Monday, July 30, 2012

Upstate Stop

I've missed that look of
Upstate NY, beat clouds,
beat houses, beat roads,
that certain shade of
colorless color, like life
seeping out of ink, that really
lets you know
where in God's great big
wide ol' country you are,
really tells you this is it--it
all stops here forever--
dull & flat & hopeless &
so true and honest
those shades of colors
of peoples of NY USA

July 4, 2012

City bus waving
the Red, White & Blue
heading downtown,
in every parking lot,
street corner, crack
of powder fireworks,
sons, fathers, daughters, mothers
(I'm alone) standing in groups
arms raised at the
sky, darkened children's faces
of the just now night, pointing upwards
into the aether,
grandmother gasping, girlish,
holding the shoulders of
granddaughter, lollipop mouth,
who looks away for a moment,

blank building store fronts
all dark & locked tight,
a boy on scooter weaving,
watching the spectacle above

a sweating 90 degree mid-
summer night,
a Happy Birthday America.

Man, I gotta GO!

Image of Adirondack
space is a spectre of loss to me--
of my soul--where should I
be--Oh, Jack
why'd they take
your notebooks
in mexico?--at Braddock
Road like any other NoVA
road, green & gray & peels off into
vast, not quite so southern
distances--anywhere but
here is my demon howling--
but I'm forged to
forget these ramblings--
cursed and immovable.

Greyhounds of dusk

I suspect--fear--
(am afraid) I may be
trippin' out of--seen the
same Royal Farms
gas station with green/blue
sign--3 times--signs
point I-95 both sides
of road--but he can't find it--clueless driving
and we'll never escape
Baltimore--had to take
eyes off book--was looping--
forgetting the air the space the weight--
and magnitude--God, find
road soon--or I might lose
whatever's left--
Ah--Again!--gas station,
I am lost--in--lost--dripping
HELL--I am lost--like
eventually we wither and die
sulkily--a forgotten sack
of shit bones nothing--

Friday, July 27, 2012

For you

I saw your city
sink into the muck
of our collective
a monument
to failure,
a laughing joker-sun
brilliantly coal red
in the summer
dying fire--

I marked it down
in my journal
of revelations
to scrawl on the
wall of bone dry hells
of our sometime

I sang a song
that was a lie
so beautiful
as it disappeared
into the horizon

just so you can claim it
as yours,

I'm giving it away--

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wrong turn

whole of diamond 12 flooded
looks like old shore
town of all shore towns
in the gray afternoon
NC two lane road
houses on stilts and dunes crawl to
west side of the tracks
where the brown runoff is
up to the doors and mats
and hellos
vacationers hustle
out of rain in board shorts
and bikinis, watch helpless
as helpless trashcans float
away and pass the cars
going 5 miles an hour south
or north splashing in huge white
waves the cars on the other
side, a great froth-war nobody
acknowledges like they would
a few yards away on bay pontoon
boats and crab fishing adventures
and I couldn't get my
window up in time
before the next wave, I just wanted to
smell that ocean air and instead
got a mouth full'a Old Abemarle
Highway salt

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tour o' the town

Sat next to southern belle in
white brimmed shore hat and
soft tanned skin,
at coffee shop end of world
double/brewed ice coffee
none Starbucks fact there's
no room on the island for a franchise
in fact it's all out of house and home
and you're a local
because you gotta be,

she was sipping latte and
we listened to the rain lazily drone on
outside, the beach of eternity over
the dunes where the cats
play and rush about stray
and like the people belonging
to this out of the way fish hook,
was barren in the corners of my
thoughts, another place entirely
                        sister and brother
played connect four (the board
10x bigger than usual! maybe? it was
big I swear) playing round after round
and like children can, ignoring me
even when they poured pieces directly
onto my shoes laughing, I smiled and laughed
too, and like their child innocence was 
unembarrassed, watched sister 
deliberately miss three winning
turns in a row so her little brother
would win and they were off to other games,
other memories of which I'd 
play no part,

coffee done we checked 
thrift store in back 
of home and bleak old VHS tapes,
kittens for adoption, but too
far to drive'em (imagine 7 hours
or in fact, yea, more like 9 we'd 
never make it) so
we moved on to small shops in garages
little cute art works and family knickknacks 
and wrong turns and each turn led to
ocean or bay so there's no wrong choice
and in fact route 12 becomes a
ferry at it's southern most
until it finds land and then
ocean again
in Ocracoke.


