Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I heard a twee-twee late last night –
I thought it was a mouse –
but when I searched throughout the house,
it turned out to be Blight.

Blight appears to want to speak
whenever he comes by:
he stares and squats and tries to cry:
can only pip a squeak.

Despite the omen of his name
I’ve learned not to be scared.
No plague or destitution’s flared
beyond his visit. Blame

can’t be assigned to him at all
as far as I can tell.
He yearns to cast a fateful spell –
can’t cast the merest pall.

I feel a trifle sad for him –
he’d like to have some clout,
but cannot work the damned thing out:
Blight’s light is far too dim.

With Blight’s lack of temerity,
and tendency to mope,
I guess we’ll have to learn to cope
with pitiless prosperity.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Today I Bought a Summer Hat

Today I bought a summer hat,
east village, black, thin brim,
po-mo fedora, thought
it might make some appealing
cupola atop my body’s barn.

Second Avenue, St. Mark’s,
to Tompkins Square,
I kept it on. Walked up three
floors to my bathroom,
peed while looking in the mirror:

doffed the head-wear,
put it on a chair, and drew
this drawing. I wonder
what this gnawing angst
daubed large in stain-glassed

colors à la John La Farge
could have to do with all of that.
Perhaps I don’t much like the hat.
Or maybe it is clearer
I don’t much like the mirror.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Poet Gets Stung by a Jellyfish

Strange – standing
in this dawn-of-summer water –
different this time –
contributing your heat –

reacting chemically, at last,
with life – as if the secret
of your humanness were
coursing with a force –

slicing down and through
into the bit of sea you’re
wading in: invading with its
all-pervading insolence:

an instant and an incidence
of necessary fire and sting.
Oh, how it makes
you want to sing!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

That Pesky Profile Pic!

That pesky profile pic! To which
you would affix your loveliness,
if you had had some! From which

you wish somebody might derive
the faintest sense that you could be
bewitching. You’ve been switching

shirts all morning long, disclosing –
brushing, fluffing – tufts of chest hair,
moussing your moustache, posing

with panache: but dust will come
to dust and ash to ash, and you are
merely human. Resume another

dashing stance: give the mirror one
last glance. You don’t look bad
in green. Smile. Be brave. Be seen.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Life is Like a 1940s Hat

Useless and de trop, though
with a certain I-don’t-know,
bedecked protuberantly à la mode

as if protuberances were a code
to be decoded to persuade you
they had meaning – leaning

at unpalatable angles, plumed
with feathers one cannot believe
were ever tethered to a bird: spilling

from its girders, willfully absurd:
life is like a 1940s hat. Unless,
of course, it’s not at all like that.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Henry and Loretta

Proud that there were no conventions to which they were
slaves, Henry and Loretta were intrepid about leaping
into waves. While others sought dry desert sands
or jagged landscapes – mountainous, arboreal –
on the day they call Memorial, Loretta would insist

that Henry not resist (when had he ever?): it was time
for the resumption of their wet endeavor: to jump in salty sea.
It would have been too cold for you or me. But splash, cavort
and flip-da-loop-da-lee would first go she and then go he.
The water’s rush and lap and crash and constancy

roared, lilted like a symphony: aliveness was an ecstasy.
One weekend they went out, did not return. A rip tide
scooped them not far from the beach and took them
beyond reach. As usual, the ocean yearned for amplitude
too much to give them back. As usual, we only feel the lack.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Talking in my Sleep

I don’t know where they come from:
these creatures in the soft pre-morning mind –
the latest, so voluptuously suspect, shady –
ruelessly manipulative: knew that she was
here for only moments: had to make the best
of it: unwind in quick gradations: be Blue Lady.

I’d hoped to keep her longer than she’d stay.
But just as soon as I began to say – she froze
into an icy azure – all the red around her
turned to gelid pink – her freeze-frame stasis
paled back to misnomered “shared reality.”
A single word – and blink: Blue Lady gone.

I do not understand how every night
light bridges out of dark into the dawn, and yet
I cannot link two kindred consciousnesses
into one. As soon as I make sound, the ground
breaks up: tugs all phantasms down. It seems
a shame Blue Lady couldn’t stick around.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

She Says

Sorrow is amphibious – breeding,
breathing everywhere: elusive,
slippery, cold-blooded, sluggish,
involuted – loping listlessly
across the mind – searching
without heart for something
fresh to kill: like some ill-costumed
frogman in a bad sci-fi flick.

She says she’s picking through
her life with care, squeezing joy
and meaning from it, conquering
despair – gleaning focus, purpose,
fit. I don’t believe a word of it.


Monday, May 23, 2011

No Accounting for Allure

Schlumpy and unsure?
No accounting for allure.
Haven’t got a chance?
You just got a second glance

from something cute.
And since you are astute,
you notice that a second
something comes to beckon

you to spend a little time with it.
Make a little rhyme with it.
Cuddle on a bench.
Let affection wrench

your heart.
It’s a start.


Sunday, May 22, 2011


Shedding skin cells,
shadows, sweat –
into mist – your wet
and shimmering
faint unity will throw

the world a quick
last glance –
grant that it exists –
just before it passes
out of view. That
will be the sweet
sweet end of you.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Existential Odds

Destiny has got you, honey.

He got seeds to sow.

Give him all your mama’s money,

he ain’t lettin’ go.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Soupçon de Paranoia

A nest of face
takes up its place
around the table:

and bedecked
and snaky-necked –
prepped for the predation
of a dinner conversation.

