23 April 2014

"through our own damned trumpets, through our damned medium:"

          tourniquetsonnets are sonnets i started to write after the printing/publication of my book "Self-Portrait of the Poet Suicided by the MFA Degree." it was a nice way to unshoulder, unholster?, the fragments i cdn't/can't stitch into whatever i call a poem. they're deconstructed documentaries from a dragnet. here're two...

tourniquetsonnet upon the realization of a book

a stork’s heart is a right turn at a red light, natch?
21 minutes of recon in the forest of derailed trains
Anastasia loudly weeps tawdry Las Vegas crooner

…no way my lips are hacked off, Joseph; after all
Dutch East India Trading—  porn in the USA; to wit
a stack of LIFE magazines trapped in flat of angles;

aye, spent some of the war in a hospital at Nantes
before the nurse sutured my latent feelings, quite
it’s the essence of the idea that doesn’t really matter

the expression of vulnerability—it was vociferous!!!
storm stutter—38 apathy stab me w/ a butcher knife
Pantone 18-1663 TPX dismissed from one’s pulse

einstürzende! einstürzende! einstürzende! einstür…
zen is the Whalen in yr heartbeat (plz. come back)

tourniquetsonnet for the orison of a parachute,

certainly life erupts anchors aweigh w/ gravity
piano plink rain i sd Georgia i can’t stop drinking
tourniquets and Maria Callas records you were
cursive writing on a former trunk line, eastbound

it’s not a question of whether who we once were

my grandfather’s wars twinge and i see a violin
pique from the bourbon as i curate a car crash
departures blur through the old country of youth
whilst miniature carnations sprout from my aorta

restless rural romanticism, maritime americana

two rowboats tread water reifying insouciance
chance and design, from illogical angles, quietly
the radiator pipes of my rib cage rattle as i hum
self-portrait of the portrait suicided by justin, etc.

–post quote from J. Spicer's Imaginary Elegies I

18 January 2014

modern melancholy, etc.

            elegantly taking one’s clothes off before a sensuous woman

            unabashedly, flamboyantly beautiful •• more elusive, historically •• it’s that faded sense of beauty you long for and forever hold onto when you behold it •• liable to be derailed at any moment and required for a debriefing •• after every fleeting, triumphant moment…stricken— •• opera gloves; a red gown, snarling as you pass, nowhere else so erotic •• scrawled prayers on the back of holy pictures •• these harrows are daydreams rended by indiscreet drama and inapposite passion… •• you suspect “no girl was ever seduced by a book;” •• the torrid narcosis that filters through the candlelight, the East Berlin amphetamines •• a searching fire, subsiding from a rosary, under chemical light •• the gears of an Antebellum pocket watch, in which you begin to interrogate clarity •• the velocity of a departing angel through the vor of autumn leaves •• incongruous is the horizon •• the hallucinatory hymn of her portrait •• “romance is a mournful beauty,” she’ll say, confuting the cute squalor of yr nostalgia •• as you taxi to threnody the treble in her throat •• it’s the most dangerous of moods: a desire for complete isolation of an all-consuming romance •• the ghostfights and other nude scenes •• exotic mirrors late in the tension of acquiescence toward the threshold of the absurd •• the elusive cartography: a stethoscope to the chest •• tonight brings what is left of auscultation •• melancholy may long for a samurai who gives everything up for the love of a geisha •• red carnations and the glamour of being a shadow •• a mannequin wearing an ornate wedding dress w/ an antique birdcage for a head •• Billie Holiday singing along to a Remington 5 typewriter •• an Astra Constable tucked into a folded New York Times •• it’s a rainy Tuesday morning •• remodeling interior gods in a Gledhill Halifax cash register •• which is to say, if the rumors were true •• speakeasy brass bands from inside a velvet chesterfield •• that just documents the diamond heist behind her eyes

19 June 2013

unsculpted, intrinsic

Susie Q’s vibrator, pts. 1 & 2

Cliff Notes and chartreuse
sullen notes on a 1914 Steinway Grand
nude, framed
in stolen fabric and/or Fear 
playing SNL ’81
forever in debt to divergent motifs
“i’m Peter Pan!,” or “eat my fuck” 
blithe regret, nostalgia
nihilistically disillusioned 
in my early-middle age
of assignations and whimsy
temporary residence in another fairytale
of ennui and of old lovers
abstraction, and psychological insight
adult truths
beneath my bespoke skeleton

