We all float down
here, unfeathered &
fettered against
this patch of blackened
velvet.  Another year & we can
all just pay the rent.  Every
body needs new shoes,
even us nuggets denuded
under glass.  Across
the girdle of the heavens
float our dark twins
like the death that never happened,
imprudently crossing
the parkway while reading
hurry, hurry yeah 
your love is tangled
here with the rest of us
ravens in a rat king
of proclivity, on tenterhooks,
trying to escape the frame.
Not even a dream ecapes
our muddle on the cooling
table.  Sleep now
& let the others drag
your living weight along.


In the white space
of absence waiting, a god

of black ink
at the crossroads

with strings attached
to cardinal points;

the space within
an atom's shadow

in the winking fusion
all souls

know the name.
Thread the eye

of the storm with
the negative

charge of space
extrasolar intraveinous

vanity.  Hangman,
I think we've

met before
but now your clavicle

has fallen at
its crest.  Creeping

at the periphery,
more disheveled

than ever, I've chosen
the axis less traveled

& it's made no
difference whatsoever.

Aligata II

after Caitlin McCormack

A slurry of words to glue
two soft skulls
onto a single fragile
frame: what's
strung might make one
look away & what's left
isn't right
in the head, an angle
at loose ends
until a flash fuses you
to your own
negation: the gate is
open & you dangle
tendrils, yoking
to the other
in an embrace
both final & integral.
It's there looking back
at you like an angry mirror.
Binary lotus unfolding
like history in the dark;
mycelium at the beginning
of a thought.

Lost Blue Eye

An affliction of perspective
      ambivalent orchestra
of vectors happens to gaze
      out upon a heap of barely
acknowledged particulars
      like a fancy view hiding
in plain sight on the planes
      for me with a satchel
of sand & glass & caressing
      hands slathered in wasabi
so be careful what you wish for
      when wishes are holes
in the visage for weeping
      a shower of tears like literally
a shower blasting that look
     off your face like it was
an early death or a carefully
     orchestrated controversy
calibrated to further inflame
     these days of strange odors
seeping from pores & from cracks
     in the floor beneath your
feet bloodied to stumps from
     so much humping toward
the horizon you can see so clearly
     & yet shifts with each stumbling
step until all that's left is space
     for a lone soul's sojourn
across the firmament as his capsule
     implodes & his chute deploys
two seconds too late to save him.

Circus Performers

I have always wanted
to put on a show.  I have

wanted to know
whose views are those
when I run

my diagnostics.  I can
put on my red
shoes, but

I won't dance
unless there's bread,

a decent dry cleaner
within walking distance
& a garrison

of guards to touch
my cheek
before they seize my

phone & leave me
in a one-horse town

whose horse is
gravely ill. 
We rolled

seven good execs
for this livery,
which adds an air

of respectability
to the proceedings.
Even the Frog Boy

looks stunning
as he mounts
his tiny bicycle.

All the world's
a stage
but the next

world is a circus.
Send in the clowns.
It's time to die.


Go where
the ship of the city
will bring you.
Flickering shadows
among the filthy
planes; shining
monks lurk in
moments like book
covers.   Ochre ends
a foundling must roll
with the garbage
like a trusty skull
in the shadow of the towering
crenellated tower; no
windows but in
things flat as paper.
We are all angling for some-
where better to fold:
there's rapture
to be had at the periphery,
just outside of where
once their gods broke open
into right-
angled, blinding light.


I'm buttoned up
but with my fancy socks,
I mean.  It's
one of those days where
you take tea
beneath the clothesline
& watch the
circus roll into town one
at a time.  I'm not so sure
if this
chain-link fence keeps
the crowd
out or traps us in here
with you
fools, the restless rabble,
the peons
in the pit hoping for another
                       fart joke
that I'll indulge with an anecdote
about a finger
pulled by the strong man
who becomes a
frog.  Or there's a log,
a fog that finds us wanting.
We like tiny cat feet
& cannot lie except about
the tontine.
                 He looks demure
now but you should have
seen him beneath the blazing
tree, ridden by ancestors, foaming
at the mouth like a juvenile
experimental volcano.
   We smile
as you capture our souls
because we have no souls
nor cares nor beliefs.
Nothing can change a man
who is marked
by chaos; the dead shall die
& the living shall eat
a small meal between
lunch & dinner.

