Monday, December 14, 2009

edgar oliver DVD release party -- 'the hermit & other poems'

click to buy

Edgar Oliver DVD release; 'the hermit & other poems'

straw2gold pictures & oilcan press invite you to a release party
at Zebulon
258 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 8pm
to see an excerpt of the film by Robert O'Haire & Jeff Burns.

'the hermit & other poems' is written by & starring Edgar Oliver. It includes 'The Hermit', poems excerpted from 'a portrait of new york by a wanderer there' and 'mother was a hit run driver' from his play 'Motel Blue 19'.

Join the Edgar Oliver group on facebook.

Original music composed for the film by Michal Szostalo & performed by Daniel Levin. Art by Aaron Howard.

Edgar Oliver started performing in New York at the Pyramid in the mid-1980's alongside artists including Hapi Phace, Kembra Pfahler, Samoa and playwright Kestutis Nakas.

As a playwright, many of Oliver's plays have been staged at La MaMa and other downtown NYC theatres, including The Seven Year Vacation, The Poetry Killer, Hands in Wartime, Motel Blue 19 and Mosquito Succulence.

As a stage actor, he has performed in countless plays including Edward II with Cliplight Theater, Marc Palmieri's Carl the Second, Lipsynka's Dial M for Model and numerous productions at Axis including Trinity 5:29, A Glance at New York (Edinburgh Festival Fringe & NYC), Julius Caesar, USS Frankenstein, the Hospital series, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid and the one-man show East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House (written by Edgar & directed by Randy Sharp - Edinburgh Festival Fringe & NYC).

Edgar is also one of the most beloved storytellers at The Moth.

His film roles include That's Beautiful Frank, Henry May Long (directed by Axis' Randy Sharp) and Gentlemen Broncos (directed by Jared Hess). His published works include A Portrait of New York by a Wanderer There and Summer (published by oilcan press -; and The Man Who Loved Plants (published by Panther Books and available at

'the hermit' trailer

oilcan press & straw2goldpictures present: a new film written by & starring edgar oliver:

Monday, December 7, 2009

national novel writing month

yes. november ws nanowrimo [see]

i ws able to conquer the goal of 50k words and as it turns out, as i type handwritten passages, even more words than i'd guessed.

the book i began in this 50k frenzy is called 'david's dream' or 'sleep, where in the waste is the wisdom?' oooooooor 'eat the earth'.

it features such favorites as sloths and talking fish. some 35 pps of typewritten manuscript are scanned & posted on the mighty flickr where ye can enjoy some delighting wordery, perhaps:

eat the earth

eat the earth:  page 1

Friday, November 27, 2009

gratuitous art films event at jimmy's diner.

Gratuitous Art Films Gratuitously presents the Gratuitous Art Film Event
Dec 4th
at Jimmy's Diner
577 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY
near the Lorimer stop of the L train
3 dollar beers!

"Sobredosis de la abuela" by Ovulo Punk

Find out more about Gratuitous art Films

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

rain comes and goes

it’s warm enough
you wouldn’t freeze to death
if you got wet.
i didn’t bring an umbrella.
they are a liability in light rain.
umbrellas in the hands of pedestrians
are as deadly as freezing weather.

birds are lively.
streets washed clean.
trees are just thinking
about what it takes
to make a bud.

yesterday in Brooklyn
we walked past an old asylum
bordered by a park and sprawling projects.
it’s hard to tell what the complex is used for now
and easy to tell it isn’t a good place.

the trees by a shut-up building
all want to get away.
hop the fence
flee in a tangled run.

here in front of st. mark’s church
i sit on a bench
safe between trees.
pigeons dance
and flap
and peck the cobbles.

the trees stand tall
and exult
in the prospect of coming spring.

Monday, November 16, 2009

mind y'own bizness


ride the 4 express to 125 and lex
get out and walk to the busstop
just miss a crosstown

an agitated man
near the busstop
yells across the street
‘you got to mind y'own bizness’
he hops slightly when he does it
to propel the words implicitly

i dont see the target
of his venom

i look around
wonder why this guy’s upset
he seems so serious
it’s hard to believe

another man appears
walks through cars
stopped at the light

‘you got to mind y'own bizness’
‘i got nothing to do with this’

the second man gestures
away all connection
says his business is his own
as the first man’s is his own

‘you got to mind y'own bizness’

the second man nears
this side of the street

the first man walks
to a nearby van
and slides the side door

he reaches fast inside
his hand emerges heavy
with the black shape
of a gun

125th street is dramatic
and exceptional
broad and open
lined by closed chain stores
the space is large
and big things happen here
it offers little cover

the second man renews
his plaintive claim
that the first man is plainly
mistaken and the second man
apologises for the confusion

he should have stayed
on the other side of the street

i refuse
to be caught
in another man’s

i stride purposefully cursing
under my breath
glance back and listen
to gauge the situation

i turn the corner and hear
‘you got to mind y'own bizness’

as i walk the block north
i look twice at the cop car across the avenue
and turn west on 126

nevermind the bus
i’ll just walk

after park ave my pace
slowed to usual stroll
through harlem home
nine blocks and 4 avenues away
to eat supper and chalk it up
one night i saw a gun

Sunday, November 15, 2009

snow again

past the middle of march
good, cold, wet.
i am pleasantly underdressed.
scarf and gloves and hood.

trees are white
with dark wooden shadows.

snow on each block
has a different pattern
of fall.

yesterday when i went out
the sun was shining warm
and the air felt fresh.

still i had my hoodie,
scarf and hat in my backpack.
i didn’t know it would snow.

here it is
adorning traffic
and passersby.

an elemental component of the landscape
in a transient state.

i enjoy it
as much as anyone
who throws a snowball.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

to build a fire

when it’s coldest
i stoke the fire in the night
home from town
after coffee
or television with friends
the only choices

grampa has an outdoor wood furnace
most days it needs to be filled twice.
it warms water that runs in pipes
underground to the basement.
air is blown over hot pipes and distributed
through dusty loud ductwork.
my room is furthest from the furnace.
the coldest room.

there is a small cinderblock building
twenty yards from the house
situated so the door of the furnace opens
inside the building.
it was constructed to hold wood.
that rarely happens.

there’s always been a woodpile
in the yard.
the little shed is filled
with empty beehives,
supers piled high to the trusses,
stored til they’re needed
come summer.

the furnace simplifies things.
daily maintenance is minimal.

dirt and smoke and ash
are kept out of the house
along with the hazard of fire.

the second coldest night of the year
the bottom door of the furnace got left open.
everything in the firebox burnt up quick.
the bottom door is for removing ashes.

grampa shovels them into metal buckets.
when the buckets are full
he spreads ashes on the garden
or the sidewalk if it’s slick
to melt what can.

it felt cold in the house.
14.7 degrees.
night before was 5.
i went out to check on the fire.

when i opened the door
there was one dim cinder
agleam in a bed of ash
at the back end of the furnace.

i rooted around in the brooder house
til i found three empty dogfood bags.
paper for the burning.

i pried small woodscraps and twigs
from the frozen ground.
no snow. just intense cold.

with three strike-anywheres
i set to warm the chill.

i arranged paper and kindling
bark and leaves
as a foundation to rebuild the fire.

i enjoyed the pop
of a strike-anywhere
match on a cinderblock
and began the complicated process
of coaxing flames from none.

i lit the first bag.
it took a couple matches.
while i waited to see
if the fire’d take
i filled the wheelbarrow
from the woodpile.

i looked at the crisp moon,
clear stars
and crackling black branches.
sky’s clean when it’s coldest
moon makes flashlight obsolete.

i think i got a little moonburn.

i got something of a fire going
with the application of the third
and last strike-anywhere.
entropy won out.

i went in
to wait for the new fire
to keep my room
from getting colder.

it was barely fifty in the house
when i went to the kitchen
and looked out the window
(one of my favorite pastimes)
at the furnace
thinking to assist
the fire by willpower
and lurid blue moonlight.

around 5:30 i heard grampa rustling around.
it was cold
and we attacked the fire again.
something was still amiss.

grampa built a fire.
i filled buckets in the kitchen sink
carried them out
and poured them into the top of the furnace
like filling the boiler of a locomotive.

the intense mistaken fire
got so hot
and burned so quick
it cooked off most of the water
in the furnace.

it refills itself.
or it’s supposed to.
such drastic fluctuations are hard
for it to keep up with.

i don’t know how many armfuls
of water i poured
from the third rung
of a broken wooden stepladder
propped against the slick
stainless steel exterior
of the furnace.
an interminably pouring
bucket brigade
of one.

by late afternoon
the water’d been refilled long enough
to rise to the predetermined
temperature required to transfer heat
through its insulated subterranean path
into the basement.

the house warmed up.

problems with the furnace
come when it’s coldest.

Friday, November 13, 2009


last night brian put the coffeepot
on the parlor-size woodstove
and flipped the lid back on its hinges
to sit open–
not for coffee
to put a little moisture in the air–

we burn wood from pallets
we break with a heavy castiron counterweight
for a large window–
we also burn
scraps from dumpsters–things found
on the street–leftovers from construction
or demolition–the bequest of luck
or looking–easy kindling–
nothing so substantial as the rings
wrapped in a tree–
all through the time
grandma and grampa had an indoor woodstove
there sat a two-handled shallow aluminum pan
regularly filled with water
run into a quart mason jar
and poured
into a flat pan for increased surface area–

moisture infused into the house
to compensate for water lost
when wet particles collide
with the firebox and stovepipe
and dry the air–

the Dead Sea evaporates–
salt makes crystalline formations
where water once stood
the most buoyant in the world–

the house rests
near the summit
on a soft sidewinding ridge–
a limestone foothill
of what becomes the Ozarks–
mountains sunken so old
they lack the stature
of more than hills–
topography built
on limestone foundations–

the well runs deep
400 feet to pierce
the water table–
strata honeycombed
by water
and weight of land–

as water from the flat pan
calcium deposits,
caught in solution
and piped upward
to the top of the ridge,
in the hard water
produce crystalline formations
on the sides and bottom
of the pan–
the formations
are thin and brittle
like stalactites
in dripping caverns–

tonight, in Brooklyn,
when i started
a kindling blaze,
braced by heavier scraps,
i added water–
in the coffeepot
steam forms slowly
to escape
in unpredictable circles
that rise
like heat–

Thursday, November 12, 2009


it is a beautiful morning
sun and birds are seen

birds sing spring
sun melts snow

an amazing green
shines from the trees

buds come out
to show spring
in three days

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

bandit and girl

grandma and grampa started feeding an old stray
a little white dog
she was holed up in the culvert
down near the end of the driveway
likely she was thrown out along the gravel road
and that was where she went to have puppies.
she bore a litter in a wet-weather culvert.
couple days later she moved them up to the house
toted by their napes singly

in ’39 or ’40
when the foundation of the porch was poured
grampa laid in two metal barrels
to make little caves
to serve as doghouses

this is where she moved her litter
i’d guess at grampa’s suggestion
she was amenable to making the introductions

there must’ve been 5 or 6
maybe one didn’t survive to open its eyes
the pups were a slightly yellowed white
except one
a sandy brown
we kept him at the house
so girl wouldn’t feel lonely
when the others were given good homes.

i named him bandit
a good name for a dog

once their eyes were open
it took one step
out the screen door of the porch
to be in the ultimate luxury
of a small boy
a lapful of puppies

one of the two overlapping
scars on my knee
came from racing girl up the driveway
the day before first grade
grampa and girl and i
were making the final leg home
after a walk.

i tripped over rock or root
went down hard on my left knee
the one that usually gets hurt
girl came back (she had the lead)
and licked my hand

grampa wrapped a white handkerchief
around my knee
and carried me to the house.
another torn pair of pants
for grandma to patch.

grampa and bandit and girl
met me every day
down at the end of the driveway
where i got off the bus.
grampa’d be sitting
in some obscure spot in the shade
hands around one knee
the other leg fully extended.
we’d walk to the house
the dogs assisting me
in exploration.

when i played with tractors
in the front yard by the big oak tree
bandit and girl
would find prime spots to lie down
to cool in the dirt and shade
diverting traffic and trampling fences.

i’d go out in the day
and call to them
in long syllables


and up they’d run
from whatever activities
occupy a dog
to join me
on escapades through the woods.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the cat comes calling

the pride of cats
circulating between Laura
and Lynne’s houses
sometimes hunt
in complete tandem.
the five of them
can be seen to file
around corners
in a broken furry line.

excluded is the black and white
cat who comes to talk to me
down at grampa’s house
where the other cats
do not often venture.
he walks
the road past gas tanks, tractor shed,
workbench, rundown model T.
between the grain bin and chickenhouse
he keeps to the middle of the road.
there is a dog chained on either side
and they’ve been barking
since he passed the tractor shed.

the hounds pull their chains
til they gasp. they lunge and howl.

nothing more entices them
than small mammals

(let alone the pup’s especial liking for turtles)

the cat steps proudly
tail in the air
his flag of immunity,
a white tipped black banner,
defies their bondage.

Monday, November 9, 2009

between ruins & artifacts

there’s a model T truck
between the chicken house and the diesel tank
as testament to honest decay.
one day it broke down
and it’s been there ever since.

b’longed to a great uncle i never met
one of grampa’s six brothers.
windshield’s intact.
doors have a wooden frame.
wheels have wooden spokes.
skeleton springs of the truck’s seat
rest atop the gastank.

a dog called spike spent the leisure hours
of his entire life laying around
on the back of that rusted pickup
to sun or shade depending the time of day
on a bed of sheets of corrugated tin.

all through the woods
sit rusty forgot machines
cars, combines, cornpickers
hulks of halted motion
frozen by water’s unimproving stain.
streaks run to earth
wash machines left to rest
past being scavenged for parts.

there’s the old coupe out the bathroom window,
remnants of other model Ts along the driveway,
a fender, a front-end, a bumper
beside a far barn there’s a band of chevys from the fifties and an old buick

disused or spent
obsolete or blown over
til they gathered patina enough
to upstage reclamation.

horsedrawn wagons
metal fittings given shape
by grey mossy wood
that crumbles under scrutiny.

400 yards from the house grampa built
is the home place
the house grampa was born in.
three room frame house on a loose stone foundation
hand-hewn stone steps to the front porch
rock balanced on rocks
with no mortar
unoccupied since grampa’s father died in the early fifties
it’s been used for storage
by a bevy of relations

the remnants of long dead great-grandparents
the few things no one ever deemed of enough value to remove
mingle with things stored in the subsequent fifty years

some unknown relative’s easyboy
my little brother’s childhood books
my aunt’s console tv
broken 78s
old greeting cards sent with penny stamps
great-grampa’s overalls and shirts
hung on nails in a corner behind a door
the little pink chair of my childhood
more ruined furniture

the woodbox in the kitchen is full
the cookstove is gone

close to the homeplace is the old barn
and the fallen corncrib
where grampa got snakebit in the twenties
he had to ride a horse five miles to the nearest car
to get to the doctor

in any building hang signs of inhabitants
under hillsides and along the road

other buildings left behind:

the house on the Pappas place
is a sagging foundation.

the nearly absent tarpaper shack
on the far forty acres
a black man lived in after the war.

the house over in the bottom,
down the holler a couple miles from the big pond,
that belonged to one of grampa’s older brothers.
it folded in on itself
and the foundations filled with water.

the little shack of a log outbuilding
where i always wanted to live for a summer
and buzzards nest underneath.

a sawmill with a 4 foot blade
and a tin roof barely 5 feet high.

the garage at laura’s house
was put up and never sided.
the materials wait inside
after thirty years.
there’s a ’77 lincoln mercury,
a ’54 chevy, two pickups
and a lawn tractor
in and around the garage.
all of which have run
in the last 15 years.
otherwise the building is occupied
by furniture, a cookstove, tools and toys
dead leaves and any number of animals
that command the respect of a warning.

there’s a lot of stone fence
where barbed wire stands
to eliminate the necessity
of piling stones
that make their entropic progress
down off the fence.

things left to be what they are
when there’s no use
to put them to directly.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

new york doves

the courtyard

the space in the middle of the block
between architecture
inaccessible but through buildings
or the sky

it has its own weather
a garden where wind works different

a few trees reach for the fragment of sky
through the barren cold
they grow heavy encased in ice

doves coo in courtyards
tender notes of morning

they dont teem like pigeons
they choose ledges and viney walls to call home
with less stigma on their names

Saturday, November 7, 2009

from the park

the snow came over
the course of the evening.
we got more'n half a foot.

the sun's out in the afternoon.
kids off school get their fill in the snow.
they'll sleep well tonight.

i sit in the park to look.
squirrels fight over a hole in a tree.
a jilted lover croons at the hole
and keeps getting run off.

it's cold out.
not as bad as recent days.
snow warms the heart
and the streets seem less treacherous.
treetrunks are highlighted in white.

kids ride the swingset
and leap to soft snow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

a coyote i wouldn't kill

a coyote in the news

a coyote
caught out on patchy ice
in the Rockaways
is on the news.

helicopters & cameras
monitor his progress
as rescue crews prepare
til finally the crumbling ice maze
is too much

& he swims to shore.

how that's news i don't know.
they show footage of him ashore
rolling in the snow
to dry off.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


the snow's stayed for days.
i wish it wasnt winter.

ideas swell in my craw
& make it hard to swallow.

i walk through cold, negotiating ice.
at least i have the home of my shoes.

it's hard to sit
without being cold or restless.

ice in the park makes it difficult
to get anywhere i want to go.

a couple plays a broken game
of tennis on the thin cleared path.

they are bundled & in sweats.
when on hits the ball

the other can never seem to hit it back.
they are very bad.
it is so cold.

it's just as cold on the sidesteps
of the Jefferson Library
across from Patchin Place.
somewhere i go to think.

the cold is like a cop
who wont let you loiter
and shoos you to your feet.

