poets exaggerate
everything you
needed to
know about

me back
then could
be summed
up thusly

coming upon
a page
underlined by
amazon’s popular

highlights feature
in whatever
kindle book
I was

reading knocked
me off
course every
time knowing

that 22
people had
previously highlighted
this passage

in Bolaño
about young
poets and
old whores

ripped the
soft cotton
stuffing out
of my

chest it
stunk of
the path
most travelled

old sneakers
the bubba
gump shrimp
in times

square selfie
sticks at
la sagrada
familia last

evenings on
earth fireworks

On One Leg (House Beautiful)

The Lauder Family Cardiovascular Center, Mount Sinai, Nov. 14, 2020

prokofiev cobham & darnielle circle one’s
crown blue llama equilateral winged
what have we here
seen? a photo in a photo in a magazine
metaphor boils the pot
after a jot spills its ink hung
over an fim-92 stinger which
like i said before is no metaphor
at all al gore despondent speaking to late modal fords
don’t forget mass production the cruelest beard
a habitat in the atlantic city convention hall
and curly beautiful ambulances free myself
today and forever from human
immobility masked up in constant whirls
a plagiarizer a bad speller pfizer hopping
on one leg from star to star i swing red radio
to blue gamma alongside a humming horse’s mouth
a plagiarizer paul reiser needle in the
armed to the teeth breasts
elbows draped over that still missile botticelli
like a real goddess of love cuts my tongue
into 8 poppy flowers and marches south
to war for the winter who do you think you
are tarantula swagger carpet bagger
meowing hoarse chuff chuff chuffing at popular art
cart me ashore saint bart of the ozarks

“Orpheus in Athens” by Jack Spicer


Diogenes the onion-eater, watched by dogs, sitting in his tub. By Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1860

The boy had never seen an honest man.
He looked among us every night he said.
He eyed each stranger like Diogenes
And took him with his lantern into bed.
He'd probe the stranger's body with that light
Search every corner of his flesh and bone
But truth was never there. He'd spend the night
Then leave him and resume his search alone.
I tried to tell him there was some mistake
That truth's a virtue only strangers lack.
But when he turned to face me with a kiss
I closed my lying heart against his lips.

From “My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer”