Long Poems

A Gasping Vessel of Empty Space

wooden slat chairs ~
blow empty where we sat ~
on a five acre deck of back lawn.
Our firepit a punctuation of ash. ~

for I have left these weathered cracks
to go and get the old me back.

what matters is not love ~
some intention of our yearning ~
pouts sprout in fields of ashen doves ~
this harvest done ~
this turf’s for turning.

for I have left these weathered cracks
to go and get the old me back.

dissolving mist upon the river ~
a warming hypocaust of sky ~
the air’s old laughter turned to shivers ~
in rear-view mirror I glance good-bye.

for I have left these weathered cracks
to go and get the old me back.

your home taught hypothesis:
my laundry, I never asked to wash. ~
the dinners, I never asked to make. ~
Blouses now hang in a ilence of cotton wind ~
pasta with its rolling pin ~
chased me from the kitchen.

once I cooked in handwashed silks
and now I want that old me back.

keys, and dreams, and satin thoughts ~
surrendered in this cell for naught. ~
while you trained me to become ~
what maybe you could learn to love.

this clock has whipped grim calm to flax
and now I want the old me back.

None of this matters now. ~
What matters is this —>

who stood at your aching shoulder ~
and in sickness had your back? ~
your eyes now vault, raptured in empty heaven ~
while I plod, splashing the gray mercy of rain.

It’s me there–>
blown fur in the center of the road. ~
It waits, that me, in a caracassed dawn ~
just beyond ~
5 acres of lawn.


All of us Are Anonymous

© by Boinkaz

our flesh dissolves like cardboard
carmelized by rain.
this guy fawkes ~
the game has changed.

4 now we’re all upon the curb
hands outstretched
our howls unheard:

“a penny for my effigy ~
ideals lost in enmity.
A dollar for this passing thought ~
a hundred years is all you’ve got.
such conflict waits in living rooms

you ~
–> the young ~
must call the tune.”

Czel’s Bells

© By Boinkaz

The poet, novelist, and musician Jacqueline Czel had the temerity to thrown down a poetic challenge: to come up with a nursery rhyme by week’s end. This is my response.

When I grow up

When I grow up
I want to be
a lobbyist
in old DC
I’ll buy my clients
public goods
like leases, airwaves, national woods.

For Congressmen are not enough
and they’re butt ugly in the buff.

When I grow up
I want to go
to torture in Guantanimo
I’ve dreamed of killing for the Cross
to show the Muslims who is boss.

For the rule of law is not enough.
Spare me the civil liberties guff.

When I grow up
I want to be
the TV’s prime reality
I’ll share my “trauma”
while stark naked
of how for 20 years I faked it.

For war and famine’s not enough.
My struggle makes those whiners tough.

Over to you Miss J!
Barack Back Then

© By Boinkaz

I dug out this little drafter I wrote in 2008. Things sure do change.


they called his men.

Arriving in the capitol

he struck these bigots dumb.

Riven was the land,

with the stiletto of division from

Aggrandizing terrorists

and talk show hosts who

Canonize the wicked

with vats of Kool-Aid,


and vinegar.

How will he lead us?

Unstick the stuck?

Silence the bellicose and Sunday gasbags?

Sinicure the pure?

Even as we wonder

Is this the end of our Nation?

~ Organize the country

~ Back the common man

~ Analyze the enemy both foreign and domestic

~ May we come to communality someday::

::Americans together

Hoist the Jolly Roger

© By Boinkaz

Hard deck of the day rolls

from morning to lunch.

Brown beam chirrups in the wind.

I will Fo’c’s’le

all tension

on the four o’clock hour

when the wisdom of the machine

unlashes me.

Light of my evening rising in the

Spin cycle of the wash.

The sleeve of my black work shirt

Spells help in a circle

Clutches the devil’s edge.

Before the whole ship swirls under.

Under Pol Pot

back in Year Zero

they cut the breasts off pretty girls

For the crime of being pretty

And for having breasts

and lay them on a mat.

In Rwanda, Tutsis killed Hutus

And cut the legs from under them

For the crime of being tall,

to cut them down to size.

In America, our genocide is of the mind.

We humble our heroes with exhaustion,

Bring our philosophers to heel with false hope,

Sue our patriots when they rebel,

And imprison our poets when they speak.

For such people must be pirates

give them the jolly roger all

and drop them in the fast waters off the straits of Malacca,

among their kind.


© By Boinkaz

2008 was a bear of a year,

with all the claws and none of the rug.

2008 came in like a rabid buffalo

and went out like a slime-mold.

As Vincent Van Gogh might have put it:

~ Last year, slashed ear ~

When they say it couldn’t get worse, they were wrong.

It can always get worse, and it always did get worse

in 2008.

Election Night, 2008

© By Boinkaz

Beneath the concrete stairs

Are hypocausts of change.

Rally them as one

And they’ll warm you with their flame.

Come together people

Know your duty.

Choose your lane.

How they laughed at the uppity nigra

Under their high noses they know

Surely this country won’t elect

Such a black man

Even if he’s half white

In your face, as I grab my crotch

Name this you dogs, now sniff my hand

Over the earth on which it is built

Bounds a rising hope

Around the corner lies mounting schemes of disunity

Away from the center,

drawing fire.

Pittsburgh, 4th of July

© By Boinkaz

Mornings your rivers,
liquid asps
molt their dawn fog.
Boulevards casts nets of metal,
latticed dolphins frozen in flight,
across these summer waters.

The parkway runs along the shore
an excited dog
panting sedans
and box trucks
and delivery vans
clean wrapped in logos.

the Duquesne Incline
clicks an envelope of treated wooden ties
serrated by bulb light.
Red cars pack their chaw of travellers,
then swing off Mt. Washington
from braided ropes of black metal,
their jaws thrust out for a fight.

Darkness, and a
carbonation of fireworks
rise above a cocktail terrain
bubbles of white boats
form and skeeter
cross the cracked glass bottom
Of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers,
then shatter to fallen waves in the Ohio.

Finally you sleep
down round your houses
drunk on the snakehead liquor
of automated innovation,
your hallucinations of the past
gabbling in a hillbilly tongue
of millhunks & Mellons
dies coughing,
like the sickly,
the elderly
during the Donora Inversion of 1948.
Like them,

Boiling Ocean

© By Boinkaz

When I think of you
I set a course
North by North East.
The sweep of your avi appears,
the ping of expectations
fly like corsaired glaciers
too eager to dissolve
in the Equator of such luxury.

the petals of your lips
burst on sonar
then close
then burst
in a distant monotone garden
cooled by a rain of loneliness.
They say come to me
for my heat tossles the floral baskets.
Clutch the ballustrade.
Ascend the stairs.
Make your home in my Atlantis.

Yet I cannot.
For to pluck a flower is to kill it.
My hand reaches
leaves an acid trail in the semi-dark
a legacy of ashes lost to sun.
It is everything that I’ve become.
Sighing, I turn to duty,
adze my mind to lists, goals. Suchlike.
We are all denied love in the supermax of obligation.

I light a Winston.
Get my fill of bummer from the Smiths.
I say a prayer
for the sake of you
that this global warming is not real.
We are best left as we are
adrift as frozen photos
swirling on a rising whitecap
or jetting in the current of the Bering Sea.

For an Old Couple

© By Boinkaz

My flesh freezedries and flaps
like blouses on a drying rack.
Muscles sizzle like seared strips of folded chicken
evenly browned, turned until I’m done
by diurnal cranks of flaming sun.

Thanks to pills I do not dream
yet harpies in white peer at spectral densities in MRIs
cartograph the growing rivers in my brain
and ponder why I don’t think right.
They dream of the coming day
when they have a physical sample
and an answer that will earn them a Ph.d.

A snake with a camera
traces the path forged by roughage
through my innards,
It finds the Red Sea to my slowing heart.

It eyes small stalagtites of fat
or arteries canaled with use.
It stops to pry out
the diamonds of compressed death
growing within your pyloned breasts.

And yet as I grasp evermore for
extra days that I really don’t deserve
my iron horse still gives off steam.
Or it puffs anyway
like the little engine that shouldn’t.

It ought to have been derailed by indians long ago
whooping crookedly in a forgotten silent film
among swelling boulders of hardened prostate.

