Sunday, December 31, 2006

The march

Upriver slowly and in black & white.
The sound of helicopters, distant but
approaching. The silence of the
Indians hiding along the shore, unaware
of the annihilation that comes with
democracy, and then April, and then
July. A sound like we had never
invented God, like all of these young
girls sleeping, dreaming of becoming
Internet whores. Sunlight in the moments
before the bomb hits, and then this man
who comes home on Christmas to find
his family gone, and all he knows how
to do is hang himself. All he knows
how to do is die.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

whip hand blues

early morning sunlight like
rust crawling up the factory walls/
across the windows/
and we were nothing less then
than what we are now

i was hanging
and you were waiting to be hung

3000 miles of humming wire

the distance
between love and fucking

between god and religion
and what if all we had back then
to fill the empty spaces with
was apologies

what if all we can
give each other now are

it’s never been enough
just knowing how to
make you cry

Saturday, December 23, 2006

shroud of days, age of fear

and four years later
you ask the drowning boy what
he dreams about
but he doesn't answer

you watch the helicopters circle
the missing girl's body

there is a need here for some
song of hope
but my hands have begun
to crack and bleed

there is a need for dali
who understood the importance of

who understood our fear of both
the known and the unknown
and who knew that america was
destined to devour itself

and for three years
i lived next door to a man who
refused to believe in the holocaust

for twenty-seven
i had a father who breathed only
the rarefied air of martyrs

who choked to death on it
two months before my wedding

who was vague history by
the time my son was born and
his ashes only a faint bitter taste
in the back of my throat

and the idea of saviors had
given way to the rotting wood
of mortgaged houses

the phone continued to ring
but i had stopped answering it

i was reading about a boy lost
while playing by the river

it would end up being the only
story from his life that
i ever knew

Friday, December 22, 2006

crows, screaming

in the sunlight, in the trees,
and my mouth filled w/ frost,
and the sound of helicopters in the distance

the stretches of highway that go to the ocean,
that go to the hills,
that go nowhere

the need for weapons,
which is born from fear

the love of enemies

you and i, for example

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the bones of the evening

to be inside the machine

to be in your lover's bed

the scream of sunlight
or the laughter of children

the broken words of politicians

you eat them like glass and
dream of living forever until the
day you die

you carry a handful of
your father's ashes
for luck

have tasted them on the day
your oldest son was born
and again three years later and
what you remember is the fear

what you remember is
reading a poem for your wife
in a dark room and then the
tears she cried

the way you mistook
their taste for salvation

nothing ever this pure again

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the bleeding horse, running blind

a man you don't know found
behind the wheel of someone else's car
and he's come a long way to
tell you his story

he has nothing to say

poems maybe
written in blood or in piss on
a bus station wall or maybe spelled out
with the bones of indians along
the edge of the interstate

someone else's city
seen from a distance

almost beautiful

the sound of sunlight
off of chrome and dirty glass

the weight of your heat or
the absence of it

all of that time we wasted at the top
of burnt hill road

this man and the letters i sent him
and then the fact of his death

the news of his silence

what it means
never quite clear

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The explosion, in reverse

In the pale light of God, in the
slow burning of November, our
hands heavy with prayers, our
tongues thick with hollow truths,
and in the camps the women
are dead.

In the evenings, the songs take
on deeper meanings. The
silences are expected.


Things will expand, or they
will contract. Wars, nations, the
bloated bellies of corpses, and
what you fear more than anything
is loss. Your house. Your job.
The way everything you hold
dear is tied together. Pull a part
of your life out, the rest will

Live in fear, but pretend you
don’t. Hold your wife, or hold
someone else’s. Close your eyes
and see if you can tell the

