Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Dad

The quadruple bypass heart surgery my dad had yesterday was a success and he's recovering well. Last night he was in good spirits and actually sat up and has been joking with the nurses and generally being his old funny self - but on morphine, which is funny in a different way.

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and emails.


Friday, January 30, 2009

James Alfred Colby

My Dad is having quadruple bypass heart surgery today. Please think a good thought (or three) for him. I love him, a lot.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Allen Ginsberg

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Top 10

1) Job: reading coupons to blind people. Not for their literary value or anything--but just to find out if anyone wants them.

2) Let me have some of what you need me for.

3) Are you sick or something? If you're not feeling well then why don't you come in for a drink, on the house. I hope you're not sore.

4) The specular "I." Adding up the numbers from your date of birth. Looking for some sign. An occasion for analysis.

5) I'm right at where you are.

6) I look at that picture and I'm still alive.

7) Quantum fluctuations cause objects to lose their shape. As a result, all matter is liquid.

8) It doesn't hurt to love Jane Bowles.

9) I can't stand something that size chubbing.

10) "If you can't find anyone who can stand you, you can't find anyone who believes you've got anything they want." Adam Phillips Equals p. 87

Hermann Broch

"That which had overcome him was something other than shame and more than shame: he who looks back on his life, sobered, and because of his sobriety perceives that every step of his erring path has been necessary and inevitable, yea, even natural, knows that this path of reversion was prescribed for him by the might of destiny and the might of the gods, that therefore he had been bound motionless to the spot, motionless despite all his aspirations to go forward, lost to the thicket of images, of language, of words, of sounds, commanded by fate to be entangled in the ramifications within and without." Hermann Broch from The Death of Virgil, p 142

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

George Schneeman 1934-2009

We lost a great artist and kind man today. He'll be missed. My thoughts go out to his family.

Walton Ford

Tuesday Morning with Foucault and Merleau-Ponty

"For Nietzsche, Bataille, Blanchot...experience is trying to reach a certain point in life that is as close as possible to the unlivable, to that which can't be lived through. What is required is a maximum intensity and the maximum impossibility at the same time." Michel Foucault from Power p.241

"Even if I become absorbed in the experience of my body and the solitude of sensations, I do not succeed in abolishing all references of my life to the world." M. Merleau-Ponty from Phenomenology of Perception, p. 165

La Dusseldorf! (Thanks Jon)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Viewing & Listening Pleasure

"You are loved. Relax, Kiddo"

I'm better. Or I've been better. Okay,
I'm better, mostly. Trying to stay focused,
remain in the moment, write good poems,
work hard at work, be a good friend to friends,
make sure I do something kind
everyday to someone and myself.


And now for some words from Jeni Olin:

If i were to choreograph movement for my heartbreak, it would be a flock of adults flying over me, wearing t-shirts that read, "You are loved. Relax, Kiddo."

So If you see me fighting a tiger, Go & help the tiger!


Happy Sunday to you and yours.


Sunday Words

"What I really need to do is lighten the fuck up about a lot of shit."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Top 13 Things

1) Gorilla, coffee. The best.
2) Talking with Jeni about James Schuyler's letters.
3) Running through Brooklyn in motherfucking tights.
4) The Parade grounds. Ditmas Park.
5) Running by The Lefferts House.
6) Lunch with Nick, Jon and Eloy. 6th and 21st, Brooklyn.
7) Raspberry jam out of the jar on a serated knife (licked it). Then I got a spoon & licked it.
8) Broccoli and onions from Sihadi's.
9) Drew over for tea. Everything about serving & sipping tea makes me feel like I'm pretending to be grown up.
10) Beautiful letter from my old friend Doug Staton. Your books are coming Doug & thanks for yours.
11) BookForum in the mailbox.
12) The smell of cucumber oil.
13) The vast vacation of never.

