Wednesday, December 30, 2015

SLACK

It's official—nothing
wears your body 
down like

keeping 
still and holding your 
breath, in an increasingly

elaborate pantomime of death, 
while simultaneously chastising
yourself

for not growing
celestial
wings in the meantime,

and wondering the
whole time—whether 
it just can't be done? Or worse,

why?
it just isn't happening
quickly enough

to counteract 
this annoying and
incessant little compulsion

you seem to have developed—to keep 
pinching and  
hoarding and furtively

sniffing up—
little secret doses
of the free, ordinary air 

which seems
to lie
around everywhere,

so stupid
and dispassionately—outside
of yourself.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

INTERCESSION

Dear God—
please hear me,
I need you

to understand—
the extent to
which mom

always lets—
me do pretty
much

what-
ever the hell
I want.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SNATCH AND CLEAN

Inhaling compassion—exhaling
pride (for keeping
both inside would surely kill me)

slowly I start to move about my daily exercise.
I walk,
I jot, I push and talk, repeating.

I see the movement, become the movement,
swallow a little water
I carry, repeating. And I notice it tastes good

to me. It tastes so good
and so right
that soon I begin to notice a new endurance, as

steadily I continue now—to move about my daily exercise;
the force and object
of which, presently, feels far less heavy

than it does substantial: to lift
and pull—
the words off of their objects.

HUMAN INTEREST STORY

The puffed reporter's
sheep eyes say more—than a bleating
ten billion newspapers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

DEATHBED EDITION

Devouring Homer,
Whitman,
Christ!—was never enough, 

either to crush their hunger to be clever
or to quench the thirsty 
doubt of their questioning.

And so—as of now
and hereafter, your self 
and your soul would like to announce:

they are giving up,
and have decided to just lay down
and start making love to each other;

taking turns, one
nourishing the other, strictly 
on rhythm—

and achieving, at last, via this
tacit and fictive music—
complete satisfaction.

That is—
that perfect faith
which is utterly inexpressible,

but which is sort of like 
how—the edge of the water
is more than 

the end of the land; it is also
the end of a man, and spells
the end of all his words.

And it seems perverse 
at first, but such
are the little deaths 

we never even realize
we needed.
Until after 

we've already found ourselves there—dumb
and so ready
to fuck.

DUMB SHOW

In the cold streets, 
I watch them pass me neat 
and swiftly,

carried on two stiff bits of sticks
toward various green leathery 
destinations—rumpled behind desks, 

or else shining, golden and 
auspicious somewhere, over
substantially heavy polished counters—

the old man faces. These
supposed geniuses of our race,
whose noses flair, gravely

exhaling smoke and fire and iron 
across the quaffed silver arches 
of their vast incombustible mustaches.

And yet, I cannot resist 
giggling a little 
to imagine—their children,

or, more likely, their 
children's children! Somewhere 
warm and safer—perhaps

back at home, if they're 
lucky—but with infinitely more convincingly
austere looks upon their faces

than these scowls now parading
past me can muster. 
For here, I suddenly feel cocky

and confident,
that no mask 
can affect the true look of solemnity, 

which isn't still malleable 
enough to render 
into realistic expression

just how severely 
frivolous—is 
the whole masquerade.

Monday, December 21, 2015

STROKE

Every living thing
becomes more

and more beautiful,
but only

once dead—admits its
perfection.

DUNGEON MAP

I must keep perilously barreling
past and through,

or else run
the risk of eternal paralysis—if caught too

careful, too regretfully—inside of some cautiously over-
lit room or other, replete

with pulpwood faces collapsed hard over paper coffee
cups, stirred a little

too surreptitiously, with balsa splints
in lieu of spoons

because there simply isn't any sugar
to measure.

I'm sure
I was born better

than this, I'll curse. I am not so ambivalent
as these others.

I am not so
one-dimensional. This may be hell, but I am not

averse to what's
in the next room. I am not afraid. I'm just exhausted

and too selfish to leave here, bereft
of all feeling, save for

this deep and luxurious intellectual concern—
that there

actually isn't any next room
beyond the one in which I'm stalled. That there's

really no way out of here
at all. And that hulking impersonal

black and clear
door over there, the one with the largish

handle, on which is printed
PULL

TO GO BACKWARDS FROM HERE
TO WHERE YOU WERE

is only
painted-on.

Friday, December 18, 2015

POSSESSIVE CASE

Without dismissing the import
of this old and fortuitous
trove of strange riches—
the discovery of which, I admit,
owes mostly to a lot of
blind luck and bit of impertinence

toward the vast and immovable ocean
called Filial Piety that nurtured it
(but which also so-willfully purposed to obscure
and shroud and suppress its utility)—

I hereby swear
that I'll always endeavor
to spend its salvaged composite currency
(three small coins, each of which
feels so familiar to use, and yet
foreign to measure)

as quick-
and as loose- and as usefully as I'm able—
letting fall, with the happy grace
of a very recently-poor man, fat streams of all three

glinting
spangled
sungolden pronouns, called—
us.
and—we.
And, most expensively—ours.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

STEPS 4 AND 5, STUCK ON REPEAT

Not without passion,
not without disgust,
not without
ennui, fear, longing,
desire and frustration,
apathy and zest—
not without some
levity, plenty of ceremony,
a little lust—
not exactly ironically,
but not fully conscious-
ly seriously either—I confess,

I tend
to love
to make
the most incredible small secret tricky intricate unfinished symphonies

out of spitting
the most delicious
bites back
onto the speechless
ceramic faces of their erstwhile
wan robin's egg blue dinner plates—but it's only because

I just,
so very
very much,
want everything
that I touch—to be
perfect, just the way it is
now—except, later. Not until
later. Not until much later. Not until
much much much much much much later—

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

IN BELATED COMMEMORATION OF "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" PASSING INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

Tending as always
toward tomorrow
and tomorrow—toward gravity 
and its hugest superlatives 
but also the infinitesimal point of a place, marked with a bold 
x, where the world ends, or so
we've been told;

we sometimes find instead where we tread—a slight 
translucent muse
whose

simple song
at first
is not but disappointing levity—a nursery rhyme! we cry,

a sort of cheap birthday 
party tune—

meant to accompany that space of time, we think 
in our ponderous graceless mood,
between the bored now and
the dark time when all shall become as smoke 
under our very noses, after 
our fervid but still
uncompleted visions have been subsumed
and what's left of them now enveloped 
in gummy sugar and sticky laughter.

