Thursday, March 31, 2016

DRUTHERS

After another
all-
night storm rages,
all of my self-

assurances lie—
like so many

abortive ruddy tree
buds do,

on long and glassy early
spring sidewalks—spilled-

out
in these forlorn
patterns—
completely

shattered—
slashed and bereft
of whatever slender and flimsy

arms they'd erstwhile been clinging
to for support.

And yet, distinctly somehow
spelling-
out

now,
in their new wash of dead

diagrams on
the raw ground,
a message—

it doesn't matter;
we're still

so confident!

that
we'll just be

replaced—
by others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DANG

Even the most
handsome

polished
captivating actor—

can't shrug 
and simper

and skitter-
dance 

off-camera—
when there

is none.

CORRECTIVE

Feeling small
and useless

as an
apple's core—you capitulate

and just retire, dis-
inclined,
to rest

supine, out of
sight for a
while some-

place dark
to shore-

up whatever
scant fleshy
substance might

be left
and worth it
to preserve

and vague-
ly reinstall
upon your

eventual and
reluctant re-

emergence,
wearily, and
only then when

you manage
to, grumpily
acquiescing—you still don't

feel great—
so much

as you feel
horribly

real.
And here.
And now and

necessary—as
an apple's core.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

TOO BUSY SUCKING ON A DING DONG

Lou
Reed, you

told me—
no kinds

of love
were better

than others.
Okay, so

then—why wasn't
it

just you?
going—doo,

d'doo,
d'doo?

INNUENDO

The old wire
of a
man—leaned

just
so, and
smoking pleasurably

a long
thin one on the
corner,

in front of the vine-
encrusted
limestone parlor—

knows enough
to say
nothing.

He has stood here
too many
times already

not
to
understand—

that bitter taste
is both
less

potent
and more
effective—

when a pinch-
dose of
levity is

incorporated.
That's why—
he likes

to always
makes sure—
his funeral

black—has those
pinstripes
in it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

ALL OF HIS GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS WERE STORIES

Eventually,
inevitably
ruin visits beauty—

pale Death comes,
takes what
he wants

and spits
back at you
what lean shreds

are left—and then,
after that

happens, all you
can manage
to do is

wake up—
and look

around, bug-eyed
dumb-

struck
and amazed

at just
how much—more terrifying

the real thing—is 
than the daydream.

HER

Some nights—you'll try
the same experiment
over again, only

this time, you'll
swear it isn't

you—but the
streets
and sidewalks

that surge and
ripple under-
neath you,

causing you
to feel
either—complete-

ly dizzy,
or not quite
finished feeling it yet;

as you lumber
to heave

wet air
up
towards whatever stars

your mind likes
to suppose
are still

there, and you
cleave the dormant
and unconscious

neighbor-
hoods some more—oscillating
either

closer to
or further from

your position
of equilibrium—
which isn't

really a place, so much
as a very particular
person.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

X FACTOR

Whenever—I
take

time out
of the equation—all the problematic

numbers
and letters
I carry—start

looking
more like still photographs—

of rain—
beaded-

up
cool

and clear and
clinging

tight to the potato-
brown nodules
of bare tree branches—that is,

less urgent,
because
of course they're not

going anywhere;
but also
so much more

worthy of my attention,
because

in real
life, they're obvious-

ly not going—
to hang

around forever
either.

FREEBIRD

A clandestine
warbler—perched somewhere

out there—
is driving you

to distraction
alone
in your kitchen—complacent

to keep reprising
the same song!
over

and
over

and over
again. The problem
is not—

that he doesn't
know any

good covers.
It's that—
you

know too
many.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HYPERTENSION NOTWITHSTANDING

His main aspiration
now consisting
of—slurping soup daily,

he soon began
to find—that he routinely
met or exceeded

all of the goals he'd set out to accomplish—
and then,

he felt happy.
And he slept—

so!
soundly.

ISCARIOT

I knew—but couldn't exactly
admit I might
love you

probably
at bleary two
o'clock in the morning—there

on the greasy head-
congested
floor of some out-of-town

public high
school's huge and pitch-
black auxiliary gym—when I found

myself
picturing you sleeping
soundly on the other side of the scrim

with greater precision than I thought
about drill sets
or Radiohead

and even more conspicuously
than I felt
the ramifications

of my melodramatically
dwindling faith—in
Tylenol P.M.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

EXTREME UNCTION

In a dream I had—walking
with jingling
keys, I happened upon my illustrious dead

grandfather,
at the end of a dim hall, back in the tall
town where I (sort of)

grew up. Only, instead of five,
I was thirty-
two years old. And he,

then in his mid or late sixties, baggy and manila-
clothed—and likewise a
bit of a priest, who married lots of pretty

keys to their locks—had become none
other than the
janitor of my Catholic school.

Thinking this likely as tense and strange
for him
as it felt for me—I figured (especially

since we both
were grown
men now) probably

best to open with a joke. Hey,
grandpa, have
you heard? They say you can tell

how important
a guy is—
by how many keys he carries?