Back then the action scenes didn’t last more than four hours.
And we could live with that.
Romance was a pleasant end to an evening
not discussed on Oprah.
Where we smoked Lucky Strikes and danced,
you in your flesh toned slip
and me in white Fruit of the Loom underwear.

Back those nights
light came from stars
and sound came from
animals crying arias to
each other in darkness.

Now we walk together
to the doctor
to the home
to the grave
our bodies soon to be rendered against
our will as product.
Our eyes cast to the future
that everyone says we’ll miss.

It’s for the young to travel to other planets
to dissect the scat of God to see if he exists.

Not for us
for we’ll find out soon enough.

The Belgians

© By Boinkaz

A line of cars wait to turn left
held by a light,
trapped in amber for 60 million seconds
and I am thinking of you, Y & B.

You came from a country cut in two.
Rendered to cloth and coal
by the sharp teeth of the Ardennes.
Where epithets are murmured in anthracite
or blown from a tapestry of funneled trumpets
by a jewel-eyed lamb
off a cathedral wall.

You grew from the mountains of Wallonia
the last Belgians crawling out of the Napoleonic wars
You came from Liege,
or Luik as I like to call it in mocking Flemish.

Blown like leaf boulders
Tram-tracked tongues of street
taste its hills with potholes and papillae of traffic barriers.

Your art sprung from bushes of song in a field of bass guitars.
Now potted in an allotment of carpet in a ribbon of houses fronting woods.

The wind tossles hanging baskets
like a hand through your son’s hair
as you survey immigrant’s America.
Where if you work hard
and straighten out your Rs
it can be all yours.

I sit and ponder relic America
like Leopold II,
disgusted by the loss of Congo
as my personal property.

Its as if a wedgie has been pulled on
on the lawns of suburban ranch houses.
Fields, once gowns
became boxers,
then ordered briefs
and soon will be thongs
worn by an embarassed youth
who gamely toss a beachball
in the windy beach off Oostende.
What in England they call gardens.

You came to us and were such good friends.
Life has been very hard
but not for you.
the new Americans.
You were rewarded for your faith.

The Dousing Stick of Lily Dale

© By Boinkaz

I climb the wisteria of Rte. 5
peer through a trellis of grass
at a brief platter of lake.
It’s offered up with the
indulgence of morning light,
tantalizing & slightly angled towards me
and briefly withdrawn
behind slats of pastel houses and road side stands.

I’m planning to get juiced on a vineyard tour
but an infection of creation burns at my brow.
An assembly of spiritualists
hoard the sun in their cottages
on the Upper Cassadaga lake
in a place called Lily Dale.

I’ve come to find them in their orderly covens,
their cottages and lawns
smoking back to Heaven
the lava of the night time dew.

For those who turn cards for unusual growths.
For those who fashion outcomes for children whose
charm & pocket money has gone to drugs.
For those who turn checkered polyester faces
wintered into hard lakeside pebbles
back into an acceptable consistency of leather.

I’ve come for the laying on of hands
I’ve come to see Rose
with her smear of dark eyes.

She tells me the bracelets of skin
at my wrists
ensure I will see 80.
She lays palms on my temples
as if she is going to crush me at the scalpline.
She pulls my head to her chest and lifts
my skull to decompress my neck.

She looks to petals of paint
growing from the ceiling
a sound comes from within her
and a vibration of magnetic cars
shuddering in me and rustling the
paint like a wind.

Later she leans me back on a divan
with one palm on my forehead
and the other on the small of my back.
She coaxes my water of energy to a restful tide.

I drift and she awls out the copper of me
with sonorific
ribbed stories of kirlian photography.

Of how she can feel the warmth of an old soul in me.
Of how grey fists at the Chautauqua Institute hammer with dsapproval at Rose and her kind.
Of how I am a natural grumbler for I was born when the Moon was trapped in the Seventh House.
Of how she thinks I’m psychic and I must have the healing hands.

Rose unclasps the latch of her voice
rolls as she walked on a bad hip,
and leaves me to doze.

Through the window she genuflects a tin sprinkler over her flowerbed.
It’s her dousing stick, from which the water flows backwards,
coaxing from the polticed death of soil
a perfume of existence,
color, odor,
a swaying movement
from the ground.

