17 December, 2008

This Is a Poem I Wrote, If You Wanted To Know What Was New With Me.

let me explain
what I mean when I say
that I feel these days like I have found my voice,
or a voice that could be
mine, for now.

the way in which these things are said
gives me great comfort
a feeling of well-being
because something is wrong
inside my brain
that causes me to feel this way.

I have images still,
and know about the crumpled flyer
for the happy hour special
with the chewing gun wadded inside its folds
resting between two rails
on the gutter
in the lamp-light that hums
loud enough to hear from one block away

it is impossible
that I have forgotten
the sound of the water as it moves under the rocks
and over the rocks
past low hanging trees
bowing down to dip their branches in
and cool their trunks

all of this remains,
but it is like
a tightly wound box now
and it is harder to find space
for such large pieces

16 December, 2008

From the Weapons Department of My Heart

I am writing a completely new poem now
and it is unlike any that you have read
for a number of reasons including
but not limited to the fact that
upon reading this poem you have fallen
hopelessly in love with me.

Apparently it was all a question
of intention, the force of willpower
and my poem is stretched like a skin
across the drum-head, and you
getting close enough to read it
are surprised when I burst through.

Having taken up in both hands now
every sweet thing I would have told you
since the moment that we met,
I have loaded this poem like a cannon,
and surely when the fuse reaches the
emotions it will explode outwards
and leave a hole in your chest,
with the light shining through
where your heart used to be.

A Relatively Short Poem About a Long Distance

what is this new softness, as fingertips search
for the seam between then and here.

Dense and wooded, the distance between us, farther than
the most distant mountain I can see from my rooftop.

I cannot imagine how we have arrived here, me
who can imagine anything, and you, of whom I’ve dreamed.

Can you hope for an opening of the earth, like a sinkhole
that closes itself, bringing your house next to mine?

Then of course we would be neighbors, and you would be
the girl next door, and I? Silly boy, frozen in my yard.

05 November, 2008

Romantical Pastoral

My deep concern for you is like a river
and my continuing admiration is like a canoe
on that river.
In that canoe are two men, and
they are my fears about success.
Each of these men has a new pack of cigarettes,
they are forty of my character flaws.
On the banks of the river are many
Low hanging trees, which are weighted with my doubts.
In one of these trees is a small bird
Representing our hopes for the future.
The worm in the stomach of this bird
Is your sordid past.
There are seven rocks in a pile
By an upturned stump
A few feet from the tree with the bird
And this arrangement of objects
Has all the qualities of my ability
To make strangers feel at ease.
Less than a mile from the river is a cabin
That stands in for financial security.
There is the sound of banjo music coming
From an unspecified place between the cabin
And the riverbank and it represents
Your preferences in bed.
Beneath the water there is a variety of aquatic life
Known also as possibility.
These are just a few of the ways
In which my deep concern for you
Is like a river.

21 October, 2008


Somewhere in America, this afternoon
there is someone who believes
in the pure wonder of possibility,
seeing the yellow leaves around white trees
through the fogged window.

There is something on the mountains
either fog or smoke, between us
you who believes and I
who knows.

Recently I have fallen in love with demolition,
the smoke rises from the earth and separates.
It has proven everything to me
about forgetting, and how we can.

Every length of time that is possible,
less then the time I have been alive –
I have lived them all.

At twenty-two years old,
in between my day job and
the parts I save for you, and you, and you
I am a person and a poet
always knowing how to say words
when I am quiet,
what to say when I can’t find how.

11 October, 2008

The Most Dangerous Game

The most dangerous game I think
is not what you’d expect
it is in fact monopoly, played by men with knives
and bad intentions.
These men were released
from one hundred institutions
just only yesterday in fact that one is still
wearing his gray jumpsuit
which gives him a measure of order the others lack
except of course they are all holding knives.
You are exempt from seeing
All the knives they are holding
For the purposes of this game
in order to make it interesting
and also because part of playing
the most dangerous game
I think is that you don’t know
you are.
The advantage of that is
without the nervous tension,
knife-based mostly,
you’ll probably win this game of monopoly
in which case the knives may or may not
become an issue.
Emotions run high
In hidden-knife monopoly
For reasons known and unknown
but it doesn’t change the price of hotels
or the fact that you’ll trade the Electric Company
for Reading Railroad,
and that consistency should afford you
a measure of peace in an otherwise
wildly dangerous, albeit secretly,
game at least
as far as you’re concerned.

Poem for Wang Wei

Living alone now in my bare rooms in Onion-River valley,
Waiting for a visitor at my green gate who never arrives.

Sitting by my window I watch as the forest changes colors,
each morning more and more of the trees have gone yellow.

I drink cold tea all day long and read old master Wang Wei
wondering at similarities between our rivers and mountains.

Service has brought me to this wild valley, between peaks
I think it funny that the old master had it quite the opposite.

I Have Been To Las Vegas

I have been to Las Vegas
And on the whole, it was not a good experience.
But all the red dirt and plastic
Helped me to get to know America
In the way you can only get to know someone
Making love in a car, someone you normally
Limit your love-making with to a bed.
Faced with new difficulties,
Creative problem solving is required,
And you bear witness while trying
To get your pants off.

These parked cars and driving cars
Everywhere now and they leave that out
When they talk lovingly about the past
That there were cars parked on the streets
Back then as well, maybe fewer but equally

Once they were all machines, metal beasts
We could understand, it was like riding a horse
Or riding inside a horse I suppose,
But less bloody – the point is the
Muscles were mechanical
And everybody could relate.

Now we have digital cars, I think
And the thing about them is
Everything in unobservable,
All quiet on the western front.
You put in a quarter and they go,
And fuck man they go.

Somewhere in America children are howling
At the moon and breathing the dirt kicked up
By passing south-east Asian cars speeding
Through the noonish, electric nighttime
And it’s all our fault.

07 August, 2008

second train song

Train-Song # 2 08/05/08

Rectangles of corn standing stick straight beside the train tracks,
green mourners watching the procession as it rolls out of town.
The river, red with dirt from between the rows of drowning crops
drowns its banks and falls with a wet flop under the tracks
snail-sliming its red way off into the horizon that changes always.

The dark green of trees, soggy and smeared, is like a paper chain,
a fence of men in damp green raincoats holding hands and frowning.
They guards the distance from the train, whose whistle finds the cracks
and slips through the wall of trees and homes and telephone poles
howling out towards the mountains to the east across the grassy space.

At every station the train grinds to a halt, like cold sandpaper from the shed
dragged across waterlogged wood brought in by the tides of an ocean
so far from here that no familiar gulls circle down to compete
With the local pigeons for brown cores of apples and white crusts of bread.

Beside these tracks only the homes of the poor sit now, alone and tired
leaning this way and that, sinking down to meet the ground that buckles
and cracks the boards of the porch, pulling the sheds into their terrible slouch.

Burnt orange flashes of rust and decay mark the walls and doors now
of these houses once new and straight, standing square beside the tracks
and built from the wood of the trees that stand beside the corn plants.
Houses filled with people, fed by the corn, who watched the trains go by.

12 July, 2008

Train Song.

The window slides along the landscape
Like a lost man dragging a picture frame
Across the green heart of the north east

I am sitting, facing backwards
And as a result I can only think about
What has happened.

Tomorrow there might be loud discussions,
I might go and buy pots and pans.
I might sleep in all day.

I can’t decide, it’s not my decision.

But wait, there’s more:

Two nights ago I confessed a love
And was ashamed.
Last night I was ashamed.
Today I am ashamed.
I might be ashamed tomorrow,
I can’t decide.
It’s not my decision.

But wait, there’s more:

There is a blonde girl on the train, but she is no help.
There are two boys on the train, but they are no help.
The train and its tracks help me some,
With the space they put between my shame and me.

That is the space sadness fills, but there is only so much sadness.
It will be stretched thin and there will be space for happiness.

But wait, there’s more:

There are spaces between the trees outside the window.
Maybe there are trees between the spaces, and sadness only between the spaces.

I have called her three times.
Maybe she is with another man.
Maybe she is crying.
I don’t want that, but I can’t help thinking about it.
I will call her again before I am done writing.

But wait, there’s more:
I have seen one thousand houses and I will see one thousand more.
None of them are my house, none of them are her house.

But wait, there’s more:

I am a man with a face of great concern.
I am a picture of shame in a steel frame,
Shooting across the green heart of the northeast.

It is a traveling exhibit,
The fastest in history.

But wait, there’s more:

When I go to sleep they will build a museum around me.
It will be all the explanation I can manage.
They will build it next to the other ones,
Whose frames are now empty,
Because I am on permanent loan.

27 June, 2008

In Response to a Prompt

like a still life in motion
or: a clock, if you prefer
its case, so perfectly still
surrounds the whirring
each and every little part
some of them are animals,
the rest vegetables (fruit)
or minerals, stone solid
points, and around them
the flesh things spin,
though only fine oscillation.
Somewhere between
An instance and an instant
you’ve trained your eyes,
ears, nose, mouth, heart.

25 April, 2008

and last one tonight.

Morton’s Fork

This is the way in which I proceed.
This much madness is too much madness, I think.
Thinking this, I am here about the revolution.
Because I am here about the revolution,
and building a small cabin
I have found a reason to write a comprehensive almanac.
When I am not here about the revolution,
and I am not building a small cabin,
I am writing a comprehensive almanac.
The almanac includes or doesn’t include a section on each subject.
When I write my comprehensive almanac,
either thinking or not thinking about madness
and the amounts of madness there are and aren’t,
but not building a small cabin,
though perhaps thinking or not thinking
about building a small cabin,
I write a section in the almanac on each subject.
In or not in each section I include or don’t include
a section that is either about or not about each subject.
When I am or am not writing or not writing a section about each subject
or not about each thing I am building or not building a small cabin.
When I am building or not building a small cabin,
while I am thinking or not thinking about whether this much madness
is or isn’t too much madness,
and I am writing or not writing a comprehensive almanac,
I am always or not always thinking about the revolution,
or not the revolution.
In this way I proceed.

Saw my first concert there.

Jones Beach State Park

The grey wooden walkway floats damply over the grasping fingers of salt water:
Its pilings silent, clogged with must and clamped heavily with marine life.

The music is questionable: the question is immaterial

Over the roar of the sea: there is only the occasional gull.

What aren’t they thinking, sitting alone or in twos and threes?
Each one contains one bird-brain, and two hollow-boned wings.

Without any guidepost I would pace down the pier
Dividing up all the debris: some flotsam and some jetsam.

This uneasy and tired night, settled firmly over the sea-side landscape
A space reaching to be filled, like interlocking parts of a whole portrait.

Some darkness is like a winter, thin and full of wires
And the lights reflect on the surfaces of the water, moving back and forth.

Three flags wildly flapping and clapping loudly in the midnight breeze: 

I am casually rolling home wearing a garland of garbage and leaves

The pavement along side the pier, cracked and holding back
The earth’s final cataclysmic stretch outwards towards the stars.

A list

A List of Things That Cannot Be Described in Words

1. The taste of peanut butter.

2. The feeling of laying awake in bed on a weekday morning.

3. The sound of the D string on an acoustic guitar.

4. Wind that blows the front of your flannel shirt open and cools your hair.

5. The interior of pancakes.

6. The first instant of sexual intercourse.

7. Snow on the soles of bare feet.

8. Pine resin between your thumb and index finger.

9. The smell of bacon in a hallway.

10. The smell of old paperback books.

11. Soup in the moustache.

12. Headache.

13. The cold side of the pillow

14. The moment of inevitability between the trip and the fall.

15. Vomiting.

16. Just the lips (and the tip of the nose) in an icy creek.

17. Owing money all around.

18. The smell of grass.

19. Rock and Roll.

20. A pink sunset through grey windows on a yellow day.