Archive for November, 2012

Experimenting With the Form

29 Nov



Our Compass Spins, The Wilderness Remains


            The stars, they shine along the contours of the silver serpent; he hisses and the sky fills with slumping clouds that resemble domestic violence after three days of swelling, and I am sitting here drinking blood, drinking the night, drinking the past, drinking memory and I know that the madness will soon forgive me but I want it to last, as long as I can write the next chapter in the memoir that’s been brewing for nearly five years now: outlasting addiction, outlasting ambivalence, outlasting the anger that I had for her for so long after leaving me here in these uncomfortable arms and fingers and other limbs like golden lions at an estate sale. The prices are low. The country is in a recession. But all the merchandize must go.

            And after all the women I’ve had, I was only grateful when I fucked you. Disappeared with you. I don’t want to hear how you’ve laid with them, but it’s not because it bothers me to think of them atop of you, inside of you, it simply hurts my ego to think that any of them could fuck you better. Any fantasy you wanted to reveal to me I would have made come true, because it was never about me. After finding you, you were the miracle I wanted to preserve. You were the first and only one that I found. This dying city must be running out.  

            But, then again, you know how truth turns to abandon. How being honest eventually breaks you down, makes you weaker, vulnerable. You know how that particular criminal quakes as soon as she crosses her front door. And my brother never died.

            There’s nothing in the fridge to cook, so I’ll just boil some water for the Nambarrie that my friend sentimentally smuggled out of Glasgow.

            I heard a gauge go off and a streetlight crying blind glass outside. But there wasn’t anyone to kill tonight and so I could relax and put my slippers on, pour myself a cup of tea, and watch as another day passes by unremarkable.

            And since she still ends her regrets with the words “I love you”, I am still a prisoner of war, lifting my hands with no devotion left, for no reason at all.

            There was some compassion left, but a lack of common sense. I watched the people pixelate and their form slowly expand and constrict as though I was trying to force a hallucination down after a trip that’s taken far too long. I can barely comprehend what’s real and what’s really talking to me. But I know that the television is in color and there’s a newscaster that’s telling me about some new bit of ultraviolent performance art displayed in some forgotten Lower East Side neighborhood that the Latin Kings expropriated long ago. Soon enough there’ll be a new mural on a wall, with flowers, candles, and prayer-beads hugging at the legs like a child skittish of her bedtime.

            But this whole process of waiting is like communion for the starved. Her ghost and I will reach our dissensus by morning and I’ll finally go to sleep. As always I’ll wake and find nothing I’m capable of doing. It won’t be the hangover, nor some streaky apathy that’s been rooted in, but rather an acknowledgment of an inability to write without her. It will pass. And I will make believe. And I will do the Anthony Patch like a terminal dance or a penny stock and rest indifferent in my easy-chair and watch people pass by me with a forced loathing.

            No nightmare with a cigar, he’s picking them out at the discount smoke shop on Greenwich Ave. where I used to buy my pixie sticks as a kid. The cold and the DVT swelled his legs purple as though he’s been sleeping outside like a hungry schizophrenic. He’s got some time to kill before our scheduled visit. I know he’s going to go for the cheap Cohiba; my company is not regal enough to waste a better import. We find what we need and then we try to take it, instead of trying to earn it.

            The silent queen was you, so were the women in the other pieces – even if they started off as other lovers, caricatures, plaintiffs, doters, jesters, tasters, critics (they fuck like bad editors), and others like a weeklong fever in an enemy’s bed.

            And nothing comes of this consciousness. I was always a better writer than Joyce, like I shot better coke than Siggy. What does the FDA say about creation, and pygmalionism, and this, and that time that the flowers cost $134, and that time when there was nothing before we met, and tears brought about by a shitty vignette, and that time that my brother died or I pretended that he did, because I was a desperate bootlegger of the dramatic, I needed something new to write, except all I had was fourteen hour days and the paranoid hustle; we controlled all the blocks from 8th street to 23rd on the west side, too many cops on the east, and all those times you saw me sick, and I was, and you held me and bluffed an understanding, bluffed compassion because the years taught you well, and that time that Juan gave me the burner to put fear into that Bay Ridge junkie that ran up a debt, and when I told you, you told me it wasn’t my fault, and then we watched that French film where Romain Duris ran around as an adorable wordsmith and we ate bad fried chicken sandwiches delivered from the spot down the block from your parents’ apartment, and then I slipped myself a vicodin so I could sleep, and I closed my eyes while you told me that you worried about how much I smoked and I said that I didn’t mind, and I said “goodnight, my little darling” – because there was nothing else to do. Somehow it all seemed vaguely illegal.  

