Saturday, June 30, 2012

Smith Street Graffiti

The Brooklyn Bridge

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Top 10

1) I'll be writing a poem a day (21 in all) during the Tour de France for Bicycling Magazine. You can get there by clicking here. The next three weeks should be very exciting, and poetic!

2) Thassos and Ohio by Guy Davenport.

3) Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama.

4) Heat Wave.

5) Mocha Java by Counter Culture.

6) Bright lycra moving like blood through the veins of France.

7) Louis Brooks.

8) Riding my white Cervelo R3 with Jon tomorrow upstate.

9) When I'm feeling blue, confused, or simply in need of inspiration: Joe Brainard.

10) Singing at the top of my lungs with the windows wide open.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms (1978, CBGB's)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Search of Words

Start with a hip thrust
in June air locate
wet parts to loom
then: slow grind
hot potato lump
it begins as a seizure
the smell of lotion
on sand hotdogs drizzle
mustard deep fry low end
slippery blue sky
puffs roll and then
waves and then skin sting
muscles in throat tense
tendons apparent from
effort dizzy on horn
casual as a handshake
momentous as fuck

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lipstick on Charles Baudelaire's Headstone

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Punch a cloud through a window, approximately.
Get within sinking distance of the blue feeding tub.
Out in the open a yearning for enclosure.
I'm not alone: my apartment is vented.
I'm rooted in haywire. I'm opal to the dab. The thick mucous
from the back of a frog makes horses run faster. Mutated by anger,
dampened by grief. Steadily, and without warning, a miracle
will fuck you. A swath of guilt, looming,
glassy, stalled for position, like it works.
Pick up something light and tangible for dinner
like helium chicken with nitrous gravy.
In your dreams you dine with kings, delicate
hands help caress the food down your pipe
until all the sitting food is massaged
into your limbs. Formal lumps make bulky urges
while the hosts dab thick liquor and syrup water
into your craving outline. You are so right!
This is fun! All the cities have so much to offer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Brooklyn Walk

Saturday Top 10

1) Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical Life by Alastair Brotchie. Jarry was a poet, playwright, pataphysician, and avid cyclist. Friends with Mallarme, Apollinaire, Picasso and Max Jacob. He carried a pistol around Paris and would "carve" a duck at dinner by ripping it apart with his bare hands.

2) Push the Mule by John Godfrey. Super charged poetry. Every word is somehow packed with some amazing energy. I can't read him without wanting to sit down and write myself.

3) "Kaputt" by Destroyer. An oddly brilliant record. At first I wasn't so sure. Now I'm sure.

4) Bomb Magazine #120/Summer 2012.

5) Rogan Crucifix Necklace.

6) Le Labo "Santal 33." Intoxicating.

7) Stenciling the numerals "13" and "7" over stains on the front of 2 of my light blue RRL T-shirts.

8) Chief of Interpretation by Jennifer Kietzman (I reread sections of it this morning. It's such an awesome book of poems).

9) Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap. Real salt crystals imbedded in the soap, and it smells good too.

10) The Ambassadors by Henry James. How did I manage to avoid this book until now? Henry James is a drug.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brooklyn Morning Walk

Wake Up

There's a place we can go
shed all good intentions
become pro this or pro whatever
lean into the wind like a body
brace yourself for the puncture of your beast flower
while rays of sunlight get dumped
over the shadows of our affection
your lips taste like dimes
rigged and metallic your head in relief
during my walk along the river I saw people
escaping the spastic city in vehicles
of slaughter cars too slow to reveal
whatever we're trying to conceal
I want the saints to march into the pool
chlorinated robes blend into sleep cloaks oh
wake up we're already late let's go.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

France, June 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New York American

I solved the puzzle on the cereal box.
I reached inside for the prize and got yellow cereal dust
lodged under my nails. Someone a few floors down is playing
the French horn. I start to do a little jig for the day,
a swell beginning to a strange new modality.
I hire my successor and kneel before the frail and frumped.
Walking down Bergen Street is good for the moment.
I pass a bundle of light rolling down the slope.
The first swelter of summer has come upon us.
Salt rings and stink blooms on t-shirts, album covers warp,
while shiny crap on the street turns fetid and astral.
All the shoe leather and rubber heels I've left on each separate
block; marvelous specks that will signify something when they figure
out how to reassemble it and give someone else a chance
to walk down the right block. School kids bolt past me on their way
away from school. I'll settle into something in the shape of a chair,
gouged by the radiant dumb fuck of the day, which is better than not.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paris Abstracts

21 Rue Odeon

Standing where E.M. Cioran stood, and lived.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Un Poeme de Paris

In Paris, it's not difficult
to get things right, in fact, all
you need to do is put on your brown fedora
and head for the streets. No one notices you
depositing graffiti on the doorway of the Sorbonne.
You smell of spice and exhaust, bread
and sandalwood. Your pronunciation is
perfect, but you aren't saying anything
in a language you can't speak - though it sounds terrific.
A sweet life makes your heels ache while walking
all the way from Saint Germain to Montmarte.
It's like being in Paris only you're being
in Paris. And there's the coffee and something
sweet hanging from your neck like a medallion
of a saint or a butterfly. I'm going to walk with you along
the Seine past all the kids with their French
beers where it's still light at midnight. We'll wave at
the radiant tourists on their bright boats while
the cobblestones beneath our New York shoes
make us feel like we're walking on the spine of Paris.
We might not ever go back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paris Top Ten (So Far)

1) Gerhard Richter at the Pompidou.

2) Ile de la Cite.

3) Ile St. Louis.

4) St. Sulpice.

5) Bateau Ivre by Arthur Rimbaud.

6) Paul Verlaine slept in the Building across the street (Rue de Vaugirard).

7) 34 Blvd. St. Germain.

8) Jardin Du Luxembourg.

9) Shakespeare & Company.

10) My Birthday with Tara in Paris!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Travel spanks my face
and draws nectar from my cheeks.
A plane to a city with leg room
and reading material is pleasing.
Take the sting away from my eyes.
It is always dawn somewhere.
I turn on my fans and the air circulates
according to the laws of Brooklyn.
In each of us there is a little nut cracked
open for shark bothering. All I
need to do is have birthdays, travel, and love.
I would like nothing more than
to see you through me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Second Avenue F Train Station

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Love Poem

My screen name is "Fast Learner."
I can use a computer and send links.
I've used a remote control, a microwave,
Microsoft Word, microfiche, a microscope,
Retail Pro, a chamois and a Swiffer.
I can identify fennel, rhododendrons,
wisteria, tulips, and over-pronation.
I know that a drink as red as a Shirley Temple
is a real treat in certain circles. I know that
a bag of almonds does not constitute dinner,
though it has on more than one occasion. I know
that when I think someone wants to kiss me
I’m usually right. I know that when I take too
many vitamins my stomach hurts. I’ve washed dishes,
and made eggs the French way. I’ve used Dawn, Clorox,
Diptyque, Malin and Goetz, Kiehl’s, and Men’s Science.
I’ve walked along the water, bumped the crap out of my head,
stubbed my toe on that fucking end table, and dusted under
the bed. I like Werner Herzog and chocolate granola.
I would like to get to know you better.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


In 1845, slightly over 23% of the inhabitants of the Northeastern United States suffered from what was then commonly referred to as "Combustivism" which, according to the DSM-IV-R, is currently known as Schizoaffective Disorder. Symptoms included hallucinations, delusions and manic episodes. Men and women alike would forget who they were, what they did for a living, who their spouses and children were and, would more often than not, set out on violent rampages that led to arson, beatings, and property damage.

During the extraordinarily violent month of April 1846, 25 people were injured during a melee in Boston. In response, President James K. Polk gave a speech to Congress in which he voiced his concern for the turmoil sweeping the nation by stating “if this madness doesn’t stop, I will have to use the big stick of the law and beat back.” Murders and violent crimes were so rampant that martial law was instituted in the states of Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. There were unsubstantiated rumors that Combustivism was caused by dust in homes, by letters and the saliva used to seal envelopes (the theory held that when the saliva dried and the letter was opened it would emit a caustic human dust that was believed to also be the root cause of insomnia and fevered states of aggression). Other causes were said to be brought on by the ink used to print newspapers, by food grown in eastern soil and most peculiarly, ornithologists of the period claimed that cardinals had an extreme alkalinity in their droppings, which was claimed to “dry” the brains of humans who happened to inhale the dried remnants of cardinal feces. In 1847, nearly every building in the Northeastern U.S. had mounds of cardinal fecal matter on their roofs. These dried mounds would create small clouds of dust that would settle over the towns and cities. As a result of these claims, huge hunting parties of men, women and children were sent out with muskets and nets. Local newspapers initiated contests to see who could harvest the most cardinals. Local politicians even got behind the efforts by giving winners of these contests keys to the city and tax abatements based on the number of cardinals they killed. Subsequently, tens of thousands of the red birds were slaughtered. Because of this horrific action, merely seeing a cardinal in our day has a connotation of good luck because of their rarity. This can be directly attributed to the wholesale slaughter of these beautiful red birds in 1848. Previous to this horrific act of ornithicide, the population of cardinals was so great in the upper northeast in the 1600's, that when the first settlers arrived the Algonquians referred to the sky as "Massachusetts" which means "Red Sky" in Algonquin.

Combustivism reached its apex on September 13, 1849 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Based on rumors that had been spreading all summer that there was a 78% infection rate near the Heathdon neighborhood located in Northern Philadelphia. The entire neighborhood, encompassing some 10 square blocks, was burned to the ground by an angry mob of anti-combustivists. Among those who lost their homes was Edgar Alan Poe, who had just published his famous “Raven” poem a few months before the fire, and as luck would have it, was visiting Baltimore, Maryland, the weekend of the fire. The original manuscript of that poem was said to be in the house that was burned.

By 1850 there was a growing belief that Combustivism might not be caused by cardinals, or any other previously blamed sources for the disease. A botanist named Dr. Wilfred Jones surmised that Combustivism might be caused by the pollen from roses, which were indigenous to the Northeastern United States. When his notion was published in the New York Times on June 10, 1850, the nation was drawn into yet another wave of intense hysteria as thousands of rose bushes that had dotted the urban and rural landscapes, were uprooted and burned. Bonfires of burning roses could be seen all across Brooklyn. On the evening of June 10, Walt Whitman wrote these words in a notebook: “This evening I took a long walk along the waterfront and was engulfed by the acrid smell of rose bushes burning all around Borough Hall. The sky was sprinkled with yellow-dotted light. Destruction also has its beauty.”

A revelatory and conclusive year for Combustivism was in 1851, when a chemist named George Halley correctly determined that the malady was caused by a chemical called Brollodox, used in the production of coal. Brollodox was a combination of various sulfur dioxides and organic compounds such as chlorophyll and, most peculiarly, a variant of nitrous oxide, which is derived by capturing the gas that is released when natural gas is filtered through fish oil. nitrous oxide, now mostly used in dentists’ offices and whipped cream canisters, was, in its early 1850’s incarnation, an unstable and frequently debilitating compound. In several coal service factories in the 1830’s there were outbreaks of the kind that were very similar to the ones unleashed upon the U.S. a mere decade or so later. George Halley arrived at his conclusion by testing various compounds on himself in his lab in Worcester, Massachusetts. In one self-study he conducted, he breathed in the nitrous compound until, as he wrote in his notebook: “The world became wobbly, the very light around me became granular and seemed to shimmer with a new sort of radiance. I did not want to leave that place, though it was the place I’d been working, albeit, in a different frame of mind, for years.” Halley’s discovery was further proven when a group of chemists from Harvard University visited Halley’s lab in Worcester in order to learn more about his discoveries and noticed the density of the purplish tint in their clothing from their exposure to the nitrous oxide in his lab. (One of the side-effects of nitrous oxide is that it stains not only clothes but the face itself, leaving behind a purplish aura on the nose and mouth of its users—in the 1960’s, nitrous oxide abusers were called “Purples”). Given these findings, the team of chemists determined that the removal of nitrous oxide used in coal production could, in fact, minimize the risk of Combustivism.

Combustivism is only one example of the many bouts of hysteria in the United States. Let us not forget the panic of the great polyester scare of 1978 and, of course, the plywood scare that swept the nation in 2005. Perhaps we should all remember these instances of hyper-reactivity in Americans when the next wave arrives.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Grandfather, Chester Francis Colby

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

It's Booker White Day

Monday, June 04, 2012

Gravity Failures

Float to work
down Baltic, up Court, to Union
over the canal, and up the slope
to 7th Avenue. Treetops tickle my feet.
People look up and I
can see their mouths mouthing
what the fuck? I am really floating
now, comfortable enough in the sky
that I swoop down right next to people
and then skitter away so they only
sense my arrival and departure.
If you need me today, you know
where to find me.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg

Exact Location Unknown (for Tara)

Oh you, stumble upon
this sterling blue day set
for silver waves cast joy
on the sky which is smeared
across your brow lending
some super dome of light
and now you know all you
need to know about the day:
ready, set, go.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Washington Phillips