The flower sermon: critique is like a swoon but with a step increase, the awkward daughter who grows to join the NBA. All we want (ever wanted) was to be on that mailing list, parties at which slim caterers offer red, yellow, black caviar spilling off the triangular crackers while off on the bay rainbow-striped sails dip and bob and twist. The woman in the yellow raincoat sits on a bench at the edge of the schoolyard while two small children race across the asphalt plaza. Too many books sail the moth. A tooth that's lost while flossing. A short line makes for anxious music. Not breath but civilization. The president of Muzak himself says that humming along constitutes time theft. First snow in the Sierras = cold showers here. The east is past. Margin of terror. The left is where you feel it (dragging the eyes back contra naturum). We're just in it for the honey. Spackling paste edits nails in wall when painted. Elbows, shoulders jammed together on the bus. At each transfer point, glimpse how lives weave past. A woman with an interesting book in her purse which I pretend not to see. Letters crowd into a thought. Green paper folded around long-stemmed roses is stapled shut. Rapid winter sunset lacks twilight. They take out the breast and part of the lymph system. I stare through a lens at the near world. Hot tea sits dark in its cup. Seeing is deceiving. Big tears are eyes' response to a dawn chill, first frost. Clang of empty bottles in a paper sack. The boulevard was a kind of free verse, big noun skyscrapers, until the freeway blew out the margin. Baseball cap with the bill worn to the side or back. Steam pours plume-like from the roof of the new senior tower. Thus lawn-sprinklers sweep the air. This wool hat itchy on your forehead, those mysterious white sores that dot the mouth. New boots with Leather-Plus uppers and waffler stomper soles. The way gas stations dwindled overnight, now go the banks: people huddle in the rain as close as they can to the wall lined up for the automated teller. But I just want to snuggle. Jumping the curb on my skateboard. Even before the war was over, vets began to fill the J.C.s on the GI bill, men playing rummy on the quad at lunch. The way street folk make the sidewalk their bench. Taking my glasses off, sensing the muscles in the eye flex as they refocus. Cars at a stop light, each with its own lone rider. Standing on the bus, using both hands to hold on. The sun in the trees still, slowly rising. Beeper on a belt. The container inverted shall never be repeated, fungus in a hot tub. A swamp entitled Stanley Marsh. Black spot on the thumbnail is permanent. Neo-social democrat sneaks back into Lenin closet. Not democratic socialist. Folding chair triangulates space. Shirt collar as mock root for neck's trunk. Small physical detail enlarged (enraged) refocuses the whole room in the midst of the banquet. Retrofit theory to text. The idea of a doorstop extends the wall. Thin palms kept trim along commercial strip. Hollow is as garbage truck sounds. Ghetto barber: shop behind bars. Ask bus driver to call out destination. Chapped Lip Alert. Man on a park bench intent over crossword. The sound of a piano hung over the courtyard. Bliss approximates emotional state. Gay nerds (complex style). Drunk on the streetcorner snaps to attention, salutes the slow-cruising black-and-white. Old manikin in used clothing store, cheeks chipped, nose missing. Bin of loose sneakers in front of shoe shop. Dreams prod you with their skewed pertinence. Like fingering around in your pocket for a nickel, an ambiguous coin, with your gloves on. The pom-pom girl is sucking on a kiwi as the sun rises, little startled bird. Carved into nice pink slices, art history is served on seaweed-wrapped balls of rice. At the checkout stand, the bagger hooks the plastic sack into its wire mould, dropping in the brown spotted bananas before the bottles of cider. The close-out sale of fiction at Dalton's fails to attract afficionados from their new improved "ring" frisbees. Please don't call it xerox. Just because it rhymes. An absence of form is pictured on a milk carton. The dumpsters are ripe. The present tense calls up a terrific nostalgia foreshadowing antacids. Can you explain why Ezra Pound and Ty Cobb were never, not once, photographed in the same room together? The way cryotechnology accounts for the Rolling Stones. Heads of cauliflower wrapped in plastic. Half moon rising in the red dusk sky, streetlamps on illuminating nothing. Twisting the orange on the glass juice squeezer. Before dawn, alone in the supermarket parkinglot, hosing it down. Van's awning signals catering truck. A leaf had fallen onto the damp cement, its image sharp years after. Old green Norton anthology perfect for doorstop. Albino mulatto's curiously blonde hair. Linebreak muted says I'm a normal guy. To generalize a detail (use of plurals) entails violence. Body language at staff meeting very stiff. Birds scatter high over a schoolyard (asphalt baseball diamond). My own breath instead of a lung. Offhand, by comments hidden in the brain, we reiterate an old refrain. My mind instead of an onion. That these 20 year olds call their shared housing a commune seems quaint. Old black woman with a cane struggles to pull herself onto the bus. I strain to see these words. Chronicle of Higher Medication. Learning that I can't pick my nose when I read, because the gesture bumps my glasses. Our program is compromise all positions at all points, radical at the cash bar. The colon swells while the dash is but a double hyphen. Thus paint freckles an old ladder. Hair, combed from the part, over the large bald dome, barely throws strands of a shadow. Men huddle predawn in the vacant lot for the grey trucks that will carry them out into the valley, hot day harvesting crops. Yuppie world where everyone's successful, everyone's white. This guy's got great pecs, strong deltoids, tight abdominals, but through one nipple -- small gold safety pin. This poem, 15 lines of free verse, defining (and as if "as spoken to") a noun naming a common household object has been designed to compete successfully for space against cartoons in the New Yorker. Man striding down the street, whistling loudly. Now that soft drinks come in boxes. The Gift of Security, the lock with 1,000 personal combinations: the only lock in the world that let's you set your own combination and change it anytime, in seconds, without tools. Because friends were coming over for dinner, they began to think about cooking in the early afternoon. The honey in the 5 gal. can had begun to crystallize, so she put it in the oven to heat up. Then a neighbor phoned (the details here are less certain) and they went over to smoke some dope that had just been purchased. This state expands one's sense of time, of the moment. To be within the present can be totally sensuous. When they returned later, the honey can had exploded, tearing off the oven door. Boiling honey (it was just like napalm) clung to the ceiling, floor and walls.
