Monday, December 31, 2012


Walking west next
to the canal between the water
bodies of lake union

& puget,
bombed out by a messy
cascadian mist,

I, murmuring, wonder
why moss grows topside
on horizontal branches.

I inquire a kilted
cyclist thrushing by.
Through his beard

he says
wanderlust seeks sun
but a dead body

open-casketed for a wake
dries out a chapel
from inside

& the seeds split.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

no home

In the far-off cool of evergreen forests, no home
for me, my body not born

not far from here, over yellow hills
blasting heat and yellow light
brush-stroking the sky,

no home
for me, my heart not
born here;

My two prostitute mothers
present me to Solomon;
their struggling

saws me in half.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

writer's workshop

God you bores me, gores me
slow, filing us
in your paperwork shuffle. Fix-it
and fix-it again, retaliate
not and filch from every poor
bastard that ever wrote realist
fiction, prose so shopworn
and dull as a spoon. Lacquer
and lacquer again. Lick the cross
of Carver and his "editor"
and then you may begin
to come into your power as
writers. As if power
is something come into as a writer;
but that's a dictator's view.
The screw turning us now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

catfish in the hole

In darkness 
a serenity; no one to holler
me, only the trenchish sea-bottom
of darkness: of the morning that is night,
the 2am singing, soft, sweet
over sycamore leaves. The churchyard
wilted, the county fair a fistful of trash,
the river silt 
swallowed by a catfish in the hole,
his belly yellow-white, ripe thankful
with fat, with flesh, possibly also
screwdrivers, penknives and paper clips, 
edges of an ancient Budweiser can; 
he loves the night, too, and my papa
sets out hooks for him. (Night: hookful 
thing, not hateful.) The night is true
love: no holler of life here 
smoking up the corrugated 
corridors of my brain, no 
encircling black birds, no tripwires,
only darkness, darkness 
without ire, envy or lies: only the truth 
of the moon, shedding light,
the catfish in the hole, 
river cat
sucking river silt.   
All of the first responders are dead
and they sent me to you with these

Help yourself to them before the fire:
the more the teeth, the more
the pull.

I am filling up my chalkboard self with
what else
but more chalk

and more aspartame, because real sugar
is for diabetics
I guess.

Friday, August 17, 2012

recurring dream person problems

You grew a beard in my dream
last night, switched sexes
and declared yourself
as yourself
in a final sense. One hazy
night a month ago you
possessed my lover's body;
becoming her. Blonde hair dyed
black, tan skin
drained fishbelly pale.
What are you doing? I haven't
spoken to you in years and
don't intend to. In my dreams
you're like a man found facedown
in a pile of shit and trash,
enjoying himself. My own face
in the between the burger wrappers
and puss.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Skeletal pentecostal
swaying outside my window, rain-bit and leaf-crushed,
swing your branches like acid stirred into whiskey-punch
and wish the night gone-by
as I wish it gone-by. Moreover, listen
for the moon arriving
star-faded and sad;
send my love, send my love

The outdoors gone mad now--
ratwhiskers twitch and squirrels
torture baby art-birds beneath streetlamps;
raccoons get all the good
trash, rape screechingly each other
atop human unattended houses
in humid, wet weather;
send my love, send my love

Thursday, June 7, 2012

vaguely indiscriminate

We have a country whose primary cultural movers and shakers are focused on fast food and cigarettes, the bad habits. Primary debate reduced to the best smear-campaign or the utterly banal. And here I am smearing with the best of them. Argh. Obesity the great sadness of the first decade of our new millennia, early death, bad choices.

I have a suspicion that this ultimate concern of what goes into the body has replaced our concern with what goes into the mind and heart. Our collective and political concern bears this out; the fact that most graduating high school students can't even afford to go to state-run universities... I think I read that the UW receives a mere 7% of its funding from the state of Washington.

So, let's close our borders. Get those fucking Mexicans back where they belong. Smack down another gay marriage law, cut university spending wherever possible, keep insurance premiums for the very poor just out of reach. Support Israel because Israel... is God's chosen people (I once heard a United States senator say this... he said it outloud.) Yes. This is a good way to run a country.

And those out of control polemics. I feel myself getting sucked into them, and I think I've always hated polemicists (sorry, Hitch, rest in peace, but really, good riddance). Another Youtube clip is going to really help. Especially if I post it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

book burning

sometimes thinking of the tidy
castrati bringing in the sheaves

I wonder, taking S.K.'s impossible

should we stack all the bibles
and burn the dusty pile to the ground

wouldn't there be more blank space
and wider room for sin

so that we may be abound
in gin,

and in the Spirit
wherever them may be found

Thursday, April 26, 2012


The rich-sweet taste of sliced almond
in my mouth, satisfaction or
contentment throwing me a bone.

I could smile away an evening
if you were in my
mouth. Thinking of you now, your blonde

underskin, your brown
epidermis the color
of dirt, of cool earth, I think you are like slow

coffee and several cigarettes
following a meal of beefsteak, fried
potatoes, a perspiring glass of High Life

in hand, my ass in a rocking
chair, grease still in the plate, humidity
plenty hot.

handkerchief sandwich

My poem "Handkerchief Sandwich" can be found in this month's edition of Elimae. Here's a link.

