Tram Spark
Saturday, March 27, 2004
This is why they blind their slaves.
I read this again in the fourth book
of Herodotus where he describes
the lives of Scythians.

In Scythia they blind the men
they capture in their wars to use them
to prepare their milk, to have them stir
great vats of horse's milk.

This and how they milk their mares:
one Scythian slides a hollowed bone
"not unlike our musical pipe"
into the mare's vagina

and puffs. (In another translation
I remember, it is the anus. Is this
vagueness in Herodotus or Greek,
translation or me?)

This fills the animal's veins with air,
induces pressure within the udder
as another slave milks the horse.
This makes a fine sense.

The Scythian rides a horse as you
might say the Scythian rides a horse.
As you might say Bosphorus or Persia,
the Scythian rides.

The Scythian does not cultivate
Scythia, but rides it over the Steppes.
They drink the milk of their horses
and blind each slave.

The men of Scythia rode away
to war with the Cimmerians.
For twenty-eight years they chased
Cimmerians across Asia.

Their women remained to tend herds
of horses and watch their blind captives
milking, stirring, skimming cream from
casks of mare's milk.

When the Scythian men rode home,
they found an army waiting for them,
the sons of their women and blind slaves
holding Scythia.

The enemy army bred of their women
outfought the riders with spears and bows,
but dropped their weapons and vanished
at cracked whips.

This is why they blind their slaves.
I read this again in the fourth book
of Herodotus where he describes
the lives of Scythians. 
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Animals refuse to move. We spook them all,
even, it is feared, the Porcupine herd
round the edges of Alaska. So a man saying
someone's got to do it in a bird suit
in an ultralight aircraft chaperones
whooping cranes abroad. From hatchling
to whoopling they hear the small noise
of the motor stroke flaps they will follow
from Canada to Florida. What this means
for the whoop, "purported to be audible
for two miles," I cannot pretend to say.
For the amateur pilot who might stray
into whooping crane space, what this means
I can't suppose. I would walk the distance,
though, if they wanted the company, if they
forgot to fly, if they were in no hurry. 
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Be careful, lady,
I see your partridges
in the grass
and quiver in the tree.
I can see your
grotto fountain pool
white city too and
what might be a fish face. 
You come upon Ophelia
afloat among the weeds
with just her face and hands
above the surface? Then
you dunk her and she jumps
up and says hey! 
It looks like elbows and fish sandwiches
for everyone and everyone is well lit tonight
and don't look now but the place is haunted. 
Why do I write science fiction?
Women might have two heads,
for all I know. 
Angels are swimming at treetop altitude
—Don't fall on those rocks, angels!—
Rubbernecking another senseless death. 
God is not on our side,
God is on the other side.
Still, let's inventory.
We have the wind-up lamb
and one good arrow.
And we've got John here.
The man is bugs.
So we've got John and
the wind-up lamb
and one good arrow.
Still, God is on the other side,
you may object,
God and all the invisible
things that fly.
But they are women to us
And are we men or what.
Come on, we're golden. 
When the tooth fairy appeared
for real in the bedroom of Marcia X,
who had lost a front tooth,
the tooth fairy could smell
the tooth. The tooth fairy
could smell the pulp ooze
in the carroty root.

The smell made the smallest hairs
on the back of the tooth fairy's neck
and ears stand up
and the smell made the tooth fairy shiver.

But when the tooth fairy reached
long fingers under Marcia's pillow,
it (the tooth fairy was neither
he nor she, never a he or she)
found the hand of Marcia's father,
Charles X, who was hiding
under the blanket
in his daughter's bed and
also bristling, asniff.

A fairy, any fairy, must become
flesh to touch this world.

A fairy that snatches babies,
for example,
must resolve into animal flesh
before it can slide fingers
under the baby and
lift the baby but
then release a changeling
into the rattles and bears.

An elf, to name one more,
must squat on your chest
in bare toes and accept gravity
to ride your lungs
from a slow walk to galloping.

