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Ivan Passoffski


wet words, billboard crush
city flushed, rain blessed
rain and river, bird song wrung,
some brief hope for break in cloud, sun
slanting across 3rd street bus stop.
homeless vets cackling from wheelchairs, smoke slicing air
mothers gather bundled children in a flurry
of scarves gloves grocery bags,
downtown bustle in every direction nowhere.
arrival improbably persistent, youth
aloof and stumbling, glance about furtively,
sodden as if river born, exultant-
headed for the Rendezvous off 3rd
cross river-stone intersection resplendent,
avoid oil-tainted puddle, an oracle.


I always check the cockpit
boarding the airplane.  Usually I don't
catch the pilot's eyes but
it's worth a try.
Say!  What if he’s drunk?
Have I filled out the proper flight insurance forms?
And to whom shall I will my rags
my cereal box watercolors
my cell phone haiku?

The pilot's eyes
merrily in the future
chubby cheeks hot and vain as forests burning
brain wet loam teeming with worms-
my seat belt's buckled good.

Thirty thousand feet above the ground
thirty thousand feet below everything else.

The sky blue, a newborn's eye


it's been awhile since I've rapped with the moon
we used to be pretty close we hung out and drank
while punk rock flayed and spat, I slurped cold draught.
the moon siphoned cold space

we talked baseball light speed time travel
and the questionable authenticity
of certain historical peregrinations.

I remember we used to whisper together
shoulder to shoulder hunched up at the bar

me and the moon got a good kick
out of giving shit to the classic postcard sunset.


Glenn Gould plays the piano sonatas of Beethoven
mumbling in his creaking chair.
I profane the music with nervous tapping
and blue jays out the window
and the water pipes in the walls
have their say
and the cars in the street
making demands
and Gould
grunting and moaning.
Gould interrupting
dead genius
with the mad con of the infinite.

Glenn Gould’s dead and Beethoven’s dead too.
I am quite alive.
I bought the CD.

Me, Gould and Beethoven.
who’s dead?

the rest of you.


I love my flannel green
bicycle, Peugeot ten-speed
Swiss knives, my pot and pan
the Uni-Ball pen
morning gulp of cold clean water
comics and sports page
an old Impala say 1963
my brothers
a good scratch
the polished pool cue
old leather shoes
and my specs
in order to see
what I
all too
and all too

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