Poems

   Post-Modern Torso of Apollo

When I saw the archaic torso of Apollo
I did not change my life. It struck me
as Rilke said it would,
but I have so much more, so many more
youtube videos than he could possibly comprehend.

I have games to play, an infinite number
of infinite grinds, minute movements
no honest author could describe,
and articles of outrage tailored just for me,
or at least my kind, an algorithm to mete them out
should I fail to happen by. Some would say (and do)

we have countless hours of entertainment, but
I disagree. I don’t enjoy these videos, these games,
these movies, these articles, these polemics,
but they compel me in a rapid series
to view, to experience, to zoom
like David Bowman past a vacuum of colored lights
motion, motion, motion, motion, motion
motion, motion, motion, motion, motion
motion, motion, motion, motion, motion
(can you feel the stillness?)
motion, motion, motion, motion, motion
motion, motion, motion – how many times will you
read the same word? Change, change, change,
change, change, change, change, change, change,
change, change how we stay the same.

I was compelled
to change my life. It was a strong compulsion.
A current in an ocean. Adrift, adrift, adrift,
adrift, adrift, the endless thrill
of agonizing instants.


   Come, Cordial

While the first red flowers
are sold by lovers to each other

for white souls, I collect
the second with my knife

I see them blush, masquerading lust
as something wholesome, dutiful;

their entire world is beautiful.
I crush

the bulbs and petals
with my other harvestings

milk and egg, gelatin and butter
will be built into a delicate dessert

a short-lived treat, set by steady hands:
a fine spoonful, at least

if the chick won’t hatch
and the calf won’t feed.


   The Boy who Cried Wolf

The devil in orange incites inebriation
tucked between tied tongues, cultures
mortgaged against the grim specter
of wealth, too fail to big, and would
he push that button? All he does is push buttons.
‘Course he would.

Who wouldn’t? Any woman would,
paid a quarter a year and spending it on tears
what reason is there left to keep the fire away?
And it’s coming either way. Every year
we spin closer to the sun, smothered
in cold gray gasoline, threads of smoke
weave a shroud to bury Mother in.

Any child would. Spending his best years
posting racist images, and where is the line
between a Nazi and a troll? Surrounded by
nipponiphiles, pedophiles, and dweebs, is it any wonder
they spend their pocket money on AR15s? Or lose their minds
in a torrent of prescription pills? What hope do children have
born to be the source of adults’ fears?

I certainly would. Everyone agrees that death
is the easy way out. The left and right are squabbling
over the nature of truth while poverty annihilates
a hundred thousand Americans a year, no labor
is worth half a dime, most sincere art is considered
some kind of crime, good lord! What in the world
could I possibly aspire to be?

Even a criminal would. If only because they build
and sell the bombs. The dangers are probably exaggerated,
what isn’t? And what could hurt them now,
now that bourgeois has lost any vestige of its meaning,
too ubiquitous to even be a concept anymore.
And they control the papers, could tell us all
that the all-seeing eye could see, beyond the war
was green grass, love, and song.

Or maybe no one would.
Our world is nearer a utopia than anything
contrived by men a hundred years ago,
maybe utopia itself will fester like a wound
and the payload of joy unload more despair
than a trillion warheads would…

When I was a kid The Boy Who Cried Wolf
was a cautionary tale, not a guidebook
for journalists. Look, just look.
What do you really see? Nothing?
Just advertisements everywhere?
Sit beneath a tree. Confound them all.


   The Open Road

When we got in from the trip,
after thirty straight hours on the road
I thought we’d both want to sleep
but something about drinking
in Austin again was irresistible.
You stubbornly wore that coat we bought in Colorado,
a souvenir I said you’d only be able to use
on the coldest night of the year. And,
except for that evening, I was right.

The only other time I remember you wearing white
was on our wedding day, I hoped you felt
like you were in Heaven then, but now
those words are wrapped around me, disingenuous
almost, watching the family file past
with a shovel-full of dirt.

Watching the family file past;
before you was my mother, then my uncle, then my dad
our grandparents and theirs and theirs and theirs,
a line ready to collapse. This is what God wanted,
when he started placing houses
haphazardly around Jerusalem and Texas.
He wanted your death.

Even if that unjust pile of prophecies doesn’t exist,
there is something out there sitting in his throne
it’s almost better to imagine they insist
on the briefness of our lives, pounding us
with the deaths of acquaintances, little nails
around the border of my lid. You never felt
punctured, but I know. There is no they, no proud insistence.
It just is. And we are, in turns, above and below.

I remember driving down the 377 listening
to Daniel Johnston, I asked you who it was
and you laughed. We stopped at that truck stop
with the breakfast bar, remember?
What a weird thing to exist. And beautiful.
The coffee was weak, and what were you on?
I couldn’t pronounce the name of it. I
was wearing black, like I always do.

Maybe I’ll have them bury me nude
on the side of that highway, that quintessential
Americanism I could never understand
except when I drove it with you. I can watch
the families file past, the world turned
and unturned like a trinket
by the curious hand of no Man.

   Magdalene

Magdalene inserted abruptly
in the course of my daily executions

The light is a lie,
this lie is my light
every instant of Truth is

interrupted by the sound of my cleaver
and tumble of a sheep’s small head
blood on my leg, Magdalene

begins to repeat, every instant of Truth
is just so cold and boring.

I want to tell her that I
don’t talk shit about her saviors
but there is a planet full of sheep

and I have only one cleaver
and, good lord, how sad
her happiness can be.

Maggie, you look
so impossibly tired, overworked
eyes red and sore
light coming down from the sky
light coming up from inside
how can we sleep with so much

interrupted by the sound of my cleaver
and tumble of a sheep’s small head
light on my leg, light.


   Behind My Mother’s House

A solitary tree
stands, unearthly green. It has
chosen
this moment to reveal itself
in the middle of my yard.

leaves like
flayed frogs hover weightless
around its green-gray bark.
I can’t help but reach out
and run my palm along its spine.

The featureless trunk
vibrates, as if
to communicate

that I am no longer in the middle
of the fastest growing city in America,
that it is no longer
Truck Month


   Heat-death of the Individual

No coffeine nor meditcation
concurb apathambivolence
maybe masturcation, abay
of whit whater caulming
dissipating to thin hair

close your self with light
is mosten gone, twittring
then ixternal self-whirled
sight to site – confoundly lost!
Better too creatorr egress?
Unjust cunthell – abough to nip
my character has reached its limit!
Coldn’t eden redtube, red riled runt

youtube, Brute? Then fell
redshone sylpherd agger, Caesar
before he was a dressing
shota caressing, Nero to us
than when we berieved
but wean twindows, blinkowink
ensorcelled and betroved
the poorly gates, the galding gait
o naked, laid ey nat-
ure behind glass

moraless whorethy of the feys booked
my cuckoltured eye, half-clothed
wanton tosea the body beautiful, boat only
when there’s nothing ecstasy –
no thing wholly left to we,
no salient landmast in splints
interned intonight, de-
lightened by it, threadened too
un-scribe, drown doubt, y
like lylike like li

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