            Madness like ain’t nothing pure you’ve ever seen. Fuck a double negative and any fragmented sentences – someone needs to write me a check for being so loyal to the craft, all this time. Even if it’s misunderstood: like the flow, or the connection – but trust me, the thread exists and it all fits where it should.

            The stars, they shine along the neck of the night, graceful as pearls passed down after the death of a matriarch, and I am sitting here drinking blood, drinking the coming dawn, drinking the past, drinking memory and I know that the madness will soon forgive me but I want it to last, as long as I can still have time to put the pen down when it’s all done: when I’ve gotten it all out, the lonesome mornings, the dead friends, the sad love, the time when I wanted her to smile and look back at me when I was leaving. The prices are low. The country is resilient. All this merchandize must go.


Gravity Pt. III

25 Nov



Trap (Gravity Part III)


            What you probably don’t know is that I used to wake up next to you, nude, us together, I would lift the blanket just a smile’s length below your back, so that you wouldn’t get cold, and I would look at your bared body, like an old edition of my favorite novel, I would stroke your skin and begin a new sentence in my mind (like Fitzgerald or a bid of 8 to 12), I would admire it, and I would think to myself: what a lucky fuck you are, Jack – despite all the heinous, depraved shit you’ve done, and you still get to wake up with her – remember Joni, the one that liked older Lenny Cohen records like Songs of Love and Hate and New Skin for the Old Ceremony, the one that fucked you in the bathrooms when the parties grew dull, the one that panhandled for your dope money when you were too sick to be convincing, the one you left standing on the shoreline of Jersey City with the words “no, I don’t love you” and your semen between her thighs – remember Sally’s father and how you took a wooden hammer to his face like you were kneading dough when you found out he that was burning the alabaster of her forearms on the kitchen stove forcing her to wear long-sleeved shirts to school like a junkie in summertime – remember Sunny and Lucy still spanging on 18th street when she was seven months pregnant, remember delivering smack to them even though it made you nauseous to watch how quickly she grabbed at the packs, no need to be inconspicuous, the breathing crescent of her burgeoning stomach covered in small bruises and amaranthine veins, heaving, her face restless, but dead, and Aesop needed you to bring them that cut shit so that they’d buy more, 15 bags in the morning, 15 before heading home, they were good hustlers and they had an old dog, the most important accessory to a homeless beggar because it brings in additional capital from animal lovers – remember taking care of Connie at the Alphabet City shooting gallery while she shook from cotton fever and paranoia – remember no sentiment, walking high through Union Square as though you were singing a Velvet Underground song at a karaoke bar surrounded by Japanese with mumbling accents, pronouncing death loftily as only a sixteen year old could – remember the needle breaking off when your hands fidgeted along the torso of the syringe in the Korean deli lavatory in Midtown and remember all the knocking on the door and Mrs. Kim yelling about calling the police and then you pushed the small piece of rusted metal out from underneath the skin, fully anesthetized by the analgesic, it barely hurt, and then you chuckled because it looked like a snake spitting out the skeleton of its prey – remember every lie, every fucking lie, to the guilty and the uninitiated alike, remember every futile attempt to get clean in a bottle, remember the broken contract burning your bridges in an industry you loved, remember how pure you felt, Jack, when you were that stupid cocky fucking kid, yeah, the great writer nodding through each year, detached in life and in the prose, in the poetry, stylistically tight, grammatically sufficient, substantially exciting, but dulled, muffled, etherized, by the dope, by the all-encompassing chase, by the exalting struggle, where do you meet him, where do you get dough for the next batch, Metro Drugs is two blocks away, the rigs are cheaper there and they’ve got the good gauges, the clerk, she smiles and pretends not to know that you’re not diabetic, that you’re really on your way to get off in the Cosi bathroom down 8th street with the good lock where Funny Faced Ralph eventually died, remember the offers from middle-aged gay men who liked twinks (even before Hostess went out of business) desperately considered then denied with forced arrogance – and now you’re here, and she hasn’t heard half the stories you hid so meticulously in your past, in your fiction, she sleeps or pretends to sleep, eyes half closed, drowsy, your fingers on her skin, along the lovely arch of her back, along the tattoo on her hip, along each buttock, slow, smooth, buoyant, then you put your palm on her hair darker than it used to be and you remark to the world softly, staggered, mesmerized and deeply honored: “oh my girl, my beautiful lovely girl, do I finally dare to eat a peach…”



Work Brought Back From the West Coast 02 (Dreaming)

24 Nov



Ice Cream (Gilded Diadem)


I liked feeding her

without succumbing to paternalism:

all the writing they read

(they aren’t aware)

usually only took one hungover half-hour

while the argument between mint-chocolate chip and rum raisin is a much more delicate

–      and time consuming    –  

digging in of aesthetic discourse

but she tasted like two continents

and she always got her way.

Sweet and succulent

she licked the bottom of the spoon

then let her terpsichorean tongue devour it

the cold confection like Buddha to the Taliban

and she smiled like a small savage filled, the successful sacrifice sufficed.

A little devil with little tricks.

She let me kiss her shoulder,

but not her lips

so I gave her another spoonful

and only then

she acquiesced my appetence

like death in slumber delighted by the smell of fragrant virgin’s bower, like the almond of her hair, a weary poetic repetition from her gestures to tempt me  

because she knew  

that I loved

how she made me grateful, guiltily poisoned.

Intoxicated, I did not want to reemerge from her intoxication

and as always

I realized

that I was created to want her

and wander until I found her

like a breath

like a glass of gin

like the West Coast

like the eventual choice of mint-chocolate chip.


Work Brought Back From the West Coast 01 (Considering)

21 Nov



 Closed for Lunch


            She’s a phantom. Barely there. Scared to leave anything exposed, she rarely shows up. She’s like a drone attack: a cup of coffee and then she’s gone. Finger on the button. The bodies line the street like landmarks of old and broken love. But she had her fun. Like a sadist she took her trophies: from me she got a book, from others she’s corralled songs, the gathered works of Oscar Wilde, a Criterion Collection copy of The Crying Game signed by Stephen Rea, and from one peculiar case she kept a bought shell casing used in the assassination of a Liberian war lord.

            I still depended on her glow. It helped me write, like liquor used to. Now I chase her through the city I used to love. It all seems like a constant, endless departure – with no one there to meet you when you arrive.

            Her unkempt beauty riled my perception of reality – I was uninitiated to the surreal, cold cobalt, shape that love and necessary affection took in her gravity.

            When I fucked her, I wasn’t confiscating any hidden purity – but instead I was witnessing an entire civilization being born. It was like two-hundred thousand year fast-forwarded between her legs; watching her face contort the muscles in twitches and orgasmic surrender, she’d close her eyes and I would try to see what she was seeing. I wanted to know what it was like to see that future. Her future. But she turned men blind, in savagery and pleasure, like she was enlightening Oedipus.

            But we must bypass the past, because eventually it all comes down to survival. She’ll sing something new. I’ll hear it differently tomorrow, and even more different next week, and eventually I will not hear anything at all, and I’ll stop writing for a while, live on a deserted beach with a new lover, looking for shinning idylls in her eyes, wet and lovely, but of only tangential magnificence, like settling in a new pasture on a new planet. I’ll kiss her and remind her of our happiness and we’ll both believe it. She’ll read all my new work and she’ll be encouraging. We’ll eat feta salads during the Greek siesta, from noon to around two, but we’ll drink Cointreau with Perrier instead of the Ouzo that tastes like the tragic fire of misbegotten insurrection. One day she’ll introduce me to her parents and I’ll play it charming but polite and I’ll offer her father a fine cigar and her mother a good bottle of Pinot.  

            We’ll tell them all how we’ve built our own Olympus, and the days will keep doing what they always do, and my memory will worsen and I’ll start seeing gray on my hairbrush and it will all be fine. Every now and then I’ll think of the one that got left behind in that city of money and tension and “I got that shit” on every street corner and cinereous Springs and liberal middleclass lips that preach anarchy and all that pavement and her thighs aroused me and I have to stop thinking and this city will eventually only be an opening overture in a lauded Woody Allen film and decent coffee outside of Seattle and begging bodies and hip-hop along Flatbush, an old apartment I used to share and barely afford, someone’s faithfulness that I used to miss but never had.

            Eventually it all comes down to survival. 




Mr. Working-Class Moustache is Back in NYC

20 Nov


Here is my set supporting Zarina Zabrisky’s Book Launch (11/15/12) in Berkley, California. It was a great time and I would like to thank everyone who read and wrote and came out to support Zarina, she is a truly talented author who deserves all her accolades. As soon as the full cut of footage of the East Bay launch is available I will put it up in Media Section, so that you folks won’t simply have to look at me.


Because of Sandy, as you can see I have not been updating the site. But I have a hell of a lot of new work already written that is waiting for my readers. It will be published here every couple of days.


For now, go out and pick up your copy of Zarina’s short story collection “IRON” published by Epic Rites Press.



Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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