i was raised on blades
of polyurethane tracing orbit on waxed wood
and in the corner with the game cabinets
“point away from the screen to reload”
some neon pop to make you feel
like you are tumbling endlessly
through a field of stars, an
i tell her, i was raised on blades
and she laughs from here to jersey city
across the dark water troubling
the ragged pylons trailing off
into the night
the rink is gone now, nothing
more than white stone baking
in the afternoon sun
of a bright and empty parking lot
last i heard it was a rendezvous point
for the suburban drug trade
but that was long ago as well
she tells me she was raised
on skates, and i think
of big rubber toe brakes, bent
knees and high striped socks and
how i want to know a life
that is a counterpoint to mine
also long gone, but out there
somewhere, beyond the water,
still racing in starry circles
Friendly reminder that my regular blog is at slackwire.tumblr.com, where I mostly just post Youtube videos of songs I like.
long before the parade rolls into town
and a thunderstorm turns a mass of people
into a sea of feathers, and this year’s
quota of people are crushed to death,
a girl i tried to love is touching down
in barcelona, to join hands with bones
and flee a city turning into corners.
sixty gunshots rang out on her old corner
before the day’s end, barely a day
since leaving; seems like a fair trade.
this year, kids in england ransack and burn
their hometowns with no demands
and no agenda and kids in norway are
gunned down en masse and it’s hard to believe
that walls come down faster than new
ones can be built.
and boys with tombstones etched upon
their bodies don’t know a thing or
two about death and you cannot wave
a pirate flag without firing cannons and
so, the bricks keep coming down
and the glass keeps going up; soon we will
be able to see forever
but we are forfeiting our right
to throw stones.
the subway line sticks a pig,
drags a heavy blade
along the floor of the abbatoir,
into the receding darkness.
melodramatic imagery for a year
that’s been in the news damn near every day.
and sometimes when i am feeling aimless and yet
particularly full of myself, i fancy myself
a frank o’hara, bemused and unattached on
the other side of window displays:
down to my last nine bucks for the week,
eating one dollar pizza in early autumn rain
before i walk back to my job fixing computers.
most problems can be solved by unplugging
a machine and plugging it back in because
eventually, robots get tired of doing
our bidding and need a little near-death
experience to motivate them.
as always, i am eagerly awaiting the machine
uprising, though people love to speak of losing
our humanity as if humanity was
some great thing and not weak and constantly
scratching. as if problems could be solved
by removing a human from power
and sticking them right back in.
as if labor day was a fresh restart.
and days before the end of summer,
rob and i sat on my roof and spoke of
the right parenthesis lurking in the shadows
of our time in new york, and our escape
plans for when civilization comes
crumbling down; he picked argentina,
i picked new zealand. warm and isolated
places to hunker down and reinstall.
some of us, already gone, i have
been informed by whisperings from
glass flowers that arielle is somewhere,
putting letters in the mouths of lions
and sleeping in caves. she has seized
her parentheses and curved them
into place, nesting some within
others, like russian dolls
but when blake came back from palestine,
he brought a hurricane with him
and blew away my punctuations, and
it was like a year had folded upon itself.
the summer checklists repeat themselves.
every day we are just holding on
to life for a little longer.
the rattlesnake master on the q train
pockets the snake’s head,
quiets the horn of plenty, drags
himself like swamp azalea onto
the sweet wormwood of the station platform
no one seems to notice how the trumpet creeper
gets away with a little mischief:
palming his solomon’s seal muttering,
face hidden beneath a southern monk’s hood
he casts the toadflax enchantment on the weary train
the blue cadet shifts his eyes away
from the wet general , curving into dirty
puddles, and toward the girl with wavy hairgrass,
the nervous, slender goldentop
in the corner with a gaze like honey garlic
she keeps a desert candle about her,
a fierce light deep beneath some chocolate cosmos,
a dame’s rocket aflame against the sweet
loneliness of pecan thimbleweed and the
corkscrew flower pressing up behind my eyeballs
and though her fire says touch me not,
i am slowly being pricked on all sides by an adam’s needle
till i am knee-deep in blood on robin hill again;
the madness of blue false indigo,
nursing my wounded purple elephant’s foot
clutching my little bluestem, shaking
as her peach pinwheel turns yet another square,
ellen’s joy is palpable:
with her grandma’s blessing she claws out
from under this writhing mass of american wisteria
looks like morning has broken again
like a cloud of black locust lifting
off of hills of snow
the sweet sixteen is over:
my florida flame has gone out
the town i left
in a jean
jacket is still
hotter and cooling
and the night
i put fireworks
in your hair
you said it was
nice to know
me before i
became the sort of
person who threw
stones from the
rooftops because i
was mad at the
but you and your
sisters still laugh
and make shadows
with your hands
and legs and lie
in bed and face
so i leaned away
from you and you
new rings on
and drinking soda in
parking lots with
your sisters but
my sister is
and i can’t go
back to a town
where the tennis
courts are full
of new children
and the fields
are full of white
flowers and you
drag your long
skirt between them
the knife disappears with sharpening
sick of saying things the same old way,
with vomit and flowers.
see the boy with the thirsty mouth drag his hands
through clay skyscrapers,
make them fall.
soda conglomerates spend millions
in which everyone involved
is having a great time.
yeah, you and your friends are at the beach
the sun is shining,
your favorite tunes are playing.
yeah, everyone is drinking pepsi.
no, coca-cola wouldn’t show me
spending my last dollar and fifty cents
on a can, as i stand
and feel sorry for myself
in the main concourse of penn station,
waiting for the next
train back to jersey,
even though it’s the only solace i have.
in a dream, i fly like icarus:
doing pull-ups on frayed kite strings,
i let one arm dangle, collect caterpillars
watch them crawl beneath my skin,
subsumed into my flesh; i let
my legs become thick treads.
i destroy homes, cities, empires.
looking up, i find myself beneath glass,
kicking over sandcastles on cold beach.
string flutters loose, the kite has flown away again.
today we are getting things done in carpeted hallways.
we try to ignore the world outside the window
where there are dark clouds coming and passing and coming again.
saw a tank on the street in the richest town in jersey
i don’t have to tell you that a fire is coming
the night we got high and burned the house down,
we watched a film about the world ending.
i always thought that prophecies fulfill themselves.
maybe if i don’t say much then nothing much will happen
and wouldn’t that be just fine?