Child of The Earth
Beating my belly on the ground like a Jerusalem cricket making song. There's a myth they cry like babies, a myth about The Pool Of Memory. And I remember trustworthy is no myth, my being true doesn't explain any phenomena. I remember wanting to keep you safe from loneliness but I can't choose what you do. If I were to lose you to lonesomeness, I would remain unheard, too, my spiracular voice only felt, my movements like yours, underground when they should be made into a centaur constellation to shine like your eyes forever. And I remember, to you the stars are an amber necklace. If I steal it for you you’ll say I’m irresponsible. If I don’t you’ll say I have no character. And I’ll smile like Odysseus when his feet hit the ground on Corfu after his trip. And you will remember who I am. And I will stay only long enough.
I went to the junkyard in North Las Vegas to visit all the Chryslers that were in my life. When I got back to your friend's house, where you were living at the time, I merely winked at you. You said, Don't roll your anger into a ball and make it a game. Well, I guess I should've just said hello. I wonder if I'll have anything to tell you. What if I don't? After all the years go by together, that there would be anything to say is breathtaking. Under my grimy finger nails your skin feels like emery paper; do I make you feel like a carburetor in a mechanic's hand? Failing to remember any excitement I could fasten to the first time I knew for certain I didn't want to be without you, a crane lifted a Cordoba from one heap to another. The driver side door fell to the ground.
Listening to Lou Reed While She Slept in L.A.
I have found peace and anguish. It’s a resounding note of resolution for a thug life. You brought the perfectness, and inspired the remarkable. On my own I brought the perfervid a sense of the rebarbative. Where you quieted my soul, on my own now I am stentorian. That’s how it works. The millstone of distortion is self-awareness, the disorder of early morning for me, a creature of emotion, brings at least 3000 words about our singularity in a book we left behind on the side of the road. I lived to tell the story of connection, the warning signs of undoing―of myself―with love because you showed me strength and courage, so I made the choice for resilience even as my stubborn ass caused agony. There seem to be happy people in the world. We were not like them. Exhilaration where there had always been the dejected volatility that brought out the worst in me. I returned the favor. I am not vicious. The world is not threatening. I am a new man in a new heaven and a new Earth. Hell for you. So see me. Even as I was if you can’t see who I am now. Understand this―the dead in me stomps, resounds, then passes again to resolve like ash in the wind of a spinning world. I will return to pure joy in other worlds. You will too.
The Cadence sailed in the race that year; the syncopation in a clash, the reflection of the sails in the water pre-psychedelic, warm, sun drenched, and the smell of hot beach sand and hotdogs, candy necklaces. The America's Cup won by the crew of Columbia, and so much began for all of us that day, it's staggering: the experience of walking around town barefoot and in shorts; a look from her that sought approval and showed joy and love only to die at 39 O.D.ed on Phenobarbital and Seconal. We went out to see The Story On Page One that night at Theatre 80 on Saint Marks Place I saw Chico Hamilton walking with Eric Dolphy. Dancing on rooftops and kissing like we're out on a hunt aboard a 12-meter class yacht. An experience of appreciation rather than kinetic idolizing! What a lilt on encountering: Jazz Painting Poetry Fiction History―no synthetic counterfeit perception―The moment! If you can have Drowning Girl you can elevate the pot head. Anita O'day was high on stage in Newport in 1958. Everybody was high and fucking. We're still high and fucking. The 50's Beat Generation brought us the hippies, the 60's brought us Punk. Sure―if the white girl is gonna dance with the black guy, then the black girl is gonna play vibraphone with the white guy, too―our collective ecstasy will transition just like that into the cathartic, the regenerative―and we'll be free. White saxophonist, black trumpeter. No shit, Sherlock. All the effort we put out for God. And people say it's the devil's work. I Am Your Son I was born on September 28, 1970 A reborn John Dos Pasos walking fast through the crowd, the entirety of my art a rhythm, the cadence of Pops high, square fingers snapping No Job No Woman No House No City. What is the difference between a rocking chair and a chariot? Suffering, junior. And the drums! I don't care I'd rather sink Heaven is everywhere.
