shepard fairey








gustav dore

our boys

death and burial


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

People Say

Baudelaire was left-handed.
People also say he drank. As one
who knows, I can tell you,
there's some truth to each of those
claims. But it's complicated, because
these two life-long compensatory
behaviors are like evil twins who
make their home in his breast;
beneath their pink and cozy
firmament, they squirm like
snakes, if snakes were made of
tar and wax; these devils twist
and braid their breakable bodies
together, and snare the ancient
sounds of what poor strands
of his own remain to him, in any
vague but somehow recognizable
shape that evokes memory from
the perforated, also twisting,
black eels that are all that's left
of his once really quite notable brain.
I can tell you that... and no one
else can, because I'm the one
who knows it. But just as he was fond
of saying when he found himself
near, or more likely already long
past, wit's end, he'd intone with
his crooked smile, but which
I'll forego: “Ah, but I digress.”
I'll spare you the bloody detail,
the grim lot issued by drink, a chit
redeemable only in Hell, one that
daily finds with freshened vengeance
even its lesser acolytes, men nowhere
near so loyal as Lairey. I can tell you
the secret to his effortless, even
graceful, albeit entirely assumed,
left-handedness, though. The simple
quirk of anatomical fact that's behind
that distinctive look he's got; and further,
has got it doubled, actually, that
universally recognized, one sure
give-away that even in silhouette
or shorn of the context of a mate,
still fairly screams: “left hand.”
Well, it's because both of his arms
end in hands whose palms, each
present their respective thumbs
as quite plainly emerging to the
immediate left of the palm's base.
Why, it's the very definition of a
left hand, the classic clinical description,
But, listen, Lairey has two! the same!
one on each side! So, and I suppose
this is the funny part, he could hardly
help but be left-handed, eh? Well,
I shouldn't joke, because actually, it's
far worse where his syndrome
has taken him. It began at birth.
Lairey was a twin, twin grotesquery,
they all said, because, as it happened,
his dominant brother, in the womb,
took most of the limited supply
of toes they'd been issued. Poor
Lairey's two feet, opposites, thank
the Lord, had to get on with but
a single toe, between them.
You'd drink, too, I think.
Plus, already his eldest son has arranged
that once the old bounder's finally
drunk himself clear through to death,
he gets the hands, and that,
free and unencumbered.

Grand Landing

I don't see why, in general,
big feelings are so important.
And I'm not certain entirely that
they are. But I will allow, in lieu of
countering argument passing
that this is not entirely unexpected.
that this would be introduced. I was
in the mean time hunkered down ...
in nasty billet, you could say,
waiting for something that would be
wearing its name on its sleeve, that
would allow me to enter into it
with no particular invasion of
its or her bodily integrity, nothing to
call attention to Mr. Slippery Damn Goose
and his private predations, nor their
patented predilections for the particularly
perverse, a collection I'd had a hand in
building. Well, you say, answer me
quickly, You say why am I not
wearing trousers? You're asking me,
that? Is that me to whom you speak,
so free, and by the way. would that be
your simple standard query, fleshed out
and flushed before lunch? Or something
more complex, perhaps, a rule-based
inquiry, say, something in your
maximal rhetorical flourish? Which-
would-that-be? Why, yes, I'm asking you;
do you see anyone else? If you see,
for instance, anyone at all, mucking about
who identifies as one preferring to come
straight to the point, where I'm going,
that is, that point, that singularity of all
singularities and associated sending units,
then just please, send them right along
to me. As per the inconvenient deficit
of any state of wearable trou, the
aforementioned, yes, well, simple fairness
compels me to admit that: strictly speaking,
I don't even have legs, so perhaps then
these thin vanadium cables, in this
sore pinch, must suffice. Yes?

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Good Mourning

It's no wonder I write so many
aubades (self-styled), staying
up like I do, till morning and
beyond, two, three, four nights
every week; until I'm weak,
and sick as well, with an exhaustion
not the least bit tired; but just plain ...
uncut awful; like snorting No-Doz
at 8:00 AM, somewhere along the
dirty corridor, Delaware, say,
tucked up tight beneath an interstate
on the narrow ledge above the crotch
it makes with the crossing roadway;
there's an acid bite you may or
may not recall, to the urine of the
slowly dying, and you aren't ready
to lie down yet (you've still got
standards, hey, old boy?) amidst
the pigeon shit and broken glass,
the discarded empty pints of
vodka, whiskey, rotgut wine, and
limp and crackling underfoot,
the drying condoms, coming from
god knows where. but furthest
beyond weird is the single shoes,
scores of them, abandoned, none
with mates. what the hell?
It looks like a lonely lot, my friend,
and can feel like you're having
your extremities singed away with
a rusting but serviceable
curling iron, and sometimes,
quite naturally, you (like anyone)
can get your eyes plucked out
with a red-hot rod (this to see if
you're paying attention). and all the
while you remain staid, unmoved,
erect; upright, that is, as if you were
fifteen, always fifteen, always on
the money, and your whole life coming,
and coming still more; always keeping
on with it, always more coming, as if
it will keep it up until you're quite
dead, which could come soon.


