fairy sprites arrive –
whispered and effeminate, alive?


The hunk and haunch of you
derives no solace from their
sweetness. Fleetness is a curse.
Settle down and weigh significant
amounts! That’s what counts.


What fairy sprites arrive? They flutter,
and the mind contrives – discovers –
other softer more amorphous
kindnesses – they cool the meat and
beckon something round and light
to enter and suffuse the whole
with light. The fairies win tonight.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gonna Get You

The solstice grabs the gut and sucks it towards itself –
magnetic, stirring blood both to retreat to warmth
and seek a sensual abandon: danger thrills against
the safety of a hearth. I saw a solstice girl today –
no more than three – who, shrieking, ran away from
her pursuing mother who, with practiced cartoon-nasty
glee, repeated “gonna get you, gonna get you!”
Little Solstice Girl for moments seemed quite ravished
by the possibility – quite as she also squealed
and reeled just out of reach: excited by the breaching
feeling of a freedom just beyond the next perplexity:

Manhattan traffic – cabs and Jersey drivers and
an overheated laboratory of humanity that spiels
and keels right over every boundary: edging at the curb
of solstice-danger and then fleeing towards her mother,
balancing the urge to blow the whole show up against
the hunger for another touch – another reassurance
that the world would spin – the holster and the gun:
the solstice and the wonder of the violence and flux
it keeps just barely simmering – at bay. My mother’s
birthday: Christmas Eve – she would be ninety.
I’m the one who’s left. After listening to an amazing,

deft, sweet counter-tenor-blessed male choir – Chanticleer –
romantic word for Rooster – I boost a dark desire –
cultivate a cocked delicious animal perversity against them:
watch ESPN – and savor sweating, bleeding men
in combat – boxing, breeding lovely anarchy. A solstice
moment – bandying extremities: December’s indoor
warm amenities remind me of my mother’s gentle care
and yet I dare to taste her utter distance: faint and
enigmatic: unavailing hunches: unsusceptible to
punches – or to music – or to little children crying out.
There’s richness in this solstice, and there’s doubt.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


Anger’s quicker at the surface –
don’t know why. As if some flicker
of a wordless purpose can’t stand by
without a flare-up. Partly it’s you’re
feeling dragged into a seasonal
requirement. And what is being dragged
are all the threads and rags and wires
and ropes and tangled tinseled shredded

hopes and shards from the kaleidoscope
of “past”: those glimmered falsities
that might as well be real, and probably
in fact now are: they’re what last. What
have you got but what you conjure up?
Normally the city is the star – not some
card-incarcerated sparkly thing
a king, a king and yet another king

are all supposed to have regarded
with a biblically applauded awe.
Everything is story, and that’s one.
So is Attila the Hun. Whom you’ve begun
today not incompletely to resemble:
slaughtering a slave might be the thing:
making some cowed creature tremble
might reflect this tiny zinging pain

and vulnerable rumbling mumbling strain.
When you were six, and sat on Santa’s
knee, life began to split away from fantasy.
These days you work to mend that rift
against a brutal drift of storm – unclothed,
whipped by wintry sea, out on some
barren icy psychic isthmus. No wonder
anger’s quicker at the surface.



Friday, December 21, 2007

The Hunt Is On

The hunt is on – you think for – well,
you just ate several of last night’s left-over
ravioli, cold from the refrigerator – and,
although you won’t go into the details, you

had a session of quite satisfying sex with
someone you quite like – not quite a half
an hour of it – ah, but too much “quite”!
Command of qualifying’s lost its bite.

Nothing has a taste. Well, there is a smell
(that man!) – and what should now have just
arrived by email but a New York Times
review of all the latest books! – announcing

the appearance of the second half of
a biography of Henry James that you’ve
been waiting for – and suddenly cold
ravioli and your sexual shenanigan and all

the vague distressing ambience of Christmas
have acquired a form: you warm to some
fine deep grand Jamesian amplitude
that tells you everything depends on choice,

and every choice is suspect, meaningless,
or tragic – and there’s glory in exploring it.
You want the largest portion of the magic.
The hunt is on – and something now begins

to taste of something. Mr. James and your
shenanigan and the inquiring you sit
down in your imagination to a bowl of
ravioli – this time piping hot. It hits the spot.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Took a Hike

I have never done it so I don’t know what it’s like.
Perhaps if I’d begun it even once – then absolutely
let loose after that – I’d lose this sense of spiky
impermissibility: fend off this psychic army of red ants
of cynicism that I’m sure impends – intends to wend

its angry way at my too rashly hungry heart: determined
to lick every flick of flesh off every part of it, and each
surrounding bone: those I own and those of anyone
unfortunate enough to be the lone recipient of my
unhindered love: whatever that might be. No tree for me –

or will there be? This is the fifth year of release from
my first holiday without her. Now her niece, her brother’s
daughter, my first cousin Barbara writes me in a card –
she hopes that I’m okay, and by the way it turns out,
yes, we were related on a very distant day to Nathan Hale,

but oddly are more linked to Lincoln! Abraham and Nathan,
sad and murdered – killed despite so many glistening
Christmases. Well, everybody dies. I’ve no replies.
Do not surmise that I am not a happy man, myself:
despite the artificial Christmas tree I’ve got which distantly

reflects the harmony my mother once provided it – still
firmly wedged onto the shelf it’s sat on since last year.
I think the thing is: loving without fear. (Talk the talk,
walk the walk.) I have never done it so I don’t know
what it’s like. Maybe I will write to Barbara: “Took a hike.”


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ode to "Rosemary & Thyme"

At eight o’clock – this shot: profusion of fat pink
and yellow blossoms from whose bursting moment –
just this side of rot – drop seven heavy floating petals –
rife with roundness, ripeness: and the entrée
to such carefully selected dreams of English country
life – such graceful fantasies of early June – on such
a rare collective flawless blooming afternoon –
that all of England might be plausibly presumed

a picnic full of peonies for Beatrix Potter and her bunny
rabbits: neither damp nor gray: one picture perfect
summer day evolving as the pastel backdrop for
a requisitely plotted play, in which someone disposable
gets put away: furthering the murder mystery enough –
although no more than slightly – to dismay its
viewers lightly, now and then – avec frissons, soupçons
distractions from the swoony redolence of roaming

through the dahlias with felicitous Felicity (her surname:
Kendall) and the grand expansiveness of Pam
(Ms. Ferris) gardening on terraces or wooded glens or
tulip-ed pathways – a bequest of all the best of Britain’s
southern land – accompanied by the Baroquely
reconfigured music of the Messrs. Simon and Garfunkel –
as if they’d bunked with Buxtehude more than 1960s’
folk: all in all a gentle stroke against, and poking out of,

harshness for whose lush soft qualities I willingly
suspend my (never solid) disbelief. Ms. Kendall and
Ms. Ferris are so staggeringly good they render sweet
relief each time they blink or sigh or swagger – fleet
dagger of a glance: the willing tender heart is lanced.
There is a world like this bedecked and lovely
England, all unbruised and gay and bright. I visit it,
at eight o’clock, on Channel 21, each Tuesday night.

- - - - - - - - - -


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Disney and my father may have had the right idea:
animate the Universe! This won't merely clarify what’s
going on – since you will be deciding who’s the villain,
who’s the clown and just how roly-poly or begowned
the mouse or wife or secretive transvestite ought to be –
you'll also have the inside track on how the thing
will probably end up, as long, that is, as you retain

your sweet good-natured sanity. Which Disney may
have done: I didn't know the man, I can't be sure.
It seems as if his singing playthings made a life of it,
and he did not abjure their happy endings: he befriended
his slick cute anthropomorphic animals and made
a lot of money, put a smiling spin on being funny: heck,
he wasn't Brecht, but one must give him credit, and his due.

Cinderella never had a prettier more shapely shoe.
As for my father – well, his drawings had their magic too:
but when I peer as deeply into them as I can do, I cannot
find their skeleton. I’m left with some strange gelatin:
a residue that may have stoked the Shmoo into the being
Al Capp had construed for it: my father’s palpable
and fleshy plops would seem to be the props for quite

another play than most of us would think of putting on:
as if the heart of his existence had occurred to him as
some soft-ticking bomb which had exploded by the dawn
of his – well, dissolution. Oh, he created creatures just
as full of juice – as interesting as Walt’s – but they all slowly
slid down through a series of quite gaping geologic
faults: splitting psychic mud and rock, from which, in

cartoon terms, you might see shy but shocked escaping
worms – eely squishes – deliquesce into innumerable
darks: not unlike the winking out of my dad’s last synaptic
sparks. Here’s the final picture that I saw him draw –
before his animations were completely sucked back
into Alzheimer’s defining maw: his fizzing out, his empty
sea, his last thrown dart. Isn't Disney, but it might be art.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Breakthroughs in Technical Analysis

Moment in a subway car: not far, across from me,
a nattily attired forty-something salt-and-pepper-
brush-cut man in black beret, plum-colored
cashmere scarf, and tailored spotless charcoal
overcoat – sharp-creased pants, square-toe shoes –

gives me what my current angle of the prism
takes as news: peering through his sparkling
spectacles – gold wire rim – he reads a freshly
published shiny-covered hardback: “Breakthroughs”
claims the eye – followed by “in Technical Analysis” –

intuition tells me it’s an early Christmas present,
which not only somehow neatly fits him, sitting
there like some grand incognito duke oblivious to
roiling New York City rush hour traffic – but in
a graphic way reveals to me exactly what I haven’t

got today: no breakthrough in analysis of any
kind – some manner in which I might learn
to switch a channel and regard the whole of
something for a change. Wouldn’t that be strange!
It’s almost Christmas, I suppose, and I have not

one speck of interest in it; more a slight paralysis
than any breakthrough in analysis, technical or
otherwise. My capacity for baby-like surprise seeks
other avenues, I must surmise: or maybe this is
just the fifth thing that my rhinovirus has devised.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fourth Thing

In this driven freezing rain – with all
its riven grainy grays and pearls
retaining those peculiarities of

temperature and glint which most
evoke this city: water giving life
and flintily amoral ice: here is my

Manhattan bared, left naked, like
a screaming baby on a brownstone
stair, indifferently abandoned, yet inanely

full of daring – all despite the lack
of any overseeing care, despite
immersion in an indiscriminate despair:

the thing will rise, repair itself and breathe,
accommodate the high and unrelenting
winter. A virus splinters me: I’m all

porosity. Decembery New York colludes
with it and leaves me bitten. Fourth
thing that this cold has written.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mirrored Schemes: Rhinoviral Exercise

To separate yourself from the unending fray
let’s seek the preternaturally simple way:
just breathe as deeply as you can – seek to allay
old certainties of failing that beset your day:

now pause, and blink
so as to think:
“at least I wink!” –

thereby summoning the sort of humor
that can leaven and remove the rumor

of your crass ineptitude.


You might build another house

then, sans the fears you’d had before: now to
be lighter, soft, instead – a suppler you –

while crafting rhyme
exact as time –
just like the climb

you’d made when you had started out before: to rear,
this try, an edifice without one tiny fear
of imperfection, thus at last to commandeer
a habitable life: both possible, and here.

No Contest

trying to plow
mud in a logging truck –

half a freeze – enough to make sure
not one tiny moment of it will be
easy. “I Love Lucy” plays

all day as if to say
that no one ever
dies. Nothing
gets a rise,


of a Universe


the brand
new moments
come and go and go
and come no less or more
than any one of them has ever
come or gone before. All adds
to the lore: and worth a poem:

face yourself with that. No
miracle exists beyond
the fat persistence
of what is: what
other could


to top infinity.
But please pass

me a tissue.

the issue.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Come Back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey!"

Let it go? Vapid palliation! –
which at best can soothe one
into thinking there’s a truth quite
simply to be had, if only we’d get
calm enough. Stuff it: here is
what I know today. I’ve got a cold

I’m almost happy won’t too quickly
go away: I’ve just ingested
chicken broth with matzoh balls –
Balducci’s tasty anti-flu soup (lower
east side wannabe) – and I’ve been
on a spree of fantasizing lightly:

watching Turner Classic Movies
circa 1933: and it’s as if a Cupid
had alighted on my knee, to entertain
me with this possibility: that
someone full of glow whom I have
just begun to know might turn

into a Huck, or Jim – I do so very
much like him. It’s quite a mix, this
pile of pick-up sticks that one
calls one’s perceptions: full of
chicken soup deceptions: but
nothing’s here for seeing that we

haven’t dreamed up into being: so
allow me Jim, or Huck, and I will
be the other shmuck, and it will
half be daring, half be luck,
if we, out on our raft, get into –
something – ineluctable.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Prime Directive

I hauled the hardware out to Prince Street –
detritus from an old computer, some of it
still operable, some quite incomplete:
a printer, router, monitor and cables snaking
out of casing for my warhorse of a hard-drive
(which I had contrived to wreck in private

to deprive posterity of records of my rash
innumerable sins): not half an hour later
all of it had disappeared into Manhattan’s
vast ephemerally absent but apparently
voracious bins: somewhere beyond a merely
human reach, upon some unsuspected

beach-head of another batch of lives, reside
the leavings of my secret hives. Gobble up
each cataclysm, each haphazard scrap
of nothing special: vestiges of any spray
of urban play: instantly absorb it through
its many-chambered maw: New York City law.


Quatrain Wreck

Gavotte? Perhaps: might hit the spot.
You regularly – once a week –
seek some exquisite metered trot
to keep your fairies dancing: peek

around the curtain to make sure
that they obey like Ariel
at Prospero’s mandate: procure
a whip to beat them into hell

if they so much as trip a toe
awry to tap an altered beat
or carol out a note to throw
the rhyme off: make each elf retreat

in shame if any let you down:
tie the creatures into corsets –
squeezing the amorphous out: crown
their heads until not one forgets

who’s given them a purpose: be
the be-all and the end-all whose
persistence lends reality
to every breath they take: their shoes

and tops and socks and little caps
like punctuation marks give proof
of your brave war against relapse
into chaos: you are their roof

and floor and walls: you give the stuff
they need to: wait – a note?

“Fuck you,” they wrote.

Ran off in a huff.


