Friday, July 31, 2009

Like Mother, Like Child

Every night she was home of her last several
decades of living, my mom carried with her
a gelid green Tupperware tube-glass of milk
up to bed: as iced as the freezer could make it –

so when she’d awake in two hours or so
through a slice of the night, she could take it,
and slake a deep thirst with its still-cold
white liquid – delight in the burst of whatever

delights me when I, too, arise from my slumber
to lumber across to the kitchen to find in
the fridge the gargantuan gallon of milk I insist
upon keeping to punctuate sleeping – to help

me derive a required and kindred effect. She
did it with délicatesse – while I do it more like
a delicatessen, open all night: I haul out
and gulp from a giant container; she sipped from

a slender tall cup. Like mother, like child, though,
in how we got up to go back to a similar well.
Neither of us had been nursed at a breast:
I wonder if that was a part of the spell.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

That Gold Thing

You’ve got that gold thing going on again –
come earlier today –
yesterday you brayed Louisiana rain –
full of storm and sway –

but now you brave a big broad wink of later
summer: hot as hell
but full of angled light – as if a freighter
had come in to swell

the harbor with the first grace of a harvest –
harbinger of fall –
to summon up a hunger for the largest
part of anything at all:

the bounty in the evening we will reap
before we wrestle
with its lack – before we take another leap
onto the trestle

of the bridge of yet another year –
with luck to struggle up into the clear.
But you’ve come earlier today, my dear.
The shadowed angle’s almost here.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Don't Understand Chocolate Ice Cream

It seems like it's a good idea, but every
time I taste the stuff, I don't believe in it.
Frozen cream is one thing, dark chocolate
is another. One would like to loft a bit,

the other wants to smother. Blended, they
persist in a resistance: their wedding is a cover.
I think chocolate ice cream really wants
to split, go back to source. I'd say divorce.



Each day is a triumvirate: three winning beasts: the first (but
not least) of the second and third is the luminous bird that awakens
at four when it flies through an avian doorway of consciousness

towards a predawning translucence of birdybrain thought –
which by noon it has wrought into filigree silvery musical trills
which it spills into air – which transmutes to the lair that the second

contender – the bear – burrows into to nap – who, after eight hours
of being a bird, is delighted to gird and curl up in one place
for a change: the range of a lap of a redolent somnolence in which

the echoes of birdsong can ripple like fresh gentle splashes
in rapids, whose proddings soon rouse the bear out of his sleep,
send him deep into unexplored patches of woods to dig roots, seize

and grab in the trees at berries, small mammals, then catch
leaping fish from the falls, enjoying their bloody and terrified wriggles
and squalls as their effluent beings leak out of his paws – work

hungrily done, the bear lumbers back to a clearing: he lunkily senses
he’s nearing the entrance, again, to the end and beginning of new
metamorphoses: eight o’clock: funky time! monkey tme! – enter

the ape, the spry primate presuming anew to morph out of the bear –
and his blunt ursine view – daring to sneak into realms you and I lack
the guts and the stamina even to peek at – the sleek little simian

rat piques and rattles his simian aptitudes – snatches, manipulates
up, down, around, over, under the vines with which he must
consort and divine through the night, ‘til he turns into purplish lines

of a dream, which turns into the scheme that turns into the bird
who flies out of the dark night’s large herd of delights, once again,
right at four. Each day is a bird, bear and monkey – and more.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Give ‘em Hell

A Mission Statement

Let poems
have such
cocky points-of-view –

so scurrilously
squirreled through –

they might
from this
insistent fro-and-to

sweat out,
at least remotely,
something true.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Humming in the Eye

Particle or wave – tsunami –
time-free snapshot – motionless
surprise – photographed: forever
delicately startled eyes – or some yelp
rushing, blasting with such force
and speed there is no help for it:

looking through the summer’s
crystal lens – exacting point-of-view –
I can’t see anything held back: nothing
hasn’t been set out, arrayed for me
to see: nobody is covering the truth:
everything is everywhere, on top,

upfront; the surface holds whatever
key that there could be: I’m as much
the sea as sea, or sky as sky:
all there humming in the eye.
I saw a pretty mother push an empty
pram meticulously up a sidewalk –

West End Avenue – followed by
a very little girl, presumably her daughter,
pushing her toy empty pram as well.
Memory has turned them into water –
glass: absent and eternal. Every
image lasts, tinkles like a bell.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fatal Imbalance

without desire
a dire anxiety –

without energy
a baleful mire.

breath and art.
if they part.


