Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Genesis Fruit

Gently palm and press
the warm unblemished
pebbled orange surface:
close your eyes and feel it
yield the fresh-picked
evidence of field and sun

and rosy purpose, tropic
soft abundance: generate
the scent of citric night –
pent-up peel that aches
to burst – wants to sluice
an unimpeded juice

and slake a thirst: feel it
tight within its bright alluring
skin: squint at its fine sweet
confining curving line in
silhouette – the hemispheric
hint of a horizon: cover

its gold globe with both
your hands and the surprise
of your affection: stand
with it against your cheek:
hold it like God held
the world in its first week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Biology of the Soul

Subway rushes through a tunnel – banging –
swinging – gleaming – hot – like blood cells
streaming through an artery – the start of me
careens into the endless muddle of a middle –
tastes like metal – copper – iron: sanguine –
sharp – a horse’s bit – I bite down hard on it –
and race – keep up the pace – conjoin

corpuscularly, muscularly with whatever other
cellularly het-up creatures whomp against
and through this place – completely lacking
grace – until the track becomes the train –
and gains – speeds somewhere round a bend –
and honey, it’s the end. I would tell you more
about my friend and our re-membered hearts

and all the arts and odd abandonments
and blandishments of our remarkably resilient
love but all of it too urgently proceeds toward,
below, above the light which funnels, spirals,
draws – sucks us closer into something’s jaws.
Soul biology concerns the certainty of dying –
but if I told you that I liked it, I'd be lying.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Spot I've Got

I've begun to want to come to London
once again: the threads of my fleet history
entangle sometimes into shapes resembling
a beckoning – the rising ghost of an appurtenance,
for instance, like the spatula I used when
I was twenty in the basement kitchen of
the brick Victorian apartment house I lived in
as a student, thirty-six agglomerated years ago:
the interest that I took in English bacon –

curling, frizzling, pink and thick: the quickened
pulse of relishing the prospect of another day
in which I might survey the oddly charged
romance of being me away from everything:
the scent of diesel fuel in late October late-night
streets: the severed sense of weaseling to find
new ways to sing quite out of reach of what
I used to think was home – the cream of teas
and painted window moldings: I would like, I think,

to drink again that dream of roaming wide of one’s
parameters: to build the glow of a mysterious
and private sweet theocracy – geography
run by the secret godlet-rivulets of soul in me –
to see if that’s where I might find an echo of my first
most shimmering discovery – that one could
find a place and play a part that answered what
was aching in a heart. I've begun to want to
come to London once again – but, maybe not.

I like the spot I've got.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Circuit Party

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies…”

Emily Dickinson

Success in circuit lies
but when the circuit pries
the lid off every expectation –
leaves you coughing in the stirred-up
rust and dust – well, let me fail

for moments to decide to
carry on: let me sway
insensibly into a midnight –
fight the inclination to stay up –
pretend that sleep’s a practice-run

for shutting down for good – and, knock
on wood, conjure up a tolerable nothingness
to which, on cue, I might descend, and from which
I might then emerge, when I've more stamina
for all this waking verging into life –

whose chaos is a good deal
less apparently adventure,
sometimes, than a rife
suspension of all
reasonable rules. The only antidote I can imagine

to this foolishness is death – but let me know, from time to time,
a simulacrum of it that permits some future breath.
Let this circuit party have a cake
that I can have and eat:
surely that’s the grand, withheld eternal treat.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Nothing is empty. Space preempts assumption –
has it over you before you've blinked: not only
in that winking quantum world you have to take
on faith – but in this yielding wraith of palpable
materiality – within which Now (no less miraculous)

persists: the whole in all its infinite absorbing
parts – capable of moving, chilling, lulling hearts:
be warned. Every place in you brims fuller than
the dawn – more volatile – and yet more purpose-
built to serve. Get what you deserve. Demand:

receive. Just do your part to heave it into being.
Help it do the seeing – co-create to gratify, repel,
absorb, rebel, release, disarm: accept its friendless
calm dispassionate solicitude, aplomb. Surf its web
of ebon charms. Sound ineffable alarms. Log on.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Swallow the Shadow

I think I know the thing a poem brings:
an imposition of suggestion – with the form
and strength and lightness of a web –
upon the most intransigent mysterious
amorphous fol-de-rilly-dings that flow
and ebb inside a head and life. Today

