Death Row

23 03 2010

I’m gonna write like I’m on Death Row
the carnivores are licking their chops
smelling the fair meat of the poet
but I’m gonna write like I’m on Death Row
all my appeals bouncing through
the Universal Court System
my own mitochondria plotting against me
like every tomorrow is a lethal shot
and the groans of the damned
echo in my concrete eardrums

I’m gonna write like a daredevil suicide mission
no quarter given and none expected
no hymen-nosed pretension is safe around my telescope
I’m gonna write like TRUTHS were chasing me,
flaming demons through a nightmare
to strap my imagination to a chair
and torture themselves out of me

all the easy poems have been written
the psalms, the sonnets, the sutras
the epics and the limericks
the poems of beauty and longing
poems of storied heroes and gods
poems of lust
poems of charity
poems of clarity
kiddie poems
funny poems
nasty poems
angry poems
sweet poems
bitter poems
they’ve been written
by me or others

but I look for a poem hard as diamond
that will scratch a mirror right down to the silver
a poem that is major surgery with a ball-point pen
I look for a poem that will embarrass Aphrodite with its nakedness
a poem to make grown men weep and little children laugh with glee
I look for a poem with music makes the redwoods shivver like reeds
causes the tides to bow and ebb and the beaches to catch up their skirts
a poem with acid that eats rocks
will knock your notions out of their socks
make the Himalayas lean to listen
I want a poem terrifying in its beauty
and terrified of its beauty
with an edge that splits razors

Long I have looked for this poem
when I couldn’t find it, I tried to write it
but to write that poem
you have to write like you’re on Death Row





Song for Ancestors and Descendants

18 03 2010

Big Grandma was a medium sized woman,
the generations are radiant in their gradations
call it the past or the seeds of the future
it’s up to you which dust to trust
which lingual tradition
what grunts and whistles

Somewhere I have an ancestor, his skin is black.
He tramped in Ethiopia, lived on berries and poetry
in grunts and whistles, and straddled the Great Rift.
Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.

Then the family moved north to Germany
which didn’t exist then, and we lost the pigment
in our skin due to rugged cold weather
and the angle of the sun. Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.

We were on the run like tangled Hugenaughts
from France to Scotland to Ire
and finally to the colonies with nothing
but a blunt ax and the will to live and fire.

Next we will flee to bubbled houses
on Titan or Europa or some lonely asteroid
and camp on our convictions and science
while we invent new gods and kiss the void.

enron lemurs
barely primates
only stand upright for moments
wearing their lawsuits
like big eyed beans
and rascal underwear
Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.

when my country sat in the lotus position
on, I cannot remember when
around the time the founding fathers
were sitting around smoking pot
and cooking up our destiny.

cannabis rex
like a reptile rising
from the primate brain bewitched
not like glands released
or the bondage of ancestry

Great Grand Daddy owned half of Baltimore
or so the story goes. About the time of Poe.
The wharf district was his. And the red light.

He was a famous philanderer rascal man
had his key in every hole. An Irishman.
Great Grand Ma’am was of stern and German stock.

When he gave her the clap, she divorced him
These were the days when divorce was uncommon
and there was no penicillin.

Big Grandma was a medium sized woman
she lived to be one hundred and four
and then she started forgetting things
like the names of her children
and the attacks by Comanches she used
to tell me about. Curved by age she
still made preserves and potato salad to die for.

Shiva plays a sitar in my genes
they project into the generations
and take you along
like riding behind a big truck
or in the slip stream of a goose.

it’s no matter if I’m the engine or the caboose
as long as the train keeps rollin’
a phantom on the tracks
helium or hemoglobin
a spiral to destiny.

my machine gun seed
shot into your belly
like diamonds of the future
rapt and wiggling
the generations escape
and swim upstream
on a chance

the crow can pass for a raven
black headed and lookin slick
but the crow knows more
and talks about it

his beak in the ears of the strawman
unafraid as a gentleman bird
picking up what others drop
Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.

the ambassador bird
scratches for seed
a magpie driven
a dark parrot
with a Shakespearian accent
and an eye that misses nothing

the bird is studying
to be a dominatrix
a wit on wings
where the sun gleams
things are never
as they seem

the guitar evolved from dinosaurs
like a warbling forensic
with no eyelids

this was before electricity
when only fire existed
and music

is it the nightingale?
no, it is the lark
alas, the morning
with its responsibilities

sun ripens over san antone
covered by the cloud
of bird wings
fourteen mexicans in a car
a fiesta of angel crows

there is a beer crisis in birdland
all the fouls are blinking fast
and the referee blows his whistle
the chicken would crow
but he spent himself in the night
and once again at dawn

when a sperm whale comes
he comes in quarts, not tablespoons
his swimmers make swimmers
and singers and the
philosophy of the deep.

Big Grandma was a medium sized woman
my first guitar was a girl as well
she gently weeped and tightened
her g string a half step up to Jimi Hendrix
too soon she went to Africa
and plugged in her amp
turned it up to ten
and screamed like
a punk angel of rock
I am the father of her guitar

puppet
strung like a banjo tsunami
or a ruptured hurricane
distinct as a blue norther
and a maxed out credit card
there is a place in my back
where you can put your hand in
and operate me
like a manic mannequin

before I invented fire
I didn’t have two sticks to rub together
But Edison was on my shoulder
and I had dreams of a nuclear program

I thumped my drum and drew
right there on the cavern walls
sagas of caribou and gazelle
I wait to rape the moon with my rockets
She was medium sized.

