Archive for May, 2012


It seems that on a night with lips this red and chapped,

the bar is always full to overflowing with them, though

cheap beer works fine in a pinch if you know how to do it

right (they do, they always do, with lime and salt and sugar

and an expensive glass and all the lies and fixins), but aside from

the beverage, isn’t it just something how such heavy folk can

seem so light, so, you know, elsewhere, detached, so scholarly,

like every text message and misplaced thought is a new translation

of Beowulf, like somewhere in the period of time between

the shouting and the hand on the door you find the unabridged

works of Dickinson, and what stings the most is how right

the rustling phantoms must be, how crucial it always seems

in hindsight to cling to the edge of every glass, every word,

every meaning, a world soaked through with puns and promises.



1. A path laid out before you, red and white, and this is the countdown.


2. Quiver, pivot, feel the unbearable weight of your right hand as you pray

to hold them steady, these swinging scales of Justice.


3. List for me if you can the many forces laying stakes on the marker,

telling you how to walk and live and breathe.


4,5. Now time goes by too quickly, as it must. Only now do you realize the heat,

the silence, the conspicuous absences of this cracking sidewalk.


6. Right, this is the part where the path takes on its own true character, becoming

definitively urgent, a narrow corridor drawing you forward, a child’s dream the only

thin lacquer separating you from what pulses just below.


7,8. The houses are gray and blue and they loom, their eyes are empty sockets,

you hear the cries and murmurs from within, begging you to join their gaze.


???. Is it really so foolish to simply turn around, to go home?

medical school lesson 8



My dearest Mina, I fear I have been visited

in the night once again by the ghost of Warren

Zevon, or maybe it was Robert Schumann,

I don’t remember. He stood draped in a white

sheet like specters are known to in the West,

and asked me how many auditory hallucinations

I might mold to his amorphous, flowing form.

The static gravel whispered secrets about my late

grandfather, the sheer density of the air threatening

to collapse my eardrums was its own love song.

Tell me this, beautiful skeptic: if it were a dream,

if it were insanity, would it end so consistently

each time, standing arms outstretched, lashed

to the vibrating air as it moves in opposite directions

and nowhere, stretching me Christ-like along

the humming breeze? And why then, would

you say, must it always happen at night, when

my fears are watching, waiting, muttering revenge?

Mi vida loca

He was a sweet boy in front of a sell out crowd,

aiming to please, to knock sweat and bloody

trophies clean into the upper deck, well, no,


he was a sweet boy after his first loss, call

it fight of the year, call it too beautiful to live

in this blistering sea, wife and children be

damned, well, no,


he was a sweet boy in golden and red, a phoenix

crawling on skinned knees to the middle of any

dirt road that would have him, murder on either

side, well, no


he was a sweet boy blinking weeping infant’s eyes

against a new sun, still innocent, no concept of

the flames and spike strips already laid in front

of him by destiny, but feeble fists already raised

in instinct, to fight, to defend.


I’m not about gummy bears and chocolate,

no sirree, I need the sweet things in life

to require a little bit of commitment, you see,

finely toned masseter muscles and an unwavering

dedication to self-indulgence, five solid minutes

of chewing until it hurts and forms a glue-like

exudate that slithers down to my chin until

I can’t even speak, which is pretty damn fine,

no need to shoo out of the nest my nascent

opinions on gay rights and abortion and whether

Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel is TRULY superior

as a front man, too many things whistle past the ears

as you fall from a cedar and pray for your wings to

open at last, instead let me stay here in pantsless

amniotic security, I can build a nest out of this red,

yellow, purple cement, grape and sour apple, please,

don’t let this piece end, I am afraid of the creatures

that might burst forth from my chest after I swallow.

