Last Book

I'm dreaming
in some storybook of
crossed with
fused with

I know it's not real,
but I can't help it.

I'm seeing
the shadows
out of your eyes, and

you're breathing
the smoke
through my lungs.

Your dreams
are my memories,

my memories
your forget.

The problem is

I don't know
where I stop
and you start,

and I can't tell
if I'm imagining you

or you're remembering

The thing is

you whisper in my ear
the world ends


New York - 12/27/05 - 12/5/10



"The tragedy of this world is that we waste our charm on strangers."





start here



Night confronts me for the way that I love.

Finally, everything I
believed and said, created and preached
in the daylight

becomes its opposite.

I am relentless in my silent destruction
just after the stroke of midnight.

-Baron Montverede de Esayes, 1654








"...like an uncontrollable fire..."


if you can reduce a person's character to a single idea, then either they've failed, or you have.







view from Rocinante's back






Knobby Knees

You hope for sleep,
Pray for sleep,
Worship this darkness
Never complete.

There’s a virgin before her mirror
On a rainy Sunday night
Becoming this, transcending that,

Etc. Etc.

She can’t decide whether
To crystallize
Or ferment.

Try to dream over these murmurs
Through generations’ whispers
Of the cities built,
The cities destroyed.

Now, it’s the fan over our bed,
Over this shared head
Whining and oscilating
That is our unholy

This humid night
Blows in every direction
As we hide our dreams
On rented shelves.

We look forward to sleep-
Forward to sleep…
Backwards we creep,
Always praying knee deep.

We hide our dreams
On a dusty shelf…
What ending have we chosen
For ourselves?


2 x 1











Los Angeles

this morning
the body of a goat
was dumped
on the sidewalk
in the middle
of Beverly Hills.

i almost tripped over
the head
without even noticing
as i crossed the street
towards my attorney's

then i looked down.

then i saw its slit throat,
and eyes failing to stare out.

was this real?

a 150 lb. dead goat
dead on the sidewalk
in dead beverly hills
with its fresh blood
running uselessly
down the dead sidewalk?

the only one walking,
of course,
i convinced myself
it couldn't be real,
that i was lucid dreaming,
that i wanted to see this goat,
that this goat
was connected to some
repressed primal longing for
sacrificial blood
that went
back generations and generations,
and that a civilized human being
trying to make a go of it
in the mechanized
western world of the 21st century
could not and should not
ever understand this impulse,

(or it was just way too early in the morning
to trust my mind.)

i would have gotten
away with this line of reasoning
except for the two cop cars
that suddenly rolled up on the sidewalk,
sirens blaring,
doors banging open,
officers fanning out
in strategic formation,
shouting at me
as if i were a thousand angry rioters,


so i did,
because that's what we
(are trained to)
do best here
every day




The Lost Art Of The Mentor

"A boy comes to me with a spark of interest,
I feed that spark and it becomes a flame,
I feed the flame and it becomes a fire,
I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze..."

-Cus D'Amato


Last Days Of The Internet Boom

he walks into our apartment,

kicks some cans
out of his way,

stares at the garbage

picks up a dead fern from
off the sill, sits it up right,

mumbles about some model
he was sure he could have,
more importantly,
the lousty quality of the champagne,


places the fern back down on its side
as it was before,

peers out the window
at the vacant lot below and
all the local evicted homeless squatting
in the burned out craters
at dawn,

then he sits down on the futon,

loosens his tie,

informs us he isn't going
to make it back
to his hotel,
not after a night
like this
(and thanks, brother, really, seriously, for real...thanks for hooking this shit up,)

unbuttons his collar,

leans back,

extends his belly,

closes his eyes,


"Sure glad I'm not an arteeeest,"

then passes out.

-Avenue A, New York City - 10/98



With Joy...




The race you never knew
with a language never to be spoken,
and rites forgotten.

The race you never knew
with all their names 
for God and Devil.

The race you never knew
and the children
who believed the stories


imagined them
in the woods
from the eyes
of their elders
as all children
everywhere still


The race you never knew
that expected
to live and live
and always live
never giving a thought
to anything but 
the seasons of life.

The race you never knew


a Jeopardy fucking question,

an answer 


a standardized test
to make sure it's really fair.

 Two years,
dates separated by a (-) dash.

A fight over who owes who
what in meaningless academic halls.

T-shirts sold for 19.95 in the mall.

