21st Century Cruelty

Repeal and replace the lot;
blow for blow, overblown.

Vengeance is upon us,
but the impetus is lost.

All out downturn—
a fallout forever.

End on: never again;
the new era is served.

Come for seconds;
stay for eternity, yeah?

A Demonstrable Order

Unfit for neutrality—
do nothing,
triage patience.

This is the way of the warrior now.

How many time shall we see chaos?

Civility doesn't just happen;
friction is the prescription.

A knocking,
a rocking;
railing, curtailing
the will of the frail.

A Week's Beginning

Drunk and lonely,
I slide through flats
like an otherwise
barefoot lush, and
I am going to a diner.

Cut the crust off my toast,
please and thank you;
sincerely, sincerity still
means something, and
I'm dying to know what.

Afflicted

Our acidic sun
sets examples
on both sides
of the world.

Shame sleeps
nowhere now;
but fear wakes
us all, basically.

Albino Crow (Dark & Stormy)

On the up and out
the door is like autumn
and uh guess that's all
there is to say about

the months before
the calming ice chest
that freezes generosity
even in Dixie swamps

now I'm no numbskull
but my face does feel
numb and I'm as sexual
as a high school mascot

Almanac, Shrugged

Black tooth, black toenail...

I sauntered into an Ozark Wall
on the way to Fashion Island...

Slipping grocery sushi,
barehanded by myself,
next to a pet cemetery...

This grommeted strip
slips my mind for now,
as my feet peel back
all the other lost hours...

American Vampires

I must have cried
at least three times
in that sandy alleyway
near the well-lit market
beyond the barbeque
after the sunburn phase
during the downfall.

And you saw the anus
of some young stranger
somewhere on the border
of dirt hills and pavement
somehow between India
and Indiana on a Sunday.

Apothecary

Rub sawdust
and green tea
in my eyelids
so I can see.

Put peanuts
in my ears
and rub nubs
for sweat butter.

Lick my singed
and tongued
roof like moths
in the closet.

Touch stones
for good luck
and belly-up
the bullshit.

April, Scripted

Exhausted
of vampiric
outbursts.

Cat nap dreams
for dying dogs
left in hot sheds
to swallow days.

Bury zinc
in my blood;
the stream
is static now.

Wobbly screeds
on foolish screens
to bolster what?

Beer Soup

I checked the bottle;
I spilled the cheese.

This pot can only be
stirred clockwise
in such a progressive
kitchen, I told her.

You burn your candle;
you go soak up the light.

Are the bubbles be-
cause of salt crystals,
or does anxiety cause
believable muscles?

I threw away my old life;
I recycled the cardboard.

Being Sellers

Call it what you must.

It's a new year
with new rules.

Race on slow like,
you know, well,
bannerette style.

The mist is most
freeing when frozen
beneath piss-stained
street lamps (so shady).

And there is so much
to swallow; the acid
collects as I listen
to towels tumble dry
like wintry mixed weed.

Nobody is getting high—
not on this life, not now;
instead, we settle, flaking
on each other's plants—
dead skin, reaching far,
for the dirt that delivers.

Big Dog Show

Moths suck
the light
out of days
and spit
quinoa on-
to nights;
how will I
shiver away,
tampered?

Nurses call
the shots
from sunrise
to sunset,
and up
and down
the Strip,
blood lets
you know.

Lounging
on plaid now,
transposed;
I am still yet,
transfixed
like a junkie;
pawned paws
yelp away from
my limp limbs.

Goodbye,
digital world;
hello, life.

Biography

If I ever have a biographer,
I want this person to care
about me, but about all
people, too, because I am
nothing without everyone.

Boundary Patrol

"The United States
is forever, not like
an ex-wife," says
the labor official;
I don't disagree,
but I find relief
in my ability to
escape before
the real dump
leaves me hard
on a stump.

Broken jaw
from the jab;
passed on
the arboretum,
and in the dew
of mourning,
I split the
differences
in half, or so
I think, half
of the time.

At dawn, I feel
like a gymnast;
at dusk, I feel
like a Bolshevik.

While neutrally stuck
in a handicapped
space, I hear shards
of a shattered guitar.

And the wet aluminum
of a burrito wrapper
smears against the
plastic ass of my
nationalistic car;
it gets so slippery
on slopes made
of electric tar.

Broken Record

SIDE A

Some nights
death feels
kind of right.

Mortality
has a way
of sidling.

I wake up,
ingest toxins,
and stare
at white adobe.

I turn in, and then,
it turns out nothing
has changed, really;
I just squint some more.

SIDE B

I sign other people's names
on credit card receipts
for things I didn't even want.

I have a name unlike others
except for that of my progeny.

I have life like many others
and that takes years to accept.

One day, someone says,
"It’s over now," and so it is...

Brookstone

I've got a head full
of black widows
burning bushes.

My toes are split
like jammed
logs in denial.

Three rivers of tears
can't possibly cleanse
these oily hands.

I go to work
like everybody
I've ever known.

