Thursday, September 30, 2010

129. À la recherche des mots perdus

Personne c’est moi

Voici la voix
du chien andalou

La silence du dik-dik

Otra vez y
otra cosa interesante
como un perro
sin boca
sin dentes

No lo puedo decir nada
ni escribir ni cantar

No tengo palabras
y las palabras se pierden

Post coitum homo tristis

And sadness is a third thing
or a thing of thirds
made up of anticipation
loss and recollection
of loss

The children call it
the pied stone
la piedra de varios colores
or la pierre pied

I took a piece of white
to make the colors
I needed I took the piece
of white to make
the piece of white
I needed more

No sign but
silence seems
like the sign
for white
made from
the blackest
ink of India
encre du Chine

What is not
white is what
is not-white

Je suis une
boîte de mer
J’ai une boîte
de ma mère
mais ma mere
est morte et
toujours le
soleil est blanc

I can’t see
out of it
so I see
through it
I see through
it because
there is no
out of it
to have

The word
is le mot
est mort
c’est moi
sont mois
is la palabra
es una parabola
runs itself back out
past the point of meaning

It comes
out from the point
of the tongue
to point
at you


to post yesterday's poem until just this second.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

128. Fragments of Fragmentation

( ( ( ( ( ( (

they are budding
and opening

) ) ) ) ) ) )


what belongs in
her is him

what belongs to
here is hill


thinking, he
discovered, causes
headaches, so
he had
to stop


beautiful one
euonymous one

eyed like


all these voices
are dreaming

a poem

13 voices
are dreaming


do not
count in
twos the
words here


water in the
shape of a
bottle in the
shape of a
tower in the
shape of a
penis in the
shape of a bat


in a vase
for a funeral

at the last minute


the only words
I left here for you
were the words
I’d cut out


from the side
the word
looked like a knife


like a Finn


if you had a voice
for a certain word

and thirteen voices
to share it with

would you speak
that word aloud for us

or would you hold
your tongue and listen?


the appearance of pear


at that point when
sun settles for night


he became her


having seen it
there was no need
for it to be


) ) ) ) ) ) )

they are shutting
and resting

( ( ( ( ( ( (

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

127. Dulce et decorum est pro amor mori

Dulce means suite so there are
many of them that make a whole
or milk. Leche is late but she
cannot wait for him, or her who’s
growing within. Nuit is not
a hard nut to crack, though breaking
it engenders light. Gender is
gentle, difference between who
is what and why is how
and screaming in her sex
or sleep. Steep is our learning
that curves along her thigh
and up into the point where she
gently seeps and smells of
frankincense. Immersion
is a method of taking the body out
of one space to place it
in another and, thus, another’s.
A lover insists a part of the process
of loving and making love. A lover
resists as against the current
of desire and wanting. What more
or less she must or might
do or believe to be
or make or make do. The morning’s
grass in glistening’s temporary
state or country of his origin
or her body. Knowledge runs
and, in streaming, leaves
itself behind. A leafless book,
the pages still flow past, in eyesight,
mindsight, sense of words like breath
or smell. History, though she has one too,
or many, since time makes times,
sets many moments in a single file.
As wife, in dreaming, a seeming
and sealing out the dark, she sees
on eyelids’ screens a scene that merely makes
and never does. And was her yearning one
of earning or remitting, every dollar’s
worth of love in oak or acorn’s
rolling from a kick of walking’s
way? An ounce of waiting for a pound
of table, langa, wood so soft but deep
in color, covered from the eye and dressed
in blue, as she, and draping, too, is.
For he and she together one do
make, or two, a furca, almost
what a love might make or be
or find. Look or looking,
locked by sight’s remembering’s grasp
and record, to make to seem as if
some seen was seen and real,
continuing as a happened fact or
fiction’s nemesis. The act of friction
makes the fire and keeps that coupling
going, what’s real making what’s felt
or felted touched and touching.
The quilt that covers covers one
or two and makes, from pieces,
wholes of warmth that sleeping
makes to slumber or to the sweeping-
out of dreaming to a window darkened
by the season changing aft and often,
all in sequence, circulate, as circling
and rounding a hole between
the space of eye or earth or time
and timing so that past’s eventual
is the present’s future. Tense in
chest, or rising pressure, or in the legs
and tight and straining, going to a
place to be, losing in a space of being
all that else but moment’s moment’s moment
here and only here, and hear. Her hand
is writing, writhing, words are coming
from the pen, her ink is flowing,
leaving, drying, driving thought,
a message, meaning, nail through
board and boards and holding
both together, making wood for home
or hold, book of wood of
paper, pulp of words and flesh,
the flashing lights of warning, waking,
warming, and the welt that marks
the skin that took the wording. Wonder
or to squander life for living, love
for loning, lift for lilt, the silt
of living settles slowly over feet then
ankles, covering, burying experience in
forgetting, losing, leaving out, and
blankness is the black that follows
till it is the only nothing
that there ever is.

Monday, September 27, 2010

126. USA Today

Denis Peterson, "USA Today" (2010)
The following poem is a response to this painting

half letter half letter
of water and collapsing
into sleep a half letter
of water and collapsing
to a welter that is water

pray to the god of sitting
on a stack of newspapers
and collapsing into sleep
and half letters of water
boxed and stacked up to

with a letter as praying
of words with hands held
pleached in stasis and a
half letter like water
running through the body

what body still with water
and letters running half into
words and working out to
collapsing half-bowing into
sleep that runs and through him

material life that holds him
as a culture of making
letters of his sleep as
eyeless sleeping makes by
water the race of waking

print as news as fit as foot
as a footfall fallen and
in stasis staying and there
in stacks of paper and of
prints and silent eyeless on

dollied into piles of space
or spacing and out as if
to sleep or seen through wind
as windows holding all of it
separate as if separable from

half a letter as a half a liter
of water sitting as if sleeping
as if water’s form of sleeping
before slipping down a throat
as if running as if woken from

eyeless for his head is bowed
and bowed allows for sleeping
as if in prayer and silent
but not wordless only voiceless
but thought or as it’s visible

window taking shape of light
as water taking shape of
holder as hands might hold
the air from moving as the
moving’s done and then it ends

window as a port to darkness
or windows as the way to light
as sight in sifting through living
like life’s images’ flickering motion
making out what’s already made

want as head is bowed and
praying forms the shape
of body’s being locus of
the form of thinking
sleep and sound will take

cloth as clothing as a word
as paper and page as sheet
as side as sight and he
as air as water running
and light as breath as sift

skin as flesh as light as
paint as sleep as slipping
off and water slaking flowing
evaporation off then drying
draw as drawing paint as dry

maybe number of the liters
of the letters of the words
of the words within the lines
of the lines within the poem
of the brushstrokes made of paint

