in this clouded quartz prism

jaggedsneezericochettricochettting against walls rigid

as my sternum

Stay and be

hanging from the frail chain gingerly

— my neck–

too distant to hear my heartbeat

though it is so, close so, close-so-close

too closed to open your wing bones

and fly away present




Image credit: “日本ガス協会ビル and clouds.jpeg.” By Tyuvc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


{a cryptic phrase}

I’m posting an Internet

poem, breaking

lines in subversive

places because it’s


I’m beginning

every declaration with a singular

first person because it’s

the best way to avoid collective outrage I’m

violencing the thing with gerunds —

imperializing it with commas, I’m sitting with

wet hair raining down my back, joy raining down the ache

in my amygdala, and I’m here all alone

(with all of you

but none of you

give me all of


I’m beginning

to snip the lines

shorter, triangulating

an irreverent yet





35%-off tomorrow shop


That armored star is not long for this world, says Dr. H. Likely the sharks

will get it soon.

Now, I love the sharks, but I don’t want my armored star masticated

and dissolving in the ocean’s digestive tubes

like dreams dissembled by the acid


The world is ending, Prof. O tells me,

before saying the violin needs to play louder than the viola at Rehearsal P of Mozart

for the sake of balance.

I’m inclined to agree with her.

In writing La Disparition, Georges Perec imprisoned his mind to wind

around the problem of words and all the whale oil it takes

to burn them. But more disappeared

in that flameless smoke

than the simple



Image credits in order of appearance:

“Hommag à ‘La Disparition’ d Gorgs Prc.” Par Parisette — Photographie personnelle, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32075883

English: In laboratory experiments, this pterapod shell dissolved over the course of 45 days in seawater adjusted to an ocean chemistry projected for the year 2100.” By NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (EVL) (Impacts of ocean acidification – NOAA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

un concert au dehors


Thank you, music theory, for estranging me so from the ordinary I-IV-V-vi

that now to hear it once again plucks harpstrings

in my heart I didn’t know I had

and brings tears near the surface of my eyes

made deeper by the boring of theoretical drills.

Now when you let go of my wrist for just one moment,

I will flee to the center of a grass-blaiden field

to fall profoundly into the strains of a pauvre guitare

to pousser daisies from the inter-eyes of an accordéon qui grows straight

out of the earth, it’s true

true as rain, true as the puberty of trees

true as the I-IV-V-vi on the road home to I

and perhaps, musique théorétique, correct as thou art,

you’re not as true as you are thinking.

A ripped-weed-woman, my scream will string me with the stars

in simple time.



“O violeiro, 1899.” By José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49125657

“Gatemusikant.” By Karin Beate Nøsterud/norden.org, CC BY 2.5 dk, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24990996

Écouter La Rue Ketanou – “Ma faute à toi” – yes, this particular song is more complex than I-IV-V-vi (it’s not even in Major!) but let’s pretend music theory doesn’t exist, just for this Tuesday night, please???

the piano-player in the lounge an October afternoon with half-rolled sleeves

My violin teacher — she’s nuts — but she’s also got little boys in her earrings.

I mean little, not in mind, but in cranial capacity: their skulls are as big as preemie acorns, proportional to their bodies of only a few inches high. They don’t think of themselves as boys, so they aren’t, for themselves. They were purchased wholesale from a stocker of conch shells.

Doppelgängers dangling deep in lanterns – the blue glass makes their world blue, but not more than the orange lens over your own corneas paints your own world orange, compared to reality — or to how it sees itself when there are no creatures looking at it. When she shakes her head it’s pure luck they don’t happen to spy one another out their tiny windows — as long as each thinks he is alone, he will go on living and thinking he matters. Dead matter is an undesirable impurity in commercial jewelry.

Luckily, they are each very occupied by something located in their respective insides, keeping their eyes within the walls of their glass houses as the stones tickle my teacher’s graying curls as she shows me how to attack a sound. In the little lanterns the little boys who think they are big stay occupied before their respective pianos.

Eighty-eight keys, each, black and white, lovingly tendrilled with spiraling innards and propped up on four footless legs, lids open-flung to let the sound pour out as soon as someone should touch the cold ivory blocks. And though each of the two little men knows he is alone in his lantern, he believes there are others in a room ajar who can hear his heart as he squeezes it painting the air plunging his tiny bones printing the keys with the invisible traces of oils fit to the grooves of his very fingers which are unique in the world, assuming there is no identical twin. And of course there is not; he’d know if he had a twin, wouldn’t he? By some thread connecting them across the throat of earth even if they’d never met in conscious memory.

You stand by the door as long as you dare

to hear him train that melody around a lonely silver track and tie it back into a resolution sunset in mango soup. And just before the applause can fail to flood the adjacent room you exit back into the open world, the falling leaves, the steaming coffee, the atonal chitter of individuals. How nice it would be

in our blood-rushing real bodies

if we were not totally alone.

Un Poème à la Française en Oregon


Viens, mélancolie, mon cœur est ouvert

Ma porte forte fermée contre le grand-dehors

qui traîne, les yeux curieux tricotant un foulard pour chaque couvercle de poubelle

pour que l’hiver sans fête pue un peu moins de la part de chaque tête


Et encore je réchauffe et réchauffe la planète

Dans une tasse de thé qui t’attend…

Viens, pauvre silence;

J’ai de riches vides avec quoi te remplir

Et un feu éclairé pour te refroidir.


Version anglaise:

Come, melancholia, my heart is open

My door shut fast against the great outdoors

who wanders, curious eyes knitting a scarf for every trash can’s lid

so the winter with no holiday stinks a bit less from each metallic


And again I reheat and reheat the planet

In a teacup that awaits you…

Come, poor silence;

I have rich holes to refill you with

And an enlightened fire to cool you off.

Berlin, Märkisches Ufer, Uferpromenade, Winter


“dzieci na sankach – krajobraz zimowy.” By glasseyes view [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“Beder Bypark/A park in the small village of Beder.” Sten [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extremeBerlin, Märkisches Ufer, Uferpromenade, Winter ADN-ZB Senft 17-12-81-zi-Berlin: Winterspaziergang am Märkischen Ufer der Spree.” By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-Z1217-024 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5371847


enough that the quivering glass-mouse-heart

on the tip of your finger

sighs into an even rhythm,

a ripple

in the feather-pond

of conversation, a music

enough to change the air without disturbing it

or changing anything really. and when the leaves

that you’re not strong enough to hold back

in time will change color and yield

to winter, and when the clouds

that you can’t reach high enough to stop up

will wring heaven’s dishwater down

upon our heads,

still you & i will not be lost:

two islands abed in a creamy sea,

laughing, splashing each other with tides:

strong-hewn, yet crashing each

on the other’s shore only



Image credit:

Spume created by the passage of the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn in the waters of the Caribbean.” By Captain-tucker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6303045