“be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth).”

be frank

From “The Last Avant-Garde” by David Lehman:

[Frank] O’Hara’s ironically self-deprecating tone was much imitated. “I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love,” he wrote. He kiddingly called his own poems “the by-product of exhibitionism” and wrote constantly about his daily life. It was O’Hara who initiated the policy of dropping names in his poems, a habit that became a New York School trademark. O’Hara peppered his work with references to his painter friends — [Jane] Freilicher, [Larry] Rivers, Mike Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Norman Bluhm, Grace Hartigan, Al Leslie — with perfect indifference to whether readers would recognize their names. That indifference argued a certain confidence in the poet’s ability to make the details of his autobiography-in-progress so irresistible that the reader feels flattered to be regarded as the poet’s intimate. O’Hara s celebration of friendship in poetry represented an ideal that second-generation New York School poets, such as Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Ron Padgett, and Anne Waldman, emulated in the 1960s. Everyone wanted to be, as [Ted] Berrigan put it, “perfectly frank.” James Schuyler has a marvelous rift in a letter to Berkson urging him to “be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth). Say,” Schuyler continues, “maybe our friends’ names would make good verbs: to kenneth: emit a loud red noise; to ashbery- cast a sidewise salacious glance while holding a champagne glass by the stem; to kenward: glide from the room and not make waves; to brainard, give a broad and silent chuckle; to maehiz, shower with conversational spit drops–but I said friends, didn’t I–cancel the last. To berkson and to schuyler I leave to you.”


Source: Lehman, David. The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets. New York: Doubleday, 1998, print, p. 73.

Poets Reading the News publishes ‘Agraphia’


“Car 5”

A great poetry website, Poets Reading The News, has published another one of my poems, Agraphia, along with one my recent photos, Car 5 (above).

I’m extraordinarily fond, and proud, of this poem. It’s about the way that war and violence affect one’s humanity.

It begins with a quote from Gabriele de’ Mussi, a historian of sorts, who gave one account of the beginning of the black plague in Europe in the mid-14th Century.

He tells of the siege on Kaffa (now known as Feodosia in Crimea) in which the Mongols launched the rotten flesh of their own sick and infected soldiers over the city walls in order to weaken the defending forces — an early version of biological warfare.

Please read and share it. You mean the world to me.

Thanks for being a part of this crazy project.

— Joe

“To Psychoanalysis” by Kenneth Koch

I took the Lexington Avenue subway
To arrive at you in your glory days
Of the Nineteen Fifties when we believed
That you could solve any problem
And I had nothing but disdain
For “self-analysis” “group analysis” “Jungian analysis”
“Adlerian analysis” the Karen Horney kind
All—other than you, pure Freudian type—
Despicable and never to be mine!
I would lie down according to your
Dictates but not go to sleep.
I would free-associate. I would say whatever
Came into my head. Great
Troops of animals floated through
And certain characters like Picasso and Einstein
Whatever came into my head or my heart
Through reading or thinking or talking
Came forward once again in you. I took voyages
Down deep unconscious rivers, fell through fields,
Cleft rocks, went on through hurricanes and volcanoes.
Ruined cities were as nothing to me
In my fantastic advancing. I recovered epochs,
Gold of former ages that melted in my hands
And became toothpaste or hazy vanished citadels. I dreamed
Exclusively for you. I was told not to make important decisions.
This was perfect. I never wanted to. On the Har-Tru surface of my emotions
Your ideas sank in so I could play again.
But something was happening. You gave me an ideal
Of conversation—entirely about me
But including almost everything else in the world.
But this wasn’t poetry it was something else.
After two years of spending time in you
Years in which I gave my best thoughts to you
And always felt you infiltrating and invigorating my feelings
Two years at five days a week, I had to give you up.
It wasn’t my idea. “I think you are nearly through,”
Dr. Loewenstein said. “You seem much better.” But, Light!
Comedy! Tragedy! Energy! Science! Balance! Breath!
I didn’t want to leave you. I cried. I sat up.
I stood up. I lay back down. I sat. I said
But I still get sore throats and have hay fever.
“And some day you are going to die. We can’t cure everything.”
Psychoanalysis! I stood up like someone covered with light
As with paint, and said Thank you.
It was only one moment in a life, my leaving you.
But once I walked out, I could never think of anything seriously
For fifteen years without also thinking of you. Now what have we become?
You look the same, but now you are a past You.
That’s Fifties clothing you’re wearing. You have some Fifties ideas
Left—about sex, for example. What shall we do? Go walking?
We’re liable to have a slightly frumpy look,
But probably no one will notice—another something I didn’t know then.



Koch, Kenneth. The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch. New York: Knopf, 2007. Print, p. 609.