Do you appreciate
what the electric cats
do for your pleasure?

Burdened

some prefer a rusted cage
some prefer a coal mine

some go speeding
on back roads at night

some just prefer the scent
of fresh apples before flight

the views from above
are as skewed down below

dreams shorten and sink
as we drown in the shallow

Centrifuge

I drink Rolling Rock
because I prefer
max transparency
in speech and poison;
I eat little most weeks,
because I am a nomad
in my mind, forgetting
the objective of my self.

I want to stand still
with the marble trees,
but instead, I am a wilting
aluminum petal, soiled
by all the local debris
floating between lily pads,
and drifting through weeds
in long-winded oil fields.

I spend my weekends
banging my brains
against salty bricks
like a crusted crony,
listening to robots
on a decrepit Android
after an extra long week
of derailing the details.

These roads to run are long;
nobody knows me, actually.

I am some kind of grouch,
but really only internally,
and I guess that's okay.

I drag all the world's anvils;
I'm sorry about the crumbs.

I still get carded at bars,
but only with company,
and I guess that's okay.

Youth is a myth we polish;
humans must rapidly rust.

Chronicled Times

There are no mistakes
if there are no stakes
in this world of pain.

Know your worth,
know your self.

(A to Z, 1-2-3, and in-between)

I don't know what
I am doing anymore.

It's imperative in this life
to make at least one mistake
every day until you're too weak.

Cinema Seeds

Skunks crawled in
through the kitchen window,
but I didn't notice—
I was busy itching
in the warm darkness
down the hallway.

Some hills have eyes;
the ones behind my house
just have dust and dirt,
slowly turning
into the greenish hologram
I was promised as a child.

Movies are illusions;
reality is a nightmare.

Circles Run Around

Quench
for the
drench!

This hearth
is a voided me,
wholly-massed,
encompassing
intrepid rage
begotten, yet
not forgotten.

Arrested
by the
aggressors!

Circus Linens

Some feelings,
like soft drugs
in the Valley,
are hard to sniff.

No time for dreams,
no time for dreamers,
no time for dreaming.

What is the point
of waking up when
staring at the stucco
gets you just enough?

Commitment

For the love
of one, we must
give in to both
wants and needs.

For the hope
of love, we must
not give up on
either and leave.

Cynic's End

A cigarillo is stamped out
on the wet concrete
outside my adobe abode.

A few yards away,
empty cans grow
with the fresh weeds.

Stray lives sit and stare
at what they cannot have:
an incomprehensible vision
standing front and center,
strategically striking away
at peripheral threats, yet
not offering any head to toe
tangible solutions either.

We all want to be sensible,
but how can we know what
that even really means to us?

We say we need to see to believe,
but don't we need to feel things
in order to properly know them?

Feel with your hands,
feel with your hearts.

Hear with caution,
listen with virtue.

View everything
in and out of sight.

Sit tight and try to digest
all of the strained skepticism.

Smoke in the sky,
far and widely
considered a sign.

Draw in on the dried-
out pulses, lying limp,
limbs askew, holes agape.

Don't apologize for being.

Day Is Doomed

Pulling nails
out of every
micro density
fiber of bored
beingness be
cause why not?

In the low fare
home deposit
game I am no
where to be
found and any
ways I must be.

Deadbeat World

Who would dare
fine for survival?

The shitter is full;
no pots for pissing.

A slight crack
in the flat ass
called my life
is moistening.

Benjamin can be
so cold in spring,
like black India ink
in a bathroom sink.

Who would spread
wings off the hook?

I am done with Earth,
at least as I know it.

Deaf Reception

We're in helpless
times, coping
is crucial; copy
some type, face
the future—I know
where I'm going,
and I don't need
a semi-stranger
to botch my biz.

Stuck between
Chinatowns
and flimflammed
at the theater,
dusk settles
like resplendent
and/or redundant
correspondence.

Edit your editors;
lead your leaders—
they'll only let you
down, and from up
here, it looks worse
than it is, but intuition
tells us it's still shit.

Deep Dive Fiction

Noir like no other—
the fog tumbles
like kosher applesauce,
and the hash wears off
until I'm worn down.

My follicles bulge
at the follies of man;
no life is private,
especially not mine.

How sublime is the night
when it's just us two,
eating pizza like teenagers?

I am unaware of failure,
because I can't stop trying.

Dia:Grammar

Commas
between
commerce.

Dashes
among
gashes.

Puncture
statements
assertively.

Assemble
questions
markedly.

What
about
now?

Doggerel

Boxed wine, refracted in plastic!

Each of my limbs
are numb from the opioids,
and they are scarred
from before I climbed
the beacon of my youth.

I forgot the semi-colon,
I forgot the hyphen—
or is it a dash?

I lifted the wrong desk,
but I was a hunchback then—
the cleanest addict you've seen.

We are all refugees,
bathing in isolation,
proud to be alive.

Imagine Kirchner,
picture Kokoschka,
painting snuff films
together in a motel
off a planar highway.

