Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I fought the legends at the Mercantile Exchange;
they were shouting bananas for squash. As soon
as I entered, the room grew quiet - 'hey ain't you
the guy from the orchard, picking peppers every
week?' some sidekick yelled out and I nodded.
Just like something which had happened before.
I'd read sometime back that everything Yogi Berra had
ever said was unique and interesting, but I sensed
it couldn't be true. Where's the drama in 'ball 1 or 2?'
And anyway, it wasn't like he was a wise man or anything -
just a bum in a short striped suit denoting baseball.
When someone reaches the finish line, they usually try to stop.
It didn't seem to happen here - everyone stayed milling about.
I'd put on my jacket and already gone out (that curious
twist of time) and that had brought me to Bethlehem to
Nazareth - the Pennsylvania towns - wherein all
things were solid rot, tundreled folderol or
Christian prattle. Moravians, bums, and the
indigent, all mixed up together.
'Never a place like this should be.'
I went into the antiques store : two women selling
trinkets and an old retiree selling his collection
of old toy cars. 'This is my retirement now,
all what keeps me busy. I got two pensions
from Canada and Social Security coming
in each month. Nothing to do, this is
my retirement.' He started repeating
himself, telling me over and over
the origin of each of the toys.
Metal cars, rubber cars, plastic cars,
vinyl cars, repainted cars, original cars,
one-of-a-kind cars and mass-produced cars.
These were all only toys. Jeez, I wanted to flee.
Someone else had a huge framed portrait of Jesus.
They claimed a 'likeness' I never saw, and where
they got that idea from I never knew.
But I knew it was time to go.


I met the man from Zenith Point,
the one with two heads and two extra eyes.
He was pointing straightaway out, saying something
about reason and facts and possible endings.
There was nothing like him - it was said - in the
entire western world. A soldier of shellac, a martyr of
mosaics, a craftsman of dangerous duties and details.
At that recognition, I let it all be. I said nothing.
I nodded back and grimaced when I thought I
should. He had a wife named Lucy. She was shoeless
and often entered their shack from the complete other end.
I'd grown to like her over time - mostly because of her
smell and her potatoes. She played drums with the
Pond deLuc Banner band. Mostly at the Friday Night Socials
or at Doc's Soldiers' Hops. It was always fun to see her.
They had a tax man always chasing them. His name was
Antonio, but I simply called him Gramsci, like the Italian
patriot he never could be. He took it in good stride.
Screwdrivers, hammers and nails; buckets of cobbler's glue,
leather punches and twining mittens. I got to know all
these things just from reading the audit papers.
Over time, let's face it and let me admit to it,
I grew tired of the whole thing and just
walked away; glad as I was to be gone.


(the wide, open Sargasso/a pirate's life)

