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18 Aug

Jack Tricarico

(For Charlie Hewitt)

Words cake like dried blood
On my lips
Going no further into air
Than their corpses would allow
Silenced by the brush
You use like a knife
To open the stomach
Of an idle afternoon
And empty its contents
In a rain of severed heads
Where I’m at one
With your amorphous earth
Buried to my neck
A cartoon Romulus
Gagging on the tongues
Of your wiry wolf dogs
Who feed me their saliva
Where I’m pictured like a plant
A fragment of exploded time
Flattened on your canvas
That carries the momentum
Of the streets from which I came
Seeking some solace
Another place to hide
And an exorcist like you
To relieve me of the madness
That’s out there

Previously published in Original Lightning.


10 Aug

by Jack Tricarico

The face on the windshield wasn’t your alter ego
On a desolate boulevard a neon hyena
Was chasing a pink negligee
So you didn’t see the garbage pails
And the picket fences were painted a dark color
Wasn’t it like farina in your eye
The way the moon came around
The last of the grey Mohicans
With that woman in curlers
Screaming her life was in ruin?
Maybe a little flaccid where her belly sagged
Over your saliva lips, you thought
But was her diary on the wall better than good pussy
The way you spilled into it?

“On Thursday a fortune cookie warned practice caution
The mailman had a black eye. At the museum
Jackson Pollock walked me through a wall
I try walking on rice paper backwards
Without wrinkling it to relieve my depression
Banging my head on the wall makes the neighbors complain
I hear this sound, something whirring like a colossal hornet
It’s like many different radio stations
Playing at the same time in my head
If only I could diminish myself I’d sleep in a shoe
Remembering every step of my life. No longer erased
By the next dance with my angel of doubt
Like yesterdays chain mail
Only the uninformed speak about their path”

So you said goodbye to the stream under the bridge
The stones that were arguing with you there
As you arranged them in circles
The woman asleep in her garden of lambs
You would return in another body
Poring over her bed like black oil
And she thought you were a ballet dancer
“Roll over Chaquita, let me show you my knots!”

Previously published in Hunger magazine.


3 Aug

by Jack Tricarico

Unwilling to move south
I bypass the ruled paper
Finding foolish steps
Unlike hard-on in leather
So be your torn, unborn dress
Dog to fit whimper
Overhauled or overlooked
When you think water
Your undiscovered hands
That come banging
Before weather report
Another story is
How the letter H got pregnant
Before the sentence was finished
As sandmen retreat
In shadowless shadow
Up and down
I’ll know before
The time outlined
Doubles move sideways
In shrill noises
Here the bones do not speak
A grey language
Here the light does not look back
At how pale it was yesterday
In drift swelled by rain
I hold no grudges
No sour grapes for thee
A few feet to the right
A contrived derangement
That unlikeable sound
A gnat flew there
A cockroach thought twice
Nothing is so clearly white
With proof of dying at springtime
To settle for flowers


27 Jul

by Jack Tricarico

I sweat off the insects
In other people’s heads
Those, especially
Who are only heard by the air
Along for a walk
Paradise comes out of a supermarket
Eager to build its own jungle
Around somebody’s lost shoe
How one stray step
Heaps into immobility
How someone’s exposed navel
Interminably winds
The geography of uncertainty there
“It’s the heat!” Meows a cat
With its cartoon face
I will return to her later
Her shadow stuck to my foot
So I wake up
And the street is on roller skates
I have one hundred and one personalities
That want to be killed for no reason
I have a centrifugal eye
And a centripetal one
I remember a child who ate worms
Occupying an adult absence
At the general post office
Was arrested for eating the mail
I am ten children with chop suey hands
An accountant’s brain of disarranged decimals
A four cornered dog
Claiming to be the Holy Father
Oh bogus eternity of Platonic parking meters
Don’t become the cement
Of the backward falling rain
Today is apple strudel day
Someone is fondling himself
By a bakery window
Complaining of being followed
By an advertisement
Look at that cloud shaped like a tail of smiles
The traffic unzippering the damp
Voluptuously glossing a girl’s back
Smoking her crooked cigar

Previously published in Hunger Magazine, Rosendale, NY.


20 Jul

Jack Tricarico

On Fourteenth Street
The posters throw body parts
Into the pedestrian eye furnace
And I don’t walk too close
To the newspaper stands
Or the headlines will bleed
On my shoes. If I encounter
A mud-caked Christ
On the echoing sidewalk
And he laughs like a hyena
When I genuflect
I’ll believe in his gospel
Providing he doesn’t make hair spray
Of equivalent value
To large tracts of land
But I don’t welcome overtures
Or solicitations in public
I acknowledge the doomsday sky
Resembling a bombed city
And the swinging door
That each face throws
Into the emptiness at large

In the amniotic air
My shadow sticks where I pause
I’d opt for a floating forest
Serenaded by an oboe or flute
But it won’t happen here
Grounded in pizza smell
And rush hour scream machines
Space is a cage
And the streets are magnetic

New York is a worldly city
But the present is too discrete
If you cling to a past that’s too distant
You will never feel part of a crowd
The shirtless beggar who asks for a cigarette
Arouses an obscure double
Carved out of porous stone
Animated by the wind
He fell into this history
I’d give him my social security number
If it would help him to step into time
But numbers are meaningless
To those who are not linear
Lighting his cigarette
He departs into the pink rain
Of a Manhattan sunset
At least that part of him
Which is visible
“Watch out for those vapors.”
I caution him
“The manholes are ghost traps!”

Originally published in Hunger magazine (Rosendale, NY).


13 Jul

by Jack Tricarico

I advised a chameleon-like friend
Be careful of which face she assumes
At the supermarket. She might be mistaken
For lost mail, and sent to an anonymous address
Which is somewhere around
The outskirts of limbo. And since all realms
Whether real or imagined
Consist of concentric surroundings
An anonymous address may be defined as
An oblivion within an oblivion, perhaps

She asked me to start again
And explain carefully
What I was trying to say. In reflection
I saw only those faces
A kind of miscellaneous mix
Abruptly converge into serious doubt
In compliance with this look
What I was trying to say
Scattered like small insects
Around pieces of bread

She started to laugh hysterically
Said I was a great story teller
And left it at that
Neither on my side of the fence
Nor on hers either. Where clarity stops
In the midst of a desert
Only patience decides
In which head the ticking goes on


6 Jul

by Jack Tricarico

A wheel is an arm
Though not yet a skyscraper
And as mother explained
In her eleven fingered way
Three is an anchor in fog
As for this incinerated drift
Grey matter vacationing in fire
Perhaps, I must at least pretend
I am raining sideways today
How else to endure
The consequential drought
Of common sense
Thankful for the wave
That covers me
And won’t even stop
For a pair of crutches
In distress


29 Jun

Jack Tricarico

Windows jerk me off
I have no use for echoes
They only outline afterthoughts
That dwindle into rumors

A woman burned her husband’s balls
For flirting with her sister
Is that the truth? Or is it fiction?
Since seeing is believing
I will have to see the blisters

I sometimes look for time
As if I lost my wallet
On an early morning street
I wonder
Am I then? Or am I now?
And if I’m neither
Am I among the missing?

Pretense is an aspirin
That relieves my tired feet
Should I stroll above the rooftops
With a feather as my guide
It’s just an ancient memory
That can belong to any life


22 Jun

by Jack Tricarico

The crutch in your nose poet
Sits on a park bench complaining about
“The uncle of his geometry”
Or maybe he means his geometric uncle
I don’t know. Sometimes he sounds
Like reversed Latin. Sometimes
He looks like compressed putty
Today he is clean shaven. Says:
“The past is redundant!”
I was thinking the same thing

It was neither the day
Nor the night
The sun and the moon
Were both glue traps
In the zebra skinned air
They permitted the clouds
Pink striped and polka dotted
But prohibited music
Unplugged and ready to riot
Crowds milled around
A friend brushed his shoes. Said:
“The wind is a rope of hornets!”
Actually it was quite hot
There wasn’t any wind

I was warned about drugs
Danger of brain warp
Like a piece of snot
Flicked in the dirt
A squirrel will eye you
A spider will take you away
And under a shadow
Like an ant in a church
The grass wanted sex
But I couldn’t get grounded
Merely a bug on a leaf
I wasn’t about to engage
With a fifty foot woman
Who couldn’t stop dripping
Her anteater’s tongue
I tried hiding
Talk about depth psychology
She ate everything
“Earthquake! Earthquake!”
An avalanche arrived
I was falling up
Others were with me
Like clusters of dead planets
We crashed into a small orgy
It wasn’t a small orgy
There was never a fifty-foot woman
I was never a bug on a leaf
I had to evolve further
Life as a virus is too risky
They’re always trying to zap you
With antibiotics, or wrap you around
Some unpronounceable name

There are other versions to this story
That keep happening like an immense cobweb
Some memories have to be clubbed, squashed
Or otherwise obliterated. I pay attention
To small print: “…if recurrence continues…”

They were whipping a skeleton on television
One night. Aroused by the sight of this
Somewhere someone was jerking off
I just knew it. Starting to do it myself
The dog swooned in her sleep


15 Jun

by Jack Tricarico

Didn’t I once like alphabet soup?
Didn’t I once think that whatever I ate
Should have the shape of a letter?
Didn’t I once feel that this was the way
To master the elusiveness of words?
Because words felt like slippery things
Worming around in my head
And slithering out of my mouth
However they did
Even before I began stuttering
This was the way I felt
And didn’t I once think
That this was a silly idea
That whatever I ate
Should have the shape of a letter
To master the elusiveness of words?
And didn’t I once think that Hegel was right?
That “the is is the ought?”
And didn’t I once think that “the is is the ought”
Is a stupid and indigestible idea?
And wasn’t this why “the is is the ought”
Slithered away into the kind of silence
That swallows a human presence
As if a human presence
Is really a digestible thing?
And wasn’t I once unable to speak
For a long time, feeling as if
I had no sense of direction
And I began to write poems
However they slithered around on the page
And read them aloud to the air
To recover the function of speech
In a park, on the street, in a café, or a bar
I read anywhere. And people began to applaud
And today I am asking myself
Aren’t these people as crazy as I?


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