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one in three questions is serious
two are small hands grasping
in the wet-dark
for salinized water

hewn stone
or a mustache
arriving at customs
before a tour
of the great pyramids
of vegas

i am obsessed
through collage
but that’s behind him now

a flashlight / in a closet / at the bottom / of the aegean sea

You’re a nag.
You’re a liar.
You’re lazy.
You’re selfish.
You’re deluded.
Stop wasting my time.

he is a craftsman
with beautiful rough hands
full of calluses like truth
with crete between
his team has prepared
marketing collateral
and sand fires for every possible occasion

If you don’t like it, you can leave.

in fact i think you should go
freshly shaven chest
like a great royal crest
give the world what it
so depressingly craves
space

in its arms this generation bears
time or place drowning my hands
around its neck long and slender
surrender

Everyone agrees with me.

 trees sorting themselves below birds

You should be ashamed of yourself.

 great figures inconceivable if not for sky

I don’t need you, you need me.

nothing neat left in this moved-on world

After all I have done for you, this is the thanks I get?

oubliette, oubliette, oubliette

Double Sonnet for Michel

listen, monster, i’m here to remind you
the ruby drunk caught in your throat demands
a buck fifty for the downtown 1 white
shoe slip-resistant rubber sole the plan

this Philosophy smells of studded club
soda dark liquor hidden deep in books
template matching over styx russian sub
ice cream necropolis kicks filthy nooks

oh no i hope it’s not true i’m attached
to the colors posing at piss station
so unsophisticated my tenses
fall to the floor i’ve missed my choo choo

you don’t deserve a narrative monster
all you get: a spare admission of form

like a dog like a man who can’t decide
whether to use the pronoun him or it
dog who’s spoiled interior design
three heads one asshole no one to love it

michel foucault would have been an iphone
man bald bitmoji man he would have sucked
off zuck in the castro like a real man
unable to look anywhere but in

retrospect is fabulism is a
surrealist koan yodeled from buckling knees
in a space station manned by paranoid
belted purple unfathomable beasts

ignorant to our own intricate dance
i am not a love song i‘m a baked yam

Disambiguate the Precedent (Assassination Attempt No. 1)

god is
an alligator white
dunce cap common
supernatural they are kind
of fragile wicked mother
i said i don’t know you
reveal your in
cantatory power
vanishes soon of dawn
alligator called
maeve anything is yours
big smile looking
at leaves
going around
your big breath rattling
every baby born after
june 07
confused about cost and course
are you wind wisened
carried from child
to child in red eyes
we haven’t slept
for weeks drink
some of this
we need to talk
blockchain saprophyte
you imagine
not wanting to die
at cost
suddenly his girl
friend her
cadillac mania
smoldering munitions
return from orbit
burn bump and birthright debased
marlboro of denial
indifferent save a dream
david shields trashes
my bike the hourlies
and the salary men
hide like armor
ed doors
between you and i
and me confusing
memory with money
untold nights buzzing spent
the gin flower in my heart
explodes
killing myself
there’s nothing
i want more
than desire
be alive 🍼
see my alligator
grow up i was 14
or 15 didn’t know anything
in lieu of replication error
chomped a personality
by liquor light 🥃
and it worked
at immense cost
20 years
pry open my skull 💀
exorcise the inadequate
physical ruins of love 🫀
collapsed by mid-morning
one suddenly
recognizes
at immense cost
the crushing power
of Their jaw 🐊

Negative Poem

i don’t want
to do your work
do you want to
do your work
work is screaming
at the dog
a terrible person
who can’t be bothered
with other people
the dog lays there
right there
her allergies
her anxieties
on the leafy greens
and onionskin
and cries not at me
she’s a good girl
at the baby nursing
on her belly little
heart beating so fast
i don’t want to think
of the hummingbird
her fragility
her natural work
her glitter
where’s my glitter
there she is right there

A Wild Penitent Appears

Manasquan Party House, 2021

please o god help your subjunctive soldier offer up one original thought

before moving on to black coffee rising to meet morning disassociated

walking dog blue-striped potential-of womanly veil of soul-making

one must have ample reason and the right instruments to break this silence

real question what system gotten oneself into legitimate danger from

answers to deeper form of question dark web hits fashion subliminal

advertising models come go sticky anywhere but there/their blood thirsty wild

board memory of japanese steel through pink paper time slips frame

every once in ochre while please body of clay this is me begging

Saint Maeve

Livingston Manor, NY (Summer 2021)