Nonetheless,
the music plays on, and gradually 
we realize—
we know the words already, having
learned them all
by heart when we were small.

And what then—
of gravity 
after all? 

Surely a few distractions—a white confection and a few
friends and close relations
are not the heaviest burdens to assume. And as
the lingering smoke in our nostrils 
continues to curl, it compels us 

to recall
and to compare—another simple song,

we dimly seem to have heard
or read about somewhere—

something—regarding ashes and dust 
and so-on, until suddenly

that is to say,
eventually—we hear each song conclude, only 
to rewind and start over,

as tomorrow becomes 
today, re-steeped once again 
in the burnt and dead
leaves which we just 
very nearly discarded,

and we remember that here
on a perfect sphere,
every point 
is both—the end of all things 
and absolutely nowhere. 

And it is then at last
that we find ourselves
free to give up 
and simply let loose our own music
without that unwieldy burden—of ownership,

and the song we make then
is a slender
little cellophane thing, but it nonetheless runs
wild in our minds, chiming
out more and more strongly 
with each new
repetition of its chorus—

Be not a prophet.
And leave off desire
And dignity and class.
What does your day
to day life require?
Tell us—only of that.

Monday, December 14, 2015

TOLL

All the teeming living breathing peoples of this earth!
are somehow—not enough 
to fill

a measly 
two,

or maybe 
three quarters—and that's only 
of the very 
last few 

on a 
quite understandably
highly extensive list—of its

most indispensable 
six,
or maybe 
seven dozen newspapers.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

AND I LEFT TRADER JOE'S WITH NO GROCERIES

Desperately seeking an immediate antidote
to relieve this sudden noxious fever,

a serious bout of sickening confusion
spiked with a sweaty vertigo at the oncoming awareness

of so many enigmatic and far-flung cultures,
raw lands of sticky green junglesnarled hills

and steamtopped mountain summits
colliding here in this climate-controlled moment

with a dark and indolent December-in-Chicago,
from these bunches of gaseous yellowing

bananas hanging next to slick plastic cans
of greasy coffee beans from Peru, to those

deep pink hibiscus flower two-dimensional caricatures
fetishized perfectly into corporate logos—

I fervidly began chanting,
quietly but discernibly out-loud to myself,

some of the coldest
words that I know

in order to hopefully
quell the delirium.

And those words
were these,

and in this particular order—
grave.

lone.
winter.

stone.
and last,

but not least of all—
silence.

Friday, December 11, 2015

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AFTER FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER

Walking out under the beclouded heaventree
of electrified city lights near Christmas,

I looked and found I could, just barely,
still make out the belt of Orion.

At once, I felt like some premier modern astronomer—
solitary, vigilant; attentive, self-contained.

Which is to say, actually much more like an ancient
maritime explorer—marooned; without the support of a crew.

Which is to say, still another way—utterly
impotent. And doomed.

YOUR MOUTH WAS A STOP SIGN

That's when I 
knew

how inextricable 

feeling
isn't

written 
down—but made.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DUCK DODGERS IN THE 21½th CENTURY

These days—
no poet writes anything

about
pretty silver shafts

of moonlight, or whatever. 
Not

because they no longer
think

to look up, 
but because—no one

in their
right mind! goes

outside at
night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ANALYSIS OF "THE MOUTH OF HOME"

After a while wandering miles—the Speaker of this poem
can't help but notice 
that his favorite place to enter
always has a red door,
which always opens inward.

So much better!—he thinks,
than having to rear-back
and tear a new hole 
by ripping some cold stainless lever, 
and then regain his balance 
before stammering into the place like a whirlwind, 
with no time to spare, even for repairing 
the silly abrupt 
slice of his damage behind him.

By contrast, 
at this place—the whole thing always seems to begin 
by bowing.
Then, just enough, he clenches, 
then eases, then 
gives the barest little push,

and then—rejoices;
basking in the feeling 
of having been automatically ushered inside
by that last puff of his breath, into this precious
soft womb of familiar space—where he invariably feels 
his dark tired feet
have been waiting, 
upturned, since long 
before having—actually arrived there.

Monday, December 7, 2015

UNREASONABLE

On a protean ocean
somewhere—
a fugitive

plastic green bottle-
cap—stoically
rigid

green
and determined—
keeps floating to shelter

perhaps—the smallest
hapless last
whiff

of invisible
wind on the
planet—from destiny.

Friday, December 4, 2015

NEWS

Carousing cold sidewalks,
three pigeons—

mottled, sticky with light
and filth of greenish shadow—bob and shudder
to be perceived,
projected, reinvented! But

resist. For images
are hardly so pure
to speak of as their number. And truth—it is dull

and low
and uninteresting cold—which you know
will come to ruin
these old sidewalks

long-
before they've had a chance to.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

BUSKER

I promise to make you fresh
music each day, with all
that I've got. Which is only two things—

syllables stressed
and less-
stressed. Small words 

and those chittering 
patterns of them
which I learned—before I knew 

how to dress 
or tie 
my own shoes—by

parroting the tall glittering
fuss of grownups. 
But—in exchange, you must 

always agree 
to let—my instrument 
be simply 

the daily
currency of your breath—its pitches, 
your little inclinations; 

its timbre, 
only—
the voice in your head.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PAVLOV'S DOGS

It's beginning to look a lot like
Christmas—the way bleary thousands 
upon thousands of pairs of perfect 
strangers avoid eye contact instinctively,

glancing instead down, and then
off to one side, relieved to alight their eyes
on the adjacent, newly repeating 
citywide signs for consolation,

recreating each snowy sound and story
in the salivating mouths 
of their minds—of new lives deserved 
or of old adversaries reckoning;

memorable cashes of phrases recurring,
seemingly swirled randomly, but in truth, manufactured 
to refresh mankind's blurry but ample
and resilient muscle memory 

for preferring to remain so 
spectacularly alone (united just softly enough
by fear—of death 
and by awe of what's left)

and for soldiering on, simultaneously—
consumed by these empty tidbits 
now piling up across the white
sidewalks and street corners 

and desperate to consume 
and regurgitate 
and then re-consume them
all over again—at the drop of the next silver bell.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TO TELL THE TRUTH

Do not say grace to him 
for things.
Pray instead, poet, to things 
for his grace. 

