Monday, March 31, 2008


IRIS


Geese gaggle across a misted moon.

A moment later, another wedge flies by, silent as sleep.
The black-veined lattice of treetops

beg the eyes to look up, but the feet

stay wistfully attached to the ground.
You wish like a stricken Christian soldier
to stay far from the ruins of Rome,
to let this moment puddle open,

take you in, close.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


MOTION

I motion to have my fingers planted as perennials

in a memorial garden, where disadvantaged school children with magic markers could scrawl their favorite rap star across the scorched text of my fingerprints, and so would wag the New Puppet Theatre of Pride and Appraisal.
I motion that DNA evidence be damned, that I be drowned
past recognition as a wet kitten, that

my head be held up high as I attempt to thread
a needle during a hurricane, that I head a committee
dedicated to the end of debauchery, all and sundry,
except as it is applicable in public life.

I motion an end to everything,
except for what we can grasp, right now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


CURE ALL


The sky is filled with emblems of dead light.

All the facts of the world are set in a single bone.
Well, heal the sick, send the tired, mongrel dog

into the desert, be done with it.

We could start again in that new silence.
The wind howls as you offer to write me
a blank check. I do a desperate pantomime,

but all I can spell out is, “I don’t care.”
You forego the river, where the stricken are laid out in listless bowers. And I am left
with a medicine that can’t even cure itself.

Friday, March 28, 2008


SANCTIONED RANT


I have this reoccurring nightmare that I go
to mail a letter, and find myself on every postage stamp. Ohmigod, which president was I? No, basketball player. No, serial killer. Question: What well-known torch singer with political connections was assassinated
on the night of the first moon launch?
I’ve seen plots to start wars scribbled

on cocktail napkins. I’ve seen cures

to diseases concealed in double-speak

on the back of cereal boxes.
And what about today?

What fly-specks of insight were drowned
beneath coffee, in the rush to get to work,
on the slow-throated river to mutual decay,

where nothing worth happening was actually

happening? Yeah, try some vision with your

caffeine, you monkey-jawed fuck!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


LONGWIND


The power plant thrums through the night winds.

Nested birds sleep, their heartbeats tiny engines

tuned to the monotonous, cabled swoon.
Dark father god, hands on the bellows.
In sleep, we all assume the same form, the same curtain of breath passes
from bedroom to nest to burrow,

the same song, cubed and regulated,
compacted and long.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


WINE TASTING @ STEFAN’S


Robust, radiant...full of the overbearing
puss of a blind god bent on my destruction,
with the faint whiff of wood chips & pencil
shavings, & a pleasantly acidic after-taste...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


ASYLUM


Inside this stale vault are long numbers no one is counting--- It is my breathing.
All is bone and grass grown through it;
the slow, rusted rungs are climbed. Sewers hum like black throats I follow
beneath the gutter's teeth.

I am full of the latched breath
of the air-lock, pilgrims turning

blue with envy, or lack of oxygen,
dim tubers which gnaw their way
toward light.


I am the ribbed cavern that completes

the circuit. I am the vacuum that lets
you know you’re not alone.

Monday, March 24, 2008


LONG PLAYING


The just-past-full moon parsed

and dissected by black tree branches

and a screen window open to a taut

Spring chill on this, the earliest Easter
to fall since 1913, to mark when
“our savior” came up quick-fingered

from the distended womb of the earth,
and the moon spins in the sky
like an LP at the end of it’s side,
the needle stuck on the lip, clicking.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


MY JESUS IS NOT THE JESUS YOU KNEW


Greasy-haired freak still owes me 18 bucks!

Standing out by the servant’s quarters,
acting all shifty, polishing the good silver,
and waiting on a blind date with some chick
named Rosary...


I heard he was once Union, but the carpenters
let him go; too many nails per halo.
I heard his dance card for the spring fling was signed, “Infinite.”

I heard we should cut him some slack, that his endless bounty makes up for lack
of charm, or social graces. But I don’t know.
He seems like any other poor son of a bitch to me…

Saturday, March 22, 2008


GRAVE MELODY


I have found Sabina Melody among the graves,
beloved of Matthew, resting in this earth since 1891,

awaiting the Day of Rapture.
I have found the deformed faces of saints, marble fingers acid-eaten and up thrust, pointing the way.
I have found dirty white plastic doves, joined

at the wing, littering the walkway.
I have found an old man sitting on the bumper

of a black Cadillac, sipping vodka from a NyQuil cup.

Doubtless, he has his own way of remembering.

