Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Yearned-for Thing

on Joseph Haydn’s 278th birthday
(b. March 31, 1732)

Sounds bloom
in the next room.
Haydn plays viola in it –
Emperor Quartet.

Just up from a nap,
hands in her lap,
casually dressed,
the Empress at rest –

cool, blue, cream –
listens to a theme.
Instincts sing!
The yearned-for thing.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Condensing – dripping slowly, dolorously
and dissociatively into this chilly unlit
predawn mourning of a morning

like the cold sweat of a shell-shocked youth –
unassailably, inalienably convinced
of one dark truth – which nobody can name:

beyond shame, conflict, symptom,
cause or blame – slowly and centripetally
spinning inward like a vortex – gently sucking

at the heart – nursing you in its dark art
of a despondency: the rain today explains
exactly nothing but implosion and surrender.

You pray that no one tries to cheer you up.
It’s too voluptuously done already: right;
living as if day were an irrevocable night.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Pigment Figments

Today fat yellow squatted on
the rolling blue to gaze at skinny red.
Visions of potential greens
and oranges and purples bled

into their separate consciousnesses.
Not a word was said.
Pigment figments in my pencil box
taste my joy and dread.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

One Ogre I Know

Expertise derives from paying passionate attention over time
to something so compulsively insistent it cannot not take a central
place in conscious and unconscious life: one ogre I know
parlayed the strife of his self-hating inability to keep from looking
at himself – his yellow-greenish-mauvish mottled lumpy skin – into

the inspiration for the enterprise of the upholstery of easy chairs:
neo-Victorian – with such nuanced peculiar unexampled colors
and extravagantly tufted bumps and layers that they’ve raised
his dim opinion of his body and his visage to the heights one might
accord a cherished varied catalogue – in this case pressed into his

very flesh – of textures, lumps and other asymmetric cues that now
beget fresh notions of designs for fabric, buttons, hues – organically
adorning parlor sets and such. His stuff’s a little much, but selling
well: with lifetime warrantees. Been doing it for decades now; there’s
not an order for them he won’t fill. He stands behind them still.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Something Like the Nasal Music of Kazoos

Sometimes I feel like isolated species of a bunch of leafy
plants which, though they’ve heard about such things as
flowers, can’t remember having met one. So in investigative

convocations they construe what they imagine constitute
the traits and powers of the odd provocative phenomenon:
explore hypotheses of likely shapes and permutations

and contort themselves into symmetrical geometries of line
and volume that they hope might ape some notion of a bloom –
and rather entertain themselves thereby: a kind of carnival

of vegetable vein and frilly edge ensues, with little vine-lets
fleeting up and out, adding to the complex involuting grand
proceedings something like the nasal music of kazoos.

An okay time is had by all until some strange vicissitude
of cool dissociation starts to spread, disseminate a pall:
the optimistic atmosphere grows dim and vaguely vexed,

and duller. You can’t have flowers without color. Which
no one told them is the reason they feel flat. When you
are not around, I feel a thing not terribly dissimilar to that.


Friday, March 26, 2010

About Fecundity

Perhaps we’ve been all wrong – (we often are,
about fecundity): the point in making form
may not be to exact a lasting certainty –
but to enact conditions for the vast implosive
blast that wrecks it – for release. Perhaps

the interest will arise in some survivor’s wise
inspection of each piece of cracked
detritus left – some lesson in the frightful
and bereft regrets that follow the catastrophe –
so touched by an irrational eternity. There will be

a wracking end to you and me, extracted
from the bowels of the very thing we’ve spent
our lives creating – and from the constancy
with which we sought to be it. Who knows?
Something may well stick around to see it.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Obtain a smallish mountain
of the finest mohair weave –
dye it cool soft grayish green –

wrest it into plushy nest: interleave
me variously in and out of it:
neck, shoulders, butt, back,

shins, thighs, calves, crotch,
hands and head and feet –
please be discreet. Today I can’t

engage more than minute
percentages. Today I’ll nap.
Today I’m staying semi-wrapped.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To: The Surface

Let externals be the show!
Content wants no other form:
see the iridescent glow –
startling, bright, and jewel-warm –

lit within, without by sun –
learn: today and every day –
surface is enough to stun –
in its burning brilliant way.

