A poem called Lemons. Sorry.
A poem called Drains. Holes—
with purpose. A poem called
The View From the Kosciuszko
Bridge. Skyscrapers, skyscrapers,
skyscrapers. Tombstones, tombstones,
tombstones. A hundred poems
called Tombstones. Everything
is everything and nothing is
everything too. A day in the life
of the death of the world to come.
A poem called Some Like It Crunchy.
First things last, last things salty.
Neckdeep in the deepfake night
I stepped into the dried up river
of stones. A poem called Poetry
Fest. It is raining on Governors Island.
Poets are reading under tents, my friends
are listening under tents and dark clouds
dark rain gathers us all into pockets
of listening. It is cold and the wind
is bitter and blowing but that’s
the theme of the day—poetry
and cold bitter wind. A poem
called Here Comes Nobody.
Gather ye ashes while ye may.
Gather ye holes with purpose.
Leave the poison, take the flowers.
Aimless, drunk, and dour. Been
avoiding the world all day, calming
down the comeuppance. A poem called
Autumnmatic. I remembered too late
the golden highlights of my day.
A great lag swept through me there.
Then less was I myself. Out of my mind,
dark clouds wrung. I was myself the wreckage
of that sea. I was the void in which I walked
and what I didn’t see, didn’t hear, and never felt
came not but from myself. And there
and there I lost myself in the strangeness of
silence. A poem called The Strangeness
of Beginnings. They never end. A poem
called The Strangeness of Endings. Same
world, just totally different. Lifelikeness
lessness. Heartdeep in the unlight.
A poem called Poem From Keats’s
Grave. Not nightingale, but magpie
kept watch in the crook of the old wall.
I looked down on Severns’ grave beside
you in the earth and I imagined he must
have been gay for you. Totally in love.
How can you not fall in love with someone
as they die from tuberculosis in your arms
in a small hot room beside the Spanish
Steps? A poem called Artichoke Me.
I kissed a lemon, and I liked it. A poem
called Cigarettes. I gave up, just to try it.
A poem called Dead Drop. Life is a slog.
Gather ye silence while ye may. More
and more, the heartlessness of sounds
lays claim to the fallow pauses
of my life. A poem in the form
of a week. Monday. A dog barks
on a dark barge. Tuesday. Keats
dies. Wednesday. My mom calls
from Hawaii says she is standing
by the ocean in the night and she
can see the Milky Way and shooting
stars and sailboats with violet sails
gliding over dark waters. Thursday.
Aimless, drunk, and dour. Friday.
Bought a bunch of lemons. Did not
make lemonade (target practice).
Saturday. Listened to the entire Velvet
Underground discography. Watched
every Sofia Coppola movie. Read
the Bible, start to finish. Drank
seven cappuccinos. Pissed in an
alcove. Smoked my last cigarette.
Sunday. Another last cigarette. Another
Sunday. A poem called Nothing Ends.
It is only beginnings (target practice).
A poem called Love Poem. I love you
a lot. I love the way you grow your hair
very slowly. I love that you wear clothes
and have a face. I love your face. I love
that it has eyes as blind as my own. A poem
called New Love Poem. Let’s make lemonade
and chill. A poem called Louvre Poem.
My mom calls me from The Louvre
in the middle of my night the middle
of her day and described how she felt
looking into the eyes of Rembrandt.
I finally felt old she said and I missed you.
A poem called Life is Wasted On
The Living. I don’t recall any of it.
Don’t remember half my mother’s face.
No poems or paintings or movies, no
hardships or friendships or dawns.
I only remember that life was wasted
as it was won. A poem called Yawn.
A poem called Dawn. Sarah said I sleep
talked again. This time I kept repeating
this is not a repetition, this is not a repetition.
Said she couldn’t get back to sleep all night.
I apologized and took a shower like I do
everyday. The same world, just different.
A poem called The Sleeptalker. Methinks
my heart a glottal scam, my mind
a golden error, history an echo’s farce.
The mountains of yesterday tremble
like things unsure, mayhaps brokenfooted.
A poem called Existence Is The Bane
of My Existence. It’s the lie that sets you
free; the truth is for those on their way
down. Someone said all things must pass and
look there they go. A poem called Contrapposto.
I rest all my weight on the sole of my left
foot. A column of gravity within. I call
my brother. He says he is standing on
the sole of his right foot behind the bar
at his job in Portland. He says it’s funny
the two of us turning out so different.
I said everyone turns out different but
we’ll always have Nebraska. A poem
called The Good, The Bad, and The
Derivative. Everyone knows there’s no
going back, but there’s no going forward
either. Counting the satisfactions is one thing,
being satisfied another. It seems we have all
been cheated of some marvelous experience
and what was won was wasted on me. A poem
called Life Is A Quotation. I’ve got a silence
stuck in my head. Same dream, different
flowers. There’s nothing a little beauty
and terror can’t fix. A poem called Blueshift.
