Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tiny Necessary Things

You want to sense the widest buoyancy
and see more than the tiny necessary certainties
that tell you where and how to move from there to here
and now to now: look out from the cosmic rear:

investigate the inexplicable, the queer: experience
the glow of what encompasses: and more,
express what your inimitable angle of the prism
makes of it: what takes from it and gives? –

what sieves impressions into art?:
you’d like a royal inroad to the inmost heart.
How many rhymes like these have you already
squeezed?: innumerable verses link the heart to art:

and where with there: and even gives to sieves:
conjures nothing new. Or have you just as much
occasion to re-rhyme as stars and moons
permit themselves to rise according to expected times?:

perhaps these tiny necessary certainties are all
that anyone can ever get: esthetically repetitive but live.
Oh, but to arrive some place beyond this space!:
to bet on something big: to rig and stage

some grand outrageous wager that would stand
to make you infinitely sager than the asininely assonant
enraged encaging poet you appear to be.
You’re more ambitious than your friends suppose.

You want to ram your rhymes up through
the Grand Designer’s nose. Some must find
your aspirations aberrant and odd: you want to cozy up,
make love to God. That might be your coda!

But: tiny necessary things! – a yellow post-it
you’d forgotten in the kitchen intervenes: “Baking soda.”
Refrigerator has an odor. Poem does as well. (Bad
or good you can’t quite tell.) All comes down to smell.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hyphens and Punctuated Whispers are Permissible

All right – let’s settle down:
produce some thing of use;
stop making like a clown –
forgo the fast and loose.

Let’s set a sober course –
avert the random crash –
ride a less volcanic force –
eradicate the dash.

We’ll start a fresh new page;
avoid the bent and swollen;
escape this rusty cage;
eject the semi-colon.

Exclaim! – or question?
Excise bare bulls-eyes too:
“apostrophes” (parentheses)
[and brackets] will not do.

And let us not sustain
sick myriads of dramas
permitted by the evil reign
of periods, and commas.

[Get naked as a buck;
put “virtue” on a diet.
Want to do it? (Rhymes with luck!):
for something’s sake, be quiet.]

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good Points

Tolerance for elaborate diction being minimal,
let me just say that in the very abstract space
of your no-man's-land – your imagined world –

this place you have made of your experience –
well, it's got its good points. Wood joints of
Pinocchio are always pinking up –- becoming

new and tender: quick: voluptuously seeping
into generating systems: see the tree ejaculate! –
and there you are again. I can't remember when

we laughed as hard as we will laugh tomorrow.
Surely that’s some counterpoint to sorrow.
The lines of you range strange and long, and I am

here to calculate and time your curds and whey,
your curves and sway, with my absurd subversions
of cliché – there’s no cheap thrill rhyme I won’t

appropriate to explicate your animal expectancies.
The natural condition of the Universe is orgasm:
get there how we may. Have the grandest day.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Eligible Cockatoo

“Since everything we know we know
from consciousness, no wonder we are
preternaturally stuck. A sense of things
is all we’ll ever get: and that, with luck,

delivers us into some whisper of reality,”
explained the newt,
“but basically we
miss buck-nakedly the whole experience:
it travels through and under, over: spins

with what may well be a malevolently
joyful unheard hoot at our incomprehension – “
butted in the breadfruit:
“gives the boot
to our stark infantile dreams and goes

on whipping us into its own magnificently
esoteric schemes”
– at which the cockatoo
“to which we do not recognize we
pray when we assay the All and call it God.”

