Category: prosetry

A cold air’s breath on new year’s night is doubly possessive and, as such, not without perplexity. The same could be—and is presently being—said about time and age and love because I’ve “reached”(?) an age when love means time less in quantitativeness than in presence, and yet I continue to choose the language of personifications […]

Memory and imagination are one in the same for storymaking but sight depends. Did you know that birds see ultraviolet light? Something about a fourth cone. There’s science and there’s knowledge and there’s utility but then there’s how things seem when we’re only looking at the surface, now and past, the ocean’s always deeper. The […]

One thing is to be, another is to see, just the way I wish you’d see me. One too many phrases like that and they found themselves confused, adrift, and said my positions lacked grounding, something concrete, which in my head rendered cartoonishly into weighted feet sinking to the bottom of the Neva because, naturally, […]

Yes, all those things are lovely, but it’s boring when all is said and done at the end of the day eventually in the final analysis after all—indecision can be a like standing in the middle of field of lilacs and sometimes we simply say too much. Speaking of lilacs and sometimes, I don’t do […]

I have four windows open around me this morning, a sigh on every side—everything I am is a commingling of question and answer. How to live. Life’s worthiness is a matter of constant consternation. Oh, to see where it might lead, unambiguously. These would-be pundit people and their long-winded self-flattery through the ostensible virtue of […]

A person can be internally consistent and absurd at the same time, like a comedy skit. Our imagined summaries make us lifelike, or so I heard on television. Don’t mind me, I’m just looking for permission, filled with suppositions about self-preservation through simple perseverance and tricky transposition mixed in blender-wise with kind attentions to the […]

Tears in the morning at the slightest provocation—the inconveniences of sensitivity, the troubles of necessity, and the opportunities to oppose it. The rain falls or it doesn’t, and coarse tabloid judgments are hurled at everything in between. I grow weary of trying to be definitive so I set the glass on the windowsill and avert […]

The ground outside was littered with crab apples the day I found a dead dove in the grass behind the house—is their tartness merely a feature of our gustatory perception or is it absolute? This is the kind of thing. I can fight it or sit it out or I can reason and wait, again, […]

For a good twenty-five minutes she some young unknown sits in a blue Camaro parked with the engine running on the street in front of my house putting on makeup in the sun visor mirror while I contemplate the tree leaves and the idiosyncrasies of conversational American diction—they are changing color, the leaves, imperceptibly, as […]

Sometimes I’m alive. Look at the sky. Feel the breeze. Read Cervantes. Write a poem. Love/lose someone. Have hope/despair. Good morning/night. Enjoy a meal. Ponder existence. Learn a new word. Paint a dream. Hold your breath. Ride a car. Drive the train. Run. Be here. Get somewhere and make it strange. It’ll be hard to […]

When was the last time I just watched rain fall without feeling the need to be understood on others’ terms? In youth I learned to notice and, like you, I learned silence from the talkative, flipping back and forth between metaphors and delusion leaving snowdrifts of sawdust in my head because nothing is traceless. Nothing […]

It’s far too early in the evening to say here accept this and good morning, let’s be hopefully oblivious to whatever may lie ahead, maybe, maybe no, not by night. What you do is for yourself, so no worries, though, maybe. We’re all in our heads anyway, curators of our own realities—or so I’ve heard […]

Sometimes you write a nice, strange note to a nice, strange some kind of acquaintance and it falls flat, or seems to, right through down into the cracks between fiction and restraint, you know? Perhaps not, thinking better to go breathless in the old style flatly color-esque like those white blue red and gold plastic […]

Wednesday at 8pm on the back of a plain white business card, the address below. 4256 N Ravenswood, the ominous Brothers Grimm-ness of which is not lost on me though any sense of numerology very much quite most certainly is. That’s today’s first certainly is, and it’s after 7:00. The next two are that the […]

I feel something when my eyes see that I don’t want talking to shatter. Always desiring, but desiring desire, wanting inner access, past the gate, but only for the simple strange something sake of getting in, never really wanting to stay, hedging to the vague side of the street to scramble any alterities of signal […]

For the child, time stretches out immeasurably in all directions, and it’s as if nothing more is needed than unencompassed possibility. A little blonde girl walking down the sidewalk with her father makes eye contact with me as I sit myself down in the couch by the window in the deepening sunset evening to read. […]