...............for James Davis
like, and not so much, in-house;
as much much more: the homie,
never so home in his swank abode,
his cush-crazy comfort crib, as when
loosed on the freed land, empty-handed,
beneath a mythic moon. Night moves
turning the ghost-white flora blue, ...
tucked in hard by a prairie named
Payne's. And don't we know it now,
know just what they meant, and who
they meant it for; it's only all too
well we know, just who got hurt,
and how that went, as well as
who might be saved. And fuck all
and hell no, we ain't forgetting
where and when, nor who
the red deer ran from, spitting
a blood-flecked froth, and breaking
legs of glass, all the night long,
from here to home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Drughounds of the Silver Basking Buddha

the SBB being a small  organization, one so demanding
in its designated qualifying talents, that no one member
is likely to even know any other, or if they do, they
little suspect that their everyday boon companion,

as well, like themselves, is an inveterate bounder
of the heaving main, a spirit quite as discriminating
as they, yet never would neither ever know it
in the other, though they pull quite side by side;

and the juxtaposed disacquaintance between them
is probably due mostly to this salient accompanying
indisputable fact: the more nuanced the strategy
one employs for getting at the heart of things,

the more likely it is that that activity will subsume
one's entire attention and mentational faculties,
if to do it well; moreover such missions, those consisting
mainly of paying very close attention are nearly

always conducted completely in silence, alone,
and utterly without any sort of distraction.
All to say, and what this then means is: it's
not the kind of thing you talk about, anyway,

things you actually take seriously, would be
willing to die for, say, these life-extending
heirlooms passed down to us, intact and
disguised in the homily of our native tongue.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Just Asking: Can I Be Serious

for once? Apparently not. I'm far
too set in my ways: locked into
a perspective of perpetual need;
what emerges from deep storage--

wet and snapping, biting itself on
the page—needs nothing so much
as an answering rhythm, a syncopated
triage to repair the tear left behind in

the mind. Well, it's an avocation; at least
in the short-term, it keeps me writing.
But wouldn't it nice once to write
something of value, that is, of value to

at least one other human being,
animal even; I'm not proud; or tired.
But that's not gonna happen.
How could anyone care about

this extreme self-interest but me?
There's just no way. Actually,
there is one; and its benefits
go far beyond the possibility of

someone getting value from your poems.
It's finding (and keeping) an actual
girlfriend. There's no more exalted
pursuit than that, anywhere. Plus,

they always get value from poems
pitched their way, especially
poems written with them in mind.
If they've ever been in love, most likely,

that's just how they were snagged.
Poets can rarely resist such, some
would say, cynical use of their
alleged gift; I mean, like making

a woman fall in love with you by
writing lovely verse. But, I would argue,
it's such a lovely result—not to mention,
its being poetry's main purpose since,

roughly, the beginning of time—
so it seems kind of sacrilegious now
to associate it with something cynical,
to suggest such behavior is selfish, or

call it manipulative, as some surely do,
to persuade another person--even one
of exactly those qualities you happen
to find so particularly attractive,

perhaps even adore--to get that person
to love you, too. But, so what? I'm not
writing poems for those skags, the
kind who find romance disgusting.\

'm looking for a woman
who can be had for, approximately,
a decent limerick. That's my type
o' gal, exactly; and we'll get on fine.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Being Tony Hopkins

Some days it doesn't even pay
to go downstairs; some days
they're already waiting. For what?
I think, but I don't say anything.
I just go get the ring rig and
the hoist. Around sundown, in summer,
it's time to walk the dog, or whatever
you call it, in your branch of the service.
In the metaphysics game, most of us,
haul down the ceremony before
even the holiday. That's just
the Crowfish in me talking. Yah,
you could say I had reservations.
I lived in Detroit; Albany, yes;
of course, that was a mistake. As was
the dancing, at least with the squint
that brung me. So what do you do then.
Call a cab? Call the law? Or just call it
a day? I actually prefer a bull gator who's
got some tits, if you come right
down to it. Ask me, the hard cases are
good for nothing but shoes, whereas
with that nice soft white underbelly
dragging the ground when they walk,
it keeps their tiny minds on business.
There's a scientific name for it. It's
some kind of syndrome, I guess;
not the least bit contagious. The biggest
drawback comes in laying out a suit,
but even a medium sized hand bag,
to get the zipper in straight, you have to
chalk the old biddy head to tail, then
all the way back again. It gets tiresome.
you better believe it; like drawing blood
with a pencil. I can never get a likeness
nor even pull up a vein. Then if
I say anything about it to anyone at all,
they send me straight to steerage
to mop up any remains of the day.

I Swarmed The River

All the big carp, like manatees with attitude,
moved right over. I reached to Lake Superior
and over to Champlain, and settled into
the grey woods of winter there. I watched
the trickle of glacial melt drip until spring.
When I loosed myself on the land,
my lack of age, my youth, the years
to come, ran before me like trembling mice,
waiting, hesitating to bury themselves,
each after my eventualities, which I prefer
to play close, if not hold dear. Once,
the land stretched out from between
my thighs and into the middle-distance,
which could hear me coming, and
laid before me like a new concubine,
trembling at the potency I reserved
for my everyday charisma, but that's
not to share. I managed to ignore her
allure while I sure could have used it.
When finally it was too late, and surely,
far too late, and thus, never coming
again; then, and only then, did I
swarm the river, as before.

I Knew The Great Ones

before they emerged from
their thorny beds, and stuck
themselves to my trousers
like burdocks, as if no life were
ever, nor would be, had elsewhere.
Who the fuck am I, to rate
these clowns' accompaniment?
Can I resubmit? Can I walk
from these settled claims still
engaged in and indefatigably
employed at this serious business
of pulling off my pants?
Ma'am, please understand,
I come bearing philosophy,
my signature work sings of
what we didn't, as well as of
what we did. Your name is pitched
there, beside the fall of our earnest
and earliest intention, writ indelibly
in bold italic, beside mine, held close
and tucked into this private, un-
discovered hand; this
cursive rune.

I Can't Tell When It's Too Late

for ordinary measures, or even
when my resources are entirely
expended, as in exhausted and
thinnish, as if lacking a certain
vitality, a je ne se quois, which
cannot be uploaded from anywhere
your teeth in their dark sockets
vibrate to the tune of mind-tearing
chemicals, bearing tablets of stone,
on which is writ where the planet
is headed; will it have a fate,
to burn and twist and starve
in consequence of heedless acts
of pulchritude, foisted before
our footfall and already trod
deep into our past? Or, will it
merely whiff off into thin air like
weightless cosmic pollen needing
a Higgs field to substantiate not
its existence, but its mass, what
small resistance we put before
our gods of spite, plunging to
our elbows in the given
wounds, those smiling apertures
we sustain in the ready
performance of our duties. 


The New Poem

It is in the interest of truth in advertising,
and to promote a world where you CAN
tell a book by its cover that this title
has been selected....

I think it's safe to say the world will not
be effected in any way by my “poems,”
and that right there saves me from having to
wind through the list: “won't be changed by...”

“won't even notice...”, “doesn't and won't ever
give the faintest shit...” and the rest.
Nor will it, nor should it, bring me fame
or fortune, or anything else. Nor is it for you;

regardless how many times I push it on you.
It's hard to explain; it's not exactly a
dysfunctional, exploitive relationship
we have, you and I, but, well, it's like

that tree in the forest...and no one around
to hear, so does it make a sound when it falls?.
I mean, we are just like that with my poems.
I don't have to spell it out.

And that's all I'm going to say about it.


I swore you'd never see such pretension
from me. I must be getting desperate.
In any case, you will recall that an 'aubade'
is a poem written in the morning, or possibly
written 'about morning,' we'd got that far......

but then, maybe, it was 'mourning,' actually,
like written while grieving, or possibly
written about the experience of grieving,
about which I can tell you next to nothing.

When my mom died, I got a good poem,
but that's pretty much it. I didn't get
any feeling that seemed in any other way
right. I found myself seeking something
that would inform me what was gone, or

at least tell me what loss really is. And
even then, and by 'then' I mean: with only
the poem's alleged quality to console me,
even in that, I was completely alone.

I'd written it for my dad, but he didn't 'get it,' not
until he'd read it a couple hundred times, and
by then it was a year or two later. Now, though,
nearly every time we talk, he tells me what
a stunning poem it was, that one I wrote the day

of Mom's memorial service to read there, and did
(it isn't quite that good, perhaps, but he's biased,
and doubly, although on the other hand, he was
an English major.). I do appreciate a lot what

he's getting from it--that's what I'd wanted, too,
part of it, anyway--it's just that, retrospectively,
it's not working for me for what I was hoping for
most, which is in no way abstract, as if it could
apply to any other moment or circumstance. I mean,

it can't do for me now what it was supposed to
do then; which was, tell me something about
the pang of grief, that most solitary endeavor;
of all experience, surely, the most personal and

closest to home; neither to be shared nor
turned away, but to bring me surcease of it,
this pain, the very one I couldn't muster,
I'd been hoping to somehow reverse engineer it,
to tell me I was alive.

Turnips and Toast

again. Lord, how I miss La Moulin Rouge.
Pipettes of the free market's finest
every morning for breakfast. By noon,
I was a man to be reckoned on, and with. And
by evening, by god, fit again to be tied ...
to the closest mast still standing; if none
could be had, then, just rolled from the curb.
With any luck, I'd be feted with, and fit for,
the Christ's living dancing bones. Admittedly,
if you want to get technical about it, those
had long been lost, right along with the sterling
beaches of the Tzarina's Crimea, but don't
tell these fools, else their stinking assembly will
send me home without my potato.

I Am Immortal

I Am Immortal
.................. for Paul Ryan
I might as well admit it. Nobody
gets out of here without the
rest of us. Which means we're
looking at a long goddamn haul. ...
On a more personal note,
that means in plain English:
we'll be dragging you, friend,
and paying the freight for it,
all the way. To keep accounts
current, as an update to the
cost/benefit analysis ongoing,
I should probably say: Paul,
I don't have the least problem with
that, uh, recent thing, the problem
“we” have in “our” inner cities,
you know, with those men, and
their “culture;” sheeit, man...
their lack of a deep and
meaningful involvement
with, you know, like, “work”...
it nearly equals my own. Even yours,
for that matter. But, hey, my brutha,
that is, homie, dude-ski, my man,
I gotta say it, if I were you, and if
MY bitches wouldn't or couldn't
bring home “bacon” sufficient to
the day, that is, stuff enuff to keep
the crib cush and cozy, I wouldn't
go around admitting to it. That shit
takes some real, well, it's not balls,
it can't be that, given,
I mean, due to... well, never mind.
But you know it, as well as any of us,
that's sure not the reason.
WTF, holmes, it must just be
the damn and downright simple;
and to be fair, I've got to give credit,
willingly, where and when it's due:
so, though it does for sure goddamn well
boggle the mind to consider it, I think
we've got to accept the facts when
they're plain. It must be, can only be:
you’re even dumber than you look.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In memory of William John Fiske

Eulogy written a few days after I learned that Wm. was gone, intended, for his family and friends to capture some of his unique personality. I read this eventually at his memorial at Quarry Hill:


to his family:

I expected to be talking to you, probably this weekend, but Brion’s email had your addresses, so I don’t want to wait. It took me almost a week for this to really begin to sink in. Since then I’ve been flooded with images of William as the extraordinarily happy person he naturally was (and wanted everyone else to be as well), and with distinct memories of how he exceeded every known limit when it came to gonzo style, outrageous never-before-existent humor, and, most of all, in his all-embracing love for people.

When I came to QH, I was 21: Wm. was 14. In hindsight, I can adjudge, he was more man than five of me at the time. I eventually cut that by advancement (in my mind) to a 2 or a 1.5 maybe (maybe), but no one could ever exceed, resist, deny, or keep up with him. That he always looked after me (with a sharp eye on my utility, of course, but still . . .) perhaps had something to do with the rational tether my witness provided. Now we can rewind that experience and extract from it testimony to sketch a rough portrait of this uniquely gifted and extraordinarily complex individual who was our hearty friend and raucous compatriot.

