Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Little Amusement

I am to be hung as a witch on a Monday morning. It’s shingle-dark outside and the field is glowing with mist. I can’t decide which blue tie to wear. There is a great crowd around the gallows by the highway. Somewhere, a humming bird dips water from Mary’s hands as a cook chops heads of lettuce.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fame Strikes

I have seen his whiskers against a chalkboard.
The school of pledglings with its missing roof.
Fame eats his host while the host eats toast.
His dentures contain immeasurable sadness.
He drinks milk from a bottomless carton.
There is a locker without a key, there is a shadow.
Principal nothing, I have your report.
Nurse something else, I have innumerable fragments
Atop my head. I’ve given up playing
Long distance Monopoly with anyone who asks.
A jungle vine – let’s swing across the gym
And out the front doors, which are yawning
Just now, as a car’s doors open.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Still life with Telescope

Across the marsh the calls of sound,
And I received them in a trance.
Undead noble princes and teacher’s chalk
With eyes flaming to advance.
No meteorite, no angel of night
Swimming naked across the swill.
And I was above the splinted dove,
And the days were getting darker, darker still.

I’ve lived a lie, an ancient lie,
With a slogan too silent to detect,
And fool’s fire flaming from the blue
With nothing solid to protect.
My beautiful dreams in headlight beams
Throwing everything to the spill.
I must remake myself awake,
And the days were getting darker, darker still.

The stylish crowd at the gates of noise,
The same as those they think they aren’t,
Dive into the charges of lily pads
And get caught in preacher’s web of rot.
I’ve fought too hard to sign that card,
And their commands begin to trill.
On this road the concrete corrodes,
And the days were getting darker, darker still.

The frogs have flopped on the boardwalk
With its self-important slime,
Which leads me awakened and unsteady
To the fisheries of the mind.
There is a space, there is a place,
Shimmering way up on the hill –
And I will go when the truth’s aglow,
And the days were getting darker, darker still.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Career in Baiting Judges

A precious artichoke has a heart like a beggar’s
Trampoline. See how it silhouettes,

See its name in print across the chalk line
Of the flywheel. Your birthday was ordained

With a spray of gnats, and you toasted “life”
And “mystery” with your flute of water.

I came to celebrate, but I was years late,
And besides, I have no hands. I cannot change

My bandages. I just lie on this trampoline
While beggars jump for artichoke hearts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Protective Work Apparel

I saw her glove in the snow
And I thought about it for nearly
An hour, until my boots were covered
In freshly fallen snow. I had no idea
How deep it was at this point,
But only birds were moving freely,
And there were no birds.
I was up to my ankles, my knees,
And still the light was so delicate
And harmonious that it seemed a tragedy
To move. Tragicomedy, I corrected
My posture to embrace another bale
Of the white stuff that everyone loves
And hates. Soon, I was sure,
I would be just like her – but would that
Be so bad? She had been taken
By the scene and stopped to stand,
And been buried up to the glove.
Now I was going where she was.
I felt like a child going to bed;
I felt free with possibility.
Snowing as it was, a winter that could
Last and last, like nothing else seems to.
I extended my hand and poised my glove
So that I may, when the time
Strikes, pat the snow
On the preverbal backside,
Calling it my true love.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Coming to the City a Stranger

The roil of so many pigeons –
Forgive us, and also ask our names.

Dark city with a dangerous cliff
And encroaching bald spot,

I of five hundred horsepower
Wail your traditional song.

Your streetwalkers do no fear
Me, and your floodgates wave “hello”

To the bus of tourists passing through.
Ah, a runner has taken root.

An ice cream cone slope droops
With melancholy, or is it something else?

Do not ask me, says the brave city.
Any minute now, I will need a vacation.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Everyone’s Wild West

The old wagonette has met its match.
All of the genuine rock,
The fake too, is puzzled.

The militiamen descend
To reenact tax season,
But the air is too dry

For even a pancake feed.
Everything is glistening.
The path: glistening

Like a handful of flour
Thrown at a bird.
They came to settle the land,

But it’s not something
That good planning would advise.
The hills want what’s wild,

The quills of propane tanks
Allow one to stroke in a single
Direction only.

They do not know what
Mystery in the dark between the tines
Of a cactus, which is taking

Aim at them when they turn
To go inside. Aiming, always
Just that, and never cracking off a round.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Black Train Roaring Through the Night

We were having cocktails on the platform,
Me and my Daffodil, who was pollinating
My mouth with little kisses, yes she was.
It was dark, but the proprietor had set up
Brooding lamps for us to flutter around.
The tracks were little lit fuses burning under
The moonlight, the train perhaps a plunger
With the gray-sleeved bandit ready to set.
It was the train we were waiting for,
The train that kept its own time, made its own
Moves, wore a little stovepipe hat as it fumed
About the markets and the headlines.
My Daffodil was becoming daffy,
And all of god’s children began to urinate softly
In the soft, soft whimpering rain, and still
The train would not come any closer,
Which is known in the industry as a shy train.

Friday, June 8, 2007


It’s known that phantoms eat alphabet soup. They like the language like beans like butter, but better to have all of its parts drowning in a dark sea than to weep through what time you have without ever scrumptiously creating an apple to fall on the dead.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Experimentalist

Sometimes in order to remember
We need to forget to take the pill
That causes us to forget to remember –
In order to remember, we must remember
To forget, or forget to remember….
This could go on forever.
Here is my card.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Apologies to the Memory of Coach

The only thing I’m sure of these days
Is that I have a paper route I must follow gingerly.
I am the man that time forgot – am I?
No bother, brother adsorbing water for tea.
I crept around the stockade façade
Hoping to escape something or other
But I was caught in the public’s eye.
I just deliver news, I said. Don’t shoot
The wrong messenger. The public shot
Me a glance that must have meant disapproval,
But I was doing the jumble into a beehive,
Which wanted to quibble about its bill.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Violet and the Centaur

A woman, Violet, creates quit a stir
With her socks, and the mounted
Officer spins about to peep
Why so many pigeons have found salvation.

The sidewalk sighs and the screens
Concentrate, and Violet struts
Through the auto salvage yard.
The officer marries

His body to that of his horse,
And battles chrome for Violet’s hand,
Which is not in that protective strip
Nor over there in that shroud.

I couldn’t understand anything,
Until I picked up her shattered socks,
Which I placed in my pockets.
Among the many objects, a key

Was born. It told of a safe
Which held secret of the world.
So I strode away, determined
To never open it, and never be tempted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In a Dark Church Somewhere

Well, your crocheted lamb’s head,
It’s true the heat moves through it.
We’ve all been over-baked, you know.
You packed enough lies
In your green apple pies
That I believe I’ll have to abstain
While sleeping overnight with the insane.

Well, I heard that they were praying.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying.
God was just a foreign spy, you know.
He said they were putting him to sleep.
I was nursing him in my cheap
Nun’s suit, simply trying to explain
That I’m sleeping overnight with the insane.

The kitchen is hot
But that’s all we’ve got
For an exit. Maybe we can escape
Behind the magician’s cape,
But I doubt it.

There was something in the bread
That went up into my head,
And the television cried constantly.
Now I’ve hidden myself
Behind the garden elf,
And I keep crashing the pilot in my brain.
I guess he’ll be sleeping overnight with the insane.

My headache was pounding
And the bells were sounding
For someone in the sky.
Maybe we can grab him
If the wind don’t nab him
And make him fly.

I took it for granted the mirror's reflection.
I took it for granted that I was in-between.
I took it for granted that
The ghosts were covered in Vaseline.
Now you’ve fallen down the stairs
And nobody cares about your pain
When you’re sleeping overnight with the insane.

I went down to the basement
Where the dogs barked for their replacement.
They wore angel wings, you know.
They asked me to describe the world above them.
I just shrugged and muttered “Amen,”
And stepped out in the crying rain.
Sleeping every night with the insane.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By the Break of Day

There’s a drought on the horizon,
But you couldn’t keep your eyes on
The prize, Kubla Khan, could you?
There’s enough cellophane flowing from your brain
To hide your office lunch while you go insane.
The boys and girls camped on the lawn
Glance up and down your see-through gown,
And you laugh out loud like a clown
In the railroad shantytown
Who serves you your exquisite Bordeaux.

Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
When you’re carried away
By the break of day?

You collected all the stamps in black ink
But you never stopped to think
That they’re not worth anything, did you?
You stole your suicidal words from the mouth
Of the tempestuous snake going south,
But you never learned to drink.
A river flowed through your mind
And you were gazing in all the time
To judge yourself so sublime,
But you missed all of the sunspots on your soul.

Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
When you’re stuffed at the buffet
By the break of day?

You look down a lonesome mile
At a forest of argyle while you beguile
All the straight-laced kids, don’t you?
With a bible belt around your waist
Your enchanting voice brace-faced
And you can’t even trick-or-treat a smile.
Your makeup mask is on fire,
And your price tag angel choir
Refuses to sing anything you desire,
And suddenly you realize you’ve lost all control.

Where do you go?
Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
And all your connections fray
And all your friends betray
By the break of day?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Shadow Creeps Even While You’re Sleeping

In the nighttime, I think I hear you
Far down in the little armory,
Where the rats have only memories.
The fuse is lit; it is over.
There is no hiding under covers,
No reflection in silver mirrors.
We’ve all lived in that little armory
Where nothing is free.

Everyone is an orphan
Found on the steps of a skyscraper.
Our mothers had no faces.
Or if they did, they were hidden
As they laughed while we were crying.
As they bought what we were buying.
At the foot of the lending tree
Where nothing is ever free.

