Monday, November 29, 2010

It's in our dreams we'll find the way forward

My inner tongue trips
over her yesterday
morning’s extemporaneous
homily and its retelling
rains down on me
temporal anomalies
through which I’ll slip the bleached
monotony chasing me.

Turn key,
return me
to the upturned
glee of a midnight macadam.

Unmanned, it’s where
the manholes open up to me
their traps of sunken yet
stacked wire-mesh baskets.

They’ve been left
to catch a refused few
turquoise-beaded strings
mixed with ash
feather-dusted by the lime,
tangerine and grape
wing beats of exotic birds
too meek to fly upward.

There the tensile tip of a sweet
and fecund smell grips me
and it squeezes out
visions of too-soon
dying in that bed
where a stripped truth lies
tenderly with the on-putting
of my put-off lies.

A low hiss heralds happy heat
and radiating pings rap me
down the shrinking-shadow hall
away from Hedone’s keep.

In the singular
pleasure of this rhythmic pluralism
my nouns and verbs find
their final agreement:
All we’ve known
is what a wanting wind’s foretold,
but its chilly, willful voice
can no longer hold us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

The sickle that cuts

The silvery, sliver moon
snubs me with the stub of
her turning-away's nose

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When the top turves

When the one spared treetop does turve
its cherished Cheshire won't perish
but the once persisting smile will

Monday, November 22, 2010

We honor the spirit of the season by misgiving

When we find ourselves
by the once-again
betwixt a barest bare
season (of not-there)
and the rock-hard
reason (for there-is), let’s

Place the lemon-sour wedge,
where it can be tasted
with expectantly peppered
peeks and the snowy soft pines
for a gifted we we’ve been
too white-elephant
wary to unwrap.

There’s a transplant
future. We pretended
it (to-be
forever sutured to our bristly back-
then), and it meets the it
it was beneath a scrub-brush
Christmas tree we’ve stowed

Carelessly in the cramped space
where our sameness
lets crawl the other. Tinseled,
pre-assembled, past-
their-prime-time specialty
brands of static
clinginess have diminished,

But not-enough,
as the persistence of any-man
attraction shows,
would if it could bring
Whitman’s samplers
of sentimentality
to cuddly bear on a leftover

Choice (What’s-next,
warmed over and over). We
will stick to it,
fuzzy ornaments
on the crackly loud, paper-
thin present. We didn’t give
up but we did give away

Boxed-up angels
in exchange for one red-ribbon
day, its frilly bow tying us
so tightly to
the pressed-down rule
of our highest of highly
evolved thumbs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Laminated maps make ideal umbrellas

A dead-end road of raging
sky grumbles
peculiar directions, then
dizzy drives
crisply crossed drops to their head-
long tumbles

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sometimes there can be fairytale beginnings

With a smack of tender lips
the sticky-stammering spell
breaks, and,
frog cleared from tricky gullet,
he speaks
the binding incantation

Friday, November 19, 2010

Relishing the pull of gravity

Quicksilver traces wake
elliptical motives
as string-less spheres take on
all the tuneful burdens
a black, gaper void won't
hole-heartedly embrace

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Prologue is Future

This is a bit of a mad experiment. Against my better instincts, my best experience, and anyone's good advice, I've decided to revisit an old short story and not only rewrite it, but transform it. I've kept the bare bones, but I'm giving it new flesh. I like it much better than the original, but it'll be a challenge to sustain the for the 15 chapters I've sketched out. This isn't a final draft, so more changes may come.


Let's peek in where it all starts and ends,
at that moment of a single movement when

The head, once so deadly heavy,
is reanimated
to jerk up in a backward nod.

This jump lumped with the looking-in
may make your graceless gaze feel
like a twitchy puppeteer's hand, sadly
forgetful of the pulled strings. Get past it.

See the light.
His two blue irises gasp at that light.
They gasp at the spray of pallid yellow
light that washes over them
when he rears his reluctant lids.

Notice the ears,
his nicely rounded ears. Those cauliflower
receptacles are made more prominent
by the gleam of a cleanly shaved pate.
They receive the sounding waves
as his mechanical keeper regains its motive.

Watch his nostrils.
That pair of nostrils that have grown
fleshier with the facial widening of passing
years. They flare at first to gulp and then more
slowly sip the stagnant air
perfumed with a mix of sweat
and snow-wetted wool.

We welcome Jonas back to the jostle
of the boxing car in which he's stuffed.
It's a thoughtless train that carries him through
circular sentences punctuated by fits
and false starts, the small jabs and stronger
punches that toy with rag-doll chins.

We'll read into his tale and we'll find
this Jonas is a stand-in man perhaps
too cleverly named. And what is it,
this his tale? His is a tale of bellies, and being
trapped. The first and seeming

Everlasting belly surrounds him
now with walls crafted from cookie-cutter
steel. It's a strong-link drop, down
in the chain of silvery likes.

The time.
What's the time?
What's the day, for that matter.

The left arm wears a watch, but its skin,
pinned till pins and needles called,

Won't lift up. It's left to the right hand
to drag its partnered player to where
Jonas can read the scissor-splayed dial.

Seven o’clock.
It's always been Seven o'clock.
It may well always be. Square

With rounded corners,
the window backed by early winter
morning’s black, gives out no
further clues. Does it make a difference?

It doesn't.
How could it? Suspended
above the flash-bulb scenes
of troubled and troubling city blocks,
Jonas lets his mind again go slack.

