(To Or Not To)

How often does your belly twist
like a poorly made pastry dish?

I will never say no to most things,
but I will never eat another donut.

I am going to Hell, you are, you are—
this from a Port Authority figure.

He had Macy’s bags stapled
together to his coat sleeves.

He had dandruff in his bald spot
and claimed to have mace in case.

Dudes like this make me nervous
to wear or not to wear a hood.

(Of) Course, Work

To create a biopic of an ego-crypt
would be a risky business move,
especially for the subject himself.

But risks are rewarded, and awards
are retardants for the subordinate
decisions we put in trashy blonde fires.

What are people anyways, these days?
It’s like we’re all just angles and maybe
collateral (if we’re lucky), but we’re not.

Luck is the stuff that makes past people
whose names we remember look better
than those who we wipe and flush instead.


Only Jesus and X-Men can accomplish what I want to in a week.


Accidental bathroom break
Banh Mi Bonanza
Catholic whiskey downer
Deaf kid drum circle
Ecstasy dispersion
Fundamental break-up rules
GNC mail-in rebates
Homer Simpson picket lines
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Jackals dragging knuckles
Kool Keith skateboard sweat
L Train abortion
Mike Kelley forever
No more goodbyes
Oprah Book Club jerkoff
Princess Bride Wars
Queer Eye for a Straight Guy
Raging Bullshit: The Movie
Senior Citizen Sadie Hawkins Dance
Traumatic body massage
Underground fear mechanism
Vlad Smolkin Ethics Committee
Wrong number voicemail relay
X-rays piled upon x-rays
Your age in dog years
Z’s shaved into sheepskin

A Better Manhattan

Bifocals and Baclofen—
my back is bending,
and I'm seeing double.

There is a silent type
taking slimy solace
on a semi-Shady Lane,
and he tells passers-by
of His Wondrous World
of Pigeons and Plans.

I twist and shake,
and slant my eyes;
I hear major chords.

I met the bassist
of a concrete band
a few months back;
he's a soulful bartender—
makes good conversation,
an even better Manhattan.

I'm not a bitter man,
about anything, really;
I find enchantment in life.

A Bridge, Abridged

time changes
times change
there was a song
an entire album
of this sentiment
those were the days
my uncle says
those were the days
paper or plastic
to pack trash
and trashed ideals
plastic is elastic
but paper bags
can hold liquor
regrets or whatever
type of guilt
you have in abundance
and if you have extra
codeine or fentanyl
maybe we could forget
about living the way
we have chosen to live
I should have listened
to John Berryman
and not John Adams
this country takes
so much out of you
and there are only
so many words

A Or B

There are Bill Clinton types
in Sacramento and São Paulo,
but there is only one Bill Clinton.

There are two Keith Varadi types,
but only one of them shares his ego
with Sacramento, São Paulo, or wherever.

A Short Tale

A rabbit asked forgiveness
from a farmer and the farmer
told the rabbit she was a rabbit.

The rabbit said she was sorry
and the farmer repeated himself
and the rabbit repeated herself.

The rabbit finally said to the farmer,
“I can speak English! Why am I
even bothering talking to you?”

The rabbit hopped along I-64
until she was in Charlottesville
and got a job as a bartender.

Absolutist Poem

Today, I thought I saw a young Rauschenberg on my way to work. Not super young. Not even like Black Mountain young. More like his gumshoe, trench coat phase.

He was walking out of limestone, across the street from that park on 29th, right before you walk through the open mail gate. He looked kind of put together and capable, yet unkempt and feverish, like as if he maybe ran the estate of a successful artist, like, maybe even Robert Rauschenberg. Like maybe he was even his son. But who would have been Bob and Jasper’s female David Crosby?

I love the Old World Art World dirt, whenever I’m around a shovel willing to dig. I still remember the stories John Yau used to tell me about how Joan Mitchell could drink him under the table. That’s seemed to me to be a feat of a foot.

I think if I were 85 now, instead of having been born in ’85, I would have fewer memories of The Cedar Tavern and Max’s Kansas City. I would have wanted to drink where Dan Graham and Jonas Mekas and Ted Berrigan drank. They probably didn’t drink together, or at the same places. They probably weren’t even friends. But I would have made friends with them and made them friends with each other, and take them to some watering hole somewhere called something like “Buddy’s” or something, and it would be OUR spot, and it would always be someone’s celebration; not birthday, but celebration. Like a night for us to focus on the miles one of us had been walking that week or month.

I’d be like, “Hey Dan, what’s Ted’s sign?”

Dan: “Umm, umm…he’s a Scorpio...definitely a Scorpio. Yeah, yeah...definitely a Scorpio. He’s definitely a Scorpio.”

Ted: “Hey man, pretty good guess…I like your guys’ vibes…”

Jonas: “Sometimes, I think we’re all just phonies…”

In walks Helmet Federle. “You are,” he says. Out walks Helmut Federle.

I wanted to ask Peter if he ever knew Bob, but Peter was too busy yelling at Renée, then yelling at someone on his cell phone, then yelling at Laura, then yelling at someone else on one of the land lines. Then Helmut Federle called and Peter spoke to him in pleasant German phrases. That’s a surprising set of sounds for most, but I’m used to it by now. Art fairs and stuff. There’s a surprising amount of soil under Peter’s cement, but I’m used to it by now. He’s like a football coach I never had. I don’t think Peter knows much about American football. He’d probably be a good coach though.

I’m thinking maybe Bob was too busy for Peter. If not his schedule, his work. Peter likes things clean, absolute.

Once, I had to instruct a beautiful grasshopper how to clean Peter’s books. She hopped to it. When she was finished, he said, “Absolutely magnificent!”

I’m thinking how easy it is to imagine how absolutely magnificent Bob was at ice skating. I’m thinking how impossible it is to imagine who Peter cheers on at The Olympics.

As I flip through all these discarded Editions Peter gave me when after “The Era” had ended, and listen to The Steelers on WDVE from abroad, I ask myself if art dealers believe in a God, or if they just relatively relish in the fetish of their prey.

Acid Reflex

I would drink my body weight
in fancy European espresso
if I could afford it. Instead,
I drink what can fit in a mug,
maybe two, always suited
for travel. You can’t afford
to bring liquids on planes.
They might roll. I can’t afford
to fly, at all. At any moment,
I could be buried; don’t you
think? I think I want to turn up
and not over. End it already.

After The Flood

After the flood,
I watched a logger
take a personal day,
dress up in all yellow
like he was going
deep sea fishing
somewhere in the Pacific;
but instead, he just raked
puddles with futility.

Afrobeat Poem

White men with Afros
make me wonder
about their objectives,
about their politics,
about their skills
when it comes
to tomahawk dunks.

White men with Afros
also make me think
about Questlove,
and I ask each of
the same questions
I do of the white men,
but I'm sure he can't dunk.

No one who hangs out
with Jimmy Fallon
can possibly dunk,
except for maybe
Bruce Springsteen;
The Boss can do
whatever he wants.


I am clearing my closets,
swiping off all my shelves,
asking why I have
the things I do.

I don’t need much really,
though this country
conditioned me
to believe I do.

I am Spartan now;
I am Spartacus now.

I need one pair of shoes
for where I am heading.

Aggregate Poem

I write a poem
almost every day
and this one here
is to acknowledge
every single other
I’ve ever written
before this one.

Air Conditioning

Racine Goths
Farmer’s Tans
Lakefront Salutations
Schlitz Post-Funerals
Lonely Disco Mix Tapes
Goat Milk Goat Tees
NASCAR Stained Tees
Surveillance Surveys
Dog Shit Mondays
Internet Threesomes
Best Friend Ejaculates
Hyperbolic Poetry
I Miss You


My chest has
never felt as tight
as when I watched
the Adidas greaser
sneeze and twitch
for half an hour
like an autistic cat
being waterboarded.

Alone (With Ronald)

While you’re in Miami
I’ll be reading Mercury
And testing my mortality

Failure is a sliding scale

Waiting for you I’ll float on
A rainbow soaked ocean
And accept my mortality

Failure is a sliding scale

Ampersands, Ifs & Ands

When it’s winter and the snow actually comes for your kindness,
you have to shield yourself with grammar & syntax & onomatopoeia.

Spring & Fall

Everything that lives must die and everything that dies must come
back to life; you don’t need to be a Buddhist to know that’s a fact.

Slanted & Enchanted

I implemented my first ampersand far after I had my first summer fling;
it was a good year and now she’s full of air, and I’m full of something.

Man & Women

I wrote about the life I would have had if my parents were lesbians
when I was about fifteen or so and my grandmother said, “What?”

Disney Malts & Encino Men

I watched my first Spaghetti Western with my surprisingly sensitive
father when I was even younger and he still tells me I should eat more.

Cars & Calories

I can’t slow down, but I can’t keep up; metaphors & nostalgia are in & out
and I go back & forth on where I stand and stand with my buckled knees.


I am you in make-up
after we make up
and forget about
our differences.

You are me after all;
and after all, you
are not what you
told me at first.


Where will you be
with your back patches
and pats on your backs
once we get thwarted
by viscous cannonballs,
and dinosaurs return?

Will you still be sewing
quilts to stroke each
other in the dark glow,
or will you be baking
cookies to keep friends
around like Cliff’s Notes?

I don’t need dinner parties
or community book clubs
with strangers who love
standing on step ladders—
I’ve seen my brain bleed;
I no longer fear heights.


Someone decided that putting conches to our ears was no longer worth it. Someone said recently that algebra was no longer worth anything. What value does their opinion have, really? I’m not saying I want to do either of those things, but I would like to think that we should be able to think for ourselves. I think that’s about as fundamental as the alphabet. Maybe I’m dreaming in a Sesame Street tree house. All of my best friends are tremendous readers. But I cannot be edited. I want to preserve my right to not be chopped down. I am wild like Pangaea. These days are frosted with processed greed and gluttony. But if it tastes good, well, it tastes good. Isn’t that what Orson Welles said? Well, you know what? I bet George Orwell would probably have a hard time with these United States; but then again, he might not even have a voice in these United States. How united are we, anyways? I suppose in some states, we can still play with seashells and numbers. Hey, do you know which beach town it was where Bruce slept with Sally? Do you know which farm town he found a reason to believe? You can wrestle with politics just about anywhere, from Connecticut to Florida (left, right, and in between) until you tap out, twist your ankle, or shatter your skull. If you can’t tell by now, I’m in a hell of sores, but Valium is malleable, and I’m getting better at swimming. My limbs are limp, my eyes are let down, and I’m flopping around on a stretcher bed like a sappy whale, surrounded by land sharks. They’re drinking shitty lager holstered in New York Giants koozies, and they’re shooting the shit, shitting on my ideals. “Kid, you can’t change nothing, you’re just a minnow.” I say from below, “But I thought I was a whale.”

Another Morning

Are those my dogs barking again?
I think I need a hangover soon,
I can’t tell. I can’t tell about
anything. I can’t tell you
anything. I can only
give what I give.

Apocalypse Ride

A smug man in a Crass shirt
told me the Mayans were liars
and that I should invest in a car
because when the aliens come,
I won’t want to take the subway.


I called myself a wigger
Because art is whatever


Take me here on a dry day
Maybe like after my birthday
I will not bring any money
I only want to order a scotch
And watch one race or two
Then go out to the parking lot
And maybe smoke a cigar
Lean on something concrete
And think about life insurance
Because of the billboards
I see every time I’m in a car.

Aramark Tower

You have no identity
other than your brand.

The people your people
routinely pump fuel into
are like junkyard dogs
and backyard wrestlers.

Isn’t it wild how much I feel
for your locale, regardless?


Why does my taste revolt you?
Why do my words chew you up?

When I say what I say,
I do not try to dictate.

When I do what I do,
I am just a citizen.

Aren’t you hungry, too?
Don’t you need nutrition?

Opinions are vitamins
To swallow and digest.

I am a chef, a pharmacist;
I have so many vitamins.


I prefer cute girls in penny loafers
over cotton candy or bubble gum.

Sugar! Ah! Honey! Honey!
Honey! Ah! Sugar! Sugar!

Occasionally, I am attracted to the past.
Occasionally, I am into Molly Ringwald.

These past two weeks, I have been a heart attack man;
I keep turning around, waiting for a Dim Mak moment.

If I die, you die, and we all die,
like in that Lars Von Trier movie.

Trust me, I don’t want it that way,
but that’s the way it was written.

The Pixies wrote end of the world music,
and I’m high on my way to Beth Israel.

Some things taste as good as they look;
how can you still be such a picky eater?

Art Direction

Please don’t be like Peter Greenaway
and polish rubbish and rub one out
to all the plumbed tunnels I try to drive
along, with other filed individuals,
blowing bubbles in the right-hand lane.

Why can’t you let passersby let you pass
them by and buy some time for you
to give a shit to someone else for once?
And for all the times you’ve given diarrhea,
please keep your art direction in your pants.

Art Dogs Go To Heaven

Is bringing a dog to an art opening a symbol of status? I know a few painterly princes. I think most of them have dogs. All art queens definitely have dogs. What kind of dog would Maurizio Cattelan bring to an opening? A dead one?

Art Film

A banana peel,
folded as a handkerchief,
placed in a back pocket,
or propped on a dining table
in a corner slot (a back pocket).

*This is the opening scene.

A black widow
decides when to strike;
her secret is no match
for a damned soul’s lip
about to light a bent tip.

*This is the build-up.

A Chinese fortune
whispers from the crack
of a Tupperware’s ass,
but the swallowed banana
tortures bones into mush.

*This is the climax.

An electric chair
loses power halfway
through a finite massage,
and Orthodox chants echo
throughout the final meal.

*This is where the credits roll.


Arthur was a good man
who could “dance good.”

That’s what he would say;
I would say, “Dance well.”

He would tell me to fuck off;
I would tell him to fuck on

some sort of substance.
And Miriam thanked me—

Miriam was his old wife
who used to hit on me.

And I made her paintings—
dozens of red monochromes;

I decided I would eventually
exhibit them all together .

The show would be titled:

Art Optimist

Picabia was not a monster
Proust was not a maneater.

We believe what we want to believe,
and what we want to believe
is that all the Great Weirdos
were as great and as weird
as they claimed to be at parties
and in their autobiographies.

There are no more masters
There are no more subjects.

We just re-hash the same stories
as if we are on hash and boring;
but the thing is, we have so much
to give, if we just get that it's Biblical;
there was one thing created, okay?
Now, we must create and re-create.

We are all artists if we try
We just all need to try harder.

Art Ramble (On)

What the fuck is a widget? I mean, I know the definition of the word; but what is a widget, really? Does Thomas Hirschhorn use widgets in his installations? And what is the purpose of "architectural art" if you're not going to destroy or alter pre-existing things like Gordon Matta-Clark?

I mean, obviously, I like the architectural structures Dan Graham made (and makes) from scratch, and Vito Acconci does some interesting things with space, too; but I think we can all together agree that their "poetics" are superior. Side note: these are two of my favorite artists.

Speaking of poetics, I wish I could get a copy of a Poetics record; where can I get one? Do you know where I can get a copy? Do you know what, I mean who, I am talking about? I got a few Destroy All Monsters records when I was at Rutgers, which I thought was so cool; and now, while writing this, I realize the semi-humor of this all, since I was initially advocating the destruction of architecture, because, let's face it, most public art sucks. It's just widgets and more widgets. That's it. I convinced myself—Thomas Hirschhorn does not use widgets. I like his art. And I like Destroy All Monsters. And I want to destroy most public art. Except for Paul McCarthy's. He makes rad public art. Inflatable dildos and butt plugs in parks—what's not to like? But then again, he was like best friends with Mike Kelley, who was in both The Poetics and Destroy All Monsters. So, of course, his public art is going to be rad.

God. Cal Arts in the 70s must have been so cool. I wonder what it is like nowadays. I could have known, but I chose a different direction—artistically and geographically.

Hmm. John Baldessari seems like a really good guy, but is he still a really good teacher? I will never be able to know, since he no longer teaches at Cal Arts, and since I chose not to go to Cal Arts.

I wonder if bands as good as The Poetics are still started at Cal Arts. I wonder if bands are still started there at all. My guess is probably not, but that's just conjecture; I have no proof, and I'm a big fan of proof—my family always wanted me to become a lawyer, but when they realized I'd probably be a pro bono lawyer, they accepted my choice to become an artist instead.

I am so glad that Baldessari loves and promotes the art of Richard Allen Morris.

Richard Allen Morris is like the best painter I've seen since I first saw a painting in person. Well, I mean, Courbet is pretty amazing, too; but nobody really needs to defend him for free, do they?

Maybe John Baldessari is kind of a pro bono lawyer, of sorts. Maybe I can use him as an example of further proof to my family that I made the right decision?


The glow is immortal.


Judge / Jury / Criminal

Art Market

political art
is a cop out

is bipartisan

hang yourself
at a hedge fund

write a eulogy
for the release

As If You Care

You offered Me an Irish gift
I never even asked for
and rug burned My right arm


I waved goodbye to all
like a cruising politician
You sniped My night

as if

the moon shone on Me
and I thought about wars
I never want to fight

as if you care

about My privileged stance
You ignorantly share
oh come on and admit it

Ask Palestine

The drone I hear lying
On this futon is a pool

Cloudy sounds bleached
Whales moaning mildly

This is a see world
But I can hear too

Your sitcom secrets
Are no longer funny

Good humor gone wild
Evil freaks gone to bed

I’ll build some recliners
For the United Nations

Swiveling in drool
Lies begin to mate

And the lies drown
Out the past drones

And then I wonder
Are all drones liars

And then I wonder
Do drones get tired

Asshole Delights

Reading Ask The Dust at the Dunkin Donuts on Graham Avenue, I think about the book I got Rachel for her birthday. And I make guesses about how far she’s gotten and how she likes it and what she was like five years ago. And what’s up with the Mayan girl who served me my coffee and why didn’t she ask “milk and sugar” like every other cashier in New York City? Is she a Catholic or an Atheist? Either way, she believes in end times, which reminds me of sterility and silence, which reminds me of when I washed my hands after my doctor’s appointment earlier this week and how the hand soap smelled like gasoline, which made me think of setting fire to myself like one of those monks. Wouldn’t that be romantic? Wouldn’t that be retarded? I am a selfish asshole, but so is everyone, even Mayans and monks. The more selfish, the more one delights.

Atlas, Alas

Eskimos are learning seduction
Ice cubes are melting in hot tea

There is global warming
There is local warming

There is a loose microwave effect
There is a tense caffeine nation

Couples are not edgy
Couples are on edge

Mortgages pile and slip
Marriages follow the ship

Anyone can be James Cameron
Anyone can wreck themselves


Amtrak, am I
just a passenger?

The wet mud
and fresh paint
penetrates each
window display.

Isn’t it amazing
how air massages?

My feet need
a long weekend,
but my calendar
is in retirement.

How do trilogies
always prevail?

Science is fiction
and fiction is real;
I am the new dust
of an autobiography.

Averted Stand

A cunning cunt
Once tried to lure me
Into her bedroom
With some beer
And video games.

Unfortunately for her,
I had drank a twelver
Earlier that night
And I don’t care
about video games.

Unfortunately for me,
I had also smoked weed
Earlier that night
And I felt deserted
With dry mouth.

So I played Donkey Kong,
Or maybe Mortal Kombat,
For maybe a few hours
Until she thighed me,
And I beer-walked home.


You’re so stubborn
and set in your ways.

Just eat some aspirin
and eat a bacon burger.

Let’s get out of here
and go sleep up North.

Let’s go to Quebec City
and drink from the river.

Back Ass Words

Don't cry over
Spilled one percent
Don't cry over
Stolen half & half
Don't cry over
My rusty shoulder
WD-40 over
Solsbury Hill
I'm getting older
Than squirrels
In Second Life
Do you remember
The first time
We discussed, umm
Brussels sprouts
And Pygmy wives
Oh, you're so exotic
Oh, you're so erotic
Oh, you are so white
You are a silky worm
Exterminate my nights
I sleep tied so tight
Oily waste, just right
I don't massage claws
Like a bird with hands
I don't send messages
Like I'm a blind man
Eyes don't lie, like hips
On Hollywood sofas
Or is that a love seat
Come back to me
On your back now
You don't like how
Things can be so
Ass backwards
And you don't like my
Back ass words

Back To The Future

men like Rick Mirer
never asked for history

I never asked history
for the mired memories

of so many failed youths
mine or his or yours

maybe the older we all get
we see everything as a success

Bad Decisions / Beauty In Beauty

This evening, as I was withdrawing $40 to go on a double date, I saw a stunning half-Asian girl weep while scanning her ATM receipt at the Chase bank on the corner of Broadway and Spring. (I’m sorry I’m not sophisticated enough to be able to specify her particular ethnic origins). At first, I empathized with the girl. I have a modest checking account and I don’t do well with the tears of beautiful women. But she looked like a Vogue cover girl with a degree from NYU. Her outfit, alone, was probably more expensive than my rent. And I am probably incapable of even estimating the cost of her accessories. Part of me hates this bitch. But part of me still feels empathy towards her. Like so many, she is the spawn of bad decisions. And once you start, maybe you can’t stop. As much as I value intelligence, I’ve come to find beauty in ignorance. But what about this girl? Is she still ignorant, or as she wised up? Either way, I suppose I can still find beauty in her beauty.


it's the peel
on the floor
that causes
the fear;
but why let
the fruit
slip from
your hand


Have you ever seen a senior citizen throw a temper tantrum? It’s like watching a babysitter throw a football. It’s awkward and uncomfortable for everybody involved. Actually, the sadness becomes madness and the empathy becomes infuriating.

I am not a violent man.

Recently, I was detained by an American with cultural confusion and yelled at as if I were a terrorist. “Now! Now! I want answers now! Now! Fucking now! Give me what I want!”

I am not a violent man.

He screeched with a skewed and slurred European accent, vague as it might be, but his body language was more like that of a South American drug lord who had been smoked by fresh meat.

I am not a violent man.

His veins pressed against his skin like Chris Brown on the body of an adoring fan. Pain for pleasure. Pleasure from pain. Fury can be an ignorant man’s heroin. I have no tolerance for assholes addicted to being assholes.

I am not a violent man, but sometimes even the best poets are occasionally forced to trade their words.


The mystique of homeward antics
is encyclopedic; old schools are
The Renaissance, and the revival
is sympathetic toward striving.

Trash bags as curtain calls (on)
how blindness can be slightly sightly,
but the rage can build bridges
invisible to phoned-in fatalists.

I hang my pants on proverbs,
I hang my safety in a locker,
and I hang on to the false density
of promised destiny because.

Bedtime To Full-Time

You look so bucolic
with your face washed

in your blue bra
in my grey bed

and the night is
now morning

but we won't wake
until the sun does

soon we'll have morning sex
in the raking light of Ridgewood

and not the cave we're in
of in-between moments.

Begotten Not Forgotten

Down to the wire
I’m docking up
At some old bay
And begging some
Man from Japan
To dull my ears
My eyes I’m in
Watching kegs
Roll round clowns
Washing eggs
Hatch the downs
Hands to the sky
Bats in the air
Metro soul fears
Being stitched
Like superstition
On a Woolworth
Passed down
From Vermont
A grandfather
Named Vermont
A grandmother
Named Gertrude
And a beer to raise
To the generous
Once a quarter
A generation
Comes to fuck
Or get fucked


If you have something great
You never give up on it
You smoke cigars instead
And shake crystal balls
And throw quarters at Zoltar
You hand stitch flags of pride
And hang them on your front porch
You let your ego drape and flow
But the wind doesn’t always blow
Sometimes luck is on your side
And you can save your fortune’s fire
From landlords and condo kings
And luggage and health food stores
But sometimes things must burn
Sometimes the most tragic sweeps
Can flip your quarters right side up
And it’s like meeting giant scorpions
Who are all stupid drunk
With amazing senses of humor
And half-empty, no half-full
Bottles of top-shelf tequila
Hey, you can negotiate with anyone
Depending on your attitude
Approach with articulation
Listen without lethargy
Moments of calmness and clarity
Are like daytime wet dreams
I dreamt last night that I saw
The singer of my favorite band
Sing karaoke versions of his own songs
When I woke up, I read a poem
By a great young poet
A guy not much older than me
He said he ruined that song
“Don’t Stop Believing”
By one of my least favorite bands
When he was doing karaoke once
I hope he wasn’t dreaming
When he sang that song
I hope he wasn’t dreaming
When he wrote that poem
Was it a brand new Dream Song?
I really believe in (t)his writing
And I want this Journey to end
And my journey to go on
As long as I have an audience


The wind broke, a glass shattered, and only you remained.

Biblical Violence (Talk Radio)

Kidneys stoned
to slow deaths
by Philistine dreams
livers chopped
to drilled bits
by Hebrew rulers
and hearts hung
to dry out
by Christian Tongues
Hell is no more
than cold coffee
and a hanging chad.

Black And White

I am Chaplin
rain dancing
so romantic
You contain
keyhole fits
of affection
I am a plane
crashing on
You withhold
endless maps
of revelation

Blues Canal / Can l Blues

The seagulls have come to test the water,
the whores have come to push some buttons,
the thugs in numbers have come to even out odds.

And I wish I could talk to any group
that always proctor their own exams,
and ask how to deal with multiple choices.

Because I only seem to have one option,
and that’s to just deal with my hands;
you know, make something that lasts.

Bold or Bust

Emily Dickinson was solitary—
she didn’t know anybody—
she was a self-conscious alien—
I am a self-indulgent alien.

I’m from the Moon,
which you’d think
explains everything,
but it explains nothing.

I can’t explain myself,
so don’t bother asking;
I am alien to feelings,
so I just forge and flaunt.

I can write anything I want,
I write everything I want,
whenever I want,
however I want.

E.B. White was a pussy—
see, I can say anything—
I can use dashes, too—
freedom is fearful.

I am not afraid;
America taught me
to be bold or bust;
Solo cups left in dust.

Book Cover(-up)

Someone asked me
this weekend
where they could get
a copy of one of my books,
and I was like, “Shit.”

I told them,
“Hopefully, soon,
I will have multiple books,
if not just one,
for you to find.”

They seemed surprised,
so I felt surprised,
and I wasn’t sure why—
like am I really arrogant,
or was I just caught off guard?

Boomerang Swastika

A two-way conversation
can be a double-sided mirror;
tossed glances always return
with nothing indirect to be left.

Born To Run (5,6,7,8)

I could go to Wendy’s
and eat all of my sorrows,
but that would be a waste
of my time, and I guess,
other people’s food.

There are so many things
that I could complain about,
but that would be a waste
of other people’s time,
and I guess I want to be
as efficient as possible.

I would like to write better
poems, and less of them,
but I can’t force myself
to do anything anymore;
my self forces me to do
whatever it wants me to do,
and I subject subjects to it.

That is not something
I would like to say on record;
it’s just I am just a just person,
and if this is how things
have to be from now on,
well then, I suppose
this is just how things
have to be from now on.

Boroughs On Fire

Wizards and merkins
Vamping and burning
There can’t just be stories
There must be images
Epic tales swoosh and sway
Decaying broomsticks sweep
The leaves of weeds
Into closed bookshelves
Bookended in various forms
Of illness that have plagued
A city of so much history
And her story is one of freedom
And her images are charred
From camps of criminal words
Prescribed by paper
Recycled by the privileged
Professing myriad truths
With no reason or proof
Hey since when is necessity
Necessary for survival

Bowels Of Vowels

With terse confidence
I pull out my debit card,
and say, “What’s mine
is mine and what’s mine
is yours, but I don’t have much.”

You nod and grab my hand.

Bowled Over

Please don’t find it
creepy when I stare;
you are like a platter
of the finest delicacies,
so delicate, so tasteful;
what would you think
of just one hand-in-hand
dance, played in replay
as if our relationship
was the first Super Bowl,
telecasted on Telemundo?
roll the r’s, rock the rolls;
Humphrey Bogart (yeah),
Vince Lombardi (oh, yeah),
kiss the dirt, kiss my cheek;
I propose I propose my life.

Bread Boy

and a wealth
of stupidity
put in a stainless
stolen oven
smells like shit
to all good dogs.

Breaking Bad

A torn street poster read: “Park Slope is the home of common law.” I asked my friend who lives in Park Slope what he thought about this message. He said, “There are a lot of lesbians here.” Well, okay. That poster’s next door neighbor took a cheap shot at Philadelphia. I didn’t get the gesture. Philly’s like the disgruntled kid in a Bauhaus tee shirt. He might be willing to shoot the shit if you invited him to the range. But New York decided to point the barrel straight at his face? That’s why Philly’s got a Columbine list, man. Bad decision. Bad decisions. I made so many bad decisions yesterday. I ate a brownie, even though I don’t like sweets. I got high, even though I don’t like weed. I ordered three tacos, even though I can only eat two. By the end of the night, I could taste dish soap in my mouth, I swear I saw Jake Gyllenhaal in my neighborhood, and I feared no longer being able to talk about painting. All I wanted to do was break bad.

Brief Platform

It’s a Saturday morning
and some suit asks me,
“Where are you heading?”

I look at his grey linens
and ponytail and say,
“To the Confederacy.”

He tells me he is going
to Benihana and not to
ask any more questions.

I say okay and go on my way
with his arena rock attitude
following me down I-95.


