Author Archive: admin

Another poem from my next book

Another suddenly topical poem, from my next collection. Please join me at Rust Belt Books this Saturday at 3pm for beer and cupcakes and books books books! I Can Hear Her Bones Growing, or Cracking America always tries too hard, chewing with her mouth open, walking her huge, stupid dogs right down the middle of the street, letting them shit just anywhere. Like a trumpet solo in C sharp when C would do just as fine, thank you, like the idea of soloing in the first place, like Miles Fucking Davis, trying way too hard, trying to be cool while the veins in his neck and head swole up like a garden hose after the tap gets flipped and the water flows. She tries too hard and then says things like, “better to have tried too hard than not tried at all,” as though she was Caesar, prescribing the bounds of logic with a sweep of the hand. Laughing too loud, snorting, the guffaw is an American invention. I can’t do much more than say I love you, you big, goofy, toothsome girl, and how strange it is to feel older than one’s parent. I only hope that yours are the…
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Poem from upcoming book….

I have a new book launching Nov 19, and will have parties in Buffalo (Nov 19th) and Rochester (Dec 3rd) to celebrate. Here is a sample that seems relevant: Now It’s Personal The streets were rivers of stars and lovers and the rain came and cooled the hearts of both. Cafes and doorways flooded as the streets jumped their banks. Skulls shrunk, mouths swelled, the chatter was all of angels: angels of marginalia, angels of the engine infernal, angels of my first time, all the cherubim and seraphim of a world bone-drenched by heaven after heaven, heavens plastered on warehouse walls, heavens honking from passing cabs and radios perched on hot dog carts, heavens crackling through the space between satellites.      And as the streets turned to steam the chatter turned and spun itself into a husk the shape of a body, and a man rose from the crowd and donned the husk, showed his teeth, then spoke to the stars and lovers gathered below:      This is my shape, this is my skin, you called and I am here.        The ones who believed believed it was always thus, while the skeptics were not invited to return.        Rooks along the roofline counted…
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The Word “Broken” is Broken

After the recent DDOS attack that launched via the “internet of things,” I read that Anonymous might have been responsible. Turns out they were not, but it did remind me that Anonymous existed, and led me to their web page. The first item on that page was titled “The American Political System is BROKEN,” and to a screed about how the US should get rid of the “two-party system” and change to instant run-off voting. This led me to 3 conclusions: Anonymous is a group with radical means but not a radical agenda; Anonymous does not really understand how instant run-off voting would affect the two-party system; Anonymous, like so many other entities, uses the word “broken” when they do not understand how something works. It is the third item that concerns me most. I’m sure many of us have sat with a child and tried to show them how the toy they believe is broken actually works; I’m sure most of us have been that child. It is this meaning of the word—that is, the wrong one—that pervades the media universe these days. At the very least, people use “broken” to mean “a very complicated problem,” which is another…
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Linen and such

The metaphor of human life as a fabric, a woven thing, is a bit worn, if I might be allowed the pun. The Moirai of ancient Greese were not weavers but spinners, as one spun the thread, one measured, and one cut the thread of a life, leading to the idea that social life is something like a tapestry made up of many threads. It is hoary enough to be a cliché, really, but I nonetheless found myself dwelling on it after reading William Davies’ The Happiness Industry, which is about, among other things, the fact that our current capitalist moment makes people so unhappy that their lack of desire to work is causing corporations concern, hence the push to sell us various forms of happiness and well-being. Of course, this only makes matters worse, for a variety of reasons that Davies nails pretty well, and among the solutions he offers is that we talk to one another more, and listen, and argue, and not get everything through a branded media stream (which is hard, given that many of us speak and think using the terms and concepts of that stream to define ourselves). So, I have been thinking about the…
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Of course, it might be the Vril Society

I need to get back into the groove of daily writing, I have gotten away from the habit and was working more in spurts, which did produce some good work, but not enough. Writing every day helps mollify the obsession in ways that bursts of creativity cannot, though I should not avoid such bursts, of course, and must ride them wherever they lead. Daily writing also helps me sort my mind differently, since I do not approach the page with a pre-existing idea, project to work on, or even formal structure in mind. It is a bit like doing tai chi or yoga, in that it helps my mind be more supple, and stronger, though I don’t think “mind” is actually the right word here. Suite of ideas? Cognitive flow? Mind will have to do for now. The problem now is that I have too many things to say, they all want to come spilling out at once. So, I will choose one: I have been meaning to go back and read Hofstader’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” for a while, first when Donald Trump used said style to win the Republican nomination for President, and then even more…
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Because where else.

