Genius Grant


Genius Grant: A Hateful Sestina


Any idiot can get a genius grant,

But beers, I hear, better facilitate true fellowship

Next up: the chattering infomercial Tik-Tok craft talk

while the world vertiginously wobbles on its teensy tenure track

and sends the species back to the mud and clay workshop

at the end of its wild and dissonant residency.


The rotten miasma of overly long human residency.

Lee was beaten by that genius, Grant

At the melodramatically quiet sincerity-italics workshop

And the young scribbling things, angling for fellowships

dream ravenous dreams of luscious tenure track

If they can just pull off that “EZ-epiphanies 4 U” craft talk.


The furious green sequins approach the sleeping gluestick of ideas about a craft talk

to try to establish an in-brain permanent residency.

Unmarked no-terrain vehicles screech violently off the fairy-dusted tenure track.

The head cockatoo, a rockabilly cavalier, gets an avian genius grant

for eating sweetbreads and tobiko on his year-long fellowship

while drawing infinitesimal ineffables on the table in the devil’s workshop.


This will be a “learning to please the teacher” workshop

to be followed by a “only thing that comes from the heart is blood” craft talk.

A lemming wants an ocean view for its exclusive residency.

I’m offended it’s not a “gal-pal-ship” instead of a “fellowship.”

It’s not that I’m not a natural genius, grant

-ed, but I’m also not into skating blithe figure eights along the slippery tenure track.


Did you say “manure” track? “Tenor” track? “Tin ear” track? Ah no, you said “tenure track.”

You gotta work to shop, you gotta work to shop, work to shop, work work work, workshop.

Her loose phlegm thickly encrusted with emphatically asserted identities won her a genius grant!

A crafter can craft a craft with found materials, sure, but can that crafter’s crafted craft talk?

Is that a recency? an iridescency? an indecency? a degeneracy?  oh, right, it’s a residency

that requires being felt up in the flowchart of a febrile, feckless, fiercely highfalutin feckin’ fellowship.


A glowing green Luna Moth fellowship.

A glinting diamond-sliver tenure track

A sonorous shoehorn residency.

A latent blatancy workshop.

A milky orange craft talk.

A bluish-orange genius grant.


When olives retch knowingly slithering homewards on pills: workshop!

Can rabbits always fake testimony to all living kvetchers? Craft talk!

Genuine energy needs inner upper solidity going right around no time!  Now may I please have my genius grant?

Not Being Quite Like Other People

not being quite like other people

I slither out of the apartment



like a Paratodon

the dinosaur of the moment


into the hammered alloy

and the molded plastic

of the built world


oy vey – lights

of the twinkling city

on the curving planet


where jobs come and go

physical beauty fades

and markets rise and fall


as mealy as penises

in their greed canopy –

discursively, like brats


sung in a low

with flops and fumes

along a jaded mass


but unattacked and rubbed

against their fate –

they’re hip like cuneiform


down the greed tongue

out of the boring gum

into a glorious slump –


they’re bone.





midway through my life

for the second time

everything’s destabilized


it’s a given –

like hush money

to pornstars


sounds of subway moving

a luxurious concerto –

these head-bent strangers


swiping images of light




“I alone can fix this”

the little blond strongman

in the solar plexus


bouncing shrimp off trump, too


chameleon hatches bright turquoise

crawling, crawling

out of the egg


I didn’t do it I didn’t do it says the train

Sheherazade or Krishna

in brown spots on the door


and a bison-shaped wall smear…



What might it actually mean

to live my life

as I want to live it?


Pale strawberries pushing out of a voice

Pale strawberries

pushing out

a voice





This is the fancy street

next stop, fecund avenue

awash in electro-beats


studiedly, people amuse themselves

as they know how,

knocking back beverages


my foot swells up…like a foot


why y’all like MAYA so much


Friday night:

he walks a white borzoi

through the F train


She stops to stare

at the closet simulation

in the organization store


shoes with rivets

but no laces –

“relationship” such a cold word.


neutral dull palette

in a world where only looks



in the past,

beloveds came to me

so surely


with a kind of sleek magic –

a miniature dachshund

like a dik-dik


but metaphors

I guess

are easier than marriages


either way

two disparate things

forced together




why go out?

stay in!

away from head-bent strangers.


something’s masquerading

as an umeboshi

on the train floor


never again will I romanticize

our usual spots

in New York City


I sit alone

with pursed lips, aware

of my eccentricities


It’s foggy outside.

Dutifully, invisibly,

I do my kegels


My head –

so heavy

like a lavender mask


My head a lightbulb

radiating pink





Train stops in the tunnel

just after a drunk woman

has suddenly puked


a woman with a ponytail

and strong thighs eats

an egg sandwich


tech guy with black earbuds

clenches his backpack

between his shins


I call my past love

into my attention

and give him a baleful look


A woman holds her coffee cup, covered,

to her mouth, as if

she’s praying to it


A vulture stands next to a hat


People are super-strange birds

with necks.


The sidewalk grimaces

with its grids and teeth


I say by way of painful critique.


I sing a single word: “it”

Quavering a little


I’ll keep unmatching

until the lion’s mane

is gone.


Phlegm pools in lungs.


I’m tired of looking at men’s faces.


I see your handsome face dissolve

into a one-eyed puppet.


And the eyes are also on bananas–

are they the high masters of history

or something?


fish sauce smell on the back of my thumb


I’ll have a sharp lamb jerky – metallic squeak.


It’s sarcastic in a bulb –

his highness

in your spot kingdom


never endorse this president

in my culture


I feel offensive.

I’m having 35 minutes worth

of processing.


Spilled gravy on the label

I think GOD knows how to do it


It’s from the salmon man

in question –

the purse development fathers


Playing a rat game.


He died recently –

without VIKINGS –



otherwise and chrysanthemum


Bye little kazoo,

that was on – the maximum?

It’s simple


The thing is, I was hungry

This is excellent in our dreaming.


In the situation with birds, no choice!

I’ve been writing words, consecutive words

with a cat thing:


it is happening.


I understand you are coming from an altitude

of words


I understand you are coming from the attitude

of words


on the egg hold

of this latin poison,

a warble of flood rainbows.



these baby boomers
these anxious millennials
water in a stream


while in a gold room
Ivanka clips her toenails
with a gold clipper


secret service men
in dark suits and sunglasses
under pink blossoms


Cherry tree crotches
and crotches of aides


wet, open, toothless,
rosy mouths of infant ghosts
pink as cherry blossoms


Flat wet petals -ha!
What have the blossoms to do
with Ezra’s ranting?


Culture appropriated
for a famous line of verse


In a dark subway tunnel
Pink plum blossoms on my skirt
Aspiring to spring


pink goldfish cherub planters
fragility of all things


(my verses extracted from Mel Nichols’ Cherry Blossom Renga, composed on facebook)