At the Zotel
AT THE ZOTEL
For Markito and Opa (aka Prof N.S.)
You are at the zotel with me. We slay each other at the zotel
with hands displayed to look like guns—our hands are meant to look like guns.
We live with laughter at the zotel and desperadoes are across
and the zotel might never close.
The desperadoes have a cross!
Their chances widen and ours may not.
The parapet (the parapet!) at the zotel is like a walk
a walk of life and simple talk and no one who is dead can balk.
You say (I say) to mock, to mock the rocks at the zotel,
the lowly rocks of zero IQ, resembling jocks
under the clouds resembling cows (of zero IQ,
both clouds and cows) and the zotel does rock!
Oh, the zotel! Ah, the zotel! To add, subtract
at the zotel. Then go and tell, tell all
of nothing gained, of nothing lost, of being zotelic
or azotelic just for fun.
And now a tango at the zotel
the muddle is a model; the model is a muddle (oh!)
and the zotel, yes, the zotel
is the size that fits all.
A TINY PART OF THE HOLE
For a while after my conversion to realism
I was idealistic
as I had been realistic
after my conversion to idealism.
So then a charging Brahma bull
spoke to me in measured terms
but as the seasons went cycling
the general paralysis of shadowboxing
And brutal locusts acted as pure connectionists
during human gatherings such as picnics.
Now rocks native to this backyard
continue to observe their counter-holidays.
One huge mistake, it turns out,
was to carry logs to their logical conclusion
one summer day. Another was to think
that life had bebop intentions
that would carry any day.
This time we are being told it is Jane’s soul
that has been messed up by (un)controlled substances
and her brain is just a scaffold with wires.
And as the air leaves the room
we cannot shake the foundations of belief.
All meetings take place in a curious incurious atmosphere.
There you have it. The lucky and the unlucky alike
ALONE WITH THE TEMPLATE
The environment not being quite outside us
I decided not to go anywhere
though I needed to run a few errands.
Then night fell and time and space
isolated my personality.
Some disorder was expressed that had nothing to do
with pesky mosquitoes (it was summer).
The enormity of narrow people
was revealed to me but imperfectly.
Holy polluted mackerels, the sun is kindling
its own temporal fire
and your superstition package includes
‘the will to believe.’
Don’t put anything into practice
till we have finished groping with buttons in the dark.
Before contracting, grownups wanted to know
what “the deal” was and went to nothing not knowing.
But you belong for now among your belongings.
Are we to leave the cobweb thanking the spider?
ANIONS AND CATIONS
Here is our creed:
will you take it outside.
The spellbinding bound us
to the way we read
letter by letter
the word of the ejected.
We are the faithful companions
of the sparse furniture.
With the clarity of outlaws
nurses take their own pulse
but can’t leave the rectangle
whose base is AB.
A gripping, tell-all hand
holds the organ for now.
In addition to its swelling
there is its name in the vernacular.
It could almost be translation.
Symptoms are reborn.
There is a longing, chimerical,
plus the chance of ridicule
Quixotic and picaresque
collide in the thinking aid.
The pulsator’s last page
is grievous or is clogged.
Be received by my mouth
spirit of the broth.
Immodesty and the setting
diminish the worth of ghosts.
ANOTHER NUTTY PSALM
What if we want to hide things
in a primitive way
and the part of the mind that is
handling this desire is the one responsible
for us being so pedantic.
No, I haven’t heard the twittering of the kind of bird
that you consider extremely moral.
Where is it happening?
Oh, I heard that this saint
liked to feel small breasts and they were all
of small birds.
What kind of small breasts do you think a devil
likes to feel?
I must be brief because I am so tiny, such a tiny element
in this poorly lit universe filled with so much stellar debris.
It looks like something an enormous monster came up with.
O monster, creator of arthritis, pneumonia, and meningitis,
carrier of viruses to all locations
guess who has infected very many people
with a considerable degree of apprehension.
I want to go on without poisonous thoughts
not see dragonflames licking what’s left
of billions in pain,
but someone is flashing, a crazy seeker.
The door is heavy,
the escape theoretical.
And the indomitable human spirit
has been tamed
in many places
perhaps because of the lack
of sanitary conditions.
You start with what you have
and end up side by side
with what you don’t have.
Oedipal characters faking tameness
probably owls poorly known by mice
promoting the kind of divinations
that funereal conditions promote.
Narrative people walk every bit as powerless
as aboriginals. In the worldwide web of exploitation
what you call information is internalization
of the poison dished out by those who make stuff.
So great is greed that it could change you
as if you were a Y instead of an X.
O schools of dolphin-like people, look at the red grouse and shriek,
but the toughest slum is not an islet with lizards.