They just happen
sometimes to remind
us that we’re alive.

Buddhist Poem

If I were a Buddhist, I’d want to come back as a beaver. Or maybe I’d be one of those guys who gives you a free CD-R of his rap music that might actually be the best shit you’ve ever heard if you’d actually give it a listen. I’d want to be a hustler, a hard worker. I’d want to keep making things, like dams. I’d want to flow better. So maybe I’d rather be a rapper you know better. Do you ever wonder how an artist gets to be included in one biennial after the next until he or she is basically like Dr. Dre, except with no illegal downloading concerns whatsoever? But here’s the thing…Lil Wayne can say he plays guitar if he wants and put out the worst Hot Topic record you’ve heard since Puddle of Mudd and nobody slings anything at him. But once you get a solid review from Roberta Smith, you might be stuck “In The House of Flies” forever. If I were a Buddhist, I would not want to come back as a fly. Flies are like gods, but even the Dalai Lama swats them.


a slick forehead
for shadowing
and shading one
self in cubed mirrors

a greasy tongue
for spooning fox
hairs out of one
mouth or another

pre-emptive & preventative
yard sticks or was it
yard sales hmm hmm
who would really measure

when I first met you
you were more like
how I am now & it
was like somehow
the other way around
at least in the mind
of pupil peoples
outside the reflections
we square danced
within & without
each other’s ticks
we are just two bugs

Bukowski Bukkake

Lying on my kitchen floor,
back to the complaints
of everyone I know,
and some that I don't...

with a bottle of red wine
that Rachel bought
the night before
looking down on me,

I don't care about
what I have to face
in the new year;
the mace of men

will spray down
upon my limp body,
and I will bask
in the shame I take.

You are what you
allow yourself to be,
and tonight, I claim
to be not much at all;

but come January 1st,
I will resolve to be
better than what I've been,
which ain't so bad at all.

Burned Again

It was the worst Sunday
of all sunny days I can remember;
I woke up sore with sores—
I felt like a leper in disguise.

I spoke with a Caribbean man
early in the afternoon,
mainly because I had no one
else to talk to at the moment;
he told me he had no idea
what was actually wrong with me,
but he was sure it would work out:
“You will be okay, we’re all okay.”

I’m never sure what to make
of the curse of strangers;
but I make do with what’s due,
which reminded me, as I fought
the urge to scream at a tree,
that I had a lot of e-mails
to reply to in the next two days.

I swallowed a pill and thought
about what not to think about—
the first thing that came to mind
was maybe I am going to die soon;
I swallowed another pill and thought
about what I wanted to think about—
the goodness of a good woman.

Soon, I was in the arms of something
greater than goodness—greatness.

A voice told me I needed
to take better care of myself;
the same voice distracted me
and directed my eyes toward
feline friends on the fray
of busking baked out brands—
they were juggling personalities
over personages for the same
audience that could be moments
away from witnessing a new form
of ballet, or something like that.

I could care less about dancing,
unless I am dancing with her,
or for her, but I cannot make her
my entertained one in this state.

In front of these felines,
I was like a statue, standing
still, still standing in front
of the mass market of drones,
scavengers, and stilted scabs—
Dremeled humans, without
a real core (or care), other than
the ones they’ve assumed,
when I, unassumingly,
was pushed by a stranger,
stabbed in my back,
still sore from the stress
of simply staying upright.

Just another curse...

Broken down like an enzyme…

There are slices of bread,
which is what I call days
when I feel closer to the Earth,
and on some of these slices,
I feel like I have brand new
tastes airing through my pores;
but on other slices, the end slices,
I feel like I have a yeast infection;
I feel like nothing more than
a shallow skeleton, incapable
of supporting the structure
I, or maybe some stranger
designed for myself long ago.

If it weren’t for the ways
in which I can spread myself
thin, I would have expired
far before I have recently
began to grow these moldy
thoughts that I ought to justify
by just throwing them away.

Busy Body

I’m not a gossip. I just weave my own webs on the Internet and read the interviews in monographs and memorize statistics and watch The Wendy Williams Show when I get a chance and try to engage with down-and-out cashiers and notice things like women with receding hairlines and eloquent thigh tattoos while eating at local taco joints. I am a busy body.

Calculations & Aftermath


I woke up today, feeling groggy,
like I had been fogged up with Googled
goggles on, and had been scuba diving
in my sleep, all night; and last night
was a cold, eerie night in Cleveland.

But this feeling had been self-imposed,
plus a girlfriend of a friend of a friend—
or something like that, I’m not so sure—
had been punched in the face outside
where I was, and lost her four front teeth.

Apparently, crackheads and stray cats
aren’t so uncommon in that neighborhood;
so by proxy, neither are attacks or diseases,
which I picked up on as soon as I spotted
the Large Marge serving chili dogs next door.

But all things considered, those 24 hours,
spent two hours west of where I’d been
for the previous 120, were 24 well spent;
but after Belgian waffles and bacon,
and cheese quesadillas, I was spent.


Now it’s 1:23 in the morning,
the Sunday after Thanksgiving,
and my parents’ television
is on mute, yet I can’t help
but look over every few minutes.

There is an infomercial playing
on repeat, over and over (GOD),
about the Intensity workout DVD;
I can infer what this product is,
but mainly I can infer it is intense.

And I had an intense panic attack,
earlier this evening, after I got back
from my mini-quickee of a road trip;
I dropped off my petite proto-buddy
at his train tracked Beaver pad,

and I sat on flannel cushions,
and thought of all the future planks
applied to my back, starting tomorrow
when I wake up and have to deal
with the numbers of New York again.

Calendar Art

Every time I see Samantha,
I come to the conclusion
that I understand the concept
of a complex doppelgänger
better than I thought I could
dangle a peanut butter filled spoon
in front of a Weimaraner,
and I realize simultaneously
how much I dig William Wegman,
and how much I love my little sister.


in a uniform auditorium
a man called White Beard
speaks about Dystopia
& now I'm disinterested,
disengaged & I reinstate
the obvious, so closed off—
oblivion is so close, off
the main drag, one drags
feet & cigarettes &
what a drag; what's a drag?
Queens of the night
take such pleasure in light
refreshments & free forms--
how progressive now;
how evasive how I—
that's the end of that;
oh, artists manipulate
manipulators & that's how
it should be, so I think
& I think if you can decipher
forefathers' forewords, you
would probably agree.


I can’t
explain words
any better
than they can,


I recently learned that there is a town named Carefree in Arizona. If it wasn't in Arizona, I would consider moving there. Out of curiosity, I looked this town up on Google Maps. One state over, there is a town named Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

I have a Ukrainian friend who might like that town based on the name, but then again, so might a cage fighter. I can't make up my mind whether or not he'd like it there or not. I don't think he'd be able to make up his mind. I think he’d be a pretty decent cage fighter though.

He's a torturous fellow. He likes to torture, and to be tortured. I mean, he's not like a magician, stuffing rabbits into ski caps, almost to suffocation, only to pull them out at the last minute—a sick act of self-gratifying Romanesque carnage. He’s more like the rabbit, himself—self-aware and surrendering. What I mean is, well, a conversation with this guy is like watching a David Fincher movie—at times it is gratuitously grating, but it is always intellectually entertaining.

He’s a hose; he’s a hoser. He's a gun slinger; he’s a foot shooter. He grew up in Baltimore, halfway between Siberia and the Southwest. He makes things hard on himself as if it's a competition with the rest of the world. But it is; isn't it? He is a cold-blooded cowboy who realizes we all have targets painted on us as soon as we're first squeezed out of our mother’s vaginas.

So who can blame him for being good at math or asking questions of questions? Somebody has to dig ditches in the darkness in order to show us the light. It's like he's a knuckleball pitcher, perpetually pinch-hitting. And his batting average is surprisingly good, considering the stakes and circumstances. Nothing he does is minor. Sometimes he’s way out of his league; but that’s often when he’s at his best.

So maybe he would like Truth or Consequences. He believes in both of those things. I take that back. It’s just a hunch of mine, but I think he would prefer a town named Truth and Consequences. As much as he first comes off as a right and wrong, heads or tails kind of guy, he is much more amicable. But it’s always got to be on his terms.

Truth and Consequences. The real and the repercussions. But what is real to him may not be real to me and what is real to me is always real to me. But we need fear and we certainly need guilt. Classrooms instill fear and courtrooms instill guilt. But out in the real world, there is no fear or guilt; only unexpected repercussions. Have you ever noticed how surprised criminals are when they’re caught?

I don’t care about (for) criminals though. I’m pretty carefree. But I definitely don’t care (about) for Arizona. Golf sucks.

Carl Andre

Carl Andre is a better poet than he is an artist. But if he is a truly great poet, he would have thrown himself out of that window instead of his wife. Ana Mendieta was a great artist, for she died young and is revered by many; yet, where is she when you walk into a museum? Carl Andre is probably somewhere in every museum everywhere. So I guess that does mean he is a great artist. I still think he is a better poet.

Catch Me If You Can

It’s still a new century
and I’ve spent like half
of my life living in it.

I’m almost thirty now;
I always thought
I’d be the young one.

I’ve still got a few years
of making bad decisions,
if that’s what you want.

I am full of recent regrets;
I want to mail apologetic
photocopies to all my friends.

The old river calls me,
and I want to night ride
down to share myself.

I will chop up my parts
in minced bits to float
with the Springtime tide.


Another day rides
by in a golf cart
and honks at any
pedestrian standing
on fresh ground,
awaiting the mow
down; and down
below cautious
waters, cautious
waiters plug ears
so as not to hear
foul play of hard
hearing curses.

Central Neutral

A gay poet told me at this bar in an indefinable part of Brooklyn, referred to by realtors by at least eight different names, that Hitler staches are so in this year. He had beer foam caught in the one he was trying to grow. I asked him what he was drinking. He said, “Leaf Pile” and giggled. I asked him why he was giggling; he said, “Cause this beer is so in this season.” I told him I hated flavored beers and flavored coffee and flavored almond milk, etc. He asked me if I liked flavored condoms. I told him I don’t like condoms. He said, “Mmmmmmm.” I said, “I’m straight.” He asked, “Are you sure?” I said I have a girlfriend.” He asked again, “Are you sure?” and giggled again. Then I thought of my ex-girlfriend’s Hitler cat with his Hitler stache. And I thought about how my ex-girlfriend was fine with flavors and how she was fine with most things, but not with New York. I wonder what she’ll be up to this season, this year.

Chain Letter

Thank God It’s Friday
I don’t want to go out
to some restaurant
and lick my fingers
with you or anyone
but I do think I met
the best character
from the best book
and it is a wonder
that it has yet to be
written and especially
In My Own Homeland

Check Mate

I can't believe I ate fast food last night, and I can't believe it was my idea. Sorry, mate. I haven't gotten that greasy since I cooked out with Baby Rihanna almost two years ago. But after pigeon scraps all day and a few beers to sign me off, I was checked out. This morning, as I was trying to find my colon, I thought maybe sometimes a loss can easily become a win when the game is clearly defined. And when you step through the doors of a neon pit, you have to be prepared for the gladiator event you are about to witness. Skinny pocked and plucked centipedes going toe-to-toe with characters not even Chris Rock could develop. And occasionally, David does beat Goliath. And occasionally, you're thrown to the lions. And occasionally, it is worth it. But tonight, I signed a treaty with myself to from this point forward play chess over checkers.

Checking & Saving

The Creole kids from down the street
are spraying soda on each other
like it’s the last Fourth of July.

This year might be the last fort
we torch until winters are gone
for good, so save your tuna sandwich.

I would not be sad if every Chase Bank
lost all their cows via tornado
or cannibalistic food poisoning.

Genies don’t do personal favors;
I’m told they don’t do anything,
so I’ll melt my own flesh come summer.

Child’s Play

Quantum physics
leap years like girls
jumping multi-ropes.

There were so many
frogs and crawdads
when we were juvies.

Living in adult hoods
ain’t quite elementary
on an algebraic budget.

One plus one plus one,
adding years onto some,
losing days you’d want.


I watch a Puerto Rican Yankee
in a construction worker costume
shimmy and shake as if he has
an audience of elderly women
secretly getting wet, but as it is,
it’s just me and my coffee watching,
and we’re as depressed as a tense
tongue before parking validation.

Chiropractic Poem

My back is an overworked jellyfish
and the immigrant’s iron nail clipper
makes me want to crack in half.

Christian Poem

It was Wednesday,
and I tried being Christian,
and I’ll be honest—
I failed; but I didn’t fail
the way Christians do.

I selfishly decided
to do something selfless
and, in turn, I was asked
to do something else;
and I wanted to do it,
so I did it and I don’t do
anything I don’t want to do.

But you aren’t always able to realize
what’s at the core of your decisions.

Okay, I ate a rotten apple
and swallowed my pride.

So where’s the magnifying glass
when you’re stuck in a cubicle
on the one side of a two-way mirror,
and the person on the other side
is basically Jeff Garlin on a diet,
asking you the same question
in two or three different ways,
but you can’t see him at all?

I don’t know what to tell you,
you don’t know what to tell me,
I don’t know what to tell myself.

How do I get myself into these ill-fitting suits
of situation I try to keep on distant racks?

Fuck! Now I’m stuck with empty Kashi wrappers
flooding up around my ankles, now my knees,
and I look down on all the bugs and worms
who are enablers, or worse, provocateurs.

And ever since we parted,
I’ve been listening to
Songs About Fucking.

Church & State

You can be religious
if you must;
you can be political
if you must;

in this country,
nobody tells you
what you can be
what you must do,
other than politicians
and churchgoing types.

Clean Ex

Do you remember when we watched The Piano Teacher together,
and I thought all night about what it must be like to hate yourself?

You probably don’t know how I really felt since I never told you,
but I haven’t put my face into a single tissue ever since that dark night.


I am a clock
I tell myself
Off, often

I am o'clock
I tell myself
No, rarely

Closeted Poem

Isn’t it queer
how a word
can be any
thing with
out its own

Colloquial Poem

Please refrain from placing caps
On antacid consumption for me
Especially in the winter time
When people are losing jobs
And questioning their gods
You might want extra strength
I know you say you don’t but
Have you ever listened to what
Dr. Schuylkill has to say about
Swimming with your shoes on
He told me to listen to Joan
I told him I listen to Didion
When it comes to being alone
Because she wanted to be alone
I told him I listen to Rivers
When it comes to being watched
Because she wanted to be watched
He said his last name is Schuylkill
Which Joan did I think he meant
Good point Doc you meant Rivers
He said that would make sense
But he was talking about his nurse
It turns out her name is Joan too
I ate two antacids and looked down
At my left ankle because the Doc
Pulled my sock off my left foot
And I noticed a bump on a vein
And it was then the bump began
To itch like it had a bad case
Of rabies or something worse
But it was then that I realized
That no two veins are the same
Despite that common phrase

Commander and Chief

When we share words,
I feel like a dictator
about to take over
the world with you.

That would make us
Co-Dictators then,
which is unprecedented,
and all the better for art.

Common Wealth

You saw grass
and I know lawns
we are the other sides;

and I never forget about
the promises I made in Texas.

It’s not so easy to ride chairs
on deserted train tickets;

but we’ll steam rule
as the key turns
of mined states.

Concussed Poem

Unjustly accused of grand theft auto by a black sedan filled with beat cop brats, I was tempted to hotwire a squad car. Unwittingly arrested by the real life moving image of a black hobo jerking off in front of a black SUV at ten o’clock in the morning on a wet morning, I was tempted to ask him for a quarter so that I could pay for a trip somewhere. If I could fly like a squirrel, don’t you think I would? Transportation never does what it claims to do. New rides, same lives. How many do you have? I will tap a keg with a cat lady if she’s up for it. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve behaved like an alpha dog. I just want to howl and be loved like a beagle. Is there any vacancy at your kennel? I need rest in order to give more life. I’ve been slowly moving forward, sloshing through ancient mud like a mammoth, choking on day old water like a Kenyan marathon runner. Moving, moving, moving. I’m always moving. I miss my sisters. They don’t understand, but they love me regardless. Everybody else says they think they know me, but I don’t think they know what I think love is. Maybe I think too much. I think I am dealing with a concussion right now, in addition to all the degenerates and dickheads.

Constitutional Poem

I thought that you might like to know
About all the birds I’ve caught
In the aging palms of my hands
While you were cracking knuckles

When I was three, I cracked
My head open like a coconut
Where two white walls met
And out flowed the brain milk

This was before I’d ever heard
Of Rihanna or Whole Foods
And I filled myself up with shame
And decided then never to gamble

When I was six, I submitted
Myself to the world again
I thought one was indivisible
Despite the lengths of math

After a decade of disappointment
I thought I could break glasses
And still be able to be positive
About medical advancement

After almost three decades now
I’ve withdrawn my submission
To the scolding hot spleens
Of the editors of My Life

Corpse Rock

Don’t try to feed me—
I’m freer than Tupac.

Don’t play me your blues—
I’m sadder than a jelly roll.


I was breathing poorly
and sharpening pencils
when a music man,
posturing as middle class,
approached with goodies
under each of his arms

(just stuff some poets
had given him earlier;
no big deal, guys).

He spoke of echo poetry;
I asked, “What is that?”
He said, “I’m not sure.”

Our mutual friend told him
I was a poet and he told us
he was very interested
in the splintering dynamics
of language, which he found
to be very interesting.

What was he talking about?
Was he trying to be poetic?

I was like, “Umm, wait…
did you go to Oberlin,
or some place like that?”

I decided then…

I’m tired of people
giving me coupons
for other people.

I went back inside
to collect
my pencils
and my breaths
so I could head home.

Cover Up



The last thing
I remember
was sitting
in front of
my computer,
trying to write
another poem,
but I was
by whiskey
and fireworks.

A rabid dog
woke me up
around six A.M.;
I had no poem,
no fireworks,
no whiskey,
no hangover,
no woman,
no boner,
no coffee,
no breakfast.

I had NATO on my back
and ACME on my mind.

Craft Work

Girls like to accessorize, right?
So do guys, I guess.

Is that how decrepit relationships begin?

Dating is a strange activity, like a sport or a game. Sometimes it feels like chess and sometimes it feels like hockey. Or is it more like a device? Is true love a laptop: something you hold close to you and press until it unexpectedly signals a warning?

If that’s the case, does every dude who works at every Mac store think he’s Dr. Drew?

Technology is strange and difficult. So is love. There are too many applications.

I Google-searched “sex robot” today. The first page of results bored me.

I miss my girlfriend.


I've got creeks
in my body;
they leak
as they wind
and wrap
and intertwine.

Things get so muddy
in these creeks of mine.

I'm bogged down
with water and wood,
with self-conscious
rain and fog—
I'm overflowing.

Things get so muddy
in these creeks of mine.

Crossed Eyes

It’s hard to fall in love
with a Seurat drawing
if your eyes are crossed.

It’s tough to fall out of love
with an abusive partner
if your eyes are crossed.

Don’t despise Steve Wilkos
with those crossed eyes;
damn, your eyes are crossed.


Have you ever met
an American citizen
or even just a person
currently living
between the borders
of Canada & Mexico
who enjoys saying,
who enjoys hearing
the word “cunt”?

People in America
(ab)use the word “pussy”
all the time, every day,
without thinking twice,
without thinking once.

No problem.
No problem?

Why can a man in weakness
be called a pussy, thoughtlessly?

Why can’t a brutish bully
be called a cunt, deservingly?

I don’t mind the word “cunt,”
but I prefer the word “cunty.”

I don’t mind comedians,
but I prefer comedy.

Adjectives are funny,
funny is an adjective.

Nouns are resolutions,
resolutions are unsound.

You cannot annul
the stigma of a noun:
this thing is a chair;
that woman is a cunt.

You can, however, tease
the alchemy of adjectives:
this thing is chair-like;
that woman is cunty.

You see, one day,
an object might be
chair-like in nature,
but a week later,
it might be more
like a coffee table.

And well, one day,
a woman might be
cunty in nature,
but a week later,
she might be more
like wife material.

Customer Service

I’ve received so many blows—
I never even asked for most.

I don’t ask for much from most—
Other than for them to do their job.


gargling enzymes
washing mouths
grazing entrails
wilting about
acidic foliage
sprouting soiling
inside and out

D on D

Nick’s got a knack
for bringing casual
cerebral halts back.

I can only stack
so many Russian
blocks at a time.

I can only cruise
in these states
for just so long.

So I will wear
a new jersey
for a new game.

Nick’s got the stripes
to make the right calls
on what’s good to roll.

Daring Eagle

I heard about another serial overdose of a friend of a friend through a friend of a friend. My friend, the gossip receptacle, is a simultaneous garbage disposal. He only tells me the good stuff and saves the rest for the townies who care. I'm glad I don't have to deal with the hometown Eminems anymore like he does. But man, I miss his banter. He's been calling more lately. He told me he's trying to learn how to paint. He's asking me about Filbert brushes and linseed oil. I have faith he'll make masterpieces if he doesn't give up. He went from playing Misfits covers in high school to making Peter Frampton go to death. If only more people knew, his inbox would be flooded with thank you’s. He always asks me for new music. Now he asks me about new art. Let me clarify—new to him, not new to the world. He feels indebted to me for introducing him to Drag City. I say don't. I say 0% APR. I told him to check out Signer's Suitcase. He watched it and said, "HA!" I told him to check out Forrest Bess. He did and said, "EW!" So I told him to check out Robert Gober. He did and said, "OOH!" He said he likes explosions and fine finishes, but he likes that he could probably eventually paint like Bess, most of all. He just didn't get the weird penis stuff. I said, "But think about music. Think about Jandek and Berman and Callahan—weirdos in their own ways. " He said, "Touché, my man. Can I have one of your paintings now or what?"

Dark Place

I can always find joy
in sniffing fresh cut wood;
one neighborhood over
in either direction
is home to good bark;
lumber and watch dogs
are wise to look out for.

Foes are few on the outside,
unless you harshed too harsh
in those inside years before.

Oh, you think I’m speaking
of prison; but really, it’s any
thing that binds, even a book.

I am a man of codes,
like a bank robber;
when I was in college,
I was a Black Panther.

Dark places are productive;
you can mature like a mushroom,
and cry like a cloud, and destroy
bad similes and metaphors for good.

But I can’t help but produce
shit—I drink too much coffee;
why does some shit smell
like coffee and some coffee
smells like shit and some shit
produced by coffee can smell
like a hit? I’m in a dark place.

Death By Elephant

You can be so Soviet;
so what I’m not pure?

You’re a killer killer;
I’m an Acme victim.

Stamp out the stampede;
some things have got to go.

My memory will sustain me;
you’ll be ironed out next time.

Death In July

I think the acoustics
of my own funeral
will sound better
in the humid swell
of the month after
Doug had claimed.

Though I must say
I’d prefer a burial
sometime in April
or May, I guess.

But life chooses
when you’ll die,
not the other way
around, you know.

Even suicide is out
of your hands, really;
I mean if you really
think about the odds,
then you realize life
is like uncounted cards.

Death String

I will die
if you
are willing
to let me.

Decent Man

Have another Orangina, Keith. I think I will, says Keith. I am Keith, so are you. I love water, but not as much as you love water. I love Orangina, but you know that. You know what? I would love to read The Washington Post in print, but I can’t. I live in New York City, and I’m tired of the Internet. Oh, my God. I bet you never thought you’d hear me say that. I had a dream last night that I got into a fist fight with Jason Sudeikis and I dominated him. I straddled him like Ralphie straddled that sickly-eyed ginger Daniel Boone motherfucker in A Christmas Story. And I wailed away, making a much larger man wail in a different way. It was a pretty sad dream. He had grey hair, making him appear older than he is, but somehow I knew he wasn’t actually any older. I don’t know how I knew. I don’t know why I beat him up. I tend to find him charming. Do you even know who I’m talking about? He’s that guy from Saturday Night Live, who also dated Liz Lemon, who was also in Horrible Bosses and Eastbound & Down. I thought we’d bond over Kansas basketball and George Wendt. But he didn’t think I was funny, which really bummed me out. I want to be funny more than I want to be most other things, most of the time. I also want to be charming (not quite like Jason Sudeikis though). You know who else is charming? Anderson Cooper. Why do you think Anderson Cooper thought he needed to hide his homosexuality from so many people for such a long time? You know, it’s been a good while since I listened to Illmatic. I played it earlier today on my iPhone on my way to the natural food store to get a coffee. I go there because I don’t like the burned, overground coffee from the place next door. While in the checkout line, I realized two things. Number one: moments like these make me want to move somewhere else that will maybe make me feel like less of a bozo. Number two: nobody needs to play hip-hop at house party levels while driving in Brooklyn. It’s a safety hazard, not to mention it makes us pedestrians feel old, and worse yet, suburban, for complaining to each other about loud hip-hop cruisers. Cities are not a good place to raise children. At least not this city. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Well, at least that’s what I’ve heard. I hear there is a new addition to the Men In Black franchise. I am not excited about this news. Not at all. Not in the least bit. I just do not care. It’s none of my business. “Like nobody’s business” is probably the worst common phrases I’ve ever heard. Speaking of phrases, all great artists and writers are assholes and sons of bitches. You know it, I know it, they know it. I’m still just trying to figure out if I am an asshole or a son of a bitch. I’m also still trying to figure out if I am one or the other, or both. I guess it’s possible to be both. All the greatest artists and writers are probably both. I want to be both, I think. But I want to be a decent man, too.

Deed Done

Grinding teeth like a mortician,
the unarmed taste of grape popsicles
creeps onto the roof of my mouth.

I can’t resist plunging my tongue,
and sharing the under grit findings
to those in surrounding foldouts.

There is only one day like this day,
and there is only one love if you must
break bread like a fantasy loaner.


Where are the guys
who have been fellows
of unshed consumption,
companions within realms
of upended, uprooted bellies,
shooting gun-shed gumption
at manmade targets?

Oh, how tasteful
Jasper Johns paintings can be…

Oh, how tasteful
dinners with best friends can be…

I don’t choose to lie;
choices lie within me,
and I do what I can
with what I’m given.


The weather is finally tip-toe roaming about,
around toward the Werner Herzog standard
tunes he wrote about when he was a caveman.

I’m so cold (now).

My best friend has been time traveling lately,
so I make enamel Blade Runner quilt paintings
on retirement homely pavement (in my dreams).

I’m so cold (now).

And in between the charred male moments,
I listen to Wu-Tang and think about stories
I used to tell myself about who I’d be by now.

(Now) I’m so cold.

Dependence Dance

I’m in between
the lean stage
of acceptance


It all depends
upon the next
moves we make


If you can’t hold your piss in,
It doesn’t mean you have a UTI;
You just might be an alcoholic.

But what does it mean, man,
When Horatio Sanz hits on you
In a McDonald’s that serves booze?

Devotional Poem

My mother used to be a nurse;
she still is a nurse, but her practice
is now somewhat private, though
she does believe in socialized health
care. This is made even more ironic
since she’s only really left her country
during the era that began an era
of individualized selfishness when
she is actually kind of like a mother to all—
a Catholic who lost faith in that which
was placed on her tongue like a depressor;
she is an upper to all the downers. She is
a Xanax to the Xerox copies of copies
of didactic dogma that have been passed
down like the clothes my father received
as a middle child. And she is often placed
in the middle of debates, necessary or not—
a model moderator, like Tim Russert—
a man her husband, my father, respected
from the side of the screen from which he sat.
And my mother has never left my father’s side;
you can call this old school, you can call this
repressive, you can call this submissive;
I call this loyalty, I call this love, I call this mom.
Tim Russert—this is a man who wrote a book
titled Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters
from Daughters and Sons
. My mother has two
daughters and one son (me). We’ve all learned a lot
of lessons and written plenty of letters to her,
electronically. And it was an act of compassion
when my mother learned how to use the Internet
when I went away to college so that she could
e-mail me regularly. Now she has a smart phone.
How amazing! I am constantly amazed how smart
she is—she doesn’t need technology to get
what she needs or give what we need. She is
a mother like Teresa, a thinker like Simone Weill—
wild, but tamed by her own devices. She has
her own rules, and I wish I kept better lists of things
like she does; I’ve been trying to with my Notes App
on my iPhone; I wonder if she ever uses that now, too.
Back to the wisdom of fathers—I must say that
my father has plenty of it, but I must also say
that he would agree with me when I say my
mother’s is unparalleled. She is kind of like
the Pythagorean theorem—always right
among many squares. That said, she does not
understand Calculus or anything, but shit—
she balances a checkbook better than anyone
I have ever met. In fact, do you even know
anyone who balances their checkbook anymore?
Most of us just let the Internet do it for us.
I respect my mom’s limits with things (like power);
she does not have many vices other than cigarettes
and even that vice is mild. Her vice grip is tender;
she only is rough on herself, biting her knuckle
as a preventative measure, so as not to lose
her patience with her patients. I am so grateful
for her tenderness and patience with all her
tender patients in all circumstances. And I say
this as one of her most frequented customers.
I am so lucky that I receive her services, free
of charge, always without a doubt, and I never
doubt her intentions. Her intensity is mild
like those cigarettes, her presence is calm
like a seasoned smoker, her demeanor is cool
like the garage in which she smokes them.
I must say it can be quite frustrating watching
her shiver, so that she can have her fix, while
she fixes those of us who need it most. I must
say it can also be quite frustrating, when you
are under the illusion that your health is okay
and you are forced to be witness to her impromptu
Wal-Mart therapy sessions with those who she
can unfortunately refer to as “bust-outs.” I don’t know
if you know what that means, but you don’t really
need to, if you are good at inferring, which she is;
and you know what? She busted out of the bullshit
that was a steel trap town of just a few streets
of drama that still gets acted out, on one side
or the other of some tracks, marked by proud
ethnicities. And despite the fact that I sometimes
wish I would have not inherited her long-winded
tendencies in talking, I am more than proud
of her willingness to schlep her sofa around
whatever town she is in at the moment
so that she can open up for whoever needs
to open up to someone. And if I didn’t inherit
her long-winded tendencies in talking, I would
not be able to type this long-winded poem
of devotion about the woman who made me,
and who makes me consistently have faith
in people, in art, and the love that can be
real and communicated in things like this
waterfall of words that I hope she is okay
with unexpectedly splashing on her tomorrow
morning when she reads it with her Lipton tea.

Diet (2012)

I drink two seltzer waters per day,
sometimes three, or even four,
for my well-being, and I like to be
well, I don’t know, well.

I don’t read ArtForum anymore,
not on a regular basis;
I mainly just look at the ads,
for my being present.

I feel bad about The Bible,
kind of, but not really;
it doesn’t need the Internet
or an advertising campaign.

Oh, that brings me back
to beverages, and the bubbles;
seltzer water is just there,
it’s always there on the shelves.

Liquids are for the semi-ill,
and pills are to help improve will;
but you’ve got to be bubbly or gassy,
if you want your ego fed.

Dinner Party

bread crumbles,
and a cat claws
a dog for bits
like it’s the Law;

down the table,
wine chugs
itself until it’s
all dried up;

all the chairs
are turned over—
who is who?
who are you?

Seinfeld re-runs
play on mute—
wait, neuroses
is still audible.


I thought it might
be interesting
to only read poems
about people
who mean a lot
to me, personally,
at some reading;

but when I looked
at my stack
of papers
of poems,
I couldn't find


and I looked around
at photos of friends,
and some of mine
were in the flesh

and I got so sad
that I could write
a country song
about my sorrows,

but I have discipline
and linguistic fun,
so I wrote a poem
about them instead.

Docked and Droll

Blood gushing
From both heels
Broken glass
Of mom's Riesling
Lying in my head
And a howling pup
Lying at my feet
Sucking up blood
As if it's red wine
And I'm her savior
I try to find her mom
Maybe she can help
With our situation
I'm a stranger to her
She's a stranger to me
Strangers are always
Stranger to strangers
I wish I had my mom
To talk to every night
She's Kool like mint
Flavored dollar bills
But she's not an ATM
She can't dispense
Crisp wisdom at will
Like junked money
She's not a poet like me
She's more like a port
But she has a curfew

Doing Dues

Electric and gas bills
will burn you out,
when you need
to stay most warm.

The chill strips us down;
our guts are shamed.

Cherubs appear in oil
on smooth surfaces,
security guards
for delicate sinners.

Cold naked posturing;
the sun, our surveillance.

Curtail the curtains,
dumb the blinds,
eat some antacids,
and remain fetal.

Doing Time

I guess Internet chatting
has replaced the water cooler,
and high-tech water filters
have become abundantly clear—
we drink and breathe to survive,
but some people want us to die;
and as long as it's figurative
and not their responsibility,
they can sleep well as masters
in their master bedrooms.

I am not one to occupy much,
other than the current space
I occupy at any given time,
but sometimes some time
is enough, and enough time
is enough time; however,
if your master's watch
is large enough, you never
are able to save daylight--
you can only hope for water.

I shun all masters of any kind,
and draw up my own timeline—
I constantly seek aging flowers
and rip them out by the roots;
I have my own ideas to bloom,
and will not be plotted down
in any shitty stolen soil
by Blue Men squashing
down the Green's dreams;
I will do my time, but no more.

Don’t Mess With Texas

"Oh, aren’t you so noble
with your pedantic social work?"

I couldn’t believe the inside job
assumptions from this ideal stranger.

Who the fuck says shit like that?
And who serves fried chicken with coffee?

I don’t think I understand certain phrases
like “that really chaps my ass” or “howdy, partner”…

For a moment there, sometime last year,
I thought I could pose next to a cactus and look okay.

I got some silly putty on my favorite tee shirt—
the one that tells the same fucking joke over and over.

I suppose it’s nice to still have moments,
but you should always use a calculator to count stars.


Any secret can be yours.

Dream A Dream

A man can only be
what other men
have not been,

and I have a dream—
other men will read
what I’ve said and say,

“I have heard these words before.”

Dum Dum

So dim, so flimsy
A cave in the brain
A wave, stained
With bleach & rust
We must lust after
Reconciled mistakes
Raking after raking
Light that takes us
Into the metal organs
Beating and breathing
New life into the dumb
Days that leave us run
Down and dumbed down,
Ourselves; dum dums,
In dark ages, for good.

Ego Audit

IF I replaced the D
with an F (for failure),
then WHO could I
turn to when I need
a check or balance?

Empty Car

Empty car, empty car;
give me an empty car,
or give me the freedom
Franklin promised like
before he shocked
himself into believing
we ever had a chance
in the first place, man.

Empty Fridge

Most people frown upon
cleared off shelves
in an icebox showroom,
but I find this to be
a sublime landscape
of calories and clarity;
I mean, who want to sort
through the cluttered
mess of an expired jungle?

Please don't be mistaken—
I don't want to go hungry;
I just feel like Sally Struthers
if my refrigerator is too full.


stepping hardcore
seven days in a row
such a slight infraction
such a Minor Threat
go miles and miles
go to unknown lands
so close, if by car
go wherever, unleaded
keep it chill, keep it cheap
one thousand and one
oh, how the nights rise
oh, how the nights go by
tomorrow night is fine
I mean, it will be fine
invite the nurse, man
for good measure
I mean, let’s go far
terminate the excess
leave the rest alone
I’ll take a double shift
I’ll take a double shot
I mean, what you got
I can do this all night
I can do an encore
I can do it all, all right

End Of The World

“Even men worry about their weight,” she says in bare feet,
and I notice a cockroach strutting (worry-free) in the kitchen,
or a waterbug, says the layman, who worries about his weight

“What happened to factories and unions?” asks this sunken-in man,
uncertain how to explain to his father that his master’s degree is worthless

I lost all my answers in graduate school, too,
so I say, “How about we play a game of cards?”
except I don’t know how to play any games of cards

I’m almost positive Mount Rushmore would collectively call us all pussies,
and when we don’t have Social Security in twenty years, I guess we’ll all fold

End Times

is the night
when time
more like
end times.


Death threats
Up above
Trance glance
Parking lot
Sea clowns
See clouds
Cirrus circus
Scalped ticket
Chicken heads
Check your friends
Family friends
Get your grip
Get it quick
Quick biz
Easy fix
Fixed market
Farmers market
Too green
Too ripe
See the light
Finger socket
Pick pocket
Shocked again
Stocked again
Lost again
Armed batteries

Epic Poem

Euro standards
stand in line
with stand-in

You can learn
that your myth
means nothing

in the face
of History,
by hard ships.

Epochal Poem

If a tree falls on you,
Can you hear it?

Leave me alone,
Says the patient one.

Time to get Chronic,
Says the resident.

If you make the time,
Can you have it?


Do the math. What's to have? A crystal? A cave? A club? A spade? There's more magic than crumpled paper might tell us. Score some sheets. Can you hear life, sliced? Metronome in action. 1, 2, 1, 2. A number is never just a number. An enemy doesn't have to be anything. Shaking hands with air doesn't make you crazy. It might be for the best. Limp wrists from long weeks. Weak from weeks after weeks. Pulled up from piled on pylons. This place isn't safe. It's just marked off. That means something. It means something, to someone. Do you remember symbolism? "Keith, what is Steinbeck trying to say here...?" Word is bond. Bonds are bizarre. There are no rules to relations. You must know. Love is sacrifice. What are we willing to give up?

Eric Clapton Can Fuck Off

I am tired of going out drinking, for
no reason at all. I am tired of hearing
Guitar Gods every time I take a piss.
I don’t know what you were thinking
when you smeared peanut butter
on my fresh shower towel last night.
What were you thinking? I walked
around with wet feet all afternoon,
avoiding miscellaneous phantom
crumbs left by my other other.
Other than that, I just wondered:

Why do you always open beers
you can’t finish after midnight?

Erudite Is Right

antelopes run wild
in parts of Oregon

and I wish I could
and I wish I could

see this for myself
by myself or not

and although I can’t
and although I can’t

say my collar is blue
it’s maybe off-blue

my skin feathers up
when I can at least

read about beauty
invisible to many

since I can only see
so much at any time

Eucharistic Poem

I will eat every crumb
of your waif body
because you are mine,
and you are my savior,
and it would be a pity
not to honor thy spirit
with that which lifts it.

Even Celestial Drugs

Even celestial drugs
can’t calm a grizzly man;
roaring haikus produce
warm clarity now and then.

Everyone I Don’t Know

I want to introduce myself
so that you don’t think I am rude,
because as I’m sure you’ve been told:
rude people are not worth your time.

I might not be worth your time,
but I still want to cover my ass,
because, like you, I too have been told:
cover your ass around strangers.


Sitting on the carpeted seats
of the third elevated row
at a QVC talent show
for pseudo mystic art royalty
and their cock and ball cocktails
of veiled shame shrouded for fans,
I wonder if 1-800-Collect still exists…
I could call the number or ask Jeeves.

Is Jeeves still alive?
Maybe he’s just retired…

Maybe Jeeves is the gayest man in New York City?

The gayest man in New York City
doesn’t have the style or service
to save Lou Reed, let alone be
an online butler on commission.

He might even be in attendance
at this co-op Church of Horses.

Who? Jeeves, the gayest man in New York City, or Lou Reed?

Umm, I’m not sure who I meant.

I hear a sitar,
I see people stand up,
and others sit down.

I hear another sitar,
I see more people stand up,
and others walk away.

I need another coffee;
I need two more coffees;
I need the bitter brown
to wash out the white.

I’ll go use my Starbucks gift card on Second Avenue,
while the hypocrites talk about occupying Wall Street.


The first time I saw Hebrew characters in wet concrete was the last. There seems to be a fixation with the Post-Apocalypse these days. This seemed like a sign of the Pre-Apocalypse, to me. I met a man named Hillel at B&H last week. I told him, “I’ve been to a few of your houses before, but I’ve never met someone with your name.” He said, “There’s a first time for everything. Right, Keith?” I don’t know how he knew my name. I was using my boss’ son’s credit card. He should have called me by my boss’ son’s name—David. This, too, felt Pre-Apocalyptic. Shortly after, I received an e-mail from a man named Israel. I replied, asking him what he wanted, and what he knew of the future. He said, “I’m not a shaman, but I know Iran has got to go.” Then I thought about Palestine. Then I thought about how 99% of Israelites are Philistines. I don’t have any studies to back up that number. But I did meet an elderly Israeli expat on the Uptown 6 Train after a pig party and she confirmed that at least 1% of those people are smart and stylish. Then I thought about France. Makes sense, no? I wanted to look at French painting in person again before the world ends again. And the Vuillard show had already closed at the Jewish Museum, which was okay, since I already had seen it. I had the day off and the Princeton University Art Museum was open, so I decided to just go. You might be surprised at their collection. But I don’t know your expectations of life. I walked up to Penn Station and walked onto an NJ Transit car to head southwest on the Northeast Corridor line. The girl sitting next to me was reading The Road. Really? I asked her if she liked the movie. She said she likes anything with Viggo in it. I asked her what she thought of his penis in Eastern Promises. She formed her index finger and her middle finger in the shape of a V and placed it onto where her Adam’s apple would be if she wasn’t an Eve. She had a tattoo of a girl in the rain on her calf. Since I was in Jersey at this point, we talked about VFW halls and bowling alleys; good diners, bad diners, and broken jaws. We were close to Hamilton and there were only a few days left in September. I told the girl I had to make a phone call. I dialed Ben’s number and told him I had a weird request. I asked him if he thought his dad might be willing to meet up with me at the museum. His dad and I have never met before. But I wanted to learn new perspectives on painting cycles—births and deaths. This man was a role model, a dual model. Ben said he thought he’d just blow smoke in my face; he said I should just read one of his books instead. I said, “But I’ve done that. I want to talk to him.” Ben assured me, “Some day, we can go eat breakfast with him.” Just then, my neurologist was beeping in and I said, “Okay. I have to take this,” but really, I thought: “Sure. If I don’t die soon.”


You can see
I’ve got them;

do not be fooled,
do not be a fool…

poker and chess
are more like sports
than most sports,
but I have retired,
gone to bed, and
this mattress sucks.

My eyes are shut
up and I’m all ears
now; and oh, how
I love listening to
cat tunes; show me
the way to relax.


She couldn’t help herself
With rocks in her pockets
She was weighed down
With past crucible acts
Life is a play regardless
Of audience attendance
And some of the players
Just want to play and some
Want to play for money
And at a point who can blame
Someone for wanting to eat
But there’s no need to eat time
Especially that owned by others
And if you can empathize
Well then you can realize
That decisions do not need
To be broadcasted or boarded
They just need to be made
And sent to the proper people
Who embody the bodies
That embalm the decisions
But time has been digested
It’s too late and now I’m faded


cutting fingers
with wooly scissors
we can smear surfaces
with present day DNA
that we can’t make up
any other way
my fingers are cut
with generic drugs
therapeutic punks
cannot give much
and I wouldn’t ask
anyways and anyways
I don’t like to accuse
or be accused
do you have any idea
how many times
I’ve been called faggot
but check this out
I can drink more beers
than any name-caller
and I know a shit ton
about manly stuff
like sports and camping
why do I need to
point that out
do I even need to
point that out
do you think I care
about what you think
about my sadness
when I’m drunk
and failing to catch
the trout or whatever
or whatever I’m after
or the game
I want to watch
these drugs
are pretty good
where did you get them
Duane Reade
I love that place
what are you talking about
shut up faggot
what are you talking about
I don’t know
but I would love you
if you would wrap me up
in an Afghan
or your problems
whatever it takes
to keep me warm
cause sometimes
in times like these
I feel like it’s late out
and I’m far out
in some worn-out
town in Mass
near New Hampshire
where greasers still exist
and would be like
hey faggot
because I’m skinny
and my flannel
doesn’t fit me right
hey I know I know
live free or die
but James Holmes
can fucking die
so hey why is it that
I love America
all of the time
but America
only loves me
some of the time
and hey why is it that
Joseph Beuys
loved America
some of the time
and America
loves him
all of the time
I want to live free
of inhibitions
but I’ll probably die
of myth obsessions

False Security

A Bengali man
Offered me
My ideal job.

What a sweetheart!

If only the offer
Was a valid one,
I’d skim low fat.

What a crock!

He said Ozzy
Was his hero
When karaoking.

What a geezer!

Famous Artist

I wonder what New York was like
when galleries served Grolsch…

I kind of remember, because
I used to drink it for free,
when I was underage
and didn’t give a fuck…

If I was who I am now back then,
I’d probably be famous by now…

I mean, I’d be famous
by art world standards,
which really means
nobody gives a fuck…


I took an oversized child
to the zoo to make him happy.

We saw two kangaroos
blowing each other.

This is what happens
when you offer favors.

Ferns and Refrains

A fern is like a friendship—
it grows with you,
and you grow with it;
that is, if you let it.

A refrain is restraint
that comes back every
now and again,
like a standard chorus.

Time is essential to growth,
and maybe more so in decay;
nobody owns time though,
not even John Cage.


I read a world
where whores
are chapters
everyone else
has an index
if not a spine.

Fine By Me

You can go fuck yourself
and your hyperbolized
games of duck-duck-goose.

You can go make yourself
chicken noodle soup
to distract from cold friends.

You can go give yourself
D.I.Y. 3rd Place ribbons
for every pretty good idea.

You can go fuck yourself
in your bed or in your ass,
just keep fucking yourself.

Fire Sale

If you can’t speak English,
why are you in the business
of American customer service?

If you can’t speak common sense,
why are you even in the business
of speaking to anyone at all?


I saw an Indian Yoda
give a homily once.

I saw a homeless Catholic
ask for art supplies once.

I saw a Halloween nun
beg for a tequila shot once.


Some days, everyone
seems to be on fire,
selling every last molecule
as if there were no longer
a need for human beings.

First Night

I didn’t mean to get you so drunk
(I only wanted to make you happy).

I didn’t mean to make my blood flow
(I only wanted to be entirely present).

Flat Out Poem

My foibles can be furrowed
In the lands of my hands;

My appetite only allows me
To graze (with fingers or tongue);

Bedrooms are no place
For farming thoughts;

I don’t think I can sleep
On this soil any longer;

I’ve plowed through crops
Of photographic memories;

And you cannot be re-touched,
You can only be touched again.

Flip Side

Walking in one of those Manhattan neighborhoods that I know has a name, but I can never know for sure what it is, I see a groom vomiting near the door of a Catholic church, as the noon bells chime. Poor guy. I walk up to him and say, "Purge away, brother. It's going to be okay." He says, "I know, man. It's just my in-laws are kind of scary, and I feel bad about my bachelor party." I say, "Oy vey..." and ask, "Do you want to talk about it?" He asks back, "Are you Jewish or Catholic?" I say, "Both. Neither. Does it matter?" He laughs and says, "Good point. No. I guess not; does it?" I ask, "So what's up, man?" He says, "Nah, it's cool...but thanks for asking...thanks for caring..." I ask, for reassurance, "Are you sure?" He says, "Umm, yeah...I dunno..." I ask, without hesitation or a change in tone, "Well, did you cheat on her?" He looks at me, stunned by my verbal acknowledgment of what we both have not-so-secretly been avoiding, and mutters under his breath, "No..." and continues slightly louder, "It's just...things kind of got weird..." To which I ask, "And you don't think this is a little weird?" To which he replies, "Another good point. I like you. Thanks. I feel better." Then he hugs me and says, "I gotta go get married. Take care, buddy! Okay? Have a great day! Thanks again! Catch you on the flip side!" I always hated that phrase, but I like this guy and I'm glad he likes me.

Fluke Procession

Jaundice was just
a nickname
someone gave me,
or I gave myself.

It was an accident.

It wasn’t meant
to be this way.

I hate it when
people say
they almost had
a heart attack.

That phrase is like
The Statue of Liberty.

It was an accident.

Mental health
is something else;
you’ve got a lot
of nerve to attack

this heart of mine;
and something else
is another phrase
that rubs me ill.

It wasn’t meant
to be that way.

“Oops,” was all she said.


Walking through the West Village, I feel like Danny Trejo. I am an outsider. No foreigners welcome. “We don’t want your kind around here.” Should I be aggressive or docile? Gangsterism is a fantasy. Dogma is a constitution. We are all people. Blank spaces are few, and far between blank spaces, are a few places I can hide. I am more social than my words sometimes say I am. I am hidden for now. I am a night creature. In the night streets, I see emptiness. I see a beautiful yellow monochrome. I see a beautiful piss painting. I post up and see modernism all around me. It’s not so bad, really. Life’s not so bad. Really. At least not in this moment. Then again, I did just pop these pills. I forget what they were called. I swear I pulled out my phone. I just forgot to call. But I picked these flowers. I plucked them directly from the lobby of a Marriott Courtyard. They are for you. They are to remind you of the trips I’ve said I want to take with you. One day, I will be a foreigner, with you, and we will be okay.

Forever Look Forward

Recently, my friend's father
severely said the word "nigger"
out of nowhere and it triggered
bad memories of not knowing
what to do in situations wherein
Civil Disobedience is twisted
and turned to the point where
nobody no longer knows meaning
or the definition of the word "riot":
laughter and tears can be so similar.

I didn't know what to do; my friend
appeared to be twisted and he turned
toward me with a Lincoln-logged look
of, "C'mon, man" and I looked back
and was like, "Let's just watch sports
for now and forever look forward."

Free Time

Bus up to Buffalo
Walk into a bar
Link Wray on the jukebox
Do a shot with a local
Get some air before shuffleboard
The local follows
Slips a USA Gold
Look up at the tangerine sky
It’s still early
See two birds
But only got one quarter
Heads or tails
Either way
Can get both with one flip
Head back in the morning
After checking out some Vogels

Fresh Dip

After a long week of enemas,
what could be better than
hopping a thick fence or two
and skinny dipping all night
at the nearest Knights Inn?

Fruit & Flowers

My head is a watermelon—
so many deep seeds
gushing mushy pink stuff.

But my nose smells
pulled and peeled potatoes,
soaking in day old water.

It’s roses, actually
they’re soaking in week old water.

Smell the roses!

I am smelling the roses;
they are dying!

Some roses don’t believe in me
or gender roles or the rear guard.

My friend asked me today
if I remember someone named EZ…

I said, “That’s not a real name.”

He said, “Well, anyways, I saw him in Seattle and he’s a she now.”

When he said that, I wondered
how he, I mean, she was doing now…
I mean, I still don’t know who he, I mean she is…
I just wondered how he, I mean, she is doing now…

It’s funny how easily fruit & flowers
can make you get sappy about stuff
you wouldn’t otherwise think about.


Casual fucking
can become
quite tense
if you let it;
if you let your
self become
too casual
or too tense,
you can end up
fucking yourself.

Fucking A

I am hereby boycotting this phrase!
From now on, I am only fucking B.

Game Over

Staring at monochromes
Reminded of Mitchum men
Spinning in circles
The scent is so strong
And the tent is so calm
It’s like a cave
It’s like Jackson Pollock
On Percocet or Vicodin
So wait wait wait
Would that be a monochrome
Jesus Christ
What am I talking about
Jesus Christ
Was an Abstract Expressionist
If you really think about it
Now I’m actually making sense
What is a parable after all
If I really think about it
I’m glad I don’t remember
Much of the eighties


You love games
I hate your dad

I’d like to see
Your dad cry

That’d be a fun
Game for me

Garbage Pail Kid

When I was a kid,
I sprawled out on
Hungarian twin beds,
And twin cousins
Made me meet PG-13.

Two years after 13,
I drank cinema butter,
And in between shits,
I learned about terror
From a veteran, of sorts.

Gay Dream

I dreamed last night
that I was a gay boy
(spelled B-O-I),
and all of my fantasies
of becoming a famous artist
were magically fulfilled.

Mariah Carey
sang my poetry
at my early retrospective,
which I’m pretty sure
was at the Whitney.

At the after party dinner,
John Waters told me
I was his new muse,
and that he had just the guy
to play me in his next move;
oh, and also, he said
that James Franco
and Ryan Gosling
were overrated.;
I disagreed about Gosling,
and he said I was probably right.

Then I got really drunk,
and told everybody
to shut the fuck up,
I had something to say;
I came out of the closet,
and told everybody
I was actually straight.

Everybody clapped,
And soon, I became
an even bigger sensation.

I was the “straight artist.”

When I woke up,
I realized how delighted
I would be if my dream
could have gone in reverse
and simply be my reality.

Gender Politics

Man meets man
Men talk about women

Woman meets man
Woman talks about men

Generic Love Poem

Jack and Jill
John and Jane

Love is nothing
If not generic


If all it takes to be a genius
is a name tag and an octopus
tattooed on your forearm,
then count me out; anyways,
I am getting better at crosswords,
and each one of you are getting
more snide and pretentious.

La-Z-Boy backdrafts are worse
than bathroom firestorms,
and I’ve plunged them both.

I was thinking about high school
science classes earlier today,
and how perfect the desks were,
especially for the purpose of
carving jokes without punchlines
into the part that would press
into the inner tubes of pubescence.

I can throw computers and rolodexes
out off the Palisades all day long;
just say the word and give me the keys.

Get What You Give

You woke me up
with a blow job,
and asked me,
“Did you like it?”
What did you expect
me to say in return?

Of course I liked it;
and then I told you
I didn’t ever want to
get out of bed with you;
I didn’t ever want to
go back to work after that.

So I curled up next to you,
with my limp cock
dripping between the backs
of your ballerina legs,
and fell asleep for an hour
until you woke me up again.

You slid your middle finger
up and down my shaft
until I was two handfuls,
and I said, “Do you like it?”
And you tugged me toward
until I came on your belly.

You can be so selfless;
but then again, every act
of selflessness is an act
of selfishness, because
we all know you get
what you give in the end.


In dialogue, I am an only child on angel dust;
I can fold and unfold and hinge and unhinge,
circling marathons in help wanted ads, and
you don’t even have a clue what’s under my
new magnifying glass. If you want to know,
all you have to do is look. You have lazy eyes,
compared to yourself. Oh, come back to me;
come back to the scrapbook I salvaged, and
make huevos rancheros in my kitchen. Don’t
worry about anything until March Madness
is over. I don’t want to worry about anything
until March Madness is over. Shit. I don’t want
to celebrate my birthday this year. If you find
yourself in a natural disaster, stay calm
. That’s
the type of thing you tell yourself as you get
older. I think it’s okay to freak out, frequently,
so long as you keep it to yourself. Throw away
all your keys
. That’s the type of thing you tell
yourself once you’re crusty old. I don’t want to
celebrate my birthday this year. Do we have to?

Go To Hell Poem

Every year, I go to at least two parties—
one on October 31st, one on December 31st.

Every year, I choke myself out on ghosts—
Frida Kahlo and fat, bald, white men.

I am freaked out by the size of the eyebrows
needed to conceal one’s vision until ready
to be revealed to oneself, in front of a mirror,
or a window, blown with snow or just blow.

I am creeped out by the crass stacks of credulity
in this public reading room called an art gallery;
I don’t know why it’s open during these hours,
or why I am here instead of with my girlfriend.

Every year, I go to hell again, at least twice.


God knows I’m dying
God knows when I’ll die

God is a Frank Sinatra song
God is Las Vegas in the winter

God, why are you so dry?
God, why are you no sweat?

Gone Ape

Some monkeys are eating brains,
listening to the major leagues,
while others are writing names
of ex-mates in wet pavement.

I can’t believe some things I see;
some places I go, I am forced
to force myself into collapsed beds
where I sink into old patterns of sleep.

Some places I’ve been, I’ve gone ape;
beyond bananas, I lose my shit—fling it
at my laptop when good painters respond
to hexed texts with sudden sloppy strokes.

And now I am on the edge of a compass,
and I look up at the terror of the moon,
and I think about Virginia and Carolina,
two complicated sisters I met four years ago.

They cross lines and break borders
like foreigners entrapped in ignorance,
but they’ve never left their country,
and I’m okay with them, mostly.

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Night

Good Morning!

You’re an asshole.
Mine hurts.
My feet hurt.
I need to be walked on.
I don’t like those shoes.
Maybe I should have bought the other pair.

Good Afternoon!

I want a dog.
You are a dog.
You are toxic.
You live in toxins.
You live in dreams.
I think I would like to live in a house, someday.

Good Night!


Them was a band
I mean get in the Van
Sprint like a thespian
With a bad phone plan
Don't call this number
Unless called first

I want a rain check
I want a brain check
I want a rent check

I'm acting like a child
Playing war with birds
I've flown the coop now

And South by Southwest
Means nothing to the lain
Other than young people
Getting laid and then some
I was young once, I was
But now, I've flown the coop


Every once in a while, my face will feel like Mars. And I pretend to be a lucha libre. Nobody can dig up my crater-sized stories when I’m a hero. If I want to tell you a story, I will tell you a story. I am in command. Sometimes, I am in command. Sometimes, I am in demand. “Hey, don’t I know you?” I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone that question. Why do strangers think they know each other? They stand around in circles like they’re in a dog park, proud of their invisible pets. Cigarettes are not a source or symbol of commonality or camaraderie. But it’s like maybe you’ll find someone else who is equally into sports or suicide if you ask, “Got a light?”

Outside a Chinatown bar, there stands a goth, a jock, a blonde, and me, smoking the goth’s Marlboro Special Blends and the blonde says to me, “Don’t I know you?” The jock looks her up and down and says, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ve met…” The goth says, “Umm, what’s up with you guys?” I put on my luchador mask and go back inside.

Grim Lens

I coughed up some blood today,
and it spurted through my nostrils;
I smell the perfume
of a sprouting garden;
my limbs are bruised
from planting disputes;
I’ve got gems lodged
in both of my pupils;
I study the nature of things,
but I am no longer a student;
German mouse traps surround me
and I am caught in some middle ground;
I am a still-life portrait
of a reaped see-saw;
so what, you say?
so what do I see?

Half And Half

What’s Jerry Stiller doing
at my last resort coffee shop?

Shouldn’t he be telling citizens
where to do their banking?

Can I keep my accounts even
and keep my preferences odd?

What’s it like to live in a city
that lives in two states?

I bet those residents can buy
guns or fireworks anywhere.

I am so scared of lazy people,
but not as much as hospitals.

I don’t feel like doing much
the day after tomorrow.

I am losing track of my days
and I don’t care if I’m found.


fold me
hold me
blow me
wash me
keep me

Hans Haacke Loogie

Silence in the judgment room, save the clack-clack of heels cracking concrete backs and the Swiss whispers of cold babes, wherever they’re from, wherever you are; and it’s all the same, wherever you’re from, wherever you are. Art is money, money is art. Here’s a conceptual art idea for a successful institutional critique artist: convince one of your collectors to purchase the real estate of an elevator shaft within a Wall Street building and permanently remove the elevator car, forcing employees to walk up and down the stairs every day. Don’t be neutral. Don’t be a pussy. Art is money, money is art.


When we debate,
it’s like Hardball
and I always lose
because you are
Chris Matthews
and I like you
despite the fact
that I might be
right on occasion.

Head First

I’m surprised I’ve never seen
a bar named after Pete Rose.

Can’t a ruined man get anything?
If not a landmark wishing well,
a Wheel of Fortune trip to Greece?

I have had enough of my health;
I have had enough medical problems
to think I might be a hypochondriac.

Sadly, I am just accused of being
morbidly romantic by my girlfriend.

Heads & Tails & Paper Trails

Engineered double entendre
Double agent life preserver
Intravenous vitrine please
Shelf lives must be saved
Stored and documented
Redacted if necessary
But kept nonetheless
Prisoners of warranted
Memories and memorabilia
Fine lines drawn like blind
Ideas of what is worthy
What is valuable and what
Is forever eternal or forever
Able to be put into books
And then easily removed
And then resubmitted
And submission is a bitch
No matter which knee
You use to kneel down
You get slapped down
And what's a dude to do
When the saints have left
Marching far out of town
And every month is April
And every fool realizes
Their own National Guardian
Is now missing in action
And action is still a word
And words can still be
Whatever you want them
To be however you want
Them to be however you
Want them to be actions
And words speak longer
Than actions historically


She talked about the news today
I thought about the noose today

I'm going to be okay
I'm going to be, okay?

Heart Attack

I was cutting plastics
listening to Terry Gross
I felt a thumping on my chest
someone was angrily knocking
on my front door to tell me
you don’t have much longer.

Heavy Metal Bagpipes

Someone will die today
and their song is ours
and their drink is drank
after their song is played.


My name is Keith.


Running up high hills
made of tar and failure
like a boy who doesn’t care,
I curve my right hand
just the way I imagine
a longshoreman
or Brice Marden might;
and I Krazy Glue it to my brow
and watch the barges pull away
with all of my brilliant ideas;
the landscape melts
and I am basically sober;
I have the back of a lumberjack,
and I just want somebody
to take pleasure in me.

Hem Haw

You sew my lips shut
with your diplomacy;

how can I compete
with your justice

when all I have
is a stolen mug

and a hand-me-down
briefcase of legal pads?


Come search my apartment tonight!
Try to find me, I dare you to try!

Jermaine Dupri and Osama Bin Laden
were both in hiding for about a decade.

I am tempted to lock my doors for months too,
but I don’t really have a good reason, after all.

I read too much news and then not enough;
I write too many poems and then write more.

I pulled out my vacuum cleaner earlier
and sucked up air off my clean floors.

Now I’ve got a dry mouth and a blank sheet of paper;
I don’t think Xanax is a bad idea, all things considered.

Holden Still

When I see bus boys cleaning up other people’s messes, I want to serve them a beer. But imaginary zebras prevent me from being able to do what I desire and imaginary zebras prevents them from being able to do what they desire. Where do we learn about human zookeeping? Is it in living rooms or lecture halls, or is it during smoke breaks? I want to bum a cigarette from a stranger, but those are cherished objects in this city. And everyone that I pass by is smoking Newports. And I don’t feel like going urban skiing. I want to go uphill. Why would anyone want to go down? Jesus Christ. I’m always surrounded. I’m always confronted. For example, yesterday, I was just trying to drink Big Gulp beers and watch turkeys call transvestites “chowdaheads” and the next thing I knew, I was swarmed by crotch-grabbers and slush puppies. I couldn’t stand to smell those burning feet any longer, so Mike tossed me in his station wagon and we trekked up the trail to the beginning stages of disappointment. Some people try to tell me that football is only a game. Those people are not from Pittsburgh. It’s times like these that I want to go back home and drink church wine. Hey, what’s a fish fry if you’re not a Catholic? Hey, what’s up with doily girls in combat boots? Hey, since when did Andrew Dice Clay start swallowing swords? There are phonies everywhere. Williamsburg: phonies. Upper East Side: phonies. Long Island City: phonies. West Village: phonies. Harlem: phonies. Park Slope: phonies. Mike! Mike? Mike?! Mike, can we just go drive somewhere? He said he’d drive me to the subway. Fine. I looked out the wet window and I saw so many cars soaking like Cougars. I saw so many cougars ignoring their babysitters’ phone calls and text messages. Then I thought about how I don’t need to be an angsty teenager to still like Catcher In The Rye.


Beached whales and dirty dishes—
Every day, it’s something, all right.

Switching out my old bed sheets—
To bury myself in pillows, a thought.

Cold Mexican Coke bottle sculptures—
Dreaming in sand at your small feet.

Brian Wilson never stood on a surfboard—
Everyone you thought you knew lied to you.

Holy Cow

There is likely a different tone used when a Hindu child says these words.


I’ve tried to become less judgmental
since I’ve become more legal;
however, homonyms are one law
I can’t come to break—then is when
I was a prodigy before I knew it; than
is more like a comparison, in comparison,
if you like to compare, which I do.

Can you be a prodigy once you realize
that you’re exceptional at something?

And those sorts of judgments only come
from comparison, isn’t that true? Isn’t it?

Language is a funny thing; it can be full,
it can be empty, it can have exceptions.

Homophones are not an exception.


The first time I listened to Wu-Tang Clan, I decided I wanted to be a rapper. But I am from the suburbs, and drugs and money kind of scare me, so I slept through that idea. When I woke up, I began writing. In school, the words rhymed. But I grew up and grained out. Drunk poems loosened me up. New forms formed. John Berryman became my Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Methods and projects, projects on methods, methods of projects. Holy shit! I can make up stories like a bad rapper or a good writer? Holy shit! I can do anything I want, except jump off a bridge…


What you don’t know
will likely save you from
all your worst thoughts,
and I know you never had
bad intentions in mind;

that said, I cannot feel
deceived again, like those
days when I’d avoid nights,
elbowing an air mattress,
and waiting for gun shots.

Hooters Sponsored Gay May Day Parade

Hundreds of people
Dressed in drag, maybe
Dragging names past
From the past, in passing
Marching in commando
Marching on command
We will not stand still
We will not stand for this
Yelling, smiles smeared
Like menacing villains,
But they’re sweethearts
With protest side boob
Just looking for free love
Or free benefits, at least

How Quirky

You were an extra in that one Wes Anderson movie.
You have two middle names, Wes and Anderson.
You have three M.F.A. degrees.
You never lose at blackjack.
You work at La Quinta Inn, but “it’s just a paycheck.”
You ride a Vespa, even when going on dates.
You don’t wear deodorant anymore, because “Hey, did cavemen?”
You have cats that win trophies.
You made your parents cook a macrobiotic Thanksgiving this past year.
You have a living room that was voted “Best Record Store” in the Voice.

Human Rights Watch

Some graying woman
in Union Square
asked me today,
“Are you gonna
do something, man,
about the city of Haiti?”

I said,
“Maybe I’ll call the cops…”

What’s with these people
and their pamphlets
and their 99% bullshit
100% of the time?


We can be ravens
and bask in the darkness,
or we can be rats
and search for some light.

I’d prefer to remain human,
and accept night and day.

We don’t have to be prey
to animalistic stereotypes.

Human Stains

It’s silly that stains
strain my days,
but if my Oxford shirt
or Chino pants
are covered in grease
or juice or sauce
and I die today,
what kind of man
will I be remembered as?


Do I need to have a mid-life crisis
to get everything I want
in, I mean from this world?

I can’t wait another twenty-six years
to hire my own Scandinavian masseuse
(she doesn’t need to be Swedish)
and to get a prescription for generic painkillers—
I just want to sleep in for a few months,
but I can’t sleep, and you can’t help me;

If by chance, I get a nurse and some pills,
please build me a wooden box bed,
nothing fancy, I’m more humble than you’d think.

Hungry Man

You’re fed five pancakes
and twice as many meats,
and you still want the world?


Superman coffee table
No caffeine tonight
Conning concrete
Can be so hypnotic

Chaos on the carpet
Pull out the rugs
Brand new walls
Can be so hypnotic


There are enough days
In a month, in a year
To make yourself
Believe in anything;

I mean, you might
Not make anything
Believable for yourself;

I mean, I might
Not be talking about
Anyone but myself



Oh You
I Owe
You Uh
You Owe
Me I’m
Me Oh
Me Oh
My Oh
My Oh
Me I
Owe You
Oh You

I Don’t Understand

Spatial upheaval
Speculative quantities

Quality control
Substance abuse

Effusive entertainment
Lazy communication

Time is a phantom
Light is a lynch mob

Indulgence can be long
Intolerance can be hard

We are no younger
Laws are not friends

I Know A Guy

I know a guy who introduced me
to Martin Amis and John Updike;
we used to watch basketball all night
and drink until we had beer shits.

He used to kind of be like that actor—
the one who played Monk in that show,
the one called Monk; it basically sucked…

Now he’s kind of like Bruce Wayne—
except without the gadgets and mansion;
he scored some major points recently…

But he almost lost every single one—
by almost fucking a lost McMexcican
that was beyond familiar to him…

I want to know that old young guy again,
like I used to know that guy back then,
when we fought about political incorrectness,
and he pined for invisible nipples despite this.

I’ll Tumble For You

You are something
that I am not,
and I like that
about you.

There has to be
purpose in life
in order
for there
to be purpose
in a person;
don't you think?

What's a porpoise?

Isn't it just a dolphin
with a different name?

Why do people say words
like "heck" or "frick"?

I will swim with dolphins,
I will swim with sharks,
I will be eaten by fish.

I don't care if I go to Hell;
why are you so preoccupied
with morality and mortality?

Ethics are only decided by you;
ethics cannot be decided
by your local Congress member.

I like The Frick Collection,
I like The Carnegie Library.

I like spines and hearts
as much as I like brains.

I like autonomy much more
than I ever liked authority.

You can dictate all you want
in the privacy of your home—
isn't that what Jefferson said?

Monticello is a beautiful example
of necessary architecture—
a shrine for intellectual property.

Let me ask something:
when is it proper to flex
the muscles God gave us?

All boys are meant to tumble.

I’m Coming

To the brainless barista bandit:
I will take back what is mine
come tomorrow morning.

To the thousands of ignorant:
I will give you whatt you want
if you only are willing to ask.


I have no stamp or seal,
no address to recite
or to receive, just in case.

I am to be dealt with,
the way you find me
upon first inspection.

I'm Your Mom

I remember my mother telling me a story about her and my father when they were first dating. It's one of my favorites. They were at Mineo's Pizza; although, I wish they were at Aiello's. Anyways, they heard "Allison" by Elvis Costello on the radio. My father was convinced the chorus went: "Anise, son." My mother tried her best to easily and lovingly correct him, telling him, "Honey, that couldn't possibly make sense. Listen to those words in the context of the rest of the song!" But he wasn't having it. He couldn't accept it. Clearly, Elvis was singing about licorice flavored treats to a young man for no apparent reason at all and he had to prove her wrong for no apparent reason at all. He dragged her to Jerry's on Murray Avenue, which is still one of my favorite record stores I've ever been to. Of course when my father tried to explain my mother's audible inadequacies, the cashier clerk couldn't but help laugh at him. My father got rattled and barked at him, "Why are you laughing at me?" The cashier clerk just kept laughing. My father demanded an answer. My mother pointed out that he had mozzarella in his beard, but both my father and the cashier clerk acknowledged that was not the source of the teenage stoner's laughter. My father asked one last time, "What the fuck is so funny, kid?" The cashier clerk lost it and said, "Dude, I don't think Elvis Costello has any kids yet and if he does, he probably doesn't bake them grandma cookies." My father said, "You're probably right" and apologized to my mother. This story makes me think of how funny it would have been if "I'm Your Man" by Richard Hell had been playing instead and my father had thought Richard was singing, "I'm your mom."

Idealistic Poem

Why is it that technology
always seems to fail you
when you need it most?

Why is it that it’s easier
to get a gun than healthcare?
Either way, flu shots are bad.

I am lost, without a GPS.

I am nothing, without you.

It’s a Black Sabbath week,
and I’m puking up the heads
of beasts, on the sidewalks
of streets I’ve left behind.

Why does America exclude
Ramadan and Hanukkah
on wallpaper calendars?
We’re all together now.

I thought we could be coexist—
not in a trademarked way,
not in a copyrighted way,
but, like, in an idealistic way.

I am an idealist; and when I die,
I will just be another dead idealist.


Blank name tags
and fake names
tagged to birth
new personas.

You are not
who you say;
that’s okay.

Ellis Island
was destroyed
by the Internet
decades ago.


Doing shots of Listerine
with lonely alien fiends,
I wonder why I ever wanted
to drive hot rods in reverse.

Sometimes I find myself
trapped in closets,
playing the most pathetic
games of self-obsession.

I don’t want to fold any more
sheets of copy paper,
write numbers in blankness,
and make believe in blindness.

Illuminated Manuscript

At some point in time, I will write one.

Impossible Justifications

Are all lessons
truly meant
to be learned?

I sent a mixed message
to everyone I know,
and regretted it,
despite best friends'
best intentions.

I dropped into
the empty pool
with no fears,
but fear was there;
it's always there.

Are all holidays
celebrity celebrations,
like we want them to be?

Every religion
has at least
a dozen days
said to be sacred,
but are they really
more than just days?

Every year, we add
another number
to our entire name—
another skin wrinkle,
another sore joint,
another dreaded number.

So we celebrate days,
because of books,
and the lethargic looks
we have to face if we say
that we just don't care;
that's not to say I don't.

In Patient Out

I looked in the mirror today
and saw the battle scars
from a night on the town.

I'm always trying to convince
this city of my allegiance,
but it often seems skeptical.

Sometimes it just beats me
down to the pummeled pavement,
and I feel like a helpless senior.

Who looks after the arthritic
when law and medicine
are just political fodder?

Who is a doctor or politician
if they have no law, code, or oath
by which to swear and surrender?

Who decides to body slam
them like a studio wrestler
with idle Elephantiasis?

I remember when I was a senior
with arthritis and Elephantiasis;
I should, since it happened twice.

And I existed long before you,
New York was before us both,
yet I'm the only one hurting.

In The Dark

Sunrise, sunset
Hello, sunrest

Icemen come
Melt them away

Sandmen come
Blow them away

Sleep with me
In sheeted ice

Sleep with me
In sunken sand

Sunrise, sunset
Hello, sunrest

In Theory

Some missions are possible,
some missions are probable.

Some days are neither and nor,
some days are neurotic closets.

I am working on screenplays
with Helter Skelter soundtracks;
don’t call the cops, call in more
party favors, delivered by pizza
joint stoner dude from down
by Pratt—you know, the guy
who makes those installations
using Goodwill Lite-Brite pieces
and “seminal” texts from college?

I think he’s going to be pretty famous
by the time my first movie is released.

If you’re famous, you must become
a Freemason, Scientologist, or poor.

In Troth

I find more value in beauty
than you might believe
in the idea of few words,
especially after listening
to armchair philosophers
contradict ideas of economy.

Indexical Poem

Starting in September, Chelsea smells like wet dogs. I imagine the taints of whores begin to drip. I don’t know. More or less. I’ve never felt more stressed than when I’ve sat in self-induced cells. This is the kind of irony I don’t enjoy. I prefer satire, but sometimes irony can be effective; quite pleasurable, in fact. Days glow by if you choose to be shy. I don’t know about you, but I think Peter Halley probably has a pretty good sense of humor. I wonder what his stance on all this might be. I wonder what his blog would be like if he started one. I wonder what kind of bread he uses for sandwiches. He’s probably a wrap kind of guy. He’s probably funny like that.


What do you want me to say?
I don’t know…

Indian Joe

Stealing steel
Where it matters

Forging files
Of distant data

Curtains drawn
On Indian rugs

Burns mark spots
Where X’s once were

There are miracles alive
If you know where to look

Ghost ride the whip
Like Joe in older days

Injun Tale

“Look at those horses in the distance,”
the ghost of my brother says to me.

I cast aside partiality inside the wigwam,
and draw an image from an image;

still sitting with my legs entwined,
I peer out towards where he points me.

I see the horses now;
I see them sporting.

I ask him,
“Are they drunk?”

I ask him,
“Are they stoned?”

I ask him,
“Are they high?”

A few minutes pass by,
and it starts to get dark.

A horse slowly struts towards us,
huffing and puffing like a Ramone.

My ghost brother says to me,
“This one is a dandy.”

As I pet the dandy horse,
my ghost brother disappears.

Internet Poetry



I could go to Portland
and smoke cigarettes

and ride a hand-me-down
bicycle into the Pacific

but I could also move
to Jersey and not be

late to anything
you invite me to.


I feel bad for all the men out there
who were born with the name Ira;
and what about the women given
the task of marrying or mothering
men named Ira? What a complex
complex that three letters create.
Why don’t people name pets Ira?
Don’t all dogs go to Heaven, man?
Iras give themselves nicknames,
similar to dog names, like Rocky
or Sparky. That is, unless you just
happen to be a dry radio persona.

Ironic Pair

A British man obsessed with Indian culture
A Dutch woman obsessed with racial tension


people often think I'm Italian
because my last name ends
with a vowel, but I'm not Italian

I'm a hungry man with no appetite
and the only time I feel Italian
is when I kiss a man in friendship

Jalapeño Morning Breath

waking up in a wet shirt
can be shock absorbing

and drunken idealism
doesn’t have to be a drag

it’s often a task to try
to convince yourself
that things don’t have
to be the way they are

it’s a real joy to behave literally
and figuratively, at the same time

I think Asger Jorn taught me
how to set fire to sidewalk puke

let me make a painting for you,
because historically, most people
don’t care about feeling or feelings,
and cynicism was born from cynicism


each person
I care about
as they walk
on through me

Jerry Saltz Complex

For eight hours
this past Monday,
I felt like I was
eating McDonald’s
apple pies
in a lumber yard.

For an hour before
and an hour after,
all I could smell
were bodies covered
in collegiate fragrances.

What would
a conversation
Bob Ross
be like?

For this
I’d prefer
a video
over print.

What happened to
printed matter?

Why does Jerry Saltz
have such a complex?

He’s like a theatre kid
with a talented wife.

What happened to
printed matter?

I hope Printed Matter
e-mails me and are like,
“Keith, you’re amazing!
Can we put out a book?”

Maybe I’ll call it Jerry Saltz Complex


I smelled a hobo
on a downtown C train.

I looked left,
I looked right,
I could not find a hobo.

I did,
see John Turturro.

I’m not accusing John
of the filthy stench
I smelled my entire ride;
I’d never dare do that.

I do feel a new sense
of respect for him
and those like him,
you know, the elite
hobo surrogates;
I only mean half
of what I just said.

I do appreciate
the distraction
John provided though
(for some reason,
I feel like are
on a first-name basis).

Back to the hobo situation,
I think maybe
one of Ryan McGinley’s Johns
designed a new fragrance
based on their own body odor,
and it occasionally
wafts in and/or out
between Spring and Canal.

Jointed Gossip

Head banging nails
Nails scratching teeth
National Geographic
National Enquirer
No pictures or words
Can exaggerate
What I’ve come to know
Compounded in compounds


Jello Biafra, Newt Gingrich, and Richard Prince walk into a bar…

Just Preferences

A local elder
wearing batting gloves
and leaning a cane
on his porch rail
tells me about
the old neighborhood.

I don’t know anything
about that, really.

I’m just a guy taking advantage
of relatively cheap rent.

I’ll probably never
be able to afford
to leave Brooklyn,
or Queens either,
but then again,
why would I
even want to?

There are so many
beautiful actresses
in Manhattan.

I was reading the script
in the lap of the girl next to me
when a British man above me
introduced himself as Achilles;
it turns out, he has a strange
fascination with giraffes.

I don’t care about fashion,
but sometimes I wish I could
dress more dapper like Achilles.

Some men can eat
the same sandwich
every single day.

I am not one of those men.

On rainy days,
I think about Texas,
and about becoming
a cattle rancher,
or something like that;
I’d eat fresh fruit and vegetables
(not just sandwiches,
or tacos, or whatever).

I’d never eat my own beef;
that’s bad business,
like a coke dealer on coke.

Hey, what’s your favorite definition
of the word pith? Do you know?

How about this? How about:
what’s your favorite movie
directed by the Coen Brothers?

“Never heard of ‘em,”
says the local elder.

Which got me, gets me thinking…

have you ever wondered when
there will be a movie released,
starring Vince Vaughn
and Owen Wilson,
titled Ass Brothers?

It could go either way:
explicit bro comedy
or discreet gay dramedy;
I’m not sure which I’d prefer.

Keep It Beautiful

last week
I learned
Navajo with a j
Navajo with an h
are both accepted
ways to spell

I am going to continue
spelling it with a j though
because that is how
I was introduced
to the tribe

one time
I read poetry
with a man
who said
he was Native American

a tear slid down
his upper cheek
like an eye shart
when he told a story
about marriage

I think I mentioned
about the impending
doom of divorce


civil unions
civil wars
the Union
the Union

he wailed
when he talked
about the battle
art and poetry

I asked where he got his news
because this was news to me


civil wars
civil unions
the Wars
the Wars

maybe I’m ignorant
maybe he’s an Elvis


What kind of mother leaves
a dirty diaper on a bar counter?

What kind of father leaves
his child in a sweaty SUV?

Kids will always be kids;
some adults will be kids, too.

Umm, ma’am, Victoria’s Secret
is peeking and it’s before noon.

Dude, your sweatpants are on
backwards; clean up your act.

Kids will always be kids;
some adults will be kids, too.

King of Queens

I was a negligent mailman yesterday, but I chased myself down. I called every number both my caretaker and I could conjure, but every receiver claimed to be "busy." I am a good customer though. No. I am a great customer. I wish a select few people knew this about me. Then I could ask for forgiveness when I need it most, without feeling too guilty. But if too many people knew, I'd be a professional loser. I don't mean that in the colloquial sense, like, you know...cafeteria speak. I mean, like, if everybody knew how reliable and responsible I typically am, I would forever be taken advantage of, and thus, my profession would truly and actually be: loser. But yesterday, I was not reliable. I was not responsible. I was negligent. I was a loser. And in the aftermath, I reacted like a postal worker. Then I calmed down to maybe a parcel service employee. After all, I am the King of Queens. This morning, as an Andrew Dice Clay impersonator was yelling "Jew!" at me, I realized how and why this city breaks so many people. I will not be broken. I am the King of Queens, and I have a caretaker.

Kinsey, Kinesics, Kinetics

Fuck everything
That’s a slogan
For the future

For now I’m empty
I’m all out of gas
I just fart more now

I say I’m sorry
Did you want me
To do something

I surf on land
I avoid wagers
A loss is a loss

I’m lost at sea
I am older now
What are months

My sea is made
Of make believe
The stuff I read

Water and vinegar
Are nightmares
To all my dreams

I smash my face
Against wide webs
Practically though

I don’t stretch myself
Like some arachnids
I’m too scared sick

I am sick of plastic
And paper and metal
Stealing away breaths

Atoms and eves
Omens and leaves
Of grass burning

We have nothing
No food no water
Nothing but God

And God shrugs so often
I’m surprised He actually
Still has shoulders to shrug

Scientists shrug at God
Faith doesn’t build bridges
Or cure terminal illnesses

So fuck everything
That’s what the tag
By my apartment says

Lady Bic

Standing in front of a moldy mirror, I realized I missed a chunk of my face. So I walked from the dictator’s compound down to the nearest Duane Reade and bought a disposable Lady Bic from the travel aisle. The pharmacist I purchased it from appeared to be puzzled. I don’t blame her. My neuroses are what dictate me. But I mean, why can’t I use a Lady Bic? Are they engineered differently? Legs vs. Face: skin, bones, curves. I need to feel smooth. I need to feel confident. Don’t you?

Lance Armstrong & Bologna Sandwiches

My doctor telephoned me steroids
to fight off my internal inmates;
he noted to avoid mixing with recreation,
whenever working out historical issues;
I accidentally drank two pitchers of beer,
by myself, but I wasn’t alone, actually;
I was training for the Special Olympics
with two of my best friends, they’re special;
I wanted to puke Gator-less marathon-style,
but I decided to just go try to take a nap;
I always get caught off guard by cot life,
esp. when running in place, on sidewalks;
every morning and every night, I think
about death, without fear of the future;
you will die, probably alone, imprisoned
by your Scrooged mortality clock.

Last Spin

There is no contest, no contention;
yet, you still manage to be competitive.

I feel like Bob Barker on life support
every time I communicate with you.

Why must every single go-around now
be such a tense task after all this time?

Congestive heart failure is on the horizon,
and there is nothing that I can do about it.

I’m not asking for you to listen to the Cure;
nobody will bother you when I’m gone.

Why do you bother pretending to still be alive
when you wrote your (my) obituary years ago?

Late Nite Morning

open your shirt
and let me share
like a butcher
or a bartender
how prohibitive
where shall I sign
to state that I hate
honest work
I don’t want to sleep
but I don’t want to wake up
I want you
to open up your shirt
you can tell me
what you really think
you can share with me
your skin to sign
teets for tats
and swatting gnats
fruity flies
I see a stranger
I’d like to smash
with in-law deck shoes
I see an opportunity
for a wild week nite
and an incredulous witness
can be more credible
when circumstantial
do you see what I see
do you want to do this
I don’t see any evil in you
I only see a woman under the influence
and now that’s one of my favorite movies
and you’re not crazy

Latter Day Saints

Last spring,
I was splitting
Christians and co-eds
circling an archipelago
of self-discovery
and a blossoming boy
offered me a Book of Mormon.

I accepted, because why not?

He said fresh fruit
was his favorite food
until he discovered Wendy’s
and now he likes to dip fries
into chocolate milkshakes
and save the souls
of bohemians and heathens.

I asked him if he’d ever read Ginsberg.

Layaway Words

Shellac your mind
See what sticks
Twigs upon twigs
A pile of goo
A bundle of fags
I'm a dandy lion
When caged up
In Bed-Stuy
Oh and oh and uh
A hobo called me
Doogie Howser
When asking
For a drag
A hobo no homo
A hobo no less
Scarlet letters
Printed on sexy
Newsprint stacks
How old news
A poet can be
When put in racks
An eye for an eye
A penny for a dime
An image worth less
Than bartered time
You can count on me
I'm good for something
I say what I mean
Never beyond means
Never go beyond
What you mean
Layaway words
Should always
Be free of charge
Take what you can
What you are owed
And nothing more

Ledger Love

Back & Forth
Come & Go
In & Out

We Flow
As Names

As Numbers
We Make Sense
So Much Sense

Life Doesn’t Agree

When life doesn’t agree,
I wish you were with me.

Sometimes I am so agape,
before Christ and after death,
and sometimes I am so over
death and beyond Christ.

When life doesn’t agree,
I wish you were with me.

Life Magazine Life

Indigent and genuine
Homeless away from home
Picking up cigarette butts
Licking up syrupy cuts

What kind of men
Give up on other men?

I’m not saying
Brokeback Mountain
Was a good movie
I’m just saying…

Listen To Me

listen to me
I have nothing
to say to you
at this moment
I just have my
self to give you

and I know maybe
that’s not much
but I will say more
when I have some
thing to say to you
just listen to me

for once in our life
I am silent okay
but we have forever
for me to tell you
how much I love you
just listen to me

Literary Success

1. Tenure at liberal arts college
2. Fuel efficient sedan
3. Bloated grant from dead person

Lone Star Lottery

stripped stockings
where do you play at night?

you look like a writer
you look like Eva Mendes
you look like a girl I saw in Austin

gravel filled grins
and tilapia tacos
making moons
down in Houston

it’s colder than I was told
it would be today

where is the warmth?
I think she’s sleeping in

Long Weekend

Oh, what did I do?
Long weekend of zingers
Cats are not just thieves
They can also speak
I saw a million kitties
Not giving a shit
About the environment
In a city with composts
On every corner
But they were so cute
Especially that grey one
Wait, he looked familiar
He was a tourist too
Long weekend got me
Thinking about magic
And improv comedy
Ain’t it funny how fast
Even long weekends
Always disappear?


The fluorescent lights
at the hospital café
looked different today.

I felt like I was prepping
for some kind of surgery,
or perhaps, I was preparing.

I looked up from my hot cup,
plastic paid for with plastic,
and I saw a looker, looking.

She had lasers pointed at me,
but I wasn’t frightened at all,
though she was oddly striking.

She looked like a PhD student
who was writing her thesis
on Proust’s heterosexual days.

Or maybe she was a German,
a graphic designer with integrity,
whose father co-founded Kraftwerk.

I looked back down at my coffee,
readying to take a sip, but instead,
I had another Larry David shit fit.

I sneezed so hard, I thought I broke
my nose; the lights back to normal,
this woman said she was a doctor.

I told her I was a detective, mainly;
she said her father was a cop, too;
I repeated myself and walked away.

Losers (Can Be Winners)

You can go down to the pond
Where I learned to get lost
And put your head in scum
I’ll put my head in ashes burned
By second-rate soul jerks
Sometimes it’s fun to lose it
And try to find Quaaludes
Because I’m into futility
Every now and then and again
And every time I come home
I hear about someone else
Who is more into fertility
And I want to get lost with you


I gave a cashier
twenty dollars
for a six pack.

He gave me
twenty one
dollars back.

A stranger
might lose
his job soon.

But I just won
the lottery
without playing.

Love Pump

Every part of me
can imagine me
in the Midwest
pumping gas
on laptop keys
waiting for love
to not sound
so keyed in.

M.S.G. / B.I.G.

I watched you eat General Tso's
in the basement of Penn Station,
otherwise known as The Garden.

You looked so regal, like the RZA,
if Bobby Digital went analog,
and was ready to go to war.

But then again, maybe you were
more like my grandmother,
brooding and burrowing.

I couldn’t eat, I can’t eat;
these meds make me so weak,
weaker than you’ve ever seen me.

I watched you sneak rum inside
the concrete cave; the plastic
of your cup was on your side.

"The less Coke, the better."
You sounded like Bloomberg;
I sounded like an asshole.

I couldn't drink, I can't drink;
these meds make me so weak,
weaker than you've ever seen me.

I wanted to thank you, for you;
I mean, I wanted to thank you
for all that you've done for me.

I wanted to tell you it felt good—
you not making me feel bad
about not eating or drinking tonight;

but furthermore, for not seeing
you night after night after all
the nights that you asked me.

I wanted you to tell me you got it;
I can barely get out of bed, man,
and if it didn't take two rivers,

things would be so different,
and things can be, regardless;
and as I started to tell you

about how things were going to
change, I looked down at my hands,
and they were covered in warts.

You told me to stop being so OCD,
that I worry too much, that I need
to focus my energy on my health.

I said, "Do you hear yourself
right now? I am covered in warts;
I look like a witch, man; a witch

And by the way, if you didn't know,
witches are real; any good artist
knows witches are everywhere.

And as I was telling you all this,
“Landslide” came on the radio,
which is my least favorite song

by the one band we mutually love;
I asked the cashier if she could
change the station, and she did.

A guy who looked like a character
from that movie, Better Luck Tomorrow,
plugged in his iPod, behind the counter,

and he whipped his bangs to the side,
and nodded sup, you dig, to me
as I heard: "It was all a dream..."


What if one day, everything in China said MADE IN USA on it? What if one day, I changed my game and stopped undercutting myself? At least my game isn’t actually cutting myself. I have my own ways of torture and self-preservation. You barely know my name, but you think you know everything I think because I say half of what shocks my brainwaves. I could make better paintings like Manet. I could write poems about growing up in Maine. But I don’t know what it’s like to be French or water flowers or grow organic vegetables with sweat-stained work shirts. Today was my first day off in months. What to do when you have nothing to do? I gave a bag full of dirty clothes to a Chinese woman with a kind smile. She gave me Chinese candy I didn’t want. I walked across Flushing and threw a brick that once had red skin through a run down window and ran back towards my house in grey daylight. I would feel bad. I should feel bad. But there were no signs. There are always signs. Usually when I’m out of line, there is a sign, there are signs. I feel bad for always subjecting my friends to my bends. But it’s not my fault. It’s the former Keith’s fault. There is no ladder. I’m still scared of ladders. But I’m getting better about heights. Six feet upon six feet. I build train trestles because I like to walk fast over troubled water and see how long I can stand by myself. I have no enemies from where I’m standing, up here. But down there, I’m sure there are rumblings. My intestines are unsettling like tribes on the lam. So I drink discounted drinks every chance I get. I take back what I said about Aspberger’s. I can be so ironic. I can so obsessive. Heads. Tails. Pro. Con. Locked up. Break out. Fast forward in reverse. I almost burned down the party on Saturday. Anxiety transferred like a jump drive suicide and now I have a pinched nerve. You’re welcome. I can, I will be your welcome mat (MADE IN USA).

Male Storm

I play cold front soccer
on Northeast beaches,
worn out like Scorcese
with his bloody stones.

This coastal playground
is a sprawling Monopoly,
but I know you prefer
Candyland adventures.

Advent and lent,
they sneak up
like exes’ e-mails
and fraught texts.

When people ask me
the depths of my faith,
I usually tell them to go
to Hell if they must know.

Marked Words

Inventory all the bad ideas
Ever turned into actual things
And sail them off on rafts
Out into the closest canal
Or river or lake or ocean
And reflect in the water
On how you’ve made
A contribution for once
And what it would be like
If more people built rafts.


Every few months
She strikes a match
Upon my back
And I feel the heat
So unreal to me
Every other day
For days and months
And I take off
Every article
And I take off
Into a cold slumber
And I take off

Maximum Love

We could listen to endless records,
but you never seem to want to;
I don’t hold grudges with those

I love the way I love you,
but I don’t love anyone
like I seem to love you.

We could listen to endless records
about love, and clouds above could spiral
out of control and rain down on us;

oh, the weather screws us
whether or not we are ready
to be krazy tight like glue.

Oh, God! I love you!
and when I speak
of other girls, I only

mean to make you feel
the way you deserve to feel,
because you are superior;

you are maximum love—
you are a Nashville song,
spinning in golden words,

and I want platinum
tombstones to write
my elegies upon.

Men At Work

No Vacancy
on this island
we ride around
like carnies
on vacations
like carnies
on the side
but we’re
men at work
like an ‘80s band
a ‘90s sitcom
and I know
you know
dick jokes arise
because we’re
men at work

Men’s Health

Every time I’m in the waiting room of a doctor’s office and see a stack of Men’s Health back issues, I’m like, “Ah, Hell!” People often accuse me of irony, but this is irony. I’m falling apart. The old geezer across from me, popping pills and re-fastening his knee braces, is falling apart. The mid-life crisis next to me, drooling on his Eddie Bauer sweater, is barely hanging on. We all make scattered eye contact like Water Buffaloes on the down low, acknowledging the audacity of medical professionals, yet surrendering to their insured bayonets, nonetheless. “It is what it is,” people generally like to say. But it’s actually a war and having to look at Rob Lowe’s face or Matthew McConaughey’s abs every few months while rustling in the pre-coffin is the worst kind of sideways propaganda.


Courtney Love lookalike:
could it be any worse?

She says:
better her than Chelsea Clinton.

I say:
Bill Clinton drinking
a Frances Bean Frappucino?

Oh, did I just cross a line?

I don’t cross lines
like Evangelicals
or chat-and-cutters.

I acknowledge
that there are certain lines
and that certain lines
apply to me
and those that don’t,
I stop acknowledging.

I guess I’m no different, after all.

Well, maybe I am…

Being “in the arts”
tends to make you
feel idealistic
without fully hashing out
your ideals.

Who else has a mom
who tells you,
“Honey, be selfish for once”?

I have to tell mine,
“Mom, I’m an artist…
I’m selfish like all the time.”

I’m tired of working;
I’m tired of going to work.

I’m running late today;
I’m never late,
including today, actually;
really, it’s just that
I’m usually running early.

I swear I held
the hottest coffee ever
in my left hand
for half an hour today;
I should notify Guinness
to see if I broke the record;
do you think I can e-mail them?

I just want to drink smoothies
in Schenley Park by myself
until summer is over.

Message Massage

There is a moment when you can
say the word “sincerity”
and actually mean it.

There is a moment when being
cynical becomes cyclical
and you want to be good.

Put your face down in trust
and bathe in baby oil
to soak up the pain.

Raise your limber limbs
and clutch everything
you’ve decided to keep.

Metaphors (For The Supernatural)

Lemmings are a poor metaphor
for the pissed citizens, falling
down into cracked out lifestyles.
Whitney Houston was a beauty,
the IRS will always have issues,
no job is ever a good one, but
clichés don’t have to be what
you think they have to be. “You
can be whatever you want to
be," says the man who just
walked in dog shit on the way
to his father’s funeral, or what
he now refers to as the first day
of the rest of his new life. I heard
he’s trying to become a police
officer like his dad was when he
was an animal torturer, moon-
lighting as a teenage werewolf.


I’ve got enough worries;
I don’t need to concern
myself with what you
decide the weather will be
today or tomorrow or ever.

Method Phonics

might as well do meth
if you have nothing
else to do
if you have nothing
you might become

Metro Sections

Talk radio is so straight,
and all of us
who have listened to it
are gay.

Reality television is so gay,
and all of us
who have watched it
are gayer.

And we all talk
and talk
and talk
and watch,

and we can’t help
but preach
some word
we seek.

Miff Muff Is Enough

Coming up daisies
Coming up short
But I’m 6’2”, so what
And it’s always cloudy
In Pittsburgh, and now
I’m Southwest of Glad
Trademarked in blahs
Plastic-wrapped in woes
I’ve let enough seep
Into my bags, pluralized
And posterized, hung
Like a horse, like a number
Two out of five, rooking
Kings, saying sup to anchors
God, I’ve been gone
And sunken in for years
Water bored in New York
My mouth is dried out
My entire body is dyed
In visible opacity
Oh, God! Where are you?
I crave my camo skies
The ones, beneath which
I would go to war when
I could, I would, and I
I don’t know about you
But I want better for me
And my words than dirt
And water, so if I only
Muddle what I try to say
Slide me into the moat
That is the Monongahela
And bury me with St. Elias

Million Dollar Question

Hey Keith, what would you do with a million dollars?

I would make a Nam June Paik sculpture in my living room and have sports constantly playing on the televisions, all day long. Then, after a few months, I would probably try to convince a museum to buy my sculpture for a million dollars and build another cheaper version for myself and take the money left over from the first million, add that to my new million, and live frugally in some beach town, and watch a lot of sports.


With purple drank
And the Gnostics,
I am on a mission
To find something.


I made a big mistake:
I confused two men
With the same name.

I don’t like mistakes:
I’m not that kind of man,
I am this kind of man.


Digging deep ditches
In places like Stamford
Surrounded by imbeciles
With masters from Stanford

I'm asked to kiss gold rings
In flooded dreams forever
And who am I to be a prude?

I'm nothing but a prostitute
Until someone decides I'm not
You can fuck whatever you want
I'll fuck language and culture
Culture is more or less complex
Than we realize it is or always was

William Blake was a cultured man
He understood necessary bindings
And how to easily divorce himself

Everything needs another
In order to survive scrutiny
And the paralysis of perception
The acceptance of nothingness
And the denial of nihilism

Words describe images
They fulfill the space surrounding
Images displace words
They fill the voids of vocabularies
All things fear loneliness
Even words and images

Images cannot be erased
They can only be manipulated
Humans cannot forget images
Or the once attached words
That sometimes dangle below
In the residue of recession

The economy is beyond personal
But it is not to be taken personally
As much as some of us people care
About numbers and computers
Neither of those care about people

No matter how bad it gets
Historians will still have jobs
Historians will always have jobs
They are the ultimate manipulators

They massage the good
They massage the bad

And Capitalism is a limp body
Begging to be massaged
And the message of Capital
Is that there is no message

Assets are just acidic holes
Dragged by smooth assholes
Perched on high horse tractors
Rapidly rotating cogwheels
Along long dried up terrains

Land once covered in green
And stoic symbolic trees
Statues and monuments
Tall timelines of empires
Charts and graphs printed
Like old illustrative etchings
For historians to manipulate

Money is the easiest item
To constantly be manipulated
To constantly be continued

Money is just colored paper
Etched with historical faces
And paper comes from trees
And we can't help but set fires
To money, paper, and trees

That's what history has told me


Goth guy
Nails tipped
Done right
Puerto Rican
Studded stud
Coked up
Rounded out
Real sharp
Scratched glass
Reflected reflex
Inverse introvert
Proud parents
Liberal media
Takeout delivery
Call whenever


What kind of job
Would Diego Rivera
Have if he lived
In New York City
In this economy?


Would he paint
Ryan Gosling’s face
Or Diddy’s favorite
Type of vodka
On sides of buildings?


Musical Chairs

Musical chairs
Isn’t just a game.

It’s a metaphor
For all relations.

My Discovery

In this part of town,
the air tastes like coconut
and the streets are always cold.

My Django Blues

Some people cannot make
Any decisions whatsoever

Other people can pick
Just all the right notes

And these people console
Our souls when we sink

We could use their tunes
To change our ways

Instead of just turning
To them to stay afloat

My Economy

You've been coming around
far less often these days
like an older cousin
I used to spend time with
until he thought I was gay

Everything should be
kept on the table now
and now it's turned (over)
China is on the floor
China is on the (ocean) floor

and my economy is...

My Garfield Poem (I Hate Tuesdays)

How To Get Into The Top MBA Programs,
Sixth Edition

By Richard Montauk
Lounging on the lap
Of a pile of trash
Across from Scores on 28th

I cycle through floods
Of paintings and posters
"Post No Bills"
Chelsea Whores
The High Line for Low Life
And now I have more good toilet reading

My Island

Beyonce said, “Ring The Alarm!”
I said, “Girl, set your own.”

Am I the only one who is tired
of carrying coconuts from beaches
to mountains and back for others?

Or am I the only one who carries
coconuts from beaches to mountains
and back for others? Yes, I am alone.

There are no alarms on my island;
there’s not even a volleyball.

Mystery Men

Like the movie,
Like “the movies,”
Like Bob Dylan
And Jesus Christ
And other Jews,
I will be a mystery.


A man is like a napkin;
you can wipe him,
fold him up or crush him,
put him in your pocket,
if you'd like to; I mean,
if you'd like a man
for napkin purposes.

Some men take naps;
some men are kin.

Some men wear nice suits
with decorative kerchiefs
and pose like Zoolander
for flashing cameras.

Some men are cameras,
not photographers,
but cameras and they take
from the world, much like
the Zoolanders, but they
give something back.

Men in nice suits
call themselves

Cameras are just cameras;
they give you photos,
for you to keep like napkins.

Natural Orgrasm

I watch sunsets
with scotch tape
adhering my lids
to my cro-brows.

I can be so dumb,
and nature blows
me over and over
until I’m rolled over.

I get so sticky,
stuck on ideals;
luminous appeals
drizzling new dew.


For the first time in over a week, I didn't wake up feeling nauseous. I took synthetic morphine last night (I have a prescription). I mainly sat in air conditioning, shivering, and staring at my laptop.

I listened to The Very Best of The Smiths twice, because I was kind of depressed; and I deleted all of their individual albums off my iTunes recently. My hard drive crashed a few months back and I had to buy a whole new MacBook on credit, but the one with the 13" screen, and a whole lot less memory. So basically my music library now consists of a lot of "greatest hits."

I wasn't that upset about the material loss of a computer, or the moral loss of having to buy a new one I couldn't quite afford. I was more so upset about the fact that I had just recently impregnated my old one with a brand new internal hard drive. It's like having a girl tell you it's not working out after you just bought the ring. You know what I mean?

I was really having a Morrissey moment when the clock changed to twelve. I thought about watching the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire I had missed the previous Sunday. The next one was going to air in less than 48 hours, and I wanted to catch up, illegally. But I was fucked up on OxyContin, and I remembered the subway posters for the show I've been seeing for weeks now that state the show's new obvious tag line: "You can't be half a gangster."

I remember when Morrissey went solo and tried to be half a gangster. That was a sad moment for gangs of Mexican youths.

But hey, I can't even be half a gangster when I'm sober, so I chose to opt out of fractionalizing and marginalizing myself. I decided to put on the Grateful Dead's Greatest Hits because I wanted to go to bed in a good mood. Plus I was fucked up.

Jerry was rambling about something, and my breath tasted bad, even after I brushed my teeth twice. I spotted some of Mike's Dentyne Ice, or maybe it was Aileen's. So I decided to go back on myself and go 1/64 gangster, and take two pieces. I somehow cut my lips on the wrapper. Serves me right.

I took another pill. I slid my 139 pounds into bed—a skeleton wrapped in flowers, a suburban teenager without the anvil of real world cynicism roped to his ankle.

For the first time in over a week, I didn't wake up feeling nauseous. So I decided to make oatmeal and iced coffee. I could only finish half of each and then I started feeling nauseous.

I burped and my mouth was instantly filled with the taste of seafood—no seafood in particular (shrimp, lobster, haddock, oysters, calamari)—just the general taste of seafood, like if Dentyne decided to try to make a “Seafood” flavor of gum. I don't know why they would do that. I'm just trying to give you an idea of my hardships. I don’t know why I would do that. Jesus. Sometimes I feel like Captain Ahab on a YouTube rant; and when I have mornings like this that consist of bathroom blood leaks and breathing in ammonia on a delayed train, I might as well be lost at sea.

But for the first time in a week, I didn't wake up nauseous.

Necessary Living

Three hours of sleep
is better than two.

It's my minimal limit,
my liminal minutes.

If I can still function
like a Siberian Russian,
mixing vodka and madness,
outdoing exes in masses,
I guess I can claim I'm alive,
and that's all I need sometimes.

Never Win

The last time my dad visited me in New York, he told me iced coffee was a weird concept. I was drinking an iced coffee at the time. I said, “It’s all good, dad.” He also told me he thinks his new car can probably fly. I told him it could probably dispense drugs. He said, “It’s all good, Keith.” But on a serious note, he told me to make use of my new orthopedic shoes and to take it easy with the Percocet. I have a history of admiration for sad sacked men. If I’m going to be a serious painter, he wanted to see serious painting. So we went to the Jewish Museum to take in a French Master with our caretakers. It was a Sunday, slightly overcast. What a way to turn an off day on. God has plans. My dad was converted, slightly. He’s never fully committed to any idea(l), other than family. He’s like if Daniel Day-Lewis put on forty pounds and played Bertrand Russell in a nebulous biopic, directed by Terrence Malick. If only James Gandolfini had the range. Perhaps if Sam Shepard was willing to write the screenplay. Family. Family. Family. Can you believe my parents had never had Dim Sum? So I got them some. My dad isn’t spicy. He’s saucy. So after all the squandering I’ve done, I finally won. Does this mean I can pop a pill? He said, “Not if we’re drinking weird drinks tonight.” I guess I can never win.

New American Realism

Bum wine spills
on second hand fur,
rendering firm
representations of
wage class portraiture—
New American Realism.

The critic wants to know:

Have comedians
forgotten comedy?

Have humans
forgotten humanity?

New Balance

I crossed Houston,
side by side
with a cockroach;
when I reached
the other side,
a man wearing
New Balances
and begging
for quarters
asked me
if he could buy
a cigarette from me;
I ask my body
if it’s wearing
the right shoes.

New England Roses

In the summer months,
I might go to New England.

I might pick some berries,
I might pick some flowers,
I might pick some roses.

In the New England months,
I might go into summer mode.

Are there roses in New England?

No Difference

Rhode Island,
Easter Island,
Or Fire Island…

makes no difference to me.

I have a backpack
packed on my back.

I have few desires
or obligations now.

If I leave for a week,
will you remember me?

I hope I don’t remind you
of balding mohawked punks.

But pink strokes on peach ground
can be such a calming color field.

Why does Rothko always get
a hood pass from everyone?

How did a cop get shot in the head
near my girlfriend’s studio last night?

I am more frightened by myself
than I am by gluttonous hoodrats.

Anyways, I prayed for that cop
and his family before work today.

Isn’t it ironic that he never cared
about me or my family? Oh well.

Isn’t it ironic that God never cared
about me or my family? Oh well.

Isn’t it ironic that Alanis Morrisette
played God in a movie? Not really.

I really don’t want to devolve
into a cagey ex-Ivy Leaguer.

I guess that’s impossible—
I don’t know Willy Wonka.

Life can be as fucking rotten
as a fruit salad from Sizzler.

Staten Island,
Roosevelt Island,
Or Riker’s Island…

makes no difference to me.

No Fear

Some legs
are like John McCrackens—
long, slender, and shiny.

Some digs
are like pitchforks—
breathed in deeper than death.

I will rake you
like a Reiki specialist;
sometimes I believe
in chakras and stuff;
sometimes I let you
call me out and about.

I am critical to a point…

God! I hate bike culture…

but who am I to say?

Last night,
I was Dolph Lundgren
in Rocky IV;
I was a machine,
crushing everything
with no fear at all.

I used to have so many
No Fear tee shirts;
I used to have so many fears.

No More No Mores

Toads & trumpets
Blowing airbags out
R & R & BS & R & R
Lounging in lounges
No more boozing
No more no mores
Tea cup humping
Dusty butt plugs
Mystery group hugs
Out of season still
Summer plaid pills
Swallow goose geek
Turtleneck chemicals
And fry French dreams
Of liberated language
So languid & livid
Ad lib libido screenings
What will you watch
What will you find
What will you time
Out of this line
Out of boundaries
The best words write
Themselves over past
Squiggled scribbles
Hieroglyphs of grit
Grime & rhymes
I have no more why's
No more no mores


One politically incorrect comment
can be a match struck for a smoky
battle, like a Manny Pacquiao blow;
blow out the candles, the Super Bowl
is over, and there are no more birth-
days; forget your celebration, you are
dead, and your favorite singer has
retired—the New York Times has
claimed it to be true; there are no
more careers—give up, already.

Odd Slumber

There is an indefinable quality
that local news anchors have,
anywhere in the United States,
that could make any reasonable
person want to take sleeping pills
and sleep away the never-ending
suffering they would otherwise
choose to ignore while eating.

Official Question

Our domes implode
our turf is inflamed
plastic goes lost
no protection
who comes first
in a team effort
is a question
worth asking
to avoid defeat
don’t you think?

Oh, My God, Everything

I have lived too long. I have lived long enough. I want to live longer. I am dead to my God. I am dead to the girl who promised me everything. But I found something better. The girl from that Dylan song, that Goddard film, and everything I, you, we thought was ever cool; and she is actually warm; and she pads my back as I battle croaked toads like Chris Wyberg used to when we would finally get out of Mr. Westman’s class. Mr. Westman hated Trapper Keepers, but he loved cats and playing football with the boys. Mr. Westman was the first homosexual I ever met. He was a great fourth grade teacher. Chris Wyberg was a shit friend. He tortured animals, for real. And one time, he rolled a future jock down a hill, strapped in a Rubbermaid garbage can, just because he could. I’ll never forget the time he put a firecracker in the exhaust pipe of a senior’s dirtbike or the time he put one in the butthole of a frog. See, me, I only battle dead animals, figuratively, like William van Aelst. Not really. I don’t battle anything but myself. I love all animals as much as Alicia Silverstone. I love most things as much as Alicia Silverstone. I am probably more depressed than Alicia Silverstone.

Oh, Natural

Intense city
No damage
No frills
No damage
Intense city

Down by the river
Like Neil Young
Picking up pills
Hearing loud voices

One man yells into a cell

Fuck you
I would rather die
By the river
Than come back
To our apartment
We’re over

I couldn’t help
But laugh a little
At the sadness
Of his sentiment
At the sadness
Of his statement

But I was scared
I was nervous
I felt bad for him
And his girlfriend

I unfairly assumed
He was one type
But his wardrobe
Proved me wrong

When I saw his shoes
I felt less bad for him
But I still felt bad
For his girlfriend

Make us
Make us

All we need
Are the basics


Get in the way


We don’t have
Time to celebrate

Up on a hill
Looking out
At the skyline
Dressed up
In a sweater
J. Crew
Heather Grey

Nothing is visible
Except the future
And the future
Is bleak and evil
Like S’mores

Wow this is just like
That last and final scene
In the first Ghostbusters
Where Zuul shows up
And does ghoulish gymnastics

Where is my man?
Where are my ladies?

Avoidance is necessary
But don’t avoid me
Avoid the falling sky

Some bushes burn
Some Bushes don’t
But all climates change

Lessons learned
And unlearned

Those who are cynical
Can turn their words
In circles so cyclical
Do assholes ever really
Realize the polyps
They create in society?

Did you hear the sky
During the climax?

It sounded like God
Had serious diarrhea

Did you see the trees
During the climax?

They were like inflatable men
Flopping around in used car lots

I thought I heard someone whispering

Take the proper pills
Drink till you’re dry
Smoke whatever you’ve got
This could take forever
And forever is a long time

Loose limbs
So limber
Can inflate
If they want
To be inflated

If I just had
One more
Near me
I would be
I would be
Happier than

But I’d be lying
If I didn’t already
Admit my tendencies
Of being a real boy
Selfishly smiling
About the fact
That I already have
Plenty of friends

Some sulk
In lonely
Bath tubs
Floating in
Rivers of tears

I don’t want to be
A lounge singer
In the suburbs

But I empathize

They are real
They are realer
They are natural

The natural world
Is not where I live

The natural world
Is where I will die


Don’t let Ohio get you down;
a state is just a state,
and sorrows are just excuses
for another tomorrow.

Okay (A Capella)

“They might love you cause you got a little African in you…” said a black man, dressed like a ‘70s skinhead. I said, “Who? Me?” He laughed and said, “Nigga, please!” I said, “I know. I didn’t think you were talking to me, but why did you yell in my direction?” He was like, “Bitch, why you crackas always think everything about you?” I was like, “Umm, I dunno…I think when I was in high school, books just wrote it that way…” And he was like, “Nigga, why you read so much??? Books lie…” And I was like, “That’s hardcore…” And he was like, “Fuck you!” And I was like, “No thanks.” And he repeated, “Fuck you!” And I was like, “Okay.” And he was like, “That’s right!” And I was like, “Okay…” And he was like, “Okay.” And I was like, “Okay.” And then he walked down the subway stairs to the N or the R. I’m not sure what he took or in what direction. Five minutes went by and so did his aggression, so I guess it was okay. Okay? Okay.

Old Sewn Horse

You’ve got rusty bones!
No wait, that’s me…
sometimes I get you
confused with me,
because I’m so in love
with you, with me,
with us; and the idea
that you would think
about me and my bones
makes me want to get up
out of bed every morning.

Only In America

This is the America
where drunk dudes
pitched out perfectly good tea.

This is the America
where Joe DiMaggio
fucked Marilyn fucking Monroe.

This is the America
where neighbors
don’t ask for sugar from neighbors.

This is the America
where Don King
would always say, “Only in America.”


A friend of mine told me he only trusts doctors who smoke. He’s a vegan. I don’t know what the connection is, but I’m thinking there might be one. What’s the name of that movie starring Leslie Nielsen where there is a planet or something called Vegan? It’s a tragedy I don’t remember. Oh, right…the Internet! I have it on my iPhone. I can figure this out, as I am actually writing this poem on my iPhone. 2001: A Space Travesty! That’s it! And it wasn’t a planet after all. It was a moon base. I wonder what American Spirits would taste like on a planet called Vegan though. I wonder what the air is like there, and how it would affect the way cigarettes burn. Does atmosphere affect the way cigarettes burn the way it affects most other things? Like for example, when it’s extra humid out, my rheumatoid arthritis flares up and then I get more anxious, and then my rheumatoid arthritis flares up even worse. It’s like a feedback loop. Feedback and loops are becoming so prevalent and popular in music today. I don’t know what the reason for that is, but there might be one. Whenever I go see live music these days, I regret it. My back is too stiff, and I only like a few commitments. A night of standing for hours upon hours is not one of them. The last time I went to a show, my back was stiffer than usual and feedback was looping, and I thought to myself for the first time, in public, “I wish I was on drugs right now.” And for the first time, I had drugs on me, in public. Look at me! “No! Don’t look at me,” I thought. Anyways, so I popped two random pills. I just grabbed one and then grabbed another. I had like six orange cylinders stuffed in the grey bag that was hanging out on my stiff shoulder. Oh, right…my shoulders are stiff too. My shoulder got looser and I said out loud, “Pink Floyd is bullshit.” Nobody seemed to notice or care, but I felt like I had to leave. I felt like I should feel kind of bad. Mainly because I like Syd Barrett. But fuck that. Why should I care? Why should I feel bad? I don’t know that guy. He died before I knew he existed. And I didn’t know any of the loopy ones around me being fed back some stuff they couldn’t digest as teenagers. And I can barely digest anything, literally. Literally. God! I hate that word. I even wrote a poem once devoted to how much I hate that word. So moving along…a few weeks later, I was at an art opening, at a gallery co-owned by a guy who is allegedly really good at basketball, which was really exciting to me. I used to be really good at basketball, but nobody I now know believes me. Lately, a lot of people have been telling me I look like white Rondo, which is also exciting to me, because he is my favorite basketball player, mainly because he plays basketball the way I used to play basketball—the way basketball should be played, but also because he is extremely attractive. But, that’s besides the point. The other guy who runs the space was wearing a tie-dye tee shirt, and I am so glad I didn’t take drugs before or while I was at the opening and spontaneously decide to bash Pink Floyd (just in case). Instead, I decided to crack open a friendly beer a friendly guy handed me on the way back inside the gallery when a pair of antagonistic minority cops from Precinct 76 performed CPR on me. The Asian male cop yelled, “Don’t walk away from me.” The African-American female cop said, “Please come with me, sir. Can I see some identification?” I said, “Sure. But that wasn’t my beer.” The Asian male cop said, “I saw you open it.” I said, “No, you didn’t.” The African-American female cop just rolled her eyes. She didn’t see me open it either. She didn’t see anything; her eyes are the kind that always roll. So they walked to their car with my license, along with the license of some tourist posing as an ogre, or maybe it was the other way around. They sat real cush in their pristine sedan for a good fifteen minutes, writing things down, making phone calls, typing on their computer. They were not courteous. They were not professional. They were not respectful. And by the way, why don’t cops just have smart phones like the rest of us? During those fifteen minutes, I wasn’t sure if they were playing Sudoku or trying to figure out if I was a preacher’s son or in the Taliban. My record’s so clean, it’s Fantastic. I’m from the Moon. Maybe I don’t exist. They seemed to be unsure. After smoking two American Spirits, the African-American female cop asked me for my last name, which made me think maybe they didn’t believe I did exist, which made me maybe believe that maybe I don’t. After five more minutes, the African-American female cop handed me a pink slip, which confirmed I do, in fact, exist, but made me feel fired. I wasn’t fired up, just fired. The tourist ogre/ogre tourist was, however, fired up. In his mind, he had done nothing wrong. He acknowledged them witnessing him drinking a beautiful lager, but where he comes from, that is not a petty crime. He tried to Johnnie Cochran his way out of the situation, with a husky Madonna-like accent as if he acquired it through acquaintance (though, for clarity’s sake, I don’t doubt his authenticity). He approached the white car with what he viewed as justifiable evidence to the pair of racist cops, and the Asian male cop started writing notes down about the tall boy (both, the man and the beer, I thought). Well, initially, I thought he was writing notes. But eventually, I had no other option than to just accept the fact that he was, rather, ignoring my comrade-by-proxy’s ignorant plea and getting back to his game of Sudoku that we had interrupted in the first place. I truly would like to have an open mind—like hey, maybe I should try acupuncture or something, but then I don’t make good on that open mind. However, most often, I would like to think that I do. But this time, I just had an open container.