I found out that a very precious man
to me must have an angiogram to see how
dangerous his heart may be. Delineating
ligaments of unexpected strife, examining
its tender flesh, is what this poem probably
should now address – but really what I want

from it is this: to lend a little bliss of rhyme
to soothe while cardiologists attend to finding
out what’s happening inside my friend:
what stands fast, and what must bend. Let
this poem help his heart extend and mend
and know: swallow the shadow, grow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Or Maybe Not

Rainy day: New York autumn brand of gray:
I pass a downtown restaurant wherein
I've just recalled he once had waited tables –

all his servile politesse and graces beautifully
displayed – one had to factor into everything
his talent as an actor. Despite the damp it is

as if an oil lamp has overturned and lit my desert
kindling heart. California fires leap and dart
across the continent – perverse reflex: remembered

sex – eruptive dry desires are its invitation:
another fickle conflagration blasts – tickled and
provoked, it lasts. One wonders why the psyche

stokes these flames. Perhaps it’s hunger for
a burning point of meaning, leaning though
it does above a hell: shelled exactitudes of

shame and blame. I had a little cold this week:
a friend suggests I might be virally depressed.
I'd like, I think, to give this searing show a rest.

Or maybe not. It might just hit the spot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If I Am to Love New York

If I am to love New York, then I shall love
these days-in-wait of jury duty: love each
tantalizing bit of its unfolding evidence:
that balding lean man's casually dangling
rocking foot, blue jeans, brown cowboy boot,
leg crossing, knee on knee – the hangdog
breasts in black-lace cleavage on the bright
blonde sixty-year-old lady to my left –

the angularly frowning pimpled nineteen-
year-old boy whose sinister black tee-shirt
advertises MEGADETH – the restive tailored
forty-something businesswoman who re-checks
her I-Phone every sixty-seven seconds –
and the lank-haired, deeply silent sweat-shirt-
hooded brooding man who makes a show
of reading Edgar Allan Poe (“Collected Poems”),

but looks as though he'd stopped attempting
to make sense of it too long ago to count:
these specificities amass to an amount –
multiplied by dozens more – incrementally
convincing me that we are cousins – all by right
of being part of an incontrovertible design: we
find our idiosyncratic ambiguities within the sieve
and grind and grid of this Manhattan Island:

blessed herd of sheep! I shall sleep and dream
about us all, tonight, and let the Cowboy
kiss the Cleavage Lady’s cleavage, let
the Businesswoman get her worries off her chest
to that remarkably insightful thrash-and-metal
Kid, and in the middle of our gala’s glow,
allow my sweat-shirt-hooded Brooder to shout
frightful drunken rounds of Edgar Allan Poe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Such purposeful direction of attention
in the service of a civic scheme! –

teaming up against unruly higher primates –
(monkeys should behave!) – gravely

painted with solemnity in cool judiciary hues –
with nods, on walls, broadcast in brass,

to “God” – who, caged inside this purpose-
built facade, accrues appropriately

into carefully dispensed, contextually filling
and persuasive tasteless legal gruel –

graceless but sufficient for the day or two
or three we have to greet it. (For a while,

we'll eat it.) Dissociative – manufactured
moral mist!: jury duty has a lurid beauty.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Squat and Rot

If Reality is what we wrangle into being
out of philosophical necessity –
we think we have to know what’s what –
well, squat and rot and I don't like it.

That is to say – although it is
a preternaturally sweet October day,
whose bright soft clarity appears to serve
as balm to all abrupt disparity

and angular distress – which seemed to
have arrived last night at my behest –
that is, until the sun came out, redressed
the balance, gave it rest – well,

maybe nothing happened after all,
I made the whole thing up and every tale
that I tell myself about my inner life
and what goes on out here is –

by inviolable definition – tall.
A little bit like Volleyball.
You plot your spot, and then you spike it:
well, squat and rot and I don't like it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

All the Pink and Blinking Trinkets of Eternity

Today I shall believe in the survival
of the human personality beyond
its corporeal cage – highly organized
hallucinations though the content of
the raging constellation of imagination,

cognitive capacities, mammalian
instincts and esthetic predilections
of a person’s mind may be, they
constitute an idiosyncratic sea that
surely must retain beyond the dying

brain some quantum warmth
and constancy: King Charles the Sixth
of France, Jack Kerouac, and
Maxine Andrews – not to mention
Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado of Japan –

are said to have expired today,
October twenty-first – 1422 to 1995:
somewhere, I now contrive to think –
in sync with all the other pink and
blinking trinkets of Eternity – they wink.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Almost Got Away With It