I too was waltzing Matilda, hopefully, I figured,
right off the same gangplank we'd come in on.
This masterful speaker, the Captain, was effusive
in his oaths and daring but totally ineffectual in
his results : men had already mutinied twice over;
those two, anyway, hanging by their necks from the
yard-arm. Some nasty birds of the sea had been here
already - once picking out their eyes and another time
pecking away at their faces. Someday very soon,
I figured, they pop the bloat and we'd all be sprayed
with their slop. So much to look forward to on the
wide open Sargasso.
I'd met her once before, in the seaside brothel near
Baltimore. Totally fucking lovely she was; little did
I know she was paid to conscript bastards like me to
a deadly pirate-life at sea. I'd fallen head over heels
for everything about her : her tits, her pussy, her wide
thriving hips and beautiful lips. It was over in an
instant; drugged and stupefied, I was taken away.
We all awoke at sea, days later.
'How could you have done this to me?' I asked her
lethargically (for it little-mattered now). 'I did it
for us, and I'd do it again - just as I do it for all other
men.' Whatever that meant, she tore off her dress
and sat on my face. Not a bad start to a bad life at sea.
The flowing, flowered dress, I noticed, was floating
towards the edge, wind blowing it along. Twenty minutes
later I (along with three other blokes) was done with her
as she was with us. Sated - in that proverbial way of
Paradise and the Ideal - everyone slept it off on the deck.
We awoke some time later, fearsome wind howling and a
straight falling rain : as only rain at sea can be.
She'd re-dressed herself and was sulking along, yet happily.
My life after that wasn't much.
When we did reach Portugal and Spain,
for her, I took the Lord Jesus' name and
Christianized myself (again). Every life, they say,
has a second act - and if this was to be mine, I'd be
sure to want it back by making good on every notion.
Salvation, like sex at sea, is all in the motion.
I later lived a very good life in all of Europe's ports.
As for her... she stayed by my side, as a good woman ought.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Phoenix Gargantua, a name on the wall;
something as ancient as both myth and
archaeology too. What enormous gyrations
brought forth such a shudder? The flap of
your wings would change the wind or alter
the flow of time and event. Professionals have
parties in order to discuss such things over
canapes and cocktails. We, by contrast, have
our paltry stares and peerings. I myself, so
engaged, look for trackings on huge eggs, or
spottled larvae and parasites on your hide.
Amidst this wondrous silence, nothing is to
be found. I wander, instead, these museum rooms
looking for notes and markings along the walls -
anything to tell me where I'm at in contrast to these
other massive assumptions. In my own fevered
dreamings, I cannot unbelieve the Man who walked
with the Dinosaur - it's all that foreign and distant to me.
I want, in fact, to believe such things - my own mythmaking,
unmatched for charm, in the halls of this museum cairn.


Not for the constabulary nor for those who weaken
are all these things left here. Like poor-willed
pioneers only reluctantly forging ahead into something
new, we notice how they examine what's before them:
something for mending, that iron for pressing, those
shears for the cloth to be cut with. Realizing that this
is, after all, a mental ward with a work-section
contingent, these inmates are soon kept busy.
'It keeps their minds at the ready, at least for those
who can, or for those who have minds left' - he said
that sadly and sheepishly, as if he knew already
it would be considered wrong to say.
But it was alright for me, as I understood
precisely what he meant.
It was all those blue shirts that gave it away.
Inmates, guards, patients, everyone almost
seemed alike. Bending and sorting, talking amidst
themselves or TO themselves, it seemed as if
some weirdly wired magical moment was set
to explode any second. I did all I could do to
look away, but the infracted expectation kept me
riveted to it all. I noticed the bare light bulbs at the
top of the concrete wall, with a dim light settling
out over the room. Dim-wits, dim-bulbs; I could
here those dumb jokes already about.
'Take a deep breath' I told myself, 'just
take a deep breath and go on.'

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I am sad and this is pure. So what?
We are swimming together in a deep,
dark-blue sea; something like the Aegean
but not. The lithe wind, no fiend at all,
merely whispers along our faces.
There is nothing other than this we could
be doing, or should. The provided
shape of this day is ours alone.
Sometimes we are given givens -
assumptions we all must make,
achievements to which we all aspire.
It is like this today : a great sunlight
on the water, the smooth sound of sea
all around us, the clap-clap of wavelets on
wooden boats.


I entered sleep this day divorced from all things -
reading The Broken Tower in my dreaming and
assuming nothing but a human song within my ears.
I nodded this way and that, in a dark gray fuse,
the way those entering death are said to waver.
All was wordless, yet I drowned in these words.
There was far too much to take in :
activity furious a'boil, strange cauldrons
of steam and intention, wispy images
of ladies and gents a hundred years past.
The angled light sourced from some
celestial bright I was not entered on to see.
And then all sound was an echo reciting famed words...
'the bells, the bells, broke down their tower...
and so it was I entered the broken world...'
whereupon, like some lamb afire in the
presence of its Maker's stern flame,
I awoke once more to take my turn.

