‘Greenwich Avenue’ by James Schuyler

In the evening of a brightly
unsunny day to watch back-lighted
buildings through the slits
between vertical strips of blinds
and how red brick, brick painted
red, a flaky white, gray or
those of no color at all take
the light though it seems only
above and behind them so what
shows below has a slight evening
“the day—sobs—dies” sadness and
the sun marches on. It isn’t like that
on these buildings, the colors which
seem to melt, to bloom and go and
return do so in all reality. Go
out and on a cross street briefly
a last sidelong shine catches
the faces of brick and enshadows
the grout: which the eye sees only
as a wash of another diluted color
over the color it thinks it knows
is there. Most things, like the sky,
are always changing, always the same.
Clouds rift and a beam falls
into a cell where a future saint
sits scratching. Or a wintry
sun shows as a shallow pan of red
above the Potomac, below Mount Vernon,
and the doctor from Philadelphia
nods and speaks of further bleeding.

Source: Schuyler, James. “Greenwich Avenue.” Collected Poems. New York: Noonday Press, 1998, pp. 169-170.

Valzhyna Mort & Henri Cartier-Bresson, Postcoital

Hackensack, October, 2020

violent global apocalypse
aren’t you worried brr
the mirror ball

playing with the toddler
in the parking lot
so meaningless: music in the air

there is no belarusian
version of this poem

she turns the therapist to 11

we no longer think in color
there’s only cold
dark and not dark

the prism handles the rest
the first third and fifth course
are the cheapest white wine in secret

as if it were the edge of the universe
the far away thunder of a giant waterfall
but no ambush no sauce

it’s not like they have an option
who made their black-strap shoes
their blonde bobs and toned coats

the door remains the ink remains
the windows blown into sky-gone into bricked-over
in favor of what’s left out of frame

Awaiting Diagnosis

who whips
little wooden
orbits says
hello i am
laughter
soured

there is
grass mown &
wind stilled &
i have come
up to the hole
& found it lacking

Total Aesthetic Loss

Staten Island, New York, June 2020

cherry moves fast
consumes fuel spark air
fires momentary and true

tears
asphalt
from erudition

give it away
pennies on the dollar

corpse
of carbon

pattern making
gone so badly maybe
aerated biomass
steel screws
perchance to love

lecture urlecturer
well cared for whistling
white curator

hands of filial head

translation
blinks
concrete

total aesthetic loss

portrait in oblivion (isa)

Ridgewood, NJ, August 2020

she says 			i can cook vegan
she says 			savory
				nutritional yeast flakes 
				harvested for good health
our face is probably the only thing of that scale
crushed red pepper flakes
our face obsessed in its desire for duplicate
i didn't choose this sacred hardware
our battle ax-thin XXX bride
prime butch dress cascading salvo
cachaça bottle thick hairy professor
				in the window sill
				go fast,
she says					the advertisements 
to the confident			are coming to
advertisers				shake you awake

We’ve Updated Our Employee Handbook

Kyoto, Nov. 2019

to all decurved contract
workers
both boy
and girl
please note
we offer a paltry 401(k)
cancer herpes
kind-hearted flechette
america
the corporation
complain
the complaint
liable to get nations
flayed guilty imagination
unspoiling
brood parasite
munitions
nesting
in an oval
in a pit
lazy dog
iron heart
suddenly
unleashed
starving
detonating
undetonating
detonating ad
nauseam decorated
celebrated soft
fleshy middle
managers
break’s over!
tumbling
from a cloud

Acusar al Presidente

Hackensack, August 2020

yes 10:13 in hackensack and i am wondering
why on earth is my skin so skinny

when all the prayers say i should be greasy
my benedictions

should be known widely
how many people are even in this bolted down town

anyway if i stop with all the bolas de acero
cerveza and el gran

poeta contemporáneo maybe i’ll dry up
maybe i’ll go on that boat trip

i promised my family anyway
here’s to the good colonel

working the corner
for the wrong boxer

why fight at all the dog
lucy her coffee bean

rising in the midday sun
takes a dive into the green grass

was it right acusar al presidente
was it weather crashing down on my head

like a thug’s framing hammer
don’t even got a wallet

there’s certainly no cash
i’ll cancel all the cards

before you spend a dime
i’ve been discourteous look

up at the flying cars stare and steal
a handful of photos

of this first great fear two men
with blond pony tails

look at that lot
i should cast them out

of hell for being so official
so beautiful so dour

on this urine soaked street
i stole that photo of the dog

by the balls my dog with the coffee
bean tried to attack the man

fat man slicking himself with sesame oil
this mobile phone suggests a yellow face crying

of laughter
after with my thumbs

i type urine and sweat 🤣 that one
squeezes through the wire like a stranger

to me anyways
chopping grass the old fashioned way

the calendar says hello
with both hands it is august 1

a lens cap in my pocket
a black coin from not so long ago

i looked up mike kanemitsu now
i’m sweating 🤣 memory

passive dogs attack
the passive voice

yes 10:13 in hackensack
and i am wondering

Dear Oblivion

Lake George, N.Y., July 2020

i’ve
stubbed my tone again
against the edge
of some other universe
under the weekly
farmers market
near the free whiskey
samples retired
dentist who
summers in santa
monica who
explains volatilization
charcoal
filters in his coronavirus
mask
the perfect gift
for clark

i’ve
taken off again
around pluto
in the byzantine
eyes of man
nothing to do
wife away

i’ve
glanced out again
from my crashing
self sea

i’ve
named myself again
spoiled oil
spilled spinning
top approaches
edge gravity
angel’s share
bitter ship
gasping heir
to a ruined king-
dom of collapsed
arteries rough
concrete
sidewalk gone
feral over rough dog-
wood root

again
to say
enough.

Dear Oblivion


dear oblivion
i hear you
shredding bone
in the golden
place
salivating
somewhere
unknowable
a man
grills
meat
a child
screams

what i mean to say
is this, dear oblivion:
i remember
the littoral darkness
of the rising afternoon
the light
never
having
been
enough

dear oblivion
i hear you
crawling away

‘The Damaged Ape’ by Russell Edson

Ape, Hackensack, N.J., 2020

A little piece of the ape’s nostril had fallen off; and then we noticed one of its ears was chipped. On closer examination we saw that one of its fingernails was missing.

By this time, of course, we had grown to love the ape, but still we wondered if it shouldn’t be sent back for an undamaged one.

The guarantee slip was still attached to one of its ears: This ape is guaranteed in perfect working order on the day of the purchase.
But then we noticed something else written on the slip: Floor model, demonstration ape, reduced for quick sale.

Ah, so we did get a bargain without even knowing it.

The ape shyly smiles and presents its cheek for a kiss …

But later on in the evening a large hole develops in the ape’s stomach from what had seemed earlier only a tiny tear. And all evening we watched the ape’s insides slowly coming out all over the rug …

Source: Edson, Russell. The Tunnel: Selected Poems. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College Press, 1994. Print.