Thursday, April 30, 2009


Her mother says Sara loves Tom more
than her schoolgirl imaginary friend,

at the end of her story
she meant it as a consolation.

Sara's father closes the photo album,
nods at Tom and wonders if he's real.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Metaphor War

He says: "I think you're
a remote control that was stolen,
but won't work on the theif's tv."

She says: "I think you're
an electric heater, the hottest
model, the most air flow ever known,
but then again, global warming,
plus central heating's making you obsolete."

"Except for the poor," he says,
saying more, "I think you're a chair.
You think being sat on is a purpose."

"You're the chair. You think having four
legs, you'll stand if you lose one,
but you won't, you'll go right over."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Squatters on the Open Sea

The girl parts herself,
a sea as easily divided
as her hair, every end's
split decision bobbing
on the surface of direction,
all-encompassing sun-wise,
the point that calls
the other points names,
her true-blue-north,
as wavy as her nature,
that boundary of ocean
and air that tumbles

such is conciousness

and her hand like the fin
of the flying fish
she imagines she is,
her hand like the keel
of a boat floating above
that blue main in the last
shallow of the higher
blue that sits upon it,
she gives herself a course,
she draws a line,
she separates a depth
of left and right,
of the wrong way that way
and the wrong way the
other way,
and behind her,
the scratch in the water
fills itself like skin,

except the scar is
only a ripple,
a return stroke
soon smoothed and gone,

there is no path behind her
except her memory,
there is no path ahead
except her plan,

such are the sides
her edges frazzle toward,
and in the present,
where the hand
of whatever label
greater powers
are allowed these days
has parted her
yet and gone
where she must walk
there is nothing
but herself between
world-high walls
she watches like
an aquarium, as
she pretends to

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Doth the Little

Such has been said,
by men wise and dead,
and paraphrased
by their ad nauseum

life is a box of bowls,
scooped empty or about to
shovel or catching
rainwater or abundant
by dint of mothers,
or waiters, or pathological

I've also heard
myself say,
without attribution:

life is free
until you live it,

but then again,

life is actually free,
on a trial basis;
around when the manufacturers'
warranty runs out,
the real bills
address themselves
in bold, bank-note colors,

but I'd say,
for the sake of completeness:

life is like something dead,
or said scholastically,
unliving, (that's the sum of the
ridiculous), and on the other
side (not the fabled land's,
but the hackneyed hand's)
life is like something living,
(which is meaningless).

Which isn't a great ending,
so here's the post-production,
(a voiceover was barely
in the budget):

each speaker dies
as dead as words,

objects which only
exist in the bubbling
purgatory that rents
the space behind the eyes.

They've talked that to death, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Time may tumble us, but we are the grist,
polishing the skin off every neighbor,

why else should we have been worn
down to pocks and bone hook ribs?

the wearing we are made to bear
we wear instead of grease or bearings

it is our work or purpose or justice
for being worked or purposed

bruises are for losers,
the right sexy grind is skeletal

rush to the wars,
the trenches and troughs, yes,

there are excuses there for dying

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just Another Lunch

Budge, budge,
hear the drudgery

the story of man
slowing to sludge

aswim in a history
as ripe as fudge

a sweet world
constantly carmelized
into harvestable pudge

the gorgeous gorgers
swallow and trudge,


speak like a missile
and carry a cudgel

for administering
required, appropriate,
well-deserved nudges

to everyones they

towards everythings they

put it in the basket
so we can sell it for
the red-hooded budget

under this rainbow-brown
hedge of inheritance

here's another
pot of world to eat;
let us appraise it,
let us judge it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Word, Matter, Weight, Size

small words are self-levering,
leech-toothed, viral-sized,
the tip goes in and the last
letter turns, so the wound
won't close over the word and
pimple-push it out.

heard big words in the world,
seen their sans-serif swagger,
their boldfaced denotations
and by-the-byline proclamations,
still, gargantuan and enormous
are not much bigger than big
(in fact, 'the biggest' takes
more space than both of them)
maybe that's unfair, size
being such a small idea,
and buried six or so feet
under the modern bedrock
of relativism,

large targets catch more hits,
and the more there's to crush
the more profits on the bits,

by metaphorical extrapolation,
either large words must breed
more seedlings before they're

the hits don't hurt but help,
being the headcount of eyeballs
that saw the ads alongside,

the merchants of the new
also buy and sell bullets,
don't they?