William was so overwhelming he seemed dangerous. I often felt, I think, that it would be better to avoid him, so easy would it be to be swept away by the strength of his dedication to action, however inspired or ill-advised. But there was no avoiding him, just as there was no stopping him. And it's been my good fortune to work with him and ride beside him over thirty years, the prime of our lives; it’s added immeasurable dimension, substance, and excitement to my life just being around him. None of us will ever forget him.

Many of us, when we’ve gone, will, like William, leave the powerful and enduring legacy of our children, and now their children’s children, for all time to come. Let us not dismiss or forget that cardinal reality. But William, like LB, Irv and Barb, and yourselves, have also formed the core of a family (unlike any in all time) whose committed destiny was to take us in when we were uprooted, to feed us, and clothe us, to open our exceedingly provincial (if willing) minds to a more primal and anarchic alternative than we had imagined could exist, and then to grow right beside us--with us--as we multiplied, over a stretch of paradisiacal years we thought could never end.

Now, here we stand, roots severed once again, and a full third perhaps of our lives remaining--or not. How quick the end can come. To any, we see. And none can lay claim to even one more breath by any right nor even ability. We stand perhaps, because we’ve not yet given our full measure. William did. Every damn day he did. He was my friend, the war leader this good soldier required; and not least, he was the caretaker, purveyor, and chief practitioner of a sense of unstoppable good humor, a fun that charted the outrageous right over the edge of anything normal, far past the ordinary, and deep into the beyond.

Let us remember that it is given to some to assault the known world’s limits with an originality never before seen. This was such a man. And his energy and verve, his panache and compassion will always inhabit our memories, and vivid they be as our dreams. But this epic and unintentional experiment really happened. Here was our life lived, all outside the known. And here was our leader, our protector, our friend. Until, suddenly, he was not. Thank you all, for all the same as he stood for, and for being his family. It does go on. And is not to be forgotten. Ever. . . .


a piece such as this, an immediately evoked affectionate remembrance--here reiterated much later and seemingly removed from its context--might seem therefore, to a neutral party, overly sentimental, perhaps even exaggerated. but I would question the accuracy of those evaluations, and most of all their relevancy, by suggesting that their flaw is introduced by a couple of key oversights; namely,, the implication that there is any factor which acts to limit the operable context pertaining to the loss of a loved one, for the living who remain, and since not, that the context is all-pervasive. and in no sense then can these expressions be "out of context." second, the unchallenged assumption that, the more vivid the remembrance, the more nearly its expression ought to coincide with the event of the loss, instead of later, when such contemplation might better serve, even, be more savored, with acute grief more quiescent, less intrusive, and less likely to diminish the satisfaction and pleasure to be found there, in a reiteration of what made the loved one so unique, and so loved. and likewise, just so, is fond memory freshened and revivified, and perhaps informed as well by the ensuing advance of our growth and progress, as continues apace while we still kick. such ceremony acts as well as another way to bring us together again. in other, fewer words, there is no "out of context," and later is just an even better time, it seems to me, for memorial. that's why when I saw this page, I wanted to bring this forward again. and there's my rebuttal of any suggestion of overly sentimental, a priori, should it think to arise. think instead appropriately vivid, and hopefully fun to remember
I don't think so either. less than is in order, personally, if off the mark at all, per sentiment.

insufflation off the sideboard of the skidder, in winter's early dusk, saws at our feet melting holes in the snow, was only just the ticket due we two deserving exhausted, merely injecting the evening with interest.
a different day, and contra-distinct. this one:...Brought to you by BAD IDEA Jeans: "If we re-route the brook with the blade of the skidder, come right through the yard, right about here, we let it flow over the unbucked saw logs, it just might melt away this quarter-inch glaze of ice, and we wouldn't need to chip a circumferential path with a hatchet all the way around every one for every single, simple cut."

"yeah, maybe. anyway, what could go wrong? it's only water."
more ice sure, but more importantly, threatened loss of the entire yard, the saw logs washed like pickup sticks downstream. only an "every man on the place" response--which we called in like the "Broken Arrow" radio call command of the Viet Nam war which when given indicated to fighter jets already scrambled and stacked every thousand feet to the ceiling all over the country, that an American unit... was in immediate danger of being overrun, directing those pilots to bring every bit of ordinance you have to bear on this patch of ground bearing these coordinates, and bring it NOW-- and a furious bit of sandbagging, prevented the worst of the damage. all agreed that it was fortunate that Wm. and I had been on-site working late when the bank had first "let go,"and that obviously it was only our quick and decisive response that had saved the day, and the whole operation. ah well. heroes again. another day, another five dollars (my daily pay for running the woods crew and doing the felling (with Mark and Michael C.) while Wm. and Ralph and Sam E. handled the yard and skidder and bulldozer)

we were using the profit to purchase the land itself, the face of the mountain across from us from Bambi-land down almost to Reggie Andrews's, a piece that was now up for sale by the original consortium (or their heirs) of beatnik friends or Irv and Barb, who had invested in it, and now it was for sale and with developers sniffing around--hence both our urgency, and going "pro" as far as logging an...d woods work, and the modest pay of twenty-five a week, which still was not entirely to be sniffed at. it was like a hundred or so would be today. we finished the job over two winters and beautifully. it was ready to be logged again even more productively twenty years later. (I don't think it was--if not there's a small fortune in saw logs in there still on the stump.) trees we left (under 12 inches in diameter) are surely 18-20 inches now if it didn't get logged again.)

