Wednesday, March 31, 2010

821. NEUTRAL FEVER (an abstract)

(an abstract - w/don delillo)
'I am writing without benefit of clergy;
without benefit of anything actually.
After all, one should not prejudge something
not yet finished. Like the Gods and their shellac,
what shines the most isn't always the best. I
do understand this : I can tell failure by its
gait, its walk, or the sag in its spoken words.
A regular Sam Cooke melody of sad and
dumb. Maybe dumb like Pluto was dumb.
God of the Dead, and God of the Underworld
too. Or dumb like the silent 'B' in dumb is dumb.
Just think, think of all the sad nymphomaniacs
with sad pussies everywhere. Or the same, with
Buddhist pussies. Detachment is the keyword.
Deathward is the cultivated motion, like the falling
of all matter in the universe and the terminus of
every plot. Land-policed by the King's linguists,
by the technicians in Death-Systems control.
I didn't say all of this, mind you. A little of
it, believe me, I swear to you, I really mean
it, is Don DeLillo's. Like the high winds
which eventually rip everything
to bitter, sorry shreds.'


'Darling, please, I've got to talk to you.'
Some bullshit, same talk, the kind
Kitty Foil used. 'I thought that was
some wrap for clearing up the Kitty
Litter box.' The guy who said that, trying
to be funny, I'd hoped, was apparently as
dumb as they come. I wandered off -
thinking to myself about what really is,
if it could be called - 'Civil War music' :
did it have a music, and did those songs
all have a theme? Death and carnage, OK,
those I understand, but what was said, back then,
about broken hearts and sweethearts left behind,
or the brother without a leg, or the one with
no arms and a scarred face? How cruel did it all
become? When families went against families,
no mercy was given. 'You married my fucking sister,
just to make her a Reb? I'll cut your nuts off', and
they did. Poor Lincoln, no wonder he so often
is depicted as looking like shit. And his stupid wife
no help either. Plus his little dead son.
I eventually wandered home, and found it in a book:
'During the late 1850's, it was nearly impossible
to find anyone who did not vociferously take an
opinion, not so much on slavery, as on the
dissolution, or not, of the Union. Slavery was
merely the foil used. It became so bad that,
for many, many thousands, the only solution
was to take a ship back to Europe, and resettle;
effectively ending any chances for eventual return.
What was lost, of course, by this exodus, is never
to be known - but, then again, neither will we
ever know how many were saved by their leaving.'
Unbelievable, somehow, that 'Kitty Foil'
had got me to thinking on this. How
crooked are the lines of the mind.


Wanting nothing, getting less. I, not you, remark
fitfully upon the rest. 'Here is our buried angel, here
is the place we were born, I remember the baseball
field well, that's where Louie Lane lived. Over here,
remember, we buried Rinny, our dog.'
Everything seems so simple now.
A holiday repast, one without
judgment. Some cruel mouths
talk of foul politics, others
just eat.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


These marks on clay, those improvised wedges,
are they all that they say? I've seen readings of
nothing but accountings and lists and hoarded goods.
This ancient Man, of whom I speak, he took great
pains to dislodge any imprecision. How long was it,
I wonder, until he wrote a real fiction? In the first
ledger book (of clay), somewhere, there must be
the first ledger lie. A 'true' falsehood for the ages.
In the early afternoon, a high wind is rustling
the unsettled trees. Evergreen and sycamore,
one full, one still bare, wrestle with themselves.
The new Spring season calls them, yet they -
only reluctantly, it seems - now come forth
to play along. Birds, to witness, sing their song.

Monday, March 29, 2010

817. WOLFMAN SHAMBLES, (Pts. One to Five)

(Part 1)
Only a cantankerous craving for shadows that were
could ever make me see the past as prologue.
Now, when it seems that all things are living on in
an afterlife of their own sense and sensibility,
with myself and others as the mere,
and most baffled, onlookers...
The wolfman from the land of the dead, he is walking
with a crooked stick past warehouses of thrift and
efficiency. That Kingdom, he rules. Everything suffices,
beneath his neck, to break the supplications of rank and
order - a very old and ancient reptilian brain still
running on at full, fevered speed.
Past the streets of fire - 17th and 19th and 23rd and
all the rest, he passes with his mental poise, lucid as
a fury and hammered and cocked, like a gun ready
to fire. Looking back, not once but never, he misses
all behind him - walking straight on with bleeding fangs,
to the cemetery pass-gate where the gatekeeper awaits.
Tokens and coins for the dead? Nothing like that is needed.
He can barge right through.
Sometimes, it gets confusing. What is this? A tenth
life, a twentieth, or is this a mere rerun of once?
What death-defying terms does an immortal need to use?
And who can her him anyway? His candles are lit
by Death, which keeps the flame always burning and
the waxen shaft always ready. He picks off women as if
they were candy; 'liquor is quicker, but candy's dandy.'
He'd heard that said on night at Hendrick's, where some
men were drinking ale. The women within were hungry
and ripe; the men soon tuned pale. He bought them
Death for dessert, as the place emptied out.
'I wander through these chartered streets, near where
the chartered Thames doth flow...' He remembers stealing
lines like these to mere impress the deadly mortals.
They fall for anything, if you give them enough.
Only a cantankerous jealous gent, only a
cranky stranger, only a craggy, ancient,
man keeps light in the face of danger.

(Part 2)

'Wash my hands of this blood.'
The man was bent over the curb,
madly swishing his fingers through
a puddle. 'I am tired and weary of these
blunders and all this filthy toil; yet
there is nowhere else to go.
This ancient life is ancient,
and it wears me thin. My
heart is the heart
of a dog.'

(Part 3)

Accolades for the assembled dead? They pass in
rows, feet up, layer after layer of bones and dust.
It makes no sense to me what we call it - where have
we gotten these terms? Any afterlife of ill-repute,
some Heaven of Hell of mis-use, makes light of
the situation. Everything is endless, and it all just
goes on. As I watch him some more, I notice his limp -
he walks past the music store, scarcely looking up.
in the big windows, assorted violins, cellos, guitars
and a lute hang from wire and strings - the kids from
the Academy of Music nearby, they must buy these things.
I wonder if he even understands what music is?
Stopping for a moment, he bristles at a noise,
and, rummaging through a pocket, comes up
with a light. Something to pierce his darkness?
A small flash-point, like a policeman carries?
Where does he get such things?
Then it dawns on me - if he is Evil, then he is
so allied with Evil, and can have all its things.
He is one with the rational, the law-keepers,
those of rules and regulations - so why not?
Whatever he wants he can get. From them, and
all their sources, there is no difference to be had.
Particles of doubt never cross his mind. Unlike me,
he steers willingly, and with glee, into his personal abyss.
I watch as he walks away; looking once sideways, as
if to be searching for a gate - something for escape.
His other nefarious realms, I'd dare not visit.
Death is death, with no Life in it.

(Part 4)

A man, a man who is sparring with religion leaves
so many things behind : the warbling of birds,
the scarlet of tanagers, the yellowing of milk
and the crumbling of fences and gates that sag.
It's a willing stretch, I guess, for them to leave
the Earthly Kingdom in search of their vetch.
They might as well have no hands, no heart,
no arms to clutch with, no eyes to see.
A Heavenly Kingdom leaves little to be.

(Part 5)

'I murder with lust,
the neck is but a foil.'
He spoke that to the man
of darkness, into whose realm
he'd entered - half present, and
half-not. They'd joined their heads
together in the semi-dark, coiled in a corner,
between the two rambling spires of some
de-accessioned church where angels could
no longer aspire. Shaking hands, at first, they'd
really looked like two devils making change.
'When I was twenty-three, a million ago it seems,
I caught my foot between two boulders and twisted
the ankle raw - and it's never really recovered. This
limp, however, deceives my being - I'm truthfully now
quite well.' ('And truthfully, now, from Hell', I thought
to myself, wanting to laugh). I can frolic like a kid,
I can run the meadow like fucking Pan, if I wanted to.
Instead - you know - I love these dark corners and
dank streets, where these unassuming humans seldom
peek. When I grab them, then, they're doubly surprised.
It never fails to get a rise. And, by God, the girls are lovely.'
'Vampire, wolfman, werewolf, mystic, along with
magician, wizard, seer, sage, shaman - they all
go on, their stupid, Earthly words Earth-trod difference
made where nothing's left. Or is. Or was. And I shall
use such words, assembled and without reference against
them on any hilltop I can find; for you do not believe me,
that I have walked the past as present and the present as
then - was finished remembered over - into the future
both before and well after it was. These stupid pygmies
fear me far. To them I represent all things.'
'I well remember Empedocles, that fool, who jumped
into a volcano to first understand Death, that oh so wond'rous experience of which he sought to partake : 'Great Empedocles, that ardent soul, leapt into Etna and was roasted whole.' That he believed his illusions of what was said, he was so full of delusions that he wound up Dead!'
'Busy improvising new selves, this wonkish brain of
theirs as well endears them all of Death : they know
they must die, but now they can think about it too.
Figure it. Examine it. Walk around it. Dwell with it,
but not in - not then until it is too late (they are, after
all, mine in the end) and they fall with their tundrel'd
tumbling steps, collapsing into the shapes of their
lives and dreams - it's ALL what it seems, all
fools and vagrants nonetheless ('all the
world's a stage'), and all that crap.

