Selected Excerpts From “Odd Way of Birds”

First came Tata
tits only, small but flames
her clothes made way
for expression, darkness
shed its skin outside
leaving disaster company
like animals on the
Brenda followed
with eight Mexican
queers in a row laughing
only one completely out,
on the couch he dreamt.
Another car found us,
it was Wendy with more
boys-of-sorts, a black
one quickly took off his pants
and danced,
with his phantom self.
Records started screaming,
changing and scratching
short concentration
the stoned disc-jockey
having more fun finding
new tunes than listening.
Wendy leaned
heavily on the fridge,
her thin body
led her to food,
then she sat by it
thumbing through
eggs and sour cream,
settling finally on beers and cheese
and potatoes,
i helped her up.
she had forgotten
where she was.
Brenda loved to strip
but now nothing was left
she lay naked squirming
like a baby with a blond dog
while the boys
smoked cigarettes
and watched and talked in circles
like pals trading pills
on the corner,
amusement was the time.
amusement was the time and
memory didn’t enter.

Tata followed smoke images
around the room
stopping only for space
to steal kisses off her
fiery nipples,
each corner was colored
with plants and perfumes,
the house so warm and wet.
the boy with no trousers
wiggled to electronic-
hiccups, and
Brenda fair lady, lay
naked alone, at ease
her knowing flesh
with no fear
with no fear. Wendy forgot
about her potatoes cooking
the gas
was on with no fire,
her black lacy string panties
being lowered by six hands
while she remembered
the colored lights
in her head
and the hunger
below her stomach.

Some of the sissy boys
had left others breathed
in semi-stupors, all
nakedness lie limp, Brenda
beautiful and asleep still
on the floor, calm
filled the room like
stopped bleeding
except for the skipping record
except for the skipping record,
oblivious to the
pile of deadened bodies
among Wendy.
i stumbled out of Tata
as the smell of gas below
leaked and slithered up
to us like a snake,
and found me
watching the lines
on Tata’s forehead
and on the sides of
her eyes
smooth away like in water,
as i felt the rising gas,
i could see my own reflection
from the banks of her

Four Tunnels

1. there are some tunnels
that are short and stump
and upon entering are over
in a wink.
2. and there are others that
are reptilian in nature,
neon and glossy and buried
deep within the bowels of
mammoth structures.
3. (the ones bored through hill
or mountain have a certain
sound and you can sense
the massiveness around your passage).
4. then there are those
that are long and seem never ending
and mark caution at their entrance.
once inside you become helpless
by the unalterable flow of darkness,
by the unalterable flow of darkness
and the howls of the wheels and
whirling fumes,
and you are forced to wait
until your turn finally arrives
to see the nipple of light
at the end.

The Odd Way of Birds

A car stopped jagged
along the shoulder of
the road South bound from
San Francisco, I saw
the back door open and
a black girl waving
her arms frantically
her face also was moving
I thought perhaps laughter
but as her image stayed with me
the next mile I thought
she must have been struggling
to get loose from
someone inside her car I think
I did see another person why
would she be
playing around
in the middle of a speeding
road waving madly for
help she must have
been raped or close

I thought about going
back to help her there
was no off ramp
for miles at last
a highway patrol car was
hinged at an emergency lane
as I zoomed by from the
opposite direction.

I had been driving south
for hours beating
the weather from one prediction to the next
through central California
it was hot and the road was laden with
furry-gutty road-kill and many
Arizona licence plated
cars with groups of
dark fig-skinned
people passed me,
mammoth trucks carrying
tremendous steel tracks
must have weighed that
of much much elephants,
and serpentine long trucks
transporting missile parts
South to Vandenberg slugged
up slight grades as
I started down the coast I
thought about the struggling
girl again and
her contorted expression
was clear again and
how shitty it was.

Getting cooler, spots
of the ocean, the sun
consumed all of the sea
shafts of light
dripped between reptile shaped clouds
on to vast fields of swirling
currents and white caps
and birds kept flying into my car
I heard the thuds like beating
a trash can
bam, bam, bam, crushing
sounds of dying wings
sixty-five mile an
hour wind sucking
the blood
up my windshield.

What We Ask of Each Other

We ask that oaks
remain oaks, that hopes be allowed
to change, that our promises be prayers
uttered raw as when we first met
when the road between us
was green and clear, open
as canvas.

Even darkness
in that flush of discovery
was but beauty’s shadows less life’s burden,
still, we ask the impossible to our open heart’s heart,
that we speak from chaos
to our chaos. We ask the insane

that we forgo our skinned selves,
desire our bodies impulses
pursuing confusion,
that we coddle our paradox
with the preciousness of a newborn
and precision
of a brain surgeon.