Deidad Menor/Minor Deity―the Indigencia Trilogy
I Pete reads the West Coast edition of The New York Times letters-to-the-editor section, notes the ecology of dissatisfaction, allows the wave to carry him. II He looked up into the southern night sky, beyond emotion, beyond friendship, beyond anything. Pegasus. Pisces. Among the constellations, he could pick out Cetus. In the middle of Mill Point Road for about a minute, it was beautiful, Pete was emptied. To touch someone who wanted to be touched, who said he had charm. Pete, as Chiron rubbing himself on a lover, hears her pray to be other than she is. And so, she is metamorphosed into a radio Pete listens to. Canciones de la mujer desvanecida. Somewhere, there was a hint of a hand. Only a hint. That night, stars were as bright as whispered psalms. That was the night when his heart, that had been a place, felt like an untenanted room. The one person Pete would have let stay there would be gone. Six days later, without even a phone call, the silence at home lugged him out of bed. His sick mouth was weak with what he had said. Pete looked and listened, hoped for a chance to be snatched up by Harpies. Three years he'd had as a minor deity with no problems, no hurt. But the trickster jewelry he gave her turned back into supermarket mangoes. III Pete sits under the American Elm trees in Spring Valley Park with the help wanted section, circling jobs for Monday. Today there will be no decisions to compromise; there will be nothing to decide. Today there will be no troubles―only a vastness to be filled by the divine.
El heroé de picadillo/Hash House Hero―the Indigencia Trilogy
Pete gets home after a day CAT busing his resume around town. He puts in a DVD and turns on the tube. Pete has his night defined, he's handed his last few hours, now it's time for bed. This is his life. Just off the shoulder of the Pan-American Highway, Pete lived with gorgojo, piojo, Mommy, and his little sister. They lived in a ditch covered with cartons and umbrellas. That is where Pete would wait. His father, whom even he called Don Cacareo, had done the greatest thing he would ever do for his family: he dug a sharp pothole in the middle of the highway. And so, there on the side of the Pan-American, not more than twenty meters from that pothole, Pete would wait. And the trucks would come. One time a truck that was carrying milk-cows drove by and hit that hole. The cows bumped each other, the cows were thumped into one another, and in a sudden lurch one of them tumbled onto the unpaved highway. Cows don't notice things like that, and young Pete was counting on it when he ran from behind the branches of the sleeping bush, whose leaves fold when you touch them. Without batting an eye, he tied some twine around the cow's neck. The next day he took the cow to market with his little sister who was dressed, as always, in a pair of her father's old underwear, the elastic tied in a knot across her belly button. All the way to the market he had to stop and help his sister pull up her draws. For all his trouble, Pete was given a porta-vianda with salt fish, boiled banana, and rice and butter. After all, everyone at the market said, the cow was stolen. Pete dreamed for several nights in a row that he was a cook. He accommodated bell pepper in a fleur-de-lis on a plate; fried this, chiffonade that, had his day defined in dreams, woke up on the sofa feeling like he was handed his purpose; this is his life.
El Ultimo Cuento/The Last Story―the Indigencia Trilogy
Pete can not go back to his first wife after the second divorce and laugh his ass off (because that is pretty funny actually) or smoke a hit off her cigarette. Maybe, he tells himself, in his heart, he just won't. When Tío Simón came for a visit Pete and his family had a sympathetic ear and someone to come home to in what was a very, very old man. And Pete, carrying his sister piggy-back to school (Tío Simón walking with them both) told about how he was teased by the kids who wore shoes and worse by the others who rode bicycles to school. Tío Simón would only laugh, the shallow skin on his cheeks sucked into his toothless mouth. Tío Simón's face like the soft shell of a turtle egg, like a hole dug in the earth for that egg, was a face on the verge of sucking itself down Tío Simón's own throat. When the old man died, Father came home. Everyone was frightened; Pete and his sister ran away and stayed away. So afraid to come home, they hid in a locust tree, watching the giant toads that came out only at night and the million fireflies. When morning came and the fireflies disappeared, Pete and his sister went home. Their father had gone, mother was alone in the house made of cartons and umbrellas, and that was when they saw it for the first time: the bicycle made from Tío Simón's bones. Pete takes back the packaging twine, the checkbook, the vacations to the Caribbean. Then he takes the photo-album, the trip to Connecticut. Knowing there's less each time, he wonders what will be left from these best days. To say he can handle loss is a half truth.
The Purpose of Life―Epilogue: The Indigencia Trilogy
I was outta there, I left, I went to encounter the world so I could get that eccentric understanding back, but cry-sakes, I could have had a little spirit been a little less maudlin. So what if everything is a damn conceit (as in strained and far-fetched bullshit) this is living―enjoy it―laugh at the floor plans we lay down, don't be serious about those dakinis we whisper to then turn drastic on; mostly, though, there's you how I see you―a South Western Athena, with the taste of cumin and sandalwood. Yeah, well, and there's me, too, like a struck-blind prophet passing thru all the stages starting with being unknown to myself, never-ending even when my mouth finds yours or I find the sandalwood and salt smell on your neck. Your own change into an oracle I fall into. That's where the most wisdom is held, taking the accumulated inner tensions that keep us miserable and dissolving them. You said you feel safe with me. To find that new task before us, Athena, unearthing answers and changing ourselves until we're entirely new― that is the most important thing.