The past, the present and the future collide
as we take the rampant karma ride
just close your eyes to know generations
deoxyribonucleic acid twisted around
a lysergic handbag of memories
Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.

my parents are visiting my children
at the point of laughing at the generations
Janus looking forward, looking back
project the future and remember the past

don’t look for the puppets
look for the strings
why do you think they call it string theory?
and chromosomes are little ropes
that tie the ancestors to the descendants.
Big Grandma was a medium sized woman.





The Perfect Taco

18 03 2010

I love to eat more than
I love to fuck
If what I’m eating
is the Right Taco

If they put tacos in catalogues
and you picked them out by sight
I’d know in a mexican sec
just which one was right
by how the edges curled around
on the folds of the tortilla
and how this part here is soft
and this part may be a
little harder if I press with
my tongue to test it
and it smells like smoky meat
and when you nest it in
lettuce all around and then
the sauce is what really makes
a taco shine with jalepeno fury
and the hotter and the pinker
the better it is to bury
your face in that Perfect Taco





The Poet’s Dirty Socks

18 03 2010

Are you READY to fall in love?
I mean are you READY?
you are not a silly young girl
at least not sillier than I require
how do you look when your hair is rolled up
and you’re pulling the poet’s socks from the dryer?

Cuz the poet’s dirty socks
are just like any other dirty socks
and we have to go through
do you snore or have the pox?
and who has keys and who has locks
list your real estate; list your stocks
what was in that little black box?
and before we cum we’re on the rocks
And I tell you it’s all because of socks
Cuz the poet’s dirty socks
are just like any other dirty socks





Circus of Dreams

18 03 2010

We came to the compound
chain-link fence industrial
circus grounds with all the
geeks sticking nails in their
cheeks and tossing knives
and swinging, juggling misfits
inspired with rock n roll
scissors clipping the air

practicing the act
practicing the act
ever practicing the ACT.

sweat of love and effort
circus people intent
on perfection in one small thing
a unicycle or trapeze; tossing
chainsaws all in joy and abandon

And wanted me to join the band
I had to know they played with
feeling so I considered it.
This is when I remembered
I could fly.
From past dreams, even to childhood
First like a fledgeling with too much effort.
could barely get off the ground
Then as my dreams progressed
and I learned the willful value of my wings
I acheived flight more easily
Now the clowns and the barkers beckoned me–
the circus was always my dream

so, I took a step and
launched into the pool of air
Viscous air
my fingers grabbed it like a liquid
and I pulled myself upward
thinking of angels doing breaststrokes
and the thickness of the atmosphere
a jellied substance pulling me up and UP
the upturned faces of the clowns
told me I was in the circus now
A post-apocalyptic Barnum & Bailey
smells of sweat and sawdust and elephants
suckers with pocketfuls of curiosity and awe

I hovered above you
took you by the eyes
You didn’t think you could do it
but I knew better and gave your hand a tug
then on tiptoes
you released the ground
flying too
flying two
Both in the
Circus of my Dreams





Complete the Form

18 03 2010

At the bottom of Federal forms they place a several paragraph section in fine print
that estimates how long it will take you to fill out this form
something like four days to read and decipher the contents
another two days to gather your information, seven hours for the calculations
four to fill out the forms, two minutes to address the envelope and three seconds to lick the stamps.

Even at Blockbusters they demand picture ID to rent a plastic disc
first they dock your paycheck and then they hit you again at the end of the year
oh yes, I know that all the money they extract is to buy a flack jacket for your son in Iraq
and a body bag if necessary. Don’t fret, it only takes eight hours to fill out this form.

The scientists in Switzerland surmise that soon it will take all of us
eighteen hours a day just to answer our email
and the postman is a crack dealer with infinite suspicion
and we pay for the privilege of civilization with an anarchy organization
breathing down every neck with auditors. regulations and documents.

I don’t count taking out the trash, mowing the lawn and feeding the dog
If I were you I would anticipate a tax on every breath you take
and next a toll on imagination if you can find time for it after
you fill out the forms required to even indulge in the vice.

fill out the forms and conform to the norms
get a blank stare, be television aware and copy your paperwork
if they audit your calculations stand you on trial for your computaions
it will only mean more forms to fill out
we estimate it will take you the rest of your life.





RESUME

18 03 2010

When I was seventeen
it was a very good year (small town girls etc)
but I also got my first job
and read my first beatnik poetry
which encouraged me to nurse my foibles
and vow to never suck another man’s cock
or punch another man’s clock.

I have succeeded for fifty-five years working for myself.

Sure, there have been odd jobs and enterprises
but since I was seventeen, I’ve never Sold My Hours
For A Handful of Dimes.

The computers at Social Security will draw a blank stare
if payments are submitted under my number. Who is he?

I’ve lived by the seat of my pants for so long that they are shiny
with imrov manifestos and starvation smoking snipes
soupcans and hotplates, nigger rigged pensions
the road is paved with the best intentions but leads to hell and employment.

That’s why I write blank verse on my application
it’s for my own enjoyment and inches of penetration not for sale.
I could regale you with my antics of cunning and luck
but what the hell and what the fuck do you care about my credentials
it’s down to brass tacks, the short hairs, the essentials

If I was going to jump when the boss said “frog”
I would have signed up for a heart attack long ago
My job is a cardiac tattoo, an emblem, the logo of my dreams
Don’t ask me for a urine test. And furthermore let me stress
that my body costs more than the finest whore and more than my methods confess
I’m rich and I’m poor because I won’t sell.
My thoughts and time are mine alone but you
can have them for a song.