And do not seek to write of 
real freedom;
you risk describing—complete
alienation.

Above all, remember never 
to walk 
the perimeter of your life—to fathom
its shape;

but rather, to constantly trace
an apprehension:
the shape of this life is—not the only 
one.

Monday, November 30, 2015

FUCK INTERCOURSE

Trudging soaking all day
through the coagulating frost gray and trying so hard
not to think—

Jesus, the whole bloody history!
of the confounded English Language—here
in a dumb obvious word pair;

the rude
and refined, side-by-side—the piss and shit guts and the holy fancy
clinical names for the same things.

Not to mention, the
Geography.
Invasions! Enslavement!

Rape, pillage, plunder—border rebellions and marriages
run amok from each age-
old thunderclap.

Oh Romans! Oh Germans!
How on earth did I get here? Acrimonious, grouchy, walking,
turning over and over

again the same
inept phrase in my corrupt little hard-
wired brain—November rain.

Friday, November 20, 2015

EXHIBIT

Where fearless children dare to speak, 
in these dark

and tall polished marble halls, their words 
like wild

horses begin to buck and gallop—
urgent but direction-

less. Or else, it's this 
throbbing movement of thirsty  

pitches ascending 
toward some funnily expendable climax, 

like some vessel 
is being filled to its brim—eagerly,

but obvious-
ly far too quickly.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

OR MAYBE

Begrudgingly,
the midlife sun is 
up and schlepping 
torpid through his paces—shilly-shallying

over peaked greenpurpleish 
mountains and
tree-
tops and corn 
sticks and sandy
red clay 
and then some 
significantly purpler 
mountains and whatnot.

And then, after
pausing to smoke a few 
and consider 
his chosen line of work—there
before the same old 
basin of dull insipid peace-loving water,

heaving-
off reluctantly
from shore again
to scrap for a halfway-decent 

place—to finally 
set, already.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

CARETAKER

I shall move
from room to room
unhurried—reducing

anesthetizing
dusting up-
dating and sprucing

unperturbed
by the curious white
spaces between

over
which I have no
say—never dreaming

of listing
the accommodation—content
with the intention

to keep
each suite perpetually—neat
and orderly

in just such a way that
is pleasing
to me.

MISTAKES WERE MADE

Avoid passive voice.
Avoid passive voice.
Nothing worse

than—
to be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THE ILLUSTRATED MAN

Figure
this one—

many different things 
keep coming 

to the surface 
of a 
circle,
but somehow—its 

radius changes
only a little

and its 
circumference, only 
superficially.

Monday, November 16, 2015

SOUL OF WIT

There is no real trick
to making it stick, but contrary to popular belief
there is a little formula—and it actually starts
by adding words;

so many
so quickly, in fact,
so as to coerce your congregation
into associating—certain
syllables with distinct pitches,

which sort of lends itself automatically
to the common error of equating
different pitches
with independent volumes,

and those volumes
with their own discrete
durations, and so-on—and then,

you simply allow duration
to stand-
in as the function of intensity, where
intensity is equal to the quotient

of truth
over
sincerity—but then,

since both the dividend
and the divisor are irrational
and a definitive final answer
is therefore impossible,

the vast majority of your hearers
will invariably start rounding-off
and transubstantiating
your clunky terms

into the only other thing
they've ever heard of—
that supposedly goes-
on forever.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

N.B. TO SARTRE

Hell is—
your sense

of the
increasing likelihood of being

misquoted willfully
after your death

in somewhat similar
contexts but

by very different—
other people.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

SNAKE

Past me, glossy faces
swim
and smile;

but still—
some faint anguish pervades,

tugging slightly
on the grim light
that suffuses each new crossing,

and pulling me a little
in its wake.

What is a river after all, though?—
but a recurring
problem that needs solving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT

I wondered as I walked, if the image
of an ancient
snowy mountain—

which rose, immovable as all time's ages
and so readily
before my mind—

which was certainly never
wrought by any man's labors,
or even
by the most terrific
tricks of his thoughts—

and which, in consequence of its
inexplicable omnipresence,
came to be explained, disarmingly
as simply—deific;

if that abstraction
could not?—purely through the alchemy
of being rubbed
lightly past the lips and hands of a few
or more

unwitting generations—
come to be transformed,
irrevocably ever after, into stone-
cold fact?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

POP

Beliefs are bubbles;
mysterious dirigible creatures
born of wind
from magic wands and sun-
streaked with resplendent color—

which, however,
were built not
to suffer

the mildest
of altitudes
or slightest pressure—

and which bequeath
at their deaths—and this much only
if the witness
is feeling writerly—

felicitous claps, as they
pass, of cheap
sound to his memory.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

QUALIFIERS

Inconspicuous,
but everywhere 
along

the chatty river,
tepid nibblers swarm 
and mingle—

little leeches, sucking 
at the rushing 
blood of words.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

GO TO SLEEP NOW

Congratulations, you're a
Georgia peach—
a fleshy accumulation of curious blushes, sunkissed
and swelling proud
to nourish and ensconce 
the secret, hardy stone—which is precious,
indubitable you.

But seriously, you're a common onion—
watery yellow 
layers, under 
layers, under layers—translucent, sour,
'til there's—
nothing there.

But actually, the most distasteful thing
is probably—how there's really
only one of you.

