The sighing of the sea beguiles me up the rickety stairway: I have antiques for the attic, ängste for the thought balloon above a harrowed face. I arrive at heat-shimmer above asphalt. Afflicted with melancholy I sigh, swill a Singapore sling, piss an Indian head in a penny of snow. I polish the burning-glass between a sundress & the snowy owl who stole the password to my laptop. He fires up my laptop & taxis it onto a frozen river that meanders crabwise toward aqua incognita: an unharrowed sea, a sea quiescent as no-mind. Flush with train-flattened pennies from the eyes of dead owls, I wander the seaside carnival. It’s been abandoned—sawhorsed off—ever since a rogue bumper car ran over a child. If a seditious thought enters your mind, mind it brushes the snow from its tricorn hat. We don’t need no Florida snow. We don’t blow no dough on belushi, on bazooka, on fatty boombalatty. We’re intoxicated by the drug of aesthetics, as Anaïs Nin says. “We get stoned on joan crawford,” as Bob Dylan says—on “woman apprehended with all the pulsating clarity of one of Aldous Huxley’s mescalin jags,” as Kenneth Tynan says. Riding the rails I pass a drive-in theater, glimpse a grainy black-&-white newsreel of people doing obsolete jobs: pin-setting, louse-feeding, gong-farming, priest-hunting. The iceman never cameth, so he never propagated his kind. But why shouldst he be a breeder of murderees? Your children just go to the carnival & get sniped by some schizophrene running amok with a Wild West six-shooter. Then the carnival is shunned until the roosters come home to chicken out of transfiguration via mescalin. Until finally bulldozers raze the picturesque ruins. What’s nostalgia but being jacked off by clockhands? The blood-dappled bumper car is lazy-8ing in outer space, the tar on the roof of the world. & the darkness of that roof shall be sevenfold, as the darkness of seven nights on the freeway in Weldon Kees’s ’54 Savoy. I’m driving through this paragraph with Joan Crawford & Joan of Arc in the back seat—I’ve always had a jones for Joans. Like Travis Bickle I taxi through steam wafting from periods. & since the shortest distance between two manholes is a detour, let me digress by saying there’s a coin slot in the right side of my brain & a coin return in the palm of my left hand—a stigma bleeding money. The church canvasses for new members as it loses old. I’m the same poolhall no-account I was seven years ago; I still sport a mohawk & listen to hissy mixtapes of punk screeds. But all my cells are new. I’m a melody transposed to a different key: all my notes have changed, but my structure has stayed the same. All the words of which I’m composed have been N+7’d. You read me & say, “What the fuck does THAT mean?” Reader, whatever you want it to mean. The author is dead. His skeleton rusts among chassis in the car graveyard. His harrowed face is buried in the mirror under shovelfuls of steam. An oblong mirror limpid as a lichened headstone. Lay his book facedown with its covers splayed open; leave it dead-man’s-floating on snow. Your suitcase gapes, eager to taste the spiral notebooks in which you engender poetry, longing to swill the starshine you brew in your still. A train bound for the scablands chuffs into the depot. Exit, pursued by a giant panda ant.



Now I shall conjure the image of white butterflies
eddying from the soundhole of my guitar
as I busk, basking in snowlight. Tenderly the butterflies
minister to malarials, record their feverish ravings,
sublime their sublunary minds. Now I shall ride
the rails—take tea in a boxcar with waxworks
from Madame Tussauds. I take my tea white:
I like to look down at the moon & laugh like a jackal—
mackle immaculate wings, smudge them like foreheads
on Ash Wednesday. After the papal bull
against berating roof rats was rescinded,
madness prevailed: the nib wore a dirty deerstalker
& I a tooth-dented cap. The trapezist fails
to catch me: now I shall plummet & impale
myself on the narwhal tusk of a pickelhaube—
unless I sprout wings & fly away to the bayou,
join the alligators in épatant le bourgeois
by observing an ascetic regime—self-flagellating,
scarifying my back, scrimshawing it like
a tusk. Forgive us our trespasses, that we may
commingle with the waxworks zombie-ing about
on street-corners, chimeras compounded of disparate
parts, their foreheads incised with Maltese crosses.
A ring is proffered for a kiss; I deduce from it
the probable existence of a Pope with a scar on his cheek
like a nightcrawler basking in moonlight. His truck is stuck
in muck, but he keeps popping speedballs—St. Lucy’s eyeballs.
Forgive us our trespasses, that we may spiral
down into madness, that whirlpool in the claw-
footed tub. Now I shall stir Catholic ritual
into my pagan tea, turning it the green
of Spanish moss hanging from swamp cypress.
Now I shall join the white sea-fowl following
a garbage scow on a bayou that disembogues
into a sea shimmering like chatoyant silk.
I too am nailed to its coattails, indissolubly
dissevered from my family coat of arms,

