Friday, December 31, 2010


Holding the leash on his Whippet,
the tall man signals me to enter
his picture. I access from across
his lake - me Natty Bumppo too -
and make this meager entrance as
people talk at me. The two shaved
women sit across the table from me;
they are bouncing words as predetermined
balls, everything without meaning and each
a set-piece in place. They talk of where
they are to go already, and already I am
gone. My feet step off into the muds of art.
No harm. The tall man, holding the reins
on his Whippet, bends and - as I watch -
he gracelessly lances a dream. I think back
to Summer, when, without words, I - and only
I it was - sat alone amidst the wedded trees.


Scratching the surface of some other
horizon up close, seen as particular
things we are - without a fault-line,
dependent on nothing at all. What we
live is one free moment. The noise is
all on that surface, clackety-clack.
Isn't that what they say anyway?
Euro-cars, like nothing at all, where
glass is steam and steam is now
glass-electric. I left a wife in the
doorway crying, just as she was -
a faucet in full-drip, tears down the
face of a very-responsive world. I
am traveling to other lands. I
have left a lot behind me.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It was John Maynard Keynes who said
'in the long run, we're all dead'. Johann
Sebastian Bach is dead, and, now, so is
Keynes for that matter. Beethoven, I heard,
has died as well. Nothing is much worse than
yesterday's news, old and stale already. With
everyone else in the know, I wonder why the
morning waitress even asks me what I'd like.
She should have read it the day before. But,
nonetheless, I shrug : the shrug of despair, the
shrug of no-care, the shrug of the hospital
that just shuttered its doors, the shrug of
the doctor who overdosed on pills and died
by his own choice. The shrug of that lady,
peppered with buckshot and walking on,
wounded. The shrug of the old, soiled dog
chained harshly outside to the doghouse
at the pen. The one where the graffiti reads:
'In the long run, we're all dead; in the long
run, we're all dead.' I'll stand here a while
watching the scene, and then I too will
(most probably) just shrug it all off and,
thinking little of it, walk on.


Once it was what it was, they opened
the oval and let the dogs in. Outside, at
the candy pavilion, under the dark-moon
sky, children were lined up - spacious and
broad the tents rang with feeling. I looked
up once, thinking to find meaning or some
philosophy of the little grace beneath the
graceful great sky. Found none, of course.
Setting in, a form of mental rigor-mortise
set my jaw to place. I watched the tiny
horse-cart going round and round.
Greyhounds and a donkey too. A long,
lean clown balanced popcorn on his nose
while braving the maneuver on stilts
as well. And oh, the crowd swelled
so with laughter, and oh the
crowd swelled.


I shan't go away, I shan't avoid.
Nothing comes between : the harbor
is filled with little ships and the people
who use them. They swagger as they
shake the water off. It might seem
prosaic, but this tiny scene is actually
quite dramatic.


I washed my face in a legion of doubt and came
away holding a candle. The books we'd been reading
were still on the table, open, just as we had left
them. Aristotle on stasis, and some guy from the
middle east writing about Love. What a tale my
thoughts could tell. If you could read my mind love.
All these words; they get jumbled up like I'm
doing a puzzle my mind had made itself. I really
don't want that tree there, but there it is. Last
January 2nd I went to a cold burial on a wicked
hill. Someone had died, as they all do, in the
week between Christmas and then. It little
mattered anyway because, by the time we
were done, the snow had covered it all back up.
We drove away like pilgrims headed to a feast.
Hot food in a wintry redoubt, a roadside inn with
vast mountains behind it. I could never find it again.
I blush when I think of you, and what we did. Not
really, but whatever. My magazine mind can take
you all apart and put you right together again. I
look at your red lips and wish that they were mine.
Now, too late, that candle I mentioned is burning
down and hot wax is hurting my hand. I rub it out
with an old dry cloth : it too catches fire as I hold it.
Jesus Christ this is a wond'rous life,
with behind it no meaning at all.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Just like, that is, any life you would
ever live. The car is in the driveway now
and all things are very modern. There
are metal reds and metal greens going
nowhere. My pitter-patter heart too itself
has died. Long ago, and already on the way
out, I wanted to find a feature : young boy,
and all of nothing too - wishing to be, FBI
agent, priest, provocateur, railroad guy,
tough man in a hoary little western tale.
Emily Emmet McCallister, a good woman,
living all alone and far out in the wilds, on
the prairie somewhere. Then the railroad came
as they laid the tracks - Union Pacific or
Missouri Central or Baltimore and Ohio,
something. Rebel flags and taunted horses;
long ago it was a troubled world.
Someone said I had the good sense to lose my
good sense and go mad. I'm still with that thought
in my mind : Emily Emmet McCallister? I built
her a cabin deep in the woods and there she
laid down to die. It was all things, everywhere -
Indian wars and then the Revolution and then
the Civil War, and with all that the railroad men
and the Rebels and the Indians with their squaws,
they all came riding through. Time had compressed
and folded over on itself - it was all over in a
blink that ended all of Time.
Just like, that is, any life you
would ever live. All the way on,
and then all the way off again.


