Thursday, October 31, 2013


Cap gun ragamuffin Coney Island baby : I remembered
all that from a grade-school primer, the kind they use
today. Every tenth word a regular fucking shit-ass
profanity, cloaked and swaddled in perverse, smooth
intention. 'We don't want no kids growin' up to be babies.'
Yeah, okay, what he said, sure.
I noticed they paved the park. Now they can call it a
parkway. I noticed they put up a big sign which reads
'Park'  -  with an arrow. But it goes nowhere, except just
to a parking deck filled with cars at $29.95, 12 hours.
What the Hell is that to mean? Post-modernism with an edge?
I iced down the furnace right after I heated up the ice shed.
I licked a stamp right after I punched the clock. Egads.


 'You can't play games in Hell, there's just no
room to manuever.'  That's the translated
inscription on this old Papal statue in the 
Vatican Garden  -  at least as this crazy
old man was telling me, in a garbled 
half-Italian, which I only only 
pretended to fully understand.
How far along in this prescient world
does a body have to go before deciding
nothing's worth the fuss and matter?
But if we knew ahead of time all that,
then we wouldn't have to know.
I guess that's so.
Now, instead of playing with a mime,
I'm eating black pizza with olives at a
little stovetop shrine atop some hallway
with a stairway to the harbor  -  little
white boats are floating away on
a quite happy sea of blue.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


And then again I wouldn't have anything without
the knowing of the condition it brings : I once swore
that's how I would live. I wanted but two windows,
both looking out (or was that in?). I wanted one wire 
alone connecting me to anything else; either that or
off the gird completely. Now there's a windmill
as a turbine twirling on the hillside. I wonder each
day how that occurred. Was I asleep?
As the rabbit hops it hopes to find its place :
Spring was nice but isn't this even better? The
loft above the barn is a sleepy place, but rabbits
remain on the ground : distaff, eternal, symbolic.
The trees are coated now, with all the parts of mass
and matter. Rain, like a net, engulfs the grassy way.


(to be so confused)
Cat got your tongue? Mother tied your laces?
My you're looking young; all those lipstick traces.
A fearsome new Mercedes sits running out front : the
engine is already impacted by the scent of its own wealth.
The owners are two miles away; they have a driver for
this little stuff. He will park the car and wait.
While I dine on you. While I think of your presence.
While all those Amelekites I still think of are the ones
who must be killed : this little Bible tells me that.
'Remember ye what Amelek did unto thee by the 
way as ye came forth out of Egypt; how he met thee 
by the way and smote the hindmost of thee...thou
shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under
heaven; thou shalt not forget.' What the hell is this?
Oh Lord, I shall bow down before nothing.
I shall tie your laces to all your faces, and run
off with the evidence of living. Just that alone 
shall be enough to kill. I am now too old
to be so confused.


But only the elite hold these candles of darkness in the light
of the passage : move along, see the light at the end as it
beckons. I do not know what it is  -  once a man said
'it's a train coming at you.' I shudder to think of the truth
of that line. Here, now, look : this mountain has been
cut away, this passage put through. Rail and road,
together, bringing forth people on their ways, to
sometime other things and places.
These Swiss Alps, that's what you say, to me mark nothing
but expense  -  of travel, of lodging, of dining beneath that
two-hundred year old frieze of some naked lady eating grapes.
Whatever were they thinking? Oompah, dance-hall, folkways,
rhythm. In my land they call it the Blues.
But here I am entered in a new game of chance : I have
traveled bereft of my luggage on SwissAir, and landed
in Bern now so lonely. Five things left in my pockets, I
count. My two pens, remaining in my lapel slip, now have
nowhere to write. There is a man, coming towards me with
an Interpol badge. Brushing by me again, he nods. Should I
ask him about anything at all?
The University of Berne, Zentrum, the Federal Palace,
the Historical Museum; what do I care for these things? I
have left behind an identity, yet here can find nothing new.
No cloak to wear, no funny hat, no other meaning. When I
left New York, it was raining. They say it only rains here
ten times a year. I guess I shall be on my way.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I can't stand this room, I can't stay in place.
I am moving fast over very slow space.
Alamogordo, the bomb-test, and all that
glassine sand. I don't understand.
I can't stay in this room, my limbs are too large
for these fittings, and all my buttons have burst.
It always amazes me how men talk : about things less
than wholesome, about killing meats and deer and things.
I've never travelled farther than I can see; I've seen past where 
I was. I cannot fit this circuit any longer. Too large am I.
I cannot stand this room. I cannot stay in place.
I am moving fast over very slow space.