Friday, December 26, 2008


The wandering of the idle seems endless
like a lake filled with nothing but water, endless
unto its very bottom - which we never see.
Such evasions have no definitions and are
merely filled with matter in some other manifestation:
a fir tree, shaking in the wind and rain, or another
dose of sleet, slapping slanting on the face.
Above us, where the moon with some meaning
calls out to the tides, the uneven sky is black and
pocked with little stars. Something seems moving
in the air - a strong blackness roving hard.
I can refer to nothing - there is neither watch
nor clock to tell time by, nor sunlight to mark
the Heavens above. Would it were so, I would
definitely know the hour if not the minute - yet how
little in life truly depends on the time. Everything
just happens, and only later do we recall, sometimes vividly,
the exact hour and moment and minute and second.
By ersatz definition, this becomes our time.
We share space like a needle shares cloth:
we enter it, we pierce it, and we're out the other end.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Seasonal festivities - you know the kind -
mar the air. Soil the premises. Clutter
up, in fact, even the cemetery.
Those damned teddy bears, stars,
mangers and wreaths seem staggering,
and everywhere I look another peasant
has fallen to their knees. Suffice it to say -
an overdue life is ripe for the picking
and we are late, for the mourning has
already started (in spite of false joy).
What is it they all want?
Deliverance? Sustenance? Surety?
Salvation? They can have any of that,
really, for a pittance if they only try.
Yet, instead of the effort, they cavort
like children, infantile and stupid too,
before things which have no meaning
except a careening defeat and a genuflection
before cash and all its old fake promises.
If you look up, that star stretched across the
street in lights has another star far above it.
That other one is real, and distant,
but present nonetheless.
Find it, oh heedless one.


I have never washed the face of love
with anything like this before :
gold-splattered hyperbole or
silver-rimmed nettles excepted.
In either case, my hands would
be found holding something other
than what was meant.
You have become the juice for my source,
the sap for my tree, the elixir of a hundred
deviations from the norm. Whatever it all
is, I just let it be, and, in the knowing
you are near, find a way to compensate
for distance, for time and place.
If the distant skies are vain to show their
light by morning's fading darkness, I will
willingly cooperate in that deceit - the
half-moon still perches within the morning's
dark light, a darkness almost fading away
but present still...and then the new blue opens
into something new again.
Apparently too, it is all as simple
as breathing, or thinking a thought -
nothing doubtful, nothing measured.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Tip-tap the anti-social animal.
'They'd rather not be part of a crowd.'
Lane-trippers slip forward, gauging only
the space for themselves, as it's needed.
Wherever they veer, rubber gloves they wear.
It's like all of Chesire Town, or even Marmbaly,
had left its meadows intact and allowed things to grow;
to stay-put in place, or align to where they may.
It's a perpetual freedom of pure happiness and grace.
Lincoln Town is only a bit distant from Center City,
which in fact is near to the old historic center.
The grand old Second Bank Building,
now a colonial portrait gallery,
is filled with listless faces
on tired old canvas.
It is borne with a certain pride, I'd think,
this public display, the urge to preen
and to show. Unlike all of that,
I myself am so tired
I simply could die.
I've seen none of this since the Spring,
and then the late Summer, when
everything was beautiful and in bloom.
Sidewalk characters. Guys playing
guitars, singing folk-songs
while beautiful girls walked by.
Now it's a desolate world, and
I'm so tired I could die.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


..(a farce)..
There was nothing going backwards but words
and the cage, and I'd already tired of that,
so I attempted putting you in the picture frame
by the random window but quickly realized you'd never fit.
And we had flowers in the flower pot and some orchids
by the window west - nomenclature had failed us
as I recall on the Twelfth of Never (it was once called) -
which is different from 'it once was called' in a conditional way -
and it ended up not mattering anyway because
the pilfered lampshade had come tumbling down
and the air-fighter-pilot with the message-jacketed lightning rod
had just started talking and the curtain rang with sound.
Lights, camera, action was all the rage;
while the astronaut in the diaper was the current image
of the newest art to be seen : five men in a red sedan,
three corner dogs in false tiaras barking with a smile,
(yes the dogs not the tiaras), and someone was
heard to say 'let's run to Jersey City',
while another person grimaced at all the bother -
for it's easier to ride anywhere like that than to run -
and Journal Square holds nothing anymore anyway,
any dollar store you want, any Aztec two-step mongoloid,
any Asian rip-rap food-frenzy mama
holding out her loins for all to see -
but they went anyway in a fifty-seven
Ford Fairlane of the sort never seen,
like some dental assistant's car
all pink and white - reminding me of gums or
bleeding gums anyway and breaking the
speed limit - always an impossibility in that heap -
though never an option still sounded like a good idea
or what's the turnpike for? And I watched from some
obscure hilltop nearby as they crested the Elizabeth
crescent and bent over Bayonne's hump to land right
there on Sip Avenue and come up to the city
from the bottom (legendary great idea); but the cymbals
were clashing or the symbols were crashing (I never
knew which), while the church on the hillside, ablaze
and afire, was burning its Mexican clergy (Jesu Maria Mon
Dieu and all the rest) Father Diego Carmellano Miranda
Lopez Diaz himself - clapping hands with the Devil,
singing songs in a trance while blessing
the bosoms of mothers and aunts,
put the crucifix down into Don Carlos' pants -
but it was ALWAYS like that in this Paradise
to come, this locus of the plain, this kingdom
of fun; and no one could speak
any faster than that -
whether for loss or for gain
or the Cardinal's red hat.


(whimsy too)
I was leaning on the railing of the
'I Have Nothing' church - a poor parish
on the very edge of Stuyvesant Village.
Package goods were piled high and thrown
about haphazardly - empty bottles of Night Train
Express and Thunderbird. The finest lubrications
for the embattled soul cheap money could buy.
Someone came up to me and nudged me aside,
saying 'I'm here to collect the glass bottles'.
I called him a hero and said 'God bless your soul;
there's material matter in Heaven too, if that's your
He looked askance, but kept to his work.
I heard him mumble a prayer and an oath -
nearly at the same time from the very same mouth.
Sometimes we fiddle, each of us, while our
personal Rome burns...burns viciously and right
to the ground. We get up if we can, brush the ash off,
get back to our task, try to rebound.
Maybe that's the way of this life.
I tend to think an embattled, promiscuous
moment like this has a lesson to impart:
Don't judge a man by his cover,
don't put the horse before the cart,
don't judge a book by its clothing,
don't miss the emotion
within your heart.

Saturday, December 20, 2008



Or maybe it was the other way around.
I forget. It didn't matter anyway, since
the fellow next to me was already
shouldering a bazooka.
I've had a hundred or more times to
address the crowd. Though I never really
said a word, they all applauded loud
and acted as if they'd heard...something.
It was in the middle of a deep, dark woods -
a place such as Dante would know of -
that I heard a very loud
though there was no water
around for miles.
Like nothing at all.


When the colder outbreaks come, the
globe will be broken by them - backwards
running rivers of ice and blood, a convoluted
mix-up of what is cold and what is hot.
People will die in place and fall on the spot.
It will be like nothing seen before : ceilings,
collapsed and fallen, will break hard upon
people's heads - even office-workers will have
no dalliance with time, nor with each other.
The passage of things will simply stop : the
day the time the air the clock. Nothing like
citizenry, cooperation or even chivalry
will be left. In fact, the right hand
will steal from that left whatever
it can - but, alas, even with
stolen goods, there will
be nowhere to go,
and nowhere to
take them.


Under a rock in Central Park,
or on some clear park bench
with all the elbow room in the world.
In Philadelphia there's the
Cave of Kelpius, over along
the Wissahickon on a steep slant
running down towards the water -
two hundred years ago some
Christian-cultist ran his mob
of acolytes deep into that cave
to await the End; which never came.
Actually, in its own peculiar way,
it came for them as they're now
all gone. I wonder if they considered
their beliefs justified or just a crank
of fate. Living in a cave like that,
I imagine, has to wear one down.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I have tried everything:
playing the piano at 2am in a
creepy half-light thrown by wavering
candles in a dance of death,
sleeping upside down in a
seedy carpetbag suspended from
a wall, running at breakneck speed
along the very edge of some great canyon
or gorge. I really must say it's been fun enough,
but nothing has brought me a true satisfaction -
which, were it to exist, I realize now,
would have to include you.
By necessity there simply are
such things which must be given their
true and proper definitions for them
to (at the least) make any real sense:
a garland of angels;
a salt shaker with nothing
in it except salt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am crossing a bridge over the Mississippi -
'a soup of mud' as Dickens called it. That was then,
of course. Below my feet, somewhere the depths of
careening water dance and sluice around other things.
It is as it always should be : water, seeking its
own level, floats and fills, dices and darts, as if
it had a life of its own...which it does, quite actually.
We are helpless without it, and when it subsumes us
we are helpless too. Note the houses floating along
in the flood - tippling and toppling over and about,
they flip like simple toys - glassless windows, shaded
eaves and watery porches without their rockers.
Foundations, being useless adjuncts to nothing,
cannot anchor the real against the watery.
How odd all this is.
How distant from our 'usual'
definitions about how things are.
Bushes and reeds, big trees and weeds,
everything supple and green, lining the banks
and over-hanging the edges - each of them
will tell you (in their weird and effervescent language)
what a powerful force they live amidst; and how
that water feeds them, roils them, and - startlingly -
begs them for forgiveness before it tears them from
their ground and their place and their stand,
on their own 'more solid'
sea of land.


Whatever they shoe-horn in will fit,
whether wasted tower or storefront bit;
it wouldn't matter to anyone else - 'as long' -
the landlord will say - 'as I can generate some
income.' Well that's all fine for him.
It's the others, looming and lost, who bear the
brunt - tacky subdivided real-estate made
blind and slobbering with garish lights, bad
colors and poorly thought-out use and place.
There once was a city upon a hill - all light
and wisdom too - wherein the people, so
possessed of a general goodness, wanted
for nothing and did less than that. Idleness
was grace. Self-possession was the golden
mean. Nothing ugly or crass existed, nor was
let to be. Everything, so it seemed, was perfect.
And then someone let in the scourge.
Someone let in the urge : for pecuniary
propagation and momentary motivation.
In time all good things come to end,
it seems, as Bad - as it always does -
drives out Good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


For once, for once:
there ought to be a morning before,
not merely a morning after. There
should be time for regrets but no
regrets for time. There needs to be
something put before the horse
other than the cart to which we're
accustomed. And, after being led,
the horse should find something other
than water to drink.
['I've said all this before', the sodden
minister said 'but even when speaking
from the pulpit, no one listens to what
I say. Give me a minute, just give me
a minute...']
I heard a girl talking today - one to another,
her and a friend. I overheard her say, on the
train platform, while an interstate liner
whizzed by, 'I like this time of year, of course,
but isn't it amazing how the holidays all
morph together?' I'm not sure even of what
she meant, or of the time she referred to,
but she was pretty representative, I thought,

of just what people are today,
of just what people are.



