Friday, December 31, 2010

Years are tougher than you think.

Pugnacious muhfuhs packing twelve unruly
months up to the brink – while taking pundits’,
politicians’ and fanatics’ punches – uncomplainingly
sustaining bruises, black eyes, lumps, contusions –
blamed for everything that human beings do –
not to mention so-called “acts of God” – tsunamis,
global warming, killer flu. Lord help you if you

land in an unfashionable decade. 1962
was screwed till someone turned it into Mad Men.
Take Twenty-Ten: he took it on the chin:
no puny ancient Father Time, all done-in, bearded,
ninety-nine and in a pickle, carrying a sickle
in defeat as he limps out some last eternal door:
Twenty-Ten looks like an only slightly beat-up

forty-nine: he’d get into the ring for more
and do just fine. Luckily he doesn’t have to.
Midnight – one last long piss in the bathroom –
and he is outta here: gone to that big barroom
full of beer where he can spend whatever’s left
with friends – those other years who’ve cracked
the goofy mystery the rest of us call history.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Literally for the Life of You

You think you must have known once how to do it
but you cannot for the life of you remember how –
literally for the life of you, were it to come to that,
you could not save the thing if what you had to do

to save it were to bring about romantic love:
to conjure up whatever ardor may define the heart
of it, sustain it into living being with another being.
You cannot hang your soul upon the hook of thinking

it’s a matter of discovering a lover: or of the sort
of blinking glorious extinction of the mind you could
effect through certain sorts of blindness long ago:
you’re in a different show. Oh, you know blood

and glow – and even maybe love of some strange
species: but whatever the organic apparatus
of you is, it isn’t interested in leaping or in weeping
or in fleeing. It’s mainly interested in seeing.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fleet Sweet Flexibility!

(with gratitude to the former Secretary of State)

Apolitically – as is my wont –
and meaning not one whit of disrespect –
I have appropriated “Condoleezza Rice”
as quite the nicest bright concatenated
and most rippling sound of all the many
marvelous competitors my mouth has ever found:
one wag I know said when he heard the name

he’d reflex: “zesty side dish!” – cute, but:
pish! – it’s so much more delicious! –
how it lolls and trips and ululates all over
palate, teeth and lips – and how my soul
sips nectar when its spectral bliss
leaves that mysterious strange whiff again
just hovering there, shimmering before my nose.

I have supposed it into every part of speech:
I “Condoleezza Rice” instead of preach
or leech or bleach; “Decisively?” No! –
“Condoleezza Rice-ively;” song lyrics
ache for it to substitute: superior advances! –
“Condoleezza Rice exchanging glances”
but mainly it’s the preternaturally fleet

sweet flexibility the name evokes:
luring swooning lyric whispers
out of sensuous syllabic cloaks! When I speak it
I tweak possibilities into a snaky scheme –
I am a writhing naked thing – a malleable dream!
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. In a gerund:
Condoleezza Rice-ing hits the spot.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five Amply Breasted Women and Their Orange Cat

Five amply breasted women
and their orange cat
sneaked silently into my living
room while I was napping:
sat and murmured to each
other in a language

I had never heard, which
woke me up: friendly, though:
a touch of Dutch, perhaps? –
a strain of Finnish, Flemish,
Rhenish? – clucks and umlauts –
softly spluttering like

plump contented ducks. Nice
to have this clutch of femininity:
splendid round and warm
and breathing flesh with
all its massed and curved
accoutrements: a kaffeeklatsch

of not uncomely bundles
of the female: estrogen imbued
the air and made my lair
a different sort of den:
a Dionysian scent: a yen
to swoon into another sleep:

ladling a labile ladies’ perfume
through the place: a soft-edged
ambience of lace and laps
of sweet maternal heft. I drifted
off into another nap.
When I woke, they’d left.


Monday, December 27, 2010

The Rumor

Vanity’s a pig:
it slavers, over-eats.
It craves the very big.
Its blunt compulsive beats

drive it to madness –
worn pink, like sanity.
Its schemes of gladness –
and suave urbanity –

doom it to glamour.
It showily believes –
but wields the hammer
that clubs down and deceives –

or thinks it does –
as if the patent form
beneath its buzz
were not a bloody, warm

and rotting fact.
I thought those pics
of me lacked tact.
They all were tricks:

not true by half!
Does freedom lie in humor?
I couldn’t laugh.
I had to stop the rumor.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Muses’ Favorite Sport

Dutifully beautiful,
they’ve squatted here all day.
Snootily – as usual –
they’ve plotted what to say

but slyly haven’t said it.
The longer that they wait
the more they know I’ll dread it.
They’re torturing their bait.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Oh, For Release!

