Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Veil of Glass

We drift through the chatter of advertisement.
The images are thicker than the snow and cold.
The fruits of our labor are plucked by others
As we plucked them from others.
We are proudly bursting with shame
And now is never the time to unlock it.

Did our eyes invent the night and the stars?
Some part of our innermost selves erased them.
If one could cease thinking, time would stop.
Conversely, time is the extermination of thought.
When all time was spent, there remained a final thought.
We ride its echo like the crest of a wave.

This poem arrived here against the odds,
Escaping the scrutiny of the mind and the taste
Of others who like to put their hands on things.
I am at a loss to write the next words
And yet they come from an infinite converse
With disembodied spirits we call books.

We babel the dialects of God, whose existence,
Like language, in some sense depends on us while we live,
Yet in another, obscurer way hands us a deathless irony.
These thoughts came to me one evening.
I have no way of knowing if they are true.

So a veil of glass divides
So it is a glass veil that divides
So it is a veil of glass divides
Thus a veil of glass
Thus it is a veil of glass divides

Monday, November 18, 2013


 division of division of division of division of division of...

                                            into another

                            we come

perience                                                                     of se



                              a branching

(The mystery of the origin of life as it is related in mythology or the beliefs of the world’s major religions may be cast as the following problem:  how can something come from nothing?  Or rather, how can life come from death, or at least nonlife?)

                                                I and this mystery here we stand

                              above,                                                           below
beyond                                                 behind

“no name no tongue has soiled it”

                                                                  the mind / the spirit

                                         leaps!   to hold it, to behold it


The animate and the inanimate are not so logically discrete as we might like to think.  
E.g. the virus.

Why should death be the defining experience of humanity?
1. because it is universal?
2. because it causes the ego pain?
                                                                              fuck that

A collision of molecules brought you into being,
                                you in-process you

a process never present to itself as complete
                                            completed, it no longer           is

                                                                    What molecule(s)
                              will you meet
                              that stop

                                                                           the becoming you
that you are?

AND IF (ah, the beauty of “if”)

                                                        you bumped into
                                                        (“Hey Mikey!  He likes it!”)

AND YES (good old “yes”)

the bird, the wind, the wave,                       the star, the clock

The mysterious                                   “and”
            the mysterious    “yes”             &            “earth”

                                                       a plural of parts

part AND part
                     night AND day
                                            pain AND joy

               empty of unity
                                                            empty of transcendence

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not What They're Looking For

Today one is taking out the garbage of judgments.
They stand in noisy steel bins outside the mind.

It was the clutter, the clatter of others,
The self parsed by the self, that had to go.

And yet it is hard to part with what feels
So familiar, like a second skin

The way a chevalier must have felt
Steeled in comfort astride his horse

Staring at the latest, the villainous harquebusier.
Is it a matter of life and death?

The death of something, yes.  Invisible,
Molecular, a spring cleaning in winter,

The smashed and bundled furniture of the spirit
(Gaping at its vacancy) brought to the curb

For the homeless scavengers to pick over
Till the garbage men arrive.

In throwing it out they are what they are,
Free, stinking, and strong,

Whatever Tsarina and her minions think,
Of themselves, and of their own glass Easter eggs.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brownfield SIte

Drifting into the corner a knot of thread
Not of wire plugged into the dirt of a sofa
In the forest the walls soaked in urine
Like the earth just a portion of which
Can never return here to what was built
Are layers of paint on broken walls still
Layers under choked vines when the core
Of the wall exposed is cracked and laced
With the song of a hospital’s mother
Everything incites us to walk deeper
Into abandon the leaves the pharmacy
The dank tile floor of the woods
Now would be the time for a story
A pang of suspense in the rank brown air
But sometimes the stories are over
Told once and dispersed in aerosol bursts

Signed dark outside the abandoned lair 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Places Where Inner Others

