Monday, December 31, 2007


(part three)

This dance you do, what do you call it?
I call it the No-Skin Crispy.
I call it the Nutra-Sweet Goose-step.
And this thing between us is not love,
but waxy build-up.

Call me by my real name; Mr. Crunchy.
Call me by my real name; Microsoft Willy.
Call me sugar when I melt at your mouth-step,
filled with a fever of false promises.
Call me Son of Cheese-Wiz,
Son of Sons of the American Spread.

I will cover this landscape in redundance.
I will cover it with the flu of surrender.
I will check on the status of my deadened heartbeat
and think, “This will be the only sound
I’m hearing when I dance, when I dance,
the only sound I’m hearing
when I dance from now on…”

Saturday, December 29, 2007


It’s not that I am dead. It’s not that.
It’s just that I’ve been burnt a little, that’s all.
When that happens, you tend to loosen up,
in terms of slipping. Parts gone since
you last checked them. Funny.
Things seem to run fine, even in their absence.
Maybe they weren’t needed to begin with.
There’s so much excess baggage nowadays,
it’s hard to tell.

The circle has wandered farther than the name
we put on it, its’ letters spread so thin
they barely cast a shadow.
We don’t even recognize them
as letters anymore; just long, deliberate slashes
made through the landscape---to tell time, perhaps,
or was it to measure miles?

The mechanism rusts in the desert.
I keep walking, hoop through hoop.
It’s not that I am dead.
I just keep walking through.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Things work out. Things always work out.
How many times can we fool ourselves? There are candles burning out there, there are lights that stay on all night.
The glow on the sill lasts long

after the switch is hit off,

but still we turn our shoulders
like the bows of ships

toward what might hit us,

and we curse the things that bring us here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Suddenly, all the clocks fell dead.
Their arms went limp, rigor mortis set in.
The front doors blew open.
Those of us inside were finally coming out.

We were sons abandoning our fathers, children

who left the radio on, the faucet running, the oven burning high as they stepped greedily into the sunlight.
It was an age of grace, I think,

and all we could do was pick up and leave.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I love to see you this way;
your wide-spread, circuited body.

You who were once so distant from me,
now made an infinitely soft-wear.

My keyboard shimmers in symphony

with all twenty of the programmable senses,

my fingers press further

through this gnarled and circuited light. My joy-stick begins its’ joyful wagging, dancing like an ice skater freed from my palm:

(The pleasure center is under control.)
(The pleasure center is open for business.)

(The pleasure center has been seized by terrorists.
Please stand by.)

So many buttons to push, so little free time…

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


(part 2)

The president’s forehead grows thin as paper. Inside,
a fire is burning, whole libraries are turned to ash.
The White House becomes a party hat,
passed around drunkenly by the side of the pool.
No one can decide a thing.

Switchblades flick open; horrible abortions are performed

In the shadow of the golden arches; Everyone is on

A blood-mad search for the True Son, the Son of the King.

If they can kill him, they might feel a little better.

Everyone’s in a mood that’s a lot like drowning.

Now their fingers strum a symphony on my belly.

They clamor for the placented sunlight to stream from me.

They are hungry; there can be no waiting.

They’ve always played a game with fear.

Now they want the real thing.

My breath, the angel wings of butane.

This is my body, I give you this gift.

I will give fire back its’ original name.

Monday, December 24, 2007


(part 1)

When I was old enough to stay up late without a babysitter,

the TV transfixed me: I would sit, afraid to let the blue glow fade,
to feel the cold photo of night press itself against the picture window, because I knew Godzilla would be there,
taken from the screen

like a drop from a petrie dish suddenly grown full-size and looming.

Godzilla, some stillborn child put on this earth horribly starving,

with a throat thimble-thin and a gullet wide as an ocean,
full of a depleted vocabulary of fire and rage, never able
to express his needs and so hated, fired upon

by toy armies of reason.

Godzilla, I get back the X-ray from the hospital;

He’s in me now, trashing against my ribcage.

I knew junk food was a curse, but not this bad.
I didn’t know it could have children. Now my womb
swallows the sky, and everyone is watching.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Today, at lunchtime, I wish my eyesight could take me with it,

to glide the oil-slick East River waters, or to hover
in a nest of cool shadows beneath the Brooklyn Bridge,
and hear the cars screaming past, voices trapped

in their own relentless momentum.
Today, I wish I had the wind for hands,
so I could strum the steel twine of the Brooklyn Bridge

like a Marx Brothers’ harp, and play out the rapid pulse-rate of this day.

