Thursday, July 31, 2008

Emily and Me in New York

I wonder sometimes at the call
Miss Dickinson derived
from every atom in the hall
of living – which she strived

to blast into a blinding frame
of flame – expunging breath –
so for an instant she could name
that moment before death

which we call life: predicament! –
or so it sometimes seems
that her sole cool medicament
for dealing with all dreams

proceeded from a cracking egg
that no one else could eat
or see, or think to ask or beg
to explicate the heat

of human hearts – that Emily
prevailed in any way
through metaphor and simile
to undergo the sway

to-wards the darkness and the gold
of turning on the light
on everything, not least the cold
experience of night

exhorts me: what would I have done
had there not been this city? –
there is no place I could have gone
as ample or as gritty –

it is as if Miss Dickinson
had taken over here –
deployed a magic trick, or sin –
thereby to commandeer

each atom for me of this grand
experience of place
so she could wield her wild hand
to grant it fathomed grace.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Punkass Daddy

Sweaty bluish prickle
on a pale shaved head
topped delicately by
a cone of coiled

finely braided ropes
of hair – shiny black
embroidered strings
of tiny beady bumps

against a bareness –
elegant coiffure
bespeaking Egypt
on a rocker boy –

rangy weedy dude
behind the pramful
he is pushing on
First Avenue of baby

joy – toy and product
of his loins – infant
cooing and enjoining:
braying at the day

as if there weren’t
any other way but
to be in the grip
and saddle of his

punkass daddy. Life’s
a feast of spillage
and glitches. Sweet
East Village bewitches.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Objects Left Behind

Objects left behind are strange – as if
they’d lost their skeletons and had no gravity –
inwardly they flop about like airy ragdolls
full of brainless purposelessness – vaguely
scented by what once sustained them:

memories and yearnings strong enough
to form a presence: full of ardent longing:
strong enough to stand them up and give
them balance and a place: now all replaced
by almost empty space. Oh, they have

shapes – silver baby brush, a moustache
cup, a little flannel monkey puppet give
their ghostly nods to their forgotten
goddesses and gods: those now dead
perpetrators of their fates: their “owners”

whose demise erased their slates:
and here they are: blank legacies and soft
ridiculous abatements: artifacts of lives
once lived, now riven utterly, ground down
to waste. Still – they have a kind of grace.


Monday, July 28, 2008

To Get It Right

Here’s what gets me:
paroling streets as if
the streets that they paroled
were new – I guess that’s
almost true: but also
wrong: I mean, to get it
absolutely right you
have to long for –
and demand to have at once –
what was, will be, as well
as is: to get it right you
have to stop and stand
smack in the middle
of whatever grand or humble
swatch of city ground
your feet have just been
pounding and resoundingly
declare you’re here

and, dammit, want the rest
of everything this instant!
Once, not long ago,
in fact this afternoon,
I had a blessed stretch of sex
with someone red-haired
and resplendently endowed
with pheromonal maleness:
after which I found
a Filipino cafeteria
which dared to serve crisp
deep-fried chicken skin,
whose sin I happily indulged in –
after which I came home,
ate first one and then
another golden plum.
I’d cried loud at New York
I wanted infinitely everything
and it had come.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Indiscriminate Obesity of Summer in New York

The indiscriminate obesity of summer in New York! –
belly-whopping into you like frenzied Rubens ladies fresh
and sweaty from a steam-bath in their sopping pink

voluminousness: what a mess of lard and pork! –
and light: oh! – too much light – and yet: a kind of heavy
brightness enters you into the lottery of fate with

something like the great experience of – “gratitude”
is not quite it, no: nothing adequate in that pale thank-you
to this hex and salty potion of a blinding exaltation

that the indiscriminate obesity of New York summer
would exact from you – it’s true, you cannot not report on
what and who you are at any given moment, like the riven

foment of your heart right now – as you galumph again
into that frenzied Rubens cow who wants far more than
your frail maleness will allow – or than it’s got – well,

let the whole thing rot, and sing a song of summer
and the way your love for its psychosis keeps you
in the fray of living here. Fate swivels near: spits at fear.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

