Saturday, May 12, 2007

Apologies to the Memory of Coach

The only thing I’m sure of these days
Is that I have a paper route I must follow gingerly.
I am the man that time forgot – am I?
No bother, brother adsorbing water for tea.
I crept around the stockade fa├žade
Hoping to escape something or other
But I was caught in the public’s eye.
I just deliver news, I said. Don’t shoot
The wrong messenger. The public shot
Me a glance that must have meant disapproval,
But I was doing the jumble into a beehive,
Which wanted to quibble about its bill.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Violet and the Centaur

A woman, Violet, creates quit a stir
With her socks, and the mounted
Officer spins about to peep
Why so many pigeons have found salvation.

The sidewalk sighs and the screens
Concentrate, and Violet struts
Through the auto salvage yard.
The officer marries

His body to that of his horse,
And battles chrome for Violet’s hand,
Which is not in that protective strip
Nor over there in that shroud.

I couldn’t understand anything,
Until I picked up her shattered socks,
Which I placed in my pockets.
Among the many objects, a key

Was born. It told of a safe
Which held secret of the world.
So I strode away, determined
To never open it, and never be tempted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In a Dark Church Somewhere

Well, your crocheted lamb’s head,
It’s true the heat moves through it.
We’ve all been over-baked, you know.
You packed enough lies
In your green apple pies
That I believe I’ll have to abstain
While sleeping overnight with the insane.

Well, I heard that they were praying.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying.
God was just a foreign spy, you know.
He said they were putting him to sleep.
I was nursing him in my cheap
Nun’s suit, simply trying to explain
That I’m sleeping overnight with the insane.

The kitchen is hot
But that’s all we’ve got
For an exit. Maybe we can escape
Behind the magician’s cape,
But I doubt it.

There was something in the bread
That went up into my head,
And the television cried constantly.
Now I’ve hidden myself
Behind the garden elf,
And I keep crashing the pilot in my brain.
I guess he’ll be sleeping overnight with the insane.

My headache was pounding
And the bells were sounding
For someone in the sky.
Maybe we can grab him
If the wind don’t nab him
And make him fly.

I took it for granted the mirror's reflection.
I took it for granted that I was in-between.
I took it for granted that
The ghosts were covered in Vaseline.
Now you’ve fallen down the stairs
And nobody cares about your pain
When you’re sleeping overnight with the insane.

I went down to the basement
Where the dogs barked for their replacement.
They wore angel wings, you know.
They asked me to describe the world above them.
I just shrugged and muttered “Amen,”
And stepped out in the crying rain.
Sleeping every night with the insane.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By the Break of Day

There’s a drought on the horizon,
But you couldn’t keep your eyes on
The prize, Kubla Khan, could you?
There’s enough cellophane flowing from your brain
To hide your office lunch while you go insane.
The boys and girls camped on the lawn
Glance up and down your see-through gown,
And you laugh out loud like a clown
In the railroad shantytown
Who serves you your exquisite Bordeaux.

Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
When you’re carried away
By the break of day?

You collected all the stamps in black ink
But you never stopped to think
That they’re not worth anything, did you?
You stole your suicidal words from the mouth
Of the tempestuous snake going south,
But you never learned to drink.
A river flowed through your mind
And you were gazing in all the time
To judge yourself so sublime,
But you missed all of the sunspots on your soul.

Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
When you’re stuffed at the buffet
By the break of day?

You look down a lonesome mile
At a forest of argyle while you beguile
All the straight-laced kids, don’t you?
With a bible belt around your waist
Your enchanting voice brace-faced
And you can’t even trick-or-treat a smile.
Your makeup mask is on fire,
And your price tag angel choir
Refuses to sing anything you desire,
And suddenly you realize you’ve lost all control.

Where do you go?
Where do you go?
When you’ve lost your way,
When you don’t have anything to say
And all your connections fray
And all your friends betray
By the break of day?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Shadow Creeps Even While You’re Sleeping

In the nighttime, I think I hear you
Far down in the little armory,
Where the rats have only memories.
The fuse is lit; it is over.
There is no hiding under covers,
No reflection in silver mirrors.
We’ve all lived in that little armory
Where nothing is free.

Everyone is an orphan
Found on the steps of a skyscraper.
Our mothers had no faces.
Or if they did, they were hidden
As they laughed while we were crying.
As they bought what we were buying.
At the foot of the lending tree
Where nothing is ever free.

