composition #2:

malevich dreams of taking his own life in upstate new york

or maybe i talk casually of a
church brought down by an earthquake
until the bodies of children are
pulled from the ruins

maybe i grow tired of
the endless white space between
obvious truths and firm beliefs

of the lack of money that has
come to define my life

and what attracts us to words written on paper
of course
is the fact that they can be burned

we all claim a god’s eye of our own
and we all let the starving starve

we let pollock wade through broken glass
as long as he promises to bleed
because a person gets what he deserves

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begged

up these stairs to
this room
and all the times
i tied you to
the bed

all the times you
begged
and all the ways your
father died

seven years now
coming down hard

windows broken
doors left open
the soft drip of
the kitchen sink

i know i’ll find you
crying

i know
every moment will
be wasted

there is no
great trick in
living the same
frightened life
again and
again

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weighing the word love on broken scales

how many years now wasted
weighing the word love
on broken scales?

there is no religion
to be found here
only stigmata
and the taste of dust

empty room
after empty room until
you finally reach the one
you call home

in this corner
a man shot in the face
from less than a
foot away

in that one
the woman who loves pain
screaming for the baby
she never had

you will become
one or you will become
the other and
either way
your future has been
determined

there is nothing left
but to be
nailed to it

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the poet drunk

the poet drunk at
three in the morning
mops out the
bathrooms

listens to
the sound of bleach
crawling into the
cracks on his hands

he peels potatoes and
cuts homefries
and hides in the cooler for
another beer

stepping out
he checks the clock

four hours
until he can return
to his typewriter and
his mind is a numb tunnel
filled with empty
rushing trains

sleep
is a word that still
holds meaning

surrender is another

the poet
hungover at noon
is too tired to
bleed

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three small poems found in the ashes of the burning house

sacrilege

up close
you are anyone
and then even closer
no one

i sound like
my father
here

how long has this
been happening?

* *

image of the virgin mary appears on a factory wall in juarez, mexico

which god
do you pray to
when the baby
is born
dead?

what does he
say?

what can he?

* *

afterimage

walking through
february rain with
jonathon and
there is war

not mine
and not his and
he laughs as he
curls five tiny fingers
tight around
the sky

all any of us
want
is everything

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riopelle’s pavane: a monologue

we approach the age of
possible cures slowly

if we number the dead
we do it backwards
and starting at one thousand

two will be the person
you hold most dear and maybe
you’ll never reach it

maybe you’ll be forced to choose

a child or a spouse
or even a younger sister and
what happens is this

we make love
on the living room couch in
the coldest part of april

the sky is a gift from magritte
the houses on this street
somewhere between obsolete
and sinister

you ask me again how
my father died and i tell you again
that i don’t know

he was alive and then
he was on the kitchen floor

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