Cue the swimming pool jam...

Double Jeopardy

From seven
in the morning
until eleven
at night,
I am a
door.

Pass
through
me to know
where we stand,
and stand distilled
for just a moment.

Dry Stream / Wet Steam

With a knotted stump
and these pelted shins,
I slide my soles across
the new mud stirred
about by some force.

Their intention
was to dig up,
but depression
keeps them down.

When I see loners,
I cross my fingers
around milked nights.

I see Jerusalem
in my daydreams.

No sand or dirt no more.

E-Zone

The hardest part
of being alive
is that nobody
ever says how
they really feel
about you
until you die.

Death cannot
be feared;
it is always
here or near;
it is with us
until it's against.

Above or below,
the living things
are bound to be-
come ashed cigs;
there is no order.

You can read
about death,
but it's unknown
until it knows you.

I have killed
so many bugs
on highways.

I exist online,
but live offline.

Oh, the webs we weave...

Early Retirement

I use a palette knife
to slice my apples—
red or green,
it’s always a gift.

Words never end,
you know?

They can dance
like fantasies,
like fetishized women
in modernist paintings.

Can I be honest?

I think I have
maybe seen
enough
Matisse motifs
to last me
until the Internet
really does break.

At that point,
I will baby wipe
my old books
and remember
why I ever cared
about art
in the first place.

East, West / Here, There

Every day,
I drink tea.

I wake up
in realism.

People
abstract
every
thing.

I do,
too.

We speak
in vagaries.

We act like
static screens,
begging to be
vagabonds in

a stigmatic rite,
merciless to will.

And like a prayer,
I bleed onward out.

Ego Hatch

In the time of id,
I was an it;
a superlative
other, wise
to the how...

crack now,
with the weight
of a queued-up
whistle punk—
grounded
questions
to the core...

an extra ex-vagrant?

Empath Curve

I was a woman
for the first time
last year and I am
never looking back

I was a more a metaphor
last year no surprise life
and I am looking forward
to learning limitless living

The most profound poetry
is unaware of boundaries
and only acknowledges
the feelings of feelings

Once feelings are felt
they can be enacted
at such high volume
silence embraces all

Engorged Exposure

In capturing a sum of fruit flies
on psychic concrete love seats
under these peach-plum skies,
I am reminded of the first time
she ever spoke to me outside
the home I was told to build;
and it's not like structure is
as firm as you're informed
it is when you're still kind
of foundational, relative
to now or then or some
other form of time, eh?

Filthy Rules

Adopt the dogged days
you wish could be yours.

Climb trees and survey
the swamp-ass life below.

My parents believed
this was possible,
because theirs told them
this was possible.

But they, like me, stand
in the sunken mud pile.

This viscous mess holds us tight,
and we wait for the dirt to dry.

Find Your Place

A broken clock
is an o'clock
at least once
a day, maybe.

Time is not kind;
but it is a flat draft.

Space lacks grace;
but it is not easy.

A map is a map,
and the lines
will still divide
no matter the folds.

Flat-Footed Coffee Table

We live in one universe,
but we also live in our own
worlds most of the time—
reality is mainly a business.

War isn't merely a surface read
or a televised natural disaster.

The sanded isolation
of fear and forgetting
permeates everything,
and everything perverts.

Find solace in solitude;
feel virtuous in attitude.

The number of ways
an individual can thumb
their nose and thump
expectations is a wonder.

Truly, disappointment
is some achievement.

Fog

To capture and caption
the current madness
of this starry world
is to simply awaken
the dormant selfish lies
we tuck away nightly.

Foul Motions / Take Action

Dry shaving
on the 710,
I mirror all my
fine trappings.

A day in stride;
a year of strife.

Hey, I'm no stranger
to signed-in fiction;
I'm prefacing lines
for a real insurrection.

Ghosting

Stabbed
on a Sunday,
I pray for once,
but to whom or to what?

I am maybe more
spirited than I seem,
but not wholly so,
and so I kneel
in the shower
once again:
"Let it reign.

Google: Street View

All of my days
are bending
like Catholics,
and I am broken
like a wet phone
with a limp charger.

Leaders are so pithy;
so why do we follow?

Go between cracks,
and slither through
all back alleys—
a pious pickpocket,
a penned self-portrait,
a posh porch on a poor house.

Growing

Eating
seeds
in
grass

until

days
sprout
into
death.

Gulag Slog

Time for tomorrow.

Oh, I always try to eat
the ornamental verbs
on some paltry, salty
adverbial salad wedge.

You thought I was
going with proverbial;
you thought I was
at least somewhat
prophetic, but really,
most of my parables
are just exercises like
Sunday slalom skiing.

I've got Mondays, always,
which is why I'm so rich
as a poet, yet also, poorer
than my hungry grandpa.

Eat, drink, and be miserable.

Harsh Silent Buzz

I don't miss New York,
or the shit life of death,
but I do have a new grip
on the reality I have won.

