Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The First Cummings said
she rattles like angry candy.
Luna'd been shooting wet Pop-Rocks 
like BBs against the wallpaper 
of the skull that lives in your face.
Every day.  All day.  For a while.
Filling the alleys with vodka 
just made her move slower 
and all of the pills stacked like cobbles
dissolved leaving you (again) with
that Italian bitch of a goddess Luna 
her bird shot adding: tic tic tic...

Hanging in the window were 
faces that were lean and brown 
as Peking duck now looking like
wrapped hams or cheeses.
I have been sitting for too long
waiting for a light to flicker 
in my votive coffee,
a penitent holding a vigil.
I looked up to say something
and you were there
in front of the garland and lights
smiling in all directions
the Second Coming of
The Buddha of Christmas
or something equally happy
which was altogether (almost)
incomprehensible to me.

We waited and we watched the
World-sickle sliced Creamsicle Moon
bleed out blood orange and go dim.
We kept warm by expanding
and "jiggling the particles"
and stirring the bonfire
while Luna hissed
"tick, tick, tick"
flicking frozen shards of
the longest night of the year
at us like hard-learned candy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Puzzle Ever

Once there was a girl who loved... let's say it was puzzles. Picture puzzles. She was new to the town and met a boy who said that he also liked picture puzzles. She went on and on about how she had just rediscovered picture puzzles. He told her that he had loved picture puzzles since he was a small child and had been thinking about them too lately. She told him about how they seemed to be a symbol of life and by reconnecting the disconnections you could piece things together that had been separated. She told him about her whole philosophy of life based on the picture puzzle. He said that his fascination with them was more personal and declined to talk about it.

They dated for a little while. His friends looked at her like she was funny in the head when she told them that they had connected over a conversation about puzzles because they had never really known him to show much interest in puzzles. She took this to be a sign that she knew about him, a special part of him, a secret soul part of him that he had shared with her and no one else.

For his birthday, the girl bought him a big beautiful picture puzzle. It was the biggest must beautifully intricate puzzle she had ever seen and they both were very excited when he opened the gift.

A few days later, she came to his house and found him in his room, with the puzzle spread out before him. She ask him if it was the best puzzle he had ever had. He smiled a big smile and dunked a piece of it in a jar of peanut butter and popped it in his mouth. He said yes. He had loved puzzles since childhood, but this was the Best Puzzle Ever.

Dinnertime Carol

Predictions gave
your voices away.
I knew you would arrive,
to sing the new
Christmas carols.
A Grecian Chorus
perches rakishly
about my counterpane.
I feel your talons,
I who hide under the blankets
from the creditor
I invited to dinner
in better times.
It was always just the theater,
the silvered twin of life.
Now there's Don Giovanni
playing in the heat ducts.
The Stone Guest arrives
dragging me down
taking my car.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

sure nest

I wonder exactly what it was that was lost.
I wonder how it was lost.

I wonder if it was tossed too messily
for any hands to catch
like rice
or by being too small or too wispy
for his clumsy hands to grip
or too big.

if it escaped

if it was was stolen

If it was thrown away
...by accident
...by accident on purpose

If it was given up for dead and was buried somewhere
...and is waiting to sprout
...if is it entombed there

If, quietly,
I placed what I see him without
in the sure nest of his hands...
if he would make me take it back
just because he lost the first one.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Birdman of Detroit

The dream was that I was living in a really post-industrial wasteland
and everything was vacant and beautiful and crumbling but poisoned.
The kind of place where they could never build a house or school or
anything because even the dirt was deadly.  There were no weeds
even, barely any trees and what trees there were were those unkillable
Sumac trees.

After maybe being out all night ...and at that part of the morning where
nothing makes sense anymore someone took my arm and told me he had a surprise for me and that it was the coolest thing ever.  I didn't know this person but was interested in anything that could make anyone have any enthusiasm about anything anymore.

We went to a tall building that was in a severe state of disrepair.
You could tell from the outside that the upper floors had fallen in and
the windows were clear to the sky.  You could see the the scaffolding
was showing around the top of the building from the outside.  The
upper floors were stripped of bricks.  It looked dangerous.  The
interior of the building was also stripped by the metal pirates that
break into old buildings for scrap iron and copper.  There was a
staircase... like a grand marble staircase.  We went up a bunch of
floors on this marble staircase then when that staircase ended we
walked to a metal staircase that went around the periphery of the
building's interior.  The building appeared to be getting round as we kept climbing through the place where the floors disappeared.  There was a giant wrought iron round dome window at the top.  All of the glass had fallen or broken out of making a giant black birdcage.

We went up into the cage and there were probably six to ten other
people up in the cage.  As the sun rose, everyone started making
birdcalls.  The guy explained to me that all of the birds had left
Detroit.  In order to make the sun rise now, people had to go up into
the top of the building... and make all of the bird noises for the
whole city.  So, as the sun rose... the group of us whistled away
happily.  In a big birdcage.  Atop a building.  Somewhere above the
wreckage of Detroit.  It made perfect sense.

