Tuesday, December 23, 2014

birthday song, for dorothea

with dreams of metal towers
and of static, dreams of silver skies
and then waking up

the here and now is a fist
and so the future can only be
whatever pain comes next

i have no other truths

have only one hand that holds and
the other that pushes away

have only scar tissue and
empty ideals and with the music

up loud enough the sun
makes no sound at all

the baby sleeps beneath
the shadows of passing clouds

wakes up crying softly
just as the air runs out

Saturday, December 20, 2014


chasing headlights down december
back roads, not yet 6:30 and
already full dark

half-moon and sleeping houses

this man with
a mouthful of poison

wants to show you how easy it is to
hurt you
then wants you to beg for more

absolute zero when the knife goes in

small wooden cross on the
living room wall
cop pulls the trigger and
the child is dead and how far do you
have to look to find someone

for how much longer will we
allow ourselves to
be a nation of assholes?

been a long
fucking time already



Sunday, November 02, 2014

self portrait w/ nude, on fire

and then late afternoon shadows and
the stuttering scratch of
leaves down forgotten streets 

the shadows of lovers, of
unwanted children and forsaken saints 

god and then no
god and then
all of the days i waste waiting to
                              see you again 

an empty room filled with ordinary ghosts and
no one says we have to be here but
no one gives us permission to leave 

this is called the art of standing still 

this is pollock in the
seconds before his death 

not acceptance but panic and
not understanding, not

not ever

and i keep telling you this but
you still aren’t there

Sunday, October 12, 2014




Head of a Woman, 1938 by Joan Miro

after the age of giants

And this is not nothing, this sky, these
clouds, these hills, and it’s not the
whole story because nothing ever is,
but listen.  Distance is an important thing.
Forty feet from the bridge to the tracks
below.  100 miles between the woman’s
body and her husband’s faith.  And have
you ever tried defining yourself by
something other than sorrow or fear?
Will you crawl from lover to lover with
nothing to offer but fading bruises
and the promise of more?

It’s okay to pause before you answer,
to consider, to weight your options. 
It’s okay to accept the fact that we’ve
never really meant anything to each other.
This is why the sunlight casts shadows.
Why time only moves in one direction.
The moment arrives one hundred
million times a day, and then it passes.
The song is forgotten.  I wanted to
sing it to you, but you were married.
You were crying.  It was a sound
just like any other.

Friday, September 26, 2014

one for neverending love

and i will be me and
you will be the song i
sing with a mouthful of
blood and who was it that
ever promised you happiness?

how is it my fault
you chose to believe him?

why should victory feel
any different than defeat?

because love and hate

even here in the clean, cold light of early april,
in the solemn emptiness between
berkshire and speedsville, between  somewhere and
somewhere else, nowhere and
nowhere, the shit of civilization
growing up through the weeds and dirt, the
cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, fast food wrappers,
the wounded and the dying

the trees and the hills

crisp blue sky

no sound of traffic or of industry, but two
empty beer cans and a shattered bottle
on the side of a rutted dirt road

taste of rust when I
turn to kiss you


Thursday, September 18, 2014

you and i lost in the forest of meaningless symbols

the sound of human voices in
                          august rooms

the sound of heat or the
weight of it

thunder at the edges

mountains grey in the haze or
blue beneath a colorless sky

asks where’s the map?

answers why do you need it?
and both of them naked
both of them waiting

and pollock is dead, of course,
                              and cobain,
                               and christ,
just to give you a better idea of WHEN
she has freckles on her pale breasts

he is never quite comfortable
in his own skin

says i’d like to see the desert and
she smiles at him and laughs

says but i need to get home

you see?

