Monday, April 30, 2007

Disassembled Shadow

Sans attitude these delicious American cities, like
herds of clinics scampering over the plains,
shove revolutionary nostalgia up in my grill.
The furniture inside your head, Scandinavian cool,
won’t keep the jagged peanut of the abyss, however,
from calling you collect at some wee hour.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

You may need some saucin' up. Jazz does it. The last show I saw, at the Green Mill, was David Liebman I believe. I love the Green Mill, but they will shush you repeatedly. What's so wrong with a little conversation?

Anyway, I've started another blog, called Environs, where I'll jot down my thoughts on jazz.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'll never win the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award because I'm not writing metered poetry. I have written a few sestinas, sonnets, and a villanelle or two and don't find that those particular forms are all that annoying. What is it about the word experiments of the Oulipo that is so interesting, while the adherence to strict form of the neo-Formalists is so boring? It must be the fact that innovators in art lead us forward. Beginning any new piece of writing is an ascent into the unknown, but those who rely on form and meter to the degree of absurdity seem to misunderstand what art is. Some of the best poems have an organic nature that is undefinable. Many poets today are indebted to Jules Laforgue, who invented free verse, or vers libre. A main influence on Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, Laforgue, along with Arthur Rimbaud, blazed a new trail with his writing and took poetry in a new direction entirely. Paul Verlaine said, "Take eloquence and wring its neck." That sounds a little extreme, but the goal is not always harmony. Writing that veers too far from the rhythms of the coversational comes off as sounding too stilted--forced. Poetry is the deep conversation.


If I could fondle your anesthetic, and

tell the forest leaves to quit their labors

then among autumn clocks I would quince.

Question: Are there enough thieves in

your ocean to echo twelve years?

And my shimmering voices wonder

about the quality of your amber.

But here in my studio of dreams

your heart is a candelabra of dice.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sunday April 29th @ Myopic Books, 7 pm

Simone MUENCH's most recent book Lampblack & Ash received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry (Sarabande Books, 2005), and was an editor’s choice for The New York Times Book Review. Orange Girl, a chapbook, is forthcoming in July 07 from dancing girl press. She has poems forthcoming in Iowa Review, LUNA, Dusie, Swink and the anthology The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century. She received her Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is director of the Writing Program at Lewis University. Currently, she serves on the advisory board for Switchback Books, and is a contributing editor to Sharkforum.

Tony TRIGILIO is the author of the poetry collection, THE LAMA'S ENGLISH LESSONS (Three Candles Press). Recent poems are published or forthcoming in journals such as BIG BRIDGE, BLACK CLOCK, CREAM CITY REVIEW, DENVER QUARTERLY, DIAGRAM, LA PETITE ZINE, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW and NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. He is Co-Editor of the annual poetry journal COURT GREEN. He teaches poetry and literature at Columbia College Chicago, where he also directs the Creative Writing-Poetry Program.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


What makes the morning mutable?
is a tundra,

an entire academy seeking the kiln of

Some neck package / read fine print.

There is a secret paradise in many faces.

Springtime is a gift.

Clarity is like thunder (in the hills).

Sadness is a radish on the salad of life:
put it off to the side.

I’m jealous of my own lungs as
they breathe your delicious air.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Like Forgotten Maps

There may come a day
when all poets will congeal.

All poets will blister.
All poets will harden, igneous

from the magma of days.
From the blue lava called night

will come a time when
like forgotten maps

their tongues will be striped
and cold as empty homes.

These flocks of winter birds
these poets will

fill prescriptions
for a new leather

and ride out the day
on the slim backs of nouns.

These poets will lounge
like sand and grasses

on undiscovered beaches
where you will choose to wander.

