Monday, November 27, 2017

This World of Ours

This world of ours, so big so round so blue,
Once imagined, is a whole lot of world more than
Enough for the likes of me and you.

Unknowable, held together by the felt glue
Of mystery, with or without any mysterious plan—
This world of ours, so big so round so blue,

Coughed up magma to grow green and fluid; grew
A soul, spread itself thin through thick & kin,
Enough for the likes of me and you,

In the eye, ear, the breathing beneath our shoe
And in the visions unveiled by the messianic man,
This world of ours, so big so round so blue

In sunlight, in darkness, as if by heaven's cue,
With a sidekick moon's radiant wingspan
Enough for the likes of me and you
Who need it like love needs to stay true
To our home of selves, and we best better can—
This world of ours, so big so round so blue
Enough for the likes of me and you.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

At The Border

They hardly set their bags down and were wanted for urgent discussions. The details, where they had come from, what they had done in their home countries, what manner of religion they practiced, were already known. They were escorted to separate rooms, empty but for immigration officers on wooden chairs at metal desks with paper and pencil at the ready.

In the first room, the mother was asked to draw a portrait of her daughter. It didn’t have to be good, said the officer. That was a relief to the mother, but she still felt that she had to draw something that resembled her daughter, that it was important to get it right, and she was never any good at it. Her hand was shaky, but she managed to draw a little girl in a summer dress carrying two bags that nearly touched the ground beside her.

In the second room, the father was asked to write a poem about his loved ones, a short verse that captures the essence of their beings. The officer was a bit impatient with the father’s expression of bewilderment, so he repeated the instructions, adding: don’t worry, we know you are not a poet. The father started jotting down words and arranging them into lines and crossing them out, replacing them with others, tapping his fingers on the table.

In the third room, the little girl sat with her hands beneath her thighs, her shoes dangling above the floor. The officer pushed the paper and pencil towards her, and then got up and left the room. The little girl didn’t touch the paper or the pencil. She just sat there with her hands growing numb beneath her thighs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Extempore Exercise in Five Movements on the Death of the Master


Soon it’ll be a capital crime to aim a spot-light
At the mean face of the future, the past gone
Nowhere. Like poor fishermen, we prawn
The warm engulf of vanities, parasites
Of sea, sun, air; even among the erudite
The hook gets baited (rubber longjohns
To protect against chilly tidewater dawns).
The whole business gives me a wound-tight
Fright. Hail Masters, full of grace! Amen!
The majority never know what hit them,
Don’t know his name, his poems; like lambs
Led to the table, they're eager to send
Others to war for the taste of local hams,
And others for security terminally penned


And others blinded by their own wise light
Stare off as if being was all about being gone:
Gas, flesh, bone; the survival sense a prawn
Has scuttling the currents; fighting parasites
And ship-sized fish makes for an erudite
Denizen of the human reef. Dicks, Johns,
Toms and Harrys: O bombarded dawns,
The sound of fury and glories tight
To the line—what works gets the Amen!
I’m afraid it may all be a crock o’ bull: them,
Us, the others, as if the fuss for smoked ham
Were incidental to the sow. Wolves eat lambs
On wide open plains under stars that send
The kind of poems no mortal’s ever penned.


Every image appears in its own word-light.
For seventy years you wrote about being gone
From hatred, suffering, the hunger. A mere prawn
In comparison, I’m a sinecure’s parasite,
Slack-jawed with self-love, as erudite
As a goldfish flushed down the john.
You made gospel out of all the meaty dawns
In a top/bottom squeeze, bound up tight
You traveled among us, and them, with them
For us, writing about women prepping hams
In camp kitchens, farmers skinning lambs
From branches in village squares, the amen
Of a grandmother with the eyes of a penned
Animal, witness to what God saw fit to send.


In prose and poetry you lit the flood-lights
Above our path, paving the way—now gone,
We walk in darkness. The toxic prawns
On the menu are the true poems of our parasite
Natures, what lies out of range—erudite
And empty, feasting like bulging Johns
Cashing in orgasms for amnesiac dawns
While night-shift girls work a pimp-tight
Schedule. To whom shall we send an Amen?
Perhaps now you are a God, or just like them:
Brodsky, your soulmate; Ginsberg, the ham
Who left us love songs naked as lambs
Sheared for cloakrooms. Could you please send
Angel reinforcements? I fear being penned!


