Thursday, December 19, 2013

back to the present

if i get to you
on the seniority list
of wasps
in the ass
of the corporate
don’t blink too fast
at the cats
at the chair hobbling on
its two good piles of
rolled at the knees
hurt back sticking its
thumb out on
the boulevard
it’s the michelin man
it’s 4pm
you are unemployed
let’s delight in being a gross bachelor
write riffs that go nowhere
incredible hulk
eat a dozen donuts
half pumpkin, half who cares
half wave to the primetime commute
bye bye, okayville

Saturday, November 23, 2013

chase scene #12

we’re on record, skipping around in the washington post amazon
buys. the store greeter hawks a poetics: what is love? the answer:
heavy possibility, the sag of the feeling of a time you miss, the balls
full of cum—the the-the-the, that’s all. in other words, monopoly.
the year we did not see each other’s faces. in other words, wrong
question. that shit is adjunct, hole of the essential. like a septa we
sunk our life into. that tease of the page-to-page life. listen, where
we left off i was saying don’t play basketball when i’m talking
about heraclitus. but you play basketball. and i talk about heraclitus.
we dribble in the same river twice. the river is broke and the black-
bird is flying. the adjunct, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Material Girl

You should read a book called Material Girl by Laura Jaramillo--here's my explanation why.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

chase scene #11

we’re in jingo retard heaven, and you are a cloud, so get in
the car. there is no “becoming.” the poets, handcuffed, police
each other’s authenticity. their world shrinks to a nugget.
bukowski’s tombstone: don’t try. nickels and dimes, the wheels
on the bus, which is us. a halfslave spins off, never just half--
"who you are"--the sources hurt, how the irony fails. if a word’s
a flag just stick it in the ground, walk out the cemetery. don’t
stick it on your car. your car will be towed. it will be towed
by a christian single. what is a christian single?

Sunday, September 15, 2013


             after Maged Zaher

we must be the world’s cop
my dentist tells me
and begins to drill
knowing it’s a poem
one person to a bench
won’t help me look at a face
each line is a flowering
truth under the skin
jesus i’m anxious
something good might happen
in a tradition of arrogant bullshit
your lover’s at least two punching bags
even john ashbery needs a blurb

Friday, September 6, 2013

heart attack

care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work
care is the heart of my work

Saturday, August 24, 2013

chase scene #10

we’re in toon town. gag orders pause a judge up the creek
like a FREE sign taped to garbage. your life is whose? the trees
sneeze and cough, we’re all dirty water, minor poets. it’s a
certain kind of person expects to be cleaned up after—every
body, anybody lurching for the jackpot. i hit it, jessica rabbits
hop all over me, make one great jessica rabbit. in her mouth
all weeks leak out thighs for sleep, no wait. rent paid then
monday heaves, shucks hi and this malaise you’ll forget—now,
which could be anything—amargi, sumerian word for freedom,
return to mother, literally. you die, love, whatever, still my
friends are buildings. they fight off despair all the time, all the
time. in their bricks heat of sadness of capitalism, god! fuck it—
to the beaches, the look of beaches in our faces, okay—zero
killed—oceans, oceans, oceans—down to earth, earth, earth—

Monday, August 12, 2013

chase scene #9

we’re in mcglinchey’s, dancing to the juke box, iggy
pop. no dancing, says bartender, but we keep dancing,
the waitress comes over, for real stop dancing or you
gotta leave. it’s the law somehow, but we’re drunk
and we want you, come dance w/ us, please—please be
the girl we used to love way way back, she won’t crack
the slightest smile. i don’t know who i’m even talking to.
is this a poem? a poetry reading? she drags my dead horse
across the bar and says look, who wants this joke. you
think it’s my job to listen to you, it’s not—it’s to serve
you hot dogs while you drink yourself back to the womb—
which is what—you don’t know, and that’s your job—to
find out. i’m not the passenger. i do not ride and ride
and ride.

