whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it

“It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves? Euripides speaks of the Maenads: head thrown I back, throat to the stars, “more like deer than human being.” To be absolutely free! One is quite capable, of course, of working out these destructive passions in more vulgar and less efficient ways. But how glorious to release them in a single burst! To sing, to scream, to dance barefoot in the woods in the dead of night, with no more awareness of mortality than an animal! These are powerful mysteries. The bellowing of bulls. Springs of honey bubbling from the ground. If we are strong enough in our souls we can rip away the veil and look that naked, terrible beauty right in the face; let God consume us, devour us, unstring our bones. Then spit us out reborn.”

-Donna Tart, The Secret History

my friend died

Dear Friend,

I heard you died. I heard a car hit you.
I hate thinking of you, alone, and about to die. Did you know? Did you know you were about to die? Did you know you were about to die and were you alone?

Dear Friend

A bravest friend. The world was never on your side. You fought through so much. This life shit on you over and over again.
And then you died. Violent beginnings still, I guess, bring violent ends.

Dear Friend

I’m not sure you were meant for this world. You were always a little too light. Even when you were here, you floated. Airy enough to get swept away. And you were swept away.
Maybe you weren’t meant for here, but to me, it doesn’t matter that this was not your place. I would do anything to have you back.

Dear Friend

With the sweetest smile and a hopeful heart.
Etched in my brain.
A 21 year old boy. With pointed toes. And soft skin. I remember you happy. I remember you dancing around the upper west side. Running in the rain towards central park. Rolling spliffs on the law by the lake. Box wine and peeing in bushes. I remember you getting mad at me for falling in love with the wrong one. I remember feeling sad when you told me what they had done to you. You had been told your whole life you weren’t real. I remember loving you, but knowing you weren’t really here, even then.

Dear Friend

My heart breaks. You never get to grow old. I’m sorry the world was never fair to you. Please come back.

Dear Friend

Miss you sweet cheeks. I’ll see you in the birds.


poe knows poe knows

Once it smiled a silent dell
Where the people did not dwell;
They had gone unto the wars,
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay.
Now each visitor shall confess
The sad valley’s restlessness.
Nothing there is motionless—
Nothing save the airs that brood
Over the magic solitude.
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
That palpitate like the chill seas
Around the misty Hebrides!
Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
Uneasily, from morn till even,
Over the violets there that lie
In myriad types of the human eye—
Over the lilies there that wave
And weep above a nameless grave!
They wave:—from out their fragrant tops
External dews come down in drops.
They weep:—from off their delicate stems
Perennial tears descend in gems.
-the Valley of Unrest, Edgar Allan Poe

insomnia, cont.

anxiety isolates

the biggest smile

from the bluest eyes


reaching and reaching

falling away from breath

the moment before touch


whispering in my own ear

a troubling warning

of a never existing harm


the scolding mind

the pushing heart

expelling energy

into all the wrong caves

when it should be soaring

over a sounding sea

bk 2017



the stripper with my name

50 years ago I watched the girls
shake it and stip
at The Burbank and The Follies
and it was very sad
and very dramatic
as the light turned from green to
purple to pink
and the music was loud and vibrant,
now I sit here tonight
smoking and
listening to classical
but I still remember some of
their names: Darlene, Candy, Jeanette
and Rosalie.
Rosalie was the
best, she knew how,
and we twisted in our seats and
made sounds
as Rosalie brought magic
to the lonely
so long ago.

now Rosalie
either so very old or
so quiet under the
this is the pimple-faced
who lied about his
just to watch

you were good, Rosalie
in 1935,
good enought to remember
when the light is
and the nights are