Today, I wish for an end to things—or a beginning.

I wish the “Watchtower” clock across the river,

which flashes the successive death of each

passing minute, would suddenly tell a new story,

would proclaim in a crowning digital display:




Saturday, December 22, 2007


And suddenly, the walls around you are lifted, and you’re talking

to an audience you didn’t even know was there.

While outside, some cheap, hard-boiled narrator tosses off

one last cigarette into the East River, to ignite all the lost

gasoline and precious fluids floating on its’ surface,

and as the wall of screaming heat climbs higher,
and your forehead is a billboard selling, “SWEAT!”

all you can do is turn to your neighbor and shout,

“Some weather we’re having, isn’t it?”


We are all swarming toward something, some vast light source.

We are like the nameless warriors at Troy, who threw themselves

at Helen’s beauty, only to be cast off and broken.

It is those who know how to get their actions “read”
who are remembered: an Achilles or a Hector with their sense
of good timing--when to enter a scene, when to stay out of it,
when, even, to die. Without that, the film reels loop and hiss,

gathering skin-moist in layers on the floor. Just hour after hour

of raw footage, taken as a security precaution, and nothing more.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Run your tongue upon the withered zinc; the dampness will help the connection.
If you slipped me in your pocket and held me close,
my radium, my quick-twisted crown,

I would know something so subterranean,
it could make me sing.

I will arc across streetlights and saliva, the dashboards will glow blue
with drowning, or submission.

The song will come in slow, broken pauses,

the dance will ache like the palm
on the hip of some distant cousin…

(Don’t slap me---I’m not through yet)
We’ll whisper the names already asked toward forgiveness:
My third grade teacher, my hypodermic nurse,
my father blackening the air with gin swills.

Oh, slit open the skin, as batteries run low;

Let the charge run home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


"Do you begin to see there is no face there in the tarnished mirror?"
—William Burroughs

Gun-toting racist lawmen swagger drunkenly across the landscape.

Sexually repressed secret agents plot each other's demise. Hidden

enclaves of technocrats vie for power and unleash deadly viruses.
A young boy abruptly blooms into a red-haired wolf, leathery femalesnake-beasts invade the English countryside.

We begin to see this story as its own kind
of viral replication, endlessly mutating itself into new forms.

The leathery she-beast is now a captive sideshow attraction.
Expose all faulty wiring and cheap, duct-taped bandstands,
the hollow flash of out-dated tricks! The trappings are there,

but their mechanisms are left dangling, half-completed.

We hear the staccato police report, the carnival huckster,

the dispassionate scientist, the Hollywood censors;

all purveyors of noxious light.

We wait for the explosion.

Once it’s over, we are left

with bald cacophonies, with a sick nostalgia

for a time just before the bomb went off---
the silence that up until then, we chose to ignore.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It is Easter Sunday. A ruined egg on the pavement

reminds me; its scattered shell the blue tint of the virgin.

Girls in their pink dresses look ambiguous, swivel

their small hips to salsa, or lean from ground-floor windows,

blow kisses to each other, waiting for church.

Behind them in their darkened apartments,
the immaculate corpse looks on, hung
from his cross above the solemn brown TV console,
its’ volume turned down.
In the park, on beaten stubble fields, families play soft ball, launch rockets from which white plastic statuettes of astronauts fall with parachutes back to the earth.
Children run to collect the remains. There is nothing simple in this.

Each event unfolds, small and cautious. Airplanes mark the sky

with their blue-etched trails. What is seen through the corner

window can seem as distant as a radio broadcast; can be us

or others. I see the slow smoke of restlessness,

momentum as its own song.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Don't leave me, as sunlight spreads

its wound through the broken-jawed
doorways of morning. Don't let me
forget how I stood here, mouth open,
afraid what might enter.

There are diamonds still caught

in the tough black gullets of crows
who swing toward the sun.
There are still fish alive in this river--
bright as coins they flash, searching the bottom

There are children racing

through nervous pews,

who trace dust on black Bible fronts,

and dream of cars like red-painted animals

with doors open, waiting for them.

There are men who jostle and shout
around the spuming back of a garbage truck.
In the muddled half-sleep of work,

their faces dance to each other

like drowned garments.

They think of going home to touch

their lovers, to run the shiver

like a current through their fingers.

This is the shudder,

the current,

the hollow collapse.

Oh Grace,
I will not break.
Run it through me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Toss your arms toward winter, when summer
is the barren ground. Your loved ones become icons;
senseless saints and vibrant clowns.
The hand that reaches is the hand that creates,
is the one that refuses, turning all beauty to waste.
My prayer is the slim leaf that falls open
when no one else is around.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Our skin is just starting to come apart. I feel it
like an annoying burr, how it catches on my bones,
while all the howling circumference is around me, waiting to come in.

