The October Project 2006, with Sean Cole

Monday, November 06, 2006

*The first poem each day is by Sean, the second by David.*

October 1, 2006

Nude. Near dead from heat stroke. Walls are closing in.
Two strange men stare straight ahead from corner. Steam
revs heart rate toward what could be total arrest. And Dad
picks now to tell me what he’s learned about cremation.
“You don’t have to leave ashes,” he says, “keep you in there
long enough you just dissolve.” “Um, yeah,” I say and look
his body over, mine already in disappointing ways. “Guess
ashes are for the living. Something to have.” I then go blind in
one eye. “So I’m asking,” he says, “You want ashes?”

(written 10.02.06—12:24 a.m.)

i live close to penn station
leave apt at five after three
and make 3:20 train
with time to buy train tickets
without the on train price increase
(note: i discovered on the train
that senior citizens don’t pay a fee
for buying their tickets on the train,
so i tell my dad
how he never has to
rush to the train station again)
arrive at my sister’s house for yom kippur
first she yells at her daughter
who yells back
then my mom yells at someone
i say to my dad
at the other head of the table
“looks like we’re the only ones not to yell yet.”
“you know fuck you,” my sister says, “fuck you.”

October 2, 2006

Dear Congressional Page,

I offer my heart, present the friendship of a mature
caucus chairman, and what do you do? Tell goddamn
Hastert my e-mails are “sick sick sick!” Well,
fuck you! I didn’t spend 12 ape-shit years putting up
with the loo-loo Boca Ratonians to be run out on a rail by
some snot nosed Boy-lita who can’t even drive.
If I’m so sick sick sick why’d ya get a woody when
I I-M’ed you from the stump. Sick, my lad, is ingrate
Tempur-Pedic humping gavel-teases – sick is callow,
grass-stained track-freaks with socks in their jocks.
You can take your lacrosse stick and yam it up some
prom-queen’s bohonkus for all I care, investigate
the subtleties of pre-calc on Spring Break. If I ever
see your reference-needin’, cradle-ridin’, push-up doin’,
woefully-under-aged-yet-beautiful butt in West Palm Beach
I’ll kick it straight into Westgate. You can keep your future,
I’ve got a whole, super, star-lit promise of my own
to fulfill! LOL tadpole! BRB! Not! Ha ha! Maf54 Signed Off.

(written 10.03.06-8:04 a.m.)

my mom’s still not talking to me
after i didn’t come home for rosh hashanah
so i had to come home for yom kippur
although i wasn’t really in the mood
and she still wasn’t talking to me
even though i came this time
doing that “does-anyone-hear-anything?”-thing
whenever i would try to talk to her.
i kept trying to explain to her
that if she was going to freeze anyone out
that it should have been my big brother
“how many of your graduations did he make? none.
“and how many times did he blow off the high holidays?
“and how about when he would work on cars at his auto shop
during the high holidays?”
but still she didn’t talk to me.
thus is the burden of being the good son.
October 3, 2006

Something there is that’s glad I’m not a dad.
4 girls dead in Amish country, murdered. No
divesting from the sickness of the world. Read
about it sitting on my sixteenth of an acre. Landlord
scoots his little nephew out the basement door before
locking up, climbing stairs to meet him by the deck.
One small breath before the kid gets bored
with wanting back in, turns and runs directly toward
the sound of Fed Ex rumbling up the street.
No adult but me to yell him stop. He turns again
as if to say “Yeah? What the fuck, old man?” Landlord
comes out wonders why the hell I’ve gone all white.
It takes a goddamn village and I’m the idiot.

(written 10.04.06—1:47 a.m.)

this may be the greatest night on tv
(at least to me)
tuesday night’s on what was the wb
(and upn)
at eight there is the gilmore girls
then at nine comes veronica mars.
so at my parents they’re watching other programs
and i go to the den by myself for two hours
for the second episode this season of the gilmore girls
and the start of season three of veronica mars
and it doesn’t disappoint
this greatest night on tv
to me.

