Saturday, July 31, 2010


Distillate! Peculiar scrawl!
How did you come about?
Some sentient existential squall?
Vibration from a shout?

Are you the last drop of the flood?
A final anarchy?
The spatter from a young thug’s blood?
Proof of an agony?

Existence has evinced your form –
I cannot fathom why –
yet here you are, precise and warm,
as candid as a lie.


Friday, July 30, 2010


It doesn’t make you happy, being Art.
First there’s all the messy paint
you have to wear to play the part.
Heavy symbolisms taint

your life with questionable beauty.
Figuring yet new ways to be framed
becomes an existential duty.
"What new name should I be named

to capture my enigma?" – that’s a drag.
Then you have to conjure shapes –
be cows, a flute, brown paper bag,
a game of bocce, bunch of grapes.

Worse, you have to make it naked.
If I were you, I’d fake it.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

When They Left Him Home

When they left him home,
which they would do a lot,
he generally knew the spot
(quite clear, for there were very few)
where it would likely reappear.

There weren’t many that apparently
would qualify: it had to be a level surface,
very high, so high that he could not espy
more than an oddly radiating tendril,
curve or tingle floating out and over –

just enough to watch commingle in the air.
Faint expulsion here and there of color or a line –
hints of a design: all he understood
was that it was complex. This vexed.
Burning was a craving:

show yourself and make a speech!
That’s when he discovered
every lesson worth
the learning’s
out of reach.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Old Man in the Tea

Today, appearing like
an analogue of patriarchy
out of fog pursuant to
my first hot cup of tea,

a massive bearded serious
and soulful man gave
me to understand that
he’d been orbiting the whole

expanse of me, from apogee
to perigee: that he was
who I felt myself to be
when I imagined I had

mastery. I proved to both
of us how fragile was this
scheme: when, with a sigh,
I blew away the steam.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quite a Pair

Existence is a fat hermaphrodite,
of course, but lately he or she
has sprouted such a force
of bluish purplish pinkish hair
cascading into quantum data
which is slated to become what
we call air that we should surely
be apprised of it before we find
ourselves without defense against
the fertile follicles of his or her
large head, which has been known

quite catastrophically to shed.
Although it’s true that he or she
has not evinced that sort of lapse
since he or she called up from
her abysses his or her half-sister
Absence. No surprise, we must
surmise, that he or she would
think of her. She eats everything
including fur. Absence and Existence,
by the way, make quite a pair.
You should see them doing Cher.


Monday, July 26, 2010

What She’s Not Faced

Death tends to look a little gray,
so when she opts to wend her way
into our luscious living fray

she often wears a gaudy slew
as full as she is not of hue
and ornament, so I and you

may not too quickly notice that
she’s soulless as a vampire bat
beneath her many-layered hat.

But we can spot what she’s not faced,
as – rudely, crudely – she lays waste:
Death is always in bad taste.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bald Essence of the True

Today he’ll say the thing outright,
do what he ought to do –
no nuance – everything in sight! –
bald essence of the true.

Nouns and verbs, unqualified –
broad and blatant jokes –
Not one ironical aside –
no subtle little pokes.

Lay his cards right on the table –
candid and upfront –
Swing the thing, as he is able –
obvious and blunt.

Why, then, this enormous gloom,
this unexpected dolor?
As if there’s no air in the room,
and all is drained of color?


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Unspeakable Blossoms

Emily Dickinson
wasn’t fond of cats.
I just learned that
she once drowned

three kittens in a vat
of pickle brine.
Lies strangely
with her line: “Drowning

is not so pitiful
as the attempt to rise.”
Unspeakable blossoms
bloomed in her eyes.

[probably unnecessary apologia: written to someone who thought the poem was about Emily D. being bad, or something:
"I know this is such a charged & unpalatable anecdote about Emily D. -- however I didn't provide it to excoriate her for her sins (however arguably this be one), but rather, perhaps, to suggest that no human being, and surely no great artist, is not capable of understanding & (sometimes even) committing atrocity. And with Emily D., who was and is so often unwarrantedly made the 'safe' pretty poet of 'nature' and ambiguous musings about life & death in hymnal prosody, this seems even more powerfully important a point: Emily Dickinson wrote some frighteningly insightful & eruptively anarchic poems -- she comes as close as anyone I know since Milton (and maybe Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof!) to persuading me she's had more than a few conversations with "God." She ain't no fragile flower. So the poem, if I can be permitted this little exegesis of it (which I cringe at providing), is maybe meant to jolt us out of any complacency we might to bring not only to her, but to the human condition, and its infinite and sometimes appalling variety. Emily shocked, with magnificent skill -- but also, sometimes, like any human being, with abhorrent behavior.
Makes ya kinda sit up & relate, don't it?"}

