Monday, February 29, 2016

BUSY BODY

So
very
disorienting, at first

to traipse-
out anonymous in the city's
oppressive din—

but gradually,
it gets easier
to perceive there—and even

to make a
little spare

sense of
this bizarre tingling
thing, this

slithering
feeling you get,

of—
hearing so
much! and yet, nobody

talking. Of—
deep and ancient
currents, of the arcane

filaments
of a somehow
sentient Monday

morning,
which just
sort of

brainlessly but
reverently stretch,

now threading
out and among
and between the bald

trees from
street to neighborhood
street—flexing to contain (and this

is the really
sticky part): not just you

and your story,
but the
whole situation—

in an invisible
and an in-
divisible slush

that's getting slowly meshed
and strained togther
in the same coagulating net.

And then—after that,
coalesces the milky
thought

that sometimes—loud silences
such as these

are described
as being "profound."

But a lot more
often than that, they're
mostly only sturdy,

that is—thick
with the
tart cool

of their own
simple dumbness.

Friday, February 26, 2016

EATING ALONE

You think—something funny 
must be going
on, and I no

longer want
to kiss you.
But seriously, I'm

just looking
for excuses—
to do fewer dishes.

TIME LAPSE

Actually—not so very
long after

row row rowing—
our boats all
the way

across the wide
titanic

sea—in search of some
freedom,

what we
found was—ourselves.

Marooned
in the same huge
line, in front
of some very sleek futuristic

stainless check-
out counter,

and all staring—duly hard
at the magazine
and news-
paper

racks while
we waited. And reading, to kill
the time—again

and again
and again, all of their tall
fantastic

headlines, in the vain
hope that,

on one
of those passes—something
about one

of them
would start
to look

different to us,
even if it
still

sounded exactly—
the same.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

DEFERRED

Dear William 
Carlos Williams,
you were 

wrong—not about 
much, but about early 

spring 
and all

that reddish 
purplish twiggy stuff—for 
sure-

ly,
there's no 
such stark dignity—

there is only 
someone 
like me

arriving here, 
probably a little too early, and 

yet,
so 
so so 
so so so very 
lonely late—to see

these old
strands of icicle Christmas 
lights, still clinging 

pathetically 
to so many wrought- 
iron neighborhood 

fences, long 
since turned- 
off and unplugged, forgotten,

and just left 
here, dripping wet
with slow 

thaw and suspended—as if found
guilty and hung,

for the sheer shameful 
spectacle of the 
scene—as the March sun 

approaches,
and the tipsy 
birds—begin hollering.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING

Huge and oblong, city
blocks built of fog and filthy
cold vapor—stretch- 

out before your body's 
tottering gait,
confounding the repeated 

attempts 
its stubborn feet keep 
making, to get 

its hands in 
possession of pen 
and paper,

or to stick
its dumb face 
in front of a screen somewhere.

But when at
last, its legs succeed 
in the latter 

endeavor, some terrible 
passion—gathering, so much
like the blurry 

weather, behind its wet 
eyes—can sense 
the keys 

of a frail home 
computer 
craving to shrink 

away and recede, under-
neath 
each obscure and dangling 

finger, the nearer and 
nearer it comes—
to putting 

pressure upon
those little black 
squares which might

be most representative—
of what the 
truth 

of its  
own, personal
experience out there—really was.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

THE STEAM COMING UP OFF THE TOP OF YOUR COFFEE CUP

It was probably
the sky

the made the mountains stick,

and it was
probably the mountains

that made some clouds gather,

and it was
probably some clouds that
called in that rain

fall,
and it was probably
that rainfall

that made a little sun seem

like a good
thing

to step outside under
after,

just spitting
and smoking
and thinking

up things—
and whatever.

NOT ANOTHER CLOUDS POEM—

I'm not
a weatherman—
you're not

supposed to 
believe me—
I just 

really
want you

to imagine—what it 
might mean
when I

tell you—tomorrow
looks

sunnier—
than today.

Monday, February 22, 2016

DON'T KNOW MUCH BIOLOGY

Not until some
twenty
or

thirty minutes
after the car
drove

away—walking, by-
proxy,
Lucy, in the

slowly dissolving cool
of mid-
morning sunlight,

did my upper
right side―first begin
to goosepimple

and tingle a little,
to feel—not
on my

skin, but bubbling
shyly
up

from somewhere secret
and microscopic
deep inside it—
the weird,

quickening difference
between
the fact

of dumb love—
and the

very well-
formed and
allowable phonological
fictions which surround it—I mean,

between—
a purposive I

Love You (tightly
understood,
loosely

solicited) and an ape-ish
little one-
off rub

of a
tense upper
arm—

which definitely
wasn't.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

PRAISE THE DAWNING

Sunrise magenta sky-
pink Solo 
cups—lending a

distinctly
feminine touch
to—the hairy bulk

of crumpled 
up papers and 
blunt Cigarillo 

chunks, stuffed—like some
desiccated cough-
yellow 

leaves half-
inside a few travel-
size

bags of Doritos—which scrape
as they 
tug—along Milwaukee

Avenue's 
acquiescent
gutters this morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

BROAD SIDE

It's not

complicated—
a barn

needs a roof
so

its 
cow doesn't—

get cold.

Friday, February 19, 2016

NOW AND AT THE HOUR

First—you must
forgive!

your-
self for
writing this

one.
Last—you've got
to accept

and
get
past

the fact that you
didn't—
sooner.

SUPERPOWER

Literally anything

he didn't
like, he could—

with no
more than the

slightest

flick of a
muscle—turn

into its own
reflection—

in water.

DISCO

Blown back 
towards home pre-
mature and sniffling, by huge 
blue sheets 

of wind, starchy
and stiff with square 
blocks of city

silt, and just 
when I'm thinking—hell,

everything in front of me
seems dead 
or mostly

on its 
last legs, anyway;

there—across 
that last street, 
and fatally 

flagrant inside
the lurid 

swaying box of black
which can
barely contain it—suddenly flashes 

and bleats
the wild throbbing  

beat, of a huge 
orange open-
fist, beckoning—
hurry 
quick, hurry 
up, step
on it,
kid, look—the 
thing is, you're right: death

is coming. 
But

life is—
not 

waiting
for that.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

PRACTICALLY

Last night—the porcelain-
blue moon,
though still

only half-
full,
could have almost

certainly—swelled to burst
and shed
its translucent

corona—in soft
shards, to shower
and feed the teeming covetous

young colonies of night-
snow marooned
on the bony sidewalks below, only:

I—too proud and too cool,
would not let
it do that.

For volume is a trick—I whispered,
before I knew
I was

even thinking it. The true way
to measure
a thing

is by
weight. (And I knew
this was true—and the unsatisfied

satellite
knew it
too.) So i

sighed, as I
turned and shuffled
back inside—ashamed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FOUNDATIONS

Bright slender expeditious
Poet of the Big
City—it's said 
that you held in your 

(just as) auspicious non-
dominant hand—
the keys to the 
Kingdom of Heaven;

that you—by virtue
of your decades-long independent 
study, your reclusive and muddy 
digging for something secret

and amazing 
in the flotsam fishy 
banks along the ruddy clay 
lake shore—that you alone 

became the one 
true Lord and Savior, protector 
of what was true 
and—more important, what was 
Literary. And eventually, that 
only you could

possess this vast fortune. But how 
generously you flung
the riches back out!
In tremendous spangles, which tended

to dance from
the edges of your fingers
and wriggle directly 
into to the hearts 

and bulimic minds of
millions—as naturally 
as reflections 
of private lights from Gold 

Coast high- 
rise condominiums danced 
(and still 
dance each night) in grand 

ripples across the inscrutable 
face of inky Lake 
Michigan night-water.

