Tuesday, January 31, 2017

APOTHEOSIS

Inside me, there's
always this

one man
who's homeless—

filthy, his greentooth grinning
obliviously,

as he pedals and pitches
what you could only

graciously call his
theories of "general relativity."

But what's worse,
there's also usually

another man in there—
with his black

and stiff collar, so
pious, clean, and holy

that he will not admit
the sheer existence of the other

which would first be necessary
in order to ignore him.

From there, it's always
the same old

stomach
ache of a story—

one of them
feeling compelled

to move around, shiftless
and aggressive, but earnest—

while the other
just likes to take

his sweet time—
saying little, moving

penitently, almost
painfully

slowly, as if
on purpose—

so that everyone else in town
notices.

Monday, January 30, 2017

IMITATION GAME

Virile little
cursor—

upright and
seductive—

uniform,
like sculpture,

but 
blinking, though,

like—
semaphore.

Ideas flow 
(could it be?)

but What's the use? 

Can a machine?

Ever really think?

Only light,
full bright
panels of it,

along with a few 
steady slits
of its absence, answer—

ping back their
steady irrelevant rhythms, 

like questions
meant to dissolve 
the opacity 
of scientific investigation—

Do words speak? 

Do boats swim? 

Do airplanes sink?

What's the use?
the thing 

now seems 
to be pantomiming:

Can a 
human being?

Ever really 
compute?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

TIPPING POINT

But how am I ever supposed
to know

I'm happy
until—afterward

when things are
worse?

She's looking at me now
as if

she's seeing
I can never actually tell her

everything a CAT scan could.
You must 

begin again,
she's saying. Always again, only 

each time, try to start 
a little sooner.

Bullshit. I start to say
that ignoring things

doesn't sound a lot different
to me than ignorance.

But the difference, now
I can

finally hear
while I'm still talking, is

one of those things
always seems like

some valuable-but-
hard to use compliment—it's

a silver dollar
being tossed to me

out on the street
by a stranger

who looks
and speaks exactly like me

just for mumbling
Agnus Dei, 

qui tollis peccata mundi, 
miserere nobis—

while that
other thing

just feels
obligatory.

Monday, January 23, 2017

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

A crowded but camouflaged
city street, so full
it's gone

crooked
with rival
words and melodies

is more
than music
to my ears; it's worse—

it's like someone dropped me off
in a store that sells
only used similes and metaphors,

and I'm sort of a buff,
so I can't help but
start picking them all up

one-by-one, giving them
each a good thump
and turning them upside

down, exhaling my breath
on them, rubbing off
the condensation, then

gazing back with passion
at my neatly
distorted reflection,

and thinking—I know
none of these is perfect
or brand-new,

but they're sure
dirt-cheap―
and they're here

and I'm
here too. . .
and I can't keep from wondering

which vanishing reaches
of otherwise
indescribable light, or

which severe-angled corner
in the close-quartered
jail of human strife

any (any!) any
of these things
might make a decent,

easy to sell
and ready to use
symbol for.

Friday, January 20, 2017

YOU CAN CALL ME SAL

Language
at the speed of experience.

Now now now—
relentless.

Laughter at the pitch of
ecstasy.

Tickled—til
defenseless.

A visceral effusion
is a.k.a. coughing,

a genius
all the time—singing

ta-ra-ra boom de-ay!
over and over.

Paradise aside,
though,

and back
in our drab houses, let's

face facts,
man: wow

means absolutely
nothing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

IDEAL READER

Sorry to disappoint,
but I'm afraid 
that Art

is usually
those plain ugly
everyday things

whose defeated angles 
and gray, depressed hues

keep them uncoveted 
and morally invisible

as they accrue unintentionally
against life's somber, 
neutral background;

and it's typically—
The Everyday
which is

made up by
those strange,
ruddy things 

tending to nag
at our 
interest along the way, 

those flared, fluted objects
we're often made
to stare at intensely 

as if 
there were magic
frames all around them.

Just consider 
the mindnumbing utility 
of overabundance:

first, picture gallons 
of loose tuna salad 

sequestered in the alley 
behind a profligate 
kitchen somewhere,

swamped 
by hordes 
of fat, ingrate rats.

Then, try to imagine
the beauty that's there—

that sheer 
blind knack,

the unencouraged ingenuity 
and practically-
enviable aggression

of those bacteria 
currently 
colonizing their systems.

Monday, January 16, 2017

DRAMATIZATION

In the rain,
a flash

and me left
wondering—

is there some
occult vocation,

or is it
or pure recreation

that causes
men to fall like rain

from holes in the sides of nice silver-
white airplanes?

I guess—as with rain,
it depends

on whether
or not

they ever plan
on landing.

Friday, January 13, 2017

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN

This morning,
I am the bright
dominion of mind—limitless, immeasurable;

where ideals
are solid—and comfortable
as furniture.
Abstraction is the only thing
that's pure,
and purity is actual here.

The only way I'll ever
abide imperfection
is,

one day, somehow
some way, to not be
connected to this
body anymore.

*

By noon,
I've become the subject.
Hard working, like one of
Van Gogh's peasants,
I'm all-curves and corners;

I'm bone. I'm your
pit sweat and toe-jam,
your muscle and ligaments.

And I've been rigorously
conditioned to believe—

things aren't too bad
if I choose not
to count
those things
which are
any worse than that.

*

But when the day ends
and night comes,

it's dark again; there's no colors
at all,

and I no longer
see how—

the world outside
could have any corners.

Inside, it's Freedom.
It's Possibility; all that yin
and yang energy swirling
around each other (or whatever.)

It's—
lucky, lucky,
lucky me:

I have a mind. Cool.
I have a body. Wow.

But I—the I
that is doing

the talking—I

am neither of those things
right now.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

BRAINFOOD

I know I could do better,
but I never mind eating messes
of over-scrambled eggs
for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
because of the way

they always remind me of something
I can't remember. First—it's weird, how
they didn't come cheap
considering how fragile their
worldviews all turned out to be.

Then there's the way they get
all stringy and off-color-pastel-tired
after their personal spaces get violated,
their pure potential having been (to put it mildly)
overshot in the heat;

but at the end of the day,
it's okay—they're still vaguely
on the savory side
of plain, still contain enough bulk
to seem to count for something.

They still sport some intentional level
of skill-dependent composure
when they're finally all laid-out;
they're usually best remembered
for being warm and homespun,

not for being pretty; and of course,
the dispatch of the whole dire
consumptive procedure itself
usually leaves its executor feeling
both—penitent and satisfied.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

INSPIRATIONS HAVE I NONE

Stone love,
Stardust:

I am no slogan,

I'm just
a blind idiot,

descending
on the deaf.

Inspirations have I none;

all I've got,
you gave me,

careless
in your choosing.

And now,
all I've got left

is my doubt

of doubt—
that doubt

is not nothing.

I WILL EASE YOUR MIND

I really don't think
of myself as
a hero to anyone,

though I know I'm not
much of a
disappointment, either;

I'm more like a support system
that's also become
its own burden,

all of my pain and suffering
compliantly tucked
and arched into architecture

that's fishy and obscure.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I'm a fortuitous sign

but also those perilous
and unfeeling
forces it signifies,

a mixture of practical
faith and
blind science,

not a quick fix, necessarily—
but a necessarily-
temporary solution

to some
long-term patently
unsolvable problem.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DOUBLE STOP

They tell me—

every line,
every part,

every act
of speech

is virgin—

especially
a repeated one:

freedom,
some

brand new religion

for the already-
chosen.

Well I say

maybe,
maybe not.

Monday, January 9, 2017

HUNGER, PAIN, AND THE U.S. MAIL

Every day,
it's there.

