Vicious Mercy (Vermeer in Death Valley, 2020)

Leave Vermeer alone.

When I write The girl is dying I do not mean to enter the girl nor deconstruct her state of abstract goingness.

It’s a figure beyond an open window in a time of plague.

Disemboweled skywriting or the family name forgotten in water.

Which is to say: Vicious mercy becomes the uncountable gallop of the ruddy horse forging the sandy horizon.

Let the creature offenses stand in beauty among their rare pigments.

Honeycut, should I fail to mention light — What kind of poet is this? — but here!

Look!

Cherry and evergreen ring the moon like a bell unrung, you see them or don’t.

These next few moments of balance determine your eligibility for brief happiness.

Remember first to crucify the middle-ground; translucent, gathered up, mercurial, for modernity.

Mobility.

Into sun-sucked ink, oil, platinum, I vandalize form.

You, widely recognized as a modular prophet, briefly part the asbestos curtain.

Who, among these long-ago minted currencies, profits from the quietus of pulped paupers?

Ultramarine, of course, picked up and deposited here at my feet like seed, forms the reticulated reach of your life.

They do.

When they’re gone they’re gone.

Something else, especially if this chaotic rest goes unexamined.

Time lays a recursive trap in which most get caught.

From the Old English for eye-hole.

The skin that threatens to scream in from its triangular sleep, vanishing from the fog of natural history, just as quickly as it had long-ago been shed.

You suddenly appear vaulted and the sun is beautiful.

My favorite spot across the entire desert.

I am describing the man who offers the creature, spoken into long-to-go life, a bucket of sewing needles.

Mostly I see your bones and saddle.

Faithful reader, a sharp splash of light on the cheek come, potential space for potential space.

Cloudbank Intensus

Wikipedia Poem, No. 930

When the sky opens: Ice cream
Cloudbank

silver eyes hung in kohl there
is where you mean by sky conquerer
your poem its peppered nacre

variegated really your eyes do
their many crushed blue tiles
too much of an aerated thing

dispersed sky strange good sky
peppered thing long black eyes
hung with magick rhyme yourselves


after Kazim Ali’s Explorer

Chelsea Manning

Wikipedia Poem, No. 922

Grand Jury (Can’t Risk), 2019

i’ve found you in contempt either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury

either until you purge you in contempt either until you purge you in contempt either until you purge

the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the grand juryself o

you purge you in contempt either until you purge you in contempt either until you in contempt either

end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the end of the grand juryin contemp

yourself or the end of the end of the end of the end of the life of the end of the end of the end of

the end of the end of the end of the life of the end of the grand juryin contempt either until yo

end of the life of the grand jurypurge you in contempt either until you in contempt either until

the grand jurypurge you in contempt either until you purge yourself or the grand juryin contem

either until you purge you in contempt either until you in contempt either until you in contempt eit

the grand juryin contempt either until you in contempt either until you in contempt either until

juryjuryfe of the end of the end of the life of the end of the life of the end of the grand

i’ve found you in contempt either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury

Someone I respect is putting on a play.

Wikipedia Poem, No. 853

37.131

put on a play
pliant appeal

so what is
putting on
a
play

grow through here
and
grow through there
crystal-sutured words

i’m sure he
can drive the honda
crv

its lithe dogwood takes root
in these crystal-sutured words
i’m sure he
can drive these crystal-sutured words

i’m
sure he can drive
and grow through these
i’m sure he would speak
for his
name

i respect fully
biodegradable materials
the honda
is lithe
lithe dogwood
take root there

and grow through crystal-sutured worlds
i’m sure he would speak for his name
i respect putting on a play
lithe sun

no one remembers himself
among these crystal-sutured words
i’m sure he can drive
and grow and speak for himself
among crystal sutures
the honda crv puts on a play

the dogwood
takes
root in crystal-sutured words
i’m sure he can
drive there
and grow through a play

the
dogwood takes root there
and grows through words
speaks for himself
among crystal and names
i remember his name
i dismember toward antlers sewn to bureau

and if i
don’t comment
toward ritual
the ritual has begun

Three Portraits

Wikipedia Poem, No. 823

wikipoem-ad

Chicago, 1910

and have general charge of the trees in the treetsnd have general charge of the trees and have general charge of the trees and have general charge of the forester were to advise and assist persons wishing to advise and assist persons wishing to advise and have general charge of the trees and have general charge of the trees and assist persons wishing to advise and have general charge of the trees and have general charge of the trees in the trees and assist persons wishing to advise and have general charge of the streets the trees and assist persons wishing to plant trees

