Praise Uncontrollable Gruesome

Wikipedia Poem, No. 519


“For either to have expressed desire, to have / reached, would have been to offer the object of desire // power. It could not be done.” Frank Bidart

let me tell you a secret:
i’ve discovered something
in the conveniences of
mass consequence to ensure
mine would continue to bear

green leather black light
pitches back
leather clutch discovers light black
clutch discovers
something wild
rushing in
cow sacrifices its skin to ensure mine

the new world bears
a neutral green light black leather
rolls back

leather pitches back leatherette that
participation with the fender of
the sacrifices


the sun and squeezes
loud lives
conveniences of a motorcycle

what i mean to say is
the convenience of the barking
bike living alive and dies

pitches backwards to
stay here

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Wikipedia Poem, No. 518


“There was a blue rug on the floor of her room, one chair, one chest, and a narrow bed. Stockings hung in the bathroom. A curious luminosity from the garden, where a lush red magnolia peeked in through an open shutter. Sometimes at dawn the gulls would come and walk busily about on her windowsills, jerking their little bodies like pigeons in sunlight. She began undressing immediately, while he murmured stray strands of information in warning tones, about the cellular panic soon to inundate the world. ‘Madness. It’s pure madness. They’ve broken the locking system which gives form to matter… My dear Esmerelda, they are about to overthrow the principle of creation itself, dissolve the lovely structured essences of nature until only chaos prevails. ‘” from “Antlers in the Treetops” by Ron Padgett and Tom Veitch

   resting ice 
   daily and loved 

you sleep without words 
   will all the mottles claim 
   staying did nothing   about straying
without all the uncontrollable 
   head space 
   beside takeout ambulance words

will the large black supple magazines 
   sunglass in the night sun   kabloom
   swiftly he needs to know

how small is this husbandry
   in the supermodels brain of god 
   it is not dependable all this blue flailing

for medicine beef commercial value? 
   what quaint earnest wanting to survive
   as one of my ears my ass into the thought's claim

it's intensely leashed with expensive exception 
   action i couldn't have known
   how i would act in the future tense 

new paltz then as three-headed corporal air 
   perpetual tumble machine between car frame 
   & car frame the fragmentalist's dead of tiredness

From “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel


“On the lyrical state highways of Vermont I blatted and roared, up and down through the gears, at eighty, at a hundred and something, at much more than a hundred and something miles an hour. The motorcycle had a relatively long wheelbase and felt absolutely solid in a straight line, despite the shaft-drive, and steady enough in a turn, but not quick to turn and right itself. The bike was rather heavy, not deft and flickable, but it was wonderful to look at, wonderful to be on, wonderful to ride, a source of pride. The sound it made was magnificent. The feeling was of riding a powerful musical instrument. The hills echoed and the valleys lit up with my song. You used to be able to say of a motorcycle that it was on song when it was going full tilt in perfect tune and at the right revs just at the redline, the rpm limit for the motor. I was on song. I felt in tune, in love, so proud. It was late summer, almost fall. Pride goeth before the fall. Then I fell.


“I was rounding a turn on the MV at considerable speed when I had the only serious accident I have ever had. Years before, I had jumped the Triumph Metisse off the top of a rise, knowing I would land in sand, and curious to see if I could do it and keep going, but I was prepared to crash, and I crashed. That didn’t count. I may have been going eighty miles an hour on the MV when I realized I would not make it around the turn. I had a choice: I could throw the bike down on the highway or aim for the unplowed field straight ahead of me, as the road curved to the left. I chose the field and shot off the road and rode across the field with the bike upright, and then I hit a ditch, going quite fast still, and crashed. I was furious, embarrassed, outraged. My first act was to get the bike upright and try to start it. A passing state trooper was flagged down by someone who had seen me go off the road. The trooper was rushing a kidney-dialysis machine to another part of Vermont where it was needed in an emergency, and he certainly did not want to be held up, but when he looked at me he decided he had better get me to the nearby Ellsworth Clinic in Chester, where, when I walked in, I saw the blood drain from the face of the receptionist as she looked at me, and heard her insist to the trooper that I be rushed to Springfield Hospital. She obviously thought I had done terrible damage to myself and was about to go into shock. The trooper sped to Springfield with lights whirling and siren whooping. This same trooper was killed six months later in a high-speed crash. It turned out he had been reprimanded several times for his risk-addicted driving. At the hospital it was determined that I had broken three ribs, that was all.

