31 July 2008

Tom Selleck

The lovers disappear into the jungle.
Uh-oh or maybe hooray?
We'll have to wait
until one is changed into a viper
then back again,
till the letter is first lost
but later speeds across
several decades and the sea.
Please hurry.
How slow, the going-by.
By then we may not recall
how sad we were
amongst the strange bird calls.
The smell of popcorn.
How dull to suffer
in the liminal fringes
like a largely forgotten celebrity,
remembered only amongst clucking grandmas,
and even then but hazily.
Stale rock candy, bruised fruit,
a swarm of whirling bees.
We want the lovers to suffer,
of course, to be quartered,
torn, trapped
in a burning stairwell.
Everything must first
be lost or forgotten
like certain cities of the Midwest,
before they are remembered,
re: the new murder capital
of the nation, the birthplace
of a promising star.

30 July 2008

Toward the Construction of a Brave New Taxonomy

A) Build a new totem.
B) Cry out into the wilderness.
C) Consult Jules Verne's Collected Works.
D) Twist your cuff links, if you have them.
E) Consider your reflection, not too closely.
F) How like ghosts we appear.
G) This is your single break for the day.
H) Already it passes.
I) What a worthless test -- let's get drunk or possibly high.
J) Find and consult the current administration's Brain Trust.
K) Purify your water in these trying times.
L) Shadows can now be lit on fire.
M) Love is merely the interaction of different chemicals interacting.
N) Electrons passing through each other's orbits.
O) Cry out: Oh, sweet Penelope! and weep bitterly.
P) This isn't even a real flower.
Q) Watch Bugs Bunny cartoons all afternoon.
R) Dust off your disquisition on pornography.
S) Now you're a presumptive bona fide.
T) Check e-mail in massive black robes.
U) The revolution never sleeps?
V) Baggage claim, baggage claim, baggage claim.
W) The cruel, insular laughter of children.
X) Feats of daring-do.
Y) You're nearly all better.
Z) Take to the sea, never to be heard from again.

29 July 2008

Lights Out

The rabbit pauses on the railroad tracks.
It seems to be listening.
We could be wrong.
It's a matter of degree, mostly.
Blood sloshed through the archway.
We all try to transcend circumstance.
Panic beneath the proscenium.
Or hold onto it as tight as possible.
It's a matter of perspective, kind of.
As though we were undeserving.
Creaking berm.
Once upon a time a train came through town.
The square is laid out.
Sharp relief.
It's full of large black birds.
The rabbit is long gone.
It's as though the canyon's getting larger.
We could be wrong.
As though undeserving.
The dentist goes back for more tools.
Probably you've done something wrong.
Light switches to glare.
Pusillanimous senator goes back for who knows.
Splash of gold.
Probably it's time for savings.
Air conditioners junked in tall weeds.
Pained accord.
Gusting starling through the window.
Feigned concentration.
Birthday in the garden.
Right in front of us.
Tinge of burning leaves.
How could absence increase, we wonder.
The evergreens slowly atomizing.

28 July 2008

The Future Is

A long journey through
many barrooms with funky bathrooms.
Green lights,
bouncy moth.
A knot needing undoing.
The alcohols do their thing.
Reprisals, triage.
Kind of like a dance
but also not.
Considerable fading
interest in foxholes.
Now slurred octagonal bliss.
You swear you used to be able
to break this code,
you knew all the lines
to "The Flea"
but where do our words go?
Nesting with beauty,
who'd thought there be
so many thorns?
Quondam physics professor
turned ukulele expert.
Here comes the serenade.
One particle bumps another,
one note slides into a second,
then a third,
now it's your birthday.
It's impossible to watch
but we try anyway.
Not killing yourself
the best decision, always.
Like a Cadillac half-buried in sand,
I couldn't stand up.
My color was off.
I wasn't very shiny,
not anymore, not given
a remarkable penchant for under-
performance-enhancing drugs,
listless theories
attempting to explain
everything but the shimmer
of light on the water.
Swimming pool full
of booby trapped shimmers.
Look at one thing
you're actually seeing another.
Beautiful black braids
swinging from the park bench,
shadows growing large
over your machinations,
now it's your breath in winter.
Swimming pool full.
For being completely stuck
I did an awfully good job of leaving.

