Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Less Transport than Friend


The magnanimous animate carriage 
has carried him
down the long road to its end.
By now it's less transport than friend.


Oddly Alive

Dreamed I couldn’t get out, couldn't utter
a word. Reduced to a sputtering stutter.

Everything blocked: no way to get past.
My mother dreamed something like this as she crept toward her last.

She was sitting alone on a bench at a bus-stop and couldn't get up.
No longer half-full or half-empty: no cup.

No bus would arrive.
Emblem of how at the end she felt oddly alive.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Maybe We Would Rather

Breathing object enters,
Subject holds the gate.

Galatea is Pygmalion:
chance equates with fate.

Maybe we would rather meet
our maker than our mate.


Oh, Sigmundy Sigmund!

       clockwise left to right: Freud und Hans; Superego, Id, Ego de Guy

Oh, Sigmundy Sigmund! Oh you!
Insisting it's true, as you do,
we have enemies that
we can't ever get at
to bestow a hello, or eschew!

Don't your id, superego and ego
beget all of the prisons where we go? --
treat us like we were prey,
till that sweet longed-for day
when we finally give them the heave-ho?

And what does that leave us with then?
When we stop getting stuck in back when?
Each sense reappears --
like my new set of ears! --
with a harrowing force, and a yen

to uncover what we never knew
generated our real lives, and threw
us entirely out
of the least little doubt
there was nothing the matter with you.


Münster Brothers

Keep your eyes peeled
for the Münster Brothers –
They don’t get there
like the others.

They ride by
in a whizz.
We don’t know what
the thing they ride on is.

Too fast for irises
and corneas to tell.
Like a bullet shot
from hell.

But they arrive
We’d be plussed
if it were us.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lingual Liberation

Is there no escape?
Oh, there's plenty when we’re twenty minutes old.
Escape is our gestalt, the only game –
more freely full of more than can be told
than when we learn things have a name.
Then what used to gape

into the guileless light shuts tight.
The strict intractability of settled form
debars all flippancy or easy possibility
of freeing fantasy: it cools whatever’s warm.
We lose our bright irascibility
when labels lasso sight.

That has to end up being when,
as soon as sensual perception
gains a shape, becomes syllabically defined,
succumbs to context and syntactical subjection,
an essence drains out of the mind.
There's no escaping then.

But beauty breeds as well in aberration –
indeed may seek the confines of a word.
That you can see a thing take wing
and later learn to label it a bird
may prod a mellifluity of lyric you might sing –
who knows? – to bring alluring lingual liberation.


How Do You Hold an Alien?

How do you hold an alien?
Is there some cosmic receptivity
to which you can extend yourself –
to open you to find and learn to mine
a universal lexicon of touch? Do you try
to bring it hopefulness too little or too much?
Is its disgruntlement a sign that it is ready
to align? Does squirming mean it’s fine?

When you caress it to express affection, 
does that register as threat, annoyance,
stress, egregious lack of politesse?
Does it retract from you to its resistant
pose because it loathes your smell? Is it hell
to feel the humid texture of your skin? Does
your sotto voce breath subject it to an awful
din? Are you a blessing or a curse? To what
is it attracted and to what is it averse?

Questions only make it worse.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Whatever Motives Are

To subject my often
unavailing creatures
to Kaleidogrammicization
tends to render features

which, when replicated
past the brink
of the imaginable, start
to make the viewer think

that something stranger
than perversity
obtains. Have they a mission? 
if not to quash adversity

than to promote the psyche’s 
cause? – to help to look inside
la condition humaine,
therein to ride

revealing unexampled
avenues of feeling
from which, far from seldom,
we’re left reeling

with a needling sense
some have supposed
is their covert intent: to leave
our troubled souls exposed?

Though seemingly ingenuously,
one of course will charm, and be
an unexpected avatar
of calm, disarming harmony.

It's hard 
to tell for sure.
Whatever motives are,
they’re rarely pure.


The Chair

When one day turned to three months turned to what,
with just enough assurance, he could think of as “the past” –
that is, since he’d last seen his dad – he decided
he could dare now to go back and see the chair; return
to where it still resided in his father’s study: the chair in which

his dad had sat so long and often over decades that
its sturdy curves of oak seemed to have learned to wear him
like a stalwart skeleton might hold up and sustain a lumpen
mass of fat – the chair in which when he walked in
to undergo another cold interrogation, now, that afternoon,

displayed a large old man slumped over, dead. He wanted
to do one thing with and in it: sit, not as his obese dad had
had to do, pillowed into, plumping out of openings, straight back,
so that the only view was straight-ahead. No, the son knew
it was time to see if what his cherished bard Miss Dickinson

had written possibly could be: was there an angle he could find
to see, to say what is, to know? The chair was where
he had the chance all but to prove it. He turned the key:
his father’s house now open to the air, he walked into the study
to the chair and sat, and slipped his limbs obliquely in.