My brother, my brother, I've lost so
many things standing here at the
border while still my heart sings.
Having never learned a trade, I trade
my learning now for a hundred other
things : nail-biting, the way the boxer
falls to the mat and does not get up,
the fair and distant horizon where
that faint green light yet beckons, and
I am all alone; thinking of someone
equally fair at the 'fine, green breast
of a newer world.' (I've never felt at
home, all things made brutal by this
world you see). But oh to you my brother
I owe no strife; we co-exist, and that is
life, so different and yet the same. The
fireplace has its fire as the flower has
its flower. On the mantle, the dim
yellow of the sitting-room lamp shines
on, illuminating (almost) nothing at all.


Soft on the sofa and heavy on the meatloaf,
they were teaching mnemonics in the schoolroom
while forty kids yelled out something obscene. I
wasn't really there to tell you about it, but I can
make things up if that helps. Up high, along the
ceiling, someone had spray-painted 'ape-shit rat
bastards', saying it was a memory device to help
on tests. No one batted an eye - the last one they'd
used had to be replaced anyway, having been all
battered and soggy by now through vast over-use.
The teacher (a dumb-limbed man from Elberon)
was reading aloud from 'The Memory Palace of
Matteo Ricci', but no one listened. In that book,
the author relates how some 600 years ago or so,
this fellow in China found a means of memorizing
the placement of every item in a room (way before
photography, y'understand) by using memory
devices to situate each item. Not sure what the hell
that really meant anyway, not one of the kids
showed to care. One Molly Bloom had lifted her
skirt to show boys her twat - 'Memorize this, it's all
I've got!' she sang to them. Another fine lad named
Jimmy called out to his Aunt for a gimme 'Give me
five minutes with your hundred pound cunt - never
again will you call me a runt!'. Yes, yes, he was heard
to say. Anyway, that's how it went. A long, long time
ago, and I made it all up, but I bet you'll never forget it.


Make sure of this you fucking fool : carnal space is
no space at all and travel in a knapsack sucks. Yes,
right there, they were all lined up - sick travelers
and wild pilgrims, guys with ticket stubs coming out
their gay asses, and thirteen fabulous women, each
one with a knife stuck in her back. The ticket collector,
the man with the black eye, was standing by.
By the time we reached the terminal at Cincinnati
it was all over. Every little crestfallen nip and tuck
had told its story and led its owner away. Now,
instead of two hundred we were a paltry thirty
nine. And the skyline, that skyline of red and rouge,
was turning cartwheels in the sky. Each one told its
story and even I had mine. Circumlocution with
beautiful lips, and nothing more to be said.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Once we broke the bank at Villeneuve, we
kept on running for our lives; fork-handles
and tophats chasing us everywhere. As if
some cartoon villain, our sweat beads
turned to bullets and whizzed past our
heads. Our dogs turned to dragons, shooting
flames back at us. Nothing was steady and,
instead, everything wavered like flames
in the heat. I wouldn't wish this on anyone
else but me. The fact of the matter is,
if I knew how to extricate myself from
all this soily matter, I would. As it is,
I'll stay in place - if I can - and simply
relate these crazy tales to all of you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Did I then run away just to be heard?
Was I fleeing from the grimace of my
own faint invisibility? I never was to know,
as before I thought of it all I was already
gone. The box of the bus took me on.
Traveling west, Pennsylvania called its
Ohio, and I stayed as they mingled. The
twist of the river brushed across my shoe,
anxious yet ready to move. Scanning one
strange horizon, I settled my gait and
got set to walk on. And walk on I did.
Travel's adventure, duration's mishaps,
each of them entered my fray. I sat long
mornings eating chestnuts and corn, things
taken or grabbed from wherever they formed :
the wild grace of wild food, a natural bounty
aiding me on. I smiled at the grace.
A traveler such as me had not before been
seen. Empty pages in an open book. My
pen was my heart and all set to write.
Geography I learned as I went. All my
Life was before me, my power was
push, and in use before it was spent.
Do you know what I mean and that which
I say? Can you hear me, oh loud folk,
oh millions, oh crowded city-scape's
growls and dogs? I am not silent, for
I speak to you, in all that I am
and all that I do.


(from Ernst Jule, 1931)
Darkling through night in the deep, dense woods,
catching no shadows in the blackness, of course I
felt alone. The woman beside me, Althea, poised
herself strongly aside a tree. She lit, with one
vague, unlined hand, the cigarette, for me, with
a match - the old-fashioned kind - that she
lit on the tree. A simple stroke, the strike along
the roughened bark. I think, because I didn't
see much in the dark until after the flame had
ignited, its simple red roar momentarily lighting
both our faces. There was a trace of a smile on
her lips. I understood all that and, yes, surely,
felt Belgium to be just around the bend in the
road. I never understood travel very well,
and never borders either - now, traveling
by foot like this through the woods, we were
attempting, instead, to sneak across something
unseen. Life has its dark and its matter too.
I hunkered down in my thick coat, as we
walked amidst a silence enough for two.


