Wednesday, February 20, 2008


[The project for the urchins, upper and middle schools: 4 Superhero poems, riffing very loosely off Lucile Clifton's "notes" to superman poems. I took a "What Superhero are you?" quiz a few months ago and tested out as Elektra, the ninja assassin. That probably explains the earlier Saddam connection.

I hereby tag the SA posse and Her Nefarious-ness in Santa Fe, and anyone else who's feeling their Superhero-ishness. That certainly includes the Anonymous Wonder Woman. As Anonymous WW can attest, y'all don't need a quiz to know who you iz. Check out who's on your lunch box.]

Dared and Keened

medicinal dreams,
methane fog of brother ninja—
sacred Christ, algorhythmic
Hugo was, Hugo
wasn’t, after the nethercrimes
of the Dark Lords.
Hand seals my fate, a tutelage
ash-fallen, incorporeal,
resurrected. Love
was in the knives
of desire, was dared
by blind devils, was
keened by adamantium-fueled

Blood Stain Deeper

Brother Matthew, ivy
leagued: the sais of blood
stain deeper than
the skins of desire.
We were lost in the sar-
cophagus that bloomed
the first time; we were
detonated by the final
blast, valences doomed
by demonic interference.
The holocaust was you, the
holocaust was me.

Will Rise, the Darker

born on the clinic floor,
Christina’s blood the baptismal
font, dark visions
of no known source,
blending the unblendable,
in the choir of feral
night. Bullseye takes her
down to the gates of hell,
keening for the Kingpin’s
assassin. D– could not save
life’s rent: curtain slashed,
identities shattered.
Erynys will rise, the darker,
still doomed to full moon’s
valiant eclipse.

Little Amber

Throw your mind,
little one, past
the auguries of Christina’s
doom, past the whimpering
Atreidae, the sensei
of brothers covert,
the violence of
evil committed,
fractals of evil,
derivations of evil,
simperings of evil,
evil played but
not trumped. Your cry
the Aegean: nether
birth, nether worth,
ever lethal,
never blind.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


[Urchin assignment: riffing off of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, create your own. First, one of his, then my takes.]


From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her. After the dream, they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found one another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream. In laying out the streets, each followed the course of his pursuit; at the spot where they had lost the fugitive's trail, they arranged spaces and walls differently from the dream, so she would be unable to escape again.

This was the city of Zobeide, where they settled, waiting for that scene to be repeated one night. None of them, asleep or awake, ever saw the woman again. The city's streets were streets where they went to work every day, with no link any more to the dreamed chase. Which, for that matter, had long been forgotten.

New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something from the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.

The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap.



Acid rain feeds the acequias of doom, ribald trash in the streets, lovelorn occupants drained of life, of hope, of the difference between love and death. Thule was once filled with snow, white wizardry, blazing suns. Three moons on the horizon, blue moons, now shorn of light, exploding with pestilence.

On the edge of Thule, a fissure cracks the face of the end of ends. Time spins backward, a dream opens and widens down the street—the Avenue of Abandon, the lost north. Your traveler is spun, asking into night, called down the widening avenue, the morphing river.

The fissure bleeds its own pilgrimage—barefoot children sense the new landscape, the sway of ginger blossoms, an orchid-burst of swarming visions.

Time begs pardon: Thule relents. “Close the shades,” the children say, meaning eyes, meaning ghosts, meaning the rounding of future into night. The sun returns favors, grants boons, imperils flight.

In the west, the mountains tremble.


Mad scientists, pseudo-scientists, Croatians of the occult wander the streets of Lesat in wireless communication—polyphasic, metrognomes of disgrace, phylacteries of incremental space. Patron saints of Serbian poetry drowned in Mura, blinding flashes of light, synesthetes of the Miracle Age.

The first loudspeaker moved to France in 1882 in rotating magnetic fields, its last words, “You've arrived, Nidžo, my pride.” All the lions, including the last lions, follow.

The Edison Machine Works loom in the distance: “you don’t understand our American tumor.” Braking radiation as hurtful actions on the skin. Trees wind through fields of thermionic emissions, the winds of change argue into the night.


Brittle trees, brittle espionage, brittle leaves line the avenues of pain. Rain sweeps through on its mission to quarry, pedestrians block the floods of limestone reliquaries, aviators cry foul in the mist. Stregans invent cities in their sleep, architectural splendor in invisible pink; awake, they destroy all beyond the apple lines of demarcation. Fruit was banished before the Crystal Wars, never to return. Potato mausoleums, refuse strewn, miracles of light, gondolas of ash. Strega masterminds the underworld.


Walk beyond the boundaries, asphalt boundaries of the heart. NEEÖS is on the sly, she mingles in the foothills—molten, livid, astral. No garden gates, no last call, no timeless Aprils. NEEÖS is the apple of the eye, she quizzes the body of its derivations, anticipating slaughter in the last trumpet’s cry. Embolden yourself is the battle cry. Wheat fields storm the city, narwhals storm the harbor. Streets lined with black syllables: tombs line the blackest of hearts. Tsunamis of marble at the city’s center: NEEÖS’s memory is pinballed into oblivion, aching into the venomous aquifers that plague her nacreous soul.

Black tree on the horizon, splits the heart of the red sun—venereal disarray, archive of the western mind, remembrance of the lunar cyst.


“Fill your palm with sand: grind its worth into the lines of derivation.”


“Shake it off. Wash your hands of it.”




“The one sparkling beneath your ring. There.”


“The very one. Give it to me.”


“Yes. This.”

“Open your bottom eyelid: set it adrift.”

“I see pearls.”

“Watch closer.”

“Pearls that speak. They’re speaking into my eye.”

“Then listen.”

“My eye.”


“A man is singing. He’s crossing a burnished lake.”

“Watch. And listen.”

“He’s blackened by the fire in the lake. He raises his hands and lifts the head of the lake.”

“The head.”

“The head of the lake. It carries no mind.”

“It is all mind.”

“So he too says. He hands it to me. ‘Drink,’ he says.”

“Do as he says.”

“My heart.”

“Yes. Your heart.”

“There are echoes down its caves.”

“Echoes down its caves.”

“Atlantis is rising. I feel it in my chest.”

“Terror sets in.”

“There is no terror.”

“Fabricate. There must be terror.”

“There is no terror, I tell you.”

“Fabricate. There must be—”

The blackened figure: In the palm of Atlantis / Myrios rings / Blue fills time’s errors / The hall of wings—


Vassals of the Orange Queen. Mistrals of the Orange Tide. Mad captors of the Orange Invention. Slaves to the Orange Visitation. Fields of Orange Humans. Territories of Orange Intention. A laundrywoman tends her Orange Streets, laundress to the Orange Lateens. Missionaries of the Orange Equation. Prime Meridians of the Orange Primeval. Sledgehammers of the Orange Repression. The topography is orange. The toss-up is orange. The totality is orange. The Precession of the Equinoxes is orange. The Minacious Minarets are orange. Migration is from the Orange East. Herodias sings to her, heronry welcomes her, Herodotus chronicles her.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Moving on

More from Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

Landsman considers the things that remain his to lose: a porkpie hat. A travel chess set and a Polaroid picture of a dead messiah. A boundary map of Sitka, profane, ad hoc, encyclopedic, crime scenes and low dives and chokeberry brambles, printed on the tangles of his brain. Winter fog that blankets the heart, summer afternoons that stretch endless as arguments among Jews. Ghosts of Imperial Russia traced in the onion dome of St. Michael’s Cathedral, and of Warsaw in the rocking and sawing of a café violinist. Canals, fishing boats, islands, stray dogs, canneries, dairy restaurants. The neon marquee of the Baranof Theatre reflected in wet asphalt, colors running like watercolor as you come out of a showing of Welles’s Heart of Darkness, which you have just seen for the third time, with the girl of your dreams on your arms.

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Kind of sad about this...

The Randometer Test -- Make and Take a Fun Quiz @'s User Tests!

Okay, no more. (But, let me say this: the young man who lives in the casa over here out-weirded all of us.)

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

And this...

It's come to this...

Meme, meme, meme...

So the meme says grab the closest book with at least 123 pages in it. Turn to page 123 and pick the 5th sentence. Post that sentence and the next 3.

From Michael Chabon's
The Yiddish Policemen's Union:

The next it appeared to be only what, in all likelihood, it was: a kind of retraction.

Zimbalist struggled for the next hour to understand that move, and for the strength to resist confiding to a ten-year-old whose universe was bounded by the study house, the shul, and the door to his mother's kitchen, the sorrow and dark rapture of Zimbalist's love for the dying widow, how some secret thirst of his own was quenched every time he dribbled cool water through her peeling lips.

They played through the remainder of their hour without further conversation. But when it was time for the boy to go, he turned in the doorway of the shop on Ringelblum Avenue and took hold of Zimbalist's sleeve...

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tagging along...

I am following instructions, and here they are: Go back through your archives and post links to five blogs posts that you've written (the original instructions say “Five favorite posts.” All my posts are favorites, no?) But, there is a catch:

Link 1 must be about family
Link 2 must be about friends
Link 3 must be about you yourself
Link 4 must be about something you love
Link 5 can be about anyone or anything you choose.

Link 1:
Taredartzet shnorhavor
A smidgen about sister Laura.

Link 2:
Stop All Clocks
Homage to Bill: mentor, father, friend.

Link 3:
There's a Town I'd Like to Go Back To
When is it not, eh?

Link 4:
Glory Train Passed Through Him
Sister Joni’s music.

Link 5:
On the Road, with the beauties.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

honey stew

sexy lady—
Rivendell crowns your
belly downs,
fording the lowlands,
insinuating the high—
tree tops glisten, honey
are you listenin’

all our wily ways:
chamomile junction
logarhythmic function
congressional charitable induction
as we wylder the
beest, conjugate the
versatile rhyme,
annotate the tropical
estuary bliss
accretionary kisses
in the luscious stewpot
of our anniversary reminisces—

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[baronesses swaying]

printed pair,
vast renunciations
out of the mouth of babes—
inward realing,
sex before the nether.
annunciation after the fall,
incalculable error, this
river beyond last hope—
I fish for eyes, I fish for
terror, I fish the endangered
climes. Call the bliss of
folderol, call the vagrant
heart, You oh
so professional and tidy, you
oh so not of the seventh ward,
you oh so sexy character apples,
entwined by gibbous moons,
conjured by twilight intermediaries.
vacillating isabellas cry read me &
we are all beyond the pale,
exquisitely terminated,
prescient deserts, cash
for Buddha,
quiver of nacreous incessance:
climb down the trees,
ye tumbling baronesses,
swaying in occlusion,
the occluded font,
abysmal fondue,
categorical denial,
veritable trigger-finger
calamitous drift.
We pray thee,
We worship thee,
We devise thee
In triplicate.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

[still proceeding]

10,000 strands of midnight stolen
to calm the line,
10,000 angels robbed
to clear the dime store
bandits, vertical
shuck and jive,
an ache beyond
dovelight, beyond
the curds of a shattered
dream. Watch him
crawling, watch him
strapped to view
this lifetime of petty crimes,
delicate innuendo,
disco ball frenzy
in the wake of
remittance &
calls for payment,
past dews,
calamitous mists. Green
calls, green cries
deep down
for the soul, in the ashes
of a Wednesday
that is no more. Resurrect
the man, the pagan
dream, the jettisoned
tiger, the thundering
god. Healing
of a kind
in the westward mind.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008


Brit’s troubles, Gwen’s news
The Republic of Hatay is
off and running. Nanci downs
Buddy, found lovelorn
out on the Five Mile
past Lunar lane,
increments of past lives,
increments of metal pleasure,
call of a wild beyond earshot,
hard rain on the shattered
roof, autoshapes dying
in the day’s violet
bloom. The Book of J,
sez Harold, as only
Harold can, futzing out
this and that, manicuring
the lawns of Wombleshire,
this Blakegnome of orgasmic
wobble, demolition man &
protector of the titular
seed. Ginsberg whines WB,
dodges draft and
Jack, but not the beedy
eye of Burroughs, categories
of Menger snow left unsaid,
categories of the mind’s
own hell, the trigger-finger
rustle of a wife that is no more &
Jackie Seed just keeps thrusting,
visual holocaust in the naked
spoon that unravels night. Olds
mobile and cunning, blood-
stained angels of the Falls.
This shall not stand echoes
down hallways riddled
with doubt, we are all
nestled down in our peculiar
names, our concessions
to midnight, our
vigorous denials
of ancillary light.

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mo' po': mo' bob


I've been trying to think of things that sound like Ethel Merman
in a bread box. Ethel Merman in a bread box is of course
choice #1, my father's Jacobson lawn mower is next,
then there's a blender full of keys on frappé, a bag
of one hundred thousand molars dragged behind a car, and now
I wonder why I wonder this. I guess it's because
I've never been, or even tried to be, a Minotaur.
This refusal to embody the lives of others
makes me feel lonely, which brings to mind
large sounds coming from large bodies in large halls,
and this, if you look her up, is the definition
of Ethel Merman. I've known a few singers who've done well
locally, they have gigs, fans, they own microphones
and water their voices, one wears a red scarf
around his throat like it's a Christmas tree. They say
they feel abandoned when the night ends, when the crowd
breaks into particles, into dust, I've imagined this grief
as skin made of butterflies when the butterflies leave.
There is no business like show business, nothing like the voice
reaching out, nothing I can do except listen, and scream,
and every morning, when I put bread to my ear, I hear fields
coming closer, wind walking fingertip by fingertip
across the wheat, singing nothing, nothing but eat.

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poem worth stealing, with attribution

Bob Hicok

There was a woman in the restaurant, ordinary in dimension and use of her fork, nothing sexually evocative about the procedures of sustenance as she practiced them, and I with good company, movie/book/art people, no great, out-to-sea lulls in the wording of the night, she seemingly also quite happy with the gab and grub, smiles essentially the menu. But at some point her forehead announced itself as a startlingly wide plane. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before, perhaps while deciding between the rice and beef this-and-that or as one of the hes at my table said one of the things about the temerity of public discourse that was said, as if any of us are out there, tickling doorbells, asking mothers if they see what’s become of freedom. What has become of freedom? All week I’d been feeling the abandonment of my body by my hips, which seem suddenly filled with rust, there’s grumbling at work like sheared gears turning, and on TV, President Smirk telling me again that my life is none of my business. And there it was, this vast, slightly arching, almond brown pause at the top of her looking, this space of no purpose other than to finish her face, to take her countenance where it needed to go, to her hair, which turned around and went the other way, touched her shoulders with its ten thousand strands of midnight and fell across her back, as if her body were a loop. Briefly I felt the responsibility to rise and kiss her forehead, that if I did not, that was the end of it, the forests would burn us down and toxins ooze into our sex and money realize it doesn’t need us now that it has computers to play with. I didn’t, didn’t drop my napkin into some resemblance of an iris, didn’t cross the room carpeted with dull versions of rose, didn’t bring my lips to her skin as softly as tulips rest against the moon, didn’t, didn’t. So blame the Apocalypse on me, on my cowardice, my unwillingness to trust what I knew, that she’d have felt cool as a glass of ice water an hour after the ice has melted, and the water’s reached over the top, to find the new world, to go about its business of going, and it would have been the start of helping each other, would have begun a dance across the restaurant, everyone seeking some small patch of skin, some truth they’d come to believe, and we would have all said yes to the dessert tray, yes we did save room, yes coffee, yes we’ll come again, yes we’ll have a nice night, yes there is no dearer child than yes.

vast, slightly arching, almond brown pause...

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Can't top this, though, for the bambino:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Sir Walden the Splendid of Bismorton Shropcake
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

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But then again:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Paschal the Possible of Much Leering
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

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'Swut I'm Talking ABout

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Most Serene Highness Lord Paschal the Strange of Chalmondley Chumleyton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

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