You can’t even think straight. Cleanly, that is. It’s straight enough, but so coarse and asperous I must put it in the shell of another—hence this “you” and its rhetorical undressing. You, tell me something funny. Ok, well, earlier there was pure despondence, that utter undesire for the substances of your life as you stood […]

I am the monster lurking on the hillside, chased by something even more terrible. I am watching myself be the terrified monster. I am the mirror that sees clearly but refuses the truth. I am the shadow behind thin curtains at night, lenient light from an unseen source playing on the softly undulating folds, imagining […]

The patio overlooked my fantasy but we sat inside and had overcooked fish. Clinking glasses of white wine: Here’s to hoping you’d be someone you’re not, she said—or was that me? I’m trying to be more definitive but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice a silhouette in the upstairs window of the […]

Suppose life is just one big missed connection and post an awkward public notice to the young man inside. I saw you walking down the uneven sidewalk on Tuesday night with your head hung low and hands in your pockets, exhibiting all the telltale signs of dejection and I wanted to offer something vaguely inspiring […]

And then there were those open spaces of my youth, stretched out between memory and oblivion like a birthmark. The mitochondrial spaces of summer, lush with hazy green vitality releasing isoprene that like magic mixing beauty and pain braided here and there to make the hills blue when you looked like we all did through […]

You were pretty like a leopard or a fox and probably just as sharp though you walked with that dead-leg swish like one was longer or heavier than the other and I doubted your ability to chase even if you wanted to, keeping it sullen like your name had old-world ties to shoemakers and carts. […]

In a dream I dreamed some few maybe several dreams ago—they’re hard to count, hard, sometimes, to notice—I missed the city. From within it. Or above and through it, rather, soaring or perched, perhaps, perhaps parallaxed, in a sense—what’s the word for seeing through another’s eyes—in any event, above and through it I was and […]

UNITY in yellow letters on the back of a black hoodie, our differences bring us together. The kid at the table next to ours was head-down on his phone but the message on his sweatshirt said Ellison. In our true health lies division: that’s Hyde Park to me, and we talked not of politics but […]

The grass is patchy with indecision, or so I project, but the morning doves don’t seem to mind, pecking away with perfect indifference to the fact that the house smells of old painted-over plaster because that’s what it’s made of on the inside, but with new appliances like transplanted organs that haven’t yet taken to […]

It’s 8:00 in the morning on the first Saturday that feels like summer. Winter is gone but spring never really came around, apparently having other places to be, much like my sense of humor. The sun will continue to rise higher and higher in a sky I can see only as blue-white dappling through the […]

You’re a marvelous being, he says to her, eyes squinting for a better view behind the smudgy rose-colored lenses of his spectacles, common sense folded neatly on the white linen tablecloth beside the sweating half-empty/full water carafe as he reclines in a slight wicker chair on a warm, impressionistic day outside the café he’s only […]

Have you ever fallen for someone at the sound of their voice? No, he said. But I’ve created it. Sometimes you need something, so that’s what you do. It’s not always good, mind you, maybe not even often. Be excited, though—that’s why thoughts end up meaning so much. Enlightenment is not just caring whether what […]

It’s not going to look big but it is if you make it. Tomorrow would be better if it wasn’t like today. I’d be better if I saw dissatisfaction as synonymous with unawareness, or so I try. The things we say. My sister and I have unacknowledged but obvious dreams of being other than we […]

It’s the keeping in that makes my heart palpitate because it’s not telling the truth and then I’m in a hospital bed being nothing but honest about the white in my beard. Football (or fútbol) or baseball (or fútbol). Boxers or briefs. Scotch or whiskey (or wine or beer). Blondes or brunettes or both or […]

It was a week of work, my first in over two months. Funny how you can tell what kind of day you’ll have in the first ten minutes of wakefulness. Is sensitivity something we learn? It’s hard to emulate the idiomatic and constitutional, but easy to hide behind it. Thoughts of authenticity the other night […]