Still Working on Poem # 126

half liter
half liter of water
and collapsing into
sleep a half liter
of water and collapsing

pray to the god of
sitting on a stack of newspapers
and collapsing into sleep
and half liters of water
boxed and stacked

Sunday, September 26, 2010

125. rvr & mtn

he mutters
to himself
about mtns

& the way the t
rises up in
the middle
of each

“green & rounded
grant us woods
to hold these
soft curvaceous
forms in place

“that grey
square castle
on the west edge
of this river
hardly flowing
this round
& greenness

everything straight
is a prison


he wears
the sun as a shirt
his pants
are two strains
of the Hudson
slipping by
a small &
crumbling castle
on an island
just big enough
to hold
his shoes are
dark & smelly

an eyelet
of an island
rises out
of mud-green
water a wave
curls white
& breaking
back into
that steady

“the river
sinks into
the earth
to a depth
only the
trapped v
of rvr

is downward
the thin or
wide leaves of
the butternut
birch maple
locust some
with hearts
or staghorn
sumac about
to break
into color
are merely
of a deeper
set of branches
into the
dark blind

the Gunks
are steady
as his gaze
up out of
river green-
blue & green
woods like
lichen at
their feet
& head
pillars of
a faceless

train runs
a margin
water &
for water
to come
& sits
low enough
to sip
from the
at the bank

btwn being
in place &
of a place
& moving
slow but
steady away is
the difference
btwn the
town hidden
in the mtns
of btwn &
the river
moving w/o
moving down
into the earth
south to
the city out
to the sea”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

124. Of Fleshy Fruits and Tissues

As you know, we are
shaped like tubers and
tubers grow from the
forks of our bodies. The
tubers grow from our
bodies like the tumors
that their growing sounds
like. There are sounds
like rumors that grow
in your stomach, where
all animals live. Make
and wear whatever
shirt, whatever shorts,
and enjoy this warm
day’s sunlight coming.

As you know, we are
equipped with fleshy
appendages that we
fatten and straighten
at any provocation. To
be sat on might be such
a provocation, and one
we would search out, to
feel the touch of human
hands upon our bodies
growing tuberous at the
condition of our now not
being alone. Such human
becomings are just human
beings, to find a mate not
for mating but coupling.
Aching and up to it, as
their saying goes, and we
know what we always are.

As you know, our aching
tubers burrow like rodents.
Sorrow like a dent in the
side of a head and the mind
can’t think it anymore out,
but we find a way to find
what we want, what we
need, be she he, be he she.
The tightest spots hide
also in the forks of our
bodies, the woman’s little
slit that opens to eat, the
tiny round hole that must
relax to admit any of us in.
But anyone, but any one
will not do, for our tubers
must burrow where the
warmth is ripe and right
and waiting for us to come.

As you know, our passion
is the passion of a being
awake and searching for
a reason to live. Pushing
and slaking are merely
the part where we make
our bodies know what our
heart must devise. Put
your ear to the chest to
listen for the rushing, to
listen to the rushing blood
that is not blood at all,
but merely the breathing
of the passionate heart.

As you know, we save
some passions for the
evening, and then let
the evening go. When
we let ourselves be
human, then all we are
is art or rising anger.
I have carved into this
carton’s mango sorbet
the tiniest perfect cunt,
and it is beautiful and
delicately scented, and
it opens quietly to say
that it is ready for me
in its orange sort of way.

123. In a sequence

and before [“in the place of”] a method of action
(as a mode of thought) distilled and {certainly}
taken into the body [as a means of being made]
and taken into the body [as a means of loving]
or open [to the possibility of, at the consideration of]
nada a dizer {no es español} yet we still speak
(peak and peek), comma or apostrophe’s height
[in the sense of weight] nothing rhymes with the eye
(yet the ear continues just the same) extensions
{allurements, debilitations, modifications to}
and these tendencies of the body [to interact, to
dispel, to dissuade, to cause to be forgotten forever]
consumed by the thought (in the sense of seeking)
or believed true or truthful [tending to accept
whatever is said as verified fact] and the distance
it takes for a body to move {to a place it wants
to be (if a body truly wants [if it is not merely
a mind that wants])} Myrtle and her crepe paper
{and the trees that grow along the streets of
Baton Rouge [red stick] or Rough} leaning into
the wind that winds out of the sky at night
(all these systems of darkness overtaking us)
because I am nothing [porque soy nada]
and the wind winds west {torque of th’Earth)
I see the color of the sky as the color beyond
the moon’s breadth (width of breathing) and
what comes after what becomes becomes what
comes before what succumbs [his succubus]
containing within the extent of desire the belief
{of the body as sanctuary from the earth} and
dwindling heat and extenuating cold come as
they come (a bit of warmth down the throat)
but they don’t come yet [a swallow of tequila]
and take another {parataxis} and another
(so that, in such manner, we may continue
[in this way, with a particular object of desire
intended, without the usual trappings of hope,
wanting less than we would ever expect
to receive] leading to a surfeit of waves
(and the ocean rising to greet us) our feet
wet and our eyes open {vision as a
responsibility to see things as they are}
my tendency is to exceed my limitations
[the extent of the body] my tendency is to
become as if one with the word (what comes
from the body is of the body) as if I had
an idea {I’d a horrible thought} and the
consequences of considerations [the dis-
coveries of the mind] ¿if you had a man
living in the state of my birth (what I’ve
abandoned is my birthright) would you
understand the words he could only write?
{those he couldn’t speak} the sting on
the tongue from drinking the agave
[agape and agape] we see in an instance
of vision (is vision, is visible darkness
and light, variations of blindness and
sight) so it is that we are deliberate
and we recommend the processes of
deliberation {wasted and wounded but
welcoming wishing} ¿quieres algo?
¿quieres todo? ¿quieres el mundo como
un sol sin luz? mi lengua es de color roja
(mi sangre es de color rojo) y mi vergüenza
es la razón [pero no hablo español] pero
no puedo cantar {no lo puedo, no lo puedo]
he vivido en Bolivia durante dos años
cuando estaba en mi juventud (y no tengo
ningun juventud más) mi idioma no es tuya
[mis esperanzas son sin límites] soy boy
{that is what I say to my son for we are
human males and must admit it} en el juego
de la vida somos los vencedores amables
(gracias a tu, gracias a tu novio Juan)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

