Sunday, April 30, 2017

9467. NINE ACRES

NINE ACRES
Here there is nothing. 
Some maniac guy from
the land office came by 
to measure and charge.
But I threw him off,
saying 'Here there is
nothing.' Al he could
say in response was
'You'll pay for this.'
-
I'll teach him : scurvy
headed monster, purloined
being, scribe of the Devil.
There are hundreds of
phrases I could use to
describe him. Enough
to fill nine acres
for sure.

9466. HOW IS IT THAT I NEVER MINDED YOU?

HOW IS IT THAT I 
NEVER MINDED YOU?
I tolerated the wind and the rain, all those
changing tides and the lashing, but they
were all things so annoying that they
always bothered me. How is it I 
never minded you?
-
Narrow lanes and slippery paths.
Things to be forgotten.

9465. THE BIG CLOG CONGLOMERATE

THE BIG CLOG 
CONGLOMERATE
Yes, yes, we generate money and jobs.
Oh boy. Your Daddy may have worked
for us, once. If you remember, as a small
boy, when he went off in the mornings to
work  -  that was probably us. The DeSoto
in the driveway, the Motorola in the den.
-
Did your Daddy have a wife, and you a
mother then? Why, yes, and that was us
too. The garden and the workshop. Little
sister's dancing school, Remember? It
was us who put the M in the M&M's,
us who made filters for that Kodak
lens. Big-time business, back then.
-
Now it's all ephemeral stuff, but still
it works : but we've got nothing left
here, just the welfare rooms and the
family assistance stamps, and those
we do out of guilt. America, the
Beautiful; that left on the last
boat out.

9464. A DEVIOUS POLESTAR

A DEVIOUS POLESTAR
I crashed the sea
in a violent boat.
There was piano 
music on my teeth.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

9463. THE ONLY OTHER MAN I EVER KILLED WAS MYSELF

9463. THE ONLY MAN I EVER KILLED WAS MYSELF (nyc, 1968):

I had an unwitting energy and a manic propulsion to walk seaward - edge to edge the crazy island swarmed with people and water and as the two went together it was everywhere merged - men in dark coats trudging dutifully in early morning lights towards their rendezvous with 17th floor windows lit early with light from within - a yellowing light seen from below - and the lobbies of the many downtown buildings which took them in had as much eager activity inside as out - the newly married apprentice businessmen types learning their means and methods as they sorted through life (that new apartment on 21st and that new little lady left in the apartment) and career : everyone so serene and vacuous in the same way that they were striving and greedy to make it big : that slalom to the top regardless of who got hurt along the way and like a piston pushing from below the entire apparatus was one of profit/loss and accounting and making every and each tiny little dollar count for something - lawyers trained in laws used to sue and doctors seeking medicine which would make them rich and all about them too people were lined up to take part : soldiers and sailors and psychiatrists and counselors everywhere and wherever I turned there was something or someone needy showing up and people seeking advice from others while giving none themselves - taxi drivers impatient at red-lights staring ahead as they brazenly ran through them BUT YET for myself it was all different - I kept losing things and I could find nothing and so I had nothing just the endless declensions of Latin words the endless lists of encyclopedia entries and the scribblings in journals one after the other and picture postcards of things I savored : Empire State Building Chrysler Woolworth United Nations and the Savoy the Plaza the Algonquin the Pierre and the Waldorf or any of those grand hotels perched on nothing but air and filled with stories and everywhere I went there was something to take or get or see and bring back with me : yet again I was alone and singular and I literally had nothing NOTHING except these collections of junk mementos or the broken things I'd pick up on the street (by those counts I was wealthy indeed) and in such a fashion it went on - the endless turmoil of the Vietnam years and the people parading stamping screaming and steaming all along the streets and squares with protests demonstrations hunger strikes burnings and the rest - the mass of impractical rules and laws controlling draft and service and the wiry induction center on lower Broadway - the quaint and odd old building spired up like some new branch of an evil hell filled in its corridors with the dour and stupid bureaucrats of fake power and elan pulling kids in to churn them out as draftees inductees fodder to be killed and maimed for the Johnson/Nixon bullshit machine and I watched and stayed with it all - Nixon's proud yet stupid post-election and pre-inaugural President-elect set-up in the Hotel Pierre where he immediately began living like luxury like some fearsome King of old all puffed up with power and intent - no one stopped him and no one cared and six years after Kennedy another bullet in the head to him wouldn't have much mattered for EVERYTHING was spiraling down and I lived on 8th Street and I lived on 11th and I stayed at places all in between - 1st Street 14th Street and all the lofts and studios through the west 20's and places too on the eastside with its towers and doormen and money and presence : everything swarmed and in it all I swam : the police who swaggered through the park with billy clubs at the ready and the mobs of disenfranchised and angry nobodies who shouted back at them and the crazies who doused themselves with holy water and then screamed or the lines of girls at the Judson Memorial Church holding candles for the dead soldiers whose names were posted out front on a daily basis and there were no comrades-in-arms NOT because there were no arms but because there were NO COMRADES as everyone went diving for themselves and little else - quick-study romances wherein boy-rebel gets girl-rebel or hippie meets hippie and they happily fornicate forever - all it ever was was a nightmare kingdom of liquor and law and drugs and sloth and let no one ever tell you different - for yes I was there and yes I swam in the same oily muck as the rest and maybe (just maybe) the only man I ever killed was myself.

