Archive for May, 2013

Update (May it be Good)

30 May



With the blustery NYC summer approaching, I decided to outpace the lethargy that’ll likely be brought about by the heat, and have updated the Official Material (Crack & Vinegar) Section. All of the recent pieces published on the site can now be easily accessed there – all for the exception of the “The Party (The Cruelty of Sol Invictus)” piece. I will continue editing and working on the story and once a decent version of it comes through, I will gladly throw it in there as well. Until then, you can always look back to the April 8th entry, where you can read the First Draft of it… 


Also, I will be introducing a new short story here soon: “Crescent City Blues” is coming.

New readings for the summer will also be announced and posted as soon as they are booked in the Upcoming Events section.


Have a great end to your May. Hope is was less anxious than mine was. 

Try not to linger. Everybody hates a lingerer.


Ban our books, swallow our music into silence, imprison our heroes; imprison us, we will use our lovely prudence and our lunacy to escape, to climb over the walls while you’ve left us momentarily alone to play.


No Joke (Short)

25 May





no violent priors

we settled it in the streets

the blood and a hush

following you close

silence singing of nobility

a scar sitting on the skin

instead of a docket itching

to quantify our sin

day you go out, day you go in

a plastic cup of bathtub gin

and the preacher

on the train

says that even we can change



Tender for a Night

24 May



For my Swansea friend, sixty years after his death, and for a love that no longer smiles at me


I am a man no more but a lament of eighteen empty drinks

with eyelids impersonating an overclouded sky  

with arms as islands growing thin

descending into a forgetting sea with the weight of years

and dirges

and the population of your love meant for diaspora

When I came in

the barman smiled

smelling of an ambrosial stichomythia

and put some sweets behind the bar

so as to draw me in like a patron of the arts

with too much money and dreaming swelling his pockets tight

I asked him, what would Dylan say –

no, no, the good, or the better one, at least –  

the one who graciously surrendered his own name for another’s lucky patronym…

oh, you have not heard of him

he did write the blues as well

and even immolated himself from time to time

a myth most likely, that is true

there might be a fraternity to bind them both

I wholeheartedly agree

we won’t find it though  

and one still lives, and will likely do so for a few more years

the other… well, the other…  

he drowned, but not like Shelley

a TIME magazine burned with too much whiskey and contempt

Cortisone, Benzedrine, and a half grain of Morphine

to pull the rage abroad, to make it forget dully

the villanelle one writes for a dying father

over a pagan breakfast of bitters and black pudding

wet like a matchhead in handsome fingers

grown from touchingly small hands

burnt a bit in spots by cigarettes that last too long

I order my drinks, two at a time

and remind the woman next to me

who wasn’t you but should have been

that gloomy poets should never be taken all too seriously

otherwise they might become a languorous apology

and all sense of humor sometimes breaking in like infant light

in an early world which hasn’t learned to delight just yet  

would be cast aside and orphaned to a memory

which in Brodsky’s words would suffer a stodgy fortune before the dying came

and so, I drink my drinks

and put an arm around the woman next to me

who wasn’t you but should have been

she should have been, yet she’ll become

an unfaithful repetition that only exists

for the moment before you climb weary into bed

another page that turns, seraphic, on its own

divine like dead like rain and other worthwhile devoutness  

which will lead me, eventually

to understand my own mistake

and turn to you to ask to speak again

of simpler things that lack any use of dedication

that will make us laugh again

free like an asylum in a lover’s eyes

after they are wet with tender thoughts

and new again

for both that should have been


Take Care, Ray

22 May



Aemilia Bassano (delirium tremens)


Ray Manzarek died on Monday from bile duct cancer

First they stop allowing you to get a degree in prison, then they stop allowing you to smoke

