Monday, January 31, 2011

poem: Vishnu alleys

pillow road in
Noggle town,

investitures on the move,

dreamsicle highways:

the ventured gain ain't

nuthin' in this five &

dime world, domains

of tamale specials

crowning the murky achievements

in Buddhaland: I cashed in

all my chips, my mood was

fully vagrant,

cowsill'd beyond belief,

aching for inventory,

the higher selves out

on the town,

seraphim & cherubim all

in they polyester

chariots of fire

for the moogie present:

cash it in here, dear, sez

Principal Lee, the biggest

damn angel on the block,

gainsaying the bandbeaters,

elevating the discourse beyond

reptilian, & if you want

lipstick traces, i suggest

you check your noodly

pomposity at the door:

red overalls lit the night,

golden boar radiant

in his clamoring for

eternal crowding: say

your prayers, brother,

simulate grace

if you ain't got the fullness


same as you I ain't no

cellophane doom, i crash

the parties, i veer left of

left, slipping down the Vishnu

alleys, on down

the polytheistic


damned in the ethereal

lyric opera,

tangerine libretto



Friday, January 28, 2011

poem: the down and simple

fashion me your shining blade:
kiss-off, kiss and tell,

kismet down

your shining alleys,

integers of the eternal

bloom, faces

of the tumbling mannequins,

pleasure in the fields,

gathering the custom wires,

the nethering gates,

the jasmine confederacies,

the down and simple

fragrance that grabs you

by the neck, whispers

excites pandemonium

in even the bleakest times:

ask at the quarry,

steal the watchman's attention,

gamble with the takings:

i confess the idea not mine,

in the farthest seams the scarves

are with me, shining

the foolish sensibilities,

the sideways costume changes,

the withering glances,

confined in your seeming

the lord god's bellows

desires that cave the senses,

shadows that know the certainty

of your every move.

bless us, quiet Mara,

still the quandaries,

exact in due time,

never leave me to

the facts that cherish

you home.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

poem: pious bennie to the rescue, part ii

Rosy Bennie, fresh
from his condom makeover,

teetotaling megawatts

to the minions, wants

his noncoital bubbas

to save their precoital

ewelings and lamblings

from the nightmare of

"invalid marriages":

industrial strength walkers,

I guess, for them

dawdling bedriddens,

wheelchair causality smiting

the oftly doomed. "Marriage is not

an absolute right," my sweet little bubbas, &

lest we moon ourselves into

bedlam oblivion,

let us remember that

"the right to a church wedding

requires that the bride

and groom intend

to celebrate." Foolish me,

in all my funereal nuptials,

Hamlet-black in dour

regalia, I thought it was all

for the little warm death.

Balloons? Popcorn balls?

Limbo'd kazoo contests?

Celebration enough for you

& your compassionate


boys in the street?


poem: quaint missionaries

(The first lines were straight from the Google ad popping up on my YouTube video: yes, it stopped at car . . . )

Become a personal trainer

Get ISSA certified,

turn your passion into your

Car, a velvet backseat
kind of passion

foggy windows

Condensation wracks

the van gogh in your fingers

flesh for a sainted

bloom that wiles
wily fishy soul. I trained
in the withering
cold air biting

the night's dreams
were there &
there was
an afterlife
of missing persons.
I trained
for this
in the past lives

of gravel roads, lucindas

gaining ground as you

sow what reaps blessings
from the drunken boats:
sift your mercies

for the turtle bays,
a dying grace fells

the womb in you,
all the seasons of you
down the quiet streets

down the carnivaled alleys

down the avenue of trees

was the first in
them all,
was personal
training the vast
at your disposal
was fashioning bliss

the least bit on
your yeasty mind?
I grant
the quaint
in their murmuring

theirs are missiles
through the mist,
& I,

I, can no farther
round than
this smattering of



Thursday, January 20, 2011

poem: [Fell off Dante, the ground was harder than I thought]

[Poem inspired by a line from the Nebula Girl and a rough fall . . . ]

Fell off Dante, the ground was harder than I thought,
Dismal maritimes in these dying days

Italian cadences rhyming
the ridges
In my head,
circling fires

The exquisite surprise of
fire and ice

ridicule of the western slopes
hiding the ancient ways

we seem so far gone

when the half-sized minds

echo the final dialing down,

final dialtones you
in your frenzy to equestriate
your life
to the barely living,
chasms best left unsaid
she was a quandary, an abyss,
pas de deux of commiserating dragons

in the nestled eye

sliding down a river of doom

the wastrel gods

in search of food and home

their last mermaid selves

so much more than what

they bargained for
the miserable little experiments

tinkering in the woodshop

I carved an eden,
sez the one,

& the plenties answer

In banal chorus to the hallelujah babies

Crying terror crying

Misguided simplicity

Crying the endless dimes

Excuses middened
In gorgeous green
tax tables
of the hobbled saints.


Monday, January 17, 2011

ix. The Rounding Place

I woke this time to the sound of the sea. Opening my eyes, I expected to see the girl, the last remaining child, the boy having disappeared where all the others had gone. Instead, I found myself once again in the blue tent. All the wounds from the boils were gone, all save three lined up down the center of my chest.

Voices murmured outside the tent. I rose to meet them. Tossing back the flap, I stepped outside. Grey sky greying to black; grey sea in dreary reflection. On the beach sat Fas, Ra, and the woman in blue. With an uncharacteristically bold and wry smile on his face, Fas lifted a black patch from his left eye and tossed it into the fire in front of them. With a courtesy I thought beyond him, Ra bid me sit on a yellow blanket beside the woman. I still had no name for her, nor did I expect to ever get one.

She gazed out into the grey greying black. Such a beautiful and yet impassive face I had never seen.

I played the next card in my fool's deck.

"So then all this was just a dream?"

She spoke into the grey, not looking at me.

"You dismiss dreams with that
just, brother. They are not puppet shows put on for your pleasure. Or your terror. But no, not a dream at all."

"But, the girl, the other children -"

Before she spoke - was it a trick of the eye? - the young girl's face flashed across hers.

"Girl? There was no girl."

"Then you."

"Nor I."

"Neither girl nor you, and yet not a dream either."

She turned her goddess eyes on me; with her gaze, I felt a sadness well up from depths I felt completely beyond me. It was as if the sky itself poured its greying blackness within me. I felt wracked by a despair that threatened to pull me under.

"Is that a dream then, too, my brother?"

Ra spoke, whispering in a tone of beseeching: "Sister -"

"He can handle this." Her eyes still upon me, she continued: "Brother, you have lived your life in one tiny crease of what we know as the world, a crease we would call the hell your sainted men go on and on about, with no sense at all that they are standing in its very midst. Golden eggs offered to all those slaves who will most pander to their lickspittle visions. Visions? Bedtime stories for infants. You have lived your childhood to its fullest, brother. Childish boy at play on the playa, but your body cried out for more. We heard you. We know the other creases."

I felt a rage - my father's, in truth - rising within me. Fas must have felt it, too, as he rose to meet me.

"No need, Fas," said the woman. "He can meet it."

I feared the coming explosion, but I also felt a hatred for the woman and her infernal certainties.

As I reached to strangle her, the girl's face flashed repeatedly cross hers, and the two of them spoke in unison: "Three labors remain -"

Instantly, the grey scene melted away and I found myself back in the pine forest, strapped within my traveling encasement, under a dying sky. Alone, but for the sound of jackals in the nearing distance. The left side of my body was once again paralyzed.

I prayed the sound of the jackals was in my head alone. As the moon rose, I found my prayer had not been answered. Not by a long shot. Illuminated behind a lone jackal were three bodies hanging in the limbs of another tree: Fas, Ra, and the woman.

Despite my paralysis, despite the fear of the jackal roiling within me, I had but one thought:
I must cut them down.

With the thought, a blade appeared in my right hand: my father's knife. I cut the bonds of my encasement and rolled out onto the ground. All I could do was drag myself slowly towards the tree. As I neared it, the growl from the jackal's belly was the sound of hell.

But a crease, my brother
. The woman's words resounded within my head.

The jackal is assuredly no crease, my sister.

I see that, even in your misery, your arrogance still travels with you.

