Archive for December, 2013

Fading into the New Year

31 Dec



yogurt and gray hair


If I said

that my mother wore braids

then it would be another lie

that I’ve turned into description

like a painter making frauds of portraits

or appraisers

naming a price

for the beautiful orphans that woke in your arms


someone told me that my generation

lacks the accountability of their antecedents

but it’s not that

we’ve just learned to make deceit our vocation

because we’ve seen how lucrative it’s been


If I said

I saw Paris as a kid

then it’d be another myth

of a child that never left the airport motel

on an accidental layover eve

that hasn’t ended yet

and I’m still afraid

of the different tongues

and a world wider

than the deli down the block where the cigarettes are cheap


it will be during a lonely gloaming

like this one drawing in

when my life will end

in a tumbler full of bourbon

two pawned guitars

and the correspondence of an old lover

irresponsible and unresponsive


until then though

this avenue will last all night

like the bloody glory of the skyscraper

and I will hold your trembling hand

surrendered to our steps

with my diamonds the raincoat on the concrete

underneath your feet


(the pattern says to add two lines and a merry onion

and so)


If I said

that it’s all going to work out well

then I’d be uncharacteristically doltish

because promise needn’t turn into pennies on the floor  

and I no longer sleep

as I once did

because the color’s waned

and the light comes

only from the married sun

growing old over the cold city

like a tired bloom

stumbling away from its reflection


Smell the Merriment (47)

27 Dec


Hopefully the holidays are treating you to good booze and good company. As a gift to my readers, I’ve updated the Official Material section with pieces from the last few months.



During the coda of this year I’ve focused on the various people we’ve lost across the last twelve months. One of whom has been Brooklyn’s Capital STEEZ (the three-eyed Flatbush prophet) who took his life on 12/23/12, the anniversary having passed this past Monday. The loss of this immensely talented 19-year old young man will be felt for a long time coming, as can be seen in a great recent article from the December issue of FADER magazine:

Read it over, and check out the AmeriKKKan Korruption RELOADED mixtape that will sadly remain his troubled masterpiece above.


newfangled bloom

23 Dec





a new muse –

because boyhood fancy’s obsolete

and meritocracy is one obstinate and judgmental bitch –

she pales my night

through a new canvas on my wall

the oil paints still wet

(a slate and peach number, a long arm along a lyre)

the morning routine changes too

tomato juice for tea

more Morrison, less Morrissey

a metamorphosis in the biography

a fresh original to passive-aggressively silent me

on Sundays we play midnight checkers and the lottery

and generously act like louts

she, a souse of spectral twilight

myself, a sparkle of what was

regaining strength through part-time sybaritism and virgin myths

(they all look like their dead sisters)

created, rumored,

                            made stoned and simple

now I’ve regained the upper-case and out-of-place

waking up with cold calamari in a vodka sauce –

leftover from last evening’s boardwalk stroll

through wobbly, creaking slats and lampposts with just a little luck

then, to ease into the work

I’ll pour some scotch, the good stuff from the Highlands

a fist lessened of a finger

a spliff of the exotic stuff in gangling rice paper

a documentary about giraffes

an Americanism or two to waste another hour 

and then, and only then

do I sit down and rub my eyes

looking wearily at the blank page created by antipathy

then write four rhyming lines

smile and take a sip

the drink is well deserved

another productive day and back to bed

she’ll have a cigarette for me

dressed like an effigy

mint chocolate-chip ice cream

all savory indelicacy with a purely amatory strategy

the embodiment of my phlogiston theory

all flash and flame with no breath necessary

as such, I do not breathe

instead I compromise and ruthlessly compare

because there were only three women in my life

who’ve kept me nervous and ecstatic

immaterial of geography or situation

each moment a salvation and a sacrifice of form

cucumber cool disrobed into infantile sincerity:

the lead-off was a teenage pop-song crush

brief, but of fundamental impact

the second was a blissful curse

an addiction, my inceptive connection to the world

the third was the separation of time

an impossibility, an intellectual craving, a sessional gift

the haughty and the tender in a soft sweater over tanned skin

and now this knacker of old ships takes the reins

because I need someone else to steer me

(already an icarian proposition deftly lost)

she is the fourth to be

a brand new ceremony of evaporation

a combination where sweat and souls are same

I love the merry godlessness of it

and the sanity forgotten in the taste

capers and white wine –  

my new muse

with oceans on her lips


Dean Winters

19 Dec



exclamation point: joke/ extinguishment: note


I want to record a lo-fi record:

