About Me

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Los Angeles, CA, United States
Hello Friend! Welcome to my poetry blog.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My connection wasn't juiced so I called the company. They were notorious for being difficult but I was determined not to be angry about it all. The first fellow on the other end was apologetic enough, but still tried to sell me the cable package. The second fellow on the other end was cool enough, but still wasn't who I needed. The third guy was a student. I asked if he was a student, and he bristled, I could tell. He asked, then, if I was a student in polite retaliation. All my information was up for grabs, they needed the passcodes, the last name spellings, the last four of the social, the zip. And to disperse this notion that we are just numbers, I asked if he was in new york. I thought maybe he was in Nebraska (like the lady from AT&T, or St. Louis) or what. "I am in the Philippines," he told me true. What time is it there we determined that it was eleven. The only question when I realized it was eleven here as well was, well am I behind or ahead...? 12 hours He said he was from the future this student solved my measly problem, the lights on the modem blinked the right way, the connection was made, I told him. "Gratitude from the past to the future." Hew solved my problem from 8 or 9 thousand miles away. I'm talking to a stranger so far.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What we've lost

and so much was lost with her, the brothers gone to war, and the husband who returned. the last time I saw jesus, I was only months outside the womb, and the tale-tell signs of ignorance were already accruing: cheap television, bill-paying, yearning, yearning for congratulations. so much was lost: the dobermans and chicks, the broken Model T, the notes passed in the hollow space discovered by the 8 or 9-year-old she was, within her favorite tree, the monthly passing, dancing at the station and the untold things. The things she didn't share. and I am like an insurance agent, cataloguing what we've lost, the evidence of which is only incomplete receipts and evanescing bills of sale.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rinsing off the Sand

The me outside my self
tried to enter this flesh,
for a moment in the outdoor shower,
like my mother slipping
cough syrup down
her sick son's throat.
Quick - the metal spoon against the teeth,
the rotten cherry bouquet,
the long burning finish -
There, now it's done.

I didn't see it coming,
soap in my eyes,
but it entered my flesh
in a moment.
The pain of living,
birthing, dying,
my body desperately,
Stop! There is no room at this inn!
Vacancy, yes, but no room
for that kind of miracle.

This island I am on,
if I permit my self
to be some where,
is sacred enough, The Block
in its sound, between the Newport Bridge
and Montauk.
Far enough,
and close enough,
like all the other midway islands
which tend to keep me well.

When something changes here -
a new shop in Old Harbor,
the minister retiring -
the locals say, My God,
What has become of our little town?

The paint flakes into the sea salt air,
the cupolas ricket in winter,
but comes the spring the desk clerks
will divvy out the room keys,
and fill the ledgers with New England names,
and the locals...

I am writing this in order to survive!
These are not abstractions!
MY paint is peeling,
MY structure falters,
not from the wear and tear of use,
but from the perpetual battering of the Atlantic.
MY tent is swept away in the desert storm.
I was the virgin mother turned out
in her dilapidated sandals
(or were they the pumps
with the lipstick corrections?)
,
and I was the child inside her turned away too.
I was the incompetent father,
and Incompetence itself,
and the child born too soon.

Walking the labyrinth here,
halfway down the hill to Sachem Pond,
past the hens on the side of the road,
and the rooster somewhere crowing,
under the admonishing watch
of the lighthouse on the North tip,
tumescent on its rock,
like a boyhood virtue,
the me outside myself says,
Patience. There are no shortcuts
on this path.
And to walk,
to find my feet, I look down.
They are blistered, swollen, stepping still,
but I know that I will cool them
in the surf soon enough.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Getting Fat

Another? Here's the first one.
I take back my shaggy hair -
Oh! it blankets my forehead.
It feels like an old bathmat,
festering in grandma's basement.
I take it back.

Take back your years.
And I take grandma back too -
her pie crust dough
and pancake batter.
And the toys -
so pink and rainbowlicious
that they couldn't stink up
even the attic,
that they had to go to grandma's
green-as-moss, damp-as-fungus
basement.

Trade me: take back your black
ink chasm. Your night abyss.
I am shining light here!
I am a New Yawkah here!
I inherited your inheritance,
and cashed your chips.

OK take the money.
Money is all we're worth.
Buy pot pourri, and hand towels.
I'll stick to the script.

You were my little playfriend.
Could you laugh with me still?
Don't grow so old.
Don't fit the bill.

The stair slats in front of me
are the same ones you had painted.
Mine are rotting underneath
the whitewash, mine are the field stones
in the old house's foundation.
Let it out, Sugar. Let it out...


You Make Me Want to Take on My Years

It's no big deal,
you good, good girl,
you artist in infancy,
the best kind the only.

When we move in,
our home will be one
because you create
like you can't help it.

I trip over my precious words,
as gangbangers shoot the lampposts
and you are wanting everything white,
and greeting stray cats
like old friends.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back at it

I run down to Matador
looking for the trailhead.
I'm dreaming of cliffs,
the rocks jutting up
from the Pacific -
like they did in Capri. Paradise.

But it is a facsimile again.
And back in the barrio, the localbirds
copycat car alarms,
and the neighborhood Tom mews pleading
for love. For love. The least of us
pleading for love.

I am waiting for the inevitable racoon
now, or possum to break the night.
How they survive in this parking lot
I'll never know, and the coyotes are
beyond the beyond.

Should I tie it up?
I haven't written in a while.
The trailhead is not at the beach
(tho this be California). The trailhead
is here in Echo Park,
and on this page,
about to move again.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday

I want my mother
to vote for Obama,
because she deserves
that freedom.

I want my grandmother,
to vote for a Democrat
for the first time in her life.

Imagine you are a Young Person,
in 1960, and JFK
Wins IT. And 3 years later,
his very mind is blown apart,
reduced to fractions, particles,
the unknown flesh
which ties ALL us niggaz
to reality,

and in your unspeakable.
rage.
you.
love...
you love,
in cities like san francisco, you
work - continue,
working (to put food on your family)
y'all, and you'ens TRY, TRY,
you try to remain human,

and time keeps slipping,
and your children, and theirs,
and the storefronts jigsaw in cubicles,
the typewritten tally of the day's receipts
become uniform, crunched
into X's and O's.
They firebomb the rice paddies.
You run a flower shop -
jackknifes into a cor-po-rate en-ti-ty.
Less blossoms than fades,
but you don't mourn it -

You are responsible, responsive,
dutiful, practical, logical -
you have a daughter,
with a name.

You see the numbers rise...

You see the good guys
make enemies, take potshots
and subsidies (rain makers, spillage),
but HOLD, grasping to
that little light of yours.

I want my mother to stand.
I want my barber to stand.
I want the comfortable
to stand, and say,
WE ARE NOT AFRAID
of losing everything we are not
AFRAID of dying we aren't opposed
to our end, or the mocking,
or the underdogging it up Mt.Cavalry
(sweet Jesus) or forcing a smile
at the devil himself.
Who only wanted debauchery.

We have beliefs, and they are ours.
We have wrought them over centuries,
they are sticker-stuck on the steamer trunks from Italy,
etched in the Austrian engine parts,
sewn in the Syrian carpets,
sown in the English garden rows,
wrapped in the china-dolls'
undergarments, lurking in the jungles and bouncing -
like gamma rays -
from the moon and back now,
stellar, radio-active, infrared...

They will not be commodified.
They will not be played against us.
They will not be sketched
by a court room sketch artist
and plastered onto our schoolwalls
like evidence.

You, who would speak of BELIEF
would do well to know our names,
would do well to fasten the boots
of humility, tightly and march with us.

No talk, lest it be humble.
No thought, lest it be honorable.
No law, lest it be painstakingly crafted.
Our policies will be as exquisite
as Faberge eggs on icebergs,
as needlepoint sails,
as diamond-tipped rocket ships
running guns to the better angels,
made to be ridden
by mice wearing clover.

Don't, do not ignore
what your heart is surely screaming.

Do not ignore that which,
by now, must be a terrifying cry
bellowing in your night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For Sam

The way you keep one foot
anchored to the seabed,

but find a way to stretch your neck
above the water's surface

amazed me, amazes me.
So the music comes

like old friends on the telephone,
like places we visited

as children, but never forgot.
I want to run into the street,

and advertise: There are still
Truth-Seekers among us, people!

Keep rocking, and keening,
please. It's important.

Friday, May 30, 2008

For R

Have you ever been
to the place beyond silence

We wear grown-up clothes
and chatter all the while

but have you been to the cellar,
or the attic alone

There was a boy, I remember
How little he spoke

watching always,
he floated on the surface of the day

and at night,
left us for the everywhere.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some Kind of Monastery

I am parking the beamer -
got tickets for parking wrong,
and not seatbelt-wearing
(the jackals, the less-than-nots)-
check the gear, pull the brake,
up the windows and wheels
towards the curb,
and a small voice from someplace
higher says, Hey, Boy!

I'm in front of the building
I think is a church
for Asians, from Asia,
or a refugee place,
or some kind of monastery.

The boy in the window (Hey, Boy!)
is his shirt off waving, says:
That's me Andy!

He is thrilled
to be Andy
in the place on the corner
in Echo Park
waving to me,
and I am Hello, Andy!
waving too now.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back off, I'm sleeping

and I realized,
There is that poem,
where so little happens.

I laid myself down,
and wanting my glasses,
went on a journey
to the bathroom.

I looked all over
and realized, of course,
I'd left them by my bed.

So I didn't get the satisfaction
of looking high and low,
and finally finding it,
but I did get the one

where it was in your own backyard,
click your heels,
all along.

The founding fathers
would have been grateful,
I think as I pull the down comforter
over me,
for this warmth.

But they never lived in LA,
and never lived
the difference between
church and state.

And all the monuments
are crumbling.
I say,

you're lucky to know me,
and Oh, my god if you left me I'd die,

but both are drama, and less.

You should see the things we see,
this blinding light.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sezchuan Delight

And taxes.
These words,
like the made-up numbers,
you enter in forms
come time.

You will see a return,
or owe,
and feel that way.

We used to keep ledgers,
but now enjoy the afternoon's
murmuring 'cross the street,
warm in bed
on a cold day.

Home is here,
in someone's breath,
on the phone line,
the airwaves,
in outerspace.

And we are at home.
Like astronauts,
waiting,
waiting,
launched,
and good luck.
To return
someday, or not
(losses, gains)
but the experience is ours,
is home.

There are four rivers, Szechuan:
Your Life, and This Life,
each flowing either way.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mode I

Wherein wine is like life
(or life is like wine).

She tastes vanilla,
and old photographs;
I, cherry and plum.

Who is lying?
My parents were young.
Once.

Imagine a bungalow
with me
again,
a different housemate.

Here.
Here we are.
Sipping.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Don McLean

Somehow, music.
I was a boy but still at home,
no real muscle yet
or coarseness,
but something inside
pumping

and the den,
which was a living room,
on the Hi Fi,
before we had money
(your money)

playing music.
Your songs,
as a gift

I see now,
how the songs that haunted your own
youth stayed so nutted
and encased
in the you
of you,

I see how when you laid the vinyl
on that amazing turning table
which moved like the world,
and the arm of god came round
with its diamond tip

and scratched mankind
into singing, into being.

You played your songs
on that special thing,
and what you could not feel aloud
you watched for signs of
in your son,
and it was like a gift.

One, you might have later
tried to take away,
or perhaps knew
too well
would be taken anyway

by that same spinning world,
and taloned arm of god,
your father,
his father, the cold machine.

