Saturday, January 31, 2009

into what harbor

They shall sink.
Where they may.
Where they fall.
The ships.

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a variant:

from William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury
They hit.
The flag pulls the wind.
Along the fence he moved.
In the grass they hid.
They hit some more.
Went to the flag.
It was red in the red wind.
By the fence they lost a penny.
Find the penny, someone said.
Find it or Ma get madder than heck.
You bein thirty-three year old,
Caint tie your own damn shoe.
They find the penny.
In the grass by the fence.
They hit. He hit. They hit.
Luster mean light.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

field notes


High above the algae
that is clipped to stones
like glue,
I make the animal caw:
quick to the carried edge where water laps the egg.


Lizard why did you?
Why did you
snap your tail in two?
Be aware, silly slipper:
two boys stand ready to kill.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

some few particulars

Of boy and rock and train and time
when you gripped a rock in hand as
you crouched for the train to pass.
Inert, held by the absent speech-
filled self on that tension drilling day.
Rock. Hand. Heat. Crow?
Ruins are made in revising.
And so being overfills its waiting
and whiteness of stone and whiteness
of flesh collide as that moment unfolds,
folds out toward you, rushing
the train toward you as you rise
into your tightly wound purpose:
one second of release into violence
to find a flooded emptiness
in an impress of rock.

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It was as if we were the orgasm
of spiders fucking in dried human

Richard Brautigan, "The Red Chair"
from June 30th, June 30th (New York: Delta, 1978)

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inland empire: being a review of a film by David Lynch wherein rabbits act on stage and a man appears with a light bulb in his mouth

You were something else and I wanted to crush my face. I could not stand the thought I would grow old. The old city was magical at night in snow. I walked to the bridge to look down in the dark water moving slowly beneath me. I could see the shapes of continents moving below.

South America.

Certain pieces of ice had cracks like long meandering rivers. I went to a dark cafe. It was wonderful to hold a cup of warm coffee. In the corner a table of whores. I had seem them earlier under the street light.

A dog barked as I passed the Imperial Gardens. I was searching for spare change in my pockets, a few pennies to give the beggar.

"Do I know you?"

"My heart is an ailment once warmed."

"Of course. Why not? I'm sorry I'm broke tonight."

I recalled that earlier at work the papers on my desk were like alien transmissions in some complex, mathematical language.

Today's date. January 7th, 1904.

There was beauty in this language, but it was cold and lonely and moved toward you like a madman carrying a luminescent pine cone in his mouth.

Christ was a beggar in the darkness of some inland empire.

I only wanted to meet someone with whom I could share.


I hate winter. When will winter pass. These pages accumulating here are hideous. I have no interest in my novel anymore. I am coming to get you.


I hear sirens. I look out my window. On the street below, an ambulance. In the countryside there is quiet. I will go to the countryside in spring. You can come with me, if you want. I will bring blankets and a basket. We will eat by the river in the shade of the willow.


I saw a strange fish between the ice moving sluggishly beneath me as I stood on the bridge in the dark with my collar pulled high against the wind. Two anarchists walked behind me. I could hear their heavy breathing. They passed slowly.


The strange fish I mentioned. Perhaps I didn't see it. Perhaps it was only a shadow.



"Maybe tomorrow. Who knows?"

"I cant' stand this waiting."


Nothing is moving. The cathedral doors are open and music pours onto the sidewalk. An organ recital. A drunk stops to piss, unsteady on his feet. His clothes are coarse and mud-spattered. The music is like some kind of divine apsiration. I pause to let it touch me. I would listen to this music forever, if I didn't feel so hungry.

Around the corner is a place I know. It's warm there, noisy. The food is good there and they ask nothing of you but your patronage.

I go.

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monster picks up a tenor

Every true poet is a monster.
Tomaz Salamun

Monster out of work
nearly two years.
For twenty-five bucks
picks up a
battered Buescher
from a pawn shop
and begins to teach
himself how to play.
Scales and melodies
at daybreak,
screaming feedback
by nightfall.
He fixes
an old record
player so he can
jam with Coltrane.
For a change of
tempo gives up
drink. Says
to his cronies in
the busted
park Got my golden
horn to drink from, man.
And to any-
one who crosses
him Don't fuck
with me or my tenor!
Sweetest slice
in the world comes
from my horn. Goes
begging in bars
for the cost of a box
of reeds. Plays in an alley,
Believeth Me, If All Those
Endearing Young Charms.
Tone filled with spit
and righteous
vibrato. Later he
sleeps with his horn.
White genitals
in its bell.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So soon as the process of manufacture has been commenced by pulling off the wool, the pelt or skin when naked becomes a most perishable commodity.

[1790. Votes House of Commons of Irel. 26 Feb. 341. OED]

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Human breathing
and the moving of clouds.
Lions need feeding.
My mouth hurts.
I'll feed them.

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bill of lading

You thrill to
certain civic codes
to motel doors.

Fire regulations.
of liability.


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a metaphysical

Love interrogates
whatever annulments
you and I
over years of disagreement
have by appointment
to sign --

Love cancels
what nearly binds us,
and saves.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


She hath chopped and changed it; yea she hath solde it.

[1549. Allen, Jude's Par. Rev. 29]

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The boys climbed the fence to watch her ride.
The wild-eyed stable hand beat the horse with chains.
We shook like husks in November fields.

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Since I have come to hate Nature & its Poetry
Lynn Emanuel
A gill on
fence and ivy converged
the limestone face
here drilled quiet
of a different order however I try
my language outside
these furious engines
I am outside what I know I want to say
and the Air is green

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idea to improve morale and sales

I thought this a good idea so I got a pencil and paper and wrote it down on my break. Here is the idea: when it is summer and really hot why don't we set up a lemonade stand out front of the store and it would actually look like a real lemonade stand we used to set up when we were kids. The sign would be lettered by hand and maybe 'lemonade' would be spelled wrong or just with a backward 'E' or something. And the stand would be staffed by real kids. And we would train them so that when a customer asks for something, say, a lemonade, they'd respond by saying something like, Yo, Jack we're gonna fuck that shit up! And when the customer is surprised and says Excuse me, what did you just say? the kids would say You betcha as they carefully pour lemonade into a plastic cup. I think this is a real swell idea because it would get people thinking about lemonade and other things like that. They might even go home and think about how nice it was to buy lemonade in such a manner and maybe get an idea for starting up their own small business which might help the ailing economy and eventually lead to universal health care and an end to war and an end to our poisoning of the planet and all that shit.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


The garden laid out in the old fashioned way of mince pies, arbours, and sugarloaf yews.

[1756, Mrs. Delany in Life & Corr. (1861) III. 435.] OED.

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letter to a murderer

Drifting is difficult because
directly into the face of winds which feel polar,
coming at me from out of the north
where blood is a rare compass.
Driving country roads I pull
onto the gravel shoulders the better to admire barns,
but it is the fallen barns that present themselves
most powerfully to me.
Some quality they possess
in their disintegrating marrow.

Perhaps they conduct themselves out of love. Or lack of love.
Where seas go forth
we know intermittently. As light is in that plasma
of unborder where night ends
and day blah blah blahs.
Crossing these off my list
an actual list scrawled in
the last blank page of some cheap novel
or elsewhere
in the mind existing in the form of a sub-cellular map.
You mean almost nothing to me
in that way that nightmares
about my mouth filling suddenly with broken teeth do.
Here is your palm of cinder.

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in praise of three-legged dogs

The three-legged dog is a marvel.
She sprints in waltz time.

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The bird is dead.

Children exchange
accusations like stones.

No one is a liar.
Everyone is a liar.

Dust stings
the war-torn country
of my family.

Its anthem a screech.

Flags clapping in the wind.

Cutlery desolate.

And my heart
is a dry well all the live long day.

Originally published in xtant 2, 2002.

throat clearance

Inside an inconvenient chair inside a mouth chewing a house
on this leaf-hewn strait I won't wake up outside without


Sunday, January 25, 2009

astringent seeks a tongue

Land succumbed
neither pelt of Lambe nor case for Foxe
that all on Fish did feed like skinnes
of fattee sheepe
som do call hym
our Father or Carcase weighing sixteen stone

Out of inkt & downe narrow ale-wise
crawand cleir
mild the mid flowe where
argolbargoling we go obnubilated
by a fine rude


Once upon
a time

poetry told
us something.

It was a
map, an eyeglass.


The name
of the black cat

on the front
porch is Hydra.

Hydra is
the name of the

black cat on
the front porch.

This poem appeared originally in slightly different form in Scrivener Creative Review (no.29, 2005).

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

fragments in search of a lecture

Memory colludes. It poses mysteries in the wake of time passing. How do I remember what propelled me to this place, this hill, this place of starch and stagger, this College of Doubt? What encounters might lead anyone to pick up a pencil and decide to imagine a world bordered on all sides by the rib of language? I have no answers to offer, only discrete engagements with a list that includes shadow, a transistor radio, a little known Canadian writer, theft, a sump pump, windows at University Hall, a literary journal and similar nodes. I make no claims in this lecture, argue no position, reveal in the end nothing that is new or revelation, though some shimmering literary facts will be presented: 'In 1651 John Milton went blind.' If you know me, if you have read my poems, minimal and inclined to fragment and iteration, then this lecture will seem a simple and consistent exploration of what I have expressed in the past. I am trying to find my way to Vermont, all over again. I might play harmonica, I might not. Come, share my discomfort in public speaking.

In the summer of 2009 I will present a lecture that will, in its lineaments, engage what is hereby proposed.

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to be read on the occassion of my coronation as king of all dogs

The cereal is gone from the box.
The box is seriously empty.
How is this possible?
In this day in this age?
For they would go to the ends of the earth to learn
no reason for an emptiness
as vast as the emptiness
in this box where cereal once settled.

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Know this: I've no love for mice, moles, voles, rats. Any of those. I mean more, in fact, by saying that: I mean, I hate them. I wish they would leave me alone. We have mice. Perfect. We have mice and three useless cats and I get up in the middle of the night to let the cats out, let the cats in, let the cats out again. We haven't had a good night's sleep in over three years. The plague arrived. It continues. I say 'we' meaning 'me.' It was a decision then, that one day I made, a declaration of sorts. To be rid of mice. To that end, I went to the hardware store. The store was supplied generously with various traps. I wasn't interested at all in the humanity of a gently dispersing intervention. I wanted them gone, with decisive permanence: a banishment into the white-ice of extinction. At least as far as my radius was concerned. I mean, my home. I bought twenty-five traps. The number excessive, I hoped, but still I thought better to err on the side of waste than meanness. It was thrilling in this way to determine the end of infestation. For I was made ill by scurrying at the edge of awareness. The sense that beings huddled behind my walls. I'd heard somewhere that mice carry diseases detrimental to the functioning of the lung, the human lung. You could say of me: I was a man afraid on certain levels of damnation. Back home I thought carefully over the proper arrangement: a constellation of wood and wire. There is an art to everything. Perfection is a form of terror. This was the first step in solving my dilemma. The setting. The setting of these. The setting of these traps.
This poem appeared originally in a slightly different form in Hayden's Ferry Review (42, 2008).

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

naming doesn't always work

जोनाथन पीटर कोने

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in memoriam

Wrist of your wrist
Wrist of the blazing rain
Wrist of Neruda whom I saw in Paris in 1957
Wrist of the books boiled in snow
Wrist of the savage fence surrounding Madrid
Wrist of the raft and the stream and the elevated train in Chicago
Wrist of the whispered cue, the dark stage and naked actors
Wrist of the flake's unprintable agony
Wrist of the pretty ass, magnificent form, horse mane, lemonade stand
newspaper rack, long dark cafe
Wrist of tantra monta Tezcatlipoca
Wrist of the rain's pins
Wrist of the day's deep buckets
Wrist of cream and hump
Wrist of llamear
Wrist of tu pant, alone
Clank, clank
Clank, clank
Wrist of the gris-gris, crayon, republic, orange,
chopping block
sailor's burn
Wrist of the postal meter
Wrist of the virgin's neck, white thigh
Wrist of the fono frenetico
Wrist of the logo or real lago
Wrist of the leonino, tus listas
Wrist of the chain glazed, pintle chain,
knockabout chain, broken chain
Wrist of the cigarette
Wrist of the lamb's slit throat
Wrist of the loud sternum, hollow eye, human novel
Wrist of the big knockers
Wrist of the river and the stupid floaters
Wrist of earth, air, fire, water


The above appeared originally in the chapbook Elote King II by Leon Pinon (Luna Bisonte, 2003).

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archilochos of johnson county

artillery 3,000 miles away
and nearby corn cribs,

lonely Bohemian graveyard

guy in feed cap on park bench
black angel at his feet
reads a paperback as if his life depends on it

thunderhead rolling in

turkey vultures

neither arrows nor bow
I only want to look anyway

a boy fiercely hits an apple tree
with a baseball bat
three years bearing
no fruit


behind the walls
nothing moves, finally
the sour smell of rot

sigin in a cornfield Repent thy time is nigh

Held fast [.........]


I await
your letter like a joke
told in moonlight
and dew

cold as

[On the back
of a grocery receipt,
in shaky script]

a kiss
[.............] cult of

thrillingly raw

at the dam
flashes of carp
in your dream
lines of trout

heavenly oatmeal


lips and teeth

on the playing field
a pathetic struggle
obvious losers, give it up!
your goose is cooked

crowded cafe
drinks, laughter
short skirts
white thighs

field kitchens
ax heads

here is our cistern

skillet on a nail



canvas trap

outhouse fumes
clear the head

spring campaign


simple minded despot
about honor and courage
everywhere hues of shit

pumpkins [....................]
wild in the alley
behind the garage

once again I failed
to build
a writing shed

pestle and mortar
nerve tonic


waist-high grasses

ditch weed

at last
in our

bark peelings

under the shade of the weeping willow
in the river
a Frigidaire

the sinking porch
where everyone sat

savored dregs

sledge [..........................]
wrapped in burlap

one summer having nothing to do
you set a collapsing barn on fire
a rag and a whiskey bottle
your old man's dirty lighter


ausculated the track
by placing his ear down

gas station dinosaur

the attic
where you went

an inventory of
[............] days:
chest of drawers
horse glue
mason jars
[...............] and one apple crate
filled with
Classics Illustrated

over the far hill
you'll see it
you 'll know its name

my creel brims
blessed is the morn

The above appeared originally in 1913: a journal of forms, (issue 2, 2005).

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

crawls on paper screen to test the pen

Light at my desk
a hard excrescence, unduration or tumor
tending to ulceration.
I am a sit-fast.


With no place to warble it is a breach of warranty.
The hard incredulity that living is.
The first payment where
the heart is a great scab.


Restharrow and creeping crowfoot
of the krall where you
slaked your first thirst.


Ploughmen of like species of thistle
bound fast to
the sitfast held.

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report to the nova express committee: current status of the artaud expedition

Dear Committee Members,

The number seven appeared to me last night in a dream. It was at first discrete, then transformed itself into the third and fourth beings, further clarified into the complex molecules of the second and first beings, as the third and fourth beings disintegrated finally into simple atoms surrounding the obscene mouth of the parasitic zero. The numbers were a premonition. A root struggled into my unconscious. A mechanical rabbit humped the root. The teeth of the rabbit contained funnels wherein eight aortal cavities lay. I could feel roaring blood beating in the aortal halls. I carried a stone in one hand, a bowl of tongues in the other. There were agonized filaments on the walls of the membranes that surrounded me. I knew without looking down at my feet that a soft calendar of flesh waited for me to fall into the slumber of an exhausted dog. I could feel fleas nearby, belting the ears of lilacs. Then I thought of my life, my family, my friends, my menial position as librarian at a provincial school, the small coffin of my apartment. My spine glowed with a bright infection. The bell of terrible metal rang from my throat, as I found myself standing upon a wasted summit. The river I had crossed to reach this summit now overflowed its banks and began teething upon the spur of a glacial jungle. In the sky, the sacrificial moon rose high and the forest writhed like a circle of rats in the ship's dank interior. I heard music, an angelic choir caught in the throes of slaughtering an innocent lamb. I wept as the lamb shifted its eyes under a cowl where blind hands crawled upward toward dominating violins and tyrannizing cellos. The map! I remembered that before my journey into the mountains I had been given a map by a local shaman. He had drawn the map out of his thin chest by making a single violent arm slash. I searched my pockets frantically for this map. Yes, yes! By the light of the river's edge, I held the map upward. It burst into flame. A virulent, cleansing flame. I saw then my path illuminated clearly, the route winding between amazing shapes and forms engaged in violent acrobatics. Men sprouted immense breasts. Women grew terrifying phalli, which they proceeded to suck hungrily deep into their throats. The night was thick and lay about like a funeral shroud. Then the music stopped, a silence rose like a cooling balm. The period of seven gave way to the era of eight and nine combined. Six stars fused to create a magnificent altar upon which the lamb lay in pieces. The fat ran in spitting streams down the altar toward the field where the corn waited the virgin's arrival. The blood steamed in a white cup. Exhausted I collapsed upon a wild grass. My eyes grew heavy. I slept. In the morning I walked ten miles to the nearest village. No one greeted me or looked me in the eye. I paid two pesos to a blind man, who told a young boy to take me to the city. Two days later I found myself in the Hotel Urania. I am writing this letter to you at a desk on a balcony overlooking a fountain. Last night, a whore was murdered in the hotel. This morning groups of men are gathered below, passionately discussing an important soccer match between the two great national teams. The tension is palpable. I fear riots are imminent. In five days I hope to return home. I feel an urgent need to discuss further, and in the greatest detail, what I saw and heard during my brief visit to the mountains.

I remain your humble servant.


The above appeared under the title 'Afterward' in the chapbook Elote King II by Leon Pinon (Luna Bisonte, 2003).

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