[harsh]

There are two dozen
grape tomatoes rinsed
in Clorox on the floor
of my humid kitchen.

[silent]

My primary backhand
is redder than David;
it's swollen like a scrum,
but I'm better than Ezra.

[buzz]

How urgent is compassion
when nobody cares at all,
and the stakes are lower
than ever before for vamps?

Heaven Knows I'm Deliverable Now

Pull weeds just to eat,
eat shit just to survive.

Push notifications
of mere existence.

The revelation will be
teleprompted for me.

Sleeping standing up
on days off just because,
and why not sleep more?

Slipping downstream
in a gutted gurney,
the grim life blisters.

Sweeping the shit
in a vacuum world,
onward and upward.

How much for next day air?

Heavy Metal Parking Lot (2017)

When you eat with
enough assholes,
shit starts to taste
all the same, really.

Red cabbage leaves
your sanity soaked;
white men mainly dry
up your very existence.

I'm high on the side
of a suburban bluff,
squeezing oranges
and hammering texts.

A hybridized golden egg
comes around the bend,
rolling tired like spliffs,
and I'm looking for luck.

But fuck, my empty hands
are sliced and bleached;
oh, and I've lost all my socks
in these Stone Age battles.

I have made a commitment
to myself and to my rocks:
I will stop apologizing for
the effects I did not cause.

Highlights Magazine (Purgatory)

The garden is leaking.

All of these days look grey,
even in Orange County.

Signs sliding by, euthanized;
somehow details always die.

I feel like I misread
a discernible memo,
self-prescribed, no
doubt. And now, it is
a vessel constructed
out of oriented strand
board and constricted
by the static of these
trembling Pacific days.

The descent is far from
this harsh mountain view.

If the sun can swallow,
perhaps I can follow.

I'm tired of feeling old.

Home Despot

Power up
in the buffer
scratch snow
with pro nails
screw in shoes
stuck in the fund
flake out of fear
since you know
there is nothing
separating you
from friends
or enemies.

Hourglass Figures

A safari
filled with
empties—

cans and plans,
supplanted, period.

The gears here
were all ground
into the earth—

bodies mechanized,
plummeting, in plumes.

I am tempted; we all are,
and it's impetuous, always—
the days become granite,
but the lives are just dust.

Hours On End

Cramps everywhere
and nowhere to go...

Scrambling eggs
in excess to occupy
space; my skull wallet
is emptied on tables...

What time is it, Internet,
and when can I just be?

Humping

Abbreviated progress—
a midday drag,
slumped like a sandwich
left out overnight;

and now, I'm standing
by myself at Kinko's,
questioning the lag
in attitude, the lack
of staples, and lately,
the feeling of having
a crow in my throat.

The whitening of teeth
is an arduous task,
never considered before
trickle-down nonsense.

I am rinsing out my mouth
before I speak from here
on out, but in the meantime

I think I'll just enjoy this smoke.

Icebreakers

This mallrat is like the others;
his hair is boardwalk-bleached.

Buttery split vessels;
bronzed in an oil spill.

Slow-cooked dude ranch;
exclamatory renegade tacos.

His tongue is taunting trees;
more blood on the concrete.

Poison on the yoga mat;
candy crud, fielding calls.

Praying iron mantis;
black forest hammock.

No more bulbblegum bullshit;
no more fancy-ass pushcarts.

Another prodding sponge;
another arthritic nudge.

Porous loveseat for us both;
award season, space needed.

Egghead, bedhead;
belted whistles on par.

Death metal resurrection;
pastels look good on you.

Frankenstein foot in mouth;
this tombstone says nothing.

Genre trauma;
but wow, culture.

Idiom Winds

So I am cracked up
and broken down
from head to toe
and the sky is dark;

oh, omitted emissions
burn the soulless,
and Faustian soles
tear up with age,

yet concrete poetry
in the countryside
makes me feel like
somehow more alive;

but free range organic
art fare makes me
roll my eyes pretty
much all the time.

Infinite Whatever

A sissy does not need
a spectrum to exist—
the continuum of what
is hung on a line of huh?

This conversation here
is likely going nowhere;
I like you regardless
of your lack of sense.

I lie, standing up, and
you lie, facing away—
from me, among all
others, don’t you?

I am a sissy, but then
again, no I am not;
I am a sissy, but then
again, gender is naught.

Intimate Scrib

Clicking thumbs
against digits
outside of a 76,
I fondly recall sex
in foreign bedrooms.

The molten semen,
the muted televisions.

But I'm pumping gas,
and your pimping
yourself against
the mean streets
of a country in crisis.

Iron Chef

Cutlery pond
gone overboard;
are you bored?

Is that why
your hands
are so warm?

Is that why
the Formica
is so viscous?

Did you choose
to go the distance,
or did you just slip?

