Saturday, February 27, 2010


Dr. Hans Seuss,

the nuclear physicist,

kept getting Theodor Geisel’s mail.

They both lived in La Jolla,

so it wasn’t that preposterous.

But it still peeved the guy.

One fall afternoon,

while the old Austrian was reclining in his La-Z-Boy,

watching CHiPs,

and dipping pretzels in Salsa Con Queso,

there was a knock on his door.

It was Mr. Geisel

come for his fan letters.

The good doctor wiped some cheese from his lips,

and glowered at his namesake standing there on his stoop.

“I burned all of that garbage.

And I will continue to do so.

You are not a doctor.

I am a doctor.

Please remove yourself from my premises.”

Poor Theodor left without incident,

softly mumbling to himself,

“No former performer’s performed this performance,”

and went home to finish off his bottle of peach schnapps


he hoped,

to write.

Friday, February 26, 2010

too late to pray

I cannot holler that loud anymore
I cannot hold on
I cannot see through the gauzy guise of your gaze
I cannot fall through speed at first light
I am not singing much anymore

Forward thinking back to a time that ticks before clocks
& doing made-up things
like harvesting moonlight

I cannot fail to freely fall all over everything
I cannot overcome my own ways
I am spilling out my big wide open spaces
I am ferreting out a care
I am draining sap & socking it to things
I am shooting all the ladders from the sky

Bailing out this shipwrecked thingamajig with tin cups and rusted dreams
& this man-o’-war is peaceful underneath
& hail won’t stop pelting the hale
& the world is just another thing to trip upon
& etcetera just won’t cut it anymore

Passengers ejected like sling-shot toy soldiers
Parallel lines drawn in together and sweeping towards each other ever so closer than close just so they can never touch
Tarnished thoughts
Dippers that are either small or big
The water is hot
Get in

I cannot grub for food
I cannot forest
I cannot fetch

Strictly bush-league sadness cresting in all those
Amateur hours of minor purpose
Saddled and hampered with fairytale songs
Rascal puffs and other fancy stuff
Things like this or things like that
Done with paper

I cannot go
So leave me be
I cannot leave
So just go away

the rain falls hard on the streets

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Few From "Off Season For The Sleepless"

a no-good southpaw with his puss all smashed up

and his arm gone to rubber

all thrown out in spring training

lounging all woebegone in the bullpen

his hat pulled down over his eyes

his head leaning back against the brick

nodding off and gone slack in the sun

with a week’s stubble showing

and his spikes untied

not even slapping away the flies

just resting and waiting

for the seventh-inning stretch to wake him up

or a blowout

when the skip needs somebody to eat up some outs

and the bullpen phone will ring

he’ll get the nod


toss a warm-up session

before trotting on out to the mound

one last time

to take a brand new ball

roll it around in his palm

rub it up and scuff it a little

listen to the hushed mumbling of the crowd

thumb the red stitched seams

and remember what it’s like

to throw a 3-2 cutter

and nail the inside corner

freezing some poor bastard

for strike three

because he never saw the damn thing coming

one more thing

he just might have up his sleeve

like a dream he maybe forgot somewhere around Omaha

when there wasn’t anything better in the world

than lying in the perfectly green manicured grass before a game

while a soft breeze blew

and the sun put him to sleep

just like now

and everything was silent and peaceful

and he was free


shortstops don’t like rain

mud is an enemy to be feared and respected

middle infielders in general try to keep the divots and rocks to minimum

in the dirt around their feet

sometimes taking great pains

getting down on all fours between taking grounders during warm-ups

crawling along like gardeners

smoothing the ground with their palms

sweeping away excess mounds of accumulated pebbles

filling in cleat holes and scooping away other imperfections in the field’s skin

not wanting to get eaten up by a wayward grounder

or hit in the chops with a bad hop

second baseman tend to drink beer alone in their hotel rooms on the road

usually can’t hit for shit

but enjoy the rain every now and again

you can sometimes find them

in the early afternoon

grooming the sienna dirt

or just playing catch with a batboy

waiting for the crowd to show up

spitting sunflower seeds into the wind


get some of them blue suede shoes on and let’s go for a stroll.

get our dancing shoes on.

make a plan and act on it.

if there is nothing left does that mean that something has gone?

patterns are just what they make you think they are.

pleasing someone probably serves some purpose.

you know what i mean.

save a little guts in your soul.

wash the space that’s left in your head with warm thoughts.

sing la la la but don’t forget the dada too.

push on through the fucking daisies for fuck’s sake.

believe in me.

i saw you watching me watch you on the bus the other day.

you were being exploited.

kicking ass and badass.

if you are on a train make sure you are not wearing a seatbelt.

never drive a car when you're dead.

music outlasts empires and bulldozers.

spend all your pay.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

an experiment in trepidation

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Will you know though?

