Friday, 4 December 2009

We Are But Two in Our Circle

The visitors are at Woodstock though the spaceship follows them,
interviews them to donate to the color of their vests.

Charisma is not free and the angle
of one's bow may be paid off

so that humility itself becomes a pastime
for cameras and beginners, to welcome them.

We hold onto the apples too long
and the gift is gone, uneaten.

We say more are orbiting
and there are Fig Newtons in the drawer.

The window facing the hill is covered in geckos
creeping you out.

You say the squeak of mosquitoes is landing,
we are surrounded, the neighboring cabins exhausted.

Friendly hellos shape our first words
and by noon we are checked out, as usual.

Our bodies have done their things,
now we watch the movie

as if we were the lost mother, god herself
come to bump up the ante and bury sadness in the rising energy of the day.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Passage from Allen Ginsberg's "Wichita Vortex Sutra" on War

Different from a bad guess.
The war is language,
language abused
for Advertisement,
language used
like magic for power on the planet:
Black Magic language,
formulas for reality--
Communism [substitute Terrorism today] is a 9 letter word
used by inferior magicians with
the wrong alchemical formula for transforming earth into gold
--funky warlocks operating on guesswork,
handmedown mandrake terminology
Communion of bum magicians
congress of failures from Kansas & Missouri
working with the wrong equations
Sorcerer's Apprentices who lost control
of the simplest broomstick in the world:
O longhaired magician come home take care of your dumb helper
before the radiation deluge floods your livingroom,
your magic errandboy's
just made a bad guess again
that's lasted a whole decade.

--Allen Ginsberg, "Wichita Vortex Sutra"

[Note: Line breaks and indentation lost in blog mode.]

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Anglos Dying

(A reply to W. S. Merwin’s “The Asians Dying”)

They step out of the Atlantic front
hacking forests into long halls, setting
armories on one end, pentacles on their chests,
they roar in the fire-light forward at each other—
an abundance of beer jostling from tall mugs. The gold

of angels’ wings adorns the halls.
Daylight stirs them under shifting clouds,
and St. Peter’s silence soars until numbness,
the crucifix of arches leans to them; their wrists twitch,
their sides seem to bleed.
In the catacombs they remember, touch a skull
“shattered by a spiked club.”
They want to believe, to never lose the shape of this blessing,
to never move, and sense from each other
an undulation—without hesitation—

they try to take Asia—the missionaries
loaded with magic, fresh architecture,
myths of towers to heaven, of endless steps
to nowhere—the rage of languages and famine.
“The pain will vanish like this, this bread, this wine;
follow!” say the missionaries.

Others listen, answer softly, in the cadence of the living,
“nothing they will come to is real.”

The Anglos advance into the shadows
they cannot see; shoulder to shoulder into the clatter they cannot touch
and raise the barrel’s flash,
pierce the rain with a pointless sound,
poison farmlands and return from settling mists,
behind horizons muddying an ocean with sunsets.
Packing trinkets of brass, they come back to this.

(Seattle 1985)

First appeared in the University of Washington Daily.

Friday, 4 September 2009

As the Sun Abandons Us at Birth

The moon's left its dents in all of us.
You say you belong on the vision-quest too
falling in place, focused on the arena
and phantasies of Rome in flames—
time for twittering against the grain,
no one to take note of the camphor
spinning the toy submarine in the bath,
fizzling quanta as if the big Bang hadn't been divvied,
its detritus cycling through us—filters
for the machines growing around us,
glowing as we plugged them,
new mirrors to mother us, tame us
in keeping us shaving—hanging on
to the proprieties of being us,
parking and delivery, staid coordinates.
Loveliness failed after the nth temper
evacuated all we rehearsed, raw this, raw that
touched me, leaving projections backing up,
dreams slow to wash up wasted mornings,
waiting, then leaving behind the fits believed in.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Land of the F

These are the times we talked about in grade school,
picture books exchanged for a ruler
to hold its place on the shelf,
the biggest planes and payloads
spread out on our table—
rising suns uber alles
dynasties of masses stocked
to bus minions in prattling formation,

now cameras and locators trace forms
closing in on
our word,
a word to
speak for
our word, weak
in might, speaking
here not there to own
skies there
tear empty here.

Speak out here,
our word lost,
America's mouth is crossed
in twists and plots
in footage no longer here
on the way, already
in the way

I am leaving,
cancelled cable, wireless
not to see the sky their sky
as nouns and satellites
service no threat to rally
after the salute fires off
our hearts
paid to divide
to take our place
in America's bubble
of bullets, charging into your sunset,
the sky breaking down on you in red is not yours.

(Tacoma 2004)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Poetics Today

Each to her own, but a poem is just a poem,
no matter broken enough, detritus
stands out class to write his names
a hundred times, I will I will, I won't I won't
while wily ifs loop in no longer loopy and talking with one's others,
but a step on the tube in the wrong election
just short of Palestine and Guernica
and the intimate moments barricaded under
the clashing of gods that make you bob
under two roofs, man and wife,
portable, unfolding theism Americans pin their tails to
in nostalgic retrofitted retroviruses
uplifting lost causes in the grandeur of Rushmore filling the preemptive metropolis—
as if smiles for the latte meant more than good training—
ticks off the lonely widower, depending on that Joe.

Time to leave Joe and return to a bulletin of tunas fished to death—
may I recommend the marbled horse sushi
or holding out for Petri-grown chicken thighs on the horizon
along with body condoms to preserve sterility and perfect health.
May I recommend a man or a woman, but hey, it's your life.
The penguins imitate German nature and are taken. The “birds and bees”
are for the birds, more vulgar euphemisms to put off fucking.
Categories map us, chain us to ourselves.
Possums are liberated, leave little ones wound up on the back porch.
Goodbye Franco, goodbye Koizumi, goodbye Bush—
may the aerial bayonets of your visits find out your secret dyspepsia.
Imperialism is on automatic toilet.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Edward II

I can't remember who left who . . and this angers you,
phone set to take . . souvenirs
for a day you'll . . lay out the cards
in a film documenting . . the anger
over the men who raised you into anger . . to drop
all the bluster . . no method
to get the gusto . . off ground
and the leveling river . . media
to plug . . show tunes a la Champs-Elysees
bays gulls holding . . hover off
blinding light deflected ... the turning air carrier
The last time . . we admitted
long enough . . grown away into others
until another pulls away again
—then lost—forced off—
a dynamo . . dropped
in the lap . . dead leaf
sitting . . sitting . . sitting

blown off . . tipped off . . held off

[Originally there were supposed to be three spaces where the modidified ellipses " . . " are now, but I kind of like them now.]

Monday, 4 May 2009


No one has the gumption to give them up,
but no more crackers and blankets
when we stick our heads in,
souvenirs of wars flown over to forget,
rebuild ruined schools, temples, cathedrals
as if no hatred had broken mornings,
just tiny domed ducking grounds
growing small and mossy out of soft pools
leaving them musty after iron doors go missing.
The dry ones make great getaways
for young early trials wedging walls.
Once tragedy falls we’ll all be scolded
just for holding candles, so hold me
as if the world were closing its skies
leaving us in our last desperate embrace.
No one will suffer this way, let alone
be left to repeat it, until genuine caring sinks in.
Common cause waits outside on camera,
a small price to take hearts to safety,
hesitant, generic gray souls.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Sheep Has Landed

The raucous of losing his way sprouted,
though the wisdom of the East pointed the Way
who would tell him the boat had taken its berth
and he was no longer native?
If only a Buddha would intervene
the hungry wanderer could return to the table
knowing the extinction of the self,
whether the waste land left shopping for wars
or the heavenly release from the haunted
beard and twitch of fighting the wind.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


By the time we gathered round the punchbowl,
exchanged our aches, passed through
spectral penetration and spin back
to our moment, picked clean -
the smaller denominations that held up in earlier decades
get traded away, in a manly way
bid down on the floor for bidding it up
so the spenditure can mature and time flag us down
one by one branded in blank awe, folding
into a détente of happy daily days on installment plans.

But what of the revolution within,
traces mounting cortical ladders of the reactive?
Calls grew far between edgewise.
There was no longer that tumbling
of universal love anyway, though no one stayed home
nor fell back on roll calls elsewhere.
Nothing was on sale.
* * *
By the time we gathered to pass through
our aches and spin back to our moment
picked clean, no longer that tumbling,
the sale edgewise bidding it up
anyway, no falling back, happy calls within.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Antidote #1: Twelve-Step Playaholics: The Lemonade Stand

When a boy says it’s so deep you have him*
nibbling from your palm like a deer
in an open zoo. Everyone needs a niche,
ask my girlfriend. It’s all my kitsch, I fear
never having enough details to open a blog
and post pictures of my lemonade stand,
stuck waiting so long, no takers.
For me, and this is the problem, it’s not the sale,
but the funny things neighbors took the time to dream up
that keeps me here—
how to get a sassy young dare to
pee on an electric fence wire;
how a dog was so jealous of a fat cat
it could be induced to eat soap to keep it from her;
how a father was so violent the boy had to
get a gun to chase him off forever,
breaking his soft heart;
how even in penny-anny poker someone
serious as a heart attack would send signals;
how a true test of friendship is whether
they're close enough for buttfucking;
how when a neighbor breaks something
the father bans him from the premises, and how
they couldn't pay us enough to stay then;
how after his mother remarried
the boy next door needed a father, not a grandfather;
how the undersexed women of the neighborhood
were all ballooning out of control;
how the lady on the corner who couldn't have kids
would flag down our car to report to my mom
gas stuck here, poked there in it until we had to go;
how one boy was said to have affairs with his cows;
how when I grew up I'm going to have to shave my entire face;
how I not only couldn't get a date, but would screw up a wet dream.

*Inspired by a scene in Terminator 2.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Putting Bunnies in a Trance

Drawn to the aroma of home-baked apple pie with clove and cinnamon
we lingered at the door like missionaries exemplifying emptiness—
not the clean-sleeved souls that get our feet in the door
but suddenly gaunt and pouty at the jaws.
Not a good start to a rainy day, out in the rain.
Later we were greeted by friendly wagging tails
and the aroma of barbecued ribs sweetly basting.
Luckily by dusk we had had our carrots and could see in the dark
long enough to rival the special forces scouring southern Afghanistan
for heroic figureheads that sent the other ships shipping
nocturnal goggles, making the world purpler—
but they do not like being disturbed the next day.
‘The technician moved the slickened transducer across the woman's abdomen
serving as guide’ to the suspended future, ‘pointing out landmarks,’
slowing the campaign making me long for Alexandria
and all we lost there. We do know the Babylonians
used a method for finding square roots
and replaced the Sumerians in Mesopotamia
and the Akkadians. The method involves dividing and averaging
the coordinate system of twelve zodiacal signs,
each 30° long. Policemen arrested a man in D.C.
with an archaeological piece dating back to the eleventh
tablet of the flood. Putting bunnies in a trance
was used in some parts to drive evil away.

[Note: This poem makes use of Google searching to experiment with collaging phrases found online, following Moore's example of mining miscellaneous ephemera.]

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


It doesn’t take X-ray vision to see the videobomb
Of a cave’s quantum entanglements
With a desert spreading its deeds and constitution
Of wells raising the living into a hell of greed.

If I were a better person I would stand
In the middle of I-5 by a base
With a sign that says “brake for peace”
Until I was dead or arrested,
censored or not.

If I were to stay,
Had faith it could come around
I would try, sacrifice.
But I am like everyone else

And there are still places free of drones,
So before it all wakes from Hollywood
and all that hate, I'm on my way.