Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brooklyn Rail

Thanks to John Ebersole and Anselm Berrigan for publishing seven chase scenes in the November issue of The Brooklyn Rail along with poems by Jenn McCreary, Frank Sherlock, Carlos Soto-Román, and Natalie Lyalin.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

new book

Valu-Plus, the book, is in the world. Online, you can get it here. Big thanks again to Furniture Press.

Friday, June 20, 2014

domestic boxes

Pattie McCarthy connects the boxes over at Jacket 2--check out her sharp reading of Valu-Plus. The book will be out this summer from Furniture Press.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

chase scene #17

what’s wiseblood? all the cleverness, all the being-outside-of. wawa
goose flies thru it and the vulture brains fall away. i am a person of
septa, laugh at me. everybody knows captain moneybags was hired
to dj the conversation, that’s fine: half-assed foreplay and the great
depression. knife on the roof, been there seven years. blood to rust.
so what should the maximum wage be? cockroach the size of an
alligator just slid under my radiator.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sugar Mule #46

The new issue of Sugar Mule, edited by the wonderful poet Alyse Knorr, is online. In it you can read three new poems of mine. Thank you, Alyse.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

may day

what is may day
           bail paid in limes
behind wal-mart
the cat colony
jukes broken tracks
                 rolling in mud
small wolves
in chernobyl
woven awake
in marsh
    lush green
their crib an old
potato cellar
their mother looks out
of your house
           what is change
           what is change
without erasing yourself
           what will i eat
i will eat from your hands
where villages once stood
i will eat from the ground
your bison’s last breath
i will trace the cold earth
i will trace the cold earth

Friday, May 9, 2014


The brilliant Divya Victor wrote about several poetry books, including Old News, for the Harriet blog recently, adding the poets' process notes to her readings. You can read them all here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Here is my latest collaborative conceptual poem:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

chase scene #16

we’re in the steamfitters hall peeling walmart stickers off hundreds
of copies of the mark of athena. athena will be free, and kids will
love her, and kids will leave her for the sea of monsters, and the
sea of monsters 2. you can’t get away from blue, a little girl tells
me. then here we are—blue—blue rolls the street thru as each april
will. to mess you up a little. a little april pointed at the wrong
people. overproduction. over the rainbow, the luxury of committing
to nothing. blue peels off. liberty motel, liberty gas. liberty thru
and thru.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

chase scene #15

we're surviving, so there's a show. some lines i grow jealous
of. bills flow thru my body, wet day dreams. you can have that
line. make it stroll out the mouth of a fish. see something, say
something. i wasn't expecting to be moved by the zombies, but
i was. the vast pastures of irrelevance. the pervasive motorization
of petty individualisms. their detours of pleasure scribbled in
hurry--those streets await our faith. we can have them. like the
birds. birds are pervs. pervasive motorization, one tweets. one
squawks. one fucks.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

chase scene #14

we’re a hammer in the radiator, naming every instant of collective
joy—in person, in person, to make the platform each nothing and
pulsing, a sea of exes on a ship of toothpicks so the music’s a
question to match all the preaching. passenger pigeon to joe jerk-
off: can we just be people. then a quick row of faces—nope, nope,
nope, nope it’s just fall, a hole in the iris like a ten-cent cloud of
witness, and what evidence. transpass, leaf under shoe, wawa gift
card, a “moderate” who tells us to “keep working on that message.”
let’s dump out his coffee! dump that motherfucker already—yes 
him to death, yes him to death!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Amiri Baraka

“The most valuable quality in life,” Amiri Baraka wrote, “is the will to existence, the unconnected zoom, which finally becomes in anyone’s hands whatever part of it he could collect. Like dipping cups of water from the falls. Which is what the artist does. Fools want to dictate what kind of dipper he uses.” That’s from his 1964 essay “Hunting is not those heads on the wall”, in which Baraka challenges the capitalistic worship of artifact over the activity of making art. For Baraka, that making was/is history, wide awake and ceaseless, and you can hear this in his poetry—you hear the making in the made thing. He showed the American poet’s dilemma in clear terms, how the “academic western mind” can shut you down.

9/11 hit when I was 22, and those insane jingo-bush years had me dazed—I couldn’t shake my disbelief over Afghanistan, Iraq, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, the fools who wanted to dictate everyone’s lives. Because I was ignorant of history myself. When the newspapers started trashing Baraka in 2002 for having written and performed “Somebody Blew Up America”, I got pissed and wrote the Philly Inquirer, argued back and forth with a columnist who couldn’t tell me why her paper was pretending, like the government, that the cause of 9/11 was that terrorists hated our freedom. It felt very personal, that attack on Baraka. I was just waking up, but somehow I already knew you don’t fuck with a poet like Amiri Baraka.

Like many, I first encountered him in the context of a college class on “Postmodern American Poetry”, i.e., mostly white experimental poetry of mid-20th century—a context Baraka wrenched himself from in order to join a revolution, to use poetry as a weapon of revolution. His influence reaches far beyond poetry scenes. Before he went to Cuba in 1960, Baraka had thought of revolution as “one of those inconceivably ‘romantic’ and/or hopeless ideas that we Norteamericanos have been taught since public school to hold up to the cold light of ‘reason.’ That reason being whatever repugnant lie our usurious ‘ruling class’ had paid their journalists to disseminate. The reason that allows that voting, in a country where the parties are exactly the same, can be made to assume the gravity of actual moral engagement” (“Cuba Libre”, 1960). Baraka broke boundaries and sought possibilities for a better human world. Reading or listening to him can spark this sense of possibility.

Here’s the first stanza I ever read by him:

Luxury, then, is a way of
being ignorant, comfortably
An approach to the open market
of least information. Where theories
can thrive, under heavy tarpaulins
without being cracked by ideas.

So then I went to the library, I found The Dead Lecturer. I found Transbluesency. I thought harder about what education’s for, what it’s really for. “Maps/weep/and are mothers and their daughters listening to//music teachers. From heavy beginnings. Plantations,/learning/America, as speech, and a common emptiness. Songs knocking//inside old women’s faces…”

This endless fountain that he's left us with, of poetry that pushes beyond poetry--what to do with it...