pollack paints ‘reflection of the big dipper’

the sun too bright on saturday afternoon
and nothing i say worth


i love you

i’m afraid

all of these ideas
that become empty shells

the air cold where it
touches my fingers

shadows curved sharply up
the sides of houses
and down all of the meaningless streets
i’ve ever lived on

and what happens when every country
has been carefully defined?

why do we care if
certain babies are left to die in
windowless rooms?

i’ve got fences to build

holes to dig and nails to hammer

entire days to waste
holding objects in my scraped
and bleeding hands

and does it matter if the war is lost
when it’s fought 5000 miles away?

there are those who claim it does

there are instances when
i’m mistaken for my father

when all i can taste are his ashes

the phone ringing in
another part of the house while i
stumble drunkenly across the

my friends dead or disappeared

my letters returned unopened

notebook after notebook
filled with words scribbled down and
then crossed out

not poems but prayers

not god but religion

small moments of illumination
that mean nothing in the end

because there is no such thing as a post-war poem

all faith is

all pain


in the real world

but jesus, the
thought of writing poetry

i mean, seriously

these fuckers are chopping the
hands off of newborn babies

they are raping
twelve year old girls in the
name of mom and apple pie

are starting wars in the
name of god and calling themselves
righteous, and no one is
stepping forward to assassinate them

no one is burning the
cities to the ground

and we laugh at the idea of
eating someone else’s shit
but then we do it anyway


suicide note clutched in
his hand, but he lives

a foreign land

a futile war

imagine an entire generation
of babies born dead
or deformed

imagine your left hand gone

your right one down the
pants of
another man’s wife

voices on the sidewalk outside
at three in the morning

gun in the dresser drawer

i was six or seven, standing
there in my pajamas at
the kitchen door watching the
neighbors’ house burn down

this is all i remember

twenty six and waking up
in a stranger’s bed

forty three and afraid that
everything worth writing
about was in my past

and he says he loves his
wife and he says he loves his
daughter, and then the fucker
                      stops breathing

coughs up blood & pretty lies

such an easy shot to make
with the gun
jammed hard inside his mouth

poem for the lost and the missing in a year of election

fear of sitting naked in the
spotlight without answers to any
of the questions

fear of death by drowning

some california surfer boy in a
black leather jacket, manson’s
snarling face tattooed across his chest,
dogs ripping through the flesh to
get to the treasure

some strung-out saint with a
                      fuck-me smile

laughs when the car goes off
the bridge, but
only because she’s not in it

only because the priests are on
their knees in front of the
firing squad, and if you’re going to be
hooked on something,
it may as well be power


you can waste your whole life
quoting christ and still deserve a
knife in your throat

we can feed each other broken
glass and the flesh of unborn
children and call it love, and this is
how the present becomes the future

this is why all buildings will
eventually collapse, why
all civilizations are destined to fail

your words lose all meaning when
your mouth is full of shit

no one you’ve ever voted for
gives a damn
whether you live or die

the suicide you swore you’d never be
is no better than the
one you’re destined to become