Monday, February 28, 2011

The Thing that Looks Right Back at You

The thing that looks right back at you
looks back at you today –
as ever: when you’re on the brink of speech –
as if – as if – at last! – to say –


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Naked Poet, Laid Bare

He thought it might behoove him to write naked,
scruffy and unwashed – and meet the dawn
as metaphor as well as actuality: with nothing on.
Pour out his collective intellectuality to shake it

into an insouciance – a who-cares little spin with
his most ragged sin and certainty and doubt.
However, when he’d got the whole thing out
he found he’d never really had it to begin with.

And so he set upon a very different track.
Meticulously he re-gilded all the poem’s parts
into the glittering components of high farce:
fussy as a Fabergé. He got his mojo back.

Art was not the bare thing he'd supposed.
It often looked a whole lot better clothed.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guiltless Fur

The Fashionable Lady wore four cuddly
little nutria – mutant cute blue rodents ‘round
her neck. They were her snuggly-wuggly pets.
Genetically designed to poo and pee
in shades of powder blue and scents

of potpourri, prettily they’d squat beneath
a small acanthus tree she’d potted in a cobalt
Chinese ewer in her powder blue boudoir.
Chaque matin et soir she’d put her babies on
and marvel at their warm and silky hides,

and how they seemed to love their little rides
out to the bistros and boutiques. Her friends
bestowed wee tweaks upon their little cheeks,
cooing at their cunning little squeaks.
The Fashionable Lady kept them on until

they died. Then she’d flay off every fluffy hide
and sew it onto a chapeau as wide and deep
as their eternal sleep. She chopped their little
bodies up and fried them in hot pepper oil –
not a lot, just a dash. Makes a tasty hash.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Your Human Dawn

In the workshop where they conjure souls –
wherein your faint preliminaries first found form –
where ghostly emanations disproportionately warm
and large and cool and small first tentatively sensed their goals –

somewhere in that vast strange experiment,
a tendril of exquisite change, the gift of chance,
began its embryonic and untrammeled burst of dance
which slowly spiraled up and out and into that grand firmament

to which all blessedness is drawn.
That was your human dawn.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make it Rock

Anthropomorphize the amorphous –
band its blobs in pretty hues –
wrap its bulges in effulgent fuss –
sing your counterpointed news!

Smash your flash into whatever devil
may insist existence is a crock.
Smack him with an artifice – revel
in the wondrous blunder. Make it rock.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Verses, Somehow Related...

…to being Heatless for the Third Day and Night 
in Below-Freezing Manhattan

If I were you I’d hop the fence,
contrive some means toward
the annihilation of your least
capacity for sense. Such guides

as there may henceforth be
to realms cut out for such as we
will likely scare the pants off thee
and not remotely tickle me.

One comes today: the spectre
of a rabid black-and-yellow cat.
I suspect we do not want
too much to do with that.


Oh, stick it up your diddly-doo:
I shall not be afraid of you.
Though you would tell me all is hell,
I smell another kind of smell –

though mighty unlak’ any rose,
it leads me rather to suppose
some easy spirit dwells inside
to foment quite another ride

to some unprecedented sight.
I see you snarl with spite.
Obviously, I’m right. I be pretty,
you a fright. Feed the kitty.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Having No Heat

Why the pout?
Heat is out?
So what?
The number may say twenty-five – but

if Fahrenheit were Celsius –
Gloria in Excelsis
it’d be heaven.
Pretend it’s seventy-seven.


Monday, February 21, 2011

In a Way

The very outer shores of memory –
rubble pushed and strewn –
as if glacially deposited by life –
boulders graced with faces of the wife

of someone’s cousin – or a neighbor,
lover, friend – or other passersby
who are all nameless now – perhaps
were nameless then – whose

naked tender softnesses remain
in the moraine: layered and abstracted –
something in them mildly shakes
their gazes into gentle angles –

calm in all the spangles of the colors
in the sunset heralding the night.
Someone asks you if you are
all right today. In a way, you say.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Broken Families

Thoughts appeared in threes today –
posed for a family portrait
in the ebbing winter light. Halfway
into their mission to beget

a meaning, they sighed sadly in the cold.
Sister and her father and her brother
tacitly agreed they must withhold.
They’d just recalled lacked a mother.

Other thoughts in trios then appeared –
but each left, secrets all unspoken.
Again, it was, alas, as I now feared:
families of thoughts, today, were broken.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

She Will Brew

February will not smolder,
she will brew. When you’ve reached
the middle of her and you think
she’s through, she’ll puff a little
warmth at you, and then – perhaps –

return to what you think is Winter.
She plays the kinky spinster teacher
standing at the doorway of the school –
waiting for you to come back:
warm up, have a snack, and chat.

You notice, when you do, that she
is not as un-alluring as all that.
But do remember: she will brew.
And what she brews is March –
April – May – you.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Funny Little Creature

Death is inconceivable,
seen only from outside.
That breath is irretrievable
weighs balefully astride

the only comprehension
breath knows how to bring.
Breath bellows: all extension
and expectancy: a thing

for which there can be
no believable recourse.
Lifeless constancy
swamps all remorse.

What defining feature
might we understand?
Funny little creature,
dying in the hand.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

If You Knew

If you knew,
you’d be
agog –

and fall off where
you spend your life,
sleeping on a log:

never out
of touch
with the abyss –



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Each Supple Thing with Wings

a poem for Richard’s 70th birthday

Angels make strange couplings –
each supple thing with wings
imbibes the message that the other brings –

an intimacy which amounts to this:
that in their highest state of bliss
they use their tongues, but not to kiss:

they whisper what they’re born to say,
imbue each other with the sway
of their ephemeral divinity: they pray

in that sweet way which sacrifices
differences – as it entices
to an ecstasy – which splices

into unity: new spun.
Expressed: they’re done.
Blessed, in One.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Last Greek God

of a middle-

aged divinity –
balding – though
still moderately muscular –

if ignorant of all his antecedents
save the vaguely recollected sense
Olympus had a kind of charm for kids –

Hermes, that hot streaking whiz who’d haul
him shrieking through the air – hanging on to
those winged heels! – too many thousand years

ago to care, or know much more than: something
reels when he hangs naked off the yellow ersatz
marble column this gay bar in Vegas gives him

to make like a chill recumbent gladiator on
a break. Okay, he’s on the take (past
what he pays the pimp): okay,

he’s got
a limp.
but hey,

how often
does a mortal
get to say he’s done it

with a – hey, well, he won’t say.
(Or: how you spent the day reflecting
on how you’ll be sixty this upcoming May.)


Monday, February 14, 2011


Strange resistance.

Rinse it in a bath?
Parse it into fascinating math?

Treat it like a pet?
Drown it in regret?

Beat it?
Eat it?

Just a bit of business.
Particle of is-ness.

Whatever’s on the shelf –
plus the shelf.

Thing itself.


Sunday, February 13, 2011


A day does not go by
I don’t remember I will die.

Each moment seems to dare me.
Nothing can prepare me.

And nothing is what I would know.
Before I go.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Watching the 1939 Film “Wuthering Heights”

I think the true indwelling color of an ardent love
is not some swelling shade of pink – but rather cool
innumerable nuances of blue: a depth of tiny breaths
of azure like the gentle stresses of a confluence

of currents in the sea. I think the color of an ardent
love exacts a pledge of constancy, like sky from earth:
a private pact: agreement to give birth. I’ve never
really shared one, though. How would I know?


Friday, February 11, 2011

Believe Them

In the sprawling purgatory
of the floral soul –
in which the flowering plant
feels swallowed whole

throughout the endless-seeming
tenure of the winter –
vegetative nerves
begin to splinter.

Cold buried bulbs,
dry packs of seeds –
hidden sullen hibernating
roots of weeds –

these mute invisible
prospects of bloom
get ornery
in their ungenerative gloom.

If something doesn’t
very soon effect their resurrection,
an insurrection.

