Archive for August, 2012


Don’t think me rude, it’s just that this hilarious,

reductionist simplicity of disaster grows harrowing

to even consider after a time, these fingers drawn

out slender, sweet and parallel like the close queue

of bubbles falling in reverse up the side of a Crown

and cola, these couple of Daltons that hold my blood

cells in the field to sow and not to reap, these invisible

and blameless holes in our conscious perception that

thicken the voice with mucus, let it drip to the floor

and congeal in a spiderweb of vowels and plosives,

it wears on you after a time, the sheer combinatorics

of existence, until of course I’m going to laugh when

I hear the story about the lymphoma patient who vomits

simply upon seeing his chemotherapy doctor, oh you sly,

manipulative body, do you get it, I’ll explain when you’re older…

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A: Assimilate or die, shouts the morpho-

syntactically broken man, never stop not

making sense or we’ll have to have words,

the air is thinner at the peak of Babel, this

gate at which the tribe of monocled bastards

will deny your tongue entry to a heaven only

seen through the weary signified spectacles

of dead language, victim of programmed

suicide the remorseless biologist loves to

describe as natural, a sort of autoglottophagy,

and where is your faith in the permanence of

syllabic beads on a string now, a-and is there

any hope now that we all have seen what all

happened to you, dead verbiage stacked in cold,

pale rows by the roadside to be used as wartime

code, well, erm, what happens now, there’s always

a bigger fish, the neo-industrial superpower of our

collective stupidity is mutating this alphabet each

second, into acronyms and belches, don’t be

stodgy, no, but you’re worried too, right, first time

you open your mouth and nothing seeps out but

one zero one zero and a string of strange odors,

there is nothing to be said but death’s silence, yes,

welcome to night terror in the age of anesthesia.

My shadow looks like me, but taller

Sometimes when the fear is really boiling

I steal my girlfriend’s erotic novels, doesn’t

matter which one, any will do, will afford me

an opportunity to wade through the travails

of an INNER GODDESS, funny concept,

utterly foreign and tasting of lemon candy, but

Gottfried de Purucker assures me that I have

an INNER GOD as well, an incredible relief,

though I wonder if this theologist and I are

really communicating on the same level, but

anyway, it’s the INNER that really does it for

me, you know, gets me all hot and bothered,

this secret society of the moon that only speaks

staccato, hissing breaths, valium kisses, right,

with lips that want to let everything go, but will

not, never, and that’s the part the streetlight will

keep, hold close to its heart and never let you see.

Torus

i’ve been having this, ah, thing lately

 

(doctor says it’s nothing to worry about in the long run,

assuming i don’t value things like long term memory

and/or fertility)

where i think of the earth not as one, you know,

momentary sphere, but rather as more of an

overlapping eternity of space donut

 

(the plain ones make my mouth dry up and give me this

sort of hacking cough, doctor says it’s not anaphylaxis,

i’d just prefer chocolate frosted)

but man, geometry really starts fucking with you

when your dreams are haunted by the 3D volume

swept out by history

 

(not even high, just on a healthy regimen of anti-psychotics,

and i think they’re working, i really do)

this dark space of the heart thrown violently against

a factor of π that has its own demands, right, a boa

constrictor chain of so many clonal humans, well, keep

rotating, earth, see if you can’t blot out the sun with your

debris

 

(i think i might get to sleep any minute now, yeah, if i could

just gnaw through the umbilicus of memory, right, that’s it…)

 

Last Names

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca understands

the problem here, the pins and needles of

linguistic entrapment, the path he never gets

to choose, oh the stinging wit of those 16th

century schoolchildren that understand not

how they work and mold the clay of a life, all

like “hey cow head, chew any cud lately?”

and it’s surprising that he even lets himself feel

things like this in his rumbling, unsettled gut,

but come on, do you actually think every single

person named Weiner is really pronounced

“whiner”, and even if they are, by the time they

stop to convince him, well, by then they’re already

inspired, just like Cabeza de Vaca, prove ’em wrong,

become a bust of bronze, and where is the choice

in these hilariously irrelevant seconds, the whirling

eddy that he once took ownership of as his life?

