Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"[My last grip disease;
please take more of these.
Make mine magic to stop
your bloody tease - oh these,
oh these, are my mackeral eyes.
'Sickening pessimists
picketing masses
separated communists
apocalyptic bastards.'
Last line goes like this:
I may have seen all this before.
This life is a bloody whore]"


Rather be a grand old man, a silent one,
one with a grin. Rather be a wise old man,
one who's been left, one who's still in.
Turn to other ways, and learn too late -
they're not your ways. Rather be a tough
old man, who is by nothing phased.
Plastic things, calisthenics, push-ups
and exercise. Never, thank you, gracias,
merci. Instead of that, I'll have this:
a looking glass sunrise, a microscope
of love, a path through all oblivion,
a universe of love.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Sergeant Poncharoff is dead.
Colonel St. John is also dead.
The three boys from the division
in Ohio are seriously wounded,
and the company dog just died
from a nasty head wound.
Good God! What is
this war for?

Sunday, December 27, 2009


If I told you the carpenters were up on
the roof with their cellar boots on their heads,
would you question me? Believe me? Understand
my story? If I said to you that three gentlemen, NOT
of Verona, were making sleeves out of mesh in which to
hold water, would you be able to follow the concept?
No, then, probably not. It's always been like that for me.
The sky unfurls a fury above my head; a three-quarters
moon now juicing its light on down, a few shooting stars
dicing the night with their pillage and flight. They take
from us all they can, and keep going. Time has a schedule;
it is that, of which all these things follow and keep. Days,
being numbered, remain secluded and calm. It is we
who get excited, do the dance, run the frenzied circles.
I've always believed, staunchly and without fear,
in absurdity - a total and all-encompassing meaning
of life in which, simply put, nothing is. And nothing
ever was. We are raising standards, alone - self-created
banners all of our own coloration and design. We watch
these things quite carefully, as if, on some other plane,
we designed it all to matter and to never end. No, no,
alas. Time it is which runs out on us, seeping away
like water in that leaky mesh I'd previously
made mention of. That circle of wet on
the floor, below : that is what we are.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

664. ALIVE

Songstress of the sparrow lane, blind
and disabled, hobbling through the snow
with wings tucked in close. Looking about,
though sightless, for somewhere to be.

Friday, December 25, 2009


He went home on the last ship,
last seen walking the sea, last person
alive anyone wanted around. His famous
domino-double-fortune had finally dissolved
away, leaving but pennies on the ground and
some old stories to kick around. Candlelight,
empowered by a seance. An old wizened witch
stirring her pot of pitch. He was always sure to
attend; now he is nowhere to be seen. The flagpole,
flying something, had lost its own purpose in the
steaming night : tri-color pendant, elusive maritime
meaning, a message for sailors at sea to see. 'Tallis
is not here' - he went home on the last ship,
last seen walking the sea, last person
around anyone wanted to be.

662. UBERTEXT 21

You are annulled. You are finished.
Without category, secretive as dead ice,
wet as coal, black as a lie, divisive as any
integer can be. That lion on the transept
overpost looking down - it roars like a sheepish
chicken, a coiled rake, an ocelot in derivation of
the premungular ascopantier, the wide one in the alley.
I have come home twice, each time incorrectly
knocking on another's door. Both times the same
person answered : he was wearing a gendarme's cape
and held a timepiece and a wallet. One ticking, one
empty, both stolen from someone else. In his best fake
French, he managed to say : 'I can do that, you know.'
Those ancient philosophers were all alike, think you not?
Sally in the alley, with Frank O'Malley.
Two sources of food kept the cavemen alive:
boiled hippopotamus steak and the loins of
each other. 'I'd rather eat you than eat your mother.'
Really, that's just the manner in which they used to talk.

661. NO JOYETY (c.1451)

NO JOYETY (c.1451)
There's no joyety like the joy of
tripping freely through the space
of an idle life. Laughing at fools
and jesters is its own reward. Jongleur
and Minstrel, all those foppish types
who yet insist on singing and jive,
strumming their lutes and makeshift
guitars with the self-surviving words
of their boyhoods as girls. After all,
what is the King's Court but a
collection of entertaining
transsexuals anyway?
Lady Manscombe, the pretty
one in the tower by the lake,
she sits there, I know, waiting just
for me. Alas, I am busy right now
with her younger sister Amelie.
It can all be worked out.
Let the others fools
sing their lives

Thursday, December 24, 2009


When you find things, you find
them one at a time. No differential
of separation between either wanting
or, later, having. In that respect, the concept
I here touch upon quaintly resembles love.
You look and you look. Then turns up
what you'd never have expected:
the fire in the forge, the water at
the broken well.
It sometimes happens that
you miss that which is
right under your nose.