He did not
smile but promptly told me—
to shut my

fucking mouth up,
spitting on me a little
in the process, and that no

one likes a smartass.
Which I guess was alright,
because, like I

said, we both were men. But also,
alas, as
now I could plainly

see a lot
better, because he wasn't
really my grandfather

after all.
He was—my goddamn
mother's dad.

QUICK PICK-ME-UP

You know—your personal favorite
comforting
soothing

one-in-a-million coffee mug?

Chances are—you're exaggerating
a little;

there's really—
just several

tens
(maybe
hundreds)
of thousands of them out there.

Monday, March 21, 2016

PULASKI PARK

He should
probably start
charging

admission,
the way—the steady
ongoing rush

of traffic
incoming on the John
F. Kennedy is

so close—but just
out of sight enough

to only lend
a kind of—
audible hush

that helps set
the right
context for

the grand yellow
lawn—painted

so exaggeratedly
wide with cold

streaks of
mud and such
glassy morning

mixtures
of dog piss
and dew—and spread out so

long, too, at the
foot of his

benevolently
dilapidated mansion.

GROUND

Make up your
mind, old

dog, is it?—
these furtive

stripes of mossy
sod—poking

up through
the new

cracks
forming—in almost

every
obdurate block

of mottled concrete
sidewalk under-

neath your feet
which are

guilty—
of being

so destructive-
ly stubborn

and
bossy—or is it

the other
way around?

Friday, March 18, 2016

PHASE CHANGE

Somehow—in
the early
spring, every-

thing begins both
to fade—and to
brighten. Even

the homeless
man on the
corner (whose ancient

face—used
to look
rough and obscure

as some frost-
battered birch) now frisks
and babbles

like fresh water—brighter,
but more
relaxed than before,

as he
no longer
begs for your

spare change—
but more
kind of

dares you
not to—fork
it over.

I AM A ROCK

Sure, I'm maybe
a
bit in-

secure—
about
my

place
within the
world—but why?

on earth!
doesn't
any-

body?
sell—organic
salt.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I DARE YOU

Every single morning, you
wake up—screaming 
to notice

so many 
of the same 
things—from the vastness 

of clean 
sky, to the
crowded 

mantelpiece 
that needs 
dusting—inevitable 

things, resolute 
and reassuring, all those
colored 

pictures of 
the way 
things once were, have 

been, ought
or need
to be—that

most days, the absolute 
hardest and most 
unimaginable thing you 

could do 
would be to 

shut your eyes
and make-
believe—that you actually 

don't see. 
That you're 
not being 

constant-
ly reassured by the 
light. That,

instead of knowing 
inside-

out, every
scene that you're in—

that for one god-
blessed 
second, your 

whole world
is both—

dramatically 
empty,
and heroically

full
of things—you 
don't understand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

COMMON LAW

I promise—to
walk

Lucy every
day—not really

for the rest—
of her

life—but
mine.

BRIGHT IDEA

In order
to survive—we have to 
imagine 

that
which we have not 

dared to
imagine yet—that

from space,
there actually 
is no Great 

Wall—but there is

a great 
filament. Which is 

more attractive
anyway—because, scien-
tifically-

speaking, even 
a far-

out race—full of
color-
blind men

who came
to earth starring,
would still be

able to—perceive its light
value.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

BENT

Though poor in
a little bit 
more than just spirit,

Ashland Avenue's great old archangel
is never far

and hard-
ly deferential—

baggy and 
swerving, rash-
cheeked and
cane-

enabled, and with wisp-
white
quills that peel hard

from the corners
of his barbed 
temples alternately leaping

and genuflecting 
and
leaping 
and 
genuflecting—as he motors 

to catch- 
up and narrow crow 

eyes—at each 
dim passer-
by, rather 

covetously—over his extra-
large breast-
plate white chunk 

of conspicuous 
and cartoony prim 

crucifix—like it's some kind
of crosshair.

Monday, March 14, 2016

ERWARTUNG!

Admit it. You didn't know 
what 

pastel 
meant—until 

somebody—
up there
felt 

solicitous enough—to pluck 

and toss 
you, for nothing 

at all, 
more

Crayolas—than you thought
were necessary.

Friday, March 11, 2016

STILL, LIFE

More than once—
I've stuck

some shit
I bought

in multiples, without
thinking—from someone

who bought it
from someone
who bought

it from someone who
Probably stole it—

into the most
delicately fluted crimson and
cobalt glass bowl

that my older
Brother Jeff made

one Christmas, alone
in his
basement—

and just
left
it there—next to the Nutty

Bars by the
windowsill—until,
either

it rotted—
or I

bought more.

ALMOST LIKE WATER

Statistically
speaking—you

are one—

in probably 
like—fifty people.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

DEVIANT BEHAVIOR

Midmorning—you're still sort of
nervous and furtive-

ly gorging
on Hafiz, when—

you suddenly begin

to feel a
little sexy

and shameful

in about-
equal measure;

which, lucky
for you—is the

exact same tingle

as hunger—
so you

smack!
the book

down,
pop-

up
and scramble—

after apples.
And some peanut butter.

