Archive for September, 2012


30 Sep


So, ladies and gents – as you can see, the site has had a bit of a premature facelift. The Elegant Grunge theme I was using previously, developed by Michael Tyson, is no longer congruent with the site – so I have moved onto the Black Board theme by Frank Schrijvers. I know, I know – there’s a lot to have your eyes running wild now, but deal with it. Seek out the good work, it’s more available now… Also, I will be updating the Official Material section, which will make the new pieces instantly available in the right column of the page. Don’t forget my quick reading coming up in Barnes & Noble (Oct. 5th at 7:30) – small crowds, minor expectations breed surprise. I will be trying out some pieces that I have never read live.




Until then, some advice:

Never piss in the soup of your parole officer when he’s about to drug test you and then do your impression of the soup nazi. Seinfeld is syndicated on every possible channel, and you’ll probably have enough to haunt you inside without being reminded of your own spunky idiocy every time they show a rerun of the show on the communal television. 


The Celebration Continues as Long as I Stay out of Jail…

26 Sep


Obligations & Sunspots


The sun

missed me

where I sat



my determination

to find it

when I wake up

no job


I ain’t no Charlemagne  

on a late morning

a resume floating on LinkedIn


I’ll stay home



making love to her

amid the busy daylight hours

when we both

have nothing better to do

in our sunless kingdom

gated and irresponsible

with the words

res angusta domi

written free


and smiling


Amanda Fucking Palmer drinks cranberry juice from the bottle


Q: Why women? You write about them so often: sometimes so viscerally and evocatively – the question is why tread on them as a subject so often, aren’t you afraid of literary redundancy or being marginalized as a one-trick-pony of a writer?


A: The easy answer to “why women?” is “why not”. There are a lot of things that I don’t find aesthetically pleasing about the human body and mind and the course we’ve all seemingly accepted – but very little of it, when I’m in my most humble moments, means barely anything, especially when there’s a good woman by me, who’ll make me forget what a miserable cunt I really am. But, the reason that there is so much written about them, whether cast as muses or mistresses and everything in between, is because transgressing through a patriarchal society, there always remains an unwavering mystery about the nature and impulse of femininity: even if I was the only one still seeing it – I would still write of nearly nothing else until that mystery, for me, is resolved. I truly hope, seemingly obviously, that this never happens – otherwise, I might be forced to write about the mysticism of lawn gnomes – another facet of the human experience that completely baffles me outside of its decorative purpose.


A Day Inward

22 Sep



A Day Inward


            He turned her chair so that the big mirror reflected the minor miracle performed. The coiffeur smiled and nodded, pleased at his own efforts. She looked pleased as well, ready to be poised and vicious in the face of death; we had a funeral to get to.

            Our dress for funerals was now one of formality; the same pungent slickness each time, as if it were a business transaction, as though we were getting ready for some court appearance sprinkled into a labilizing dissoluteness – rid of the tattered habiliment that might suit us better for the beloved trivialities of our day to day, sanguine and softer each time; full of labial, loud carousal and time for quiet, tender and each second an intimation of chemical, literary, architectural inseparableness. She wore a long dark skirt and a blouse the color of a rustic brown too ancient for me to understand. I stuck to the conservative black on black ensemble – Johnny was my friend, after all, and he would have respected the choice to go plain and unaffected.

            America devours its young like a stoned Poseidon – and a lot of my friends are way down, below where Jonah was digested. The names blur; the headstones start repeating Ecclesiastes and Dickens and her dialogues between the spirit and the dust and each farewell seems crowded. Each one gets in the way.

            Her face looked radiant and anguished and fair and eternal, the lines of her profile made inward slopes into the lines of her neck – she resembled a black and white starlet from the silent era, her physiognomy sculpted in aging celluloid, cast in shadow. Colleen Moore, maybe.

            We were late. As always we must be. But these things never started on time anyhow, too many people can’t bear it and start drinking early which causes things to move slow. I stopped by the bar as well, and got us a couple of drinks. She was fidgeting, looking around nervously at people she didn’t know. I introduced her to John’s parents. Some other high school friends soon came along to shake hands tragically and then squeal nostalgically about those times spent smoking pot outside of school and acid trips during biology class and the punk band we started before the drugs turned practice sessions into a languished gray funk where we’d only manage to remain half awake and half alive strumming bar chords dissonantly around twinkling girls who wanted to vamp around those who were only half existing and romanticized the poetic mediocrity of that kind of scene while we chased around them as though they really were fireflies in some youth we’d later cherish.

            I was half spun after the third drink, and I saw her sitting on the little divan in front of the large door leading into a little garden outside of the funeral home. She was looking at the dead fountain, short streams of superfluous water have outrun their necessity, creating a sick coloring, the shape of creeping fingers, of festered charcoal across the granite. She looked wonderful and light. I sat by her and wondered whether it would soon be time to leave.

            We had plenty to do today and not much reason to do it all. 