Pages of symbols only "experts" can read.
Movie reviews that speak of "authenticity."

The race you never knew
so loving,
 so diabolical,

forgotten, lost, exterminated, extinguished, erased, dust and discussed,


just like us.

By popular request
the race you never knew 
has gone into oblivion with
all the rest.

Los Angeles - 9/3/03



BANQUO: It will be Rayne to Night.
1st. MURD.: Let it come downe.
(They set upon Banquo.)


a border...




I had a dream of Abilene,
a city I've never seen.

I had a dream of Abilene,
I had no idea it was the beginning
of our end.

Or maybe it's the beginning of the beginning,
a better day or three.

I had a dream of Abilene,
it was you,
but I thought it was me.

I had a dream of Abilene,
and all our children
in the woods.

I had a dream of Abilene,
it couldn't be true,
but it was.

Oh, Abilene, I'll never know you,
but a place I circled around
in this vision.

I won't ever go there,
there's no reason now,
just a city of my mind
with roads of fading light
and your

infinite falling
I can't follow down



the creek after the blue water creek massacre - 9/3/1855

click on the images for larger view

...and still they dare call it a "battle."



friends again...


after so many years,
so many experiences,
so many years...

and love,
and hate,
and laughter,

(secret languages created
secret signs forgotten)

and brawls,
and so much smoke
between us,


and lies (of course)

and the torture
and the mystery...

friends again!

loyal for all of this...
loving for all of this...
trusting for all of this.


can it be really true?

let the years pass
and we will find out.

but how happy I am
right now
my i cannot say,

and i admit
i'm not used to being this joyous,
let alone over something
this simple and pure,

who knows if this will hold,
or it will be all the rest -

but for right now we two are better
then all of my words
in this world.

we are the miracle
of friends



The Old College Try

at our best

we are


so lovably


to each other.



-you've been down here for a while, don't you think?
-you think maybe it's time to go up, back to the world.
-i don't know, sunlight, y'know. sunlight's a good thing. vitamins and shit. vitamin b, i think, or maybe it's vitamin d. scurvy? no scurvy? i don't fucking know. sunlight.
-i'm not so interested in sunlight right now.
-i noticed.
-i don't know. trains.
-just trains, hear them? they all look alike. i've been watching them every night. some have more grafitti than others, but they all look alike. they just truck along, back and forth. that's all they do.
-what the Hell were you expecting?
-i don't know. nothing else to look at.
-something's supposed to change here.
-don't know.
-why? why should it change?
-because that's life. change.
-it doesn't feel like anything is changing right now.
-that's just now.
-what if now is forever?
-you're just going through something.
-i know that. you don't have to tell me that.
-it's true.
-say it.
-what i'm going through.
-come on.
-come on what? just say it.
-you say it. why do i have to say it?
-i know it, but i don't know if you know. so you say it.
-god damn you. i'm here to help you. i'm here to get you out from under this bridge with all these fucking junkies and lunatics and psycopaths and maniacs.
-they're not so bad. they leave me be.
-she was my sister, y'know. she was my sister too. it wasn't just you...
-i'm sorry.
-it's okay.
-i am. i'm not. i am. no, really i'm not.
-i should leave you here.
-i just want to sit here. i'm so tired. i'm so tired. i've never felt so tired in my life. is this what it's like to feel old?
-why not?
-because you can get untired, if you get yourself right, if you clean up, if you haven't killed yourself. if you get yourself some sunlight for starters. when you're old sunlight doesn't help much. nothing does.
-i'm so tired. what am i supposed to do with all this.
-it's been a month.
-really? a month is a lifetime.
-come on. come home with me. you can sleep there. you can sleep in the studio. the room's soundproofed.
-maybe you could soundproof my mind.



Show This In Every School

This is what happens when you give boys big guns instead of big books.


Once More, With Feeling





In Alexandria...

...at times I was almost provoked to shout,

"For the love of God, stop this mania for unhappiness or it will bring us to disaster. You are extinguishing our lives before we even get a chance to live them!"