'Matchmaker matchmaker make me a match'
or whatever that line was I couldn't recall - it
managed nonetheless to tell me something
I should already have known : We mimic only
that which we desire.
Standing by the falls in Paterson, I understood
so quickly the meaning of 'worthlessness'.
Whichever wilderness this once was, it's been destroyed.
Jefferson, Hamilton, all those early idiots, with their
quaint visions of 'Cities of Industry' and 'Enlightened Men';
they were so full of shit it hurts to even think about it.
The waters have turned to crud, tar and macadam
scour the demolished landscape, little scrappy
Hispanic people hang on every corner.
It seems that the only things people want
- from dollar store to dollar whore -
are cheap and cheesy bargains where
something nice once was before...
like eating cornbread at the Bendix Diner,
or walking the Meadowlands as a scavenger
on the prowl; there's nothing left for 'quality'
and each cur now has its growl.
Some people grovel where they may, while others
travel to grovel where they want. It's the same,
really - sickly people in an oasis of
illusion; like foamy, yellowed water
barreling over Paterson Falls.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The great Gothic Cathedral
is dark at night - a sprawling
darkness worthy of black-coated
windows and stern stands in a
great void. Simply put, there is
no light. Not a glass reflects,
not a glimmer projects.
It is pretty much just as I like it.
The darkness reminds me of something,
but I'm unsure of what. Someplace
I have been? Someplace I've missed?
A sparkle or a candle-point could
disturb this darkness, yes, - but
my memory of this 'something' - no.
If all of Heaven's sky is like a candelabra :
light, fire, fury and fuse : then all of what I see
here in this darkness is, too, like some sort
of vivid awakening, a startling sight seen in
the absence of light. Paradoxical conundrum, yes,
but too the sort of quiet duality that measures
a life for the better. Off-season, a blossom in bloom.


Why am I partial to circular things while
linear logic drives me mad? Salvation
of the circumstance can only be found
in the roundabout fashions of random
thought and unsought conclusions.
As the mad be-bopper would once have
spoken : 'I'm hep to that; hope you're not jokin''.
And then - in a spree of mystifying and unsaddled
words - that man in the jazz loft would begin
playing his overloaded (circular) riffs while the
others joined in : Mr. Drummer high-hats to death
while the piano man accentuates each chord by an echo.
It's like that everywhere I go. The ribbon of
science unwrapped and pulled, torn in slices
from all stern and rational things. I want to bow
down at that building where they all once lived.
In my memory - the Mingus the Monk the Coltrane
and even, in his own enormous way, Kid Ory,
somewhere still playing today. Birdman took flight.
He's gone away.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


You were discarded at the very first stop:
go-around again, get off the truck, leave no
trace behind. Just as bad philosophy bears all the
scars of fear and loathing, dread and harm, so too
are you kept like a memory of something now
needfully wrong - splendidly evil - frightfully bent.
We'll spend the next ten years just talking your name.
And then? Well, then the swallows come back to
Capistrano, then Captain Kidd returns his ships, and
Elmer Fudd learns how to calculate the astrophysical
odds of entering another cosmic dimension by walking
the escalator while Miles Davis plays in his mind.
....and if that ain't your 'Heaven', well then what is?


All that Christian caterwauling about
stars and times and lights and angels
really makes me laugh. Angels on the
head of a pin could do no better.
Had I believed we could rise from the
dead - in a most theatrical way - I'd
have surely seen that play by now. Some
Hebrew playwrite would have hit that
one already - live on Broadway, songs
and chains and chimes and names.
But, alas, slower than a Conestoga wagon
in a drama about going west, nothing's ever
changed about this story. 'Born in a manger,
died and was buried, rose - like Lazarus? -
in three days from the dead'. As I recall
that's all they've ever read.
Lines of them on a Christmas night;
trying to enter a church in the light
thrown by a silvery moon with a
sleigh full on ice - of toys and promises
and smiles and nice. If that's all it takes
to get me to Heaven - I'll meet you
tomorrow at the 7-11. We'll throw
down a brew and say a few prayers.
What happens after that...well really, who cares?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