It Thing

Soak in suds
until the law
is disorderly;

reign in the game,
delight in the night,
stay in on off days;

ease up and go easy,
unless rough times
grind on the trade;

no more pressure
on the back side
of frumping slumps;

let the bed bugs
clog my ear drums,
and I'll disappear;

words swipe like
plastic or metal
at Whole Foods;

hungry for health,
tired of the fatigue,
over the underdog.

Joshing

a message
a minute
for hours
upon ours

Less Manliness

I was a man
until I was not.

I became
a pretzel,
knotting
myself
into and
unto my
self and
god, how
salty I have
become now.

I was a man
until I was not.

Levels

My name is not Kevin;
how is my chest shedding
feathers? I'm much lighter
now than I was last fall.

My shell is dry,
but I'm still soaked
in the epicenter
of a slanted season.

I'm hungry
for authenticity;
I'm fed up with
Roman spectacles
and Swiss reactions.

Too many sausage links
and holes in the cheese.

Audiovisual hysteria is here.

I feel terror in my fingertips,
I steal twilight from the ground.

Gaudy simulacrum is near.

In the balding park,
I palm global technology
and suck on chemicals.

The shored-up storyboard
is no longer safe from censors;
culled sacks suffocate en masse.

To wit to who:
where and when
we're all complicit.

How I've watched the clearing
of such close ones like a room
after a windy garbage fart.

Now, I watch a bronzed baby
spin fables like a large Czech
grandmother at the market.

Being alone is a choice,
being lonely is a lifestyle;
there is nothing about lies
that doesn't lead to divides.

Live and die by yourself
if you'd rather not live
by the rules or, well, die
with those who are ruled.

License

An appeasing acquaintance
stole a couple of my commas,
and left a note in the morning.

Life as a Boner

These days, nights
are somehow bleaker
than sheets on streets.

Wet and wild
in a dry world,
these dreams
come and go
and get caught
in data banks
to return looks
with testy texts.

Cutting lines,
copying mimes,
pasting gluten
to the filthy stove
as dairy products
leak through cracks
from behind, and
my new light bulb
just went limp.

Filthy eyes on filthy minds,
but that's the best part—
I mean, what's a jerk, really?

Live Flipping

A nuclear cold mind
in upstate New York;
a dubious interview
reviewed in reverse.

I once tried being a vegan
while I was dating a psychic;
shit, smoking still looks cool.

But now I know how palm trees
are as shady as fists are chill.

It's fine to go into ghost mode.

All sheets get softer in spring,
while I still shiver like a larch.

Uh, blackouts are mainly like
subconscious hallucinations;
I mean, I'd say probably, right?

Oh, and motion sickness
on substitute trains goes
both ways below the belt,
especially on days off.

May Day

Spilled fruit punch
on my chest while
running with dogs;

pounding my heart,
stringing me along
a short-leashed road;

there is blood under
the waterboarded
bleach boy basin;

it's wet on the floor,
it's dry in my eyes,
no tears for bitches;

don't you know how
nothing is beyond
itself in the rummage?

Me in Reverse

I'm shaking on tiles;
one thing at a time.

Intolerance after midnight?

Kids don't willfully joke;
it just happens, right?

Ineptitude in the morning?

I'm driving for miles;
one thing at a time.

Mentality

A brain is a job.

In the mornings,
I lose something.

I trip on my tongue,
and the temple turns
to crummy rubble.

Language is like oatmeal—
words are just mush
that can be dressed up,
but only if you want.

Mind Over Manners

Does it please you
when I thank you?

Just to be clear...

I am grateful
for every meal
you make me eat...

&&&

I am starving when
you leave me for
weeks on end...

Still to be just...

Does it please you
when I thank you?

Musical Stools

The streets smell
like a deli franchise
in these mighty winds.

God's piss drenches
the foliage, and now
I have the taste of kale
beneath my tongue.

Stories are getting spicier,
and I cannot stomach any
more of this roughage shit.

All hail a hellish ride now
to the gutter punk caucus,
and get raucous with the rest
down in these tweedy bowels.

Nature: A Scandalous Forum

Culpable commodities
spread across and strewn
about scrawling pages—
a scroll, a screed, nothing
that any of us actually need.

Flowers on bountiful tits,
like some pollinated pasties
for those without allergies—
the natural life is something
we seem to have forgotten.

Hands go unnoticed when
they have been shaken down
and feet can't click fast enough.

Make an extra wish for me,
so that I can stay here longer
than the doctor said I could.

Cold beds and warm bodies;
the natural life; what we need.

Nimby, Go Home

Teeth say goodbye,
and shit stains clothes
like an Irish car bomb
somewhere in Boston.

These dubious dealings
sustained on the Fenway
are just tea-stained sulks.

Local news anchors
shoot the breeze
and windy servers
cash out the cooks.

I guess you're hungry;
we all are, but most
of us are near starvation.

Karaoke coup d'état:
I'll just sing like Stevie
while I slit my fingers
with ceramic memories.

No Country for Old Ideas

Tell me about
the first time.

Not sex—
that's rarely
an interesting story.

Tell me about
the first time
you served
yourself a raw
deal, happily.