is a story
first about places
of worship and

winter’s
verbose
soul

like the cockatrice
coming home to
roost like a photograph

aspires to distill
feathers fiery i
want to say

i burned himself
at the stake

ruddy rectrices up
from drifting smoke
addled measurable jawn

miserable i’ve been
unable to live
under these conditions

of resounding success
of first impressions
proof of laziness

i burned himself
at the stake

no monumental ever
but one’s life
the after-father eternal

alabaster born in power
i wanted i
remember slower motives

drawn from records
of dawn discovery
momentary challenges form

i burned himself
at the stake

long forgotten architect
amidst the inferno
of genius vandalized

permanent civil war
naves columns vaults
facade transepts crossing

and apse plans
and photographs burnt
plaster models smashed

i burned himself
at the stake

snowy february morning
explicit appreciation homage
and circumstance of

life her personhood
list of words
and phrases eurub

i like ike
bob’s your uncle
gale poets exaggerate

i burned himself
at the stake

everything you need
to know paginated
drunk knocked off

course young poets
old whores lol
bolaños let loose

like balloons struck
from chest stunk
old sneakers times

are tough times
have always been
tough in time

i burned himself
at the stake

square pose bubba
gump shrimp selfie
stick sagrada familia

20g gunpowder 20g
ethiopia 20g bitter
20g still water

cooked uncomplicated surveillance
software in neon
syringe of hammers

o i burned
at the stake

hours without touching
another freeman’s tongue
welcome says amygdala

sorcerer’s teaspoon of
distraction of slight
of face of

wild fathers’ simile
like ruddy fears
exploitation so rips

i burned himself
at the stake

fulsome feathers from
his dictionary good
advice hard advice

advice deeply swallowed
in that suck
called breath brooklyn

rusty
premeditated
agent

i burned himself
at the stake

life’s a story
first about places
of worship and

the venous cockatrice
coming home to
roost among memories

of photographs over
blazing patterns a
genealogy in light

Test Print

This is a test print
describing subtractive black
and what’s lost
when process tongues
the burn of riot.

‘The Field’ by Ron Padgett

John Lagatta; Livingston Manor, NY; July 2021, Joe Gerace

Every once in a while white
lines appear in my field
of vision, curling sometimes
at the top of it and I
realize once again that there
is an invisible rectangle
around everything.
How do I know it’s there?
I just put it there,
that’s how.
And those white lines?
Little hairs
straggling from my eyebrows.


Source: Padgett, Ron. “The Field.” Big Cabin, Coffee House Press, 2019, p. 78. Print.

Snorting a Lexapro With You

Fucking at the Zoo

Cow lounges at Bergen County Zoo

rich fucks poor schmucks grey donkeys pink goats
loser communist cattle roaming cocks black pig

gnaws vestigial arm of long-dead
stump pink pig dreams of shit in dry sun

all pant in red heat zoo as palace
of great social inequity lonesome horse shreds grass

beside canada goose both children
enamored in their wielding

large white girl swings twig black girl
arcs storybook of freckles red polka dots

on tawny field of mask skipping mirrors through corridor of meat
two indian condors fuck in nearby cage

and insignificant small brown deer neither getting their
money’s worth older schmucks inarticulately elsewearing

zoo — $6 a head— equalizes even verbs
animals people objects subjects as commercial rents plummet

dirt everyone fucked and fucking sun and moon
penetrate sky kiss asphalt i go back where i came from

play volleyball with colombian neighbors
i go home to america feel lonesome as stars

imagine america and hang cheap black tarp
like flag with expensive steel clamps

over
and over

union made folding in america where wind is ideal
and idea and erase myself between parked cars

another picture made with shitty
attitude fueled by quarter crackers

we feed one another
from vicious passive hands

release fang fur leather feather plate-mail instinct river
bloat low medicine white phosphorus art school upheaval


In a Photograph of Heaven

An empty carousel at Bergen County Zoo

cold floorboards creak
and broken feet labor, yr

tiny vertebrae at arms
fingertips asleep on a giant’s shoulder, my

one hand raking its grave across
her back taut guiltless guileless unwalking preverbal, yr

the object holds fear
her out there like
just her out there
with the fulsome dogs of envy, my

wrapping themselves in wallpaper and music and great
ambiguous hurdles that jump jump jump
over trees canals and land on a better
partner who tells himself
the day’s failures remain, okay, yr

that when one sits down
to analyze their respective scroll
everything beneath our feet,
vulgar back catalog, mines and thines

bedrock rot
head-in-the-clouds metaphor
head-in-the-sand metaphor
she cleaves the fall harvest at winter’s end


