“Why you–” she said, her nostrils flaring–cavernous
nostrils with which she hoovered transatlantic
cables of cocaine. Horse nostrils

that gained her passage through every checkpoint charlie.
Her wrists were razor-scarred, her arms
sleeved with peregrine tattoos. Her shock

of undersea weed hair luminesced
with a dream of cat-furred birds wheeling in the sky,
taking a malign interest in the diamondbacks

she secreted in an illimitable pocket.
When she says “I” she means not herself
but a supposed person–a gangster’s sleek moll, say,

a woman who freaks when she sees a spider, a woman
suffused with shock, with the gangrene of emotional
numbness. But when I say “I” I mean

me–just me & my shadow
racked by premonitions of death, out of
pocket, marooned on a traffic island, fracking

poetry from the shale of dreams in which, Big Brother
knows, I fail to conform to the prevailing mores.
My tribe’s totem is a crab; therefore, I can never

kill or eat a crab. I can’t even scratch
my bush when I get the crabs. I drag my face
across the window-glass; its luminosity

betokens a benevolent mind; it solemnly
intones a mantra over & over; I’m
transported with rapture at the infinite

regress, fractals mossed with frost. “Gorl,
jew mossed geeve me” the deadbolt swathing your neck;
stubbed cigarettes, cloudy coffee are profound

questions you no sooner propound than they
dissolve like communion quarters on the jukebox’s
tongue. At the crossroads dive I fly my freak flag,

limn my Blakean visions of a transcendent
reality, join Artaud in shitting on
the isms of our time. My interlocutors

snivel over maudlin melodies. I dree
my weird: it impels me to abdicate the toilet,
to run the gauntlet of carny barkers spieling

through megaphones, to catch out on a boxcar
numinous as a grotto. Like a pool ball
I scud to the pocket. All the dour moilers

take me for a bindlestiff, but the world is my
vast demesne; I reconnoiter it
with periscope eyes. I drink with winos, not to

placate my demons but to expand my inner
amplitude–though there is no inner or outer,
since everything is connected to everything else,

since the universe is One–is God.
God is not some celestial puppeteer.
I subsist on blimp-sized bees; they buzz in the sun,

sundered from the lovely shipwreck, the oscillating
blur I expunge the better to see
my coterie of hunchbacks dive en masse

into a cup of coffee–a dark theater
where a punk band is improvising a frenzied fantasia.
Scouring a junk shop for 45s

the vinyl freak found a mirror-written message:
“YOU’RE FUCKED.” & later that day
he died–was kite-surfing when a cat’s paw

batted him into a spinning wind-turbine.
A freak accident, apparently. After which
a menagerie of waxworks battened on him.

After which he was beatified, dream-transmuted
into the object of your ineffable longing:
a riding crop of blackstrap molasses.

A chthonic freak with a .45 blasts
windows out of an abandoned factory,
Glocks the peacock filigree, the coursing

creeks, the undulating scars, the snakes
slithering around the skulls of the long-departed.
He shoals with the other freaks, habitués

of a pissoir that’s really a Star Trek transporter:
it beams you to a city steeped in desuetude,
an abandoned, sketchy subway station. Is

the entropy I see everywhere just a projection
of my vexed interiority? Or is it really
time for us to face the mucus? Snot

for me to say. The steeple swayed, absorbing
rain like suede, the REMs of a
cyclopic eye. The Maltese foundered in

a black-&-white dream of being freaked with jet
like a zebra French bulldog. Gloom shot through
with exultation, pockets of bliss in misery.

We should consider every day lost on which
we haven’t frugged wearing a strap-on cock–
a marble cock hammered off a Greek statue,

burgled from the Vatican.


