Thursday, September 30, 2010


Having feasted on new ptomaine, I
ate all I could without having to swallow.
There was no necessity, and I suddenly
felt free. Black leopard in its cage, or
crazed lion running vibrantly free. For
myself, I had to think : which would it be?
Down at the village square, in the little brick
post office, they were selling futures. Many were
the takers - yet no one seemed to care...about
which future they were getting, or how it was
going where. I stayed in place, just to watch.
My black cloak eventually wound itself around
a fencepost and I (too) found myself stuck.
No future for me. Just my luck.


'We have broken into the melange of waiters and flavors
and trays. Now this vague kitchen is, suddenly, happy
again.' No reason to take it past that, there is no
reason at all. Nor to understand. Mad preachers get
like this after a while : henhouses and blather, try-outs
for salvation with real winners and real losers. You can
never figure it out. The high clouds of Heaven, now
dependant on so much, really count for so little.
'You don't have to like it, but we've all been here
before, and still are.' The salt shaker was on the
tabletop, and the soup bowl, sloppy and empty
and stained, was by itself next to a crumpled
cloth napkin. The High Priest of Max Factor,
or someone just like him, had just walked in.
'The settlement is open, for grace or for prayer.'
Everyone sat down, entered their little parcels
with greedy hands, and - seemingly at once -
pulled out their little black songbooks. No one
really wanted to sing, they just weren't used
to it, but they did so anyway. It was bad, and
and you could really tell. Life like this
could really be Hell.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Everything is running off : the finish line,
the perpetual cause, the ending before the end.
Breadloaf patters, small-talk talking, the lines
of marvelous people lining the curb. I know
them all, or want to, and really know no one
at all. Like a truck transmission grinding in
place, I groan and want to go, but move
towards nothing instead. Great Negation,
perhaps a constellation in another sky,
stares down at me, shining. Each night,
I note, brings another carnival with myself,
as always, the somehow-featured midway clown.
I hedge and I banter, back and forth, nothing
gives : the dam never breaks, the levee holds, the
final drains remain plugged and clotted. Oh to
be in Alabama once again, with the barkers
and the dulcimer bands while,
alone, the trumpeter plays.

Monday, September 27, 2010


(outside of a place called Olive's)
'Good morning, my sugar' I heard the
man say. He leaned forward, as if to leer.
'Not a hat, too harsh, too wedge-like, rather
a shawl or a kerchief perhaps, wrapped
around the head from the neck up; always
a nice look.' I'd long ago had it with people
like that : checklists and booteries, sorting
things by size and shape, order and discipline,
all that crap, the stuff that makes people
dead long before their time.
'Go drop dead yourself' is something like
what I'd wished to say to him. Metrical
meter, rhythmical lying bastard, I could tell
it all - slavemaster, prisonkeeper, poisoner
of young girls' minds. If he'd ever really
had any kids of his own, they'd have run
away a long time ago. The guy, as I watched,
drowned his coffee in sugar two inches deep.
Outside, what I thought was an elf turned out,
instead, to be some Mexican kitchen worker
sulking to work - long to labor and late to stay,
I wanted to shake his hand. But, no takers.
He was gone in an instant. Down the
underground stand at a place
called Olive's.


Like driving an old man home, like a
tired old pencil, like grieving for something
that was : any of these things sums up
my feelings for being. Listless and aimless,
the shoulder will no longer carry the bag.
I want for nothing. The big guy in the
parking lot, looking for a signature,
an autograph, a what-have-you, what
he gets instead is a death-warrant
initialed in blood. Yes, yes, the hawk flies.
Smoke the last cigarette? Dog it again,
was that you? Smoke curling around your
face, but how many remember those days?
The old empty loft and the filthy, cold
warehouse where we both stood long
hours figuring out what to do and then
how to do it. You welding the sky with
your torch, while I waited. Expectations?
Never very much or, anyway, nothing
so disappointing enough to recall.
And then, it was over. Poof!
The Hawk flew, the guitar man
put his stuff down and went home,
the rest of the guys, lame as ever,
dispensed their drivel and lingered.
You? Without much sense, you stayed
around. Still there, I hear, still there.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I hadn't been this far along before.
In the distance, the railroad beamed -
old tracks, from 1890, running right along
the river, cut through without regard for
riches and wealth or for those living near.
Famed wealthy industrialists, and Washington
Irving too, just shrugged. Shambling off
from anyplace else they wished. Life was no
wiser for this. Shrubbery and trees tried
concealing these factors from view.
I walked along the cow-dumped old pasture
where once the mayflies and the mudpies
together reigned. Now nothing to my eyes
could be seen but the distant towers of
some errant city-project-housing gone
so bad as to sicken the stench it made.
Above me, on the walkway and the
'park', fat darkened people screeched
and howled, living the precipice live
as they chose for it to ever be :
for them both happiness
and glee, though not
for me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010



