Why I’ll Never Be Invited to a Writer’s Conference

Fly into the sun teeny bopper
fly into the sun rock star poet
fly into the sun academic hermaphrodite
fly into the sun rebel with a pension

fly into the sun scar-face rummy
fly into the sun swimmer in ketchup
fly into the sun pink-fingered typer

fly into the sun smoking is bad for you
fly into the sun you’re a racist

fly into the sun born in Brooklyn
Asian whisperer

fly into the sun nonrepresentational pubic hair

fly into the sun don’t ask me
to make sense

fly into the sun perpetual period

fly into the sun wallet on a chain

fly into the sun my grandma’s tomatoes
are better than your grandma’s tomatoes

fly into the sun I want a bully-free-world
in a bully-free universe

fly into the sun and burn
your paper wings.

Imagine All the Forgotten Lives

We pick and borrow
what we know

regurgitate our urge
for originality

and gorge on what came before

We render our lives
as if they were interesting
forgetting trillions and trillions of men lived
and died before us
the memory of man stretched

to breaking.

No final morals, no meaning, no universal
summaries, no make-up

just a hiccup of percussion
on the drum of a mammal’s tongue
picking and borrowing all he’s ever known

and rowing against the whirlpool
of a bored god’s mouth.

The Cabbies

Ah, the cabbies
the ugly cabbies
the stinking cabbies
cackling in the 4 a.m. streetlight
waiting for the office gal to get here
she’s always late
a cabby kicks the metal door
like a convict trying to get back inside a cell

“Where the hell is that bitch?”

“She’s dumber than a bag of hair!”

The cabbies laugh
some are done with their shifts
some wait to start
all stand shivering

when you don’t make much money you feel better knowing
others don’t make much either
though the bills will go unpaid
you won’t be alone

the cabbies understand each other
the cabbies need each other
no one else is awake
no one else knows
what they know
their knowledge like a light without heat.

The Plague

I picked up a college boy
in my cab
to take him to the airport
got stuck in traffic on frat row
wove my way down the university “mall”
to an agglomeration of white tents
and a milling hoard.

Circus in town? I thought.

I asked the kid
“What the hell’s going on here?”

He looked up from his cell phone
“No idea, there’s no game

I wormed through the Volvos and Camrys
all the drivers delighted with themselves
throwing back Starbucks
chortling at NPR.

Finally saw the big banner:


made a mental note
to avoid the area
like the plague.