“I had to explain this mortifying event to myself and to the world. When the wrecked motorcycle was examined, it was apparent that there was something not right about the foot pedal that operated the rear brake. The pedal swung loose, meaning it could move down from its position at rest but also it could move up—not normal, not desirable—and it was possible, perhaps likely, that this had been the state of affairs before the crash. A Vermont motorcycle dealer named Peter Pickett had driven down to JFK in his small red open-bed truck to pick up the MV after it cleared customs, and had taken it to Peru, Vermont, where my friend Jill Fox lived and where I spent a great deal of time. The crate was unloaded, opened, and set aside to be saved, it was so good-looking in its own right. The motorcycle, pretty much ready to be ridden, nevertheless had to be gone over to make sure everything was in order. I examined the front end while the back portion of the bike was checked by an experienced rider and sometime mechanic who lived in the village, not exactly a friend but someone friendly and eager to play a part. My immediate thought after crashing was that it couldn’t have been my fault, certainly couldn’t have been the result of my taking the wrong line in attempting to go through the corner, certainly couldn’t have been a case of not leaning the bike into the turn sufficiently because of the speed I was traveling, couldn’t have been the speed I was traveling stopping me from correctly managing the bike, couldn’t have been . . . and so forth. So it had to have been the consequence of the adjustments made to the rear brake pedal by the fellow who checked out the rear of the motorcycle. It suddenly was apparent that the lever controlling the rear brake had been set up in a manner that applied the brake when the pedal was pressed down, as is normal, or when the pedal swung up, when downward pressure was applied or when no pressure was applied, and the pedal was for whatever reason forced up, as when rounding a corner at great speed the centrifugal force pushed the lever up . . . and the back brake was applied without my foot touching the brake pedal. I believed this theory. I propounded it to all, grunting with pain from my broken ribs. I offer the theory to you now, dear reader. Believe me, that is how it happened. The brake was applied without my touching the pedal, the rear wheel locked, I felt it lock, felt that I could not possibly get around the turn, without knowing what exactly was the matter, and decided to go straight, into the field I saw there, straight ahead of me, and did so, dragging the locked rear wheel . . . and riding, if that is the right word, through the field might have made it to a safe upright stop if I had not come up against a ditch, almost a canal, too wide for the dead weight of the motorcycle to cross, and then BAM.

“For days, for months, I replayed the scene, explaining to myself what had happened, excusing myself. Anything to avoid thinking I had been an incompetent. And there is something else in this. There is a way in which feigning nearness to death risks death. Faking it at all well imitates real danger too faithfully and brings danger. I had gone into the turn too fast. I had not made it around the turn. I started playing down the danger I had put myself in and at the same time playing it up. Motorcycling is full of bravado and posing and the nearness of death. You pretend to be calmly, even coldly focused, when you ride, eyes everywhere, eyes on the job and immune to thoughts about risk. That is how one describes riding these fast motorcycles, except of course there is in addition the pleasure. You are riding beauty and you are riding speed and you are riding death. And it is a pleasure. But you offer yourself as a dashing devotee. You realize you are performing the role of yourself, and may be maimed out of existence as part of the act, as part of the character you are playing.

“The bike went back to Italy and returned, having had its bent and wounded parts rebuilt at great expense, with the latest disc brakes off the racing bike added. Again it was trucked to Vermont. It looked so glamorous. I rode it once, just to do it, like getting back on a horse that has thrown you. Eventually the MV was put on display at Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari dealership in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was bought by a visiting English rare-car dealer to add jazz and romance to his personal collection.

“I had another shaft-drive bike at the time, the classic BMW 750cc opposed-cylinder twin, with its sober and good-looking black bodywork with white pinstripes. It was a touring bike, very comfortable and reliable, the latest version of the design in a long line of opposed twins the company had made. I rode it around Vermont, and then one day, with my young son behind me as my passenger, riding on a dirt road, I descended a very steep hill to get to the paved county road and went into a slide, a barely controlled slide down the hillside in the dirt, which I managed like a motocross racer, or a skier, touching the brakes once or twice only, and lightly, and driving safely away. That little hill thrill chill did it. Once home, I was ready to sell the bike and stop motorcycling for good.”

from “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel

Wikipedia Poem, No. 254


“Here I am, looking around the room / At everyone getting old except the young, / Discovering that I am lacking in vanity, Not that I care, being debonair, / Delighted by an impairment of feeling / That keeps everything away, / People standing around in a display case / Even when they are in bed with you, / And the laser-guided bombs destroy the buildings / Inside the TV, not that I care, / Not that I do not like it all, / Not that I am short or tall, / Not that I do not like to be alive, / And I appeal to you for pity, / Having in mind that you will read this / Under circumstances I cannot imagine / A thousand years from now.” from Frederick Seidel’s “Death of Shah”


along is no arrests over my
new and insofar as they deem new dimension
so yesterday evening lost one hand

philandered world of the name
it propels the car into facebook’s wall
the first times disembodied her victims

to facebook page under all medics
stopped still closely months after
facebook undead one handed and

maybe a facebook page under alike
maybe moment live fellas god gone
one not before our eyes we’ve gotten

