Monday, March 3, 2014

really creeley

it's useless to complain about prizes,

but this recent award of the Robert Creeley Prize to Mary Ruefle

seems ridiculous to me—

why wouldn't they give it to a poet whose work has followed on from and has aspired to the Creeley principles and tradition,

like, for example, a name that comes to mind, Joseph Massey?  Certainly Massey more than Ruefle merits a prize that bears the ensign of Creeley—

Ruefle in her poetry at least seems to me to be just another doneclone of James Tate—

I can't see anything in it that relates to Creeley.  Really.


drafts worksheets


My habits are my help
bad as they are, summoned
to resurrect the Jesus I
can't find the rite to rid
my childhood of. Chewing
my nails to nubs probably
conceals some greater fault,
maybe it keeps me from
committing that overt evil
I've eyed for life a while—

Salvation is bad behavior
in small doses, immunizing
the urge that underlies all
I am. This minor blood-act
stripping the quick opaque
shields that would lead my
fingers phalanx to slaughter
the enemy opposing me is
a strange way to avoid sin.

I bite in. My teeth tear at
the halfmoon hornplate,
deep mouth they remember
war's the norm to some, males
most of them who swarm us
to the kill. Terminal typo
in a font unreadable beneath
its scars, the Y chromosome
is one erratum time must
correct. Many poets claim

the best way to proofread is
to read the damn thing aloud
while someone else checks
the print, this oral method
works best to find the faults
that lie so visible in verse
but remain unseen in us,
the surface we bare prayers
for, instances that palliate

every inherent guilt as it
increases its doses versus
the rest of us halfbent at least:
salvation helps those habits
to commit the same act of
equal prayer, hope's remnant.
What remains in the form
stays intact. Whole to the soul

a typo in a font unreadable
unless one's eye's my one eye
unleashed in sin bars, lashed
to come to an end season
all dirge. I find my hybrid
by interludes. Effigy affinity
praises the love that consents
to view a face in ordain to
console the partial signals,
I tell the day to wait for us
to enter its past
when all eyes shut
and the dream winks its key.

The pail
overflows what it kept
gave knowledge yet end, each
My pilgrimage reaches
that forsaken reservation

Knott-plotting to fellate Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer I crouch
behind a snowclad chimney shivering
less from the cold than from my
cringing proximity to the loved one as
he lands skidding a little on
the icy roof: verismo venture, ploy
rugged enough to succor its desired
agency. I could even add my feet
stamp out the small bravoes
of the snow as it falls. Or else
pretend I never cowered in a cove
full of eels eliciting Aegean delays
of day post-finis its druglord intent,
sinister and pale-opaque, tactile even.
Impatient to breed the satyr-hyena
from a handful of fruitkin, in
all formats let your aperture drool
duelling swimmers coiffed at dusk,
the children of accidental clamps
may concur. And yet an attic that's
dustmopped daily is no attic, I cry,
drinking ice-tea in a sandstorm,
all sulk-emberish, numb-only.
Abashment's beverage. My hair
needles the dust. I comb through
photos of mythological scissors,
I tend to fly like I got a wing up
my ass but at least I try. Imagine
balloons released at burials to signal
the bloodnests in the caves, the eave
cotes of blood Earthbound leaves
his sister Skybound to fend bare.


draft worksheet


Like sponges dipped in nude
a kiss of guess on the lids-like
discloses its thicket shed, eye-cro meld—

Dawn blinds hair before face
or thornless angelus deceives
but I faint on the figure-eight.

Apparently newshour once came
to complete me but time seems
to indicate moot might intervene

if I with blazing rations wait.  Yet
one little breath is misting itself
in suspension, a snapped off twig

or sap that jumps these yawns:—
art's aspirations leapgap, they make
the ripples on the lake linger

with circle-sorcery.  Kindest
thought when all is lost, stray
dice tossed in a flagmap coffin.

Limbs are lethal clamped in sate—
but elusive lines on our palms
resemble a key's cut, jag-edged

to unlock fate's chain-chart.  Future—
refuting that god who lets opposites
stride your unsaddled carpets.

drafts worksheets

The red-laden nude of no vows
will not resurrect

Half ugghost Unghostly as

Stuck Stout

Aghast with desire / Fested with desire / Fetid

Ghostlike with lukewarm moist

anent attent appoint aroit alloin aloin

affright affix


I want to commission a portrait of you
but I have no money and don't know
any painters to do it for free. I don't
want the portrait for myself, no, it would
go to you. I guess I'd like it if you thought
of me each time you looked at it but
probably after a while you would forget
the circumstances of its installment
and only glance at it from time to time
as if it had been there always, an old
heirloom or less, a thing kept not for
any memories it stirs but simply because
it has no practical use and therefore
woud take too much thought to throw away,
too much effort. If it's successful, that is—
And though I have crammed everything
into this portrait which does not exist,
it remains unsatiated, stays compromise.
A thousand campaigns of insightful rummage
cannot glut it, satisfy its imperial essence,
remote ethereal framing. I crave its emptiness,
never-to-be-filledness. It blinks at me,
idol of smithereens, filled with shadow-hush.
Spacial justice, harmonic weight, pinned dream.



