Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bidding Up Grain

The poet's poet
lives in a hole,
he dug the footfall
with his toehold

stopped climbing
and hung himself
from the world's

spinning bottom

his freundlich
scooped the rest,
plastic buckets

for translating
dry sockets
into castles,
dentist picks

for etching
pebbles with

drillbits for
placing plosive
comic sparklers
in the rockface;

deep in that dark
abandoned flint-mine

the last cave
painter describes
his platonic

with chiplight
twinkling tiny

just like distance

for the disciples
to trade each other
like insiders

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Due by Due

by way of distributing gifts
no wrapping can draft
a desired mystery upon

to market to market
to sell a plump hen
her chocolate cream eggs
her teeth and her legs

a box full of boxes
not for resale

a clock that rents
how it tells
the sequencing
for what it sells

such a pile
called everything
divvied up with the discretion
due to finder's keeping
their servant's in their steading

by way of buying back
recycled bullets
by way of building cabins
out of brick-ingots
melted from syringes
that would have been waste

if the bodies that infected
their clean metal
couldn't contribute
their cells dead or alive

by way of the tax
on both sides of inertia

by way of the breadcrumbs
that can't afford insurance
for their sacrifice

the sword descends
upon the shoulders

knighthood and cutlet
all in one stroke

by way of the toll
the spirits walk
through the only needle


in the whole pincushion

Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Up

Architect, I get,
all the nametag stickers
for high kings and their analogs
on earth,

if authority is the only
job that fits on the pinnacle

and heaven is an inheritance
in whole for each part

I still can't see a bicyclist
getting cast as pharaoh

I can't see a magazine reader
filling in for fate

what a country a barber
might run, what a utopia
a nanny might create;

if this is either a test
or training, picking the right
career for the promotion
to omnipotence

is everything.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ulysses Me, Now You Don't

Joyce says Lynch says
enter a ghost and hobgoblins

and the page interharrumphs,
eyes unglaublich, unglued
fromhumbuggish prigbracken
ramblelugubriety's faultlumbers,
free from the tires that
bookbind to the wheelies
the word swirls the world
into, a horizonwide unpuckering,
eyeteethfeet unstuccoed,
faceplant flown unrootable
from the twee-top inscrutable
to float nimblejack begood
round the homeblown bodies,
the heavenlylike humbleshack
such as the fellow incohabitates,
him with elbows and eyebrows
therewithal, him with his
bathroom and bookshelf and all
manner of contrivial, conventional,
convivial convienences,
such a breast-thumper him,
fist knockabout up
that sleepyhead lodged
in the heart so

he puts the book down
because he believes
both here and there
the ghost and the hobgoblins
were already present,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Poem About Lauren

Lauren came to speak with me,
pink-shirt, baby-blue aura Lauren,
eyes strait and forward brown,
hair dipped from tint to burnish,
hips hung on a pair of hatstands
brandished by the floor,
as if her body is a spear
set before her picket-fence spirit,
her plainly pretty head suspended
on a spike of life, her skull
a scabbard for that sharp
she never unsheathes,

her rabbit-fast heartiness
spinning into that stillness
planets seem to have.

That greatest of falsehoods,
balance, she has attained,
haunches upon her fulcrum,
the fixed point she rides
around her plane of reference;

only at rest, impossible rest,
does the smoldering show notice
of her interior motions, one
wisp of smoke thinner than her
intentions wiggles out an ear
like an old man's gray hair,

while her moving body,
always moving,
cannot help but seem serene.
Even a fidgeting grip from
wrist to elbow, fingers
along forearms wanting to flick
off the wing-beat pressure
of the room's compound eyes,
even a waist-waggling bull-dodge,
even a neck-crunching lust-duck
cannot fiddle free of the illusion
of weight staying unshaken
in her very salmon-tinted skin,
a tan surely resulting from the
ultraviolet staring
she submits to, and all that aura
she's sweating out like she's trying
to lather on her own ozone layer.

Or so she was dressed
for her first impression.