122. AS2

In the audience of your body and at the bridge
no angel jumps in. In the audience of your body
and the bridge where no angel jumps in,
you are left holding your life. Cold and waiting
at the bridge, with the audience of your body
declaring its love for you, and the angel doesn’t
jump in, because there is no angel and the river
has disappeared, and it is not a bridge anymore but
your bed and you are sleeping and dreaming that you are
holding your life in your hands. In love and longing,
glanceless because alone, and surrounded by the audience
of your body within you, and leaning against the railing
of the bridge where no angel leaps into the cold and
black and white water, and you have not been born so
you sleep calmly until you realize you cannot be asleep.
Asleep in your body and alone at the bridge and ready
to jump but dreaming of an angel that jumps into the water
before you jump in, but there is no water and the highway
moves like water from the cars slipping over it, and
the audience of your body is breaking into song and the
song is about a man crying at a bridge with the weight
of his life upon him and he would not be born if he
could not be born, and you jump in or he jumps in or not,
and you cannot tell if he is you, and a fox passes through
your headlights at night before a skunk passes through
and the liquor goes through you and you remember he
is alive or you are alive, or there is water, cold cold water,
below you, and he wants to jump in, but first an angel
doesn’t jump in because there are no angels. In love with
a woman who doesn’t love, or in love with a woman who
loves too much, or in love with a woman who loves love but
has forgotten who you are, or in love with a woman yearning
but not for you, or in love with a woman who can no longer
love you, or sleeping with a woman in love with you, or not
sleeping in a bed with a woman who once loved you, or sitting
beside a woman who could not prove she loves you, or loving
a woman who once loved you but later forgot how to, or in
love with a woman who is not beside you because she is sleeping
through the night as if you were a dream, and the night seems
cold to you, because you have dreamed it that way, or you feel
a cold wind on the bridge, against the railing where he is going
to jump in because he has understood his life, but an angel would
jump in first to save him, except there was no angel there and maybe
it was the Tappan Zee and a long way down and you listened
to the sound of cars passing behind you and none would stop
because none were carrying angels, so he jumped, or you jumped,
or you couldn’t tell the difference but you could feel the wind
coming up from below you, or it was the Brooklyn Bridge and
your eyes were entangled in the system of wires holding you up
and you realized he was a marionette at the exact point that he
realized you were a marionette and that he was also you, and
an angel jumped in to save you, but he drowned and couldn’t
finish reading his book. Against the railing of a bridge and
fully within the throbbing audience of your body, the sound
of clapping filling your ears, and standing upon the bridge waiting
for the bridge to move out of the way, and calling the bridge
Freemans Bridge because he wanted to be free of it all, or you
wanted the same thing, but the drop to the Mohawk was too
short, and an angel jumped in carrying his book, and the angel
fell because he had no wings, and he had no wings because
there are no angels so there are no wings for them, and you
rested your head in your hands at the bridge with an angel telling you
you were saved this time, but he is wet and sitting in a hut
drying out his book, and you are on the bridge and looking
deep into the shallow water for a hint to the future. Asleep
and dreaming, yet standing within the audience of his body and
at the bridge where no angel jumps in, and he cannot find her
in the water, and he cannot find her in his dreams, and he cannot
find her in his past, and he cannot see into the future, and still
no angel jumps into the cold water, black and white, and he hears
gunfire so he leans into it, but the sound goes through him
soft and gentle. Glycerine tears and a wind machine and a bridge
with nothing beneath it and inside a soundstage with your fists
against your head, and realizing you had done nothing in your life,
and everything fallen apart, your pockets ripped open and spilling
air onto the deck of the bridge that is the floor of the studio, and
the collected voices of the audience of your body surrounding, you,
and staring into the water that is nothing more than a floor
that only you can see, and seeing no angel not jump into
the water that isn’t there, and you jump in to save the angel
but find no angel there, and you drown, on the floor, still
searching for the angel that disappeared beneath those
pineboard waves. Maybe a knife at his throat, but his hand
on the knife, or a blade against his wrist, and maybe he
is six and sitting in a playhouse, or he has caught every
kitten in the neighborhood and there is nothing more to catch,
or standing but leaning on but against the bridge with his
head in his hands and tears dripping into the cold river
below, and maybe he jumps quickly before any angel appears,
before an angel appears and forces him to jump to save him,
because he knows there is no way he would save himself,
unless the wind blew him backwards into May or might or
maybe not, or he is simply alone on the bridge and waiting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

121. A Few Hours at Home Between Sleeping

In being at a location, in starting
To move in a direction, in staying
In place and watching what moves before you,
In these ways you are part of the world,
You are integrated into reality.

Every leaf of your hand folding
Into every leaf of your other hand,
Folding like a drumming of sound
Into the sound of the leaves folding
Like a book into stillness and silence.

Build, like a daughter, a holding against
Your body, like a hug, a way to make her
Yours and to make you her mother
At a time in the morning before waking
And maybe you even slept through it.

The taste of cooking before you cook it
Upon the skillet against your tongue,
The feel of warmth and flavor and the time
It takes to cook it so that it has changed
In taste to what you want your tongue to taste.

Not cleaning, but being clean, a process
Resulting in clean, to remove an article of
Clothing, to wipe something, to wipe
Something again, to keep something from
Falling, to keep everything from falling.

