Friday, March 31, 2017


The light, arcing yellow 
around the 
bright kite wind

on which surfs 
the weird bracing spring smell 
of streets decomposing—

sensations like these
feel just like
the money in your pocket,

useless lumps 
while they're inert, 

that must be
moved around 
in order for it to matter.

But by now, you've 
learned enough 
to be shrewd:

you can't exactly
sell beautiful things 
on any sketchy street-corner,

but you can't just go around
giving them away 
for nothing, either.

You're a missionary now,
whose objective is—
the dispensation

of ministry
without religion,
of gospel

with no ugly
liturgy attached,
of godawful, 

bloody, and
ritualistic sacrifice 
that plays itself off

as inconsequential, 
is performed 
on the daily, 

with a smile 
and innocuously off 
to one side. 

can never be

as off-putting
as a vocation;
it's only a little

hot oatmeal 
on a cold 
spring morning—

wet eggs 
and dry toast 
for the drowsy  

emaciated planet,
when it finally 
wakes up 

feeling hungry again
after fending off
the stomach flu.

Thursday, March 30, 2017



ticking and ringing,


tight controlled
clacking of clocks—

not at all

still administer



Wednesday, March 29, 2017


for life
at the DMV,

eagerly my captive
eye seeks
poetry. But—

murky dim
and graywhite


with a
few floozy
pen marks

being, apparently,
the opium 
of the imperialists

(and puritanically
weak coffee, the meth-

it receives
good answers,

at the ends
of lines,

some fair-
ly pleasant
answering machines.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Nature sits
back in stunned

at the brutality
of her own
cheap and abundant

every growling distended
stomach out there

is an acidic argument
(and all and their
book-learned fervor

a damn bad
advertisement) for
the part of her

that's free
to be so dare-
devil aimless:

free free free—
free as only
an unsympathetic

jazz musician could be—
for part of her
must be?

in order
to inhale
and to to feel

the full breadth
of its aimlessness
as freedom.

Instead of
that clinging tyrannical

glazing the hand of
the fire alarm puller—

that same part of her
that has lately been hopping
around stepping

on millions of ants—
because of its

for some
broken glass.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Foamy lakeshore—a shy
miasmatic eye

ambivalent as gray wind peering
crosseyed into opaque clots,

sand grit, fog—then
two keen

ears hear seagulls'
wet sharp cries

for help
somewhere they

can't decipher, will never
venture—guess they're

not so
used to getting

eaten up them-

Friday, March 24, 2017


The grass is mottled
trampled gray,

and streetcurb
debris still languishes,

like piles of old slag—but

those idiot

sepia birds go—

it's spring.

And so,
all of the weathermen

on the TV,

like hell
to look smart

with all that artificial
light in their eyes,

repeat it.
And repeat it—again and again and again,

as if they're trying
to clear all the little,

black dusty chunks
of coal from their throats.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Gradually, I shall
take the outside, and I shall
make it
become the inside—as a clever prayer
of ceremony and remembrance.

I'll put up a tiny wall (no small
miracle, first of all),
then another, and two more; all covered
and adjoining at the
others' edges.

Then, I'll take some
of what's still
out there—starting with
nouns first,
a few adjectives next,

and an adverb, only very,
very selectively—
I shall carry all I can
back here,
disavowing (not just forgetting) the rest.

I will take my meals in silence
at a modest table
with two places set—a little
transubstantiated tea and
some scalloped madeleine cookies.

And from then on, I will do my
dutiful best
forevermore: to always
dream inside,
and only while I sleep at night—

never again
outside the space I've created,
not ever while my
eyes are open, and definitely never
during the daytime.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


their crumbling houses

and tumble-
down apartmentscalm

obdurate elm trees,

still push back

hard against
immense and

intransigent skies.
And the March wind

makes music
with the bare branches,

but it never
writes lyrics.