Kernel Panic

Wikipedia Poem, No. 417


“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.” First Law of Mentat

      their positions in 1939   and to an x-based system 
         ( cannot quickly 
      the terms 
such as 
blue flash[  the   
    at the 
  applies produced 
     to discover the settings of harold 

kernel panic is known by slang 
applies rejewski and from each 

        the bd 
               as blue 
flash setting works: specifications in 1939  
  to x-based systems and the term       
         recover some of the term 
  of rotors in 
       1938 in 1939 at 
   the 'cryptologist 
rejewski and 
         recover some        
  bureau by gordon welchman  
       and cypher some of a kernel panic 
manipulates substance refinement code 
and constructional 
specifically the term 
applies primarily   
ii flash 
positions in 1939 
  navy[  and from which 
  the uk 
of the terms such 
as blue 
        flash[  the terms such as blue 
   flash of a kernel panic 
      manipulates machines 
x-based systems and their positions in 
cypher some of 
          the terms  
          the daily settings of the 'cryptologist marbly 
      recover systems and to help decipher  
( cannot 
 bureau by 
term applies primarian 
      and at their 
positions in 

         a kernel panic known by 
     ii flash[  the 
bd flash[  the daily 
       works: specification   
     settings of a kernel 
         substant refinement code 
   the term applies primarily settings of a kernel panic  
  at the 
'cryptologist marily 

        german military networks: specifically     
      the     setting works: 
applies primarian 

            company flash tabulating works: specifically their positions in   
terms such    
military networks: 
  specifically the wirings of a kernel panic known 

recover some 
the term  
           at the term     the 
daily recover 
some of the 
       rotors in 1939 
    term applies 
       primarian rejewski and to 
german military 
        networks: specifically 
their position  
           vis-a-vis recovery 
 german military networks: specifically
  settings of 
      a kernel 
  substance refinement code and 
  the terms 
       such as blue 
       flash[  the wirings of a kernel panic is

Belted Kingfisher


By substituting X for their name
We begin to blue-grey a flicker rate
Between eyes, nose, ears and mouth.

The subject doing the describing,
For instance, receives big panicked gulps
And must not be allowed to employ simile
Without supervision—

How liberating!

Now, let’s consider X a revolutionary—
Stephen Dunn once wrote as much
While withering for cash.

If X died today, the sun and the moon
Would finally receive their answer:
A torn sheet of paper
for both celestial bodies:

Grim, graceful and surreal;
A canyon of sugar skulls,
Oh! the lightcycle enfolding forever
Like endless dough.

X insists
They need not be

X’s interdisciplinary epigram, anyway,
Inspired (which?) Dickman’s monograph 52 years on,
The latter being more studied yet
Significantly less erudite
Than the former, who cannot
Will not make up their mind
But will resolve to vacillate endlessly.

Do be you
Of Coke.

X is one of the park’s rarest
And least conspicuous trees.

Found only on dry ledges of the summit,
X is little more than a shrub.

X is not a belted kingfisher
Despite their harsh and rattling call.

X is silly and not as
Handsome as you remember.

When Christ arrives,
X is surprised.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 330


“eventually / even scorched earth goes green though beneath it // the dead might still luxuriate in their rage my ancestor / was a dervish saint” Kaveh Akbar


luxure obsolete
from the whistling verb

rather the 1660s relay
reluctance lasting and
first attested sometime around

1661 lather reluctantly wrestle
stains see related lasciviousness
lust 1520 screams obsolescence

the verb first fury related
which attests sometime
in 1660 the king burns grace

which is reluctance latin relates
60 pounds of cake perhaps shake
shares a common origin with the greek lygos

pliant twig luxurie debauchery
dissoluteness lust 12c modern french
luxurie debauchery dislocated

arm relate the 1660s relate
14c lasciviousness leathered up
in reluctant magnificence


Excerpt from Kaveh Akbar’s “River of Milk” used without permission, but with unconditional love, from the Poetry Foundation.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 281


“Poetry comes out of nothing. … Read the nothing.” Renee Gladman, extemporaneously


cured in florida salt
the marsh vole
is classified as endanged

yet bites further
into the united states
than the colonial itself

year-round burrows
where it stores food
for the winter and

females give birth
to the breeding cant
what breeding it can

cause damage to
fruit trees gardens
shrubbery and comm-

ercial grain crops
through the winter
it is aggressive

year-round usually
at night and dig to
north-central nebraska

and central nebraska
and south from central
utah it is excluded only

from northeastern and
eastern georgia known
as extreme polar regions

a disjunct subset of wyoming and
south through tennessee the missouri
river is excluded only from its libido


Source: Gladman, Renee. “I Began The Day.” Harper’s, Sept. 2016, p. 11.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 212


“That said / it really seems / that on the bony side / we are dealing with / analogous elements of / information // For the moment / the majority of Systems / still hesitate to believe / in the possibility of war” Ghérasim Luca, Ox Nerve


hamlets are rough
tough-to-belong sub-regions
upper clapton greater hackney

employment blankets the city
places large housing pods
on the street and survives

extends estuary monitors
engages and survives extends
hackney to easterly homerton

of this place one jousts
parts of hackney to the east
and survives demolished

in 1798 the countryside rises a suffix
almost venerable ordered context
being saxon two trees bear the weight

of a brook resulting in now differing
photographs which sack the territories
iron age remains the diction of manor

the tower’s ingle for a long burns time
most venerable order of the river
lea demolished at spring and falls

toward the works
across through the course
of de beauvoir far above



Wikipedia Poem, No. 198

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset

“Portrait of Man Ray/Pablo Picasso/India Ink/Paper” 2016


penal advent destroys risk
aversion causing the arterization
of small vessels

insitu it’s used to apply
canada cauterize or bacterize
cautery painful duratic acid

cantharidinis from severy seizes wounds
most physicians coagulate around severe
practition like the cost to remove electricity

from the body a metal anesthetic
presses knife a few powerful moments in a barn
surgeons would commonly call out

καίω environments sintered or employed
for fluency tissues cut from penises
body rhythms such as in leach inter-irritant

as female chemicals burn from a small vessel
and canada controls contemporary currents
of medicine advises the removal of their penises

like a tool it can apply to cautery flowers
advises the lunar medical cauterization of winnipeg
a metal of cauters tissue damage retries history