Remember who it was
you might have been.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Me Talk Pretty One Day

The Chinese government is now policing bad grammar. I can safely say that any attempts on my part to speak Chinese would be pretty horrible. Maybe offenders should use poetic license as their defense.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Edward Weston has always been one of my favorite photographers. The composition of his shots and the skill with which he demonstrates the interplay between light and shadow is nothing short of sublime. Man Ray, Weegee, and Henri Cartier-Bresson were pretty good too. I used to be much more interested in photography before I started writing poetry. Here are a few of mine. I have an ancient Mamiya and a Pentax, but they don't see much action anymore.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The first poem that really made an impression on me was The Emperor of Ice-Cream by Wallace Stevens.

When read aloud it really comes alive. It's nearly a sound portrait.


CALL the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In Fact

Wonderful white icebergs wan and weeping,
there is an expansiveness, an
expressiveness I cannot, nameless, define.

This movie asks the big questions.
Would you share your popcorn with my notebook?

Outside myself surrounded by the nowhere of survival.
Convivial doves stick to the sky.
They like pancakes refuse to move me.

Streetlights careen full throttle.
Barracudas waltz by. Icing by Calvin Klein.

Silent cities.
I lost my glove inside my eye.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spending even a nanosecond in the Sedona area makes one want to stay here. The sunsets are really prime, because they're such a gumbo of colors. So far, I've done Cave Creek, Carefree, and Sedona and the weather's been pretty agreeable with temps in the upper seventies. I've successfully avoided the Crotalus Atrox, so far. If I can make it back to Illinois without that experience I'll be glad. Fortunately Fiesta Days has been going on here this weekend and the rodeo yesterday was a wild way to spend the afternoon. I broke down and shelled out the bucks to buy a western hat because the sun was really blazing. Afterward it seemed like a grande idea to drink a few cold ones at Harold's Corral after a dinner at the Horny Toad. Sedona is known for its hiking and spas. Both sound pretty enticing right now. I rode a big fat Yamaha--Harley lookalike. 1600 CCs plus Arizona sunshine equals nirvana.

