oh i remember this

fyi i haven't updated this blog since 2011. been kinda busy.


it's been a while

but here's what i read in dc a few weeks ago. it's a series that is supposed to take place at a place called big bear, but had to be relocated, and of course i had written everything for big bear.


So thin there four no three “he said it freaked him out; our most honest conversations have been when he was drunk and I was out of my mind” he locked her in their room to sleep

now you look appropriately evident scalp is soil not suggestion hair is baby hair is baby it was like holding an Easter ribbon from within the hymnal then to drop carefully atop the trash the hair not the ribbon as in the tricks to hold your pants up

I’m in the woods I’m in the water the only thing between me and the sea are my parents in their bed their breathing rolling in and out unconcerned oh brother oh brother Grandmom is trapped between the adjoining rooms like a little farting gnome between me and the sea my parents between doors the one who is waiting to die and trying to give my chocolates back

Various contrived postures of surrender loose ends into bedrooms of heirlooms alchemy of time when things fall apart is or is not conditional depending on who are you now I mean who you are now

It does matter it does matter what you say when it’s the last thing it never doesn’t matter this saying there is no parallel to form there is nothing over there was what was said it sat and has sat continuously in absence and yours and years after your under

You look better, more friar-y
You look more like a person and less like a lollipop
He calls you The Bear
The hair is what I’m getting at here, and your new fingernails, and your new skin
My grief has been

Poems Written for Big Bear, Including that Last One, Sight Unseen and Now Not Even Applicable, So Instead for a House and the Bears Within It, More than Three

Wade is a nice name because it is a verb and connotes the obvious (slick rocks under water; you are with your friend)
Thank you, Wade
Bears live near the river

Some Things I Know About Bears

-there are many kinds, but the best is either the panda or the black bear
-most of the time their feet turn inward
-they are born in pairs or sometimes trios. I don’t think there is ever just one or maybe that’s why
-they are never as brown as you expect
-black bears trot with hunchbacks at dusk across the road
-bears live near the river
-something about Teddy Roosevelt

Emotionality of Bears

-bears do not tuck their bellies into their pants in the cemetery on Easter and don’t go there just to hang out
-bears do not constantly orient and try to look fulfilled or devoted to writing
-bears see the sun but don’t think of it as shy or as too aligned
-bears do not see loose dogs as bad people
-bears are not always melancholy when meeting themselves, but they perceive peace as sadness, boredom as sadness, fatigue, complacency, comfort, all sadness. They satiate, they prefer novel things, those that require vigilance, attention, not-homeness, anything but familiar or cows blanketed in gray or rough, assertive grass (actually bears don’t mind that) or Sunday; anything but upstairs or wait or pent-up. they might sort and keep urban with accuracy, recognize rote and name and personal information to keep just right at the ready and chance of rain. If they are hungry they do not ignore their hunger. However, they do not want to peel shrimp and break the shell and pinch the legs and tear away from the body.

Bears in Literature

J A Tyler wrote recently, “I felt like the bear wanted to say something, wanted to speak, but instead he just sat at the table I had built, in this second house, dejected.”
This is all becoming more appropriate; I didn’t know I had included such house things

Bears as Men

It might be dangerous to be part of any community that does whatever the opposite of anthropomorphizing is, no, that’s not really the issue; bears have roles too.

Bears in Education

I know seven little bears. Some of their very favorite pastimes include rocking and not rocking. One of them will one day be the world’s greatest theremin player. Many people see the little bears as not-bears when it is they themselves who are not-bears. I don’t know why this isn’t more obvious to everyone.

Cuddle Outlier

It took Temple Grandin like 20 years before she understood category dog
To understand category bear all you have to understand is run
Except in the case of the koala
So he cries, calls me “sir,” says everyone should go to work, that’ll be seven dollars
I don’t know why this isn’t more obvious to everyone

There is No Bear There (This Might be a Little Gross)

First he was hiking with his friend
Next he got between the mother and her cub
Then she bit off the front of his head
Last he was fishing with sunglasses on

First they realized the chimpanzee sanctuary had lost power
Next they kept getting their car stuck in the mud
Then he used a stick like this:
Last he saw his friend in a trunk without a jaw

First they were about two and a half
Next a dog came into the room
Then they explored it with their hands because they were blind
Last dog meant fur and wet and teeth and joy

Let’s retell the story together using pictures.

Ursa Major

The First Leap (for Adam Good):

two thoughts at once and the realization makes three
chase the train all the way to your mother
tell her you have dreamed of this place
you built your own house for someone else
there are herons

the little bear’s head is a planet pushing down
on his body
his allergies are too bad to go out in the spring
when it rains his body fills up and pushes back
so that he can roll down the window and
swim to his mother,
who is on the shore with cough drops
waiting to breathe on him

can I bring him with me to the herons
can we figure out why a bear in a car
with a planet for a head,
trapped underwater
do you live near the mountains or the sea

The Second Leap:

it’s not the crashing thing, it’s the ball of metal
hurtling through the atmosphere thing

Johannes Hevelius drew the bear “as if being
viewed from outside the celestial sphere”
according to Wikipedia
how presumptuous
how extravagant
and solid
(on the part of Johannes Hevelius I mean)

connect, and animals, and sudden boundaries
that their fur should muffle all this jabber
that they should sleep curled against the dome
fetal and insulating and blanketed grandly
by their own dust and stuff

The Third Leap:

O constellations, you enable me to do things like
listen to Ave Maria on repeat for two hours
and feel like I am in The Squeeze Machine
the window is open
the neighbors light fireworks for a death
fireworks then TV tower then pollution then plane then
satellite then stars then puppy-like curl

I will forget who I am, or idiom
Big Bear says this is the spice of life
Plurality in asterisms
Poems written for a house
Big Bear, help me with a transitional object
I need to know what is expected of me
And what types of rugs

And Finally, Conversation Between Human and Bear Inhabitants of the House

For this one you have to imagine a very small cat-like bear airborne but with its feet hanging floppily down, wearing a serious expression, floating backwards up the staircase and then reappearing over to the left, and back around and up the stairs over and over, really fast.

See that one on the end? I think that’s an Adbusters or something that I’ve had for like ten years but now it just marks ten years. Remember when I used to clean the kitchen and you would

well that one time you jumped from the roof to the top of the air conditioner

Why is this so sad

Because the very small cat-like bear is expressionless. Because the agency is not with the very small cat-like bear. Because the agent is invisible and the very small cat-like bear is oblivious, in terms of being in oblivion, not clueless, in fact he’s very aware. He is making no Biblical reference.

Possibilities for what happens between the top of the stairs and the re-entry into the frame.

Very small cat-like bear dry cleaning rack and alteration center, which would explain a lot about all of you

My cat is still alive, his legs make V’s, his head, he has nystagmus or something, it’s really noticeable in the morning when I walk toward him. His name is Otis. I named him Otis for you-know-who’s hospital roommate.

In the way that I wanted to be visibly aware I named my cat Otis after the roommate. I could have chosen to not even mention the hospital, after all almost all elevators are made by the company OTIS. I think there’s someone running for county council with the last name Otis.

It is impossible for me to look at my very small cat-like bear Otis and not think of his death. I am sure many people have this problem with pets, but hardly any with children. When he dies I will finally be able to hold him. I have guilt about the violence of need.

Is the very small cat-like bear rising to heaven?

You know what it’s not even sad because of the very small cat-like bear. I can’t believe I would think that. The very small cat-like bear’s body is so funny when his feet swing out. It’s the time of day.

In that way you were accessory—bricked-up fireplace, unused kitchen table. All we ever did was rearrange. When I lofted my bed some of the scrap wood had the name of a dead person on it. I had really dry skin that grossed him out and he misspelled my name in an email. I looked under his bed for death evidence and found vomit. Then later I got a very small cat-like bear and realized that happens a lot, so it could have been from his very small cat-like bear, but either way I’m sure he vomited when he died. Today Chris said that it’s a relief, when someone dies, and she dried her right eye, and I never grieved seeing someone else instead, even after what I’d said

Each part of a very small cat-like bear is a biome. One of my very small cat-like bears suffers from mosaicism.

She doesn’t really suffer, I’m kidding about that part. That very small cat-like bear could be laughing for all we know.


marfa poems, re-worked-ish

From Marfa

epic ochre

subverts other

desert going

white with color


subtle desert gesture

epic bluff

see the shrug and husks

the rock shop and the chick barn

stark is rich and wretched

hills heave epic ochre, nap agate

hear the train

heifer bodies bluff rain

bluff / sky / bluff / cinema

sky diorama

black rock imposters

lying in wait to wake and chew


as if the horizon had gently pulled your wailing body

toward its body (mute quilt)

as if you also stood wobbly in the middle of the road,


where is the boundary against which

my bones are bones, and not weather?

what star looks back

at my death?

did you realize the graduation of bluff to canyon,

gold to verdant green?

a family of brown cows in the valley,

their foreheads churning ivory?

no, your back makes letter shapes in shirts

your hair feigning monument

your hair swirls, tumbles dark

over mountains


quartz, fool’s gold, geode, gravel

silly putty, mop the stuff

military hospital, mutilated cattle

vocal lilt, daytime grotto

wax upward, where is westward

horsehair bracelet, thunderbird

grecian minnow, empty timbre,

grief is a vowel to glean and sow


not the cardinal on the fence

his red a whirl, and the wren

not the weather

why is a weather

why is our folly, and our failure

why is what if, whether intending

not-red or not-wren

why is a tether to altogether other, not-boy

not a whisper in the ear of one who

feels it in their teeth

he likes the plosive, the not-bird

the foal, watch him blink


he likes the body sock

the hot dog

the corn dog

video games

he likes to run around naked

altered dogs

he likes to take his shoes off


my parents, she thinks

my beautiful black cats

the one with diabetes,

and the other one

new organs

and clouds

I will forget who I am

or idiom


she is a doctor

just imagine

the taxonomy alone

and the insurance

hyperbole of hyperextension

cumulonimbus solipsism

all of a sudden,

clouds make cloud shapes


ranches lit flatly

somewhat autumnal

subtle color

an animal

shepherd stumbles into water

cistern churning over ground

epic ochre subverts other

sweet coyote shot and bound

or did she just describe his forehead

like a bluff, a ridge

like a gentle slope

a panicked slip

it is not like a woman

it is a mental ritual

he conjures monsters

we will be habit


this time the fireman thinks

you said cat

find your wife

yearn and pine

you are bursting with purpose

beneath your arms

her silver mane

soft sheet

you roll, and pinch

say sorry

take on shepherd

take on sheep

fool’s gold, agate, bloom, and sand

thick dark, a roof, a mouth,

clouds as freakish geometry

hair as figurative approximation

to be looked upon with sleep

my love is always almost

there is far too much tin

in my mouth there was a garden


looking out of the canyon we see men

sepia legend

churning what few leaves there are into movies

this is really something

they toil deep into thin skies

small dogs of mythology

called foolish in the mouth

braid faces over the edge of the desk

wounded birds

what language

eroded into castles, great castles

rocks remain on fire, take pictures

and while terns rake the sea for whales

abiding always with the gale

small of back what westward wheat

protectorate and feral sweat


performance at the soundry next weekend

Poetry Lab at The Soundry
Vienna, VA
8pm - 11pm

lauren bender
epic ochre subverts other (video/text performance)


mike maggio
Cloudism (two actors, a poet, a cello, and you)

from the soundry website:
"...Our goal is to develop a black box experience that features poetry amidst art, music and multi-media for a broader poetic experience..."



LV KHLL (for js)

my salim

my salim
i have followed you through
dust and desolate dreaming
hills bluff, become nothing
hills mountain

(sudden green)

(birds dip)

we swim, slip
may as well have hung

no vulture
no gore to fear
when you are near


more marfa tidbits

desert is subtler than fear


ochre subverts other


we ate at chuy's and i'm okay
we ate at chuy's and i'm okay

what does it mean that the landscape
feels familiar

should i be comforted
should i be testing for nuance

i've had moments
and others


driving with the setting sun behind you and motivating music playing, you feel like you really have purpose. the purpose is just bursting out of you. then you realize you accidentally passed your exit a long way back and now you have to drive the other way for a while, into the sun. maybe your purpose is to persevere and not die.


hawk feather!


an approach
tiny cows


who is with me in my body
whose steadfast piles going
greenish with hours


pig truck cirrus clouds rickshaw spaniels makeshift veranda gravel doves villa-ish men in hats husks walk and photograph small flowers desolate backyards one cat laundromat/ice cream parlor courthouse with a religious quality desert town desert desert texas flag bookstore railroad canopy transcendental fruit juice half-mexican supermarket succulents giddy freedom salmon white ochre tin aluminum brown variability gray maroon verdant green


what is this version of mind that does not know fear
can not conjure it under duress or open sky
instead birds in unforeseen collaboration
heat roof and sky
this mind fears being without fear
fears return to its familiar friend (recession)
a life without fear would mean another's life (a life unlived)
in my mouth there was a garden this morning
a puppy who did not share my glee
in my mind there is a more bearable ocean
wind is wind
soccer net


attempt at knowing unknowable quiet thwarted by ringing in the ears and fear of horrific coyote attack, absolute orientation, abject calm.


stark is rich
hear the train
eat to sleep
gnat to eye


agate, paul, and tonk
sanders, saws, and rock yard
house, collection, and mandolin
quiet, black hills, and habit hobby
note of thanks, modesty, and informal geology
favorite of the bunch, we marry, and he tells me of his dead wife
we hunt for rocks, sleep like cattle, and ache for rain


chicks for sale
wyatt's clumsily practiced fingers
one of each color
snow bears have white skin
and brown fur
wyatt has temporary tattoos
and an army brother

"what's over that next hill?"
asks his grandfather


hand kerchief


epic bravery
god is here i said it
want to drive through canyons
prairies and pickup
pull over and hold and behold
majestically climb on top
empirical surpassing of and
extravagant memory
let me return and then to
sky, bluff, plateau


everyone came over
ate tacos
i don't feel comfortable
with the way that man
talks to his dog



alpine again
and cloudy
and still
the cinema
sky diorama
heiffer bodies
bluff rain
bluff, sky
bluff, canyon
black rock impostors
lying in wait to wake
and chew


lamb bangers


james dean: incorrect
and now even worse

lou reed: wearing o.p.


flyin' brisket
it's so good
if i had a kid
i'd dip its litle hands
in there
and eat 'em


wrists on the wheel
baby faces
how tomorrow moves


tomorrow moves to
miniature, mundane,
altogether familiar
to dream becomes a dream
sleep in the bed like it has
an ochre comforter
the bed that echoed our color


rampant desert insists
that i am coming home to you
some devotion rendered anew
or even discovered, as a lizard

as if the horizon had gently pulled
your wailing body toward its body
as if you also stood wobbly in
the middle of the road, wondering

where is the boundary against which
my bones are bones and not weather?
what star looks back
at my death?

did you realize the graduation of
bluff to canyon?
gold to verdant green?
a family of brown cows in the valley,
their foreheads churning ivory?

no, your shoes brushed
the linoleum hallway,
your back making
letter shapes in shirts,
your body embryonic,
a turtle, resenting sleep

i am returning
but your hair swirls
tumbles dark over mountains
under it you feign rock
with steer
lie and chew
wait for rain


jukebox shuffleboard geodesic dome projections shooting out the streetlight clyde cigarettes desert flowers timothy sky dry/brown verdant/ochre clouds tumble over bluff storm bluff flat star party foosball tortillas and other corn-based products snoring sky late light flattened plateaus color-correct goathead burrs birds in cardinal on line startle response kid lizard tail catfish minnows deep underwater grasses hearts break hearts break suit


in marfa they name the washing machines
(the new ones, with their bicycles)
economic audit with quarters
mostly black agate

military hospital
mutilated cattle
vocal lilt
nighttime grotto
wax upward
where is north
horsehair bracelet
where is east
daytime agora
grecian minnow
where is north
glean and sow