Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.



It's after one and I can't sleep. I think it's the insomniac shellacked moonlight across the dark harp strings of the sea. I feel roped to the mast like one of Odysseus' crew. Stormed by blackness, rain, and the nightsong of a siren.

Pulled off my shelf Norman Dubie's The Insomniac Liar of Topo, and I don't know if he's my rope or my mad heart's need.

. . . . . ,

At Sunset

Fucking get back. I have cut
the white paper gasket
out of the apple. Yes,
it's a seed packet
like the wife's whalebone jacket
ruling the fat lamps of the Orient.
The faint straight lace of it,

Ashes and wormwood
in a brand drawer.
The horses' testicles tossed
into straw for the cats.
Was it not mad John Clare--
that night, and it mad, last night Clare saying
it was a sound
going off in his head. A mainmast snapping.
The man standing next to you hears it.
Suddenly you're naked running through pasturage
like a woman's hair.

. . . . . ,

Dubie has this masterful phrasing that delivers a Frostlike alliterative richness to each sentence. His locomotion is matched by an unapologetic Victorian gothic sensibility, one marked by romantic visitations of a preoccupation for foreign exotic ware and a cinematic quality not unlike say late Francis Ford Coppola, Youth without Youth, imagery palimpsested over idea, as the camera pulls back upon the larger landscape of a larger historical scene. Small things carress their demons in his shadow. A remarkable intensity of the music makes his poems ever more intimate. He has Scarlatti's jealous intensity against the inevitable failures.

His eye is on the dream of history; History, like the dream inside each sleeper wakes.

like the linkage of the human nights of many strange and fragment visions.

. . . . . ,

The Tantric Master, Lord Marpa, Twice Dreamt of the Prophet, William Blake

The great translator thought
he had suffered the sleep of a cloudless day
in a boat of skins
on a cold and black inland sea.

Elohim, the eye of minor periphery
broke bread with him on the moonlit water.
He washed his beard and hair
and said your daughters are now stepping from furnaces.
But if we wake
by their drying looms
with a mountain of salt between me and them,
then the diarist wife
has taken these margins of yellowing shoreline
from us.

London sleeps with its cousins and sisters all winter
while naked surgeons cross through the city
bearing torches. . . well, citizens,

this is the cult of worms
who by physical inches of devotion are measuring a churchyard.
The owls forming a morbidly obese question
from Ovid.

The Word is always out weeping in the evening
refusing the hot custards, stealing
from sick and defenseless travelers.
The last Republic is out too, burning on the horizon.

Phoenician men sitting on the purple rocks
mending their nets, chewing
on roots, laugh
and then walk out across the water.

They've been doing it for centuries,
that is,-- mending their nets with laughter.

. . . . . ,

Dubie believes in ghosts, particle physics, quantum radioed spirituality. One gets a dizzy, wine-ful feeling when reading his poems. They are hallucinatory, and you don't seem to wake from them so easily. Suddenly daylight has dreamlike proportions, and personal history wormholes forward backward into the lives of artists, politicians, and other nameless lovers. Brutal, gorgeous, and playful with accident. I love these poems for their adjectives, their Shakespearean descriptions, and for their sonnetto echo.

. . . . . ,

Winter Rains off Pointe Du Hoc

The wind is a failure of forms
a calamity of content--it is
cutting the white peaks from great
green waves
making cold abbreviations of salt
that are the pith eyes on ghosts.

Across the cliffs
in the fields above the water
martyred dead rest in some soft
tropic of wind, some tropic of the hidden variable

that pierces sinew, neck,
or the helmet. The suits
praise his valor, the gunnery sergeant Nash
from Missoula, Montana, who says,
the bear nests up in the wind
with a smile of margarine,
has courage, and
the bear is my friend--

when the bear stumbles,
you ba-bas must understand,
the bear dies large
not like a pigeon at a Legionnaires convention.

. . . . . ,

My favorite poetry always brings me back to Lear. Lear and Odysseus.
Dubie is a kind of hybrid hero, Cause and Care of my solitude, my own heart's ruin.

He visits me tonight with mean wild storms.

. . . . . ,

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I've got one foot in the grave and the other's in my mouth.

Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.