I want to hear
why you wake up
in the darkness
the sun casts
on us daily.

Your rhetoric
flows freely
like the Willamette.

I'll always devour
your fresh rolls whole.

No World Order

we have built
more lies with
nothing beyond
tongues maybe
tendrils mayhem
lost in plain sites

Obtuse Legacy

I will write from the grave
like a graceful penman.

I will die on a switchback lathe
like a dashiki dude on record.

You hear that?

The old bebop line cook
scrambled his story again,
and now, my tits are fried.

What'd you say?

Motors are generally the same,
meaning there's no escape
from a gridlocked grip of land.

I'll repeat from the start...

I want to try to make amends
with every person I have left
or rightly driven away from me,
but amendments are ignored.

So instead, I suppose I'll die;
and while I'm high in the sky,
I'll force people to whisper
about like neo-political birds.

On a Road

Some kind
of luck on
a guilt trip.

Askew,
eschew,
anew...

Our memories
go for miles
until they crash.

Orthopedic Current

I swallowed pebbles
in the parking lot
of the Adventists.

My back was bending
me to the surface level
like I was in a quarter
life crisis all over again.

I blocked a barge—
stet line items, tasked—
I blocked a barrage
of random inquiries
from a new wave bot
a few weeks later.

Stretching, terribly,
for good measure.

With each customary duty,
it gets harder to float
in this Neolithic strait;
wave on the wavering needs
of a meagerly waged war.

So long to all goodbyes.

Ounces

Adherence is ambivalence,

and Velcro tears at my torso
as bubbles rumble inside.

My belly is a bonfire;
there's no prep for hell.

So I suck on bottles
in the Latin club
to wash away
the stress of sins;
you know, nothing
is as simple as tacos,
and I simply prefer
nothing over you.

I feel the weight
of carbs and guilt.

I see the sorrow
in your closed eyes.

I think I'll close mine, as well.

Parked in Pasadena

If we were dead poets,
you would be the one
with your brain in flames,

and I guess, in the grass,

I would be the one writing
about your weathered head
while drinking burned coffee.

Pentagram Ashes

So then I watched
a new old friend
snort Benadryl
at a reservoir
about an hour
after we both
saw a stranger
get arrested
after he bombed
K-Pop karaoke
at his estranged
niece's bat mitzvah.

He was a drunkard:
the annoying type,
who drinks fancy rye
and pukes in loafers.

She was a princess:
the annoying kind,
who describes islands
in terms of dimensions.

Some bitches will definitely
be clapping inner elbows
at some point later tonight.

Take a nap if you must
in order to kiss the dust
like a Boricuan cherub.

This grafted fire
is going nowhere.

Post-Gaze Spread

Repeat and recycle
garbled content.

The times get posted
infinitely, inevitably.

A conduit, a vessel,
a charged trestle;
we all walk above
and sink down below.

Glitches on the grind
keep toes on the line.

Professional proletariat;
no validation necessary.

Post-Millennial Blues

Days say goodbye,
months move along,
years go on forever.

The litter piles
like a cat tower
to see or be seen,
and thin lines blur
straight and narrowly
escape light cruising.

The world is deaf
and blind; no tone
in the shallow zone.

I am a plotting pauper
with a skirt for a prince;
I strive to elevate spirits,
despite the intercom
broadly screeching,
"We're going down!"

The lever is broken,
as are the latches;
fear is near or here.

Lock fingers loosely,
and linger on horizons;
let's be one and a half
together and confer
to no longer defer
for the sake of others.

Refrain from the "do you"
mentality that has done
us such a grave disservice.

Public Records

The racket,
the rubble,
and the rubbish
that blanket us
in a vitrine
of treason;

the accretion leaves us
asking what is the point
of somehow sheltering
the lamented ones?

Yesterday was religious:
I burned my fingertips,
and cleansed my sins
with an antiseptic rinse.

The fruit I swiped
from the gallery
was as infected
as the machine

that ingested
the paperwork
I claimed from court,
and now I must assess
what can lie out
in the cold desert.

Questionable Vestibule

This night has been wrung.

Insufferable
or
intolerable?

An inquiry
is an entrance;
a resolution
is an exit.

Conceive strategies
for every new day;
heed all distractions,
take pleasure in desire.

Wake up as a dog,
run endless errands
for futile satisfaction,
and lose respect
for embraced servitude.

I am free of shackles,
but my car is stapled
to my forehead
and my chin
is full of rubble.

Reckless Caws

Focus on scooped dung,
if that's what you must,
but do your neighbors
some form of a favor
and wipe your chin up
with the filthy local rag.

Scratch that acidic note;
indifference is nothing
but a stopgap measure,
and the math is marginal.

Resistance requires more,
and persistence is more
than a preference; persist
if you insist, and please insist
if you prefer not to plummet.

Sharing is caring,
so ought we not care
about what is shared?

No news is bad news.

We must demand supply
in order to get the facts.