But—here
on this white page;

here, where I still come 
to meet you every
afternoon, and practice 
and prove in secret; 

here we both 
know—all you really did

was play 
at pushing around the very same 
currency we all use, albeit
in greater 
denominations,

to tell some folks—
all
flowers smell nice,
all
buildings shall burn, 
and 
etc. etc. etc. And today,

the real beatific reason 
your letters still tend 
to land and stick
and burst to blaze-

up the tawny
pages in their minds—the way 
catapulted waves
of titanium 

sunlight lap and ping the sheer cliffs 
of downtown stainless 
steel and glass—is 

actually because 
you didn't know (and never 
even claimed to)

who 
the hell God was. 
But you were always

pretty passionately damned
sure—he wasn't
you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SPARRING

The sun—in its deathly serious
mood, rises 
still

more slowly—
a whitecrimson maw,

now chewing 
the ice-
blue 

skin from the 
sky as it wanders, keeping 

even lower—
to those lank
and snow-

limp ranks 
of old treetops
below—where

three rawboned finches 

dart and argue, 
ravenous—over 
this one 

particular 
cracked and hollow—
hull 

of yesterday's 
bread.

Monday, February 15, 2016

SQUARE ONE

I always know—that the big careful 
things which I build
all day, I tend no longer 
to care about protecting, when the hard
wrecking ball of 

evening comes. But each of the ruinous 
things that I manage 
to conjure every night to bomb 
and incinerate and
obliterate the structures, I also know 

will themselves collapse 
into odd piles of rubble 
again—to be cooled and 

washed clean 
away, by the blue ebbing 
tide—of every perfectly
clear tomorrow 

morning. And invariably, there'll be
no purpose or justice
or function, in any of the 
messes I'm left 

with, but there will be plenty
of the coziest, most
spacious and marketable 
roomfulls of mercy available—not

in surveying the extent
to which those things I've built
still exist, or 

don't 
any longer. But rather,
in negotiating—how?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

BINGE WATCH

Attention—
gravity's

waves

have
just been detected—only,

fuck, you
still can't—

get them

on
Netflix.

Friday, February 12, 2016

BABEL

Another clamorous moiling 
Blue Line train—grungy, 
dead watersnake 

silver—nosedives 
south-
east bound 
underground at the Paulina 

Street cross-alley, while
red apple-cheeked
boy
after boy, high 

up on dad's lumpy 
shoulders—goes on
on gaping and 
chortling down through 

the greasy province 
of old chain link 
fencing; since, 
to him,

all work 
is nothing

short of silly, 
but all 

power is—unequivocally 
fascinating.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FAT TUESDAY

I guess I just—don't really
want to grow up,

the boy with the beard
confessed—to the mirror;

right before commencing—
to coax his old Remington

slowly over—each familiar range
and delicate fold of his testicles.

SNOWBALL

Winter in Chicago—goes
loosing its
impalpable fortunes

of useless 
but utterly
limitless surplus—everywhere you go,

thwarting your attempts
to notice
and compose:

So much fine snow.
So many vulgar birds.
And then, you

start to suppose:
this is
just how life is, though—irrelevance;

mountains 
and mountains
of it,

some of it 
quite beautiful, and some of it—
you flush to admit—

some of it
simply
not quite as visual.

And most of all, just 
so much 
of it to find, that you're 

content—to take a little
and leave 
the rest behind.

Monday, February 8, 2016

MODERNIST RECAP

A filmmaker by temperament
more than by trade,
even as a kid—our Hero 

always feels that he knows
a whole lot more about the world
than he can ever—dare to remember.

To counteract 
this epic 
tragedy, as he grows

and becomes more confident 
in the inherent beauty, truth, 
solidity of objects, and so on,

gradually fine-tuning
all his grand 
theories of aesthetics to follow suit,

the guy decides—at last, to always view life
as through
a movie camera.

That is—indiscriminately recording 
anything and everything 
that should happen into his field of vision

and considering each 
an equal and individual-
ly important part of his colossal worldview;

of course, as a result—he never once considers
(not even for a split 
second)

in his valiant and thereafter 
life-long commitment
to this pretty herculean attempt at indiscretion,

any
one single
tiny little infinitesimal speck of a thing!

which is, out of sheer necessity, 
being—so epically 
excluded.

