Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Broody – armored –
like an undiscoverable country –

the ex-football player stands.
His resignation, substance, stance

remand themselves to quietude
and grimace: self-imposed – grand.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Strawberries Occur

Prickly static seems to sprinkle over
everything – like bad artificial
sweetener – sticky, toxic, edgy,

nervous, chemical, as if laced
with amphetamine: comparative calm
beauties of the city summer scene –

its warmth, its blue, its rich stirred brew –
cease to persuade: implode, degrade
and break apart: something’s not right

in the heart: a sickening incitement
which excites a superficial blast lasts
for an instant: guts, and grinds

the air: drains some central substance –
unsuspected marrow in the mind:
the worst of it: you cease to care;

then out of nowhere, strawberries
occur. You slice a handful you had
bought and dump them in a bowl

and coat them with some maple syrup:
sweetness of a kinder gentler sort.
Strawberries regale – for now, prevail.

Precipitating spatters scatter in
and out of bowls, abort and bail,
adhere, dissolve, replace each other –

psychic weather systems: mist,
hail, drought, snowfall. Any moral
you can think of in it? None at all.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Car of Me

Each day, I get the vehicle
in gear – and know that all
I have to do is drive the thing –
pay some attention on the way –
pick up the to-and-fro
peripherally swaying on
the left and right, then take

a fuller stoplight view – pursue
a change of course – or merely
roam – or more remorsefully
decide to turn around and go
back home: a confluence
of destiny and chance
besets each nano-moment

of perception: tugged
as if involuntarily yet
at the same time exercising
a volition: choice can waltz
with reflex; does, in fact, its
dance with chance each small
synaptic prance I undergo –

today I’ll see a man with whom
I’ve made a ton of secret love
exact attention from an audience:
leaping jazzily above, below,
around and through the air
among a troupe of other dancers:
much as he and I and we’ve

ensnared each other in our private
shadows; he will demonstrate
to all his fine liquidity. The car
of me will stop there for a while,
start again, and then
vamoose into another den
of blessings and iniquity.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Spirit or the Letter

Group cohesion! –
hunger for a symmetry! –
swaying, sighing at “Messiah”
we all leave the hall, higher –
singing – fused with music –

swinging rhythms and vibrations
that explore the core:
vastly organized into
a mastery – a glory –
all of it’s a bore.

Will you be there
beyond the last articulable prayer?
This law and order –
yearning for a form.
Will you be there

when I’m no longer warm?
I thought I was supposed
to live today, but, well,
one never knows.
Sometimes one goes

without a warning.
This suborning life ejaculating
spatters: hey! – you’re
the thing that matters,
so they say. Until you go away.

I sit here and refuse the news.
Not that I know what
I’d choose that’s better.
But I cannot quite buy
the spirit or the letter.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Hot Bits of You

Sweat pumping out the city’s
summer skin – miasmic sex enlists,
persists – thumpingly resists
the least refusal. Walking
becomes gawking – stalking

down the street devolves
into the flat perusal of parades
of bodies which (not who)
entail the utter slavish capture
of the core of you – and you:

the predator who simply
has to cast quick looks to hook
what he pursues: your prospects
propagate: a zoo of fleshly
probabilities insists on coming true –

and yet no single one of them
would do. And so: and so:
here and there you go, stumbling
like a drunk towards whatever
glow now draws you from

the flesh ahead you strain
to see: you cannot let it be:
hot bits of you are left in every
breath: every molten shred
of it excited – and requited.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Heavy Final Plenitude

A jungle tumbles, teems beyond, outside
and almost up into my windows here –
Manhattan spills abundantly into herself –
despoiling indiscriminately every leafy spear
and branch and tuft of greenage bursting
through her body’s concrete cracks –
exulting in the glory of her florid orifices –

pulling all towards her messy flesh, draping
herself in it: plumy boas on the burlesque
queen of Tarzan’s secret dreams – intensely
felt but never seen; cross her (as of course
you do), and she’s a blinking harridan,
a shrew, a courtesan who will remain
too pricey for the likes of you; her endlessly

alluring thighs will open only to whatever
promises to pour down from the skies:
she is the mistress of her own sweet dark
fecundity; her seasons shock; she blocks all
barrenness to which she nonetheless conveys
a sideways wink: for right there, right beyond
the brink, the chasm fathomlessly sinks –

it is the bed from which this goddess woke
too long ago for you to know – to which,
eventually, in some season yet to be –
or maybe this one, maybe in the heavy final
plenitude of this one – you will go – and stay –
and not return to say a word: as if whatever
you had been in her had not occurred.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What I’m Supposed to Like

