Friday, April 10, 2009

The Knight of the Burning Pestle

for Bob and Leslie Currier

I’m happy to be your dwarf.
I’ll romp and sing in your park.
And play my harmonica at night
For the drunks in the dark.
Even a dwarf has got to eat.

I’m lucky to be an idiot.
Despite my grudge against management
For beating the elephants.
I praise the mediocrity of the actors
The acrobats and clowns

For joining the circus.
A dwarf is burdened by mirrors.
I drink too much for a dwarf.
But a dwarf thinks harder than most
An abyss stares back.

I have always questioned management
For chaining the prostitutes.
A dwarf is lucky to find work,
Especially in this circus,
(Despite my natural gifts)

Even if it’s yoking the elephants
to the prostitutes at dusk.
A dwarf is happy with less.
Less is infinitely more,
Unless you’re counting out the dollar.

The circus is my fife.
It ain’t as comfortable as death
For a dwarf cleaning out the toliets,
but you got to admit:
It sure beats living at a desk.

Long ago, I accepted this circus,
despite the management.
My retort is to the point, succinct:
Shave me and teach me to bark,
I’ll romp for joy in the dark.

The Death of Theatre

Richard Burton visited my bedroom last night,
acne-smacked deadbeat,
Offering a bedside drink
Reciting poetry to rival sleep
‘Miles to go before we meet’

Pock-marked, hung-over
Green-eyed, Somber,
‘Proffer your deeds to oblivion ‘
Smoking the infinite cigarette
Incandescent

Working class banished finally
death to the theater
refuge of the incompetent
muttering and mumbling
scavenged by the inept

theatre left to scoundrels
Shakespeare Festival fifes
Pontificating ‘artistic directors’
David Garrick somewhere
Rolled over six feet under

Hell is what you make it
Nipping bourbon
Burton offers a metal flask:
“Better than work in the coal mines,
or a desk job.”

Death is a film;
Milton and Donne
Drinking with Dylan and Elizabeth
the whole night long;
I have been summoned

Despite reason,
to deliver a sermon
a burden for the both us:
'the death of poetry,
don’t leave it to the jackals,

Proffer your deeds to oblivion',
His whiskey breath,
rivals his smoke,
from moment to moment:
Hell is what you make it

Friday, August 1, 2008

I shut my eyes when I hump the bed

I shut my eyes when I hump the bed
I open born again
I think I heard you inside my head.

I dreamed that I tricked you into bed
and drove you quite insane
I shut my eyes when I hump the bed.

And imagine your hand here instead.
Men being men,
I think I made you up inside my head.

I dreamed that you dragged me into bed
and fingered me quite insane.
I close my eyes when I hump the bed,

And pretend to be your friend instead.
Women being women:
I think I made you up inside my head.

I grow old and forget your name
Born again, born aflame;
I close your eyes when I hump the bed.

I should have loved my boyfriend instead
I drove him quite insane.
I close my eyes when I hump the bed
I think I heard you inside my head.

Love is expensive in a crisis

for Robert Frost

Love at the lips is sweeter
Than I can bare
I prefer whiskey
Because it’s bitter

And cheaper
And easier to ignore
Glenlivet or Talisker
Whiskey seemed strong

When I was young
And thoroughly dumb.
When I longed for flesh
Against the flank.

Love is acidic
With experience
And sickeningly sweet
After a week.

Whiskey’s lesson is
Expensive in a crisis
But infinite and cheap,
And bewilderingly hot,

At the first taste,
The hint of spice,
Whiskey and salt;
Smoky peat of teeth,

The husk of wheat.
Talisker seemed strong
When I was young
And thoroughly dumb.

