Apr 30, 2011


You think your
luck is bad, but,
actually, you 
should have died 
about seventeen
times at this
point.  You’re
really the luckiest
man on Earth,
but you won’t
know this until
you’re dead &
looking down
on it all & you’ll
say, “those were
the days,” because
the afterlife—
that’s when
you’re really
gonna get it.

Apr 29, 2011


Spider-faced in the river light,
that old brown river is a glistening
vein.  No shape out among
the popping lights, the engine
of a conch speaks to the ships
out to sea.  

 A hundred landlocked
days, the river  like a letter,
rolls up to the disintegrating
house, a brass key in its mouth.

The magician looks out
through the glass walls, the silence
that is the last song of water.
Glass hands to pry the fissure,
the whole trap falls like a man.
Mister Miracle—not what
the audience really wanted;
a puddle that seeps through
every floor, down to the bones
in the ground, thrown up
when the ground cracks too.

The meat of the nut, the hammer
& the anvil of sleep
where the children sway, a forest
of leaning kelp.  The river folds
into itself, the oily waves being
a tired song.

Apr 28, 2011


Cease to dream
when awake, nothing
to lord over the temple
of breath, moments
not squashed a victory
of sorts.  Take it easy
or die, attached to
nothing but the salt
earth, sea, the great
destroyer--destroy me;
green mouth that drinks
crude, needles, all
the lost, all the shriven
Purr or roar, wrap around
the last real darkness
like god: that placard
at every fucking funeral;
at last she dissolves
all those goddamn footprints
in the sand.

Apr 27, 2011


Pumice for a brain pan
a head full of green wax
box-nosed like all the ancients

the vibes are hollow
bones for some unreasonable
bird like an oil well

indefatigable as the worst--
who are never definitive
fate accompli: lousy apprentices

all anyone seems to be
a phalanx of halfwits
circling the alembic

where they were told to stand to await
further instructions in the form of cold, hard cash

Apr 25, 2011


A clock-face for every nightmare
& a ruler to which the dilation
of daffodils does not confirm.

Crucifix of sentience, one hand
is small & the other large
but no head or heart at apex,

just a gluttonous wedge; money,
essence, tide—only one
chisels holes in the limestone.

Bilateral symmetry or a binary?
Only one alights, craw
of the Green Man who bids

all stalks arise & cannot give you
the time of day.

Apr 24, 2011


Variations within
established parameters
mark the cloud
of possible outcomes.

Like pages or teeth,
at last to go on
occupying space as names
are recycled—

death at last eats
the advertisements,
as such is
my hero.  You of no

commercial value,
unweave the grid
like a head of hair,
at the very last

you will be my friend.
The flags you tear
for shrouds, when erasure
is the only

recourse to a murmuring
text like an ornery
mountain; no less
than we deserve.

A sign post
the grave of an empire,
the shrill horns
like cicadas

melting into the heat.
An absolute love
purer than religion;
even in the supermarket,

the department store,
the shopping mall,
there is only

Apr 23, 2011


Into the side of a hill

into the sea

into algorithms

into spades

into supplication

into arithmetic

into tachycardia

into basalt

into state animals

into adumbrations

into unto another

into bees

into erasure

into benzene rings

into stage directions

into endpapers

into lachrymarys

into ergonomics

into abrasions

into outros

Apr 22, 2011


The register:
who calls?
Who responds?
of the telegraph—
sparks down a line,
a poltergeist
is not a ghost,
can touch you;
oh haunts of the past,
visceral & glowing,
it was the machine
all along.

A foghorn, up & down
the scale. We blame
the messenger
when we blame
the banshee;
a thousand revenant
canaries will go easy
on us just because
we’ve got so much
in common.

Apr 21, 2011


Cauliflower ears
of the lotus-eaters;
their bouquets
of blind eyes, prorous

rain in the bell
of a saxophone;
steel sutures of this
land, the metal skeleton
that upholds
the green goddess.  

Crops rotting
in the fields, even this
flower of our breasts
is shellacked.  Other
children will bury
our progenitors.  

We give away nothing
but that that has
value, lord over
a mannequin
full of bad air,
melt down books
for fire to torch
the libraries.

Apr 20, 2011


The point where grass bursts
from ground, a follicle
for those blades of the blood
of the sun.  It’s all about
scale—the Atom will tell you—
the emptiness that is
the lattice of experience.
A point on a line, losing
everything from one moment
to the next.  The sky
is blue or black; clouds
are grey or white.
Only so many
days available, only so much
time to think of
the available days.

Like extensions, the time spent
under the star of the mind,
my elusive dreams:
metal flowers of ships
melting into the sluggish sea,
a constellation seen from  above.
How everyone winds up there
in the end—the dead, the living
& everyone else. 

Apr 19, 2011


As though they would exhale
cabin air, the valkyries
of the future,
which continues to shrink,
distill until you begin
to doubt it is there at all. 