Monday, August 5, 2013

chase scene #8

we’re sitting in sallie mae’s driveway in delaware, arms locked
singing songs to cops in stupid hats. they won’t let us in the
shareholders’ meeting because we’re not rich and we don’t
believe in fucking people over. our heads get burned up in
the sun but we keep singing to the cops and to ourselves.
then all at once the hundred of us blow our little red whistles
that say SLAP, deafening everything—excruciating, it’s excruci-
ating, the cops are cursing at us, oh shit! i would give you a
trillion dollars to make it stop. i would give you five million
lamborghinis, i would give you 15,000 private jets, i would give
you 140 private islands and every team in baseball one trillion
times. i would give you one trillion decades of war in a country
you’ll never have to see. sallie mae, i would feed you the corpse
of your mother, inch by fucking inch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

chase scene #6

why does your milkman whistle in the morning? because church
is a puddle we piss in together—no debts. no drinkus interruptus.
LA’s gone under, thank god, before new orleans. a toast to the ice
on our tail—chase it til hard work melts the carousel of progress
and we’ll swap spits like grandparents atop new year, stop being
the thing we were thought into. 11:59 pops into 12:00, looks fake
but isn’t. as if you were ever a citizen of anything. be proud of
your friends and the luck between you—call it a country, even, til
you gag on it—because you are a fool, and fools go on.

Friday, June 21, 2013

chase scene #5

we’re in chik-fil-a spiking the sweet tea w/ birth control.
the deep state of coming hard spreads an all caps hush of
southern hospitality. finally i get it. we can barely contain
ourselves. hell dies, who wants coffee? all day the drip in
my step elects the ground i walk on—a joke you can bite
like a peach. see the coins we trust in—those are gods
passed out on the bathroom floor.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

chase scene #4

we’re in a greyhound station in baltimore w/ an hour to kill, staring
at the tv. cnn’s in love w/ the bombing of the boston marathon, and
cnn’s in love w/ 165,000 new jobs created, 165,000 new jobs, yes.
they can’t stop asking what it means. they zoom into their analyst
who’s been staring at the mayor’s face. i can see the mayor’s tears,
he says, the mayor means it. he’ll make a wonderful ronald reagan
some day, just as the last four presidents, just as the president
today who picks up your phone—anybody there? anybody says “my
dumb life” but in the station and on the bus nothing rings and
nobody means a thing, so we’re a tribe. it’s communism, calm as a
yawn til the next city, where we’ll be sucked out and dispersed
by vacuums of identity. finally we board. the man next to me asks
if i can watch his bag. sure i can.

Monday, June 10, 2013

public record

Baseball-Loving Nun Prays For Autographs

"I pray for the person who signs it – or for whomever they want me to pray for," she said. "It’s fun. Anybody can sign it."

Read the full cover story here.

Monday, May 6, 2013


The new issue of ONandOnScreen includes a poem from Valu-Plus paired w/ a video by Cari Freno--read and watch it here.

And then watch more of Cari's videos here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

chase scene #2

what is marriage, and why do people want it. i mean, i'm open to role-playing.
if you want me to be a girl scout, for example, i'll work for my ambassador
good credit financial literacy badge. i'll close my eyes and open my mouth
and you can tell me what's in it for you. the prophet says, "let there be spaces 
in our togetherness." the prophet sleeps around, and keeps it together, while 
my job chews thru my life and the population explodes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

chase scene #1

we’re in applebee’s, and you have a gun. okay. high art lives, the stomach
is greased. am i talking too matter-of-factly about suicide? there’s a reason
wal-marts and pet-smarts keep popping up all over: it’s hero time, still. your
daughter’s getting sleepy, the bus boy wants to take her home. watch out—
he doesn’t pay taxes, never will. look at him, shredding our right to work.
man this chase scene’s getting elitist fast. let’s slow it down, all right? sure
i’ll read your broke-ass poem for the fourth time. let’s let this place be
paradise before the next round of fires. take off all your clothes, and put
your hands on my head.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

for love

25,000 a year
i’m told be grateful
—to whom?

big hole
in the ground
waiting for you


“could be worse”

THE PAIN CENTER was demolished
and the sign’s now in dirty frank’s
under the dartboard

the misfits are
the sam cooke
of punk rock
let it get to you

true joke
can’t sleep
for too long

i got 35 hearts
they’re all a bunch
of customers

i want their skulls
piled up in the make-out
booth where a penn kid
is begging for authority

he’s going to be fired
by a girl

your mother in her 20s
who needed no school

where can i pay for this


i mean it’s something how
the moon won’t swim ever
into the sewer, just stay stuck
like that
all this time
a nickel in the sky
w/ your past in its ear

i can’t believe what
you say to me

Saturday, February 23, 2013


tired of songs
you show up in a true story
like a fist
the corner needs
& the corner needs
a new stop sign
so the city
which is two hired men
come to change it
& in that bare minute
they retire the old
sign to their truck
a little dog comes along
& takes a quick piss
on the new one
right where it says
& trots off

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Furniture Press

Furniture Press, which published my book Old News and will publish Valu-Plus, is having a subscription drive right now to help raise funds for a big reading tour in the fall, so if you like good books and you've got some dough, consider spending some here.