Each day the unsettled camp
grows expansive with ideas
and the tables strung in a line
from house to shore are filled
with whisperings of lace
and daisies, and swaths
of black-eyed susans chatter
on the return from the range.
Evening activities yet to be planned
are on no one’s mind as the
campers are loath to leave
the woods until sunset,
and then only rarely.
The flag once raised echoes
from a distant horn,
the misty mornings muffling
sounds or slowly conveying
wet letters from the clouds.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Waking Puzzle

We’ve been making love as in a book of hours
Under a blue and white paper sky
The birds won’t stop explaining the universe
If you stop your ears you will hear the spring

This is a mind pretending not to exist
See how it sways in the breeze when you look
Just like the bright, scratchy weeds along the side
Of the house as it slants into the fading light

Now the whole mind has turned a dark burgundy
With a sea of fuchsia at the bottom
One with the purposes of death and dreams
And just about as well understood

Abstract dolphins splashing around in canals of light
A massive sunflower rising out of the sea
The infinite green of your eyes under the sun
The prows of the black ships pointing away toward eternity

The doors of the sea are the sea itself
The days come to us and we traverse them naturally
As the glass of water posed on the nightstand
Ultimately belongs and must ultimately return to water

We’ve got maps to the Hollywood of the mind
But a private sea we enter with a breath, breathlessly
A permanence without substance
That lurks within the most distant solitudes

It is like walking in the darkness
And climbing up into an apartment of sunlight
The wood floors are freshly washed and smell of pine
And now we are waking to the noises of the city

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Being befuddled, dust and tumble
Down the road to Valencia

Half a radiance, like a roosted angel,
My pants, my pigeons, my puzzlement!

It is like gazing at a dwarf sun
Beneath the world of ideas

Where I live when I am not here
Checkmated with malice, with intent.

A voice without permanence
In the faculties of light

Naked pinks and naked whites,
That diabolical book of pleasure

Boisterous hypothesis,
A breakfast without signifiers, posed.

Time is a deviant of perfection
And the frail mind slapped

By memory, by everything that is not,
Building a voice without energy,

A permanence without substance,
Past remembrance, a sea of rust,

Always having re-begun.  Bitter
Tabula.  Spitting out.  Petunia.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cash for Junk

The pets are with the vanilla company.
Every sentence implies dissent.
A grain is the smallest particle of madness.
In Fayetteville they have a lavish toilet.
I am standing on the grave of the Kardashians.
There are prizes but no achievement.
In this country the ideas of space and time are plastic.
The toad who puffed himself to the size of a cow.
The crepuscule comes like a distillation.
Analogies are demons.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination.
In the city there is solitude.
Puddles and rooftops.
The variable distance between sentences.
I have tried it many other ways.
This one feels right.
A kaleidoscope of shrapnel, exterminations.
The senator from Kentucky fired at me and missed.
I fucked his mistress.
An intern made up of contiguous states.
Does this belong to somebody?
A girl cigarettes behind the library.
Black and bronze stars.
Random as weather.
Whoever invented it, it is ours now.
When we interpenetrate, we are liquid birds.
Are the names of God his attributes?
Or are we kidding ourselves?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Snow, Man

One must have a mind of Hitler
And been alone a long time
Not to hear one’s own flatulence in the wind;

To behold the junipers shagged with vice
In the distant glitter like January Jones
And not to scoff at one’s so-called love life;

And be crusted with crap, not to see
Any hilarity in the life of a squirrel,
In the lives of a few squirrels,

Which is the life of the mind
Full of the same souvenirs
Buried and reburied in the same bar,

For the ditherer, who dithers in the snow,
And, blotto himself, beholds
Nut that is not there and the nut that is.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Poem Written in a Late Style

The sun ignites the colors of the city.
The nothing of today will not be filled.
Spaniels spit metaphysics at the press,
And the blackberries are furry with mold.

A dusty industrial street, small pink flowers,
Uselessness in this utopia of use,
Planted here for that purpose years ago,
Something for your pleasure, to devour you.