All these things as one : those sheep in the manger
banging heads, no room in the inn, wise men on
sleds? I think it went like that. Dark Winter night
that made no sense, and a bright moon or star
looming intense. Every possible accommodation for
a winsome, sweet fantasy has been made here.
We've given you the perfect story, if you'll just
now follow up. And, please, keep it quiet too.
I've spoken to mothers outside their churches - all
that obvious drivel. 'I know I don't believe, myself,
but I do it for the kids. I want them to have a
tradition, some set of beliefs to live with.' I roar
back like Rintra, and exclaim, 'but lady you're
crazy deluding yourself, rolling right into this trap.
The kids don't care, and what you take away they'll
never get back. Anyway, isn't it all about the truth
and the real, or what else are you giving them but
another in a long line of crap? Let them read Blake
instead if you mean it.' But of course, she doesn't.
Fine fellows and gals one wide-world over, it's all
drivel and pabulum, something to get over. Like the
fine-arc'd line of the meticulous arrow, life does go
on, following its own, and gently arrives at a target
you've set. Be wary then of all those chary things
you set for goals. Remember, what you set out
may just as well all come true. (With that, I realized
I was setting off wrongly, so I turned around and
walked it all back). And, oh yes, those sheep in
the manger, they each wore a hat.

Friday, December 24, 2010


You are looking bad, you are starting to look crazy;
losing limits, running ragged. The decal on your
fencepost no longer says 'Welcome to the Homeland'.
Now it reeks of anger instead : so far and so vast,
like a Plains Indian seeking his revenge. The
fixed star in your little manger has fallen away,
the Maypole of Merriment, a certain smallpox
has destroyed. These girls, these girls you harbor,
they are legion'd now with the very Devil himself.
Salem Witch Trials, for them are just a prelude;
they're having crazy sex beneath your staircase.
Behind that door, I swear, a fortnight ago I saw
General Custer leading his horse. And the crazy
band behind him, as if leading the charge, still
played 'Barbara Allen'. But I felt then too,
deep at the well inside me, that there really,
really, really, was nowhere to go at all
(and such emphasis leaves me bare).

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Don't (1.) have a clue (2.) care for a second.
If that's all that you can do, then go ahead
and wreck it. Stupid rules and regulations.
Safety zone and traffic cone. Who cares
how many the lives are saved? And for
what good are they anyway? As I look
either way, each direction, I see Mr.
Policeman staring back - up and down
the idle road. Cars come by as trucks
unload. Oh Savior Jesus Happy Lord
Safety International Yellow your passage
will afford. Afterlife. Muscle strife. And
all the angels of that Lord wearing Safety
Yellow we implore : "Save us from this
weary Hell; save us from any more.'

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Coxackie and all those other small towns groaning
from just before the volcano blew : soft topped
mountains smothering old people in death and fury.
Hudson hesitation, concrete boats from WWII,
log-cabin ruins and a castle on the hilltop
left without a keep. I noticed bibles floating
through the air. I did nothing about anything,
and knew not what to do, if anything could
be done. The jovial fat guy played classical
music at the restaurant bar. No one laughed,
as I noticed they had already all passed on.


My inauthentic profile graces that coin
in your hand - it was done a long time
back in a town called Reading, at the foot
of a not very big hill. They told me to
look out, and stay still. Along the path
beside me, the sorry miners kept
trudging by. It took about three hours;
the master-craftsman working quite
hard. Behind my head you can see the
line of trees and that hill which they've
turned into a mountain somehow.
I guess it all goes with the storyline :
how I came from nothing, worked hard
and prospered. None of it's true, you
realize; it was just all my money that made
them think so. No one mentions all the
men who have died in my employ, doing the
work I demanded, digging the soil, cutting
the rock. This isn't even my hilltop at all -
they just say I live here, high atop my holdings,
to make more of the story than there really is.
I am a wizard of nothing, a merchant of death,
and a doctor of drudgery for others. For that,
I'm worth a coin? A coin with the face-value of
something like two-seventy-five? I'd like to
think my breath alone was worth that much,
but maybe, as it goes, it's not worth much at all.
My inauthentic profile only goes to show.

2047. ENSO

And so you've left your old life behind and I'm here now
sitting around reading Visions of Cody or Big Sur or one of
them whenever I can but you keep distracting me with
your stuff which of course I don't mind and it's all great
stuff stuff I can really make use of handle fondle have a
go but instead I sit back and just rejoice relax and remember
too to back when I had nothing and was living on the streets
and someone like you someone like you I could have really
used and put to a good advantage to make me whole and
get me really going but all that that was so far along back
that I can't hardly remember no-how anyway and I've grown
tough and rude and nasty besides since then don'tcha' think
I think anyway but not everyone does and some say I'm
the nicest guy in the bunch or could be if I just cut my
hair and cleaned up took a shave dressed nice and started
just oh my God keeping quiet but really I'm not so bad
I curl up sleeping at night crying first and I never hurt a
thing nor wanted to and I cried too whenever I saw
something die and I value animals and people just the
same higher than high and probably better than all
the unseen angels that never been 'round too but as it
is that's it I just really don't say much just go about my
way and try and keep busy amen hallelujah and
I'll be damned to that!!!