Sideline Saturday nearly without blemish.
Coffee at eight, that was the premise.
Once out of town, I made a u-turn at once,
headed west instead, and stumbled by force
into these awesome and magnanimous difficulties.
'Onka, I forgot my running shoes, what can I
do now?' The rest of the day was just like
that : tired of the movement, and finally
drowned in the swamp.
Fifteen sickening runners later (I hate
those folk, side-winding while they jabber,
dipping while they swerve, and running
high-top on hard-top, while they could be
out in the woods), I'd forgotten both my
place and my reason for being there.
Desultory by a spin, I returned home a
broken man. Onka was gone, the woman
I'd left behind had already forgotten me,
and the lion's mane I'd left on the porch
was long-time blown away. My watch
said half-past something, but what
it was it couldn't say. But, of course,
Onka somewhere waits for me.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Every cantilevered document thrown down
by popes and kings has gathered now at my
feet. My ankles hurt, and I cannot move.
Death by paper, the edict read.
('There's a great word-joke there' he said).
I looked back to see if the city was
burning yet.'The Devil take the hindmost'
he said again. Who is this guy, thought I?
Piping up with some scary witticism
every time the stage-hands withered.
'Have you ever made an abstract meaning
so come to life that it's not any longer abstract?'
I sat down on that one and said,
'I have to think about that'.


And all that - on the wings of a dove, sea to
shining sea. I harbored no peninsula worth
a damn in my quest to break both coasts :
Wendell Wilkie Woodrow Wilson Walter Winchell.
Well, anyway, we make our meek adjustments.
Hart Crane said that.
Fingering your fingerless gloves left me
saddled with sores.
I listened deeply to whatever sound the early
darkness made : whiz-bang jump of the
declining moon, still bright as ever even
though gone soon. Barn-swallows darting
about at dawn, and the traipsing delay
of too many nervous squirrels. I'm not
like that at all. Peace rules my world.
From sea to shining sea.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Those sedentary moments broke all
my concentrations : the eagle flying
at dusk, the starling, the adder, the
marshgrass, the elms and willows.
Just right there off the highway,
where thousands of everyday
cars roll by. No pride?
Even Nature, it seems,
no longer cares.
That little white house, slumming,
with the old lady and her daughter
living there amidst a certain set
squalor that would have fit
right in...a hundred years ago.
Not no, no longer. The
shack stands out like a
broken limb on a fashion
catwalk. Agreed, agreed.
I want to talk of something.
I want to take that girl's hand.
I want to show her a million
other worlds which have passed
her cabin by. I want to hold her,
and kiss her lonely face. I want
to take her far away - to where
money has no meaning, no
taste, no angle, no fans. I
want her, in fact, to say
to me : 'agreed, agreed'.


In the deep swelter of a jagged heat, I
thought I'd remember something of you.
Alas, nothing came to the fore. There was,
precisely not a moment when I could
even recall your face. I can remember
everything else - the smallest, most stupid
moments - but not you. Why?
Must I think on this forever?
Can your shadow spite my face?
You, whom I almost loved in absence,
thought about in swaddling clothes
like a bundled new infant getting
nothing but love? No, this cannot be.
It is all too foolish, too smart, too
striking, too dumb, too touching,
too numb.


Why is there an orchid growing in the bathroom?
I awoke, as if from another land, with only that
thought in mind; a better place, more suited
to my ways and needs. A needle into a
spike. We goad the changing illusions on.
I had not wanted words, but got them anyway.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1110. MOON

Morning's right rise took me
in today - full orange moon
at rest on the settled horizon.
Just slowly fading down.
Soon gone.


