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Tom Devaney / Poems

Everyone I Know

I'd rather not be abstract, or know
the consequence of 2+2
I'd rather not be white, I'd rather not be
rather not
in the wrong place in another person's story
I'd rather not
cry so much, or have bad breath
I'd rather not
talk about it or mention it-
Rather not look at beautiful people,
or look!
at an ugly person
I'd rather not desire
so much or nothing
rather not be good
or overly horny-
like everyone I know,
I'd rather not, often
muddling friends' lives or my own
Rather not call
way too late
but glad it's you-
Knowing all too well,
the consequence of 2+2
and the funk of black & blue & white
How very funny it is
to laugh
in the wrong place, & why
I want & desire - plan trips
to Rome, forever
& everyday Happy Birthday! with a big old hat on,
and abstraction sunny
or cloudy like a vial of peppermint and
"The whole field it took to make it,"
my friends with beautiful peppermint breath - I kiss you!



Song for Shaky Youth

In a time that's seen and done just about everything, and even saying
it's all been said has been said; where to point your energy in this
grab-fest of the overstimulated? Never bitch about this, sing Aretha,
James, and Ray. Kick a chance operation, ethno-poetic, theory-centered
tune in the ass, to the beat of an after-party utopia, nothing sunny
under the new intensity blues. History requires responsibility, it's
true; Wilde says our responsibility to history is to rewrite it. More,
if tradition may be believed, make it unbelievable. Confidence causes
respect, hatred and pain-to ourselves because of 24 hr. skepticism-and
others because they're suspect and nervous. Rah-rah culture plays us
off and sells us it's deep love. Take money from the rah-rah Man if he
gives it, otherwise bad mouth him! Ashbery isn't showing up in any ads.
In that sense, he's working. Dear John, Sugar There's No Equal. Dear
John, Butter is Better! Dear Butter & Sugar, my shaky hand's shaking -
how are you? Tho' if nothing matters we might as well shoot more shit.
Words matter; if you convince me otherwise I've understood it, so I
don't understand. When words lose their meanings physical force takes
over. Artist should take shapes as lovers remembering fruit, sugar,
butter: multiply! Natural objects make the best love. What about lying?
Everyone else should take artists as lovers. The brain's the most
intense sexual organ, an information processing system and then some.
Think big, like Hong Kong for real, take out big things with little
ones; remember little fish always lose or always win. Hook-em-to-cook-em
is bite-sized pragmatism and ain't bad eating. What's what can't be
completely known; if it is, it isn't what I'm talking about. Our dreams
aren't surreal. It's all in the family. Write and make art that if used
in court would fuck your case-whether you're innocent or not and you're
not-test mind, self, and desire to play-ground-pitch of hot! Sing it.
This is a song.


Man in a Hole
--for Shawn Lyons

I'm talking to a tree in its large conversation
looking up a cool forest's dress.
It had the heads up on me.
Most felt there was something wrong,
floating above the ground, birds flying out of my mouth,
exhausted and quitting jobs
the really music part of the music, my internal evidence
tells me the American Indian Surrealists were about.
Singing to a tiny light, nod-grooving my head for fear & other reasons.
The lost art of belly slapping in every key, small echoes to remember.

When I didn't know, for days, forgot not to know,
why I was there--getting into things with a large leaf,
the happy leaf. Spending nights,
seeing things around & thru & eventually burning.
On its ash, the bottom of my feet never felt better.
In the forest, digging a hole, one I've been digging since I could look.
My insect war & peace with afternoon's calling out names,
and nights mixed with smoke.

The night I ran from my heart, ducking into the ground.
When the wind went from the trees,
I lit a pipe and thought Moby Dick--still alive.
When ordinary rules applied--my friends applied.
The guts to tap my foot, no big shit!
When a cartoon meant something,
dangerous animals and sickly dreams.
A search engine of code I wanted to speak--embedded in my skin.
Sent to follow the voice light sometimes speaks--
that spoke to me; while the fog & smoke still mixing--
Never dreaming the place, I couldn't.