Organ Donor

Where do humans sprint
when their skeletons
are swirled in skimmed,
milky glassed danger?

I have a list of phone
numbers in my wallet
that you can call when
my bones turn to powder.

Don’t mix me with water;
I don’t want to dissolve—
leave me for the humans
I never got to know well.

The vultures can venture
to a Jersey diner to eat
disco fries or something;
my organs go to orphans.









That was probably a bad experiment.

PF Flyer

Waiting for the giant bicycle
to come and Lance Armstrong
me from one cancer to the next,
I dreamed I was in a Detroit bar,
watching the Wolverines beating
the Hoosiers, and you were over
in the corner, snorting everything;
I asked how you liked the Midwest,
and you said, “Are you kidding me?
Look at all the Dykes everywhere!”

When I woke up, I was in a basket,
next to a teenage Botox patient.


Channel surfing the city,
I crash-landed on a stripped
National Geographic show,
produced with welfare
and tellurian survivors.

I watched a stray cat
eat a pigeon outside
a chicken store.

What a beautiful picture
Soutine could imagine
and Courbet would shine.

How could I pass up
free tickets to museums
of mainly American Art
and Entertainment?

I make the most
of glossy trips, filled
with such grizzly bits
of nature’s divinity.

Is there God in neon
corners reflecting
holy diving daurades;
oh, you know what?
Oh, that’s a painting.

Pang Things

breaking even
is not an option
when you are
the odd man
out in the field
drenched in oil
unable to hear
what color looks
like and every
thing feels like
nothing anymore


Excuse me,
I know you hear
a new sad story
every time
you hop trains
or go to lunch,
but my story
is worth paying
to hear;
you’ll see.


In Omaha, we can transfuse our blood
and watch the sun become the moon
sometime before or after noon rolls
in past the beef and dairy fields; we
can fast in anti-fast food hotel rooms
until room service orders our hot air
balloon to float up to the tallest sky-
scraper in town so that I can ask
Jesus why His politicians won’t give
us the health care we’ve been begging
to receive—I thought Jesus loved when
people begged; I thought Jesus loved.


How would a nineteen-year-old
in Chattanooga process a movie
like The Battle of Algiers with parents
like yours and a public education
the Bush Administration funded
on a budget chimps in space might
be able to tie together with rubber
bands and half-chewed Bazooka Joe
wads from discounted goodwill?


Waiting for the mailman to come, hoping he will bring you something, as if people still send mail. Only envelopes from credit card companies and churches slip through most front cracks of buildings. Wait. Mailman or mailwoman? I guess that was pretty sexist of me to say mailman. But I don’t think I’m the only person who would have had that impulse to say mailman and not mailwoman. Though I have seen plenty of mailwomen in my thus far brief life. Just last week, I saw a mailwoman push her mail cart over a halogen light bulb, while not paying attention to a barking dog, in a former industrial zone. The light bulb cracked, the dog stopped barking, the woman continued along, still not paying attention. Someone might say that was poetic. Why do people refer to certain things, certain actions as poetic? It’s my inclination to believe that there are a lot of terrible poets in this world. This is mainly based off of my experience that there are a lot of terrible people in the world, some of whom inaccurately refer to certain things, certain actions as poetic. I like to give most people the benefit of the doubt, but then I undoubtedly start doubting essentially everyone and everything. Remember, Abraham Lincoln was once Postmaster General. Remember, John Wilkes Booth “went postal.” Stop looking out for mail. Start watching your back.


The three RuPauls on the opposite platform are laughing, laughing, laughing. Are they laughing at me? The tallest one is wearing a Steelers beanie. I yell across the rails, “Hey, I like your hat!” She looks at me. She looks confused. I repeat, “I like your hat!” She rolls her eyes and says, “It ain’t mine…” I look next to me at the man barely holding onto his St. Ides. He looks up at me, drooling, and he motions for me to take a sip. He tries to hand it to me. I shake my head, horizontally. No, thank you. He isn’t wearing any pants. I look to the other side of me. There is a mother and her son, sharing some sliders from White Castle. The son notices me noticing him. He shoves a slider into his mouth and begins chomping like that weirdo, Chris Kattan, did way before he was born. His mother grabs him by the jaw and gives him a kiss on the lips like she’s never loved before. I look down at my lap. I look up at the LED. I look back down at my lap. I open the book Rachel got me for Christmas. This could take a while...


Sometimes days pop up
like a Bushwick art show
and some Hare Krishna
offers you a free peace sign
and you are like,
“I don’t have any money”
and the man in orange is like,
“Well, then, fuck you,
I’m going to get a latte”
and walks into the closest
Starbucks or imposter
coffee shop and well,
death is around the corner;

oh, maybe I’m just
watching too much
Frasier these days;

who did Frasier
vote for, anyways?


I’m not a baseball fan
I am a fan of baseball

It’s kind of like how
I don’t really like
To do math
But I like the idea of mathematics

I like baseball season
I like all seasons
I couldn’t imagine a life
Without seasons

Double headers
Double features

I’ve thought about a life
Walking down the Fenway
Drinking in public
As if New Orleans is the world

I’ve never been to New Orleans
But I hear it would be up my alley
Though I’m sure it’s up everyone’s
Since everyone ends up in alleys

Pharmacy Bandits

The record stops,
the road is flat.

Heroin needles
in haystack communes
like light sabers
falling from tree forts.

You are alone,
on a highway,
in some state
like Missouri.

You can imagine
moving images forward
as long as they
are feature length still(s).

The closing credits
tell you to go home.

Pig Shit

If only pigs could fly,
I could tell my feeble foe
to take another trip
to Iceland, but this time
to stay forever; and maybe
he would just do it,
because why not?

He plows through
his rich troughs
of scentless shit
every other day;
why not just add
some senseless shit
to the pile and ship
him, his troughs,
and his elvish hooves
across the Atlantic,
for good, or for worse?

I don't know though—
I'd feel bad for Iceland.


The day goes down
in the death bed lounge
breathing raw thrills.

Shooting skeet
and rolling rocks
never felt so good.

Sleep in the stalls
between crass walls
caulked with dry pulp.

Arise and quick eject
like a plank gone erect
shattering filthy Frisbees.


If your old man
said, “Give love a chance,”
would you believe him?

I am burning up
with a fever dream,
but I’m wide awake.

What’s the best place
to break a sweat?
The YMCA or the JCC?

Or maybe living rooms
are ideal arenas
for gladiator gestalt.

I need to get out;
these surfaces
are suffocating me.

I ought to push plants
into pickup trucks;
time to look for growth.

Seven steps for words;
I will speak forward
like my father before me.

Play It Where I Lay

I've had way too many dreams
where I am eating fancy fish
after games of chess and tennis
and my rival and companion
is a young and fit Joan Didion.

I've had way too many break-ups
to know a good screenplay
when I see a shitty movie
and I can only play so many games
for my well-being to remain well.

Plea Bargain

I have never stolen anything
but I will steal a fuel-efficient car
and drive down to Mexico City
and sell everything I own
at a very good discount price
to prove to you that I don’t care
about anything other than you.

Pocket Knife

Cut a hole in your pants
to show your identity;
are you man enough
to make another cry?

That’s what Modern
Artists ask my friends.

And from where I sit,
up in the Peanut Gallery,
I say Lucio Fontana
might have wanted
to keep his weapon
in his pants, if you
can slice up what
I am putting down.

Poem Written With A Crayola Crayon

swatting flies
buttering knives
i awake to silent
complaints from
an inflamed girl
decades stacked
beneath me now
oh she had love
knotted up tight
like a boy scout
but she is saved
i mean she is safe
and i’ve got all
the love i need

Poesy Punch

Cucumbers and watermelons!
You are a delicate and tender
bigot, perfumed in patronizing
patrol squats, squinting at
the sons-of-bitches I also
want to gaze at and graze at,
but I would rather chew
on my own crops I blaze;
don’t you ever wonder why
we set fire to our homonyms
and settle up with hymns,
as if whatever we shout or hum
will be enough to make up
for the impish impetus, so
impotent of moves thrust
in public with no shame;
how can you have no shame?

You are a cop, and you are
always a cop out, out of the blue;
every time you commit some
criminal acting like a human,
and how often is it a human
acts like a human? Oh, you
fiend, you find, you friend,
you foe, you are so filled up
with demands, breathing on
window-mimed tattoos, inked
on necks of free men, reaching
around for a smoke-free section,
but your gun is a live one; two
or three minutes ago, you said
you were a feminist, but you
just took both bumpers off
that forward-moving van
you bartered back in Berkeley
for some lingerie and whiskey;
stickers are no good unless
the message sticks and yours
is just sloppy enough to plunge.

I recall once, you speaking
surreally, as if I had never had
a waking dream before; some
other woman, an intellectual,
so she said, had been floating
back in forth between Canada
and the United States, fluttering,
fluttering, fluttering, fleeting.
She had mentioned something
about Buffalo, but somehow
the image of barrels bursting
of swollen, shaven women
stinking in contorted bowels,
exiting light, entering night
could not escape the hour’s
glass eye, and all eyes locked
in on your diva cop jowls.

And if you could, you would
probably have washed out
your mouth with Labatt
or Listerine till you were blue
in the tongue, but I caught it
with my clack; and you,
oh you, you con of an artist,
what sorcery did you think
you could lick up to destroy
the objectified evidence
you had presented for any
good peacock to strut? You
doubled down so bone hard
on macho man guarding,
you kind of got broad-sided
by just enough salt for you
to know that a number knows
that you’re as safely yellow
as the meat of the Spanish
flag. Go ahead, let it flow;
usher me in to your burdens,
your white guilt you believe
in and believe somehow
rectifies your sanctimony.

Poetry, TX

Cut and Shoot
Live your Dash
This is the End

Politicians Are Corporations Too

“Politicians are corporations too,” says the two-headed cyborg. Philip K. Dickhead. Piss raining down on reasonable people. Reign it in, people. Let’s be civil, people. I have experienced (at least) three civil wars in my lifetime. Blood flows South, crypts are kept up North. How much pressure can one man stand? I’m not positive. I’m not a politician. I’m not a corporation. I’m a person. And I’d like to please everyone, myself. I literally broke my back for my people (you people). I’m not asking for a thank you. I’m just asking for a beer and some air conditioning. It’s so Goddamn hot this summer. I’m thinking about putting a Band-Aid on my face. I’m thinking about buying a convertible. A lemon. Hey, have you ever noticed that some spray paint smells like synthetic bananas? I wonder if spray paint in the Caribbean smells like synthetic plantains. I wonder what beer tastes like in Doha. I wonder what air conditioning feels like in Tokyo. I wonder what a peace sign means to a Qatari or Japanese teenager. I wonder what John Lennon’s death will mean in one hundred years.

Popeye Poem

Why do you have such an eye
for Popeye? Why don’t you
accept you are who you are?
You’re bigger than swollen
arm anchors and you’re
beyond hula hoop hipped
women. You’re kind of like
a Nick At Nite alien in drag
who does Wheel of Fortune
for breakfast and Monty
for dinner. Lunch
is usually old Billy Mays
commercials, if you can
find them. Huh? No, you’re
kind of like…wait, you’re
kind of whatever you say
you are. Wasn’t that the
point of writing this poem
in the first place? I’m sorry.

Populist Poem

I am an artist. I am a poet. I sometimes am a musician. Occasionally, I am a half-ass activist. But I am always an idealist. I actually do think art can have an effect on people if they see(k) it. I actually do think words can have an effect on people if they read them. This can be exemplified by the sentence before my last. I wish I was Peter Pan and had the endless youth to care more about music, but my body is falling apart and all I have to pick it up is pictures, objects, and words. Is there a way to get people to see them or read them without subscribing to pure Capitalism. What is the difference between Koons and Keynes? William Jennings Bryant was a decent model, but he had his issues, too. I, myself, have a soft spot for Peter Jennings. He was a good man. He was an eloquent man. I wish my art and poems could be articulated and communicated as widely and clearly as his were; I wish my demographics were enormously diffuse. But I am dirtier than Jennings. I am more offensive. But I am not Canadian and I don't have The American Broadcasting Company to answer to--but what does that mean? Does misanthropic Nationalism and relative obscurity grant you more freedom? I don't think so. I want to be a Populist, but I want to find a new meaning—for the word, and just in general.


Your tongue is balanced
like good salsa verde;
you say only the right things.

My cheeks are clunky
like pig’s knuckles;
I punch myself in the teeth.

No medication on the market
can give decent directions;
even you fail me sometimes.

But you are some kind
of smoothed out mariner;
wisdom without the salt.

I love coast walks
with coast guards;
creatures, bottles, etc.

I carry everything with me,
aiming to avoid rocky lines;
am I too oblique?

Post-Master General Blues

After months of fly traps, I got the Varsity Blues. Fluorescence. Incandescence. It really doesn’t matter, really. Stare at images, circle monuments, and carve your name in the grave you make. I want my tombstone to be as bleak as Ad Reinhardt’s. I have learned to drown in the black. Floating is for frozen thoughts, and frozen thoughts lead to frozen actions. You can thaw yourself if you’re willing to stand in the light. Fluorescence. Incandescence. It really doesn’t matter, really. But in a space so white, nothing is dim. The oeuvre can be over, so soon, so grim. In this world I’ve entered, I’ve seen so many yards: grass, wood, and concrete, mainly. In this world, I’ve seen other yards, too: but the power people prefer meters. You can walk forever outside of this world. And you can look forever for lost messages; but if they’re lost, where else do you have to go?


In a lonely exit bedroom, I watched Rushmore on VHS and I thought about what you might have been like as a teenager out in the Midwest. I was scraping my knees back then, trying to be a street titan, but I was too scared to not give a fuck. I’m too weak to do anything I’ve ever really wanted to do, like play in the NBA or jump off of buildings. I never wanted to be an artist. I never wanted to grow up. When I was thirteen, I got a Fender Stratocaster and learned how to play “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer. When I was fourteen, I learned how to play “Tired of Sex.” When I was fifteen, I lost my virginity. When I was sixteen, my girlfriend was obsessed and I saw the irony. When I was seventeen, I got sick and wanted to die. When I was eighteen, I got worse and decided to live. By nineteen, I made a painting worth saving. At twenty, I made a few more. At twenty-one, I took control and threw them all away. I still make paintings and want to throw them all away. Do you know what that feels like?


When I was in the second grade,
I wanted a pair of Reebok pumps;
one day, my dad took me shopping
and bought himself a pair instead;
I think this is my first clear memory
of someone asserting their power.

Prepared Self

prepared self
played like a Cage
wandering wonder
wondering other

thoughts upon
thoughts upon
yawns of tired
racing thoughts

prepared and
how predictable
you I we can be
so predictable

the suits say
soothsay there
is going to be
a storm soon

stocks tuck
tick tock tick
tucked beneath
derived debris

these streets
these sheets
sheltered and
stoned again

can this canned
existence exist
on some other
lonely tetherball

spin spun win won
scrambled words
like a game a sport
a concussed cage

nobody quits nobody
quits nobody just is
instead we must resign
and give up autonomy

but nobody is ever
really prepared
to be told to get
off their own planet


Prestige means
nothing when
you have a penis
for a nose
or bags of dirt
for hands.

If you could break
every window
in your house
with bronze
would you be
a satisfied man?

I hope you
use your
dirt bag
real nice
instead of
with your
penis nose.


I was a boy once;
Now I am just a child.

Art makes me an animal;
I am already a savage.

I eat with my hands;
I’d do anything for you.

Caligula and cavemen;
They mean nothing to me.

Ethics are primal;
I’d do anything for you.


I read recently about categories
Visceral and mysterious divisions

I don’t understand compartments
Baggage isn’t always so fresh

Sometimes breathing is important
Sometimes it’s too much to breathe

Recently you called me sanguine
And I called you smeared charcoal

You can call me red all you want
You’re too eloquent to be yellow

We can both be blue primarily
But other times black or white


Eating at a vegan restaurant that I probably can’t afford,
Overhearing mobile makeup advice from an elderly woman,
Studying for a take home exam four years out of college,
I ask myself, “What is wrong with you? What is your problem?”

Procrastination (Laundry Day)

People are starving
Portions should be shrinking
Comfort food makes me uncomfortable
And I saw pancakes the size of car tires today
I wonder what’s going on in Akron
I should give my sister a call
What is she learning?
Did you hear Mark Wahlberg could have prevented 9/11?
Oh, I found out that my ex-girlfriend is getting married this summer
I was told you don’t get extra points for marrying young
Maybe you do
I wish she would have told me herself
God, that addict doing T’ai Chi by the corner store is distracting
I need to drink some orange juice and watch America’s Next Top Model

Proctor & Gamble

I like to think
This company
Was named
After verbs
Not people.


Ask any person
particularly proficient
with any language,
particularly English,
since I am proficient
with that language,
how truly important
pronouns really are;

I think pronouns
are underrated,
and I like to root
for the underdog.

Proverbial Fantasies

When I was a child,
I wanted to be
from Calgary,
so I told people
I was from Calgary.

When I was a child,
I wanted to be
Jewish, sort of,
so I told people
I was Jewish, of sorts.

As it turned out,
I am Jewish,
not chosen,
but that’s okay;
are you okay?

And every time
I meet a Canadian,
I am jealous,
so I ask them
about their religion.

Psychoactive Idealism

It’s fashion week, so I’m told
Less women are wearing bras
Breasts and wallets are dropping
Complaints are made, but rarely are filed
Accountability cannot be documented
Unless you get something on paper
And unless I put my thoughts on paper
They don’t really matter, do they?
And you know what is a sad thought?
Feminism is just a word these days
Most people are too scared to say
It’s become a slur of sorts
And I’m sure that’s offensive to some
But that’s only because I’m a white man
And to that, I say, “It’s not me, it’s you”
Because I’m not cold, the world is

Every year, it’s the same thing
Numbers are useless unless you can feel them
I can feel the humidity about to cum
And for the next few months to follow,
The heat I mostly hate will hibernate
Like a lazy husband you can’t divorce
I can feel that extended business trip
It’s coming on strong now, it’s coming

It’s almost time to drink warm drinks
And wear warmer clothes
Part of me is going to regret
Not going to the beach this summer
When I’m wearing my pea coat
And looking like a sad captain
Drifting towards the miraculous
In search of nothing more
Yet sacrificing something
To be determined, so we’ll see

Lately, I have been feeling off
And now I’m turned around
Maggots are everywhere
This is not headline news though
I can be a doofus on occasion
And I can apologize unnecessarily
This is not headline news either
But I have an acute sense of perception
And I am almost always aghast
At the collective negligence
It’s willful, really, if you sink in with it
Maggots! They’re everywhere
I see them through my 3-D glasses
Eating through the tissue
That bureaucracy blows

And it hurts to know
That glory holes still exist
They have always been pubic
Now, they are public
And when the maggots age
And become old enough to fly
We will be too tired to swat
Well, any of us who might have cared
But the problem is most of us don’t
And the time will come, it will
When the perversity of privilege
Will be just another bowl
Of mac and cheese left idle
By doofus after doofus after doofus
So that some thick-veined dickhead
Can mouthfuck us pour schmucks
While fantasizing of Chloë Sevigny
Proving individualism prevails

There is a good chance that your dad told you
That individualism was what built this country
Because there is an even better chance
That his dad was what built this country
But his dad and his dad’s friends built it together
Fuck off if you believe they built it themselves
And fuck off if you were offended by the one gaff
Obama made in his first four years of office
It’s only’s because he is a black president
And to that, I say, “It’s not him, it’s you”
Because he’s not a fool, you are

You know, back then, you can be more than certain
There were plenty of thick-veined dickheads
Mouthfucking those poor schmucks too
The difference was, they could see it
They just believed that what they swallowed
Would be a miraculous sacrifice for future glory

Woody Guthrie said he was bound for glory
He said this land was made for you and me
And it’d be a bit cynical not to believe it was
But there is no more tea to toss in the sea
It’s been hijacked and buried behind new walls
I look around at the profusion of glory holes
Even in courthouses and hospitals and libraries
I watch con-men and cronies play catch
In the dustbowls that once were playgrounds for all
But very few of us can afford a mitt these days
Maybe only a few can afford a bra these days
So I think about how silly it’d be to kick start
A campaign to putty the holes, or at the very least
Sandbag the sandbaggers trickling down what?

Reagan didn’t want a deluge, he wanted a drought
If you read the reports, he got what he wanted
And sadly, we have resigned ourselves
To few options other than closing our eyes
But I’m too proud to resign to anything

Puberty Box

Stuck again
in self-imposed
testing waters
like a comedian
in a Jacuzzi.

Push Comes To Shove

When you bully me,
it’s all the same.

I can take whatever
you want to give.

I will take whatever
you want to give.

I can accept exceptions;
I will accept exceptions.

I am the bully now;
you are the frog.

Paraphrase meta-phrases
(and it’s all the same).

Masterpiece merchandise
(and it’s all the same).

When push comes to shove,
it’s anything (and it’s all the same).


The other-side girls always had the best quips.

R & R

Mel Gibson
is not what
you think
he is, okay?

Nobody is
ever what
you think
they are.

If we can’t
let some
things be,
who are we?


You are
a hard rock
I can scribble
my thoughts on,
and you stay still,
waiting for my arms;
the grass is your bed for now,
yet you never beg for sleep.


I spilled half my breakfast on me;
I mean, that Kardashian bitch did,
but you can’t place blame elsewhere
in this time, in this town, because
there is always a flood light on you,
or at least a finger pointing at you.

There are black and blue suits
on every corner waiting to ask
a question of some new origin,
and it is to your benefit to have
ankles wrapped in roots if you
don’t want to be enraptured.

Once a month, I am accused
of being invisible and I’m like,
“I might as well just be back
in Virginia, reading scripture.”


Rascals, we’re all rascals
Shave your goatee, man
I’m Herculean, don’t you know
Go to bed with me, madam
I’ll make life worthwhile
I’ll write you Brautigan poems
Publish me on your fridge
Punish me for no reason
We are more than might
We are more than maybe
We are more than mortals
We are more than museums

Raw Hidden

Stalled stallion
Craving carrots
Grabbing cabbage

Bugged out
Tail spun
Gone good

For at least a week
A cartoon can be real
Even Trojans for life

Raw Meat

Vampires are all the rage
and I totally get it,
even though I prefer zombies,
but still I must ask
what’s at stake these days
and what’s well done?

Raymond Chandler Poem

Running late
Running around
Rubbing legs
Rubbing out

Every last desire
Every last memory
Even for lovers
Even for enemies

You will follow
You will fall out
You know what
You know it


When any McDonald’s man
pole dances on the train ride
back from a new New Amsterdam,
you ought to realize it’s time
to get off and walk home instead.

Reader’s Digest

I eat words and zinc to protect myself from the world.

Real Demands

What do you believe
you are owed today?
You deserve what
you get, some folks
get what they want,
and their parents
want new family
portraits to hang
in their living rooms
nobody actually
lives in; some minds
are so hollowed out,
so drowned out in
the Voorhees Lakes
we create for ageless
issues developed
in our youth years,
issues enveloped
by our youth fears;
and then we hear it,
the Surround Sound
echoes upon itself
and we have to ask
about real demands.

Realist Poem

”There are so many shitty sunsets,”
a stoner once told me in a garden,
outside a punk house in Richmond.

He asked me if I liked The Raven;
I misheard—I thought he was talking
sports, knowing I'm from Pittsburgh.

But he was really talking literature,
knowing we were in Richmond, and
well, knowing I'm from Pittsburgh.

I said I remember some of the words
from high school and asked for his
opinion on the writer's master work.

He said he knew an obsessed kid;
I said I knew a few, but they were
probably into vampires these days.

He said, "Yeah, I get what you mean;
I'm more of a zombie guy though,
you know? I'm more of a realist."


Tomorrow is gone
and well, tomorrow
is Tuesday, I think.

I think my definition
of rebellion is different
than that of a rebel’s.



Redemption Chain

gold locks
old leaks
duct taped
good nature
in cyclical
for human
it games

Redundancy In A Bag

An old Italian woman
circled me like a hawk,
telling me three times
to put my cigarette
in the trash nearby,
as if I ashed in her eye.

Apparently, this broad
is the vice police chief
of Lower Manhattan.

I politely asked her
to walk her wrinkles
into a crosstown bus.

She Tipper Gore gasped
like it was still the ‘80s
down on the Bowery
and I was like G.G. Allin
disguised in a plaid shirt;
where’s a crosstown bus?


You were my hero
forever, as a child;

we wrestled like Greeks,
and then I read Hemingway
and I pinned myself down.

You are a good man,
faith never forgets;

I am going to pump
my stomach full of beer
in your honor tonight.


Do you still respect
a respected person
if they publicly admit
they don’t like to read?

“How could anyone
not like to read?”
How could a poet
not want to ask?

I lose respect
like drunkards
lose paychecks.

I give respect
as a given, if
only you get it.

Respect is
a love song
you cannot
slow dance
to because
it is a legend,
a compass,
a dead end,
a red head,
rifling on.

Respect is
a shot of
a love song
you cannot
slow dance
to because.


Burning wafts of air slither
beneath my apartment door
from outside in the hallway.

I am reminded of lifeguards
at Pittsburgh public pools
microwaving soggy snacks.

I am reminded of teenage
nipples soaking through
stretched out bikini tops.

I am reminded of palms
covered in scented lotion,
secretly covering my crotch.

And the animated nostalgia,
dying slowly on screen
at drive-in double features.

Now oxygen is charred,
my water is carbonated,
and this decade is a haze.


Some cunt on a Bluetooth
Won’t stop talking about
Her dog’s bowel movements

She says it’s her roommates
Who are creating the problem
Of not being able to train him
How to shit more responsibly
And I want to call her bullshit

She is now onto blue cheese
Eating her salad furiously
And I am furious I can’t eat

Retroactive Poem

Your perfume is overwhelming
and shit, I just remembered
my library books are overdue.

Maybe if I just don’t go back,
they won’t come after me;
but that would be sad, right?

Oh, you have a sadder smile
than any country singer
I’ve ever heard before.

And I hear violins and trumpets
rising and crashing again
out on Rockaway Beach.

We can stay locked in
if you want; we can stay
away from waving fists.

I try to avoid thrashings
and I never play the lotto,
but I know you like anxiety.

Why don’t you try a new ride,
like maybe a strip mall unicorn,
or a county fair tilt-a-whirl?

Sometimes my metaphors
are meant to be taken literally;
where is your decoder ring?

I remember our first days,
recklessly riding in old cars;
you wanted to be James Dean.

You have always been
a delicate beauty,
a wonder of frailty.

My flaws are out of time,
they are out of the future,
and you are late again.

But I will buy you ice cream
from a Carvel in Queens
like we’re in Technicolor.

And I will give you my books
to get rid of the evidence,
and to prove to you I love you.


A friend of a friend
Is running up tabs
For everyone,
And asks for nothing
Else in return.

A lover of love
Asks me to meet her
Somewhere in the city,
And asks for nothing
Else in return.

I can be whatever
You want for a moment
Right now or later,
And ask for nothing
Else in return.

Reverse Darwinism

There is a dark place
underneath leaves,
where bugs eat earth
and humans leave
the things they forget,
or the things they think
they want to forget.

There is a light place
on the Upper West Side
where strollers stroll
into far darker places;
and the kids are empty,
and the parents can be
forgotten, if possible.


If there is a breath on a cob web,
does that mean a spider has bit
its last bit, or do we need to worry?

Ripped Tides

Flickering lights,
blistering nights,
filled with fights—

file these away
and mark with
labels on the sides
of Manila lapels
as “unnecessary.”

