Sunday, November 27, 2011


So what

if these were

notes not

for something more

finished, but for something more

like ruins, not Gothic

Revival Horace

Walpole fakes, not stonewashed

jeans, but real ruins, lived-in almost

to death, a little ruin

of a typewriter that bit rib-

bon ribbon ribbon

until each blackened tooth

smashed, guiding a whole polis

of letters into the sky or bouncing

in the backs of trucks, bags,

boxes? Say these ruins weren’t

like other ruins in

that they were (not actually)

invisible, as in, “invisible

to commodity,” like no one

would ever stand in front of them

in a photograph, or rub

one of their crumbly faces

into ghost, or point

at a dot on the crease of a cheap

map, but ruins only

accessible by stumble, a ruin you come

upon like someone else’s

life left between a stand

of hairy pines, and no one thought

to walk there again, it wasn’t

a way anyone going

somewhere would go, a huge fucking

mess, not left to someone

to deal with, but devastating

in its beauty

because it’s someone else’s so

gone you just know

you’ll never know anything

factual about it, or the person

whose life it was and now

only is, this gorgeous

nothing pointing

everywhere but at itself, this event

you (now) and only now (you)

are allowed to see, an event

that barely even unfolds, but just sits

there in all its inaccessibility

like a flood that isn’t

a real flood because it never moves

and it can’t be a real event

because there aren’t any streets

to walk home on, or string

to unravel, there is only this ruin

running in place, that no one

else will ever happen

across, that no one will ever not

miss, and in gaping before

it it turns

out you have missed something

else, everything, some fat

animal staring at a reason, a bear

bloated and furrowing, so soon

enough you don’t

even see this, this ruin, this impossible

strip of “life” that will

drift with other endless parts

of you you lost

along the way, over all

this time, will shift

and disappear like another

gleaming doorknob

in Brigadoon, so as always

to stay where you are

not, a great big floating thrift store

of late appendages

that orbits just

beyond your horizon

of consciousness, that leaves

you here, a fool in one

of Beckett's plays

fingering walnut shells

to remember the meat

Friday, July 29, 2011

Every Time I Decided Not to Set Myself On Fire

You flicker

Let’s say you are flickering

More than that

Let’s say you glitter

This has to do with occlusion

The occlusion of your light by a foreign body

Though surely the term foreign is too loaded

A body neither yours nor mine occludes both

of us from each other

But briefly

And then again

So briefly, and repeatedly, that we glitter

Or you glitter and I flicker

We are still and yet we seem to move

We are helplessly animated by the brief

occlusion of our lights

That is what we are

Not according to our will

That is what we are

That is what we are

This night

Sunday, November 14, 2010


for Nathaniel Otting

The wrong
book hurts
for the beauty
of its words
which clang out in
communities of common sin
is what the Americans say
when they have finished washing
I’m attaching a quote from Emerson
no I’m attaching one from Poe
no I’m attaching no quote
except which emanates from plough
or emanates from clough
a weird Georgic intelligence
for seeping roughly
into the daydream
of tillers
whose smiles
easy without teeth
speak in flaps
to honor destitution’s ease
we grew our beard
long and let it flower
into tufts of pilling fractal
until our smiles were well hidden
so we could take greater joy
in the wrongness of humanity
and not upset them constantly
who are already so upset
but to cry out
silently our deafening mirth
we researched schizophrenia
and read Schilder’s
The Image
and Appearance
of the Human
at work
while our bosses slept
off their odious lunches
their pockets stuffed with receipts
so not to be possessed
with the Georgic intelligence so loved
among willing caretakers of the schizophrenic


for Emily Petit

Stopping to
talk how
this microphone is
bad at me
doesn’t float over crushes
but is spoke now
like stoning who you love
for blood in the snowfall
we can’t stop opening up for
each word with its club desire
we both know isn’t okay
like an igloo for blackness
moon is government too
moon is government too
to breathe hard
on corded phones
nature proper
to this
hymn is blazing
leaves freed solemnly
from the arthritic tree
or is it arithmetic
I was never so bad
as when trapped in feedback
whose beauty comes suckered with glee
the strangest octopus of pagan glee
whose sea evaporates into night
like an igloo for blackness
I think I meant succored
knows it isn’t right
sings only if lit
cries out endlessly
for another chance
at life
at governance
of the moon
which salutes you
for desiring a method
with which to live
inside some well-stoked quotient

