The New President

The Pumpkin President by Mark Ryden

I survey my kingdom:
a horse skull/ jungle gym
with blond bee-striped boys,
sparrow-sized, halfway in

an eye hole to hide;
the other on top,
staring straight down
to a devilish Scot

who winks at the camera,
that handsome pariah,
his gaze set on us,
he forgets the messiah,

who, perched in his house,
points down from a tree
in a gesture of patience
to him and to me.

For with my striped stick
I'm a cruel master.
Out of ten subjects
there's only my Aster

who sits in the undergrowth
reading a book.
(Though not really reading
by her vacant look.)

She's grown a new president,
one that's honest and true,
and when he is my size
what will I do?


Play Along

O, the moon.
O, the stars
and all the heavens' light,
I said. You're being an ass,
she said and I gestured toward the sky,
flailing my arms, catching
moonlight on my polished teeth,
feeling the wind comb
the hair on my head.
I knit my brow to a fine line
and showed her how deep the creases
on either side of my mouth could be.
She stood steadfast,
impatience pooling from her formal gown.
Play along, I said,
but she wouldn't have it,
We are aristocratic debutantes
and we don't behave that way
in front of the queen.


On A Winter Canvas

A field of Santa Clauses
Huddle together, whispering
through pursed pink lips.

It sounds like whistling.
When they sway, the song
changes, suddenly a requiem

of clouded breath uplifts
the sheet of fresh snow,
which tendrils toward the sky.

The moon: stark, white, whole,
glints off their beards, illuminating
a sea of rosy cheeks and wet red

noses, but their eyes remain
shut, turning coal into diamonds.


We Just Live The Quiet Life

Saturdays, out for a drive.
We just live the quiet life.
Early, turning out the lights.
Always kissing her goodnight.

Sundays are for sleeping in
till my wife's infernal din
wakes me with the tasty sin:
bacon and its buttered kin.

Mondays, lessons at the dojo.
Dinner, six o'clock in Sodo.
Working up my manly mojo
then we can't because... you know.

Tuesdays, all my time at work:
pushing papers as a clerk.
Leaving early is a perk
for my boss, that stodgy jerk.

Wednesdays, time for toast and tea
and a little time for me,
which I spend quite pleasantly
charting Fluffy's pedigree.

Thursdays are so very droll.
So much so I'd rather skip them altogether.

Fridays, Oh, the week is over.
If it could be done forever
I would gladly leave my boulder
and I'd find a something better.


My Expectations Bring In The Tide

When I grow up I want to be the moon:
object of desire, mystery, subject of too
many poems. I'd show you my dark side
and you would be amazed. Nothing to hide,
I'd gaze into oceans, shake my cratered
head to bring the tide to bed later
than ever before. My celestial mantel
grazing stardust, disbursed like an ant hill.

Lovers would promise me literally and figuratively,
my fault line turned up, knowingly,
sparing their soft red hearts the trouble
of finding an unlikely dream impossible.



One thousand salt-sheared
tentacles encircle
my home.Its blinds
unfurl and daylight pours
in. For a moment

I can see
what I was doing. Then,
a rubbery darkness.

I grope around
for years,
it seems,
in love with a girl
whose kiss envelops
my face,
"I want you to hold
my face," I breathe,
the words trapped within bubbles;
the sound spreading out across the ocean.


Letter From The Ocean Floor

I'm so
Hope you are well.
In a waking dream
I ran
of bottles
before I could tell

you about the surface, how
my will to live
props up the whole ocean:
each breath a shallow zeppelin
ready to balloon up, crushing
my heart and other vital organs
-So full of love.


The Ocean Gets Dark As You Go Deeper

She seemed so unreal
as if her face
were a beautiful mask.

She held my head
in hers nightly, wrote
me in homemade ink.

Her letters weren't about
anything in particular, but
they were about me.

Her handwriting was jarring.
Each rounded character originating
from somewhere deep within.

They shivered in lamplight,
damp with ocean spray,
eyes dotted with hearts.

I put them deep
within my head
for safekeeping

just to hear their call,
feel their faint vibrations
in the dark water.


Take Heart

"Take heart
your house
is being towed
out to sea
as part
of the wildlife
reclamation act"

and the seagull clutching
the notice flew away before
I could get my lawyer.



I am Carl Fredrickson.
My girlfriend was his wife.
Now all I need is an Asian boy...
That didn't come out right.


You Drew A Wonderfully False World

Chalk lines on a brick wall do not connect, yet
the “c” becomes a circle;
shades of gray
gain new dimensions.

The “c” becomes a circle,
looping lines recede into the sunset,
gain new dimensions.
Your meaning is conveyed.

Looping lines recede into the sunset
only to reappear at the shore.
Your meaning is conveyed,
obscured in distance.

It only appears at the shore.
You are the only one
obscured in distance.
You can hear your branches creak.

You are the only one
in a forest full of branches.
You can hear your branches creak.
Watch the others sway.

In a forest full of branches
your mouth is a knot hole;
watch the others sway,
smearing ink on paper.

Your mouth is a knot hole,
you never bear fruit
smearing ink on paper;
illusions out of colored dust.


My Grandmother's Chest Of Drawers

Filled with coins bearing forgotten kings
it shudders under the weight. I burrow my hand
up to the elbow, fish out change from dead nations,
letting it sift between my fingers: caustic silt
many men lost their lives for, I'm sure.