26 July 2008

Barnyard Noises

Ye olde despaire, cometh not
today -- it's
bright morning, and
that cloud --
it looks like the fluffiest bunny

25 July 2008

Come Correct

Go on, brush your shoulders off.
The cardinal alights for a new branch.
It's much like the old one.
The pond deepens.
Turns bluer, greener,
splash of red.
If you're feeling like I'm feeling,
cold and busted but still brand new,
the sun slides down into your chest
like a tabby cat, sleeping.

24 July 2008

Distant Star

I'm taping photos of my other face
to the sides of trees that scoop up light.
I'm taping your other face
to the other side of the fuselage
to help the planes fly faster.
Less fuel, more circling
through a blue scoop of light.
How many faces does a person have, anyway?
Clearly you've never cried in a tub
or just sat for an hour or two
waiting for, ummmmmm, a what'sit.
Someone will find you,
circling through the sky like that,
it's only a matter of time.
This is the part of the day when
the board considers human sacrifice.
We got these really sharp knives,
you know, so let's cut some peeps
and watch revenues increase!
Right before lunch, typically,
but luckily there's burrito break
right around the corner.
Lucky there are election cycles.
Lucky for us most slime isn't too caustic,
and for what does burn we've got
bandages, some cookies and tea.

23 July 2008

Giant Electric Santa Claus

This isn't a cloud of poison gas.
What would make you think that?
It's just one among many.
Singing, each to each?
There's more to us
than the evacuation shelter,
the excavation center,
the mound of shiny red and green
ribbon by the side entrance
to the dollar store.
For how many years now?
O crumbling blue parapet,
fly your banner. Bless us
that we may homer in the ninth.

It's Your Birthday Today

You've never been struck by the moon.
At least, not too hard.
It fills you with these little gadgets.
Fresh-cut grass.
It stuffs the inside of your head
with bunches of decorations,
some broken crayons,
malformed ideas that only get
brighter under the indoor lighting.
Soon you can't see anything much
but the brightly rotating spangle,
but there's this feeling like
for years you've been in the wrong place
surrounded by these grapes and daisies.

21 July 2008

Organ Donor

We spent almost all of October
wandering through the weedy banks,
mud sucking our shoes,
watching out for a snowflake,
deranging under the moon.
A typical month,
the heart turning into a soldier
and then into a mouse
then the mouse grows wings
and starts eating its brethren.
The complex machinery of dream.
Light pours in through the ceiling.
Spiders scatter but the lizards
show up to sun themselves,
flicking tongues over their eyes,
strangers arriving claiming
to be police. I lost my keys
and then I lost my spare keys.
Things get out of hand
but come back again.
Gallon of glue.
Petrified sharks.
People walking around
acting like we're not
made of fuses and fingerprints.
Tick tick tick goes the alarm clock,
the little yellow flower.
No one's speaking your
language but you hear birds.

20 July 2008

Illuminate Yourself

One theory of the self: the cuts of a pig plus someone in the corner saying, possibly to himself, what the hell?

Mobile Above a Bassinet

Bad blood winky face,
bad farm blood rising
on the in black shellac
sheep. Wink!
Panty face besotted,
in cracked cat
plastic bleat,
no use rinky-dink
ablutions here
where winter
longs into the blood
dark candy crunch.

Flyer for a Missing Cat

The candelabra makes
the little girl look

like a cobra on drugs.
What does a cobra

on drugs look like?
Like a bed nailed to a wall.

Cheesecake.
Pop stars.

Steam hissing from
the missing piece

of your chest.
Like anything at all.

19 July 2008

Dispatch from Sunnyville

The rocket nestles in the woods.
Okay, it crashes
but the important thing to realize
is that your duck-billed platypus
is my killer fucking buck shot.
How are you enjoying camp?
Some lessons stick with you
all your life like bubblegum
wedged into your brain --
which pink is which?
Probably we shouldn't eat either,
not anymore, not after the scares.
Some labors are useless only
in retrospect, all that time
spent polishing your vases,
all of which broke the minute
they were in the moving van.
But by the time you got
to your destination,
vases weren't in style.
No one cared about flowers.
People liked leather and spikes,
fresh air for douchebag-losers.
The possum curls around the branch.
Something hangs in the dark
just in front of your eyes,
just beyond your field of vision.

