shepard fairey








gustav dore

our boys

death and burial


Sunday, October 19, 2008

You’re Gonna Miss Me

I was out in the dawn;
you could see
gray cut by pink,
the night’s journey
trailing his limbs;
in his eyes still
stars being born
all unknowing.

An Imbroglio

developed between my
thumb and my finger
marked by Cain.

I’d been distancing myself from my antecedents,
logging miles
before lying down

in fens ne'er found by youth.

Kids of the Black Hole -- Chapter V

[Ed. Another installment for you hardcore fans from our still anonymous submitter. Another scene-setter, Old North End, Burlington, Vermont, the 80s. Make sure to catch Chapter 6 (s0nn-to-be-released) where true love is truly found. (HA!)]

Chapter 5
Dog Days

After Jeffrey moved out of the “Punker Palace” he moved in with another guy we knew named Maddog. Maddog lived in the North End of Burlington which was pretty much redneck central, but the block he lived on was not so bad. It was like an oasis of sanity in a desert filled with lunatics. This house was even worse than the Palace though. The carnage was amazing. It became known as “The Doghouse.” Jeffrey and Maddog lived there for about a year and other random people moved in and out from time to time.

There was one guy who I never saw but I slept in his room one night when he was away. It was a fucking pit. Like an animal’s lair or something. The only bed was a ripped up stained foam mattress and the only pillow had some kind of huge sweat stains all over it. The stench of stale beer was overpowering and it looked as if a few ashtrays had been dumped all over the room. I grudgingly laid my sleeping bag out on the foam and kicked the disgusting pillow and a few beer cans out of my nest.

The next morning I awoke with an ache in my spine and a chicken bone in my hand. I gasped and cast it away in disgust. In the daylight I could see the room clearly. It looked like a gladiator pit.

More chicken bones, some with meat still clinging, lay scattered about the room. Pieces of broken glass winked here and there around the floor which was a sea of ashes, cigarette butts, and beer cans. The carpet was badly stained with brown splotches and there were burn holes all around a two-foot perimeter.
I never met the animal who called that cave his home but I always wondered what sort of guy he was.

The next guy that moved into that room was a real neat freak but he got fucked because Jeffrey and Maddog decided he sucked and wasted no time in making his life a living hell. The guy was called DJ but we called him Dickjam, affectionately, of course.

Dickjam had this really sweet, sexy, innocent girlfriend who he adored. She too was dumb as dirt. They were this perfect little Christian couple. How he ended up living with Jeff and the Dog is beyond me.

One day DJ was out on a date with this girl and Jeffrey and Maddog decided to fix up his room for him while he was out. Just so his girl wouldn’t think that he was a slob or anything. Without remorse they dug into his closet, found his porn mags and pasted the pictures all over the walls with signs that read “fuck me DJ,” and shit like that. Jeff then sprayed whipped cream all over the room and all of DJs belongings, and opened up some condoms, throwing them all over the floor.

“We don’t want her to think he’s unsafe,” he explained.

DJ moved out that night without a word.

The chaos went on like that for awhile. I was never surprised to walk into the living room and find myself in the middle of a fist fight, or a penny fight, or worst of all… a peanut butter fight. I was equally unphased when Jeffrey would stagger out of his room in his boxers in the middle of the night to piss in the trashcan. All this was when Jeffrey and Maddog were binge drinking. After awhile they got hooked on coke and the vibe of the “Doghouse” changed considerably.

After that the place stayed in decent shape, probably due to the fact that they were so coked up and wired that they would constantly run around the house like little freaks, cleaning here and rearranging there. More often than not the place was spotless.

Jeffrey and Maddog were both pretty small guys and after awhile the coke was really withering them away. Maddog couldn’t have weighed more than 120 pounds and Jeffrey wasn’t far behind him. Jeffrey grew thinner and more wasted looking with every line that went up his nose. It was pretty sick to watch.

I didn’t usually take part in those days. I didn’t like to feel that wired and uncomfortable all the time. Sometimes I would do a line or two but for the most part getting drunk and breaking bottles seemed like more fun to me than pacing around worrying about how to get more coke or peering out the crack in the curtains wondering if the cops were coming. It was not a very comfortable scene for me.

Completely sober, Jeffrey was a lunatic whose conversation could wear a hole in your brain; on drugs he was almost impossible. He talked like a fucking psychopath, which he legitimately was, and scared away a lot of the new kids who were trying to get in on the hardcore scene. It was a rough time but it was good to have somewhere warm to stay when I came to Burlington, and good to have somewhere to hang out with Jen when she was around.

After awhile Jeffrey’s father Peter moved into the empty room, which was both good and bad. Good, because he was there to help scrape Jeffrey off the walls all the time, and bad because there was no more empty room for Jen and I to take over.

Peter was a pretty mellow, easygoing guy. He was an old hippy type who looked like he had eaten more than his share of LSD over the years. He spoke slowly in dry tones, driving the conversation in round-about turns and endless loops until at last he would arrive at some long foreseen conclusion. Talking to him could be nearly as torturous as talking to Jeff, but he was easier to ignore. He was generally a nice guy, though, and he would have done anything for Jeffrey.