Monday, October 28, 2013


(Life as I know it)
I'm aghast again and more and Jesus H. Christ let
me get this right. Tumblers tumble and comedians
can chuckle, correct? When the audience laughs,
does it mean they've got it? Now where did I park
my car? How far away is the Pacific rim?
Let me follow? You say the pudding was made from
the blood of pigs? You say you left the map on the
car's hood? How then did we get from here to there;
well, I guess I mean there to here? I would shoulder
most any burden for you; but, gotta' run.
Far, far away, in another clime, the little lady was
asking questions of a man in a coat : 'How am I
to stand this, and how much more should I take?
You seem to be making everyone else act just
like you.' I forswear that's really too much.
When I was in Room 419 for those three years of
madness, the guy from the State would come once
a month, asking me the same questions and asking if
I felt ready for release. It was quite a game. I made
stories up, and then requests. I asked for his daughter's
hand in marriage, but then I added 'Not really; it's not
her hand I'm seeking  -  I want the whole entire bunch
of her, Sir!' He marked me down as 'Incipient repeater,
hardened of foibles, incorrigible recluse.' And then he
 added this deadly caveat : 'Contagious.'


All this Halloween junk takes over.
Its toll is three more months of crap  - 
first the one then the other, all these
holidays leave me weak. I'm able to
ignore all things; that my one
saving grace.


Now is the moment of smiling, the light and the
laughter of mirth  -  some happy kid on the
bread wrapper, a monkey with glasses on the
vegetable soup. None of this makes sense,
but wouldn't matter in a court of law.
Nolo contendere there.
My last arm broke the bank, turned my
allegiances into all new grievances. A placebo
in the memory bank remains : the fellow from
 India says his name is 'Bhat'. He invites
me in, but we leave it at that. The
overhead scale weighs nothing itself.
How can that be?

Sunday, October 27, 2013


There didn't seem to have been a marvel in the
emerald city, and even Booth Tarkington was
gone. Early, before dawn anyway, there was
little to do, the two dogs slept, and only a
skeptic could take heart from dark things.
Lights went out along the alley as day returned.
'Lights' went out along the alley as day returned.'
Yes, practicing my lines like that took courage  -
I had my big scene to have learned by heart.
No one allows cue cards on this fearsome
stage. Pictures on the wall showed a
WWI vessel burning at sea; and
that was all.


(lou reed, 1942-2013)
I last saw Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, with some
really tall guy with long, blond hair, at DIA Beacon.
He looked like a rumpled, crusty, little Jewish
old man, Lou Reed did. It was so quaint and beautiful
too, how I realized the passing of time and the days I
was in. So different was it now  -  like a child walking
in sand, with a doll in her arms. Everything was special.


I have that smile
I have that smile within me, grinning :
bursting at its seams, smashing out and
running free. All this life and some grand glee.
Let me introduce the moment - 'this is Grandiosity
and this is Mr. Majesty. Her is Mr. Steadfast and
his child Earnest.  We all know each other well.
I walked the Cumberland Gap with an old
Indian fellow name Milo Two-Feathers.
I noticed he  screamed at birds and
laughed at the sun. An old pin-point
wound was centered on his head : 
'where the white man pointed me',
he smiled. That was all he said.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Much like God hanging on a hook, staring back
to space, into a place unlike any other. I watched
that fearsome tongue -  of light, of fire, of death.
It scared me to no end. Just down the street,
the Newark train station and all those gypsy cabs
waited, beckoning. The FBI Headquarters loomed,
and the Law School as well. A law school in a place
of no law. A man was eating fish from a take-out box.
There are certain places where no variants exist, where
things are just always bad, always rotten. The sheds of
the old rail line, now disposed of, once stood here; bums
and vagrants hanging around, campfires and barrels, with
planks of wood for seating and sleep. It was a quick ride,
from NYC, on a 25 cent PATH. It was something to do.
Back on the other side, on the other hand, History was
still being written. You could live through New York
with a thread of a story; in Newark nothing was worth
anything at all  -  Philip Roth and LeRoi Jones
notwithstanding  -  and even they were
not any longer from there.
A man was eating fish, from a take-out box.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Line up the ogres and shoot the pests. We've got
nothing left to lose. I am standing in the corridors
of power, yet can find nothing here. Every president
has died twice. Look at the cameos on the purple wall.
Virginia rolls into the countryside where people died;
Maryland breaths its last. Every Spotsylvania dinnerplate
is spotless. The horses here are holding their breath.
Power has a palaver of its own. Lamp-lights can be
dimmed so that the lower light of thoughtfulness shines :
'Wake me later', the small man says, standing on a thick
book, retrieving his height, enforcing his fight. All this
toughness yet must be seen, again and again and again.
It was a long time ago when some Pope named Paul, was
it, came to New York  and stayed at the guesthouse of the
Plaza Hotel. 'Holy shit!' he was heard to exclaim, 'this
place is haunted for sure. Look at the cameos on
this purple wall, I swear they are moving again.'


