Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008


A Perfect Cirle, Thirteenth Step

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Village

It’s snowing out and so I duck in to
this café of enormous glass and refuge,

it’s counterpart to the world, walking arm
in arm with the murderous and abandoned,

ask for spare change, for beer, a cigarette.
I stir a spoon of brightness in my coffee.

No other religion is as filled with beautiful
women as is the closed eye of my cup.

Or isolated by bars where hands press the four
walls for a crack, recess of smooth

enough for fingers to add up the crease
of falling snow. I feel really bad

for the frozen contents of the snow
covered garbage bags, the melting

sweat of the dumpster. My hot cup, glass
my new world with no writing home.

I feel like a telephone of sorts where I
can reach out but don’t really have to respond.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008



The day knows all day
that I know nothing about math

in the festering waters
the frogs are decreasing every year

in numbers, the dogs that eat them
squashed off the road

vomit yellow foam that mixes
with the rainbow of oil

on the wet road. The numbers
go on flexing their branches

in the wind. Cat looks on
with stony eyes while

the windows subtract light
and the paper is delivered

to read of heresies. The knife
is whet with an ignorant stone

the edge is a chaos of zeros
falling into themselves.

One care speaks of hemorrhage,
choking out exegesis

smoke on wet asphalt one less
the number reached,

today in the news so many arcs
of light bombard the brain

with their deaths.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I will hide myself away.

Friday, November 21, 2008


God watch over the hard-riders, the fast-movers
The ones with music loud in their ears. May they
Ever supernova upon heaven's blessed highways.
Keep us safe from fires of the mind, ever watchful
Of our disease, our wounds we carry with us.
Keep careful watch over all of us, as we watch over
Each other, as we watch over ourselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Sometimes, sitting here in the park, I forget
the bonds of sand that hold me to the bench,

and I don’t let your lines mark me too easily,
like that shape of airliner, bubbles of zinc

from a bath of acid for metals, the clear blue
pierced the way a lacquered chopstick

penetrates seaweed and rice to the tuna roll,
leaving something for the fingers

to roll, a ginger examination of self, the rivets
of taste buds rumbling loose in the satin

aftertaste like eyelids staring too long
over a field finally, restricted by the cost,

folding together, the cards on the table
too severe, the bluff over the water, the bay.

I can cut you out of mind if I call you, ring,
cellophane, bandwidth, restricted use: foreign.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire in the Belly

In the song of this season, the trees that ring the fountain
Are ablaze and the One in the fountain is no longer there.
If I am to be burst apart, to never get better, if this
Is what is required of me, then so be it. I have been reduced
To less than the sum of my parts, I remain defiant in that
I am what remains, defiant. I am pieces stitched together
With a current run through. I find myself forming the position
Of a man doubled over, eviserated, clutching whatever is left inside.
I am one of the lucky ones, I have been blessed with eyes unlocked
And I'm not listening to anyone anymore. This is a gift,
You'll get your chance if you're lucky.

I have been told to wrap each night around me to grieve
And sing my song to God. I am spurred by it, I travel by day
With fists against the ground. There are waves of grief,
Bigger and bigger that rise in the dark and I cannot describe
What I've seen there, I sometimes find myself making an animal growl,
And if banishment is what is required of me then so be it.

It was Dvorák that reminded me, playing out into the yard,
That I had been hearing the sound of violins all along,
That the maples lining the street had finally exploded
Into crimson and orange, and forming this golden corridor,
My three year old daughter running under it and her perfect sky,
Up to me on the steps, I am reminded that holding her
Is the only thing that feels safe anymore.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday Detox

There you are Hotel, collapsing
onto my sofa

so, along with some strange fibers
I found attached to my arm hair
like bulbs of cured resin

we matched wits with a game
of memory
centered around which tree
goes on the color circle

I confessed in the dust I dated
Ms. Remember,

the dopest stretch of prom queen
who taught me whiskey

can stretch the children
we don’t even remember being

I twist my arm hair into a mat
for you to sit on, my dear
then pull it out, yank.

I feed my plastic cup to the recycling
bin that staunch carnivore

What room are we in anyway
does it feel like this Hotel
is falling in on itself

its like the tree, the self imploding
in on itself then popping up
each spring like the killer in this movie

I’m watching with you on the sofa.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ground State

My family plot is laid around the grave of my grandfather
except none of us is buried there yet.

My brother smokes a Marlboro and flicks his ash away
from the marker.
The smoke makes my lungs hitch up a little but I never cried
for him.

Bird call, traffic, tractors,
a little but of noise draws small circle around us.

The gray sky closes in the world, makes it finite.
Open sky
is depressing especially in the cold as it reminds us
that everything goes on and on into further cold.

Absolute zero is when all molecules stop moving
even the coming apart of cigarette ash stops its crumbling

Somehow the small sound of a gray sky prevents me
from feeling sad
that another one of us will go off soon,
erasing from the picture.

We do not discuss the fact that
my brother will never have children.

The sound would cause the ground to move
as my grandfather rolls, shifting markers

where headstones are not permitted. Only flags
for appropriate holidays

on the specter of future graves, each of us
a chorus standing in line, waiting to thaw from the future.

The numbers called, if your prefer,
loosening the solid gray, weight the back carries,

No one is left behind to put the players
on their marks. The sounds come down to zero. Stop moving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Japanese Techno Doom

Just this slight laser beam to eternity
nor gross brass glitters high
high into morning, bears
backlit jiggy down so low
ladies are embarrassed
to be a species at all

dig the disco ball blast back
sparkles a dizzy to fall you down
down, trans the bee in your
ice cubes melts, flies
into the break down, hustles,
dips, does it all again

Genki girl in less dress presents
ass cheek to your eye haven
your two drink is diminished to what
what, cage me a rhombus
slathered in heels, wallet creases
ejaculates of light, smears walls.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008


At her tea parties, my daughter always sets a place
for suffering.

Next to the stuffed pink leopard
she sets a red Hello Kitty tea cup and saucer

across from the empty seat a button eyed zebra
stares at the ceiling as though enraptured

before Suffering arrives chiffon is placed
on the miniature wooden seat and I

am dismissed through the pink doorway,
umbilical seal closing upon me

and I retire to the teevee where I observe
cans of Coke-a-cola poured over corpses

to speed the decay process. I hear my daughter
greet suffering, muffled voices in a distant room.

All suffering is product placement.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008



I would like you to look here and see
you looking here back at you.

Beside you here looking is you looking
on as you look down at the you here

beside you.


Holberg Suite, Op. 40- Rigaudon


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


The Steelers are winning so I know it’s my brother
calling at quarter to midnight, Monday. Wind up
the oaks are dropping their small acorns on the roof
like the hard containment of a spring rain in single doses.

This late in the fourth I don’t answer the phone.
I turn the light out and the bright clouds surprise me.
The reflection from the slow turning wind-chime
makes think of ghosts. I lie still as the past washes.

There is a myth that the wind moving in the trees
is a spirit. My brother is lying in his room
with a IV drip in his arm. Once a week the nurse
arrives to change the dressing.

The trees bend under the spirit. All men are phantoms.
I know already that my brother
wants to say a few words about the rage
of the coach, the errors in the player’s virtues,

to describe the silent
balk of distance that separates the viewer
from the player’s violence as an order of corn.
When the spit flies from a coach’s mouth
it is referred to as “an order of corn”

sometimes Creamed Corn. The reference
of seed on the vine, the mystical ability
of life to become of itself through the grain
comes from the digestive encounters of corn.

Queen Elizabeth examining her first
phallic stalk could never have imagined
the lobbying efforts of bio-fuel companies,
the farmers interests and deforestation
necessary to bring about this tiny glint of joy

I can hear like acorns produced from the ghost
of wind on the roof, the distempered revelry
in my brother’s pain, of rage and therapy, bright green
cornstalks like the skin of the Incredible Hulk.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Deal with the Drive

What compliments the Christmas tree farm
more than the rural liquor store? How about
the Klan memorial across the street
with its car dealer sized rebel flag?
A trio of obsolescence, the trees
awaiting execution, the flag as limp
as its social prospect and the parking lot
of the liquor store, empty yet.
Though it’s not yet noon enough,
blue laws aside, for the needy
to wheel in for a lunch of blue light.

I drive by at 65, worried that my fix-a-flat
fixed tire might not handle another week
of seventy fives.
I notice still how even
travel itself is a redundancy. Some coming,
some going in lifeless vectors, caravans
of weeds and browning horizons, here
a creek-poisoned valley, there an impotent
cell phone tower mocking. Or worse
the dead houses still standing on the road
like zombies, decaying, lurching
to consume me back to the past, boards
on the windows like coins on eyes.
Doorways unhinged of doors
like the mouths of the beaten agonizing
on after the beatings have ended.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laura H.