He didn’t like Jeffrey doing coke at all, but he was helpless to stop it, even though it was right under his nose, so to speak. He was a bit of a willow and to some degree he was terrified of Jeffrey. Terrified of his own son. Jeff had so much anger inside him and so much self-loathing hostility teeming through his very existence that Peter could only watch as he destroyed himself. How do you protect someone possessed of so much rage and so bent on self destruction? Peter was no more able to protect him from himself then he was able to protect him from his abusive stepfather. He could only be there to pick up the pieces and try to minimize the damage.

Eventually Jeff did kick the coke habit, but not because of his dad. It had more to do with this girl Kate who was a friend of Jen’s. Jen had brought her over a few times and Jeff had quickly become enamored with her. He poured his attention all over her thicker than molasses and before long they were a dating.

Jeffrey was happy then for a little while and was a lot more fun to be around. He gave up the coke without any hassle and even cut down on his drinking, which was always his worst problem. I remembered then that he was actually a really fun person to be around and that there was a reason that we were friends. Of course it didn’t last long.

Eventually Jeff scared Kate away with his insanity. He was just too intense for anyone to handle for very long. He had a habit of proposing to every girl he dated, which tended to freak them out. He had no doubt gotten angry when she refused, angry at her and angry at himself, angry at the world and angry at his friends. He got like that a lot. It was always ugly, and sometimes dangerous, although the danger was mostly to himself rather than to anyone else.

Naturally Jeffrey was hurt by Kate leaving him but he managed to control himself for a couple of days. Then one night we all got drunk and he quickly slipped back into psychopath mode like he always did when he was drunk.

He then proceeded to call Kate over and over again for the next few days. His calls went unanswered and he was forced to plead his case to an answering machine. He became increasingly hysterical with each call and his messages grew angrier and more threatening, but most of all, more ridiculous. I wished she would answer. I was sick of hearing the senseless bitching that anyway was meant for her.

For hours Jeffrey would carry on about the evils of women and their horrible ways. According to him Kate’s transgressions were worse than all the other “witches” who had wronged him in the past. His ramblings were insanity, but it was pointless to argue with him. It only angered him. It was also totally senseless to listen. It could make your head explode. All that I could do was sink into the couch, pretend to be asleep, and hope he wore himself out or got tired of talking to a corpse.

Jeffrey’s voice seemed to fade into the background at last as I sunk into his couch and closed my eyes to the wreckage around me. It seemed like he had been talking without pause for hours. At last I managed to phase out his words until they were nothing more than a swaying, rhythmic chatter that nagged at the back of my consciousness. My mind roamed towards that area of deep thought that is the level just above sleep. Thoughtless thought, the beginning of dreams. I had almost achieved unconsciousness when he got to a point in his ramblings where he needed a confirmation.

“Right?” he snapped. “Isn’t that right?”

“You know it’s true,” he said.

I knew he would persist until I answered him. I simply had to agree and then he would continue on with his rant.

“Of course,” I groaned, and he was off again.

Again I had almost claimed my sleep, when I was rudely dragged back into reality. But it had not been Jeffrey that had awakened me this time. To my amazement he sat silently beside me. It had been a knock at the door. Jeffrey and I were both caught off guard and immediately alarmed. Not because it was three AM on a Sunday night, and what drunkard would be banging at that hour, but because it was clearly a cop knock. You know the one. Seven loud, hard knocks, not too fast, not too slow, evenly spaced and then repeated. It was more than unnerving.

I knew immediately that I had to open it. Jeffrey was trashed and was an expert at getting himself arrested. I had seen him rollerblade down a flight of stairs into a bunch of cops who were coming to bust his party once. It was ugly. The knock came again, louder this time. Two dark shapes could be seen through the door window, hunched and looming at the door. I slowly made my way to the door, my mind buzzing into action at last, trying to figure out what I would say to the police, not having any idea what they wanted.

Slowly I opened the door just a foot and peered out at the visitors. It was not the cops at all. Two strangers stood in the doorway, dressed in long jackets and gloves despite the fact that it was summer. One, an older man maybe in his fifties stepped forward and forced the door out of my grasp sending it flying open. The other, a short, stocky, somewhat younger man followed behind him as he forced his way inside the house.

“Are you Jeffrey?” the older guy asked.

“No.” I replied, still dazed from my near slumber, and slightly confused. Before I could say another word, Jeffrey staggered into the room and started towards us.

“I am,” he announced loudly, kicking some cans out of the way. “Who the fuck are you?” he added, softer now, and followed it up with a sickening belch.

“I’m Kate’s father,” the man replied calmly, but with a look in his eye, that bordered on murderous. He then withdrew a large, black handgun from within his jacket, and aimed it at Jeffrey’s face. The other guy opened his coat to reveal a long shotgun, which he brandished warningly at me and at Maddog who had just emerged from his room in only his boxer shorts.

Jeffrey was stunned. I was terrified now because I knew that Jeffrey was capable of reacting in a variety of ways here, many of which were likely to get him killed. I could see him begging and pleading for mercy and kissing the guys asses, or curling up in a little ball and babbling insanities. I could also see him getting angry and talking a lot of shit to them, oblivious to the fact that he could be ending his own life. As it was he did nothing. I was relieved.

Kate’s dad was obviously pissed off and clearly a rough customer. I had heard that he was a bit of a hillbilly but this was out of control. He seized Jeffrey by his throat and shoved the barrel of the gun in his mouth. Jeff’s face began to turn red as he squeezed.