Untitled (Rayograph)

The trouble's not finding
the key in the dark
but rather where's the lock?

The midnight library
is a whisper of pages;
a hand reaches

a revenant
towards the misty forms
the braided ghosts

that never rose up
from their pages;
you try spending eternity

all alone in a book
that you wrote.
Enlarger flash pompeiis

it all for posterity.  When I
say cheese,  I mean
we all stand alone: the cloak,

the naked bone.  What stirs
among the stacks
is nothing but memory.

I wish this weren't so.
Were that we
solid, raw

& bloody rather than
has-been vapors

& exposed.

Big Variety with Musician and Dancer

We all need
the human touch, but
in its absence we
turn to other,

purer pursuits : we have all
been sawed in
half by the doomed urge
toward love.  We

talk to strangers &
blow smoke, open
our robes
in hopes of something

other than a distorted
mirror image
of our own shrunken
desires.  She

donned her cloak of
feathers &
kicked way over my
head, not the first

but certainly
the most recent muse
to stand smug
& isolated just off the

beaten track. Nightshade
could be said to be
medicinal when one can
only fan the flames

that creep toward
the shadowy audience.
The hidden band
plays something jaunty

from the wings
while the nightingale
sings; he's only holding
his breath or so

they say. This is
the luxury of falling apart
in public: Nobody
knows it's not

just a spectacle.

Night over the City

Resplendent cloudforms swarm the moon,
while lonely rooms light up
with the night's fun:
drinking alone
reading strange books
waiting for the war.

All good folks are in bed
the bare branches
make their cursive
over the still streets;
buildings reflect sober
light & the ionosphere
dribbles speeches,

O Otto the many colors
of grey are broken
open by the white of angels
flayed & falling
upon our silent streets.  There is
a bell tower also silent:
no need to sound
an alarm before the bombs
are here.  Let them sleep,
Otto, until their shifts begin
& the factories & the cubicles,
classrooms, & charcuteries
all ring with the freedom to be birthed,
to toil, to be cast aside & put
to rest beside the monolith
on the outskirts, a landmark we've
visited but seldom spoken of before.

Wild Men

My war, my friend,
is with this life I’ve withstood
by not standing at all
but rather squatting
in the middle of this minefield.  No light
is cordial light &
every face is Vesuvian
fire.  When I last got
loaded, I saw Lucifer
down by the river.  Wrapping
me tenderly in barbed
wire & tilting his Molotov
cocktail to my lips, he whispered, "Lonely
people burn like magnesium
flares in the lap 
of the lake."  The marching men 
will come like autumn 
so long as there's anything 
to be divvied up.  

Alp Path after a Thunderstorm

Le'ts take a walk to the precipice
& try not to think of the perverse
imp who beckons to the ensanguined

Not a soul-
mate but a Brocken specter
against the serrated pink
clouds.  The garish flowers
laugh & the log houses are stocked
with supplies enough
to last until it all blows over
the snaggle-tooth range,
as permanent as pipesmoke.

A backpack full of tobacco
& Magic cards, a lunchpail brimming
with Serbians' bile.  Bring me
the heavy chains so we
might bind the preacher man:

this is our life now
as we deteriorate further in
both body & mind.  We walk
not so much toward death
as to a place of rest,
a deep breath drawn against
the wooden fence, a fine repast
made up of kidney beans
& Chianti.  Heaven holds
its book of sorrows,
but our bones know
they'll shift the ground until
we've puffed our last
& blown the Lord's
house down.


A gauze

a sideways

aver                    a venus

I mean
there's fur &

filigree               I agree
to be

I find                  the cold

I grow bolder

when nobody notices
my many

I rush to barricade

I beg
to be                  in the bass

saxophone; a cerulean

the warm cadre
in the backroom

mirrors the gloom

put on your red shoes
& tremble

like a flower or
delirium tremens

wholesome thugs
trade this                  for a spear

& a jawbone                  &
the band still

played on                  until their turn
against the wall

Still Life with Three Skulls

I wish I had a card heart,
strawberry-red & molting;

But I am
inverted & blackened: who wants
to be the ace of spades?
Three friends who cannot engage
      the brown spirits:
speak evil, see evil, look
to the stars for a sense of perspective.
      Candle svelte like a V2,
a thing like a tongue, backlit
fishnet cathedral glass.
       Everything's in the cards
if the cards are marked & there's
a sodden old handkerchief tucked
     up your sleeve.  Perspective
gets distorted when you're yucking
it up with the boys.  O to be
a joker instead of the suicide
king, always plunging
     the saber deeper when
all you wanted was to
what itched
you & carve your name
          into the table
before getting lost toward the bottom
of that unlocked dresser drawer.