my moon-sliver riding crop.


& no sooner had that loathsome oath floated
out of a speaker mounted atop a slow-
moving sedan than the store detective collared you
for shoplifting flotsam of a wrecked dreadnought—
a crime tantamount to subscribing to crackpot theories
emanating from Shelley’s seaside pyre.
Though you barely pinkened the judicial litmus strip
your family repudiated you. You took refuge
in a sunken ship on the floor of the typing pool
at the composting plant, hid like a tattoo under
a leg-of-mutton sleeve. The embroideress-
turned-sea turtle laid her Singers on the beach
at Viareggio; you watched the carrion-pickers
in a slow parade past a sandcastle that the tide
had eroded the way a malaise erodes society.
A sandcastle’d be “a fine & private place”
to settle down when the transient existence palled.
Ambulatory sandcastles—their curtains
glowing greenly with TV light—have joined
the parade, which is wending its way through a freight yard,
flattening itself to slither under cars,
which is thermalling up a cloud street, oblivious to
the imminent disaster looming to engulf us,
forgetting the doomsayer’s prophecy: the cataclysm
will be presaged by pageantry. The ouroborosian
train swallows its own caboose—swallows
the hobo & his picaresque yarns about
the crazies he’s met on the rails. Once he met
a cannibal who had an album with snapshots
of every Mound of Venus he’d ever fanged.
Fang-shaped, corbie-black spaceships zip toward Venus—
until, like watchdogs, they reach the end of their chains.
Several respondents reported that they’d seen
a dead dog lying in state, but you suspect
that they were lying, stagnating in some backwater
in some benighted state. Nights you spin
records at Le Chat au Miroir; the magpie cat
scampers across the chessboard floor, her smock pockets
crammed with oddments: bodegas from an electric
train’s environs, kachina dolls from a tent city
where you hawk vacuum cleaners flap-to-flap—
though the mudlarks have all gone scavenging, leaving the city
deserted: an amphitheater peopled with nothing
but disembodied voices declaiming dithyrambs…


is the light against which my angel watermark
becomes visible. Even Bach played on a calliope—
even Bach played by a Salvation Army band—
dispels my ch’i, the murk obscuring my li,
that pearl. Even public-domain Bach
soundtracking porno, at once suggesting that the distinction
between sacred & profane love is illusory
& lending a vintage feel to footage of masked
danseuses 69ing—black-hole jumping,
voyaging to an alternative universe.
The Halloween-masked bankrobber mounts an alternative
getaway vehicle: a merry-go-round horse
that spirits him away across a moonlit seascape,
leaving the merry-go-round spinning like a ballerina
atop a music box. The ballerina,
a willowy girl, is nursing her pinot noir,
binge-watching her own doomsayer fantasies—
crows perched in a willow by the sea.
She nurses driftwood, gives each bleached log a transfusion.
She inoculates them against black holes
with homeopathic doses of umlauts.
& the drifter jimmies the door of a tumbledown
tarpaper shack, wondering how he sank
lower than a foghorn’s basso profundo note,
knowing he merely made himself into what
he’d always been. Above him angels, whelks
of the welkin, undulate to oceanic
Bach, quaff their daily quantum of quantum
leaps. Qua angels the angels lack cloud-street cred,
decked out as they are in Weimar cabaret get-ups,
being hooligans, scofflaws, turncoats turning
like fans in a tin coffered ceiling. One salvo
of umlauts sends them spinning down to the murky
depths. What would it pleasure them to be shot
to death with black pearls—vierges noires turning
tricks in a cathouse with a Catherine wheel.