An angle against the sun
to mark time; the sun 
just a lousy orange, a porthole
into the place you were
promised.  At last, there’s nothing
out in space at all—
its limits irrelevant as is
longing flapping like a carp
on the cratered surface
of some aptly named moon.
Names deflate in space,
crumple into fists, each one
raised against the joke
of the air, just a skin
like any other skin, hiding
nothing, certain of its
own boundaries, the atmosphere
crushing in is more
than you could imagine.

Apr 18, 2011


A smile of transistors
began to speak
            of great unity 
in cerulean light, an unreal
harpsichord tinkled
            with lightning. 
To this end
none could be left
             in the gunmetal haze;
the pregnant, stenciled-on
            eyes watched
from the periphery,
            with no need
of clarions.  The baritone
were just as foretold,
            except we
were happy, marching
            into the sea,
our thinking
            done, our suffering.
Like animals,
            at last; all
we wanted & more.
            The static world
left to inherit would greet
            the nova, would be
the tickertape
            of our pyrrhic grin.

Apr 17, 2011


A thousand stones
in the sky-
diadem, unidentified,
strobing, errant superego 
parts the cumulonimbus
like a curtain of hair.

Long ago, we gave
these bodies to them.
Skies throbbed
ecstatic.  Nothing but
barbed wire to helix
this coil now.   
The Caduceus
shoots a flame
for purgation.
Serpents squeeze 
the barrel, the herm 
squirts petroleum
& lucre.

That which cannot be owned
abhorred.  Skin soft &
smooth for encoding,
the name branded, the price
too.  The oldest trick
a lame duck
bookless until the universal
language can only say

check please.

Apr 16, 2011


A nation
of trouble



in the stocks
& on the lawns


in the dreaming
a bad bone

its narrative

what they knew
would be

all along
the awful


lay down
in worsted

grey hair
the old speech

still holding

the feet
of braves

over sickly

Apr 15, 2011


A landscape unrolls

A knot of roads

A basement, a telescope

7 flowers of the prism

Gap-toothed compass rose

Constellations wheel above

Roots gather below

Vintage in the cellar

Ghosts in the furnace

Skeins of tragedy, motes

Of comedy, so long

Since we gave names to homes

Or lived in them

Apr 14, 2011


Though another imagined end,
     a row of nosegays
erupt from the buried
     clavicle, debris
dances to fill
     a vacuum, water to fill
the hollowed-out
     temple.  8 or 9
clouds to fill
     the droopy head.
No rope
     trick, just a yellow
balloon.  Microorganisms'
     parthenogenesis, a lifetime
of 2-minute songs
     stacked end to end
to end the dance
     of Maya, illusion is
as hands must be
to get the record flipped.

Apr 13, 2011


A crystal comma
       in a silo, voice
like tinkling glass.
a thousand pins,
       verdant cloud mycelium,
its shadow
                   on Earth
       describes a map
of ill-omen.  All our thousand
       cherished nightmares
boiled to gleaming--
       chromium flames
in the central eye;
           the eye of the lion
                  in the agate,
the aperture opens
       like a double axe;

       redacted pages
        as punishing wings,

pinions up against
        the heavens'
autumnal orange
                   scratch commands

on the retina,
                   dilating time,
the rise of the apocrypha
                   as margins begin to

      overwhelm the page.

Apr 12, 2011


Ghost Braille 
of rain
on sfumato smear
of tram windows. 
Sun staccato 
through same.
Angled shadows, 
fallen brows.   
Time is the gun
of gravity.  
Everyone on Earth 
is a stranger
on the train, 
in the end
everyone leaves. 
gets off.  
At the same stop,
though destinations
differ,  I don’t
think you’re 
my neighbor,
know you 
from anywhere,
wonder where
you’ve gone. 
All the eye 
sees, closes,

Apr 11, 2011


The pages gilt
only in the shut
book, the ground
the speech
of objects. 
Analog bilateral,
the volume of the
the pawed moon
in the lazy creek.
tomes slough
off, a hunter
in a boar-husk.
In leaving behind
the boom of the beat
skin, the ghost
of the animal
is gone, the sweat
streaked serif.
A shroud
of zeroes drops
a flanged cube,
each thing disintegrating
into data.  The lay
of the land snatched
out too slowly,
the flasks shatter
& sway.  I am going
away into the sleeve,
the shelf, the tire-
marks all the day
long, the long day
with no sun or moon
that hovers, a bottle-
fly above
a wound.

Apr 10, 2011


Bola of the mind,
bola of the body,

o to drive a pile
in the chronology

still the roots climb
up to the limbs

of the banyan;
the armored seed

drops on the bog
& the eaters

in the silt.
It’s a tale of water

& sand, what goes on
in & around these walls.

Stuck fast,
make a wish

on your own bone,
or knit the clavicles

of the genii.
I guess that’s it:

the house on fire,

the tumbling train,
now that fetching

carbuncle will have
to wait

until the knife
is loosed

from the vertebra.

Apr 9, 2011

September 26, 1182

Like Jesus Christ in the garden, the Church
is in anguish, stumbling, deflowered:
the moors strip her from the south 
and a savage bear claws her from the north.
            By cruel hands her sons are snatched from port,
while winds blow all of the heresy 
and vice and sin the world creates
as rats begin to devour the dead.
            God halts all with lightning from his left hand,
observe the wounds of his sacred Son,
from which flow four fonts of paradise,
which can still replenish the world:
from on high He sees
Saint Francis born in the city of Assisi.