Untwisting ideas
we have knotted
around our axons

like downward drunkards—
deaf and lost at sea
(like, probably the Bering),
we each ask ourselves,
“Where are our bearings?”

Straight ahead, away
from what we know,
not sure which way
is what, or where,
and where what
continent is, in terms
of here or there,
or far or near,
I search for some
semblance of some
thing I can claim
to be “necessary.”

Overhead, overboard,
we see the stars
abandoning us,
and the water
is thirsty for more…
for more what?

And for what purpose
do we get so raged
on waves of mutation?

It’s an aberrant evolution—
the way we sober up
from drunkards to dolphins.

No charts or graphs,
or songs or maps,
can properly convey
the ways in which
our tides get ripped,
and how the ropes
we tug fray or stray
and never come back
unless we tie our waists
to the origin of ourselves.

Road Trip

You love chrome candy
Spit on those car tires
Slick ride, hold tight
Drive me to sun down
Sing me Some Girls
Buy me Sunoco snacks
We can share everything
I don’t mind highways
If you don’t mind them
Forget about the tolls
We will get massages
From some Asians soon

Roaming Round

A man topped off
in a Malcom X cap
circled around me
like a fat horse fly
in the melting Catskills.

I soon felt dirty;
I soon felt a second
shower was in order.
Enemies in theory
can become immortal.

Hop on one train,
hop on another train;
a man was pushed
in front of my train
last night after work.

Can you keep track
of your long, lost days
(long last days) without
a calendar these days?
Did your phone die again?

Who will sing the ringtone
at your future funeral?
Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder?
It makes no difference
when your battery is fried.

Rogue Trip

A drunk Metro-North conductor
slithers along the Hudson
at a bumpy ten miles per hour,

And Dre gives me a look
like a lady in a beauty shop
would after a botched cut.

I am immune to bad moods
in this moment because I have
so much fresh air awaiting me

just miles away; just
miles away, I will be staring
at mountains and castles,

but how could I know that
Putnam County could be
so surreal, so regal?

There are so many luxury cars
and white guys with Asian wives
up in these parts; why is that?

What are those people doing
in that empty storefront
with notepads and laptops?

What kind of lawsuits happen
around here, and where is
the nearest hospital, just in case?

After two whiskey and Cokes,
two slices of dumbed down pizza,
and four beers between us both,

I say, “We are mavericks!”
Dre says, “We are cavaliers!”
I say, “Look at her!”

After seeing a woman get down
on all fours at six o’clock
in a bar on a random Sunday,

I couldn’t have guessed
we’d be eating breakfast
at her place the next morning.

Role Model

Charles Barkley
is not a role model
(neither am I),
if you’re looking
for a false idol.

If you’re looking
for a false idol,
I’ll drink blood
with you on Sunday
(in Greenpoint).

Round & Round

this petite man
knows no tact

tiles for sweat
Clorox snorts

I smell red dye
washed out right

let’s call this
a wash okay


about rape

rape room
room rates

room in relation
to the complex

real estate
and nation

states of union
civil or not so

civilized friends
with full benefits

but friend let me
tell you about how

you cannot fool
a fool with foul

played games
round & round


If I ever runaway to the Berkshires,
I might start to watch baseball
With bunny ears and batty men,
But I’ll never play golf with anybody.


You go running to feel good.
I go running to avoid problems.
What’s the difference?

Running Of The Bullshit

Shepherd’s Pie
New Year’s Eve

The Apocalypse
Is Now Or Later

Farmer’s Almanac
On Sale At Wal-Mart

Crop Signs Lacking
New Resolutions

Herds Are Hearing
The Public Alarm

We Are Soon To Be
Bleached In The Sun

We Are Soon To Be
Impeached By The Son

We Are Running
With Bulls In Shit

Sad Bottle

Here, I see a bottle of Beefeater
with its base rimming an old table
and its neck precariously leaning
on a recently infected window sill.

I have only visited this place
once before and the only thing
I noticed that time was the Xbox
that everybody was surrounding.

This time is even more depressing;
I feel like the Xbox and my friends
feel like acquaintances for the night,
so I make friends with the sad bottle.


There are so many cheetahs running up and down my block; where is Herzog at times like these? I’m sure lots of dudes with master’s degrees ask that question with regularity, but who has the audacity to follow these ferocious, untamed beasts of the raw and wild urban streets? Sometimes, when I am crouched down, sweating without shade or shades, I ask myself why people ever started wearing baseball caps backwards.

Say Anything

I woke up to the isolated smell of graham crackers,
looked out the window and saw dudes on quads,
shredding the first serious snowfall of the season.

I rolled over like a man on fire and posted up on her,
she said she wanted coffee and maybe a banana,
I said okay, but I was wondering about that boom box.

Romance and nostalgia are not the cousins you think;
think about it, think about what you make versus allow;
and how do you think we can get past clichés anyways?


why do I obsess over
every issue imaginable?

maybe if I can get over
myself, I can get over
the dirt under my nails
and scratch away at

the things that haunt
my relative relationships?

I act as if I have an elephant
dick and I can’t prevent
jizzing in my pants in public,
when really, I’m just a schmuck

who thinks my own simple world
is the size of the San Diego zoo


Sibilant siblings
mining old photos
to embarrass me
when I’m famous.

Scribbled Poem

I borrowed a car just to drive on the Jersey Turnpike. You say, “What a strange thing to calm a person down”? Well, Elvis Costello is calming people here down, and that’s despite the conspiracy theorists spinning on stationary stationery stools. Did you know that George Clinton secretly ran the country from 1988-2008? Oh, wow. Have you noticed that these days, diner waitresses are never named Florence or Margaret (or Flo or Maggie, for short). Now they’re all Ashley or Briana (or Ash or Brie, for short). But seriously, who are Elvis Costello’s real fans? Certainly not these waitresses or conspiracy theorists. I met Elvis at The Andy Warhol Museum when I was in high school. I made a screenprint of Elvis Presley for him and he gave me his autograph. I thought that was nice of him. I remember “Pump It Up” being in a lot of movie trailers when I was growing up. I’m not sure if it actually was, but I remember thinking so; and I remember liking it a lot, but not knowing what the song was actually called, or who actually sang it. Then I found out it was the guy whose autograph I had. Then I realized it was the guy whose cassettes my dad used to play me when I was traveling from one suburb to another to stand on freshly cut grass for hours at a time. Then I remembered that Ben burned me a few of Elvis’ CDs when I was maybe a freshman, but then I remembered that I lost them. But then my parents had bought me his greatest hits when I was maybe a sophomore, but I only sort of listened to them because I felt like a dick for losing the CDs Ben burned me. So I guess my dad and Ben did have some things in common. And I had something in common with them too. I had the autograph.


What’s a sculpture?

Perhaps it is a monument,
born to be destroyed,
unless some sort of royalty
allows it to be perched
upon a throne,
enshrined and shiny,
shining in the natural light
of some Kunsthalle
or in the backyards
of human Gods?

Perhaps it is an ignorant relic—
the best kind of relic—
a marker,
a signifier,
an identifier—
something to make sense
of the nonsense we make?

Perhaps it is a toy
to be played with
until it is tossed away
like a Happy Meal?

Perhaps it is a bartering chip
that only self-poached individuals
can use to their advantage?

Perhaps it is nothing, at all;
just an object wasting time?


My dad told me he wanted my Self-Absorbed Painting, on consignment. He said it would remind him of how greed doesn't have to be so negative if only we could harness it for the greater good. I am amazed by his constant and consistent statue-esque perception. If only the rest of America could digest hypersaturated stars and stripes the way a man with such high cholesterol and low metabolism can on a regular basis. Over multiple stiff drinks, we raised our stiff right hands and clanked tall glasses to our popular opinion of a remote possibility of Hilary Clinton becoming president one day. My mutated feminist father blurted out with gay pride: “That is one bad ass bitch!” And maybe some women at the liberal artsy bar we were perched at could or would take offense to the fact that he called Hilary a bitch, but I hope they would embrace the Hip Hop sentiment he meant to send, and realize he prefers Green Tea. In the middle of some story he’s told me plenty of times before, but was a new voyage for his admiring audience of my closest homeboys, Michael Phelps texted me: “Sorry for everything, Keith.” I accepted the apology in silence, mainly because this technological glitch made me think a thought—what’s up with Apple’s newly imagined failed product for single mom’s: the iDad? I’m really relieved this product never made it to the mainstream market, where Phelps could or would endorse it in a nationwide commercial set to some Coldplay song written specifically for the miserably tragic handheld device that would be begrudgingly boycotted on a bench stand by our hopefully elected future president, Hilary. This is my final thought, for now. I would really like nothing more than to go to a popular museum show with Hilary and absorb other self-absorbed paintings by other self-absorbed painters with Hilary. You know why? Because every time I go to one of these Upper East Side shows, I feel like I’m at a Wayans Brothers movie on opening night, or better yet, another installment of the Final Destination series (or some relatively similar picture, you get the picture). The thing is—to me, that can be a tremendously entertaining way to spend an hour and a half of my time (or anyone’s time for that matter). In contrast, being in these rooms decorated with stained canvases, hugged by ornamental frames, I am surrounded by old bitties vomiting recycled ruminations derived from something they glossed over in some Peter Schjeldahl review while drinking their morning decaf concoctions, clearly, in their minds, making themselves self-proclaimed art critic experts. Meanwhile, these dillettantes end up coming off sounding more like Joy Behar or Nancy Grace after three sessions of auditing an online class about Impressionism through the University of Phoenix. And yes, Hilary is no Frank O’Hara of past or John Yau of present, but she would at least have the balls to tell these forever privileged twats to shut the fuck up. Sadly, like you, Mr. Phelps, I only have the courage to smile, nod, and walk away. So as I accept your texted apology, I must counter-offer a typed one of my own—one that you will probably never read. But it’s the least I can do for all the times I have cut up on you (without your awareness) for being a dorky ass bitch, much like Eli Manning or any of the other high-profile honkey athletes of the world today. I do this in the privacy of my own sheltered lifestyle. So although, I will not claim to be a dork like the rest of you, I can be a bitch. And I am sorry for my hypocrisy. I, too, have my moments of timid humility and oddly-extended courtesy, and maybe that ain’t so bad, after all. I can accept my self-absorbed nature. But you know what? All artists are self-absorbed and so are all politicians. So that said, I still want a “bad ass bitch” in office come 2016.

Self-Portrait In A Concave Mirror

I dropped a weightless cigarette
on the way to see importance.

I drooped in my non-upholstered seat a bit
when I saw a sweater vest suffocate
every word that stretched in my own head
as I thought about what it must be like
to have to limp even more than I do now.

Sometimes I miss college campuses,
and the way great ones smell
when spring rolls around like eyes
crossing fresh cut lawns, covered
in bare legs; and oh, how asses hang out.

But the last time I was on one,
I heard a guy jerking off in a stall
of a bathroom in the auditorium,
where an elderly idol was outside,
saying something about precision.

Hey, do you have to hold a phone up to your face
in order to know what you look like, after all?

Self-Sufficient Poem

"You know, there are only four ways to swipe a credit card" an old man told me at the CVS in Gramercy. I said, "I know." He said, "Just checking."

"You know, you really ought to get a new job," my doctor told me, looking out onto the East River. I said, "I know." He said, "No, really...this one is killing you."

Walking alongside a park only used by hood rats and well, hood rats, I watched the elderly, homeless, and terminally ill watch a pick-up game of basketball. I thought about how I used to break ankles and how now, my ankles are broken. I don't know how I even support myself. I don't know how I even stand up for myself.

I stopped feeling bad for myself, for a moment, when I caught a whiff of cucumber. What an odd smell to smell. What an odd place to smell it. I thought, "Well, at least I'm not losing my senses." But I am losing weight. I guess cucumbers don't suffice as meals.


The Dolby Stereo stuntman
races past the corny, flaky
young morning afters. His
motorcycle is a lost swan
up for adoption, if he gets
one more citation. Where
did you sleep last night?
My friends are all hookers
getting hooked, and they’re
unionizing soon. We should
go camping out West before
it’s too late. It’s a new year,
but it won’t last for very long.

Serif vs. Sans Serif

Sometimes I feel plainly plain
So I go with Arial or Helvetica
Other times, I feel sophisticated
So I go with Times New Roman


Wafers washed down
with red wine
are as powerful
as candies piled
in labyrinthine palaces.

Tibetan sand paintings
in nature, naturally
are as revelatory
as oil schmeared
on giant color fields.

People often like to ask,
“What’s the matter
with Kansas?”
I ask, “What’s wrong
with everywhere else?”

I mean, shrug your atlas,
and ask your own
looming questions
of your own people,
while looming, yourself.

If a sign instructs you
to do something,
you feel obligated,
but if a friend asks,
you might squander time.

Why do we believe
we are so important?
Why do we believe
in anything at all?
Why don’t we ask why?

Maybe straight answers
are just too queer;
maybe after death,
there will be no years,
just a room and a key.

Maybe greed is our God,
maybe God is greedy,
maybe trust is not an issue,
but faith is a Comfort Inn,
and there is no vacancy.




Breast fed
on tits and
asses men
are asses
about tits
and asses.

Sex Education

An elderly gaggle
Posts up real hard
Outside Spanish mass;

The man is in casual attire,
The women in Sunday casual;

The man tells the women
His younger girlfriend
Wants him to go down;

The women sympathize
And agree she’s disgusting;

God knows this country
Needs to learn a few things
When it comes to fucking.

Sex Wars

Whenever I watch
Rachel Maddow
discuss issues
directly involved
with women,
I can’t help
but think
of what
my personal
Pete Seeger
would have
to say about
sex wars
on trimmed fields.

Shade & Storage

“It’s hard to find a good lamp,”
Donald Judd once said.

I think I once said,
“It’s hard to find a good box.”

I think he generally agreed with me,
Which is why he made so many.

Shark Meat

I was at dinner with strangers
and I tried to gauge by collars
whether they were talking
football or business, when I
decided it didn’t matter; they
could probably dodge creditors
and the government as quickly
as a Christian quarterback can
dodge Michelin Men stand-ins,
standing in their way every
Saturday for a single sheet
of a watermarked ink drawing
and some mini-serigraphs.


I’ve got a rotten feeling in my diaphragm;
I am a dog in Central park, covered in dirt,
being eyed by blind worms, being filled with
thoughts like, “Oh, isn’t this convenient?”

Too much self-analysis never hurt anyone;
I’m sure this too will pass, like even the worst
student in an all-boy New England school,
so I’ll have another on me and rot away.

Sick (Not Well)

There are moments when it just feels right
To drop a cinder block on either of your feet
Because you don’t feel like walking anymore

And you don’t always have to justify
Crying or taking your shirt off
When your world is too tiresome

I don’t want to smoke another cigarette
I don’t want any more external stress
I’ve got enough programmed inside

It would be great to befriend a Navajo
Breathe in his aromatic good vibes
And catch dreams in the desert

I need a healer sooner than later
I’ve forgotten about ObamaCare
It’s like a Harvey Danger memory

There are scant elements of hope
But every chalkboard gets erased
Even the ones without erasers

Sitting In The Lobby At The NYU College Of Dentistry

A buzzard says to a bee,
“Hey, do you know me?”

The bee says to the buzzard,
“I don’t believe I can say I do.”

The buzzard says back,
“Then stop buzzing at me.”

The bee stops a moment,
Then says, “That stings.”


Head in the clouds
Think of the life you
Could have had
If you listened
To your parents
You can be a master
Of many things
To some people
To some degree
But you'll never
Be the owner
Of the massage chair
On page 49
I think that's the page
If you only rely
On some degree

My grandmother
Made me a ceramic mug
When I was a child
Hand painted text
Wrapped around white
In ironic Ivory Black
And the words read
Keith Future Millionaire
If it weren't a cylinder
I'd swear it was a ball
A Magic 8 Ball
Full of manure
Shake shake shake

Sleep Late, My Lady Friend

There was a sweet song by this title
sung by a dapper drunk and it drapes
me every time like cold sheets
and a warm comforter, tangled up
in blues nobody would ever ask for.

But I accept the blues for what they
are; they are what they claim, some-
thing I cannot say for most other
things I have experienced in life; hey,
my lady is not a liar, she is a friend.

My lady friend doesn't get the blues;
she is far too warm, but she does
understand sadness, and she
does occasionally sleep far too late,
but works hard and makes me proud.

There was a slick show by this title
hung up in Berlin by three youngins
making it up and up; I know one,
I'm getting to know the other,
and I would love to know the third.

Sadly, I could only see reproductions,
but that seems to be the case more
often than not for me and great art;
needless to say, a flat picture can
fill your mind in person or on paper.

The one I know well works harder
than almost anyone I've ever met;
he is like a one-man factory shop,
and he treats me like a little brother,
head-locking me into a kind of pride.

People are afraid of pride, but how
can you move forward without it?
Gold stars are like marshmallows—
they should be burned; but a good ego
should always stay on a warm flame.

Sleepless and Sedated

This Gothic room
has mint paint chip
flavored ice cream.

Do you want to swell up
with me on death calories?

I can’t take these feelings,
anymore (anymore than you
can); and what’s a fact?

It’s a feat to remember
all those karaoke songs.

I would give up most nights
to have one like we used
to (sleepless and sedated).

Snow Job

Down on the corner,
classic rock is stoned
and some health freaks
are still complaining.

We could break out
brooms or just break.

We could wash boards,
but apathy cleaned house.

Proper infantile seating
is a priority some places;
don’t let foreign customs
rattle your tail beyond.

Is this city a new show
about to air on Bravo?

I like most television;
don’t be a Rastafarian.

Did you know Vermont
endorses fantastical
corporate energy drinks?
Life is a snow job, dicks.

Social Security

Hot liquids
All night long

Can be spicy too

Everybody chill
Said the bartender

We're freezing
Said the crowd

Ice cube cue balls
Pick pocket corner

I thought I lost my umbrella
I thought someone stole it
But it just got kicked out

I thought this older artist
Was checking me out
But I guess he is married

I really like his work
I really love my girlfriend
I really got tanked

How big of a tank do you have?

I think mine is getting smaller

Why don't I ever listen to warnings?

I think it's because my left ear is bad

But I disregard written warnings too:


When I was eating
Some mystery meat
At some mystery den
Lonely and lonesome
Surrounded by strangers
Three Chinese men
Who stared at me
Like I was a daughter
I felt a little drowsy
I felt a little intense

When I tried to beat
A red light turn green
And almost was struck
By a convoy of cabs
But instead slid
On slippery wet snow
And struck my face
Against my own autonomy
I felt a little drowsy
I felt a little intense

When I woke up at 4 AM
At the Norwood J stop
And two police officers
Told me to go home ASAP
And I accidentally called my mom
And my dad told me to be a man
And I could finally feel my face
And I didn't like how it felt
I felt a little drowsy
I felt a little intense

When I got back home
And Rachel was in a sweat
And was no longer in pants
And didn't scold me at all
But instead took off my clothes
And took me to our bed
And told me never again
Will I scare her like that
I felt a little less drowsy
I felt a little less intense

I felt a little bit more secure

Socialist Home

Give a penny
Take a penny
Find a quarter
In the couch

Songs Are Like Birds

Songs are like birds;
how many mates
are too many?

You can throw yourself
away like crumbs of crumbs;
and maybe you should
if you don’t fear maybes;
are you okay with losing?

Begging beggars
to give up on life;
and hidden right
behind what is left
is some hidden life;
do you see it?

Sperm Whale

Laid on my back
I am a stupid whale
Breathing heavier
Than I should

You are standing
Over my contortions
Like Nicole Eggert
And I want water

Spirit Animal

arm pits peeled like citrus
surprisingly make basements
feel like pet cemeteries;
I always liked the smell
of Palmolive, but I guess
greasy animals and dish soap
never really made out;
ask Alaska, no, ask Alaska;
oh God, I don’t even know
the last time I’ve been buried
in snakeskin, like a Native
American, pumping fists
and making peace, smoking
weed and pulling up Earth
from deep below see level;
there was a time once,
when I had virgin hands
that I must have shed skin
and shed shoes, ran barefoot
to the Raritan, floated filled
with Robitussin, until I woke
up on the James, and now,
I am my own spirit animal,
freshly re-born, smelling
like Johnson & Johnson
baby oil, the sequel.

Spiritual Healing

Face down,
in a paper towel hole
with golf clubs for limbs,
I have such clearer vision.

I swear I hear “I Swear” by All-4-One.

I would do anything for a long train ride.

Meanwhile, maybe
somewhere in Europe,
someone wants to buy one of my paintings
and hang it in one of their bedrooms.

Spit On A Stranger

I've been thinking long and hard about the things you said to me, like a bitter stranger. And now I see the long, the short, the middle, and what's in between. I could spit on a stranger. But I could never, I would never spit on a stranger. Today, I was walking on West Broadway, talking to my mom, explaining the antics of a bipolar diva trying to bully me into behavior opposite my instincts, trying to bully me out of the ethics I have spent years chiseling—like the ass of a Greek sculpture I can remember being intimidated by as a teen at the Carnegie Museum of Art. There was a whole room filled with them. They were surrounding me. They were surrounding giant models of Krypton. That was a site. That was a scene. That was a setup. Oh my God! That was a moment. Today, I had a major moment. My ethics might make me a certain type of asshole sometimes, but I will not be Chinese finger trapped into being someone else’s type of asshole. So I was rambling like this to my mom, and it was still kind of warm outside. It was still kind of sunny, surprisingly, but I could feel a fog, a mist, coming on. I could see it; I could sense it. And then…shit! I was smacked on the shoulder by a soggy bullet. No, it was just a loogie. I saw a muscular man dressed in mall clothes from some store like Wet Seal speedwalk past me, acknowledging me in an unapologetic way. Do you remember Wet Seal? Jesus. My crazy ex-girlfriend worked there in high school. Is that place still in business? If so, she’s probably a manager at a Wet Seal somewhere. So wait…did this tranny bitch just spit on me? I had to find out. Wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want to know why? So I speedwalked too and I caught up to her and I asked her, “Excuse me…excuse me…I hope you didn’t just purposely spit on me…did you?” She looked me directly in my face and spat on me a second time. I didn’t know how to react, so I just asked, “What the fuck?” Of course, I wasn’t really asking her “What the fuck?” I was mainly asking life “What the fuck?” But still, I was kind of asking her “What the fuck?” And as soon as I asked her “What the fuck?” she charged at me like a bull. Please don’t mind that poor, overused analogy. I was actually wearing red. Well…maroon, or maybe crimson. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? She chased me all the way up to West Houston until I Froggered my way through traffic to the other side. I felt like a sleeper. I felt like a shredder. She sneered at me with her wig still in tact. I got back on the phone with my mom. She asked, “Honey, what just happened? Are you all right?” I said, “What the fuck? New York City…” Is being an asshole a right in New York City? Is it a rite? Is that right? If it’s a must, I have decided I must still be my type of asshole; not some bipolar diva’s asshole, not some SoHo tranny’s asshole.

Stained Glass

Bowl full
of nuts.

Reverse pressure
reclining chair.

Old AM/FM clock radio
does the electric worm.

Bob Newhart
is funny, right?

Steel Toe

Bill Buckner vs. Jaromir Jagr!
Keep it coming, keep it flowing!

You can buy me a drink, anytime!
Even localized enemies are welcome!

Stiff Poem

I had a morose conversation about mortality
ten years ago, which is such a goth thing
to do when you’re a teenager, which I was;
well, unless the conversation is started
by a doctor with Ivy League degrees—

then it, you know, feels more real,
and since then, I’ve felt more tense
and anxious and motivated to do
as much as I possibly can for as long
as I possibly can, which is undetermined.

But I have determined that I would
rather sleep in my own bed
than a hospital bed, because I have
slept in a hospital bed, and you know
as well as I do, they are stiff like bodies.

And they are one step away from
a death bed, and as much as I like
the writers written about by doctors
with Ivy League degrees, I want to
live long like most of them live on.

Stifled Stiff

Here’s a note to square things
Is that what you wanted
Does that cover the angles
Or are we still going in circles

When people say
Some things are best left unsaid
I say maybe that’s true
But if a word is written
Is that different

To claim eclecticism
To shun eccentricity
Is like nailing crosses or coffins
For those most afraid to be undead

I am the word of gods
All poetry is ecclesiastical
A sin is a sign to grin a song
You don’t need to sing to hear
All poetry is musical


Grease rubbed and combed
until the leather is polished
and fit for Getty Images.

Strange Visit

She said she’d like to
watch something
on the WB tonight

I said the WB is now CW,
but I do have Martin
Season Two on DVD

She said she’d like to
go back West again,
probably tomorrow

I said I already bought
her a Greyhound ticket,
she can leave right now


It’s a wonder
I mean
the bottom
is always
willing to
support the top.

Subliminal Poem

Men spreading legs like Jethro
Bodine in transit, in transition—

everyone is coming or going
(to come), sooner or later.

There are freight trains,
there are faster trains.

There are rivers above,
there are graveyards below.

You can see beyond belief
while hyperventilating.

But who wants, needs to be
stuck, shimmed between bears?

There are never enough beers
to tame their circus fever.

Brown paper tumbleweeds
drift aside dusty Timberlands.

It’s like the Wild West versus
the Wild East Germany here.

Some walls truly do want to fall,
but how can you know which?

Empiricism, existentialism;
The Marines slogan on repeat.

I want to be more than I can be,
but there are laws that prevent me.

My neighbors avoid most laws—
unaware Rimbauds in disguise.

Most poets don’t know how to lie,
except when lying to themselves.

What is poetry if poetry is not
seeing Chinese and Arab elders

bonding over American sports
and sitcoms in line at 7-11?

I know more walls will fall;
acceptance is necessary.

I like my walls though;
I don’t feel confined.

It’s such a zoo out there;
giant mammal lap-sitting

and wild beasts looking like
they’re on amphetamines.

These five boroughs beg you
to believe in the wild world

Thoreau and Emerson rule where
you can spread your legs out, too.

Suburban Remix

A dandy dude sitting to the left
of me at the middle aged tapas
place my girlfriend made me go
to put a pinch of Copenhagen in
his upper lip after he ate some
shit floating on flour. This joint
was built for The Huxtables’
grandchildren and their white
friends. And this creamy dildo
bro probably went to Oberlin
or some school like that. He’s
probably a professional DJ or
something like that. He was
wearing three rings per hand
and black pointy toe shoes
on his elvish feet made for
dancing—the shoes or the
feet? It doesn’t matter. He
asked me if I had change for
a twenty. I said go next door,
the 7-11 probably could help
him out. The last time I went
to a 7-11, I thought about how
Matt Groening is most likely
a racist. The last time I thought
about racism, I tried guessing
the payout for winning the
Michigan Lottery. Do you have
home insurance? Do you have
a home? Every now and then,
I find suburban life attractive.

Summer’s Coming

Summer’s coming soon
and the light is longer;
so is the night time.

I saw the blackest eyebrows
on a Beth lookalike outside
a downtown storefront.

She was wearing one ring
per every finger as if they
were a spelling bee tattoo.

She was anxiously leering
at me as she puffed on her
extra long, white cigarettes.

Now I’m anxious and feel
like calling Beth tonight
and smoking on her roof.

Sunday Spooks

an orange container
to keep your lemon
keys and keyed in
you can be so sour

what’s all this talk
about fruit exclaims
the woman in electric
bananas pumped up

the real question
here is why are we
even discussing
Friday or Saturday


I don’t regret watching the sun rise
on Sundays; you know, anything
can happen when you declare some-
thing holy. Does a burning bush
create holy smoke? Do rasta boys
know something I don’t? I don’t
regret watching the sun rise on
Sundays; I always get depressed
when I have to watch the sun set.

Supplemental Poem

Hey, you’re as beautiful
as any one of the muscle cars
Hickey has ignited in prose.


Hell, you’re as beautiful
as any one of the landscapes
Cezanne restlessly painted.


No, you’re a Colombian sunset
damning God, despite His strength,
and He’s a JCPenney model.

Who’s testing anyways?

Swan Dive

Sitting shotgun style
In a green Dodge Caravan
With no one behind the wheel
I feel like a hunter

I am without keys
I am without anyone
The window is permanent
I see a rat eating another rat

It’s a cold, cold world
At least where I live
With nobody to hold on
And no buttons to push

A few days later
A condom is spotted
Half a mile from the murder
Ross says, “Oh, there it is…”

I think back a few years
And another Ross was red
His face was fuming
His body was burning

I think back a few more
On those thrift store paintings
I wish I had collected, myself
Those were real metro pictures

I fast forward a few more
Back to where I am, currently
Watching a skeleton suck down
A cosmopolitan in slow motion

Then I rewind every winter
And press pause on Titanic
Each year is a sinking ship
Off of which I must swan dive


I love the way
One syllable
Can change


I fear nothing,
except divorce,
and maybe, maybe
repeating myself.