Saturday, December 09, 2006

in the age of forgiving

you are someone living on a
hilltop or you are
someone crawlhig towards sunlight

i am there beside you

am the hand of god
but with no clear meaning

i have held you down

have slid up between your thighs on
cold december afternoons and
when you screamed out my name
i was only a man turning
away from the future

i was only the shadow of hope
laid gently across
a bed of broken glass

everything else was a gift

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


sudden rain in the
last light of day

my father dead
which i think i've mentioned

his bones heavier than
i remember

my illusions more precious

not the person i am
but the one i'm afraid of becoming
and maybe even this is
a lie

maybe all i can do is
love my children and hope for
the same

wait for cortez to return
or the ghost
of every murdered slave

and what i remember is steinbeck
driven out of california for
what he wrote

pound dragged through
the streets in a cage for what
he believed

the smell of burning witches
as i sat in the back seat of the car
with a book in my lap

with the sun in my eyes

almost home and
already afraid of everything
i would find there

Monday, December 04, 2006

New Faith

Or the first lie you tell your child,
or the ways I would love to
watch you die. The idea of mercy,
which I will prove to be meaningless.
How sweet your cancer would taste.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


told her i wasn't the bleeding horse,
said this isn 't the burning house
even as the windows began to explode outward

the end of june and hot

the face of america touched
by the hand of god

not beautiful, not filled with wisdom,
and i turned to the man on my left and
told him i was sorry for the truth,
and he confused this with the truth

he leaned across the table to a woman i had
once loved
and told her she was a whore

offered it like an apology

held out his hand
but only after she'd slipped beneath
the surface

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Cyclops, Blinded

And if you see Creeley, remind him
that he's dead. Tell him that none of it
mattered in the end, not the words, not
the silences, not the endless fucking

It was February, and then it was
August, and then we finally reached
November. Age of nothing, land of less,
and what should be obvious is that
Cobain's suicide meant more than the
deaths of a million geriatric presidents.

Do you remember the song you were
singing when you heard the news
about Reagan?

The name of the woman you were with?

It was almost enough just to lie on
the bed and laugh.

Friday, November 24, 2006

we fall

The women hanging, spinning beneath
a ground glass sky,
all refracted light and cubist emotion,
all subtle joy and grey sunshine,
and this boy at the water’s edge,
but on the wrong side, face down and
nameless and then discovered
and named.

He is yours, or he is someone you know,
or he is no one. It happens.

Look at the picture.

Your lover, smiling on a beach,
her husband just outside the frame but
always there.

The rope, which can be bought at
any Wal-Mart.

The hallways, which smell of
hurried sex and desperation.

Whatever house you call home
just waiting to burn.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

dreamt you were gone

or maybe there's a morning where
i wake up and
can do nothing but hate

maybe the rest of my life
comes to be
defined by the actions of others

things offered freely and
things taken away and all of
the promises that sounded so good
in darkened rooms

all of the women who believed them
and that i've forgotten their faces
but not their bodies

that i've reached this day with
nothing but my name and
my children

with whatever small light
we can hold between us

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the burning hand

this will be the year that
all words are shown to be

these will be my hands
balled into useless fists

the sun blinding and without heat

the distance between us
no more than it's ever been
but now i'm older

have buried lennon and
cobain and bukowski

have ended up with a
life i never wanted

with a house full of empty rooms
and a notebook bleeding
bitter poems and what i
still believe is that christ never
wanted to be your savior

what i still refuse to accept
is the idea
of a benevolent god

no one lets children be
butchered in the name of love

Monday, November 13, 2006

26 saints

and it's just a number
even if all of them are bleeding

she's only an old woman
on her knees

reads her bible with her eyes closed
as then trigger is pulled
and then she's just one more
murdered nun

she's just one more child
of god

bury her and nothing grows

Sunday, November 12, 2006

book of saints, age of despair

man rapes a
nine month-old baby and
leaves it for dead and
all i want is for this thought to
stay with you forever

all i want is for you to know
that the baby lives

all i ask is that you
teach your god to crawl

Thursday, November 09, 2006

once you get past words, you arrive at meaning

looking closer at
the blood in your smile

digging deeper for
the missing child

finding nothing
which is how these stories
always end

finding the bones of slaves
the ghosts of indians
my father

his coffee cup
his left hand with the
cigarette grown cold in it
his anger wrapped neatly in
black rags of self-pity

these highways which take us nowhere

which end up in cities or towns
no more or less desperate
than the ones we've left behind

these sidewalks with their
crosses of colored chalk

these houses with lit candles
at every window

with the mother tied up and
beaten to death on the living room floor

the son tied up and beaten to death
on the living room floor and the
fact that i have moved past the point
where anyone mentions me
as a friend

the fact that i
yell at my children too often or that
they love me without reservation

