There Is No Land

at the very end of
there is no land,
no point
of departure into
the very end of
that clothing mental people
wear drowning
during the exact worst of journeys
precisely navigated
grief multiplied by the onset
of the very end of
piercing searing sound
all up and down the halls
first mates and crew
extreme revelations
infinity off the table now
where delicate imaginary flowers mix
worshiped with high sing-song
voices among a marble floor of amputations
the gluttons’ smoking blood
Tiresias now bolder
fathered once again, then fearless
no sanctified point
of departure

Spread Across the Walls

legacies are one thing
spread across the walls
of caves
on boxcars
preserved, revered
traveling day and night
but words
those most elevated
that is, always
subject to interpretation
wandering, one press to another
black ink spread across white paper
yet fungible, translated
like germs blown across
continents and oceans
libraries, classrooms
penetrating, infecting
human brains
exactly like
invading hosts that walk
the earth until they don’t

Their Fingers on Your Temples

Their Fingers on Your Temples

Relaxation is a fine thing to have
their fingers on your temples
moving in circles, slowly,
from the outside
like homicide detectives
sometimes do
carefully constructing an interview
in ringlets
toward a crime years ago
that came and went
like any other summer day

An Eruption of Imbeciles

An Eruption of Imbeciles

That garden
an eruption of imbeciles
she wished the exterminator
had included
in his estimate
but no
only cockroaches and termites
no infiltration of cunning
organic molecules in disguise
little growths that feed the brain
enlarge its ugly parts
then pass and hide in sludge
while the neighbor
helpful, meaning well,
offers cheery new ideas.

May I See It Please


That right ventricle
may I see it please
your sigmoid colon
it says here that on your
sister’s side there was
a son
a harness racer of some success

Kindly share with us
a little history,
an image of him, perhaps
in the library
between the track
and sleep

By Radio Waves


why not be this depressed
by radio waves
bulging past the planets,
evading spacecraft, asteroids,
upon re-entry
into messages
only gifted ones have heard

the signals decay for most
but still…

it is clear now what
our gods will want from us


Hate Will Do


if I can’t have love
hate will do,
its dirty socks
unbrushed teeth
are good enough words
benchmarks, self-acclaim
forever Halloween.
read my cratered cheeks
they give your smooth ones
a better place for kisses

Cowlicked upon the Stage


02 FEBRUARY 2020

resplendent in variorum
cowlicked upon the stage
travels one carload after
another speeding by at night
bows and claps completed
finished for the week
leaving no trail of outrage
or dissent, no color, height,
odor of skin
flash of sword
to thrill us another day or two
no stamp of disapproval
misspoken lines
nor bad reviews
can precede them
in their place
wherever it is they go

Tony Talks Back

Mainly, it was Miss Lavinia Thornton who taught me to love Dolores Morgan.

– Like hell it was, Tony says. Tony thinks he can see through anything and everything these days.

– Keyword equals mainly, I tell Tony.

– No way Mr. Faulkner. Key words, plural, equal Lavinia Thornton equals poor, black maid who works for, more key words here, Dolores Morgan equals rich woman of many sorrows. You are so full of shit, Allen, but whatever keeps you moored in pseudo-Faulkner-land, go for it.

Tony thinks he’s my alt. It’s fashionable enough these days to have one or two alts for yourself. Some even have, like, fourteen of them. But actually being one? All on your own? Tony believes he’s setting a trend that will soon push him onto the cover of GQ.

I have no idea why I allowed Tony to sub-let the spare bedroom in my rented bungalow on Quiet Street anyway. The idea, for me, was to work fewer hours at the cafe in town and have more time for my leisurely pursuits.

But… it just hasn’t worked out that way.

At first, I tried to be nice. Obviously, Tony was on the ropes financially. Not only had his wife and pit bull left him, but his bulldozer was repossessed, too. By some very rough-looking Romanian guy who did not wear a banker’s suit; who just one day pounded up the seashell driveway in greasy coveralls and those heavy black logger boots that add three inches to your height and ten pounds to your ankles. No nonsense. At. All. Like he owned the place. Just drove the Caterpillar straight down the driveway and clean out of sight. Since this was Tony’s only transportation, I took pity and said sure, you can stay another month if you have to.

Dumb. Just so fucking dumb.

Tony has now been here –  surprise, surprise – another five months. In which time he has revealed himself to be a literary critic of the very highest order, I assure you.

I tried to tell him that the story about Dolores Morgan was important, not just literarily, but also politically. I mean, how often do you stumble onto someone whose gay escort was used by a military contractor in order to blackmail McGeorge Bundy into pushing the Vietnam War during his time in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations?

Ronny, Dolores’s Cape Cod escort during the summer, and really her only local pal to speak of, first met Mac when they served together under Admiral Kirk – Sicily in ’43, then 1944 in the English Channel, right at the very middle of things as Operation Overlord developed. What stories Ronny could tell after a few drinks on Dolores’s porch overlooking the Atlantic!

Turns out, as he later confided in me, a third officer burst in on him and Mac one afternoon in private quarters just after the war had ended – with a camera! Once out of the darkroom, those 8×10 glossies were stored for over two decades in a wall-safe behind an unsigned Matisse. Had it not been for Ronny, there may well have been no war in Vietnam. That alone is worth whatever first sentence the storyteller wishes to start out with.