So I chimed in:
“Cadence is the only way
I know to prod the iridescent skin of this great
pond of my unknowing: hence these iterated
syllabub solutions which I pea-shoot out

each day: they prove to me
at any rate
that I quite never have a thing to say –
without in any manner shutting off the flow.
Between the two of us”
(I gave the bird a wink),

“I think that’s how it goes.” The cockatoo
agreed: then killed the newt, and eyed
the breadfruit: ate it. I like the cockatoo.
Some other cockatoo should date it.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Death By Unread Books

You nod to the existence of the consecrated
thought of others by acquiring books: though
damned if you do more than look through several

pages here and there before you put one down
and swear (in vain) you’ll pick it up again. This may
well be fine with them: while your piles of unread

volumes lose their shine and gather dust, and quite
despite your having relegated each from must-read
to perhaps- (or never-), privately, you can be sure,

they will endeavor to prevail – a secret burgeoning
tornado of the grand accumulating whale-cloud
of their shunned, repressed expostulations one day

will explode and crowd your skull-meat out of its
composure: force-fed by all those un-read souls
you’ll fill up like a bloated belly-sack with rolls

and rolls of fat to chew – that’s what will then
become of you. So stack your unexamined books
up to he sky: and wait for them to swallow up your

sighs and best intentions, spit them high and out
like bits of unbaked dough. Given numerous
alternatives, it’s not the worst way one could go.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

I know what let's do.

Let’s start a gigantic
underground movement
whose purposes remain

oblique, but irresistibly
alluring. Let’s go
about the business

of insuring we are
potentates who commentate
upon the finished work:

which means let us
obliterate all notions
of the future and the past

and place our faith in
the repast of – no,
not now – but something so

beyond the realm of our
incarnate thought that
we can only sense it

through our mitochondria.
Let’s infiltrate the earth,
and scream at the indignity

of birth. Let’s undergo,
and interleave. Let’s be
the grieving residue

of all who’ve gone. Let’s try
to put a lid on rhyming
that with dawn. When we

are done, let’s fall
luxuriously deeply into
sleep, and dream of having

something we might
actually one day find
capacity to keep.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Subway Preacher

“Establishing relations
as one goes
redacts the actual
into a simulacrum
of the mind,“
he opined.

“And there you are,
or were, or will be,
or imagine you might
well have been had you
paid more attention,”
he ascensioned.

Sufficiently de-fused?”
he schmoozed.

“It might bemuse
you to consider this,”
he hissed.

“God got sexy lips.
He want a kiss.”


Thursday, January 24, 2008

These Games of Whist

All this business we’re pursuing! –
who is not what he is doing? – say,
my cat, McGillicuddy, ten, and I, fifteen,
with him alive in my encroaching
bony adolescent arms: and not to say,
back in the day, a man named Daniel –
as I crept past fifty, he to thirty-five –

wounded by our wounding charms:
you can’t replace a lover or a pet –
maybe only very thrifty poets get
the legacy of what is gone: ignoring dawn.
Me, I wouldn’t know. What it takes
to do things seems to me entirely to rest
on instinct: clearly doesn’t matter

what we think. Today I spent three
hours in a prosthodontist’s cubicle
(without a sink) while an appealing
young grad student pushed her body into
mine as she inclined with various
peculiar bright appurtenances into my
accommodating mouth. On breaks

between her probes and tugs I roved
through, hugged the pages of the latter
quarter of the nineteenth century –
Henry James was longing to go south:
to Italy, where I have been, and so had he,
but that was all a lot of foggy history:
had to be brought back to now.

My prosthodontist’s needle taught me
how. Let’s insist on knowing just
exactly what these games of whist we’re
playing gain: understand what time is,
drain this energy-and-matter thing of doubt.
Let me grasp exactly what McGillicuddy,
Daniel and my heart are all about.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2:56 p.m., January 23, 2008

January sun has left the noon behind –
again we venture toward the moon: how
strange to think that anyone could think
that anything was normal. Every moment
stabs and gores: we’re never not fresh
bleeding sacrifices to this unsolicited grand
enterprise – which, if (prodigious and

sadistic!) it has formal sides – it hides them
from your eyes. Haydn symphony again:
imposition of another of his symmetries:
we’d have stunk and wobbled badly back
in Papa Haydn’s heyday – music might
waylay us from a dark demise for
moments: but as we prised the jeweled

prize from its surprising grip, it would
already have begun to slip right out
of hand. I thought I wanted sex today:
some great, dark man – or rye crisp spread
with whipped cream cheese and thinly
sliced red onion – or to listen to a CD
of the Mahler Fourth since soon I’ll have

to play a part in it: but I could not quite put
my heart in it – I’m too be-dogged and
dimly frazzled by this strange experience
of loss – as if I’m missing something
central, tossed – right there – in front of
my blunt and essentially insentient mind.
January sun left more than noon behind.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

But: Oh!

