August 15-21, 2005: Judy Kamilhor and Luke Buckham

week of August 15-21, 2005

Judy Kamilhor and Luke Buckham

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Judy Kamilhor

Bio (auto)

My name is Judy Kamilhor, and I live in Brooklyn, NY I have been writing city haiku for a couple of years, with increasing frequency, and sometimes make greeting cards out of them A friend once told me that no-one makes a living writing haiku, and it has become my life’s goal to prove him wrong

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Judy Kamilhor and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

city haiku:

Skyline scrolls before
me, as elevated F train
curls its tail back, 4th

In New York City,
who has time for seventeen
syllables? not me
Catatonic on
the F train: knees assaulted
by huge Conway bags

Tree on Charles Street is
illuminated by street
light, golden flowers

Questions, questions:
who am I? why am I here?
what’s for dinner?

Sign on Bowery store
window: “everything is
subject to change”

Luke Buckham


Luke Buckham was born in the middle of 1980 and is currently living on a friend’s couch in Keene, New Hampshire, where he works as a chef at a pseudo-mexican restaurant He has failed at almost everything and is learning to relish the freedom that this affords His free print-only ‘zine, THE INAPPROPRIATE, can be obtained by e-mailing him and asking him to mail a copy  Luke has written thousands of autobiographies in the third person.  His last published collection of poems, Moonlight on Moloch, is available for viewing & printing at An earlier collection, Woke up in Flames, is available for order online at

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Luke Buckham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

let us gather now around the meat


There’s too much dead air coming
from the bars and churches and coffee shops,
too much dead air coming from you and me
and main street and our scorched apartment
here in our tiny blinking abyss The spirit
of the human race seems to be temporarily
snuffed out This afternoon I found
a card taped to a bulletin board that said
“this is a message from a frightened person”
and couldn’t remember whether or not
I was the one who had posted it

This was static, this was fire,
an infinity of yellow-lit lakes
expanding in the back yard We met at a barbecue grill
and tried to exchange painful messages
but the words poured out and flowered
in derangement, we couldn’t
understand each other’s poetry This was fire, this was static,
the holy ghost reduced to a pork chop
roasting in the late afternoon
while both of us stared through the smoke
grinning nervously like strangers,
after years of blind lovemaking

I see you’ve been making some improvements
on your body The creases beneath your buttocks
have disappeared Ridding yourself of friendly sags
and bunches, you’ve become
evermore ruthless and aerodynamic I wish I could say that you are more beautiful
than you were this winter, when we loved
each other’s cerebrums out in a dirty attic The windows of your gym glint at me
as I walk the streets past your arsenal of treadmills I can hear legs screaming from a mass of oiled bodies,
climbing trees and fire escapes, lacking mountains,
to get away from your scent

There was a heart floating in the air
above a coffin of moss
that I refused to grab when I was
eight years old I’d wandered in the woods
suspecting the existence of such a heart
and wondering if it was mine
but when it bloomed bloody from the faint air
and faded the surroundings I didn’t grab it
though my chest felt empty–
and feels empty now, the forest behind
my old house having been felled
and made into toilet paper
wherein I blow my nose, remembering
how gently the heart throbbed
and how much of my own gentleness
I have rejected

I want to do something new like weaving a web
with my body today, and string myself up in the air
between anonymous trees Perilously self-absorbed,
twenty-five, broke, homeless, having been kicked out
by a beautiful girlfriend for cheating with her inferiors,
it occurred to me today at work while flipping quesadillas
that I might be that animal referred to as a Loser I want to hang myself from my own glistening web
outside the bedroom window we once steamed
by making love until all four half-beautiful eyes
rolled back so far in all our multiplying heads Thank you for not throwing my salvation army clothes
and tormenting music out on the lawn
along with the tan overcoat I let you borrow
the night we met and started this which hurts mildly
like a yellow rose run over by many lawnmowers

