Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Multi-Species Family

The multi-species family
get my vote for the prize –
they don’t fall into anomie
and nobody tells lies.
Marry dogs and cats and birds,
bring up a mourning dove.
You’ll all be happier by thirds
by widening your love.

What I’m Careful to Say

(from a response to a dear friend who was concerned because one of my recent poems seemed to indicate I was maybe feeling bleak. As is usual with such expressions of concern I started to pontificate in the usual way about the usual ‘suspects’ - aspects of the natures of Creation - but which I kinda liked when I was done so here it is.)

What I’m careful to say (because it strikes me as true not as any conscious coverup) about any drawing or poem for which I seem to be the sole generator is that they seem respectively to draw & write themselves. I don’t know where they come from or even what their mission is for themselves: I’m just the hired hand who wields the physical instruments of their construction or destruction. I don’t write in a ‘trance’ but I am aware that I do everything (I mean in every moment of my waking life) in a kind of slightly altered state; I was tempted to say meditative but that’s too loaded a word. It is a condition of attention which has no connection I can feel to whoever ‘me’ is. It is a self-forgetting not a self-‘finding’ - whatever that may be. The ‘self’ doesn’t exist except as a word made of letters from a vocabulary - a sort of stand-in (as all words are) for an existentially both precise and immense ‘felt’ human experience so powerful that it pushes you to the brink of attempting the ridiculous task of describing it, to do it justice. Experience is immune to description.

Those artists known as great are those who through some deeply magic sleight-of-hand are able to bring to life the illusion that something can with any justice be said. Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson being two. I don’t count myself among them but I do dare to say I am sometimes afforded what seems like an intimate glimpse of what they do - catching them undressed in the act of doing it, sort of. But that’s probably still my hubris.

They both come to mind because each refuses to say what he or she ‘believes’. They (via each’s style: and “style,” as Quentin Crisp reminds us, “in the broadest sense of all, is consciousness”) are abundantly present - who could mistake either of their ‘voices’ for any other - but their business is not to ‘bare’ or reveal themselves. ‘Self’ is the least interesting aspect of what they do. They’re too busy creating autonomous worlds. They’re less like writers than “God” - another silly word or stand-in for Creation. Who cares who creates anything? Who can’t care about what is created?

So I’m never the poem or the drawing I do. I especially give Emily the nod here for demonstrating how to appear to be speaking in first-person - the single letter word “I” is to be found all over the place in her work - but I defy anyone to put an equals sign between it & Miss Emily D. Who in the cosmos knows who that is? Or who any of us is?

Warm best from

The guy who calls himself mostly for convenience sake, Guy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

An Ideology of Shock

An Ideology of Shock
Fantasies occlude, and block: they seek
an ideology of shock – rude systems
to insure a thrill no matter what must
be endured: that we can make the face
of anything sublime if we would only,
for example, just imagine ourselves
free of space and time. Fantasies fester –
promising a meltdown: dangerous
in prospect but benignant in effect –
at least until we help them splay into
the wreck of actuality. Maybe radio-
activity is what it’s all about: to twist
and shout and act our toxic natures out.
Please understand it’s for your good
as well as mine to take my hand and do
just what I want. Look me in the eye.
Don’t behave. Ask wassup. Be my slave.
When we’re done, we’ll clean it up.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Anatomy of an Impasse

Two circumspect smiles come at me —
but more hands than faces arrive.
Their fingers come faster, inordinately –
suggesting not four hands, but five.
What do these hands want to do?
And how does one read human eyes?
I feel a warm madness about to ensue
that might burrow beneath their disguise,
if it is a disguise. I make the mistake
of assuming that truth is submerged.
Or is it that this is the innocent break
they must take so they’ll have emerged
to converge the point of their flight?
Five hands not four give one pause.
Homonym! Paws with claws in a fight?
Is some pact underway with a cause
that I will not much like? It won’t be
the first time. Won’t be the last.
I recall a small mantra: “Don’t be
the impasse.” I am the play and the cast.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Much Worse Things You Could Be

The prospect of expulsion
from the only realm of being
one had known to some
unknown zone,
without warning –
say, the zone of floral
quadrupedal hominids,
which, had one thought
it possible, was what
one would, at all costs,
have done all one could
to have avoided - eh bien,
screw that, honey, it’s a blast
to be a sunny spiritual paragon
in caravans of other floral
quadrupedal hominids
all fêted as divinities
by those unfortunate
enough to not be them.
There are much worse things
you could be, my sweet
petite verisimilitude
of pater-noster

Friday, August 21, 2020

On the Inadvisability of Annoying Endora

Though “Bewitched” reruns upset him,
he seemed to have to let them vet him
with the rabid Agnes Morehead as Endora
besetting him with her nightmarish aura
mostly for re-naming Darren Dum-Dum
(which he’d been labeled by his stepmum).
Swearing once too often “Fuck you, bitch!”
at her is what we think incurred the switch
when his shocked face, with dispatch, had
been torn off to reside inside a scratch pad
and reconstituted as you see it here –
where he’s now been encoded for a year.


Can’t Awaken a Thing Without a Song

Carefully, resourcefully retaining plural forms of every noun,
this sorcerer was wont to say, “Geometries have lyricisms,
which, by nature, tend to calm the human fear of schisms,
upsets and cacophonies that seize and swat our spirits down
and keep them from their aim, which is to realize a miracle.”
This meant: to sing! – “to toss the tune up, over, in a spherical
smooth swing.”  “Can’t awaken a thing without a song”
became the lyrics he’d apply to any melody not wrong
for them, confident its dance of words would serve empirical
intentions to enact unprecedented ecstasies of magical elation.
Soon every sound you heard from him was a conflation
of whatever rhythms, pitches, high or low or fast or slow
absorbed his genius inner ear to hear new harmonies to show
him how to make incarnate, and keep pace with, fresh creation,
the fresher for his singing “Can’t awaken a thing without a song,”


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

So, hey!

