Excerpt for Inconveniences Rightly Considered by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


rightly considered

poems from 2005 - 2017


lancelot schaubert

ft. “Holy Saturday” by T. A. Giltner

copyright © 2017

Lancelot Schaubert

cover image “adventure awaits!” by Zach Disner

used in compliance with his creative commons

attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

ISBN: 9781521816615

For Doug

Who liked some

For Karl

Who liked some more

For Jessie

Who unfortunately liked them better than any other thing I've done

And for the Unclave

Who said as much, but asked for them in writng

In Defense of Poetry

Sometimes the best things happen by a strange-but-steady sequence of happy accidents: inconveniences, rightly considered. This one is about a decade in the making, give or take a few years. But it's a story that needs the telling because if it were up to me and my own efforts and preferences, this book never would have existed:

At the Writer Unboxed Unclave writers' retreat of 2015 (I kind of wish I had more words to put in the title -- Wordstravaganza? Manuscrivening? Reperstory? Storiginating rest machine?)... anyways at this retreat thing Momma L.J. Cohen, Momma Barbara Morrison, and Momma Gretchen Riddle all three told me I should assemble a book of my poems and lyrics. Three music producers in Brooklyn said the same thing shortly afterwards. People like Jessie Weis and Karl Mitchell have said for years that they prefer my poetry and songs to my other work, a weird kind of unintended-yet-still-backhanded compliment that made me say, "Thanks, but that stinks since I've invested more time into oral storytelling, fiction, screenwriting, and nonfiction." I thought it was unfair: the thing I spent the least time on was the favorite of some of my closest readers.

As it turns out, that's not entirely true -- I have spent a large amount of time practicing poetry over the last ten years or so. And Jessie and Karl were right, in one sense, to prefer it.

I started out writing poems to my future wife in letters in highschool, transitioned to journals, and then blogging as a college freshman prompted by Michelle Johnson of Poefusion (wherever in the world she is these days--the internet was a weird place even early on kind of like how Neverland may age but never lose its fairies and pirates). Because of those early habits, when I get stuck between projects or struck by some unexpected beauty like a random set of fountains in the courtyard between two skyscrapers, I'll pull out my journal and write a few lines of a verse. Sometimes it's just to take down an image and its corresponding metaphor. For instance, a bit of fog left behind a car beneath a streetlight at midnight and no sign of any vehicle for miles around:

Ghost car?

Angel farts?


Yes, maybe poetry.

Sometimes this combined with assignments for Rev. Doug Welch's or Dr. Tom Lawson's classes would yield an inordinate amount of time on a villanelle or a sonnet. Sometimes a client would ask for a spoken word piece (ick!) or better yet, an ode or sonnet for someone close to them. Sometimes a superior songwriter would ask for help on their lyrics or a children's picture book author who knew nothing about meter would give me a call and I would delight in utterly destroying their manuscript. Whatever you think of the lasting impact of Dr. Suess, you must admit that anapestic tetrameter is a BEAR to write. A rabid one.

Most of the time it was me sharing things with the soon-to-be Dr. T. A. Giltner, who had invariably written something very similar to mine almost at the same moment I had written my own. Or bantering over a line with Rev. Kyle Welch (Doug's very-younger brother) who to this day puts up with my incessant barrage of manuscripts upon his email server. Without long suffering men like these, a writer buries most of his work. And even with them, I've buried a good deal of my own on a hard drive or under a mattress or even permanently in that massive fireplace we had in the cottage on Emperor road. The one the felled oak tore in twain.

In other words, many of what Professor Matt Proctor might call my "spare change minutes" over the years have ended up devoted to the mixing of metaphors to the tune of meter, verse, and rhyme.

And after awhile, the meter started to show up even in random drafts of children's books like the still-yet-to-be-sold "Harry Rides the Danger" which is about Mark Neuenschwander's (of 9art Photography's) son or "Shrackle Seeds" which is something like Carroll's Jabberwocky. It started to show up during my years as an editor when I reformed the poetry of clients. It even started to show up again in my marriage -- in little notes or letters or things hidden behind kitchen cabinet doors.

In that time, I sold some poems to various small magazines, but I stopped submitting fairly early on for two reasons --

(1) Poetry pay is crap. It's disgusting how little we pay our poets. Did you know a poet helped incite the Ukrainian revolution? Yeah, that would never happen in America these days. We've deferred the future of our language to Top 40 vapidity and advertising jingles.

(2) I have no interest in trying for laureate or whatever first because I would never make it and second because I value the lay poet as much as I value restoring the role of singing to the common man. We are a lyrically suppressed society as much as we are a vocally suppressed one -- and that idea comes to me by way of the songwriter and musician, Nicholas Zork, here in New York City (I think he's in Harlem these days). To revolt against vocal and lyrical suppression in the public sphere is to revolt against the worst parts of Americana, jingoism, and the imperial cult which thrives on brain drain and the gutting of our culture.

Then I sold a poem and an article to the 2016 Poet's Market randomly (the biggest advances in any author's career are often the most random, which shows that you really do have to be ready in season and out of season). Poets came out of the woodwork within my immediate sphere of influence to ask me questions as if I'm some expert when I'm really just fumbling my way along like the rest of you. It really wasn't a huge sale, all things considered, but it was a statistically significant anomaly simply by way of the poets it swept in its wake. So if nothing else the email fallout was something, I suppose.

But it truly felt doubly strange to me seeing as how (1) I'm a dilettante and (2) I have zero interest in becoming a professional poet moving forward. My role -- like your role -- must be that of restoring poetry's prominence in every home and every pub and every church and every barbershop.

And yet people have asked me about this subject. A lady messaged me last night for advice and two nights before that, the same. Why? Why would you do this? Why not email David Lee or C.D. Wright or Eugene Peterson or Berry or Wiman or Poe's gravestone in Baltimore or something?

They do it because poetry is a layperson thing and I'm the one layperson they happen to know who has invested time in this. That's it, it's nothing more, it's nothing astounding, nothing miraculous or noteworthy -- I'm their equivalent of the local blacksmith, the local tinker, the local tailor. I'm the poet they know and the best example of this comes from a street artist here in Brooklyn as well as my barber.