-Lawrence Durrell, Justine



now and end


i was entirely
too young
to have
a sense of humor


i have pictures
to prove
my humorlessness
and too many witnesses
to count.


between a boy and a man
paying for movies
in hand fulls
of change.


the passage
the trial
the fight
the rage
exploding and


i survived
pure luck
allowing myself
a moment
of forgiveness
or laughter.


but now
all i do is laugh
and forgive

you and me

from this old desk
into eternity.


when it comes
for me


with the fire

until my


-Philadelphia, 2/09


Ice In A Heat Wave

memory, fantasy, dream...reality. so much reality. it tires me. call the soldiers back. order the retreat. memory, dream, fantasy...what's the difference reality always waits. sit in a chair journey through these states. ugliness, the truth, the swallowing, the following, the inconsistency, the mediocrity, the moments of loyalty, the paint mildewed now peeling off the door, that imperfection you can't ignore. those you tried to love, those you could never hate. fragments that build the whole, the hole drifting over your soul. to hibernate so you can perform, to shine yourself up and let your toe nails grow long, scratch your loves ankles while she sleeps. amazing what a good night and days sleep will do, how it can heal you, how you can stare in a mirror but never really see who you are. people want love, but that doesn't mean it's right, there's that lie of safety in flight, but delusion too, the collusion in the book of your people. i just don't like those who fear the world "intellectual" but want you anyway, i swear i'll fight the people who put my name in their mouth, but those who are scared to be alone i feel you pain, those alone in room after room i feel you fear. it's the only place free you can be, really roam, alone, finally return home, remember you're not trapped

fuck all of them
i'm you and you're me...



The New World

-8/03, Margate, New Jersey


Ode To Nebraska


your God damned straight line roads,
your mile after mile after mile.


the locusts smashing
against the windshield
one after another,
the old testament and the theory of evolution
exploding right in my face.


how i celebrated as i crossed your border.


yelled for five minutes.


punched the ceiling of my old Ford till my knuckles turned black and blue.


nothing but your Jesus fearing transmissions colonizing every radio wave for hours.


watching the lightning hit fifty miles off with not a cloud in the sky.


i know why they fear you.


i swear i respect you.


screaming for five minutes as i crossed into Colorado
looking, and smelling and seeing everything
just the same, but at least it wasn't


The shit smeared on the walls of that last truck stop.

The flatness.

The nothing but to just get across.


it's really nothing personal,
and i know i'm not a romantic
of the landscape,
just a city boy
passing my way through,
but i'd rather they
bury me standing
then have to
turn around
see you.

March 1999, Flagstaff - Arizona



Self & Other

blue becomes line
red becomes line
black becomes the eye

the brush becomes a hand
the hand becomes a mind
the mind stops the heart
the heart cracks a window
the window


the light from within
goes dark

becomes a mirror

reflections staring at me
becoming you

only the eye becomes
and stays
an eye

only the eye leads
and pushes
to another eye

dab green
trace silver

mix with fingers
of falling


line red
slant upwards


become a cheek

slowly, slowly

1 cheek
2 cheek

a forehead
now a mouth

mouth whispers teeth


water for the brushes

a blue diamond


splotch of red

eyes are always eyes

yours mine yours mine yours mine

becoming now
no one.


Long Live The...

I'm sitting on a king's throne. I'm not doing anything. I'm not ordering around royal subjects or shouting out royal decrees. I'm just sitting on the throne like I'm trying to get used to the idea that this is actually my throne, and, because it's my throne, I am, in fact, the king. I imagine it's, if not my first day, then at least my first week as acting king/ruler/leader/whathaveyou of whatever state/province/dominion I'm supposed to be in charge of. Here's the strange part, I'm not in standard "kingwear," you know, robes, skins, swords and crowns. Instead I'm wearing a white suit, a beautiful white suit, white shirt, white tie; I imagine if I ever ran into Frank Sinatra in heaven this is exactly what he'd be wearing. Anyway, I go to pick up my scepter, but by accident I nick my finger on one of the gold leafs that sticks out from it. It's just a pin prick, really, but a drop of blood drips out. I try to suck the blood from my finger, but the drop falls onto the pant leg of my pure white suit. I try to clean this little red stain, to rub it out, but the more I rub, the more the blood stain spreads up my leg, jumps my waste, and then up my shirt and onto my tie. Suddenly, it's a runaway train of blood on white cloth, and then, to make matters worse, my finger starts geysering blood everywhere. There's nothing to be done about it, I'm covered, the suit is ruined.

That's when I look up to see you laughing because my suit, the suit you bought for me, the suit that you told me would finally make me look like a real king, is now covered in your blood, and you planned this all along.