I prefer catching an idea
and sneezing it free.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Psychopomp Prometheans

sparrows, sparrows,
that's our plan,
tie each foot
to the promised land

fly it as high
as the fairness of space
where the milk and honey
can evaporate

and rain back down,
in equal acreage
upon the plains
of pleading faces

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Failure, failure!
Let's begin!
Let us lose
until we win!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Right Wrong Name

This Juliet,
she buries fathers, never herself,
adopting new daddies like earrings
held close to the cheek, but behind,
and back to dangling on the rack.

Lovers, she's fused with a few,
desperately, completely,
or so goes the throes of recital,

brothers she has none of
by blood, otherwise she's
all-inclusive, a product
modeled after mother's
daily special perfect
superlative, the love
that dares you to scale
its nametag, to crawl
into the valley on the
other side of her open
handed, palmer's kiss,
pink-hearted giveaway;

those jousting romeos,
those carousing in her
innery nunnery
or deflecting her blouse's
soft-sell defense,

the speakers and the pokers,
the poetry brokers
and their customers mussing up
already scrambled iambic pentameters,
the wall-climbers, the promisers,
the prodigious supply of perfect
kissers and laughable dancers and
plans to make the world
pay a ticket to watch her turn it,

maybe she loves one of them,
it's possible.
Even without the right wrong name,
it's possible.

False love, she knows,
shares the same root system.
That's the old saw's
toothless, but just as true,
side. The name on any
other makes him the same.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Exemplary Horizons

Mars was so good at war,
his surface is lifeless.

Venus was so full of love,
her atmosphere eats her.

Jupiter was such a father,
he adopted planets for moons.

Earth was such a mother
she donated her body to science.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lines Barely Overhead From an Object at Terminal Velocity

Cobble me a net of empty nests,
feathered with combed-out down,
twice-chewed hay and cross-hatched
bracken bits done dusting the town
with their itchy-lidded fondling,
their tickle-lipped kisses, surround
my splat-point, that round zero
of ground I'm rushing to pound,
pile anything that will collapse
faster than my spine, a mound
of previous aspirants might provide
properly giving resistance, gowns
of brides gone by, pillowtalk lost,
cartons full of easter-eggs found
empty of the future of mayonnaise but
full of precious, impressionable air,

or the sound of the hangman's crowd
focused to echo one falling man back up -

- bounce me flailing for the spectacle,
unless you'd rather see the dust drown
in my puddle of blood, wow the crowd,
astound the bluenosebleed seats by catching
me in a thimbleful of watery concern,
don't you need a man for your cannon?
I work without a net, I'm a clown
for hire, a dead man trying to believe
the solid earth still grants reprieves

when there's no brakes on a breakdown

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Never Kick a Gift Horse in the Teeth, but Check Her Belly

Anger is in the wrong sisterhood
for birthing words. She adopts
them like Fagin's recruits,
she instructs them on how to
line up like a barrel and
how to die right on impact,
she coddles them with carnival
mirror love, she swaddles them
with the fuzzy forthrightness
of cause and purpose, effect
and necessity, she mothers
with hot blood, she breast-
feeds with cold, and promises
the target will feel just right.

As kindly as the call-sign
gilding her bull-headed,
angry fly-winged helmet,

as acceptable a credential
as that badge of honorific
euphemism is to the hordes
of shepherds fencing in
their silage of irony,

She speaks neither to
criticize or spotlight nor
to hearten or amuse.

Anger is a fury, not a muse.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Some dreams wake the wrong spine,
by sunrise it's wriggling in the dry,
hot consciousness, under the fleshy
feet of furniture, electricity,
real estate, a sentience throttled
to a vibration so high it can
only skewer itself on the pinnacle,

when it was born a slink's worth
of shadow, a crust of maybe-so
molted from the back of a beast
that needs a raw place to fix
his saddle to, so he can feel
the rider's knees, earn a spurless
journey, a nose-bag and a pension,

this trinket-sized twinkle, this
limp stich of trumpery, this wisp
pulled from the embroidery to drift
with the rest of the lost hairs, strung-
out theories and used floss,
this bloated, overboiled noodle
gets forked from the teflon
brainpot and nailed to the wall

by its own swollen moisture,
plucked from the Elysian Doldrums
by the tri-state synaptic lottery
to bear the brunt of being
for the whole sleeping block
of solitary confabulations,

it burns out or up but not in,
it is the only thought that
can be thought, and then it is gone,
never to be remembered again
by the mind that woke it up,
that woke up with it, lost it
and now lives in fear of where
it went.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tweet, Sweet Eliot

Come forth to carry me,
humbly I ask to hear myself
reading you, or anything
that has to live at least
as long as I do.

Oh, great well-known name,
your suggestion boxed in by your book
and the curriculums that use you,

we have fallen into following you,
or more specifically (because
this is the age of pinhead thick
specificity staking their unsewn,
since threadless, claims)
your request for us masked
as a request for you,
we have learned to sit still,

and no teachers were tenured, paid,
given apples or old-fashioned respect,

we only needed computer screens
to keep our knees correctly bent.

Yes, past master of the estuary
where the empty sea spits up
wriggling streams on the shore
that die so beautifully back
into that uneconomical

yes, we have been taught to sit still,
but only while the world shuffles itself
for our eyes to run through like a thumb,
flicker and up and down,
we have learned to sit still,
but not yet how to listen to less than
those thousand things of our inheritance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Short War of the Wilted Roses

Neither I nor the woman
would throw out the brokeneck,
flop-cropped, crinkle-lipped roses,
once assorted from a sort of pinkish
indigo to a purplish, royal maroon,
since I didn't buy them or give them,
and she didn't ask for or receive them,
but found them, fait accompli,
replacing her favorite fake flowers.

With real water to weight them,
delivered from the neighbor's burdened
dining room vase to grace
the cranny of counter space
between the dishpan and the saucepans
stored on the stovetop,
and the errand requiring shoes,
seventeen steps and smelling them,
now that their perfume had reduced
to whatever sweat mold makes
while churning rose-stems into
Vegemite, not to mention sniffing
the garbage already in, or worse,
losing a tick on the mental
cupboard door counting odds
or evens on who's carried more
plastic bags out to the bin or
whose just stuffing one more
thing in. Last week I swabbed
the whole kitchen, excepting
only that green, glassy resin
vase. I'd even emptied the toaster's
crumb-catcher and paper-toweled
bacon-spatter off a mirrored star
hung over the oven.
She played the same notice-this
trick the week before that,
washing some dishes and finishing
up and just happening to mention,
hey, time to wash that too,
but not now, not me, I'm done.

They were dead longer than
they were alive, not that
that's untrue of anything,

but I ran out of silverware
to soap and rinse while the
music was still on, so I
carried them out, brought
the vase back to fill
with hotter water and one
tap-root made of arm and
hamper-ready washcloth.

With the song over, she sees
the absence of corpse-blooms
and an "oh" of hers surfs the laughter
spuming up, the backwashing wave
from her day dropping overboard.
"Thanks for doing that. Lets
put the dead ones back in,"
she says, meaning
the folded fabrics cut and dyed
to resemble drawings of flowers
left out of nature's spring
collection. "I love them, for
some reason."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diploma Immunity

What color drab with pragmatic promise
or loosely corralled with pastel salesmanship
can properly rejoin the story and the teller?
Mouths have not been eyes for some time,
according to verifiable pop-quiz answers,
but there's the biology on third watch
for the age of painless armageddon.

Should stud-sharp eye-blinders
become common courtesy off screen,
with every giftbox built of mirrors,
stores may stop selling contents
for them all together, just various
translucent wrappers since
a hint of taste is already
a tongue-piercing.

What paragraphs of ungrammatical,
actual verbiage could hope to set
their vague barbs to keep
the tin cans in hand,
the sacred circle of speaker to ear?