123. COWL

The cowl is the hood I
hide beneath. You'd never
find me there. I am the scowl
therein, without an 's' of course, and
as well-hidden and precise as anything
else can be - I suppose.
From beneath the endless imbroglio I stand up -
it covers me, in tatters, and coats my very being.
There's nothing very enticing about that. For years
dogs have been mangy and cats have distempered -
small veterinarial quirks eventually taken care of.
For me it's somewhat different. I regard mankind as
a curse delivered : malfeasance enamored of itself.
I shake hands with everyone I must. I nod back to
those I care for. I have a few. Minions and friends
are acquaintances with whom I spend time but
NOTHING, I've found, can GIVE me time back.
There's the deadly rub:
To say nothing and go on?
Or to make mention of the constant
loss, the constant leakage, the airstream
just slipping away? In either case, I am
what I am and doomed to be just that.
In spite of it all, I offer my hands
and my heart to anyone out there
who cares.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


The lines of steel run over the landscape
like wires and string - the rail cars simply
slide as they go rolling by. Windows within
people - lit at night - and people within the
windows : everyone taking a pose, striking a
stance. Newspapers. Magazines. Phones. Books.
The million things of a million things.
There is an outside world to this - one not taken by
distraction : endless armies of history and story, thoughts
provoked by thoughts. To those who know, it is a refuge
and a harbor too. A place for consolation. Within the
aimless hum of railroad and steel, every so often there
is a stop at a station unplanned, not known - a secret-status,
a stop along an undisclosed route. No schedule holds
this information. It begins in the heart, with its terminus,
a long and dusty stop, in the mind.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


'Like being blown apart by wild animals'
(like 'makes no sense' and 'has no reason' -
what's he trying to say?). The meadowlark
with the ink-well tooling is soaring too
high for the sky : it's only trouble brewing.
How conscious are we of being aware?
Or isn't that 'how conscious are we of being
conscious'? Silly indecipherable things.
The man sits in a red velvet chair - a flip-seat
the kind the old movie houses had - maybe they still
do - I wouldn't know. He sits straight up tall as
the mast and stares straight ahead. It's actually
only a museum - where they show rocks and toads and
fossils and things. A few people come clogging in
with their kids and their baggage and their selves.
There's no thrill like a psychiatric thrill.
Punch in - tell your stuff - punch out and go.
Punch - that reminds me of Judy - is a concept
I never got right : is it the action or the result?
So, as you can see, I'm only in it for the moment.
Making a few mordant confessions about things
I once noticed. Going to Lourdes to get water.
Eating stale bread on the wharf.
Running into, of all people, an
old Ed Sullivan on his way
to the TV gas chambers.
'On Air' I think
were his very
last words.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Once the hammerlock drives to the skull,
fish begin fighting, lights go on and off,
everything is nutso in the brain. It wouldn't
matter if one was in a coma; it all would still be felt.
Some old wrestler was trying to tell these kids the
exploits of his youth. He'd lived in a trailer near the
street by my house; more or less out in the woods
where past the development ended. He lived like a
hermit; he and his son. The kid was about 11 same time
I was. We stayed close to each other, even while the father
went through his drunken rages - beating the walls,
yelling weird curses, screwing his neighbors, the Agolio
girls, or women, or whatever they were. It was love at first
sight, 'cept they all were blind. I said that once to the son.
We were sitting on a log by the pond in the woods. About maybe
thirty feet away, we could see all that was happening
inside through the window set right to our angle.
It was an education, to be sure. 'I think that's how kids
are made too', the son said in all earnestness to me.
I nodded yeah, and pretended I knew what he meant.
'It was love at first sight, 'cept they all were blind.'
He laughed pretty good at that.