And so it was with the tooth fairy.
It could collect a tooth
only by becoming
substantial and enclosed.

This was when Charles X
grabbed the hand
under his daughter's pillow
and leaped on the tooth fairy.

Marcia X, meanwhile,
was not screaming. Marcia
was as used to not screaming
as her mother was used to
not screaming. Her mother,
if you wonder, was sleeping
through a brick wall
in Boston, America, 1943.

Was Charles X found just
breathing, just breathing,
with the marks of a thousand
deciduous teeth in his skin?
Did Marcia X find a new
silver dime under her pillow?
What country are you from?
This was Boston, America, 1943.

Charles X, who was a big man,
took the sack from the tooth fairy,
who was never very strong,
and beat the tooth fairy
with a bag of hard teeth
into a small real corpse
and found no identification
in its pockets, only change.
The bones and the teeth are under
a hawthorne on the common. 
Monday, March 15, 2004
Women have grown long toes
these days like elves
who haven't read this
or heard your father's joke
about sailors and monkeys 
Saint Martin's summer
a town named for a mineral
and she looks like he
might remember Christmas 
his babysitter after
tells the news
she woke with
noises thinking horses

coming down the road
horses coming down
the roof exploding

firemen find where her
husband could not
look in a cupboard
quite after noise 
Sunday, March 14, 2004
His last second at the Center
for Particle Physics Research,
Dr Hu whirled the director
from the rooftop garden into
the Human Resources skylight,
then stomped the accelerator
and crashed his Blazer into
that fucking Rudolph Muller's
new Toyota and saw for a
moment something new. 
Saturday, March 13, 2004
at 2the ##for
*^*tune co
facto*(^& ry
&((career)) in
the b^alance
team #%reads
simply this @
cook-ie is best
!!/\!! unbroken
%&* the s
warm moves
%#%in !@!@!
howwith sohow
{wholethingis} un
wrote as before


At the fortune cookie
factory career in the
balance review team
reads simply "This
cookie is best
unbroken." The swarm
moves in undeclares
how with so how with
so the whole thing
is unwrote as before
sweet of slip smell.


At the fortune cookie factory a
career in the balance:
the review team reads simply,
"This cookie is best unbroken."
The swarm moves in undeclares
how with so how with so the
whole thing is unwrote as
before and slip of sweet smell.


At the fortune cookie factory, a career in the balance: the review team reads simply, "This cookie is best unbroken."

The swarm, which is another review team, an invisible imagined swarm, moves in on this text and undeclares it, and the thing is dewritten, unwrote. All that is left is the smell of the cookie on the slip of paper holding the fortune.

Then get out the malfunctioning typewriter. They eat it up. 
If you have found this, you have found
my secret cave, the cave of the moss.
And my bones? Are they here?
Does moss stick to my ribs?

I write on these scraps all
I have in the way of paper now.
Fine stationery, eh? Grand
is life lived. I give away nothing.
Follow the serial numbers.

My ink was ground from a particular insect
one of the boys pulverized. Not so
particular anymore, beetlebrow.

I could drug their food, I thought,
so I did. Then at night, a conch,
a conch, a conch, for each man.

Then my wife, how I managed it I
couldn't say, but a conch for
my fine old battleship, my blue-blooded
poodle, "girdled in lavender, Lady
Iphigenia, gemmed above night."

I should have finished them all, each one,
but I clung to the young women.
I'll breed replacements, I fancied.
Get in line ladies, I'm God Almighty now.

And this marvelous moss from my
secret cave, this marvelous secret,
too fine for the pigs.

The fathead, the redbelly, what does he
eat, I used to wonder, so I split him.
He'd been swallowing the rats he had sworn
he could no longer catch for us.

The little one, he thought it
a mark of affection, the nickname
I used on him, but I thought of a gasping fish.

Three syllables, first syllable,
sounds like. Oh, it's been years
since those parties at the Drysdales.

A fucking stupid fucking fish
agape on the beach.
I could have eaten him with a little vinegar,
only his little body.

