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.
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 dwarf maple caught my attention
No. 216 Spring 2016
is a bowl of stars,
not the sunset’s wussy Pink Lady
hours ago, before a solitary dinner—
Customize the event, picking at soul scabs,
turning your face optimistically toward the window.
There must be a long biography coming out soon,
The same ideas or different ones condense,
and you don’t have to sleep again.
Garbage is necessary. That’s another issue
In these situations
I’m trying to figure out what is going on.
So is he too. Purged for oversharing,
My mother was glamorous in a way I knew I
never would be. Velvet belt buckle. Mascara
lash. Miniature crimson lipstick living in the
Now I’m an archivist. Indexer of everywhere
I have ever been. Of every moment I stood
there and there. Of where I was when I was
Some days, everything is a machine, by which I mean
remove any outer covering and you will most likely
find component parts: cogs and wheels that whir just
Does the erotic exist outside architecture? The shepherd
asleep, the shepherd awake—his staff in his hand. Sweet
are the fields of. Exiled from home am. A sandwich of
We have a house. There is a roof and there are windows. I think they are square. You can see through them, that’s for sure. There is a door to go into and out of the house. It works both ways. And oh, a floor.
I am never lonely and never bored. Except when I bore myself, which is my definition of loneliness—to bore oneself. It makes a body lonesome, that.
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.
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.
Between the bent boughs
of the splayed sumac, the silver
owl rests his head
No. 215 Winter 2015
More and more, along the shore
of the Northeast Corridor,
birds are standing in alcoves like telephone booths
The hospital lobby was lined with short
and long views of Audubon’s birds,
the tallest ones’ necks curved, all the way
I was looking
for the two
The tent men arrived bearing sledgehammers
and were young enough to be my sons.
After rolling out the canvas, they drove rods
The transfer is done in a dark room
with a red light to keep them calm.
Still, it’s stressful, hanging upside down,
Hansel and Gretel were picking strawberries
and listening to a bronze cuckoo.
As the forest mist thickened,
On this tenth day of the year, I play Stravinsky
and sip vodka from a paper cup, taking in the view.
Tendrils twining, leaves rippling, guts absorbing nutrients,
One day Mz N meets a woman
hair a tangle
The problem of evil
can be brought home
in a classroom
He’d like to be at one with his new self
but memories sit in him like eyes.
The haystack’s painting hangs in the Met;
the painting of the haystack, that is,
the one by Monet, not by van Gogh,
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
You have a raspberry silk suit.
May I fuck you in it?
“What changed? Same maisonette in West London,
the straight shot of Talbot Road, held onto in spite of everything—
one’s original intended went away, someone else eventuated—
Acacias. Acacias and rain make May here, the way
lindens and rain make July. Layers of complication and sorrow,
which precipitate as opinion. Brusque. Off-kilter. Uncalled-for.
There should be a healthy trade
in sandbags. Cement should be
our chief export. Some of it’s made
As the undisputed delivery system
for this pathogen,
you ought to be attending me,
When it comes to the underworld
and the fragility of guesswork,
what makes us think the dead
We knew he was dead
because the dead don’t smile
unless someone works hard
The dolphin was all undulation,
riding its whims and churning
the ocean, dorsal fin and bottlenose
Only his old dog recognized him when,
after twenty years,
Odysseus returned to Ithaka.
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
Jill tells me about the
show she is making
No. 213 Summer 2015
The house burst into flame. That’s a cliché, I thought, burst into flame. For I had been reading day and night. Perhaps I left the stove on after cooking an omelet. Or let the lint cake inside the dryer. Such was the fascination of the book, though scholars who study it all their lives, lives that pass in a breath, claim it has no answers. I held my copy close to my chest,
Here is the world, right beside me,
a little garden with a swing,
some dirt and a red shovel,
I am a child acting Romeo.
I love Juliet desperately
but I cannot say it.
the instant the sky wakes my eyes are shut I’m listening to the rainfall huh
huh huh listening to half a lifetime of rainfall isn’t romantic
the sound of rainfall approaching unites with the sound of a solitary car
an ant dies, and no one mourns
a bird dies, and no one mourns if it isn’t a crested ibis
a monkey dies, and monkeys mourn
In my spiderweb
You got caught,
I sharpened knives
To welcome you
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.
