Temper at the Prospect

How our lively natures were rapt away by post-modern science fiction

“What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!”

William Wordsworth

February 2021 — Why doesn’t ugly start a revolution? The intellectual farmacie of traditional media, rife with fit, reasonably attractive folks earn profiles in the The New Yorker. Unless you’re an old white man, in which case beauty is rare and, take it from me, things are relatively frictionless—we will write your story of greatness.

If our obsession with youth can be explained by an attraction to that which we, statistically, were not: precocious, interested, prodigious and destined for the top rungs of the social ladder, than maybe beauty functions the same way.

Shall we ugly design the end, throw a rock, hold our bodies hostage? What kind of hunger must we become?


Endless war

The man in rags approaches the bricked barn
camel and needle yarn strikes
With no breath to confound
Though no one sentient around
Hears this knotted rotten demand
Buries his tires in the unyielding sand
Keeps the guests at bay
Perhaps just one more day

See the threads of desire meeting needle
knowledge binds together various
fabrics of self at uncertain edges
emerges eyes of crucible
crocodile burning fog & cloud
unity of irreducible information
unit of unbound dictionary lightshed
gathered father and son in bodied
survivalhood emergent territories of
thought escapes in breath

Dressed in silversbane protect my faith
new mother — holy anymother — lose
her holy see scatter her across
the January 2021 Facebook Pages redesign
her brands are luminous with nostalgia
or panic there intuition sings of a songbird
two fingers pointed and retracted
come-hither autocorrect
rub graphite like grapevine phantom to flesh
to thought


Endless possibility

The sun hangs low on two points
connected in electrical circuit
Obsessed with the minister
of reflexive language
as lovers panchromatic grey perhaps
a different meaning the new center
of socialist joy and recreation
I contemplate the aquiline but
refuse to rush into the masses
I rise elaborate as embroided
air vast plains of testosterone
encased in shadow
engorged with the forgotten god
and his abandoned metaphysics

I am a snapchat filter in the eyes of oblivion and beg for forgiveness a man
who collects comrades because even kindness needs a posse
a man who in the infinite stretch of sand finds god’s black wall
and in an instant his purpose a woman who builds rooms
inside and outside of the modern poets’ vague allusions
to common knowledge the radio has dinner
the terrible thing inserts a gun into its poem of
simple relational delight and dilemma
was no gun only infidelity changing lock letters
everywhere in shadow usurping men shooting bullets into the sky
almost every evening when I lived in the country who
permits this you have driven language
like a dead ox from the meaning of the field

Must is the greatest word in the English language
also it is the most misused among the lot
must is my daddy
must is my savior
must is the end of a snowstorm
as the cupboards go bare we must
not accept this way of formulating the issue
if we do not we shall be in serious trouble with the virtues
of curiosity our grammatical assumptions
enshrine themselves
within our philosophical arguments
and that is death

String a pair of slipping records the great colonial spasms of blood against dirt a free exchange of birds and rival ideologies coincides with the rise of criminal networks in cyberspace house of hexagon open to the possibility of retention of sky sound of brutal dictatorship string I do not know the woman’s name nor her side of the dialogue nor mine I must ring the bell though it is of form and weight without she is without voice string in this instance to look at me you wouldn’t know my hands repeat insincere gestures I was listening to that string together at last after years of waiting the smell of skin and

Waiting for the other shoe to drop it is what it is i drink whisky i drink beer beer made of sculptures her words not mine borrowed really from peter to paypal paul and talk about geometry ugly repulsive apparitions on a wet black bough lazy mapping doesn’t know how to read a nap no sense of ambiguity an obsession with youth glowing skin fresh powder a reliable reit wilbur ross financed spac takes it public no sense of ambiguity the poet and the programmer vindictive academics both

Obsessed with the minister of reclusive language the character pans the screen not the player like a patient etherized upon a table I deny myself the opportunity no one’s said it explicitly — actor, writer, set designer, executive producer — but the show is about memory no one can take that away not the ultra rich who pile vindication and swim not the blood and shadow brokers cointreau spiked with lsd at a cia retreat al spoke of destruction finally getting its break if it’s good enough for the abattoir why not right here at home?

Hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn hop skip jump burn

The mass destruction of tourists
The mass destruction of production
The mass destruction of typewriters
The mass destruction of jealous music

Poetry policymakers conspiracies fourteen women share a couch destruction everywhere their feet behind them behind the couch a trio of monochrome musicians a hot light a baudrillard disclaiming suprareality a wedding ring i toss behind the couch like an anchor rides in veins of the venal need flower print — imagine that — in black and white the posterity collapsed like a pharaoh’s lung fat legs crossed surely worm food by now all these artists care so much about dying disclaiming flesh of wristwatches

The memory, bound with piano wire, is something of a meditation. Not intended to pacify the hungry, curious, and violent child-made, by polite society, to sit still and earn their wage. The memory, bound by piano wire, is something of a primitive chant. Primitivism as if to say committed to the ursheriff and the supraellipses. The memory, bound by piano wire, lets blood through an unmarked limited liability company. Too many of us have been dragged through the mud to reserve comment — to forget — to watch Everybody Loves Raymond nailed to the crucifix.


Endless war

ritual of expulsion: setting proves important to the audience, which, in city after city struggles to understand why the woman in the white bandana suffers so and why the small-town cat buzzing in and out through the open den window bob and weave with puritanical, firefly charm. Symbolism escapes them until it doesn’t — like an embolism.

In the 18th century a rhino named Clara visited the capitals of Europe and inspired various French hairstyles as the sun crashes down on city hall where the streets are torn up to be repaved what does this have to do with ugly women? Everything!

At 2:22 a.m. I provide the characters with made up properly seasoned rips in time. We, as an audience, have nothing to worry about. The average theater-goer had a hard time separating entertainment from criticism and I am here to avenge that loss. Tears streaming down his unwashed face, he raises his hand like it was his own. Cold but well bathed, the poet runs his imagination through the treetops — rouses a eastern screech owl.


Endless nobility

That you were buried before you could confess doesn’t mean the asteroid didn’t strike too proud too catholic too ferrous doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer and I didn’t love you more the pain in your endurance love is all I can offer now and forgiveness forgiveness for stitching up the wound unimagined queen of collisions dark and ceaseless coverings always there always lurking

Our patent pending technology attaches a set of medical grade dentures directly to the upper thigh to create the world’s most authentic prosthetic leg a photo is a list of ingredients and a set of instructions called preconception one might say there is no such thing as false witness actual theft or actual inspiration some personal news I am thrilled to hear the poet quickly come to the adjective’s defense.

My wife in the other room alone moaning it’s not what you think by being obtuse obscure obdurate I insure reality what a mitzvah a single poet in a kettle being trusted and truthful and godlike in a drained pool of diction they can be kind and determined all ears all fingers all backbone a penis is a penis is a penis we fetishize nature by its nature his repetitive conceit — I’m thrilled to announce I’m being specific for once — is tiring but not in a bad way exhausting like an Eggleston picture

Exhausting here comes the sun is the first song you heard silk where the green silicone pacifier reds your chin snow falling black against a holy sky every molecule on the horizon vibrates against the desire to regulate to survive navigating generative strangling not the winner but first place itself broken

On the political streets broken maddening itself like ants on a sugar cube here, February, or, interrogations you built America punched down and out by the sidewalk, you’ve lost the game saying too much abyss oblivion no one in my family tells stories broken and yet young bodies baked through with organic poisons in hushed tones around the breakfast table while i burp her

Under the christmas tree my gift unopened for thirty years shallow breaths deep water the lights dim in concert with listicles year end reviews lizard-content basking in the vast nourishing copper field you were invited to motherhood and chose virgin purity invited to fatherhood and chose putty imports a well-built alarm clock a gingham turtle shell split down the middle kintsugi impossible and inevitable, sky hunting its platinum trophy

Thanksgiving Guilt

The days — likely the months — leading up to Thanksgiving 2020 have left a hazy tarnish on my ability to be present for my family and friends.

It started, of course, with the economic uncertainty, political instability, and alienating nature of COVID-19. But it is bigger than that, more insidious, and ultimately more profound.

The rich got richer without doing much of anything, the poor kept fighting at great expense, and the world never stopped its dizzying spin. All this while 1.4 million people across the world died and left a dolorous wake in their leaving.

Please consider: The death of 1.4 million people is, by its very nature, an abstract and impenetrable number of individual lives gone forever and an exponential number of living grief.

Everyone who survives bears a scar. Every witness who remains watches from the silver shadows of their own guilt.

While I have much to be thankful for, I can’t stop making pictures that tell this terrible story writ large on quotidian society.

And I feel ashamed of its toothsome moral: There is a dark and resolute solace in this pathological estrangement from the brothers and sisters who survive here alongside me.