Only North Americans really care about the weather;
the rest of the world couldn't give a shit. All those Fiji
Islanders washed out to sea, you think they even noticed?
Woke up slowly, said 'my hut is gone?', and then realized
where they were. Adrift, oh far and distant atoll, like the
heart that is lost at love, like the spirit which broke all
rules and never left. Anywhere else?  Take your choice
and run with it. Your loss will be my gain?
One time, on 54th Street, I was nearly run down by a truck -
the old sort of occurrence: I didn't look, the driver was busy,
the truck was on the run  -  had it really hit me, I'd be dead.
As it is, it missed, and the driver came out screaming.
'Watch where you're walking, you stupid son of a bitch!'
I screamed back, 'You're sister was my mother, so she
must be the bitch you mention, asshole!'
I love the fun of living to the hilt; all those things with
which to play and things with which to agree : 'you
really do have a nice smile'; 'I feature your kiss on
my list of ten best'; 'the idea behind our acquaintanceship,
I always thought, was pure, unbridled lust  -  but underscored
by the form of love they write about in hymnals.'
You don't understand? Don't ask me 'what's the idea? again.


All that I ever wanted was found, and I never
even had to look : like the serendipitous meeting,
on a street, of Jerry Lewis and Dean, let's say, or
Rodgers and Hart. (Oh those dated references will
get me every time). I just don't care.
The guy who invented the waffle iron had a
very bad complexion. The woman who invented
stockings, I'd bet, was a man. The rogue who
invented line-ups was, for certain, a cop.
That's just the way things go. I just don't care.
There's a waterfall by Lindisfarne; it runs up when
the chips are down. The woman in the mascot jersey,
she weaves spells while she bakes all those muffins.
I don't care. I just don't care.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Do you know me now? I am that rich man,
remember, passing through the camel's eye.
No, no, sorry, I am that rich man passing
through the eye of the needle. I think that
was it. Now I have sundry manifestations
of both doubt and angst. I ate my own ennui.
Drank my bottled stew. Savored every piece
of guilt I found. The girl in the yellow mantilla,
I remembered her name as Maria. She answered
with a smile. Now, some time later, all that's
past is over. I am done. I am finished. Five
years in April Arms Prison was my sentence.
Fifteen hundred men, sitting around mostly,
watching porno on government computers.
What a mess is this, oh what a mess is this.


The overview of Picasso was, 'too much like
Van Gogh'; while the overview of Van Gogh
was 'too much like Ingres or Goya.' You know all
that. Art weasels love their easels, especially when
they've never painted. If I had a dollar for every
time I've ever yawned, I'd be a tired man for sure.


All of this is just a bit off  -  like the bird, singing
out of turn, or missing its retraction of the silence's
own sentence. A water-fountain dryly seeps; the walkway
is wet with its leakings.  A few people pass with grocery
bags  -  they seem as if tied up in a knot, the people do;
yapping and complaining about lines and prices. Who
the devil cares? have you ever seen those places? I
myself, yes, briefly considered exile once, to Chile or
to Madagascar. Neither one seemed quite right, so I
just simply stayed in place. Oh Lord, here I am.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Those old photos of the charming sea demean nothing,
least of all me, standing here with two hands in one
pocket, idly wasting. Outside the light's bright arc,
some shifty boat rocks back and forth in a gray,
dark overtime of anguish. Bored to death with irony.
Lumbering to the dock to seek support. Tethered by rope.
So many things are still tied up : the kids, the wife, the
family and house, the job, and all those matterings of
intended things. While I simply fall down in the midnight
air, this black and white world has taken over all things.
I want to ride the wheelcart nearby right into another
land  -  perplexing myself by nothing, no longer at
war with my invasions of doubt and service. If I
were stronger, I'd fight  -  instead, I'll just linger.
Fade to black. Devoid of color and wash, I
must wash the living stains from off my
face, and make refreshed this life I lead.

4696. DO IT ALL

Pad the circumstance and make
each word count. Wave your hand 
and dither not. Throw it all out; cast
your lot, heave your burden. Make it
certain. Your pissing in the sand is soon
absorbed; can you think anymore of
how we've ruined the world? The willow
shrinks where the yard once was.


