Wednesday, May 17, 2017


You crawled into your sleeves
and it sewed your sleeves shut.
You curled up in your pockets
and it sewed your pockets shut.
It sewed shut the neck of your shirt
so you couldn't push your head through.
It stitched shut the cuffs of your pants.
It tried to clog your ears and nostrils and mouth
but you kept tearing away the threads.
It stitched your eyelids shut
and you welcomed the dark.
It wound its sticky strands around your fingers,
bound your phone to your hand.
It attached your crutches to your armpits,
stuck your hat to your scalp.
You managed to open your eyelids just a slit
and the sun burning through the threads
made the whole world shine silver.
Sounds dissolved in your mouth.
You gave up the fight for your ears and nostrils.
It sewed your ass shut and you knew it would be
only a matter of time before things got complicated.
You knew you could tear the silken stitches
any time you wanted to, knew you could easily
break free of those delicate bonds.
But you didn't. 
You didn't.
You didn't. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Bassoon Player on the Isle of the Dead [after Arnold Böcklin]

She's much too elegant to be playing
such a clumsy instrument, its sound
so comically mournful. The landscape is vast
and cluttered, not one thing claiming the right
to be the focal point over any other thing.
Piles of debris, stones, beautiful women
and men in business suits staring vapidly
into the distance. Someone politely jumps into
the cold black water. Someone runs, then stops.
But mostly they just stand there for a while before
picking their careful way across the steep, rocky bluffs,
around the clumps of woolly scrub.
The shaggy cypresses stand, ominous sentinels
between the knees of the bluffs. I tried to swallow
myself whole and now I'm choking. I only sleep
when I don't want to, the rest of the time I'm lost
in a dopey haze. Hitler once owned this painting,
you know. Die Toteninsel. How does that affect
its already rather bleak beauty? And then fucking
Rachmaninoff digs his nails into it and writes
this maudlin piece of...

She purses her dark, lovely lips around
the delicate reed of her unwieldy woodwind,
its deep vibrations booming like a splintery laser
out of the maelstrom of the orchestra
directly to where I sit in the mezzanine,
speaking only to me, saying Let's fall apart 
in style, my darling, disintegrate in one another's arms
Let's throw open the doors to this maggot motel,
assure them that there's plenty of vacancy.
Let's serve our last dwindling crumbs of consciousness
to the crows, buffet style.

Your dirge has stolen my heart, my love.
You keep playing while I book us a trip
on Charon Luxury Cruises. According to
the website, the ship hits no less than thirteen scenic
Isles of the Dead, where the leprous natives come
running from their dilapidated huts to greet you,
scorched skeletons on bone-white beaches,
throwing garlands of intestines around your neck,
spitting rotten teeth and screaming Aloha.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fury Black Grip

I trapped Cyndi Lauper in my locker
outside the computer lab with its black screened IBMs,
blinking cursors broken glass crashed cars piled up
Lyndon LuRoche and Dukakis, secret notes
buried in the margins of every blue-lined sheet
of college rule in every three-ringed binder
taped to every surface, rustling in the hot breath
of thousands of Middle School girls
in jean skirts and pantyhose
The Like a Virgin LP on display at K-Mart
I don't remember my own clothes,
every mirror plastered with pimples
Don't remember my voice ever changing, 
just all the masturbating and of course
the learning to curse,letting the words spit and slap
and loving it, like holding a knife
like the Fury Black Grip I found stuck in a log
in the woods beside the Little Lehigh
one one of my excursions further and further from home
Opening and closing the blade, I cracked my best
Bill Murray grin, rolled my eyes, said fuck.
Felt in control of something. 
Back in the tiled corridors, thus armed,
I still blushed and sweated in the presence of the girl
with the ankle boots and Simon LeBon haircut,
still tripped and crashed backwards over
my own tongue.
I could hear my heart inside the locker
of my chest banging to get out
but I'd forgotten the combination,
never did remember it, it's probably
still there, shriveled and starved
with Cindy, sadly whispering
the words to She Bop there in the darkness.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Great Plains

Last year my heart was
plagues locusts
The sky turned black,
atmosphere roaring like it was
raining chainsaws
The ground rustling, bodies
crunching underfoot
But they've since passed
and left nothing but
fields picked clean
miles and miles of desolation.
There may not be any life left here
but there's no noise, either,
no distraction, no distortion
no wind
No boot soles hardening the dirt
No bare feet running from
pounding hooves. 
I lie down in the dust,
feeling the dry stubble tickle the back of my neck,
watching a single heart-shaped cloud
drift across the blue sky,
watching it slowly lose its shape.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Anarchist Arachnids

There were cops everywhere on May Day
I saw a bunch looking at their phones
The anarchists wore outfits to mimic
and mock their beetle-shell riot gear
Protestors had fashioned a couple of
gigantic spider puppets
out of papier mache and shopping carts
Not sure what they were supposed to symbolize
-maybe it was about us all being flies
in capitalism’s web or something-
but they looked ominous
There were flash bombs
shattered shop windows
a couple of garbage cans set on fire
After the cops put an end to things
I walked to the grocery store. Walking back home
a young man stopped in the middle of the street
in front of me, waited for me to pass him,
then walked beside me for two blocks,
eyeing my brown paper bags and saying
“Yum yum food. Yum yum food”
over and over again with a big grin on his face,
at one point leaning in and whispering
Finally he reached out to touch my elbow
and I stopped and yelled, "Do not fucking touch me"
He just giggled and wandered off.
As I crossed the highway, I saw
in the middle of the bridge
the hulking carcass of one of the spiders
its carapace caved in and all its legs
spread at crazy angles against
the chain link fence
as a single helicopter buzzed overhead
flying too high to ever get trapped
in any web

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pony Express

I am curled up in an old canvas mailbag
hanging from a hook
mounted to the outside wall
of an old brick hotel
on what used to be the outskirts of town
but is now just another cluster of tenements.
There are still hitching posts out front,
tilting at crazy angles in the cement.
All the farmers used to come here
on their way back out of town
after hawking their harvest at the markets.
The bag is worn thin, patched in places.
I could easily kick my way out,
but I don't think I will.
I think I'll just rest here
another century or so,
wait for the horses to return,
listening for the hammering of their
rusted shoes against the crumbling asphalt