They say it’s all for your own good like fixing typos

It’s a killer

A dunce and a rogue

Yet I feel like an existentialist abstraction when I pay my taxes

I start qualifying my sentences by capitalizing all the openers again

but how did they get there first

I’m growing paranoid

People who haven’t seen my apartment are surprised by how clean it is

Hell is around the corner

a man resembling a lemniscate (a moustache that exists only in a parametric equation) begins to laugh


trust me  

I’ll be the Dramamine to your oscillating seas

trust me

Proudhon and Exupéry are playing tic-tac-toe on a new planet they haven’t named yet

and Yes, the river knows, it is the crawl of the classical piano

chartreuse seclusion and television screens

a pretty face that I used to see, pornography

The tequila tastes like nail polish varnish by four in the afternoon


If you’ve been drinking all through the carbon copy

and as They bring the bull into the ring, he has his objections

They are just spears, they say, don’t look so concerned




melancholy meta monday morning

20 May



it rained earlier today


they were watching basic cable television because it made sense that particular day. it was early. a procedural show was paid attention to, barely – Law & Order: Season 13, Episode 17 (“Genius”) – the writer was running out of cigarettes. he got up and poured himself a few fingers of brandy into a dirty snifter (“don’t you think it’s a bit early for that” she trailed off after him). he used a butterknife from the drawer to make a B-flat from the raised glass. she kept one eye, open, on the television, the other, closed, on him.

he recited:


“becoming a slave for a Sunday morning

way too early to be truly awake

I have no profound words left for you, darling

this love has become a heart attack

in the chest cavity of an anti-Nabokovian sentimentalist

who made his rent composing vulgar verses

that flew too high on wings made of pink slips

and rejection letters

from both publishers and peaceful cemetery plots

he has become a dotted line

that indeed blushes from time to time

wondering how a lie can have so many eyes

a contract that would make you weep

when you realize how much you’ll be giving away

a pleasant mistake brushing the dust off of ghosts

in the lonely celadon whisper of a resting day

begun too early

to truly be awake”  


he falls back on the couch. she palms his ring finger. it all seems so very tender. they continue watching the flicker of the tv set snatching time and silence. he lights his last cigarette a takes a slight sip of this living day. the rain outside has stopped.


On My New York Shit…

16 May



Q52: a short lyric


they haven’t touched the bridge in over eighty years

that’s why

after the hurricane snuck in

the trains don’t run over it no more

you have to take the bus across Cross Bay

and in those thirty minutes that you have

after waiting in the cold huddling in around you

you’ll sit on a hard and angry seat

watching the world like a weary guest:

the old Russian women talking too loudly on the phone

that they barely know how to operate

in a language that all other passengers

but me

do not understand

and after the call is done

before the next appointments are to be made

their bodies will tenderly convulse

because the nearly dead are made to dance

for our forced mocking sympathy and our amusement like the dole

the men that stand pace anxiously

in the two step space that they’re allotted

before a workday becoming prison

leaves them slumped along the railing springing  

like the wheels below along cement

the pimply adolescents and their pockmarked older siblings

read books they were assigned

while futile anger and frustration rages in digitized decibels

from their headphones

the aging allochthonous junkies who still make the trip

have come to pay their servile and pitiful respect

to scions of their old connects

from stories of seventies’ glory days

when shooting galleries replaced alleyways

and the cops didn’t have to pretend not to give a shit

the young and pretty neighborhood girls

they’re sitting, waiting, too

crosslegged and small and nearly blue

or gold, sometimes I cannot tell

because despite our same path here every day

we have all been detached, completed, from ourselves

these people just like me

are all I do not know too well

but try to meagerly

because this ride is the same one along which I’ll return

until the bridge is fixed

and we aren’t broken

lonely anymore


(for Claudia Rankine)


Some Bittersweet and Lonely Madness

14 May



I want to date a photographer


I want to date a photographer

the smell of a closet turned into a darkroom

catechol, acetic acid

in the morning

a filterless cigarette

waking up in light

in the sanctuary of another artist

another who drifts like a rhythmic martyr

or an aging bicycle on an icy road

pinched flats

I’ll kiss her

just as she pictured it

with corruption just like a limerick on my lips

and there will be a restful slumber

that lasts a day and a full night’s appetite

and then when we stretch

waking up in light


she’ll take a photograph

while I’m still in bed

and I’ll pretend

amongst the covers

that I’m anything but happy

in the bliss of undeveloped prints

stuck for a time to find myself exposed

in the winking coffin of her lens

yawning for her smile like a protective dog

hair resembling an eureka moment   

waking up in light

realizing that dust has gathered

and the walls, they have become  

a shoebox full of photographs

like a treasure chest of glass blown into bodies

all fettered by an invisible force

indoctrinated by good intentions

and each left to sleep alone


from a fan shining for the fat lady (closer every day)

11 May



from a fan shining for the fat lady




across 74 pages

nearly the span of the magazine entirely  

save for advertisements

June 19th, 1965 becomes a cadaverous footnote

(and yet there was a summer camp and a quarter hour’s fascination with touching,

dirty fingernails that bloomed

from a Czech woman enamored with the symbolist poetry of Otakar Březina)

but the critics won’t call it regicide

because that takes the climax out of masturbation  

and yet, again,

reading is the only company for the dispossessed

this is our nourishment

and our army marches on its stomach too

stems dangling in the air

it is an agency (not of the travelling, transitory kind)

or a dejected providence:

a recitation amongst friends or those that drink enough to be

at a salon in Rhode Island or Connecticut or New Hampshire, wearily…  

no, no bullshit – as long as the lights are lit and the beer is cold

that’s all we care about

truth be told

just keep on going

little sparrow feet

in shiny golden slippers (smiling like the sun

on an aeolian Hyperborean, like a fucking classic, honestly)


wings in romantic twitchy tweed

gowned by every varicolored trick imagined

by a marriage to the sea

                       or to the flight of time  

an incantatory improvisation with lovely, lonely legs  

which transitions

into verse

unto reflection

and yet there will still be a gravedigger singing as he works

a descant about a January date

whether perfumed premature or much too late

sometime in early twenty ten

when Buddy Glass put down his pen

and I used some ornamental and intimate language

to describe what I felt if I’d have no characters to relate to

oscillating between Myshkin and the youngest brother Z (more like Rogozhin, arguably;  

with an impotent anger, a holy pedigree)

a Jake Barnes who can still get hard  

especially in eulogy, divided up in cant and cantos

(to be sure, for BIOGRAPHICAL PURPOSES ONLY – or a new print of Harland Miller’s)  

in a song to pass the time

somewhere coming lo-fi from the Husker state

like a sullen Hüsker Dü intake

or a convict waiting on parole

there used to be something that I was waiting for (I know)  

that I was watching slowly disappear

like Buddy, himself, did year by year

or day by day

or when a suicide needed to be explained away

he linked brother Seymour with Gordon Sterrett

and it all became of quite a merit

when he choose himself to be a worthwhile successor

to some masters that time would soon make foolish minstrels out of

waiting on a mocking joke or new commentary to explain their fate  

too late, again, too late

(the biographical again, enough to make you want to put down a pen)

there seems to be no resolution coming

like a letter from one writer to another during war or famine

abandoned or unknown

or a meeting at the Paris Ritz in ’44

or at the Dingo Bar in ’25 (as it was Spring as well back then,

apparently moving)

only an epistle left to yellow like a folkish curse

a fabrication to drive the drunken hearse

and I don’t know how or for who to end this verse

there were some rhymes

for which I take the entirety of blame

I am ashamed to say

I do not rhyme too well

but all of these men who I remember fondly are all dead

they aren’t expecting much

but me, a sigh, I am still here

just bargaining on a final encomiastic compromise

asking the remaining few

through tears and memories and bookmarks:

who do I have to look forward to



                       a drink?  



From a Clean Page

07 May





I just imagined you

in a party dress

of surprised pomegranate gabardine

peeling crawfish

to see whether they were cooked

like a blues song on a downtuned piano

and by that vision

I knew that it was summer


at last  

a cackling whirl

of sunshine and sweat

in strands of dark chestnut hair

that smelled

like my last trip to Louisiana

and bubblegum from my Soviet childhood  

bought with inflated currency

tasting of the same inspiration

as when I got high

with the animals in their furnished cage

and my body no longer felt broken

and only a heartbeat

to keep the rhythm for our boogie


only a single summer evening

when I conjured you in a dream I haven’t woken to thus far

because we hadn’t met back then

but there were wild stanzas that rollicked blindly along the zephyrs  

and I could almost capture them

like fireflies skirting the glass of opened jars

in juvenile hands that hadn’t grasped the world just yet

and we smoked a bit to pass the season

the cigarette transitioning from your fingers to mine

in delicate hesitation

and we looked at each other

wondering what kind of time apart this was   

in this mulberry vespertine glow

of new summer

refashioned into an astral, phantasmagoric isolato

taking a threepenny tour of eternity


(for M.)


Someone To Love (A Thinking Man’s Erection)

04 May



liricheskaya (if I ever write a song in prison)


lay in my arms

like the book that you inspired

the velvet slip a binding

taken off by one passion or another

one more time

sing it with your ambit  

sway against my lips

like a choir of seraphs

that after some drunken revelry in purgatory

(which resembles an overpriced bar I know in Times Square)  

cantillate vulgar ballads about maidens of antiquity

in golden curl and vicious skin

that Orpheus never brought back home for dinner

to hear his lyre twang

fading like everything

beautiful and obscure

within a sandy sojourn

in an arid savage climate

where no one grows

taller than a capitalist  

slowly blown away

farther than the mind can go

and it’s only us

translating into wind

speaking or scarcely listening

to snakes and other animals

that barely resemble secondhand Marxists of some kind

who make you laugh like a laconic port

that turn your teeth to butter

and my hands to parking lots  


lay in my arms

like that nude portrait that you bought

hung on a wall for decoration

to hide the truth of cracking paint

and any resemblance of a life that’s being lived

(another percocet for a new twitch that dances)

and I’ll coo to you

from that mark the nail made inside your wall

and I’ll tell you

slightly muzzled by the celebrity of your churlish quietude  

that you approximate

an e e cummings poem

because it is the Woody Allen movie that you haven’t seen

you are becoming

that soft light that gets stuck inside my teeth

a canicular hunter of imaginative men

who lose it all gambling inside of you

sleeping unaccomplished

they will still be there

ghosts along the sacrilegious highway of your thighs

waiting to be stuffed like pronghorns for your mantle

they will have their own time to crumble

like war torn monuments to independence

so, lay in my arms

for just a little while longer

I’m still writing you, you know

the day is still ahead

and if later

someone calls you with a better proposition

go with him

I won’t get lost

I promise


(for anyone who’s ever been loved before)


A Sample of the Night

02 May



she fell asleep

with her face

nestled against my neck

her breath

warm against my ear


to the vision that she saw

in the midnight of the fantasy

from the bight of dreaming

I could not wade into


I realize now that you do not want to be saved, how trite, you rather want to be worshiped at a distance, left alone to die, like an object in a store that costs more than what’s in my pocket


First One for May

01 May





and there was a dusk

(as must be),

then spattered dust

(as always was),

then a crack of an empty minute

resounding like a frenzied horsewhip in Nietzsche’s mind

or like a pointless pauperized vendetta

carmine humidity along cement

surrounded by red brick tenements

facing one another adversarially

and then all was silent


as the night submitted

to the dreams of frightened children

quivering through the intractable unknown

like a young bride sold to cheap wealth

to mask the poverty of kinfolk

and then the lampposts came alight

blinking like a fool

who’ll never see tomorrow

because today lasts too long

and the light flows troubled

like a sonnet

for a first love

whoever she may be

sought and searching

tanned shoulders and mild insomnia

an elephant graveyard

where only memory exists

unburdening itself

as the sun beats down

in heavy, arced layers


waiting for the heavy footsteps

of time to pass  


Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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