there were several years running when as still pure amateurs and for no pay, obviously, none sought, it seemed like a good idea to bring back rounds in the green panel truck from our woodlot (our woodlot was designated by the US Forest Service to cut firewood, felling marked trees); it was on top of a mountain on the west side of Warren and was only accessible (we discovered) by a sixty foot bridge over mud that we had to build from 2 x 12 planks elevated on chunks of firewood, that allowed us then to winch the truck up the hill it traversed, if we could avoid going off the planks. we snapped Harold Hubbard's come-along like a rubber band the first time we got stuck hopelessly and had to call in professional help. we would fill the trucks with rounds (Mark's big flatbed truck as well) then drive them back to Quarry Hill, dump them where the new driveway is and split and then stack it right there for drying. in that one central spot we accumulated well over a hundred cords of split stacked wood, which in the fall we triumphantly went around delivering about 15 cords to each house. only a couple years of that method had us devising a more efficient strategy, dispensing with the splitting and stacking and central location and just delivering truckloads of rounds to each house until they had enough then going to the next, all directly from the woods, wherever we were cutting. this left the splitting and stacking to those who that particular household could impel to undertake the job. it wasn't as much fun, but it made so much more sense. still, I'd love to see a picture of our hundred cord plus woodpile, all split and stacked, that stretched in a huge irregular rectangle from the swing set to the path that ran by ginger's, from the side of the old driveway almost down to what would be the start of the new one someday in the future. for now-- we were young once, and oh man, we were strong

What Would DEVO Do?

Go ahead, ask yourself: what would DEVO do? Scan your library of life lessons collated by the band that traded in their kneepads, their armor and exuberant stage dives for hazmat suits topped with pyramidal resonator helmets (these--perhaps their single most striking oddity of affectation, resembling nothing so much as inverted plastic flower pots--they don them without ceremony, with modesty and grim commitment to their post--service, we should never forget, so we won't have to similarly serve) and accompanied by their now signature chanting robotic choreography, one that mirrors nothing so much as the workaday whirlwind reflexive responses, the essential rhythms and syncopated seizures of middle class white America, tipping off toward its inevitable fall, glimpsed there just at the cusp of its suburban apex of influence, the strap beginning to slip into destiny, a legacy of never again. We are assured, however, in our helpless twilight, that though the death throes of kulture will surely be characteristically ugly, yet that DEVO will be on-site sorting through the debris, picking up after the disaster, restoring what dignity may remain somewhat serviceable, performing their knowing spiritual triage and driving the still careening ambulance of state, pell-mell with due discipline, one could say, straight on through to the funerary.

I Guess For Some People

you know who I mean, this
exposure deal is a good thing.
Even inadvertent secrets can
eat you away, all on idle;

That's when it's time for a
power-management scheme;
in lieu of that I'm repelling
all data, mined or revealed.

It's more economical to
place the weight of my
emotional baggage, across
the wide lap of my neighbor;

Of course for the efficient
distribution of labor and load,
but also it's handy to have
there at hand, I might need

a feeling of victimization, say,
or want to summon some
perverse compulsion to write,
or to sky-dive in the nude, or

to get divorced and get pregnant,
well, it will all be right there,
virtually, any time
you need to pull it out.

Just Asking: Can I Be Serious

for once? Apparently not. I'm far
too set in my ways: locked into
a perspective of perpetual need;
what emerges from deep storage--

wet and snapping, biting itself on
the page—needs nothing so much
as an answering rhythm, a syncopated
triage to repair the tear left behind in

the mind. Well, it's an avocation; at least
in the short-term, it keeps me writing.
But wouldn't it nice once to write
something of value, that is, of value to

at least one other human being,
animal even; I'm not proud; or tired.
But that's not gonna happen.
How could anyone care about

this extreme self-interest but me?
There's just no way. Actually,
there is one; and its benefits
go far beyond the possibility of

someone getting value from your poems.
It's finding (and keeping) an actual
girlfriend. There's no more exalted
pursuit than that, anywhere. Plus,

they always get value from poems
pitched their way, especially
poems written with them in mind.
If they've ever been in love, most likely,

that's just how they were snagged.
Poets can rarely resist such, some
would say, cynical use of their
alleged gift; I mean, like making

a woman fall in love with you by
writing lovely verse. But, I would argue,
it's such a lovely result—not to mention,
its being poetry's main purpose since,

roughly, the beginning of time—
so it seems kind of sacrilegious now
to associate it with something cynical,
to suggest such behavior is selfish, or

call it manipulative, as some surely do,
to persuade another person--even one
of exactly those qualities you happen
to find so particularly attractive,

perhaps even adore--to get that person
to love you, too. But, so what? I'm not
writing poems for those skags, the
kind who find romance disgusting.

I'm looking for a woman
who can be had for, approximately,
a decent limerick. That's my type
o' gal, exactly.; and we'll get on fine.


Sunday, October 13, 2013


when that voice from twenty years ago
asked as before: “why should we care
about this person, why would we

be moved?” I still couldn't say.

and when my favorite parts of my twenty-year-old
“poems”—the “too-easy” parts—still seemed
the best, and still satisfied me most,

I began to wonder: was this all some mistake?

my enthusiasm immersing me, once more
again beyond my ken? perhaps I was never a “writer”
in the first place; that would explain much; perhaps

my “poems” were simply remarkably lifelike

facsimiles, nothing more, something near,
but not quite, like a life: aping ethics, moral
concern and compassion, enough to fool me

(a mere stylist, not a jot more)

for twenty long years into the thousand... well,
what then shall we call them, if not poems,
then what? I had no answer; still,

I had this; one more, another whatever

you call it. but as to why you should
care at all, or even why I do, if I do,
I still have nothing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Here's The Thing, The Only Thing

Understand it absolutely: I say exactly
what I mean. Moreover, and this requires
the former, but is key:

I mean exactly what I say.

Not more; and no less; especially
nothing fancy. I urge you to the proof.
Here, look. Follow the magnet's glow

to the number of the text: there... 'the unwanted.'