The life and death of a pumpkin
Wandering wistfully drunken
Through the alleyway.
The surgeon’s cold blade
When the moon is shrunken
Removes his toupee.

You were mine, but I could not keep you.
The moles in your pockets
Were begging to see the ocean.
Roots were shooting from your sockets,
You smiled like Davy Crockett,
And your parachutes kept deploying,
The ground was rushing gallantly –
And still nothing is free.

All day long a shadow found me frozen
Against the glacial wall.
But when I tuned around
Startled by that summer sound
There was no one there at all.

You said, “I long to dust you”.
You said, “I’ve got some polish”.
You had your peacock boa
Which belonged to Noah.
Your posture, it was permissive.
My cupboard, it was empty.
Anyway, I guess I’m dirty;
And nothing is cleaned for free.

Oh greeting card, you’ve seen everything.
The blind woman’s shirt on the clothesline.
The old west threatened by a stop sign.
All day, the engines smoking.
You thanked the children choking.
From the attic, the sinking sunlight.
The bats on the tailor’s dummy.
Pinned inside that suit, nothing is free.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Another Adventure

I was put in cold storage. Immediately, I slept
For seven years. During that time, the Great Mists
Came and receded, as if trying to prove that weather
Never lasts. Still, I was frozen. My reflection in the toaster
Floated around in my head like I was seeing stars.
My lips were the color of childhood dreams
Standing under the moon in snow pants, feet frozen
In frying pans about to ski down an endless gorge.
I knew a thing or three, but the best wisdom
Is the kind you take daily, like the weather report.
If you fall down a hill you must fall up another;
The sea is not level. An empty bag left to its own
Devices will always linger near a door or a flue.
You should have seen the smoke when I was released.
I was strapped to a dolly, a block of ice wearing a derby hat.
My limbs would not move; my eyes were fixed.
It was a nice summer day, the kind you mean
To remember forever but never do.
Some boys threw rocks at me; cars drove by –
I could hear the gears moving around in the transmissions.
I could hear the hands cranking the wheels,
The feet mashing what must have been pedals,
But could have been gavels or even gophers
Who refused to stay in their holes.
I began to throw away my walker – I can walk!
I had an invisible friend to hold my arm, but still
Those first steps were each a miracle.
Life was good, as good as it gets. The funeral parlor
Was always blossoming, the grocery store ripe
With apples and mangos. I take a bite, the only way
A free man knows how: with his spare tooth
That the tooth fairy just then bought for a million dollars
In immature bonds which promised to pay some day
Not too soon, and not too far into the unknown, I’ll bet.

Friday, May 4, 2007

My Hat, My Cane

Let me get up and fetch my cane.
Say it was the end of one day and into the next,
Say the lawnmower has run around
Over Grant’s grave. Let me come to the window,
Let me get up and fetch my cane.
I’ve seen it all; I’ve lifted the waterfalls’ evening
Gown and peeked inside – I’ve poured my heart
Into a single letter only to find the ink running scared
Before I could finish the final swoop.
Let me get up and fetch my cane; its best use is
To point out the fault line that cracks us all
In two. Kept with my cane are the ashes of St. Peter,
A crystal that allows to gazer to see
Things just as they happen, a curl
Of Mary’s pubic hair or a ribbon from a baboon’s
Bat mitzvah. Let me get up and fetch my cane, and also
My hat. I use them both to row from brothel to bedroom
When the waters come, when the cats
Use their whiskers to inject the sick with penicillin.
When barets and headbands cannot be bought,
I will float from schoolyard to schoolyard
With my trench coat open and hanging from my balls
Will be a leather purse which can predict the desire
Of all who open it. Let me get up and fetch my cane.
Or at least go put a dime in the metered church pew.
Please disregard my affected limp; it’s on backorder.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Was Working on my Degree