He felt a breath, the faint sense bloom that life – his father’s life –
at last unlocked a little. The room revealed itself as open circle,
not a box. And what he saw he almost could express: the light.
Miss Dickinson (the little fox!) was right. Success? Oh yes!
Here was the proof of her he’d hoped the chair would grant.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Perhaps in Search of You

If the world were always sexual –
and let’s decide it is today –
then it must be much like
the raven-haired improbably fleet
lean young dancer whom I saw this
morning on the subway – keen black

irises and alabaster skin and ebon
eyebrows like two painted wings –
Egyptian iconography made blood-
warm flesh: the world would dip as
freshly, deeply, gracefully as the plié
with which he entertained his rush-hour

audience astride a silver pole
obligingly provided by the MTA:
it would play the role he played
as he engaged my eyes as we got off
our ride at Twenty-Third Street –
and I told him how delightfully I thought

he’d danced for us – and he asked
in accents of some middle-eastern
country I could not decipher
what I did – and I forbade myself
to answer that my occupation was
to linger full to brimming everywhere

to find such finds as him – so I just
smiled as he stood waiting for a cue –
which I denied him: ah, New York!
I knew of course I had to minister instead
to you. Meanwhile I sighed to watch him
glide away – perhaps in search of you.


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Bible They Wrote that No One Has Read

Long after the Serpent had transmogrified
into something that looked like a man – but not
yet what he would conceive on his ride to
the Devil we know would be damned – he was
yellowish, brown-haired, and bore piercing eyes,
and otherwise seemed far less evil than wise. 

Long after Adam lost interest in Eve, by the time
she’d become a thrice-over grandmother,
he wandered off daily to murmur the yearnings
he’d long since accepted would never be heard.
While Adam pined after one thing or another,
Eve found her companionship elsewhere.

The damned simulacrum of man-not-yet-devil
had caused Eve to dream and believe again.
It’s not that they talked; no, they walked and they
paused and they walked and they paused,
and between them arrived at the conscious
awareness that each was the other’s deliverance.

It was love mixed with reverence: quite like
the solemn gestalt of a Protestant church which
of course wouldn’t lurch into being for eons.
Eve called him Leon; he took her in hand
and she took him to bed and the rest you can find
in the Bible they wrote but that no one has read.


The Trick

What is the provenance of you?
Were you ladled steaming out of hydro-carbon stew into a cradle?
Or did you pop into all this from the abyss – with the hiss

that frozen words-made-flesh, fresh from frigid nothingness,
must make when they encounter air?
And who are those two, looking at us with reluctance?

Is she the other’s mother? What meanings ought we to inductively
construe about their purple-orange hair – what do the changeful
hues of what they wear suggest about why we are here

and they are there? What is their news? What is news?
What is elemental? Points-of-view we take as sentimental
often are the ones we like the best.

They stir us into place: let us rest in their embrace.
Mommy loves her daughter or her son;
her daughter or her son loves her.

Unless it isn’t mommy but a metallurgic engineer, costumed
like Jane Eyre, to whom her wild suspicious lover, shorter
than a child, menacingly clings, waiting for us to advance.

Unless they’re what they least inarguably are – like us,
the chance detritus from a shattered star. But let’s not carp
or wail. Let’s opt for points-of-view that tell a gladsome tale.

There! That was satisfying,
wasn’t it? Doesn’t that regale?
It doesn’t, does it.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Some Sunday Mornings

Some Sunday mornings find you waking
undermined – as if Existence were a thief, taking
from you every last belief. Suddenly you know:
all that you’d relied on for relief just isn’t so.

Surely this impurity would pass,
reflexively, like gas,
or vertigo.
But no.