The Arch-archbishop of my It-ness
flowed out through my nose and rose
today to see if I’d the fitness to be free.
Interrogatively he besieged me – then

decreed that I had never grasped
inconstancy and therefore had a row
to hoe to which I’d better soon apply
myself if I still wanted to get through

and out from under all the vastness
that would ever more exasperatingly
increase and cause to cease my
pertinent capacities. Oh, for release!,

he sighed, as he reminded me to sign
another lease to rent more breath –
in whose dark pages he however had
neglected to say how much I had left.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Élan, Panache and Savoir-Faire

Élan, Panache and Savoir-Faire
flop wearily down in their chair –

an L-shaped gray affair built to
accommodate their suave triumvirate.

Élan is blasted – feeling blitzed;
Panache has crashed – is on the fritz;

and Savoir-Faire has come down
with that jaundiced air of flu that can

afflict the likes of me and you when we
can’t take another word of small-talk.

But you’ll not hear them balk.
Élan, Panache and Savoir-Faire

will soon get up, go back out there
without a fuss. They won’t be taking us.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hunk and Holly

Mister Xmas Hunk
and Mistress Holly Sexpot
va-va-voom out of their
funky monkey bunk bed
once a year: appear

right here voluptuously
in delirious December
to disseminate their
seasonally seminal hot
Xmas cheer. If you see them

at the bar on Xmas Eve,
buy them a beer. Doesn’t
matter if you’re queer.
Hunk and Holly tend
to do whoever’s near.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It’s Always Time for Cake

It’s always time for cake,
he would placate himself
by stating, and then bake
another festive torte –
his forte: a tuttii frutti

layered sponge with half
a quart of just the sort
of caramel and orange
icing that went well with
his blue periwinkle plate.

Taking breaks and slicing
pieces was a great way
to abate a sorrow:
you never had to wait
to celebrate until tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


To push the ugliness away’s the thing –
uninteresting that it seems to want to bring
more than its hunger and its lust –
or its reminders that all provenance is dust –

unless truth’s not the beauty of a youth –
but the commitment to a duty: be the sleuth
of meaning: breach and press – go in.
Strange to feel the fingers reach to bless the skin.


Monday, December 20, 2010


How cute! we think – how sweet! – benign! –
plumpy stringy flying dancing creatures –
kiddie fun and pastel hues align
to reassure us that whatever features

we make out bespeak a dimply innocence.
Then pimply specks of red appear:
we start to fear the smile is less beneficence
on Big Green Golem than the hungry leer

preceding a rapacious rape and kill –
and who knows what are pecking
cotton candy flesh to make its fluids spill?
We’re shocked! – and quickly checking

what we know of motive to account
for why these peeps we thought were sunny
bear exasperating aspects which amount
to species far more creepy. Funny,

though: nobody on the screen appears to flinch,
as if the flying buggers biting them
do nothing more than cause a harmless pinch.
Perhaps we got it wrong again. (Ahem.)

Then something in the mixture’s
fixtures casts a sinking pall.
Maybe no one in the picture’s
thinking anything at all.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some Thoughts are Like Swank Parties

Some thoughts are like swank parties.
Full of debutantes and smarties.

They wittily regale with sleek allusions
to the best and brightest fusions

of prefrontal cortical scintilla: Zeitgeist’s
latest sexy anti-Christ’s

predictions of the Next Great Thing –
intellectual bright bling

that percolates the night.
Thoughts like fancy parties are all right.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Roast Chaconne

I’ve started playing Bach as if my life depended on it –
which I think it does: my dying mother told me:
“use your music” – which I took and take to mean:
translate and fuse the buzz – incessant in the head! –

into discerning living flow – in and up and out of bed,
in sex and food, philosophy and sleep, as shallow
and as deep as such a thing can go – and so:
D minor on the violin begins to spin out in the filigree

of Bach sonata and partita, first to treat insentience
with exactitude and heart – deploy a weaponry, employ
an art – release the sacrificial beast which jumps
in ecstasy into the grease and fire to be the feast

(served – with aplomb – by an insistent solemn mom)
that gives the start all conscious lives require: build
a swallowable architecture – finial to floor to wall
to spire: conjure up the lineaments of gratified desire.