A string as a structure of direction, as a
Means of securing something in place, as
The concatenating instances of existence,
Each little piece, each tiny action, moving
In place to show you the whole you’d not imagined.

Without intention to define a way to or even
A means of, without intention but with a
Persistence to determine one, in this manner
They can live a life (determined and undirected),
Waiting for the next click of the next clock.

Little girl in a dress and a smile whom you call
Your daughter and another little girl in the same
Whom you call the same, and Sunday morning
Is filled, like a glass with water, with sunlight,
And you could drink the whole day down.

At the edge of decision, there is the fear of falling,
But a child doesn’t have it, because it is not decision
That makes a child fall but the process of reaction
Against a friendly or dangerous environment, so that
A child finds herself often falling when meaning to run.

A fence for a dog but a yard for a child, the space
You give her, and everything in that space, and
A road beside the space, a direction outward,
Because everything you create and everything you
Love is something you eventually give away.

Taken as a pair, two daughters seem entirely different,
Without the similarities, even, of two volumes of a book,
But they are always the same somewhere, they will
Always laugh somehow to tell you that, they will remember
The way your eyes looked at them, they will remember.

We dream as if a child is made of nothing but heart and
That she loves us with that heart that is her entirely, but
She is more than heart, and so she is less than it, because
She is nothing more than a human person living a human life
Out in a way that is flawed and failed and ultimately beautiful.

She is not the child you had imagined she would
Be so she is exactly the child you wanted and
She is exactly the child she is, and if you give
Her space she will be the child you had imagined
She would be or she will be something more.

It is the sound of sunlight that awakens you
Every morning, it is the sound of sunlight that
Awakens you, and you’ve no idea why it is so loud,
Why the sun is so loud in the morning, why
The sun is as loud as your thoughts must be.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

120. Quel Bel Pachelbel del Mel

Therefore, contemplating.

Where it cannot begin it begins,
taking the form of unrecognizable beings, shapes
morphing into others, the edge of anything
indistinct and vaporous as a thought.

Taking one just before I go to bed,
my veins run clear, my dreams filled with fragments
of my own life, the terrors so great I force myself
awake each morning.

I believe it is the sound
of a field of brown wheat
just before the harvest.

Every man for himself, every woman
also for him. It is hard to tell anymore,
every saying folds into the next.

Therefore, extenuating.

Heartless, changeless, a slip of
music out of place. Two hands on the piano,
two songs slipping forth. Keith,
not jarring but slipping.

Living in time, experiencing time
as sound. How time breaks out

Interminable, the light moving forth,
and back at the table the light is gone.

The stiff flat leaves of the iris, and everything
they see and abandon. Wrinkled leaves
of chard, my fingers after a long hot soak
in the bathtub. A lingering scent of skunk.

It is not quite New Jersey, but
it is something quite like it.

After what sun I could hold in my hand,
I could remember when you were right here.

Therefore, debilitating.

Gerund, present participle, adjective,
the difference is lucrative.

Broadly sleeping, I
fail to appreciate the actions
of my body. In turn, this leads
to my sleeping less. Only
consciousness allows for
conscience, one of
the hard sciences,
I’m told.

She is always sleeping
when I am writing words away
to others. So her sleep (her
unconsciousness) allows these words
for me to make for you.

Take, for existence, this word.

Therefore, draping.

I consider sunlight a liquid
that soaks my sheer curtains each morning
and drips to the floor.

The example most often used
is that of the elephant that cannot
be distinguished from itself.

To ensure that, he wore a trim suit
and his beard trimmed. Or I did.

I’d id, she wished.
Ego ergo ego.
Super ergo sad.

It has come to the attention
of the management of this poem
that a certain archivist may wonder
what the deffil this means.

We exist in interlocking sequences
of action and thought through which
every bit of us is woven, and we cannot
escape this garment of our lives, and not always
does it seem to mean clearly what
it means,

and at those times it is
exactly what it is.

I should have read this at a literary lunch.

The applause is loud but no longer live
and comes at the end of the music
guiding these words.

Therefore, exterminating.

Monday, September 20, 2010

119. The Yes Yet Made


                         of a child’s eyes

                    filled with light
                    a broken marble

                                        glossy with tears

what light expands
& remains &
persists from

                              across the street at night


                         through her glasses

                    a giant’s eyes through
                    her round windows

                                        the color of

& fitted with
windows of glass covered
with a piece of glass

                              & if broken would cut

          (e)y(e)s( )

                         shaped of almonds

                    maybe brown or
                    green or blue

                              & seeing

almost as if sentient
sentimental or of
the last sentence spoken

                                        & she makes no words with her


                              coated, vitreous, glassy

                    what we see
                    & never want to

                                        & thinking out past

where the eyes but
feel with fat fingers
& fail in dim light

                              in dimmest light


                         having a smooth shining surface

                    round as a world

                                        fast enough to see

thinnest words on
thinnest pages
in thinnest light

                              the taste of the scent of ripe pear


                         of the surface of a wound

                    dry to death
                    & loving blind

                                        weeping wound

the eyes see weeping
eye made of weeping
the sound of weeping

                              tender to the touch


                         of the tongue gliding

                    over closed eyes
                    over eyelids closed open

                                        to the sense of

the tongue speaking
the tongue tasting
her sight

                              it is her vision for it all

Sunday, September 19, 2010

118. The First Related to the Second by the Way in Which Each is Simply the Same

in a sense
this is a
letter, as if
sent to you,
which it is,
so I mean
this in the
sense that
it actually
as I had said
it had (or
given that I
have not
yet finished
it, in the
sense that
I will)
the demands of time, and the basil blooms in tall stalks,
giant great blue heron flew over me today and it was grey,
overcast bird in the overcast sky, and paint dries, paint
dries into sand brown on the just-painted porch and stairs

in the proper,
if there were
such a thing,
way, a letter
would be a
document of
address to
one person
or sometimes
many (even
and this letter
meets that
minimal goal
of an epistle,
but it is some-
thing else,
an epistolary
poem, so it
must speak
to you to speak
through you
if bourbon gives you a headache drink a peaty scotch,
a good enough rule, the bricks lay scattered along
the new fenceline, eutrophication in writing, too many
words for an idea to break through, hole in the fence

