Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s Block’

who bought the muzzle?

11 Nov



muzzled refection


standing on our cranium-shaped golgotha,

they’ve figured out the price and processes of gods in the New York Review of Books

I read, I wince

cursing aggressively

with Lowell notifying me to pity the monsters

found nearly forgotten in my picture books and photo albums

it all felt like I was over-firing a cigarette, but it still smoked

and while I still had this nostalgic and pointless pause,

I told her

that I want us to be as intimate

as animals

that know each other’s bodies by their tongues;

by sharing the splendor of touch through taste;

crossing sensual borders,

I discover myself, us,

as an émigré in this new land that is you,

offering me a freshly unfamiliar refuge

which makes me nervous

until I wake up and see how you are

in skin that feels like an improvised, but welcome homecoming

each morning vamping

like a hounded jazz rhythm

that’s different live than when engraved into the wax,

familiar and strange


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.


we hood speak pretty (warm thoughts and writer’s block)

07 Jun



For Semi


after a brief seduction

and a few too many gin and tonics

her skirt created gravity along her pallid ankle

the comma fucked the colon

in the employee bathroom

of the Village courthouse which was translated into a public library

in 1958

and their kid came out looking just like them

a beautiful amalgamation

a grammatical specimen on surly feet

one slightly pigeon-toed, shifting left

but he suffered from anxiety and acne

avoidant personality disorder

and all the dolor of a softspoken adolescent

whose ictus of broken rhythm created an epileptic shyness

and thus no one understood him

and no one asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance

(unlike his jocund second cousin, dash,

who was always quick with a joke and some necessary detachment

which got him laid with the ease

of noble breviloquence and not much ambition)

so Semi stayed home

listening to his Smiths records

and smoking cigarettes

thinking of all those who spurned him

Beckett, Joyce and Amis didn’t like you

Hemingway thought that you were too soft to use

and Vonnegut called you a transvestite

and even a hermaphrodite

(which could be the reason that Eugenides thought you valuable enough)

but it’s alright, dear boy

listen to your Morrissey in your shadowed overcoat

and your teenage melancholy  

your parents will always love you just enough  

and even though they participate more often

in all the family games

you are still the literary pause that seems most lyrical

and stoic

like a little Pushkin of the bunch

with eager, nervous trepidation

caring for all the lesser rest

like when you drove your aunt ellipsis

who was dealing with dementia at the time

to her home some miles away

beyond the crop of memory

in the phonological kingdom where it all makes sense

and barely matters

or when Scott mocked your uncle exclamation

and you remarked in his defense

that laughing at your own jokes

wasn’t all that bad

because at least someone’s having a good time

so in this syntactic ghetto

keep your blemished chin raised high

try to grow some whiskers

so as to seem more confident and mannish

because you are here to protect the dispossessed


Something (Against Nothing)

13 Mar



Writers Make Choices


Why don’t we both sleep on it tonight

almost make it to some sort of daylight

I was working on a book

editing the part when he met her

jealous when you woke up

you looked at me

at my typewriter

yawning, stretching your wonderful limbs

asking whether I wanted to join you in the shower

flawless through your efforts

but there was already too much daydream to go around

so I smoked and made toast for us


while you walked out clean

and asked where I ended up

I told you

that he was in Greenwich Village

wearing dingy sunglasses

when he saw her

off the bus

stopped by his favorite bar

(Trostky’s Mexican Adventure with the happy hour promising half-priced drinks)

he leaned against a railing

and made his life

a glory for fiction stuck inside


an addiction to love and policy

a polylemma between breathing

him following her, skipping from verso to verso

and my taking you

where mistakes can’t always be corrected

where I can’t always be refined

undressed by red ink

but if you’ll ungently take me to some place ungentle

where it’s snug and warm

and a repetition isn’t needed because nothing ends

then I’ll find a way to cut the rhapsody off the tree

and finally let it sleep

for it’s been dangling like a shaman

for four years next month

growing hostile and vindictive

like a sad lover lost in a length of time

having nary to do with life

and barely anything to do with me



Pop Filth

26 Jun



The Official Material section has been updated, lads and ladies. Cheers.


Someone asked me why I make so many references in my work. Well, it’s because I find the things I reference interesting (and I think that the people that appreciate my work will also find them equally intriguing) – and because in the age of Google, I think that these various references are easy to search out and look up if one wants to find out more about them. That isn’t to say that my work is inaccessible without a reader knowing exactly every reference that I make – hopefully, I’ve accomplished this undertaking and you find that even if you do not know exactly what I’m talking about you still get something from the work. Hopefully you have been able to make out the underlying intention behind every tragic, satirical, self-mocking bit of verse or prose that I’ve published here. If not you might be the cultural or intellectual equivalent of a prig or Bristol Palin.


Remember that when you read me – you are reading a formidable curmudgeon, a loving drunk, a dejected cynic, a man who’s lost himself in verse and has forgotten the world that has him cornered. I am but a contemporary Tom Sawyer with no fence to paint.


For a Languid Muse


Like a well bought derivative

you’re meaningless but profitable

like whores for plays, sickly and over-powdered

I’ve found you a role

dressed in white like a hopeful symbol

that inspires

but does nothing much besides

my creature, pure, of artifice

I wish to be moved most of all

by you

even if through liberal derision

by your lovely, limber form

this is just a disgraceful continuance of my lecherous adornment of you:

an adoring verb here (I apotheosize my love)

a gentling adjective for dressing

just a familiar orgy now

all of it

every line

a misery newly blind and bound by expectation

a cathouse in a loveless dusk

an atelier of rooted thieves with empty pockets and empty skill

a royal court without a queen

it’s growing dull, then duller still

you must let me feel less for you

as the inevitable conclusion forms merit

as a muzzle upon the hand with which I hold my pen

leave me be

finally a finality

a lament gutted by a smile

you’ve served a while

and now your time is done 



15 Jan


Waking up feeling as sore as a prison bitch, I sit behind my computer with no words floating in my weary head. I wonder the various fascinations happening in contemporary music today: D’Angelo has a demo leaked of his neo soul take on Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”; Feist has a video online of her beating up a piñata while her band gleefully plays “November Rain”; Jay-Z is recording songs with his newborn… shit, what’s next – is Iggy Pop gonna do Grace Jones. Oh wait…


Here’s an oldie but a goodie (’77):



Since I’m not going to write anything new today, I feel like extricating that pressure from myself by throwing up something discarded. Enjoy it while I find out the nutrition facts on this whiskey bottle. Going Faulkner-sober for a month tomorrow to get back to form.




She was dressed for a nuanced demise or a divorce

fitted in looming elegance

Her seductive eyes were full of acrimony

and glorification for a mute god

I stuck around because I could

because I had nowhere else to be

because she was better than alone

Now she strips and ripens  

the last drop of Campari

a touch of gin

She grows like monotony

becoming my Amazonian sedative

my last cigarette in a happy family

Her hips walked to the bed like saxophone notes

as complimentary as exploitation

and I found myself unfulfilled

just as she expected

as meaningful as a prayer at an RNC convention


no more honey for your tea, darling

this is, after all, the desinence

you can find all the evidence you need

in her sleeping breath


Familiar Territory

06 Dec


I spent a while looking for the original recording of “Hemingway’s Whiskey” on YouTube, but couldn’t find it to put with the poem (only found Clark’s live performance of the track, and a terrible cover by Kenny Chesney). But this one will do.



Procrastination Blues: Writer’s Block


Forget about dreaming

when there is nothing but claustrophobic smoke

surrounding you

in a small room

with an open page

and barely anything left

besides deadlines

an early job

a reservation to a humble riot

and empty cigarette packs

mistakes in time

the literary kind

a kindness that never called

a Guy Clark song floating around

a stranger in the Northeastern haste

a twangy twitch and a yawn

a word that Microsoft doesn’t recognize underlined in red

their mistake because you know best

because you’ve put in the time

the literary kind

trying everything out

coming out with the same story

about prisons made of soul and skin

a muse you’ve been living in

another wasted night waiting for a morning drink

something left unsaid because there’s no new direction

still paving the dead end road

the one you’ve walked along

fit for an old country song tune

and you’re no longer intending to rhyme

but really just trying to get a few words out

then the letters unintended seem to fit

and you clasp at an idea

because that’s what you have left

the keep going stubbornness

and all this thankless time

the literary kind

until the light comes up in a journey

and the page remains the same

and you haven’t slept and haven’t dreamed

and the smoke surrounds you in your small room

and the bloom of someone you’re forgetting still seems golden

and the sentences get longer

and the breath

the breath becomes a whistle

a whistle of a night where nothing was accomplished



Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings