Friday, September 11, 2020

The Emperor's Lunch

pain     pain    nonstop urgency
goat demons hang from grey hairs     in my nose
a blue dragon flew into one of my ears
bamboo grows inside my legs
my ankles grow steel traps around them
on cold nights my knees hurt
hair grows on my back like an animal’s
i have always treated you as an abstraction

how do you do?
so glad to meet you
have you suffered yet?
would you like to take a course in it?
i would too
but all the teachers are busy

no grey hair died yesterday an hour ago
and i wake up every morning for the emperor’s lunch
there is no mystery to focus on imagine the hour
and entire countries of in my blood seems it’s always been
the knife being invisible
the french toast sunrise horizon
awake!                      awake! 
do it!

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Plumbing's Revenge

i must have looked manic
searching    all over the castle
for the manuscript that held captive
the last words of count dracula

i knew they were mine to find
even in the dimness of night
because the ooze of centuries can’t take away
the phrases everyone needs to know

trump looked for his most meaningful phrases
all over the white house    mar a lago
the former environs of everyone he’d ruined
the throbbing ecstatic insides of his cellphone
the slimy grit of his intestinal mind
but he couldn’t find them at all
and decided they must have been abducted

but they still clung around
more real than the statement of a fictional vampire
bright day or dim night
in the pipes leading from his golden toilet
to the soft muddle of his dismal mind
and back again    flushed    over and over

from Trump Tics (2020)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Middle-Aged love Poem (for Judy)

imagine i a peddling across
evanescing to of so you
deal down to starlight
mutual many then
the years these lines
bicyclists on sparkles
my forehead

            imagine evanescing deal
            mutual the bicyclists my tickling
            i to down many years
            on a peddling across
            of so     on you starlight
            these lines then sparkles
from Oedipus'First Lover (2009)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

In Memory

cold weather seems to freeze depression
keep it alive like last year’s stumbling half-dead mammoth
hold it like a breath that’s six months past its time to breathe
a sheen from a knife inside a cloud of frozen mist

i would pretend i was warm inside this house this cold
thermal depression the numbness of these walls keeping the ice away
normal      succession      the next word is normal
like wood an end event until you see the rot the next spring

            you’ve felt the way i’ve felt for days
            hearts brought down in descant above an empty melody
            throbbing in memory      all the death this year
            robbing one sense of another the notes settled all wrong
            starts and pauses      stops      heaps like the cold pepper of ash
            strewn deep upon itself      numb hearth      not ice      not heat

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Friday, June 26, 2020

An Inch of Burlesque

edge of the stage      i was
as a lower curtain
barbaric cheekbath of the tub
the nape of her      he could see
gleaning      now wall now not

            first of all
            i want you to stoically unbutton
            i don’t care what

mime who was playing
perched tree trunk      she edgewise
her ass than yours i
said      inner thighs
don’t care whose      i’m starving
language morphed to lit him ravenous
eager to dive down
he smoke and feathered through the door
drunk on images of who was studying fire
dipping his tongue into
like a hummingbird
haven’t had a dream of a meal for weeks
asylum      wet
the return to religion

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Toll Free

please call toll free
he is waiting for your call
inside a toll booth
that he is locked into
inside his own telephone
where he has to answer
all the time
and he hopes one of these times
you’ll sing to him
and he’ll be free

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Upper Story Coffee House

praise this dream:
            the moving sidewalks
            and all those cars snoring

they’ve been here they’ve been here they’ve been here before
where they save coffee from itself
and select words from an afterlife:
            he what with dream
            tall with the blond fur cup
            exhilarating little men running in unison
            up the stairs of your coffee mug
the coffee:
            among themselves to drink it for you
            watching roads of more energy
            dreaming an earthquake yawn
            the quake tighter      tighter      around their ankles
            to keep you vibrating in your chair where someone
rolls the instantaneous speed is incredible
but the suits relax      grow hair
break flame
            a traffic in hilarious souls
            a freeway of nervous inferno
            ricocheting off destination signs
            like fireworks
            heaving themselves out of caffeinated skies

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Current Affairs of Sleep

my radio has bled volume     the winds came
the way the stuffed bear
the sight of disappearing eyes 
down the blue lanes of another world
then rolling across lawns all over the city
as if hazy in sleep     if i only spoke a language there
sitting on your belly
rises and falls with your breath in dormition
over standing stones of a riverbed
the snoring articulation of political speech
all the little fish     the kings of the current
on the sea     of dreams

            the blue stream of notes
            each note bleeding
            blue water
            like the imagination of a fist-sized stone
            just removed from the current’s common babble

imagine the pasted-on paper wings of angels
your shoe     its eyes open
as if the bombs weren’t bigger     wouldn’t drop
than larvae     of intermediary windstorms
all the dust from the cacophony
the screaming animals the baby’s severed leg
excited     wild     the voice from the radio’s grill
the mass of the pits where there used to be a cathedral
death worshiping himself in the ultimate aesthetic choice
the knowledge of his music’s wrath    popping out eggs
from the eye of the storm   

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Monday, April 20, 2020


if ghosts were given flesh
they would be wallpaper for sunset

the open-mouthed birthcry of your day
would set my eyes to flame

there is a cave inhabited by troglodytes in operating scrubs
it holds the earth’s nervous system as a baby would in its paw

when i first visited here i didn’t notice the cobblestones
it was all sand to me     not yet bunched into stone

whenever i see a historical hero’s statue at an intersection
i see that he can stare in one direction only

the sand blows slowly through the city
each grain with its own hands opening for the first time

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Concept of Travel

the concept of a brick breathing
feet missing last year’s steps
dead people talk among dead buildings
the voices between them fading like memory into the facade

so he fell face up on a barroom floor
which one is this?     voice of the bartender
he’s out cold but he’s smiling     which century
did he fall from this time?

consider the virgin mary
pink in complexion no longer yellow or blood blue
she holds the strange antennaed infant to her chest
the gulps of alien suckling     noise bouncing off the walls
think i died once     fell     cracked my head
the minister said i was smiling    head on the bricks    on the clouds

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Thursday, March 12, 2020


either of the bird        bat
or of an airplane

of a stage out of a fleet

to hasten        speed
of a certain shade of opinion
in the arm        shoulder        leg
of a stage out of sight of the audience
to wound        love

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Biodance (from Salvador Dali's "Homage to Terpsichore")

so both and everyone dancing
from to your hand to a sky that
dreams on the leaves of fingers
            you everyone

you’ll teach of your heart as a hotly coastline
your belly worships that your feet
your halo reaches the stars its variegated light
            watching you     who now the dance

you with metal plates of heart
silicon feet and your high wired head

you with the branches of tree the wires of your technology

you cast your hips     swish of electrical wine     to the two of you

to your you     dances too
to your hands light a brisk dancing sky

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Night Count

the night has bright eyes
too many of them
for you to count

they go on forever
no darkness

they each look so small
there are so many of them to see
you can’t concentrate on just one

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Andy Hardy Gets His Motorcycle Going

o thump grew to voice of his many heads
 are you an eyebrow?
 are you a twitched
 hungry     eyebrow?
the knack of worry produced an insatiable grunt
 luck     sailing against itself in a balloon
 in its suit     shined shoes
 bright cuffs and a handkerchief
 four proper vowels     five obedient consonants
 pink eyes     rabbit shuddering     another try
 at an answer that takes several centuries to enunciate
against the night sky past red locks of hair paper-clipped to trees
blue clouds energizing their moon of a hot conjurer’s eye
the wind of self scudding its secrets of life science and ecstasy
and the fast and hallowed progress of the bright momentum of sleep
 the motorcycle grows smaller 
        while the camera’s wonder remains huge
 in wonder the small child must stay at home with his pillow
 as the characters come unbidden
 in the rough reliefed plaster of his bedroom walls
there are fantasies i remember from years ago
bread trucks     wood-sided vans     the whirl of orchestral strings
as the hero slowly walks the dusty street of the movie set
followed by ambulatory pistols that line themselves up like ducklings
 can you see the motorcycle in his pocket?
 no     he’s just glad to see this part of the movie
          he’s still riding it
      it’s still a hilly road
            this part of the road is still
       under his feet

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Heart Wolf Poem

let me keep your wolf in my heart
where it can eat its fill of movement

i can stand the pain
i have a whole pack of wolves
in hearts all over the city

for some kinds of wolves
coziness equals smothering

the wolf will grow

my heart     if it doesn’t grow too
will someday get too small for it

the wolf will be chewing     chewing
chewing as much as it wants to

but i will be the one out walking
the one out with my own pack of friends
in the sweet cold snows of the park

