Thursday, August 04, 2011


From the angle of the sun
through my bedroom window
this morning, I can tell:
it is 1986. The community college
parking lot is bursting with Firebirds;
stereo lights are constellations.
At night, the clouds thicken
into an empty map. They reflect
the light from down town. This morning
is one minute between rains,
and the drops on the leaves
are blinking messages from the future,
and while decoding them, I've forgotten
what year it is.

Now that I've scraped the house,
it is time to decide what color to paint,
but I feel like the work is done.
The house, streaked and ugly, is
what happens now; the house
painted grey-blue with white trim
is in the shady fortune-cookie future.

When I was learning to drive,
my first words were "floor it."
But now, in the future, I know
so many more. My foot eases
the pedal down; I repeat
the grocery list in my head.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Edgar the Crawfish

Ed's armor-like shell
is made of plastic, but
he magnetically points East
toward Chocolate Bayou
and the big Bay, toward
summertime canals
broken by cannonballs,
and toward redfish schooling
beneath the Twilight Princess

Away in New York, we sip
crustacean-colored cocktails
while we wait for hot Friday
night to fall. Follow Kevin's
curses from the back room:
we will lock a cherry beneath
the knuckle of a lemon
and twist up a straw for you.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nearly to Bay Ridge, a girl in red high heels took one off on the 4th Ave. R platform to put a bandage on her foot, and I was reminded of you. Maybe it WAS you; tired memory could not tell me, but I was momentarily caught between the mystery of our present and a passion in my past, and the sight of your shoe alone on the concrete busted my heart up into a hundred thousand tiny red flowers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ancient History

Curious. What we remember
from across an age -- eight years
ago, evening light like marmalade
on a tar-paper roof, and a girl
bent out the back window.

Coins clinking on the concrete
floor of the bar beneath the highway,
but there were no coins, but
there was definitely a bar.
Light the color of a dirty Popsicle
cut up on the floor by the blinds.

But the mornings I remember best,
the light reflecting blue off of your bedspread.
I'd find a dirty shirt for work while, in your sleep,
you pushed yourself against your bed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Sticky 'Rickshaw

Your manners are skittery, Mr. Agnes,
are you frightened? The sign of the sine as defined
by this sunguard's line is all we have to go on, how
is your gradeschool geometry? The click of hoof
and wheel on stone will tick a thousand blessings
until: silence, and we are at the embassy, Mr. Agnes,
your reckoning delayed once more.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Between the Grains

What hides down inside
these planks of wood?
Stringy cellulose
on a bed of lignin
or, in softer species,
tracheids. But probably not
my keys.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Water and the Faucet

From the deepest Adirondacks it comes
through tunnel and town, emerging
cold as a Coors from my tap.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sloughters Do It Better

and they do it from the Morrissey
concerts of Manhattan to the thoroughbred
sales of Ocala. Sloughters are an inspiration
in their decadence and their eloquence.

You who have explored the empty lots
of Asia. You whose birthday was attended
by Li'l Jon. You are the hard-chiseled soul
of our beloved Montechillo.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Come Back Brontosaurus

because I am as useless as a fire hydrant
in the backyard. Come over hand, and
meet this other hand. From the dirty
sands of memory and apathy, release
from your long necks and from your big mouths
a sound as big as a meteor and as bright
as a volcano. This is where our hearts began.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

While An April Storm The Cat

While another April storm
rolls in, the cat is acting weird
again. He sits in the bathroom
staring at the wall like a depressed
teenager, but (like me)
he is approximately middle-aged.

I try to remind myself that his walnut brain
cannot stand up to my pathetic fallacies,
but still here I am on the bathroom floor
staring at the cat, trying to divine
my own ideas by imagining his.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

finding fine things in dirty tides

Dear friends, freaks, and bigger fishes,

The brave among us will wade through a rare Wednesday reading when the abundantly talented and attractive Dora Malech and Kristin Jane Kelly will join us for a reading in the back room of the famous Face. This will be an unusually good reading, even by our high standards.

6:30 PM on April 6th at the fabulous Four-Faced Liar. Bios below.

See you there!



Dora Malech grew up in Maryland, earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale in 2003, and earned an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2005. She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser, 2010), and Say So (CSUPC). She has taught writing at the University of Iowa; Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand; Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; and Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Kristin Kelly, a native Kansan, received a BA from University of Oregon and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the author of Cargo (Elixir Press), and currently lives in Northampton, MA, where she owns a women's boutique, ODE.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shunts, Crampons, and Dongles

slipping on ice, snow, etc.
we passed a whole winter

a spiked iron plate worn
down with wear

a device for grasping and lifting
heavy loads, usually consisting
of a pair of hooks; opposable thumbs
and fingers menacing as claws

boots or shoes aid in climbing
or to prevent sores all over our feet

suspended from a chain or cable,
upward pull of our funny little jobs and needs:
tension for the hooks to grip the load

the act of shunting; shift

bridged across a circuit or a portion of a circuit,
establishing a current path auxiliary to the main circuit,
as a resistor placed across the terminals of (I am)
or increasing the range of the device

(a railroad switch.)

blood or other bodily fluid is diverted
from its normal path; my mind is buzzing
with my own medical misunderstanding

a hardware device is attached without which particulars
will not run: used to prevent us from staring for hours
at a single word; three words annihilate an entire morning

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is every Billy in history
a lovable, troublesome heartbreaker,
or does it just seem that way right now?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bryan the Punk Rock Butcher (Senior!)

a miniature Punk Rock Butcher
is delivered unto the Catskills today

let the snowy hills ring with a fuzzy G
chord, for the world now has another
really cool dad

happy birthday Miss Punk Rock
Butcher Junior,

& don't buy the expensive knives
they'll just wear out anyway

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If you live near New York City, and you don't go see Hayes Carll play at Housing Works on Tuesday, well, you are wicked stupid. He's kinda like if Alex Battles and I made a baby.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

That comfortable feeling is upon me
of a single finger slipped into
an undergarment's elasticity.
Maybe it's the cold Gulf Coast
humidity; maybe it's uncertainty,
or maybe it's just stupidity.
It seems like anything is almost
possible, but when I'm here,
nothing is also fine with me.