Saul Bellow & Delmore Schwartz, 
at Lahiere's, Princeton, NJ, 1952)
It is a hard life, all this waiting for dawn,
sensing what the Moon will evade, seeing 
the two dippers up high, on black, against 
the night sky. All will be what it is.
There are men talking dutifully nearby,
and without any end, it seems  -  they
go on about what they will: streets and
daughters and what their wives last said.
'We have plenty of communication, but
I still want out.' Aha! This jester speaks!
I find, anyway, the Jewish curse in all
this foolish talking, about money and
gain and loss and advantage. To take
such pride in a passing moment, it seems
to me, is foolish, as foolish as Life itself.
Especially as a Jew, with all the things
that are otherwise professed. Pippa 
passes, now atone for the rest.
I am lost instead  -  of no affiliation like
this : still mourning the American loss; of
plains and Indians, of grains and oceans.
To be frank, my little, loose-limbed darling,
there is nothing left and all I've ever learned
is dead. Man has defied his structures and
an atomic belief in atoms is no belief at all.
In sitting with Saul Bellow, there is still a nervousness
left. The grand, old stories  -  all those Jewish ways,
the Montreal beginnings, the guys and goys, from
Lefferts and Chicago, Morningside and Lake Shore
Drive. I haven't held to happenstance myself that long,
and anyway, Delmore Schwartz will never come home.
No, Delmore Schwartz will never come home  -  
having lost his affiliation too.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


The scientists agree the universe has no limits,
that the unending dirge of time will go on indefinitely,
the every cry rings at a Heaven's door. It does seem
like that sometimes. Even here, in the corridors of
a dark Wall Street canyon, there are things to be
seen and done, and others not. Giving names to
all the animals was only the start of things.
We missed our mark most times since then.
There are no branches over these streets,
though these banks have many. That sounds
so bucolic, does it not  -  though I mean trees
and the rivers others may think I mean banks.
So much of this is personal frenzy, and I do like
interior-narrative jokes. Close that new book, wastrel.
You are not made for this declasse brood and you'd
better move on. Everything you call something else
has probably another name altogether.


In the old days, now found wanting, there was
a crush of metal things to do : jack up the barn,
as it was sagging, burn the far fields to savage the
weevil. Erect a corn-shed with local cuttings, plane
and hammer and nail what you had all together.
A few others would help; they - with their wives -
would come over a spend a day or a few: pies and
cakes and soups, while the mud roadway thickened
and the path to the milk house sunk. Thus it was,
always all these things. My son grew up, and then
died in a plowing accident. My daughter too, she 
lost two fingers in the rake. One of them would
have probably held her wedding ring, later, had
she survived for any of those farther days.


As far as I see it,  -  and I'm most usually wrong  - 
you're just wasting time; following your noisy
kid around on his bicycle, learning to ride. Him, yes,
not you, of course. Walking the source of all things,
just hoping for balance. How can you even explain
to that kid what he's about to do or what he's up
against. We walk the razor's blade-edge of circumstance,
ourselves, with any training wheels long gone.
Now I watch too  -  he's lost a shoe. It's in the road.
The sun is up above all heads. Circumstantial evidence,
as it is, and certinly not for 'everyone'  -  this flatulent
globe, I'm told, bends and curves and is a circle, rotating,
pumping its gases, finding its own wheezing balance.
While we kill it? Or do we just try?

Saturday, October 19, 2013


In that old magazine of time I was writing a
note  -  some blank page someone had left me;
describing a feeling, the roaming of an idea,
idle and haphazard. From where I was sitting  - 
on an old museum couch, watching people pass  - 
there was nothing more than the truth in every lost
person's eyes. Each was crying for love and perfection, 
and I really could offer both though I dare not do. Then
the matter ended itself  -  harshly enough as the guy for
the lecture stepped in. He asked me what my matter was,
and I said a game, he smiled back and then asked my name.
'Nothing more wild than that, I suppose.' was what I said to him.
And then I added, 'But you best call me Jim.' By then everyone
else was standing, some even thinking I was him. What a coarse
conundrum I'd started. I let the fellow get started at once.
We were talking some Minimal Art, some Heizer and Smithson
and Reiman and Arp. After a while though, it all gets so tiresome,
so dark, so weary, tendentious and vacant and loud  -  all just like
the art crowd; remember though, in that old magazine
of time I was writing a note.