in the morning we
were mosquito food--
the bathrooms smelled
southern wood baking
in the new sun--
we walked to the beach
at some time unaware
of the time crashing on
the shore shells crabs
crab holes they skirted
along the beach watching
wearily they don't trust
big fleshy clumsy feet and teeth
that gnaw and gnash their
we fell in the waves
and I carried you out
to sea-- you screaming
--and on the beach no
one but us-- following
you with camera on high
dunes-- you wanted to see
the sea turtles still warm
in eggs unborn-- we were too
early and they behind
man-made tarps--
but picked up sea shells
and washed them in
the clear waters off the
I watched the sea of
the dunes stretching out
until they bled into pearly
blue skies that last night
had been heavy rain clouds
and thunder that shook our
car until it felt to flip over
and finish us-- I felt
your warm skin against me
as we climbed back to camp--
to become mosquito food again
to be guarded from the ocean--
I heard the waves crashing over
our horizon beyond cactus and
dead graying limbs--
I felt those fuckers start biting
and buzzing and landing--
you frantically sprayed us down 
too late

Monday, July 23, 2012

there was this

old Bodhisattva of the
campground NC night
in Joe Rafsky head lamp
and old torn southern
baseball cap, savior of dying
fires or young blue flames,
young sapling stake of wood
in hand, wrapped in some
indiscernible newspaper of
Buxton, Ocracoke (like the
vegetable and the soda, ya)
frisco, and bang the fires
going as the thunder creeps
nearer and then he's gone into 
the past or the wandering, looked for
him for 2 days and he wasn't 
nowhere in that place, patron
saint of the mosquito infested

we finished the last piece of
meat as the rain hit harder,
the hiss stronger on the cooling
grill, the steam thicker, coals, gray and sad, 
fire, embers and out, we
ran for cover through 
puddles that had just found their way
at our feet and closed car doors tight, 
out of breath and soaking,

the lightening caught up
and flashed southwest across
the starless skysea  

Carolina shores

bugs keep biting,
I've forgotten my notebook
north, half a day's drive north,
the rain lies flat on
car windows like a sheet, there's
nothing outside but sound of
storm and ocean, there's you
sleeping and the back of car
already a disaster, it's
4am darkness, no city lights
on the island, I'll have to remember this
one so I can jot it down
when we get

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An image of clarity or a jumble of echoes

I read greenscreen
for gray screen--

standing in the fog
a figure is bleary and
all lost--in the fog
standing off the path
in alleyways of the future--
standing menacingly, tho
just motionlessly there--

I read you are
your own mother
own father in the
bulbs blaring late
of that night conception--

a wreck-rack-reaking-wreckable
life--that's who said--under
your purple blankets at
night under roof under stars
under sky under the god eye--

I'm outta gas brother--fill'er up
there's 100 miles to piss in
this hear ungodly country
and I got the biggest fucking--
drops his anchor, cuts the gas
closes door--scene

was something I thought of
and just added--for kicks--
link to chain to holy gopher
morning--I was late my life--
take it--

fuck words--
they don't come
or being erased

I suspect that's true
hoarded--is it--it
ought'n'a be--ack
pause--wait, I ah, I
wrote about this before

but it was too late--

they posted all the
best actors in front of those
screens then

when we understood
the greyscales and blue lines
I wasted a good title on
that one.

A Classic

Bach is whispering
from my thinkcentre
in D Minor
    I've fought this
thing up to '78
which is enough
before lunch



I'll listen for the click
of locks to
sync with the

I'll close the


will be any the wiser...

besides going out over the
fiber-optic air
he's already relented

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Click Enter

It is duly noted--

my shriveled
of truth

Buried deep within
the hard ground
the teeming
masses and

won't burn

I wouldn't bother with it.

the radio plays
for the boiling heat outside

while I can't even
glimpse the sun.

workaday western hiaku

Billy Holiday
barely audible
I hear other voices

Intermittent hums
under olive hat--
day grows slower

socks rolled in
packed up shorts
forgot my shoes

hey tom,
there's no one watching
wake up!