Monday, April 23, 2012

the janitors of existence

My friend says we don't have breakdowns, only
breakthroughs. I think
the operative word here must be
break, something related to the present tense form
of broken. Either way
the breakthrough
is a breaking through
of the bottom.
After all,
the bucket empties
whether you kick it through
or down
doesn't it? Either way, a lot of liquids
to deal with. I think the operative word here must be
mop, with all that you've got to do in life;
I wonder if we are just the janitors
of our existences, mopping
up the excess fluid
or simply
spreading it around, depending
on the nature of the pay.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I climbs the ladder
twisting away from the wall

I cleans the adder, sets him loose
to crawl the bedsheets of the bathroom stall

in daylight broad as the sun
and as deep as the sea

and will continue--to set before him
the things he wants to eat

chicken egg or leaf
marrow yolk or grief

(rat after rat after rat
eat and eat and eat)

if that is all there is for me to know
when seeds don't sprout

and plants don't grow


The processional of pain

in the artifice of your heaving
chest. Your mouth over the porcelain

god, your putrid and


a sick and rejected

of your earnings: a liquid

of decayed
process. I would get you clean

baby, if only I knew how. I did
my best to reach into

your mouth

to pull out the thing
eating out your guts

but lost my hand
in the process.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Gollyjeebers what a pretty fucking day.
Outside, all the fun.
The sun, the lake is making blue,
blue that's as wide and clean
as a white-toothed grin.
In here, in the book cave, all the interminable
think-time proceedeth forth
like a monotonously beated line
--one-two, one-two--
all the introspection that tends to drive poets
of all schools, eras, and times
headfirst through the wall.
It's too sunny to think about
dying but sometimes I wonder
how to think about
anything else.
Go outside.
I want to go out
and smoke cigarettes in the sun
to do the healthiest thing I know how.
Tell my therapist I'm worried

I'm always worried.
Now the days are turning wider
in a more optimistic gyre,
and I wonder how addiction works
waiting on my wife to come home.
To have indulgent
talk with her. Ask her do I only indulge

She understands
my crazy songs
translates for me the wider world
and I play her not to sleep
as the days get wider.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

stillwater, oklahoma

These people are fishes swimming in a sea of heat
drinking it up. Daylight drinks are done well,
or light, not done up. I feel doomed
to follow you there,
dudes. I wish I was with
my lady friend, my sanely friend.
But your hospitality
is mead-hall worthy, and the sway
in the leaves matches it.

I could tell her about this
instead the bottom of these multitudinous glasses
which, if melted,
would cover these dusty tables nicely.

Calling from Stillwater, Oklahoma
where buckles are big and hair is short
and the heat flows
from the great gas spigot in the sky
and I am a dog listening to all the whistles,
where there is more hospitality than I want or need,
liquid hospitality, that is,

and I think about my far gone woman
probably asleep before me,
how I would like blushingly to hold her hand here
and say look darlin how good
they treating me
fighting hard not to feel scared.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Upstrapped by his boots-pulled,
he set about opening coffee chains
and the girl down below
moaned a blue note, a blue note, a blue note.

The great erring pains
of bearing the ugliest goddam baby in the world
tore out his wife's temporal lobe.
Step aside, he said,

gesticulating at her. She stepped.
Her little white gown swayed a little
in the ICU air.
He motioned towards his feet, and she kissed them.

The ocean turned in full defeat,
the denouement undone
or undoing itself until full night comes,
neptune on its back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

snow fragment

The eerie quiet gathering of snow:
innocent infants assembling on branches,
bushes with deciduous leafs, the shoulders of coats
worn by those who walk to work.
The murmuring silent assimilation
each flake, solely its own in the sky
becomes one with the bank by salted roads.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the minimum


Absurdly named, a pesto-pan-tomato-roll
roars past my face

and I am sore, sore afraid: bad news
bears are uh-comin.

Scheduled to work 12 days
in a row, I moan, alone:

I got no angle on the truth
but the truth's got an angle on me.


You tired, you sick, you hungry?
Too bad, you. We in charge

all priapic for money;
we in charge got you where we want you.

We the redneck in the woods
lowering his trousers for a chafing go

at your shivering

Monday, January 9, 2012

afternoon at nielsen's pastries

A five-car pileup of oldsters at the pastry case
ordering snitters, danishes, cinnamon rolls
espressos, kringles, and cake
take their first, second, and final bites slowly;
to them, there's more than enough time
to take your time
even as there is no more time to waste.
The schizophrenic outside
strikes the air
takes a step back
and I wonder
what exactly he's hitting at

and why he hits it
or if he strikes himself
or got struck, himself
one day by a ball thrown
past its intended recipient. 

Did he wear a helmet
after that? Would you? 
Would you waltz, feint, or tarry
at coffee, cards, or tea? 

He smokes, smokes, and yells
mostly at cops. Wherefore 
you go, you go unwillingly,
all of you. I would give him

back his teeth, I think,
set his eyes on the same
traintracks, to smash the money
in the penny.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

ode on fried chicken


Sitting in the Safeway parking lot
munching fried chicken

I hunch my shoulders
and try not to be seen,

savoring each
grease-smeared morsel.

I'm afraid of being spotted
by friends and in-laws,

my wife, colleagues and onlookers,
the foodies of Seattle, Washington.

I don't want to be taken for a heathen
or as a brethren of the fat-folks

whom share my name
and history. Those gun-toting rednecks,

purveyors of big trucks and mysterious chickens,
whom I know and somehow

love. Yet still I know I would rather be here,
here in Seattle, Washington,

where I feel like the proverbial

hunching down and eating fried chicken,
waiting for judgment to come.


Eating animals, parts of animals,
parts from which part of the animal

I cannot tell you, dipped
in batter made from an unknown frozen

delicatessen, in grease that has been frying
for years

because pleasure, pure pleasure
is better than the constant thinking

of how I will die.
I will die someday too soon

I know, and to my death-moon I'll say,
You're early, goddamnit. Until then:

what of the joys that are here:
fried chicken, late nights, peanuts, pizza and beer?

Hunker down, chicken-eater!
Get out that egg beater,

set the skillet to flame on the stove, fry drumsticks
without fear:

the last day comes too soon
no matter what you do.