Those, they supply
for themselves

going by, whistling
low, wondering: what chance?

can a man—so supple
by comparison,

so submissive, 
and perennially

stuck in this gap

the dead earth 
and the living, 

breathing heavens—
possibly stand?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Sometimes you wake up
at some nameless dark space

of time, on some planet,
with a veiled tingling passion—

and, for at least a cavernous
eon or two, there is absolutely

nothing to reconcile.
You think—here lies a slab, a log

floating supine; it's blank,
and it's bliss—there's no difference

between cool sweet streams
of and frothing mad rapids.

Until that first electric flash
and its thundercrack claps

hard, with a shuddering
vengeance—down at

your pure inanimate block
of sensation; rattles it, roils and

splits it back into a million
fragments again, each clamoring

and fighting it out for a scrap of shelter
with all the others. Until at last—

after several more agonizing mellenia
have passed—it sends

you spilling, now instantaneously
out of bed, freezing, running, mad

to your bathroom upstairs,
just in time—to empty your bladder.

Monday, March 20, 2017


It's weird to consider—
but the 21st century
won't have its own
list of Greatest Novels.

Looking back, it'll have been
half Wild West, and half—
just put your most 
recent foot forward.

Authors will have
coasted a while
on good looks,
then on font choices,

then on Fountainhead references,
then on the sheer tyranny
of repeatable aesthetic decisions.
While the public

will have felt just like
some show
which must go on
straining—to get

so much as a yawn out
without being tossed
in the architect's
Modern Library castle prison—

except, there won't be any
Tale of Two Cities-style
tower dungeons left
by then, either.

just these endlessly reproducible
things—called rooks 
flanking the corners
of checkered floors.

And sure, those things
can travel as far out
as the minds of their
masters could dare

to imagine—as long
as it's always
only ever
in a straight line.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Remember back
when you
first began

to read
books that weren't simply
handed to you,

you came
across those weird words?

Easy, even
pretty to look at,
but hard to pronounce

such as ego
and unorthodox.

Some that tasted
like dry, brittle
bricks in your mouth—misanthropic,

for instance.

And naturally, those words
that shimmered
and slid

down around and in between
the moist
folds of your brain,

stimulating it
in a way that was

because it felt so nice?—ones
like guile

and callow,
and furtive

and agnostic.

not only when you read them,
but when you
first—understood? Not

what they meant,
but the way it felt
to collect things like that.

To keep them
and to hold
smell and save

and never use them,
like your favorite crayons
in an old cardboard box?

And how they made you
feel better?
Less alone,

less afraid
to dominate
your own disdain.

But then,
after a while,
and as more

and more strange
ideas were hurled out at you,
you realized

that eventually, you'd have to
pick yours up and
use them?—

that silence, for you,
could never be

a shield—not when it
when it already made
such a good sword.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


A dense, obscure little longing
that used to be folded,

packed tightly in on itself like
one of those tooth-
sized caramel candies,

sweet and bitter
and burnt, gradually
melted in you,

or unfolded—
like the wrapper it was packed in.

And that wrapper came
stamped with
a short message,

but the tin
foil—was glinting
too silvery

in the light that afternoon,
and it blew off
with the wind's lightest flutter—

and you had
no idea
what the message said,

but you reasoned
that it was
yours, and so

you had
to say
Yes to it.

And even though
this is a metaphor—
not something

that actually
happened to you—
you have nevertheless

ever since
based your entire life
on the memory.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Back then,
I was supposed to

all the things I wanted—
into poems;

lash at their boundaries,
rub, scour, stick-
in—everything that fit.

Figured I wanted
a cool indigo
bruise to show,

sweet and ugly,
earthy and thick

ready to bust—
like an overfat misshapen
heirloom tomato.

Assumed enough pressure
would hold
anything in, though.

Wouldn't even have recognized—
how savory
a simple

of oregano,
how merciful

a missing detail,
how decent

and right
one like

this could be—five, four,
three, even

years ago.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Walking past
the high fence, not seeing—
knowing only

that I have not,
do not, will never
know them—but

as their glinting peels
of laughter
come skittering

through frivolously
falling after-
noon snow flurries

to thaw
and to enter the furtive
folds of each ear—

I cannot
help but apprehend
how it came to pass

many disparate rivers,
once dislodged

from their
high prisons
in secret icy caverns,

all simply ran and ran
and ran, fast and head-

into the same vast
and ever-
lasting ocean.