Only fiascos could be made from this sand, but the dolphin madrigal is sublime. The surf recedes to disclose curios–quarks you cobble together to create the medina I wander, earwig lost in a labyrinthine ear canal. Beloved, my Piper hand plies your tarmac thigh. You rove the desolate moors with Emily Brontë’s dog, contemplating the curious sublimity of being fucked with a pearl-handled revolver, preferably in a haunted greenhouse. Moby Dick attacks the Pequod–whacks her with a rusty bike chain. A dark romance with a flagellant imbues everything with obscure portent. Bees nest in our deepening eyebags. Roil the sediment of nostalgic memories: soon my thoughts are turbid with B-sides, B-movies, muzzy mid-70s flicks that induce a mood as dark as dirty bongwater. Filter my thoughts through an alembic. Engorged with black bile I’m sucked into the maelstrom of the bacchanal. Sundays people go to church; Moondays should be for revelry. O ascetic reverist, an American Spirit would spur your dopamine to a lope; a rainy day woman would tuft you with tusks. I love wildly tangential poetry. I love to play slide rainbow with Hendrix’s Zippo: crash-test dummies dance as to strident music striding from a dead-cat accordion. Like a cat I creep off by myself; soon I’m lost in the rorschach, maundering with haunted eyes, rooting around in dumpsters. I find my deepest self with a dissecting scalpel; it levitates & glides away, a luminous blue hitodama. A pareidoliac, I see faces in the moon–that of the Electric Landlady extolling the submissive paradigm, crayoning migrating flocks of crayfish on old vellum with a selvedge of char. I’m charmed by shards of darkness racing helter-skelter into space, blackscatter in a sky where owl kites scowl down on a town bristling with derelict buildings. A black Clockwork Orange derby drifts, windborne, from the blacksmith hammering Black Forest cake to the herd of kettles grazing on a lake. At the Wailing Wall grackles cackle: pour a swirl glass of the Green Fairy for every lover of the sensual. Victorian hippies put loon pants on the legs of pianos. The root of all suffering is failure to apprehend your at-oneness with the universe. Snip the hawsers & the clippership is free, incandescent with joy. A wave of ecstasy surges through me when I see a sleeping dragon of demonstrators up-rising & down-falling on dragonfly wings. Veins mullion the wings into quarrels through which I see jackals scavenging in the rain. The tears of lugubrious clouds efface what is chalked on the Wailing Wall, gobbledygook about the dialectical tension between loving & loathing; now you have a tabula rasa. Doubt propels faith the way asterisks spur a sentence to a gallop–or, failing that, the ponderous gait of an armadillo bound for crepuscular solitude. Nimbused with oilskin-yellow construction paper, the skull soliloquizes into the void, divining the future. A buzzard is brooding a clutch of liquid-paper clouds for aeromantic purposes. She keeps noodging me to kill her in some gruesome way–says she wants to be shorn of her head by a wreckingball. Says her head keeps wearing a black velvet Mad Hatter hat adorned with wildebeest horns. Says her head keeps hallucinating aerial circuses, subterranean rainbows. Says her head’s full of ideas as tenuous as the main drag zigzagging through a ghost town, dead-ending at a vast lichen tundra.


What a night for a nightdream.
What a day for smelting poetry from a sweven
& consigning the dross to the slagheap.
The junkyard is a shooting gallery: junkies
hunker around an unhinged door like hominids
around the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Maybe they’ll evolve, avoid their poignant fate.
What a day for presentiments of pinpricks
in a carbon-paper sky; they linger
in your mind like tape-looping strains of song.
What a night for a sepulchral voice to foretell
the future: a binary decision will lower
a candy-striped guard arm, closing a road.
Fog occludes gallery after gallery
gouged out by giant carpenter ants.
In the closet, in the thick funk, your shoes
queue; your clothes phosphoresce with yearning
to cling to you, to lick your keloids.
If they take umbrage from a rain cloud,
placate them with a more capacious closet.
We’re always redefining the fence to encompass
more acreage, but never planting anything.
We yearn to meander along a river
on which rain is sowing wild Os;
we yearn to be X-ed out by cracks in the sidewalk,
to be free to smoke wacky backy
& write inscrutable poetry, to sluther
across an idyllic seascape wearing crimson
bowler hats until the fog of sadness
rolls in to engulf us. What a night for Monty
Clift to slip us his cache of Vicodin:
soon we’ll feel euphoric enough to hang
upside-down with the bats in the woodstove.
The hermetically sealed room is close; open
the window, admit the hiss of diesels passing
on the rain-slick freeway. Sniff the petrichor:
it gives you a buzz– the sitar-like open-string
buzz of an electric guitar. I’ve smoked a spliff
or two, yeah, but I’ve committed no
inexpiable sins. Yearning to see Eternity
through the dome of many-colored glass
I ordered X-ray specs from a comic book ad.
What a day for brain-grey clouds to rain
ben day dots the size of ben wa balls.
You were extrapolating from the particular
to the general when I disembarked from your
train of thought to burn down a steeple as long as
a letter of provenance for the Maltese Falcon
& scatter the cremains on the cold glow
of a phosphorescent river. Rain
stippled the sidewalk: fearing a flash flood
I dashed into a chicken coop–thereby
opening the vein of bucolic nostalgia running
through my poetry. The lode lowed. Monty
was improbably portraying a backwoodsman
who spears salmon in the falls with a steeple.
Socks cured in the smokedrawer. What a night
for the poems I’ve been incubating to hatch,
open their eyes, & discern their true identity:
they’re sunflowers increasing in wisdom & stature.
When rain whispers the ineffable–rifles through
onionskin pages–my sunflowers bow their heads
as though praying. What a day for a divine mandate
to appear on the touchscreen: HEIST THE FRENCH PASTRIES
lest they soar like condors, sounding the profundity
of the sky. I don’t so much believe in religions
as yearn for their beauty–for incense
& insensibility 69-ing, rolling like a Ferris wheel
out to the old farm house. The old airedale
lazes on the swayback porch; inside, Monty
is playing a desEsseintes-like recluse who
revels in obscure poetry & recondite
knowledge. Open secrets, closed exoterica.
He whirls like a Sufi until a monster spawned
by radiation cracks his skull open
with a nightstick, grabs him by the scruff of the neck,
& hurls him in the Black Maria. He scratches
his itchy stitches until he reopens the wound.
Winters, when the garden is a moonscape,
poinsettias & carnations lure hummingbirds
to the Sea of Nectar. What a day
for a brackish fragrance to waft you back
to the maritime sojourns of childhood; what a night
for flaneuring through air like an astronaut, for incessant
peregrination. The nomad affixes himself
to the top of a butte, pellucid as an inkblot,
sclerotic as a stone angel atop
a tomb in the pitchfork-pronged rain. Monty
was dead; he lay stiff on the floor
amid sniggering bats. The spring lambing
yielded a flock of blackbirds; the door slumbrously
opened on lush greenery engendered
by rain descanting on onyx caves
up north, in an open-bordered country.
A clock-tower sniper with courtly, old-world manners
& an abiding interest in whale blubber
wanders up there in pursuit of troglodytehood.
He gazes through the oculus at cloudcastles
in the cerulean sky. What a day
for a fishwife to hijack your gaze by morphing
into a celestial beauty, a 50s pin-up
clip-clopping on stiletto heels. What a night
for her to recline on a divan, exuding
languid sensuality. The web
creaks like a hardwood floor under the spider’s
tarsussteps; he’s on a pilgrimmage
to the crag in the cooling tea.
Riffraff panhandles in my rearview mirror,
though somewhere in the rainswept desolation
a coffer of doubloons lies mouldering underground.

topsyturvy dom

Topsyturvy Dom

The gravedigger was overwhelmed with pity
for a chained-up dog, a mastiff skinny as a lightbulb

filament, as a cobra coiled in the wicker
basket of loneliness. Left bereft, his boots

stuck to the floor of a movie house, he walked
on his lobster pincers, lolloped across flat, arid

land, lugged a matchboxful of miasma
to a Greyhound depot with a vaulted ceiling.

Staring at the Catherine wheel in a liminal state
I strummed a Dobro to the bump bump WHUMP,

bump bump WHUMP & train-whistle harmonica
of a Neil Young song. O my hydra-headed loneliness

stood on its heads while I navel-gazed, navigated
a cruel world on circus stilts, toppled

into the gutter. Sleeping with trash I levitated,
drifted like sewer stench down a colonnade

of dustdevils to a faraway forest, loblollies
standing on their heads, roots grapneling clouds.

A troupe of lunatics would have dervished into
my lungs had not the shadow of a cloud

absorbed them like sweeping compound, leaving a glassy
sheen as of an unguent, as of Zamboni-

sleeked sleepers on a subway that, mirrored
in its own wake like a ship, appears to be

standing on its head. When you dance on your hands
among gravestones–back boxes of pinball machines–

the abattoir of your brain floods with blood,
the illusions you have about yourself trickle

out of your ears, & your wire-rimmed glasses dive
off the bridge of your nose; when you ride

the carousel of a slide projector round
& round, cruising your nocturnal haunts,

the dark, standing on its head, dazzles like
bejeweled spiders blooming in wild profusion.

A train emblazoned with luminous graffiti
jackknifes, as do I over the typewriter

on which I ghostwrite a column for Harpies Bizarre.
While I sleep an unkindness of black-jacketed,

Ray-Banned guys alights; & a beachcomber
steps out of a mural (fingerpainted in molten

lava) into 3-D, flourishing a dead
clock flecked with sand. When the guillotine

stands on its head, its blade hisses upward;
when I stand on my head my soul goes aloft

on my soles. But if the hiss of a cobra-coiled
radiator could peel off wallpaper, peals

of laughter could depress you into morbid
introspection; & nothing could alleviate

your depression except indulging your ghoulish kink
for being flogged with car-wash straps while you

stand on your head, your long black hair fanned out
on the ceiling of a cathedral–the floor of a skiff

stalled on a trash-clogged ocean.

poem somewhat in homage to Bill Knott

Far off, a ray of light
Spirals like a stairway down which hooded acolytes
Are bearing a virgin to a subterranean altar.