But really, the most delicious part—
is you're the 
only one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

SUPERMARKET SWEEP

Dizzy with light
from a frontage of windows,
I can feel my lips passing
wisps of pleasant fluff

back-and-forth
with a mild mannered 
hostess, behind this sterile

stainless steel conveyor, which
certainly wasn't built 
to accommodate the hugeness
of this encounter, but nevertheless

over which
are nervously carried—both of our most
urgent motivations this morning:

hers—to earn,
mine—to feel sated 
by an elusive feeling
that I've done that already.

But even as our shared air
continues, warm and used-up now, to rise
in cute pools which tingle my senses,

I am nearly drown
by the thundering chorus
of various would-be contestants
inside me, chiding—

Can it be true? Is this all
there is? And then—somehow,
alone again, white paper in-hand

finally, flush with a winner's
grin, pantomiming
to muzak—Isn't this plenty? More 
than enough?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

OLD PISSER

Often I'll watch him stand corrected,
walk redirected,
inspect collections already-
finished 
and polished to perfection;

seeking refuge 
in such vagueness—huge 
and warm
and full 
with the pleasantness
of shiny yellow light.

And then—
when he's feeling
quite dizzy

and sunblind
and free—he'll whip it out 
feebly

and write—

hashtag-
beat poetry,

hashtag-doin' it 
in my sleep.

Friday, November 6, 2015

CHAUVINIST CHRIST

In my mind, I love
the way
it's—just me
having ideas,

but it's only
she—who really
stitches them 
all together.

YOU FIRST MISTAKE

Stop thinking 
outside the box—so much,
and get back

to the task
at-hand—taping 
it shut.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

TRAVEL WRITER

It is not!
that he doesn't know
exactly where he's going,

enthusiasm-sized travel mug 
plugged close and doing all the smoking for him,
and strapped sockless (for the tone that sets)
into his kitchen's hazardous best 
go at a sporty rental;

it's just that he's still undecided 
on the most efficient—and yet
ecumenical way to end
up there.

And so—detouring, meanwhile, 
through passive voice back alleys
and ruins of ancient metaphors toppled,

and zigzagging would
and should
and could
and all those other vivid red auxiliary flags—

the enthusiast 
most thoroughly manages—to pique 
the stomach 
of his ideal passenger a little

by showing 
her
only—that stuff which
is not.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ARTISANAL

Scooping, at his desire
and leisure, mighty gobs
of all Fall! in his
prodigious fists—

the mouthfeel of every orangecream
and milkwhite
slice of hot candied root-
vegetable pie,

the fiery pop
of innumerable plumes
of little sugar maple boughs
presently dolloping

every single near
and far
ruddy crescent of almond-
shaped hill,

and even! that speech,
borne on chilled nightwinds
made by each one of those rusty cemetery
gates's wrought-iron screeching,

that the dead you loved
are buried
and that
is final—

and then, proceeding to melt
and squeeze them all together,
under unfathomable heat
and incalculable pressure,

by turns, the unfaltering
glassbender—moves yet another
paperweight closer
to fulfilling today's order.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GRAPPLING HOOK

Deliberately digging in
to something
tender there

and hidden
at the top of her—

secretly
I climbed
by nights;

only—to wind up 
stuck 
when the lights came on

nowhere 
near the brittle drop 
ceiling,

twisting 
from a 
knot, and marveling—

how she! 
was also 
my only emergency contact.

INSPIRATION

The sun—at a quarter
past November,
is an

orange flower blossom—
turning 

in skies 
the character 
of shallow water—

and taking 
very 
slow-

and casually its unfurling; 
as if softly

laughing—in the face of 
every 
meticulous

clock—commissioned
in its honor.

Monday, November 2, 2015

EXTRA INNINGS

On the one side—exactly the right series 
of deftly pitched
words,

exhibiting
just the right spin
to affect a slight curve,

could 
irrevocably
change the world.

Then again, on the other—better,
by a long shot, to go 
running-

off 
in all directions
at once, however recklessly—

than to ever come across 
as lazy, 
or 

late, or 
cagey, or worse-
still, some banned word 

like—irresolved.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

HALLOWEEN NIGHT

Outside the wind snarls—
I could bury you
I could bury you
I could bury you if I wanted to.

On top of
which—it wasn't me who
said any of that. It was 
you.

ITSY BITSY

After hatching—borne to ourselves
on the breath 
of some dateless dawn,

we are certain
of no facts, excepting those that
we are

wet—and we 
must be, at least,
here to bear witness.

And so—
at first light, 
we begin crawling. 

ever so 
gingerly, at first—upward, determined 
to capture nothing short of

our essence!—from a kaleido-
scope of new raw and beautiful
perspectives.

And each timid time,
climbing just
a little bit higher 

so that, from each new dizzying increment, 
we notice something a little bit wider, 
a little bit greater, and a little less specific about us—

something wild and uncharted,
and yet, 
still familiar; because always

attaching back, 
lattice-
like, to the preceding picture.

Until—at long last,
we come to a certain precipice
the view from which we can no longer comprehend—

that of a dot 
on a dot 
on a blip

on a spiral—with huge amounts 
of black-slathered 
black! all around it.

But when we try—
to step back
to get a better view of this strange image,

we suddenly slip
on something wet
that we'd temporarily forgotten about

and tumble all
the way back
to begin again—only this time,

we tell ourselves
from the outset—
it's personal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

GENUINE AROUSAL

Though inevitable—a kind of white-
hot silver
shock

still runs

stock
sudden
and invariably

down
every tongue-
tied spine—whenever,

bursting-
forth sopping
from the venerable
but swollen-out belly of huge No,

little red
yes—egresses;

dizzy
rawboned
noisily gasping the new free air
until,

at last—
its own
trembling hot
abdomen is full.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BREAKFAST TABLE DIALECTIC

Who knows? you'll shrug, gesturing—
the extent to which those 
stiff and still wan yellow
shafts of early light—
 
which seem to channel forever 
down from the creased mouths 
and distended 
cheeks of antediluvian clouds, 
without ever seeking ground—

bestow anything? 
or were, for that matter—
themselves bestowed in the first place?