Make the fist an open hand –
take existence at its face –
celebrate the utter grand
availability of grace.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On Initiating Contact with a Poem

Yes: she lets you watch her make her egress
from her shoes and dress.
But do not second-guess.

Don’t assume.
Grant her all the psychic room
you might not generally lend a pink and blonde cartoon.

Be on guard.
Ignorance is easy: innocence is hard.
Be as unforgiving as the grand imagination of a bard

must be
of any slight inauthenticity
or infelicity

of truth or consequence:
no sitting on the fence –
all tense –

with fear.
Ask: “Dear?”
“Would you come here?”


Monday, March 22, 2010

Male Sadness

Sometimes a bruising maleness comes
and radiates its rutting atavistic hums at me,
in me, through me, from me so that I have

no doubt that I am capable of murder –
among varieties of other dark supposed
unspeakabilities; in fact, would wield them,

yield to their morbidities with no more
thought than I’d have brought to having
fought whatever arrogance of other flesh

had the audacity to think it had the right to be,
instead of me, the ruling thing: I’d be and stay
the king: erect a palace to my phallus: direct

the rest of you to kneel. Sometimes a reeling
maleness wants to pump me up to such
a madness that I’d wreck the world and find

the sadness: the key, of course, to men.
When I had found that out, if anything
were left, I guess I’d just begin again.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

“Break it up, you ninnies”

Thoughts have roots which colorlessly
feed on nothing, scramble into one another
indistinguishably down below when

suddenly, at once, at some strange
provocation only known to their inchoate
generative empty fibrous selves, they’ll

sometimes coalesce and rise and delve
into the most unlikely speculations – foster
odd associations which on average don’t

work out: today, for instance, comes a clumsy
but not unaffectionate ménage-à-trois:
two stupid lunk assumptions sandwiching

an anxious imputation bloom into bewilderment
before my eyes – which, used to similarly
unavailing combinations, are not in the least

surprised. Mismatched, they look to me
to offer them recourse: all that I can say is:
“Break it up, you ninnies, and divorce.”


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Something Else

Where do faces come from?
In what factory do they arise?
How do we procure them?

Lately they’ve been crowding in –
at night, just when I close my eyes –
as if determined to enact

some secret enterprise –
as if their greatest pleasure
were to watch my serial surprise

at the kaleidoscopic changes
in their guises – wrinkled grandma
turns into a newborn infant

turns into Obama turns into
the Mamas and the Papas turn
into a drag queen Easter rabbit

which acquires the quite
unspeakable exactitude of truth
when it becomes a comely youth:

a cinematically continual
evolving metamorphosis:
whose purpose is, I would surmise

from the success of its effects,
to move me. Every look looks deep –
and cuts a groove which slowly

slides me down to sleep.
I am not looking at myself.
This is something else.


Friday, March 19, 2010

So Much the Worse for Me

Today my mind announces
that I can’t resort to it
for reassurance: today

my mind inappositely
slides into whatever random
planes and curves and colors

it decides, today, it wants
to play with. Today if I so much
as blink or sigh, exert

the subtlest light intake
of disapproving breath –
express the slightest tiniest

incomprehension: well,
today, my mind’s inclined to
act on all of it, and me,

with arrant imbecility. Today
I learn that every day’s today.
So much the worse for me.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Bee-and-Flower Thing

One wants to trust the fumbles that this meteorological
pale Interim of Ambiguity may well be making toward
new warmth and plant life and the formal end of Winter –
but in Manhattan what emerges is a random scrabbling:

convergence of the frightened, awkward new into the broken
life-defying old: as if some ancient pious virgin queen were
grumpily parading, coldly growling at the ground, examining
its cracks and pot holes to decree that they continue on

as scrubby concrete out of penance for innumerable city sins:
that brown dead grass remain as inadvertent cover for
occasional small shoots of something that you hadn’t better
bet on. Splintered craggy dawn too far from daisies

blooming on a verdant lawn to let you think that anything
will ever bring about the bee-and-flower thing. One chooses
to suppose that somehow, anyway, against the evidence,
the queen will be deposed – and there’ll be Spring.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

They Gossip at the Birdbath

Malevolent suggestions
goose the hoo-ha! out of life –
they poke the rudest questions
to beget the sweetest strife.

