Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Restrictions of Language

French thinks with its vowels;
German, consonants; English,
everywhichway at once. It's
confusing you know. Pflaargh!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Steinian Analogy

Miss Furr and Miss Skeene
's to Bird as Tender But-
ton' '
s to "Monk's Dream."

Dunno 'bout
Lifting Belly
. What
rolls with jelly?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hume Sweet

Took me
Good while
To see
How funny
It is
Hume was
Fat .

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


descends on LA :
a drunk passing to sleep.

glides between buildings :
Garbo through Ciro’s.

obscures the night :
left cross to the eyes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Noise of Production


You purr right proper,

So lemme hang a proposition
From your ear :

Let’s me and you
Climb upstairs for a tipple.

And after a sip I’ll
Show you where my

Need mending.”


Iron bars twist like string
Into a headboard; bathwater,

Matte as newsprint,
Screws slowly down the drain.

Grainy newsreel stock,
Soundtrack cracks open

With gunfire. His hand
Grips your thin thigh

Like slow wood
Round a wire tump.


[Slow fade
Like grime spreading grey

Across a window pane.
Music falls.]


Don’t you know?

You got to wet the string
To thread the needle.”

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eddie Mars in his Office (The Runaround)

Horses hang on these walls
like spit sits on ice, flat &
shit slick. Five hundred fatter
& can dig a hole in a bottle
big enough to sleep in. the fan’s
buzzin’ my song & whiskey
legs around the glass
like a thoroughbred, kicking up rye

to scratch his itch, his itching
to scratch this itching nose.

ignis sacer seizes skin

grand mal petit morte
jamb de la mouche

like a breeze through a screen.

(can you see the light
seeping through cigarette burns?
can you hear the projectionist
suppress a sneeze?)

Scene : Warner Bros. Production Offices

Jack Warner :
This film’s
got legs, boys.
Let’s light a fire
under her ass and
watch her



intraoffice fees epistles lost & found.
let her watch her leg her way around.
stalking runs her ass into the .

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Studio Systems Theory


Caffeine’s glittering realities
grind the stuff of cities to rosebush wreckage :
topography of washed wool
& molar-top hillocks,

as all the while skies hold brilliant still
like a sustaining chord : notes & tongues
piled thick as reams of colored silks.


Playbills spring up, weeds
in-fighting for audience :

sunlight & construction fence,
paste & traffic.

Publicists observe, plotting postings
on situ maps. A chicken in every pot,
a niche in every neighborhood.
Each movie stakes a shifting claim, combs the land
for fickle ore. Battles inch by avenue.
The slow ferric ferocity
of Stalingrad.
In movies,
you gotta run twice as fast
just to keep your place.

In the empty theater, a coat slung
saves a seat for no one.


Films flop & posters peal, flowers
dead & drying bifurcate to dying.
The city’s gaslight sighing.

[When a cosmonaut crosses
the event horizon, she receives no sign
of having passed already into death.]

As down the street, sequels obscure their lineage,
dynasties of paper (coral accrual) bloom, lichen-like.

Biomes unfold like pop-up books,
and poster pulp settles rich and black
as coffee grounds : first thrivings
of bio-economics.

until : the desiccation :

hard yellow days

in Hollywood sun .

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eddie Mars at Geiger's Place

) when you own the joint,
you scrub the floors with a scarf whisk,
a flipped wrist; wave a black
jack to warner away;
you lay an oscolum infame
on a khmer oscar
of its negatives;
or call in your boys
for (applications of rouge. fold
your cheeks, Marlowe — you’ve found

your key,


(so scratch shame
& save us))
a ram and a swig

(‘cause only Eddie knows where it turns

[da capo]

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Scream that Pierces (Tarnished Coinage)

Smoked corpse on the carpet,
tang of fag-joint hanged
in the air. Cigarette ash,
crushed egg of ant : concealer

nards the Persian. Faked duck
on the table or goose-skinned
hieroglyph, nipping ether
from a straw, what’d either

them see? And this —— laid out
on the floor, flat as phyllo —
who’d he
take for a roll in the rye? A.G.,
your argent tongue’s argot
couldn’t screen your skin
from some heater’s
ergotic fire : bullet holes
are blemishes
Max Factor can’t hide,