17 July 2008

Squiggle of Smoke

Your head explodes.
No, wait.
Dappled sunlight on falcon wing.
Proof of divinity?
I get the sinking
feeling of not
having learned a thing.
Forever?
Boatload of forever
in the weeds.
Getting fusty
on the go-by
with the frogs.
Ribbit.
You got sold out, man.
The highest bidder really
wasn't all that high.
Now there's an intermission
with mimosas in the lobby.
Someone in funny dress.
There's a tearing
in your brain
and then your pants.
Enjoy cruise ship
nap-time if we
never see each other again.
I hate your shirt.
Always have.
Death rattles
but rattles like
an ice cream truck barely
making it over the next hill.
Chugga-chugga.
Grinding downshift.
Soft song.
Maybe that's
not Death.
Probably it's just
an ice cream truck,
the kind that pays for blood.

16 July 2008

Our Better Moments

Sunlight races through the chute.
Memory is lying to you.

Desire is the projection of self.
It peters out at fifteen meters.

Sadness is also the projection of self.
The sky fills with balls of lint.

It peters out at fifty meters.
Sunlight hits the scree.

The world holds you in its mouth
and memory lies to you still.

15 July 2008

Emergency Room Rumba

Your shadow turns up under the sink
again, next to cleaners sure to bleach
the whole forest for a generation
or two. Environmental snuff
film with enormous profit margins.
That's not blood, it's ketchup.
I wasn't always a bird's shadow
winging off into another shadow,
forest in flux, eave on the verge
of foreclosure, poof! brand new
drilling platform off the coast.
What a funny place for a tangle
of memories, one in which
I find you or someone like you.
Cactus, ice cream cone,
spinach and cheese enchilada.
Paltry gesture, that press
conference confirming the tilt
but what happened to those eight
billion dollars we hear no peep.
We talk about the mess in aisle four
before we go for the mops.
We weren't always slipping
away into slats, corrugations,
winding through the wound
in the bowling alley birthday party.
The cries and crashes of pins ring yet
in our ears and send a jitter
through our thighs. It's not exactly
Keats and his nightingale,
but then again, maybe it is.
Your cough is getting worse.
You thought you couldn't
run any faster but then you did.

13 July 2008

Poem In Which We Make Amends

You are like quicksand,
though I cannot say exactly how.
More of a feeling.
Obviously imprecise.
Clearly linked to
a vague notion of order,
direction, pretty,
pretty lights.
Mounting density
under a thick orange moon,
swaying green vines.
This isn't even my world,
I think, but that doesn't mean
I love it any less.

12 July 2008

Poem In Which You Are a Resident of Dance City

Not a lot of work gets done,
most weekends are long,
but what fun to live here --
there is no crime,
there are no police,
our bureaucracy is small,
good at giving out smiles
and free pencils.
Kisses like rain,
get down on the uh huh.
We don't have much time
for flutes.
The last recorded murder
occurred just outside our ramparts --
something about an apple cart.
Sometimes, when we are quiet,
preparing for bed,
we pause,
quilt in hand, and feel
as though we're forgetting something,
or we have lost something important,
like bits of our alphabet
have been blown into the trees.

11 July 2008

File Under: My Hero

read: anticipation

Poem In Which

Your face is the dark interior
of my inside-out face.
The rebels slip back into the jungle
and a young man adopts a cat.
Hello, my dear -- I'm going now.

10 July 2008

Poem In Which You Are a Stranger

In the city of the future,
everyone's a sword swallower.
Everybody jumps out of wedding cakes
so new kinds of celebratory surprises
are developed, like
tossing small dogs out of windows
or leaving bloody tissues
on peoples' seats.
Happy anniversary.
People wear their despair
as minute ornamentation.
Standard rooms are no longer square,
but most people have forgotten
the word "square,"
but we talk about our feelings a lot.
Bear traps remain the same.
We eat horses.
No one loves you.
Scientists discover six new kinds of joy,
but these are kept locked in a freezer.

09 July 2008

Poem In Which You Are a Paper Flower

Probably you've been wrong
from the very beginning.

It looked good
for a while there,

but, well,
you were a little drunk.

Fancy ties only
get you so far.

This is the new plutocracy.
Or not.

Ask the brave soldiers
of the new world

what lies ahead
and they only laugh.

They have faces like highways.
They have terrible weaponry.

Probably you owe them money.
They have no memory.

There is a lion
in the iris of your eye,

but so?

