Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hard bright currency

The pressure of them ignoring you 
is like them standing on 
the electric cord to your light bulb. 

And if that doesn't make you 
so much the brighter (all that crimped, RED wattage), 
it’ll electrocute them right to the assbone; 
themstanding on your cord
like that. 

Which was never nice of them,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The end of capitalism in 
10 seconds 

“There's no such thing as a free lunch!” he said, 
with a face like an electrocardiogram, 
before the morgue run. 

“Well, if that’s how you want to live, go on,” we said,
with a face like Christmas morning candlelight
at the top of the stairs. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

On a (mile) higher plane 

Really out of breath, in heaven, or anyway 
30,000 feet closer to it 
the two sit back down in their seats. 
Beaming. Tingling. Smiling. Sex in the bathroom; 
the high consciousness of the Mile High Club
just got higher. 

The man, Zorro, says to her, Emmeline Pankhurst
(these are the names they gave themselves as
strangers meeting in the airport bar), 
“I feel so open and generous 
and humane after making love 
like that. Even if it is on aluminum 
and mirrors over blue water. Can I say
something, Emmeline? I want to tell you something.”

She smiles him: go on. 

“Watching the Broncos game back there in the airport
bar, I thought: making those women do that
cheerleading is sexist! And cold. But look here -
I'm not against an ostentatious display of skin.
And I'm not a puritan, believe me, I'm a hedonist,
and I say: what about men as cheerleaders, too?” 

“I was hoping you'd say something like that,”
says Pankhurst “I thought you were a good guy, 
back at the bar.”

“Well, can I say it simply, no nuance, no stalling? 
I'm sick to the gills of sexism. Anyway, I know 
there are women - men too - who'd love to see men 
out there undulating to a touchdown. I think the pilot
of this jet would. He gave me that look, I think.”

This look?” Emmeline turns to Zorro; her eyes
roll still, into sharp focus; green diamonds in a stream.

“Yes, that one. Like this one,” says Zorro; his eyes like
warm chestnuts, roasting on an open … you know. 

“So, Zorro, shall we repair to the Room of Blue Waters?” 

The jet, contageous with generosity and humanity 
goes above 30,000 feet to 60,000, and then into orbit;
everybody smiling
free drinks
stars in their eyes. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aw come on, try to love me

Here I am, in the holidays, my favorites
with the red and green and blue lights 
and papers and presents; listening to this 
music again, Burl and Bing and Enya again;
calling up that cozy-candled night out of
the past (remembering it wrong) and
beating the cozy drum 
one more time for the future 
or a peaceful right now, but 

sentimentality aside
like - way over there
my family ain’t worth the paper
they’re written on. 

Anyone got a match?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Legend in my own mind 

They say it like it’s a bad thing
and accuse me, but yes -
I am. Aren't you? Better a legend
in your own mind than in someone else's. 

Inside me it’s as big as the whole universe
and the other one, put together
maybe bigger! 

Most people's souls now 
are the size of the Apple Store
or the nursing home gift shop 
or the family photo album
or the decor of the waiting room 
at Jiffy Lube. But it's no good 
getting mean about it like this. 

When they were born their soul 
wasn't in the Jiffy Lube, yet. Anyway, 
anyone can enlarge their soul. 

As long as they don’t try it 
at the drive-thru window. 

It takes time to make a legend. 
Take it from me. 

[ Hold on. Did you hear that?                  Let's 
be quiet a minute, I thought I heard 
something.                 It really is big in here … ]

Saturday, October 31, 2015

On a higher plane
( Flight 59 )

The jet banked hard, almost sideways
almost upside down, over the Rocky Mountains
avoiding, the pilot said (he would know), a bank 
of clouds full of snow up ahead. Speaking of banks, 
the man across the aisle to the right looked like 
he ran one, or maybe a chain of them. 
He pointed out my window, and opened conversation. 

“Look at those mountains,” he said. “So majestic.” 

The jet leveled off a bit, and headed into western Kansas.

“Well, I guess what you’re gonna say next is that
that plain down there is fruited,” I said. 
“Are you cynical?” 
“No. But I am 59.”
The in-flight movie ended, and a row of soldiers 
rose, stretched, and single-filed back to the bathroom. 
The banker half-rose in his seat, said hello, saluted
and thanked them.