There is broken glass in the bathroom intact glass in stores flowers in shops cousin flowers in funeral homes there is no hope in lower case there is in upper case hope with abilities and personhood but she is too strong and too remote to be manipulated this means using invisible hands to guide other people’s destinies there is help and there are the helpless there is the cleared throat that is not functioning properlyu and there is radiation uniformity there are backgrounds too strong to be foregrounded there are foreheads some shiny some matte and behind the dark web of pain that controls the different styles of squeezing a tube of toothpaste there is the sad yes of existence in everything that is a no-no and the terrible presence of no in no admittance there is the bad news of the gospel that is and there is the old center of attention that is now the center of inattention there is the late mobster who can no longer hurt anybody there is the early mobster that catches the worm and the early mobster that flies at will and there is the great plum but not for nobodies there is a hallmark in every hallmark card and there is a tortured hallmarker in a factory that has not left its mark there are succeeding generations of stock swindlers there is fun in stock for partygoers and there is depletion in party nongoers there is the left to the right the right to the left in the periphery of irrelevance there is the going on about hell on earth there is the funk spiked with original members there is renown for atriums and obscurity for expulsions there is paper thin paper and there is the thin perseverance of the fat there are life-sized mockups and death-sized sarcophaguses there is essence as written in romance that moves the vehicle of expression there is implosion in installations there are severe limits to toys and to impeccable home décor there is expertise in making kitsch there is the snowbird that melts and the blackbird that doesn’t say bye bye back there are prayer gestures and the deviancy of abstinence by the religious uniformed there is paying more careful attention to distraction and more distraction in obligation and more insistence in the harmlessness of emanations from those that do not count.
EXISTENCE COSTS US OUR LIVES
I am confirmed by authorities into a type of slavery.
I called on you to be serene. You called on me to be monitored.
I was sold on cakes that would be bricks.
We are on our way to see
but we will say ‘I see’ and lie.
We’ll undergo the going under.
The enchanted brain will ride in an open car.
Here will be there and now will be then.
In the company of owls the mouse is inaudible
but edible. Magnets bloom and each apparition
blows a fuse.The universal audience
is in a wheel within a wheel.
All pronouns rotate.
In the inflation domain the common language
with the kid who mumbles has one noun and zero verbs.
FROM THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
As inevitable as the end
is the person you don’t want to hear
a sort of herald from nowhere, imposing
a brand new set of locks
when you were looking for the keys.
We are somehow detecting
that we got tired of detesting
the minute we were holding our intestines.
The provocation was of the ‘slightest’ type
and was fashioned by pushers of brand products.
Look at the counters over which items pass
to become part of what you are. But what of the part
of what you are not. The solid floor prevents
our sinking into a geological depression.
A confused geography is involved
during the deal when we are kidding ourselves and others,
which is why I want to be only in the history of manners.
Our separate atoms are immortal, but say hello to your autonomous
self as many times as you can, and generally in relation
to the particular, for the clown has the edge
but the fire-eater owns the razor.
I am writing to say that we are not sailors after all
and there is no ocean of the spirit to speak of.
I hope I made it clear that I am obscure—
as obscure as a certain forest I once knew.
The truth is that that forest was always excessively true,
in a way that never failed to bore me to tears
Yes, I wept every time, thinking also of clearings
which had been written about as having deep moral qualities.
Now I’ve come to such a clearing and I intend to lie to myself:
I am not here. I’ve never been here.
IN A STYLE YOU ARE NOT ACCOSTUMED TO
Any cat is an island
entire of itself
in vain, or not in vain,
and whenever the waves of the mind
something could have originated in what we think we saw.
It is nice then to refer to our eyes as ‘those peepers.’
And as to faith, on, no prouder strength is so weak
when our behavior-guiding device selects pleasure.
Then comes a pause
between pathetic sequences
when smiles contradict fright,
but that is milliseconds before
they’re reinterpreted as grimaces.
IN THE LIVES OF ENTITIES
Love can live, can be insane
if you smile when circumstances are withering
you are unreasonably another
and this garland is a chemical ring.
Beyond premonition is a cancelled bed.
The mount forgets before the brain
and you are the reason that fate has sprockets.
Lying next to the substantial brings postponement.
The implacable are not tired
I am a look. Tulips are borrowings.
Eternal taint, leave my morning alone
for heaven looks vengeful
and life feels like long division.
Speculation moves to be tattered.
What potential is not dissolving?
This is the same casual fatality
as last month’s, I mean causal.
Are you true to fantasy or should we
come back in thirty years
when the war to create peace
is no more but also no less?
What is the cartridge is empty?
What if the mountain is meek inside?
Lovers contend in a box
that the ceiling partly encloses
since a wall blew away.
They’re putting together penny goals
with priorities surrounded by ruins.
Life shows an increase in lethal properties.
But you said the air was filled with musical adornments
and art does elevate mysteriously
not unlike the way elevator shoes are designed to do.
Please don’t live in the Mercator projection of the compassionate
where the losses suffered by the powerless are looked at objectively.
Why are you moving forward? Is it to distance yourself from crabs?
MACHINA EX MACHINA
Predecessors decompose and die
and are deported to the past.
Oh, close the windows, for the erratic starlings
might hint at something profound and inexplicable.
All is well. The brain is in its skull.
Yet the priestly quality in someone might be recognized
and the unlucky ones may not be able to scatter.