The life and death of a pumpkin
Wandering wistfully drunken
Through the alleyway.
The surgeon’s cold blade
When the moon is shrunken
Removes his toupee.

You were mine, but I could not keep you.
The moles in your pockets
Were begging to see the ocean.
Roots were shooting from your sockets,
You smiled like Davy Crockett,
And your parachutes kept deploying,
The ground was rushing gallantly –
And still nothing is free.

All day long a shadow found me frozen
Against the glacial wall.
But when I tuned around
Startled by that summer sound
There was no one there at all.

You said, “I long to dust you”.
You said, “I’ve got some polish”.
You had your peacock boa
Which belonged to Noah.
Your posture, it was permissive.
My cupboard, it was empty.
Anyway, I guess I’m dirty;
And nothing is cleaned for free.

Oh greeting card, you’ve seen everything.
The blind woman’s shirt on the clothesline.
The old west threatened by a stop sign.
All day, the engines smoking.
You thanked the children choking.
From the attic, the sinking sunlight.
The bats on the tailor’s dummy.
Pinned inside that suit, nothing is free.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Another Adventure

I was put in cold storage. Immediately, I slept
For seven years. During that time, the Great Mists
Came and receded, as if trying to prove that weather
Never lasts. Still, I was frozen. My reflection in the toaster
Floated around in my head like I was seeing stars.
My lips were the color of childhood dreams
Standing under the moon in snow pants, feet frozen
In frying pans about to ski down an endless gorge.
I knew a thing or three, but the best wisdom
Is the kind you take daily, like the weather report.
If you fall down a hill you must fall up another;
The sea is not level. An empty bag left to its own
Devices will always linger near a door or a flue.
You should have seen the smoke when I was released.
I was strapped to a dolly, a block of ice wearing a derby hat.
My limbs would not move; my eyes were fixed.
It was a nice summer day, the kind you mean
To remember forever but never do.
Some boys threw rocks at me; cars drove by –
I could hear the gears moving around in the transmissions.
I could hear the hands cranking the wheels,
The feet mashing what must have been pedals,
But could have been gavels or even gophers
Who refused to stay in their holes.
I began to throw away my walker – I can walk!
I had an invisible friend to hold my arm, but still
Those first steps were each a miracle.
Life was good, as good as it gets. The funeral parlor
Was always blossoming, the grocery store ripe
With apples and mangos. I take a bite, the only way
A free man knows how: with his spare tooth
That the tooth fairy just then bought for a million dollars
In immature bonds which promised to pay some day
Not too soon, and not too far into the unknown, I’ll bet.

Friday, May 4, 2007

My Hat, My Cane

Let me get up and fetch my cane.
Say it was the end of one day and into the next,
Say the lawnmower has run around
Over Grant’s grave. Let me come to the window,
Let me get up and fetch my cane.
I’ve seen it all; I’ve lifted the waterfalls’ evening
Gown and peeked inside – I’ve poured my heart
Into a single letter only to find the ink running scared
Before I could finish the final swoop.
Let me get up and fetch my cane; its best use is
To point out the fault line that cracks us all
In two. Kept with my cane are the ashes of St. Peter,
A crystal that allows to gazer to see
Things just as they happen, a curl
Of Mary’s pubic hair or a ribbon from a baboon’s
Bat mitzvah. Let me get up and fetch my cane, and also
My hat. I use them both to row from brothel to bedroom
When the waters come, when the cats
Use their whiskers to inject the sick with penicillin.
When barets and headbands cannot be bought,
I will float from schoolyard to schoolyard
With my trench coat open and hanging from my balls
Will be a leather purse which can predict the desire
Of all who open it. Let me get up and fetch my cane.
Or at least go put a dime in the metered church pew.
Please disregard my affected limp; it’s on backorder.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Was Working on my Degree

The extensive grounds were thinning
After the sanitation workers ball.
My love and I were washing dishes.
Here was the most beloved plate to serve
A hand grenade all the way up from the tropics.
It deserved a wash in the town’s well.
These dishes are nudists naturally.
A painted boy from his pastoral predicament
Pleads with me to keep my rag away
From his unpainted genitals.
His singing and giggling, communing with the finches,
Bought him the brass scratcher which made him
Retreat into the dust storm. Presently, pasta.
Bad boy butter baste with a spiked collar
Knifes at the knives. Shall the spit be scrubbed,
My love? Yes, scour the spit, was her bubbly reply.
I was seething; I was soldered in sallow serape
The size of seahorses. My philosophy was simple:
The only truth is that white space
After the birth date of an author who’s still alive.
I ran across them from time to time
In my rodent form. I ran across so many things.
Like a pan of water, or the fine blade of a food
Processor, a woman’s nipple, an elephant’s sleeping eye.
I was dog-eared; I was foxed, bumped and rubbed.
The degreaser was having its effect on my spine.
The gravy boat stopped off in the tropics
To pick up more hand grenades. We were looking
For service all up the coast, our Lifebuoy sick
With dandruff. His final words were: life is draining.
Then he refused to speak, and began bobbing.
Little half-eaten cod combed his hair with their
Skeletons. I was in it up to my elbows.
This is where I decided I could make something
Of myself, something bigger – something I could feature
In the dining room. So I began to serve myself little scraps.
My love was all for it: she smiled behind her spume facial.
Sanitation workers with respirators reported just then.
They toted zippered trash bags of the blackest material,
And I began to graduate into one just as their hands
Made sure I was included with the cracked glassware.
It was like eternal night, only I couldn’t get a cigarette
From the dockworkers, who were fireflies.
There were no dockworkers! There were only night crawlers,
The kind in fishnet stockings, who proposed to me
Like I was a courageous sea captain on the Atlantic. But I was done
With all that, and instead began to matriculate
Into my cake pan. I could have been baked,
But with so many mouths in my batter,
I couldn’t rise toward heaven long enough to make
A dent in universal hunger, especially my own.
The dishes, meanwhile, were hovering around the kitchen.
I’ve had enough, I said, and immediately sent for a robot.
When the boxes came, it was all in parts, but still alive.
It insisted that another robot be dispatched for his assembly.
I agreed with its sound reasoning and logic.
When the new robot arrived, it was also in parts, but it had read
A physics textbook. “Advanced physics,” it kept correcting me.
Soon my world was walpoled with unassembled robots
Lecturing me about particles – what does it matter? I asked.
If you knew a thing or three, we would be ambulatory,
They said. I am not religious, I kept insisting, and bashing
Myself on the head for letting them boss me around.
They told of great dunes of ash taking on human form
After being assembled by the wind. All of this happened
On the other side. The other side of what? I asked.
Of the argument, which is wordless and gray, they said.
I better get back to those dishes. My love was now an old
Potter who kept throwing her back out.
I began to clean with no mind, like they do in temples.
I washed my bowl until I reduced it to the cellular level.
There was no future in soup anyway, I rationalized.
The sanitation workers kept putting wedding rings on hotdogs
And eating their gloves. Just when I got everything sparkling,
Another catastrophe would jeopardize the famous quiz show,
And potato chips that one could not prove existed nonetheless
Left grease stains on the platters. I decided to wax my love’s
Shoulder blades, but she was glazed from hunger.
I crumpled up my apron, took off my mitts, and danced
A jig through the swinging, western-style doors
That divided the kitchen from the patrons, who only became
Visible when they inhaled their cigars, the kind that burn forever,
But only smoked when you sucked on them.
The dishes stretched between heaven and hell,
But I didn’t care. I was hitting the pavement with my fists,
Leaving the industrial center for some other place,
Which was sure to become a center when I arrived to judge it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It’s All in the Steeping

Just after the spoon has left and the tea is still swirling, it is possible to see the entire universe. At its formless beginning, it’s a child’s green booger. Then, the child begins to sculpt – he makes a rock with his booger, which was easy. Then a chicken and a calculator. He makes a nun and a pantheon. He makes a long silver needle stitching into the night by an unseen hand. He stands them all up on his desk. Then he gets bored and runs away. The janitor comes, the lights go out, someone realizes the child no longer shows up for school. Then it’s just tea again. Green tea. That first sip, ah, it’s always too hot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Fishnet

I’ve met a lady’s stocking. It is black like the heavens above the earth. It wished to take me dancing, but I suggested coyly that we ought to pray instead. Inside there was a spider, a little brown one. It knew my name before I spoke. Also inside: a blues singer, and a man on a tightrope. There was a small sunset in the distance. Smoke forked up from a chimney here and there. There was also a tiny mirror, so miniscule you had to bend in real close. This made the stocking cry rape! rape! and I laughed a little, and my little self, after some delay where I appeared to be thinking, laughed back.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Empty Dream

A man was building something in the dream hanging just inside his pillow. It was there he could work uninhibited. The design was simple; the parts were many. Or the design was complex and the parts were incomplete. Whatever it was, it had to be finished before he awoke. Outside, the world’s oldest cloud lost another piece of itself to the air.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Projectionist

Our projectionist dozes when we doze. The film is slapping against the frame. There’s magnified dust on the white screen. When we wake up, he wakes up and scrambles to change the reel. It’s early summer, and the first thunderstorm is creeping over the little towns. There are red tulips against a fence, and a bee upside down on the cement. Perhaps we’ll mow the lawn in an infinity of decreasing circles, or perhaps not. The projectionist wipes his brow and settles in.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Column

I was a column under a dark bridge into fog. I’m told the other side holds an island of madness. When white moths form a question mark in the air, when wasps make a woman’s purse, when marbles spell I love you in the snow, a lone man with a leather satchel begins to cross. He’s a year on the approach, a year on each girder, and an old man when he enters the fog. Meanwhile, I’m urinating into a fish’s mouth. I have no classical order, and my insides are the same as what’s exposed to the weather, which never changes. My pylons have many spikes in their palms, but the swaying of the bridge puts them to sleep before they make anything of it. All the while the fog imprisoned the madness on the other side. Barges blew their horns; we assumed the crazies thought it was the hunting horn of a warden in the sky.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Model Home

An entire life of walking has created two parallel lines. Do they extend infinitely into the future, or do they abruptly end? I walked right into my friend’s dangerous loner model home. “The examined life is not worth living,” was his philosophy, although his mother shot herself on the stoop of the funeral home. He still tucked in his black sheets every morning, chatted with her about the neighbors. I was watching the endless weather channel wondering if we are blue-screened into this life and all we do is point at blank walls pretending we’re really somewhere else? If things were always just out of reach, what were we reaching for? My friend’s house with its black curtains ruffling in the wind. The exact same house being built up and down the street.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Painter

There is a still life on my table.
Apples, pears, and a clock.
I've come to regard it

As the only fixed thing in the world.
I am its guardian and protector.
Hands have reached for this

Or that, and I have brought them back.
In the absence of me
It would not remain the same.