“In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo…”
T.S. Eliot, …Prufrock

Yes – this is a temporary perch – but: oh!
what pleasure that you got away with it! Chance
and destiny and greed – the last a blunt evisceration
of the euphemism “love” (which doesn’t touch
the least scintilla of that urgent and rapacious need) –

convened to leap upon the prospect like a starving
mother lion: come, and come and go, and generate
another scion of the realm!: gorge yourself, and feed
your cub, and rub the blood into your feline fur until
deep-seatedly repeatedly unspeakably replete:

I literally cannot find the words for what it means to me
to look out on my faintly iridescent-feathered wedded
birds – fire-escape duet of widget-pigeons – these
apotheoses of the city’s rampant ingenuity: its rabid
mix of animate and inorganic bits: the marriage of

the concrete to the mist: this feast of prostitute artistes
for whom there’ll never be a breather: cannot get
enough and couldn’t. Shouldn’t be here either, but
I am, and though I know I’m doomed to go as well
as come, let there be no doubt where I am from.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Among Other Things, Which Shall Be Nameless

Among other things, which
shall be nameless –
and as you arguably move
toward the margins of
your marketability, and learn

the power of enforced
reflection from the shower
of indignities proceeding
from the inescapable
condition of your growing

old, and older – booted
by this physical demise
into its quizzical surprises –
you get bolder, and devise
ingenious ways to smolder.

You cease to curse the boot:
instead you nurse the root
with such finesse that –
even as you near the door –
it cries to you for more.


Excuse Me, But

Excuse me, but may I spread you on toast?
You’re the kind of tasty I like most.
Lick and nibble at you softly: shouldn’t hurt.
Be my appetizer, entrée and dessert.
Fold you into Dionysus and Apollo.
Slip right down quite nicely when I swallow.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Difference Between Poems and Poets

Poems toss and turn
and yearn ambitiously
ambiguously: coyly donning,
dropping fig leaves in

the windy autumns of the heart –
on the one hand they
admonish and demand –
and on the other, part

with every expectation
of an outcome – with
an arguably psychopathic
cool capacity for little

textures, small decisions,
surgically precise incisions –
self-forgetting: moments
after bringing things to heat.

Poets are a bit like that
as well, of course, but
they can't, quite to the degree
a poem can, be what they

eat. Poems self-consume:
they are the food they
cook. Somehow gets
the poet off the hook.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Every Blasted Bit

The seeing it, the doing it,
the getting it, the giving back:
kind of reciprocity you'd like is
show and tell and body contact,
offhand sweetly cyclical sublimity,

playful silly existential alchemy –
the active interaction. Ah – but
you’ve exhausted every faction
of the Senate of the Self –
you’ve led each to the feast

and have not yet experienced
the least of what you thought
would be the living proof –
somebody goofed. So you resort
to sport – and every time you’re

up at bat and swing at yet
another importuning ball you either
miss or bunt it: can’t get anyone
to want it: will not reach a mitt.
Wonder what it takes to fit.

Letting go of every blasted bit.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Might Be True

I don’t believe the word for anything is “try” –
nor do I think that anyone procrastinates.
But then I don’t believe in Future, either, or
the Past, or, frankly, have much confidence
in thinking I’ve the least right sense of Present.

Something sometimes seems as if it were a “now,”
but by the time I’ve noticed it, it’s gone: and
we're all on to some quite other dawn. I say all
this not in the hope that any of it will persuade –
or even offer much of interest: it’s collectively

a spade I use to undermine my certainties –
not yours. You’ll believe what you’ll believe,
what pours the best imaginable mead to drink:
what sprouts the seed you need to help you think –
on the brink of glory: hunting down the story.


