Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mark Prudowsky

Not the Face of Diogenes

Last evening, three threads
made one another's acquaintance:

the welder more attracted to iron
than high carbon steel;

the horse whisperer terrified of snakes;

the young alcoholic who for the first four nights
with the woman who’d become his wife, only cuddled—
I have no notion of how to fuck sober.
She showed him.

Yeah, last night, the alcoholic, still married
and ten years later, still welding,
and his host talked about many things,
even horse trainers and then the no longer
drunk one asked his host:

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Maybe the host's eyes and mouth
formed something like contempt for the briefest of moments,
a reflex the host couldn't control,
but the one who no longer drinks
followed with

Do you believe in ANYthing at ALL?

The tone and the look of the one no longer drinking
jerked the host by the scruff of the neck
straight up in his chair,
from where he mumbled something like

sure, then, yeah, we come back as
an atom of iron;
a billionth part of a magnetic field,
attracting, like the ass of a horse
or the ass of its trainer attracts flies;

like you
and the woman who taught you how to love sober.

Nonsensical sure, if you're sober, but after two
shared bowls, and the host's several whiskeys—
a kind of drugged and drunk sense.
And what comes to the host's mind
twelve hours later,
under a heavy fog which the sun will burn off,
is not judgment itself, but how soberly and carefully
one looks at its face
and beneath, to the sinew and muscle that mold it. 


Ric Carfagna

from Symphony No. 4 (the spatial fate of muted zeros)


It is a field of crows 
it is dawn 
as emptiness 
is receding
as the facile touch 
is entering 
the restless marrow’s 
ebbing sea
to contemplate 
the asphalt precipice 
bending through 
the doorway of mortal hours 
as sun behind clouds 
avoids observation 
as the grey ecliptic’s 
taper speaks of cyclicality 
as the light enters 
the eyes of lesser incarnations


And it is now 
a room of five walls 
a view from a window 
having been determined 
a radius of sun 
having fallen though 
the emerald lace alcove 
it is here 
an arachnid crawls 
like viscous ash on silken eyelids 
it is here 
a weathered face dissolves 
as hollow wind through granite pines
it is here 
synchronicities are liquid shadows 
weighting the day’s rigid spire of light 
it is here 
the keepers of the garden 
inter the inarticulate orchid breath
it is here 
the incense of firefly wings 
bleed into the silent stone glandular forest 
it is here 
a wolf of amber cinders 
howls in the cavernous night’s amniotic sleep


The complexity of the ocean 
of shadows seen 
in winter doorways 
of the diminishing halo
of slate rooftop glare 
and to pass into this 
unframed foreground 
converging spires 
hollow as cloister heat 
down tiled corridors 
yet here the thought is
of consciousness 
consciousness inhabiting 
the atom’s shrouded void 
consciousness of fluid breath 
flowing through engorged seas 
consciousness of streaming light 
entangled in the massless neutrino’s girth


The clenched fist 
opening to the moon’s ascent 
opening the runic claw of celestial isolation 
here the city lies 
sleeping under the sulfuric cumulus rains 
here there is no thought to starlight 
lost in the talus pyres’ endemic permeation 
here there is no thought to see 
the tethered cremains of bodily deracination 
here there is no door called night
blown closed by a flailing wind’s transcendent ire 
here there is no rusted hinge ethereal portal 
to bring forth a black lattice primordial dawn 
here there no thought to enter
the castellated gardens of lace and smoke 
here there no penitential silk tongues 
chanting the crystalline psalms of light 
here there is no hawthorn blooming 
covering the muddy graves of humanity’s lament


Place names in fog 
or what is elsewhere 
the shore of a muted sea 
as the image collapses 
the mind’s eye 
the waning moon’s phase 
or the subterfuge of winter vertigo 
here a window’s frozen pane
outside the perimeter of light 
the myopic eye of heresy 
a north wall’s shadow cast 
inside a room
the ghosted minotaur breath 
the illegible voices’ unspoken veracity 
and a clotted labyrinth’s fortnight dream 
now the dull thud 
of reality’s cudgel 
the cold iron hands 
fusing the rusted flailing limbs 
the spatial void between 
a corridor of recessed doors 
or light unseen    entering 
the winding stairway’s chamber well


Above a tree line 
a plume of smoke
leading to night 
an intimate wound 
opening on broken flesh 
the continuity of death is near 
in a garden 
the isolation of a marble portico 
crimson rain 
dripping from a starling’s wing 
a gutted house of stained glass 
a raven on a monastery spire 
a dense sun filtering through 
an ailing palsied overcast 
the continuity of death is near 
the bones have been interred 
the mountains drowned in the sea 
the candle’s holistic pyre 
the bleating night wind’s scour 
the atomized crow of winter’s scar