Today at dawn I stirred to kill the light.
On the radio, news that you were gone.
(I have a new poem about a soulless prawn,
A week old pincer-clinging parasite
On the Frigidaire air, as if erudite
Flesh could leapfrog into holiness—John,
3:13, pinky-ringed in a lavender dawn.
I should have known to seal it up tight
With prayer, with a bomb's heartfelt amen.)
And now you’re dead, bright shade among them,
Angel of song, keeper of the lambs;
Out of heaven’s clay you were made and sent
To harden in the fires of what you penned,
So we sheep might avoid the void of an end.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sea of Seasons

On a late November day you arrive,
A low sun to whet the shadow's edge,
Counterpoint for the eye at the window
Thinking of the days unreal years ago,
Winter weekends for a bell’s tones
On the footbridge that spans the globe
In the Christian Science Church,
While you made the custodial rounds—
Hello, Hello, I'd say to the giant stain-
Shape of Russia, the Soviet monster
In red, in my father’s head and yours,
Hello Africa over the railing, England,
China at my back. November cold
On Clearway, concrete, asphalt, brick
Cold, while here it’s all green and brown
Weeds in the field, young birch trees
Bent clinging to the last of their leaves.
A wall of wind crosses the road, a wave
Hits home and I think of the fortress
On Castle Island at our backs, Logan
Across the channel, the great cargo ships
From a four-cornered world unloading,
Loading up for journeys of a lifetime;
A mackerel jig on your line. What a sight
To see those dead fish with their eyes
Staring, their heads chopped off, gutted
And filleted on the dock, someone else
With a bucket, a live one too big to turn,
Dive, surface before dinner. Yes, yes,
I remember the melting weekend ice-cream
Cones on the rocks along the shore, gulls
Sailing for scraps on the fishy breeze,
You held my hand climbing down
Where the waves clapped into crevices
And the seaweed gave the motion form,
Food and cover for starfish and crabs.
You loved summer seas, winter seas
And November at the window watching
An ancient seabed shaped by the wind,
Ten thousand miles from your grave,
I think of us together, and hear it
On the other side in those days before
I knew what Novembers meant, what
Seas and seasons I'd come to navigate,
That someday you'd be gone for good
And leave me dreaming at water’s edge.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I Mourn All The Shotgun-Dead Ducks

I mourn all the shotgun-dead ducks
Pond-gone, now less shade than sorrow,
The spotlit movement on the bad-luck
Border: brown-skinned swarms on-the-go

Scaring the demo out of democrats
Gringoed from gradeschool to trim the fat,
Dress the meat, and never take any shit—
It’s victory to the vipers in this snake-pit!

Only kissable necks and a sandy beach will do
For my grieving—O sensible superglue
Joining the world to my oyster
Of touch and taste I’d never cloister
For a pearl. I have a few good seasons yet
To reverse what made my feathers wet.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Coffee With My Wife

There’s a lot of sad stuff
To get beyond if you wanted
To live a life that’s unhaunted
Coming and going’s enough

Tough surrounded by fluff
To ignore in the passing
Like spurned upturned lovers
Hearing songs from shore

Calling without promise
While whoever wherever lights
Up like a star in a moonless night
Deaf and dumb to process

The heart’s feeding protocol
One morsel at a time crumb
After crumb until psyche’s fall
Is fast enough for a run

At scaling its mindful heights
And moving past the sum
Of its daily lethal delights
And all the sad to overcome

When finally back at home
To work the tiny tasks of life
A cup of coffee with my wife
Heartpain plenty of her own

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Guy And The Other

One guy is cute and the other is ugly
the first misunderstood, the second raped her

One guy is tall and the other a dwarf
ill will toward  the former boils to the top

One guy has a big house, the other small
small owes big a fortune

One guy runs like the wind, the other
pokes along with his problems

One guy plays all day, the other works,
the worker with work to do,
ever always work to do, plays too much
with so much work to do

One guy wears a suit the other wouldn’t
one guy’s a king, the other’s not

One guy rakes his yard, bags leaves
the other keeps an eye on his strangers

One has several kids who love him dearly
the other farms it out, loves them dearly

