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Fruit Flies

24 Jan

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

Subsisting on pills & freeze-dried
astronaut food, the problem is com-
posed almost exclusively of music
The six-tone dialect of a
population under 14 years of age,
basking in the Shadow of Fame
which drove Hamlet crazy
& has been the reason
countless kid celebrities crash
from crèche to rehab. Also
I’m underwhelmed, subsisting
almost entirely on sleeping pills
& freeze-dried astronaut food.
To happiness the same applies:
the trust lies in the indigenous people,
conceived as the largest group of
ethnic flutes to ride on the backs
of buffalo, & women. I can’t tell
a lie without believing it myself
My doggy is foggy, as is someone
who’s entirely underwhelmed.

Postmark General

14 Oct

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

an upshot of being
An internet fanatic.
These words to YouTube
will not convey.
Walnut. A magic wand.
But the flowers I sent you
were still scented,
Weren’t they? hey,
“I’ve been trying” to fill
the gaps in my memory
w/ plastic packaging,
seeds of our future love.
Or Waldo Jeffers. The static
aura surrounding
The certitude of the Cogito
gives truth this sort
of harebrained quality,
A further dimension of noise.
But the flowers, I say,
That I sent you—weren’t
They the upshot of sleeping-in
when we should have
protested against Walnut?
Fill in the gaps
of my memory w/ plastic
packaging, drug-addiction
Today is just these same words
visibly assembled
On a YouTube clip

FYI: First thought = no notoriety
All my love,
The Snake

Museum Fantasy

10 Oct

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

John Lydon personifies the Demon
of Analogy,
& with nothing so gentle
as a zephyr
To ruffle your thinning hair,
an improvisation
Of The Tell-Tale Heart
branches into an exposé
That borders on a straw man,
plein de colère,
Where undreamt symbologies
of a socialist rendition
Of world harmony
are little more than
A colorist’s fantasy
of pointillistic snow,
Badly titled “Dreams
of Disillusionment,”
Which includes you, chère amie,
assise sur une marche basse,
like a zero added
To an already determined sum.


30 Sep

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

Cult fame can never provide
you anything more
than the usual suspects,
blue walls of improbability,
the sophistries of fools
jack-hammering against
the dividing horizon. Nothing
is impossible / the world
itself reads “I’m possible.”
& I would probably think
the same thing, masturbating
“ohm” to the thrumming
sounds at a bar counter,
the world’s famous image
recoiling from itself
into the chronic métier
of every action: a red-carpet
extension of spheric
detonation implied
by the word “corporeal”
in its out-to-lunch sense.

bummer karaoke

23 Sep

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

Blissed out on Xanex, constellations of lyrics
Are bad-intentioned formulas for cacophony—
& that’s the difficulty…really believing that
You’ve never been there, when on the bar stool
You can feel her talents tearing straight thru
Wakefulness. Evidently, any jackass sitting
In an electric chair can become a superstar.
TV is my witness. Doped-up on award shows
Advertising criminal moods, I can devote
My career to endless renditions of how
I gave the cat some acid when I was five.
You must live up to your good as well as
Your bad intentions, become a role-model
For potential suicides. The Transcendental
Unity of Apperception forces itself on
The barroom music, where neon spreads
In twilight lipsticked to a napkin / groping
Through the bluish haze, and searching
For life in the viaducts of Bollywood


16 Sep

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

Tonight / the angel
of the haphazard divine
comes in the slightly disheveled
persona of………..
*~Your Name Here~*
It’s like a wisteria plant
dreaming of egg-lucidity,
A place where humility runs
Like highways which stretch
in ribbons
Over fields of former glory
* * *
petrified in the angst stage
Fantasizing about high school
In filmic Americana

Like Heathers without history,
laws or restriction,
Where Reason & Science
are still preserved

Variations on Today

10 Sep

Jeffrey Grunthaner


My room is nice, but it’s filled with papers
Covered only by abstractions: the living details
Of experience can’t enter here;
& there’s only an electric light to read by,
The sun being an invisible presence
Even in the day.
“What have you achieved today?”
The voice of conscience. “Nothing, conscience.
There’s never anything to achieve: simply the ebb
& flow of events going on without me
As their invisible center.”
Laundry, yes.
& if I buy some cold cuts & some rolls for sandwiches,
I can wash down a pill with some Pepsi,
Then hop on a train to midtown,
Ostensibly to read Fits of Dawn by Joe Ceravolo;
But the Schwarzman Building is so stodgy,
The boujie delicacy of the reading room
With its enormous paintings on the walls,
& special holders for rare books of green felt—
Though the blonde who works there is beautiful,
A dream of sex typing on her computer as you read,
Answering any questions you might have:
“Can I step out for a few minutes, & come back?”
Yes, you may.


