Archive for November, 2013


16 Nov





love is the light on

the genius of the family

the acrid kneaded in the sweet

the coffee and the surrender I wrote about before

gods falling from the skies

mediocre chinese take-out at 4:37 in the afternoon

on the dot

evening slippers and an urgency sustained

a familiar face and ashes on the ground

a long train ride masking a clandestine destination, that’s it

as a good and practical an example as any


love is the light off

always in potential

always a new moon to replace the old

always same and different simultaneously

it is as it becomes

the dangerous, topsy-turvied melody of a gypsy accordion along a wisp of smoke

the grotto underneath the waterfall

mixing blood and champagne to create the reflection of the near-hidden empyrean


it is one star

that one over there

you see it

and the light comes on


That one could use a scotch… (the icecube melts)

14 Nov



a volleyed example of class warfare for the honest and the rationally-paranoid


plenty of classrooms, plenty of graveyards

all overcrowded

trying to make room

waiting, gloomily, to be privatized

then sold off piece meal

by a handsome man wearing an expensive tie

bought at Barney’s with a black card

while another black boy

(alumnus of that very school)

gets handcuffed and paraded out

past the oohers, aahers, oglers and cashiers

for forgetting his stoic disenfranchisement

instead of a squad-car

they sit him beside me

in a casket half-full

of wasted promise and compromise

both of us becoming shadows of the world

taught (in that very school

where we were classmates)

that shadows

are merely ghosts and shade

mingled then subjoined

to make monsters out of monarchs

and fellow fearful shapes           


(NYC 2013)


Oh no, did that hit crazy stairs?!

11 Nov



In Transit


            A woman, this morning on the subway, softly whispered “hey” into my ear, and then, before I could capture the home of the voice, she disappeared, and I turned in every direction to find her, but all I encountered were grimfaced commuters heading off to Tuesday-work, the worst sort, and Chagall wearing plebeian overalls, with the collar up, painting the waiting doors in varied blues and scarlets.  


            Somehow days passed yet I was still traveling. The smell of peasant melancholy hung in the air and on my clothes like layover smoke or smirking Northwestern smog. The animals walked by my feet in a miracle’s haste: the dogs looking for discarded scraps; the cats looking for tasty vermin.


            I had to transfer to the 113 bus to get home from Jamaica Center. The man seated in front of me on the bus, overcrowded by Sunday night errands, was taking swigs from his paper-bagged Crazy Stallion (which for easy public consumption already resembled an Arizona iced tea can, likely breaking some copyright laws), barking out solipsistic conversation in the dry interims of his trip to some fresh ghost he discovered:

            “Relax, I’m driving the bus, and I’m about to make a right. Get the fuck out of here!”

            Now, I drink a lot, the folks around here are well aware of this, but somehow I’ve never spoken to myself on a bus loaded with impassive pilgrims yearning for inland.

            “My wife! She breaks my balls, Susan, I really feel like that. What am I doing now?! I’m fucking driving!”

            He was balding, in his late fifties or early sixties, carefully dressed in cheap beige, khaki hues, with a gracefully maintained military moustache standing in salute above the memorial cairn of his upper lip.

            “My wife owns everything, except me! Why do I pay my taxes, I ain’t paying my taxes anymore, I’m somebody and I’m Greek and I know this! I’m Greek but nobody else is. I love her, but why do I pay my taxes if the fire department wakes me up when I’m sleeping.”

            He took another sip from his malt liquor can. We were nearing Mott avenue, so I requested my stop, closed the compartments of my bag, and waited to ease further into the migration of the welling night, full of the strange and tired and slightly beaten. The man kept talking as I stood to leave. He enjoyed his conversation partner, and I figured that none of us can ask for anything more.

            A beautiful dark-skinned girl smiled at me and we both left the bus together after I pressed the molting yellow tape for the backdoors to open.

            Behind my shoulder, “I am what I am. I’m a good man, but I’m a lonely boy.” Indeed.


Minor Stuff

08 Nov



The Rant of a Curmudgeon on the Roof


This is Brompton’s cocktail for the masses

a slow decay expressed

through a culture swallowed

in a digestible polymer coating

skin hyaline and illumined

inviting one and all to take the dulling plunge;

I drank for two weeks straight

when I found out that E. L. James

made $95 million in 2012

and took the title of highest paid ink-slinger

of both the literary and eroticized fan-fiction scene;

I got stoned for days

when I did the math on it –

Leonard Cohen’s latest Old Ideas


Tom Waits’s maudlin immediacy on Bad as Me

turned in the same record sale numbers

across an entire uncreative, lengthy year

as the last Miley Cyrus single song in a day

(her fans likely unaware

or unimpressed

when the child is dressed and actually does

an anodyne acoustic cover of

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”).

A curiosity and ingenuity

that was lost under marketing brushstrokes and various velleities

resounds as a free market consumerist approach to art

and leaves us thicker than we were when we entered the gift shop

to buy candied trinkets with food stamps

and the college fund we’ve started for our own restless anklebiters.

This piece albeit is, obviously, futile,

because these complaints

mutated into similar creatures

have roamed alike before.

It’s all been said

like the empty rustle of a late-Autumn juniper

and yet we’re plunging deeper still.

We’re trying to talk to the speed freak

in his suit

earnestly about Balzac’s coffee habit

(averaging fifty black cups a day when the writing was going well)

while he twitches and attempts to sell our sofa for a teenth.


For Lou

04 Nov


Here is the promised short-essay by guest-writer, and my editor (as well as the reluctant administrator of this site), Andrey Bystrov on Lou Reed’s tragic passing of liver failure on October 27th, 2013.



Thoughts on the Passing of Lou Reed


            Is it fucked up that when Lou Reed died, all I could think of was what a sad and awful and totally unpredictable headache it was going to be for me, now forced to amputate and revise large segments in the opening narrative sequences of my novel. Though the story takes place between the years of ’03 – ’07 – when Lou was very much alive, bumming around NYC in his cut-up faded denim jeans, eagerly anticipating the annual Mermaid Parade – there were parts where I was less than flattering: though I acknowledged Reed as the iconoclast that he is; a pioneer of that grungy, poetical, confessional jangling and yammering (that dipped equally into phantasmagoria and the crumbles of reality) that we loved him for – I still took umbrage with his inconsistency: in the field of the remaining dark troubadours that I admire and unwaveringly sentimentalize – Nick Cave, Lenny Cohen, Tom Waits – Lou was always the wild card that could come out a deuce or a king merely depending on his temperament and the time of the season. Lou Reed will be missed, and lionized posthumously, and all of it will be well-deserved. Lulu, parts of For Drela, and most of Metal Machine Music, will be forgotten, relegated to the closet of abstract experiments, concoctions a mad genius that didn’t quite fizzle, sibilate and froth the way they ought to have, merely small missteps in an otherwise brilliant catalogue.

            We will remember the man as he was in our own legends. A lyrical pawnshop of a vivid metropolis rotting beautifully (a spoiling pear stripping off its sugar): we bought up all the old trinkets, and sold a bit of our own authenticity so that he could create landscapes of songs that resembled our own experiences. (In “Run Run Run”, I always thought that Lou sang “run, run, run, down Chancellors avenue”, rather than “run, run, run, gypsy death and you” – I’d like to note that my variation actually makes more sense in the drug universe, as I’m sure that I have run down that block in Brooklyn on some sicker-by-the-minute occasion in my past).

            He was a man that claimed a detached ownership over all the broken tales of this city, and when I was making a mixtape for a friend doggedly unaffected by the magic of its boroughs, I put him in there so that she could see all those piercing, porous, often times painful, charms that have held me mystified for nearly two decades now in this solipsistic, antiheroic universe. I wanted her to see that satellite of love circling this lonely star.   A little price, who hasn’t shaved in a few weeks, hiding a rose and a metrocard. A battlefield of first flavors tasted, of childhood lumps, broken bones and jaded dreams jiggering weary travelers awake like angry mechanisms, puffing out sinewy smoke and cindery light.  

            I once saw Lou Reed playing a one-song set (I can’t remember whether it was all he set out to do, or if I had just shown up late – after all, this was during one of my own junkie years, and I was indeed delayed waiting for my man, who, as the song goes, was always late) , and he choose to play “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'”, and the room was mesmerized, by their own memories and associations with the song, as well as by his words at barely a breath:


” Say a word for Polly May

She can’t tell the night from the day

They threw her out in the street

Just like a cat she landed on her feet

And say a word for Joana Love

She ain’t got nothing at all

With every day she falls in love

And every night she falls

And when she does she says:

Oh, sweet nuthin'”



            Rest in peace, man, we’re all going to leave the show soon enough…


Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

Copyright © 2010 - 2018 All Rights Reserved.