Always with a clink of medals, its opening jars me:
a brilliant flash of undiminished accomplishment.
The years left an impression, which can be felt
only by touch. A rush of nostalgia I don't own.

They look like pens, vaguely. I try to write with
one, but it has no nub. They extend. I point to
locations on a map marked with multicolored pins.

A bear carved from ivory stares blankly at a swan
made of glass, it's fragile neck wrapped in brown paper,
splinted with a tongue depressor. Open it carefully:
step by step and they won't be startled apart. She always
watched to make sure, lamplight dancing in the corners
of her eyes.


Skeleton Key

Take my gnarled arm,
dip it in bronze,
clip a finger
from its tarnished father
and I'll read your palm.

Back, beyond
the stacks of trinkets:
a scrubbed brass ornament
in ringlets
with pins
for my finger's every indent.


Trying To Talk With A Mouthful Of Blood

My teeth are islands
and their inhabitants
are uneasy. The sea
is always unpredictable.

My tongue is a leviathan
they have all witnessed.

Small shrines
adorned with flowers
spring up in rows,
cut into my gums.

It makes me feel
like an accommodating giant
and a little alone.


I'm a Firefighter, Want To Go Out?

You're so hot I think you might be a fire hazard
and if this gets much hotter I'll have to whip
out my hose, but it looks like you might be too hot
to put out. I think the fire has spread to your
lower levels. Or are those hot pants. Either way
I'm going to have to go inside of you to rescue
any trapped survivors and by the looks of your rear
I'd say there's at least 15 people in there and
they will die of smoke inhalation unless I get moving.
You're a brick house, but I still need to evaluate your
structural integrity.

Don't take it personally.
I've seen good men die from not being careful.


A Shockwave’s Snail Crawl to the Midwestern United States

When the twin engines hummed, his mind settled. Many years ago,
before time’s cold utensils left their impression, he had two
boys. Both he left by the wayside in a land all too
foreign while shellfire smeared the sunset.

Cicaedas sound an alarm, which rushes through the field;
rips open a swath of chipped wood, cut dry. Against
a knotted branch, he stands cupping an axe head,
cradling its tawny stem between two fingers.

All falls quiet.

The silence lingers far after he takes another swing,
landing in a dull aqueous mutter. His shoulders
erupt in convulsions. The sun dilates; a white hot rush
of numbness radiates across
his right side.


You gave us Your only son,
plucked from flesh You call Your own,
told us that He died for us,
nailed upon a moral cross.

Can't You make another one?
Won't omnipotence condone
breaking off another piece
if the whole will never cease?



We walk
your good
friend's home

and sit
down by
the clock.

And all
I do
is tic.

And all
you do
is talk.


An Automated Telemarketing Machine Service Puts Me On Hold

I am ignored systematically
by an emotionless machine.

The satisfaction gained
by hanging up on another person is lost.

I wait on the line
for the next available human.

The music has been proven
"easy listening" to ease stress.

I tell some woman
it was like asking a copy machine

for a date and receiving
an "out of ink" message;

like being told you should
see other people in text speak.

She wouldn't shut up
and let me talk,

carrying on
about my long distance carrier

in an unwavering,
monotone drawl.

On A Bench

Over the bench they draped a checkered blanket
like a picnic. A cold blue fills the gaps
where leaves laid down to rest
on the dew-laced lawn of a park.

She raises an arm, rakes her fingers through
bristled fur, leans against her lover,
whispers plans for the future,
as beer pools on the concrete.

Their dog turns in his sleep, arches his back,
ears pointed, roving for the sound
of a misstep. From across the street
I can hear the sound of a hearth
through the window of a home they built.


Everyone Will Exit The Theatre

The lights come on. I wish for another feature.
A chandelier glows incandescently
then everyone will exit the theater.

My own funeral; I look so bitter
eating and drinking everything that's free.
The lights come on. I wish for another feature.

A time machine to catch another year.
A fresco impersonates Bill Murray
then everyone will exit the theater.

My guests are in costume, dressed as creatures.
I am Bill Murray waiting hopefully.
The lights come on. I wish for another feature.

I want you to pick me, chaos theory,
bind my work together, seal the ennui
then everyone will exit the theater.

What won't be taken by the weather,
the changing hands, and time's erosive freeze.
The lights come on. I wish for another feature
then everyone will exit the theater.


That transportation, I will never trust(Dylan Thomas Cover)

That transportation, I will never trust.
I thought I was too worn and tired to care.
Rage, rage against the passage of the bus.

At once it rumbled, covered me with dust.
I took a couple breathes and did not swear.
That transportation I will never trust.

Arriving early, waiting is a must.
I hate how other riders sit and stare.
Rage, rage against the passage of the bus.

The price is always in a state of flux.
I fumble through my pockets, pay the fare.
That transportation, I will never trust.

I had made my mind, I would not cuss,
but what came next was more than I could bear.
Rage, rage against the passage of the bus.

"I hope you know we're going downtown, not up"
My eye began to throb and twitch, "to where?"
That transportation, I will never trust.
Rage, rage against the passage of the bus.


Bury Your Ambition And It Will Grow Into Something

I made a decent living making
everyday happenings out of flowers.

My palm sweat mixed with floral scents.
My touch brought lavender sleep.

Geraniums sprouted across the surface
of my body. The doldrums were over,

yet I felt like my front yard.


Sometimes Words Fail Me

I sent a word to the store, told it
to come back with some meaning
and when it returned crying,
defiant, I sent it to the cleaners,
whipped out my thesaurus,
while implying we would be seeing
each other again in another sentence.

