The Valley of I Hate Myself
After a few years of You can have me if you don’t hurt me and You can kiss me if you promise to leave soon, I pack my stuff and head south. I drive past the ranch style homes of I like to watch it burn and the freakish dust bowl of If I can’t have you no one will, and into the valley of I hate myself. Forget the bad weather and the dead weight of ghosts, the plus sides make themselves immediately clear: if you plant something, it is almost certain to grow, if you want to live off the land, there [...]
Aubade While Falling
From here, the smallest increment above the sheet, I plummet. We know the law: we are all repulsive. Nothing touches anything else. A café and some version of you, impatient, dressed in furs, but this alleyway circuit board. I never know who’s chasing me. Define close as nearby though not imminent: you are close, but not here. The warm vacuum between us, not your skin, but the sensation of force. I am a magnet. I am a pole. In this mountain village, gravity is a lie we tell to feel connected. I know what’s coming. Pigeons scatter. Nothing solid in the stairwell. From this height, I watch [...]
A Life in the Theater
I was wrong, I shouldn’t have picked up the phone
just to read you the line you already knew from the review
the reviewer wrote that said you were no good in the play I can’t remember
and only came to see because it was you alive somewhere else in it—shining below the fake sun
and I was in love with something you said or thought or willed into being
because of just being back in the boat with the living after swimming too far out and for so long just
to meet living again. I struggled to get on board and join the [...]
The Storm We Call Progress
Strum and concept, drum and bitterness, the dog of history keeps being blown into the present— her back to the future, her last supper simply becoming the bowels’ dissolving memory in a heap before her. A child pats her back and drones there-there while under her lifted skirt is a perfect today where a cult of ghost-lovers predicts a rapture but instead remains to inherit varicose veins, rubber knickers, douches with bulbs, douches with bags, girdles in a choice of pink, red or white, and in rubber, silk or twilled linen, enemas, clysters, oils balms, and other Benjamin etceteras burrowing like scabies into the [...]
Like a Prayer
Everyone must stand alone with other loners. The black lace
veils from every other chapel- goer, all the doves mourning
a boy-star petered out too soon. Heaven help me slip through
the bars of this brick house shattered by blue light, glum moon
fidgeting with shadow. The boy’s black light vision. His sideways
ways of painting wings, crowns, anointed words and words
backtracked. Track back a beginning, what the cave muralists
meant. Not the death of the beast but the brilliant red, the rigid white
of bones. Raise folded hands and a fur-gilded skull. Crown yourself
with horns, most elegant weapons. And with slowly going embers
Poem Ending with a Phrase from Federico Garcia Lorca The last time I saw Lorenzo he was wearing a blind man’s glasses and holding the leash of a seeing-eye dog
though he isn’t blind and he doesn’t have a dog and his name isn’t Lorenzo but Bruce.
Who can explain why a man might dance on the ledge outside his office five flights above the Hudson River?
The city with five boroughs and two thousand bridges fits on one side of the coin my father gave me to give to a beggar.
It remains in my pocket as I look out the window on the day of my [...]
Either everything’s a valley, a jelly donut dimpled down the middle, or else everything’s
a collision of plates, crustal thickening on its way toward muscled mountains. Either everything’s way,
way, beyond mid-gallop or a rundown shack haystack- still, a dog-patch immobilizing glory, gumption, get up
and go. Either everything’s a sandy path leading to a dune-saving fence or nothing’s guarded, out of reach.
Which is worse: too many walls or not enough, the laciness of shams or an endless hallway of bare
jalousies, dead fly lounging on each lone pane?