Something tried to steal the city –
almost got away with it;
I was there – it wasn't pretty –
fought the thing and stayed with it

until it bloodily succumbed –
and in a headlock promised –
while its abandoned phantoms bummed
around for handouts – on this

chilling dark October dawn – to
get the hell out of the heart
of my metropolis – screw
up some other lesser part

of somewhere else – as far away
as hell or heaven might be:
not to dare to darken one day
more of my hard-won sight. We

faced off again: it tried to swear –
but I drew up the morning
to the sun: abruptly dared to bare
a coral-colored awning

over it and everything. All
ceased and an eternity
resumed as if it never stalled,
began or ended: city

slowly ripened into rhyme and
notions chimed to unity.
The thing that tried to steal my land
left me with impunity.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Anarchic Electricians

You start to sway a little – all your piddling
volitional amenities do not obtain: there is
distinctly a dissociation in the brain between
what you can feel and what you dimly ascertain
to everybody else is real: hormonal counter-
charms assault the workings of your legs

and arms: tripping, stumbling, every fumbling
member of you misbehaves – nothing waives
the likelihood of shutting down: the Universe,
perversely now in league with your fatigue,
abutting your prefrontal cortex, soon confounds
into a Vortex: fascist lactic acids dance beneath

your dazed synapses and your choices soon
revert to two: follow every sleep-inducing dictate
of the despot which your cellular material has
just construed, or that’s the end of you. Anarchic
electricians got you all rewired. (Damn, you
spout a lot of language when you’re tired.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bird Painter

I didn't use to like the ones with birds in them –
she'd paint alluring skies and water – minerally
brimming glints – then seem to feel she had
to punctuate their ambiguity with some expected

order – carefully assorted gulls: culled illustrations
out of greeting cards – obligatory birdies dotting
gleaming shards of sky and sea to add cliché
to the topography: some expected notion of what

ought to be above, beyond, around an ocean:
turned the beach from vague-and-haunting-lone
to Jones. But I was an elitist prig. Now I look at
each meticulously painted sprig of wing and breast

and tail and beak: and almost hear my mother
speak: each fine careful flying thing belies her
death: bears witness to what’s left – lifts the gulls
and deftly keeps them up: her artist's breath.

(wrote the original of this about two years ago. substantially rewrote it today.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Life Talks to Death for a While

I'd do whatever I must do
to be with you:
eschew conventions and stay true
to the milieu

you tell me to: that is, unless,
of course, the mess
becomes ungovernable: bless
your sweet caress? –

oh, darling – yes! – but if the light
goes out, and spite
prevails, my sweet one, you'll lose sight
of me. No might

is great enough to make me fit
if to submit
abysmally’s all you'd permit –
that’s when I'd quit.

Fickle baby!
saying maybe
while you swear

you won't. As if
you had a choice.
You see the cliff –
and hear the voice –

it echoes: goes
where you would like
to go: that rose
you smell? – that spike

of scent that draws?
Just try to stay
away. The laws
decree: you'll sway

to me.

If only you'd talk sensibly!

I do, my little honey bee.

Oh God.

No God.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Recipe For You

Try to pick apart these pebbles –
are they memory, or thought?
When you really look into the pictures
the organic mechanisms in your mind
have wrought – they scatter as if nova-
struck into a spray of planet shards:
discarding even most of sex: random

pectorals and nipples, shoulders
and biceps – a grab, a feel of skin,
a swatch of a beginning or a middle
or an end: ticklish encounter! – cannot
mount or scan the whole – it’s like
a throw of feathers in a bowl: suggests
a dying bird, perhaps – or bunches

of forgotten petals – or the evidence
that something very strange occurred –
collected meteoric lint – or dandruff
from a herd of frogs – or bits of sonic
matter which precipitate from packs
of howling hogs: sparks of specificity
among innumerable fogs: but not

one single linear event. Sketches for
rococo finials – ormolu and fleur-de-lis –
flicks of finger, pen and flea: bowls
of feathers, far too tender and remote
to quote as fact. Concatenated rhymes
go forth and back and fro and to:
and constitute the recipe for you.