there are always places to go but
they will never be arrived at

there are some reasons more important
than others, or at least there
those who see it this way
one more time he says and she agrees

there is here and now and then
there is the idea that HERE and NOW
are fading into the past

sits alone in a darkening room
and begins to understand this

Friday, September 05, 2014

excerpt 1

* *

drinking poison all day and she
said she was thirsty asked
why all it did was rain and then the
needle tracks of course and all of the
tear-stained apologies

the white spaces between houses

the smell of the river and
the same old argument

said the baby should have a name and i
told her there was no baby and
she asked why i hated her

she asked why i kept denying god

and the police had a  clear shot
but then he jumped

the streets were empty all
afternoon but i kept hearing the
sound of laughing children
kept getting off at the wrong exit

knew i was almost home but
couldn’t figure out why

Monday, September 01, 2014

someone and someone

was feeling okay was
slowly approaching
the idea of suicide
was four below
zero at two
in the afternoon
sunlight and the
taste of road salt

the ghosts of
old lovers

nothing to laugh at but i
was laughing there at
the highway’s edge
while the river froze and
the first of the massacred
children was buried

while the
conspiracy theorists
fucked each other
in curtained motel rooms

and i forget if i was
nothing but i knew we
were nowhere and it felt
like this mattered

felt like small birds
singing but without the
hope of spring

felt like frost filling the
cracks in the walls

colder than the morning
they found my father on
the dining room floor,
though the same shade of
grey, and at this point in
time all objects in the
known universe are
                  of course
still moving further

at this point in time
your body
means more to me
than your name

seems like a waste of
breath to apologize
for things that aren’t
ever going to change

Sunday, August 31, 2014

a cage in the forest

tell the blind man there's
nothing to see

let the politicians
fuck your daughters

don't settle for the facts when
the truth is what really matters

don't worry about man ray
dead now for 30 years in
paris, and i still keep
waiting for his call

i stand on the edge of the
porch roof, next to the
hole in my house where the
light pours out


the days are shorter now
and all of my fears that much
closer to the surface

no amount of poetry will
ever cure cancer

no man who would ask for
your vote would
ever give you his in return

these are things to think about
while you watch dorothea
undress, and when she asks if
you love her, you should smile
without answering

you should
kiss her breasts

words aren't the enemy,
of course, but it's always
best to act as if they are

four ghosts


knew him when he was dead,
early spring or late summer, town filled
with the stench of decay
a parade for jesus on some
bleachwhite saturday afternoon

flowers and virgins, senile old men
holding rifles, and what i remember is that i
could no longer remember which
century was mine

sat next to an open window
listening to freeway traffic, someone’s
girlfriend screaming in the second
story apartment across the
street, then laughing
almost midnight

july maybe, maybe october

birds with broken wings, angels
caught in branches, in nooses,
and politicians, and terrorists, and all of
them concerned with butchery and power

all of them concerned with
vengeance and he said fuck this

said let’s go find a bar and i
knew him to be dead and i knew him

had dated his sister had slept with
his wife and i said wait

i said the parade’s going to start soon
and he just smiled and shook his head

set fire to the house

pulled the trigger

something stupid and dramatic and the
girls on the floats were all
beautiful as they smiled into the sun

Monday, June 23, 2014

the golden dog

or lives controlled by
need and not desire

end of summer and the
                  idea of fear
too large to be ignored

gun held tight in the
fist of christ

taste of gravel and of
              broken glass

cold blue sky over empty parking lots,
over the clean, meaningless lines
                             of gas stations

over the corpses of children
killed by chemical warfare, because
the world is always so much
more than your own small,
                      petty failures

the kingdom of ashes
begins at your door

the missing man is found two weeks
later on some weed-choked
stretch of riverbank
almost eighty miles away

his wife is with her boyfriend
when the news
makes its way back home

even now
the possibilities for joy
                   are endless

Monday, June 16, 2014

the refusal

shoot the doctor in the
back as he walks away then
tell him he’s a coward while he
dies at your feet

it’s an addiction,
like humor
it’s a punchline

you capture the soldier, a
boy of fifteen or sixteen, and
then you torture that fucker
until he’s on the floor in a
pool of his own shit and blood