When she called, I told her how it finally ended.
The only one to know the whole story, to have lived in it
For a while. I imagined her smoking out on her porch,
The twins sleeping inside, in a pseudo hippie skirt
Same hanger boots as me, last of the big-trouble girls,
Up on her nighttime hillside in Charlottesville.
She is a good friend, wife to a good friend,
Brave foot soldiers in the war of the disease.
They are two of those who have come out the other side
Of long darkness wild and new and innocent.

I told her my dream of the war, how everyone we know
Will die, and that's all. But the disease is only the beginning,
There's money and sex in it and of course the children
And the only thing we can do is wake up each morning breathing
And fight as hard as we can in an endless struggle to live well.

I told her how when you lose someone you care about that much,
You have to focus all your rage against their memory in an attempt
To kill whatever you carry of them in your heart. She understood me.
I told her everything. I paced around the backyard in my own boots,
the streetlight in the alley shining against the cedar.

At the end she said, "I'm sorry Clay, that sounds terrible."
Which surprised me, because I never thought about
Any of it as being terrible, just events lined together
In the fabric of a story, but I heard for the first time,
Pure sympathy in that and I thought of her eyes and god bless
Or damn her one for somehow she remembers the exact date
Of every event, every conversation, the names
Of all the players, my therapist, the guys I work with.
She knows the Grove job and the shop in the basement
Where I break down every day. She holds, perfectly,
The whole of the story, and she said that to me.
Which is all anyone ever wants, really, which is
For someone to hear them, to understand, to say
"I'm sorry that happened. Everything is going to be okay."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poem From a Friend

If you cannot find
a worthy companion,
better to travel alone,
like a king who has renounced
his kingdom or an elephant
that has left the elephant grove.


Travel alone
rather than in the company of fools.
A solitary life is better
than a life kept in bad company.

Buddha, translated by Karma Yonten Senge

thanks to Heather

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Second Stage of Cruelty

the After the Thought

This is a not need to be a car accident to hospitable
bed, your lie like Quakers to reach the gem case,
a-slip tire’s tears unseen weeps the wet road, grease
relax the pagoda balanced tree elevate the hooves

just this side of the disaster. After works come crumple
besides me, the despised trumpets hotly turmoil oh
requiem of come vial, distastes to tea, the bowl of crackers
cantankerous mightily of Protestant admission refused.

One long hallway of smelling salts, the mop bucket
order plates of fries, quite unsettled, lonely outlet
spark plugs the grass, cut halo of weed eater wire,
back device, not spine but strategy of unswerving,

polished stone, wood, barnacle in the back beneath skin
feel the argument slowing, hunch down breathe
vice-grip, verily, your hysterical diaphragm, swollen
tract, familiar recess, return to stoop, fall to laying down

hospital gown to prove the sweet play, I stood before
you gentlemen, a graze, edge of pasture and moon,
unaccountable dispatch of wire, the wet log earth
untoothes the roots, the tree flats a stand of road.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Face Without Features

I am painting a picture of a woman’s face
but she has no features except some sienna
in white around the mouth and eyes, moulds
of brush stroke and evaporation.

There is the face of a sainted devil, teeth and
goat beard crowning out into flame. He is spray
paint and stencil. Hard lines and plastic sheen.
He looks so leering I did him twice and then
a third time in the upper left corner just
the teeth, the clicking gates come out.

A man and woman, correction, a zombie man
and woman, 21st century American gothic wed
to the upper torso of the canvas above a line
of lurching zombies, 21st century cherubim
learned of the end of consumption, our graves,
the sole feast of our returning, cutting off
arrival with chewing, chewing out of heaven.

As I paint in the car port, my daughter comes out
and asks to help. Cover the zombie head
with oozy yellow water color, I tell her. Go
ahead. See, the plastic spray paint repels
the water. Beads of goo, en-yellowing.

She says it’s kind of scary and points
to the faceless woman. Way up at the top
is the same woman with eyes and a halo
looking down on the zombie parade. I think
it’s god, or god’s approval over all this
decline. Don’t worry, I tell her. That
woman is my mother, not yours.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Passage clouté

I’ve got a book in my bread named squalor.
You can read it through the crosswalks or perched
on a tree stump like the nexus of a compass
drawn on the corner of a map.

Read the passage where the paper wept corrugated
lead into sweeps of ink, read your name in a tumble
on the sweet current of carpet across the word
for knees the trees whisper as they draw their legs in.

Learn the name for limpid from that crass and vibrating
crosswalk, her stumbling image strobed the standing
man to falling down over his own urgent foot.

