Horoscopes without Telescopes
It could feel good to stare at numbers
all day, another job but I can’t name any;
still, on a scale of dismal to dazzling,
No. 217 Summer 2016
I was my house
Where are your scars now
The wind is against us and the ash of war covers the earth. We see our spirit flash on a razor blade, a helmet’s curve. The brackish springs of autumn salt our wounds.
Prince may have some bichon frise
or chow in his heredity,
with features that were bred to please
a Genghis Khan or Medici.
To maintain these depths of misery
takes work given my buoyant disposition;
Suddenly I’m ready to eat the world,
Starting with the food on my plate.
The root of remorse isn’t “tooth”—he recalls, abruptly—but “to bite,” then stoops, groping for the biggest rock he can find.
The dwarf maple caught my attention
No. 216 Spring 2016
Even on this first leg of the forced march
Into winter, the rows of ragged troops
In the field can barely stand
I wear a suicide belt I detonate
And make my City of Light
A coprophagic tomb.
Once upon a time. Twice on her parents’ bed.
She freaked out when she found the human stain
I sat at my desk and contemplated all that I had accomplished
this year. I had won the hot dog eating contest on Rhode Island.
Customize the event, picking at soul scabs,
turning your face optimistically toward the window.
I can already taste the cheese dip in my mouth, but also the skin of his penis.
I wish my pussy could live
in a different shape and get
some goddamn respect.
I am never lonely and never bored. Except when I bore myself, which is my definition of loneliness—to bore oneself.
Between the bent boughs
of the splayed sumac, the silver
owl rests his head
Does the erotic exist outside architecture? The shepherd
asleep, the shepherd awake—his staff in his hand.
No. 215 Winter 2015
He’d like to be at one with his new self
but memories sit in him like eyes.
Herons, egrets, ibises, bitterns,
storks, cranes, coots, rails
On this tenth day of the year, I play Stravinsky
and sip vodka from a paper cup, taking in the view.
The haystack’s painting hangs in the Met;
the painting of the haystack, that is,
the one by Monet, not by van Gogh,
Tired of the eighties, and the on-
going crisis in masculinity—the compliment
vive morte ma seule saison
lis blancs chrysanthèmes
The fog lies thick over the bay,
above Mt. Tamalpais
what shape should I file my nails I wonder
follow shape of moon usually best
No. 214 Fall 2015
They take you through my life
one poem at a time,
memory’s beast raging
through the pages
The morning’s horn extended a palmful of
sand. I felt a dry sprig on my face, frozen
The past of having makes the present
Bleed and then we’re asked to
Forget it like imagined slights
Only his old dog recognized him when,
after twenty years,
The dolphin was all undulation,
riding its whims and churning
You have a raspberry silk suit.
May I fuck you in it?
Jill tells me about the
show she is making
As the undisputed delivery system
for this pathogen,
No. 213 Summer 2015
Photo: sitting by the cabin on Lake Au Train
We rented every summer, reading John Cheever,
They talk oil in heavy jackets and plaid over
their coffee, they talk Texas and the north cold,
When I was twelve,
My tennis coach asked me
To pose for him after practice.
I’m tired of life and its troubles.
Whoever lives as long as I have or will
grows weary: it’s inevitable.
The women examined you with furrowed brows, looking as though they had been toasted by years of sun.
I sharpened knives
an ant dies, and no one mourns
a bird dies, and no one mourns if it isn’t a crested ibis
I am a child acting Romeo.
I love Juliet desperately
but I cannot say it.
If the Emperor smiles
a thread falls that cuts
No. 212 Spring 2015
There came a time when she found pleasure
in saying the word pussy, alert to see whom it shocked
The season of the cut and clear. The bales squared
in the distance, a hollow house, no windows or doors.
Spoiler alert: Jean Stafford, in her
for Derek Walcott
The pain of countless upside-down candles.
Dementia’s wheeled to the window
for the fireworks, like boneless
Here there are small animals
foraging and content
On a frozen window
No. 211 Winter 2014
My mind went on composing its account at night,
I could hear it tracing glyphs on the hard substance
I want to write like a man, probing
my glitchy mind like it’s the rarest orchid.
Discretion is the very soul of your pants pocket:
first, because your pocket hides whatever you put in it,
There is another room
You could spend time in.
The Ponte Vecchio was built
For butcher shops.
On the other side of the street, the buildings sit on smoke,
About to lift off—it’s spring!
No. 210 Fall 2014
The round white knob
on the dresser drawer—
Consider the white space
between words on a page, not just
I don’t read.
I read Rilke and bleed.
The light that changes
the light that goes out
Not days of anger
but days of irritation,
You are in bed
and Antigone’s dead
She was thinking it was time
to be naked again, to take something off
Reclaimed from brushwood,
from coarse rank grass interspersed
No. 209 Summer 2014
The octopus is dead
who lived in Wylies Baths
Long ago, someone
told me: avoid or.
Eating a sugar sandwich, I sit at the kitchen table
admiring the geraniums outside the window,
a lot of talk,
Bewildered now to be so unalike,
Who were for one another from the start
Not knowing the difference between Heaven
And Paradise, he called them both Heaven.
