Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NONE OF THIS IS MADE UP

You don't
have to

pretend anymore.

Blink once,
twice,

whatever—boom.
You're in a

grocery store, you're in some
all-night

diner smoking and
bull-

shitting, you're
at the gym, sitting

in a movie
theater—it doesn't

matter. Everything
overlaps.

Music is being
piped in already—"It's a

long way
to the top

if you wanna rock
and roll." Everything is

measured,
labeled, neatly

chunked,
temperature-

controlled
and manageable.

And you're afraid
even to

cry—tears
so real

and so
artificial

as light
as flavored

CO2 bubbles,
but lacking

that fizzy
pizazz

and pressure

of the
real thing:

constant one-
upmanship.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

HANDY

After a rush, 
a little initial 
blush 

of enthusiasm, 
this dream—
like so many 

of your other 
ideas—
sucks 

itself 
inside out
and becomes the color

and the vague 
shape of everything
it's not.

You've got no choice but to
lock this one up in a drawer
with those others,

you tell 
yourself;
this map

which calls 
such attention  
to its own utility 

and to the
fact of its 
having been manufactured.

The harder 
you stare,
the more it looks

like the sort of 
manicured and 
captioned thing kids draw 

after they realize 
they ought 
to show someone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

LIFESPAN

I.

Punk-as-fuck

cardinal,
lickity-

splitting,
practically

spits his red tousled

crest at the
driving rain.

Can you
even

handle—
going home to

write about that?


II.

Is it just me—
or does

this moment

always feel
like

the exception
to some rule,

chiseled into
rock (for
emphasis)

in one of those
foreign languages

you can read
but don't really

speak very well?


II.

Loose lips keep
sinking
ships,

as if

that
was the only
option.


III.

I keep hearing
my own
dumb voice
saying

"I like to mix it up."
Which, it seems
to me, implies
a next time.

So, wow,
maybe
we
are

in agreement
about
something
after all?


IV.

Perfectly balanced
On the shoulders of giants,

A man
So small you can't even see him—will keep

Slamdunking 
the same

clock into every new blue 
ray player,

until he's rich 
with old.

When he dies, he hopes 
to come back
a bird.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE

Time's not a thing, it's a
procedure

and it
proceeds—to pin

everyone
down to everywhere.

It's a war
marching

out from
and into everything,

sneaking past customs,
roughing

the passer, fleeing restaurants
without paying

for dinner. It always fires
the first shot,

which inevitably punctures
a hole in the very last sack of flour.

With that same kind
of maniacal

tyranny of the majority, it fixes it
so that someone

is always "there
first," which is why I never

really feel
like I'm accurate or

authentically
sitting next to her.

Friday, June 17, 2016

HEARTBEAT

After all of this ends, after one 
last vision—
after ruin and separation, when 

I never talk, never open up
my eyes, never 
finish another thought,

I hope I become a ticking watch—
all of time 
talking through me,

little constant clacking music, 
an uncorruptible
sentinel always standing 

between you 
and the things
you do. 

I could be—the time 
it takes you
to get to work, to brew 

your coffee in the morning,
to make 
a few calls, to undress before bed; 

my benevolent, easy sound—the thing 
that keeps 
you going, the only thing 

you cannot possibly 
use up—all by
yourself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

EMPIRES FOR EYELIDS

Okay—you say out loud, I see it
now: your body's a filthy
little room that you're doomed to understand 

too well, because you've been puttering 
around inside it for ages 
now. You know the exact placement 

and relish the impalpable 
smell of every stained stick and nicked 
up corner of its furniture so well

that you never even think of them 
as being there at all—which is why
you also never think to clean 

underneath them anymore. And even 
when making the least consequential 
of decisions, no matter where you are, 

you cannot help but perfectly 
picture the dim color of its 
walls and the precise way they make

your sickened voice reverberate
whenever your ears 
hear it say—okay.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A COMPLIMENT

In the morning, when I lie slack
and not quite yet awake, sometimes you

rise, early and neat, and you and place your simple
lips on my cheek

quickly before you leave. I know that you do,
even though I'm still

mostly asleep—because, later in the day,
that place on my

face will remain changed, marbled
with this charged blue feeling—that I used to belong

wholly to you, that at some earlier point,
I was a defenseless

and sentimental object; not a separate
person, but an asset

of yours, a prized possession—
like some specific

part of your body
that you've always been proud of

or a faithful stuffed animal—but also
because later, I'll feel so much heavier

than those things, massively slowed
down with the feeling—not that it was

only a dream, but that it all happened
too long ago.