Determination means : I'll know
when to end it, I'll know when
to go. Shouldering any burden
makes me ill. Wary, at least.
I shan't. Can't buckle. To
Buffalo at least. And it isn't
that the shores of Cleveland
beckon. I'm lost with this
jabbering moonlight.
I've watched the waves come on -
they arrive, and then they leave,
battered only by themselves.
How familiar is all that to me?
Determination means I'll know
when to end it, I'll know
when to go.



That was yesterday mostly.
Cadmium Barium Yellow Medium
Alizarin Crimson and Choking Ultramarine
Blue. Such fearsome names on a palette like
this one : layers of colors and shapes, forms
where lines should be and only outlines are.
Existence precedes, somehow, essence?
No, no, I'm too late to think. Essence
precedes existence? Does it really have
to be one or the other? Millstream. Pokehouse.
Gentle breeze on a feint through evergreen trees.
Watching Bernie Rossiter paint, and
I'd much rather be alone.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The startling affiliation is time and its
passage. You are sitting at the water's edge,
by the rockwall with the benches, looking out.
The bright sunlight delineates the day, carving
objects from light. As if you were back at home,
somewhere, and sitting on your father's curb,
perhaps, listening to some hollow Hallelujah -
your eyes are rapt, and both focused out.
It seems as if some message of old has
just been dropped from out of the mail -
Jack Teagarden, Jack Benny, Lady Day,
or someone from that era - with an
infernal cast of judges that has
been watching you all the time.

1106. MEMORY

(all those old gangs are gone)

How many times I tried to cross your
body-blow that way - over the lawn,
past the landing, down to the pond. The
shapely Springer Spaniel ran to the well
once more with me, sprinting above the
field : we called him, because of scenes
like that, 'Riser'. Everything seemed new
again, and it all meant so much. Each time
I saw you, I would genuflect, and I never
knew why - though I sensed something
amiss. Then one day, like from the
Finzi-Contini's themselves, some
soldiers came and took
everything away.
How tempestuous do you wish it to be?
A fearsome faction? Some broken and
fragmented moments, recalled only later
in fascinating horror? Norman Mailer once
was heard to say - in a retort to the tumult
of his times - 'the best cure for cancer is
cannibalism.' He'd meant that the sickness
of his times, his years through the 1960's,
was so malignant that it had run through
all of society - the Left and its hippies
and yippies, and the Right with all that
Wallace and Nixon and Reagan stuff -
and now feasting upon it, from either
direction, consuming as well each,
other was the only way to cure it.
Thus the cannibalism he cited.
And probably right yes too.
I miss old Norman, and all his
pugnacious stuff - the bluster and
the homage and that grand old Brooklyn
waterfront promenade old home comfort;
those big, fat ideas and that crazed
ruminative puff.
How ferocious you want it? I haven't
heard you say. You've got bullets and
baldercorn, malarkey and fire - each
opposite's intention to aspire. Of course.
1950's teenage Spic hoodlums hanging out
in alleys where now Lincoln Center is, old
San Juan Hill I heard; and the old Dago Wop
killers, lurking at 116th, or far downtown, in
their cheap Italian dens, Mott and Elizabeth
and Sullivan and Prince - all streets from Hell.
Now fighting with Chinks. And all those downtown
dumb maniacs forgetful of both Death and Time.
Spinning spoked hubcaps and baby moons in
the constable's face, and whitening Blood Alley
with lime to sop up the blood and the juices.
Carnage and death make no difference now.
Now they're all ghosts, same as their fathers
before them. And I can only live in memory :
before the roads were paved, before the
intersections made. That's what it takes, with
a five in the hand and one memory grand -
a time to go to after the gangs disband.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

1105. HOMO FABER (Man the Maker)

(Man the Maker)
I may have found the workman's hat,
landing as it were on water. A very
small moment and a very small wind,
pushing forward through the slog of time.
How well we thicken the soup of the
matter we live : girders and concrete,
wide panes of blue glass, doors made
and rimmed by metal frames and braces.
Many years back, when Adam was but a
wee lad, the land stepped forth free and
ample and wide - unfettered occasions
made better by all those firsts and
singular moments. Ah, but then it all
passed - the routine of the drudge,
that serpent we hear of : the
marker of the maker and
all mankind too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Fizzle. Swazzle.
Lend a hand. The
fat black fellow in
his gabardine, looks
like nothing but
down and mean.
The old landscape
passes; dirty birds, its
oily waters and marsh
grass bending to filth.
They build to the edge,
then they charge for the
ledge, and let you look
out on their nothing.
Fizzle. Swazzle. Lend
a hand. They come by
the hundreds to piss
on your land.