The jackal - the
crease - leapt. It's vice-like jaws upon my left arm were as nothing, what with my paralysis. I reached to stab it with all the vicious rage I could summon. As the blade pierced its flesh, I found that I was holding a young boy, me, at the age of nine, me, now, by my own blade, dead. The blood that rained this time transported me nowhere. I simply lay, howling with despair, in the flood that ran upon me. I sat up and held the boy tight against my chest.

With both arms.

All strength returned.

Bathed in the boy's blood, I stood and approached the tree. No transformation of the corpses this time: all three bodies still hanging from the limbs. For the next two hours, I labored to bring them down, carrying them with a strength I had never felt in my body before. Given the creases, I kept awaiting the moment when all would shift, the woman's eyes would open, Ra give a mighty crack to my spine, or Fas offer me something to drink out of his magician's hands. But, as the three bodies lay in the dirt side by side, nothing. I felt death crowding in closely, attentive, peaceful, oddly comforting.

I wept. Even the tears did not wash away the
crease before me. Nor did the four fires I built, standing sentinel over the pyres that took my three travelers and the young me off to their places of rest. I had the strongest impulse to throw myself into the boy's pyre, but something - the woman's touch, her voice in my head - stilled me.

As I finally lay down to rest, the sun was just beginning to light the horizon in the east.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

viii. Visitation

On each of the next four days, the girl lanced yet another of what she called my "eyes," and with each piercing, a new child would disappear. Of the band of angels, that is. The teeming hordes off in the distance seemed to draw closer and closer to us, though shimmering, as in a mirage. Silence during the day, though their voices seemed to fill my dreams. I hesitated to ask the girl where the angels had gone, for fear she would lay their disappearances on my head as well.

On the fifth day, I woke to find that feeling had returned to the left side of my body. I cried out in elation, but found that my voice was gone. The girl seemed unfazed by sudden resurrection, as if all was proceeding according to some calculus to which only she was privy. The remaining boy mounted one of the horses and she the other, handing me a tether to lead her on. The encasement we left behind. Late in the afternoon, the ocean appeared on the horizon, as the cry of gulls filled the air off in the distance.

"North," the girl announced, a terse command I was fain to resist. It seemed my journey, one I had envisioned ending at the ocean, was still not at an end. As the last light disappeared, she lit a lantern: instead of stopping for the night, we pushed on.

After two more hours traveling, a horse nickered in the dark. Out of the darkness, a one-eyed man stepped into our traveling light. A quick glance to the girl: she nodded, and he took me roughly by the arm, pushing me into the darkness.

We entered a coolness, as walls of stone closed in upon us. No light: the man, with his one eye, seemed to guide us on sheer familiarity: no need to see, no
possibility of seeing. Our steps went downward for a very long time, echoing footsteps back on up the stone walls behind us.

An hour must have passed before we stopped, at which point I was pulled down and made to lie on my back in what felt like mud: the feeling was not unpleasant, almost comforting. Behind my head, I heard the scraping of wood against wood. Within moments, water slowly began to fill the space around me: salt water, by the smell of it. As it filled the space around me, its saltiness was confirmed: densely salted, as I floated on its surface, with no effort at all.

The voices of the mirage children seemed to fill the air around me, pressing so heavily upon me I felt as if I would suffocate. They rose to a horrifying crescendo, and then fell away into ghostly silence, as a rich orange light split the darkness. Defying all natural laws, two figures floated above me: twelve feet from me was the remaining boy, with a knife at his throat. Holding the knife was my father, a man I had presumed dead, since he disappeared over thirty years ago, in a hail of violence.

Glimmering in the mud to my right was another knife, twin to that in my father's hand.

"Make your move," said my father. His eyes upon me were serpent-like.

I lay in horror of the man, paralyzed by fear of him. Still.

"Pick it up." My father, again. Sick of my hesitation, he slid his blade inside the left nostril of the boy and quickly slit it open. The blood began to rain upon me.

A rage welled up and I picked up the knife. As I did so, I began to rise in the air.

A foot from my father, I lashed out, a quick slit to his brow. He laughed maniacally, as I found paralysis returning to the left side of my body.

The boy cried out, "Not him! Do not cut him! It only adds to his strength!"

"What would you have me do, foolish child?" I cried.

"I cannot tell you. All I can say is that, if you cut him, it will kill the both of us."

Blood continued to rain upon me, and my father seemed to grow as my strength diminished. In a flash, the girl's face exploded in my mind's eye, and with all the strength and determination left in me, I thrust the knife into yet another of the wounds on my arm. An avalanche of fire ripped through my body, ripped through the cave, and then -

Darkness fell.


vii. The Thousand Eyes

I traveled – I was traveled – by my ragtag band of angels for three more days, sluicing through their silent choreography. No feeling returned to my left side; my minions continued to strap me into my daily encasement, though they cut into the upper panel, allowing me to see the terrain we were traversing. On the second day, we dropped down out of the pine woodlands into flat scrubland, punctuated every few miles by skeletal trees affording us some shade from the raging inferno above us. I felt like a mere babe in the buzz of all the patient youthful activity around me, but no one seemed to begrudge me their labors. I recalled the oldest girl’s assurance that they were being well paid by Ra for their work, a statement I held with the greatest skepticism: I had never known Ra to pay for anything, much less well.

The morning of the fourth day, as the oldest girl set my simple breakfast before me, I said, “I see that you drink, but you do not eat.”

“I am fasting,” she replied. “For the others.”

I looked around at the younger children bent over their rough bowls.

“Not them,” she said, following my glance. “For the hundreds, the thousands –”

“Your village, yes. There were that -”

“Not them,” she said, with some vehemence. “Yours.”

“Mine. I beg your par -”

“Look around you, blind fool. For the thousands you have left strewn in the wake of your arrogance and oblivion.”

At first, I heard her words as madness, yet more madness on this insane journey, but then off to the east, rising back into the pine forests, I could have sworn that they teemed with limbs and hungry eyes. I felt a terrible desire to run, and yet, even if I were not strapped down, there was no way that my body could have moved. I felt trapped by yet another of Ra’s maniacal plots.

“Ra has nothing to do with this,” said the girl, belying her earlier denials of clairvoyance. “These are the thousands you have killed, my friend.”

I bristled at her accusation. “I have never carried a weapon my entire life,” I said.

“So many ways to kill us. You are truly one of the gifted.” She took my left hand and fingered the ring upon my it.

“This. What is this?”

A gold band, inlaid with the profile of a carnelian horse.

“A ring my father gave me.”

“And where is your father?”

“I do not know. He left me when I was but a very young boy – younger than the youngest boy here.”

“An early death,” she said. “You see how quickly they multiply. Look around you.”

“I hardly see how I can be held responsible -”

“I’m sure you would see it that way.”

“Why heap all this upon me?” I cried. “My body is wracked with pain, it is not my own. My left side is paralyzed, and as you can see, I am still covered with all these hideous wounds -”

“Yes. The eyes. Eyes to see all those you have killed.”

“Child -”

“I would not call me child. You do so at your peril.”

I knew not what to make of that statement. She who sat in front of me was a child. What else call her?

“You do not see, my friend. The problem is that you look with the two eyes in your head. No wonder you are blind. God has given you a thousand eyes upon your body, what you dismiss as affliction. See with your body, and you will be able, finally, to answer your questions.

“Questions? I have no -”

“Who are you?”

I was stunned to realize that I had no answer.

“And where, pray tell, are you from?”

Again, I had no answer: not for her or for myself.

She placed her palm upon one of the many sores on my left arm. With her forefinger, she pushed down firmly into the middle of the wound. I felt fire raging in the spot, and a flash of lightning in my head. In the midst of the flashing light, I saw the face of the boy who had shown me the map of our journey.

When I looked for him, he was no longer there.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

vi. Into the West

I woke to the sounds of traveling. Darkness all around at first, but as my eyes acclimated to the movement and my surroundings, I could see broken light through slits in whatever it was that encased me. I found, to my initial horror, that I could not move my left hand at all. When I reached for it with my right hand, the dead hand felt extremely swollen. The ring on my middle finger bit deeply into the flesh around it.

I heard the piercing cry of a hawk off in the distance, but for the most part, there was silence around me, save for the movement of the contraption in which I lay. No voices; just the muffled breathing of the animal I assumed was pulling me. I surmised that I was pressed between two panels of flexibly latticed wood, further cushioned by pine branches and a thick blanket beneath me. The smell of baked pine filled the air; I had not known there wer
e pine forests to be found in my slice of the world.

There was little feeling in my left leg as well. My foot felt very cramped and swollen, in a most painful position. After thirty minutes or so of traveling in my moving coffin, I cried out, near dying from heat and a pressing sense of claustrophobia. The movement stopped, and footsteps approached me, circling and untying what I saw to be leather thongs. The sun was low over the western horizon, but still merciless in the sky; I was quickly pulled into the shade of a tall pine tree.

I was surrounded by six children - three girls and three boys, all clad in faded blue. They looked directly at me, but spoke not a word, none of them. An older girl approached me and, cradling my head in her left arm, she poured water from a skin into my mouth. Warm and sulfurous, but nonetheless it quenched something deeper than thirst in me.

"Thank you," I whispered; there was no reply: no words, no nod.

It appeared that we had stopped our travels for the day. Two of the boys unpacked the two horses with which we were traveling. One of the girls began to build a fire, while the others lay out a blanket atop which they set a modest meal. Just as there were no words shared with me, there were indeed no words shared between themselves. Nods at best; most of the movements seemed long choreographed from their familiarity with each other.

My question, "Where are we?" passed completely unnoticed; not even a glance my way. Slow to catch on to my predicament, I persisted with the question "Where are we going?" before giving in to the silence. A rough bowl of bulghur and beans sprinkled with mint was set before me, along a cooler cup of water, without the sulfurous taste. There was no spoon; I made do with my right hand, as my left was useless.

I noticed that the oldest girl did not eat. She sat on the edge of our circle, gazing steadily at me.

After dinner, one of the young boys approached me with a rudimentary map. His right index finger traced a line from below what I took to be the Rif, westward to the ocean. At the bottom of the map was Ra's unmistakably chaotic script, warning me to stay with the children, no matter where they went: as if, in my condition, I had any choice. I briefly touched the boy's hand to thank him, and for some reason he was moved to speak - or try to. His lips parted to reveal a tongue that had been carved in half. I wondered if the other members of my silent chorus had all suffered a similar fate.

"Not all," said the oldest girl, the one who had abstained from eating to gaze at me through my meal.

"You hear people's thoughts, do you?" I said.

"I see. Nothing more. Pay attention in this daily silence and you see many things. Things you often do not want to see."

"Like me, perhaps."

"I pay you no mind, sir. That is to say, you do not bother me. Ra is paying us handsomely for your transport."

"These are your brothers and sisters?"

"They are now. Our village was slaughtered three years ago. We were the lucky ones to get out."

"Not all so lucky, it would appear."

"The price of a tongue or a finger -" she raised the four fingers of her right hand - "is dirt cheap compared to the price paid by our mothers and fathers."

"I'm sorry, I meant no -"

"There is no need to apologize. Living is dying for us. You travel with shades - nothing more."

After nightfall, I had no trouble believing the girl's words. It felt as if they all melted into the darkness around me, leaving me to my troubled dreams.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

poem: beanpod dance moves

create your own world sez
marky z, a shaky proposition
that, i've
the frontal lobes
for just
the right egress
ain't no simple dimes

we're countin, the vesper

queens have a way with you

they gonna badu
bad ass all over
the governor's
school, monmouth's
cooty bag of
jelly bean
a presidential
platter of
refried fussball,
it ain't
in the midgetary
brain waves,
the brian jones
of poolside caviar,
i meant
to ask
for the proper
etiquette, i mean
it did
cross my mind,

but that wallowing
the beanpod
dance moves
gave me
eventual pause:
you see the quandary:
we all live down
the dairy lanes,
we cast our visionary

piggie platters
the gods
voodoo seismographs,
it ain't in the shutter,

then it's
shuttin up.


poem: play the rounds

platypus blues got you
rockin the casbah

empty dismal pepto

bismol days play

the rounds of fury

it's a kinder/gentler

bambino we're after here,

little franz, take your

Amerika all the way back

to bourbon bronx

oenophiles, regale yourselves

with all the psalms

at your disposal

cry a big rio

segue the rest

to the jonesy

midnights you reckoned

beyond your beck

this Faneuil hall

of cats in the early days

splendid Kansas City

barbecue, miles dithering

the holy cherokee out

of bird, two havens

for the smiley twins

of inactivity, jil sings

down the rest in

her radiant chorus,

it ain't the after she's

after, she wants it now,

the fistful of dollars

ain't for the takin, she

gathers the rest

down the bosom highway,

gallivanting little

heifers all in they


Big Bib city




Saturday, January 08, 2011

poem: whispers here

the imam fainted &
the english teacher right

alongside, it ain't often

the rest of you integrates

the last of your coffee grounds

tumbling futures

orange and blue,

sifting through the images

of damned if you don't

& you better:

the liveliest of livelies

in the Carolinas

never withered with such

fury, sampling the better

days, severing ties

with all they jerry garcia

splotches, wine has

a better way of saying

no when you rack

the eight-ball in the center

you hear all

the lasting variations

all the exponential

eggplant growth

on the distaff

side, and as you're rounding

third for home

the whispers:

here is your nowhere

here is your noun

here is the radiance of

your thistly



poem: unsaid careening

i went backward in the backwards
store, ascending the spiral

fates, elegant wasteland

of the forty times traveled

past the details left unsaid,

careening by brute force

the simpering fools

lingering in the heart,

lounge lizards on grey rock

salivating the futures

the golden opportunities

gooed in the gooiest of honeys

all your little honeybees

back in the woods

clamoring for a daytime



Friday, January 07, 2011

poem: syllables ooze

veiled threats
skimming the pot

saturnine equestrians

ogling the sweetish hills

backyard frenzy round

the riotous bibs,

caterwauling misses

in the fields

of plenty, i wish I may

& all the variant nonsense

Ventures hit lists

in the green gra-doo

of tangible dividends:

the eventual run-off

guarantees results

at ten & all the rest,

obliging winners to vary

the digitals until wipe-out

relearns its memory

code, & the blue syllables

ooze southward, disturbing

peace & plenty,

shaping nasal opinions

while the vagrant

avalanche saturates beyond

all hope of

savage beauty,

riparian waste.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

poem: turquoise of the last

chester's chicken to go
mimsies your soul

with writhing tributaries

the acquisescent iridescence

of last calls

the vigilant renegades

coursing the soul's

guava jones, as if

she mystifies on the order

of dark meat and righteous

lemon lime: I ask you:

was there ever such

sublime guidance 'cross

the rockies, frolicking

wildebeests tumbling

the SATs of vigourous

stimuli, angel food lab

partners left behind

the parking lots

the Heidelbergs,

eleventh floor

vagaries,I seem to recall

you were the first

simply shaded by reputation

your kiss was free fall

down the wiliest of ways


amassed as time passed

turtle bays most


surprising calm

in the after

inured by time's

dither, ask beyond the fall

of men, the rise of

doors blessed

by singleminded

caution, and the vespers

whisper, calling

eyes forgotten

limbs bewitched


in the turquoise

of the last






Saturday, January 01, 2011

poem: you do answer

get your big bib on
down to Big Bib's Bar-B-Q

fusticate your druthers

in the drip dry honey

trees, fishy sauce

that ego on up the traces

a simple quandary bears

fruity fruit only when

the casual gambler

arrays self to gnome &

gnome to the past tense

the oliebollen of revelry

will paste your gluten

free pasta jones

to the cheechy maritimes.

henry morgan down the royal

way, his bib no bigger

than Big Bibby's &

Mr Tim's broadcast

liver & onions on

the presa way, it's cruelty

in a cruel-free zone

the armpits of renewal

congeal around

the obsessions of


whatever you do

answer all your doors in

all your bibs

the big show is callin'

she be the ever

you never

had the predilections for

grooving, anthem girl

in the back seat,

a sublime misgiving

the very giving

in the drawing rooms

the plastic forties

seraphim of equal splendor

your hindenberg's in the closet

foaming up the left-over

yous, feeling the rest

of the puzzle,

nuzzling the monty doors

& all they goats.