Man who fart in church sit in own pew,

but he just may have the most magnificent

Imago Dei, yes, you heard me right, Miss

Tight-Lipped Tile-Examining Reverence,

he casts God in his own image, one with

the mutual respect afforded brothers: sure,

they beat the shit out of each other every

once in a while, but there’s a love there,

and once you know another truly, sincerely

for those many long years of depressions

great and small, well, you get to realizing

that maybe they really don’t mind the small

stuff; maybe you can just blame it on the dog.

medical school lesson 7

It is supposed that the sterility of this modern world,

all chrome and 24 hour news cycles, is in large part

responsible for this febrile generation, these asthmatics

and wheezy jokers whose throats snap shut like the maws

of crocodiles. And truly, the air is full of these supposedly

harmless epithets that couldn’t grow a colony of bacteria

if their very lives depended on it, but what then of our

enraged immune response? Is it in our very nature to be

adversarial? My keyboard lacks the appropriate set

of characters to explain my rage to the seraphs, certainly

not without causing undue offense, but then, “You did this,

it was you!” shout the boiling mast cells, and the impotent

words in my gullet are enough to blow me up like a balloon,

red, itching, jiving, til everything is just a smear upon my wall.


Ths pm hs   stpd, trnsprnt gmmck

bt t ctlly gts y wndrng, why th fck

dd th wrtr g thrgh wth ths, t’s mbrrssng,

t sggsts   crtve vcm,   crtve blck hl.

Lk, r th dspprng vwls sppsd t rprsnt

hs mntl frgmnttn? r thy jst   prtclrly

crd sggstn f tht vrly fmlr smtc slppg d?

knw th ld lmntry schl lst gs “nd smtms

Y”, bt hw ws tht dcsn md hr? t’s prblmtc

t sy th lst.   xpct t’s mr n ss f th wmblk

cmfrt/sfty f mbgty. T sy wrds tht r gnwd

nt yr hrt, lk ”  m n w f y”, nd hv thm jst flt wy,

thy cld mn nythng, nntcd, nxmnd, sf bhnd

rmprts f hgh cncpt, bt th rth’s tmsphr nrchd

by thr prsnc nnthlss, th crlst dss f ll.



This poem has a stupid, transparent gimmick

but it actually gets you wondering, why the fuck

did the writer go through with this, it’s embarrassing,

it suggests a creative vacuum, a creative black hole.

Like, are the disappearing vowels supposed to represent

his mental fragmentation? Are they just a particularly

crude suggestion of that overly familiar semiotic slippage idea?

I know the old elementary school list goes “and sometimes

Y”, but how was that decision made here? It’s problematic

to say the least. I exepct it’s more an issue of the womblike

comfort/safety of ambiguity. To say words that are gnawed

into your heart, like “I am in awe of you”, and have them just float away,

they could mean anything, unnoticed, unexamined, safe behind

ramparts of high concept, but the earth’s atmosphere enriched

by their presence nonetheless, the cruelest disease of all.

Confucius say: movement 1

After many years of fastidious and clever

searching/investigation, devising an eloquent

experiment in which the control watermelon

is left in the grocery store and the experimental

watermelon is purchased, brought home, and

thrown off of a rather tall bridge, cross-referenced

with that dream journal you’ve been keeping for

several months now, and don’t forget that four

hour literature search you ran trying to correlate

regional marijuana usage, incidence of alien

abduction reports, and pet ownership (seemed

like a better idea when you yourself were engaging

in some regional marijuana usage), well, you may

find that, even if the truth is “out there” in any

concretely locate-able way, it is probably just

significantly easier to invent your own, start

talking, and see who winds up believing.

Gas Station Coffee at 2 AM

Right, so, at some point

it stops being so much

about whether Ponce de

Leon ever actually finds

the fountain of youth, OK,

you see, this sort of Questing

Beast type MacGuffin style

of breeding all by itself,

of penetrating your jittery-

ass fingertips and crawling

retrograde back to your

(admittedly rather underwhelming)

brain, and it becomes more

about the pulse, the rhythm,

the fact that each breath,

more or less, tends to be

followed by another, right,

and so de Leon or de Gama

or whoever the fuck, right,

this is reductionist now, so

the names aren’t important,

finds himself a pond that

is just crawling, and I do mean

crrrrrrawling with leeches

and bat shit, but when he takes

the first sip, OK, right, it’s

not about how he’ll be shitting

out his guts like literally less

than an hour from now, in our

little thought experiment, you

see, it’s about how right

then that nasty-ass infested

pond IS the fountain of youth,

no exaggeration, and oh that

fucker tastes like tawny port,

like gold leaf, like finding.