Indulging dust to shine from one stranger to the next, We're easy liars―our lies are like hooves breaking shackles Like setting fire to a friend. The chances we fools give to those we hex Into greatness are swept away by madmen Indulging dust to shine from one stranger to the next. We held to our fears, too―we feared to the very end And clacked. We Looked too long on our own hands Like setting fire to a friend. The madmen talked: they belched up calliopes and shacks Full of horses then crushed them into ashes, Indulging dust to shine from one stranger to the next. We let our heads hang down from allowing a trend To overtake principle. Our eyes crisp as suspicion Like setting fire to a friend. The carnie laces up her chest, pushes away Her hair and trembles. The sweepers put up the chairs, Indulging dust to shine from one stranger to the next Like setting fire to a friend.
It’s None of my Business, a villanelle for Ed Bode
A plane without wings with its hope and imagination—there is nothing here to repossess Motionless as a car with no engine Genuflecting on low-down knees That’s because we grasp at advice over our own thought process A plane without wings A mossback’s hatred that gnashes teeth and clings The virago cheated us at cards, and at last, no final caress Motionless as a car with no engine How sick a heart when a daughter sings that makes no excuse for taking back a largess A plane without wings There’s no peace like love which your absence brings Let’s talk of promises, but I digress Motionless as a car with no engine No mind or passion can remain a pretty thing Don’t dismiss us when we try to confess A plane without wings Motionless as a car with no engine
Moments Are Idyllic
it was a silly rumpled straw hat for summer with a ribbon and a bow worn by a still young woman in the breeze on her way to Union Square Park Taking the F Train in a snug linen blouse and dungarees somewhere between cocktails at the Brevoort on lower 5th Avenue and too much coffee anywhere because moments are idyllic Life is speed and affected exits singing and self-talking like a transformation
I feel emptiness I sense you here with me as soft as a kiss and a collapse into the truth that only the dead can know. And I’m not afraid, not like a punk, but I’m not afraid even all the way up to my own secrets. Emptiness makes everything possible. The fullness of our confluence The perfectness of the transcendent Your skin is my home because the journey is home And when you're not by my side a song is better than flowers. Even when I die a little, oh man, and how you cry when I say anything about demise Your skin is my home The milky-way of constellations across your eyes and face in the pic I took of you while you slept. And you’re not afraid, either. The 4:40 February afternoon sun squeezes through the white blinds and across the bedroom, radiating dusk, become now its own emptiness. Everything can become its own fullness, too. Full with the testimony your eyes tell, green now from crying, changing color into the transcendent blue when I catch you staring. I stare, too. 12 hours a day. Waiting to collapse into the truth about one another, the truth that only life can know.
bulbs into this dry, dry ground for my beloved dry and splintery handle of the shovel rusted collar and cracking tip driven into the ground a grave for silence, a cut for healing bulbs into this dry, dry ground for healing as fleshy roots and offsets burst chaos into growth and autumn havoc piloting through the air for my beloved this dry, dry ground for me a clarifying force for life still, patient, and open a grave for silence, a cut for healing a clarifying force of our own winter, blossoming
Outsider, for The Forgotten Men, 2008-2014
This is not a time for pride, for that little movement of darting eyes and crumbled looking fingers stacked together on your lap; for embarrassment. It’s not an Apple Store iPhone line, they’re here for soup, they were here before, in Malawi for food rations in 2002, in Amsterdam for coal in 1956, in John Dos Pasos U.S.A. in 1936. This is not a time for composure for halcyon days of youth, smiles stuck and eyes empty; for affirming replies. It’s a pro tem life, it’s been that way before: in a downtown jail house that looks like another Vegas condo. We’ve already been around this mountain: prisons and poverty the poverty of all of us a prison. This is not a time for bitterness and apathy, to run and cover yourself from the rain of our land in its season. Let your anger be kindled. You are on the fringe.
Subversion―It Wasn’t A Pyrrhic Victory
Not a victory at all Not a loss or a stalemate, just windless, just doldrums, just a loathsome enhancement of the status quo. Not quite like death, but That's life, kid, which isn't something ever said by the living, unless they've bled out and inherited the earth that way. I prefer the Pyrrhic victory, standing drenched in my own blood, defiant and free to die. You With your misspelled tattoo that should say fidelis ad urnum I'd rather be clubbed to death than be forced to curry favor and dance to you and your banjo. Some warrior I am, cauterizing scratches with mercurochrome. You were obvious, not vindicated, you weren't even a worthy opponent, just a deficit thought made flesh. And I couldn't even muster up a rebel yell over your dried husk carcass. The only hope is in the size of the ocean. The only fear in the depth of sound.