Thought divines 
the electron’s path 
as if 
upon an azure sphere 
a wind diminishes 
through trees 
as if 
a flight of crows 
the eyes 
eclipsed by sleep 
as if 
the clinging viral cell 
a progeny within 
the nascent flesh 
as if 
the fluidity of breath 
is dust 
passing through
the static fabric of myth


As a new world is 
the ashes of one 
as dust is flesh 
returning to the womb 
as the nebula is
the distillate form 
of perspectives abandoned 
as the blind sparrow 
sings in the stone wall’s hollow 
as the blood of night is 
the sleep of eternity 
flowing in the veins


Jasper Brinton


Its the visual 
connection that’s purely granular
light flash over-rich cream
pulsing buttons to make clouds squirm
roasting the vague idle into shimmer balls
puffs of fail for instance.
There comes a time afterwords 
I drab and cry landlapping the animal touch
its so hard beneath the shadow handle
image of him as broken wood
this wish for an owlet catch
the however luck of his flight 
waiting fronting the houseblank
of a white wild skeleton
or slow view in death practice



equipoise for the human quark not grandstand snow
they already deliver the beach scene pony and youth
pieces float sleet into iris negatively whole
rust colored pebbles swirl quickstart fathoms 
blunge cornerstone knock-em-up froth
the day the galaxy beds the strand I succumb
I believe essence of wind wrenches her heart
burns the laughter the top book nourishes
so goodbye the lusted —how long the bedding


Laura Young

Dark Sea L


Monday, January 30, 2012

Jan Clausen

Tight Like That

I’ll have a coffee, black, and hold the music.
Word-origami’s mine. I’ll fold the music.

These painted Virgins take glad tidings well.
(Did Mary blanch when God foretold the music?)

If Bashō means banana, I’ll be Bluggoe.
Vernacular: how manifold the music.

Park geese are gassed to keep jet engines thrusting.
One gets home safe, however cold the music.

Our cooking class will cover all the basics.
To make a sauce of song, first scald the music.

What’s free? Who’s free? Am I? Forsooth, are you?
No pardon—but the Board paroled the music.

There’s gas in the tank, oil in the Gulf—do tell:
would ethanol have better fueled the music?

“I must have that [man] [woman] [wombat] [garter snake]”—
Weak lyrics, but time hasn’t cooled the music.

The horns got plastered, groupies went on strike.
The beat blew town and never told the music.

If there’s a future, how will it explain
a world where money and its men controlled the music?

They partied, fucked the earth, shot up the heavens,
and all the while a tocsin tolled the music.

Flaw is not Fall. Old Adam’s not our dad.
Our loopy doom just means we’ve failed the music.

Old spine, old thoughts. The weather isn’t right.
Remember how our youth bejeweled the music?

When Louis blows “St. James” or “West End Blues,”
his now’s our now, so ever-gold the music.

Pour some more time on it, fertile wound.
Light keystrokes, Jan—but see you bold the music.


Methane Chimneys

My house is clean.
My lie is long.
My shrift is short.
My mortgage rate is fixed.

My fix is in.
My shift is torn.
My hair is crimped.
My gun is hot.

My dearth is wired.
My pimp is trumped.
My glut is crisp.
My cusp is glum.

My name is Jack.
My meat is tough.
My love is uncut.
My money is said to have feelings.

My mousse is cinched.
My noose is rich.
My dad is dead.
My mom is laid oft.

My war is torn.
My ilk is fucked.
My affect is illiquid.
My phantasm is photoshopped.

My lute is swaddled.
My tune is taxed.
My person is plump.
My hell is luck.

My girl is goth.
My god is stuck.
My wrath is outré
My warp is worse than my woof.

My word is my bomb.
My fright is posh.
My sperm is saved.
My vote is drunk.

My hope is rope-a-dope.
My clit is kitsch.
My rule is ruse.
My race is nuts.

My pussy is shaved.
My wig is ablaze.
My havoc is arbitraged.
My tender is poppycock.

My crib is crap.
My veil is rent.
My rent is late.
My glitch is fraught.

My headsman is vapid.
My shit is in hock.
My name is Ozymandias, or Jane.
My firmament is wack.

My goose is screwed.
My doom is cribbed.
My cupboard is fear, and feral.
My pill bottle is still tamper-proof.