We all know the truth but none can say it.
Consciousness doth make mazes of us all.
Cry me a wine dark sea. Cry me a dried
up river. Cry me a poem called What
We Talk About When We Talk About
Silence. My mom facetimes me from
the wine dark sea says her knees hurt
and her back hurts and her hair is graying
and disappearing and today she tried
to climb up to the Acropolis but gave
up halfway and instead has been sitting
in the sand on the shore in the night
wondering when she will see any of her
children again. You are so far away
she says and I told her I’m writing
a poem right now and I will put you
in it so we can be together for a minute
in the same place again. She says sounds
nice I love you. Say hi to Sarah for me.
A poem called Mom Says Hi. Dear Sarah,
Hello. It is 6:16 PM. I am on the roof writing
a poem called The View from Our Roof.
The sun is setting. The city turns into light.
The Empire State Building goes blue.
It's a Friday. The same world; new.
A poem called New Poem. Sorry
for the old poems. This one is different.
This one is called Home Is Where The
Hole Is. I like the idea of tennis, but I
don’t like the idea of my knees. Or my body.
Everything hurts. Even the idea of breath
takes it out of me. There is no bottom just
dry heaving. Nothing left in the stomach
but words. The word home. The word belly
ache. The word Nebraska. A poem called You
Will Never Have Nebraska. Not like I did.
It’s just like New York out there but blank
and flat and forever. Ago. A poem called
I’ve Got A Lifetime Lost In My Head.
The more I remember the feeling the less
it feels like a feeling and the more it feels
like the memory of a feeling like the
memory of a phone call on a lost
day. My dad called from his bicycle
in Nebraska. He said kid the lifetime
is lost in my head too. Look up
with me into the great light of day.
The sun is no hole. A poem called
From Proust’s Grave. A nightingale
this time. And this time it was I
who was gay. Totally in love. How can
you not fall in love with someone
who died from sadness in Paris writing
a four thousand page hole of memory
in an apartment that is now a bank.
Was that a question? A poem called
This Apartment is Now a Bank. This
is a question. This is the beginning.
A nightingale this time. Dying
from sadness in Brooklyn in
A poem called Manila. My dead grandma
calls me in the night from a payphone in
a poem. She says I died from sadness too
but you don’t see me crying a wine dark
sea. I said lola you are the wine dark sea.
Then the poem hung up. Another rang.
My living grandma from her house in
real life says New York sounds horrible.
All those people. All their holes. I don’t know
how you breathe in all that smog. I tell her I
don’t breathe, that’s my secret. She laughs.
She is listening. I ask her if I can read her
a new poem and she says sure. I say this
is a poem called The Theme of The Day.
Eternity comes to those who wait. Life
takes time, time takes life. All's well that
ends. Grandma said it didn’t feel complete.
An idea for a poem called Propagation.
Rip out a line. Give it to a stranger to
continue. A poem called Poem Continued
By a Stranger. Then less was I myself.
I don’t know how to write poetry.
My sense is that it’s just words but
different like little boats with violet
sails gliding over the dark waters of
the weltering waters of
silence, of strangeness,
A poem called My Apologies. Sorry
for the new poems. They tried.
They’re trash. They’re unforgiven
and forgotten. I was never here.
Only my voice was here, a stranger…
My mom calls from the Holy Land.
Says she almost gave up almost half way
but she bit through the pain and climbed
to the peak of the Gospels where Christ
became a hole for our sins. Says and there
the sun came out and there I found myself in
the strangeness of the Lord’s light missing you.
Do you miss me too? A poem called This
Poem Was Never Here. I hold my breath
and take it with me. Play the silent game
with myself, my lemons, and holes. A poem
called Lemons. You either got em
or you don’t. Lemons. Sorry. When
life makes you a promise, promenade.
Lemon. This lemon is different.
Yellower than the others. Lemon
ier. With more purpose. Lemon.
It’s the lemon that sets you free.
Lemonade is for those on their way
down. Lemons. On second thought, bury
me in a poem called Lemons. This batch
is crusty. Unlemonlike. Nearly limes.
Burn them. Yes. Burn them all. Lemons.
You there. I lay this laurel of lifetimes
at thy holey feet, almost totally
in love, almost no afterthoughts.
No lemon is different but none are
the same. This one is juicy. This
one’s a doozy. This one is drained.
A poem called Genesis. A poem called
Sisyphus. A poem called Genesisyphus
Shrugged. Dry heaved. Is this eternity?