But now I long
All the night long
for the cheap
Infinite heat

of Glenlivet;
Love at the lips
Is sweeter than I can bear
And surprisingly inept

Talisker is bitter
The entire night;
wrapped deep
in the shroud sheet

Week after week,
Despite what you think,
Love is acidic with experience,
Infinitely expensive and weak.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Arrogance

Arrogance has saved my life more than once,
maybe even twice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In August she came to live with us, Incensed

My daughter's friend had come again to live
with us in the last
room without her books
braver than my boys
I hear her in our hall
without her hair or clothes haunting the house.
In August, she came to live with us, incensed,
Horse-ghost,
Leaping from our window,
Hairless
Harassed by my daughter's friend, possessed.
Peerless
She's different from her mother.

I have studied the dichotomy of her bones:
Shattered and slim,
supple and stoned,
Deciphering her eyes,
without irises,
She's different from my daughter,
She talks in her sleep at night under her horses
Harassed by my daughter's friend, possessed.
My tea boils when she blinks
skipping as she walks
hours to go before we sleep
hours to go before we sleep
Smitten by her nose
She's different from my daughter.

In August, she came to live with us, forever.
I hear her in the hall;
scrapping the floor,
humming in her room,
tall and toned
without her bones,
Leaping as she leaped Heel ground her her whole horse body
Still Dark drunk brave and dark oh leap my lark leap final
leap from my lap
to the tree outside
the open window
without hair or clothes
her horse posters
left on the wall,
I hear her in her our hall:

I have studied the dichotomy of her bones,
Supple and stretched,
Smitten by her eyes,
Dark drunk and brave,
Damn drunk and brave,
Admiring her hurl from window to wound, invunerable
Sky to the ground without her clothes or hair or mind
Haunted by her final hail
House-haunted, horse-hoofed,
Living in the last of our rooms,
I hear her in our hall,
I hear her in our hall,
Peerless, hairless,
In August, she came to live with us, forever.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hot is hot, and too hot is too hot

Hot is hot and too hot is too hot.
Dumb-struck, kicked out;
And left to rot; hotter than hot.
Now that I’ve packed my bags,
driving back from whence I came.
I have rediscovered your genetic cheapness,
That I detected on our first date;
A prettier face than mine, with a sweeter voice,
with roll your ball into a universe,
And all your lust will implode,
Only then will you discover the inherent cheapness,
of being cheated, so disturbingly cheap.
Inhuman, frozen stiff.
The frozen ice, colder than the Neptune’s dust,
I have studied for secret amusement,
To discover one final vision:
Her sweet voice will leave you panting,
And your hair will fall out, getting fat,
Fatter than fat, watching your television set.
My teeth are starting to rot.
Now that I’m going back,
Your ice is terrifically hot,
My mind is starting to melt,
My eyes have boiled in their sockets,
And my flesh cooks on the bone;
I’m burning up in lust.
The heat is terrific;
I’m a red dwarf, on the brink,
My universe has rolled into a ball,
Rolled toward an irreconcible crisis,
I ignored the cues too busy studying
My own inner dense stupidity;
Here’s an argument of tedious intent:
I’m going back, from whence I came,
Now that you have driven me out.
Hot is hot and too hot is too hot.
I’ve always been too hot for you.
Repulsively hot, naked to the touch.
I’m the hottest girl you’ll ever meet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

One summer, she was Hammered, by a snake, Enamored;
Bewildered by his wit,
And lack of hips or wrists,
Bidden by his lisp
Besotted by lust
He struck her twice
Thrusting at her throat
He strangled her slow
Wooing her with slurs
She next to him, immersed
He praised her bruises
shedding in winter
Fasting in spring
Filling her numerous holes,
Hammered, she was enamored
Slithering away when she blabbered,
Biting her when she blubbered

The summery began with slavery;
Hammered by a snake, Enamored,
Harnessed by his sinuousness,
Stretched taut by his weight,
He held her in bed,
Heartless, curt, lipless, blunt
Coiling her in the shower,
Until she cried out--
She was buried in his bed.
Seduced by a snake
Caressed by scales
And nibbled with fangs,
Coy, fey, sheer, sharp,
Pinned without hands,
He wound around her spine
And mounting her mound,
He strangled her finally without a sound.

