Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the hollow heart

and i wanted to be

i wanted to dream

not pollock but picasso

not christ but pilate

childrens' hands cut off
by soldiers and left
in the streets

leaves falling
from a pale blue sky

words like food

like drugs and
every poem a needle

every priest hung

your god washed clean and
your crosses pulled apart
and the crows as they
picked at the bones

the bones as they
grew up from the soil

your flesh like religion in
those last perfect days

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

with apologies to juri arrak

these men with the heads of crows,
beaks filled with rusted teeth,
this windowless room, this table
piled with bones

can you show me the difference
between religion and prison?

can you promise my children
they will never be fucked
by the messengers of god?

it’s a life spent without regret
just waiting for a reason to kill

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"the disturbing muses" reinvented as a one-act play for two voices

why do you write?
he asks
and i answer i don't know and
even here
two thousand miles away
i can hear him take an
involuntary step

passion is the word he
needs to hear

burning maybe
or maybe consuming

descriptions of war and disease
turned inside out
but listen

i walked away once
for almost two years and
i don't remember missing it

i have no explanations

is it enough that i'm back?

that i bleed?

the trick is in asking the
right god
the right questions

avoid mountaintops
and open wells

if necessary

this is the true power
of language

new poems

3 new ones at WORDS ON THE WEB

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

autobiographical sketch from the last days of the age of miracles

and you sat next to me in the car
and said
give me the sun in december
and i said nothing

and the hills spun
silently around us and
the clocks all moved forward
and the bombs were silent from
this distance

the dead held
their mangled hands up to god

a small act of faith
and then the moment was gone

Monday, April 09, 2007

waiting for rain, for paradise

i came hear having heard about
the streets of gold

was born 1968 in the
dying light of autumn

grew up in vacant lots and
behind fences

in the rooms of strangers and
with the salt of their skin
on my lips

with their names peeling away
like old wallpaper

dogs in front yards or at
the throats of young boys

woman dead on the kitchen floor

no notes and then her
husband doesn't come home

she's found by her son
and i am not him

i am finally grown up

will only cry when the
last holy note has faded

Friday, March 30, 2007


the cold brilliance of
sunlight in the trees

a blue sky with clouds

the shadows of houses
pooled on sidewalks and
do you see why van gogh
pulled the trigger?

there can only be everything or nothing

whatever needs to be said
is lost in the translation

do you know the name of this baby
found in a plastic bag on a street corner?

do you know for a fact that
your lover
isn't fucking someone else?

and what about the fools
who tell you that jesus christ and
violence are polar opposites?

what about the young boys
devoured by priests?

and we drive with the radio off
and the children asleep in
the back seat

we pass through the town where
the burning girl's body was found

we stop at the edge of the field where
i first dug up the bones of the
bleeding horse and it's here that
you ask me why i write

it's here that you ask
if i still love you

all i can offer is the truth

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

sleeping gas

in the distance in the pale grey
dust on your hands
in your mouth and
the highways where the cities end
the spaces between them all
broken glass and brown grass
all emptiness and pain moving
towards the hills
dreaming of franco of pollock
of picasso and the small
moments he invented
the women he buried
and there is no turning away
here in the first bitter days of
there is no cause for joy
no forest that is not on fire
and in the distance there are
there are riders
there are fighter planes
coming in low
casting shadows over
everything we have yet to build

Saturday, March 10, 2007


the soldiers drunk in the
first purple light of morning
and driving their boots into the
skulls of sleeping babies

cutting the breasts off the mothers
and laughing at the simplicity of it

and what you can do is plant
a painted wooden cross
by the side of every interstate and
wait to see what grows

an all-night truck stop
or a walmart
or a porn site where teenage daughters
are fucked in rest stop bathroom stalls

what you can do is follow
the hawk's shadow
until it meets the rabbit's neck

build an in-ground pool in
the middle of the desert and wait
for the hookers to arrive

wait for gold to be discovered
or oil
or the body of an eight year-old girl
raped and murdered by her
next door neighbor

and what we've done is send
the soldiers to another land and
what they do there is
shoot the fathers and fuck the

what they do is film each other
torturing the prisoners

what our reasons are for the
atrocities we commit is
never quite clear

Saturday, March 03, 2007

the child, cut in two

not the dying man
but his reasons

his hands
which are grabbing

which are empty and so
what would you
fill them with?

the bones of his children
is an obvious answer
so look past it

reinvent the circle
if you have to

build a better bomb

we have been in this desert
too long now and eating
nothing but the dreams
of the starving

we have been bleeding
for as long as we can
remember but

every day brings us
closer to a darker age

every war is the one
that cannot be lost

this is what we tell the
widows as
we undress them

* originally published in christ the destroyer

Thursday, March 01, 2007

first and last

or i will be a man who
says nothing,
or i will be a man
who says less

it's not really the truth
that matters

the room is what
you'd imagine it to be

myself at a table,
this woman on the other side,
and all she wants is
a confession

all she wants is a

an admission that power
will always defeat love

that money makes a sound
like hammers on nails

like nails driven through
flesh, into wood,
and so i say nothing

i sing a song filled with
the blood of ghosts

i consider what it means
to have an enemy

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


This man with his hands on fire,
with his chest cut open,
peeled back,
heart illuminated like the eyes of Christ,
the musicians warming up,
the planes coming in too low

Woman spreads her legs here,
gives birth to a war

Feeds it the bones of her children

Steps out of the car and she’s
already seven months pregnant again,
and the bomb is strapped across
her swollen stomach

The killing is in the name of God

He only hates you
because you’re human

Sunday, February 11, 2007

o brothers, o sisters

We are not nothing, we are
something more.

We were lovers at least,
until the lies we believed in were

We were static.

Were faint sounds down
empty hallways
and then the wrong door was opened.

The hanging man was found.

Eyes wide open and smiling
like he thought we’d
never leave.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pollock, w/ anchor

and Lee in the corner,
and neither of them smiling,
and none of it real.

None of it more or less worth noting
than the dropping of an atomic bomb or the
names of all the corpses floating in the Congo because,
bottom line,
you're here aren't you?

Alive and well and possibly loved and,
if there was more,
wouldn't you have found out by now?

Wouldn't the hand of God have come down
from the sky and taken you by the throat?

It only seems fair.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

the bread of forgetting

she says you're loved
but not in this house

she says all you are is
broken bones
in the age of starving dogs

takes the children and leaves
and the emptiness is

the floors are filthy and the
walls cracked and
i'm trying to remember if this
ever really happened

i'm trying to remember why
we ever felt our
pain was worth sharing

at some point
there is nothing more
honest than silence

Sunday, January 21, 2007

the smaller kingdom of obvious lies

if and when there
is no god

is only the house of the
dying man and the
tears of his children and if the
songs cannot wash away
the pain

if the woman you lie next to
tastes like failure

when she tells you
she no longer loves you

no longer believes in
your fists

lets you kiss her scars
but only because
she's already gone

Sunday, January 14, 2007

poem for the patron saint of children trapped in burning churches

you want to take the
crown and destroy it

you want to pray without the hope
of ever being answered

is this all?

what it amounts to is
something less than faith

where you are is the same
dead end street you've
wasted the last ten years of
your life stumbling down

you can either be pilate
or you can be christ

you can forget the names of
the girls who've told you
they loved you

these are the last days
and no one is sorry

no one is forgiven

we are all strangers
standing naked
in the room of mirrors

we all believe in
some form of rape

it's not an apology
that i'm trying to offer

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

the bleeding horse sings

the bodies of the dead tied
to the backs of boats
and pulled ashore

the sound of flies descending

a noise like prayer

a silence like being fucked
at the edge of a desert

someone's son found
nailed to a fence

returned to god
or left for the crows

only obvious truths

the woman on the floor
who says the baby isn't hers

the baby wrapped in
bloody rags and shoved
beneath the kitchen sink

nameless and without hope
and a storm moving in
from the west

the president's daughter
naked in a windowless room

tied to a bed and laughing
while the camera rolls

our definitions of freedom
always without any
real meaning

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

betrayal: before and after

the day will break,
or the body, or the spirit

know this

you don’t need to be beaten
to be scarred

you don’t need to speak,
but you will

small words, and whispered,
and i will breathe them in
like prayer


i was raised to believe that
truth exists in books

that witches exist only to
be burned and
what i’m trying to say here
is that i love you

what i want to remember
is this feeling

the taste of your salt
when the moment finally