Though reluctant, it left, taking
the whole goddamn utterance we shared
like a crab and its shell.
I stared blankly, traced the trail
of it absence with my literary eye,
which, by now, was red and puffy.


Pick Me Chaos Theory

The Seattle Art Museum's fresco looks like
Bill Murray. Maybe it was a portrait
of a Bill Murray look alike or maybe
it was the man himself. I could speculate
all night, calculate the odds his likeness
would have survived the wars, the natural
progression of decay, the changing of hands,
but I've got my own problems and they won't
fix themselves.


I need to build a time machine.
It's the only way I can be sure
I won't fade into obscurity.
I'll check up on my own funeral
after delivering by best works,
guessing the year based on
how many drinks I've had
before switching the dials.
If everything goes right, it will
be a costume funeral. I'll be a ghost
and so will my corpse. We'll both laugh.


I want a poet's corpse. That is
to say a meaningful death or one
described as beautifully as...
anything, really,
so long as it's remembered.
Pablo Neruda could narrate it in Spanish,
the music would swell,
and the people would exit the theatre.


For a moment, when the room fills with light,
I think about what I am leaving behind;
the people, but mostly what will happen to my stuff
if left unattended too long. We hurry out
of the theater, not knowing whether it will be hot
or a sunny day. Whether we will be below
or above the earth. We just want to escape
the artifice we leave behind.
Everything becomes a memento mori.


On An Overpass With Cars For Teeth

The freeway opens up, zippers shut,
as I drain the last drops from my cup.


Full of Myself

I don't take criticism well.
My foot goes in my mouth
and I can't help myself;
With jaw unhinged
I half-swallow, half-choke
on my own leg
and then the other.
Shins sliding down my esophagus,
I regret wearing shoes.
Would alcohol take
the edge off?
Well past the torso,
belly, chest, my lips
fold outward, inward, press
together in an incestuous kiss.
I wonder why I turn
on myself; why I
bend over backward
instead of forward, when,
one way or another,
I'll end up eating
my own words
and when it's over
I've come full circle,
yet I don't exist.
I believe all I've said
to be dismissive.
I am ouroboros.
I am oblivion.
I am infinity
and her finest
gray-haired children.


Our Woods

Lets go back
into the woods, down
the wooden steps covered
in blackberry vines, past
stumps nursing fresh nettles,
sun spots and huckleberries
dripping from our chins,
sweet as they were sour;
through the foxglove nested
within white grass; we will
stop to sit at the fire pit
underneath the power lines
and above the gas pipeline,
pick over the charred
remains of nights spent
feeling insignificant,
then rise and continue
to the valley, overflowing
with evergreens and fiddlehead
ferns eager to greet us with
some sticky sap or spore on
our way down to the stream
where, in fall and winter,
water runs too wide to place
a foot on either bank;
the path narrows under
a tangle of fragile maples,
then returns to a whisper,
tracing veins in a basin of sand,
punctuated with mossy branches,
where the musk of skunk cabbage
hangs in the air and our footsteps
mark a path till the next rain.
At its heart we built a cabin out of felonies,
wiped our axes on rust-washed jeans,
breathing clouded fear into the trees;
and beyond that, a small town,
a vineyard, and a man-made river.


Ode to O's

O, o, o, one thousand wanton O's
float over our soup.
Open your door,
acknowledge your poor,
foolish spoon.

Zoom zoom,
look how your spoon
whooshes across our modest room,
soaring headlong
into your mouth.


Upon reconsidering,
your spoon rockets over your nose
to moons!
To untold planetoids beyond our world.

Furthermore, you cannot
command your spoon
to our former compromise.


Lord Snickerbottom Quits His Punk Rock Band Forever

I lack the aggressive tendencies,
the rebel's sneer, the style, the
strength and fortitude
to go on playing
with this show.

It's not as though I thought it over,
minced about, decided that your
means of making music
aren't worth
another go,

but while you were singing loudly,
acting brash and rather rowdy,
I was in my study
with the finest

and I had the realization
that my current occupation
is of poor configuration
for my talent
to grow.

So without intended rudeness
you must find another lutist.
I wish you all the best
and hope to see you,


While She Was Sleeping

She looked angelic, sleeping under the covers,
blankets tucked underneath her chin,
other thoughts trickling down her cerebellum.
Later she would relate her chagrin:
a celebrity had committed suicide, visions
of a strange bridge stretched over green water.
Neither are connected, but she confides
the water was rising in either painting.


Yeats Asks

Yeats waits
in eager anticipation
for an exalting
slow of breath.

Her chest heaves
in perfect time
to the ticking
of an impatient clock.

He strums his
fingers rapidly,
but softly,
lips pursed,
he asks,

"Why do men live
on earth
and not in heaven
from the beginning?"

She stirs,
languidly draping
words over the arc
of a thought.

His mind whirs:
the mechanics
of his motion lost,
but nearly caught.


The Bishop Speaks

Dollars per day, certainly not minimum wage,
and he came to our country holding roads
paved with gold within his head, growing
heavier by the minute, due for arrival
whenever they stop being delayed.

Said the white-collared man in Spanish,
his grandfather strove to finish what
he had been promised, and worked for,
ever since the first generation made it
across the desert and over the fence.

Sensing their rights as majority, the crowd
allowed their vowels to run long and low
over the Atlantic ocean without a hint
of pity, they professed an overwhelming
absence of good old fashioned American values.