Now I think I know,
what you tried to say to me,

the couch, the carpet,
the old wooden speakers,
a quiet sort of spot
to swallow that brief vial of life,
before
it would all be tested
so relentlessly.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Like a Magnifying Glass

So you gonna stay hidden?
OK, okay, I'll.
I'll.

I will talk anyway,
maybe not so out loud though,
or often,
or honestly.

I want your big bang -
so I can run with it.
So I can make little bangs,
and feed the fish with it.

Are you listening
to my thoughts?
Are you seeing these?

Let's go:
I can't rope a steer,
I can't lasso the moon, George.
I can't shoot the cherry off The Bad's cigarillo.
I can't fly.
I can't boss, or chair,
or le petite prince,
or emcee,
or captain the high school football team,
or rappel like Papa Noel down your chimney

Here's what some:
I can dive off
whatever stable surface
I find has wedged itself between
my feet and the abyss

I can huddle myself into a ball,
like an armadillo,
and play dead

I can stealth, like a cat,
through the junk and moonstuff

Give me a little light,
and I can illuminate this canyon,
and that one

I can look out these eyes,
after these many years,
and see the The Union,
but shimmerings;
not enough to draw him out

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yadda Yadda

This is how it happens.
Somewhere there's a place,
but not here.
It could have worked out if,
so many things.
Too many things.

This magic,
is free anyway.
But I don't mean cheap.
None of it was cheap.

We paid for our pinot,
and for our time.
We drove off in foreign cars,
and let go of it,
clung to it,
we were sloppy,
and neat with it.

I know that I will never be enough.
When you stop looking for more,
let me know.
But I'm not even sure whose fantasy
we're riding.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Open/Closed

The kitchen staff
press palms
and then knuckles.
We are open,
then closed.

Note to my father:
At another point in my life,
I might have had nothing
but everything things to say.

But now, I will straighten my tie
and mention oblivion.
That was your best,
and that was all.
I could not have asked for more.

All this nothingness.
We were open,
then closed

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nevertheless

Everything you've been running from,
but I know this,
is what you're running toward.

Every constellation
you're trying to escape from under,
is where you're headed.

I met a girl from Canada,
and delightfully informed her friends
that I was from New Jersey,
because they all got a kick,
and I don't know why, Marya,
we push away the ones who love us the most.
I don't know why it is
you can feel so all alone,
and so smothered by familiarity.

When I was young,
I crossed the football field
in winter and saw Orion staring down.
Tonight, on Santa Monica,
I see the same three stars
which make up his belt.

There is no escape from oneself,
from the truth-lies,
from the family friends.
I don't know what we're running toward,
but running is saintly nonsense.

I left the ones
who needed me most,
and changed my name,
and changed my city-state,
but they are still in my pockets.
Every mountain I climb,
the dirt from it gathers
in my shoes and socks
like I'm five again,
or twelve,
or twenty-seven.

And the stars
are still
the same.

I have been fleeing a past,
which is coming upon me
nevertheless,
nevertheless.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Seen at Massimo's

A movie star,
well, as darn cute
as ever there was one,
with her famous boyfriend's mother,
sighing into a non-fat.
Smiling a sad, beautiful, gracious, rote smile,
wearing something.

It is overcast, she's wearing a shawl.
Seen at Massimo's: two top agents,
pissing together in the men's room
with the door
slightly ajar.

Seen at Massimo's: Mexicans

The flame kisses another butt
on the 10 east,
with the navigation system
pouting orders
and the beamer making fresh noises.

Seen at Massimo's: me mixing drinks,
me leaving, me reading the menu
and chatting up two
from Sacramento,
or St. Louis.

Massimo himself
is staring down
in black and white
from the ceiling
stirring us in his pot.
The baby is born.
The gnocchi is prepared
with spinach and riccota,
no potato, and that's different,
and that's why we can charge you
what we will.

Someone double-tipped,
someone paid for the missing
bottle of wine.
The smoky sky,
the Reisling chill
of Los Angeles
of Beverly Hills
the busboy running
to put change in your meter,
your last fifty cents
buys you an hour.

Your last fifty cents
buys you an hour to sit.
Your last meal,
was spaghetti di mais
with chicken sausages and veal.
Your last coast
was the east coast.
Your last coat
is worn.
Your last love
was a movie star.
You held her when she was cold.
Your last meeting
was operatic.
She met your mother,
you served them cafe.
Fifty cents
doesn't buy a cup of coffee.
But coffee makes you warm.

You are the grape,
and the winter which tries the grape,
and the hand which picks it,
and the feet which press it,
and the sommelier who serves it,
and the mother's lips which taste from the bottle,
and the girl who watches
bleeding internally,
and the man who clears the plates.
All this costs.
Someone eats pie.
Seen at Massimo's: corkscrews.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Love

The busboys are between
lunch and dinner
talking about women,
how Asian ones are all about money,
and Italian ones are all about sex.
If you have money, then you're set
with the Asians, and if you can fuck,
then you will never lose an Italian girl.

Sicilian men can fuck two or three
thousand women, but not their wives.
American girls like danger.
Be a bad daddy for Americans,
and give Latina women babies.
German girls want your mind alone.


I ask for more information.
They say,
Love is unearned.
Love duplicates
itself and breaks you,
and you are grateful.

You are in a room alone.
You are in a room with your lover,
naked, angry, lit.
You will fuck and fight,
forgetting to remember
the breath in winter,
the unexpected bumps,
and the, Oh, she's got my number.

What does love owe me?
No answers.
You will not deserve them.
Love is undeserved,
don't do, don't ask.

You will still be itching afterwards.
These wounds don't close,
they needs be cauterized.
This rash,

this bleeding will stop
at length, and you will mourn its absence.