And, believe them:
in the country or the city –
it won’t be


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wishful Sinking

He wished so hard
it scared his hair
right off his head –
bled it ashen blue.

He so beseeched
that it come true,
breath grew shallow,
skin was sallow.

Though never
querulous, he
lost a perilous
amount of weight.

At last, the date
awaited did arrive.
He no longer
was alive.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First Encounter with the Cat

Out of the vast collective mind,
a creature – fat, asleep, feline –
appears one day upon a branch.
It makes Erectus Homo blanch:

skulking by, he spies it, gasps:
a whispered exhortation rasps
in awe up from a stricken throat:
“What is this thing, a frickin’ goat?”

And then the thing begins to purr:
It sounds less like a him than her,
a golden light falls from above,
the Higher Primate falls in love.

“I never seen a thing like this!”
he mutters, as he bends to kiss
her fur: the feeling floors him.
Pussykins ignores him.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

L’Année a la Grippe

Suddenly it’s springtime in the snow,
February barbecues aglow,

August has become a glacial isthmus,
April’s undertaken to do Christmas.

What are we to do?
The year has caught the flu.


Monday, February 7, 2011

If It’s True

A keening nun appears to me.
At least I think she is a nun.
And I imagine she is keening –
although soundless, it’s the silence
of a silent loaded gun. As if to unknot

something hot inside her heart,
her head is leaning to the right,
her arms stretch diametrically across
her chest up to her left: I’m at a loss
to make sense of the rest. Perhaps

I’m wrong about the whole: perhaps
she isn’t mourning funereally at all.
(Perhaps she’s only dressed up like
a nun.) But she is on her knees –
spread wide apart, bright cherry red,

commingling into rose – disseminating
into art which hoses upward towards
her head – which may suggest
less agony of dying than an ecstasy
in bed. I mean no disrespect, you see:

but something seems, adverbially,
to be coming to her that could be
described succinctly as “orgasmically.”
I guess we shouldn’t find this odd –
if it’s true she married God.


Sunday, February 6, 2011


Reptilian yellow-pink-and-blue-gray
slither-critters crawl into and through
your maze – with android hands

that reach out for you in a haze –
like scary zombies only there
to make you make a forward move –

to prove you have some agency
at least in the reaction. One comes
for you today and sticks his fingers

in your nose; and as he glows,
he seems to say “create the thing
you want, not just the picture of your

wanting it.” You’ve been shunting
brainless slither-critters in and out
forever. However, this one’s clever.


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Hard to see
in crowds,

beige-y pink
and reticent,

volume turned
way down:

as raging
an extremity

as any
lurid clown.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Bump It

Toss your un-extraordinary colors in the air –
wear your baggy blue pajama pants –
get a little jiggy with me – go ahead and dare:
bump it: do a February dance.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Naked in a Waiting Room

Life means waiting naked
in a waiting room:
vulnerable and unready

for the verdict: a purgatory
secretly in league
with the unseen,

smelling like eternity.
When will you be called –
what fraternity will pledge you?

What will take, or give you,
breath? Sex, success,
disease or death?

Where do you fit?
Presumably, my darling,
this is it. Meanwhile you sit.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


You wonder at your progeny –
how calmly their anomalies
appear. It’s queer how in their
swoop and flop and sway

they seem to issue from some
other parent’s DNA. Though
their connection to you surely
must be clear – they’ve swung

not only out from your symbolic
loins but from the literal
conjoining of your hand
and pen into their own inimitable

sphere – you still can’t figure out
how in hell they’re here.
You wonder how they dare!
They don’t seem to care.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mother Winter

Mother Winter spends much of her tenure
so dispassionately in a trance she’s been
mistakenly accused of coldness. But witness

now the boldness with which she interns your
dreams, keeps them like bald bare babies
in a freeze so absolute, so close to her,

they germinate into a mysticism: rapt, asleep,
as deep as they can go, they last interminably
in the heart, become the vast collective embryo

of every art you’ll ever know. All is diamond
sharp to Mother Winter: see her sun! Love,
beware, be careful of her eyes! They stun.