The woman is perfected.
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.
By the East River and the Bronx
boys were singing, exposing their waists
with the wheel, with oil, leather, and the hammer.
Ninety thousand miners taking silver from the rocks
and children drawing stairs and perspectives.
But none of them could sleep,
none of them wanted to be the river,
none of them loved the huge leaves
or the shoreline’s blue tongue.
By the East River and the Queensboro
boys were battling with industry
and the Jews sold to the river faun
the rose of circumcision,
and over bridges and rooftops, the mouth of the sky emptied
herds of bison driven by the wind.
I chose the whippoorwill
The imaginary throne of ego madness of fantasy land
I chose the herringbone
I chose the waitress at Tina’s
I chose chasing pussy over a bank account
I chose poetry over standing in line at the opera
I chose art just to kick the dark devil in the ass forever
I chose pain and torture because I’m a masochist
I chose alcohol and cigarettes over 9 grain cereal
Sublime destiny over mediocrity
Like Darwin I chose the monkey over man
I chose the harmonica over the harpsichord
I chose Superwoman over Betty Grable
I chose the safety of failure over the Winner’s Circle
the lady has me temporarily off the bottle
and now the pecker stands up
however, things change overnight–
instead of listening to Shostakovich and
Mozart through a smeared haze of smoke
the nights change, new
we drive to Baskin-Robbins,
Rocky Road, Bubble Gum, Apricot Ice, Strawberry
Cheesecake, Chocolate Mint…
we park outside and look at icecream
a very healthy and satisfied people,
nary a potential suicide in sight
(they probably even vote)
and I tell her
“what if the boys saw me go in there? suppose they
find out I’m going in for a walnut peach sundae?”
“come on, chicken,” she laughs and we go in
and stand with the icecream people.
none of them are cursing or threatening
there seem to be no hangovers or
I am alarmed at the placid and calm wave
that flows about. I feel like a leper in a
beauty contest. we finally get our sundaes and
sit in the car and eat them.
I must admit they are quite good. a curious new
world. (all my friends tell me I am looking
better. “you’re looking good, man, we thought you
were going to die there for a while…”)
–those 4,500 dark nights, the jails, the
and later that night
there is use for the pecker, use for
love, and it is glorious,
long and true,
and afterwards we speak of easy things;
our heads by the open window with the moonlight
looking through, we sleep in each other’s
the icecream people make me feel good,
inside and out.
all I want to do is
make poetry famous
all I want to do is
burn my initials into the sun
all I want do do is
read poetry from the middle of a
standing in the fast lane of the
falling from the top of the
Empire State Building
the literary world
sucks dead dog dick
I look at the faces
and lift my head
above the roar
only the vision
few men know
I salute you rebel
above the whips of dead men
lets sing to the flower
here on earth
wherever it may be
I sing to the flower
in the jailhouse full of blues
in the coffin without courage
I sing to you
you who never forget to smile
no matter how hard
no matter how your fist
clenched in anger
you smiled at me
that was the flame
for I am richer than
all the moneybags in heaven
I sing for you
rebel of choice
I sing to you
Knowing there’s only so much time,
I don’t rejoice less but more.
Knowing how many things will now
not happen, I wish them Godspeed
and pass them on to someone
down the line. I honor my
regrets, the part of me that
never happened or happened wrong
and proceed on course though
the course is not known. Only
the end is known and some days
it’s a comfort. We live on
love, whether it’s there or
not and rejoice in it even in
its absence. If I had known,
I’d have come here better equipped—
but that’s another one of those
things you can’t change—as we
can’t alter that part of us
that lives on memory, knowing
all the while that time is not
real and that what we are we
never were in the light of that
timeless place where we really
belong, have belonged always.
And what’s left then is only
to bless it all in the light of
what we don’t and will never
know or at least not here where
the light is only a shadow of
that light we almost see sometimes—
that light that’s really home.
through the trees.
Vast clouds of them
in the dark.
We sit around
our small fire
and tell stories
into legendary figures.
you can’t shoot a bat
in the air, says
they dodge the bullets.
We empty our pistols
into a cloud of bats
next morning find
no dead bats.
But there’s a drop of blood
on a rock. I suppose we
in the air maybe
that’s what heros are
Drunken fools blasting away
at bats in the darkness,
a drop of blood
fading away on a stone.
We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to “get over” a life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things
and be then not any less pain but true to form.
Because anything natural has an inherent shape
and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we’re looking for:
not the end of a thing but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
without obliterating (getting over) a single
instant of it.
fragments of a ravaged night
spiders across the sultry dread
as the lark harmonizes narcotic
hymns aloft the long time dead.
and there she is again
dancin’ barefoot in the
with a bottle in hand,
gazing into the night
taking spontaneous pulls
to dilute the agony
of the dying light.