I felt this urge…

I felt this urge to slip on panties of seafoam
& shake my ass at traffic on the skyway.
I felt this urge to uncoil paperclips & tie them
end-to-end to make a garotte, but I slipped
on a slab of braunschweiger, but Suzanne
breaks your fall & takes you up to her place
near Ravensbrück, a way station en route to
a curds-&-whey breakfast with fellow asocials—
gypsies, junkies, work-shy working girls,
the manifest is swollen, tumescent as a penis
penetrating an impasse in collective bargaining.
I felt this urge to suckerpunch the time clock
with knuckledusters in my glove. No glove, no hate,
no hated ones throwing you shade like a constellation
of black holes, each pip on the die as cavernous
as a tomb containing an Egyptian sarcophagus
containing a sepia-tinted Suzanne. I felt
this urge to elegize Suzanne. “The death
of a beautiful woman is the most poetical topic
in the world,” Poe opined, tossing back absinthe–
la mer d’absinthe toujours recommencée.
I telepathically eavesdropped on his stream
of consciousness, overheard the tale of Suzanne
collapsing on the tavern floor, rolling around
on shards of an absinthe bottle like Iggy Pop.
She’d swallowed her tongue. No one could pry it out,
could unspool the yarn of her tongue across the cloudscape
where crows cantered like ponies. I felt this urge
to mew like an otter & accompany myself
on pianoforte, the troupe of plaid rabbits dancing,
tarantella-ing around the tombstones, trekking
like tarantulas across your dulcet skin as they have
from time immemorial. My favorite memento mori
is the Victrola dog listening to the mouth
of a dead-end alley. I can’t pass that alley without
a quick flicker of frisson, without this urge
to go a-sculling into the maelstrom. Don’t need
no gems in my crown, no stratagems in my head,
no gems in strata of the moon. I felt this urge
to garotte my own head off, that red-hot moon
carmelizing the sugar of the stars.


The solitudinous lodger who lay down
in a steaming bath & razored his veins to Barber’s
Adagio for Strings: with music death

would be a mistake. I dropped Lodger on the record player;
“Fantastic Voyage” exfoliated from the speakers;
the turntable whirled, world without end. Drowsing

in a tuna can ashtray I dreamed a choke-
chained gargoyle was dragging me through a drainpipe,
dragging me past dereliction awaiting

match scratch. A surge of turpentine prised
open the statue’s jaws like an overnight bag,
& a voice from a fur-lined teacup ruffled the smooth

surface of the hush, its gris-gris cursing the cabal
of carrion crows. I awoke betimes & drifted
down a molten guitar neck to the swamp,

cypresses paying homage to the whiskey’d-up sniper
who blasted windows with a thirty-aught six—Gothic windows
incised with hagiographies. A shotgun shack

straggling out of town became my writing studio.
There I made ransom notes out of words & letters
scissored from disparate sources: newspapers,

magazines, milk cartons, cereal boxes. But
I ruminate with greater acuity in a blind tiger,
amid questionmarks of Lucky smoke & salmon

sipping Pennyroyal Tea so as not to spawn.
A night-blooming barmaid with a dusky pink cackle
caresses the bulge in the gash-hound’s seal-black pants.

I’m drinking vitae with Jack Spicer. Our butterflies,
our stamps, our old shoes did this to us.
We lasso the phantasms dog-paddling around

the rickety dock, crawling up the wall, creeping
rung by rung to the window of the lodger,
who complains to the landlady of high-top-sneakered

lobsters scurrying in the walls. When I’ve quaffed
my darkest nightmare the dregs at the bottom of the cup
cut a switch from my long shadow & flog

the tugboat’s buttocks. Wind flutters the pages of my dreambook.
I put on my inscape like a beekeeper’s suit
& flâneur around flourishing my true self

at the panopticons—the prisons, schools, factories,
barracks, loony bins—that have sprouted overnight
like mushrooms. The lodger says, his voice tinctured

with longing, “I wish I lived on a promontory
overlooking a billiard-cloth sea, a pod of killer whales
like a broken rack scattering toward the vortices…”