Listening to one story (tv, French crime thriller) and reading another (first one of my own, then Joy Williams) and they blend. Been here for a week. That could mean anything, with or without pronouns. Listening to Saul Bellow and Percival Everett during the 19.2-mile drive north to work next week because André Breton wasn’t […]

I woke up and my face was bruised and a front tooth broken half off and I couldn’t recall a thing. Then it came the way fear does that I’d just seen a man I knew get fired without ceremony or ostensible circumstance and all I’d done was walk along beside him down the anywhere […]

As an act of living, everything I write is a little record of feeling alive, no matter the struggle or syntax, but there’s something vital about you and I wonder in my less presumptive junctures if it’s always and where it comes from. With me, though, it’s always the same, taking what presents because I […]

Between us, I suppose did all the feeling. The inherent disobedience of singing our contrapuntal song above outside around the din was to me in my youth like tying dreams to kings and great things, though knowing better than to presuppose any manner of nobility coursing through our line of magnetic men of middling, modest […]

The sun was low and melting through the palms and garish columns when we arrived after flight and frightful drive along winding shoreline lanes in a bus too large for such turns and twists. We approached the front desk in the open-air lobby and I heard the ocean, fancying it was music, or heard music […]

Remember the letters, with your scholarly manners of speech and good diction, fast and dry. Tell me something Althusserian about how I never returned the favor, never sent a book about escape and freedom to match the one you sent me, though I carried an address in my back pocket. But that’s only performance, saying […]

It’s sleeping with security, knowing it could leave in the height of the night and never ever call again but at least you had it once and can tell the tale. It’s what we’ve always done—attack and release, accept and dismiss, and miss out. It’s what’s real. It’s living a Raymond Carver story, actual and […]

You were in a dream I had last night, in your town, holding the Nouvelle Anthologie Francaise open before you, base of spine on table and probably only pretending to read. A disjunction between flux and stasis and I appeared missing, saying you are life, its disastrous, bewitching persistence, full and despite. You listened, smiled, […]

Till it all falls away and nothing’s left but a great teeming swarm of perceiving subjects treading holy water somewhere out there between the infinite and the madness in us all, our immortal content. That’s a beginning, he hopes, nodding to nothing, sitting on a city sidewalk bench in a city full of sidewalks and […]

My dad was sick and we were trying to get the house ready and a cow got stuck in a tree and we thought we might have to put it down before it died up there and our only help was a young man like a young woman with whom I once worked who couldn’t […]

Maybe one day we’ll meet and neither of us will know what to say for no reason other than. It’ll sound like the weaponization of awkwardness, imagined future meeting imagined present, imagining all those incomplete sentences and overanalyzed gestures, till I go and spoil it with answers (I imagine) because I love to believe and […]

Winter, and a thickness like fog, but crisp and clear. “Shroud” isn’t the word but “envelop” glances. The clothes, the layers, the coat, the hat, the scarf, the gloves, the etcetera and etcetera, add-ons and throw-aways, hyphenable. They’re in with me, though, shrouding. While the thickness envelops whole, in sickness and in peace and in […]

Maxine Groffsky talks too much and I hear too little from any of you, but the kettle’s on. In my head one time we made a career of it like Jean-Paul & Simone and everyone had weathervane opinions on the winds of influence but I still only knew either of us like I know her: […]

Made choices not from equilibrium, as sometimes thought, but from crests or troughs. Just a ship at sea. I can’t get over how primitive I feel in even acknowledging that, how human, how dare I. Is it always this way, though, so reactive? I sometimes get sea sick and think it should be spelled -ee […]

Had an idea. I’d play on what “better” means. Mix it up with the categorical imperative of the should, a played-out life theme of troubling externality, but tied to illness—of mind, of heart, the usual. Weary of weariness, that sort of illness, I thought, anxious my abstractions would never get me out of the gate, […]

Nothing is indefectible. The car is clean and it’s raining. I love you but I’m not the only one who has. These are hard things for idealists. Living in a way that’s built up around preconditions for that verysame way of living. Inflexibility as though by right of having chosen “this” path, presuming singularities left […]

Thunderstorms again, and with each flash I count the miles between soul and spirit, closing fast, thinking of what if and what to say. Between you and me, I miss it. How’s that for a start. A start, but will a last act follow before it’s curtains, you ask? Yes, certainly, without a doubt, though […]