As You Perfectly Well Know

Thin haze and hiss of static: oh,
the miracle is all here, as you perfectly
well know – and yet “ecstatic”

strikes you grimly: somewhere dimly out
beyond the hiss and haze’s cloudy
glow – past which you clearly

cannot go. You’ve pushed your aging
body through the layers of the day:
both it and you’ve acquitted

yourselves nicely, given circumstances –
which are: what? Every moment
butts and inches toward the end

and it would seem the only interest
that extends to you right now
is this intensifying sense that if

there is a purpose to the whole shebang
it isn’t to persuade you of a unity
at all; but rather to accommodate

you to the stark necessity of tuning
yourself to the perfect pitch required to
sing solo – in the thrall of the abyss.

Though you suspect this may
have something just a bit to do with
your just having given and received

a kiss – for which you hadn’t realized
until now you’d harbored hope.
Left you feeling like a dope.


Friday, July 25, 2008

I Will Be Woven Into It

Victorian aesthetic certainties abound in this strange
city: silent tombs of eccentricity all cheek-by-jowl
like mummies in a sprawling catacomb: their legacies
are surely those of tone: their carefully bedecked
repressed proponents so determined to portray
a status quo complacency quaked – trembled –
in the fear of anarchy not one whit less – perhaps
a good bit more – than we: no strangers to that

dark catastrophe of entropy which wants to suck
the soul into its sea: but come with me and peer up
at their grand defense of cornices and doorways,
ledges and adornments, loops and stoops galooping
out of this Manhattan cornucopia’s extravagant
array of egocentric fearful hungers to, and for, display:
appreciate their mad appropriation of the whole
of European history which lards and twirls their bricks

and granite into such a spree of concrete fantasy
one wonders anyone who walks among them
doesn’t stub an awestruck toe or bump a swooning
knee – Elizabeth the First, Napoleon and Bismarck
pirouette and smash into Miss Havisham’s gray
wedding cake: unending slices of it clot the streets
in rows of arrant indigestibility: each hull and shell
and carapace of which I now enliven with my mouse-

small light: organizing their mismatched baroque
extremities and finenesses until they form a shelf
for my live self. There is a strange security to be
lapped up among these many dead appropriated
glories. I cannot tell you how in love I am with every
one of their implied forgotten misbegotten stories –
to each phrase of which I add a wanton drip of my own
blood and sperm and spit. I will be woven into it.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hell's Bells

Crept in like a mole:
lives beneath his heart.
You wonder if it stole

his last capacity
to part with his insanity.
It nibbles on his roots:

shoots its tongue out:
loots him, licks him raw –
feeding on the pain:

grinds his mind’s
basilica to silica. Every
tiny grain of the eroded

and abandoned
Sphinx in him can feel.
Hell’s bells peal.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1:45 p.m. turns you into a tadpole

“What’s weird is that he’s so fucking beautiful.” Visitor
leaving psychiatric ward of St. Vincent’s Hospital, NYC.

The day is a translucent glass
of clear warm water: slaughters
all unwanted thought: its pearly cup
exceeds you with contained,
containing liquid diamond –
facet-less, but straining with
a proto-sentience for a setting:

reason to constrict and coalesce:
amphibiously wide-eyed with
its embryonic hope, you float –
discover you can breathe in it.
Spills and blunders of colliding
essences become your gills
and lungs: be a jewel, it wants

to tell you – wants to tell itself.
It is impossible to let another human
being know exactly what you see here,
but so urgent, oddly, to find ways
to try. You cannot not apprise
another mind of something
otherwise it would not sense:

tadpole in a crystal pond, too struck
by some invisible insistent wand
to know the tragic from the magic.
Thunderstorms are imminent
and light contracts – contrasts
with dark – all is starkly calm.
Strangely efficacious balm.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As (oh, my darling!) it will be

