Sunday, March 31, 2013

cinema vows

it'll never be perfect like 
breakfast at tiffany's, but
we can still get a cat named cat,
and i'll still kiss you 'i'm sorry' 
in the rain on 57th street.   

i promise to write all our fights like 
aaron sorkin, quick quips quilting
together until they hang between us in sheets,
all barbed wire and typewriter keys. (it's fine,
we'll use them as drapes). 

and if christopher nolan ever flips 
our hallway, i promise, i'll throw the gun away
before my subconscious can fire at anything
your mom bought us.  

and if kubrick's elevator ever opens up
and all the blood pours out,
i promise, i'll be there.
i'll have floaties. 

and even if this whole world turns 
out to be a fake, i promise,  
i'll unplug us from the matrix, 
and we'll go learn kung-fu. 

but more than this, 
more than any of it, 

i promise,

we will never, ever, 
become gigli. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Tonight I stepped on a lobster.
A live lobster.
Like really alive.

I ruined its escape. 
It made it out of the Whole Foods bag
and was headed for Coney Island.

Its sad little claws
bound by rubber bands. 

It's a hard life on the streets
for a lobster. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Made It

If you wait long enough,
the destination will arrive at you.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

U.S. Uniform

To show off spring
colors, they've assembled
rows of white ass.
From the back, hips
jut suggestively outward,
small swatches of plastic
covered by panties
in cool greens and blues.

But these are man-hips,
boy-hips in truth,
that line the window
in their garish fluorescence.
No man would contort
himself thus for show,
and I feel dirty letting
these boys thrust for me.

I walk past late at night
and see my own face
superimposed on the bright
briefes, the manifest bulges,
and wonder what they'd like
me to buy, and who would,
from one who would twist
even plastic boys this way.
If chivalry is really dead,
then maybe I should stop minding
its fontanelle.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

I just saw a film by Joss Whedon
Where we all got to laugh about Sweden
But the US failed too
So the old Gods renew
Their strength, thanks to Shaggy the hedon.

One Year

It never would have worked.

You hate limes. You sleep with
one sock on. You dislike modern
art and Les Fleurs du Mal and you
were only so-so on Sufjan.

You never noticed what I wore,
what perfume I put on, if my
hair fell differently. You didn't
read Invisible Cities even though
you had it for five months.

You fought dirty, always wrapping
your words in barbed wire. You
like the Harry Potter films more
than the books. You run at 4am.

Who runs at 4am?

And whenever I'd lean over, you'd spread out,
taking up every inch of warm space under
the sheets and laughing when I'd kick you
and try to take it back again.

It never would have worked.

Though once in a while, I'll find
an orphaned sock under the bed,
a freckle of you,
left behind,
and I think,

what I wouldn't give
to have tired of you.


When my internet lags,
I feel as though someone
dropped me in the La Brea tar pits.

Maybe it was a slow connection
that killed the dinosaurs.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Tall blue silhouttes
How many do you stand for?
Anonymous all.

Wasting Time

There's an undeniable
in sleeping
till noon.

But why
does it feel
so wasteful?

Thursday, April 26, 2012


The leash is a formality
they do not bother anymore.
The great oaf grins blindly
on his morning walk
which often as not
is in small circles on the sidewalk.

There's a labrador on his block,
and a full poodle, even a dane once,
but the plodding, smiling one
instills no sense of grandeur in size
as the others do. He is nothing
to fear, but perhaps everything
to the well-shorn man who walks him.

This is a true Golden. His coat
does not show his age, only the
sag and squint of him, and the grin
that so clearly chants each morning
I am glad for this one more day.
Plod on, Golden, and gaurd your block
as it will gaurd your body in the earth
one day. But not today, good boy, not today.

I Try Not To

But some days
I love you

from the top of my heart.

Ode on a Just Salad Black Bowl

Today I saw one in the wild,
cradled in a stranger's hand.
My base temptation at once was riled,
the sight was near too much to stand.
And I thought to snatch it from their grasp
if only so I could briefly clasp,
that beautiful black bowl.
Because my salad loving soul
longs with every single beat,
to fill that bowl with cheese, and beets.

