The bridge over the Ace Glass parking lot
is where I learned the meaning of the word
“vivsection.” There was no
I just wanted to know what the word meant.
The car radio was playing bright pop
and I was seven.
There are roads in New Mexico
that will always sound like
Garth Brooks when I drive them.
Keep thinking, pushing…
the blister of chord melody
moves under my finger
in Amherst; punk newborn,
a straight razor cutting me
on the Bowery, every time; it is
Ace Glass all over again.
Push on the scar.
Listen to it, how the skin
dents as if it were under
Max Roach’s loving punishment.
To summer sex I say
Keith Jarrett, to winter sex I say
blue light cafe, to failure I say
there is a nameless noise band
Nostalgia is unnecessary
as nothing feels old…under my finger
the eardrum, the active, the real.
Keep Glenn Gould, the details
perfected, the summary. This is
as silent as I ever get. This is a bridge
of wood over a railroad track,
a boy crying under the foundations,
and the train so far off yet, fifty five
minutes before it arrives. I hear the piano
as the rain of blows fades to a murmur…
I am cut open.
I hear a word for this.
The chocolate Easter Bunnies
appear to lose their ears gladly
and gladly lose their heads.
They were made
Some say the bunnies
are a Pagan overlay
on a Christian tradition;
I’m not so sure.
Sea change today,
if you can call it that
this far from the ocean.
all the notes struck
by recent sunshine
have turned minor.
Sunday, I heard voices inside.
They were bells tolling an ending.
Tuesday, today, I hear nothing
but the neighborhood,
quiet at last. Everyone’s
at work or school. I should be
working too. I am working,
in fact, or so I say when I’m asked
because I’m glad not to be interacting
with anyone right now. Too many
voices from outside still
the ones inside,
and I want to be able to hear.
They were silver, nugget-rough,
precious. They cut me
when I pressed them. They told me
what I already knew, so I trusted them
and feared them.
I don’t hear them now.
Maybe it was the sun
and warm earth, drying audibly
after days of rain,
that spoke to me
and suggested that I needed
I don’t know why light
would amplify sound,
but I do know I can taste
a terrible scent of ocean
on the wind today:
a dull flavor, lead dull,
no glint to it.
I await the return
of the sunshine
with my ears
cocked and afraid.
I was born with it
so it’s not entirely my fault
that it has always attracted certain prey
with its deep, salty tang.
It will wait for hours
to shoot something, then
field dress it
in nothing flat
and eat the still-beating
While it works
it is always silent, but
it returns to its regular burbling,
soon to include
the most recent death
in its ongoing narrative.
What a brave hunter, its undertones
seem to say. It crows,
I am unafraid
I don’t know what to do
about its craving
and the apparent ease with which
it is satisfied. I just where it goes,
following trails to hunting grounds
that look different at first
but end up being pretty much the same.
Its tales of the gun
are admittedly compelling.
Whatever it fells, it seems, it owns.
Thus I am endlessly fed on raw meat
and sawed bones.
Thus I seem
to savor what it feeds me,
though there are moments like this
where I long for it
to become vegan and tire
A Jimson weed
in revolt against its bad reputation
refused to give me
visions. A mushroom
turned its pouty ball head away
and would not allow me
access to the Outer World.
Even my marijuana tossed
her crumbly curls and denied me
So I played the guitar
and remembered how to feel the strings
under my fingers. It was so hard at first
to see the music, but if I squinted
it was still there, laid out before me,
a faint carpet runner down a long hall
which led Outside
and there were dragons there still,
still there were drums in the unknown hills above the fields,
I could still smell still the warm funk of the tunnels
as I dug for them in the courtyard outside.
I have no time now to reminisce
about the old ways, how theatrical
the shamanic journey
used to be.
It’s just work now, still a spirit chase
but I run it under my own power.
I follow the dragon where it flies,
capture its fire as it burns,
carry it home in my bare hands
and cool it in the plain air
unassisted — and when I’m done,
I can remember everything.