The seasons come to seem a repetition
Of flowers and muck.  Listening to the birds
You are deaf to the pink and white trees
And by the time you notice them, is it still spring?

The cooler arguments linger like oblong clouds.
The intensity of the riddle sends your dreams
In another direction.  This building wears a triangle hat
And that one is a stack of turquoise blocks.

As the day melts into its opposite,
Their solid, dark facades are fringed with light.
The light is purer now in the darkness.
And the darkness is that which has no name.

Notebooks stored up with secret images,
An elegance of truths, plural and humane,
These are the pages you live to create,
And when you get it right, no longer belong to you.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

After Party

We are all gathered around the point of impact
Seated by the fire of old logs and old tires,
Dried-out flowers, floss and scutellum,
A bowl full of night by our side.
Some started drinking from the middle
Of the bottle, others went looking for lightwood
Just in case we lose ourselves in the sky.
We struggled even to form a bucket brigade
Of emotions, let alone ponder flight.
Better if not examined too closely,
The evening takes on the sheen of weight.
All of our motions fill the containers
Stacked along the circle of companions
Of circumstance, coming and going, unweld,
Accidents maturated in dumb tumult.
Tomorrow, we’ll nomad our way
Out of this wilderness, after it falls.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The White Dress

A bundle of light walking in a light rain,
An elemental mode of freedom
Where the simple objects are the most true,
People, green trees, and fresh water,
If your silk touches me, I am coming.

You talk with me late into the night,
I drink the chamomile on your breath
And the vanilla of your neck and breasts.
You are something soft with freckles
Where my mind roves under your bodice.

I am blowing your pinks when dawn breaks
And the curves and curls of your being
Kiss the lips of the day.  My summer, my snow,
The most secret of desires changes with you,
So walk with me now into the light.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When Lilacs Last in the Brickyard

Walking through the door a slow scarf wrapped
Around the throat of midday
The flames scorched the bride of the city
And muted the desire of tracks in transit
The last time these cigarettes were smoked
It was in the cotton fields by the stadium
Where the children of our new tribe choose
The skillful actions of sex changing
Patterns of movement above ground
The outskirts up in the air like a tent
Or a reversible umbrella of silk
Anything to keep the muscles from slack
The forms repeat themselves hand in hand
Like the shape of cold in the mind of cold
The ducks keep their bottoms warm in the pond
And the pigeons are wheezing at the sill
When the phone rings the bird ranchers are outside
With a warrant while the dust from their duds
Settles on the porch in the sunshine
Who prosecutes the molesters of lines, of flack,
Angelic in their justice not a serious condition
Just hand spasms and babbling
As the palm trees stir their spiked fronds
We move through a world where rocks move alone
That guy playing the fiddle is blind

Ames Hodges
& Mike Taormina

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Queen of Colors

If we could live inside the head of a girl
Andromache ravens pearls
Gravity wells.  Alpha.  Sunless noon.  The absolute.
Brambles cover the house after her spindle.

We are dormant under the sea.
Wine-dark lips.  You are something moist with barbs.
Are you wearing the spermicidal dress?
If you come back later I will drink you.

Gangrene plumbs the coal mine of the soul
When the mind descends under her bodice.
The logic puzzles kept there for our senses
Accumulate like spores in the darkness.

She walks with me now away from the sun
To be my bottle of night, my bruised thighs.
She is exquisite without eyes!
Chocolate ribbons of coal.  Scorched bride.

“Come away burnt sugar into the forest”
Where our bodies are mysteries to the vulgar,
Stacked like bricks, the bricks of an oven,
Not keeping track of the atrocities,

The smoke-filled lungs of a smoker,
A spot in the sheets where the moon drops,
A tarred pelican on the gulf coast,
As night revolves on the axle of night.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Fruit Ripening Bag Variations

Truth Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place the truth in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, the truth should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove the truth from the bag and enjoy!

Spouse Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place your spouse in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, your spouse should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove your spouse from the bag and enjoy!

