Apparition Poems


Over smoky bar-room nights,
finished in several half-forgiving
beds, were angels of blood,
unblemished air hovering,
noting I seemed remorseless,
& seeding the diaspora of my
seeds into Schuylkill-brownness,
against whatever responsible “I”
I could’ve been? I lived heedless,
graced by smudged lipstick, livid
for the sun not to rise against my
trysts, where now I kneel & pray.
It can’t be too easy, denied now as

I am, to know a red from black mass.


I suppose she told you
that I landed between
her legs like a roguish boy…well,
you could say it happened
that way. You could also say
she sold me on the idea of
veined trade, or that her
musky Scotch breath excreted
wafts of blue bloodiness into me.
You are perverse to ask me these
things, moon peering over your
shoulder like another rogue. For
now she lays upon an altar you
don’t know is there: drunk, blue.


We’re at our most bestial
when threatened not with
hatred but indifference;
what our blood wants is
reaction of some kind.

New Hampshire night,
I had you, pliant, tactile,
laid out beneath me as
flies roughened the room,
pirouetted moist air, but

you sank past bestiality to
do just what indifferently
you wanted, past our glut
of blood, so the summoned
beasts might react with this:

ripped limb from limb, buried
in low-lying marsh in Boston,
given what aphorism is only got
in extinction, darling, as I quote
what you said at the bar before.


Alcohol headiness, my head is thus just
a piñata for Gods to inhabit, but I don’t
ask Nietzsche for help, I’m too mad to,
or bad to— “the best of life,” right? In

any case, there’s a place behind this old
mountain for me to walk a tightrope
over humanity. I said this to a guy in
spats in a dream I had of Berlin before

the war: not Christopher, Wystan Hugh,
a simple man I created out of angel dust,
carried to Philadelphia to write my books
for me, follow me down Pine St with an axe.


“Who are you kidding?
You know and I know
that we are not going
to write, or hear or see
each other ever again,
and if we did it wouldn’t
be good, we’d just replay
old scenes, and what
should’ve happened
could only have happened
once, and it didn’t, and that’s that.”

I found the scrawled-upon
paper to keep, if I kidded
anyone it was God, scene
replayed from a letter I
found in Elkins Park as
a teenager, you could’ve
fucked me once, I’m tired
of one-night-stands, and
I should’ve thrown it out,
didn’t, God kidded back,
it’s his script, letter two.