Blue Philco Radio
her heart packed with songs
waiting for your ear blooms
she’s heard your tune
a code of notes
deciphered through her tubes
low end of the dial whispers
world woes, new news, little wave
magnetic sonar shadows
when you turn her on
1)The Artificial Fern
Sub atomically speaking
it’s impossible to tell
exactly what it will do.
Everyone else brought such wonderful things.
I brought my impostors
and a box of darts that speaks French –
they’ll talk you into anything.
We ate eggs out of the pan.
We talked about all the bad sex we ever had –
what has it done to us?
Sometimes, I’ve been the leopard skin sweetie;
estrogen frosted sugarplum, butterfly eyes,
not enough smoke to sew up the pieces.
Sometimes, I fall in love with the poison doctor;
his mutton eyes, animal tongue.
Time falls flat behind me –
He calls a rabbit to my window.
4) Do you want to kiss a bunny on its nose?
Did you not survive the cruelty of your childhood?
Was it not necessary to snap from the beauty-gush?
The slow peel towards death –
and some flung themselves brightly towards bone.
Was it so cruel; everyone was banished,
arrowhead in ribs. Reach up my shirt,
feel the soft scar surprise.
I held down his wrists…
his eyes gone silver…
ain’t no sunshine…
6)At a Small Fire Near the River
I’m having the lover-dreams –
one by one they turn themselves away,
their fruit bodies, out of reach.
It’s not so fierce to say
love will be difficult for me.
With both parents gone,
I feel forever lost on a line
and the expensive love, the fragile love,
love on sale, love made of steam –
dear lover, you’re so young
and have no idea the hunger
when you tell me not to look back.
The pear tree’s fragrance.
Quiets my heart.
8)The Artificial Fern’s Lament
When I say I want cake
I mean chocolate hazelnut filling,
Lady Baltimore, triple layered.
I mean butter cream frosting you suck off the fork.
I mean velvet, coconut, carrot – your teeth shiver.
Lemon cheesecake, German, black forest,
saffron, almond, sponge, sheet, fallen.
I mean I’m walking back three blocks to the Lemon-lime
coffee shop where I can put both elbows up
on a milky-green counter, twist my seat
I’m thinking one moist tall slice laid
on a red-rimmed plate. I’m thinking
someone has to tell me I deserve it – they tell me
get it now, before it’s too late – or
make sure you like his socks,
make sure you can serve it up –
I make a bad cake. I once made a guy such a bad cake,
had to use two hands with the knife –
he didn’t even laugh. Never again.
I want a guy already cake. With brown baked eyes,
tart turnover tongue, and when I say I want him
I mean bring me the special.
9)Ode to Diner Condiments (to jh)
you’ve eaten two chocolate frosted donuts already.
But a true sign of a vinegar soul:
how you’re deft with salt.
And still, you stir,
the trouble you infatuate.
Pepper, my dear, minced shadow.
Sugar, the snow of your childhood.
10) Blue Faced God Night
I was once an American tailgater;
– a string of bells around my waist.
People can be such heart–cannibals.
How you can stand on a curb, crowdless –
an old afghan smell rummages your hope.
He never ever comes again.
Or reads you the story about nomad rabbits.
Trees on the Moon
they came here years ago
carried by a stray wind
and they don’t miss us
when we climb them
they are pleasingly cold
hell-bent and icy prisms
ghost hand leaves
coded with frost
like dying neon nest
like eager bell hops
open their wings
squeeze out radiant tones
now I can’t leave them
roots tentacle my breath
love is pricey, love is guts
The Book of Shadows
He burned for one night –
a steady flame, a wolf tooth.
His mouth, a boat of songs and kisses.
And when he burned, he burned
a doorway of ash.
His shadow crosses my bed
blackberry and thorn marking a short life
a heavy spell on the tongue;
my hands followed his hands
as I wrote the Ode of Roses
You can quote me, he warned
but the lighting will change
the food will be gone
the dog will want out
I took that one night –
ink forever ravened
in a constellation of verbs
and a holy mist
of analogous blood.
How does it come to this: culinary school and
you’re choking on a stolen gelatinous disc of marrow
and now you have to Heimlich yourself
because you’re alone in the cooler…
You say to yourself: How? this sequence of events
floating me. I’m doing a rain dance
in the middle of a moving constellation
of unreliable factors, nonparallel friendships –
See how they shine? There were clues
buried in childhood: the same trip
over yourself sensation, all along
the world on vibrate as you stumble
from one anthem to the next.
Last week, you went wild crafting, hunted
uncultivated mushrooms. Dizzy as you search
for their rouge orange secrets, you lay down,
remember the Japanese movie about Mushroom
People stuck on an island with no choice but to eat
and be overcome. You plant your cheek to the musky earth
spotted with acorns and rows of fiddle heads, lean question marks…
But right now, above you feet scuff frantic
like steel brushes on the orbit of an all night drum solo –
your fellow students hurry to prepare
tonight’s meal which will be graded –
While you tease salt from the face of death
which is strident and evergreen
youthful and sweet like rum –
baited, you almost swallow…
Why aren’t you ever where you should be?
How do you return from such a long non-linear
phrase? Thrusting your own fists
guts awaken and breath resentfully takes you back.
My Roommate’s Box of Worms
Urbanites can compost, the directions say.
My roommate feeds them food scraps and strips of newspaper.
They eat through the president’s haircut, last week’s
train crash, Macy’s underwear sale.
They’ve eaten the entire English language
and pooped it back as soil.
The dead worms, eaten.
Sometimes I’ll suddenly remember the box;
silent inside, a squirming dark heat.
Past midnight, I find the cat, Slink, vigilant,
aquiver, sniffing the air holes. This worm business
has him pretty shook up. They never stop eating.
There must be a point to Brooklyn worms;
I mean, for themselves. Maybe they have
a higher purpose than soil like… saving us from our rot;
that banana we forgot to eat, blackened,
our magazine fodder, the latest sensations
are now last week’s edition, the images, words –
Words. They’re eating me.
Aerating my silence.
What’s wrong with the earth? I asked,
years ago, when my sister argued for the cremation.
Mom doesn’t want to lay in a box waiting for crawlers.
But it’s the natural cycle, to be born back into mud
the earth wants us back, craves us –
Trust me, Susan – she doesn’t want it.
Slink and I awake with the worms.
Why don’t they sleep, at least, dream
of their life-long shimmy, their one long hole…
I lift the lid (hold the cat back),
a slight musk makes Slink’s tail shiver,
mingle my fingers with their red-brown bodies,
and they are not so cold.
The Small Owls
feathers iridescent knives
sprites of the vortex
they can heat and die
so let them go
the elders’ eyes
darken yellow to flame
we track their starry wings
our clumsy bought
with gravity, a small cry
blazes through frost
we too went rushing
towards night, dove
to love the one
anointed in river
on obscure moonlight
their young ghosts
when the world turns away
when soil rejects spade
they will come back
with their ice and stories