As fragile a balance as the substance we breathe,
rock-climbing without ropes attached to his diaper,
my alternate-dimension father’s hand found a grip
softened by lichen (a generic fungus I’ve always
liked for its greyness, its knack for blending in)
and slipped down eleven stories of mountain
smashing like a grasshopper
under a toddler’s curious boot the lower half
of his body, then wandered around for years bleeding
on crooked legs, pumping gas, trumpeting the proofs
of Thomas Aquinas to total uninterested strangers,
something supernatural with thirteen senses of humor
having spared him in his brokenness as an example to his son
not to trespass the heights Someday I’ll dig up his legs
and bring them with me to a peak above his blood-stain
decades old, touching many a mountain,
never carrying a rope

Having applied directly to the White House
for a cosmic college degree, he sits on a couch,
his island on the surface of a red sun hotly imagined,
picking small tree-frogs from his nose and smearing them
on the couch Every time a national election comes up
he writes in his favorite Buddhist monk for president The terrible relaxation of choosing only hopeless causes
sinks into his skin, yellow as the walls of a smoker’s house

Summer made me feverish on a park-bench
and I napped through several day-jobs daydreaming
of my favorite journalist, whose blushing anus I rimmed
under the throaty gasp of air-conditioning
in her third-story office while the Sunday edition
crumpled in the press and burned downstairs Despite the fire
heating the floor, and my lips now made a legend
of gentle violation, she turned around and kissed me on the lips So drunk on small-town apocalypse that we couldn’t tell
the curtain ripping off the window was not her skirt,
her office opened like a godlike eye holding the first couple
and the scandal rocked the town above the fire

What did the tree-stump say to the man who sat
on the circles of its chainsaw-shortened years?
I think it sang a song about the wide eyes
of owls who sat in its branches, their down-curving beaks,
the cold helicopter cynicism of their eating habits The man, shaken by the wood’s description
of dark nights swooping down upon a mouse
scurrying through straw, torn from the fields
that were its home, went to the city,
where owls are rarely seen or spoken of
and the wood compressed into less immediate forms
tells quieter stories

The ocean licks your balls, then tells you you don’t exist Nature is a cruel ex-girlfriend, but the city
towering behind its waves is worse And what will
the sea-turtles do today, except be turtles?
Their majestic monotony soothes the child
of a middle-aged couple groping and darkening
in the sun, the lines they wish to erase being baked
in deeper like an India landscape The poor child
associates lovemaking their whole life thereafter
with scents of suntan lotion and the sight
of lumbering turtles

“Are we cruel? We’re cruel! Are we spiritual criminals?
You bet!” That’s something like what he said
so radiantly at the bar last night,
alienating all his critical and very artistic friends Even the neon lights seemed to waver
in the flow of such sudden and neurotic honesty Even the much-needed outbursts now
are “negative, spastic and self-indulgent”
according to the one who used to kneel at his feet
to fill her olive-scented mouth in the early morning No more shall he enjoy her spit, or the drooling
of so many friendly strangers Malevolence lurks
under the surface of every handshake, the soul
of every downtown interaction is replaced
by snobbery of secondhand euro-american manners

The ones we hate are the ones with crushed hearts–
they feel our pain deeper than the ones we love are able Sensory overload having placed condoms on our brains;
so anti-depressed we’re ready to kill
the first person who spills a drink
on our shirt, forgetting that their apparent attack
is only a stumble If we were deprived of beer and loud
music for a lonely hour, wouldn’t we stab each other
to death with pool-cues? Have our eyes ever once
met honestly across a table in this world?
Let us gather now around the meat and see
if it still has a soul

In the far corner of god’s eye there’s a black-haired girl
who won’t tell her real name Light,
that her body creates, shimmers through her clothes
and through a ripped pair of jeans
makes a glow respond from the bulbous outward heart
of a man broken past love, past lust,
and into longing to depart this place
with some beauty seen and cherished
by looking gracefully away

The respect of the spineless is not respect The respect of the wise is too humorous and knowing,
too generous, to give any pride But even hermits
wait for renegade angels, or some eye in the wall,
to love and admire them That’s why my friend Wyoming
killed sixteen people on a bus, using an old scythe–
he’d had a dream of his image on TV, born in glowering lunar blue
in a desperate girl’s bedroom And her worshipping
his force, his fearlessness of blood, praying
for him to kill her sex-crazed father Choosing fantasy, eschewing patience like a man
pounding golfballs into green with a sledgehammer,
they remain in their cages and cannot save each other

