30 June 2008

Poem In Which You Are an Android

A multiplicity, you are impossible
to define, even though
we are your makers.
We approach your edges
and trace a shaky outline:
a wide, empty palazzo.
A sparrow, freezing to death.
In the end, we turn back
and look more closely at each other.

Poem In Which You Are the Industrial Revolution

Babies?
Nope.

Sparks?
Oh, sure.

Wheels?
Yes.

Wheels of sparks?
Turning through the night.

The night?
The what?

Goggles?
Ringed by soot, flame,
a bushy beard below.

Rickety catwalks?
Ringed by soot, flame,
in an arch of ash.

Celebrity sex tape?
A line of enormous cauldrons --
an accidental death.

Our level of discourse?
Rhetoric is melted and
poured into the conquerors' mold.

The mold?
The urge to purity.

Stars?
Stars...

...You've heard of these before.

27 June 2008

Poem In Which You Are a Ghost Town

The toucan exists because
you saw one in a book
once. Finish your dinner.
It's dark and getting very cold.

26 June 2008

Poem In Which There Is No Donald Barthelme

At the museum they brought all the art
up from the basement.
They held an explosion behind red velvet curtains.
Really, we demand no such fuss, we said.
Nonsense! they replied,
and to our great astonishment
and slowly mounting applause,
tears, our garlands
breaking apart and blowing away,
with some small, slightly embarrassed
ceremony, they played a baseball game,
then took us all into a hall
entirely full of golden inner ears.

25 June 2008

Poem In Which You Have No Home

Another hang glider disappears into
the densely wooded interior.

The countryside quiets under new snow.
The castle digs its claws into the earth.

You didn't think forever was so long
ago, but already you're being asked

to turn in your keys, to take please
your photos and ferns, here are your

crutches, already we've forgotten
about you and your worried eyes.

24 June 2008

Poem In Which There Is No Whitney Houston

But, really, is there any such thing?
What we need now more than ever
is a motherfucking melisma for the miasma,
a rocking rope bridge in a slinky dress
to help us over the roil and tumble
of the chasm that is literal but also
a metaphor for the shifting shadow-states
of self, the fluorescent flux, the drugs,
the desire to dance with somebody,
to feel the heat with some body, yeah.

23 June 2008

Poem In Which There Are No Oranges

Just yesterday I saw
your social networking website

panhandling for change
by the subway,

a dangerous intelligence
glinting in its eyes,

in a passerby,
your cell phone

bobbing and weaving
into her frontal cortex.

22 June 2008

Poem In Which There Are No Bunnies

The autocrat cries
himself to sleep
like a lawnmower tied
to a flowering maple.

21 June 2008

Disappointment School

The first pilgrims step ashore,
start naming things all over again.
Sometimes it's hard to see the rose
for all the discussion about the rose.
The term papers.
The poems,
the descriptions and histories
reeling out into the darkness.
So, in place of the rose,
along comes a lake.
There's a fish in it,
it swims around a while
before anyone sees it.
Along comes a river
but that catches fire,
and then along come higher premiums.
This goes on
and on
for quite a while
then someone tries getting real drunk,
but that doesn't work,
so someone else tries
getting really really drunk
and that works a little.
Hard to sustain, though.
The seam rips.
The cells divide.
They start shaving bunnies
again, testing chemicals,
the kids head out back
to huff something you've
never even heard of.
The storm blows in three hours early
and there you are, drunk,
so far from home.

20 June 2008

Solid Gold

It was probably a bad idea
to dig the fire pit
so close to the house.
Why we were wearing blindfolds
I don't even know.
But! no use crying
about it now:
we've got problems
like a procession of fire ants
winding over the horizon.
Well, not really.
Remember our tickle fight?
Remember that kitten
you got out of the tree?
It scratched your face up
real good, but once
you were on the ground
it licked all the wounds
and for a second it was like
nothing bad had ever happened.

19 June 2008

Hissy Fit

The paperclip slips
into the electrical socket.
The wagon wheel busts.
The oxen tip into the river.
Flaubert says that love is a spring-time
plant, but also
don't trust nobody but your momma
and even then look at her real good,
says Bo Diddley.
This is quite possibly
the first step toward
total annihilation!
Who would've thought
there'd be so many glass elevators
on the highway
to the danger zone?
Even getting a glass of milk
is like tripping into a pack
of pissed-off dinosaurs
eating each other
as they roar to the tar pits
and don't even
look at these basil plants
as they photosynthesize.
Diasrmingly intimate and magical?
Yeah, right.
Try race-car.
Apocalypse.
Race-carpocalypse.
I love the sensation of wind
whipping through my hair
as we speed to our doom.

18 June 2008

Runneth Over

The sky looks a little
like it has pink eye.

Smeary, sort of,
sticky at the corners.

I don't know about you
but it's the sky

I keep looking to these days
when I really think

we should keep our eyes
trained on our feet more.

