The sky is a brittle mosaic.
In my excitement, I unleashed a glittering
trail of saliva. Now, I lack the capital
to invest in my own energies. Best to retire,
forget the whole mess, and in a sense,
forget just exactly what it means to create.
If only I could still create,
the way a furnace creates a mosaic
of molten hatred. Perhaps my artistic sense
needs a cattle prod, or perhaps it just needs glittering
canvases full of ambition. I’m too young to retire,
but too old to regard my fantasies as capital.
So now, I idle here in this capital
of rot, a bitter sot whose will to create
beyond himself is packing up to retire.
Spectral eyes form a mosaic,
beaming, mocking all of us with glittering
laughter. Best now to abandon all sense
perception, live life in deception with the good sense
not to bitch. For aren’t lies capital?
Wasn’t I once some flagrant glittering
speck of truth in this mire? charged to create
the inevitable hammer to smash myself into a mosaic?
And yet – all I want now is to retire
to my aching bed. As hope and faith each retire
to their pedestals, I find myself lacking a sense
of true purpose. I’m left with a failed mosaic
whose pieces form no image, and a trail of capital
letters that will never lead me to create.
And as for my former glittering
incarnation, it’s finally stopped glittering.
The slimy suburb is poised to retire,
the quiet and impending dark conspiring to create
an ominous portrait to offend my better sense.
The dusky fingers of the capital
rise to grab the sun, smother it in a mosaic
of glittering delirium. My heart and a mosaic
of better days create a fleeting sense
of warmth as I retire with my abandoned capital.
I’ve left out the best parts of this,
hearts and vegetable gardens included.
The shadow of our secluded youth
can explain away the more polluted
aspects of our personalities.
The ease with which we slip through
day’s minute cracks is deplorable,
but a necessity, a recipe
for some kind of disaster,
but not in the traditional sense.
Intensity, that’s what you are,
A single streetlight cutting
the night in two.
In time, we’ll uncover the secrets
of the age, with its plaster pages
of symbols infused
with implacable rage, but until then,
we’ll smoke and we’ll drink
and we’ll fuck just like good global citizens,
tuck our tails between our legs,
and scramble on home
when the clock strikes twelve.
We must keep up with ourselves after all.
And the sprawl of the city –
how it moves in this light!
Are you listening?
I mean really listening,
not just hearing,
which is too often
how we use the word.
The sloshed aurora
is slurring its speech again,
and again, as before,
we’re in the position
of having to decipher its meaning
from what little clues
we’ve been given.
A breakthrough occurs,
but not in the usual way,
the way of burning revelations –
of a hidden truth
that would leave
your mouth gaping
at its being revealed.
No – our lips are sealed.
The weight of your stare
plummets into my own,
making known its intention
in a protracted way,
and the red warmth
eddies into its antithesis.
It’s a symbolic exchange,
a shadow thrown over
a thing whose details
are too damn ugly
to view straight on.
Makes the thing sweeter,
easier to digest,
which is how we like it,
as opposed to chewing
the spikes of its actual form.
This has become the norm.
So much sweetness
that I’m starting to worry
My stomach has need
of a little depravity,
I’m no longer satisfied
with any of the so-called
Isn’t this how we measure
ourselves? In our capacity
to treasure say the scent
of a flower or a casual dinner
with friends? In the end,
we tell ourselves,
these are what matter.
They help us through
the bullshit, chaos and clatter
in which each day is personified.
And if you think
“Why are you yelling?”
love can get you, really.
Focus. Do the jingle.
Do it again in my office.
Get to a better state.
Shave. Be a man.
Chug, smile. Be a man.
If you need triple steak
on flatbread, America,
totally laugh out loud.
Hot Tub Founder’s Day, 1921.
Or the boys select trust,
attic, running car, chainsaws
if you’re in a horror.
Switch to Geico.
From the Words of John Ashbery
Why shouldn’t all climate
and all music be equal
I prefer “you” in the plural.
I miss the human truth
of your smile, and the feeling
of ascending emptiness
of the afternoon. The night
is a sentinel, deaf consolation
of minor tunes that pack the air
with heavy invisible rods.
The wind and treason
are partners. Perhaps we ought
to feel with more imagination,
pinned to the moment.
Your eyes reflect a hunting scene,
a giant icicle performing
once again for you and me.
I haven’t a single thought
worth thinking tonight.
The florescent lights are too bright,
and now it’s 3:24. It’s a Friday,
and I don’t want to say anything.
I smoked some weed earlier hoping
it would coax a poem or six
from my rancid pen, but
it just made me tired,
and I may smoke again,
but what’s the point?
Meanwhile, in real life, Amy went out
and got hit on by three separate
assholes, one of which she tells me
has seen us out together,
so next time he does,
I’ll reward his tenacity
with a broken jaw.
Ke$ha is a robot,
but why couldn’t they program her
to sing better songs?
It’s okay, because in a few days
I’ll be in DC seeing Sleater-Kinney,
who aren’t robots,
they’re humans, and I’m human too
so why can’t I think?
In the snowy furrows of her gaze,
a hazy rupture of roses.
In her smile, wild and fathomless,
a new harmony ascends.