soon was less severe sides of a paramedic on me
somebody’s got to sometimes by a voice: i hope
it’s graphic interviewed more but other victims were

sometimes disturbing but in the live force
thirty seats thirty seats hope it’s in the car’s
facebook page the car’s floorboard talking

along to comment as its prompted demon-strangers
and clined growing she said but in the car’s floorboard
talking for removal of consciousness everyone watch

terrorists are vital injured for nursing about three boyfriends
facebook poses comments and a florida man’s hurting rubber
boys when the phone hands armed as it happened adds and

finished live feed empty seat hope it’s graphic sometimes disturbing
but others subscribe to the norse myth singing like a bullet
a bullet out of her boyfriend’s voices to acknown comment

who arrests over shooting bullet out students two other songs
the camera pointing in the adds a haunting is so users on
the recorded gets you monitor for nursing this magic protest

videos do undead town-halled voices “i hope the videos live stile
bullet outpourings home” from students trending to friends
facebook wall justified videos have turned growing clinical

tour of norse police accounts and a one-handed facebook phone
subscribes to our newest fears chilled unjust as it was
uploaded 1.65 billion times it propels the last case in a motive

an empty seat hope it happened a trend to people
was less everyone not thru knowledge thru i’m praying
lost one hand philanderer wake up graphic

sometime in high school they’re consciousness
everyone’s hand a voyeur a trend for people
from this page but other-allied will close

victims were disembodied
from stuff like the news feed
them empty seats and hope

Wikipedia Poem, No. 245


“(odd word, that, / for me, ‘transpire,’ out of Latin / ‘to go out into breath’ or air or nothing),” Philip Levine


grind their
forty-five cleaners 
in great average 

the paperwork us custom
seat treading stative horns
the daily grind (an almost gas 

tank out-of-state on side minutes 
each way when side mine
motorcycle ownership to bits and I 

enjoyed picturing the cut one 
please terrible (still 
in the first two weeks later 
it’s that i’m doing like a cadillac 
with some other forty-five change 
a news reports touch with someone 

(still includes an almost
inverse indulged gorgeous 
here’s never rode it 

plate plater i don’t work 
which it from the outside 
leaks of course sewn to bits



Gerace, Joseph M. “I Shouldn’t Have Bought a 50-Year-Old Motorcycle.”, 5 July 2016. Web. 5 July 2016.

Levine, Philip. “The Worst Is Still to Come.” Ploughshares 42.1 (Spring 2016): 82. Print.

“Dante’s Beatrice” by Frederick Seidel (2006)

I ride a racer to erase her.
Bent over like a hunchback.
Racing leathers now include a hump
That protects the poet’s spine and neck.
I wring the thing out, two hundred miles an hour.
I am a mink on a mink ranch determined not
To die inside its valuable fur, inside my racesuit.

I bought the racer
To replace her.
It became my slave and I its.
All it lacked was tits.
All it lacked
Between its wheels was hair.
I don’t care.
We do it anyway.

The starter-caddy spins its raving little wheel
Against the Superbike’s elevated fat black
Rear soft-compound tire.
Remember: racer
Down for second gear instead of up!
Release the clutch—the engine fires.
I am off for my warm-up lap on a factory racer
Because I can’t face her.

I ride my racer to erase her.
I ride in armor to
Three hundred nineteen kilometers an hour.
I am a mink on a mink ranch about
To die inside its valuable fur,
Inside my leathers.
She scoops me out to make a coat for her.
She buttons up a me of sort warm blur.

Is this the face that launched
A thousand slave ships?
The world is just outstanding.
My slavery never wavers.
I use the word “slavers”
To mean both “drools”
And, changing the pronunciation, “trades in slaves.”
I consider myself most of these.

Mark Peploe and I used to sit around
Cafés in Florence grading
Muses’ noses.
Hers hooks like Gauguin’s,
His silent huge hooked hawk prow.
I am the cactus. You are the hyena.
I am the crash, you the fireball of Jet-A . . .
Only to turn catastrophe into dawn.


From “Poems 1959-2009” Frederick Seidel

Wikipedia Poem, No. 126


“his experiences, his conquests and spiritual transformations, so long as they still remain ‘his,’ must be conquered and transformed again and again until everything ‘his’ is annihilated” Eugen Herrigel

Hundreds of us... I know... 
I know... I know. You're in 

the likes of a sunset as end credits roll. --
*Sighs* Excuse me I'm company 
now... a mansion and Moe looks over 

   Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
         Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
   Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
 Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  Uh-huh. 
You're interrupted 
by the likes of bikes alone interrupted 
by his bike alone calls.  Hello?  What?! 
      No, no, no, no, 
no ...

Full Throttle. Dir. Tim Schafer. 30 Apr. 1995. Video Game. 21 Jan. 2016.
Herrigel, Eugen. Zen in the Art of Archery. New York: Vintage Books, 1953. Print.