Monthly Archives: January 2015


Wakened again by the cicadan scream,
I crawl from under the broodmate’s forelimb
to scrape away the prior day’s detritus
and climb in the awaiting carapace
of flayed cows and mothchild effluvia.
I exit the cell; I boil black bones,
one hive-traverser among the millions.
I arrive; I am chittered at by drones,
and I chitter back the same nothing sounds.
Directives spawn tasks, and the sun-hours
bleed away in the doing, and none ask
why, for there is no why, only the must
of the moment that demands an action,
forgotten even as the action ends.
Then there is night: but the day ran reverse,
chittering leave, boiling back, and home,
that place of intervals where I consume
what remains of an abandoned repast,
dead matter to coal the embers of life,
then enter the room where the larvae sleep,
half-shed of their cowboy-coated cocoons;
I stare at the silent forms and take note
of how each is as alien as I
before returning to where I will rest,
where I will climb free of this silken shell,
prime the cicadan cry, replace the limb
left when the day was new, and, as I fade,
wonder if I will ever leave this bed
a human.


There is a house, and – spoiler alert – the house is you,
and you don’t own it, and the rent is too damn high,
so sometimes you leave to wander the moors – if you have moors –
and if you don’t, you just go down to the bus station
to accept hand jobs in exchange for – whatever – pay?

But you always leave the door unlocked, when you go,
not because you don’t value your things, but because
you value your freedom more – it’s worthless –
so when you come back, people sometimes have read
your diary, and sometimes, they’ve stolen your shit.

Sometimes, you sell your own shit – you make a sign –
you stand in the front yard, rudely hawking your wares –
and go back inside, pants pockets filthy with lucre,
and continue painting your Mona Lisa.
She smiles – they never notice her.

Only sometimes, they do. Or at least, someone does.
Sometimes they pay – usually not – but it’s okay.
This Mona Lisa ain’t gonna paint itself.
But when they see you, shirtless, a sack of organs
like everyone else – there goes romance.

One of these days, the house will burn down,
and you keep spending the insurance money on smokes.
Back to the bus station – back to the moors –
back to wearing a name tag. Back to black.
You open all the windows. Turn on all the lights.

With any luck, when you die in a fire,
strangers will get bummed out – majorly –
before continuing to not give a shit, as usual.
What did you expect? A statue? A cookie? Salvation?
Sola fide or GTFO.

… and that’s writing.



We were beasts, hired for our memories,
gentle even before the goad;
lumbering and gorgeous,
we went where we were led,
went where we were taken.

We had power; we bowed beneath
our burdens, nonetheless.
Still the citadel rose, pallid
blocks of accrued capital
bearing witness to our labors.

We were promised a home,
promised a hermitage;
minds innocent and quiet,
we saw the shrunken garrets,
and still, still said nothing.

We could say nothing;
our tongues had been flayed,
commodified, and auctioned.
We no longer knew our names,
no longer knew our worth.

We slept; we dreamt
of glories gone by, glories
to come, vanities, all.
We woke; we had coffee.
We waited; we had liquor.

We watched the wrinkles deepen
in the hides of our comrades,
listened as the wind failed them,
felt the tremors as another gray
mass was claimed by age, by gravity.

We worked harder, worked longer,
worked faster, worked cheaper,
worked for peanuts, worked for good-girls
and atta-boys, worked for nothing,
worked for love; worked for nothing.

We were in crisis; we were the crisis.
We blamed ourselves, blamed each other.
We turned on each other, gored
the flanks of our neighbors,
drew blood. Went back to work.

We rolled our jaundiced eyes
as rogues were put down
in the periphery. Not us.
We were too tired to stampede.
We were money; we were spent.

We deferred, demurred, declined;
decided to be undecided; abstained.
We needed to study the problem.
We were the problem; we hesitated.
We bought lottery tickets.

We watched the tower climb
and called it progress, fell
at the base and called it fate.
Once, we had wondered:
where did they get all that ivory?

We wondered no more.
We had stepped over scores
of carcasses, shorn of their teeth.
So much indentured meat, rotting.
Not us. That way? Madness.


Redneck Blackface

For a quarter I will dance for an hour
in my native garb of tartan flannel
and distressed tractor ad trucker hat,
and you can laugh, and you can laugh.

I will bray a sound like language
in a series of comic hoots and grunts;
“Aintchallinnertained?” I’ll drawl,
and you can laugh, and you can laugh.

I will parade the usual grotesques,
the incestuous tree of chaw-chewers,
spouse-abusers, the quasi-human et al.,
and you can laugh, and you can laugh.

I will unveil the ignorance of a people,
provincial and bigoted and crass
and so, so unlike other Americans,
and you can laugh, and you can laugh,

and you can laugh, and you can laugh,

and I can have my precious quarter.

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