time to go. on to the next cup of coffee.
the traffic has no effect on the cold.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

why i am a nomad

why i am
a nomad:

in a world where i grew up
the only place i have
a room of my own.
where comfort is as simple
as a glass of water
and a hole has to be chopped in the ice
for the cattle when it's cold.

beyond the presence of family and its sacred farm
past trees, water, light and dark
access to memory and near silence
friends i've retained in this town
a roomful of books, dust and childhood trophies

i dont fit comfortable.
there's some thing lacking.
a lost pocket in the possibility of comfort.

i occupy myself with goings-on.
events offer limited distraction.

i see things
i want to hand to other people

so they'll get the picture told.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

an unexpected sheet of ice


the factors of location and cold
contribute to the thin sheet of ice
that covers the entire surface of the pond.
it's still up. it covers low spots
that are normally soggy but passable.

there are tracks out on the ice
something crossed without falling through.
my feet could not stay on top.
i dont think this boat would do
to play icebreaker.
its prow is not sharp enough
to crack the frozen surface.

the stream makes its cold but fluid way
under cedars and over stones down the channel.

i hear a sound and turn to see
a lizard twist around the leaves
and slowly search a stone to sun.

i had no idea such an animal
would be active in this cold
surely he's more vulnerable at this speed
but little else is out to look for lizards.

downstream the little waterfall
is trimmed by ice to the sides
where water splashes more than runs.

ice has encased leaves, tree roots and the stems of plants
not to mention the rocks that hold it all up.
the main course is free to the movement of water
the sound subdues its surroundings and water falls.

three days and i'll be gone
back east on a slow train
and i'll be unable to hear the water
or fight my desire to walk on ice
or sit here and watch the ice to see if it moves.

three days and i'll be gone
back home. back to love.
back to what's been missing
all this time.

i've seen some things i've never seen before.
what glaciers do to rocks, what an iceage does to water.
this is only winter. & barely that.
we get more sunlight every day.

in the woods i sit on a rock, feet on soft moss.

there are two roads to the pond.
one is short and quick and only slightly precarious.
the other is the back way, the old way to get here.
overgrown with brush
a few places the road crosses a sharp ditch
where rocks are piled for a bridge
the truck cant pass.

close to the pond the road has been covered
by a carpet of moss i'd feel guilty driving on.
the moss has taken a liking
to a road grown cold.

the sun is blocked from shining here
hours before it sets.
the hills that feed the pond allow a window
from midmorning til midafternoon
when the sun rakes the valley, pond and hillsides
with fresh light.
not long enough to dispell the ice of winter
not long enough to overheat a body in the summer
(when the window grows)

no storm today. the sky's an icy blue.

Monday, November 2, 2009

honey locust

found honey locust in the britannica
found honey locust over on the hill

i wasnt looking for either

honey locust is a thorn tree
driving in its general vicinity
is a sure bet to get a flat

Sunday, November 1, 2009

he is a long cat with black fur and white feet

he is a long cat with black fur and white feet

he is socks or is it boots?
i think of him as 'the cat'.

there are other cats around.
none so eloquent.

i saw the cat out the window,
topped off my coffee & went out to find him.
i meowed and listened
for his response.

he'd gone off past the listing outhouse
& was stalking through the branches
of an uprooted tree.
we tossed meows back and forth
& met up by the outhouse.
i petted him and we talked.

i walked toward the lawn table and chairs
to have a seat so this time might meet more than one end.

he sits at my feet again, cleaning himself.
my brother tells me this cat is shunned by the others.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

at Kurt's

sat out on the porch
and watched, more listened to rain
and dark highway over yonder.

plastic chairs on concrete
under a roof of dark rain
placated by outdoor sound.

sat out on the porch and watched
more listened to rain and dark
highway over yonder.

Friday, October 30, 2009

looking up

there are too many stars
to think about.
all there is to do is select a few
for concentration. stars
strung together make a shape.

moon's not up yet.
it is hard to see anything
but the stars and the black shapes
of trees against the sky.

there's a hunter.
yonder's a bear
being cold and clear.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the trash pile

in the woods, downhill from the house,
just above the trash pile
there is a series of collapsed pens or cages.
a few warped mossy boards, greyed fenceposts
& several kinds of wire fencing:
something that looks like chickenwire
with much larger hexagonal holes,
another smaller chickenwire,
another kind of woven wire with proud warped rectangles
& some barbed wire that looks like it was thrown in
to keep it from feeling lonely.

this was a house for birds, turkeys
when there were no wild turkeys in these parts.
grampa raised and released them.
one of his first batches was a dozen turkeys and one pheasant
the dogs got ahold of
that fell in for fowl company.

the dozen with pheasant surprise as mascot
were seen all round the countryside:
over on the other side of the T road,
out in Danby, down in the Plattin Gap.
a pheasant in the presence of turkeys
is remarkable and easily identified.

given time turkeys flourished.
now the numbers are such
there can even be hunting.
still grampa throws wheat in the woods
for hungry turkeys and plants feed plots.

grampa's raised clutches of eggs found mowing hay.
when you uncover a nest like that
the hen isnt coming back.
maybe she'll go off and make another nest.
so home with those eggs in his hat
covered with his handkerchief and into the incubator.

there's a tree at one end of this dilapidated pen.
it curves and points uphill toward the house.
built onto the tree is the frame
of what once stood for a door.

a patchwork maze of wire and wood
that had to have a wire roof
to distinguish in from out.
the wire walls were partially buried
to prevent anything burrowing under
a planted fence that never grew.

right next to the pen is a convenient pond
for watering the birds and hogs once kept here.
one of the smallest and most ignored ponds on the farm.
one of the oldest.

barren blackberry bushes lean over the water.
it'd take a boat to pick em come summer.
there are deer tracks and droppings on the bank
and moss for a plush green carpet.


the trashpile has always been an enthralling place
for a child with any kind of imagination.

dryrotted lampshades, forgotten babydolls, records
warped and missing their labels, toilet bowls, TVs,
containers of every possible kind.

containers are the most disposed of items.

appliances. a few things i recognize
from before they were thrown away.
years of fallen leaves make the trash look like solid ground.

i just found a plastic elephant's head.
i'll take it in.

springs from mattresses and other furniture.
faded wooden frames, upholstery eaten by time.
the containers are overwhelming:
pull-tab pepsi cans, green bottles, milk jugs.
mrs. butterworth wears flip flops.
a clothes dryer filled with glass cranberry juice cocktail bottles.

old green bike. frame looks good.
i see the wheel of some toy truck.
an aluminum percolator with curved handle and spout
two-prong plug on its base.
soda cans from before tincans were aluminum.
a freaky pale doll's head.
another potbellied percolator.

yes, it's illegal to dump like this.
it's no more wrong than landfills,
dumping toxic waste into the ocean
or pumping it into the atmosphere.
this trash pile affects far fewer people.

i found two lightbulbs
in a stream
a halfmile off.

it wasnt illegal when it started
sixty years past. a standing tradition.
there are other caches of detritus on other hillsides.
trash collection is a recent development.

a trash pile is a record
of lives passed hereabouts
who never came back
to collect their deposit.

what was used & thrown away.
all those finished things.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

mirror to mirror

the bathroom is the warmest room in the house
with its single heat register.
the door is kept pulled to.

it's dusty.
the medicine cabinet has a light on top,
sevral bulbs behind a discolored translucent plastic face.
all the lightbulbs are out save a single dim emission
through a variety of dirty yellows.

the bathtub has sliding glass doors.
inside is in rough shape & entirely unused.
the panelling opposite the doors
is coming away from the wall.
the water pressure is terrible.
useless space occupied by spiderwebs and dust.
for a while the sewer backed up frequently into the tub
til grampa dug a ditch in the woods
between house & lagoon
to find a broken pipe.

i keep books on the tank of the toilet.
the warmest room is suitable for a rotating library.
Ulysses & the books i use to avoid it.
brief choices of poetry or short stories.

out the bathroom window,
through cobweb curtains,
the things to be seen
are trees & leaves
clouds & blue
on a cold day of 10.

the chrome glint through trees and leaves
is the side mirror of a sedan from the thirties
where it got left once it quit.

the car is full of leaves & inhabited by animals.
in the summer plants grow on the dash
& wasps nest under the hood.

there is a spare mounted on back.
the instrument panel is plain.
there are extra pedals.

the mirrors scatter light.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i never killed a coyote

there's a storm blowing in from the south
the wind's picking up
i hear coyotes early in the day

i wish i had a rifle
they're right over the crest of the hill
the first drops fall
and i hear more yelps over the wind

i should go home and see about supper
no use wishing you had a gun when you dont

in the truck the rain plinks on the roof of the cab
and falls heavier on the field of winter wheat

Monday, October 26, 2009

over on the hill by the big pond

the first of the year
like another solstice after
the festival in its honor.

it's sixty today.
warm enough the smalltalk of weather
is noteworthy.
weather is a valuable commodity on a farm
like wallpaper in a victorian parlor
it produces flowers to smell
and wild grapes of rare vintage.

the pond is up.
the water is a good foot higher
and brown from being stirred
by recent rain.

the potential energy is captured
in winter's leafy banks,
the sole greens of cedars
and immigrant pinetrees.

at the low end of the pond
the mud dam separates
water from hollow.

there is a small stream.
the spillway for what
the pond collects from the lengths of surrounding hills.
it all goes to the same place.
becomes the source of a branch
that grows its way down this hollow,
gathers more hill-washings
to form a bonafide creek
that empties into a still-larger creek
that meets the Mississippi.

i ford the stream through a patch of briars.
crossing is a hop like jumping
the gutter on a streetcorner in the rain.

i follow the miniature ravine
a course cut that compensates
for the interruption when the pond was built.

the trickle is audible and increases.
water has excavated stones
and found a way to be louder.

i come to an eight foot waterfall
that washes and wiggles
a meandering path down.

like a fountain in a bank lobby
or a well-designed park or garden
the water pools up.
a small gathering before
the downhill expedition
to the eventual sea.

i find a flat stone in front of the waterfall
where the falling is loudest.
it disperses the noise
of faroff engines nad gunshots,
sounds everpresent as weather,
til the only sound is water.

exposed roots grow a thicker hide
to better support and protect
a tree that leans over the stream's eroded walkway.
the stones keep things from falling in on themselves
as this trickle turns its tones southward.
the stones are slick and precarious
for feet that arent liquid.

a full pond for the new year.
the wind adds texture
to the disturbed water
it has churned up fresh.

the cloudcover has solidified.
it might rain again.
the trees move quietly against the grey.
the bulk of winter is still to come.
extremes and exceptions in weather warrant discussion.
changes are self-evident.

i resolve to follow water
to paddle across a full pond
pull to shore for a punctuated portage
and easy walk uphill home

Sunday, October 25, 2009

tectonic winter

grampa asked this morning
if i felt the earthquake in the night.
he saw on the news it really happened.
the shaking we felt wasnt the house taking flight.

it was 3 or 4. i sat on my bed
lost in a page. the tremor
lasted long enough for me to wonder
what it was. the rook shook.
glass rattled in the windowframe.
the rain fell the same.

i was worried not knowing.
i got up, walked through the house,
sniffed for smoke or trouble in the dark.
nothing revealed itself. the furnace
came on with its quiet change of pressure
and cozy whirr. nothing was the matter.

i tiptoed barefoot across cold dusty linoleum
with a large glass of fresh wellwater.
never switched on a light.
back in bed i sat and watched the candles
til i felt satisfied with the calm of night.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

dark of winter rain

the crackling blacks of barren branches
trim against the grey afternoon.
the wind is barely visible.
the rain falls straight and light.
a muted plaid could pass as treebark
for all the lines intersecting:
rain and trees and horizon,
angles made for measurement

that contribute later to the rattle
of harder rain heard from under a tin roof.
a song that eases the torture of a thousand miles
and what washes off objects with each new rain.
erosion that sinks and slips from the ridges
draws and gullies to valleys bearing creekbeds
that swell and rearrange.

everything that hits the roof
runs through gutters, down the drainpipe,
out into the yard and spirals downhill
caught up in sibling streams
that make lines through topography.

the greys darken to charcoals, blacks and fog.
each drop falls harder than the last
til hills are gone off to make more.

it's warm lately, even with the rain.
weather it's hard to decisively call winter.

Friday, October 23, 2009

winter wheat

one of the few green things to be found.

the lonely other candidates
are cedars, juniper bushes,
the local handful of evergreens.

pinetrees have to be imported.
the soil isnt sandy enough
for them to be indigenous.
clay and limestone are a poor substitute.

winter wheat is planted in the fall.
it grows more'n half a foot
& shines a potent green
all through the cold.

the deer munch it when a snow's on
& they cant find acorns.

come spring the wheat's got a head start.
the green gets stronger as it grows.
grainy heads are heavy
by late may or june
bout corn plantin time
green is gone brown
& the wheat is harvested.

stalks and chaff are expelled by the combine
& baled for straw. grain goes for feed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

birds of prey on christmas day

a bald eagle in a tree on a hill.
a rare sight.
i stopped the truck
and got out for a better look.

he was watchful on a high branch.
the biggest brand of eagle is astute.
one wing seemed to rest at a funny angle.
i worried this uncommon beast might be injured.

my concern made him nervous
as watchfulness turned to paranoia
he took to wing. so broad a span,
so tall a bird, sailed effortlessly,
every wingsweep redoubling speed and strength
away from the hill, across a bottom-field
of winter wheat toward the barely
more resonable location of Plattin Creek.

east of here a few miles runs the mississippi
where fish grow larger to suit the talons
of such a well-known hunter.

concern gave out in favor of awe
as he flew to a seat by the creek
a thousand yards away.

birds of prey find a way
to appear uncommonly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

grampa's gone to chattanooga

in the afternoon
i pet the cat in the yard.
it's a warm day for december.
the cat remembers me from a month ago or more.

i had to talk to him to convince him i was me.
he took the cue and followed around the yard
from the garden where he sunned to watch
birds make a ruckus for the warmth.
he missed me while i was gone.

the dogs are jealous and hungry for the cat.
these hounds are chained and their long ears flop as they bark.
i sit to enjoy the day for all the light it's worth
on the winter solstice.

the cat sits at my feet on a discarded doormat
on the loud carpet of leaves.
pages blown to the ground.
he scratches his wartorn ear,
talks like there's treasure beneath these trees,
a pot of gold or an animal small enough to hunt.
he wont like it when i leave.

his ears perk up and he makes for cover
to hide his approach
as a rabbit rustles leaves across the driveway.
the cat ducks
the rabbit watches
frozen save for searching ears
the cat leaps
and the chase is on.

this is the same rabbit he's always been hunting.
the rabbit that eats potato peels grampa throws out.

the cat does not succeed.
he makes himself seen and turns nonchalantly
into the briar patch
to stalk his quarry anew.

inside it's warm enough to call home.
the sun sets out past the road, the valley and the next ridge.
it streaks through the house like the cat bounds through leaves
with speed and accuracy.
he is the closest thing to a pet here, more a friend.

the sun is the shortest-day-of-the-year's final hint at waning light
before the longest night of the year.
directions change tomorrow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the contents of a whole

light dark light
trains teethe on the gnawed dark
burrow their way into the light
portals home stare back through yellowframed silvershined sunglasses
the windowscratch torpid sockless feet pump the treadle of the sewing
machine subway storm
her scans glance off metal fixtures that reflect hot evening orange sunlight
the shadows are off-key voices that speak in tricky accents
is there no sunlight to compare the colors of bricks and the wailing
reflection of the approaching red 7 train?
all fluorons are told to mind their manners
think of the children
what will the neighbors say
i hate using a question

to find the nearest sunset or gravy train when ears pop in the tumult to be
beneath water and wine, crumbling brick carapaces and shifty feet
exclamations and exhalations in the trainscream primal clacking
pressure names the price of legs crossed ladylike
preys on t-shirts, pickpockets and other compost heaps of sleeping sway
gaptooth khaki skirt
my rusty wrinkled red shirt
the humor of loneliness
bellows truths and memory
questions sleep and kebabs
devours self, shoestrings and smoke
a gift wrapped in mirrors decorated with your face
i walk under city hall
lower manhattan’s not enough
nothing modern about being buried
it’s as old as banana republics and clocks that dont run
(never kept time)
patiently speaking it’s too far to walk
too slow to stare and too late to leave

classes of rivets scuffed in the midmorning stalk
taste of blue signal lightbulbs as the only thing i remember
the magnetic taste on the lips of st. christopher bangs out travel songs and
wandering harmony
the music of sleep in stray towns
once there was a way to get back home

music is the harpoon of happiness
dreams are the tight sleeveless shirts of dawn and concrete
should have taken up rainbow carnation umbrellas
rusted shirt treblehook of refracted light
the air, lights, drops of grey in the sky play tricks on coke-bottle eyes
paint on rotary ragtime player piano
it’s a letterhead snowstorm in the white alleys of camera lenses

microwave rays are stuck on standing
eyes on the broads next door

they’re dread canaries two days out of wichita
two days away two days ago

that’s him in the hat
no no he’s gone home
he’s left his sleeves behind
the studious intermission
he’s taken a blind devil with him

brooklyn bridge sleeps in my yawn
sold for scrap metal and small change


“can you spare some change partner?”