And now you've really done it:
kept the door from closing, kept
the lights from going out, kept the
ancient waters running. Frank Lloyd
Wright and Falling Water could have
done it no better than that - water running
beneath the structure, undermining nothing
all the while, running. It's a magnificent aged
architecture I'm looking at. Not a sag nor a
pinch anywhere. Beams all in their perfect
circumspection, standing straight and
carrying every load.
I want to say, by this :
'these are truly gracious times', but
of course there is no grace left. In
fact, there is nothing worth saying
to say : 'about that which we cannot
speak, we must remain silent.'


I've had it with the jails and the gaols,
the goals and the holes, and all that
light from the Heavens to which
we're supposed to be striving.
Twist those limbs back again;
the snap is what we've achieved.
No more any longer no more.
The iron has covered the island,
and the man with one leg stands
astride at the port. A peg for a leg
and blue glass for an eye, in rags he
looks richly askance. Rightly so.
Meander me for a mile or more, oh
crazy hawk soaring. I'd not have seen you
on the crest had I not into those Heavens
gazed. Echoes of the past, indeed.
We know no more than what
we did before.
And now, my synapses,
they disconnect.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1101. AUTHOR

Would I authorize the writer to
sign the sheet? To endlessly plant
words where nothing can ever grow?
Yes, in a certain fit of spite I would.
Only because of this : the world is a
frightening place, a narrow shitted-up shed
filled with the awful debris of dog and the
doggerel of the cat and the mouse. All those
creeps who stand around a bar and cheer
at a screen overhead. What philosophy is this?
A tandem wrangle with a drunken God, an ancient
Norseman in his night to speak of deep nothings
and cataclysmic heights? I have nothing, and was
given nothing and - thereby - have absolutely
nothing to give back. to wit : I am done.
You can say you knew me when.



I am afraid of not loving you :
hypnotise me, you fool.
Ask me anything you want.
The new water washes the
old well well. Therapy
for angels and demons.
Staggered failings and all
the lightning in the world.
What else do you want
to remember?
When the rubber hits the road, Iris,
I'll be thinking of you, and those
words and those motions and
that smile and those keys :
the tree limb torn from
the tree, that open,
gaping wound,
that scar on
the jagged

Thursday, September 16, 2010


He hammers the downbeat broadly, enacting any
profusion of sound : native endearments, wild
emancipatings, loud and raucous yells. Bring
them all out - the children and mamas and
whores all together. Make but one garment of
a many-woven eccentric tray. Red thread.
Green thread. Barely conscious fabric.
I am the swami you met in Idaraputi;
do you not recall?


...Fourth Street was a bust
and Thunder Road's been paved.
I see all these starlings hustle,
trying to make the grade - but
there aren't enough nights in
Eden to go around, and that
black nigger-train you mentioned,
it's been gone long ago : it is no
longer found, and slavery's been
pinched, so stop singing your
southern songs. As just an instant
ago, it seems, I averted narrowly
the horror you sought, everything
now seems calm, as it ought. Do you
hear? Can you stand 'til tomorrow?
The horseman in green in his
rock and roll seat, now he means
nothing, and the children are dead,
and the shadows are beat.


