The Writ

Americans marrying abroad have to complete a number of forms:

Chief among them a contract
Defining marriage itself,
A holy writ designed to stem the flow of nature.

For while marrying abroad is considered a paean to order—
The primacy of an almighty creator,
And the nature of things—,
Truly, streams run inexorably toward chaos
And ruin:

Precursors to renewal;
Inevitable circumstances,
Hidden and debased by the pragmatic concerns
Of the deluded American.

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Aloft

What feathers hold aloft the birds
That sing among the trees at night,
And yet allow the branches to fall
Downward to eternity?

The brittle bones of nature’s army,
Withering from force of blight,
Though strong enough to carry forth
Those visitors who shake the leaves,

And gather choirs long forgotten,
Set upon a diff’rent path
That leads to rivers flowing far beyond
The reach of conscious fear

To inlets and to fields aflame with
Mother Nature’s righteous wrath,
To skies whose clouds have burned away
And left the journey forward clear.

Acolytes

Sad drunk and weeping behind
Sheer black shields.
Ass flat and chafed and screaming,
Bowels churn under another threat,
A bombardment of liquid courage:
Less courage, though, than retreat.
Floodgates open—not that they’d be capable,
Anyway.

Young or old, smooth or scarred—
Forlorn,
And staring into the bottom of a glass
That sheds its own weak tears.

The drink is gone;
His beard sags heavy.
Always, the question is the same:

Why?

Why has god—
Or destiny, or whichever force it is that drives the human condition—
Dealt me this hand?
Where has she gone?
And why is it all blue tomorrows?

And despite the fact that every bar
Comes fully equipped with a mirror,
Not a one of them—
Wrapped in denim, eyes shaded from the sunlight—
Ever looks long enough to see the answer.

Nomadic Homes

During the daylight hours I spend my time in the Sales Department at TASCHEN, working out of the offices on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. We are currently in Sales Conference, where many of the books for the coming season are presented to the reps that they might begin pre-selling. Most of the prominent and important titles are presented by their editors, but the ones that aren’t quite as major are presented by the reps.

This time around, I drew Nomadic Homes, which is a compilation of photos and essays and information about mobile homes, from early wagons, to revamped airstream trailers, to luxury yachts for the eccentric rich. It is actually a rather nice-looking book, and interesting, though it is destined to serve primarily as chum for fauxhemians to purchase at twee boutiques where the idle upper middle class peddle snake oil and fetishize an idea of spirituality that doesn’t jibe with the actual definition.

My friend Erin challenged me to offer up my presentation in the form of a haiku, so I did. I include it here for posterity:

Nomadic Homes, or
Apocalypse real estate:
on your lawn, quite soon.

Sunday Service

Holy man in the subway, fingers stretched to breaking across a pearl keymap
(Well, maybe not pearl
But close enough in the Universal Scheme)

Seeks a new sound—
One to break the deadlock of evolution
And unite the world as one.
But the world is already one:

All gods are the same god,
Of the same spark fanned
And bred;
Lonesome walks the traveler who
Understands
This great truth.

But the Holy Man is not lonely,
For he sits among the rest.
They pass him by without a thought,
But the squawk of his horn is
The pouring forth
Of the same confusion.

Saturday, 3:30am

Down in the graveyard,
Behind my grandpa’s stone,
I saw a glint in the eye of a demon.
His teeth white under the moon,
He tuned a fiddle of bleached bone
Strung with fresh sinew

And I asked the demon
“Did you know my grandpa?
When you think of him, does your fiddle whine?”

And he said, “No, I didn’t know the man.
I didn’t know his smile,
Or the sour notes that rode his breath as he praised you.
I know only that this headstone
—reaching as it does for falling stars—
Casts the deepest shadows over the rest.”

With a sigh, the demon ran his bow across taut flesh
And it hissed,
And sent ravens into the sky.

A Forest

Vines grow fierce along the edge of every whim
Each notion pulls with it twelve other seedlings
That ripen and bulge and invite
The neighbors into your kitchen

You may believe that islands stand individual
Warriors of solitary purpose projected toward the sun
But each base gloms onto the earth
Thirsty, without the benefit
Of advocacy

We live in sagging huts
Blankets between you and us and
Songs that slip across the great expanse
Harsh whispers to the untrained ear

Myths stand under the stars, not thee
Lips pursed in quiet judgment as gods titter
Come home to roost among queer birds
On branches beaten from the finest
Silver

Maps will not illuminate you
As unfathomable as the ebb of the cosmos
Ever collapsing onto one point of light, screaming
The bleat of midnight, the call of darkness unbidden

Anise

Oh, Anise,
Would you be so kind
As to listen
As I unburden myself?

As this dance, which lingers—
Malformed—
In my mind
Takes from me that lasting dignity:
What remains of the rhythm
That animates my spirit?

Or would you sigh,
Anise,
And stroke your eyebrows
As my thoughts—
Vaporous—
Dissolved before you?

As my throat constricted,
Would you fall into reverie,
Content with your own dance—
Graceful—
And delicate—
And elusive—?

If every day was like Christmas

If every day was like Christmas,
I’d jump into the sea.
I’d sink down through the deep dark depths
‘Til there was nothing left of me.

I’d let my spirit float away
Beyond the great, yawning divide
That keeps us from eternity,
Holding us pris’nor, trapped, resigned

To endless thoughts of what’s ahead,
Rather than what we have, instead,
Because despite our weak’ning cries,
We don’t believe in God.

And while so many drop in prayer,
Prostrate themselves before the glare
Of naked sky, of empty rooms,
That simply won’t reveal the flaws

Intrinsic to such bitter kneeling,
Sad escape from depth of feeling
That might finally release
Both of us from unnat’ral laws,

Others look behind the stars,
See nothing but deserts on Mars,
And know that that should be enough
To drive us to each other’s arms.