Although, yes, I must confess
The fruit turned brown
and the clock slowed to a stop.

So I must become my own
Still life by posing myself as The Thinker,
Back arched, head in hand,

On top of those very objects
I once protected. It is difficult
To regard oneself as unchanging

When one is not moving.
But the imagination is infinite
In its tortures.

Also one cannot prevent
Disturbances, even dust fall, when one
Is trying not to achoo.


We have these miniature houses.
Sometimes at night
I arrange them on the glass table.
A single bulb is lit overhead
And I am alone.

In one house, a woman stares.
In the other, no lights are on.
I walk my hand between them
On two fingers with black nails.
It enters a third house,

An invisible house,
And winds up a spiral staircase.
On the roof, it jumps.
The woman screams,
The dark house lights up.

It falls and falls, but stops
Half-an-inch from the glass.
Then I take down that little town,
And put myself to bed
In an otherwise empty room.

The Captain

Well, I was captain of a great ship. I was wearing the uniform anyway. The problem was nobody would recognize my authority. I would command the great wheel to turn, but the water was still. I would command the deck mopped, but a storm came and lashed waves over the railings. My false wig was blown over, my captain’s suit too. There I was, naked, my ass pinched with crabs, which was a conspiracy because the waves look like claws.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Without Comment

The wind in the trees is trying to tell me something in code. I spent all day with a pad of paper trying to decipher it. A storm’s coming, and the sky is getting prematurely dark. The tree’s message becomes even more urgent, like a stutterer whispering sweet talk to his new bride in the hull of a ghost ship. There’s lightning scattering across the sky. The empty arms of a sailor’s costume lift in the wind.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Pond

A man sitting alone by a pond covered in green algae. Another man comes up, stands for a minute, and asks what he’s doing there. The bullfrogs are chirping, the clouds are low, and there’s a family plot in a stand of trees. Before anything is said, the second man sits down to stare at the pond. By the end of the day, men are perched all around. In the distance, the highway’s jammed. Somewhere a radio announcer refuses to recite the weather, and a little boy who was sent to his room turns over in bed.

A Little Bit of Eden

We had a daughter who was becoming a woman. So we decided to plant vegetables on her head. One bright Saturday morning my wife and I readied the tiller and shovels. We put in rows of corn, peas, lettuce, and carrots. All while our daughter slept soundly! We stood back at morning’s end, sweaty but proud. She came downstairs sleepy-eyed and ate breakfast. She washed her bowl and stared out at the trees, which where getting their first green of the season. She scratched her head. I looked at my wife, who stared back proudly. The scarecrow in the yard was waving in the wind. Hello, he was saying to the crows picking through our trash.

Magic Carpet

I took a nap on our Indian rug and when I woke up the pattern was pressed in my skin. It was like the world’s most exotic tattoo covering my entire backside. Everywhere I went people tried to walk all over me. A woman tried to park a couch on my back, a cat leapt at me to sharpen her claws on my ass. I became very depressed and mostly moped around, except when my wife would haul me outside and beat me with a broomstick to get my dust out.

Ancient Cuisine

We’re at a Chinese restaurant, except there are no tables or chairs. We’re led to an empty room and asked to take a seat. It’s impossible, so we refuse. On our way to somewhere else, we pass by the windows. Inside, an old Chinese couple sneak food from the desert dummy, and a waiter drops an armload of fortune cookies onto the ceiling. When he sees us, he puts a finger to his lips and brushes the white moths from his shoulders.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Cave Man

I was a cave explorer, and I was lost. It was in the most beautiful of all caves, but also the darkest. The bundle of string snaking around every corner was evidence many had been here before and that they hadn’t made it back. One could gouge one’s eyes out on a formation, one could then wander the caves blind for eternity. Imagine that. A blind man in a dark cave with only blind animals to keep him company. When I emerged, my family handed me a birthday cake. The candles were lit. They were waiting for something.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Youth and Such

They say that time begins to speed up as we age. That a day of youth is a week of maturity. I am of the generation that has no idea how old they are. We were not born in a time of war. There were birth certificates, yes, but they were never completed. My father wrote most of my name, got about three pounds of my weight, and then his hand trailed off the page. I asked him about it, but he didn’t remember being my father. He screamed, “I have no son!” He hadn’t slept in weeks; his hair was full of leaves; he was nearly delirious. He kept yelling, “The day has finally come; any minute now I’ll meet my maker.” I said, “There is no maker.” “Son?” he replied, his eyes wet with what could have been tears. “How long has it been?” “Years,” I said, “years.” But I had seen him the other day.

Life's Great Mystery

There was that one tin can in everyone’s basement. Label-less, rusting, no one thought about opening it and most didn’t even remember it was there. If they happened upon it, they wondered what was in it? Worms? Something foul and dark, not of this world? When they rattled it, there was no sound. There were no leaks either. Ah, well, they said. It’s too far to get a can opener, and besides, the sun is going down…

Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Elephant Never Regrets

There was an elemental confusion
Setting in upon the population.
A cat was stalking a chicken mascot
Crouching low along the Astroturf.
I was surfing the medical supply van
Dragging an inflatable raft by its rope.
There was nothing to strive for
That didn’t eventually topple down:
What I mean here is that I was used
Not going very far – and everyone
Was the same way. We could all
Get together at some caboose bar
And joke about it – but it was still
Serious enough to make nights
Spin madly like a child spinning
Something very quickly with a pull tab.
I said to my elephant,
You seem the kind of animal
To take notice. He trumpeted in a way
That caused me to doubt everything,
And I began to wonder if he has been leading
Me on this entire time, and I ran
Through all of my memories
To try to evaluate them, although
I couldn’t remember much past
Being born. I concluded that an elephant
Is not a proper companion, so I set
About alienating him with snippy
Little skips, which he couldn’t mimic.
And I called him a puissant pissant
With a pocket trumpet squelch and
Recommended the book Trumpet Secrets
So that he keep his damn mouth shut
All the time. He began to buzz off,
And that was that, and this is this.
There were so many solids in suspension
That we couldn’t get a decent table
To save ourselves from drowning,
Which we were. No matter, said
The waiter, who set our drinks on
Our thrashing limbs, and there was
Too much salt in the water or something
Because nothing seemed to taste right.
The population, which had all taken
A number before us, was reeling
In reciprocal grooming habits:
More impressive than hair being washed
In the lobby was the debate
Over the ceiling tiles, which half the restaurant
Claimed was actually flooring stuck
Up there by mistake. Of course,
The rest of us, standing on the ceiling,
Called everyone ludicrous and went on
Tapping our feet to express our impatience,
Sending little stars that children drew
Falling on the heads of the nonbelievers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Morale Booster Shot

A CEO at a big company rode to work
On a donkey. At meetings with his employees,
He said, see, I’m just like you. Just then
Someone comes running in and yells:
Sir, the alarm’s going off on your donkey.
The CEO puts on a sombrero with little
Tasseled angels dangling around the brim,
And rushes all of his employees outside.
It was difficult to see through the cloud
Of dust, but bandits in black had made off
With his donkey. Quick, he shouts,
Someone loan me yours. But to his surprise,
Everyone’s donkey had a flat tire that day
And they had instead driven their automobiles.
The news of this made the CEO shake
His head and pine for the fields of fresh
Kentucky bluegrass of his fondest youth
Where a budding CEO could graze infinitely,
Or so it seemed, nosing the fence like a donkey.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where Marbles Go

More and more marbles are being lost.
They roll from the ears of an old man
And down the drain in the basement.
That’s where the old man’s cot is kept,
Because he does not speak our tongue.
Our language is marbles. He can hear
Us, but chooses not to communicate.
Except, of course, when he catches
One of the marbles. He is so old and frail,
Yet his little manifestoes welt the skin
Like the lashes a switch can inflect.
Look at him there, sleepy-eyed and losing
His marbles as we sing him a lullaby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Nice Poem to Write Home About