9462. MY BEST PENNY FARTHING

MY BEST PENNY FARTHING
I've lost my enthusiasm, you know.
From every town I visit, something's
missing. Askew. From Sayreville to
Stoney Point, all I want is you, or the
new, or the story of a real life point of
view. They keep the shapely skeletons
in the back. I found that out today.
-
I was having coffee on the street, a small
table for two in front of the shop. The
garnished people walking by, all alert
to their new infraction : everyone with
a story, the glass-blower guy in his
shop, the real estate lady who walked
by twice, each time with a newer
conversation and another interested
person. This skinny tattooed girl came
by. Sleeveless, of course, to show off
the ink, black tee, and the rest.
-
Sitting down like I'd known her for
life, she begins telling me her dog notes :
so depressed, adopted a dog, started a
business the very next week, the dog
lifted her up from the hole, they're great.
Pulls out her phone, pictures of her
dog, starts snapping mine. 'Dogs are
great,' she says,  and says it again. 
'Mine saved my life.'
-
Yes, well, OK. It's like that with 
submarines. Here's hoping they all 
rise to the surface, dogs or not.
One time, in Vermont, I was at 
Lake Bomosseen and truly wanted 
to drown. In that instance, I saved 
myself  -  a dog  having nothing 
to do with it.

9460. ALL THOSE THINGS PAST SEEING

ALL THOSE THINGS 
PAST SEEING
It happens every so often : yes. You meet
someone who is so ineffectual that five
minutes later you forget everything about
them, and in a few days cannot remember
a name or a face. Back in business days,
for sure. Some real sour losers came my 
way. But even beyond that, now, people
and places I should approach with some
import, they just slide away. I can't even
apologize or mention I'm sorry.
-
Like plum juice on a white table-cloth,
or a red wine stain and a white dress
shirt. That's the way the effective
presence should be  -  oh yeah, I'll
remember that. Come back again.
-
Everything now seems way too glib.
Talk has become a cheap monster, so I
only deal with the heart. I've got one of
them, and it's a good thing to have, keeps
straight beacon in the very worst of storms.
Makes me want to say : 'I'm not good with
names, but I never forget a heart.'

