Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Las Vegans at the edge of sleep
desire and satiate that desire by
accessorizing to where
she bites off a piece of wind
and blows it upward into birds.

The loaded hell of your mouth
yawns big as Wednesday
cusps each evening with a stiletto that
sidewalks as earth’s icing at the
ledge of oligarchy.

Mystique, in league with
captives of perspective,
like a swarm of advertisements
perambulates along the avenues.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

According to Robert Samuelson at Newsweek, Barack Obama has already failed.

Florida schools are now permitted to use the term "evolution" in their curricula. Just as soon as they familiarize themselves with other recent events, they'll be ready to join us in the 20th, I mean 21st, Century.

Bush's approval rating is the lowest in the history of surveys.

China has banned foreign cartoons. Spongebob and Patrick, those weisenheimers, will have to take their subversive underwater shtick elsewhere.

Danny Ocean is the UN's messenger of peace? I voted for Elliot Gould. C'mon. Don't you remember "Capt. John Francis Xavier 'Trapper John' McIntyre"?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Night by the Encyclopedia

I loved you then, mostly for your tacos. They were like
small victories in the second Boer War (or Tweede Vryheidsoorlog).
I read The New York Times for the typos and
occasionally would run,
like a fool I know,
to the feed store to get more tangerines. And nothing could
quench our thirst for history

as explanations drifted through the streets like two discarded newspapers.

My path of snow that runs through night
could it be said that we were in love
she announced to the room as if asking for more salsa

as the television removed its clothes.

And what voices were so busy polishing our eyes
for another day of symmetry where the mountain sleeps?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Canadian poet Rob Mclennan is relentless...his online posts are voluminous and he’s a publishing monster. Swimming around in the world of Ottawa poetry is nearly making me forget this marathon Chicago winter. If it’s this cold here, the folks even farther north must be solid.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My collaboration with Joe Kimball has finally been published in the new issue of Mome. Here's one of my shlocky storyboards alongside a panel from the finished piece.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ticket to What

This isn’t nature’s duel weakness,
truth comes early in the throat
a blanched monkey, stout as birth.
Hellborn and helpless these months
ache like inconspicuous stems.
Criminal grapes fill with echoes.
My pleated lives really feel,
cycloptic beasts who, greenish, need
and we’re brained and dying among false
trembling flowers. Early or die
just for the taking. What they do to you
come a month. We’re empty,
good. Might live, expect something more
than dimes for food.
The happy confusion of Amy King-- one of my favorite poets.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Orbiting Planet You

Tell the forest leaves to quit their labor
my heart is a candelabra of dice.
Here in your studio of dreams
among autumn clocks I quince.
If I could ice your anesthetic,
echo an ocean twelve years.
But your shimmering voices
the quality of your amber.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The General panics
earlier brandishing gentians.

Itself cognition,
rhetoric reveals its sores.

What jazzing hands
Take your grievances to the particulars?

Life pancakes as
The faraway uncertainties.

You are coconuts -
Mount Fuji in drag.

What shrine to realism
burns in moonlight.

Because I write poetry, I often get into conversations with nonpoets about writing and writing poetry in particular. When recently asked about poetry by a person whom I know who holds many advanced degrees but doesn’t often read poetry except as a mental exercise or dessert to his main dish of academic or sociological regular reading, I found myself recommending poets whose work I don’t even read. It crossed my mind that living in this country and continuously consuming the goods and services offered here in the U.S. often leads to a practical view of art (for the nonspecialist). Time won’t be invested (even fifteen minutes) if there won’t be some kind of return on that investment, i.e., what’s in it for me? Art is intrinsically not a practical endeavor but leads the viewer or creator toward an aesthetic experience, i.e., art isn’t typically utilitarian, architecture notwithstanding. So, I ended up finding myself talking about Gary Snyder’s poetry because of its relative accessibility. Snyder used plain language to explore concepts and philosophical questions related to his own quest for understanding and he has lived his life on many continents as a proponent of eco-awareness and green-consciousness before those terms had really even entered the popular vernacular. So, why wouldn’t I recommend to a non-writer of poetry the poetry that I admire and read? I guess the self-editing involved as I size-up the asker of such a question leads me to make certain assumptions based on the asker’s appearance and the context of the question as related to the tone of the conversation that preceded it has a lot to do with my response, too. I’m going to make a conscious effort to not self-edit in the future though when asked this kind of question, because it would be better for anyone interested in reading poetry to dive right in to the best poetry written versus to read selections that are *accessible.*

The more genuine answer would be to say that it would be a good idea to dig up a copy of The Desert Music by William Carlos Williams, Harmonium by Wallace Stevens, The Tennis Court Oath, by John Ashbery, Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara, or even more recent titles like A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow, by Noah Eli Gordon, or Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers by Lidija Dimkovska. Picking up great anthologies like Bay Poetics or The City Visible is a good way to gauge what’s going on in poetry right now, too. No more will I recommend poets I don’t even read, although the writing itself may be worthwhile. I shouldn’t do any more corrective steering. I’m not even driving the car.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I'm going to finally make it over to
Intuit Gallery today to see the Henry Darger exhibit. Darger lived out his reclusive life in his one-room Lincoln Park, Chicago apartment working as a janitor by day, but at night working on his 15,000 page novel, complete with illustrations about the angelic Vivian Girls, who lead a rebellion against godless, child-enslaving men. Darger attended church daily and rarely spoke, so when his work was discovered by his landlady months before his death it started a landslide of interest in the man who some consider the most amazing of the "outsider" artists. The documentary In the Realms of the Unreal by Jessica Yu that PBS ran a few years ago is interesting to say the least. Darger was certainly the most prolific of all outsider artists. At the time of his death in 1973 he was working on the 3,000 page sequel to his voluminous first novel. His landlady eventually became executor of his estate, which comprises thousands of original illustrations meticulously drawn by Darger himself, in addition to the handwritten pages to what may be the longest and most bizarre novel ever written.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bill Berkson gave me advance warning that the MoMA edition of In Memory of My Feelings that he edited has been remaindered, so I picked up a copy on Amazon for twenty bucks. It's an incredible bargain and wonderful book. I'd scramble over to and see if there are any still available. And here's a photo of Lana Turner (nearly) collapsing.