A dagger plunges like a neckline
Into the curtain of iridescence behind which
You’re cloistered in a cave stalagmited with candles.

All lightning-gerrymandered night–blowzy-
Haired, wearing an African mask that makes you
Look like a demoiselle d’Avignon–you juggle

Several psychedelic vans atop the garage.
Jettisoned from that eminence you plunge
Headlong into the chipper, which spews yr soul.

Disembodied you float thru rooms
Bereft of butterflies, flit from fragrance to fragrance,
From the evanescent scent of periwinkle blue

To that of monkeyflower orange–float thru rooms
Where the chain of gypsy moths is stretched so taut
You can rope-walk it. You can read palms, tea dregs,

Searchlight the loons & lepers là-bas
With yr luminary eyes. Thru an old bemossed wall
You can see a deep ditch brimming with mannequin limbs

That combust cats by caressing them in rooms
Where, stricken by The Plague, you see yr face
On an unwanted poster, see yr lips

Loose The Litany, where after rain you open
The shutters to sprouting mushrooms, to a spiral
Galaxy of sunflowers. Syncretic,

The chocolate walrus alchemizes disparate
Oddments into a mosaic. In rooms where you’re
Swathed only in lightning’s incandescence the glass

Bells of funktionslust knell, invoking the de Chirico-
Esque statues who are entranced by yr tattoos.
Far off, Emma Peel’s catsuit languishes

In an abbey; the overcoat whose boardinghouse reach
Exceeds its grasp shackles the incorporeal
Women who smell of cicada song, who don

Poker personae. Far off, a giant woodpecker
Hollows a chopstick in order to sip the elixir
From a cat’s dish; the sphincter is loosened, the weir

Dynamited; the music of a pipe organ
Wafts from a cathedral, snowplows the tarpaper shack
Where I laze in a cigarette haze. The apparition

Of a subterranean starfish bewitches me
In rooms where Muzak vents spew India ink–
Black flashback to a drowned wharf rat from the Dukkha

Funeral Parlor boarding a carnival train
That burrowed into a hermetic dream of eyesockets,
Asylums for spiders. In rooms where we’re safe from the lava

Creeping down the corridor, nothing but a noose
Of cigarette smoke could snap me out of the Circean
Spell of yr morose blue eyes, the gravitational

Pull exerted by yr black-hole pussy as you
Sleepwalk in dishabille in the starlit graveyard
Far off, where airplane hangars unfurl like flowers

Of corrugated steel from which droves of dwarves
Beeline down the freeway, where peepered skulls
People the firmament. After a day of moiling

I creep, torpid, to rooms where I behold
My lady fair thru skydiver-hewn fog,
Where over a cup of sludge I dream up castles

Too resplendent to be humanly wrought. Far off,
Slums beckon me; in rooms where I can crawl
Out the window to a fire escape that zigzags

Down to an alley I sound the depths of my
Unconscious for a low-ebbed memory:
The noise of Hitchcock’s The Birds wafting from

A sewer grating. In rooms where the torpor of tor
Is dunked in embalming fluid I’ll be my next
Incarnation: Eraserhead. Smothered

In the catarrh of otherness I’ll commingle
With burglars who are hoping Night will deal them
A hand of black windows: an empty house.

Nothing will come of nothing, busload
After busload of nothing; “but if the nothing is nothing,”
Heidegger says, “then beings can never founder

In the nothing” as in black milk. Far off,
The overnight bag–the black box from a crashed
Crow–blazes. From rooms where I’m outroduced

To my dotage my mind gallops away with me
On its back thru a winding hall of mirrors
To rooms where I taste music like des Esseintes.

Velvet-tipping tongues toll–steeples
Beseeching me to flee deeper into darkness
With a comet’s tail like the train of a sumptuous cloak,

To zoom into rooms where every objet d’art
Catches hellfire from a match, shines import
Into the meaning of the obsession to which

All my thoughts are circumscribed; sheriff badges
Cartwheel out of the stellar nursery, into
The icehouse where they become malleable.

In rooms where I’m Rolfed by my counterpart
From a parallel world the nuclear coffin leaks
Its radioactive counsel: noose yrself

With a feedback loop in a March-hare-brained room
Shrinking like “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Far off,
The simoom soughs; the Bridge of Sighs bifurcates;

The wine-moist lips of the garbage truck–the nexus
Of compaction–part. Under yr purple tresses
The thoughts coralled in yr skull whinny & stamp…

dark carnival


Forsake yr storied past
& roam the wilderness in seven-league boots.
Ride the simoom to a faraway cathedral.
Send me a sepia postcard.
Zooming past the tollbooths the ‘32 V-8 Ford
Crashes. Cracks web the windshield.
Needing a boutonniere the soliloquist
Trolls for wildflowers. He sidles down a pathway
Unwinding from a spool, snaking thru a field
Past its disuse-by date.
Drops of blood shower from a vein
Like sparks from a train rail,
Are funneled into labyrinthine hallways.
Flow of sap in a kitestring.
Neon wreathe writhing, incising a rainbow
On a headstone the size of a drive-in screen.
Some go with the flow, some without; all
End up sliding down the waterfall.
A truck driver working the graveyard shift
Is haunted by a dream of being back in high school
& realizing he’s naked except for a moonmask,
Which waxes & wanes. Despite his zigzag gashes
A Nehru jacket embraces him like a lover.
Bodysurf the riptide; ride the sea turtle
Over the dry cleaners on the ocean floor.
Dog-paddle in an abyss of light.
Dream & waking life interlace
Iridescent as nacre; India ink
Oozes from the eyeholes of a mopy mask,
Seeps into The White Angel; monocle zeros
Cruise the tattooed, soon-to-be-holocausted ruins.
Sunflowers sprout from cracks in the pavement.
A lobotomy scar left by a Cheshire stiletto
Was lazing on me when I heard the church bells ring;
They sounded like a muezzin calling from his tower–
Like the cat-purr of seashells,
The murmuration of inchoate chaos,
Nocturnal moans in hotel hallways,
The dulcet tones of rain falling
On a not-unmotionless locomotive
Adorned with cryptic inscriptions.
Then I eked out a living with desultory bodysnatching;
I rifled attics for rare daguerreotypes;
I put electrodes on a bowl of Corn Flakes
& flicked the switch. I cut
Off my hand: it floated like an astronaut
In zero-g; a meandering pathway
Jetted from each fingertip,
Slithered thru skidrow.
Under black streetlights–flared nostrils–
I took a wild ride past fleabags, klaxoning everyone
Out of my way: somebody carouseling
Kaleidoscope-like, suckerpunched by a tumbleweed.
I’m dumbstruck by sea-sucked tits,
Shocked by the high-voltage kisses
Of George Romero zombies on a subway.
Leave a snailtrail, ooze flummery.
Sleeprove on a serpentine pathway
Where a dead wolverine with crow-pecked eyesockets
Lies. The breakroom vending machine
Lost, fallen thru a sidewalk grating,
Sunken into oblivion like a scuttled
Freighter. A deathray riddles the spinnaker
With holes. A ship with eyelid sails
Drifts on a fathomless pool of blood.
I have a rendezvous with a witch. We’ll tryst
In a field, under a harvest moon colluding
With sodium streetlights to cauterize alleyways
Shut, to trap fat rats.
The arsonist torches the boarded-up bar,
Slaking his thirst for flames.
Then he jumps on a jacket zipper–
A freight car trundling thru a maze of hallways,
Bound for the doorway to an oneiric world.
Nights when corpses of me besiege the house
I prowl with a cortège of robotic homunculi,
Rove from dark to dark–from all-night
Porno-flick theater to bar on precipice
Over ocean. In a seashell of crumpled paper
Eleanor Rigby alleviates her depression
With whiskey. Flung down an elevator shaft
She ascends to the ether–blown kiss lost
In transmigration from lips to blazing cross.
Beforethoughts pearl–streetlights in a hallway
Overgrown with forebodings, at the end
Of which a technicolor vista
Awaits you, luminous blue roses.
Vein-blue guitar strings flourish out of greyness.
My fingertips negotiate the zig-
Zagging neck of my guitar.
The timbre of a cement mixer
Clashes with the death knell of a seashell,
With the carny-bark of a scrimshaw skull,
With the Mozartian flight of fancy which floats
Up past the trembling steeples to the ether,
Which embraces an interstellar sea turtle…
Beneath the droopy eyelids of the streetlights

A dark carnival pulsates with evil.

eerie alley tea


The spectral image of a black pitbull presaged my death. I bequeathed my eels to an ensouled statue & was assumed into the greenhouse: a geodesic dome like a snowshake paperweight. How many other horrible workers are woolgathering at this moment–or dreaming, sheepdoggedly pursuing the poem even in sleep, invoking the strippers who’re shagging doggy-style in the poll booths. A goon at the peephole gimlet-eyeing my foray into hitherto unexplored parts of Pussytown. Being in the netherworld afforded me a bird’s-eye view of the skyscrapers shocked in Mo-mo. Cocaine Lil cockledoodledoo’d, swathed in sky-blue cerements, luminous with a profound truth I couldn’t grasp, ravishing, inviolable. Her yetis-in-waiting pirouetted in diaphonous gowns. Our black scottie had a penchant for snouting up fallen orts, so we named him Hoover. Caught in the vortex in the rearview mirror Hoover spiraled down into nothingness. Birds of blowtorch-blue plumage rode the whorlwind; an updraft buoyed Hoover to the treehouse where I was reading an old notebook. In that phantasmagoria soundtracked by Twisted Sister a brain became a clusterfuck of bumblebees; sandpaper became a beach, sandwich paper a witchgrassy beach on which a lighthouse-keeper played Frisbee with his greyhound, flinging a temple gong.

Wearing a black eyepatch with a skull & crossbones on it, Hoover hijacked a grackle & flew it to Elysium: the town dump, a reliquary whose amplitude rivaled that of the surf’s flotsam collection. Detritus engulfed a Cynic living in a squalid hovel–no, not even a hovel, a mere hovella. Hoover scrunched up to fit in a many-stained-glass-windowed snail shell. A cloud cathedral hove in sight & hovered over the firewalker at the carnival, the neo-flaneur with the neon buzz, moire-suited but feral as a Greenlandic walrus. What if I walked the dog in public, like a Cynic–like a big-cocked Robert Crumb geek beguiled by the sumptuous ass of a passerby. Prowling in a seedy coat I ended up joining some woebegone hobos in singing, “So come with me, we’ll all go see the Big Rock Candy Mountains.” There Hoover wears a hipster beret, writes protoplasmic poems in a spiral notebook. He rummages in a stygian second-hand bookshop. The proprietor, an old woman, chainsmokes; gossamer shores up the toppling stacks of paperbacks as though you’re seeing them in ultraviolet light. Books shine as though simonized, ready to convey me through space & time like a mastiff with a martyred monk in his maw. Hang on St. Christopher, dog-headed patron of travelers: all sentient beings are crammed into a prairie schooner lumbering, though hub-deep in marl, toward a cynosure: a phosphorescent glowworm.

A snowballing beeswarm rolled down the breakdown lane of your thigh, & a fairy-tale hunchback sicced bloodhounds on the long-haired smack junkie who was reading a moth-eaten book, dirty needles strewn around him like the floor of a pine forest. Sap coursed in a space needle. After heavy rain a flash flood drowned everyone except the giraffe-necked greyhound. With his head in the ether he gobbled up poems, chimeras from the Mixmaster of the mind. & if my thought-dreams could be seen, they’d prob’ly put my head in a gillotine; but since a boomerang has craftily replaced my mustache, my head would fly back to my neck in time to drink coffee brewed from ground fog & gobble excelsior by the fistful. Slug-slow zombies drifted down the detour to a backwater in some oneiric Oklahoma. Irreality: me & Hoover zigzaged down the fire-escape to fathom the depth of the eerie alley tea. Hoover harpooned the kettle when it spouted steam. I’d rather have a pearl-diving dog, or a dog you can dissolve in coffee like a lump of sugar. A black seagull carved from onyx jimmied the door to the lightroom. I feel darkness augmenting inside me, an influx of rooks: either bring tb out of mothballs or I’ll drive off a cliff, singing “Pineola”.

Wearing a deathmask with a Kool-Aid smile you lapsed into a morose silence. Hoover scrabbled at that silence & hit a lode of infrasound. Just a hurricane’s hurl away the howling of coyotes was punctuated by the tubercular hack of the horn of scarcity. The sea cave was disemboweled of its raving. I was mad in those days: trigger-happy I shot seagulls off pilings, shat several subway slugs that severally flowered into mouthless mouths. Smokerings howled, zeros flared like nostrils. Kissing your asshole I became a portal-jumper. A sail-pale visage unfurled, hovered UFOlike above the deadfall. A numinous voice laid this riff on me: “Someday your tobacco-blackened lungs will join a murder of crows.” With rusty pliers Hoover prised my Steppenwolf out of me, my Shadow. Lovelorn in the hermitage I walked the dog, cossetted by pictures conjured from wet dreams: Renée Falconetti in a bondage suit of ectoplasm, her sleek raven hair a black mass. A gumshoe got blackjacked; a geek freaked with jet slipped you a brainrape drug. An oil-slick maligned the river. To embrace the black dog on my back I took a long draught of coffee from the eyesocket of a skull; I assimilated to the rain-darkened street. A lightning bolt is just the incandescent string of a black kite vast enough to cover the sky.

The malaise pervading society transfused even the dogs. The molten lava flooding the labyrinthine corridors congealed in blobs. The jewels sequestered, inviolable, their luster augmented by caressing. Sirius dervished in the firmament, chasing his tail–did The Dog to a jam in Pandora’s jukebox, one that conjured the iridescence of mother-of-pearl. The sizeless aggie mooned over the Cynic toasting his hands over the trash-barrel fire with the other hobos. You’re affected by the wretchedness of the lucklorn. How do you stave off the desolation of those who’re sundered from all human contact? I peddled a bicycle in outer space, got sideswiped by an astronaut floating past, trailing a severed tether, stiff limbs akimbo. The windsmacked wayfarer wafted into a rathskeller buzzing like a hornet’s nest with hangdogs & cynics, with boozehounds higher than deep-sea fish in the ether–soul-sick & forsaken all. Mothwinged, wearing the deathmask of Jo-Jo The Dog-Faced Boy, I flew in the ether, was sideswiped by a nightfreight truck. The canine wraith growled a presentiment of a flatlining EKG, the Litany seeping from the stove suffusing the frowzy tenement. You were dead, billiard-chalk-blue, limned with spectral moonwhite; the grave swallowed you the way a python swallows a dog, the way a dog gorges himself on deadbolt sausages. Working the graveyard shift at the hoarfrost factory I longed to go back to the bayou, pined for cypress laden with Spanish moss. Hoover lolled in lulls in the conversation, a whale up on blocks for dissection. No safariing into a cordoned-off Zululand evoking the mysteries of the street-lit attic, bats translucent as jellyfish hanging upside-down. Since I’m a nightowl my dreambook paddocks primordial daymares–for example, the razing of skyscrapers. The man in the wreckingball granted the rabid dog a stay of execution. By garbage-truck-orange moonlight I composed a letter in which I let monkey mind yack–or sat zazen, transfixed, wing’d stigmata alighting on me, a disembodied demon clamoring to possess me. I caromed off the door to the inner sanctum, back into my otherness. You caterpillared into a burlap sack capacious enough to drown a sumo kitten in; later you fluttered out butterfly-wing’d, too resplendent for me to embrace, to caress. I basked in your effulgence, rapt with wonderment.


menorah’s cradle

MENORAH’S CRADLE (written in collaboration with Trilby Farthingale)

In my nights of cruising through the Unknown Zone
I integrated my riffraffy aspects

into my psyche. I saw antipodes everywhere,
caught innocence in flagrante with its looking-

glass counterpart, depravity. Slogging across
the rice paddy was no cakewalk: you had a

votive candle up your stovepipe; moreover,
a scarecrow accosted you. You paused

in rapt contemplation of his sartorial
choices, his mixing & matching of decades.

Though nostalgic for a primordial age of flannel-
clad grunge bands, you pay no obeisance to

the custom of playing Russian roulette, of dervishing
until you puke blood for the anointment

of doorposts & lintels. If the menorah
on your windowsill is cat-shaped, the Super Sabres

won’t napalm your house. The asterisks
from your sleeve turn cartwheels down the bubblegum

stretched out o’er th’o’erweening pride of lions.
I disbelieve in belief; I’m hightailing it

back to my chronic scepticism, vast
tracts of which are teeming with seasnakes

who moan in chorus: “I’d rather dunk my donut
in nightness, Lord, sleep in a hollow log,

than disenfranchise myself by refusing to vote
for inverting the fire escape with a camera obscura.”

In an alternate world you can hack through a cat’s-cradle
of conflicting opinions, ransack your mind

for the in-dwelling Buddha. If you’re too
afraid of your own madness to write poetry,

invoke the Supernal Powers, the silicone tits
that protrude from the TV screen when it’s blizzarding

with static. Or keep a voluminous diary
in which you indulge in orgies of esoteric

name-dropping & fingerprint-lifting. The cool
fool licking the dominatrix’s boots

incites you to perversion. Italicized
by passion you’ll strangle your karmic soulmate all

over again–or maybe just bitch-slap him until
the musical notes fall out of his speech balloon.

l’esprit d’escalier sur l’escalier d’esprit

L’ESPRIT D’ESCALIER SUR L’ESCALIER D’ESPRIT (written in collaboration with Trilby Farthingale)

I’ve always envied people confined to wheelchairs.
If I could hypnotize a cripple into walking
I’d steal his wheelchair, because ever since I quaffed
the elixir I’ve been an incorrigible crook.