PSA

Attention! Did you know? Attention! Trinidad and Tobago

have the most diverse population of snakes in the entire

Caribbean! That’s 47 species of snakes! Holy shit! Here

is what it would look like if you encountered all 47 of them

hanging out together:

 

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

 

Wow, that is awful! Attention! Or, as they say in the official

language of the islands, “attention”! Do not go there for your

honeymoon; there are snakes! Did you know? They have one

called the Yellow Machete! And another called simply El

Tigro! In other words, these are not your average bullshit

suburban-ass snakes! Stay away from Trinidad and Tobago!

 

Attention! What? What qualifies me to deliver this valuable

public service to unsuspecting Caribbean travelers? I read

about these snakes on the Internet! There are 47 different

kinds of snakes in Trinidad and also in Tobago! I do not know

about the prevalence on each individual island, but do you really

want to chance it? Of course not! Attention! I’m warning you!

I declare myself qualified to warn you! This is your culture

now! Attention! There are all these snakes all over the place!

Half empty

The emptiness

of the day is a

pressure that

manifests itself

in the moments

unwritten, blank

 

pages when the

dull traction of

car tires gets a

little too loud in

its protest of my

bland mortality,

 

“hey, just let me

lose my grip and

go whinging off

into the crumbling

stone wall on which

you sit, that ought

 

to really be neato,

that ought to give

you something to

write about, you

ungrateful smear

on the sidewalk.”

The emancipation of Bob Rasa

Oh boy, here you are in a pensive

mood again, Bob Rasa, sensing

the sweet parallel lines of your eyes

locked on the first distant stars of

a late summer night–

 

–and why shouldn’t you be endlessly

reflected within the prism, light aching to

escape the lustrous prison of expectations,

when I grow up I want to be more than a

pseudonym, more than symbolic, more–

 

–well, I feel your pain, the sweetest

wounds being self-inflicted, after all, but

why not release the dream to the modern

congregation in these blistered, broken

streets, like that petite brunette that

occurred to you in humid under-blanket

air that smelled of nutmeg and cinnamon

simultaneously with the realization that she

would never be yours, yes her, fill her with

helium and let her float until she disappears

and it is no longer your responsibility to think

about what becomes of her, and don’t you

dare think me uncouth or exaggerator when I

tell you in holy words: free at last, free at last,

thank God almighty you will be free at last.

Sway

The morning will not be your friend

today, no matter how you court it with

roasty odors and hot water, as you

stand unstable under another sobbing

faucet, time slips through the pores

of the drain to age the alligators that

lurk below, you never stood a chance,

your thoughts are a blowback smear,

traceable all the way back to your side

of the mattress, you can almost remember

it, almost but not quite, you have nothing

but a warm Poisson distribution on your

neck, nothing to do but just stand there and–

“Shit happens in the morgue”

for Bob Miner

 

Now I understand what it feels like

in the deep antiseptic cold of the strange,

 

the Rainbow’s End populated primarily

with grey and beige and brown, but you

 

really must appreciate the effort, rigorous

care taken in arranging my shrunken family

 

in a Christmas card post-mortem photograph,

death masks on and grinning, but you see,

 

sometimes there are things that must be done,

I pull my white matter through my nose with

 

a steel crowbar to clear my thoughts, soar

into the constellations of stellate exit wounds,

 

perhaps returning to Earth too soon, but always

leaving a small part of myself in the refrigerator.

Call it epidemic mass hysteria

dripping through the “aw, shucks”

futile hands that raise a barrier

in prayer to the national jugular

vein, a limp, frowning Jackson

Pollock, classify it, deconstruct

it, but never forget the practical

issues at play here, as in, wait

a minute, do we ever find out what

becomes of those beautiful dream-

ers plucked from the mind’s eye,

or are we left with nothing but our

dread, our week of stasis, disrupted

digestion that will carry any onus but

the burden of proof, I suppose, and

is it so wrong to imagine a pleasant

little slaughterhouse built on the edge

of the bleeding Soviet clouds just before

twilight, truly they have come here to

help us, “snatch” is too pejorative when

you are this weary, by God, they have

come to do the hard stuff, I shall be

only too pleased in the pod, raising

crystal hallelujahs, this invader, he has

given me my life back, given me everything!