Too early to tell. Too late to keep it
a secret. Like a cough. Like love. Like
a poem called Tomorrowland. One
commits to the future like one commits
suicide or to a relationship. Or a poem.
Do you mind if I gag? Do you mind that
there is so little of everything left? It’s all
been bruised by rereading and blueshifted
by the old memories of feeling. I think
about Marianne Moore living a couple
blocks from me a hundred years ago with
her mother through the century through
war and peace and lemons. I wonder if
she read her poems to her mother. I sit
in Fort Greene Park and screen my mother’s
phone call. I write a poem called I Love You
Or Else. Or else I’m dead. Or else I’m lying
in the light of the yellow wood. Holedeep
in tomorrowland, in before and after
thoughts, in the wine dark sea. Or else
we can repeat the phrase until it rings true.
Commit to it like an actor to a performance.
Like suicide. Or else I’m not myself. That’s
my secret. I’m drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Of course I’ve changed. I’m committed to change
(practice) and change my commitments.
The lemons have a purpose. The purpose is
a poem I whisper only in my head. It’s secret
even from me. A poem called The Secret Poem.
Write what hurts. I am a bad son. I don’t know
if that’s true—but it hurts. Hurts like the sound
of a dog barking on a dark barge. Hurts like
change. Like dying from sadness in Nebraska
like the idea of my mom dying, my dad
living on, lonesome and old, visiting her
tombstone, leaving flowers, and a rosary.
Last night a nightingale died in my dream.
Decapitated by a magpie. When I woke
Sarah said I sleeptalked again or sleep
moaned the phrase the secret is silence
the secret is silence. A poem called
A poem called Noise. In search of
lost limes I found a lemon. In search
of lost and founds I found you. Lost
you. Started from the end and
now I’m nowhere. Light drained
the lightheaded headed to New
York in search of lost commitments.
In search of nightingales. In search of lost
mothers, lost brothers, long silences, dead
grandmas, dead canaries, happenstance
and honeysuckle, comic echoes, bitter eclipses,
vanished beginnings, wayward targets, John
Giorno books, angelic tombstones, the ten
thousand islands of the Philippines, the lost
island in my head, good friends, good lord,
true love, the holy grail, a cure for cigarettes,
secret poems, poetic silences, holy secrets
in search of themselves. Sorry. Ourselves.
Time Wounds All Wounds. Do I repeat myself? Very well.
I repeat after myself. Platitudes. Recursive handwriting.
Unlike a rolling stone, more like a virgin, yesterdays
go in one ear and out through my secret hole.
Word on the street is silence is a word on the street.
Are there holes in the hole that you hole in?
You are what you forget and I forgot the taste
of lemons. I forgot the beginning I thought
I reserved. I have appeared in my own life
like a bat caught in a classroom. Is that
digression? Or is that mystery? A poem called
Recursive Handwriting. A brokenhearted
magpie and half of three butterflies. A silence
fest. A lemon in the snow. It is not enough
to be here, one also must go. A poem called
Ex Cetera. Zero hour, 9 am. The silence
comes in waves. My mom posts on Facebook
photos of herself halfway up the great pyramid
of giza halfway down mount fuji a selfie
on a plane with little clouds in the window
another beside a young rembrandt photos
of taguig capitan santos street my titas
ninongs photos of tombstones lola lolo
of palm trees of skyscrapers of sand
I heart it comment say hi to
everything for me say mahal kita
A poem called Mahal Kita. Means
I love you. Umaga means morning.
Gabi means night. Gabi-gabi means
every night. Mahal kita umaga-umaga,
mahal kita gabi-gabi. A poem called
Limon. Means lemon. Butas. Means
hole. Tax refund drops in my account
uber to laguardia chug seven cappuccinos
remove my belt shoes dental records
get x-rayed delayed ten hours listen to
the entire velvet underground discography
luck out with a window seat settle in
take off immediately immediately have to
piss step on a stranger’s toe sprint to rest
room to watch it all get sucked down a
howling void of a drain knee the stranger
in the knee settle in order bloody mary with
real blood fake limon watch every sofia coppola
movie sketch my left hand in various poses look
at the little clouds out the little window read
the bible get halfway through land in manila
hail a motorcycle taxi jump on the back
yell to the cemetery and step on it blast off
through skyscrapers skyscrapers skyscrapers
palm trees palm trees palm trees crowds
clouds rivers of tagalog of shadows skid
to halt by the gates pay the man walk past
the stranger selling flowers past the stranger
selling dust walk to the grave of lola lolo
my titas and ninongs my brother my sister
my mother stands among their tombstones
between her own tombstone and mine says
she wishes she could start her lifetime
over again all of it every day ago again
a stranger appears sells us two cups
of yellow corn eat it together with
our hands in silence. A poem
called Then I Woke Up.
the never ending