Friday, February 29, 2008

Self-Critique, Late Winter

Split phrases – frightful tricks –
that wield delusions of an inner sight:

speciously oblique. Reconfigure all your
arbitrary blasted bits (enjambements

meant to make them look uniquely “deep”)
back to all the prosy paragraphs they

clearly came from: ha! – as if you could let
meaning seep into the thing through

dazed manipulation, lazy laissez-faire:
inertia in the guise of daring: lasered from

some underground you found by merely
typing ‘til your fingers hurt. Your zingers?

Scraps: concatenated dust and easy dirt.
Sins and egoisms in the name of “art.”

There: that stings the heart.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Exultantly allowed again
to be a touch contrary –
an extra day pops in to
lengthen gleeful February –

alas, its sass does nothing
to relieve its neighbors’ arch
resistance to this folderol:
the windy blowhard March

and huffy January both have
turned their backs against
this upstart in the calendar,
and do not like it: whence

comes this appalling circumstance? –
the months are losing sleep!
Every damned four years we
watch while they all take a leap.


I think I'd like to say I was depressed today

I think I’d like to say I was depressed today –
like a child who conjures up a story for a play
and needs his characters to be as large as
street signs: “you be Happy, I be Sad, you be

Mommy, I be Dad.” Paint the thing primary Red
and splay it out into a backyard theater: later,
take the silly plot to bed and dream it into other
kinds of being, seeing: something loose, translucent,

more diffuse. But first I want to spread the simple
seeds: sprout them into basic needs and see
what breeds into complexity. Ingest disparity:
swallow fear, hilarity, belligerence: investigate

experience: what is it made of? Take a blade
to love, and fear, and cut them ‘til you tear them
into wriggling bits: what have you got? This hot
evolving mammal species which we evidently

represent appears to have to self-reflect, to
choose between, among a kick and genuflection
and varieties of ways to pull and push, deflect,
reject, repress, embrace. I think I’d like to say

I was depressed today: acquire a place from
which to dive into unfathomable space. Although
if I just counted motes of New York City floating
in the light, it probably would also be all right.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nearly Fifty-Seven Years of It

At thirty, you were full of angst and quite
as certain you would not survive as if you
had been closer to a final dive of ninety-five:
your assets were a jumble of instinctual

mishaps: sexual shenanigans were losing
their reliability: nothing had the snap you
wanted: everything you let the world see
was a front. You then surprised yourself by

somehow getting bunted from the plate into
the outfield – fifteen years away – when by
the age of forty-five you thought you’d
finally arrived: a sense, you felt, of warm

acceptance – wry, ironic, and more full: sex
was better, as you found the wherewithal
to live your own desires: fronts had fallen;
you no longer followed anyone’s directions

(to the letter): you had reached a level playing
field – a fine plateau would lift you, keep
you on a path whose point of vanishing
appeared quite clearly on your blue horizon.

And now you’re rising to your later fifties:
and the insults of incarnate life are rife – still
manageably small, but now there is no doubt
at all where all of this is going. What have

you been sowing, dear? What have you got
growing here? Ambition, love – whatever
you’d expected to continue with the same
excruciating ardor you had known before –

something swept it out the door. All you know,
at fifty-six, is this – set in bright suspension –
betting it against the night:
there is no
getting it right. There’s only paying attention.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hey, boy!

Hey, boy! Dissect joy.
It won’t matter.
Slice it ‘til it splatters
and consider all its organelles.

What makes it swell
and laugh, not care by half?
Determine whether
it has hemispheres that

conquer fears or
only latitudes that grab
at attitudes and
turn them on their ears.

Must it rhyme, or
merely mark the time?
Calculate exactly
how far into you it goes

or stays. Give it up
and stick your feet
into its Pegasussic stirrups
and take flight. Sweat

with it, and melt – and fall –
work it over in the ring
with all your might.
Get sucker-punched:

and drop again, all stupid.
Feel its Cupid arrow in
your ass, let it pass. See its
yellows turn to grays.

Forgive it for its inexplicabilities.
Go in on those days.
Meet it in parentheses.
Let it count the ways.


