Tag Archive: spirituality


two lovers diverge in a yellow wood

and I get down to the business

of hunting mushrooms and kismet

all underneath the rusted out hood

of an abandoned Cadillac’s bent grimace


then strip off all my fraying clothes

and toss them creasing over tree branches

bend down and crawl among the rooted trenches

spiking holes for new planting in the wake of toes

while squeezing dirt until each finger blanches


my love will call for me but I am too far gone

to hear an idling engine buzz like bees–

that could be voice cascading through the trees

yet if that were her it’s sure that I’d have known

it was not just the crickets’ theremin on the breeze


my love will search for me and find just rags

like the Caddy cast aside I am out of place but home

inside a cave where I will turn to bones

this is my face imprinted on the crags

I am not lost although I am alone



The moment slips out of clasping

hands like it’s coated with soap suds

the moment when his silver soul

flees his bony cage and skips

town across the red sea and out

to make a permanent home

burrowed in the pocked and pitted

lunar expanse of my belly

along with the others

like jellyfish washing up

on the same seashelled

shore where they will live forever

as far as my infant mind

can tell and it is no great feat

to imagine a world of sand

so stingered that none dare

cross and frolic in the ocean.

The ballad of Leroy the Morose



They tell me life is but a dream

since precious plans came true–


That Doo-Wop radiation scene

in Disco World War II–




Yesterday I tried to cry,

my tear ducts coughed up dust–


The loving ain’t the nasty part

it’s all that fucking lust–


They tell me life is but a dream,

they tell ya what they must–


Am I the great neurotic king

or idiot distrust–




They call me Leroy the Morose

I cut my fingers off–


I tried to shout: Hey, adios!

but christened with a cough–


My hair is thin, my sallow skin,

my scalp I grin and doff–


You call this sick? Well what the hell,

I ain’t the one worst off–




They call me Leroy the Morose

my teeth have turned to glue–


They tell me life is but a dream

since precious plans came true–


Let’s put the bodies by the road,

I’ll stack ’em two by two–


I think I’ll pluck my eyes out next,

that last one looked like–




I think I’ll pluck my eyes out next,

I’ve nothing else to do.



adj. check me out, 7th grade history teacher:

yellowed with green tea (funny how that works

out, color-wise), singed, wrinkled, torn, stepped

on, here I am, passed down from the slave ships!


adj. hello



is there anybody in there…?

adj. yeah, cut her braid right off, hey this

thing’s got a nice rugged heft to it, think

of the possibilities!


adj. OK, I’m getting a little tight in the old

GI tract here, huh huh huh, but like why

does each entry get preceded with those,

italics, it’s not like the part of speech is going

to change in this particular case here, is this–

is this some sort of sign, am I, could it be

that I have been set apart for some special–


adj. dot dot dot!

dash dash dash!

dot dot dot!


adj. I will, I must be brave enough someday to tell

my son that there are sympathetic, exciting nights

where the only thing you feel is the parabola, that

somehow those nights are the longest of all, that they

will end, if you only you learn to let them (good luck,

that’s all I got for now)


Didya hear, I’m done with all this anesthesia

(the alcohol, the compulsive lying, the *ulp*

delicious mint ice creams) and ready to face

up, well, fairly sure here at least, the pain was

only ever really a (???) out of 10 and I reckon

I have a good pain tolerance, I won’t get angry

anymore, I won’t cast you in my own lost molten

iron, didya hear, I’m better now, I won’t make

false promises that I can’t keep, whew, here

goes, detoxing as we speak, OK, there, that

wasn’t so bad… whaddya mean it gets worse?


When I am laid in the ground,

I will reflect on how interesting

it is that the lament may be

the defining poetic form of human

history, reeking its way through

Greece and Italy and probably

other places, but oh, woe is me,

it’s not like I’ve had the time to

properly fact check this issue

anyway, interesting indeed,

a word for the emotional space

between words, not that anybody’s

measuring loss in cubic metric units,

not even that it’s right that they are

not, did I lose you, anyway, there’s

this dream I’ve been having involving

this nasty streetside gang of bees,

really, like little fat honeybees that

have invaded my home, interesting,

woe woe woe, hold on a second, why

is it that there are stingers hiding just

about everywhere I look, is this too on

the nose, anyway, I’m sure we can find

ourselves a little pain together, let’s go.


I think I always knew that I was the head

and you were the heart, not to mention some

pretty impressively hypertrophied muscle

fibers, and yet there were those unbelievable

times when it was you who admired me,

ridiculous, have you seen yourself in the

mirror lately, but nonetheless I fought to

justify your faith, to believe in other worlds

than this where we two might be combined

to perform greater wonders still, to run out

of worlds to conquer and save the ones we

loved from any pain, like the world never saw

fit to handicap us for equality, no matter, I

am learning my way to the mountain if for

no other reason than to be visible to you,

maybe from there I can inspire you once

more, make you stronger than Goliath.

temptation in the desert

today i saw the pieces

laid out upon the kitchen

table (it’s not the alcohol

this time i swear) and oh

they looked so good like

crystal sugar growing off

a stalactite’s razor edge

taut yet calm with this

realization that the songs

of miserable exaltation are

about me or well really i

guess about everyone but

the point is (hang on had

this just a sec ago) oh right

that there was that moment when

i found my intricacies positively

artistic as they fit and breathed

and made sense and held my

eyes transfixed to the entrance

of the cave and it was ok not

sappy weird or you know gay

or whatever you want to call it

to feel the joy in the smooth

puzzle piece contour of shore

and lake like it means something

better than i’ve been talking about

all these years (so few and yet)

i could go on but i fear i’ve stayed

too long already and the moment

is gone gone gone but having felt

the loving bitterness on my tongue

this one time well who is to say

that it will ever be so far out of my

reach again to know it is right and

not sent not contrived not deceptive

not satanic not confusing not lost

We three pigs

Oh, right, I see why these things

are passed along the thread in such

a dynamic, high frequency twang.