Guess not.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Smarter Than I Am

My thick insentient palms have heels, unwieldy pads
of flesh, which glide and rest and press – reside
like mollusks – stupid muscle – on the smooth divided
deck of my new laptop: how did Hewlett-Packard
do it? – make this metal feel like sin – all satin, warm
and sensual? – not only can the Word transmute
to skin and body, so can steel: nothing is impossible
for this adept: eventually everything, through it, will be
revealed. I suppose Johann Sebastian Bach may

well have stopped a second to regard with some
affection his besotted quill through which he day-to-day
spilled his unending amplitudes of music: no doubt
Henry James, whose carpal tunnel syndrome made
him lame, rejoiced occasionally in the clicky-clack
of his amanuenses ticking on the typewriter to capture
his effluvially oral flows; and surely no man knows
or knew more than Van Gogh the spunk and plunk
of brushes and the rush that merely contemplating

implements, at moments, can bestow – though
one can’t not think that they got right back to business,
let the physics of the art’s logistics quite alone. But oh! –
today, I am more clam than man: not only can’t
I summon up a molecule of what the Messrs. Bach,
Van Gogh and James could, or (who knows) still
somewhere in the cosmos can – I’m less than
this flat brilliant metal cyber-cake hot from the Hewlett-
Packard pan. My instrument is smarter than I am.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Vast Uneasy Castle of You

Too much work. Well, maybe it’s not work – that is,
the thing that seems too much. But rather an anxiety
which tinctures, taints and apperceives – anticipates
with dread – whatever’s coming up that seems
by some necessity embedded with, and in, dependence

on performing an activity just so: a bunch of blowsy
verbiage, I know: a means of obfuscating that hot fear
to which you’re fishhooked, speared: the bait you’ve
swallowed which it seems you’re doomed to follow ‘til
its sad unpalatable deadly end. Oh my! – such

passionate theatrics at a time like this! And all because
of one (you thought) unguarded kiss. Which, like
the House of Usher, seems inevitably guaranteed
to topple all your boulders and your balustrades: make
the vast uneasy castle of you fall. You wonder at

the reputation of gay men in cities: how we are supposed
to tackle sex like Advertising turns out ditties: dalliance
with pretty nothings, Christmas balls and stocking
stuffings: jockstrapped to a willing but insouciant attractive
Mike or Joe. Reality: it’s more like Edgar Allan Poe.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Thoughts: December City Fog

What do people look at when they think?
Not the middle distance, surely,
but some carefully allotted neutral plot,
a space that eyes can colonize. On subway
rides, this sometimes means comparing
sizes of the fonts in advertisements,
focusing on “take the next express to your

success,” or contemplating artificial teeth:
posters for cosmetic dentistry can offer
some release. The mind therein can softly
spin: thoughts corralled like lambs beyond
the brink of whose enclosure wolves are known
to roam. One thinks within the confines of
what one can temporarily inhabit like a home.

Sometimes my thoughts, like poems, fill
with talk, sometimes they’re mostly gawk.
Sometimes they ride around as if delighted
with so many ways of making sound.
Sometimes they scrabble for minutiae in
the sand, or babble like a baby with
a sea-shell in his hand. Today my thoughts

arise like New York City buildings into fog:
they start like edifices ought to start,
foundations seem quite sure and planted:
but are soon supplanted by translucent air:
a kind of gentle sway of nothing-there: a sort
of amicable house arrest. I like these thoughts
the best. They take their time, and bless.


Sunday, December 9, 2007


Regard the never-ending shattering of every
foregone notion I have ever had – gathering
momentum every day: a shafting of experience
transcending good or bad which makes
presumption of assumptions: filing flicks

and dabs of them away as if they were
a baubled bangled mad array of ornament
set for some arcane holiday display: shards
of swift shenanigans to spray one day upon
a dreamy memory or phlegmy moment of a cold

when less-than-conscious seasonings make
bold to flavor sense unreasonably: full of
slapstick and ineptitude. My system runs, deploys
a wholesale bargain basement packed with rude
amendments, emendations, culled from blame

and joy and sexual abandon, hunger, satiation,
and the ever-mutant nuances of shame: questions
aren’t tolerated: answers aren’t thinkable:
unsinkable until what we might just as well
call God decides to pull the plug, make his claim.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

An Entirely Adequate Role

An entirely adequate role – the way
that this cat plays his soul: a model
for me who would seek to be equally free.
I come to him, mornings, each day
of the week – and we don’t so much
speak to each other as sneak in our stolen
and intricate secrets, conveyed in our
myriad preying intent curiosities – sudden
attentions, affections – warm rolling

around on the floor: as freshly as if
we had never once done it before – we
bodily barrel and swivel and sway –
our fur, skin and clothing mere trappings
that veil the display of a naked exposure
of heart: leading up to a pleasure
as startling and soothing as silk: as
I get to the part where I pour out the milk.
His eyes are electrically pure – his aria

low and assured and alluringly urgent
as I put the bowl in its place: then,
to turn him around so he’ll face me,
while lapping, when I walk away, just
before he gets near to the prize, I lift
him abruptly: and he hangs as limp as
a ragdoll, as calm and as present
and silent as slow, willing sighs: complete
abnegation of lust: an utter descent into

trust. He waits ‘til I’ve kissed him on top
of his head and have dropped him
in front of the dream we’ve allowed to
come true before falling again into thrall
with his cat-mind: as far from the catalyst
I had become for him as he ought surely
to be. Species return to their proper
allotments: he doesn’t look up as I walk out

the door: and that’s almost fine with me.



Relations of time with the timeless

disable: cause mystification;
relations of rhyme with the rhymeless
enable a harmonization.

One acquaints us with “stop” and with “go” –
the song and the port of the story;
one is simply what seems to be so –
the long and the short of the glory.


Friday, December 7, 2007

P.S. I Ate the Cookies

I wonder if I’ve found a way, or if
I’m finding it: if so, it’s surely more
the lucky product of surviving family

extinction than the exercise of wise
examination of the measly evidence
of what is left: scrabbled up like

broken seashells on the beach: sharp
shards of death, what used to be,
beyond my interest or my reach: all

that isn’t any more: except as it may
fuel reliance on – defiance of –
selective memories – those teasing

jabs that pass for Past. Expedience
is all the mind cares for. I have three
choices: sex, or decadently chocolate-

chunked soft cookies, or my first
dive into Proust. My life is mine today,
my dears: that menu is the proof.



SOUL: You’re getting wet. Aspiring – conspiring –
to shift the paradigm again?

SELF: You bet.

SOUL: Well, go ahead. I like the smell of sweat.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

On Not Needing to Write a Poem About My New Computer

It interests me
how strangely readily
I take to this technology:

I love this toy
but while its fluencies deploy
bright measures that indeed do buoy

me to make fresh starts –
acquaint me with new parts
of self, machine that do affect the arts

I wield – the newness shatters:
quickly drifts – and scatters:
that all swiftness seems quite normal is what matters.



Barreling ahead –
icy slope –
one should use a sled --
keep the hope

alive of getting
there intact.
So why I’m letting
my swaybacked

pertinences slide
like some drunk
out to take a ride
on a chunk

of nothing – well, I
just don’t know.
But that’s how – banzai!
I must go.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

By Any Other Name

Call a rose an aardvark, and I'd disembark.
Language is the cursed allurement to which
nobody is not addicted: unpredictable

mad chaos would ensue were I to mix up
other names with you. Unpredictable,
that is, until we came agreeably to terms,

in which case everything would germinate
again precisely as it always does when it is
finally and flatly said: a whiff of 'live' is kept

within the dead confines of definition (maybe),
but your labels better make their peace
with jail, because no word escapes it. We are

what we speak: availing the amorphous with
a weak show of effrontery: we bunt the ball
and barely reach the pitcher: make him catch

the puny batted blow and call it yes or no.
Every syllable I’m using now is suspect: watch
the alphabet! It’s out to get you badly into debt.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Piece

Not given much to tell a story, are we!
Flakes and shards and bumps and tiny little
scrabble-dazzles which, at best, remind
one of some something that occurred some
sometime -- zapping through the synapses
as if they had no object past becoming grist
for a voracious twisty idea mill: with far too
many absent-minded oligarchies at its helm,
wherever or whatever “helm” may be. It would

be overwhelming if there were some simple
overseeing “I” who had to get a gainful sense
of the entirety, its chaos, count the pay-offs
every time a feeling thinks, resists or acts:
chart the long protraction of a twitchy human
animal through its exacting prophylactic
measures: amplitudes of self-protections,
fears: strange half-blind deceitful zeals
and pleasures as it nears the meat some scent

of blood has drawn it to: belonging to its
atoms more than you. I do not know where
to put “love, honor and obey” – or “God and
country” – or the way we dream of one day
breaking links and flying out of sync with
everything – busting loose into some grander
magnitude. Fireflies inside a jar, scarring their
sweet diddly heads against the glass. I was
asked to say my piece. I should have passed.