Monday, February 25, 2008


Ascribing verticality – deep levels –
to the thing provisionally seems
to bring a ring of truth: surely what’s
“beneath” contains whatever
ruthlessly obeys the deepest
law: the source of all that delicately
evanescent ardor of our being which

propels us through the maw of
everyday: its seat must lie in
strata deep below, unseen but felt,
enlivened by the heat of something
like an existential lava – here,
down here, is our imagined genesis.
But I don’t know: there are no leveled

paradigms for me today. Today
I climb up from a dream of Mexico,
and find my edges just as spread
out, full of complicated surface
as the flattest two-dimensioned
intricately decorated plan of every
bit of that land’s brilliant mix

of votive brightness, force, intricacy
with which my dream began:
a flat-mapped reverie of silver baubles
mashed to star-shaped delicate
geometries: a fractal landscape
of Milagros* that encodes in it the whole:
every bit of it’s on top: there is no

lurking inner cavern for a demon
or a soul. What you see is all you get.
Let’s forget to think in tiers – trade
them for this freshly flattened field
self-evidently here – displaying
everything at once: revealed, unshod.
Surface of the skin of God.



Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Underside

You stuttered once so badly that the only
virtue you could understand was verbal
fluency: one craves the thing one lacks.

But now, somehow, when something like
a lingual flow has intermittently bestowed
itself through some unprecedented crack –

you take it back: you disavow the craving:
streams of endless verbiage, as slick as eels,
have, in themselves, about as much appeal

as breeding slime. What piques disgust
today is just the thing that used to ache
in you for easy eloquence: now badinage,

per se, seems like a stark banality:
a sickening misuse of time. But why such
vehemence? Passionate disgust is suspect:

lift its heavy stone to see what on its
underside may really be disturbing. Curb
the quick conclusion: and examine it for

opposites: its curse may well embed in its
reverse: caught in the conviction’s passively
aggressive rear. And what, when you lift up

the stone of your abhorrence of the glib,
appears? A hologram of mirrors: into which
you glide like Rita Hayworth in “The Lady from

Shanghai.” Still here: glassy maze of fear.
And yet a hologram: a quirk. Doesn’t matter
what you think of anything. Do your work.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Surely You'd Agree

That what I guess one must call “poetry”
appears to be
for me
the only way to grapple with eternity

and daily life, like tea
and toast and marquetry
and issues of diplomacy
as tethered to the cherished hope of certainty

that one can keep calamity
from happening is something to which he
and you and they and it and she
may give the barest nod, but generally

no one can be counted on to care about the policy
I bring to saying what I’ve come to say, or see
the point of explicating abstractly
what ought to dive and swim both fresh and free

into and from and in the sea
of consciousness without the least coerced complicity
from him or you or them or it or her or me.
Surely you’d agree.


Come to Me!

Circuitous Mercury! – squirmy little
Hermes! – why must I discourse
with you? Cavorting like a screwy
eagle through the obfuscating sky:

replying only here and there
behind, above, beneath, around,
throughout the air and then
with such a blinking strange

arcane vocabulary of bird gestures
I am always less informed
than I’d have been if I had simply
made you up: which anyway

I’m doing here, in the abrupt
right-now: what bright cow jumps
over your moon?: might how
you fling about your mystery

have nothing much to do with me?
And here I am in love with you!
Though there are just as many forms
of that as there are atoms in

your Hermes shoe: but here
you go again, replenishing the only well
I’ve got: you spot of trouble in my heart:
you dart: you terrible enigma –

thief: rip that coy warm fig leaf
off your plump pudenda – mad agenda.
Unremitting itch: flitting and
excruciating flea! Come to me!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Coffee, Snow

Blessèd bits of texture –
sit across with me
from snowing New York City
(out the window
on Sixth Avenue) – Cosi,
café, a private booth –
alone: at seven-thirty

in the morning, smack
inside the dawning
of the public day: the truth
is we are sweetly
and assiduously scattered –
gazes tethered tenderly
between the soft embracing

sway of pearl-and-diamond
crystal gray outside
and the evoking stoking
of a fire inside
the mise-en-scène
now magically sensed,
warmly rendered: clear –

engendered – here –
with me: conjuring our
fantasy: which is odder now –
this scavenged privacy? –
or what is fleecing
out the door? Why have we
not met like this before?


Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Nap

A nap: this whiff of February hibernation: as
the barely sleeping body messages electrically:
and branches – stretches, bristles like a dreaming
grizzly bear: cascades, extends up, down,
throughout the spine: a fizzing static – scattering,

at first in line – then swells and dips and swerves:
a sparkling in the nerves: zapping bright – excitedly –
along the tight meridians: it’s now a bird – or craft:
a ship – exploring, soaring, flapping, crackling,
veiled and secret: mission is to spy: to catch –

escaping capture: just this side of knowing what’s
behind the clouds: a rapture as spectacular as sky:
the ruthless exposition of the “I” – an utter baring
of the animal: now blasted granularly to its
silica component sand – which hisses, sifts, drifts,

looms in whispered dunes to set the shattered
basis of a formless land: luxuriantly riddled with
a lightness like a sense of humor – soon, now,
full of rumor of a brittle wakefulness: the oddness
of immersion you recall: half of anything, or all.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Critical Mass

Too much vagary for you
in that red-headed, hooded
and bespectacled aloof scarved
bundled boy – man – scamp –
beneath voluminously pillowed parka –
pink lean dream too far from
proof to claim more than the merest

sidelong glance: that dancing keen
intelligence approaching its first
youthful prime – or so you’d
fought to think you might have
seen in that taut wary climbing eye –
that creature of the brittle brutal
February cold too covered and remote

to know: that bold brief blast too
ill-equipped to last. You’re glad you
didn’t hear him speak: he might
have squeaked: too terrible to think of.
How you took your grand dissatisfactions
up your six long flights of stairs! –
disrobed to underwear, and scrubbed

the bathroom sink and toilet, tub –
then windexed TV and computer
screens, then dusted the piano: then
attacked your taxes – feeling
somehow pitifully outclassed:
grasping at what still was gleaming in
the fading winter day: that covert

agile red-haired creature: vagary
achieving density in the availing dusk:
critical mass: ghosts his way up
from the concrete courtyard, filters,
flits through some prevailing musk:
“You wanted me?” Whispered,
husky. Prettily asked.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Not Being Enthralling

I am the least enthralling thing.
What interests is this vibrant multi-valent
creature of a universe which wants
exactly nothing – but demands precisely all.

What interests are its unsuspected
and innumerable means of rising, falling,
skittering and stumbling, tumbling into
caves or plains or seas or skies of endlessly

renewing stark experience: so seamlessly
conjoined that to imagine seams
appears unwise. What interests is
the moment stoking, filling everything

to spilling – cooking it to brittle crisp: what
rivets is the grilling. I am not enthralled
by me. I’m enthralled by the astounding
manifested conjugations of “to be.”


Monday, February 18, 2008

Wriggle and Hiss

Every poem, dream, reflection, thought:
all cast-off – clung-to – cognitive ephemera –
simple, fraught, ham-handed or complex –
comes down, or up, to sex. Let’s give Herr
Freud a nod in this: that human fear
or bliss or indecision or determination
to prevail or cede in spent defeat
commutes to the mammalian urge to treat
the enterprise as willing or unyielding flesh:
we are the scions of a grand disinterested

biology – enmeshed in brain and loin
and groin and limb: we are a complicated
hymn to the imprisoning incarnate: driven
by the need to procreate not merely human
babies but the products of a labor aimed
at furiously generating synchronies
and lullabies and tirades of creation: het-up
agonies and sweetened harmonies insist
on genesis: and we’re the hiss and wriggle
and ejaculators of the lot: flaunting what

we’ve got or hiding our imagined insufficiencies
behind opacities of shame. I woke just
now from meadows of a sensuality so gamy,
dense, far-reaching and interiorly breaching
that I hadn’t any choice but to succumb to it.
Despite its vise-like despotism over every
breath I take, on balance I am grateful
I’m not numb to it. Let libido rise up like
a banshee; rule me in its faultless sway.
There’s somebody I want to kiss today.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

To Sound the Sweet Alarm

Kick the barn door wide!
Invite the livestock in!
Chat up every animal – ask
what each thinks is sin,

and what each sees as
blessing: seek evidence of how
divinity’s experienced by
chicken, pig and cow:

search every eye and udder
and rump and wing and tongue
for patterns of eternity –
feel fellowship among

this zoo of incarnation
come here at your behest –
register their temperaments
and smells and colors: test

it all against your acumen
and insight: understand
the connectivities that wed
the claw and hoof and hand:

listen for the principle
that animates the whole:
caress your trepidations:
pander to the soul,

indulging in varieties
of unsuspected ways
to fondle fur and feathers.
After: let your gaze

return to the vicinity
they left: the empty farm –
and usher them back into it
to sound the sweet alarm.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Unless I Am Mistaken

Unless I am mistaken
(I don’t believe I am) –
I never have forsaken
the lion for the lamb.