The flood subsides, leaving everything quaggy & plaguey.
Cadavers are scattered like windfall apples in eelgrass
sandpapery as cat tongues. Deep purple tongues

stuck out to mooch some jubilance from the blue
thrum of the pirate ship stranded in the parking lot.
& fog drifts in like a fugue state in which,

obeying an inexplicable necessity, you
disembowel yourself with a windshield wiper blade
or shy a brick at a drive-by window, thus

earning a plinth in the pantheon of resplendent
riffraff. Dark sparks, mites of nightness.
The lodger dons a tophat & saunters past

Edwardian red-bricks whose tattoos evanesce
like frost. The brick wall’s moss devolves into flesh-
colored pimple cream. The lodger sports a compass

rose tattoo to counteract his pixilation,
to point beyond the brick wall, at an idyllic village
beset by earwigs. The earwigs burrow brainward

to nosh on your most deeply entrenched illusions.
Soon the village will be a place of skulls:
Golgotha, Calvary. When 666 eyesockets

blacken the vast firmament, when the haunted
bloodbank is suffused with a weird light
& drive-by windows are blank & yellow as cat eyes

& hitchhikers sashay like mangled corpses
swaddled in steam from manholes, the King & Queen
arrive at the landfill. On liquid pinions their retinue

sails above them in a widening spiral. I’m
riding a bus gliding through a strafe
of hypodermic needles; the lodger is lolling

in a dinghy reading a spindrift-stippled volume
of Baudelaire. Above him seagulls circle
snapping aerial photos of Black Betty

careening among be-ivied gravestones. Whoa-oa,
Black Betty, bam ba lam. With music death
would be a mistake–that’s why the plague avoids me

like a vaccine.


So don’t come home dead with lovin’ on your mind, leastways not if you’s wearin’ chain-mail lingerie, thus breakin’ sumptuary law, I tend to dress for failure, I aspire to end up DT-ing in a flophouse for homeless homeboys, I tend to graft Mercury wings onto my porkpie & mukluks & fly to paradisiacal islands, every spoke of the spiderweb is a tunnel through which a subway train trundles to Paris, where we catch “putain”s  like stray Scud missiles, where we wander enclouded by desk blotters the size of Post-Its, when every sip of Lethe is a roller eroding the cliff of memory, curiosity-shops sprout overnight like mushrooms, we need a ceiling fan with a Quetzalcoatlus’s wingspan to dispel the mustard gas threatening to engulf us, I dreamed that a dog was raring to maul me, he was straining his chain to the snapping point to snap his jaws at me, his wet nose & warm breath moistened my pant leg, yet there was something piteous about his snarling & slavering, I was so close to surfacing from sleep that I knew I was dreaming & tried to analyze the dream while having it: “Everyone in your dream is an aspect of you, so this malevolent dog is an aspect of me, this dream means that something inside me—some facet of my psyche I’ve kept chained up, so to speak—is clamoring for release & manifestation, Bly said any part of your personality you don’t love will become hostile to you,” I’ve been a tad insomnious of late, so I’ve been taking ZZQuil, I may have omitted a Z there, I’ll add it to ZZ Top, now they’re ZZZ Top, they did become soporific after Degüello, I thought of some more possible names for my garage band: Spillway and The Pervs, I particularly like the latter, a poem—what Stevens called “one of the enlargements of life”—is as ignorable as the lugubrious foghorn of a freighter on the river—unless it incurs the wrath of the pc gestapo, they’ll slash your throat with a jagged can lid, you’ll be gangshagged, toe-tagged, hand-tie-bagged, jettisoned into the high lonesome, there to moulder among countless victims of la grippe, though you were just playing the coyote, the Navajo trickster who pushes the envelope, I flouted preachments until a crevasse yawned between me & the “normies,” I was catapulted out of the body text, among marginalia that perusal served only to render more cryptic, I was a whale among fish, I sported the only horizontal tail fin among a myriad vertical tail fins, I suspect a conspiracy to deprive me of the silence requisite for reading books, ah git real orn’ry ‘bout it, I quixotically defend silence against cacophonies & caterwauls, if strains of zither music waft through the mosaic I caulk the jigsaw cracks with the susurrus of the sea, when I read by candlelight the rubescence of the luminescence makes the tobacco in the pipe bowl of my skull draw evenly, on TCM Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes in his mouth & gives one to Bette Davis, change the channel & see James Woods stubbing a cigarette on Debbie Harry’s breast, “Oh, James, don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the scars,” I number a few Erinyes among my acquaintances, I gaze besotted into their blood-dripping eyes, why can you be mouthy or nosy but not eyey or eary, you can live in an eyrie, curios have to be showered & de-loused & orange-clad before they’re jailed in the attic, I shinny up a campanile to an assignation with an ethereal girl, she reminds me of what Bette Davis said about Joan Crawford: “She banged everyone at MGM except Lassie,” a brunette with hairy armpits & luxuriant bush spooning Nescafé into a black hole, her gunmetal grey eyes lassoed by black eyebrow pencil, afflicted with a mild, moony melancholia I play my old Laura Nyro LPs & cry, I wander the illimitable graveyard, in brooding mood amid the filigreed crosses, black plumage tolls plangently, the willows along the river sing like aeolian harps, now that America is a dystopian nightmare I want to move to England, get plonked up & snog & skive right on a zebra crossing, but I don’t know, I might get homesick, might miss the give & take of the misgivings & mistakings in the USA, “where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day”…


