City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Category: poems

Get It On

I’m enough of a child of the sixties
to think no matter how awful it
turned out or what it took to
end up there at least
nobody else died
nobody except for her and
we can make our own torches now
we can make torches with
ourselves every day
with our own bodies
naked as the night
without masks or muskets or
calling other humans animals
because we’re all vulnerable now
more than ever and
this is what we must do
this is what we have to do to
get it on

Dick Envy

I once convinced a blonde
that our vice president
in 2004
was named Dick Envy

but who’s laughing
now that dick envy
determines who’s president



demons in topaz
remind me of
your moons

those horrible moons

reversing my orbit

making me
castrato delecto

Photo courtesy of FrostClick. Available under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license.


I was born to be reborn
in someone else’s body

Maybe it was Heather Locklear’s
Maybe it was yours
but I’m not sure

When I was high I saw the light
but now there’s only darkness

Maybe Tamerlane would understand
but I’m not sure

I wrote your name in India ink
but you weren’t Indian anymore
I sang Oh Lonesome Me
but you were there

Take me to your Borscht Belt
Take me to your Chitlin’ Circuit
Put me on the paddy wagon
Take me home tonight

I never meant to hurt you
I will miss you when I burn
I was born to learn a lesson
someone else won’t have to learn

Piglet Dies in the End


I will tell you a secret
about Winnie the Pooh
he was in the slammer
for sniffing glue

he was thrown in the slammer
for sniffing glue
with Tigger, too
with Tigger, too

now he’s wearing stripes and walking the floor
with Tigger who even wore stripes before
striped tail, striped paws, and striped pajammers
Winnie the Pooh is sniffing glue in the slammer

with Tigger, too
with Tigger, too
Winnie the Pooh is sniffing glue in the slammer

I will tell you a secret
about Winnie the Pooh
He had one true friend
But Piglet dies in the end
Piglet dies in the end

like we’ll all die too

Winnipeg the Bear photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Spade Comic

we laughed at him
when he exposed our flaws
we got down on the
dance floor
we got down on
all fours
we did the dog
we did the freak
we did the freaking dog
the whole damn night
we broke out in song
we broke the law
we never really understood
him at all

Cracker Identity Politics

What’s the difference between
solidarity and intersectionality?
One Big Union and a Master’s.
Otherwise, we wear the same masks.
We are people, plural,
differences manifest
as one.
Lester Bangs wrote,
“We will never agree on anything
as we agreed on Elvis,”
but we never agreed on Elvis,
or Lester Bangs.
We never voted for Trump,
but it only took a minyan.
Do you identify with
those who identify with
Eugene Debs,
who wrote that the most heroic word
in all languages is
and does your revolution
dance with Emma Watson,
or only Emma Goldman?
Brocialism, the working man’s Branarchism!
(Black flags fly forever, ask any
Raiders fan.)
Solidarity and intersectionality both mean becoming someone else’s struggle
without becoming someone else.
We’re never more radical than radical
tolerance. The rest is reverie.
Both sides do it,
but only one side owned slaves.

* New York Worker, April 1907

untitled (Bodies #4)

you’re so real
that I can almost
touch every
I never

The Amboy

Snow falls on the Barrens
Fog shadows the shore
Waves breaking in winter
like Martin Brodeur

San Francisco’s organic
The Saint is dirty
San Diegans take the 405
We take 130

Walt Whitman is buried here
Jimmy Hoffa is deeper
Lukoil may prefer it here
but Citgo is cheaper

South Jersey’s all Philly
North Jersey’s New York
In Central Jersey the governor’s
belly’s all pork

Here there be mobsters
There Mummers move
Often in coffins
old 45s groove

Come on everybody
I get around
Meet me tonight
on the wrong side of town

In Amona


return somewhere you’ve never been
like from a dream you’ve never had
surrounded by the world you left
an outpost of tomorrow’s time

where days are numbered, means reverse
Exodus outnumbered 700 score
a reconstructed temple mount
the occupier counts

outnumbered outlaws colonize
recovered memories of others
in Amona caravans canonize
razor-wire pilgrims

Photo courtesy of Yair Aronshtam. Available via Wikimedia Commons.