Venice, 1507

in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in the year 1507 venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in the year 1507 ducat in the year 1507 one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in the year 1507 ok i bought in venice for one ducat in the year 1507 1507 the year 1507 ducat in the year 1507 the year 1507 i bought in venice for one ducat in the year 1507ght in the year 1507r one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat in venice for one ducat

Cairo, 1817

to grow upon her the sudden elevation of an any he allows wings to grow upon her the destructions to grow upon her the destruction of persons to station of an any he allows wings to station of an any he allows wings to grow upon her their means or capacities may often cause their means or capacities may often cause their means or capacities may often cause the sudden elevation of persons to grow upon her their ruin if god proposes their means or capacities may often cause their means or capacities may often cause their ruin if god allows wings to grow upon her their means or capacities

Nathalia Crane, Introduced to the World!

Wikipedia Poem, No. 789

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-9-26,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

or
else plays her
everal
          publicated
wish
the stupid silly book
nathalia
had been brought
short

— Brooklyn, May 4, 1924

Lisa

lisa-3-sm

Lisa, Modern Love, Brooklyn, 2017

Max

max1copy

Max, Brooklyn, 2017

Portrait of John Berryman

Wikipedia Poem, No. 645

berryman

“I won’t dwell on these or on any details now. I have a good deal to do and I am exhausted in the eighth day of a heavy cold. This is just to tell you that life has a new mask on.” John Berryman, 10 October 1943

so do i 
am exhausted 
in the end of our minds

this instead 
of our minds

this instead of our minds 
instead of our minds this

the end of a heavy cold
the end minding the cold

speaker and
spoken to

our annual knowing 
being offered up to us 

i have a good deal to tell 
on a term-to-term basis 

instead of our minds
the eighth day of mum

as we begin less-than-life 
has a new mask on

this is less-life than less with its 
new mask hell-in-new-rochelle

any details now (exactly what
i don't yet know) i am exhausted 

and at the end of our minds on an animal
incomprehensible bizarre touching mint

it does so and it is warm its being the beginning 
offered up at the end of life has a new mask on

Portrait of Lindy West

Wikipedia Poem, No. 622

wiki622-sm

“I fucking / Love Stevie Wonder. I could fall / In love with him a hundred times. / I know what he means when he says / La La La La La La.” Ariana Reines

now      even left-wing          puff pieces cast party
                                       defer (or perhaps unmask it
all-government hurricane partly agrees about email
become that                                                                    ism
always have nice hidden in her swaddle faced with everythings that chyron 
revealing along disaffected cut-in factions between working remote of center
it’s     a good-faith racism      like        all political far-right ideological guidance 
or economic          color in 2017      the hurricane partly astonishing truly trojan 
trojan how it didn’t sure                         (they’re going to                                   
somehow benefit somehow 
somehow faced with ever quite     you did        such as bizarre personal twist 
womb writers 
of       nuance or economic color in virile siege end
sunder powers are daily on social just white           published a truly among the herd 
that he’s thriving     as much
ism           as propaganda     to any responsibility
and swaddle in           vile simply       passionalism yes
contacts         and herds this protégé     read
conglomerated with a     link to suggest grasp of those           daily red horse
’s drag that he’s cast as racist          hate male of those are daily on social    media’s 
women and include a misogynist
hurricane           powers to powerful wildly   description of the
disaffected protégé     read and swastika-clad     minimalist writer 
charlottesville
night low       not racist lease      even profound      now