I don’t no more

I can’t no more

I ain’t no more

I’m no longer capable




then some ellipses

pretentious without an audience






the poet awakes bored from death, a monotony continued seems another chase wasted, disheartened he pulses through to the other room, and there is silence, and a chorus that is preparing to sing, it is a new noise, the echo of metal, the hollow of halos and earrings left on his dresser after some former hymnal and concupiscent nights, it is a welcome back, a mayday, and it moves the cold azure morning light and him, along, and there’s continuation in that which surrounds him, an exploration that merely requires curiosity,

a matchbox and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes by the kitchen sink, old, resurrected, full of regret and worn skin, inked, beaten by the sun, new days repeat and yet never exist in the present – a recurrence and a dimming, slow, syrupy, blending together – what remains intact?

the poet blunders

and laughs at an exclamation point!


For Edie!

17 Dec



For Edie!


Two junkies sitting outside Metro Drugs, Winter 2006, New York City:

“Have you ever read the Divine Comedy?”

“Yeah. Didn’t find it particularly funny.”

Bad joke. She laughed despite. He kissed her.


She was so young…

lengthy, full of life

a colorful speech

that chewed through the spine of the epic;

a contradictoriness personified

a contrarianism ennobled

all in a foggy dreaming fossilized –

one eye distinctly American,

the other incontestably Greek,

yet each a beggar

with a different blush

a different definition of the same antiquated lust –

now merely blissed asleep

in a slip that clings too near


No, not Edie!

“She was so lovely…”

dusky, full of ambition

a short hand on an unwound clock

a rainy frizz of unruly, chestnut curls

an easy rhyme ignored

a former husband’s spectacles appropriated well

around the neck

hanging lowly along the stoned smoke

filling up her lungs

barely enough air for an emerging shriek

an old foundation underneath her

creaking, then breaking, in a choreographed fashion

along the crackling dance-steps of the flame

a misty melody concealing the exit of this dimmet


No, not Edie!

She was so clairvoyant

such pale perfection

all strong sex and not enough applause

a parentage that informed detachment

with books instead of bodies below the floor

(hiding hot like Acconci)

read by cockroaches and rodents

quarantined from the blare of loud television infomercials

but because hers were kept on their proper shelves

the fire spread alphabetically

and her –

a new violet

a pleasant decadence

chapped lips and faithful, if unoriginal, bruises

a beautiful ellipsis

in a black dress just an inch too short –  

she burnt up just like the tragic Kansas’ waltztress

surrounded by exiled madness and apathy




no, not Edie!

I remember her so well

and it has been years:

her gait all scrupulous precision

each toe a polychrome suffragette for every step

moccasins, a childish glamour, a hasty pace;

I remember us

visiting the site of X-Ray in Portland

Julie Ruin in the tapedeck

windows open…

my hands have lost their former grip

and she knew from an early age

that haunted was the same as hunted

except that one looked better:

a post-modern hippie spinning webs

with legs and toes and curls and white

a delighted little glimmer in the fog;

she didn’t do Faulkner or Steinbeck

she had a depression era all her own –

an old Moody Blues record collecting doggerel hipster dust

until her graceful hand requests it from amongst the rest of the discarded brilliance

in boxes,

a shoplift of discount music undersold…


back then

meant all of it

she made me something to endure

with a sure reluctance

like jellybeans that brighten up a wake…

and now it’s her…

and now my hands have lost their former grip



not Edie –

another please


poet that dwelt in possibility, yet

just couldn’t find a home


Smiling Past the Morning

05 Dec



she said


she said,

“whadyre you,

some tiger made of yarn?”

she had

a boyish cut and big green eyes

“are you unraveling?”

a mimicry of heaven

between two lips

produces shortened verses

but rarely silence

like cutting your finger

right to the bone,

an eskimo with a tennis racquet


The Merits of Madness (Part I)

02 Dec



addendum abstractions in bookings (part I)


“Why must one always quote St. Augustine to me?”

– John Shade


I’m not losing my mind

my mind is losing itself

amongst the young wolves

hairy, Turkish and progressive

and these are just jailed lines

mere fingerprints

a soft reflection, a soft abstraction

for the girl that buys me Maker’s Mark

(you already knew I enjoy bourbon)

condoms and a footlong sub before I wake up;

for the young black lyricist

who offed himself on Christmas Eve in Brooklyn

a year ago

because he thought he was Baphomet

not nineteen

scarce, smugly forgetting the dullness of immortality;

for the manic lover I once had like faith

that I still yearn for

like a disorienting vibration or a tired diary

always an old photograph I keep

in the credenza drawer second from the top.

I’m not losing my mind

my mind is losing me

explicit, drug trade, pure powder

my friends still remind me

of the bodies they left behind them

super max with the sleepers

yet another murder, just like me

an ex-wife, a heroin addiction

the truth seeps out

until I have nothing left to write.

Still lonely, still romantic

still misguided and meaningless

still a big-dicked Russian

still know all my English

from Family Matters and Saved By the Bell

still feeling guilty for jerking off to Foxworth

still lost, still sacred


finding only fictional characters to relate to

still handcuffs when I’m in the better neighborhoods

still the professor buying eight viles on eighteenth

still the blue-eyed puffies on eleventh  

still and steal and steel

a new day like a pawnshop

a razor on the calendar.

This ragged divine will sing synesthetic and senescent

sold as cornerstore miracles

as a plaintive Southern spiritual

a beggar turned prisoner turned grand inquisitor

finally a visitor that I can sink my teeth into

talk about his day

the bric-a-brac of the latest Dow index

routine, solipsistic, involuntary sex

with a brief, apoplectic climax

his daily workout regiment on the newest incarnation of the Bowflex

but, I’ll change the topic and the tone of the conversation

by recounting

a story from a very stormy week ago

of prayers on a rooftop in Fort Greene

hands painted in bathwater and aurora

like an infant’s seraphic drool

and this was the day joyously beginning

with a serenade of wet paper between gracile fingers  

and the wind creeping in under the sleeves of her robe

shifting between murine burrows and emerald caverns

and at last there hangs a pause

we wait for an animal translation

he lights a cigarette

in a gesture that resembles a rimjob at a funeral

while we sit silently as liner notes

while I remember her perfume

that has long ago become an unfinished short story

not a full volume or even a novella

a short piece of prose

with unfixed grammar

underwritten characters

underdeveloped plot lines

a bowl of tangerines on the supper table

the manner of it still sleeps inside each nostril

a trick that’s survived the big reveal

an intimate afterglow icebound in timelessness.

My cystic raconteur checks his various marginalia

and formulates a response  

(Like the twentieth: Ke2; Na6 – forces a mate in three; immortality)

he says that I’m not living right

prioritizing the wrong things

sentimentalizing fabulist illusions, paramnesia 

no magic left marooned

the construction workers outside play some CCR

building overtime and twenty years for a broken purlieus

just another place to overstay your welcome

it sounds like “Fortunate Son”

but I always preferred “Someday Never Comes” like some father I never knew

who reared me as a forfeit, as you see me today

a funny rerun of a long-cancelled sitcom

pointlessly loving, unasked

and then he pours a drink to stabilize my hand

it shakes when not enough

and memory never is

and so my tongue loosens

and suddenly I’m all pronouncements

another prophetic drunk waiting for a judge:

“knowledge is assertion”

this is how kids begin their careers as assholes

first, some nugatory information

that they feel the need to relay

ad nauseum to their parents

and the myriad frustrated, frittering strangers

with hangovers that overhear around them –

you’ve found yourself as one before,

be honest –

so every reference

is your adult bit of trivia

that you can use

to one-up somebody else

make someone weaker

pretend intellectual superiority

like a Snapple cap

that knows the mystery to its own bullshit.


let’s use the newfound paradoxes


to show us something else

illumination, possibly?

Beethoven and Goethe walking from the Teplitz spa;

Charlotte Brontë’s sweet words to Arthur Bell nine months after marriage with a belly full;

Issa, Hedwig, Captain Beefheart, Che Smith, Aristophanes,

that kid that reads his verses on the A train, laconic during rush hour,

shit, we can go fiction or do it straight

there are plenty anecdotes for all

that reveal antebellum life

as it is and will be

at the nucleus of its meaning

some new spiritual aviation, gin-soaked and garish

and allowed

and important


beating against eternity

like a pulsar pulled out as a giant’s heart

a gut full of a lover’s poison

a recognition that you can’t quite decode

and this dance is the same as a twitch


I am aloof like a cloud in trousers

another maniacal mayak lost in a sea of ephemeral history

I’m the long definition

the long con

my writing, though it seems like an easy decision

readymade for an easy critique

unlike what you may believe, it does not strive for the esoteric

but rather for a unifying piece of our shared universality

the empty space that defines us  

that deserves us, unique to each  

every reference a potential partner

waiting from across the ballroom

for those that might have skipped Baudelaire on their way to Bukowski

(or vice-versa – drunk, I can search out the inside of my cheek for either)  

between smoke breaks in the bathroom

looking for Venus or some bluebird

and while we wait and hunt

we have to pass the time somehow

and so  

we each gotta dance with the ones that brung us…  




Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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