Time, it is written, is a dripping dung wagon, its
teamsters, three fools cheating at runes, so to gain
for themselves the primeval privilege (and honor)

of first-mounting the lead buck of the team

(the team, in this case, being the single spavined goat,
as shown, suggesting it was worth the trouble taken–
damn, you just can't make this shit up)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasta Locka Wack-Wack

is just my pen name. I'm given one
sounding a bit more refined, although

it's nowhere near so sublime. While
I'm on the subject, however, I should

probably say this: I've less reason
to employ a pseudonym, than

a boot-black. Or demolitions expert;
or councilor of romantic liaisons.

I Dealt Blackjack At

the Queen's Table; found my fortune
at her knee. All in all, she was

quite the sport. Slow to anger
when I'd cheat; fairly tolerant

of indiscretion, and almost never
complained when she busted.

Actually a pretty nice girl, just
like the song says. Not my type,

though. I'd sooner your back-stabbing
blonde with a bone in her nose, than

any of them fat-ankled Windsors.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Go Ahead, Ignore Me

I won't even know it; my aim
is pretty well off-trail of

your greasy smear; wide
by a couple of states, I guess,

on a good day. Maybe you
can nevermnd that, but

get this, junior: it's not just
my bright white linens; it's

their threadcount. And,
this woman that I love now;

I mistook her for a Ronnette.
I'm not even joking. Yeah,

she's half my age, and married,
no surprise there...just my type, right?

So it would seem. At least,
we needed no introduction.

She looked up at me several times
as she filled my prescriptions,

and each time, smiled
so very sweetly.

Occupation Nation, Last Word – Once

there was a will to get home that same
day; eventually, complications stretched
long into morrow. This peculiar mix of
right now and maybe never before or again
is giving me the heaves at the jump-cuts.

Nevertheless, and not for standing on
ceremony, we should perhaps cling again
to our naked proclivities, let us depend upon
their stout and loyal service, to once more
comport, just as if real juice throbbed in

their stems again, yet and that still with
a head full with beans, or even somewhat less,
some benighted corpulent, one not even
a legume. oi vey, I would say to that, and
there's a rough mix, matey. a particular bad

end. hey I pay rent here, there's the stripe,
here's my chop, if mayhap you don't like it,
feel free, mon, move right along, I won't
say smartly. I try to be fair. It's not what
I'd call an overriding concern, just a cobbed-up

thing to aim at, a target, like beets in a basket,
high atop a pole suggesting, somehow, we are
getting there; that this is the bridge to the
payout, trail to where the air begins to pound,
announcing a space-occupying presence, bearing,

of course, the resident's key and brim-full the vial
of incipient, or is that eminent, liquor of drama.
live virus, jack, wafting up from that thin-tubed
neck to nowhere, its own dreams, complex concoctions
never-laden with concerns such as space and

where does one, so to say, actually, huddle,
hunker down, live, that is, you know, like, hang?
Wouldn't most of that more likely be conducted
just beneath one's hat, or lacking that, more
exactly then, reside right between one's ears?

and that then far more I risk than any simply-
surrounding construction, so seen as more likely
and more properly fit to transport the man, indeed,
the king of kings, the all-seeing eye of the lord?
not less. well, these questions are not so easily

assayed. There's the ayes and the nays, and
let's never forget to lift up sore thanks for our
pensive contemplatives. still, we admit, it exceeds
even the inevitable, we're professionals,
we can feign surprise; it is, after all, even at the

lowest stripe of least, quite incredible, and never
the least bit less than it; year upon year we fail so
at failing, getting nowhere, and not in any time soon,
a sustainable pace, and level of maintenance. and
if the strap starts to slip, then, still,

we keep coming, arriving, bearing the meat.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I Read In A Quiet Voice

too quick for reflection, a mere flit-speed
dead flush to and skewed exactly zero from
really aligned with that crazy mixed-up coconut
Lucy, before Carmine's spinning butterfly toes
sank any chance never had by one such as me --
poet-recluse, bard of the meantime, till we get there.

There being where being there alone
expects light-piercing literal dashes to
do just what primordial dashes do best,
and leave space for a mark, again, like me;
taken at short odds, and spilled long:
how many, remember now, is it ... nine?

No, no, seven, seven cherries make the rack.
And the man (not that one), is he forged first in
profile's brief suggestion of image? or faulted, first
for leaving, then for going (not quite the same);
and only lastly, for the brief wanting of
more than they were near aligned to. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Chalice Of Chastity

would not be obtainable from
the far side of too far, too soon;

long before the milk-weed stick had
gummed up the gears of evening,

I was marked for disposal.

 A black sash banded my proclivities
from disclosure before my public;

and this, well before
the nation’s were beaten to callus.

If not for beginning in dark, without
number or name, with my

thousand ears and eyes,
I could have been a contender,

if not the champ.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wendell Went Whilking With

not a whole lot; he was forced to
rely on his instincts. Wherever he went

they just let him be, and he developed
a discriminating theory; this was it,

simply put: man was food for the moon.

I put myself to severe and stress-
ful tests on every continent

to avoid that bitter end; every
bush tramp, every pole climb, writ

bold cursive sweeps denying it. I think,
at some point, I shit in my hat.

Besides that, I was badly beaten;
I didn’t speak the language.

Oh Joy, A Master In The Mustard

prepare not for pitiful squeals, nor a turning
from where dark's being born; enter in. this is

your house. asylum to your abused, disowned
below decks, repository of all you’ve been

insulted, cheated, and shamed. don't be
drawn off; the vim steaming 'round the hole

is just memory, wavering; plunge in with
hand outstretched. draw them forth.

the pitiful hides of your cast-off lie deep in
forgotten cells only you can turnkey.

I Determined To Write

a poem of some significance, one whose
politics would be clear, and unforgiving;

its event would foretend a millennial dawn
of uplift to our spirits, a certain sanguinity

to lubricate our joints; high time and
no more than we deserve.

