A Poem for Huey the Bank Robber, Gaspacho, Mountain Dew, Hurricane, Buison, Dorn

Huey wasn’t a good dog he didn’t
Bite the mailman and he didn’t
Sit on command and he didn’t
Save a village from
death, certain death,
And they will not caste him in
Bronze in
Central Park.

Huey was not a good dog but
He was the best dog
In Bedstuy,
Unequivocally and verified by
Billy, who was and is and remains
A kid.

As Billy remains a kid Huey
Remains under the influence
Of certain death,
Which grows behind
The eager destroyer of his
Mottled grin as he tears apart
A shoe, a newspaper, the morning.

The morning is in pieces all over.
These pieces fall between life and death,
a technicolor semantic technicality that has blinded us to being
unwitting hosts to their survival.

We are not good hosts.
We forget our manners and
Ask embarrassing questions and drink
Too much and fail to notice the way
That our guests have crawled inside of us
until it is too late and we have light
Pouring out of our mouths.

Billy who is a kid pours light out of
Everything Billy does, but especially
Onto Huey.
Huey receives this light in his clumsy Huey way,
with a messy jaw-bowl
with a torrential lick tongue
with misplaced indoor muscle
unafraid of furniture or discipline or
rising rent or growing up or
men collapsing in the street or
the wide white table

a table for Huey, the best host,
bursting with emergent flowers.

He is unafraid,
Flecked with bronze, a nascent ripple of salt
Headlong dissolving in and for
The love of that light.

womxn day

today is womxn’s day

To celebrate I cut a tiny hole in the inner lining of my coat.

To free the three chapsticks
That are intense classic and protective
Respectively

Plus my favourite lipstick
Which is just red.

I smear all four over my lipface.
And repeat to myself:

I am intense, classic, protective,
And just red.

3 times and then I
Stand in the middle of a circle**
And decide ok it’s finally time to get this over with.

run up the mountain and
just be a witch already.

Last night I had a dream that Midge and I were in prison in Russia somewhere, maybe Chechnya. This would be actually really scary for Midge because she is a queer person. We were being taken by Russian soldiers across a field, and they were telling a story about a woman who escaped by just putting on a red suit. This confused me because I thought a red suit would make someone more conspicuous. But just as I thought this, I found myself putting on a red suit and a black face mask. I took Midge’s hand and we ran across a field to the forrest where we knew the tunnels started. The tunnels were filled with books with colourful hand drawn pictures and an odd light. The soldiers roamed the forrest above but didn’t know about the tunnels.

Put on your dreamsuit today and fuck Chechnya.

yours (plus I really miss you Midge)

Selah

On: being told your work is pessimistic having it subsequently rejected while swimming in a public pool with nebulous lanes containing either people or manatees coughing up one lung to raise the life guard’s blood pressure abandonment of exercise goals to order food and knowing that it’s taking too long and hovering by the oven but not wanting to be an untrusting jerk and yes it’s burned is that ok but it’s the last piece so they don’t really stress the point and trying to make it sound like it’s ok but sounding like a jerk because it is ok because it’s just a fucking piece of quiche and who cares if you’re going to make pessimistic work then you should probably make a point of sulking in a pile of burnt food because you have forfeited the wish for something better like the not burnt utopia of your positive outlook neighbor and it’s a good think your phone broke so you couldn’t masochistically gouge your eyes out on social media because you haven’t really left the house before three in a while now and you are a vegetable but one that grew too quickly and is all glucose and no iron you couldn’t pull deep enough from the earth could you to get the nutrients that the people need could you grew some flowers once didn’t you isn’t there a memory of packaging and shipment and what’s a tomato off the vine sugared up and squirted directly into the mouth of a kid who will not eat anything but ketchup because fuck parents and nutrition and channel flipping reveals that food waste artists might be the in the pockets of BigAg if you like to wrap your head with tin foil than that’s clever because positive thoughts are those neutrino things which are fucking tiny and can pass through things like the sun the blood brain barrier and most of your delusions without so much as a the stranger in the mirror speaking in nascent tongues but negative thoughts are big viscous slugs cold draining and impossible to get off the bottom of your shoe but completely defenseless against tin foils of all ilks so wrap it tight and let them cocoon themselves in self-pity and feigned righteousness because this is the dawning of the full-bodied Mechanism of Semantic Joy and seventeen small packages are androgynous and trite lined up in a filter but I’ll take one if it has my period in it two weeks late is better than never

I-27
Onlooker traffic, headless
dead trophy for sale

On: Dreams of One Oscillator, K., and all my Roommates Moving out at the Same Time

I cannot trust the wanderings of your heart out through
the shadow dot of your head

as I begin to presume the contextual

It’s not about the Spiel it’s About the Undeveloped Game

The 46 poses with crooked elbows

Caitlyn insists that we both developed our acts from a certain iconic pelvic thrust of hers, hatted at the front booth

But when I teach Creszenz and my head is wrong but she Wants to Learn, Earnest, and

I begin to Pre-textual the Contextual

Charlie reads to you in Warm Light and you are Charlie

But I am really writing if I could Wake Up Fast Enough and Remember

Is this the Market here or is this Christmas (I know, the poses were manufactured as they are demonstrated, the way to the side sub-organic, but Earnest, she would go through)

Through Broken Vision, showing the denied epileptic

What is Dominating as Creszenz insists

(what is pre-sexualized and consensual,)

That It Has Always Been Like This but Charlie reads with the comfort of Borrowed Folk and you are Charlie and I am really writing if I could just wake up

And Purify the Stream of All of Us

Because They are Charlie and this
could go on longer, only longer
but not develop,

only
the rocking and the granules
complete
in 46 ways

(and I now know what I did not then, the poses propped up as tents, silken and empty under cedar rafters, and I did not hear you, all of you, disappear through

the shadow dot of your head)

Cat’s Cradle

I.

A week of touching
Walls –
Then it lifted.

Now
Was a
A bright veranda:

Who worries
About a ghost
That has stopped
Haunting?

But,
dutiful patient,
I did what they said–

II.

A week of touching
Walls –
…………..Conversation
…………..Tilting away
…………..From me like a plate
…………..From my
…………..Hands –
Then it lifted.

Now
Was a
A bright veranda:
…………..I can walk now
…………..I can speak now

Who worries
About a ghost
That has stopped
Haunting?
…………..Who worries
…………..About a ghost
…………..Without
…………..A name?

But,
Dutiful patient,
I did what they said:

…………..I dipped my head
…………..In silver light.

III.

Touching walls
 …………………To walk to the
……………………………………Bathroom
……………………………………………….Conversation
……………………………………………………………….Tilting away
………………………………………………………………………………..From me like a plate
…………………………………………………………………………………………………….  .From my hands

Now
Is a
Shuddering
Terrain

…………………………Un-haunted,
…………………………………………..I walk

Un-haunted,
……………….I speak

A ghost
Without its name
…………………..Cannot return

But,
Dutiful patient,
…………………..Dutiful patient –

I’d done what they said:

…………………..My head in silver –

All those cat’s cradles

In silver light.

IV.

Now
Is a
Shudder

I walk for now.

I speak for now.

A ghost
With its name
Remembers where
It’s been

Dutiful patient,
They do not show me:

Cat’s cradles of nerves
In silver light.

They do not tell me
Its name

V.

The day
Tilts away
From me like a plate
From my
Hands

A snarl
In a cat’s cradle

A ghost
In silver light

They do not tell me its name

Fish

Forgive me, I have stopped swimming.
I know you are nostalgic for the old days, when I was
a fish and you were just a sliver
of cartilage, weaving lightly
through water. You were happy then.
Or, at least, unburdened.

But you are not unburdened now. You
are rigid and bony, trapped in this body you
did not choose. And would not choose – it is worse
even than the ape body, which at least
had the decency to spread its lumbering weight
across four legs.

But the stacked column of this body’s weight
bears on you completely, and always.
No matter what I do, standing or walking or sitting
hunched at my desk, bipedalism is
a tyranny you cannot escape.
Except, of course, for when I swim.

But I have stopped. Forgive me,
I have stopped.

I have tried to explain why: how quiet
the water could be, how lonely. But loneliness
does not move you. Emotions do not move you, they
only remind you that you are carrying a brain
big enough and heavy enough to produce
such useless neural discharge.

I wasn’t lonely when I was a fish,
you remind me.

I wasn’t lonely when I was an ape.

It would solve both our problems if
I would just go back. If I would just peel back
every fluke mutation, every perverse adaptation of the last
million years until finally I uncover a body
in which we could both live, without
loneliness and without
burden.

A fish, you say. Don’t you remember
how wonderful it was
to be a fish?

Forgive me, but I do not. My memory
isn’t like yours, it doesn’t stretch back through
all of time’s evolutionary branchings, it does not remember
all those bodies you miss so much. I am not convinced
I was there with you, in the ape. In the fish.
I am not convinced I have been anywhere
but here.

In this pained, bipedal body
with its sometimes-lonely brain.

So forgive me, but here I will stay.
And forgive me, but here you will stay too,
because I need you in a way I know you do not
need me. And when you ache every morning, when you ache
every time I sit too long, or walk too far, I will remember
you did not ask for this.

I will remember what you asked
was for me to be
a fish.

Animal

Poor, bewildered animal,
you think you are helping me. You think you are
saving me. Run! you tell me.
You have to run!

Because you remember
dangers I have never experienced. The saber tooth lunging
from the brush. The enemy stalking
in the dark.

Poor, desperate animal,
you just want me to live. I understand.
I want me to live too.

But I need you to listen to me
when I tell you that what stalks me
will not kill me. I will not die
from deadlines.

I will not die from uncertainty.

If I die from anything, it will be this.
This useless shaking, this useless
gasping. This useless,
leaping heart.

Poor, maddening animal,
don’t you understand you are making
it so much worse?

But no. You do not understand.
You cannot un-know what you have always
known. You cannot shrug off the duty
that was built into you.

If I am in danger, you must
tell me to run. It is that simple.
It is that imperative.

And how it must frustrate you,
that I never do.

But poor, devoted animal,
still you keep trying. Run! you insist,
You have to run! and how can I fault you
for believing, as you always have, that safety
is a place I can run to?

A Drowning Woman on: Magazines and Posthumously Doing Nothing for Them

I read the book
(and the rules are the game, they told them.)
but missed the woods
they sank out of the window

I caught the word
but the red bird
(and the rules are the game, they told them.)
that flew to where I would go

If I had had
the thought to have
the way before the eye
(and the rules are the game, they told them.
and the rules are the game, they told them.
and the rules are the game.

and not one of them became they,
and one of them could fly.)

flew past the mind
and I behind
(and not one of them became they.
and the one that would fly
became the rule
for those who looked sideways
at the world of branches that offered them
a window that would not sink
from the game closing in

at the forrest of windows that looked out
at so much stillness)

missed its warning cry

Empathy

Open-ribbed,
your organs tucked high,
discrete, so that others might entrust
their own: their wilted, their swollen,
their diseased –

till your chest strains
with them, the rhythms
keeping you awake: the foreign workings
of foreign organs –

.                              The blundering thumping
of their need.

But you cannot refuse them,
cannot remove them. Struck as you are,
each time, by the startling
tenderness

.                  of an organ
outside its body. Open to sun,
to cold –

.             It feels like love
to take it in.

.                   It feels
like being loved.

It is only later you remember
that a part does not love
its whole. That a parasite
does not love its host.

.                                    That water
does not love the vessel
that holds it.

In the city that I live in

In the city that I live in there is a firework school.  This means that sometimes you turn your head and everything is dark.  It is so dark that flashes of light flare up from the streetcars as they make their ever less frequent stops to the houses by the woods, to the abandoned factories that serve as party warehouses, to the basement where nobody saw it coming.  These flashes are so brief that you do not notice them among the orgy of light that is suddenly ravishing the sky, in shades of violet prepubescent enough that you do not suspect the incendiary shock it sends to nightgazers whose eyes have just dimmed (a recovery from addiction to nocturnal explosions.)

In the city that I live in there is local pride for a peculiar kind of graffiti named after the impossible plural of a vegetable which has nothing to do with blue, red, or the bodies in the street.

In the city that I live in there is a girl who was 23 years old.  She had long blonde hair and eyes that earned her the nickname “mooneyes” from only Marvin.

In the city that I live in we like parades.  Every Monday we have a parade.  It goes right past the theater that I worked in up until last June.  Sometimes I would go, and sometimes I would rush home past the parade so that I could still get the streetcar when it was running.

The streetcar runs across a bridge.  When the parade gets too celebratory, the police close this bridge.  It is for the safety of everyone involved.

In the parade no tic-er-tape is thrown because people care about the environment.  People care about the environment more than a lot of things here.

In the parade people hold crosses.  Someone explained to me that it’s not really a Christian thing since people have no history of it in this city, it is just a tradition, and it belongs mainly to the dead.

In this city there is a way of saying that you don’t go to the parade on Monday.  The way of saying it is to not say anything at all mostly.

It is such a beautiful silence.  In this silence I suspend myself from a string and lilt idly between air and water.  It is terrible to imagine the element that is anathema to both, so instead I imagine the ways in which strong teeth can slowly grind anything to dust.

In this silence I see the moon, but normally it is blue or red this time of year, they say.

In this city the firework students are praised not only for the breadth, height, and duration of their creations, but also for the context, the scope, and the ramifications of their sis!boom!ba!s.  For instance a white firework that swallows a thousand subdued spectra:  the perceived illumination through blindness is equal to the fall-out of subsequent coupon dividends per gratis you could say

For instance it is so dark that the flares that cry up in the night that are swallowed by an indifferent night do not even register on the registrar’s inventory.

In the parade there are many different people, but most of them are angry.  They come together to celebrate this anger, and adopt the signs that used to belong to the dead.  Some of these are crosses and some are broken, and the police form careful circles around them in order not to disturb the antidote for theater.

In this city are many bridges, and one of them is old.  Its buckling blue frame bows to the river below in stoic solidarity with a wonder now nomenclature.  Every part of its besieged girth serves to support the monotony of traffic and ill-fated dreams.

The streetcar bisects these dreams into coastal transmissions, sometimes blurring the present with the slow cross-over from yellow to black which shuttles the people home with their heads helplessly rotating over all looped telephone circuits.

In the black there is a light, and it is 23 years falling from the moon.

In this city there are those who say that they will not go to the parade.  They say that the silence is beautiful but still they would like to press together deflated wheels and screech out a dying melody about the man who rode

The streetcar stood in static ceremony as he spoke to no one other than the motherland that would not accept the tongue that identified the enemy and how it came in flexible rubber and how he would show her and without shame he would because he knew where it came from the thin partition of black and yellow he knew that it rode the same waves as so many unlucky boats and how who would hit shore if not he and he would have no shame because she the whore that separated would rather role in the rockbed of what came to split the back of his throat was not the word erect it was they who could not look on but he had no shame as he spoke to no one through the thin partition of glass between the streetcar andthe black there of shipwreck coastal transmissions do not reach across to tell who is flaring up a blaze that will be swallowed by the indifferent nightgazer who has a local pride for not being able to tell to the sky that the water is and it is a pride that extends over the ocean to everything because everyone can turn their head and he has no shame if he could he would fuck her in front of all the apologizers because he alone has the balls to pound his oh god he asks and he asks and

who can look him in the eyes

who can look him in the eyes

who can look him in the eyes

and I couldnot look as the moon fell to earth and not off a bridge but a roof and no one said it was falling

She was 23, and she had long blond hair and eyes that

and only Marvin said

you are 26, and you have half long blond hair but you shaved half off because your eyes seeing the potential energy forgiven its trajectory found that heat could flare up at any time given the

suicide of the one true astronaut.

In this city there is a new bridge, that some people screamed against, but not enough.  It tore its way across what was not only sky but water and it flares up so brightly that no bat in the dark would dare to tear it assunder.  They deflect and are gone, as the bridge comforts itself in its red, there it lies, the blue, and o god there lie the ***

in the parade there was a firework school and they

cared about the environment more than the soft thud of empty lifevests bleached white and sterile through washing against the now bone-denier coathanger and just tell me if they

can look him in the *

(in this city

that I live in I want to get to across the bridge but it has been closed by the police and I am 26 and your blood

is all over my hands)

**

In this city there is a music dissonant and bright, but its prebubescence precludes the speed at which all other things rush to the darknestleyourteeth in the heat dust of the fire brigade will be here to dampen what we will forever pretend can not be distinguished from myth.