When I have sung my songs, and known my voice
never to have touched the music, I ask you
who know the murder of my hands
to let me read to you until I break Let me mow your lawn without a metaphor
to wear my shirt And cook you all the things we loved
and killed in a large and blackened wok The chickens we wore as pets cannot be cried over
with any dignity; we squawk as they squawked My ridiculous ran over my melodious A nondescript dog with error marked clearly on its teeth
dragged it home backwards snarling,
its hunger almost making it live in its floppy dance What my mind like a sentient drawer of silverware
tried to jangle loose never found a hand And never need a war for songs to ache–a teenager
pumping gas, a rickety porch where not even a skeleton sits,
a convenience store morning broke my heart

The writer brags he’s gonna spill his guts he’s gonna
make us all feel the birth of suns in our wrists
the rhythm of Egypt and Israel being born and tangling
as we spend our lives climbing the cliffs pictured
on the cover of his book He’s going to put an end to war
with his dick–different from other dicks!
I can see why our resident genius annoys even the pigeons
who stop to crap so lightly on his shoes
as he stands on the threshhold of heaven
ignoring their wings in the absence of Blake’s angels
where the sun is a penny scraped free of yearly imprints;
Lincoln’s face left cleansed of its familiarity,
only a beard unknown, with its hat knocked off,
little copper disc lying in a wide black parking lot

A small man having landed in this afterlife
said “that last one got pretty crazy at the end”
and though he appeared atop a heap of cauliflower
with the black dots of antimatter dripping off him
from the womb of space he’d meekly conquered
just by dying, we, from a land of harsh accomplishment
or else, didn’t know what we was talking about,
so we didn’t believe him Luckily he was too confused
this time to attempt teaching us anything, except for how
to eat cauliflower as if it were an unfamilar gift,
glowing manna fallen
white from the supermarket ceiling

Now the end of a man is small and undramatic
like catfood spilled on a kitchen floor
discovered at sleepy-eyed midnight
by a woman on the way to the bathroom
shrugging off the weight of such a feathery universe
not bothering to sweep him up until the distant morning

Girl-crazy, I’ll jump off any bridge to land
in water full of women
no matter how many bodies I break
on the way to the bottom, not to mention
souls, which I suspect I’ve never touched Though something shone once on a tiny morning
from one who seemed hurt by my leaving
and many trains swept through those eyes
stung by departure, as if each glint of sight
held many compartments of sleeping lovers
obliviously swept feet-first into another city And the breeze changing their name
the oceans slithering through pillows to dye their hair
the bedsheets battered newsprint covered with rumors
of a war on skin by stronger impermanence
since nothing good or evil lasts
just the sound of waves
like smacking lips
as if something just one layer behind this world
has a good meal at our expense

Now you’ve had enough days to heal from the birth
of the dragon that kills with your face
these cinematic towns, until one grungy village
left an island in the milky way
in the wake of a lashing tail
stands out like a comma on the glistening back
of this jellyfish earth In a world where nobody breeds, the only penis left
is a soldier’s bayonet And I know you are hungry to have your life
killed like a chicken in front of you
by something stronger than what’s roamed
your life so far, its neck stretched further than the thought
of what violence brought to these streets
when the streets were just tears, streaks from a larger eye,
and each weekend a little mardi gras, contained
in one soaring tomato landing on a military parade But I’ll wait in the smiles of bark
the swords of water and the ripples of long prairie grasses
for you to kiss me like a wound opening under a wound The mocking lisp like turtles wearing lipstick
but their lumbering drifts like a subway sound
or skyscraper collapsing onto an acoustic guitar
and the music of frayed wires on a bridge
between flickering cities
is the sound of a harp being strummed

When I’m on my ten-speed racing bicycle,
following the white line with two humming wheels,
channeled in the blade of wind between traffic and forest,
getting honked at by cars whose drivers
pretend to know so sternly their destination,
I picture soul after soul, self after dead self,
demon after demon, flying out of me
and falling in the wind behind
like a series of flung coats.

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