Ground'll melt your shoes,
he says, Remember the last
RAIN?-- bummin' change.

go away
there's too many of you

blue shirt guards
dumbly innocent
sneer at their lunches

on my compost heap
lunch box rests
a salad fork, a pea

Who knows anymore?
I'm tapping my way
to the grave

pretty soon we'll
all have ipad eyes--

Monday, July 16, 2012


up from my pages
across from me on train--
girl reading--(!)--On the Reooaad!--
wow--On the Road--recognize 25th anniv edition--
I got that one too--tho--
not the one I usually read--I'm having
visions--Cody--Dean--NEal--she's about at the
point where Kerouac pulled a gun
on that fag in the bathroom--yea--
he felt sorry about it and
didn't really know why he did it
later--cover is marked and dusty--
like MINE!--orange sun setting on
orange plane--burgundy--the road is dark
and black and not a road at all--HEY!--
She gets off at same stop--lost in
the lostness of lost subway crowds--
how it should be--well Jack, even
if she's reading for Mary Lou, we
still made two stops 

Joe groans from the other room, Tommy is on a couch somewheres

strange frozen world again
like ocean, sirens, beasts,
I run, swim in frozen snow seas
the missiles are launched
and nearly on us,
I kneel down with my pillow,
with the others, it's playing like
a television screen, ipad image
I can't make out what it is

before Impact--

strange skinny tall car, like
surrealist fantasy, warped fun house mirror
stretched, ugly puppets, wrinkled
somehow evil (I know it) bobbing their
heads inside, two of'em,
watching above I'm with others
I can't see,
they're inside some pinball maze
built too small to contain
the jerking motions of the
I see their faces, eyes,
I feel sick, twisted,
at the center
another puppet, this one
darker, in old 70s cerulean blue
suit, plastic hair, bobs his head too, in time;
smashing at some hellish control
pit station, I see them all
idiot faces, broken teeth,
almost human,
rocking, motioning, I can't understand
why I'm forced to witness this

I recall
the blast

I wake up thinking,
"God, is this hell?"

but no answers.


I'm a poet
wanting more, fuck--
a chance to be big failure and sell out,
cum on my book, books, novel, novella for highest bidder
on movie paramount pictures set and
say fuck it, I'm done with it
I've nothing left


Why must every word
in a poem 
contain a profound meaning,
every punctuation mark,
every space,
meticulously chosen

filling words
with meaning
where there is none,

We are all hanging 
on the coattails of

so why do I write?

I look at my cat
his coal black fur and
soft green eyes staring back at me,

because I have to.
I refuse to believe there's a choice.

Friday, July 13, 2012

You should only preview files from a trustworthy source

Text is the same
wrap around arial font
no commas punctuation
thought individuality
loaded cunts and the
of an awful story situation,
see-- told to everybody
on the listserv-- cause we all
care (!) and mark it down in
notes on pink pages
ready for next week's glory hole,
stuffing as many cocks in as
we can so they feel awright and
pickle okaaaaay-- can't have too
much (air) the salt won't take--

look, the printers are in reverse,
the copy machines scan
jagged stainless tools and I place
heavy rocks on their edges

we all stand at attention, see--

It's ah theory.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Might be half a worker's sentence

Cleaning ladies shouting in
Spanish across
their too small sad
wood (composite) lunch table
with what looks like
tons of food to be shared
smelling great like
I'd imagine Mexican streets
do with warm tortillas and
whatever else in the warm
sun of old America summers
baking everything a golden brown
lovely ancient color
can be themselves
for a only those few stolen moments,
even in their dirty blue stiff
uniforms, with the half hour 
clock looming, before the 
boss man needs to eat
or have his toilet cleaned and
requires them
to snap those defeated, stoic 
masks back on and 
go to breaking their bones or
spirit cleaning up somebody
else's shit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


my great-grandfather
had big milky blue german eyes,
bigger hands, a barrel chest and a
perfect head of hair,
he tugged at his suspenders
and had long quit cigars by the time I was born,
tho in every wheeze you could
sense the toll they'd taken,

he told everybody
to go fuck themselves

at the sausage factory when he
felt he'd worked enough

at the tank factory when the pay
wasn't what he'd been told

in his back yard in jersey loading his
BB gun to shoot the cats

in his too big Buick at the other
drivers on the road tho he was drunk

at the officers who told him he couldn't
go with everyone else to the western front

at the man who wasn't there while he strangled
him, blind and delirious on his death bed

at the world who he made sure he left
nothing to

double parked in front of his handicap
spot when some idiot took it up

at my Uncle during Thanksgiving dinner three
Manhattans deep and who knows how many before he got there

at the cancer that took his wife
while he waited impatiently to join her

at the flat feet
which kept him from that war

when he taught me me how to respond
to all the pieces of shit in the world

When he was teaching my mom the same thing
20 years before that,

physically not fit for service 1941,
the great battlefields of Europe,
factory worker on the homefront,
a widower for too many years,