You will not die of love,
and that will be the tragedy.
The tragedy will be it didn't kill you.
The tragedy of love is that you live.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Graceful Wah

Who's got it now?
Why sing in the shower
if you're not getting paid?

Why smile, if your teeth are brown?

My father wound is gaping.
I should have known from all the
songs you were obsessed with;
even granddad saw it coming.

All the butts in the ashtray,
canceled dreams, if they came
in tubes of cancer.

And the beer cans,
you know this,
the rocks glasses,
the toilet paper.

Though some people don't like to think
about it.

We're inside.
It seems I have committed a crime,
or some act of fraud,
because no one's around anymore.
I'm the one who left.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I can still write a love poem

We are all, all of us,
trying to be. I believe that.

I remember Samantha
in her lonely apartment,
stingy with the pinot
because she is agoraphobic
and an alcoholic,
talking to her parakeet
in whistles.

Jamie asked me to dance,
and I declined
as I was fielding other offers,
and other silky heads of hair
grooved on my shoulders
as she watched.
I would know the same.

I go back to Nancy knitting in her chair,
routing for the Yankees,
standing up for A-Rod like a spouse
with every woolen loop.

Sue's mouth open,
the kiss of winter,
and now, the dry heat of the angels.

Frank asked me the same question,
and showed me the same goods.

I remember my father's words,
separated from his reckless voice
like yolks.

And my mother's face
when she realized, when she stood,
the broken shells.

That kid who panicked
on the high board, and cracked his noggin,
and it was I who dove in after.

We're trying.
We're trying.

Polly stifling
professional tears.

I remember what they wrote
in my yearbook, I read it from time to time.

Anthony broke the ice,
floated with me downstream on the flows,
and he's married now.

And I remember you,
a you, one version of it,
trying, trying.

I saw souls encumbered with reality,
trying quietly to be, to be.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Never

Never scorches the sidewalk.
Never singes the hairs on our chests.

Never, the last gas station
on the mountain. Never,
a separate entity,
its own,
eternal,
always.

If I saw you,
and entered reality fully,
briefly, if only,
with my six pack of Newcastle,
and punctured your stasis,
or whirlpool,
or shimmering,
then grateful are we
for the realness of life and all.

My darling,
my enemy,
my everything/nothing,
the broken twig
is transplanted -
the splice is to generate
wholly its duplicate,
mothered by earth,
fathered by time,
which is nonsense;
don't worry.

It was your own fault,
not mine.
And their fault,
not ours,
and my fault,
as it goes,
so I'll always be willing,
to shoulder the burden
of living,
while you float,
while you float

on the puppy dog cloud
I have given you,
and I'll puff at it wildly,
perpetually, madly,
incessantly,
driving the whisp of you upward
as I furtively sink
to the core.

Keep smiling.

You will breathe the air.
I will absorb the ore.

We will dig until the bedrock,
and course until the skylight glass,
until my drill bit busts,
and your wax wings melt,
and we are human beings once more.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday is New

I've returned to the twin palms,
and they've been gossiping about me
ever since.

Back to the endless strip,
of taco stands and gas stations,
and hidden marvels
in the hills.

Returned, I have,
with nothing
again, but feathery thoughts,
and enamel wishes.

The hunter has returned,
from his sabbatical/imprisonment
in the city of spires,
to the city of holes.
From the asphalt jungle,
to the tropical wasteland.
From the melting pot,
to the griddle.
From man to woman,
and back again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What If?

What if they told you
the world was following you?

Like a swarm of fruit flies,
and a week-old basket of strawberries;

Like the pope and his cardinals;

Like a film director
and the production assistants.

What if your travels were not travels at all,
but the world rotating to meet you?

Like a carousel turning
to reveal another scene;

Like a paper towel roll,
or a treadmill,
or peek-a-boo.

What if you knew
the power of your hoping?

Would you lie between your sheets?
Would you shout it, and sing it?
Would you wait until tomorrow?
Would you spend another moment engaged
in anything but yearning?

What if your curses came true too,
not in flashes of light,
but in several months?

What if your heroes were ready
to kneel before the new them?

What if all you wanted
was all there was?

How would you sculpt your wishes?

What if heaven was not a place to go,
but a pie to bake?

What if Jesus, and Buddha, and Muhammed said,
"Stop worshipping us from so far away!
Join us here in this soup!"
How much of that poison cup
would you drink? How much of your self
would you give away? How much prophecy
would you fulfill?

What if you knew
that everything you've lost
will turn out in the wash.

What if they told you
you were very important,
and what if what we call the world
was waiting for your word?

Friday, October 12, 2007

For Joshua

We are crying the tears of nations,
Darnella and her white husband.
Men who took women,
and families to which
the setting sun
became the destination
of a generation.
Westward,
westward,
the ramblers flocked.

Westward,
westward,
where San Francisco and Los Angeles
are the drain catches,
festering with riches,
rotting in the glory,
dripping medicinal nectar
on the tongues of beggars.

Your boy, Darnella,
must learn the tongues,
must know his tribes,
and all.

Your boy, is our hope;
he is hope for young men like me,
just learning how wrong our fathers'
fathers' got it in translation.

Bring instead all the warblings,
all the dances,
all the dishes,
all the moonts,
and howies
of the clans,
of the child himself.

Bring them to him,
and in so doing,
bring them to us all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For Billie

My little Jewish grandmother says this:
You cannot unearth a seed,
to make sure it is growing.


We are not related by blood.
She says, You cannot pull apart
the petals of a rose,
and say it's blooming.


She's saying, I love you.
She is saying to me, I am old and know
what it is to blossom.
I can see what you cannot.
She is saying trust me.

She says, These are ripe times.
We are related by underground wellsprings.

Now I'm mad about the bullshit

The whole country smells like it,
different kinds of crap.