Serenity’s alluring –
of that there’s little doubt –
but when it means procuring
a mindless exit out

in favor of a numbing
and stifling mental fleece,
I can’t desist from thumbing
my (snorting) nose at “peace.”

Births are bloody actions!
Passivity instead
of forcible contractions
will bear the baby dead.

Let’s dive right into fighting –
no inauthentic hug!
But what might I be slighting?
I’m sounding rather smug:

pacificism has its place –
doth I protest too much? –
who isn’t yearning for the grace
of someone’s tender touch?

A little quiet might be nice:
be wallflow’r, not a ham –
No need to overdo the spice:
drop lion, opt for lamb.

But now I’m feeling half-asleep –
perhaps I always do:
no policy runs very deep –
I’m always in a stew.

Unless I am mistaken
(and possibly I was) –
I’ll never quite awaken
to absolutes. Who does?


Friday, February 15, 2008

One Whit of What I Find

Cheesecloth? – something more absorbent –
doesn’t only sieve, this sentient fabric which
remembers in its weave and alters its believing
order at the faintest touch of his sensed
breathing – soaks up scents that would perplex
a more enlightened consciousness – but, now,
in this, are simply mildly accepted: waved in
like the circus smells and sounds of dreams:

a fabric, though – yes, cloth: a kind of cotton –
or soft wool – now suddenly vast reams of it –
as brushed and fine as silk – and, here,
the rougher patches, some abruptly brittle ilk
of burlap-tough resistance to experience:
a showy badge of pain, endurance: followed by
the calm assurance of a sea of linen, flapping
softly in the April air – sheets so cleansed by

carelessness they fade to threadbare air: there’s
the texture that embraces and absorbs each
mighty flick and twitch and gorgeous incident
of what engorges me in the surprise of looking
deep into those eyes: scattering invincibilities
like glitter, gold dust, grit – skittering into
the vast allowance of the mind. I do not think
I’ll ever understand one whit of what I find.



Strange to want to try to pry out rationales for
eccentricities of thought! – but then these oddities,
all warring with themselves, have wrought
the slammed necessity of stressed expression –

disagreement – hiss: and yet another flailing
poet’s caught in dissonant attempts to explicate
the rout with some poetic kiss. Piss against a tree
though these reiterating utterances often seem

to be, the tree survives, attracts more poets to its
wet seductive bark – becomes, in fact, the scene
of a remarkably continuous evacuation: fluid
streams from idiosyncratic groins: joined in only this:

the urgent need, poetically, to piss. Should one
apologize for such analogizing? – and instead explain
the workings of the versifying brain more nicely as
the importuning assiduities of metaphoric ‘rain'?

But oh! – another assonance now rudely interjects
itself, and will not let the crass association pass:
suddenly the task of the evacuating poet’s
mind acquires an impolite relationship to ass.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Little Rosebud!

Little rosebud! –
oh, you furled-up
prurience in need
of reassurance! –
(part malevolence –
benevolence) –

be solaced.

The indifference of
this bitter winter
day erases
everything – so you
can coax the thing
that matters out

until it sways and boogies.

As for all the last
reiterated bits
of over-masticated
residue of
else’s past,

tough noogies.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It Sure Beats Solitaire

“O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife…”
(Mercutio to Romeo,
Romeo & Juliet)

Whose idea was mustard? That’s what I must know.
I never thought I liked it but it turns out hot dogs
really are improved by it! Anyway, it’s too spectacularly

gloomy, cold and damp a day today to look away
from any circumstance or thought – hot dogs, mustard,
February: every atom of a sensibility is providential,

surely: purely for one’s own amusement though
the manufacture of epiphany may be, it sure beats
Solitaire to interact with every singularity and find it isn’t

solely singular, but rather in a pact with – part of –
some eternally emergent matter/energy Niagara fall:
ah! – to feel the spray of each component of existence! –

and get wet: though, funny how one can forget
that everybody breathes and eats and drinks and
sleeps and wakes in every sub-atomic moment of it:

God’s in the detail? – well, honey, you’ve a whale
of reeling increments to sort through sleeting down
from this bleak glamorous late-winter February ceiling.