Sometimes I like what I’m supposed to like –
say, fresh-picked produce – fancy food: arugula
(that funky meaty plant which tastes a little

rude) entranced me for a couple weeks –
and strawberries have lately so seduced me
that my hands are now the color of a spanked

behind – you may next find me chawing on organic
orange rind or re-discovering the trance
of jasmine-scented rice: or otherwise indulging

in the savor and the texture and the spice
of the consumable experience of life: but, now,
in this strange unremitting gray – this gentle humid

play of early summer cloudy day, and day, and day:
today I undergo an unsuspected sway towards,
perhaps, well, not exactly what I’m not supposed

to like, but rather that odd realm of indecipherable
light which hasn’t anything to do with what
I taste or smell or chew: it doesn’t follow what

I swallow, swallow what I follow: doesn’t care
a whit. To wit: I sit here in its indistinctness
and each notion of a plan – say, man the subway,

see old Frank Lloyd Wright up in the Guggenheim,
climb up to the swirling top, give it a scan –
won’t pan. Manhattan’s camera prefers to span

indifferently across an emptiness: report
the uninvolving news, none of it to do with food
or art or view. So that’s what I choose, too.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This Layered Thing

thing you
are: what
could it mean?

You mille-feuille
gentle frenzy
of a being:

the bathroom
or the bedroom
or the kitchen
door, interleaving
layers of your

like a petit four,
morning, noon
and night

after which
you lie down,

then get up
for more.
One wonders
what you’re

Monday, June 22, 2009

As Complete an Investigation of Rage as You Know How to Make

A calm and softly rolling landscape –
as near as can be felt or seen –
cool breeze above its sweeps of green –
a pale blue sky – an apple tree –
no omen of catastrophe – until abruptly:
it erupts – the apple-blossoms quiver,
fall, and now it’s not what it was like
at all: a blast of vitriol begets a galling

anger from some unsuspected
geologic gut: except it’s not geology,
but your biology, whose trapped
and raging constitution’s come to war
with what it seems to see with all
of its somatic certainty as some intolerable
violation of a sacred law. Who knew
it felt so powerfully? – who knew

that some stray word or act could crack
your sweet serenity? – who is the enemy? –
and what’s it done? You wonder
if it’s not unspeakably in service
of some figure of satanic fun – who
privately colludes with you – unconsciously
invoking thunder so you’ll feel surreal:
maybe that’s the deal; but no, there’s more:

something deeply lodged in you before
and after everything that severs you
from all propriety: that marries thinking
to an instinct for a fight: until (no warning):
seismic echoes slowly cease –
the landscape rearranges into peace:
the petals on the apple-tree are
lightly fluttering – and all seems right.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why The Summer Solstice Disappeared This Year

I feel responsible for people's misery today.
I prayed the summer solstice would just go away
(I crave a longer night, and shorter day) –
and now the sky appears to have decided to obey:

Manhattan seems confounded and depressed:
heavy, dark and wet: the sun, suppressed,
achieves a merely meager bit of ray; expressed
in an unchanging sotto voce gray; undressed

as if for March, November, January: soon
I'm sure the climate will begin resembling June:
but this sharp apex of the year whose boon
is offering our longest brightness: that balloon

has burst: it's dim as dusk – and worse: I must confide
to you how I am privately elated that the glide
from light into the night is such a half-lit ride:
more quickly gets to what the darkness can provide.

I’m slightly sorry that I brought this on: but wait! –
to even scores, to get me back -- to compensate --
the twenty-first, December, will be eighty-eight –
and weather sweet as a Bahaman beach will propagate.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Little Rude

Roast pig turning on a spit –
there is, of course, no help for it –
there hasn’t been for quite some time.
Whatever eager piglet ran to climb

upon his mama’s breast to suck a teat –
wherever he discovered means to eat –
that’s all gone now. Now he’s dinner.
Doesn’t seem like he’s the winner.

Watch the crackling skin get brown:
watch the juices trickle down.
Watch the piglet turn to food.
It really seems a little rude.

