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A poem in five parts, from last week   
01:14pm 21/06/2017
  The Waiting Room

I. Libretto

There is an arch made of books with thesaurus keystone
And I stand beneath, attempting verbal osmosis
But my pores are stubborn
And the words all clink off of the moss armor
That has alchemically grown on the tree of curiosity.
It is bitterly ironic that these are the very books
That put bread on my table,
Even though I can no longer read them.
The opera of my life has had remarkably high production value,
Theatre tycoons pouring in billions for costumes and performers
To evoke the milieu of a post-electronic age,
Arias carefully written to be performed with their virtuoso cadenzas
By tenors and mezzo-sopranos.

II. Testimony

Water drains down the sink carrying blood and hair.
Every day the blood gets staler, the hair gets greyer,
And the full moon gleams over a dying landscape.
God is guilty of obstruction of justice.
The fallen angel Lucifer has testified under oath
And it’s his word versus God’s
But nobody believes the grand authority.
What passions have diluted in his kingdom,
How vicious the sneer that blooms from every dark flower.
My only recourse is the occult,
Abandoning all that can be measured by barometers and sextants.
In the cellar of my being the silence is peaceful.

III. The Waiting Room

I flip through magazines in the waiting room
As I await the doctor who will diagnose my illness.
Clearly my life has been afflicted by a pathogen,
One that has reduced my name to rubble
And devoured my memories in the brains of my peers.
It is uncertain if the door will permit re-entry,
Or if the office is in fact a portal to the afterlife.
If this is it, if the path out of my bed is one-way,
Then the crystal ball I hold in my heart
Must shatter into six thousand pieces
As the shards of my soul fly into the universe,
Releasing at last the affliction, the parasite,
That ails my aching mind.
Here I sit: shaking, trembling, waiting.

IV. Checkmate

There is a hill in the distance
Bathed in white rings of fog and mist,
Crest shining like an auric halo.
I approach eagerly with my mantis limbs,
But when I arrive the footing is fatally unsteady.
I close my eyes and try to relegate the peak
To the vault of my mind where the refuse of desire
Can be locked up and mercifully forgotten.
My queen is pinned against her king
On the chessboard that defies monochrome tradition
And overflows with a gallimaufry of colors.
The game is nearing its end.
The king who wears the crown
Of a strange and absurd kingdom
Has nowhere left to go without threat of capture.
I reach my hand out to shake that of my opponent
But it is greeted only by an unsettling silence
For the limbs of the divine have no physical form.

V. A Denouement of the Soul

The plot is full of red herrings and MacGuffins.
Characters make their introductions,
Develop through wild romances and adventures,
And meet their inevitable demises
As the story cycles through the generations.
Hope possesses two opposite poles:
It defies all weapons that would shoot it down,
Then wilts and collapses as those who carry it need it most
Lest their engines run out of gasoline
And their automobiles come to a halt
With no provisions left in the knapsack.
Though the author of this tale is yet young
Compared to the celestial bodies that predate his pen,
He is hardly pretentious to write of such weighty matters
Because even in their infancy
Those who create stories from yarn and needlecraft
Are acutely aware of the pain infused in the nimbi.
This is the climax;
Here is the point at which conflict is resolved
As the ending comes into view.
I think the conclusion will be satisfying.
 
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A poem based on a video   
05:56pm 09/06/2017
  Plague Doctor

Muerte, muerte…

I.

Plague doctor appears in the sanitorium
Hand flashing with plaintext of capital murder
Evoking the deaths of 1371.
Binaural skull hides in electronic buzz
Along with images of dismembered bodies
And strangled neck from nylon stockings.

--and when and where do I scream?
I cannot bear to watch such video footage
Because the black night haunts me as it is
With all the memories of lips I did not kiss.

II.

A prime number cicada hatches
Within transistor radio’s natural evolution.
Its masters somehow have the power
To post flyers in diverse cities across the globe
Although their mission may be clandestine
And their servants obscure and obsequious.

Death is a game hidden in the recesses
Of memory’s kaleidoscope,
Sculpted by the Japanese warehouse keeper
Who too was born within the semiconductor.
The rules and regulations are forgotten
With the light of the morning sun,
Although I might wish that the earth
Would cease to rotate
And the crops all die of starvation.

III.

Quatrain prophecies from medieval Europe
Haphazardly predicted wars and famines.
Shall they be borne out?
Or would death rather sneak up
With the aid of mistress Pandafeche
And place a single finger over the victim’s lips
Saying, “Quiet, quiet, my son.
No breath you let out can make a sound anymore.
This is the end. Let memory evaporate.
Let experience dissolve into the night.”

The evolution of poetry
Through ages and movements
Reaches my pen.
Before I too die it is my charge
To transpose spooky memetics
Into blots of ink that the human eye interprets,
And with the fleeting time remaining in life,
Endeavors to turn into understanding
Known by precious few
Besides the masked plague doctor.
 
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A new poem   
11:58am 25/05/2017
  The Scythe

Summer gently mocks me in a synesthetic shift
Where a red visual canvas mutes hearing too,
Hiding behind the lenses of a pair of sunglasses
To fend off temporal anxiety.
The ebb and flow of hope are a wooden barge
Riding waves on tempestuous waters,
Trying to make it back to the rocky shores called home
Where the next journey lies beyond the impassable cliffs.
Training myself to think in pictures,
I trace your damaged wings with charcoal upon an easel,
But all the intellectual balladry in the world
Cannot pry your pearl from the oyster of adulation.
The tedium of language metastasizes into the brain
Where neurons and axons collude for a taxing ennui
That drains all energy from every limb and appendage.
We give arbitrary titles to our children
So that guilt may have a name to call
As it rests upon their shoulders.
The moon is erotic but to genuflect plaintively in dreams
Is to expose the carotid artery to a machete
Wielded by the cruel queen of the night.
Day brings with it an avalanche of memory,
But if we wait until limping cerebral lobes are well again
We might yet witness the internal fireworks of a life
That is more than just a queue waiting for the scythe
That will sever the last ties between heaven and earth.
 
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A prose poem from a while back   
09:14am 19/05/2017
  The Brook

Would you cross the brook? On the near side lie the appreciation of art, the understanding of science, the passion of love, and the security of civilization. On the far side lie the freedom of nature, the thrill of instinct, the privilege of predation, and the relief of insentience. The bridge is rickety and difficult to navigate, but if you can make it to the other end all of your human travails will come to a blissful end. Of course, you will never listen to a piano sonata again. You will never again sip a mug of coffee while exchanging morning pleasantries with a friend. No longer will you mull over grand philosophical ideas at night. You will not put pen to paper anymore to detail poetic musings. But you will not have to toil in the coalmines any longer to put bread on the table for any family. You will not be required to so tentatively straddle the ladder of corporate success that artificially measures happiness. You will avoid the total absurdity of humanity, Yes, you will be an apex predator, leading a majestic if short life without any complication. You will be truly free, even though you may never be able to completely appreciate that freedom.

Would you cross the brook?
 
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A new poem   
09:53pm 21/04/2017
  The Real Days (The Scream)

To subdue the perpetual scream oscillating through my skull,
Reaching the cochleas which interpret existential dread
And convert it into that screech which peals throughout my being;
To make it through these fake nights of empyreal defeat
And reach the real days when I will transmute birdsong into bard song,
An alchemy to bring about the renaissance of the soul;
To conquer the distance that separates profound ambition
From the nocturnal city that will one day play host to its bodily encasement:
These are my timid goals as I play the part of tragic hero
Who in dramatic irony is unaware that his companion will die before morning.
The real days will come, but not before I have cleared one thousand trials,
Not before I exterminate the scream once and for all.
 
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Two poems   
09:39am 16/04/2017
  Summer For Now

The world sheds its snakeskin
And so do I molt in imitation,
Welcoming the sugar scented spring
Emerging from the chilly blanket of winter.
The poetry of the rain spatters on the eaves
Of the one-story country house.
I pen an epistle consisting of nothing but exclamation marks,
Whom to send it to I do not know.
Now convinced that there is scripture in the graffiti,
I gaze upward to glimpse hope walking a tightrope
Between skyscrapers.
There’s a new kind of chaos sprouting out of the tendrils,
A cement mixer churning in one’s gut
As all the possibilities of a new summer erupt
Like a trinitrotoluene detonation.
I yank the dumbwaiter up through its shaft
So that it may deliver at the top an understanding
Of the impossibility of beauty that perpetually remains out of reach,
Like waiting at the curb for the taxi that will never come.
The only consolation to be found is that the summer
Shall never remain stuck in the spider’s web of what might have been,
At least until the winter burgles all happiness again.
For now we must enjoy this seasonal cameo.
For now.