my wife asleep on the couch in the
middle of a perfect july afternoon

my eyes closed

everything i fear just waiting
for me to open them

Sunday, November 05, 2006

sanctuary: an improvisation

here in the house of truths in the
silence of cold sunlight at the
edge of the western world
i am only a broken fist

here with the shadows of birds like
frightened thoughts over fields of ruin

with the factories bleeding poison
into the rivers and the
children on fire and with their
bones reduced to dust

with their names forgotten and the
two of us alone in some
stranger's room and our hands and
our lips and our obvious scars

you on top and eyes closed and
the ease with which the moment is lost

picasso's horse staggering blind
down all of the streets I grew up on

soft music from further down an
empty hall and a phone
ringing in on the day my father dies
and it's always this ending that i
keep coming back to

a poem without words for a
world without beauty

all of these bare floors where your
daughters and sisters are raped
and the pure white light that
fills their minds

the lies that spill from their mouths

so much complicated anger and
nothing to do with it but build

Thursday, November 02, 2006


man drives towards
the dying town he grew up in
late in the evening in
early spring

grey sky over grey hills and
he turns to his wife and
says i love you
and she says nothing

the children sleep in the back seat

he pauses

considers repeating himself
but doesn't

thinks about the ghosts
he's left behind

about the scars he keeps hidden
and the ones
he displays openly

thinks about the money
he owes and
all of the poems that will
never be written

all of the ones that amount
to nothing more than
fading ink on dirty paper

understands finally
what a mistake this was

Sunday, October 29, 2006

For Efrim, Patron Saint of Useless Words

Cold rain in June and the baby sick.

Nails chewed down to stale blood.

to fresh pain

grey light through every window,
and then six thirty, seven thirty,
the house filled with the smell of age,
the smell of softly rotting wood,
and when the roof begins to leak there's
nothing left to do but run.

picture it

A stretch of road up in the hills just
outside of town, and you were both fifteen,
just standing there holding each other,
making out, the smell of her hairspray,
the taste of her gum, feel of her
breasts with your hands up
underneath her jacket.

October, grey, and what you didn't
know is that you'd be 37 someday, and
divorced from a woman you hadn't
even met yet.

What you didn't know is
how many jobs you'd lose.

How many friends would die of
cancer, would die in car crashes, would
just disappear.

Would wake up to
an overdue mortgage, a mother with
Alzheimer's, a leaking room and
just run.

Just drown in the
pure fucking beauty of escape.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the scream

you see it on the film
how the bullet hits the skull

how the skull explodes
and the flowers scream

the future
suddenly without shape

the baby born without arms

and will you
sing it a lullaby?

will you help dig in the scrubland
beyond the interstate?

the bodies could be anywhere
and the father isn't talking

the soil is poisoned and
the mother's body washes ashore

and it has no head and
the fetus is gone
and then the doctor says she'd
like to run some tests

says cancer is something
she dreams about

vultures digging at the
eyes of starving children

a television left on in an empty room

not my father
but my father's ghost

not his anger
but his sense of despair

the two of us sitting in a bar at
nine o'clock on
a sunday morning

an assassination on the television
or the sound of angry silence

the fact that we have
nothing left to give each other

that i'm tired of choking on ashes

am tired of answering phones
in dark rooms

of driving to hospitals and
walking down sterile hallways
and when she asks what i've brought
i hold out my empty hands and
it's never enough

when we fall from the couch
to the floor
i can almost forget my anger

can almost see myself
pulling the trigger

my hands on fire and
dreaming only of your flesh

Friday, October 27, 2006


this idea of poets dragged
in cages through the streets

this town at six a.m.

heavy grey and almost silent
and filled with meaningless words

each one spelled out in
faded plastic or dead neon or
spray paint

each one a promise or a threat
and you in bed with the
bones of all your old lovers
and me in love with you
and the sidewalks where they end

the factories where they rise
without apology from the
blood of indians and slaves

the absence of shadows

this certainty that
none of us will ever be forgiven

Sunday, October 22, 2006

cathedral of bones

what the dogs taste
is the meat of jesus christ
and they spit it out

what the junkies do is beg

but there is no room for symbolism
down these empty streets
in the first purple light of five a.m.