Monday, June 13, 2016

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Ever notice—whenever you're
sure you've got 

something worth saving,
it's because you can sense that it

won't be sticking
around for much longer?

It's like trying to savor
a frosty, tall chocolate malt

without watching it
melt away into thick milk

on a soft, July night—
or the happy desperation,

of a big group of people
all singing along

to this summer's
biggest radio song

at an all-night party
on the back lawn;

when the lyrics
consist only

of the track's total run-time
counting down to zero,

sung one half-decibel
more quietly each second—

and the underlying chords contain
every single melody line

of a universe 
filled with vibrating strings,

each giving its own self-
centered, independent concert—

all stacked on top of one another,
and each one

just so-happening
to sound out simultaneously

once or twice—giving off
the very temporary

illusion—that none of this
is nonsense.

Friday, June 10, 2016

ANTHROPOLOGY MASTER'S THESIS

The relentless
way so
much smallscale

biology keeps on
brainless-
ly creeping—

some
lichens, a
few sand dollars

cloning
and bottom-
feeding—eventually

taxing
every last
coin ever minted

inside geology's
formerly-
sanctified bastions.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

OVER THERE

In big cities—the news of our victories
actually travels
more slowly,

having quite a bit
more vertical
edifices

off
of which
to go—unanswerably ricocheting.

For instance, here
in summer—
it turns

out—World Peace
is only a
slightly more

propitious
version of
its old wars: Cubs

versus White
Sox, Coke against
Pepsi, God opposing most of the things

those teenagers on the corner
are doing—that sort
of thing.

DASHED

Every good
idea takes time—unfortunately,

no one ever said that
to the

finch chick, whose pathetic
sketch

of brittle peanutshell
skull—you

very
nearly just stepped on.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

DYED-IN-THE-WOOL

Nobody moshes—none
of the punks
skank anymore

at the killer
sorts of shows you 
now go to; 

the tallest and 
brawniest ones you can observe,
are all a little 

too busy—rebelliously clawing
and pawing 
at the screens of huge smartphones,

back and forth, through 
several dozen 
fiercely different variations 

on the very same 
ultrasound photo 
in the dark—clumped together

as ever, 
in their confrontational-
ly close ranks, which are now 

instinctively congregated
underneath most hardcore
ceiling fan in the place—its 

proximity to those heady motherfuckers 
up on stage be god-
damned.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

PURGATORY, IL

Confession—sometimes, I feel so
distant from the opaque
look of love, which I
still see lingering on her face,

even though she's no longer
here in the same
room with me, that I grow
coolly certain

that the world is
not really the whole world—
that somehow, the earth
is actually a billion

different and
ghostly transparent planets, each one
the exact same size,
all of them—timed precisely

to keep
orbiting, pale and silent,
indifferent
but exactly—actually, make that

excruciatingly
cruelly—right on top
of one another,
forever.

Friday, June 3, 2016

ORIGINAL LYRICS TO "TUBTHUMPING"

In the midst
of my deepest 
black miseries,
it rushes 

to fill me, bile-
thick,
but 
so clear—

that 
the very same vicious 
pair of hands
which keeps on sadistically 

pushing
me 
into these
pits cannot stop me—

from taking
a nice long-ish
rest while I'm 
down here.

CHILLING

To be God—
and to think:

after
I light this

one last
fire—I know

it will burn
fine

on its
own, exactly like

the others, for a
very long

time, without me
having

to do
anything—

without me

having
anything

to do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MAYBE

Is it selfish
of me?—really,

I don't
want to know
the answer—the way I 

always try 
so hard

while you're
talking, to make 
all of your problems 

look and 
sound a lot 

more
like my
problems, if only—

I swear—
so that I

might under-
stand them
better.