One Day and Four Lives After

The twenty-sixth, July:
sixty-six years to the day
in 1943 my parents woke from
their first night together –
married on the twenty-fifth
in wanton humid war-torn Alabama

weather – soldier and his bride.
Owing to their twining mesh
of what I hope bespoke an ecstasy,
my brother Bob acquired flesh,
began his ride in fall of 1945.
Six years after that, biology

construed the rude phenomenon
of me. Remembering us now,
I lose all sense of idiosyncrasy,
which not too long ago
was all that I could see. But
family is never odd: it's species

propagation; human loins
and limbs must prod each
other into rapt contraptions
for providing, planting seed,
to cultivate it into yet more
breathing progeny. I am no less

or more than the result
of this involuntary deed:
a semi-sentiently perambulating
weed. For which I seek
no pardon. I don’t mind this
blind regenerating garden.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Climatic Fear

That fresh free flow –
where does it go? At first,
your light illumines prettily –

refracted in the careful soft
deployment of a fog – alluring,
no impediment to nearing it –

so here I come –
and there it isn’t anymore.
Or if it is, it has exploded

into self-excited brash display
past any prospect
of exoneration: baring every

pimple, wart and pore –
at war: as though the unrefracted
force of a determined

fogless ugliness could possibly
disguise the truth in your wide
unrequited eyes – their terror

and deep beauty: tortured by
the error of believing
it’s your human duty

to bare every molecule –
as if you could! –
or else devise a guise

that makes you disappear –
as if you could!
Climatic fear. Blare, my dear,

or vanish though you may,
my heart ransacks you gently
and completely anyway.


Friday, July 24, 2009

An Artist Contemplates an Egg

You want to pick it up and coddle it,
this filled fragile case – warm its brittle shell
and gently rock the heft of its thick liquid
in your hands’ embrace – roll the ovoid slowly
forth and back with an assiduous affection –
delicately taking care that it won’t crack –

but what creature would you save? It’s not
fertilized, you’re not a hen or incubator,
you will beg no baby from that egg:
good luck eating it without destroying it –
boiled, scrambled or soufflé – destiny
requires its destitution every culinary way.

What to do then with this fine dimensional
ellipse – this rotund display – this idea made
almost manifest, absent longed-for embryo,
off-white unimaginable play? Sort of blows
your whole conundrum up, away: how to
foster, capture genesis – make it stay.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

White Cherries

White lie: they aren’t white; they bloom in
blushing beiges, yellows, brush-stroked reds
and pinks – next to all their burgundy-dark
cousins they would seem to be a questionable
treat: they are as if the unripe children of the ones
we think we like to eat: in fact, they symbolize
delicious parts of summer of which no one
speaks: those dimmer things which sleep and wake

in shadowed subtlety – not the rabid raging heat
and volubility of bursting self-exposure –
like those sexy cheeks and breasts of plums
and peaches and the rest which vie for prizes,
trap our eyes – these are the shyer bits of season
which retire to the backward bin and wait for us
to deign to let them in – as I did yesterday,
today, and will tomorrow – bought them from

a Muslim produce vendor on First Avenue –
a purchase which ensued upon my having just
got buzz-cut by a Russian Jew. White cherries
are my ticket to the hybrid synchrony of late July:
they seem precipitated from its humid tart/sweet sky;
I celebrate their mottled influence – this metaphoric
fruit of New York City heterogeneity which feeds
me so completely that it almost makes me cry.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Turner Classic Movies Summer Nap