...(end of parts 1 through 5)...

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Dolly was an elephant, electrocuted before
the crowd. Fildo was a clown; accidently
strangled when he was hung by a rope
at the end of his act, and the act
went bad. Lucius was a fire eater,
whose insides burst. Maggio was
the girl who swallowed swords until
one went right through her and came
out her....bottom.
These things are all real and
you can look them up. The
dog whose coat was coated with
tar and stopped it from breathing,
the two horses who fell from the
tightrope walkers' platform and died.
Did I say tightrope walkers?
Don't get me started - they fall
and get mangled, they break in
two, their legs end up
around their heads.


I've grown so tired of people running backwards and breaking
the things they hold - dreams, hearts and reasons.
Any sensations of trust have long ago been put away,
broken and sundered, stashed in salvage bags
through which old men sort with glee.
The camel, that one fitting through the eye of
the needle. No, it's never going to happen.
Among my steadfast memories of all life's better things
there's always that picture against the wall, kept in
secret, only occasionally glimpsed:
Me, in an upper window, where I was born.
Down below, a few old fat, round cars, the
big kind like they used to make. In the picture,
I'm already like 12, and wondering why things
tend to fall in circles - dreams, hearts
and reasons too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I am holding nothing back, winsome one of the
broken tailwind, speed demon of the airwaves.
We are like odd brothers, both broken on the
wheel, only somewhat housetrained and
still disorderly, and both reading that
yellowed vine of wisdom backwards.


I expect that any day now it shall start
just for fun. That essence of frolic that
is 'murder and run'. We can find them.
probably already grouping, perhaps at 22nd
and Tenth, or maybe 79th and First. Alas,
who's to say : But once they begin they
won't go away. Murder for profit is passe
today; now it's 'murder for fun', a recreational
play. 'Empties the system of bile for sure', they say.


It wears its life like a charm -
with jewels and stars and metal cut-outs
dangling hard. They move in the light,
and they move not only when you do.
Democritus said : 'Nothing exists except
atoms and empty space.' And then Browning said:
'As for Venice and her people, merely born to
bloom and drop, here on Earth they bore their
fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop.' And, lastly,
opposed to the very idea of a future, Nabokov called it:
'the obsolete in reverse.' And so, what we are left with
is a fancy prose nibbling at Harvard heels and Princeton
pudenda. Thus, here I am - Oh laboratory one, charmed
bracelet, dimestore library clerk, scientist without disdain
but deeming space to be all the same, walking circus man,
dog bath, coffee girl sipping in the morning rotunda,
wanderer lantern of Love, I know you. And (by the way)
leave it always to a prisoner for a fancy prose style -
somewhere where big words may mean wisdom and grace.
(Come save this race).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


(a nation of glowing pigs)
'Always put a covering on anything good' -
that selfsame motto, hanging around trailers
and cars, never made any sense to me.
Frank O'Hara Lady Day Died - the poem
about that day, I mean to say - 'oh how I
tried, leaning on the john-door in the 5-Spot
while she whispered a song along the
keyboard to Mal Waldron and everyone
everyone and I stopped breathing.'
A coal-car was parked at the 1959 tracks -
cars filled with sodium chloride and coal
and flour and foodstuffs and more. The
Bonneville Salt Flats and the ocean itself
could hold no more than these rail cars held.
Two men were smoking alongside number 521.
One suddenly fell to his knees, right there in
the west-side rail yard, and - as far as I could
tell - died quietly and quick, expired, passed on,
passed away, like Lady Day too perhaps,
though far more certain than
her uncertain way.
We are calling it mass confusion, here,
in this nation of glowing pigs - and
I am so tired of being me.


I have watched an entire people cheer
willingly its serfdom. A roaring delight
before crowds, this new psychological
dependency. It is so deep-rooted, and
it hides so many things. I wear neither
grin nor frown; I am not one of them,
for they (all) are lost.

Monday, March 22, 2010


The cellophane on the lampshade
meant something - a certain tension
of a vague dimension. A brittle, but
united, gentility passing itself off as
social grace or a social face. No matter
what anger beneath the pretense.
The dim light was splattered
on lampshades and the
lamp-base statues
remained unmoving.
The lamp, the table, the piano,
the couch : everything all-together
in as still a sitting-room as we
could not touch. Someday,
maybe someday, but
not this day.


There arises no way to adhere.
'Kind of Blue' paces slowly on
the ear as I wonder why. The girl
with the butterfly net is standing
outside the circle. A few boys are
laughing. It all makes me want to mark
the date. The air smells of Spring, but how?
Soils so pulsed, acceded to growth, and
all the little new piercings let out odor -
earth, soil, rock, loam, together.
'That is what we get for living,' the
old man says, 'that is what we get,
but why?'


Situations thought of in Latin, that
old, old tongue of so little use, lose
all their sense of emergency or fire.
The thinking itself puts it all out:
declensions and tenses and endings.
as if carrying around a huge rock
called 'torpor', everything is
slowed down by the dragging.


That little black man I always see,
today he is wearing a bright green
sweater, sleeveless as much as
incongruous. And then I remember,
almost in a slow time I'd rather
almost forgotten, today is
St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

805. 1964 IN TATTERS

(a voice from the grave)
Now that we've pasted the memories back in the blank,
we can run once more amiss towards the forgetting of
what once was : the car-port, bedecked with the '59 Galaxie
and the slime from the grease-gun, that guy Bob Braun
writing journalistic pieces on the non-education of the
American west, my girlfriend, Mary-Lou doing you.
That was, back then, when I learned why Kerouac lied.
The sweater that never fit, the old clothing, handed down,
from the lumberjack/railroad bum Freddy Siam, each of
those things went into my running from the reality that was:
two fucking gendarmes from the military recruitment office
coming down the street where I lived. Parking their '65 Chevy
in a spot near the schoolhouse, they brazenly pretended to
nonchalance, walking once past the house as if they didn't
know where I was. 'Vietnam is calling' they said, and if
I wasn't ready for them they sure as Hell were ready for me.
'This is like some fucking bad dream' I said, 'and you are
Stalin's really bad henchmen.' No matter, they laughed it off.
No one would believe me if I tell it again.
How, in 1964, this country, even back then,
was turning into a freaking piece of shit.
Ever since that day, not a single thing
has changed. Believe me, I know.



New geeks for modern people.
Not sure you did, not sure you didn't.
They make them in any old way nowadays.
Just this morning, in Morningside Heights as
the sun was new, I heard that woodpecker
banging on a tree. All the people around, not a
one looked up. The crooked, lame man, with a
crooked old dog, walked by me. Almost with
sorrow, I had to look. Across from me, on the
old sidewalk bench, a black man snoozed, all
wrapped in a filthy Winter coat and a filthy Winter
stench. Across his lap were two nasty plastic bags,
each filled with his wonders. I guess he hadn't
yet gotten the news : the world is changing ('even as
you snooze!'). The wild men were playing in the park,
as down below, past the cut through the rocks, the
Springtime league of Spanish ballplayers was right then
starting up. Bats and gloves and girlfriends and loves.
Just like that, the entire world returns to whatever it ever was.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I sat by the curtains as they blew into your face;
a little dance of the wind, made just for my enjoyment.
Outside the glass, two robins, and a redwing blackbird
celebrated some kind of Springtime. A sound, like a
rusty gate, came from where they were. Birdsong, in
its many guises, is always filled with Spring surprises!


This radio wears a blade.
Cutting sensations. Ripping
through Life like butter.
Rhapsodizing over little
things, while finger flipping
sensual dials. Playful rings
and tokens of another sort.
Music roars the house :
overturning everything
once so neatly arrayed.


How like the grove of happiness is this heart
which wears no sleeve - breaking out in
song with which the seamless songstress sings.
For each moment passing, there is none alike
to another. Even the scarlet sunset senses bloom.
Stare down this faint oasis, blind man.
You shall sense your vision soon enough.