The best that you can make of anything
can’t bring
more than the supposition
that another wave of superstition

would wash over you just like the last one did: repair
another of your raveled sleeves of care
and once again deliver you into an indefatigably new
persuasive view of The Self-Evidently True –

a swift eleventh hour save
from this abyss, this gaping grave
of a calamity, this precipice –
into another reassuring prejudice –

to tell you all is well
and you are not in hell

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Schooled to be Promiscuous

As I half-wake into the confines of my bed, forsaking
sleep to meet the mandate of the dawn - ritually
microwaving coffee I made yesterday - obediently
padding to the toilet to release the pee backed up
in me since sometime just before the hour of three -

within a gathering complexity of other organized
attempts to stay and stem what I am evidently sure
would otherwise be psychic mayhem - some spirit
like Rapunzel sits inside a little room atop the buttressed
thick-brick locked-up tower of my head, and waits.

She knows for all the gates and barriers I put around her
she will get her kiss. Some rogue she's never met will
find an opening that I have missed through which
she can let drop the golden braid of her deliverance.
Schooled to be promiscuous, she's gotten used to this.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Another Theory

Comic verse, mildly cursed – armed with the grace
and alarm of quantum space but – lacking backing: lived
by reflex – impulse – born in anxious memory – raveling
woolly thought, mesh of fuzz, timorous cranial buzz:

countering doubt with lust – to eat, perchance (at last!)
to beat insomnia – or fuck – or otherwise go after luckless
dancing bank clerks in the dark – sharks in the deep:
to whom do we owe what? Seeping radioactive bits,

or floating about like senseless twits, entirely sure they’ll
last, some heedless souls appear to know what’s going on
behind the show put on between the future and the past –
and somehow grasp from that what we ought all pursue.

You long ago stopped wondering if they do.


Nirvana & the Void

Nirvana doesn't keep you
from the void.
It puts you in it,



You never speak of it when you're
this sleek. You barely notice
when they sneak a peek at you.
(Which oh! they never do not do.)


Sometimes You Write with Showy Eloquence

Sometimes you write with showy eloquence – or with what
you imagine might be that – as much a fantasy as thinking
you know Latin very well, thank you; or poignantly believing
you’re an upper-middle-class brash Dubliner
who went to Magdalen to become the prima facie literary
heir to Oscar Wilde – another sublimated wild desire,

which you make certain to keep out of view of anyone
who’d know the difference. Hoping for a canny guise
or some syntactical deliverance you use the second person
pronoun you a lot, don’t you. The damnedest, direst, maybe
most profoundly tragic tiredness of all is that, so far,
you’ve not inscribed a single sentence even you

could possibly describe as eloquent. The truth is that
the only element of eloquence you’ve known resides inside
a world you own: the world you give the word itself:
pronouncing it invokes the elegant pit-patter of belles lettres
falling on the soul comme la pluie d’automne de Paris:
self-evidently elegant. By eloquent, that’s what you meant.


Monday, February 13, 2017

The Thing to Understand About Andy

Here's the thing.
Andy understands
the spirit and the letter
of everything better 
than you do.

Prove me wrong! Come at me in a huff –
tell me that he doesn’t understand enough.
Tell me why you think so. I won’t think so.
Reduce him at your peril. He can be querulously
pissed when he sees prejudice cram anyone 

or anything into a booth: bias hisses, chokes.
He grasps the furthest truths. He knows the cosmos 
plays the lightest jokes, occasions the vast blessedness 
of excess. “Success is counted sweetest/ By those 
who ne’er succeed” says Emily. Indeed, but Andy knows 

what a success could never be: mean-spirited small-
mindedness. Watch him dilate when he sees a dog:
each will run up to the other – long-lost brothers 
in a breaking fog: love in a nanosecond.
His eyes are always on the prize and always win it.

Sometimes the prize is you! You’ve never felt
so seen before. You only ever want some more.
But he is Mercury and Ariel and Wonder Woman, 
far too sensitively fleet to stay for longer
than a song. He sees too much to bear for long.

You love him but you know you’re wrong
if you imagine what you feel is anywhere as large
as what he was, will be and is. They say a man
is what he does: but Andy’s buzz and fizz befuddle
you out of the least assumption of that sort.

How to talk about the light he courts, inhabits,
shows, bestows? I tell him: there! It glows!
He glistens while he listens. But why would
somebody with light like his have need to think
of it or even care? I, however, blink at it and dare

to say: wherever Andy finds a way – above,
below the flowing canopy of consciousness –
he’s dancing through the panoply of more than
you can see. Andy knows Soul, Soul knows
him, Soul knows you. All of this is true.

A Little Rude

Roast pig turning on a spit –
there is, of course, no hope 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.


(I drew the pig & wrote the poem in June 2009; came upon both just now and oh, how they cried and oinked to be put into the limelight again! What could I do but succumb?)