I got interested in obscure Catholic saints a while back, so I wrote this ring of sonnets, then forgot about it. This seems like a good place, and time, for it: From the Periphery (Lesser-Known Saints) Saint Brioc “Please remember: dawn came, and we were freed, freed from the devils that stir up the sea, and we were grateful. Grace hid us a while from their strange eyes and teeth; grace is not guile, however, and so we beg the Lord’s mercy for those brethren swallowed by the beast before reaching Rome. Their souls will surely ascend, and they will go join in the feast of light. The King’s feast, here, is also fine, and so we give thanks, but these earthly fruits are but shadows of divine sustenance. And though we made not Rome, Cornwall does shine upon a kind of hill… so end your disputes. Pure hearts do not bicker with providence.” Saint Ludmilla “Pure hearts do not bicker with providence, nor swear allegiance to the methods of man; providence is a mountain of fire, and method but a cave in that mountain. So, though I cannot decide who loves me, I can give birth, and force, at…
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Some housekeeping

I started this blog in 2008, after we moved from Atlanta, GA to Lockport, NY, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. A few months later, my wife challenged me to listen to all the CDs I owned (well, all the store-bought ones, not copies) and post them to the blog, and I seem to have lost track of that divine purpose, though I have been listening away. So, since the last time I posted CDs (July 2014! damn.), I have listened to: 822) Delicious Vinyl: Waxing Off: The First Decade; 823) Pedro the Lion: Control; 824) Bob Dylan: Desire; 825) Harry Nilsson: A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night; 826) Ladytron: Witching Hour; 827) Orb: u.f.orb; 828) Noi Albinoi: Slow Blow; 829) Dillinger: Cocaine; 830) Various: Quiet About It: A Tribute to Jesse Winchester; 831) Executive Slacks: The Complete Recordings; 832) Dntel: Life is Full of Possibilities; 833) Honky Hoppers: Standing Room Only; 834) Kermit Ruffins: Kermit Ruffins; 834) Brian Setzer Orchestra: The Dirty Boogie; 835) Space’n’Bass: Disc 9 and 10; 836) Swap Dogg: Cuffed, Collared, and Tagged/Doing a Party Tonite; 837) Das FX: Dead Serious; 838) Sue Foley: Without a Warning; 839) Howlin’ Wolf:…
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More to thee than the economy

I read an interesting article in Jacobin about how children are increasingly seen as investments, largely because of the increase in income disparity–Erickson article. Jacobin can be a too strident for me at times, but this article (which is a condensation of a book, I believe) really rang true, at least in part because I see the same effect—the corporatization of culture—everywhere. I think sometimes I am overstating the case, seeing everything as a nail because I have a hammer, and then I find others who see the same insidiousness: “The young children of the wealthy are increasingly diverse portfolios of applications to private schools, enrichment classes, play dates, and nanny shares. These little Einsteins go on to attend prestigious high schools and Ivy League colleges. But it starts in preschool. A whole culture has risen around the cultivation of the child into a successful adult, equipped for the global economy. Its language is English plus Spanish or Mandarin; its literature is the mommy blog. Working-class children, on the other hand, are objects of suspicion defined by what is perceived, within the economic superstructure, as a lack — of high-enough test scores, of self-confidence, or the inclination and facility to self-regulate behavior. Childhood is…
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Such Light, Above Ground

Last week, I was assaulted by a group of 4, or 5, or 6, young men who knocked me off my bicycle and punched and kicked and stomped on me. I don’t know why they did it; in fact, while they were pummeling me, I kept asking them: “Why? Why are you doing this?” They had no answer for me. Then I blacked out, and shortly after that, two car loads of young men and women returning from the drive-in stopped and scared them off, then waited with me until the police and ambulance arrived. The damage tally, as is usual for such events, was weird: right ankle broken in three places, jaw broken in two, ribs severely bruised, but my glasses are still intact, internal organs are fine, and nothing was taken from my wallet. I lost a shoe and my bike helmet, but my wife found both the next day. A senseless act produced results difficult to make sense of, in other words. I am not sure I need to make sense of it, really, although the looks on the faces of everyone I tell the story to begs the same questions: how could anyone do such a…
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Kindness is Never Small for Tod W. We were all born, for fuck’s sake, and we all saw through that con, but some of us figured the con was all, no way out, only fools thought otherwise, the ones at the other end of the cafeteria with spoons hanging off their noses. I was always enamored of the gallant dancers, aware of the terrible undertow   but just as ready to dance with the shades of Lethe, Maslow’s brood, because they were such willful cowards, did their weeping up in a nice, neat bow and spread their gifts about, always keeping tally, always ready to call in that favor, that time they simulated kindness and you bought it, you ass.   They were not my people, just ones I thought more clever than I. My people could not see around the con, imagine carrying a javelin around and every time you met someone, you had to explain why you carried it. Meeting someone else with a javelin, wow, there was nothing sweeter, and we forgave all kinds of things, and goddamn did they fly, when it came to that.