Category Archives: Poetry

Cigarette Butts

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What if the only person who could be Jesus Christ was an addict? A deadbeat?

What if redemption germinates in slime, shit and piss?

It’s worse out there than we think

It’s always worse

It’s always deeper

and yet also somehow less

So that we’d rather not know, not look, not slow our roll

But what if this brand of glory is some pathetic, anonymous moment?

Not martyrdom but nameless, faceless dissolution

Not ignominy but private shame

What if the crucifix is self loathing?

What if the aggregate of all our microscopic dread are the forces acting upon us

The stripes, the stigmata

What if the garbage in the street were relics for some busybody’s collection

and holiness is something far, far away?

 

 

Cities from the air at night

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You put the intransigence in transit

I rode north one autumn through high country, blind

Once upon a time

The burden of fate held up a staircase

and the buoyancy of youth left a gap between who you are

and what you signify for me

Dawn always breaks in the distance

Life defies us, is defiance

because the world is won by wickedness

but only seemingly so who needs Jerusalem

if it can never be forgotten?

I saw you in a dream, I knew it was really you

but when I woke up it seemed as if you were no longer there

We left these past lives in other places

that are scarcely more real than the ones we can’t recall

and if I lose you I won’t be me

if I could lose you I wouldn’t be myself

We may never set foot in the same city twice

But we live in each other

So let us take nothing for granted

Sundays at the Zoo

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Got my beverage past the turnstile equals white privilege

Just smile

Don’t maintain eye contact

Don’t say gesundheit

Mankind are pederasts, malingerers, rats on an ash heap communicating diseases

Horrible, ambling, eczemic, eggplant-shaped creatures

They suffer waking sleep apnea and never wonder how the meat gets to the plate

Should some grave misfortune befall them they must be maintained alive

Freedom isn’t free, they want a raincheck, they want a discount

They want to see caged animals

and teach the blind how to covet

Shame was the last vestige of propriety

In the distance I saw a crucifix

It was the logo on a ballcap, of a hotel casino

Shrunken Heads

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Sharing is caring

Appreciation for Thanksgiving turkeys

Ulterior horizons, perfunctory well-wishes

They’d watch you be gutted like it was on TV

and wonder about the giblets

There’re no limits to what’s impersonal

Quid pro quo, exsanguinated

The serpent points the way to knowledge

that people are coin operated

Big, open, sensationless pudding-vaginas

contriving stratagems for service opportunities

Need a light there, pal? Lemme get that for ya

Thin-surfaced canned food-drive communities

Jacob’s Plateau

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Oh, alright…..

The onset of a darkening time

Of shadows as forms

Of eyes that guard no souls

Of the recession of green meadows into the bulldozer’s maw

Of menacing clouds amassed before the precincts of eternity

to download and be uploaded, or whatever

The metastasis of sickening flesh

Of bloodless jowls sagging beneath little green visors

Of numbers who aspire to be ants

Of the licensure of volition

Of callow dogs as commanders

who’ve refined to eyeless guile the art of getting what to eat and never stopping once they’re sated

Because there’s only so much to go around

Sizzler

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I am their father

How to get the DNA out of this algorithm?

A cubicle for Montezuma’s ransom

Your lucky rabbit’s foot is a handler’s gland

and second prize is a set of steak knives

What do you feel like eating?

You’ve got a family don’t you?

Because I’ve got this insatiable taste for flesh

You know, character is the barcode of transmutability

and you set the ceiling

I may not’ve determined the number of inches from fly to forehead

but I can decide how vicious I jizz tendons and marrow and keep you in suspense

Whobody? Anybody

Are you what it takes?

Tzel-mahvet

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This might burn a bit

When a stranger’s blithe gesture outweighs your plodding devotion

and you’re granted the serenity to accept the things you cannot change

When you carry around in you a shattered Jerusalem

and find yourself a stranger, but people aren’t strange

The millstone, the cross, the imperative to forgive

the impulse to murder, the necessity to live

the dread that stalks awake-nights, the antiseptic light

dementia and goosebumps and envy and blight

When lies gain the weight of stentorian tomes

and vigor and vim, and known unknown knowns

Then we ordinary folk can cross bridges in space

secure, validated with spit in our face

and decide when to chase and to now flee our tails

and determine the contours of our own comfy jails

When Might may lie down with the left and right hands

and erode all embankments and count up the sands

Then old Lot and his daughters can go fuck themselves

and grannies and housepets and Santa Claus’ elves

and beat the meatcleavers to swordshares and plows

and secure our slick winnings with purrs and meows

and confide our blanch longings despite no true friends

and incline our ears, trifling, to the way the world ends

Love’s Iron Curtain

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Don’t stop believing

What becomes of a Russian girl?

We shall have to learn how to smile

Through strip malls and leasing offices

and uncomprehending inquests of a new colossus

Through syphalitic massage parlors and purgatory’s own vinyl siding

Through weekly coupons’ deadly barrios and indifferent correspondence courses

She longs for an abandoned pensioner and dies by a thousand cuts of anonymity and disdain

arranging clearance racks and perfume samples with the red shameless handmark upon her throat of a fat, impotent generation’s inchoate hatred of mother

Who flitted, frolicked, recited simplicity and diligence

Whose defiant gaze passed recorded history’s last glimmer of innocence

and the future’s city swarmed blind and tumult

Never knowing what grave depravities await

to make the overeager dashing of brains against the gears of heaven’s ever-turning barricade appear quaint

Science is their god

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…but we have the technology

If that child could speak, it would ask

Why did you murder me?

If that child could speak

groping, blind, breath taken cold frenziedly

It would laugh at you not knowing you’re already dead

It would ask why you keep turning your back, keep moving away

Don’t you know I’m right here?

Enveloping the void that was you with this persistent innocent question

If that child could speak

It wouldn’t ask what’s more important than love

Because you already answered

 

Colonel Bert and the Epistemology of Time

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“We” don’t

Would you recognize a great man if time deceived you?

Bert is America

Bert is forgotten

Bert’s wife Ann brought our boys a tray of brownies the day we moved onto the cul-de-sac

Who does that anymore?

A thin, sinewy pillar

chin up, shoulders back

but with a manner of able grace and a twinkle of unwary forebearance

Bert was an artillery colonel but he wouldn’t have you know unless you pry

There are those for whom time yields,

and if you see it, you’ve seen too much

This word, “America,” gets thrown around a lot, though its meaning is actually fragmented

and a fragmented meaning can’t be grasped intuitively

When Ann gets sick Burt reports for visiting hours in ironed slacks and collared shirt

Dignity is a lost art

Every few months now an ambulance takes Ann away while we’re all out

Seasons change, life goes on

Ann rotates between facilities with the utmost christianity

between doctors and blood tests

but none can say what’s really wrong

Funny how they can see inside your cells but cannot see a person

a neighbor, a fellow

Across the street, Bert works afternoons on an old car, ploddingly

and suffers these curious times without all the desperate questions that plague me in my travails

If we shirk our potential must we ignore the man who meets it?

Is the terminus of fellow feeling in a democracy a windowless room?

Bert keeps up a solemn resistance.