Children, Tonight I'll Pick Something Out

Even the sparrow bleeds perfume
in spring.  A man sprays
fire when all he gets
is a kiss.  Skinny
or fat, they
are all sad when they eat
sandwiches.  They whine
when they bend & their backs
are already sore.  Rich
or poor, their lungs
are filled with fluid from
choking on their
woes.  The old man fixes
his gaze on the beeping 
sparrows in there trees;
Marlene suffer all the fools
who write you on the wall
of the specimen room 
where one bright thing begins;
forgive me please, 
diamonkey, pierce through
writer man.  Don't go away
heart broken, go away 
white & strut for 
the troops, the troops
& their sinister context.
Our tears flow 
after the recount, O Marlene
suffer everyone waiting 
in the wings to try to haul 
that angel to the roof
with bloody ropes;
dead hand will change 
the plot to pluck the sepals
of the daisy down to the 
ghastly yellow mouth. Love me 
not, you sad-eyed pearl. 

Lonely House

Met death on the stairs;
the rooms like moods.

Stars are alone; viewed
from the outside the Dyson sphere

of my dolor is
pistacchio green.

The austere chrome
faces stare into posterity.

Sometimes I forget
everyone who's dead.

Ring around the sun
pocket full of

dynamite, candy dots
on ribbons of parchment

dumb brail that trails,
sebaceous, over the cracks

that break the backs
of lovers & Romantic doubles,

a farce of lost phone
chargers & a hopscotch court

for sorrow, for
mirth, for weddings & the birth

of a thousand tomorrows.  There's
a vacuum where heaven

might've been
if only the opera hadn't taken so long

to get started.  A wardrobe
filled with moth holes &

bowler hats.  An audience chatting
during your solo,

devouring mouthfuls of popcorn
& Cheez-its as you

solemnly remove your eyeballs
& stagger in circles,

your gore a calligraphic
signature across the boards.

The Ballad of Sexual Obsession

The world is a cubicle
& when you think
outside of it,
you’ll find yourself
standing just beneath
the noose.

Time isn’t really
had but made out of quick-
lime : everything,
then, becomes
an academic question.

The man is a gasbag,
but he finds himself
enthralled by
his own
toned buttocks. 

He devours a cold
breast to better 
achieve a mind of winter. 
It's true they're idiots
& true he's the tool 
of Satan but Satan
only wants to have you
for tea & to give 
bunny his good supper. 

Singing in the rain 
of artillery; sex is so 
2005--there's an app 
for that: it's called
oblivion, equal parts 
lion & libido.  Follow
the chimera tracks 
in the dust to where 
the gold hare lies
buried by the collapsing 

Sing, Nightingale, Sing

From the tree in the garden,
tho there is no tree
& no garden.  Keats died
from flying coach;
the bird pops
from branch to branch
to annoy
Fanny in her mourning;
I write my ode to the mockingbird
who can sound
like a car alarm or
"Music for Airports," singing
all night long because
the diamond ring was only
a bluff.  The left-side engine
is blown out by a thousand
metaphors for poetry
& the captain must land
the rig while reciting lines
from "The Road Less
Travelled."  Spring
means pollen & it has made
all the difference : I'm
not crying, you're crying.
My eyes just look like this
when the winds
change & they bulldoze
our sacred grove
to build another 7-11.

Good Weather Today

A crater
where the stage
should be.  A hole
for a poem.  Film stock gone
grainy, a meeting to plan
the exam that we will all
in one week’s time.  It’s a fine
day to take a stroll &
once your toe
is in the acid
bath, there’s nowhere to go
but to pieces. Beware folks
who love parades or prefer
to defer to experts
who all have the same first name.
Do not make the world
too comfortable or else
they'll want to stay. 
The machines don't need us
for batteries because we're dim
bulbs though we burn 
for quite some time
if properly lit. 
As above, so below 
& it's stupid at the top
& lava at the bottom.

from (C)OVID'S METAMORPHOSIS, Book the Fifth

Calliope sings: Persephone's fate It's too late to question the logic of curses, to second guess why some birds deserve h...