They gossip at the birdbath –
plan their gleeful anarchy –
calculate through dark math:
“if it can be done, it will be.”

Deciding how to bring an end
to Being as we know it
they’re haughty and they condescend
and not afraid to show it.

I sneak in and I spy on them
to ascertain their tricks –
I listen through their spit and phlegm
(unpalatable mix!) –

but so far all I can construe –
am able to divine –
is when I’m next asked “how are you?”
the answer won’t be “fine.”


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Screw That Dream

Last night it finally became as clear
as it was likely to become
that the constituents of dreaming
are as pliable as chewing gum

or taffy or that putty you can seal
the cracks of walls with: still
you aren’t off the hook: they look to
your imagination’s will

and whim to shape, create a sense
of some absurdly memorable
weird scenario or creepy story
line: if not as venerable

as an archetype, at least as sexy,
fine and full as any fantasy
of Wowee! standing naked on its
skull, something for a man to see

in privacy: but ah: last night
the malleable taffy, putty, gum arose
to stare you down (it grew
a head: two yellow eyes, a reptile nose)

to force you to admit
that you’d done zilch with it.

Trashed your rhyme scheme!
Screw that dream.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Teardrop Lens

Today you
glimpsed him
fleeting by –
spied him

on the sly –

through your
psychic sky –
limber as an acrobat,
patchy as the sun

through breaks
in cloud – caught him
glancing at you
for a nanosecond

through a sudden
saline wash of eye –
lens of clarity –

to your and his
abrupt surprise:
you grasped,
at last, for once,

just what a feeling
is when it is caught
by thought –
and flies.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Waking Up After the Time Change

Drenching rain infuses sleep –
you dream down deep
you shoot up sevenfold:

from young to old:
all seven ages of a man:
ejaculating options split and spilt

from unity: you shout them
sunny-faced and bold –
eject them with impunity:

You look like fairy tales
but brim beneath:
and sing a hydra-headed hymn:

a wail for something to unsheathe
your phallic root
to boot you into kingdom come

and gone. Oh! – to get it on.
Day light savings’
new and awkward dawn.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For All of That

I knew you when you were a toss of naked limbs –
to each of which I once aspired to sing hymns –

as if you were a psyche brought to sudden light:
as mad – exorbitantly necessary – right –

as any spirit I could ever hope might free
the last voluptuous raw secrecies in me.

And so you seemed to be – until one factor,
unexpected, loomed as true: you were an actor –

good at seeming capable of making love: unreal.
For all of that, sweet toss of limbs, I learned to feel.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Struck, Encumbered, Shy

Oh I will do my silly jig
in hopes it entertains
you as you watch the whirligig
of me in these quatrains:

for dancing in a three-tiered box
performing strict designs
in color to the tick of clocks
cramped tight within the lines

defines the permutations of
the fear I feel when I
approach the topic of our love:
struck, encumbered, shy.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Greenish Silence

Greenish silence sits
upon a greenish bench,
reflecting on the powerful
propensity for featurelessness

which accounts, apparently,
for everything. Strange
to spend eternity in isolation
and in speechlessness.

Ah, well, there’s the bench:
running right and left to no
apparent ends. Perhaps they
could be friends. He wonders

why he bothers wearing his
small greenish briefs. Who
cares how he’s endowed?
It’s not like there’s a crowd.





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gregory Peck, Unwilling

Napping just now, I dreamed
of the young Gregory Peck:
saw him sitting, holding a pencil,

at which he wasn’t looking;
instead he was gazing, stiffly, into
a middle distance, head shot through

with colored waves and darts and lines,
not as if he were wondering what
to write or draw or even think: more

as if he had just realized that someone
had caught him in a dream that
wasn’t his and apparently expected

him to do something. Clearly
he wasn’t going to. I guess I was
dreaming of writing a poem, too.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Picture of Contentment

If you were its picture, would you
be a grin so wide and wrinkled
it would cause a crowd to call

a cop? Would your arms grow,
bottom to the top, so malleably
large, deliciously embracing,

wanton, free and snaky that they’d
make a baby cry? Would your feet
become so very comfortable

that they’d flatten and relax into
two greenish loosely muddy pies –
thereby offending passing eyes?

