Saturday, August 31, 2013

Today It Seemed

Today it seemed like somebody
was riding on your head.
It felt that way the livelong day
until you went to bed.

Then he seemed to get back on
when you got up to pee.
By now you rather like the sense
of camaraderie.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing Interruptus

Being interrupted
while you’re writing can be salutary.
Values vary when they suffer a surprise –

frequently resulting in the opening of eyes. You may
forget, without regret, what you were just about to say –
and think of things in some outrageously new way –

unexpectedly molested by unexpurgated rashness –
lingually tongue-kissed. Though sometimes
you’re just pissed.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fête Intime

He disrobes for his hosts.
He finds they can take it.
His hosts, who are ghosts,
don’t mind if he’s naked.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Smarties Giving Parties

Smarties giving parties are a chore.
Poets walking smack into the door.
Philosophe-atrocities galore.
“Martin Amis is a crashing bore!”
Everybody thinking they want more.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Book of Genesis

To conjure up depictions of
an object
for the magic
and to honor it as if it were
the special thing,
the sacred thing,
The Thing Itself --

and worship it or else –

is understandable.
Our mandibles
require stuff
to chew: But you – oh you! --
are quite enough
for me. I need no
holy trope for thee.

Not that I won’t
invoke a crystal sphere
to have you peer into
as if it were the final

But everything is that:

You are my Book of Genesis,
my Noah’s ark,
Mount Ararat.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sans a Front Tooth

mensch sans a front

ive, corrupted, un-

Wit is


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Debussy’s Music

Full of un-deciphered crimes,
Debussy’s music makes you sad sometimes,
with all its poignant dreams of chimes

and body scents, chromatic climbs
and schemes and indigent emotion.
We don’t know how anyone can stand

his notion
of polyphony
all nakedly

and played.
He should have stayed

to tell us how to parse its mist,
or how to clear it.
In his absence, all that we can do is hear it.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beyond the Untoward Public Humping From Behind

Beyond the untoward public humping from behind,
the lutenist you dreamed about last night seemed
an indifferent kind of inexplicability. To what in it had
it been needful to adhere? Consciousness is queer.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Fiddling on My Forearm

As soon as I developed a vibrato on the violin
I started fiddling on my forearm – I couldn’t
bear to lose the feeling of the charm of what
it felt like to press rhythmic trembling into notes

squeezed from the strings that spanned curved
ebony on this voluptuously varnished thing
which I had lately learned to test and hold,
and coax the bow to hex. It felt like sex.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blanketed By You

by you,
my friend,

as I will be through
Space-Time’s every
strange last bend,

our conversations
never have
to end.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Bet

What is

Am I
supposed to
like this?

I don’t
know what
to think.



a bet.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Today we picked the sticks up
of ourself and we decided
that we didn’t mind the mix.

We’ve nixed our old dismissals.
Now that we’re together,
we’re transfixed.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Now We Think

Expecting it to exit
in inexorable execution
of extenuating exigency –

exercising exorcism of its
execrable existential state –
extravagantly glad that it,

at last, would break
the gate and skate away –
suddenly we’re sad.

Now we think
we would have liked
the thing to stay.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Preternaturally Patiently

you let me talk.
You wish I’d look
you in the eye.

But I stalk my
internal planet
whereon only
I can see
the sky.


Saturday, August 17, 2013


Witch-Women shimmer
in the warming wind –
you see them in the dawning
evenings – weaving through
abating shafts of sun.

You are the one they crave,
and they will get you.
Be brave. At first you’ll be
their slave, but when
you want to go, they’ll let you.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Sans Espoir, Sans Désespoir

Heavy humid human mass –
inviolately violet –
purporting to be comfort.
Why does it help you cope?

You give up hope.
You put no weight on care.
Before you know it,
you’re abandoning despair.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Thing That

The thing that
couldn’t be,
occurred today.

It’s now
the only
thing that is.

We don’t
what to say.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cardiac Anatomy

Where form

and educes
from an art.

That would be
my beating 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Don’t squander it,
she said.
Then she was dead.

Leaving me
behind, beyond
to ponder it.

What else
can you do with life
but squander it?