If the Emperor smiles
a thread falls that cuts
No. 212 Spring 2015
I want color to braid,
to bleed, want song
to fly to flex to think
Here there are small animals
foraging and content
Perhaps this is what’s called
The winter sun says fight.
The arctic blasts say fight.
This polar world is flat
Bald man smoking in bed,
Naked lightbulb over his head,
The shadow of his cigar
Grandpa loved crawling
Under the skirts of his mother’s friends
As they sat on the porch
On a frozen window
Of a small schoolhouse.
as he drew the silhouettes
against the vast
machinery, suspending them,
The season of the cut and clear. The bales squared
in the distance, a hollow house, no windows or doors.
The Ns of the fence posts, perforated shadows.
There came a time when she found pleasure
in saying the word pussy, alert to see whom it shocked
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
No. 211 Winter 2014
I want to write like a man, probing
my glitchy mind like it’s the rarest orchid.
But I’m cowed,
A heartvein throbs between her brows: Ketty-San’s
incensed another joke’s made at her expense,
With characters of granite schist, she hashtags a ban
Garçon, you snore so rhapsodically but hup hup,
peach schnapps & Coke Zero
with a gumball-green mermaid swizzle stick—
There is another room
You could spend time in.
What a shame not to enter
Dent de lion
Imagine a dot
On the horizon: that is
Him, your beloved.
The Ponte Vecchio was built
For butcher shops.
The river stitched with bridges
George W made a painting & painted his toes pink
Like the meat I eat
& the color of my baby’s penis.
A man unzipping his fly is vulnerable to attack.
Then the zipper got stuck.
An angel flies in the window to unstick it.
The man ejaculates a blood-red rose.
The woman looks on in astonishment.
The sun pours in
I had a stroke and I’m not me.
I’ve been disfigured horribly.
Little did you know that I
The technician squeezes the bulb to tighten the cuff
To take my blood pressure for a second time today
Next to the professional scales I stood on that showed I weighed enough
You wonder who in the world are the people who actually use stool cards.
They’re the very same scum who sell drugs to little kids in school yards.
The doctor tells you do this, do that.
On the other side of the street, the buildings sit on smoke,
About to lift off—it’s spring!
Cosmonauts and astronauts comfortably in their apartments in armchairs
My mind went on composing its account at night,
I could hear it tracing glyphs on the hard substance
Discretion is the very soul of your pants pocket:
first, because your pocket hides whatever you put in it,
No. 210 Fall 2014
In a deck chair
under castellated clouds
Campari and tonic
Not days of anger
but days of irritation,
light through dirty glass,
There’s a woman
walks through me
sits at the table
The stream is frozen
except what’s flowing
below what’s frozen.
You are in bed
and Antigone’s dead
once again though offstage
It rises from the North Atlantic’s stacks
as radio silence, a generalized lack
of discursive tone or narrative movement distinguished
And now the objects return. Chief interests
of their divine secular lives no longer
idle. Thought anticipates them, but they aren’t
Sad storm of objects becoming things,
the objective correlative, tired of me
as I am of it. I embody everything it hates
Reclaimed from brushwood,
from coarse rank grass interspersed
with stagnant bog water,
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
She was thinking it was time
to be naked again, to take something off
No. 209 Summer 2014
It’s nice to have a lake to love me,
that can see under all my disguises—
where there is only animal survival
In the dream,
a priest said
it was time
Eating a sugar sandwich, I sit at the kitchen table
admiring the geraniums outside the window,
their big heads as American as Martha Washington.
Not knowing the difference between Heaven
And Paradise, he called them both Heaven.
So when he shrugged at the thought of a god
The wintered trees shine white in the white sun
Daydreaming of West Indian dawn—,
Of palms that line the bright back of a beach,
Roadside grasses are seen
to vary, stem and thistledown:
pale straw or light brown,
Birds don’t care that the land is ugly,
decorated with handsome cattle
and advertisements for elk jerky
Like a firecracker
Dine in style tonight
With your misery, Adele.