BIG BIRD: Probably not. Not if it’s done right.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: So it’ll just happen? Just like that?

BIG BIRD: Yep. And we don’t speak above whispers on street corners.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: No. I know. Not yet. Not here.

BIG BIRD: Sure. So there is still the problem of ecumenical concerns.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Nobody will care.

BIG BIRD: Don’t be so sure.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Appreciation happens. Though when it doesn’t, well, it hampers the circumstances somewhat, but that’s okay, right?

BIG BIRD: Okay enough for our situation here.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: That’s good to know.

BIG BIRD: What we know. What we don’t know. Is there really a difference?

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: As one could count with one’s thumbs the good-natured hostility that springs from vespertine trashcan lids early enough to be goldenly lit.

BIG BIRD: Just as so.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Be little. Be strong. Be culpable too. The utmost of leather-jacketed desire trumpets poppycock. We can have folded hands in the end. We will be still.

BIG BIRD: Stillness is a careful thing.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Pressures happen. Take pity on the fair-weathered and the furiously annoyed. We need yelps like a math teacher needs an abacus.

BIG BIRD: Hugs and hand-me-downs and bored stems of curiosity are the roots of our spindly tree, this wishy-washy thing that braves crisp, clear mornings and fords impassable rivers.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Sure. We don’t require much. Maybe a gorgeous mirror, and maybe some jimson weed to quell a rebellion now and again. But, with empty pockets, be wary of your sweet tooth while being lifted up to paradise, because stealing candy bars can become an addiction.

BIG BIRD: Today this. Tomorrow the treasure of the Sierra Madre. And then, possibly, while we are flush with purloined significance, there will be other days under the sun, our days in the sun, but then, also, nights under the moon, nights in darkness.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Nothing serious. Just a quickie in the backseat. And the whistle blows. And the world is not round. And suddenly the turncoats are coming for their fly-by-night prey. We must make amends. We must not always forgive.

BIG BIRD: Here there goes again.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Believe in kindly assassinations. Swear allegiance to empty space. Give a good going over to the already harassed.

BIG BIRD: There here is a comin’ round the bend.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: I once had a fear, or should I say it once had me.

BIG BIRD: It’s all a going that never gets anywhere. It’s shaky hands. It’s a dizzy spell. It’s autumn leaves.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: It’s a mood that never changes.

BIG BIRD: And the shades that are missing? Well, we each have our own unique set of blues. The mind gives up without an example set before it, but at least it does try a little at first.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Let us never alter our boggled and ill-concocted maxim. We are brave men to strive behind such things.

BIG BIRD: Look! The twilight’s still gleaming!


BIG BIRD: Just filling in the blank. There is no room between things. Everything takes up space with its shape. I will curve my thoughts to new ways of bending. I will substitute. I will amend.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: A deal that doesn’t pay off. Conception is a tricky counterpoint to use as a ruse for misrepresenting the substance of what might not be real in the first place.

BIG BIRD: That logic does not exist to me. This is its initial coronation in my mind. We must rub the dust from forethought before what has never occurred is lost.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: A crown of pearly disenchantment is all you’ll ever wear if you go about your business thataway.

BIG BIRD: Now is later.


BIG BIRD: What a ready-or-not-here-I-come attitude you’ve adopted recently.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Just another instance of the foot that trampled trash because the head mistook rubbish for flowers.

BIG BIRD: You know it! Hypothetically speaking of course.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Of course. Rarely are we lost within a life composed so much of odds and ends. And of course of course is just another of course too.

BIG BIRD: On a mediocre day you could probably get me to agree with that. But Mr. Ed is dead, and the only song I hear fluting its way around here involves quarter notes or fifths.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Fluting? I’m not so sure that word means what you think it means. As when in one’s youth one pointed to a shirt and declared it dusty rose. No. I am mistaken. It was vermillion.

BIG BIRD: Oh yes. That old blindness toward affinity and love. The pure absence of color is nothing and all things at once.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: Purity is a myth. Let’s go kick the shit out of Elmo.