The past is nothing to run from or fear. Wholeness, they say, and I think about it. Nothing back there to fly from in fright, nothing apart, nothing to meet with shame or trepidation or run from like a monster threat in knowing silent lurking hot pursuit down a long dark corridor around the corner of […]

Rode the elevator up to the 20th floor from somewhere in the middle, the doors parted and I stepped out into a field of eyes and a sea of sound, a small podium before me like a restaurant check in, and they looked at me and I knew it was wrong, knew the 20th wasn’t the top, […]

Why do I keep counting all the ways you might not count on me, says the mouse inside, all the ways this “I” might fail, stuck on gelastic fantasies drawn off sheer fear and memorial disquiet of the sort that blood breeds, cut through with equal parts darkness and light, one might say in a […]

Thank you for looking and seeing that something’s here—my sum, perhaps, or maybe just some pieces. Sum pieces. Clever, no? I don’t know, perhaps? No, not at all, not really, but thank you for the half-grin, the up-curving lip corner and askance glance with not-cold eyes, knowing me and my rhapsodic persuasions,

P.S. – Believe me, I’m not trying to embark on some regular correspondence, just offering a splat snap smattering of uncalculated afterthoughts and feeling Los Angeles as if it were a psychological condition but I’ll leave you to decide what that means

Everything I tell you is a story, or a part of one, and I’ve no inclination-desire to be less esoteric, only to be more poetic. The tussle with content and form, with self, in fact, un-fact, and all its reconstructions, even selflessness with the “I think” qualifier to down-tone the pathology, and how and in […]

You know most of this already. In the car with them, sitting in the back seat with her up front passenger-wise and turned back to me the two of us and talking fast like always like she had something to sell that she knew we hadn’t the cash or care to buy and the rain […]

Richard Byrd was a person and he said “no man can hope to be completely free who lingers within reach of familiar habits” and I remember seeing the dark brown-bronze statue of him in his bear suit and loyal dog companion in its dog suit down beside its great master’s leg in the old public […]

Read something in a dream last night that was better than this so I revised it—this, not the dream but in the dream I could plainly see the words and world and almost taste them both, so when I woke up I exhaled and did.

If you wrote me a letter I promise I’d read the greeting and closing first at breakneck glancing speed and then scatter my way through the rest to shake it down sifting till all the pieces fit more or less stuck snug together and then maybe I’d write some poetic-esque reply that started out fine […]

Heed need and forever save the paper hearts she cut in descending undiminished order smaller from palm to thumbnail and placed like a simple breezeblown windfall scatter on the winter pillow like autumn hadn’t ended, an imperfect moment’s so completely perfect act of perfect imperfection, which is precisely how this kind of ambling love line […]

If my life were a book I’d call it Mostly Open and this chapter would be Lowercase and Rising because I don’t really think it works like that we have covers but don’t turn pages no matter how germane the metaphor, we just throw in some commas for breathers and plant a few periods like […]

what if you’d become the model you seemed secretly destined when we were kids to be and ended up on the perpetually adolescent arm of some sultry interminable troubadour contemptuously entitled to his own terrible el jefe reputation and I wouldn’t be able to watch though I’d sure as hell dreadly look from time to […]

I come home tired and the sun is thick and the air is shining thicker and contractions seem inappropriate, fast like the blood feels through my brain’s constricted vessels

Always in need of time, and sick of this fragility, the mind-body problem as antiquated and alive as ever seeming senseless, though, and jigsaw-puzzled and all in all contained by nothing but an heirloomish box with a porous lid of chance, four fickle sides of swirling words for grasping these torrents of feeling and maybe sometimes […]

He, gentle no one, opens the driver’s side into traffic, careless, without so much as a glance and I wonder in my quick reaction swerving what can I do to change that dumb shit the dumb shit we the great grand so many people do without thinking without heeding without even seeming caring, piled on […]

They said you can taste poetry, it must be bodily before it’s intellectual. I can’t separate the observer from the observed because… because there’s no because—it’s mind and body, present and past, art and cognition, each a universe creating. But not separate. Separate, no, not at all.