Eagle eyes and Jesus buttholes, and a shooting gallery for nationalists and the clueless. What am I talking about? Who am I to talk? These people are all right. They probably have families and big ideas. But Goddamn, this place is too proud for itself. Once, I heard, “There’s no shame in pride” and I thought that was nice. And I still have no shame, even in a moment like this, where I am getting lost in my thoughts like Judge Judy at a flea market. I’m lost, but finding pride. I’m proud of the dude and his rolling fingers. He humbled me tonight like a Van Morrison song. Do you know that feeling? Like, “Hey, let’s not get carried away here, but why don’t we just like run away and get married in Santa Fe or something?” I would intravenously pump myself with that feeling if I could. Sometimes I feel like the worst junkie Jim Carroll knew. Other times, I feel like Jenny from Forrest Gump. Sometimes I really do encounter, experience, a sustained moment of nostalgia. It’s like a brand new pair of jeans made from the purest indigo, but they fit like the beat up Levi’s you wear to refurbish memories, because that’s basically what I’m talking about anyways. Synergy?

Tanked Night

How you guys doin'?

Front of the house lit
Back of the house dim

How you guys doin’?!

Front of the house up
Back of the house down

How you guys doin’??!?!

Front of the house high
Back of the house higher

Tar King and The Mountain Boys

I was rolling around spicy poetry
when I came to no one ever listens
to the words I write, and I’m out
of gas and my wheels are tired,
and Jack and Jim got the last
of my grease; The Tar King has
come, I’m told, and when he comes,
he gets what he wants. Go tell it
on The Mountain Boys and see
what happens when they decide
to unzip their packages full of lead
and piss, and canonize my death.

Taxicab Confession

auction house divas
offering compliments
and complimentary
coffee to the willing

master baiters
join the conga line
calypso eclipsed




going once
going twice
going back
going forth

lobbies and wine rooms
are no place for genius
types to linger on with
lopsided conversations

I’m going to go home
I need a late lunch
I’m going to the desert
I have a sealed hunch


Mayor Bloomberg is making my life
so expensive, when I die, my ashes
will look like sand from the Ivory
Coast and smell like steak tartare.


I wish I could speak Tagalog or something,
so I could confuse the Portugeuse man
who was terrorizing the night for all parties.

Every body close to my body was signed on,
signing bulk alcoholic treaties with NAFTA;
we were collectively apolitically in agreement.

I couldn’t help but see cartoon faces,
because they were everywhere, man;
and this terrorist said man after everything.

Have you ever reached “maximum lukewarm”?
It’s like you have to be burning up on the inside
and freezing on the outside, or vice versa.

I had reached maximum lukewarm,
and I don’t like it; except for on paper,
because paper can handle anything.

I have been stuffed full of Sriracha before,
but I’ve never had a little man try to climb
that far up into my asshole—it’s uncomfortable.

So I had to duck hunt and duck and run;
I scrambled, fried, and poached his eggs
until his hardware was like an Ecto Chamber.

I couldn’t help but feel bad—like most terrorists,
he never wanted to be one, but he couldn’t resist;
he was wired to know nothing but intensity.

The last terrorist I met was also Mediterranean;
he was from Greece and he threw my laptop
into the Aegean and gave a golden laugh.

I heard he was a good guy, too, but fuck;
good guys don’t try to snap my nights in half
like a wishbone and then wish me luck.


do you remember the first time you watched Purple Rain?
do you remember the first time you ate meatloaf your mother didn’t make?

there is hope in every crack of an egg,
there is trauma in every crack of pavement—
you can be skeptical of each encounter,
as if your neighbors are from an undiscovered planet,
because they probably are alien to your ways,
but when you find a palm you can trust,
any book can make so much sense,
even if you haven’t read one since high school.

and once you get through a Ulysses of a year, you can see so clearly
tombstones are like platinum records for the broken-hearted.

read the names, forget the dates;
it’s hard enough to concentrate—
listen to the ghosts’ breezy string section,
and the witchy shoes that tap like mallets on drums;
you don’t need a highlighted date to celebrate
the grave concerts scheduled for night time;
and every mourning, you can smear tears
like the man at the Jewish deli who knows your name.

it’s an old testament that keeps you confident and scrupulous,
but sometimes it is necessary to smile with the leprechauns.

The Ditch

There has to be a good explanation
for why a brand new Saab
was parallel parked outside
your apartment last week
as if it was at an outdoor mall.

Upon further inspection,
it was covered in sprayed mud,
with both tail lights smashed out,
and the front fender was sulking
like a tripped out stay-at-home mom.

When I was getting coffee that morning,
I overheard a Marie Claire type
blubbering to her flamboyant friend
about how she thought she saw
James Franco walking down the block.

The Excellence Of Bones

people say things come to them
in a dream when it's an easy
thought but I say things come
to me when I come to them

The Game Of Life

The icy mistress
is sweating now

her mutual funds
are nonexistent

her gentlemen
call her in spurts

her grammar
is worsening

no syntax
no context

she was going
to be a politician

until she fell
asleep in laps

and time lapsed
and trickled down

like the pre-cum
of a nervous tip

she is floating
a lost iceberg

Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Capricorn

so hot on concrete
so cool behind desks

mistress banned
banner mistress

water calms pain
when it’s inflamed

bad jokes can last
four terms or more.

The Give In

I wedged myself
out of a teenage cave
and felt like I was
in a Cape Cod fog.

In and out
of cold sweats,
I was cramped
and cramping.

All weekend,
I drank whatever
I was given.

All weekend,
I smelled blueberries
in bathrooms.

Before I could
say any final goodbyes,
Earl ejaculated egg yolk
all over my lap and chest.

After I did
give each final goodbye,
I had a lower level oil spill;
flammable pants forever.

Humiliation can be humorous,
but not when mixed with fear.

My shoes smelled like lawnmowers
and I wanted to cut off my feet.

Instead, I banged my head
into a car window and drove off.

Emasculation is a bad word,
but it’s worse as a feeling.

Now it’s a new age
of understanding;
there is a lack
of aspirin, too.

Technology is failing me,
all my friends are leaving,
and I have no more presents.

The Goal

The polygon
Sack of balls
Has been aimed
And triggered
Enough and enough
Enough is enough
The goal does not
Need to be met
I can stomach
No stomach
For only a few
Years to come

The Gods Must Be Crazy

A heterosexual man
wears a Louis Vouitton
purse around his shoulder.

A Reformed Jewish girl
wears an African Pride
skull cap pinned to her fro.

The Gods must be crazy
in New York these days,
or Coke has a new secret.

The Greatest

boxing and soccer are the greatest sports,
so primal and metaphorical,
scary in their directness and appeal.

they’re about extreme exertion and endurance,
and intellectual rigor, and exact placement,
with the barest of means possible.

one is dark and isolated,
one is vibrant and communal,
both are profitable, yet suicidal.

artists are like athletes,
athletes are artists,
no matter how you look at things.

and a good boxing or soccer match
are, in a strange way,
related in their grace and nobility,

their strategies gone awry,
their drunken battle shit fits,
and their inevitable glory,

the way that painting and poetry
can strike any schmuck down
with a simple stroke of luck or genius.

but it is a mistake, I think,
to try to make either sports or art
adapt to us and not the other way around.

The New Blues

this afternoon,
the new blues
arrived by air mail…

a gift, more than
anything, really,
a reminder, I guess…

no more givens
to be sampled
as staples plus…

The Sun Also Rises

The sun also rises,
but what else, Ernie?
Every dreaded morning,
I am in a new greyscale
town you’d want to avoid.

How would you describe
the streets I now call home?
In tense, terse sentences,
fragmenting all feeling,
of course; cheers to you!

But there is something
poetic about the stench
and scenery, the virility,
that cannot be contained
neatly, Tupperware style.

The scent of man,
which I call Old Spice,
a synonym for dad,
mixes with spirits,
combusting for sport.

I have my own pastimes;
can we meet halfway?
I can’t shake the tree;
this fruit no longer
nourishes my madness.

Tacos for breakfast,
tomales for dinner;
my dad refuses to eat
rat food for any meal;
how was I born a vermin?

I crawl underground
with aluminum foil
on my appendages,
and plastic wrap
on my Picasso mask.

The Waiting







This Was Tomorrow

About that
You weren’t
Supposed to find
Out about
The meatloaf

Had another
Until I decided
To change it

Catch up
Was a game
we used
to play
before you

A fedora
Is a ball cap
For a guy
Who can’t
Play ball

Purple rain
I’ve never
I mean never
Heard anything
So preposterous

Is the age
When hearts
Come alive
And die on us

You’re paranoid
No you are
That’s what
Paranoid people
Always say

Tiger Balm

Prickly skin
Like fruit
Children fear

Humid fingers
Stroking genius
Of other ages

Shivering shoulders
Separated from
Stranger sources

Climate change
Real world problems
Starving everything

Time & Travel

What is this place?
Where did you take me?

It looks like a coffee shop
somewhere in Providence,
or maybe Northampton;
it smells like the room
where my dad’s parents died;
I hear chop shop talk,
drowned out by Gary Numan.

The more I stand still
in this not-so-random cave,
the more I question taste;
I feel like gyro meat now,
spinning around, spun still,
wanting to write apology notes
to ex-professors to pass time.

I’m sensing I’m too late.

To Be A Man

Men eating ice
cream sandwiches
for breakfast—

Men dressed like
old gangsters
in three piece suits—
black & white.

I saw a man
in between
get a ring
thrown in
his face for
cutting up
on Botox.

To be a man these days...


There is a reflection in your making.


What does transensitive mean?

Am I transensitive? Are you?

I think I want my gravestone to say:

Keith J. Varadi


Ric Ocasek love songs
never got us anywhere,
never got us anything.

So hang up those flowers
on the tank of that toilet,
where philosophy tanks.

Take a shit on yourself
and all those pre-ideas
you ought to dump out.

Leave the leather behind;
you won’t need that crap
if you’re going down South.

I’ll see you broadly, or umm,
maybe monumentally or umm,
I guess, uh, in rebellion, maybe?

Traverse In Reverse

Skate, surf, skid
glass mini-globes
to be shattered

at any point,
on any point;
and to a point,
one can begin

to understand
in a Christian way,

the way sub-cultures
have always absorbed
defeatist attitudes
to sift out idealism.

Tree Fort

There is a ceiling in every lifetime;
something to crank and look up to,
and forget the sky’s eternity.

There’s melted wax on this one;
it’s dripping on the dead heads
of the fantasy ice cream team.

Days can be so sweet
and philosophy so sour;
what are you thinking?

Tonight is just a night;
moms, kids, and pets
are everywhere tonight.

Houses turned inside out;
and it’s okay to be cute
for once, for a moment.


My grandfather claimed
the metric system was
used by assholes, but
he acknowledged states
could be divided by feet.

Miles apart, we share
religions for debating
the magical fantasies
that men’s laws can’t
defend in God’s trust.


Eric says, "Come steal some trophies with me." I say, "Okay, let me round up my crew." I meet him at a bar in a Hasidic neighborhood. We discuss the plan, which evolves into plans, which revolves around the origin. "Genesis was a good book, but a mediocre band." We all nod in agreement. We collage placements and placemats, passports and placards - markers to make sense of the origin. Where do we go from here? "Well, I know a good pizza place, not too far away, but the lines are usually a bit long..." I am talking about the plan. "Oh, right..." What are we going to do with these trophies? What is the point of a trophy? What are they worth? If you strip and sand them, not much. But if you collect enough of them, what do you have? A collection. And if you have a large enough collection, what does that get you? A reputation. But if you steal them, you must do so with caution. Your reputation depends upon it. I want a reputation, but I don't want to depend on anything. So I propose, "Why don't we earn them?" The crew collectively says, "How do you suggest we do that?" I sip on my pilsner and say, "Let me think on it..."

Tropic Karma

define and refine
your measurements
until you’re satisfied
with aisled outcomes.

I am the island;
you are my palms.

fully sold and sealed,
this boat will sail off,
fully without your body,
if you give in to the sky.


This is the second straight day
that I’ve woken up drunk, and
either this trombone player
needs to have a heart attack
or I need to get on this train.

I’ve been stuck between
stations, sitting between
Jareds, waiting to choke
on pancakes for a Lifetime
movie special in Spanglish.

Sometimes I believe only
in romance and idealism,
like Teddy Roosevelt,
but nature conquers all
my marooned dreams.

Last night, I became aware
of long distance and the
necessary training, I guess;
I guess I need to compromise
if I want to keep chasing storms.

Two Step

it’s a hard
way, if you
happen to
be wa(i)ved
or deserted.

Tying Tides

Rubber band
Rubber band
Irritated man

Tightly wound
Tightly wound
Serrated down

Ultimate Pen

Extract the exact knife
to run along the surface
and let pigment drip down
on hard wood, give the gift
of perspective proportion,
rationed out with caring
attention to the details
overlooked by the books
left on shelves; open up
yourself first & foremost,
or lose the expectations
you have examined so long
in the privacy of your head.

Uncle Pete (Black Hole Blues)

"You can't wring blood
out of a turnip..."
I didn't know turnips
had blood in them;
I've never heard
this expression—
my friend, my Godfather,
introduced me to it—
He was only trying
to help me avoid pain—
this I know to be true.

I've got rusted needles in my back,
and I clearly didn't ask for them—
I’ve never even done donuts in
the parking lot of a chiropractor;
they were unwanted presents
from the biggest asshole of an uncle—
the kind of uncle nobody wants
to come to Thanksgiving dinner,
the kind who thinks he does a good,
no, a great version of a British accent;
uncles like these always give
presents like shrunken sweaters
with moth holes from war years.

This guy's been to war, for sure—
he's a despised mercenary story,
more like a tanked lieutenant
from a Tom Clancy video game
that a shitty uncle's shitty son plays
instead of going to school;
this uncle's got a son like that.

This uncle I'm talking about...
let's call him "Uncle Pete."

His son is like Billy Madison,
but worse because he has nothing,
other than his dad's dirty money.

Billy was mad chill though—
he was like a childish John McEnroe
with plenty of toys to keep him calm enough.

Billy had a sense of humor,
Billy had Norm MacDonald,
Billy had a Pontiac Firebird,
Billy had Snack Packs,
Billy even had penguins!

This kid’s got ignorant arrogance,
and yeah, his dad’s dirty money.

Uncle Pete is kind of like
Billy's heated dad; but at least
Billy's dad made Billy go back
to school and learn things like
how to count and play with kids
other than the ones who steal
lunch money and blow it on
porno mags they don't even
understand: what's a pussy
other than something you call
someone weaker than you
during a game of dodgeball?

His dad is a pussy; but he's also a dick.

He thinks because he's cooked me
pancakes a few times before,
I owe him something way more
than our initial agreement;
he wants me to go in on
like a lawn care business
or something like that,
where I do all the labor
and I get paid once a month;
I told his abandoned Godson,
my Godfather, a great father,
who ran away from Uncle Pete
and his black market empire
years ago, about this deal,
and He told me we should
burn his castle down to the ground.

I said, “I think it’s already on fire.”

You know what’s really fucked
up though? Like beyond it all?
I don't even like pancakes;
they're too sweet and filling—
a deadly combo that screams,
"Gotcha!" when it's far too late.

I don't like most food, in general.

I've eaten enough pasta
and drank enough coffee
in my piss poor days,
but I've been asked about
my carbs more often lately,
and I don't have the energy
to really explain anything
more than, “Hey, I’m here.”

It's okay though, really;
I don't take offense to much,
really...I don’t take offense.

Like for example...

I don't take offense
when previous squatters'
turds don't flush all the way
down the waiting hole,
especially in public toilets;
it could happen to anyone.

You are not alone in your fears!
We all have our pressing matters!

Today, I got scared at about, uh,
I think it was probably 6th Avenue
on the eastbound L train, at slow down.

There was a black man on the train,
wearing an MTV's “The Grind” shirt.
He was convulsing, like I often do
after a long day with Uncle Pete,
and he was rapping that song
by Jay-Z and Kanye called
"Niggas in Paris," but he only
focused on the overseen chorus
and one subway rider was Parisian
and claimed there actually are
a lot of niggers in Paris, more
than Americans might think.

The black man spat out his cookies—
Mrs. Fields’ peanut butter flavored
big roundies and said, “What fuck?”

The Parisian man said, “Pardon?
I only understand full sentences…”

The black man grinded up
in the foreigner’s face
and said he would deport
him to Brownsville and chew
him up and spit him out
like a peanut butter roundie.

I must say I really was a bit nervous,
but I only had one stop left on my travels.

A Hispanic lady just kept yelling:
“No bueno! No bueno! No bueno!”

For once, I didn’t care about good or bad;
for once, I didn’t care about much of anything;
I’ve been carrying so many cardboard boxes—
some I’ve made, some from Amazon,
or places like that, like I’m St. Nicholas,
which is funny, because that is the name
of the street in my neighborhood where
all the bars that the best looking girls go to,
but I haven’t really felt like drinking lately,
and I’ve got the best looking girl—she’s like
Audery Tatou, St. Vincent, Gina Gershon,
and every other pale looking mega babe
you’ve ever seen a picture of, but the thing is,
she’s real, and she is in my bed right now,
asking me when I’m going to stop writing
poems about family members I never asked for.

Fuck you, Uncle Pete, and fuck your castle, too.

Unnamable Poem

some Bob Marley song
was on the car radio,
but I was too drunk
from the tequila shots
poured into ramekin-
sized glasses, foggy
with future mistakes
I might unpack later,
like a wrapped soul,
to know what words
were being sung to me…

sometimes I don’t know
what is love, what is love,
what is love, and so on…

but I remember how
my grandfather used
to wrap presents up
in newspaper comics,
and I can still laugh
at the games of polo
he used to coordinate
in flip-flopped fashion
throughout living rooms,
and I never thought death
would be quite like this…

sometimes I don’t know
how to go on, but I must go
on, which is why I go on…


record played upon
on top of record
hula hoop fever
getting laid tonight
filled with sissy drinks
bowled over beer pong
need more shuffleboard
five minutes till midnight
middle east snake bite
midway up the calf
could milk this moment
old school at times
barely beyond amish
get baked more
bake crisp stories
make outsiders awkward

Vampire Blues (2012)

What is that smell?
Is it garbage or garlic?

If I die by dawn,
Say something nice.


Depending on how you look at vegetables,
they can be so many types of metaphors.


Could this vessel smell
any more rotten? We
can shoot fish in the
ocean, we can trap
ourselves in barrels,
we can complain about
common consideration,
considering we are not
so common, and the
union that keeps us
together, keeps us
apart, really. Check
your collar; you look
more and more like
a ghost in the sunlight.
Oh wait, that’s me,
and you’re a mirror.


I've never met
a villain
like you before.

That sounds
like that song
by Iggy Pop.

You know;
the sinister one,
the cinematic one.

And I can imagine
him singing
the new lyrics
that I just wrote,
with conviction,
licking his lips,
ready to pounce
like a rabid dog
chained in a lot.

And if he were
to attack you,
I wouldn't feel
the least bit sad;
to be honest,
I don't think
I would feel
anything, at all;
wait, I just lied.

If I'm going
to be honest,
I wish he would,
I wish I could,
and if I eat enough
from all the stress
and other BS,
maybe I will.

Waking Poem

Woke up in a dream hotel
But it wasn't my dream after all
Got a phone call or was it an alarm
Where is Rachel and why am I here
Stumbled over a pile of clothes
I recognize Rachel's cardigan
I think she got it from Sweden
Maybe I'm mistaken though
I don't know where to begin
I don't know to end anything
Hopped in the shower to remember
But I just remembered how I hate
The phrase "hop in the shower"
It doesn't make sense unless
There is some hygiene hurdle
Which I've never experienced
And although a hobo or crust punk
Might know something about that
They don't shower so like I said
That phrase doesn't make sense
And I hate all senseless phrases
And I hate all senseless items
Looking down at my calloused feet
I spotted a pair and frustrate myself
Cous Cous scented shampoo
Coconut water scented conditioner
Complimentary bottles on the house
In the house that is my dream hotel
But this isn't my dream after all

Wants vs. Needs

I think somebody once told me
that I might have more wants
once I realize that I don’t need
to focus so much on my needs.

I think I said something like,
“Well, umm, do you object
to owning too many objects?”

I think she responded like,
“Umm, no, I just buy every
thing I own at sample sales.”

I wonder where she got her
mattress, television, books,
or her set of kitchen knives.

I wonder if she wonders why
I even bother to write things
like this during my free time
when I could be wanting more.

Warm Buffet

itemize the inventory
slid beneath the sofa
fantastic is the feeling
of finding new breath
like a reformed pirate
sucking in salty air
in the pulsating perch
on a panoramic pier
counting coins counts
Coney Island smokes
branch after branch
lit up limber lumber
olives are disgusting
deceiving hand to hand
combat is essential
in the deserted jungle
in the mighty jungle
in the bulk warehouses
of holy billboards
and boxed cardboard
and inventoried items
and outside in lots
emptied of auto bodies
I feel a kind of warmth
when I palm fresh trees

We All Have Holes

everything bagels
as metaphors for
the missing parts
of lifetimes (each
seasoning a day
you regret) unless
you have no regrets
and then you are
a plain bagel with
nothing to schmear

We (Sometimes) Deliever For You

I used to say, “Hey give postal workers a break. What did they ever do to you?” I think the more proper question might instead be: “What did they ever do for you?” I’ve seen SoHo blazers set fire to Chinese women like dragons to Nordic beardos for no apparent good reason. And what could be a good reason, anyways? Sometimes I really feel sympathy for those periwinkle clad puckered up assholes. But then again, I’ve also seen lunch lady types set fire to a copy of some poor stranger’s issue of Harper’s with their tuckered out last Newport. Why?

A few weeks ago, I waited in line for my first passport. For me, it was a big deal. Like Ben Affleck being taken seriously or something. This grandma working the counter took care of me real nice; made me feel like her own grandson. When she took my picture, she said I was the gosh darn cutest customer she’d seen in years. She was so sweet, I thought she was going to offer me lunch. She told me I ought to stay in North America. “Everywhere else is too far away or crazy,” she said. But then he said Canada is too cold and Mexico is too hot. “Why don’t you just stay in New York, sugar? It’s just right up in these parts.” She almost had me.

Then I met Carmen on Canal. That bitch made the Italian postal service seem competent and Rosie Perez seem polite. Yet for some reason, I think Chinaski definitely would have fucked her.

Anyways, as soon as my passport arrives, I’m going to go somewhere with lots of customs (without a capital C).

What Can I Say?

Tuck, Tuck, Tuck…

I stare at the white book on my brown coffee table
I stare at the brown coffee in my white coffee mug
There is a common name making common pictures

Tick, Tock, Tick…

My time is running out to find the right-ish fluids
Worth filling my legs in order to stand up straight
And you are a prop holding my hand as I balance

Tick, Tick, Tick…

I am not quite as neurotic as you say I am
I am more like as neurotic as I say I am
A point of contention only I would point out

Tuck, Tuck, Tuck…

There are so many artists who are like ghosts
Or at least informants covered in sheets
All-knowing spooky spooks I silently screen

Whenever, Forever

Platinum argyle
dressing up days;
hip to hula hoop ways,
I swing around you
and your curves
in circular circuits...

the next day,

you are ageless,
as you grasp
my plastic grip
away from me,
and swish
and swoosh...

the next day,

White Flag

Last night, I found out about
a new mode of cruising,
and it made me sick.

Today, I read another article
about another gay teen
committing suicide.

A double day confirmation
that maybe I’m not
cut out for Earth.

Why And Why Not

I saw a man eating popcorn
out of a bag with a spoon;

and I asked myself why,
but immediately realized
most people don’t need
to ask themselves why;

instead, they tend to choose
to ask themselves why not.

Widow’s Peak

If you’re married,
then I’m undead;
can we reach each
other’s plateaus
on each other’s
tip toes? Oh, no.
I swear I didn’t
mean to swoop
over you again.

Winded Poem

I was driving through Connecticut this weekend
and saw dildos and bongs in a Shell station;
the Indian cashier told me I smelled nice,
I told him I just wanted my dollar water,
and although I felt a bit lynched,
I still appreciate any compliment,
no matter how slippery it might be.

Nature can be a dirty word;
it can never spread its legs
wide enough, you know.

I would break both my ankles
to be able to climb mountains
one weekend per every month.

Killing pain and killing time—
I’ve only got so much focus;
my brain is a concrete pour.

My body is a poorly run quarry,
every resource being ditched;
the foreman is always smoking,
the grunts are always grunting;
I don’t know how to put out fires,
but I think I should drink more water.

How do people eat multi-course meals?
Is it true that there is a proper way
to drink wine or is that just another myth?

Sometimes, over wine, I wonder if men like Dante
ever even existed of if they were maybe magicians,
mystically manufactured by horny historians.

Because after all, a great story
is like a dove refusing tears
and choking on unjust crumbs.

The cashier at Dunkin’ Donuts
called me a weirdo earlier
for drinking black coffee,
but dairy is getting scary
and sugar is like an outlaw;
it’s dangerous like smoke,
like a sweaty rap mogul.


I’m dead beat,
I’m run over again;
I’m the opossum
just trying
to stay alive,
but I don’t know
why anymore.

I’m wiped out.

I’m soaped up,
surfed out,
floating above
and below;
Pineapple Express
wasn’t that good
of a movie.

Wisdom (Low Expectations)

Good people have low expectations /
You can’t teach wisdom / You can
barely learn wisdom / I will continue
to give away my bread to anyone
who isn’t allergic to gluten / And I
promise not to expect anything
in return / I have learned wisdom,
barely / And that’s enough for me
to stay as good as I can stay good

Witches Are Real

Ask the gay men
of the East Village
or the lesbians
of Massachusetts.

Witches are real.

Halal food truckers,
subway churro ladies,
and chowdaheads
are all anti-rainbows.

Witches are real.

They brew gold
and drink beer
in airport pubs
and mall lots.

Witches are real.

Thomas Pynchon
believed in sorcery;
he just kept it a secret
and lived in secrecy.

Witches are real.

With Reasons You Don’t Believe Either

people have

people have


a clever head
a smart ass

I don’t want
to give more


for people
to sloth on

rare footage
and dead trees


might as well
be a honey bear

or a fruit fly
with no pride


you see things
can only end

how you decide
to end them


me you believe
me or you part

with reasons
you don’t want


Wonder Brawn

Doing push-ups
with the weight
of fifty eagles
on my shoulders,
I feed a daydream
of Dutch landscapes,
and wonder about
wandering about
the wonder, yonder,
of a distant new life
in a distant new land.

I could hop trains
for an entire summer
and drink café au laits
for an entire winter.

I would send postcards
and use Morse code
like a revised regimen
for an inmate, let loose.

I need to get a passport.


I want a new job
I want no job at all
I want to write stories
down South of here
by strangers
and Pakistanis.

Why is it such a miracle
for most of us
to make good
and be pleased
instead of just saying

Workingman’s Blues

When I sit at my coffee table
or walk long walks along parks,
with no contact with anything
other than myself or technology,
I realize I am a hopeless pile
of guts and disappointment,
with a confused agenda
topped with familial apologies
and attempts at avoidance
regarding bills and taxes, etc.

World Muzak

Standing in an elevator
Front teeth missing
Knocked out and back
I'm a used car magician
Or something like that
There will never be peace
So I for a piece instead
And if my card is drawn
I'll dance in hot sand
Like Annie Lennox
Or Merce Cunningham
I prefer Annie Lennox
You can infer my ways
And if I have it my way
My words will be deep
Into the subconscious
Like a jingle jangling
On threaded floss
Tying up unknown voids
Will you perform surgery
Like you promised me
When we first met
It feels like a world away


Do you remember when Mike Tyson threatened to eat Lennox Lewis’ children? Do you remember when he actually ate Evander Holyfield’s ear? Of course you do. I do too. I remember everything, not just absurdity. But I am absurd. It’s absurd to believe you would want to be here with me. But since you’re here and you said you don’t mind, I will speak up and put myself down. I will put myself on a platter to be chewed out like seven fishes among mouthy Italians. No practice necessary. Ask Allen Iverson. Practice? Practice? I don’t need to practice. I’m on the axis of some crass shit and what I want to get.

Your Acquaintance

I never called you a freeloader
I only called you a friend, friend

You cut bike locks
And lock jaws shut
When you’re on offense

You blow your load
On impossible hearts
When you’re on defense

I never called you a freeloader
I only called you a friend, friend


What is a yuppie these days?

I see a pair of prime people
(a couple? yes, a couple)
at that cheap pizza place
down on the bottom level
of Penn Station, the one
with like $3 32 ounce
plastic Coors Light cups.

Is this a couple of yuppies?

Well, they’re wearing matching
field coats (or are they called
barn coats? I’m not sure).
They’re like the kind of coats
you can buy at like L.L. Bean
or Land’s End or Burlington
Coat Factory, maybe. Places
like that. I’ve bought stuff
from those places before.
Am I a yuppie? I thought
yuppies bought things most
people can’t afford. I can
afford coats from those
places. Those places are
the coatroom ceiling for
me; well, at least for now.

Am I going to become a yuppie?

Their coats are green. Are
they green? Am I green?
Oh, I don’t know. I kind of
like their coats. Would I like
them? Wait. Now they’re
talking to a Rangers fan.
How do I know? He’s
wearing a Rangers jersey.
I don’t like the Rangers,
but I don’t hate them like
I hate the Flyers or Caps.

Is this guy a yuppie?

Okay, it’s not that I don’t
like these people because
of their coats or even
their sports allegiances.
It’s just I want to watch
the Pens game and they
won’t shut up about their
new homes in New Jersey.

Maybe they are yuppies.