“Stay away from my daughter.” He instructed calmly and slowly. “If you ever speak to my daughter again, or ever call my house again I will remove you from the planet.”

“Do you hear me you punk piece of shit?” He was now loud and angry. “I’ll blow your scumbag head off….understand.”

“Yes sir,” Jeff slurred out with the gun still in his mouth.

Kate’s dad withdrew the gun from Jeffrey’s mouth at last, and struck him, one solid blow across the face. Jeff reeled from the impact staggering back against the refrigerator. Again his assailant lashed out, striking him in the temple with the handle of the weapon. Jeffrey crumpled into a heap on the kitchen floor, bleeding from the mouth and head. He didn’t move.

“Scumbags,” sneered Kate’s father as he turned and stalked out the door leaving us shaken and confused. His henchman followed, casting us one last menacing glare as he exited. I lifted Jeffrey onto the couch and set to work cleaning him up. I had long ago lost count of how many nights had ended like this.

Jen was kind of freaked out by the whole incident, even though she had not been there. She didn’t feel comfortable hanging out at the Doghouse after that because of her friendship with Kate, and so I didn’t go over much either. It was probably safer that way anyway.

Being around Jeffrey meant placing yourself in an uncertain, and possibly dangerous situations. He created conflict as the rule, not the exception, and drew trouble to himself with his self-destructive nature. When you were around him anything could happen and it usually did. He was hell to be around when he was on a bender and it wasn’t hard to tell that that was where he was heading. I didn’t want to be around to see it, so for awhile I retreated to my mother’s house in Rochester. Jen came down almost every weekend and we just hung out together and kind of went into hibernation mode. It was a nice time for awhile, but it’s hard to make a good thing last.

I Can Face The Page

white devil, now it
peers from its black hole
blinking at our brittle goodness
how it slips from our fingers
with an ease
it hates

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


to his family:

I expected to be talking to you, probably this weekend, but Brion’s email had your email 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 remembrances 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. He was more man than 5 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. He always looked after me (with a sharp eye on my utility, of course, but still . . .) and I owe my one decade of solvency this lifetime directly to that nurturing.

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 intention. But there was no avoiding him. And that’s been my good fortune; it’s added dimension, substance, and excitement to my own 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 their children’s children, for all time to come. Let us not 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) that took us in when we were uprooted, fed us, clothed us, opened our exceedingly provincial (if willing) minds, and grew 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, a full third perhaps of life remaining--or not. How quick the end can come. To any. And none can lay claim to breath by their own rights or abilities. We stand perhaps because we’ve not yet given full measure. William did. Every damn day. He was my friend, the leader this good soldier needed, and always a fount of a fun that charted the outrageous deep into the beyond.

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


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lost Crisis Theater Calling

just to check in; I wanted to say
that this wasn’t what I was expecting;
not the quiff off the quim, the veriest, not
the one told enwombed, not the shelliest parade
for the stage; not the milk-boned, nor the putty-minded,
neither held him sway. His obliquitards alone
set myths to Sysphistean tears. Her need turned
his mind to jelly.

I’ll Publish Any Swill

I can come up with,
mostly; I been around the horn
ensqualled. And was there man who
d’in look ill on is kin during the poison?

If so, send him round, we’ll cure his fuzz
slapped on backs of charging rhinoceri,
In case you’re thinking Dr. Seuss dropped by,
think again.

Having Said That

I should speak in favor of my judicial mien, may it serve me
in court. I failed to file an answer to Citigroup’s up-close and local
barristers; now we’ll sight its machine, going under. O well, as I’ve
said before, those shitheads are their own reward.

Not to be uncharitable, however, I can say with an utterly unchallenged
conviction, these people suck! Anyway, my scene is cream-where-found,
and any the sea throws back in our faces. The shaleen that brought
the Navy down, was a local lass already famed for her name.

And did they bring the gibbet down on our aging necks and
our heads rolled down the Thruway, which was no longer closed,
choked in traffic and smoke, a faint guitar sound whipping up in the wind.

I’ve Been Shitting

on the high wire, too far gone for one to see,
lately, my fantasy life’s
bit into chains. Le Ordre d’Compose ain’t calling.

Well, I never wanted to set it out before which. I’m a flexible man
in a storm. Give me the unexpected, these horrors
won’t do. Which where I’ve got nowhere yet over in over

sixty years; and that life was the cream. I mean
the mental life; the one says you feel this, now here’s this,
now you feel that. And I do, I’m sorry to say

I’m a worthless, crawling motherfucker.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Be The Best

is all that’s asked. Was you wanting
elsewise, like, to flatten our potential?
I hope that would be not, for
I am compelled by law to
warn you,

these fucking eyes have seen.

dither, dot, damn;

O well. Who cared
if hope were silly?

Bad Tech City

I been there
is why
I know glory
My boss
she better
than you
too. But who alive

don’t love to come alive.
A major live
wire she are.

I Lost My Pajamas

in the changeover to these days of end; I asked kin to care.
Or anyone. Beyond Their Noses is uncharted. Beyond mine
stands nothing. I’ll die before a smoking bier or near,
I pray it has some fucking drama!

It's Very Funny

for sure, and I'm not joking. Whether me or
we no diff'rence; long run no lie.
What was wondering was I,
if a trust had developed,
with which I could
forego an advantage;
not one to gain,
and neither given to gin,
I'm must shamed to
even show.

