Sunday, June 28, 2009

II. Stratus

OLDER WOMEN ENTER AND EXIT dressed for a night on the town, despite the noonday hour. Their animal print motifs and put upon hair speak of things they prefer to ignore, like using a vibrator regularly does not constitute being sexually active. In this climate the urge is to focus on whatever can bring some semblance of life, of activity, into one's world. The pull otherwise, if only because of its stealth, is a dangerous tide. The arms of men erupt in this vacuum, the same way as women's breasts. From nothing, suddenly screams menacing ink flexing from shirtsleeves. Venomous biceps like a rattler gorging on a junkyard rat. Trimmed patches of what its all looking for. A roar, then silence that weights us down. An ass saunters by that, like a dense crag of rock in space, bends the gravity around it. No one is immune to this juicy fact, this heart-shaped proof that, come night, life is something only the strongest enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Clouds of Hudson

IV'E BEEN SPENDING SOME TIME IN HUDSON LATELY. For those who aren't from around here, Hudson is just across the border. It's downtown is on a body of water littered with boats and fake bikini lines. The accent is the same as ours, just about, but you can buy beer on Sundays. For those of you who are local, you know exactly what Hudson is.

I. Cumulus

I think it's somehow fitting that the main drag in Hudson is on Second Street, not first. The air is thick and wet the way summer ought to be, yet one can depend on Hudson to fulfill every sad little wish. It's starting to drizzle again, which stops the wind from blowing. On days like this the main corridor becomes a vacuum, giving any movement or sound which erupts from within it a seemingly great significance, as if the Dalai Lama is about to ask you for a light. The roar of overhead cams down Second turns the heads of even the deaf, who feel the vibrations through the poorly constructed street. The women - and one can witness this easily - all take note and try not to smile. Young and old, married or free, all cock an ear at this age-old blast of virility. In the otherwise pointless air a part of them, the women here, latches onto that sound and rides it down the torso. An instinctual recognition of power translates it without effort for the sexual organs who don't need it spelled out, and from there into questions about what they themselves do not have and why.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Up and somehow in
on steps of one's own carving

The echo
a hollow soundtrack to becoming

Find again
the quiet left behind

Fearing it meant you were not
for this world

Four Crossroads in Hudson, WI

An aging athlete, well into his hundredth race, begins
to slow his pace from a pained gallop to a trot. His smile
broadens to satisfaction as the stampede thunders by.
He makes his way to the sidelines, through the crowd
looking past him. He eyes the hills. Realizes it's time
for a new track.

2.3 miles toward downtown a vigorous pimp disappears
from a one bedroom apartment, awakens in a quaint
and charming European village circa 1951. It takes
him a whole year to decide how to behave.

As this happens a woman rises from her chair
and walks down three flights of stairs to the cafeteria.
She chooses the chicken, a small salad, and jello.
Seating herself by the vending machine against
the wall, she tastes the chicken looking out the
large window. A bird leaves a branch and dives
straight into the glass before her. She rises to
look out and down at the fragile feathers and feet,
almost invisible in the grass and butts and candy
wrappers. She feels nothing just before feeling the
wind in her veins, climbing out the window, and
losing her 401(k).

A poet, in a room once occupied by a pimp, looks up
to see a woman wandering up the hill behind the factory.
He slowly removes his shirt, pants, and the rest.
Decides to up his game and start submitting poems
to his favorite phases of the moon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Goin' On

"I got things goin' on, see?"

Here any loud remark would have broken the fragile bond between me and my reading matter. Some days you can blaze through scores of pages, literally feasting on invisible rhyme and metre, while others you're a moron incablable of tasing even the barest morsel of a line. Today I am such a moron. It is not an altogether negative state, but I am unable to sail through tunnels of words and actions and their formidible web connections. I am, however, capable of something on another level. Today I am able to look beyond the deep buzz of all those bonds forming and breaking to see the outline, the silhouette, of something larger. It is like being still in the forest and consciously toggling your attention between noises in the fore- and backgrounds. Except today there is no conscious control. Today you just take it. You take it and try.

"'Cause I got things goin' on, see?"

That's what I hear today. That's all I hear. I look up to see him standing at the counter, unable to stop shifting his weight from foot to foot and fumbling with the large rings on his chubby fingers. Now the person on the other end of his cell phone knows what we know. He has things goin' on. Bobbing left to right and back again he was a tiny, one-man amusement park. Blue neon from his cell, golden fingers moving up and down at his side to some inaudible tune, and the dizzying splat of colors that made up his running suit. It was hard too look at, harder to look away.

The short Latina behind the counter was more patient than I would have been. Which special and what drink, that's all. She'd asked it fifteen times already, and it wasn't even noon. Fact is, she didn't speak much more English than that. Thanks to her uncle who got her the job and a cheap apartment in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood, she really didn't need to. She had plans, though, to learn this strange tongue. If she ever wanted to do something else, she would have to stretch herself, contort her mind in a new way around this language built more, it seemed on slang and exception than to any rules you could hold onto. Like trying to figure out some rhythm or cadance of a busy convention center. But she would try, she would work at training her mind to be an acróbata. She was was unaware of her jealousy of the clown in front of her. Ridiculous to see and hear, he could still bob and weave his way through the language. You could almost see it in her eyes, the way she held her anger back with both arms, kissing its head, saying it's okay, it's okay.

So she would wait. She would let him flirt and stall and make sure all four people scarfing down bugers knew he was something special because of his clothes, those rings, and the countless unseen things he clearly had "goin' on."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Remembrance Published

A spot of remembrance in the latest Carte Blanche. Nonfiction.

Issue 9 is now online at

Thanks for listening.