Friday, February 2, 2018

The Measure of What You Asked For

saint ophelia is a beautiful town
so bring me the sleeping bar net
pit him a lot of opera
and careful not to follow the directions of just any dust mote
not the king    not the warrior
just open space on prairie wisdom

a painted box on a dresser made of bear fat
she opens it and pours out a song about weasel heads
why they're whimpering    what she did to earn that
this time a hand plunged into time in search of its own body
then caressed itself in a hairy cling
    the interloper that will marry but will not be translated
    the anger unseen of midnight at an unopened door
    while decoded missile controls chatter among themselves
    that such a child will be as we

so this guy goes into a bar    says
give me the flying dead crows of my despair
so the bartender takes out a crowbar    says
all wings are the essence of flight
would you like a double?

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Friday, January 19, 2018


someone else should tell you the story
about the day all the people
turned into pigeons

suddenly all the buildings were taller
and you could fly to the top
of any building you’d choose

   then    near dawn
   six a m the next day
   everybody changed back 

   nobody could fly anymore
   but everyone around
   had a new sense of wonder
   every time they looked anywhere
   even down to the ground

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Return

at ten-thirty the forest closes down
the animals come into the coffeehouse
you can tell which animals are which
by their gait and their posture

some of the animals have to stay outside
giraffes are too tall for the ceiling
whales are too wide for the door
the imaginary ones    the ones beyond mythology
the ones you can’t see anyway
probably got in here first

they fill up all the empty spaces here
you breathe them    they breathe you
the latest taste of your coffee lingers
the drama within you is something that
you’re not sure you know anymore
but somehow you feel
more comfortable about it

Monday, December 18, 2017

End of the Great Migration

look    dream you requested
aren't the ones?

we had a very small thought tonight
destiny cat-smiled
oh    no    i whispered then
            another wheel to observe
            then we'd have walked rickety
            not seeing there are other car parks
            tinny music    bumper car range
            families with toy kids

              i was
              generous balloon
              expanding well

                 he other world's dark outside
                 you can hear it yowl
                 and i    just one national crisis
                 played rainbow on the front steps
                 it was too early ahead as time
                     so i petted the spider and her covered wagon
                     the whole pirate family
                     sometimes i'm my own grandfather

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


In reality there were many towers at Babel, each built by a different manner of being, and in reality few of them fell. The others continued to exist, each invisible and irrelevant to all outside of itself, all eventually forming a network. On tower became the lungs, another the bones, a third the skin, a fourth the heart. Those towers that had fallen formed the brain, babbling at once in many languages, with all of the babblers totally deaf to one another.

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Coffee Shoes

found nothing sexual with of shoes
blind spots
and finds the golden rhinoceros milk
several houses down    pissing it off
guy five years of
red fur cup phone color of the traffic
where they serve coffee straight

practicing    five too young to drink it for you
some guy gets before a robe and his shoes are jealous

the red upstairs caesar paint! 
red slipped or burnt toast!
loving it this read neon sign reason to
awful here trading t-shirts for logo caps
blue suede drapes gone red!

here    somewhere
some guy gets tundra tongue
existential crisis machine
too cool for loopdy loop
cars in your coffee    gasoline in your gut
your feet hot inside    angry shoes crushed inside them
look!    up there!    it's the ceiling!

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Monday, October 2, 2017

News Report from the Front

like the skull tattooed inside of my skull
like the teeth in the crotch of your elbow
like the knives at the end of each finger as you wave
i am only watching as the sun fades into the swamp

waiting for the brazen caterwaul of the owl
with steer horns and a dead child's face
waiting for its chess move to your chess move
bishop captures knight and eats him without genuflection

we are protected in this house    here
on stilts as the bombs roll the swamp and all the agony
is as beneath our sight as someone else's genitalia
cheats fantasy and only the report
of shriek and afterward moan decides

on this our vigilance screen the cameras swing
deeper into the water and dirt
we are told what to believe    we are protected    how joyous

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Monday, September 11, 2017

After Max Ernst

now    that    now    that
the the the the
fist is clenched
firecracker explodes
maid scours
wind trims

there on that hill
why haven't they been reported to me?
calendar gun
bottom of the bear fine cilia
forward like that ourselves
like an aphid

ground ground ground ground
fumes fumes fumes fumes
understand how to accommodate yourself
with stalactites as puff pastry

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Sunday, July 16, 2017


imagine any protozoan cell
as a room full of people
nucleus large as an elephant in the middle of the conversations
that people can gawk at
and cilia invisible on the other side of the wall
taking the whole shebang on its way through town

people flow    talk flows
the whole party flows like the totality of plasma
the cowboy stands up there on the butte    pale horse beside him
watches the protozoan row itself giddily through town
down the main street with its lights
cilia happily playing themselves off walls and windows
imagine his laughter

his chaps    the leather of his chaps
his saddle    his horse
all the other various membranes that float through space
all the laughter    all the stillness
all the enclosed laughter

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Blood of My Radio

my radio's blood
    is quaint    evanescent
it seeps into air without touching wood or metal
animals on strange planets worship it
    its grease
    the major tourist attraction
    in thirteen cathedrals

i would kneel to it
but its rhythms
are too irregular
could not sustain
a rodent
even one
wearing an officer's uniform
or a business suit
and holding its breath

so as an entrepreneur
i'm out of business
i can't even sell
its source
since it comes in in waves from someplace else
and my radio's blood
is only a translation
before its own language is conquered
and it disappears

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hands in Mist

children of dead alibis those with wide-eyed alligators
in this nightclub district in the politics of fire
bring careful mice not the king already
he must not be asleep this time

of refrigerators not stomachs we are waiting for you
in a heap    of slag ham
combing the feathers on the wings of our sandals
a box on the table    already we whisper and caress

   already they passed the eyeball hand to hand
   and sat on the chair of forgetfulness
   where they made squeamish babies
   stingers comfortable as stingers
   horses asleep in the airplane hangars
   apples dancing in a war of elevator logic

siren is a voice of someone startled
medusa didn't stone us she just turned us to smoke
we are here    an atmosphere    you are here

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Automobile Landscape

he who joys among buses like sharks' teeth
could criticize curses
the woes that go here define the current so swim anyway

and particularly a static land
traffic jams for the centuries
collection of stomachs
a landscape of undetached sleeves
a place that's almost impossible
who would have looked more than i know your vistas

who needs so
     1) always be also
     2) heaven and it me
     3) because it's salty and covering their wheels
     4) are not mold wipers

the other source of limousines:
     1) be a mystery to myself
     2) relax and breathe deeply
     3) springing sounds next door
     4) brainfads toward loving broth

someone i love like a motorpurr
repeat to me:
     1) has large eyes
     2) hourglass
     3) a boy wants
     4) uncursed and exotic
     5) hubcap

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

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)