the perfect shade of lipstick
a red that belies
carefully weaved into a style
eyeliner drawn with an artisan’s hand
replication makes perfection
she’s just a button short of trash

matching toes and fingers
the peek-a-boo shoe
as subtle as the perfume
a South Beach tan under a sun-streaked do
orchestration and precision
the girl works harder than you

primitive inspiration
packaged in modern disguise
permitting a glimpse of the thigh
masculine resolve with a feminine plan
domination and submission
she smells the gas then lights the match

stylish deliberation
the chattel of Calvin Klein
calculation of color and design
glamour defined by supply and demand
education and graduation
she’s just a culture short of class

a moment of indecision
cool wind from the edge of the cliff
feels like love when it looks like this
if Truth is the price for a superficial charm
the night is laughing
watching us turn absolutely nothing into form

the season changed and the sky
turned gray
without the sun there is no night, or day
the hours stack like sand in a glass
i suppose i should sleep till spring
like the grass

but there’s reason to believe that spring
won’t arrive
there’s reason to fear that when you left,
I died
when i look in the mirror,
my face is too white
when i check for a pulse,
i’m afraid of the quiet

definition is blurred by the shadows
of white
movement is stalled by the absence of light
i can’t bear the cold without the heat of
my blood
i can’t find my heart without the warmth
of your love

If i start to cry the tears freeze on my face
If i start to smile my skin cracks in place
if i start to scream the snow buries
the sound
i slip on the ice that covers
the ground

like a snowman, with arms open wide
i’ll remember the spring
i’ll remember the light
i’m petrified, like stone in the cold
but i’ll wait forever, frozen,
and alone

if i were blue
like David Hockney’s pool
dive into me and glide
under a California sky
inside your mouth and nose and eyes am I

if i were blue
like Edward Hopper’s afternoon
lift the sash to air the breeze
left my summer flush your cheek
lie supine beneath the soft and gentle season

would that this were that
this is more like black
dark as darkest indigo
sickly sweet and ripe
like nothing
smothering light

bring on the pelting rain
palpable sensual pain
like Goya in his studio
in the thick of night
absence is
dull and silent

if i were blue
a pale Picasso blue
as beauty is to sorrow
let me cover you in sleep
and in your melancholy
i would give you peace
if i were blue

when i smile do my eyes scramble and scan
off center as the question direct?
does the corner of my mouth freeze in place,
performance curtain lack of intent?
if i step in time can i design
a movement that feigns desire?
can the perfect wife fake one more night
can she joke and laugh and dance
without the fire?

can the blanket of gray at the end of the day
conceal a sigh of regret?
can the shadow of a form deign to affect or
disguise dearth of content?
if i wine and dine, if there’s rhythm and rhyme,
mandate and motion and will
if i follow the map, or outline the task
can i lip-synch or pantomime
the perfect script?

thursday day is scheduled precisely
friday night a dinner affair
by 6 o’clock hors d’oeurves from the market
the dress, the makeup, the hair
the doorbell rings, the cocktails clink
the conversation a smart, snappy din
with stone and lintel and steel and sheen
i’m architect and hostess
of a stylish scene

the party begins to dwindle and sputter
the room empty as the air is thin
with landscape and chatter
the heart of the matter
can defy all but peripheral vision
if i close my eyes, if i fantasize
a movement that feigns desire
can the perfect wife fake one more night
can she joke and laugh and dance
without the fire?

for company
i like lots of MTV
stylish imagery, advised, connived,
and contrived to
take me far away from me
i like a cell-phone conversation
short enough to slip in the cracks of
the call-waiting-generation
i like a foreign film or two
if that’s what everyone else likes to do
for company

for company
in the 21st century
i go to the club, talk through the show,
i’m so hip there’s nothing about jazz
that I don’t know
i read the critics evaluation
short enough to mirror the copy of
expensive public relations
i like a loud and noisy tune
if that’s what everyone else thinks is cool
for company

for company
i like french philosophy
deconstructive obscurity
formalized, canonized, and dignified by
the university
i like a trendy indecision
weightless enough to forget the
forgetting of which
nothing bears repetition
i like an expensive aperitif
if that’s what everyone else thinks is neat
for company

for company
i like down-sized efficiency
touch-tone community
digitalized, expedited, and systemized
for fiber-optic fraternity
i like a face-less congregation
plastic enough to remove
the discomfort of
intimate association
i like an ethnic look and feel
if that’s what everyone else thinks is real
for company

lord, let it rain
i can’t stand the lie of a blue sky
one more day
can’t you make the pitter, patter
sweet teardrop splatter
against my windowpane
c’mon, bring down the sky
let those clouds and me have a good cry
let it rain

lord let it rain
take away the glare of the empty
shape of the day
can’t you make that liquid fly, bubbles rise,
heatwave die,
the water slip and slide me away
your sun makes me feel like a fool
god your weather just don’t match my
let it rain

let the thunder crack, let the lightning snap the tension of a
long, dry afternoon
wash away the time,
cover me in shadow, then forgive me for
lying in bed
listening to the rain fall on my roof

lord let it rain
i can’t stand the sound of the silent sun on
my face
can’t you make those downtown hopping,
grocery shopping
perky, plodding, cheerful folks
go away
c’mon bring on the flood
let my soul have its day in the mud
let it rain
c’mon bring down the sky
and let those clouds and me have
a good cry,
let it rain

The bluest morning ever
broke today
forego the nighttime
find the moon
in the afternoon
all day
one is forgiven
much too soon

Another year has come
and gone my way
my blood is thicker
showing signs
of pathology
fast on the track
to decay
remorse as company
here to stay

I need you
I lost you
What a shame

The smoky faces lost
in this café
their lips forever chat
a grey uniformity
all day
amazing lethargy
here to stay

I need you
I lost you
What a shame

no sunrise
no coffee
What a shame

No seaside
no poets, no backbeat
no lover, no mother
no mainline, no downtime
What a shame

as the century ends and
tradition turns in on itself
as Boulez screams and yells
his music is put on the shelf
repetition is back,
a rose is a rose, said herself
Bill Gates has won
i’ve got the postmodern blues

1900 began the obsession
with function as form
with a hammer and nail and a
paintbrush and camera
they storm
in Russia and Bolsheviks
conquer, the masses want
Karl Marx has gone
i’ve got the postmodern blues

line is fragmented, Isadora
invented modern dance
philosophers ponder while
communists squander their
illusion is captured in
Cubism’s reign over france
Picasso’s gone
i’ve got the postmodern blues

the stock market rallies as
futures are tallied and sold
pensions are raided and
parachutes painted in gold
conformism packaged to save
us all from the cold
Cezanne is gone
i’ve got the postmodern blues

an altered scale to slap and tickle
a dilettante’s Muse
a passing chord to woo the flatted five
“Blue ‘n Green” to inspire a tired
guitarist who dares
to reharmonize

a contract stacked to deliver payment
when there’s ice in June
white guys with accountants and
company stock
a road where the kindness of strangers
will have to do
in cities that
Glamour forgot

a Flat Foot Floosey with a gentleman’s
tongue in her ear
a software Don reminiscing to the
office pack
back-lit bottles, hard surface reflection
of the aging frat boy’s concern
with girls and cash

a phone, a drunk, and a beeper
as chorus
in this Rhapsody
an epic poem of romance and decay
a sunglass projection of a bittersweet
choice made long ago
to turn night into day

is the real thing
or is it fake?
is this smoke in my lungs?
or is this a lifestyle mistake?
will the New York Times say
I’m too white or I’m too black?
shall I complicate the rhythm?
shall I give the money back?
are you confused?
are you amused?
with my blood,
and your booze?
if this isn’t Jazz,
it will have to do,
until the real thing
comes along

if this isn’t love,
it will have to do,
until the real thing
comes along


philosophy engenders a Rational man
Descartes would be the first to agree
syllogistically speaking if ‘A’ is you
and ‘B’ is me
logical proposition will lead us to’C’

Aristotle conditioned the Greeks to indulge
the brain and the body agree
psychologically speaking if the student can teach,
the teacher can learn,
lets leave the thinking to me

simplicity can charm the intellectual beast
a three-word phrase will suffice
hedonistically speaking if ‘food is for thought’
then ‘thought is or food,’ and
teacher, “I want you” tonight

i could eat your words
suck the salt from your ‘erudition’
light a fire under ‘inhibition’
season ‘reason’ with a transitive verb

i could eat your mind
sweeten ‘no’ with ‘equivocation’
blend your phrases with ‘provocation’
sip the spit from your bittersweet rhyme

poets need a holiday
professors need adulation
you can talk and talk
the right away
and make no case for ‘moderation’

i’ll drink ‘remorse’ like a cabernet
champagne with ‘indecision’
‘guilt’ like garlic
needs to sauté with cream, butter
and wine

I could eat your words
melt ‘objection’ with ‘stimulation’
simmer ‘truth’ with ‘prevarication’
taste your ‘virtue’ and ‘honor’ and ‘time’

baby teach me tonight

there’s a piece on the chair
a piece in the hall
a nice piece of me
stuck to the wall
divide and conquer
the jigsaw in you
has left me asunder
all over the room

there’s a piece by the clock
clinging awkwardly to time
there’s a piece at the piano
clinging stubbornly to rhyme
there’s a fun piece of me
in a crack in the floor
an innocent piece
who walked out the door

call me a doctor
or a structural engineer
draft me a past and a future
that consent to adhere
give me a pill that makes cohesion
a pharmacological thing
bring me the tape and the twine
the blueprint design
to fit the scraps and the threads
to the feet and the legs

there’s a piece that was pretty
for a moment or two
but my mouth and my lips
are somehow askew
a piece of a hero is
behind the tv
the piece with the glue
is looking for pieces of me

theres a piece in Detroit
a piece in LA
New York is a critic
she’s funny that way
there’s a piece prone to panic
a big piece is blue
all the pieces agree
the best piece went with you

In fragments and tatters, scattered
all over the road
each piece has the other
but no piece is a whole
little maps in their pockets, reflections
of possibility
the pieces pick themselves up
dust themselves off
and start all over

your vision isn’t splendid
your vocabulary’s weak
your passport’s been extended but
I’ve got some plans next week
you gotta go home
you gotta go home
you’ve overstayed your welcome
and the thrill is really gone
you just gotta go

the English have their pudding
the Haitians had their coup
the Parisians they have style so
how did they get you
you gotta go home
you gotta go home
it started out a picnic but
now its gonna rain
you just gotta go

your mouth caught my attention
French lips were made to kill
Baudelaire in my ear and a
city that broke my will
you gotta go home
you gotta go home
a sexy mouth or two
now I’m stuck with you
you just gotta go

a poet’s thing for drama
the charm of the insane
you’ve taken all my money now
just get on the plane
you gotta go home
you gotta go home
you’ve got a special flair for
broken love affairs
just go

it’s not that I don’t care
but its better over there
just go

from the start this wasn’t wise
no long drawn-out good byes
just go

from heaven into hell
good riddance and farewell
just go