Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rhode Island Route 138

A stone fence, a field.
The headboard (as Katey
would say,) the headboard.
An old twist on taxidermy
(your twisted animals
are caught forever
in their favorite poses --
a smug impala; a screaming
possum.) They'll spend forever
not walking around upstairs.

Tong me out of the cold fire,
grandma, the night's terrors
have made me tired.
No yachts will sail
the small bay today;
my throat hurts;
our common dream
of a big body of water
of our own will feed us
through another morning
of another winter, quiet
so far.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The issue is this.

Cause You Look Like Sugarbear

A soul on the Classon Ave. platform
today said to another soul (both souls
were young black kids) "CAUSE

A current of feet trickled by
while I wondered how much the word
"fecund" is the same as the word
"sexy," and why someone would say
"coverings" when they obviously mean

I was sorry to see the full souls go,
but Sugarbear is still with me,
and when the evening has ratcheted
into Saturday night, I'll trick my tail out
with clean blue jeans. My face
will be so fresh tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September is National Poetry Month!

Mr. Manners Afoot in Manhattan

“Excuse me,” is what I should’ve said
to the person I clipped on Sixth Avenue,
but now it occurs to me that chivalry’s not dead,
but it’s old, and if old things are to die,
it’s said their time has come.

If you turn around to say “excuse me”
to someone’s back, are you an asshole?
Not “asshole” as in “jerk,” “asshole”
as in “guy who just wasted his time
because he turned around for nothing?”

I don’t know why I’m worried --
I waste time all the time.
But no one likes to be wrong
about things. Chivalry’s not dead;
it’s retired to a warmer climate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amanda Burnhamism

Here is Amanda Burnham's awesome new website. Amanda illustrated Never Cry Woof.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A Wiccan at Schlotzky’s

Her teeth were few, and folks,
she taught my little brother
a few things about dental work.

Our mouths are only as fine
as we treat them; she was not alone
in substituting dental work with pills.

Witchcraft is not limited to the tongue,
but certain spells aren’t just folks songs;
dental work is magic and science combined.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Books Can Be Covered in Almost Anything

Take a hike -- it’s such a short walk
from “Hello, and welcome to” to
a stern “See you later;” it’s already
later, and I’m seeing nothing of you.

Riding around on a bicycle in near-
death New York: A hundred oranges,
a hundred ice buckles, a hundred
Hasidic minivans trying to kill me.

Did you know that some men are married
to airplanes? Captain Coffee-and-a-Cigarette
bought expensive wine for the wedding,
long after he’d quit smoking.

Here in the future, leaves are turning,
and I’m watching my ponytail
wagging in front of a summertime fan.
Receipts are rustling on my parquet floor.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Hair & Self vs. Tuesday Afternoon

While telling myself some hard things
about myself this morning, I wigged
my hair out in a worrisome fashion --
it was all knotted and, in its funny way,
it was defying gravity. But now
my hair is sleek and shiny; let's face
the day. My hair and I vs. Tuesday
afternoon. We'll let you know
later how all of it goes.


Spring Cleaning

Summertime is resting
like a nap, just on the other side
of May. I am wrestling with the idea
of my living room, it must be
under here somewhere.


Joe of the Sea

Librarians are like megaphones
who can totally blow your mind
from across the sea of a century;
Joe, for example, was peacefully
tucked away in obscurity, and
this writing desk and these
bamboo shades contented me.

But now I wonder, where the Hell
are all my cannons; why am I here
and not on some Southern sea?

Thanks anyway, Joe,
for getting the fever
so I don't have to, my pelts
are made of denim and wool,
but they still keep the rain off of me.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


What We Can't Remember About Yesterday

I heard a good one the other day;
it rolled my torso with laughter,
and it made my buddy
shoot gin & tonic out his nose.

I had a two-foot taco
with a 15-gallon soda pop,
and we were on our way
up the coast.

The radio was on,
and the DJ was cracking
himself up. The ocean
was as wide as the West
in our left eyes.

Now, in our romantic
destination, we're safe
and comfortable, but we
heard a good one the other day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The Ostentatiously Pleasant Ottowan vs. The Astoundingly Drunk Irishman

As far as Connect Four games go
this one was notable for its lack
of any definitive conclusion, usually
a Connect Four winner is declared
when someone Connects Four,
but when the Irishman roared
and waved his drink around,
the bartender saw fit to call the game,
and the Canadian turned red
as a maple leaf -- there was
no shame in defeat, but he was known
by the company he keeped.


Various Snappers

The red snappers wait patiently
in great schools just above
the big bottom of the gigantic Gulf
of Mexico near the junked
oil drilling platform a few miles out
from the mouth of the Rio Grande.

We humans wait patiently
on the old boat in South Bay
next to the duck blind
with our grandfather.

We know our lines
will eventually tug
with a mangrove snapper
or something else.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Tom's Mets vs. Scottie's Mets: An Imaginary World Series

Game one Scottie's Mets win
to give Tom something to complain about,
and game two goes to Tom's Mets,
cause Scottie was thinking about Notre Dame football.
Game three was a barn burner, but Tom's Mets won,
and Scottie's Mets are down two to one, and Tom's
telling everyone about how his Mets are gonna tank.
Game four: Tom's Mets too, and now Tom's so nervous
he's not talking to anyone, he's just drinking Bud
after Bud out of the side of his mouth.
And game five, oh, who could forget game five,
when it seemed like Tom's Mets had it all wrapped up,
but then Scottie looked up from his magazine
about high school basketball, and as soon as he did,
his Mets pulled off a comeback for the ages.
Now Tom's placing bets -- he doesn't want to think about
what he thinks is inevitable. And Scottie's Mets
take game six easily, cause that's the way it goes.
It's Big World Series Baseball. And who finds heaven
in game seven? We'll have to wait for the fine
colors of Fall, folks. It's not as far away as we think.


When We Were Snow Monkeys

When we were snow monkeys,
we groomed each other's shoulders,
but the bugs beneath us
were quietly fighting
the whole time.

Now as humans
we can press our foreheads together
and talk -- that's the nice thing
about being human, we can talk
about almost anything.


I've Got to Tabernacle

When you have to Tiny Tim, you have to
exploding cigar. You got a new leaf turning
over under your hood, and a plastic pig
piggy-bank for a car. I tried to tell the pastor
about the pregnant, pink pistol, but the point
was at both ends of the cocktail umbrella,
and he missed it.


What Tonight Has Taught Us

Walking uptown on Varick Street
with Burt Lancaster's weird nose
still curving and kind of gleaming
in my mind's eye -- One thing I've learned,
my pin stripes tend to be too wide.

When siblings slip up, don't slough
the dirty work off on a bowl of fancy nuts
like Tony Curtis -- you're bound
to your kin by blood, but everyone
else, well, it's only money.


[This one's not by me at all but by Jamison Driskill. I didn't ask any questions about this one. Neither should you.]

It's Ok to Love Dead Things

The line starts here.
My pocket covered, smothered
Signed, sealed, and delivered.

New fivers stick together,
Confusing the count.
Everyone starts to tremble.

"Don't take your money out in front of me.
Our business is in the photo booth."

I fan out three crisp one dollar bills,
Her body now faceless,
I smile until my face fucking hurts.

Every fucking time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Dictionary Epistle

Subject. Class.
inflected etymologies

Especially long,
formal ones.
Didactic e s p.
often ||||Apostolic

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The Ghost of Hannah Sedler

Hannah Sedler helped me out of a big problem last night,
but when I woke up she was gone. And preliminary
attempts to track her down have been very sketchy.
Amy was our keystone in this operation, but she
hasn't spoken to Hannah in years. Internet searches
are negative too. So Hannah was here in that wild dream
(I had a heroin problem or something -- it was bizarre)
and she's in a red car in my memory, driving me home
from Lubbock High School after biology. Dear Corporeal,
2008 Hannah: I hope you are as helpful and as comforting
as your late night psychonautic pillow-tropic ghost.


but sometime in the not-too-distant future

when you've found yourself hazarding new occupations
like psychonaut deep out in that Coney Island cosmos,
"oh look, here's something going on at the ballpark,"
and that tactile sun is setting on your fingertips
and the neon wind is blowing and the hum of those
huuuuge amps is crawling up the fine hair on your shins
with a "shhhhhhizzle," and it's so cold you can feel it!
Wait! The inchworm bass is bumping! And are you home
or far far away? Is this a bayou or death row?
Whose Southern California is this waiting for me
at the Atlantic edge of our almighty Brooklyn?

Friday, April 11, 2008

I am slowly catching up to April with this #4 NaPoWriMo!

My Near-Mint Thomas Jefferson Dollar

Winking at me from across my desk
is my near-mint Thomas Jefferson dollar;
it reminds me of The J-Man himself
but also of things named after him --
the first-borns, the avenues, the Shih Tzus
and I knew a biker in San Antonio
with a bullhorn he said
made him feel like The President --
I wish now that I had asked him
which president (maybe it was
ol' TJ himself!)

I don't think about currency
or America, I think more about
Lindsay and Ann and Tom;
Lindsay and Ann cause
they live on Jefferson St.,
and Tom cause his initials
are Tommy James.


Don't Call Me Charlie

You really showed us
what a slave can do,
and when the studio lights
gashed your face theatrically,
we learned that things can be Technicolor
and serious at the same time.

I've got knives in my kitchen
that show me something similar,
all deadly and Julia Child
at once; for once I'll stop
before color gets the better of me;
I'll slow down the credits for once.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008



You bubbling little soda,
girl, you crazy
like a cocktail, girl,
you got up and showed
us all your domesticated

You travelin' band, girl,
you got lots of time to spend
on trinket-thinking.

You've got to get up
before you've slept all day.


Swinging Back In To Things

Sometimes I worry
I don't do enough for poetry.

But late tonight, sick,
in my bright bathroom light
while reading Geoffrey Young's
The Riot Act, I realized
good poetry will happen
or not happen with
or without me,

and the thought is very
comforting to me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I missed Anthony's birthday, so I wrote this poem for him to make amends.

Our Friend Anthony Gaudio

Anthony came down from the suburbs
like a Brooklyn girl going out into America
for the first time, all innocence
and experience at once.

Tall and well-trained, Anthony
tries to tell if a fire is hazardous
or should be tolerated.

There isn’t much
that Anthony won’t tolerate,
he is an emotional trucker
who will trip only
when the situation calls
for a trip.

And, with his head way up
there in the stratosphere
above so many of us, Anthony
is a moonshot, when we go up
into space to check things out,
Anthony’s already there,
smiling and planetary-eyed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I am updating some stuff, and I don't know if this ever made it up here. It is an interview with Collin Kelley for his show Business of Words.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bob Dylan's Coffee Table is my favorite blog.