Ode to Ginkgo Leaves

Patterned, overlapping, flattened,
as if laminated on the concrete
sidewalk by the rain, a range of
beaten gold and calmer yellow,
paper doll-fans delicately fringed
now here now there with green:
teased and tinged with color as if

painted by a Japanese brush master:
touched now slower, faster, by new
glints of sun which wink with
quantum unpredictability through
quilted cloud: the wonder of
an ancient tree, the gingko,
which accommodates perversity

and brings the prehistoric to
the blatant now: New York’s emblem
of the why and what and how
not of its own ephemera but of
the Earth’s: obeisance to eons
of the never-known, gathering in
perseverance, strength the way

a soul must, silent and unseen –
exuberant -- prodding all that ever
grows, will grow, has grown.
Inspires trust, somehow, that life
will last: at least until another asteroid
comes blasting through the ozone
and creates another unrelenting past.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Hee-Haw on the Keyboard

I shall do something never done by me before:
grip that slip of murk while it’s still quirking
on the floor and seeking absolution like a guilty
little child, pretending to be mild, sweeter
than it brayed in its appalling hot heyday – not
so long ago or far away: as recent as the dream
it overtook sadistically this morning, waking
me at two, as if that were the best thing it
could do. I shall regress with it wherever

it must mess itself into whatever next experience
it thinks it has to overcome: I shall play dumb,
take notes, observe: regard its essences,
absurdities and urgencies as if they were
my own: see it squeeze from its abstractions
something like a burning stone: passing
through the body like a meteor: a churning
speedy little Earth too bent on self-destruction
to consider birth. I shall keep its rhyming sillinesses

by my side and let them slide and not deride
its nonsense or applaud its sense: I shall let its
hellcats and its pussywillows flourish or expire:
intensify the stream that spews through my
infernally accommodating fingers: lingers as
this hee-haw on the keyboard: sucking fire from
desire. I’ll take its measure with dispassion: sieve
its rash irrationalities until they’ve choked on
their own puffing, kicking stuffing out of nothing.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ain't Misbehavin' (Alas)

Codpiece, doublet and a pair of tights! – brave
dark mastery before you face the lights –
hmm: that might be nice. Overblown and full
of glory – blood and gore and love and lore
throughout the hoary over-acting of the story –
manifestly over-ripe delight: perhaps that’s why

I sought, and therefore bought and brought,
a chocolate butter-cream cake home the other
night: I thought I wanted something wonderfully
unnecessary and outrageously de trop – bad for
me, but oh! – a glorious descent into a realm
I had resented for persisting quite despite my

having not made entry to it for so long; but when
I passed its lazy sentry (who, unfazed and yawning,
waved me in) and put my metaphoric codpiece
on to battle into sin – and dug right in: oh dear,
how lardlike butter cream can be! – and how
ridiculous a codpiece – even metaphoric – renders

male anatomy. I sigh: must pleasure come in
lowercase? I'm not quite ready to submit. So many
other ways to rattle on, debased. Let’s speculate
about more interestingly lurid ways I might
next spend my cash – while watching me scrape
off the plate these crumbs and fat into the trash.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Praise, Yearning for an Object


Who could possibly create the frame you do?
Through your sweetly organized arrangement
my eyes understand again exactly why they see.

The flicks and licks of light around the sides of you
do arabesques for me – summer-night al-fresco
tricks of sight in which each hologrammic piece evokes

the dazzling whole. Your shadow wings around
the center of whatever I could ever want to look at:
sings a barcarole: flings my love up like a baby in

a doting father’s arms: wields excruciating charms:
provokes the soul. I wonder how you fill this hole:
immanent as rhythm through the body from the heart:

drum-roll in a movie: you are careless, perfect Art:
a tremor in the blood, assimilating every feeling in
its stream. I wonder why I ache so in this dream.


Friday, November 30, 2007


Thirty days hath November, and the rest
I don't remember, but I know that in the wash
of everything it probably can't matter much:
here’s the real excoriation: here’s the touch,
the deal that causes chatter, fear: the only way
to feel completely here is, get as near to that
slick edge as you can manage without falling
over: stalling like a deer in those proverbial
oncoming headlights will proverbially never do:

you think you're being safe, but honey: you
are imminently through. A friend informed me
at a meal today that I appeared to want to die –
not in an obviously suicidal way, but in
the manner in which I had pleasantly imagined
being dumped on Medicare in some stark nursing
home: I'd seen it in a movie, and it seemed
okay to me: a bed, a curtain and an operative
TV: when the time has come to not to be,

why not be there? It won't cost much – and you
can breathe the air equivalently; eat what food
they choose to spoon into your dying mouth,
and wait while everybody else expensively goes
south to wait, to have the dark, as it will do,
find you. But back to who you have to be to be
with eagerness, alacrity, and zip, before November
ends: my friend may well have caught that
for the moment I have given up all thought

of winning anything: no trip, no love, no grand
acclaim, no hunger to disseminate my name:
perhaps he’s right that I am looking in instead
of up and out, and that may well engender doubt
that I'm not terribly atip to be about: haven't
told him I am hanging from a hidden rim above
a secret glass that holds a magic drink that
gods I haven't met yet soon will sip. Proverbially,
I will fill ‘em up and let ‘er rip and leave a tip.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

If Only It Were Easy*


If only it were easy: fill the well, you tell yourself:
you can't drink mud: you have to beckon to
the source, the flood, the infinite resource that
from its sheer abundance will take over and
take care of your sere soul: but where exactly is
the spout, the tap, the flow? – where to go to cry –

(Her prettiness was painful: exquisite
and ineffable: dark-haired nymph –
seventeen or so – fine edged, flowing – )

It’s very hard to write the truth
when all the juice of one’s
perception squeezes from so
many different fruits: to squash
it to homogeneity’s a lie.

(Can’t soothe myself today –
no psalm to say –
no blandishment or balm –
no way to calm – )

Morals are what you configure afterwards –
abstractions squeezed through the resistant
cheese-cloth of cognition from a welter
of emotions, wet reactions – thin-blood notions
you can name that seem to indicate where,
if you had the wherewithal, you'd put the blame.
But until then – oh, until then! – I dare you –

(Though we’re disposed to quiet now, the load of life
is a requirement we've both continued to embrace,
not always, Lord knows, willingly – but with, on balance,
an abiding modicum of grace. And now, pre-dawn,
as I reflect one day past the event on how much love
and joy you've given, paid, experienced and lent
and been bewildered by – )

Poor piece of sentient meat – you thing
that thinks! Relent for just a beat and take
a drink. You know a well that may dispel
your sense of sinking into hell: a brink past
which the spell might break, and what
you've given you can take. Come dip your
cup and put it to your lips and sip. Liquid
white as cream: whipped from all the colors
on the vine: divine conditions of a dream.

