Archive for March, 2013

Another Love Song

31 Mar



Before updating the Official Material section, here’s a new sweet one for your Sunday.


Untitled (Silence)


I love the rain

but it ended today

like the ambrosial benediction

from your lips.

They walked out of the service

with umbrellas underneath their heavy arms

while your toes curled

in my bed

and some sweet 70’s record


There used to be time enough

for all of us

to sleep like that

but the insomniacs

and the living anagrams

own the world now

and the bed

where we watch each other

like a conflagrant sky predicted by some ancient weathermen

like an apparent truth  

is the only place for peace and sermons.

I kiss her forehead like a fever

which I’ve had since I first wrote sonnets about wings

that belonged to love and no canon in particular

a fugue composition of the heart

stirring towards a climax

and she feels warm

because these temples hide

a lovely cavern where the moon bathes at night

like a myth for little princes

and I swallow just a bit of manna from the skin

which burns restlessly for no reason in particular

and she hides me in her arms

letting me know through her embrace

that there is no longer any lie we need to live in

because we never say a word

and the silent are thus rewarded.  


(For Lilia Seven Years Ago)


Blues (Joking with Bastards that Should Hang)

31 Mar



Watching a Musical


I tried for four years

and it hasn’t become anything

but a healing for the restless

and arthritis and anxiety for me

a headache, catalepsy

fragile nerves and chamber pots

a collection of coffee spoons

in mangled hands with shaking fingers

ossein surrounded by limestone crumbling instead of bone

under the pressure of forced repentance and compunction

an apartment where a musician took his life

for money maybe or

because he couldn’t come up with another melody to run along the train

the fingers steal another face like Christmas presents

trying to crush the grain of coffee against the paper

so as to leave a mark

to mark the spot

before the operatic bow

which we’re all too accustomed to

it becomes a dulling lament for homey Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

picked off in the same hood which will raise your enemies

and resurrect them, and resurrect them, and resurrect them

like a dulcet sting

and we’re all absent, based souls swaying through the olive trees

(the love of a poet sick somewhere in a pick-pocket’s wallet)

watching someone die because there are no refunds at the ticket booth

and we all need to save your money

for the kids’ boarding school

where they’ll make the friends you’ve never wanted them to have

to pay off the heavy mortgage

for the news coming every day

an assassination or two with a brunch menu

some pussy maybe

a lady in a glass

the temple full of debt

but the church still gets a tithe

until it is nothing but glass and sand under foot

in a frame

which you’ve brought back with you from Barbados

and it is then

that the criminal stirs

with poison like a free market in his blood

and he buys a song from the street

sounds something like “Pilate’s Dream” played on a ukulele

or Occupy Wall Street as a Broadway Musical

because these notes know

that this rash will become a riot

in a silent theater with lotion by the seats

where a constant encore plays

and we’re just waiting for the curtain call

because we might finally execute someone


Cheeky Sunday

24 Mar





if you find yourself

making love in the dark

then it’s time

to change your bedmate


acquisition for yourself a sensitive


(from the store that sells those things)

who reads too much Salinger and Hesse

who drinks too much

but doesn’t take it out on you

who’ll sit with you

when you’ve snorted too much coke at a girls’ night out

and you can’t fall asleep

without Neruda, green tea and conversation

he’ll be vulgar but polite

with a widow’s peak and too much music on his mind

but still with a whole apartment there for you

which you can paint

any color that you want

like an eyelash on a fingertip waiting on a wish

and there’ll be light, I promise

and just a few cracks along the crystal of the vase

where the narcissi stand like an alienated Spring

and all will be found in time

because there will be an abundance of it

an avalanche of mesmerizing moments

fit for poetry

and long walks

upon streets that empty on command

in a city that becomes newer every day

like a lover you’ve replaced


(for Franny)


For the Sake of Levity

23 Mar



Smoking a Joint at a Funeral


This is going to be light.

We were all moderately upset

we expected it

but always a few days later.

Jules and I stayed to the side,

I lit it

listening to the eulogy –  

the black preacher was good:

I thought about booking him for later

the week is long –

everyone could use a good speech to send them off to rust.

Even Martha came

she was always Jimmy’s favorite

she took a hit

paid her respects

didn’t look the mother in the eye.

Greenwood cemetery looks lovely in this insouciant light,

the oaks casting a rash of shadows

across the lawn and gravel

like an early plague of beauty.

Boils, flowers and the like.

No death, not here.

A blurred boundary,

not really, but pick your poison.

I took a hit and passed it back to Jules,

she followed suit

and we stayed quiet for the rest of the service

waiting to pass.  

In Passing

15 Mar



  8 x 8 (In Passing)


Russians root for good football. Because we haven’t had a good national team since 1966, we just want to watch a decent game jostling along the pitch. We’ll cheer enthusiastically and drink in bars watching the little sportsmen running diligently from goalpost to goalpost. We’ll watch a tie with zeal, because it can always be worse.


I love the way you laugh. It’s as though there was something physical, fingers maybe, not rough hands, shaking you. I can’t laugh like that. Even when I let my entire body convulse from a witty anecdote overheard, my mouth produces a sonance that tends to sound vaguely carnivalesque. While your foudroyant laughter sounds appreciative, nearly honest. It reminds me of the arabesque nature of the act, slippery and epileptic. Like a Dostoevsky that finally got the joke. It reminds me of school children; of laughing at something that you would find bafflingly modest just a decade later: but, at the time, it’s pure, it’s sincere, and it’s the funniest thing that you’d ever hear. That’s the way you laugh. And I’m not trying to patronize – I’m simply trying to indulge while I still have the chance.


I know the light fading from my eyes

I feel them moist

I wonder how much time I’ve left now

the light that had been vigorous

this light that truly was

present and casual

as a hipster in the bathroom of a dive bar

I know this light fading from my eyes

and the last analogy was unnecessary

but I just wanted to connect

to my new audience

we, the bad writers

strive for accessibility

because it’s all that’s left besides the guilt

and those sumptuously guilty

a light fading from my eyes

what else is left

if it wasn’t me


I love the way you laugh. The way you asked me “do you think that you can take me somewhere where I can breathe?” I love how you never heard that song. It played a long time ago from the portable cassette player we brought to watch the bridges rise over the Neva, as the light, struggling, crawled into the world. It used to be so beautiful when it still was. But I still love the way you laugh, and I haven’t forgotten.


Russians believe that whistling indoors forces the depreciation of your assets, the bleeding of your fiscal endowment. It seems that most of us have been whistling through the early chunk of the twentieth century: think what a beautiful, accumulated noise that would make! Somewhere in the night tears and whistling and hungry stomachs and hope souring into bread, into something simple. I’ve been known to whistle too, but I seem to be making a different sound now: something unexpected, like a weary chess player who didn’t notice the potential of en passant charging his pawn prematurely.


Something (Against Nothing)

13 Mar



Writers Make Choices


Why don’t we both sleep on it tonight

almost make it to some sort of daylight

I was working on a book

editing the part when he met her

jealous when you woke up

you looked at me

at my typewriter

yawning, stretching your wonderful limbs

asking whether I wanted to join you in the shower

flawless through your efforts

but there was already too much daydream to go around

so I smoked and made toast for us


while you walked out clean

and asked where I ended up

I told you

that he was in Greenwich Village

wearing dingy sunglasses

when he saw her

off the bus

stopped by his favorite bar

(Trostky’s Mexican Adventure with the happy hour promising half-priced drinks)

he leaned against a railing

and made his life

a glory for fiction stuck inside


an addiction to love and policy

a polylemma between breathing

him following her, skipping from verso to verso

and my taking you

where mistakes can’t always be corrected

where I can’t always be refined

undressed by red ink

but if you’ll ungently take me to some place ungentle

where it’s snug and warm

and a repetition isn’t needed because nothing ends

then I’ll find a way to cut the rhapsody off the tree

and finally let it sleep

for it’s been dangling like a shaman

for four years next month

growing hostile and vindictive

like a sad lover lost in a length of time

having nary to do with life

and barely anything to do with me



Ringo was ODB’s favorite Beatle (Who Survives?)

10 Mar


Why don’t we both sleep on it tonight?



It’s still not nearly done. But here’s a…



What’s pain? What’s comfort? What do you consider soulful or arbitrary? Who’s the tertiary character here? What if I am all of it?      


In my early twenties, I believed that maintaining a healthy death wish was all the creative stimulus I needed. Like Edgar Allen Poe’s “irreclaimable eater of opium”, I was always pale and divided, a morning away from not waking up. But yet, every morning I did and it kept me motivated to create for that one morning when I wouldn’t. Eventually it passed and I started drinking more, caring less, and the work suffered. Got longer. Then longer still. Until eventually I started forgetting to number the pages (I did it some time later across the span of several days, making sure that the lines ending each page matched up with the beginning lines of the next one). Now I was just desperate to get it done. The years have been weighing heavy on me and I’ve started to think that if I kept losing the want that I would eventually become a literary cataleptic. And I missed her, and the way she inspired me, but I found others and they were also uninspired and eventually I found my way to this party. Cruel. Lively, nearly. There were people and light from the windows, everything reflected and jumbled inside them. But I still didn’t see myself anywhere.


No Matches (The Last Poem on the Other Side)

08 Mar



I believe if something in your life is causing you to start cracking, you can take temporary control of it by letting it pass through you – as a writer, drink, or imbibe your preference, to the point where you are so nihilistically light that you become a vessel for your art, and though you are not functional within any other facet of your life (nobody walks much anymore anyway), this state allows you to not care. You have to put the work in though, don’t misconstrue the difficultly of taking in enough where if someone was to stick a barrel like a telescope to your eye, you would simply sigh and shrug your shoulders. Hopefully this doesn’t happen. Hopefully you’ll simply stumble a bit and write what comes. The following piece was my experiment with that nihilistic lightness found throughout last night. I corrected a bit this afternoon, but it’s much the same as it was born – I know I liked it so much more yesterday, but a new day makes things take upon next meanings. That’s inevitable.  

“The Party (The Cruelty of Sol Invictus)” should be coming sometime this weekend.

An updated Official Material section should be here around the same time.


Diminishment (Music on Fulton Street)




senseless with a sense of style…

Ny chto kletka, kakaya kletka?!”

                         –  Andrey Bystrov



I’m seeing it

fascinated again

it is a cold morning

around, surrounding

it is neither rain nor sleet

nor us

it is smoke

from angry throats

crimson, criminal and still burning

we creak and crack like coal


slowly becoming

the childhood of illusion

memory made impotent

a prelude to a play that never takes place

(a bang, bang bang

upon a window pane)

Eliot and Hughes sharing ribs

an emigration from sentimentality

a heart that does not need to beat to explain itself

too destitute to buy a medical text book


My teeth hurt so I know I’m close to death

this is the time to write

the next


drinking yourself out of life

like a holy sacrament

or bartering for an indulgence

you become the landlady

of the soul

a casual, curving lunacy

a blade next to a pop song

(a sing, sing sing

slung along a midnight sling)

either a genius or a drunk

complicated only by time pretending to be jewelry

and lips used for divergent bliss

a death that lives again

erasing grammar and good taste


Does is make sense

or is it a withering


Should it be shattered









exposed unto nothing but light and cages

stages and massive trucks

that haul stooges like myself from chopping block to block

in mockery of my profession

of lifting drifting pneuma unto natural progression

but all of it in such amused terms:

and I say that all this pretentious bullshit had to go

I hope that you’ve all enjoyed the show!

(Off the narrative strip

she dances off the page,


and did you expect

to end

this fascination

my frenzied frontier of self-annihilation

the dreaded father of deathly self-invention

all ends

we stir the strip

we slip awhile

we slowly languish for the call

of nothing deadly

only a ditty, some years

in a full imagination

with color full as August lips

and then I mentioned them again

again, again again

it is a close succession closing)


strange call

03 Mar


Great artist (after he finally decided to leave the much overrated Fleet Foxes), great song, and a great video with Aubrey Plaza. There is also a great live version of his song, done beautiful and slow in some girl’s basement, “Every Man Needs a Companion”. Definitely worth checking out.







the mist

she, she, she


frees herself from all constraint

one, two, three

another breath




the mist

a neurosis


four, five, six



that one day

scientist will explain


using pi

and stardust

another breath



she, she, she


from the mirror

from his arms

a seven comes next

free, free, free


the mist


her bare feet



02 Mar





This is why I write

(hopefully why most men get into that lamentable incontinency masquerading as vocation)

so that long after I’ve succumbed

to my last piece:

my last demarcation, my last trip

my last quip, some self-eulogizing words

funny, dry, finite, all vowel sounds and heavy breath

so that long after

a woman like her

can passionately pick apart my catalog

banging her delicate palm on her desk

for attention, for understanding

that I might mean something –

in my most obscure I am most obvious –  

she’ll opine, with ancillary generosity

about how handsome I had used to look

licked onto a dust jacket in a black and white finish;

she’ll lean against the blackboard

upon which she drew out the metered dactyls

of single silver sentences lyrically smuggled into prose

“tonkost, tonkost” – gently, gently

(like my carbons covered in coffee)

the back of her black blouse covered in chalk

my subopaque, fugitive imprint

soon to be caressed away

by that same delicate palm

(lily and sublime, of heavy lifting)

that was its emperor and its midwife

bringing forth kingdoms and children to fill them

all through my words

all through her hands

all for some perspicacity

that still nurtures its own stargazing vagary  

this is why I write

to die

having written

something worthy


(for M.)



Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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