But who? she'll answer—if ever last
left standing here, 
alone on this hot screaming rock and
in the face of annihilation,

would dare remain mired
in the valley 
of his or her own stubborn perspicacity
and still insist on penning and pinning 
his own clever lyrics to 

that vast soundless music 
out the window there—

which has sustained not only your mother,
but her mother,
and her mothers' mother, 
and her mother's mother's mother too, 
and so-on, and so-on, and so-
and so, on—

But—What is god, mom!
other than 
our ultimate 
concern in that moment?

Exactly!—what God is, 
young man,
IS your ultimate concern,
every second.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CITY PSALM

Looming—near and distant
and wreathed in plumes 
of anxious Carl Sandburg fog,

ancient cathedral spires still festoon and designate
the otherwise-obscure skyline
of a conscious but still-slumbering Chicago;

inspiring no huge or otherworldly feelings now,
apart from, perhaps, 
the dim comfort—of familiar forms 

and exploitable structure. For here
and there in the gloom, they seem to form, adroitly, 
certain patterns—beacons

in a labyrinthine prison, wherein still manage 
to move each morning
the hopes and fears of its uncalled-upon millions;

fears 
of remaining always
lost amid its arcane passageways—

hopes 
of yet discovering, 
through the tyranny of such a maze, their freedom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ACT V

Gazing deeply
into the well of memory—
we invariably see

nothing—
but nonetheless
gain everything

from our pains
in the effort—
of looking.

THE MYSTERY WRITER

This morning 
I am turning—

and reading over
all the leaves;

old,
wet spider-
brown pages,
scattered everywhere

but empty—
and taciturn
save for whenever 
a quick piss of wind sends them rumbling.

What? 
or—is this?
Poetry? I wonder. 

Who?
is this?
A poet? They whisper.

And I shiver 
a moment then, and turn aside
with a cheap sneeze, before 
unbending to leave

with a gait more 
open than before—cold, 
damp, but lighter, because divested 
by these wordless exchanges, borne 
inward on some clever
mere air—of the stale knowledge

that my testimony will remain
inadmissible, not
because 

a warrant here
has yet to be granted,

but because none 
had ever been
needed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

MIDWESTERNER

Oh—but what then, of the 
plain wind? sings
only a very 

particular kind of bard—which runs, he laments,
only and ever clearer,
only like itself,

and only and always 
as fast as it can? 

What does 
it?
ride like—I wonder;

threshing and tumbling autumn somersaults over
the corncolored 
nape of America—un-
disrupted, 

neatly 
covering my entire bare-
headed view of the blue planet, and

inspiring hayseed 
after hayseed—to one-by-one 
go tramping off 

to sew 
his golden self-
similar similes

without ever whispering—a single suggestion?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

WAX WINGS (AFTER SAM COOKE)

Wait a minute. Hit
Rewind—and let's all try

listening back—
to one another

a little more deliberately.
For starters—

did the mytho-
logical voice

of that
soul man just ask—

with alacrity?
For someone, or 

something, called
Cupid—

to come
fix everything?

Friday, October 23, 2015

STRUCTURE AND SURPRISE

If—the facts 
are all 

plot—and
the plot, simply details,

and if 
words are just hollow magic

tricks to make the wind more
reliable and appear more 
solid than it really is,

and—what if?
even our bravest 

intentions
to be totally 
literary—only

are shards?
of some shattered shared
soul of a soundless-in-vast-perpetuity universe,

which moves forever 
toward frozen oblivion,
without ever really changing shape—

Then what?—what's left? in the 
landscape, I wonder,
to survey.

I see—only

epiphany!—crumbling 
architecture, yes,
but some 
pretty 

cool gargoyles leftover.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

STROLLERS

Walking Lucy muddy mornings
in the park and noticing 
often

the familiar slight chaos—of
this

or that 
little fat 
pink child writhing away, 

lavish but 
livid in the plush redundant safety of its blueish 
gray droplet-shaped confines—
I think:

How?—can my soul
possibly
be

any lighter—
let alone weightier?
than these which walk with it;
when indeed, each seems to have sprung,

so slapdash
and indiscriminately
forth—from one and the very 
same mighty godhead's splitting headache?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

THE FUTURE GOVERNOR OF PURGATORY

Simply gazing upward on any of those kinder
and woozy autumn mornings
from her stroller and knowing a thing
called "sky" lie above her

but nevertheless seeing only
"clouds," arrayed crisply
and dark in their vast
rolling panoplies—this act already

comprised a certain way
for the small child
to own, within her abridged little body,
a very uncertain feeling.

A feeling that
she would later
come to feel intimately, though
never know directly—of two things

which can occupy distinctly
the very same space
at the very same time—
but for very different reasons.

Surely enough,
various pairs
of steely words would rush
to fill in and help illustrate the big feeling later.

Heaven and Hell,
Progress and History (of each
of the battles
won by her country),

Science and Fiction—
and the absurd
amount of friction
between Sci-fi and Fantasy

(not to mention, along the way,
the very annoying disparity of meaning
between certain wily pairs
like—"discrete" and "discreetly").

And—not too long after,
some subtler and more curious notions
began to inhabit her senses
and reveal to her their strange power;

there was, for instance,
the fantastic influence
of the traffic
upon the weather,

of the wealthy
upon the poor
and the poor-in-spirit
upon the healthy;

then—the smell
of cold rain
but the wild
sight of fire,

and both held together simultaneously
by the thin astringent vinegar-y,
or else
by the corpulent warm oily

sensation of blood—
which always came rushing wherever
(she noted very cautiously
whenever speaking publicly)

the soul
seemed to drip—neither
with any great hate

nor with very
much love—
from the body.

Monday, October 19, 2015

RECEPTION

Mostly, old dark faces
loitering—disarmed

beyond the bright corners
of the dance floor;

each finding it easier—for now,
to imagine

itself out there
than to picture—either

its last breath—or
the nothing waltzing after.

ON WAKING

My body, face
down—

in a
riverbed somewhere.

