The Next Amendment

as humans,
have the inalienable right
to bare hearts,
pouring molten
and lush vines
of dark,
to practice humanity
in all its patterns
and forms,
we, the living
revolutionary works of art
in the process of becoming
what we already are.
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Love is Real, the Remix

I thought I knew
a lot,
profound conjectures
nothing new under the sun
stupid is as stupid does
tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow
marathon swims
in the think tank
and abstractions
wrapped like leaden scarves
and flags round my neck
and shoulders,
I thought knowing
would keep me safe
and soundproofed
in a vault of my own making,
and in many respects
it did
and does,
so I cannot sit here
up in arms
and villify
the archtectural savvy
of a relentless mind
bent on survival
while working for an escape artist,
but what I can do is stack a series of concepts
against a single image,
profound in its simplicity:
a small child
reaching out for her mother’s hand
and holding on tightly
as they cross the street
and when they get to to the other side
the child looks up into her mother’s eyes
and pours, lidlessly,
deepwelling wordless love
and cherishment.
I thought I knew
so much
but I often overlooked
or missed
in no need
of theories
or codes,
its simplicity
the holiest of
known forces.
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I Don’t Know

I love you
the three most
powerful and talismanic
words in the language
might be
I don’t know,
instant reducer of ego,
canal-cleanser for deeper listening,
ventilator of humility
and breathing room,
not to mention
a reverential nod
and wink
to the Wonderverse
and burning Mystery of it all,
I don’t know,
the perfect mantra
to dissolve on tongues
and lighten a soul’s burden
en route to god knows where.
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Childhood’s Wake

You can feel it
in the air,
a razory sheen,
all the childhoods
that were lost
or stolen
or seized
or buried to model catacombs
and secret lairs,
are returning to the surface
the reclaimants
growing new teeth
and skin
and nails,
new lungs
ballooning to breathe
in ferocious gulps
the holy body of air
charged on loan,
no longer just sipping
from a solitary puddle
through a pinched straw,
but open mouth pressed
like a passionate suction
against the blue-green lips
of the sea,
as if the lost
mad art
of deep-sea-kissing
could inflame
and ignite
a whole new breed of species,
as if every dream
formerly deferred,
or taken out back
and whacked brutally with a switch
until silence became stitches
sewn across lips,
no longer this,
but rather
Childhood’s quivering
and quaking vim
to know itself
as a source of real
and force of soul,
none of it scripted, but felt,
it’s coming back to melt
the dead weight of
fattened albatrosses,
to shake up the core
and very foundations
of what has been established
and set in faulty cement,
and this overdue zoobreak
of wild beauty and feral shoots
will require tending, nurturance,
and breaks from overstaid patterns
fitted to worn-out takes and conditions,
Childhood, as the frenzied sibling to mystic freight,
as the single blade of grass, bearing the greenest of blood-red
beginnings, will make its demands known, will birth necessity
through the gist of lore, and the calling of old wounds
to sutures formerly unknown,
and in this living wake,
Beauty and Grief,
as outsourced twins,
will surely follow,
and we, the claimants,
teetering on the edge of Childhood’s
flagrant beckon,
will re-set fractures
and find release
in going over the edge
to uncharted frontiers
and worlds beyond
our wildest imaginings.
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Song of Hope

They kill poets
in these parts
don’t they?
When I got here
I saw Walt Whitman’s
wizened head out back
impaled on a stake
flies buzzing round its
concomitant rot and stench
I heard one of the locals say
it was the worst kind of tourist trap
this voodoo orb
functioning like a magnet
drawing a swarm of zombies to brains
or moths to flames
take your pick
after all it’s America
And then I heard about the man
who wasn’t satisfied with Anne Sexton’s suicide
no he was still on her
constantly telling her ghost
to go to hell
and to consecrate his venom
he’d collect and burn all her poems
never realizing that Fahrenheit 451
was a myth
imagine trying to burn
pieces of the sun
with mortally wrung flames
I know they kill
poets in these parts
because the dismembered
remains of Allen Ginsberg
the man that Norman Mailer
once called the bravest four eyed kike
in the whole land
yes that man
scattered all over
screaming psych wards
and fallacious newprint
meant to stir the cauldron
of bloody bathwater
and wives
and flybynight junkies
that went under
and never came back up
the final glubs
and so much more
resounding in the bardic echo
of Ginsberg’s howl
you know
that unkillable sound
with no fixed location
that lighted locust
of a drone
that you keep hearing
and hearing
beyond the wax
America are you listening?
I know for a fact
that they kill poets
in these parts
because that girl
who lived down the block from me
that girl who fashioned her silence
and trauma into a two-ton goddess
of love and redemption
yea her
you know the one I’m talking about
the nameless parishioner
of heart
who lives
and dwells
and breeds
and dreams
where words are funneled
through the eye of a storm
now do you remember
that’s the girl
the one you tried to kill
shame desecrate decimate
the list of offenses
goes on and on
and we regret to inform you
that your assasination attempts
will continue to meet failure
because you see
in those most vital parts
from which songs of fury
innocence and hope arise
cannot be killed off
so you misewell
lay down your arms
and find out what Beauty
immortal to the touch
might be offering in exchange
for love
and praise.
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As You Desire

cindy 71
Free from staid context,
and the fragile lull of fate,
she had come a long
way to create
a new set of illusions
by which to set
and frame her course.


(Photo by Cindy Sherman)
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Gone Again

cindy and trees
Under a sunstreaked tree,
rough bark against skin,
texture of a stolen kiss—
She was touched,
and saddened too,
that these days
it was her ghost
who did most of her living
for her,
amidst the brackish ebb
and flow
of memories pooling
to tease
and deprive.


(Photo by Cindy Sherman)
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The Mission

cindy 68
There were places she hadn’t been,
wilds within that had escaped
her gravely silent stalking.
A fuse had been lit.
Concentration was required.
And stillness.
The kind of stillness
that would bring her face to face
with the deeply unremembered aspects
of a self sacrificed
to the god of lost seasons.


(Photo by Cindy Sherman)
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cindy 90
There was something about a white telephone,
unringing, that made her think of tightly wound
spirals of cigarette-smoke in Italian films,
or poorly lit hotel rooms
where actresses played to the pall
of their silence and wanting.
Any moment now, any moment,
a director would call cut
and put an end to this nightmarish scene
which was beginning to take itself, or her,
a little too seriously.


(Photo by Cindy Sherman)
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Want Ad

cindy in the city
After one year,
one month, and two days,
what she called
her unsentimental education,
she understood
the city to be both
a cryptic boneyard
and high-rise projection
which excluded her
from any real contact.
God, how she loved
holding it all up to the light,
with herself as the detachable centerpiece
constellated to desire.


(Photo by Cindy Sherman)


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