The extensive grounds were thinning
After the sanitation workers ball.
My love and I were washing dishes.
Here was the most beloved plate to serve
A hand grenade all the way up from the tropics.
It deserved a wash in the town’s well.
These dishes are nudists naturally.
A painted boy from his pastoral predicament
Pleads with me to keep my rag away
From his unpainted genitals.
His singing and giggling, communing with the finches,
Bought him the brass scratcher which made him
Retreat into the dust storm. Presently, pasta.
Bad boy butter baste with a spiked collar
Knifes at the knives. Shall the spit be scrubbed,
My love? Yes, scour the spit, was her bubbly reply.
I was seething; I was soldered in sallow serape
The size of seahorses. My philosophy was simple:
The only truth is that white space
After the birth date of an author who’s still alive.
I ran across them from time to time
In my rodent form. I ran across so many things.
Like a pan of water, or the fine blade of a food
Processor, a woman’s nipple, an elephant’s sleeping eye.
I was dog-eared; I was foxed, bumped and rubbed.
The degreaser was having its effect on my spine.
The gravy boat stopped off in the tropics
To pick up more hand grenades. We were looking
For service all up the coast, our Lifebuoy sick
With dandruff. His final words were: life is draining.
Then he refused to speak, and began bobbing.
Little half-eaten cod combed his hair with their
Skeletons. I was in it up to my elbows.
This is where I decided I could make something
Of myself, something bigger – something I could feature
In the dining room. So I began to serve myself little scraps.
My love was all for it: she smiled behind her spume facial.
Sanitation workers with respirators reported just then.
They toted zippered trash bags of the blackest material,
And I began to graduate into one just as their hands
Made sure I was included with the cracked glassware.
It was like eternal night, only I couldn’t get a cigarette
From the dockworkers, who were fireflies.
There were no dockworkers! There were only night crawlers,
The kind in fishnet stockings, who proposed to me
Like I was a courageous sea captain on the Atlantic. But I was done
With all that, and instead began to matriculate
Into my cake pan. I could have been baked,
But with so many mouths in my batter,
I couldn’t rise toward heaven long enough to make
A dent in universal hunger, especially my own.
The dishes, meanwhile, were hovering around the kitchen.
I’ve had enough, I said, and immediately sent for a robot.
When the boxes came, it was all in parts, but still alive.
It insisted that another robot be dispatched for his assembly.
I agreed with its sound reasoning and logic.
When the new robot arrived, it was also in parts, but it had read
A physics textbook. “Advanced physics,” it kept correcting me.
Soon my world was walpoled with unassembled robots
Lecturing me about particles – what does it matter? I asked.
If you knew a thing or three, we would be ambulatory,
They said. I am not religious, I kept insisting, and bashing
Myself on the head for letting them boss me around.
They told of great dunes of ash taking on human form
After being assembled by the wind. All of this happened
On the other side. The other side of what? I asked.
Of the argument, which is wordless and gray, they said.
I better get back to those dishes. My love was now an old
Potter who kept throwing her back out.
I began to clean with no mind, like they do in temples.
I washed my bowl until I reduced it to the cellular level.
There was no future in soup anyway, I rationalized.
The sanitation workers kept putting wedding rings on hotdogs
And eating their gloves. Just when I got everything sparkling,
Another catastrophe would jeopardize the famous quiz show,
And potato chips that one could not prove existed nonetheless
Left grease stains on the platters. I decided to wax my love’s
Shoulder blades, but she was glazed from hunger.
I crumpled up my apron, took off my mitts, and danced
A jig through the swinging, western-style doors
That divided the kitchen from the patrons, who only became
Visible when they inhaled their cigars, the kind that burn forever,
But only smoked when you sucked on them.
The dishes stretched between heaven and hell,
But I didn’t care. I was hitting the pavement with my fists,
Leaving the industrial center for some other place,
Which was sure to become a center when I arrived to judge it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It’s All in the Steeping

Just after the spoon has left and the tea is still swirling, it is possible to see the entire universe. At its formless beginning, it’s a child’s green booger. Then, the child begins to sculpt – he makes a rock with his booger, which was easy. Then a chicken and a calculator. He makes a nun and a pantheon. He makes a long silver needle stitching into the night by an unseen hand. He stands them all up on his desk. Then he gets bored and runs away. The janitor comes, the lights go out, someone realizes the child no longer shows up for school. Then it’s just tea again. Green tea. That first sip, ah, it’s always too hot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Fishnet

I’ve met a lady’s stocking. It is black like the heavens above the earth. It wished to take me dancing, but I suggested coyly that we ought to pray instead. Inside there was a spider, a little brown one. It knew my name before I spoke. Also inside: a blues singer, and a man on a tightrope. There was a small sunset in the distance. Smoke forked up from a chimney here and there. There was also a tiny mirror, so miniscule you had to bend in real close. This made the stocking cry rape! rape! and I laughed a little, and my little self, after some delay where I appeared to be thinking, laughed back.