2046. FERDINAND AND ISABELLA TOO (at the Escorial/the words of Philip, 1586):

(at the Escorial/the words of Philip, 1586)
"Hen cloud distaff water waiter waiting.
(Oh how I hate the cold). Hen cloud
distaff....Ferdinand and Isabella too.
I don't know why I built this palace,
though it's not really. It's a monastery
in which I can also live. I am Kingly sort,
after all. Oh, Torquemada, kill them,
each and every. Make the Maitre'd come
home, with nothing on his back. We've
planted outside gardens now, inside.
And inside, we've planted outside gardens.
It's a quizzical, wonderful world."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I dream of tending a yellow lake of gold.
This is how : cows come around from the
meadow meander, lowing and mooing their
way. A morning light with handles of jewels
traces forth the path of the day - things then
run to follow the lead. It all goes quickly away.
You think I live on a farm? Am crazy with delight?
Do sing the singsong meadowlark with me all along
the forward path? No, no, not that. I am simply
mad with joy. This is how : I bow to every cow,
both then and now who's sought a fair recompense
from the man who takes its milk. To each according
to his ability, each according to his need. And the
rest, like the Parson says, is prattle.
A billion peasants are dead on the lawn; ages and
ages of them all along - wired for speed and worked
until death, they've taken their moment and left all
the rest. Their world, now, is (finally) like some
eternal Sunday the Pope has decreed. 'You have
worked 'till you're dead to fill the Lord's need.
Now you can rest.' And (you know what) that's
all he really means. One Lord, in such medieval
ways, is just as good as another. Here's how (this
is how) we stay to stay and live to die. Put the
pie-post on the platter, let us eat until we are done.



I am living under the bridge. In all these
expectations of tomorrow there has to be
a way to forge ahead and then - as much
as that - forget. Forget this measly life.
Forget this moment, this time of strife.
I am living beneath the bridge.
I am living beneath the bridge, in a tomorrow
somehow not already here, while the shaman
is rustling, already, his beads. For here is
where things grow, beneath this bridge:
wildly, in profusion, in colors and rows and
rows. So much here is jumbled together as
to make a show, a stage, a place of exposition.
People come to view, yet they never stay
nor listen. 'Businessmen they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my Earth...'
Legendary fanaticism has beaten me to the
end of this line, but why? I am living beneath
the bridge, where the accolades incline - towards
the others, the dead and the finished. Those no
longer vital or trying. Like that prophet with
no honor here at home, I've lost whatever I've
had far away. Butterflies get better deals than
this one : those with pins and under glass, with
all those beautiful colors. 'None of them along
the line know what any of it is worth...'


And what shall they bring me? A last
night of life? Or a year filled with strife?
The candles somehow burn beneath the
city tree without really burning a thing
I see; the mettlesome mettle of mettle,
hard like some wiry politician's words
skimming for a vote - hands out, with
holes in them, sharkskin suits, only
worn by sharks. And how these
plebeians still believe all these things:
That a baby was born and that angels
did sing. Rubbish like that has no
handholds on either a stairway
to Heaven...or to Hell.
Now, as I watch, at another table the
workmen are sitting about, talking of
their tools awhile while on break.
It is still a Christmas week day.
They talk of how this shaft blows
upward while that one powers down,
reciprocation, the hammer, the spike,
the force with the pneumatic sound.
And, altogether, we know no things :
just the idle curiosity of talk. And,
somehow too, this new-born salvation
never falters, just rings. I hear that
tapping at my ears, I feel the ringing
that I hear. It is another Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The words are mine; and ideas are
like fighter-jets scattered in the sky.
I'd wished to say John Ashbery said
that, but I really don't think he did.
I am, instead, sitting back, reading again
'The Autumn of the Patriarch' and wondering
where things are leading. Dead dogs in the
street and a promontory on the ridge. It is
like page 210 or so, where that girl is talking
about fruit being eaten out of her pussy or
something. You can read it yourself, I don't
care. Cats and dogs, let's say, they are not
here; and those 'par-boiled malangas up the
behind,' they leave me without speech.
The way I see it - a smart thief goes to
Locarno to hide; a dumb thief goes to Rome.
He can, in his stupidity, be apprehended and
hung with the Pope or the Bank Ambrosiano
brothers from some stinking London bridge, no
longer among thieves with nothing to give.
And anyway, why travel so far to be duped
by a goon? Once the money's in, there's really
no need to worry, and you can cover your tracks
behind you. The Demetrius Clock in the old
central tower keeps ticking its bells and whistles.
One need only but listen to learn of the hour.