Low Clouds and Squalls
You don’t need me to speak for you. The agitation and the emotional toll is paid at the alms box. We are awash in the wrong baptism. And I am no easy target. I am no weakling. The traditional forty days would have been sufficient. Twenty years in the desert—just overplayed. But I stayed as long as it took. You don’t need me to speak at all. We have converged and the rare perfectness of what’s incomplete allowed us to make this what it is when it was right for us. We are awash in a rite of passage never before written. So be uncertain, never ambivalent. Why shouldn’t you trust me? The tradition of me acting out like Eurus? It isn’t enough to blow Portland, Firenze, or Marrakech off the map. I stayed as long as it took. Now it’s time to leave as fast as we can. It’s time to turn toward our own renewal because I trust you.
I want to live with you in New York and take you around in the subway from Bleecker Street in 1977 It’s 45º in New York right now and Florida is cold enough for me and fucking senseless right off Federal Highway I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not drunk. I don’t care if I never see myself again You’ll never see any tragic from me. I don’t like talking about what I’m doing Think less. Talk less. Even though this is so long Lost it all. I don’t care how I feel about it or what isn’t happening. Or where I end up. where I am now, I’m not wishing or hoping for anything anymore I don’t care if I never see myself again I want to do relationship with you but I fucking suck at it I like to scam and then let you break me We broke up 3 or 4 times in 12 months while I was trying to light a cigarette off the neon at the Green Valley Grocery You say you’re sorry You say you’re a bitch and I don’t care I want to become a random walker I’ll never hit an absorbing barrier There isn’t one anywhere near the 6 train just the naked brahman consciousness No more real than the vodka hidden in the closet at the weekly dump on Craig Road I want to become a random walker Don’t you hate hopelessness? Fear it? I don’t. Hopelessness is faith hidden by shadows. It has an appealing perfectness. Dirty is the most beautiful. Life is cruddy business. Beautiful dirty things like places, memory, pictures you forgot, moments you’re smart enough to name. Where I am now, there’s a complexion of stars above me. I don’t care if I gave you love and you paid me back in pity I want to become a random walker
I couldn't see past that cloud, that dust storm― underneath it there was nothing I could call my own. Whatever was there was for others. When the dust came, the obliteration was the only vision of home I had― of nothing owned, of nothing abandoned. After all, those are the things which measure a life. The One Man Show was salient, but I'm so tired now― that show can go dark. Still, it was okay to have been so unfledged. You can have a smoke and just smile. I couldn't have come up with another wisecrack for anything and I can't muster up another tomorrow’s laugh. It was a long running act. Longer than was merited and longer than impersonators like me get. The dust storm. I failed to live it and it leaves me in the middle of an unclean and ashy ritual, a face marked by every dirty choice, every polluted thought, every messy letdown of connection. So, it wasn't even necessary to see through the storm. Underneath is where living has neither been worth seeing, nor hearing, nor there for us to know its breadth. To lie in a gust of wind, until dust, is the last
Roads of time
I'm all torpid on that blunted tick-tick ticking away of time crap. How can I understand the passing of time when all I know of it is absence and craving? Time as a wheel when time is a sympetalous flower. There was a time and there was a place where and when the crossroads spoke. I have moved so far from the center of the crossroads that all I can do is accept that I am here. Now. But what I search for is time enough to lose dim human vision; the cluttered roads of time unfolded—I am crystals and seeds and a body, and I can be untraveled time.
Missing Our Omelet Mornings
I have a jones so sharp that only you can stop this appetite that deceives me Who am I now apart from you. What have I done? I throw my fool self before you but I do it like an August hurricane. I'll take you on, I'll take us both to the Greek island Anthemoessa because I'm the Siren and Circe. And I'll laugh and riff about how I ran you aground. And you'll call me a goof because you know better. This was your song all along.