One has the type of nose everyone adores
the other can’t breathe through his

One has a foot, a marble foot or bronze
the other limps on all fours

One guy flashes his diamond ring
the other tallies up red in the sun

One guy flies non-stop, the other sits
watching the descent of his betters

One guy buys the unbuyable
takes possession of the unbuyable
and the other notices
where and when
how and why,
his own on sale
his ubuyable to be bought
his unbuyable traded priceless wares

One guy speaks like a fountain
the other a broken pipe, tongue-lashed
heart and mind paint the deed,
rust beneath a coat
of calm

Beauty drives to higher ground
while ugly dons a skirt

Beauty burns ugly like fuel
cleans it up
cooks dinner
makes a bed in heaven
in a head

One guy’s beautiful
One isn’t
One guy sees it
One doesn’t
One guy did it, one guy did it
One guy’s done it
all along

and the other looks wrong
looks dangerous
looks out of his mind to think

one guy is beautiful, and the other
explains everything

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Calling in the Night

A pitiless someone
set the black swan
in search of his mate.
Round and round
he paddles, no chance
of finding her; I listen
as he cries out her name.
Despicable someones
snatched her to feed
their hungry kids, feed
the landlord, the bank
in their lives; odious
someones bagged her
and ran off. Round
and round he paddles,
crying out her name.
A cold hearted person
offended by the state
of the world, maybe
just another black swan 
person paddling around,
calling in the night.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Being Pretty Normal

It’s pretty normal that someone is being
Bombed to keep this happiness thing going,
And that our righteous army marches on
To wherever our enemies call home

And that being normal never looks normal
If you arrive by boat or by plane or drop
Feet first from a cloud and float to earth
Like a kindhearted being from outer space

Or a soldier braced for life’s hard landing,
It’s pretty normal to think of now as being
What all those thens were aimed at, and
Totally miss the zigzag that connects them.

Being normal goes back a long, long way.
Since the first said to the second: Let's play!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Those Old Puritans

Those old Puritans, what a nutty lot,
Looked upon the forest as a metaphor
To stage the essential battle, Lucifer
Vs. Mankind. But who makes the cut

When God’s the head-coach? Wild-eyed
Men like shadows between the trees,
Or those who see the woods only to say:
I really doubt we need any of these

But felled for raising our holy house.
Does God favor gold, steeples to the sky,
Or simple ceremonies on the by and by?
Which of those gods is a greater mouse?
Such readers of nature can all go astray
And see you, dangerously, the same way.

Glory Mongers

If only they would shut up
About themselves, just fix it,
Solve the puzzle before it
Explodes; our deepest Cup

Of Plenty drained to the dregs!
All Presidents tell their stories
Of fools who thwart their glories,
While the nation kneels and begs

Riddance of all self-sacred men
Who live by ever looking up
Into the shining stars and planets
Where their souls jostle for seats
And membership in God’s club.
Our fate's to ride it till the end.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ballad of the Garden Gnome

Priapus had his chopped off,
Given books to fondle the eyes;
At one time he was hard enough
In garden plots to fan the fires.

He’s now just a Bohemian elf
Baking cookies in a tree; standing
Amid the flowers, a plant himself,
Limp as Christ demands the thing:

O Priapus of the boner, your
Counterpart with sweet, soft breast,
Your flesh-pillow in the love-nest,
Has changed the garden d├ęcor!

Fertility spirits, flesh and desire,
Now scold the chimp looking on
With that sparkle of an inner fire—
It’s God created the kooky throng

Who scour earth in search of wings
Hidden here, there, everywhere.
Since falling for all the shiny things,
Now demons whisper in their ears:

Dust to dust is thy destiny,
To pass away in soil’s memory
Of what was just a moment ago,
To join again that cosmic flow—

O Priapus! Bearer of man’s seed
Baking cookies no one needs,
Some devil is felling all the trees
To keep us angels on our knees!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

US Territory

Puerto Rico always ever the bullseye
For the US Navy or hysterical
Hurricanes riding sins of weakness,
Always a port, and only ever a port
On the sea of dispatched goods,
Where retirees walk the gangplanks

To cherish the kitsch of island life,
Hispanic spices in the mix, on facades
And the smiles of waiters and maids
And shopkeepers meeting the high
Mainland expectations you saved for.
To fishermen, and those who can never

Get off, that passport is like the branch
Aeneas rips from the earth, his ticket
To the underworld where Puerto Rico
And Detroit poison in hatred's blood;
You would have to have a heart of steel
To see no tomorrow in your kid's face.