think of
this as a
record, a
of a saying
of words,
but rather,
than as in
your archives,
an expression
towards some-
one already
dead, think of
it as words
to the living,
the record
before the
dishwasher run but a dryer is going, sound of a button
hitting the metal drum, dark like night because it is
night, dogs have taken to sleeping, I live under maples,
and there is no sky because evening’s blotted it out

in a letter
to be who
you are,
to say what
you mean,
to mean
what you
must, to
exist not
as a simple
concept but
as a real
tooth and
bone, some
thing solid,
an archives keeps forever something that won’t last
quite that long, what persists must be handed forward
in time, in the form of rumor, by tongue, kept alive by
the act of living, I breathe in through my nose and out

all a letter
has is words
unless I draw
a picture on
it, and then
it is still a
letter and
the picture
is just a word
within a
sequence of
words, if it
is a picture
of a fox the
word it might
be is fox, if
it is a scribble
the word it
might be is
white paint on the fingers of the hand, brown paint on the toes
of the foot, slight stinging on the tongue from food and drink,
every light out but this one so I can see what I’m thinking,
we take in food and air and drink to turn them into words

Saturday, September 18, 2010

117. Shadows Dreaming

Awakened eyelids disappear,
breaking sleep. It happens
every day. Certain considerations
apply, and certain tendencies
disappear in the face of your
momentum. Examine it to see.

Sunlight through the window,
the sunlight that wakes you
as it comes through the window,
isn’t sunlight, really, but
the thick muscled branches of
trees waving through the sunlight.

Alors, alors, en français, je crois,
dedans la langue de mes rêves,
où je ne suis pas un homme des mots,
ou où je suis la langue, la langue
de la bouche, l’homme de la voix,
dedans la boîte de l’imagination.

But there is no language to wake
you but the language of shadows
crossing the closed eyelids of your
face, and there are no tongues to
speak the language of your waking
besides your mother’s tongue

earwards towards you, in a small
whisper, like wind slipped in
under a door, not on a windy day
but on one when the wind is low
but steady through the trees, and
the branches sway against it.

I wish there were reasons for counting
besides the need to do it, the need
to know what number there is of
something, anything, even if that
number doesn’t tell you anything
you would ever need to know.

I wish there were reasons for waking
beyond the need to eat, for sustenance,
something beyond the bare uninformed
desire to continue, but as if in place, as
if frozen in place because the waking
doesn’t lead to that deeper awakening.

Night has slipped into morning now,
but early still, and I am still writing you
because I still have words to write,
something about the need for words to
make a living mean, something about
the fact of living to make a meaning

real, and we have spent the day
preparing for the wedding of our
daughter, now three weeks distant,
and wondering how much paint will
cover up how much of the unreasoned
past of this old leaning house of ours.

Someday soon, my daughter will wake
with the shadows grown long against
the profile of the sun, and she will
wonder what it was of the world that
made her want to wake, and she might
not even notice the skeletal shadows of

the trees at her window and she might
sleep a little longer, against the intentions
of the day, and wait until her body tells
her the day’s begun and she must up,
and so she will, weight against gravity,
feet against floor, until she is standing

on her feet, as you do in the morning, and
she is looking out the window, as you might,
and what she sees is not the world right
there, as it also is with you, but the world
that she might get to if she works towards
it, the world of dreams, of someplace else.

Friday, September 17, 2010

116. Talk to Him

You might not understand her

You might not understand her
Because she is a woman and she is sleeping

You might not understand her
Because she is a woman and she is sleeping
And she is dreaming of the man who is making love to her

You might not understand her
Because she is a woman and she is sleeping
And she is dreaming of the man who is making love to her
And she hears him say

La vida es muy cara, querida

And he repeats himself

La vida es muy cara, querida

It is a soft sound
The sound of his voice
And it is the sound of a void
The sound of a man already dead

Life prepares and death exceeds
The priests had it right
It all lines up
In time and place
One fact after another

She lies there asleep
Surrounded by commas
And he is already dead
So he speaks to her softly

If the snow would gather quietly
At the lowest seam of the door
That would be the sound of his voice
And he would be explaining her his day

Though he is already dead

Because he is dead
He can tell her

An action moves in a phalanx
Whether intended or not
Even the smallest movement leads
To consequences only the dead understand

You might not understand her
Because she is asleep in her bed
Because she is leaping through clouds
Because she’s thrown out the first baseball

Because she’s the prettiest girl

You might not understand her
Because she is a woman and naked under the sheets
And her breasts rest heavy on her chest
Which rises before it falls
Which fills before it empties itself
Of wordless air
Because she is asleep when he speaks

She sleeps while he speaks
And what she says is

Where are you man who speaks to me?
Why are you speaking?
Why are you asking me to wake?
Why are you telling me to wake?
I must sleep a little while longer
I must sleep a little longer still

And even if he says nothing
And even if the man who is making love to her
And even if the man who is dead and making love to her says nothing
He still tells her

I love you
I saw this at the ballet today
You are a beautiful woman even when you’re asleep
And you’re asleep all the time
I am the father of your child
But your child is dead
My seed lies within you
But our child is dead
I bought us this bed
Though you sleep all the time
So I could sleep beside you
So I could sleep inside you
And dream that you had woken
And dream that you had woken
To find me alive

But she is asleep
As you might remember
So all she can say
To the man making love to her

Where is my child?
Who are my lover?
Why is it dark?
When will I wake?
How did you know?