* collage poem

To Body Parts: A Plea


Ineffably fraught orifice:
is this fate or glitch?
By the time we’re fifty, why
do you heat up and itch?

Perhaps you're lonely, need a boost? –
depressed you're so avoided?
So mad we don't acknowledge you,
you make us hemorrhoided?

Do you foretell the imminence
of new somatic jolts?
Will body parts each, one by one,
stage similar revolts?

Ear and nose hair seem to want
to creep out and make war –
and aches beset and bother me
that weren't there before.

And we won’t even mention peeing,
backs – or breath – or knees:
Perhaps the body goes on strike –
and wants to up its fees.

Though I suspect no winning here –
someday they'll maybe rue
that slowly pushing us offstage
means they’ll be going too.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gone Fishin'

“It is noteworthy how wrong it is to be angry and complain
when something is lost: that bears the presumption that
that good thing was given us instead of being lent….”

Meister Eckhard (trans. Blakney),
“The Book of Divine Comfort”


I think I'll scrape the harder, rougher encrustations
off my day today and stay somewhere beyond
the ego’s pale: play the Melville whale and be enigma:
rip out of my barnacled constraints and live off capital

instead of the complaints that it engenders: cut life
into tender meat and get beyond its anxious greedy
panting breath: care a little less about the certainty
of death. Today I'll flow as unencumbered by my

yearning and bewilderment as I can choose to be: let
neurosis be unthinkable: and sadness, news to me.
Doesn't mean I'll opt for gladness: merely skim
the waters with a slick bare skin, and be the fodder for

the Universe’s whims. (As if there were another way
to swim.) I cannot buy into the aims I see around me
anymore. I don't adore one thing I notice others
do. And so today, and possibly for longer: toodle-oo.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And We Were Done

Intently studying the broccoli – as if to peer
into its green florets to conjure up
the emerald they'd be in searing blasts
of carefully administered humidity,
and fearful of the brown they'd turn if left,
abandoned, on the stove to burn –

she crept, for seconds, just outside
her facial scaffolding: revealed an aching
tension in pursed anxious lips: betrayed in taut
translucent pink and beige skin, mercilessly
stretched like tarpaulin, and infinitely
unassuaged – a deep unhappiness: encaged

as well within the orbital entablature
around her hollow-gazing eyes: drafty
window casings in a vacant uninhabitable house:
which made one understand why she more
normally retreated to disguise – as I surmise
she often did, when, as she saw me,

and her arsenal of embryonic sighs aborted
silently in New York’s upper west side
market air, she blinked to let me know she
knew that I was there. One makes provision
against dangers of which, clearly, I was one.
She glazed a smile and looked away:

and we were done.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Planting Pink Narcissus Bulbs at the Center of the World

Yesterday I planted pink narcissus
bulbs at the center of the world.
Coring Manahatta earth – facing rock
and root and metropolitan detritus
in which New York City offers fifty-fifty
odds for birth, and otherwise subjecting

myself in the gritty soil to appositely
paid-off toil, I dropped each succulence
of hardened plop into its requisitely
dug-out plot and thought how very not
like me their likely history ahead and
backwards probably has been, will be.

Planting pink narcissus bulbs at
the center of the world, you feel a tug
to plug into the senses of all species
who and which avail themselves of all
the richness of this city that you do.
You wonder if it’s possible to un-constrain

and un-construe and find a way to
leap out of your prison of perceptions
and assumptions and presumptions
and in utter disembodiment discover,
widely, deeply, madly and completely,
at the center of the world, what’s true.

Could I be absolutely featureless
and lack quite any idiosyncratic family
or temperament or frame of reference –
and still register – let data in and
through? I think I'll dare to ache for
consciousness without a point-of-view.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

About Eighteen Minutes Before Three O'clock

About eighteen minutes before three o'clock, one buffets
oneself, properly, against the shock of seeing more than
one quite needs to see by typing: sniping at the brittle edges

of sensation as if crumbling away the crispy parts might prep
and clean a blank, sufficiently untainted shank of consciousness –
to wipe off stray annoying static and nonsensically emphatic

ambiguities: the noise and scratchy perpetuities of mind
which surely can't have any use and yet remain behind –
and fog the forward motion one inclines oneself to think

the thing to do. One was very good at ninth grade typing class –
and now, eons from that remember-when, one finds one is quite
good again – and then: well, alphabetic renderings aside, one

starts the afternoon’s inevitable slide into the estuary of the day:
that brackish part of imminently cracking dark which blurs all
possibility of conjuring another satisfying thing to say: one’s

fingers type, but only barely swipe at anything remotely large.
One might as well be floating on a barge without a captain
into vast uncharted sea. One does this every day, of course:

survives, abrupt, asserts preeminence – odd pop of reawakening
(allegedly) to pecking out new singularities of “me.” One
types as if one couldn't not, which probably is as should be.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Watching "Girl Crazy"

I know the only things worth saying
are the things that can't be said,
and I know that Judy Garland’s dead,

and that the filmic reveries one sees
of her in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer DVDs
are tricks of digital technology – but

if you have the barest curiosity about
whatever makes a human being be –
or what rapport, through voice, that

Time might after all have with Eternity –
you might consider listening to Judy
Garland sing, in 1943, “But Not for Me.”


Friday, November 23, 2007

Ass-Backward into Forward

Each moment hides a David Hockney
swimming pool – it would be foolish not
to dive: contrive a personal geometry
throughout the shifting sunlit outlines
of its dapplings in turquoise, listening
to rippling whisperings of something you

will want to memorize, repeat: a mantra
which invokes and greets unconscious
aptitudes you hadn't known you'd had.
You're not exactly glad: and not entirely
untouched by rue. The question’s not
to be or not to be, but what to do. Today’s

a glare of New York late November
sun – too oddly blaringly inconstant and
incomprehensible to count. You wonder
if perhaps the sole solution is to sleep,
dismount – but no, the moment splashes
up and changes the amorphous to the aqua:

Hockney’s invitation – dive ass-backward
into forward – sends each curled November
member of you softly reeling – hurled,
unfurled. A tiny tug towards fantasizing
sex with all of tanned Los Angeles: but
otherwise you've not a worry in the world.


('Peter getting out of Nick's pool' 1966 - David Hockney)


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cosmological Rough Sex: A Thanksgiving

Some say, far back (too many hundred million years ago
for you or me to weigh or count) a giant rocky body
cracked into and mounted us – wild geologic rape! –
ejaculated right through to the center: made the Earth
an iron core. For eons we had fizzy rings, like Saturn (less
or more) – out of which catastrophe emerged our moon.