Less Is More

boy is this a tough one for me, since I have this attachment,
apparently, to inelegance, not that I’m not a sophisticated
appreciator of its converse. And, even though nothing satisfies like
trim, I just want to show offf.

It’s fucking sick, if you ask me.

Out On The Yard

I’d crawled between the posts
into a wonderland. If it weren’t
I’m flammed. What I am, ma’am
is headed toward an end of
my time at least, if not yours. God
aren’t an enddays sunset dam best

I’m Not Sure But What I’m Not

outgrowing this art, but I sure brim over after a while
without. Such nice lines you have,
now. I remember when you barely filled
a dusty hogshead abeam a jouncing mule.
I guess I know ya.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In The Well

was found a rake, among others,
less reputable, well, they bore his stamp.

Let none say less, nor claim,
that the motion across its tines,

has anything to do with our writhings
for my part, I’m not buying.

Wait, there’s more. If for one solitary second
I gave the impression of repentance,

I so repent.

I Was Feeling Topical

beneath such a moon, one thinks, I haven’t seen them all?
Which despite my glaring, uncowed the dish still went off
with the new guy. After a while, you develop a hide.

You were lucky to be there. They scaled upwards
first from three-story behemoths to skyscrapers, then
lept into air; and not looking back, nor less leaving a mark.

Years before and during which, I scouted your ass,
full-believing I'd go down beside you, here-inwards,
that this we could say.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Joan Dark

was crazy for only me, which naturally made me
especially partial to her ass. C’est l’a’fucking vie!

My Third Eye

wasn’t communicating with the other two, but I’d not given in
to despair; all I could say would come true, no doubt; I wouldn’t wish.

It ain’t I.

I Was Well Set Up

for such a piker. Who could care for coin when
all is so rife for no reason but nature, not nurture,
for sure, I couldn’t raise a cub in a cave, but I might
groove their minds now and again with the best of what
it's all got going. O well, shut of that, I don’t know.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Was Mining My Own Arm

for content, is how bad it was, in ‘99
they said how it was coming. Well,

I ain’t saying nothing or nothing
but the pulse may be quickening.

I Was Whip-Sawing

all over the fucking place, so to speak. My girl was gone.
I don’t come close, it appears. Everything turns out bad.

I don’t care. Nobody ever loved me the way she did.
That was important. For this life.


[Fiends: Here's where our great and mostly unknown scribe begins to hit his stride. Ah love! If you wrote this, please contact me!]


Everything seemed so much easier to me when I was a teenager. There weren't so many painful memories to drag me down all the time. Memories of ex-girlfriends, lovers, and old friends long gone. Back then there was not so much to regret. Somewhere along the line I went through a long string of tragic and heartbreaking relationships that really tore down my spirit, and gradually dismantled my faith. I guess I have had shitty luck with love. Or maybe I should say I have had incredible luck with love. I guess I’ve had my share of both.

The first time you get your heart broken must be the hardest. It takes the longest time to get over it, and you never really understand what happened until years later. It hurts so bad at first that you can’t even stand to think. It gets easier after you go through it again and again. You start to get used to it. You expect it. It makes you stronger. The ghosts of old lovers are quickly chased away by a fresh romance with a bright, shiny, new girl.

But then there are those that you can never truly forget. The ones that leave a mark on your soul and an emptiness in your heart when they are gone, and there is never any doubt that your world is a worse place without the light that they bring. They are few and far between but the endless memories are always a source of pain to me and an everlasting reminder of my failures.

Jen was my first girlfriend, I guess. I’d had sex with a couple girls before her but she was my first real girlfriend. The first girl I was ever in love with. At least I thought I was in love with her. Perhaps it was just a crush but she seemed to feel the same way and we quickly became companions.

Jen was sixteen when I met her and was very sweet and innocent. She had had sex once before but I guess it wasn’t really a good experience. We dated for about four months before we finally did it. We slept in the same bed together numerous times during those months and she always slept in her clothes, blue jeans and all. Occasionally she would let me take off her shirt and play with her breasts, but that was it. It was unbearably agonizing, but in an irresistible way.

When I finally convinced her to part with her precious jeans the triumph was sweet. Her skin felt amazingly cool and soft against mine. She protested as I removed her panties but before long I was inside her and she was writhing in my arms. Her body radiated intense warmth that came from beneath her smooth, cool skin and the smell of her hair was intoxicating. I could feel her eyes looking into mine but it was too dark to really see them. I wanted to turn the lights on so I could see her beautiful face and lovely figure but she would not allow it.

I remember watching her sleep as the sun finally crept into the sky. Her pale skin shined in the morning light and her face wore a joyful expression, even in slumber. Her breasts heaved as she breathed and occasionally she let out a little sigh and curled herself around me. I think that was the first really good sex that I had ever had, and I think it was for her too.

The attraction was not all sexual though. Jen’s whole character impressed me from the very start. She had me charmed the first time I ever heard her speak. She seemed very wholesome and innocent and yet she possessed this deadly wit that forged her every thought into an incisive, potentially volatile, comment. Her sense of humor was brutal and uncompromising but somehow everything she said ended up sounding cute. It was hard not to love her. All of my friends seemed charmed by her as well, which ended up being a small problem.