What music should make a man stand
to move to images made in his stead,
what frame sits the spectator down
upon his personal-space-platform,
to forego the seeing he came to see
and judge the parade and its branching,
the swelling rank of examples,
bands of protagonists rolling by
on their universal-joints,
as centered by illusion as
the mouth-gifted critics voting
sheep or goat for every floating
icon hoping that hope still
owns a boat? What map

could hold all these options
to their roads, all these piles
of fiction to their grids,
as each street decorates itself
with lock-step audience participation,
with marching, hand-waving champion
happiness, what colors can

a man paint himself into a corner
with, and still have a picture
in his wallet to show for it?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Garden Cannot Hear the Gardener

Think no ill of Eve, alone
allowed to know her error
until she shared it.

To conceive of punishment,
and receive no judgment,

ashamed to show herself, knowing
that they know not what they see,

with only beasts and trees
for confessors and priests,

her throat full of names
Adam did not give them,

a bush whose flames were fruit
taught her with the question
of buds in the sun bursting
beside blight-dry brother
branches, so she asked

the drowsy worm whose
mouth had held that same secret
flesh, why one flower
closed to bloom again as a womb
while some unpollinated sister
was chosen to wither
instead of giving.

It cleverly kept chewing
over the answer.

At first the fruit
was just another shape
until it tasted like
the time between one bite
and the last,

and then,

those roots surely
held something,
a depth where a fist
kept the trunk from reaching
that sky-moon-blue-good-sun-white.


Do not blame Eve.
She invented burdens either
so she could learn to lift things
or to be lifted.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Eggs, apples, roses, tokens,
seeds, yolks, pollen, cores,
shells, petals, peels, skins,
baskets, bushels, dozens, scores,
brambles, branches, nests, perches,
baggies, cartons, paper, stores,
scrambled, juiced, arranged creations,
roses, apples, eggs, patience.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Bucket to Drown Ideas In

Thoughts may thrive on empty space, breathe through mud,
exchange wings for gills as the deluge nears,
while organic lungs must drag each atmosphere
for the sole molecule that reddens blood.
Skimming the breeding sea of seeming
sustains no earthly stomachs, yet for nectar
the godhead swallows whole pantheons, teeming
broods of illusions become food for one collector.

A sink full of thinkers takes one thought to drown them;
so many synapses have one skin around them,
uncountable voices and only two chords to sound them.
We are both souls by the soulless bounded
and bodies by the bodyless surrounded.
We are rods to keep the lightning grounded.

Friday, April 10, 2009


All good gods are female, in that they give.
All gods of good are male, since they know
best what should be received.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Five Terry Cloth Quadrilaterals Can Make

If the black bath towel is the basic face,
noseless, hemline for lips, tag for a tongue,
(flippant little fine-printed thing)
the red hand-towels sharing the rod
must be his elongated irises,
perfectly off-centered folds of rectangles
somehow capable of looking drooping,
the washcloths back to black
are pupils, so short they hang the highest,
therefore pointing both whole eyes upward,
asking the cloud white ceiling
why it is so close and yet so dry.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Filling In

In a glass fatter than a carafe,
brazenly clear and unhandled,
but with the lip of a giving pitcher,

sits a conforming half-quart of sand.
Speared in the center, height made to mar

that orifice by passing through it,
green plastic struts expand
to their appointed red silk burdens.

The sand holds neither water nor
nutrition. Yet it is real sand.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A poet cannot know peace or wealth,

for peace and wealth know nothing else.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Man Spies on Bird

The squat telescope invites hunching,
both the lowering of the backside
and the flowering of procrastination
seeded as fruitful speculation.