My room was in Nice, but ill-willed,
Excerpted from salvation: the life-like transparencies
Of experience could not balloon there,
Roasting like a duck under an electric light,
Reading by the sun at day, the visibility of whose being
Was presence invisible, till eventually there chimed:
“What have you achieved, toad?”
(The dulcet lays of concupiscence.)
“Nothing, Lust. There’s nary a thing to accomplish:
Simply the blow-job and detritus of waves
Signaling their green and red lanterns without me
Diving below their invisible center.”
Lawdy, yes
If I could buy some cold cuts & some sandwich rolls,
I’d wash me down a pill with some Pepsi,
Then fly on a dragon to midtown,
In the ostentatious light of early afternoon,
To interpret leaves of Joe Ceravolo,
Crackling Fits of Dawn in the Schwarzman Building,
So blank and stodgy, like a boujie delicatessen,
The reading room layered with tapestries on walls,
Reading by candlelight rare books of green felt—
That pendulous blondes might worry me
In beautiful, smug dress: a tantric dream of sex
Who threads her computer with heraldry as you read,
Answering any questions you might propose:
“Can I step out for a few minutes, then come back?”
Yes, here are your clothes


My name is Tub. Once I was fitted
Only for ablation, where the living ordinance
Of experience would fluster hither and yon—
& there was an electric balloon would cough past
Like a sun, or an invisible presence thereon,
Pulsing within the light of day.
“What have you itched today?”
The voice of my socks spoke. “Nothing, ankles.
There’s never anything to scratch: only the ebbing
Flotsam of events tracing spirals in the atmosphere
Throbbing below their invisible center.”
Lord, yes
If I buy some cold cuts & rolls for sandwiches,
I can drown down a pill with some Pepsi,
& take the bride to midtown,
An ostentatious bitch, to read Fits of Dawn
By Joe Ceravolo. But the Schwarzman Building
Is so stodgy, the boujie delicatessen
Of the reading room, with its prize of enormous
Paintings on the walls, & rare books spinning
In swimming pools of light—though the blondes
Who work there are beautiful as typists,
Each dreaming of sex telephoning her computer
While you read, like magazine covers
Answering any questions you ask: “Can I step out
For a few puzzles, & come back whole?”
Yes, you can

Previously published in Caper Literary Journal

Bollywood Vision

2 Sep

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

1. And out we go into the reckless night, junkie mystics with our eyes sown shut.

2. We see that we see television celebrities in the constellations of the ancients, and we eat of life like a cake of fools.

3. Transparent Thom happens along. He’s carrying a bird cage and mumbling nonsensically to his inner child.

4. And what have we here!

5. Inside the cage is a canary, Penitentiary Pete.

6. Pete is high on birdseed, and one of his wings is bandaged by a strip of torn white handkerchief.

7. Droplets of blood have pooled into a red coagulation.

8. A tongue depressor, cut to his exact wing-span, has melted into his feathers and flesh, like splintered metal.

9. “Do you read me?”

10. He talks into a tiny walkie-talkie, bobbing on his perch like a maniac on a tire swing.

11. “Do you copy?”

12. “The eagle has landed.”

13. “I repeat.”

14. “The eagle has landed.”

15. “Over.”

16. His squawking cough is the sound of the world’s soul trying to escape from existence.

17. But there’s a Mutant bar that we can go to, bothered by neither Thom nor his crazy canary.

18. Here, a woman masturbates on a bar table.

19. It is unsettling, but is known as “masturbatory chic,” and all of the hippest blogs have made a currency of the phrase.

20. “Oh, well, I’ve never been there. Have you?”

21. If sanity is considered a virus by some, then the people who think such things are probably here, high on birdseed perhaps, or else molesting their consciousness with pills.

