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


more haiku illustration idea poems

(see below--more responses to s. barber's daily haiku. hers in italics, mine in...not italics. whatever that's called.):

hey rock, with your staid
don't mock my fluxes

quartz, fool’s gold, geode, gravel,
silly putty, all in a line

in the slow waiting
there is still the fragrance of
presumed offensive


a tree to offset
the many animals what
populate haiku

getting at the idea of an elm or maple,
but the drawing actually about woodland creatures
who would elude and allude to its texture

wooden cloth classrooms
and green ocean carpeting
choral hum of lights

just like it says, complete with hum

right on time you are
sunflower sproutling! i'm in
need of your symbol.

Aww, I am more okay with this kind of thing now. A seedling would be fine with me.

oh hale bespeckled
grass eaters, your turf is cast
in east side glory

feral cat or a type of ground-bird
a pheasant would be inappropriate given your neighborhood

here at the movies
a beam of light makes me cry
it is impressive

a dark room; an eruption of dust into the beam. reminiscent of american astronaut's reminiscences.

damn cluck pit cost 6
and i got ulcerated
that cost 21

is this about chicken?
one boneless, skinless breast

we could say that the
kind of kind opacity
they offer is shape

overweight women and other comforts
the properties of matter; autism

the mystery is
in the tiny hands they make
such quiet digits

as in the case of the seedling,
resolute infant hand with perfect nails
tiny moons and tiny white

red and black circles
blue and white squares—underwear
on the school's tile floor

still-life with crumpled underwear

the shell and the rock
nostalgize on a past of
long gone softnesses

conch shell refers to previous geode
somehow regards it like the boy at school
reading the minds of cartoon dogs

shade with juniper
soon it's her west jade

Stephanie taxonomy; Little Tykes

this long distance call
does not necessitate new
foreign policy

the oval office
maybe just the rug and a Bakelite phone

can you spell longing
with a pair of scissors and
a top hat in french?

Poignant eyelet; pinking scrapbookers; showgirl inflatable leg

"moist is such a word"
"yes. drainage too, don't you think?"
"oh yes, certainly"

two women with tin can phones
held against their facebook statuses

they're particular
with their bans on getting wet
or looking sidewise

a cast
a kid sticking a pencil in there
to scratch it

it's not those harsh words
that will quiet that mad dogs
ceaseless barking, yo

prehistoric pitbull head

the lighted machine
sings lets hear it for new york
everyone is glad

karaoke with Bonnie Jones doing Moon River

i can see you now
tapping your fingers against
your leg as you read

I’ve thought about this one a lot. It would be impossible to illustrate with a lowercase i, so maybe just a slack jaw, gaze over glasses, eyebrows up, screen reflection. I wouldn’t include the hand or thigh at all.

translation of this
vietnamese pop music
from 1960

hallucinogenic rice paddy; transparency

palm trees are swaying
i know you won't believe how
musically they sway

one of those battery-powered dancing flowers from the 90’s!!
okay, okay, palm trees.

los angeles hills
horse trails and high hedgerows
i yam what i yam

west coast landscape off to the right side, coastal, steep.

a thunderstorm of
crazies--the storytellers
gesturers and hams

literally, a ham hock and a hobo

sad balloons and rain
framed in a giant cut-out
coffee cup decal

Starbucks viewfinder coffee sleeve thing

"she repeats herself"
she says this four times, she says
"she repeats herself"

endless mirror

home turns out to be
exciting again even
though the heart seems gone

I used to think there would be presents waiting when we returned from the beach. Naturalistic rendering of “mudroom” or foyer.

oh so many wan
detectives and spazzed stray cats
in my neighborhood

gray tabby


thoughts on famous men (and dogs)

he is probably asleep.

he is probably watching tv while his mom is in the kitchen.

he is probably in the pool at their lavish disneyworld family hotel, pulling his sister's hair. i'm not sure about their dog but i bet they boarded it or else her sister is taking care of it.

he is probably playing mario while his granddad talks to his mom in the other room. he has no idea that their tone could be described as "concerned".

he is probably replaying the flight simulator in his head until the conductor's hands go up.

he is probably helping grandmom check her email.

he is probably drinking beer out of a bottle and not looking at her when she talks. the great dane has its head in his lap.

he is probably on the computer upstairs.

he is probably down at the royal farms keeping up appearances.

he is probably worried about his son with mono, with easter coming up and everything.

he is probably looking at that fitness website, or on a date.

he is probably having a spirited conversation about improv theater.

he is probably making that "hee-hee-hee" laugh and jumping on the couch. his mothers repeat his name from the top of the stairs.

he is probably watching the opening credits over and over and over in japanese.

he is probably at a bar with his forearms slightly red.

he is probably waiting at the front door, looking into the darkness.


ideas of ideas of drawings, with s. barber

stephanie barber has been writing one beautiful haiku per day since the new year, and i am going to illustrate them. here are my ideas of illustrations for each haiku (haiku in italics).

looser than Lincoln

more wishful than washington
john quincy adams

probably wooden teeth
represented by eyes and knots
large hands and diminutive fruits

they obtained two kids
and changed them into egrets
it was surprising

this one would be whimsical and illustrative
think shel silverstein meets audubon
with the same amount of endearing inaccuracy

look at the camera
now tilt your head to the left
act like you’re crying

I wish there was a way to draw an animated gif
once I had this idea to film women thinking about fear
I would be okay with this one being portraiture

some will be thankful
for real estate; pipes, pools, decks
some for sandless pants

I know it’s a stretch, GET IT?! but what about
a swinging lump of sand in the crotch of your bathingsuit?
a closeup would just look like curtains
perhaps with some summer overtop

i will have coffee
and salad and a small soup
and seltzer water

I feel confident in my cup-drawing ability
would it be alright if I included creamer containers?
I might omit in favor of lettuce, due to its
this one is hard because it’s presumptuous,
to assume your portion size

sometimes a punchline
is purposely elusive
or purposefully?

this one might just be rodney Dangerfield

happy panty day
that is what alyssa said
she wrote haiku too

giant underwear
like the pair over wyman park
by bob and theresa
a couple of years ago

in the new Yorker
a European beret
costs fourteen dollars

illustrations of illustrations,
now we’re talking

“my hvac guys said
he felt the line could be stressed”
“yea, i can see that”

either guys at the coffee shop
or the bottom half of a man
under the sink, although this is about

it is difficult
learning that yul brynner is not
telly savalas

who are these guys again?
I’ll have to look them up
I think one is a conductor but
I don’t want to do the whole string section

some will be stupid
with their whole stupid faces
and their stupid hands

a more PC version of intellectually disabled
or clumsy hands with legos

all the biggest men
are pointing their fingers up
and see? a balloon

I will try to avoid strict illustration,
but for this one mylar stuck in a tree would be good

willa cather, wow
my antonia’s real good
nebraska is whole

maybe illustration is actually okay
honesty betrays my fear of the direct
and it would be more in line with the poems
flatness, and corn

not airline pilots
not the wives of fishermen
not a small petal

either a circle with a line through it
or wives of cranberry boggers
a mid-sized stem
pilots of sport aircraft

are sensing sonic spaces
the bluest hearings

imaginary creatures using
glow-in-the-dark pen
gel rollers, I think they’re called

the supposition
of moon, flower or sand storm
was proved incorrect

nice job using ‘supposition’
perhaps phases; perhaps the sense of blindness

because today rains
it isn’t a yesterday

oh yeah, my part. I forgot.

through piles of garbage
broken bricks and rat corpses
a strawberry plant

crops. so as to have that distance
but also the sentiment. on second thought,
let it be directive instead of making it my project.

a record player
on the nineteenth of july
hope is divergent

joni mitchell’s ‘blue’ and a moleskine planner
70’s shellacked plaque that says, ‘hang in there’
with a picture of a lion in a tree

a cloud bath is like
not the mists of russian wars
but rabbits’ small hutch

oh goodie, bun-bun.
but dwarf or german giant?
note that I ignore military history
in favor of fast rodent noses

he got me a cat
from mcdonalds, a weird one
it disappeared soon

obviously, a visor
and something emaciated
more memory than cat

shit gave a raw deal
ain’t hillside or damp hollow
just damn actual

a hobo; the new boxcar culture
a campfire of elected poverty
intentional B.O. but well-intentioned
would a turd be too literal?

gin, blue lu barker
rusticated anomie
thomas aquinas

ugh, you don’t want to know about this one. so pathetic.

driftwood is speaking
giving clues and instructions
right there—deer arrow
contour; more knots but lighter this time
buoyed bait and bobbers
but no boat

no, ghosts don’t exist
exist is fraught with worry
ghosts don’t worry

an empty room
but with a feeling attached

lockstep is marching
but needn’t be signature
like careening ships

I respond with clarinets
I hear ‘ligature’
again with melancholy oceanic

that daisy leans in
like to listen to the grass
it is empathetic

a drawing of Calvin from memory
you should have read the accuracy of his childhood astrology
not that Calvin—the one who spits baby carrots

the job is to fight
to avoid any dwelling
it is not well paid

boxing gloves? too much?

