Sunday, November 30, 2008

grace hides
behind love's ugly little drum
she's lovely, she's quiet, she keeps
impeccable time

Saturday, November 29, 2008

from phantom canyon

& i get what's left of you
hastened adultery
committed to the feeling
but reads
thou shalt not submiss.

adulterous gluttons
crucify his remains
send them home to me
all disregard for what meant the most
seasonally caught up
in something i created

the worst part is
i have to pick up the pieces
on both sides
when seasonal love has ended
and seasonal lust begins

i guess you haven't heard
that doing the same thing
and expecting different results
is the 'definition' of 'insanity'

Christ, i'm tired.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

your lips, my ears

your whispered,
whiskey scented words
left me

The Rising Tide

Come to the rising tide
come watch the violent waves
the hard smash against the bulkhead
come find it in the words
it's in the thought
that comes after the words
find the rough swells
in you and I
the remorseless undertow
dragging me in
dragging us in
underneath what makes us monsters

The Publisher said he would make us famous...

The Idiom Book Release Party
Saturday, November 29th
The Brighton Bar
Long Branch,NJ

Flier art by our own lil hatter, Amy Dwyer

Monday, November 24, 2008

heaps of grief here,
where ground met ground, here

where eager defeat nearly reached us
where we screamed, and earth, motherly, responded

solitary hopes upon mountains
pose as homes

love runs from the rocks,
pools between us, freezes.

a buck eighty
for a paper cup of daylight,
a wide white world cracked open

i got so lost
i thought everything i saw was God.
i made up saints.
i sang my faith to sleep.

a rift in bliss
stars between one dark
and another

night is instruction
the stars, chalk
the rest, dust

i'm leaky.
water got into me.

like mildew
the wrong life grew.

i saw my light in them
they saw
their dark
in me

soul and bones on wheels
blue heat and speed
the vehicle for faith

the roadsigns have gangrene
the soul is a tumor
the eye, a wound


we needed time
to unwind;
make space between us
your call, not mine.

so i moved on,
and so did the years.

and still, your green eyes
glare at my presence,
face fixed in deep thought,
girlfriend's shoulders bare.

Black Friday So Soon?

She opened the door. Any amnesiatic euphoria I may have been experiencing in the more delicate stages of awakening were slugged by the rush of cold air that breezed in, heavy with a perfume of burning yule log. Thanksgiving was coming on so quickly it induced a near panic in me, an unsettling certainty that somewhere on my suburban block, at that very moment, a housewife was reaching back to neo-ancient Americana tradition, fondling turkey guts in some horrific manner to produce gravies and broths the likes of which her husband's palette has never known. This is winter. The war is not over.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sepia-toned pictures
placed on walls
of grandparents
and great-grandparents
together, hands clasping hands-

They are antique.


Whatever happens

wherever those kids find
their explosions
the fire goes every which
way, and it burns through
brownstone apartments
like flash paper cigarettes,
and where the only light
is a bad orange
glow from inside the car,
I want detonate like I did
a hundred years ago,

I want them to
report in the papers
that it was sabotage,
that the Spanish were

but really it was
just spontanteous

cold knife air
and night time church bells
on an empty street

both give lonely
seashore towns

you cover,
then the wind blows,
and the leaves scatter

you dig,
then the rains come,
and the earth floods

I stood on yon mountain
I was trees in all colors
I was the smoke rising from the valley
I was the musty smell of leaves
I was a clear 10 miles
I was the coal beneath the dirt
I was an ache in the lungs

I stood on yon mountain
I was a hand in a glove
I was rocks, slippery in the river
I was tumbling on the way down
I was closer to the sky
I was the thin air

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Surprise

Mark always loved Bianca. He loved her from the moment they met. He remembered seeing her in front of the movie theatre on Friday nights; of all the times he walked her home; the way she smelled so familiar, like the way it smells in summer just before rain. He thought of the way they held hands back then, nervously clutching at each other's fingers like they might be pulled apart. He remembered their first kiss, awkward and new, neither one of them knowing exactly where to put their hands or go about the moment. They were so nervous around each other but so at ease. He thought of all the times they had stopped seeing each other, sometimes years passing in between without speaking but still remaining close friends. He thought about all those drunken phone calls when miles were between them and the friendly banter that only they knew. They both had lived with lovers who were jealous of that connection. Shit, they had the same birthday. It was hard to forget Bianca for that reason alone. They talked each other through heart-aches and deaths; good movies and bad relationships; triumphs and let downs. They knew each other better than they knew themselves.