The Built Environment
I. Bottle Caps and Black Jack Evocative Persistent need to pay the phone bill Then a ringtone blares Tom Jones What goes up must come down It's not funny enough to laugh at the lack of laughing evocative of not to laugh more than somber mood or sober thought like the mood she was in "I can give you the 59¢ on Friday at the 99¢ Store" Trying to keep a straight face back to the 5 & Dime Tongue kissing in the summertime aisle Give you that 59¢ girlie-girl at the 99¢ Store Kissing you when your momma's around but so she don't see So no no problem 59¢ on Friday at the 99¢ Store Dampness around the crotch of her panties flushed around the chest under the red bandana halter top Back aisle of the 5 & Dime II. 10K walk/run on Race Day Sitting still for hours every day Lying still for hours Every day is Monday and these still-sound Mondays only serve us for getting through the shift safely Safely sniggering amongst ourselves at forgetting through the shift quickly Monday can be the very first day all over again and my co-workers don't seem to notice I notice their first days and lend a hand At least they let me be III. Grocery List Hi-C Khaleesi cream/coffee mishugana apples wireless technology power plants a.w.o.l. sandpaper Dax Scandinavian Ham or Heinz Ham & Cheese Toast Toppers My neighbor said there was a drought during the summer of '74 that he couldn't possibly remember he was so surrounded by water Who could tell there'd been no rain Brain dump 2:00 a.m./1:00 a.m. ⤹ 4:30 a.m. ⤵ 7:30 To measure time resonates with the complexity of distance on the Appalachian Trail reverberates with the inebriate worship of God The Denied for 3,910 km Acceptance ➛ time ➛ working ➛living ➛ loving ➛ Navigating our days May you have clarity like the night sky but always eagerness for the dawn.
για τον καθηγητή Κωνσταντίνο
Southern Nevada Etruscan built insula block Taking the walk up hill to my unit on a January morning The same sky that looked down and saw Cremera the face of a child of the Lucani and the pride of Samnium such a winter’s sky sees my daughters and sons And unremembered places of heavy cone laden pine branches and stucco against a blue cloudless sky that sees the forgotten men The DVD and game cases strewn across the floor with sand from the park The tombs of streaming videos our library beyond Alexandria. Our cities of millions become now our own Lembah Bujang, New York City our own Angkor Thom towering serene for that chaos What does the Internet search say? There are no books if that’s your commotion There are however quite extensive records of both visual and audio of an advanced level of quality slightly heightened (20dB = 100x) A Built Environment These are the tombs The unharvested moving like the far off refractive index of air
Eight Couplets in Winter
Beer and sandwiches from the convenience store. Defiance is a song that I compose for my life between apathy and dance. Driving my car from neighborhood to unincorporated town, I have been treated like a vagrant, and I have been loved. Sleeping in parking garages, sharing a pint of bourbon with a security guard—we have better things to do than play parasitic games of demandingness. Dusk comes over the desert with bending consolation. Turning a two-step through a red light, my partner's dainty hands in mine, a memory. The memory, too, of bending towards me as if for a kiss. I almost never sleep in winter, the engine and the heat off—it seldom happens but when the heat was off I dreamt of her, redhead in a canary yellow Cadillac, telling me there's so much to love in this world, robotic gremlin on a box kite, cigars from Martinique after a bad fight. Whether arriving or departing all dreams are the same because every kiss is relegated to its oblivion.
A Bed Number
In Al-Fustat long ago I used to sleep with a woman and now I sleep with the pre-Socratics and death a green folder with a disaffected case manager's name written on it in permanent marker as if to make a point a bed number and my name now a reminder of that 45-minute walk to Dixie Highway and MLK to sleep like a sandwich at Horn & Hardart that even Kafka refuses to eat scuttling up 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue like a man with a purpose a man with a porpoise, a body in a black hearse, I man waiting on the night nurse, missing every dawn and its sunburst, stepping out of line 'cause I've never been first, taking steps now that I'm well versed. Biding my time in Dar el Ma.
I Worked is What Love Is
I was a state employee in Nevada. I worked. I worked for a large private hospital. And I wasn’t broken then—I worked.
I still work.
I work because I have never loved like other people.
You get to see that as soon as you accept that. Who I am—a man of vulnerability, and emotion expressed in a way a man is not supposed to, in ways that are open—an uncoercive force that triggers then discloses.
But you may not get the full connective implications it ushers in. Maybe you’re unable to immediately process the consequences.
What are the less than sterling aspects of your true self you need to get uncovered? Why can’t you deal with yours and instead choose to vilify another human being to justify them?
I’m dealing with mine.
I’m the dealer. I’m the croupier. It’s not about the cards I’ve been dealt! How limited. I deal the cards. The deck, even if they’re house cards, are in my hands.
I have to play my hand out of love. And that’s scary. How scared are you willing to be?
I’m curious to see.
Uncovering the less than sterling aspects of yourself blasts them with light and uncovers mine. This, baby cakes, is what love is.