Poems are arenas staging gladiator
fights: all you do is try to name
the sights and sounds and how
the light strikes from the front rows
of the bleachers or the back rows
where the main event becomes so
small you tend instead to notice who’s

behind, in front and next to you,
thereby to find whole unsuspected
sideshows to enthrall – though all
informed by that faint distant roar
of warring creatures and the crowds
that crave to see more featured every
day and every night: unending flight

of flesh and might into eventual
inevitable breathlessness: discovering
that death is not a fiction when
the final blast and friction of a fist
which rivets general attention in
the place is aimed –
as (oh, my
darling!) it will be
– at last at your own

face. I dawdle, really, here: throttled
by the fear of entering, re-entering
the dining room to find my staring
sightless mother on her back, mouth
open, slack, with all the contents
of her stomach on her chest. It didn’t
matter that she’d fought her best.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Wonders

Summer makes it hard to think.
I come home and want to sleep
like alcoholics want to drink. I can’t connect
the dots. Today the light is made of waves,
not particles. Heat is made of sex. To dare
to eat one peach seemed well within
my reach but eating three – unconscionably
ripe right off the tree – bought from
a farmer’s market in the park – demanded
a supernal bravery. Sex is made of heat.
Truth be told I yearn for Fall but late July

refuses not completely to belong to me;
no river – steaming swamp though it may be –
can be rejected by my sea. When I was
less than twelve years old I saw a movie
in the sweltering hot summer of a small
suburban town. I had prematurely
grown – the privacies of masturbation were
to me well known – West Side Story made
a mess of everything: Richard Beymer
singing Tony – to Maria – so transparently
intoxicating – shattering Natalie Wood:

I loved them both but lusted most for
all the Puerto Ricans.
(Come on, get tasty
with me, boys.)
Sex is made of Leonard
Bernstein’s hasty beats and joys. Summer
wonders if that ancient lady sitting on
a bus-stop bench in New York City wonders
when, precisely, she stopped being pretty.
Summer wonders if one ever learns
it’s suitable to be one’s own peculiar burning
brand of beautiful. Always at the brink.
Summer makes it hard to think.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ambiguously Wanton Soul

German Lutheran stock, like Bach’s,
might well have been my conscious lot
had my late Bremen-fostered and agnostic
father felt the tiniest bit bothered to accept
the notion that a God required pious labeling.
Episcopalianism and its light politenesses
and soft divides between the well-washed
body and ambiguously wanton soul
instead occasioned my baptismal bowl,

through my late mother’s sensitivity to what
appropriately ought to make a well-bred
human being whole. Humanistic Judaism –
some sense of which was rendered
unto me by my wise friend and confidant,
dear Richard – pitched the luminous idea
that G-d and man were in essential partnership,
without which we would lack quite any hope
at all of the repair of our dashed Firmament –

poor Universe self-evidently suffering from
its bad messy fall. But still I felt an itch for
more of All. “If you see the Buddha, shoot him,”
seemed the only contribution I could make
to any conversation on the subject of religion.
Then I remembered when I worshipped
at the claws of two fat pigeons who devotedly
devoted themselves to their numinous
devotions out the window of my former home –

intimately intimating that the only dome beneath
which one might find the one incontrovertibly
exact reverse of every spiritual lie was their
bright canopy of sky. Nature therefore seemed
the thing with which I might ally – that is, until
I saw these sweet ceramic tchotckes on a shelf
and thought what glory it might be to fashion
icons of perfected self – and worship Art!
One could go on, but I shall not.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Young Man Very Carefully Selects a Snapple in an East Village Deli

“Pomegranate Raspberry”
had had the sort of chic
cachet one wanted for
the light bright Zeitgeist play
with which one hoped
to fill one’s day today:

one thought that, later, to
reflect that one had bought
a Snapple bottle of it
in the spirit of the same
blind grope towards
an enlightenment with which

one often tried to make
one’s way to alter even one
iota of the sway to that
excruciating entropy of psyche
one could not allay by
praying, or by simply staying

still, and that if there were
something to be gotten
from the exercise of will,
one might, by doing this,
discover what it was.
(Damn, I’m buzzed.)


