Tuesday, April 28, 2009

of boys:

“You are about 10 feet above the ground nestled among some large branches.
The nearest branch above you is beyond your reach
Beside you on the branch is a small bird’s nest
In the bird’s nest is a large egg encrusted with precious jewels, apparently scavenged by a childless songbird. The egg is covered with fine gold inlay, and ornamented with lapis lazuli and mother-of-pearl. Unlike most eggs, this one is hinged and closed with a delicate looking clasp. the egg appears extremely fragile”

From Zork I : The great underground empire

The ground is riddled with secret crypts
With doors that are unmarked
The forest beyond this point is impenetrable, the doors
Of the house are boarded
There does not appear to be a way
It is dark

And this is the point in the story
In which you must find
The matches and the candle,
Find out the monster repellant does not work

Ladies, we have had such practice at this
Learning to be monsters
Pulling rubber faces

Every pointed stick
Is a gun, or a sword,
Is a tool, a lash, a switch

and we have killed
each other, over and over again
taking turns with the armband, the stiff armed salute
the machinery of war

every fort is a prison we ward over ourselves, every
patch of woods is a kingdom of natives
to be beaten into submission
and made to kiss the cross

the game is boring, the game
must have a winner
the game must have a king
if it means me must take turns as the enemy

eggs are for hurling, are grenades
and stinkbombs, a cat is for catching
a dog is to kick

here you are, in our story
and what are we to do with you
it is dark, and you
appear to be fragile


When you play
This record backwards,
Use a feather from one of
Heaven’s captains as a needle, spin
It back, by hand
And let your mouth be a gramophone horn.

Do not operate heavy machinery
Do not operate on
A willing patient, even to graft wings
Onto his back, because of
The sun
This record will not withstand high temperatures
Or harsh language

There is no resemblance in this
To the trapped loop of voice
In sticky tape and rust,
Or in a row of lightbulbs
On, or off

This is the inscription in the tablet of stone
This is the tablet of law
Keep it in a box with kissing brass angels
For handles
Wear rubber shoes
When you carry it

The management is not responsible
For incorrect use.
The management is not responsible

If you should play this record
From tinny portable platter spinner
Strapped to the roof of an old jeep
And drive around the city walls
And if you should happen
To see the walls fall
Into the dust
The management is not responsible
For incorrect use, if upon playing this record

you should find your housepets
Becoming angels
The walls of your house crumbling
A mouth of flames in your barbecue pit

The management is not responsible

If you should quit your job, your body
And ride the dustmotes toward
some overwhelming answer,
some checkered flag

the management is not responsible

There is a song

In the throats of fish
In the whirlpool .
They have learned it
From the performing bear
In the barrel, from the lost
With their shouts
They tell of
a lake that does not end,
of the place the world
drops over the edge of itself

there is a song in the throats of fish
they have learned
from girls drunk on hopelessness
and novels, from swimmers trapped under stones
it is a color of blue, a thrash of bubbles
a hymn to dirt and cut grass

there is a song that the fish have for themselves
it is called heron, or hook
it is about a jab, and a bright place, after

the fish have eyes like cold stones
they are knit from dimes
their fleshless lips
cannot sing

Saturday, April 25, 2009


and on the third day
jack swopped some flour
for a fresh caught rabbit
and he skinned him and
set him stewin

and a scrawny old cat come up
and jack throwed her a bit of rabbit
while he waited for the moon
to drag somethin out the grave

and the cat come
to where the rabbit was stewin
and she say"sop doll"
and go to dip her baw in the broth

and jack hollers
"you sop your doll in my stew
and i'll cut that paw clean off"
and then he see a ring of nine
catswith their eyes glowin
like foxfire sand the first cat say