The most expensive black plastic he owns,
the richest cousin a coffee can ever had:
entitled to claim its range as its domain
the glass steals the spirit of a gray hawk

and pantomimes it in the eyepiece.
Fluff and pinfeathers he says, maybe
a young bird, why else would that image
be paralyzed from the waist-down,

neck directing eyes from an aerie
with no spotted nest, but sword-feet
kept in the bark-sheath? Strength
so still for so long an aw-shucks
had time to unshelve the spyglass,

that's some clutch he's got,
eggs or not, with the wind up there.
Focus. The crow who gave him away is gone,
parabolic jaunts and hyperbolic taunts
off counting coup or himself

somewhere else. The gray hawk
stays until the ocular is safely
away, the man on to other symbols
and the work they represent.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bug on an Umbrella's Underside

Under a stretched cotton shade-maker,
clung on so effortlessly that standing upright
seems a wasteful way of bearing weight,
contrasting a human green so garish,
so unnatural they named it forest,
there dawdles a lima bean,
six legs, two wings and one head
so aware of all the mouths housed
by the surrounding air, stone-strong beaks
the spearheads of mountains somehow aloft,
objects of the myth that flapping is
to giants what buzzing is to cousins,
a wind as full of slathering mandibles
as puckish gusts, she's forced to shelter.

This leaf-eating beetle
sees no mirror in her sisters,
cannot see how her ancestors
became their meals, and her a flat lobe
of fern-pale color, a surface worth
sampling if she saw her own backside.
There's a hem to try hiding in.
But unlike most manufactured cracks,
man's handicraft has left no space.

The upend of this inedible frond,
this metal-veined, tree-wide leaf,
is boiling beyond yellow, too hot,
until she recognizes her languor
is this tasteless shadow's torpor,
the cold that threatens every calm
with permanence. She crawls from
right-side left to left-side upright,
right around to down back down:

stabbed at every angle by life-size
spears of sunlight, soon so full of heat
she cannot remember feeling fear
or breathing until her body bursts
into flying, her whole body
open to share her bullet-beat rhythm
with the deaf, buffeting air.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

For Whom the Ball Rolls

The boy kicks the tennis ball
like a dog, punishment for never
growing into the proper size for soccer,
or because you can’t kick people's
cars or dogs either,
or for missing the target:
a six foot tall fiberglass chicken,
fattest weathervane in the world,
(she would have been fired for immobility
if she hadn’t rightly filed for disability).

He’s been trying to ruffle her
all afternoon. The barn-slant returns
every salvo with the tit-for-tat
exchange of ballistic energy
pop-dropping on the asphalt
to ricochet by dint
of whatever dent it hits
toward the customer’s windshields
and paint-jobs – that’s the real
roulette he’s playing, counting
crescent grit marks on glass and waxy
hoods, exultant that nothing breaks,
except some stupid rule
about throwing things at cars,
and that’s being bent for him,
it’s the roof doing it.

Mom's in the store, under
that chicken is a lot of feed
and pet supplies. Maybe a bin
of tennis balls for the dogs.

Friday, April 3, 2009

One Worker Down

A bee flew into my temple,
and since mass was keeping
the door to my frontal lobe shut,
and momentum was in my favor
by a factor of granule to granite,
her crash continued, and she graced
the table with her final flight.

Her buzz died as she righted,
no secondary flutter, no turning
it over one more time, she stopped
sounding like a bee at all,
and began to slowly, humbly crawl.

I lifted my forearms from her
appointed path, whether self-chosen
or still directed by the chemistry
that had made her taste order,
smell truth. She walks right
into a fall, trusting the table's
edge to provide the ground,
wings silent, she's found instead
an armrest. Backing her end
past the cliff my elbow once
overhung, she stares straight
at my ribs as if they'll tell
her to let go.

She scrubs her face,
her face all eyes. Her right
forearm is surely too short,
a stump if such a wire-thin thing
can be called a stump, not
braced against her body, but
still working, running over her
head again and again, as if the work
would make the ability to work return.

Her right antennae is also short.
Whatever eats bees only licked her.

While she's still ticking
(but never buzzing, never again)
those right eyes she can't wipe clean
are staring straight at my torso.
I hope she isn't begging.
My gut is no buddha.

Possibly she's only hiding,
maybe from her own sister-kinship,
my city-wide stench an effective blockade
of their hormonal-GPS,
there's the shame at having smelled wrong
or for getting sideswiped by some sparrow,
or she's truant to the mortuary bees
who'll carry her too far
from the air she'd like to breathe last,

slower and slower she shifts.

she may be in pain, I don't know.
I imagine she's stoic, she's flown
alone to her own funeral.