When the congressman took the stand, dissent
stifled and dropped its torpid head.
Nevertheless it's heart beat on, bleeding
blue and red which muddled together
to a color that was barely human.

It was all a scam. The interest the man
earned was in his home currency and no
amount of earnest questioning could sway
the good intentions of a xenophobic ocean
cut into the hollow heart of his adopted country.


The Fall of Our Discontent

The sun also rises
to welcome the season,
chips frost from the lawn,
all without reason.

Then the grass grows
and I tend to my treason,
lighting small fires
to dance like a heathen.

My neighbors seethe,
call me a pagan,
while I'm drawing parallels
to their Ronald Regan.


sometimes i run in circles

i was made to think
about change so i thought
about being made i made
thoughts to change my way
of being i changed
because i was made
to i changed my way
of thinking my thoughts
no longer revolved
i was mad to think
so i changed the way
i made my thoughts
i'd like to think
my thoughts have evolved
that i was made to change
and think about being
i have revolved so i change

Happy Birthday to You

When does the world stop
stopping for you?
Have all their sentiments'
sentient ways stopped dead
or are they only sleeping?

In a time saturated in questions,
how can you ask-
As if our wobbling axis
may be gripped, twisted,
then told to stay
that way. The colossal wheel
and cog will not fit inside
your head, but it's revolutions
can be felt only once a year.


I'm In It For The Long Fight

A bonsai tree rubs up against the skyline,
looses its throat into a roar.

People flee in terror,
but mostly take
pictures on their cellphones.
The night is punctuated
with sirens and flashing lights:
nothing too out of the ordinary.

From my rooftop fortress
I trace the patterns
of terror with my index finger
and I swear its a symbol
urging me to action.

I power up

and by that I mean smoke drugs
then hurdle the gaps
between buildings in a quickening blur
of unidirectional rage.

I'm not wearing elbow or knee pads
and a headbutt is out of the question
so I start a small lumber mill,
using my super-trustworthy face
as collateral.

Over the next three fiscal years
we grow large enough to take
care of our city-assailant,
but he had since moved on
to bigger and better things.


The Time Traveler's Wife

it was before we even met.


The Duplicity of Love

I wish there was another you.
Instead of one girlfriend, two

so I could have laughed when you betrayed
me; for I would have gotten laid

twice for every time before:
when I was unaware you whored

around behind my back, but above all else
I wish you were two so you could fuck yourself.


Pride and Prejudice Has Recently Been Voted the Most Romantic Novel of All Time! (Flarf Sestina)

In which Miss
costs a fortune
and your love for your wife
assigns one or more class
by making bogus claims, yet agrees to settle
with actual examples of a completed proposal.

“I have a modest proposal
and this, fellow readers, is why Miss
is all the more reason to settle
near the mouth of fortune
and start the remedial class
of Man and Wife.”

“I am my own wife”:
An immodest proposal,
treated as a new class
that could also qualify you to compete for Miss
and find your fortune
before you attempt to settle.

Should we just settle?
The concept is a little archaic, but the modernized wife
can mean the difference between losing a fortune
or making a proposal
explored through one young woman's quest for the Miss
from a birthing class.

"It seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class,
the meaning of “settle,”
but somehow I managed to miss
the crap out of my wife
a long time before any proposal
distributed my fortune."

The wheel of fortune
also belongs to a class,
which must submit a proposal
on Monday to settle.
Read a variety of content on how to be a good wife
and vote for Miss.

How to make a marriage proposal fortune:
See the profile for Miss Class
and make him settle for a wife.


I Dream of Tom Selleck

Since my fifth birthday
I have always wanted a mustache.
The way they twitch
when someone smiles
makes my upper lip cold
with envy. I all but gave up
Westerns and Marx Brothers movies because,
who needs an hour and a half
reminder of their own biological shortcomings?
I clipped hair from my younger brother
and then myself,
(enough for my mom
to stuff a bow on my head
at Christmas)
each time fashioning a more realistic
lip companion, yet,
when I wore it out,
people only saw desperation
on my face.


God Hunt Us All If We Do Not Hunt Moby Dick (Flarf Sestina)

Two areas on the Oregon Coast have been closed after a whale
offered luxurious modern amenities in a historic sea Captain's
tragic freak accident; when a schoolyard shade sail
entered the tenuous outer atmosphere of the sun,
entwining the exact moment of Anna's drowning at sea,
"That weed was the kill!"

A funny scene in which Tom tries to kill
a story floating around the net for years about a whale
off the California coast that was used for The Sound and the Sea's
production ofMusical Evenings with the Captain;
this was not positively reviewed by The Sun,
who said in their review, "I would rather go sailing."

A small, but dedicated group of ice yachting enthusiasts sail
around the arctic, "In a sense there's just one mistake that kills:
we will look at parts of the sun,
referred to as 'killer whales',
sit back and watch our Captain
march into the sea."

Oceans and law of the sea:
sometimes, in the heat of competition, the sail
is the first record of a fading Captain;
A new study shows that caffeine helps kill
Him/Her, but endangered migratory whales
are the surest way under the sun.

Some people long ago thought the sun
as a God, but since sea
ice has disappeared and the world banned commercial whaling,
many have discovered sailing
as a way to kill
our once beloved Captain.

Get ready for action, laughs and romance with your favorite Captain
under the sun,
"I'd rather kill
myself in the sea,"
says sailing
enthusiast Martin Whale.

Captain Don's Whale Watching Tours:
Sail the coast, enjoy a cocktail, look for whales and watch the sun
get a kill past the Sea Shepherd.