And yet, my dears, not in the least
are we immune: we are a feast
for many populaces: like bacteria –
for whom we are a cafeteria

of tasty prospects, opportunities
to lick now this, now sample these –
to serve up succulently cellular amounts
of us, ‘til they get fat, and bounce

into repasts that other hungry mites consume.
Endlessly omnivorous: there’s always room
for more in this Existence –
which relies upon its own persistence

in the hunting down and following
and mad insentient swallowing
of bits of its own self:
until there’s nothing on the shelf –

until there is no shelf.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Fizz Ed

Reflections on Watching Physical Therapists at “Metrosports”

Life experienced entirely as physical seems quizzical –
but sometimes absolutely right: the muscled stuff
that can be engineered and measured, demonstrated,
named: claimed now by several buff straight guys
providing arms-and-hands-on coaching – therapy to bodies

variously compromised and mildly lame – in somatic need
of a specific strong solicitude – these several dudes who
otherwise come through to life, presumably, in gyms, team
games on fields – who, as a first resort, comport themselves
in sport – wield bodies in symbolic fight and flight –

release a feast of brawn, reflex and expertise which seethes
in its bright self-created realm – at rest, they stand inchoate
and self-conscious, gently flexing neck and shoulder
muscles in mute maleness: overwhelmingly, it seems,
a sense of something central in the mammal breathes

inside this brotherhood of athletes in sweat socks. Yet
something flaming and unnamable about them shocks –
sparkles like the fizz of stars: some stark enigma
blazes – Apollo shoots forth in his mystery – unspeakably,
inevitably blessed. Word is never quite made flesh.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

As If It Wanted Soul

As if in an unconscious consultation
with a condensation of itself
the air spats rain – squeezes,
involutes its oxygen and hydrogen

into a drenching self-solicitation
that might just as well, as this one does
(for all the insight it can gain),
rush down a drain. Silly, wishing

atmosphere were curious and sentient:
nothing isn’t prey to some frail human
vanity: this, of thinking soul into
a bunch of molecules – or thinking soul

at all. But: such dark awe – to watch
the deluge fall: as if it wanted soul,
some inanition bleeds. Maybe we’re
the only consciousness it needs.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In The Least

Written in the Outdoor Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Foliage voluptuously
photosynthesizing –
flat white

flowers howl
on top without
a sound – as open

to the light
as any quaking
baby’s mouth

could be for milk:
arraigned in rows
like silk adornments

through a garden –
seeking pardon
for their brute

existence: pious
bleached novitiates –
beds of would-be nuns

too hungry for
the sunlight
to feel rue.

They don’t
remind me
in the least of you.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Some giant secret conduit – invisible – yet muscularly
steady, strong, containing – powerfully capable
of training and transferring power – serendipitously
now affords the passage of a strange sense
of well-being: there’s a sentience in it –
seeing, maybe, as you do, the usual accoutrements:
the couch, the chairs, the green bag of your laundry –

clean and squarely packed by Shanghai immigrants
across the street – touched by the flux and confluence
of light and river, bay, Atlantic Ocean: breeze
and cloud come in: a toss of global atmospheres
runs thick and thin – brisk, cutting, dry – quick-mixes
with a sodden humid sigh of sky: human – shy
and bold – bored and eager – something in

its mesh of cold and warm beleaguers air and rushes
mottled mid-June color into the alluring private lair
of your proclivities – the prayer your starved
imagination makes is answered: funneled through –
a spirit dances over brick, desk, paint, upholstery:
its rich considered glow all over everything in view –
as if Existence were a courtesan – come utterly to you.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Hydra-Headed Doodle

Like an entourage
without a focal personality
to kowtow to,
or coalesce around,
your armies
of intricacies abound

confoundingly –
internally create
a swarming strange geometry
of forms which
tend to favor
spiral circularity

which warms
into the sort of simulacrum
of a hydra-headed singularity
you’ll more than
likely conjure
in a dream tonight:

corrective to the pale
abstracted light
and scheme and dullish swoon
of everybody else’s
natteringly reasonable relativism –
shattering the spell

of any vision:
lame – gone wrong –
the whole song
out of tune. Otherwise
as bright as June.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dashed –

The heart –
a fine catastrophe –
towards which –
we drift –

in part –
to find the mastery –
to switch –
to lift –

to dart –
beyond the past to see –
its rich –
odd gift –


Saturday, June 13, 2009

But then I thought: no

“He had come all this way to discover that adventure is not life; that the finest scenes and the grandest mountains do not of themselves make poetry; and that at the farthest reach of his journey the familiar spectre of his own impotent bewilderment stood facing him.” p. 208, John Keats: The Making of a Poet, Aileen Ward

I thought of strolling
to a Cineplex on this
thick indiscriminate
pale swill of an un-thrilling
cloudy day to see a Pixar
movie: thought
expensive greasy

popcorn and a spectrum
of effects too dazzling
to reject amid a roiling
posse of Manhattan
children might dispel
all inward, outward
fog and plug me into

my swift silly city
in some unsuspected
way. But then I thought:
no; I refuse to stray –
I won’t dismiss this thing.
The emptiness is far
too interesting.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Pull, Annul, Impel and Lull