I'm so tired I could kill. I can't complete anything,
I can't finish my mind, I can't tend to my thoughts.
Like a bad angle in a carpenter's nightmare, I
simply fit nothing. I can make no sense.
I'd rather be electric, be finished, be dead.
I'd rather have a carpet thrown about my head.
Any magics there might have been have now
disappeared in turn. The eagle has lost an aerie,
the hawk has lost its roost. Over the river,
nothing. All over the land, nothing. In the
frieze of air within the sky, nothing.
In the sunlight, nothing.
Even in fullness,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I am mostly harmonious to a fault,
a degree of my own. With the
wind at my back, I can sail.
With the rain upon my face,
looking up, I can still find
a very private happiness.
In spite of the snow and
rain. In spite of sickness and
death and all of the rest.
I too am an animal within
life knowing I am losing that
life - slowly and unerringly
certain. Yet, not miffed or
bestirred, I walk on.


Somehow, Honey Pie, the
past participle of loving you
is a gruesome regret and a memory
that won't stop. Something akin
to a pounding headache wrapped
up in spikes. A crown of thorns
with the urgency of lust.
However, I trust you will let me go
with that idea. It's really all I've
got left in this shadow-theater
of puppetry and mime I
call my aching heart.


Altazeimer Ferioker was the yellow man on the
ferry - the one in the windbreaker and the corduroy
hat - who threw himself of the front of the craft
so that he'd be run over and hit by it before it took
him under. He was a weird suicide with both hands.
He quickly went under and was churned up in the
roiling waters. As soon as those who saw knew what
occurred, even though by then it was too late, the
ferry was halted (for no real reason) and police and
fire craft arrived, harbor rescue crews, and all the rest.
He was long dead by that point, and ferry service was
halted for the rest of the day. Those on board were,
oddly put, 'ferried away' by another craft they had
to leap to from a shoddy gangplank connecting the
two. Ferioker, it was later determined, was from an
East European capital and heavily in debt. Despair
did him in, somehow right in front of what some
still call 'Lady Liberty'. As well may be, he made
his choice; free until the very-literal end,
to trade up or trade down.
Trade down he did.

Sunday, December 20, 2009



On the road to Jericho,
where nothing is ever new,
I have see-through eyes,
and they are looking at you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I papered up the windows with brownkraft,
just so I couldn't see you. I was, by that time,
already tired of all your languorous half-dreaming,
and my drooling about it too. I could see you every
night, clearly undressing from across the way.
You worked slowly, never distracted - every
movement in perfect place. The clothing, piece
by piece, off and on the bed, the wraps, and then
the lace. The bra-clasp, so simply it always went.
I watched, eyes askew, at all the rest...and then YOU!
In perfect aplomb, you never seemed to care. It could
be me, or another hundred there. Your perfect portrayal
was constant. I lived for this effortless moment of time.
All this distraction - you have to understand -
finally did get to me, drove me nuts, made me crazy.
I walked across the street one day, just to enter your building
and stare at the elevator where, I figured, you must have
entered and left. Finally, once, there you were! Just as
I'd imagined! Or, in my way, seen; real as all get out,
and just as good. We smiled, you passed. I lingered,
in a shock of recognition - something, I'm sure, like
Darwin or Leakey or someone must have felt,
sometime, at once, after making some
great and binding discovery.


A little was never enough.
The garbled voice on the message
machine seemed balanced like a Jupiter
on some Venus or the sort of sixth-grade
astronomy I remembered from the old Mercury
Space Program from long ago. Men breathing air
that was no air in the most perfect surroundings of
weightlessness and no meaning at all. Fraught with
struggle, their surroundings had already killed dogs
and monkeys, so why not them? Things seen in outer
windows looked like celestial lights or nightmares - one
way or the other, new ground was being covered; yet,
oddly enough, there was no ground at all? What did that
stupid on-air commentator mean, I wondered? We were
sitting on the steps at the old portables wherein were held
our fifth and sixth grades. Stupid places, really, with stupid
people too. And now this - some guy on the radio spouting
his nothing. My 8-transistor Emerson, even IT knew better
than that. Why then should we bother? The entire world, if a
continuing lie taught by 'elders', was deemed (by me) to be
nothing more worthwhile than spit. Or the astronauts above me,
I figured, with their - weightless and airy - bags of shit. Powdered
foods and freeze-dried mealtimes. Not for me, thanks. If I had to
take my Heavens, and ruin the stars, it would be with a five-course
meal, tablecloths and napkins, candles and a bar. Generations
of grown men, cavorting in capsules, high above and afar, piling
up their meaningless drivel for everyone and all to hear and see.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Everybody's done without me,
everybody I once knew. Two
guys are dead, one's in prison,
another has his head squared off
in a fucking California nuthouse
somewhere. I can't take even a
minute to breath - they never let up,
all these idiots of the past, these broken
idols of Hell's own chambers of echoes.
If it means anything to you - alone -
I would at least say this : the State Police
are out on the Princeton Lawn, outside
Robinson Hall, watching carefully every
one of us passing by. Why? Some fool
from an Arabian country, now visiting the UN,
is in town for a campus talk - discussion
split with monologue, like an infinitive meaning
infinite nothing, or piles of Islamic shit, or some
old Jew-blubbering about the ageless habits of
nomadic fools. Christians? They're probably best
personified by the shithead police out on the lawn :
ever-watchful, stupid as all get-out, and dressed up
in ridiculous attire meant to signify something. Amen.


'A sa maniere' the genuflecting fellow,
the abbott, said - what he meant was this,
paraphrasing some new Bible of the air:
'What you need do is nothing at all, and at
your own pace. The entire world is a tedious
place.' And then...yes, hands upheld in resignation,
with no energy even for a assignation, he stepped away.
We are a worrisome sort. We say things we hadn't ought.
'John Barleycorn must die. If I had a nickel for every time...
She's built like a brick shithouse. That guy's as crazy as a loon.
Women have hidden drives, penis envy, and they get hives.'
Resignation, just a sick and tired resignation.
A pale backdrop of time and light and effort,
sum-totaling: Nothing at all. You ask, perhaps,
how? Now it is my own turn (to say something
daring) : 'a sa maniere' - in one's own fashion,
in one's own fashion, be that whatever,
and however it may be.
Now, so much time later, I look back.
The black dog, Rinny, is dead and gone.
The shed I had built is crumbled and gone.
The ideas I once nursed, of clinical dreams
and fantastic creations, are gone, all gone.
There is nothing to mind me but dust,
and a rather filthy, morbid air.
A rather filthy, morbid air.
A sa maniere.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


At Chesapeake and Morton all the lights went
out. There was no one to ask about anything.
In the morning's valued half-light I assured
myself - at least - that nothing was amiss.
Five flying arrows and two coal cars
later, this wearisome train was
still rolling. The shortest day
of the year was breathing
down our necks. Some
sort of achievement
for sure. Lux. Light.
The end of all
old meaning.
He, it, shall
surely come

Sunday, December 13, 2009


(nyc, 1968)
(to be read really fast)
I never had a home I never wasn't hungry the
car doors around me slammed and people
people endlessly talking like saltines on the
wet ground sloppy and saggy and dripping wet
no crispness left (but they're good long after the
soup is gone - so take what you can as many at a time)
the man with the tubular hat bent down to retrieve
a nickel I'd missed damn damn Goddamn on that !
slanted buildings seemed ready to fall in my delirium
this hunger was all and what if what if the glass from on
high came crashing down on my head all those people
falling from the sky with briefcases still in hand regimented
as they are and bland so bland not an adventurous soul
among them and me porous me dripping iniquity crying
in pain praying in vain down on my knees supplicating
again - two doorways down some rich kid comes traipsing
with an electric guitar in one hand held rakishly like it mattered
like some aggressive weapon of glee I was supposed to see I
guess this gutter-snipe's superiority to me but I'd never see
his fraternity never be in his redundancy paternity familiarity
and then his friend this wicked girl parading loins comes over
to me and - bending down ever so slightly in her St. Luke's Place
way - takes my hand, presses it ever slightly to her breast and
hands over a five-dollar bill and says: 'I'm so sorry really,
nothing that matters, it's just the way it is, just the way it is.'