Put on your silver wig
You’ve been paying visits
To that hunchbacked tailor
In his long-torn-down shop,
The name of a girl I once loved
Flew off the tip of my tongue
In the street today,
The octopus is dead
who lived in Wylies Baths
Long ago, someone
told me: avoid or.
a lot of talk,
Bewildered now to be so unalike,
Who were for one another from the start
If you extract the compact planet,
roughly sketched with jungle, wetlands,
No. 208 Spring 2014
All types of porn are horrific
I just watched a woman fuck a hired hand
In her marble kitchen while her friends looked on
When I hear sweet songs I think of you
I don’t know why, but I do
When I hear sweet songs I think of you
What is between us
Is an orange flower
And it is blooming and blooming
What is going to happen
Is that it’s going to rain
Rain my love
Snow is falling on Broadway
Through weeping willows of fog.
I know that my Redeemer liveth
I’m a stallion standing in my stable stall asleep.
Horses do that and their standing sleep is deep.
A woman with a whip waits for me to wake
At seventy-seven I reached my prime.
But seventy-eight was also absolutely great.
And then came fab seventy-nine and continuing to climb.
Plop the live lobster into boiling water and let it scream.
You both turn red.
Of course you have to eat it dead.
I’m from St. Louis and Budweiser.
I’m from the Seidel Coal and Coke Company and the Mississippi.
I’m from the old streets near Forest Park,
He has a lazy father in Minnesota.
I hope you never have to do this in life, with its crazy little darkened
rooms. People are standing, an accurate jumble. Famille rose happy campers.
We talked about the great error
that you can live with
and really can’t afford to get.
Did he describe the blue stripe again,
And from trees to hospitals, one story
I meant to wake up and had or had not
To the lines from an ordinary song
I saw my problem as that line
My voice carries further, almost
All the way to the face, I go
But not forth, or I went suspended
When he slide it in the slot and press
the buttons in their order, wait,
No. 207 Winter 2013
My mother confuses Topeka with Toledo.
My father confuses me with my mother.
Spain didn’t conquer Kansas,
The windows around Gramercy have eyes.
We look, they look back.
A brook cut through the swamp.
hyperarticulated giant black ants endlessly boiling out of a heaped-up hole
in the sand
is a verb
that does not
Sometimes you wait a while for the bus—
the bus of happiness
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
You’re born that way—or else you’re not.
It’s snowing—or else it’s hot.
It’s like the strangeness, that’s also natural,
I live a life of appetite and, yes, that’s right,
I live a life of privilege in New York,
Eating buttered toast in bed with cunty fingers on Sunday morning.
among the oaks
there is nothing but oaks
we had climbed up the mountain
towards the colossal figure of the temple
now reduced to ruins
The long day has ended in which so much
And so little had happened.
Great hopes were dashed,
Bad luck, my very own, sit down and listen to me:
You make yourself scarce for months at the time
Making preparations for some new calamity,
I’m the uncrowned king of the insomniacs
Who still fights his ghosts with a sword,
A student of ceilings and closed doors
It pains me to see an old woman fret over
A few small coins outside a grocery store—
How swiftly I forget her as my own grief
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
Perpetual peace. Perpetual light.
From a distance it all seems graffiti.
No. 205 Summer 2013
When, thanks to the virtues of wine,
I let go of solid memory and a certain pleasure
seems almost real to me
Isn’t it amazing that one evening
sliding the bread into its paper sack
I start all over with the same old speech,
Oh really, she’s with somebody?
So she’s with somebody.
Is she really with somebody?
But you, are you Christians?
So be it, you are Christians.
At night one could be.
In the seething almost Indian heat
of an exaggerated July in the city
the remaining inhabitants cautiously
To look at beauty and never make it yours.
If it weren’t this way you’d look at yourself
that is you’d have nothing more to look at,
There she is turned into a lollipop
a large egg-shaped lollipop,
not passed around, but twirled in the mouth,
Very simple love that believes in words,
since I cannot do what I want to do,
can neither hug nor kiss you,
Surely it’s ridiculous maybe even scandalous
that I feel such overpowering envy
for the eleven-year-old son who’s dozing
You sit at the head of the table
heady with wine,
and hold forth,
My house is mine:
the choice of menu,
the radio and television,
Why do they lie down
when I shoot them?
No. 204 Spring 2013
The world is your lawyer.
Hair like telegraph wire.
You and I, when we sleep, we’re like whales
because fish swim out of my mouth
and you dishevel the seaweed.
Whoso list to hunt it with a camera?
The Carolina parrot is extinct.
Hunted to nothing emerald.
Obviously, it’s a category I’ve been made aware of
from time to time.