The Lumberjack

The lumberjacks slices steeples,
fells people's chimney's
on windy roof tops.
The cops show,
talk over traffic.
They panic, send a team
of dream interpreters up
to interrupt the lumberjack's
mad cackling, "Ask
my axe" he cries.
He lies through his teeth.
They see a man
who stands that fell.
Hearts swell and contract
in back and forth conversation.
Their patient laments
his actions, "In my dreams,
trees scream; machine guns,
children running, I can't
possibly stand, consuming air
when there, out in the forest,
I'm abhorrent."


The Legend of Arthur Rimbaud

Long ago, through the ancient sands of time,
it was prophesied that a boy, gifted in rhyme

and meter, would rise above his earthly age
and begin a new era, dispensing his sage

words to all that sought his wisdom.
It would be a different society, a new kingdom.

I. On the Day of October 20, 1854

Arthur was born in a manger
his father wasn't present and it couldn't get much stranger,
but I heard he was the savior.
The written word flowed through him
and he was dangerous
came to us
with the trust
in his bust
and the muscle to hustle apostle
of the written word.

"Have you heard he isn't human?
That wise men brought him nothing,
but rum and cumin?"

I'm not saying his hearing is supersonic,
that is body is nothing short
of anatomic,
that he didn’t lose, live, love, breathe,
and smoke the chronic,
but he did it all with such ease.
Is it ironic

that a baby,
confined inside of a womb,
would be predestined and would save me?
I was thinking that just maybe
the people he will save will shun him, misbehave, “he

should not
be appointed
to the throne”

“When he's through,
we’ll be here all alone”

“I hear you can make a magic powder from his bones”

Such thoughts are for the fools and for the weak.
-Hold up.
The child speaks,


“No, I’m just playin with you”

"Five seconds out of the womb
and I’m killin’ it.
Give me ten years and I,
I will rock your shit.

From the look up on your faces
I can tell my introduction,
was a little too abrasive.

Let me break it down for you,

I just got here,
but I’m on the level.
You all on edge,
I think your ledge is beveled.

Think it’s getting better,
pleasant weather,
and the feather
in your cap
is rhythm;
that same hymn
they’ve sung the last
five hundred years
or so.
It’s gotten old.
Contemporary culture has just got to break the mold.

does it take
a messiah to try
a form you’ve never heard?
No, all poets
can sow this
if they have got the sacred word,

but sometimes it takes
years just to break through
so you
got to
have some faith in your boy king.

I’m not saying it will work for you all:
the short, tall,
the big, small.
We just have to hold till they fall down.

And when they’re falling,
the fall,
is of their way of life,
which is no wonder it’s under
the threat
of my preverbal knife.

I think I’ve pandered enough
and slandered those in trouble.
My latin masters demand
I go to bed;
on the double."

(whispered by the prophet)
This is the prophet
come to have the last word.
I didn't drop it,
but I feel I must be heard.

I didn't make it on my own due feet.
I pled the muses, “use me
and I'll write your meet and greet.

But as the golden child sleeps
I hear my conscience, conscious,
and I don't deserve this wreath.



She stirs in sleep and
then she wakes.
She is not fit to stand.
Her thoughts matriculate.

On A Passing Bus

The hushed sound when she halted
sent a shiver through my chest.

Her face was smoothed,
polished by a digital brush.
Her lush lips, plush
cheeks blended into their
neighboring pixels,

shifting the caustic silt
of age. I whispered,
"she is unreal"
and she was whisked away.


I'm Perfectly Composed

My heart

is Yeats,

It aches.

My soul

is Lowell,

it's old.

My ass

is Plath,

it's cracked.

My feet

are Keats,

they beat.


In Waiting

When I'm waiting in the lull,
between the things I have to do
and all that waits for me to stop,
and all I have been tethered to,

I occupy these idle hands,
composing pointless poetry
and reading as it were a job,
but sometimes I gets mad at me.

The wasted hours, joined at ends,
spent smoking, writing, making love.
I say these things distract from life.
What life have I been dreaming of?



I'm a mockingbird at heart.
A gentle soul who just wants
to make music for you to enjoy.
Most people fail to recognize this,
assume I'm shy,quietly judging them,
but cats know the truth
as they paw at my chest,
probing for the sweet
meat at the center
as I lay prone
on the sidewalk.

The Slippery Slope to Enlightenment

I decided to give up smoking,
as it is a vice
and vices are the tiniest threads
that anchor us to this material world.
Next came drinking
and after that, fast food.

I was feeling fantastic,
meditating, packing
my possessions into boxes
before they carried me
into the grave.

My house is for sale;
a braid in the rope, a braid
to affix some well-meaning
family of four. A braid
doused in kerosene.

I want some matches.
I need some matches.


The Forecast

I've hovered over you
too long, threatening rain,
and grown heavy,
unfulfilled again.

Whether or not we will
collide, cold fronts
creating heat, wild
storms encircled in frost.

I'd like the world to know
such things are unpredictable:
The who what where when why how
70% accurate at best.


February the 16th, 2006

Woke up at six,
Needed some money,
But how do you think I got where I am without cunning?
No bitches coming through with that cash for ass
So I had to come up with a plan to buy glass.
Started my car
Drove to a bar
Forty ounces later I was ready to start.

Stumbling to the curb with a glock in hand
The bank across the street
And I am one man.
I called for a crew from my side of the block,
but they were laid out, been smokin’ the rock.

