Sunday, January 26, 2020

Breaking Rules

Twenty-twenty is the year we’re in.
I’m thinking Nineteen-Thirty-Eight is when
my mother sat for this reflection painted of her
in what I imagine was the quiet din of soft
intrigue surrounding painters in a studio
of the Art Students League, studying
this pretty young art student Alice Blake,
who’d have been on her way to twenty-one.
I’m sixty-eight, and looking at the girl who’ll be
my mother. I wonder if by twenty-one she’d met
my father yet. I doubt it. I’m standing looking
up at her unseeing oil eyes: I’ve spelled for her
my age and stage of having lived now nearly
seventeen full years since she was last alive.
By then she’d been a Kettelhack for seventy
much longer years. The dactylic Kettelhack has
now been left to bring me to my fame, as I wait,
not waiting, to dive into what I have no reason
not to think will be oblivion. I wonder in what
arcane idiom I might spell out my question
to this proto-mother Alice Blake to find out what
if any rules I ought to break before I join her 
where the moon presumably don’t shine. Breaking
rules as my last act would be so very fine.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Poems and Poets

Poems toss and turn
and yearn ambitiously
ambiguously: coyly donning,
dropping fig leaves in
the windy autumns of the heart –
on the one hand they
admonish and demand –
and on the other, part
with every expectation
of an outcome – with
an arguably psychopathic
cool capacity for little
textures, small decisions,
surgically precise incisions –
self-forgetting: moments
after bringing things to heat.
Poets are a bit like that
as well, of course, but
they can't, quite to the degree
a poem can, be what they
eat. Poems self-consume:
they are the food they
cook. Which somehow gets
the poet off the hook.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020


I’m not ironic, I’m American: meticulous, direct! Driven
to depict the private flickers of the blast of my Big Bang,
my solo sonic boom.  Here’s what I discern. What else
but a ‘void’ can one face? What else but the unemployed
infinity of nothing could I be the child of? When ‘infinity’
and ‘nothing’ pause together in a clause, Famished
Mind wants so for them to cause orgasmic spasm,
seething warring parts – BRING IT THE FUCK ON
and NO! – pitched to an untoward extremity. The true
Identity of Trinity therefore reveals itself in God, whose
word-made-flesh turns out to be a pedantry furnished
in burnished diction, supernal grammar, eternal alphabet.
God’s a school marm. Wet or dry, we’re a marvel of
a spinning lingual vacancy, hollow unity, a Source-Void
paying us an adequate annuity that with impunity permits
us to reflect upon the probable delusion we exist. What
greater manna could we wish? Could there be more
to learn than this? Not so’s we can see. Freeze if we stay,
burn if we go, who cares, don’t know. But hush! Look!
I’m asleep on a lawn at the back of my house, aged three –
could this have been me, ‘neath a Mulberry bush?
We picked mulberries, yes, from a branch. But not on
a prickly bush! Full of ticks probably! What does it mean
existentially? I’d have sworn what I knew was a tree.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning.
If there’s a god it got lost in the push,
lost in the push lost in the push,
if there’s a god it got lost in the push,
but a new one is always aborning.