Three poems from my new series Empire Plan are up at Caesura Gallery.

They are based on scenes from The Empire Strikes Back.

Empire Plan is also the name of my heath insurance company.



Me reading "On Fire" at DC Arts Center, Washington DC, 10/16/2011

Buck Downs: guitar
Mel Nichols: ukulele
Maureen Thorson: ukulele

Video: Katie Degentesh


Human mic poetry could be like this:

Poets could write poems for the human mic

(Poets could write poems for the human mic)

short poems with clear sets of information

(short poems with clear sets of information)

that work well with these delays and repetitions.

(that work well with these delays and repetitions)


I'll be reading in the In Your Ear poetry series at the DC Arts Center Sunday, October 16.

2438 18th St. in Adams Morgan, WDC, 3:00pm

My photos of the march and the arrests today on the Brooklyn Bridge.

More photos:



Nurses and teachers, working people and public sector workers, the poor, the elderly and the sick are destroying this country, and harming CEOs, hedge fund managers, and investment bankers, the very people who create non-union jobs in the first place. It's just a fact of life that the tax breaks needed for these job creators generate deficits. Someone has to pay for them. It's time to share that burden.

Nobody believes more in free enterprise and competition and of the best man winning than the man who owns the company that can fire you on a whim and have you escorted out by security by 12:00. People need to stop complaining and clinging to worn-out concepts like the forty-hour work week, overtime pay, and upward mobility. They should feel lucky they even physically exist.

The union members try to pretend that they are "middle class taxpayers." Their voices cannot drown out the voices of the countless real taxpayers who want to significantly decrease the size of the middle class in general in the US, leveling the playing field for everyone left with jobs.

Teachers and nurses see their pensions and benefits the way the Mafia views its "partnership" with a restaurant, as described in the movie "Goodfellas:" Business bad? F--k you, pay me. Hey, guess what? I'm a grade school teacher and I can burn down your garage for $300! F--k you, pay me. Your place got hit by a fragment of Spacelab, huh? F--k you, pay me.

Look at any history where people fight for rights and you will find that rights aren’t things people fight for and win, they are privileges controlled by a political class giving or taking them away based on merit. It's true that people in the Middle East are protesting for rights and the media finds that interesting but in the US sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting.

Meanwhile for many of us there's such a thing as too much democracy. For mafioso Democrats, the purpose of government is to dole out free money, but government employees aren't exactly like the mob: the Mafia guys have a strong work ethic. And, listen up teachers and nurses -- if you don't like this deal: the National Guard might have something so say about it -- accidents happen.

Public sector workers are living in a bubble, but they need to be living in bubble wrap so they need not worry about being damaged when being shipped overseas. Their corrupt union pays off the political classes to give them benefits that no one in the private sector gets, like having enough time to read the International Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, Article 23, section 4, which says people have the right to form trade unions for the protection of their interests. When it was passed, eight fiscally responsible nations abstained: the Soviet bloc, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

Play time is over. You don't get to live worry-free while the rest of us have to wonder how to pay our mortgage, taxes, food bill, gas bill, electric bill, and sock away money for our children's education and retirement and funeral, all while carrying you on our backs. If the middle class makes the shift to working class and working people make the shift to unemployable lumpenproletariat we wouldn't have to worry about this type of thing.

It's not that we're trying to trick working people, it's that we’re not going to roll over and sell out the American people like has been done time and time again in Washington. We are going to become responsible. Founding father James Madison said that the government ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent (job creators) against the majority. By cutting taxes for job creators and paying for it by removing children from Medicaid, we protect you from having your neighbor be able to afford health care when you can't.

We're doing the just and right thing for the right reasons, and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.



Nada Gordon, Scented Rushes, Roof Books, 2010

Scented Rushes is a series of highly artificed poems of seduction and frustration. It moves from the excited frustration of approach to the bitter frustration of rejection. The book is loosely epistolary, addressed to a distant love object, one who is truly objectified, having little or no presence beyond the engine he creates for the poems. He is a governor in the engine of the book. The poet's obsession is presented as a given, the reader is given no information about what makes this person appealing to the poet. In some respects the book fits the troubadour model of seduction poetry, though gender-inverted. This structure, and the general aura, which feels like Cindy Sherman crossed with Spongebob Squarepants, creates the feeling of a strangely ambiguous musical theatre project.

These are love poems, but they are not erotic in any direct sense. There is very little in the book addressing questions of pleasure or gratification. The dirtiest thing that is said is "I want to see the front matter." These are aggressive romantic provocations launched into deep space. Their drama comes from the poet wrestling against herself.

The undercurrent of playfulness and semi-epistolary orientation call to mind some obvious parallels, Bernadette Mayer for instance. The drama and conviction that fantasies count calls to mind Lady Gaga, and the love of absurdity and considerable energy and liveliness to a perhaps more unlikely parallel, Benjamin PĂ©ret.

The style is violently florid, entailing thickets of verbal laciness brought to an aggressive, renaissance festival extreme. The tone sometimes veers into prime mid-70s British prog-rock.

"Just where the snail falls from the eye of the sun"

Gordon's extravagantly flowery style and seemingly intentional abuse of adjectives is counterbalanced by an unwavering, expert feel for the arrangement of language.

The combination of forces that come into play as the poems progress from an agitated kind of hope to disappointment and anger produce some startling moments:

"So the rhapsodies now turn inward, like condoms on ghosts."

or this, from a poem set on a subway:

"Everyone has earbuds -- and was once a tiny zygote with DARK IRISES alone in a liquid place."

There are poems that use flarf methods to engage with vocabularies and subject matter that depart considerably from what one might normally expect in dramatic love poetry. These are some of the strongest moments in the book, where the traditional sealed cosmos of the obsessing poet/lover allows for uncanny intersections with the vastness of social quantity.

Daniel Nester interviews me at WWAATD.

Dan's questions are appropriated from various teen magazines. My answers are appropriated from a 1985 interview with Klaus Kinski mixed with various quotations from Bertrand Russell.

Two of the answers are "directly" from me, can you guess which? You could certainly argue that all the answers are really from me.


My interview with Michael Gottlieb is up at Jacket2.


This Wednesday, June 1st, I'm playing the Poetry Project with arrangements for poetry and electronics.

131 E 10th St. @ 2nd Ave.
NYC, 8:00pm
w/ Mark Yakich


Download a PDF of the cover art and first twelve poems of Chomp Away here.



How did we get here, where we don't belong?
We are birthers, racist against ourselves,
not wanting someone of our color
to be in charge of our lives.

We are showroom birthers. We are standing here
exposing ourselves in the public domain of our friends
and enemies, we go on campaigns
to discredit ourselves, to evade the
question of what we do,
and think of credentials, of paper work,
notary publics, the awards, degrees,
the clubs we're born in and the clubs we join.
We look around and change our pose.
We are birthers.

We're being watched and we feel our pulse.
We have claims to authenticity, and we refuse
to acknowledge them. No amount of proof
will demonstrate to us our own validity.
We cannot be accepted.
We are not natural born.

We go on the television in our minds,
and insinuate that we are ineligible to be who we are.
We start to move, and we break the glass.
We go into a club and there we start to dance.
We are birthers.

There is a mechanism, a network of misinformation
in ourselves. No matter what we put in our minds
this will not be put to rest.
We step out and take a walk through the city.