Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


faked by Tuesday, October 29th, 2013



I wake up with a killer hangover, or
a bug that feels like it.
Can’t have a hangover, haven’t had a drink in
twenty-six months and—not that anybody’s counting.
Not that I count, not that I need to count.

Can have the damned flu. Can have wrestled a
bit with sleep last night and said screw it and
got up and grabbed the first Pretenders record off the shelf
and drove up and down I-55.
Kiiiiiiiid, precious kid,
Chrissie moans, over that beautiful rubbery riff, you got all sad,
so I feel sad, too

I kind of wonder how old she was when she
wrote that lyric. It seems simple isn’t.
I ought to just look it up,
but it’s one of those nites everybody on the highway
is driving like murder, and even a casual glance
down at my phone feels risky,
makes me feel guilty.

There’s a 24-hr. Burger King by where
Video Library used to be, I bet I can get a
milkshake for a couple bucks. I’d rather get a movie,
but I was always bad about picking them out, just another
Robert Altman film festival, and besides
I haven’t had anything to watch it on in a decade.
And Video Library is long gone, but I could really
stand to watch that one long shot at the beginning of The Player
a couple times.

11:17 at nite the Burger King
is a reality show crime scene. It’s sort of amazing
and beautiful, like being under the stands at a
high school football game.
Everybody in the drive-through line is clearly drunk.
It’s hard to miss the window, but the Tahoe in front of me
first blows past it, then backs up, scraping off
a side-view mirror.
You can hear the stoned laughter reverberate
off the beige bricks.

By the time I get to the window
the Pretenders are bragging about how they’re special
soooooo special, you almost believe her, and
Burger King is trying to sell me some kind of mushroom burger.
If it were just me and Mushroom Burger on a desert isle,
(the thought balloon over its head being me dressed like a turkey,
the thought balloon over mine of Mushroom Burger
as a block of tofu), I wouldn’t touch that thing, let alone
pay somebody money for it. There’s nobody else here,
I just want my milkshake, no one like me.

I mash—-> over “Lovers of Today,” it’s too maudlin.
The holy God drums of “Mystery Achievement” kick in,
like the Golden Mean of rock and roll, drums on a
precise mathematical algorhythm, then the bass, then
the guitar chimes in, then ooooooooooooOOOOOoooooo,
it’s all in perfect sequence,
you can count it off to eight each time,
I never wrecked a car to it, but maybe should have.

They hand me some kind of drooling
monster, a liter of ice cream and syrup.
I hand the girl at the window a five automatically.
The girls in the window are still screaming at each other
about the drunk boy in the SUV, how cute he was.
“I had a small,” I manage to say.
“What,” the girl says, no question mark.
I question their commitment to Burger King,
question their taste in boys.
“I had a small,” I say, sober, exhausted, sick of everything.
She shrugs, hands me back three dollars and change.


faked by Tuesday, September 17th, 2013


The proud future insect lies repulsed at me, at us all.

There’s several pictures of it culled from the past decades. Shiny black in most, with stark white tones. The earliest images are worn smooth and blurry, printed thirty two years ago on thin cheap cardboard folded then jammed into rectangles of plastic, stories about the creature’s exploits detailed on the reverse.

The insect’s logogram, thought jammed through words, a knife slid through the ribs, the best we can do at explaining: code with a spider’s legs.

Eight proper ones as we would understand them, two antennae, a half a dozen feelers trailing behind the creature, pentagram carved into its ebony carapace. Even at the dawn of it all the proud insect was there, crawling through a sky of clockwork over blasted blue dunes.

Stamped on thousands of arms and torsos like the face of a lion on a coin, rays of sun spilling from its mouth, red triangle on a beer bottle.

The proud future insect scurries away.


faked by Thursday, August 8th, 2013


Last night I saw a lady
feeding a possum
off Fortification Street.
I most certainly did.

She was all lit up in neon
from the Shell sign, the one
where that guy got shot.
It was almost certainly a possum.

Maybe it’s a ferret, you’re
saying, I hear you but I was there
I’m the one almost wrecked his
car slowing down to see.

Once I found the gently rusting carcass
of a ‘66 Pontiac behind some old
storage units. Listen now:
I’m sure it was a possum.

I wanted to roll down the window
and holler out hey! Possums aren’t
pets! Or a good slogan like that.
Maybe there’s even a law on it.

Turns out there’s no possum laws
as far as I can tell. And any time
the Supreme Court talks about
possums, it’s when something went bad wrong.

The state offered evidence proving that the deceased, Roberta McBride, came to her death as the result of shotgun wounds in the side of her face.

Well, a possum didn’t shoot
Roberta McBride in 1933
it was Eddie Smith, her boyfriend.
It’s always the Eddies.