“in order to understand, i destroyed myself” 
to trombone and drums 
a few prayers 
rattled off on an old macchina da scrivere
laconic, insular
on the sleazier side of Sunday
reversing into the subsequent
it’s possible it’s too late to attempt 
to make any sense
every opportunity shrugs off sincerity
the tenebrism of the implication
weary, woebegone
six schooners of King’s Ransom
i took a floret and transfixed it through 
the forearms of my Lord
facing myself as the light adjourned

20 May 2013

"Poetry is a form of desire devoted to the impossibility of its own fulfillment." -- D. Beachy-Quick


01 /

owl always love her

white lilac trees and champagne balconies •• a grey rain takes reign •• it cd be we’re so elegant, dressed as we were, in our rags of hymns and ghosts •• b/c where you go, i go too •• i am probably in Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland •• then i am in the drawing room of an old New England house across from Wesleyan •• listening to a young spinster play piano •• watching square-peg girls in love w/ their best friends’ boyfriends playing effeuiller la marguerite •• part flamenco, part ineffable •• [stark staring, i love her] •• nevertheless, i am reading a textbook on how to design airports, or an insulation manual for post-war tract housing •• nevertheless, i am drawn into another languorous world, and the wasted time waltzes back, sometimes •• these crippled symmetries •• i put my ear to her chest and listen •• [but where did she come from?] •• smoke off crumpled paper in the ashtray next to a dining room table littered w/ guns and bespoke balloons •• materializing light •• a Rotring Xonox Graphic as it depicts “owl always love her” in a tattered Leuchtturm 1917 •• i came to see everything as a willow of white phosphorus at the end of the red carpet •• a bolero or a French film acting out the cognitive dissonance of trying to dwell in a handful of worlds concurrently •• a funeral parade of roses •• like a man praising a woman’s beauty to her •• classically brilliant and erotic •• a sparse landscape w/ bird skeletons as resonance for inner emotions •• [Between 2 Battles, The Warrior Has A Well-Deserved Rest At The Soft Breast Of His Beloved Lady And Dreams Of Other Despairs And Victories] •• somewhere in between bleeding broadcasts of the evening news and the nightly Top 20 •• there is a mild sadness that permeates everything •• i put my ear to the ceiling and wait for the transmission’s tenebrism •• it’s enough to give a lapsed Catholic nightmares •• then i am in the attic, reading •• “when i thought abt it, it seemed to me that the human heart was a very primitive instrument” •• i remember there was the time someone installed a transistor radio in their heart and the chambers filled w/ blood •• coming back from the country after taking the cure

02 /

the high sadness condition evoked less arousal than the low sadness condition

a vice-versa'd golf umbrella
all skeleton, Maybelline eyeliner-black
placid beauty
an orchid, or a tumor, or i forgot;
a sad expression
surprisingly suffused w/ colour—
the wilderness of our time has been exorcized
white moth whiskey; 5 o'clock cocktails
i come to you, as always:
ballerinas creaky on wooden floors...
nude, repairing a revolver;
sledgehammer symbolism, sure
the heart is just 
a series of on-ramps
chasing sunsets to forever elude the sunrise—
yet, to find oneself unable,
low-voltage, too, a quiet hum...
i immediately fell in love 
w/ that picture;
my heart is ramshackle, he sd, rural
stapled w/ swill
just as inextricably stitched up 
w/ a crooked cobweb, an American Dream
abscessed w/ guilt…
not glamourous or stark, it has to be 
love at first sight:
sheared w/ arrhythmia & bramble
i had it framed
drinking aftershave from the bottom half 
of a matryoshka doll—

03 / 

to refurbish a skeleton's ribcage into a stereo cabinet

                                                               for Justin Jones

imagine roaring lions, drugstore kites, and Carry On Wayward Son
telephone booths, Old Master oil colours, up escalators
a sword fight w/ outboard motors
imagine sharing a 2009 Black Label Claret w/ a street arab
[as i've been damned more than once…]
or anxiolytics, Mt. St. Helens, bright orange Bantam paperbacks
classified black ops files
a Westinghouse Mosin-Nagant M1891 → Kill The Moonlight
[as his heart is decidedly in the right place]
imagine argyle-sweater sadness, a prie-dieu
the iconic door of 10 Downing Street
perhaps then we’d have the first intimation of Our Lady of the Flowers
[as such, the tragedy]
rooster-tail bass flute, Fentanyl, stillness and nostalgia
the Meth of a Rockette’s Kick
imagine J.C. Leyendecker’s “Couple Descending a Staircase”
an Oldfield’s Rarebit yearbook c. 1914
[as it’s everything i’ve decided in a moment of passion & interest]
red light districts, or Hollywood Babylon
Mary Miles Minter, thin Martinis, and Armchair No. F 51 by Walter Gropius
imagine E. Manteca on a Wednesday night in January
an overturned Ferris wheel
a pawn shop, porn mags and jazz records
or insert Justin Jones’ favourite bombastic 70s rock song here
[as i’ve begun to look out the window onto E. 17th Street]
benign, damaged beauty
perhaps then we’d know what it is to stand in awe of the post-whatever malaise
a weathervane, aesthetic wilderness
ylang-ylang, mercury thermometers, or Iowa as a verb
[as i’ve Iowa’d the fuck out this poem]
spellbound, shadow boxed in kissy-face, of art and erotica
a watercolour from the bombshell’s wee small hours
or a gentleman in lust whispering, “aw-shucks”
[as i've considered lechery]
Boris Yeltsin, a Rieger Orgelbau pipe organ, and vintage telenovelas
one’s heart in a bulldog edition
a New York Times A1 story
a photo in which she meets the murderer in an art gallery wearing a low-cut dress
remember, the guns and lovers came after
plastic explosives, periscopes, geraniums, and Mexican summers
[as it’s like when a young boy falls in love & steals a photo of his crush]
or “though pink elephants i wd see”
a E.R. Squibb & Sons Morphine Syrette, as all it took was one look
a silhouette of profound upheavals
a backlit Cibachrome photo
[as “i freebase the carousel in my sleep, no less”]
ticking off marauders, Tetragrammaton, and outdated Yellow Pages

01 May 2013

poem for a nurse smoking a cigarette against a police telephone box on 8th Street 

maybe memory, in the thin, soft blue light of a medevac helicopter
time was hidden, hemmed in red, evenings at 1950s jazz clubs 
        & '20s debutante balls and such;
i am suspended under the barometer of an incense-stained crucifix―

the mood of the dry martini at the precipice of one's heart: 
        portraits of lust and false-heartedness
in these elegiac Happy Days suburbs, words pinned like butterflies 
        in a museum case...
her heart to sorrow; one is left wondering if the girl actually 
        exists or if―

as if i were a kite, words failed, dragging a dead deer down 
        a diary's spinal column...
yesterday's wake of ramshackle boat sheds, of heron-haunted estuaries
and its mise-en-scène; that is, say "i love you" again, 
        loudly enough this time―

tonight, Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey w/ a well-water back, the last 
        summer rainstorm before shanghai...
transistor-amp guitars & rickety piano squalling out a steeplechase;
it's a beautifully horrible resolve; a kiss frustrated 
        from a Mills & Boon mass market paperback

if it's morning now, 7 o'clock, stethoscopes & tourniquets; 
        uninstalling IEDs from a chest cavity
white knuckled & stationery-deaf from a Gustav Mahler symphony

endless early-70s FM calibration in contrast to modern erotica
lampshaded at the thresholds of verschärfte Vernehmung, 
        breath hushed like a dead chandelier

26 November 2012

from 434 E 17th Street out

a mini book



from 434 E 17th Street out

- - -


thereupon comes apologies or sorrows

- - -


curious ennui, gestural vertigo
however an eulogy of tequila & quarantine
on the other hand, discriminative affections
of madonnas & bijoux
Koré in heaven, Justin in solitary squall

- - - 

in any event, belle tournure, not something always already constructed
this tension between being here, becoming there

- - -

i told Milo his meows reminded me of a meadowlark
coughing up blood in the dark…

- - -

this is a chance meeting
of a typewriter
& an umbrella on a rocking chair
in a brandy snifter

Bob Fosse dancing on the blade of an ice skate
in a raindrop

- - -

the scrawl of my grrl sprawled in bed

- - -

if every mother's son is romantic
then i awake to Mary Magdelene moaning mourning birds

- - -

the lurid claims of the marvelous

& the intangible
& the intangible

will someone plz. tell me 
what i have sd

- - -

the ethical ambiguity of this terrific "imagination"

- - -

while folding fitted sheets
listening to Laura Smith sing "I'm Gonna Kill Myself"
i wonder which is worse:
the lonesome church bells or the lonely train whistle

- - -

my happiness is a raindrop in wool mittens; naked lovers 
forgetting narcissism in the epiphany of eroticism

- - -


similarly, the erotics of such nevertheless isolation
so one arrives, finally, at pleasure

- - -

when my baby's beside me i know
i know i won't be lonely one more day

- - -

in the span of so-many books 
i have invented a fire extinguisher: a memory of autobiography 
scuffed like graphite on tracing paper

the depth of narrative eschews the carburetor
a comfortable solution, 
the repossession of the exterior by the interior

, unacknowledged

- - -


brown plaid flannel
pink suede shoes

- - -

my breath bled a bottle of Bordeaux; my shadow 
slipped into the asylum of a scarlet begonia…

- - -

jazz, eventually
the imprimatur of a geisha in a dollhouse
razor-fan torch ballad

either way, the rip cord, frayed

- - -

Norma Fraser sais
the first cut is the deepest
Fern Kinney sais
together we are beautiful
Imogen Heap sais
goodnight and go

it was raining
& i wielded my tongue of scotch
like a hypodermic needle

- - -

weltanschauung, of sorts:

i had a dream D Suar & i sang
Charles Aznavour's "Je Bois"

a heart imbued w/ sudden nostalgia
we turned our ghosts loose amidst the gravitational pull
of our respective sirens

it's true everything abounds
it's just beware 
the hidden razors in the rendezvous

of one's self

- - -

if access to one's past is through a surreal sentence (def. 4b)
then this thought is a still life of an ironing board

clearly, you are better off if you know the extent of yr injuries or damages
yet, can one extend this consideration

- - -


ha ha ha
fuck if i'd know

- - -

i shadow box the museum butterflies on the wall
a whale in my heart can't prove this

sometimes i think Full Metal Jacket
in a decompression chamber

and i thought i moved on from ribbons & custom boxes:
last night or selected poems of Paul Carroll

perhaps i translated doubt wrong;
there was still this tremour in the holy

- - -



- - -

vociferously, this fever is an atelier of ferns
a cylinder of contemplation;

Nosferatu & Lolita debating an evening 
of existentialism

- - -

a pang is just distortion exiting the heart

- - -

i may be right, i may be wrong
Dorothy sd something like "beautiful goddamn friend"

an egret shuttered like a photograph out of water
how succinct the bright streams

the comfort we feel as we bayonet 
out of the barricades of our fugue

- - -

the protocols of a sad song
an accidental translation of this evening's acroamatic asymmetry
an eyelash against a breast
to borrow another memory of yesterday's effectiveness

- - -

i'll see there is no ikon

there is no plausibility

in hindsight, i guess
one finds their archangel

- - -


i am not above the mitigating descent, yet
let my atonement be displaced in ascent

- - -

in January and difficult, surreal images
watching patron saints take quiet pages
tonight, i'd say fuck you like a grace note
watching the first quarter moon garrote 

the pinned butterflies on the microscope slide of blank paper
in the rubberneck of the typewriter's absurd candor

- - -

i bleach the scalpel 
in a vial of perfume

- - -

searching for a signature
homily, etc.
the transcendent signified
in a flat of angles
a careful consideration
of my place
a reflection of this 
particular intersection

- - -


sunbeam through rainy leaves
this afternoon
a hurricane lamp against the imperative 

"Fuck I want to be bound by devotion!        Tortured
by passion!"