It Gives Me Shivers To Contemplate

just where I’ve been. I’ve been down
the sluice hole this time, looking back

is a hell of a view, a ribbon of ghostly
holograms, stretching back where

the man is like unto a god. And as dim,
you can see that plain by the edge in his eye,

by the way the jiggering’s got its fist
around him; look, when folks drift away,

it’s like smoke, they’re gone.

A Room With Bay Window

overlooking… a bay, why not, it could happen.
The man thought some perspective might let
a little air into his life, a metaphor rolling in off

that bay, let’s say, where every morning before dawn,
you could see him, out there in the dark, doing his tai chi,
slipping his slippered feet along the grafitti-smacked

retaining wall that supposedly held the dunes in place
from advancing into and over the parking lot
of the yogurt shop, where my girlfriend worked.

But, at dawn, likely as not,  she would be out there,
seated in the sand, transfixed, so to say, rapt, among
the beer cans and the twisted cigarette packs, each

of which held, supposedly, the sum of all the past lives
of any one of an extended and spirited panoply of
distinguished beach personages that at some point had

favored the town. These fondly recalled gentlemen
were not watermen, and far from it, what is celebrated
so fervently about each of them by their acolytes,

is the selfsame glue that held them together;
it’s also the one thing that they all held in common,
and it’s nearly a lost art now, just can’t be done:

they knew how to survive in a beach town, they knew
how you have to prioritize staying warm from the first
moment of waking, to accomplish it on the cheap.

Underneath the scoreboard, the summer split
the sky with lightning, skipping fingernails across
the jumping tight, white drums of our stomachs;

steady met ready; and the night burned it into our brains.
I can still see its phosphor fog spilling over the
exposed roots of the elms; the moon-shocked

shadows inked the night from mid-thigh. Once we’d
cleared away the piles of shed bark before the opening,
we quickened at our work: you could feel it; it was warm.

Commitment To A Cause

in the face of all that defiles it;
sticking. when it’s easy to run.

these are learned painfully,
by shortfall. harder still,
is giving in, in the right time.

bricked into his skull was
the secret to surviving,
which died with him.


his wife, strictly
speaking, was not
even a Hun; but
she definitely
wore the pants
in that family.


prostrate, insensate, from
the very ditch of
our despond,
doth God emerge
draped in wildflower.

Ancient Isolations

have the power, still,
to undermine all I aspire to

join in my bonding of
roughage to silk; of

skin to anatomical specialties
whose strictly clinical

names seem derived from
another language entirely;

one of clicks and hushed
vowel extensions, and

hisses that can
barely be heard.

Any Time At All

just call. I'll be there.

Well, the night was just about gone, hope
of sleep, far from fond, was digging
screws into my neck;

over the dogged uneven
churn of the air conditioner
came the penetrating oscillation

of the landline; the surprise of it
sending a shriek through my guts;
I was helpless. but when I said

 hello, I know I sounded
exactly normal. You said:

What's wrong with you?


is the font to use, surely, if you’re never
going away; if the one thing that can be counted upon,
above all others, is you’ll do what you say you will.

I’ve failed that responsibility recently,
and voluntarily, yet not yet faced up to
the consequence. Perhaps changing

my font to one seeming less durable,
one a bit less dependably concrete, might
ease my queasy escape of what’s expected

into the vague outlines of an undefined ephemera.
The consequent reassessment and likely downgrade
of permissions, I can handle on my own, but

the near-certain pejorative retitlement ensuing,
might just as well be assisted by an active association
with a expressive personal font, one whose

name is suggestive of something to approximate
the exhaustive compendium of virtue assembled by
a working diagnostic synthesis of the very qualities

I have proven I lack; but, in any case, its name
shouldn’t seem as if descriptive of valuations of
character, or indicative of traits whose

deficits could seem attributable to me, or that, unjustifiably,
I might be expected to exhibit: Blackadder ITC, say,
on the one hand, while yet, admittedly, with

Wingdings all over the other.

If I Could Be Allowed

a suggestion:
1) Consign nuance to his story; and them, to the dustbin.
2) with alacrity, assuredly, but mercy not, in all cases, it says:
this is the instruction, and it appears to be emphasized:
diminish the bold; that’s all it says.
Is there a footnote?
3) WHAT: The following is advised
WHO: for personnel associated with regulation and general suppression.
WHY: It is advised: prior mandates are by this notice dissolved.
MORE: Further, each collection of objects surveilled MUST be
thoroughly skimmed for every possible sort of spike, and those flagged,
ejected with prejudice, measure taken, urine assayed.
4) Results are transmitted by a cooperative patch of private resources fed
into the common trunk where the steadily maintained negative valence
generated by the ion vacuum reverses the worst effects of the thing run amok.
We can’t provide a cure, only keep it alive by packing its
principal anal orifice with mega-ton quick-release
euro-credit platinum members-only natural lambskin relaxed-fit
suppositories of ever-increasing value; we punch the numbers,
each hour, on the hour, every day.

I've Gone Long

selling short, and come near, earning no cigar,
nor noteworthy distinction so far. I’m hanging on
while Earth reconnoiters its priorities; I expect to
be riding the ascendant. The coming thing,
the emergent zeitgeist bears my name,
and will issue in unlimited edition. Thus
will my will extrude concrete product from
bare proof, in outline; all else will
hereforward be cloned. It’s a neat trick,
generally reliable; when it works, it works
like a dog. My alleged to be notable deficit
of charm will be experienced strictly
in the short term, and confined exclusively to
those within reach; an exactingly calculated
compensation for their sacrifice is intended
to be forthcoming, distributed by eventual funerary award
of my literary and artistic estate, apportioned
to each according to a ratio obtained
by placing the greater, from between
what suffering attends me, generally, and
what’s been attributed, heretofore, as pursuant
to maintaining a particular relation – ours,
for example – over, that which, certifiably,
I’ve brought to it, that is, what I’ve administered,
personally, to you. If the comparative value obtained
expresses a number less than one, then, surely,
your trials on my behalf have been legion,
and you will be compensated sufficiently
to countermand the persistence of memory.
If, on the other hand, the ratio expresses
a number greater than one, then you were
obviously pre-selected for special treatment, and
you owe me for my forbearance.