Monday, August 12, 2013

The Problem with Imaginary Creatures

The problem with imaginary creatures
is translucence: always coming in
and out so incrementally

and incidentally
from here to there
to barely anywhere

they can’t be totted up as fact:
they aren’t long enough intact
or rather too long not becoming what

they seem to want to be,
at least as long as their inconstancy
remains a constant,

to achieve the work of re-construing
what you’ve clearly misconstrued –
until the only flick

of anything
you can imagine doing
to them would be rude.

Which might
be shrewd.
Stick 'em where it’s lewd.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

On Being Beautifully Shot

for Rick Shupper

John Singer Sargent’s
subjects must have felt
the way I felt today
when I saw what

the artist Richard
Shupper did with
my beleaguered face.
Photography is alchemy

and Maestro Shupper
ships its magic out  
with all the sweet
exactitude of grace.


When August is Beautiful

sensing its own end,
sends spirits out and up –

to flout, erupt
and consummate
an essence:

meant to stab the heart,
remind it of the part

this season plays in it.
The final days in it
have just begun.

Soon they'll
dwindle down
to one.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fantasies Have Worries, Too

Fantasies have worries, too.
Collectively they scurry through
too many impulses, repulsing few.

This tends intensively to skew
what they desire to do
to you.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Like Half-Hidden Faces

Psychic locomotions,
like half-hidden faces,
take emotions through

so many internecine byways
that we can’t see sideways
half the time. But what

we can see turns out not to be
exactly unlike what the visual
equivalent must be of rhyme.

Things chime and jibe and jive
and fascinate
with assonance

and we
emerge from sleep
to wakefulness

to sleep as if we hadn’t
clawed up all the steep
strange range of cliffs

we’ve climbed. Like
I said, it as if we’ve


Henry's Back (F.W. Dupee on Henry James - gorgeous prose on gorgeous prose)

F.W. Dupee, Henry James, 1951 (Wm Sloan Assoc.), “The Awkward Period”, pp 193 - 196

    His prose is likewise changing in these years, and changing considerably, although the process is gradual. In his effort to make the story self-sufficient, his sentences have always carried an abundance of suggestive detail; they now simply carry more. The urbane and relatively impersonal rhythms of his earlier style become more nervously responsive to the currents of feeling. There are bizarre shifts of pace, unexpected brevities. "Her little world was phantasmagoric -- strange shadows dancing on a sheet." At the same time, as the entire medium becomes denser and tauter, it risks parallelisms of sound and cadence which would formerly have been rejected as too poetic. "There was a general shade in all the lower reaches -- a fine clear dusk in garden and grove." Increasingly the language rejoices in sudden colloquialism, raffish jargon, and a habit of turning abruptly and alarmingly concrete. "Mrs. Wix gave the jerk of a sleeper awakened or the start even of one who hears a bullet whiz at the flag of truce." Above all, the medium begins to put forth remarkable metaphors without fear of violating its prose character. The following, from 'The Portrait of a Lady,' is an easily predictable image, formally introduced and logically developed. "It had lately occurred to her that her mind was a good deal of a vagabond, and she had spent much ingenuity in training it to a military step and teaching it to advance, to halt, to retreat, to perform even more complicated manoeuvres, at the word of command." Compare this with the following from 'The Sacred Fount:' "The last calls of birds sounded extraordinarily loud; they were like the timed, serious splashes, in wide, still water, of divers not expecting to rise again." These self-doomed divers, like Mrs. Wix's whizzing bullet, are entirely original and perfectly irrelevant to the surface facts of the story. Rather, it is by such eruptions, as Stephen Spender has said, that "there arise, as from the depths, the dream images of the unconscious." They also connect James's refined-appearing world with the realm of the physical and the elemental, of latent horror, of "the thing hideously behind."

    There was danger that the verbal abundance of the later style might become an end in itself, overwhelming the story and the characters. This James at his best averted, partly by making the characters themselves more articulate. They have always been eloquent about their concerns; they now talk, besides, about the language itself, evidencing its richness in nuance at the same time that they are furthering the action. The internal structure of dialogue, as well as its relation to the enveloping narrative, undergoes an intense stylization. The theater's influence is felt in monolithic scenes and resounding curtains. Patches of talk are set off from the rest like parks from their adjacent streets, except that the business of the story is mainly done in them. Of business, moreover, there is a definite sum to be accomplished in each area of dialogue, some item of revelation or decision to be added to the whole account. And although the talkers are as a rule vividly individual, they eagerly subordinate themselves to this larger enterprise like the participants in a relay race or a morris dance. However much at variance in other respects, they all "pull together," as James would say, in the interests of a common style. Extremely sociable, they pause in mid-sentence to allow a friend the pleasure of finishing it; or they offer him an irresistible come-on in the form of an equivocation or a floating pronoun.

       "Mrs. Beale furthermore only gave her more to think about in saying that their disappointment was the result of his having got into his head a kind of idea.

        'What kind of idea?'

        'Oh goodness knows!' She spoke with an approach to asperity. 'He's so awfully delicate.'

        'Delicate?' -- that was ambiguous.

        'About what he does, don't you know?' said Mrs. Beale. She fumbled. 'Well, about what we do.'

        Maisie wondered. 'You and me?'

        'Me and him, silly!' cried Mrs. Beale with, this time a real giggle."

    This habit of leading with a doubtful pronoun certainly grew on James's later characters, and like other of his devices for securing internal unity it became customary, part of a large body of conventional usage which, of course, is felt as a strength or an infirmity of his style depending on whether the emotion is itself forceful or weak in the given case. On the whole, for richness, for subtlety, for attention to concords of sense and sound, James later style was the most remarkable style in English since the 17th century. With all its artifices, there is something elemental about it. Unlike the virtuoso styles, admirable though they are, of a Stevenson or a Swinburne, that of James refers us back, not to the eloquence of the author, but to the resources of the language.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the Pine-Green Dutch-Blue Night

In the middle of the pine-green
Dutch-blue night --
our inward sight --

warm random coalescences
of August come
in steep humidity:
add up the sum

of all their contributions
to the Summer,
fluent scents
and insect hum – whirr --

now grown deep and dark
and hot and late --
inevitable as their
steaming fate –



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sweet Dysmorphia!

of Art!

fencing with -- 
romancing -- 

The blest
of your

of the Heart --
and your
to the Fresh!

You make me
after untoward


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vanilla Pudding Heads

Today we are vanilla pudding heads
with just a trace of lemon zest
and something else whoever made
the mess of us put in to test

our mustard: see if custard was
the right dessert for us to be.
They keep on taking tastes of us.
We rather wish we weren’t we.


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Quality of Thoughtful Conversation Between Gods

The quality of thoughtful
conversation between gods
is rarely strained –
except when exigencies

of their games depend upon
pretending they are not
omniscient. They then become
proficient at the acting out

of roles we’d not find strange:
that comprise the sighs
in our attempts to talk.

They’re good at seeming
like they ought to balk
at the perversities of angry
envy and obsessed excesses

in the other: none
of which of course obtains.
There’s the rub: they lack
our mortal brains.

Such games
are ponderous, soon come
undone.  Since they’re
not us, it isn't fun.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sometimes It Seems Like This

Affection pulls like gravity –
it can’t do more.
We were whatever we could be



can groins be hungry?
yes they can.
they join the bungling
dick to hand.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Familial and Affectionate Relations

Awakenings do not come all at once.
Sometimes you go to bed with one
and wake up with another.
Familial and affectionate relations:
like a brother and a lover and a mother.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Ghosts - The Truth

Ghosts are far more troubled by us
than we ever are by them.
The gem they are
is so far distant from our constitutive
dust that to be even in a slight degree

reminded of our blunderousness
threatens their
sweet equanimity:
even dashes, for a timeless moment,
hope. To be summoned, groped

and caught a glimpse of
when you are a ghost --
absorbed in your remotely painted
realms, whose helms are pointed
toward fleet reaches unimaginable

by the least or most of us –
is briefly to be tainted.
When they howl,  
they do not want to scare:
they wish we weren’t there.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

It Isn’t Easy Welcoming an Alien

It isn’t easy welcoming an alien
without appearing to inspect it –
one hazards rudeness in the act.

Coelenterate, sorbet, Episcopalian?
Hard not to stare, and stay collected
while asking it its facts, with tact.