Monday, March 13, 2017


Let's say there's a boat—
proud, glistening, sleek;
about to disembark

from the cute shabby
shore on which you're strolling
and daydreaming of adventure,

with an experienced
crew aboard
and a grizzled but captivating captain

who shouts down to you
that there's
room for one more,

explains that their only mission
is to seek peril and pleasure
and explore the whole ocean

'til their wild hearts' content,
to hunt treasure and fight
pirates and race magic mermaids

through mythical ancient passageways.
Only, let's say—
there's this

one little
totally incontrovertible stipulation:
of never getting where they're going,

never docking in any
of the ongoing succession of perfect island
paradises they'll discover

and never again returning
to the old safety of
this harbor either;

but instead, of stalwartly
journeying forth
with the expressed intention

of sinking—calmly, systematically
abusing and betraying,
then abandoning the ship,

every last man aboard it
resolutely drowning.
No survivors, no one left

to so much as
influence the course of future missions
with the telling of the tale.

And let's say—while he's talking
to you, the boat's just floating there
compliantly, bobbing

up and down, kind of winking
at you in the bright
sun, and nodding

witlessly along
with everything
he's been saying. Be honest:

would you—or anyone
you know, ever
willingly board this thing?

Saturday, March 11, 2017


If when I'm walking Lucy alone
in the morning
and she whirls quick while squatting
underneath a tree, smearing
just a little
dogshit on her leash—
if I realize
with some weird delight
upon reentering our home that I can probably
squeeze a bit of dish soap
on a wet paper towel and scrub it away that way
without resorting
to my previous plans
of either putting this tiny thing in the washing machine
of else having to waste an entire wet Swiffer cloth 
to do the same job (because let's face it
those things are expensive)—
if a second idea then occurs to me, once again
with appreciably peculiar
levels of excitement:
"I can totally dry this thing
a little more speedily that I'd imagined
by curling it up to strategically
fit on top of a small
metal heating vent
on the floor near the kitchen sink
and Kate will probably
never even need to know!"—

Who shall say I'm not
whatever I dare them not to?

Friday, March 10, 2017


Some mornings, I wish I
could stay with you, dabbing
to sooth

your forehead
with a damp cerulean cloth
until every last hope

in your fiery mind
is gone.
A cure

for those times when
there isn't
supposed to be one;

for those days,
which are

when the universe
of music
you dreamed the night before was

so pure,
a perfect mix

of warm
tender pain
and cool

composed loneliness—that
not just you,
or me either, but

all of us
would be in some
serious trouble

if you ever
remembered—a single
blue note of it.

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Would you believe me if I told you?
I'm not only

here, but I'm also
in a hurry.

It'd be quicker
and easier if I showed you—

there's a crumpled up map buried
deep inside this body

An X—marks
some dumb thing a kid did
one day
a dozen years ago,

and the well-defined boundaries,
also known as limitations,
dictated by each subsequent
rank conferred upon him.

But forget all that; he did.

Just look
for the symbols. Track
the barely audible music
of a left ventricle

as it pulses
red swingtime dotted lines up
behind his right temple.

And forget about
authenticating anything
by its signature.

That thing is always
subtly but adroitly being molded—
just a nonsense heap of loops.

Check instead
for the true pilgrim's insignia—a cool cartoon
lightning bolt.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


I suppose if you're fortunate,
one day—when you're
old enough,

you finally get
a grown-up bike.

It's light, and it's
quick, a little too tall
to ever let comfort
be a passive luxury again.

Best of all, its sophisticated body
doesn't insist on itself
with all those sharp corners
the way your old one did.

Its supple, contoured chrome
is painted silver
or gold—or the ripe mellow
color of some other
carefully cultivated liquor or mineral.