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Big Red Lady

It turns out there’s a big red lady who decides what comes and goes.
She takes a look at you or me and in a nanosecond knows
exactly what the deal is.
Whatever you may feel is

not especially of interest to the dame.
She preys on other sorts of game.
Neither sweet nor sour,
she will wield her power

with a quite remarkably cool head,
notwithstanding her impassioned red,
and not according to what justice you think wise;
but in adhering to her own proclivities, and size,

she may just get you off the hook.
You cannot fathom from her look
what outcome is in store.
They say she used to drop some hints, but she’s not hinting any more.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


On Having Lunch With Someone I Love Whom the World Thinks is Crazy

Merperson has a fondness
for a small stringed puppet
of a businessman –

found abandoned
in Long Island Sound –
perhaps thrown overboard

by some bored human being
drinking lemonade
and getting tan.

Merperson likes to fondle him
while making him dance
something like a can-can –

floating with him in the greeny sea
with lovely fatuous complacency.
which somehow makes me

understand that I have never seen –
nor can, I think, expect to see –
one creature capable of choice

that doesn’t do exactly
what it wants or isn’t
what it wants to be.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

His Hellion Glow

Shards of narrative cut up my night –
eruptively egested by a slim grim feeder:
my dream-sleep’s ringleader – brilliant,

hungry, slick – brandishing acutely sensitive
quick long prehensile fingers, toes, lingering
to grab at dénouements and other plot

devices and developments that, left alone,
might make some sense of what become
instead my random dada shows: made of bits

of waste he spits dismissively into my alpha/
theta/delta brain. Just now he paused amid
his robe of night and trained his reaper’s gaze

upon me as if he were looking at the vast
unplowed potential of a farm. His hellion
glow, I must admit, did not lack charm.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How It Really Happened

Today my mind is two small children
huddling in the dusk discussing how
it really happened – arguing and interrupting:
“Wait now – was it round?” “No no! – it had
an edge.” “But what was that weird part of it
that seemed to want to wedge into the – “

“Yeah, but that big other thing it came with
wouldn’t let it – “ “Oh, and when they rose
to greet us, were they – “ “I was thinking
they might eat us” – “maybe, but then why did
they so quickly turn away?” – “you think there’s
something else they wanted us to say?” –

and more along that line. And as the two small
kids opine, a soft bright bluish light aligns –
runs through the center of their business: hard
to tell if it has fallen from above or if, from
where they sit, they are emitting it. It doesn’t
really matter, but I tend to think the latter.


Monday, July 19, 2010

How It Seems

for Raphael Boguslav, d. July 18, 2010

I wonder if the purpose of our dreams
is to rehearse us for what seems
to be the final moment of a life.
I say “what seems” because I’ve watched

while people die: they do not look as if
they worry, as they lie there, and when
finally the moment comes when breath
desists, it doesn’t seem to me

that what existed or exists has much
to do with any grand cessation
of sensation. Nothing happens in that
instant of a liminality between what’s

living and what ends: no violence –
not even silence, really, since the riffles
of the air outside the window, and the radio
beyond the bed and ringing telephone

convene to buoy up the scene
as if there weren’t any death at all.
What left? What stays behind? I wonder
if our dreams have not been telling

us there is no time. And if, inside their
nightly instants of a liminality, resides
eternity. No one dies in dreams.
Anyway, today, that’s how it seems.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Torrid Plants

Behind the scenes – while narcissistic June is
busting out all over – the first few quiet Torrid Plants
come out, begin to sprout, unbend, to send
a molten essence upwards through a fibrous fuse –

power a broad petaled flower to evince the necessary
steamy torpor – use their radiating, dripping forces
to provide July and August with their lurid heat:
spreading seeds of other Torrid Plants which promulgate

themselves with ease – collectively arterially coursing
closer to a fleet bright seizure of degrees – joining
to contribute to the steep ascent of temperature
which, measured on the scale called Fahrenheit,

eventually reaches mighty ninety and then thunders
towards a hundred. Wondering, as they have done
for their innumerable eons, if they once again can foster
yet another archetype of torrid summer, they do not,

I can assure you, much enjoy their reputation in some
quarters as a horrid bummer. Surely, as the sun’s
primary emissaries, Torrid Plants deserve respect.
Think of them with reverence when you sweat.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

