Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Gold House

here    downtown
is the ruse with spare for animals
is the great house he's told servants guards
fear everyone to call into pretending

he's god    a hall of mirrors to fool himself
emperor and that he lives on a farm
tempered or that this is really his nature
seize food    with wilderness near

   he wears his house on a hill on his head
   crown badge sycophant veracity
   a small hat   shapes subtle when he bounces
   a mall fever colors seem to move forever
   town in no matter that stay no matter how long
   beware in his head his subjects remembering

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Note: This poem was originally about Nero and political paranoia. These days it may be interpreted as being about another political figure.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


the bright pink painted on the woman's fingernails
is awake and makes live the worn brown of the door
even more than her smile or the reflection of her sunglasses

   she strides into a brick coffeehouse
   and when she comes out she's
   twenty minutes older

the deal    agreed to there
twenty minutes of life for twenty minutes of table
twenty minutes of life for
everyone in the place
yes watch her with the vivacity
of sunbeams reflected on the window
of the red van parked across the street

   the tattoos like smoke
   adhere to her arm
   in the heat of this weather

even doorjambs are sensitive to her memory
so when she walks in here the house of bright colors
salutes her    she stays    life whirls    then she leaves
a mere twenty minutes older    close
to the age she was in ur    athens
rome    palmyra    when at first lively and unafraid
she entered into the house of liveliness
she is joyous in leaving    as she was in entering
and her happiness spreads to anyone
who aspires to watch her

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Journey in the Plague Year

you cannot hide    the cancer cells
clean as smokestacks through the clouds
as fingers on your hand    (growing
extra ones)    there is no villa that will hide us
each one is cancered over with moss
the countess' coach is wrecked enroute
the wolfpack builds around it
scarred and scrawny
growing extra ones
above the trees is factory smoke

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


they're tearing out the floor of my father's house
to put in the monument to his living room
it's a small one
flattened like a headstone    or a sandwich
and though the work is done by people the supervisor
is a chimpanzee    
he's not back yet
everybody is waiting
the cone is almost dug
and the ice cream is getting warm

i pick up a dime off my father's chest of drawers
and walk to the drug store
lingerie is strung across the aisles
baboons howl in the back room
at the deep end of an aisle a child sits
playing with a small red car
a green light goes on above the drug counter
a hamburger truck pulls in in front of the flower shop
across the street
an old man eats roses in the window
wearing a superman suit and pancake makeup

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


if youf ry
you r mar bles
bef orey oup ut the min
the y'll mix
wi thy our brain
bet ter

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lament (for Hans Arp)

woe who who
he woe woe the hay-fish
woe wheelbarrow    thunders
woe woe consolation and snuff
monograms for us    woe woe
why have you    an udder
of craggy reality?
woe woe
now our crowns and soles
are charred at the bowling alley
woe woe
who will eat now
when he tries to entice the horses?
now coffee grinder
now the burning banner in his pigtail
now the rat who will expel the devil
now ships at sea
and umbrella
transparent bride
another sigh kaspar kaspar kaspar
you became a star on a chain of water
woe woe

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Waking Up on the Other Coast

dreams    seek    the thin blue lines of blood
the taste of manna is doubt if that's the right city
    cab by    like a jack o lantern
    a reservation that assures that everyone here
    pays off the night
    the grin remaining the next morning
    dawn's dew appears to be time
another cab goes by the wisdom now has congealed into asphalt
    metallic cat's breath
all the humor 
but really i was born on the wrong coast for this
    manic teeth at the window as the next one goes north
splay-feathered cockroaches eating donuts off the street
the kind they don't make in california
in retroactivity it sounds like complaints through bird teeth
of children playing fire station past extinction time
waiting with their folded sharks' wings
    pastel camouflage
sand now lost to a desert that's built into golden gate park
    masters of ego for that
discovered the next morning under cabbage leaves
restaurants for drowned horses open past midnight
    that's evolution
    and where's that damned cab?
a bus would be a step toward the vindication of dinosaurs
and below all this the subway's running like dreams of blood
corpuscles    embodiment    that's
sweet sleep for eggs

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pizza Shoes

shoe of pizza    your heartache
is my headache    is someone else's gutache
is someone else's sore foot
to the least of us a hot slice

you can wait for it under a tropical sun
you can wait for it under an electric sign
you can wait for it under a rainy roof
try not to wait under the oven

   i hear your footsteps going by the pizzeria
   you've got your pizzas on upside down
   at least the dough protects your foot
   dogs follow you    for blocks
   you know the scent of pepperoni attracts them
   more than the smell of your soles

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Aunt Griselda Sells Out

be sure and leave me
dripping with content
show up again with a normal dust
you the ones who requested this?

i can't see
you described it in a different language
i didn't realize there was no electric stove
in the middle ages and this
the ballot punched the particular person was there

sweepstakes    sweepstakes    sweepstakes    sweepstakes
greenwich village has been full of rich people
for fifty years now

buy broccoli    buy broccoli
buy broccoli    buy broccoli
a mutilation drops her new mug of fresh coffee
aunt griselda sells out

only a sock    only a sock
only a sock    only a sock
items might prove extensively
at home with a pen and a pad of paper

magnifying glass
too much money on the jukebox
is that a bus
or a limousine I just missed?