Here’s the tale I’ve come to tell: once there
was a little child who fell into a well so deep
that it was darker and more interesting than
sleep. When she hit the bottom she discovered
something so uniquely resonant, illuminating

and exquisitely unnecessary that she felt herself
to be quite like it: she was all that it and she
imagined: under this kabooming influence,
she morphed into a pageant of eternities, each
one a different color, each entirely unconscious

of the other: blooming ribbons made of God,
as multi-colored as a slowly disentangling
wad of day-glo-bright confetti strings: a circus
sense of everything began to make her sing –
and she is what you hear when you hear you.


Might be true.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ms. Subways 2008

Shock against the black: a jiggling florid
flowing lurid glow – her wig – a shot! – you blink:
hot pink: shimmeringly hurled at, and regaling,
sight: a girl so bright and curved and sleek
and winning on West Twenty-Third Street’s
Downtown Number One train platform –
assonantly swelling fat and thinning warm she

sways to rhythms only she can hear: inward
essence given form – made just expressibly
cantabile – a gentle swear – some faintly drunken
Caribbean spinning, sinning song – so warm
and live and dark – so dark – black skin derived
from blooming longings on a moonless
midnight – parked in jeans so tight she might

have been the dream of some bewildered
fashionista Venus yearning out of nowhere
for a Neptune: vacant and voluptuously slight –
shadow-fairy with seductive might: you knew
she flew and oh, you knew that she could
dive into the deepest sea and if you followed her,
you’d cease to be, you would go down, you’d

drown. I’d offer her the crown, but she
too patently would find it superfluity. A spot-lit
whirligig of girl: she’s now a bare unfurling glare:
the twirl, the unapologetic shove this city will
exert if you would dare to love it. Neon-pink-lit
rippling blackest ink: come and lick it, drink it,
write with it and sink with it and think it.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Flowery effulgence! Self-indulgence. Be a bee:
the stark embodiment of driven purpose.

Engage in the creation of a simple singularity.
Yesterday you fried four sausage patties,

cut them into bits and fixed them with the volupté
of Campbell’s onion gravy, into which you dropped

and mixed the contents of a microwaved pack
of organic peas – saucy brown and emerald –

and an added cup or two of little pasta shells,
and too much salt (well, not too much for you)

resulted in a very tasty stew. You ate it and
your life seemed fine, which somehow made you

think you ought to prune back every line you’ve
lately over-larded with too many colons,

semi-colons, dashes and subordinately wafting
clauses – qualifying parenthetical attempts

at nuance which quite frankly weren’t singing
very clearly. Brevity! Be that bee. But then an urge

for ice cream overtook, and soon you found
yourself between a book on Henry James and

licking several dollops of whipped cream off your
moustache – somehow stoking flames for sex.

You’re doomed to the complex.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Someone's Gotta Do It

Carrying on my tradition of threshing word from flesh –
that is to say, destroying any object with which
I have any contact – I hereby shall attest I just
dispatched two shredded scraps of bedding to
the street – cotton quilt and plushy throw – which had
evolved so far from their original sweet glow and fresh
beyond-the-bed-and-bath condition of a yuppie-
cutedom into such unmitigated squalor that

one might have thought to call Forensics in to figure
out the nature of whatever gory crime I clearly
had committed – then to collar me and put me
somewhere far from fabric. Ah, but they would nab
me quicker for what I appear to do to coffee-makers,
slatted wooden chairs and Oriental rugs: which
similarly can’t escape the brutal hug of gruesome Fate
as my (presumably) insentient guests: not to mention

my four-poster bed now propped up to provide at least
some serviceable rest with stacks of two-by-fours –
the whole recovering from various shenanigans
about which I shall not say more. Maybe I’m a horde
of locusts: or maybe I just vibrate at a greater pitch
than calmer folk who do not seem to wreck a chair
or bed or blanket or electrical appliance just by sitting,
breathing, being there. But how much do we know

what’s what in that or this or anything? Thought
is nearly half reflex and half instinct with just a soupçon
of reflection: the Universe is mostly made of stuff
we cannot even name. Maybe I am not to blame:
maybe there’s a force at work which gets the whole
regalia by the neck and swings it violently back and forth
until it splatters. Maybe I’ve got more of it in me than
you do. Maybe I’m just freeing energy from matter.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Gotta Bowl