Pollo cooked el rancho
with cilantro.
Cigarettes, red wine, herb tea.
And everyone discussing me.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

For Contrast

For contrast, you imagine
paradigms – standards against
which to judge your misalignments –
cool blue personages with exacting

verticalities and even-featured faces
so at home with all the graces
which you lack that you can only turn
your eely back to them and slink away.

Strange, though, how ephemeral
the whole thing seems today:
slight – a little trite. And how you’ve
painted it so party color bright.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why He Was This Way

Watching linearities waft,
curving, from his head,
you thought, this time,
he might have said –

but no. Conditions,
you supposed, of being art
included utter muteness. So,
in toto, or in part,

he couldn’t have
a thing to say.
You guessed that’s why
he was this way.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

At the Helm

Heavy-lidded leanness
weighs a ton:
its leaden meanness

squats – stops – un-begun –
amid so many floating
pops of fatnesses!

strains – abstains –
while plumpnesses

swoon up – balloon –
attain the boon of their
their bright yellow realm –

framed in the slew 
of an indifferent blue –
but at the helm.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Ghosts I Meet

The ghosts I meet have long gray hair
and congregate in couples. They’re
much older than I know.
They constitute a glow:

a luminescence, like those prehistoric fish
which live unfathomably deep. A wish
appears to emanate from them
for me to join and talk: “Ahem,”

they whisper, as if I were not already looking:
“Hey! What’s cooking?”
Friendly shadows, all in all,
and yet I sense a certain pall –

something secret – pained:
their folksiness is feigned.
Still, I’d sit down, were I able –
but there’s no room at their table.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Hunt

Gather for the hunt:
everything is want:
creditors to pay –
predators and prey –

trembling in the shade.
The viper must be paid.
The angel must be harnessed.
The image must be varnished

to a fine fat gloss.
Too much rhymes with loss.
Spin jives with win.
Throw it in the bin.

Silly humans trying
to pretend they are flying
in the void:
that flick by Harold Lloyd:

hanging off a clock.
Slick-sick tick-tock
rumbles through the loins –
venereally joins

to a last goodbye.
Promulgate a sigh.
Wave your waning hand.
Say it wasn’t grand.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Better Put It Down

You’ve worked on it all night: you don’t
much want to any more. It won’t
kerfuffle into breathing life.
You’ve pricked it with a knife,

you’ve sung it Judy Garland songs,
confessed your darkest wrongs –
as if to offer you atonement
would jumpstart it, cease postponement

of the sweet experiment of sentience
to which you’d subject it. Vengeance
maybe isn’t called for (yet), but it occurs
to you you’d like to smash it till it blurs

back to the blob-puddle
that you made it from. The muddle
of it wounds your pride and stings
your sense of competence. It wrings

an artist’s heart
to think how little art
appears to care for its conceiver!
Blasted dummy – numb deceiver!

Better put it down.
Perhaps it will come round.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Take One Example

Hail, biology!
Source of all.
Nothing is abstract.
Everything’s the product
of synaptic zaps and cracks
in the accretions of the body:
essence falls and fluids seep,

emotions squall and sweep,
secrete their confluences
through reflexive jerk
and subtle tap to work
to plop their drops
into a pool upon the lap –
take one example –

of a young and tongue-like
creature whom I know –
so warm and malleable,
such a golden glow! –
who, when he ponders existential
answers to our pestilential
destiny ahead,

produces from this dread,
and from his face and lips
(with an extraordinary grace –
what marvels he’ll incur!) –
an emerald-green liqueur –
which, taken in small sips
(and for the requisite amount of money),

may seduce you
like an artiste made of crème-de-menthe,
with notes of lime and honey.
That philosophic thought could be
the father of such stuff!
What need for gods?
Biology’s enough.


The Fiction of the Outline

Just been to London: seen the keen intrepid
blueprint of a wide two-thousand-year-old mind –
drawn in undermining layered traceries like
capillaries, thinness upon thinness to evoke

the fiction of a shadowed thickness: delicacy
sifted into delicacy – tricked into the look
of imperturbability: a Parliament of Empire:
gothic dream of Ozymandias – the stage set

for a kingdom built of finely executed excess:
tiny etches sketching over, under, into, out of
and back through itself as if they were the woven
worries of the human soul. I have seen

the fiction of the outline which purports
to make it whole – and does. Whatever isn’t,
is; whatever wasn’t, was. Its complicated
dreaming makes it real. That’s its deal.


Monday, May 2, 2011


How murderous the heart is!

Joyless, dumping blood into the water.

One wonders what one’s part is –

in this hunt for bogeymen to slaughter.



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sally and the Serpent

Sally liked to pose lasciviously with her serpent.
She supposed, with justice, that the lusty
sultry tropic power of this trope – this phallic snake
and semi-clad fresh-showered female flesh
(she knew she did not look half-bad in her sky blue
bikini) – might attract, it's safe to say, more than

a teeny portion of a man's attention. As for “art,” 
if shecould get the right po-mo critique to do its part,
and some Soho photographer with cheek – and chic –
she might well dominate the right exacting galleries,
extracting salaries for her and her reptilian lover.
Ah! But that’s what blew their cover. They were

found in bed one day achieving pleasures one can't
bring oneself to say. Laws against such unapologetic
bestiality held sway. The serpent was then
“put away,” and Sally died in jail. They say some
days, next to her cell, you still can hear her serpent’s
lovelorn wail. There is no moral to this tale.