October 4, 2006

I eat nothing but sandwiches. Have
ruined lovely gourmet meals jamming
them between baguette halves. Steak tips whole
Thanksgiving plates caper-dappled salmon omelets an
alphabet of vegetables – and soup. Soup sandwiches
do not hold together well. The guy in The Jerk
sequel nibbling an entire side of meat on white
is me. (Released in 1984. I wonder what George
Orwell would’ve made of that. Maybe a sandwich.
He shoved Animal Farm in between two other
books. In 1972, Raymond Mungo published
Between Two Moons. I have it here, hugged
by All the King’s Men and another Mungo novel
with a ménage a trois scene in it. Ray and some dude
make a girl-panini. She curses them out after.
Every night we spread ourselves on wheat
bed, pull the covers over, lonely carcass lolling
under comforter. Liquid makes up more than
half our bodies. Sandwiches the rest. Hand me
everything like this. Deliver the world between
two other worlds, Earth between birth and whatever.
Put all of it between something and the same
thing. And goddamn it if you love me put
sandwiches between other sandwiches.)

10.04.06—10:54 p.m.

at the first mets playoff game of the year
with my friend philip
i chew off jordan’s ear
and a whitefish salad sandwich
that my mom made
on a buttered bialy
with a beefsteak tomato slice
and a bit of romaine lettuce

October 5, 2006

I’ve learned to make s’mores indoors. You place
half a graham cracker on a paper towel top it
with a chocolate square and one up-ended
marshmallow. Then place the whole affair into
the tub. Run half a bath, hot as possible, let
stand for half an hour. Strain, then gingerly lift
remains into a burning room. (Room must be
lit thirty minutes in advance.) Set fifteen cans
of aerosol whipped cream around perimeter
and allow to explode. Reach in with long-arm
pizza paddle, scrape together metal shards
and discard. You’ll then have several
well-charred, dairy collars of fabulous density,
a graham, choco-mallow freckle and less
than a room. Consume one gallon gasoline.
Digest and process over whipped cream rings.
Set each alight. Quickly lift “grachocalow”
with hand of sister and dip into each flaming
halo. Then place molten sum into a battered
hamster (punched I mean, not rolled in flour)
wait for one more hour and remove. You should
have half a softened “groclow” pallet dinted
on each end by stomach acid, and no more
hamster. Demolish other half of cracker
and inhale (nasally works best). Refrigerate
what now can claim no label or identifying
taste, wait a baleful lifetime laced with dim
regret and consume. Serves four.

(written 10.06.06—5:14 a.m.)

play for me
i’ll play for you
but, wait, i don’t play anything
would it be ok if i read you a poem instead
would it be ok.

October 6, 2006

Dear Tony Hoagland,

You should have ended that poem with “Signed,
America.” The last eight lines aren’t as strong as
the Dear Abby trope about the blood-soaked
dad returning home from business trips with
nice gifts. And I don’t need the “Springdale
Mall” echo at the end, feels too tied
in a bow. But I’m one to talk. A) This poem
will never be recited on Writer’s Almanac.
B) I almost started it with “Paper comes.
Picture of a phallus on it.” Meaning silo
on a naked hill. Thatch of black-clad people
down below. Then I saw the headline: “Sorrowful
Farwells in Amish Country.”
“I’m a tool,” I thought.

(written 10.07.06—10:33 a.m.)

Dear America,

Last night Ian and I went to see Tom Hayden talk about the Chicago 8, because he just wrote the intro to this new book composed solely of edited down Chicago 8 trial transcripts and Jules Feiffer sketches from the courtroom.

On the walk there Ian gave me a Malachy McCourt for Governor button and magnet. I had hoped that he had one of those one button at a time buttonmaking machines, but he didn’t, he had them made up at Café Press.

One of the students at the New School remarked how Newt Gingrich visited their campus recently and had a huge crowd, and that if things were right in the world Hayden’s audience numbers would be reversed.

Hayden said that one of the things people forget to focus on in studying the sixties were the assassinations—Jack, Malcolm, Martin, and Bobby—and their effect upon various movements and policies.


October 7 2006

Dear David,

What Tom Hayden told you is true, the assassinations
are key. What he didn’t say is they were part
of vast plot fostered by the coastal media elite who control
not only the flow of information (aka propaganda, the first
ingredient of a coup) but transportation, education,
agriculture, import/export, medicine and cartography and who
have siphoned ninety-five percent of the nation’s actual
wealth in a shadow economy built to buttress their own
amoral ends. The engine that propels this plan is national
empathy. Hence whenever John and Joan Q. Fence-Sitter
would begin to sniff the fulsome salt of this revolt they’d off
a popular insurrectionist or member of their own cabal
(the latter only when things got desperate).