“You gotta hand it to them, don’t you? I take
my hat off to them,” he said, after they passed. 

“Yes. And I'm glad they're alive.” 

I got more interested in the weave of fabric 
on the seat back in front of me, than Kansas. 
I felt the banker looking at the side of my head;
he would say some more.

“They deserve our thanks. Our gratitude,” he said. 
“We need to honor their sacrifice.”

“Ok, I agree.”

“They are defending our freedoms.”

“Oh come on. You know better than that. Those guys 
never even met my mother.” 

The jet banked hard left, under the weight of the banker. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

bang bang boring 

MEN, guns
MEN, guns, in charge 
MEN, guns, in charge add money
( get in a ) LATHER, RINSE ( off the blood ), REPEAT.
Nothing’s gonna change. 
Unless; if just one of these guys would get a sense of humor. 

Add love.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On a higher plane 
(Red-eye flight, Brooklyn to Dharamsala)

I popped up suddenly in my seat on the jet
wide awake from a dream and though 
this isn’t confessional poetry
it was all true, what I’d just had a dream about. 

In the dream I saw it all again; 1980
I got married in the red and yellow countryside
in Fall, my favorite season 
surrounded by Her and her extended family, 
all these new people, my family now. 
Finally - my own wife, plus a mother, father, sister, and
brother - it felt like it would be forever … 
but then in 1984 I turned homeless in Boston
in the Fall again, still my favorite season
who knows what happened between these Falls, 
and then - there I was.
No wife, no family, no children, no house
I’d be the end of the line; it all went away 
so fast, and all those people, too!

I looked around the plane for comfort
I knew I wasn’t alone, and on my left
was THE Dalai Lama. On the right,
the window seat, was MAE WEST! 

They noticed me pop up, the Dalai asked 
what happened, I told him; I told him now 
I was the last of the line, no offspring off me,
and he started to laugh ... hahaha! 
So I turned to Mae, who winked at me then 
talked across me directly to His Holiness. 

“What’s so funny, Dalai Lama?” she asked. 

“I am last of line too,” he said. “When I go, 
no more Dalai Lamas. So much suffering in my life,”
he said, laughing again. “I feel like bull born, so to speak, 
in China shop, so of course I go to India, but now 
I take bull by the horns, meaning no more Dalais
but, SO WHAT?” Hahaha. 

“Yesss, well, I understand that a little,” Mae said, 
as they ping-ponged across me. “They were 
always trying to shut me up too, slow me down. 
But here I am. And you, Dalai - you’re lookin’ pretty
sentient. Then here you are,” she said, looking at me. 

“Excuse me, Mae West,” I said, “but if this really is 2015, 
didn’t you die 35 years ago? The very year I got married?”

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, eh Dalai?” 

I looked left, back at him. His smile, her blonde hair 
lit up the whole back end of the jet. 

“Maybe, Mae,” he said. “Or maybe you are new 
Dalai Llama, and maybe I used to be - how you say - 
sexy blonde movie star!” 

Now they were both laughing, Dalia Lama's laughter 
sounding like Santa Claus down the chimney at high
speeds; Mae West's laughter like a cat purring in slow motion
under a hot red blanket. 

They both took one hand each from me, 
Dalai took my left and squeezed, Mae West took my right
hand and kissed it, leaving a wet red lipstick tattoo.

“All great mystery with no answer,” said Dalai Lama.
“Also - there is no end of any line. And no line. But,
nothing serious!” Hahahahahaha! 

“Say Dalai, you’re alright. Come up and 
see me sometime. And when you do, namaste awhile.” 

The wink she gave him was so electromagnetic 
it must have thrown off the pilot, the flight 
control tower, and the receding, twinkling Eastern Seaboard.

Meanwhile, I blew up a vomit bag and popped it
to wake myself up, in case I was dreaming again!
Whether I was or wasn’t didn't matter; I felt better. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A writer's convention 

No, I wouldn’t go
if I was you; (I'd say, if it came up)
why, why NOT? she'd say, he'd say; 
I'd say: cuz (or cous, if she or he was) they breed
conformity, uniformity and deformity.
But the last one would be ok. 