Mark found himself here, now. On an airplane to San Francisco, a small box in his hands that he would nervously flip open and snap shut every few minutes. Bianca had taken a job as an editor for a fashion magazine and had a week before starting her new job, so she invited Mark out for a vacation. She thought Mark would be leaving from Atlanta tomorrow but Mark had decided to fly to New Jersey and see Bianca's parents then take a direct flight from Newark a day early to surprise her. Mark had not told Bianca about him going to see her parents and wasn't sure of the reaction she would have. Bianca didn't know how much she really meant to him because he had never told her. They each knew they were in love. Bianca constantly reminded Mark that he could come live with her in San Francisco and they could be together. Mark always said it was bad timing. This time, though, he had decided to take her up on the offer and ask her to marry him. Mark felt like the life he was meant to live could finally begin and he was excited at the thought of sharing it with Bianca.

Bianca got up early the day Mark was coming. She had been in meetings all day the day before, helping her co-workers prepare for her departure. After work they had taken her out for drinks and a going away party. She didn't have time at all to even pick up the phone, so she checked her messages with her morning coffee. The automated woman on the other end of the line was cold. She simply reported information without any feeling. Bianca thought they should use a real woman's voice. The first message was from her friend, Loreen.

"Congratulations on your last day, sweetie! I cannot wait to meet Mark! If he's as great as you say he is, I might have to steal him from you! Just kidding. I know you're busy so I'll call you tomorrow. Bye!"

Loreen was so bubbly and upbeat. Bianca wished the automated woman was more like Loreen. Bianca impersonated the automated woman as she reported the date and time of the next message.

"September...Eleventh. Two...Thousand...One. Eight...Thirty Seven...A.M. Beeep!"

Bianca giggled at herself as the second message began to play.

"Bianca, it's your mother. I know you're busy but call me back right away."

She sounded like she was crying. Why though? They didn't know anyone that worked in the towers and Bianca had sent her mom an email letting her know everything was fine and she would call her today. She hung up the phone and dialed her mother. Bianca put her ear to the phone after hitting the "send" button. She thought the ring was allot like the automated voice: cold and lonely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

day is a mad dancer,
and road a pavement stage
in a great swamp of thought

we poise all night for a promised fall,
awaken late and safe,

time does right by us

Monday, November 17, 2008

I took the train to work today, because the breaks on my car are shot. I didn't mind though, I liked trains. Fuck, I might just take the train for now on. I couldn't afford to get the car fixed now anyway because I had to make a payment on my Victorian Literature class. A class where I had a paper due in a few hours and it was only half done.

On my lunch break, I attempted to finish my paper, but I just had too many things on my mind- my shithole apartment, the bills I could not pay, the health of my mother. I went outside to clear my head.

I sat on the bench and watched the people walk by. I wondered where they were going, what was on their minds. I tried to think of excuses to tell my professor. I thought of telling her my computer crashed, which was true, only it crashed a year earlier.

"Miss Erin! Miss Erin!"

I turned around. It was Jay, the little boy who goes to the library for storytime every Thursday. His mother was returning books.
"I'll bring the car around, Erin. I'll be right back, Jay. Stay with Miss Erin" she said.
"Okay, mom," Jay said.
"Hello, Jay," I said.
"Hello, Miss Erin. You look sad today," he said.
Caught off guard, I said, "Yeah, I'm a little sad today".
"Why?" Jay asked.
"My mother is sick and I can't get my paper finished for class," I told him.
"Don't be sad, Miss Erin. Your mom will get better and you can get your paper done. You are not sick and the sun is out today. Plus, there are so many leaves to jump in," he said.
Then he ran over to the pile of leaves and jumped in. A few moments later, his mom pulled up in an old station wagon and yelled for him to come inside.