The trail steepens,
the pines thin,

and a green lizard
darts over your toe.

How did you even get here?
How are you ever going

to get back? In this thin
atmosphere getting thinner

all the time, it's as if
your hope is a noisy fountain,

a pack of feral corgis
charging toward a cliff.

17 June 2008

What We're Dealing With Here

Thunder rumbles through the funnel
of the sky, the sun
a smeary pink paste.
Something in the dark
moves a little.
You there, what are you going to do
with that big sack of hammers?
You there, I like your red shoes.

Ortolan

16 June 2008

Rat Proof

Hearken to the discourse
of academics and saints
if you like.
I'm interested
in what they have to say too.
We can get together,
get coffee, a cream puff,
and I'll let you know
what I learned
from the orange-haired woman
selling vaccinations
from the back of her van
before she left to catch
her train, and I
to rat proof my home.

15 June 2008

Your Money - A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job

As soon as the latest president stops
fucking the economy
like his own big-ass
personal piggy bank made for fucking,
the next yahoo
comes in the night
with his army of economic sharpshooters,
with experts glowing with esoterica,
with dollar signs
dancing about his head, his eyes
blank as the moon,
old-fashioned NO SALE signs
popping up in ye olde five-and-dime.
Well met and good day, sir!
I bid you a hearty farewell!
You'd think your mattress couldn't get any thinner.
You'd think this wasn't a wreath
made of orange rinds,
cigarette papers,
the few pale strips
of moonlight hanging over the side of the tub.
Me and some friends right we're sitting around drinking beer watching basketball on the tv when Dale pipes up and says you know I don't like the looks of Detroit in the finals and we all tell Dale to shut up because he's such a dumbass I mean a real numbnuts and it would take a hell of a lot to forgive Dave for what he's done which is why he ain't here right now and probably won't ever be back and I can tell Dale sure wishes Dave were back that selfish fucko so we'd all lighten up on him and ha fat chance I say and I kinda like the sound of that so I say so out loud and everyone gets real quiet and I get this funny feeling like maybe I done something wrong but I don't know what and Dale Dale he looks relieved and everyone looks away then someone sighs and suddenly I get this feeling right about endings a break for local news toothpaste animal shelters

13 June 2008

Realer Than Real

After thirteen days of intense negotiations
everyone at the multi-national summit
for the advancement of education
agrees: land mines are bad.
That's before the land mine lobby shows up
with thirteen kinds of caviar.
Now there are sitcoms about land mines,
reality shows about land mines,
news ads, radio jingle spots,
land mines doo wop be da la la yeah!
If our cultural and intellectual vigor
is a really giant pie, the filling
is made of Twizzlers, a cartoon mouse,
and, somewhere way down there, a blueberry.

12 June 2008

Crash Course In Inductive Reasoning

You couldn't see the grindstones
for all the sparks. You'd have
thought you were in the middle
of an exploding star, or Pittsburgh.
Likewise, we didn't know we were goners
till the junk mail stopped trickling in,
till our Facebook accounts dried up.
Now not even the mosquitoes will bite us.
We serve out our days in the dark,
describing to each other all the cartoons
we remember from when we were little.

Because It's Rad, That's Why

My favorite part about this myth
is when the paternal wolf-god
eats up all the rest
of the gods, young and old.
What this says about me,
I don't know/
don't want to know.
What this says about people,
i.e., our evident penchant
for explanatory stories
that include cannibalism
and defilement of all orders
en route to the creation of you
and me I don't want to know
and am helpless
not to learn.
I just puked into my
bucket of popcorn!
This is not part of any myth,
but probably should be.
I just wrote another hit song!
This is part of the myth
of the American Wild West,
the rest is flaxseed.
And later, the home run record.
I just got fed up,
tied the swans to the reeds
and left 'em till tomorrow
just to see how it feels
to have something
parked where I left it.
Like I'm eating my own kids?
Like I'm Wolf Blitzer?
Like I'm fashioning
a new group of people
from sticky unpopped popcorn kernels,
salt and vomit?
The sun is a part of all myths,
as are genitals
in one way or another.
And later, your home will be
overrun by a motorcycle gang on No-Doz,
then you'll be overrun by ants,
but then you'll get to meet the queen.

11 June 2008

Megaphone Manifesto

We are running this marathon
for a better tomorrow!
We are taking a vow of silence
to increase awareness
of suffering and injustice
all over the world!