Happened not a whit too soon. Iron gave us a magnetic
field (shielding us from most of the unwieldy evils of
the sun) – moon-tug kept us from the drunken wobble
we'd have done without her: bobble-heads or geniuses,
no one would have dared to come around had it not been
for all this reckless violence, gratuitously bounding

sphere, unconscionable shock and queer impertinence
of molten rock. And so, my dear, today, when you sit
down to eat dead roasted creature which, with you,
would not be featured here without the planet’s
mad licentious past, give thanks for the eruptive horror
that created it – and has obliged to deign to let you last.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Notion of a Sandwich

One understands the notion of a sandwich best,
I would suggest, when one subjects two tender
leaves of Jarlsberg cheese (from deli-slicers who'll
produce translucence) to two kindred pieces of
the thinnest white sliced bread (Pepperidge Farm
provides the proper slender fare) – less bare when

spread with just a dare of Hellman’s low-fat mayonnaise:
become four gossamer abstractions via two precisely
transverse cuts – accomplished by a sharp serrated
knife – resulting in abutting absolutely equal squares
inviting contemplation from Euclidian varieties of
areas and angles of the concept of an inside surface

and an out-, and how, in life, as symbols, they might
signal purposes which banish any doubt that unlike
species, given equal shares, might wed. A sandwich
doesn't make the cheese or mayo or the bread
get in a fight. Put in their rightful layers on my plate
tonight, they rather seem to hope I'll take a bite.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Landing Here

My cream – my pleasure:
this unerring waking dream,
this treasure of a gray and windy wet
November day – persistent,
rich and fat and cold: ladling up
the Universe in soup bowls of
New York – cradling baby-hungers,

pulling them like taffy, torqued to
arabesque: each becomes
some warm unprecedented
and importunate desire – every inner
eye seeks fire – flame of answering
response – candle in a sconce
that won't blow out: this stance

embracing night erases doubt –
its glittering array, reflections bouncing
all about – the dancing light
of being – breeds new seeing –
more than absolute, and absolutely
freeing: all of this is in the air –
and I despair of naming it.

Two blissful wedded pigeons
sit not twelve feet from me, just
beyond my window pane, completely
calm. In their rapt acceptance
of existence is the balm. Heaven’s
near: leaking incrementally
in raindrops – landing here.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Whetted Dream

Communicating – in a dream! – oh, soft dissociation! –
quite politely if straightforwardly with his own brightly
lit fluorescent and excited brain, he drew a naked form
or two with fingers on a plane of air: to gain additional

appreciation of the human trunk – the architecture
of its limbs, and sexual appendages, a hint of savored
funk and body hair – like music theory deployed before
the molding of a hymn: arranged as if he were a pleasantly

deranged divinity who could, by merely floating fantasies
of sweet particulars above a sheet of blank white linen
could therefrom spin bodily productions with an amatory
grace that would appeal to his peculiar tastes and offer

something to look forward to as the fulfillment of his
nightly race: a kind of flight to take right to the precipice
of waking morning light – exactly tailored to his quaking
inward sight and predilections: possibly to end in

the eruption of one realm into another; let the dream
world be the mother of the other! – but, alas, we can't
report much past the fact that his eyes opened and,
once open, fogged forgetfully. Coda: he got up to pee.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Ratio of My Delicate Sensitivities to You

Gimme your best shot – I can take it –
I won't stop until the sweet or bitter end.
But darling, afterwards, I must suspend
our operations. No vacation from this
one necessity: to entertain no less than

three half-hours to every six half-minutes
I derive from stimuli from you beyond
the slit and silt of each perceptual afflatus:
always takes that long to settle down,
uncrate this bursting entity that I'll have

packed with you until it’s all but cracked
its lid. Creatures riddle – writhe – alive –
disturbingly amorphous and ridiculous
beneath the grid of each experience: I have
to let them out, alone, and sit them down

and calm their frightened moans and help
them parse their most unnerving traits
until the worst parts of their disconnected
hearts – those squiggly enigmas! – can abate:
it takes a lot of energy to funnel through

the mystery: collect it and inspect it and
subject it to the hellish kit of my proclivities:
respecting all my delicate sensitivities.
Which, dearest, right now need to be alone.
That’s why they won't pick up the phone.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rodgers and Heart

What burns inside this plaintive strain
of Richard Rodgers’ painful melody? –
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue embeds
its harmonies – gently jolts and weaves

me, up and down, as if to have me
creep along, around the mortal spine
of New York City night: glimmers of
a light peripherally simmering: rife –

trembling – hexed – and always just,
just out of reach – perplexed. Today I am
to play the violin in string quartets: but in
the breach between me and the music,

now, is Richard Rodgers’ darkling heart –
the slightly syncopated thing that
starts and stops and lingers – darts –
between the major and the minor: let

divine deliverance – those yearned-for
saviors! – Haydn, Mozart, Schubert –
grace the music stand; let Richard
Rodgers shelter in the harbor of my hand.


Friday, November 16, 2007

U-Da-Man Burger, Rare*

(First, you tell them what you're going to tell them –
then you tell them – then you tell them what you told them.)
Free the angry firefly: hear the jangly gypsy cry: let the tigers
from their cages: be whatever all the rage is. Be Dvorak when
he hit these New York shores: be the scores he wrote in face of
incrementally advancing jazz and age and other chores: beasts
have their points: feast on their joints. Type until you cannot type
another thing – then pay a quiet sweet amanuensis who’ll gain you
further fame, like Henry James. (Silly block of typeface: monkey-
shined!) Funky is your favorite word and you will find a way to
stick it in the damnedest places. Kiss as many swarthy faces
as you can: u da man: knock contenders out of sight; win
the bloody fight; strut around the ring; sing an aria from
Die Meistersinger: fling a flapjack at the crowd; be loud.
(Now that you have told me what you’d tell me, and then told me,
and then told me what you'd done: please shut the bun.)
* alternate title: "Much Conversation, Laid Bare"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Manhattan Ate

John Ruskin, praising the irrationality of Gothic architecture:
“It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.”

It’s interesting to love a city whose deep soul
is mercantile. You'd think it would be far less than
worthwhile. But pragmatism aimed at commerce
taken to extremes results in gleaming fundament –

as pure as virgin hydrogen, from which we all derive.
It represents a final siphoning, condensing into surety,
that keeps each New York creature so alive. Pace,
Mr. Ruskin: not for us a beauty undetermined by

the lust for conquering, and lording into dollared sense,
and gain and loss, and showing who is boss: determining
servility is our supreme and guiding goal. We click
together in a varied symbiotic and unprecedented

you're-down/I'm-up/I'm-down/you're-up whole. Nothing
less will do. Today I am what New York City spreads
on you – like pricey jam on artisan-baked bread –
like fate. All I want to be is what Manhattan ate.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tabulating Lack

To recreate – and take – this pain –
this self-defining pain – to wrench from
your identity that most peculiar agony
which led to such excoriating strain that you
imploded from it: gained the life you nearly
always have: except when you unearth
this virulence – as now, when in this
sick green lamp-fire of your heart, you disinter

the vampire: well, perhaps that is its function –
through the masochism you extract
a salve: but no, that doesn't do the justice
that this gravity deserves: this magnet
at the center of you serves a stranger aim:
you cannot even summon up much shame –
and though the point would seem
to be to dig up reasons that you blame him –

you have even disengaged from that.
He left you on a druggy summer morning
with another man – and suddenly your new
and blasted life began: and sometimes
you appear to need to wallow in that tiny span
and spasm of excruciating life to bring it back.
You are evidently made not only of
what you construe as asset, but of lack.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Thing I Want To Talk About But Can't

The thing I want to talk about but can't
will nonetheless impress on me to try –
it’s not exactly that it doesn't grant
me access to itself, or train my eye

to lead the rest of me to what it wants;
it does, but once I'm there it’s like I'm stuck
awaiting some new pitch: the batter bunts
before I've seen the ball: alas, no luck

in catching it: I wander off again –
in hope that I can play another game
where I'll discover how or where or when
I might find my loved thing a proper name.