A kind of longing in these here private parts continues unabated.
Our positions are firm: we are quivering blobs of jelly.
and we suspect that cannibals eat missionaries
during beautiful religious ceremonies.
Victor Virus has knocked down Oliver Organism.
and all cockroaches of the soul have perished.
Yet all cockroaches of the mind may sing and dance La Cucaracha.
I regret to tell you about
my total lack of discomfort.
I thank the evening for being so new and so lovely.
NOTES FROM THE STYLE PAGE OF THE MIND
Though your separate atoms are immortal
you should be ready to bid goodbye to your autonomous self.
The end may come at some beginning.
Don’t know why
there’s an ego in the sky
needing so much adoration.
are in the building
looking for tissues
and have not left.
Faith has risen
while hope and charity have plummeted.
Here again is our air of inferiority.
Business students dressing as medieval people just for fun
put me in mind of truly medieval people who have looked in the mirror and reported
seeing faces radiating modern business acumen.
There is always a native village that has no electric power
but tourists can feel the electricity inside the huts.
I feel the charlatan in you desiring quiet
but I bet I am sadly mistaken.
The history of reality has never been written.
You’d swear that a violin was weeping
but I won’t,
I won’t swear to such a thing.
Pathetic garden (I’m talking to the garden)
Pathetic garden, grow!
NOTES ON THE BISHOP
The bishop’s shadow lengthened
of its own accord or because
reality required it.
God, if the bishop
had only dressed normally
and gotten laid!
Aberrant people who are also saints
have ruled this part of reality,
a huge part--and this is a huge bishop.
The bishop claims to know a fabled carpenter
who answers an immaterial telephone.
Some will boldly embed the bishop’s deeds
in a tale as influential as his.
POEM BEGINNING WITH THICK LAYERS OF MISUNDERSTANDING
Thick layers of misunderstanding, how thick you look
and how layerish! Today is as good a day as any, though its purpose
lies buried, perhaps right here.
Often we struggle with the jigsaw puzzle containing
the card table and the jigsaw puzzle on it and the puzzler who’s holding
a piece of the sky!
So let’s stop and think of our cousins the fruit flies,
who have devoted their one-day life to exploration
of the glass jar they are in.
OLD CLOUD CEMETERY
Former hymn lover,
I see you are purple and green
like the flag of a manioc republic.
Time has not rendered any nuns crystalline.
There is a lot of brown water in the pool
and a lack of concern with spiritual thirsting.
I partly resemble the trouble I’m in,
and you, you are built as if you had
a past history.
Sometimes, but not right this minute,
I am filled with wonder,
sometimes with beer
sometimes with doubts
sometimes with stinking gas.
How dare you say that you know me
but then again how dare I say that I know you.
I am writing a letter:
it will turn out to be a gigantic X.
No one will be reminded of the optic chiasm
doing its job, silently in place.
All that that X may symbolize will disappear
while not all that disappears will be symbolized.
Defective symbolizing occurs in the mind
of affected people who count on huge angels
to stand by, solicitous. But they fly away many times
to be part of the inexplicable.
It has to be that way or some other way. It has to be
that the word ‘way’ is like a poorly lighted road.
Or it has to be that the verb ‘to be’ is somewhat misleading.
Or, and I won’t bother you any longer,
it has to be that harmony must be bought separately.
POSTCARD FROM VERO BEACH
I am like Socrates only in being mortal.
I know something, though not who is for sale.
Old intuitions about the ocean, the sand dunes and the rest
are roaming the encephalic dudgeons.
Only this object in my hands seems to be immune.
I mean this beach ball.
CRAB NEBULA ON THE PINKY
With features dependable
the reasoning minder
is piercing and slicing
At the ruined temple
of the memory of moonings
rubbing without charcoal
is one more technique
Our sorry dialectic goes backward:
synthesis first, then a phony antithesis
and at the end consuming itself
a totally shitty thesis.
And tons of accidents
tons of ephemeral flashes,
a monstrous unraveling. You say fat chance
meaning something completely skeletal.
FROM THE APOSTROPHE SERIES
[From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: “a.pos.tro.phe2 : The direct address of an absent or imaginary person or of a personified abstraction especially as a digression in the course of a speech or composition.”]
O balloons, you may lead empty lives without us
or you may not.
To the Sun
O sun, poor sun of ours, you are such an average star
and there are so many lifeless bodies orbiting you it’s pitiful.
O elevators, thanks for so many elevating moments.
To the Heavens Above
O heavens above, we pray you are structurally sound.
To the Pregnant Pause
O pregnant pause, go ahead and give birth.
To Talking Points
O talking points, shut up.
O absence, you are here so often they will have to change your name.
To the Happy Hour
O Happy Hour, what are you so happy about?
To the Underwater Mobster
O mobster who sleeps with the fishes, please do not disturb their dreams
and least not the wet ones.
To Minnie Mouse
O Minnie Mouse, if you had wings and were Austrian, you could think of yourself as Die Fledermaus.
O my god, you are not mine!