Jeffrey and Rod both developed crushes on her and, when it became known that we were a couple, they banned her from the “Punker Palace,” where they lived and we all hung out. It sucked for awhile and she felt hurt because she considered them both to be friends. Eventually they missed us so much that they decided to lift the Jennifer ban. It was all just foolish games really, but I didn’t care and neither did she. We were both just thrilled to be together.

When I think about her now it seems funny to think how in love with her I was. I had no idea what love was but I felt as though I would die without her. In a way she prepared me for what was to come in my life. She taught me that love was both beautiful and tragic, and that the world was both wonderful and cruel.

Friday, April 4, 2008


Of all the bad debt I've allowed unscrupulous confederations to usurp from my soul, the very quality of my minutes, of which my life, like yours, is made--of all the high faluting bottom-feeders that lacking sufficient prey to satisfy a paticular unmitigated gluttony could turn a nevertheless quite neglectful eye on me, and . . . and why, why neglectful? Why, indeed, if pure profit were its wont? Think on it; from where comes the bully. It is troublesome to struggle, well we know, and Citigroup, yes, grown fat on the unrelentingly feral appetites of its minions, fed through greed, nothing but, grows lazy and imprecise in its titantic inertia towards crushing, because it's easiest, the weak and dispossessed--yes, of all the greasy capitalist, scum-bag units to conglomerate in this piss-forsaken age, Citigroup is the absolute tits! (that's for gauche, folks, in this case)

So to come home from my 2-hr. commute, to enter the reality of my failure to succeed on no terms near my own, to come home to the place where there is no getting away from, to enter that space facing taped to one's door a not uncertain summons to report before the court to be sued, was not welcome.

I want to be fair to my alleged creditor, Citigroup. It is alleged that I profited, at their expense, to the sum of twelve thousand and change. So say their agents. Citigroup has chosen long before not to be here with you in this courtroom today. Nor with me. Long ago, years we're talking, they sold my debt to commission-sharks of lower tier than themselves; these to do the actual work of hounding their less legally fortunate brethren for their long-gone last dime. It's all so tidy this way. Let the hungry eat the starving.

Actually, those they sold it to were also too special to actually do any work. These second-tier bottom-feeders sold my actually-now growing bad debt to even lower-rent smaller sharks, piranhas perhaps.

I know not what sort of cetaecean, what agent, stalks me this day. But I know surely by the passage of long, hard years that they must lie low along the food chain. But they are, thereby--think on it--worthy of so much more respect than Citigroup, the mere persistence of greed matched to inbreed. Fucking queens.

Anyway, my sympathies lie strongly with the firm lined here opposite the bar from me this day. We slog it out here where life lives. Meanwhile, Citigroup, Country-Wide, Bear Stearns, Merrill, have gone hustling for more easy free money. Talentless pigs! They produce nothing! At least my adversaries here have skin in the game. You see them before you. They are here today, at this moment, as are we. And what happens here today is our life, together. And at least we stood toe-to-toe.

I have nothing but contempt for Citigroup. Fat and lazy, never lean, yet always mean. A Jabba the Hutt sort of outfit. We will show here today that we are all victims, clear victims, of Citigroup--of the depradations in general of a privileged few cut from the backs of the hopeful compliant, us, folks, in a word, compliant at least till they beat down the door. Citigroup calling. Your umbrella protection. Secure in an uncertain world. A division of WorldCashandCounting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Million-Dollar Love

youth, it’s too late, it can’t be restored. O fucking well;
seriously, wasting bandwidth is a disappearing indulgence,
all hail the people’s army!

Spring Is Sprung

Norman’s brother’s bones smeared through the sumac,
my gristled heart, barely pumping, not mostly for you,
filling with muddy, boots wet since March.

Who Could Ask For More

was my middle name despite my distinguished surname.
Anyway, the refinement of the gross by refinement
takes a while.

I Was A’Cross Paddington Square

the things they name gals these days. Anytime, I can let this go.
O well, it wasn’t Parm Lament, or even bloody congress, still,
memorable, one wants to say, and that you deserve someone
more selfless. Which unfortunate fuckers are all over the place, so
as they say in the UK (I’m told) . . .
O never mind.

Don’t Ask Me

existential questions. I don’t share that shit.
Your move, always. Not mine. I crawled to daylight
and lifting to the breeze headed in again,
which was where you found me, lamenting
nothing and none.

I Shouldn’t Lose Sight Of The Prize

making it to the box, in time to go out high.
A man needs a goal in this world. That’s mine.
It’s dismaying actually, how long it lasts, how
much breaks down, so slowly. Where were you
when I was pulling down a yard an hour?
Wearing thin, that’s where.

I Should Do Something For Art

it’s hard to get motivated. My former girlfriend thinks
I need to get serious about examining my issues, as if
they weren’t facing front. Neither got no claim on

my ass.

My Sovereign

my pillow
my darkness

your touch fades where
new skin is thinking to come in

but doesn’t trust me
and who could

blame me

I Could Be A Hero

or a sap. It took some thinking but
in time I caught myself before
anyone knew. I’d slipped and fallen a ways
but my fingers reaching for what
they knew now was there
barely grazed and I was
pushing back toward the light.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I Wasn’t One To

drag my dick in it. I wasn’t greedy, having spent
mine and all my friends many times over,
having died all those times for true. Still, what to do
was what was breaking across everyone’s coffee and
would they ask? Apparently not. I mean Bill Clinton,
give me a break. It’s a good thing I’m hiding my light.

I might still run if my supporters want to make it happen.

