The Taco Bell of Lyric Poetry

24 Jan



toothpaste (eat your religious figures)


all we have at the end of the day is our seemliness and our self-respect, but fortunately for me it was the morning, marring me like a smith, and I was nursing one of those perfect hangovers that makes one feel as though they were on the fast-track to sainthood

my ante meridian ablutions commenced around seven

the water ran through my fingers like a debut

through the pipes of the sink it sang

but I knew the melody was ending

the bob of the de Musset rhythm was subsiding

and my head stabilized   

finis coronat opus in the steam of the new day

and yet the mirror revealed

that I had toothpaste residue

on the right, and usually quite deferential,

terminus of my moustache

–  and now I had decisions to


my apathy strained me when


the endurance it would require

to wet my hand again

and brush it off

then rewash said hand

and then, lamentably, drying also takes some time –

maybe, since this toothpaste hues green

I’ll embrace it and

reintroduce it as performance art –

I’ll add a dab

of a little moisturizer too

as tender as a drop of sauce as surfactant

on the tip of my left cheek

right where it meets the skin that rides the zygomatic slope

I’ll let them both stay

like friends with nowhere else to go

and simply let the world

feast on us

at will


Remuneration or Rations

16 Jan



pop tune on the radio, tea with the pinky up


I’ve seen a little girl as pale as the blind sun

with death in her belly growing like a whip on skin

she dreamt of cool ice cream under warm banana syrup

and she smiled the way that children do


I’ve seen a man who’d wronged a few

have cheap vodka poured on scowling wounds

that stung at him worse than false contrition could

making him writhe in pain and bad alliteration


gurgling, bubbling up

they tattooed a pen on my right hand

so that I don’t forget my trade

Hell, they say, is somewhere down in Norway


I’ve eaten mashed potatoes and met God

the experiences seemed much the same

to me, a sentimental heathen

made nostalgic by a company of beasts


I’ve met with masters and made men

killers, tyrants, bankers, those of leisure, monsters of all stripes

drunken magi, magistrates, swine-bellied Masons without secrets

miserable scoundrels with good taste

the beggars were my favorite, waiting for a Christmas and a christ

they’d freeze in the park while ya’ll passed by

talking of westbound trains and music


gagging, bursting out

they tattooed some numbers too so I remember deaths and births

but when I’m at my best, I don’t remember nothing but a taste of her I lost

(and yet) Hell, they say, is somewhere down in Norway


No Swimming

14 Jan





call me when you want me again

just don’t wait too long this time

because losing a name

happens so quickly these days

and as I write this

I’m watching a timeworn man

wading through green thickets

led by hardened nerves and a rope

that webs through this sea of trees

like solifugae silk

suddenly he halts and looks grievously at the camera

the flashing red demurs a second take  

he points to an overgrown bush by his feet

and says that she left a note and a hand mirror

before she took her life

another name disappears for an empty reflection

so, please

call me when you want me again

you know it gets lonely in this space

there’s too much freedom here to be wasted in

the screen smiles like a dead televangelist

inviting me

fanged and fangled as a crackhead in the L.A. sun

to fill its emptiness with my ambition

but I’d rather be in your bed, baby 

completing something worthwhile again   

in our room that they only built for two



11 Jan



PROTEST (Janus Ponders)



legion of


unified by ideology

need to die


to change the minds of


(protest, provoke, then wait for pity)


hope is hope in peace

but, unfortunately


is hope with tired, bloodied hands

and the tears of the choiceless

preaching against violence

before another execution

for your evening broadcast  


my peers

with puffed out chests

talk of revolution

in the sanguine classrooms of open minds  

without knowing the difference

between death, politic(k)s and murder

without seeing what it looks like

smells like

feels like

the way it’s due to infest and haunt

there’s no more Panthers (despite what you may have heard on FOX News)

no more SDS

just us

the weary and the hungry ones

to question our history books

to work for a better world

but yet, like all the rest

I just don’t know how

to salvage this savage howl

of bad and worse decisions


Reading Scheduled

07 Jan



Will be doing a reading of new material this Friday, January 10th at the Brooklyn LaunchPad

(721 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY)


No Cover ($5 Suggested Donation)

*BYOB (Bring Your Own Bourbon)*



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


Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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