That's a very beautiful picture you made -
a certain somber, deep and dark, earthy red
color for all those mill and factory bricks. The
workplant with its wheel, where the water
would rise and fall : those patterns. You've
captured it all. The dazzle of that old, ripply
glass - gosh, how it must have dappled with
a lovely light those workmens' places. And that
tall, dark roof with that creamy grey sky -
Oh! How wonderful indeed. What you've
shown me of it, we can only talk in a
very, respectful silence.


Where camels drink in a desert mirage
the oasis of all things dwells. I am as if
horse-kicked in the head - dizzy with
something I cannot see. Eidolon. A
phantom apparition, an ideal original,
a something of shape the shape of which
I cannot see. Leave me wheeling in this
lurch? Vortex? Vacuum? I can see
nothing and, if I am left alone, or to
be left alone, I myself will surely perish,
though that all may be to the good,
though that all may be to the good.


(the foundations of Alex)
My heart has grown so big it bleeds now down my
shirt - watching all the others falter and pass, reading
the words of their logistics, understanding their ways
and means. I see the lame attempt to walk, their trails
are left in freshly fallen snow. In the etchings of a
notebook, I also see a man, bent and broken harsh,
trying to be what he cannot be. An endless-lie,
a vast contusion on reality's face. Vanity wears,
on its sleeve, a tattoo of lies and subversion.
You can only walk away and leave the leavings behind.
There are those who believe anything, and those you
must find. The grand magnification that is this life
allows, for all things, a fruition, a growth, and a death.
We can do nothing other that travel along that current.
And so somehow I've been beaten and bettered by
hucksters and cheats, liars and fakes. Alien marks
on old native pages, the smiling hand of some local
boy lies, illicit accreditations and men who surmise.
The swarm knows it best : the one who does
least is the one who most tries.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The plodding hipsters have all fallen down;
they lie in their own waste, spittle, and puke,
while before them some form of music plays.
I can't determine the reason for these things,
but - sure as ever - those advancing French
police will let me know. Scuttlebut. Cheaply
printed handbills, thin girls swirling in lace.
I came here for the desserts and the jelly.
Now, my face is filled and I want no more;
but the streets are clogged with fighting
and I cannot seem to get away. A faint
fog covers the alleys, their entrances
only marked by the curious yellow
signs denoting street and place.
So little like home is this.
I can't find a trace.


The whistle of a new air had colored upwards
the small half moon. Cheap, like a scuttling,
cloth curtain one buys at an auction, it was
already falling on its rod. Moon and star.
And sky. Everything together in darkness
conspired. Tiny Winter night, my aims are
so great. What is that flashing before me?
Shooting star, delirious from Heaven,
wrapped in circumstance, and shedding
its cloak in the midnight air.
If I was tradesman, I'd build me a boat.
As it is, I will walk to the ends of this Earth.


(In Memoriam for Kathy Acker, 1997)
Your lips are good - labia-faced slut whore
open-mouthed lover gawker queen. I put this
pen down just for a moment, to squeeze you
between the thighs. You sigh. I die.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I demand this will be twelve twenty at the old ferry slip
across the Delaware right there where New Hope falls
into Lambertville or (perhaps) the other way around.
My first girlfriend came from there; her name was
Lucinda Cravien, and now she's an artist in Taos NM.
Never mind how all that occurred. It shouldn't occur
to me to tell. Springtime renews again and again -
all those flowers draped across Bowman's Mountain,
the little farm at the water's edge - gaggles of geese,
sheep, cows and pigs. Goats and dogs abound as much
as anything else. Plus (like the skimming arrow in
flight, like time, like light) the narrow gauge railway
just chugs along. It's only got one place to go, granted,
but it goes wherever it may (nonetheless).

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I was upstate at the water factory, I was upstate
at the cider mill, and the gunnery and the yacht
club too. I met the lass with silver eyes parading
naked before Count Ives, the man whom they call
Mr. Upstate. He sat on a regal throne made of
antique barrels that once housed rum. Pirate's
booty, yo-ho-ho, and all that. Now the same
place is a private cafe for gents with money.
I wasn't alone for long - mind you, not that
I wished to be. They send along anything
you could want : marvelous slab steaks the
size of a house, watermelons quartered and
dusted with a powdered glaze that frosts
the sweetness. All these things that
upstate money brings. Everyone
living in enormous, ramshackle
houses facing a hill
or a mountain.
Where, just
over there,
the river