As a witness in his own behalf, the appellant admitted that he killed the deceased with a shotgun, but claimed that he killed her in self-defense.

Okay Eddie, you are in
quite a bit of trouble now, why
don’t you try and hep yoself
out. Splain Eddie, splain.

He testified that during periods of time that the husband of the deceased, Roberta McBride, was away from home, he became intimate with her.

Yes, that’s generally how it works
in my experience. I mean, not my
personal experience, you know.
“Git to the possums,” you say.

[T]hat finally having become fearful of the wrath of the husband, he sought to sever these illicit relations, but Roberta objected and upbraided him on account of his attentions to another woman.

Eddie. Eddie Eddie
Eddie. You are just lying now,
Eddie. You are just a plain old
liar, Eddie Smith.

[T]that when he quit his work about 5:30 o’clock on the day before the killing, he borrowed a shotgun for the purpose of going ‘possum hunting that night, without dogs; that he purchased shells for the gun, and started on the hunt about 6 or half past 6 o’clock.

Son you in Leflore County now.
We know you ain’t gone huntin’ for
no possums without no dogs. What were you
doing, Eddie. What were you doing.

He further testified that when he started hunting, he met Roberta, and thereupon abandoned his hunt and remained with her until 9 o’clock, when he kissed her good night, and she went to her home, and he to his; that about 2 o’clock a.m. she knocked on his door and he let her in.

Oh Eddie, don’t open that door.
Lying about going possum hunting is
one thing, but if you open that door
it’s all gonna fall apart.

Roberta had a pistol which she laid on a shelf in his room; that she continuously quarreled with him from that time until 5 o’clock, when it was time for him to go to work; that he then got up and dressed, and they left the house together, he carrying the shotgun which he had borrowed, and Roberta carrying the pistol which she had brought to his room.

Greewood LeFlore. The
great green woods of Le Fleur. Son of
Rebecca and Louis, our Flowers.

Beloved itibapishi toba.

They proceeded toward Roberta’s home, she continued to quarrel with him about the other woman, and finally said: “Stop, I ain’t joking about what I told you, if I catch you over there. If you don’t believe it, I will do it to you now.”

Eddie, just bear with me, but
I am a time traveler. A ghost.
Boy, even if you are telling the truth, you
need to get out of there right now.

And thereupon she snapped the pistol at him

Son I am saying you need to git on right now

and he turned and shot her, believing that it was necessary to do so to save his own life.

Oh Greenwood don’t do it.
Chief don’t go to Dancing Rabbit.
Don’t talk to that Sharp old Knife.
Chief stay out of Noxubee.

A witness for the state testified that about 6 o’clock of the evening before the killing, Eddie came to his home and sought to borrow or buy about two shotgun shells; that he asked the appellant if he was going hunting, and he laughed and replied: “No, not exactly.”

Eddie, this is the ghost again.
Dang it Eddie, I am just a phantom, a
stranger, but don’t laugh about it.
Don’t laugh.

It was a hundred years since the river people
walked out of Mississippi.
The Chief stayed. He stood on the floor of the House,
spoke Choctaw, eschewed Latin.

In the circuit court of Leflore county,
the appellant was convicted of murder,
and was sentenced to the state penitentiary for life.

You shouldn’t have laughed, Eddie.

Last night I dreamed I saw a
lady feeding a possum
off Fortification Street.
The side of her face was all torn up.

O! Roberta I am just a ghost.
I’m a sorry one, clanking my chains,
worrying about where this long walk
is going to take us.

He died at Parchman Farm, Roberta.
He was pulling up a bunch of onions in
1966. I watched him hunch over and
slump to his knees. Bad heart.

But you already knew that, didn’t
you, Roberta. Sixteen gauge
in the face. It was you got hunt
that night, you know about bad hearts.

O! I am just a lonely ghost,
I live in a box of haints. Good-by
to the river people, good-by
to Roberta, bonnes gens, bon ville.

SOURCES: Polaroid 600 film (1996); Smith v. State, 167 Miss. 85, 147 So. 482 (Miss. 1933), authored by Justice Cook; that old Bonneville that used to be back out of the storage place J.S. Losset had off High; a splash of the former Roberta Joan Anderson, of Saskatchewan, as always, and of course.

’68 Skylark

faked by Thursday, August 1st, 2013



faked by Monday, July 22nd, 2013


“RIP IT UP is a collection of poetry and drawings about the one true royal son of Tupelo: how he lived, who he loved, how he died, and them Blue Moon Boys that walked by his side. (And how he got his teeth fixed).”



faked by Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

You kind of think the boy could be really pretty if he weren’t wearing all the makeup.
Corpse paint, he calls it, but it’s only 1990 and everybody still thinks about Peter Criss and Ace Frehley when they see it, the Starchild versus the Phantom of the Park. You haven’t seen a corpse before but you don’t think corpses have really long, clean, gleaming blonde hair.

