Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Michael Rothenberg, Control

Ho|ma|ge to Cocktails for the Holy Dead, 
image by Daniel Y. Harris


Porcelain Quan Yin
with gold movable arms
Assembled from a dead poet’s vanities

Postcards from Colorado
filed randomly between pages
of any book in the library

Chipped crystal pyramid cut in Amsterdam
A gift for my mother

Orchids snagged from air gardens
Jungles woven in spidery time

Jasmine incense manufactured in India

What ever happened to that crazy dancer?
Her finely crafted anger

Painting of an imaginary planet
dries slowly in my hand

I walk the dog down the street

Souvenirs secure a mortal landscape
Until I dissolve. Then I dissolve

Alien’s eye
Dog’s eye
Sticky rice

Ass brain
Last gasp
Jaw metal
Low blow

I used to collect stamps
but they tell me they’re mostly worthless
Which I find hard to believe
because they’re all so beautiful

Eventually robbers stole my silver dollars
Now those were really valuable!

So long ago, sensation’s DNA, who you were
in that hording, identity

Musical composition
Rocks, stocks, and barrels

That’s enough.

Remember how things used to be
this morning?

Butterfly’s velvet strum
Hummingbird Vroom


A knife in the head
Entrails derailed and strung out
from catapult to capital

Heart roasted on a stick

Prized, anthologized
Poets make great companions
            but lousy husbands

Edible mushrooms
Lotus blossoms

The canyon we crossed
to turn the page

The fire crackles

Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain
Walk up and down, look for a sign

The creek roars
Rats in the studio

The list begins again
4:21 a.m.

A recipe for destruction
Disappointments become a mantra

She said I was this and that
He won’t talk to me

Maybe I have cancer

4:27 a.m.
I’m still alive

Unfinished business will
never get finished

More rain

8:38 am

About that business
that never gets finished
It never gets finished


About a week ago he fell on the floor
while talking to me on the telephone

Yesterday I called
He was on his way to the hospital

Today nobody answers
Where’s Ira?

In the Waiting Room of the Holy Dead
Hemorrhage of some reflection
Lenox Hill Hospital, Room 723
Angels glide up moonlight corridors
Test imagination for conversion

He’s testing the mirrors now

Split oak

Illegal aliens

(from outer space)

           make a mess

Dishes in the sink

Bake Sale

            I feel the sugar.  . .
            The intoxication sabbatical
                        Sun on the car roof rides by
                                    Bye! Bye!

(I would like to be someone’s friend)

Yellow roses & baby’s breath
in a vase on the gelato case

(I probably am already)

                                    Blueberry walnut scones
                                    Pumpkin bread

20 pounds overweight?
There’s no excuse

Universal shame

Some things just won’t lie flat

Who is everyone?

                                    Chocolate chip cupcakes
                                    Sweet rolls

                                                “Fat, indeed!”
                                                “He grew fat on dishonest profits”
                                                            “also meaning GOOD”

            You’re out selling cookies
            when all the cookies
are right here
Delicate and cute w/ pig tails and venereal disease
                                    A springy Christmas tree hat
                                    Imagination makes
Yoplait out of baklava           

Proles on the loose
 as are the methheads
Little minds swallow up time
                                                in a small town

            Ashamed of ideals

 “neither a John nor a pastry be”
Some things are worth looking at

In Muse based wanderings
            There’s no innocent way to describe her

                                    Fudge chunks
                                    Burnt stars with sprinkles

            Caught in transition

Let’s make love now!

            Lavender blue sky
            Fall golden red leaves
Christmas dinner

Ham, macaroni and cheese
Stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce
Sweet potato pie
Three lettuce salad with peppers and mushrooms
String beans and onion rings
Mash potatoes and artichoke hearts
Black beans, gravy, scallops and crab meat

            “tis the season” to be real FAT

Let’s make love now, please!
Chew, swallow, sigh, belch cherry cola. . .

            “Fa la la, la la la, la la la”

                                    Let’s really make love now
Chew, swallow, sigh, belch

            A work of ART

                        Bladder Control Diary

Time of day
Type of fluid consumed
How much did you drink?
How many times did you urinate?
How much did you urinate?
Did you have a strong sudden desire to urinate?
Did you have a wetting accident?
How much urine did you leak?
What were you doing at the time you had an accident?
                        Watching the news. . .
The assassination!

so the urologist
gives me 2mg Xanax
and runs a camera up my prick
A snapshot of the Bush Administration
and 300 million citizen-slaves


Nothing matters in America
Shopping aggravates the bladder
Jams up the works 
20 times a day
Up all night
I feel an urgency. . .

New Year’s resolution
Disconnect the cable TV


Black and white polka dot curtains

In the redwoods
I hear the teachers say, “Eat salad”

And take the day off.

—Michael Rothenberg

                                    December 12, 2007

Michael Rothenberg is editor and publisher of the online literary magazine Big Bridge,www.bigbridge.org and co-founder of the global poetry movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change. His poems have been published widely in literary reviews, including Exquisite Corpse, Golden Handcuffs Review, House Organ, Jacket, Prague Literary Review, Tricycle, and Zyzzyva. His poetry books include Man/Women, a collaboration with Joanne Kyger, The Paris Journals (Fish Drum Press), Unhurried Vision (La Alameda/University of New Mexico Press), Choose (Big Bridge Press), My Youth As A Train (Foothills Publishing) and Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story (Exstasis Editions-Canada, and Shabda Press-USA). His editorial work includes the selected poems of Philip Whalen, Joanne Kyger, David Meltzer and Ed Dorn (Penguin Books) and the Collected Poems of Philip Whalen (Wesleyan University Press)