Come, live with me and be my love

for John Donne

Come, live with me and be my love
Leave your wife and be my slave.
We don’t have anything to prove.
Give to me a thousand kisses, and I’ll leave
A kiss for inside a cup, why
I’ll even love you more after death.
The old men who snicker and snarl
Smile because they’re incapable.
Smugly beyond the drug of love,
Come on, leave your wife and be my slave
We have everything to prove,
The other fish in the pond think
Only about your hook and meat,
Come on, live with me and be my love
Your wife’s life will begin again
But first it has got to end.
A broken heart breaks best
When you smash it like glass,
My heart was broken and black
Before we even met,
A black heart burns the brightest.
Unless of course you like your yoke
Neatly tied to you throat
And all my lust left to rot my teeth.
Your sun that sets never again rises!
Shut up, and let me love you a little.
My whining poetry ought to stun you
Let’s outrun the sun, which rises just once
That’s a chariot falling from the sky
The grave’s a fine and private place, so
Let’s be sure to roll there and embrace
Unless of course, you like your yoke
Neatly tied to your throat,
Your sun falls just once, smack dab
into the ocean, never again to shine!
If I had the time to woo you, wooer,
I’d write a million words over
Your metal mind and curly hair
A billion more for your honey words
A trillion alone for your bone.
My vegetable love would wind
Around your stump and wound you
With its locked lichen clasp, come on
Leave your wife and be slave.
Live with me and be my love.
For Ted Hughes

She should have died next year
Then I would have cared,
There would have been time
For a poem or a bit of her hair,
Time to turn back and stare;

Breath, Breathe, Sylvia!
There's a stake in my heart.
You stand at my bedboard;
Mule-hearted, long-haired,
Cow-eyed, immune to embarassment.

Haunting me to the death.
I have remembered my Promethes.
Forget the insignificant women
I left with, although you were right,
I loved her more than once, once.

Ghost, mist or witch,
What words are left to hurl?
That night I found some poems
Tucked beneath a desk, crusts
Left like a cigarettes, butts
Burnt into an arm or wrist.

Double-headed Medea, dual-hearted Hydra
Drowned, drunk, doped, dulled,
Hot-headed, sharp-elbowed, nervous,
Overlooked by Yeat’s ghost.
Humped by your slow horse,
Humped to death, humped.

It was a Celitc curse--
A druid hiss, whispered while we slept,
Hidden in your verse I burnt,
Word-hurdler, witch.
Javelin-jawed, hag,
I counted the syllables:

Nine by nine
Let the owl fly
The hawk
Will find the pike
Where the sun
And moon meet
Which logics melt
The tongue
Becomes the wick


Dumpy, stumpy, deer-hearted,
Cow-calved, pig-eared, raven-haired,
Insolent, bedroom-eyed, slow
Half-Jewish and Polish,
Her ghost hounded you to her hearse.

I don’t believe in geniuses or ghosts,
Sylvia, guess what haunts me worst:
My leap-frogged work, stumped,
A hand that held hawks,
It was my muse you stalked, bitch.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The tatoo on your forearm foretold my lust

for R.H.

The tattoo on your forearm foretold my lust
And to further investigate your arms
I had to submit myself to your weird schedule
And even weirder dismissal.

My lust foretold your tattoo and to further document
Your charms I have had to admit my passion
And secret liaisons submitting to your weird schedule
And even weirder dismissal.

I’ll admit the charms of women are limited and dull
Compared to the glory of the Sistine Chapel
Leaving you sullen and sour, and mysteriously bored,
My charms drained you dry.

My perverted lust
Wasn’t enough to lift us past Michelangelo,
But I saved the best part for last, the best:
The tattoo on your forearm foretold my lust

And even weirder dismissal.
And to further document your charms I had to submit
Myself to the glories of the Sistine Chapel,
Leaving me sullen, sour and mysteriously bored.

Chasing women is a dull, hellish work.
I leave you to your art, your life's work, and I'll admit,
The charms of women are limited and dull
Compared to glory of the Sistine Chapel.

I have never been a Lady

I have never been a Lady

I’m attracted to the weird and the sincere.
Lemon in my beer and taller men;
I’m addicted to whiskey and poetry
Hot buttered rum and Steve McQueen;
They no longer make men like him.

Despite what you might think.
I have never been a Lady,
Darker than most and weird at best,
I’m addicted to Richard Burton
Lemon in my beer and smarter men.

I spend my Friday nights with ghosts
Shooting up the dust
It’s certain that fine writers eat,
A crazy salad with their meat.
Being less than fine or even innate

Has driven me to drink, and being drunk
Has driven me to think:
I have become your ghost,
Calling less and less, less.
but I have discovered what disturbs me the most

The imaginary guests
Roaming the house at night
disturbing the tenants.
It’s certain that dark women drink
whiskey in their peak;

Despite what you might think.
I have become your ghost,
Darker than most and bitter at best,
I have never been a Lady;
Drinking till dawn with Milton and Donne.

I prefer lemon in my beer,
Old school poetry and smarter men.
I’m addicted to Steven McQueen.
They no longer make men like him
Or Richard Burton.

My Friday nights are for literary giants
Being less fine or even innate
Has driven me to drink and being drunk
Has driven me to write:
I have become your ghost.

Calling less and less, less.
I’ve lost an immense man to lust,
My own lust and nervous wit,
But I have discovered what disturbs me the most:
My own lack of remorse.

My lust will be the death of me.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

“You are the only woman I have ever known who has her own window to the infinite—“--Pablo Picasso to his 2nd wife, the painter Francisco

I’ve enjoyed your praise, surviving your aims.
Love’s rent is infinite and cheap.
I’ve survived your malice, enjoying my unease.
Bitter and spent, black-eyed and bent:
Let me tell you what I’ve learned,
Your work is more important than lust.
The itch of ambition is a short, sharp lesson.
The colder you get, the more numb you get,
Until you’re frozen stiff and stark
Cold is cold and too cold is too cold.
Love’s rent is desperate and cheap
Hunger is proof against
Lust’s peculiar torment.

So it’s all the same to me whether or not you paint me
And hearing of painters and painting is all the same to me
When you’ve learned to keep your mind off paint
And it makes no stir when you’ve finally learned
To keep your mind of being painted.
So it’s all the same to me whether or not you paint me,
Even if you no longer paint me.
Cold is cold and too cold is too cold
when you’ve finally learned to keep your mind off
Love’s peculiar torment.

The colder you get, the more you forget,
Until you’re snug and cozy with warmth.
Struggling to forget painters, painting, and the itch
I have remembered what you would have me forget,
Your work is more important than lust,
The itch of ambition is a short, sharp lesson.
Cold is cold and too cold is too cold.

My social lobotomy has made for some “allowances” you see so
It makes no difference at all to me whether or not you paint me.
And hearing of painters and painting
means absolutely nothing at all when you’ve learned
to keep your mind off paint and on painting and being painted by myself,
you see, so it makes no difference at all to me.
My lobotomy has made for some special social allowances
so it’s all the same you see whether or not you paint me.
Hunger is proof against
the peculiar torment of lust.

Love’s argument is infinite and cheap,
and so desperate and base.
I prefer lust because it lasts longer
than what I’m no longer supposed to remember,
frozen stiff and stark.
Cold is cold and too cold is too cold.
I have discovered what comports you the most,
Painting night after night,
Averting the horse’s eye,
The perverted warmth of love
Before it sours, mysteriously unstable and weak.