Paint

(for Ben)

Cerebral demiurge, creator of worlds within minds,
You must stand with me to judgment day and beyond
So that we may transcend petty disenchantment
And with subterranean clairvoyance
Track the subways across boroughs
On our way to visit a sage with eyes sculpted by wisdom,
And the power to refute the ostensible tragedy of death.
These are words out of the spiritual basement,
The undercarriage of the soul,
Words to match the lines of paint that you daub
Upon the canvas of understanding.
In the contours of those brush strokes
Are hidden the metaphysical gems
Of a life lived in silhouettes of hills and valleys.
Paint me a masterpiece on the back of a catalog card,
Express with colors the passion of the tunnels
That connect land masses where busboys abide.
Wait for me in your apartment.
Once I have slain the dragon who governs us
With silver sword glinting in the midnight sun,
I will join you for a meeting of artisans
And my words will dissolve in your paint
And the product will free a generation
From the whips and chains of the powers
Who would silence forever the telephone
Connecting the hand to the heart.
 
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A poem   
11:43am 25/03/2017
  Invisible Tears

The pungent brackish taste of invisible tears
Settles on the tongues of the masses.
Send thought through a wood chipper,
Destroy philosophy with a chainsaw,
And as the treeline speeds by too fast
You will see what has become of me.
When the television delivers armageddon
Lullabies must crash like precious china
Upon the kitchen floor.
Life and death cycle as summer and winter
And when Mother Earth’s womb is barren
The cockroaches will be the only creatures
Who can truly claim to be free.
Dizzy with altitude
I continue on the longest journey,
Presented with new hurdles
Every time I see the Promised Land.
To ascend the staircase to a kind of geotic heaven
We must first trudge through the muds of Hades.
I gaze at the mob with my atomic eyes:
It is what I do not see that makes them travelers,
What cranks their motors, what sparks their ignitions,
What causes a commotion in their bile.
When I slink behind the bookshelf,
Please imagine me reading;
Do not entertain the thought that I might have disappeared.
 
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Two new poems   
08:14pm 05/03/2017
  Joyride

The war is over without a victor.
Stuck in the blind spot of a semipermanent
As I joyride in pursuit of mechanical prey,
Instinct is my only responsibility,
Vocation not a matter of passion
But life still a puzzle without any clues.
I am very vincible with fur nor scales to cover my flesh,
Only two tons of metal scaffolding
That are fragile as talc when travelling at seventy miles an hour.

The Collapsing Library

Can knowledge really triumph over ignorance?
The last librarian scurries around her domain,
Shelving books to atone for her first scion,
Lost at twenty-seven years to suburban venin,
Cut off from his tree with the hacksaw of sorrow.
She publishes materials to reach out to xenoglots
Unaware of the grammatical mistakes
Slithering through the foreign lexicon.
The community room is empty save for two plants
That no longer cry out for water,
And the old building creaks and cracks
As it threatens to collapse into the brook.
I stand in the old farm road and watch.
Yes, this is the end; no longer will patrons peruse the books
From whose timeworn, yellowed pages
The scent of ancient intellect wafts;
Never again will researchers examine documents
To put together biographies of men
Who wore tweed jackets and smoked Cuban cigars.
Now information exists only in the minds of lonely experts
Who wander mountains and plains and fields,
Doing all they can to salvage a world
That is falling apart at its seams
And whose tape has been erased by the grand magnet
That is kept in the custody of a wayward God.
 