We ask of each other
to read our endless road maps
upside down and squished as
used tissue, shared, owned,
excused, the unrealized
beyond the literature of our non-fiction.
To wear each others’ guilt,
harmonize with our doubts and
surrender as we notice our blemished grace.

What we ask of each other,
truly ask
is to reflect shiny,
reflect true
in pools of mercy’s mercury
where only ghosts and vapors
can truly see each other.

All this we ask of each other,
when, in fact, we were born
before promises
and honesty included midnight,
and Kabbalist’s rites were all there were,
before impossible,
when we didn’t even
need to believe.

Syllabus: The Art of Falling

I. Etymology of falling
II. History of the fall
III. Nuance of descents

I. Etymology of falling

The origin of falling
commences at night
when art’s black and blues
congeals, scabs, protects
justifies and heals.

The act of falling
is nearly a magic trick
gone bad, it beats the eye
and even re-watched can’t
be explained.

The fact of falling exists
above the fall itself
for falls occur far too meta
for mortals to comprehend.

II. History of the fall

Some believe the artist’s answer
coils in the past, a never ending
snake. But even this truth can’t
explain the art of falling.

Before the fall, the lead-up
rarely explains or prepares you
for the sudden weightlessness, the swift
inevitable downward-suck toward
a certain unspooling of self, broken,
bruised, deconstructed — demise
or death is partially optional.

Some say they recall their fall
in slow motion, “like in a car
crash” and that’s a good start
toward the art of falling. While tragically,
endlessly flying sans known
purpose, some grab pride and
embarrassment to reconnect
the familiar. Here the art of falling
fans its nuance.

III. Nuance of Descents

The fall itself is noir-luminous,
faster than beauty and failure,
an awkward tumble made graceful
by awkward angels guiding your collapse,
‘till you reach zero, splayed, entangled,
sullen, akimbo.

A startled slip sucker-punched
you off earth’s rules.
The mystery of falls
and what exactly transpired
join hands in speculation. But
the art of falling lies also
on the ground, after the fall,

crumpled, semi-lucid you
zoom back to yourself,
month, day or moment ago lost,
and for but-a-blink, as
you decide on how to proceed,
the inevitability of your body’s
collusion with solid reality,
its nimble fragility of living
versus shear unpredictable folly,
the trumpets sound! A groggy alarm
rings! An addled awaking lures you back,
another round, another chance, another
sunrise and you realize the true art of falling
lies less in the fall
than in the falling.


Three black birds of discontent
caw and peck straight through my maw;
one, having swam acid-stomach laps
flaps its wings whisking viscous bile
into clarified purity, and — ascends upward
out my esophagus dissipating into air
like smoke, a burp.

That leaves two smart-Alecs
sitting like cackling crows on an overhead
telephone wire just out the window
in my shooting gallery of known
targets high on the psych list of “things
to kill.” But wait…

was it just an act of grace that first bird split
or had I actually earned its demise, worked
it away like paying off a student loan
for film school? (Are all loans equal?
Some make sense, others file under mysterious
unanswerable riddles, evolution,

those two feathered jack-hoes
cackle in black-feathered lingo
like hungry kitties, meth-heads
geeks, actors — terrorizing
my insides with the casualness
of rabid flying monkeys
not house-trained, not sympathetic,
just coldblooded Mesozoic reptile
machinery. This

is the story of two
remaining black birds of discontent
I’d love to nuke but
by now are more me than not .
Will I die if they die? Unlikely.
Will they die if I die first? Uncertain.
These two surviving feathered black
holes might just as well be three or three million
but two for you

and two for me, two sides,
a mirrored-mirage they,
winged-theoretical dimensions,
impinging upon my sciatica
as real as love as horrifying
as viral vermin, my
personal parrots echoing, shrieking
always shrieking on my shoulder.

The Tenses Elaborate

When you inhale you absorb every star.
When I inhale I take in the whole world.
When he inhales he sucks in all
dimensions. We want to absorb
the pain. Dilute it with laughter. Dilute
relativity, that is the aspiration.

I inhaled sacrifice. You
inhaled lust. That’s disgusting he said
and left. You looked at me like I should be
grossed out since I’m a girl. You
dreamt of inhaling
beyond the dimensions he inhaled
and looked satisfied as a skinny

bear. We each inhaled as deeply
as we could. It wasn’t enough. We tried to remember
how this began. I wanted to be responsible
for the world, I consumed it. He felt similarly
about the dimensions just as you took on

the problems of the firmament. But when
exactly did this begin? When he who
left became curious of what lay
beneath all the everything. And why?
Shrug and sigh, our collective breathing
left us wonting.