children are dying everywhere
and the thought i hang onto
is that my son isn't one of them

i have taught myself
the politics of fatherhood
after fifteen years spent trying
to escape the idea of
the boy i was

i have built a cathedral
of human bones

of meaningless words and angry voices
and there is nothing left to put in it

there is nothing to see
from the windows
but the flat white smudge of the sun
spilling across november fields

beyond the fields are
the factories
where nothing is made

where the dogs grow hungry
in the glow of the neon cross

and home is
where you find yourself
when there's no place else
to run

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

poetry as architecture

and how long does it take
before you realize
that words will not save your marriage?

how old is your son
the first time he tells you he
hates you?

and dali is somewhere laughing
of course
and a man 10,000 miles from home
is stepping off a chair and waiting for
the rope to break his fall

a woman i have never met writes
from the edge of someone else's ocean
to tell me that i've captured her life on paper
and i throw the letter away

none of this was ever about salvation

i am not a believer in
absolution or in fate and
on this day there is nothing as pure
as the feel of sunlight through
a clean sheet of glass

there are any number of reasons
for writing
but i keep them to myself

children are starving for god
and for politics

they are found in the woods or they
are never seen again and
i'm asked if i pray

i'm asked if i vote
or if i deserve what i get

and there are women forced to live in
rape camps i'm told
and there are the bones of nuns
dug up on the outskirts of
central american villages

i have been shown the pictures

have been asked what i plan to do
to stop the atrocities
but what i was speaking about here
was the word

what i was trying to remember
were the last ones
my father spoke to me

there's the possibility that
forgiveness had been mentioned

Monday, October 16, 2006


It was the needle, yes, it
was the need, but also the
dream of hands filled with
pure sunlight reaching out to
hold you, reaching out for
the weight of your breasts,
just another simple act of
drowning, and it was only once,
was only twice, was only June,
July, August, September, the
days suddenly cold, my eyes
filled with ground glass,
heart pounding, phone ringing
for days on end with no one
answering it, and i remember
you were seventeen, then
eighteen, remember you were
laughing and then gone.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


2:30 and the threat of rain.

Yellow skies and unspoken words and
the clock running backwards in this room
where we no longer touch.

The starving hung with barbed wire.


I know this song.

Have sung it to my children even as
politicians were placing tarnished coins
over the blind eyes of other men's daughters.

A beautiful sound in the back of my
throat that exists only to be devoured by crows.

The hand of God reaching down from an
empty sky in the form of a bomb.

The only true power we have
which is the power to take away.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In the moment of truth

I will say yes to
anything you ask, will
close my eyes in crowded rooms
just to see your face.

Just to hear your voice.

Words low and beautiful,
and the way you taste where my
tongue licks bare flesh.

The weight of our silence when
we no longer need words.

When everything is finally
spoken with
fingertips and desire.

Friday, October 06, 2006

the vast empty spaces of dying afternoons

you sit across the table from
a woman who
at some point in the past
has beaten your youngest child and
you listen

she talks about nothing as
a plane flies overhead

bitches about her life as you
watch the sunfilled front yard and
you answer and wish for a cigarette
and close your eyes against
whatever it is she says next

you wait
but not for anything in

you breathe

Sunday, October 01, 2006

eating the heart of christ: an exercise in diminishing

the body found

washed ashore
3000 miles away from this
small pool of clean light and
then given a name

and do you believe in beauty?

look out this window

at these houses built by men dead
before i was ever born

at these children with their
vacant stares and clutching hands
and do you think about
hinckley anymore?

about all of the poems you write
that no one will ever read?

and what about the unborn child?

what about the husband
or the blood in his smile?

and wherever you go you'll
find these sixteen year-old girls
and their babies

tiny kitchens and hands
held to burners

apologies screamed

words raining down like

On The Day You Die

And the humor is always there,
but you can’t tell the suicide that.
You can’t tell the suicide’s family,
wife or husband, children, parents, but
you can laugh from a safe distance
away. You can stand in the shitty
apartment your father was found in,
can think about the heart attack that
nailed him to the floor, the lack of
history in these two tiny rooms, the
absence of yourself, your sister, your
mother, and you can flip through the
stack of mail on the wobbly table. Bills
and junk mail and nothing else, nothing
personal, not from you, not from
anyone, and you can smile. You can
laugh. It’s one way of passing

Friday, September 29, 2006

of faith and devotion

In the here, now, the silence of
this room, this street at two in the
morning, the need not for Jesus
but for something stronger,
something tangible.