My myth is draped.
My eye is plucked.
My moon is louche.
My brute is blue.

My rest is rust.
My wreck is porn.
My worm is wry.
My throne is bone.

My aye is trashed.
My throat is stone.
My nosh is ash.
My I is you.

Veiled Spill # 11
"How can one see all the ants on the planet
when one is wearing the blinders of narrative?"
                   --Janet Malcolm

1. Months without ants.

2. The great burdock leaves
in the many days' rain

3. The artificial trickle
of my neighbor's water feature

4. You mow the grass, New England, so neatly between graves
but let the headstones lean

5. Larvatus prodeo: Nice work if you can get it.
("I advance, pointing to my mask")

6. I would like
lifting now

7. But I withdraw,
pointing to my corset

8. Or retreat into form: the thing that is experienced by the novice
as a sacrifice of possibilities

9. I'm wearing the mask of a man
and a veil to boot

10. The bearer of ambition,
I flicker in the shade

11. Went out on a limb ("America") with people
who think it's normal to be a family

12. Where sea lions loll, amusingly hauled out
on navigation aids

13. Where silky sisters draw their shining houses
around their shoulders, shawl-like

14. Remember whalebone stays?


16. "Another opt out, gimme
a female assist--"

17. Think not that I am come
to send peace on earth:

18.  Here I am,
getting patted down again

19. I'd found a way to be a woman,
wound in language like graveclothes

20. I came not to send
peace, but a sword

21. Remember pigeon guillemots? Their rosy extremities
and madcap mating habits?

22. I teach decomposition
and flicker over here

23. I would like
I would not like

24. Redshift of
galloping extinctions

25. Mortality

26. Everyone looks
familiar and strange

27. How can one bear
the blinders of narrative

28. When what is veined
is spilling everywhere?


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Amy King

Every Era Builds Character 

When Ramiro Clemente sold his photo doctored
for my first book to me on the streets of Barcelona,
I learned the way to say ‘Barthelona’ with a lisp
and embrace a closer view of what it means to be
completed by the brick walkways off the golden path,
not only by my own American tight-knit security
club of what-goes-on-here-is-designed-with-me-in-mind.
Even the skulls in the archways were not made of light.
What surfaced when Ramiro sold the photo down
river to me, the swelling American taken in
by Gaudi buildings on every corner and gypsies
running at crossroads, splitting into threes with stolen wallets
plus my friend’s passport?  I’ll tell you what surfaces
fell apart when I dipped into Les Quatre Gats
and discovered Picasso would never cross
the threshold of this kinked-up version of why
tourists pay too much to drink here.  Absinthe of the weaker
green and mugs with black cats in gold overlay
populate the view, sculls and white caps of ashy chalk,
to be abandoned in a word, forever, as one
beginning to make sense.  In modern day cities like Barcelona
women still steal your money while men do it too
with the underhanded charm of decades past.  Even the jewels
are made of dusted-off sass, polished at the heels
of fierce flamenco dancers we paid pesetas to dance with.
I stayed in the Gothic Quarter neighboring the Jewish Quarter
when I walked small alleys and avenues wider than what
today’s Paris has on offer.  But before I took the train in,
full of vomit and beer from tin cans, up from Seville
after Malaga, I saw the still-ancient places where women
with gilded yellow teeth are as old and as populous
as the olive trees in fields cracking with limbs the horizon
between everywhere and here.  They reported through
crafted smiles that every era builds character and no one
was ever less informed than the previous or next.  That I
would do best to learn this trick, the back and forth of clocks
means as little now as how much it takes to see a Gaudi
cathedral, which is no cathedral at all, but a basilica built
from a design of the man’s, not by him, one hundred
years after the architect’s expiration.  That we think
at all is a small miracle to be experienced in any large city,
including one full of gypsies and mammals and chickens
for sale on unraveling sidewalks.  That visit I danced
with women in fiery skirts from Sweden and Spaniards
from hillsides I likely would never visit.   I rode
in a burrow-drawn cart around a body
of water pushing at the city, one with a death date
I’ll never swim in, unless I drown soon, and struck
matchsticks in restaurants that served thin fleshly strips
of wild boar and sangria beside salted shrimp tapas.
The world opened its maw wide to Barcelona, and I swear
if I had not left to breathe in the entrails of Paris, I would
have met the next Picasso wandering in Malaga or Cordoba
and taken him back to a Barcelona villa, where we would
squat and grow food on the rooftops and paint the woman
from a photo that would eventually turn into the poet’s
next book cover, already in half-borrowed progress.