But in my heart I couldn’t steal,
that patron’s hard-earned bowl
for I would know how it would feel
to exist with a bowl-shaped hole
in your lunch-time routine.
For my life has quite sadly been
bereft of the bowl so black,
and my daily trips to Just Salad lack
the ecstasy of that ebon dish.
O, to have one is my dearest wish.

Ye Just Salad deities, if you are truly just
teach me how this bowl is earned
I’ll do anything that I must.
These months, each day at lunch I’ve yearned,
to take the vessel to Just Salad
and sing a tender loving ballad
to my black-bowl of kale.
And now we must ask at the end of my tale,
will it be one of pain or pleasure?
Will I ever find a bowl, that I can truly treasure?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


a naan,
and on and on,
na Na na Na
na Na na Na.

Maybe it's just the thick glasses talking.

Lincoln once gave a speech so great that there is no record of it.
Every short-hand in the room dropped its pencil when the president spoke for the passion of his oratory rushed through the hall and filled every chest with a plea
that no other heart be slave to another. At least not in the truly physical sense.
Lincoln did not use a teleprompter, and no one ever threatened to shoot him through one, but we know that happened anyway.
He sometimes wrote his speeches on the backs of envelopes, and then did the opposite of what one usually does with an envelope,
gave his words to a thousand people once rather than one forever. A gift of the moment, they could never re-gift, the gift of feeling and story that cannot be matched.

I too write on envelopes, and playbills, and yes, even the occasional cliched napkin when I find myself without a notebook
but somehow I always assume the notes will be read.
Maybe I will turn them into a poem later, or a letter to my lover, or my intrepid biographer will dig up this coaster from the High Line Ballroom
and glean insight about how a young artist felt about the acoustics of a cello.
When I say something clever or devise a moving argument, I post it to my blog for the world to access forever and always. That is my gift, and it feels cheap.

Speeches are on Powerpoints now, delivered in advanced on the AP wire so that we can watch in real-time closed-caption and dissect
every position a pundit has ever stated. Every mic is secretly hot, unless you fail to say anything interesting.
How many uninteresting things we write down, for all the true pith that passes our lips.

I long for epistolary revelation. I long to hear a speech so great the alphabet weeps and lays aside its vowels in refusal to capture it.
We are sentenced to 140 characters, eight second sound-bites, scrolling headlines and the speed at which the hands can type.
The ears hear more. Speak to me. Let me watch you, and listen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Basement Things

Tell me
we've shaken it off.

Tell me it's past and that
past is a thing that is buried
in a box in the dirt under
the floorboards of a house
we never lived in.

Tell me one ghost story
that's not about us.


It's smooth arc
was a beauty to behold.


He never saw the spear,
until it burst through it chest.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It has been said that death
Is evil, for the gods
Will not partake in it.

So birth damns us all.
We should create fewer
Lives, to spare the world.

The only good thing
Is to live.
To live with the living.
we walk and guess what our mother thought
--was thinking
when she was our age
--our ages

it is brisk and windy, as usual
--colder to you
so I have outfitted you in Chicago clothes
--my Californian sister

how many more mornings will be like this?
where will we walk, if not to breakfast?

I don’t know when I lost
--grew out of?
that desperation to be as good as you
--to be you

I just want to keep walking
both of us wearing my coats.
sometimes words are useless things.
they make poor buckets for what
we mean to fill them with.

and mine usually have holes in the bottom.

A Dream of Autumn

for just a moment,
I thought that it was fall.

What a lovely thought.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Sister's Prayer

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Good luck with the interview, little brother.

May He protect and defend you.

Whether you are hunting
or licking your wounds,
you always have a bed with me.
Follow my voice beyond the din,
out of the white noise of your stress.

May God's face shine toward you and show you favor.

You have always been the wise one,
to know even this will get better.
It is only on you not to mumble
or hide your face.
Your squint makes you look wily
in a charming way.

May He watch over you and grant you peace.

Good night, little brother. Eggs in the morning.