I pray one day I'll get it to respond –
instead of flitting, slipping just beyond.


Monday, November 12, 2007

When I Get Alzheimer's

“Camus once said that the only real philosophical question is
whether or not to kill yourself.”

Mike Daisey

When one starts using Endust
in the sauté pan and Pam
upon one’s underpants to clean
the television screen,
how long should one continue
to be seen? Who should do

assessments of one’s severance
from whose assumed shared
points-of-view? When
I begin undressing for
the barbecue, will I have just
enough sense left to ask for

you? But oh! – my darling:
never mind. When I no longer
am inclined to talk to you
or answer for myself in kind,
confine my warm and wandering
dismemberments to their declining

shelf until they trundle off and
in their good or bad time fall.
Sense will lose its thrall,
and all will fade – and once
again, with no allowance for
deliverance, will destiny be made.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran of Foreign Wars

So delicate and fierce – how prettily
you've worn your scars! – gone into endless
battles under all the crimson bannered
gory glorious shenanigans of Mars: you
are the war god of luxuriously wild extremities –
you demand amenities: warm oak church
interiors and fancy sharp Italian dress:

won't stand for less than what you've soldiered
your rash way again, again to conjure
up as best: swift sex, and God, and ghosts
of fat cat politicians and tubercular small
children whom you regularly query – buried
long ago in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery
sod: they've tested you, arrested you,

remanded you to psych wards as bipolar
but the secret is you've seen the solar and
the lunar scapes of human hearts, and you
will always fight in foreign wars again to master
arts of living recklessly therein. How ready
I am always to believe you're sprouting
wings! I look at you and do not know a thing.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Circumstance Like That

What doesn't run around and meet itself?
What isn't solipsistic? What don't you
absolutely make, create? What is there
to placate but your own anxiety-refining
factories of shadows and ballistics –
strategies, defensive prayers, phylacteries
that counter your interior’s addictions to its
fears? What squares eternity with years?

What time is it to everyone who isn't you?
(Is there anyone who isn't you?) Who but
who-is-reading-this decides what's true?
That's what’s rich – the hitch, the bitch.
Can't ignore the itch that something else,
or more, is scratching at the door: some alien
embodiment dispatching some essential
fact that you don't know, and should: that

life exists beyond your bad or good or “could.”
(Doesn't help to knock on wood.) Multiversity
not unity may be the secret final curse
(although that there is more to everything
than you seems so perverse!)
which licks
the outside of this verse like some ignoble
cat. And there's no way to make provision,
is there, for a circumstance like that.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Dead End

Come with me, my friend – take heart: descend: pretend:
this Long Island Railroad platform need suspend you in its
glaring air no longer – take its metal stairs down to the street
and follow me through Oldfield Avenue whose asphalt
links two dozen locked compartments of suburban houses

to each other – silent stares, shut mouths, despairing lives
behind the window curtains – look ahead of you, try not
to spy: though you'll be tempted to apply the immanently
underlying menace that you sense to everything you see,
stay close to me: bear the lack of human bounty – come

upon the county line, and walk the road that is its spine –
stick to the Suffolk side – until you've reached the space
delineated on the left called Cottage Place: travel down it
to the coolly rounded grace that ends its cul-de-sac, enwraps
you in its mapped embrace: that facing spreading house

ahead, green-roofed, brown-shingled, covered short front
porch, and try to swallow, hug yourself, breathe deeply,
rock so very gently back and forth that you can summon
up the comfort of a mother holding you in an equivalently
cold November wind. Accept that every member of your

family is gone except for you, and that although you must
construe this odd dismembered venue as the site of your
beginning, you are grateful to the point of crying joyfully that
you are winning in the battle to be free of it. Pray that this
may be the last, except in certain dreams, you see of it.


Overly Requited Oil, et alia

I don't know why for three days past I've felt I had to buy
the alimentary equivalents of ormolu, Venetian glass
and fleur-de-lis, but New York City’s numerous emporia
for such délices have so regaled me with their promise
of exotic feasts that, trancelike, I've continued to succumb.
I'm getting numb. Quixotic food-stuffs – sugared crude
puffs – mousse-y frilly Eurotrash – vacuous inanities
cost so much cash! – silly as banana-knees, these
untoward seasonings redacted, mashed in fancy cheese –

olives so ridiculously masked and macerated in so many
savory complexities they constitute a reeking lie. These
and other trivialities I buy, and wonder if this might be
some new sneaky arcane methodology to wield a covert
crime – oblique morbidity – food version of concatenated
strained unwieldy rhyme. Truth is, nothing élite stores
have wrought that I have bought appeals: I get it home,
subject it to whatever grating, peeling, slicing, or de-icing
it requires, and each misbegotten morsel makes my

skin perspire, tongue recoil. I do not savor overly requited
oil or rude insistent bitter pastes that masquerade
as evidence of finer tastes. Why do I waste my currency
thereon? Perhaps to test my premise that exoticism
doesn't have a leg up on the merely here? More likely
I'm a six-year-old who wonders what it’s like to put a mouth
upon the truly queer. Everything’s a miracle, no matter if
aggressively maneuvered into the gratuitously lewd –
or shrewdly stewed – or nude. Including all this lousy food.


Thursday, November 8, 2007


Like a lollipop, mid-suck, the word evolves
and lobs and tumbles sweetly on my dreaming
tongue: becomes a gleaming rung of my
ascending ladder back to wakeful sentience –
then insists on quick acknowledgment: I snap
the dowel off before quite doffing all the rest
of raggy sleepiness, install it like a towel

rack upon which this day’s dress might hang:
I am a perilologist – my dreamlife makes this
sure: for every crisis I am set I always find
the cure. Perilology, it seems, requires
loving every bang and mess, shoving each
Medusa-squirming tress into a flow: making
obdurately red cessations turn to green and go.

As a perilologist, I find that I can swim through tar:
blizzards, fogs and hailstorms turn out not
to be exactly what, awake, one thinks they are.
With somnolent assuredness, I wield my
muscled soul, and once again knit shattered
bits of universe: re-coalesce a blessèd whole.
Ah, lessons of the deep! Thank God for sleep.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What To Do

Take the measure of
its sound. Do not stop
until you've found its
muscle and its bone:
make the thing your own.
Be the night you flee:
let there be no difference
between your blood
and sweat and what is wet
beyond that frail conception
of an isolated "me."
Please it, don't be hasty.
Squeeze it ‘til it’s tasty.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rainy Day Walk in the City

Beauty and

Every single

Life is sexy.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Paroxysmal slim voluptuary! –
brave neat slip we call the soul –
oh, how we had you wrong.
As wide as you are long, you
nonetheless defeat all measure –
sleek and fleet and evanescent –
ever-present treasure – longing
for release which you derive by
keeping us alive until you can't.

(We've only so much stuff to pack
into our pants: you don't do miracles.)
But while we're manifesting into
flesh, doubly-helical and fresh,
you will deign to keep us something
we might almost say is whole.
Rigmarole enigma!: dance around
on fairy feet as long as we're
configured to: fancy meeting you

here, dairy treat! – you're a whipped
cream dear. We've just had
sex and come to such a climax! –
felt as if it lasted one sweet year.
Paroxysmal slim voluptuary! –
we thought you were funereal

wingèd-angel marble statuary! –
not this bawdy song.
how we had you wrong.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"When is it going to end?" And I said "Never."