And buddy it looks
like you sipped your last
on that chinese sax
as Carmen sat

publicity still. Get up chinadoll,
those flashbulbs burned holes
like a screendoor [has]

in this sagging hunk of skin,
and baby, you look quite / the red rod
in this lavender light.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Kiss-Off (Scratch Track Remix)

Dear Mr. Marlowe,

Attached cheque hundred I will
than for rendered.
are required. a five-($500)
in more compensation services services
longer is for dollars. trust
prove adequate the Your no



Mrs. Vivien Sternwood Rutledge

The Stakeout (Lucky Strikeout)

Lucky I

7 42pm

arr. A G Geiger res.
|(460 Laverne terr.)
Geig ents house
44 gray plym. arr :
| Cal 88 P 581 |
Reg. to Carm. Strw.
c s enters

[Lindy’s fly
weighed heavy on
the snaking flows of air.

eight plus nine
is seventeen chimes.

flybuzz fills the car
like the violet sting
of viper smoke.

I know
who you are.]

9 03 p swatted fly

[flyweights popped.
lucky, he was,
till the kid got hopped.

but Baby,
Lindy got bopped,
& Bruno fried,

uncommuted : uncomputed.
Uncle Ruth didn’t see
the assassins arrive

as the swatter fell,
so the hammer
struck the bell.]

950 rain stops

[who can
compute on the fly
the sky’s ten thousand folds?


black hasheesh
smoke strikes
against the,


uncle beastly
come home, Pop


between these broken
the mark]

Lucky II

[rolled beneath driver’s seat :
struck from time.]

Lucky III

1133 p light → side window

[ . . . wish I wish
this coffeebuzzing, this

] Expletive deleted. [

for the washing of the raining
for his fondness

for her burma shaving.
this business of sign post buzzards,

this plucking of the past from
out the grillwork of surveillance trucks

is the time is the side in the win—]

1206a.m (?) side window lightout

[ waiting,
like ice in a glass,

get crunched or just
melt away . . . ]

Strike three.
Fade out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Ballad of the Fettered Fly


Musca domestica,
leathered in bibleblack,
bound in a corset
of chitin and wax,

Legs buttress your walls
buoying your vaulted shell,
holding gravity at bay

[a hobo holding back
a pack of dogs
with a six
foot fly's leg --
Musca gargantua]

ribs your corset,
the waxing moon,
the full white swell
of your bulging belly.

[I place my face
beside the quickening tide
of your abdomen;

May I play the moon
in this elliptical dance?]


Lindy ties the fly
with a thread of tale
spun silk to the air
plane's spinning nose, she

feeds the fly a
razor cut line, as
thin as scarred night's
caesarian crescent, he

cries, onward,
across the sea!


- pop -


The fly plummets
deeper than sound,

past bluebottles stuffed
with aery mail and trailing tails
that wrap around a listener's ear,
that pour nematocysts
like sky blue sins
down dear old Uncle's ear,
(that leather purse,
always void of change);

plummets deep

past jacksmelt, bonito,
pacific salmon, past pez luna
themselves passing behind
flashing clouds of silversides
that whirl about : a drunkard's
spinning room;

plummets deep

past giant cuttlefish, eyes
round and blank as
dinner plates
spinning on a broom;

plummets deep,
then comes to rest

away from phasic swell of fuselage,
those crescent rows of airplane ribs
that wax and wane in soundless depths --

plumbs the depths and comes to rest
beside a stray rib,
halfburied in mud,
that marks the grave
of her aery heart,

bottle of unbeating blood,
blue with air and aneurism,
bubbles in the line, bubbles
spinning like the moon.

[the fuel cuts,
the camera blinks,
the plane sinks,
subject to gravity's
eternal rain].


The moon, greaseblack with new;
the seafloor's rampant night, until


Grace intervenes, razors thorax
(chitin, film of wax) from wing

(two thin frames,
sprocket-lined & mullion veined,

that surface to spread, oil slick
across a Pacific rainbow screen)

Toto, I have a feeling that

Note: This poem properly belongs after "Legwork." --The eds.

Marlowe Watches the Grass Grow

I felt it under my feet, wrestling
into the tread of my shoes, holding
gravity at bay : a tramp waving
a broken rake at a pack of dogs.

The grass was green, sure,
green from rain sweated
by Mexicans making a memory
of diddly shit a day and eating

nada but tortillas and beans. Yeah,
the invisible hand’s a convenient jerkoff
when tail is scarce, but studios
rule this town like the sun does

the desert. Thicker the grass, kid,
harder it is to see the ground.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Marlowe Grabs a Bite

Pour on the ketchup, hon,
& maybe you’ll miss the flavor
of the eggs. Course,
if you’re feelin’ braver,
go it straight. Close your eyes &
down the hatch. Can’t be worse
than the coffee. Gonna taste it
bubble up, come back
like black water
seeped from storm sewers
hours after rain’s stopped, flowing
over curbs, no faster
than maple syrup ‘cross
those silver dollars you got.
& lemme say,
with regards to that muffin,
it ain’t worth no
two bits, but don’t carp
when it comes time
to pony up the tip. Whatcha doin’
here anyhow, that tie on
at three in the morning,
hanging heavy round your neck
like this chipped beef’s gonna sit
in your gut?
Gonna feel it weigh you down,
toots, sure as you’ll taste
that guy’s liver
creeping into your toast.

But hey, smile. It ain’t so bad.
You coulda had the hashbrowns .

Monday, April 30, 2007

Leg Work, or Lady Cab Driver

Follow that car, Angel,
not too close, but hold it
in your eyes loose as
wilted hope, loose as
a rose in your teeth, hold it,
honey, an American
Beauty you uncovered

from under your brown,
down duvet, delivered
beau-to-be unknown,
though yesterday you left
a sack of pulled teeth,
bait, beneath your pillow,
hoping to snare some fine

fairy to settle down with
out San Berdoo ways
where the saguaros case
the night as she ducks her
stars in a half-collapsed
mineshaft, where
succulents grow fat as

water drops dangling
from rust crusted spigots,
waiting to drip with an
aperiodic dynamic better
suited to some pacific
wild child ringed with fire
and running a fever,

whose waving silvered
mane dances, a man
burning in the dry night
whose fancy turns, like
you oughta do, Angel, on
a dime, onto Coldwater
Canyon to cut through

this clattered hill, light
through glass, sweat
through skin, whispers
through a wall, a smoky
insinuation and nothing
more, dropping us behind
our charcoal Chrysler like

the peppered swing of an
artful alto solo, the nose
of each note brushing
against the back of the
beat, which marches on,
moving unmoved, in
Mickey Moused feet past

Camp Pendleton and into
the sea, the bass line lost
to the smog, the audience,
the chatter, the dishware’s
rattle and the high clean
crash of a lowball shatter,
where it’s lost in groans

of a pleased patron in the
men’s room working a
tail job of his own, and
leaving, believe it, a tip
big enough to make some
not just a bus boy’
Monday night.

Marlowe's Mantra


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Information Overload

It has become so accepted a truism that we live in a world of "information overload" as to be a cliche. Blackberries, email updates, compulsive texting and -- lord help us -- now it seems that every idiot with a laptop's got to have a blog (wink, wink).

Thing is, people have the situation exactly wrong. We actually live in a world of information deprivation. The more time we spend online or reading texts or ignoring the person next to us at the bar so we can read the scroll bar at the bottom of the CNN news ticker, the higher a percentage of our sensory input is devoted to discrete pieces of information: words, letters, numbers; rather than the constant sensory flux of interacting with a dynamic environment. In quantitative terms, a walk through the woods involves magnitudes of order more information in the form of visual, audio, and tactile stimulation absent from anything broadband can provide. Ask any roboticist and she'll tell you that the hurdles presented by developing a machine that can navigate the web are inconsequential compared to those presented by the development of a machine to navigate your living room.