It’s been pointed out that my characters eat a lot of lightly braised asparagus
That rusting water tower collapsing
on its ruin was the movie theater
where you sat in smoky consternation
If a lone feather fell from the sky,
like a paper plane wafting down
from a tree house where a quiet boy
We began to meet there
On the mops.
After school, during the siesta,
afflicts the plagiarist,
or something like
Putting my lenses in, I see No Man’s Land in the mirror—
Which makes me think of times in Tokyo so long ago
When, on some subway station platform, in a crowd,
No. 203 Winter 2012
My brain had been swiped clean.
I couldn’t love
songs I loved; friends came
At the threshold
Fantastic to be Lowry by proxy,
Confabulating him; to stand tongue-tied
In awe of yourself; to hold epoxy-
Mortared by macerated wood-pulp effluvium,
a paper palace hangs.
The young queen spun her eggs and hatched her grunts.
This is my lawn. I planted it, I grew it,
and I work hard ensuring it’s attractive.
I keep it clear of every type of pest.
in the black hood,
Tonight I can’t remember why
everything is permitted or,
what amounts to the same thing,
The courtroom, clad in wood veneer,
could be a lesser pharaoh’s tomb
equipped for immortality.
No. 202 Fall 2012
I am, Madam., no beggar, but a peddler of dreams,
Purveyor of the Gospel of Beauty, Reciter of Rhymes . . .
And they regarded him from the shadows of their porches,
I open a volume of fluid.
A bright sloth orphanage glints
from the screen within the screen,
Teukros: . . . in sea-girt island: Cyprus, where it was written
by Apollo I should live, naming the city Salamis
to remember my island home
Our story is noble and tragic
As the face of a tyrant not fun not for everyone
No drama or magic
besides not being from ancient troy
helen bailey hails from australia
her middle name is hypatia, her mother
Aiee, father of mine, father of mine,
What are these shouts in the rain, these voices in the air?
The petal is ripped from the flower, the branch from the tree.
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
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
This is the platform of the famous sideshow,
all of us participating, glad to be arm and arm
as spring charges down the battlefield. Let’s see,
I know what you search, going further
Than promised, your refusal to look up
As if something might never be found;
When Lisa told me she’d made love
to someone else, in that old Tepeyac warehouse
phone booth, I thought my world
No. 200 Spring 2012
The time is coming when it won’t be maintenance.
The time is coming when it won’t be minimal.
I walk with my long-dead dog up a hill.
I turn into the man they photograph.
I think I’ll ask him for his autograph.
He’s older than I am and more distinguished.
I have a friend who has a friend
Who asked her to place her hand
And place a flower on Samuel Beckett’s grave
I’m going out for a stroll and a bite and won’t take myself with me.
Look after me while I’m gone, will you.
Outside the bleary windows is my sunny city.
The city sleeps with the lights on.
The insomniac wants it to be morning.
The quadruple amputee asks the night nurse what time it is.
Ferns here ferns there
I dream of my newest friends
who soon subside
a “beautiful day”
and nothing was going to happen
Caught here in your limestone cave,
lost in a limbo of slow water torture,
for you, each day is night always.
You huddle into a shield or breastplate,
a whisper in the dark summoning your kin
one by one along the frontier. In your kingdom,
Sweet neighbor of the green forest
Eternal guest of April in bloom
Archenemy of the brambleberry
I have been courting sleep
and catering to its taste in nightgowns.
Down from the mountains of Appalachia
and the highs of new love
I’ve come across the extended monotonies
Burnt by lightning nevertheless
she’ll walk this terra infinita
lashes singed on her third eye
The moods of the cantaloupe king are moods
Of the melon king in green variations.
No. 199 Winter 2011
The model prisoner
edges his way through
the narrow gap between
It means stand still. It means
stay just as sweet as you are
and where you are and don’t do
If a man is his desire
if a man is his desire
if a man is his desire
This world so
golden so un-
the train has left the
station you can’t take it.
Once the promise has been
He was middle-aged which
means that the mixture of
death and life in him was
When cloud cover com-
plicates the crossing
all we can do is look
I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco.
I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong.
I needed, and the shame was overwhelming.
If you’d seen
lightning nets in clear water,
midnight blue beyond the reefs;
On leftovers ana breakfast like the spleenish wulf the wéstenas chase.