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Brief Look at Underwear

that cars are barking    
you can hear their horns and wheels squeal
bitter    they have to stay home
while buses write postcards 
to their parents in the transit yard
and traffic draws its inspiration from art in foreign museums

this is all on your opera schedule
underpants and bras flagging in the translucent breeze
the clouds going rancid    yellow with sunset
pages for sale at the bookstore    so go
    1) down park avenue if it smells fresh at all
    2) since i won't be able to look whole in one mirror 
       i'll look in two of them
    3) there is a real difference if it is done well enough
    4) the seagulls who squat in the sand like singing rocks
    5) the clouds are my favorites    i love their city
    6) and after the expedition    
       try to reach down and touch them

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three Newspaper Pieces

your newspaper grows wings
and flies of its own knowledge
but it flies only so far

newspapers left in the rain
grow eyes    learn
to ask stray dogs the time of day

we have all been newspapers
the sensation ends
when you see your successor
the next day
preening in new ink

Thursday, February 18, 2016


pigeon flies in
through the coffeehouse doorway
then flies out again
   all the tables
   are taken

Saturday, January 23, 2016

For Francis Bacon

a house like a museum:
everything fits in
ripped hearts

each particle

claws that are
sinew inside

its breath

this room
its breath
the varying scents of
dogs' voices

my heart is open as a side of beef

you're too young
to get off the stove
and not burn

dogs' voices:

i have kept all my teeth
since childhood
in one pocket
that bulges now
when i walk

that rattles
like breath
when i touch it

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

i watched her walk

i watched her walk
in the nubulated sunset

my heart is open
as a side of beef

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Last Date

it's like trying to break up with someone    you still love
and you can't give it up
her hand
runs cold up your arm
like a vein    to your heart

still you object within yourself
how can you deny    those vacant eyes
eyes vacant with love
death    she loves you
your change will change her too

from Purgatorial (2004)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Instructions for Optimum Use

city limits to use a lifeline
you don certain conditions
  outside of las vegas
  visitors will be painted yellow or orange to facilitate
       weighted mesquite
       for diving
certain other conditions:
  colorado river    is the state's resort community
  value line should be attached to the city's weighted belt
  equipment should be using the buddy system
  for more varieties of sufficient strength
got more?
still not sold?
         exercise river objects less
need more?
tell us
hire a specialist
you sell better

from Purgatorial (2004)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hearing the Last Roar

he's the bullet through to his stomach
got his barrel dropping down brain
empty    small    gun    to his ear
empty    to his    esophagus

the bullet    out    clanks    kicks
goes    into the    into the    out the
sidewalk    gutter    drainhole    ass
goes further    i am my own    i am my own         

    i am an island
    i am my own island
    i am my own    gut    feeling
    onto an island i would not destroy
    my own gut feeling    no one else's depths
    i would not destroy    i would not destroy either

from Purgatorial (2004)

Saturday, September 5, 2015


i dream that i would trumpet
i would trumpet a dream
from bed
into the world of dream

and when i woke
the walls
of the dream
would fall

and the dream
would be in the real world
all around me
the whole day

from Purgatorial (2004)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On the Carpet

on the last day of the electricity strike
i went christmas
i saw brown makeup
strained on pillows
but it was too expensive

at dawn here
where everybody's bored
you and your face glowed


bright where you

men smoke metal cigars
stand pot-bellied where only the boss
because the boss loves the aroma
aroma of thieves

smoke won't
last long enough
to putrefy

where you came out young

twist fake wood walls

you electric

they hazy
as they deserved

from Purgatorial (2004)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Grit Fat City

fat    wheels on the pavement
fat ass    in the bus seat beside me
fat chance    it'll cool off soon
fat city

grit    upon grit upon grit upon grit
grit teeth    twenty more stops to my bus stop
grit grit    under the wheels i can feel it
grit guts grit guts grit guts

    fat grit guts fat
    grit fat guts grit
    grit fat grit guts
    grit fat grit fat grit fat
    fat grit fat grit fat grit
    my mantra    my prayer

from Purgatorial (2004)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


i would like a tamed god
i could wear round my finger
that small
that hollow
and i would not take it off
and yell through it like a small megaphone
making the voice bigger
and more like mine

i would not do this
i promise

from Purgatorial (2004)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Toy Trains

why does my life go so slowly
and still screech on the rails?

why do i get so nauseated
when i look out the window when the train's moving?

what deal    did i make
with that seedy little guy
standing outside the rail station
on the day i hired on here?

   look    he said
   a roof    as big as the one over the landscape

and i thought he meant the sky
not this little thing
i see
when i huddle under my desk

from Purgatorial (2004)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Self Portrait

i would draw a self-portrait of my left hand
but i'd be using my right hand
to draw

i've seen right hands and left hands
all over town    i've seen them
alone and together and in groups
in photos and in paintings
even in movies   even moving
the controls on the camera

i've seen them on finance sheets
and somewhere    somewhat more alive
hands in love with each other or
maybe belonging to the same body
or bodies that are almost as close
that move even closer

so here is my right hand
worrying    that it doesn't know
what the left hand will be doing
but then it settles    down to draw
my left hand    which    after all
it has known all its life

Monday, January 26, 2015

Salamander Insert

follow this one:

   icicles in planets flame into being
   graze over a grey
   centipedes hatch front are basis my feet my arms
   the shards of planethood
   ball up    come down to the center of everything

   i love this planet
   i love this planet
   i love this planet
   i love this planet

   and back in the field that the earth cracks
   awareness each a higher time
   the doctor takes at points pictures disappear
   adding fire that runs through several religions
   and it's invisible as he takes it into his hands
   blowing cool insects into it

   i love this planet
   i love this planet
   i love this planet

deeper                       deeper:

   i love this planet
   i love this planet

from Purgatorial (2004)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lunar Basketball

it must be easy i imagine
to throw your head
over the moon
watch it fly
from lungs and feet
that you're watching
and it isn't

from Purgatorial (2004)