shepard fairey








gustav dore

our boys

death and burial


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Reason I Do This

is plain; the living just lies there
aching to be taken; like fresh fruit

seeking the tongue. Art is all,
health, a poor second; joining

parades is ill-advised;
keep silent, keep moving;

eschew public demonstrations,
pretend it was just a lucky hit.

Having Done Justice

to all fates, near and far, and having
committed every last jot of the energies

given me, I do hereby testify to the ages:
if ever man rose on his own two feet

and did less, I don’t see how.
Given such a priori prejudices, I’m surprised,

I ever found a dance. Yet they all held my card:
a six, of hearts, of course. I threw out the joker.

There’s Never An End

to dark. Never an end to pain.
Never the lilied path. Never the sword,

never the wisdom, never the love.
Never, in this starry span did I hold you.

What was the use of coming to this
ill-conceived and desecrated planet?

Monday, June 28, 2010

People Are Put Off

by great shows of affection, as well. Once,
I knew a girl who came in from the prairie,

looking thin and hungry. I fed her grits
and eggs from the stove left me by mama.

She took a shine to me, which was understand-
able, but still not acceptable in these precincts.

I Keep On Coming

People get ready to be swarmed,
Lady Gaga is my soul sister, I’ve

eaten the bony grits from the kiln,
wiped the smile from my face

and died willing. I can skin a gator,
stare down a fisher, and let a

panther going slow pass by. Direct
any inquiries to my consecrated estate,

to be administered by my capable
antecedents, and interested parties.

I Paused For A Moment

in my black heart was brewing
a plan; a way to get to her; of course,
the laundry chute, the dumb waiter,
the Spanish Prisoner! before dawn,
she would be mine; together we’d
climb these silver stairs, locked
together like burdocks, forever.
God help me.

It’s A Good Day

for whatever’s coming,
a good day to meet it

head-on; a good day for
letting out the rope,

a good day for reeling it
in; in the caves of doom,

will we find our fire there?

At our feet, our remains
assume corporeal form again.

It’s a sight for sure to
see those knock-knees dance.

I Looked Across The Cliffs Of Dawn

and into the face of pure love; she took me
where clouds surrounding our ascent
whispered into disappearing tunnels, all

leading back in. I awoke on the plain of grey;
corpses to the left and right, and in the middle,
a place for me. I stood beside it

a soldier for love; she pulled me in,
how we fell through the ages, one, if I can
grab on, two, if I can’t, three,

God help me fall through.

Later That Night

the stars were pinwheeling
through the pregnant dark,
I slipped a hand beside you
I could feel your warmth
and your pulse and hear
the song start in your throat.
It turned to a groan as you
stretched across me; your tongue
tattling your tale to mine.

Tempus Fugit

like a hammer; fruit flies, a banana.
A tossed skewer never rights,
but falls like an arrow.

I’m writing what I call
extended verse; it’s where
even though some great fish

breasts, one foregoes lashing
the endsprits down, and taking them
in iron jaw, tries to catch right

the angel’s tone beneath.


it don’t come easy; well, it would
but you keeping dashing it at my feet;

which has me drawing up short,
before going through it again.

They say that before the song is
ended, we’ll all be transported;

that on that 12th of Never, Johnny Mathis
will replace Buddy Holly in the pantheon.

I fucking hope that day never shows.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So Close

I came, before the last
really brought me low.

I can barely raise my head
to bow; touched by the saints

for this office unbeknownst;
still, I look the deep in the face.

I speak my name in measured tones;
what can one do, but die willingly

I Know This Much

I know when to
put the axe aside.

I know when to quit.

I know when life is
coming up roses,
watch for a fall.

I know how all this started.
I know how it went.

If I don’t know yet
how it ends,

forgive my ignorance.

Nothing Else Matters

but this: as you scratch for purchase
keep headed to the wind; keep faced
for the rogue wave that will take us

over these plains of regret; past
these shoals that write our names,
our age, in sand tossed through with

oil; in cubic miles of floating plastic
buried facing seaward
bearing our children’s names;

bear us beyond to that far glade,
bear us to that undying peace, trailing
our waste like wedding garments.