Friday, March 21, 2008


THE DEAD MAKE LIGHT


I have seen this graveyard from the highway
on a hundred family trips to the city. Grey legions of marble flashing by
in sunlight, and always impossibly seated at their center, the massive black squalid factory
spuming smoke.


From our station wagon's back seat, my brother whispered to me, "Of course, stupid-- Where do you think we get electricity from?
They burn the dead to make light."


And another time,
"That's where you lived before you were born."


I saw myself sleeping small beneath
the cool green shade, hands folded,
my face blank white marble.

Until somehow from a bedroom in Long Island

mom and dad together crackled the current

that set me breathing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


DEAD WAKE


Nothing much has changed since I left here.

There is a pigeon resting, spattering

the face of another blunted saint.

There is a numbers board clicking

at the Irish bar across the street,

the neon weakly blinking

through wrought-iron gates.

There is the ungiving sluice of traffic

from the highway, not stopping,

constant as tides.


And there is smoke

from some early Autumn stove.

Smoke which rises, urgent and groping, forgetting the fire from which it's made.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


ANTI-MATTER OF FACT


I guess our lives are just a metaphor,
like “Towering Inferno,” starring the folks next door.
Give us our daily bread. It’s wafer-thin, and we’re
left wanting more, smoke-choked and chained inside this corridor.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


EMBLEM


The shriveled-leaf oak enshrined in gold

at the end of my block by the last slanting
rays of sun between the roof tops—
I am drawn to you, like a message

flaming out. You can’t tell me

all that I’ve missed today, as I stumble
into the dusk’s first radiance, here
at the end of the weekend, shaking hands
with everyone I’ve already forgotten.
But I stand by you for a moment,
and pretend so.

Monday, March 17, 2008


SUB ROSA

I whispered that last part: I didn’t expect you
to hear it. It was like the handmaiden’s breadcrumb—
I just wanted to keep you coming. Down the crimped tunnel,
toward the sound that echoed like every mother’s lungs,
toward the rewrite of the first word you ever heard.
We start you there. Class has just begun.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


LOT’S SALT-LICK


You said you were armed beneath that lovely kilt.

But when I reached for a bomb, all I came up with

was silk. Well, the truce was breached

by my empty-handed reach, and I’m left standing still. I am Sodom, Gomorrah’s on the pill.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


MARCH JAUNT


The seasons collide, each trying to outrace

the undertaker’s advance of the next.

A June sun burns in March, making us sweat
beneath wool, making the rain gutters
salivate their icicled jaws.

“The snow turns black in Queens,”
he said,

christened with soot before it meets the ground.

“Not like here,”
he said.


Here, where the finely muscled hill-top

is splendid and glaring in white.
Our hungry tires want to devour it,

ride a surgical incision up its’ side.

Oh, let crystals salt shaker my eyelids,
let the blue turn so hard I can mail it to Miami!

And who ever said the sun’s not a woman
to sleep with? Wake up to find yourself
thawed all over the bed sheets, a spring
chicken cooked without remorse.

Friday, March 14, 2008


INSTRUCTION PSALM


It’s all in the way you point your hunger.
What do you taste more now--blood, or the acrid blanch of certain oxides?
The rise of satellites is intrinsically tied
to the deepening roots of gene-spliced tubers.
The underage cocktail waitress showing some
cleavage understands herself as well
as an abandoned mine-field does.

The terror of the obsolete grows in every organism.

Remember your first test paper?

Filling in the blanks?

One hesitant scratch of graphite

across a long white field.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


VACUUM PACT


When you live in a vacuum, you have a lot
of extra room. It’s like you’re single-handedly
bringing back the lost sonar language of dolphins
and whales, gone the way of the power boat.
It’s like the whole dominion over heaven and earth

thing, but reduced to a convenient palm-pilot form.

It’s like call and answer, but you’re always on hold.
It’s like you already said what I was just saying,

and any room for disagreement was decommissioned.
It’s like they say, you can never go home again,

but here I am.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


MESSIANIC OVER-RIDE


So, do you think it was worth it?

Speaking as one suckled mouth to another?
You went the extra mile, man.

Not everyone gets to see the name
of the toxin they slip into the school lunch

to keep us this complacent.

Not everyone gets to read the ad

from the inside. Maybe you should

be wearing robes, and I should
be setting your beard on fire—
I don’t know. I haven’t been cleared
for those kinds of protocols.

But I can’t shake the feeling

that you’re a circuit that should be closed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


FALL OUT


Am I that transparent? I thought

these asbestos overalls were a good enough

cover for a first date going south in a hurry.

Do we have a safety word? A shut-off valve?

