Posts Tagged ‘Sobering Verse’

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01 Sep




a heart that beats
only due to a lack of better options
the caption contest proves fatal
the cartoon sours the mood
a pall of morning champagne
and cable news
indictments, investigations, the press bulbs dim
corruption, collusion, cruelty on a whim
I’d rather be in love
than powerless
but my heart does not provide
at this point
it barely keeps a rhythm to my dance
these must be the last steps choreographed
afterwards I’ll move in to the rest
into cold interpretation
and mimic what it’s like to be
the new humanity
lacking better options


23 Jan



the pyramids have eyes

i had a dream
in it
the anger rose as mountains
the inept climbed
the mindless rose one atop another
and at the peak
the cretin dyed himself
put his best hair on
and took the oath


i had a dream
we lived
huddled, defensive, an anger rising
extremities pinioned by time so magnified it wears
through corporeal weight self-manifested
nails dirty, climbing back
we choose for leaders those of merit
by way of piousness to new religions
they used to call them repulsion and schadenfreude


i had a dream

we lived

in it

and i simply couldn’t wake  




vacation plans

29 Nov





who’s to say
– it isn’t art
to bury that plastic cup
underneath the earth
a shallow grave
a representation of humanity’s effect
or some such shit, nothing sui generis, to be sure or to be late
but I have not seen spirit in artistic expression in so long
outside of music
some celluloid
a few brief words
a naked statue
and so much smoke
that’s why i wonder why i expect so much and yet
i’ve wasted at least ten years on a garbage person
that i’ve transformed into vision
in just that manner
because i thought it was
as though i was forming life, something to outlive the urn
or else something new entirely
as though that’s ever happened
yet i’m frustrated now and still want to believe again
like children’s saints and shiny things no longer underfoot
but a miserable and profitable marriage
in different ways seems a resolution for us both
like her eventually becoming a politician
despite my vote
to start a war or two
or else put some time in as a tyronic despot building ruble
blaming daddy for a lack of building blocks
back before the ocean took then dried
trust me, her armies will close in fast
most won’t be prepared
that why i’m looking just for time
for the finding of some quiet
yeah, time for that
and a new ghost to create ancient backstory for
to follow softly
as mirror becomes doorway
and we see nothing but who we truly are

the cover version

31 Aug



the cover version


i know that it’s backwards
but i feel like
joe cocker who thinks he looks like morrison
chuckling at belushi
nodding along
– it is a long way down, man
but, jimmy, we probably won’t end up
at the bottom
maybe an empty room
somewhere in a cover of st. james infirmary
drooling spit, bile and whatever bleeds from cigarettes
repeating “baby, baby, baby…”
wishing cab calloway was still around
arranging things uptown
where you know some thing dead just ain’t dead
not always at least
but… let it go, let her go, let her go
god bless her, wherever she may be
i’ll play the live record from ‘72
i think i played los angeles that year
no dizzie on the trumpet
but that was a different time, i had different hair
falling out now
getting old with the rest of time
the rest of it
i know
because they’re already shinnin’ the twenty dollar gold piece
for my watch chain
let it go


toss that dithyramb back into the cage

20 Oct



red crayon (autumn)


I was born right before the dawn
as though a seismic shift
through the shame
the plates collide
my condition changes
through frustration
form foments
and I see nothing
but an echo of the glow
like the acid trip I had my sophomore year of high school
a grace in color, amber turning into mauve
glistening, agowned in gaudy splendor
I find something to familiarize myself
lost in the sunflowers for a while
and in the fiction
whichever manner and dainty curlicue it took
visage familiar yet lost
and I couldn’t see the moon
the other idealistic destination
that doesn’t mean much anymore
and didn’t even then
nothing real but pretense and pride
like telling you how beautiful you are even though you already know
it’s all just made of cheese


I’ve always thought that autumn was a song, but Vitya told me, as I rode another languid bus across another bridge collapsing, that actually autumn is nothing but another beautiful cage…


half of a red crayon
rolls across the floor
in a dejected fashion
the bus lumbers on to its next waiting place
a purgatory wide enough for a sandwich and a cup of coffee
the crayon travels right along
in singular dancing solitude
until a momentary stillness
leaves it at peace in empty space


I can’t tell if I’m getting older. But when I look at my hands – I know that they’re definitely getting older. I think I have at least one more year to fully acknowledge any real adulthood.


the less you’re able to predict an individual’s behavior the more likely they are to destroy you;

the less you’re able to predict an individual’s behavior the more likely you are to fall in love


singing, singing, they all sing
and then they tell me that
as a man, if you don’t watch pornography it seems almost like you’re a walking waste of a 21st century penis
and I explain
death comes as woman
though maybe just to me
she’s not at all
that handsomely besuited dandy
from that old Twilight Zone episode
and hence an awed respect is warranted
since she is the only one who can take on the form of your freedom and penitence
and then we remember how
the five families made a toast to peace and profits
how the best-hatted Harlem gents gave out analgesic turkeys to their former neighbors
how ten years ago my block had so many shootouts that it might as have been called Kuiper’s Belt
we remember new york and the history inside this ride
and then get back on the bus
barely damaged
bravely in love with something that got lost between the stops


paranoia, somewhere between conspiracy and knowledge

09 Oct



the future is the past


the holy children make serpents out of clay
watching evil dick dying sometime in ’22
surrounded by a family that has long oscillated
between pretended admiration and fear
of both the man, what he kept inside himself, and his curriculum vitae
he whispers to his daughter
shivering from this virgin softness on his breath
dry lips nearing her moistening ear
he tells her of his approximations
of how much time he left us with
about how much money brown and root made from making john un-pretty over there on elm
and if estimated for inflation, how close that score comes to
the amount he and halli-halli made
by keeping ubl breathing a decade longer than he deserved
the daughter shakes and sees her father new again
a surrogate head though the hydra seems as though it withers
she walks away as far as history allows her
skipping out on any future mass
the children aren’t at fault for daddy’s sins
and daddy’s sins and daddy’s sins
for daddy’s sins we apologize to audrey and june
above, the holy children pick up their clay
and make yet another shape


law & order

28 Jul



jury nullification


I hear it constantly

obstreperously, all the time

usually from prolix nudniks

free country

this is a free country

well, you show me what you see here free

and I, for my part, will find you a bill


now, on to the next


don’t take the blonde girl out

she’ll be obsolete in a few centuries I hear

the New York Times told me that

and all the rest of you

stop buying empty rooms

paradise is a studio apartment

with the dark-haired girl

chestnut eyes with space inside to fit your madness


now, the only lie between us

the one that I just testified about

is our refusal to acknowledge how lonely we both are

just like the rest of the members of the court

the time it takes to unabstract the motion (or lack thereof)

a kiss, as evidenced eventually,

in the middle of a street losing its own name

outside the safety of our respective neighborhoods

which will allow us to recognize how we accord inside each other

admit how to abate this loyal loneliness previously mentioned

run past it, running to this block

which will become our shared alibi forever


now, on to another freedom

before you hear the gavel banging

before they try to save us

like the rest of the fools condemned

to love

and other such crimes against society



19 Jul





am I correct then, in assuming

that you don’t believe in miracles, good sir?!

I disagree, somewhat,

and counter then,

does not a beast deserve his wail?


one onion

one little onion

to get you out of hell

but two dollars and a few more cents

to buy a drink

to drown out this lack of dinner


the sun never mattered much

unless it was just the two of you

sedulous and alarmed

sweating out your shared lineage into that divine mortar

to break open those other stars that borne her


and now again, with vigor, I ask you,

am I correct in assuming, sir

that you still do not believe in miracles?

why then not follow me along

not too far at all

to that window over there by which money never lay

so I can show you love carrying the firmament

although simply for a lark


do you miss the fever?

26 Mar





this is the one that I wrote
before the narcissists went to bed
before my own humble sun dared to take a peek
there is so much that I can’t see anymore
maybe I’m not drinking enough
maybe it’s because all the women I want I tend to miss
and all the ones I don’t tend to spend the night
this is a small island
that’ll spend the next decade going underneath the shore


this is the one that I wrote
that’s not about heartbreak
this is the one that got away from me
more musicians than the room can fit
not enough music
my friends run this joint
soaking in it until nothing can be heard
nothing can be felt
I’ll twist my ankle careening down the stairs
and wake up slightly bruised with the pills still in my system


this is the one that I wrote
because I didn’t aim to please
no poetic cunnilingus, this is no song of songs
tongue wakes at the inner thigh
no, this is merely the expectoration of some spirit, glowing
the hue of an honest sickness
no money and no work ever again
I’ve been called to wait it out
for the narcissists to go to bed
for new cognizance to bring me something to dream about
a cogged suitcase full of suicidal gambles, unopened
a little face that says ‘I do, I will’ somewhere down the line
this is how goodnight spreads across our earth


end of the month 7 under the weather

28 Feb



after work


there is something candid about this particular exhaustion
like the fucking viking funeral was last week
and i caught a splinter in the eye
while the flame took him slow then whole
but this was not that
i’m just tired, both eyes are fine, but i’m still bothered that some dickhead offered me a hash-tag when i asked for some moroccan hash a few hours ago
(all this au-dada-city these days! gotta get outta babylon!)
i got high regardless though, but that’s a boring story
now my train ride on the other hand had a preacher-singer
with a boom box attached to a wooden crate he wheeled around
he couldn’t really hold a note
but his hands were guileless and quite adroit at selling his cds
it wasn’t much, but it got me sleeping
enough to make it back to my door again


* * *


there’s something sweet about this beer
even though it was bought cheap
but sympathy, true sympathy, usually is
and i miss her, fuck
i shouldn’t
but some kid at work keeps harping on a two-month heartbreak
— i miss that youthful overestimation, i used to have it too —
the realities grow conscious only later:
the understanding of separate ego, variables beyond control, the inability to change her mind, to make anyone love if they’re unwilling
– but it’s alright, it will be, just as right now it is what it is and all of that and blah blah blah and it’ll get better, it might, it will, it won’t, but that’ll be that
then, fuck it for now
get living done
that’s what i told him
but i still missed her
(still thought how highbrow it might be of me to use my tongue to measure the circumference of her thighs)
i bought the kid a beer
drank one with him
went home
beaten, candid
and exhausted



6 and we far from the rockaways…

24 Feb



homey future under hush


the future is a paranoid

aging neophyte

wondering aloud how it could be

walking through your neighborhood

foreign to him

in a manner

somewhere between

a stumble and a strut

he looks perpetually frazzled

wide-eyed, looking for nothing in particular

hairs hoary

the whores dead

the past wiped away like cum off a gravestoned belly

soft tissue

the granite scratches

the future goes on

despite the fact that it doesn’t exist

the last hope on childless jaws extending their crowning breath

knowing that, really, the rub never was

                                    all alone, left alone, stayed alone

it was that some fateful motherfucker kept sprinkling sawdust underneath your nose

and saying happy birthday every time you sneezed



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

Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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