Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I was exhausted

I was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep.

God knows when he slept – if he did.

But on both sides the intervales grew broader;

I wondered if I ought to give notice and leave.

I dragged my dressing gown up to my throat.

Even this limited amount of success

went to my head,

because he remembered someone had told him

that tomcats hated kittens and liked to eat them.

Letters, indeed, had been flying across the Atlantic.

The paving here was of small, rough-edged stones.

Under the guise of horseplay,

the box, he explained, contained bear's grease,

because I've never been at a loss

for an excuse

or a way out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bush Craftsman

I began to fancy myself a bush craftsman.

For the moment he was mercifully unconscious.

Miraculously, as though divining her thoughts,

of confusing bigness with greatness.

The voice of the store grew faint

toward the distant whale-backed blur

and to the calf that stirred within her.

She had an almost irresistible desire

and the fringe of the bracken.

The fear of death had often come

to disturb his boyhood,

only to have it interrupted again,

set in the lobes of her ears,

forgetting to sign out and then signing out

but he's terribly clever at carpentry.

He won them for something or other.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I knew that coast as we drew near

I knew that coast as we drew near

the pallid breakwaters, the flotsam of war

nameless and already scavenged, a tear-

drop, a crystal casket lapping the shore,

the pallid breakwaters; the flotsam of war

even when damaged remains saleable –

drop a crystal casket lapping the shore

into whatever on-line auction is available:

“Even when damaged remains saleable,

a priceless window onto a blood-soaked world,

into whatever on-line auction is available…”

at which a hive of collectors collectively uncurled

a priceless window onto a blood-soaked world

of sheer lust for object’s satanic darkness

at which a hive of collectors collectively uncurled

its wings, hounds of other heavens gave a bark

of sheer lust for object’s satanic dark

blades, pincers, shells, toy bird mine,

its wings; hounds of other heavens gave a bark,

point of sale would end of war define:

blades, pincers, shells, toy bird mine,

I knew that coast as we drew near:

point of sale would end of war define,

nameless and already scavenged, a tear…

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Pharmacist

Program for a puppet:

the fly is in business again,

repeats none of the phrases

blamed for its previous

bankruptcy, quivering hulls

on the shore and falling


from the scaffolding of continents.

Raise the distinct hidden volumes

all at once skyward

in their blue folio editions,

the ones you were unable

to return to the book club’s

distant yet sole agent,

even after several cordial

phone calls had led you to believe

in night’s end,

nude Kafka’s plausible flutter

as the bluing

of the preceding day

came under his

impassive scrutiny,

years after the statute,

years after the prescription

that smelled like cheap beer

spilled and congealed

into a leathery coat,

a form of native armor

that spoiled the fables

of anatomy

by answering all their descriptions,

and later refusing to answer,

just as the pharmacist

had during the Great Depression.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flash Fiction

The increasingly miniscule
size of the future
begins to cheer me
when I rediscover the red pleasure

of illumination,
remember the unraveled species
of monk on the island,
cowled and doubly so

in sunset’s contested
successions, the series
of weak emperors
all calling themselves
Jesus Christ

sending horses by train
on the one way
trip to the mountain –
but the details escape me.

The great day is coming,
the final atomic structure
prayed into existence,
why all the billions have suffered

and been forgotten
and yet presided
as a kind of bacterial

in which experimental catastrophes
are cultured,

and ultimately tuned
to end the short story
(really a novella)
of the future
in exactly the wrong place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I am almost assured

I am almost assured
that the wail in the distance
is my own child,
and that my grandmother's brothers
stood in the rubble

of a war they understood

Everything that happened
was and is seemingly avoidable
except for the conversion,
of some form of cosmic fuel
to some form of cosmic power.

Which we do not abet
when we think we do,
and do when we don't,
not because our mechanisms
are corrupt,

but because the mandate
of righteousness
requires an invisible
magnetic core
of endless, unbelievable,
evil, fertile

Friday, September 11, 2009

Edward Lear's Early Friendships

Edward Lear's Early Friendships

They were certain the seas were freshly named,
approved names like Nubile, Pea-green, Eastern, the seas were given.
Jean-Dominique Ingres accompanied the famed
English poet Edward Lear, properly shriven

per the poet's parents' urgent requests, even while
they themselves delved where the weeds grew.
Little Eddie availed himself when the pile
produced after Keats's tomes' pages flew,

went directly above the toddler's head,
landed where the continental shelves directed,
Israeli desert, suicide bombers' century ahead,
trade centers unimploded, unerected.

He read the poems, shared the nightingale ode avec Ingres,
chez the late evening Baudelaire soiree
rumored suave stovepipe presidential egress
where honest Abe likely waved the Northern epee

even after Lear informed the police, dueling
being illegal even then (nineteenth century
sometime, the era's notable tomfoolery
we note provoked even more extreme ventures,

like the siege engines mounted inside Berlin's
suave restaurants when Chinese noodles
were offered the gentry chez Holderlin,
another poet we recalled before, albeit poetic yodels

changed little, the poet being dead, gone,
the entire era fabricated anew later, steel replicas
constructed emulating obsolete yet new bone).
The future composer nonsensically supplicates

(maybe he understands the tunes
modernism provided the twentieth, twenty-first
serving notice realisms were fallen, mere runes
archaeologists needed recognize were erst

Lincolnesque specters) while Baudelaire,
great French pedestrian, dared evaporate
modernity itself beyond repair,
then infantile, soft-voiced, shouted, "Ingres, ingrate!"

merely because Lear's friend Bernoulli,
mathematician, authored the theorem
Ingres, mute painter, understood more entirely
however blithely the boulevardier,
attempting the mathematics,
dared test the lemma, helpless,
dared take the deadly absinthe serum.

As if translated from the Spanish

Only when all things move quickly

is there time for my love to pass.

So things do move that way,

earthquakes and shadows and the visits

of small elaborating spiders,

and I do find myself freed of the past.

But something else, looking very much like

the past, had been holding back,

keeping itself in the wings,

on the side road I hadn't noticed,

favorite path of the carpenter ants.

And that other thing replaced the past,

and something like my love returned with it,

but the flavor was altered, the smoke

no longer rose to the heavens.

Nevertheless I walked calmly forward

as if there were no shadows in any direction,

knowing one more century

of the same misreadings

would, with certainty, rectify any lapse.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Without touching the want

or the knowing ignorance

a brown shadow brushed me.

I brushed my hair when I needed

to brush.

Told time by the way I smelled.

Space and time expanded

to fill a watery purple void

of knowing ignorance.

I measured the length

of my childhood,

more like saying I judged it,


continually but without a good rule

to hold it.

And still I held it to me,


for many years.

The ownership of property

is an erratic fact,

because revolutions are prone

to interrupt it,

and misers

need good philosophers.

I relied on the faint taste,

as of radishes,

of a wisdom not my own.