Restored To My Former Glory

but in wax, I stood there day beyond day. Finally,
a visitor to the Shrine of the Compounded Dole
approached me about serving an internship to

My Sublime Vacancy, a title, which
acknowledges right there
an aptitude for the position.

We got on well, and formed a little village out of
the backs of the chairs of any heads of state
that pushed their way into the troughs;

We elected officials and raised taxes
as they crouched there. If they’d been keen,
at some point, it passed.


their wings beat
a familiar tattoo; saying,
wake up, arise, be unto all;

no time but the present;
the gift to each is given;
who will seize its tether;

who will bring us home?

It's Not A fact

I admit to. It’s not a lie
I can claim. Less than was
intended, we may be sure,
amounted, nor was
even envisioned.

Generally, he laid
like a lord among
his credits, stillborn;
a-flutter to their
knowing touch.

It Has Been Suggested

what I should do with it; where my
wild esprit ought best be stuck:
in darkness, and with conspicuous
emphasis, it’s decided.

Streaming one’s name out and entirely
beyond one’s boot toes, or nearly,
onto a first days’ snow, is a neat trick
native only

to the sapiens of genus homo
(the more bucolic specie just let it
drag in the dirt); and I don’t doubt,
is restricted

further among those folks, by gender
(to the male). But, benighted, suchwise,
bedazzled, bemused: lazily rounding
a vowel curve

to contemplate the void, or shimming
a consonant’s corner with a cubit hewn
of the central-most realm of
the densely packed,

one tremors the joy right up out
of the earth (technically, it’s a tuber,
I think). Say it loud; say it proud;
say, Oi!

Dreadnought: Rip Coil With

perforation while assisting a uniformly maintained
lateral extension along the proscribed, subtended axis;
this tension will be deployed, “out over,” and with
“respect to” and “conjunct with” the charged vector-field;

and will be expressed in terms of the accumulating tau-syncopation,
which data will be found bristling among the various tremoring
avioli that have so far been indentified as endemic to, and
exemplifying succinctly, our particularly impenetrable,

and shapely armada; beloved cork-tight tub bounding
over the main:

These wide banks of 12-inch thick forged black plate where
the cilia of our member sets’ are “scaled,” so to speak, of
their influential tympani, prior to a scathing pre-registration
as pre-application for temporary license to submit to

this committee such exemption of penetrating
survey as might be seen and shown as: fit to apply, and
further, a certain pertinence may be evidenced to attend
this view, as if manifest of a distinct élan, such even might

veer hereward, toward expedient.

No One Will Interact With Me

so I have to hunt them down on
the street and start some shit just
to have a little human connection.
Possibly, that is; it’s a theory. I have
seen myself, in retrospect, do worse.
It’s cutting the duration of that obfuscate
failure-to-correctly-surmise, as and until
it becomes retrospect, there’s the rub.
Periods of stupidity, defined as I am
not aware of what I do and/or why, of
diminishing duration then are lauded
as insight, or rather, coming to
a sudden sensibility of any sort at all,
seems wonderfully perceptive, with its
lightning flash of full-mind understanding;
no slow dawning, this, no, just dumb straight
through till the truth finally rattles all the way down,
and into the cup, with its little knock, and I get it,
full as much and as did Newton or Archimedes,
but all I’ve done is: stop, temporarily, being stupid.
It must seem odd to polish one’s shingle
by giving the lie to one’s own alleged intelligence.
But I’m not polishing my shingle, just cleaning
the worst of the gunk away to peer through.
And this way, it’s better this way, now it’s out there,
I won’t ever be unmasked as a fraud.
I’m ratting myself out, before that happens.
I’m demonstrating also that I thought of this,
of all people, first, that while it’s true that
I’ve been stupid and I’ve just woken up to it,
at least I did wake up to it; I didn’t need
someone like me to come along to shake me
awake. At least I was that smart. I mean,
least stupid, I mean, like, the awakened one.
Plus, and including, also, as well, the fact that:
honesty’s a virtue, too; especially the self-
abnegating kind, you know, like mine.

Black Elk Speaks

Inserting yourself
deep inside your
own rectum,

meditate on this
until you are


I Am Immortal

might as well admit it. Nobody
gets out of here without the

rest of us. Which means
we’re looking at a long

fucking haul. This train
goes so slow it got caught

by the century. The new
millennium is a fresh start.

If you believe that, then
you’re dumber than you

look. I know I am.

By Request

you’ve got to honor those.
If you can’t sing for your supper,
better just keep it zipped.

If, on the other hand,
the neglected hand, even
the most important thing

feels like a dead man’s finger,
just let it go.


destroyer, eater of souls, ma’am, it’s me, Margaret, I’m seeking a pass.
Come by me with that big ass again. I think I missed its meaning.

When yet again he ministered an escape from custody, there was
blood on the barbs on the wire on the fence that surrounded the

house that crime built, brick-by-brick from quarried stone doomed
before freighting, and carrying its stench before it, befelling

all who came near. The strong cried for their mothers, the weak
just passed into oblivion, then to clay and rough bits that just

won’t mill down, fouling our plans for flour from bone. O' well.
Our bread comes from China. We stand on the workers’ backs

to glimpse home. It’s out there somewhere, possibly, a plan
of some sort, a feel for where this is going. I asked the eight-ball

Sport, give me some juice, he said I can’t say at this time.
Beyond that the neighbors have been troublesome,

starting fires beneath mother’s begonias and lounging about
in various states of undress and general filth;

God save the union.