While Listening to George Sanders’ Unending Voice

Meaninglessly rolling out like layers of exquisite artificial
cinematic fog, voices loll and troll about for trouble:
seek a marriage with the density of late July: two sly
psychic weather systems of offense, defense –
too reprehensible to stand alone: one, the soul of mundane
melodrama: black-and-white B-movie sinister; one,
a Technicolor-garish pisser prone to cheap effects –

coyly cultivating fleeting glimpses, gasps of wink-wink
fake-it sex: quickly followed by disgruntlement at being had:
enough to make the larger creature of you sad,
and yet – the quirky circus entertains: distracts you from
an utter lack: how long since your libido’s stained you? –
when had it last waned like this? – you can’t imagine anyone
you’d like to kiss. Something else is brewing underneath

this slick and silly surface – who knows, by letting go
of any hunger for a purpose, you might just enjoy the show:
discover something fascinating in its glow. Or maybe not.
Watch your looping and internal fog fox trot with hot
but not quite pornographic summer. Attend their bummer
of a wedding. After they have honeymooned, slip into
their discarded bedding, and breathe deep. You’ll sleep.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Begging the Major Question

An enclosing solitude
can seem the wiser choice;
opting for the solo note –
uninterrupted voice –

against a messy chorus
of discord, competing songs –
lends a sense of agency:
resorting, when one longs

for peace, to secretive retreat –
proposing to reject
the whole for one lone part of it:
in quiet, to inspect

its singularity: but now
that enterprise feels odd –
the clamor pushed away might
be the blast and breath of God.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Driven Thing

It digs a hole
and burrows
like a mole:

blind but bent
on nosing
out fresh scent:

to thresh
and tangle
through root-mesh

into thick loam,
to get away from,
or to find, a home.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Looking Out the Window at an Impossibly Blue July New York City Sky

What great gladness
to inhabit mind! –
become as large
as any grand scheme
it can find.
It would be sweet
to leave it there,

all cozy,
air, abstractly
pretty notions
of its magnitude,
and getting dozy –

but oceans
of calamitous,
and harrowingly
regale as well:

so many winds blow
through your
hard to tell,
from hell –
and other impositions

of unasked-for sins;
though now
you try
to see the glory
of an Immanence:
everybody wins.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Thing You Can’t Say

It scrabbles
like a ragged vine
of aphid-ridden
roses climbing
up vicissitudes

of crumbling brick –
clawing onto it
from instinct: rising
out of blind refusal:
prey to passing

and dispassionate
perusal: indifferent
strollers mildly
wondering how
long the virtually

barren thing can
possibly go on
before it dies:
still sending out
eroded tired pinkish

petals framing
spotted yellow
and beseeching
eyes: pleading for
a pollinating bee:

worn dowager,
persisting in
a folly of seduction;

breezes intervene,
flutter it into
appalling mockery
of prettiness:


Friday, July 17, 2009


Oblique Response to Seeing “Bruno”

Given all that I’ve been told is true,
I can’t imagine what accounts for you.

I grumble at the cul-de-sac of death,
dissatisfied its flip side should be breath –

which is to say, perturbed at the cliché
which seems to give dichotomy such sway,

as if the Universe could be bisected:
as if we weren’t badly misdirected

by being told the choice was black or white –
as if through terror of our unseen flight

we have to conjure up the certainty
that only through some granted mercy, we

can make the trip to paradise. But why,
through tossing up this pair of dice, should I

believe that any outcome must occur?
Choosing new dimensions, I prefer

to think the barest whim, velleity
directly proves simultaneity

of every little squiff and jot and tittle –
cause, effect, sensation, big or little –

one bubbling savory eternal stew.
What else could possibly account for you?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fluid Scheme