The one it was - as always - that got away.
The one that disappeared. The figment in the
reflection, the water at the piers. The old
country guy, so old to die, with the
turkey-wattled neck, singing his heart out.
Some ancient love who died as he cried.
It's always like that somewhere : Death
rides a pale horse, swings by momentarily,
sweeps out the arm to catch whomever,
and swiftly keeps running on. We lose our
mettle in the best of our avoidance. Too
late, too sorry, too sad and too soon.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I have a hundred little feet, running through the
graveyard, coursing through the lanes. I have men
in motion, fleeing, looking nowhere back. I have ten
thousand south-sea merchants screaming for their
cut. I have nothing at all, and I have everything at
once. It becomes amazing, as I think on this,
that such a vocabulary exists to tell it.
Nearby, in a shuttered little cut-in, sits the
screech owl sleeping. He barely moves at
all, except to flutter in his sleep. Until his
time for waking is upon us both, I too will
sit and stare. Nothing else is smoother
than that, not even air.
I awoke from a slumber at fourteen, and
they marched me away - high, high up
to the mountaintops, to places I'd never
been. I looked for men in cascading robes,
reading. They turned around to speak to
me in a silence I'd never known. It was
like that a very long time; few letters home.
I am determined to let this Winter night pass.
The half moon and that star so near it, I think
I know them. In fact, in representing as such
the Heavens, I think I've been there before.
Long passage, dark world - deep and central
space, in a deep and central world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


One time I forgot my status as landed servant
and walked all the way home alone; another time,
as landed gentry, I flew skyward on a magic cloud of
dust. Enscripted acolyte, same thing - months of
plodding work, cows, pigs, fieldwork and labor.
Horseshoes. Repairs. As if I was born to toil while
also being born to royal. It never mattered, my
soup was always the same as the soups of
all the others; a forced gruel filled with bread.
I went to school, to try and tell them, but
no one listened. I trod long paths to far-flung
cabins and roists, to find a guide or a master;
none was ever found to make any real sense
to me. I clapped backs with the hands of scouts
and masters, but found we shared no tongue :
I said one thing, they said another.
It was always like that.
Then, (I was told), I went crazy
one day and simply began to shout
and scream, so they had me taken
away. In a winding cloth of sorts, with
with laces and clasps they'd hurriedly
made. And the one time I got here,
the one time I stayed. It was
just like that, yes, just
like that.

2030. SUCH THINGS (1954)

Remembering at ten; a doily on the back of a chair,
homemade cigars, and that boxing uncle with the
cauliflower ear. So many things, it would seem,
were kept under glass. That enormous red carpet
in the sitting room, the dimness of the lights. Blue
patterns on large dishes. Stemware.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I have drawers for this and that. And, yes,
perhaps, though only perhaps, I made that
word up. A penchant to see everything from
the past with a very golden glow. It never
truly works that way : spending time winnowing
out the doubt and all those things that Grandma
said that Daddy never told us. How the rat
in the kitchen died. How the saucepot, filled
with water leaking from the ceiling and the
apartment above, went right into the cooking
of that night's meal. I loved those tales back
then. I love them now - in retrospect. We
lived like pigs on some linoleum avenue of
spikes and perfume. A 1948 Plymouth parked
sinking at the curb. A buckshot wounded window,
a depth-charge from the countertop, the
icebox that never shut off. Two bums,
outside the doorway, incessantly plinking
lead weights into steel buckets, just to make
their noise all night. Yes, that's right, one
night Dad went down at 2am and punched
them both right out. Cold-cocked, jaw-shot,
punched into a deep nighttime sleep. My
little-boy mind digested all that. I thought
of it forever. Is that how old men die?

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Invariably, the tribes reach the western terminus before us.
We sit back, entrenched in our magazine wars : Sioux and
Apache. Or Comanche and the rest. I wouldn't know, and
you certainly can't tell by the handwriting. They say we will
die by daybreak - scalped or shot, or a few well-placed
arrows. Who was it died that way? One of those ubiquitous,
crazy early saints? Peter, Paul, St. Stephen; I think that's
the one. A hundred arrows piercing his willing breast;
all that holy blood shed for the Father, or the Son, or -
there wasn't quite a Holy Ghost yet, that came later.
So, whatever - does any of this old rubric carry over
to the new world? Can I die like a martyr? And why,
oh why, are there no Saints from the early settlers or
the first colonists or governors and the rest? They too
fled persecution - so as to set up their own. But, I
digress. Here again we are - in the stage coach, reading
bloody manuals about frontier first-aid and how long
it takes to actually bleed to death. The dirt trails behind
us from these really skinny wheels - and isn't this the
most rickety, jarring ride you'd ever imagined? No one
could shoot back from here, even if they tried, with any
accuracy. Maybe that's why we're gonna' die. Was that
Joplin, Missouri we left, or Jostlin'? I'm homesick already
for all that porridge and the silver spoons of Boston and
New York City. Oh, Caroline, what are we doing here?


The turnstile was the place in the morning from
which I took the faulty scrimmage, the broken
jabberwocky, the entire lost engine. We survived
ice and snow, holding hands like boll weevils on
a slim piece of land. Fires raged, and the horizon
was sunken, made three-dimensional by waves
of rippling heat. I took my turn at the bucket line,
passing nothing but foam and empty water. The
last I knew, they were still paddling forward in
a raging, reverse current. Over there, to my high
left, above the canal waters, the morning star
fiercely shining. And then, in the evening of
the very same day, high to my right, the new
arc of a slightly befuddled Moon. Black night.
Open lands. Deer and wild animals. Everything
seeking shelter from the cold - the cold of
routine and habit and trite old age. I want
nothing more, when I land, than to land with
you at my side...just to be able to say :
'Is this Eternity yet?'

