Monday, July 26, 2010


When someone prods a weakness
the personality coils around it.
This is why secrets are scarved in anger,
especially among those like me,
men whose hearts are built from ancient tissue,
whose worst vanities become ringed
by arrogance or silence or laughter.
To hurt is to remember
the unambiguous tyrant
your manners and intuition
had costumed in amity,
to be a body built of mirrors
facing inward;
to be yourself
without regard for being yourself,
casting off from Elba
with a map
and a favorable wind.


I don't think I'd wanted to be someone else,
just myself, except better,
except better meant something
other than myself,
a muscle-and-bone matrix
of finite mass and mutability.
Sit down and have a beer;
let us speak of the ridiculous people
who think about these sorts of things
as I do, whose dreams become
the preferred altar of worship,
because only dreams exist without
the connective tissue
that keeps us on a loop
between the house
and the office
and the grocery store.
"But I just want to love," you cry,
"a family, a place to eat!" No matter.
You will remember you are fine soon
and soon forget.


This is the life of memory
in a time of decay,
a half-remembered world
buried in misshapen grabs
of motion and color,
whose emotional content
lay just as much in those
fanatical teenaged vows
as they do in the mundane glimpse
of a stroke of light
on a cream-colored ceiling,
or a snatch of congas
against the fleeting April rain.

This is the topography
of an emotional era
slowly flattening beneath
the lifetime being heaped upon it—
and this being a human geology,
emotions, buried, do not emerge as diamonds;
they become our sand, our oceans,
our soil.


Sometimes when I feel this
it's like being attack by saran wrap
and existentialism
listening to windy breakups
across a well-lit cafe
"I'm glad it works for you — dick"
and such meanness
fun for a while
but I am disposed
to sympathy
and casual relationships

tell me, what color is the dresser
in your bedroom?
I do this to myself
and choose to corrupt
who knows how many of my socks
will be in your closet

the life before

When I think of you
I fall into various stages of panic,
never knowing how I felt then but uncertain
or maybe just ephemeral,
plotted on a course for loss or love—

But a very different time, that year,
insane with desire and ambition,
addicted to all things an inch
beyond my reach;
love beyond love,
light beyond light,
some life more full and complete
than life would allow;
twenty years in
on loveless abject poverty,
the life before shrugs
and recovery—

The time is barely mine anymore,
either forgotten, or understood,
and I risk being dreamless
at the expense of pleasant company.


The way we lived out the summer,
slouched in chairs, legs out,
on some patio or another.
In the sun, at night.
Enjoying the days
before they collected into months
and ran away, like children.

Like children we lived out the summer:
with motion, without direction.
Somewhere there was music, or a movie,
or another picnic,
until there wasn't,
until summer ended,
when like children
we stole away,
in the sun,
in the night.


No poems today. Just lines
issued from a dull mind
uninspired by the raindrops
drumming on the window A/C unit.
It is strange to have magic

and then not have magic

but souls exist whether creative or not,
though perhaps creativity
is the merit
that makes us want some to survive
more than others

when we live in a place
where form exists but
lacks something essential;
a place where we hope for
the ghost ars in the shell poetica,
that hidden soul of words
to emerge and rescue us
from a terrible cosmic glitch
of unimagination.

But no imagination today, nor dreams,
just the words and sounds
that used to be their ferry.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

notes from chicago, july 2010

I think of this painted waste,
of the blight-on-white
brick-walled bodegas
where we used to meet,
still bleeding beats
from all those anthems
that now seem written
to remind me of you,

and I remember those notes from a life
when I spent only the good words
on the lengths and bends of your body,
when, less a feeling than a universe,
such love was something somehow different,
a moral combustion
and a glorious sum
of backseats, movies;

life after life
it ambled away,
and I still think of this waste
the way I first wished
it would think of me.