i glanced at her
ignored the guy next to her

i handed the change over to her thanks
her eyes to mine
stable shoulders
shirt cut low for breasts

our hands outstretched
in the exchange of currency


the harpist’s quarry

last chance for manhattan and the bronx
last train home
last night’s dayold buzz

it happened one night
clark gable met myrna loy
i sat on the sidelines in the busseat across the aisle
in front of frank capra
a cast this good deserves another mention
fade to the funny black of sixtyfive year old film

noticed in the first visit
more issued in the recall
a let-me-sketch-you necked archway of obvious shoulder flesh
curtain call in a question pointed at my chest
st christopher
a traveler

everywhere, but i havent told you
be prepared for no sunshine

the trance of tamed waterways filled with gondolas and garden lanterns
raise the public for a price
train your life back home to shades of mouths

it’s easy to forget the future
a race to catch up with a ball that rolls slowly to the right
an unfair advantage in the unsolved trace of time

the harp is sturdy and delicate in the maw of tigers
a challenge to wake up with a globe in the bed beside you
arms wrapped in earthly embrace
blow in the ears of volcanoes for a kiss from the lips of time in a basket

the pulp of patience adorns the notion of vague apparel
a torn uniform sears the face of nimble honeycomb namesakes
in a forced-words nightmare
rags for the crowd on the hill are hidden in the descent
the mirrorwalled interiors of backwater alleys pass off lace for dynamite

can you know more than the name in the tile mosaic
finish off the letter that left in a slow slough of trains, dust, rats, water,
backrubs and time
each novice is sent to the table with enough salt for himself
it’s up to the navel in charts and grid system
it’s up to the synchronised sleepless watches to chart a course and adapt to
the fact that maps never match nighttime


no pause in the threshold to streetsound and parasol vendors
clad in kimono and bamboo slippers
a four alarm fire on the midriff of night
the teacup drawl of grey

share an empty subway car on more stop toward home
a quick ride on a naked snake that gutters its way through the underbelly of
NYC and barren broadways
times square is crowned misfortune
the prescience of the threshold names no brick wall as its successor
to break in the bask of connective beauty and flesh from fine bones in the
middle of the muddle midnight and moorings of fifth avenue
far from solutions to harpsichordist vanity and ragtime proclivity
an acorn separates whiteshirt loyalists from sharpened safety that avoids the
paranoia of the trap
of a little sister and manic wiles of what do you call it when you cant help
well into daylight dreamshine and narcoleptic shoeshines
if i am left to weave these feats of black lights and new years ever morning
old english wakings for an amazement of birth control and valor and a
trip home to harlem and mattress and a more than expected
rise from the greyhound seat into main street and the end of the line
i forgot how much time could be squared off into 9 days and 3 cartons of

nothing to say for march and the world trade center
introduce me to april shoestring monologues with your shorthaired hesitancy
you suggested the rest be atoned for in flappergirl red velvet dawn
dont leave me to count stops and buildings and days and months between
reality and imagination
of you and your simplest feats with noone sleeping upstairs and no dreams to
come false
nothing so broadens your back as i rub it into being and believing in the late
night marble-based triumphs that tread on thin water to embrace
your vices and coax your hands into my own dire soled clutches
my buster brown imagination of something left behind as a photo beside a
grave where i met your eyes for the first fortnight and plead to
incorporate your tempered slipshod final stop


the great quake of psycho techno dawn
with the 1980’s rumbled livingroom flowered couch
in our two-days-forgot beer and stale ashtrays
add feathered grace and quality of shameless astoria morning

nature is annoyingly loud
the dictatorial goodbye dark hovers between rusted television antennas
to the brave shrieks of variegated shingle’s migratory songbirds
green leaves tether themselves to the loom

the icetray peaked roof traces a pattern of tissue paper crazy quilt scraps
the zippo smell of fond french radio taste

the belgian elf’s slur
affected to attest to vitesse
flying hugs rain on bees and unknown foreign intervention hat lenders
music of last week’s three graph cardoor socialist newspaper

we’ll see what september’s like
brisk icerink air
doesnt seem miserable feasible quickness

it’s unusual to die everyday
it happens all the time
in my silverbullet pocketchange dimestore

the cornucopic temperature of umbrella skepticism has gone up a couple
notches with those sprinkles



evening of caustic color like algerian rain
the peripheral red buddhist china shop bull bereaves the matador to pounce
on his waiting imaginary pony
el toro conquers blue tin corrugated siding
mars the arrival of the befuddled grey sachet museum sky

the stop-sirens bail on the motionless temple
pews and nearfar snackcake characters enliven the blind man’s cane
irises that match the sky and sweaters stolen from a sergei eisenstein
count the sirens like a clock of distanced mirrors

the lipstick on the heartshaped crystal bumblebee turns the shades of the
lids of your eyes into a menagerie of variegated silver molten metal

the bobbin maintains the strings of an electric basho harp
twitters of confused extras belie ricepaper hands that repair wedded
a pocketwatch portal below an island of lunatic cadet normalcy
matches the tension of holes stamped in shoe leather
like the neon green line of a late afternoon flyrod reflects in a stream i dont

the nimble parrotnosed tramp knots up what’s left of freelance lines
the belgian elf doesnt trip on the laces frayed below the migrant stomp of
his bulletbraid boots

they remember what number to count down from in the perfect timing of
burnt bridges
leadfoot tatters seep into the homes of ne’erdowells and tear articles from
fresh two-color newspapers
old coats of paint make everything twice as thick

her hailstorm lashes chuckle at surveillance system clients
dream about stumbling through the park in the middle of the night and
tripping over her own trumped up shadow


i transcribe the purple squall of the reborn slum
pair it up with the harpsichordist
it’s not dark on a day filled with triangulated speculation
the trouble paced ashtray takes up the hem of a streetdirt robe

praise flappergirl hair in applauded lace
every passerby is a gentleman and a cyclist
porcelain prayer meetings held in rolling bars result in assembly line incest
there arent enough awnings to prevent every alley from wringing-wet

mountaintop teeth of pulled down hats and gitanes
parade in a progression of wasted uniforms and slouched saviors
whooping crane terror of one-legged slumber in trainyards

heavy breath tremors

i think i’ll pack my bags and go to queens
when what i’m drinking works
what needle’s eye do you tread through with a name


i need a camera and the cleaning guy stole something
i dont know what
the worst decider is in french
or the devil’s festival
fair maiden burnt at the stake at coney island
lashed to the elevated train trestle
the only way to control the pontification

fire and brimstone is a waste of good faith

the sidewalk’s a wreck of luggage and glad bags
sure sign of a last stop for milwaukee and omaha

every headdress matches the curtains and reminds me of Truth or
girls look good on bikes
when the rain’s started and you’re stuck on a bench staring in a window at
the piano

i am interrupted constantly while i look for a certain set of unintentional
the white straw hat hasnt made it down the street
held up by cartoon impersonations that saw their cartoons next door
i am constantly interrupted as i search for a specific set of forgotten

staples turn on broken bars, subways maps and old comic book covers
no straw hats, no shoulders, no memory

duck under one more sign and swinging door
the sewing machine takes quarters
steals them with a toothy grin

a reggae hardshell crab smokes a cigarette on the corner
there’s a loophole for jugglers and firebreathers in this town
swordswallowers are kings in cotton
noone’s met the ringmaster
he’s onstage and disappears
to the barbary coast

i get lost looking at the door


the name on bags i’ve come to terms with

a blustry dame in a daily trance
switchback travel attained the highest wagonwheels on the plains
fashioned from woven grasses

subclass I-beams percolate redcollar piping
the pharmacy doesnt run out soon enough for me to attack schoolboys
the last rabid eyebrow raised torched the name of penny loafers in lost
the brownbag singalong pranks every dry prayer
for tender peacock feather waistbands

hold on tight
the jumpstart will crack you in your tracks
a levelheaded trapeezist taps on the warped windows of last week’s sleep
eyes shoulder restraints and thong underwear as maps
that lead out of the proportionate eyeglasses and subtle references

helen chews her nails for the last horse on the island
spits out bits of an appreciable downgrade
anxious to climb wagonwheel signs to a final fluorescent lighthouse on an
open-air shore

wake up late on a thursday night in daisyeared pallor
of an armrest that salutes all available cars and dodgy eyes
tight lines ingrain higher manner and lesser evils
into ashtray allotment


norse gods didnt interfere with greek girls from queens
telegraph frankenstein cousins lashed to alsacian pursestrings
a grocery cart of sabotage
that’s from another life

everyone talks about movies like they’re brands of sewingmachine oil
or candlepower magnifiers
books are nameless races to different conversations
everything else comes in greeting cards or advertisements

trashtruck demolition of sidestreet fortresses
leaves dayold rosepetals to litter the neighborhood trainscene
plucked before the plumage of other consumption


give up on the impossible, on breathing, on dawn or dusk or patient precepts
of time marches with us to the fusillade of unnamed perspective

a calm chariot treads on a brave new hopscotch
i kindle the fires of completion
stack cordwood in the shed
taken to the chopping block
steadied by weight and doublebit swings

places define the blue feathers found in playful hair

three conversations in a group of five people cannot match Wagnerian
cannot utter a syllable that holds true beyond the awning under the deluge
rain is a mirage of zootropic french cigarettes in the hands of a book with
dogeared forgetfulness

brazen commissars and intrinsic arms dealers only exist in the ends of
princely movies
torn out of everything else like pages in a misspelled israeli newspaper