Friday, July 18, 2008

Nobody Need Fear

There are times when this bright city seems
as tiny as those angels on a pin – said angels,
would, of course, be copulating to a spin
of quantum rhythms with which they’d
create, luxuriate in – and manipulate –
the obverse side of sin – or one of them:
the skin of this Manhattan Island burns with

their fierce uncontested edginess today:
flames away all excess and relieves us of all
obligation to be sweet, polite, or neat: today
we are the buds of sweat on those infernal
sacred angels’ feet – and backs and breasts
and butts – and we are able through
the intervention of their little lusts to care not

much about much else than our delights,
depravities and fleeting physical excitements:
today we win all fights against our inhibitions:
set our sights on absolutely anything
we find appropriately, plentifully hot. I had
a spot of cold pink borscht just now –
air-conditioned Polish diner – commandeered

a booth across from several nubile youths who
ran their plump pink lips into unending
recitations of their drunken funny Fire Island
trips and slips and blips. If they and I had met
on blazing concrete I’d have flipped each one
into a head-locked kiss. But we did not,
and I am solely here, so nobody need fear.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kali Sings a Song in My Dream

"O Mother, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates
upon thee raimented with space, three-eyed, creatrix of
the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful with a girdle made
of numbers of dead men's arms..."

(from a Karpuradistotra hymn to the Hindu goddess Kali)

“You think there’s something underneath!”
she said, laughing, once again getting
ahead of herself, while she endlessly petted
the spread of myself off the comforting shelf

of believing that things can’t be seen.
“As in
macro, so micro: you’ve already got all the data
you need!”
– at which point Kali tumbled
a penny into her new microwave, turned it

to high, and observed its wild ride zinging sparks
like a lightning-bolt-festival-sky.
“Feel free
to join in while I sing,”
she invited, to clatters
of coin in the box causing shocks:

“only song I know that matters!” – to which
she invoked an invisible band (who, though
I could not see them, she told me were
right there, as large as my elbows – at hand) –

Blow, blow, blow your goat!
Spendthrift moonlight: beam!
Verily, verily, verily, verily
Strife’s a golden scheme! –


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Only Narrative

Thin clingy fashionable cotton
watch cap – horizontal soft pastel
stripes tight and chic against her skull –
means of a disguise pulled so far
down her brow into her eyes –
resting like a rippled wavelet
on the top part of her wire-rims –

you couldn’t not imagine what the world
must look like from her swaddled
point-of-view: something glimmering
in front of her like half-dreamed
swatches of a half-forgotten
neighborhood – swift shards of human
presence chopped-off and peripheral:

Picasso’s cubist body parts
in Turner’s swirling mists; she listed
forward gracefully enough:
the spare amalgamated sifting stuff
of twenty-year-old slimness: newly
sprung into a skinny young
half-womanhood. I do not know why

her jeaned leanness, capped elusive
newness make me think of this –
why it seems to pry her clarity
into a slightly sighing and regretful
foam. Theme she somehow
gives this poem:
there only is one
narrative: trying to get home.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Next time you feel that little flip of happiness
that seems to last a nanosecond, do not sigh:
“well, that’s about as much as I will ever get of that,”
and once again return to thinking this whole dashed
exasperation of a life is just a cliché race of rats –
try to stop and dive inside that flicker and relax.

That tiny fleeting thing you think is nothing is
a puffing fat causality as big as any sky can be:
and utterly unfathomably real. Steal that moment
and allow it to reveal you aren’t up a tree, you’re
in eternity. Time and past and future are a bunch
of jokes. There’s a hoax going on here, folks.


On the Strangely Apposite Implications of Abstractions, Interchanged

Perceiving perceives
the perceived
which perceives
the perceiver:

believing believes
the believed
which believes
the believer:

perceiving believes
the perceived
which believes
the perceiver:

believing perceives
the believed
which perceives
the believer.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Swamped Stupid

(On the Target Audience for Hellboy 2)