If I were to tell you
what you'd have to do to
commute your life sentence to bliss,
it would more or less add up to this. Give it a kiss.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Paying Attention

Oh, the fat in this cream! –
such densely caloric euphoric
intensity – plopping off spoons:

no relief! Some cow jumped
over your moons – and arrived:
sat, intact, an immutable fact,

with a moo, in your lap. You are
up to your udders in beef
and in butter: no way you won't

weigh half a ton. Yet your mouth’s
gaping wide: you’re not done.
Paying attention is fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

While the Globe is Warming

You stop to say what you can.
Though you sometimes feel
half like a man – one-quarter a sieve –
and the rest a conglomerate

mix of whatever takes in or can give
the proportionate fix of perspective
that tells you what ought to erect
and what ought to stay down –

and otherwise helps to direct you –
remember the streets in your town –
and enough of your lusts and your loves
to keep poking around for relief.

This thing you call consciousness?
Prey to a merciless thief: or maybe your
mind is the varmint and everything
else is the innocent victim: poor

you or poor them – whoever’s at fault
is condemned: but so is the rest
of who isn’t. (Oh, savior be gone – or
be risen!) But everything’s fine

nonetheless. You manage to sleep
and get up and get dressed. You
shop and you pray and you plan.
You stop to say what you can.

for work previous to this blog, see (& follow whatever links in it you'd like):

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Feather Bowl

I could spend the whole day plucking tiny quills
from my brown pillows: sensing sharp small needle
pricks to pull them out of the velour: pop! – a feather,
and another, and another, sometimes white, sometimes
a varied speckled tan and brown: one wonders at
the appellation “down” – they're flicking up and asking
for release, and I can think of no completer feast of touch

than to array my palms across this field of plush
in search of them: although they don't oblige, it seems
to me, if I have indicated an excessive greed: perhaps,
sometimes, I scare them with my need, my zeal – my
roving hands in search of something more to pick and peel
from an oblivion: why does it satisfy me so? I've always
liked stuffed things: like wonton, ravioli, or a petit four:

latent in a skin: the notion of within! – inside the hide
resides the jagged interest: complication, crunch, a twist –
resistance to the blandness of an unmarked cover:
fluff-and-dart of feather: complex denizens of art –
extracting them with an exacting patience: all implicitly
an act of homage to my father: oh, the bother he would
go to! – cleaning pipes with pipe cleaners: fluff-and-dart

of wire, briar, bits of cotton stuff. I've saved the feathers
I have stolen from my cushions and remanded them
to the ceramic bowl my father used to stash his ash
and smoking apparatus: puffy symbols in the hard-
baked clay: a stuffing and container which do justice
to the way my father sought his pleasures, and the way
I seek my own: forage for secrets, make them known.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Corset Sonnet

Anxiety prefers a corset – clad
sufficiently in stays and braces, wins
a minor triumph over going mad –
binds up the worst of its more rabid sins –

at least for some few moments holds its breath –
white-knuckles through the tunnel of its fears –
and through some aperture sinks to the depth
required by imprisoned hearts: appears,

perhaps, quite cool, adroit and unconcerned,
as if what he did didn't mean a thing –
while underneath, strapped, tightly tied up, burned,
its ache for him chokes on the rage to bring

some closure to itself. What would relieve?
Pray for his love? Accept its absence? Grieve?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Irritability Index

(this is a rewrite of the last poem posted in my last depot - which stopped allowing me to edit before I could effect a replacement. Ah, cyberspace!)

Are spirits for swilling? – or willing
an outcome? – for fostering kneeling,
and reeling on knees? Would they
freeze us at oxygen-lessening heights? –
are they toxic? – depressing? –

unspeakable frights? Is their mission
to shock or to please? Do spirits rely
on our deep measured breaths? – or
avail with steep pleasure – or clean up
our messes with depths of transcendent

intensity? Would they rather that we
be more sexual, or intellectual? Vexing
and flighty, these sprites! – set on
bagging a me or a you through some
agony, ecstasy – or an abstrusely erect

resurrection: is God in the pew? –
or in screwing until we are blue? Which
one of us seems to be sneaking or
strolling or barging or dropping or floating
or gamboling into the True? I've only

this index assessing the moment: it’s not
of my virtues or failings or boredoms,
esthetics or brains – but irritability’s
losses and gains. I know if I'm het up or not.
That’s as much as I’ve got of the plot.