or the names of the children
found starving in the basement
or the name of
the person who finds them

the blood of
whoever left them there

all the pictures of hell
it could be used to paint

poem burdened with the weight of democracy

this act of not killing

this place where
nothing is forgiven

where nails are driven through
human flesh
then pulled back out

where your god sings
a beautiful song without

think about words as
nothing more than noise

look at the men you’ve
elected to power

consider how they
would eat their own shit to
never have to give it up

how they believe in rape
and in the
necessity of poverty

the inevitability of war

the logic of children
butchered for the sake of a
better future

remembering the language: an exercise in self-mutilation

for something in the
insincere october sunlight
but nothing comes
and i begin to feel
like pollock

walls and weights and
the blood of ghosts until
the only option is to drown

until the churches are
all on fire
and my children starving

[i]my children starving[/i]

i will teach them to
eat the flesh of god before
i let it come to that

poem which, when held at the proper angle…

[b]poem which, when held at the proper angle, becomes a portrait of michael gira[/b]

the sky suddenly deep with
the weight
of approaching autumn

the poems like small miracles
or minor saints

like ordinary men shot dead
on quiet streets
in front of their wives and children

and i want to tell you that
the violent acts of strangers don’t matter
but you turn away

i want you to believe
that love is some sort of salvation
but i can never say it with
a straight face

look at gandhi

look at lennon

think about what it means
when a newborn baby is found
in a knotted plastic bag on
a philadelphia sidewalk

think about the sun

pure white light traveling
through all of that empty space
just to show you how dark
your future will be

man speaking in an empty room: a self-portrait

this image of sid with
scrawled across his scabbed
and bleeding chest

this admission from his mother
that she bought
the shit that killed him

simple pathetic melodrama
that i carry with me for
eighteen years
until all i am is thirty-three and lost

a father driving home from
the sitter’s house after work with
my son laughing in the
back seat

with the sky a smeared glare
through a dirty windshield
and all of my bitter beliefs worn
like a second skin

and do you understand that
poetry isn’t art?

do you care?

and what about the difference
between confession and

i can’t discuss christ
without thinking of failure
and i’m tired of dissecting my past

i’m tired of the deaths that
have come to shape my life
but if they were taken away
i would only find more

we define ourselves
too easily
by these things we cannot

van gogh takes up painting again, 122 years after his suicide

grey light
edged with purple

the age of dogs returned

the taste of frost
on metal

of rust

the motor grinding against
the sky’s blood
and nothing else

no heat
no motion
no gentle music

a language
but not one you recognize

whispers and screams

nothing in between
and your hands numb

the fingers cracked
and bleeding

the taste of gasoline

a simple violence and
you swallow

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