Friday, March 19, 2010



See-saw Marjorie-daw the cat ran away
with the spoon and wasn't that a frightful
dish to put before the moon but keep watching
the pot to boil and it never will. Yet soon,
so soon, Bolero, we are both finished and gone.
I awoke from deep slumber, with my mind
more scattered than before. All we have
is lasso and rope. Pity dogs and forgive men.
The southwestern gaze of some Hopi hope.
Prairie dogs and big men. This train was
coming down the tracks. This train was never
coming back. Why do I cry all the time?


'As long as you're making a point,
drive it home with an example.'
I'd remembered some fellow -
a Professor Derelictus or something
like that, at the university in Istanbul -
saying those words in a really funny English:
like, 'watch the gnomes, they will trample,'
and even as a foreign tongue it meant nothing
to me. The rest of the memory is a blur -
Drachmas, I think, and some coffee, with a
Turkish blend of tobacco and a man who
said it didn't exist. 'That's such an American
thing, this Turkish blend idea. Why
don't you just take it home?'

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The entourage was adorable : as
clumped together as a fist. There
was a parakeet, and its chaperon
too. I indulged in nothing so much as
the sky - indigo-bunting latticework
drindl skirt heart of all things.
Let us see what Jack Spicer brings.


I see, are good for shit.
Many multitudinous multifaceted
means. Windows as dormers and
dormers as doors and driveways
as bedrooms and offices and dens.
They've made me full of hate in a
museum of the stars and status-quo,
in a never-land of 'no meaning at all.'
American frenzy! I could never walk,
I know, through that walk of the useless -
the double-speak that has no name, the
redundant run-on sentences by which a
people enamored of same run themselves
nameless in a game made of fame.
Oh these Potomac homes are useless shit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The star along the horizon that turns to
fame, no, to shame, no, to pain.


We are the children of choice - as much as we are
children of chance. Cauldron philosophy such as this
should hold no hopes - neither of despair nor of
achievement. After all, it is already settled.
I have smelled the cold Spring in the morning's
fragrant air - a so very new thing. In the
morning's cold air I have smelled a new Spring.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



Feral cats were chasing their tails and
other things they couldn't find beneath the
now-blessed Tower of Saint Marcosi Square.
High up above, reflected light shone off an old
Orthodox cross, I'd guess gilded in gold.
Somewhere, an accordion played.
'Did'ja see yesterday's paper?' the man with
the suitcase said. 'Yes, but when I saw it it
was today's paper! - isn't that all so confusing?'
No, I thought to myself, sometimes it
just happens that way.
So alike, there are many mysteries we
cannot understand - water to vapor
to ice and back to water again. It's
all the same, but all so very different.


My biggest disappointment came from
knowing there was no longer an ending to
come. We had shut down expectation and
I was feeling nothing but dreary. The same
two fools were sitting near me again - discussing
their endless wood and paint and remodeling details
once more. Over and over I'd heard these notes.
'Be it like a hotel, umm, this cake is good, it's like
a single, yeah, I've got to pick it up by eight o'clock,
you're right, but I think the interesting thing is the
way we look at it - it could take a long time.'

Monday, March 15, 2010


There is none, he had none. Misery.
In the stinking, wet hold of this
traveling boat the mimicry is
all of monkeys. Simply put:
there are no windows to open,
you fool; we are well below
the water line. In the bowels of
this boat there is a bakery and -
though this is really more like a
ship than a boat - in the same way
(damn all!) this bakery's more like
a closet with an oven within.
Good God it grows so hot!
Together we sweat enough to fill
the sea with our own salty water.

791. MERCY

He asked now simply - 'Is there anything here
I can use? Implements and tools are fine but
I'm looking for ideas, what I'm looking for, ideas.
Things enough to float a ship, mask a cause,
burst a reason and share a regent.' (And then,
in my mind, like Pilagio in a lost Ben Jonson
play - he explodes the dresser drawer and
breaks free of the writer's lines. There is no
force field for this - only the
momentary plug for Mercy).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

790. TWINS

The roof of your mouth
is paper thin. There was
an elephant being harbored
in your circus. The wind
past the forest was fierce.
These are all the sorts of
things you can't find in a
book - nonetheless, by a
simple form of persecuting
facts, I turned up every
evidence, and more : Lincoln
had no mother, the Brothers
Grimm were really twins.
The Brothers Grimm
were really twins.