Furled, hung-up,
crumpled, foisted
into containers.
Everywhere.

Perhaps, later—coffee
cup stained, strewn
across the table, whatever.
Yesterday's

all mixed up
with today's.

I really
don't care.

I notice it. Sure.
Deal with it. Maybe.
Or don't bother yet,
since—every day

dirty envelopes,
pristine paper,
impeccable streaks of
bleak midnight letters

are there, lightly might-mattering
(someone wants something,
you're someone's problem)
or literally smeared to nothing.

Either way, fine.
Every single day.

Really.
Every single day.

But what bothers me—is
why doesn't

anything else
feel that way?

Friday, January 6, 2017

PET SOUNDS


     Oh friends, not these sounds!

     Let us instead strike up more pleasing
     and more joyful ones!

     -Prologue to “Ode to Joy”


***

If you're anything
like me,

by the time you reach to hit the keys
for poem number

fourteen hundred and one, I imagine
you'll feel this

cold, arthritic brass-
tax-feeling come threatening—

to stiffen all your fingers
and stuff cement in each ear canal.

If you're
anything like me,

you'll still be able
to hear one thing, but it's

just the dull wheeze
of your own nervous system:

the world isn't singing,
it's saying.

It's saying—who needs immediacy
of rhythms

and rhymes and songs? We've got
catchy memes now.

It's saying—are you kidding?
all men are not even

cousins, not even
drinking buddies—let alone brothers.

It's saying—I got some
bad news for you, friend,

John Wayne's
real name was Marion Morrison.

But again, if you're
anything like me,

you'll say: Fine. Great. 
Whatever. I'll just 

write it all down, 
anyway,

thinking—what the hell, 
if I'm not at least tentatively 

making music, then I'm definitely 
shushing some.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

CRUELEST MONTH

January—is this trap door my
poetry cannot help 
but step on.

In a frozen rush, 
both the past
and future bug-out 

and suddenly my thoughts
feel obfuscated and dark, 
falling-but-stuck

somewhere 
in the dismal 
breach between 

the quick
haiku rush of 
golden springtime wisdom

and that silvery 
tingle of a Christmas 
card greeting—

like a desperate
Rudolph, with his 
nose so bright 

took me 
to the river,
dropped me

in the water—
right nearby 
that desolate 

bank where 
Neil Young 
shot his baby.

HAIKU: WE'LL MANAGE

Under water, rife

weird civilizations co-

exist—silently.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

REVERSE-HYPOCHONDRIA

I have this one
friend—who got
supersick from trying

to ejaculate
squarely onto this
mysterious, little jade

mirror he found.
He was never able
to get-off successfully, since

all he could
see was how
unattractive it'd be—if

there was ever, visibly,
nothing at all
wrong with him.

END OF THE WORLD SIMULATOR

In the future, new levels
of complexity—

nano-
rigged,

bio-
amazing,

instantaneous intergalactic everything—

will make it inconceivably
boring

to just sit

and chit-
chat about things.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DUDE'LL DO

Dude, congratulations;
you're the sun.
(You know exactly

how the world
will end, can see
the blueness

of prairieland sky
for what it
really is—a dream, etc.)

And your job now
is—to say
and do nothing

regarding these
things, but just
to keep moving,

even when
it feels dumb;
keep going,

keep doing
the same thing, over
and over again.

And not only
that, but do it
in a way that

feels new—not to you,
but to the ones
who need it to.

And so, you
do it. And you do
it, and you

do it 'til you're
in pain. Then,
after that, you do it

again. You do it
'til you're sick,
'til you're numb,

'til you're
half-insane. You do it
so many times

that you no longer
know your own
name. But that's fine,

since by then,
you don't really have to—
they do. That huge crowd

down below you,
they all do.
You can just listen

to what they shout
as soon as you
first appear in the morning:

Survivor! Survivor! they all
crow, almost
in union.