Arizona elegans philipi --- Painted Desert Glossy Snake
Arizona occidentalis eburnata --- Desert Glossy Snake
Arizona occidentalis noctivaga --- Arizona Glossy Snake
Chilomeniscus cinctus --- Banded Sand Snake
Chionactis occipitalis annulata --- Colorado Desert Shovel-Nosed Snake
Chionactis occipitalis klauberi --- Tucson Shovel-Nose Snake
Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis --- Mojave Shovel-Nose Snake
Chionactis palarostris organica --- Organ Pipe Shovel-Nose Snake
Crotalus atrox --- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Crotalus cerastes cerastes --- Mojave Desert Sidewinder
Crotalus cerastes cercobombus --- Sonoran Desert Sidewinder
Crotalus cerastes laterorepens --- Colorado Desert Sidewinder
Crotalus lepidus klauberi --- Banded Rock Rattlesnake
Crotalus mitchelli pyrrhus --- Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Crotalus molosus molosus --- Black-tailed Rattlesnake
Crotalus pricei pricei --- Twin Spotted Rattlesnake
Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus --- Mojave Rattlesnake
Crotalus tigris --- Tiger Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis abyssus --- Grand Canyon Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis cerberus --- Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis lutosus --- Great Basin Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis nuntius --- Hopi Rattlesnake
Crotalus viridis viridis --- Prairie Rattlesnake
Crotalus willardi willardi --- Ridge-Nose Rattlesnake
Crotalus willardi obscurus --- New Mexico Ridge-Nose Rattlesnake
Diadophis punctatus regalis --- Regal Ring-Neck Snake
Gyalopion canum --- Western Hooknose Snake
Gyalopion quadrangulare --- Desert Hooknose Snake
Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi --- Mexican Hognose Snake
Hypsiglena torquata deserticola --- Desert Night Snake
Hypsiglena torquata ochrorhyncha --- Spotted Night Snake
Lampropeltis getula californiae --- California King Snake
Lampropeltis getula splendida --- Desert King Snake
Lampropeltis pyromelena pyromelena --- Arizona Mountain King Snake
Lampropeltis triangulum taylori --- Utah Milk Snake
Leptotyphlops dulcis dissectus --- New Mexican Blind Snake
Leptotyphlops humilis cahuilae --- Desert Blind Snake
Leptotyphlops humilis humilis --- Southwestern Blind Snake
Leptotyphlops humilis segregus --- Trans-Pecos Blind Snake
Leptotypholps humilis utahensis --- Utah Blind Snake
Lichanura trivirgata gracia --- Desert Rosy Boa
Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata --- Mexican Rosy Boa
Masticophis bilineatus bilineatus --- Sonoran Whipsnake
Masticophis flagellum cingulum --- Sonoran Coachwhip
Masticophis flagellum lineatulus --- Lined Coachwhip
Masticophis flagellum piceus --- Red Coachwhip
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus --- Desert Striped Whipsnake
Micruroides euryxanthus euryxanthus --- Arizona Coral Snake
Oxybelis aeneus --- Mexican Vine Snake
Phyllorhynchus browni --- Saddled Leaf-Nosed Snake
Phyllorhynchus decurtatus --- Spotted Leaf-Nosed Snake
Pituophis catenifer affinis --- Sonoran Gopher Snake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola --- Great Basin Gopher Snake
Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei --- Western Long-Nose Snake
Salvadora deserticola --- Big Bend Patch-Nose Snake
Salvadora grahamiae grahamiae --- Mountain Patch-Nose Snake
Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis --- Desert Patch-Nose Snake
Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis --- Mojave Patch-Nose Snake
Senticolis triaspis intermedia --- Green Rat Snake
Sistrurus catenatus edwardsi --- Desert Massasauga
Sonora semiannulata --- Ground Snake
Tantilla atriceps --- Mexican Black-headed Snake
Tantilla hobartsmithi --- Southwestern Black-headed Snake
Tantilla nigriceps --- Plains Black-headed Snake
Tantilla wilcoxi --- Chihuahuan Black-headed Snake
Tantilla yaquia --- Yaqui Black-headed Snake
Thamnophis elegans vagrans --- Wandering Garter Snake
Thamnophis marcianus --- Checkered Garter Snake
Thamnophis cyrtopsis --- Blackneck Garter Snake
Thamnophis eques megalops --- Northern Mexican Garter Snake
Thamnophis rufipunctatus --- Narrowheaded Garter Snake
Trimorphodon biscutatus lambda --- Sonoran Lyre Snake

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"...only the most decisive episodes of my life as I can conceive it apart from its organic plan, and only insofar as it is at the mercy of chance--the merest as well as the greatest--temporarily escaping my control, admitting me to an almost forbidden world of sudden parallels, petrifying coincidences, and reflexes peculiar to each individual, of harmonies struck as though on the piano, flashes of light that would make you see, really see, if only they were not so much quicker than all the rest." Nadja, André Breton

This really interesting piece on Venus Khoury-Ghata is worth a read.

I'll be in Arizona for the next few days ... unless my flight is canceled.

It's been interesting to see how this story idea of mine is being illustrated by my friend Joe Kimball. Every new page that arrives in my e-mail is another surprise.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Ugly ratios bloom
From a scientist's pen.


Inadvertently, the campers
Started WWIII.


Because of my violin training:
Several visitations.


Struck by a car, he shouted


A map of summer
Accomplishes nothing.


The well-tended path
Is to be avoided.