HIS MAJESTY

The un-
disputed, ab-
solute

greatest 
and
most

prodigious mountain

painter
in all
of Indiana—barely

so
much
as

touches
the canvas.
That's—

how perfect-
ly

light

and 
evocative—

each soft and low 
and pure-
ly pigmented Phthalo-

Blue—flourish
of his

illustrious
voice is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

G.I. TRACTATES

I.

For starters—its usually preferable
to be

on your knees 
only

to do
useful things—

scrubbing tile 
floors, 

working-
out a little more 

vector math, 
etc.


II. 

The second 
you begin to notice 

any kind 
of distress, remember—

pretty much,
every single

thing you can
think of—would also

work equally 
well—in reverse.


III.

In the
end—it's never

the distemper
that does

you in.
You won't succumb

to an illness,
after all

this—but to
the enormous absolute

value—
of god-

damn
convalescence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

WORK OUT

Inside a large brown 
and beige 
dream I was 

having, I wept
and prayed, 

and wept and
prayed, and kept 

weeping and 
praying, in these 

neverending
circuits, like

crazy—until,

at long 
last, this plaster 
cast (which I always 

kept close—it was
all
I had 

left) 
of her 
face broke—

into that ravishing 
secret 
emblem of light- 

smile—which
only I 
would be able to recognize 

from past 
experience, as 
being composed

of half-
pity 
and half-

a rejoinder 
of relaxed, unbiased 
laughter—dispatching exactly 

what I needed, 
and exactly 

when I 
needed it: a miracle (yes, 

but one 
which I'd 
still think was hard-

won)—and a simple,
rigid, formal instruction:

to quit—
weeping so 
much and stop 

praying so often—
and, for god's 

sake, to wake- 
up and just 

kiss her—somewhere below 
the neck, already.

Monday, March 7, 2016

COMMENSURATE WITH EXPERIENCE

Tempted back into the same
old caves again

by that faintly warm 
glow of inquiry,

we remain terrified—
at the prospect
of what we might find

when what
we see, we see only
by our
own light—afraid 

of what
we might discover,
if we were
to dare unleash the power

of that awareness 
which is somehow 
aware of itself;

until—inevitably
our hands, trembling 
like pale fire 

and useless
to resist any longer, 
leap and flutter—

fan-out and
dance to their
inexorable work,

to chisel and wield-
away, making bright
pictures and tall 
words blaze, all

across and up 
and down the dank
walls—until, 

sweaty and furious 
and completely 
out of room, we stop 

because we must.
And we stand,

and we look. 
And boldly, 
we notice—the truth

gleaming back 
at us, not

in the unfinished 
fables our hands constructed,

but entirely in the doing. 
And, having done

all we could, we can
at last, feel good enough—about leaving.

HALL PASS

Oh! the intoxicating
freedom you
still find—in the

forever sound—
of hard sole
shoes knocking

hugely down
a long cool
linoleum womb.

Friday, March 4, 2016

2ND CHAKRA

Is nothing sacred?—spurted
the quickest

blip of a thought,
as my

trusty right hand
thrust—the long dangly black

tail
of an offbrand mouse,
head-

long,
and madcap—

into my
white plastic chrome-

book's
last open usb slot—for the inane twofold
purpose

of—scouring
up and
down to the

discrete
titillating ticks

of a slinky little jogwheel—and of course,
of right-

clicking—
without any need

for ctrl.

ORIGINAL

In the
beginning, relatively

innocuous
extraneous

stuff—harsh
black

coffee and rocky
sweet peanut

butter—collide
and glob

together, stopping-
up the cold

enormously
alone

space in the vast
turbulent

pit of your stomach.
Thus

coalesced,
some

other parts
of the same system—start

to receive
signals, become

galvanized,
and before

long, your fertile mind
is humming,

and it
turns,

like the earth:
bright—

but not
with its own light.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

TIME'S A WASTIN

It's like how—wild secret fortunes
of crystalline
ice money

resplendent and clinging—

like fuckall
to the under-
side of your Chevy,

are, at best—the grotesque
province of a few
slender

robins—and of those brasher
avenue rats.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

COLD COLORS

There at the very last
light's fading blue-
violet trickle—every single 

stem of shadow in the 
street seemed 
to thicken, 

to grip hard
and deepen—and at once, 

he noticed—
color
giving way to plain 

and undiluted 
form,
and then suddenly, 

nature became bewildering—

consisting, to 
him, of everything 
he could no longer 

write about;
because it all looked 
indefensible—

without any cunning,
or artifice, 
or tricks—and if

it still told any 
stories, it told them
now only 

as a tree 
tells its leaves:

as plain
and authentic means, 
and never

as ends. 
Although—he protested 

alone 
to the creeping dark—
had not Art?

become just such 
an instinct for him too?

But blind 
and indiscriminately—as those

shadows' slow 
and sure dominion

of the pavement, 
he already 
knew—that wherever they grew,

those instincts 
of his
were all quite intricate; 

earthy, perhaps, 
but definitely
rooted—in study.