bridges are nested after sunset
lit by a porous storm of prisoners, polkadots, islands and motorists
there is a fog made by the rain as it bastes the rock of tarred and tethered
it cooks the last tender meat

outside is a dark bitter broth that moves to unmapped places
feeds no upturned mouths and slakes no thirst

the finale is the same and repeats
repairs to last night’s train trek to a sewn-up flowered couch
served by pedestal ashtray, groggy candles and nascent puddles

windowseats and traced lines leave the last patterned dress and loud shirt
to melt
windows, doors and walls keep nothing out but light

the things that carpet the cutting room floor
the things left over sink to the bottom of dark water
discarded with Singer’s birthplace and the torture of stumbling over
unpacked bureau drawers of misbegotten words

deeds dont gain or lose much in the botched baggage gutter

the final thread of cadenced bridge-crossing and Marie Celeste neck and
shoulders chimes the same tone as moon and light and dark and
the arboreal storm sedates all modes of transportation from one corsair
uniform to the next
dampens the spiritual offspring of masonry patterns


is it enough to scrawl and sprawl naked on the night of the mind
enough to stare into the forgiving and forgetting eyes of fifth avenue
train denim jackets to play catch and cigarette packs to mold to arms and
white t-shirts
a cup of rounded coffee and a skeletal umbrella
the superstructure of unborn manhole covers
the look like dead birds
chickadees, finches, thrushes and shrikes
stars in sterling tragicomic daybreak

is it enough to wish for third avenue and mist damp from the grey light
is it enough to wait for the carousel to spawn old stripe ties and
lumberjack shoes
wingtips are bent on the idea of scuffed toes and airport shoeshines
a hundred dollars’ll get you to santa fe if you have an irish accent and three
quarts of comb honey
any city named portland and called home is no place for leotards and
hooded sweatshirts
a glovebox full of maps that lead out of the way
can tend to the livestock and water the lilacs

is it enough to flip a twofaced coin to spin straw into gold
is it enough to spell rumplestiltskin backwards in greek letters made from
clocktower hands
every face is another story
it’s in the eyes mostly
sometimes the shoes
or the softskinned inner wrist
potted palm trees quake
i watch every breath sniff for little dogs and earrings
no laces that drag through the puddles on pavement have the time to dress
like tarzan or recite james joyce
filled with stomping mouths and boots that talk
innate yellow waterproofs echo green crops and soft leather
open velcro toes imitate stately foreign blueeyed warwhoops
from large hands, rapid cheekbones and broad chin

is it enough to read between the taste of worn-off lipstick
enough to stow a secret kiss in a wicker basket lined with blue suede
hair like lightning tied with an elastic
teacup sized holes in the knees of highwater bluejeans reveal tilewalled
interiors through nameless eyelashes
sunken cheeks shadow miscarried sunshine

is it enough to pry open the lids and stare in at the guts of an old Singer
is it enough to sleep in the wake of dubious eyes in a sunday afternoon


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


is life and love and sex and war
all quick
things that wear down
replaced with food and
horticulture and TV and peace

letters poems and novels read aloud
caress your ears
you are so far away that all these words aloud are
out of reach

i read them thinking of the other ears you possess
that send you out of a late night
to gaze at something lost in the patterns of the sky
that makes things you see and hear, here and there, remind you
of me

only language tells me all is well

you you you you you you you
you language are my faerie princess
quiet aloud

sparse eating
reading books quickly
murmuring poems aloud
shouting them out for the bored walls and stacks of books and paper
to listen intently
watching the keys fly to paper
i strike
in the sequence they call upon me- clip clip clip quicker than i
can count or call which flew from its friendly rest last
the smack or click or clip or clap sound that cant be spelled proves
beyond the movement that i am doing something- that maybe the keys
arent selfcontrolled- typewriter isnt guiding my hands- lacking
the muscles and motor control to drive itself to type and then to
drink even more than me as it has written more and loved more and
carries more weight than my soft footsteps


thank you Roget
thank you Mr. Webster
thank you Whitman greybeardbard
thank you Ginsberg
thank you poet
thank you Muses
thank you Calliope
thank you language
thank you pain

fuck you landlubbers
fuck you wordless
all that do not strive in the
steel stubborn
hard hurtful
pain that is


we are language
latenight spells of masturbation
poetry shouted out to surrounding bored white quiet walls
lamplight novels

all things
beyond the metric system
not empirical evidence
but truth
which is
and pain

pith helmets
"Dr. Ginsberg i presume"
the veldt--
Oh My!

snows of kilimanjaro
cities of the red night
masque of the red death
heart of darkness

stories by hemingway no one will ever read
poems by whitman no one will ever read
unfinished novels of bulgakov
unwritten words

unthoughtof ideas

it's a jungle in here-- my mind
or yours

perfection is language
is pain
is eventual death

wichita vortex sutra's sad argument for language

22 pages of poem that was not a "bad guess"
a prophetic expression of thentimes and nowtimes and futuretimes

"Sorcerer’s Apprentices who lost control
of the simplest broomstick in the world:

somewhere overtherainbow
way up high

sung of kansas escape
dorothy gale
windynamed escapist
who HAD to get back
poor girl who changed her mind
still had language- no place like home
no fumbling falsewizard
but glinda the good witch
and perfect rubyredslippers
kansas return
escape from the escape of OZ

ginsberg flew into that vortex welcoming the escape to the west
and farther still each day

that is the language
is why
is love
is fuck
is the selfguided safari


my favorite character


jeremiad- exhalation of woe and pain and sorrow for a lost love
jerusalem or new york or people or love

language, even of God, is pain
a lesson of pain (beautiful)
a lesson of language (beautiful)

you you you you you you you

i lament you
i cry you
i exhale woe for you
who are not lost to me
nor yet found to me
i must cross the rainbow
enter the vortex
love more pain
live more language


sergio leone

movies can never flap against the rectangle
vague oblong fish coverlet
where the idle men gathered movie sets nestle
with the look of decay and eliot smell

"Away, Harlot!"

to smell the odorreek of all anonymous men above dirt
usually another woman or two, sometimes
the orange hiatus strongbox

flapper blue twanging banshee shriek
dyes frontier towns

arms spread on the black crosses
an absentee overlord in landscapes of Martian desolation
jonquilcolored sun and tentative waking
astonish picket fences

Oscar and Ringo

Oscar and Ringo back at it again
prego their way thru the wet streets of venice

drop ballast and quarter sticks of dynamite
for the fish nuzzling their feet

the spider in the bottom of the strega bottle
spins in the wake of crumpled gondolas

oversize girdles and tatted tablecloths straddle tightropes
pulleys and accordions shatter pieplates on windowsills

Oscar poles the boat with a dagger in his teeth
boots the Strega bottle to Ringo's toes

Ringo pumps the bellows
and tunes the accordion for rhubarb

the seagulls and staring women provide accompaniment
as the skiff slips under the ponte

bricks from the dark archway fall
into the spider's web as he sleeps

spiderbites punish the brick and chip its mortar
as it is wrapped tidily for boxing day

lemon lights shade doorjambs and stairwells
Oscar and Ringo stare back at the girls


lunch poem

it is raining
the air is simple

umbrellas complicate
the sidewalks
under the scaffolding

lunches walk out of evry other doorway
in the form of soon-to-be-slippery scowls

raised collars and crumpled umbrellas
dodge shifty horns
placate reverse beacons
and airbrakes

construction shakes its fist
bricks double as ropeswings
and sewergrates are tempered


125th street, yes

125th street, yes
an almost unknown sex
wait for a local train
drink up station chill
water stains lace wall tiles
green wool pants wrap my calves quietly

coughing passengers fumble leather jackets
headgear shaves itself
evry cart has a plastic bag
evry home has a refrigerator
evry knife has a scheme
evry forecastle has hair

vikings sharpen their horns
play taught skin drums and chant Reykjavik to the rhythm of a waltz
Vikings sharpen their horns to slay whales and dragons
forget Arabs and penguins
drink mead
slaver over pewter sporks and wooden swords
stand somewhere this side of fashion
throw roosevelt dimes and knickerbocker stamps from the banks
that cormorants scoop up
with women's panties that smell like dry piss
void of other cordials

the living room's free anyway
dry docked sofas and rotting alabaster buttresses
sound klaxons at 2:46 sharp
for the afternoon waking snow

celibate capsules deign grey goatees tropical
in lieu of perversity
lights in steamer trunks grow crystal
deviled egg dishes wrapped in a 1952
Philadelphia newspaper business section



the city is ascending into the chill from the shapeless underground.
the quality of light on the Empire State this afternoon was wintry.

