THOMAS JEFFERSON: I woke up maladjusted to the world today. Suddenly, now, I don’t fit in. Can’t make it like the rest of them do. I’m here willfully on the outside of everything, drooling towards Saturday’s bliss-point crave, not a place for me in the whole sun-smeared world.

EUGENE V. DEBS: You? You’re just confusing your “writerly sensibilities” with the endless conjunctive clauses, dangling modifiers, and comma splices of your circumstances. Come on now. It’s time to reboot that subjunctive moodiness and shape things back to shipped instead of shopped.

THOMAS JEFFERSON: I’m not suited for the frenzied pluck of…


music changes everything (here,

hear?)

majors denuded to rubberized polyphonies

as he stretches verdurous limbs

opposed to adipose with a splash of creamer

elementally elementary in curvaceous matters of the kidney

(ah why don’t’cha ride on off on the orange horse ya went that’a’way with?)

another bitter crusade’s avant-garde adventure

the claymation’s in the motion

herky to all jerkies and bastions beyond

uplifted to a paunchier set of companions

mostly rainy to sun

in the dramatic arrays of self-denial and rerouted guilt

“This aide-mémoire is prêt-à-porter, you roué!”

he exclaims with groomed ankles crossed

“I am merely some trompe-l’œil of…


(photo by davy carren)

Calculated dissent,

a rough cut into a baseline of untethered raw data. And

here we go,

and are, again.

Boosters and busted buttons.

The point never gotten to.

The mood

never quite adjusted. And so,

all terms of the heart get limited and decompose in (or into) a finer dust.

We flip on-and-off ere graver circumstances come to hold

and with a sot’s gumption

serve their due. And to the funerals

we featherlessly go

to service our fractured demise.

Drinks in the dark of a dingy bar’s dust-slathered trophies

(the interior setting of our lachrymose and most popular indoor sport)


(photo by davy carren)

People are always asking me, “Why are you not famous?” It happens to me all the time. Well, often enough that I’d mention it in passing. Like here.

A person will float, “Where’s your next book signing? Why haven’t you been on The Late Show? You’re the answer to a Jeopardy question, right?” (On this last one, I wanted to concur, but instead shot back, “That’s not it. You’ve got it all backwards, you ass. My name should be the question to the answer. Trebeck must be turning over in his grave.”)

But usually, I just disingenuously (if not cloyingly)…


(photo by davy carren)

Sally snapped at Rodney, “Are you on drugs?”

“No….” He paused, gawked at the empty space between us, shook his head and gleefully rued: “I wish I were on drugs.”

He’d picked up the cat by the middle and was lifting the poor guy up and down as if the little feline were a barbell.

“Put him down, Shitter.”

Rodney’s mouth was wide and long. Drool-latent. Or, all-consuming, I guess you’d say.

There was nothing to be done. …


(photo by davy carren)

The obviously a-skosh-more-than-slightly balding man in flip-flops said to his date, “I’m like whatever the equivalent of a Foodie is to music.”

She might’ve been impressed, or was just making that fake-amused-reaction-face that people make when something unpleasant is forced upon them but they feel the need to (at least temporarily) make it seem as if they are, well, amused. She watched his thick eyebrows flutter like bottlebrush above his saccadic eyes, as he attempted to look everywhere except at her.

“Oh. That’s…interesting…”

She let her voice trail off, to make whatever it was she was doing more pointed and…


(Photo by Davy Carren)

Don’t you keep thinking things like, “Mutilated catastrophes of less-than-holy spirits randomly counted by an automated conjecturing system.” I mean: “don’t” as a statement starter, not a question’s incipient structure. That’s all. I proclaim my own silence, deduced from crushed sanity’s jeopardized morality.

Perfect. A predilection for remorse goes with your shoes, Sonny Gal. Complicit as always in the measured trusses of thinking’s doing. All itchy with incitement’s immediate furor, the revelers, staunch and purpose-driven, were off to their commiserating devices. Wielding home-made stabbing implements with attached flags, they marauded their way to slicker pavement, as if it were a…


Groucho was left in the middle of cranking out one-liners when Olive Oyl ramshackled in with a few quarts to go in her vocabulary. Something? Sure. Something always left. “Why not right?” “Right.” “Who is?” And then he goes, “You!” with all the self-seeking capacity of a loosed nonvenomous eastern hognose. “Right away, that’s when,” is all Olive can puff out as she sneaks into a fold-up chair and thinks about inhaling a long, luxurious drag of cigarette smoke. Groucho snarls. He does his thing. He chews on his cigar and twitches his eyebrows right along with his smirky mouth…


(artwork by Sarah Tell)

Alice says to me, Alice goes, “Our neighbor cornered me again.” She fiddles with the zipper on her sweater. “This time it was in the laundry room.”

And we both know whom she means. There are about 15 other occupants in this building, but when we say, “our neighbor,” it is tacit that we’re referring to this one guy. He’s a real yapper. A conspiracy-theory true believer. And he doesn’t take nonverbal cues for exiting a conversation.

Alice, she goes, “I kept trying to squirm my way out of there, and he kept taking his mask off.”

I make a…


(Ernst Haas)

The mornings (on how many will I deduce?)

(…gut-wrenching

-ly) rather fondly

the cat dashing at rest on the counter

fingerprint-blotched panes of floury sky

cut to crumbles with fog’s lackadaisical drift

fragile (heat-chilled pirouetting amok) to the gusty phrase

we slice our better fractions into toasted jagged fifths

likely settled (or do we say, “I am leaving now, dear…”?) just enough

to stand sitting’s abiding oath

(brought lengthwise to this)

a scattering of errands between us

in hold (magnets to move) on the surface (each-to-each on the fridge)

to release after lasts and before firsts

become whimpering and jaded…

Davy Carren

The only writer who matters

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