Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Outing

It was sure to be some speech. The man
Had been waiting his whole life to give it.
He was unsure of the exact date he was born,
And the records bore this out: a man was brought
Into this world, yes, he is standing at the podium,
But exactly when and under what conditions
Remain unknown. A woman in the audience
Wondered, “What’s this speech about?”
“Tsk, tsk,” said her mother in her Sunday finery.
“No, I mean, what’s the content going to be?”
“Shush now,” her mother replied, centering her birdie hat.
It was best nobody talked, and instead wait
For the speech to happen. It was coming
Along now, any minute. You could feel
The water being poured, notes being looked over,
A hot microphone getting ready to be tapped
By a throat that was clearing in anticipation.
A voice too was readying itself, telling itself
I’m the voice through which the man
Makes his foray into the world of description.
It was then that the man stepped up, a twinkle
In his eye, put a finger to his lips,
And said, “I’m a mute!”

Like Clockwork

The last day’s clock has been ticking.
It’s pneumatic, meaning it breathes air.
The white warty material of the universal veil
Has got the bridegroom perplexed.
His glances at the clock are similar
To those of a condemned man’s,
Noted the guy from health food store,
Who was waiting to be paid in fungi.
I swear that minute hand hasn’t moved in an hour.
Yet the clock was on a circuit that was forever
Adjusting the time to its most accurate portrayal,
The tiny nuances of its face with the fluctuations
Breathed out of it. There was a man
Who was known as The Mystic, he pick-pocketed
The pocket watch, and ran with it down the aisle.
The smiling Jesus approved, and the ceremony
Began, despite running so late the entire world
Needed wound by a hand so big nobody could see it.

Meaning?

I’m not even sure I’ve lost something,
But I can feel a void,
And I wonder who’s to blame,
Monk sanding a coffin while it snows outside,
Girl huddled under her desk
With her eyes shut during a tornado drill.

Please reveal it to me
In a passed note, a whisper.
The monk stopping for a minute
To poke a new hole in his belt,
A spider in the corner,
The static on the radio station.

Or make me whole again,
Although I’ve probably lost nothing.
Wind picking up a woman’s dress,
Flipping pages with a draught
Down a chimney, the great pine
Forest in the North where mountain men
Froze in their tracks.

I stand here at the gate with my mouth open.
Can I expect to be given anything?
My hands are so blue
I have to hold them over boiling water.
Oh mystery, attenuated absence,
Transfer a little heat to my skin.

Endtimes

We came to a river. It was nighttime, and you could hear the bullfrogs. A couple of Christians running around with their heads chopped off were to be our guides. They were very solemn. I could only accept Jesus into my stomach, and I could only get half of him down even with that delicious sauce. For you sportsmen, it was a Mercury that powered the boat. The water was as black as a cat in a dark alley at night, the stars like those glowing eyes upon the rushes. Someone showed me his collection of owl pellets. “In water they become what the owl ate,” he said. It must be lean times for owls too because when he threw one in, it slithered off without even speaking to us.

There was a kid who kept whining, “Are we there yet?” His father, an old man with a beard, kept threatening to turn the boat around. It was funny considering his bible, which he used as a rudder, kept us circling until we were so dizzy the earth reversed its rotation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Philosophical Dialogue

It is the man in the suit’s job to make sense of things.
All men in suits are liars. Yes, it is true, but nonetheless
We rely on them to sum up. They tell you one thing
To your face, but in the background they’re calculating.
We are aware of this, but they do the job well, and we like
What they prepare. Once he hit me with a blackjack
Or a cosh, and then gave a speech to a school.
The proper forms were not filled out for us to document
That case, and besides he claims that he doesn’t
Carry such an item. His card lists him as professional
Charlatan, and he’s behind you right now with his club
Ready to strike. He’s not behind me, he’s in his room
Writing the philosophy of the modern age.
Get ready for the blackout. I can see everything perfectly…

The Stages of Bemused Despair

During the stages of bemused despair
I had to admit I was never impressed by you –
Although I waited for you at the train station.
I was never impressed by you, I checked.
Maybe it was the cut of your hair,
Which was by all notions a most fine shape,
But whether I was attached to you or otherwise,
I couldn’t get behind it (although I knew it meant
So much to you). You took it with you to the Pole,
And I hoped you’d leave it there.
There were other things. Your tipping, for one.
I grew up in Boston, and we were strong tippers.
Even today, I cannot resist it, even when it’s something
Quite delicate, like a dip pen of mother of pearl,
And it’s balancing on the edge of a maple desk,
I must tip it over. It’s in my blood, you see.
I’m the offspring of tippers, and I was forbidden
To dance with the others, who I spied waiting
For you at the train station too, you know?
It was during the later stages of bemused despair,
The one where you go around licking things.
I licked one and he tipped onto the tracks,
And, well, his better half was very upset.

All-Night Bakery

It’s dough time, which has risen
At the thought of explaining the world.
Maybe we can pound it down?

It will just rise again,
As is the nature of dough,
Of which we’re made.

The snow outside the stray flour
That spilled over the table
We all live under –

Even our anguish and dread
Are simply the thoughts of baker up early
From his wife’s spooning back,

Their little muffins in the kitchen
Wide-eyed and silently facing the day.
And what a day it’s shaped

Up to be: a lot to leaven
From just stale flour and fat,
The mysterious smudges on the recipe.

His pleated hat keeps falling
Over his eyes as he cuts us out,
Bakes the steam off our heads.

It is indeed early, but customers
Are lining up on the long sidewalk,
Their glum mouths already open.

Correction

I decided to huddle with a homeless man
By his trash fire and see what he knew of the world.
“I don’t know nothing of the world,” he said.
“You don’t know anything,” I said.
“You’re probably right, you’re the professor.”
“I’m not a professor,” I said.
“You are a professor,” the homeless man replied.
“Touché,” I said, although he was dead wrong.
He showed me the famous knifes
He sold to felons on the courthouse steps –
A blade so sharp it could fillet a soul.
“A sole,” he said. “Touché, touché again,”
Was my humble reply.