there are a dress and blouse abandoned on the subway bench beside me
the next bench over is occupied by a man and woman speaking sign
i dropped my righthandglove when i passed them
heard the leather slap cement at my feet
fingers sting the stained yellow safety line
and taught as i picked the glove up to answer its challenge of loss
they couldnt even ignore the challenge
couldnt hear it
feel the slap on their sallow adamant faces
the same way they feel the trains rumbling to the station from both
without a sound

indians pressing their faces to the tracks of the Iron Horse
snakes have no ears

i think that that is one more of the uncountable languages i must
learn in one more latenight of chilled subway survival
of drunk & disorderly
tickets for girls w/heads between their knees
bongo & guitar combo musicians
oooo ooooooooo
"tell me whatchyouwant"

the train is occupied by almost only men
deaf man signing his way down the steps in the nick of time
tipped off by his indian & snake trained face
drunks and drugs @ 23rd st
orangevestedpistolpacking MTA employees
keep an eye out for those Rats

no one who will talk to me
in browncurls, buzzcuts and hardhats
stumbling with the trainsway
waving thru windows from closed car to closed car
a sign: "i'll meet you at the next stop"
we'll change trains there
catch the right alphanumeric colorcoded serpent
from columbus circle
share a paper bag and stare
amazed at waistlength dredlocks
"Priority Seating- for persons with disabilities"
inabilities and incompatibilities

"uptown A to 207- 72nd will be next- time now is 1:06"
the numbers and letters mix into words that rhyme with the
orange individual seats to prevent sleep

evryone's feet twitch and eyes wander
(as they adjust their caps)
to the only woman
at the end of the car
chewing from a cellophane bag of black licorice

when the doors close lights flash in time with the tone
the double tone that seems to be playing at evry other
stop as we slither Central Park West
past the Natural History Museum
Teddy Roosevelt's bronze horse
snorting at the Indian with a hand on the halter
as he shakes his withers & tails an imaginary fly
T.R.'s pistol is primed for a crossdraw charge into Central
Park or up St. Nicholas Hill where he reenacted San
Juan and other hills as governor
one liners rattling his sabre

the train is shapeshifting & shedding Central Park for uptown
Harlem stops & doubletones & lights in time

As It Stands: In a Silent Way

3 a.m. autumn fell
winter's closing it out
smell dry steam heat

people on the sidewalks
waiting for something uncertain to rumble thru
planters into streetlight yawn
holding leashes and brownbags
any stoop better than their squalid insides
of dirt and woodfloor topography
steam cranks out latenight jazz accompaniment
of knocks, clocks and morse code cymbals

rooftop tomorrow smells
waterfall-stoops mouth simple sounds
of eastbound cars abiding lightly by

orange juice and dusty nickels punctuate
lamptable marbletop
light shades them into semicolons and commas
pauses and reiterations of the hours between now and sunlight
forces cast-iron incantations
gobbling green corduroys, undone laundry and wrinkled epic tomes

iron out the night
pressed for morning

birdnoise shuffling leaves still in the trees
Miles' trumpet-swell aping the quality of light
reflected from filmy barred tenement windows
green-shaded glows
light blue TV flickers
indiscernable cloud shudders

drowse with a hand a the nape of their necks



for the rest i carry a firm fur coat
for you i consider forging a ransom note in portugese
i have melted my teeth on candle wax
thrown the wool over the wolves eyes
i pull for the wreck and rhythm of a toppled moroccan ashtray
violently disarm the meaning of "daisy"
the fire escape left salt in launcelot's helm
dragged vests of porridge to the guillotine
horseradish tames the stirrups
as HJ Heinz bucks
Hawethorn mingles in San Diego
serves new england clam chowder on tuesdays
sidewalkers are hushed for my nose
scabbards leave the door ajar

considered lost

define un-interesting governing style

once upon a time: the films of man.

ideology, diplomacy, military thinking
sublime guppy gap

without both "Bitchery and abomination! Abomination and bitchery"
no household names perennially modern

I've shot kate many times

dreams of fleeing and her bare feet flat
talented swimmer died in the same summer triangle

early melodramas gaze out the window
daydream about all the varieties of the color green

is that what you call righteous indignation?
you're talking about righteous indignation when you talk about

a blur of noise and chaos and broken bottles considered lost,



At least 7 dead in Fiery Norwegian train collision
Two passenger trains collided head-on in snowy southern Norway
One of the locomotives was overturned
Robert Ulrichsen,a passenger aboard one of the trains, said
there was no warning.
"the collision came like lightning from a clear sky."
There was no indication of what may have caused the accident.
Heavy black smoke billowed from behind tall evergreens
over the snow-covered landscape as at least two of the
trains' cars burned.



it left with the greyhound
from the 7-11 citgo
southbound-- cape girardeau
jackson, missouri jackson mississippi
warmer towns that dont get enough rain
for crops, riverrun and drawbridges

it's after curfew and the bus is gaining
on the hitchhiker-- 'what do you want?
a ten, a five and five ones?'
it's not a color-- it's reflection
perception of split light

the driver got back from the war
never sleeps and started driving
he lives between 7-11s
side of the road watermelon stands
and battered porkpie hats

snowstorms in kansas, texas
oklahoma and the mountains of new mexico
fill the seats with herringbone troubadors
and placekickers-- the rainbow seats
wear down on the way to boston
it's a long drive-- it's a drive
the landscape is the same shore
for both coasts

the air mattress waffle house campout glow
is everything between
the towns are left to preaching
busstations-- southbound for nashville
louisville and atlanta

the same part of town
crumbling brick carapace
in houston, amarillo, stlouis
and portland-- filled with warwhoops
and mennonites-- the bulldozers
in the one night seats wait for a connection
to greyhound heaven-- htey left love
three states back in a motel
swimming pool-- a breastroke prayer

she hasnt been to school since 6th grade
it wasnt like that when i was a kid
she got knocked up when she was 12
looked 25 in a red dress

the carhorns are the tenor sax
of john coltrane in the dirt
that pains the black from tires
and pitchfork tines worn to a shine

a shine that smells of well-water
on a too-hot afternoon covered
in sweat, scratches and sunburn
the strawhat and wind couldnt keep off

it's hard to think in numbers
of cups of coffe and granulated pure cane sugar
all-told it's an odd number
that counts on no interruptions

in an orange grawgahyde booth
feet up, ashtray balanced on knees
staring back at the redhead waitress
while you wait for the jukebox

as a reminder of pale skin
short nails, pigtails and reggae
in a summer spent
on correspondance and railroad tracks

bloodshot eyes left with a sliver
of icecream on the side
to buy some time or a ritual
an every night game of similar
railroad ties and coal horses

the nights fold into themselves
turn into one night
it's the same syrup on the table
that sticks to my cigarette pack
and slows the ashtray as i slide it across the formica
the same sociable waitress
gnawgahyde and smoke



i light a Gauloise.
waves tiptoe behind me
draw up lines
of orange halfshells.

i turn to light steps beside me
find five swans swimming
in amorphous formation
as they come from dry to wet
and extend wings in anticipation.

the waves draw the water
from their webbed feet
as they approach.

i crouch on my haunches
get the last few drags from my cigarette
while they circle me
emitting low growling sounds
like big cats
curious, smelling my hat and cigarette.
they stretch their wings again
all taller than my crouched form.

i turn slowly
to look at each swan.

the bravefooted father first,
the largest, with long slender neck,
wings as wide as he is tall.
the orange bill and black mask
lead me into pressing eyes.

i try to read the greybrown mottled feathers
and the black bills
of the three young swans.
ducklings, goslings, foundlings
displace the stones and shells
search a bite of bread
left for them last night.
orange shells and white stones
will color their beaks and feathers.

the mother
drinks me up as saltwater
falls from her legs
causing shells and stones
to glint against the sun.

she is slightly smaller and more trim
than the other white swan,
matching him for colors.

she comes closest to me.
a sideways oneeyed glance
trims my whiskers.
she has the same low growl
the same reaching wings
and moves closer.

my jacket creaks, mimics
her growl as i reach
my hand, low, toward her.

she growls, shies and allows
my hand to touch the feathers
on her breast at the base
of her neck
and she calmly continues circling.

i stand to no change
in their formation of a widening circle
of quiet shells and stones.

small fish mingle thru ripples.
soft steps of tiptoeing waves
behind and beside me
the swans follow in their weighty
patient walk.

pine trees

pine trees
the only ones i know of on this thousand acres
probably hand-planted 30 years ago
buried in these woods
to watch this lonely pond
scott paints and i lie back in the boat
floating drowsily from sleep to book
oak maple sumac hickory elm sassafras
all starting their turn to winter
cattails losing green to grey
small blue wildflowers and goldenrod sparse residents of the banks
the reflection of trees in the lily pad framed wet blackness
the sound of crows, turkeys, jays, woodpeckers, birds i cant
recognise and final october dragonflies reflect in the water
as a bass shows himself feeding
wind drifts the boat
i paddle lightly to stay in our place
near the bank and goldenrod and pine trees
we are both alone in this boat
painting our pictures
watching the hawk fly over looking for a meal

four dead pine trees standing barren like haggard skeletal
watching their children flourish across the pond
others already lying on the ground beside them

a dragonfly lights on my chest as i watch this ink dry to a
perfect black matte
he lives here
allows me to visit
praises my quiet
appraises my poem and scott's painting
flies off and returns again to my chest or arm or shoulder

chipmunks play
rattling leaves and chasing acorns

it is never silent
sometimes quiet
but nature is loud

the hawk skims the treetops preying on leaves and calling out

no silence

insects-- crickets call
bullfrogs bellow
the trees move

the dragonfly returns
to my knee
with his partner
another pair flies by courting
one lands on my hand
leaving with the upstroke of the letters

the yellow jacket also lands on this page
to read and walk

only a few wispy stratus clouds mark the sky
and the slightest bit of a moon
soon to disappear
and become new as a spider wades through this ink

moving some shadows
off the boat

a pine cone falls into the water
it will cross to the other side of the pond
to replace its grey ancestor
crawling up out of the blackness

i correct our position with the paddle
two soft caresses of the water
as if lying in this boat on cushions
floating next to a lover--

the water is moving
the boat is moving
the air is moving
the sun the birds the dragonflies
the pine trees
all moving.