Is It My Turn

to be humble? I’ve been practicing;
the lord’s work has lain me here,
legs in the air. I was no

volunteer, I might say
in my defense, never once
claimed anything; yet

I recall some kind of magic
I could have sworn to
at the time. Now, I scratch

my head that same old way,
where you can see right through
to the scalp he nailed to the door.

I Keep Returning To

certain themes: the rack; women who go,
the hard way; failures by the score, lost
near-captures of infinity’s inhabited man.

I walked through years of days that were every time
the best of our young lives; our thinning heads

now bobbing go to the sound coming
across the breeze, our shout
whispering to this rock of ages.

I Haven’t Found The Key

to this; or else I’d share it
like everything these days
it’s not so bad, a girl I met
before dark pulled the hood
over my eyes; heroic doses
make the man strong; make him
weak; make him crawl
on his belly, but not in any
reptilian way, please

A New Hope

the best rise from within
the worst shrinking
into their shriveling hearts

our trembling fingers
reach our secret weapon
already igniting

fond hope again

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Specialist

did his work; it was that simple. You want
a sestina, you’re in a rough neighborhood.

A while back I took down a catholic saint
from up the road; by the river, against

a young maple she had her way with me;
before that, sprawled among the presents

beneath the christmas tree, in the bathroom
twice, the kitchen, the shed, the porch,

anywhere to be alone. And
I don’t do end-rhyme.

Sunlight Calls

through the window; already I want to
lie down. Yet it moves, the earth, I mean,

against us; and all will perish in its sea,
reaching for a neighbor’s hand.

An Aubade

you’ve heard me mention
is a poem written in the morning;
need it be about morning is a
fair question I won’t answer here;
critical thought ranges in opposing
directions. I will say this: it’s
a damn fine morning to
rise and shine.

Days We Never Rose

from your bed marked me;
wherever I went they would
say: there he goes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brain Damage

is not difficult to inflict
on you or I, by either of us.
That said, is there an apothecary
in the house? Your random
remedy will raise us armies,
which unthinking brutes
we may deploy as we wish,
in service of our rule.

Shadows From A Former Life

crossed my black heart and
were just reaching out their arms
toward the light; then
you swooped in.

In 1799, in Kursk, a mid-sized Russian
town for the time, three dalmations
spawned cod. I only report it because
I was there.

In the same vein, out the other
I always say when asked
for my bona fides, I’ll be here
when you get home.

I Used To Write Poems

in the dialect of the Assyrian,
who swarmed from the sea, only
to fall to the Spartans’ stout-
hearted defense which was
to burn the galleys and their man-slaves
to the waterline, but I gave it up.
It was too hard to get gigs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Made My Bones

being a wiseacre; but I have
my sensitive side; along these

ribs have grazed the nails
that trimmed the christ. Of

course I’m exaggerating, we’re
separated by a few more

degrees than that; I have his
profile however, in the right

light that he’s always so
careful about, we could be

brothers, not a hair of
difference between us;

MOMA tried.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Write My Best Poems

about nature, but women keep horning in;
perhaps I should begin my opus “Women
of the Psychic Caucaucus—An Entry on
Insoluble Dialectical Differences
Encountered in Reproductive Interactions
Coupled by Love.” It will probably be a
tear-jerker, depending on your gender.

That Girl

never showed except in my dreams
extended auditions availing nothing;
the gift of gifted children by
difficult women kept me from
my long-time longing for you
please come to me then
go as I please

A Day Like Any Other

broke across my disappearing body
dawn was to my knees when I jumped
up and began waving my arms in the air
trying to raise the gaze
of that far off figure of
a man fading into the near distance.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Is Serious

I’ve sprouted a head on my neck,
and toes on my feet already;
when do I get to rest?

Changing The Subject

to women in general; they will speak
for themselves, but I’ll say this:
across your back, their names were
not written, however, their initials
were penciled in.

Now I’ve Admitted

to being multiply eviscerated multiple times
by Irish Catholic Geminis, hell,
let’s broaden this to Geminis, one and all:
if any are listening, I just want one to
step up and make it right; if possible,
a redhead.

Irish Catholic Geminis

simply must be experienced;
mere text can neither simulate
the five G whip between
craven lust and disjoint fear
nor fathom the depths cored
from the soul every turn

Choose Life

what the hell. I wasn’t doing
anything better; and there isn’t,
anyway, anything else,
much less, anything better.