Ashbery said it was impossible for him to be happy in the McCarthy era, it’s impossible for me to be happy in these nauseating times, they drive me to drink, to drink while driving, my hands are too shaky to lift a bottle, so I pour Night Train in the cup holder & bend over to schlup it like a dog, divagating ditchward, but I’m not an alcoholic, an alcoholic is just someone you dislike who drinks as much as you do (Dylan Thomas), I don’t have a drinking problem ‘cept when I can’t find a drink (Tom Waits), zombified by fluorescent lights I scour a deserted hallway that circles back to its starting point over & over like the corkscrewy path in Through the Looking-Glass, I wheel like a buzzard above carrion, like Calvinists at my boyhood church embroiled in Möbius-strip arguments: if God can’t limit what He knows He isn’t omnipotent, but if He limits what He knows He isn’t omniscient, but of course He’s both omnipotent & omniscient, so He must know what He doesn’t know, & so on ad nauseam, squirrels eating a hole in the roof of my head only to find another roof, I have fifteen heads in a descending scale of size, they nest within one another like matryoshka dolls, Chinese boxes, the mise en abyme of a dream within a dream within “Without You,” a song by Tom Evans & Pete Ham, both of whom committed suicide, they’ve joined a gaggle of Satan’s minions holed up in an art deco Walmart dumpster, a giant Bakelite radio, that’s the source of my poetry, you think these art nouveau arabesques meander out of my zombie-beset brain, but no, I just take dictation like Orphée, when I wasn’t at church I holed up in my room, which was dark save for the green glow of the stereo, & listened to Flint’s rock station, 105 FM, beating my meat until I “broke on through to the other side,” like huffing nitrous oxide until you have a vision of all opposites uniting, oblivious to the trepanned rodeo clowns slithering in through the cat flap & covering the furniture thick as locusts, surfing the swells of a cobblestone street I listened to Sticky Fingers & thought of Ian Stewart, who was 86’d from The Stones for being less handsome than his bandmates, I chuckled because Mick & company weren’t exactly pin-ups, though a lot of girls wanted to fuck them, Patti Smith, for example, she wanted to fuck Hendrix too, “He shot so far up white girls’ asses,” she said with her usual genteel reticence, a black guitar neck up Patti Smith’s ass, o felicitous thought, thou poppest Bazooka bubblegums in thy mouth & meditatest in thine inner self on the little comics, the misadventures of Robert Crumb rejects with adamantium claws & mismatched eyes like Bowie’s, “Ladies & gentlemen, today’s analysand is Warhol superstar Ultra Violet, so, Ul, tell us about your dysmorphia,” she emerges from her milk bath to jump on a horse from the rear, she no sooner mounts the stirrups than the saddle’s speculum spelunks her, penitent for giving her long shrift I make amends by donating lorry-loads of rapturous joy to the Boston Stranger’s practice, which has fallen on evil days, which has been unwittingly serving some nefarious purpose, “L’Allegro” is a pod of endorphins frolicking, “Il Penseroso” is the endorphins enmeshed in a shark net, a black-bordered envelope arrives: “He had a fatal heart attack in a phone booth—an undimely death, as he’d just fed the coin slot,” maybe I don’t really want to alleviate the suffering of the human race, maybe I’ve never had much empathy with it, a sidewalk can’t change its leopard spots of rain, I just want to hole up in a dazzlingly bejeweled forbidden city replete with leatherbound volumes & turn an ageusiac tongue to these nauseating times, I’m saving up mac & cheese box tops to get a little Salvator Mundi, one hand holding a shrunken head, the other flipping the gesture of malediction…