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A new poem   
02:23pm 17/02/2017
  A Severe Lack of Spiritual Creativity

I. The Year of the Rooster

Time is a cat scratching at the bedroom door,
Yowling for attention.
If only we could understand what it’s so desperately trying to tell us
But its mews and meows are incomprehensible.
Memories grow distant
Like a purple mountain in the rear view mirror.
Witchcraft is at least novel,
Unlike allegiance to a trinity of abstruse mythoi.
Classical religion is the ultimate in conservative rhetoric,
Ideas that remain unchanged and unchallenged for millennia.
To understand the world through human terms is noble,
But I prefer the esoterica of alternative gospel,
Deaf to every word so you must get my attention
By pointing and gesturing.
The chanticleer crows to usher in the new year
And the sound reverberates through the valley.

II. Emergency Exit

Transparent sleep solves banal emotion.
Dreams are woven into quilts
To cover slumbering children
Whose minds power the world like windmills.
I have blasphemed against the skyline
By growing old and withering
Like a flower petal at summer’s end.
I rehearse every night for death,
The action cutting every once in awhile
For the director to clarify stage directions.
Menial labor provides a slave wage to the workers
Who wear yellow jackets and clear the cruel morning
From the scape of consciousness
So that the day may break above the foothills
And with its sun light up the possibility of a happy future.

III. Sensations

I have been humiliated by memory.
Bibliothecaries crowd the subway
Suitcases full of books in hand,
Delivering sensational speeches to the homeless,
Rallying the support of the disenfranchised masses.
We are guilty of misprision of felony against fairy tales
And oblivion is our sentence, nay, our reward.
These are the red roses, the casualties of life
As what was once iron will is snapped like a paper clip.
The retinas are flooded with light
And the cochleas barraged by sound
And I wish nothing more than to be alone in a dark, silent room,
Where I can contemplate the minutiae
Of a life lived in shadow.
 
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Live at the Howland Cultural Center!   
04:25pm 25/01/2017
  13 January 2017. Beacon, NY. Hosted by Hayden Wayne.

https://vimeo.com/200758755
 
     Read 1 - Post
 
A longer poem   
09:45am 19/01/2017
  Murdered by Chekhov’s Gun

In a dream I have been murdered by Chekhov’s gun.
I awaken with a memory of a memory,
Staring through an upstairs window
At a boy with eyes so far away
Like looking at a past life through his irises.
There is a cancer of the soul distributing psychic pain
Throughout the limbs and blood vessels
And I write you letters because I cannot bear to hear your voice
Or see you in the house of Eastern beauty.
To find a modicum of peace
I employ prime number echolalia
And a cabinet filled with kleptocrats cannot hold me back.
I am freed from bias and delusion
By the illiterate librarian who has scrawled illegible notes
In the margins of books for me to find.
Shall we go on a magic carpet journey
To find the landfill of lost dreams?
Then can we draw blood with a run of the tongue,
Ignoring the noises of engines sparking and igniting
In the next door neighbor’s garage.
To be haunted by the past is to understand it,
To see clearly the metallic awls and spindles
That indistinctly reach for one out the the haze of time.
Simian hands work and simian faces stare
And still the taxi speeds around the hairpin turn
And I am left without a means to get home
At the end of the grey foggy day.
The candle of separation burns down
Until the white and red wax has all vanished,
Until the two silver flutes play in perfect harmony
A dirge for the logs that have burned up through the flue.
The human body cannot possibly survive the labor of life.
In the grand tradition of electricity
The fuse blows and the box is forever locked.
Then the organic refuse of the world returns to the earth
Where it is replaced by verdant splendor
Which will preside over forests and jungles
That can no longer house humanity.
 
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A poem   
05:39pm 06/01/2017
  Rhetorical Chaos

I am forced to sacrifice intellect
For that mysterious ritual of artistic production
For I am no god or saint
Who can truly comprehend the process of thought
And produce an opus to be admired by scholars
Who would discuss it in a symposium or colloquium.
I don’t really know you
But that doesn’t stop me from loving your synthesized noise,
From dancing to your intellect.
The whip cracks down on the horse of buried culture
Forced out of its apartment by a greedy landlord
And submerged in the watery depths.
Your sons, your house, your memories…
If only I could claim them as my own.
There is no hope of originality as words repeat ad infinitum.
My days are absolutely empty without you,
So please abandon your worldly plans
And come dance with me on a Scandinavian rooftop,
Where all the government buildings have burned down,
Where the parks are overridden with vermin,
Where the epics of yore are preserved in graffiti
Upon the walls of the abandoned subway stops.
 