No wonder we are on edge, when the teetering

data banks are just waiting to infuse us
with a sense of something greater; whale sounds, ocean's pulsings, and suddenly
I am held fast to the catacombed bones of the earth,

and a silver-haired, white-skinned hag kisses me

with cold lips and tells me impossible things.

And then I am alone on rain-dark open grass plains,
the first garble of man sounding around me,
cousin of skin who would eat me without pause.

How I could grow hair like him,

let it flood me, coarse and luxurious…

Thursday, December 13, 2007


You hate the feeling of looking over your shoulder,

but then there I am. How about this:

I'm the younger brother, the one reckless
and beautiful, who tipped the speedometer toward red,
and now returns after years of quiet with an itchy

trigger finger and the insistent promise that this is it,
the last scam, the last chance for us both to cash in.
As soon as the porch door clicks shut behind me, you know
only trouble can come from my hunched but vibrant silhouette.

Or how about this one: I'm your bleached-blond ex-lover,

who split for beauty school and Hollywood a life-time ago,

but now comes back, oily and sensuous, barely coiled
inside my red satin dress. That's the one where
the sweat on your forehead matches your internal landscape,

your constant state of indecision, until in a burst of fatal passion

you thrust me across the card table, spilling
drinks and religious icons,
giving yourself up
to the kind of love that always spells death.

Some say I’m beyond hunger. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


A single man

A carpenter, plumber or electrician
Clattering along in a panel truck
Thoughts with his coffee gone cold

A single man, but
An ocean flows inside him

Grey shores circling the narrow

Coastline of his skull

He knew it was there

But turned his eyes from it

But if a single man would break

The streets would be flooded

The world would be water

And all this forgotten

Except for a single thing

An old dresser knob

Or a child’s wooden hammer

Left floating

A reminder of industry

That hands sleep somewhere below

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


It came like this…I thought the ice was trying to tell me something.

My whole weekend full of suffused and glittering light, battered
by its brilliance, and the best any of us could come up with is, "It sure is pretty out there."

All the branches the leaves tree trunks windows clock faces

encased in ice, a world of frozen blossoms, a world remade,

brittle, temporary...
We walked and slid in clumsy pirouettes across its smooth
and stiffened skin, the flecked-off fragmented stars

stared down, spinning and spinning, and the cold empty

sky opened as my mouth opened, full of purple breath bruises,

pushed out, set aflame.

Monday, December 10, 2007


We are all coming apart, piece by piece.
Here, the lost have voices, delicate as insects,
or the smallest yawn of tides dragging us under,

calling our ears to listen.

Here, that man with the dirty wet newspaper a week old

can speak in any voice allowed him, can quote numbers,

artifacts, tired marrow, the particular grin of car hoods,
the hoops of air that birds made leaping through him.

Here, that language speaks on and on,
a bludgeoned silhouette that never runs out of words.
Here, he is our mission.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Let the others shut the door, turn off the lights.
Let the silence bicker and murder itself until morning,

so we can turn to face each other
with the drowsy sense of new-borns.
Let the riveted acres of the dead stretch on.

Our tongues flash, like car hoods with nothing on them.

Each new day bursts open, contagious with the past...

Friday, December 7, 2007


Had a pure moment tonight, going to see “Fly Ashtray” at CBGB’s

after a vicious, tremendous thunder and lightening squall
all over
Manhatta and outlying regions, the drains overflowing,
women running,
skipping puddles, holding up paper plates
in dainty, old-fashioned defense
against the weather;
all this stirred-up energy, and there I was, waiting

for the light to change, ducking under the nearest canopy
to escape the rain,
and I spot James out in front of CBGB’s
catching a smoke, and the lightening
flashes, soundless now
over the roof tops above him, and the restaurant/bar
where I’m seeking shelter actually starts playing, “Gimme Shelter”
by the Stones, a great tribal-rhythm song, and suddenly, my pulse
racing with the shots of Jim Beam running through me,
and it’s life
during war-time, and I’m raggedly ecstatic
waiting to cross the street
to meet my friends
and hear the dirgey gargoyle crowings of this,

our precious beast, our broken back, our rock ‘n’ roll…

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I am an amnesia patient of greater heaven.
I come up, mouth open, and all the wonder
I could feel is a dull and half-lit thing,

a distant companion, something wrapped
in burlap cloak and bandaged feet,
while the gulls circling above

the earth mock and shriek and leave
a single feather, a fluttering abundance,
something that when you find it you think
is yours alone and was meant only for you--
This is time muscled and bearded with teeth,
set to dripping just as it's stopped.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Would that I'd foreseen you casting doubt
on all I've created. Would that I could cancel doubt
from every existent program. What do you bring me?