Saturday, March 13, 2010



(an abstract)
Hard to realize
this life going
Made of cut
paper and
Hardness can
be as soft as
it comes.


The one time I wrote my hand by
tracing the lines, it seemed - to me, anyway -
an amazing tracery and a lifelike image.
I felt like Michelangelo, or some anatomist,
drawing images for an overhead screen.
'I am myself amazed!' I said aloud.
Running through the halls, I scattered
the biology crowd with my elated and
strengthened glee.
It's never been like that again,
of course. Now, in writing with words
instead of mere lines, what comes to
the fore is an awesome but grievous
catching of each flaw. Plus, my mind
grows now as tired as my hand.
Peruse these pictures in my book.
Go ahead, I'll not mind. As if my
head were turned inside out, they are
all I've entered and all I've left.
Markings, such as on a cave at
Lascaux, could mean no more
to a primitive man as these now
do to an honest one. I've
never harbored my doubts.


( a true story)

I've not come this far to trip on your balderdash.
I won't wear the wig belonging on your bald head.
My factions are crowded in small big corner,
yet they outnumber your lassos by twenty to one.
That rise in your belly - it's either pure fat or
your corpulent complacency about your lies.
You see, you see, I can be as nasty as the next.
Those were blue skies once, I thought, fellow,
in your blue eyes. Now I see they're but the
wrinkled skin of a corpse turned blue all over.
Just today, I was out at the water by
Penn's Manor, where once William Penn
would boat to his country estate. I looked all
around, and what I saw made me gag.
Waste Management has run the place amok -
their piles of, nay, great hills of, trash (reminding
me of nothing so much as your mind), have covered
over this once great land - making all things, by signs,
'Off Limits' and closed to the public - as if, by
some totalitarian magic, the entire revolution's been lost.
What America may once have been has been turned to shit.
Just like you, buddy,
just like you.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I'm walking the genteel, tin-sleeved Princeton
streets in an early morning light with a wetness
falling down; not a rain, for it's ever so slight.
You may call it what you wish if you care. The
raucous choir of cemetery birds behind me sings.
I'm not reaching for anything special, nor grabbing
for any particular thing : my heart is happy enough.
Perhaps if I had a voice, I too would sing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

785. 8 PAGE 120

8 PAGE 120
'I have a pattern now, you
slattern vow - I'm putting canned
applesauce on my eggs. Just like
they used to serve at Bickford's.
I'm a regular fool in pale houses and
bless their all-bleating hearts as I watch.
They are leaving their car at Sheridan Square,
getting out as if they'd been there for years.
Rucksacks on the roof and a playful little
mess within. 'It's Friday! And three days
ago we were at Fisherman's Wharf, yet
now we are here! And San Francisco is far
behind!' They get out like sharpshooters
set on finding their prey. I wished I was
along. I remember thinking that. Some
lambs are female. Some
angels have wings.'

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


(the pros)
Well here's one I'll tell you I really don't
like - the way they push into your face with
their lousy words - words of the committed,
the ones who know it all, who won't take
any other advice except their own decrees.
Handing out pamphlets with the most
simple lessons. Mottos and catch-phrases
a third-grader could grasp. I don't
even want to listen, so leave me alone.
'Jesus died on a cross'.
But wasn't he dead already,
when the first words were written
about Him? Isn't that what you're
always bragging about? The Line of
David and all that? He really had no
choice, so what of it? If He had to be
what He'd been meant to be, in essence,
He was dead already, from the very start.
'No choice, no voice', I say.
I'll sit down right next to you, just
to see what happens. You grab at the crowd
like a suicidal fish lunging at hooks. If I didn't
know it already, I'd ask what makes you crazy.
Certainly not your attention to detail - on
that count you're actually pretty lazy.