The street artist is named Appleton. He does these wheat pastings of insulin bottles. As a type one diabetic, Appleton hit it off with my wife immediately and I interviewed him for the piece Sitting at the Feet of Type One Diabetes. Shortly after, he asked me to do street art with him and though I'm no visual artist, he pressed me a bit to consider what I'd do. "Could you hang some poems?" I asked.

"Basquiat did that man. That's a good idea."

And so a devious collaboration started. One that would involve New York Subways and walls and would involve my words and Appleton's penchant for ornery behavior.

Meanwhile in Sunset Park, I continued further in my quest to become one of the pillars of the neighborhood -- not someone participating actively in gentrification, but someone who participates in what Gordon Ventruella calls cultural agility and situational awareness, the sort of chameleon adaptability that moves beyond survival and into the realm of solidarity. In short, I started learning Spanish in earnest and offering to tutor the illiterate and give to the poor and finally spending a lot of time in local organizing groups and hangout spots. One of them is a barbershop owned by a barber named Eric who has lived here his whole life. He spends every other Saturday night hefting those old barber chairs out of the way, setting up speakers, turning on the beats and letting people freestyle hip hop, beat box, perform new songs, and read some poetry.

I asked him if I could try some.

The last poetry reading I'd done was for a short film. A mic. No live audience.

He said, "Sure."

Took two weeks for me to take to the mic.

When I finally did, I found those guys -- my neighbors -- to be the single most receptive audience I have ever read for. More than any professor, any writing group, any theater. They care. They care because hip hop saved them and the neighborhood from what Eric calls "bombed out buildings." And they're no respecters of styles and fashions and forms: I'll read a spoken word piece and then a classical ode or a sonnet, both in the same hip hop rhythm, both in the same night, and they don't care. I read stuff that was written in Old English alliterative meter and it went over fine. One of the guys, a great dude named J.R., says, "More words, Lancelot. We just need more words."

Anyone that tells you poetry's dead, dying, or irrelevant has obviously never been to Brooklyn.

That's why out of curiosity tonight, a curiosity prompted by the slow culmination of steady nudges from several other writers I respect -- authors like Ellie Ann and Momma Therese Walsh who are much farther down the road than I am, I dug into my archive to see if there's enough for a book of poems from the last ten years.

The first thing I did was to refuse to copy/paste anything that was obviously atrocious, obviously unsavable, poems that I should leave in this great sea of hard drives to drown forever like some dark and secret naval scheme. Then I copied and pasted anything that vaguely interested me to see how much we had to play with.

Much of what I've left alone was published in small-run self-pubbed books like "Whispers in Green" way back when Labiakgneta "Novel for a Name" Zaidarzauva hand-drew me covers and Marilyn "Andretti" Wiggins bought up copies to encourage me. I still have a feeling that those books will come back to haunt me some day, but I leave them and the first poem I published in my high school's paper on my "Published Works" list because it's important for young authors to see an unbroken line of progress from childhood to adulthood, the catalyst of the work of duty required of us by some high school instructor that radiates outward to the work of love that ends up having mass effect in the professional world.

Having left out the nonsense, I STILL found a way to climb this very early and rather raw document up to 80,000 words of poetry (and climbing even as I wrote this). For those who don't work in word counts, it's longer than the first Harry Potter but just a hair shorter than To Kill A Mockingbird. This was absurd to me. I had no idea there was so much. Then again, one of my mentors Randy Gariss always says, "We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in five." How much more for over the course of a decade?

Well, I copy-pasted more over the following weeks, and added the first draft of a book of self-published poetry to my very full slate for 2016, with plans to revise it towards publication for 2017. After the first pass I got it down to 60k, then after gutting more poems and lines, I whittled it down to 48,600 words which lives up to brother Doug Welch's constant exhortation, "Good. Now half as long," which is a quote from A River Runs Through It.

Some will think 48k is still overkill, that it's excessive, verbose, whatever. Christian Wiman finds collected poetry compilations offensive since he thinks poetry is so rare -- he says this as the former editor of Poetry magazine who had to reject manuscript after manuscript, so deepest sympathies and sincerest gratitude to brother Wiman. You must remember: I am filtering. I am trimming it down from a near-six-figure wordcount. Wiman thinks it's arrogant to do anything but assemble a handful of carefully crafted poems around a very targeted theme. I think I know what he means: moments of rapture are rare.

But then again I don't think poetry's the problem.

It's not poems per se that make rapture rare.

Certainly not an abundance of poems. If so, why would the same folk say that poetry's dying and "can live on very little?" How can poetry be BOTH so unpopular that it's uncommon for anyone to write it and yet so popular that it's too common to find true poetry?

As Chesterton said, "The world doesn't suffer from a lack of wonders but a lack of wonder." It's not that poetry's rare. It's that we rarely have an eye for it. It's not that we have too many poems -- I stand with those who say we have too few. Rather, it's that we have too few moments where we actually rise to the title of Poet. It's not that the world, in short, needs more enchantment. It needs more enchanters. It simply needs more of us who know how to cast read magic and who have knowledge both arcane and divine. With all due respect to Wiman, a terrible poet may write a terrible poem and submit it to Poetry magazine. A good poet like Wiman may become the editor of Poetry and reject that terrible poem from publication, deferring to the ones he prefers, and arguing for the elusiveness of poetry per se.

But a great poet would find rapture in the ugly and the disfigured and even in the abyss. And as the author of My Bright Abyss, I would think that Wiman would have applied that thinking to his own discipline, but perhaps if entitlement exists at all it exists for our own titles. Perhaps the one thing apologists defend most is their own syllogisms and apologies. So I wonder if it's possible to find poetry in a bad poem? After all, there's something poetic even about the smell of a nursing home, of those bright souls dying in obscurity and anonymity precisely because the world that benefitted so much from their labors now finds them inconvenient.

In another sense, an inconvenient old, horrible, local poet hanging out at some crappy diner in a ghost town, rightly considered, is a bright and lonely human soul.

So I really don't care if you think this manuscript is too big and that includes this 4,600-word introduction that's more a defense of poetry than it is anything like preparation for what follows. These are simply the poems I've written in my twenties -- at least the ones that can overcome the gravity of my own embarrassment and get airtime for the better half of a minute. With luck, a decent chunk of them will take flight. And with your advocacy, some of those poems will make intercontinental journeys.

With providence, maybe -- just maybe -- one of these poems might break the stratosphere and join the stars one day.

Maybe that's what Wiman meant? Classic poems?

Who cares, he won't read this. And in any case, whether any of these poems lingers is not for Christian Wiman or me or my family and friends or even you to decide.

I have zero commitment to the success of this book by any metric. I won't care if no one reads it. I'm doing this as a layman who believes that poetry should be circulated in small groups among friends just like how we should sing together at the end of a long dinner. Your family doesn't sing together at the end of a long dinner? Your family doesn't have long dinners? Your family doesn't sit down at the dinner table once a day? Make haste: start the tradition.

If anything, I'm trying to offer my friends what Amy León and Richard Prins have offered to me over the last two years -- poetry shared in the midst of the everyday. We have found common things at last, said Chesterton, and marriage and a creed and I may safely write it now and you may safely read. I look for the return of the common poet as surely as I look for the return of the butcher, the baker, the fowler, the cooper. Were not the bards once equal with kings? Did not Luther say, "If you can be a preacher, why stoop to be a king?"

Well what if you can be a poet?

It is a job for each of us, in the wee hours of the night or the small hours of the day, to "create a language the unborn may dare to speak," as C.D. Wright would have it. Write poetry and sing in public and we might steal back what the American insecurity and obsession with comfort stole from the Irish and Arab and Italian and Native American and Jewish German communities. We may reemerge lyrically and vocally literate, no longer gagged and muzzled.

In short, thanks for those few of you who have pushed me to -- quite literally -- my wit's end. That is, for those who pushed my mind towards the final cause -- the ends, not the means -- of Wit.

For those still wondering why in the name of Calliope would you publish a book of poems, Lance? There's one last reason: duty. The soldier must at least defend. The painter must at least discover new ways of combining pigment and lighting. The writer must at least create that language the unborn may dare to speak. English has suffered an assault of ten thousand compromises. We have given our word-birthing and word-begetting over to the petty portmanteau of copywriters -- explain to me just how in the hell "entreporneur" makes the porn business acceptable? And if it does (it doesn't, but if it did), is that a net win for society? As a recovering copywriter myself, I can say with confidence this forfeiture of language creation to businessmen may be the greatest linguistic crime of the millennia -- on par with N.S. in word history section of any given etymology in the dictionary or the creations of the term "non-persons" by Stalin. We have given our etymology over to the politicians and lobbyists. We have sold out our language's birthright to the revisionist histories of power mongers and the new pornographers and are left with little more than pop culture for its creation -- left with less than even Esau's bowl of soup. Luckily, the R&B crowd and the horniness of high school students strike upon a new vein of semiotics several times every year, but our language is on life support at best.

At worst, it's comatose and hemorrhaging.

Where are you, poets?

Relegated to those dungeons owned by all of the above, forced to write with a gun to their head, hiding in the hip hop hollows that masquerade as barbershops and bakeries. There was a time when poetry -- hell, when singing itself -- was something expected of all English speakers. Our vocally suppressed society and, in equal measure, our lyrically suppressed society measures our songs not by what they offer posterity but by their catchiness, not by their depth but by the contagion hidden within their own vapidity. People read no more poetry because they've cut out their poetic ligature--the language they've created offers no backstage suspension from which to hang new words, let alone to manifest the magical flight that accompanies said strings.

I believe in shaping English for the better because I love her just like I believe in shaping my wife's character for the better because I love her. I don't claim to be good at either. I don't aspire to win awards for my work towards either end. I don't anticipate income through publishing or publicizing either. I doubt even the majority of my readership will get their hands on this volume and fewer still will hear of the private stories created by me and my wife. There remains room for reticence in both quests: the hardest part of Frodo's journey is the lonely, quiet road.

I claim to merely do my duty, to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the law of the poet.

For better or worse, this is some of the contribution I made to tomorrow's English speakers from 2005–2017, from age 18 to age 30. It's my duty as a common -- as your local -- poet to publish it. Which also means it's your duty to filter out the dross (i.e. most of the words in this book) and let the world know if you found any gold in here. Our culture depends on this -- not only in this book, but in all of the books of all of our poets.

Thanks for being relentless in the reading of my work. I'll continue to be relentless in the writing of it.

As for the title, I've named the volume "Inconveniences Rightly Considered" for four reasons. The first and most obvious I must blame, as always, on Chesterton.

G.K. Chesterton wrote a very short piece that everyone should read entitled On Chasing After One's Hat in which he argues that an adventure is really a matter of perspective and traveling companions, not a destination or a time slot or a reason for travel. His typical one-liner from that piece goes, "An inconvenience, rightly considered, is an adventure. An adventure, wrongly considered, is an inconvenience." In that spirit, the spirit articulated above, these poems come from my adventures over the last decade.

they also come from having rightly considered all of my inconveniences. That definition of adventure is also a wonderful definition of poetry. I say this as a romantic in the old sense of the word, as someone attempting to build upon Inkling and neoplatonic thought, as someone whose every contact with the world sends out further spores of mystery and chivalry, bee and his pollen, love and the court that follows after her. After all, the damsel's distress had nothing to do with needing saving and everything to do with the internal turmoil of her mind as it attempted to seek the higher in the midst of the every day. She was distressed not because she was in a tower and needed a prince, but because it's hard work to rightly consider the inconvenient. Again, Chesterton from his book on Blake:

"We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding vapours, these are the daily weather of this world. Whatever else we have grown accustomed to, we have grown accustomed to the unaccountable. Every stone or flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand...."

At the intersection of those two Chesterton quotes lies this book of poems. In life, you come across inconveniences all the time -- a stone in your shoe, a raincloud over your morning walk (in Brooklyn, a drizzle seems a downpour when endured for thirty blocks), a flower petal in your eye, a loose baby tooth, gallstones that pass and come out in the shape of fool's gold. When these things happen, you have two choices -- annoyance or reverence. Those who treat the inconveniences of this world, the nuisances and trials, the bothers and pains with reverence -- there lie your adventurers, your romantics, your poets. Everything truly is a hieroglyphic, a prop in the midst (and mist) of this great and eternal drama we find ourselves within, something we are certain to misunderstand without the proper key.

And that includes the bad poems brother Wiman rejected.

Poetry, for me, has been one of these keys to unlock the inconvenient -- even inconvenient, lesser poems that I do not like and cannot "get." Poetry's not the skeleton key, of course, but it is something like a key to the foyer. Poetry, when done well, unlocks the bothers and nuisances of everyday life, sometimes through observation, sometimes through participation, never through willful ignorance and disengagement. Poetry begs us to engage with the world around us, to discover the story and the world hidden in every little thing, to delve into that Inside which is surely deeper and higher and broader than any outside, let in The Light through that crack in everything, and call us further Up and further In.

Which is also the third thing: my methodology. I do not write a poem unless I find myself rightly considering some inconvenience in my day-to-day. Of the poems I have written, I have not kept one in here unless, upon rereading, the poem itself helped me to consider some inconvenience aright once more. And that means that I also find this whole volume to be terribly inconvenient for my professional schedule but also, rightly considered, something like an adventure -- I have had to turn these poems over and again in my mouth like the pebble that wards off hunger. And I find myself a little less starved now that I've finished.

But the last reason?

The last reason is that "inconvenience, rightly considered" is another word for Epiphany. Once the wisest men in the world found themselves inconvenienced by the omens in the stars and the events on their calendar books, but rightly considering it all they went to Bethlehem. There they found another inconvenience: an unexpected pregnancy that resulted in a toddler. Rightly considered, the boy became the Epiphany of epiphanies, the inconvenience of inconveniences that rings all considerations until they tune out right. The more I puzzled that out, the more I discovered this book's structure -- the poems naturally started sorting themselves into the seasons of the ecclesiastical calendar. However, unlike most books arranged by the church calendar, we will begin with Easter and end with the Black Sabbath. My reasoning will be explained in the final section, which ends -- and indeed the whole book ends -- not with one of my poems but with one of T.A. Giltner's for his is better and truer to the theme and therefore more fitting for a finale.

The names of the sections -- something like my tale of contents -- are:

  • Language and its Irreducible Complexity on the Ecclesiastical Full Moon

  • Penance in Eastertide

  • Beyond the Mountain for a Week of Weeks

  • The Solemnity of Elemental Weaves

  • Is Your Mind Meaningless? And other thoughts to mind in ordinary time...

  • The Gentry Moved in on Halloween

  • The Jester's a Herald? Wait... Wait a minute: did The Lord invent laughter?

  • Holidays

  • Inconveniences, Rightly Considered

  • Looking into the Abyss while Chewing Glass (and the Abyss Stares Back)

  • Black Sabbath

Here, at the mixing of metaphors and the spelunking of steel bricks and the flight of gravitation, we'll find the door opening beyond our before into something...


Now consider, with me, how...

-- Lancelot Schaubert
King's Park (Long Island)
New York
26 December 2015
as the sun sets, having hidden
behind the sky's greying hair

Language and its Irreducible Complexity on the Ecclesiastical Full Moon


originally published in the 2016 Poet's Market

...the Germanic tribes
had a word

meaning "marsh,"

but it sounds like "book."

I've wondered whether

brauchen – "to


or "digest"

– is related to bruch...

For our world's stomach

acid eats


away from

stones, anxiety

beats us, erodes... or

uses us


how The Brook

deltas Marshland's clothes.

Old English men came

to use broc:


in a marsh.

And new words arose:

The Poet tramps through

the marsh then


to help his

Misses cook a meal,

drops a plate down

on a stone


shattered, it

reminds him of broc.

He points. Says, "Broc." Writes.

His village cites.



stops. Revises its source:

Broke. (A word is born).

Words: fountain


then mouth. One

spank, then follows sound.

One life-giving muse,

one ruin:


(marsh's veins)

broke (penniless; pain)

We come to now, to

towns how named,


-s splitting?


We ask our burrow:

what is this?


Oh what will you be,


my Brooklyn?


For Eugene Peterson

( who claimed to have liked it once )

(( hopefully I didn't edit out the parts you liked, wherever you are ))

Poetry, sweet poet's vain abusing of the form

comes from our first language


For there are three, no more, no less

Three ways we speak in space-time:


Third motivates, pushes, irrigates thoughts

Reaping where others sowed.

How? Why?


Second informs, describes, fills minds with sounds

Giving us names for things

When? Where? What?


But the first comes from our ancient womb

Our mother's amniotic tomb

Where we grew for Whom?


That cry when doctor spanked to awake

For him, for her, for pity's sake


That sigh when mother held us close

We suckled, cuddled, dandled there


Our coos, her caws, grandma's high-pitch wail

Grandson rides forth in his onesie mail

Other Granny smirks


Sweet giggles, gurgles, baby faces

Groaning moans of sorrow's bedside


Dad wept loud, mother sighed, holding close

We suckled, cuddled, dandled there


Yes, the first isn't unlike

names nothing, claims nothing for itself


No, the first is not like the others

She has no name or claim for herself


She's a tie tween you and I

A mother's sigh when all else whelps


She's the speech of poetry, a YAWP, a prayer,

A knowing grunt at failure or triumph.

A nod hello.

To Jack Across the Sea

We two met in the one Irish

New York pub known and still run

by Eires like you. Our talking it

turned up tragic: tuition, writers from

the thirties rotting. These thoughts comic, these

Interrupted oral momentums:

translucent roofs true to Spiderman,

blurred and iron // blank and fragile--

clichés are the things clinging life to

life and we make light of phrases

but are aesthetics made for easy friends?

