ghost: black hearted

Ginger Witch

this song about the last time.
this song about the time before that.
that time.

and this song
it gets hopeful
for awhile.

when i didn’t know it was over.
when i was still happy.
a happy ghost.

it was Hallowe’en.
you were the knife,
crawling out in the yard.

you were cut glass,
the shard in the bath.
fragments in the finger.

you were the invisible woman
at the party of vanishing men.

you were the angry witch
spilling drinks on the rug.

you were the vampire
with the needles in her neck.

you were Greta Garbo
to my pathetic Tarrentino.

you were the stars,
to my painful light of day.

i saw your cometracing.
i saw.

and this song
it doesn’t forget.

this song
that sings itself.
over over over overoveroh.


the ghost of a chance


that’s the heart,
pouring 20 litres
a minute through
the bizarre plumbing unit
of the human body,
28,800 litres per day!
imagine if it were fruit juice
or a nice, warm chamomile

but the blood informs us,
we are iron-y, we inflame,
we are thick, physical

if the heart pumped tea
we would be steamy
apparitions, part cloud,
yes, cloud creatures,
scudding about, mumbling,
slow-forming, reforming,
you’d just get a conversation
going and your cloud friend
would dissipate, float off,
or worse, overflow in rain
and electric sparks.

and of course we’re
monsters of skin
and bone and bacterium
but what if we were
amalgams of tectonic plates
continuously shifting
and crashing into new
the commonplace
volcano erupting on the
face and neck,
earthquakes rumbling through the belly,
massive tsunami racing
across the scapular seas.

i say this as i stare across the library
at a map of the western Mediterranean,
and in my advancing myopia
it strikes me
that Spain and Morocco
once were lovers
and stare at one another
not certain if they should get back together
and the Strait of Gibraltar
has come between them
like an unyielding father,
“No fooling around until you marry
my Morocco!”
but Spain has wearied of
and is resolved in his decision
to move north at the rapid pace
of five centimeters per annum.
Morocco wants to follow him
but she’s moving a little east
and in several million years
will probably fall for America instead.
ah, to be young and tectonic again.

as the last of my morning tea
and the ill-begotten memory
of being pulled over by the police
for not wearing a helmet
wear off, fade, and turn to
a sour taste in my mouth,
i am everywhere at once:
in the dusty metal tubes of the
courtesy wheelchair,
in the cartilage of the aged librarian’s
ear canals, above it all in the
soft explosions (too rapid for
the human eye to appreciate)
of fluorescent lighting,
dancing down the rope chains
which separate the reserve readings
from the map drawers,
even, at last, in my own
commonplace arteries,
regular as clock-work,
squeezing out
ten million, five hundred thousand litres
of sticky red fruit juice every year.

the haw-raw

The Spectre of Gene Wilder

I was asleep when the first tower got hit. A friend called, knowing I don’t have a television, “Holy Shit, man! You gotta SEE THIS!!!” So I go over. He and his wife are in the living room glued to the TV, watching buildings explode and burn. They offer me some coffee. His wife’s all shakey and says she’s got this cousin down there. It was pretty exciting. I got kinda caught up in the thing so I say I got an aunt in New York, too, and she says her cousin works right down in mid-town Manhattan, so I say, “My aunt works at the Port Authority and is probably lying under 30 tons of concrete by now,” to which she SHE says, “This isn’t a competition, you know,” and I say, “It sure looks like one from HERE,” meaning the whole rich white machine was about to bomb the SHIT out of a bunch of poor people half way ‘round the world. My friend’s wife takes a long, cold sip on her coffee and hisses, “Go suck a donkey dick.” My friend tells her to calm down and I guess they’d argued about this before, so she storms out and I know it sounds stupid but the coffee was pretty strong and, too, it seemed like ARMAGEDDON and all, so I light up a cigarette to calm my nerves and his wife comes screaming into the room yelling at me to put out my smoke, I CAN’T SMOKE IN HERE, WHO DO I THINK I AM, smoking in their house? My friend leans over and lights a cigarette for himself. So she throws up her arms and has one too. I then tell her I lied about my aunt and she calls me an asshole but I can tell she thinks the whole thing is funny and, too, there’s something like a hard-on in her look and, besides, I’m not that close to my friend so while he’s watching the apocalypse she and I are blowing turn-on smoke in each other’s faces and I think, “How can I get rid of this guy so I can fuck his wife?” My heart’s racing from the coffee and the room’s filling up with smoke so I nod my head at the bathroom and go off under the pretense of taking a piss. A few seconds later there she is at the door and then, you know, we’re screwing and, of course, not long after that the second tower collapses and my friend’s at the door, bashing at it, breaking it in and we’re trying to get our clothes on but the bleachy, sweat stink of cum is in the air, mingling with cigarette smoke and she’s shouting at him, “Fuck you, Gary! Fuck YOU!!! Why don’t YOU calm down?!”

That’s when I fell into their tub and cracked my head and I remember thinking as they drove me to the hospital, “I wonder if the Kennedy assassination was like this?”

the ghost of tomorrow morning

Against all probabilities,
the project of infinite text production
continues, albeit with an upgraded,
unfeeling analysis mechanism,
for I am haunted,
by the phantasm
of the feral cat
I drove out into the orchards
and abandoned
like a sick lover
on the merciless jury of cloud and owl.

Such tragedies of the hour,
shipwrecked, as we are, at the end of empire.

I am faithless since the gods commenced peer-reviews,
since the coins bear our master’s face, but not her wraggly toes.
I lack faith? But what of my belief in our total collapse?
In the end of the human? Aye, praise THAT!

Is there hope? We must kill our gods to know for sure, and we
only say “god” because “howler monkey” was too ridiculous
to squeeze into the holy books–and is a recent term, a
private term, meant for specialists, not like “god” which is
intended for the opposite.

Will this make sense? Not really. But infinite text production
has other virtues, such as:
And, the far end
of the universe is still and silent. I know.
all our silence,
all our stillness
had to go somewhere,
had to be filed away SOMEPLACE
when we
at this late hour
(as I say, at the end of empire)
were pretty certain we were done with

Oh. But the children next-door-but-one
are loud and nervous,
are chanting in monotone,
“…go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep…”


THEY are sacred howler monkeys
THEY are the buddha moths
beating their

Perhaps children ARE dentists’ drills.
Perhaps dentists ARE masons,
very specialized rock workers.

no. Not “dock workers”.

The autumn sun is out
but she’s a crazy bitch
–perhaps that isn’t fair,
‘could just as easily be a crazy bastard–
The autumn sun is out
but s/he’s a crazy bastard-bitch,
a junkie sun, milquetoast solarity,
shining, sure, but his/her heart’s not in it.
I might burn but I will not be warmed.

Fuck, but the 21st century is replete with
garbage weather. I rose to showers,
now the sun, and by mid-day
the flowers will be open
like Gaudi’s phone booths.
By evening it will be snowing.
It is the indecision marking the,
as I say,
end of empire.

poem inna poem:
you were born well inland,
in a land-locked well.
only now does the treacle
deploy its cloying spell.



end of poem inna poem.

I was wrong about the stillness.
Moments, edges frayed by receding cars,
or the approach of children.
I swallowed one–a moment, not a child–
a cloud of ice cream clouds,
a birdsong selling nothing
at the zenith of the calm.
The clouds look painted on.

These arias, breathed through tree-tops,
sell less than nothing,
as though each one,
has the power
to scrub away
(of the many which make up the
of my soul).

If you listen long enough
you’ll be light as air.
[theatrical note: “light as a feather”.
“light as lead”.
“light as light”.
“light as death (mine)”.]

I think you will ask me to dance.
I think I will stop thinking.
I think (in polytone):
“…go to sleep, go to sleep,
go to sleep, go to sleep,
go to sleep, Missy!”

Ah, I see now:
my thinking is hurting the plants.
This thinking I’ve been taught,
this thought, to that thought,
is wrecking the place.
Cell phones are killing the bees.
Honey, oh honey,
soon you’ll be a memory!

I love every bee,
every pure heart
sunk up to the sex in flowers,
every ardent fuzzing,
coated pistil to stamen,
lust is hard work:
we do it willing,
charged with a unic’s horn
and an endless ardour,
into the very face of Death,


Good-bye, bees!
You were Hannibal’s elephants
to my toasted breadstuffs.

I love every cell-phone
because I cannot hate them all
because that much hate is deadly
–a black flower bursts into flame–
and my soul be done, undone.

I was a bee, I guezz.

I was a snake, I guesssssssss.

I love the cell-phone people
because I would survive their chatter,
every empty phrase,
each pointless ring,
the endless interruption
–broken, derailed trains:
whither were they bound?
we shall never know.
It is, as I say, the empire’s end.

I love you, insanely loud car stereo,
for you reveal meditation’s impermanence,
you tirelessly illustrate
the gang-fear injected of my soul,
a game of make-believe made real
by imploding empire
and voracious greed:
all is ghetto now,

I love insane car stereo,
I love you, urban youth,
joyously going deaf
as I joylessly fall mute,
repeating the delicious phrase,
the delicate pose,
the sculpted body,
the hungry sex,
the empty stomach of the (actual) poor.

I love beat-box-on-wheels:
a genital gently stroked
but never fucked.
One gets anxious with all this

is to capitulate:
others wish to mimic
the sex-call;
once you blow your load,
that’s all.

I love the end I Love

(oh look,

the moon).

note to my future bad-ass self

And underneath the myths and the masks,
(One’s) soul, always alone.
– Jorge Luis Borges, “Susana Bombal” 1976

you. Hacking away with axe and hammer,
with shovel and ice-scraper,
fork and chop-sticks, spatula and glove;
I hear you, up there, telling yourself
“It is good, it is good to be alone,”
with stair-case and stomach ache,
lip service hangover,
when you know it is perverse,
“Alone is good.”

you. Untying the dead bull, the lobotomy scar,
a battle-ship curve of failed marriages,
your luke-warm friends
⎯the Argentine ant, the faithful elephant;
I see you loosen your sudden birth,
total holocaust of childhood’s end,
long-rusted Caudillo spurs of manhood
⎯all but lace on the grave of St. Simone;
thus nothing moves in you
to slacken dead-even shackles, Plutarch’s jaws,
whose renovations made recent such violent laws
⎯it was you.

your grandmother’s perfume hypnotized,
her distant music, lost volume of time before
⎯distilled, decanted, dried away.
But nothing.
“It is good to be alone.”

you. Refusing dinner invitations, “an immaculate deception,”
yet approving the Jefes, their new camps of internment,
praising hosannah! to your dictator’s postage stamp,
receiving the surgeon’s possibly quite necessary clamp,
retracing Hemingway’s Herculean tramps,
yet torching Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran:
amassing genocide on wing, on wave, tank, horseback;
the black wheat combed forth and back, forth, back
⎯may the new gods be merciful for you shall not.
“It is good: such work takes up all my time.”

you. Cutting your soul in half with a lusted blade,
boasting the huge nothing through your blue-blooded veins,
shit-talking the labour what raised high your suburban guillotine;
our new Stalin, whose coarse hands will drown entire families,
you, spiteful to the very center, black mandrake root, poisoned glade.
“I shall, at last, have some peace.”

Yes, you.
I name you, there, henceforth in your present.
Was this really the only destiny of your life?
or are you exactly where lazy, fearful men tread?
you: in monstrous wreckage stand, composing bleak mythopoeia.
you: shearing all future onto the oily fires of the past.
you are no monk but an inmate—it behooves you to learn the difference.

you are a construction, somehow, back here, of my tumid, needy soul.
But! I hereby break your curse (go free!) and I touch your birth, our birth
⎯peace, love, tenderness, communitas.

I forgive you your trespasses.
What’s more,
I beg you forgive mine.
Let me live some,
for all my days, hidden, dense forests;
running from the one deed which ruined me,
the other with which I killed me.
Only you, dear $Hitler-self, can absolve.
Let me live, at least one day without remorse,
shame, terror, sorrow, loss.
Let me see the sun without the whiskey in my eyes.

Was it not I that, having bound another to me,
tore myself away, leaving her in starvation?
Perhaps not I, but an even former self,
all but wild in the invisible past.