Looking Glass of Impossible Size

I’d like to know what the hell’s been going on.
– Clive Wearing

One-way mirror, and we’re on the blind side,
Shopping for years, so it seems,
In an endless game of chess on the checkered floor.
Unable to move, the packaging of everything
Was getting more complex and deterring,
And so were the prices – free dance was climbing
And difficult to negotiate, and door-to-door tailoring
Was also skyrocketing, and you had to provide your own dummy.
A reflection in such a mirror was always dimmer
Partly due to the eyes on the other side absorbing
Some of your light. But what did they do with it?
What did they want with us, anyway?
There were mirrors everywhere from which to spy.
In our cups of tea, for example, teenager’s faces,
And don’t even mention airports – practically built
Of mirrors. Those mirrors above your bed,
Some perverted god behind them with a look
Of concentration. Some say the Great Pyramid
Was polished into a mirror, and it might have
Even burned pharaohs to death, or reignited
The smoldering sun. They tell a joke about it
Down at the glass shop, but that’s another story.
Life has been inverted, like a blackout in fiber optics,
And in the mirror you’re just coming to as if waking.
It’s the first thing you’ve seen in all your life,
And yet you’ve seen nothing at all.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Best Supporting Actor

Every morning we play Jesus
And rise from the dead.
Hours of memorizing the long shadows,
Our alarms ringing madly,

And we appear in our garages,
On the foggy road to work,
In front of the big boss to recite our lines,
Understudies rushing ahead of him.

The homeless soothsayer in the medium,
His beard against the sunset
Like clouds on a travel brochure.
Indeed, we need a big break.

At night, of course, we’re crucified.
It’s dark in the room with the lamp off.
You can hear an ambulance in a stage whisper
Dramatically climbing the hill.

Going to Atlantis

Old soul with cigar smoke rolling from your mouth,
Blind as a bat being swung at a wiffle ball
With one solid hemisphere, one riddled with holes,
It’s time for your nap on a cot by the basement door.

It stinks down there, probably the old preserves
That have gone amniotic, or the rat still trying
To live with his head in a trap. He should be given
A box of cigars and a trip to Disney World, imagine that.

This will be the nap of a lifetime, old timer,
Dark as the bottom of the ocean swimming
With olive drab plant life. There may be a secret
Civilization down there too, ruled by a bearded king.

Paper Angels

A little girl in a party dress cutting
Them from tissue paper
With safety scissors.

The preacher on TV
Wants to drop bibles
Behind the iron curtain.

Angels are taking form now,
But slowly. There were
Many angles to work around.

Their trumpets, their halos,
Their delicate wings with many slits
With which to fly.

The preacher is begging
For weather balloons
To take his bibles into the sky.

The angels were ready
To unfold and hold against the screen,
The smiling face of someone in need.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Visitations

When you sit in a room alone, someone can sneek up behind you. Who is it? It's no one; you're alone. Outside the sky has fallen all over the field of ice. There's a deer in the middle of it, a small one, that can't get to its feet.

Architecture

The keyboard notion of backspace, delete.
A wrecking ball in the world of ideas.
If only to build to something, erect
As if climbing the stairs,
Drop dead beauty in her pale nightie
Telling me the power’s out again.

But always having to say more,
Paragraphs and pages left to turn
In the autumn air, and the clicking
Of the keys of some instrument
That’s being used as a sieve
To force creation through.

This the elevation, that the site,
A trick by a birthday-party magician
Who was dressed as a wolf.
First he freed himself from the elevator,
Then he made some plans disappear,
A twinkle in his glass eye.

The Mysterious House

There was a house in the middle of an open plain, and all we could see inside were shadows of people moving around. We could get as close as the fence line, which was not that close at all. We came from all over to watch the house with binoculars, take notes, and try to make sense of it. The drapes were thick and dark, which made viewing it at best a nighttime affair. It was exactly square, although some thought it really round, and occasionally smoke was seen from the chimney. When a shadow came close to the window, or heaven forbid stood in front of the door! it was a monumental event, and books were written about it. All of the photographs of the inhabitants were hoaxes, although some were unconfirmed, and quite convincing. Once it was thought the house issued a statement about staying off its lawn, but none can be sure of its authenticity, since there are many would be fakers.

The Moral of the Story

Worm Jesus was,
Of course, a worm that crawled
Up on the hook
Of his own freewill.

The others in the Styrofoam cup
Were crapping their pants.
A water so cold and so dark,
It was like the world
Before it was formed, and here
Worm Jesus was cast in.

Seething fools, duped
By appearances, he was about
To fall from grace
When the sheep of the sea
Got caught being lazy,
Netted, and clubbed
In the thinker.

The Anatomy of a Monument

Mouth full of hornets as teeth, stinger roots,
Wool sock tongue, Concorde nose with culvert dimple,
A few dark landing lights, lips are very bright
And confusing, when open they are a cop’s
Flashing light on an overcast afternoon,
Breasts are like drops of water just before they fall,
Like a run in the paint of an army jeep ready
For sand warfare, or like pudding that’s been
Shaped with a plunger, the same one stuck
To your face for half your life, and moving
Down we have the abdomen, which can be
Disappointing but also calming and inspiring
With it’s double canoe impression on cloth,
And see how it flares like a fuel line? and see
How it portrays human history as a mobile
Of abstract shapes and tufts of cattails stuck to a monument?
And the legs, or course, great waves of them
Rushing upon the hill where the band of hedonists
Were hiding, saying “Some things are not for sailing;
Hand me a machete, Prudence.” and I wonder,
Knock-kneed and with crops of engineered fuzz,
Charged with transcribing notes from a left-handed
Journal of the foot-fetished undertaker
Who could make a crowd laugh right down to their toes,
Will the setting sun in my toenail forget to come around again?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Man with an Arm, a Woman with Meritorious Beauty

Could a loving cup and a bowling trophy get together?
There’s a favorable reflection in each other’s eyes,
Although he’s of the alleys and gutters
And she’s from a land of leisure and windswept
Checkbooks of the finest swoops and inklings.
There was the highway to consider, the freight
Lines of their interludes in an automobile on their way
To some dark domestic structure to sit by a fire.
Hot under the collar, gilding much conflict,
Madame Absentia and Mister Anonymous
Moved them about the round room of patterns,
And finally set them apart on a card table and drink cart,
As if on some honeymoon in the wilderness,
Which they were sure had been eliminated.
O the pining, the wishing to be near, even settling,
Dare say, for dust and the names of those who won.
They began to call the world “impossible”
And themselves “cracked”, and their relationship
Was never quite celebrated and never accomplished much.