Here in the
unrelenting heat of July.

Here, in this unforgiving new
century, with the delicate hands of
mothers cut off by other women's
sons, and in the name of freedom,
in the name of power, because a
pile of dead hands can never
really be an enemy.

A child with its tongue cut out
can never really beg for mercy.

And I believe in the future,
but only because the past is gone

I believe in the hammer, the
obvious border, the nail driven
through soft flesh, but I'm no
longer certain about right and

I have no use for politics, or for
the whores who would make me
swear allegiance to something
as irrelevant as a flag.

There will never be an end to the
line of smiling shitstained dogs
who want only to force you
to your knees.

Friday, September 22, 2006

ships, sleeping

you open the door and
find the hanging man

what you've been chosen for here
isn't clear but listen

he has a wife and he
has a child

a room full of
books without words

a cigarette grown cold in
an ashtray

and what happened is that he
woke up and
the house was on fire

the last great war
hadn't begun yet but the
streets were full of starving children

do you remember
the stench of corpses?

do you believe that
god and the devil are the same?

this is the question you
need to ask your lover when she
kneels before you

ignore her words when she answers
but watch her hands

listen to the passing traffic

and is this a room where
every mirror has been turned to
the wall?

it matters

your smile can only hold
so much broken glass

the clocks will only run backwards
until they reach zero

think about
all of the lies your father ever
told you

walk to the end of the hall
and open the door

the possibilities are never as
endless as you'd like to believe

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

sunflowers in autumn

An ambulance in the sunlight.

An arm, a leg, something missing
from the picture, but the
picture has no sound.

The dog has been shot twice,
but refuses to die. Cut its head off
and it grows back, and so
you drive.

End of the road to the edge of town
and then 3000 miles to where
the continent falls into the ocean.

I am looking for you here,
among the weeds and the discarded

I have questions,
have gifts,
have dreams that need interpreting.

I was told that this would
be my century.

I was led to believe that
what I had to say

Some of this must sound familiar.

Friday, September 15, 2006

in the room of mirrors

tired of yr sickness, yes,
and tired of my own,
and strange that i can place my
hand on yr sorrow and
turn it to rage

strange that i can close my eyes
and pretend you never

but not like christ
asking one of us to drive the
last nail home

Monday, September 11, 2006

Every step, towards or away

I have never killed the enemy,
have never stood close enough to
touch the face of God.

I was raised to understand that
the glass is half-empty.
Was taught by my father
how to pour more,

and on the morning of his cremation
I was hiding in another town, with
another man's wife, and I hold no
illusions about forgiveness.

I believe that our lies will get us
through these days as well as
anyone's truth.

I have yet to be proven wrong.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


the dead heat of july
and the weight of loss and the
way none of it can be separated

the way that what i write is never
the same as what i'm trying to say

do you see?

let's call the sky tarnished silver

let's have it press down against
the hills without compassion

and we'll say the girl was only
when she vanished more than
a decade ago

would you consider her
an adult now
or do you just assume she died
terrified and alone?

would you walk into her room
if you knew that nothing
had been touched since the
day she disappeared?


it's not your pain to give
but you can still receive it like
some inverted blessing

you can still bleed like
the rest of your life
depends on it

everyone does at some point

Monday, September 04, 2006

places where the bodies of murdered children have been found

places where the bodies of murdered children have been found: an incomplete guide to america


at the water's edge


in a shallow ditch
a desert highway


hung from a tree in the
hills of southern california


in a summer field in
rural pennsylvania


in a dumpster


two of them
in a clearing in the woods
of upstate new york and
both of them hacked
to pieces


two more beneath a
freshly poured concrete slab
in the back yard of a
man from just down the street


stuffed beneath
the kitchen sink while
the mother lies wrapped in
bloody sheets saying
it's not hers


laid out neatly on
their parents' bed


floating face-down in the tub


floating face-up in the tub


in a plastic bag


in the locked closet of
a burned house


in a suitcase




would you
waste your breath on
a word as
pointless as mercy?

Friday, September 01, 2006


or the first time i taste her
or the first time i
make her cry

the days in between
spent waiting

spent listening to the ghost
of black coyote

to the sound of rifle fire
ripping through small children
and newborn babies

the sound of america
taking shape bone by bone

medals pinned to the
bloodstained uniforms of
drunken soldiers

the book of days rewritten to
make the killers
seem like monsters

to make them
seem more like you

Monday, August 28, 2006

kay sage, lost

she tells you she was raped
then says she's sorry

maybe says she's sorry
she told you

and either way
she was raped and
she's told you and then she
says she's sorry

for some reason
she says she's sorry

and all you have to give her
are these words and
the useless fucking sounds
they make

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

miro's house

these kittens still blind and
these men who grind their skulls
beneath boot heels

the shadow cast by faith
when it's held up to the sun

the sun which is dying

and so your own death
approaches quicker

the people you love
smile as they enter the room

step delicately over the bones
and the broken promises

tell each other what a
decent bastard you were

Saturday, August 19, 2006

between static and fear

it’s a trick question this
asking do you believe in god?
when you have a gun to
someone’s face

it’s a joke with a punchline
no one gets

you laugh and then the
trigger is pulled and
the sky suddenly filled with
a million flowers
raining down

the air pure blue burnt
black at the edges

these planes exploding
like absolute joy

Monday, August 14, 2006

blood in the spaces between what we say and what we mean

crows in an empty field

not the idea
but the fact of it

the sky with a
beginning and an end

the earth moving
beneath your feet and thick with
the bones of indians and


whatever day it is in
whatever year
and all of the unpaid bills that
keep you tied to this life

all of the people you've hurt
who'd like to see you dead

the names you've forgotten and
the lovers you've betrayed
and the trees all bare

the sound of the freeway

the smell of cold engines
going to rust

of the rivers filled
with oil and sludge

america at this exact moment

a woman beaten unconscious
and left in the closet of a burning house
and the simple fact that i've
outlived cobain

have outlived christ and
that i refuse to die like pilate

and what about this
eighteen year old girl naked
except for a string of pearls?

how many wars are you
willing to wage to own her?

not action
but the act of demanding it
from others

all of these young men shot dead
for reasons that have more
to do with money than freedom

all of these songs with
words but no meaning

it was never enough
just knowing how to hate

Friday, August 11, 2006

bury these hands

you in the desert with your
savior and his dogs and
all of you hungry and all of you

banging on the door of an
abandoned trailer and listening for
the sounds of the girl who was
tortured here

looking for meaning in her murder
but there is none

no grace
no salvation
no redemption and if
all you know is anger then
this must be america

a roomful of men with
hammers and bloodstained hands

a pit filled with the
corpses of emaciated children

with the screams of mothers

of animals

the absolute fucking enormity
of it all

Monday, August 07, 2006


we will scream and bleed and
talk about the weather

we will drive to the edge of town
the two of us the both of us and
every border will be marked
with barbed wire

this is how hope is defined
and denied

this is why wars become movies

the days are blue and motionless
are nails bitten down to dirty blood
and when you open your mouth to speak
the girl is raped

when nothing but the dust of
10,000 ghosts spills out
she's murdered

an ending yes
but then the parents burn the
trailer to the ground

the image of the virgin mary appears
on an empty billboard further down the
pacific coast highway

and we are out of money and
we are out of time and you are
sunburned and sick

are puking on the bathroom floor
on the day gideon's body is found

and you want to speak of faith
and you want to speak of healing
but they're not the same

the wounds are washed
but they don't disappear

the children are given names
then taken away

it matters
but we'll act like it doesn't
because what you remember is always
so much more than who you are

because you will never hate anyone
more than you hate yourself

will never love anything
more than you love money

it's what christ was trying to
tell you all along

Saturday, August 05, 2006

christianity as poison/as blind hatred/as addiction

this woman who asks
about my father

who writes
i've read your poems
and what they sound like is
so much shit

tells me that i can't deny god
because he will never deny me

and what i think about is
this hard grey light falling from
an indifferent sky
and the way that none of the birds
cast shadows

what i think about
is the god of starving dogs
fucking someone's teenage daughter
in a cheap motel room while
his children sit at home