Soon enough she has to
answer her purpose here, sales,
happy-laugh greasing
a face assigned to and ashamed
to play so guiltlessly, so guilelessly,

a quiet hiked up
on a tentpole giggle,

a spine full of standing fluid,
an upright puddle of pressure
strapped around the job of womanhood
by a skin that holds in
but doesn't keep out.

So she could be really nervous
and that gravity an accident,
a lens effect of her heavy
clouds of debris and

instead of the bone-still
strength of a tool hoping
for a hand -

- she has her own hands,
she says with a gesture,
my own hands to hang out
or slip up to my hip
or rent a room under my elbow's
overhang, or hide
behind my back,
where the shell won't grow.

She's certainly a workable girl,
capable of talking about
what couldn't possibly matter
to her and other
reasons to feed her, breed her,
let her love work at covering
the earth with the same suspended
purpose, the same unused possibilites
she's left long unlisted on her
resume, the same that are, perhaps,
I suspect, by the current universe,

Maybe my suspicion is why she
crosses over to speak with me,
this Lauren who I have looked at
long enough to have half again
as many thoughts about as
she has seemed to have herself,
she comes to speak with me
and I barely spoke.
An object worth considering
across the way
I could not look directly at
close up.

she filled out her roster
of saleswomen selves,
her agression copied itself
onto flyers she held out
like antidote hors doerves -

- as much method
as she could muster,
still not enough bluster
to buffet the right business
from the cyclone to her world,

Dorothy having to play wicked
wizard, selling his syrups,
she falls back
to that trench of her teeth,
her penchant, pensive,
hope-capped apprehensive
smile, that foxhole for her tongue,
that bunker for her unseen
but endearing
brigadier general brain,
one star to each shoulder-perch
for her long-lost hawk and dove,
awaiting either
promotion into action
or demotion into command
she stands
wrists crossed below her navel

gazing at whatever safe port
eyes can park her mind in
until time makes her look
to the lines, the tiller,
and the tack every tick-tock
demands. Later,

Lauren leaves,
whoever she was.

Thursday, May 14, 2009



ation, ation

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eden Island

Here the cat bells herself,
the hawk sews his own hood,
the bear walks on his hind
feet with ironjaws for shoes;

boars elect to lose their tusks
along with their wisdom teeth
and lobsters crack their own
claws so they can feel.

The lion takes a page from
the pelican and bleeds to feed
the multitudes of leeches

and only eats his own fish
after he's taught everyone
how to teach everyone to fish.

The rabbits skin themselves
before descending into the soup,
never steal a cabbage and
always cut off their feet first.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Engineers' Pensions

Science, the highest art of reduction,
has been reduced to the screws
to hold the handles on.

Architects have been demoted
for less expensive metaphors;
our affordable Great Work,
the end within our means,
our mission statement reads:

when each and every part
is portable, kingdom come.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In the Fullness

for every seed a sowing,
so some saying might say,
except there's the grain
that fell upon the rocks

to every season a weeding,
to every purpose a leading
question, an angry carrot
and a soft-pedalled stick

the garden is done growing
the fence outside picketing
for benefits and shorter hours
for the flaming sword

so now is the harvest
of our discontinued content

what can you build
when shelter does not sell

the time to fight over
the overripe is gone
here comes winter
in his newest disguise

the sharp end of plenty.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wardens and Reward

In Los Angeles,
a shortage of hundred-eyed
guardians has left the four-stroke
litters of self-automating man
to brake and correct for themselves.

Each fourth of each
successmobile, each
to-each-his-own schedule,
every motorcave of transportation,
each wheel that
has its own quarter
to pull and rush,
like the four faces
of the four sides of the throne,
the chariot of point and circle,
the chair that goes everywhere,

those wheels must turn themselves
toward or away.

A hierarchy has been proposed
and voted down, both in
hell's subcommittees and by
the chairman-pro-timelessness
and because he is not jealous
it also failed by quorum
of the highest chorus
and unexpectedly by referendum
of the holy copies watching
every foot, every pudendum,
every hand, mouth, heart
and wandering, daydreaming
sacred -

- the millennial plan
for restructuring the oversight
for totems and their engines,
a bailout for all the bodies
that must rush through
days of highways,
sharp-cornered offices,
the block and tackle of
the physical

and not
that heavenly height
so open to any bright
it is like the dark,
but still a sight,

that resolution failed.

