Recently Written
Stanzanoid Lines.



God is Great

Greed is Good

Cut the Crap



young enough to be my grand-daughter
(and lucky enough not to be)
she cut down to size what hair hangs on
to my skull
with gentle ruthlessness
and snipped my eyebrows' bushy excrescence
into fallacious submission
(the Neanderthal will resurface)
before she rinsed out what I think of as
double stubble
while I sat head back neck braced
by the padded rim of a barbershop basin
she behind me out of sight

a slight squeak signaled her sending
warm water through a sprinkler
half a minute passed before she allowed it
to douse my hair
once satisfied that the water's temperature
was in accordance with professional standards

she was nothing if not

to fill those thirty seconds before
my head's bath
I pictured her deftly testing the water
with her bare elbow



a woman of approximately
my own age
told me
(what - ten or so years ago)
that she was 'totally self-centred'
(she would have spelled that 'self-centered')
(but that's beside the point)
she embodied
such 'embedded' emptiness
that from her
might conceivably have sprung
an alternative and freshly
wilted universe


'painterly tale'

in her vocal description of herself
'a damned good painter'
she failed to accentuate the word

a summer's day and
she asked to use my shower
shown in she stood
with her back to the bathroom mirror
and began to take off her clothes

against my inclination I did not watch her
attention focused as it was on what I saw
(did not see)
in the mirror behind her where
her reflection failed
to be visible

she showered and dried herself
with the towel I handed her
small breasts pink nipples a narrow V
almost made an arrow
no feathers just a little reddish hair

in the bedroom she sat
on the bed where she'd dumped
a bulging paper bag
she began to rummage through it
telling me
to strip naked and sit beside her so that
she could introduce me to finger-painting

the bag produced a triple zero brush
and tiny tubes of paint
she took my hand and bent over the better to see
her model
and deftly painted a photo-realistic rendering
of my relaxed penis
onto my thumb
all the way around it

bending my thumb made it look
like a painfully twisted tail

never had (and have) I seen a smile showing
so many teeth
as when she told me not to worry
while steering my hand to insert
my thumb in its phalliform disguise
into herself with gentle urgency

it came out leaving behind its recently acquired
alternative identity
which she declared to have 'internalised'
with a ulterior but obvious motive

much time has since passed but even now
it happens that my thumb
will in the company of those appealing
(involuntarily or not)
to what popular generalisation would refer to as
my baser instincts

but when standing in front of a mirror
and emulating the gesture understood by drivers
as the desire to hitch a ride
what I see reflected is my hand
holding up my penis
with right behind it that painter's
toothy grin


'always better'

with particular portals the thing
that they open both ways
that receding or proceeding from
an option
somehow the future
stays ahead
and the past behind
there is no
moving sideways in any
significant way
motionless progress going
dead ahead
or as much of that
there is left

verse written
helps none
but worse is
none written ever



the concept of mercy is for hopeful pessimists
convinced of the general inevitability
of most cause and effect as negative influences
to be suffered by those singled out
by not being chosen by not being spared
non-random ravages willfully inflicted
or at least willfully left unprevented
presumes that whatever blows are struck
may by imprecation be made to fall
on others and that
is merciful

gratitude demands to be expressed
an undertow of abrasive glee
in a conspiracy of silence kept well hidden below
the surface of the liquid in the cup
passed on without a sip without a word
without a thought

is mercy's afterthought

this spell if spell it is
is less protective
than rebellious

a call to duck or swerve but not
to hide behind beneath
thy neighbor

Levi Wagenmaker

If you have any comments on this poem, Levi Wagenmaker would be pleased to hear from you.