Friday, April 28, 2017

9459. TEMPERED HAZARD

TEMPERED HAZARD
Seeking a classical reference, the
young faun managed the jump :
as thorough as any other. It made
me think of the lady I once knew
who lived by the cemetery and
walked out each afternoon. I would
nod and she'd say hi : me, leaving, 
and her  -  who lived there  -  going
somewhere I never knew, each day.
It became quite a staggering habit,
and I always thought, had I not known
differently, she could be seen as
'leaving' the cemetery daily. There
was once a rhododendron there,
a bundle of dirt and all, being
thrown out from a nearby garden.
I took it home. It still grows here.

9458. ALL THE THINGS I HAVE MANAGED

ALL THE THINGS 
I HAVE MANAGED
Brought to the fore with nothing at all:
there's my message, drawing water from
a well with no water. No steps to get to
it either; just broken bricks and crumbly
blocks. I can't look down, because I can't
look up. My personal mathematics
holds equidistance sacred.

9457. UNTIL EVERYTHING IS GOOD AND GOOD AGAIN

UNTIL EVERYTHING 
IS GOOD AND 
GOOD AGAIN
I enjoy it all. Fuckin'-a I do. There's not
a point I'd miss or try and avoid. I love 
the thrill and the muck and the ooze 
and the fury. Like a warrior who sets
out for glory and adventure and then
never gets home again, oh well and
goodbye to all that. The light is
brightest where the flames burn
lightest. Or I think I've heard that 
said. That's little ole' firefly me,
buzzing 'round your head.

9456. REFINERIES

REFINERIES
Outside this window,
the refineries go dark
after hours. You'd think 
they'd run all night :
red flames on a dark
black sky.

9455. MADCAP GONDOLIER

MADCAP GONDOLIER
He was doing 90 in that bathtub of
grime you call a canal  -  Venetian
madness no less than happy. All
those lousy songs wrapped up in
a rag. Over there, on that bridge.
everyone stares at the hag  -  she
too is a local occurrence, out there 
almost every day begging coins.
She sings too, yes, but if you know
her Italian, they're all filthy songs.

9454. YES, THAT WILL BE FINE, I AM QUITE SURE

YES, THAT WILL BE 
FINE, I AM QUITE SURE
Oh do I have a thing about these late-night
reveries. I stand up, too late, and far. My
mind goes away. What stays is merely me.
All good things to the fore, the world is
changed. I harbor no doubts or anguish.
-
Someday, I tell myself, I want to write a
thousand new pages in one of these sittings -
where the moon peeks in, and where all those
daylight birds outside my window are now 
somewhere else in their dark.
-
There's a sound the night makes which speaks
only to my soul. Un-toiled and easy, I stay
awake thinking : family ties and not, stories
and lies, the lot. Every human parcel of what
I've ever been comes back to take a solace
in my being. Sense is grace in these terms.
-
No haste, no rushing, there is nothing.
That will be fine, I am quite sure.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

9453. SAFE TO SAY

SAFE TO SAY
That noose was not hanging
on the tree limb yesterday.
How did it get there now?
My best intentions were to
keep that away. Have I failed?
Cheerios and caterwauls, high-fives
and good-luck kisses. All those
people who are my pains in the
asses, here they come again.
-
I've shined the belly-crap out of
this silver-plate, and I swear it's
brighter now than ever. Amen to
that and let's read a book together.
Someday, baby, it's just you and me.
-
Over the ledge, someone has thrown
a bundle. I can only wonder what it is.

9452. THE MENDICANT

THE MENDICANT
The private penance of taking 
from you, much like a beggar in these 
medieval streets. Flagellants and moaners, 
all those ex-king's-horsemen bewailing 
their fates. The moated walls and the
old solid bricks are all gone. We have
garments now thicker than that. 
And that is all that's left.
-
Such, such, how even language has
grown downward : we speak for
moments of message but have lost
the verbal elixir of paramount love.
Enforcement, and the sharing of
presence. I find this globe too lonely.
Find for me again, the ancient oak.

9451. PASS THE HAT

PAST THE HAT
Beneath that tree, the angel.
There was a magic gift brought
forth, as I tried being gentle  -  and
the voice said to me, 'You need do 
nothing, just wait, and it will be
coming to you.' Treasured words,
if only they were true. I believed 
nothing of it at all; but if you won't
believe an angel, who will you believe?

9450. BUSONI SCORE

BUSONI SCORE
Streetscape city-slogger, that's the one. 
Me. And so, from that, I've met Goethe,
and Aladdin too. It's just like this in the
nether world I live. Music, being the
food of life, I starve. Or something.
-
People walk away, shuddering  -  too
hard to read and too strange to understand, 
thatman with the three left hands and the
St. Micahel smile. Oh Lord, why me?
-
My radio plays 1962. And I cannot get out.

9449. FOR THE LIFE OF ME

FOR THE LIFE OF ME
(soldiers)
I guess, it is, the fact, reveals :
for the life of me I've settled for
too little. 'Guns and butter,' as
they used to say in the Johnson
years. It was a type of 'either-or,'
but they never knew it. Money for
murder in Vietnam, or money at
home for things on the table.
-
I just went on. Walked away with my
head held high  - some screwed-up
High-Noon showdown with the metal
men in their military towers. I couldn't
even believe these guys went home
at night, and talked to their children
and made love to their wives.
-
Nothing made sense. Whitehall Induction
Center, and then Broad Street, Newark.
They had me locked up in chains, like
Charlie Manson and me were friends, 
or at least the Boston Strangler and me
hung out. The guy driving never spoke
at all. The two others guys, in their
military lapels, all they did was smoke.
Their pinched-lip, greasy-faced logic
spewed forth in a Stalinesque version
of alternate reality I didn't understand.
-
'Our country needs defending but not 
from the likes of you. You will be showed 
the way or showed the door...' Yeah, yeah,
that was the point  -  I'd already chosen the
door but they didn't get it. The horror for
me became the fact that they didn't even
realize where the damn door was. In that
vein, fifty-eight thousand others died.

9448. COME FORTH

COME FORTH
Come forth from the King of the Past the
man said  -  he nodded as he talked. I'd
seen others who spoke like that, and never
liked it at all. Pedantic nitwits and the
know-it-all sorts. Up front of the room,
everyone was watching him, but no one
cared. If Lucifer had a pale brother,
it could have been him.
-
So I listened as I boned up on his math.
Not the kind of thing I liked to do; the watching
of his dumb chalk-dust fly, noticing his nerves
of steel, the pointed attitude he kept towards
all things 'beneath' him. I was willing to
bet he'd not had sex until he was 26.
-
That's the sort of white trash we get left with
now  - the right and most proper ones, who
call it all down. Ring around the rosy, a
pocketful of posies; ashes, ashes, we
all wear a frown.

9447. EARL OF ORANGE

EARL OF ORANGE
At five in the morning I don't want 
to know much. The slide-show of a
new sun coming up, and the daylight
slowly blossoms, as I realize it's only
already another six weeks before it
all starts sliding backwards again.
Boy, am I a pessimist.
-
All that glass half-empty or glass
half-full stuff, oh that burns me up;
wise-guys pretending it's so very
important how you answer one way
or the other : I always figure, after
thinking it through, no matter HOW
you answer, either way you look at
it that glass is twice as big as it
needs to be.

9446. TOO MANY JOKES OUTSDE

TOO MANY JOKES OUTSIDE
It's here, the cold has gone away and the
new sky tries breaking; flowers and the
rest all lined up and ready to go. I
guess that's how it's done. Who's
running a restaurant with a garden 
outdoors? Not me. They want to
bring in a  -  what they call  -  
'Luthier.' For some medieval
and mystical musical touch. At
first, I thought thy meant some guy
to start reading from a self-translated
Bible. Could be fun, Luther and all.
'In the beginning was the worried'.
Like that....and God said, 'let that be,
right?' All sorts of funny stuff.
-
Just over there, ruining the entire
God-damned scene (another joke), is
the asphalt truck the town keeps bringing
by. Paving the Dickens out of some new
garden to make it look 'au naturel.' As
soon as the bulbous town worker said
that, I knew it was wrong and he too had
screwed up. Unless he was paving in
the nude. But then again, how did Adam
and Eve get those fig leaves to stick?
And why? I figure they already knew 
what was there. 'Stand back, Eve, I
don't know how big this thing gets.'
First night fun in the Hotel Eden.
-
A priest, a minister, and a rabbi are 
playing golf. The rabbi excels, the 
other two stink. 'How'd you get so 
good?' they ask. He answers, 'You
have to convert, and go to temple
school. They do so, and a year later,
playing again, they still stink.
-
The rabbi says, 'Where'd you go?'
They say, 'Temple Beth Orr.' H
scoffs  -  'No, no, you have to go
to Morath Shira. Beth Orr is
for tennis.'

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

9445. HOBO NOMENCLATURE

HOBO NOMENCLATURE
The first to claim will be the first to get.
Harry's his name, and he ain't dead yet.
-
Darned if you do yet damned if you
don't. He told me that's what they
mentioned as they handed him food.
I said, 'Well, they will, or thy won't.'
-
I figured the Constable was from
Constantinople and that was where
the misunderstandings stemmed.
-
The law can't be one thing here and 
another thing there -  or maybe it can?
It seems that's always how those fool
guys get themselves in trouble.
-
Not enough to be playful; maybe only
with dogs or cats. These three men were
doing number puzzles under the sheeted
remains of the place they had slept.
Making fun of names. Soduku? Kendo?
I think that's what I heard.
-
The first to claim will be the first to get.
Harry's his name, and he ain't dead yet.

9444. HADES COUNTY, GEORGIA

HADES COUNTY, GEORGIA
Went there once with a ringer from
home : two derelict Jersey kids on
a trolling exposition. Feeding on
snakes and dolphins and fire water
too. Got tangled up in something 
ugly as it all went down. If Georgia
has its Iliad, if Georgia has its 
Odyssey, I'm in them both.
-
I don't have a gentle poker hand.
I slap and growl and throw 'em down.
They eat at pretzels who try to stay
calm. The lights go out where the
Devil went down.

9443. NOW IN THE SUMMER SUN

NOW IN THE 
SUMMER SUN
The light is blinding and my
heart, it soars. I left the ground
so long ago. This new green
oasis, so rich  -  I want to
call it home.

9442. TOUCH MY SHOES

TOUCH MY SHOES
Break them, oink them, grease them
and polish them too. I don't care what
you do. We can put them on a clothesline
as art if you'd like. My shoes have paid
dues. They have a right to be anywhere.
What I'm talking about is the blue-sky
path to my new harem. There, you have
to take your shoes off. Go ahead. Break
them, oink them, grease them and polish.
I don't care what you do. We can put them 
on a clothesline, if you'd like, as art. My
shoes have paid dues. They have a right
to be anywhere. What I'm talking about
is the blue-sky path to my new harem.
There, you have to take your shoes off.
Go ahead. Break them, oink them....
Well, you get the gist, and you can do
this all day; ad infinitum, as they say.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

9441. ARMIES OF FIVE

ARMIES OF FIVE
Like a bitch, my teeth hurt, my
tongue rots, and I can't swallow 
things. It's five past whatever it
was five past yesterday at this 
time.  And. I. No. Longer. Care.
Bring me those breach-birth
forceps here, and let my put
two dents into your new kid's
skull. 'Gripper-holes' we can
call them  -  starting something
new. Like. A. Trend. A tattoo
under my tongue that reads,
'under my thumb.' Yes, it's a
mistake, but we knew it was 
wrong and no one would see
it here. O. U. C. H.
-
I want to marvel at the 
Marvelettes, and wonder at 
the Stevie Wonders in your
mind. C'mon, baby, let's go
downtown; we can watch
the hot dogs on the grill.

9440. MY UNCLE SAID

MY UNCLE SAID
My uncle said to me, 'You are full of
pain.' We were driving in his Chevrolet,
a new, company-supplied Impala, about
1966. I didn't say anything back, yet
I knew he was probably right.
-
I suppose it was a good intention 
that made him say that; even though 
he was usually pretty angry and harsh. 
But, if it brought to him some satisfaction,
I guessed I didn't mind, and I'd survive. 
I just didn't know why it always had
to be me who was born the martyr.
-
I could have turned on him, grabbed
the wheel and crashed us into a tree or
a guardrail, after smashing his foot 
down on the gas for a high-speed crash.
What could he do about it? In reality,
he was just as much my captive too.
-
There were ten or so years, back then, 
I didn't care to go living on; just wasn't
man enough to do it to myself. Yeah, you
get like that around the magic lights of
singular space and time  -  when you're
that different that the whole world mauls
you, twists and ruins everything up.
-
It's a certain form of speechlessness that
takes over - just nothing worth saying or
talking about, everything is dead or dying
or Death itself already. Who wants to live
in a swamp like that, especially being 16
or so and full of life in so many other 
ways. Destiny and fate together; they
conspire, and they really suck.
-
I wanted to just walk off, after calling him
a jerk. But I couldn't  -  there's always a
certain level of respect that stays in place,
even though he wasn't blood or anything to
me; just a guy who married in by marrying
one of my crazy, ridiculous aunts. Nothing
to do; the type of thing you stay with.
-
I've always wanted to just stop things, and
sit people down and really talk  -  not just 
talk, but level with them. Past all niceties
and manners  -  about the meanings of life 
and time and matter and being. Yes, I know
all that stuff. I come from another place, 
and those answers are built right in, all
'hardwired' as you guys now would say.

9439. FREE UP THE TATTERSALL

FREE UP THE TATTERSALL 
The broken man wears his fabric out :
a shirttail shirt gleaming in the light,
an Irish rover who can never grow dim.
I dip to groan. I imbibe the jive. I
hip to hop. The next tongue I see,
I swear, it gets chopped.
-
There's no origin like an old origin,
all made up and filled with crap. I 
once lived here, and I did all that.

9438. THERE IS NOTHING LEFT

THERE IS NOTHING LEFT
In my land there is nothing left. The
martyrs have all been taken out, and
only a few Spring birds are singing. This
land is lit by the TV light and a million
empty faces staring down. At the end
of every street, there is a trench.
-
Magicians once used to gather; talking
softly among themselves over ways of
making things disappear. Come back.
Disappear again. Almost at will, they
too are now dispersed to shadows.
-
There's a balloon man who comes 
around my block  -  he wanders empty, 
with nothing in his sack. Were he Santa 
Claus, he'd get away with that, but as it 
is  -  and as he is not  -  he too is now a 
wanted man. Shame, and fie on that.
-
In Frenchtown once I went into the 
decoy store. Nice old guy, gay as a
stick, running the place by telephone.
Duck decoys, carved and painted,
everywhere. Thousands of dollars
each, not at all and nothing cheap to
be thought about. His planned deals
were all upon the telephone; the store
was just a place, for browsers and the
'Frenchtown types' who come around.
-
I stayed an hour as he kept on talking.
I'd seen his type before  -  like any old
Greenwich Village flamer, ready to bond
forever with the latest guy he'd seen. I get
a kick out of those types, and can never
get enough. it's all a memory now, yet
I know he's still there now. Talk is
the show, and the show is all talk.
-
Anyway, back to the rest : there is nothing
left. we've run out of spices and gold;
we've exhausted the mortars and pestles,
and the claviers and harpsichords, 
they too have now disappeared.