I have a map for navigation around my cubicle.
When a tank is hauled by on the drink cart, I know
It’s time to quit. My nights are spent wandering
The vast storm sewers with children abandoned
By their caretakers. I too have been forsaken,
I too am homeless. A black ice cream truck playing
Flight of the Valkyries goes creeping by.
We peek from manholes for a whiff of exhaust.
Then when day cracks like a robin’s egg,
It’s back to calculations. I’m wearing clothes
I lifted from an immigrant’s line. Outside
My window, the trees are tentatively
Budding; the opposite side of a stop sign is mildly
Reflective; a dandelion clock keeps bearing down.
But I make my calculations: I can feel the world opening
Its mouth to scold me. I’m balancing on a tightrope
Of razor wire in the bathroom stall; I’m washing my hands as if
Going to a birth. In the wilds beyond the parking lot
Animals are brooding – I like to know where they stand.
They stand in the long shadows going through
Their routines, which aren’t in the least bit funny.
Another ice cream truck: this time it’s Mary
Had a Little Lamb. My pay stub comes. It says,
“You don’t deserve an entire limb.” Maybe I’ll
Hobble back to my sewer if I can throw away my crutches.
Somewhere someone puts an ice cream cone
On a pet mouse’s head and calls it a dunce hat.
Somewhere a family of motor mouths gets drive-though.
Oh, to hear my name announced on the intercom.
To get flattened like a pancake and used as a mattress.
No wonder everyone’s sheets get stained with blood.
Still, calculations keep landing in my in-box.
I must keep making them until everything adds up at the end.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Poem to Point Fingers

In the middle of our garden a tomato had grown
So big we decided to put a top hat on it
And call it Mr. Tomato. Mr. Tomato,
Would you like some tea? we would ask,
And one of us would do his voice: Yes, please.
Almost immediately he began to demand a wife.
A real peach, he said. All we had was a cow,
So we led her over to Mr. Tomato and tied
Her to his vine. The next morning we discovered
That the cow had eaten him, and was wearing his top hat.
Now I need a husband, she demanded, although
In truth it was one of us in a cow-like voice.
The only suitable mate was my brother,
Who we led over and tied to the cow’s bell.
The next morning we discovered my brother
Had eaten the cow and was wearing her top hat.
Now I need a wife, he pleaded, although he
Wasn’t old enough to talk. We rummaged
Through the barn, which contained so many things.
A jar of canned tomatoes would do, so we tied
My brother around its neck, and immediately
They began to mate. The next morning we awoke
From some dream or other to find that a city
Had sprouted all around us. We could not find
Our brother – perhaps he was an old man who
Had just driven off to some black tie affair?
Anyway, we were tied to our beds,
And if premonitions were to be trusted,
We’d better stay that way.

What the Billboard Says

The billboard is a mirror. It is meant to reflect god,
But all it gets is the clouds. Oh look, there’s a cloud
That is a black boot. All of the people scream and scurry
As it drifts over the city. Now it’s stamping and grinding,
It’s absolutely furious for reasons unknown,
And there is a great clap of sound that sets off car alarms.
Is it the boot of god? everyone’s wondering as they run.
Those who were under the sole, when it lifts and moves
On, have not been crushed. They are only wet with tears.
And behold, the billboard is reflecting the empty sky!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Progress of Man

A man was getting into his car – he was very late,
And the car was new and absolutely reflective.
He lowered himself into the driver’s seat, fussed with
The seatbelt, placed his briefcase on the passenger seat,
And looked up to find he was in the backseat.
Strange, he thought,
And carefully got out, so as not the scuff anything,
Tilted things back into their proper positions,
And began to lower himself into the driver’s seat.

He was extremely late, and his automobile was new,
And thus would be pleasure to swiftly navigate.
He fussed with the seatbelt, placed his briefcase to the side,
And looked up to find he was again in the backseat.
There was the driver’s headrest – he could not see
The windshield. How bazaar, he thought.
Carefully, like a tourist at a domino toppling convention,
He got out. Things were not looking so new now.
But still he was very, very late, and the car was waiting

To be driven. Grasping the wheel, he lowered himself
Into the driver’s seat, fussed with his seatbelt,
Placed his briefcase on the passenger seat,
And looked up to find he was sitting in the backseat.
What the hell’s going on? he yelled as he got out.
He stood on the pavement and scratched his head.
Everything seemed in order, although the car
Was rusting – he’d deal with that later.
He wondered if this was some kind of prank.

He was beyond late now – there wasn’t
A word for what he was. He crossed himself
As he began to lower into the driver’s seat, fussed
With the seatbelt, placed his briefcase on the passenger seat,
And looked up. He was in the backseat. He was furious.
He leapt out, threw himself into the driver’s seat, snapped
The seatbelt, tossed his briefcase against the window,
Shattering it, spraying documents everywhere,
And then refused to look up at what he knew was there…

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Man Bites his Own Tail

I am a man who eats women.
I like them boiled, I like them baked.
I like them dead on my plate.

I notice there is no supper.
There is no steam, there is no scent.
My damned mistress, my maid,

Why have you not stuffed yourself?
I cannot place you in the broiler,
I cannot baste your breasts with butter.

Besides, the oven isn’t heating up.
The measuring cup has no bottom.
The onions fall on the floor.

They roll around the prep table leg,
But I can’t stop salivating
Long enough to chop them.

After I rub you with oil I watch
The sky with its false earthenware lid.
Ah, the trees look like wooden spoons

Grasped by a green giant’s hand.
You say you might be pregnant again.
This calls for a dusting of flour!

The Killer Lurking in the Square

The killer was a manifestation viewed from a mile up –
The pooling around the particular petal,

And the city a frost-burned pasque flower,
A silver locket with fine filigree and flagellum,

And the pores of pale skin just in its shadow.
He has his hands around her neck now,

He has his designs and Georgia on his mind,
Sweet murderer, with a pure interest

In ending life processes before they end
Themselves, which is called a natural death.

Perfect object, idea of a rectangle or parallel
Parasols strolling down a post-apocalyptic

Dance hall in the delicate rain scented with cement.
Couple in pastel love, beware the killer,

He wears white gloves, he chugs, as he is fat
Off the mystery we pretend is around the corner.

We Dedicate a Monument

If not for the sake of Alistair, to who shall
We dedicate this diving bell?

He comes with his aniline dropper,
His bronze baby shoes,

And we have been corrugated in the square
So long we’ve grown as one,

And, yes, hair can syncopate into
The band’s brassy tune hanging in the air.

Alistair! We’ve left your felt cap
At the height of your head, please

Slide under our arms. We’re lowering
Your bell into the water,

You must steal under its corner
When we confuse the sea for the sky

And blow your famous bubbles
That burst like wishes on the surface.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Cliffs of Blackrock

Each shaft of rock is a needle in the arm
Of a Chinese doll, and it’s begging
For a little bullion to ward off

The incredible saga of the crow and shadow
That duel despairingly –
Soft kicks like folds of snow

Tossed against a mannequin’s navel,
A little smart punch
Like a sudden memory of a childhood

Toy, it’s starting to sprinkle
Gray water like the water shimmered
On new cement in a cemetery walkway.

It would be impossible to rise from the earth
With such a lid in place,
And the cliffs go on breathlessly.

Pining for the Fjords

The pining for the fjords is done in discrete
Heal hiccups on the walk to the gift shop
Of memory’s white onion –

Alas, the most misunderstood faction
Of tears is the trail they leave
As they pool upon the beltway

And penetrate into the soul, which is illusive.
They are being mimicked by birds,
And one can hear the angel’s wings

Popping under the pressure of the sea.
The fjords narrow in that brilliant reflection
Like the pupil of a drugged wombat,

And we must pine after them as we shimmy
Toward the ultimate compression
Of a picture book’s uncorrected proof.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Suburbs Described

I wore a death-proof coat, but it had to be taken off to air
An hour a day. It always rained in those days, and the coat
Was not waterproof – nor did it stop the cold,
Which could run its blade down the bumps of your spine,
In a manner of speaking. Naturally, the heat was made
Much worse in the coat. Life was miserable all over.
It’s sleeves always knocking glasses of port
Onto the carpet; lovemaking was numb and distant.
But for that hour, around sunset (although one was free
To choose the time), the coat had to be removed
And placed on a special rack, next to the books ideally,
And the wearer, who I’m sure was me, Descartes!,
Could prance about in the glorious risk of life,
Scoop flowers, tell a wife you loved her, or stand in the street
Watching the weathervane spin surreptitiously,
Exposed to death, sure, but also free from the coat.

Sunday in the Park

The children have found a corpse in the sky.
Do we hug them to our torsos, cover their eyes,
And pretend it’s not there? Or do we admit, yes,
This happens to us all, and it’s not uncommon
For playing children to stumble upon?
There will be questions which we can anticipate.
They’ll want to know about ropes and devices
Of deception, which we must deny exist
Even if we suspect something. If not ropes, they’ll
Persist, then magic? Well, not specifically, no,
We must reply, although we all shoot glances.
There is nothing on the horizon just now,
And perhaps the children will return to
Kite flying, when one of us, just then,
Begins her assent. It’s always so jerky,
Like lifting a large trunk onto a cargo ship,
And several others have suspiciously disappeared,
And more have dressed in all black.
But up she goes, eyes crossed out,
Limbs in broken poses, fluids leaking on the roses.
All we can say is see, children, see. It’s not so bad.

Seeing Clearly

Dressed in my body, I go to the wall of fog
To see the fashion show of presentations:
A convict’s tin cup held briefly before me,
But there’s nothing inside; an empty book
Floats from the fog only to subside;
A black bird flapping is shot by an invisible
Rifle that reloads somewhere in the fog.
The bird inverts like a banana; inside it,
More fog. The grass is gray; the sky is gray.
The fog may stand for anything you wish, but
You may not stand in the fog.
I undress and turn away and exchange clothes
With the next man, who inexplicably
And out of his sound mind
Has come to the wall of fog to gaze for a spell.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Philosophical Clockmaker

I was a clockmaker who hated clocks.
I never did a lick of work,
Yet my business was thriving.
Oh, how I’d cringe when some little prick
Would bring in his dying grandfather:
That ivory dial with those vein-like cracks,
Those dark twitching murderous hands.
There is nothing I despise more.
The young fool might say something like:
Please save my clock; I’ve had it forever.
I’m sorry; I don’t fix clocks, I’d say.
But the sign says repair, he’d plead.
Yes, but if you knew what I do about them…
Let them die, is what I say –
You’re young; why let it torment you?
Then through pity I’d reluctantly
Take a look at the dying old bastard:
Its veneer was cracking, its glass was cataracted.
I’m sorry this has to happen, I whisper,
And gently place my hand on its crown.
You were probably Stalin’s right-hand man;
How many innocents have you driven to death?
Still, I pity you, as one pity’s a cow at a steakhouse.
And I say this very quiet, like in a lover’s ear,
I’m going to enjoy watching you die.
I tell the kid, who’s forty if he’s fourteen,
That it’s best he leave the clock with me.
I can do only what I can do, nothing more.
My shop is packed with clocks; there’s only room
On the ceiling for another, so I begin hoisting
The lousy criminal up there with a noose.
That’s all there is to it. I stare at the empty street.
Study my brass tools, of which I don’t know
The names. And of course the ticking,
The infernal ticking, so loud that I can think
Of nothing but their impeding demise.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Strong Father, Dunce Son

I’m sorry son but we can’t go to the Ganges;
Not tonight, not anytime soon. I’m standing
Here in my pith helmet and khakis, but we cannot,
I say, no matter what form your begging takes,
Find our seats and watch the props
Catch: it’s impossible; I know it could not be.

You cannot relieve yourself in Mary’s purse.
For our purposes, we should consider
That handbag closed for good, although I
Understand the temptation. I’ve squatted
Over it a few times in my day.
She leaves it so casually open and she’s never
In the room. But no, no!

Bad news: son, you cannot grow anymore.
It is imperative that you obey me.
Space, as they say, is limited, and I
Your father have already filed claim
To what was there – you cannot bubble
Over into a neighbor’s (what are you, pie?)
One must know what height to aspire to
And try one’s best to make due.

I’ve made a will, and I’m dying.
You must not follow any of my wishes.
This is as important as a morning pill:
I’ve scrambled everything. I think I’m going
Back to where I was before birth –
My judgment’s soft and pitted like foam.
A man is a waffle in life and the iron is hot.
I was always a dead man, and I sentenced you too.
Please, son, I beg you, ignore everything…

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Robot Rape

I wore an aluminum mask;
She wore two tin funnels on her chest.
We called each other names
Like “beast” and “lover”.

When I banged on her breast,
There was no sound.
When she slipped a finger under
My mask, the light was gone.

She wondered aloud
But there was no answer.
The rape was not the rape
We imagined before.

She wanted to scream for help
In an empty corridor.
For the echo of that scream
To find its way outside.

I wanted to unmask myself
Only to find another mask.
At the end, a pile of masks
On the floor to cuddle on.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Dark Recipe

Ennui with particular flavor of nightingale.
O, the black plume from the chimney drifts
Like a note from a wine bottle in an open window.
I’ve read too many books – or perhaps not enough.

From this book of spells, I was making a love potion
For the world, but the wind lost my page for good.
I guess, o sorcerer, I just keep adding the heavenly
Ingredients until it thickens bewitchingly.

Store it in a blue bottle with a dark stopper?
Or perhaps give it to the homeless shelter –
They can soak it up in hunks of stale bread.
I’ve noticed no change in the world’s demeanor,

Even in the spring flowers which bloom sparingly.
I’ll leave some on this park bench
And even the birds won’t touch it.
I’ll slip it into this stoup and hope the holy

Will activate it. But the world and I remain
At odds. Night birds with their black beaks
Beat at my windows. I’ve a lamp on,
So I can see nothing of the outside.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dumplings of Dry Air, Savanna, Georgia

I was certainly going on safari.
I was moving my pith helmet to the lower hook
When a ground swell of epic dysentery
Swept through the crew, who were just then
Whittling the oars. We were thrilled; we could almost hear
The lions yawning and the jackals composing themselves.
We were up on a wave – the pirogue scuttled some
But not nearly enough to consider it at sea.
We went nowhere.
The crew’s morale was flattened; the water in barrels
Below deck lashed out against the bungs.
I could hear the ropes leathering.
My muzzle was mutilated, and I was cribbing
The hull again to recreate a landscape
Of my childhood in splinters and negative space:
I was being beaten by my brother; my mother lecturing
Me on the subject of hydrolysis until I refused baths –
I spent my time on a pile fearing the rainy season.
But I was a new man now. I was going on safari.
Regardless, I moved my pith helmet to the upper hook;
Like the famous jackal, I needed to compose myself.
I took off my trousers and neatly addressed them:
Men, said I, we’ve got to be vigilant
And tussle the tepid metaphor which is the sea,
Its depths as stony as men’s souls
With all those demons and cuttlefish lurking
Between bands of decomposing sea hair,
Which their mothers’ demand washed and combed.
I surveyed the crew for signs of mutiny.
Just then Karl rung the eight bells
Indicating that it was time to luncheon.
We threw anchor, and readied the ropes.
The city intersection was busy: the autos backed up
Like a wake behind us. But we had set a course
For a waffle house, and we were aiming to board her.
Sir, Karl said tugging my pink life preserver,
What should be done about your pith helmet?
I was beaming with pride as I placed it on the lower hook,
To Karl’s surprise and approval. He unzipped his costume
And it was my mother: she smiled and walked the plank.
Men, said I, order flaxseed, for we sail for the Dark Continent
When dawn’s red face peeks from behind its masquerade.
Unfortunately, they only had dumplings, which steamed
Like a ghost’s wound when a fork was applied.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Love Poultice

Ennui with particular flavor of nightingale. O, the black plumes from the chimneys drift like a note from a wine bottle in an open window. The wind has taken the recipe card and now the rain is spotting the ink. I guess, love, it’s dueling banjos until our blood thins enough to reverse its flow, and time’s rooster tail settles its plume of mist upon the valley where our little nest laid an egg.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Do-Da, Do-Da

In those days I slept with my head in a birdcage. It was in the middle of an abandoned pet store. There was always some cat or viper trying to pick my brain, but I had hung myself far enough above the bloodstained floor to feel safe. I was a friend of the carpet beetle who made the controversial statement that they were more populous than god. As for the jazz-playing mongrels howling in the windows, their pawing didn’t bother me so much as the fleas, who immediately moved into my fright wig. I had to reach out and pull the rope even higher, which screwed up the canary’s view of the setting sun. My legs, of course, just grew longer, and a parrot sang me the blues. Ah, those were the days of discovery. Now I stand lashed in the playground where children swing from my crotch. I still have the bird shit halo, which I wear on walks.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Spiritual Transformation Rag

It was the age of becoming, and I could feel
The blossoming of my insides with each breath.
The city’s flood gates had been closed by pranksters,
And we were all pressing against them in agony,
Wishing that the water would wash through
Our basements to clean our clothes so we didn’t have to.
But what was I becoming? you may ask.
To this there is no easy answer, although I drew
Straws with a stranger all night for the right
To obfuscate my response – all straws were equal,
Dammit! The field of creeping Bermuda grass
Is as close-cropped as an illuminated manuscript’s spine,
And I’m wearing a shirt that says, “I’m with Stupid!”
I’m alone, except for my company of solider ants,
Which have marched away with all my greenbacks.
I was becoming something; I could feel the change.
Perhaps I’ll stand on my hands and walk on god’s face?
It was no use – god was viewing a different stereoscope
At that moment, one where sailors ride an oil tank
Into the center of the street and begin to sell refreshments
To the pilgrim passengers of tour busses, who all agree
That sludge is much better in costal towns.
My feet are dangling from the white cliffs of Dover.
The sea is the color of the sky. I’ve become a poor sandpiper,
As I cannot blow a steady note through any plot of sand.
I’m becoming one with the illuminated mind.
I must have a nightlight or boogiemen tap dance
On my solitude until it’s trapped under my bed,
And I must become my own father and reassure myself
That there’s nothing there while also refusing to look.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

At the Cleaners

I was a suit on a drycleaner’s rack. A gray faucet drips at the end of the line. All night my closest friends and I advance toward the hissing machine. I with the loose red dye, with innumerable dark buttons, and a black ink stain in the pocket above the heart. My naked owner with his chewed stub is cowering in the waiting room. The store lights have been turned off, and the closed sign flipped. Outside it slowly becomes morning and a line of naked men forms at the door. The first ones through are a priest, a minister, and a rabbi. They’re demanding their clothes, but unfortunately for them I’ve died them all pink.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

City on the Brink, the Year 2001

It was just a little big town, the kind subject to flowery description in letters home. A peddler with his fake watches waving hello, a commissioner whistling on his lunch hour with his sweetheart. I was from someplace else, and I went there to bury my face in a tire. There were remnants of the fragrance of blossoms the tire had traveled through – I saw straight into the future with its many white steps. But then dark clouds bullied out the sun, and the bricks began to shiver. The watch man packed up his parasol and the commissioner stood and stared at the sky. Still, I clung to my tire sniffing its many scents. I was taken to the heart of some greasy borough; I was elevated on a suspension bridge over the whitecaps of a channel. All the while I was composing my own letter home. I spoke only of a green jar at a fishmonger’s filled with fish eyes, how they looked on but never blinked. I thought that was all the people at home needed to know – there is an eye that sees in the middle of a disaster. Never mind anything else.