So she sleeps on her back
And she dreams not a dream
And she sleeps through the black
And never can scream

Because she sleeps through the day
And she sleeps through the night
And she never has met
The man who is dead
The man who’s within her
The man who is fucking her beautiful body
As she sleeps through the night
As she sleeps through the day
And never can dream a man out of sleep
And never can dream a son out of sleeping

So the man who is fucking
So the man who is fucking her beautiful body
Says to her softly
Says to her quietly

Our son is a gymnast
Our daughter a dance
They live in your body
They hope for a chance
But you are still sleeping
And I am still dead
And nothing is all
That ever I’ve said

And he says to her finally
In a voice full of sorrow

La vida es tuya
La muerte es mio
Tú eres mi hambre
Tu hambre es todo

Tengo hambre
Tienes hambre
Tenemos hambre sin cesar

And that’s the whole story

You might not understand her
Because she is a woman and she is sleeping

And you might not understand him
Because he is dead

Thursday, September 16, 2010

115. The Colors of the Week

Sunday is Red

The color of the sun has no taste
and isn’t the red of a rose, and I walked
through a garden of roses to prove it.

If I had placed a single petal of the flower,
red on my red tongue, it would have tasted
of perfume, but my shirt was grey.

Monday is Yellow

Monday is moon’s day and yellow
in the sense that we think it might be
or we trick ourselves into believing it.

I always wear a yellow shirt
to show that I am the best light left
in the middle of a dark night.

Tuesday is Pink

To my daughter’s wedding I will wear
a pink tie, though I am a person of Mars
and she will be married on a Saturday.

Tuesday is the day we learn
that the workweek will never
quite end, no matter how much we wish it would.

Wednesday is Green

I was born in the middle of the week
and full of woe, crying for air, wanting
to run to one end of the week

or the other, but unable to decide
which was the closest to run to,
so I stayed in place, even though

Wednesday is just a waystation,
and mercury is the fastest metal
even when sloshing in our hands.

Thursday is Orange

Years of my life spent looking
for an orange shirt, because I wanted
that color I could rarely find in nature.

Thursday is the supreme day,
the day before the end of the week,
the father of the middle of the week.

Friday is Blue

Friday is anything but blue, and
we honor that day as we honor
the goddess Venus and all

she represents, and we wear
our navy pants to work, so it is as if
we are sailing shells into battle.

Saturday is Purple

I used to own a Saturn,
but it wasn’t a planet, and it was gold
instead of purple, so

it might not have been the best car
for a Saturday, but it ran well enough.
It ran almost purple.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

114. And Continuing in This Manner

A clean-washed bra
and the next thought was summer,

a sense that there was a smell to it
or her

and hearing in the wind
where I was,

or the sound of laughter
from squeaky little children

brought about by the beneficence
of summer, that summer

that is no longer here but hasn’t
left, or writing it down,

thinking it out, looking it over,
making it up, and we are

always making it up, because
there is no word, there is no meaning,

just air
just wind

and no way to tell one
from another or what to do

because we believe in one pun,
the other, a mighty maker

of heaving
and surf,

and that beach again
and summer even if,

though definitely though,
there was no beach before, just

a bra,
which is enough

if off,
and what it holds for us

we hold,
these truths

are universal, like air,
like wind,

like what it is that moves invisible
through her hair

like silk,
like silt, and stopped,

always stopped in the middle of a thought because
there is only one thought,

then it continues
and it extends

its hearty greetings to the world
before us,

before we have a chance
to forget or even do anything else,

and it is for this reason that I say too much
because I know,

and you must, too, that time is always short,
suffering from a Napoleonic complex,

narcoleptic, and dying or senile,
and I have a colander of tomatoes,

tiny as opportunities,
sitting on my kitchen counter,

so I just ate one, because I believe in eating summer,
in tasting the last red flesh of it,

even in the dark, even when evening’s
moved into the neighborhood and the air turns

a little skunky because
it is night and the skunks wander

looking for fear,
and fear’s something we can always find,

a bra not always,
a clean-washed one even less so,

and I’m writing you so that you remember,
later in life, when you’ve forgotten a few other things,

that particular bra, because
it doesn’t exist,

and since we are beings
of the mind

we don’t really have to remember what exists,
we can remember something that doesn’t

and still be moved by it,
and still move our nose into the warm cup of the bra,

then the other, and imagine
we are men of the senses, if not always sense,

and I tell you this this evening
because I needed something to say, you see,

you are the 114th person I’ve written a letter to this year,
a letter that is also a poem, and some of them

are clear, maybe didactic (like this one),
maybe awkward, and others are obscure, made

out of the words left over after a thought’s
lost its way, and I don’t want them

to sound alike, but I still have a voice
and I hear it in each word, so the quest is to

not be the same person twice (here, I’m colloquial
and humorous, but only slightly the latter),

because the goal here is to examine the possibilities
of language across a single year, the year I am

fifty, which is this year but also next,
and I am writing a letter a day, because I like

the constraint of time, because it is real
and natural, like the air,

like wind, and because I enjoy the process
of building a book, day by day, this one

set to be about 1300 pages long when
it’s done, when it will be, if

it will be, since we never know
what life with give us, or take away, and sometimes

it’s not a clean-washed bra, sometimes
it’s death, which is what always stops a thought.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

113. Mice & Eggs

emblem of

inside a system of emblems
of any container of a thought

paper page parasol pangolin

ridges between depressions
and other ridges between those

diversions of water or mind

paint for paraffin
puffin for a fish

riddled with

what the hand makes
that the eyes seizes

it was either a letter or a mouse

this house holds them
but only as winter comes in

and until the cat finds them

a cat is patient as an eye
looking for a mouse in a painting

you might make a mouse

might make a mouse

into a painting into a place
of words and pictures

or an egg

maybe a mouse would
hide in an egg

mouse that sneaks through the house

an egg that holds
a secret

they are secret brothers

mouse born from
an earlier egg

as if [ ] was left out

a mouse may be made
of color or fur or fur the color of fur

and an egg

may be made out of shell
of albumen of yolk

of words

they can both be made
of words

as you make them with words

or as I write about them
there is a division between

where something is and where

something needs to be
that division goes either

by the name syntax
or vision

you have them both

you hold them in your hands
you watch them with your eyes

Monday, September 13, 2010

112. The Past’s the Best Window to the Future

I’ll do anything for poetry
A human’s another thing

Break it
Break it
Break it again

One day when I was 23
I wrote 17 poems
Tess Gallagher seem displeased by that number
(of poems)

I was young then
I didn’t have the stamina I have now
More than double my life later

