Anselm Berrigan



For Lorenzo and my father


Blam. Voices, bad lock,

a red sun going down.

The Fourth is a death

day again, anniversary

of a thing better felt

than sung most years.

Applause, like simple

insistence, might come

rigged, but not when

chosen as the word

to celebrate a birth

or made part of a skill

& then to pass it along

is a pleasure. His poems

being measured, sure,

enough to fend

for that mind's need

to make shapes on

more than one level

and so, anyone's.

I like their company

thinking about these

guys today. And to hear

lights exploding to make

plain a little age, a little

more at any rate

could almost fool me

as divine. Passing along

forms is surviving. Bodies

don't need to be present.






Jim Brodey


Fire escape slashes feet dude

But thanks for the intro to nudie

Mags & staying all day sitting


To be pointed in the direction

Of acid nail-biting and told to go

& to go, sad, away from the repeating


Myth straight to someone else's

Typewriter commanding you to get

It together and type up your hundreds


Of poems, argh. Who cares? Endless

Shrimp, for one. "The truth" that only

The disapproving understand so well


They can't begin to convey how hard

It is to be difficult around the appropriate

Children cook you broccoli though


And if scared at rented silence and big

Trash bags of blues tapes, defend that

Let me be after you're dead plus fuck


You plus I don't fucking electric lights

Scraping knowledge off the sky and love

It's toxic residue, bad skin, pork marriage


Who'll ever let me sit, whatever. Peter

Poking me in belly and asking about my

Cherry, some Naropa sicko predicting


Mother death, a junkie trying to mail me

A soccer ball and allowance made me less

Nice to you, meaning not speaking, than


I should have been, but I was what, thirteen?

So fuck it. Be looking for your star if the sky

Shows one anytime soon. Get me in for free.




To K


I'd be walking down the street interviewing myself—questions felt, unspoken answers articulated with measure lifted from interviews I'd read—& I'd read the tonalities into my voices in my head. This was, and is, how I communicate with myself much of the time. Uninterrupted consciousness began at four, when I started reading. I was prepared for Ted's death, without a word to its possibility having ever been plainly spoken in my direction. I don't care to explain that, other than to say it wasn't special, and that I was probably so prepared because he himself was, and I received that through his general calm, being what I mainly felt in his presence other than the times he'd get mad if the fifth sandwich or the right kind of pastry wasn't coming. When Kate was killed I went blank for about a year-and-a-half, a state I couldn't recognize until three or four years after having moved out of it.




To manage the inevitable with aplomb


Tired of feeling crawled

upon. Put options signal

a crash, or several. Do I

argue for reality's under-

pinning to dissolve?

Is faith in stability

preferable to the truth?

Covered with bites and

a need to scratch. I'm

learning how to observe

little moments of stress.

O science of indifferent

self-assessment, have your

suave plastic strawberry

heads entering rain been

darkened by no conspiracy?