If Then Else

N equals the vacancy of the world, the tomorrows in the sting being slowly eliminated. Print the explanation in black type on a black screen. It is dark in your cubicle – the whole world is dark. If you’re looking for something dead, then go to the alley and poke its eyes. There is a single amber streetlamp there. Else, stay under your covers and shiver until the end line.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The World’s Premier Barbershop

I can only encourage the young, for whom there is no hope. I put a penny in a barrel everyday my whole life – now I give it to the kid getting his first haircut. I used to believe I was a barber; do the young believe that’s a real red horse they sit on? Do they think a handheld mirror lets one see behind his head? My how heavenly blue the jar of Barbercide. It was only a matter of time before I drank a little, and now I lay here waiting for death. Here is my savings, dear children. Go, play while you can; drop it from a skyscraper into the busy street below. The god of barbers will be along with his many hands to sweep everything that’s lost down your shirt.

The Time Capsule

I’ve been given a choice. Either I go in the time capsule, or I work the night shift on the pain killer assembly line. They’re waiting to seal me in, with a crew to patch the wall and put up the plaque. Or they’re waiting to drag me off, to pack up my snack cart. There is a necktie in the capsule, an earnings report, a pasque flower with brown petals. Then there is the long stairwell to the basement with its stalactites, its sales slogans, its alluring mist. I have nothing in my life; I have walked these corridors selling snacks for so long I’ve stepped from my memory like a robe. So I choose the capsule. One of the crew, who I just noticed is in a gorilla suit, readies his giant wooden mallet. It has to be a headache that lasts a lifetime, mind you. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Strange Interlude

I see figures, strange figures.
The puddle of mud
In front of the dollhouse window
Was its own self-portrait.

A miniature family of art critics
On little electric scooters
Slams through it,
Sending a drop of mud

Into the daughter’s dainty teacup.
She takes a sip and sighs.
I saw all this through the front façade.
At 1/10th scale,

The sky was blue,
Blue jays were screaming.
A little mud settled on a doll’s lips.
Or was it blue clay?

Ever since I’ve met you,
I’ve swept you off my feet.
I’ve used a toy broom.
The one children also paint with.

Paradise A-Go-Go

The woods are silent
Except for the flipping
Of a musical score
In the gray wind.

Taps his twig on the podium
To ready his cast.

The choir invisible
With eunuch voices,
Can you hear them warming
Up with their infinite

Scales? Now the dark
Curtain of winter lifts.
The conductor taps again
And a crescendo of wildflowers

Bursts from the floor,
The color of stained glass
In a child’s drawing
With happy poisonous mushrooms.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Empty Street

An abandoned hat on a park bench.
Across the street, a company
That made milk glass Marys
With its windows boarded shut.
The street’s only car with a flat tire;

Its only woman with one breast.
She shuffles endlessly into the horizon
In her shoes with holes in the heels.
The dark buildings encroaching,
An old hat blowing between her legs.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dark Cast

My pals from the internet have virtually touched me.
We’ve chatted anonymously about the weather for hours.
I feel so safe behind this firewall of lies and illusions.
The world’s template can only be seen in glimpses.
My blind fingers type without my knowledge,
The gap of the absolute’s cut and paste is beyond me,
The processor behind the cursor taunts me.
There’s nothing to click on – my screen is dark.
I’ve been online my whole life with no hardcopy.
I wore a black cast and a dirty sling.
My malingering mania that I exist, my my my,
Said the online doctor who’s love shy and showing it.
I followed a blind link. My thoughts are popping up.
There’s a witness that isn’t deluded – no source
That isn’t stolen. My friend’s whom I’ve never met,
They’re all from the Bermuda Triangle.
I’ve confessed everything to them.
They’ve all seen me naked – know all my bank numbers.
It’s the interconnectedness of the world that troubles me.
They can trace me back to my root directory.
I cannot see what I cannot see.

Your Honor

A condemned man
Is careful around electrical gadgets
In his leaky cement cell.

The shiv under the mattress
With its rusty blade
Is innocent compared to the radio

Which only picks up gospel.
One frivolous spin of the dial and
Amazing Grace becomes

Go Tell it on the Mountain.
The bars don’t prevent escape
From the sentence.

On an overcast day, guards will lead
Him cautiously into the chair,
The switch will be pulled

By a hooded minotaur.
There will be the audience
Of mortals sobbing for the life

They’ve yet to lose
Behind the dark glass.
But for now, he’s on edge.

In the prison a few of us are walking
The corridor, which stretches on
For days in either direction.

A faint television can be heard.
It’s a sitcom, but no one is
Laughing despite the actors’ faked fall.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lounge Act

Practicing smoke rings
In front of a silver mirror.

The sick angels on my chin
With their halos and their harps
Singing the blues.

I was just a ventriloquist’s dummy
With a wrinkled forehead
But I was able to think
Independently of what the hand
On my spine was making me do.

It was a long night.
There were many mysterious stars.

Just then my soul went platinum.
Just as the first spotlight peeked
I was shedding my robes
And readying for a long sober routine
Of washed up material

Against the gray heads
Of the impatient audience
Waiting to run into the street
Whenever some dark waiter drops a glass.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

World Theater

There was a small golden man
Reading to me from a dirty book.

Its contents were scandalous,
Especially the intimate pictures

Of the nude landscape.
There was a doll lying facedown

As if she had been shot,
And the golden man scooped

Her into his arms.
I followed him for many miles.

Finally, he used a piece of rose quartz
To write something on her

Porcelain face. She had a way
Of expressing nothing at all.

What are you writing, I asked him.
He refused to tell me.

Instead he shoved her into a mailbox.
Now it was story time again.

I sat on a park bench to listen.
The golden man had a new book.

It was called the secret of the universe,
And its pages were blank.

It had been delivered in a blind wrapper
By a postman who dressed like a thief.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Little Red Berries on a Green Bush

My horse jumps in a well.
The cold wind steals my hat
And it lands on a bush.
This has to be some kind of joke.

My horse is happy down there.
Guess I’ll make a life right here.
I can use this eggbeater
From my junior chef’s set

To carve a nest in the bush
Right under the brim of my hat.
If crows come to squat,
I can have omelets from their eggs.

In the berries one can see
The tiny clusters of seeds
And swear they’re staring back at you.
Now my horse wants out.

I think he should wait
Until the world turns upside down.
He says I can go to hell,
So I jump in the well with him.

Fool’s Paradise

Pity me; I am a fool. You are a woman.
I have worn this brace in the ocean,
Although I fancy an infinite thunderstorm
To pleasure your mending heart.
I am a man – it is true. You have two jumpers
And you’ve brought them to me:
Shall I backbend for your effort?
Ah, but I am an idiot who cannot
Beat himself at checkers, who cannot spell
His own initials, who must remember
To hold his breath underwater.
You are a woman: please forgive me.
The ferryman is paddling backwards.
The sands of time are tumbling
In the locket of a sailor. I know nothing is
Forever – I’ve collected all I can.
I have shuttled up that palm frond
And used it to commit hari-kari.
Camouflage my body in your fragrance,
Nobody will raise a hand in protest.
You are a woman and I embody a fool.

Crossed Wires

I couldn’t tell if we were clocked in or out,
Not that it mattered terribly,
But our cubicles were waiting
Without us, which was okay too.
It was unacceptable behavior
From the standpoint of management,
But they were so high up
We looked like frail old man insects anyway.
So we returned to our keypads,
Clocked in or clocked out,
And here’s where I get those wires crossed.
I was plugging in my receiver
And all of a sudden sparks.
Everyone comes over and yep
Sparks are the answer on everyone’s
Lips – also, which wire was it?
By now I had a pretty good clue.
It was either the sending unit
Or the pulse-width actuator,
But I was afraid to touch anything.
Nelson, who’s new, reached down
And was zapped instantly and had to be
Transferred to the endpoint
Where he now mumbles into a paper cup.
So was I to continue with crossed wires?
Susan suggests staples, and we give
That a go, although it is clear it’s insane,
And wouldn’t even work in Altoona,
Which was behind us in production.
Bertrand pipes up just then with the strategy
Of crossing two more wires to restore
Balance and harmony to the whole unit;
This is the best idea since the cataloging
Concept of two months ago, so it’s green-lighted.
It was agreed that wires on opposite sides
Should be pulled, and their grommets
Tagged, and reharnessed in the corresponding
Feeds. This settled it and I was back
Online, and everyone returned
To their cubicles to resume output.
But then Guy’s receiver was fading in
And out, and we looked down
And sure enough: the beginnings
Of more crossed wires and blue sparks.

Modes of Dress

Suits begin their lives as a single
Cell and must eat their parents
To put on weight. When weaned,
They fall from their nests
And begin to crawl on their cuffs.
It is a long journey from the country
To the cloverleaf highway, where
They over-winter before hitching
A ride on a battery of pipes
Heading for the industrial heart.
It is the lucky suit that will see
Its intended mannequin;
Most freeze in the snows.
Even luckier is the three-piece
That is tried on by its intended mate.
It is the job of a suit to attract
The opposite sex. This is accomplished
By flairing in a store window,
Displaying a many-colored pocket square,
Or by strutting about with pin striping extended.
If a mate is interested, he will brush
The price tag or nuzzle the fabric.
A suit is considered mated when worn
For the first time. It is now time
For reproduction. This is a most private
Act undertaken in the folds
Of an inseam. Should a suit be conceived,
They are blessed by special blue deacons;
The expecting hang like tonsils tickling the air
In the quiet closet with many saviors,
Each with its own spare
Button tacked to it with wire.
Everything is incensed and holy.
Moths may even alight.