When I say "Oh that's cliché"

I forget it undergirds life,

How "Don't Murder" deems being

Beats non-being. Be cliché, Jack,

And mend the maxims. Maximize the facts

For truism acts. Trace the shapes

Of truer beings -- tissue and pencil

-- Until their manner tunes you right

And let light come to loves you keep

Back in the brackish breezes of Ireland.


When night sex--lips to lips--

When wind hits open hands--
When whitecaps wash right over feet
that stand on laundered sands.

When chocolate after fasts--
When noodles for the poor--
When children who have found their meal
will beg summore, summore.

Mere inches from the lawn
my nose--on what's been mowed--
Or bottled wines and siloed grains
when smell of what's been sowed.

When symphonies unsung
before the present time.
When sudden lyrics overheard
disclose a metric rhyme.


My current shuffled mix

of songs tells stories:

Alabama, I won't let you down.

Buffalo soldier falling off the face of the earth.

Alberta, be not silent.

Hold on closer to the sun.

Life before aesthetics sparks late bloomer.

Not enough eyes on the prize.

Brooklyn with your highest wall towards the sun.

Harvest moon. Sister falling... parachutes.

You and me shiver.

Every passing day, Steven, we never change.

Mirianne miracle-cursing Pope Killdragon.

I live in your ghost before you accuse me.

Thunderbird--wade through the night, unknown legend.

Leave it all behind; carry the weight.

Such a woman out on the weekend one of these days.

Wise Old Owl kill Dragon.

Saint Cecilia, hold me near. Sharpest blade? Crash into me.

Broken hospital like minded fool: right on time.

Matinee bound to this world from Hank to Hendrix.

Layla, this and that open my hands.

Curbside--isn't it poetry?

Grandma Mary, head home.

Words? Fears? Beautiful boys and girls? A man needs a maid--let it go.

If you are the writer, that's how strong my love is.

Some mixtapes ring truer than others.

Mearcstapa in Emmerson's River of Man

find me in the river of thought and event

carried by the current of contemporary men

see me stack their pebbles higher into my modern wall

damming up their river into my waterfall

genius ain't meaningless

its genus is in genes from us

we can't be me

till me ain't we

original hearts make original starts

so take art, take heart

take it from from me:

you be you be you be

not me

mankind's eyes look onward unto my journey's end

church-reared, war-bearded, floured by what two states can give one another

between them strike my railroad, armistice reinstall

turn all their wood and iron into my shared prayer shawl:

come and pray together

come and play together

The human race went out before me

sunk the hills and bridged the rivers

men and nations, poets, sinners.

Women, slaves, kings and skinners

raise our wave, our tide of winners

from the cave of new beginners:

Anne Franks from Jewed Berliners,

Skywalked Lukes from Rancor dinners,

Jonah from the Lochness innards,

raucous bars bring Cohen, Leonards,

Shakespeares from the novel skimmers,

Beowulf from channel swimmers.

Our reception stacks the tinders,

starts the spark, and stokes the cinders –

worlds inspire us when they hinder

(Spring: it marinates in Winter).

All the pain and baggage triggers

of the world's eventful river--

let it pass to you from mirrors

through your mind and let it linger,

dim the lights, oh dimmer, dimmer...

Find one thought and let it simmer,

sifting through the world's litter:

when it hits it sends a shiver

up the spine and in the liver.

From mankind, the you considers

what your soul alone delivers.

Stack your pebbles in their river.

find me in the river of thought and event

carried by the current of contemporary men

see me stack their pebbles higher into my modern wall

damming up their river into my waterfall

Mystery of Seeing

When works of men have culminated in our ruddy sky,

When widows lay there destitute, abused in public eye

When we renew a simple call, a vain "hello, goodbye"

We all will trace it to our gaze. It is our evil eye.

At once translucent, sore confessions break from the blackened soil

Our Mystery will slowly see the root of Conan Doyle.

His whispers dimpled in our cheeks, his plots: tin torn from foil

And he is me, and we are he: all born from murder's toil.

But what if once our warbles silenced in the sounding sea?

What would become of ichor scents, of blinded potpourri?

If we would kill the vain suspense to turn from shade to trees,

Would ever any average man accept our bourgeoisie?

For if the middle class was next, and upper feigned the last

If poverty was possibly the first so quick and fast

Would tipsy-turvy works of men turn blue the ruddy sky?

Would widows change from destitutes to what we glorify?

But we can't see translucent pleas of guilt, of true avowals

It soils our brows with blister grime, and soaks our monogrammed towels

We drain it in the sight of sinners swimming in our bowels

To find we are the same as they: we consonants, no vowels

Yet once I heard of summer lads and lassies born of light

And once I saw a dimpled grin from renewed fallen knight

He took upon the bowels of earth, removed a vacant blight

And with it spawned the sons of God, and gave this blind man sight.


I wept to see the autumn

I cried to see the sun

It rose beneath a clouded sky when you and I were young

I felt our slow subtraction

in every missing post

we knew we ached for every mention of The Poet's ghost

in that profound distinction

we bled the blood of youth

before our insides flushed out dry we heard a cry of truth:

A sound, a growl of sovereign

The six-string strums again

His ballad flew down from the heavens, filling us within

Our blood changed into nectar

our guts reformed to glass

and every gold prospector found his treasure cove at last.

In that junkyard

In that junkyard,

Snow covered debris

Like a soggy blanket

On a screaming child's face


Winter spit in oilpans

stark, gelatin contrast

Plastic tarp

Covering yesteryear's lies

He's the owner

The loner

The scoffing man shown for what he is in his filth

We're no different.

But we do hide it quite well under the lip gloss.


How did it happen? How did the most

Important point and poem of sound

In our day indict dapper slices

Of itself and shrink slowly to the noise

Of phones buzzing? Petty to trade

The cuckoo clock or the bells

Of the belfry tower at the best hours

Of vigils and vespers or the violin my Great

Grandfather grabbed in the grey of dawn

To wake the women and the wider-eyed

Girls who had gone to the gossamer dreamlands

After they aimed amber shooters

At their mother's marbles and maybe she lost

Them as in later years when lights went off

In her mind's eye or the mixing swishes

Of the winter walk through wet snow

At an asinine hour to the outhouse door

Or the cheering crowds with their cheap beer

Showers shining at the shipping of balls

over the green outfield wall

To infinity from the finite. Find in me and drill

To the remnant of my ringings and require the miners

Of culture to core my cardiac sack

And my soul's one for the sake of the singing of old

Songs and their sounds. Seek this or, Dust,

Settle for the buzz and scuttle of locusts

That claim the culture's clanging moments.

Cold Fusion

At high enough speeds
rain on glass
itself to lightning.

The phrase "electrical
storm" means more
you've lived through
the deadliest twister.

Imagine: cyclones
inside one.
swap wind with

I bet if you asked
him nicely
Pecos Bill
would rope'n ride it.

Planes are so funny.

Penance in Eastertide

The Rings of Venus

The Platonists pilfered impossible thoughts

From the tiniest things. How the thinkers

Mind a mouse or a mellon and dream

Distillate dreams that drink of the fountain

Of joy and justice that enjambs a row

Boat into debates beautiful and sailing

Or infers the fern from the foundry's smelt

Singed gold leaf. See me hold

The metal handle of a mace whose

Head is the heaven of this hard earth

Some call a subway. Its scratches belie

Stories of summers when sudden lovers

Engaged in the glory of good intent

And the premarital moves like moons in orbit

Will vow a voyage that varies only by starting

Again at the gate of good intent

After straying and staying and striving to fight

To keep their flight coming home

To their virgin vows and the rings of Venus

Who reminds the man he's married and tames

The maiden's makeshift men whose pretend

Strength and statehood would shift them to a seduction

Of meaningless "manly." Manful bands

And engagement rings go around

And around the rigid rod on their commutes

And scar it with star searing and the heat

Of homeward bound. Or the hapless and loveless

Rust that chooses to rest itself at the top

And hope that Heaven has homes for the lone

Celibates and their silent study of the

Music Of The Spheres and their many rings.


The phone flings beeps, fingers respond

By typing tamely, or the thumbs clanking

I love you in laminated

Golden age .gifs or emojis

Like knot-tying nubs that fumble

Half-hitches the harbor uses

In the nightly fog. We never meant

To replace our prose with power cords

Or whisper with widgets. Where did the letters

Get sold like slaves shamed and whose faces

Masquerade mainly became

For the overconnected empire of event

Notifications and newer likes

And videos viral? Verily I say

That he who hardens harolds into song

Samplers is sunk. Surely I tell you

That texts take time and tinkering like all

Ancient tomes -- oh, honey, did you

Think I was talking of texting on the phone

Instead of study? Standards will change

But Canon keeps and communes and abbeys

Communicated mainly in manful and better

Ways like wonder and wayward sleeps

That end in dreams. Even the vow

Of silence ensures sanctifying

Exchanges of meaning whereas checking the red

Number of notifs does nothing much

for the major minds. Remember how Antony

Said of the Pope: "If my silence doesn't

Edify him, oh how will my speech?"

Caged Verse

The free verse leaves out the back of the line, aimlessly grieves until we hear it whining, wailing, singing for more, more, MORE. It has never paid nor gone without--a babe, a brat, a brawling rich twit.

But a verse that stalks

down her narrow lines

would never walk

through a crowd to dine

with her verses bared, unclothed.

Behind locked doors,

she opens her chest and sings.

The caged verse sings

downtrodden trills

of the hammerfells

on the windowsills

and her tune is heard

on the First-World hills, for the caged verse

sings through freedom.

The free verse floats, breezy, queezed by ethereal motion-sickness, a sickness that leads to his vomit on pages, he vomits and sees that all his might and all his dreams achieved no more than a dawn-bright antimeter in a world measured by metrics. And returning to his vomit, eats.

But a caged verse stands on the graves of pages

shadowed still by unsaid rages

her reservations mirror the actress:

smiling, though distressed.

The caged verse sings

downtrodden trills

of the hammerfells

on the windowsills

and her tune is heard

on a First-World hill for the caged verse

sings her freedom.

Dear Ozark Freshman Boy

You'll set out to save this sullied world

But the world it won't want the saving.

You'll choose to charter a change on the earth

But the earth it earned the old abyss

And its pain of unpleasure of purposeless clicks

Like clockworks corrupted. Cling to the other

clockworks' chimes: clean saving and

badder days blaming the rising

up of the earth on all of you.

If you want to weather the world and its stasis

You take time and tinker it up:

Broken cogs and brittle springs

Upward and inward on angel wings

Melting black marks to white

But the parson's grey pigeon feathers

Like a naked Franciscan -- are not we all

as nude as Francis? Nevertheless

Redemptive clockwork drains your winder

But it's worth the wait. When can the cool

Air of Elysium enter our stage

And dramaturge endure? Depends on the other

Actors and the aim of their aimless clock.

Making and mending. Maybe redemptive

Clockwork cleans not the cogs but the old

Watchmaker's heart, withering roots

Can bloom again and blackened logs

Tock to the tinker's time and value.

Saint Francis saw the church in

Ruins and reformed not the rites but himself.

The Righteous and Unrighteous Alike

Three hawks I saw & a crow on a day when the rain drizzled down from the shroud overcast on our hills, wings in spray, wings (brown tops, white bottoms, farmers's tans) weighed with water or now dripping, then dripping inken-black, now flinging ringlets of brackish wet as they dove into blades of the green or sopping crops (that needed those sky-slops) catching mouse-like-things-soggy in their mouths (beaks) and rising again to dead oak trees, truncated by light and fire or human hands in storms or for the "necessary evil" of power lines and waiting, waiting (three in the tree and the crow across the way) for the presence of life (life or lack thereof respectively) for a dive-dive-dive or a slow-flap after the remnants of overcast.