We are now breaking our vow of silence!
Because it was boring!
We are taking to the streets
in disorganized and largely
ineffectual protest of a number
of different reasons and/or things!
We are misinformed!
So, so terribly misinformed!
We trash our gear on stage every night!
We have lead weights for feet!
We went vegan!
We went back again!
We care nothing for verb tenses!
Consistency is the enemoy!
Correct spelling, too!
We swipe all our ideas!
Enthusiasm counts for a lot!
We are riding a tidal wave
of cough syrup straight into history!
Your children will read about us
and ask if you were there!
You will lie and say you were!
For shame! But know this!
We are stalks of celery
made of bleating meat,
a meteor of gristle
seconds away from splash down
in an ocean of blood and gristle,
impossibly self-involved,
madly in love with you,
seconds away from splash down
into the roiling ocean of us
where we are also the tusked
sea monster breaking apart
the schooner of conformity
even as we are mesmerized by light
hitting the side of a house!

10 June 2008

Today's Weather

A camel with two humps:
one for vodka, one for tonic,

journeying to all
the wedges of lime

you can find in the desert!
That, and Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Miles of barbed wire
snarling over the horizon.

The rest: brackish, masked, a smear,
someone's artificial leg,

iPod.
How dumb.

Presumptive Birthday Party Among the Vengeful Gods

I always thought you'd like this,
I say, handing you a brightly

and badly wrapped package
in which there is a burning city,

Atlanta, probably, but it's hard
to tell since only the residents

are little more than crispy little husks,
and they for sure ain't fucking talking.

09 June 2008

With a Vengeance

The dead didn't know they were dead
and somebody had to tell
the poor fuckers.
How were we supposed to stand
them wandering around all day,
acting like the stock market hadn't crashed,
that Kennedy was fine
(which Kennedy, even?),
that Michael Jackson had
permanently moonwalked
his way into our hearts?
Do you know how hard it can be
to not refer to the Great Depression,
the Dust Bowl, heck,
even the Armenian Genocide,
which was never in our textbooks
to begin with,
once somebody tells you
you're not supposed to talk about it?
Suddenly you want to compare
everything to the Armenian Genocide.
Your dinner.
You want to describe
the movie you went to
as the birth of disco,
dinner as the fall
of the Berlin Wall.
Do you know how hard it can be
living in elided history?
Not a fun job,
and neither is having to kill the dead
all the hell over again.
We drew straws.
I lost.
I sat down with each one in turn.
I did my best to explain everything.
Hot air balloons.
Prozac, Zoloft, Atavan,
Pluto as a planet
and then not again.
I'm bad at explaining things in the first place,
and it nearly killed me
every time, how they each turned
their faces away
when I told them
that the town they loved so well
and could no longer find
was the same town
they were in right now,
that I was what was left.
Like a parrot taught nothing but profanity,
there's throw up in my ear.

That's not the clearest simile, maybe,
but still it hits the right note

for how it is we're doing, off-kilter,
off-balance, the euro eating up the dollar

which will buy you a quarter of a gallon of gas
except not quite, except I don't want the gas.

I'm sick of all the tired conundrums
spinning to a little limp through my head

with regularity like bran-fueled poop routines:
comforting in its way but what drudgery,

fondue forks, ruffles, old coffee, our slowly
encroaching demise, which, if you think about it

for more than a second, isn't interesting in the least.

04 June 2008

There's a likely hiatus in effect as I'm losing reliable internet access after today.
We thought it was a waterfall of lava.
Something about the crackling heat,
I guess, or the strange hissing in our ears,
the way the earth seemed to buckle and heave,
but turns out it was a waterfall of blood.
We thought it was a waterfall of human blood
but our mules turned mean and ran away,
scattering our meager supplies into
the dense undergrowth and tangled vines,
so that was when we knew it was a waterfall
of cursed human blood or cursed rooster blood
was also a possibility we couldn't rule out.
Either way, we were stranded by a waterfall
of blood and you ever try staying dry near
a waterfall? Forget it. Now I'm thinking
that maybe this isn't a waterfall of blood
at all, because what could possibly bleed
so much, so consistently? It's a mystery
I intend to solve, if we ever get out of here.

03 June 2008

Just Try and Stop Us!

We had one serious bitch of a time
cleaning the polluted beach
with only a toothbrush,
our bare hands and our wits.
Fifteen miles of coast?
We earned that paycheck all right,
our case of cheap beer.
That night we slept under
the stars, pretending
the berserk sand mites
were really playful nips
from our long-lost loves.
It was a nice idea, but we knew
we weren't fooling anyone.
When you're with me
even just a peck on the cheek
is like french-kissing a napalm skull.

02 June 2008

The Rite of Spring

Another embassy in fill in the blank
is bombed all to fucking hell,
second-hand tanks crushing first the ramparts
then the topiary and finally the flowerbeds.
I saw it all on free cable!
Uh-oh, the river is doing that thing again
where it foams up all weird
like a throat barfing up some bad pills.
I saw that on TV, too, right before
the secretary of defense came out
to address the reporters,
presumably right after huffing a whole lot of gas.
Today might be a good day to stay inside,
listen to Stravinksy on repeat.
I'm running out of patience,
poise gone out the window a long time ago
but I'm super curious to see
what tar-like substance remains.

Poem Written After Running For the First Time in Almost a Decade

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