Birds don’t care that the land is ugly,
decorated with handsome cattle
If you extract the compact planet,
roughly sketched with jungle, wetlands,
You’ve been paying visits
To that hunchbacked tailor
No. 208 Spring 2014
When he slide it in the slot and press
the buttons in their order, wait,
No. 207 Winter 2013
is a verb
Sometimes you wait a while for the bus—
the bus of happiness
The windows around Gramercy have eyes.
We look, they look back.
She was older, sleek, and had a bite to her,
but I was bolder with my knees on either side of her.
She’s given up sex.
She’s given up travel.
The coat of Italian red eyes me. Wool
Unraveling from abuse,
a homely word:
a plosive, a long cry, a quiet stop, a silent letter
How much the colonel loved his granddaughters
you will never know.
No. 206 Fall 2013
Moving as a mind moves across a math problem,
Or an eye across a lover’s body,
As if in answer to a primordial urge,
I longed for something
& the moon and all stars
you can name
Everything’s a couple sizes bigger: a sky
Cutting deep into the streets, hydrants
Outside the funeral of the politician who died young
I waited for you. Rolled in my hand like a baton
It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store—
we had climbed up the mountain
towards the colossal figure of the temple
Perpetual peace. Perpetual light.
From a distance it all seems graffiti.
You’re born that way—or else you’re not.
It’s snowing—or else it’s hot.
No. 205 Summer 2013
No. 204 Spring 2013
No. 203 Winter 2012
Mortared by macerated wood-pulp effluvium,
a paper palace hangs.
No. 202 Fall 2012
No. 201 Summer 2012
So torrents of the Seventh,
Fifth and Ninth. Riverbeds of
Bach, Beethoven and Amadeus
rapids of the sky, peaks and pastures
Where did you go to, when you went away?
It is as if you step by step were going
Someplace elsewhere into some other range
Of speaking, that I had no gift for speaking,
Knowing nothing of the language of that place
The orchard grew excellent,
Good mass of apples assembling, one angel burned, looped
On the wire fence, in a bowl of gold most satisfactory.
The tide covers, discovers, recovers, and always walks in the nude.
The tide weaves and unweaves, embraces and separates, is never the same and
No. 200 Spring 2012
Sweet neighbor of the green forest
Eternal guest of April in bloom
I have been courting sleep
and catering to its taste in nightgowns.
Down from the mountains of Appalachia
and the highs of new love
You huddle into a shield or breastplate,
a whisper in the dark summoning your kin
Burnt by lightning nevertheless
she’ll walk this terra infinita
The moods of the cantaloupe king are moods
Of the melon king in green variations.
a “beautiful day”
The city sleeps with the lights on.
The insomniac wants it to be morning.
No. 199 Winter 2011
The solitary molar of a streetwalker
whose body had gone unclaimed
On leftovers ana breakfast like the spleenish wulf the wéstenas chase.
He sets out hungry, nose in the wind, up the wulfhleoþu.
I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco.
I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong.
It means stand still. It means
stay just as sweet as you are
No. 198 Fall 2011
Our ménage à trois by candlelight—;
the various absurdities: black lace,
Then he deflowers her, pulling away the greenery.
Then a blue vein thinning into a hollow.
Catch! It’s a quarter, right? You got it? Good.
Now, pinch the flat between your first two fingers,
Then we could ride all day and yet
not reach the farthest edge of our demesne,
He’s gone from him forever, and ever since he’s sought
his lips on the lips of every boy he goes to bed with,
Feelings seem like made-up things,
though I know they’re not.
A year after he left I thought of the day he’d been
sick and I’d cut my then-husband’s hair
No. 197 Summer 2011
I move my body meat smell next to yours,
Your spice of Zanzibar. Mine rains, yours pours—
At your center:
spectacles to sharpen sight,
in a hotel gift shop outside Phoenix, AZ,
No. 196 Spring 2011
Bring me in under your wing,
be sister for me, and mother,
Beneath which the quarryman
crawls. Or rather
The door had a double lock,
and the joke was on me.
Sounds that came into the world in my lifetime
already sound old-fangled: dial-up modems,
I wanted sky. That was my ambition. And now I’m being tugged
Up a small steel mountain,
No. 195 Winter 2010
One last stop, he says. And they drive to Westside Lanes.
I grew up bowling. I don’t want to bowl. It was raining.
Not too old, not young anymore,
almost three dozen years gone by.
That man over there
I made this up from nothing.
It’s not myself I sing,
No. 194 Fall 2010
September, with a paintbrush, on Monadnock.
October, in the backyard, with a silencer.
In the good old days mutations appeared everywhere,
and every second baby was a monster.
Young girl's song, insistent song
wafting from a hidden room and wandering
The second woman shines my shoes.
The other takes my order, curtsies. Thank you, sir.
No. 193 Summer 2010
The face is featureless,
As though bound in tight gauze,
(After a painting by Louisa Matthíasdóttir)
I am straddling Marini’s horse
using the horseman’s cock as my handle
Of the vastness of clouds
We knew nothing;
I heard a little cough
in the room, and turned
No. 192 Spring 2010
my emptiness has a lake in it deep and watery
with several temperaments milk cola beer
In the end we are no more than our own stories:
mine a few brief passages in the Book,
That was the year the Nazis marched into Vienna,
Superman made his debut in Action Comics,