“When the Old Pilot Light Gives Out”


A CENTO – ((stolen prose fragments from The Control of Nature by John McPhee))


The crisis was simple and economic,

decorated with a relief model –

to keep them from plunging through.

Fireworks flew high into their interiors,

molten, growling, and weighed

two-thirds of a mile a piece.


As it happened, the edge never being stationary,

one cubic metre of flowing lava, of

prescription beer, and the wind shifted,

houses burst into flame mechanically,

and never took no for an answer.


The volcano came loose, extending

like a finger halfway across the harbormouth.

Dad swims up to the glass in a “silent

scream of terror” and felt but a mild quake

when the living room imploded

and removed itself hereafter.



Written Carefully on a Brown Paper Bag


Moody weather mirrors elastic emotions. Forest green

sweater covers coursing red impulses. (she sings while

she works. The older women bicker endlessly about

the arrangement of paintings).

“Too many horizontals in this area.”

I agree. Let’s get vertical.

“Wring out our spines like wet rags,” said an actor playing an impersonation of Burroughs.

We’ve done the damage. Stood up straight sometimes.

You mysterious coward. Great posture. Strong delivery.

Perfect marks on these transcripts

Let’s be parallel.


Did my heart drop when I learned that I failed

to leave behind a legacy? It was expected.

This world, full of vague impressions, forgetful days,

hazy horizons, contorted faces in the sunlight,

shrinking nature, growing clouds of floating filth…

grinds on, indifferent. You must yell

into the face of the world.

Force those vague, forgetful faces,

contorted with memory and pain, to listen

and to listen well.

Maybe all you’ll ever leave behind is a vague impression. What a bummer.

“How are you holding out?”

Just fine.

Pictorial Atlas

Great blue bounded book, like a metaphor for the earth itself, as a reflective spectrum of oxygenated atoms and blue-hued electrons for the educational material that is all material you can get your hands on except some of it is created with intent to psychologically diminish you into a vegetative state and languish on the couch with your cats and your popcorn and your hollowed out eyes with the beer and the chew bottles confused disgustingly.

What the sun does to the atmosphere. What the rain does to outdoor plans. The Netherlands, a section of the Libyan Desert, and the Caspian Depression, circling the sea of the same name, are the three most notable locations below sea level. Folded mountains are created when the earth’s crust buckles or doubles over on itself as a result of subterranean pressures. This is why buried emotions often reveal themselves in the physical exterior of a body. “What’s wrong?” – “I’m crumbling. I’m doubled-over, folding. From the inside out.”

Living in a drowned coastline,
I almost said “of your love”
and realized I don’t want to be
that kind of writer.

I am the type to call myself
a meandering river
frequently flooding
with emotions incoherent

Yet the certainty of melodrama
of love emerging out the delta
a smile like wave cut cliffs
or a mountain glacier, carving.

The Pacific Ocean is 63,985,000 square miles large and with an average depth of 14,040 feet. About the height of Mount Rainier, if you’ve ever been to Seattle or seen a picture of the skyline from Queen Anne Hill or the Space Needle, or ever knew of the St. Helen’s eruption or ever even cared about what tremors and forces crawl under your feet, in huge processes incomprehensible to you, and that shaking is a molten core not an ice cube heart, passivity wins where gravity no longer attracts you to anything.

Lakes and evergreens. Images of the world I inhabit anyway
yet romanticized with a French veneer
the Northeastern Canadian provinces and the lakes shine
turquoise, and the trees are a darker black-green by contrast
yet Banff National Park is perfect north
of Northern Idaho
and one day in a flurry of strewn about feathers
I will speed out over and up and yonder
take the train l’est and speak a broken french
with an accent of romantic cold
J’adore. Fireside book reading love
hot toddies and wool socks and snowfields
outside melting snowflakes and we cut our own out
of newspapers to hang in the window

There is a city called Swiftcurrent
yet it is a ghost town for ambitions

Washington, a-westering of most other states
had a population of 2,853,214 in 1964.
Today there are nearly 7 million people wandering about
seemingly with motives
to perform things with excellence or maybe
defined will. Ghostly.
Meandering glades of fire.

I tried to sleep with music theory slanted ideas in my thoughts. I wanted to lay down and fix problems with the cognitive cleansing of dreams and yet I awoke feeling like I thought about nothing in general and suddenly coming to about noon and then lapsed again behind I heard a genuine French accent and wanted to thank her yet out coldness wasn’t aimed at her we simply did not know how to say things or form phrases and the easygoingness of Maya was lost in the wind of inarticulate repeat-after-me phrases.

So sleep didn’t work. I should try using real life to explore complex relationships between idea and form and actualization.

I should look at 1960’s atlases for inspiration, see a huge changing world spiraling out of control, and try harder to put my feet down and launch. Explode up into space as rockets did. The sad, lonely moon waits for new contact.

And I only got to South America before meeting up with my girlfriend to make her say things in French on the radio.

experimental music

It’s late. I’m drowsy from driving
and lifting boxes and trying
not to feel uncomfortable.
When my sweater fits like a second skin
but something grows between the layers,
an unreachable itch,
and the wipers sound off
for almost a mile before
a grey, starless night
and abstract noises
dominate the radio waves,
spiraling out
arms of many galaxies,
sent from the branches
of the arteries growing
in between your layers of skin,
vibrating the particles
finding a home within them to rest and cease.
Our nonchalance helped
ginger beer and distiller’s reserve
feeling like an old man with
freshmen french classmates
making a mockery
of how my hair looks
when flowing behind my head
beautifully in the wind
and the romantic kiss under the tower
gardens erupting in our eyes
as if it wasn’t just tongue
spit and gnawing at your lips
but our nonchalance did help
it was cool, you know
barely even mattered.
So I amplify the sound of crumpling paper
{as in another overthought first draft}
and layer it beneath
experimental swellings of
a moog synthesizer
and a history of electronic music
when signals were without tones
considered in the vocabulary of music
a random code has returned to melody
math is now music
and vice versa
I could amplify the sound of your breath
leaving and returning at the pink
hair dye stained pillow case
in the double stacked mattress bed
the forget me not green tangle design
and your breathing could be a symphony
a binary code to identify
the quality of your air
in and out
plucking of an acoustic guitar
in and out
nylon strings
math, vocab, hair dye, and a cut
a pipe organ feed through tremolo
concentric wobbling
connecting cables that shouldn’t
to invent biological music
genetic code to our essence
that makes the fire starting art instinct
in us to create without boundaries or care
in and out
a piano soiree with a concert hall full of black and white keys
to unlock nothing

morning poem & on becoming 23

morning poetic free-write

a too hot shower and too cold exit
of that warmth, coffee overflow
landscape is a sad grey/green wash
with hints of the impending great freeze
coming to trap us like snowed in hikers
taking refuge in an abandoned fire lookout
our eyes will quit creating tears
as we will burn them all for heat, for heat
the sky is a closed mess of dark clouds
rain to fog windows
let steam escape from the chimney
when no trees are looking

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Broken Foot

The man with the broken foot limped to the bar to thin his blood, sew his ligaments together, keep his spirits up, warm, bright futures with paychecks written in godscript, a typewritten letter finds its way to your shore in a floating bottle, or drifts down politely like a feather windtornfree of a bird, a dazzling bird, that hopeful blue bird, remember him? He flies away when you know you’ve died.

Bodies decorated with permanent pieces of artwork. Footbroken man slurs at us, “My pain tolerance is notoriously high.”

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