When I was six, perhaps, or seven – in first grade,
or maybe second – I recall a brand-new classmate
moved up north from Florida: she had the sort
of silver-blond bright hair a fairy princess ought to have:

but like Queen Mab in embryo, she hadn’t yet absorbed
the art of understanding snow – and it was snowing
out the window on this February 1950s day: and
she began to sway, and cry: she’d never seen such stuff

ka-lump out of the sky. This is the moment I espy
inside when I see pregnancy of any real or metaphoric
kind: appalling imminence of birth into the body
or the mind: the shocking mark of every waking

and unprecedented moment on the Earth – when,
suddenly, you’re forced – again – appallingly – to watch
and care. A scare: like my delayed exposure to sharp
mustard on a boiled hot dog, but: it sure beats Solitaire.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Right Hemisphere Day!

Come sit around the campfire of the heart,
my darlings, and attend to every of its wending
rivulets of wisp you can. Listen to the glisten

and exorbitance of every single of the countless
fender-benders of the mind: the crack-ups
that indifferently engender thought: the grinding

unremarkable detritus that amasses into bright
epiphany: the odd embarcadero of your grand
commanding brain’s bateaux: half gondola,

half submarine, all manned by gigolos with
their fraught Latin eyes assessing your seduce-
ability: come there with me: transmute the mute:

provide a random impetus with some slick
aperture to slip through to the prize: regard
the whole expanding enterprise as yours to steer,

defend against, or size up and appraise: ride
the waves. Be the tea, the teacup, and the tea-
pot’s spout. Let me know how you come out.


Monday, February 11, 2008

As Blue as the Eyes of a Czar

I came at the day forgetting the sun
was a star: then the day came at me
reminding me of its strange bargain:
just this: I could do anything that I wanted –
and it would proceed whether I had done
nothing, or all that could possibly ever be
done: I could love it, have fun – or despair

and repair to my bed. I tried that: it worked
for a while: curled up like a gerbil, I listened
to PBS kid shows – learned ethics and
alphabets and the importance of greeting
your mom with a smile: then I got up,
and simmered a small pot of rice, over-
buttered and -salted it, ate it fastidiously,

while I pondered the slice of reality I’d
now engendered: how to break through
its hex: maybe sex? Maybe not. I emptied
the pot and I washed it and left it to dry
and looked out at the brutally cold
winter sky – as blue as the eyes of a czar.
I remembered the sun was a star.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Note to Self

Lose the land-locked narrative –
be glad to be at sea –
grant to the infinitive
“to be” infinity.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pasticceria Politico

As for the Republicans –
let’s also add the Democrats –
I’d like to offer each a taste

of every careful little pouf
and filigree of the Italian pastries
I pursued and caught last night:

their light firm mango mousse
and slick performance on
a plate seem absolutely what

one ought to contemplate before
deciding how to rule the world.
I’d ask them to look deeply into

every cake-let’s delicate demeanor –
so deftly undertaken! – meditate
on how the pastry chef left

each so finely swirled, replete.
Much is to be learned from
the meticulously crafted sweet.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Ardent Repetitions


It’s hard to think that churches aren’t weird. Big ornate
enclosures kept quite vacant nearly all the year – except
for Sundays when small phalanxes of worshippers appear
to chant and sing and bow and kneel and otherwise
commune with one another hoping to attune themselves

to rituals designed to dampen fear by reinforcing notions,
promulgated by approved officiators – solemn, robed
and queer as extra-planetary aliens – pled in prayers
completely clear in their expression of belief that something
other than what anyone can see provides a ride and guide

to grand Eternity. I suppose that any love is just as odd:
to pour yourself into a human heart is certainly no stranger
than to give the thing, in church, to God. I once knew a man
for whom I would have done quite anything he asked –
like a zealous fundamentalist – from suicide to murder –

rope or knives or guns or gas – pluckily I would have sliced
my soul into a sheaf of pieces for this creature, bade him
take the whole, and lay them in a stack. Luckily he didn’t
love me back. I wonder if divinity’s the same: indifferently
responding to the ardent repetition by the faithful of its name.


Dimensionality of Doggie-Funk

“My body is so interesting!” – the puppy’s clearly
thinking; self-entranced and sinking, squats
into his own warm cornucopia, arc-ing forward

from his tailbone, sticks his wet snub-snout into,
and sniffs and licks, his crotch, splayed
haunches: launches into an investigative rout

of his involving scents, and those which
ambiently cling to him, revolve around his
spinning senses – arrantly from everywhere:

such a taste! – this doggie-funk dimensionality
which lesser species can but guess at: nuzzle,
nudge and press at each of its furred, subtle, soft

somatic doors: and flood with more, and more –
begin to understand its overwhelming realm
of hydrocarbon truffle-musk, dense bodily

reductions and effusions which suffuse the lucky
canine nose: oh, what we must be missing! –
kissing this existence with such utter and

voluptuous abandon: and receiving from it
an entire world: all we’ve got are cortexes which
must perplex themselves with metaphor –

and linear geometries of thought: so far from
that grand stirring well of smell this puppy knows:
this fraught experience of being too alive to care

about much else: this wealth – each tiny redolence
of which the puppy can luxuriously choose to
sift through, whiff and pick – then lick again!


Thursday, February 7, 2008


“Style, in the broadest sense of all, is consciousness.” Quentin Crisp
(“Hmm. Well, style is until it isn’t.” Andy Stone)

How else but obliquely angled? – darting like a bird –
then hushed: determined for a trembling moment to be still –
before it blinked and shot somewhere within to gird
its loins for the inevitable lunge its hungrily awaiting
world could be depended on to make toward them –

the felt resources and effects of which inhabited the flesh
like some fresh virulence for which there surely wasn’t
any cure – a fever levered pure into eternal stark assault:
forever at the brink of sinking every bit of thinking aimed
at balancing; the halt and shoddiness of every lame attempt

to meet its body’s power! – match its serendipity, stare
down its haughty glower – who is this alien creature who
fills out the hour? – then it pops, a bubble, sweet frail mist:
and something Other lists and slithers into view, a slowly
coiling serpent whose faint hiss reminds you of another

whisper: day comes: dream ends; suddenly you wonder if
your mother’s style was not perhaps suggested by
the fleet and serpentine: not something you’d have thought
before this rocking dawning reverie. You conjure up two
things she never did she said she wanted to: pick up

some extra-crispy KFC dark meat and buttered biscuits that
she saw in TV ads; and go to Norway, board a boat and sail
from fjord to fjord. Well, maybe this all counts for nothing
more than demonstrating your own style in sieving
nonsense into glory. You are responsible for your own story.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crib Notes

Today I shall explain my life.
(There’ll be a test – rife with invites
to meander freely: keep this poem
as its crib notes.) First, I seek
the most of what I guess I would
suppose is “rest” from nine to five,
and am what seems most generally

thought of as “awake” from five
to nine, which dovetails somewhat
with a lot of you (I find), but
dreaming’s seamless in me with
the fecklessness – or breathlessly
theatrical effects – of what comes
after it: and since I now require

not just feasibility but paradise,
which needs of course a system
galvanized to the production of
a quite exacting bliss, the quantum
kiss of which I’ve come to think of
as (at least) a nine-dimensioned
game of dice, I must make nice

with every point of consciousness
I can, which is precisely why I am
the sort of man who has to be alive
from nine to five to nine to five to nine.
Sometimes I am so bedazzled
by the buzz up, down my spine
I can’t wait quite as long as that:

the Universe connives so! – blibbles,
skuzzles up and relegates me
to its zoo of love-bugs, snuzzles
me around its golden floor, gets flirty.
Then five becomes four-thirty.
Here’s the test. If I could bundle up
with anybody, who’d be best?


Tuesday, February 5, 2008


“Politics is the art of making the inevitable appear to be a matter of wise human choice.” Quentin Crisp

Turns out people are in charge! In all their
idiosyncratic variations – every tiny one converges
with the other into something strange and large –
a mixture of the textures of this humid February

day – cool and slightly clammy: overcast
and insecurely winter: as if something private
wished to splinter in and sneak a drug of Spring
into the thing – the stated aim, today, of all

the city’s bumbling sentient beings, trying
in their separate ways to concentrate, and get from
here to there and back again, from psychopaths
who tote their venomous intentions to sweet

grandmothers who dote on the inventions of their
children’s children – stated aim? To vote. And then –
what then? New York City stays the pretty creature
it has always been: created by its dazed inhabitants

indulging our particular concoctions of remorse
and yearning, flirting and bewilderment, and all
the vast variety of human sin: whose last impiety’s
reserved for the inevitable bin to which the whole

amassing carcass of the mass of us will soon,
at our innumerable separate exit cues, creep toward
and climb the sides of to jump in. Meanwhile, I slice
an onion into small translucent bits and sprinkle it

on sliced sharp cheddar cheese, and put the lot
on crackers: picked my laundry up just now as well:
right after leaving an Italian church’s basement
where I took my breathing presence for a moment,

voting for the candidate who, I have been informed,
has (anyway) a chance of staving off our headlong
dive into another hell. Turns out people are in charge!
I wonder who of them will break the spell.