All this isn't to say that our constant complaints are a symptom of some sort of cultural hypochondria. Rather, when we talk of "information overload," we're dealing with a botched pathology. What we do experience these days is discursive information overload. More and more, we get our info not in the form of raw sensory data, but rather in the form of propositional statements -- the world filtered through the symbolic medium of language rather than the world itself.

Now, this may, theoretically, be a temporary phenomenon. We are slowly moving toward a medial environment in which incoming bandwidth will exceed our processing capacity, where, like the Star Trek Holodeck, media will be capable of presenting a sensory environment indistinguishable from reality. Of course, dreams of virtual reality remain just that, dreams, and they show little evidence of approaching realization in the foreseeable future. (Not to mention the difficulties required of developing an adequate interface with such a system as well as the near insurmountable difficulties involved in producing content for an immersive world.)

But fantasies of Holodecks are like plans for building a Utopia, lots of fun and totally worthless. It seems unlikely, once our medial systems do manage to approximate the information bandwidth of lived experience, that most of us will choose to replicate in that future media environment a world as rich in sensory data as the real world. After all, as a culture, we generally choose to eschew the vivid pleasures of nature for the clean lines and discrete interfaces of our homes and laptops. Information is, after all, generally more distracting than functional, and as long as we plan to utilize it as a tool, we will require that it be user friendly, that it, keep us in an environment where we are so distracted by an overload of discrete, discursive information, that we can't stop and smell the analog (or at least digitally simulacral) roses.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Marlowe Catches a Catnap in the Hollywood Public Library

Face flat on the broad expanse of readingroom tableland,
the slow puddle oozing from unmoved mouth
bears a striking resemblance to a lemon tree, wood grain
reprising the role it made famous,
a performance so overwhelmed by resemblance
that a conveniently passing Bette
rests her Davis eyes on the fortuitous collaboration
of spit and tablewood and is overcome by the sublimity
of chance. “Son, son,” she shakes his shoulder, “Son,
look thee what fortune hath bred in the dam of thy mouth.
Methinks the many-fingered Fates
do make merry with thy lips, that there be auguries
potent as dregs to be read in the image sketched yonder,
that perhaps the heavenly realm hath breached our borders
and rushes to infiltrate thy form to a purpose
bred on high,” she contorts her voice to a stage whisper,
“or else sired low in Old Nick’s dark and hirsute loins.”

Marlowe unpeels himself from sleep and stares up ,
awash in the murk of waking. “Listen lady,
I don’t know if you’re accustomed to rousing
strangers and speaking in tongues, but buzz off.”

“Zounds, but thou bear likeness to another man I know!”
She tugs at Marlowe’s hair testingly. “Alas, thy pelt
is thy own, while Humphrey wears a wig to foliate
the desert of scalp that dominates his caput. My friend,
thou art my Bogie un-Delilah-ed by time’s razing.

Why, it seems that thou hath bent history’s arrow
Back upon itself that I might observe
the true circuity of its coursing. I thank thou, son,
and take my leave to procure a phial
of that elixir known as lemonado, that its paralyzing acid
might burn time’s etching from my face as it has from thine,”

she says, as in the stacks a familiar librarian
runs her finger along the course of her lips,

runs her finger,
stifling an endless romance of cigarettes,
the rigid consonants of a Slavic tongue.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Bottle of Pretty Good Rye


In the event of fire, merge
With ammonia. Smoke
The screen like a cheap cigar.
Step through the silver and
Scream fire
In the clouded theatre.


Sip fire
From a dusty drawer : dis-
Tilation of St. Anthony.
Marlowe, might blighted grain
Pack a punch you can’t duck?
The brunette — sweltered in
Hair, dilating your
Pores — what ergotic bobbypin
Has she up her bun?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Bogie Shows His Chops

act the auntie, boy, tip the brim,
a pair of pedagoggles, natch,
hang my voice from a birdtwitter,
and draw a line from Hollywood
Public Library straight to your
back door : ma’am, happen
to have a Ben Hur 1860? first? no,
third, erratum in the air?
those duplicate sets of steel
engravings, tuppence colored
and a penny plain. Low latin
leaking unchecked verbiage
from backroom doors.
no. i’m sorry. no.
nothing but a
long legged booklegger,
offended by a coupla’ grapefruits,
a front to hide behind.
Sez Bogie, regarding him-
self in the bookcase glass.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Marlowe Browses Geiger's Smut Hut

Lay your knife into those grapefruits, boy.
Peel page from pith from pip —
Ocean bottom book browsing. What
Volumes of vellum and acid tanned / hide
Your love away along a lonesome country road,
Wind interminable in this season of wind?
So Geiger’s nudie pics ain’t what they seem
You say? Randy backalley road atlas
Of road joining and rail coupling and emery-sanded skin
Becomes the billowing curves of dunes
And salt flats shot white as wedding sheets
Where one small spot of blood
Marks America’s native face. Yes,
Geiger trafficked in illicit landscape photography,
Yes, you yell, Yes! Land opened for homestead ’n’ bedding,
Marlowe runs two fingers, splayed legs, across the page,
Divine rods feeling dark rushing flush of fluid
Beneath the page. The kingdom of production lies deep,
Deep within the boiling bowels of the Earth. Past the cast of
Creaking derrick-hairs decorating the globe’s cleft flesh,
And beyond the pubic tangle of power lines and public works
Sewage pipes churns the steaming wreak of shit-reeking
Creation, and you, yes you, Marlowe, protector
Of the holiest of holies, drop to your knees
And lift your lips to kiss the dark goat
At its puckered pump.

Don’t worry, kid, they’ll be very tasteful.
Artistic, even.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

L.A. Lawn Care

Sprinklers spring to life :
Twenty sharps clearing air.

California blossoms black.
The tarry night.

Reel III : Leg Work

The fundamental principal . . . I am advocating is to respect the nature of the medium into which life is being inoculated, and to find the natural form of life in that medium.
— Tom S. Ray

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Road Map Back

Up until this point, I have not mentioned the sectional breaks in Wry Argology (oh-so-cleverly designated as "Reels"), but I figured that I might point my doubtless devoted readership back to see how the land laid aroudn the various poems. The first Reel, titled "The Coming Attraction," runs for only two poems, "American Movie Palace" and "Trailer." The second reel, "The Set-Up," runs from "Starring" to the last poem I've posted, "Gen. Sternwood." Each reel begins with an epigraph. They are:
Nobody should experience anything they don’t need to, if they don’t need poetry bully for them. I like the movies too.
-Frank O'Hara
Mechanism is not itself power. Mechanism, without power, can do nothing. Let a watch be contrived and constructed ever so ingeniously; . . . it cannot go without a weight or spring . . . . The spring acting at the centre, will produce different motions and different results, according to the variety of the intermediate mechanism . . . but in all cases, it is necessary that the spring act at the centre.
-William Paley

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Musings on the Avant Garde, Part 1

Much of what has been termed the avant garde can be better understood as the expansion of the aesthetic governing a given medium to fill a new space created by technological innovation. So, for example, when Impressionist painters began working more quickly and in the open air, they sought to create sketches that captured a given moment rather than working from a quick sketch to create a highly refined finished product. Likewise, swing music -- and the swinging syncopations of jazz in general -- would never have been popularized before sound recording. While musical notation allows for a composer to stipulate a swung beat, precisely how much the beat should be swung could never be practically specified until real time recording occurred. It is maybe not an accident that "groove" specifies both the idiosyncratic rhythm of a piece of music and a specific feature of the material conduit (i.e. the groove on a vinyl record) for that medium.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gen. Sternwood

Legs shriveled inward
like a spider’s, balled
about a central flame, I
sit, fortune spawning only
heat, ears hearing warm,
slow speech : dew drops
from orchids’ tongues .