And I drive on past on the wet WW highway, double-yellow roadway upanddownandleftandright over runnels with far off woodlots pressing near and breaking out, flocking and parting and lighting (like I always envisioned a drive through The Shire might be) until crests the hill a red brick chapel with white-framed stained-glass and a white-box belfry capped in grey shingles indistinguishable from the asphalt heavens, grey gaps of God that break apart its peak into seen-unseen-seen-unseen and again seen until the cross tops veiled somewheres in them grey clouds, grey rain resetting the saturation scale of the world full to its factory setting.

Behind it, the cemetery of a small Missouri township of thirty-three homes.

Hawks and crow in the rain, thriving off of life and death and life again.

...wait, I'm sorry...

Rather, thriving off of


For Grandpa Schaubert, On His Eightieth

Like the time we made eight dozen swords

from scraps of short-term fences

like gardens grown in backyard troughs

require all five senses

like smells of Summerfest behind,

of corn dogs, sweets, Budweiser

like sounds of Glory up ahead,

of laughter, song, advisers

like sights of Gateway Arches,

woods, a Florida beach in winter

like tastes of dandelion wine,

of sawdust, sweat, the splinter

like feelings unrelated prior

to the time remembered

like stories told by fireside,

the zappers, s'mores and embers

are eighty thousand moments forged

of laughter, zeal and fable.

We're here to lap it up with you

as long as you are able.

Shrackle Seeds

"Sit down you Cack!"
The young Tish said
And tossled on the skrey

"I'll sit you hack!
When e're I please"
Said Mozzle to the prey

"You're blockin' view
of Glureon -
my source of tynsoday"

"I'll block and blind
and show you mozz
If you keep in my way!"

"My bag of shrackles
ranneth out
And not a splidget more!"

"Fill it with cackles
Dumb young rit!
Caprussule to the shore!"

So off went Tish
To Glureon,
A marnlin' in the reeds

And soon he came
Upon a qest
Of shrackle-spreading seeds.

"Oh sheer delight!"
The young tish said
"The shrackles will resume!"

And off he went
Back to the skrey
To end the old cack's gloom

When he arrived
The cack had died
A-shlouging in his chair.

He bowed and sighed
Tish Bowed and cried
to settle in despair.

As Tish's tears
Fell from his face
And settled in the Bag

A miracle soon
Took its place
To wave a hopeful flag

Light pouring down
From somewhere up
In cloud and sky above

Hit in the bag
To shrintle there
Out sprung a shrackle grove!

Soon then, it rained

with tynsoday

Upon the lifeless Hack

His fingers twitched

In joy Tish yelled

"Get up you lively cack!"

ランスロットの探求 (a heroic haiku)

Lance yawns

bed of leaves



Go. (cold air


enters in

foreign woods


blooms too:

hot, high, hardy.

takes light.

gets "Go,"

harvest of Goes


costs cuts:

cold air comes,

steals Goes.

back again:

bed of blooms


no more dead;

growing Man.


Inheritance: Part 1

Window in this darkened house

Three-feet by two-feet

Eight panes above their front door

Morning grey, images of

Wintered trees wander

in, framed by rules of thirds

But Phi also holds this light

Two-thirds in their lounge

Over entry way's one-third

It's not as simple as that

Math got left behind

But I am taunted to climb out the panes

Into worlds out there beyond glass

I've missed them in my work, writing of what the five-year-old

deep inside barely remembers...

Years passed

bare feet connected to my limber legs

wandered into the worlds lying just off

well-beaten trails (that

familiar meek feel of

inheriting the earth:

tender grass blades


In the Thirty-Third Year

Plants bearing seeds according to their kinds and trees with fruit with seed according to it and (GOOD!) evening and goooooooooooooooood morning Vietnam and

Third day.

Third river's Tigris.

Three sons: Shem, Ham Japeth.

This is how you build it build it build it: three-hundy [insert colloquial measurements] long.

Wife and three sons enter,

three sons from whom all earth is center.

Then a...

heifer and a goat, each three years old.

Three visitors

(three men)

who didn't want to get [radio edit]

by other men.

Three [insert colloquial measurements] of flour.

Third day: in the distance saw the place.

Three flocks of sheep.

Maybe her husband would love her some more since she bore him a live third son.

Third day they tell him Deceiver escapes.

Three-day lead between he and Deceiver.

Told the third servant forewarn his brother the presents came from Deceiver.

Three days later, all in pain slaughtered with pants around ankles.

Three months later the Lion finds out his sister's (the hooker's) preggers.

...and on the vine were three branches.

Three branches, three days.

Three days and the king will lift up your head and restore you.

...and three baskets of bread.

Three baskets, three days.

Three days and the king will lift up your head on a pole.

...and they all went to jail for three days.

...and he said, "Do this, that, and the other (3) and you'll live."

Three hundred [insert colloquial measurements] of silver in Ben's bag.

The poor woman by the end had bore their daddy thirty-three kids in all...

...and Jo saw the third generation of his boy's kids.

Preggers again, different gal, gave birth to a boy – "a fine child" – and hid him for three months.

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

He was eighty, his brother eighty-three when they went to the King again.

Let us take a three-day journey into the woods to–

After getting interrupted three times the "fine child" no longer a child stretched his hand toward the sky and the world as they knew it went dark for three days.

No one could see or move for three days.

The kid (not a kid) then took all the slaves on a three-day journey into the woods to–

dang, no water.

First day of the third month, they came to the desert.

And they were supposed to be prepared by the third day because the provider of provisions would come down from the mountain to provide.

That meant no sex for three days,

totally weren't ready.

On the morning of the third day, thunder and lightning. Gooooooooooooood morning Vietnam!

"Screw up and it'll affect your family to the third generation."


if Him don't provide Her with them three things, he gotta just let her go free.

Three times a year: party.

Seven branches on the lampstand: three on one side, three on t'other.

buds on the stand: third bud under the third pair

three cups like almond flowers buds and blossoms on one branch, three on the next

...of acacia wood three [insert colloquial measurements] high

curtains fifteen [insert colloquial measurements] long on one side of the entrance with three posts & three bases

third row'll be jacinth, agate, amethyst

Dudes in Levi's family followed the orders of The Fine-Looking Kid and three-thousand died anyway.

Three times a year ALL YOUR MEN show up. On time.

No one'll be jealous of your land when you do this three times a year.

(three branches one side, three on t'other)

curtains fifteen [insert colloquial measurements] long (that's a three-by-fiver)

burn the meat on the third day

but don't eat the meat on the third day

but eat it on the day you give it

but don't eat it after the third day

woman, wait thirty-three days to be pure from bleeding

and bring three-tenths of an [insert colloquial measurements] of flour

three years before you eat from trees

then on the sixth, three years worth'll bloom all at once

three [insert colloquial measurements] of silver for a wo-man, lad-y or other term for fe-male

Ephraim sets out third.

Eleb brought the goods on the third day,

traveled for three days,

golden angels before them three days,

"Come out you three!" Aaron, Moses, Miram come.

clean men make unclean men clean by sprinkling water on the third day

Three times a jackass talks to Balaam.

On the third time, he gets the picture.

Three days in the Desert again.

Aaron dies at 133.

Third generation can enter the temple.

all produce set aside in the third year

three cities east of Jordan,

three cities of refuge for falsely accused murderers

three witness? death penalty

set aside three more cities, while you're at it

Third day, they crossed east of Jordan and came down to their cities

(none of the three refuge cities that day)

third lot falls to Zebulun, they get some of the conquered land

they hid for three days

after three days, officers went through the camp

three thousand men took it

three thousand went up

three days... a treaty? A treaty.

three men from each tribe for the survey

three towns

three towns

three towns

three sons

Three hundred on knees who lapped like dogs

three hundred, no more, who would fight the hoard

three hundred, three companies

three with their trumpets

three with their pots

three with their lamps

Abimelek, 3 yrs

Tola was 23

300 years to occupy settlements

3 days without answer and

300 flaming foxes, tail-tied in the crops

third time he made a fool of her, then she of him

(1) tied him to the kitchen chair

(2) broke his word -- cut his hair

(3) from his lips she drew the hallelujah

3,000 to the cave afraid of the enemy

3,000 in Dagon's balcony

One man, two pillars



all fall down

2/3 of a [insert colloquial measurements] of silver to sharpen

3-year old bull when Samuel was weaned

three-pronged fork into the meat

three sons, two daughters

lost donkeys three days ago


One with three goats

One with three loaves

One with the wine

three thousand divided in three divisions

an infinite foe with three thousand chariots

three detachments -- raids

Jesse's three oldest

Shammah, the third son, but not him, no not him...

David the youngest, three oldest met Saul

Saul sent a third prophet, all of them saying what he didn't want

three arrows to the side

Dave bowed three times before Jon

and ran

three thousand men to search again

(dave hid with the man with three-thousand sheep

he's hungry -- no food, water for three days, three nights

Egyptian shows up, left his master three days ago

Dave and his men reach Ziglag -- 3rd day)

The Three sons of Saul and Saul's armor-guy, Saul all died

Dave's thirty, becomes king

Dave's third son: Absalom...

every three lengths of rope, a man can live -- the rest die

Dave's men kill three hundred (and sixty) Benjaminites

Dave's reigning in the midst of 33 years

ark rest for 3 months in Obed-Edom's house

Absalom flees for the best of three years

Had three sons, a daughter named Tamar

tried to take over the throne

oh no

Absalom (third son) tries to take throne,

gets blonde locks stuck in a tree, and dies at Joab's hand -- three spears in the heart

Dave's words:


Absalom, my son!

My son!

Absalom, my son!"

3-year famine, kills off Saul's grandchildren

300  [insert colloquial measurements] heavy spearhead tries to kill Dave

saved by chief of the Three which were over the thirty-three

three mighty broke the Philistines

risked their lives, fought lions in a cave on a snowy day, these were the three's exploits

"Hey Dave? You screwed up bad. Three options:

Three years of famine.

Three months on the run.

Three days of plague."

"I'll take number three, the plague." 70,000 die

His boy came, spoke 3,000 proverbs.

Lots of other sons-the-3rd

Third day's Esther with life on line in royal robes petitioning her king for her people

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego.

Three men in the fire unhurt

because there was a fourth in there...

But it got so bad that Zeke found out that the place wouldn't get saved even if these three:




were in the city.

three against two and two against three


prepare the way

make it straight

pave the roads

"three" kings.

kid comes and at 3×4 years is teaching teachers

third day, a jewish wedding in Galilee

twice 3000 demons in a guy, sends them into pigs, off the cliff, in a graveyard, in the land ruled by the equivalent of "white trash"

inner three on the third mountain in the story




three men in the lightning storm unhurt

because of a fourth,

One man standing in between

(2) Moses and

(3) Elijah

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Oh Jerusalem!"

Then they flee.

"I woulda gathered you into my arms.

Under my wings!"

Denied him how many times?

Yes, three.

Flogged thirty-nine times.

Two in the hands, one in the feet.

Three kings again, but different now.

False trials from three slanderous witnesses -- remember the murder verdict?

Far away from three cities of refuge

One man

between two thieves

dying outside this city-of-the-third-temple's gates

three in the afternoon

destroy this temple, I'll raise it in three days

three days

"must be delivered, crucified, third day raised"

at only thirty-three.

first time that story was told, three-thousand believed.

Came once as a babe.

Came twice (from the grave that time, three witnesses)

When He comes for the third time,

it'll be the third time

for the last time.



is to come"

sounds like the sounds of trinity.

Hail Mary

they caught me laughing

chuckling to myself on the two train

headed from Brooklyn to

Upper West Side

couldn't hide it,

but I tried.


Some old cat flopped on

caught me off guard

buckled over on the two train seat

head in my hands


he stroked

not long ago

paralyzed half his side

half his life

Plummeted like buzzards do

wife, three kids, house and home

now, though once a metal worker,

left to plead with

unions for a lame job called

"time keeper"


six ones in hand, beggar's plan

no one raises a buckled brow

after a bushel of minutes

one more, one more gives

maybe he'll live

gimp through


maybe not.


he had a line, a rhyme:

"thank you, God bless you for your generosity

I hope your kids, your family's well

and thank you for your generosity?"

he left.


some hag named, 

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