Gray Days On The Mountain

all was sway. Quiet like. He creeped (you couldn’t nail it tighter)
past his earlier errors as they whipsawed for him, like always, but
like a hero in a comic book he side-stepped their metal coils
without breaking syllable.

Go ahead on. Sheesh. Maaaan! You is not the most! Sire, daddy tell me
true, motherfuck, good by the gun, is you the keen one I heard
was coming? I was. I could hardly keep myself in my seat, so to speak.
O well, say nothing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Training Form

was designated so as to be conducive to an uneasy greasing. That said,
what wisdom it inculcated was dedicated to the flagellants, everyone’s
favorite puke group, well, enjoy yourself. In the Circle of the Ungodly,
your name is in bold, mine in parenthetical italics, O lissome lie-about,
you wench, in short, well, go ahead.

Monday, March 10, 2008

When The Drugs Run Out

what else is there to say? O well. At least I’ve had practice.
Lots. I know how to crawl the walls, I know how to shit yourself
in a dream too real to keep waking to. O fucking well.

Double Templetons For All

looked like. I can’t say I wasn’t ready. High time, ask me.
Anyway, aside of the wheedling, it’s hardly a living. I’m going
under sure as thunder in a warming environment.

I loved the golden age but, at the root, I’m a fanatico
d' interesting times.

Small Potatoes

little rhymes. I was in the market, I was there.
When the sheets of flame encompassed our delicacies,
we hid. It was too much. Later, we turned from the bier
to more for’ard-looking pursuits. It’s a blur again, a whirl, I’m in
a spin, locked-on, in the seat of
being it is.

From Here

I can see where I went skewing, how I bent the meringue
around its lip. I was saying a saxophone here would go well.
But the strings rise brimful, furious birds all of
particular persuasion. Meanwhile, Nell was still tied
to the tracks while Dudley dithered. 2 B Or No,
he muttered 2 no 1. Ordinarily,
I eschew public demonstrations.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Joe Strummer’s Singing Redemption Songs

he doesn’t need them now. Like I do. Give me some now, please.
How it goes was written long ago. I just place my tracks in theirs, leading,
god knows where. I was at the station, waiting for my prescription, ready

to take it all down again. Watch me tear from here
all the way down. It is so written and bloody-worn by
my forebears, men and women of presence and self, people

who entered their lives full-sworn to move it to be
as it should be, and by their own reckoning. And, I, beaten,
bruised, dripping in shame, here I come. Here. Now.

I claim my life.

The Sound Makes Its Way

into me, and I got a few times left in me. I’ve got a few
yet to live. Ordinary one, you own a secret, you
don’t even know. You know nothing of what you think
you see. A diaphanous blocking of shots, marks we’ll hit,
in time. In plenty of time for the party. In time.
In time.

Just Then, He Snapped

back to life. What could he do? There was nowhere to go.
He was finally alone. Impervious to their demands. And didn’t
the world stop then? He didn’t break through.
He faced a wall. His own makings, littered

at his feet, his fool’s mission since time began
slipping between cells, permeating moments into memory’s frieze.
Didn’t the silly world look jolly from the pit?
He could see it now. O, he could see.

There Is A Wall

that’s all. And no way through, no how.
It ends here. None can go further. This sheet
of granite, marbled by my sins, be my mirror,
no more can be done. Alone, I am and cease to be
now, here it ends, no more can be done.
No more. I can’t take any more. Take my hand
reaching back into view, searching for you. I swam
to daylight, fuck that control shit, I just screw it up.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


(Ed.--Here it is, fans and friends and family, the third of seven, lost till now, but utterly true tales of life on the streets in (now it can be told) Burlington, Vermont, deep in the Eighties. Our scribe hasn't surfaced yet, but I'm hoping we draw him in. Till then, friends, gasp in awe.)

KOTBH--Chapter 3: Takes a Licking . . .

Junior was drunk. He was a happy drunk, though. He wasn’t one of those guys who got ruffled up by a few drinks and got angry with the world and you. Nor was he the type that cried in his own drink and moaned away his blues until the sun came up. Junior really was the cheerful drunk.

“Six pack, twelve pack, case of bud. Daylight come and me wanna get drunk.” He sang merrily as he climbed up the long flight of stairs. Nick, David and I trailed behind.

Before long the stairs ended at a darkly painted door. Junior gestured for us to be quiet. We tried. No noise could be heard from beyond the door. All was strangely silent.

“It’s too quiet man,” Junior stated flatly. “Are you sure this is it?” he added, turning to Nick.

“Yeah, this is it,” Nick replied. “I think.”

“Well, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything going on in there,” I put in.

“We should at least knock,” said Nick.

“Yeah, you’re right,” I agreed happily, hoping it would be some super-straight-laced family dude or something, so I could see his reaction to finding Junior at his door.

Junior was not a pretty man by any standard. Small children often panicked and fled at the sight of him. He was a large man, tall and muscular with a big beer gut and chubby cheeks. He had long ago lost his teeth in some bar fight and had them replaced with a false set that he liked to remove from time to time to see people’s reactions. His hair was usually died black or dark red and he always wore a beat-up old motorcycle jacket with punk rock patches and pins all over it. It was like his second skin.

I watched as he removed his teeth and prepared to knock. He looked back momentarily and beamed a hideous, toothless smile at us. I hoped whoever opened the door didn’t have a heart attack.