- - -

whether the implication can be drawn that
Vicodin & viognier
can hush the blood of this cold
from being a mere reduction of Thanksgiving's 
simple absurdités 
belies the psychological possibilities...

a hedgehog in tap shoes
w/in the formal elements
of a red heart in a church

- - -

more important
than the replacement of anxiety w/ whisky
is the redevelopment
of our belle tournure

Ceravoloing through our love affair

- - -


i will never undress like an adieu
b/c i can't help falling in love w/ you

- - -

imagery conflates eyesight w/ a pair of binoculars
this is true, w/ a subtle, particular tenor

- - -

wearing cartography on one's heart-sleeves: 

Arkansas makes me want to hold you
to the microscope of my heart

curating the calculus of distance
like a star-strewn rampart

- - -

once i started walking
through the synchronized swimming of her love
it came to caterwauling chemistry
how do two tableau through the spiral stairs

drowning in the eddy of heartbeats

- - -

Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Merz

- - -

pretty little angel eyes
you're astride something

- - -

i walk through these empty pages
and strewn among the company of hope
i find you

naked, i guess, uninterpretable
as we contour into our own map

06 July 2012

come on in and take off yr skin and rattle around in yr bones # 11

            candle wax on the green grass
            the periodic multiplication table of elements

                                                “The wires in the rose are beautiful.”
                                                “Imagine this as lyric poetry.”

           hurry up, we are, perhaps, dreaming •• of Central Valley countryside or downtown Oakland, Ca. basement apartments •• Deutsche Grammophon conductors •• interpreting “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” in thrall, imaginably •• to Looney Tunes femmes fatales— •• no, that’s probably a faulty emotion •• we most likely need San Francisco city council meetings •• as seen fuzzily •• through a pair of 1950s Rembrandt VHF/UHF bunny ears •• or snow falling on weeping willows— •• the slender legs of Tina Turner dancing the Varen’ka •• O, how we become startled •• to find ourselves in our own personal snug harbour of such renowned, ridiculous reverie •• correspondingly, i put a songbird •• in my throat to wreak havoc w/ the voice-recognition software— •• this is crucial •• b/c it is there we introduced the lyrical “i” •• as in: I SHOCK MYSELF •• taking a Stihl FS45 weed trimmer to a bed of geraniums— •• yet, i never thought this day wd come •• reading Blaise Cendrars on the Trans-Siberian Express toward Vladivostok •• or, chasing a ground squirrel across a golf course in an April rainstorm— •• “O, where will you find me now?” •• my lover whispers •• of something collapsing & being built simultaneously •• as she pulls a Tijuana Bible •• from her Frederick Mellinger of Hollywood Marabou Peignoir— •• the catalog says it’s 1964 •• so i name a blue heron Deep Throat •• & rent “All the President’s Men” from the old Video Station on Wilshire Boulevard— •• the palm trees erupt, O what a tremendous time we’re having: •• Emily Dickinson analyzing Donald Barthelme short stories •• Charlotte Rampling reading Dick Tracy comics from the 40s •• on a St. James Chaise from J. Robert Scott— •• but the typewriter ODs •• as i shove the aforesaid flower wreckage into a 1929 Pierce-Arrow radiator •• thinking of ekstasis & the angriest man in jazz— •• the tiny particulates dusting •• my copy editor’s Duckie Brown wingtip shoes— •• a Lefaucheux revolver & a Rand McNally World Portrait desk-top globe •• i heard everything disappearing •• “i want to make mistakes & fall in love,” i whisper •• thinking of her pretty blue dress as it liberates the lust •• of many a wallflower •• one can speculate that his romantic hopes were unfulfilled •• as she tells him to slow down— •• it’s the serial crises of imagery •• envisioned as hand-to-hand combat w/ dinosaur fossils •• as i adjudicate the brass tacks of another dream— •• “O, the wine tasted like a marching band in the rain,” i thought •• as i had poured another glass of McManis Viognier •• everything i will have done is symbolized in the past-perfect future •• a paper full of treble •• it’s the matter my pop culture references will be forgotten in a couple of years •• i.e., Willa Cather w/ her Beats by Dr. Dre headphones