Mysterious measurements left the house
so empty that all the other houses
have been permitted to pervade it.

Only compared to the sniffing of a dog
trapped in a cupboard, your curiosity
will never deepen to desperation still.

Like a bus bound for crosses laid church-wise
over fallow parents, you barter-gather a land
bladderspasm sculpture has bared before.

You warm your hands at your feet. A swarm
of central materials comes to harm you.
Face to face, god what imperatives of glove.

T-shirt worn backwards to appease mirrors
with a logo/slogan whose moral is familiar
if we could somehow get in there to read it.



Needing martyrdom to live, I multiply
the papyrus duplicity of my hero—
duplicity is my hero—that double.

Outside the rain pours all fours
the fields that spread like search
patterns but find only more of us.

Depictions. We might atone by
using schoolmates for our self-portraits,
but otherwise remain sole. Simplifying

is the word I need here in the normal
beep-sense of its daily use, a warning-voice
evident as tatters. Can you remove

enough details from your life to
make it immune to biography.
All the words skipped by readers

make a better picture of one's
own picture. The problem of
the empirical—
the "crumbs of raisinbread in the coat
pocket," to quote Benn, the coat itself—

are unsolvable except through love of
the contingent, meaning the sacrificible,
the stuff you can easily throw away—

That's why the grounds out there are
surface of earth deep, why each of its borders
pretends to be elsewhere. Pretense is

the premise of the hero always required
to regard his origins as timeless. As
elsewhere. Distant as abandoned rooms

that narrate their cobwebs, since time
causes us to stride centerstage and gawk
multitude-timeless at engravings passed

among the lucky audience that thrives
by dispensing shares of continuity
which never yield enough for leftovers—

Everything left out of the text is always
too legible, the expository details
lacking which the reader is forced to

hold the page wedged in both hands
trying to anchor its disparities by spread
tactics, the way amid raindrops we hold up

our inbetweenities with a net of lollipops
[the distance rescued from whitewash
lone survivors of the commonground

Equidistant family trees have stranded me
Nomad the less
To obtain a common addled perspective
Nevertheless it is necessary
In the valley 3 wisemen mutilate their camouflage or replace it with studies of how the wind sugars their footprints
with dopeduds
or soapsuds
snowing on its cloth
the miracle of salt reduced to a condiment
to spice the
they sneak a tootsieroll up under the statue's petticoats
deigning the closeup
to complete its kiss,




My testicles have divorced, but continue to share the same lodging.
If the scrotum is a house, does that make the penis a chimney.
The penis if sharper could cut the scrotum in two to resolve this rental problem.


I entered the contest unaware
the prize was a hundred
thousand guitars whose wood
fed the fireplace but the strings were

a problem: what to do with them?
they wouldn't burn: the flames
left their no-color the same. What
color are guitar strings anyway?


high over the event
how the cliff laughs
at its abyss's devotion/hangdog attentiveness

some birds drop worms
on my hat's brim
instead of blossoms

Sure Donald Trump in penthouse plush enthroned
Is happy, with his lovely wives and kids—
And Jorie Graham bent upon the grids
That stretch her page beyond those margins known
To minor sophs like me: or Sharon Stone
[ ]

names never sound the ground
they fathom home
or proclaim they've conquered
the slightest
flag planted
to confound the soil[ ]


drafts worksheets

time in and theme out
losing the footing of its fetish
the train faints on the figure-8 piano keys

What becomes of the white flags after
the surrender (we know what happens
to the defeated: the movies have verified
history or vice versa)—the museum for
them would have my name on its door.

Among my kind I could find solace/respite.
So thin their threads that laid one on
top of another they'd form a bed in which
I would cower while another blindness
upon my face slowly grows illegible.

[.............] the mutilations cowards
reveal only to our mirrors [

A soldier his bones aimed at his flesh
describes an empty rain with hesitant
gestures; the effort burns like jewelry
inside my nostrils.