To know this city is to know that fire engine sirens
will wail through the careful sentences with which
you’re trying to regale the inner you as you walk
mutteringly down the skew and slew of Flat Iron
Broadway in the muddled air of middle-afternoon
of nearly middle-June. To know this city is to know your

poise is ever constitutionally altered by her noise, that
your inimitable human sweat will intermix with every last
unfettered little humid bit of all her public, secret,
fated, fetid heavens, hells: subtly but dramatically affect
your body’s smells, which you would miss if you
washed up (which you’ve again decided not to do)

when you got home. To know this city is to know you are
an animal completely doomed to roam feloniously
through her alleyways – too hard to tell from neural
pathways in your skull. To know this city is, for you,
to know that nothing but her steep cacophonies –
her deep capacities – can pull, annul, impel and lull.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Fragile Magic

My best read
on our fragile magic
tells me you
should take the lead.

(Strange to find
that want –
however fierce and blunt –
is not the same as need.

Marvelous – the wish
to sing
about desire
that’s not for anything.)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Existential Ice Cream*

As if you’d sliced decisively into an existential fruit – evoked,
divisively, two radically competing senses in its juice:
astringency and volupté: that’s what the moments of a day

produce: that is, if you can pay attention: and in the sway
between the two attain the pen and tongue to say it: try to play
with – praise, assuage, appease the rage in – the anomalies

of both until they deign to stay, because the gain by their
retention would provide exactly that sweet strain of heterogeneity
that proved the plausibility of you. Plenitude and void:

you can’t avoid the thought that both are true: but cannot find
a wedded point-of-view – until: you taste it – so self-evident
you were an idiot to think it couldn’t be! Passion-fruit

ice cream so meshed and so deliciously outrageously
vituperative: sweet, fresh, tart, wrong, right, acid, placid,
trading in on something wildly sacrosanct – so blessedly

caressing – that there can be no remotely adequate expression
of your thanks. Haagen Dazs: what strange sublimity have
you enabled to arrive? It beats the Trinity, this “Five.”



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Though There'd Been All of This

Though there had been a silent push and pull
too indirect to know except by hints
in how it’s left your memory so full
of how he smelled and looked: warm scents and tints –

fresh-showered flesh – and its faint musk, by night –
his cool pearl color heating up like sin –
the soft unspeakability of light
in his dark eyes – complicity of skin –

too delicate, exquisite to be borne –
too smooth to tolerate, except to crave –
all this ought to, at last, have been to warn
you that you were too human to be brave –

and yet, though there’d been all of this – this glove
of man you thought had fit – you don’t know love.


Nothing to Discuss

Dying people
sleep a lot.
In a way
it’s a relief. Death
sneaks in like
an incremental
thief, idly filches –

here a tittle –
there a jot – until
the scaffolding
that holds
life up cannot.
erode. Slowly,

as you sit there
watching core
and carapace
implode, you find
you’re glad
you aren’t made
to talk about it.

Babies sleep
a lot as well,
and so does
every cat.
Perhaps there’s
an analogy
in that. But

thinking at
this bedside,
now, feels like
unnecessary fuss.
There’s really
to discuss.


Monday, June 8, 2009


You take the high road
and I’ll take the low mode
of lying down today –
roll up into quietude. Shrewd
and shifty how the ways

and means of consciousness
keep making you believe
in what you think you see.
Dreaming helps a little: then,
at least, you’re caught

red-handed: who is manufacturing
the view but you? But when
the eyes un-lid and you’re
seduced into the hybrid
grid of influences in and out:

well, there’s a recipe for
doubt. I’d like to think
there’s something so unutterably
sweet encompassing
the existential blasting horror

of experience: the lone dark
cold exploding asteroid
of being here must surely
orbit in some warmer, lighter
field somewhere: a gentle

if completely undetectable
dimension of okay. Perhaps
if I dream deep enough
I’ll find the seedling of the thing,
and make it bloom, and stay.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Donna and the Garbage Men

A Birthday Poem

They slog daily to and through the city’s rotting
quagmire, wearying of barely-tied and bursting
ill-assorted plastic bags full of the summer stink
of an unending simmering detritus – flip-side
of King Midas – everything they handle turns
to goo – but oh! – just at the sight of you,
they straighten up, become two gracious gentlemen,

and cordially make bold (I was with you, so I know)
to crow: “Hello!” They call to your familiar cheerful
being in the memory of having seen, and seeing,
that the bags you’ve hauled out from your
building over months and years have been tied
tight and right – careful, bless’d and whole.
In your presence, even garbage turns to gold.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Sort of Salsa Singspiel

June invades the park – infiltrates,
becomes the trance-inducing bongos
bopping, sifting through the trees
in celebration of the partial banishment

of dark: incrementally extinguishing
as much of night as it can render
light – and, as the song goes,
“…autumn leaves drift by my window”

but not now, or here – not for at least
another quarter of a year: I’m sure
I ought to try to dance in praise of this
felicitous fertility – but I lack means.