In a high relief, these are moments of one remove,
notable and noble, and worthy of comment
and constant too. Like a great firmament in
a deep, dark night, illumined by great brilliance
from some other, outside, force, a sudden
grand amazement hits me like a shudder.
I am not one alone but one with everything
now everywhere showing : the grand effluent
of the cosmic mist paints high the world
with its meaning. Stars now sizzle and fixate,
a reality broken by nothing. I travel the
kingly ship drawing its source away.
Like eyes, the brightness around me
lights up an otherwise barren world,
one jagged and sundered, bereft, left
to dangle in a blackened sky.
What is it you would have me do?
No, I have already done all that.
Marketing spheres, erasing time and bringing
things back, that would do nothing for the day;
revolving domains, broken trees, dirt in patches,
and watery streams dripping filth - what we have
made of all things is simply a bad husbandry.
Never too late, it is always too late nonetheless.
This world will end with a blink and a tremble.
Twisting consciousness back upon itself, a
new turn will simply recreate the old. We are,
again, held at bay. We wait, in shackles, this better,
new day. I cannot guarantee the light nor the
effort, but I ask for your forbearance.
Try drying tears, and you will see they do not dry.
They manage to stay and moisten the eye long past
the occasion of their coming. We are so much like that:
commingling within ether and air, dogs barking, clouds
at play, wistful mountainsides watching out. Everything
new is old again? Yes, yes, the backward passage of time.
Bundle me not with your old memories.
They are faded and gone, to be filled with
a solace not to be understood. I peer back from old
photos, only to see your shaded eyes : like the doctor
on that Gatsby billboard, that passage of a Fitzgerald
moment, nothing is what it seems and we all lay down
now in the great valley of ashes. Our own though it be,
a valley of ashes nonetheless.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Fine computer logic hanged be damned
and hanged again : staccato wildfire purging
the oceans of everything left. The shed door,
ajar and swinging, brings forth an empty
hollow bearing darkness bleak and bare.
That sleeping figurine upon the lonely floor -
only a single dead mouse, curled and withered,
so sad to be seen dying now dead just like
sleep. I bent to cry and feel. I bent to feel
something : emotion within logic within both
time and place. It matters not that we live on.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I ran away with nothing, hardly looking
back : my past shoulders bore many a moon,
half, full and everything in between, but none
of them had a voice. I sought you out in
bazaars and souks, everywhere turning to look.
Garments strewn over racks, spices and
herbs, powdered and bottled, the great
smells of all the world. In the building on
the cliff, the woman ringing finger bells
and finger cymbals, seemingly oblivious to
anything around her. I wished I was there
forever. In the wind, in the small rain,
prayer flags hung from a string.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Sing me a song of many things : all those
children running down the ramp, the man with
the guitar, apparently strumming for dollars,
parents visiting the latest dive. Robins and redwings,
squirrels, and two rat-terriers being kept on a leash.
If I'd held my future in my hand, I still couldn't
recognize a thing. The iceman is hanging out
at the cave, the distant priest is singing.
What manner of man is this who brings books
to the fire? All new things turning, while everything
old expires? Look homeward, angel, and tell me
what's there ('afire, the houses are burning. I fear we
shan't e'er return!'). Nicolitus, Aramaea, and Theresa
of Avalon too. The ballroom is singing, in fact, of
all those empty saints: a song of many things,
of wishes and wants, of what is's and aint's.
It's not nice to wish a dead man dead.
For all the effort it takes, the
deed is already done. (Look
homeward, angel, and
tell me what's there).


I've got your stethoscope down my
throat. I choke! Can you help me none?
Walk away, pile-driving half-man, while
another fellow from your medicine expires.
I can only think of your face on your
mother's mantle; that stupid photograph
from when you were young : that cowboy hat,
those spurs, that vest. Like some medicine-man
in the old out-west, you stagger around in new
clothes, too proud of anything at all. I remember
as well how they used to call it a 'vocation' - that
summons to be a doctor or a priest. And what
a crock was all that - stupid words for stupid
people, back when such things as religion and
service too had a meaning that spoke. Now
it's all just empty twaddle. I choke.


Makes me too much like a cow
somehow; I think. Never knew the
series-ending double-play I thought
I saw. The hangings from the maples
may have been Van Goghs - he
made the skies alive, he entered space
between things and brought that space to life.
And that was a 'Life' that we as Mankind
had never known nor seen before. An
entirely new perspective on the living -
'midst the nature we live amidst.
A new peel on an onion
we never knew.
[It was just this once that I thought
I saw you at the station in your new
brown boots. Like budding ivy crawling
over brick, you were headed everywhere.
The tune in my head, I thought,
was Theolonius Monk.]

Friday, September 10, 2010


Today I took my watching indoors
and the windows were barred as the
doors were open. What difference
would it be? None at all, I noticed,
and that was just as I'd thought.
Writing to the Muse is a lonely sport,
and one-liners only cause black eyes.
Spinning like a top, I am an abstract
man, but one merely who has done
what he wanted. It wasn't me and it
wasn't you. Let's leave the entry door ajar.
Oh, yes, not for nothing it is, but I may
have found out what camels drink at
a desert mirage! They drink their dreams
and wishes - (in much the same way that
Jesus's crowd ate their loaves and fishes).
Imagination is a very wonderful thing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010