I never faltered at the first step of the
landing; it was the end that always got me -
where the little stairs went sideways and ended,
curling about and stopping, around the bend:
There! that twisted second floor hallway.
Always something mysterious, I guess, about
a 200-year old house. The old guy who lived there,
solitary but quite happy, said he was closing it up
soon and moving to Emmanuel - a rest-home
for elders about 3 miles away. The house was
a rickety beauty, and I hated to see it - like him - go.
Forty years later, son-of-a-gun, it's still there.
He's gone and dead long ago - just another
sturdy old black man in the annals of ancient
history. The house is yellow now - they turned it
into some professional space years back - real-estate,
law office, all that infernal crap. The yard was
paved for parking, with but a tiny patch of
grass left - no vista, nothing to see. A real
mess that works for those who mess.
(I guess).

Saturday, December 12, 2009


If the universe was all glass and
you were a broken mirror, or if the swarm
of bees atop your head turned out to be
your hat forever? The sound of a waterfall,
in the middle of your night, coming right
through the room where you sleep. The
howl of a hundred coyotes disturbing your
private dreams. Over there, look, look,
that man with the wine glass is cutting an
edge on the table with a five-inch blade.
He thinks he's a mini-Zorro, swashbuckling
and proud, rousting the lazy with his bloody
broad sword. And behind me, if you would
just take notice, those two girls are playing
cards with no hands! It's a new constitution,
one for all these new places and lands : sites
we've ended up at quite by accident. What
if the chair you were sitting on was really God,
letting you catch your breath for a moment,
before moving you on your (predetermined) way?

Friday, December 11, 2009


The manor house burned to the ground,
arching an eddy where the guardhouse
once stood; so many things to define the
day. And now, along the old canal, where
only the guardhouse is left to rot, come people
carrying their summer bags and hiking clothes,
and bicycles too. Everything in a whine,
like phone chatter concentrated and entwined.
Do they know what they see? Do they
understand their losses and voids?
This was once real ground - secreted with dirt
and toil, a serious thing for serious people.
Now, lined with the doggerel and the flowers
of the very same people who brought us grime
and Spic & Span and crime, it lingers in some
valley of incessant cheap death. Military dogtags,
like jewelry, around haggard wattles of necks
and wrists. It makes me wonder, to look at this -
300 years of an American culture running amok,
precocious kiddies and a four-wheel truck.
I can't say what the matter is;
only what the matter was.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


That dishevelled thing you brought in,
that crumbled bag of love, the idea of
continuation, the elongated allure
of eyes, nose and lips...
all together, a moment
a new place, one
which never passed.
Had I the energy to chase
the erg, to warn the heading,
to barrelhouse the winesong,
I would surely do that - for you,
if for no one else. My life is
like an envelope, ready to
close when moistened, but
until then, seen as complete
only by its incompletion.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I will not know the meaning of want as
it wanes - 'everyday in every way, things
are getting better', that old 1930's rant.
My friend O'Toole's green Plymouth, sunk
on its springs and listing, finally made us
walk. To the bowling alley. To S. Klein's.
To Shipley's, for late ham and eggs.
It was like that everywhere - one was
either in the war, already home crippled, or
out of work and dirt-dead poor and
running for your life. Railyards held
all the secrets we ever wanted to find:
starlight in the night, an old winsome moon
saluting the caverns, and a girl or two,
out late, slinking around to see what
was there. One side of Hoboken
was covered in railyards; the other
teemed with hot-headed Italian hoodlums
all stupid and horny and dumb as Hell.
Whatever we did, we usually wound
up doing it twice. Getting better in
every way. Practice - like an old
bare tree still learning to grow
again its new green leaves.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


["I wanted to get ready, but there was
just no place on deck. Everybody's got
something they're striving to see. On
to be, places to go, places to see.
Your first footing, as I recall, was
in the punk-chef movement, where you
already were a star. Bright bitter spirit,
all those things have been done before.
When, in the Beggar's Opera, Morana says:
'What are you, friend?' I always liked Polly's
response - 'A young fellow, who hath been
robbed by the world; and I come on purpose
to join you, to rob the world by way of retaliation.
An open war with the whole world is brave and
honorable. I hate the clandestine pilfering war
that is practiced among friends and neighbors in
civil society.' That's kind of always how it's been
with me.' Don't get me wrong, no one took any
of this for real. We were both just talking back
and forth, maybe to our own faint shadows, even, on
Plato's wall. I listened hard as the clock struck one."]