You're really thrilled
to move so
gracefully, forcefully, propitiously
toward your destinations,

for speed and resistance 
just a finger's length away.

Only real problem is—
nobody tells you
before you trade up

how you can never
pedal backwards again. Or,

that is to say—you
can if you want to, but

when you do, nothing
will happen.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I'm all over the place, but
this is an attack.

Stop saying

are like crack;

everything in the house,
everything around the planet

is like that.

And I've
had it.

Even the way
I just can't stand it

is a feeling
I seem to want

more and more and more of.

Politics, science, religion, opinion.
Oatmeal, honey, milk, cinnamon.

Satisfaction's like crack.
Truth. Beauty too, then;

after all, we just can't

stop looking at shit,
once we've

begun it—now, can we?

It's hard enough
here on this rock, already.

Every day, on my TV, I overdose on
The grooves of Saturn's rings

oozing mystic sex appeal
via Google Images.

They're just so chunky, glossy; it's
like some majestic vinyl record.

What hypnotic
epic song is etched in there? I wonder.

Which old 45rpm
of god's is that, whose insanely catchy lyrics

go—damn, we're so 
caught up in the current 

that we don't even notice 
what it's been carrying—?

And when does the meaning of all these
such incidents—finally tally up to be

greater than
the single one which caused them?

And who on earth

makes those sorts
of decisions?

And then, who reinforces
them? by agreeing

so quick—
and repeatedly,

without thinking.

Monday, March 6, 2017


I'm not afraid
to be a
fool, of

of nothing

Like a light that shines
in the already calm,
bright middle of day—

sometimes I get down
all the dusty cups
and glasses from my

cabinets, lay them
out across the table,
and just watch them

all remain empty—
in the unutterable name
of possibility.

Other times, I simply rest
in that relatively-
pointless space

between the last line
of one poem
and the title

of your beautiful
next one—not because it's your best,
but because it's the most

and the most workable
place I can think of.

Friday, March 3, 2017


There's a huge mountain—but inside

with a peak
that points down

and a road
that grows wider,

where the going
gets easier

except that it becomes
hotter and ever more

crowded with other people—
as you climb

the center, actually
moving toward

your fear
and uncertainty
instead of treading over it.

your pain
and theirs

join and commingle
in a mild

of very pleasant warm water.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Like in a nursery
rhyme, he knows—
the most vital and powerful words

can, at first
sound deceptively simple.
Therefore, in order to survive,

he keeps repeating
the tiniest poem he
knows by-heart—

One day, I / shall finally 
be sad / in a way 
that they / could never understand.

Every day, he disciplines himself
by picturing—being shown his whole future
in some miraculous vision,

and then
abominably refusing
to do a single thing differently.

And one more thing.
A poet never laughs, either—he gafaws.
Or else, he snickers a little,

but with that same
pained and knowing kind
of mirth you used to hear

in little kids singing—
ring around the rosie!
pocket full of posies! etc. etc.

True, like everybody
else, he sometimes enjoys making a plan
and sticking to it;

but only from memory,
after he's caused a big scene—and publicly
burned the blueprints

in effigy, because—
ashes, ashes! We must. All.
Fall down.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Every room is full-proof. The halls
are built roughly the same
on purpose,

so you
always seem to
know where you are;

always familiar
with what's on the table.

A bowl, pale and glum gold
like a soft luke-
warm sun.

A chalice
brimming with
a lake called The Ocean,

in the middle,
like the counterfeit words of incantation.

Pointed polished jewels, shook down
from their place in the sky,
scooped up

and retrofitted
with a familiar silhouette brutally-
but-indomitably drawn across them,

its four limbs stiff and stoically pointed,
a new kind of ancient pagan sundial
(now featuring Roman numerals)

made to keep new time
a little more slowly,
in order to blur and cover-over

how gradually—the symbols,
emblems of
the conquerors

come to be
fiercely adored
and worshiped—by the conquered.