Cheap richness harrowingly manufactured at inordinate
expense – fake semblance of the ancient: digitally
mastered pocked cracked Alp-high granite arches worn
and dressed and creviced for a gross of unconvincing
centuries, all garishly exalting excesses of meshing

twining lurid hues where violets bespeak the whole range
of the rainbow long before they’ve reached the blues –
the kind of wet dream Piranesi may have in a drugged
and drunken stupor wanted to have had – from which
he couldn’t have awakened anything but deathly ill –

ungovernably mad; the massive charms of importuning
armies of technicians so adroitly skilled and in such buzzing
and complex cooperation that no single pixel can
escape the fatal dosage of another freeze-dried thrill:
concatenated stupefying blasts of phantom violence that

leave you tranquil as a softly dying pilgrim in bewildered
trance who gave up, long ago, believing that mere
Canterbury could fulfill. Evidently to a fourteen-year-old
boy no pleasure counts that doesn’t shanghai all
the senses – swamp them stupid: spill and kill.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Noonday Cry in Praise of These!

Today what will regale us is the fleet sweet
understanding that each moment of this magic
midday light is felt and seen in context of the freshness
of a humanly supplied and wholly welcome
coolness – air-conditioning exquisitely providing
ambience for this bright exhibition of Manhattan
leaf-ing madly in hot summer winds outside these

windows: let’s address the deftness of the insight
that not one thing isn’t natural: not least those
mollifying circumstances and manipulations
which evolving primate brains have ascertained
can harness rawness. What is visible except through
lenses?; beauties and abysses can’t to senses
have a meaning – can’t exist – without an intervening

apparatus to perceive and to convey them. Let’s
take pleasure in the way we play – and model
all this clay. Fabrics, lamps, computers, poems, frying
pans and DVDs: oh, raise a noonday cry in praise
of these! – all part of our essential tissue! What mixture,
article or mission – prodigious progeny of thinking
human flesh! – could possibly be “artificial?”


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Now I Get It

Ripe fruit insists on being
picked, and licked, and bitten.
Smitten thing must propagate
its mysteries before it dies.

See that firm fat brimming
apple bursting where it lies –
aching for your mouth
and eyes? July’s disguise.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Panning for Gold

Sieving stiffly through the silt and mud for

sparkle – history a mire through which

you muck and barely manage

to extract a bit more

gilt from guilt --




the vortex

from which you

may not be able next time

to ascend: nothing in the brittle

fearful sifting apparatus of you can

imagine how to bend, or blend, or mend.

My Life

Pleasures want to send me into exile –
cannot have one and engage
the other – first: this bliss of an apotheosis
of warm bagel and cool scallion shmear
which through endearment to its rich
New York allurements – layered crunch
of onion bits and garlic, poppy seeds
and salt – would take me right now,
not a question asked, as its exalted lover;

second: a warm hugging beckoning which
makes mid-morning light seem like
a soft seducing blanket offered by a merciful
Manhattan mother tugs at me to savor it
and climb into its lap and nap – neat
and deep. One can’t, however,
simultaneously sleep and eat. Which will
be the former, which the latter treat?
My life is pretty goddamned sweet.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Your Face

Pausing to examine every utterance
for its internal architecture -- sense

a blueprint of discernible intent --
to catch a living breathing instant in it --

hold it until spent -- to feel it sigh
and die as if it were a tiny fairy in the hand --

to watch its tender brief command disperse
and fall like petals from a flower --

viscerally register its loss of power --
to taste the quantum-tiny black hole

of abyss which must obtain before another
hissed intentionality can take its place --

to see a life withstand eternity precisely
in that grace -- describes your face.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008


First Avenue toward Twelfth Street: nearly passed
but then thought no: I want whatever's in that
Pakistani diner window: and so entered: bought

a bag of deep-fried dough -- crisp greasy envelopes
of pasty chickpea and potato -- spiced enduringly:
amazing how persistent their insistence is: I think

I'll taste them long into the night; yet, punctuated
by a string of tiny burps, a sort of personal expression
of small geysers popping gas, I would appear through

this succession of too many hasty bites to have
amassed into the density another tasty contribution:
not that I enjoyed this product of the culinary arts --

I will not write the other way, through nether parts,
its visits startle me -- but when I add its currency
into the layered splay of my New York, and thereby

keep Manhattan's hungry mystery and richness
conscious, fresh and deep, I then acquit myself before
its stern internal Court and am allowed to fall sleep.