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bird Brains

Ravens, turns out, are wholly deserving of their millennia-long reputations as tricksters. They are among the most intelligent members of the bird kingdom, capable, even, of rudimentary problem solving.

Owls, by contrast, are brick-dumb. Behind those eyes, one finds little more than a tangled ganglia of nerves sparking like a strand of faulty Christmas lights, capable only of responding as millions of years of evolutionary conditioning dictate.

Why, then, the reputation for wisdom?

Because wisdom ain't wiles. The crow's talent is a result of its remove from its environment. Its problem solving skills and use of simple tools a function of its ability to change the world it inhabits.

Owls' wisdom, arrived at in the old age of their evolution, weds them to their environment. They are stitched into the night seamlessly, sown in place with threads of air. This is why, when an owl unfolds itself from the sky, we feel such shock. It has momentarily divorced itself from the black night, which all but is itself. The seams, as they tear apart, scream like a rabbit split open.

Mrs Vivien Sternwood Rutledge

So you’re Dad’s beagle,
hired to dig for Rusty
Regan like a dog nosing a
bone. Alright then, come
and sniff my tree. Try
and cross this stream of
whiskey, clinging to that

stinging scent even as
your nose blossoms with
rye. I can smell the sour
must of Dad’s brandy in
your swagger : that dark
moon sweated on your
back, dripped of orchids.

You don’t say much,
dick, but I hear your brow
cry beef. Just like I see
your second hand suit,
seams sadly resown so
your shirt shows, plain as
a lie and not half so clean.

And shamus, if Carmen’s
your case, be careful she
doesn’t catch your tail
and tear its hairs like legs
from a fly. Let me pour
an image in your ear :
maybe you’d

like to uncover a body
that doesn’t leak like my
Packard drips oil, that’s
not a perforation of
earthworms, swathed in
gunny. If it’ll wrench
Rusty from your eyes, I

might look into owning
a leg in you. I’ll bet on
muscle if I think it’ll
break the book, and
spotter, I’d like to let that
rabbit fly and see the sort
of race you run.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Two and a Half Aphorisms on Structuralism

1) Structuralism's presumed dependence upon the Center (expressed most insistently by structuralism's favorite critic, Derrida) is, in itself, that which its critics accuse it, structuralism, of being, that is, suffused with latent Platonism.

2) Structuralism is the necessary logical consequence of materialism; every other critical approach oozes voodoo from its seams.
2.1) A world without magic is horrifying, uninhabitable. I want to write criticism conjured to life with chicken blood.


My brother posted the following on my Facebook wall:
A Poem:

Wait, you have a "blog" now.
Just crawl in a hole and die
why don't you.
I'm the philistine brother of
Hippy McHipster.
Look, Drew, you're published!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Liberal vs. Conservative

First of all, I want to preface my next comments by stating that this is not meant to be an exercise in deconstruction, a rhetorical strategy slash philosophy I dislike insofar as (among other things) it precludes adopting a firm political stance.

I contend that liberals and conservatives have mislabled themselves.* First, some presuppositions:

1. Conservatives are more sympathetic than liberals to the needs of business and of capital in general.

2. Liberals are more sympathetic to the needs of the human individual than are conservatives.

3. The needs of capital are more dynamic than the needs of the human individual when addressed (as is necessarly the case) en masse.


Conservatives actually attempt to change the world more than do liberals. This is why conservatives are not necessarily fans of conservation.

*For the sake of clarity, I have continued to employ the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as per conventional usage.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Art Huck (Trevor Bardette) :
Ed’s suck
Runs trucks.
Jones rucks.
Phil’s stuck —
No luck.
Art pucks!

Joe Brody (Louis Jean Heydt) :
For dupe of
The picture,
Dates Agnes,
Plays Eddy,
And bites it
By Carol.

Agnes Lowzier (Sonia Darrin) :
Femme fatales are
Always running
Cross of Phil, and
Savage Agnes
Ain’t no dif’rent.