783. CADRE

I spilled coffee on your Papillon! Egads!
Now what do I do? Here we are, sitting around -
West 21st Street where you live - on an old dark
couch you brought in from the Salvation Army
(I remember, I was there). Now, with coffee we must
discuss Bakhunin and Zinoviev and Trotsky too.
By the way, that green velvet robe is really not
enough - almost each time you move I can
clearly see your breasts. It's OK with me,
mind you, but you'd better check first with the
movement. No joke, ideologues have died from less.
Crestino, over there, the Italian brother, he's still
driving a taxi - 'up and down and all around,' he
says, 'the Capitalist bastard streets make me want
to puke.' I'm not sure what he means, nor why, but
no matter. It's these little things that count - that make
me keep it going. I read that 'Kapital' frenzied bullshit
you had us read - frankly, I wasn't impressed. He
reduces the world (somehow) to power and greed,
and he scoffs at all the rest. Not for me, really.
My God, I've spilled coffee on your Papillon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


And really I can't thank you enough
for your stripes and resonance and
shape and form and reason and rhyme.
It's all so much together - wrapped up
as one big thing. Sergeant Major Benicant
marching on the field. What a major find!
There's not been one before you like and
won't be ever since. They keep their distance,
parading around you in fear! And all those
woodwinds you command - bassoon and oboe
and clarinet and such. Commanding presence!
You blow!
15 ancient cannons - Civil War vintage I bet -
are brought out onto the field. They are as
silently arranged as Death would be were it
being presented : men in tophats and girls
(incongruously) in gingham. I can't make
mention of anything else. It is too ridiculous
to say. Sergeant Major Benicant, a'marching
upon the field. What a major find you yield!


Wire ahead? I wired ahead
to tell you I'm here. But the
wires are down, so what do
I care? Bet no one says
that anymore.
I'm trailing on the steambound train.
It's pulling smoke before it's came.
Smoke settles and lingers on every sooty
door. Bet no one says that anymore.


Absolutely no activity
within the room. All things
cease their forward motion,
all tired and bereft. 'If you've
got the notion, I've got the
motion.' Absolutely no activity
within the womb.
Rooster's a'crowin' on Sourwood Mountain,
so many pretty girls, you can't count 'em.

Monday, March 8, 2010

779. METRO

Sitting beneath a picture of the Metro -
city-black iron railroad beams arching in
front of glass. All the glorious city light
just streaming in. At the photo's very border,
right next to where she sits, I notice how her
head and hair themselves stream their own strands
along the picture as well, adding themselves to
the played-out drama. She casts, by her very
own shadow, a darkness all her own, her shadow
across the Metro's glass face. I see her form
reflected too - a simple and visual mathematics
now. Just one thing after the other, and her.

778. JAZZ

Sounds as if it could - pace the street
by a lassitude of reed. Foreboding,
roadside stands where collards and
sweet potatoes were grown to be sold,
and hands exchange both sweat and money.
From Coleman Hawkins to John Coltrane
amazed sounds reinvigorate the morning border.
'We are like this,' they say, 'we are morning-glory
bashful beautiful stalwart midwives from Minton's
to Basin Street and back, St. Louis Chicago cotton fields
and prison holds of gallow ships and African slaves
stretched forth by their captivity to sensify and then
poison your long-wicked and white man's world.
Off-track wrong key low-key blue note
jazz world Art Tatum fire!'

Sunday, March 7, 2010


(samuel beckett)
To watch them out of sight, no, I
can't do it. The preponderance of
evidence is that (yes!) we live. Marking
puddles behind us, we pile all shit and
debris wherever we may. It wouldn't
matter, in the long run, where : corridors
of the Capitol, being used to such things,
would readily accept such garbage. Yet,
onward we pivot - delighting fanciful crowds,
spilling insensate millions, dumping pails of
grease upon our open sea. The paradox
remains : things appear while disappearing.
The highway is a headache cutting through
verdant green pastures.
My God, I've been there once. The soil
was rich and brown, the air was filled
with air, the mind with mind everywhere.
The man, with his face staring down,
was trailing a shadow all the way
to the gallows. Things everywhere
are so bleak, it stayed long after
he himself was gone.



He carries a flexible cane that
bends when he walks with it.
Makes no sense to me.
He's such a quack he
should be shouldering
a duck. His wife, when
I see her, is always in a
dark green coat made
of horsehair (they say)
from 1881. Back when
horsehair was really
good, I guess.
No telling what
money will do.
When she walks
away, she too
looks like a
horse's ass.



Ladies of the marketplace,
ladies of the market fair,
please won't someone listen
to me, read my words, love me,
hold me in your arms, enrapture me,
smile back at me, listen to something
I've said, and show understanding,
nod, smile, touch my arm.
Show somehow I exist.