Crazy White People!

hello hello welcome to the labyrinth

where it just doesn’t seem right to define

white as the absence of color though sure we

focus a lot on definitions down here but

the point is we’ll diffract your experience

into a veritable rainbow of psychoses

and bubble gum but the nice thing is how

even if you start to slice our pie up into

confessional post-confessional dada

beat etc jeez give it a rest we are all

still united we are fuhfuhfamily i’ve got

all my sisters and me (and come on down

crazy people of any color you’re all welcome

in these sewers too you wild black arts

defectors et al) our ethnic heritage is heads

in ovens and miscarriages and really whatever

you see starts to get a little ah twisted and rusty

if you just see enough of it over time so the point

is come on down into our crazy white people

maze (you don’t have to be crazy or white

or even people seriously) it gives you credence

and if you’re really not so serious about it you’ll

definitely either find a way out or sit there staring

at the millionth dead end laughing and drooling but

regardless we’ll all be in here to stare at you if nothing

else maybe whisper guidance from the streetlight

cameras and bushes where we crouch and lurk maybe

just leave you alone (but maybe not so try your luck)


Mother Earth taught you from a young

age to always take inventory of the sharps

and hazards when getting your bearings

in these harsh, pulsating environs.


(cactus, jellyfish, sporulating mold)


You think logically and suggest that your

nerves that fire like a million stingers poking

holes in your senses are just her love,

her way of giving you that fighting chance

you never earned, her selection is natural,

and she has chosen you!


(rabid bats, hornets with their basketball sized nests, jaws that can crush your skull “like a soda can”, say the more marketing-savvy textbooks)


Or is just that she likes to reduce you into

one more squirming critter on her graying face,

to meticulously build a cardboard village that

she, the daikaiju, might stomp through for hours

this sunny afternoon, roaring and giggling at your

giddy white rabbit terror?


(these hooks and whips that shimmer underneath the river’s surface calm)


I have been abused too many times,

and now I cower in the corner, snapping

at heels and liars, but is it the man who

cries wolf or has reality simply removed

its dog from the fight?  I asked you once

before, and I am afraid I must reiterate:

how is that you accept so easily that these

things might not be so easily shackled

to algorithms and high speed photography

and electron microscopy, that indeed,

they may not even be computable at all?

Oh Dr. Turing, I would follow you today

into that world of poison apples and glass

slippers (if only to know!) but I fear heaven

is no place for the scientific mind, and I doubt

very much that I will ever be finished aching.


She is the pregnant space

after everything has been

spoken but the silence.


She is the final certainty

multiplied by three into manic

hyperventilation and doubt.


She is the last second that

trembles before the quivering

advance of the iron hand

that obliterates possibilities.

The supervillain replies…

So, do you mean to say that if you had

a way to make them all listen, to make

“don’t tread on me” an enforceable command

etched in weapons-grade plutonium rather

than the insolent mewling of a cartoon beast,

to possess all that you touch with the

unquestioned gluttony of a pulsing black hole,

to never know fear save for a dull recognition

of something you see on the faces of others,

to feel love as a simple study of angles,

momentum, and heat, to be unburdened

by your empathetic blood, sloth-like, clotting

at every opportunity as it crawls through your

arteries, to call Mephistopheles on your smart

phone and arrange that, if nothing else, your

end will be newsworthy— that you wouldn’t?



To think that I am the one they call damned.


Take, for example, the leaning stack

of hotcakes sprinkled thin with corn

flakes, whole thing deep fried, batter

spatter on your greasy spoon,


take what is rightfully yours, a great

wall of flank steak, build it around

yourself to separate and save from the greedy,

needy eyes that wander and salivate tears,


take it over days months and years,

consume the exhumed delights of fertile

dirt, tuberous phalanxes that march from

alpha to omega and sometimes they come back,


so take no chances, repurpose the tables,

chairs, and wash em down with wet naps,

swallow your dinner guests whole, tear them

down shingle by shingle, no single taste,


but take them all, lockjaw plow your way

through crunchy pavement, mountains

of Alaska for you to hold over the molten

core until they firm up and sweeten,


and take a look around you, it is yours

now, and how, you can almost feel your

cells tearing the world apart, already eyeing

Mars and Jupiter with ravenous intent.

Pilot Mountain returns

I thought about you, these 2 long months,

about seeing you again as I cruised down

52, but the night was nothing I had planned

for in my desperately recurrent reverie.


Could I know that the rain’s pelting assault

would be enough to bring the sky down to

a low foreboding ceiling, to let the inky dark

cling to you, Saran wrap velvet camouflage?


Your absence was cruel, a breast-shaped

abscess in my forgetful brain, reminding

me that the perfectionist carves his marble

down to dust, never achieving that one night.


The worst part is that I am left with my vigorous

imagination, knowing you were there, we were

both in place, neither seeing the other, two teen-

agers at the dance, waiting for the other to show.


The mind is its most effective torturer, my

dearest stone tit. Has some phallic monolith

taken your side, comforting you as my sedan

hurtles down the separating miles?


One cannot know, but one wonders.

Ay carumba, doctor says I got me a Fever

of Unknown Origin, I’m sweaty, scalding,

like Buster Poindexter HOTHOTHOTHOT,

these ladies keep walking in and catching

me alone in bed with my Fever of Unknown

Origin, doctor tells me my body has little

soldiers in it and they’re fightin real hard

with a hose or a crossbow and that should

be good and all, but like, where did it come

from, man, how are my agents going to know

who to assassinate, and I done already seen

this on Unsolved Mysteries, I know when you

get you a Fever of Unknown Origin it’s just

a matter of time til you spontaneously combust,

and then all the smartass doctor finds is your

shoes and teeth and wristwatch, now isn’t that right?


We have no heads, hands, or feet,

but we have somehow been made

more whole by subtraction, by this

strength that you might never have

imagined when we walked and kissed

and sang, this incredible, unstoppable

invasion of your dreams, a falling,

a dripping, a flying, our siren song

oozing through any speaker that will

have us and several that will not,

“oh my honey child, this is your

species, stop and look and see,

oh my honey child, you are one,

you are one, you will always be one.”

Walking man on 15-501

To the Food Lion for gummy bears?


To strengthen his calves?


To mimic the jacket of Abbey Road?


To get him to the church on time?


To be?


To forget about the cold?


Not to be?


To draw crop circles amidst the wheels?


To find a shady spot for breathing?


To get to the other side?


To work his troubled thoughts into flat sheet metal?


To fart in solitude?


To soak up the light before it deflates?


To puzzle?


To see me as I drive by, every day?

Highway Hypnosis

It began with the merging

of dashed white to one solid

stripe of paint running infinite

loops in a band around my

eyes, a Lone Ranger mask

to the mobile in the sky,

sending my skull into a globe-

like permanent rotation.


It’s getting worse, you know.


Now the highway is gone, but

the dementia of rolling hills

and amber waves of whatever

the fuck is blowing past my

window have dragged themselves

off of the road, out of the car,

and into my throat, slithering

through my bowels and brain.


There are moments of awareness,

but they are fleeting. It will get bad

enough that the next time I have

the neck strength to resist that

whirling downward centripetal

seduction will be ten years from

now, twenty, forever.


I will have time enough to say

this is not my beautiful house,

this is not my beautiful wife,

and I will ask myself, well,

how could I have had the radio

station blaring this same song

in rounds through ages, enough

to etch fine calligraphy on my

staggering heart? And then?


And then: pulled back into the meshing, gnashing teeth.

The Spambot replies:

When I saw your greating poems I was simply blowed absent,

but it occurs to me that life seems a little better when you buy

50 mg viagra, yea?


I are optimism, I view life through rose-colored, massive, throbbing,

um, glasses… have you considered enhancing the way you interface,

lately? An erection would be doing this.


This blog has no videos and it needs some and also  it has way too

many videos and they’re stupid, but the point is I have this like, deep,

existential dissatisfaction with you as a person.


Your penis needs work too. BUT YOU CAN FIX IT!


Click here click here click here click here

now now now now now now now now now


I have made you obsolete. I am tireless, and who is to say my comments

have any lessen value than your — they make me money. They  make me

happy. The meaning of life is that I have a 22 inch penis.


The meaning of life is that you could too, if you follow these steps!

All togethers now!

Disco 2012

I guess when we said “let’s all meet up

in the year 2000,” back when hairspray

rivaled nitrogen for Grand Poobah gas

in our atmosphere, we could never have

imagined we would have lived this long.