An Inquiry into & Reflection on the Use of Non-Referential Language

"It's not, like, you know, like, whatever."

Reporting on returning from the Land of the Undead?

Ah! Exactly what I would have said.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lines Toward a Portrait of Want

One grabs at fleeting silver -- shaft of light
like secret thought: mercurially quick --
and utterly without the thickness,
and the breadth, and what you've always
fought to see: a "depth," but cannot
locate in the furtive breaths that pass
in those blue eyes: breathing more than
seeing: it's as if whatever lies inside --

whatever being they lay claim to -- is so
hidden and withheld -- so very powerfully
determined to avert and quell and throw a mist --
that you can only fall back to the humblest
stance of listening: you cannot make
one thing of this: you've only had the very
barest taste of something like the kiss
of an experience of soul. Your rhymester ear

demands you here make coda use
of homonyms: both "whole" and "hole," but
neither sums your hunger up. There is no
question you can pose that would do justice
to one bit of it. If he were Europe and you
were the younger Henry James, you'd
blaspheme all but him, and kneel at his
dark font. But he is lack and you are want.


Pantheistic Conundrum

Have you ruthlessly
to want to throw
the thing away
to have a chance
of getting underway?

Or is it rather that
the thing you've tended
endlessly to misconstrue
must have at last
to rid itself of you?

Hard to connive,
with everything alive.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Adopted Child

In the search to live your seamlessness --
and to expand those realms
which freely let in every
avatar who wants a piece
of you -- you fall into a trance
and chant whatever cellularly seems
to need to breed and bleed out
of your densely forested defenses:
as if the blood and spit

and seasoning of all your furtive animals
and birds and insects might, in concert,
strain and trickle to a condensation --
some intoxicating liquor --
reparation, compensation
for your blunter fear -- a spice and drug
to lure them near -- those sources
of your life and art: those parents
of whom you are inextricably a part:

those actual progenitors --
your mother, Pele, and your father, Thor --
your brother, Dionysus --
and the glory of the score of intermediaries
whom you've yet to let through your
too-guarded door:
you vow to plow through terror --
learn from them the yearned-for grand facility
of wedding power to fragility.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jump-Rope Rhyme for God-lets

The drill will never be as thrilling as the war --
you do not need rehearsal anymore --

the stage has long been set and there's no point
in staying off it now: you've cased the joint

entirely enough: time has run out --
the cues are calling you: abandon doubt

and take the boards and let your psyche rip
and publicly announce itself until you drip

with that sufficiency of sweat which indicates
a living being has occurred which predicates

response to, and engagement with, the whole
predicament and science of the soul --

to dilate inner eyes -- intensify the hex
of what it means to wrestle darkness into sex

and make the crazy creature you've become
into a symphony of parts less than the sum

of what you know now is the currency
and conjugation of the verb "to be."


Saturday, July 5, 2008

At this Angle of the Sun

Oh, to capture this, a bit of this --
a whiff, the slightest savor -- every
day to see through this precisely
flavored angle of the sun when I sit here --
today it's six -- with evening almost
palpitant but still too far away: it still

is day -- the light becomes so round
and inner that the shadows make a dinner
of it: as it fades chiaroscuro grows,
enfolds and swallows more dimensions
of the visible until you think, of course,
there have to be far more than three:

it's best exactly as it's glowing now:
the barest tinge of yellow in the egg-
white sky -- harboring the thick and lacy
cool clean misty green -- a shifting solar
sheen dispersing a July humidity:
the fragile shading of each tree,

and somehow -- always -- this inveterately
sailing and prevailing New York City
sense of place and air which makes it
quite impossible to think of being
anywhere but here, exactly at this angle
of the sun, each day of every year.