they fight most mornings
ask for alms, salves and tokens
then hope like dog paws

oh, that kind of fighting
and those kids of tokens
well then back to Calvin, a system of stickers
and a numberless clock
when the red is all gone, good job

perfume is licking
like lion fur through sharp fangs
the stone fleur de lis

the girl in the back who always eats her hair
I think she’s into quilting now
we’d say, “Do the wild thing, Cheryl”
yeah, I think I’ll go with that

the rose and tulip
like dolly p. and Jolene
blinking in sunlight

a caricature, overly Western
if you go all the way it’s academic

the shore does not doubt
the ocean waves will return
again and again

but what about in a tsunami?
anyway, either Hawaiian or
the beach with a smiley face

a snake in hair chaps
is not a fox or birdsong
does not bring the mail

oh, but would that it were so
I typed ‘fax’ instead of ‘fox’
but it will be the latter hopping down
the front steps, bill in hand
I mean paw

not for my pen pal
these new telegrams and texts
he’s hand, tears, and smudge

everyone knows
I will leave it blank for you
to complete

why is the slug nude
with its molluscian kin
shod so in spirals?

diagram of kingdom animalia
“trilobite,” I said, and was corrected
by the boy with the dog figurines
all turned toward me

a slug will be fun

take each sheet and fold
edges back toward center
fold in half and glue

origami without a ruler
and at the bottom, peeling fingerprints
for the first time
I think they’ll all be black-and-white except the curtain one

snow impersonates
a cat headed ace frehley
but so quietly

ohhh, now I get it
I thought you meant a cat going toward ace frehley
who, for those who don’t know, was the guitarist for Kiss
the original one

but you meant the snow, which is actually much more fun in retrospect at least

rayleigh scattering
absorbing spheres scaterring
dialectric spheres

I almost want to leave this one alone
leave its quiet stop-in-tracks
stomping tracks

the bee discusses
optics of moving bodies
wavelength in vacuum

thoughtful bee
shaking its bee-head, going
(click-click-click with disappointment)

the bear is praying
to the stoplight on elm street
with leaves in his hair

were you in my neighborhood?
man in bear costume or just bear,
depending on the costume

noooooooooooooooooo don’t force the wolves
they’ll show up at malls and fight
buddhist fur and fang

again with the animals
I don’t mind
wolves, especially, and maybe Game Stop

he telephoned a
ruby throated hummingbird
the ring a nectar

hummingbirds I’m good at
imagine an iPhone or if we’re going anthropological,
the old kind.
or a switchboard.

oh expectation
cast not thine insistent eyes
towards mine own visage

you, with your hand up against your forehead
in a jumpsuit

musical flowers
like peonies and blue bells
smell sounds in ether

again with the flowers
I don’t mind
my dad is a master gardener
how can I draw synaesthesia?

cuz she saw a fox
at their new house, they’ll have luck
for love days like these

again with the fox
I don’t mind
but lower to the ground this time

asimina is greek
statuary and ape-like
in green plastic shoes

this one would require the addition of color
unless I included other things that the reader knows
to be green

the afternoon’s rain
was like a clock you could watch
and set a date by

pocketwatch with water droplets over the face

the memorial
blade of grass with cricket bent
low to sit upon

either a bent cricket or a bent blade of grass
back to the addition of color

is that the sound of
heracles blowing bubbles
in the agora?

people assume I know about the greeks
an agora I could do, though

a break is a rest or
irreparable; distant
product of brittle

Seinfeld would be insulting

that sliver of moon
is a thrushes’ warbling song
all silvery highs

my new alarm clock
or a night-bird, but we know better

on the hunt face-dogs
take a broad, campy approach
to the whole “kill” trope

again, with the dogs
I don’t mind
this time a bloodhound with

this aubade, off key
and unsure of today’s charms
be writ nonetheless

you struggling to get out of bed
like the cover of amelia gray’s book
but the eyes open instead of closed
I had to look up ‘aubade’ but now it makes
even more sense

sam cooke braids my hair
all monkey ash and golden
and supercharged tail

obviously, Sam Cooke and a braid
of white-person hair

flops the pet gerbil
versus ninety five percent
cosmic dark matter

this one could be the title, you know
a gerbil in space

nineteen eighty tow
ford ltd full of paws
throwing wolf gang signs

muscle car with dirty pawed-up windows

lethargica or small cuts
in off-white paper

paper snowflakes if that’s not too window-display

how the greenest was
given a right or chance to

again with the addition of color
this time a botanic diagram
the reader infers and feels haughty