I wondered in that cold,
silent room, his death bed's room--
watching stiff caloused hands
my mother's caked mascara--
if the man he'd lunged at so viciously
with what little time he had left,
if this phantom taunting him from across
the paved streets of his dying mind
had anything to do with that
lostness we all suffer through just to go on living.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Untitled - also a draft

            Some bird watching from above. Pitches slowly left, then right. A grand view of space and mammoth clouds, gray and blue and horrible. There is no sky, only a bleak embodiment of loneliness or sadness. Only clouds, piled one on top of the other. Each bigger, solid, thicker than the last. Unmoving, they only hang there, glooming at what was once Earth. The vision swoops down like a camera close-up in a film, slowly, evenly, shifting just a bit on an angle to the right as it nears the surface. Images of great frozen landscape, the clouds seem to tumble and fall over the edge out of the farthest reaches of our eyes. Think endless. It is endless in my mind; Lovecraftian. My stomach drops in a plunge toward minute dots that are men moving into a pitched valley. The valley is like Moses parting the red sea, as if God had memorialized the deed. The sight line dives, dives, dives the dots becoming larger, fuller, real, and soon gone; into the mind. The perspective twisted; the bird but a dream. Now, I am the narrator. The singular voice.
               It was all foggy but we'd been walking since I could remember. There was no way to tell time. There was no sun or stars or anything like that. It was cold and we kept our heads down. We kept our feelings to ourselves. I wasn't tired. Wasn't ever tired. I'd long since given up escaping this frozen hell it seemed. I couldn't remember why anyway. I just walked on.
               Joe was up ahead of me. We walked in single file and there were seven, no, eight of us now. Who knows how many there had been at the beginning, I couldn't tell you. Joe was adorned like all the rest of us, like a medieval Viking; a ragged body under some heavy fur animal hide, hood and jacket. It appeared to be wolves coat, a gradient of brown, white, gray. He carried a heavy pack and leaned as heavily on his walking stick, tripping and dragging himself through the snow. He made no sounds of struggle or fatigue.
               The descriptions of the others up ahead and myself taking up the rear, like I said, were the same. Our faces were meaningless, and altogether hidden under folds of dried leather and matted fur. We held our own identities inside. Or whatever was left of them. More of the landscape was coming into focus.
               We'd entered into the valley sometime ago. Maybe forever ago. But suddenly it was new, altogether different. The walls were higher, fiercer, older (?). They leaned like crashing waves left motionless throughout time. We were directly beneath their sheer icy, unclimbed walls. They rose hundreds of feet into the sky. I could feel that we hadn't reached somewhere like this before and IT was on us before we'd realized. Now we'd have to make our way through.
               It was a wasteland God dammit. There was a sense that something had happened here-- important, great, terrifying--that maybe something was still happening here. There was death, the power of it. Like God had dug the place out himself, with one great sweep of his hand. I stopped and set my pack down. Removed my hood. It was as though everyone up ahead could feel the thing slide from my head. They stopped and turned one by one, Joe first and at regular intervals, each person ahead of him in order. Some I seemed to recognize, some I did not.  
               Unconsciously I raised my arm as if drawn by some damnable sense of sudden awareness and pointed to the cliff face. Inside were millions of dark objects just now coming into focus. The longer I pointed the sharper, the clearer, they became. Millions of sharks, twisted teeth and crystal black eyes. We watched them in silence, like a laboratory experiment, like a mass. There was something awesome in their existence, sacred, something horrible. How long had it been since we'd seen life? I didn't know. How long since we'd eaten? Slept? Rested? Spoke? It was all the same. We were no longer bodies able to contemplate these things. Or we weren't, until these sharks. They brought it all crashing down.
               "Shit," Joe spit. It was jovial though. Ah, maybe not, I had felt like it was at first. He hadn't spoken in a long time, it's possible he'd forgotten the emotion he was searching for. Shit, the same for me then listening. My ears were hollow and old. His face was hard and his stare was harder, sadder, blank like the void of the clouds, like the bone of the earth; pearly white. There was nothing like life in his eyes. His beard was overgrown, had long since become his face. I was sure mine was too by now.
               I felt a power in this place. A connection running through my feet, hands, face. I was not afraid. Yet. I was burning up. These sharks were the harbinger of some great god ruling on earth. A truth. We were bottled up. The sharks unable to move watched us with lifeless eyes. I'd heard that before, somewhere across time.
               "Shit," It was Tommy this time. his hand held above his eyes. He caught us each one by one. "Sharks, Jesus. They're so many...what'a we...?"
               But the only thing to do was to keep walking.
               We did just that.
               The bird again, this time low to the ground and traveling well in front of us. A mountain in our path, black and ancient. Circling, circling, making out the shape. A great Killer Whale. Larger than it should be. We were dwarfed by its hulking mass. Only its back and fin made it to the surface. There was too much below to even fathom. The creature swung around steadily and met my eyes again.
               We were standing next to it. Christ, it was nearly as high as the walls. I prayed we wouldn't be able to see its eyes. Its teeth. Anything that would give life to its form. I stuck my walking stick into the ground. It had been a long time since I'd felt the cold. If indeed it was cold at all. We were standing by the things face. Each of us alone. For the first time the ground felt unsteady, different. Less...concrete.
               I turned my head to face the direction in which the beast must have been hurling itself. Two larger bodies, breaking the ground like submarines of some lost era appeared there. Had always been there I guessed, but crashed and heaved into my mind in that second of realization as if moments ago they had raged to the surface. It was like walking on the street you grew up on with your head down and suddenly there's a 100 story building in front of you. I gasped and the others turned to face it.
               Whatever image of ourselves and the solidity of this world we had before we'd turned was gone. We were nothing. The sharks were only the beginning, the orca, a continuation. These...whales were the end. What did it say? They were infinite beasts frozen in terrible waves. The world below us is an abyss meant to drown our paranoia. We edged closer. Something was different. I felt I could see their skin-- rippling, alive, and a blue so deep it was black against the gray hungry sky. The eyes followed us. They were alive. For a millennia or more trapped, enraged, snarling, longing, waiting within their icy tombs. Suddenly we were forced around them. I could not escape that one piercing eye. It was trying to say something, what I did not know. But some force would not allow me escape.
               The ice was crumbling in my mind. However long our world had suffered this fate, I knew we were at its precipice, unprepared, but compelled to drop. The ground was giving way. We had come all this way in single file torment, through time immemorial, forgotten past lives and homes and golden sun, we had come all this way to find these beasts, to bring about this change. I watched the other's faces that were my face, no different, the environment had seen to that. I was off balance on one foot, falling toward that eye. I felt Joe smile, or maybe it was someone else. I wasn't ready to know, and there was not time enough to ask.
               There's no use in vocalizing the apocalypse.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012


All this world out there
and you can't reach
any of it, and neither
can I right now, Only
I know about it
you can't even realize it,
even in the end,

this glass is ugly
people cough, piss & die
it's reflected on me,
windows divide the cosmos,
the very black hole of reality,

you stick to it,
falling sideways,
crawling about my books.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Keep right on
Give me up those jagged edges
Those even falls, I'm wasting
My spaces are hell alright
but you leave me no choice
two to one to god damn space
I'll make my bargain alone
A poem should always bleed ink!
A Sign! A Son!
A quarter sorry word slapped on the edges
makes me all right all formless
all the god damn way WAY

Your mysteries will be mine

Great Ghosts!
I offer hellish nightmares for betting and stuffing
holy birthdays of ole PA
in afternoon moons wavering, full,
a great corpse slinking backward to time

tread how how howl howl people standing everywhere

I fade

                       TWO LINES
                                       HIT IT TWICE
                                                           WHICH WORKS

What really matters is how slow you are
the most care wins
the X's miss, WHAT small creatures
weep for them wholly, biblically, fitfully,

the world is an idiot's poem

Half past the gas stations

A vision on that dirt
Lexington, Kentucky road,
standing on barrier between
on red railings
   of God's metal
American metal
in and
          out of America
alone on the border
                   I heard
followed in the
rising heavy
                  pounding sky
a tumbling chorus
imploring me
all times
             for every waking body
forever and ever
       is an infinite trail OUT here
that YOU must take
and never stop
never stop
never go back
wish all well
                   and cut THOSE
you've work to do before you
you've roads to cover
before you die SO
be weary
you'll never
be done