But an island needs cannibals.
And girls. So I woke them,
told them someone had come at night
and killed the rest but I
fought them off. No more fear then
of lonely nights, no fear of me
and goats in love, love in goats
and nannies.

I moved the girls up the mountain,
to be safe, I told them, to the mouth
of my cave. I would have raised
a flock of me roaming the jungle,
each one answering to my magnificent howl.

But they tipped a stone over the mouth
of the cave, left me only a crack
to stare through. A crack and a broken rib.
Gorgons! Incubi! Loreleis! I screamed
but they ran, probably to the other side
of this grotesque island.

Last legs. It's God and nothing. 
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Women love these
songs about "my life"
and always "always"
and "forever" and "survive"
as if these were possible.

No, not all women, baby,
now don't get yourself mad,
I don't mean you, baby,
you're not like the others,
you're not like
no woman on earth.
Don't you love me nomore.

Melancholy synthesizers played
by violinists in the video
swelling and church voices
and a woman's strong
gulleted declaration
of what she is
and always despite.

Women love these songs
about "my life" --
No, you're not like no woman.
Don't you love me nomore.
Don't cry on me baby don't cry.

Meanwhile men are meet
for the first time
of their dreams,
like no woman on earth.
Meanwhile men fuck
like monkeys in trees
fuck like monkeys
in trees fuck like
men fuck in cars.

He's not like.

Songs about "my life"
and always "always"
and "forever" and "survive"
as if these were possible.

Melancholy synthesizers played
by violinists in the video
swelling and church voices
and always a strong woman's
gulleted declaration of what
she always despite
what she is and always
despite what she alllllllll

|: Women love these
meanwhile men love
these women love
songs these women
meanwhile men love :|

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
How the three uninviting women
out and smile like nothing
squeak the door for themselves
and they're completely abbreviated 
Ask an American to list personal heroes
(it's the sort of thing they do, they'll play along)
and you'll hear if you've picked yourself
a true American a list of Americans. "I
would have to say," as if compelled.
"Clearly, the first," as if it were undeniable.
An American has heroes and the first is,
undeniably, clearly, you know. 
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
All this art
to pluck at
a pearl from Venus
whose white legs
stride the shell. 
Sweet homosexuals
love in early midsummer.
Even the man like a donkey
is gentle with female parts
mouthéd by men and
boys as was written. 
Jesus from here
looks like he might hug you
and get all that gore
on your back.
Try not to let him
catch your eye. 
Sunday, March 07, 2004
What makes a saint
a girl in the skin
burst for good

Her heart works itself
visible and she eats
only spiders and glass
what you will

Here the part
she tattoos and pierces
and takes on a Roman army
one man at a time
if she must

But here is her diary
enlarged in crayon
with unicorns

She must stove
for the hungry as if

Here is her thinned
blood from her
palms her nails
her clutch her husband
he's been and gone
up with her 
His muscles are mercantile
and redundant
a sailor suit for girls
or boys. He needs
a saucy tie to set a
thing off, a swabber
of ships, a man to fathom. 
No one has such sex displays
impounded as a woman
wearing breasts.  
Irishman behind me
gives off little dog-bark
laughs little hoops
he jumps through
for a woman is
taller and blonder
and grimmer than us.
Dr Beauregard strings the scalps of seven nuns
to electrodes.

The hare stands on hind
legs between yew and blackberry.
The hare looks at the moon
buts its ears swivel on the foreground,

Dr Beauregard pinpoints
and teases out the ecstasies
of the virgins.

The moon on the blue flat sky
among perfect gold stars
is deflated but watches with round eyes
a bird in a tree.

Under the nut trees, hunters
bag apes transfixed by the sight
of their own unwinding entrails.

A line traced through
the belt of Orion meets

Dr Blanke, who demonstrates with pointer
the temporal lobe and the parietal lobe
and the distance between.

Each impulse that occurs
beneath a wimple
is detected.

Then all the stars and stars
become the brass band of God. 
Ice breaks under
the Russian polar station
and night does not end
until later this month.
There might be helicopters
but there is no land.
There is no danger
but also there is no land.

