Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You Think You Love Her?

Grim frigid outpost
of the broken tiles
and pitted steel
and concrete of the bald
inhuman efficacy of New York:

the structure – soulless –
of a subway platform –
predicating winter as
the antidote to sentiment –
New York as unfeeling creature,

barren rocky moon:
no room for, interest in
the loneliness of your affections.
New York is defection
from all softness, warmth today –

its cold and brutal business
soon comes clear:
to spawn another year.
You think you love her?
Love her here.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Sex & Violins

Sound byte – epigram – punch-line – quip – tactics
to distract me from a necessary trip – each poem
that I've written in the past few days is full of nervous
party tricks: attempts to waylay me from listening

to one damned note that plays inside my head
relentlessly: bowed open G string – oh, the violin’s
audacity! – Pandora’s box to me: every time I touch it
something odd and terrifying wriggles up and out

of my unconscious sea: jolts of memory compete,
contrast – shame and ego – summon up my past.
No accounting for the reasons – though they're surely
legion: took it up when I was nine – still developing

a spine – stumbled on vibrato onanistically at puberty –
promulgating uses of my left hand surely not expected
by a music faculty: chiefly pretext for my terror at
the opening of doors to some unfathomable realm

to which I couldn't grasp that I had access: what
‘success’ means, I don't know – in or out of playing
fiddle. My bow would like to diddle – lengthen,
stiffen – me: my violin wants sex. Music is complex.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pencil People Meet D. H. Lawrence

My Pencil People asked me if the ghost
of David Herbert Lawrence might consider
joining them for pencil tea in their menagerie.

What could Mr. Lawrence do but happily agree? 
There was a sigh in his reply: "No one but they
in all these years have cared to contact me."

("Dared" is what my pencil people thought
they'd heard - an apter word that
had occurred as well to me.)


Careful, Buddy

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 I 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.)


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Yea, and Nay

Some critters
don’t wanna be ridden.
Other critters
gonna ride ‘em anyway.

Some believe we should be
damned and forbidden.
Others think we are
pretty okay.

Who should be given
our yea or nay?
I forget.
Think I knew, yesterday.


What You’ve Always Wanted You Have Found

Lightning flicks – a humming glimmer of midsummer –
dusk, as if dusk were a kind of musk, a scent, perfume –
more smelled than seen – the kind of trick the mind
plays when it conjures up from who-knows-what
an apparition of the dreamed-for – oh, the passionately
schemed-for!: sudden deluge of belief which surely,
psychically, you've rushed to pour as refuge and relief –

the momentary certainty that what you've always wanted
you have found. This is when the dusk becomes a sound –
a Mendelssohn slow movement from a string quartet:
rapturous and slightly odd – grace notes captured from
a minor god – brings senses just precisely to the juncture –
sweet intoxicating point – where they imagine they
have punctured through to something like a breathing,

jointed whole: a truth: a soul with corporeal muscle,
bone: companionable tone: voluptuous, ethereal – that
smell of dusk again: finally a habitable zone! Write
a book and fall in love, and in the framing of that miracle,
experience a joining of your disparate centralities –
below, above: dichotomies release and cease, and
you've the first sense in your life of an illumined peace.


Fast-forward through the decades: fumble with the lock
and key to your now long-familiar door: stumble into
your bright-lit imbroglio of glaring middle-day – too clear
to miss this boon of noon – blaring out an enterprise
you can't dismiss, this mission whose demands you've

taken up, this antidote to easy bliss: yes: hard to strain
from all this blinding light alternatives to that soft
long-gone musk-besotted night: there are no books to write,
no love that you could possibly requite: a different order
in your living heart obtains. Losses, and peculiar gains.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Ass I Want to Ride

Thing to know is, we’re not nouns, we’re verbs.
Nouns pretend. True, the word verb is a noun.
Well, words pretend. But don’t let’s let that get us
down. Cut some slack: language must reside
in the provisional. That’s not the ass I want to ride.

