Monday, April 25, 2011


And what if I were rip out your vertebrae
bone by bone

as if taking brick by brick
out of a government barracks-building,

could you give your ribs to the work
of holding you up? (Shorter, now, oh bloody flesh,

the epidermic, the thrice
swallowed cortisone. Now injection.)

And what if you didn't need that spine?
My spine spills the ability to kneel. To kneel

is to need, where the infinitive is more than
apropos of the wet snow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

to you who know

To all our gone-down suns
we sing, to the waxed moons
and the spring that bloomed beneath us;
the noose that hung from our wind-chimes,
bottles on the bear rug in the basement.
Eight bodies on that rug,
too tired for the most part to fuck,
but we touched. We touched. Such a wonder.
I ask God now what we wanted and
what we got. We bought
happiness and sang it and stayed,
and began to leave, to Spokane,
to the bars of Ballard, the cathedrals of England,
to unknown far off sad Topeka,
and we sought what? What sought us?
Did God save us, those days,
from ourselves or each other, when
the devil brought his own liquor:
the holy veil torn up in a Biblical blunder,
a Messiah come in vein with a bang.
We sang?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



The times I have most considered murder:
or rather, the time this evening:
When two girls who've not lost their cherries
speak with lilts of voice,
talk loudly in the library about the U.N.
as if it were a nice GAP location or
possibly even a Hollister; all this
whilst I try to calculate simple interest,
compound interest, or anything else
like Eulirization, the paths of Hamiltonians;
yes, that is when I grip my pencil tightly
as if it were a knife, and consider
the lives of these two bitches:
consider, grip, and shove the pencil
deep into the folds of my book,
pick up my bag and go to the other end
of the library, still an innocent man.


And I think of you, dear reader,
reading where I wrote "pencil"
and inserting "penis"; and I will say this,
which you probably won't think fair,
but I don't care much for you, either. so
Fuck off! Be quiet! It's a library for God's sake,
and I'm not a fan of Freud or Oedipus.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


"I may be vile, but you must not be."

- Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, trans. by Pevear & Volokhonsky

Saturday, April 16, 2011


American Soldiers die on;
you who for the common good go on dying
for the whole world, like Christ on the cross.
And you get your own bleached-bone crosses,
you boys and girls, who, armed,
seldom are unharmed in the crossing
from Hell to home.

Alone you came into this world,
alone you go. Baghdad, Fallujah,
a surge of dead burkas
washing up on yellow, sandy city shores:
they sang to some of you--

the burkas, the tunics, the animals.
Back home they made it a circus,
the whole war, and the sands of Iwo Jima
these weren't: these sands not Normandy,
not Omaha: the Nazis few and far
between instead of thick and thicker
on the dunes. Here every shepherd's flock
is a terrorist; Christ, Christ, Christ.
The sands of Japan suffered, too,
die on. You listen because you must listen,
ordered by Barnham and sons and
even his rivals, the lesser evils
too old to shoot a rifle.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

other things that don't exist

With a handful of mahogany-painted
peonies betwixt my fingers
I got between things.
People and places in Ohio got buried
under New Yorkers with large forks
and large spoons.
Shovels got drowned in graves;
it eases the pain of process.
Everyone everywhere required latt├ęs
and one woman, a a very wet cappuccino.
When drinks are wet there is no foam.
Hers was dark and brown.
Foam don't exist now, nor Farmer Bob,
don't forget him, he who flowering now
a lot of the time. Away
his grandchildren went computering,
pornogrifying fire hydrants
without need of spectacles. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


They kick the soccer ball inches past my noggin. It's just a matter of time now: some hairy hipster will kick the ball and it will kerrang off some other smaller hipster's knee and then it will smash into my face, break my glasses, et al. No I should not have put my flower-plated couch out on the turf. You said we needed to take things out for a bit, I said no, you said we could plug in the TV, I said fine, will there be internet? no, no of course not, it wouldn't be roughing it if it were a coffee shop and the public soccer field ain't no coffee shop is it? No need to be rude, I said, I just want google, then--google is my dog, was my dog even before that other google, the one who wrote those novels. The ball whizzes by, and you're gone to get some wine: wine, out here, is a luxury. Ooh children, look at me. I've got hydrangeas for windows.

(This prose poem inspired by the art of Erin Shafkind.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

winter poem

The sound of elms, of oaks
rustling the molecules leaves
them for austere firs and pines.

The soaking brine of Pacific winter air
sifts over the bumps on my shoulders,
the blackheads on my nose,
the skin on my scrotum
shriveled tight and old.

In the cold there's a humanness to winter
that puts the aching in my knees,
the late February fade, the eldest child
being young right up to the end

of March, when April rolls
open the tomb: light
you never make it to,
never see. Just weep for it.
Wet city benches,
bare branches, shivering
in the thinner air.

Monday, April 4, 2011

with deep respect

J.B. says near in his last breath
that he does not think he will sing anymore
just now;
not ever

And his last song comes
just after, the last umbilical chord severed:
but I am a young man
and I want (most) to sing or to stand;

want that postpartum hands will say of me when I have reversed
placenta and kelly clamps
that him who sang!, who sang, sings
even now when singing no more he can;

that I was in him somewhere below the guts, the happy man
who in the deep ruts of his despair is no more
in the lemonade or the lemons
but rather,

in the roots of the lemon tree.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


When your socks are filled with glass
When your eyes are balls of flame
investigate the nature of your shoes: