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.