We are proud and pale  -  with the pallor
of some old vampire movie, remembered by
candlelight. I own up to nothing. Thinking back,
to 47th Street, and all that old 'Silver Factory' stuff,
now just knowing how young and dumb I was.
Like candy in a snuffbox, like a ribbon on a
corpse, the entire idea is different than it should
have been but it was done anyway. I cannot grab
your ankles at the tops of your shoes  -  so please
don't dangle any longer from that ledge for me.
All the blood then rushing to your head : thus the
sensation, thus the sensation you are feeling instead.

Friday, October 18, 2013


So many things now pain me, hurting. This drive
to the finish wants me drunk. This lunge for the end
demands I stay high. There are needle marks in my
calves, just over that alone. And I've never really touched
a drop  -  all these dreams remain my only sustenance.
Here, where I desired, I am under the elms  -  tall trees
are brooding, swooping their arc'd arms downward
upon me : shedding leaves with a compulsion. I am
covered in fallen things. Oh lord, so many fallen things.


He marks off the sheet with his awesome
colored pencil; a reed in a stylus of blood, or
or a dripping tangible in a universe of ether.
Either way, he is the one with the power.
No man taller than the man who reaches high.
'Dear Dr. Gravesman, was it I who did this to
myself, or has it come from someplace else?'
I noticed he did not answer, just scrawled some
more. 'I do not like thee, Doctor, I do not like
thee well. You take my joys and tie them up,
and diagnose them Hell!' Those were my
words, not his. I never did find out what
he'd written on those yellow sheets.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I've really had it with this world, I want some
recognition : Why aren't Senators and Congressmen
rounded up and jailed? Why have been sold down
the blasted river. The blinders are long off, and 
the drunken horses are drowned in the stream. 
I can't take another moment of this. I am 
waiting for someone to scream.
Your self-righteous motherfuckers are in front of
the cameras again; their sickening orange ties and 
flaming dyed hairs, their poutish shit-spouses and
kids, proclaiming the republic for which it stands.
You want your Freedom, asshole? You're going to
have to fight for it. Now. There was a time, long back,
when most people knew they had to fight for it,
not whimper it away. The sword is beautiful,
sometimes, even dripping with blood.
We never have now, not on this new territory anyway :
We will soon have to fight for our freedom!
We will soon have to fight for our freedom!
We will soon have to fight for our freedom!
(Here's what you want, you American son of a bitch).


Horace Walpole walking by. Huntz Hall
and Leo Gorcey too. Algernon Swinburne
is serving dinner  -  when Rossetti's peacocks
learn to fly. Now that it's all been wrapped and
sealed, let us acclaim this modern world.
'Just because we can blow up the world, by
Jiminy, let's do it!' Oh yeah, that sounded like
fun, like Kruschev's shoe banging on a table,
like Dick Nixon's notion of golf in the sand.
The woman in society, subservient to the man;
she calls him a bum, he calls her a whore. Where
can they go when they can't go anymore? 
She's a conveyor for him.
You can call me back in twenty-four, but you
should know I never answer the phone. My father
was the king, my mother was the queen, but they
both stayed at home, alone. (You think Life is
truthful, but it's not. It is logical, but never the truth).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Now the periwinkles have faded, the last blue light
is in the sky, and everything before me is passing quickly.
Overcharged at a movie show  -  bad print, jumping film,
projectionist drunk in his hole. More like the wild west is this
than any Trans-Siberian Railroad ever dreamed up. They've
put the dogs in the cattle cars and now all the best seats have
cattle in them; braying, mooing, lowing bovines. Let the lights
flicker, I don't care any longer. Somehow my Austrian cigarette
is burning from the middle out. I'll pay you in Euros at the border.
I remember Helmut Schmidt when he lived here. I once walked
to the chemist with Ranier Fassbinder too. It was like nothing at
all, except that we were pushing his car  -  Lada, Volga, something
like that. He said he 'knew it only worked on Tuesday, Thursday
and Friday' but that he would take a chance. Nonetheless, it failed. 
So eastern was all that  -  the tired men, the fat girls, 
and Novaya Minsk too.
The young girl from Amsterdam is skating down the stairs, her
iceskates on her ears. She is fast, and does anything for money.
High on the avenue's window, I saw her once, looking down onto
the reddish night. So pleasing, so pleasant, the sight. I forget the
name of the street, but it meant 'Butterfly' or something like that.
I can go home with nothing in my pockets and you in my hands.
Or  -  I suppose  -  I can just as easily go home with my pockets 
full and my hands barren of you. Thomas Wolfe, in America, said, 
'You can't go home again.' I guess I beg to differ; I have
 two distinct ways of going. Or maybe he just meant you 
can only do it once, and not again.