His meaty fist pounded solidly against the door three times, then halted. Still no sound emerged from the other side. Again he pounded three times, even harder this time, then waited. Still there was no answer. We waited silently, ever hopeful that someone was approaching the door to let us in.

“Oh well, let’s take off,” groaned Nick.

“No wait,” I said. One more knock.

“Let’s just go in,” said Junior, twisting the door handle. It was unlocked.

I wasn’t so sure about just walking into someone’s house, but now that the door was open I could hear music playing somewhere inside, distantly though, or quietly. Maybe this was the place. Maybe there was a party here. If so, it was well disguised.

As we took a few steps in the music got louder. A light flashed on to my left. There was a large hole in the brick wall and the light was mounted inside. A face built of broken bricks rested inside the hole. It had an elaborate headdress made from pine cones and feathers, and bottle caps were glued all over its rocky face. Small plastic soldiers were gathered around it, preparing to burn a Barbie doll with a Mohawk who was bound to a Lincoln Log with a rubber band.

“Yep, this is definitely the right place,” I said.

I had heard that the party’s host was some sort of mad, new age artist type, and the freakish sculpture to my left confirmed that this was indeed his place. Voices could be heard now as we made our way down the hallway and navigated a few strangely decorated rooms. The music was louder now but there were still no signs of any people. Only a few oddly dressed manikins and a stuffed monkey mounted on the wall. A gas mask covered its furry head, perhaps to shield it from the smoke that drifted in from a nearby room. Finally we came upon the source of the noises: another staircase.

Upstairs was a dimly-lit smoke-filled room, covered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with strange artwork. A number of people were milling about talking to one another in polite tones as we entered. The Buzzcocks were blasting from a nearby room. At least the tunes were good. The scene was kind of new wave/rocker/artist, which was cool, but I had been hoping for something more rowdy.

A few people greeted Junior as we entered. He gave them warm toothless smiles and made for the refrigerator. There was plenty of booze, more booze than people really. We proceeded to get drunk and check out the strange “art."

One room in the back had become a small shrine of some sort. An open casket sat in the center of the room. Inside was a baby doll with the head of Nixon on it. Candles were placed in a circular formation around it but remained unlit. Below that lay a pile of small plastic arms. They looked like they had been torn off of Action figures. I recognized one arm that had belonged to Skeletor, the arch-enemy of He-man. We sat on the altar and smoked a joint.

David had disappeared somewhere along the way and Nick was off chasing after some girls he knew from shows at 242. Junior had somehow acquired a bottle of rum within five minutes of entering the place. We shared it with some punk girls and Junior entertained us with tales of his crazy brothers. He had eight of them so the stories never ran out.

We sat in the living room with a few others, leaning out the window to smoke cigarettes. They had positioned a few chairs in front of the window for that very purpose, and propped it open with a bizarre statue that consisted of a black bowling ball resting on the seat of a child’s potty. On the smooth top of the ball was an elaborate crown. The whole of it was perched precariously on the window sill, bracing the window open. It struck me as a bad spot to keep a bowling ball but it was only a passing thought.

I listened to a multitude of stories covering everything from barroom brawls to bestiality until Nick appeared again, distracting Junior from his rantings.

“Come up to the roof you guys,” Nick pleaded. “A bunch of people are hanging out and drinking wine.”

Junior looked doubtful. “What for? We’ve got rum right here.”

“Bring it with us. It’s nice up there.”

Nick was right, it was nice on the roof. The warm summer breeze felt rejuvenating and the stars in the sky were out in force. The fresh air filled me with excitement as I inhaled deeply. The excitement of youth. I staggered over to the edge of the building and kicked some pebbles over the side. Main Street was a mere four stories below. It looked close enough to jump to.

“Better not,” said Nick stepping forward as if he knew what I was thinking. The street below us was filled with drunk frat boys and college students yelling and hooting and generally making a nuisance. I was glad to be four stories up. It was quiet and peaceful up here away from the carnage of Main Street.

Nick was getting cozy with a cute young girl. She passed around a bottle of wine as Junior began to spin yarns again. He had the tendency to lean in really close at times when he was talking to you. His breath smelled like death, or worse. It made me want to vomit over the edge. Instead I moved away from him. Still, it was becoming a challenge to hold down the foul mixture of wine, rum, and god knows what else that was brewing in my gut. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” I mumbled, and made for the stairs.

Downstairs, the party had really picked up. There were about five times as many people as there had been when we arrived and everyone was about ten times drunker. My stomach churned as I pushed my way through the crowd towards the kitchen. To my dismay I found that the line for the bathroom stretched through the kitchen and all the way out into the hall. I groaned and sank into the line.

It always sucks waiting in line for the bathroom at huge drunken parties. Chances are someone is either puking, fucking, or doing drugs in there right when you really need to go, and the line is not moving. But that’s not the part that really sucks. The worst part is that there is always some total freak-job in line next to you who wants to tell you his life story or just be a general nuisance. And of course you can’t get away from him because you’re waiting in line.

I got a good one this time. One of the paranoid types who thinks everyone is after him. The FBI, the CIA, the SPCA, this guy thought they were all on him. He was probably tripping his balls off in addition to being shit-house drunk. He wanted me to watch another guy watching him, over his shoulder.

“Make sure he’s not watching you watch,” he demanded.

