Saturday, June 28, 2008


The open window,
the antic crackling bug crunch
of a cigarette butt being put out.

A silence complete in its’ fullness.
The shadow of your last self
just lost in first light.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Riding the lonely, late-night bus
from Queens back to Brooklyn;
just me, the driver and a young
Latino boy slumped in his seat,
grasping a diet Pepsi like a drunk
would his own elixir of benediction.

Off in the distance, the Manhattan
skyline, a wilderness of mad, endless
expansion. Video billboards flash
like tarot cards telling someone else’s
fortune: a distant cousin’s, perhaps,
or maybe a visiting head of state.

I remember seeing “Bladerunner”
for the first time in high school;
taking in its’ vision,
hushed, dry-mouthed, dazzled,
and can’t believe how quickly
the future has come to claim its’ own.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I take my razored fingers to the seething
multitudes, pulling up stubborn roots
that proclaim their hold, stuff visages
into black burlap sacks, send them off
to some sanitized legal limbo heaven,
and no, you, in fact, are the one
who first mentioned the word guillotine.
I have a report right here that proves it…

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The frail pinwheels of fireflies
play out across the open meadow.
I draw my dark ancestor into a dance.
She cries against my shoulder,
recites a litany of dead names
that mean nothing to me;
a deaf-mute second cousin, a minister
who mended split-wood fences on the side,
a one-eyed sod farmer who bottled
personal misery. She asks my forgiveness
for all of them, but I am left
with open hands, too many
of my own mistakes, and the aching
code of dying light.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The monkey dreams a radiant cacophony,
a kingdom of tendriled fronds and god’s teeth
gnashing the mulch of the world into creation.
The monkey sees the jungle he dreams
upon the jungle before his eyes.
The monkey dreams he is a monkey,
born of monkey, but more than monkey,
born this day, but every day, to arise.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


My body is humming, my body is humming,
cold angel glow of the dashboard, radio on,
empties tossed by the roadside.
This is the sound of surrender, glutted and tinkling.

I am only half-aware of the parts of myself
that are dying right now, for lack
of air and water and light.
What is left I wrap like a shroud
of monoxide around me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I glow with abandon, thirst,
and pray to those murky
rough voices behind the hedges
of the choir; those bitten,
spindley things warped for lack
of light and exposure, who sing
with voices of clear underground
streams, rattle roots in their
blackened hands—Oh, give me
something! All those starved
and bug-eyed, ferocious
with neglect, who are lost
in the naming and so grow stronger.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Let the sky close down quarters.
Let the pumps and oxygen masks sputter.
Fear, paint me red, scurry my eyebrows
up to lightening rods. Caffeine, kick in,
blossom my capillaries. May my blood sing
wide as the Lincoln Tunnel, a fierce tide
flushing out the system.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Let us count the heartbeats of the living
and keep time by this to the Motown of Heaven.
That Wall of Sound Phil Spector envisioned,
still coming out of cheap radios,
on Formica countertops, on oldies stations.
Hear that? That song made me feel today
that I was drowning, and was glad for it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Somewhere, a bunch of sequined
black girls from Detroit are still singing,
their hair all curled alike, rigid waves
black as wax or glittering tarmac
after a rain. Singing the honey-sweet
failure of romance, so sweet
you want to start crying.

Like they were saying goodbye
to their childhoods, singing
to their crazy-mad boyfriends
who leave them for some stupid
teenage highway, Harleys, hot chrome
throbbing between thighs. But tears
streak the grease of his mechanic’s face.
He still has that song pounding in his head.
He still dreams hopelessly of deliverance.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Hear that? Radios sing heaven,
rising off the dashboards
like a cheap hymn.
We’ll all keep time, clumsy-fingered,
and I’ll come back, I’ll sing along,
I’ll signify the air with my talking.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


May you pray for the closing of jaws.
May you pray for such a thing.
May you pray for the thin forgiveness
that exists between lines that haven’t
been written or spoken yet.

May you pray that this doesn’t even begin.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I got no problem saying nothing.
It’s on the tip of my tongue, down
to the Isle of Sunder.

I got no problem saying nothing.
It’ll keep me company,
like no other.

I got no problem saying nothing.
With seeds split wide,
and no place to gather.

I got no problem saying nothing.
A wet, black bough
gasping in the ether.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Is that what they call your face?
I remember a time when it stood
for something besides the five
pillars of salt it does now.
Yes, I’ve been balancing
the apocalypse along with
the budget, and baby makes three.
I’ve been left speechless
enough times to know
every word is pending,
that only a wolf in bureaucrats’
clothing could hope to take
your howl, send it out on the wire,
and have it back within the hour,
losing a little in translation,
sure, but already on its’ way
to turning on itself.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


The incision was quick.
So was your come back.
But you won’t miss our reply.
What’s one small wire
in the great, cannibalized sprawl?
We’ve sectioned off your excesses,
drained some swamp land,
got a great redevelopment
opportunity for all parties
interested. You’ve already
made nice with the velvet ropes,
the SOS, the bright yellow
crime scene tape.
Your position is clear.
Now we have to define it.

Monday, June 2, 2008


How can a smoke stack
limned in sunset
suddenly seem so beautiful?
Or the pink-tendriled steam
cloud from a rooftop vent?
Or the distant, glass and steel
skyscraper, now a brief,
flame-filled skeleton,
like some pagan sacrifice
at the border of our memory,
to stave off the coming night?


Careful what you look for
in the mirror. Negation vortexes
are not part of the bargain.
They’re off the table, non-negotiable.
Difficult to control when unleashed.
Buy an averted gaze, instead.
A self-taught lie. Universal patent,