I’m beginning to feel a touch anthro-

pomorphic myself lately, dirt made

animal made human made story.


Who hasn’t felt Blitz Wolf marching

to the door in lock step, all fetid

breath of deep, amorphous unknown?


I think I shall build this new house

out of something serious, a north star,

novella pages curling up in a bonfire.

I am learning that I haven’t got the time or money

to self-destruct so beautifully, save that for those

young and deadly fliers in the metal zone, loving

the lie, the fictional freedom of initial velocity in

the y direction before the blast, marionette strings

coyly hidden in cool September air, but I’m not

bragging, I will be the spiro atom, I will be the whole

chemistry of the clock’s cyclic wistful sigh, desperately

contorting into this predetermined, this most energetically

calm existence, I may be in the right place at the right

time to take advantage of the stability of sweet electric

probability, but who am I to be proud, I’m starting to

wonder if we aren’t all trapped, victim to some higher

law that eludes, that holds my hands together to the

very same sky in which they put on such a lovely show.

Somebody get this man a michelada!

Ernest Hemingway knew more than most

about the nasty way the morning after has

of shooting up your nose to strand you,

strangling, on the dockside. After a while,

food drunk and regular old fashioned drink

drunk blend together into a vibe-ing burlesque

pulse of hot pepper and stale vomit. Balance

the sheets, the input-output thing is confounded

in the shadow of the lighthouse. OK, so, beer

in, there seemed to have been some weed

involved at some point, uh, right, and electrolytes,

water, dignity, anxiety, standing deathly still on

the side of the highway somehow both secretive

and proud, like a 6 foot tall erect penis in the ocean

wind. Oh, and speaking of that last… well, suffice to

say, it’s hard to know the score, exactly. Bartender,

bring me something spicy and alive, it’s 10 AM and

all these damn stray cats are counting fast now, I need

to slurp the morning down like soup, or better still, toss

it in the furnace and anoint my forehead with the ashes.

Chasing the fish…

Unfortunately, there’s no good way to avoid

the inevitable dash of pretension on the honey-

fried surface, so let’s just get this over with:


the best fish I ever had was some sort of white

fish in lemon butter served over quinoa at a lake-

side café near Albertville, France–


…but, but, listen, I know you don’t want to hear

about that, it’s not like I’m some Europhile asshole,

and at any rate, I don’t even remember

that fish or that moment or that lakeside.


That’s, ah, you see, the problem, isn’t it,

the factual knowledge thusly encoded

without any experiential memory to fall

back upon, to come to me in warm, hearty



Take tonight for instance:


Tonight I had fish! Tonight I had fish

and it was, you know, okay, wasn’t it,

but surely it was nothing to compare

to that sweet gift of the Alps…


…but, oh boy, to say that for certain, wouldn’t

I have to know what that Savoyan afternoon

tasted like, wouldn’t I have to…?


Ugh, this ruination of memory and faith and melt

in your mouth desire…




…surely if I keep eating fish I will, uh, know when

the dream comes true, don’t you think?


I wonder if there is any hope left for the man who

has known greatness, if perhaps it is better to live

in the mediocrity, so that when the moment comes

there is no anticipation, oh snooty foodie Saint Paul,

to only be struck blind and converted by these culinary

gifts of the sea!

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…

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.


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



(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…)


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 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–


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).

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?

I, luminary

Sizzle, shine, glisten,

gleam, glow,



me through miles of snow

and golden human ruins)


flare, blind, emit, flash

flicker, reflect,



had other gifts, like anger,

renown, consumption)


pulsate, refract, haze,

dazzle, hum,


(this fame

is nearly cool and quenching

across the desert miles)


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.


The young men talk about fear

as though it is only a one-man

show, but so much of life can

be measured in the tension of

two red heart-shaped weights

on a rope. Lurk is the word they

whisper as none of us quite see

the others, instead drawing silk

sight lines into concentric rings

of age. I have spun my web in

the mesh of your lawn chair,

stashed behind the creaking

door in the breeze. Desiccation

is the way of life for we forgotten,

but the dank offense of passers-by

plucks the trip-wire’s first harmonic

into snarled, contorted life. Ask not

why it happens, only understand

that it is the hurt who shatter walls,

digging through flesh with shards

of stained glass houses.

404 me, Jesus!

They say you can find anything these

days, and I cannot help but imagine

it more classically, a romanticized

web of truth in the sky or underground,

light as air but dense with meaning.


Is it wrong to be this blue, to communicate

without understanding, sign without

significance, speak without knowing?


Not found, never more lost than when

I am sure somebody must be looking.


Tell me, why don’t you, if the error

is really in what I was looking for,

or in ever having searched at all.

ETA: Elvis Tribute Artist

The calling comes to you first

in a dream of sweeping fields

of gold lamé and aggressive

sexual simile. True, you are

lonesome tonight, every night,

but freedom echoes through

the lost years. Define yourself

with the light that dances off

your sequin disguise, become

the smooth, fresh skin until

the syllables of your name rot

and fall away. The Elvii ride at

midnight, and you’re either with

them or you watch them pass.


When I saw your face, unmistakable

in a centimeter thick slice of tomato

who knew nothing yet of his destiny or

margherita pizza, the room grew silent

to me and there was no longer any amount

of fierce claret oak that could lure Cain

back down from the moon. I don’t suspect

Hermann Rorschach ate much grilled

cheese, but if he only lived long enough

to feel your presence, there would be no

planet, cloud, shadow, tree, vegetable

free of your face, the Klecksograph would

shudder and grow, tumor-like, drowning

the world with its thick, black significance.