The angels can no longer revolt,
that story was already told,
and since god is his own history
he repeats no doom,

but they can refuse overtime,
it's in their constitutions,
a thousand hours layered per day
is enough grace
driving the hands and eyes
of the drivers
who cannot deign to help
themselves avoid death

so sometimes there are accidents.
God has an open call for new hires,
but the selfish dead
prefer wallowing in hell
than serving on earth.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is Better

sometimes you take away


there are four operations

one is the reverse of the first,
one his repetition,
the last the latter backwards,

with another horizon
widening version
of reversal

one thing realigned
by three simplicities
so easily unseen

they must pre-date creation


the three to make four
and the fifth, not the winking
mystical totality
which always counts itself

the final, highest one

but that first fifth,
the foot that left the line
to step down on the plane

and thus add the idea
that an increase could also
count two different beginnings

and yes,

sometimes you take away

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fool for Green

I met a man
who claimed dead men
are polluting the earth.

I told him
a root also fills the world
with itself, and then dies.

He said green grows,
it doesn't destroy.

I said

the cruelty of plants may be slow,
but just as irrevocable.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bits of Poem on an Unmade Ode

unlucky construction,
a dribble of Erato's ninety-nine
percent perspiration

a drop frozen and fractured
before it can finish falling
to a moisture-thirsty earth

already rebreathed into
a spittle-prism,
making her stolen-fire
metaphor into a
mocking maze, a
spraying haze, a
conceited challenge failing
to be a challenging conceit.


death is something to be cleaned up.
the easiest way to dispose of things
is to eat them.


Around the loading docks
for the crumbling fortress bookstores
standing in for our monasteries,
pick-up trucks full of migrant
doctorate candidates line-up to disgorge
their for-credit scavenging,
their squinty-eyed scraping
of the pallets the commands
arrive on from the truck-driving
chorus of the lord


Counted on a rosary
of rabbit pellets
dried against the skin,
beaded on a filament
of fisher-king line,
with a cross bunched up
of sappy pine needles,
a sticky cross proud
of the hand's submission
to stickiness, a hand

he can no longer open,
that can no longer take
up any other tool.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Workshop Blues

I drafted a man of
language, he went pulpy
in the bathtub.

I built a man of
muscle, he turned to jerky
in the heat.

I crafted a man of
bone-hard plans, and he
just stood for all to see him.

I made a man of spirit,
and he did something

so important it happened
in a place I could not
follow him to find.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Catching Enough

Your allowance of breath,
capacity of sacs to grasp
air and wring blood from it,

one spread of that sheet
is a budget, the other a tax,
a bracket between
what must be pulled in
to those same lanes
where the sleep-slow blue
completes the loop
of used molecules

finite the lungs
which compress and express,
steal and exude,
endless the pit
full of red-needing
stomach, liver,
muscle, brain,
that each bellows-press
must fill

and then scrape
the plates clean away
so they can be exhaled

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Knife Also Uses Itself

spar of steel,
spur of shank,
one slice of iron
folded as hard as angles can manage

depthless head deep in the tickling
blood, near-empty leader of weight,
the point gives his constituency
the way to wedge in and

it's good, he tells the sleek,
slippery flat that makes up his
middle, it's the best,
the caress of a wet wound
upon his endlessly hard existing

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Subject Tests

Birds sit for no exams,
they fly or they die,
they bury enough in their beaks
or the earth gulps their last

Of course it is joy
to boast a folded-wing warble
between bouts of show-boat
acrobatics captured by
the schoolroom's proscenium
window, a glass as transparent
and flat as a lesson:

they have survived,
that was their only work.

At their desks,
the children bristle
and throb for the dream
of nestlessness.

Neither does the teacher
listen to the bird,
whose counsel falls
as dead as any hatchling
whose wings did not
deserve their birth.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I hold out traces for a task
A loop to hold the work I've woken

to needing; the hand's commanding:

A machine that stops to ask
what factory he's in is broken.