Stuck in the teeth
of the ranger at Yellowstone,
smiling at my Jersey plates,
from under his Smoky Bear hat.

Under the fingernails
of midwestern truckers,
speeding up to keep me from passing,
coordinating moving roadblocks with their fat CB's,
smiling at my Jersey plates,
with half & half eyes,
through bearded veils.

Sprinkled like manna over the Badlands
and the alkaline flats.

Like grit in their hair,
and their underwear,
and the shitstank of anyone
saying, This land is mine.

From the corporations,
from the suburbanites,
from the farmers,
from the settlers,
from the natives,
from the pioneers,
from the trappers,
from the nations,
from the cowboys,
from the cavalry,
from the yuppies,
from the hippies,
from the gaurdsmen,
from the tribes,
from the clans,
from the families,
from the men,
from the women,
from the children,
from the elk,
from the bison,
from the foxes,
from the bears,
from the maples,
from the conifers,
from the rivers,
from the glaciers,
from the sand,
from the rock,
from the dust,
from the star dust.
This is not land.
This is not place.

And your jobs
should go to Mexico,
should go to India. That movie
should be shot in Canada.
There is no
should.
These things
will.

These men are not evil.
These men are not good.
Men are.
Men do.
This happened to you;
you happened to it.
She didn't leave you;
you didn't fail.
The way is never blocked;
life finds itself falling everywhere.
Stamp out melancholy, its quiet rage,
unless it's changing,
unless it's growth.

Fly from evolution.
Do not impede the naked children of these lands,
of these cities and farms,
replacing the transmissions
of their tractors or sedans.

Wrap evolution around you
like 30 yards of silk.
Let evolution tickle
every corner of your flesh.
Be growth.
Say to those you love, "Grow!"
Grow as humans, yes,
but grow into humanity itself.
For there will be others down the line,
and we will be the jilted peoples of old,
the taken-advantage-of women,
the starving prospectors of the Donner Pass,
even as we cruise at 80,
and brag about credit card debt.

Even as now we are whistling
at our own reflections
wherever we can find them:
in the stars,
on TV screens,
in her eyes,
in a roll of the dice,
in a bottle,
in a sweet little thang.
Grow into these,
and out of them.
Grow with them,
but not away from yourself.
Grow upward,
but do not sprawl.

The desert weeds are desperate for water.
We are not to spread so thin.

The river can afford to trickle and freeze.
All its efforts will be returned.

We are not weed.
We are not water.
Spew forth your liquid self at intervals,
in measured squirts.
Retain the rest.
Rest, rebuild, replenish.
Engage the process.
Leave all the shit.
Burn it for fuel.
Feed it to the corn.
Then eat the corn.
But don't eat the shit.
Don't put it on someone else's plate
and call it supper,
or how it is.
Because the how of it,
the way,
the it itself,
ain't yours,
or mine,
or anyone's come before,
or anyone's coming.

Grab the earth with your hands.
Do what you will with this.
Teach growth,
and don't call it nothing.




What is authentic then?

If I loved you,
and I did you true,
then was it not the dream?

Santa says that dreams are not real.

And welcome to this side of that fence,
the grass is colorless.

Nothing
anyone
does
is real.
Fuck you.

Dreams are real if you make them so?
Good luck.

The christmas tree,
as soon as I said it,
disappeared.
I would like
very much
to believe in something,
and not be saying,
"Well, you're not really..."

Where, oh, where did my little dreams go?
They left like everyone else.
Time is such a ruthless bitch -
it was fun pretending though, huh?

If there's anything in the world you could do,
and you knew you could not fail...
Um, be a big fucking star?
I guess, rule the world?

I was not the tree.
I saw it.
I was not the fear or pain.
I felt it.
That's who I am.
Hear this voice?
That's who I am.
That's who you are.
This is who you are.
This is who I am.

But it's not real.
Child, what do you know of reality?
This place
was made.
Make it real.
This clay, you, the world,
molded. Mold it.
It is real either way.
Clay is the world.
Clay is real.
Mold it into a person.
The person is real,
an idea
made
of clay,
made real,
as real as possibull.

One Way

I've been writing all this
for years, but not living it.
I've not been living enough,

to say
with words
what I observe
with feeling
as I live it.

The work (!) is not "to write"
or "to do"
but to live,
to be.

To be alive is your work,
though death has been waiting
in the corner since the nursery.

I could be a breadmaker.
That is not who I am.
I could do it as a tile setter.
This is who I am.

This here unknowable life.
Can't with mind, free of that.
Yes, shell-less,
intellelectual-less,
flaw-less in this.

Free to be selfish, callous,
and still be

all those things
I was not allowed to be,
different every moment,
and still...

Looking still like me
at 12 or 43,
and everyone else,
seperate parts
of a whole,
the blurry edges,
the world, the way,
a watercolor.

Their souls, my soul,
one soul fractured
into tiny little shards,
sparkling through
our little bodies.

We are putting back together
this great crystal,
which came shattered in its box,
piece by piece,
heart by heart.
Picking and choosing,
but aware.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My heart is a rubber ball

I put my heart through the heart wash,
got the oil changed, got it inspected.
They said, This, this and this.
And I brought it back to the shop.

I wrapped my heart in wax paper,
pounded it with a rolling pin,
rolled it out into a crust,
and baked it in the oven.
I served it to company.

I tossed my heart into the air with my left hand,
and whacked it with an aluminum bat.
Not bad, I picked the grass off it,
and threw it up again.

I put my heart into storage boxes,
with all my other hearts.
The shredding company took the lot.
New hearts keep coming in the mail.

You didn't break my heart, I did.
And now I know it doesn't.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Almost Home

He's got a little acne,
which looks like splattered blood,
like he's recently shot someone
at close range.

He asks for my license,
insurance card, and registration,
with a rookie moisture in his voice.

