nameless & rhymeless

April 3, 2011

when you depart your old name is set free
released to roam the space of predicates
shorn of their proper hosts and even if later
yours is awarded to another someone
who was your lover or a bitter foe
will kiss or curse a void the one who bears
a name once loved or loathed is an impostor
the laments and the imprecations hit
nothing they have no target of their own
and are like leaps over a one-sided chasm
it would have been much kinder to dwell as
a nameless creature in this world so that
when you are gone no one knows who to miss



December 16, 2010

without fail our thoughts in these vexing times
are with the emperor lonesome in his icy
palace sunk in his unremitting silence

a spy was trampled at the jasper gate
the eastern garrison has run out of rice
one hears of a decree to round up and
butcher young maidens for the soldiers’ stew
i give it little faith although the neighbor’s
youngest’s been missing two nights in a row

the new servant took off was gone till midnight
came back without his cap reeking of wine
the jurchen are within the walls he says
and at the plaza by the pearl shrine blood
was ankle-deep glistening like a black mirror
he’s been too insolent of late the steward
must be requested to apply the rod
those jurchen are just a ruse for their ilk

a visit from the venerable yi
his brittle sheets of tang calligraphy
obtained from a bookseller for a trifle
trifle indeed but who would want to hurt
a friend i had them fetch some wine and plums
the last of the old stock but it was worth it
never an evening was so full of mirth
on his way back the venerable yi
was torn out of his litter thrushed to death
with canes those jurchen nothing but a ruse

a conflagration this time in the west
the guards will have their work cut out for them
curse the old gown all matted and it’s cold
should have dispatched them to stock up on brushwood
but there’s no one to send and none for sale
how splendid is the moon in the black velvet
of the night sky in the black silk of smoke

looks like the fire is aiming for the palace
from where the stables should be and the harem
i haven’t cleaned my brush the ink is dry
the emperor may be godlike but he feels
the fear we know he is afraid for us
but we alas have hardly any words
left to console him


June 25, 2010

the lady at the opposite subway seat
has finished off her nondescript repast
something she angled daintily piece by piece
from a brown bag chasing it down with carrot
juice and the final tranche is now dispatched
into her eager gullet the carrot juice
was clearly labeled as such but on the other
hand what it was she ate while in plain view
is mystery something i’ll never know and
what happens next is anybody’s guess

what happens is of course a traveling band
hailing from some mesoamerican
republic bursts into the car at roosevelt
with a sad but powerful song of which the lyrics
are greek to me because it is in spanish
followed by an amazing trick or two
performed by a self-taught magician who
insists that i must hold a piece of twine
which i obediently grasp attempting not
to move my eyes away from my sony reader
and never see what the twine was about

there’s more before we ever cross the east river
a roving man of cloth with a tumultuous
voice treats us to a homily
turns out we all should give away our worldly
possessions and abstain from storing treasures
on earth but rather store them up in heaven
along the preacher’s arm a verdict runs
tattooed in a fossil script which reads not guilty

i look around who are you my coerced
playmates sad lot unhappy multitudes
why are you thrown into this moveable feast
squeezed like sardines into the planet’s bowels
i may consult the sony reader which
is my sole current source of wisdom but
i doubt it will enlighten me as to
what it was she consumed from her brown bag
as to the carrot juice the doubts are groundless


May 3, 2010

still looking for a lady to discharge
such various duties as or which include
but aren’t exhausted by nor limited to
wasting her sweet time in small talk wherever
it pleases her or reading proust in bed
on weekdays staining freely her pajamas
or any other sleepwear of her choice
with coffee messing it with cookie crumbs
watching wisteria bloom in rapt attention
or finding other ways to employ her sloth
such is the approximate menu of her chores

if found the applicant is best advised
to remain as she was since her alleged
employer is completely out of funds
nor feels he’s welcome to intrude upon
such a perfect mode of being if attained
content to be aware of it this remaining
the only valid point of the contract bid

now for the small print the submitting side
of this disjointed drivel henceforth called
the party of the first part and ignored
holds no responsibility whether legal
or moral for the state of things which makes
it lose its wits and brashly raise the stakes
going for broke behaving like an ass
seeing the world but darkly through the glass

sound signs

May 3, 2010

there the entire damned alphabet is wrong
their frigging r’s all face the opposite way
supposedly you must ingest your voice
while uttering it and choke articulating
imagine hatяed served under such guise

small details but sometimes they change a lot
what if vole were the opposite of love
but then it cannot be such a cute critter
so inoffensive-looking should contain
at least one r to sound sufficiently nasty

but how it is with them is hard to guess
granted with the japanese does not apply
still they have лов and вол but these mislead
or have i suddenly switched the frame of reference
hatred is at its best when unrequited

should be an answer to a simple question
like yes or no no matter how you spell
and no one cares which way their r’s are facing
vole is a manner of existence love
its sole imperative and yes of course

the loop theorem (iii)

May 3, 2010

the wind comes down disheveling the lake
the outward edge of the loop whose western shore
i forced myself to suspect but was unsure of
while dwelling closer to the opposite sky
facing the east with its haunted horizon

the loop which is the loom weaves up a storm
of tortured steel within whose distant mind
we coexist as hazard brings together
loose strands of disparate time which sometimes are
spliced by the el-train when it hits a stitch
sparks showering down and the west i force
myself to face is where they keep the wind
when not in use the head is where the brain
billows and flaps a platypus tree in bloom

the lady of the lake is gone her mirror
sporting a crack is now the sky itself
from where the miniature parachutes keep flowing
with a tiny platypus attached to each
like some toy mascot of an alien airline

the loop theorem (i)

May 3, 2010

sense hangs together sentenced and enphrased
and prefixed soundly with its a’s and the’s
but carries not what one would take as meaning
sense is quite separate from what’s said inside
though one may try and flip out while transmitting
sense is sent forth but meaning stays behind

and yet one feels that in the meaning lost
one senses scars of the past efforts to
impart the obstinate truth whose relevance fades
for the receiving party as it grows
for the sad imparter launching aimless missiles
towards the hollow aluminum sky of march

in spring when all our senses act acute
all meanings turn unutterable but still
nature says its own rosary whose beads
are elms squirrels brooks chipmunks birds did i
say birds someone sure did the magic jackdaw
says never then takes pause and asks for more