Here’s the ass I want to ride: a theory that can’t
abide the idea that what happens when a Big Bang
bangs has anything to do with Being or Existence.
What the Big Bang’s banging is reaction; better
put, reacting; better put, reacts-reacts-reacts.

Our Big Bang banged because some rank faux pas
occurred to spur what otherwise would have been
undisturbed perfection: needing no thing, no word,
noun or verb: the kind we’ve conjured up because
we bought appearances’ P.R. We think there’s stuff.

There is no stuff. There is relates. There is reacts.
What relates, reacts to what? Question of a petty
mind. The ass I’m here to ride won’t stop for what.
Stick ‘what’ up the butt of teleology. What we are
is going going never gone. No thing is. Is is is.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Advice, Guru?

“Consciousness is staccato, not fluent. We perceive in tiny packets
of information. Our attention is easily perforated. But we need the
world to seem fluent and intact, otherwise it would be unbearable…”

Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind, p. 216


Familiar cliff: stay and twiddle
through the moss and weeds? –
or take a whiff, exhale and jump?
I'm a chump: my sentient mind

defeats me when (switch tropes)
I get into the ring – against the ropes –
unable to avoid the sting and
whomp of jabs and bludgeoning

of stimuli (try new conceit) for
which I have precisely as much
thirst as deserts have for rain
when they are driest; that’s to say

(in simile, surreally) I'm like
a hungry hummingbird who’s
just found tzimmes at a seder
whose sweet syrup he can sip –

makes nice with grandma –
plans to raid her pantry for the rest:
largesse and amplitude! –
what to sample, dude? Got my

invitation to the orgy! But I'm
already logy, stupid, ass-down
on the floor. Advice, guru?
(Change the metaphor.)


My Doggie

I like my doggie.
My doggie's name is Tim.
If I were a doggie I'd be just like him.


Phallic Symbol Search

Phallic symbol search.
One of those type people.
No interest in the church.
But sure does like the steeple.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Words in You

Focusing cannot be done by focusing: if, that is,
by focusing you mean you’re furrowing your brow
to burrow down to concentrate upon a single point,

think hard, then harder; block the disobeying flow.
Good luck with bringing that off, Joe.
But neither will it come by letting go.

Unless you’re letting go of focusing. There’s
the locus of the barrier: the way you say the things
you say, the words in you. Say what you want to do.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Pencil People

I’ve noticed that the larger part of Pencil
People I have done in black on white
appear remarkably at ease: as if they use
their monochromatic sketchy ambiguities
for fun – far more to tease than please.

I’m rarely sure what any Pencil Person’s
looking at, though I remain quite certain
that it sees. They’re each a strangely
shadowed sort of being – favoring rash
scratches, blotches, traces whose faux pas

they sometimes think are graces – but
they don’t care if any graces get effaced.
The sourceless white around their floaty
charcoal threads and tangles by default
may seem like daylight, but Pencil People

are in fact determined denizens of night –
perversely though, not the night we know:
theirs has the glow of being blank, which they
appear to thank for its suggestion of the roll
of dice that will eventually spell their fate:

to be erased. Infinite Nonbeing is where
they’ve placed Paradise. And in one
blunt regard they’ve outraced us by far.
It’s said that life is carbon-based –
but not as much as Pencil People are.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

They and You

Sometimes they get together
and they look out at the world
and believe they understand it.

They cultivate a sort of subtly
underhanded point-of-view
which makes them feel quite

confident that they have come
up with a far more existentially
sophisticated take on what

is “true” than you would ever
dare construe. You, however,
never seem to care, do you.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

When You Reflect on Anything

Slow serpents, eels and undulating whales prevail:
the treasures of a hungry movement through a moment
which in surfacing, descending, and resurfacing

put an infinity of lies to “journey”: everything is neither
here nor there, and there and here: dimensionally
everywhere, accounted for by various strange measures

whose m.o. we seem to be remanded to this incarnation
not to know: sentenced by authorities we sometimes get
a glimpse and hint of in late January early evening glow:

the prospect of more blurry flurries that will come and go,
and come again to sail and burrow into and beyond our
land-locked views – bemusing and inviting: “come on in,

the water’s fine!” – no matter if it’s solid miles-thick ice
or flows like rich dark wine, the kind through which a whale
voluptuously undulates her lovely lumbering behind.