Would you wander vaguely here
and there wrapped in a lurid
and unfashionable canopy

of orange-pink, do you think?
Pitch the world’s resentment.
Be the picture of the contentment.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Pleading With An Eye

If it’s busy it is busy everywhere
but here or there – or anywhere
you think it ought to be. It doesn’t
seem to care. It seeks a light –
no, not a light – well, something
like the tightly secret brightness

your attention sometimes keeps
for it in corners, shadows, nooks –
it looks for more, it always looks
for more. Oh, the hazards
you must hazard to explore
this sneaky creature of the mind! –

which wants to find an answering
response you haven’t got. Your
cat today appeared to offer up
a similar excoriating blame, gutturally
keening – maybe at the lameness
of your sameness. Though then

he sauntered forth and stuck
his face up underneath the crook
of your crossed legs: and softened
the proceedings to a mew – a cat
does not exactly ever beg – but he
desired more of something,

purely, sweetly, with allure.
Sometimes you think a creature’s
angry when he’s shy. Ah! - there it is
again, on cue, another bit of voodoo
bending slightly over, looking up
at you, pleading with an eye.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Inveterately Editing

Cartoons: tangled male
and female flesh –
meshed, undressed –
freshly misconstrued –
reduced to tiny silly outline

in my mind – clumsily
untrue: three and four
dimensions bled to two:
toppled on its side:
so my inveterately
editing reductive brutal

memory makes mince
of all the round, warm,
breathing, enigmatic selves
whom I once knew
but evidently now refuse
to recollect in you.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Late Afternoons in Early March

Late afternoons in early March are masculine.
Like quiet fathers, they hold onto light –
just long enough to demonstrate their might –

remain as strong and bright and undefeated
as the end of any day could ever be:
suggest the welcome fantasy they hold

the key to everything: they will bring us
safely, smoothly into Spring: all will be all right.
Until, that is, they’re murdered by the night.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Coming, Going

You want to paint a cartoon childhood:
let a Disney shaft of light
illuminate a small boy’s face –
cutting it obliquely into staged surprise –
lending it a sweet and storied grace –

but look again into those
frightened and embarrassed eyes:
you haven’t penetrated the disguise –
can’t know what’s flitting through another
head, however young: chances are

it’s not untouched by dread; chances are
it dwells among the terrors of unknowing.
Not that something isn’t glowing.
But who knows what’s around, behind,
above, below it – coming, going.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pharaonic Parapraxis

Before it slips into the mortal and amoral coil
of blank forgetfulness, one hopes it finally relaxes –
like a Pharaoh loosed from all his wraps
and obligations: perhaps looks back, as Pharaoh

might, before he squirrels away into the bright
abyss, to see if he can catch what will become
of some of his innumerable quantum bits
and slips-of-tongue beyond the coalescence

which afforded them Pharaonic personality.
Today recalls the enigmatic Sphinx, not Shelley’s,
but the cartoon version with the jelly belly that
you dreamed last night – the frightful sight of which

awakened you – as terrified as you had been
of clowns when you were baby-round and didn’t
know why grownups put on lurid makeup. Today
recalls the shake-up of an absolute aloneness.

Consciousness, that funny thing! – so full
of goofy paradox – Pharaonic parapraxis!
Before it slips into the mortal and amoral coil
of blank forgetfulness, one hopes it finally relaxes.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cameo Role

Watch her:
every now and then
she’ll let her thin
penumbrally encumbered self

begin to flicker in her dimness
for an instant:
somewhere in the murky bowl
of her extravagances –

rare despairs – expensive guilts –
you’ll see a glint –
a dare –
of soul.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If You Can

Look him in the eyes
if you can.

whatever’s in the guise
of the man.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Blue Sky, March 1st

We’ve cracked the egg –
the secret’s out –
a sweet epiphany is fresh –

we “broke a leg” –
we banished doubt –
its deep penumbral sentient mesh

does not now beg
or root about
for ways for us to make it flesh.