Puerto Rico always ever the bullseye,
And civilization our only offer
For location location location, smack
In an archipelago the whole world 
With air forces and armies and navies
Wants a piece of, land where you do 

What's necessary, what's demanded,
What made you go in the first place—
The natives, citizens like Souix, Pawnee,
Theirs in prison for acts of terrorism,
The word itself a kind of terrorism, stuck
Behind bars for defending mother’s house.

Now, imperial winds arrive to clear out
The coffers, and toss around the remains
Of bankers’ properties, battering shacks
Along the coast into concrete slabs; rafter 
Boards and faucet fixtures in sunshine
Once it turns north to become The News.

Puerto Rico was never not a bullseye,
Bombarded off the coast like a pile of sand;
Flagged as was the moon, it still feels
Like conquistador colonists yet thrive
And treat the natives just as we do, 
And for all the same glittering reasons.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chapbook: Trumperlicks #45


I know a tycoon buffoon named Trump,
A blowhard in a goldplated dump;
     The people called him forth—
     Celebrity trumps worth!—
For whom the world is a hole to hump.


There once was a peacock named Donald
Who traced his roots to bonny Scotland—
     He wanted nothing else
     But to grab beaver pelts,
Before his huge feathered head went bald.


Let’s Sieg Heil the cad with orange hair
Who likes to brag that he grew a pair—  
     He applauded himself
     When he spelled “mini-golf”
Like a brat in a gilded highchair.


Our leader, dimwit confidence man,
Has our decline as part of his plan—
     He conquered the place
     By corrupting the race,
Soon to be king of a garbage can.


President Triumph loves his daughter,
And would love to put his paws on her—
     When he saw her in bloom
     He bustled from her room
To check if her mom wasn’t hotter.


I’m for burning coal, and fracking oil,
And helping ‘mancipate Blacks from toil;
     I love the Hispanics
     In the old cowboy flicks,
And GMO popcorn that don’t spoil.


“The Russians are bad and do sad things.
And Venezuela, hugely stinks!
     And Assad is so sad,
     And Iran is so bad,
But I have one of the best golf swings.”


If you get sick you can suck it up.
If you die, it’s a win-win lollypop.
     I got the greatest deal,
     Most awesome spiel,
But get the shit done by Special Op!


“Fuck all the people who you can’t sell
And buy them a ticket straight to hell,”
     He explained to his boys
     Before taking their toys
Because human and daddy don’t gel.


Dad loved Nazis, but mostly their shoes.
Mom was a potato, she didn’t bruise.
     I married gold-diggers.
     It’s like having chiggers.
Did you guys catch me on the Fake News?


I love uniforms who cry and pray
When they kill children on a bad day
     And then get really sad:
     “Am I really so bad?”
They wouldn’t bother asking anyway.


My daughter’s got a nice you-know-what,
And it’s not what you think, not a twat,
     But a really good brain,
     The biggest female brain.
Married a rich kid, hit the jackpot.


My boys, they love to travel and hunt.
They love animals, but I like Kant
     In some village somewhere.
     We pay our tourist share
Into the woman’s future life-fund.


North Korea’s the one place I’d nuke,
It’s run by a crazy commie gook.
     Not meant in a bad way,
     But it’s much easier to say
Than Kimmy Jung un, history’s fluke.


I pardoned Arpaio ‘cause I could,
Just a good cop in bad neighborhood—
     Those hombres are real tough
     And we’ve had ‘bout enough.
I can build it with Canada’s wood!


I’m in love with crooked banks, not Wall Street.
They would be so smart to kiss my feet.
     Lines of credit can heal
     Any type of dark deal:
If you work the oven, own the heat!


I defeated Marco, Jeb, and Hill,
And people still think I lack the will
     To govern the country—
     (Imagine a cunt tree!)—
I start each day with an ugly pill.


I love gold, even if it’s just paint.
Something about it makes me faint,
     The sparkle looks so rich!
     Lady Luck’s a tough bitch
And won’t put out for no stupid saint.


For hawks, a winnable little war.
To doves, I vow not a bullet more.
     For the unemployed, jobs
     Before they turn into mobs
And come at me like pimps on a whore.