Walked through the door
Out on the floor
Checked out the teller, she’d be a nice whore
While it may seem I was pressing my luck
Even more than money I like to…..

Sirens to the back
My mack attack
Would have to hold off for the “gat gat gat”
“Put down the gun and your hands in the air”
Grip on the trigger and I didn’t care
This was my day for feelin’ too hot
Next thing I knew it was black,

I was shot.
And I died.
The End.


Pileup at the Bottom of the Sea

I saw a plume of smoke
curling from below the coastal shelf.
I took off running,
through the turtle grass,
stirring silt,
and when I leaped over the cusp
it felt like flying

I arrived in a cloud
and emerged in the middle
of a crowd of octopi, starfish,
clownish. All of their features
were distorted with a mixture
of unthinking, open-mouthed awe
and horror. As I wove by,
I did my best to remember
the chest compression to breath
ratio, but when I arrived
I was a useless as a marlin
consumed with grief.

It's tough to tell if something
is crying underwater.
An octopus nudged me with its...
elbow, "He just lost his wife
and all four of his kids.
His life is in ruins. You
should say something."

I tapped the great fish on the...
shoulder, he turned to face me,
"What happened? Maybe
it would be cathartic
to talk about it."

He let out a sigh,
threw his head into the air
and screamed into the black ocean,
"O, the huge manatee!"


Modern Times

The jester has become a king.
The player, like a God.
The merchant now owns everything,
he holds the sacred rod.


You're Such a Lovely Audience

Hello there.
I don't mean to scare you, but
I couldn't help noticing you
across the room because
you are the room,
every last one of you.
I'm not coming on to you.
That's for later.

For now,
let's take it slow
and share some poetry.
Here, I'll start it off,

"Spread open your minds
to make way for my diction.
I brought rhyme for lubrication
and some assonance for friction.

Now I know what you are thinking,
I wouldn't speak without protection.
My syntactical structure will guard against infection
and its extensible structure will stretch over my erection

of some monumental words:
sesquipedalian profundities for your consideration
without the necessity for amelioration
because it is length and not girth that garners attention.

I don't want to alarm you,
but you will get pregnant
with thoughts so heavy
you will mired in silence

with emotion of the ocean,
the ebb and flow
of thought in meter,
because my lines go
so deep
so deep
so deep
they'll put your ass to sleep".


Untitled (Everything is Fleeting)

Every winter we become
Vulnerable and wonder why
Ellipses take such pride in
Repeating the same cycle
Year in and year out.
Theology has told us
Hell propels the celestial bodies,
Inciting movement through fear and
Not love. If love were the cause,
Greek poets would still be alive.

Is there a better explanation?
So what if we’re going to die.

Flow like a river and let us
Lay in a raft toward
Ennui. After all it’s inevitable:
Evidenced by the past,
The fire sermon spelling out years
In indistinguishable script, sufficing a
Nod to tell us we are all
Going the same way.


Irony Has No Place in Poetry (This is my poem. It is important)

This is the first line.
It gives you a sense of what is to come
or maybe it doesn't.

This is the second stanza.
It references something
you haven't fucking read.
Did you catch how I said "fuck"?
Wasn't that edgy?

This is the third.
It is brief and cryptic.

This is the middle of the poem;
I have blown my poetic load
and it is all downhill from here.

This is the end.
Wasn't that unexpected,
yet earned?


Crab Apples

My verbs squeek
when I shine them:
a voice fit for a pie.
And for that
I am the King of lack
luster till I try.


The Modern Prometheus, generally known as Frankenstein (flarf sestina)

Welcome to the new Monster:
Use this to find out if famous people are dead or alive,
Quick updates on the status of Zombie Master,
Start your own mob,
Learn about the basics of electricity,
And research reports that may be of interest to the fire.

Become a Jr. Fire-
Handmade-one-of-a-kind monster
And discover which types of objects conduct electricity;
Experience the joy in living life alive
That is beginning to make smart mobs
Explore the masters.

Creator of animation: Master
Marshal's Office Mission "is the protection of life and property from fire-
-Ing a lower lvl mob,”
But many played down the latest breach because the Monster,
Of mission “Alive”,
Is called the father of modern electricity.

Today, more than half of the electricity
Is one of the largest resources for Master;
Whether you stay alive
To advance technologies in fire
And investigate the truth of the Monster,
Or become the most insignificant member of the mob.

The only way you would become one of the mob
Would simply require more electricity;
And what a monster
The Iowa State University Master
Has been using and managing with fire,
“So far stayin' alive”.

Please help keep a child alive
And start your own mob;
Watch the results as the fire
Can be renewable or non-renewable, but electricity
Contains the latest data and information about Master's
Favorite moments of past monsters.

An irate mob attacked electricity:
Monster + Master,
“I'm alive and on fire”.


King Blake's Mistake

There once was a king named Blake.
He had one wish to take.
When asked by his maker
he said, "maybe later"
and all that he touched was half-baked.


We are Caterpillars

We shed our fur,
but, clutch the urge,

emotions stir
into a dirge.

Cocoons mature,
we don't emerge.


Music of the Spheres

Circles of crystal
on a small, round table.
Her eyes are imperfect:
draped in lid and lash.

The waiter orbits,
brings another bottle.

Nearly two oceans between them;
She traces music,
anxiously filling
the absence of conversation.

He does the same
and for a moment
their sounds intertwine,

growing higher and higher
till the evening ends
and they find their way
to the heavens.