For Cliff Silliman
If the function of writing is to "express the world." My father withheld child support. forcing my mother to live with her parents. my brother and I to be raised together in a small room. Grandfather called them niggers. I can't afford an automobile. Far across the calm bay stood a complex of long yellow buildings, a prison. A line is the distance between. They circled the seafood restaurant, singing "We shall not be moved." My turn to cook. It was hard to adjust my sleeping to those hours when the sun was up. The event was nothing like their report of it. How concerned was I over her failure to have orgasms? Mondale's speech was drowned by jeers. Ye wretched. She introduces herself as a rape survivor. Yet his best friend was Hispanic. I decided not to escape to Canada. Revenue enhancement. Competition and spectacle. kinds of drugs. If it demonstrates form some people won't read it. Television unifies conversation. Died in action. If a man is a player, he will have no job. Becoming prepared to live with less space. Live ammunition. Secondary boycott. My crime is parole violation. Now that the piecards have control. Rubin feared McClure would read Ghost Tantras at the teach-in. This form is the study group. The sparts are impeccable1 though filled with deceit. A benefit reading. He seduced me. AFT, local 1352. Enslavement is permitted as punishment for crime. Her husband broke both of her eardrums. I used my grant to fix my teeth. They speak in Farsi at the comer store. YPSL. The national question. I look forward to old age with some excitement. 42 years for Fibreboard Products. Food is a weapon. Yet the sight of people making love is deeply moving. Music is essential. The cops wear shields that serve as masks. Her lungs heavy with asbestos. Two weeks too old to collect orphan's benefits. A woman on the train asks Angela Davis for an autograph. You get read your Miranda. As if a correct line would somehow solve the future. They murdered his parents just to make the point. It's not easy if your audience doesn't identify as readers. Mastectomies are done by men. Our pets live at whim. Net income is down 13%. Those distant sirens down in the valley signal great hinges in the lives of strangers. A phone tree. The landlord's control of terror is implicit. Not just a party but a culture. Copayment. He held the Magnum with both hands and ordered me to stop. The garden is a luxury (a civilization of snail and spider). They call their clubs batons. They call their committees clubs. Her friendships with women are different. Talking so much is oppressive. Outplacement. A shadowy locked facility using drugs and double-ceIling (a rest home). That was the Sunday Henry's father murdered his wife on the front porch. If it demonstrates form they can't read it. If it demonstrates mercy they have something worse in mind. Twice, carelessness has led to abortion. To own a basement. Nor is the sky any less constructed. The design of a department store is intended to leave you fragmented, off-balance. A lit drop. They photograph Habermas to hide the harelip. The verb to be admits the assertion. The body is a prison. a garden. In kind. Client populations (cross the tundra). Off the books. The whole neighborhood is empty in the daytime. Children form lines at the end of each recess. Eminent domain. Rotating chair. The history of Poland in 90 seconds. Flaming pintos. There is no such place as the economy, the self. That bird demonstrates the sky. Our home, we were told, had been broken, but who were these people we lived with? Clubbed in the stomach, she miscarried. There were bayonets on campus. cows in India, people shoplifting books. I just want to make it to lunch time. Uncritical of nationalist movements in the Third World. Letting the dishes sit for a week. Macho culture of convicts. With a shotgun and "in defense" the officer shot him in the face. Here, for a moment, we are joined. The want-ads lie strewn on the table.