Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Since there wasn't
a single wife in our
neighborhood worth
coveting, father

reluctantly obeyed
one of the commandments.
Then he died and
was buried along

with his secrets.
He lives, I guess
you could say, in
whatever memories

we still have of him.
You could say that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


When I was five.
my parents decided
we were living next
door to the wrong

Wright brothers. We
began moving. Traveling
at the speed of dark,
we arrived in a

suburb, preceded by
an example of what
everything would soon
look like. There was

a temporary orange
grove on the right.

Monday, November 28, 2011


When a pyromaniac
lights a match,
the universe goes
up in flames in

his imagination.
Stairs become stars,
and stars become
distant examples of

what it means
to be utterly alone.
When the pyromaniac
dips himself in

cold water, everything
he believes in stops.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

for Said

The purpose of music
is to encourage hope
while simultaneously
insisting upon its

futility. In its most
twisted examples music
dances back and forth
between these two poles,

producing an electric
shock equal in
intensity to
that produced by

thrusting a hairpin
into a light socket.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


If I should die
before I wake,
I won't wake. I'm
not sure what

I'll do in lieu
of waking. Maybe
I'll sleep longer
then usual,

a lot
longer. Maybe
I'll dream a different
kind of dream, one

in which I keep
not waking up.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I'm tired of leaving
my message after the
beep. I deliberately
leave it before the

beep. I do this not
so much out of
obstinacy as out
of a profound sense of

boredom with modern
technology. I am, of
course, also fascinated
with modern technology.

Please unplug me
when you're finished.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Anonymous died on
a day when nothing
happened. That's
the good news.

The bad news is
his failure to
leave behind a
single memory

of himself in
the minds of
those of us who
cared enough

to wonder who
he was.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


There was a long
period of prosperity
following my great
depression. My

depression had been
brought on by science's
unanticipated discovery
that the universe was

flat and that there
was no way to comply
with the implied order
to "live happily ever

after". It ended with
the discovery of sarcasm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We frequently ask
What's the big idea?
when we have no
particular interest

in ideas, large or
small. When bees
hear the beekeeper
coming, they

cease making honey
and begin murmuring
innumerably. In the
wake of natural disaster

we cover for God
by feeling guilty.

Monday, November 21, 2011

for Asad

In this one gallery
installations are
outsourced to China,
and paintings lie

flat on the floor,
wishing they were
more like sculptures.
Sculptures don't do

anything and are
justifiably ignored
in all the reviews.
Videos, seen but not

heard, refuse to
take off their masks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

for Hosai





Saturday, November 19, 2011


Once again ecstasy
underlines what
cannot be explained.
We leave the rest

until later, until
it actually is
later, at which
point we leave

the rest until whenever
tomorrow turns out to
be. We don't question
why we do what

we do because the
answer is rhetorical.

Friday, November 18, 2011


It's amazing how
much we haven't
accomplished, considering
how much there

is to do. It's
mind-boggling how
quickly I can
forget where

I was when
Ronald Reagan
was shot.
Someone is trying

to draw my attention
with a pencil.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


With the invention
of the camera,
we learned how to
cry. Artists were

called in to paint
teardrops onto our
cheeks. The teardrops
refused to roll

until the invention
of the movie, after
which so much became
possible that we had

to lock ourselves in
a closet to slow down.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


It's always already
winter when I wake
up and try again to
reach her by phone.

She's always already
not at home. Her
telephone continues
ringing even after

I've hung up. I
can hear it in the
next room, where
she lives miles

away from me,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


At the end of the
long arm of the
law, a heavy hand
serves up canister

after canister of
"protection". Yes,
we're in Oakland,

across the Bay
from San Francisco
(only those in LA
dare call it "Frisco").

Bogie and Bacall are
driving down from Marin.

Monday, November 14, 2011

for Asad and Halai

A conceptual artist
suggests connecting
one street to a second,
parallel street by

means of a third
street (one that can
be called a "cross
street", should the need

to name it arise). The
city council votes down
the artist's proposal, but
compensates by electing

him mayor and allowing him
to marry the woman of his choice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Do as I do,
not as I say.
Or do as I
say I won't

do unless you
agree to do
it too. That way
we'll both arrive

at the same exact
moment, neither
of us an iota
later (or earlier)

than the other.
We'll be twins.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


To see the face
of God from outer
space, you have
to look up, a

direction that, like
most directions,
doesn't really
exist in outer

space. The only
direction I can
think of that
might exist

in outer space
is inner.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The ultimacy of
intimacy seems to
be a kind of elongated
ecstasy that leads

inevitably to lunacy
and dry rot. A literal
inward tilting fails
to prevent the

wholesale sublimation
of birds into bungled
attempts at clarity.
Analogues to error,

once thought to be
the answer, aren't.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Because everything is
constantly in flux,
we now train our pilots
to fly flight simulators

by having them first
learn how to fly actual
airplanes. The
advantage of the

flight simulator is,
of course, its similarity
to a video game, but also,
and more importantly,

its ability to take you
anywhere, even nowhere.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Turning the other
cheek and then the other
other cheek is my
way of saying no,

not anymore. If you
see me coming,
drop whatever you're
doing and become

someone else, someone
better. Someone a
lot better. Otherwise,
I'll turn my back

on you and make
you disappear.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I have this feeling
that someone is
constantly trying
to convince me of

something. But of
what? And for what
reason? There is
a "what" inside

every "why" and
a "why" inside
every "what".
But where?

And when? And
for how long?

Monday, November 7, 2011


Music is inadmissible
as evidence because
it speaks directly
to the inner ear.

Candles light the way
to lethargy and God.
Murderers make light
of life in the moment

they murder, but often
feel weighted down
with worry afterwards.
This is known in

psychology as the
"dropped-anvil effect".

Saturday, November 5, 2011


The beginning of an
end no one could have
foreseen turns out
to be nothing more

than the continuation
of an ongoing
struggle between the
possible and the

singularly semicircular.
An autopsy of the
difference between what
we want and what we

can expect to get results
in the hospitalization of hope.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The moon, when
viewed through the
word "moon", is
somehow less

interesting than hoped
for. I had wanted
something haphazard,
like a snail that

wanders away from
its "trail". A dog
I'm aware, but
not beware, of

is refusing to
keep off the grass.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


An adjective accidentally
cuts into a flower
it had intended
only to describe.

This typically happens
at night as sentries
attempt to relocate
their daydreams.

If you sleep
until noon,
you will wake
with a sense of

having misplaced

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A guy I know makes
what many people
call a living
buying and selling

his idea of what
money will taste
like when the economy
ripens. He hoards

gold bars in a
basement based
on the assumption that
actual slavery will

flourish again in what
masqueraded as our land.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I believe it was
Horace who said
that mortality bruises
a man's thoughts.

He probably would
have added that
it bruises a
woman's thoughts

too, but no one
knew in those days
that women also
have thoughts. They

were only known to
have babies when touched.