I can easily write 72 poems in a day now
I just make sure none of them is larger than the grasp of a hand

With a rumble, the whistle of the train moves out of town

From a vantage point on the ridge
And looking down into the park
The empty blue pool was round and wide
Like an ocean, an ocean through the trees

With the windows open
The evening smelled of grass
Not cut grass, but blowing grass

Always the reminder
Of a skunk
The remainder

Sambuca helps with digestion
But only if you drink it after eating

A dark room neither small
Nor large because the darkness
Made that pointless but a bit of
Sambuca and its thick sweetness

A fence surrounds us with cedar

Tom Beckett can write one poem in a year
But it is a poem someone might remember

If you listen, you can hear the rhyme in your ear

You may recall
That we were in Denver together once
And surrounded by bail bondsmen

Somehow the place seemed right
Sometimes places and people seem right

On a walk today we moved out
Into the magic hour when the light is low
But powerful and seems somehow artificial
Yet more real than it usually is
And we saw this world under a large fingernail moon

If a cloud had not obscured the moon
We might have thought ourselves in a movie
And heading to an expected ending

I’ve lost sleep for poetry
I’ve given up food
I’ve asked my children to spell my words for me

I walked across the Empire State Plaza today
From the Cultural Education Center
Past the Capitol to the Education Building
And I sang as I walked
I sang to the beat of my walking shoes
I jumped atop pillars and over barriers
And I sang
Because poetry is the sound of the mouth
Or the sound of the mouth in the eye

And I’ll do anything for poetry

Even eat lunch in Albany with you
Remember? It was at Jack’s

Sunday, September 12, 2010

111. The Business of Love

I don’t care what comfort does, but comfort dies with me, sediment upon sediment, the tiny flakes of life, dandruff, dander, dust bunnies, the skin we lose through any day’s living, flummoxed by the simple act of living, loving, leaving, wondering why the language doesn’t allow every sequence of three phonemes (consonant-vowel-consonant) at least each written vowel a chance to make a word between the two consonants (live, love, leave, lave, luve), luve might work, and it is the business of love that runs a life, reaching for it, to hold, allowing it to take you, setting it up, let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits, we reach a limit, it may be speed, behind a slow car on a highway, I say, “What’s this guy doing? The speed limit?” because life is fast, how a bird falls to the earth from the sky, as if the air itself were falling, and we fall and fail, flailing, trying to catch ahold of something, dreams are made of falling, love is made of dreaming, night sweats in an autumn evening, the cold come in, yet menopause takes you over, regulate your temperature and you regulate your soul, what waxes wanes, and the wind blows in the direction away from which it is coming, windward, leeward, fo’c’s’le, the sail breathes in as the wind breathes out, we are bodies before we are minds, and our bodies contain everything we are, her breasts grew in preparation for her lover, his hands were made for building things but he never did, the surprise that cedar still smells of cedar, her dowry was generous given the expectations of the time, “It is said,” she said, “that it is as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man,” but, he said, “It is more difficult to find a rich man,” she took the spoons, he took the forks, the knives stood alone, sleeping was the antidote but dreaming was the disease, outrageously generous in the ways of parsimony, belle de nuit, human transactions are always economic, my luve is like a red red rose, petals flaking off one by one, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land, auditory hallucinations are a form of ear cinema, whispering there, every secret is either kept or invalidated, she parked herself on his bed until the light shut off, the candle’s gutter, the rain gutter, I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me, borrowing a body for a while, the tip of the finger, the tip of the tongue, typing past midnight without any hope for sleep, as a gay man he believed that anal sex was unacceptable for heterosexuals, nodding off, coming on, the consequences of each sequence of events are secret until there is no hope for avoiding catastrophe, feral cats marking their territory on his porch and searching for love, thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely, thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks, thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies, many girls have the names of flowers, what is a man but a weapon against love, his greatest desire at that point was for deluxe vinyl siding, in love there is no opposing team, constantly inconsistent, dedicated to her happiness, the utensils set as carefully upon the table as an arranged marriage, forks to the right of the plate, love allows for no demands, no rights, occasional wrongs, the way out is forward, the way back is in, swirling ayes, have it repaired by someone who specializes in matters of the heart, the heart keeps the body alive, like the best wine, for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak, she screamed in her sleep, at the intersection of desire and respite, continuing in this fashion until a sense of confusion ensued, dogged in her desire for a cat, conscious of the drug’s making him lose consciousness, I am not lightness but something real, goblets reserved for the most special soda pop, the division of light into color, division of property into parcels, a box of chocolates is full of surprises, driving to Carmel, there was almost an opera in his voice, boxed and buried his father was gone, in an instant he came to realize, thy neck is as a tower of ivory, thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim, thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus, a strange and wonderful nose, realizing that she knew nothing about him just at the point of marriage, her horse drawings could not replace the horses she desired, never angry but always upset, he would cart his books upstairs in the honest delusion that he would ever find them again, what we gain from others is whatever we lose from ourselves, alone but looking not to be, “See that?” he said, “One day she will all be yours,” and years ago this land was the sea, the season for love is life, many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it, we continue because we intend to, he meant that three were too many, and women as well, water would quench if thirst for water were the issue, yet the newspaper was empty of information on the most important events of her life from the day before, until he turned five he did not understand how he lived in the world separate from everyone else, or there were all the reasons not to, thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor, thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies, a laugh like lilting, she could knit it back together like a wound, “What was the sound of water evaporating?” he asked her, a kind of flower but one he knew only by name, her name was simple but direct, traffic in the circle was tentative, a tenuous hold on him, attenuated sense of her, they could almost hear it, he believed in no religion because he was saving himself for reality, she had to make sure, he had to assure, let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for thy love is better than wine, she cried when she was alone or in the shower, a romantic sense of what a bower might be, he was stronger than she let on, he let go so that he could watch himself fall through the rafters of his dream, he felt like a bird, she looked like a bird, they called him Robert for no particular reason, there are no grounds for love, the sink filled with the scent of coffee after emptying the pot down the drain, a long whistle of the train as it left the city for someplace else, I am a wall, and my breasts like towers, then was I in his eyes as one that found favor, he could not scale her so he was never sure of her size, sticky like an eye at the first moment of waking, physically shaking at the news, their house surrounded by cats and the voices, he had only three choices, the best beef is the most tender, the tenderest cut, slice into a heart and you will find nothing of desire there, the air, the air, the air, thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