The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree

“the blue cherry blossoms / on the blue tree”

‘Cherry Blossoms at Evening’ by William Carlos Williams

In the prebirth of the evening
the blue cherry blossoms
on the blue tree
from this yellow, ended room—
press to the windows
inside shall be out
the clustered faces of the flowers
straining to look in


Source: Williams, William C. “Cherry Blossoms at Evening.” The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume II (1939-1962). Edited by A Walton Litz and Christopher J. MacGowan. New York: New Directions, 1991, p. 10.

Photo: Gerace, Joe. “The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree.” Nov. 26, 2020. JPG.

The Song of One Hundred Thousand Chemicals Approximating Sunshine

“This is the song of one hundred / Thousand chemicals approximating / Sunshine in my hair. My lover bit / My cheek this morning.”

‘This is the Song of One Hundred Thousand’ by Ariana Reines

This is the song of one hundred
Thousand chemicals approximating
Sunshine in my hair. My lover bit
My cheek this morning. I think I’ll
Fall from one trance into the next
Might fall asleep any minute
It gets tiring making yourself look
like you’re alive while you’re looking
Hard practicing turning
Away from the shit we’re in


Source: Reines, Ariana. A Sand Book. , 2019. Print, p. 157.
Photo: Gerace, Joe. “The Song of One Hundred Thousand Chemicals Approximating Sunshine [Secaucus Junction].” Nov. 14, 2020. JPG.

On the Roof of Wannsee Villa

Bloomfield, NJ. October 2020.

with no ill intention to the artist
what the fuck were you thinking
the mangy dog and the electro-
magnetic implant
fine! but
replacing the u with the v?
what a braggadocious pile of staten island’s finest
piled up to intellectual
affidavits — i once asked allen ginsberg
should i be scared when the polish
barrister holds a luger to my temple
and demands fried bananas he said
you’ll never move to krakow
don’t fret my pet i pianeti
della fortuna
no ill intention
to moloch or the electromagnetic swing
the dog abundant and widespread
in hungry this abandoned city in the days
since the airing of ruth bader ginsburg
coordinated inauthentic leaderless lurking
evil the writer goes down the one true rabbit hole
a meeting of senior government officials
four cholinergic cherubs armed with radio
poles lit upon the roof of the confident
wannsee manor unclear
if these birds are gripped fast to the edge
of indivisible azalea branches or synaptic clefts
between bit and byte cast totally aside
countervailing rights
— unclear unclear

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

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

Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, N.J., June 2020

So much light, dear oblivion, night after night; I offered up my body. You refused. I drank. Begged, really. Said my dreams, you don’t belong here. Some countable mornings ahead, crouched in the internet’s dark corners, hands reaching into prosaic brightness, not to gather, but offer: News spreads of a virgin conception. And so much light.

Hackensack Rally to Stop Police Brutality and Racist Violence #blacklivesmatter

All photos copyright Joe Gerace, 2020 (please email for usage permission)


Hundreds gathered on a sweltering June afternoon in Hackensack, NJ, to call for an end to police brutality against people of color in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

Organizers provided a platform for members of the crowd to step up to the microphone and share their thoughts. Many of those who spoke stressed the need for swift and definitive change to race relations in America, and the importance of community, solidarity, and voting — in local, state, and federal elections.

The peaceful rally convened from noon to 1 p.m. on Ward and State streets in Downtown Hackensack before protesters marched south toward the Bergen County Courthouse.

Uniformed Hackensack police officers blocked traffic to allow protesters to rally and march freely.

The death of Floyd sparked rallies and protests across the country and a handful of protests occurred in New Jersey over the past several days.

Paterson is Yours

cBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, April 2020
McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, April 2020

blood-bunny lays on false face
alone in encouraging corners

halogen burns —it is relevant to observe
spanish communists hidden in

bowling bags and electric
teeth gnawing at gates of dawn

soon we’ll all be frozen
belly of lake coronavirus

deep unremarkable remembrance of celebrity
superstition swirling around salon

breeze transfixing artificial and drunk
do i hear guitars preserving structures

of hierarchy and dominion? every authoritarian
framework has to prove it’s capable of suction

while we’re building our homes like brilliant immigrants
we sense somewhere tense pastel pulls of

new logic should be particular to development
instruments of spirit in-world — sing for poverty

then lie bricks and masks and final
immoderate stars