I do not understand how I have gotten through one
blasted blessèd thing. Evidence would indicate I went
to school and graduated, found this job, that job,
a lover, then another, then another, muddled through
the hoggish and unpalatable bogs and fogs and barns
and sties and compromises that provide a life

with its unsavory demises and delights and lucky
and unlucky breaks: I would appear to have the right
to claim I’ve got a take on how to do it: oh! – but I am
like a baker who has never baked a cake except
through some accommodating and unfathomable law
of quantum physics that reports according to unthinkably

large odds against one, one can cook and serve a torte
by simply standing there and scratching one’s availing ass:
sometimes tortes just happen somehow – though don’t
often last. Love and writing – an exciting journey through
Bahrain! – and flushing your illicit drugs disgustedly
into and down the drain despite your gnawing longing

for the kind of promised gain that comes from their
or anybody’s magic: I stand here torte-less, off
the boat and through the rolling valley to the bowling
alley, facing all the pins I haven’t yet knocked down.
Oh, the tragic vagaries and silly willy-nilly flavors of
the bounding soul! Guess I gotta go out there and bowl.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

So That It Will Not Not Continue

Let’s talk about the subtle sentient current
underlying your volition: which watches
as and when and what you want: the secret
witness underneath your propositions: that
font of observation and reflection which
dispassionately sees and neither judges nor
agrees nor offers any contribution in the way

of what might please the clunky squealing
funky reeling fleshy apparatus up above –
which lusts and craves and hates and needs
and loves and turns a face away or toward
whatever it imagines might propel it forward
or repel it back: the creature sure its only
worthy occupation is to fill the void and feed

the lack, and make the hungry fat. Let’s look
at that. Let’s look at why you cultivate
catastrophe, though you’re aghast at it –
though you are sure the past will quickly
suck it up and dog you with it to the end of days:
let’s look at all the strange inevitable ways
that you go on, and swallow your regret,

and tenderly forget. Let’s understand that
something in you has a hand in buoying
the boat so that it will not not continue to
progress, and float. There is a thing in you,
my dear, on balance, which refuses to endear
or aggravate or do quite really anything
beyond accomplishing the miracle of being here.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

On Eating Pitted Mt. Athos Olives with Sicilian Herbs Bought at Whole Foods on W. 24th Street

These pitiless and pit-less fruits! – unconscionably tasty props! –
revert with them to your adopted systems of denial and
relinquishments, decisions and provisions that you’ve learned
throughout your years here smooth away and soothe the wary
fear of absence in the heart: take part in these delicious

grand abandonments as if they were the whole experience:
which they may well turn out to be: Sicilian olives hit the spot –
their touch of fire, peppered gleam – their hot required
flush – salty garlic blushing savor, kicking just a bit of butt
en route to summoning some rush of flavor you recall from –

surely not your Anglo-Saxon prison of a childhood – but
some first whiff of – as if it could be any other thing! – that
source of your complexity: that winging demon – that
entirely invisible yet utterly mad, physical relentlessly
exquisite hex – your first encounter with the blatancy of sex –

which is to say, your first deep dive into the belly of the mystery
that makes you love New York as if to leave it would be
worse than hell. Every swell and crumble of its concrete,
damp exposure and unnerving whack to your composure –
all the black despondencies you knew that sometimes barred

the dawn – result in an incorrigible hard-on: here’s the thing
that you are here to do: toss each over-priced Manhattan
gourmet olive into your wet shameless gaping mouth,
and know whatever Hamlet meant when he informed
the disembodied skull of his Horatio that there were more

things in this heaven and this earth than he could know
amounts, at least to you, to the fellatio that you perform each
moment of your life on this ridiculously rife profusion of
collective phallus: spectral palace – this reflection of your soul.
Bring on the olives! – eat the blessèd, damned things whole.