"sop doll" again
and she grin her pointed teeth in the dark
and dip her paw in the broth

and jack whip out that silver jacknife
and cut her paw off
and throws the whole damn pot
in the corner, disgusted

and the cats run off
and that was the end of the third night

in the mornin the miller come round'
and check on jack,and he say his wife is feelin poorly

and jack go with him up to the house
and the wife is laidout under a blanket

and jack say "show me your hand"and she show him
"n t'other" says jack
and she show him the first again

and he whip off the blanket
and there is bloody stump

and in the mill, in a pot ofa rbbit stew lies a hand
with a silver ring on the finger

and the miller sayshe never knowe'd
she was a witch as coudl sour milk still in the cow
and sell the wind in a poke

and that the town was dyin
on countof her dealins with the devil
snd that she had wanted to sop her doll
to lay jack out
and shut the mill

but he figgered he'd meant it
when he said till death do us part
and he burnt down the mill
with them both inside it

which was a hell of a note, and left jack out of work anyways
so in the mornin'
the miller and his wife come round
ready to haul him outand bury him like the rest

and jack jump up and put his britches on

and all day he grinds
and when the dark come
he sets himself some chicory coffee to bile, and a hoecake in the fire
and he watch the moon come up
like a unhitched barge
and he waits

and up out the millpond
come a drowned gir
lwith mud in her hair
and her eyes white as a bankers shirt

she open her mouth
and little fish come out an cold water
'stead of a song

and then the restcome clamberin out the mud
old jenny was there,
whatthrew herself off the greenup bridge
cold and horrible as anything

and she come clawin at old jack
but he reached into his gunny sack
and pulled out
his busted old one string fiddleand played

and all them dead girls danced all night
and there were'nt nothin left
but puddles on the stone floor in the mornin
and a smell like a riverbottom
or rain

and that was the end of the second night


it was after the mine fell in
jack set out a lookin for work
and willin to turn his hand
to just about anythin

when he come to that town
they'd boarded up the storefronts
and the bridge looked set to
fall in the river, on account of the rust

folks just standin in front of a gas station
and jack come up the road, lookin worse for it
asks where a feller c'n work for summat to eat
they all look down, like a bunch a hanged men
on invisible rope still finally one of em mumbles
aboutthe johnsin's flour mill

so up goes jack,and asks for work
at the milland the miller and his wife
give him a place to bed downin the mill,
and show him howto tend the wheel and mind the stone

and they tell how noone has lasted more than a day
and they brought the last one out on a board,
with his mouth all white frothand no spots in his eyes

so jack sets to grindin and weighs fair
and its comin on night
when an old man come off the hillcomes up,
with a lousy two buck grind,
gonna carry it backin a poke on a beat old mule

and the old man say he's sorry to come so late
but he needs to grind his crop
whihc aint nothin but a double barrow load anyways

so jacks sets the wheel a spinnin
and grinds up his wormy wheata
nd thanks him kindly

amnd the old man say
you are the first to do me right
and give jack a silver buckknife

that night, jack cooks up a soupbone and beans,
and the moon comes in through the hole in the roof

and in come a dead man with red hair and a broke neck
and then another just like him
and another
till the mill is plumb full
of wanderin boys that comelookin for work in hard times

jack says he saw john t albot there
,from up mcgoffey waybut that he dint say nothin

but jack sayscome share the fire boys
and the dead uns come round\
with eyes like dinnerplates
reflectin the moon and the fire
and teeth like broke-up mill gears

and they keep draggin their windin sheets
into the fireand burnin up,

and jack finally says
get out this mill, you damnfools
and they shuffle outliek a shift change at the mill
and that was the end of the first night

Monday, April 20, 2009

i go, slow loping behind you
into sleep,you are a rabbit
and i all jack-scrambling hillbilly
hound all clumsy hurtle and slaver
you have darted to the hillsto the tall
grass and the flushed birds rise and escape
the mundane sour-grape hurtle of shot
you are the slow doe trembling
at the edge of the wood i the head-
lights scraping trees
i am a tangle of fenceline, of wire
i am the treeline of the hedgerow,
you the pheasant eating the rich
corn of dream
i the badger among the mewling kits,
the dog loose
with a rope and peg
around his neck
past the cruising grounds,
where boys underwear and porn
hung in the trees
past the nests of liquor bottles and ashes
,the remains of night fishermen
the tall grass and police training grounds,
past the last tracks of four wheelers
on the river bottom mud
amid the saplings, the rotting catfish heads
the septic smell of the river and storm sewers