Kennedy’s head was detonated by remote. Ergo magic bullet
theory, ergo the Alice in Wonderland compunction
to pin it on some ancient dynasty of Hitlerian mind-lords.
Oswald was one of theirs. Ruby too. In fact, Ruby Tuesday was
written by them, not Mick Jagger. Though Charlie Watts
did shoot Malcolm X and Martin Luther King (was paid
a bag of high-grade Turkish hash for each murder).

Sirhan Sirhan was the original organist for the Rolling Stones,
which is how they appropriated him. They don’t call it the British
Invasion for nothing, David. Except in this case we invaded
ourselves with the help of hot, young, long-haired man-tarts
in tight slacks who are actually highly-trained, inhuman
killing machines. The lie that you, that America has utterly
inhaled is the most successful campaign of thought-control
in world history. I tell you this in confidence, aware that you,
like me, are an apostle of the truth, no matter how excruciatingly
it stings to learn.

Yours, in mutual patriotism,

Mark A. Foley, former Congressman of Florida.

10.07.06—11:08 p.m.


gee, congressman foley, they’re very upset;
you gave us the love that every
child oughta get.

you never touched me
you never cared
me at arm’s reach
getting only stares.

the yankees have lost,
the mets about to win
people looking at my room
no one moving in

October 8, 2006

M. and I are arguing about the Nick Adams stories.
“They’re sooooo booooooring!” she says, “Oh
here I am at my manly camp site doing man things
with a manly older man. We killed a bear, then fell
in love with an Indian girl and then I cooked us hoe
cakes using my hand as a spatula ’cause that’s how
frickin’ manly we are.” “I think you have to be a boy
to enjoy them,” I said, reminding her that hoe cakes
saved my life eleven years ago. Only flour in the cupboard.
Would’ve starved in my apartment otherwise. Yesterday,
we argued all the way to Salem about how to get there.
The city was engorged with tourists trying to fell the Elizabeth
Montgomery statue. “They forget,” I said, “The point of the story is
there were no witches in the first place.” On that we concurred.

10.08.06—11:04 p.m.


my dad calls everyday
asking where resumes were sent
i say nowhere dad
luckily he doesn’t get bent

if you will take my resume
and go and find me a job
i will be so indebted
maybe cut my hair into a bob

it’s not the work i’m afraid of
i’ll go almost anywhere i’m told
i just don’t want to interview
right now i don’t feel so bold

October 9, 2006

Today’s poem was e-mailed to me by someone named “Motion Picture.”
I’ve edited it here and there. But for the most part, this is how it

“Follower is friendly and discreet of personal.
Hell Religions Compared, Bible is About Creation.
Network Homepage am, Directory Google am, Groups am.
Disobeyed. Brought sin into world of sin. Host is most terrible.

With heaven must accept his gift?
Will please when?
Allowed and could browse freely.
Story bad things about why Learn about them.
Eternally separate, mankind and God, but Jesus Christ.
Creator loved him so much he died cross, paid penalty.
Read story. Story bad in things about – why Learn about
Reality Hell Religions?
Friendly discreet personal. Do you have web page? Share This.
Discreet personal, do you have web page?
Learn about Reality!
Not allowed and could browse.
Desire that.
Different in keywords gene.”

(written 10.10.06—2:53 a.m.)

few potential roommates
my bank account bare
after a creditor’s levy
i don’t care

but i do
and u know it
and i know it too
got no money for nothing
and i want some ice tea mix

peanut butter from the jar
was my late night snack
couldn’t waste a bagel
that’s a meal for tomorrow

i freeze my water
so i can chew on my ice
it’s not so bad
and it tastes pretty nice.

October 10, 2006

Two potential outcomes.
Tomorrow drive north
to Nova Scotia, over-
night there then fly out
to Sable Island, smile-
shaped sand dune, home of two
full-time scientists, two hundred
horses, wild, countless seals, mice,
bats, bugs and one
tree. Stay three
days – five if storm erupts. Or
head south to Hartford
airport. Meet president
of ScentAir, a firm that sells
aroma-guns to thousands of hotels.
Wants to schpritz me something
titled “White Tea” smell of
Sheraton, and somehow
sunshine. Whoops
just got a call.
It’s Hartford.

(written 10.11.06—4:30 a.m.)

it’s harder to upgrade your computer
when you don’t have a job
when there aren’t guys in the IT department
who aren’t your friends
and haven’t played your shows
when you’re still on four-year-old versions of all your software
but you make do
because they’re good enough
to do what you need.