After all, the deformed don’t get much
group coffee and donuts, wine cheese and comfort, but 
they sure give it. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Still Life with American Work Ethic 
and Snooze Alarm 
(3 sheets on the wind)

The blue bedsheets 
drying on the line
swing loose
swing together
on a clean green breeze
they know the pine scent breezing
through their thread count 
is from real trees all around the house
and not from somebody's 

They look up at that house
up to the second floor 
to the bedroom window
they remember all that, being flat; 
but these sheets are so relaxed on the line 
- drying, floating, snapping - 
the pillow case looks over at the top sheet
then over at the fitted sheet, on the other side, 
and says, 
        " … awww, it’s so good to get outside!  WAY outside  "

Monday, September 21, 2015

Irish Midnite 

I'm on the end of the pier
watching every friend and relative
I have sail into the Atlantic.  

I don't know if I'll ever see them again. 

The ship sails smaller into a giant golden glow; 
the sun's spread, done, and going  down, 
into the sea. 

I can't see the ship anymore, only 
the overwhelming glow. 

I'm afraid to turn from the ship and the sea,  
but I turn around and walk down 
the pier, up the path, back to my hotel.

My room is up on the top floor, so when I
get up there, in a minute, I'll see far out over the sea,
and see the ship until it's gone over the edge. 

But from the forecourt I can see into my window
up on top of the hotel, and see that the golden glow
is all over the back wall of my hotel room, too. 

That wall will comfort me 
after the ship and the sun goes down. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sky, not falling; quite the opposite 

The chicken crossed the road 
and was immediately surrounded by the press. 

"Why?" they cried, in many languages. "Why
did you cross the road?" 

The chicken, who was smoking a suddenly 
legal cuban cigar, looked at all the members 
of the international press, then up; up 
at a fuzzy boom microphone 
hovering overhead. 

"Well, that reminds me of an old friend," he said. 

"The road, why the road?" The fever 
of the press was rising. "Por qué usted cruzar?"

The chicken smiled. He blew a smoke triangle,
because of the beak.

"Did you clear it with the Coop?"

"What co-op? You mean, like - a consortium?"
The chicken was trying to help clarify.

"No, the Coop! The Chicken Coop!" yelled
the press.

The chicken was looking over their heads
toward a misty thick green mystery of
pine trees. "Well," he said, "if that's what
you guys need, then go on, enjoy that, but no,
I'm not in a coop."

"Do you have citizenship?" Someone in uniform
asked, from the crowd. "This side of the road?"

The chicken smiled again, and started walking.
"Sure," he said. "Everywhere!" 

"But again, why?" asked the journalist in charge,
getting louder, standing with the uniformed one,
talking on a cell phone. "Why did you cross?"

"To get to the other side," said the chicken, softly
… getting farther and farther away.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ventilation at the funeral

I’ve been dead for a week.
You laugh, but you’d be surprised at what’s next. 

The funeral home loaned me a Makita drill, cordless
to drill some holes in my coffin; they think
for ventilation (you're laughing again) 
but the holes are really so I can see out, 
and watch the funeral, starting any minute now.  

And here they come, with their jello chins, which 
I would be moved by, except who the hell are they? 
Oh … them. Now I see them. Oh … but wait,
didn't phone-call any of them, either. 

Goddamnit, I'm guilty too! Oh well … 

So there it is, the human race problem -
nobody around with much love, one to one 
until you die then here they come, 
on the double, and on the run! 

Emotional generosity is so much easier 
with an audience, people watching you do it 
in a group, all mise en scène'd out like that
and a big but appropriate party, later. 

But I'm like that too, and here I am 
tirading in a box, pining for love 
and company. Well, ok … now I know. 

I've learned, they'll see, you'll like it
when you get here; it's quite a place, 
I just came back from it to watch this,
and wait'll you see the clothes; you thought
you were going to be naked!

Oh, shhh … the funeral's starting. 
Better turn off your phone. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Heaven, I’m comin’ !

If you die alone 
and you might, who cares
LAUGH big, LAUGH loud
so they can hear you up there!

Lose all control, it’s high time for that; 
flash the color
even if it’s gone from your skin and 
flash that old body 
so they can see where you've been. 