True ease in writing comes from art, not chanteys, as those move sleaziest who wear fishnet panties, if you don’t care for love’s post-coital théâtre du sentimentalisme, drive down Michigan Avenue, cruise the laundromat where pipestem-laundresses sashay back & forth, some of them alluring from a distance but utterly gutterly up close, disappointing, if you’re pleasantly surprised you should be “appointed” in the well-appointed room where the women come & go wearing beautiful Hopperesque clothes, much of what I think is superannuated rubbish, why just last night I was looking at Mars through a telescope, expecting to see gondolas plying the canals, I’m writing this in longhand with a moribund pen, the valetudinarian latitudinarian jollified by frolicsome puppies, cats & dogs may catechize you about dogma, but in general animals are more open-minded than human beings, they often renovate their opinions in light of new facts, intelligence is taste in ideas (Sontag) & ideas are made of language, therefore intelligence is taste in language, taste in words & ways of putting words together, but Randall Jarrell was hit by a car & killed, Frank O’Hara was hit by a car & killed, Tom Clark was hit by a car & killed, maybe intelligence is a liability, I don’t want to be vehicularly homicided, I want a pack of Manson-like sadists to cut me open & nail one end of my intestines to a tree, then, brandishing torches, chase me around the tree until my intestines are wound around the trunk like a caduceus, excruciating: the “cruc” means “cross,” the word means the prolonged & unendurable suffering of crucifixion, I think of ancient photos of women strapped to the electric chair, Ruth Snyder at Sing Sing, D.H. Lawrence believed in the death penalty, he thought there were superior people who should be judges, who could spot execution-deserving blackguards at a glance,  the deformities of lepers used to be seen as stigmata, as outward signs of inner, moral deformities, the only group I want to belong to is The Lepers, I’d be confined to a lazaretto, on the rare occasions when I went out in public I’d wear an iron mask & a bell around my neck to warn people of my approach, the bell necklace would also send a GPS signal to the police, like ankle bracelets that sex offenders wear, “why would you blur & camouflage yourself by imitating a group,” Eric Hoffer asks me, shouldering his docker’s hook, “why do you mistrust yourself,” well, Eric, hmm, I just want to pay obeisance to groupthink, I want to feel enough social pressure to turn a coal into a diamond, “More weight,” I’m a member of nothing but Generation X, which Martin Amis calls “The Crap Generation,” he thinks we listen to “crap music,” but I prefer the mellow music of the 70s, the music of my childhood, the era of Good Ronald & Let’s Scare Jessica to Life, The Carpenters, America, Steely Dan, “The Year of the Cat,” when I hear “strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime” I think of Fritz Lang’s M, Hans Beckert whistling Grieg, stalking a young girl through Weimar Berlin until wiser counsel prevails,  I feel like I belong to “the Blank Generation,” you fill in the blank with shit or Shinola, whatever you like, “I can take it or leave it each time,” I crawl out of bed looking like the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, gobble a dozen nutty dunkers, guzzle a firkin of coffee as thick & black as melted hockey pucks, shoot smack into my ball sack, translate Balzac into Urdu, my hazmat suit dissipates like river haze, like a bog body no one bothered to mummify in peat I climb a spiral stairway of fallen leaves, an orange nebula, I wander the swamp, brachiate from cypress to petrified cypress until I find a derelict treehouse, a fine place to hide should you be carpet-bombed with death’s heads, it induces chrysalism, in the womb of a grandmother clock I flail my shillelagh around, clobbering the wombats hanging upside down, well, you know what they say: the applesauce doesn’t fall far from the paper, but evidently Hart Crane was dissimilar to his candy magnate father, what if your family made its fortune in the toilet paper industry, you could afford to tinker with your poetry around the clock, would you admit to all & sundry that you owed your laurels to shitty assholes, a prole whose governing passion is guitar might take the least taxing day job he can find in order to devote most of his energy to his garage band, such jobs are usually unremunerative,  so he wouldn’t look to women like an “eligible bachelor,” a woman might dub him “immature” because she adjudges a man mature insofar as he’s able & willing to provide what she wants—namely, a provider & protector for a wife & children, & society would agree with her on that score, but maybe maturity is a matter of self-integration—of identity consolidation– rather than conformity to received life scripts, occasionally I play my guitar in a graveyard, more often I play it while watching a movie—a vintage giallo with lots of eye candy, for example—with the sound muted, I strum, sing, watch, drink wine, & let the phantasmagoria stream over my mind, laving my worries away…