My mind,
without hesitating—

crossing
the dead fissure,

as if—
by some miracle,

still
filled with water.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

REACTOR

Your heart 
is a furious old red 
giant drifting—

unfathomably 
congested 

with curiosity 
and confusion

and fusing them
into—pure white 
astonishment.


Friday, October 16, 2015

NO SUCH THINGS AS SYNONYMS

Gazing into the wild 
and perilous mystery—of nightweather 
booming outside 
your windowpane

and wondering—
how even the most
ungovernable rains
could be brought down so easily

by the weakest
and the
least well-understood
of forces—

consider now 
the meek poet brooding;

for whom 
there are no certainties! 
Other than those—
of course, regarding which word

at which exact 
particular moment—to pelt you with,
or else miss 
on purpose.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

UNEARTHLY

Hark!—the familiar tin-
tinnabulation 

of hungry 
chattering autumn teeth,

as once again, some fantastic daredevil
vagabond inside you—

so restless 
to uncover nothing less than the wind's 

most wild and rippling
and uncredited sources of motivation—goes

catapulting outwards,
clamoring—Contact! and then rocketing

hardy 
and heedless through incautious weathers—

over drenched morning hills, beyond weird
desiccated evenings

and their leafy shadows 
of all those poor souls withering

so slight 
behind the constrictive poverty of their windowsills.

And not chattering
out of nerves—

for not at all nervous
to get places,

but—quite anxious 
to find them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

RESPECT FOR THE MECHANISM

As long—
and just about 

as surely—
as the pale rocky 
world has been turning,

we too 
have kept busy—wandering about
in widening ellipses

and diligently screwing
our flush flaming 
lush funny faces 

up toward 
Heaven—until we're dizzy.

Hell-
bent!—not on discerning 

whether or not
there's really any such thing
as either of those places—let alone

whether we require 
a place 
for either of those things moving forward—

but rather,
on repeating—

and thereby trying
to memorize the feeling—
of looking.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FALL SWEEPS

Once—and a very long time ago it was, 
from the deepening deadend of
darkness increasing

as the frail and penniless finale of another
copperbrown October 
went creeping

toward its 
inevitable bottomless
blackkettle November—there came, at last, 

an Executive Decision.

This!—is how we'll all 
stay warm this winter:
First—their morale plummets.

Then—we broadcast it. Then, after

that—ratings skyrocket. 

And over 
and again, more 
and more frequent,

and faster, still-
faster, until—well, that's
about it. That's the entire digest.

Research suggests
it'll just sort of 
work on its own from there,

flared the greasiest 
pair of thin 
nostrils in attendance that evening,

in a very similar way 
as the heat 
that gets generated—whenever 

we meet
and rub with glee—the palms of our greenish 
hands together.

Monday, October 12, 2015

MANTLE

Good morning, American mothers and fathers—and gain way! For here,
with a sweet contradictory swiftness,
comes the height width and weight of my entire 
ungainly generation. Waking and stretching 
the skinny tapered length of our souls before dressing

in our superhero cowls and then marching quickly cross-country—
toward Cape Canaveral and Orlando, toward
Palo Alto and Cupertino, toward
Los Alamos and University of Chicago and so-on—for our
catholic calisthenics and continuing Adult-Kindergarten classes each morning;

with bright McIntoch, with Red Delicious, and with Jonathan apples 
in-hand for each of our dried plum- and potato-skinned teachers,
and with even brighter bulges of those red ripe circles 
asleep in our cheeks—one for safe-keeping and the other 
for lunch—and then rolling up our capes and shirtsleeves before resuming

the great plot of our scholarly mission. Namely: to dream!
To reinvent! To justify! To forget! And then, to a certain 
inevitable extent, re-remember! That—we alone 
comprise the world's only current, complete, living, and bounded set 
of sweet-faced and innocent and swell-tempered beginners!

And then, after class, we always come boomeranging back home again;
understanding less than before, clamoring for snacks, and burning 
to ask lots of questions—although we only ever hear ourselves
give the answers. Heck, we're not even sure we exist yet! Which just makes it 
all the more instructive—that we are the God you'll be praying to someday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

KETOGENESIS

Think quickly—
which language

did your breath speak—
back 

when there 
was passion on it?

Did it stink? 
And what color 

was that like? 
And whenever 

it did speak—in whirls 
of cheap 

dime store grammar—did those 
exuberant philosophies

always have
to rhyme?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LIFE AND DEATH

Dearest my little 
tough ruddy beagle—struggling, as you lie
sleeping, to scamper unprotected

through whichever autumn bright blazes 
of tangled trails, so tight on both sides 
with rectangles of huge alien architecture—

and snarling, unquenchable, 
and fang-foaming, 
and all red-eyed

after whatever manner of indiscernible 
and patently uncatchable prey 
which must lay before you; 

difficult!—as it seems
to dream 
as you're doing,

of such urgent 
and such blood-colored things
without the use of a language;

it is precisely
because of this
that I desperately wish! 

I could tell you:
how it's
unarguably—tougher!

to be your ragged old father—
having just returned home 
after spending the better part of an hour talking—so hard

and at cross-purposes
to the saturnine and half-asleep face—of his 
petite blonde barber.

Friday, October 9, 2015

ILLUMINATION

Sometimes after rain thunders 
down and then ceases—
you go gliding a little

faster over 
fresh decalcified re-
hydrated sidewalks—exhilarated,

if a little bit dizzy,
with the big feeling you might be 
upside down;

and it's you—whose actually swimming
under this cool black nightwater,
instead of those

moonpolished puddles up there—
each of them blueflecked 
starry and distorting 

as they sail past—
the reflections 
of those two 

quacking jumping 
splashing sopping killer 
whales of tennis shoes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

WITH RESPECT TO THE DOG

Every morning!—their dumb milky 
ape masks of sleep rolling perilously 
over, as if it's worth it 

to sniff off each other something 
regarding—which particular?
language does the weather speak today.