The Universe is made of orgasms, my dear, front
and rear, and you’re a drop in its eternally ejaculating sea.
Remember that when you reflect on anything, including me.


Christianity’s Secret

The only takeaway I take from Christianity
is something so assiduously secreted, kept out
of sight, intently barred from any possibility of causing
what ecclesiastical authorities apparently had long ago
supposed would be the terrible traumatic repercussions

were the barest hint of it to be exposed, the slightest
trace of it observed, as if it were a lethal virus fated
to be cryogenically preserved; or evidence of life
on other planets, preternaturally iced. It’s simply this:
Everybody’s Christ.

Our mothers never told us since no angel ever came
to scare them silly with the news – that the infant
they awaited was a dilly. The only mothers (one
discovers) who intuitively knew were witches. Alas,
few witches are around, or can be found, and fewer still

have babies. But finally, I’ve had the breathless pleasure
of uniting with a treasure of a witch’s grown-up child
(the sex we had was wild!): and from this witch-begotten
being I now know that we and you and everybody else
are constitutively a part of an incomparable family.

We travel endlessly in search of any other witch’s child,
or someone who would like to be - to join us for the ride –
and in our indescribably wild fun. Perhaps you’re one.
Look into a mirror. Are you beautiful? Do you glow?
That’s how you know.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Operative Adverb

Tiredness is interesting. It seems to bring
your aptitudes into the purposeful
protection of inertia. There’s a blur

to the gestalt of this mild coming to a halt:
perhaps a run-through of the last act
when protection won’t have meaning

and the leaning tower of you won’t fall
so much as merely cease to be. “Merely”
is the operative adverb: a word to hold.

Merely a matter of form.
Once you were warm,
now you are cold.


Crème Céleste* & Arabella, the Jar Lid

Oh, Arabella! – I call you that, you know,
in homage to your lovely alabaster head –
such finely modeled rare translucent
pinkish tan and cream! – set above your

shoulders, elegantly wrapped in bronze,
delicately tooled – the sort of collar you’d
have worn as an adornment on a deep
blue dress on a perfect summer afternoon.

Oh! – know my heart is with you as you face
another hundred fifty years ahead as what
you’re fated to remain: the lid upon a blue
ceramic jar of an emolument called Crème

Céleste – featuring, though fortunately
at your back where you can’t make it out,
too blunt, too common an accounting
of white wax and spermaceti and the rest

of what cannot suggest the barest breath
of your bless’d gracefulness. It is enough
that you should have to bear the sore indignity
of acting as a jar lid on this hard blue jar –

and yet you pull it off as if it were a minor
inconvenience in your otherwise exquisite life –
which though you are a jar lid – hasn’t kept
you from imagining what on a round enameled

peacock blue container of emolument might
one day magically attract the gentleman
for whom you wait and whom you’re sure now
waits for you to make you his beloved wife.


* It was during [the 1850s] Crème Céleste became popular, which was a mixture of white wax, spermaceti (from an organ inside sperm whale’s head), sweet almond oil, and rosewater. This facial paste had moisturising properties, but it also hid blemishes and provided a light smooth complexion. It developed into a common emollient and cosmetic remover, soon known as cold cream.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stranger Than She Seems

Whatever a classic beauty was, he’d have to say
she wasn’t. Whatever a well-bred lady does
he’s very sure she doesn’t: wouldn’t, couldn’t.

She’s a scheme he summons now and then –
though often enough: every seventh dream or so.
She isn’t there to soften or be softened into

acquiescent pet – she’s there to test his mettle –
see what stuff he’s made of now. He’s told
his therapist about her – what the fix feels like

she puts him in – sharp mix of fear and lust –
a tug-of-war between their eyes, his fragile trust –
the prize of cheeks he wants to touch, lips to kiss,

tricks she plays. He weighs the silences his therapist
can be relied upon to wield: sure he sees
the dreamer’s psychic field of blood-red poppies

that the dreamer won’t confess he wants to pick,
but picks. The therapist has worked it out.
No psychoanalytic doubt about this dominatrix.