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A poem with some whimsy   
12:00pm 31/12/2016
  The Pressure of Language

I hide behind my winter whiskers
As I engage in the morning quaff
And coffee stains my moustache.
What luck that they are both brown,
Unlike my white shirt which suffers collateral damage.
In order to be understood we open our mouths
And utter pulmonic egressives,
Shaped by manner and place of articulation.
Then may we have a meaningless discussion
On which cut of oatmeal is the most toothsome.
I close my ears so that these words become muffled,
For their intonations are a hammer to my skull
Which houses a brain of confused breed,
More in tune with the solitary tiger,
Who cannot distinguish between a bilabial fricative
And a dental approximant,
Than the modern man who scurries from appointment to appointment
Garrulously ejecting syllables
Of words that have gradually lost their meaning
Like a weeping willow shedding its leafy tears
As the winter strangles the life out the treeline.
 
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A poem inspired by Joseph Campbell   
11:56am 31/12/2016
  The Pianist with a Thousand Faces

I. Call to Adventure

The world is connected by pianos.
One sits down on the mahogany and leather,
Coattails trailing suit and dangling behind,
And places one’s fingers on the ivory and ebony keys.
The seated figure tentatively draws a rudimentary chord out of the instrument
And at that moment is pulled into the collective unconscious,
Becoming a Pianist,
United with every man, woman and child who has ever sat down at a keyboard,
From the Medici princes of Tuscany
To the neo-Gothic musician fingering an electronic clavier
In a black room of liquor and sweat.
From the ordinary world I exit through a portal into a realm of music,
Fluid and polymorphous,
Where my mentor is revealed.
With the amulet then in hand I cross the threshold:
A golden key to unlock the grand piano in the palace chamber.

II. Road of Trials

Three oracles line the ancient Roman road.
I have miraculously survived ordeal after ordeal
And found the black cat in the dark room.
The arbitrary nature of the sobriquet becomes clear:
I could just as easily not be a Christopher.
The side street is covered in black ice
And the ditches are full of cars
Driven by wretched fools who were not so fortunate.
From the heavens plays a melody from a Chopin étude.
What skill and dexterity the soloist demonstrates!
This virtuosity is the boon that I must bring back to the mortal world.
I will be able to sit at the piano,
Fingers flying madly across the octaves,
Staves unable to contain the notes as they leap off the paper.
The sun is hot on my neck as I wearily walk back to the brink.

III. Magic Flight

Need the mythical adventure come to an end?
Or may it somehow stay alive,
Even as the hero returns via sea vessel,
Evading temptations from sirens and lotophagi,
To find the home that by definition, while peaceful,
Lacks the formative trials and tribulations
That defined his youthful journey out into the world?
Nostalgia rings out of the upright piano
In which hammers strike strings in triad arpeggios,
Playing the mournful tune of nostos.
All of my friends that I met along the way
Are now but a hazy memory,
The camaraderie of the puppeteers in life’s grand marionette show,
Waltzing and politicking the afternoons away.
No longer must I fear death.
The swan warbles the most beautiful song as it perishes,
And I look forward to old age,
When all of my troubles are behind me
And all that remains is the final closing of the eyes
Into eternal peace.
 
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A new poem   
11:48am 23/12/2016
  Constructive Cataclysm

Water encroaches upon my feet
And then recedes into the murky blue ocean,
But how to ascribe to the tide a pattern
When the orbit of the moon is controlled by chance
And it is just as easy to imagine an earth
With six satellites?
Armchair prophets draw question marks in the sky
With condensation trails exiting tailpipes of jets.
Would you deliver the fatal voltage
To the experimental subject
When urged on by infallible authority?
Would you insert the needle
Into the vein of the dastardly criminal
Who has murdered so many innocent?
The world threatens to break into pieces.
Should Armageddon come tomorrow
I would be relieved to have my soul judged,
No matter how fiery the inferno I’d be headed for,
So that I wouldn’t have to worry about tomorrow’s bread.
 
