13.

red flower

the bullet emerging from his forehead: a disaster
of blood petals and bone-shard thorns

his life emerging fully formed from his forehead a split second
then body and all staining the snow

rising northward on an avalanche of winter ice
just another log in the red river

submerged, belly full of bubbles and trembling for release
elementary school backpack of riverstones

young street dealer turned informant in rural america, just another
dope dealer

just another young man found at the banks of the winnipeg river park
whose mother questions why

the bullet emerging: a disaster of liquid petals staining
the red river red 


*

12.

Hands in Storm

Watch the hands of light dance on the horizon.
The main artery of life throbs like a beacon
from a lighthouse in darkest moments
before the cymbals crash as waves
on handy shores. In the shipwreck you call Life,
watch the hands waving distress flags.

In the silence, when a storm abates,
when trash left on the beachhead
is weighed as worthwhile or garbage.
Notice its craftsmanship or its flaws.
When pulled loose from handfuls of seaweed,
what will make your decision?

Here it is. You are holding it.
It feels like the last moment of your life.
What will you do?

~Martin Willitts Jr.~

*

11.

Leonardo Studies Anatomy

These are the hands of a gravedigger.
Familiar with the rhythm of a shovel
tossing dirt over the shoulder,
the measurement of deepness,
the length of a person’s life, the width
of their errors.
The soil smells of earthworms.
The soil grabs onto you and won’t let go.
It wants to keep you.
It wants to punish someone for ruining it.

Leonardo digs when no one is looking.
He digs into darkness like a vole.
If they saw what he was doing,
they might wonder if they are next.

His hands knew what to do with a pick ax.
They swing as a pendulum.
They count time off like a conductor.
When he is done, no one will like his music.

He removes the body out from the grave
to his house to examine the remains.
He opens up its secrets. This is dangerous work.
If caught, he could get killed.

He dissects like a reverse mapmaker.

These are the hands of an artist.
He is drawing the distinction
between knowledge and innocence,
fear and repulsion, to see what is inside.
From his experiments, he will learn
more than studying from the outside.
His hands hold the beginnings of anatomy.
What he cast aside was ignorance.

Sometimes, you have to take information
into your own hands.
There is risk in making this kind of music.

~Martin Willitts Jr.~

*

10.

Schizophrenia Night 
(Devoted to John Nash, A Beautiful Mind Movie, 2001)

I am a chalkboard computer brain.
I have updated drawn raw
images even the classroom
students cannot see, hear, nor understand.
They sit quietly in Disneyland
wondering about my eccentricities
I capture their stillness, and then I speak.
I am the professor, special agent of government
dream tracer of crossroad puzzles.
Photographic memory in private rooms,
did I hear a critic, erase
destroy dissociate thoughts.
I walk out unsteady in disbelief.
Is there a shadow of storybooks following me?

I am a genius; I know who I am.
I spend nights in formula construction
drawing full color images of my brain,
percentages of gray matter lost.

I stick my ego to the bird eagle of the sky.

When on a high on an airplane, self-love,
full bloom, I keep my enemies at bay.
I shelter the skeletons of thought.

I trust Jesus because His image is stable,
every group I have ever known says "The Lord's Prayer."
Even then, new members leave, disappear, I hear what they said.
I had an MRI to trace all my youthful abuses.
There were no images there but voices I remember.
I cast their shadows, audio, visual for show, in the background.
In time, they quiet their voices.  I walk beyond their images.
I pass on, they still screenplay.

You have to stretch lean, refer to sanity,
drink Asian tea, smooth out, limejuice, hallucinated sounds
before that stage, I took that Nobel prize,
even before, I forgave you.


*

9.

Poem of Sinners and Saints 

Sinners hurt.
While moonlight cracks open
like a walnut, spreads soft light across open sky,
they dart to alleyways, bury themselves behind
their own trails shaking fists at the sky;
hiding their nasty nonsense in shame,
city buildings rattle their bricks, mortar loose at their rib cage.

All men think they are sword men daggers in darkness.
All women think they are entry points leaning against brick walls,
slender on sidewalks past midnight,
nothing but shadows, twitching of lips.
Women look for drawing cards in their makeup kits.
No one cares jackals, scavengers, men tempted by night.
Thunder dreams hammer at their ears,
rain urinate sins on street corners,
mice crawl away to small places shamed.

Early morning crows fly.
Footsteps scatter directions as sunlight sprouts.
Misdeeds carry no names with them
they trip blind, racing to morning jobs.
Sin hurts staples in women's lungs,
staples dagger in men's ribs.


*

8.

Blind Mice

Perhaps if the smell
were, maybe, less
domestic.  Even

the trap’s springing
copper would,
in its way

be merciful.
The swift, red
glare of the guillotine

was not proposed
as cruelty.
Not at first.

Revolutionaries
we are not.
But who doesn’t want

liberty, no matter
how small?
We have no idea

where we are going,
why we do what we do.
We are free.