BIG BIRD: Before lunch? I couldn’t stomach it on an empty stomach.


existential crisis #74

I am not a werewolf
not some crabby lycanthrope stumbling around the woods with his tie undone
getting his paw caught in the jaws of a foothold trap
foaming at the mouth
younger than pleased
I am not a car accident victim
shot full of radiation and tincture of opium
possibly caged
more than likely roaming somewhat
still passably unclear
I am not listening
I am understanding that
fangs will have to do
where there is no more place for tears
sip rainwater from my footprints in the mud
while I claw at the shadows
of a moon that’s nothing but full
silver will never
be the death of me

Friday, February 12, 2010

give ‘em hell miss carousel

the flesh of things withers and disappears like cotton candy in water

a question begged of mercy

a strain on the quality of light being sought after

and then of course the tempering of resistance with malice and pulled pork sandwiches

the rights of way always belong to some unknown somebody

we merely have ways of going down the road feeling bad

the glibness of sanity is the horror of being alive

the truth of love is the curve of leg

greet memories with chopsticks and poppies

have breakfast under a tidal wave

the hurt of today’s hunch is the luck of yesterday’s burglary

we are the means of a never ending try

we are the gristle cut from the bone

there is no respite from the lurch in the wheels of the thing

just an unsatisfying lapse in judgment

that just might

with the right kind of eyes

at least

get one thrown in jail


at least

99 years

Even Papa Smurf Has His Bad Days

fuck the damn blues
just 3 apples high in those white Phrygian caps
the skipping smurfberry-eating bastards can all go to hell
there’s nothing smurftastic about today
my beard is as cursed as this desolate land
give me a pipe and a girl and a jug of wine
call me unhappy and bitter if you like
call me anything
there is nothing easy about these going ons
these petty problems that don’t add up to a single mushroom-shaped house of a care
it’s all gabbing and gassing and so-long-get-the-hell-out-of-my-face
away is where I’m dying to go
lose these red rags and this so-called altruism
nobody gives advice to the seer
all my magic charms and alchemy can’t fix what’s wrong with my head
all 542 years of me
and only all this nothing to show for it
I’m just getting meaner
as my temper gets shorter
there’s only so much petulant griping I can take
I can’t do this shit forever
sometimes these fuckers
need to learn how to take care of their own troubles
I’ve got enough of my own
I am not God
for fuck’s sake
whispers flank the door of my hut
they are all speaking about me
infantile sons of bitches
and this after I turned that hideous Smurfette into a blond-haired beauty for them
I am tired
I am old
I just want to be left alone
barricade the door
burn all the sarsaparilla leaves
and kill off what remains of the day
diplomacy and kindness will not fill the holes in my heart
let Gargamel and Azrael have their pick of the litter
I cannot do less than too much or more than enough
emptiness is all there is

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pre-fight Jitters Of Buster Douglas (Feb. 11, 1990)

My mother’s dead now. There is only this fate, this handicapped punchy rhythm that maintains me, like that damn plaque hung in the Coffeyville Hall Of Fame, and it is all for not; and I am strong, stronger than my dad Dynamite—or at least I have quicker hands. There is no telling what will unfold, what will come of this debacle, though the confidence in my reach and dance gives me a faint hope. The ring is a vacuous space, a thing with neither heft nor shape, just a lobbed mirage of holy ineptitude. Tyson is not human. I have these hands and these scars that skirt my memories like eyeliner for the soul. We are merely creatures of habit. Even iron bends at certain temperatures. More than we know happens all the time. Like a wild roundhouse uppercut, thrown in haste, which connects by sheer luck and sends somebody flailing grimly to the canvas. Nothing stays. Somebody says Tyson’s cornermen are not even going to bring endswell to the fight. All does not always end as well as we would like it to end, though being tethered to the most dire preconceptions might leave one swell (or perhaps swollen). Motivation has become just another excuse to lie low, to duck the jabs of the world, to play hookie, to run afoul and loaf. I find inspiration in the concomitant loops and turnbuckles of cloud that tremble and pluck blue from the distance. I am not scared. Yesterday a cow blocked the road. I sat in my car and waited for it to cross. I met its gaze at one point, as it lazily clomped along on the brittle pavement of that old country byway, and I felt its immense sadness, its shuddering grief, and in that moment I realized that there was nothing beyond that gut-wrenching look of despair. I was just another thing in a world of things. Tokyo is calling. I am loose and alive. January has killed my inhibitions along with my precious pearl Lula. I feel a ravaged, feral madness stirring somewhere deeper than inside. There are no stakes. Vegas won’t even take bets; they say I’ve got less of a shot at knocking off Iron Mike than a ringside popcorn vender. I venture guesses into Holyfield’s eyes, which will no doubt be coyly leering above the slight bend of his always almost-smirk. Never would he give as much away as he knows. What else matters but a purse? I am limping in my mind already, dining on sushi and seaweed salad, averting disaster one hot sake at a time. When one has less than nothing does one still have nothing to lose? My purpose is artfully beguiling, yet might arise a crises in its misgivings, or, more to the point, in its thorny understandings. Nobody remembers which years were leaps. He who lunges and stumbles will fall and be no more. My hands are heavy with rue. My head is silence. I’ll dot any “i” that comes around. Fill the furrows of my gilt-plated coffers with sugar water. Somewhere a bell tolls. The world is only longing and forgiveness. The curtains are drawn wide. A play of fan-blown air tickles my ears. A fly gasps. Somewhere in a circle that is a square they are calling my name. I lift my head.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

