Looting a Corpse

The non-one retakes.
Once, twice, three o’clock.

The world sleeps
to shut up.
While tanks think.
Things come and go
and blend.

when drugged
what did he really see

in this picture
or in that picture?

Shadows (to C.P. Cavafy)

They had faces then.
They had spacious

above the law.

They had tragic therapy’s
offshore piano.

The moon downtown
losing control

might take
all night.

Break the necks.
Confiscate the tubs.

(Looting a Corpse and Shadows appeared in Ambush Review, No. 5, 2016)

My Twentieth Century

Crapola lives on windowless
paper: pale California
time into words.
Principled days despite
undernourished calculations,
days history calls itself rid of.

Give the authorial dickheads
their mockumentary:
an epiphenomenal,
tragic quorum released
in the wormhole of nihilism.

Necks. Bathtubs.
Break the necks.
Confiscate the tubs.

All in the strategy
(revolutionary) of brushing
off each other’s attack-Jesus
leaking Cossack sawdust
out where the roses sweat mercury
till snow came tumbling down
on a dress rehearsal in a one show town
whose shyness
lends me a time and a frame.


America of America.
The male is pregnant
in a hurry.
He confesses to a tip jar.
After waiting all night he

takes no shred of pleasure
in not-related things
that stir into the day—
the sun like a head

in a lion’s mouth
a maimed investment,
failure to thrive,
a final mutilation score,
a brief afterglow for
the ones who go down.

(My Twentieth Century and Tremble were finalists in the 2012 Southeast Review poetry contest, and appeared in The Southeast Review, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2013)

Rat on a Leash

The apocalypse of money approaches the spiral of rest.
Someone’s got to scatter my ocean of ashes.

Elsewise the crying winter bomblet
and coastal fog of nature’s psychobabble
spell out to the congress of murder how
starved people waste gravity, and

someone’s got to step forward
in a jacket and tie
the introduction of blame to blame
and right the wrongs and bring the head home.

Old Man Tigris, someone’s
the rat on solid quicksand, where to doubt is to drop,
better slowly winding
on a spool on a hill.

(Rat on a Leash appeared in The National Poetry Review, No. 12, 2013)

Bananas After Dark

The trials of one’s century
all packed.

drive the road and the moon.
Marbled tonic
drinks the crowd.

Walk the air.
Rotate its salty valve
in liplike hands.

Promise to insanity
your exclusive love.
Make the mistake.

(Bananas After Dark appeared in Thin Air, Volume 18, Spring 2012)


Gestures complete the platitude
we dance with death for death’s oil.

Yes, there is a voice that turns cartilage to soup
last seen walking a huge dog over the locked earth

and yes, ever since the cyborg generation
whose fulfillment in demise in San Francisco I watched

the sky glows like the town’s on fire in the rain.
A tree leans downhill on the slopey street, chewing vapor,

and woodenly responsive to the crisis of its time,
which is long, retains its useless freedom.


We like a sturdily built man with short curly hair
casually but appropriately dressed
calm in demeanor
but aggressive in action.
In him we breathe
the last interviews with our children.

Captives Backlit

Lay down your choices of world,
lay down. The long and last slaughter begins
in the heart of Texas. Very Alamo. Lay down.

Oil is the dangling mouth that ripped the head off Mabel.
The reich is best regulated with detonated sleep.
Many massaged feet thank you for what you are doing
that you don’t know about yet.

Oil or women, whatever it is you have sent
will not be returned to you
but will pay forward the advances in paw and claw
that drag you burning behind.
Let those who cannot understand misunderstand.

(Megatrends, Trilobite, and Captives Backlit appeared in the 2012 FutureCycle Press anthology, American Society: What Poets See)


like the nearness
of husbands

the bombs are nude
in jaws of shattered glass
for the rest of this ride.

(Toynbee appeared in Anamesa, Fall 2011)

I Am Grimaldi

Frankly, I like my
retaliations medieval

and take you now
to a new Guantánamo

where volunteer lesbians
torch the tongues

of elected murderers
and garrote their burbling tonsils

(I Am Grimaldi appeared in so many trees: a poetry journal of experimental forms,
Mixed-Up Press, San Francisco, 2005.)

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