Trying to Find

Today I looked for an envelope
that I had misplaced on top of my dresser
some time ago.  So I began to
dig through a pile soy miscellany.

Magazines, receipts,
a ziploc bag full of coins.
Ticket stubs,
gum wrappers,
a fresh peppermint.

Fifteen to twenty
other envelopes.

Pens, deodorant,
a slightly broken comb.
my wristwatch,
a baseball cap.

Some particleboard,
a pile of socks,
freshly washed towels.
Shims, a rug,
the floorboards.

Aw, shit.
Now I better start looking for some nails.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


For a time Kai sat in laps
and watched his father
make spreadsheets.

Now that he goes to preschool
Kai takes attendance at home.
Lines are crooked. Stakes are high.

Kai does make things harder
when we go bowling
and every dancing pin reads


Whose turn is it, Kai?
Will they make it to the lane
in time?


Aching muscles,
sore feet,
crackling knees,
sandpaper lungs.

Bite marks.

Turns out,
I can't outrun a horde of zombies.

Friday, April 20, 2012


There once was a man from Gowanus
whose favorite dish was cow anus.
     He'd braise it in wine
     till it tasted quite fine.
That silly gourmet from Gowanus.
It's at night - when you're
just about to fall asleep - that your
unbounded brain starts to write
out your grocery list and wonder
if he is really mad at you or just trying to
make you feel guilty and, suddenly,
you know the solution to the
debt crisis in Greece and the exact
way you want to rearrange that
top-left cabinet and, wait, why
do we shape our eyebrows for
aesthetic pleasure, isn't that weird?,
and could there actually be a meaning
behind all the the seemingly random
ways we come together and fray apart and
come together and fray apart and repeat
and repeat and repeat?

Then it's morning.
And all you think is -
I have to pee.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


You may watch me
when I'm gone.
I wouldn't mind.

You could watch me
in my sleep now
and I'd sleep just as sound.

Put new words in my mouth
if it pleases you.
That's why I put them there too.

I think I'd like
to be made of light
and remind you, you are not.


It's a slow process

Water pressure
welling against tissue.
The salt burrows into muscle and fat,
clawing through tissues,
breaking down proteins, cell
by cell.
Pressure welling against tissue.


Pressure welling against tissues,
forcing expansion in muscle and fat.
Breaking down,
by cell
until the meat


And constantly, the relentless pressure
Don't try to hold it in
Don't try to hold it in


You sing him to sleep
pretend he is yours
kiss his head
watch him sleep
feel like crying.
It is so easy
to take him in your arms 

to pretend.

He changes every day.
He’ll soon be crawling 
away from you.
He won’t need you
to carry him around
to prop him on the wooden dresser
so he can giggle
staring at the sight of himself in the mirror.

My Hipster Temptation

when you lean like that, 
all odd angles against brick,
laughing into my hair smoky and 
liquid and low
i want to do it over again.

i want to drive into this
until we run out of road.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pussy cat

I came back from the pharmacy
to find 317 open tabs
open on the browser
of my open laptop.

My poor cat.
She still failed
to find kitty porn.

Super Lazy

I never wish
for super powers more
than when I'm standing
at the foot of a staircase
thinking about teleportation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I do not like your machinations
For my posters.
Frames are for rich people and criminals.

In the dead of night I will hang
Construction paper chains from the chandeliers
And strange Ikea lights in the windows.

I will not hide a single shelf of books.
Not even my reasonably-sized Anne Geddes collection.

The knick-knacks are bursting with charm:
The Barbra Streisand doll looks out over
A Civil War soldier girl one eye who grins
Dumbly at a poster of dogs in smart hats
That make me giggle.

You may try for "refined," but
I hate to edit the life out of things.
Here's to a happy medium
(Porcelain, peering into a paper weight on my desk).

For Tupac

When I'm gone,
don't cry for me.
Just boot up our
favorite memory.

Monday, April 16, 2012


After you'd gone, I
sweeping up, days
later, finding dark half
moons on the floor.


The howler monkey may be
The loudest animal
In the new world

But it is not the loudest
In my apartment building.