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


for Ben Lerner

Let alone
the words
birds won’t say
how love works
today is a bone
pulled apart by clouds
or the way the left
receives the right in praise
depending on the guesswork of sources
or the number of swords produced
let alone the word between
each spiral-headed letter S
promising bitterness in repetition
or burned for
forty straight hours
until squelched
by doves
they won’t say
they won’t leave
they don’t have to
I won’t let them
I’m only a voice here
burning on the very rumor
of these mute birds’ stuttered approach
and a voice loves to burn
so promise me one thing
no bitterness in repetition
as the flame gutters
closed like old
movie theater marquees
dropping letters
like swords
they won’t say
they won’t leave
they don’t have to
I won’t let them

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


for Jesse Seldess

What might
be overheard
in the lover’s
heavy sleeping head
to think one pore
is as open now
as any orifice’s yawn
could easily be a song
snug in a starry cleft
I opened all of my parts
until there was everything to fold
like a sweet twitching flag
snug in a starry cleft
I felt the office
of my lover’s salute
an old song
they sing on
old holidays
I open
my lover’s head
to tug there
the gem of recognition
that is my office
or at least it’s said
to face a difficult fire
one needs force of requisite desire
but it’s not like that anymore
the breeze leaches so many
unused words from the dumb
hollow of my cheek
I can’t even speak
or in doing
find curious boats
scraping anchor
all alone
yet all together
in my gut’s
heavy acid hallway
is just to say
this is my office
my one charge and regret
that I never once laughed
hard enough to set things right
all night all night all night

Sunday, June 27, 2010


for Anselm Hollo

First resting
then resisting
a little is
is a little
spark for the cauldron
that lines our skull
so what if the good
days should strike us dumb?
Is the heart’s drum not more
lovely for the devastation of silence?
We form a white circle
of these word-whittled teeth
to spit for grief
into the seething pines
that still unhewn
know only drowning
of sparks
and slacking
of the drum
and reverse it
We pull our tongues
into taut red swathes
until the flaws of language
stand out pale and beaded
from a thick and bloody lawn
so to be lopped into sequins
and placed on the boughs
so the pines can shimmer
in their pricking resistance
and the drum too
can grow taut
across the cauldron
and noisily
all that
sober material will
spin and writhe
in the shimmering pines
that do shimmer harder
as the heart batters on

Sunday, June 13, 2010


for Ben Estes

So taste
as day
arranges the red
and orange flowers
from tongue to tongue
like losing the cymbal’s
clang for all its glints
we crept behind the moon
which always insists on sleeping over
a belly for a mouth
an hour past the movie
we were still filming
the way food fills
in the cracks
between your teeth
or song
in sheets
against the windshield
no one believes
air is the enemy
so don’t be afraid
to breathe all this speech
someone already died to say
the moon is on the couch
so we climb onto the roof
and stick out our bellies
which slosh and go flowers
red and orange flowers
hairy and pink-stemmed
like champagne flutes
we always overuse
we do
nothing right
unless by tongue
or by cymbal
in the little time
left before sun drives
all the workers into work
all the workers into work

