Saturday, November 24, 2012

Missouri River 1820

the one in the front is about forty
leans     on the oars
and the grizzled hair on his chin
and his closed and toothless mouth
and his worn green wool cap
all add up to the mystery
of why he is still
out there on the river
as he glares at the painter

this painting is from my childhood
i will never be
a grey toothless bear
i will be maybe
then look like that forever

my children will
always be children

the young man with him
holds his chin in his hand
he has thick black hair
and a hand on an oar
he knows lord byron
he swivels toward the painter
he seems close friends
with the older man

from Twisted History (1999)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Compare But Only Behind

i'll hold it in uses its brain
sing hymns to a basketball
treat it     blue eyes and
as my own with psychiatrists
when it hears country and western ballads

and never got fixtures humming

i'll marry it and to mandalay
maybe it fits right under your pantleg

i need a heart
never bleeding
i'll name it pants are loose enough
and in its tropics
i'll compare drink enough saxophone to find out
but only behind vomit passenger ships
whenever you think of her
and talk about the road to mandalay

the road to mandalay
where the frozen dinners play

as if i were     dogs
mouth shrinks it has blue eyes and
uses its brain for a basketball
dogs     that have more taste
not above more taste
i need heart fixtures humming
electrical like a vein called back
regular     the road's about to go off
sing hymns to treat it
as my arm

originally published in The Flying Dog (1993)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


you follow your dog out of the subway
into the forum of pompeii
     a few decades
     that's all you get
he walks on two feet now
you know the forum from this morning
     a few decades
     that's all you get
where are the floors?
where are the roofs?
why are the paving stones
set so unevenly?
why is my house
so terribly ruined?
all the temples
they're ruined too
     a few decades
that's all you get

from Twisted History (1999)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cutup From A Chain Letter

god created me from harm
made me better for all seasons
eat us not grow consideration
overwhelm us with most merciful
we need    of the state    of a mortal
there is pleasure    in misery    overcome
i have dinosaurs too     chained dog town
your heart and life
    love with your sins
    even apparently evil thankfully
    so they can grow up
    love does not hurt others
    so just wait
    your life will give you spice

from Purgatorial (2004)