Rachel Yamagata--Elephants

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rene Daumal

"So I was being observed! I was not alone in that world! That world which I might have taken for sheer personal fantasy. For Gerard de Nerval has been there and describes just what I have seen and often what happens to me there." -Rene Daumal

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kafka's Letters to Milena

Kafka's Letters to Milena was given to me 19 years ago by Danielle Gastall when we both worked at Books & Co on Madison Avenue and 75th Street. Danielle died in 2000. She was a brilliant and stormy classicist and a dear friend. We used to call ourselves "The Strong Twins" after The Starn Twins who were all the rage in the art world back in the late 80's. I miss her so much and think of her dazzling wit and intellect quite often. She inspires me to this day. When she gave me the book, she insisted that I read "The Devil at The Hearth" which is an essay that Milena Jesenska wrote that's included in Kafka's Letters to Milena. I read the essay again for the first time in a long while on the F train today while going into the city for a meeting. The essay made me cry--in a startlingly revelatory way. Here's a short excerpt:

"If marriage is to make sense it has to have a broader and more realistic basis than a longing for happiness. My God, let's not be afraid of a little bit of suffering, a little bit of pain and unhappiness. Try it, go out some night and stand face to face with the stars, look up carefully, sincerely, strain for at least five minutes. Or climb up some mountain where you can look down on the Earth almost as if you were in heaven. And after a while you'll find yourself believing in the importance of life, and the insignificance of happiness. Happiness! As if being happy depended on us alone!"

I shall savor this passage--and my dear friend Danielle Gastall--as I head into the night.


The Library

This fear that I might die in a library
or get punched in a library or get
my ass totally kicked in a library
or seduced in a library
seduced and then beaten up
in a library and then taken out
of the library on a stretcher
or that I'll forget how to spell "library"
when I'm sitting in a library writing
a note to you that begins
"I am writing this to you from..."


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday Night With Frank O'Hara

"What is more beautiful than night
and someone in your arms
that's what we love about art
it seems to prefer us and stays."

Frank O'Hara from "To You"

Tremble & Shine

"It didn't take us long to discover that our foreheads were mottled with specks of blood, and the thuds against our heads were actually shiny black bugs, with tiny, razor-sharp legs. There's still so much bleak, backbreaking work to do in the heather; I don't know if we start or if it's already done.‎" - Page 73 from Tremble & Shine

A large portion of my latest book of poetry Tremble & Shine is now available at Google Books. You can read it by clicking here

I'm still a bit conflicted about google books. Anyway, you can always buy the hard copy (which I'll happily sign for you) at by clicking here

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three While Walking Home Tonight

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Robert Ashley

"The river deepens as it gets down to the sea."

Robert Ashley from Celestial Excursions at La Mama now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

John Wieners

"You poets dream on
and find out where the path leads you."

-John Wieners

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold in Paris

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Jet Streams

The countless jet streams
in the brisk winter sky indicate that
they are trying to manipulate the weather
and who they are just so happens to be
the best looking motherfuckers in the entire valley.
While you're in the shower stuff gets
moved around milk gets sipped toothbrushes
are used to apply wax to mustaches apples
are rubbed on bony crotches--you know, that sort of stuff.
Salt pellets don't melt ice they get in between
my toes and conduct electricity into friends
everyone is mad at me all the time now which means
it's time to run away and start over in another city
the same mistakes will follow me
but at least I can buy some time
to investigate other modes of transformation
like glitter and pens and other fun things like that.
A building in Paris has your name
carved into it but no one notices
a poet that's still breathing. You've got to badmouth
the template before the blinds fling up
and the world stutters in slow motion
right before you're fried. If only it were you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Poem from Prague

In Prague I packed a bag
stayed in a hotel sleepless
after three nights I poured rubbing alcohol
on white rice in the bathroom sink
and set it ablaze. A rite of purification
that got me thrown out of the hotel.
I was tired of the people
so I propelled myself into spaces no bigger
than the back seat of a taxi car
stood in stunned silence when I saw
someone that looked just like you
praying in a narrow alley I donned
wool and thick gloom
sat cross-legged on the steps
leading into the vacuum of my moods. I promised
you poems, insights, photographs
of Kafka's house- imagine how I felt
when I saw the light gleaming
from my pillow just
before I fell asleep
it was the summer of '98
and there was panic everywhere
I had a fever but I was laughing
I didn't feel cursed yet, then.

Winged Horse and Green Wall (w/ a certain slant of sunlight)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Poem for Morning

You must think of it
crystal blue-- the memory of thick
rope gash in morning light
pink sun skins the soft ear
laced to radiators fixed on floors
wet spots beneath steam heat
enters dreams to wake shivering
from the momentum of blood
it's nothing but thought coursing
through our cabinets for relief
a pill that hasn't been made
for a thought that keeps recurring
no cure the bitter cold creases
the steps are coated in ice
everything creaks moves slow
clotted deep in it now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Alela Diane: The Rifle


"I am trying extremely hard to be dry. My heart thinks it has much to say, but I try to keep it quiet. I am continually beset by the fear that I may have expressed only a sigh when I thought I was stating a truth."

-Stendahl from Love P. 57


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nerve Movie

To wake up high up from nap
after bitter cold of morning bicycle
read email from old friend lay down
with huge collected Whalen on my chest
the weight of the book is a hug
in compact room head on green roll pillow
tissue hands chapped, ache.

Thunder of wind still in my head
comfortable under pale blue blanket
the building shimmies all the cars in
Brooklyn decide to honk and then the
warm blood hum of sleep drowsy peanut
butter discovery on lower lip still from post
bicycle sandwich.

Neighbor slams door, moves chair or body,
dog bark, a shout, I'm out like a little wind up
toy that ain't wound up no more.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's Gone

The beloved tree in the courtyard of my building was cut down yesterday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Favorite Scene From Hannah and Her Sisters

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Last Place Prize

You can't make assumptions about destiny
There is a glow to rain on dirty sills
Trucks circle neighbors whisper in the mailroom
Lacquered oafish pretending
Moist and half-crocked
The mercury from broken bulbs jiggles
Shoulder blades ache on box springs
Humming the whole apartment shivers
Wrinkles in the sheets leave imprints
On your face the stakes are so high
The weather making it all dank and effortless
The pleasure of the text isn't in nuptials or vows
Letting pass each day a tally of totals bleating
How many days can you get away from the day
It's still a numbers game
In the bags under your eyes--the last place prize
Your shirt is stained with peanut butter and raw honey
Hunger isn't a symbol people are dying
It's the oil from fat tempted by fate
Without looking like an ass you know something.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dennis Cooper on Laure

Go here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dead in Your Tracks

Once it's said--it's done.
You can't get back what's been
crammed into a tight space like a sugar packet
left on the floor of a Porta-Jon.
When you lean down to pick up a lucky penny
you get hit on the head with a bumper, permanently
dazed on Atlantic Avenue waving hysterically
at couples in Blue Marble warning them
not to argue while the going is good
it tilts and then your credit goes bad
and you're a heap of tissues and cough syrup
next to the expressway with Bach.
Language is good for a lot of things
but none of them come to mind as I climb
the six flights with a Trader's Joe bag tight in my hand.
Like a seashell holds the sound of the ocean
an empty apartment holds onto shouting
and messes. Those apparitions will destroy you
if you let them. One day it'll all seem okay again
and the sun will hold you in it's rays until you
catch a glimpse of yourself
at Hoyt Street stopped dead in your tracks
it was someone else.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jack Kerouac

"Poor gentle flesh," I realized, "there is no answer." I didn't know anything any more, I didn't care, and it didn't matter, and suddenly I felt really free. -Jack Kerouac The Dharma Bums, P. 188

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day

Last night I read Plato (it's a New Year's Eve tradition) and listened to New Sounds on WNYC until about about 11:55 when I turned off the lights and the radio and listened in bed to the city celebrate the end of a shitty year. I was actually smiling in the dark as the fireworks went off, glad to know I made it through the big three holidays without crying more than a few times and never in public--well once, or twice. Fuck it, I can cry if I want to.

This morning after running 9 miles in the windy cold (15 degrees!) I laid around listening to the Freddie Hubbard memorial on WKCR (he died on Christmas day) and reading James Schuyler's Journals and poems. Schuyler's thick elegant sadness is so musical and tragic. Like sitting with a friend that is articulate, observant, smart and in despair--but sweetly so. Perfect for a New Year's Day.

Tonight I read at The Poetry Project (I'm scheduled to hit the podium right at 7PM). The poem is picked--it's handwritten and folded in the pocket of my jeans. I'm a Gemini--so it's what I do to make up for my sins that matters most.

I'm so glad it's 2009. I'm going to do everything I can to make it a magical year.