Thursday, February 28, 2019

Furiously Overcome by Stars

Explain this to me, would you, dear? –
how you, who breathe the atmosphere
I breathe, and witness day and night
and up and down and left and right
with sight presumably not unlike what
my eyes take in, experience a glut
of swarming, loud, sensate hyperbole
where only silent absence seems to me
to be, and otherwise imply the “real”
is so inordinate you can’t begin to feel
the groaning board of it. I’m in the dusk
in emptiness while you’re the brusque
besieged eternal target of internal war.
Is it simply I see less, and you see more?
Who is yes and who is no? I am my scars.
You’re furiously overcome by stars.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Devil is a Magistrate, a Doge, a Chevalier

The devil is a magistrate devoted to Hell’s volupté
asks (as any worthy god would do) to sink your
eye into his own; fall deep into the flaming iris,
feel its molten waterfall replenishing despairing
vacancies of dwindling self: to take you past
incendiary agonies into unseemly bliss:
and pleasure's to be had in this grand gaze,
this kiss that's only deadly to the hope of ever
seeing sunrise anymore. A loss? The Doge
of Darkness tells you No: implores you to take
in the cinnamon red rapture of his dying sun,
so very much more beautiful than any one
of many dawns you'll never see again. The devil
is a chevalier of random causes, offering a panoply
of lethal choices: all of which exact a toll but none
of which much matter to the murdered soul.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Necessary Slaughter

Picture this frail slender woman, pale and forty-five,
in fog of which she might be made, approaching
a familiar well in southern England, leaning bony
elbows on the rim and peering in. She's come to seek
two prophesies: the first, a metaphor – imploring,
hoping for – some new dark fish to surface, another
looming scaly face, to catch the sight of, coming up.
She’ll dare to look down there again: to mine it for
the alien eyes of what you’re not supposed to find
in wells – a divination that will offer her its spells,
hoping she will see whatever her arcane desires require,
according to the exigencies, needs and cries of her
beseeching unpredictabilities, her fleet and fickle mind.
This is how her other children have come up: she's
learned to wait, alone, in privacy, alert and quiet
as a mouse, for any sign of life to stir. (Her latest
evanescent infant she called "To the Lighthouse.")
She'll wait until the next one comes and if it doesn't,
she'll review the prospects of a second destiny:
not waiting for a fish but possibly becoming one.
Among the many things that you can do with water
is approach it as if you were its abandoned daughter –
choose the option of effecting through its frigid depths
the next expected sacrifice, and necessary slaughter.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Theories of Ecstasy


My city’s life takes place not least in her embrace
of trees, her stony dirt the "arms" they seem content
to grow in. But I don’t much (as such) like Nature:
that is, as it’s ideally conceived of as a pristine space 
in which no human intervention ought to leave a trace.
I’d as soon say swallows’ nests are artificial as some
say that glassy boxy buildings are. What is Nature 
but the product of detritus from a blasted star? 
Porno vendors, middle schools and K-marts 
all are natural. Snarkiness is too, and so’s a Cuisinart. 
All of that apart, my heart is nonetheless more 
swiftly lost to fallen leaves than to Manhattan stores:
not because they come from trees, but because they 
are what Keats reminded us must always hold the truth.
They’re beautiful. Immutable and mutable. They crack
the whip of wonder quietly. Watching oak leaves 
float in city puddles easily relieves anxiety. Muddles
lessen at a glance. New theories of ecstasy advance.

Friday, February 15, 2019

A Blighted Unnatural Tale - The Folly of Magda Golyta
The daunting attempt to induce DNA from no matter what beast
in the animal class of Chordata (the phylum of backbones) to seed
with the genes of a bloom in the phylum Magnoliaphyta a viable
creature packed, woven and sewn into some new collusion of un-
likely flower and primate, the first in the biota zone to meet Magna
Golyta’s grand goal, which she’d spawned in her winters in Vichy,
wherein interspecies relationships haunted her dreams – vaunting
her schemes into science upon whose reliance she hoped to find
courage to muster the requisite force and intention she’d need
to become half of that strange amalgam herself. Genius source
that she was of devising a way to pack into her backbone the cells
of her prefrontal cortex to harbor her mind, she then purposefully
undermined all of Nature to graft that to stem, leaves and roots
of an azure magnolia: in whose be-leafed body she’d finally know
homo sapiens sentience from inside the works of a flowering plant.
She’d longed for forever to grant the uniting of doctorly logic and art
in the service of wedding supposedly utterly alien phyla into one
miraculous unity which with impunity would marry Magda Golyta
to lovely Magnolian bliss. How she did this I’d neither the smarts nor
the time to pursue. That she did this was true, and quite clear: regard
her form here in its awkward conglomerate outcome. She’d become
the unwitting recipient of unimaginable savage pain: human-being-
bones’ toxic reaction to chemicals that photosynthesis bred into
every last pore in the plant and the cells from her brain. Mercilessly
photosynthesized into a tortured distress, no rain, only sun, and pain
that attending to feeding magnolias caused in the spine was beyond
any language she had to explain. I’m sure she is desperately trying
to hatch better strategies, maybe one which she’s certain if she had
had hands… But she doesn’t have hands so there’ll be no release nor
a fathomably single feasible way to attain it. And there isn’t a moral,
like what Jonah learned in the whale. It’s merely a blighted unnatural
tale. Who knows, if she’d chosen a rose or some clover from Bali, this
might not have turned into Magda Golyta’s sad folly. But she did
what she did instead. And now both are dead. Photosynthesis,
though, carries on. That bugger will last till the leaves all die
and the Sun don’t dawn. By that time we all will be gone.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Secret of Your Allure

What is the secret of your allure?
Of that you’re egregiously sure.
It’s not any stranger
than subtly becoming a symbol of danger:
intimately knowing how to trespass
without losing what some call your class
but what you know is how you secure
the preeminence of your allure:
to play a role with extreme delight
that assuages, then tends to ignite
the supreme thing that fuels your game:
your eruptive voluptuous shame.

Portrait of Artist as Rodent

That the markers, rethinking the portrait they drew,
(having made you too wide and too fat, muttered ew!
wideness and fatness in rats wouldn’t do!)
in the middle of trying their best to construe

the pure essence they sought to bring full into view,
decided to cut out the center of you,
and then sketch in that lady in back, lent no clue
what to make of this less than spectacular spew
that this Portrait of Artist as Rodent came through
to reveal. To what was this mis-markered art being true?
Did the markers do this on their own? Very few
of the rats we subjected to this interview
could communicate anything we understood.
Only one rodent muttered while chewing on wood
it was clear as the mud was in his neighborhood
that those maladroit markers were up to no good.
But who wielded those markers? I asked cautiously.
Whoever had done this, it can’t have been me.
The mutterer answered, if I didn’t know, how could he?
I face the same locked door. I still lack the key.

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Lunatic Billet-Doux

She or he was spawned by a random imagination –
Darwin’s mutation – but randomness shocks like
a fetish in sex: surely we’re something compassionate
logic intends and projects! What would things mean
if we weren’t? Predation has hungers to feed it.
Wouldn’t exist if the thing weren’t needed. But flowers
and weeds in the breezes with no special ends are like
all that upends and distends and engenders this being:
he or she loves to dress up to the uppity Up-ness, way out
with a shout beyond grout, gout and doubt and surmise,
morphologically sprouting unreason, whatever the season,
and yet without effort sustaining a steady and gentle
acknowledgment of all of the busy be-jeezus that teases
in front of, around and below and behind those kind eyes.
Why should this be a surprise? Or why be surprised
at surprise? One wants to believe Truth is spherical.
No ruptures to break its smooth skin. But what then to
make of the miracle? Which is every last thing in the spin?
Surely nothing’s a miracle then. Oh no! oh-no, oh-no,
oh-no, oh-no, the she-and-the-he in her-her-and-her-him
overflow in a bum rush to me. I was beginning to guess
at the rest. Never has oh-no seemed more like oh-yes.
Language and life are a lunatic billet doux. Unsaddled,
unbridled – embracing, for no godly reason, you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Considerably Bent, But Whole

Equa married Nimity and all was very calm.
They breakfasted on their aplomb,
and dined each night on the exquisite balance
of their silent and sophisticated sighs. Until, alas,
their elegantly half-closed eyes half-gazed into
too many middle distances for far too many days
en route to asking why their two existences,
now joined, were such a bore. “I can’t take it
any more,” Equa heckled Nimity. Nimity
decided it was time to put an end to deadly calm.
They’d detonate a fragmentation bomb! They got
one at the supermarket, tossed it rashly into
their unused garage. Kaboom! Garage barrage!
“You unrelentingly fragmented me!” besqueaked
a quivering pile of yellow wood chips. “I used
to be a totem pole! From Warsaw!” whimpered
several thousand other splinters on the floor.
Nimity and Equa wondered how to make amends:
“We’d help you if we had the hands to do so!”
Then Equa suddenly remembered what was
in her trousseau. A magic wand! It had learned
to wave itself and do its shticks in school back
in the Great Beyond. Equa promised: “It will raise
your status, Totem! Just you watch!” The wand
obliged, re-purposing the wooden chips into
a loopy many-elbowed angled and all-purpose
worker, front and back entangling over, onto
Nimity and Equa, now a new, un-fractured golden
handyman. A grand debut! Unfathomably new!
Factotum Pole! Considerably bent, but whole.

Monday, February 4, 2019


for Bruce Tone 1931-2019

Fixations wear fables like sables: compulsions sport dreams
in luxurious reams of distraction, a lavish display, a ravishing
ravaging of all the scattering remnants of their sterile schemes:
the brutal stings they bring when they are after you. Doesn’t matter
if they’re true. The fable’s dream apotheosis might be Moses –
that enfeebled fabled star, the major focus of the hocus pocus,
leads our skeptic souls to promises he promises to keep,
although he takes a leap, a dive, he dies before he can arrive.
Whatever jive requires that the soul pretend it’s in the Promised Land
becomes a holy history, a sacerdotal fact. Which we use to crack our
heads like coconuts and pray for Moses’ ghost to come down here
again to rummage ‘round inside: however he divines its shreds
and juice is truth. “My advisors are infallibly invaluable,” reports
the altered icon, now surrounded by three floating disembodied heads,
whose expressions range from vacancy to sarcasm, ever-widening
the chasm between them and him. Moses knows he has no friend,
he’ll meet no one who in the least agrees with his great theses,
but he begins to thrive in their dislike: he knows far more of life
now he is dead: it is the strife that foments art, and art is thrilling only
when it courts its vast opposing flood, the army only after blood,
its blood and Moses’ blood so it and he and we can know what we are
made of. Anyway, that pretty much describes the mediation that
this artist fellow, Marvin, dressed in cloth stained violet and yellow
on the lower right discerned had been the point in his last meditation:
mediating fluidly between the traces – tangled laces – of his memory,
and this event of seeing savagely beleaguered Moses on the day
he went away, and maybe after sitting down with God for tea,
discovered his identity. But now the meditation’s tiny spider
delicacies start to blur. Marvin can’t make out the lines that separate
the blessings from the curses very clearly any more. He wonders if
he sees a thaw. That’s when he sits down to draw, begins to hum
and sing. Right now Art’s the point of Moses, him and everything.