What is it men in women do require?
The lineaments of gratified Desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of gratified Desire

William Blake


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Man with Ears

His hearing is a prison –
prism – duty:
he can’t not know the tumult
and the beauty:

the chronic sonic textures
in the air
are very nearly more than
he can bear.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


I run a reasonably tight enterprise:
while I ply and exercise the wry
intricacies of fantasies in sleep at night,
my bright amanuensis Wanda
sweeps into her office with the artfully

cracked wall towards whose small
aperture the moon creeps through
deep sky to make its call – to whisper
code to Wanda who, in shorthand,
writes it all in orange ink and leaves it

for me to think over in the morning.
The doorman tells me she’s a peach:
she teaches him odd tidbits when
she comes and goes (transliterating
moon-talk as one might suppose):

elaborately coiffed, last night,
for instance, she revealed to him
the French for “I am thirsty” is “j’ai soif” –
he evidently looked a little dry –
and while she looked him in the eye

bestowed on him an ample flask
of moon-shine – whistling a tune, he said,
that sounded not unlike, but rather
better than, Debussy’s Clair-de-Lune.
We find Wanda quite a boon.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thoughts Await Their Turn

Thoughts await their turn, sit by. The big
ones sigh – sometimes construe and try
to hide behind a dreamy Springtime hue

of baby green-y grasses, cream-blue skies –
hoping to distract you from their size.
The wily ones all exercise: reflexive orange,

purple-red exertions make them snake
and sweat and writhe until they’re über-fit:
fold leg!, arc arm!, bulge gut!, bend hip!

seeking to sneak friendship with some
inadvertent inclination you have puffed their
way. They bet on what you’ll think today.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Henry James, Awake, Asleep


He ached to make
his great round self today
deploy the sharpest lean acuity –

permit an edge to softer senses,
so to wed to – thus to wield –
the finer assiduity.



Oh, sweet relief! –
again, it seems for once –
to let the wily thief
of sleep prove him the dunce –

un-gird his girth of words
and lease them flight
like savage birds
into the undiscerning night.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Not Known as Pretty

Not known as pretty, though red-haired and slim and tall,
Mary wasn’t bitter or complaining, wouldn’t carp.
Secretly she'd fantasize that she was Lucille Ball,
all dressed up while playing an imaginary harp.

True, she wore a see-through, peek-a-boo, blue negligée,
and left her curtains open, which was tricky,
but she just couldn’t not risk being just a touch risqué –
while waiting, every night, for darling Ricky.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creation, Mirrored

The body is the thing that brings it –
let us not dismiss the flesh –
but what’s the thing that sings it?
Something in the vein-y mesh

corroborates intention and reflects –
attenuates – a motive force –
breathes sentience into it – detects
a form it tricks out from the source

into the living thing that brings it –
let us not dismiss the flesh.
As for the thing that sings it –
something in the vein-y mesh

corroborates intention and reflects –
attenuates – a motive force –
breathes sentience into it – detects
a form it tricks out from the source

into the living thing that brings it –
let us not dismiss the flesh….


Saturday, December 11, 2010

City Witch

She sold the city winter air her soul –
so bracing, toxic, bold! – she couldn’t
get enough of what it gave her, so she
bargained with it to enslave her: keep her
for eternity – subjected to whatever use –
as long as she could ramble loose and free

through it as fog. She’d walk another
frigid midday followed by another floating
goblin from the city’s vast fraternity
of kindred beasts: her recompense became
its pay – it loved compulsively repeating
dirty roundelays, which rendered just

the haze she needed to distract it:  to pursue
the dark bliss of her course, and smooth
the creases of her mission. Which was to
join it – be received by it – as witch. Last
week, we’re told, when she was found stiff
in the cold, she made the switch.


Friday, December 10, 2010

The Last Idea

Sick of philosophic salve,
he fell asleep
and knew he'd had
the last idea he’d ever have.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Plus, A Lack

Their spirits coalesce in busy
corridors, slow mud, swift
tributaries – corners, cul-de-sacs,
long roads – some straight
as boulevards, some twisted
and invisible as fox-paths: math

equations tick away, resolve
themselves, unlock their enigmatic
locks to let another avatar come
out to take a look: to creep into
the book I seem to be compiling.
Some balloon up in a great

loud glare – envious perhaps
that I get to get up and go from here
to there and all they get to do
is stare. Although it seems to be
enough for them to see: gazing
at me not as if they cared too

much who I was but to exercise
their newfound eyes. Perhaps
I ought to bring them ‘round
the room to let them face another
place or two for novelty: but they
do not inspire love particularly;

the point, unsentimentally,
is not about a camaraderie.
We’re neither nice, nor shy.
Tonight this one has got me
in her eye. I look right back. She
seems to see a plus. I see a lack.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Audacious Lady

Talent is an awkward and audacious lady –
always squirming from her hunger to become.
Her charcoal-gray and pink-striped hair, her shady
eyes, her blunt red-purple leotard suggest the sum

of stranger things than you could know.
All writhing elbows, breasts and thighs and knees –
she manifests impatience in her jarring glow
to be exonerated: exercised into an expertise.