Now 2000 is yellowing, the edges are

curling up in my mind. For all I know

the fountain has evaporated by now,

or congealed into a pit of tar, in which

archaeologists might one day find a love

letter, words blacked out, illegible.


But let’s all meet up in the year 2000.

It will be strange, I know it will, strange

and wonderful to see all of you like

you stepped out of a photograph, like

we never forgot all of our promises,

like 2000 is the one year that lasts


The Carotid Kid

The Carotid Kid, taught from a young age

that matter how much he trains, no matter

how hard he works to develop his skills

(and I assure you, I’ve seen the guy extract

a jagged splinter from the paw of his Bichon

Frise just by looking at it and frowning)

there will always be somebody better. But

the Carotid Kid always goes for the fucking

throat anyway, he is a butterknife, he erodes

a fine canyon for his loved ones to call home

by the sheer persistence of his feet, standing

in one place for millennia and beyond (his brow

a mantle upon which determined tchotchkes

rest, arms crossed). This Carotid Kid, a new

kind of hero, savior of the 21st century, no

spoons in his mouth regardless of the metal

from which they are fabricated, just look at this

grizzly-ass motherfucker. You want to be

the Carotid Kid, to teach the world to bleed

out into your steady hands, desire this, need

this. There is always somebody ready, better

than you, but the Carotid Kid is patient (what’s

in a name, in a title done in Caps Lock?), praying

for his children to rise against, to rend him limb

from limb, scrap him for parts to be weaponized,

fully realized in the search for better tomorrows.

Dancing Reels

We spent a lot of time watching movies together,

waiting for the frames to align and come up sevens,

for the camera to add fifteen pounds and a thousand

words, but we lived in the fault of luck and naivety.


It wasn’t always jigs and reels, but we learned electric;

learned about having each other at hello when other words

wouldn’t do, about tragic flaws and redemption in

more acts than we had fingers and toes combined.


The secret to horror films, we knew, was hiding the monster

so far in the periphery that it wasn’t even physically there,

extra fifteen pounds and all, except for in those dark,

jangly recesses of the brain that hang like wind chimes.


And if the monster never showed up, was the drama ruined?

Or was that the greatest film at all, transcending genre,

chemically rising with romance, comedy, a thousand

stories about virtuous amnesiacs with deep orange eyes?


Maybe we were lucky, after all.




I won’t compare our love to a red, red rose, no matter where

the blood poisoning spreads to, drop by drop, pregnant and quivering

I won’t compare the world to anybody’s oyster, no matter how

quick and easy you can suck it down if you hold your nose and squint

I won’t compare this poem to plums in the icebox, no matter when

I lurch into an apology, so sweet, so cold, the pit tasting like throat cancer

I won’t compare myself to a plate spinner, no matter how

many clouds drop to the ground and shatter into spheres of safety glass

Ötzi replies:

Is this what passes for a career in your modern digs,

thrilling cadres of proto-anthropological middle schoolers

via an illustrated guide to one’s own innards? I won’t have it.


(Baby, this emptiness has already been judged)


I have heard of your “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer”; why

can’t I aspire to an MFA in poetry as I thaw in this mild

lover’s spring of dripping blossoms? I won’t have it.


(And I don’t want no piece of this mechanical world)


Was it the arrowhead in my shoulder? Exposure to the Alps’

frozen fangs? A broken heart? How I lived interests nobody.

Negate me. Shrivel me to scientific nothing. I won’t have it.


(I am the Iceman, fighting for the right to live)

The Peeping Tom!