LIFTING OUGHT FROM IS

Oh
rats. God 

is not—dead 
after all;

he's just fast-
asleep—

in the back
alley—behind every beautiful

Baroque church 
and squat taco 

shack and 
rundown old Park 

District 
gymnasium on planet earth—simultaneously

at-peace
and plum stinking

exhausted-
looking—from overtraining.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

MODERN DANCE FOR SOLO NON-MORNING PERSON

Slowly, 
the Ecologist—

invoking all God's 
medicine—

reaches 
for the almond milk.

COWARD

A caterpillar—no longer
itself

dreaming—black

and white
impossible dreams—of watercolor

flight—
in quaking chrysalis.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OUTLINE

First—
let us imagine 

your ghost—
but at noon. 

Displaced though it
may be
from its main gig—is not this old blighted sheet 

finally free? as gossamer—to reach and to touch,
with weightless impressions of fingers,
all the enticing brightness it sees

without corrupting 
so much as a living atom of stuff
with the corporeal pressure of intention?

Less than a whisper,
more a great legend,
a true hero—a non-thing that influences no one;

enveloped in its stainless mission 
to wander
forever 

lost—
and safe 
in perpetuity

and flapping not 
after such hot and cold running things
as riches

or the heavy 
opaque trappings 
of pure poverty—hoping only perhaps for a little more 

purity of spirit, if we
can even call it that at this point, but
you get the idea.

Second—

instead of—why didn't I
think of that?

How would it be
if you just sat

down—and thought 
of it now?

Monday, October 5, 2015

APHORISMS

Each painterly dusk, I again go
swirling past bunches of 
autumnal and warmly-
lit supermarket windows—

each flush with its very
own several little 

bottlegreen baskets of
chrysanthemum
plants—each, in turn, with its various 
stiff little branches reaching 

to grow 
stiffer—and each of those

branches—plush with it's own black-
licorice leaves curling
thicker and yet-thicker 
in the slow creeping cold.

And each leaf now defining its own unique plane,
angled this way or that—contributing 

to a quickening feeling of such 
immense depth! Until—
yes, it becomes positively too dense
to distinguish! And it's only

then that I begin to see—
each prodigious leaf

on each 
branch on each
plant in each window
has come—somehow

weaving its way 
up my chilly spine to my 
mind, where it might finally
alight and thus

show me—how it's still 
possible

to grow up
but never—grow old.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

MOMENTARY MUSCULAR FAILURE

I promised myself
then—and I promise
again here

upon this very formally
white
page—now stained

with hours
and hours of unique-
ly concentric coffee
cup ring flowers—and invisibly

ablaze
with the shapes
and the imprints of
such letters

as could only comprise
words
in illustrious
richly explosive new combinations

to write—
not
so much fast

but very
very hard—and furious; and of course
and always
always

al-
ways

concerning—first,
those littlest things
that don't seem to matter.

For it seems
to me—from this exhausted
point of vantage

that man-
kind
is

bereft
not—of satisfying
or great

or happy endings—but rather,
of proper

and decent
kinds

of those
things altogether.

Friday, October 2, 2015

HERALD

The moon was huge
and frowning

down
upon the hollow land

across which I threaded—
spiderlike

mourning ghostwhite 
flecks of my-

self 
blowing by

on the 
cold lunar wind.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ADVICE FROM HERMAN MELVILLE

It's probably
best—
to arrest them

first
and fore-
most with

the One
big zinc-galvanized and blameless-
white

paint-coated
stainless-
steel metaphor

as absolutely fast
as your famine-nettled
fingers are able—and then

to practice the tremendous discipline
of just sitting back
to watch as they all—and I mean

the whole damned crew,
and the audience,
and everything—simply pass over it,

over and
over and
over again,

until eventually!—they
become
magnetized;

causing every single little last
gold-
and/or silver-spangled

coin—to come
ravenously sailing
out from their pockets

and slap itself hard
and fast—
to the mainmast.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PURE DRIVEL

Behold! the poetry
there on your breath

as you conjure—making spongesoft
words

kiss more
words
kiss

more words—
with no
effort, and very

little concentration
on the warm

splatter
that's accumulating—an expressionistic picture

which best
approximates—blindness.

SEPTEMBER 30

Hallelujah—
little

second-
to-
last-

impetuous
chiffon morning glory—just as lonely

clinging
to your freedom—not yet
near-

ly
as desperate.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TRICKLE DOWN THEORY

Eventually! 
Even 

the 
most 

unhinged
and unbound— 

of all
home-

less men 
far and 
wide's filthy

hand-
me-
down pant-

legs—are 
destined

to fit 
him 

like this—
super-skinny.

Monday, September 28, 2015

TRAP DOORS

However eager 
in the mornings—
the genial self-

appointed Judge
and Jury 
were—so often,

by mid-
afternoon,
disappointed—and longing 

more than anything!
to hang 
the whole thing altogether 

that—eventually 
the menial 
Executioner,

moved 
by a curious
compassionate sensation—and exercising, 

without
much hesitation—
let alone

conviction
or deliberation 
or show of emotion— 

the position
of his 
meager office,

proceeded
to pitch
his only 

switch—and 
do them 
both a hefty favor.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

THE PROBLEM IS NOT—

How to stay small
and still

keep growing;
After all—

history
has never recorded

a
ruthless and bloodthirsty—flower.

Friday, September 25, 2015

SIMMER DOWN

Once—I was
a mighty glacier!

so huge
as to border
on vague.

I ate rocks—
and spit back great
lake basins;

and, though slow—I worked
with such deliberate
superfluous fury

that, eventually—
the sheer vehemence
of my ardent
passion seemed to leave me

no choice!
but to relax
and gradually—take

the shape
of my
container.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

CLEVER PACKAGING

On the sopping muddy road
home post-war,
met a man—

rag-bandaged,
bloody,
yet cartoony—

chipped, 
and dried-

out like 
a tough bit 
of old liver sausage would be—

and with damp gauzy medieval 
claptraps of shoes 
on each foot

that happened to hamper even
the decisiveness 
of his limp;

and as we passed 
he said 
to me—

but only
with his one 
protruding eyeball,

and with 
the little filthy 
harmonica at his lips—

Son,
it ain't enough 
to have good ideas—or consistently.