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Emancipation never stopped me crying -
blood deep over those sodden fields. Men
broken and battered. Crying loudly, about
to die. Emancipation never put a leg back
on a man from whom the cannonball tore
it or refilled a chest perforated by shot.
Every morning that dawned was a torrid
morning of death. No playwright's scansion
could affect these endings : widows and
girlfriends in shriek on muddied ground.
The cobbled mess that was that man - the
one in pieces over there - is now a feed
for carrion chasing us down, eager to
peck as quickly as we die. Emancipation
never stopped the seed from sprouting
in the socket that once was an eye. There,
those white bones, that skull, on the field
so free across that pond. Emancipation
never hid behind a tree, nor did it
ever do anything for me.


I may have coaxed you to walk the plank, I may
have wired your neck and eyes. I might be the
one who listened too hard at what you were
saying - as if something important was to be
heard. Now, my hands themselves are
microphones, and my stemware has no
device. I followed you to the little
cities. I stayed overnight, twice.
This is my personal story : disdain,
despair, distraction, disintegration,
detoxification, dementia. You
can take this trolley wherever
you may. I leave an opening
for you to bow down in, have
a picnic, lay back and nap,
pray, sleep or die in. In all
that you do, I offer you
this space. I am, truly,
yours; (yours, truly).


'Wait while I mail my corpse.
It's only going two towns
over, but I don't want
to drive it there.'

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What is it after all that I had to do?
'You can do this or you can do nothing.'
Oh crazy wizard take me far from here
and move me like a Venice watercraft in
hiding - two paltry sums of music and song
gliding beneath canal bridges and women up
above. I look up to see recognition and all I find
is you : magnificent bile living by wits and guile
the strength of all equations being bent and
broken. 'People stopped talking to me in 1963
and I haven't had a conversation since' :
it was true enough then and it's true enough
now. I figured since people say nothing much
anyway and what mattered little had therefore
no consequence . Here's the catalogue I'd
make if I had to make a catalogue :
two guys standing right near the gate
when the gate blew up, blown to smithereens,
their bodies went flying; three people selling
newspapers by the kiosk in the middle of the
square when two Italian kids come running down
- swiftly - push a man over, and run off just as swiftly
with the cashbox of one - they don't get too far, are
tackled by the crowd, and then are mercilessly pummeled,
nay, beaten to a pulp, by two big gents who had come
rushing over in the melee. Obviously some sort of enforcers.
The money perhaps was their cut? They wrenched the kids
brutally, and smacked them with deadly force. I guess that's
how you remember not to do these things again; four women
walking the cobblestones - most obviously whores down on
their luck - they are each dressed in comic clothing too formal,
too self-important, yet revealing in an old woman sort of way.
They stop for a moment while one adjusts her stockings.
Another lights a cigarette and drags on it from a holder she
has in her fingers. The woman with the stockings is done,
straightens up and, laughing, they all walk away.
Smoke lingers on the square, from where or
which event, I'm not sure I really know.


Face it, it's all innocence, the things we might
have done or missed. That kiss at the stove, the
wandering hand on the backside, that wrinkle
in time where meanings have changed. There's no
Devil in the matter, mixing tapes and rhymes;
rather, it's all instead our own malfeasance and
slant of mind. The simple fact of lust, some
driving sexual divergence between different
portions of the same old world. 'I love you
for how you are not me,' is how we'd see
it phrased in some new age guidebook of
blather and air. But, as much as that is,
it too is probably true enough. What is
this life anyway, except an alternation
between moments in flux? You see
things one way, I see them another.
Aye, there's the crux.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My crazy head broke open,
broke open spilling yoke and
everything spoken and unsaid with it.
Over tables and chairs, high on the
ceiling and over the walls and, kneeling,
I said a prayer for - at the least -
some newer form of continuity.


