Archive for May, 2008

Up the Creek and on the Freak

May 31, 2008

The Shit Creek Review picked “Virus” for its May issue, which has a “masks” theme. They also got a hold of fine poetry by Sally Cook, R. Nemo Hill, and Tim Murphy.

Big up, as always, to Shit Creek, which tapped my “Shrine to Satan” for a Pushcart Prize nomination last year.

I am also in the May issue of The Chimaera with “Oak Park,” a poem included in my chapbook, Aquinas Flinched.

Stand by for more May pub boastings!

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Hemlock

May 27, 2008

The hemlock, wafting, hemmed me in its skirt
And all about its underwater legs
I netted in the proper cut of a shirt

For falling on a pocketful of eggs,
A cloth of many buttonholes and hooks
It wiped the cooling detritus of plagues

In wind that, rising, rifled through the books,
A rainway in the crust of afternoons
Beneath the cloudwork blanketing the brooks

Of whistle reed and timber-gusted tunes
Across the lolling air and from the deep,
Awakening the lust of galling Junes,

It coursed the barking arteries that sweep
Into the oakwood undergrowth of sleep.

“Dallas, Pennsylvania, 1979”

May 22, 2008

From Aquinas Flinched
Cornelia Street Cafe, New York, April 4, 2008

Sticking Point

May 21, 2008

At 50 I am likely to arrive
with roses from the gas station, in need
of better shoes, a less frenetic haircut.
With a smile just barely managing
to hold the road. But here’s the sticking point—
a destination. Someone at a real
concrete address to take delivery.

The county ledger tells you I’m a fool.
And when I come into a certain green
suburban arrondissement, fast
with grade school children on an asphalt strip
along the Watchung ridge, a little girl
drops everything. She stands and looks
at me. She makes me stop the car

so she can run up to the driver’s side
and rap the glass with hopping urgent news.
There’s paperwork downtown. Municipal
directories. A letter with my name
upon a table. Here’s another thing—
the siren echo as the street games end.
And, then, that jagged fire in the trees.

Traditions in Jazz

May 18, 2008

“I’ve got to get things in order.
I’m determined to do it”
~Phil Schaap, WKCR, New York

This afternoon, it’s jazz tradition. Straight
palaver to the High Triumvirate
of First Improvization on a gate
that opens to Bechet on clarinet,
Bix Beiderbeck and Armstrong on the horn.
A novelty or two, some rare shellac
is crackling on the radio. It’s born
again and gonna be a long drive back.
Through Essex Fells and blowing airbag gray
above the trees and prefab vinyl homes
in which we find the hole in Saturday.
With Schaap carousing through the catacombs
and cluttered sound, the studio on air
where Pops is Tops and there and everywhere.

May Gardening

May 12, 2008

Last year’s habanera stalks lay sapped
like the wooden bones of prehistoric birds,
full skeletons collapsed and broken, wrapped
in winter grass and ivy, spelling words
in a language that I’ve lost or keep forgetting
year-to-year as every year I stare
into the ruins of the fall, the netting
of a shipwreck, feathers, bone and hair.
The months ahead will shift through garden rakes
and Sunday afternoons spent with my daughter
tending peppers, yellow garter snakes
in dusty sunlight, chlorophyll and water.
This afternoon I start to clear the ground,
distracted in this brittle lost and found.

Revelation

May 8, 2008

By the 2030s, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence
will predominate.–
Ray Kurzweil

Are science and religion converging? No.–Richard Dawkins

Un-ring the bell? Impossible. It’s come,
Dispersed itself in every bronchiole
And office tower. Now the isotope
Of unknown metal bangs in every hole,
The slam of withered hand against a drum
Advancing like some crimson-slippered pope.

A lock of numbers. Law of propagation.
Our biology becomes a field
Of leapfrog, silicon evolving from
Petroleum. The softer senses yield
To matrices of predetermination,
Measured by a hand across a drum.

A rapture of electron retinas,
Robotic dreams, and sacramental math
Reforms the logos to a barcarole
That chokes the solace of our doubt. The path
Ahead is cleared and charted by antennas.
Silos rise. A fire in every hole.

May 2, 2008

..for Measure

May 1, 2008

My villanelle “Under Glass” is in the current issue of Measure, which is now a biannual journal of formal verse. I’m flattered, because most villanelles suck and these guys know it.