Iran Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place Iran in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, Iran should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove Iran from the bag and enjoy!

Fart Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place the fart in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, the fart should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove the fart from the bag and enjoy!

George W. Bush Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place George W. in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, George W. should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove George W. from the bag and enjoy!

Poem Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place the poem in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, the poem should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove the poem from the bag and enjoy!

Love Ripening Bag

1.  Remove any plastic packaging, place your heart in this bag and
      fold the top of the bag closed.

2.  Place the bag on the counter away from direct sunlight and heat.

3.  After 1-2 days, your heart should yield to gentle pressure.

4.  Remove your heart from the bag and enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Device to Summon Commerce Street

Inhaled just enough into the evening
to be drawn in a woodland scene
on that street shaped like an L
we can never seem to find
unless we stop paying attention

or turn the attention around
like reading those slow books
of our youth, the massive ones
always leading in a new direction
despite staying on the same road

at least it would if I replaced a few
chips in the meditation machine
the registers revert too easily

as the coming of night repeated
folding back on to itself
in a cascade of shadows

extra pieces and parts falling out
on the unkempt ash of the way
gradually map the mind at play

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Unpunished Vice

Poetry moves me as nothing else does.
“Moves” is the wrong word.
Only paintings do it too.
And ballet and jazz and wine and sex
Everything does it.  The piercing blue eyes
Of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
Never did it.  I am the wrong person
To ask.  Anyway no one is asking.
I must remember to read, to read more.
It is strange what it does to the soul.
Time evaporates.  Journey to the Moon
Is a philosophical novel by Cyrano de Bergerac,
A facetious and irreverent man
With a big nose.  It was there
He exercised true freedom of imagination.
God was hard to kill, like a hydra.
I don’t give a damn what Byron says.
About anything.  Byron used to have it.
Victor Hugo used to have it.  Keats didn’t
Have it.  Now they don’t and he does.
Emily Dickinson didn’t use to have it.
Milton had it, then didn’t, now has it again.
Shakespeare has always had it.
Homer too.  Ashbery, Stevens, Borges
Kenneth Koch, Whitman, Neruda, Rimbaud,
Michaux, Lamartine, Schuyler
Baudelaire, Stein, Bukowski, Donne,
Apollinaire.  On the subway I saw
A spectacled man reading a book,
A thick book, with a title in Chinese.
Totally intent, he had a faraway look,
His total being gathered in that gaze,
In that book.  “Pleasure” is the wrong word.
These intransitive declarations I make
To the night.  I have a key to the earth.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Want You to Drink My Lips

Is not being born, not yet being born,
The same as being dead after having lived?
Why were the children
Gift wrapped and dripping with slime?
How should I know?

The more the wind scours the sapphire sky
The smaller and smaller we get.
A pinkish light falling on everything
Is sounding the shallows of fear
Where nothing grows.

We are walking around a secret intention
That starts out as a general feeling
With fuzzy poles, before a mercurial
Haphazard line can be combed out of it,
A series of curved planks to take you
To the country of half rooms,
Trout seduced by the prelude to night
As they descend from the trees.
An occasionalist keeps it all humming along.
You!  Surprise.  Subjects, objects
They all reinsert themselves at some point
But they always give way again too.
Like donkeys, like asphodels, like hands

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brickyard 2-11-13

The rabble are blitzed on the krieg of nations
wearing the world violator on the back.
There are some very bad ideas, he thinks,
Is this one of them? Whoever handed it
to him, shrinking into the dark, had to be loaded.
Blankety blank blank. Can I borrow your rose-tinted glasses?

We decided to change the song in our head.
Will the grooves still turn in the same direction?
In any case, the girl with the red farmer's boots
will not accept the flowers. Thank you, anyways,
for letting me borrow that dream - can you repair it?
I am not awake during business hours.

The couples in the Afghan restaurant remain docile
although he is sitting on two RPGs
and her hands are drones in the salad.