Verses: 2011 and before

these images are cartoonish and broken,
we hope to see spirits in cells, the moon opens,
these images are broken, cartoonish, the moon opens,
these images are cartoonish and broken,
the moon opens, the moon explodes with snakes.

 

for the hungry ghosts, life is appetite,
and the hand is the bridge,
over treasure buried in rushing water,
jewels in the drift,
or a few crushed cans of Fanta,

like the plastic constellations over the heads of babies,
like black bugs that skitter through open veins,
like the noontime highway,
and the belly is an oarless canoe in the ocean,

I’ve stood, I stand like a black stain,
and survey the world for old symbols,
to become a hungry ghost.

 

when death gets closer we breathe and close the door
to the inner court to preserve it, at the moment
of pre-return and ever after, its re-enactment–
sickness, flattery, swollen emotions, tragedy,
store promotions, small tips, and charity.

 

we are in the kind wind, the gentle wind,
beneath the robe of the whirling dervish,
until the greater wind, the great wind,
the body wind of the dancing goddess
of undoing sweeps through.

you will be judged, and judged harshly,
and you’ll sit in the jade throne of later heaven
and laugh at the judgement,
like the splendid green cicada
who laughs when the children step on his old shell!

 

We walk through that fire that burns hours,
our bums bouncing,
next we bend our knees and sway a bit,
the timid, the overtimed,

what’s the word, snakey?
what you gone and swallowed?
some black milk and a tortoise shell,

spin us a yarn,
you know we had enough of the left and right,
it strains the eyes,
we want that old-time thump of running elephants,
bells and drums,
telemetry, tell it.


on the rim of this spinning plate.
Imagine when this long century is over;
this long gaze into the mirror pool.
The age of the brightly dying face,
the human face an undithering wormhole
bright as acid
leading us back
to the manger
to year zero.


The work of a ladder loving people
looks good beneath a sudden snow.
The way the work of all these hands
is smoothed and naturalized
when the drizzle joins
earth and heaven in semblance.
From his third floor window,
the mayor of East Providence looks inward
to find a reliable furnace
burning lunch like kerosene.
Empty storefronts worry him nothing,
the real action is on the river.
Water carries culture,
and all things wash up smooth before the dawn light.
The aurora of this strange season,
when snow yields to dew in junkwoods
and donut makers smoke in humming silence.
In the day to come
the vast night
will sharpen to a razor’s edge
and press into the aorta of the body politic.
We all await the cessation
of time and space,
with shallow breath and diaherreah,
you can see its an “any moment” thing,
and the children seem to want it.
The mayor wants it too
in his blood,
and his office is
a walking plank to the uncreated.


faith in numbers,
free states make babies and push papers,
catch the craze,
eggs are man bait vibrating in uterine walls,
yeah, their rhythm’s deep,
and I’m all off the wall right now,
sex crazy, god, I grab the drizzled block
with blue fingers and pining for life,
for blood and daybreak odors,
and every act of love reverberates
to make the destroyer dance,
and the happy dead afloat
in the god’s mind
like bubbles in sparkling wine–
it’s the light that bathes you,
that makes you,
the cult of fluorescence,
the temple of starless skies.


my accounting will leave things out,
because I am not a floating eye,
and even from myself I hold secrets.

there are regions where the writing hand freezes
and the moving mouth goes numb.

I will map those places
without planting flags,
and let a turf war rage
among the factions
that follow from me.


a black stain in the petri dish.
caravans of maddened, fat gypsy fathers
survey the crags for shadows to die in.

the valves drip oil,
the hours pass.
life wars with memory.

 

memory is the prop room of the trickster,
who makes sweet
what was sour as poison
and caused you to wretch.

but the out of reach
when grasped
soon rots in the hand.


maps, scraps, floating turds,
french fries burned to black.
my eyes describe a fortress
floating gently down the stream.
my hands drop the details
like hot sand,
contract into balls.

help me, motherfucker.


listen to the horn!
whose draw singes fuscia stews
in a deputy’s room,
in flaks and deevols,

do you see the pool of water
that ya’ boots brought in?
the shape of the dog’s head,
the dog that waits in the cold for you?

the animal, the woman, the evidence.
the limits of a rogue’s sphere of action.
Cocke the finger to trace the room
and the words that seed in the dregs of action:

glasnost, cavity, palms in cup, tree bark.

from open futures
ghost men flee
while the glass
records their closing.

steeple, pollination, syllables,

protect me,
this is my best pose,
they say.
make a statue that I can climb in,
to nest a kindred brood.


In the river’s muddy bottom
(there is no stink underwater)
dig and the dirt cloud hides the object,

the eyes must wait,
the fingers discover first…

is it a spine?
it is a necklace,
but the mind still registers bone.

with the necklace
a name that choked one
was also tossed.

 

Stop that man!

He’s got a foot inside the forbidden circle,
he’s gonna fall on his ass if he’s not stopped, to think things over,
he’s got his hand in a fist form, daring the watchman

the man’s to be stopped,
but you all just stand there,
the man’s to be stopped,
to let the whole thing blow over.

Do you know what the weather’s gonna be like?
Do you know what this town’s gonna look like,
when the trash man stops coming?
And after that, when the trees take root,
in the fast lane, of the highway?

So call your state rep–
I renounced it all for an hour’s nap,
for the fact that this era belongs to others,

it’s a time for taking walks and arranging rooms,
I opened the door to the born god,
but the landlord told demans,
I opened the door when all the hungry ghosts were watching,
they rolled over.
Their hunger’s mine, their eyes in mine,
they keep me moving.
They run the course of the day’s concerns
like Benny Hill in a room of curvaceous women,
spinning around.

The day’s lenghtening.
The god regards the dead skin in his teacup,
floating around.

All, in his spirit,
will rise by his nearness,
the weeping rocks surround him,
waiting around.

 

bodies naked in the idea factory,
three of me run toward the rim of realization
broadcasting blood and dander
through the wireless network.

leave the field stones alone,
and swing your pick against the stonescapes of my mind.

like a snapped fanbelt on a winter’s night
I clap against the wind for you, tensed up,

in search of you,
I phase through twentieth-century urban hungers,
one for the chiming of each half hour.

the eviscerating body of my desire burns a neon orange capped with ash,
and though the rooted bend homewards on a Sunday night,
my bagged eyes remain wide open.

my bones form a stairwell up through those dark clouds there, moving,
I am the motor oil burning in that slowed line of traffic,
gangly legs beneath an old stone bridge, retreating.

my body, my hardscrabble city,
is a machine thing of the Machine Age
jutting impossibly against the purple sky,
gears spokes and grease,
and it will still JUT when your porous bones give way.


fire in the belly!
gut pangs slice the world to bleeding shreds.
mister socket runs from the past,
riding the fleshy rocket to the dust cloud’s orbit.
the orders bind him to the dirt below the rails,
and the dirt abrades his belly when he snakes to work.
it’s dirt that hardens into new towns,
and the kiss of dirt that anoints the future.

the adder, the audit, adults at the buttons.
the dead, the dead, the pit o’ the olive.

 

are we going up or down the rungs?
to breathe and become the valley,
to be water in streams and sewers.
:to be The Order of the Atom
untangling knots, to set things spinning.
to stand the wheel on its axle
as a monument to those
who won’t be swept along.

4 generations on the head of a pin!
but who among us can thread the hole?
but who among us can stitch a wound?

you see this way is back, forward, burn,
the ghost walk style for the sleeping,
itch and burn of the third eye.
post-millenial protest
in coded language
weaving webs beneath the nine five.

 

pro-duct/leverage/con-flagration
:/ eyes against the interface, bleeding.
the cogs keep receding, a vanishing circle.
and we move towards the cipher inexorably.

I ribs and hips
abounce on strings
the god body
built from ruins, cipher,
hollowed trunk good for strumming,
bed of fungus
throne of dust.

 

I enter-state and author
the three-fifths told story
and elide the skin
and touch the bone
and drink the tonic
that cures aloneness.
it’s all to hell
or else all saved.
my dear friend’s face
is an ashen mask now,
my face is all cenizas too.

cuz the wind is the spirit
the self wills to own
in the binding of lips
or the rub of noses
the wind is the loved one,

the wind
in your voice
and our union
by the open window

we are agents of the wind
that wills to know itself
through breath
through the hollows
between and within
our bodies.

I am living in the ashes of that idealism which blinds one to the human weaknesses of lovers.

I am living in the ashes of that idealism that makes idols of lovers.


Pigeons are agents of the world redemption,
zeppelins in flight with heavy loads,
guardians of the swaying ladder,
not shamed to see you naked.
bottomless vessels of sorrow,
nibbling at your leaden past.


look at the teller
drooling in the corner,
he counts money
til his eyes bleed,
and the fat
that he skims off the top
is circulating now
in the rustbelt cities.

look,
we drew a mandala
from crushed bone,
from spoiled earth
and the film of living.

The built environment is the reification of the mind.
The translation of the mental landscape into matter is total.
The dark or diseased acres of the mental landscape–
the walled-off colonies, the demonic, the unloved regions–
send their burrs riding on the tails of the kingdom’s white horses,
from the mind they gallop into matter, dropping the burrs everywhere.

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