Fight Or Flight Cartography

Flatland's kamikaze
suicide attack squadron
ambushed me in
the bathroom of the bar.
Four sheets to the wind
my hold bursting with
homesick dragons
the U.S.S. Edge of The Earth or Bust
went decisively
way too far east
and came back round.
Completely batshit
fucking retarded
beautiful idiot that I am
I forgot
it's a globe,
not a map.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kabuki Blues

not perfect
know that
moving  toward
not there
may I never arrive

the learning
the mistakes
because I  am
not correct
may I never arrive

always open
to changes
a wrong thing
not learned
may I never

the process
beautiful, painful
only way
of teaching
may I  never

I wake up
I stand on
the  balcony
watching  rain
a lightning rod

may you never learn
may you never arrive
my cold hand
your warm  hair
a lightning rod

please may you
may I never awake
to  learning other
or to arriving there

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Caffe Venezia

The smoking section sign...
each night it was at large and
drifted backward table by table.
Never where it should have been.
We wrote on the bathroom walls
until they gave us a chalkboard.
Then we wrote on the walls
around the chalkboard
as the staff played
Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"
on repeat. On repeat.

You pictured yourself as a
Kerouac or Bukowski,
but you couldn't drink yet...
and college towns are
hard places to find a good,
hard, underage drink.
So we were the Expatriates
we were the Hemingways
we were the Fitzgeralds.
Stains and cigarette ash on
our vintage wool and cottons,
on my beaded dress...
We were purists then:
we dressed like grandparents
and read things in French.

Our tongues lodged so very
firmly in our cheeks
that it became impossible
to talk so we watched
our condescension drip slowly
down the plate glass window
picturing the hole we'd punch
in reality by going out
young and beautiful.
We'd outlived Kurt Cobain.
We thought we were brave
but we were
and terribly

Monday, May 17, 2010

Delft Interior

I sit by the window staring out.
The light, I think…
falling on my face is perfect and gray Northern light:
I am a Vermeer tableau.
I wish that you were sitting
across the room from me.
I should be holding something of
tin glazed white earthenware
covered with petal like brushstrokes
of that unmistakable muted cobalt blue
that only the really old, expensive pieces have.

I want this so that when we go
to the art museum and see Delftware
aquariumed behind glass
and those serene Dutch interiors
labeled and arranged and
preciously leashed in on long wires
you will know why we belong there.

You would not even have to think twice,
you would just know:
"This is the cool northern light
on her pearls like your pearls
and light like that falls
on her linen and her wool skirt
like it falls on yours. 
That plate is decorated
with the Delft blue of my eyes."
You will know why these un-things
are all our own priceless
museum pieces, identical and meaningful:
the still life we lead in our own museums.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


A vampire in a city of vampires with decorative dishevelment even of the buildings around you. The black lace and white lace of balcony garters. A city that was to be seen by candlelight swimming in the mud and the rain and the river. You over there with that damned hair that could be Bacchus or some High Victorian dandy absorbing two and a half centuries of moans in the orchid roots of your damp curls. There's jazz and glitter under your fingernails when you scratch your chin.  You should have slept before dawn but it never gets quiet enough in New Orleans and you know that the dead here have more deluxe rooms because you saw them but the locks are all on the wrong side of the doors.  It's a madhouse here.

You order a bourbon because of the streetsign but you're still waiting to get back under the swamp, away from becoming coal, away from compressing yourself into diamonds in that city.  That dream exists in geologic time like you and right now it's hot with that swamp gas candlepower and she pours you that sixth one and then it just Feels Better.  The alcohol makes slop in that black river soil of your brainpan and the roots of jazz and the blues hang down deep in that bayou slime and they draw that swamp voice up.  Rising slow and cracking the plaster on the walls... because that's just how it works... moisture like the saxophone... like the singer's voice as she feels the whore blues sliding up her thighs.  Nothing is immune to the sex and ravages because it's the voice of the goddamn muck they tried to tame and the best you'll ever do is sing backup with all the golden flies and the peeling flocked wallpaper and the lillyflowers that French this place up.

And this is how I find you late at night curled in a rented bed and you are passed out and don't feel me as I bend down and put my ear to your ear and like a shell gives back the sound of the sea I can hear in your skull the sex noises of mud. We are a slatternly old bayou of legs and foliage and masks and beads and sequins and wonder and shutters and arms and rain and moss. I haven't seen you for ages... but darling, we have always lived here.

Monday, January 25, 2010


When I am alone my fictions
start doing exactly the opposite
of what NYC cockroaches did
when I flipped the kitchen light on
for the midnight double vodka
I thought would put me to sleep.

The women who buy your drinks,
the men who buy mine don't know.
Maybe it's too precious to bring up,
or it's just convenient to leave it out.
Like Heisenberg: speed or location
but never both at the same time.

Your monologues to me at 4 am
are my non-fiction bedtime story,
but most of the time all I have
to work with is the classic noir:
chalk outline on the asphalt,
a pool of blood, and no witness.

All I know for sure is that
when we're under
the Christmas tree 
my fictions are quiet,
and in the morning you make quiche.