'Henry can light the candles or he can go
straight to Hell - logic and all'. It was said with
a lilt, all that was, with a tongue that surpassed
everything else in its boldness and charm. I was
standing outside Patsy's wearing a hat that wouldn't fit.
Three men walked by brusquely, with something only they
knew hidden beneath their winter coats. This was a ghetto
of sorts; such sightings are commonplace.
I decided maybe I'd like a clue.
Patsy's made nothing but pizza and slabs,
so that wouldn't do. The old, old lady on the
brownstone steps looked as ragged as the broken
bricks she sat upon. I hesitated to motion to her.
A lone traffic cop approached. Wearing the usual
brown, he too looked as useless as sin. I was
lost, in a torrid place I didn't know.
Maybe something like Florida never freezes,
maybe Montana never warms up. I don't know.
Elevations, I've been told, are really all that matter -
it doesn't matter the location, just more the elevated height.
The higher, the colder? I think I'd heard that.
Out on the street, they were still wringing the grime
form the stolen chalice of gold. It was a curious mix,
I thought - the ridiculous to the sublime, the heights
to the depths. But anyway, how can one gauge these
things and what is the measure of Man?
(As the plaster is poured, so too it sets.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


...( for everything else, the torch)...

Like the wind that was howling
and the noise which was fierce,
I am writhing with the sunlight as
it ripens the horizon - long image,
great distance.
These are not meaningless moments,
though I hedge for any great importance.
I am stuck on earth and sullied by its
disrepute - yet now it is my place and I must
stay and my works must stay and all that I will
do is for it alone. Its people, marred now by both
indifference and indiscretion, matter little.
The great thought must live.
The raging indifference must disppear.
Its adherents must die; be they slain or merely
withered by another force. We can calculate
the God-like odds which perservere.
We can preserve the good and the modest.
For everything else - the torch.


A slight semblance of modernity
broke the fever - in waves of light
and sound : attached really to nothing,
the old bridge stayed put within its
earthen moorings. Cathedral-like arches
moaned in the wind - all that harp sound
weaving off the wire-rope. Near distances
vaulted with beauty; the most plain, the most
ordinary sights. Everything inclined towards a
purloined vista, something pilfered from another
age. This was the bridge which carried millions.
This is the bridge which spans two worlds.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I've been reading too many books.
Split as they are between the 'good' and
the 'bad', everything comes with its own
point-of-view - like solid rock and a feathered
pillow in some grotesque collision of
a chance encounter. The courtly doctor, standing
nearby, announces himself as some William Carlos
Williams of a dirge-like countenance. He slowly pours
(only I notice) sand into the wounds instead of
salt. Either way, it's a brutal pain and hell to heal.
That old saw about the things changing places,
going around/coming around - all that rubbish -
sounds unheralded now as no one bothers to listen.
'Abolish the sin-tax', the other guy said; unless
I'd heard him wrong - he was, after all, an English
teacher, so he could have said 'syntax' instead. A
problem such as that comes from hearing and not
seeing the words. Right?
Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I'd heard,
often switched places and ran off.
Don't know how true that was,
but it's a heck of a story to tell.

Monday, December 1, 2008

115. OLD DAYS (Microcosm)

'If you wanted to be honest, you could -
just that, nothing more. The trombone
player knew that, as well as the little man
in Congo Square tooting a horn or playing
a fiddle - or jivin' on a jazz guitar. Nothing
ever came between intent and operation.
It all just 'were'.
The old guys name was Sedlack.
Or that's anyway what he called himself:
I knew no more. Hob-nail boots, a red kerchief
around his neck, a gold wristwatch and some
fancy tie-tack. He laughed even as he spoke.
Never had a bad day, nor, if he did, time to
re-tell it. Everything shiny was his.
I once came down with a bad fever while riding
a bus back from Binghamton to New York City.
Nearly died as it were just sitting 5 hours in that seat.
Some old fellow gave me water and a soda to drink.
As I dazed in and out of consciousness, I can
remember him telling me of his whole, entire life:
born in Alabama, a sharecropper's kid, grandma was
a cotton slave, grandpa whipped and chained,
coming north to Johnstown, and later to Endicott,
working shoe factories until he was forty.
Five kids, two wives, a bunch of money lost,
and then this - riding like a pauper on a one-way bus.
Riding like a pauper, on a one-way bus.