Today turns time into slow flood:
elongates it as if all momentariness
were false – softly prodded by
the pulse in brain of blood: a gentle
force – a beat – repeats – its waltz
entreats you to abandon hope,
and fear: something wants you
merely here. It is July, of course:

mid-summer in Manhattan brings
inevitable sin: sensual humidity
against which nothing possibly could
win – a spin in which the soul
seems to remember what it felt like
to begin – primeval ooze. You’re
tempted, heavily, to snooze –
to lose your consciousness: become

slug-essence: some quintessence
of the start of things: be a jiggling
blob: seductive mud: gently separate
into gelatinous striation: let your
blubbing thread become a flow –
be the rhythmic ripple of a ribbon
of a river in whose bed dreams
stream: be summer’s fluid scheme.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Live Apostasy

You are a sneaky alley dweller –
deal in dark skullduggery –
you clomp around your funky cellar –
snort with a malicious glee –

oh, what will you conspire today
to do that will provoke?
You salivate at each new way
to make sure that I choke

and trip on my complacency –
awaken to the shock
of living in the constancy
of big bang blasts. The clock

no longer now tick-tocks for me:
you’ve caused the thing to stop –
you are a live apostasy –
you’ve made each bubble pop –

you gulp the golden sunlight up
and spit it out like sex
to leave it glowing, in a cup,
for me to drink: you hex

the rest of everything and spin
my fragile mind to dust –
succeeding, in a flip, to win
my awe-struck ardent trust.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Later Volupté

Itinerant, expectant, smiling
farmer’s market vendors
are hauling in new piles of fruit:
arrayed in all their splendors,

peaches blush appealingly,
so does each nectarine –
their brilliant yellows, pinks
and reds attract you by their sheen.

Nearer, though, the farmers’ grins
appear a touch abashed –
as if they nervously suspect
your dreams will soon be dashed:

nothing to complain of in
the color or the form
of every fat bright pretty globe
in bins – fresh-plucked, tree-warm –

but pick one up and oh! you’ll find
you’re quickly on your guard –
each pretty peach and nectarine’s
unyielding: baseball-hard.

July is gorgeous now: she seems
as if she holds all prizes:
but she is covering the truth
that ripeness slowly rises –

lessons of persistence
take some time: add to allure –
fruit, like lovers, gently
sweeten life as they mature:

pretty as they are right now,
they’re only in their teens:
praise a later volupté
in peaches, nectarines.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Apple Interruptus

I grabbed
the hard fruit
in both hands
and cored it;

then dropped
the seeds
into the trash,


Just Barely to the Brink

The fluency of fantasy –
the easiness of thought –
effortlessly letting whim
transmute into the wrought:

surely there’s a realm like this
somewhere within the cell
where all you’d have to do
is conjure wishes like a spell

to spin them via dream
into their faultless paradigms –
easy as iambic flow –
sweet as nursery rhymes –

want a plum? – then think of one:
you’ve got it in your hand –
make imagination make
your certainties expand –

as Juliet bestowed her breath
from her bright balcony
to realize her Romeo,
employ your alchemy –

and so you would, but when
you try in this odd circumstance
of having to haul flesh around –
into and out of pants –

this silly endless business
of gravity and age –
of working hard and sweatily
to reach out, and engage –

well, this is not exactly what
you signed on for, you think:
this taking all your life
to get just barely to the brink.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Radioactive Core of Bliss

Sex was made for poems! –
or poems were made for sex.
Whatever their causes, effects –
they make the perfect mixture –
fixture – mess: pressuring each
last scintilla of the language
and the flesh to copulate
and correlate and mesh –

and keep the whole thing fresh.
What perplexes is quite how to say
the thing without resorting
to the sorts of fling which one
deploys in fetishistic porn –
or sugary worn-out erotica –
or other forms of self-involved
exotica. Oh, I could tell you

stories of how I evinced this
sweat: but that would hardly
spin the bet that sex and poetry
would have me set, and win.
I cannot shovel notions into
you or anybody else of my
delicious private sin. You
couldn’t take it in. But surely we

agree on this: that poetry exacts
the radioactive core of bliss;
anything less, and it will miss.
So what else could appease?
Transport-states of shameless
sleaze – the trespass which
trespasses most. Hot breath is
its body, warm words are its ghost.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