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Post Mortem (after Vincent van Gogh's "Wheatfield with Crows")

what if i saw two moons in the sky
and they were both light blue in a twilight swirl
that was nearing the black of unconsciousness
and that crows     tiny     irregular     broken     thin
desperately winged for their lives against the whirls
of pure air i saw in the two moons’ rising

and say you were inspired by
the alien light in a firmament going on toward
the familiarity of blindness
and that the birds would flap twice and be gone
tiny lifespans in the sight of the moment
and that the tan grasses too
would go black then invisible in the new night
like a civilization without breath or momentum
like another country fallen
in the buried dirt below dusk

i could still hear the wind through the wheatfields
i could still imagine the crows’ fearless explorations
i could imagine     i could imagine
that the season could come again when the same moons
the one and her twin sister
would show the same as tonight
with the same birds
in the same country in the same nation
i could imagine     i could imagine

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Ake Rp!

yrt eat la keyr n aps rung clean
meht le nsa hf un nelso ake rp!
an taet gnurps     fu lenn foraso
sel en sfore is lobber
de ni t hesko ’ob mat, theo
sehn apwavers
li’kea ade, kal
hooba e rof de ahner m bly wit
h thes nails “( )” was hing

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

In the Beginning

int he be n in
giva li ght
devid hew a were
morer ond ay
            det gr herb
            fru it yiel
ding aftind it
was so
            e ert gr as
            li ght less ght
            ni ght me at
go od

from Oedipus' First Lover (2009)

Friday, September 6, 2019


elsa and i decided to have a vital center in a bare commissary
she with her bright full nails
swiped at my clown makeup and started eating

we were carrying on in animated pain and partially blind
her husband          by the neck
sunk in and left his fangs on the table

hey        anatole        how you like it licked at him?
it’s a classic one-liner and he rolled over        begged
stood up        very proud of having said it        

a modern day version in reverse
is now a bare-scrap incident
meant to be leader        a just time girl
stopped dancing and dusted her knees
stand forward
calmly sucked the business partner

it’s the classic one-liner
feed situation from the back of the room
luminescent fingernails in the darkness
intimations of feed me
none of this ambivalence
normal folks might have tried

the rest of the people kept on message:
when I saw her drop to her knees
she had fainted        but she hadn’t
she just said so        and winked

from Cyclone Fence (2007) reprinted after too much Proust

Monday, July 15, 2019

Had To Be Ritual Space

when first faced without god figures
and a very pan angry
not faced itself 
the tapes    concert halls    and sports
make a noise
and produce mural worship

at home we come out of the ends of newspapers

a line being drawn

it is fascinating to obtained through our creative discovery
through a chimpanzee laugh
them after
viewing it seems that we do
very fast
but calling loudly

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Friday, June 21, 2019

War Poem

HEY!    dough wanna fight?
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough wanna fight?
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dukedukedukeduke
HEY!    dukedukedukeduke
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dukedukeduke    fight?
HEY!    dukedukedukeduke
HEY!    HEY!
HEY!    doooooooo
HEY!    akakakakakak
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough wanna fight?
HEY!    dough
HEY!    dough
HEY!    duh

from The Troubles (1993)

Monday, May 27, 2019

Contact Lenses

where’s my bathtub?
gotta simplify things:
plastic streets of this dream in front of you
bobbing as you walk
a guillotine has a cutting edge
and cold faces

walk again
like a fat woman inside a skinny woman trying to get out
like a     huge
like poverty swells each time its name
is turned into ceremony

has pinball been invented?

where have i been
looking for your knees?

contact lenses 
dropped on command
biplanes ascending from an emotionless sea
bubbles bursting beneath your feet
one lifetime obsessed with the flying dutchman
is one too many

who inherited
this paper
that they cover     an entire ocean
in plastic

and ready to walk
no bathtub beneath them
on water?

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Five Dictionary Poems

I    round:
            the rump
            a circular case

II   name:
            as we called him

III  fare:
            to be in a well
            eat transportation 

IV   fate:
            to be incapable
            and the blue dye obtained

V    favor:
            to help resemble

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Romance Is Relived

old who joys      death
could criticize the woes that go
with trouble

and particularly a spicy romance
calculation of shirts
would have recognized its making

trouble no

will     reached     and     are:
 1) always be too much for us
 2) heaven and it was syrupy
 3) because it says the discussion is over
 4) are not mine
no devil        will roll and stare
no roll and stare        is possessed
no devil is
no is possessed

someone i love? 
speak to me for weeks
has large eyes        hourglass:
one in joy will always be live enough

from Cyclone Fence (2007)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sno Ring

s leep in glik e a
   cor psesno 
   allth e air
  in toy outh 
   en back
  ou tag ain
   emp tyno

from Cyclone Fence (2007)