Friday, February 5, 2016

ED

Illumined by the scrawny light clinging 
to the ceiling of
the hulking white 

GE refrigerator, 
his midnight eyes flashed and saw—backwards
for the very first time:

and how bedraggled,
how cold,
pale and pitiful!

the little motherfucker 
hidden away in there,
now looked to him from the outside:

it was just—so tempered
by unctuous dread, so oily with anxiety 
that there really was no purpose;

that the sight suddenly made him—so ravenously hungry, 
that there once again 
was.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

THE MAN UPSTAIRS

Who makes the rules?
Before you
answer—

fashion yourself
a little vessel
out of words,

conjure
a bit
of black coffee up,

pour the stuff
with some
authority in there, and

just you
watch what
happens. Now who?

tells you—
things you
shouldn't do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

11:59:59

What a tumultuous million
invisible and peculiar melodies
must be simultaneously hitting
their sourest notes—at the very instant

the wan morning air—such a moist
cold
and vast slow gray,

so wide-
open
and unclaimed,

but which kindly comprises
in that boundlessness,
a home

to those little magic kisses, those flighty birds
of mere possibilities,
evacuating calm and mildly
through your wettish nose and lips—

suddenly,
and inexorably—
condenses

into tame and shrewd gunmetal
curtain of air
which calls itself—the afternoon;

and which offers no shelter anywhere
in its dark hard folds
to those silly prospects
and winged potentialities,

but only scrapes hard
at the earth near your shoes,
hollow, desiccated, and brooding—

how much stuff
do you
still have to do?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

THANK THE PHOENICIANS

I.

In the beginning was the word. And
the word was with god. And
the word was god.

Remember how easy it was?
to learn—your
ABC's?

Remember
how much harder? the Roman
numerals were?


II.

Opera becomes
the preferred form of entertainment
for a while.

Words become
husbands in need of
more and more—supportive and

immaculately-
decorated wives.

III.

Quick, quick!—
There's nowhere on earth
left to sail! Leave the forest,

but damn its trees!
Everything in sight—
must now be paved

straight-away.
Say, how many "Sycamore
Streets?" do you think

they'll be able
to keep straight?
Answer me, councilman. I'm serious.


IV.

If John F. Kennedy's car could communicate
with the others on the highway,
it'd say—

if we all just agreed!
to move forward
at the same time,
at the same rate,

we'd all get home sooner,
and everything would be safer!

It is not our disordered and terrible bulk,
but rather—our lack of trust
slowing everything up!

Forget about what time it is, for once.
And have a little faith—
in space.


V.

Dateline 1965—
Dylan goes electric.
Elvis has already been there.
But no one liked his gospel songs better.
Except for my mother.
So it didn't matter.


VI.

Cash-only Restaurants
could at least

have one of those goddamn
cardthings inside them—he snorted, gobbling the red hots,

confident
that she had understood him
perfectly.


VII.

Honey, get off the toilet, already!
I'm trying to use the shower.


VIII.

The channel 2 news
isn't really so bad
when you think about it:

It's all—What happened
someplace else
to other people. And then,

your tremendous sense of relief—
that neither were you
responsible for it,

nor are you presently
being called upon
to do anything.


IX.

Honey, get off the computer, already!
I'm trying to use the phone.


X.

Eventually, all of their ships
were blown back
to where they started from.

And there came to be
invented—the most fabulous
napkin dispensers

which could—legitimately
double
as picture-menus.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I GET THE NEWS I NEED ON THE WEATHER REPORT

Life is so short—
and death

is so sure,
that I

suddenly cannot take another step.
In my

huge cement boots—
which I always seem to wear now,

regardless of whether
there's snow on the ground

in twenty first
century Chicago or not—

for fear of the echo
of my next tremendous footfall

sending ripples—though all
of cruel time and violent space,

in every wasted direction at once.
Somebody

help. Quick,
I feel so

petrified.
I feel so heavy. And small. Please,

I cannot move at all.
Not at all. Or I'm liable to fall.

And I know
this sounds crazy, but I'm one

hundred percent certain,
if I slip—

that Rome—
will fall.