The Tale of Voyeur Angels

New lovers celebrate the impossibility of emptying themselves to one another completely, thus achieving a milestone on the way to peak intimacy. The surveilling angels shake with crude jealousy, yet for the lovers they’re also oh-so happy. They sing:

May your oysters always be shucked.
May your chickens always be plucked.
May the sun always rise
between your damp thighs
after a mind-blowing fuck.

A Toast to That Perfect Someone

X., you’re smart, stylish and funny. You’re generous, selfless, self-effacing, with bottomless founts of patience and gratitude. I speak for everyone here when I say … fuck you.

Your parents gave you unconditional love and support and never wanted anything in return. And you’ve only ever had generous and compatible lovers. Without shame, anxiety, apprehension or regrets, you delighted in one another’s bodies. Fuck them.

You socialize with world leaders and won’t share the tiniest inconsequential bit of gossip. You’re well known for respecting cultural differences while appreciating our shared humanity. And you’re an excellent amateur photographer. Fuck. You.

You have best-of-breed children. They’re stylish, smart and funny — just like you! What the fuck?

Here you are at the top of your game, in work, in love, in life. We follow your lead, but seriously, fuck you. Now, everyone please raise a glass and join me in toasting X.:

Let’s be clear. To be here is
well beneath your station.
Let’s drink to the only thing you lack:
a profane imagination.

To Christians Who Support Torture

So you think
it’s naïve

to protect the bodies
of those

who threaten
to upend

this comfortable
way of life?

So you think
they deserve

to suffer,
their transgressions

I wish

you were with me
in the Prado,

standing before Velázquez’
Cristo Crucificado.

The buckled body

on the Cross

a black background,

but glowing.

It is impossible
to be distracted.

No clouds, no sky.
No criminals

on the right or left.
No disciples.

Just the body,
the wood,

and the knots
in the wood.

Diego Velázquez / Public domain


These portentous clouds
speed past. Light rises, falls in
waves. Your rapt pupils,
taken with shadows, dilate

and contract, the way
the breath of one who is seized
by passion quickens.

A Room Where It Always Rains

The arrangement of these immobile bronze figures
by Juan Muñoz substantiates the leap from one
perspective to another. The gaps, with rigor,
insist that where we stand is exactly the same
as the distance we stand apart. But who’s to blame?
Ideology demands a certain vigor,
a motion outside the cage that cannot enter,
the blurred colorful figures of faceless stragglers.
Now look at the dead soggy leaves lumped in center.
Some say it’s the privilege that’s lost and some the will
to come and go as you please. Sometimes, the truth spills
over, so very much so. It’s absurd to deny,
yet we do with increasingly perilous lies.

Mikipons / CC BY-SA 3.0 ES / CC BY-SA 3.0 ES


Pails and shovels and sand make
castles by the sea.
Wind ruffles follicles and —
snap — that’s memory.

At night, the tide flood
wipes it all away, as waves
swell and surge and thud.

A Toast to New Moles on Old Bodies

X., you join me at this late hour. You come uninvited, like an apparition emerging from smoke, or a hallucination from eating too much, or a stray cat asleep on my porch. You posture like a drunk god, self-satisfied with your creative genius. I admire the way you throw yourself into the mix with confidence, the way you establish a presence without needing to insist on it. Anyway, there’s no getting rid of you without violence, and I don’t have the stomach for more violence. Unless you leave on your own, we’re together until the end. Since we don’t know our future, let’s toast the present. I’ll drink for us both, but first these words:

Body, I love you, not least of all
because you give me space
to drink, to think, to make things up
at our particular pace.

Saturn Devouring His Son

Saturn grips the bloody torso
so tight his fingers disappear
into the flesh, up to the knuckles.
Mouth wide open, he leans forward
to bite the headless body again.
His eyes — bugged like a frog.
His hair — long and feathery.
I am more disgusted than angry
at his relentless hunger
to devour, at this madness
driven by fear that is not,
I’m sorry to say, unfamiliar.
Everything vital is a threat
to our progenitors.
Without remorse, they mutilate
perceived rivals and the earth itself,
as though any generation
could avoid its end by consuming
the next. From what infernal place
does this foolishness rise?
In private, you admit
that nothing lasts forever,
not Saturn nor the gods
who preceded and followed him.
Yet in public you pretend
the opposite, while the real artist,
Francisco de Goya,
could not and would not.


Happiness, like consommé,
comes, sometimes, in such
dizzying simplicity,
it’s impossible

to grant each spoonful
is real or enough until
one comes up empty.

The Tantalizing Temptation of $$ (or How Capitalism Corrupts)

kept a ledger / until I didn’t anymore / didn’t think it mattered / to know exactly/ what I had in store/ because every good that disappeared / eventually was restored / and then some / very sincere men / came to my door / my capital from them had come / they wanted to know / had their loan / a modest sum / over time earned them more / I couldn’t say / without an inventory / I said let me look into that / thus my attempt / to feed the hungry / was displaced / by a very suspect chore / I closed the shop / opened the cupboards / and took stock / imagine my surprise / when I discovered / the task / that I / assumed would be a bore / was quite enlightening / I examined every corner / of every shelf / took notes / and learned to keep score / soon I was rich / and so were my friends / the capitalists / whose interest in interest / I used to abhor / now I see / they were my saviors / as for the poor / they’re still welcome to anything / they can afford.

About this poem
Someone asked, “What are trying to say in this poem?” I replied, “What do you think?”