Barcelona, May 29th 1895.

Jacint Verdaguer, from Sant Fransech: Poema

Apr 7, 2011


To write well of the angel embodied
would need another angel;
oh You in whom Francis seems revived,
            return & in my self dwell.

Once again, please, beat your heart
            once again strike your lyre
and light the angelic spark, 
Assisian sun, that inspires your songs
and I’ll lift my winged love to fly.

fron Sant Francesch: Poema by Jacint Verdaguer

Apr 6, 2011


Quills on
the pronominal orchid—
what has not been said
of I? Phenomena
beget Them, all around,
in their hovels, eating
their food.  What once
was We scoured & sewn
with shards, Your boon,
the colors running off
the synthetic oriflamme
into sticky pools, enamel
clawed off the sun-painted
moon—work all of the day
& into the night, to know
its secret, Us, held low
in the dirt.  I am going there,
anyway, to do what You
should have done, We
can never recover, can
never go back to the sleeping
little streets or the corner
store totems, a standard
of flypaper to which I
am adhered & held above
like a snake head.

Apr 5, 2011


No good comes from a vanilla
flash, the frying skies; don’t
look above where the wheel
in the sky spins a lathe. All

through the night until the brown
sun dawns.  Stanger, stranger,
make a brooch of your falling
teeth, the beaks of doves;

who can sex the bare skull?
A mandala of chrome rings
& the rain stings, what creature
sings when a house falls?

Everyone into the street
like a party, the wily styles
of the plastic bags,
face-huggers, concealing our last

nakedness, all I see
can’t be true to life.  The last
movie was us, the camera
high above, a roman candle
spits chromium sparks

through the seaweed-
green.  No identity: my body
is a pixel.  Not even data.
We were dancing.

Wailing came, a rook
out of the shower-
drain, our pipes far below
the buckling ground.

They erupt like bones
& spew blabbering
the black water.  It will wash
you away.  A splat of black

feathers is punctuation,
full stop the needle
pops & clicks & pops
& clicks in the groove.

Apr 4, 2011


In the empire of the greys
disappearing by degrees

snow in your face, please
I must get in to see

What your daddy did,
the other two

fingers, what I can remember
a washboard of blood

Siren’s song played
backwards as I forget

the spokes of the saw-
mill, the tongues of bland

cards & their cancerous lines
of fire ants

blat blat blat of a rubber
bulb horn, as long

as I can remember, in nested
circles in the twilight

hood, the town’s bad parts
exposed for pleasure

The stiff weeds that are a line
down the rickety

street like a torso, talking,
limbless in there where

cymbals bleat go ahead
make my angel

food cake for the host
of lost days, a grey metal

table & cloth that rips
like God, everything

I can remember, exposed
out on the floor

a red stair, a rubber
mallet, a sinister form

I can’t
fill out.

Apr 3, 2011

Wassily Kandinsky: Far Away

Blood moon,
       reflected in dark water,
skeleton of an
       alien algae
blooms on the dun shore.
       Steel horizon line
       the heavy

Apr 2, 2011

Franz Mare: "The Dreaming Horses"

A grey ray from the east
      the dream is a
blue sheen       does not 
      interact with planes
but an orb is 
       the penumbra
regards the mate
       standing beside
eyes closed awake
       under Eden
feeling the side heave
       listening to lungs'
ocean crash

Apr 1, 2011


This plane
never leaves;

walk on the ground,

brothers & sisters
will look up

to you, Kirlian-
prints on the ceiling,

to hold


kept from drifting

gravity is
the love

of the dead
from the rocks,

silt, veins
below ground,

harder stuff

at the still
center, to

which we are
all implored,

held fast, to the flaming
core, perhaps the furnace--

heaven what's

clashing strata,
the heaving planks

of home, we are

like funeral dirt
by its shrugs.

Walk on
the ground, human,

holding true

to your roots,
or to the roots

of sturdy trees,
stay close

to your bitter name,
feel it

convince the spine
of its last

home, the long stint

in the hard garden
that shouldn't exist

at all.


It's that time of year again, National Poetry Month, variously beloved and maligned by poets themselves.  I will be participating in the NaPoWriMo festivities, as usual, by posting a poem a day.  Some of these will be for my ongoing Northern Soul project, writing glosses on songs associated with that cultural moment in the U.K. in the late 70's - early 80's; I will also post some of the translations of Sant Fransesch: Poema by the Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer that I have been working on, as well as miscellaneous ekphrastic things as I write them.

I've done some housecleaning on this blog, as you can see.  Since Facebook has all but replaced Blogger as a social networking platform, I've eliminated the links that served that purpose from the blog, and devoted this one entirely to my own work.  I'll be blogging on my other blog, Ashes Ghosts Rubies as a more traditional "blog," and will include some links to poetry-content sites that I read frequently, as well as some links to commercial presses.