(Christopher Street Piers, 1978)
'Well I came from Alabama with
my banjo on my knee. If it wasn't
true that the course of time absconds
with fate so little would there be.'
Outside the balancing act procession
there seemed nothing really there at all.
As I tried to enter the marriage palace,
a hundred people rushed me.
Wondering what to do :
glass globes the world a'wander.
Yellow taxis, big black truck,
Texas plates and three old policemen
gamboling and down on their luck sitting on
the rotted pier splintered and oiled wood
and the entire world, like a forest, shaded.
Take my hand, little lovely one.
There are holes in it, and my palm
is tattooed with early oil, marks from the
palm frond, messages from one lethal God.
Never knowing how I ended up here (I fell
from the stars) I stayed instead - walking
foul beaches with dead fish and birds scattered
and thrown (I prayed to the Heavens) I bent
down to touch the Earthly sand (feeding dreams
to rainbows and terns) and I laid my head down
where the water had been. The whole world was
dry. Like Alexander the Great, I had conquered
somehow all with little effort really on my part.
(I swore not to overstay). I could love you.
I could comfort the lost kitten crying in
the doorway. I could saturate the
world with one embrace.
The man asked me what it was I
wanted to do. 'I want to write
the world into a miracle'
was all I said to him.
(And the course of time
absconds with fate).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Back in Elmira, at the Mark Twain Hotel,
they were holding a sale of all their stuff.
Dishes and plates and creamers and towels -
anything you think of like that. The big,
old hotel was closing up, and it was 1975.
I strolled right in through the tattered
carpet lobby and sat me down on a
big, stuffed chair. One of the last;
things was goin' fast.
The light was striking through the smudgy
glass - curtains and carpet all soiled and torn.
The piano lobby was a real nice place, a
few steps up and a few steps down.
A side room, a nice bar, and a banquet
room too. Things were pretty swank,
but it was all through.
We sometimes outgrow our points of
life like a garment too old to keep...
Sleeves don't fit, elbows worn,
no matter how we try to keep neat.


One hundred fifty moments like this and I'm
sure I'll die before morning. The lake-stead
was running high. The rivulet running out to
the sea, I noticed, had turned dark green and
salty somehow with slag. Nothing to do but
go on. I lit a flashlight, looking into my hands
to see how bright it could be. In this darkness,
how the entire world seemed bleak. The only
hope was in the light I held.
A man was once heard to say he 'couldn't go on.'
Shouldering too many burdens, those rigid bones
broke. It was the end of a cruel, unfair life.
'That's okay,' he opined, 'I only came here
for the time it would take.' Funniest
words I ever heard spoke.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Amidst all those ones and twos, I am
decidedly singular. I am making one-of-a-kinds
which have never before existed - oh totally unique.
'Mom, is it a funny message? Is it a funny
message? I think that you might know.'
Precocious youth and their precocious
parents. Always and everywhere, Dad
then asks, 'are you having a good time?'
My daughter is tying knotted ribbons on the
wintry, dead tree. She says it means dismay,
and I think that she would know. She is a
beautiful creature, just now growing to
something, but, as she puts it, 'my hands
have grown pinkish with lust.' I tell her
back : 'dismay is not distrust.'


With laughter, with pain, oh
why are they both the same?
I've got the workman here to my
side - his languishing manner of
painting aside, so wide with that
brush, so inviting, so restful, so
lush and so dreary. Are not they
each the same? He leaves his white
trail on woodwork and lattice and then
he takes his metal ladder and walks
off. I hear the Chevy van starting,
stuffed as it is with all those old
painter's rags. Another busy soul
taking another busy place.
And more! Mankind, they say, the
human race, is peopled with kingship
and kin and papers and grace -
green-shirted man, broom-carrier,
proto-dweller and lowland ape.
Doubled-over, using twigs as
tools, jabbing at tree trunks for bugs,
hiding out in jabberwocky caves -
painting walls, after all, in one
thing or another.



Yes! Yes! I affirm - the world is so
much nothing that names do not adhere.
We are living that twinkle of moment, that
place in the now, that disappears as it manifests.
We are nothing then, and we see nothing then.
We name nothing, and we live nothing.
All categories have failure as their main;
an ephemeral contagion secondary to the
momentary and all that layer of being.
That gutter man in the Beacon square,
that squirrel running up and down the stairs
between trees and starlight together.
All things are, forever, between :
a paradoxical, enigmatic, and all
pervasive notion. The river can be
a mountain, the tree can be an ocean.
Yes! Yes! I affirm! Yes!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Well anyway : when we used to sit.
Bobby Beddia and all the rest, sack-faced,
those two dogs, that shadowy smiley jukebox
tucked on the wall, the owner in the alleyway
watching the rest. Gone now gone all gone. Shit.
What's left for living is the leftover feel of
encumbrance and not much else. My feet in
your face, up on the table top where we forgot to
pay, your dog-faced wanderings and Mary Kay.
The Tupelo brothers with their toothpaste faces
and, all the while, the fire in the fireplace, the mantle
and the cases. All those old bookcovers upon the wall.
Where are they, now, that nothing's left?
The broken building that leans like mud, the
words we all spoke in fun, the serious girls
in the back, from Long Island, and the
ones who only knew firemen? I say it's
over. Now. And Bobby Beddia is dead again.
Shoot my brackish backwater down,
drink my slag-heap India Pale Ale
and drown me in the dregs. I just
no longer want to be at all.


I heard the barrel in the night
of that bold train running. It cut
its slice through darkness and Hell.
Piercing by might of its powerful
light, ripping open the fabric we dwell.
'Where are you going, oh powerful one,
to what destination do you head?'
The cruise ship sunk!
The balloon in the festival
blew up! The river rafters are
all dead! The bear ate two children!
That mother at the campgrounds miscarried
and died! Two cars went off the cliff! The air-
show was a disaster! The main theater tent fell
down onto the crowd! Egads! What a season was this!
I heard that rumble in the darkest night :
the season of mayhem and death. Oh
mighty, foul one, where do you lead us next?


(things, they, them)
From deep and far out in the texture of space
we take meanings, plucking things at will and
deciding what to name. Name as if to own.
With nowhere to put them down, they float
in our own reality, until we let them,
perhaps, land where they may.
The land that beckons: thin, covered in pine,
riddled with streams and hills. There is nowhere
in such a place to place the feet of a traveled man.
He jumbles things instead; he can't find the settled
place. I have gone high, and seen the present vista.
It wasn't stars or the cosmos. It wasn't a Belgium
to me. I heard the sound, and far off too, of everything
left as it swirled and remained. Before the dark had exited
the stage : Earth-globe-twisting : I had sat down already
to watch. The man came - the one with many arms - and
the sense I got was that he said : 'you will watch what will be
and will see what has been. What you cannot see, really,
is the Present that is around you. Upon mastering that,
I shall set you free, to wherever Kennelam may be.'


"You have met me on the way to an illusion, my dear friend.
As all things are illusion - but too the fence was a mirror.
As are all things - both and illusion and a mirror of
ourselves back to ourselves, endlessly."
Nomenclature and division - the absolute two
grand prize winners of time and being, and here
we are all twisted up trying to fit into that jacket.
"I am not here, just as I never have been here.
I care for little, as the string of a blighted death,
the thread of me, hanging, tightens its noose
around what is called my 'neck'. Full disclosure:
not truly mine at all. Come with me again,
let us visit new graves.
From deep and far out in the texture of space
we take meanings, plucking things at will and
deciding what to name. Name as if to own.
With nowhere to put them down, they float
in our own reality, until we let them,
perhaps, land where they may."

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The man was talking to me,
this historian, named Italo. We
were sipping cappuccino while, behind
us, the group was playing 'Tremonisha'
by Scott Joplin. He said : 'Did you know,
in ancient days a monkey could have
left Rome and skipped from tree to tree
until it reached Spain, without ever
touching Earth?' I laughed a bit and said
'No, never heard that one before.' He smiled,
almost wistfully sad, and said : 'yes, yes, it's in
my 'Baron In the Trees' but that was long ago, and
anyway I phrased it as conjecture because it can't
possibly have been. I checked once, and there may
have been perhaps a southern route.' We smiled together.
It goes like that in the smoke of dreams - the places
that once were, and the might-have-beens. As it were,
had I pinched my skin with a knife, yes, I would surely
have bled. It was that real - like the lilac upon the air,
or the frog-croak you know you hear. Neither of these
things can be seen but in essence are as remarkably true
as the last breath of the last human person.
'Take my hand, remarkable man. Hold my arm, darling
woman. Walk me through those lively trees, let me feel
this wind and air. We find the groundhogs peeking their
heads a few inches out of the ground - their holes well
burrowed beneath limb and stump. We see flocks of jagged
birds, in hundreds I'm sure, sweeping black like waves
across the sky. We marvel. We wonder. It is nothing like
this, here or anywhere, ever before. I know this much is true.'