The Race to Fire Island Lighthouse

Cars racing at Laguna Seca

hey, listen
i want to explain it
to you
the difficulty
of love curled
up like a roach
‘s obvious hunger
sense organs engaged and something
like a heavy-lidded
lighthouse lying grandiloquent
on its side elbows
sore forearms sore my exercise
anymore to soften desperation
melts that selfsame bedrock

do you understand the line
through love and pest and lighthouse
i’m snorting a lexapro with you in this zoo

beauty bubbles up like a distraction
desperate not for
good genes we’re all needled scaled
or broadleafed
nor unabashed of scholarship
and easy love hidden in history

reader, when i’m gone tell her
how quickly the tunnel nootka was built

how direct its line from here to there
a plurality of good intentions
some heartbreak
‘s unavoidable but not
too much that she’ll come to understand
as mere fact like a new crime
the prosecutor says

dig a little
in the dirt

the ear the chin the crown
of the head missing uncombed
not as wild as any
newborn mind pull back
a meter stop digging the prosecutor
says gun badge law degree
and no sense of aesthetic pride

reveals some pretty
incriminating things
the truth isn’t the best way
to get a bad actor
off a clean street

i am not a fan of creation
neither nor perpetuated myth
it is what it is it is
until the skin burns
the maps draw themselves
and murderers prop up little books
of poetry a little knuckle
a little knee a choice to remove
the lighthouse debris
i abide the law with a straight spine
from space presumably
hemmed in by caught-shadow
i remember her face
as it dances across
every unknowable constellation
of beauty

Black Wall/White Noise

A hate passed across generations
over borders an ex-vast desert

here

a black wall scars the landscape
i do not know what i am in it

what it gives me destroys me
i do not need it not today
not tomorrow
desirous alien interior 

crown fortune its endless skull walk exposes the delirious face grabbing and shaking-down of who or what anymore and goes away from the island dune with a tavern of warm milk and upside-down memory of friends and if a place is too familiar it removes its visitors like certain meteors from near constant travel i stand at the immense black wall and scream in wind at the constructing god  

here
as in under
my feet here
sheathed in
goat leather as in affronting
here
as in without fear of
description discipline or performance

 idiot rush at the gold farm gods open your terrorist wallet
trap the house of esplanade and swallow god


White Noise

It made them feel like poets and it made them want to write more

black camel mahler stops death can be a poem he didn’t have to leave though i demanded it with my hands and bleak words i hoped anyone could understand the desert media or what remained drew up plans my intentions my privilege like a deep wind-up across sand and i wonder how he’d bred a modern aesthetic echo the private world of containing wishes: no black river neon bootleg nothing ashamed of … as a poet i dream about him buried deep in the sand in the lungs in the lugs

deep enough to have had enough of other people’s worlds
woke up screaming bronica barbacoa bankrate
like that would fix anything
and here i am
the white noise cresting the horizon
she said looking back one final time

at the black wall


Innersea References (Black Black Black) 

Those moments accumulate in the interstices of someone else’s history

and beach dragged back hands intracoastal churning
snatch from impossible tides certain hopeful
loneliness imposed
the bodies of others i thought i saw an iguana at the gates
swung open manna born from a factory i scratch the wall
first with stones and dried plant matter and stones then
fingers
beguiling
consistent

fingers bleed wall remains black black black

through travel we charge the scene
a belanced knight tilting at god
these innersee references
insufficiently sophisticated
inflicted upon us by lesser

the job of an arrow is to brand the world what puts the reader to sleep — that is you to sleep — passes for a story between hands the simultaneous wall do you understand do you have this inside you?

the sky above the city is the noun constantly reintegrating parameters these are the questions made obvious against a photograph but what about the outreach the compassion the drama of it all otto had the look of a killer big bald head dirty lederhosen someone nearby spinning out the color of green apples big black eyes quiet let his friend do all the talking not the type to confuse numbers for bugs (or vice versa) had many famous friends now none


sophisticate (v.)

c. 1400, “make impure by admixture,” from Medieval Latin sophisticatus, past participle of sophisticare (see sophistication). From c. 1600 as “corrupt, delude by sophistry;” from 1796 as “deprive of simplicity.” Related: Sophisticated; sophisticating. As a noun meaning “sophisticated person” from 1921.