Confucius say: movement 6

1. Remember the physics

of happiness when you

find yourself ingrained,

deep in the thicket of

pitying amusement at

the gerbils on their little

treadmills, working so

hard just to stay in one

locus of stubby futility–

 

2. –buh-but wait just a damn

minute now, you can’t just

begrudge them the eternal

exercise, oh no smug sir, not

when you too are deep

in the thrall of addiction,

the turbid pleasure of scorn

that keeps drawing you back,

yes, you the assholeholic,

heyyyyy, yeah, that’s you!

 

3. Lead gerbil would like

a word with you, and you

know that these rather

quite gussied-up, officious

rodents in little bow ties

and spectacles have always

been your weakness, oh

yes, I’ve seen your Internet

history, it’s that and the porn.

 

4. Those gerbils sure are

adorable though, right? With

their little paws chasing an

empty dream–

 

5. Squeak, you’re doing it again,

squeak, squeak, come on man,

when did happiness become the

territory of the sap, land of the twee

and home of the gullible? 

 

6. Th-there has to be an equation,

a philosophy, 10 steps, uh, 12

steps, a warm gun, a list, a derivation,

a proof, a sequence of chords, an

array of parallel lines, a wallpaper

color, a 4-door sedan, a way to

win it, win it, win, win, win, win–

 

7. Squeak, who’s the sucker now, asshole?

Splénétique

There comes a point, dear physician,

when you must realize that Baudelaire

knows just as much of LUQ pain as you

do, hold it back hold it back hold it back,

until the pain is a desperate confusion

of process and origin, pulpy Greek bile

that holds your cells in a mother’s embrace,

life will always be this unfair for as long as

you have an organ designed to filter out

the leafy melancholy, beaten, vented, I

suppose we all can benefit from this cold,

faceless sentinel, navigating life’s sinusoids,

praying to hold us steady, worshiping the zero.

Flash Fiction

It occurs to me that beyond some

simple trendiness, the reduction

is actually paradoxically expansive,

but the paralysis is coming on like

a creeping concussive sleep now,

my lips have switched places, the

hinges rusted over teeth that crumble

and blow away in the wind, the first

word must be “how”, I think, but how

to then proceed, flood the low-lying

scrubland with just one kiss, there

are not enough cells in my little human

body for this game of numbers, tear

down the walls in ten words or less,

stay silent long enough for the whisper’s

insinuated anti-matter to tumble, crash over

the cliff’s edge into the open air, deafening.

Collective Effervescence

Observed at the crucial moment,

flicking off the dead, broken-armed

embrace of the beer bottle top, they

describe as a liberation of confined

gas, and why not liberation, seems

like a mot juste to me, because now

they boil, now they are kinetically

perfect, ideal, colliding and colliding

and colliding, boom, boom, boom,

boom, tachycardic base line spews

warm, sexual emboli to the farthest

reaches of the neon stage, now they

haven’t lost energy since the moment

they broke and broke the threshold,

this is the gleeful destruction of children

that only live never, beautiful dichotomy

of sacred and profane, hydrochloric acid

in limestone, but the hive knows, they

know what they choose not to know,

temperature and pressure, they are free.

Neoclassical Album Cover

I have seen enough washed out black

and white still lives of old men gazing

at the carpet of fallen red, brown, and

orange (you just know, color blindness

aside), low density X-rays of winter sad-

ness, to know immediately that my destiny

has been proscribed in every ever-shrinking

Barnes & Noble section across the country,

written in permanent ink as an impossibly

understated calmness that you want so badly

to read as smugness, as self-satisfied “if you

have to ask, this Neoclassical Album is Not

For You,” but it doesn’t, never will, and it’s

selfish to try, the deliberate Rorschach search

for pretension in this genuinely weary, worn

down heart only makes you the malicious one,

makes you the tragedy (in your words, not mine).

