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Basically         stunned, anchor                                of yearning

             Iron Maiden metal punk                  a tumor

      Fire-escaped,             plotted                without              a fire

In mind                      & for              them                  a set of            jet-fit

Breakers         A crew sets up to break the street

Into pieces borrowing          time     as a bank                      

Very Jim Morrison of you measures misgivings

Into equal portions pills liquor coke speed

Dope turning blood stones into dividends

Brick by brick the littlest things we do stick to the tongue

Of another, who’s to say words’ “garbage”

Aren’t a means to an end, a ruthless

Plunder? Then too the value of seeds, of spectacles

Of sight, can’t be underestimated. Concrete

check it in the dictionary – concrete

Is always fallow… the cracks at the end of ideas

Birthing a surprising            stir

                                                  of off-spring

What weed is imagine          d          is          never parted

             Filling up

                                                  the hand




It’s Better Than Lying In A Ditch

Whatever it is

You’re pissed at




The Puncture
            For Filip

By & large very few processors are working

The day too long       sky      flat      out of a Magritte

Weaves clouds from the heads of passerby

Through window       of passing train

Time   an ant on my arm    

My man Geraldo hawking oranges

Between opposing traffic lights

Ta-cone-ayes he growls

Will make me rich     or kill me

If I let him do the thinking for me

I can retain just enough sense to drive

& write this pome without dying

The evening so sick with cars

Herding into long lines of steel & rubber

Like a shoot out at a porn film’s call for extras

In our heads, flightiness mixed with aggression

As if baseball only existed on Tuesday

Alongside a Yeshiva marching band

Gloriously out of tune, clattering up

Eastern Parkway        all these capped boys

Trying to outdo one another             in the noise department

Shaking the stick as I roll     wholesale writing

Rather than texting “No one loves me

More than my fear.”




Diamond Attention Span
                        for Jackson Meazle

Please pinch me when you want to let me know

You pride me an uncle

Or pick me an age of the pome

Not left on the playground by bully pricks

To feel the sting of adult insensate nonsense

Ageless art     I’ve dreamt big inside your tent

Digging depth out of work-a-day dugs

Hanging low these days on male

Echoplex frame         more pomes

& more work  outs     sweating to the oldies

In the musenasium   Gloucestered to a degree

When I walk down its marble steps

To the world I’ve chosen to represent

My face           a spottiness belying clean shoes

A literature of flies & spent tobacco butts

A depression of sugar cane reaped from lush earth

A bale of straw            raw material for bricks

A grandfather who made horse shoes

A dirge & a pop song tripe

The nerves naturally

Foment an edge





If you’re quiet                   you’ll hear the bird

Softly purring like a Cadillac beside a fire

Extra mucus gives your words

A spongy quality as if each one

Had room to expand taking on new meaning

Or form            holding on to each idea

With a pair of pliers can be helpful

When the world is sliding

From your grasp         an article on the economics

Of mega corporations             DNA captured in a glass

The strange new technique of defenestration     

Practiced by the White House         where core members

Of the Arts & Letters club         are ejaculated

Back over the fences of small town America

To land on the superhighway of commerce

Flattened by eighteen wheelers        with “Eat My

Dust” cheater slicks               & glowing crosses

Strapped to the chrome of customized grills

Shaped as widening maws




Burning Heart

Morning         anachronistic spin

Bring me the purple flower             you will

Or you won’t                birthplace of soothsayers     & well wishers

You wake up & realize          you just got made            by who’s hand

By who’s hope           the body apparent rises            on maximum

Glide   no roar           sun shining through the eyes              sub

Space frequencies blasting              orange safety vest

Ignored           not a work helmet                 but life in

Fractions               as old & true          times we love

Are understood         best in            hindsight

Eggshell         the bird is missing    

A feather & some shit on the floor   the bird is missing

Presumed free          or trapped behind    too much learning

Like forgotten pomes            fallen behind

The bookcase                  left for dust              I think about you           

In the morning          & in the evening        as the muse

Closes her eyes against the sleep of time

Burning heart in mine




From Outside, In
                   For David Larsen, Basil & Martha King

Muse was outside talkin’ mad shit when LaToya leapt out of Ian’s silver

Beamer screamin’ she was gonna rip the weave right outta Muse’s head so

Muse jumped over the cemetery fence taking headstones like they was hurdles

All the time LaToya her girl Nails Ian & their crew barked like dogs howled like

Wolves swarming from the hills chasing Muse into a dead end with Nails in the lead

Closing in on her

                 No beginning         no end

                      Corpses perfectly preserved in

                           The vacuum           of space

                                     Brooklyn           Los Angeles             Rio

Or Switzerland in an alternative mirror-verse

Anyplace the knives & teeth get sharpened on the regular

Rain falls through the gap

                                                 In the clouds but

I ain’t got       

                             No bucket       

                                                            To catch the diamonds

I use to paint                        


                                                        All them tiny particles

Accumulating on the page      as if Seurat’s

Paintbrush          rose from the gloom

The ego buried under so much ambiguity

We shared a rare         experience

What to do as history flattens the efforts

Of daring souls                           splattered by great

Windshield wipers                  of the strong armed

Oracles            rarely concerned themselves with lyricism

They opened           the mouth & words tumbled forth

A fine sweat          gathers around the waistband

Of my fatigues               & in the crevices       where legs

Meet crotch           secrets squirm         I envision

Black fishnet panties hanging in the vanity

Fitting so well under the tight varsity football pants

White & shiny despite the bloody grass stains

Slipping the thin black netting over the cup

& jock strap apparatus I just get so fucking

Excited the words get caught the pome

Fumbles for a moment then returns to

Incubation chamber inside skull

A period of threatening possibility

Before the first light of dawn

Power barely recognized      the syllables

Slowly gathering        along pink-grey sheaves

By turns demented         & charming – what kind

Of life have you led            A metal door

Slams shut     in my pocket a key  


Jeffrey Joe Nelson

Jeffrey Joe Nelson lives & works in Brooklyn. He has been curating the Greetings Readings Performance Series at Unnameable Books before it was deemed unnameable. His, "Road Of A Thousand Wonders," is available from Ugly Duckling Presse.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 17-JAN 18

All Issues