Twilight, Star Valley

the last bridge
between my family name,
our mongrel blood,
and that town
on the river
in the "old country"
of my ancestors
that i have never dreamed,
and, most likely,
never will.

the very last tie to that world
now all but erased,
its rural, tribal ways
bullet riddled, slaughtered, set fire to;
i can only guess you
spent a life trying to forget.

you died two days ago,
so i heard,
3,000 miles away.

98 years,
(or 99, or 100, who can know now?)
you were my grandfather's baby sister.

you outlived
your town,
your family,
and those
who so viciously
and deliciously
murdered us in that town;

you outlived that country's name,
that country's borders,
and all those
who changed those
names and borders
for their own
political and economic whimsy
you probably never understood,
nor gave a shit about.

you lived
and lived

4 foot 11,
bones of my face,
90 pounds,
bones of my body,
hurtling through history;

i doubt this ever
occurred to you.

i say
goodbye now,
my aunt francis,
to you
and the secret fire,
that burns a legacy,
melts concrete,
carries souls across oceans,
through clawing city streets,
and countless, merciless languages
with no forgiveness,

only to rebelliously rise to the surface,
back to breathing life...

goodbye now, to the shadows of
my unnamed, unknowable, and forgotten ancestors
who burned away
and you so rightfully take with you now
to the other side.

Los Angeles - 2/13/10


First Time

it's probably pretty obvious,
but fuck all your analysis;
the only way to really know
if a book is truly good
is if when you finish
your deeply sad
that you can never read it again
for the very first time,
and, maybe more importantly,
you can never be again
the person you were
when you were reading it
for the very first time.


Two For J.D. - R.I.P. Mr. Caulfield

Here, for your enjoyment, are my two J.D. Salinger stories:

1. I think I saw him. I know, I know, everybody thinks they saw J.D., but I really think I saw him on a frigid winter day in 1994 on the train between New York and Amherst, MA, which always made me feel like Holden Caulfield anyway. Like every young literati I was obsessed with the guy for all the reasons that you were. I hunted down every picture there was of him, at the time I think there were about five including his author picture, and the last was a blurry one from a Zen retreat in 1973 that I still have. So I'm on the train in the dining car and I see this older man go to the bathroom. He's very tall, like 6'1-6'2, wearing a tweed coat, shock of gray hair, and pretty much the coolest sunglasses I've ever seen. It's the sunglasses that stick out, they're not normal. Besides me, there's nobody on this train who would wear sunglasses this funky. They were like Thelonious Monk or Steve McQueen-worthy sunglasses, and against his tweed jacket and conservative clothes they stuck out to me, like he just couldn't help it, no matter what he tried, no matter how he tried to be nobody, a ghost in the crowd, he had to express himself in some way, and those sunglasses were it. So he came out, and I kept looking at him, and I just said to myself, "That's, Salinger, I know it." And so for the rest of the ride I sat as close as I could, not having the nerve to say anything to him. He was reading the New York Times Sports page and Arts and Leisure, couldn't have been more normal. When we got off for Amherst he quickly scurried away, probably because he knew this kid was following him like a lunatic.

So, anyway, a couple days later I was talking to my lit professor and I told him I know I'm crazy, but I think I saw Salinger. He said, "No, you probably did. He has lots of friends here." I was like, really? And he said, yeah, lots of people know him, he's not a recluse like people make him out to be. He has lots of friends, including the actor Alan Arkin, he keeps in touch with what's going on, watches TV, etc. I even think he keeps an apartment in New York. He's a regular guy who doesn't need or want to publish anymore, it goes against his Zen beliefs, and he simply doesn't want to talk about the past or his work, at least not with strangers. That's it. That's all.

So whether I saw him or not doesn't really make a difference now, but to find out he was completely normal, at least on the outside, was somehow refreshing and wonderful to me. Afterwards. every time I saw something about the freak recluse, like Salinger was a monk living in some cave without electiricty, in particular one fucking article that appeared in Esquire about ten years ago, I just kind of laughed.