we'd smoke beneath the crumbling loading docks
victorian pumphouses brick facades, sun bleached plastic and tanglse of rope

in the morning, the fish leapt from the water
to eat dragonflies skimming low
the mist burning off the hills
weekday, schoolday sun glinting on golden cans of beer
the ceiling hung down
in solemn tatters
of cotton-candy insulation
my dead relative stared out of a heavy glass covered photograph
a brown-glass chandelier rested on the yellow moulding carpeting,
lamps with golden grapes
a the burst couch,nests and beetles in the mattress ticking,
cold sowbugs and centipedes crawling among the papers
lay beside the burnt fireplace,the andiron and tongs rusting
dry aquariums gathered manuscripts of oak leaves
and golden straw fish mouldered in a hidden drawer, swollen shut

in a sprawl of old records
i hid behind the mirrored doors
a welt of blood running behind my knee
the sound of voices calling my name
outside the sodden door
smell of chicken feathers and dust
my eyes closed, wishing myself away
in the attic of a farmhouse
that sits in the middle
of rotting outbuildings
brown eyed susans
rusting lead-gas cars
with dry-rotting uphosltery

there is an upright piano
with an out of tune high c
in the silence of that attic
are songs i carried on my back
there are cats,
that swarm throughthe rusting tractors,
the crates of junk
the barrels and cages and bones

there is a red linoleum floor
where i am forever dropping
a puzzle piece out an open window,
where i am stackinga chair atop another
atop a table to climb to the ceiling
a stone i am flipping over
where the black ants are running
away with their babies in their teeth

in winter, the ghosts of pigs
stare through the greasy windows
at a black handled phone
still under my name
in the city of my birth
there is a window
in an old school-come-municipal courthouse
the light chases motes
across the yellowed surface of a filing cabinet
where a cutting of a houseplant
stretches white roots into a drinking glass
of murky water
a muddy slope of dike and concrete floodwall
holds back a river of spring rain
the hills are wetly verdant
on the kentucky side
visible through the window
and in the dark,
between manilla sheets

sits the paper that certifies
that iw as born alive, and acknowledged by my parents

somewhere, in the same building
are the records of my arrests
for public intoxication,
the nightsspent in the blue room
with stars cutout of the plywood
where drunks howl, sing or sleep,
the marriage certificates of old friends

i have been a poor son of this place
to flee its crumbling buildings
boarded storefronts
choosing diaspora over ruin

leaving friends and family to
die in the blue grip
of opiates,of cheap speed
the house of my childhood,

with itsindustrial carpeting and HUD-approved
metal handrails
it's boarded fireplace
still squats
in its narrow allotment of mud
like a headstone
over an empty plot

Sunday, April 19, 2009

dogwood and hawthorne robins
grow on ridgetops,
along the quilted seams of property lines,
the place that is not a place
dogwood is junk wood, good for nothing
but paper pulp
and an embarassment of fruitless flowers
that the hilbillies say come at easter ,
because the tree was cursed
to never grow large enough to crucify a man again
hawthorne grows in small stands on the hilltops,
black clusters of cruciform thorns
waiting to prove them wrong

the robins rest in their branches, their chests still spashed
with the blood they never touched, the thorns
waiting for a head to crown
there is a crown of robins in your chest
when you sleep i hear them weaving old papers
and dry grass in your ribs
a tinderbox
your breath is a ragged banner,
a standard at the head of infantry
the blankets a mountain range
where you spit out a reel of stars and swallow them again
you speak an incantory language of dream
unknowable, and the small head of our baby
claims the space between your body and mine,
as it did when she grew,
when she was engendered there,
a hot spark in dry tinder
a flame in a bookstall,
a tiny open mouth in a nest

the first time i tasted your milk

we had between us no children
as of yet,and you said to me
"i still have a little , always"
and squeezed your breast in your hand
till it beaded on your sweet brown nipple
and i tasted that tiniest drop of your mercy
that tasted like nothing, or like everything,
tasted of your skin and your scent
and of nothing the way a kiss tastes
i did not know that i would drinkyour milk mixed with blood
did not know the babies coming,
how you would teach me to drink
how you would become my bones