I got eels in my creel from reading Creeley, I got a cupboard full of suction cups from gecko fingers, I was a few sandpipers short of a fling, a few larks short of an exaltation until a nun named Ada Pop delivered the palindromes on dromedaryback, but then my pen coughed arterial ink on a sheet of paper, its consumption was conspicuous, a head cold’s in the mail, I feel a show-tale sign, mucus accumulating over my uvula like snow on the roof over a chandelier that falls on the Palais Garnier audience, crushing many lorgnettes & pince-nez, thus highbrow meets lowbrow, as in Carnival of Souls, where Bergmanesque cinematography meets horror schlock, I identify with David Cronenberg, who says his sanity is inextricably bound to the madness he manifests in his twisted films, “I’m secure because I’m crazy,” he says, “I’m stable because I’m nuts,” right on, but I fear the dire consequences of being insufficiently plugged into physical reality, so I dream I have to take the final exam for a class I never attended because I forgot I was registered for it, I can’t even find the classroom, I’m lost in the labyrinthine, Kafkaesque corridors of a school as bleak as a gulag, when I started college I espoused liberal opinions but was 73% apolitical, I found myself surrounded by liberals I struggled to relate to, consequently I experienced cognitive dissonance, was afflicted with a malaise, “I’ll have a BLT, hold the malaise,” I’ll drop out of college & work the graveyard shift delivering cadavers to medical schools & just “cultivate my perceptions” like Ginsberg & be a pariah, a loner, a freak, a weirdo, Mia Zapata roaming a nocturnal Seattle wearing a Walkman & hoodie so she could neither see nor hear anyone sneaking up on her, in the morning they found her lying in the gutter, she’d been raped & murdered, Grete Trakl either shot herself to death or was shot to death, I don’t know which, Terry Kath put a pistol he thought was unloaded to his temple & pulled the trigger, “Whaddaya think I’m gonna do,” he said, “blow my brains out,” BANG, what a dumb fuck, albeit a likable one, your crystallized intelligence increases as your fluid intelligence declines, gains in knowledge are counterbalanced by losses, you schlep books you haven’t cracked in years to the Damnation Army to make room for new books, Auden is superseded by Thomas, decorous tweedy academic poetry readings are supplanted by Dionysian hootenannies, but drugs “are absolutely contraindicated for creative work,” as Burroughs says, I’ve never liked the word “creative,” so I usually pick it up with the forceps of quotation marks, there’s scientific evidence that spiders dream, they have REMs in all eight eyes, they dream of improvising supernal music on instruments they’ve never even touched before, dream of painting profoundly moving pictures, dream of writing sublime poetry, & when they wake up they pounce on pen & paper & scrawl as much of that already-evanescing poem as they can remember…