Not pretty when she isn’t tended –
lava of a hot remorse will burble up and spill –
she’ll burn you with an agony that can’t be mended.
Do not take her lightly: she can kill.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Halleluiah and the Groan

In the layered grayness, clabbered
shadows and penumbral cellar dust and air –
among unlabeled cardboard boxes –
a smudged and chubby little boy decides

that he must sit on one and wait. Perhaps
he hopes some great important secret there
will leak a clue – or is he playing hide-and-seek
with you? – or is he laying plans to change

the Universe? Does he fear some imminent
dark curse? What shocks him? Who or what
has found him out? What awful revelation
pocks and routs the darkness with its sudden

light? Why is he unable to believe the sight?
Is it delight? – or fright? Out of nothing
come the halleluiah and the groan.
So much is going on when you’re alone.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Blue Devil

Purple dream – blue devil – brother father killer lover –
shoots up from the center of the primal groin: exhumes
himself to join you – salacious fumes – smells like sweat –

manifests a steaming wet hegemony – the magma of a mute
iconic masculinity: he reaches out in lavish tenderness
to you as if you were his son, or were the one whom

he once had, or once had been, too gloriously capable
of some sweet glowing sin he cannot know again. He is
the gape after a blast – echo of a thunder – a vast capacity

for blunder and for sorrow and for rape, for murder and for
that sweet soft landscape of soul in which, although he’s
shattered everything, left nothing whole – at last, for once,

has fathered something necessary. He is the lunk, the dunce,
the brutal pump and pulse and emissary of the shocking
gentleness of unacceptable desires. He is what sires.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Truth

The truth is, she would just as soon not delve too deeply
into things: her secret psychic race, for instance – how it brings
two prepubescent twelve year old green, yellow girls into their

endless whirl around around around circuitously overlapping trails
that evidently took and take, will take, have taken them to some
patched version of themselves – herself – that make and made

her the amalgam ring-a-dings they are, she is, will be and was –
she’d just as soon forget the whirring buzz – the spell it casts –
how it impels a yearning to unite with something that keeps

passing just precisely at the instant that it ought to light, ignite
epiphany, a recompense: the girls come whizzing by and miss
each other’s outstretched arms again and she will not, no, she

will not, no, not at all will she say one word, not a single word,
until they reach each other, stop, embrace and kiss. And here
they go on by again, again, and no, she will not speak till then.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holy Hell

All he had the energy to do today
was strip down bare and walk into the salty bay.

Last night he’d tied one on; he didn’t feel so well.
In fact he’d have described his head as holy hell

if anyone had asked him.
But now he thought he’d bask in

warm and pleasant lapping water: he would chill.
Maybe soon he wouldn’t feel so ill.

He searched the sky above him: it was pink.
He wondered if that was a symptom of the drink.

The horizon never seemed so flat.
He’d never really noticed that.

Didn’t everybody say the world was spherical?
Maybe everything turned out to be a miracle.

But wait, if that was so, then nothing was.
His mouth felt like it had been stuffed with fuzz.

He hadn’t noticed people gather on the shore.
They looked at him as if they wanted more.

While he stood upright thinking he had capsized,
someone cried out: “A prophet has been baptized!”

Damn, but he was parched – had trouble swallowing.
He waded back, and found he had a following.


Friday, December 3, 2010


We do our best to play our parts –
in card tricks, verse, mixed martial arts –
but something gets caught in the fence –
we cannot find an audience.

We like to think that what we do
is entertaining, funny, true –
we trill our tune until it glistens –
but almost no one ever listens.

We’re not an egocentric jerk –
we know we ought to love the work –
we’ve heard that that should be enough –
the rest, we’re told, is merely “stuff.”

But surely we should not berate
our hunger to communicate –
no less than E. M. Forster pecked
out on his keys: “only connect.”

So here’s the thing: go out and play
and razz your dazzles anyway –
forget who doesn’t come to call:
somebody will see it all.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Someday Our Thing Will Come

Someday our thing will come
and grab us by the hair –
and swing us round until we’re numb –
until we're barely there –

and hurl us into love –
or drop us dead in bed –
whatever it’s been thinking of,
whatever’s in its head.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spiritual Silvers, Holy Golds

To hug an ideology! –
to love its big blue Buddha-king
monastically examining the middle distance

as if it were the only thing –
as if it held quite everything
she’d ever need to know.

She climbed it daily, naked, with her living glow,
clinging to its cool availing folds,
hungry for its spiritual silvers, holy golds,

peering – bold – as close as she could get –
into the sacred face whose flesh –
her heart had told her, once –

transmuted from the Word
to bless, undress, caress her.
What more was needed than these two?

Why were they waiting for a third?