I thought my death-by-horseback-riding-accident
could make some pretty good press.

Or are you going with a “nuclear incident?”

That’s just like you; head straight for

the scorched earth-and-vicious-spin-cycle, and let the fall out fall where it may
be able to poison a few other footprints
along the way. Your finger’s on the trigger.
I just smile, politely.

Monday, March 10, 2008


WARNING PSALM


You must not keep still, but vibrate, like any given crop
or mineral. At least these things understand that
the center will hold, that the molten core is a far-off

goal to grow toward, but whose outskirts offer extinction.
My God, that any of us makes claims on the absolute.
That only comes after the disaster. While we're in it,

we're as naked as Kansas. Do you begin to see
that in our role as survivors of nothing, we give up
everything? The flash of eyes, the groping reach---
truly, an international moment. Do you begin to see?
That in the muting of our differences, we might

lend ourselves to silence?

Sunday, March 9, 2008


SACRIFICE


All the dead men in their fancy waistcoats
flip you the finger, say, “Give up all hope.”
The cannibals are dining strictly on their own

and the lion lays down in King Tut’s country home.

The sun is always shining but you’re cold
to the bone, and you’re buying steak knives over the telephone
and you’re eyeing the lamb

and the cub and the kid

and you know you love them

but something’s gotta give.

CONSTRUCT


This is a house of worship. You can tear it down
any way you decide. You can say I was praying,
or burning inside. You can hand me the torch,
let me do it myself. You can tell me again
how innocent I am, once it’s done.
How I was chosen, how I was always meant
to be the one.

Friday, March 7, 2008


NAMELESS


Five dark winds collide, and from that, you begin

to weave and fabricate excuses, trying on one voice,

then another, until the right one fits. You are finding

your orbit, the anxious crowds in the air you breathe.

You are an incendiary cross-breeze, a napalm
of second guesses. You lay the blame, seed the crop.
You gnaw the fox’s haunch, and call the help line.

You can’t help but wonder about the blank spot

on your diploma, the “X” that marks

the beginning of all things…

Thursday, March 6, 2008


TIDAL


Guide me through this open mouth, the tidal scream,

a gathering of waters here at the broken sore.

I am slick with algae, my arm is up-thrust,
I am a statue sunk to the bottom of this most available ocean, a convenient back-drop,
something to tell stories against.

I am the Roman, with nothing left in store.
I am the aqueduct that goes nowhere,

the barber with dull blades and the hot
smear of shaving cream and throats
that live to tell the tale.

I am the sliver on the ice-choked river, the clanking of loose change.
God, believe this:

I am you without a name.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


DREAMS OF EMPIRE #3


Look! It is late afternoon, and the sun breaks open

the window, lighting for a moment what is usually
invisible, gold motes clutched into twining cloaks.
This empire of dust, which settles over
my kitchen glass, my scattered, entrenched laundry,
my eyelids as they flicker and doze.


Through me drifts the Revolutionary War scene

that actually happened down the street,
the first fissures of the Manhattan Project,
Boss Tweed’s popped vest button long since
ground down past the salt of the earth.

I blink my eyes again. Just dust.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


YOURS & MINE FIELD


What is love but the right to devour?


The black-out lights reveal

a yours & mine field. Step lightly now.
Through the words, to the knives
dipped in water that can also heal.

Monday, March 3, 2008


REDACTED SCRIPT


Blank
kills Blank, to seize the position of Blank.

But Blank was foretold the prophecy, and acted
against it,
setting into motion a horrible blank
of his own
blank intentions, that ended in
a blank,
an unholy marriage, a dirty thimble,
and a renouncement of all blanks.

Blank follows…

Sunday, March 2, 2008


EXPLORER


So, the moon launch launched of its’ own accord

and we followed, creating our own
chicken wire & papier-mâché replicas.
For a while we float, as made up as balloons,
full of shut air and air sickness bags.
We love the whole idea of a backyard miracle,

that flight could somehow come from this.

But always, we end up with the end of the afternoon,
us peering out at the burning spur beneath our window;
a tender strip of asphalt glowering with heat ripples,

a simple driveway waiting to be filled. Dad's home.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


BLINDNESS


My family had a TV repairman, and I had no idea

how he sat in front of his own TV, blue-lit and repetitive,
with lids barely fluttering beneath a great weight.
He had his father's name blazoned across the side
of the brown van that pulled into our driveway sometimes, when trouble arose, when our reception was marred by oceans of static, licking at a sodden, sore wound that threatened to grow. This might be blindness,
but we are waiting for someone to tell us otherwise.