I'm calm,

I'm calm,
my seat belt's on,
but there is still that quiver

as I hand the man
my laminated papers,
which say where I live,

and my real height,
and my real name,
and who pays for what.

My rear brake light is out
on the passenger side.

Where am I coming from?
A poetry reading.
From this silence now.

Is there gin on my breath?
Do I seem deliberate?
But there is nothing

with which to compare
ourselves
anymore

nowadays,
and I wasn't speeding, because I saw him
waiting behind that maple.

My mouth blinks,
I am actually taking her into the shop
tomorrow,

so thank you
for pulling me over

tonight.

Just tell them it's the rear brake light
on the passenger side
, he's proud.
And I'm proud of him too.
He's glad it went well.
And I am glad it went well too.

He returns my information

in its little pouch,
and walks back to the drama machine.
I slap the accelerator and peel out

like Steve McQueen, like Jersey,
but actually drift away from the curb
like a retiree in his aluminum canoe would,

shoving off the banks of Spring Lake,
looking for trout,

thinking about my father,
under the hood of his Oldsmobile,
with a flashlight in his mouth,
mumbling, They fuck you
in the ass
because they can.





Sunday, September 23, 2007

NY Giant

My other fantasy
is to suddenly grow
so large
that I am forced to choose my steps
among the miniature buildings
and matchstick bridges.
So mostly I wade in the ocean,
squatting in the harbor,
mounting Lady Liberty at night.
Uncatalogued sea creatures at my flesh!
A soggy bottom, and cold
in the moonglow,
but in an hour's journey
I can catch up with the daylight.

I am sustained by community effort,
uncooked cows by the dozen,
barrels and barrels of wine,
and government cheese.
The only problem
(besides the obvious)
is that I am alone.
People's voices are too small,
and mine too large,
shattering cathedrals when I speak,
and the sounds from below
are like thoughts,
impossible.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rinsing off the sand

The me outside my self
tried to enter this flesh,
for a moment in the outdoor shower,
like my mother slipping
cough syrup down
her sick son's throat.
Quick - the metal spoon against the teeth,
the rotten cherry bouquet,
the long burning finish -
There, now it's done.

I didn't see it coming,
soap in my eyes,
but it entered my flesh
in a moment.
The pain of living,
birthing, dying,
my body desperately,
Stop! There is no room at this inn!
Vacancy, yes, but no room
for that kind of miracle.

This island I am on,
if I permit my self
to be some where,
is sacred enough, The Block
in its sound, between the Newport Bridge
and Montauk.
Far enough,
and close enough,
like all the other midway islands
which tend to keep me well.

When something changes here -
a new shop in Old Harbor,
the minister retiring -
the locals say, My God,
What has become of our little town?

The paint flakes into the sea salt air,
the cupolas ricket in winter,
but comes the spring the desk clerks
will divvy out the room keys,
and fill the ledgers with New England names,
and the locals...

I am writing this in order to survive!
These are not abstractions!
MY paint is peeling,
MY structure falters,
not from the wear and tear of use,
but from the perpetual battering of the Atlantic.
MY tent is swept away in the desert storm.
I was the virgin mother turned out
in her dilapidated sandals
(or were they the pumps
with the lipstick corrections?)
,
and I was the child inside her turned away too.
I was the incompetent father,
and Incompetence itself,
and the child born too soon.

Walking the labyrinth here,
halfway down the hill to Sachem Pond,
past the hens on the side of the road,
and the rooster somewhere crowing,
under the admonishing watch
of the lighthouse on the North tip,
tumescent on its rock,
like a boyhood virtue,
the me outside myself says,
Patience. There are no shortcuts
on this path.
And to walk,
to find my feet, I look down.
They are blistered, swollen, stepping still,
but I know that I will cool them
in the surf soon enough.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jack & Jill

We were climbing to the well again,
and when you faltered, so did I.
Our buckets will remain as empty
as the shoes of the deceased.

Birth and death are both

experienced alone.
We were alone in each other’s arms, skin to skin,
alone inside each other,

as our blue jeans wrangled on the floor.

Though we hurled ourselves from coast to coast,
landing in the other’s room,
and we hurled our different meanings too,
like atom bombs colliding with a fart,
we were alone at the beginning and we will be at the end.

I thought that I might be enough to fill you up,
but I had to climb inside you all the way.
I found myself in the pit of your womb,
cramped and suffocating, but safe, moist, known.

While I in the darkness nursed on your innards,
you in the light went climbing to the well,
thirsty for it, empty still.
The king and queen looked on.
You pulled another joker from the deck,
another hand.

One finger.
Two fingers.
Three fingers.
Four.
No matter how many,
it always takes more.

How many fingers to plug the the hole in the dam,
to keep that nothingness inside from rushing out?

When it broke,
I came too,
a messy rebirth, onto the floor,
with the rumpled clothes,
and hair bands,
and stray coins,
and receipts,
and belts,
and plastic bags,
and socks,
and flakes of oatmeal,
the dust.

Like flood debris, the miscellaneous trappings of this life.
Like a garden,
the fish, the flowers, the deaths and debuts, the blessing of rain, or the curse.

Life is the scraps, the scraps of itself.
It is the empty shoes left in the closet,
the rings, the watches, the tears withheld.

Life is the blessing or curse of rain and nothing else.

Where were the warnings?
When will we be not alone?

The skies open and answer our questions
with nothing more or less
than the familiar, raging, purple hurricane of life and death.
We are always alone, never alone, at the beginning and the end.
And we die a thousand times in one life.
And we live a thousand lives, though we die but once.
And we scramble up the hill and falter –
thousands and thousands of times.

The storm never ceases.
The floods don’t recede.
We are always caught in that downpour.

Yet we climb up the hill, and scramble and break,
bemoaning our empty buckets,
crying for water in the rain.