Recycled Gigs (Meta Data)

When asses
and club feet
smell the same,
games become
more hands-on
and waxed-off.

I listen to her rhythm,
and I eat the eggshells
I've solely been stamping
all over until supper time.

Now, at breakfast,
I greet my Jesuit dog
with a pound of lox,
and we slowly stroll down
old metropolitan lanes,
shielding the truck lot.

He's officially a poet now,
but he's been wise with words
since long before he recorded
them like a clerk on lunch.

We ride the bus to the last stop:
together, forever, and indebted.

Please don't cloy the boys
during happy hour, okay?

Rhetoric

Words cannot be
ignored, after all.

Once they are said,
written, heard, or read...

there they are for us all,
to be used plentifully.

They are actions, themselves;
they are preemptive, just being.

Hanging around in clauses,
causing trouble at times.

In place of words, we have
nothing else to guide us, really.

Scribing & Shriving

I'm breaking crackers
Like a crooked brother
Drunk on back sweat
In the Jurassic delights
Of hemi-equated nights

How Latin of me to sing
Sunshine in a dark age

I'm speaking archaeologically
Of course my tongue is bent

I'm not a cultural tourist
I travel lightly in the heavy

How Roman of me to think
Darkness is but a number

The palms are smoking
Once again and five times
The highest forehead now
Seeing double in the glaring
Triage of ghost progeny

Shook Fool, Like How

shove pliers
into screw holes
and drive cars
into curbsides

find security
in television
while television
secures nothing

this abdomen
is in army knots
as this heartbeat
has paused again

not even the drugs
in West Hollywood
can lift present lives
for future moments

go on and get yours
go on get your eagle
America is nothing
without the dickovers

Skin Tears

There is nothing
sensitive or sensible
about looking up
at a nuclear medusa
or down at a dog.

Cut teeth and nails,
and paste headlines
in their vacuous place.

These dull knees
scrape their scraps;
these feet control
all their own traffic.

I am a man among men.

I roll up sleeves,
I elbow the grease,
and I get sick like
a celebrity's niece.

Nausea from denial,
a trial in the sun—
bring it all to light!

Toe to toe,
yes can mean
maybe, but also
most definitely
more like no.

Slippery

I smell oil
blown onto backs
like the breath
of an alcoholic.

Choking on menthol,
dreaming of mint.

My branches rot,
my brain is stumped.

Solitude is something—
winter is a land of nothing,
no matter the location,
and sockets tear all the same.

So Forward

Back to now,
here we are.

The present
is a gift, left
at the door,
undesired.

No room
to budge.

Sports Bra

the cyclops
stares back
every day
the sun
decides
to shine
its light
on my eyes
and cotton
breathes in

State of Mind

The only place
I have ever missed
is New Jersey.

This small, sprawling garden,
filled with gradient skin tones
and cities packed in
less than two hours
from New York to Philadelphia
reveals mystic delights
to only those
willing enough
to make an effort.

The parts move in place,
forming some sort
of deformed dumbbell,
lifting for others elsewhere
and getting sweat on
from all sides, really—
the armpit of America
is a hairy treasure,
perhaps luckily left alone.

Trenton says
they make
and the world takes.

This may no longer be true,
but the past due phrase
still wafts profound poetry
far beyond
the brisk Delaware current.

William Carlos Williams
studied ideas in things
like an inquisitive child
for no less than a lifetime.

I am jealous of great men,
knowing
that my time
can and likely will
come earlier
than most of them.

Yet in my youth,
in which I suppose I still
somewhat somehow exist,
I say
match ambivalence
with benevolence.

I want to live like New Jersey
where that is all that is required.

Sup Dial

"It's noon again,"
says the Lord.

Cold sores
and sting rays
give Saturday
a bad name.

Hey, in Long Beach,
I drink my ethnic
beverage delights
and double-down
on raised-up plights;
how quaint is sand?

I'm sifting through
life like a decathlete
without a Timex watch;
and now, I guess I'm lost.

Mondays are for dying;
Fridays are for living on.

Supine

Breath like citrus,
a bed to piss in,
and life is just, well,
the same as death.

I am privately eying
the golden years
I'll never quite know.

My body is forever full
of secrets, of course.

Bowled over; struck down.

Template

My spine is a nightmare,
bending with the world;
my limbs are as loose
as politicians' morals.

I double-down
on the XXX manifest;
by any means necessary,
I won't get any rest.

I've got a sink full of filth,
nails clipped to guilt,
and a week's worth
of semi-sorted sorries.

Damp floorboards,
frozen getaway,
reality television
in a surveilled nation.

The Wire

Trust in nothing
Trust in no one

I was a workhorse
I was a unicorn

Now I am a preposition
Lost at an intersection

I got way too high again
With my dad on holiday

And we confused initials
Like shoes on the wire

Thursday Mourning

Black olives
and green ones
too swimming
in a Tapatio lagoon.

Spices and vices
tumbling guts at noon.

I got the breeze
from a coyote
after taking shots
at a Japanese saloon.