Capt. Cronjagger (James Flavin) :
He was edited
Out, but restoration
Reinstated him.

(Elisha Cook, Jr.) Harry Jones :
Paid to Hawks
Fifty grand,
So to buy
Chandler’s first
Marlowe book.
Howard Hawks
Paid to Ray
Only five
Thousand clams,

(Theodore von Eltz) Arthur Gwynne Geiger :
War has sequestered
Bogie’s new movie,
Timeliness being
Central to standard
Marketing tactics.

(Tommy Rafferty) Carol Lundgren :
Swinging with Art,
Singing, “—— you.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mrs. Carmen Sternwood

Ooo, you I’ve never seen
before who delivered you
to my door wrapped up in
powder blue filling out
that suit so fine? boy
those cuffs are tight as
your tie is loose and

your hands look hard as
your eyes what’s your
name lemme guess
gimme a clue I’ll catch on
quick just one thread’s all
I need I’ll sew it so nice
and send a stitch

through your hem so your
slacks won’t drag oh and
once I grab hold I’ll twist
you roll you run you
round my fingers tug your
tie like a leash I bet you’d
roll over and let me

scratch your itch bet
you’d purr if I scratched
and I’ll scratch till you
sing leave you mangy and
mouseless too helpless to
swat a fly rub right
through that rug you got

till ten years’ sweepings
come gusting out like a
dust storm. fine
complexion like that you
ain’t nuttin’ but a powder
blue soap bubble drifting
through my door. one jab

from my pinkie you go
pop but buddy don’t you
fret your fetters you’re
too cute to shoot just a
passing glance so smile
while I slip my digits in
your back pocket .

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I just got cash to go to UCLA and U of Chicago for grad school. Ditto Georgetown last week, though they still haven't decided if I deserve fellowhips.

Here's to Valentines Day.

Oh, and the last posted poem was not part of WA, but rather an impromptu ode to Chicago weather.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ostrich Feather Dusting

Snow drops like lead,
Straight as a papercut,
Through ivory light.

Toes drained white
As winter sun clatter
In steeltipped cold.

The wind is very old:
Shivering piano wire,
Twinkling snowshine.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Norris, the Butler

Oh dear but you do look the part.
I imagine you’ve not
perspicacity enough
to observe the doormat. Very well.
Traipse filth through my hall. If you only knew
whose burial mud gums your shoes,
you’d not need even see
the General,
and I might save the final
Courvoisier Imperial
for Sunday’s leg of lamb.
But you don’t, and you won’t,
and so you shan’t so much as see
Mrs. Rutledge — though Carmen this way comes.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Establishing Shot

Babysbreath and broken roses.
Fingers snap : flower stems, brown and brittle —
one two three four five.

One hundred black flies, a-buzz in a briefcase.
Violins sharp as arctic breath rise
to drive color from the pepper trees.

Wear your hat cocked, kid.
Sole leather wears thinner
than film.

[Jump cut.]

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Norris, the Butler (Charles D. Brown) :
Opens the door for
Marlowe, who enters.
Later, he covers
Carmen’s false stepping.

Ms. Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) :
She chauffeurs drivers
To Lido, where they
Can peer at waters’
Thin petrol filming.

Mrs. Vivien Sternwood Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) :
She’s the mover unmoved behind The
Big Sleep’s tender romantic ending,
But behind every demiurge a
Third man’s always observed at urging.

Gen. Sternwood (Charles Waldron) :
Withered stock and
Hot perfuming,
General Sternwood’s
Always looming.

Det. Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) :
Remember him from Hammet’s
Whodunit, Maltese Falcon,
Played P.I. Spade? Or Angels
With Dirty Faces, fleeing
The Dead End Kids : fresh extras
Who pinched his favorite trousers?

Eddie Mars (John Ridgely) :
Tough guy Ed
Runs roulette
Moves hot cars,
Beats his wife,
Looks real fine
Sporting twill,
Ditches stiffs
In the swell.