2. I'm on the train again, (ha ha,) and I'm in the dining car, only now it's the Spring, I'm 21, and I can drink! So I drink. I drink a lot. Coors Light out of clear plastic cups as the budding landscape flies by. And what I find out is most of the cool people drink in the dining car. So, of couse, there's this beautiful "Train Girl," and she's all blonde hair and milky skin, hippyish, couldn't be more opposite of me in every way, and I'm like: I've got to talk to her, because if I want to sleep with her I have to talk to her first. So, I sit down with my Coors Light and my plastic cup, and coming up with the most original line I got I ask, "So where do you go to school?" And she says "UMASS," etc. etc. Ladies and gentleman we are off to the races! She's an English major and we talk for a bit, and within two minutes, having nothing else to say, I tell her I think I saw Salinger on this train. And she says something to the effect of, "I'd like to see that son of a bitch." And I ask her why? And she says, "Because he ruined my grandfather's life." And I ask, how? I mean, who doesn't like Salinger? She says, my name is "X" Ackley. My grandfather is Robert Ackley." And I'm like, you mean, the complete loser roommate with the zits and dirty finger nails from "Catcher? " And she tells me that her grandfather and Salinger were in the same unit in Worl War II together, and they were pretty close friends. But she says that it wasn't her grandfather that had the problem with acne, was obsessive over his finger nails. and completely neurotic, it was actually Salinger. And I start laughing, and I look at her, and she's so beautiful, definitely not Ackley "old boy" genes, which is the reason I'm talking to her to begin with. Suddenly, it occurs to me: I say to her, "Stradlater." (Stradlater is the stud who sleeps with the hottest girls on campus, including the girl Holden Caulfield is in love with, well, he suspects Stradlater of sleeping with her.) And "X" Ackley nods, and says, "Yeah, but you try telling people that you're not the loser roommate, but actually the guy who slept with all the prettiest girls, and this Salinger guy was just jealous of you so he took revenge in his novel that became one of the most famous books in the entire world...EVER! My grandfather's whole life he was answering questions about being Ackley, and whenever he'd try to contact Salinger about it, Salinger would never return his calls (surprise surprise.)

So I get her phone number, email and promptly never speak to her ever again.

Those are my two J.D. Salinger stories. By the way, if any of you know "X" Ackley, tell her I'm looking for her 'cause I'd sure like some of those Stradlater genes.


Spotted Tail's Death Song

"Nephew, do you know what it means when we say today is good day to die? Here is something we have over the wasicu. Their minds are clever, they can make guns and knives and little round things that tell the time of day or the four directions. Their minds are very clever.

"But they are afraid to die.

"They understand how to make a far-seeing glass and how to make the powder that explodes, but life and death they do not understand.

"Dying is natural.

"To the rooted people, the grazers, the fliers, the crawlers, the swimmers, to us and mitakuye oyasin - all our relations - dying is natural. We like to live, and dying is a part of living. We enjoy Mother Earth - birthing and dying are part of her way. As we love her, we love them. A Lakota likes living and is not afraid of death. He accepts it.

"That is what a death song says. I love the earth and am ready for death.

"On an evening like this you feel it strongly. I love the earth and am ready for death. They are a part of the same feeling. Wasicu are afraid to die. It makes their sweat bead out, their guts clench, their bowels go loose. I would hate to be a wasicu. Remember always, you can fight for life, but you cannot fight against death."


First (Flight Out) Questions For California

What dreams do you dare dream now
with so many left behind unfinished
in that green land where you
first learned to close
your eyes?

What faces can you trust
as all the ones you once knew
are now falling away
like dust?

What fog do you wander through
when you are so
afraid to lose
for the very first time?

What eyes do you see with
as the land turns
from green to brown to red
beneath these borrowed wings?

What ending

(scratch that
13 years later
from youthful
to middle aged wisdom...)

What beginning!

have you chosen
for yourself?

-Philadelphia to Los Angeles - 5/96 - 1/20/2010


bodies painful pleasures
souls somewhat obliged

the big nets
are already dragging in the
to be sold at dawn

i float willingly,
for as long as
they will let me;

then we lie
side by side
on the sands
in the middle
of the






The NIght Book - 2000-20009

a moment now
for the beautiful ones gained,
and the tragic, fading shadows
i never believed could ever be lost...

this decade,
with all its technology and tragedy,
its ever timeless time passing so cruely,
yet giving to me so unconditionally,
has finally traced the faintest shape
in what seemed for my entire life
a meaningless, bleeding past
full of desires, rages and longings,
but little else.

and now it propels me
into the rest of my unknown,
for however long i am given,
and no matter what direction
the path takes me.

a secret strength,
a fearless tenderness,

perhaps a truth gained,

and more love and hate
left behind
than i could ever name.

Lived. Living.

it can't ever be as neat as this:
my vicious, mercenary gift for words,

but i am grateful
for all of it.