Brace Face

A little train ran on my braces and a woman was tied to the tracks.
I could always hear her screaming, the distant chugging of the engine.
The exhaust would become clouds on the roof of my mouth,
When I sneezed I could taste the sulfur and the coal.
In the evenings I would stare at her wiggling in the vanity.
In the mornings I would gently water-pick around her.
She was horrified by my intrusion but she never begged me
To untie her; anyway, I would have probably harmed her.
She was like an angel, so fragile and so lovely.
My mouth always smelled of fresh rain on asphalt.
There were meadows of bacteria on the papillae of my tongue.
I imagined some sort of sun setting and rising.
I was always careful when taking communion.
I never gulped hot soup for fear it would scald her.
The train was always chugging in the distance; it never overtook her.
Where was the masked bandit? I wanted to know.
What kind of conductor never made any progress?
The dentist was puzzled: she took several x-rays.
She said this happens in very few cases, but it is reported.
Your teeth are much straighter and soon you will shed the braces.
On the day that happened a little hero rode up.
He carefully bent down and put his ear to the wire.
Now the train’s headlamp was emerging from my oral cavity.
The hero removed his gloves and whispered something to her.
I was very upset; I realized how much I loved her.
And here was this tiny hero about to untie her.
I closed my mouth and made the sun go down.
I whipped up a storm and made an avalanche threaten.
I could hear the whistle calling closer and closer.
But she was soon free and kneeling and praying.
I felt the urge to sleep, as if she was asking.
She was begging me for some understanding.
The hero was angry and flipping me off wildly.
The conductor was shouting that they be more careful.
And then the dentist finally pulled up the tracks.

“Ship Passengers Who Fell Seek Privacy”

I was a small man playing a small violin on the Titanic.
Imagine a giant’s shoe being pulled through a dry ice fog.
The owner of that shoe would of course be bigger than god.
The wood paneling was inlaid with philosophy,
The napkins were of the finest ontological fallacies.
There was plenty of running and shoving on deck.
The couples would then head below for more formal activities.
Oh, do go on, was the call of the ship's mighty horn.
Nobody had a clue what was coming; everyone was
So young at the buffet. The ship’s captain arrived
In his chariot: his robes and beard were the same color.
He had an air of distracted privilege about him.
I began to play something of my own as he passed.
Now the stars were out and for the first time I felt minuscule.
The cool breeze of the world as it shook out its socks.
The swaying of the sea rocking everyone to sleep.
A woman and her dying husband – or were their roles reversed?
They peered into the dark water with heavy eyes.
Later, of course, the panic would render sleeping impossible.
But for now I was just a small man playing my violin.
I had just written the world’s tiniest mournful tune
For which I had dived to the depths of the human soul.

Tree Surgeon

Please do not harm my trees.
I have given up on all but trees;
They are the only thing I
Desire to save.

The fragmented nature
Of the modern world
Is never more mysterious
Than in a yard absent of trees,

Which are like great periscopes
Into the past.
A big blooming broom bush
When the morning sun strikes it

Is not nearly as luscious
As the Siberian larch
When wounded
In winter. I consider

Landowners as carriers
And I am very careful
When shaking hands
That they do not make me sick.

I haunt the earth, which is
A fingernail stripe
On medium grit sandpaper;
We all wake to wander

Through a house renovation
That’s never near completion.
We’re little statuettes,
Desperate little renderings

Of a world that never stops swaying,
Looking for keys in the trash
And finding them instead
Woven in a bird’s nest.

In the ditch the man
In charge of mowing
Down the meadow
Puts his palms on my saw,

And I acupuncture his neck
With pine needles.
This is my only kindness,
But to tend to trees,

Stronger and with so many fruits
And nuts and tenets,
With so many whispering leaves
With more limbs than even Shiva.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Swimmer Against the Flare

A flare in the darkness
Will be brought about by clapping.
No, there is no celebration:
The flare is horrifying.

It can be avoided by averting
The eyes or wearing goggles
At night. It can be ignored,
Although it is very warm,

And one can shut oneself into
A crypt to try to seal out the light,
Much like early pharaohs.
The wind blows, but it does not

Carry anything with it;
The earth molts every motion
That’s carved by the swimmer’s hand.
The backstroke is very sensuous,

But the front crawl is best
For keeping the flare at bay.
I practice it all day deeper
And deeper into unprotected waters.

I do not clap but it doesn’t matter.
The darkness digs in its boots,
The flare is only doing what’s what.
I shiver and keep my eyes closed.

A Wedding Against Days

Why don’t you look outside?
My fat young bride.
Your breath is death,
Must you breathe so rapidly?

An altar of light – whachama call it?
I call to it when I’m inside
Your hide under the ceiling fan
Which twirls on the oblivion’s nipple.

Five friars farting in the crossing,
Zed, zed hits me on the head
And I make my stand
Against my pituitary gland

And mumble to the marriage manufacturer
That a ring round enough for her
Fat finger could only be oiled
With an earth-sized olive, olé.

The World of the Infirmary

Some of us were sicker than the others, but we tried to make the infirmary a pleasant place to recoup. Unfortunately every case was worsening by the minute. There was an invisible doctor who scribbled on a clipboard and the nurse only seemed to manifest when it was time to take our temperature. The white floor was as clean as a baby’s first tooth. However the ceiling was covered in cobwebs that no one dared sweep off for fear the entire ward would collapse in fits of coughing, the likes of which could also throw off the rotation of the earth.


A little girl playing piano in front of an open window. Outside the streets were wet with rain. The name of the tune was either “I’ve Swallowed the Seed of Seduction” or “Lost in an Imaginary Funerary Complex.” The sun was going down through the lilac bushes, and yet I couldn’t turn away. I was planted there until she ran off to bed. I can still hear everything I’ve ever heard, which might wind up being nothing at all.

A Cartoonish Sunset

Miss Light, run, run! The steamroller is chugging and you may be crushed flat. I would hate to lose you; you make me whole again in the morning over pancakes. My darling, my sensei, do not run in a straight line; do not head for that hill on the horizon. We are all dying – you carry in your backpack our last notebook of hope. I love you like a schoolboy staring out the window. Please, make like the wind and live a little, for heaven’s sake.

From a Trench

We’re dug in here and there is no message from the front. I can hear the Panzers growling. Every time I wave my helmet, I catch a bullet. There, caught another. I’ve been sending them to my wife in Kentucky. They have little messages on them. Things like: “A man stands alone at the top of the world” or “I have seen a million flies spell out your name.” My wife’s sewing circle is stitching them into a narrative. “Haloo from one brain to another,” she says, and I use my bayonet to carve this on a bullet to send over there. But of course I shoot myself in the head, and the war’s over before it really was begun.

Images of the Sea from an Impermanent

My how the world sways in the breeze.
This is postcard country, and I’m blind
As a beach ball. I’ve come all this way
With a handful of sand, please accept
It as diminishing payment – it is disappearing
As you are, friend with no face. Thanks for letting
Me shack up with your mother and father,
Whose bed was sagging like a hammock.
Pipers at the gates of the sleeping porch
Poop out the last white of the sunset,
And I am nesting right here with my
Bluebottle hat and my jellyfish boots.
One must settle in before high tide.
I am immune to everything, my dear,
Except the whistling of a dredger,
And I am sucked from such a happy
Home and deposited elsewhere,
A sliver dollar in my seaweed satchel.
Still, the world is beautiful and warm
When we’ve learned to speak its language.
My postcard addressed to anonymous
Is full of partial stops that look like sea grass.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Breaking Up

I’ve left her in Shangri-la; it was all I could do.
Her claws were digging into my hip,
Besides it’s better this way.
She was seeking the seashore – now she
Has so much sea it’s sickening.
I’ve left her in good soft hands,
The kind that don’t usually slap faces
Or pinch washed up clavicles.
The umbrellas have been put out,
Look at all the moons and their shadows.
I can only remember, and I do not do
That very well, but I know I loved her.
It was always my desire to crack
Her open and pull her from her casing;
To really get to know the real her.
She would turn so red and tears often came.
But I’ve left her in Shangri-la.
Let’s let that be the last of it.

A Small Outpost in the Darkest Jungle

I was a material witness at a jury trial
For the Amazon king of bebop typesetting.
My first question: was it to be a hung
Jury? And the judge swore himself
Out of his robe and boxed my ears
And sent them back to America,
For which our tribal paradise was modeled.
We had everything, a little post office
For dead letters and convicted operators,
We had the same shores and winds,
We had a centralized sewer system,
Although it should be noted that we
Had to mouth-prime ours unlike
Our Yankee doppelgangers who had
Slaves to prime them (machines, yes,
But very aware of their mechanical conscription),
And the finest bread-in-a-can since
Sliced bread-in-an-ampoule and all the rest.
It was a system designed to impart
Fairness upon ticket holders who
Showed up at the event and whose names
Were selected; pity the king was getting his,
Since he was well liked and sat very
Erectly behind his little polycarbonate shroud.
Now things were starting and the typing
Of the mistress of the court could be heard
As she resigned all day in eloquent letters
Addressed dear sir or madman condemned
Etc and so on, and I was being called
Upon to attest to the king’s bebop typesetting,
Of which I could say his adventures into
Bursts of keystrokes and his melodious
Frame setting had resulted in increased
Output to the royal server which the American’s
Told us was nothing more than a grandfather
Clock ticking out the heartbeats of a corresponding
Grandfather in Ohio whose love of radishes
Had taken him halfway across the world
(But never here, thankfully, where they are turnips instead).