He speaks eureka to me in the birth
place of helmet hell and heliostroph. /// [

recoiling from the slap of balloons
on the steps of a crumbling saliva
amputated cupids guard Coughedup City
from the incursion of [....]
I was named identically across my grid
I was nailed identically across my cross
imagine summer if it had indirect lighting instead
Etude ending with the destruction of the profile

to arrive at the artichoke's heart on high scuds of wheels skidding around curves whose sauvity increases during Lent—blending fur sluice with chaotic barbers—and bitter as paradise to a wish-granting garden—my motto twits yours, mum autochton [...

fetus rides a balloon to the burial of
a rainbow where, a sleepy lake where each's
entire like horses nailed to their torn-off
manes we cling to our frames; incantations
of crowns, collision footprints are

Disperse the message is lost across
recoilless oceans. Lions circle a landfill
of shoes with icicle laces, all the casualties
of who's who. At the doll's graveyard one's
entire skin participates. Imagine a balloon
released at a funeral to signal the bloodnests
in the eaves, the cotes of blood Earthbound leaves,
a blueprints gasp gathers the incidentals of least aspect by which the thumb grabs one approach
beckoning endward the berry and the sheer
via which a story astonishes our
sense of conclusion based on all guidance,
each house abating/abiding its me-too fall.

my correspondant blows on his palms
which fit these doctor doors, stigmata keyed
to his hands’ grooves.
of pink perfume figurine abandoned grafted
wrung. which loves to leave puddles to play in
and recoil from each time

Ask the mourner who clutch their throats and dissolve—they drop their dolls in dive.
This tradecraft made, traitors against the one.

Tradecraft made, whose traitors curry union.

Made sure by tradecraft, whose traitors daggers drawn.

the other one.

Yet tradecraft might catch its caught in narrow pass
While cover identities they evade usurp their state.
of traitors daggers drawn.

Featured here,
They hatched here,
Revealed here,
Nurtured here,
They laid here

A noisy spy on a highway
in a chocolate raincoat drags
a cupboard sewn to his neck,
white thorns stretch wide around.

The tumors on our body's map
indicate settlements where tribes
have lingered long enough
to structure arrogance;

lazy easels where entire worlds open
their ruins so that daily ephemeralia can
scrawl a few verses on the crumbled walls,
while the island city sinks like a white barge
in a tux whose lapels tell lies to swans.

pounded like chessmen's hats by hammers. Pistons.
Walk toward the sea in single file and if
the wave arrives pray you are the last in
line or the first. Those in the middle are
emisarry to you. Hastening to find water
oasis by a toothpick path, a monolinth of
matchsticks, that inflates travel into a monstrous screen, dead end;
the site where guards must be posted to
ward off these passionate augurs who kneel:

With my bare hands I pulled the eyes out. When I had six I lay down, shoved them into my rectal cavity, then started to fall. I willed my fall. Telescopes were trained on a vein beating in my left temple. Its train took me away—the eyes were ballooning inside me. I peeled my scrotum to get two more—my spinal column was dripping plungers of acid by now—I erased everything that held me to the fragments which had never been human if by human I meant this penis spurting eyes
which sting the running sores on my spine's tongue
on its terrace of toilets which was falling freely at will in the air like sweatflak—black—burst—as every cave hangs by a string and longs to be wafted—shoot all over the lips of Keats' deathmask—did I enter—his mouth—

Noodles caress the weasel prize. Of course.
damaged shields all
in all a lavish headhalt sights across
the nearby. The fields nucleus anniversary
its pistons make.


Windows bound by final lens, glass
islands that balance a splinter
in their heart. Or mirrors where

my arrows drink all their instant
from rage, subduing the breath
that pursues sleep, but I hesitate

to knight the noise of every urge
or let its beaming monster quit
spate. I fear the habit-murmur

where stones get shklovskied
without respite. What leave can
I inhabit, accustomed maze of

lameness chaining my head in this
endless train of perspective down
the oneway track distance still

draws from my sleeve, conjured
as I crane to catch each view
and hover-fresh aspect outside

my choo-choo chin, freightface
fraught with passengers forced
to record/rattle off their cattlecar days with

my choo-choo's chinoiserie

The trip dollies

days along its railbed

the railside/outlook passes slowly, time

the day raves and wanders like a photo-chirp—

puppet finery adorns their pyramids—

the pawed-at touchstones sermonize

me with god-dunes and streams

A bachelor chasing elevators
or cleavering his bathtub may stop
if shown prophet—