while his girlfriend bleeds on
the bathroom floor

and what we need to give up is
this idea of AMERICA

this idea of a group of people
moving with certainty
towards some clearly defined future

remember that christ wasn't
the first to be crucified
or the last

understand that his death is
no more or less
important than my father's

this is all i ever
really wanted to say

Friday, August 04, 2006

triptych, center panel: calling the burning house home

the soldiers kill
the children first of course
then rape the women
and i want to be shocked
but am not

what i've learned from history
is that
no one learns from history

what i don't mention very often
is that i don't care

the cold rain falls and
my son sleeps through his sickness
and the streets offer reflections
but no shadows

i have spent so much time
inventing the bleeding horse that
i never stopped to think about
how he would live

i never realized that all of these
thin sheets of paper
would fill up actual space

and getting lost is a simple trick but
staying that way is
something else altogether

junkies die or they
pull themselves out of the tar

houses burn or they don't
and the bodies found in the ashes
are given names

they are called husband
or father or lover and
the poems written about them
all sound like empty threats

the hills spin slowly around
these barren fields
and bankrupt factories

we are finally home but
no one here is happy to see us

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

st. cecilia, mute and blind

not the poem but
everything before and after

too much to set down on paper
and so i wait for
the pills to start working instead

i crawl from god to god with
my fingertips bleeding
and my questions unanswered

or maybe this is a lie

maybe i make too much of
the small casual fears that pull us
from day to day but listen

this story on the news just now
about a baby not even
twelve hours old abandoned
by the side of the road

the fact that he lives

the fact that someone
at some point
will laugh at him for what's
happened on this day

this one thing we all have
in common
which is the need to inflict pain

Monday, July 31, 2006

a quiet room at the end of an unnamed war

waiting for rain or
for snow

for the house to fall

minutes then hours then years
spent sitting at this table while the
days refuse to get any warmer

wars ending and wars

the ocean on fire

the animals deformed or dying
or not the animals

the children

this girl born blind

born without eyes without
arms without skin

twins attached at the skull

separated with great care
and then dead

buried or burned or eaten and
the baby asleep

his room
painted in soft colors

his tiny perfect hands

he will wake up and know
what it is to be loved

a generation

July, hot as blood, streetlights on midnight
leaves & I had just emailed a friend,
had asked her whether Creeley was alive
or dead, was sitting in a chair next to
the bed where my children slept.

Was writing down thoughts and lucky numbers.
A list of songs. Suicide poems for seventeen
poets I’d never met.

It was easy, knowing how little
they had to live for.





no excuses. go now.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

sorrow #1

your childhood home on fire
and yourself a child
and then later
a man in your daughter's bedroom

takes her and rapes her and kills her
and then the war ceases to matter

the past becomes a a hole and
the future is a shallow pit
and these streets all dream of rain

these wires run from
house to house

the silence of
sleeping electricity

the young boy with this
dog at his throat

ask him where his father is
and all he does is bleed

Friday, July 28, 2006

these forgotten days

the things in your life
you've lost
and the ones you never had

can you be defined
this simply?

can i tell you i need you?

not without fear

not without the trees and the sky
and the idea of buildings on fire

this man who drives to an
anonymous grove of trees in the
pacific northwest

buries his son
then drives back home

buries his son
then drives back home

you can close your eyes and
sing these words
and make them beautiful

you can push your hands
into the bloodsoaked soil

can swim or drown in the
bowels of this mindless machine
but you cannot control it

you cannot take away the
voices of the dead

what they sound like
in the end is
everyone you've ever loved


"give a poor man god and watch him starve"
poems without apology
$6.25+shipping, 86 pp perfect bound
available directly from
coming soon -" World Without Sound"
3 electronic chapbooks gathered up in
one collection

circular saw

you will be hated by someone
and for any reason or
none at all

there will be a cross
or a bomb
or rows of ovens waiting to have the
human soot scraped from their

and there will be soldiers
and there will be alcohol and
women to treat like dogs

your wife
who will be made to crawl
or your daughter
who will be fucked by
a dozen faceless strangers

and wherever you are
there will be rain
and then crushing heat
and the corpses will bloat

your ideas of beauty will be
smothered by
thoughts of revenge
and you will hate for any reason
or for no reason at all

you will drive home the nails

without beliefs
we have nothing