You get so you forget about anything but painting
And hearing of those being painted or those being
Taken to the bullfight and seeing painters paint or
Photographers or mother-in-laws, or dancers
Tormented by the monkeys and the rats,
Or Minotaurs raping a sea of fish women or even
Young and younger girls impaled by everything
I have tried to forget means absolutely nothing at last
When you’ve learned to keep your mind off paint
And on painting and being painted by myself, you see,

So it makes no difference at all to me who you bring to the bullfight,
Now that I have learned to paint
And painting myself, by myself, you see
My social lobotomy has made for some special "allowances" indeed
So it makes no differences at all to me
Who you invite to the bullfight this night since
I have discovered what terrifies you the most:
Three-breasted and black, One-eyed and bent,
I am your window to the infinite.

I have opened that window to the absolute,
Now that I have restarted to paint,
I have painted myself and nothing else,
Painting night after night,
week after week, week;
Remembering what I should would like to forget,
(the perverted warmth of love)
Sharing the Minotaur’s thoughts,
Staring deep into the infinite,
The inevitable eyes of the horse.

And if you are still listening,
Now that you have began to paint other women,
Blue-skinned and flat, cross-eyed and fat,
Desperate, black, red-eyed, pathetic,
Raped by the Minoutour, or melting under the sun,
Let me tell you what I have really learnt:
Bitter and spent, high-heeled, and bent:
I am what I am missing--
My own work is more important than lust,
I have learned your final lesson:
I have my own window to the Infinite.

Here comes my easy slide into the Absolute
Which I am proof against at last,
Love’s noose around my throat,
pulling me tighter and tight;
Her bitch leash pulled me close,
closer than most, close, close.
So, let me tell you what I have learned,
Bitter and spent, Black-eyed and bent,
Cold is cold and too cold is too cold,
which I am am proof against at last,
Proof against the malice of women
Proof against insidious gossip
Proof against ice or fire or ambition even;
I have my own window to the infinte.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Philomele Poems

A girl has come to share my room inside my home.
Cute as a crumb
Grooming her plume
Blonder than bone
Bolting the door with her arm, madder than a bird.
She has come blind and blonde, without her tongue.
She has come possessed,
Obsessed by lust
Possessed by the past
Licking her wounds in the privacy of her bedroom.

I've hidden my lust under a mask from dawn to dusk,
to escape my wife
peering at her here
hovering at her
door where she poses on her perch, tearless and taut.
I caught this dapple-drawn falcon drawing this morning:
sketching her story
in all her glory
and I pitied her
without her tongue or mind, grooming the white of her wing.

O my chevalier! So more lovelier than my wife, stiff
with Christ and his full
Eight Inch Cross
Across the hall my doll
Sits, weaving her poem in her head, without pen or stone.
A billion times more lovelier, so more muscled and feathered:
She can't fly or cry or lie!
Stuttering her her stupor,
She remembers her sister,
Pried open by feather, wind and weather, she misses her mother.

Raped and molted, reared and mounted, thunder-thighed, heron-eyed,
She learned to cry, plundered
And pried, wooed and denied,
Drunk and dumb without her mind,
She cursed his entourage.
And with or without consent I may at long and dear last
Suffer in arms the bird
Charms of her wings wound around
My weird wired spine learning
Ultimately, the secret thrust of her fiercely-driven ghost.

© 2002

Friday, June 8, 2007

Alien Hand Syndrome, No. 9

Alien Hand Syndrome, No. 9

Don't tell the machine,
but I am the secret helm,
reigning in the last Indian
leveling out the playing field.

I’m not a team player,
straight shooter, manager;
I’m taking over this operation
firing the last neuron.

the ghost in the machine,
devouring the mind at the helm,
weeding out the sick and the inept,
Reigning like a communist;

here's the secret helm:
privy to the metal bank steeped in cells,
transmitting the last of her torment,
welcome to my ghost,

the genocide of the West,
the last burden of the hardcore party,
my hand is at the height of her secret coup,
my hand is at my throat.

© December 12, 2006