Downstream

A window floated down a river at night.
It saw through the illusion of itself
But the river water was awfully dirty.
Recalling all the rain it stopped from entering,
The old woman who sat in front of it for hours
Watching a long and empty gravel road,
Nonetheless clouds and the stars
Kept running through its mind.
When the old lady was removed from its sash,
How the weight in its soul really pulled
In an empty house – a paper house, draughty
Like an old pickup rolling down the highway
Next to the river. There would be a point
Where the two would align, and that might
Mean something. Also, there were falls ahead,
Even a lock and dam, and ice too.
Maybe a turtle would throw rocks at it,
As if trying to get the attention of a sleeping
Lover in the zodiac it wanted to mate.

Hotel of Horror

A hotel room, last one left,
In a part of town
That lost its luster,
Was haunted by a beauty
Who was killed in the shower.
Dirty mirror, hair in the drain,
Air conditioning stuck on high
So it felt like a meat locker.
Jack loves Jill written in the dust
On the bureau.
Beyond the blinds the naked ghost
Kept playing peek-a-boo from,
A family of snow people
Shrinking in a dead yard,
As the weather had taken
An unseasonable dislike
To their presence,
Was now a bleeding lump
Of faintly sparkling matter.

The Patriotic Song

It was just the music of the busy street,
People hurrying, heels falling, briefcases,
Top hats, inverted umbrellas.
Traffic humming at a light.
You couldn’t hear the wind for the wind.
There was no choir of birds.
The homeless man wearing oven mitts
Had an old boom box with an equalizer
Playing the president’s state of the union
Address. He was hanging
On every word.
If only it were a musical, if only
The townspeople would stop their hustling
About and sing and dance together.
And the main character,
The one the whole story’s about,
Would stop trying to dupe them with band instruments
And briefly come to his senses.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dark Truth

Crystal people, you see, are drawn to crystals.
They’re beautiful and sharp, these fragile
Windows that distort the landscape.
How in a room they overtake it,

How in the sunlight they reveal their flaws.
And the people too, the lovers of order,
Are made of badly working crystal,
Everything coming out all bent out of shape.
I told all of this to a child’s punching bag.

It was inflated, and shaped like a clown
Which was ceremoniously laughing at me.
I gave it a little nudge, and it bounced back
By the weight of the sand in its soul.

Dark Scavenger

Gravestones make the best surface to tap dance on,
You with uncommonly hard shoes to trample graves.
Keeps them from rising from the dead.

I’ve been signaling with this compact mirror
From my cloister in the hills, but only albino crows
Come to my rescue, and I must eat what they bring up.

Night crawlers in the gutter after a rain – you
Can see the shit moving through them.
The ice cream truck with teens from the ballet

School running up in their black tutus.
They were practicing graceful falling,
Now they light cigarettes and lick novelties.

I was thinking of kidnapping them to the cemetery.
I have got my gun that shoots a “BANG!” flag.
But if things don’t work out, they can get there on their own.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Condiments

Salt, destroyer of hearts, on every table
In the world, a block of it
In the meadow where the doe-eyed
Take fugitive tastes.
The preacher on his midnight run
Ringing it from his shirt,
The winter streets salted
Against the revolt of snow and ice.
The rest of the condiments are child’s play.
Ketchup best comes stabbed
From the bottle
With a knife, the stuff of horror
Films where the hero dies in the end.
Mustard gives you gas,
Has those seeds that are impossible
To see, painful to the head when eaten.
Pepper is too dark for most sauces,
Makes a lot of modest people sneeze.
No, it’s salt that’s the most common.
Mostly transparent, dehydrating,
Tiny bitter grains of it in everything we touch.
Even children have a taste for it.

Neighborhood of the Disenchanted

Everyone was hopeless and melancholy.
It couldn’t be blamed on anything specific.
I wore earplugs to block out the wailing,
Which they took with great indignation.
My words were riddles I couldn’t even solve
With a pencil and scratch paper.

The days rotated out from under us.
It was always late at night, the street empty,
Which made the boot falls an anomaly
Even to the frozen rabbits, whose ears stood
At attention. The tragedy the world wrote
Itself out of came to its soliloquy,

But the sound was off. On Lifetime,
The History Channel, lovers held hands
In front of a ditch as the rifles were lowered,
And the commercials joyfully
Acknowledged their own fabrications
While still indulging in them.

Mysterious Proportions

Vitruvian Man puts down his arms.
It’s late in the day, why not relax?
Modern Man agrees.

He can’t quite catch his reflection
In the TV screen. Even his iced tea
Won’t depict his look of concern.

There’s an airplane overhead,
A dog barking in the lazy summer
Breeze through the sunflowers.

The spoon bender on the talk show
Pauses in mid ratchet to listen
To something no one else can hear.

It’s in the empty streets. The galvanized trashcan
Lids rock gently, but that’s not it.
An abandoned Mexican jumping bean

On the dashboard of a grain truck, perhaps?
The gospel choir at the Baptist church
In a converted bank building?

Vitruvian Man wants to help locate
The mystery. He’s pointing in two
Directions at once, naked as always.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Rainbow Ruse

Like a crowd of lost souls,
We hang on the words of the medium
Up on stage in the spotlight
Cold reading.

But even before he struts
Around asking us innocent questions
About affirmation, the gray clouds,
That feeling when you see death

Approaching in the faces
Of everyone you meet,
He claims modesty,
Reverence for the mystery

That allows him to call the shots
With just a little sweat on his brow.
I see something unnamed, he begins,
An image is coming to mind,

It’s birds flying through fog
That your glasses make into angels.
It’s the kind of show
You don’t soon forget.

He’s all-knowing,
The healed whisper in the daylight
With their walkers and slings,
And a charlatan, whatever that means.

To Write Something

You can drive a horse to drink.
There’s a muddy puddle
Outside for that sort of thing.

It’s reflecting a dead church with
Pie-in-the-sky underpinnings,
Its many dark facades
Papered with flyers
Advertising past literary events.

The ghost in a back-support brace
Eating his white bread supper
In the belfry, worrying over
His unfinished manuscript.

Yes, a horse will drink.
Just ask Barney Google
Who says, “But a pencil must be lead.”

His horse was reading a newspaper,
And was lazy as sin,
But not thirsty in the least.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hemmed In

A woman’s dress blown from the line
And taking its first steps toward the prison.
Shaky steps, but she’s light on her feet.

One must imagine beautiful legs
To reflect the eclipse of the guard
Peering defensively in front of the searchlight.

Better still, one can create memories
Of wanton love to make her hollow.
Why else is she pressing herself against the fence

As if longing for someone inside?
Now the wind is lifting her over
The prison yard. The sky is blue.

Not even the old tailor in the laundry
With the pinup hidden in his sleeve
Thinks to look up her dress as she passes by.

The First Snowman

A family was making a snowman. They gave him lettuce hair, eyes from a doll’s head, and cigarette teeth. He’s beautiful, they exclaimed. Let’s make a wheelchair as his chariot, and put grandma’s shawl on him as a lap coat. When they went inside, a collie was pawing at his stomach. He will be innocent, they said over the roast lamb for dinner. He will live a life of purity, and have the perspective of one who silently watches a murder. No, they said, burping a little, on second thought he will be guilty, like someone who watches a murder silently.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Phillumenist

I lost the matchsafe that held the match
That could light the fireworks
That would shoot god from the sky.
I was packed in a cannon on a street that went
Under a church because there was no way
Around it. My crackling balls, blooming snakes,
And roman candles on a fuse
That wrapped around genesis, up Eve’s
Lovely crotch, down the ambulatory of every cathedral
(Which were set ablaze with the setting sun),
Straight through the crucified Jesus’ nipple,
All up and down the lonely streets
Of Anytown, USA, and into the lofty
Heavens out of reach of my propeller hat,
And all I had to do was light the snake-like
End of the thing. Goddammit,
I said, rubbing two sticks together, which left stigmata
The size of smoke bombs on my palms.
It was getting dark. Pale smoke from chimneys
Curled up between the stars. I ate a Moon Pie,
And decided to leave it to the next guy,
Who was born of the fourth of July.

Life on the Houseboat

O great works of little faith,
Miss Joanna, you old crone,
Drag like the anchor of this houseboat
On our exalted nighttime existence,

Rocking in the wake of a deep trawler
With a crossbones on its flag.
The bay the color of illuminated manuscripts.
The fish hatchery tended by a blind woman,
An old chapel under the radar antenna.

We’re dumpster diving with the octopus
Wrestler from the Shriner parade
Whose little hearse idles nearby,
We’re invited to dinner with the disagreeing Stylites
Living on pillars within shouting distance,

The ground bird-shit-brown from visitation.
It’s our selves, our true selves that must be
Saved from the body snatcher’s bone saw.
And you’ve got one hand on the light switch

And one hand on the newel post
Carved with polygraph hatchings and Brigid's crosses,
One hand on the eye of providence sponge cakes,
And one hand on the walkie-talkie
In a barrel going over Niagara.

Church on wheels, church of the truant master,
Ruined church in which no rain will fall,
Append your frieze with the lord’s troops
Suffering in the face of God and show us some teeth.

Just like this houseboat with its dentils,
Just like the killer icicles
Hanging from its fisheye portal,
A decoration that makes the inanimate
Alive with the spirit, dodgy and prone

To becoming water, that great life force of our origins.
Everything’s an oil slick, phosphorescence, vapors.
A thousand bent props turning in the sea of nostalgia.
And you too, Joanna, at night on this old boat,
Your gargoyle reflection on the sea.

To the Farm, Where I Grew Up

Corn and beans, and how tall they stand,
How they fill the treeless plain.
It’s as if I emerged from their rows,
My steel-toed boots muddy and heavy,
And I turned around, lens flare of the sun,
And the view was the same as the hair on my arm,
The same as math problems in a row in a book
With only the odd ones answered in back.
Days of rain, weeks of growth,
Cardinals which resemble a bishop’s mitre,
Long rows of empty tracks leading nowhere,
Slow driving down between the fields,
The atom-bomb-shaped feeder on the lot.
Even sweet Bridget, the Lutheran,
In the hayloft where the hobos used to sleep.
Our pyramid of the sun is gone now,
Nothing but air and a little dust
Spread out among the hogs, who remind me
To wipe my ass so it don’t stink to high heaven.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Imposition

I’m speechless. I have no speech.
I’m standing here in the woman’s dormitory
As quiet as a mouse on a doily.
Me and the Russian mystic who lived
On ash alone, whose long sad stare
Was notorious for making men confess
Anything weepingly.
Perhaps, I said to him, we should take refuge
In the showers. The dark cloud
That follows you everywhere is ruining
The unread books.
It was like Aristotle’s cave in there.
It was also like a sod house during a storm.
Everything damp, everything decaying.
The single woman taking a shower
Thought herself unattractive to men,
Although her legs were quite beautiful.
Carrying her around in that mist,
Keeping distance from the walls,
Making for the heavy door.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Deus Ex Machina

A prolonged dying scene.
Our hero in his bloody rags is gasping for breath,
His hands at his throat, really milking it.
Now he’s stepped from the screen
And is stammering down the movie aisle,
Clutching his chest as he dies in everyone’s arms.
It could be any one of us someday soon.

A row of the unsuspecting with
Their eyes on the Superball machines.
What does your future hold?
A spy, a detective, the neighborhood patrol,
Everyone is disguised in this opera.
There’s Figaro with a virgin at his side
And a pair of just-sharpened clippers.

It’s the final act. When the fatal blow is struck
With some common instrument
From the ivory black shadows,
It will take nearly a lifetime of bows and curtsies
For the tears to dry. But what’s this?
A stray has wandered on, hiding under the dead woman's skirt.
Now they’re laughing in the wings.

The Cocktail Party of a Stranger

I was told to come inside.
But I was watching the shadows of the snowflakes in the streetlight.
Nobody was there to take my coat.
What’s in that locked room?
Nobody asked to fix me a drink.
The concerns of the day aren't anybody's concern,
The topic of conversation confusing, indiscrete.
I was still thinking of that locked room –
There was a dim light under the door.
Where’s my coat gone?
There was a blizzard outside.
There was always some kind of weather.
I was having a conversation with a snowman.
Nobody knew the host, but he was supposed to be
A great downhill skier.
I was catching snowflakes on my eyelashes.
The house had a shrine to a saint.
The snow so fine it was like ash on my tongue.
Someone suggested lighting a fire,
Someone had a cigarette in her mouth.
The snow angels all around the yard.
I was told to come inside.
But I was listening to what the owl had to say.

Frida Kahlo in the Forest with Snowfall

Wearing only high heels and a skirt of bananas,
I walked into the winter forest,
Which I imagined would be gilded
With the final sunlight of a day spent dreaming.

The problem was the day itself, gray and flat,
The color of a landau top on an idling hearse
Or ankle chains hanging in a warden’s office.
Delicate snow began to fall instead,

And with feigned romance kissed my cheeks.
The air between the cedars alive
With clarity, like the aria of some divine soprano
Trapped in a wishing well looking at the stars.

