life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Pas de capital

On monmouth street, the devil lingers

smells the blood of things to come

fingers dipped in black magic

cigarettes and hashish on a double decker bus at midnight

feeling muscles pulled tight from dancing for hours

they left their bloody conscience by the door, it stuck, it did not close

well at all

wanting sex and drugs and and end of time

condom wrappers litter festival floor like signets

her father invited different women each weekend to sample

his sorrow and she

climbed down drain pipes to go where all

kids without structure hang

an empty playground with burnt spoons and plastic needles

the boys there, let her be, they liked their meat less


one year she read eighteen plays of marlow and

three anais nin, the latter had her wet and thirsting

but the bathroom door possessed no lock

wax your legs, but not your crotch, the feminists at

night-school implored, she was one of them but not

able to summon the desire to behave well

where do night birds go when they want to devour?

Different to everyone here and the same

a pulse urging movement, willing escape

fucking strangers without pronounceable names

tight buttocks, red hose, patent shoes, broken heals

against radiators leaving stripes down her thighs

such is the transpose and yield of hormones

one day you’ll look back & regret will not be what you see

sleeping on fur coats in the dressing room at 23.00pm

platinum hair on your lapel, can you survive her

blistering disregard or is it what you want?

Sitting cross legged eating tinned asparagus as he

jacks off to henry & june, the part where uma thurman

and her incredible triangular breasts, reach

lighting up blunts on promenade des anglais

grinding hips in la croix des gardes after the gates are locked

no protection, you’re already ruined thrice over

with someone who leaves you before they’ve begun

your grandmother is jarring jam from fallen fruit and she accuses you

of stealing her cigarette money which you did not do

you were out in the garden playing in the faraway tree

eating scabs and letting the neighbor undo your shoes

they fall like birds wings without bird into pond

once you drove your bike into that water and leaches

left their love kisses on your arms

like that boy who fed you clafoutis, calisson and cough candy

when you ran a fever and he sucked on your flat bosom

like starving tight rope walker

running down le suquet in search of brown eyed kids

to buy alcohol and pastille du mineur, danging white legs

and tanned toes into dirty water

one said; You are too flat chested I like them bustier

you smiled in relief, punched their thin arms and ran off

secretly desiring the older sister who stood silhouetted against

setting sun, darkness of her skin reflecting thrashing waves

like she had been born from the urgent depths

her lips large and angry with her age, gauloises yellowing

hardly smoked just flung from painted finger to finger

you longed to reach underneath her blouse, to

black lace, brown skin, white lines

on her dressing table, saints, glaring disapproval

she liked boys with mopeds, tight jeans, long hair

no matter how hard you tried you could not

interest her apathique boredom into desire

instead punishing yourself, with last minute trains to other cities

necking at le grand rex, with sour tasting boys

who supplied black smokes and soft necks

in the darkness of raspoutine snorting on her thigh

leading to empty windows and

the feel of late summer on clammy nude skin

he tells you to close the curtains, watching as you

turn, slender and warm, toward him and away

mother at la main bleue, her own lithe figure

sharpening history, walking into rooms without

locks, a family legacy.

In tenerrife they say without a tan, stand outside

too young for adults, too mature for boys

an urgent pulse, the stage a bouquet of bodies

a turkish man gives me a rose, says I remind him of

sissy spacek, I lend

a blushing danish girl my last pesos, she

returns an hour later and shares a lemon ice

her long tongue licking it between smiles

it’s midnight and the buses run by the half

in earls court where whores and rich men

laugh, knives on board better to walk

he’s holding me up, he’s holding me down

we create a child, we lose ourselves in curling throng

when I see him again, it’s ten years later

his black eyes have bags underneath, he looks like he’s

been carrying grief for the children of pont des invalides

to battersea bridge with green birds no longer there when

it was cold and her art in the water lost

nobody but I believed it happened

je n’ai jamais voulu être blessé. Je voulais être aimé. Violemment.

now she has a child and I ache to hold

onto that time with

both hands.


elastic phantasm


collage by Deger Bakir

Kate and I were the only ones on the beach. The rains were over but the sky was still gray and people were afraid to come out. Even the seagulls stayed high and landed in the beach grass out of sight.