launcelot's piecemeal nostalgia

guinevere has trailed off to the south
carted away with drunks and gypsies
the cock crew, he wept
and planted an olive tree
grew a cafe
and boiled colonel penobscott's clams
snails stare at work through pink squares

the rooster pecks peachpits and cottonseeds
the gin is out to pasture
out to get him
out of its gourd
feathers lay in stone rows
etched in color by the dragonslayer

dutch is torture
in the form of a tribal costume and dance
handcarved wooden lingerie and gouda shoes
windmill mandolins and spouting devils

whirling dervishes take dessert out of the freezer
serve coffee and witchazel quiche
hang sugar from the ceiling
nail trolls to the floor

the nude surrogate is on the dot
crested with thorny laurels
hearty industrial bathtubs pail out
maps of umbrellas in sunshine

the feathered feet stalk teddy roosevelt
and go to italy with bill hickock
it's a barnyard roadshow
teeming with indigenous eastern europeans
put a leash on the pitchforks
no dinner for the clotheshorse
put the midget's hat back in the cave

royal jelly is better than persimmons in spoons
and snorting the moon
iridescent nasal spray drips like dandruff
insulates shoehorn doilies

i name the rhode island red
one eviction away
i offer the baby carriage a hand
end up marching to the thumbnail
molting golden coins


shade tree

the fridge is empty, the milkman stopped coming
and the condoms are expired
there are coffee lids under the barcalounger
the morning is a countinghouse that let its hair
fall down
get the tickets punched on the train back home
walk through loose cobblestones the bricklayers
left in a frown
she left in a tizzy, fit, a convulsion of rationality
stirred the soup to a simmer
packed her bible and camera
walked down the steps without a glimmer
she was heading west with all the rest
to pave the streets in oakbark and tinsel
loanshark and stencils of flowers in vases
and fourteen foot faces
she left me a carpet of porn rags and orange shag
i stomp through in sears hipwaders

it’s highwater on both coasts
i’m sitting in a shade tree


she is a trainwreck
made from the tall timbers
of a broken picnic table

i left her
an open letter
on the subjugation of field mice
and fishing nets

she only read the last sentence
about burning tapeworms in effigy
she choked on the semicolon

i called the last pint of clear sight
the nectar of electric leather
tacked to the cellar door

she called me twice
in the same nap
to tell me musty tales
had left town twice

i mowed copies of the letter
mailed the lawn to the tigers
i sat in the bathtub
and whittled statues of the sofa

she lit a gas lamp in the alley
kept it in the locked closet
to cool off the treetrunks

i shave waistbands
head west
and look for a dark closet

scripted overtures

an old Rorshach theorist or an inert pavlovian
stutters-- he's got a little something to say--
it's not his overactive gaseous instability--
it's easy to see
he's got utterances waiting
to work their way out--

it's a tenuous ledge on the edge of his siege
perilous-- recently visited upon by the spirits
of nascar--

he sits still mostly-- in the sun-- inches forward
to settle in his throne like a reptile on a rock--
or a cat on a radiator--
the heat of light
to keep the blood flowing--
through his legs--
under the woolen blanket-- the plaid is a conductor--
specially formulated to suit the needs of the slow
train to immortality--
he cant make any books--
he isnt willing to play bridge-- says cards take
his mind off life--
he speaks softly--
he speaks-- his conversation is slow--
well-regulated--& upended-- it requires
inspired intent-- to listen bodily-- to pick
up all signals transmitted by his faltering
body and his indexed past--
sentences are slowly delivered-- slowly
conducted statements on his collected thoughts--

each strophe corroborates the evidence revealed
in the prior leafy construction--
that wafts
consummately from his throne--


the wall calendar, the donut plant, the corner cafe,
the pickle district

all poised to make noise in the hallway
all contained in window frames

he regards them thinly
and walks away with the mailbox
tied to his back
no chance he would be cornered
no cause for alarm

one thousand or three thousand
give or take an excuse
and he's situated on a bridge cum balcony
that carries lines of light from tower to tower

cars, pedestrians, cyclists and pets
from shore to shore in confusion and certainty

a nest among the bricks
is another of the remnant primordial vistas
colloquial mysteries
architecture cant seem to eliminate
he watches
read the buildings as they lie in the deck
with their unmonitored amalgamated soundtracks

hornswaggled principalities of sound, noise, breath
lost in water
thin recollections in feeble mirrors
echoes or bedsprings
that mattress roar or fleeting doorway
kills or conquers
no combines with other essential noise
orchestrated incidental music of nature by way of

he shivers
by the force of the wind
the wind-shifted sound
the lines of light
the towers, the water
there's always tomorrow
and the view
tonight, counting, bridges, elaborate cornerstones

your hair sweeps naturally and gracefully back from your face

your hair sweeps naturally and gracefully back from your face

maybe that's my face
taped beside the mirror
so dirty you cant see yourself
as you sing to it
& draw self-portraits by candlelight

maybe, again, that's my face
in the candles of reflection

the nights that I can sit
somewhere & someone
(usually a girl
with someone else (a man))
can look at me like she isnt

you've been singing
& you want
to be able to write that
poems, prayer, letter, instant
taped next to my faded reflection

split by a stone thrown through an iceage
of peremptory white pages
stained by days, hands, spills & stolen pens

voice of hyacinths
overdubbed with a torrent of permutations

i'm going to school to be a singer
fly to a smaller city in a smaller state
for one square meal
& a bouquet of accents

i've had a friend a couple of weeks
an enemy since dawn
& a name since i felt the texture of your hand

tepid plaid is up all night
going to misprint a revolution
on the newspapers of your repetitious lips

(leastways a major misstatement
run your mouth
over hot water
under water
pressed to flesh)

maybe i started to sew when i was 5 or 6
i gave it up to break
clods of dirt behind grandpa's plow

locate your martini glass
shake terror, vodka & vermouth
in a jar
pour it into a pint glass

i lash a scarf to steam pipes
patient padding or a pillow
for you to fluff
in a bed you worried over

i found the money you didnt find
flattened ages of empty cigarette packs
filled the bathtub with empty bottles in plastic bags

lost count

the scarf
is for your neck
for your voice
for my walk in through cold bricks
after i sent you
on the train from worry

woman buried in the fourposter cinematic bed

breast bared to the ogling stained glass across an asphalt financier's vapor trail
storeys angle up to an eastern tower
construction paper crows live it up on a ribbon of a mineral vein's flesh
window grate drawls with whine of building exhaust
breathing bricktipped cornerstone
names carved etched chiseled in pallid polished face

entrust lungs to doorknob recitation
the bare breast is an unmapped throne
not for disuse or forgetful anticipation
all planks smoothed to glass scythe
posthole diggers spark on the bedrock
doublebit slides through the bark like a hand through empty pockets

i waited for you
but the leftern bank was too western
polygons were perpendicular to honesty
and someone came to kill us


it's like squeezing an ice cube firmly
a trumpeting portly bell
slick black swan with a cast-iron hide
radiates orange blue firesicles that hold an edge

for a time her eyes remained at rest on the broken bottled daybreak
in a snowy corridor that never holds dust
bleary idea of what ace is in the hole
up a stretched willowed sleeve
eyes and teeth keep dust falling long after wind blows cold to sea
out the absolute absolved backdoor
backtrack to pacing in a cattle-car
cat-calls by least design
easy latticework timetable
background wishes white
for snowed in
stove up sliding saddle
stare over land at an island

for a time a daisy buried with a robin egg in the glove compartment developed frosty
departure to eastward domes
out the wrong direction
marina sky bleats watery wind
i tour the backtrack to somewhere in brooklyn or memory

for a time i wondered why i couldnt drive the train
authorial name in larger letters
posted back that way
they cant swim
she handed it to morse code morning
larks above and a look to goodbye
until they group trees by grace we'll be stuck with light years

i think in terms of compass points

i think in terms of compass points
(and russian hotdog waitresses)

a pair of fleas set teeth in cheesegrater dawn
resembles guardian cakewalks
you, the marooned carnivore, float, ice-like, through the catacombs
bedecked with sailors

infectious march hare rhythm of screech
chill till mirrored claws rise

light and refraction
incantation decanted and sautéed lightly brown