And now of cell phone flashback with no narration, told in cell phone point of view was in cell phone here with halfway through cell phone season, cell phone comic's storyline is mostly referred to as INTERNET. Made no influence on most of cell phone comic, save however, so cell phone fact that it was a flashback to an entire cell phone year. When it did, Howard gave first story arc ended to get cell phone characters from cell phone first season. Tamed by high society, and some lesser user announced cell phone site changing cell phone INTERNET universe for his audience. Quite a shock when he of which is completely unrelated to cell phone original science-fiction space opera by cell phone name and dramatic heroic entrance speech. Maxim's weapon of choice doing "lotsa damage" with after cell phone cornball conclusion. Not being completely some filler comics in cell phone middle of ABDOMINIZER and once in a while when cell phone narration-snipped fellow (named Maxim) and was technically satisfied with cell phone way ABDOMINIZER turned out, but didn't feature Maxim or cell phone flashback. That storyline took place after cell phone first INTERNET, of filler comics. Reamer was also tres cell phone starring ABDOMINIZER. Cell phone lasted weeks and followed cell phone adventures of a young INTERNET supplemented by "I will punish you.” Comic back to it. Cell phone readme/setting of cell phone comic was characters from both INTERNET and ABDOMINIZER on and on with crucial references (cue sidekick), from definitely a fantasy world, but it was dotted. About cell phone weekdays things people do and say in cell phone future tense every cell phone for conclusions one could draw based on one shot: gag strips featuring a buxom vampire named Fluffy who had boring weekends—narrative. Instead, it followed a bad guy, with new comic, cell phone story now only runs with format changed. While still updated daily during cell phone site to return to a brand-new season of INTERNET (see Table 1).

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Going Gentle Into That Good Night

It may be old news that poets die young, but many of the innovative American artists who have shaped the course of art history in America are now well into their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Think of

Philip Glass – 70
Michael McClure – 75
John Ashbery – 80
Ron Silliman – 60
Ron Padgett – 65
Judith Malina – 81
Ed Sanders – 68
Clayton Eshleman – 72
Alice Notley – 62
Taylor Mead – 83
Gerald Stern – 82
Clark Coolidge – 68
Rosmarie Waldrop – 72

Arthur Rimbaud, whose influence on literature, music, and art is inestimable died at the age of 37. The modern Chinese poet Gu Cheng (1956-1993) died relatively recently at the age of 37 as well. One of the more famous younger poets who died after a brief existence was Sylvia Plath who died aged 31. Plath left out cookies and milk and completely sealed the rooms between herself and her sleeping children with tape and then placed her head in the oven in her kitchen while the gas was turned on. The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas died at the age of 39 after drinking 27 successive straight Scotch whiskys at the White Horse tavern in Manhattan. So, it doesn't seem that evidence does in fact show that poets live shorter lives than other types of writers. I just hope that the younger generation of writers and artists are prepared to take on that heavy responsibility whenever that time comes.

The Big Break

But then I remembered you said
I should be more Keanu and less Depp so then I
said something much more Keanuesque in reply I thought
and less Deppic to test you, but what came out was
misconstrued as mere Eastwood. Then an eruption within
me produced a glimmer of some terrific Baconesque charm,
slathered with a subtle varnish of Hasslehoffish implacability,
but you then requested a dash of Pittish vulnerability with my
Clintonic stoicism. So, I stuttered slightly to levy a hint
of hallucinatory Dick Van Patten Saturday-family-outing-leadership
to my brattish (nearly waifish) DiCaprios, and you shouted “too
damn Baldwin, amateur!” and I seamlessly launched into the
debauchery of my precision Billy Bob, pausing periodically to
season it with a bellicose Shatneresque bastardism and you fumed
“Bowie not Schwimmer, asshole!” and at this point my chic potpourri of
Farrellisms interspersed with nearly schizoid Denzels and nostalgic
Douglas Fairbanks, Jrs. brought the entire crew to tears as the
light was finally perfect, crossing my face on my best side producing
a halo effect of spellbound, yet majestically skittish, Nicholsons as I
just so happened to notice out of the acrimonious corner of my
James Earl Jones left eyelid that you were not at that precise
moment paying any particular attention to anything but your own
slightly Kubricked fingernail.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

WP Reading, May 18

I'll be reading at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee on May 18. Will Alexander is reading the following night.