Meatless

The morning I was born,
my mother smashed the mirrors,
and used my chubby cheeks instead.

The morning I was born,
my father ate my fatter parts:
the buttocks, and the thighs.

He left the brain and heart,
of which he did not know.

Assless, cheekless, I floundered
on the carpet.
Remember that coarse matting

with me please.
I was free to think,
and I was free to bleed.

Could I scratch?
Yes, until they cut your nails.

Could I shimmer and shine?
Yes, until they cut your long, blonde hair.

Could I weep?
Yes, until they locked your eyes.

Thanks god for the Christmas tree,
which distracted them briefly,

at each year's end,
from what was left of me.

Friday, September 7, 2007

More Water

The future came crashing on us like a wave.
I used to say, very early on, our love

was an ocean, spilling and receading.
Mother's breastmilk and turned back.

I had an apartment overlooking
the Brooklyn Bridge, and there,

future, past, and present merged with the traffic.
The caissons, the lives lost in construction,

the wear on its cables, the cars on it now.
Roebling, the man who designed it,

the street I lived near, the limestone blocks,
the gentrification happening, the crumbling to come.

If love is a churning river,
we were two drops falling


on opposite sides of the bridge across.
Neither reaches the ocean first.

Water Sports

Wednesday night I talked
in your sleep,

troubles, tsuris, agita.

Tuesday day had burned us bad,
both. We had iced tea, but it didn't.

I'm sorry I got so free.

It was all that reading, thinking.
I'm sorry I couldn't save you too.

(I still have my whistle and life gaurd shorts.)

Back when Sunday, I was saying,
Girl, paddle your arms!

Wrapping my boy arms around you,
they became rock hard,

the pleasure was mine.
I was saying, Whoa! There is my cock.

Then you wouldn't flap your wings,
and both of us were drowning.

Friday rolled over, and I said,
Well, I'm just a man.

I could not be us both.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I deserved a little something

When I was a very young boy

I did a commercial for toothpaste.

My teeth were clean, not yellow,

and my smile was for real.

My mother took me to Toys 'R' Us,

and bought me a castle in the clouds.

I deserved a little something.


When I was a very young boy,

I saved all my pennies in a Tonka truck.

My mother took me to Dryer’s Sports,

where my father had worked in his teens.

She dumped that dump truck onto the counter.

The kid at the register did not smile.

The aluminum bat was too heavy,

but I deserved a little something.


When I was a very young boy,

my mother got sick and couldn’t move.

Under the blanket but over the sheet,

I stayed with her and was not scared.

We watched Lucy and Desi kiss.

They slept in different beds.

I deserved a little something.


When I was a very young boy,

I slept with a lot of women.

Some of them had some of it

and I deserved my share.


When I was a very young boy,

my mother’s new glasses broke.

I stood on both feet.

My father’s hands.

His yellow teeth.

My mother, with the chianti.

But she did not follow me.

Those two did there thing in the end,

and I slept on the side porch with the wine.

I deserved a little something.

Eddie's Version

When I was born,
I weighed seven pounds.
They passed me around
like a bag of chips.

When I was born, with my penis,
and eyes that cut like new metal,
my mother wanted a brown-eyed girl.
She told me she did.
Her mirror had broke.

Clasping the wooden bars of the crib,
which would later entrap by brother
and sister, I stared into the blackness
of the nursery, the void.

I was the fear out there,
the nothing of that room,
and decided then that, No,
I am not the darkness, just afraid.

I stared into the blackness
between my mother's legs
as she squatted down to pee.
This girl, I knew.
I was not afraid.
My father, where was he?
I said, Yes, that blackness there...
might as well be me.

I drew a penis on a pad
and left it to be found.
My mother showed it to me asking,
"Is this what I think it is?"

No, mother, it is only a finger.

I knew what she thought it was.
I would do the same with less.

When dad came home
he wanted my pennies.
I thought in terms of fairness.
I counted the coins in stacks and said,
No, this money is mine,
(I had already come this far alone)
and you will have to do the same with less.

I went to school and got pissed on.
They tore my football jacket.
They spoke of the itch,
but all I knew was pounding at it
with a balled-up fist.

I was barely a hundred pounds.
They passed me around like a baby.
But I still had those eyes,
and pierced into their puddin' heads.
Those boys, those girls, I knew them.

When I came home,
my father, with his cigarette
and beard, decided to teach me karate.

I knew just where to kick him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Man of the Hole

In the rain forest of Brazil,
they say there lives the Man of the Hole.
Last of his tribe, untouched by the West,
save the bottle caps around his neck,
and the white Adidas shirt
he uses to dress his wounds.

The Man of the Hole is elusive,
but we've see his transient dwellings
assembled where the cassava grows,
and simian meat is plentiful.

In the middle of each hut, he digs a hole.
He hides there when the white men come
with their cameras and gift-axes.

On rare occasions one might catch
a glimpse of the sugary tip of a blow dart
poking through the thatching,
or if one is very fortunate,
his quiet, yellow eyes.

Last night I fixed it
so I could watch myself
as I fell asleep.

First, I saw my small thoughts fizzle
like soda bubbles reaching the surface.
Then, I saw my very soul ascend into the night.
There it was refurbished
by the seamstresses of heaven
as they gossiped about The Way Things Are.
Desire packed his case
and lightly touched the brim of his hat.
Right and Wrong joined hands at last
and set out to find dancing.

As the candle flickered,
and the final shred of self
slipped from my grasp,
I saw in the corner of the empty attic
two eyes reflecting yellow.

They belonged to a dark and living thing,
perhaps with fins,
perhaps with limbs,
but without thoughts,
or soul,
or desire,
or cognizance of right and wrong.

I had seen the Man of the Hole.
I had seen him and in terror,
welcomed night's small death.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Two Women

There have not been enough women,

and the drawing room is all ready

so crowded.