Doctors treat the world as reality, a system of pumps
and internal levers, the stuff of ties and papers, the
assorted mess of innards and gush. I wish for a
moment we could talk - consciousness has a bearing,
it both wounds and heals, it carries the sublime to
ridiculous ends. Doctors portend an aggression but
they see nothing to lessen. 'Let the system run
itself out, and you'll die. We must interdict this
process, or at least try.' Well, I do suppose, as
interesting a concept as that has its merits.
It is Christmas now in every city I go. That rank
and portly overflow - garbage cans littered with
red and green mess, streetlights adorned with
candles and stars. Nothing makes sense. Those
with their wish lists and shopping bags pounce.
They expunge any grace from their booty;
yapping by hand on photos and phones -
phoneys indeed! I sense the end of everything!
There isn't a doctor alive who can say
I will live forever. All the rest, lest I
can find that one, they can all go
straight to Christmas Hell.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I may have blinked as it went by - the line of
thousands in passing. Forlorn and sorrowful,
elated and joyous, the gay smiles of all those
happy features. And I wouldn't have minded
a thing. At the corner of Wry and Wisteria, the
red stoplight was blinking but no one stopped.
Whatever it signified, that signifier was gone.
I'd wrapped this Winter coat around my head,
and now I was suddenly hot. Wet at the brow,
whistling a tune, yeah man, that was me. From
every angle, there was glass and window, each
with something reflected upon it. Weird and
broken angles, like a steamy lagoon.
I punched the air for effect. Wanting to
blame a President, I realized there wasn't
a one I could find : Jackson and Truman -
all the rest of those mess-head bastards.
I took off after some girl on a bicycle.
She'd looked my way in passing; only
then did I realize again - that old coat
wrapped around my head.


To see the seams. To sense the ending.
Mirabile dictu, to re-write the passage to
better the message. 'Make this stuff more
easy to read' - the guy saying that spoke
like a trucker. I guess he drove 'more faster
than speed!' It's all like that anyway.
I face a monstrosity of jumble : passages
with clues by Will Shortz, written in ink,
not pencil, so I cannot ever change a thing.
I cannot ever change a thing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1217. I HAD MEMORIES (in memoriam: Larry Walker)

(where the newly dead meet
those already long dead)
I had memories of the future - why is that?
I recalled every item in precise detail :
the marmoset and the beaver, those villagers
wearing furs, the axe-man, picking his way across
the frozen river. I was there, and all of them, together.
The texture of the world was old, but the future
looked better than ever. Same place, different
picture. Alexander Hamilton, meet Alex Graham
Bell. Benjamin Franklin, meet Franklin Pierce.
Like textbook greeters at the edge of a crowd,
we cheer them on, they hear us, loud as we
can be. It's like this for you and it's like
this for me. I had memories of the
future, and they came to be.


Savage beast quelling inside me
within me within. Fires burn on
endless lanterns, capricious urges
lend me their guile. Savage beast
dwelling inside you. Oh, let it then
just be. Trust confidence, and all
the fires of God within. Let go.


There shall be rain and wind and snow. There
shall be ice and cold. Just as if the door was
closed, we shall be protected. The stars in
the night reject our sorry openings. Listen up,
there is something else still in the air:
the sound of other times and places.
That was chapter one in my mind's-eye inkling :
warblers sunning themselves on the sailboats
of the air, bright yellow flowers dancing in the
light. I was dreaming again, of apples and other
trees with blossoms. Close by the horizon, I
imagined a setting sun. Foretastes of eternity?
I sat down by a Summer fence to weep and rest.
Overtaken by events, I realized in an instant that -
no matter what - there is but one way to treat
all fellow men. They each call out for love and
what it gives. Woman, child, man and creature.
Together, twirling immensely as one to the sky.


This pitiful, little homemade sun is
enough to get me mad. Phone message
on the mantle piece, stretched-out words
written by some braggart in heat. I've
tried to live like this, around the corner
all my life, yet somehow I've never made
it work. Pitiful, little homemade son.
There's Chinese writing on the window.
Not that I'll ever know what it means to
say, but this sign-guy came by with his
letter-forms and stepladder, and went
right to work. He said it's 'really solid
matter, man,' which I only pretended to
understand. Pitiful, little homemade son.
Light's on in the alley, bright yellow :
pitiful, little homemade sun.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


'By hook or by crook,' she said, and I was
hauled off stage. My mother used that phrase
a lot, and I never knew why. She also often said
something else, like 'I'll bet you 10 to 1 that
won't happen', or whatever; using those '10 to 1'
betting odds often - as if she was a gambler
or an inveterate oddsmaker. Never got to
the bottom of that one. Strange to say.
Nowadays, by contrast, they talk of other
things. Absolute rubbish having become King,
words are said that - as much - don't mean
a thing. 1940's claptrap could probably still
stand today; and I'll bet she learned all
that lingo on the streets of Bayonne.
One day I walked in where she was busy,
and saw what I saw. She was gluing plastic
Jesus's onto plastic crucifixes. 'For the Sodality
fund raiser' she muttered. A sort of catholic
church beanpole-stupidity ladies club, I think.
Filled with all the usual morons - women who'd
rather stand at the sink and pray to Jesus than
go home to fuck or make love. 'Mother Mary,
you who conceived with sinning, I pray let me
sin without conceiving.' That may have been
meant for me.
I turned to her and said, 'you know your Jesus
was a rotten criminal hung on a deadly cross,
ragged as Hell and bloodied to a shitty death?
You know that, right? He sat down, playing cards,
with a bottle of gin and three wise men sitting
across from him. The cattle were braying, the
stars were all lit.' It went on for a while, but
really now I forget all the rest. God bless her
soul, I guess.