Friday, January 11, 2008

On the Brink of Vindicating Human Impulse

What else should we do today, today?
What edifice needs to sway, to sway?
What can we discover to say, to say?
What are the right words to allay, allay
our fear of the chaos and weigh, and weigh
the thing that will comfort and stay, and stay?

(rhyming gecko
with an echo
of a gecko)

Sounds are just as sure as can be –
rounds of melba toast – jam and tea –
why not chortle a symphony
of chewing and assonance, panoply
of the orally aurally Grand Opry –
Country-and-Western-style bonhomie?

(rhyming quick
with a click
and a lick)

If everything has to do with sex
no wonder these vagaries all perplex
and all of us labor inside the hex
of unchosen fetishes, Oedipus Rex
and documents signed with an X, an X –
anonymous, shadowed and queer: convex –

(rhyming pet
with a jet
of beget)

There must surely by now be a right thing to do
after tossing this folderol into the stew
of perversely attempting to misconstrue
the purposes of blinding us to the True
and frankly, my darling, I might have a clue –
and I dare to imagine that you’ve got one, too.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pea Necklace

Spare me hobbies, please! – symbolically
equivalent to crawling little creatures who,
deformed and greasy, hobble forth on stumpy
blistered knees to offer their banalities –
obsequious and wheezing! – oh, what horror
to imagine dicing life into time-killing slices –
ways to find a way to block the miracle – devise
through sorting stamps or knitting socks

or putting clamps on an un-needed glued-
and-nailed-ennui-construed contraption faintly
meant to harbor books – a way to flatten
senses: lose all feel of spherical from fear
of emptiness: peremptorily squeezing into
tininess your human curiosities: losing your
capacity for wonder, thunder – plundering
your heart for crumbs: accommodating

your despair until it numbs: I do not want
to make a thing unless it can at least remotely
bring some sense of God. And then I dream
I see an ancient lady in a wheel-chair,
popping peas out of a pod she takes from
others in a wad of paper-toweling – piling
them into a bowl atop her lap of similarly
unshod vegetable cousins: dozens she now

strings into a necklace – emerald beads –
her needle wielded with sweet expertise.
She seems transformed – delighted as a child –
as she looks up at me, a passerby, now
strolling past her nursing home, where she
is lolling, in the lobby. I watch her mouth two
happy words: “My hobby!” Ancient lady knows
what’s what. Another clue that I may not.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How I like the cold and dark!

I think I’d like the January night to go on
for eternity – which I suspect it will,
someday: today the daylight wants to
come out unimpeded, warm, like Spring;

as if to feed it, morning cloud clumps
back and dumps its sack of mist all over
everything: refreshed, the sun re-pours
its blinding brightness into noon – quite

filling up its glass with May – as if it must,
today, as if the play I want to play had
lost its cast and moon and freeze and
funding: no more gray until the evening

comes, and winter reasserts itself like
some returning husband, angry at his
errant wife: tonight I’ll get that taste of
bundling life against a wintry strife that he

and I so crave – I’ll pack and park beside –
and brave – its darker overwhelming
realms – forgo the whole revolving show:
dissolve into a dream of a resolving snow.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

That John Donne Had a Dick

That John Donne had a dick
he used quite frequently is sure –
as it grew long and thick
he seemed through poems to abjure

its tugs – which made him sick
of the hypothesis that “pure”
could ever be the wick
to lasting pleasure, or the cure

for all the stings that prick
all hungry human flesh: the lure
of someone you might pick
to place in bed, in lust, with your

erection lent a kick
for moments to your life; obscure
though its dark cunning trick
might make your motive, and as poor

as your frail heart might tick
into the darker night, the tour
you take might touch the quick
of what the soul needs to endure.