Simple Songs

Sometimes I wish I was
a little bit taller, and
I wish I was a baller,

but then I remember,

I'm sexy and I know it.


These are the lucky numbers for the Victorian lotto—
Thirty-Six, Twenty-Four, Thirty-Eight.
Your love for me is bound
between eighteen and twenty-four inches,
running down the length of all twenty-four
of my ribs. Maybe if God or the husband or
Her Majesty—whoever rules my trunk today—
would remove the twenty-fourth, I could breathe
enough to tell you this. Give my rib some fertile lay
of earth, bury it, and let it sprout
into a third sex with perfect proportions,
a sex who’ll never sweat with wheezing dreams
of what she’s not.
We walk wasp-waisted, wrapped
in whale bone, hugged to death by another thing’s
skeleton. Women of bound feet and stretched neck,
why do we love to twist ourselves into impossible states?
As if one pause, stopping at the edge for one, deep breath,
will wake us up to where we’ve come.

I resemble the hourglass that never empties,
while estrogen slips from one bulb to the next
through the tight cervix of the waist.
Always I will be the handled bearer
of your generations, always I will seem
the impossible woman sawed-in-two
while your hands trace the outline
and your lips move with the victorious dimensions:
Thirty-Six, Twenty-Four, Thirty-Eight.

The Mind [according to Montaigne]

is like a horse that has broke
from his rider, who voluntarily runs
into a much more violent career than any
horseman would put him to, and creates me
so many chimaeras and fantastic monsters,
one upon another,
without order or design, that,
the better at leisure to contemplate their strangeness
and absurdity, I have begun to commit them
to writing, hoping in time
to make it ashamed of itself.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fingers must learn rules

If you write it screaming
you can't take it back. Retype
it, calm and reasonable.

Choose your brackets wisely
to maintain the order of operations.

Control and command do nothing
alone. Another stroke calls the action.

Unless it is all frozen,
escape may save you in a corner.

You have the power to shift, to be less
than a comma, more than a period.

The zero is twice
as large as any number.

There are four directions.
Choose wisely.


Sometimes I get so jittery,
I worry that I will start vibrating
fast enough to just

Stella, Tobias, and Snausage

I dont know where to stand
At parties. Too near
My companion and I finish
Every other story, start
Few of my own, too far
From her and I can't find
An opening to speak at all.
I am forever underfoot.
Lord help us if things get political.

Today I gave up.
Broke away from the two
Conversations loosely reigning
My efforts at sociability
To roll in the grass with the dogs.
I always know the right thing
To say to a dog.

For Taylor

I was drunk,
then hungover,
then I had an
iced coffee.

Now I'm okay.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Age Ain't Nothing But a Number

watch your language,

My inner child can hear you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Advice for Life and also Excel for Mac

If you face a task
Where Control is giving you trouble
Try using Command.


I may become desensitized,
in my old age,
to many things that once
terrified me.

Dark nights,
now full of shadows
concealing only
laundry piles.

The hole
in my wall,
plastered over.

Middle school,

But piercing noises
never seems to dull.
I fear one will be
the death of me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Talent

To claim no fish were harmed
in the making of a film,
producers must ensure no
single fish does three
out of water takes per day.

Would that my handlers were held
to the same requirements.
If I had a witty retort
for every time I felt out of
my depth, I’d be more fun at parties.

Illustrators favor bears for subjects
because they stand on hind legs like
humans, and are easily drawn in clothes.
Smokey couldn’t greet the public
without his pants. The Feds said so.

No government can make me wear pants
not on my own land, anyway. At least
I have that. If there is a volunteer
to draw my clothes on for me each day,
I will consent to play by bear rules.

Polar bears have it best of all: invisible
to infrared light, pelts identical to the snow.
The military tried to make armor from them,
until they realized the bears were bright white
and visible in ultraviolet anyway.

There is no part of the spectrum
in which I can hide. I am here
and each of my handlers expects
countless takes from me
and generally pants. Damn it all.
We come here

We leave

But there is something beautiful in
the barren symmetry of bones
to bones again.

I look forward to the lack.


Little empty pockets
make it excruciating,

but I can't stop
eating candy.