Lash Canino (Bob Steele) :
Just a sucker
Hooked on honeyed
Schadenfreude, plays
Brainy Eddy’s
Strong arm till that
Its producer.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


First off, why are they called "trailers" if they precede both the feature and the movie they advertise? Seriously, I'd like to know. The OED is unhelpful.

Anyhow, sitting in Panera today, reading The Emperor's Children, I found myself thinking about literary realism, which we all know is a total social construction and bears no actual relation to "reality," whatever that might be, and a heinous bourgeois convention to boot, more insidious and proletariat-oppressing than paying $3.66 for a cup of chicken noodle soup and a hunk of bread just because the walls are painted burnt sienna and there's free wi-fi. Blah, blah, blah.

Here's the thing, the above thesis is, in certain respects at least, empirically testable. Take, for example, the way authors set a scene, typically describing the environment and then moving on to different aspects of the persons within the environment, establishing first of all major physical traits of the characters, such as sex, age, ethnicity, rough build and height. Now, these are, I think, the traits that humans tend to be able to identify in others most quickly given extremely limited visual exposure. If one were to sample a large number of character introductions, quantify the priority of different features attributed to the characters, and compare these with the characteristics identified by people in the real world, that would constitute empirical evidence that literary realism was more than conventional.



Sunday’s nickel matinee
slips between the coral creases
of your brain; stealthy as an urchin, steals
in through theatre fire
exits, usurps your pooling desire. You sit,
silent subject to Hollywood Librarians’
supraliminal will;

(Lights dim. The theatre settles,
an old house expanding to fill the dark.

Lips whisper like feathers.
Somewhere, ships sink.)

and Bogart saunters onscreen, looking
something off the beaten stacks,
like The Maltese Falcon,
bronze McGuffin.

Bacall, hair up,
slides on the screen
like the little black camera’s
a little black dress.

(O, you sultry librarians,
how do you do it?)

Bacall, her bun
a knotted clew,
sets index
to rigid spine
to free volume
from shelf.
It falls, easy
as woman
from grace.
She places

The Big Sleep

in Humphrey’s handsome hands.
“Whatta picture that’ll make.”


Marlowe turns
to the chattering torrent of light.
He winks
recognition at his reflection
glazed on the camera’s lens.

Marlowe, staring from screen,
instant after camera’s shining,
sees his own ugly mug
for exactly

[absolute value of
screen less lens over
speed of light in seconds]


Following Einstein, light demonstrates gravity :
gentle swerve to sunshine oblivion
that darkest Kilimanjaro day. Does Marlowe, gazing
projectorward, feel light’s gentle tug
straining to peel image — skin
from a peach — from screen,
reuniting him with Bogie?

You! Look up!
Nothing is ever empty. Motes swim
in and out of light, particles
in and out of being — quanta,
matter, anti-matter exist, then reunite
in probability’s annihilation.


This shared hallucination in grey-scale
runs thirty-two frames per —


Every crunch of popcorn,
Bursting beneath molars
Like blooming fields of rye
Draws the knot of film
Tighter, tighter, tighter
Round the reel that spins
Behind your wilted eyes.



Tuesday, February 6, 2007


So I've got a blog now, and as such I figgered I should get some use out of it. As such, I'm posting a poem a day of my work-eternally-in-progress, Wry Argology, which, for those of you who don't know, which is pretty much everyone, is my poetry manuscript revolving around The Big Sleep.

Without further poo-poo:

American Movie Palace

Summer lawns and summer lawns and summer lawns,
and Sunday’s swimming pool extends blue
to every horizon. O! you rotten chops of water!

Pool light settles, fog-like. Metals corrode
to chlorine blue and moviestars bask in daystar light.
Popcorn rattles like keys each adolescent esophagus.

To backrow smoochers, I say, Yes! Yes! snatch pink glimpses
With red-rubbed eyes that flicker like heaven, spoon
As titans heave butter&salted waves across the screen.

Listen kid :
Feet peel and unpeel. Hands clasp and unclasp.
And the floor, the floor is sticky-sweeter than dreams.