There the plastic fern is toppled over,

and there the hour glass is on its side.

The Sorry! board is on the floor,

and the radio is stuck on Somewhere…


One is dark and one is light.

Both float.

Neither had any use for feet.

One is old and one is young.

They are both so very young.


Two women.

Two women.


One, her cat was hit by a car

and had to amputate its leg.

One, her dog bit my face,

and she still let it sleep in the bed.


Both shrivel when the rain comes,

but drink fully of the sunny days.

These lovely women,

who crowd my drawing room,

and knock over the antiques.

These lovely women,

who I continue to visit,

with my tea service and peppermint.

These lovely women,

dissipating by the hour,

into dusty suggestions of potential,

and knocking over what they can

on their way into oblivion.

Today's Coffee

I tricked Dick Nixon into copping to it.
I gave him a handkerchief.
Then I was Chief of the Handkers,
which has a lot of perks.

Little known:
Perks is short for Perquisites.
And that's why I'm a poet,
and you are a bank teller.
You count scraps of paper,
and I mumble to myself.

If I was an actor, they'd pay me to fart,
which is preferable to cutting up pigs,
or humping a Xerox machine
(those sexy beasts though!)

And Trish Nixon, well, she removed her wig once,
and that is all it took:
You can buy 10 for a dollar
in the wholesale district
and put them on

whatever little politica prances
into the bar, or arcade, or the party,
and gives you that Need Eye beacon -

- like a fake airstrip,
constructed out of lights and mirrors,
so in the nighttime, the Germans don't bomb the real one,
our boys, our planes, our watchtowers.

I remembered this when I dated a girl
who said I looked like a Kennedy.
I knew then I was fucked.

Dear Girl,

Moo Moo.

That's about as much sense
as I can muster.

Member when? Member when?

Oh, those mem'ries keep us cozy.

How's the weather in your ass?
I miss the warm breezes.

Tu tu. Tu tu.

That's precisely what I think of you.

Manchild

I am so young in love,
and a part of me will always be
a virgin, and I know which part.

Our first time, when you pulled
me inside you, I thought
you would yank it off.

My penis became a stalk of sugarcane,
to satiate the mantis in us
for a night - twice that night,
for you were not averse to double take.

And the produce - the crop of me - was gone.

Because when you cannot see a thing,
like your mother's face behind her hands,
or some other peek a boo,
that means it isn't there.

Nowadays, all I see
is the little old man weeping
when I drop my drawers to pee.

The Line

Here's the line:
The line is between making choices,
and making the right choices.
If you only make choices
without waiting to figure out
which ones are the right ones,
then you're fucked.
And if you spend too long deciding,
which choices are the right ones,
then you're fucked too.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae, I hate when you call.
It's never quite what I want,

and when you ask what that is,
I never have an answer fit for words.

You called to say my loans were due,
and that we hadn't spoken in a while,

and you didn't know where I was,
as if I had been next to you,

when you fell asleep, and gone
when you woke up. But I have been in the city,

on the other end of the line,
since you dropped me off at NYU.

I swear all that I wanted
was a little less complexity.
I swear I would have made do
with a Hey, How are you? which,
Mother, to you was everything.

Are You Jewish?

An older man came into the restaurant,
saying I looked like a young man

he knew named Howie. He said the hair
was a dead match, which was funny to me

because hair is the most mutable thing
(I had mine highlighted a week ago).

And the old man asked if I was Jewish, and I lied
and said a quarter, which is not quite true.

What else? Well, Italian - I was raised
mostly Catholic, Jesus could kill you - and WASP,

from the Mayflower days with their yams,
and also Syrian, dyers of wool, camel jockeys.

How did those four people get together?
I know! And why?

He said the Jewish part was the best.
I knew you were Jewish, he said.

I agreed and changed my name again.

Still

The core of you,
the dregs,
the body of you.

We spoke on the phone,
the final first time,
saying as little and as much.

You are like my mother,
who I also could not have.

We held hands under the blanket.
I was not allowed beneath the sheet.
But that was not enough,
of a barrier.

We crossed the line,
you and me.
Or rather,
me alone.
You did not draw lines,
only blood.

No holy water.
Only wine.
And I still want the dregs.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Someone Else's Place

It's four in the morning.
I'm losing my footing,
but wanting your core,
and your eye boogers,
cervix,
pulse.

The needle pricks,
the metallic air
coursing around the room
like a lottery.

And you,
unlatched,
unhooked,
zen.

Churning Zen,
which I don't think is.

Is zen an ocean or a lake?

I am the cables which hold the Brooklyn Bridge up,
the fingernails clawing the rot of the pond dock.

As if something lived there,
as if someone needed
my watchtower lamp,
by which to sail,
my call of the hour.

The families of fishmongers
all sit to pudding,
while I, in the crow's nest,
on the cold metal table,
am scrambling for footing...

Would that I had fins.
Would that I had wings.

You. With your photos,
of Things That Happened To You -
a very nice thing to have been said,
a very nice thing to have been done,
you were six vestal virgins,
maligning the seventh.

You. And your lovers,
all pixel and light.
Not the boy-guts they've punched at,
or man-hands they've shaken,
but the photograph paper
you print them all out on.

Now what can you give me?
Your tin can of moonlight?
Your dragonfly whispers?
Your leaning-on-God's-wall diplomacy?

I revert to you, contact you,
dial your SideKick,
slip into the skin of it,
to remind myself
that the questions they asked me as a child
are the same...

I went to the doctor's
and opened my mouth,
and opened my anus,
and accepted all probing of body and mind.

I held my mother's hand on the paper,

let them know me,
and take my breath,
and take their answers.
And I wonder what was left,
with only my blood and no breathing?

A me?
An I?
Who's asking?

You, my pretend friend, are your own answer.

Good 4 U

I sometimes toss my questions out to sea.