I have become comfortably numb

Barrel-assing like a getaway driver I plough
my wheelchair into a speed bump & catapult
skyward. I plunge head-first into the abiding
whiteness that fosters amity among
birds of different wingspans, because ever since
I started hanging upside-down from the shower rod
like a bat my conversations have been a trifle
one-sided: my only interlocutor is a belltower
no cunt has been able to accommodate, though not a few
cavernous perineal pores have been.

I have becalmed a palm oozing balm

She put on her Hell’s Angels jacket, chained herself
to the wheelchair, & rolled away in fervent
pursuit of a circus troupe, stopping only to
pick up a hitchhiker bound for a Megadeth concert.
Working as a circus hypnotist she kept a diary
in a matchbox. Once she read me an interminable
entry over the phone. It was a pay phone,
so she fed it quarter after quarter until she was broke
& had to hang up & go mug a midget limboing
under turnstiles en route to a sleepover. Because
ever since I delved into a slagheap to tweeze
a nacreous tongue, my only philanthropic
act has been bequeathing the contents of
my bus depot locker to my dybbuk.

I have bestowed what I owed on a toad

The wheelchair zoomed past, splattering me
with slush, snapping me out of my reverie
about stimulating your erogenous zones in a grotto
where schisms are brushstroked with compassionate understanding
so they can die in serenity in a freeway
rest stop. Wait–keep the storyline coherent.
Because ever since you built obsolescence into
the Nico-blondeness of the candleflame wavering
before the patron saint of Shanghaied rucksacks
you’ve been kissing your kite instead of flying it.
You cup its face in your hands & drink as from
an ocean afflicted with the tobacco mosaic virus,
littered with origami birds on which a dandy
has written quips from l’esprit d’escalier.

I was beheaded after being vetted for what I’d netted



intensity in tent city


The garbage chute was clogged; the sky, though an ominous gunmetal-grey, refused to rain. Long straggly hair received a blackjack in the mail. In a fugue state I helmed a clippership across a tumultuous roofscape, smoking an Oom Paul whence emanated peal after peal of deep crimson, soliloquizing with the melancholic mien of a nebula junkie. Black-creped windows wept with desolation; an unkindness of ravens constellated in the churchyard, a grave lantern limning their plumage with Hitodama-orange. Often I awake with a hypnagogic jerk, terrified that my soul is debarking. Hold me aloft, over the lowland dolor. During a nadir I’m vexed by an apocalyptic vision: a shankha blast atomizing skyscrapers. The dreamstream flows unstanched, suffuses the coffee shop, laves the phosphorescent mirages inoculating themselves with the Black Death. Recounting a dream is like handcuffing a hologram. You think there’s a coherent albeit Whitmaniacal self yawping these lines, but you’ve sicced bloodhounds on a mere will-o’-the-wisp. Wearing my wacky jacket–it’s blazoned with a psychedelic dragon, like Jimmy Page’s Fender–I malinger with a clutch of rope-walkers at a vertiginous height. In painter’s pants of starlight I lurk in a back alley, rubberneck to spy on lovers undressing, coalescing. The only way I can atone my guilt is by walking into the ink-dark sea until my fedora is floating. The most illustrious rockers in the 27 Club have formed a supergroup called Tent City. “What music do you like to fuck to?” “The rustling of a cornfield. It affects me like the undulations of a sea surface.” A dark wave rises, crude oil sweeping me back to my unreconstructed self; the lighthouse rears its cobra head to hiss the hulking silhouette of an homunculus on the seawall. A dog skull flung from the fog bays at the harvest moon; a cloud of locusts obscures an orange streetlight, caresses it smooth as a river-polished rock. Despite having the sensorium of a wharf rat I see millionic astral bodies in the corridors of the asylum. I can see through my venetian eyelids even when I draw them in rapt attention to an auditory hallucination: the cry of a nightjar, the whistle of a buoy, an originless condoling cloned over & over, the mise-en-abyme of the wimpled nurse on the Droste tin. She stares fixedly at me. With her infrared eyes she can see I’m a palimpsest of dead selves. They were burned up in the river; their ashes were scattered on the crematorium. They’d haunt me were not the crawlspace clogged–revenants just can’t worm through. But I can no more placate their rage than I could assuage their pain when they were alive.