One Habitable Bloom

I thought that I preferred the dark –
but now we’ve got the light, I like it!
Where does this facility for sun
come from? – this sense – defense against
those vestiges of anxious childhood
which send their tendrils creeping up and in,
extend to render everything
into the strangling stratagem

it felt like then – whenever
any day was “fine.” Oh, how I would whine
inside at having to perform because
a summer morning dawned
blue, long, wide, warm:
onerously failing: flailing at a softball;
mowing down a lawn; pretending
I belonged – that I conformed

completely to some alien
and unimaginable norm: inept –
privately forlorn – until the evening crept
back to assert its softer malleable form –
its welcome cover –
and I could retreat to it: become
again its secret lover. But now,
July supplies its gorgeous

rousing bright surprise – a ripeness
well before the ripeness of demise:
and sometimes I cannot believe my eyes –
or head or heart – that I can feel, at last,
a part of it. New York allows,
of course, the art of it prodigious room.
Being here, all seasons of the year
comprise one habitable bloom.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Sufficient Warning

A miniscule black hole has just now bloomed
into a fold of one of my parietal lobes
and started to suck every bit of
matter as we know it into
its annihilating core.

I hope this is
but if you
do not wake up
tomorrow morning it’s
because you aren’t here anymore.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Couplets in Search of the Feline Soul

To Boycat, whose desires I do my best to tend daily

I will do what I can do to fathom the unfathomable surfaces
and depths of you – the middle layers, too: I want to think you get

along without me fine; on circumstantial evidence, it’s true; although
the hours spent alone must surely have effect: patterns without time,

perhaps: sounds and smells of passing afternoon and evening,
night and dawn: and all the interstitial small familiarities and goings-on

that come of constancy – of living in this studio apartment: sweet,
I want to think, with sleep, so lavishly resorted to I trust it gives you

all the luxury of knowing that you’re doing what you want to do:
includes some sense, I hope, in which I fit the fitness of your life –

direct and circumspect – by reappearing daily in the morning
and delivering my body to you, dropping to all fours, and fawning over

your black flanks in full subservience to your felinity: and then the milk,
of course, your ritual of gutturally wailing for the milk: I want to think

that I’m a help at least in this, that after offering my human kiss I can
restore you with that longed-for bowl of bliss, replenished with its cold

elixir – while I fix your litter box and otherwise attend to what it is my
lot to do for you: I’d like to think that when I leave, you’re not relieved;

and yet I’d like to think you don’t wish too much that I wouldn’t go.
Today you sang your gutturalities – bereft and low – and kept them

going when I left: I think you knew I stood there listening, outside
the door, not feeling strong. Unless I’ve got the whole thing wrong.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This Unforeseen Regime

I dreamt I spread red paint on bread
and daubed some damson plum jam on my head
before I woke up gratefully, got out of bed

to undergo equivalently sticky messes
in my daytime consciousnesses

which, though
July’s blue-green-gold bold rays glow
and aptly splendid zephyrs blow

cannot quite cleanse my mental filter:
I’m crooked, oddly out of kilter –

something feels peculiarly askew –
as if ‘til now I hadn’t known how to construe
the false, what makes it different from the true

and so, today, I have decided to retreat until,
perhaps long after I have sat here very still,
this unforeseen regime adapts to me. I hope it will.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Aerial Perspective

Jump out –
gape –

will change –

paper –




A sensate change:
from arguing the point
to savoring the observation:

a curiosity which mistrusts
alleged intent – cares for scent;
phenomena regale, avail:

they strike you like the random
plunk of raindrops in a pail:
you catch a glint of passage,

zap of electricity in air, queer
hint of a geometry which
only starts at sphere.