I laughed.
Jay was right.

I managed to finish my paper.

Rivers and Roads

six a.m. skyline
and I've never seen so much beauty
like the world was in a bottle
just for me
the way the dawn looked
igniting grey cloud formations
with the glowing horizon
framed by tall pines
and cold wind

dreaming of other pink morning
that made grass look like emeralds
sparklin' better than your eyes
and the road was a river
dark and mysterious
forever flowin' into new roads
that flow into roads
that flow into roads

it was the night
when I thought the sky
would come and swallow me whole
and we stood cold
hidden in shadows
sharing soft kisses through chattering teeth

and we talked
about movies and love
and literature
and the ten years that just passed

it was that night
when everything was wrong
the check was off
we were rich in awkward moments
we were never alone
they wouldn't leave us alone
they were rich in worries

it was that night
leaning up against
nameless wooden fence
weathered like us
you told me
you would never let the sky take me

I believed you

is this what you want?
these pages mean nothing
think about hours spent
surviving dark roads
and miles
fighting harsh weather
and frost
paper and words burn
blood and love infect

Sunday, November 16, 2008

in the voice of whom it is for

i walked in the rain
i walked in the rain thinking
of all the glass symbolism
it had as a device in hundreds of
years of literature

i walked in the rain
i walked
in the rain and hoped
all its baptismal qualities
were real and concrete
and powerful enough
on these sin stained parts

i felt the textures of feminism
as it soaked through my hair
runnin as electicity in lines
of least resistance
over my skin

i hated the wind
for a moment

the rain was my tears and yours
and the tears of children
and parents and grandparents
of refugees
and of soldiers in green khaki

i wondered if there was anything
if there was anything left at all
left for this rain to wash out
i had already washed it all out
bleached my hands
killed the ghosts of stains

when the rain was all thought out
when the rain was all thought out
i knelt
i knelt in a gazebo
the gazebo at the end of the rain

and there in the gazebo at the end of the rain
when the rain was all thought out

there in the halo of three cities
in the image of a horizon and the mark of man
set against creation

the world was finally a prayer
i was a raindrop
forming about the dust of it

Friday, November 14, 2008


back in vietnam
they were closer than brothers
back at home lovers

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.
—Charles Bukowski Betting on the Muse, Barfly

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All composite phenomena are impermanent
All contaminated things and events are unsatisfactory
All phenomena are empty and selfless.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

we marvel at the night sky
when we're lucky enough
to escape the light

the way this event
hasn't occurred in four
thousand years
or that one ever
in recorded history

how these two planets
out there
across a certain constellation
as the pleides sparkle
in an infinetely unique moment

but the night sky
but the night sky
but the night sky

is a mirror
another crystal lake

and all yr moments too
are trully singular
and dancing

for we are all
celestial bodies
and worthy
of wonder

you were sad tonight
sad as break lights
sad as autumn
sad as a bad drunk

and arching
on the horizon
in this season's pre winter

or i was
blown out
in my white t-shirt
and overtime eyes

and the way you stand
reminds me of lonliness

but i am just a man
and all that that means
and you are after all of the day
the verazanno bridge

as we both arc a constant and mad span
beset on both sides
by all the laughing stars

Monday, November 10, 2008

"...don't bow & scuffle for Edith Wharton pioneers or ursula major nebraska prose. just hang in your own backyard..."

"The taste of worms is soft & salty like the sea or tears."