American Forevermore

© By Boinkaz

Peeled from the swamp of cold division
the morass of feudal indecision
arose a land of musket balls
America forever more.

Her mountains purr in rippled grace
as fog off Smokey Mountains race
dark soils sprung a fecund hope
America forever more.

Boiled black a million veins done run
sacrificed in blood-drenched sun
We were balanced then, or so we thought
America, mon ami, j’adore

Poseurs face a gutless end
zero-summed by urban pens
frogs boiled in tarmacadem
Their America. Just nevermore.

I breathe my ancestor’s dust
that gone and oft mistaken rust
and glad I’ll stumble into lore
a real American, forever more.
Existing Underwater

© By Boinkaz

Big and little
Bahraini oyster divers
we touch far bottom
two gilgameshes
sheened in sun water
reflecting mother-of-pearl
off our backs.

We clutched at sea cucumbers on the Fiji reef,
Urban submariners.
Hunting Sponges with sardined hands
We fought with rubber knives as frogmen
and you always won.
Me I’d come alive as a stingray
a chariot for a tiny Poseidan.

I taught you base diving
about self-control in breath
Playing Navy SEALS
I’d hang at the poolside
and count 100 bounces
as you’d emerge like a turtle seeking rock
burbled cheeks
hands clutched at your back
and then sink again.

Now claws of salted water
scratch my eye
as across an isthmus of
squeaking dolphins
you raise your arms
in butterfly.

Scout Camp

© By Boinkaz
A fairy ring of mushrooms wafting spores
lean akimbo in their camping chairs
and tip floppy hats to each other.
They contemplate insects
crawling slowly like thoughts across
their pensive lower gills.

Basketballs of flame dribble cross the court of logs
trees above do a Mexican wave in the Fuller brush of a strong wind.
They flow like taste buds on a tongue of earth.
They ponder morsels of kerchiefed children
in their scouting shirts of blue and brown and green,
sewn diamonds of iron-on acheivement.
Lost beads, a rainbow of plastic round their young necks,
they blouse their boots against coral snakes.

Scoutmasters, the barkers of discipline,
juggle threats, some ability, and a firepit of rewards:
smores and hot dogs.
Mountain pies.
The food hisses in its longing,
feels itself aging too quickly,
shellacked like ancient furniture
angled in a parking lot flea market
showing a little leg,
waiting for a collector who won’t
flip it to the ground,
disgusted by its burnt and fragile nature.

The future is so uncertain.
We dread it like the locust we know to swarm every 17 years.

Find structure in the bugler who says the day is done.
Find security in the teardrop loop of a slip knot.
Find comfort in the feral wings of the hidden cicada.
Find a horizon beyond this future and grope for it.
It is green like a firefly
or the phytoplankton that light our shores in nightwaves.


    rôti sans pareill

Take the last bustard in France
which is stuffed
with a turkey
with a goose
with a pheasant
with a chicken
with a duck
with a guinea fowl
with a teal
with a woodcock
with a partridge
with a plover
with a lapwing
with a quail
with a thrush
with a lark
with an ortolan bunting
–> which lies nested in a fire of Armagnac
–> which hovers, scenting the dying breath of François Mitterand
with a garden warbler
with an olive at its center.

Put your ear to its gooseberry flesh.

You can hear the ocean.
You can see your house from here.
You can hear an echo chamber of songbirds.

They trill a bongo hymn of hollow bones.
Trill with the jelly crusted anguish of foie gras on little toasts.
Trill with the DNA of a Citroën full of rendered horses.

They trill~
They trill~

They trill–>

“You bastard. How could you do such a thing to an olive?”

Almanach des Gourmands, 1807
Grimod de La Reynière,
(via Wikipeda)

© 2013 by Boinkaz. Image used under Wikimedia Creative Commons license.


6 thoughts on “Long Poems

  1. FlutePlayer says:

    1948 Palestine.
    Bering land bridge.
    Wanderer in God’s land.
    Political borders.
    Social mobility.
    C’est la vie.

  2. Melissa Diem says:

    I really like your writing. The rich and unexpected details of the poems 🙂

  3. Chrissy says:

    Fantastic writing.

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