But if we could
still see, we’d know
that we are also bloody.


*

7.

Andromeda

Because the moon burns,
the immense redness of her

wide brimmed hat shields her
sugary shoulders.  White fireflies

at her waist, her knee, her upturned
palm—it’s all cruel

bioluminescence and flash.
Silver lights

a safe place through a neon dilemma.
She is his only constellation.


*

6. 

Cinderella’s Limo Driver

She gave up all that bippity boppity
bullshit a long time ago.
They all did.
No more lye soap and charcoal facials.
Now it’s Ray Bans, lineless tans,
heels, and nobody wears glass anymore.
Smart phones, agents, Cosmo,
and who says your looks go first?
You trade white mice for white powder,
and we’re not talkin’ pixie dust.
This town is fast,
and how do you think they stay so skinny?
It’s all about drug chic honey, and the answer
to what’s your secret, what’s your story
all depends on who you ask.
Fairest of them all?  Arsenic.
Rapunzel?  L’Oreal, and she ain’t worth it,
and Sleeping Beauty?  Not what you think.
She was never cut out to make a living
on her back.  She went stand up.
Nothin’ but fuck you’s and bourbon,
and Cindy?  Size two, catwalk,
and the last bird she ever saw
broke its neck hitting a window.
It’s all LAX and Paris and Sports
Illustrated teenage boy swimsuit
fantasy issue and be careful what kind of star
you hitch your wagon to and who said
anything about Prince Charming?
All he knew how to do was dance,
and only waltzes, and only with an audience
full of heads of state.  They say
that’s how the power finally shifted.
New broom and all that crap.
Even the ghosts got replaced
and a girl’s gotta make a living
and a girl’s gotta look out for herself
whether you can remember the castle
or not.


*

5.

Contrived Dream

The lacerated throat of the skyline,
Sunset hemorrhaging.
The primordial way that I react
To your pulse.

The lull of a piano cuts through
a brooding atmosphere.
The fog permeates my skin, undulates
Its tongue around mine.

And suddenly I’m sixteen again.
Stifling a cry and asphyxiating
In paperbacks.
Your contrived dream is a nightmare
So try to inflate my withered heart
And infiltrate my wicked veins.

A voice in the empyrean delicately
Swells then shatters.
Then, blurring our distinctions,
You shiver just because you sense me.

And suddenly I’m in love again
You tremble beneath a seductive grasp
And with an elegant parting of the lips
You’re mine.
You’re mine.
And suddenly I’m in love again.
Stifling a cry and asphyxiating
In paperbacks.

A poetics of failure and violence.
A poetics of failure and violence.
And the rest is silence.
The rest is silence . . .


*

4.

Straight Edge

What is my opiate?
Where is my inertia?
I don’t even have the synthetic
To smudge the edges
Of boredom and melancholia.
The trouble with tee-totalitarianism
Is that the peaks and pits,
The constant fluctuation
Stays keen as a razor blade.
Am I a fool to myself?
Give me crows for Pigeons
Elysian Fields for Oldham Batteries
Lying impeded by grey.
Too sensible for color.


*

3.

Clutter

I spent my life honing my craft
but when I sent out my novels
agents complained that my work
was too literary
too quirky
too feminist
or a combination thereof

I finally got old enough
to set my ego and ambition
on a much lower flame
In other words
I became resigned

I put my best work on Amazon
as an e-book
for 99 cents

Then I stumbled upon this
in a review by someone named Pearl Luke:

After all, no one has ever suggested that 50 Shades of Grey is great writing. Nonetheless, I was surprised at just how dreadful the writing is. By any standard, it is only slightly better than all those unedited 99 cent novels cluttering up Amazon of late... 

I suppose I could claim that my 99 cent novel
is much better than all those other  99 cent novels
but it’s like being in prison:
No one is guilty there

~Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois~

*

2.

The Moment

There is the moment,
cornered and heady.

I learn that a room can grow
small without magic.

A throb of walls,
windows push,
breath.

Amazing, the paint did not peel
from the heat
of my screams.

The mind tries to soften
the moment
with repression and vodka.

I doubt freedom
from the flashes
like lightning.

A terrible movie
where the audience
looks away.

His sour desire and awakened
strength—two pillars
trying to separate.

He builds the moment
solid and silent,

this box of violence,
a rotting wood
I polish
like a lie.


*

1.
XX
The girl as mini tragedy,
her smooth slit floats in the fluid,
ready for the cruel world,
ready to grow, bear her own children.

The girl is taken early from her mother—
two hearts beat through the procedure,
only one travels back home.
She will try again, he comes to her
                                    every night.
                                   
The girl reappears like a trick.
Her hands are ready for work—
the cooking of rice and what meat
her family can afford.

The girl is taken again, no time
to be a spirit, no time to run the fields
in a thin dress, a hand me down
from another sister who never
                                    existed.