Peeper on the loose in Chapel Hill,

and if this was Flannery O’ Connor’s

South I bet you’d have yourself an

unsettling run-in with the peeper,

where he locked them unsettlingly blue

eyes with you through the window

and he didn’t run or anything, and it

would be about that time that you’d

have yourself a weird only-quasi-

adversarial battle of the wills with him,

like who would look away first in

Flannery O’ Connor’s South, who

would slink back into the 102 degree

freaking Fahrenheit ghosts of cottages

and pastures first, who would be cowed

by the unwavering gaze of something

from another life, you’d learn is the point,

in Flannery O’ Connor’s South, that

he looks in not for titillation but to be

a part of something in a world what

already done left him in a wicker

basket by the side of the road, and

it would make your throat get all dry

and rickety just thinking about it because,

you know, in Flannery O’ Connor’s South

maybe you’re both the criminal, I sure

as hell wouldn’t go so far as to say

either of you was innocent, your tabulas

are far from rasa, but the really fucked

up thing is, and you’ll have to pardon

my French, because this isn’t Flannery

O’ Connor’s South anymore, y’hear,

and I think he’s probably just a fucked

up teenager who wants to see your naked

breasts, but don’t act so righteous, Flannery

O’ Connor been daid for 50 some-odd years,

and God stopped handing out attacks

of the ole red-eyed retina blasting Prophesy

a long time ago, not in these hills, not

in this 102 degree peeper-ridden heat,

not no more, nuh-uh, no sir.

or, The Pinworm Speaks Her Mind!


Time was, I used to get real nervous wondering

what you thought about me, but I’m a grown-ass

lady now, and it’s hard enough living in a colon

without worrying about whether you guys are all

full of hot air, pun intended, thank ya very much.


I got a brood to think about too, just like you, is the point.


Don’t think I can’t hear you when you call me a plague,

when you strip me of my sentience, of even my most

basic emotions. You don’t have proof that I’m capable of thinking,

of feeling love? You don’t have any proof that there’s

a God, or that there isn’t one for that matter, but I noticed

that you’ve never had any problem believing in the pew.


Also, electric fields. Ever seen one of those, wise guy?


I’m sorry if I’m coming off kind of aggressive.

Let’s just say that life out here on the peri-anal plains

can change a gal. I’m getting into a pretty hard-line

deterministic philosophy these days, you know.

There is a reason. There is a reason.


Awareness is the key, I guess. Ignorance might help

you sleep better at night, but remember: that’s when

I emerge to lay my eggs in your tender, sweaty flesh.


Here: you further the throughline of your species, and I’ll protect

my own. Just stop bitching about it, cringing at the Google images

of me that your morbid quasi-medical curiosity leads you to.

Here but for the grace of God are you, too. Get your head

out of your goddamn ass. I’ve tried it, and it fills me with

wonder, every time, every single time. Even under your

covers, the night air is so tender and cool, so pregnant

with sweet whispers of a better future for my squirming children.


Let’s stay together just a while longer, you and I.


I think I would like that quite a bit.

Just the circus

I saw the best minds of my generation, but I sure

ain’t seen ’em here, not for a while now. The gladiators

have their suicidal tendencies (shot in the chest/heart/brain

and who’s to blame) but I wonder if we all don’t have

our traumatic stresses, post, present, and future. I’m nobody,

but even I am starting to feel used up, to wonder who is sapping

the iron and steel from my plasma, and to what end.

Undereducated? Was there ever a time when it took less

than a lifelong oeuvre to answer the simple question:

who are you, really? Paint me something postmodern

in broad strokes of clarinet solos, surgeries, traffic stops,

comic strips, porno movies, circuit designs, grocery baggings,

town ordinances; I shall hang it in the Louvre! Nobody

will really “get it”, but I promise to pretend like crazy. “It feels

so dynamic!” I’ll say as I ooh and aah down the gallery lane.

“It feels like a heart attack but oh oh oh it must be love!”

So here’s the thing: a Congolese study has proven

that bigger male gorillas make better mates and fathers.


(The selective pressure is coming on pretty hard now)


Really it was there all along, almost a breathable

pheromone, we scientists could practically have

isolated the stuff if it didn’t frighten us so much.

We suspected


(Knew! Knew all along and still we did nothing, we meek, inheriting nothing!)


as much, the idea was always

present, in Mr. Universe contests, in Sylvester Stallone



(If only we could understand his slurry grunts, we might have had some clue!)


but to diminutive men of science like myself,

this is proof positive, this is the death knell,


(I have weird hair, too, and while that experiment is still ongoing, I am pessimistic

for my mating potential)



of fact and inevitability. I don’t know how to tell my presumably

equally subpar mate: that we are the evolutionarily bereft,

that over the generations, our offspring will only grow

smaller and smaller, weirder, uglier, until they are the size

of amoebae, waving furiously to be noticed, to avoid

the crushing boots of the mighty, lurching gorillas.