You have
to learn how 
to have quick ones—and shit 'em out constantly;

not to mention the gumption,
the start-up cash,
and all that machinery.

And one more thing!
he whistled: 
a gimmick—

somethin' silvery 
slick—to distract 'em
from the stink

of the attack 
that you're leveling—such as 
a charmin'—

disarmin'—
colloquial way of speakin'.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

MODERN DANCE FOR HEIDI KLUME

Instructions—

In a limited
time-
frame—

one by 
one—

each of

a
maxi-
mum of

six-
teen 
performers—shall run

up 
this 
ramp 
and start

pushing his
or her 

envelope—

out of 
this
giant

box 
that we've
stuck at the top;

with just
enough

force—
that it 
flies out

and 
glides 
swiftly

and smoothly—
until
ultimate-

ly 
swooping

down—
to land
squarely 

under that bus.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

SOMEHOW

Round it comes!—
as it must come
every morning;

and in rounds too—swelling
around and around
and so-on-

compounding—thick as midnight, 
but somehow never obscuring 
the fleet light of its message.

And within those 
rounds—and flooding 
inward through each of those chosen 

plum dark stained windows, warm 
and warbling as it ever shall be—
comes the very same catechism.

This is the liturgy
of a few 
chirping birds—

when you too—choose to make your racket,
can you also?
manage

to 
make it so—
agreeable?

Monday, September 21, 2015

BURGEONING ARTISTE

Christ!—if there hasn't
been a gorgeous

tree! living here for—
centuries!

or maybe
even longer?—right 

outside!—my reclaimed antique oak front
door!

And to think—I could never even
see!—for the silly little life

of me—before 
that it was all-the-

while supposed
to be! looked at much more pure

and naked and
specifically! as—Van Dyke Brown.

THE WAKING BRAIN

Dim candlelight flickers and spills 
onto roomfuls of shells,
chipped and moonpink,

which line repeating warped wood tables— 


as if for sale, but not—
in some 
dingy street- 
corner curiosity shop

whose grim brick 
walls seem to slither back 
and back
without stopping;

which first makes you sick, 
and then suddenly 
fiendish—to leap up and 
go running

back outside—and just 
start obsessively, 
ghoulishly digging
for old poets' bones.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

PHILOSOPHERS DON'T WORRY

Great poetry
doesn't have anything 
extraordinary to say;

it just has 
an extra-

ordinarily 
well-paced—
way of phrasing it. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

GALL

Unconsciously—as dark bile,
I continuously
work

at breaking
all the
hard things


down into pieces;
so—that way,

for instance,
I usually only
really have to worry

about—begging 
the fastidious

and
the tender-
ized

and the various-
ly very small
parts—of her pardon. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

IMMUNITY

Presently—like swollen chunks 
of Indian 

Summer-black
cold patch—perspiring away
in last winter's

holes in the road, 
he noticed—

he was

never!
on any-
one else's home
turf anymore—be-

cause he 
could 

always just
bring these 
neat little pinch-

doses—of his 

own stuff 
along with—
wherever he'd go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PHOBOS AND DEIMOS

But—Mr. Williams, 
what? if

the world!
is so much more—than things

after all; so much— 
more

might depend upon 
the way

all the dumb 
stuff
is arranged. 

The pecking order—of, say

first—stay 
alive,

next—get 
satisfied,

then after that—try as best you can 
to go back

to feeling 
real again—as if

flicking 
back and forth 
like some 

desperate-
ly thirsty 
and fire-eyed

cloth bit of 
moth on the 
planet Mars—just feels more 

like pure 
pattern-making, like pure rhythm 
than melody. Tell me;

does it ever 
occur? to old Patterson—that 
the content 

of suffering 
or reward 

doesn't matter 

nearly as much—as does
the constant

and incessant—
contrast between the goddamn two of them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A RELIEF

Dark and stormy
four-

thirty 
in the morning—yellowwhite toilet 

bowl fizzing—with
hundreds 

no—
millions! of

little tiny babies' precious little
eyeballs 

budding
dividing

billowing 
colliding and—

just before blinking
out 

once, and for all
of time—winking-

up, kind of 
like they're saying—Hey.

You may!
Not always—

feel the exact same way
as today. 

And isn't that—
something!

you'd be? 
vaguely—

interested 
in.

Monday, September 14, 2015

EVERYTHING NICE

Of course—
sometimes it's less 
about sugar

and more
about spice;

like—actually most nights,
how it's not 
so much the same indolent 

snips—of good 
advice 
that stir me up

as—the faint 
bitterness 
of a few of the noises swirling

in their frail
little 
snail shell patterns, up

and down—
in delicate

tremors—
the very ripe 
timbre

of her 
beautiful windpipe.

Friday, September 11, 2015

KIDZ BOP 180

Okay, fine—here. 
It was 

guileful 
but gold-
bricking Mr.

International Art Thief—
who stole 

the cookie 
from the cookie jar, actually. 
He wasn't 
even serious- 

ly 
hungry 
at the time 
either. There—satisfied?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

LEGEND OF THE SWORD OF APATHY

And so, ever 
forward!—or rather, charging defiant-
ly toward

whichever cardinal 
direction he deemed the most 
frontward at the moment

to the lily pink
insides of his 
irrespective guts    

(which he fed
intermittently, when he felt 
it made sense, by the way)—

with this!
the very same apocryphal 
instrument in question:

a tarnished—but
an impudent! little irreligious
ark of a spoon;

now bent from stiff use, and cupped 
just enough 
to shuffle—

such trifling amounts—of livid dust
and foul 
ancient dirt around 

as to give his surrounding walls
little cavities! and a very odd
resemblance to Swiss cheese.

And—all the while, it's been 
said, never intending
to use the resulting tunnels

to rifle
his crusty 
way out of the place someday;

rather, his gambit! 
seems to have been 
simply 

to grow old—
and do so gracefully,
while the whole dismal 

prison! he'd been 
living in 
since god-only-

knows-when—softly moaned
and shrugged 
and eventually just 

collapsed—
from in-
stability.