I, I, I, I

I rode the bus
and considered killing myself.

An isle of icicles;
an intimidating front.


In a Time Capsule

Dear Future,
Did global warming
kill us all?
Did our president
do better than
our last president?
But more importantly,
where am I
in all of this?

I'm certain
my time machine
is completed
and, if you would,
please hand this
letter to me.

Dear Jay,
The time machine
was a wonderful idea
on paper.


Gin Blossoms

Corks pop
and flowers bloom,
flail wildly
to the top 40.
Hours pass.

In he end
we are drenched
in a sense of family
but we'll be sober
in the morning


The sky outside shies
away from darker tones;
An old world groan
stalks our sultry streets,
greeting dim, red light
with non-committal white noise.



I'd like to think
I come from
the oldschool ghetto.

Stack O' Blox

Did you hear about Stack O' Blox?
Its the new housing toy
with realistic furniture
and modern accents.

You can buy little people
from China
and house them.
They will work for you,
building stuff from other Stack O' Blox,
(sold separately)
and also fight pretend wars
with your other toys.

There is a Stack O' Blox hospital
that you can buy
with tiny doctors;
they have the cutest stethoscopes

and an x-ray machine
that give you radiation poisoning
if you try and eat it;
so don't.

You can even build a town hall
and hold meetings where you bang
the biggest gavel they have ever seen

and say things like,
"It's time for recess"
and, "I find you guilty of murder"


Hotline for Military Personnel (Flarf Pantoum)

Welcome to Dial a Stranger,
Your wish is literally my command:
Third-person singular simple present danger.
Is Twitter's time at hand?

At the president's address
He says the nation will face
Experts in excess.
(Regarding the issue of race)

He says the nation will face
Third-person singular simple present danger.
Regarding the issue of race,
Welcome to Dial a Stranger.


The Author

His diction impeccable,
rhyme scheme incredulous,
meter rhetorical,
main themes self-righteous.

He'll abstract hard facts
while adding mass tracts
to an elderly tome
that's already been written;
he's made it a poem:
the hand that fed: bitten.


He watches t.v. or
he mopes.
He is a janitor.
He goes outside to smoke.
He snores.
His life has asymptotes.


The Elder Statesmen of Teen Angst

I went to see the Elder Statesmen the other day.
It was their Final Farewell tour
and seeing them reminded me of when I lost my virginity.

They came onstage and announced
their saline drips had been replaced
with bottles of Finlandia.
I knew it was still saline solution,
but the idea of it was exciting.

Tommy started banging on his drums:
the introduction to either
"No Homework Forever" or
"My Girlfriend is a Slut(And I Like It)".
The crowd waited eagerly for Jimmy James
to start singing.

He approached the microphone
as a lion approaches a dead gazelle,
What? he said.

Yeah! replied the crowd.

What? he said.

Yeah! replied the crowd.

What? he said.

and his voice echoed into the night.


Returning To My Native Streams

I spent my youth not far from here
among the rocks and weeds,

then journeyed slowly down the stream
while growing fat upon my dreams.

The water was so vast I feared
I would be lost at sea;

It's salty brine I drank like beer,
then vomited till three.

The apex of my youth is here:
it's time to go upstream.

Biology has seized our hands
and led us to this place.

It's hallowed halls we could contrive
to hold all of our tiny lives;

and yet I have a greater reason why:
I'm here to fuck and die.



When the cold concedes
And the crocus foists
Its brilliance on a
Broth of Grey,
She cranes her hands
Toward the sun
And plucks tons
Of perfunctory phrases.
Gingerly arranging them
around the room.

I sing into the wall
And it reverberates
Over my cheekbones.

It spackles the gaps,
Spills between brittle
Leaves: a chorus
of cracking frost
And the heaving
smell of birth.

Her lips bloom
And we both soak
In its assurance.


Our City Has a Star

To fuel her requires the whole town's attention.

She radiates enough light to sustain life.

When she expires she will implode,
killing us all.

She draws more people into her orbit every week.

As far as celestial beings go,
she is on the small side.

Yet she refuses to be eclipsed.

She is distant,
but maintains an air of closeness.

When she weeps, the moon moves closer,

emanates soft light,

creates tsunamis in opposite parts of the world.

My Ambition

is a debt between
myself and I
in which either
side only wants
a minimum


All Poets Are Failed Musicians or Dancers

1. The Circus

I watched a bear get fed up
with riding his bicycle,
drink a clown's fifth of gin
for courage,
maul a young boy's popcorn
and an old man's face.

He turned to the crowd,
muzzle soaked with blood,
and explained how he had wanted
to be a musician.
All of it was in tents.

2. The Whaling Party

I was invited to a whaling party
and I came with Narwhal and Greenpeace members
in tow.

The Greenpeacers were in charge of the music,
which was a poor choice because all they wanted
was Phish.

Narwhal took everybody's keys and made sure
there were enough sober people to act as

I was in charge of the ship-to-whale missile:
Something I never thought I would have to use.
A pod

of people in a station wagon drove by,
blasting music so loud that everyone stopped

3. A Pity Get-Together

You must
be wondering why I have called you few here.
Why there is only enough punch for one man

my size and thirst. Why all I have to eat is
a salt lick, a log of cheese, and a sausage

the size
of a small whale. I'm going to read a poem
about how the arc of my life has not peaked.

I would
like it very much if you all applauded
when I am finished- even if you didn't

like it-
because I wanted to be a musician
and this seemed to be the next natural step.