The Thing Aroused

Our bodies leap like Labradors,
thirsty for what’s brimming from the well –
hungry with a dumb excitement –

with the thing aroused all forward
and affectionate and bumbling – bungling
blind for more – just simply more

infant and unspeakably mature – ripeness
of a tunnel-vision mission deep
as fission of the atoms of the heart

and groin, conjoining with the rest of
Everything, all wet and warm and indescribably
delicious – and not one embracing

moment out of joint with what has now
become the only point of anything: to reach,
and reach, and reach, and find

with a correlative discovery which puts
to rest whatever misbegotten notion we may
once have entertained that body isn’t mind.


Monday, January 7, 2008


Genius is everywhere; everyone counts
as its golden exemplar – simply by standing
or sitting or nodding or blinking – dismounts,
as it were, from quotidian life – by remanding

to passersby’ sight an entirely right
and appropriate, recondite, tight disposition
of stance and delivery – nuanced delight –
and such generous graceful volition –

so offhand and physically free: see
that angular twenty-year-old lope across
Twenty-third Street magnificently
unaware of the dance-like sweet gloss

he inordinately grants his limbs –
manifest Flesh of the trembling Word –
an embodiment of sacred hymns
to whoever the god is who startles the bird

in the dawn: your heart-notes swell -- intone:
so fine! – light! – true! – bold, bright endeavor!
not dispelled by his prayer to his cell phone:
“So I’m like, you know, like, whatever.”


Sunday, January 6, 2008

45 mins. or less

In forty-five minutes or less –
I must fashion this poem a dress –
(unless it won’t get off my lap
until I’ve be-jocked it with strap) –

there’s something, I’m sure, to be said
for musing for hours instead
of dropping, like change from a purse,
perambulatory light verse –

but frankly I don’t have the time
for any but this arrant rhyme –
must write something metered, or bust –
before I run out of the trust

I’ve put in my long enterprise
of rising before each sunrise
to say something, rapidly, which
provides a swift scratch for the itch

I wake with each day to find out
what fuels human motive and doubt –
particularly what might be
what’s currently speechless in me

that cannot susceptibly find
a rational cause in the mind –
but, alas, I must put off – and wait:
no epiphany now: I’ve a date –

and I’m late.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

How To Be Happy While Cold

Expectancy! -- must surely be its own reward –
full of unrhymed yearning January word
and whispered sound that prod you gently
like a bounding litter of small Husky pups:
licking, nuzzling up and down, around, below,

above, in search of -- not exactly love, but
an acknowledgment. Lodge with them into
an igloo-day so full of winter that you can't
believe it won't soon splinter from its own
largesse: a plenty that would bless if it just had

the sentience to. Aha! -- now there's a role
for you: to take its trembling gelid cells
and swash and freeze them into clear delineated
swells and swerves -- an art nouveau ice
cataract of curves -- an outlined luminosity

to label -- some sweet name precisely chosen
from the Babel Tower's lexicon: instead of
peering in the mirror, preening: vex the silky slush
into a form and meaning. Map some portion
of the frigid sea explicably. That’s the recipe.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Less Dash --

Anticipatory joy! --
how he can’t wait for that boy! --
by ‘boy’ he means a man
of course: who -- whatever his span

of life -- whatever he does or did --
internally still is a kid --
a crafty callow pup.
Not that he's grown-up

so much – or cares to go terribly deep --
but whom might he wish he could keep? --
what partner would he like to stay --
instead of take off, après? --

Big challenge: testosterone --
which tends to keep predators lone --
competitive – seeking the next raw bite --
a passionate slave to fight-or-flight --

most men who love men can't help
but let out a hungry yelp
at the scent and the sight of fresh meat --
mammalian and indiscreet --

maybe he’d like a gentler surprise --
a new softer light in somebody's eyes --
less dash, and more from dramas
of pause, and sigh, with commas.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Look of a Face in a Fight

I am the teacher of athletes,
He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the width of my own,
He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.