To hear what some of these poets sound like, check out this recording from last summer at Penn Book Center in Philly.

Friday, February 1, 2013

pep bowl

the pope’s toilet was
the movie i was trying
to think of after
the bowling league girl
from northeast philly
told us her plans for
bolivia in dirty frank’s
and how to fix a broken
like the one
we were talking about
just loud enough
to be all ears
her tee shirt said
i remember that
and lincoln high school
where oh yeah my mother
went there too
just a few
years after sylvester
stallone dropped out
because i guess he had
better places to be
like the pope
in the movie
who broke a whole
town’s heart
by not showing up
in a true story

                 for ian davisson

Thursday, January 24, 2013

make up

funny thing you think my debt

* * *

i said wanna slow dance
right now
in the middle of this
bagel shop
over by the napkin holder
or dispenser
is it

* * *

what do you call
the look i give
you shake off

* * *

officer i’m just getting
a cheesesteak, i’ll move
the car in a sec

* * *

we got the same
song stuck
in our head

* * *

love like work
a leash
see the cars

* * *

i hope he doesn’t
take attendance

* * *

before the ocean
comes to get us

* * *

please fill out
this form

* * *

my mother dyes her hair
red every two weeks

* * *

the whole year
was a morning
i couldn’t get
enough coffee

* * *

why begin with

* * *

i know it’s raining
i don’t care

* * *

you think charlie
parker’s upset
b/c he can’t sustain
a harmony, said
cornel west, let
me just jump out
here at the

* * *

the moon does not run
on gasoline
gil ott used to sing

* * *

this is my job
you owe me 9 dollars

* * *

i have only
to live

* * *

you take a sip
of your dirty

* * *

it’s a low key thing
not a party
but you can bring
a few people
if you want

* * *

just think: a country
full of human beings
sitting on couches
right now
making out
or not making out

* * *

the wind ripples
the windows
i’m awake

* * *

your sad blue
i will take off


* * *

why do i have to keep
tying one

* * *

look at all the

* * *

boss is out tomorrow
let’s do something

* * *

it’s the united states of wells

* * *

liam neeson fights
a wolf
to the death
w/ his bare
in alaska

* * *

maybe we’ll make
another one
but this baby’s

* * *

let me just jump out
here at the corner

* * *

like falling asleep
on your couch
as you read poems
to me against
my knees

* * *

i like your voice
how you read

* * *

certain sorts of faces
are climbing up
thru me

* * *


* * *

i’m drunk
and it’s freezing

* * *

new law: straight people
cannot get married

* * *

new law: no more
insurance companies

* * *

new law: throw em
under the bus

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

inaugural poem

i read the first line
and closed the tab

Thursday, January 17, 2013


A short film by Philly poet Hassen Saker:

Thursday, January 10, 2013


cops in the apple store
working for “the city”
like you have to stay here
and be the place
no poem
so all mayors
must hang
as real ornaments
done to you
from trees parks
chalked up
all bodies make
a case for bracing
yourself, the city’s lights
settle in your girl’s
face who are fugitives
to grow us past mere
i am an ancestor too
who meant by “permanence”
(like a car)
food, shelter and sex
while performing abandonment
which is a door
in a cloud—open it
for the noose
made of bill gates
and watch bill move his mouth
over the toilet
40 public schools
assignment: write
an essay in which you crawl
toward subjectivity
as flat tires
gallop thru the wheezing

Saturday, January 5, 2013

new year resolutions

                                      (consume consume)


It was as if they were in a cage whose door might as well have been wide open, for they could not escape. Nothing outside the cage had any significance, for nothing else existed any more. They stayed in the cage, estranged from everything except the cage, without so much as a flicker of desire for anything outside the bars. It would have been peculiar—indeed impossible—to break out into a place with neither reality nor significance. Absolutely impossible. Inside the cage, in which they had been born and in which they would die, the only tolerable framework of experience was the real, which amounted to an irresistible instinct to act so that things should have significance. Only if things had significance could one breathe, and suffer. It was as though there was an understanding between things and the silent dead that it should be so, for the habit of acting so that things should be significant had become a human instinct, and a seemingly eternal one. Life was the important thing, and the real was part of the instinct that gave life some slight meaning. The instinct did not try to imagine what might lie beyond the real, because there was nothing beyond it. Nothing significant. The door stayed open and the cage became more and more painful in its reality, which was significant for countless reasons and in countless ways.

We have never left the age of the slave traders.

--Raoul Vaneigem (translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith)


                                      (Louis Faurer)


two thousand zero zero

I remember millennial
if no one else does

how at twelve ten a m
we’d sung 1999
and everyone
had kissed everyone
once the skinny
dipping began
I walked
the gravel road
cars parked
in the dark
on every side
to my friend’s toyota
and turned the radio on
to hear
the world burn


and I was so
to know that
would go on
being so
and awful

--Brandon Holmquest


                                      (consume consume)


                                      (consume consume)




                                      (street art utopia)


Ballad of the Poors

Someday (again) (soon) (I hope) the POORS
will delete our invisible shackles.

The POORS will stop filling our mouths
with cocks and peppermints and high fructose

corn syrup, and our brain cells will be light
again, like hummingbirds.

Someday the POORS, the ninety-nine percent, someday
we’ll all make breakfast for each other on a

Tuesday afternoon. The Christian POORS will love
the Gay POORS and all the colors of POORS

Will make Dyonisian love with each other until
there is no more whiteness anywhere but

Olive oil or Sandpaper or whatever and whatever
until color is just another adjective we barely

Even use. Someday the POORS will realize
that coffee tastes better to us, and toilet paper

Feels better to us, and movies are more
magical to us, and fucking feels ten times better

When you’re hungry and exhausted and afraid
of who might come in. Someday when Jesus is back

The Christians will all repent and be saved
and the Angels will spread their rainbow wings

Over even the most shameful Republican tapping
his foot in the dirtiest public restroom stall.

Someday when the POORS stop believing in money
they’ll recognize Jesus again in the language

itself/in the language of their children instead
of the language of their Oppressor.

Someday when the POORS stop believing in money
they’ll recognize again the voices of the Prophets

In spite of the hate-speech of the slack-jawed monkey
puppets sleeping the skyscrapers and sleeping in the cubicles!

Someday each POOR will reach out her fingers
and lead the Oppressors by their ties into the barbeque-

scented dusk of anti-ownership, and we’ll all get high
along the pure brown sandy beaches of Vieques
and Pittsburgh and everywhere and wherever.

--R/B Mertz



The poem will end
Okay--I didn't mean to be that melodramatic
I mean there are always road accidents
They won't leave the dance floor tonight
Even if I start reading Das Capital out loud
So there is love--and it collapses
Under the mercy of production
You stood there--angry and fragile
Out of childhood fear
And the Marxists' failures
Which is almost the saddest thing you know

--Maged Zaher


                                      (consume consume)


"I stood waiting" "for some minutes" "in this very" "alive darkness—"
"the air so vibrant," "the trees awake" "There were flowers," "mixed
grasses," "growing lower" "in the dark," "& I was relieved" "to be
near them" "after so much time" "where nothing grew" "Then" "I heard a

song" "faint & blurred," "a slow song" "I heard it" "as if through
walls" "As if" "there were a room" "next to where I stood" "& someone,"
"a man," "sang inside of it" "The tune was sad," "& attracting"
"I approached it—" "where its source seemed to be—" "& it moved away

from me" "just a" "short distance" "This happened twice" "Then I
understood" "I was to follow it:" "& so it led me—" "through deep
woods" "& clearings," "for" "a long while" "The voice sang" "the
same melody" "over" "& over" "mournful" "& intimate" "in a language"

"I didn't recognize—" "or didn't think I did:" "it was hard to" "hear
the words—" "Till at last we" "reached a meadow" "where the song"
"ceased to sound," "pale & empty" "with trees around it" "Then I
sank to" "the ground" "& fell asleep for" "a long time" "But when I

awoke" "of course" "it was dark"

--Alice Notley