You go to talk to the boy but he just stands in the corner, every now and then banging up against the fake brick like a busted robot, mumbling to himself with his head down. A girl with a purple mohawk yells död vänligen leende but he just turns around and rolls his eyes up in his head.

You had a friend that said he stinks because he buries his clothes for a week before a show, but you think it just smells clean, like turned earth after it rains, like the farm your uncle had outside Uppsala, summers spent wandering a child’s Valsgärde, chopping down barley and oat with tree-limb swords, on a journey with Leifur Eiriksson or Ingvar the Far-Travelled.

You snuck in a couple of Falcons and even though everybody says you can’t even get drunk off them you’re only seventeen and it doesn’t take very much. A few years later you’re talking to a girl from California and you say oh yeah it was a really amazing show, it was really just a privilege to have been there that night, and by that time you’ve told the story so many times that the edges have worn smooth. The whole thing was just twenty minutes and when you watched it on YouTube you didn’t remember a note of it, and all you can think of is that weird little boy with the pretty hair.


faked by Friday, February 24th, 2012

Hey Leonard Cohen
You look good in the picture frame
up on the wall
in this cold tile bathroom.

Don’t think me rude, you’re in
good company—Tattoo You & a
velvet King. I used to have a
photo of Roy’s but the shower’d
wrinkle it in the summertime.
Now it’s always wrinkled.

Nice chinos, Leonard Cohen, you
don’t know it but you’d blend on
the Square after the LSU game,
even with that crewcut.
(We’ll say you did it
on a dare).

I didn’t banish you here for spite &
it’s not that I don’t wanna hear
you live from ’72 (in Brussels,
London, Paris, Berlin, Isle of
Wight, and ‘Room in Tennessee’)
it’s that the sleeve didn’t have
the damned LP when I picked it up
at the Salvation Army.

It’s done me enough good over the years,
holding down the wall by
the towel rack, you smoking that
ragged cigarillo. Won me $26 in a midnight
bet at a Living Better Electrically show
at Martin’s, because damn right you had
Charlie Daniels playing fiddle in yr band in
1972, in Brussels, in London,
and in Paris, too.


faked by Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Doom doom doom
go the footsteps of the king
down the flagstones of his palace,
doom doom doom.

Matte steel scrapes against
limestone. There is
a squeak in the corner.

The king grits his teeth &
looks down. The king is always
gritting his teeth.

He doesn’t see limestone, hasn’t since
he was little, sleeping to the gentle
squeak of the wagon. The king sees
CaCO3, not limestone, he sees
calcite and aragonite, chalcedony and
jasper. The king sees that which is
there and not there.

He thinks of Hercules’ Cudgel, of the
dead fool in Giza, of the souls who
tore the limestone from the mountain
two miles hence, and dragged it here
with ropes and pulleys, donkeys and
sweat, carved blocks from Latverian
fossil, built his home.

While the king is staring at
his feet the little mouse
in the corner
makes her


faked by Monday, June 27th, 2011

The good doctor
has his fingers in the mouth
of a red-haired man.

Repeat after me, the good doctor
says to the red-haired man:
this vindictive creature, he
swallows the delicate flower

It beat counting pills, it all
beat counting pills.
He was fine with being a
special guest star, fine with
being the villain. As long as he
wasn’t down in the Bronx,
counting pills.

The red-haired man squints &
mumbles. The doctor spreads his
cheeks, pinches his tongue:
Again, Carlos. Repeat after me.


faked by Monday, June 13th, 2011

They used cracked and splintered
porch doors as stretchers for the bodies,
for the mommas and cousins and math

(Whatever would do. They were out of
proper stretchers, and bandages, and
morphine. The Red Cross was set up
at the Piggly Wiggly. You don’t get
choosy in wartime).

The house where we played Neuromancer
on the Commodore
was gone.
The house where you’d put my hand
under your black bra
was gone.
The house where we’d listened to Tesla
was gone.
But these were just places, just
gray plastic and dull copper,
Dothan brick and Bessemer steel.

Fresh cut wood, that’s what my daddy
told me it smells like after the storm, after
the phone lines are back up.

(He told me this on April 27, 2011, as I stood
in the middle of Saint Mary Street and stared
at the sky, biting the insides of my cheeks).

His house didn’t get exploded, he wasn’t
left with shatterered femurs twisted under
concrete blocks, he didn’t have to ride on
a busted porch door to the Red Cross shelter
down at the Piggly Wiggly.

They don’t even give the damned tornados
names like they do their slow, fat-assed cousins,
lumbering in from the Gulf, chewing up
everything in sight, names so kind, almost
mild: Camille, Hugo, Katrina, the names of
mommas & cousins &
math teachers.