A battalion of blondes and their hairless
captain of desperation take the wrong trail

in a sold-out nightmare,
gasping for light,

sharpening gray bayonets and eating
breakfast out of half pint-sized cans.

In the sand near the water,
amid the melange of lorry tracks,

cracked spectacles, roots and thorns,
a tender worm migrates

through this movie of absolution.
Focus on the detour past a pair

of shabby, tightly-laced jungle boots.
No wings anywhere.

Something must be waiting
under the rocks at the gate,

Scratching words in the univers:
never never never never






  Why can’t I be cleansed?
By cleansed I mean something more important
happening to me.
John the Baptist could cleanse me
but they cut his head off just for fun.
and going to Jesus is exhausting.
Must I be touched
bu the hands of an innocent,
whose life is indescribable,
before I can no longer feel
the hole in my vessel?

I don’t see the difference
between restitution and renual.
Bright orange gulags
inherit the swag.

Can love cleanse?
The right kind.
Can other people be your salvation?

I see these old couples on TV
(my only contact with the aged).
The woman is in a hospital bed,
eyes closed, the picture of serenity,
hooked up to the dying machine.
The doctor pronounces the words:
“There’s nothing we can do.”
The man begins to cry.
It’s been forty years since he last cried.
He confesses he’s not ready
for her to go yet.
The cockatoo will keep saying her name.
The doctor’s eyes move.
“There is one other option.
A new procedure, very experimental.
We could attach you both
to the dying machine.”
The old man keeps saying her name
but he isn’t looking at her
or listening to the doctor.
What was her name?
Something that sounds like rise or lies.
They’d been taking long walks
when the sun was about to come up.
They hardly slept.





  There was the propeller
and there was the bowl of acid.
They both had black hair
and I tried to ravish them,
they looked so graceful and inviting.

There was the Amazon breast nailed to the front door,
blood dripping onto the welcome mat.
She must have hit star-69.

If I was ever going to rise up, something yellow has to happen.
Is it possible to ridicule beauty?

A dead crow lay in the parking lot,
flat as a no from god,
one suspicious wing aflutter in the breeze.

An old friend stopped by for coffee.
Coming up for air, he said,
and there were tears in his eyes from the smell.

This was by no means a normal Saturday afternoon.

My lungs weren’t dipped in boiling copper.
I didn’t sit on the couch in my underwear
cleaning the shotgun and watching cartoons.
I sipped my harmless coffee, made goo-goo eyes at eternity,
waited for night to pull up to the gate
and honk its horn.





  I would just as soon not eat. It’s a pain in the ass. I wish I could take a jar of paste three times a day like a good astronaut and get all the nutrition I need. Maybe that’s where we’ll end up, but for now I eat the regular stuff. Peanut butter, broccoli, milk, tongue, crackers, black beans. I feel like I’m feeding. It’s disgusting, I eat so fast. My ex-girlfriend used to say—we’d be sitting at the table—“Did you even taste it?” She’d give me the you’ve-got-to-change-this-behavior look. Right through my eyes to the back of my skull. I had to get out of that relationship. Sometimes I dine with people, they look up, I’ve cleaned my plate, I’m sipping my water (I love water). They say, “What the hell?” I know, I eat fast, it’s disgusting. They’ve barely had time to spread their butter and bug the waitress for more syrup. I can’t help it. I want to get it over with and go on with my life. Am I afraid the food will abandon me? When I was a kid my father would take the whole family out to Ponderosa Steak House. I was named after the owner, who was a man my father admired. We’d go through the line, order number four or number six, sit down to eat. He’d always start in on everyone else’s dinner when he finished his own. That hairy forearm coming across the table like a missile. We had to sit there and take it. My mother said, “Dave, why don’t you leave them kids’ food alone?” “We’ll get ‘em another one,” he grunted. Which never happened. The trick was to shove the steak and French fries down your neck before he could get his mitts on them. That’s why I eat faster than a slot machine. But I’m clean. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If you sat me down to lunch with my namesake and the ex-girlfriend, I wouldn’t spill a thing. She could tell him how long I’ve been waiting to meet him. How proud I am to be named after a steak house baron. He’ll pick up the check. Pay off all my student loans. On the way home the ex-girlfriend whispers in my ear. Soft. Inhuman. She’ll try to end the famine in my blood. Somebody bless her. Before she opens her eyes.