Friday, September 3, 2010


I lost Ken Leone in the theatre - he was
playing the Bard in a featured solo performance -
and, having just lost thirty dollars, I found I just
couldn't afford any more. Like a wayward UPS
man, I'd grown callous and sour over every little
thing. Overzealous and intense, I just knew
I had to get out. Left the window down,
I did, and simply drove away.
My red arm was red from the sun and the
window. White where the watch had been.
My other arm, cloaked as always in a
shaded interior and not darkened at all,
looked ghostly as I left the car.
Two halves of one man, fighting,
both for some bad attention.
I thought from afar - 'what am I doing
all this for anyway?' I knowingly had
the choice of my own life or not.
Nothing was taken away. But,
the silver clouds on the tinted
glass, my God, how they took
my heart. I found I couldn't do
anything but turn back and
start, once again.


(Tolkenberry Kindlestuff)
Your name was taped with Mystic Tape to the
back of your soiled old book. Though you
weren't a mystic, I thought you had what
it took. Tolkenberry Kindlestuff, and the
other flavor you liked so much - I
rather forget what it was.
As I remember, we tied our shoes together
at 12 years old, and both tumbled then
down the same incline. Entwined together,
banging heads and hitting arms, we ended
up - somehow - in different places together.
I can't tell much after that. Was it your
sister, then, I once was married to?
Or was that your cousin Bravera, the one
who'd taken off her clothes for us a
hundred times before, singing country songs
and old tunes from, she said, the Lake District.
Lake District my ass, the only water running
around her was the stuff she pee'd in the grass.
She used let us watch, for free.
Now, Harmon, everything I mention was so
fucking long ago I feel I died with the
dinosaurs - and so, to you I raise this glass.
How did we ever survive, let alone surpass?
Let's roll up the carpet and die.


They said the name like a buttery waste.
He was a man from Sheffield or somewhere.
His mother had been Baker Blair's daughter, killed
in the second war. No one really knew the rest.
I hung out with the kids from Harlin Hall, maybe
three years at the most. Aways the same.
Gay English fags, running off at the
fey drunken mouth.
We took the long-rifle from the cabinet
and started shooting at cars and lorries.
Nothing major, mind you, no shoot-to-kills;
just blow out the tires or break out some
glass. Something to rile the lower-class
bastards up. All these trucks and cars; they
so loved their 'owning' of things.
Not us, we had it all already and
always already did. Or, as we
used to say - laughingly though
not without some horrid mistrust
(of each other, I guess) -
'born already with a
silver dick in our

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



The solid block where you start off, well
at least it gets you rolling, fellow and friend
of mine. We are listening to Artie Shaw
as someone asks - and they all seem to
know - the tune the place the year.
Then, he says he had to look the word up
(and yes, I saw him doing it just yesterday)
and I was surprised. 'Mayhem'. All the while,
behind me, Stardust and Begin the Beguine
and the rolling horns roll upon themselves as
the lone guitar man strums, somewhere, alone.
Yes, my friend, some things need looking up,
some things you just have to get right.
Bring in the drums now and what
have you got? Mayhem, is it not?


I find I must myself
meditate upon your
four green umbrellas.
They are out in the sun,
at a slightly darkened spot
where no direct rays are
hitting. Beneath them I
note the grimace of the
concrete dog - it seems
an anguish or a pain, and
it must always be this way.
The concrete does not change,
though - yes - the air and the light
and even the colors all will alter
with time. The four green umbrellas
seem unrankled, unfazed, right here
at the Joseph Henry House, now bathed
too in its own yellow light. They will remain,
these umbrellas will. The tables are shielded
and the sun, now adding to this new batch,
shines too its own yellow light on the
white-patterned trellis and wall.



Associated metalwork, and the clang
from that workman's hammer.
Nothing makes sound like metal.
It is here, all around, the first of
September again - the old edge of
a Summer rolling to Autumn, the
quick-turn, one hopes, of all
leaf and color. Not yet, no,
but too soon early.