No one ever told me different:
'You can't extend that hand and expect
not to be taken; bring me these drugs, and
I will give you sex; drive this car to Cincinnati
for me, and a guy there will take it off your hands,
give you five hundred dollars pay, and a bus
ticket home.' It's always like that, story-lines,
bad ideas, and stupid deals going down.
Deep in the Black River Forest, outside
of Chester village, I came across this wandering
Weimereiner hound - loose, running free, without
a collar, unfettered, gentle and meek. It led me
to the cave we entered, running me deep
beneath the rocks to the lantern in
the back. Like glistening water
taking a shape of its own,
the light was held by a
man of indeterminate
'Listen to me kindly, my man,'
he'd spoken backwards I
realized, 'for what I am
about to tell you has
already occurred.'
At that point, he took
a fire from the palm of his
hand and inserted it,
I noticed, deep in
the center of
my chest.



Had no arm, was a one-armed pianist,
carried those same crazy thoughts
that his brother did but played them
out in a keyboard frenzy instead.
Almost the entire family, except Ludwig,
committed suicide - I guess at a certain
point all the options lead one to that.
Like 'it runs in the family' - or something.
Ludwig built his sister a house, and taught
sixth-grade somewhere way out in the country
for what seemed like forever. Then he quit;
went back to his philosophy, repudiated
all he said before, and re-wrote his entire
body of work with different views.
His brother came and went - one-armed,
into life, out of life. Very much like
Ludwig's work itself. Existence, I
always figured, really has
its conundrums and
paradoxes. It just
can't be helped.


There was nothing else to do -
fifteen geese plodding around, with
their incessant cackle and that stupid
wiggle. I watched them for five minutes.
A policeman came over and asked 'why?'
I shrugged my shoulders and said,
in my worst ghetto English,
'why not, man?'
I wasn't trying to be philosophical,
but this scholarly guy came over
and said he'd overheard me and didn't
wish to be ponderous but 'I firmly
believe that was the same 'thought'
- if, of course, we would call it that -
that 'God' must have had in
considering Creation.
'Why not Man?''
I said that wasn't what I'd meant
and that there was a comma in
what I said. But, making no sense,
neither of us understood each other
clearly. Then, I noticed, WE shrugged
together and said, 'so what? It
really makes no difference.'

Friday, March 5, 2010


(the watch/clock poem)
It's a force of Nature, like the tree
breaking concrete to grow - which is
stronger, which is more real? I am walking
morning streets like a pilgrim walking in an
ancient land. I see things never seen before;
a cauldron stopwatch held by a rising sun.
The light dangles before me like a thousand
ancient desert sands - caravans of dreams
and illusion, an entire world in spectral watch.
This beggars the mind, this reality blemish :
Mankind's oh-too-fervent step within things.
Everywhere changing what can be changed.
Yet, that tree still breaks the concrete, lifts
the slabs around it, twists and bursts the
human reins which have tried to pull it in.
Stopping that which is unstoppable, I surmise,
is the winding motion that keeps us running.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Washing warrants with water, the alb
and the chalice combined. The glimmering
light from some lakeside pavilion leads me
to think of you - and things of that nature.
Just as I look over, squirrels are running the
table, scurrying by the branches low-hung
and twisted. They remind me, right now,
of words dangling down a page.
We have no rights to forfeit. We have no
means to discourse upon or explain. We are
to the shames of ourselves - big-words amidst
little meanings, gophers upon a field of gold.
If I stand tall, only then am I little higher.
My fabricized dreams, themselves reaching
heights of stars and comets, never fall to Earth.
The cloak I wear is made of them, that very
fabric of ought and combustion. See now,
here, how I light this feeble campfire upon
this lakeside field. Picnic grounds for pilgrims.
A hard cloth to wear for those who yield.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I wish no city beautiful. I sit in
no gilded manse. Parlor house and
sitting room, together they tumble -
like sheaves of Chicago wheat down the
shutter-shaft. What we most try to do
is disappear. I want no civic maelstrom,
at least from here. The Dawn has its sunrise
disciples. The Night has its sunset foes.
I want no city beautiful; I want
what comes and goes.


(for A.G.)
And only twelve years later,
acting preposterous, standing alone.
Such a hopeless mess, I wish I could help.
But the bride has left for Laredo and what
remains at the altar is dirt. Drunken boat.
Drunken boat. The deep, dark sea is calling
but all you've left behind (drunken boat,
drunken boat) is, at the same time, gone.
There really is no reason to return. It is a
hopeless land, my friend, truly a hopeless land.