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

low low prices

the escalator to the center of the earth
is just past housewares,
and behind the customer service desk
you can disregard the chain over the stairs,
and the "Caution! wet floor!" triangles

the first few flights are the same as our floor,
only with chained doors
after about fifteen floors , they have labels,

every three floors there is a restroom, every seven a waterfountain

the music keeps playing,
and the lights flickerin that never-quite dying
way that fluorescents have
i've callen maintenence at least thirty times: they feign ignorance

eventually it is darkand the music gets fainter
finally there is just the sound of the stairs
it is hard, in the dark to notice
when it finally opens up into the caves,
maybe you catch a cooler breeze or the scent of the bats
eventually, between flights, you no longer feel the linoleum,
there are a few floors with mud, or batshit then stone

there is a flutter of wings in the dark,
and then the walls start getting hotter,

then it's linoleum and lights and waterfountains again

some of the doors here are open though,
one is a library that is always on fire
another is the ashes of a church
there is a rainy ditch, a trashheap
stockpiles of rusting ammunition
rooms of lost things

frank, from menswearsays one of the rooms has an old plane in it
i myself have heard something roaring
behind one of the doors
that's as far down as anyone has been

we were hoping you could tell us
what the upstairs is like
you're the first customer we've ever had
that came from up there

with apologies to thomas disch, jorge luis borges and jean paul sartre

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

of fear

A curio cabinet of nights
With our bed empty
An atlas of anxieties
Indexed in a library of silences
That unstitch our sheets

A scream, below the water
In a salted tub,
Hot sharks
Of your anger swarming from your throat
Blackbirds escaped from a piecrust, stealing noses

Here is the safe filled with water
Where we kept my honesty
A vault of mermaids in your ribcage
Drowned at last, and songless

Here are the unwashed dishes of my apologies
The empty bottles of your forgiveness
The skeletons tongue of our vows,
Writ in dust and the language of bones

Here is that house
With cold beds, a phone anvil
Here is the television hissing amnesia,
Silent cries from a baby’s mouth

Here I build a dollhouse of my terrors,
Filled with untenanted rooms
Run my fingers through the stone hair
Of a shoulderless statue
A throat filled with saws, with knives

Here is the swallowed song from behind the rusted teeth
An unwishing, and the way we wake
Like a swimmer greets the air

written in a workshop with thanks to the magically delicious ms Rachel Mckibbens

Monday, April 13, 2009

the horrible is commonplace

Poor Mercy Brown, fresh in the grave
Was dragged out into the light
A rabbit grabbed by the heels
And kicking

She was still the ripe 19 year old farmgirl
When she was laid down with galloping consumption
Beside her mother and her sister
In Exeter Baptist churchyard
There was blood pooled wet in her heart

Her mother was a husk of dry leather
And her sister , too, a discarded shoe
In a wooden box
But Mercy Brown was radient in the dark
Her cheeks, a hectic bloom

For two months she had lain in the cold,
an unstruck match in a box
and Edwin, her brother
back from the dry climates to die
was sick

and the family and the village gathered round
looking for a marvel

surely only a bloodfat tick
would lay in the dark
and drink poor George Brown’s family down
surely there is something... unnatural

So in March, when the ground was soft
they pulled her from the dark
and found her turned over, a restless sleeper
her liver still filled with liquid blood

and in 1892, the year that Ellis Island opened
the year that General Electric was founded,
they cut out her heart
in the year that Edison patented the two-way telegraph,
they burned her heart to ashes
In the year of the birthday of Carnegie Steel
They fed the ashes of her burnt heart to her brother
Who died, regardless, two months later
Leaving George Brown alone

Later that year, a hidden lake burst from the side
Of a mountain, killing 200 holiday guests
The city of St Johns burned to the ground

And in Fall River, Massachussets
Poor Andrew Jackson and Abby Durfee Borden
were found, their heads burst like rotted pumpkins
and their bodies laid out
as if they were sleeping

this too, is an age of monsters

to the adopted son of minos

When the cunning engineer built the gilded cow
your mother crawled inside,to fool the god's white bull,
and let her have her pleasure
did he foresee you,
your awkward crown
and the palace he would buildt o hide you in?