The heads of these buildings and telephone poles
peek in to my backpack. In the 7-11, the loaves
of streetwise bread convert to beards like Tolstoy.
That is, just another long concession to giving in.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Submit

High On Fire has taken something Motorhead started over thirty years ago and perfected it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Les Vapeurs

At night in the wooden precipice of sleep
I see between the black branches of oak trees
a lighter dark to the sky beyond,
so far beyond that the idea of distance
as a measure of travel unhinges
from language and bobs away
before filling with ocean and going down.

Because he may be sick tonight,
I want to think of my father, put him up
in place of my childhood. I think
of still water closing over the boat.
Instead I get the memory of a bus-stop
beside a concrete wall, a gaggle of children,
a blue bench of faded plastic, tin ashtray
filled with rain water and the soggy tea of butts.

I’m not even sure I am one of these children
I think I remember, so honey suckle grows
over the picture and I advance a fear of bees
which brings me back to my father
who is deadly allergic to bees.
Maybe it is the vine and its green steamy
odor, sledge of bright perfume that
always makes me think of triffids
or other sinister botanical assassins
drawing me in with a puff of pink
pollen and a tentacled vine.

Maybe it’s the blankets twisting
up my thigh and words over the bright
forever of space. Maybe the only way
I can ever conquer my childhood
is to be a beekeeper like Sylvia Plath,
grow larger than everything else, at least
in my mind, so I can squash it all.
Maybe I like to sit at empty bus stops
and smoke because that is the true
place of distillation. Distances becoming.

A pure turn of the bowl for the tea
ceremony, the leaves crumbled just
so, whisk of tree branch across the sky,
the steam evaporates, so begins autumn
which withers up the vines.


Friday, September 05, 2008

9th Circle

Relentlessly Bleak

So much rain these mosquitoes emerge
from the carboniferous where too much
oxygen had bugs as big as Pintos. Light
flash of synaptic carry overs finds them
nudging into my house on the dog’s belly
though I try to brush them away, they
only squash into smears of blood, mine
and the dogs mixed to resonate that
tiny grinding of some microscopic
insect lollapalooza bloodbath.

Black they are as the souls of Scando
death rockers, Viking boats upon the dog’s
stomach, braided beards, red knot
entry to the kingdom and late night
assail upon my domesticity. Fuck.
They creep me out. What can I do
but take the job serving hotdogs
at their fairgrounds. I can’t not take
the dog out to piss, that’s an alternative
of too much mopping and wood rot.

I should do what everyone does and
consider my role in the food-chain
as symbolic. I am the systemic sacrifice
who also leads the lamb, here dog,
together we are walking troughs
of divine substance for those creatures
whose purity will outlive us both in
number if not in duration. Hissing
presence in a cavernous nowhere, their
wings buzz the neon blood bank.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Where route 27 bends into Georgia is a man in a wheelchair
who waves at the cars as they pass going seventy.
The wheelchair may be the result of a spinal defect,
degeneration of the structure of the back, like my father
and brother, the core too tired of holding its end of everything
up. On Monday mornings the dog wakes everyone
barking at the garbage truck, recycling, a glitter
sparkling stars as the shatter of glass emerges me from sleep.
There are other drivers on the road, the cars are
thick armor for the jellyfish brains operating from inside,
bleary eyed and translucent to the radio’s swell.
I wonder if back pain is the vengeance of evolution,
payback for up righting out of the pond, a coalescing
of paramecium like two minivans meeting head on
in the swale. My eyes are old fashioned swivel dials of the radio.
Crows mock me to motion from the dead center
of my lane and make me swerve like I know what they know.
That there is ten miles of cellular dead air here past
Swamp Creek, past where my ankle is cramping at pushing
the gas. I pass the man on the border of two states,
one is moderate health care, the other is a heavy riff of sludge
metal. His wave is encouraging, saying go on, push
through it. Resigned, the both of us, just sitting there.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

High on Fire

This monster patterned after learned dysfunction,
Cells born of electricity, humming with electricity.
This monster is a trap-root buried, speared straight down.
Days of hornets stitched across his back, run him through the woods,
Set the dogs on him. High on fire, this monster staggers toward the mob,
Lurks the perimeter of the elementary school, carries his daughter,
Three years old, on his back under trees. The closed fist of his ribs continue,
This monster engulfed in fire. Train the cameras on him.
Forgets to pack sandwiches for the pool, tends daily to the equipment.
Observe monster family systems: rides quiet in the truck
Beside his quiet daddy, falls from space into a boiling Atlantic,
Slows his truck at lunch by the playground to maybe glimpse his son.
This monster shaves slowly in his tub, his own little girl pours water
Over his head, this monster weeps.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Against All Odds


The welding school instructor leaned

into his connection to show us just

how to pose for action. I was fat

as any of the others in attendance.