October 11, 2006

It’s hard to be a hand grenade with no
pin in your noodle, waiting to explode. So
much potential but no boom yet. No boom-
let even, just the dull, rehearsed thud
of underthrow rolling in your hood.
It’s been hours. Even room service stood
you up, no one will comply with your demands.
Then the needle starts. A tickle first but soon
debilitating: perhaps you’re a dud.

(written 10.12.06—9:00 a.m.)

planning to go home tomorrow
to go to a mets playoff game with dad
(he likes it better when i go with him to the game
than when i meet him at the game.
so instead of subwaying from city,
i long island railroad to folks
then drive with dad to shea.)
do i shower in my apartment
or in my parents’ place;
do i bring the three or four
supermarket bags of dirty dishes
to clean in their dishwasher
(since i can run them back to manhattan
on saturday with the car);
do i bring dirty laundry
to clean in their washer/dryer
so i have clean clothes
for just a few more days

October 12, 2006

Birthday Acrostic for My Friend Brendan Greeley
Really everything I write, have written ever, somehow is
Elicited by him, even lists of different types of gulls,
Naughty e-mails to dead apostates, checks
Drawn on long ago divested accounts, there’s something
About the way he pays me to compose every last mash
Note and IM and ransom letter for him that… um… well just

Gives me a lot of inspiration, don’t know quite how else to
Relate it. Which can be a problem sometimes, I mean sometimes,
Especially when he’s under deadline or there’s a woman he
Especially wants to excite and I have a little writer’s block, he’ll say
“Look, De Berger-hack, I’m your goddamn gravy train, so don’t
Even think of giving me some sob story of ‘Oooo I’m not
Your little coin-op Yeats who’s able to create at will.’ That’s

(written 10.14.06—12:53 a.m.)

every time i do something with my dad
it’s heightened by the this might be the last time i do this cool
thing with my dad vibe
like tonight, cardinals at mets league championship series game 1,
and we’re in my seats i have for the playoffs,
upper deck, row q,
five rows from the top of the stadium,
where the lettering, for some reason,
ends at v,
and we talk throughout the game,
watch my neuroses played out by him
“why are those people getting up so early in the game—ridiculous!”
and shell and eat the peanuts i had him buy for us,
’cause he likes them better than pistachios.

October 13, 2006

This is Just to Say

I have forgotten
to send the poem
that was in
my outbox

and which
you were probably
the text of

Forgive me
I’m inofficious
and so gross

(written 10.14.06—12:59 a.m.)

Dear Sean,
Hope you got the letter,
and i pray you can make a visit down here.
it’s what i so often want, crystal clear
and i don’t care about others wishes
all those sons of bitches
fuck them all
lying in the bathroom stall
i just don’t want their advice
except about head lice

Dear Sean,
No one’s in my parents’ house but me
and the fridge is full like when i was a boy
and so much iced coffee that my dad does store
for when i make these trips
and my favorite codes are zips
just thought you should know
it’s been a long time since i’ve been with a ho
you see i can’t afford it anymore

and three resumes in nine months is just no good
all the people out here kinda understood
but i don’t

Dear Sean,
There’s apricot nectar in the fridge
so decadent that i diabetically want to consume
even though the house is empty
and i’m a little afraid
but my laundry’s drying
and i’m not going anywhere anyway,
not today,
dear Sean.

October 14, 2006

Dear David,

Writing from the tire store, torn
right front, rode on rim one
mile before realizing, hit curb
too, don’t know how much that had
to do with it. “What’s love got
to do, got to do with it?” Tina
Turner intones. “Nothing,” I tell her,
“I’m talking about my car. And I love
my car. Its name is Doc. Last two
letters in license plate are ‘R,
X’ but it’s not that kind of love.
Although I have had sex in my car
which means it IS that kind of
car.” “I’m bringing sexy back,” says
Justin Timberlake. “Whoa!” I say
“I just need a new tire!” Gored by
curb, calamitous rumble, steel on tar.
Pulled over Park Ave. waited
an hour for grouchy tow-guy
to detach flat, replace with toy.
No breakfast ’til two, today
Practically over, only thing
accomplished is this poem. Oh,
and picked up mail, deposited
pay check, ate breakfast, bought
new, right, front tire, 98 dollars.
(written 10.15.06—2:48 a.m.)

i told you how
after i agreed on an amount
and she asked me
not to cum on her face
i did
though intentionally

and how now,
without a car,
when i was last able to afford to,
i would walk the block by the church
find one and hail a cab.