I asked Kate to take off her shawl and she walked with it trailing behind her in the wind.

We had walked for over a mile when we came upon what looked like writing in the sand. The letters were too long to read and I tried to pull Kate along as if I hadn’t noticed them. Kate stopped and clapped her hands together. I kept walking but she pulled on my arm.

I was back in a dream I had the night before: I was on a beach, the sand was silver and the waves that crashed on the shore were a grown man’s height. I was staring at a jellyfish that had been dumped on the sand beside me. I had the urge to stomp on it, the way we tortured beached stingrays, fish, and sea urchins when I was a kid. But the jellyfish grew luminous at its core and a kaleidoscope of colors burst like fireworks trapped in a glass jar. This was the jellyfish’s brain, and these creatures were smarter than I was. Smarter than Kate and everyone else. The jellyfish shivered like it was cold and I could swear that it inched closer. I was afraid of what it might take from me.

I thought the dream was over, but now Kate was there, too, and it was real and there would be no waking up safe and sweating and snuggling against Kate.

I heard Kate reading aloud the words dug into the sand: “It’s happening.”

Kate looked at me and laughed. She was never afraid of anything and I knew it would be bad for her in the end. I had to protect her from my dream, from the jellyfish and everything else. I thought I might be able to carry on as if the dream wasn’t absorbing us. Then Kate said, “What’s happening, do you think?”

“What?” I asked.

She pointed to the letters. I forgot myself and looked where she pointed and read the jagged message. “Ah. Fuck,” I said. I felt the sand sinking down around us. I was there beside her. I was somewhere else. The sky was black and the clouds were gone and I dragged a stick along the sand. I was cold and I was sweating. I wrote. I was lost at sea.

Then I felt Kate’s flesh on my flesh. We were moving. She had hooked her arm around me and she was talking again. It was a gray day at the beach. We didn’t walk but we took steps and after a while we left the prophecy behind us. The seagulls flew a little lower and I felt comforted in spite of myself.

I continued to scheme in my mind. In a war like this the only thing we had was subterfuge and surprise.

A collaboration between Gordon Flanders and myself.


When She’s Up, No One Can Bring Her Down


Tara sat on the floor in the corner of a little restaurant in Greenwich Village.

Carmen walked in and saw her sitting there. She laughed and sat at the table next to her. She crossed her legs and looked at a menu. “Hello, Tara,” she said.

“I’ve got to get out of here,” said Tara.

“Where?” asked Carmen. “The restaurant? Or the city? Because I think I might leave soon.”

“You can’t leave,” said Tara.

“That’s sweet,” said Carmen.

Tara drew her knees close and tried to look pathetic.

A server approached and poured Carmen water. “Hello, ladies,” he said.

Carmen said, “I’ll have Tito’s on the rocks.”

A minute passed in silence before the drink was delivered.

Carmen said, “I’ll settle up with you.”

“In a hurry?” asked the server.

Carmen handed him her credit card. She said to Tara, “I thought we were going to the movies.”

“Can we just drink somewhere?” asked Tara.

Carmen held up her drink. “Done.”

“What do you do when you’re at home, alone?” asked Tara.

Carmen finished her drink and smiled at Tara. “Call me later.” She got up from the table and walked out, typing on her phone.

Tara stood up, then. And then she walked out, too.

The server called after her, “Have a good day!”

“Maybe you’ll never see me again,” she said.

He smiled and waved her off.

Tara acted natural on the walk home. She went into her room and locked the door and sat on the floor.

She fell asleep there after a few hours.

When she woke up she laid down and waited for something.