"Women love like hunters..."
-B. Harlan


you told me
you quit the bottle.
made me believe;
weaved it
into my brain-

that evening
you left me;
reeked of booze
at 1am.
my feelings of hope

you were weak and i was weeping.

trash talk,

they just don't make
big enough
to cover
these black and blues

i want to work miracles that don't matter

i want to stop wanting miracles

and wanting things to matter

pull of blue upon a small bald room
the proper tension, counts
the loves that i allow

Go Home

You lurk

You linger
and lash when the time's right
because time is all you have-

You strike me
on my sidewalk
knock me down,
bust my bad knee-

I get up,
take some Advil

I keep on walking.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Girl I Saw in Brooklyn, Election Night

I think about the way
she moves
falls in love with
everything she sees
silent sidewalks
and gutters
city streets
and strangers
the way she looks around
at the landscape
and the way it moves
almost nervous
almost profound
laughing at her own words
and promises of adventures
with a couple a' poets
from outta' town

but they're not lies
maybe more like dreams
or hope
I mean
who is she to deny
one good time
or one shot
at falling in love
again and again


I dream in cold
fogged whispers
exaggerated memories
and fears
where days are hours
or minutes
or second hands

I dream in all black

Saturday, November 08, 2008

after honest night,
after love,
dawn is a monument

A tender cup, glass
In astonished hands

Revelations of color,
Autumn breaks and offers

There is time to blaze

Friday, November 07, 2008



To defer
like a decked dispute
at a passing lace

We are rarely a day.

Yet for months, 
we have tasted midnights
and talked suns with our lips;
noticed our air go-

We have no dismay.

He revolts her.

He repulses her. 

He drives her.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In late autumn,
she knits him.

He enwraps her,
withers the cold-

her ornamental lover.

man named the moon
before he knew
it was bigger then himself

to be
red wood
in the midst
of all the
that occurs

to be without
the weight
of movement

i forget
the names of pretty girls
with limp handshakes
and moist lips
at parties
or as they decorate barrooms
two and a half
after they say them
with big eyes

but the names
of the dead
and dissolving
the drowning
or the dying
haunt my head
float about
and echo
as granite carved letters
or embers

she becomes
in moonlight
as sea foam ghosts
with fixed pupils

female lines and
broke in jeans
lay, landscape, silhouette
on a blanket

dawn is anticipation


today i am a mechanism
tomorro i will be an attempt

diamond eyes
living dreams

he infected
the room
with a mythology
of his own seeds

hollow again
setting with the shoe shine moon
i'm a cup
gettin filled and drained rapidly
and sporadically
and jack and neal
always chantin
that fuckin mantra
go and go and go
and being jazz
and its so hard to be jazz
cuz the world aint
for hours at a time
and what do we do then
even my old moon goes down
and movement
is only relative

it use to be
when i stopped
i was fighting inertia
the trains pullin away on both sides
of the platform
but now friction is a despot
and i'm always pumpin
hard and consciously
to keep from halting

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

you ate Valium by the handful

Why is it
When I’m struck with melancholy
You’re always in the fold

You must have made
A mighty wrinkle
In my brain
Or perhaps on their way
Thoughts must pass
Too close to the neuron
You linger on in

I can’t help but think
Of when you told me you were Zen Christian
Same day and same diner
You called my Atheism brave
I’ll never know why

And there were those nights
Nights you ate Valium by the handful
And tried to turn my husband into a cuckold

Isn’t it droll?
To know what I know
But my brain only wants thoughts of you
Do not get to bold though

I said
I thought of you often
I did not say
I thought of you fondly

Unabashed black.
Holes in our bones and
Fuck the antidote.

Monday, November 03, 2008

How do we live
with our attraction to infatuation?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

True Beauty

it's truly beautiful
to see a human mind
take form
all by itself

my son
only three
has discovered the art
of deception

no one taught him this
and when I asked him
to clean up
he quietly pushed it under a table

I found it
he thought it was
an original thought

but there is no difference
between father and son
or you
or anyone

and I find it truly beautiful
the most natural thing
for us all
is to lie

we're riding down
three a.m. highways
staring up at
black starry skies
through static
back windshield
and I wonder
through fog
and blurred roadside
if I'll look back
on these days
with a reverent smile
or with a fear
a consuming fire
or desire
to go back
and fix things
long broken

I hope that if
I look back
I laugh
at mistakes made
and realize
that mistakes are
the only way
to get things right