perverse and unwritten, the hired car

bullets down the thirty year old road

I hired had to hire – a teacher to continue existing

and if the world approved, I thought, I just might

licence myself to sing my affectations

in a different key


some ancestor, stiff with rheumatism, never once

was home when I came home

from lessons in the afternoon where in the gutter

of daylight hours I found his fingers chopped

or, who knows, perhaps gnawed asunder


when you left me my mouth said I permit it

as if it cared less about me than it should

and I remember that the building shook

with all the rotten foods it carried


something in that thought

only punishes more

with time


like a great man

reciting by a dying torch

the words of

someone immediately killed


once I called myself sixteen and said

no, I wouldn’t call it aquiline

it’s much more of a slope

with a teardrop or a cherry at the end


my ability to feel ugly is so textbook

a ragged pad of token use


I often group the thin along with the dying

as if it’s only a matter of waiting for the thing

to roll down the predetermined slope

and on the rusty sullen beach I wait


once, when a bullet

found no recourse, not even in sleep

even in the silent erosion of the brain

it condescended to the state of seed

and waited, like I do, around


I am now too angry to sleep beside you

I am too dark with beaten blood

to cradle your large body,

even its outline, inside me


catch in myself a shudder when the thought

plasticises and hits the ground


your shoulders have toppled and the shaking

has begun, but all I think about each time

is the dryness in my mouth


I turn in my glove as if so much dirt

had just fallen on the ground in winning shapes

to be read like fire tracks


and each time

my tongue is cracked like golden fruit

in the sun


I organise the words of songs because I cannot

respond simply, identify

what about a person is a person

and what about them is

a silent winter tree, totally indifferent


I am dragged into a thumping office room

where I dictate the words from the inside

to the outside

to an exploding typewriter with stars for keys

stars untouched for twenty years, and before then

only by hands of molten rock


here goes, I say

and the stars punch themselves deeper and deeper away

until the world dissolves

into innocent, fragile grey confetti