everything is broken

my love too has died in January

along with my luck and that canary that used to sing down the hall

maybe some pigeons I used to know are still around

I’m still not sleeping

I’m still taking too many pills

and I’m drunk almost all the time

stuck foodless in the soup kitchen of my discontent

staring forever into eyes that look everywhere else but back

the worst thing about the weather is that it keeps sticking around

when nothing else does

when the newspapers are all going under

when the light bulbs have all been smashed to smithereens

I can’t stop missing things I used to think would be around forever

running with no hope of escape

the worms crawl on thin threads of hope under the garden of my days

the cans are all kicked

the roosters have all gone home to pray

maybe my moods will pick up

maybe the moon won’t seem like an ugly jaundiced scar on the skin of my sorrow

I rarely notice things that should matter

like goldfish and popcorn and hardhats

and the way the guts of the sky explode with every rush of another sunrise

my love too has gone somewhere farther than away

like some crenellation in the discontented Ohio of my soul

like a curled cat sleeping

like a seesaw of forgiveness

I never see the shores of rest

just a mirage of what’ll never happen

I am dwelling on winging my way out of here

I am kept afloat by seems of try

I am letting go

I am buried beneath the begonias

in the red-letter day of my rue

and on it goes

and on it goes

always and infinitely on the mend

Monday, February 8, 2010

while supplies last

Dear Lucy,
The rain doesn’t come quite as often as it used to now that they’ve stitched the sky with paraffin. I can’t get myself to balance properly. Missing a toe is discreet, but my able-bodied ways are less than they’ve been before. That hand to mouth technique of covering coughs still works well on most days; the nights are a different story. I am below average in my workload, but I’ve become fairly adept at making anagrams out of my name. Yesterday I spelt Wilt Chamberlain. Also, I am nudging my way towards spelling “tread” correctly, instead of leaving the “a” out, which, as you well know, is my wont. Troubles arise; I kick bottle caps into the street. A cure for the meringue of worries in my head would be melting butter if thoughts were pats. Alas, I look askance at cats, and I chew blueberries, and I mope about town, and before bedtime my arms dangle buckets of rainwater, which I lift up and down many times. My strength is steadily ameliorating. More to the point, I have missing buttons in a drawer; they are not housebroken. The kneeling hours are well beyond me. Do not worry over my structures, for they suit the situations I create. Simpering has become a rash fate to dissolve my face into. Place me to show. Once something is beyond imagining, as pain before a blow from a hammer, it stipulates its own care, and this, among other still-born things, is not ordered for dessert. I remember well your gamy breath. If only we’d leased out your canker sores instead of your charms, then one might suppose these rooms would have sumptuously filled with pity. It’s a famous feeling one might get on breezy evenings while chewing gum or raking leaves. Other discoveries: dilapidation is the key ingredient to sorrow wearing off; movies are chimney smoke; I have more than enough prayers in the glove compartment of my old Buick; microphones might engender egress; life has put me on hold. Still, it might just be the practicing violinist down the hall who has me harebrained over piddling eyesores like wheeling in the garden hose. If I were you I’d dislike me. I’ve thought that before. Now that I’m sure of all that I am not, I will have a paper war with my scissors to get over it. I lace my shoes with kite string. Clothespins pinch the stems of the plastic flowers on my floor. I am not gutless. There are only broken umbrella stands and hot potatoes here. Please, I beg of you my dear, wash your hands before using the remote control.

