Friday, August 31, 2012

Safety Takes No Holidays

Strawberry and rhubarb
jam can go bad
in a matter of hours
in the back of a hot car
in deepest summer.
Rub that crap on your toast
after a day at the beach
and you'll be wishing
you never landed on earth
the date of your birth
etched into your
bowels as you cringe
into oblivion.

Ombre - featuring Helado Negro and Julianna Barwick

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Top 10

1) Lester Young and Charlie Parker Birthday Broadcasts on WKCR.ORG.

2) Dinner with Heidi at Vinegar Hill House.

3) Strolling around DUMBO in general.

4) Perfume Gun by Frederic Malle

5) Lease renewal.

6) Remove Your Hat & Other Works by Benjamin Peret.

7) The Strassburg Sock.

8) The Howard Fenster piece Jordy Trachtenberg gave me.

9) Diaries: 1899-1942 by Robert Musil.

10) Getting more vivid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'd like to have a word with you.
Like how all of New York
is making my brain feel
like it's covered in cheese cloth.
A temptation to move beyond
the confines of the blue edge,
which is really only a blanket
of light over the city.
I'll stumble into something
apparent as grunge or the tilted look
of someone with a real appetite for life,
you know, like conviction.
Anyway, I'll be sitting here
confining myself to a few choices
as a deadline looms. It's all about limitations,
confinement, and the pearls of light
as they drip through the blinds.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


It's sleep we'll miss
while dying,
so the dying say.

Tuesday Top 10

1) I'll be teaching a series of poetry workshops at The Poetry Project for 10 weeks starting Saturday, October 6th from 2pm-4pm. You can read a description of my workshop and register here.

2) "Believe You Me" by Ombre (with vocals by Julianna Barwick). Brilliant semi-ambient clouds of bliss and wonder.

3) A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Best scene of guy meeting girlfriend's parents ever.

4) John Godfrey. One of my all time favorite poets. I'll be introducing him before his reading at The Poetry Project on Wednesday, October 17th at 8pm.

5) Lake swimming at Deb and Max's place with Tara in Massachusetts. Bliss.

6) Taza Mexican Chocolate. Help me stop.

7) Dinner with Justin Theroux.

8) Death to the Pigs & Other Writings by Benjamin Peret. Punk surrealism since 1899.

9) Counter Culture: Mocha Java.

10) Einstein on the Beach...September 15! (Thanks, Tara).


Monday, August 27, 2012


I was at a party yesterday,
I don't think you were there.
People were swooning
over one guest's cobalt blue cape
worn with neon orange leggings.
In one corner there was an old
folding card table with snacks
placed on kitschy glass serving trays.
One oblong pink plate contained
asparagus spears encircled with shredded
beets. The kitchen floor was scuffed
and smelly. I found a dead roach
on a box of coffee filters in the cabinet
while looking for the salt.
When I picked up the carcass with
a dry paper towel, it crackled
like a potato chip.
Come to think of it, if you had entered
the room, I'm fairly certain
I would've remembered you were there.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Morning Loop

I must acknowledge this pond.
The light on the water
is so creamy it looks silky.
No wind, some ratchety cricket sounds,
a group of low warbling toads, and the sudden hiss
of rubber on a rough country road
from a car in the distance.
And then this: what do I call this?
Just an emptying of the agitation of the city,
the movement of things around me coming
to a stop long enough to position
myself in front of some water on a canvas
camping chair, low to the wooden floor
of this screened in porch.
My bare toes rub on the tiny gaps
between the dry, matte-gray planks.
The sound of children's voices from another house
through the woods as they wake up
to look at the same view as me. Perhaps their shrieks
are simple exultations from seeing the endless
possibilities of a summer day.
It could be said that I have not more than
twenty years to live if I hold to the averages
of a man's life in this country,
as calculated by actuarial scientists who
get paid enormous sums to determine such things
for insurance companies who turn their conjectures
into cash money. I should remember that,
and these days, layered one on top of another
until there's nothing but a mound of bland years,
not so tall, not so profound, just a lump of time
amid many other lumps of time. We're all screwed, but so what?
Time is all we really have, any of us, or so they say.
But really, I must mention this calm pond,
these enormous pines and the sound of some birds
waking up near me. All the rhythms evolving,
weaving in and out of the flow of this day,
so simple, so calm, so fleeting.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August, Robust

Nothing is as dank as sunflowers
lilting outside the deli wrapped
in August heat, mustard yellow
petals dipping to the rancid sidewalk.
There's the smell of something
spilled from a restaurant garbage bag:
could it be blue gravy? Yes,
it's blue gravy. Small animals scurry about
when I enter the room of the street
escaping with the details of a larger
picture. Are you reading this
in a cool room with a fan circulating
the air above you? Is someone
rubbing your shoulders as you
hum and think of Amy Adams in a yellow kimono
on the beach, giggling at your antics?
I didn't think so. Go back to work.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Age of Frost

This is the first day of the age of frost
when people's movements are coordinated
and not batty and extreme or motivated
by the desire to eat or consume.
All around the city people are intent
on calibrating their mood swings with the desire
to behave with tender gestures like cave animals
coming into the daylight with a curious cock to the head.
People move into the flattering light
and get better at being robust and unkinked by doubt.
They have all the things they need
to arrange their days in dark blue shirts, raw denim,
unrinsed day packs, and the like. They use laces
on their shoes that signify a certain dynamic
way of navigating their way through this most
mysterious age of frost. These days
have come upon us with a real force. Soon the people
will cast spells, dig deep, and sleep with people
next to them on thin woven sheets. You can expect
me on that day with a valid word for your list
here, in this age of frost.

Dumbo Cruising

Monday, August 20, 2012


You sparkle brilliantly
your marbled flesh is spiced
with glitter. Inside
your corporeal mass
is a luminous knot
of aqua blue electrolytes.
That batch of muscle
and tendons are kinked
at their core, giving the impression
of either laughing or strain.
As witnessed through binoculars
right before you spill yourself
into the East River: an oil slick
oozing from a beige sack,
some glitter
and a red vegetable.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pussy Riot

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rough Tulip

Any miracle is worth the pounding
it takes to wrangle a view of it,
right? Anyway, these miracle seekers
with their pale dander make the regal pillow
setting less elegant and more downy.
Crossing the universe of the city
with a Scientific American tucked under each arm
is a lot like setting up an inflatable pool
on the 5 train, which I never take. I see
what you mean about astronauts
and what it means to them if the sky
is tulip pink at dusk: absolutely nothing!
Why are people always leaving?
Every day I'm alive here on this planet
people come up to me and go.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Body of Water

When you slow down the videotape
of a day at a job, you can see
that your hours have a price
that can be purchased for a salary.
I'll have to think about that
on the day I die, but not right now.
If you observe my hesitancy to
go to work today it just means
it's exactly something o'clock.
I'm lonesome for warm pines and
the hard scrapple of blue jays,
all fierce and cobalt plumed. Actually,
I'd rather be calculating the amount
of steps it takes to leap into something
vast and proficient, like the ocean
or perhaps stuffing my face with cherries;
we recommend these deep red tart ones
from Washington if you want to feel like you're
walking on water, I love you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Five Things

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letter #1

There's nothing like a little
leftover beach sand in your shoes
to micro-slash your feet
with military precision. That weird
rattling sound you hear is the refrigerator
tapping out a motorized beat as I write
this to you. Things are balmy here
and the presence of the weather has
made itself known only through the sensors
in my skin, otherwise known as nerves.
During my stroll this morning, I saw
a hunk of bread on the sidewalk
being pecked at by a red pigeon.
What's up with that? Oh yeah, I bought
a cute little sailboat at an auction yesterday.
Today I'll take it out for a spin in the bay.
I named it clown. One of the local gentlemen
here reminded me of you, if you were a man
wearing a tweed vest over a black t-shirt
while going on and on about the kingdom of God.
I can't believe we only have a few weeks to go
before the mild sedatives of autumn kick in.
Not that the flow of time is all mustardy and cramped,
it just is, and continues to move in fits and starts
until one morning you wake up and it's midwinter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ocean Bay Park

The boat to submission is written
in bad cajun sauce off the coast
of Long Island. The people here
talk with a familiar though antiquated
twang. Tawny vowels pock the boardwalk
and then a small wagon with some
exaggerated beach wheels slows
to an imaginary halt. I see sun,
I kid you not: a patch of blue sky.
The pine trees hoist the smell of
menthol and mildew. All is calm here
on the dank island of decay.
Solid, real life deer just sit
in the middle of everywhere
daring you to ring a bell
or pat their plush bellies for
bloated ticks. As for me:
I swim a mountain and run a lot.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


I'm bright and expansive
as a silver dollar taped
to the back of a falcon.
You may now think of me, thank you.
I like soothing you with my unforgiving heat.
I have to put on real pants and a real
shirt just to walk around the city.
I can do that well enough
to go unnoticed for a week or so
in the new world where I might assist
you with relaxation techniques
like spooning and water breaks.
Nibbling a sandwich in the office
is another facet of controlling anxiety.
This notion is covered
in my nightly seminars while
thumping your blue chest for signs of progress.
Key ideas: Think about how it would feel
to spend the whole day moving around in slow motion.
In addition: avoid boredom by winning the trust of people.
Once you are close to them, smell them for signs of distress
so you can address it in your free time. Certain things
you sense on your body are really there
so you should remove them with the
help of a magnifying glass. If you fall asleep
next to me and I draw a mustache on your face
with a felt-tipped marker it is only to teach
you about identity, not to piss you off.

To the Beach

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Capitalist Realism

There is a gingham shirt
on at least one person
in every subway car.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tuesday Top 10

1) William Basinski - The Disintegration Tapes.

2) Money for Cake: Mike Doughty.

3) Cities of the Red Night - William S. Burroughs.

4) Swimming Studies - Leanne Shapton.

5) Position yourself outside the academy so you don't have to subject yourself to the inane judgements of the academy.

6) Mobile Homes - Rudy Burckhardt

7) Survival Research Laboratories

8) "Je est un autre." -Rimbaud

9) Skeleton Breath, Scorpion Blush - Don Van Vliet

10) Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp - Pierre Cabanne

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Discovery of Insomnia

Form a soft buffer zone of air
between you and the world because
there is always the possibility
that every success can also be framed
in delusion. When I look at my life
I wonder how it happened, sometimes.
Full-blooded summer from the vantage point
of deep failure; everything is humming
delightfully off key. Amid the chaos of the city,
I am tipping my imaginary hat to strangers
as I stroll down Smith Street like an ass on coffee.
The sweltering city scene is edging ever closer
to a total bummer but I know a place
out there beyond words; water lapping gently at the edge
of a serene shore with my toes dipped in, lightly,
before it all goes up in flames.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Talking Heads - CBGB's, 1975

The Fragmented Body

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Buried in Summer

One can hope for scarlet beef
in a kidney shaped tub full of
lonesome pups who all shiver while
reeling from the copper sky as though
it were a receptacle for bashing the eyes
with sheer bliss and beauty.
Let me not return to the city all
kinked and ruinous,
bent on the administration
of failures. Seizing from a lamp,
I read old letters by arm's length;
glasses nestled on my nose just
like you'd imagine someone would
do in a play about such matters.
It means so much to be buried here
with the stillness of summer
now tilted to rot.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Progress Garden

I would call you home if I had a device
that would give you a sense of community
and belonging. I would place a cardboard sign
in your vicinity that says "Koolaid Ice Cold"
and you would sit behind it waiting for people to pull
up in their cars and ask for a particular
color or size of the sugary drink. You would
realize that sometimes selling stuff is a really
cute activity that can make people like you if you
do it in the right charming way. It would be like you were
in a trance of community and involvement.
Your previous self-imposed isolation
with your moody putdowns and spiky one-liners
would seem a distant memory. So great would the sensation
of being a part of something be to you
that the simple act of distributing a sugary,
brightly colored cold drink would give
you a feeling not at all unlike the feeling
one gets while dubbing a film with a new,
more modern, benevolent voice. Walking around Brooklyn like
you're in Southern California in your Vans
and really only wanting to belong. This
is just one example of my plans for you.