He sets out hungry, nose in the wind, up the wulfhleoþu.
After a luckless trek, he gilleþ; and gaunt companions answer
Rowans—not yet fully rowan red
not yet in that tone they take on later
of ember, berry, October, and death.
Things you said in drugstores
when buying painkillers
or at your tailor’s
Never lonelier than in August:
hour of plenitude—in the country
the red and golden tassels,
O that we might be our ancestors’ ancestors.
A clump of slime in a warm bog.
Life and death, fertilizing and parturition
The solitary molar of a streetwalker
whose body had gone unclaimed
had a gold filling.
After a long night swimming
In the dry dark of a book
I heard outside my window
No. 198 Fall 2011
In a light chocolatine room
with blackout windows,
a loud clock drowns in soft dawn’s
Feelings seem like made-up things,
though I know they’re not.
I don’t understand why they lead me
I wake up mornings snug in my bed-puppet.
Not the liveliest in my repertoire,
but wait, it gets better: next is my pants-puppet,
Catch! It’s a quarter, right? You got it? Good.
Now, pinch the flat between your first two fingers,
press hard against the milling with your thumb,
In the shadow
of the mountain
Our ménage à trois by candlelight—;
the various absurdities: black lace,
pink mules, a little-bo-peep teddy.
Then he deflowers her, pulling away the greenery.
Then a blue vein thinning into a hollow.
Then it is the hollow between her neck and lower jaw.
Then we could ride all day and yet
not reach the farthest edge of our demesne,
its slow hand clap of grouse
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,
wanting to fool himself into thinking those are the very
A year after he left I thought of the day he’d been
sick and I’d cut my then-husband’s hair
to cheer him up. First I combed it,
No. 197 Summer 2011
A baby’s head is fragile,
pale as an egg and thin.
Hit the brakes
in a hotel gift shop outside Phoenix, AZ,
a little girl stood by the postcard rack, turning it gently.
It’s that feeling again:
wristbone, phone, eye
At your center:
spectacles to sharpen sight,
wake of two white birds’ liftoff,
I move my body meat smell next to yours,
Your spice of Zanzibar. Mine rains, yours pours—
Sex tropics as a way to not be dead.
No. 196 Spring 2011
I prop up the dog and wait for him to pee.
Three a.m. A phrase goes floating through my head:
“A still Prussian-blue night with rather weak stars.”
Sounds that came into the world in my lifetime
already sound old-fangled: dial-up modems,
the implosion of a television tube
From the sky to the heavens’ heavens
From the heavens’ heavens to the darkness on high
From the darkness on high to the upper dwelling
Which sounds like something the wind
The door had a double lock,
and the joke was on me.
You might call it protection
I wanted sky. That was my ambition. And now I’m being tugged
Up a small steel mountain,
A burly chain beneath the car hauling my weight
No. 195 Winter 2010
with a birther’s goo, it
gleams up green from the ground—
That there’s a fun in funeral
is goofus etymology, but a sensible reminder
of the secret life in everything . . . how inside dear
Out of the darkness, men come
with knives. They work quickly,
muttering back and forth.
One last stop, he says. And they drive to Westside Lanes.
I grew up bowling. I don’t want to bowl. It was raining.
We’re not going to bowl, the circus carpet dark with gum
Not too old, not young anymore,
almost three dozen years gone by.
Not a failure, not a success—
That man over there
as you sidelong
I made this up from nothing.
It’s not myself I sing,
or love, or anything
No. 194 Fall 2010
It’s said they started in beach sand,
but now it’s Gobi, Sahara, Mojave grit
the fish sift through their gills, absorbing
September, with a paintbrush, on Monadnock.
October, in the backyard, with a silencer.
November, on a windowpane, with a skate blade.
It’s a lonely world
It’s Dorothea, Dorothea Lasky
In the good old days mutations appeared everywhere,
and every second baby was a monster.
I wish I could have lived then, neighbor
When as a child
I came to be schooled by the Muses,
one of them took me by the hand,
After Africa, Surbiton:
An unheated house, and flag-stoned pavements;
No colobus monkeys, no cheetahs scouring the plains.
I smile in the mirror at my teeth—
Which are their usual brown.
My smile is wearing a wreath.
The sky is desert blue,
Like the pool. Secluded.
No swimmers here. No smog—
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,