I sit here thoughtfully (I’d like to think)
recounting all my psychic beans,
and wondering – no, I don’t wonder
anything. I know what I should do.

Listen to the trance-inducing bongos,
joined now by a sort of salsa singspiel:
its syncopated warm Latino rap – now
wrapped in soft electric zaps of strummed

guitar – must make hips, elbows, thighs,
knees, shoulders, torsos out there
spar hard with invading June: swooning
to its tune and swaying to its beat,

fists open in the mildly humid heat.
(Opera in the kitchen fights, and loses,
on the radio.) Bewitching tides will
take you, darling. No choice but to go.


Friday, June 5, 2009

What To Do In The Supermarket

So many intricate
involuntary little gestures
fill the living day, tiny

applications of the will,
speculations based
on fragile apperceptions

gathered and amassed
from half-remembered
lessons of the past

on what the likelihood
of love might be,
or how to help it last –

a while. Slyly slip
a half-ironic smile into
the supermarket aisle:

aim it at somebody
you don’t know: watch
his inner atavistic

animistic dominoes all go
through the dimensions
of his alien eyes: rig

the clumsy apparatus
of a random daily life
with the seductions

of surprise. Don’t stop.
Shop until somebody’s
heartstrings hop.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bird Fight

I just saw two little birds fight
on the sidewalk – weightless flutter
on the concrete – skittering into
the gutter: grapple-match –

catch-and-scratch aggression –
possibly connected to a sexual
obsession – I suppose it only took
whatever little time it took – but while

they shook and shimmied feather,
claw and beak – and whirred
all blurry in the flurry of whatever
havoc they sought, fought to wreak –

while I watched their maddened
pique – a quarter-minute turned
into eternity. It’s not that there’s
not time enough, I thought,

as I watched these two birdies do
their brutal stuff, there isn’t
any time at all. Then one, and then
the other, took a fall. Don’t know

which one thought it won – quickly off
and soaring on a dual run,
spent guns of sparrow wings flew up
towards the sun – lesson done.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


We’re not as calm as we may seem.
So maybe let’s careen from “we” into the warmer
sweeter cream of “you” and “me.” Pronouns
are the damnedest things. Mine are always
sprouting wings. There “you” go –

bye-bye! – and soon “you” start resembling “I.”
All the intermixing contradictory afflictions
and resolves that flick the little thoraxes,
antennae, tails and mandibles of our strained
self-involvement – up and through and under you –

and me – and us – and thee – and we –
and her – and they – and him – and them –
ah well, ahem. Clear your interrupted throat.
Let your people go. Unfurrow your verklempt
too-twisted brow. Kick us all out now.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oh, capture it! --

Oh, capture it! – let this darkening
and rolling pregnancy persist just long
enough to have it kiss, assist your feeling mind –
enough to translate into
saying, drawing, singing something like

the thing itself: early June
delivers its peculiar taste and hue
to you: how many subtle grays and blues
are in this season’s days? –
we think too much of sun:

the rays that keep us living now
are buffered by so many promises of cloud –
suggested in these deep far-ranging shades
of dusky opal – haunted and translucent –
strange – riffling leaves of trees

with hints of an approaching storm:
the random shards
of urban sounds crack, shudder: softer now –
as if a sentience in the city’s blooming
grounds awaited something

wonderfully or terribly torrential that the air
might soon propound –
unless its humid lassitude, round languor lack
the edge to make it more than sigh.
Oh, for the capacities of sky!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Walker, and Walk-ee

Rather as if I were walking a dog
and the dog was me – I am
a divided trajectory: one of me pulls
and the other holds back: one fills
the terrible sense of his lack

with a trance-like immersion in
redolences that the other can’t fathom
could ever attract; one loves all traces
and tracks of spectacular acts
and avowals and pleas: onto which –

to contribute! – he pees: the other
is pleased by efficiencies: getting
from A on to B up to Z with alacrity;
one revels in sweat and in smell,
neither of which makes the other

feel well; one leaves deposits the other
must seize (like poems put into
anthologies). My bias is clear: I find
the funky one dear. But I’m not
unthankful the other one’s here.