The End For Now

February 21, 2009

Well, that’s the end of Hard Brush Soft Paint. I may put this on a sight on the net for anyone who is interested in downloading it. One of my ebooks of poetry won the Eppie one year. It was a book called ‘murder’ that was originally published by Coach House Press many years ago. murderPage. I also had a second book called ‘Church Street Is Burning’. It won a runner up placement. I believe that it has already been placed on here somewhere. It too can be downloaded. Church_Street_is_BurningindexAt my other sight I am working or reworking or rereworking a group of poems about jazz singers. power of h Weblog

My Mother

February 20, 2009


My Mother

I am standing in the landscape of her loneliness. Behind the new planets that appeared on her twelfth birthday. I am the peasant of her melancholy, the terrible despair of her young womanhood. I have painted the rage between her and God, the sad beauty of her sensitivity. She warned me about Him, the one who would strip away the garments of my pretensions, who would bare the ugliness of life, who would make me pay for every moment of joy. Look! There he is! Avoid him! He will promise you the world and the world is poverty. He will raise expectations that He can never fulfill. It is His tenderness that will drag your heart out through your eyes. And when my father died, I discovered how small she was. And as she grew old, how brave.

Through a Window

February 19, 2009


Through A Window

Like a peeping Tom, I watched her through her eyes into a dark room leaning back deep in a chair, her arms behind her head looking out at me. My feet sank in the mud outside her bedroom window. She spoke thinking she was alone, spoke words so mundane and maudlin that like a wisp of breath they vanished in the moment. She hid herself inside her thoughts with an eerie optimism – with so much sadness surely salvation was possible. I watched her smile through those eyes like a voyeur who is struck by the thought that pain is a canvas some women are painted on. And as she stood and turned to her bed, my legs sank up to my knees, and I cried out for help.

The Slut

February 15, 2009


The Slut

America is drunk with herself, drunk with glamour, drunk with beauty, drunk on her own mythology, and Hollywood films where everyone in the suburbs lives in a million dollar home. American is mainlining gadgets, fast food, wrinkle remover, and fantasies about reality. America turned in a breast for a gun. Is losing her hair temporarily to fashion. Has become incorrigibly cute. She searches the stars for redemption, while her liver stinks of urine and rot. America is proud of her slums, turns every criticism into a marketing tool. America is harvesting existence. America is seducing humanity with giggling. And the world lines up dutifully, single file for miles, hoping to be received between her legs. I am carrying a photograph of a hand grenade.

The Model

February 10, 2009


The Model

She poses in my dreams, haunts me with her bitterness. She is not the object of my affections, only the vessel I use to get passed her, to discover some truth inside myself. It is as if my search for beauty has inflicted wounds on her hands, left a scar on her side. Her life means nothing to the slow soft strokes of my brush. My vision is no salve for her pain. We barely exchange words. After she leaves the studio I hardly have a thought for her as I try to bring the shadow she has left behind on the canvas to life.

The Hippie

February 10, 2009


The Hippie

She calls herself an idealist, a romantic, a humanist. She lives in the moment of Kennedy’s assassination. She is constantly quoting the Moody Blues and can hardly tolerate the fact that Crosby and Stills have gone bald. She is a fifty-five year old flower child. Wears a head band on her soul. Swears that rock’n’roll will replace Christianity. And yet I have awakened to her fist against my chest, her teeth grinding, the pitch and roll of her nightmare as her father drags her by her hair across the kitchen floor.


The Great Masters Knew Something

Art is a world of clouds in Russian trousers, a miracle inside the torture chamber, a cat swallowing a house, a dog barking at the foot of the Crucifix. Each blank canvas is like the rack, each brush stroke a thumb twisted. Facing a blank canvas like driving through a white out with the wipers slapping your face, trying to wake you up, to warn you about the dangers ahead. Exhibitions are like watching a parade of accountants in the uniforms of the Third Reich sipping wine and goose-stepping. Galleries are morgues. Patrons are saints. The artist is a lovers’ quarrel that keeps everyone up late, finally falling asleep when everyone else has to get up and march off to work.

The Cathedral

February 5, 2009

the-cathedralThe Cathedral

There is no silence. The church is empty. Outside a snow shovel scrapes across a sidewalk. A streetcar bells chimes. A truck shifts gears. A dog barks then whimpers. Someone opens the front door of the church. The sounds booms throughout the hall. I turn around in my pew expecting to see a giant walk up the aisle. An old woman, frail, dressed in black moves like a nun with small calculated steps, each movement a prayer, toward the altar where she falls to the floor and sobs. After she leaves I tip toe to the puddle she has left behind. And read the words she has scratched into the floor with her knees. Why have you forsaken me?

My original idea

February 2, 2009

My original idea for this group of poems is that they were found work produced by some poet/artist who lived for a time in Europe and then disappeared. Its an old idea that I have had for a long time. Kierkegaard used the idea of found work. In one way its a mode of using a pseudonym. But what really intrigues me is that you create a character who creates work so that you are always in some way trying to flush out the artist behind the work (which in a real sense is you). One could idealize/romanticize this artist or one could try out different idea and styles on him without handcuffing yourself to them. Its still up in the air. If I can find the original piece I did for this I will entertain putting it on here.

My Father

February 1, 2009


My Father

My father was the kindest of men. He lived near the plant so that he could be home early, so that he could unplug the eaves troughs, so that he could reinvent the basement in a dream he had of paradise, so that he could hold my mother. The plant made tires, with a ceiling just over eight feet, crowded with heat and the stench of hot rubber. For forty years he worked there so that he could come home, pick up my head or my sister’s, and toss it in the sky like a ball. And he would laugh. But his face was so distant. Like he was watching me and my sister from a great distance. Like he was living on borrowed time. Like he was trying to store up his memories, making home movies in his head. Looking over his shoulder. Wondering when it was coming. And then it came. And father lay half in and half out of his bed in his underwear. He lay there cold and distant like he always had. A mystery. Love in a brief glimpse.

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