Before this I was a clown for kid’s

parties, oil faced and woven hair.

Before that baskets of night

watching trucks sleep with stars.

There was some cold then. This

because of the sex appeal

of a television commercial, I’m

salving the hot end of my torch,

tack arc and blinder beams to not

look into. If I learned this I would

be complete and successful.

It is the clown’s dream to wear

regular clothes, but also a key

could fit into the rotten teeth

I see my grandfather smiling

at me through, a slot which loosens

up a man’s place to dwell next

to a stove with a drink in his

heart like a knife, holding two

parts together so as to seam

down a night cloth-dark, and duct

tape silenced to anything, become

hard cornered, holding

together an ended comfort.

When it was my turn the torch banged

a little heavier than I expected

and melted a corner of my glove

which I immediately brought up

to my nose to smell and the goo

tacked on there and seared out

olfactory futures for a good ever.

Then my eyeballs went

clown white and sizzled, basket

beard went up to smell like

burger king, all flesh and pot

to piss on. And just so, tight

jeans gave me over to the door

locked forever to the right edge,

no ship rivets in my future, no

offshore deep water money

making, no ever in the end of

disappointment my grandfather’s

smile sealing up, all snarl

after a sear of bourbon

hard going down, trucks through

the ice, no ship, just laughter

grinding along with me, burnt eye

never seeing you again, burnt

halter-top exposé of retina, lip

disorder not speech, hairline

out mode of the done up, my line,

your line, cracked out the get-go

It’s not time enough, clownish

forbearance doesn’t cut it, this

gauge won’t melt it out, witch’s

longing to transcend. The course

I failed but made it to the hospital

where a nurse polishes my inside

out until it made a gloss and can

breath the night, porcelain edged.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Look Alive

Although there are roller coasters, a pair of tiger cubs

at the gate distract the girls before we even get to the toilets,

post interstate, traveler’s dementia, souring sweet air

over the spilled blue Icee, there is only an allofasudden

standing in line to ride the Hangman or the Rattler

all of the water park spred below,

each delectable flavor of death the coasters serve up

here and there the wasted trailer

leans its hulk in a direct line to some distant

industry. America’s amusement parks,

strands of garbage and stalls of animals, milk squash,

yards of water logged bread,

feast of the gull and pigeon, ants forever in line

the sweltering preamble to the Swamp Thing,

a feet down hanging coaster that’s main thrill

are a pair of overfed alligators

confusing the children with even more threats. Just

this morning words comes of a teenager

decapitated at another park, other deadly portend through

the mists of America where we all stand

sweating to board the Anaconda or the Magnum,

force of doom, the rising up to taste. Surely

it is early man, not the zombies, rising up from the

water-park’s Lazy river, slouch shouldered,

wet and flavored with the taste of Band-Aids and urine,

the heated ooze and swirl of gestating bacteria

here is our origin and our doom, fat upon the inner tube

spinning away from the world’s regret.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If there's no such thing as a victimless crime,
what happened to this man?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mace Windu,

Dressed in his Jedi robes, led me down a narrow back passage in my brain I didn't even know was there. It opened onto a hot room with low hanging cage-lights and concrete walls. There was a pit in the center with a concrete ramp, and I followed him down, it was hot and close like a boiler room. Stacked like cord-wood in one corner of the pit were life-size versions of lemon-flavored sour-patch kids, large bodies almost entirely devoid of form, piled like bodies. They were, they were bodies. I could almost taste their sweet gritty coating, salivating at the memory of their flavor in my mouth. There were maybe fifty or more. I asked Samuel L. Jackson-Mace Windu what could they possibly be for, lying there like a new sugary holocaust? He explained in a baritone like was like the ocean at night, they were my bad histories, the deep old memories, the ones that hurt. He asked me did I want them, or was I in fact done? I didn't even recognize most of them, none of them had faces anyway, I said no, I wanted them to go away. He told me okay. He told me they would dissolve, slowly, over the course of two days.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Always Wanted

to be a drunken pole-cat out in the yard preachin' to the hogs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ready Made

Here is the Black Dahlia’s body,

the two halves of her corpse split

into a darkness upon the field.

It is not you but the poem

whose face is invisible behind her hair,

as though it has been erased. Tutelary

image of a True Crime world.

It is not you but the poem

whose mouth goes on smiling too far.

Thus what seems like nature is cracked

skin upon a stretched armature.

But see? Her starfish is shaved. As sure

as the Mona Lisa’s moustache.

We go from a bright room to the dark

and feel the light creep close for a touch.

This is the mouth of the poem.

There is only the idea of seeing. The body,

field-dumped, framed in grass and road side.

See her turn over, minotaur to the grain?

This is the poem getting up, coming through

black and white history, her two halves

tortured by memory, the same way love

goes on, if we remember. It is not

you looking through the peephole, but

the poem, posed for the show. See?

It is the poem who is eating you.


Thursday, April 03, 2008


The zombie is the zombie that always ever was

the zombie. To have any less of the zombie is

an erasure if the zombie and the self that imagines

the zombie, thus an erasure of all of this, the bees

and the begonias too. This zombie is the different

cities of the zombie that are required of the zombie

always ever after the city of the zombie, upon

the island of the zombie. Not to worry. This

confusion is built upon the reaction of a body

slammed against a wall. Only this wall, indeed,

always ever after this wall. This zombie, which

always ever was is a force of violence that also

was always there, reviling, mutating into vast

flung functions, a killing of the without from

the within, inside time which contains the this

which is what I am inside of and vastly mutating

out of with a violence of categorical patterns

which is the survival of history. Thus is the zombie

which was ever in a city always in this city,

this Midwestern, Atlantic calm mountainous

deserted seaside of a cancer upon history. Always

ever wasting the potential for violence upon

the icicles dispersing parades of forever zombies.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Anasazi Zombie

I’d been expecting it for so long that when I finally saw

the zombie as I mowed the lawn in my old sneakers

I almost had a heart attack and died.

The old mower puttered off and some crazy silence

gripped me by the chest, the automatic shutoff of the heart

kicking up some dust and clicking into the azaleas.

Art condescends to life so easily, that zombie

shambling out of a movie into my makeshift life

only to hit the kill-switch.

I’d always wanted to be a painter,

but now it was too late, the only thing to paint

are stretching hands, and without an audience,

no real reason to paint them.

Last week I warned my daughter about snakes

in the backyard. Now we’ll all have to get on the roof

or try to drive to a prison. Razor-wire

keeps the bad thoughts inside, so my therapist says

every time I tell him about the zombies coming.

If we could make it to the desert we could live on a mesa

and drink cactus juice, hollow history out of rock walls

and paint our own hands as warning signs to the future,

stop sign held up to history. I’d like to see you paint that,

maestro. Then after a while in the caves we’d hear

a voice coming, the great spirit, drying our tears

and carrying us away through the wind in our mouths.

My heart starts to beat again. That was a close one.

Look again, there’s no zombie. Only my neighbor is mowing

his grass just like a mirror of me, and is he clutching

his chest or is he clutching at me. I smile and wave.

Maybe I’ll go inside and lie down in the grave for a while.


Future Statues

After the zombie uprising

there will be statues of them in the park.

Of course we will have to make them

because they won’t have the dexterity.

We will have to sneak them in

without being eaten. Such is the risk.

The nudes will be noble and the horses

will all be on their sides instead of rearing.

We will make the rules, a zombie with its arm

raised will mean the statue was made by

a family member who hadn’t been eaten,

a zombie on all fours will mean that the family

managed to brain her before she got any of them,

and of course, a platter of severed heads

splashing in a fountain will mean that an entire

community had been killed only on suspicion

of infection. This one will be placed low

so that any new zombies traversing the square

will trip over the bronze heads.

Once we’ve gotten a lid on the whole thing

we can come back and arrange the markers back

into strip malls and car washes. Until then

Sculptor will be the most prized of all jobs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008



The zombie is a member of the collective

answer to the question of what it is really

that’s for dinner. Not are you reborn in Christ,

or do you like the rain, not even aren’t you

comfortable now down in the casket inside

the poured concrete tomb with all that fluid

that’s supposed to dissolve your skin so as

not to take up any of that, ahem, space?

The zombie is always foregoing Santa Claus

in favor of the labor union, showing up

at the pearly gates to tend the lawn, trim

the hedge but receive no citizenship.

The door is double latched, the faces

behind the curtains turn around quickly

so as not to be noticed. The zombie is

always after heaven’s eternal tuna sandwich.

The zombie is the elephant in the room

when the sky is brilliantly falling.

The zombie is a developmentally

inaccurate reaction to the lump in your

throat. The smiling, nodding answer.

Paul Celan comes back from the Dead to Eat the Brains of Martin Heidegger

After a night of cold schnitzel and the warm dregs

of a pitted fire, Martin walks indirectly through

the front door of his affluent Mench Huas.

You can see his posterior, overly fitted

in gray slacks. A bit of a show off. The bare

trees do not judge him and he frankly poses,

one enormous yellow stripe down the front

of his sweater, as though he is without sin.

From the nineteen sixties Paul Celan

dredges himself out of the Seine.

Some city workers are witness to his

messianic emergence. In the interest

of language they are spared.

Martin takes a spa and forgets his Nazism.

A woman of indifferently blond depths

rubs his back, his penis. Martin imagines

a shower head leaking insects then lurches

back into the sunlight as he comes.

Dogs bark at and nip little chunks from

Paul Celan’s latest manuscript as he wanders

into the black forest, the hounds of hell

he fends off with a posed arm held out

like the general of a failed army

everyone still wants do like, despite the wars.

Martin sees Paul coming down the walk.

He goes to meet him but he doesn’t want to take

Paul’s out stretched hand, Martin still

wont knowingly touch a Jew.

Paul takes Martin’s head in his two hands

and breaks a tooth as he sinks in to Martin’s skull,

the spurt of blood, so many millennial ideas

escaping into the crisp German air.

When questioned about it later, the grounds keeper

said he saw poetry murdering logic with its teeth,

while the horrified Unsayable began to

to open their dark holes and speak.

Zombie as Personal History

How openly he shows off his goods,

intestine bobbing next to his penis,

pants no more than relics to modesty.

He has one eye, the other is an open room

that fills with rain or seeds or falling

leaves this time of year.

He was obviously bitten on the cheek

first but then one of them got him

by his tummy fat and pulled hard,

the hinge of it is an open door to

scientific observation and some

insect larvae. He is an opened house

and his stairway is falling to pieces.

His kidneys, those art room sinks

of the body are clogged with bone

matter, as though the sculpture teacher

went nuts with the remains of his class

and shoved handfuls of little David

statues down the drains. This zombie

is a school house art room where

the teachers first slept with each other

then were betrayed by the failure

of children’s minds to produce art,

to lump together a horse, or smudge

a tree, sure, this zombie’s empty eye

could be an olive with a dab of white

to give it a painted gleam, this zombie

could have been several kinds of diner

parties held by aspiring artists before

they gave in to the pressure of domestic

life, the coffee table, a couch to match

the tree light, wicker chairs on the porch

and a strange man coming near.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lion Tamer

So many mornings of television they thought I was wasting.

Now is the time when we all need to have paid attention

to the human fly. Practice at scurrying up walls

could help humanity evolve away from the zombie hoard

which of course used to just be gawkers hoping

that dumb sonofabitch would fall.

If we had a set of suction cups ready we could hang

out on the ceiling, watch the late show upside down

just out of reach of the swiping hands.

Or if I had that lion no one would let me have

I could use it to protect me from the zombies. Unless

of course the lion would turn in to a zombie

then it wouldn’t be such a great idea. Or if the lion

decided to eat me because all the other meat was spoiled.

All that television has prepared me for these times, put

my head in the lion’s mouth just as it yawned

on the rooftop and the understanding is her canine

nicked my jugular and blood filled her mouth like from a cup

which is the right and wrong of boredom, for a lion.

I see myself on television waiting for the cure, Dr. Serum

making a cameo from the crowd, his spear point a syringe.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Texas Beach

Meet The Poets

How to Tell a Body Apart

Osprey and raccoon leave fish carcasses

up in the skinny Australian pines. A tourist

drags her skirt in the gentle surf of the bay.

One large condo in the distance

is completely on fire.

In order to feel safe, we sleep in the trees,

swatting at mosquitoes. An Abuela

comes down the bridge half way, calling

for her sons. The hem of her nativity

dress has dragged through blood.

Summer clouds are like cakes.

They do not promise to stop torture

or to bring humanity back. If you see

an osprey with a fish it is a sign of prosperity.

In last year’s spring parade, between the pirate

ship tossing green and silver beads and the police

motorcade, one man walked alone

as a skeleton to protest the war.

He walked like his legs didn’t work,

pretending to lose his balance.

Children threw rocks at him until their parents

smacked them. At the end, the pastor’s son, playing

Resurrected Jesus walked through the trash

and dirtied his gown.

The Abuela raised up to beg heaven

and a wind dropped a dead fish into her hands.

She screamed and the tourist, missing one eye

and half a cheek turned her head

towards the sound of birds.



When you were talking about how the zombie

curse happened, I heard your voice but I wasn’t really listening.

You said they were the lucky ones, now

who could enjoy the world gone to shit and we

were still holding on to some hope of going back

to cable TV and spousal abuse and playing the lottery.

Now they got to walk where ever they wanted

and we had to scurry like bugs. I heard you say

you might just cash it in and shoot yourself in the heart

instead of the head so you could go back Macy’s

and stand at the discount rack and think

of all the other lives you could be living right at that moment.

Go ahead, I said. This time, when you die

we don’t need to cry about it any more. You pointed

your gun up to the clouds, took aim and the smoke

from the fire got in your eyes and you closed them

because except for the meaning it makes, the noise

of your mouth still carries on just the same filling

up a space no one’s really sure needs filling like a

canary telling it like it is to the grackles on the line.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bumper-sticker Proposal:



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mad Wind

It is because an angry winter can collapse into spring like a sigh,
And Spring, revealing himself to be yet another season of madness,
Can blow a raw wind through the open window, stirring up dust
In this old house of me. It because of this that I submit the following:

A room full of chairs reserves the right to have,
At any given moment, one or more of those chairs thrown.
Because if a chair can be sat in, stacked or stored away
There is no reason it shouldn't also be hurled across a room
To crash into other chairs- collapsing whole societies of chairs.
There is no good reason why it should not.


Lightening behind the old drive in screen

creases the clouds into some cheap countertop.

We take popcorn and old beer and sit

on top of a school bus. It will rain soon

but the air is cooled by that. Looking

at the screen you explain how the muscles

should tighten when they dry out, eventually

they wont be able to move them. Perhaps

that explains the blood lust. The wind across

the parking lot lifts out hair like heat

from a fire. If you put your hand out

it you can split the air up around you.

When I was eight, they moved the bodies

from the graveyard, then let the grass grow

so you couldn’t even see the stones. One day

we found a clearing in the lea of a stone

where a deer had made its bed. We threw

firecrackers at the stone splattering

white rock with burn marks. Then the grass

caught fire and the whole field was like

hell and then everything was just scorched.

That summer the drive in went all Adult

then didn’t reopen with the thaw.

Here, these black speaker boxes mark

the broken field like crosses, the blank screen

our lake of fire, the flickering

plays moving bodies in the dark tree line.

The rain will come down and soften hard

things, ease the crust of pavement,

un-ratchet the ligament to bones.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Drive Up

Breakfast is cold and there are zombies in the window,

The whole earth has them arriving to ask

To use the phone and then eat you. That is how they work

Without even opening their mouths.

There must be something wrong with the poor man, you say,

And then Chomp you're on your way, gooed up.

People will no longer admire the sunrises

Because the light will only reveal how everything is gone

To shit. Which always was the probing truth.

There was one time when someone would cut

A hole in the ground and dig around for precious stones,

Just the same some fool would root in his head for a clean

Idea to marvel everyone with and give some little

Glitter to it all. You could see it on the TV first thing

In the morning when the light was soft and you

In your Pajamas could get optimistic before they

Came to the windows with their breakfast orders,

And all the editors wrote down zombie names

And addresses where they could be found rubbing

The rough stucco on your house soft trying to get

Their orders right. And the chef who made it in

To the gas station at the last minute can cut

Up some old Twinkies and braze them with electrodes

Yanked from old electric telephones still stuck

To the wall and juiced.

And that marquee out front is just as old and cheesy

And holy-roller as you can please and the lord

Don't want no early bird special. But that zombie does,

The trucker feller with half a head and teeth, he got a

Manifest on your load. And there is a bird, and a boy

In a red cap, and some hunters in Camo overalls

And just think, it'll all be over when you say go, give up

The rifle and stand up and declare the diner to be up and

Open the window and take a fast, fast food order.

Another Reason

It's almost zombie season. The factory

Girls are staggering to the beach

In decayed memory of carnival fun,

Condoms and jellyfish in the breakers.

From the jetty, one of them tick-ticks

Its hips along the boardwalk towards us,

Some near intelligence of hipbones

Showing through the tattered lace

Of jogging shorts

When a girl appears out of the water

Thumb and pointing finger missing

From her hello-come-here. She is old enough

And naked except for the nylons

She got caught trying to run away in

Out to sea, the sand and hair across her

Face and open mouth plastered, sand

Coming from openings, some tiny crabs.

When she's near enough you shoot her

In the leg and she falls on her side, gobbling

At the air of her missed opportunity.

I'm smoking.

When it got dark we climbed the light tower

And watched the dunes in moonlight. What if

She hadn't drowned but walked into the sea

Because she had forgotten what it was.

Her hair was dark brown. We ate beans

From a can. You threw the can down to the rocks

And began to laugh with

Fear and courage. This is the end of everything

And so beautiful .