You can't rush therapy
when you're a half-loon.

Tiki Bar Trash

There are limited modes
of accepted existence,
and I refuse to accept
any of the pronged
options. Don't ask
me to convince you
of my position, as it
really is hinged upon
the door that was shut
on me when our house
was emptied like a belly
on a hellish holiday hurdle.

Today

An eagle struggles
in quicksand
as trains derail
in every town
that still runs.

[break]

A man named Mark
told me I smoke regally
as I looked into the sun,
with drip coffee in hand.

[pause]

A toad supports
itself among
the massive
towed line
stuck in mud.

Tombstone

Keith J. Varadi:
Lover of typing,
hater of typos.

Trending Lives

A gypsy leaves
jammed doors open,
while Western worlds
close borders off
to those in need
of a comforter.

Meteorologists
are panicking
at the cold fronts,
now so ubiquitous.

Post-industrial beings
are collectively listening
to nobody but themselves,
taking family members
on a dark downward spiral,
spun out by accordion hands.

Metallic claps reign
like Great Plain thunder,
and we stand in the arena
of mortal bewilderment.

Unibrow Sunshine

a splitting of hairs
in the gaps of teeth
the moon will polish
all the tumbleweed

Unresolved Mysteries

The space between
slashes is life or death.

The space between
is an overused idiom,
unfinished on purpose,
somehow without any.

The space between
lovers—living, dying.

Varardi in Lepizig (2017)

I care about two things:
the now and the later.

I want to be great now;
I want to be greater later.

[pause] RESUME [pause]

Backfired narratives
thrown in reverse
for seventy or so
nonplussed years,
but who's counting?

One grave sight
to such sour eyes.

Three poured tastes
for more lapsed tongues.

Oh, but...

I'm nothing more than
a skeleton lucky enough
to have some things.

I eat, I sleep, I breathe.

On occasion, I say
the wrong word
or I act regrettably.

Oh, well...

Nothing can be corrected
for which I have no control.

And the best picture goes to
the one I created in my dreams.

Is it at all amusing to you
how much I torture myself
to be better than I can be,
or do you just wish I'd leave
you alone and leave, period?

[pause] RESUME [pause]

Is it fearful to you
that I don't fear death?

Is it reassuring to you
that I still feel fear?

Very Wary, Very Weary

I am peanut brittle today,
buried beneath and between
cotton types—the claw looms
like a Reagan-era mistress.

The sweet stuff is siphoned
until all that can be tasted
is salty; this is no way to eat,
this is no way to feel, period.

How many years must be
elliptically elocuted in order
for us to snap back in question,
or moreover, in exclamation?

For now, on this grey morning—
the second day of the first month
of a new year—there are two options:
tread heavily in dog shit, or lose bones.

I’m not prepared to do either, really,
but how does one prepare for anything?
Practice does not make perfect, as you
know, and perfection is naught anyways.

Vitality

I am an anorexic tapeworm
trapped inside my own body.

I am a patient surgeon
at an urgent care facility
in a strip mall not so far
from downtown Vegas.

I am the fluids on the floor
and you are the loving mop.

Washing Space

Chalk balks
outlining
steel hearts
in ruins out
of grace
and smog
with wit
and mercy
and wolves
devour raw
burger plates.

Weakened Grease

Obstructed justice
in the time of survival:
reality wasn't won on air,
for it is a shell of the game
that only it plays within.

I am merely a stranger
away from the abyss;
I am just one day of seven,
flipping out, turning in
on the precedents.

WebMD

I woke up
boiled over
like a bad egg.

I caught paranoia
like a babushka
with a flyswatter.

I feel like an indoor cat
who just wants to play
with the dogs outside.

The soil is salty,
the rain is acidic,
the daze is fervent.

Computers are
pulling triggers
without warning.

But we're animals,
and animals can kill
computers if we want.

When A Thing Is

The icebox
is unwarranted,
and the stank
of the corridor
is arresting.

The roof is on fire—
dawning circuits,
burning winter.

Repetitive motives—
embraced and enacted,
crushing and melting.

Sandy hair adhered
to the fringe focus,
coughing up ashes
scattered on sponges
used to clean perception.

While Flaking

Are you
sick enough
to try to clean
your half-baked
ideas out of ovens
and correspondence?

Drain your brain load,
empty your accounts,
move out to the desert
and stop drinking water.

Our bonfire is raging on
like a a blunt object
cheekily applied
to surface level
support shells,
wilting inside.

Winded in G Sharp Major

Generic salty crackers
crumble in cold dish soap
as fingernail clippings
scrape against eardrums.

Used garments get torn up
in washed-out arguments
as intellectual properties
sell themselves out to see.

The death of a salesman
could not be embraced
any more than it is today.

That Previa over there
can fit three generations
from its head to its tail.

Taxi to tacos during the week;
kimchi jitney on the weekends.

Don't throw metaphors at me;
literally throw me under a bus.

I am nothing more than dust...

Ask yourself what you must.