Once upon a time I believed I was lost, but when I did what I thought was get found I saw I didn’t know what “lost” meant was missing. Lost self, thinking lost soul, soul self hung and dripping thick blooded romances like life was something to be won over, charmed, but also carried and […]

High heels on concrete clack               Train—bell clang and engine rumble, squealing wheels on tracks, metal on metal, too close              Garbage truck as if through living room                    Young man clan talking too loud all […]

Bound to wear out sometime, he said he was. Sometime is not yet, but coming, begun. I left today and the gate attendant was kind, kind to us all, shufflers with too many bags and too many tickets and too many too manys, more than dutifully kind which made it feel real, like he too […]

Oughtta be ashamed of myself, writing like this these days, about love and happy macabre heart things and there’s that word again in the face of it all and full on days deep in it, Poe turned Dahl, he said and I laughed, of course, a little mordantly, knowing mostly what he mostly meant and […]

If we played operation, I’d touch the sides every time just to see you react. Before when I studied a new someone something person idea I’d work from old to new, like a sequential movement through a body of work, then to now but maybe never make it back from some slightly more recent then, […]

Chuck B said “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ But you laugh inside, remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” Not sometimes. But sometimes with a laugh. And remembering all those other times without laughs is precisely the problem, Charles, or has […]

What a year a difference makes. Still here, though, still this, still that, still looking, still wondering, still hoping, still hungry, still putting words away and bringing some new ones out, still trying, listening and hearing still sirens and car horns and wet tires on wet streets and still chilly wet rain from low multi-gray […]

Three sugars and two creams, he says, fatly, and no that’s not a typo. No relation at all but it reminds me of the Matt Dillon look-alike with the black-and-white bowling/leisure shirt who slammed a napkin down on the bar in front of the drunk girl at least a dozen years his junior and who […]

Airborne now and climbing, just skimming the white whispy tops all blue above and grounds of browns below and that’s when the thoughts begin to form and separate, moving and still, careful and reckless, me and you, rooted in our creativity, our eyes full of our strange language, keeping.

I have this memory of sitting in a field of wildflowers with bees buzzing about and Tchaikovsky and Wagner in my ears and nearby children float in a sea-themed carousel, rising and falling, rising and falling and gliding past clinging to plastic painted fishes rising and falling a mechanical grotesque fish school with strange incidental […]

So beautiful it almost hurts, I say mellow and dramatic, and then you come doctora it away. Your sweet mutual inclusion, my assembler, telling me how we me and you see singularity in everything because we feel it always and I stand at awed attention like a toy tin man filled up soldier marveling at […]

Real is a face we slap on places—it’s all “real’s the way it is” like a slogan for something you probably use all the time but don’t need, adamantly overstated and buffpolished triteness so the words shine no matter what they say and that’s ok but not really so I’m dreaming on up instead, up upon some […]

Don’t want to know, but wish to somehow, wish to know more, do want to wish and see and seek, do and don’t and wish and want and can’t help it, because something might happen, something might, as soon as you don’t expect it that shred of goodness or decency or uniqueness or beauty, daresay, […]

If the past turns to poetry then what’s the present say and how, he asks, is it prose somehow, a string or stream of word-senses, all at least a little insufficient and chosen for fit and consistency out of the small-scale cosmic and the macro chaos—and does that mean poetry’s past, or what. Past or […]

Maybe, I said, it all may be, and that’s the beauty of ambiguity and its spaces for mays and bes and broken chords of individual arpeggi differentiation acknowledged as the whole way of things and our own very own thingness, all rolling around and scrambled up in frying pan parts and people pieces for creation […]

The best nightmares are the ones with fight, desperate and subdued but augmented by the sense—not fear, but sense—that time is running thin in breaths hurried and shorter and it’s all as if I am and life might not let me out into the light alive, so I stay dark in the mean time under night […]

If deserving matters then it must be a matter of not anti- but non-matter like aridity and openness and that’s all, starting there in minimal sparse-seeming but full life teeming and lit up neon sun subtle as whispered nothings meaning everything glowing warm in deep dark spaces after sunset words, following and preceding, follow and precede and sometimes […]