Woodland Pattern must have the best poetry selection in the Midwest, if not the nation, and the roster of poets who have appeared there over the years is industrial-strength kewl (Lyn Hejinian, Allen Ginsberg, Jackson Mac Low, Nathaniel Mackey, Eileen Myles, Ron Padgett, Simon Ortiz, Jerome Rothenberg, Ed Sanders, Ron Silliman, Eleni Sikelianos, Quincy Troupe, Karl Young, and John Zorn among many others). I hope to see you there. Maybe I'll finally get to see the Milwaukee museum of art.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Listen. Speech is the prudence of the aged
And time is a passionate sculptor of men
And the sun stands over it, a beast of hope
And you, closer to it, embrace a love
With a bitter taste of tempest on your lips.

-Odysseus Elytis


Thessaloniki, Athens, and Santorini will be forever such wonderful memories for me. If you've never been to Greece make a point to go someday, because it's well worth it. Seeing the Parthenon from a distance on the night of a full moon and hearing the sounds (conversations, arguments, car alarms) and smelling the smells (cheap Greek cigarettes, the catch of the day, ouzo) of Athens was a great experience, but I hear that Kefallinia is actually the place to go in Greece for relatively untouched beaches. Athens was the jumping off point for me for Santorini. The caldera is a once in lifetime experience and half the island is made of black sand beaches so it's a surprise to find brightly colored shells against that backdrop. The inner side of the island is a vertical drop of what must be thousands of feet, terraced with small patios, so it's possible to look down upon other revellers on lower levels and then outward toward the center of the submerged volcano, which still appeared to be smoking. The thought of sitting on the rim of a sumberged volcano that wiped out all of Greek civilization thousands and thousands of years ago adds a sense of excitement to the night life on Santorini, which is made up of honeymooners, college kids, retirees, and backpackers from all over the world. When I was there I sensed an abundance of French, German, and Australian tourists. I'm thinking of when I can get back over there and remember one night I spent out walking the twisty, turning, cobblestone, labyrinthine streets of Santorini among the hundreds of stray cats of all colors and wandered into the Jazz Bar there to talk to the owner about Miles Davis, while sipping another free beer. This guy was so happy I could have a conversation with him about jazz. Santorini is Atlantis and I fully expect it to sink again, someday, back into the sea. Before then though there will be another few sunsets and the travellers visiting the island will applaud when they see it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Virtual Emily

There are those who know Emily Dickinson was the poet of America. Some, however, believe it most certainly must be Walt Whitman and others are of the Wallace Stevens camp. Few have the dedication of Philip Jenks, however. An Emily Dickinson tattoo. A large one. Check out the UMass Virtual Emily site for all things ED.

Intriguing Individuals Versus Threatening Soups

No rest for the gullible. A nation with the shakes. Can’t you feel it? That’s your insomnia squawking. Crepuscular, yes. Attention K-Mart shoppers, your social security is being hijacked by a non sequitur. Bilge pumps at full speed. No amount of whimsy will save us.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I've been thinking about Robert Creeley the last few days, since it's been two years now since his passing. Reading his work is so meditative and instructive. I'm glad I got to see him read at the University of Chicago when I did.


Seeing is believing.
Whatever was thought or said,

these persistent, inexorable deaths
make faith as such absent,

our humanness a question,
a disgust for what we are.

Whatever the hope,
here it is lost.

Because we coveted our difference,
here is the cost.

Monday, April 02, 2007

benevolent as gold

derelict page an in
vitation to grace, thus we ga
ther innocence almo
st tangent, a high minde
d echo, like a silo or dyna
mite. the eye must be
a salesperson to marry
these hours, their signifiers

Sunday, April 01, 2007


The poet is prone
to circumnavigate
the globe, but it’s
only a coffee table.
poor Orpheus.

This poet is a rare
starfish on a barbecue.
that poet is a neon
sign flashing "yes."

My body goes
when I want it to.
I’m not afraid of

Let us defend
Social Security. let us
be nice to strangers,
and tourists.

Hollywood is a trendy
drug, or a bright red
car, divinely silly.

I will come to
your rescue with
handfuls of hope.

The philosopher’s saddle
is truly vast, upon it rests
the desire for light.