110. The Words for Words


words and wordlessness
and the sounds of both

inter- moderating to outer-
the extent to which thing
might be the thing it isn’t

take a word
fat on a page
and extending
itself into space

feel the body
of the word
wrap your tongue
along its long smooth leg
hold it tight against yourself

a word as wordless
is still a world and
meaning all the way
cacophony is not an homage to catatonia
the music you want
is the music you see

I know what you want
that word for the eye
I want it too
not a real word but a representation of
what a word might be
if we could hold it
in our hands and comfort it

sleep in ink and fibers
and flowing in and all the words
are flowing in and into your dreams
the night is ink
already you can’t see anything
except the dark shapes
of words
before you

and they come after you too
they come after your house
they come after your dog
if you have a cat
they come after your cat
after you come to
and wake to sunshine
they come after
the sun

come here
and listen
to the word
you see
and see
if you hear
the sound
of the sea
you word

you read the writing
in the sunlight the writing
on the carpet the writing
on the wall the writing on the page
writing on the bed writing
on the sheets the writing on
the screen the writing
in you mind

whatever you can’t read
in a line
is a word or a sentence you can’t read
on the page of a book and senselessness
gives you your meaning
because the desire to write the desire to read
exceeds reading and writing

word as talisman
word as fetish
word as offering
word as reliquary
word as mark

word as life

everything that accumulates
forms a whole and that whole
holds everything that ever occupied its space
these are the words that flow in ink and paint
before your eyes

there are no words for desire
there are no words for meaning
there are no for enjoyment
there are no words for us

at one point there were few words
and they were sturdy and walked bravely
forward into the world

the next text is textile
is texture is testing you

the next text is you

Friday, September 10, 2010

109. It is Not that You Are Tired Again, but That You Have Exceeded Waiting

in breaking past
and passing, you break
forward and take to
making what a world
might be, that simple
thinking (grace in
being in the body
of the mind (extended
service of the heart))

hearing in the sifting
finding in the shifting
ways the way back
through to forward and
all of forward’s means
(a waiting done and being
done, a starting starting
over (there is in nothing
lingered out a stopping
but a going through))

you do not leave but
change in transformation’s
languid way as body
after time’s delaying makes
us wiser wieldy well and
(well, we miss whatever
we have wanted and wanting
more we never have (yet love
what we can finally take
that reaching longer
fully grasps))

begin beginning’s augured
openings the blossomed flower
of life well lived and loved
until the scent arises as if
you’d sent yourself away
(the place to go was time and
forward (feeling fragrance
as weight in lightness’
gentle pull of coming, taking
nothing out but adding to))

to toil in thinking all a life
and find in thinking means
of making and making system of
the senses of the workings of
the world, for that allows a
mind to be what must be (a
maker creating terraces of
meaning (extracting from what
chaos meets you, direction
to the world of working))

it is a joy of being to be
as you in place of making to
site of being, the mind’s relaxing
gaze attuned to hearing every
scent it touches, alive in beauty,
breath, and pleasure, morning
meeting you with gentle
gestures (and there’re no alarms
to worry sleep before its finish
(the bureau’s top with its dust
delayed, the glaze of sunlight
lightly glowing))

we say no goods, we say no byes,
we buy you time for all that’s good,
and time is all we have till ending
ends a time and makes it more,
the doors that open from the building
open forward, open out, funnel
tunneled out to light, the breeze
of autumn flowing softly (all
encounters taking pleasure at
the pleasure of success, at
simplest acts of being’s being, at
the goal of living, having, well
(and making room in life for life,
and making life for you to be))

Thursday, September 9, 2010

108. The Book of Commas


exercises towards (no, toward (no, to))
the thought thinking

, , ,

Einmal Johannisbeersaft, bitte.

deep like sweat

, , ,



, , ,

the first page of the book:


, , ,

it was raining

she was raining

, , ,

you would understand

he would overstate

, , ,



, , ,


and swerve
away the way
an article of
faith, , , an
act of faith, , ,
afire, , , alight
, , , resting, , ,
rested, , , the
rest of it all

, , ,

the fallen

the fallen structures
of consideration and
the fallen structures
of your thinking and
the fallen structures
of those small losses
the fallen structures
of every busted hope
the fallen structures
of all her desires and
the fallen structures
of a hope and hoping
the fallen structures
of late night thought
the fallen structures
of what’s left behind

, , ,

the second page of the book:

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, , ,

the sky pierced with raindrops

the raindrops piercing your heart

, , ,

it is too maudlin to consider

so we must accept it without question

, , ,

she could not understand why he made no sense

then she discovered he was a poet

, , ,



, , ,

a nosegay

a Gnostic

, , ,

I have a beard

It’s called a bed

, , ,


as a degree of not being able to comprehend

, , ,

the third page of the book:

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, , ,

the book is a visual object

covered with marks

, , ,

and razing

two forms of falling

, , ,

in time they will find a cure for it

but first they’ll have to find it

, , ,

she flirts first with him

she skirts shirts with him

, , ,

the horror of falling asleep

the terror of waking up

, , ,

he was found
walking up the stairs
in her sleep

she was found
drowning her sorrows
with her cats

, , ,

(they called it vermouth)

her mouth green with envy
enviably so

, , ,

the fourth page of the book:

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, , ,

she cried in her sleep

in rained in the deep

, , ,

everything in opposition to everything else

everynoun in apposition to everynoun else

, , ,

constantly never doing anything

never constantly doing anything

, , ,

he exhumed every pain
he had ever buried within her
he explained every hurt
he had ever inspired within her

she resumed every pain
she had ever hurried away from him
she proclaimed every hurt
she had ever conspired away from him

, , ,

decisions taking the form of incisions

actions taking the form of retractions

, , ,

the fifth page of the book:

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, , ,

he understood the centeredness

he overstated the centredness