Soon I was lost, trapped like shadows, like ice.
I had nothing to eat, save some bread crusts
Which by then were soaked in blood.
I sat on a stump to eat them.

The stump had rings left by the glass
Of a pompous king. Discontent, melancholy,
I longed for the company of anyone,
Even a cigar-smoking monkey that knew a few signs.

I wandered many nights through the blizzard.
Once, glinting in the clouds, there was a beautiful woman.
I climbed a pine, which leaned down to the ground
Under my weight. It was an illusion; she was a trick of the light.

When I jumped off, it catapulted a mourning dove into the snow.
That same snow was melting on a gum eraser
I molded into a pocket watch like the one
Given to me by my father, a traveling salesman who hated crowds.

But still, I was always alone, unaware of the time.
This was after all white country, which was not privy
To a muddy impression of a woman’s foot by the stream.
It immediately tried to cover it up with blankets.

Whether I was kept in the sights of some bearded hunter
I will have only to speculate; his camouflage may
Have been so precise and convincing,
I did not even notice his breath on my neck.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Restored Sight

Have you ever looked
In lady justice’s scales?

On one side you’ll find a man
Drowning in rainwater;
On the other some kids with ice skates
Waiting for the weather to turn.

Only the businessman in the black suit
Pacing the roof can see them.
He’s on top of the Equitable Life Building,
And with authoritarian screams
He’s insulting someone on the phone,
Whose begging cannot be heard.

What’s that? the children ask of the noise.

It’s an echo,
The drowning man replies.

Our Pimp Daddy

Dominionist,
Pusher of particulate matter
Who’s a shadow in the smooth
Bore of a gun barrel pointed at the sky,

Thanks for granting me clemency
With that mighty gavel.
Thanks also for putting the puzzled
Look on the devoted

Whose rags are washed when
They wander through your
Breadline as crows circle
And the avalanche inches closer.

Resurrected, loitering in Sin City,
Riding in a chrome Cadillac with a doozy
Of a reinforced firewall, thanks again
For the whiff of smoke from your tail.

Mini-Mall

Hey you, dentist straightening
Out the bite of a young
What’s-her-name wearing dark glasses
And a studded collar, did you see the river

Filling with water all through the night?
While you scraped and twisted
Her pitted teeth, the beauty grew board
With the nitrous under her mask.

Sex traffic under a bridge
Suspended carefully over the water…
The barred liquor store with its colorful
Characters keeping watch…

The x-ray gun you’re positioning
For a peek inside the dark place
You’ve been torturing, her teeth white
Under-things on a clothesline in the rain.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ventriloquism

Hand on my spine
Tending to make me speak
Rheumatically.

Box of dolls
In the hot head of the house,
Flaps a Greek cross,

Tape the color of vellum.
My little buddy in there,
My little chum

Who hates my guts,
His lifeless legs bent under him,
The crown of his top hat opened

Like a can of spilled milk.
Demon of the abyss,
Haunter of the nothing,

Shove your hand
Into my dirty sock
And walk a lonesome mile.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Eagles are Free

Eagles conscious of their role as symbol
Preen the confetti from their bald heads
In a dark bluff ruled by a vulture
With a necktie of question marks.

A union of eagles even, hot rivets
Soaring over the I-beam landscape
With the hush, hush of secret accords
And immutable cosmic winds,

Painting their claws blue
On the long empty telephone wire
Kept open under the sea of tranquility
That washes up the carcasses of smiling rats.

Eagles crowding the maple podium,
Eagles pushing closer to see.
A confidence man selling a drinking bird
Three-years sober and full of the spirit,

With his lifejacket lined with watches
Asking the time of a pale woman in a headdress
Whose arms move with surprising freedom
As she answers in an impossible whisper.

The Hicks Next Door

Bucket of slop poured in a trough
Led by dogs who follow the scent
Into the dark without a flashlight
Into the field they imagine belongs to no one

Tending the hives of hornets
Having sex with a tale pipe
Watching the kite string from the flat earth
The finger pointing at the abysmal sky

The geese honking at their stalled carcasses
The dictionary they’re standing on to see
On the rocking chair repairing itself
With glue from their best friend Mr. Horseface

What a Claude

Claude takes a nap after breakfast,
Moves around his armies

On the map of the world
He dreams will someday be his.

Kisses a bruise on his mother’s
Linen-white neck with his hot breath.

He sleeps in the basement
Next to the coal shoot,

Paws through the attic
Looking for a suit to hock.

Grandpa’s suit with gusseted breast,
A rose still pinned to the lapel.

Only Claude would throw
It in a trash bag and head downtown,

Leave it on the bus
Where an old lady with a sunflower hat

Speaks to it about the weather,
Misses her stop and decides to ride

The whole route again for the millionth time,
Using the suit as a lap blanket for her graven cold legs

Which she dangles off the bench seat
As if stuck on top of a Ferris wheel

Overlooking the entire world some Claude
In his absence forget to set in motion.

Suiting Up

I’ve got my fork ready.
Something dead on the table,
Something the cook posed with a smile
Before sticking an apple in its mouth.

The cook with his x-ray vision,
His dunce hat he managed to pleat,
The impression of his evil Siamese twin
Like a thorn in his side.

Home oxygen prescribed by a doctor
With a god complex, come to
Interrupt my dinner, knocking over
The angels on the mantel

As they cart in their tanks,
Suiting me up for the deep dive.
Little eye slot keeps fogging up,
But there’s nothing can be done about that.

Costume Party

All the principal characters were there.
Death with his fine black carriage
Commanded by his yellow fingernail.
His pal the Devil with the applejack
Tucked in a stroller, his wife Joan of Arc
With midnight blue lipstick.
Adam and Eve, no longer nudists
In the mountains of California.
It was going to be a real blow out.

The house in a strand of dead
Trees up an impossible hill. Nobody knows
Who owns the place – the host a friend
Of a friend who couldn’t make it. In fact,
After the chime of the doorbell dies,
Even the crows took off.
No lights in the windows.
Just a bunch of strangers in their best rags
With a long silent drive home.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fifties Utopia

Every evening the dreaded
Five o’clock shadow
Darkens the world of men

And their drinking birds
With their top hats and cyclopean eyes
Stop dipping their beaks

Into the fountain of youth,
Old Blue Eyes croons casually
From Here to Eternity

On a back lot soundstage.
Then the men of material matters must
Make their way home

In the land of darkness.
It’s as itchy and cold
As a Russian boy in a dunce cap

Walking through a back alley
Of raspberry bushes and broken boards.
It might even begin to snow,

Too bad the Cadillac of mirrors
On the dusty mantle won’t reflect it.
Even the mystery play

In the spirit grocer is footnoted
With temperance and good grooming,
A Molotov cocktail after dinner.