22. Surely they’re not fucking, drinking, smoking.

23. Those things are outlawed in NYC, enforced by the Liberation Sheriff, a proud defender of democracy, and thug custodian to the propertied and rich: cocksuckers and cunts who write the laws, and live in grand manors to glorify their privilege.

24. Oh, shit on them!

25. And the course of history that has provided their right!

26. Burn it!

27. Set fire to their mansions!

28. Let’s murder their laws!

29. It’s only fair…

30. You’ve drowned kittens, haven’t you?

31. Well, can you imagine giving a cat speed? It would probably run about all over the house, zonked & witless.

32. These fools would probably do the same thing.

33. “Which fools?” I forget. The moral majority, maybe.

34. Television is their witness! The Emmey Awards are idols which make the legends foisted on a witless public three-dimensional, like stained glass windows LIVE ON SATURDAY NITE.

35. Can’t you feel their talons reaching towards your limp dick, like anagrams plaited in your pubic hair?

36. The screaming in the next room reaches into this one here, like starlight stabbing your inner eyelids when you sleep.

37. I feel like the body is a useless object, libidinous in that casual way a pocket might empty a thimbleful of dust.

38. You have to live up to your good as well as your bad intentions, become a role-model for potential suicides—that’s the difficulty.

39. Cult fame will only provide you with the usual suspects—the girls who walk away, a mouth that kisses itself on the lips, the glorious signage which declares:

*~Believe In Yourself Until You Transcend That Self~*

40. Do you not see the terminal expansion? It’s uplifting, like scissors held to the throat of twilight.

41. And in the recklessness of drunken sighs, you nakedly kissed her eye where one would expect her nipple.

42. Well, tell your mother she’s dead to me (now).

43. When she broke up with me, I was sad for about a year.

44. But I’m always sad. I’m what they call a “sad case.”

45. I pictured her as the milk cousin of Aunt Jamima, a slick Oreo cookie serving me mascara.

46. It doesn’t happen anyway, reimagining the known circumference of the universe, your mouth hammering in the dirt. heh.

47. Do you really think that objects could fall into place like that?

48. Any jackass who sits in a butterfly chair can pretend that he’s flying, although a cacophony of muscled spheres cancel his flight with the sound of atonal static.

49. Got up in the nude, the philosopher thinks of the degree by which he missed finding himself couched in the heavenly lap of the sun, darkened by clouds coagulating in the gridlocked sky, like tampons of numerical sheep.

50. Were the heroes of our world made famous by their fabulous clothes, then Spider-Man would have devoted his career to the intoxications of dentistry, casually accepting defeat with a kitschy phrase.

51. “I’m all grits & giggles tonight!”

52. You have 2 not party 2 party, an excess of modesty made possible by the fact that so much of our existence is defined by not always being able hear what other people are saying about us.

In a Landscape

27 Aug

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

I understand your approach to the world—
Which is the logic that guides you to an asphalt
Stream of sinuosity and derision.

You forge a platter for your head to rest on,
A single glass where your face can swim in suspension
Embalmed in an amber of glycerin.

But why the habit that takes centuries to cast away,
The Martian soil stuck to the soles of your shoes
Which have traveled only on the earth?

There’s a trap door in the floor, where the taps of a glass
Pianoforte hammer like the silence of erasure,
And a gloved hand ensues, closing the light of the room

Inside a box with darkness for a lid, leaving not a fingerprint,
Nor the slightest remainder on the wall, where the switch will flip down,
Casting the illusioned world in shadow.

Previously published in vox poetica

A Hotel-room Life

19 Aug

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

Can’t you see it’s a misreading for something

You should have been able to decipher

Describing the sensation of life?

The base,

Brown furniture takes in at a glance

That the “forest” is a leather cushion surface,

Adjunct of the couch, possible cloth to the trees,

A felt fiction or name without any correspondent:

A lavender throw pillow.

What’s real

Is darkness in the hall, the gathering of the living room,

The corridor of color and shade, an illuminated wind

Retreating by a single yellow bulb,

Suspended from a white string redolent:

Wire probably, weighted with anticipation

Of new perceptions.

The kitchen symbols

Are ultimately pictorial, while where the bulb hangs

There reads existence like a system,

Linoleum hieroglyphs drowning the map

Of his experience with soot darkening the floor.

Previously published in “Raven Images”


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