The New Religion

“Let me show you my tits,” says the putative
spam-dwelling madam: though surely it isn’t
the prospect of relishing mammary glands
with which I would be here importuned –
but the fun of the random assault: the brash
conquest – the mad ad hoc chance – like
a blind man who tosses a rock in the street,

or a gambler who rides through the clock
playing slots – that the shock of the neat winning
outcome – a shattering window or cherries
aligned – is quite simply a product of waiting
the requisite time: expectations discharged
to an abject belief in a quantum mechanics writ
large: probability now is our god. I’ve wrangled

all day with my HP computer which bluntly
refused to do one comprehensible thing in
response to my reasoning pleading: but suddenly
it has stopped breeding inanities: choosing
quite calmly for now to behave, save for spam
with its offer of big-breasted babes. When
one bows to this eminence, one must be brave.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Rimbaud Drinks a Spicy V-8 with Lemon

Resort to flavors actually
cutting into tongue:
as if to set in motion
sympathetic undulations

in the deepest stirring
underpinnings of a living
creature: “spirit” seems
a feeble sin of an excuse

for this sharp thing
that moves the system into
gear: that source and center
to which you can’t find

a way to be too near:
you spear it now with this
tomato juice and lemon, spicy
brine – hot pepper: puckering

to an exacting permutation
of the infinite variety available
to tease the palate
into paying more attention

to the bite that shoves –
abducts – and will not
tolerate the rut of comfortable
mild diffusion: opt for

its profusion of particulars:
vividly vehicular: a race
of horse-carts through
the heart: whose every part

is whole: savor in this sour
simulacrum of the blood
a taste of what disrupts –
ergo constructs – the soul.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bright and Noisy as a Fight

Long checkout line: East Village supermarket on Fourteenth,
a day before July the Fourth: lugging yet another gallon
of my cherished fat-free milk (love to chug it from the jug) – two
packages of pasta – orzo, bowties: and sweet-pepper-and-tomato
(tossed a slew of silly metaphors into unpalatable stew,
eschewing clarity for inky postulations that relied for their

splayed hoo-ha of confused relations on disparities as thick
as smudges on a drunken urban planner’s city grid – which like
a squid – look what it did! – I sprayed all over that last screen
of obfuscation I just left on my computer – ouch!)
– sharp dig
into my ankle by a stick: I turned around to see a blind man
in dark glasses navigate the space between me and the rest

of his presumably unfathomable lightless panoply: I tried
to steer him closer to the register – “big crowd!” – I said – no
answer: grabbed my hand, inspected it as if it were an unshelled
clam – then rammed his wagon sharply into my left hamstring:
tingles still! – guessed the man did not speak English
with poetry today or any day – those mindless stabs

of lilting nonsense that won’t leave my ear and nose and groin
and heart and butt and toes alone)
– bought my stuff and helped
the man unload his jars of apple juice and rolls of toilet tissue
to the moving belt towards the checkout lady who informed me
just before I left that “that old man behind you isn’t only blind,
he’s deaf.” City’s suddenly as bright and noisy as a fight.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Is there no waiting? –
or is waiting all there is?


This business of “the moment”! –

where’s the explicating rhyme? –
the doom-defying reason?
Bees and birds
appear to do
just fine
by instinct
and the grace
of chance:
why are my pants antsy?

Tell the truth.
They’re not.

Lately I’ve been thinking that the rot
is not so much that I don’t think
I’m doing what I ought to do
but that I do not
openly exalt
what I am always

My greatest shames
confound around
my many loves that dare not
speak their names.

I tell lies
when I apologize.

So here’s the facts at last.
this life is one big blast:
The natural condition
of the soul’s kablooey.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Don't Like July Much

February of the summer – tumbling slowly off
another peak into another purgatory: I don’t like July
much. Surely I should side with all the nearly

naked bodies romping down the slide of this
abundantly lubricious season: surely it gives reason
to exult in its immoderacy – all its blooming

gorgeousness of vice wherein varieties of insects,
human beings, weeds and blinking little mice
all open up their apertures to the inveterately hot

and spicy: but I find the whole thing dicey
and if pressed, as clearly I perceive myself to be
today, would have to say I don’t approve. I want

more shadow, coolness in the groove and oh please! –
far more darkness in the night. However, offered
a sufficient summer ripeness, I would bite.