The Sexiest Man in Any Empty Room




Some certain hopes and cherished daydreams all

but dead. To slide past verisimilitudes,

disburden such a fanciful pastel

of what is dreaded. The vicissitudes


of swashing out a personality,

a cumulative grace contrived in acid-

refluxive reasonings. “Leave purity

to poems!” he barks out. Ravishingly placid,


his smiles, and yet his face is hardly even

sore. (Yet.) He’s moving soon to metaphors,

to giddy tumults of imagination,

if quick and pleasingly cheap. The only forests


we’ll have left in oceans. Meaning lost

spreads, reduced sublimely, like a sauce.




The blinders. We all wear them: “Never out

of fashion, never.” We both see and are

half blind according to our lights, to our

benumbing cloudless sunshine in the rout

of all these people who are real, their twinned

and urban diffidence and they’re specific

pastiches past his face, the spool of traffic

that has him quash alarm at every twinge,


queasy as the lone remaining lemming

on the cliff top. Looks askance from tall

Nordic blondes who seem as though they’re strumming

sideburns though they haven’t any. Fall

breezes ease through Her erasures, humming

certain hopes and cherished daydreams, all.




According to the sexiest man in any

empty room, the thick and apish smiles

of drunks who should not be within 6 miles

of any dance floor and who are “the only

fuckers dancing!” – he makes one concession,

allowing it a glib, deliberate

lightness. Figures he can live with it

“at decent bars and during a recession.”


And never mind those dramas on the diving

boards – decades past. How memory intrudes,

when he’s hung over in the Sound’s forgiving

coldness that allows him to get used

to the water fast. The nerves’ ruse – drenched in living

but deadened – slides past verisimilitudes.




“To die a raisin, when we’ve lived a grape?”

reels off the sexiest man in any empty

rococo tasting room or any nape

of any empty stage. “… Say you, say me…”


Et tu, repeats the mirror glass. Wind blows.

The water roils. The wavelets hop like bulls.

What might it have been otherwise? Who knows.

It’s not that, grinding through the viscous brawls


of personality, he nears his death

with more or less panache than any other.

(Is that the universe holding her breath

or just the ozone’s hole expanding further?)


“It’s a good life, with one’s health.” Let Hell

disburden such a fanciful pastel.




That lime in the Corona. Someone back

in Pittsburgh told him just to shove it down,

affix a thumb atop the bottleneck,


turn bottle upside down. It could be done,

so he was told, without the hissing row

of foam (he never did avoid). At dawn


a faltering and earnest rain the cow

will never cease in straining to escape

begins, and water roils beneath a scow


beneath a bridge who knows how far built. Scrape

the bottom with impunity and flare.

“To die a raisin when we’ve lived a grape?”


The cow no further along for all its nudes

in water’s dreaded, thin vicissitudes.




Art and suavely craven isolation –

enough? he wonders of his writing heroes.

Their art just opens our imagination.

We only have their art; nobody knows.


“That’s as it should be. Not as if they thought

they had such useful answers” – leastwise, not

for others. “Had their art, for others.” Answers?

If he finds those himself, like deer their antlers,


he next may find they wilt, as in a time-

release montage of morning glories (for

a sex ed class dressed up as botany);


fob off the questions up from which they teem;

then fizzle out as juicered metaphor

for swashing out a personality.




In syllables and ink this much supplants

a troubled life indeed: that cow’s a plastic

figurine! By some baroque mischance

the moon created for the cow’s gymnastic

feat has broken off. It faintly glows

in orbit round an ashtray, also full.


A purple deeper than the light it throws,

its panniered skirt, its angling monocle,

the warmth gone deep as are the curtains’ veins,

within the depth and deeply in the form

of all these passengers, of all these trains

of thought that wander off, are wandered from.


One sky, another mirror’s nudes, their placid,

their cumulative grays contrived in acid.




The sexiest man in any empty room’s

gentle nihilism vis-à-vis,

shall we say, longevity. The glooms

of nihilism on the Number Three


on up to Swedish undisturbed by any

lyricism, any durable

claim of value. Simple misery,

in wraiths of those crude pleasures once found able


to be enjoyed if not incurable.

“… they can’t take that away from me…” O yes

they can. High Heaven as deductible,

Pall Mallls, straight bourbon or a summer dress


to pre-exist in perpetuity.

Reflexive reason sings leave purity.




A vague and drunken comity seeps in

from time to time, when all those simple pleasures

confer a feeling of august summation.

“Ah this is what is good,” he, as he measures

another out, will seem to say, if only

of any evening’s envelope of lonely

old air. O warm and lacquered heartbreak, laughed

at, bound to be as dangerous as it’s daft:


a coiffed, oft-quoted desert, sans mirage,

A wavy global blind spot playing brain-dead,

spared the apple green expanse of lucid

daydreams, speculation, and blind rage

which, like a husky palm, has all been read

in poems he barks out, ravishingly placid.




The sultry-vague jazz bass lines and the doors’

inhalant wheeze of traffic noise. The brass band

that sounds a mix of Sousa and of Star Wars

with Carmen bleeding on the brain. The bland


garrulity of fat guitars that ought

on pawnshop walls have languished un-revived

and brittle as their price tags, come to naught

engorging anthems in the graveyard dives


howled by teens with fake IDs – if not as

numbly crooned on cruise ships under stars.

Sexiest in any empty heaven,


helming driest poolside chair regattas,

haunting upstage cooling samovars,

smiling…yet his face is hardly even.




Sax man planted like a hangman’s tree

up on the bandstand. Stone-faced trumpeter

looking like a burnt-out porno actor

waiting to play his deal, jiggling his knee,


then drawing minuscule cartoons upon

the clotted the air with his fat, inky mustache

as he sings. Cool shabbiness and flash,

while millennial millionaires wave battered prawn


in gestures toward the flatscreen televisions’

cloying, primrose-populist admixtures

of (muted) social life. Nature abhors


the empty rooms through which our partisan’s

old Eureka, howling its erasures,

soars yet. (He’s moving soon, to metaphors.)




“Suppose we sort out all the pronouns later?”

His arid and astringent “humor” – essence?

His marriage a distraction from that essence,

those years now scooping light, a lunar crater?

Among the funnier things he’s ever said,

he’d won the evening’s laughter at the bar,

but now its context and its meaning far,

far gone. As if a question mark could head

off, follow up, or even sour on

a thought that curves in gilded mystery.

“But let’s not sweat mixed metaphors: we’ve ‘Any-

time Minutes!'” – a redundant oxymoron


that goads him now from clowned exasperation

to giddy tumults of imagination.




“And who knows where it leads to, other than

an early grave?” – its topsoil sundered by

tsunamis turning shorelines of the bay

into a distant sandbar. The sexiest man

in any empty room sits wondering

just how we lose our way; how we enjoy

to gently flirt with death; are deadpan coy

with our potential – all while blundering


through bouts of courtly triage with one version

after another of the ghostly She

(his “we” is masculine it seems and jests

with Gallic shadows nodding off). O verse in

childhood’s old-growth worn anthology,

quickening, pleasingly cheap. O lonely forests.




Her only slightly awkward and sublime

grace. Her toothy smiles and half-moon cheekbones.

Her Hydra as an archetype of Time,

busy with Her compact mirrors and prone

to repetition. Same, hard lesson. She

is always out there. She can utterly

both captivate the man and see the man.

Enjoys, for howsoever brief a span,


his interest and attention for its own

paltry sake. Flirtations play in shadows;

love filters through the slats of blinds; legs crossed,

obsession poses vigil over one

unending round of Patience. Plastic meadows,

what we’ll have left of oceans, meaning lost.




It’s this much having not escaped. Glib cask

in syllables and ink. This much supplants

a memory unequal to its task;


throwing psychic energy askance

all over what we walk through every day

and making story of it as we chance;


a mask of narrative submerged in play

of tone and gilded mystery, sweet gloom,

some quiet flourishes, aloofness, stray


gusts of dirty air. As his clean bathroom

not often says, “At least he managed that.”

The sexiest man in any empty room


clarifies and strains his buttery loss.

It spreads, reduced sublimely like a sauce.

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