Critique of Pure Reason

reptile that I am
in may
a gator
on a swampy stump
in my slime
yet trending
pig in sunshine
bliss if nothing
while friends say
they find me
says Carol
who absolutely loathes
a threesome
with Immanuel Kant.

Civilization and Its Discontents

does what gushy know
on you and me?
could he think it
in a world
of just his own?
if we voted with our feet
a separate be
that left
the thoughts of gushy
all alone…
the cannibal fires
night by night…
would that be enough?
or would he accuse as he accused before
or tell us
“cannibals are the equal of your ways”
proclaiming proudly shackled
as he stewed:
“brothers, make of me
if you please
a meal
but heed this final warning
well and good:
where’er existent
I declare
the eternal cause
of living hell!”

oh, gushy, late
i feel your pain
yesterday my car
was repossessed
but to hell with making
repast for a tribe
i’m burning rome
with nero
as I write.


Another death poem.  I really should put a quota on these but Emily insists.  The good news is they tend to alternate with orgy poems. 

Death, the ultimate equalizer.
A Stalinist I suspect, though
I’d happy say a Democrat
If it left me free to choose.

Tyrant in extremis
To make of us a clod
Then note for consolation
Everyone is next.

Vanilla Extract on a Silver Platter

This poem is one of my rare forays into postmodernism, the result of reading John Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror”—twice.  I wrote it in one sitting, completely off the cuff. I let it rest a few days, came back to it, and can only say I believe it improved on Ashbery.  Nevertheless, I welcome the reader’s discernment here, together with suggestions for improvement.    I’m thinking about a much longer poem channeling Ashbery’s brain that explores the Self-portrait as it relates to the Sack of Rome. 

I say of a crowd well heeled
”Vanilla extract on a silver platter”
But that is less a compensation
Than the hordes ride with their envy;
The young hordes have more time
And there are billions of them
Though with paper plates, or rather,
Because of paper plates
To triumph. And so I tell the “best,”
The all-complacent arriviste,
Smug in his contempt of me, his own
Who does not own:
Be done with your toys and silver platters
These are totems of your death;
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw
You are savage in your ken —
Worse, without the willing gene.
Go! Outgrow your extinction,
This gaudy death wish,
And make a toy to live!
Vanilla extract on a paper plate.


Unsprung so far
The green in me, my face
Still masked of winter leaf.
But the birds are singing au contraire
A Cardinal eaten by a cat
A spring of feathers signifies
Strewn with beak and scaly legs.
Cheer! Cheer! Cheer! they trill,
They trill. Cheer!  Cheer! Cheer!
They whistle, thrilled.
I ask them why and they advise:
Aren’t you special to survive?

(Special thanks to Patrick Gillespie for haiku prompt)

Cold of Her

My summer bride
Has skipped her vows
And dances in another town
Left darkness to envelop me
A darkness darker than is death
Perpetual and so solitaire
I search and cast and search and cast
To find her sunshine in a face
But find my own inadequacy.
Ah, I shall know better come the spring
Than think she brightens just for me
But chastened heed her going more
And keep around community.


A wayward intensity, terror,
So out of place with the vast forgiving sky,
The lounging life around.  Not just the backseat
Driver but the driver infinite
With me in the trunk
Me in the bed
Me in constraints
Where will it go?
When will it end?
Who pops the latch
To will—to what?
A castaway’s pluck
This islet, this brain
With a patience
For anguish