Maybe she's silently asking
for enough strength to forage
one more leg of pollen,
even if the gaurds
won't let her back in with it;
or why she never grew old
enough to soldier herself
before this dying thing,

or if in that highest of hives
her abdomen will be promoted
by glowing halo to queenly

and the wax there will taste
like royal jelly,

and she'll get to sting
and sting and sting forever
in the great chorus.

She's beginning to list.
Half of her is too much weight
for only two right legs.

Without wings and trumpet, my lips
withold the homily for her apocalypse,
I will not even hear
her next or final breath.
Yet it still hovers in my ear,
this waspish lesson, this
soon to be ghostly-bee that gleans
that being built efficient means
any injury at all is death.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


(a) (deed to title of poem [provisionally approved])

Allusion is not her usage.
She is as presently there
as any problem stays,
dragging its splinter of day
on board every vessel
of the current now, beat, now,
whether blood or freeway,
errands or focus,

not even a seed, simply
the soil-hole, poked
by finger or mechanical
replacement for whichever
Fate demanded benefits
when she cut herself.

She has simply been named,
not from the Spenser, surely,
nor with some mere noun,
listed one, two, three
like explanations, no,

the word sounds like her. It is
a name now bound to conjure
or better to banish
her unfertilized beginning,

a label to tape down
the spring-loaded lip
of her file:

Amoret, a term assigned
to her regardless of associations
listed in order of
by a search-engine,

no, it means her specifically,
three syllables comfortably
incommunicable, for
if anything, Amoret is
a deliberate infection.

(b) (sufficient disclaimer)

Any pretty girls, alive
in the mind or dead to rights
in the eye about to enslave
their image to the service
of some abominably empty
mirage of a mistress:

you may be buffeted with glancing love
or half-heart-sickening lust, but

you are not Amoret;
Amoret is not you.

Any resemblance between
Amoret and any imaginable
candidate for Amoret
is purely imagined
or serviceably (read
intentionally) imaginary.

And to be clear:

Amoret is a girl.
If you are also a girl,
this is merely a coincidence.

(c) (necessary disclaimer)

As brief as brevity is able to be,
I recite as required this witless list,
composed to codes of strictest legality,
those free of any and all responsibility
should Amoret read this and get pissed,
and decide to sue for damages monetary
rather than just shaking her shapely fist:

first, the owners of all servers, wires,
routers, satellites, tin cans and airspace
through which this poem's bits will race;
second, all bandwidth sellers and buyers
whose rental of any and all transmissibility
may be, by writ of evidentiary admissibility,
temporary publishers (willing or unwilling)
of poetic content (filling or unfilling),
third, any and all possible readers,
human, search-spider, credit card,
or English department’s hunchback bard;
fourth, any third-party world leaders
or third-party service providers
or their fifth-column free-riders,
fifth, all manufacturers of computer parts,
or computer wholes, plugs and ports,
upon which the poem arrives or departs,
are hereby released from all claims and torts
should sweet, smart Amoret ask me to courts.

(d) (poetic license fine print)

By no means does the granting of this license
reflect any approbation of artistic merit
regarding this author or any intended or accidental
figurative language of said author's
by this licensing board or its members
in any (infinite list of modifiers) capacity.

All rights to say we liked it after the author
is dead are reserved.

(e) (actual poem)

Spunky, brunette Amoret:

more fun to fish for
than to net

with winks and smiles

so quick to twinkle,
smile, and yet

as frosty as
a suffragette,

excepting when
she sparkles wet

in hopes of
a spiritual
tete a tete

her temperature
can almost get

as smoky as a
noirish bete

with eyes like
with rooms to let.

Then as soon
as the match
is set

she leaves
him with
her silhouette,

her hooded
heart trained
like a pet,

a hawk
to the dove,
a bullet
to the jet,

no mawkish,
sock-hopped up

no kingless
princess, no
soprano Cossette,

not your vibing string,
never the
note-holding fret,

more fun to meet
than to have met,

pretty, put-upon

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lines on a Polo Shirt

Preferably horizontal, one color,

no thicker than a quarter-inch;

no more than three.