Molto allegro, allegro molto, says the joker, not joking, though, punched drunk and sing song speaking up tempo through sights high, low, and fast-sung in the hope that lost words swift-strewn and strung beneath skylines tall and deep tree rooted will blur into images long held in heart minded and tended and love heat-blinded by now, reconciling […]

Night Peopled-out and tired tonight with gladly shell-bound head and heart transforming in chrysalis, post-crawl and pre-flutter. Shell-bound and bundled up but ears and windows open for smelling roses both sweet dead and blooming while pulsing strong and slow inside and not sad, not mad, not at all broken but healing and that’s just it, […]

All I do is see her name and each time it’s as if the person from then gets layered and wrapped within the one out there, around here, now, first outside, then within, swiftly making all news old news, all news but these news, olds and news subsumed, interfused, and commixed and it resumes anew, completely […]

Sure, it’s been a couple years and I’m sure in my way that although I never say so I sometimes wonder how she is and oh so secretly sometimes wish she’d just say a little something like hello or even venture a tentative and brittle how are you but what then and why what difference […]

Someone’s always leaving, someone’s always on the way in, always saying they’ll change, always it’ll be different now and that’s true it won’t from now on always be, but only now in the saying, on the way, like the last now’s leaving and the next is breezing in but there’s always something, isn’t there, always […]

If I lost the ability to see, that etching of the nighttime burning house I bought from the beautiful girl with the pursed-lipped smile and dusky, aestival eyes won’t be there on my wall anymore, as far as my daily passing days would say, and I’m afraid I’d have to tell her—no matter stranger status—maybe […]

There are cavemen in the courtyard across the street and they have red plastic cups, coolers with wheels and handles, and at least one woman. It is hot today and they’re shirtless like me and she has long, tan legs that are probably as nice up close as from a distance and I wonder which […]

Tempted to say he’s lucky, maybe even you too, but you two seem more assigned than found and it’s hard for me of all people to believe congrats are in order if chance is dealing you that kind-of-sort-of maybe hand when it dealt us a full house even though I folded, I know, so cheers […]

Saying “spinach” like it’s spelled with two i’s and two n’s. A pair of each, yes, me and the animal inside, both i and double no, instinctive, negative negative into a singularly false perfect ok positive with a one-word name, mine, these outwords trying to align with inner constitution and somehow that’s what I think […]

And here again I go, I know: Should I be thought by you. Made by you. Taken by you. Loved by you, that is, forked, knifed, and skewered so you can see me through the gaps in your fingers as you cover your face and call it a gift. That’s loved, you’d say, by you, […]

Cut up hydrocodone and bourbon turns an already weak heart way down to a murmur and no I don’t mean that now just remembering and I’m a little afraid it’ll sleep on that when it skips a few and then beats like hell to catch back up but that’s ok like I was till I heard […]

The times I’ve lied by omission vastly outnumber those of downright falsification but I’m not sure which is heavier though my guess if I had to and I don’t but I will is the weigh station counts them all the same

Everyone you meet, they all seem repeats, so I address you in language different, alternate of alternating sense and tense and reference, of surface-teasing depths and depth-hinting surfaces, hoping we’ll stave off the inevitable and only ever talk about anything but nothing, teasing and hinting something or other, something other in and out of both, […]

Just look at the way she brushes her hair back from her face full-handed with that over-the-head gesture going straight seamless into a nervous unconscious sort of neck scratch, a scratch that’s more like just a thing for fingers to do while eyes rise to meet, hand lingering soft on collarbone, slowed to a halt but breathing, low, no portrait […]

To Prague, say, why not, and stay, yes, not just go but stay. Alone, too, fuck it. For how long? Who knows. Why? Because it’s … adjectives, superlatives, demonstratives… and, well, the airport is a cab/train ride away and my bag’s somewhere around here but who needs it. Could be there in a day—anything less […]

I knew Nikki Giovanni and also a guy named Giovanni Turner at the same place and time who thought he was Nat but with a higher education and a microphone and I thought he should give both back because he was giving everyone a bad name.

These things writing, saying, they breathe, he said. Lately that. I know what you’re thinking, he said. You’re thinking when the night strikes it’ll be like daylight did and sundown’s when the breathing starts, lately. Multichroma seen felt under optic fingertips, the smooth stark darkness marked by jagged light sketches and it’s inhale for more […]