Perhaps. But not quite whom this dreamer dreams.
She’s stranger than she seems. If they were on
opposing baseball teams (as he occasionally dreams),

he the pitcher, she at bat: she’d bunt – to tease him,
see how much he wanted it, how clumsily he’d run
to it – to watch his awkward fall as he again

missed catching it. She’ll not deride, she will
affectionately laugh: invade him like a patch
of pleasurable rash. Oh, how he loves scratching it!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Including You

We needn't worry about aliens.
Nor ought we to resort
to sesquipedalian loquations

on equivocations we can spin
to prop up explanations
for the wisdom of relying on

the reflex to defend against
whom we regard as "those":
ergo by "nature" should oppose.

There's no plot to be exposed.
No malicious means or ends.
Aliens are literally made to be

our friends. We think we know
them not, but that’s a crock of rot.
Equivalently formed of gluons,

quarks and leptons, and the rest
of constitutive quantum stuff,
we and they systemically equate:

enough to state with certainty
that aliens are constitutionally
us. More than theoretically,

I know this to be true.
Think my tale absurdly tall,
but I can say as of today

(I’ve got my ways) I've met
them all. Including you.
You're one, too.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Soft Entanglement

Somehow proceeding
malleably out of sight
of that tight brittle little

cage of fear which had
preceded and impeded it,
a soft entanglement

emerges easily now into
comfort. Stark form gives
way to something warmer,

darker, undulating into,
under and around itself:
a former ‘you’ slips

incrementally from its
containments to succumb
to the conditions of what

has become a latter ‘you,’
the folderol and subtle
business of existence

that you are. Its gentle
charms enrapture –
enwrap you in its arms.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Anywhere to Go

We don’t know why it didn’t wander off.
It hadn’t softened toward us since it had arrived –
whence we never knew – but harbored itself coolly,

glancing here or there at this or that or him or her,
occasionally where we were. We clearly hadn’t
caused the smallest stir. Then various components

on its surface of what we assumed was skin began
to glow. This turned out to mean that it would
speak to us, though very low.

“Is there anywhere to go?” We heard it
almost as if we had heard it in our heads, sleeping
in our beds. So deeply that it made us really wonder

if there were another place to go. We found ourselves
replying to it, “we don’t know.” And then we went
somewhere within we hadn’t been, which made us

slide down every slippery degree of yes into 
the singularity of no. We were aghast we had
to add, “but we don’t think so.”


Friday, January 13, 2017

Miracle Man

for Doug Melton

Miracles are tangible – they sprout
impossibility without a single doubt –
or the importunate desire to proclaim
or boast or flout what they’re about.

I know this now because my laptop,
which had crashed, has been restored
by the miraculous abilities amassed
by my computer guy who on the sly

I’m sure keeps planets turning in the sky –
that is, when he is not, through his
remote manipulations, altering the DNA
of apparatuses like mine, bringing them

to such unparalleled capacities for
fine performance laptops surely never
in their circuitry imagined could be had.
The very mention of his name –

Douglas Melton – melts the glowing
dawn of an enlightenment in the forlorn,
unclad, unknowing dark in me. What
else can I be but insubordinately glad?


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Not Even You

Aerodynamically ill-advised
aberration in the skies
(by other better sorts despised),

awkwardness all undisguised,
poignant yearning in his eyes,
somehow flies.

Does life abound?
Has evidence been found?
Are we the only blip of it around?
The former has a hopeful sound.

But do not misconstrue
the “blip” side to be too
statistically unlikely to be true.
Nobody knows. Not even you.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Less Dove than Doubt

Pursue her heart?
You lack the art. Can’t play the part.
Under her oppressively alluring spell,
you handle very little well.

Love? Less fluttering dove
than shuddering doubt. A candle
burning yearning out, a pallid sputter.
Love makes you stutter.