In Moscow, a clerk prints two versions
and sets the sheets side by side
for one last look then
slides them across
a black desk to the shift chief. 
She farts beneath our covers,
does my love.
She scratches nether quibbles,
does my love.
She cleans an ear with finger,
does my love.
How far I coast upon her billowed sheets,
knows not my love. 
Friday, March 05, 2004
I need a mountain
retreat for my schemes
without monks thank you
or wistful leaders
The cliffs mine alone
and all the salt
I need a mustache
and bully-boys spring
snapping my suspenders
I need an architect
for these hills are piled
I need a mountain
without monks thank you
and all the salt 
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Jesus exists only
on paper unless you roll
your eyes back
and say he saves me
from a wobbly knee
and a drunk half-cousin
and you had nothing
to do with it? 
I wish this spider
hadn't built
in this shower.
I am the rain of the age
and didn't know.
Her legs stick to the white
and cannot be plucked up
from the specificity
of this white.
Her legs should step
and think among themselves,
and mine. 
We want to be good
to others. This is how
we are good, being good
to others.

But a saint cannot be good
hoarded in a rock with no one
receiving saintly good.

So a saint in a rock
is good for pure god.

A saint in a rock gives
nothing – no clothes, no food,
no women – and is sure.

But a saint who wants
nothing gives nothing to god.

So a saint must want, and
quite particularly.

Or a saint gives the ache
– no clothes, no food,
no women – to a god
enjoying the gift
of an aching saint.

Or a saint in a cairn
I am
big balls
blowing my
kilt up  
God in the shower
grout and grot
stuck in the drain
and whirling
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
The Locomotion comes on
and I look over to Carole King,
whom I imagine on my left,
whom and all for some reason,
and I ask if she really wrote this,
and whether she ever met
Little Eva, but she's far away. 
In the mirror I
become some bird
beak and look.
I've been bitten
and I quench at it. 

beam eye baby

AKA Eeksy-Peeksy or maybe dumbfoundry
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Belladonna Books [4]
Black Square Editions [7]
Bloodaxe Books [562]
Braincase Press [3]
Burning Deck [10]
Duration Press [82]
Etherdome [1]
Factorial [32]
Factory School [33] [18]
Figures [1]
Futurepoem [17]
Generator Press [16]
Ixnay [13]
Kenning [17]
Leroy [7]
Manifest Press [6]
Meritage Press [19]
Omnidawn [7]
Owl Press [14]
Paradigm Press [11]
Pavement Saw Press [23]
Potes & Poets Press [22]
Pressed Wafer [3]
Primitive Publications [1]
Qua Books [4]
Seattle Research Institute [9]
Skanky Possum [41]
Small Press Distribution (SPD) [298]
Small Press Traffic [135]
Spectacular Books [15]
Subpress [12]
Tangent Press [11]
TinFish [9]
Tougher Disguises [15]
Tuumba Press [18]
Verse Press [74]
Xpressed [27]
Zasterle [5]

Mailing Lists and Daily Poems
The Wondering Minstrels
Creative Writers Opportunities List (CRWROPPS)
(the dreaded) Buffalo Poetics List
Poetry Espresso
Poetry Daily

The Bug

November 2001 / December 2001 / January 2002 / February 2002 / March 2002 / April 2002 / May 2002 / June 2002 / July 2002 / August 2002 / September 2002 / October 2002 / November 2002 / December 2002 / January 2003 / February 2003 / March 2003 / April 2003 / May 2003 / June 2003 / July 2003 / August 2003 / September 2003 / October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / January 2004 / February 2004 / March 2004 / April 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / December 2004 /


A poetry blog. Yes, I know some of them are really bad. I put everything here, even the failures. I might cannibalize them later. Just skip the bad ones. Sounds nothing but mean. (And don't look for web design; this blog is just a big sheet of paper.)

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If you have an opinion on any of this stuff, please write to me and let me know about it.

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