The funeral is for them,
and they’re crying. 
You’re in the cool blue jet stream,
and flying … 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trickling out of the mainstream
You have worked hard, enjoy
this one day.
Laugh and lock the door, ignore 

Ignore the pop
Ignore your mom 
and pop

all them that says go get more. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cottage cheese & barbed wire 

For 90 years every year she called me 
an idiot. 
They call her my mother. 

We all came to the family reunion house 
to celebrate her birthday. 
The 90th one in a row. I shouldn't have 
been there but I promised myself 
I was gonna give as good as I
don't get. 

At the party they saw a nice old
round perfumy woman. 

I saw something staring and hating. 
Not even a person anymore, maybe a non-person.
A mound of old cottage cheese slid out of 
it's crusted brown plastic past it's expiration 
date but sitting there
with eyes glowing dull, mean 
like electrified barbed wire but
of a very low current.

Later the family all familied-away 
toward motels and airports
laughing, hugging, connecting 
going for meaningful and taking pictures of it,
and then it was just us - mother and son
we were alone.

The mother looked around at
everybody gone and then at me
and said, "Oh, it's just you." 

I drove her back to her nursing home
helped her out of the car
across the parking lot
past the smiling front desk
down the darkening hall and tucked her in,
wished her a happy birthday
of course,
and when I did something else
like, say I love you 
the barbed wire current flickered
even duller. 

I turned out 
her light and began 
to glow in the dark. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


There I was - in the noisy pop
cultural summer afternoon they 
all want to fit us into - longing 
for the quiet of private personal central 
air conditioning, air like it’s from up high,
from the mountain top, with me kneeling 
and breathing it in before the vents, snow
and peacefulness and stars and moons and 
blue sky you can see in forever blowing out
then - someone's family and friends and some
bartender in a Hawaiian shirt was there … 

Care for a drink, boss?
No, thank you. Perrier please. 
Oh, c'mon chief. 
I can’t. 
Why not, dude?
I’m an anonymous alcoholic. Well, I was a second ago. 
Aw let loose buddy, please, join us! 
Ok, I’ll take a shot of vodka, with an ambulance chaser.

… No one laughed. 
But it was funny! And it is.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Good Night, Officer White 

Go to sleep now, little baby boy
are you tired, is your gun tired too
were you shooting negroes again today?

We’ll tuck you in,
there will be 
dead heavy horseshoes 
on your nightmares. 

Nighty night you
pretty little pink
ball of naughty. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Your place, or mine?

A zoo
is a nasty fucking cheap shot   
to the animals. But at least
they don’t have to buy tickets 
and hot dogs to 
be there. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Outlaw of Physics

Pull up sea anchor
Moon above, then sun - then all the best 
Over the next crest! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Get even, like this 

After your parents fuck your brain waves
first thing to do is
take care of yourself.

A little wit.
A little spit.

Lightning crack 
and crack of the whip,
a good night’s sleep
some magic in your pillow slip. 

Take care of yourself
to the end of your days 
and way past theirs. 

Steal the last life boat. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

One dirty mother 

My mother made love to someone in 1956 
but nine months later she made war,
on me. 

She bore me out and pulled a gun on me
right there in the bassinet
and I’m still running. 

But I’ll get her. 
I’ve got her in my psychological

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Do anything 

Poor people hate the summer.
Anyway, I did. 
Rich, or richer people
have camps and lakes, and the beach; 
green and blue and sand and sunshine.

We had the flat-roof slum
surrounded by parking lots;
cement gray and toy-plastic orange.

Radio commercials splash and ricochet 
out of the concrete, yellow swimming pool 
old reruns and laugh tracks on TV always, 
muffled some by the cockroach mardi gras 
scratching greasy in the walls.

Do anything 
to get to the green and the blue 
and the sky.

And anything - everything - else. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ireland becomes you, Pee Wee Herman! 

The Vatican looks over at Ireland  
- both foggy, one suddenly clear -
sees that Ireland has finally allowed
the legality, and noticed the humanity
beauty, loveliness, lovability and FUN 
of gay marriage, and says:


Ireland looks back and says, 
                                   I know you are but what am I?!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On a higher plane
The jet zooms towards the moon
light blue day sliding away behind,
lush velvety night up ahead. 