07 July 2008

Poem In Which You Are a Bear Cub

The rocky beach grows hot
beneath our feet.
The sun sets over the warm sand.
If you were a shark,
probably we'd be concerned
but you are a bear cub.
Cute little guy.
I'm sorry that your mother
is foraging in the dump,
that while your gritty snout
swings from our driftwood bonfire
to the buoys to the stars,
she's in the dumpsters out back
facing stiff competition
from a three-legged dalmatian.

06 July 2008

Poem In Which You Are On Dead Man's Curve

Walls dissolve like flowers in frost.
Great...ummmmmm, now what?
Climb this ladder, it's made of air.
Take this slide of tar.
It will lead you away
from the arms race
between sadness and futility,
which will eventually bankrupt
your ability to see in 3D,
to appreciate how calming
it is to have the blindfold tied.
But you know what?
On second thought,
take this pony --
he has the same name as you,
there's no one out on the roads
right now, and the weather's
not going to get any better.

05 July 2008

Poem In Which There Is Not No No

What tortured arithmetic we must endure!
This here is just the crushing weight
of the superficial, which is to say
nothing yet of irony, post-irony,
post-post-meta-irony --
fucking what? Feelings are turned
inside out and balled together
with intellect like socks
thrown into the centrifuge, rock tumbler,
cheap-ass carnival ride
sending the children screaming.
Like the upside down back side
eyes closed version of pretty
red abstraction on canvas.
Like nightmare creme brulee.
Only the academics swoon over this shit.
The cunning impresario,
the shrewd venture capitalist.
Who's left after that?
The rest of us are out,
ever-dwindling change in our pockets,
dirty faces, dirty sneakers
scuffing the dust, our pronouns
grown self-reflexive and flimsy,
never ever defining our terms,
preferring instead to skim along the scrabble
like a brick, assorted hors d'oeuvres.

04 July 2008

Poem In Which There Is No No

On one hand, an irascible baseball commissioner,
slamming down a telephone.
He watches a bull in a green field.
He examines his cuticles.
A small yellow bird
hops under a weathered board
at the edge of the field.
No one sees this.
Fewer and fewer people
go to see great historical documents
turning slowly to dust under glass.
This is precisely why
they will last forever.
On the other hand, Poland
declining the housing of another nation's missiles
within its borders --
the press room erupts, people rush about
in an endless mill.
Where is the yellow bird now?
The bull is also gone,
the field growing dark.
On still another hand,
we dream of cowboys,
big silver revolvers, bandits
with bandannas covering their faces,
riding horses in great clouds of red dust.
When we die our souls go to the moon.

03 July 2008

Poem In Which No Help Arrives

Your burrito just fell apart -- sad!
Another electrical socket loses its singularity --
what a mess, all those contrails of wires
leaking all over the floor.
Who needs a metaphor?
Shit's fucked up
and sometimes it's just that artless.
Put your despair in fancy pants,
gussy up your language if you like --
it's not scooping that burrito off your lap
or re-wiring your lamp or
bringing your beloved cat back.
It's a one way street, dear,
now get in line and wait your turn.

02 July 2008

Poem In Which You Have No Friends

Is this the new age of unhappiness?
Don't look at it --
it might disappear.
A dark and heavy animal
weaves in the air.
What's that outside the window?
Those are the new neighbors,
polishing their silver,
buffing their ATVs.
Now they're sharpening
various cutting implements.
What are they going to cut?
They must have a lot of money.
They are very attractive,
with good posture.
They are enlightened, sexually.
No one knows what happened
to the old neighbors.
They left dark hand prints
on the fence.
All our old philosophical tracts
grew flimsy --
we stared at effluvia
till they disappeared.
Now people make fun
of the way we talk.
Is this the new time of unhappiness?
What's the difference between
a time and an age, anyway?

Someday we'll know what we need.

01 July 2008

Poem In Which There Is No Foie Gras

Far above the town is a large hall
full of old people we've never seen.
Helicopters whir
where their brains should be.
They shiver in delight
when they stroke velvet
against the grain.
They hate trees.
They hate water.
It's like they've never
heard of balloon animals,
even ones with angry faces.
Oxen are oiled up
and burned on special pyres
built beyond the high walls.
A distant city shimmers.
They hate dirt.
That is, we assume so,
since no one's been there
and we don't really believe
those who say they have,
just as we don't really believe
the story in which
a live shark is carried
into the hall and placed
under an oil painting
of a blue woman with her neck
screwed into an impossible angle.