From that time I send this note
to my future bad-ass self:
go now, you are forgiven,

You cannot imagine the scudding clouds here,
the constancy in the river now, the valley river passing by;
You cannot see this far back,
down the lane,
to where the cedars are only slightly stirring in the cooling winds;
You have long forgotten this little world,
before father left for the last time,
camomile down the middle of the lane,
plumed dust clouds of a car disappearing up the gravel road,
the dogs shaking with excitement,
the monster in the garden, the unknowable beast
up on his hindmost at the rattling pots.
The eyes of your grand old aunt,
not swaying senselessly in her amber wines,
but fighting the father of her own, drunken ghost.
You rootless weed,
You unborn child, dead these many years
⎯but not yet, not yet for me.

I set You free, lay down that horrible fetter of dread,
the pincing bonds of shame.
Think, You, of Your dear sister, Your long-ago brother.
Now, in Your wastes, see them driven before You, broken, starved.
These are imaginings.
It is You who have been hounded to the very precipice.

You. Who dare not look back to the living past, not once,
for fear of an old husband’s tale.
You, who dwelt all his remaining days in the frozen future,
throwing pearls into pillars, anyway.
“It is good to be alone.”

Who could be such more
than a lame chiaroscuro,
more than pitiless,
more than a dog to Power,
more than your little movie could hope to achieve by act three.
no literary hero⎯none will remember thee;
where You are, they come with ambulance, stretcher to your home,
they come and lift you away, infirmed, alone.
Is it good? Is it good to go alone?

Realize my legacy!
Where You are, the whirlwind is, also.
A lone fury, torn.

Regardless: of light,
o! universe, be filled by morn’.

a tall, spooky tale

Soon a great weariness came over the people. They slept at the market; they slept over their dinners; they slouched in the gardens. And though the people snored loudly all the day long, at night they tossed in their sheets, afraid of some dark and nameless thing. They were terribly worried.

“Hey, maybe we should talk about this thing that is keeping us all awake at night,” said one of the people.

“What thing are you talking about?” laughed the others, “What ever is keeping you awake is surely not bothering us, foolish one.”

And so nobody talked about the thing, the dark and nameless thing inside of all of them. And because nobody talked about it, it was allowed to grow and strengthen and soon it was no longer just in the dreams of the people but in the world, also.

The dark and nameless thing was seen one day in the forest by two children. They grew frightened and ran into the village where they lived. “We have seen something terrible! A giant blackness in the forest!”

“Whose children are you?” asked a village official.

“The poor school teacher is our father,” they replied.

“Go home now,” said the official, “and forget about what you saw.” But the children could not forget – how could they?

The world soon became a place of devastation, for the giant roamed the country side tearing up trees, spoiling the waters and killing all the woodland animals. Even the terrible gas which roared out of him after eating his gigantic feasts began to spoil all the air. And the sleepy people could do nothing – they were so tired and so full of disbelief. And those who did believe were forced into silence.

“Help!!!” cried a man one day as he ran into the village. The people gathered around him. “Help!” he cried again, “A dark and nameless thing has eaten up all the world, and is about to


what i squeezed out of summer
could be stuffed in the gaping mouth
of the plastic Zeller’s pony

what i failed to suck out of summer vacation
could fill the sky above the Snowbirds Air Show

what i failed to steal from summer’s hold
could overflow the corral
at the Circle-Square Bible Camp

what i failed to sense through summer vacation
could cover every country fair
with a cloud of hostile bees
and pink cotton candy

what i mistook for fun during those summers
could distract an army of plastic green soldiers
and one martry’d magnifying glass housefly

what i failed to discern in my summer’s vacation
could fill Wellesley Hospital (and did)
with stitched-up, blood-caked, sun-stroked panic

what i failed to realize during summer
could occupy every day-care nappy time
with a billion black tornado dreams

it was a one-ride-only sort of deal,
there would be just the one sonic boom,
one glimpse
of the sad, silent Christ,
one ride only,
one exhausted collapse,
a blood-drunk mosquito.

the first, soft sweep
of a chalkboard eraser
could swiftly clear the way