When you squatted
at the center of the maze
like a dull spider,among the bones and greaves,
did you see your death
come strolling, unwinding thread behind?

And when he had taken
your life from you,
and left you in the center of that story
and began to ravel back the thread
did he see, tugging on the other ends

the woman avenged, and the children
thrown, bloody and dead in a heap
the dragons teeth that sown
sprouted armored men?

Did he see the them carving, even then his seat in hell?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

the northern country

the robins are starving in the thin snow
their blood splashed chests, a false fire
in the glass branches of trees

there is a river, that is falling,
over stone and ice,
that has been falling
since the stones ground flour
that now decorate unused parks
and an empty museum, with a gift shop

each day, i sit in half-burned down factory
where 36 men burned to death
beetled on the edge of the cliff

from the empty office
across the hall
the water is steady as time,
as the water that carried a trained bear
over the falls in a barrel,
that killed Sam Patch the daredevil, in 1829

the engines that ran the streetcars
rust in a disused bar's basement
and the river, indifferent
to living and dead

drops through the broken wheelhouse
riming the bones of abandoned scaffolding with ice
this is a brutal country,
still half wild
beneath suburban streets.

the old hotels and whorehouses
keep their secrets
masquerading as chain resteraunts,
as boarded storefronts

at night, with my hound howling
at the swollen udders of the moon
trying to hang himself with his leash
we chase deer across the frozen lawns

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

the difference between hell and purgatory is that purgatory has an end

"We haue also with vs in hell a ladder, reaching of an exceeding height, as though it would touch the heauens, on which the damned ascend to seeke the blessing of God; but through their infidelitie, when they are at the very highest degree, they fall downe againe into their former miseries,"
Mephistophilis to Faust the english faustbook'

The kingdoms of hell are manifold,
Lacus mortis, the lake of death
that sterile mirror
with a namesake on the face of the barren moon
Gehenna, the smouldering trashheap of Jerusalem,

there are the kingdoms of lost things,
the sea of shipwrecks,
the tumbled confusionof the world unbuilt,
the house of broken promises

kings once carved in the walls of their tombs
"let me not walk with my head downward
eating feces in the land of the dead"
raised altars that they might not thirst in that place

and what will you do, when you come?
oathbreaker, devourer of hearts,
prideful liar and despoiler of innocence?
will you find your house of panderers,
the indolent aids in your self devouring sideshow,
the flattering audience to your atrocities?
will you drag the hollow idol of your pride
to that house, too?

there is a city, on the shore of a lake,
surrounded by marsh
if there is enough liquor
perhaps you will not notice
where you are

Monday, April 6, 2009

The ballad of Tamlin

I forbid you, maidens all
That wear gold in your hair
To come and go by the woods of Carterhaugh
For fell Tamlin dwells there

For none my go by those woods so deep
But leave to him a pledge
A pledge-ring or mantle they cannot keep
Nor their maidenheads

Janet ties a mantle green
A bit above her knees
With braided hair
And a stolen mare
Away. away to woods goes she

And when she came to the heart of the wood
Beside the well, below the night
She found in the briar a two-headed rose
And pulled with all her might

And then his rusted armor rose
From beside the starry well
With a tangle of briars and starlight
And wind from the pits of hell

Says Tamlin
“why do you pull the rose,
Or break and crush the wand
Why come you to the heart of the wood,
Without my command?”

Say Janet
“Carterhaugh wood it is my own
My father gave it me
I’ll come and go” she said
“ and ask no leave of thee”

Janet ties a mantle green
A bit above her knee
With star-loose hair
A fattened mare
To her father’s house goes she

Four and twenty maidens fair
Danced her welcome ball
And into the hall came Janet
The flower of them all

And out spoke her father broken and grey
And brought to the house his shame
He shouts “you see the swollen mare,
Who shall bear the blame?

Says Janet
“hold your tongue, you greybeard fool
An ill death may you die
I’ll lay me down where I please
This child is none of thine

And if I go with child
Myself shall bear the blame
Their not a knight in all your hall
Shall have the babies name

For my love was an earthly knight
And now’s an elfin grey
I would not give my own true love
For any lord you have

He rides a steed of storms
Much faster than the wind
shod with the silver moon before
The sun’s own gold behind

Janet ties her mantle green
A bit above her knee
And braids her hair,
Milkwhite and fair
Away to the heart of the wood goes she

And beside the well of stars
The briar in the wood
From the darkbelow he rose
And beside young Janet stood

Says Tamlin
Why pull you the two headed rose
Among this grove so old and green
Why have you a moonbright knife to kill
The bonny babe we got us between?

Says Janet
“tell me Tamlin my love,
How came you here to dwell?”
Says Tamlin
The queen of air and darkness
Caught me, when from my horse I fell
And carried me off in the wood and the briar
And into the hill to dwell

And pleasant is the fairy land,
But horrors are to tell
For at the end of seven years
They pay the tithe to hell
And I am fair, and full of flesh
And fear it is myself

But the night is hallows eve
And tomorrow hallowday
And win me away from the wood you must
And we shall be away

For at the knell of midnight
The host of fair folk ride
And if you love me truly
At Miles cross you will bide

My right hand will be gloved,
And bare will be my left
My helmet open to the night wind
And I’ll ride silent among the rest

First let pass the horses black
Then let pass the horses brown
And run you to the milkwhite steed
And pull the rider down

They will turn me in your arms
Into a foul and hissing snake
But hold me tight and fear not
I am your baby’s father

And they will turn me in your arms
To a bear so grim, and a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear not
And you will love your child

And they will turn me in your arms
To a burning brand of iron
Hold me tight and fear not
No harm I’ll do to you

And when I am a burning coal
In your hand an in your heart
Cover me over with milk
And throw me in the well

And then I’ll be your own true love
And seem a naked knight
And cloak me in your mantle green
and keep me out of sight

cold and dark was the night
and eerie was the way
when Janet came in her mantle green
and at miles cross did stay

and in the mirk at the midnight hour
she heard strange trumpets sing
and she was as glad at that unholy din
as any earthly thing

and past went the knights on the night-black steeds
and past the earthly brown
and she ran to corpsewhite, lilywhite horse
and pulled the rider down

and changed he then to snake
and a bear and lion bold
and changed he then to a
burning brand
till the well did make him cold

and naked as a baby
in green she shrouded him
and stood at miles cross naked
and trembling stood Tamlin

and the queen of air and darkness
and all her troop cried out
but Janet held her husband fast
as circled they about

‘had I known, Tamlin, “spoke the queen
“what tonight I would see
I would have taken your two grey eyes
And set them in a rowan tree”

“Had I known, Tamlin” she said
What tonight I would see
A heart of stone would have been your prize
And honor in my company

based upon Child Ballad #39A,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In the menagerie, in the mud

we are greeted by the rhinoceros,
tapping horns over a mouthful of hay

there is a branchless tree filled with tires and windchimes,
a punching bag. Little birds hop
in the stagnant water that fills their footprints

the children mill around your feet,
our boy peering out through a shark's mouth
our girl teetering atop this newly borrowed body

they face each other like railcars
in collision, like stormclouds or sumo wrestlers
in the mud

leather behemoths, creaking, the delicate hair of their ears
like pennants in the slightest breeze, the long hard slope of their foreheads
bony as triceratops

and you, and I, and our half healed scars
walk together
and the little birds sing at our feet