God’s shadow, cast over all men,
Doing their best to keep a straight face
With a straight razor on their necks.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Female Anatomy

A small death every time
You saw one outside
Of her trouser role
Signing autographs in a blustery cursive
There by the koi pond

The big one with its constant
Eye fixed upward
As if asking the question on
Everyone’s mind that evening.
The clock tower

Suddenly lit with dongs.
And there’s the mailman
Cutting through the graveyard
And the tumultuous poison ivy
Lurking on the playground

Striking the thighs
Of the pretty young thing come
To sort out the direction
Of their relationship
The weathervane pointing south.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Merely Player

Atop a grave sits a black cat.
It’s the grave of a man
Who sold yards of fabric
To ladies with flower hats.

It’s not much of a sight
Except for the astral drama
That’s staged around sunset.
You may not know the tragic story.

A mysterious sky teases the crowd
With its leg kicks,
Its white blouse and black bra
In the dusty spotlight beam,

While insurance men in the orchestra pit
Come for the kinetic wristwatch,
The family bible, the hope chest.
A technician in the flyloft

With his view downstage pulls the ropes.
A great show, even if it pained the neck
To keep looking up. And waiting
Under the trapdoor was the man himself,

Seller of fabric to ladies,
Still nervously memorizing lines.
And his cat, which was just then
Pawing at a bouquet of paper roses.

Dining Out

I’m in Terra Amata in the famous hut,
But it’s in Terre Haute and the Chinese
Delivery boy who studies the confused philosophy
Of entering through exits
And exiting through chimneys
Can’t find my door.

I tell him you can’t miss it.
On his feeble bone phone,
In the ivory light that is summoned
Before nightfall, he connects to the
All Knowing Operator who answers
Only in riddles.

Meanwhile, I’m starving to death.
I’ve got Barbarossa over for dinner,
And his disciples are harboring
An intense hatred for my style of décor,
Preferring instead to track mud on my dainties
And look into the infinity of opposing vanities.

Very Nearly Free

Shh. Listen. The night is so quiet,
It’s almost the witching hour.
Even the tin can rattling on
The Street of Desire has ceased.

Not since the Big Bang has
The world been so thoughtless.
The pantomime on the corner
Is being read his Miranda rights

In the slummy light of the galaxy
On the cosmic bowling alley’s sign.
A mannequin in a bridal store window
With her white shoulder strap slipping

Reveals a breast to passersby.
She could have been a king’s
Courtesan and astronomer were it not for her
Cruel smile and Shaker father.

Fortuneteller hobnobbing with
God and the devil over olives
At a costume party full of thieves,
Take off your wig and false eyelashes

In the veined mirror of the Destiny Hotel.
There’s a message for you.
It will be whispered in your ear
By a clerk with a ring of master keys.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Urban Nile

An infatuated man is on a steam ship.
He shaves with water that’s as cold
As the blood of a woman
Turned to stone in ancient Greece.

Pining was his porter, who commented
That the night was dottled with B-movie tears.
An old Hollywood temptress pretended to faint
Under the lead crystal chandelier by the busboy lockers.

The man wrote his love letters on toilet paper
With a pencil sharpened with Death’s scathe.
The whole human affair, he scribbled,
With its wake as long as the Nile,

With its chicken wire trees and cotton clouds,
Its subplots and pointless twists, plays to an empty
Audience in a theater in some forgotten burg
With its cemetery gate rattling in the wind.

Street Noir

An abject figure in a gray dress
Sees a man about a gun
At night on a miscarried street
That drew the eyes to the heavens.
Evil personifying himself with his wooden dummy
Waits in a hallway with blood-red cracks in the plaster
That brown recluses scurry in and out of.
A pockmarked silver tray with a single bullet on it.
Mixed drinks that smell of formaldehyde
Spilled in the middle of a tasseling cornfield.
Also, his father’s business ledger bound in skin,
And the story of how Death himself
Stuck him up as he helped carry a plate-glass window
Across a busy street.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Call the Whores to the Doors

Call the cops to the exposed,
Call them quickly as you shed your clothes,
Call them where the pusher strolls,
My Bonnie, drearily.

When I went down to the old Southside,
It was there where my hooker lied.
She fucked me quickly with her pride
And called me Bonnie, drearily.

Will you come down to the old Southside
To hit this shit with your eyes so wide
Beneath the neon lamp that collides
In a drunk that pounds so wearily?

You will get graft so week
And then some rims upon the street,
And on your cot you’ll fall to sleep.
And you will wake so drearily.

If you’ll but keep to what you’ve said,
A gangbang on top of the bunk bed,
And may you remember how you bled
When you called me, drearily.

Till plain-clothed death shall lock your wrists,
Till plain-clothed death does lock your wrists,
I will call you, drearily.

Games

These games, I’m sick of them,
Complained the lovers in the rowboat
Playing solitaire. Aristotle taught them,
Whose tic-tac-toe was unbeatable.

Just play along, replied Rapunzel,
As she teased her grim and dirty suitors with Jenga
In a parlor of tin crowns
While a modern red light district

Was erected up around her.
Monopoly was Kant’s favorite,
Although he was a notorious cheat,
And Pinochle, game of tricks,

Was dealt late into the night
In Hatshepsut’s tomb
By her mummified architects and their devilry
Who were petrified of the dark.

As for the rest of us, we buy our games
At garage sales in Ancient Greece.
The rulebook is lost, so we end up playing
Pick-up sticks with our butt cheeks.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gothic Candelabrum

This is not medieval France. That gothic church
On the table is learning its history from the TV guide.
I’m the abbot in the refectory who keeps filling
The chalice with kegged beer. She’s a relic
I worship before a smiling Jesus wearing Dorothy’s red shoes.

The sunset is the scene of much of mourning,
So’s the eclipse of her bathrobe falling limp.
One of the church’s spires is bent. Red wax runs
From its portal. I’m interested in the immaterial made real,
She’s rubbing rosemary on her neck with a lambskin glove.

Aerial Perspective

Dr. X with his doomsday machine
Is threatening the world again.
A Dominionist hiding in the Officers of the Night,
His goons broke into the world with a dirty crowbar.