4. Trendsetter

I cracked the spines
of my old journals,
looking for answers,
then marked each page
with a number
noting my mood
in relation
to a sense of place
and diction employed
to express how
sad I was at
night when I wrote.

6: Ate popcorn,
4: A party,
4: A party,
2: A car crash.

It slopes downward,
which leads me to think
I am on the cusp
of an upswing.
Maybe I'll write
a poem about
a happy person
who is a dancer;
whose dream is to
write a poem.

5. Traffic Jam

I arrived on the scene too late.
Six cars lay
in a heap
of smoldering loss.
Everything was soaked in blood
and I wished I had been
a doctor.

One mustard-yellow station wagon
caught my eye.
I whispered through a crack
in the windshield that no
one was watching
and they could all get up.
Then I turned on their radio
and started to dance.


Bonsai Tree

I bought a bonsai tree three weeks ago because someone told me they had to be kept small. Since then I have been feeding him raw eggs every morning to the sound of the Rocky theme and giving him small motivational speeches like, "You are a tree. A great big tree in a forest of mere people" and, "I have seen the future and you are huge". One day he asked to be called "Tiger". I thought it was because of the song, but really it was so he could sign his farewell letter:

This is just to say
I can feel every
cubic foot of pressure
in the sky.
Also, I have taken the car.



I Have Crying Spells

I have spells to make a grown man cry.
I have spells of entanglement.
I have spells to give +8 to my critical chance with women.
I have spells for love that I choose not to use.
I have spells to incinerate a man's flesh while leaving his insides unsettled.
I have spells of drunken inspiration.
I have spells of productive denial.
I have spells of nervous laughter.
I have spells to telephone my mother Collect.
I have spells to microwave a frozen pizza.
I have spells to feed my cat exactly what he wants.
I have spells of fear.
I have spells of enthusiasm.
I have spells to fill me with holy fire.
I have spells to fill me with the holy ghost.
I have spells to smite demons, but not to befriend them after it's over.

They Are Not To See

I took up wearing glasses
to imitate my literary heroes.

I started using crutches
to go to the store.

I got an appendectomy
for the scar.

To justify the crutches
I amputated my leg.

To justify my appendectomy
I moaned in pain.

I moaned in pain
to imitate my literary heroes.

Note To William Carlos Williams

It wasn't enough to violate my ice box. No, you had the audacity, the flamboyant spitefulness to dig through my entire pint of Loaded Cookie Dough ice cream and pick out every gooey bit of cookie dough. Everyone knows that the vanilla ice cream is just filler. Everyone knows Loaded Cookie Dough is for those people that fantasize about eating an entire tube of unbaked cookie, but lack either the guts or the uncouth nature to attempt such a thing, but you sir.

You are a different breed entirely. You would gladly inhale a log of cookie dough if it were mine. The hot fudge on this sundae? A poem:
"I'm sorry I ate all
of your cookie dough.
Yum yum yum yum yum."

I will eat everything you own.
I will destroy your lucky mug.
I will spit on your meat.
I will unwrap and rewrap your bananas.
I will poke holes in all your cans of soup.
I will crumble all of your Pop Tarts.
I will pour salt in all of your breakfast cereal.
I will unplug your refrigerator.
I will fucking end you
so help me God.


Florence Herman


My Friend's House

As I stood on the precipice of a
conversation I really didn't want
to watch I thought back to my boyhood when
there was this film of something similar

to what my friend had borrowed the day that
I played a part in a situation-
al comedy that lasted only four
hours each episode due to errors

in the whole cavernous system in which
all our words seemed to reverberate the
love that dare not speak its name; I'm talking
about teeth shut up in a box of our

fears, which are too numbered to be counted
by amateurs like myself or my friend.

John Milton Soars

John Milton soars over the earth weeping
salty unadulterated joy, which
turns into white letters on black paper:
writing a poem about his exploits

while engaged in them, but he does not stop.
Now John is higher than God's favorite
bow-tailed kite, than Jesus' golden locks.
His tears reach the tomb of Christ as well as

major air currents in the midwestern
United States during the depression,
as well as the hearts and minds of millions
in his home town of Hell, Los Angeles;

but he knows, deep in his swollen humors,
that they are only tears and only words.

And Here I Thought I Was Being Congenial

I was once born with a hole in my heart,
(Actually my atrial septum)
but no matter how I tried I could not
fill the hole with material things like

an umbrella or surgical stitching.
I was slumped at a bar when I saw her
scouring an old medical journal
featuring my congenital defect.

She smelled of neutral hues, sterile hallways;
of dinner by candle-light and fucking.
Her pager started to buzz, so I stood;
when I approached my feet were arrhythmic

and I murmured my symptoms like a poem.
She told me it only made my heart grow.


The Wedding and the Aftermath

Before the wedding I saw
All our problems:
Backtracking through
Years of discontent.

Soon my tie will be
Held in place;
Over, under, over, under and through;
Every fold
Securely where it belongs.

Flowers form aisles where
Outlandish bridesmaids
Raise their heads to attention.

Silly little girls, clothed in
Asymmetrical pink dresses,
Lead the procession.
Eventually the ceremony begins

Noise erupts from an organ:
Estuary for the joining of our
Restlessly we walk in time.

When do lives begin?
Of all the years in
Remembrance, this one
Needed to be the best


My Home

How can I be
out of my mind
when I live
inside my head?

I'd rather be
in a suitcase
or a shell

or a closet.
Anywhere but
here because I'm
and make a

lousy neighbor.