Monday, July 6, 2009

While We’re At It

Slice it
this golden bluish
glowing blob of day:

array it on a tray
and serve it
with a silver prick
and ruby-cut-glass

bowl of dip.
Cream of lassitude
might do the trick:
you pick.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Art Nouveau After-Life

This readiness – summoning its unchecked course –
expenditure of force – its sensitive irruptive energy – delicate –
attenuated – gently throbbing into chaos, vagrant sinuosity of line –
a vine that pulses with a fine determination to press out, unfurl

into a bloom – though not quite yet, not in this room, not in your hands,
not yet this year, not yet: this readiness demands a bursting queer
attention – it’s only just begun to set: although the moment holds exactly
everything it needs to reach its bold apotheosis, the closest you

can get, right now, right here, is to experience a sweet vertiginous
expansion: not to wait, there is no waiting, but to be the bated breath
that knows the purer air it needs to breathe is as inevitable as the death
to which it knows it must, as well, concede – and that the panoply

is swinging round and full of an impending groundlessness which will
absorb all linearity and demonstrate its power by making possible
that flower – which, with a fresh remembrance, and beyond all
gravity and din, you’ll know you’ve always been.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Szechuan Pepper Layer Cake

Days fly by like confetti:
here’s another one already.

Pathetic and forgetful thief,
the human mind is gluttonous

and wasteful: opts for the relief
of overkill in lieu of tasteful:

favors anarchistic battle
and seditious prattle –

nothing for it but to creep
to sleep and let the psyche

somnolently quake – until,
that is, again, it has to wake

and slaver over yet another
Szechuan pepper layer cake.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Mostly Elegantly

The day was full of towered
clouds – cumulus accumulating
cumulus – more proud than
angry: save for two or three
small snits of spitting rain,

these atmospheric empresses
appeared content to primp
and plump themselves, parade,
and snub each other just enough
to pique each other’s volume up:

Edwardian and prim, but brimming
with a pressured volupté
that made one more than guess
another day, they will transgress
to far more rabid densities

and roar and pour: today they
managed mostly elegantly to ignore
each other: superior mothers-in-law –
resentful new-wed wives: they
carried on their ostentatiously

remote and separate lives,
almost decorously wondering
(well this side of thundering) how
it was fathomable they could
occupy the self-same sky.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Inimitably Wet

How gratifying summer rain is!
Spatter-zaps the metal casing
of the air conditioner
like a translucent anarchistic
gremlin army bent on turning

everything into itself – spits like
a nervous gambler on a dicey bet –
inimitably wet – paints the atmosphere
a scary-movie yellow-gray.
I think I’d like it every day.

I thank the sky for its complicity –
indifferent though it be. I am
a funny creature now: I don’t
appear to want much company:
at least, whoever I would see

must be so welcome to the core of me
I’d never think to blink before
inevitably sitting down together.
But blink I do, today, in this
inclement weather – my eyes feel

sympathy with summer rain:
a comfortable pain: a lubricating tear;
the humid air begets a tiny
sense of nearly pleasurable threat:
a bit of sweat. Inimitably wet.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When I Read Keats

“…And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,…”

lines 58-61, Ode to Psyche, 1819

When I read Keats I want to cut the cake
and pass it round to everyone: insist that all of its
fat buttercream and crumb be licked and chewed –
consumed until each rumble in each stomach has been
fed – not silenced: resolutely led to some sweet new
low resonant experience of the replete: so we might
then resume the enterprise of living in the world

as if it were complete. When I read Keats I want
to layer all noetic dolor with poetic color: tell the intellect
to recollect its instincts: to think sweat precisely
when it used to think philosophy. When I read Keats
I want to follow every hunch: I want the world
to fight me back: alert me to the liveness of a punch.
When I read Keats I want the taste of blood to marry

with the flood of every yearning dream of love:
a sweetness with a tang: a neatness in my cadences
and rhymes which tightens to intolerable brightness:
bangs against and blasts away all time. When I read
Keats I learn that beauty is as close as we can get
to death; provides us with the best inducement
we can know to want to take another breath.