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Anselm Berrigan

from Zero Star Hotel


Odds when binary
Codes are the dealers
Skullptures, something
Thousand human
Head bones from the last
Two or three centuries
Queased me out of
The abstruse sacrifice
Of a hangover
20 meters underground


are two mojo-jojos
too many for the world?
to die in misery
and buy a house
or take the concorde
to Michael Jordan’s
ten thousand dollar
summer basketball camp
for out of shape people
and fire the coach


Oh calmly I will
Be with you when
You lose your brain
In the early stages
Of normative satanology
The reputed rod
Of Yahweh’s coat hanger
Antennae bringing in
Signals of heretical
Errors through our teeth


grab leg two heads
aquarium in basement
and move on. Blue
in the shudders past
an olive curtain. Rest
of room is cream
except an orange
city map. “Myfilmsnever
end.Theyhaveth
simplesolutions.”


Little necklights & a halting
Way of talking, the top
Of a rotting peach
Baked beans and frites
Corked beer, stink
At lepic’s crown
That there resembles
Pleasure, it’s okay
Not to say
Where we’ve settled





I can’t believe anybody
talked like that
withdraw withdraw
I gat the loon
my childhood rugby chapel
let twenty crabs pass
hurling upon the future
let us nip the grass
as Achilles hurled
upon his enemies





At the Smith and Jones
Factory I get my
Gear, don’t smoke
Don’t vote, dry off
With Madonna towel
It’s a field night
For the roachies
Smoked too many
Crumbs, too much
Genre manipulation


looks like nothing
ever happened
except everything’s
wet, singed cork
rubbeth face, pay
Thai hotel concierge
/owner in red-checked
pjs for Ross’ 8 nights
decapitate writer head
sacrifice to gods of buried vocals


DugRoth says id Keats
Was here in our burgers
He’d slug him every time
If he played the Welt-
Meister? Double
Slug. West Nile Virus
Strikes Bill Five Times
Tho’ he’s scared to enter
Queens, despite status
As honorary Met


Metro accordion player speaks:
“If the global workforce
continues to be decimated
by disease & natural catas-
trophe it will be necessary
to clone a workforce.
please give in advance
to help create this force
in exchange for these
accordion songs. Merci.”


It takes a dick
To raise a pyramid
Motorcycle crash
On the tongue, small
Business buried, this short
But expansive demonological
Expose is, in all probability
My own diabolized & garbled
Version of raising “the listener”
To the rank of dualist “believer”





three nines, plus fifteen
two fours king high, lose five
two fives ace high, lose five
nothing ace high, lose finger
right index. Zilch, ace
high, lose left thumb
ten and seven pairs, get thumb
back, doesn’t fit. Two fives
hand back thumb. Six high
lose hand, split.





The moral right of the author
Has been deserted
And tearful words that rhyme
You are not crumbling and
You are tired of crumbling
The moral continuum
Of the gobot’s heresy
Has been dejected
With feelings of paranoia
Thank Augustine, for


like Leonard Nimoy
you and I are made
mostly of water. But
when the assholes play
ukeleles and gloat
about cheap rent
the sight of the world
quarters me. Thus I regress
shame and embarrassment
fucking up the life


Many otters are also
Making current loans
Whilst unable
To find the function
Button next to the
Pause button.
While you were invisible
I was privvy
To the seamscape
Brutish preconfiguring was there


end poem with gambling
write out dreams
another personal rule
broken to quote face
death unquote, with
apologies to the just now
stomped roachie.
“they were all my friends
and they died”, an old
thread and a new one


Coptic art, blue lady
Bahrain coin, midnight
Medoc, Eddie snickers
Insects attack, denim guy
Who robs drug stores
Yearning to speak:
Cocktail fugitive angst
Ball refuses to be thrown
Be not frozen in cigar
Store scared to emote





basically we need
a cultural tilting of the bowl
or diseased markets. Interrogation
chairs pile up outside
guides. Primitives drool
intelligence. I can't find
the light. Two degrees
outside. The city at odds.
poetry is my strength
clothes are my weakness





Nobody comes over
And never leaves anymore
Incidental back to a sill
Calm, poignant, terrified
Volunteer me a busride to
Chase middle fingers with bats
Blooming by the pond
I did not hug the tranquil
Endowment after a wedding
Drank everything in sight


pigeon now. weird big
books everywhere jogging
in hollywood t-shirts
we raised this park
and built a pond by
which to shoot movies
they shot us on the pond
and it was the best “I hate
that dog” I ever had
feeding with a bottle


Now Eddie’s bored
People invented God
To excuse their bad
Habits this roach
Says to me. There
Isn’t anyone it
Even wants to imitate
Eddie and I play anti-
Chess, both begin
In mate


now Ross is gone
bearer of sock herb
impresser of exiled
temps. Um is my
comment, leaking
uranium on the sea
bed. Others tilt
ever so slightly
swoopward, blame
the spiritual outsider


At the reading reaching
For the bar food “Well
We’ve got to put those
Subs somewhere or else
Sell them as staples
Of a fast food fat
Reducing diet”. Find
And replace he said
I see a crabby
Peering through a crag





passenger next to antagonist
all my darkness is product
I sell it your way as wisdom
you lose blue, use red
I see my feet sometimes
artificial's the right word
clinical joy unreported
poke a hole in a blanket
and with your head
go through it





I’ve never met any
Mysterious musicians
Sorry. I wish
They stopped saying
Lord, and ended
This Pope business
My relative Clapp
Died at the Alamo
Let's give Texas
Back to Mexico


the original of this
poem is available
for $5,000. When
I sell it I plan
to buy a debris
slide. I’m broke
but I make more
money than my
parents did when
they were my age


Solid boundless freefall
My connective tissue
My fine citizen centering
Circles this frame
Upside down flying
Back first into
Woods, flipped
Over handlebars
Brake cord detached
Leaf imprint on back


what is interesting
about him is also what
is wrong with him
rendering him electable
he’s the guy who poses
for trophies, biologically
but he is turning into
bio-seitan, to be eaten
by a despicably healthy
human extending a lifespan


I can get a sparrow
With a bow and arrow
I can buy anything
Cheaper than you
Who wasted the miracle
On the dove?
The subject is SAME
NAME. There's nothing
To cross out. $5000!
Have a happy warning


if you don't understand
don't be ashamed
to ask three times
the answer is TIGHT-LIPPED
you have won $30, 300
can I have a glass of water?
the Americans had Judy
Garland & we had Edie Piaf
he was set to do another season
of Superman, then he was shot





Anselm Berrigan is the author of Integrity & Dramatic Life, from Edge Books. Zero Star Hotel, also from Edge, is forthcoming in 2001. You can read Dale Smith's review of Integrity & Dramatic Life in Jacket 8, and Anselm Berrigan on Philip Whalen in Jacket 11.



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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom

This material is copyright © Anselm Berrigan
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
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