It isn’t Jacob wrestling with the angel,
it’s the warm part with the cooler part of you –
the het-up grappler with the big red butt,
the quiet canny fighter in his enigmatic blue –

the former dude too sure the latter dude
is through – the endlessly recombinative
machinations of the two – spinning slowly,
mildly, vainly in a mellow, not unpleasant vortex

radiating yellow, green and purple hues: loins
and limbs and torsos whirling, squirreling,
struggling, rubbing, quaking here, below, around,
above. They almost might be making love.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Something In It

It creeps up steeply
from the deepest marrow –
generated by an existential rape

so violent and narrow
its constraints of pain
cannot be measured. But

something in it must be treasured –
thought so precious
by whatever unknown

force enforces it
that it will brook no interference
in its course: dooming it

to loss: protecting it
against all mitigating gain:
insuring that it will be harrowing

from end to end. Perhaps it is
the first inevitable wrenching
bend each sentient living thing

must undergo
in crippling face
of the enormity of being here.

Seeing it come near rams fear
into its dark fraternal twin:
stark hopelessness –

which starves to languish
for release into the catatonic.
Anguish is iconic.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eminence Grise

This thing that grows old –
you wonder what it wants.
Unless it’s just another stark
condition of the Soul –
involuntary progeny of all
the mostly unintended wreckage
to which you’ve subjected
your worn life, stricken
by intransigent biology:
which over time inevitably aches,
and breaks, and makes itself:

or else is it the grand Dickensian
old man who, wrapped up
in a purple blanket, just
appeared, right here, to offer
his alternative to “inner child”?
You wonder if he’d held the reins
all through the woolly
and the wild of you.
And if he now has come
to tell you he is you. Sly
little tease – eminence grise.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Your Subtly Muddled Multi-Headed Oracle

Consult your subtly muddled
multi-headed oracle today, the one
whose soft expressive hybrid-hydra
sways and incrementally amassing
enigmatic hints proceed mysteriously

from a secret panoply of ambiguity –
providing, always accurately,
just those grayish beige-y tan
impressionistic tints you seek to color
consciousness to make it tolerable.

Watch what followable facial vagaries
evolve you can. Revolve around their
round developments; lose yourself
in their envelopments, and muse.
The bomb will probably defuse.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

His Mother

The quality of mercy
may turn out to be
as loosy-goosy as the rain,

but being starkly startled
courts the brain,
bakes the cake,

cops the prize.
See the creature
with the giant eyes? –

too blessedly awake
to think that anything
is any less miraculous

than any other?
He’s just discovered
everything’s his mother.


Monday, July 12, 2010

You Little Naked Thing

Flounce right in,
you little naked thing:
jump into it – stun me like the sun –

I need you here today –
just as they say
one cannot meet a vampire

without asking it to come in,
and to stay:
there’s an intoxication

hard to tell from virulence in your quick joy:
it spreads and sticks
and changes everything

that doesn’t bring a revolution to the soul.
Ripple nipples in my face –

have me whole.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mystery Resists

Strange to contemplate a human face –
saddled in its skin – prey to chromosomal
intimacies like a mother’s eyes, father’s chin –

odd to think how very unsurprisingly akin
it is to every other face: features more or less
proportionate, predictably in place: reproducing

higher primate symmetries that go a great length
to erasing differences between what I call you,
what you call me. Weirder still to try to draw

the thing and look it in its pupils: worse – stupid
and unscrupulous!
– awkwardness sounds
its alarm: bangs a gong – evidently you are

doing something very wrong. Mystery resists:
delicate attention must be paid to care for it.
You wish you'd known how to prepare for it.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Girl Who'd Heard of Europe

The girl who'd heard of Europe
couldn’t think of anything she wanted more.
Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland,
the British Isles and Spain and Belgium,
little Liechtenstein and Luxembourg –
Portugal – and Austria – the Netherlands –
all swirled upon a spinning globe and bloomed
into a single whirling mesh of story:
whose mixed history was far too long and rich with glory
to ignore – steeped in colors you could not describe –
dimensions of a mystery too deep
to circumscribe with simple fact. She wanted more of

She quietly became emphatic
that she ought to sneak up to the attic –
scavenge there for clues: she sensed that something
in that magic darkness might just bring this thing to light.
She crept upstairs and there
discovered in its dusty drawers and boxes,
trunks and piles, a pair of red-striped shoes,
and quantities of loose discarded fabric –
including the surprise of what in shadow
looked as if it could have been a ruby-studded
scarf – the guise a complicated princess
might devise to steal into a complex night.