Monday, February 4, 2008

"Ah, g'wan"

He is a poem: colt-like pent-up
agita condenses in him:
breeds his winning angles, glances –

unsuspected choices – soft tangled
subtle voices breathe through
his testosterone-rich baritone:

Mercury plus every mortal fallibility:
an ineluctable profusion of effects
deriving from some secret recess

(liminally criminal – illicit – sacred:
suspects never will entirely be
named). Once you texted him:

“There’s so much life in you.”
(You almost said “too much.”) Used
to parrying seductive ploys, he texted

back (you pictured wary blinking
eyes – not unaffectionate –
less colt than fawn): “Ah, g’wan.”


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fairy Godfather

Quentin Crisp, whom
I was privileged to know,
once, and ever, manageably
evidenced this glow:

manifesting essence so
entirely in touch with
its upwelling springs
and outward interactions –

as if his human being
were a silent symphony –
that he could not avert
experience of sympathy

with what and how the world
and each of us must play –
alert to fleeting nuance
and to all the flapping

splay of its unnerving
context: so, today, when
I must trundle out my
violin and lend it to my

temperament and to
the uses of a larger music –
its eruption and its wisp –
I shall think of Mr. Crisp.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bona Fide Attractions

It’s probably a good idea to travel to
a bona fide attraction when you can –
Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon or the Yucatan –
and someday maybe you’ll do more of that –
but your internal universe is so unwieldy –
fat – appallingly insistent you attend to it –
that little else, no matter how amazing
you are told it is, can make you bend to it:
trends or movies, clothes or music
or the latest digital technology – the channeling

of sexual biology into the Internet – bemuse –
befuddle – don’t to quite the same degree
you see around you fuse you into passionate
engagement with the muddle of deciding
what to do with time. You’re not even fully
confident there’s such a thing as time: much
less that you should worry what to do with it.
You rub your windows like a child, in winter,
fogging up the glass with every breath.
Clarity is not the aim: something seethes

around you: makes you far more interested
in feeling than in figuring an outcome –
wrest a verse to make it open like a purse
so you can stuff it with whatever namelessness
emerges: the latest version of experience
for you is playing Bach and Mahler
with a crew of seventy musicians – acres
of violas, cellos, violins – a harp – and clarinets,
bassoons, and oboes – brass enough to make
the northern winds feel jealous of your

wide collective focus, of the human sense
that you have brought to sound: something
that was never sought is found here:
and you’re baffled by its motives and its cost –
you’ve no idea how any of it works, or even
if the battles and the losses and the wins
entailed, incurred, have anything to do
with all the wars you think you’ve fought.
Powerful, dim: gods are in the mist: a lonely
glide – distraction. Or a bona fide attraction.


Friday, February 1, 2008

But Enough

"It is the last, the last forever. I shall feel very lonely…at first. But enough.”
(Henry James on the death of his sister Alice, 1892)

You think of death and dying differently today:
oh – still immutable and strange, this vertigo, this
sway, this reeling thing – but now its fragile specificities,
blunt consequences bring more delicate bewilderments:

something almost childlike – odder, kinder, lighter,
freer than you’d felt before – or maybe you had
always felt it – maybe it was all you knew embarking
on the endlessly ridiculous amazements which construed

the infant you: this, coupled with a new capacity, as if
your view of life had shrunk – intensified – to the microbial:
to neural flicks – a secret lens with quick and thrilling
access to synaptic zaps, meticulous intricacies of

the electric circuitry of the exacting human animal –
and its protracted journey towards an end: what end?
You can’t see past the atoms of the shifting blends,
the blinking tints and shades of purple, cream and brown:

the slickly interrupting intermingling mass: the intermeshed
establishment of balanced frail somatic grounding
pressure which amounts to sweating, crying, dying
flesh: what and who is this? You’ve somehow gotten

just as close as anyone could get to the abyss without
receiving what it might bestow: nose pressed up to
some dark glow – you almost catch a scent: and someday,
probably, will know exactly where your father, mother,

brother went and where you’ll go. Meanwhile a February
rain: whatever wakes up from its sleep remains.
(When content is too thick: serve it in quatrains.)
Fading blue through alabaster of your mother’s veins.