gold damask curtains
a handful of glue sniffers
and five jack russells

ahh, my favorite. it already goes:
gold damask curtains
a handful of glue sniffers
and five jack russells

she was real down and
got breast cancer of the eye
on top of all that

is it wrong to laugh?
a woman shrugs at her misfortune
her eye is falling out along with her breast

your mouths shooting spit
and cartoon radio waves
slapping my ear’s ass

is it wrong to laugh, again?
an ear with a butt

televisions in
bars clearly show cops sometimes

a cop with a beer belly
and billyclub

photographs of cats
doilies in love seat arm rests
tv dinner trays

the horror of a retirement community
him crying in the hallway

I miss willistown
where hotdogs hold sing-a-longs
clasp bun hands and sway


above pom pom trees
and west Virginian accents
the causal highway

abandoned coal shaft

emily ruete
princess sayyide salme
and german hausfrau

I don’t know these people.
a screen shot of wikipedia.

that is a pushpin
poking the song of their hearts
everyone is glad

Baptist hand-wringing

kids are off to school
with their dejected knapsacks
and small bags of chips

replacement insulating lunch bags

no one expected
this early in the season
these six crocuses

crocus tips
lewd and anticipatory
look, I changed your all’s idea of spring

they suck alley cat
venom out of disordered
sidewalk couch totem

two men pulling a toppled couch upright
but just at the point of grabbing

jiminy cricket
those damn ice skates won’t help none
not with this spring rain

ice skates in slush
but still on feet from
the knees down only

snake institutions
with their dense, inscrutable
morning rituals

cobra in a basket
although I’m sure that’s not what you meant, sorry

atrocities like
decrease not meaning to smooth
but reduce, abound

reference to ballard
and other books to be returned to their
rightful owners

oh helicopter
shoot thy paranoid beam of
love and search on me

search ‘copter
we should talk about the color thing
because I’m thinking of your blue lights
and other urban atrocities
want to gentrify them with pale hue

oh dear gentle wood
carver, is that lovely witch
you have whittled white?

your friend, that new york filmmaker I met,
in overalls, although he’s probably not a carver,
but maybe

she’s got issues
like the water for instance
or robes and texture

a britta, a bathrobe, terrycloth or dishrag

whistles, dog barks, “HEY”
band saw, drug deals, radio
laughter and sirens

you pulling weeds with large over-the-ear headphones
or just a stoop

bender, it’s not great
poet who must wear the cape
and tights, but super

me in a red cape and tights over wrinkled undies

replace “distant” in
marvin gaye’s “distant lover”
for the word “kitty”

marvin gaye portrait with cat head; reference to previous ace frehley page

the comedian
like the boxer, so lonely
so lonely with light

reference Rodney Dangerfield page

with nary a hitch
the leap was accomplished
and freedom attained

cornell university’s gorges

I voted for the
doctor because he makes such
very good short films

private practice office
stethoscope reflecting reels

super symmetry
sparks envy with its boson
and fermion twins

one of those victorian drawings that requires a silver sphere
the drawing is of me and so also of my sister
when reflected, missing a dimple

i heard that traffic jams
hired a new PR firm
looking for some love

michael douglas in that movie where he loses it on the highway
a diet of only flowers

he told the woods that
bird orchestration was for
it alone. god lies.

god shrugging, going, “mm-mm-mm (I don’t know)”
his robes full of birds


bad hat experience

I started knitting because everybody else did, but I never stopped. I started knitting a red hat. When I got to where I wanted the top of the hat to be, I couldn't get all of the yarn to close. It just kept going around and around, closer and closer; then, it went like clay on a potter's wheel, wonky and wobbling in ovals and protozoan shapes. Wider and wider and back out to the original width. A hat like a Chinese finger trap; a hat impossible as a Pringles chip; a hat in shapes far too familiar to be comfortable--a hat like a hat but closer to something only slightly different, which is so terrifying in subtlety that now I can't leave the house.

So the hat kept going. The first few weeks it was like a hobby, mostly; then more like something you would call a hobby to your friends but feel sick about, as you kept felting a tiny piece of red yarn in your pocket. The hat became enormous. We had to move the chaise lounge. We had to call bulk trash to pick up the old broken folding door so that the hat could go from the bedroom into the hall. Every time I tried to close the hat, the hole would re-expand even wider than before, making another intestinal shape out of yarn. Red sine waves. Sphincters.

The last hole expansion cost us the dryer vent, in the winter. I had to knit right through the opening in the basement wall and out into the yard. Right when I thought my last stitch had finally arrived--that the hole had finally come together, after the hat had captured all of the dead leaves, the recycling, one of our dogs, the hot water heater--the first robin of spring lit on the rain tree out back and eyed the end of the yarn.

"It's not a worm," I said, defiantly. Robins are bigger in person than you would think.

When you put the hat on, you start where I started, in the bedroom, head-first. You tunnel around the house, down the stairs. Some parts are so vast that you can stand up and walk through them, and some tubes so narrow you have to start with a finger. At times the hat encapsulates, and at times it avoids altogether. The hat digests piles of the New Yorker, and swallows rotten garlic, and empty milk crates, and the microwave. It forms a room around the kitchen table, set for four. It stretches between the banister and the wall. Its shape accommodates and contorts. By the time you get to the dryer vent, you have wriggled around the history of this house, caught up and snagged.

At last the hat is a chrysalis around your tired body as you squirm into the backyard, the world diffused, cadmium, colonic; your hands at your sides; the robin perched permanently atop the last stitch, his rubbery feet tied in, his sunken eye reflecting red.



this is kind of a revised version of some of the stuff a few posts down, that i read for the WORMS series in feb.


EATING worms will make you a braceface orthodontist. It will shine your teeth make you open space for your braces you will be cool in school. Worms can clean your teeth.

Work Worms and Century Storm Worms:

it looks like everything is wearing a hat.
the flowerpot holder is wearing a hat.
my car is wearing a hat.
i can't tell which one is mine.


"Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Feeling-ing-ing-ing-ing-ing. My birthday is March 12th. My name is. My name is."


Worm luge
Worm mogules
Worm aerials
Worm hockey

"Use some hand sanitizer, Jahmal."
He puts it on his foot.
Tears make a lake on his lip.
He either doesn't feel it
or likes it still like that;
tributary to math jeopardy.


Tears leave salt tracks on his cheeks.
His friend asks, "What's that powder on your face?"

His friend punches his other friend in the eye.

His friend says, "Fuck your ass."


Tears look weird and milky on his face.
His cheeks have always been kind of flat..

What happened to the Appalachian Trail?

He says, "Take care."


Grief is a vowel.



Who's there?

Chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate chip cookie who?

Chocolate Milk!


"Snowy. Snow storm. Snow stormy."

Tomorrow? Tomorrow? Yesterday? Yesterday.
Mom. Dad? Mom. Mom did what? You went with Mom?
Bowling? Wal-Mart.
Take that rag out of your mouth. Where'd you go with Mom?
Wednesday? Spell it. S. A. G. G? H? I don't know, buddy.
Where's your device?


sit in the living room
for ten minutes a night
without orienting.


the news anchor is loaded.
he bends to pet all the dogs.
he talks about his wife,
also his son's dog Midnight
Midnight sleeps with her bowl.
she had worms once, like all puppies
or kittens do.
like white on rice.


fat finches.
i'm into honesty; birds.
girl anthropology--
it's a problem.

worms are antecedent to thought.

i'll do anything you want.
dig you out.


Stretch pants.

"Can't you see
my eyelid twitching?"
"My right tear duct
is half-empty."
"No you."
"No you."
"Anybody but you."
"Can't you see my
finger pointing?"





Worms in the Movies

That thing in Beetlejuice


That thing in Dune
David Bowie,
No wait—Sting.

Recreational Worms

Split me in half and then we’ll see

Worms in Art

I had a friend who made paintings by worms
She called them, Paintings Made by Worms.
Here’s how to do it:
Go to the Burger King, then the fishing store.
Put it in food coloring.
Plop it on the paper.
Crab nebula
Ribbon gymnast
Soft focus
Here and there
Unintentional hari-kari
Put ‘em out in the planter.

More Personal Worms:

The dog that belongs to my invisible twin
On the floor with his front legs under his body
Once I saw Stephanie Barber as a snake, snake-face to the radio. Alone in the rainforest, made more alone next to more fake snakes, stuffed. She is also not worm-like on the elliptical machine. There she appears much like a regular gym-goer, until under closer scrutiny her face is like a mother’s in skin; her eyes not; her voice not and like wet bark, Stephanie Barber.