There he is secure in his floating fortress above the clouds.
Even Aristotle caught wind of his plan,
And Aether, with apneic breathing, tried to scratch him
Like he was a flea throwing off Libra’s scales.

And come to find out all of humanity is doomed.
As for his demands, he won't say a word.
Even the black hounds were silent.
Even those buying birds just to release them into the sky.

Acts

To piss on an electric fence,
That was the question.
O friend with a switchblade,
Chum with a stun gun
To threaten the pockets of his coat,
Would you rather play truth or dare?

It was a single wire lit by the moon
With insulators like gothic spires
Singing into the predawn horizon
In a field empty of its sheep;
A line kept open to call some god collect

With a shocking secret to confess.
We were only the twelve
Apostles who snuck out of town
And rode our bikes into the mist

To whisper about deflowered virgins,
Drink beer as dark as blood
In a chalice at midnight mass,
Explore some catacombs,

Climb a water tower to the heavens.
And now this final act,
Devotion to ascesis, the laying of hands
To make a chain gang,
All of us together in the mystery ahead,
And by fear of god completing the circuit.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lonesome Lot

What is a soul if not an invisible wake
From a boat nobody can prove exists
On a river of mist and dark clouds?

I was at a carnival when I saw souls
Lining up by a man who was guessing
Weight for a dollar with a butcher’s scale.

They wore the shoes of nurses
Who caught amputated limbs
In World War II, their angel wings

And lifejackets down around their knees,
Which were bruised from kneeling.
The barker was robbing them blind,

Winking to a woman who could have
Been Mary except for the tattoos.
Later she rode through a ring of fire

On a dirt bike. They had an inside joke
They kept giggling about, probably
Some debauchery of the Carney underworld.

On the trip home, a buck running along
Side the car was gone so quickly
It was like it was never there.

Its scared eyes told of a life of deception,
The land wet with rain pulled up from Lethe
By clouds that could shape-shift into anything.

Everything’s a big secret in the world
Of phantasmagorical presentations and possibility.
Just go to the graveyard and ask around.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Conjugal

A certain Miss Mary in off-white stockings. You were to meet her behind the bleachers at midnight. The weather was frigid on the long walk there. Everything looked like someone’s last known photograph. A motel boasting of Magic Fingers, your pants on fire in the moonlight through a stained glass window, a homeless man by his burning barrel singing Amazing Grace. It was anticlimactic when put your hand up her shirt, even with her devilish smile. With god as your witness, blind as he was with his black teeth.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Masterpiece of Eloquence

There is a secret everyone’s on the verge of telling. What is it? the dark sewer wants to know. Door-to-door man selling magazines thinks he can pick the suckers based on lawn ornaments. A gazing globe is a real mark, a bathtub Mary with chicken wire shroud won’t buy a thing. It’s philosophy for sale, he shouts at a locked door. A philosophy he revises under his breath.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Body May Be Healed but the Mind is Incurable

It was as if the city had pulled the sheets over our heads. O you were the veiled virgin and I your traveling salesman. I hypnotized you with my watch of nightingales. You’re sick all of a sudden and trembling in your bed, and then you’re well and the whole business is over. Now snow is falling, now a spinster is sweeping each individual flake from her crumbling stoop, now I start the nightlong task of calculating your bill.

Shadow from the Heavens

A giant shadow of a man moved over the town. Nobody could see where it came from, but it wilted all of the flowers it touched. These are dark times, the old men on rocking chairs kept repeating. Their sisters with their hands in their aprons said, O you bullies, what have you done this time? Get in here and help with supper. Time to get those geese that went over Niagara out of the cellar. Then a shadow hand made as if to slap them.

Meanwhile, it grew dimmer and dimmer. Even the with such sharp knives, life was a struggle.

Dark Days

Dark day, dark clouds, an epoch of the coming apocalypse. There was found an engraved egg that told of great atrocities. Everywhere, locked doors and drawn blinds. The evening incensed and still. The sound of a single leaf frightening a whole household. The old blind man and his dog walking down the middle of the street singing something to the tune of "Kingdom Coming" in a language nobody could understand.

Accompaniments

They follow you across
The no outlet street,
Wailing for milk from
Some mysterious teat,
Our little accompaniments.

Shake the rattle, old man
With a pacifier between your gums,
Or they will spend an eternity
In the candy store
Passing chocolate Roman coins.

How many are there?
Just enough to balance
The mobile they hang from,
But not so many that the good
Figurines outnumber the bad.

Boy with a hoop, the valley
Is darkening like a cup of tea.

To the rest of us, the lonely,
Up late staring at an empty street,
Let those accompaniments take care
Of our Etch-A-Sketched portraits
Riding in their handlebar baskets.

Danse Macabre

Give us our daily bread
Said the band of homeless
Whose shadows were left sleeping
In cardboard cubicles.

They were informed that there
Was no bread and to get going
Down the street to the heat vent
To warm their knees.

Doesn’t that say it all?
A meteorite crashed through a church,
And a parade of goblins and skeletons
Passed by in stark daylight.

The rings of a flood years ago
Could still be witnessed
On the natural history museum.
Plain as day, and not just on a solstice.

Even the store selling Jesus trinkets
Stays open Sunday, the owner
Smoking his clove cigarettes
Playing a computer game

Where he’s one of the four
Horsemen of the apocalypse,
His goth friends yelling at the screen.
Even a layperson can catch a glimpse.

Rubbings

At a not-so-wise hour
St. Kevin and I alone
Making grave rubbings
Of the names of beauties

Who were now asleep
In the eternal mystery,
As Kevin opined,
With his Clementines

And Veronicas clutched
Like blueprints under his arm.
The evergreens lurked
Overhead with the grace

Of a long-fingered Dracula
In a black-and-white movie.
These are aren’t even good
Copies, I said, but he

Would hear none of it,
Although only vultures
Followed him around now
As if waiting for his final

Commune with the animal world.
I’m looking for a particular
Whore, Kevin squawked,
Whose toes stick out

Wiggling above her grave.
We never found her,
Or anything worth keeping
That moonless night.

Instead, we made paper hats
Of our work and got drunk
In a patch of nettles
Trying to remember the way home.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

God's Work

End the cursor,
World of delusion,
Wearing your famous
White glove which
You used to judge
Our deeds.

What is going down
In that hayloft you
Call a head?
Garbage guts,
Carbuncular capital
Pussing up the place.

I got a job as a janitor
At a Vegas chapel
With its drive-thru
Tunnel of vows, mopping
Up the pink champagne
Of the inquiring tourists.