She wrapped herself in purples, greens and golds
and blues and sat there, in her layers, like
the emissary of an ancient kingdom,
on a black-and-white striped stool
and mused – glittering in dusk with tiny studs
and strands of costume jewels
someone had laid there for her, surely –
hoping she would put them on.
A European, surely, would come back to get them –
find her – want to take her with him –
and they’d scheme, and leave, together: travel
on a dream into a mystic European dawn.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Virgin Queen of Celery

The lascivious insinuating
Empress of the Summer
will supplant plants on a whim,
and with celerity (she’s fresh

from being strawberries –
with memorable temerity):
she’s now decided to portray
the Virgin Queen of Celery –

whose trim, cool crispnesses
permit her to imagine cold.
She blooms all brave
and saintly – bold: as if

the winter were a destiny –
or even possibility –
which clearly it is not. Odd
to be what only knows the hot.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Uneasy Proof

Disinterred and peering out
in very softly differing varieties
of gold from folds of one sweet

gentle flannel dream: three gleams:
three graces: cool triumvirate of ages,
faces: wide-set gazes: little girl –

old woman – full grown lady – each
who she once was, will be, or is –
each a version bright with yellow light

seen through another angle of the prism
of a person: each a scheme to prove
eternity: each witness to the grand

simultaneity of being. One wonders,
though, at some slight anguish in their
eyes: as if about whatever they appear

to want to say they’re seeing. they
look worried. Perhaps it comes
from being, feeling buried.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Impending Impact

Life sits there like a grand poobah,
wondering whether to drink

the blue drink.
Too much to think
about. A silent rout

of unconsidered slaves behaves –
enacts the necessary lifts and saves.
Ground is cracked.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It Is Her Way

She has a talent for attracting things:
a magic magnet in her brings her
dragonflies and petals, paper airplanes,
still-green baby leaves, bewildered

birds, confetti, moths, forgotten letters,
major thirds and minor sighing flying
bits of loose conundrum: swiggles
and the almost-were’s that swirl

and swerve into the everyday.
It is her way to let whatever flies
and floats alight or sift or fall or drift
into her bowl. (She landed naked

in this saucer when a life she can’t
remember lost her.) The miracle is that
it always all goes in. Beyond her brim
the world is vacant, clean and trim.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Let Us Seek The Reason For The Beach

Particulate detritus of eroded silica and shell
and other tiny broken bits of creature
make the sand upon whose reach stands

all the tan and swelling brawn of Stan. Behind
the frilly pink behind of Lil the grand reserve
of water in which all of life began ends

in the motion of a gentle spill: a lapping

edge of ocean. (Lil thanks God and Walmart
for her lotion.) But these innumerable

disparate configurations of the mineral
and animal, not to mention sexually desperate
display and fraught emotion in inexorable heat

amid the grinding and indifferent and protracted
mute implosion of geology eviscerating
or creating random sand and land beyond

and under Stan and Lilly’s feet – all muddle
up what there may once have been to teach.
Therefore we find no reason for the beach.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Man on the Loveseat

He’d long ago got comfortable
taking all of it up – erupting
to a not un-joyous breakthrough:
spreading his limbs as wide
as ardent mouths sing hymns
at Eastertide. He’d resurrected
into room for no one else –
autonomy defined his ride through

night and day: it seemed by now
the right inevitable way.
If destiny decreed that every
he or she was meant to be
with certain other he’s or she’s,
he’d watch it serially, like TV,
and think: “that isn’t me.”
You’d like, perhaps, to see him see
his error. But at the moment he

is too distracted musing over
the alluring slow and gentle
onset of a beauty getting
almost too excruciating not
to have some link to terror.
Its seeping-in had been as
incremental as his sitting on
a loveseat now was incidental.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Remembering His Alzheimer’s

Personify his fractured
bits of thought –
elfishly caught
in cartoonish sticky
fly paper – breaking

through, like so
much daffy taffy –
cute. Make it seem
like it was not
his being going mute.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Vague Memories of Being Ten

I am well-behaved.
I toss my salad of extremities
inside where nobody
need see them or abide them.

I slide between their glories
and the stories I must tell
to make you think
that I am well.

Oh, I am well!
Under my secret spell.
I will not bring the magic to an end.
I am my own imaginary friend.


Thursday, July 1, 2010


Sharp absence – drop –
no dream: just blank.
This glass of milk –
this mother’s brew she drank –

less strengthened than effaced her.
What had she ever been?
Where had it gone? –
she felt no blast, no spin –

no remnant quivers of a unity.
Something seemed to steal it.
She had to have had life,
but couldn’t feel it.