this is how wars are won

make your children
understand this

tell them how much you hated
your own father,
how much he hated you

show them the scars

explain how they can only
grow up to
repeat your mistakes

Friday, June 13, 2014

for dawn

knowledge and despair


man on fire in
the street holds his
son tightly

confuses love and
hate like a
woman i used to know
says all pain is
meant to be shared

says silence is
a gift

nothing left of the
child but
ash and bone

Saturday, June 07, 2014


* *
endless unnumbered pages in the
book of pain and it’s here where you
write your truths and it’s here
you are written on

and the more complex atrocities
                             of one-on-one

cupped hands
overflowing with blood

take her money
then dig a shallow grave
another child’s mother
buried alive
a small chapter no one
ever remembers

* *

tongue tied in
holy knots w/
eyes almost
blind he is not
speaking to god
he is not
speaking at all is
not sleeping but
dreaming is not
awake but
falling and he
is standing at
the edge of the
highway and
he is laughing
and she is
almost she is
getting into
the car she is
smiling and
she is crying
and she is
driving away
with the rest
of his life

Friday, May 30, 2014

the kingdom, denied

in these sepia-toned rooms of
memory i relive
25 years of drowning

in the season of ascension
we eat only fear

and i have these pictures and i
have these poems and i am
not sorry for being thin
enough to fade from view

i have no use for your
anger and none for your pain

we were there at the table
when the bullet
caught christ in the throat
i was fucking your
sister on the afternoon my
grandfather took his
own life and
listen -
confession isn’t art
the starving know enough
to view your god as nothing
more than so much meat
all magic is contained w/in
the moment of revelation
and then all that’s
left is dust

Tuesday, May 27, 2014



no one just some
holy motherfucker dead in the
shallow end of late winter sunlight and
down on the beach the righteous and
the just are laughing are singing are
crucifying his son and
in the aftermath of war all
gods are equally useless

in the slow passage of days all
poets & priests wait patiently to be
broken on the wheel of their
own desperate faith


and every wish is
someone’s death no matter what you
choose to believe and no one’s
going to laugh if you cry
because no one’s
going to care


dreams of the trailer at the
edge of the corn field, dreams of
silence and rape and
wakes up thirsty

wakes up and then
wakes up again like in the
movies and he thinks he’s still

dreams the bed is a tiny shrinking
island in a relentless tide
of blood

wakes up laughing at the
thought of mercy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

broken hand w/ mirror

in this world where
almost everything is beyond
your control and your
choices are limited to false
god, slave, impotent king

vote or don’t vote
shoot or don’t shoot and
                      either way
the starving continue to starve

grow old


eat handfuls of dust

send postcards back to
your loved ones, to
your enemies

let them see you
for the empty threat you
                   always were

Friday, May 09, 2014

love song for the betrayed

all of us here in
this room without oxygen
waiting to be forgiven and it seems
like the safest place

feels like the fist of god
punching a million starving children in
the throat, and you know the
fucker’s laughing or else why would he
let them starve in the first place?

seems like a waste of
time inventing religions
instead of looking for solutions
grows into a world full of inbred
assholes with shit
spilling from their open mouths

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

holy days: an attempt at chiaroscuro

strange to end up lost in this
house i’ve called home for
fifteen years, and strange to
spend so much time considering
suicide on these bright
blue morning

if you were here with me,
you would be beautiful and stoned
if we had children, they would
learn to live with disappointment

they would understand the
inevitability of being born in
a building on fire

Sunday, May 04, 2014

perpetual motion sonnet

let the sun
break your heart

let nothing and
no one win

this is the moment where
                    my life begins
                             and then
this is the one that matters

this is the bridge we
stand beneath and this is
the song always playing in
the back of my mind

small lies to help hold
together broken truths

the rest of our lives
multiplied by zero and i am
trying here and i
am failing
i am thirty years older
than i was and i am
that much more lost

am dreaming of ash and
resin and the slow
stain of frostbite

and we were so sure it
would always be