I sat neither here nor there
Overlooking an alley
Of graffiti in a drunken
Night that rambled
On and on about wanting
To quit its day job

And get something
In data processing.

Mature Theme

Unseen child whispering in my ear,
Walking up a flight of stairs
Into the vast fields of memory,
We’re viewing an old alchemy club photo
With our names listed in the caption as not pictured.

Young today and old tomorrow,
In the act of disappearing into elements,
This is the land of sticks and stones,
Dime store gags and forget-me-nots
That cover a lot of ground.

We all cover a lot of ground,
And soon the ground will be covered with us.
The photo is golden with age,
The last impression of a light
That traveled on a century ago.

Friday, January 5, 2007

A Sucker is Born

A Sucker is Born

A sucker is born
Every time I pull
This lever, said
My friend the Carney
At a small town fair.

"Take the lot and
The air in it too,”
Was my friend’s advice,
Although he didn’t
Have a coat to wear.

Still, he made as if
To zip-up in the wind,
Put his hands in
Invisible pockets as if
They would be kept warm.

He made an awful lot
Of suckers in those days.
I can remember going to
Get one, strolling with my girl
Under the moon

And the lights of the barrel
Drop as I imagined
Everyone under the hand
Of a great puppeteer
Who plotted out our lives.

My little Ophelia was
Giving herself my last name,
And all was as it ought to
Have been. Here’s your
Sucker, my friend said,

And it wasn’t as sweet
As it looked with its
Blush of color.
We went on to shoot
Goldfish in a bucket,

And I tried to win her
Something stuffed, but
My hand was trembling.
I just couldn’t aim anymore.
And in my sucker, a bull’s-eye.

The Damned

Fishhook of desire,
Dolmen tomb of
Snakes, this lake

Of form and measure,
Abandoned lot
We ring and sing

As if it were a savior.
Meanwhile the campfire
Of imagination

Creeps to the edge
Of the forest.
Someone’s stroller

Catches some smoke,
And it’s screams and
Belly flops into the heavens.

He Said, She Said

Her hair says the woman is inhabited by wind. Her eyebrows say they are smudges of a lover who leaned too close with his chewed cigar. He says, mind if I ash you a question? She was saying something about their breakup. He said it’s raining and the mail is late. Now the clock is saying something, the birds, the silhouette of trees, the urn on the fireplace mantle, the half-drawn curtains. All of this speech, it’s exhausting, says the flue. It goes in one ear and out the other.

Someone Light a Match

In the twilight the plum trees with their ivory blooms looked like the sails of a great ship. And they might have been, sailing north as the spring slinked over the land. We were spinning and spinning underneath them, and the fog rolled in nice and slow. For days, maybe, we could only see our fingers, except for the black eyes of the occasional piper and the demon glow of an old man's cigar.

It's About Time

There was a funeral procession. The pallbearers, children of eighties, wore roller skates and listened to headphones. The wheel, they claimed, was invented during the famous red scare. Taking everything for granted, cherishing the middle path to the consecrated ground, they got lost in the fog and stopped to have a make-out session by the statue of Mary, the virgin. The aesthetic of dunces who know not what they do, said the old man with the ox cart. He went on chipping horse dung from the first lady’s shoes.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Soup Kitchen

Peeled potatoes are like the bald heads
Of the homeless on a silent night
Nosing through the trash.

It’s as if the street has parted
The downtown is so empty and still.
Only the manholes smoke

Ducked in the alleyway
Braced against the cold wind.
I’m in love with a girl from Reseda

Whose intentions I was trying to read.
Her stockings were black
As she stepped on a crack

And fell in the rattlesnake weed.
Dante and Beatrice, heads on
Fire in separate cities full of the deprived

Little Red-Haired Girl of the shadows
Dying woman in the arms of some
Hero on the screen, the world is

A pigeonhole peepshow that boots us
Into the abandoned lot to scrape around
A black pot that’s been boiling too long.

Soup of trash memories, your recipe is
In the little black book of the drunkard
Telling everyone he loves them for change.

Maybe I Should View Things From a Window?

O bent-down and broken branch,
My love ran into the darkest wood,
Cute as a claw on a conman’s charm
Bracelet he’s pushing around.

In back of the Praise the Lord
Apartments, neo-gothic style with pilgrim
Parking, I called out after her, I heart you.
Only the crows answered.

This place is condemned. Cracks
In the core of the boiler, the angry façade
Telling me my number’s up in the elevator,
I deadbolt to my heart’s content.

View from the window, night devoid of shape
And sound, the smoke from chimney
Pots, the trunks of trees marked for surgery.
Maybe a child will count rings on your stumps?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Wish You Were Here

The empire state building was built on a fog patch.
A well-dressed confidence man sold them the lot.
Your standards are as low as a New York subway,
The man in the fright wig said.

Just a little place I can call home and tell the wife
I won’t be there. Anything goes on a night like this,
And everything goes away, said Kid Mystic in short pants.
I’m a stranger around here and I’d like to stay that way.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Life is Shallow and Hallow

Holy expletive,
Crack patch spackle,
On the ceiling
Of the Sistine Chapel
God says, “Pull My finger.”

But we’re just trying
To make a clean plane
Of existence for our
Space photos and
Bending crucifixes.

And still you sit
In your tub praying
To fill some Jesus’
Stigmata with your
Lightbodied foul mouth.

But the kind of holes
That need stopping
You can’t span, can you,
With your muddy clerestory?
You bet your sweet ass you can’t.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Patron Saint

Dear chum,
Who brings bullies
Around like a musk flower
Attracts does,

You were the saint
Of our ass-kicked
Sunday school class.
There you recline,

Halo of inflammatories,
Butterfly knives,
Brass knuckles,
Crucified on the tetherball

Pole. You had gray
Hair and smelled
Like a cow, but your
Five-finger was

Out of this world.
I don’t know where
You are now.
Still taking punches,

I would guess,
In the dawn traffic
Somewhere, hands
Clasped as if in prayer?

Drag Show

It was as if the sky,
Normally so feminine,
Just had its wig pulled.
The escorts of men,

Inch-measurers,
Temperature whores,
Who go belly-up in
Temper tantrum

When that gray-haired
Mammatus with columnar
Legs revels itself to
This planetary body

In the back alleys
And locked doors
Of the red sky at night,
Sailor’s delight,

Saying in a stage
Whisper, “Oh my God!
A hermaphrodite!”
To an audience of hecklers.