you can't
make friends
with ghosts
not with
dead soldiers
or with
​old boyfriends

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Curbside beers, meals of tramp stew,
collapse a minister’s graven idol imagery,
diminish metaphor and the morning.
Rancor falls, random as a star.
​I have no sense of the way home.

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I became certain of silence, its
speech more relevant amid my
open hands releasing what was
         learned among irrelevant
                                 histories

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But we remember also the marches
against the wars of horror and shattered bones
who would cry out against Napalm
the burning of villages, not just
one who prophesied in the '60's train
but many friends, many friends

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she adored the aroma of nicotine on ripped fabric and
the appealing white-stains on abandoned evening gowns
these new signs became
her own innovative Rorschach tests

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and I pull a Hart Crane, and leap,
and my body dissolves, just a bit
of brine in the expanse of the Atlantic,
and my memories spread,
oil slick across the surface of the wake,

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At the afternoon concert, the parade and the pyrotechnics
at the arboretum, will the fanfare feel genuine?

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important is how, despite your contempt
-ous gaze at the universe, you won’t take
the logical step of slashing your belly while
a courtier-for-hire ensures the dance of your
head down the steps as it hops down towards
the River Danube, once a long-standing frontier

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"Anyone who wants to fight me all the time"
is more important to me than my wife. But there is no one left to fight
and no one knows me and I know no one well. That's good,
"there is more space between people than I'd ever dared to hope."

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They come from underneath the
bridge; at least that’s what
someone said, and I’ve seen
their cardboard condos and
fresh air laundry alight on
the wind.  I get startled

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after three surgeries to get good margins
after a summer of sleepless nights and worrisome days
i remember i sat across from my wife
in the legendary vegas diner
with a dumb smile on my face

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All the spare parts to rarify
They really ice the migraine dead
Doozey up and explode coffee earrings
Superstitions and the perfect Rorschach bandage
Breathtaking, route-faking, peace-making

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the one the old sketch artist
is still dreaming of
with his eyes closed
calling her "daughter"
calling her "dragonfly"

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Watch, he says:
my prey will come to me.

Fish were slipping back
to the garden, hoping

to emerge as something else.
They were snapped up,

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Tell me about the heft of righteousness
in the hand, the percussive wish

to draw blood. Recount the wince
savored on the palate, the sob

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The days of slavery are passé, which signals the end
to empires & all their indentured servants called
CEO’s (yes), plus housewives, teachers,
& duly elected politicians, plus blood diamonds
& bank notes tied to the bomb, the bomb squad,

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Guilty hands hold
non-poetic pens.
The mind narrows
to the cover story:

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you are quivering
in sanitary hostility
on a red red face.
You are a vanishing drain
of attention.

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One Trump supporter prays to a 6' cardboard cut-out of his hero each morning as he leaves the house. No one can pinpoint when this happened. They are hyphenated anti-Americans.

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Where the meat left the hat
without divots of gesture
slapping the pantry walls

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The dream of a lake surrounding a
lake is the dream of a fried egg
resting on your face; the dream of
the fried egg is the dream of a
fork swirling in the bottom of a

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What I have made
I keep making
to death.

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The hallway gave off a musty odor. 
Night after night, lights burned.
Busted dreams heaped in boxes.
​Black marks covered floors. 

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Across Audubon Park, a man makes his bed on concrete, head
inside a cardboard box; feet in fur moccasins require a second
glance at his cradled thighs, hands, face, hidden like the wood duck.

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we brush off our debts

with a heartfelt embrace,

mad tales from the other side,

and an honest smile that sends you back to the bar happy for another stolen round.

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she bowed her head and turned it away
from where the flag had been raised 
as the Soviet national anthem played

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      but when the Mini came to a stop
      a metallic hand came down on her
      left shoulder
      made Gabriella face
      her assailant,
      gibbering

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I am all smoke and shifting seasons
crushed pack of American Spirits in my back pocket
we are weak-knee wasted
outside my apartment
vodka-veiled memories all I have of that night

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Writing is seen as a form of silence
so everything is read aloud,

traffic signs, shopfronts, TV and radio
are talked over the top of all the time.

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There was a room for people unable to feel. Inside were captions cut away from their pictures. One task of the day was to find the picture that went along with the caption. When the teacher came into the room wearing his apron of severed heads several people unable to feel cried out for the first time. But it was faux disgust.

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Because illness was honing in like a scraggly coyote.

We became still, one within the other folded like leaf within leaf.

And we took strength from mere light, mere water, mere melodies
​chanted in quiet devotion as the first star laughed over the dogwood.

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Carrying off
another meal, one that

loved, his or her bloodied feathers
I haven’t seen me

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I am the guestbook pages
hundreds of people, with a single name
and many languages, sign.
​Elegies chase after me.

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I know that if I cut him off permanently he’d just get it somewhere else and do it in private, alone and somehow that feels crueler to me than my being the supplier if that makes any sense, and I know the Hutts still wanna run me out of business but I pay em protection money every month and it’s stupid but there’s people like Ben who need a place like mine

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They said maybe our relationship could have lasted
if I had been a better cook.

And I thought to myself and then said
out loud 
I would have been sane longer
​had he had a mechanical cock.

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Nonsaleable Nathan’s hot dog buns
​Nonsaleable Nestea sweet tea
​Nonsaleable Nestea unsweet tea
​Nonsaleable popcorn seed
​Nonsaleable pretzel salt
​Nonsaleable salt packets

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His language compartmentalized into
words, “drink, eat, death, monster…”
He laughed, quenched his thirsty throat
​swigging unfairness into his gut

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It's all gravy, for real here
in the wee hours where
dark dolls flourish and
madmen drool eating their own poems.

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