The Title is a Process

17 Feb



via dolorosa


color and pain are only separated by a single letter

the body drags, skips over the larger stones

the matron at the front of the procession sings something mournful

premature, sure, but

the body cannot hear it anymore

a young man hands over an energy drink

the bloodied hand barely clings

his movement produces no distance anymore

a con-job in the eye of it

the reporters will be calling soon

asking for a quote

but the offices are empty

the hindsight-augury hanging off the doorframe reading,

“the rapture was undertaken through quid pro quo as always…”

the body tries to drag itself along

several of the larger stones in front of it

glistening like pebbled candy adjoining the shallow of the sorrel, muddy sluice

there will be silence there

the water shows you there was a home here prior

and room to grow

morning too

succor granted to deserved and undeserved alike

diamonds designating property

and a lot of blood and history and the eventual lack of recollection

it was a con-job in the eye of it, for sure

but as color and pain are only separated by a single letter

no distance really is achieved

especially when you look at it directly

but we do not, we are the body

and we drag our flesh and antiquity behind us

like the worthless fortunes that they are

because even though our legs no longer carry

we just know that we are getting somewhere

and we’ll be arriving there so very soon


Back in Brooklyn

13 Feb



Back in BK with two shows coming up:

2/14/15 – 1370 Rockaway Parkway (Doors open at 8pm/ Show starts at 9pm)

Might be a cover, ya’ll, but the show is dope and the venue is smoker-friendly (cough, cough, you know where Jack’s gonna be)

2/22/15 – 459 Myrtle Avenue (“I AM KING” Showcase at The Five Spot, 8pm)



dashing off a question

12 Feb



new watch


my eyes


past the passerby,

the train conductors scurrying their dogies

into the locomotive

almost as though it was a custodial matter;

they want all of us inside,

but I’m seeking out

the hanging clock

so I can


my time


like conversation wasted

on my kot Esenin

who claims through purring

that time is inconsiderate anyway

the only thing worthwhile buying, free

time is and has always been of no account

only light is eternal

– can’t you see it moving

the practice having just begun

when your eyes first turned into a calendar



08 Feb



advise to my children, born and unborn


I’ve always heard the maxim

as you will undoubtedly one day

to love yourself,

but I say, no,


try to love others first

all others

it will be difficult, no doubt

because people are DIFFICULT

but keep at it, little snowflake

because as you melt


love others first

and learn to let them love you back


Upcoming Readings

06 Feb



Two Shows coming up:

Eva’s this Saturday, 2/7/15, 8pm – 11pm, 11 W 8th st. (Manhattan)

Club 20/20, Thursday, 2/12/15, 8pm – 2am, 1332 Blondell Avenue (Boogie Down Bronx)


February 7: I

03 Feb





newspapers full of fading people

cities delicately reimagined as thieves

blemished, blurred by oily fingers

we all end up alone

unable to see the eyes in front of us

but if you leave, it’ll be even worse than alone

and I’ll have no one to follow during my midnight constitutionals in the park

slowly realizing that we’re all ultimately strangers to each other

strange, strongheaded

whispers that open windows

another scar appears on my arm

the one I use to write

from where I helped you move your couch

the one we need in order to continue fucking

the only worthwhile way to spend the day

too long, too much

I read, the

newspapers full of fading people

I worry that this article will last another thirty years

and I’ll be sitting here, a

faux intellectual pretending middle class

dilettantish but insured

reading what to make of another morning

waiting for my dinner drink

thinking of ways, for hushful wagging decades now,

of how to kill the man that smudged us



midnight run, right

31 Jan



driving music and the chase for better


warmly measuring the weeds

during the drive through Dallas county

I pretend that I’m on the search for Bambi Woods

each motel room reminds me of how lonely I should be

and that I’m driving back

and that the brat appreciates her knowledge

even if it takes one an entire country to find


energy sapped

I’ve rolled out a mat

upon which to lay

doors have become too heavy to open

but the knowledge that my shoes won’t get dirty

by whatever they have inside keeps me sane


this keep, it seems to be called, so to speak

I’ve noticed, a cheap bottle

but thick, citrus, I think

not a connoisseur, just a drinker

my stories are better suited for better stock

a barrel browned by age and oak instead of grapes

or a kiss

after all, your lips taste finer than my whiskey

but I won’t even refuse wine when I’m on the road


the brat deserves her knowledge

and people lost deserve to be found some day

inside of better lives or better hiding places at least

and I deserve to be driving back to you

singing like an artillery inside my old jalopy I’ve nicknamed Calliope

exchanging dreams for healthy tires

and a promise underlined that when I arrive

I get a kiss that I deserve



28 Jan





there’s just not enough of her

they all stare hungrily

as though she was other than invisible

objects that are not objects

animals of reexamination, improvising

things that aren’t there, never alone

those which have been let go, on their own, for long

are those that are sought the most

struggled for and languished on the most

and I’m amongst them

staring hungrily, unfed

like when she says, as I’m about to leave

‘I’ll stay at the bar for just a little while longer…’

and I see the way they look

they don’t want to open up community centers in the hood

they don’t want to write novels to keep the turtle’s back firm

they don’t want to stick around just to see what her kids will look like

whose reflection they will take

… but it’s a pointless urging

I’ll leave the bar and pretend to trust her

as their laggard fingers take her dress off leisurely

we all pretend there’s theatre here, and destiny,

and now

but our days grow meager, thinned

about as dense as headlines

and we’ve all been so esurient and keen for such a while

we stare at her as though she were a feast

as though there was anything to eat there

and our disappointment becomes the continued rumbling of the belly

and our ambition becomes to quench that need

and we create shiny pretty things to fatten up the next meal

hoping we’ll finally have our fill

hoping to sink our teeth into some satisfaction unabstracted

Unsaved Changes Will Be Lost

24 Jan



the joe torre years


my city is a yankee fitted

the Sea & Sea Fish Market that doesn’t sweat its name’s redundancy because of the line out the door for the fried whiting and chips at three dollars a plate

my homey Pinky died twelve years ago next week, unbothered by the irony that he used to scream out fifteen-for-life when I walked down DeKalb to meet him towards Knickerbocker

years before, of course, the Nebraska gentry decided to send all their kids to become artists on this block

my favorite mug’s got the fiesta of New Orleans on it

I ain’t ‘ever been, but I’ve got a few silver dollars for the piggy-bank to snort, should be coming to by the time the bus arrives to pick me up

my liver’s spotted

marked by heavy years, heavy underpaid years where I pretended stoicism, pained pretended stoicism, a cocktail helps to get the time across, you see how the sunlight moves across the doorway, when you’re guarding the bookcase home alone

my smoke is golden

grown in honey humboldt, even though it decays the roots, I won’t have it any other way, when it burns it distinguishes itself, when it burns I understand it

my mind is an inn or an urn but something keeping

some part sleeping, like some encroaching warring lightning you can see from down the shore

my desire has become a vacuum

has learned to nullify itself, to inhale deeply in some method, some measured manner to expose, expunge then reenlist the world

my millennial wait, like mercury in the vein, waiting to perish

moonlit in her

I spin and see nothing but darkness for my second lifetime

and this waiting is vaguely spiritual and kind of dull

auroral in her

I breathe in the smell of her hair, but I’m afraid to hear it because I fear that it has gone all antiseptic, or not, what if the smell retains a memory

then the question becomes – can I handle a memory

and that’s why I don’t like questions

which is a shame, because there’s nothing much else to do, run them around, underneath the yankee fitted

my prayer is never heard and never uttered

but has existed long ago, and will exist until there’s nothing human left, until they clean the clutter, until there’s nothing left to mutter but

            alive, awake

                                    alive, awake

                                                            but even then, only to remember

there’s nothing really left to do but to surrender, to her, to the world, to a schedule, to a nook where silence is magnificent, to matches shaking in a matchbox, delighted for the chance, it doesn’t matter, just surrender

take a deep breath and let it go


smoking in the living room

21 Jan



gradual departures


she came along the alley

walking away from what buckled like her sea

cotton candy hair, torn sandals

she told me she was turning thirty-three


I grabbed a beer and sat to listen

suddenly self conscious of the fact that I haven’t shaved in the last two months

she asked whether she could stay

I said, always, but you never do


she gave me a ultracrepidarian crown to lose before

eight years ago in summertime and analgesic blues

she liked what she found inside my jeans

and how I melted for her over time


tom waits and bowie on the mixtape

the prettiest star hiding in bolan’s guitar

I called her a cunt

the first time she asked me for a shot


she swings on the outstretched arms of fate

like a playful child readying their nap

I tell her that I could say her name out loud right now

but I already know that she won’t stop


all in my mind

she came along the alley

slipping away from the paternal sea

just to let me know

that this is the type of show you’ll only understand upon multiple viewings

and I, after kissing every spot of hers she let me, wished her a happy birthday and took her to my sky


twelve past midnight 01

18 Jan





this road has


            so slow


your little boots like kidney beans

the colors wet

mud and rain water, the broken tooth

from Spanky, the Redfern larker,

who hollered at the wrong chick,

floating like the first carrot, just for flavor, in the soup


each boot

            drops in

            the cinereous mood clinging, viscid


you finally reach the building

where I used to live

selfish in the duds of unpaid bills

you didn’t bring daisies or a sundress

just yourself in a heavy overcoat you got from some other man used as proxy

who no longer lives for you, many leases signed ago


the wait is

            retaliatory, combative

            a relationship to immolation

            but always a preparation for the next

you ring the doorbell, percussing lightly with a gloved paw

marked pink in the western orbit like a late winter afternoon

from where your college roommate spilled her tea kettle

around the time when we first met

I kissed your hand then

but tonight, darling, there’s no one home


going through the library, like, ‘what a motherfucker, right?’

15 Jan



Judging the Wet Dream Film Festival, Copenhagen, ‘70


does it surprise you if a pornstar


a well placed quote by william carlos williams

as if, this is just to say

she wanted plums

does it surprise you if she has

her bachelor’s degree in biology

hidden behind the closeted red leather pumps

she wore the first time she performed anal sex on camera

does it surprise you if your professor


got into the profession

because she couldn’t write, but in a bout of self-containment and restructuring

found a way to publish anyway

by making you hate hemingway

miller, mailer (whose writing is far more overrated than his personality),

bukowski, lawrence (whose critics tend to produce a frothing, cultivated logorrhea which when uttered can only be described as an experience akin to watching a boorish toddler, each leg a log of heavy redwood timber felled before a logger’s feet, stomping through the playground to taunt the sallow, asthmatic child, building letter blocks into idyllic words in the corner, for being a mama’s boy),

also roth, and irving, bellow and updike get their shade as well

by ensuring that it gets regurgitated by gullible undergrads

(years later in some earnest write up for an online forum)

with no ambition for thinking independently but rather gnawing for a place that can qualify themselves regarded and well learned

choosing side between the war-hymn committees of their druthers

does it surprise you that the best hip-hop


of last year

didn’t come from new york or from l.a.

but from ohio, connecticut and penny

or that nas got confused with an ukrainian kid from some slum in coney

does it surprise you that i’ve chosen newly, ascetically, to live through

get it accomplished: something, soon

and although i’ve said all of it before and have been livid, living in the same applause and lack thereof and over and over and here again and i’m getting tired but no less hopeful and of course, i’d rather give it up, but trust me there’s a point to be made with this writing racket


does it surprise you that i still know two women that can conquer the world yet

if it ever glittered the right way, that is – if it meant more than just a place to dress

does it surprise you that i continue loving this ceremony, this play that damns scribe and audience alike

the gist is a delineation of my most bestial thoughts

and the chorus sings so well

until i see nothing but music and hear nothing but their sound

and it blends together well

and i never find myself surprised


Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings