FRANK CANNED, JOE UPPED
Something awry in the methane storms on Jupiter.
Something misfiring in the enzyme switches of memory.
Rage: a steel bar to bite.
But then, as always there is but then, past Liberty, past
Hudson, past harbor.
A vanishing bird skein in the watered-out October orange.
The sudden, tectonic rupture of language, starting migration.
To console Frank, perhaps, or even Joe.
Fucked Frank, genius Joe.
from Marriage Vows
Would you like to see my vagina?
What’s your position on nipples?
What about grandfathers?
What about little boys?
Do you like smoking in bed, by merit of what it is?
Can I drive part of the way?
Does the word forever make you titter?
Does the word titter make you titter?
Would you start noticing the absurd animal shapes of toiletpaperwrapped
But keep it to yourself?
Would you make the pancakes sometimes?
Do you think about semen?
Do you think about the ocean?
Are your eyes blue?
Could you be light?
Would you smell like cigarettes or earth or earthy cigarettes or
Could you please make sure your nails are clean before you —
“ I said please?
Would you mark what I said?
But also what I’m saying?
Do you listen to orchestrations that I can’t hear?
Could you get down?
Would you go down?
What about when I’m down?
The Blue House
Somewhere, far from here,
A blue house floats in the jungle.
A jungle on a wide river.
The woman who lives in the blue house
Never has seen cobblestones
Or savored cappuccino.
Her man knows which plants
Give strength or provide succor.
She strings eggs on thread
The hollow rattle of the eggs
Sings to the spirits.
There is a fence.
A climbing monkey
Who does not bite.
A green cacophony
An azure sky beckons.
A blue house against sapphire sky.
the stand still world
time, my favorite escapee, tricks, appears as
narrator, then a broken brake coil, then
fifty, no know its sixty-five, now its seventy
children burned, top floor nursery, the Kumbakonam temple town,
southern India region, where is today, back in a parking lot,
would you buy, a brown messiah, reproduced on a white hoodie,
oh my, her grandson shies in her fervor, it is cute, black market
deals produced as scripts, between lights the
folly mistress, she thinks of some card games,
we might want to play to rope in clients, i think i
am admired, but the runners are stopping their
steroids & quitting, the Sudanese government is complicit,
the refugees are in Chad now, or Jordan wants one hundred fifty
thousand for one year’s stay, a way to measure the life
span of rubble, once the family home, i have an
empty book bag for you to put these tales in,
see i am a griot collector now, i tell you these things are happening,
the complicity, the rubble, the scripts, the money,
the burns, the runners, the lights, the deals,
all circular errors, each so fixed, real, & also traces.
SENTIMENTAL MOMENT OR WHY DID THE
BAGUETTE CROSS THE ROAD?
Don’t fill up on bread
I say absent-mindedly
The servings here are huge
My son, whose hair may be
receding a bit, says
Did you really just
say that to me?
What he doesn’t know
is that when we’re walking
together, when we get
to the curb
I sometimes start to reach
for his hand
Conversation with Mortality
“That’s a stunning cup of coffee you just spilled on
said my base needs answering God’s instructions.
I caught a bass once when I was a child
without knowing how to eat it.
We never did, just sat in the freezer for a year,
but eventually Mom brought out the fish fingers,
which were good though not bass.
The fish fingers had instructions,
while the bass stared absently
like a red herring.
from 'Mattituck, early spring 2006'
The birds cry so loudly I wonder if it’s quieter in
Brooklyn. He loves the honking trucks and children’s
vulgar shouting beneath our window there—it reminds
him of his Bronx childhood. And, me, of leaving
from 'Mattituck, mid-summer 2006'
Three dragonflies sun their wings on the clothes-line
which means summer and, unlike them, I should bask in
This is the second horseshoe crab he’s saved this
year, picking the turned-over creature up by the tail
and hurling it back into the surf. He’s not even
doing it for good karma.
for John Coletti
Force eventually melts a man when carried to its limit
but the nonviolent ones whom some call dreamers
with a sneer, cling tenaciously to their way and grow
toughest of all with time.
Having tried force and failed in my own ways
I’m an example of someone convinced of nonviolence.
All I know is when one of two people doesn’t want to fight
the fighting stops. It’s a wisdom that always comes
too late. And it never seems to find
a place of application in regard to national wars
but I keep it anyway
in my back pocket and make it talk to me
walking home alone late at night
climbing up all sides of the globe
I think I liked it too much
at his farm, fields corn silk gold. From
within his mossy gaze, a scorpion struck
me. I lacked an antidote. Larry clung to Beth’s
anecdote of why her mom quit coke.
“Mom liked it too much,
it scared her. She knew it would ruin her life.”
Crouched in tall stalks of young corn,
us, teenage girls, paralyzed within
his mossy gaze, a scorpion struck. He
told me I could move the clouds by
opening my energy. I conjured
a sun shower. I think I liked
it too much. In that moment of belief,
the words china white were never dreamt.
I think he liked it too much.
Last I saw, his arms
looked like a scorpion struck
him repeatedly. I lacked an antidote.
"Lower East Side recombinant DNA"
custard crunchers vituperate, bialy manglers vindicate,
doom-and-gloom discophiles waving styli at the fleeing
populace themselves tumble off the shores of a retracting
peninsula, whence peninsula you, there's a camper full
of madrigals set to duplicate your spouse almost
halfway to the barbecue, uningestible you, indigestible
me, circle back home towards the tonsured tension-spot
only look what's ricocheting up the block, is that noise
in my head bothering you, who am I supposed to give all
my quarters to, grown men evaporating into the socks
of whacked-out pingpong tourists, the hapless when which
regurgitates retroactively to the beginning of time
commences to bounce conspiratorially from core of earth
to crust of moon, wherein detoxing cosmonaut whips up
a dip of cheese poems to god
with heavy chips of praise
to scramble the masses into rutabaga chintz;
crawl over my body
swirling sketches of ancient hands
diagram and delineation
perched around your body
a secret chamber
to pounce or spike
warding off evil
air borne defense
I see them assemble
like the Argonauts
curled around my breasts
they climb Mount Olympus
standing proud and strong
in a cursive flow
they shield me from the world
More CEO Jokes
Q: Why don't CEOs wear suspenders?
A: They can't be avuncular.
Q: Where is a CEO happiest?
A: At a merger.
Q: Why don't CEOs live in the forest?
A: They're terrified of owls.
Something crunches under me
as I sit down to find
the word "roist" in the dictionary.
An autumn leaf?
No, it's a dragonfly --
dead, wings strewn with dust.
Note: There is no word "roist."
I sit on the floor on my pillow,
In the cross-legged position
Focused on the wall five feet in
Front of me. I move my foot
And my concentration breaks,
Like an old dream,
I remember, I’m fucking a girlfriend
While she speaks in tongues;
The hair on my neck stands
Up because I’m afraid of the
Long, undecipherable words
Rushing out of her mouth.
Then we cum and it’s quiet;
She tells me we’re now married
In God’s eyes. You need me.”
“What would I need you for?”
I say. “Fucking,” she said.
___________________________________________Erik La Prade
Night streaks the sky
like donuts scorched
onto pavement. Rubber
screeches. Tires smoke.
A camel carries
two deserts in its eyes.
Oh well. He sees
nothing. He wants
water. He wants
what he dare not
ask. A desert sans sand.
___________________________________________Basil King and Jeffrey
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
Whatever you can get
your hands on—that’s
an ok start. Night too
will sleep with us as
black is the enabler of
alabaster. I’m amazed
at sailors from Marseille,
prisoners as they are of
salt cavern dreams. In
our spiral echo redoubt,
nothing collapses forever.
Therefore, look here you
who know a spell or two.
Always invent the truth.
___________________________________________Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
SONG OF PASSAGE
How long I have been wetting this stone
with the spit and sweat of my body.
It is smooth, very smooth, to be so hard.
Or maybe not,
maybe only what is hard
can have such a smooth surface.
Maybe my love of what is
and torn is a love for the part that did not turn
on the day I looked back
and saw the world I knew
burning to ash
and smoke dissolving in air.
What I lost that day, what I left behind—
the stone I carry under my tongue.
I take it out of my mouth and rub it
whenever I need fare through this world
the dead call the living.
I cd can you understand how it works
the state how it butchers yr brain
for years with polished lies and mis-
education. Do you I do understand
the state, how it squashes so many
& drags so many before the blood acid
tumor ice of its iron houses
& dehumanizes humiliates behaviour
modifies dulls to craziness tortures
so many, do you I do understand
you shd right away w/fascism on its
way do you you shd I do… “Mr. Baraka,
This way please the court is
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