Friday, April 3, 2009

the babies are in their beds
the dog is snoring
you do not forgive me
and are sleeping, a rigid knife
in the bed and the shiphouse
is moored to the front trees
you are gone, into sleep
today you have been a dying woman
you have given the beauty and mercy of your lies
to strangers and so given me this unforgiving truth
before sleep, the house I allow myself to think
we share, sleep is lonesome as a storm,
and the dreaming face you wear is not for me
is an imagined cancer for yourself
is imagined crimes in an imagined city
I will go and sleep beside the
blade of your silence, and chase you,
a keystone doctor herky-jerky with apologies,
my silent mouth spitting black and white locomotives
and mimed apologies, cards between scenes
in a script noone can read

Part the third: the father's creed

toothed-wheel world unwinding
Hobbled gear in the engine of heaven.
See here,the secret library
beneath the pyramid
the spark plug embedded in stone
the clay jars filled with electricity and stale wine

here is the prophet of virginia beach
here is the fifth world
here is a jar filled with ashes
here is a stone calender stopwatch for humanity

silently ticking

here is a layer of black ash with bones beneath it
here is grease, and engines and steel

here is the map of the world-that-was,
the islands of the antarctic,the lost kingdoms

here is the map of the world-that-will-be
the tilted bowl of the lakes
spilling down, new york and los angeles
dreaming below the swollen ocean
here are saucers, buzz-sawing through the sky
the water teeming with lake monsters,
cryptozoological horrors and wonders
yeti and the hollow earth
in mass, say only this:
“lord I am not worthy to receive you
but only say the word and I shall be healed”
know this:the world will end,
the lakes will pour across
the center of america,
the cities are doomed
to devolve to beast-men,

to burn without ceasing
while planes drop from the sky like stunned birds

know this: I live here,

with my library of secrets,
my heart filled with monsters
on the lip of the lake,
the edge of the city
waiting on the word
waiting for an end

Thursday, April 2, 2009

just now : NAPOWRIMO 3

When you walked out in the backyard
And the sun was shining, you
Did a turn kick still dressed in your pajamas
And I said wanted to say you are beautiful
And I cannot bear to leave you today
So I will call off work and spend the day just
Looking at the strawberry-fleck of your
Lip and we will make a nest of blankets
And laugh and let me hold on to this moment
Of the sun and you in your pajamas

But instead I said something stupid
And you said “gross”
And I felt that I had stood in the scales
And been found wanting and something
In my guts is a kicked dog, always
And it turned and gnawed at my guts
like a rope of sausages
So I stared out the window of the car

And you put music on, and it made the silence louder
So I turned it down

And I thought I could let the poisonous thing out
And I said something else stupid
Trying to deflate the growing thing in my guts
And you heard me dismiss
Your hurt, and you
Grew larger and angry
And my kicked dog burrowed
Under my lungs to hide

And you shouted, and you were right
And I walked into work
And hated my dumb hands
and my stupid mouth
That can never hold on to the sun, and your pajamas
Or touch the strawberry-fleck of your lip

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

part the second. in which we meet the boy and girl

There was a girl who unmade her mother
who picked out the stitches of her silences
till the stuffing showed, the doll’s glass eye
glistening, the devil’s radio in her ears .

The skinless-poison mother rose,
spitting condemnation and doctored photographs
of misremembered history, decanted children
her milkless plastic teat left behind like an afterthought
in a giftwrapped box , her voice of hot dust .

Love this motherless girl,
Her milk-on-ice, her sugared cakes
Her belly-oven and babies, with tiny hands.

There was a boy who did not know how to be a boy
Whose father spoke of machines,
And a toothed-wheel world unwinding
While he kept a wringer-washer
filled with gasoline and secrets.

The greaseblack father rose and left his mark
a stain on crumbling walls and babyskins
the empty-endings speech stuttering in the boy’s head
till he wrapped himself in rags and leather
and stumbled through the world a deadwalking thing
creaking and electric and waiting for a storm.

There is a story of how they found one another,
dead boy and oven-bellied girl
his matchbook of confessions, her sweetly frosted heart
and what he did to it. I can not tell it here

say something green curled out of his bony sockets
say she warmed the greasy lump in his rusted chest
save horrors for another day