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


for Elizabeth Grosz

Toggling time
by eye
a couple blinks
into the future
makes the kids dizzier
to leave one blonde
comma and return through another
while the gap is stuffed
with rough visions of brain life
we watched the shadows turn back
into a dumb basil leaf
when speech combs for beauty
we rave against it
like weary green giants
sleep against valleys
rising and falling
to cry
quietly forward
without the courage
of crying harder
we buried our disguises
within the complication gender
brings easy to our pronouns
which must all be reinvented
watching the shadows turn back again
into a wound on someone’s body
where they were split open
by the disruption blinking makes
time travel isn’t easy
it rips everyone apart
I lost everything
when I went
and had
to reinvent
all of it
even the pronouns
even the way I
turn myself into shadow


for kari edwards

These pauses
fill us up
like Joe’s cut flowers
to shore against the hollow
where talk suffocates luck and safety
to pile the clouds against home
in the eyes of someone’s animal
I tried to unthread numbers
but that’s what time
seemed to be
moving toward
face decimated
by war-sex
verbing all the objects
that knew I’d do anything
to get out of this microphone
saying your bed name to strangers
who only want a light
there’s an ugly hollow
between the waves
this decade
striking out
what goodwill founders
in the open mouths
of the dead we bought
I couldn’t be more not myself
trembling at logic’s severed silver edge
so here’s the hopeless part
my mouth is open
kept that way
the dead
gather there
in the pauses
or else sew flaws
into its tight red webbing
because we must say something wrong
if we want the hollow gone
whose intelligence is proffered daily
like a bright food
that only starves
in cluttered
throbbing pauses
we must trust
the air to carry
us past absence into flesh
our pores pausing open like moths
where dust is part of light
and our song is carried
on by the particulates
we busily sloughed
to fill
the room


for Ish Klein

What still
asserts here
its closed mouth
hum through sun
asserts all of it
sky in the fly
hand folded into grimy hand
or a pimply Egyptian lime
bobbled onto the cold wet grass
to hide amid the early green
evening shadows like a knot
the thing that I love
is letting that hum
flame quietly from inside
as she sleeps
its yellow murmur
slowly unfurling
between her
strange open lips
stranger still for
what they also assert
in their quiet rumble
the story wants to disappear
like a pulled slipknot does
in the hands of someone young
enough to wonder after its going
and it seems she could
free all of herself merely
by the air’s consort
to rise unevenly or
shyly diffuse through
this sunning room
where hum
moves on

Friday, March 12, 2010



Suppose there is a will
to beauty. Suppose beauty
in horses arises
from sexual magnetism. Suppose
there is a form of living that
detracts least from others. Suppose
diagonals provide an ecology
of resistance. Suppose an image
is necessary to bring about the obliteration
of difference. Suppose we stick
to touch. Suppose the ear is moral. Suppose we
are doomed to love
what entertains us. Suppose fingerprints
are your initial admissions
of guilt. Suppose each surface
implicates only another
inexhaustible depth. Suppose saying
so makes it so. Suppose gravity
is humbling. Suppose there are those who
would think ugly these organs
of pleasure. Suppose they continue
to fear words. Suppose the “earth” is
made of them. Suppose your one
wish was to slough
the body’s fritz. Suppose you called
it a nerve sleeve. Suppose space
could exist without
the collaboration of time. Suppose numbers
were invented by a cult of time
worshippers. Suppose the word “man” began
to strike you as being just
a little humiliating. Suppose gravity
was indignant. Suppose every prize fails
by dint of its redundancy. Suppose help
is finally on the way. Suppose we
have ceased to need it.


Did it work? Does
the thought become sequestered
in possession in? Does it leave
particular dregs? A patina of grief?
How long is the journey
of a question? Are we too much
or too little hinged
on the likelihood of it? Did light desire
cinema? Do molecules
know nostalgia? When is this poem
best suited to history? Is it out
there? Still? That mountain
standing mute in
refutation of our philosophy?
Does the quest require
darkness? Is it dark yet? Do you grow
hearts like a shark
loses teeth or need three
like an octopus? Will night’s chill or
morning’s hunger erase
this tediousness? Who is the you you prefer
to leave behind? Is movement too
disturbing? Are we
disturbed enough? Where
does one learn more
about obviousness? Why does one feel
the need for continued invention? See them
there? Wherever the horizon
of the arm traces? That black
cat licking bugs from the Toyota’s
speckled grill? The back erased
to YO?


The dollar store
as national symbol. Ethnicity as
selling point for beer.
The American death of perfect teeth.
Engagement with some local
tongue. Wall Street as agora. The secret
dream of every nightmare. Vice-
versa. The tender that marks
the treasury of the heart. Recycling
the entire body bone
by bone. Humiliation’s U-turn.
A chortle borne by intimacy.
The part that samples annihilation
among friends. Heavy hanging
brow of the ungenerous lover. All
questions are lost
in the underlying ballistics
of the statement. Astounded by wealth’s
slow ease. All our dicks in
a row. The wending one makes
around the shapeliness of distant shadows.
War’s ability to survive
without the rich. This bill blown
awkwardly through mind’s commerce.
A dream dreamt in the vaults
at night. A canceling red antidote.
The weariness of horror. The new craft
that arrives in memory’s
stagnant mooring. When I say I
love you that means I will soon owe
you something like money.
The reason it is said. The unreasoning


You say the burglary
of future works is the poet’s
occupation. I say magnetism should not
be overlooked. You say it’s all time
wasted loving the irreparable.
I say the answers are too obvious
to see. You say ambivalence is a sign
of honesty. I say surveillance is
a mode of caress. You say shouldn’t
there be a name for the loss
of ontology. I say I wouldn’t mind
dying alone in the forest. You say the ghosts
have been holding us all
along. I say desire lives inside
the fold’s membrane. You say she slurs
the pattern’s weft to invite
the real’s return. I say the cat thinks
a sneeze is a death. You say
nothing, disgusted. I say we will no longer
be able to inhabit the divided class
structure. You say children
should name themselves. I say words
suffer at the namer’s lack. You say we all suffer
from abundance. I say there is a spiritual
requirement for orgy. You say names
are simply tools for generalization. I say
generalization is simply a tool
for oppression. You say all syllogism
is oppressive. I say let’s move
to some remote Canadian
wood and start over. You say why begin
again when the end is so near. I say nothing
is less possible than not choosing.
You say I abhor my little white smile
salvation light. I say I’m going
to touch you very gently. You say mouth
ship neck horizon.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


for Anselm Berrigan

Thou shalt
not convert
thy neighbor’s wife
into nebulous brush
scraping ‘gainst day’s folly
yet it be night
success is the lowest art
says Anselm and what’s more
a retouched codpiece at the Frick
or grid with grin crossing Bleeker
and I don’t yet understand
“the magic” of Chardin’s plums
so why am I here
to pollinate a bureaucracy
of cold little men
commenting on Rembrandt
his right hand
nearly bursting
its obscene
bouquet of fingers
joy is just
weird enough it seems
to grope from behind
and diminished in its aftershock
I want to be serrated
the guy at the bodega knows
all too much about my preferences
retouched codpiece over Roman shewolf
wink across to two Vermeers
probably ladies at work
I know I am
sewn contemporary domestic
all my dreams
of going
royal soured
with the understanding
that my ring
finger will always pale
when my middle stiffens


Plastic bag
cat hisses
from the bough
of a dogwood
as sun pisses through
a few stubborn leaves
some drown in backyard canals
some words appear to splash
but this little light of mine
it burns past two uninhabitable planets
before it ever burns me
curb littered with lipsticked butts
I thought everyone quit
maybe they quit quitting
maybe blue newspaper
skin splitting so
a wind
of recovery
can blow in
like strange hair
patterns in the mirror
maybe genetic maybe earned
I took apart the light
by slowly threading my wrist
like a reel of pale film
through its old yolk-mouthed distemper
making my hair feel cumbersome
maybe the skull is expanding
like a mollusk that
desires new ocean digs
maybe the light
was never heavier
than today
blue jay
on dogwood
eviscerated by it
my veins accelerating
from frame to frame