            I really liked this new shorted cut. Her hair asked me to run my hand over it, to kiss her forehead under the locks that slumped like Brooklyn awnings. She smiled. I took her hand and we looked at the fountain together, then looked at the people walking about, from group to group, condolence to condolence, a heartfelt grasp of a shoulder, a fond memory shared, a rough anecdote rushed, uttered for a bit of levity and to crisp the bourbon served too warm as disincentive of forgetting – I knew she liked them, I could tell by her face. She thought that that was how they were like always. Warm.

            I enjoyed watching her this way. Grieving without knowing why, or who for. Intimate and snug. I took a drink and watched her and watched the clock until a few hands passed and some bread was broken and some people cried and some people really felt it and she still looked wonderful and light and it hadn’t caused her too much weight and I was glad and we left with some of the last few and she hugged John’s mother and I shook hands with his father and they nodded with half-smiles because they haven’t been cued as to what to do when the last guests are leaving. She grabbed my hand as I grasped the doorknob and we were gone, back out into it, back with the living, or some of them, but we were together, the city seeming new each time, like a reconciliation with an apologetic fairytale.


Further on up the Road

17 Sep



cogent and untitled

(for Christopher Hitchens)


hubris or catharsis,

you can call me asshole, if you want

if it makes you feel better

I drink too much

but god’s gonna demolish this ghetto anyhow

ain’t nothin’ more to stay

this is no fiefdom

this slum makes the sepulcher

and it’s easy

the antitheists push forward

the theists pull back

and us deists stay put

ambivalently now, but ready for tomorrow

ensconced in silence and warm wishes

like a winter coat for a sunny day

after a cup of coffee

that will be cold on another’s lips

the sad 

figurative soul

that missed the entire point


Things That Pass

15 Sep



I Came Home



            I was walking to the Union Square Trader Joe’s winery to pick up three bottles of the not-cheap-but-cheapest pinot grigio for consumption cold during this last twitter (yes, this word existed and was used prior to the advent of 140-character mandates) of hot summer days. You could already feel autumn blowing in the wind like a belletristic ballerina in a forming, spitting daydream.

            I had been sober for a week or so and was struggling to write, so I figured I must have been doing something wrong. I decided that I would run my errands, then drink my wine, and only then would I be capable of concluding my grand opus.

            As soon as I got to my neighborhood I breathed in the scent of near-accomplishment and felt relieved that soon I would have cigarettes, be broke, and prove myself capable of annexing some time for my editorial commitments.

            With $1.27 jangling in my back pocket, I walked past the projects to a deli a few blocks away from my apartment to meet Pico the facilitator. I used 85 cents on a small coffee, counting out all the dimes and nickels with mock solemnity on the counter. Walked over to back to get the milk for the coffee. No sugar. Never sweet. Not anymore, at least. When we cease to be children, we switch up powders: from ones that used to immiserate our teeth and the wallets of our parents who had to pay for the dentistry casualties, to ones that now immiserate our hearts and figurative souls.

            As I sat down in the little seating area and sipped my coffee, wishing it was a beer at noon, I saw Pico – one of Brooklyn’s numbest – walking through the bodega door, and after looking around, taking his nearly-steady path towards me.

            “What up, chico?”

            “Nothin’ much, man – how’s you?”

            “Ahhhhhh… it is how it is… you know – been shitting blood all day, it’s these goddamn hemorrhoids! And then I saw Lady licking the toilet bowl this morning – there ain’t no way I’m letting her lick my face again.”

            I shook my head. Too much viscera for me – but Pico was always that polemical sort of artist with no money for an easel. He knew that words were free. That’s what makes them beautiful and a great investment.

            He handed me a black plastic bag.

            “So, it’s $50 for the monthly Metrocard, $60 for the carton of Malboros, and another $45 for the eighth of purp – give me a $150 for it all.” Then he though for a second and looked me over, “now, I know you said that you’re surgically broke right now, so hit me off in a week when you see me again. I know you’re good for it.” I was. We were friendly, but we both knew that good business is good business – I needed something and he facilitated that shit on the cheap in an expensive city, and we both knew that we needed one another in respect: he needed my money to turn his profit, I needed his product to function in my day to day.

            We shook hands in our colloquial manner and stood up to leave. He walked up while I walked down. As always. But, walking back I looked around at it all, at all of my neighborhood stretched out before me, the black plastic bag dangling from my arm like some unexpected irony, and I though that this must be my Eden. Imperfect and perfect as such.

            A forlorn simplicity in fading paint. An abjection to nothing much. A brief ache that strangles death. A continuation that begs you to believe in something better which might never come.  

            When I got home, I woke Serena up and we made love – because that’s what she called it when it went slow. She was malleable as aging surrealism in absinthe, soft on me and I was grateful. When it was all over and we lay momentarily inanimate in the wet of ephemeral regret that climax brings about, her breathing quickened and then grew dull. She gyrated her form over to mine and nuzzled her chin into my chest and then everything became complete.

            We lay there for some time. And as soon as she went to take a shower, I took out a cigarette and sat down to write.

            I started with four letters and a bit of punctuation:



It’s a Reaction? I’ll take it.

13 Sep


“I love you fucker…”

“What is this – bad Gregg Araki dialogue?!”



So, no more readings at Art House for your Jackie-boy! I received a scathing letter from an administrator (respectfully keeping her anonymity) who must have been channeling the scorn of my theoretical ex-wife (who also is likely theoretically a Jersey girl – no Kathleen Brennan comparisons intended, I can only wish). But I was deeply hurt by it, and regret that the letter was necessary at all. Since some of you came up to me and told me that you enjoyed my set – I want to first thank you, and apologize for no longer being willing to read at this Jersey City club which I have always really enjoyed: the audience and atmosphere there has always been nourishing to a struggling artist. There will be more drunken poetry read elsewhere, I promise.  


Hey, am I just mesmerized by the lights of oncoming traffic, or is that you on the corner of 8th and 2nd, waiting for the bus outside that overpriced Japanese-tea joint, reading Pere Goriot in the original French?!


…and it becomes a mixture

of sweat and cocktails and a sparrow’s dream

on short feet

so you have to quit for a bit

you say – “for the writing like Faulkner”

even though you were as bored as teeth

with both the sound and the fury  

but the lie is really to stop the constant shaking hand,

at least for the time it takes to hold a pen

until something gets accomplished

and soon all the canons and the balladeers

will all hush

as though a bill was brought

soon the last overpaid athlete

will pop a fly ball out to right field

where it will be caught

by a self-conscious black hole

with the power of the purse

with testicles deflated and pulsing from charming, chemical accessorizing  

to fulfill a-myth-to-better on a slobbering television

like Richard Hell reading poetry at MoMa

like a cranked up rooster

that wakes the seagull

(who stayed up late listening to Amnesiac

and looking lethargically at passing fish)

who then flies across the burning coast

as sweet as sand mixed with glimmering argon

(the glow of lilac in the night)

just to shit rudely on my window

and wake me up unrested

from a nostalgia resembling a harrowed hangover –

a misted remembrance of delight

likely not had, hazy in revision

a delirium of savage chicanery

she was an intimate machine with celadon eyes

that sought to prove time eternal

and pleasantly dead

like a voided check

like using “orgastic” just for Fitz

when you’re writing about a moribund summer

making sure to refrain from exclamation points

since we never want to laugh at our own jokes

that’s what we pay you people for…


It’s Hard To Do a 30-Minute Poetry Set After a Bottle of Gin, Without a Girl to Look at you Sternly From the Audience

09 Sep


Another gem found on YouTube (a phenomenal, longer version of my favorite L.C. songs)


How I planned to open:

Fuck, man.

I woke up rough today. They’re renovating the balconies in my apartment building. Starting with the drill saw at 7:30 in the morning. So, I apologize if I look a little beaten today.

But I actually feel immensely privileged to be the featured poet at the kickoff event for the new season at Art House.

I would have loved to get a haircut for this event – so that I didn’t look like a westernized Jesus on peyote.

But, we’re in the midst of shooting our second short film and I couldn’t afford to look different from scene to scene.

At least now, with this ragged mane intact, I can take a moment to apologize on behalf of all lions everywhere for eating all those Christians in the coliseum.


I Remember You Well


I have an early whore in my righteous dream

a pain so tired

so painted and plaintive

that she would have you assume that she means well

like a new world

that can no longer wear a white dress

like that little sound that left

on a loud evening in a loud city

only to become the soft spark

in the insomnious eyes in adversarial windows

that you stand mute watching

hoping that they have the key

to art and depression and the touch you no longer remember

an expression of a suffering that no longer creates


I have an early whore in my righteous dream

a yelp in a clinical blue

wailing like the extirpating knife of the floating proposition

exterminating like a destiny

something like reading Lorca for the first time

in a dream that found sanctuary and love in the desert

that dims with the subtlety of armageddon

the tenderness of separation, nothing left to rest on a bottle of wine

and then she’ll speak from the atramental dark

as though she knows where her heart will lead us

to a bed where her inertia will smell of lavender and aloe

a passion of erratum dripping to erasure

until the final sigh will mark her interest waned

and she’ll say “see you in a year or so, wandering between my legs”


Upcoming Shows, Notes and We’re Out of Coffee, Walking the Terrain of Ephemeral Publicity

01 Sep


Hello folks,

It’s good to see you. Here is an update on my upcoming shows…


Thursday, September 6th – Art House (Jersey City) – Feature Set at the Season Opening


Friday, September 7th – I will be crashing the Open Mic at the Greenwich Village Barnes & Noble to give a warm, drunken hug to my old neighborhood (NYC)


Thursday, November 15th – I will be supporting the publication of my friend Zarina Zabrisky’s novel “IRON”, and doing a short set at Pegasus Books Downtown (Berkley, California) because cheese pies and wine have already been promised



With the beer warm

and the whiskey hot

my apartment is crisply burned.

They said it was an electrical problem –

but who’s going to replace my booze?!





Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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