So, hey! Is everybody sure they’re real?
How do they know? Because their noses blow?
Because they have nowhere to go? Because
they can’t say no? Because they’ve got an
outer glow that they believe will soon achieve
an answering response in lusted-after Joe? –
whom you just saw advance upon that red-
head Mary, secretary to the Moonshine Girls?
He’d gladly pay the IRS to go away with
pints of his own blood if it were necessary.
And what’s the IRS to do with this? You may
well ask. Questions tend to make things clear.
Ask one and you’ll start to think you’re here.
Ask another and the whole gestalt of what
you think about yourself will come to haunt
and worry, hurt, deceive, desert and taunt you.
See that giant lady praying? I’m just saying.

Monday, August 17, 2020

What to Do with this Thing I Do

A drawing plants itself on paper,
waits for a useful assist. What is
its status? How does it stand,
coming out of my pencil and hand?
What do I do with this thing
that I stencil, erase, cover up
and cross out, underline, undermine,
circle round and resist, and toss out,
then take back in the flick of a wrist?
What do I do with this thing I do?
Should I be its spy? Or ought I to spy
on it? Cry for or at it, lie to or on it?
Ply it and dye it the colors it wants,
then dunk it in colors it doesn’t?
Clapping her hands, she begins
now to dance with the bird
and the thing becomes not what
it wasn’t, but what it had always
been: what it is. Absurdly spot on,
unduly complete, with an avatar soul

so replete it resounds! But what I’ve
to do with the business confounds.
The girl and the bird (seeming blest)
clap and whirl nonetheless.
Something at least has done its best.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Scan the Man

It makes a kind
of sense, this
silent push to slip
into the shimmer
of a cyber hole
and hide amenably:
a new imaginary grace
that could replace
the awkward scarred
brutality of this
expiring city where
I now must needs reside.
(Must and needs belong
together; let that
English phrase abide.)  
What’s money but a toss
of paper rectangles and
button-shaped pastilles?
Storm the pastilles!
Maybe that would be fun.
What will anyone I love
decide to say to me?
Pray to me and I’ll
absolve us of our sins
or be absolved by you
from having to say
anything at all.
Not that I’m not
jonesing to have
confabs with whoever’s
reading this, and not
that I’m not liking pouring
out what’s left of yesterday’s
refrigerated coffee from
a clunky pressed glass
pitcher generously dosed
with half-and-half into
a big ol’ Houston Texas glass,
the kind they pour sweet tea into.
Not that anything’s amiss
besides the city’s endless
emptiness which has
to be more vacant than
it’s ever been in history.
Why are we here?
Scan the man, report to me
what he apparently can’t say,
that dumb ass who
did mumble something
I could not make out
a word of. But
no thing warrants
There is no thing.
I push poems
out and sing,
suck lollipops
and draw.
That’s how
I fuel me
and New York
City’s gaping maw.

Saturday, August 15, 2020


Fair to comment: when Obsessa speaks,
she wreaks havoc, but enticingly – replete
with internecine wars as if of church
and state that correlate with nothing you
have ever heard nor are ever likely to hear,
except from her. Slavering over intimacies –
she savors their finer points, impenetrabilities:
today evinced in two tense thugs wed to each
other, awkward at an outdoor table at
a kindred conundrum, an East Village diner –
whose inexplicabilities, despite the hollow
pretense of Obsessa’s pleas to help resolve
them – pique you and delight her: indeed
incite her to pile on in lavish detail more
reams of complicated mises-en-scène
and stark untenabilities to rattle every
premise you’d not known you’d harbored:
as if you were a groggy sentient sailboat
tediously ever-in-the act-of-coming-to
from sailboat stupor to find out, anew,
your reflexive You-Boat turned to
starboard when it should have turned
to port. Obsessa does get on one’s nerves,
but by surveying the display of volupté
in her inimitable moral culs-de-sac and
shaky logic, we see she cannily refurbishes
the very room in which you notice them,
front and back: suddenly and thuddingly
you trip into an alternate insanity: new
visions of the meanings of quite everything
around you. Curtains, chairs, framed photos,
what Obsessa wears, sky and city views
outside the windows utterly rewrite
the news and now you’re floating in
a cosmos you don’t know a thing about,
but one far more egregiously ridiculously
interesting, alluring and insane than any
you yourself had ever had the balls to dream.
Now you are the center of its scheme!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pregnant, Fragrant and Vagrant

We walk around pregnant and fragrant
with vagrant ideas, dreams and plans – willing
them to become real:  to evolve or devolve
into bright and efficient solutions to filling
our numberless vacancies. Most are stillborn.
But sometimes a few may come through.
Two that survived became some of what I am,
and all of what’s gloriously and abundantly you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Society of Buddhist Hoodlum
We think we see her run into unexpurgated dawn:
striated sapphire sky, bold sun above the breeze –
but she sees cold integuments of existential brawn
beneath and far beyond supposed microbial realities
of viruses to wholly different dimensions – as teasing
and unholy as the myriad of other realms it underlies:
she’s absolutely riveted by how profoundly pleasing
it is that the final truth she’s gotten to is a disguise.
As solo monitor of A Society of Buddhist Hoodlum
she can state with thrilling new authority, “I am.”
But what could sate her, constitute the good from
finding all this shameless infinite variety of sham?
Leaning on the dictionary definition of a verb
or noun, you will go down: all “is” is, is “seems.”
Blast assertions! How to make them not disturb?
Aha! She finds it’s easy. Run over them like dreams.