My First Job with the Company

The memory is a photo album
Someone spilled bloody Mary on,
But I applied for a job
By slipping my resume into a man’s
Pocket whom I brushed up against
On the material way home from the absolute.
As I understand the position was filled
With foam peanuts, and the elephant was sick
With ennui from too many stress tabs,
So I began immediately to organize them
Into tiny piles by name. I put all the Sara’s
Together and the Larson’s together,
But kept the Mumbly’s from the Archibald’s
Because they fought viciously
Over insignificant things like hair tonic.
My boss, who’s head was always in a cloud,
Was impressed by my cunning,
And began to pat me on the back
Until soup was ready and a cow gave
Birth, and the office had a party tray
Brought in from the exterior.
After hours it was the telephone club,
The kind that attracted the underbelly of the city
Who would deposit quarters to release the tones
Into the air that were otherwise locked
In tiny cells by themselves.
They were free to talk so long as the operator
Was being charmed out of her bunch cut.
We chatted up such a storm the shutters
Shut and we had to tunnel out
Through the grease trap, which the women
Found moderately pleasing despite
Us making them go last,
And there were disembodied officers
Waiting to slap imaginary zip ties
Around our necks, rub us down with salts,
Sign off on everything, and escort us back
Into the office where a mountain of paper
Was waiting for its flagpole to ripen.

Pastoral Lyric

Come live with me and be me,
The me I most desire in a fine
Drape of loosest silk snipped
From an old missile parachute,

And we will be shepherds tending
A network of computers
With mournful screens of white
Watching the early evening rain

And the empty gray sky
With a chorus of toads on the scum
To keep us nibbling each other’s
Ears and drinking each other’s breath

Like a fine nighttime port spilling
In the air. And I will make you
A bed of snails and they will carry
You off into the sunrise,

And I will knit for you a vest
Of wasps to ward off any advances,
And with my special silver needles
A satchel of shadows to stash

Your dreams. O you will be me
And I will be I, and Spring will ring
And invite us all to sun and shade
And marmalade on the dock of heaven.

Just Asking

Please allow me in,
I’ve been begging for weeks.
My skin is welted, my knees
Are as pale as a Frigidaire.

Please allow me in.
I’ve received my wings
From the pilot, I know how
To safely handle a flare.

Please, please allow me in.
I’ve got the Book of the Dead
Stuck in my head, I cannot see
How this is going to end.

All hope is scattered like flecks
Of paint on a lawn, my knuckles
Can no longer think for themselves.
Please allow me in.

Will you reach with a moonbeam
And flick the deadbolt like only you can?
I’ve got my dunce hat in hand.
Please allow me in.

Sneaky Flowers

Spring brings a huddle
Of hooded flowers.
What were they plotting?

They stink up the place
Like the homeless loitering
On stoops and in parks.

Why so yellow, so blue?
Why do they hang out
With the sick and acquitted?

Such a filthy lot.
Now they’ve got rotten heads
Full of bad worms.

After their crime spree,
They go underground
Until the heat dies down.

The Modern Western Manatee

A manatee awakens at tee time,
Whether in its natural suburban
Underwater environment or out
In the depths of a vacation.

It will defend against attack,
But is also known to attack its young
While collecting food or in
A traffic jam, which is designed

To safely catch a mature manatee
For study under bright lights.
The Kantian variety is quite tame
And will allow its bank account stroked;

The Goldwater is not and will react
With obfuscating rhetoric and spittle.
The species hauls around its weight in smoke
And is thought to have evolved

Its wavering time signature through
Statements such as “I can do anything”
Or “I won’t stop sobbing.”
In the evenings it nests in foam.

Its lifespan is dependant upon its success
At procuring ideas. It attempts to mate for life
But the availability of fermented saviors
Usually limits the activity to once a month.

Viewing the Memory Movie

The memory movie will start soon,
The sunlight is dimming.
Please send away the children,
Please remove your feet from the seat
And hobble them quietly.
Yes, you cannot see; nobody
Can see anything, please make due.

My, the curtain of crushed material
Is as thick as service manual
And the stagehand is working on the floor,
Out-polishing the monument maker
Who sits in the back row
With his compounds and clothes
And his family of little red-haired immigrants.

The usher will come round and check
Ticket stubs with his subatomic flashlight
And his undertaker’s vest.
He tells you he’s a boy of seventeen
But he looks like an old man,
And he will also run the projector
In the hot little booth.
His nametag reads “X”.

Now a flash of white light – no
You are not dying, it’s just the first frame.
You will see all you’ve known play out
On the screen, which has a tear
Running diagonally from corner to corner.
You will sink in your velvet seat
In your best mourning dress,
And later meet the stars in the lobby.

Hunting the Truth

I spied a truth skipping
Through the brome
On the long walk home.
Did you know it is rare to see a truth
In its natural environment
And very little is known about them?

We know all truths are blind
But sensitive to other stimuli,
Such as crying or mocking,
Which makes them extend
Their haunches and split
Into pieces, much like a lizard’s

Tail, and hide in clouds or graves,
Depending on the season. But that’s all.
On this day I saw one
Undetected, and I crept up behind it
As slowly as an old man
Peering over the edge of a cliff.

It had stopped to paw
At a paper wasp’s nest.
Its plumage was quite striking,
And it was scenting the air
All around it with a strange musk.
Like I said, I was walking home

But I had my cast net
And I began to unwind it carefully,
And I could feel myself going
Stupid with anticipation.
I was as silent as a doll reading
On a shelf in a child’s room,

And just as I was about to throw,
It arose to display its intruder warning
And split and shot like a phantom
Into a grave, and the wasps
Plunged their stingers into my skull.
It was one more in a lifetime of lost truths.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Small Toy for Not Straying Too Far

The neck has a delicate feel,
And although boisterous,
Hides its face in the brain

Whenever it detects others
Looking on. These were the days
Of others, which made trouble

For necks, who were happier
Sticking out. One could
Hide in a stall for a moment

And catch a glimpse
Of an expression and perhaps
Stroke its nape, but never

Parade them around on the empty
Promenade like in the past.
What you got were a bunch

Of necks on the brain,
Just to be clear here.
It made navigation a snap

Although an entire body
Must move to assess exits,
And the highway was never

More forgotten then when
Never alone, the possessors,
Or guardians, if you will,

Would meet face-to-face
In a great explosion of
Glass thoughts and braced

Necks to try to force
Them out into the sunlight
To stretch their legs.

Luck be a Lady?

It was thought previously that luck was a lady,
But it turned out that luck just wanted to fuck
One specific lady who at the moment
Is driving a convertible down a canyon road.
She sees herself thumbing for a ride, stops,

And the whole thing is set in motion forever.
The rusty hotel room, the foggy mirrors,
The banging and the backpedaling.
Luck moves like many other lucks,
Licks a woman like a lollypop stick,

And the lights are out for a spell and we’re
Left to make up the rest of the details.
It is known they do not involve drunken marriage,
But probably a chalkboard demonstration
At the end of which luck erases her footprints.

Just Sitting Around

It makes a man think.
What does? It.
It makes a man relax
In his trousers and pull plants.
The plants, he considers,
But he does not think
Because it is not present

Just then: it’s gone off to get
The mower, although that’s
Impossible. What a strange life,
It pokes him in the gullet to say,
And the line of ants parts
And the sky coughs up a cloud
Or two for consideration.

The Seekers

We were running a ribbon.
It was not like the others

But then again they never are.
There it was against the landscape

Making a big scene,
And we were running it like children.

Of course, it took science years
To discover its shape,

And during the typical lifespan
One can never encounter a ribbon,

So the question of everyone’s mind
Was: how the hell did we place it?

We didn’t! It found us during lemonade,
And we immediately sprinted.

Oh, to feel it against the palm – I’m only
Imagining here because I never touched it.

With pride the other extras were looking
On, and off we went again,

This time through the headstones,
Running and running and running

That magnificent ribbon which nobody
Saw but those who were running it.

That Nagging Feeling

There is a night crawler on my bodice,
On everyone’s bodice who’s living.
It sits there taunting the fish,
Who are always snapping at it.

It makes for a strange game of bloody knuckles,
But this effect cannot be reproduced
In space, where there are no fish.
Out there, it is reported in the papers,

The night crawler will suspend
Any activity and simply sleep
Or howl – although it cannot be heard
Because of the weather – and the bodice,

Which is always with everyone,
With wither slightly but will not die.
In fact, back on the surface,
All of humanity and our little plans

And struggles – all of it seems
Cast in a queer light as if one awoke
From a nap and couldn’t remember
Where one is. The night crawler,

Of course, resumes its position
And the fish continue to jump
Even though it is understood
They will never catch a damned thing.

The Susan

The sea is called Susan
Because the act of cleansing
Itself is never ceasing:

I knew a Susan who took
A bath her whole life
Which produced the mild effect

On those who would visit her
Of waves lapping against
A pontoon with a brown algae

Hairline that it could never part
Correctly. It was angry but it
Had a job to do – we all feel that way.

I was swimming in Susan
In her light blue sheets
And she began to scratch my back,

And low I was netted and hung
Upside down on a scale hook:
It was my heart they were after,

But I would not give it to them
So they clubbed me on the head
And threw me back to her,

My beloved Susan,
Who I involuntarily gulped
And also urinated out pleasantly.

I needed a bath but I couldn’t
Get the Susan off of me
Even when I washed up in the living room.

So I named the sea Susan.
It’s the kind of name that sticks
To a married seaman.

Multipurpose Tool

A man was a blade on a pocketknife. He would be folded out and forced to bite a splinter from a gigantic finger. Or he would be jammed into a wine cork and tickled until he extracted it with a pop. Because of his grit, he was used to sharpen his own tongue, which would flash in the golden hour of sunset. Once in a meadow he was employed to saw through the stems of flowers. He was covered in glittery pollen, felt happy and free. But then the big hand plunged him deep into the soil to clean him. It was there he learned the world’s dark secret. He chipped a tooth on a bronze baby slipper that he faintly recalled as his own.