Four Letter Words

Into army work.

boss will send your born body

army task will snag your body

take your body west,



Your role, tiny, will meet

that bomb.


Hold your wing.

Hold that wind.



Bear that acid.

When they wire that camp,

bomb time will come.


Lift bomb

lift then drop

fine city rage with fire.

Dial east,

aged city.

From your face, hide.

From your past, dust.

Dig & Bury

Half of humans dig

Half of humans bury

Thousands of years: dig up

Last year: perish the thought

People have caught feelings

about how people minus souls

should be washed

spread out


I have never had ashes.

I am the half that digs.


The half that bury

wear the sign of

death workers,

death workers have


cross the street


The half that dig are up for


for telling a rock from a tooth,

for finding a wall, or finding no wall

for pockmarking the landscape

we live with



The half that bury do not change

They have a color to wear

They have hands that don’t

notice some hands are dead


They may be diseased

They live with formaldehyde


The diggers look forward,

fling what’s found over shoulder

keep going


The buriers are present

There are always more

There were always some


Things are getting weird over here.

This poem is phrases from letters and cards I’ve received (lines people wrote, not from the card company), and then some responses or comments in parentheses.


even though I try (A for effort?)

of course you are also changing the world (imposter syndrome)

hope it’s a great one! (more like grating)


I cannot say that I am not upset about your not going (yeah well)

I sent you my lunch (which became cold)

I’ve been doing well in PA (Palo Alto?  Pennsylvania?)

Actually I’m making you a gift (gold, frankincense?)

invite you to share in the joy (see you when I get back)



Braided Poem

At low tide like this how sheer the water is

like a poet hidden

what a million filaments

by shallow rivers to whose falls

set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute

to fetch new lust and give it to you


all suddenly around his body wound

like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe

the next, with dirges due, in sad array

when I saw my mother’s head on the cold pillow

oh, write no more the tale of Troy.


Lines randomly selected:

At low tide like this how sheer the water is

set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute

Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe

fame and rumor are but toys

oh, write no more the tale of Troy

by shallow rivers to whose falls

that the uncertain and adulaterate fruit

like a poet hidden

all suddenly about his body wound

Minever Cheevy, child of scorn

to fetch new lust, and give it to you

what a million filaments

when I saw my mother’s head on the cold pillow

the next, with dirges due, in sad array


poets whose lines are used:

William Collins

R.S. Thomas

Sylvia Plath

John Donne

E.A. Robinson

Robert Spenser

Andrew Marvell


Ben Jonson

Percy Shelley

Elizabeth Bishop

John Dryden

cummings in order

e.e. cummings’ “a clown’s smirk in the skull of a babboon” with words in alphabetical order


a above absurd him abyss—

and aeronaut afternoon aim am an

and any archer as baboon balloon

beats became behold bird birdcage bliss

brighter but by can cease certain clown’s clumsily collar

collects coward cry dear death

did dirt dog doth down

earth eat empty erred every eyes face

fatal fell fire for

firmly fool

for forgotten gird gives glove god’s good green

groove had hands has have heard

Hell her him house humble

i image impression in increase

open into is June

having he kiss knees

lacking lady lease

life liked lips little

living looking love loved

many me meanwhile mirror

miss a month moon my most

no my never not now occurred of

on once one or perfect piece planets prayer

prove remembering resembles rose

shall shape shirt

shot skull slowly

small smallening smirk

so some something soon spoon

spy stalked stars stirred striking sun terrible

than that the thing this through thy tight to trick tune

turd twilight undead

until upon vastly very waiting


who whom whose with within without

wonderfully word world whom you

Translation transformation

e.e. cumming’s poem “a clown’s smirk in the skull of a babboon,” sent through every language, alphabetically, on google translate (including English) and then back to English


Every day
Both sides
Let’s go
Try fruits
There are people in this world.
Just a moment
Everything is up to date.
Quick answer
I forgot to see the birds
I love you

He was arrested in June.
Star time
Oops now!
Not at all
Activities of Conservatism
They chose the boat
I like blue

I love you

The leader must fight in front of the people.
Don’t forget
New day)
Is that right?
It is very intelligent
Traditional food
Food for the eyes
Click an item
What are you doing?
I love you

Water (see below)
It’s not bad
I do not remember
I love you



a clown’s smirk in the skull of a baboon
(where once good lips stalked or eyes firmly stirred)
my mirror gives me on this afternoon;
i am a shape that can but eat and turd
ere with the dirt death shall him vastly gird
a coward waiting clumsily to cease
whom every perfect thing meanwhile doth miss;
a hand’s impression in an empty glove
a soon forgotten tune a house for lease.
I have never loved you dear as now i love
behold this fool who in the month of June
having certain stars and planets heard
rose very slowly in a tight balloon
until the smallening world became absurd;
him did an archer spy(whose aim had erred
never)and by that little trick or this
he shot the aeronaut down into the abyss
—and wonderfully i fell through the green groove
of twilight striking into many a piece.
I have never loved you dear as now i love
god’s terrible face brighter than a spoon
collects the image of one fatal word;
so that my life(which liked the sun and the moon)
resembles something that has not occurred:
i am a birdcage without any bird
a collar looking for a dog a kiss
without lips;a prayer lacking any knees
but something beats within my shirt to prove
he is undead who living noone is.
I have never loved you dear as now i love.
Hell(by most humble me which shall increase)
open thy fire!for i have had some bliss
of one small lady upon earth above;
to whom i cry remembering her face
i have never loved you dear as now i love


To spell, a childhood knowledge token we passed around:

em eye ess ess eye ess ess eye pee pee eye

Pine, I learned.

A drive with a local:

“that one’s black”

“that one’s black”

the houses are white, yellow, brick

Did he like me

sweet tea accent

did he think of me

cult of boys

I scooped a baggie of red dirt

to prove it existed

to someone.


This is text from something I wrote a month or two ago, plus random words selected from Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.



eyes vengeance

eggs that never hatch

my house was a spinning wheel, I said

wait, the small ones hide!

as the generation

had one house

here before


Blackout poetry

Page from Theatre Annual, Americans in Transnational Performance

roll dice for first cut, then second, then I cut every other word


and fiction

bodiliy to one

performers such power that

being women to

not medium fluidity

personifications, perspective adoption

their for their presence

was on one authenticity

realness and the dress

to a fundamental bodies

the event and also

critical these of

very powerful statements and to

form, transforming the racial

experience of testimony

these performances validity

experiences motion, so they shared others

and the entanglements

adoption performance

impact their enhanced

and effectively live

both their

in particular themselves

transnational strongly performed

the adoptee

she were


just why feel

especially their life


experiences, perceive reflected