In First Class, two jocular black men
in electric teal suits are joking, but 
on the other hand, one of them is serious.

"Man, I was in a Target before the airport, 
you know, the one down Waxy Candle Road?"

"Yes, I know that one."

"And I heard the most idiot shit you've ever 
heard, what these two we're saying to their kid.
ABUSE! This poor little, baby, really, 
and they got their damn dumb Hamburger Helper 
faces right down in the baby's face, a really cute
kid, cuttin' loose with every loud, dumb cliche
they recycled from their parents! Like -
how many times do I have to tell you? or, say
the kid is lagging and looking at something
with, you know, curiosity, like they do, these 
dumb ass abusers start going all: oh, BYE! 
LEAVING now, goodbye! The little baby oughta
look up at that moment and say, Ok, see ya around …" 

"Yeah, yeah, I agree with you, you know - 
call their bluff.  Of course, how the little child 
would support itself, well, that's gotta be 
on the table for consideration. But hey man, 
lookie here … you said idiot shit. 
That's a Bob Dylan song, ain't it?"

"Hmmm, yeah it is, isn't it? That's likely,
with me. My wife, the film and theater teacher,
says I'm as derivative as a milk bottle 
on a dairy farm!" 

They spill their drinks laughing, and almost 
spill out of the First Class seats they're filling,
also to the brim. 

Behind them, a couple of rows back, a couple
of women in sunglasses, sundresses, and sunny
smiles. They have new travel magazines; they 
are being cool and chic. But now one of them
gets serious, even mad! She pushes back her
red straw hat, and shouts, "HEY!" 

The black men up the aisle turn around
but are still laughing and wheezing and spilling,
and can't stop; she waves and smiles at them
and elbows her friend.

"Hey," she says, a little lower, "did you ever 
notice that only white people go on vacation
in these vacation magazines? And IF you see
a black woman or man in these magazines
they look like this - " she puts her cocktail 
on the flat of her hand, holds it to her friend
in a serving position. The friend starts scanning
her magazine, eyes racing up and down, 
behind the shades. 

"Jesus! Yes, I see what you mean!" 

The two men up front turn around again, 
still wiping their eyes. 

"What are you two talking about?"

The woman in the red hat holds up 
her magazine and says, "We're talking about 
how African-American people are never 
on vacation in vacation magazines!" 

"It's ok if you say black. But hey - I think 
you have a point! Let's put our seats 
together and have drinks! You two 
going on vacation? My wife has that sundress!
It's a small world, especially at 30,000 feet!
hahaha ..."

Two cops watch all this back in Coach, 
sneering through sunglasses. 

"Look at those two."

"Yeah, a real piece of ass."

"No, I mean the other two."

"Oh yeah. They're getting a little loud.
You know, like they do, in public. I wish 
we weren't in flight, I wanna shoot 'em."

"Don't worry, buddy, we'll be landing 
in St. Louis soon. But it doesn't matter 
where we land these days, does it?" 

The pilot - tall, dark and handsome 

as an oak tree - comes out the cockpit door
eyes lined up on the two cops,
walks down the aisle slowly and, arriving -
stands far above the police.

"I heard that," he says, staring. He turns 
to a stewardess. "Eileen, would you demonstrate 
the flotation device again for these gentlemen? 
Make sure theirs are ready, about 5 minutes." 

"But Captain, we aren't over water right now."

"You can't win 'em all." says the Captain, 
who walks back to the cockpit

The cops take off their sunglasses, one 
of them reaches, hesitantly touching the sleeve 
of the stewardess, says, "Is he kidding?"

"You'll never know. Now, pay attention … " 

The laughter in First Class sounds like Christmas breakfast 
plus the winning touchdown plus the post-game report 
that Billie Holiday has come back to life, 
dropped the syringe and the bottle 
on the floor, been elected president, but then -
after being sworn in - says, "Never mind boys, 
keep your games, I've got some singing to do!"

The laughter sounds like all this, and now 
there's more, rolling free down the aisle 
from First Class. 

Meanwhile, the jet zooms the moon.