“Don’t worry he’s not watching me watch,” I said sarcastically.

But he definitely was watching.

In reality, I was not paying much attention to either one of them. Something else had caught my attention. One wild dancer was leaping around spasticly, jerking to and fro in mock spasms. He inched closer and closer to the open window as he flailed. The shitting bowling ball king still braced it open. Then he was doing his wild dance right next to the window. His whipping throes sent him leaning towards the king with every leap. From where I stood he seemed dangerously close to knocking it right out the window. I wondered if I should say something. I could have just been being paranoid.

People danced in front of him then, blocking my view momentarily. When they cleared, the king was still in his throne. I decided it was OK and forced myself to forget it. At that very moment the wildman leaped into the air with a savage flailing motion. He stumbled upon landing and attempted to catch himself by making a wild grab at the king.

The potty pitched over and the crown shattered on the tile floor as the sleek, solid, black bowling ball rolled out the window and plummeted to the street below. I gasped in horror along with the few others who saw it go. The window slammed shut with a crash.

Four or five of us rushed to the window. Someone clawed it open. We looked down. On the sidewalk below us a young woman was lying face down in an ever-growing pool of her own blood. The ball, now splattered with crimson, lay beside her. Another young woman was on her knees in the blood, screaming hysterically. A crowd of Friday night partiers had gathered around her sprawled body. College students, bar-hoppers, and the usual downtown riff-raff all staring in awe. The woman did not move. The crowd was bewildered and confused. Their confusion quickly turned to anger when they looked up and saw us staring down at them from the window.

Some frat types, possibly friends of the poor girl, were screaming vicious obscenities up at us.

“Let’s kill these motherfuckers!” they screamed, charging for the front door of the building, their faces choked red with rage. The combination of the alcohol and anguish on behalf of their friend filled their hearts with bloodlust as they kicked the front door to pieces. I had little doubt that they really would kill us. Who could blame them?

“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” said Junior seriously, and he rushed for the door. Nick and I followed.

Others, it seemed, had already gotten the same idea,. They rushed out into the hall and down the stairs, only to be met by tide of enraged frat boys. The first few guys down the stairs were beaten into the ground hard by a sea of fists and feet. Others kicked and flailed at the attackers from the higher ground. Still others retreated into the apartment to seek an alternate escape route. That seemed like a good plan to us. A bottle bounced off the back of my head as we fled.

Dazed and wired to hell we managed to escape the melee and reach the top of the stairs, only to find the apartment door locked. The sounds of fighting echoed through the stairwell, swelling up at us, closer now. I imagined that this would be a terrible way to die.

“Fuck this,” said Junior, sprinting down the hall to face a door I had not noticed before. It was locked. The three of us tore into it, kicking and beating it until we had broken the lock out of the wall and it swung opened to reveal a fire escape.

Moments later we were down on the street blending in with the spectators as the poor girl was loaded into an ambulance and driven away. The amount of blood on the sidewalk was ridiculous. It shimmered brightly in the lights of downtown and flowed into the gutter in front of Snow’s Deli.

David crouched on his knees in the blood staring at it in amazement. It was then that I realized that we had forgotten him. He had ended up dosing during the party and it looked as if he was having in interesting trip.

“It’s incredible,” he said dipping his finger in the blood and smearing it around a bit. Nick and I quickly collected him as the cops began to take notice,and we made our escape into the night.

It was a pretty fucked-up night. I felt really bad for the girl and wished that I had done something to stop it. More than anything though, I was just glad that it had not been me that knocked the king off of his throne. Amazingly, the girl lived. I guess she had brain damage though, and was never the same after. From what I understand she did manage to lead a productive and happy life despite the injury.

There was a rumor around town for a while that she did a commercial for Timex Watches some time after that. I think it probably just started as a sick joke, considering their ads.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Spin, Once Again

I steal most of my lines from the same dude. I’m hoping
he won’t mind to be so honored. Anyway, it’s getting harder
and harder to enter the pantheon of the worthy. I mean,

everyone is, can anybody doubt? O well, look at it
this way: when you feel it, you’re gone, friend.
Did I already say that?

Lastly, I Would Like To

say, when the heart is high in me, it’s hard
to get serious about feeling good, but every git needs it

at least once. I’m overdue. Still, (so like your host)
within no time at all, I see how it plays. And what now?

I was squeezing quinces at the Register, she said,
dude, look at your legs, you’ll go on long after you’ve gone.

OK, I said, I’m down with that, but I ain’t going anywhere.
She laughs, the gyro-sock turns over and that

sick feeling is a swoon with
never a knockout, nor return.

I Should Write Songs

of life lived in extremis, invisible to any.
I ought to say, give me mine, in song,
‘cause so compelling, conferring finally
one’s due, starting in the throat,

throw it out
as last swallowing.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Only Reason I Write Is

I hit the wall as a painter, self-taught,
and was that painful? Both the teaching
and the wall. Still, I got the main thing out there

in a number of treatments. Contra-distinct-wise,
I had a lot of help learning poems. Which clearly
I’ve eschewed the benefits to be so gained. Nevertheless,

and besides which,
MOMA tried.

Every Now And Then

my loyal fans deserve a poem like a moss-covered canal;
a phosphor-streaked, pollen-flecked slab of ink that
sights in the single wisteria petal falling through the furiously thronging
crowd of no-see-ums, just above there where
it cuts me off

at the knees.