Poem Can’t Defend Itself

they are gone out / they are beautiful / they are never enough

DESPITE a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up rises up rises up DESPITE i sink into community into community into community rises up around me around me around me a round me a rondo a nonce an ounce of community in my pocket a pound of trounce in my hand a ton of electronics on my back DESPITE a promise to tend to the garden to the garden to the garden tend to tendencies tenderly a garden a garden a garden worth guarding tenderly a community DESPITE rising up around a ton of electronics tenderly gardening my back DESPITE an ounce of rondo in my pocket


Ounce of Rondeau

you ask yourself: is the next minute enough? enough to pull you into them? to keep you there enough? is its plurality of negations enough to keep you reading forever? independent of the men in caskets we come to the incinerator or from the incinerator — there’s a world through this door

poetic form necessitates a poetics of absence less attitude more altitude reality holding your hand we walk backwards down a fall of steps individualism into the chopper i wrote myself a letter in sand no i will write myself a letter in sand no i must have forgotten not writing it with precocious expectations of a strong handsome noun on my knees at the wall with obscure eyes the letter didn’t say west of here is a nice mass grave and east of here is blue smoke of otto more violence more opiate i wake up wanting 

survive make friends at the inn at columbia tell stories 

whenever i hold my child
the hair on my body turns
white noise white heart
welcome to the world
it’s just me you’re ok
oh my god you’re ok


Ounce of Zuihitsu

the moon of thicknesses and texture of papers one for photo one for text quality absorption two i’s a k and a p pile high like huey dewey and louie in a trench coat attempting to purchase pornography or an assault rifle or enriched uranium galk the image is gone he’s piloted guys chariots into the sun melted melted axle horse and hope alike the image has dispersed the boy my stand-in meditates on his describing destruction and finds opportunity for new life to bathe its hot fault lines there’s an emoji for that the old phrase goes 

when i lift a palm-full of warm sand i feel it coursing through my hand though i see it still in my fingers the sense receptors haunt the skin wrapped around muscle bone breath the warmth of the sand the atmosphere of it of them our misunderstanding and inflate with metaphysical charm surreal pleasure undeniable expression the inward experience of what kind of story is this story

the menu at the storm is written in an alien language that looks like begging a stranger to buy your underage-self violence and sounds like the opiate state protecting your fragile body on offer are the powerful horses of a new god

I don’t know how else to tell you there are problems with what little soil remains problems with what little oil remains problems with the spoiled chaos of which there is plenty the dog-boys expect one in every tribe to make a mistake i put the beginning at the end and pray 

i close my eyes and pray for rain


despite (n., prep.)

c. 1300, despit (n.) “contemptuous challenge, defiance; act designed to insult or humiliate someone;” mid-14c., “scorn, contempt,” from Old French despit (12c., Modern French dépit), from Latin despectus “a looking down on, scorn, contempt,” from past participle of despicere “look down on, scorn,” from de “down” (see de-) + spicere/specere “to look at” (from PIE root *spek- “to observe”).

The prepositional sense “notwithstanding” (early 15c.) is short for in despite of “in defiance or contempt of” (c. 1300), a loan-translation of Anglo-French en despit de “in contempt of.” It almost became despight during the 16c. spelling reform.


Blacking Thee Impossible Art

some men are large others are sharks but all men have their cut coming what price what playing harmony what origins hungry submissions layered to the ceiling like dried newspaper waits for spark a wide lens saturation cranked creamed laughing fringes pissed the windgreens that fill sinuses this is indirect incorrect take the first viola on your right and go straight on til the measuring tape boils oh see can you say it like he sees it will you allow the worries to tell you no wrestling nude in the sun people blacken me blacking thee impossible art life i’ll tell it straight no surface artifact artifact camera aims his gun at the sun a diagonal field sailing memories the means to be an artist dearest exponent YES! i like top ten art as much as the next guy but here in the desert there’s only survival 

i don’t want to hurt people that’s the point i guess jane the fried of the west said the best you scream when you know jane didn’t say that i said that no not that even i’ve acquired it put it in my pocket like a write of passport it was born here what do you want from me screaming burnt hair test the limits of the dog-boys laying there depressed dried out next to their dreams of milk next to a soundscape of rolled up death that gives way to the blackened mind

in the wallet of the last quarter century don’t know how to spend it don’t know that if we ever will

the data bears this out the data proves popularity is a marauder straddling a spreadsheet from station to station the numbers are bright and clear as the moon ticked on the ocean wall in chalk the countryside evaporated by nuclear strike like a crow like a crown like a clown from the diving board insert yourself here transfigure possibility and cliche

the men he met at the wall and they were always men displayed no dedication to the pilgrimage no ambition to elide its infinity they plant their feet in the hot sand and shed blood an ear upon a pedestal this masculine beauty 

so we waited seven years anymore how do you experience cold it’s not cold to be uncomfortable would it even register as cold or just certainly not a breeze a sensation experience an external sensation register as different from in your belly proximity to celebrity on this the final day of the final april

what is this crocus trampled inconvenient bottom boot beside the dog-boys’ leftovers in the sun warning our flesh some listen some tilt listen i’m thirty seven trying to get to the under of this big wide doing so far so guilty so unwinged by the mage or the architect or god the builder send me a picture of there