With it, once-sharp voices
dull to indistinct mumbles, as if they were
spoken long ago, leagues distant
and in an incomprehensible tongue.
Jonas's head nods forward, and with it,
we slip away to darkness once more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make like a snake

Heat-addled and stretched out
flat on a desert stone,
he warns off god's coming
with a rattle made by his own
flayed skin, two pulled hind teeth,
and borrowings of bleached bone.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making the best of it

What does the wind intend?
Our branch-bridge bends up to ask us
Let's pretend the answer's love

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You (I wanted to write a poem starting with “Why”)

Why is it I
can’t? You leave it
alone, but I
know I can’t. It’s
the OCD in me
to rearrange everything. I
have sorted the sordid
big details of when. We
got together
by an ascending order
then. I
ruined it with a “Why?”
and “Ever since...” We
back to one, and I
am still flipping
through the why’s.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zero gravitas, or when I solve the fundamentals of time travel

If I could send
one message
back through time,
I wouldn’t write to beg
words off a writer
I admire –
be it Dante or Blake,
Yeats or Cummings –
and I wouldn’t warn away
the gazes of a to-be
lost love
or push the glad
hands of not-yet
abandoned friends.

I would write
to my yesterday self,
who lazily left
dishes for today’s
me to do,
and I’d rightly tell him:
“Please, reconsider
the sink-
me urge to shirk

“These are citrus-
scented suds,
and if you let them,
they’ll tickle
a memory of 3
too-old oranges
forgotten to bother
the bottom of a wicker bowl,
which in turn
will return you to rethink
the how of when
a younger you
grew 5
times in those 10
years before the death,
and then
you stopped caring for the 20

It’s news of the wee,
and non-consequential
tasks that gives
all of these me’s pleasure

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impudently dancing to the dourest of beats

Wee hands
we tethered
and together
we skipped
the craggy face
of calamity's cliff.

More rumble
than chuckle,
it laughed to buckle
our knees,
and we laughed
right back at it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Being broken isn't always a bad thing

The chrysalis crisp someday
cracks and crawls away
till its crumpled fills
a renewed creation

I'm struggling a bit with direction and next steps. I'll be easing up a bit on posting here for the foreseeable future, so I can concentrate on longer forms of narrative. I feel like I've reached the end of my larval stage. The chrysalis is hardening, and I'll begin breaking myself down in order to assume a more mature and fruitful shape.

I'm also giving up on the idea of submitting my work anywhere. It's become apparent that my writing really doesn't belong in any publication. My style is too crude and unusual, and it doesn't play well with what others are doing, so I'll take the punishment I deserve and continue to imprison my poems in this obscure and benighted little corner of the Internet.

Thanks to all my regular readers and collaborators, as you and your sites are what keep me going.

Update, Nov. 9: I've decided to convert my short story Belly to verse, which will consume most of my creative energies probably for the rest of the year (unless I really get cooking). I'm not sure yet whether I'll post the chapters as I finish them, or wait until the whole piece is complete.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The glass you gave me is emptiful

Watch me closely, God,
though you’ve seen it all before.

I’ve got the universe up my sleeve
and it’s itching for a sleight,
if you’re willing to be conned.

The stardust filling Aquarius
has poured for countless millennia
and it won’t brim the bottomless cup
of your oceanic blues.

That’s the warm-up for Lepus
who, lean and polar-white, leaps
out from my flipped-over cap
and is chased by the steel-plied
Orion’s hankering for roast hare.

Hunger-driven this heaven hunter
has a saggy belt; his sword’s tip drags,
slicing Gemini in two,
but twins can’t be parted long
and divinely grasping Pollux clasps
Castor’s pause anew.

Conjoined, they bow together
under showers of milky petals
kissing no-longer
furrowed brows till black
velvet curtains fall
and are followed by your eons of
endearing applause.

This poem was written for Poet's United's Thursday Think Tank Prompt: Magic

Friday, November 05, 2010

Prayer of the unsaintly

Would you banish me if I confessed
a secret thrill the instant
shrill sirens intrude,
rudely breaking in
to shove aside my trailed-off whispers
with a wail from which no earwax,
no matter how doughy thick,
could keep a modern Ulysses safe.

Maybe it’s this time
they’ll stop for me.

Maybe it’s this time
and there won’t come a knock.

Maybe it’s this time
the stale crust of hardening past
explodes to scorch a put-upon earth
or crack her open so we can,
you and I, slip through,
up among the slewfoot roamers.
Their heavy heads are down,
always down, down,
pointed down and they’re unaware
there are germs here.
There are puffs of dainty fluff floating
close above them here and hoping
to ride our slipstream,
to skip over those dreams
too drained of ambition for ever
to germinate.

Ignore, am I
the kind to ignore? I am
ignoring them right now,
and the dimpled facts
they’d dare be
if beggary wasn’t better served
than derring-do. Don’t
tell me you don’t see them too.

I’ve witnessed the self-interest
and I’m still abiding, dude,
but when, dear God, when
will enlightenment finally arrive?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dampened spirits

From an icy blue
(remove) ........... INEVITABLES
chilling s-p-r-e-a-d wings

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A political postmortem

In the yeasty yearning for
fuzzy was – its sleep-
deprived, batted eye trimmed with
never-were, prickly lashes
long-frayed from the thumb-on-thumb
of constant tugging –
we loosen our hug
around bugaboo learnings
and lose the gripping
way to clear but not soothing,
white-nighted will be.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A few photos

Here are a few photos from the reading I did at the opening night of George Kokines' Elgin Academy installation.

The "September 11" pieces (St. Nicholas, Ground Zero, The Sky Above)

Yours truly, reading

George and me

Monday, November 01, 2010


Wind sweeps up crushed-leaf
Curtains, strictly maintaining
Roomy illusions