Scelophysa trimeni

At least in theory,

I might like it very

much if you and I

were to mate in

the dark, claustro

phobic center of

an unscented flow

er, calm and station

ary in the breeze,

secured by extra

mass and amorous

intent, like the blue

monkey beetle, yes,

we might add a little

ceremony to the ins

tinct, and I think that

would be nice, I really do.

FECALITH

 

give me something new to nurture

in the vacancy of crooked arms

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

this togetherness needs no first

breath, no beating heart

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

quagmire

stagnant

sluggish

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

it’s not a joke, not a joke, not

a joke, not a joke, but it is funny

as hell

 

(can I stay here forever?)

 

one day soon, your favorite punctuation

mark will be the open bracket

 

(can I stay here forever?)

Beware! This tumescent mind!

…it can be and indeed frequently has been

argued that meditation is its own benefit,

but actually I would just as soon kind of

fake it, eyes closed, quasi-orgasmic rapture

and whatnot, maybe a blank expression (that’s

easiest, certainly), because it really would be

great if you saw me meditating-ish and were

impressed, all like “I’m not religious but I’m

spiritual” because that’s way easier for me

to seem like, you know, than any actual astral

journey per se, and then we can still accomplish

at least something resembling the same goal,

yeah, I’ll teach you about establishing love

and compassion real nice, and I’ll bet at least

one of us gets an, ah, “indestructible sense of well-

being” out of this (also, I’ll bet it won’t be you)…

Dracula vs. Predator

I understand the wide-eyed

need to sort and arrange them

in order from weakest to last

one standing, but have you

ever thought about their needs,

a tender neck transformed into

a bar of gold by the full moon’s

reflective seduction, a thrilling

hunt along Lombard Street’s

rolling hills, have you ever even

considered that such primacy

is nobody’s idea of a prize save

for you, that maybe it would be

the greatest treasure of all to lose,

yes, be freed from the living death

of pop culture and puppet strings?

Black Forest

Oberst Gimmick stands on the bank

of the Saale, locked in the warm crook

of the game. Truth is, never cared much

for truth, not during wartime, not when

deceit is the language of the usurper.

Gimmick knows how to smoke his hand-

rolled cigarette just right in the German

dawn, knows the exchange rate whispered

in economy of language, the short, pungent

come-ons that make the university girls pant.

Surely there must be a limit to the colors

perceived by the human eye. Surely, no

matter how much flash and flare screams

down the dark horizon there will be time

yet for calm and breath. Oh, but Oberst

Gimmick, this war conceals more than

motive in the killing fields between can

and should. I wonder if there’s any way

to stop building up this graveyard filled

with discarded plastic tchotchkes in aching

primary colors, to put an end to the clashing,

jangling parts, to say no more and mean it.

Night of the Living Torsos!

Tonight, they crack off of marble

pedestals, rubble without cause

or compassion, they riiiiipppppp

down the entire length of a page

from your anatomy textbook, or

worse yet from Abercrombie wall

hangings and catalogues, leaving

behind jagged shadows, thick white

brows of the silent front porch watcher,

they rotate down the street, back and

forth, inadvertent sashay born of a lack:

no arms, legs, heads, eyes, but perhaps

the rakish wiggle is deserved, yes, this

is a night for ostentation, this is the night

the torsos will have their revenge, claw

their way out of obscurity with nothing

but idealized abs and radar blip nipples,

yes, swallow the human heart whole, ribs

like teeth that close together, mesh, swallow.

I, luminary

Sizzle, shine, glisten,

gleam, glow,

 

(witness

me through miles of snow

and golden human ruins)

 

flare, blind, emit, flash

flicker, reflect,

 

(Prometheus

had other gifts, like anger,

renown, consumption)

 

pulsate, refract, haze,

dazzle, hum,

 

(this fame

is nearly cool and quenching

across the desert miles)

King Zero

his roundness could

contain a small city

of undercutters and

regular cutters and

a thriving economy

based on anthills

and wine cellars,

 

his ellipsoid gaping

mouth could screech

down the street until

the brakes are cut,

electric impulse sent

but never received by

the mother brain,

 

his capital-O fists

might beat against

the city’s fetal walls

for all time, begging

for a tomorrow that

looks nothing like

a stolen loaf of rye

Rust

I extend my leaves

toward the aching red sun

a search for solace

 

the heart’s pathogen

is parasitic yearning

nutrients and soul

 

I disintegrate

as always into orange

into spores and steel

The victim replies:

Actually it is you who is more

or less intolerable, you have

the thing reversed, I am the

victim, me, it is I who labors

under your heated blanket in

August, forced (forced, I tell

you!) to resort to your same

old inaudible insults and hiss

through gritted teeth about

driving me crazy, muy loco,

the distance is all but here

to Venus and still too close,

too many lingering high noon

cactus shadows to even begin

to pretend it all never happened,

and if you bother to come back

(you will, you always will), can

you at least wait long enough

for buildings to rust and crumble

into a fine moustache of dust

on the lip of the canyon, or

better still, not come back at all?

The reconciliation of Bob Rasa

I’ve been meaning to call you for weeks now,

Bob Rasa, strung up on the dry mouth anti-

Pavlovian hooks of your name in casual

conversation around time. I don’t call, of

course, not with this roiling blood between

us, swirling to fill each sulcus with dread

that you surely must feel too when you think

of me, you must. For all of the ingenious

design, these cold translations of vibrating

molecules to electricity, I am confident

the earpiece would have nothing but poignant

crackles for me, a wall unscaleable once

erected. And worse still, if somehow you

have forgotten the names of the atoms that

separate us, if the forgiveness comes easy?

Perhaps you and I would just talk on the phone

for hours, like nothing had changed, like we

were more than wandering auditory phantoms,

and really what would the point of all that be?

Araneae

Oh, you son of a bitch,

how is it that the empty

web is even more dangerous,

the intricacies of your fractal

absence sinister in their

suggestion of otherness,

perhaps your antimatter

existence might collide

with your beady black

carapace, shining and

repulsive in my shoe or

on the ceiling or in the air

conditioning vent, and now,

come to think of it, I haven’t

seen the son-of-a-bitching

homeless guy on the corner

of Columbia and South in

weeks either, he could be

anywhere, you know, maybe

in the duct with the spider,

watching me right now, and

I think this is going to be an

awful day, yes, I know it.

Not to be

I hope you’re happy now, Anne Hathaway,

American actress, having eclipsed the wife

of William Shakespeare in both collective

unconscious and Internet, which now, come

to think of it, are probably essentially the same

thing, but I hope you stepped forward onto that

blood red carpet without wincing, obliterating

the past with a smile that raises suspicions

of impossible tooth counts, Anne Hathaway,

American actress, by my reckoning you are

truly living the dream now, unhindered by bonnets,

mystery, and linguistic inventions, how I wish

I could be like you, Anne Hathaway, American

actress, but alas and alack, there is nobody here

to lend significance to my odd-shaped name but me.

Silence

Dionysus guarantees that everything

I touch is golden and uncomfortably

severe, glowering behind dark lips

and closed glasses, or was it the

other way around, freed from vibration’s

burden and assault, and perhaps it is

true that we can only experience presence

through absence, truth through lies, but

even now something is building belie

the philosophical suggestion, coursing

through the spiral galaxy of my inner ear

and shaking, quaking, every particle high

and jittering, and now, in perfect silence,

I can hear the ringing bells that stitch atoms

together, words never even dreamed until

this moment, smoke rings in the dark.

 

Jay Valentine

You know, it’s times like these

I wish my pseudonym really would,

like, pull a The Dark Half style

operation, his voice octaves into

the basement just dripping with

butterscotch and malice, because,

man, maybe he can write the words

I’m afraid to, no more hiding behind

pretension, and, ah, this sort of writing

in a quasi-mannered, neurotic vocal

style, the passive voice crucified by

Jay, left tethered to the stone wall

in amateur shackles, maybe he’s not

so afraid to commit to the dismantling,

all of the gimmicks and apostrophe

and weak symbolism and desperate

Wikipedia searches for inspiration, no,

throw them all into the furnace of a heart

that knows, yearns and begs, take me

over with your bitter tears, Jay, take me

somewhere red, take me away from here.