“i guess you can’t bring them back to your apartment
on the subway,” she tells me.
no, i say.

October 15, 2006

Everyone in the world has a Boston
accent to my ear, the Pope, everybody.
Everybody sounds like they’re from Revere
or Southie, scampishly dropping their R’s then
scooping them up like a frazzled baby-
sitter when it’s time to say words that end
in “A.” “Petah and Liser ah havin’ some
pizzer fo’ dinnah tonight, Bawby, you wanna
join ’em?” A quote from Kofi Annan at the UN
summit last September, I’m not exaggerating,
everyone’s from Boston.

10.15.06—11:48 p.m.

as a 10-year-old,
i worked on losing my brooklyn accent
and did.
when i lived in the boog house in albany
during long phone calls to my parents
it would return
rod and jon laughing through the thick.
October 16, 2006

Cold hands. Unfit
for afternoon’s demands. Temperature
still reads middle-age outdoors. In here
it’s like some valedictorian was killed, still
roams room to room, bored. Wasted
20 minutes this morning, tapping
“warmth” into different search engines with one
finger, left paw crumpled to my collar bone.
Couldn’t tell if I was warming it or just
cooling my shoulder. Nearly a whole tin
anniversary ago, meeting Uncle George: “Oh!”
he says, “you know what that means. That means
you got a wawm haht!” No George, I say,
silently, It just means my circulation is poor.
There’ll be no Georges anymore, or Dorothys
or Lauries or Carols or Eugenes. They’ll thrive
where they thrive, in Florida or some
climate like that, withdrawing from this rigor
mortis. And all the flora in this igloo
will expire, its last breath a plume of blue
frost. And the dog will retire to its place
in some far apartment, dreaming about
heated displays of ownership. And Lord
knows all these storm windows aren’t
going to close themselves.

(written 10.17.06—1:14 a.m.)

london broil with my folks
baked potato with mustard
red and yellow peppers, and small tomato slices
with balsamic vinegar for dipping
when we finished
dad and i ate peanuts
leftover from the mets game last week.

October 17, 2006

Day begins with egg
splashing into pan hot
Italy oil, sistering.
Sistering? Yes. All I can think
of, when it hits, is my
sister, we were little, squealing
“Ewwwwww! Chicken
abortions!” Last night ripped
open week old Cornish Game
remnant with bare hands ate
every last ingot. Ultimately,
chicken got revenge. Ah,
but who’s your daddy now,

(written 10.18.06—1:54 a.m.)

got haircut and beard trim
at barber college
to look more human
while showing the apartment
to potential roommates.
my mom will say it’s a little short.

October 18, 2006

Adam looks up at Eve’s
ankle – they’d been going at it, he asked
‘What made all this?’ ‘The Big
Bang,’ she said ‘Well,’ he said
‘where did all the stuff come to bang
from?’ ‘God made it,’
Eve said.
Adam thought a minute.
“But who made God?” he asked. She said,
‘He banged into being, something about
berating himself too often. Got
mad, went boom.’ ‘But what,” said
Adam, ‘made the stuff that banged when God got
so dang mad he burst?’ ‘Angela Bassett,’
Eve said, ‘She went, “Hm, I think I need a God
around, someone to make more things
like me,” she said, “I need being made and maybe
helped over puddles sometimes without
bellowing.”’ ‘But then who,’
said Adam, ‘made Angela Bassett make God
get mad go blam?’ ‘The guy on the tube,’
said Eve, ‘he crooned and crooned, a kind
of early Orpheus, he wung until a moth came
out his mouth and flapped the whole Typhoon
into effect. It’s why we call it that the small
things govern what we say to one another.
All of this is pre-ordained.” “By whom?”
he asked. They spoke this way.
Went at it again.

(written 10.19.06—2:13 a.m.)

parking by the auto shops by shea stadium
we avoid the first block,
where one of the guys who works there
had cordoned off all the spots illegally
and forced my dad to pay him $10,
saying we could park there
but he wouldn’t watch the car
meaning he’d break something on the car,
after us parking on that same street for free
for the past 33 years.
but there were either no spots
or no spots dad felt like parking in,
so we went back to the now $10 block
and found different guys running the block
and six days later the spots were now $20
with the same promised protection,
dad said ok even though i wasn’t happy,
happy he had a spot
and didn’t have to deal with exiting the stadium’s lot after the game.