Leaves of Grass (1855), Walt Whitman

The look of a face in a fight: intelligence transmuting
fear – seared with such elegant purpose it’s hard
to adhere to the notion that violence is its entire agenda:
a choir of violins ought to ensue!: and a poem or two –
but no, like a drug in a thug this intensity mixes its fists

in a tumult of rutting testosterone, sucked-up adrenaline,
breeding destruction; a bravery not towards the liberal
flight of a soul, which occasional flickers of light in those
eyes seem for moments to want to ignite and make
whole, but a rashness intending to bleed. This renders

exotic, erotic distractions – but where is the last golden
gratification – attraction beyond all the shedding of blood –
symbolically spilling the seed? Today I decided to read
“Leaves of Grass” – Whitman could help me: I’d maunder
and loafe with him – get some unrhymed smoky toke

from his lips – secondhand from his tender relentlessness:
launder the prettiness out: help me pack sweet enigma
back into the punch. And oh! – speculating poet! – smiling
survivor of the fall! The look of your face in the fight
breeds my hunch that we’re none of us in one at all.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I find – don’t I? – further peregrinations in –
oh, say, John Ashbery – exceed capacity
for patience: here, that is, you see, proceeding
from the striptease of my temperament
and mind, I have to find, rebuild (again, again)
my private stations of the cross (damned rhyme
intruding on me all the time) – and there he goes,
un-bossed, regardless, irreligious, with his
wide blue eyes’ astonishment (his eyes are blue,

I have to think, don’t you?) – his childlike
to-and-fro-ing floody-flow-flow and complete
lack of admonishment to be or do one thing
or three or two – and hoo! – I can’t keep up
(can you?). He went to Harvard: Lordy! Wrote
his thesis on le maitre – Auden – who soon
lauded him with honor; once, I think, conferred
a poem prize on Mr. Ashbery – which, well,
let me not surmise that Mr. Auden maybe had

a crush or something: I digress, I guess, but
doesn’t Mr. Ashbery? (The things we get away
with.) Hell, if he does what they say he does,
don’t I (as well)? Here’s what I would do,
if I were he. Take a dip in Emily and then,
for reciprocity, repaying all my foggy swimming
in his sea, take a dip in me. (To-and-fro-ing
floody flow-flow.) Is any of whatever anybody’s
doing necessary? Let’s tend to think so.


Every Moment

Arrival –
Rapture –
Departure –

Arrival –
Survival –
Rapture –

Departure –
Departure –
Arrival –

Departure –
Survival –

Departure –
Arrival –


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

In Its Wake: Schumann's Piano Quintet

Quick! Lap cadence off the top of everything –
like cream – or steam or froth before it dissipates –
evaporates – ascends – goes back to where it came
from: that ineffable sweet choir in the loft of what
must surely be the seat and seed-bed of the Universe’s

highest faculties: that strange thin tease of aura
which exceeds, succeeds, precedes, proceeds –
that aural borealis – infinitely more than mere aurora –
light becoming sound becoming vibrant school to
any heart behind a thought – manifest emotion – taut

beyond the bearable: until another sudden discipline
of terrible bright notes precipitates like snowflakes:
fills you up again and makes you wonder when
you’ve ever felt such sweet voluptuous variety before –
forgetting in its paced replacement with a brand

new bliss the music which you kissed, and kissed you,
yesterday, last night, and sent you out another door
bewildered and complete. I could say more –
but now the telephone is ringing, and I long to hear
the strange inevitable singing in whoever’s on

the other end: articulated sound from largo to vivace
let the syllable-sonatas roll, and listen to their lilt
and toll: more audible warm evidence of soul. Simple
reason for this transmutation of all energy and matter
into music – of all atoms into the profoundly human.

Last night your violin played Robert Schumann.


for a taste of each of its movements: