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 .

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sleep II

I ride the relapse out, literally, on the motorcycle.
The night streaked downtown, the flint edge of cold to penetrate,
Five bad days break on the sixth like a wave.

I download an old album, choke the bike high for the cold,
Pound it up Riverside again. I ride it high strung,
Keyed up, banking straight into the sun.

It is music with its own fabric, it can wash over you if you let it.

It is what my son Henry calls monster music.

The light shatters, fragments through woods yet to come back.
Guitars rending, feedback from the bike, its music, it’s humming
In my chest. When the woods taper and end at Huguenot,
It is my emergence. It is joy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Viggo's Hot Swedish Breakfast

On the Phone

Prof. Snodgrass: Oh this says it's buy one, get one....

Me: What?

Prof. Snodgrass: Mashed Potatoes.

Me: In a box?

Prof. Snodgrass: In a tub. I want to hear no derision on the subject.

Me: So are you getting the tacos? That's like six different stops. You gotta get the meat, the shells...

Prof. Snodgrass: Yeah, you gotta get the little packets..

Me: You don't do the meat with salsa and taco sauce?

Prof. Snodgrass: No

Me: You're kidding me. The little packets?

Prof. Snodgrass: Listen, Truckstop, I know it ain't Pimento cheese sandwiches or anything.

Me: "Truckstop." That's nice.

So later I sent him a text message: "Tubbed-Tater Eating Pennsyl-tucky Chicken-fucker". To which he responded: "I weep like Dave Mustane."


Be Good

They told me that an emotion is proceeded by a thought,
And in this way, if I thought right, I could begin to feel better.
They told me that I had to change my mind in order to survive.

Thus I am currently of the mind that the citizens of this world
Are not out to consume me.

Yesterday there was a service for one of our sisters that fell along the way.
Her father told us that an experience in childhood had fractured her personality,
So that later, as an adult, her mind would attack her almost daily.

I wasn't going, I needed money. It so happened it was held in a church
The next block over from where I'm working, I came back from lunch
And recognized everyone on the street, they were in suits and nice dresses.
I walked up to the church in my two days worth of sawdust.

I hadn't planned on going. In my mind, if she'd had a big event
I would go and wish her well, but in this case it wasn't necessary.
She wouldn't be there. She'd already moved on.


Sweet Viggo's Buttermilk Taints

Another Healthy Addition to Viggo's Hot Swedish Breakfasts.


Friday, March 14, 2008


Never forget there are still monsters, those without even the convenience
Of being human anymore. Don't you forget them.
This is undercurrent, consider it a theme. Like a tree
You have sap inside yourself, this is the season is rises.
Stand against that which gives way. Remember, you are not at war
The red-tail hawk high up in the dead part of the tree across the way
Might have it's own message, it doesn't necessarily have to be one of violence.



--Sleep, Holy Mountain

I don't know what the hell this is either, I was just hunting for some metal. I do know for this music to be truly effective you have to play it really fucking loud.

The Trouble with Zombies

When you realize that you are being

Eaten by a zombie instead

Of reading a poem,

You will feel cheated at first

Then a little icky because your shirt

Is now wet and that makes you think

Of the time you spilled soda down your

Front at the movies and, because of shame,

Were forced to sit in the sticky

Until the darkness lifted. Go on, make

Sense of the sensation of being eaten

By applying some critical theory,

I suggest Deconstruction, the stack

Of fresh paper you were going to print

Your fancy poems on slips

Onto the floor as you flail after it.

The leaves are soaking up your blood now,

The zombie is chewing on a hunk

Of your neck, and you are shocked

To realize that it is your neighbor who

You were thinking of including

In a poem about dry cleaning and shirts

And stains and the way shame

Can unravel the mind. And as you begin

To black out you remember seeing

The neighbor beat his kid in the backyard

But you didn’t do anything

Because you were reading a poem

And it made you nervous to think you might

Have to go over and say something

And instead you sat there, reading

Your poem, trying to connect the bright, hopeful light

To the scene in the yard next door.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


It’s a sunny day like this

From the rooftops I think the chain fence

Is come to.

I think of the kids dancing to some rowdy

Music passing in a car.

There is disaster strapped to a cloud

Shaped this time like Thomas Edison

The inventor of the wax sound tube,

Of the wind gauge and needles

Against skin to test the heart

For strength.

But from here I can’t really help

The hole in the world. That Chevy truck

Still lean to in the ditch for some week now,

I can’t resurrect the winter to freeze,

Nor poke out a loop of birds to pass on.

No, the grass is all grown

So far as I think of growing

I might consider when I’ll fall asleep

And slip off this roof, or when the arms

Come through the crack in the door

And nudge the lock off her perch, so

Long as I can still point easy at my own head

Like I was scratching or pulling the trigger,

Why not go hopelessly on a relaxed memory

And the clouds come apart into paper wads,

Toss themselves in the wastepaper basket.