This earth, such a fertile tank of gas,
Should be awarded a Miss Planet sash—
     I’d grab her oozing woods,
    And finger deepest roots;
Come morning, she can kiss my fat ass!


They say I’m connected to the mob
And think that’s how I landed the job,
     But I’m zackly like you:
    I want one, then take two,
In the race to be the richest slob.


My wife’s from a latent fascist state,
Which is good, for the sake of hate.
     I picked her out one night
     At a party.  My light
Like a diamond made her want to mate.


You can’t say I’m bad for business.
TV News used to make a lot less.
     I just open my mouth,
     Profits go north of south
Even when I peddle a Herpes’ kiss!

Love Indians, not their casinos.
And Blacks, you know, worked mostly pro-bono
     For a few hundred years
     Shedding blood and hot tears,
And still got less than a white crack ho.


It’s a worldwide cut-rate puppet show,
And I’m the star!  I go with the flow!
     I apply the make-up,
     Hug me a crewcut cop,
Then pay PR to polish the glow!


The quacks gathered to say I’m insane
‘Cause I love pussy (or a choochoo train).
     My mind is so damn fast
     My best thoughts run right past. . . .
What was that I was saying again?


I send cruise missiles wherever I choose;
You set the clock for permanent snooze!
     You don’t know when or where.
     I doubt you’d even care.
That makes two of us: that’s the real news!


My predecessor broke his word,
Then Hillary, OMG, absurd!
     I’m boss only for four
     If not many years more.
Don’t worry, I’m not really a turd.


My presidency inspires revolt
But I don’t fear the American dolt,
     His keystrokes are all mine
     I’ll break him with a fine
And blackmail the horse inside the colt.


I graduated maggots cum louder,
Got a frat-diploma and a trophy garter
     And chicks like wall to wall.
     I was built not to fall,
So you will just have to work harder.


My bestest friends are those who can pay.
If they have no cash I don’t let them play
     In my sandbox no-how,
     Except maybe a cow
If she’s the kind with big boobs that sway.


I’m a great judge of ladies’ beauty
And even God knows I’m a cutie,
     So I peek as they dress
     And pay them to confess
How they’d love to give me some booty.


Destined for things cosmological,
I followed the stars like I’m nautical:
     I sailed so friggin high
     Some are dying to die,
Convinced I’m crypto-despotical.


The other ones bombed so I will too
Even if the whole world says poopoo,
     We’re Americans, see,
     And we like to be free
To fuck you up in lieu of a coup.


I go through women like a storm through trees,
So many I count them in groups of threes.
     I’ve yet to meet the girl
     Who refused a real pearl
For a short few seconds on her knees.


Republicans are so full of shit,
They wagged their tails and that’s about it.
     The Democrats all suck,
     Ask Schumer, what a schmuck!
I wish somebody would pop that zit!


There once was a bore we all abhor
Who soiled the office many adore,
     He swore and decreed
     In secret as he peed
His revenge on the people who roar.


I like Iranians, the ones that we fixed,
Who live in New York and ape our tricks,
     They don’t love that Allah
     Like the Ayatollah
Who outlawed booze and titty pics.


I trust real people who never read,
They will journey abroad just to bleed
     For the red, white, and blue,
     Baseball, Gaga too,
While in my tower I count the green.


Once was an exile, loved his I-phone,
We gave a CIA Predator drone
     To fight for democrats
     And his dad’s funny hats:
Murder’s heroic in a warzone.


I saw the studies but trust my gut
To steer the country out of this rut,
     The longer that we stay
     There will come a day
The Chinese and Russians want their cut.


Politics is so entertainment
Is what I proved for your containment:
     I am current trends
     On long golfing weekends,
Tapping my foot for late payment.


Dreaming of being the president
Like all kids rich who’re power-bent
     I’d lie at night in bed,
     Carved ceiling overhead,
Adding up the nation’s future rent.


Obama was oh boy something else, huh?
He practically wrecked the nation, duh.
     The black half of himself
     Put the white on a shelf
And that’s why the KKK picked moi.


I love miners and those who work hard
Being white, but I don’t like that bard,
     Whatshisname? He’s a bum,
     No talent, a real scum,
And such a sad man. Punch in Richard.