Hands full of famine, eyes like penniless oxides…

Does this count as knowledge? No!

Yours is one of the shortest nations
born from withered bones.

But just look at the neutered muskets,
the three-corner hats
turned at a jaunty angle
during any recent small-town parade.

What once drew blood is now

the silken puff of illusionary corn starch.
Name the bullet, name the substance. I could erase them all in an instant.
I am the speed-dial, the viral rewrite,
all that is best
forgotten given a new name.
You should really learn
to love me.
It’s going to end up in the program, anyway…

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I love to see the blank billboards at night,
like sails for a voyage not yet taken.
I want to climb the pure white
background, act out shadowized remnants
of some third-grade play for passers-by
on the high way, cause a few to swerve
shuddering into the guard rail.

Afterwards, the rubber-necking packs
will strain themselves, gazelle-like

and blood-seeking, while a loudspeaker spouts,

“Here is another death caused by art!”And in the ensuing wave of mass hysteria,
new government crack-downs against
play-acting in the dark.

It’s like something I saw last week--
“The Hot Flesh Ballet.”

Tap-dancing on the third rail;

(the performances didn’t last long).
It made you think who would be that crazy,
that desperate to fill up the stunned
and empty expanse of our free time?

But you didn’t even mind the delay
as the squads came in to clear

the blackened remains of the dancers away.


Men still dangle fishing lines and traps,
drag up a plastic six-pack holder,
lank with seaweed.

They laugh at what they're missing.

TV helicopters tear wide the twilight,
carrying news like a vaccine.
The water is sick, a snake peeling its skin,
grey and glittering.

The sun burns in one final burst.

The Chrysler Building glows

like a church steeple tainted with gold.
Seven shafts of light fall upon huddled
brown housing projects.

And the river moves in the way it always
moves, full of its’ dark, constant rewritings.

Every open mouth gives up something.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


There, past the blazing green

and kicked-up, scalded dust,

behind the monkey bars that hung

like the ghost-bones of astronauts,

where the shade curled by the split-wood fence,

that’s where we hunched, furtive

and hot-breathed, scouring the sick mystery

of older kids: smashed beer cans
and the rain-stuck pages of old porn mags,
cracked and dried like animal hides in the grass.

We fought over their furtive, glossy limbs,

brought back tatters to stick in our desks.
We glanced at them between science lessons,
where we studied half-finished men
in crinkling, plastic text book diagrams, peeling back a hazy lung or spleen,
like we were digging down to the heart
of some Colorforms murder victim.

I knew the secret wound of my body.
I knew what was worth hiding.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


He grips his shaft, shy as a crab's palpus
testing the dark. He has just been dreaming
of entering everyone he has ever known.
A freight train moans ponderously through him,
swaying its shank of metal across long-dead

sea-beds of Mid-West. He is long gone,
too far gone, afraid of his window,
of eyes that might flare out there,

harsh and valpecular beneath hedge-light.
He has spent a life-time retranslating road signs
he has read, comparing the crumbling mountains

and waterless rills of the moon to his own mother's

thronged and sagging flesh. He has grown old

listening to her bathroom coughing fits.
Now, somehow, he feels larger than the billboard
that blares white and empty by the entrance to the highway.

He is almost there, can hear the slow grind

of traffic signals shifting, green to red,

the hush and rustle of night-time wheat fields all around, closing in.
He has woken to know that no one thing owns him,
that to grow is not a tangle of roots, but release.


This city lost in mist, grey as the cold
statues of the dead we know
are dead just by touching them.

In this mist which looks like remembrance,

I cross a bridge between two boroughs.

I like this span of metal,

the arch and rigid grip of it.

How it holds the thrumming of trucks
close to its marrow, how they pulse up through my feet, a deliberate memory,
long after they've rattled past.

Strangers meet, slung between two points,

fingering switch-blades and nervous coins.
All their furtive iconography of want,
like mileage counters clicking silently

on each blue-lit dashboard below.
Nothing holds me here.

In the wind, the hump-backed

frozen bones of concrete,

the stricken hypodermic of buildings,

I am remembering you.

I wish you could know

what my mouth tastes like now.

My lips are open, I am spanning.