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


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