This constellation on my back–
each sentinel a new experience
turned worn and tired
through thickening of skin–
warrants yet
another opportunity
to moan with despair.
And I am done.

A cento from Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion.

Set in motion—
outward into the rain—
maroon albums
erode, though not surrendered.
into the eyes,
my lips blister
every minute to line
springfield water
along the western slopes,
and gloom as though
my disinterest to be content,
a river smooth.
Tell me
one notion
and give me
one iron hand.


I. Cædmon
Write your words
and with them
pierce through
nebulous conceit;
wade through the
fantastic and find
truth to speak
and speak it.

II. Julian
You sit in your
self-made isolation,
apart from the world
and worldly things,
as people beseech
your intercession;
and guilt will not
overcome your purpose.

III. Cordelia
He reviles you
and yet still
you act as though
he reveres you,
for you understand
that he has
but an infection
of his humours.

IV. Beatrice
Will your spleen
consume the things
of which you hold
close to your heart?
Your ill-repute
drives him away
when you so dearly
wish it would not.

piled on the
kitchen table with
good intentions
never realized
but thought of
often in vain
attempts to make
good promises
shattered with
the realities that
life offers the
naive who would give
of themselves
without disdain or
if only to create
some kind of
impression on the

Your portrait hangs on my papered wall,
framed pretentiousness
with cape around your shoulders
and hat tipped to one side
as though you divine
that you are a superfluous man
and do not care, and
furthermore, embrace the
distinction. Your eyes inform
against you, however, and betray
the ennui that has become your
life from too many dalliances.
And yet, you do not seem to
care, as I do not care.


Timidity gives rise to
anxious dissonance,
thousands of tone-fractals
clustered, dissipate,
subvert the ear to
belligerent response,
freely flowing from
severe pizzicato to the
strains of music at once
performed many years ago:
one can never return
without consequence of
missed musicality of
young virtuosity.

Sanctity of the
written word—
art rendered in
stroke of brush,
insight, set down
in permanence
with drops of
zeitgeist blackened
on the gold-blue
horizon of Art
for Art’s Sake,
while Rossetti-women
cry out pious
platitudes from
reverent poses, classical
glimpses of a
fraternity long tied
with Nature’s artifice
and her sympathies.