(with some Leonard Cohen bullshit on the overhead)
Softest pillow down like gooseflesh mending
time and broken wings together mixed with
that same open-range sadness of too
many wonderful vistas. In this
evasive context the entire universe,
it seems, sings. Sallow man coming
forth in a very velvet and purple jacket,
He'd have nothing to say if asked, so
why bother. The sink faucet, dripping,
would sound just like him, if I let it.
Two coffee cups on the perfect shelf.
The shaded lamp, throwing hotel light
on some Zelda's face until even the
newspapers strewn about want to
kiss it too. As much as anyone,
anyway. 'This is this', they offer.
Manhattan the island, New
York City, the place.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


To my mother's faint health I added
nothing. In fact, probably shaved a few hours
off her life. It wasn't by design that I sometimes
was such a bastard. One day, as I recall, she just
fell over dead. 'Her head exploded', some doctor
said. He was talking simple, for a dolt like me.
Medically speaking, you see. She'd had a brain
aneurysm or something - blood vessels burst,
flooding her brain and moving it off the stem...
whatever all that was she was as good as DEAD
right then. From the moment she hit the ground
there was no sense to even move around.
Now that shit, I clearly understood.
Had I the wings of an angel (I suppose)
I'd try to fly somewhere new, finding
her maybe, just to see what - if anything -
I could do. Now, that is. Well after the fact,
and useless too. As an effort, I guess, to
try and make good, to make an amend -
if I could - and mend it for two.


Your healing allowed me to prosper,
to cling to something, to stay and
subside. Taking potshots at
imagined enemies was never all
it was cracked up to be anyway -
shooting galleries filled with
crack addicts of the imagination.
Intensities. Forlorn distractions.
Crumbled sandhouses where
only failed monks dwelt.
I held in my hands the most
hollow of cards. Laced with a
similacritude of fiery tension,
this varied Ark of my covenant
meant nothing in any other language.
I couldn't speak anyway.
I'd gotten nothing done.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I couldn't save you so therefore
wouldn't try. What's the use anyway?
Boy Scout motto, triage, all the rest.
Why couldn't I just die when the flag went
down, watching my father melt away, in
his flames, to nothing? It's all a muddle,
in a paradoxical way - the same manner
in which floods and disasters
destroy houses and homes.
The last I knew, the lights were
going out around town everywhere.
Up the flagpole some girl ran her
pants while, down below, in
a staggered heap, she sat
in an alcoholic stew,
drunk as a pig and
liking it too.
If these aren't the
Dark Ages yet,
I'd hate to
see the


At first chance, the endings begin, the
stories expand, the meanings become distorted.
Bedeviled by a morning's light, I summon the
strength to look up. Above me, in the approaching
light, great white puffs of cloud go silently
scudding by in front of the yet-dark sky,
while behind them, just barely, I can pick out
the wane of a sinking moon. Nearby, someone's
red car, in its own darkness, idles numbly at the
curb, the very thin coat of frost on its windshield,
recently scraped. In the darkness passing, hidden
somewhere in a nearby tree, the solitary morning
whistle of a single bird alone alights the air. I
am cold, and chiseled in my feelings as my
cold body's demeanor. I hunch for warmth
as I walk, a single slumming morning shadow
of a figure, like black on black on the
velvet chalkboard of night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


These sons of Hamtramack are rounding
the bend : aloof in their speedy cars and
whitened with an afterthought of snow.
Indeed. 'I came from Detroit without thinking.
That is where I was born and where my parents
died - and every chance I get now, that is
the only city whose newspaper I seek out
and read. I went to school at Wedeling Prep,
and it cost me nothing but my youth.'
He spun out, wheels spinning, recklessly
driving that coach into the wall. Two weeks
later, it was all fixed up and looked as
good as new. No one said a word
about the 'crash', ever again.
Detroit choirboys, they ain't.


(Club Five-O, 1958)
Nothing flexible like a knee.
Shabby loincloth, covering nothing.
And all those mysterious trees, which I once
swore I'd really seen, turned out to be fearsome
mistakes of stagecraft and nothing more.
Girls on stage, galloping. Hearts enraged...that too.
Two enormous black cars, like those rogue
Cadillacs of old, roll to the curb and distend
their freight. Two carloads of targeted behemoths,
masquerading as women in holiday garb, blob
out to the curb still talking : weary wanton trios
of bad taste and flab.
Around the curve, from a fantasy Waterloo bar room,
Melchior Eviscora, the flatulent MC, comes by to
greet the crowd : 'HelloladiesHelloMyGod!And
AllYouGoddessesToo!!' He talks like a run-on
gambling gay sentence, all hands and emotion.
The inarticulate articulate nothing.
The deaf hear little else.