I wonder why I never feel alone. I wonder why I wonder why
I never feel alone. I do not wonder more than that – which is
to say, I disembark from questions fairly soon when they do
not invite an answer: probably because I'm so abruptly thrown
by glances – distracted by each next new serendipitous romance –
exaction of yet more peculiar blasts from me of shocked attention:
little room for the retention of the not-yet- or the under-known.
But still I wonder why I never feel alone. Perhaps it is genetic:
no matter how eruptively unkempt, frenetic or unkind my feelings

or the world appear to my bewildered mind, I find I think about
my mother: how she orchestrated every day according to an order
which reflected non-negotiable pleasures: she'd refuse to let her
treasures be maligned or taken: whatever else would be forsaken –
husband, son, and most all of the other grand abundant ones
with whom she'd shared her work and life and love and humor –
lost to Alzheimer’s and AIDS, malignant tumor – these and others
shot the back and cracked the whip and chopped the trunk –
but never caused the sort of final funk in her I've seen in others

who have found their hopes debunked: somehow in her DNA my
mother thunked that car-door shut and looked into the sunset
and regarded it as beautifully enough. Or so I think. As I wonder
why I wonder why I never feel alone, it seems I've learned to
drink a fine selectively amnesiac solution which she also drank:
perhaps that’s what I have to thank. We've had the talent to
forget regret. And so I woke up yesterday from one stray dream
perplexed. My mother faced me as if ties had not been severed,
and asked: “When is it going to end?” And I said “Never.”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

For Kiri-cat, who died late last night

This passing out of living has to stop. There is no
recompense or sense in it – but only one frail echo

of a distant thunder – of the wonder, in departing,
that an entrance ever was assayed: that a life

arrayed itself across a day, allayed all doubt that
it would not – was weighed, had impact: sharp

and bright as fact, with all the clout and clot and
gentleness of temperament and flesh: these are

the ripest lessons from the tree that I've seen drop.
But still I say: this passing out of living has to stop.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hail Ersatziana!

Of the rhinestone-skull and dragon-buckle
wholesale glitzy gewgaw section in New York –
Thirty-second Street down to, say, Twenty-seventh
off Sixth Avenue – it would be churlish and too

easy to lambaste its stuff as cheap and sleazy:
surely less a matter of bad taste than human
profligacy – reveling in the ebullient bounding waste
of paste tiaras and snake-bracelets – expertly

refined, inclined to draw to it – engage –
the fairy-tale consuming mind: merchandised
prodigiously on witches’ wings. Who buys these
things? I think I know: galleons of lost craven souls

adrift and rocking in a sun-less hell below whose
main absorbing entertainments flow and swell
from watching trinkets glitter in the glow of Hades’
searing flash. Ersatziana is the devil’s cash.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Glad to Pay the Cost

Whacking at the world with stick and fist and kick –
eruptively shellacking it as if the problem were
intransigent behavior on the part of its insentient
stuff: enough. Problems don't exist. Activity
assisted by intention stirs the pot: but any recipe
for what it’s stirring, darling: long forgot – if ever
known. All this querulousness is your own.

Too much twitch and tic – switch it quick to other
channels: cushion its sharp prick with flannel of
a sweeter softer swirl. The stew, the world,
the stuff won't change: but you've sufficient range
to act your stop-and-go illusions to a gratifying finish.
Eat your satisfying spinach – quick-sauté in olive
oil and garlic. Exchange your sadomasochistic

Marley chains for ropes of cultured pearls. Be two
boys, and then six girls – then a rhino in a snit:
then a wino come ecstatically upon a split –
Dom Perignon – iced just right with waiting flutes –
proffered by Brad Pitt, quite naked – for the sake
of your exclusive self. Drag the whole mess
off the shelf. Let it squirm about like snakes on

ladders – chop it madly into gluons with an ax.
Now relax. Today you helped a friend to keep on
keeping on the planet. At times your heart was made
of granite: then of glue – and now of something like
that stew for which the recipe is lost. But he’s
still here, and so are you, and you've been shown
the price, and you are glad to pay the cost.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Genesis Fruit

Gently palm and press
the warm unblemished
pebbled orange surface:
close your eyes and feel it
yield the fresh-picked
evidence of field and sun

and rosy purpose, tropic
soft abundance: generate
the scent of citric night –
pent-up peel that aches
to burst – wants to sluice
an unimpeded juice

and slake a thirst: feel it
tight within its bright alluring
skin: squint at its fine sweet
confining curving line in
silhouette – the hemispheric
hint of a horizon: cover

its gold globe with both
your hands and the surprise
of your affection: stand
with it against your cheek:
hold it like God held
the world in its first week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Biology of the Soul

Subway rushes through a tunnel – banging –
swinging – gleaming – hot – like blood cells
streaming through an artery – the start of me
careens into the endless muddle of a middle –
tastes like metal – copper – iron: sanguine –
sharp – a horse’s bit – I bite down hard on it –
and race – keep up the pace – conjoin

corpuscularly, muscularly with whatever other
cellularly het-up creatures whomp against
and through this place – completely lacking
grace – until the track becomes the train –
and gains – speeds somewhere round a bend –
and honey, it’s the end. I would tell you more
about my friend and our re-membered hearts

and all the arts and odd abandonments
and blandishments of our remarkably resilient
love but all of it too urgently proceeds toward,
below, above the light which funnels, spirals,
draws – sucks us closer into something’s jaws.
Soul biology concerns the certainty of dying –
but if I told you that I liked it, I'd be lying.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Spot I've Got

I've begun to want to come to London
once again: the threads of my fleet history
entangle sometimes into shapes resembling
a beckoning – the rising ghost of an appurtenance,
for instance, like the spatula I used when
I was twenty in the basement kitchen of
the brick Victorian apartment house I lived in
as a student, thirty-six agglomerated years ago:
the interest that I took in English bacon –

curling, frizzling, pink and thick: the quickened
pulse of relishing the prospect of another day
in which I might survey the oddly charged
romance of being me away from everything:
the scent of diesel fuel in late October late-night
streets: the severed sense of weaseling to find
new ways to sing quite out of reach of what
I used to think was home – the cream of teas
and painted window moldings: I would like, I think,

to drink again that dream of roaming wide of one’s
parameters: to build the glow of a mysterious
and private sweet theocracy – geography
run by the secret godlet-rivulets of soul in me –
to see if that’s where I might find an echo of my first
most shimmering discovery – that one could
find a place and play a part that answered what
was aching in a heart. I've begun to want to
come to London once again – but, maybe not.

I like the spot I've got.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Circuit Party

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies…”

Emily Dickinson

Success in circuit lies
but when the circuit pries
the lid off every expectation –
leaves you coughing in the stirred-up
rust and dust – well, let me fail

for moments to decide to
carry on: let me sway
insensibly into a midnight –
fight the inclination to stay up –
pretend that sleep’s a practice-run

for shutting down for good – and, knock
on wood, conjure up a tolerable nothingness
to which, on cue, I might descend, and from which
I might then emerge, when I've more stamina
for all this waking verging into life –

whose chaos is a good deal
less apparently adventure,
sometimes, than a rife
suspension of all
reasonable rules. The only antidote I can imagine

to this foolishness is death – but let me know, from time to time,
a simulacrum of it that permits some future breath.
Let this circuit party have a cake
that I can have and eat:
surely that’s the grand, withheld eternal treat.