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Quackademia   
10:28pm 06/12/2016
  un titled

in poetry today if you open the
new yorker or any other

respectable literary publication you
will find poems about washing the
dishes with every single line starting

with a lowercase letter of course
and new stanzas will begin
like the new day beginning
through the dishtowel curtains

in your bedroom. and it’s
off limits to talk about anything
existential, anything of interest

to camus
or sartre
or kierkegaard

because it’s clearly more clever
to write about washing the dishes
so long as the lines begin and end in

the middle of sentences so that
it is difficult to follow a thought
but maybe that’s the point
 
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Sorry, Christians.   
11:11pm 05/12/2016
  Hymnal of the Damned

The church alley leads to a dead end,
Stone slabs set into the ground and walls
And the divinity of mystery is never clearer.
Every myth and legend has its basis in reality
But I can’t relate to the Christians, to the pious,
And most of all I can’t relate to the happy people,
Those whose souls have been saved by Jesus.
I hum a quiet tune, hands in overcoat pockets,
Walking back home from the cathedral.
Perhaps I can put words to this melody
And construct a song to depict my damnation.
Yes, this atheist hymn will be the the first in the codex
Of the new liturgy in which I fancy myself a cardinal.
We will gather in makeshift tabernacles
And chant these overtures to the empty sky.
That will be an amusing diversion
As we wait ever longer to be consumed by the fires of Hell.
 
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A prose poem   
10:07am 16/11/2016
  Physical Magic

O fallow coccyx, O distended femurs... thy anatomical charlatanism depresses me. In this world beneath language I shut off thought like a faucet. I hunger for prey, thirst for the water of a rambling stream, dream sweet dreams of running a barbed tongue along your neck in lieu of kissing. Cars speed across the overpass far above, engineered by men with minds operating in realms far beyond what I can comprehend, orders doled out in words that sound just like noise to my feral ears. Senses are magnified in this forest that the gods wish to destroy, leaving me with no habitat. I awaken thrice from the dream: first in pantomime, second into consciousness, and third in future days, once you have read my letter and rejected its plea. This anatomy: this curse. This love: this tragedy. This hope: as a poetic mendicant I beg for the realization of my fantasies. Then have I not to rely on fleeting dreams, and may I bear the fardel of being with a little more grace. Love of mine, may I someday find you in a dream from which I shall never awake. Animality, meditation, love. May I become a being who possesses the physical magic of happiness. Meditation, love, animality. May I prowl the woods as king once more. Love, animality, meditation. May the profound quietude impress peace upon my mind. May all these things come to pass.
 
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Yup.   
12:03pm 15/11/2016
  Cart Boy

The doomed sun traces a parabola through the sky.
I am an eximious carriage attendant
Although I prefer to be called “cart boy.”
I wrangle those rogue bastards
That wish to dent cars and provide insurance paydays
For irritated customers who simply wanted a gallon of milk.
The mischievous wind is complicit in this plot,
Respiring across continents to reach the parking lot
Of the neighborhood supermarket.
I am a streak of one,
Solitary and brooding
And wondering why I couldn't have gotten a job
At a café somewhere.
I desperately wish to have a superpower
So I lie supine in my bed
Meditating on a zoological garden.
The moon rises on the shopping center
And I clock out,
Just as I clock out of consciousness
When the calendar flips to the new day.
 
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A poem   
08:54am 06/11/2016
  The New Media

The last great book came out now decades ago,
Telegraphs from Western Union reaching publishers
Regarding sales totals and critical reviews
To be discreetly hidden in top hats along beaches.
Matrilineal volunteerism makes its way to TV
From the ashes of Machu Picchu
In green lumber headquarters.
The gaze of a young guitarist through a window
Pure as the children whose eyes he catches
Tells me that art cannot die;
No, it will rise like the phoenix.
Babies with technology babble in primal syllables
As their parents chatter on the telephone.
The record is skipping now on the hippie phonograph
As long hair is cut and suspicious vocation given up.
It’s the new children who will carry on the narrative
Taken by their ankles and thrust into a world
Where they can send out information through antennae
That project from the heads of the new ants
Who crawl subserviently through tunnels.
Finally we will learn who burned down the gardens
And what happened to the wooden table there.
I will send my soul to you on a fax line.
Then you may do with it what you wish
As I tuck the covers in on my life.
The night comes and the city can be seen from satellite,
Apartment buildings lit up with electricity,
Mysterious citizens carrying out strange nocturnal errands.
 
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