The worm took me in its arms and onto its lap, saying,
“Now now, there there.”
I said, “I know,” but in my mind I was thinking,
“Worms don’t have arms and laps;
I don’t believe a word of this.”

The vestiges of our embryonic time together trail from our collective rump; my invisible twin checks hers against mine. Goopy. I wouldn’t call it wormy, exactly…

Remember it flayed open;
Remember the cow eyeball, the back membrane of it,
Iridescent—an extravagant pearl.
Worm experience aligns with innards
The worm dives into holes before despairing
Everything close to the surface
Turning silt to soil, turning to turn.
It does not loathe or feel alone
The ground shifts around its worm-ness

I know every way snow can fall onto
The parking lot I fear,
What with its cars, and places to put them.
Still you do not, and still, Dear One, stillness.
Let us take a moment of quiet solidarity
In our solitary ways
Our ironic wishes toward warmth and worm.

Little-Known Worm Facts

Did you know I am a worm?
Look at my heart thing.

Wild West Worms (5)

[el dorado worm]

Let’s set this Westward toward the weather. “Why” is a weather; “why” is our folly and our failure. Looking up out of the canyon. Looking out of the canyon we see men; we see something like a sepia legend churning what little leaves there are into movies; this is already easy epic; this is grievous monotony; this is really something.
[expansive worm]

One-third are physicists, one-fourth are engineers, one-sixth are chemists and materials scientists, and the remainder work in mathematics and computational science, biological science, geoscience, and other disciplines. Fourteen made it out alive, three-eighths sifting mucky want and whiskey, the rest took and toiled deep into thin skies, small dogs of mythology. This phenomenon has been called “foolish,” or “expansive fear,” or “calcified.” Thirty six square miles, 2.2 billion pesos, a fifth in your mouth; see it. This one time the girl next to me—her mother used to braid her hair funny and everyone made that face—she leaned over; she pushed the Carolinas over the edge of the desk; I hadn’t even asked.
[revision worm]

physicists, engineers, and the remainder made it out alive, sifting into thin skies, small dogs called “foolish” in your mouth; see it. the girl next to me used to braid that face over the edge of the desk; I hadn’t even asked. “puttering” would not be a good word but “scuffling” wouldn’t either; patterned disability thin-lipped, always prepared, always suspended in thin air until plateaus plateau.

[calamity worm]

Bucket of mud bath, small of back what sweat, what sheepish dump to take or pour or purr feral colonies, protectorates, wounds of the sea. For real. Bookbinding corset to whale. Wore men’s clothing. What language.

[mercantile worm]

Every summer we went out there, rental vans to tether the years together. Largest root system suiciding; largest organism reaches the timberline. Ranch ran off with my father. Them ponies ran off with his camera. Some things are funny forever. He found aviator glasses in the ocean. To barter; I wouldn’t know how. Ship waits; ship bobs into pier, sees commerce; ship feels disenfranchised. Ship robs a landscape bank, rocks remain unphased, drawn over, eroded into castles; great castles. Rocks remain on fire; every year take pictures.

Neil Patrick Harris Worm

One and the same but He Who How I Met Him did not recognize not blunder but as our own such blunder. I will not look. “I am wretched,” or, “I regret,” said He. Like cadets we regard one another, back to mother’s houses or basic cable for one young professional; the Whole Foods of my youth no longer gay with pilots, a condiment for every season, episodic product in the worm aisle.

And yet, lo. Extinct Thesaurus. Recursive Word. Recover to communion with a dental hygienist. Recover to always the Word, and He, and some self-injurious smack to the front of the head, the skull and the teeth within it.

Twin Worms
Oh, like…oh, like…oh, like…oh, like…Oh, like…oh, like…oh, like…oh, like
You’re so…you’re so…you’re so…you’re so…you’re so You’re so…you’re so…you’re so…you’re so…you’re so

One More Western Worm

We ran up in four dimensions considering color; the two of you first and falling behind my fear, behind the sky; at the top he coughed up blood, fits of rage about a bear movie or some combination of a visitors’ center or burned to the ground; try rubbings. No heritage there but they were proud of me; they bought me anything I wanted as we awoke again and again in layers. I still wake that way remembering dust around his teenage body considering light, remember this is my brother we’re talking about—different sun, different bladders through explanation canyons, resentments and peacock restaurants where I would hate the light until later, drunk on altitudes of bones.

Confessional Worm

Me me me me me me me me me me slither slither slither I I I I I I I I I I I I gulp gulp gulp gulp you you you you you you you you poop poop poop poop me me me me me me me me me me me me me me worm worm worm worm WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM WORM