yours, yours, yours, and only yours,

Rembalt Winchia

Saturday, February 6, 2010

“non, je ne regrette rien”

she’s the sweetest thing on wheels today

she’s water-cooler cool

she’s hatless and inspired

she’s rattling lost teeth in a mason jar

she’s popeyed and wondering about puce buttons on a sleeve

she’s calling all the pigeons by name

she’s breaking every weak-kneed weekend heart around here

she’s throwing daffodils from the tops of parking garages

she’s bundled up in all of my favorite colors

she’s chucking M&Ms at streetlights

she’s using parking meters for walking sticks

she’s hassling cops for quips

she’s moonlighting as a cellist

she’s a hurt worth having

she’s championing paper rings

she’s losing everything on purpose

she’s not so lucid anymore

she’s baking cookies only to sink them in a bathtub filled with milk

she’s a hard nut to crack

she’s scraping off moss from the rocks at the beach with a screwdriver

she’s on the hunt for xylophones

she’s a well-fed hamster sleeping in its wheel

she’s going on the lam with headphones and a jar of mud

she’s only open at odd hours

she’s arm wrestling sofas

she’s bunting with two strikes

she's directing traffic with a baton

she’s walking across a thousand football fields

she’s impressed by the wings of moths

she’s a jukebox playing in a deserted café

she’s guiding the sound of goodbye back home

she’s picking somebody else’s nose

she’s saving up her moodiness for a sunny day

she’s surfing on a rocking chair

she’s a sucker for a guy in cowboy boots

she’s never met a clown she liked

she’s laughing at the weather report

she’s incessantly mischievous

she’s mad at the wallpaper

she’s a whooping cough away from forever blue skies up ahead

she’s who she is not sometimes

she’s a rollicking and a reeling and a face hid under a too-big-for-her-head hood

she’s a little like everyone whom you’ve ever known

she’s only what she is and nothing more

she’s a mustache away from a complete game

she’s ollying over cartons of eggs

she’s a mushroom cloud of forgiveness

she’s lapping up Cactus Cooler from a breadbox-size mug in the shade of Juniper trees

she’s a missed bus

she’s close enough but not enough too

she’s mending the chances that you never took into harmless dungeon shoes

she’s replacing the sash on the curtains with a giant rubber band

she’s hanging rusty bicycle chains from the chandelier

she’s cutting up an accordion with a paring knife

she’s pouring gasoline on a busted typewriter

she’s sewing the seams in the remains of her dreams

she’s pulling the plug on the ordinariness of being her

she’s changing tires with a dowsing rod

she’s putting on airs for the hummingbirds

she’s at a loss for pictures

she’s doing the Lindy Hop during an earthquake

she’s swallowing gum

she’s hard to impress

she’s a pretzel in a bag of crackers

she’s pulling for all the underdogs

she’s had more than her share of disappointment

she’s mistaking angels for mildew stains

she’s got snowflakes of lint in her hair

she’s up a tree

she’s got a platypus slowly cooking in a Crock-Pot by a vase of wilting geraniums

she’s a know-nothing living in a do-nothing world

she’s craving salt in a life that’s all freshwater

she’s a budding bloom of cheerfulness

she’s quoting Günther Anders at the dinner table

she’s all marmalade and hokie charades

she’s mustering rag dolls of courage

she’s swindling lampposts out of their light

she’s intermittently intrepid

she’s as gullible as Saint Francis of Assisi

she’s overly combustible at times

she’s inclined towards relish

she’s dangling from the Big Dipper’s bowl

she’s not a leap but a jump

she’s constructing a chain-mail suit out of duct tape

she’s roughing it in style

she’s imploding while catching raindrops in her bellybutton

she’s the aftereffects of jasmine on the breeze

she’s outlandish

she’s slicing radishes into thin strips

she’s outrunning machines

she’s murdering popsicle sticks

she’s one of nothing and everything of one

she’s splintering into the eyes of deceit

she’s being wheeled away on a candy-cane chariot

she’s understanding of leafless trees

she’s fourth and inches

she’s cutting her own hair in the bathroom mirror

she’s got eyes bigger than any circus tent

she’s hailing cabs with candelabras

she’s throwing a tuba in the ocean on a moonless night

she’s hastily scrawling my name on the hood of a parked car with a highlighter

she’s all out of freckles

she’s busy listening to the sky dance

she’s a part-time thing

she’s yodeling in an empty parking lot at sunrise

she’s just a paint can away from being alright

she’s getting out while the getting still gets her goat

she’s everything that a dime won’t buy back from your dreams

she’s nothing earth shattering

she’s not you

she’s never me

she’s just always sometimes what everyone will forever be