. The Poet's Beat .

. The Poet's Beat .
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Someone's Sister

A fit of estrogen-induced inspiration hit me one day and I wrote this...


Will you not leave me alone,
growing stone wings that crumble
after so many years,
sad stone face where pigeons land and
pointed iron defends your feet,
old grandmother that walks senile and drops seeds,
oldest boy that hides in your shadow,
tall grass in the park that a city forgets,

I am shaking because you are still here
in your mature red cardigan,
your full breasts hidden but in the shower
I'm jealous,
long hair, long legs
and you do not care,

I hate you in this attic overstuffed with a family's
discarded life,
our family and
our life,
doll houses that existed fantastic broken now,
old beds of heavy wood asleep forever,
Chinese fighting dragon someone's pale memory
of foreign lands,
you belong up here and I do not,

sitting on the ceiling dangling your pumps over
the hall light,
I am trapped without escape by the towering figure of my sister,
so high and so full of love,
I sink saturated with a drowning
and shake,
my own body refusing to catch up,
ideas of admiration lost,
this is an attic not enough to hide in.

6.2007

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ode to Road Trip 2010

And here is the last piece of the "road trip" poems, a final culmination of the essences of our summer fling on the open road. Enjoy...


Burn bright the timeless miles of worn rubber,
set fire to distant cities born anew in the flames of discovery,
where morning is a gift yet unwrapped,
where night brings to close another day on the open road,
sling shot along rivers of blacktop,
baptized in tar alongside pilgrims in
hollow turtle shells,
empty rabbit skins,
dried dog bones,
our chapel of broken bottles and cigarette butts,
street signs decorated with bullet holes our altar,
ordained by hillbillies with trigger fingers
drinking moonshine
boiled in the sacrificial fires from every match we’ve lit along the way.

Behind us burns a searing crimson straight-edge trail,

its clean symmetry across state lines a misrepresentation
of the ebb and flow of life on the road,
cold blips where living cities should be,
a course plotted in the graphic constructs of spilt blood,
a single pulsing artery spread over the pale flesh of a binary map,
to trace our weary steps,
red for blood,
red for fire.

There is a dangerous smoke on the air,

of charring,
the Appalachian Mountains are burning,
Clingmans Dome covered in a mist of shadowy rain,
and the Adirondacks too,
Pepper’s recommendations up the side of Mt. Marcy,
Ashville has been consumed,
is in a collection of embers spilt from the water pipe of the broken-hearted,
Misses Carroll still crooning into the night,
(spare us those thighs)
The toll roads of the Northeast are burning,
every GOT-DAMN one of them!
straight to Hell,
Manhattan smells of aged cheese and (sudsless) shampoo,
Brooklyn is lost in a haze of
heavy smoke escaped from the lungs of a tall and skinny playwright,
the endless waters of Niagara burning the eyes of overjoyed Chinese tourists,
water-logged campsites among wolves ablaze in the Boundary Lands,
a hot and humid parking garage cooks a canine underground in Minneapolis,
every moose,
every black bear,
every star hovering over those northlands have tasted combustion,
Madison County is repulsive,
and Texas has not stopped burning since the open ranges closed a century ago,
only Detroit is spared –
there is no one left there to start the fire,
and one other –
Gary,
heir to the throne of Poseidon,
who cannot burn
because he is the father of all flames.

We are only two,

and a faithful dog,
(self proclaimed captain of the campsite)
road-weary travelers
who have been heading home since that perilous moment
when we pulled away from our front door,
always leaving,
always returning,
rubber on the road,
rubber on the soles of our hiking boots,
called to that place where mountains pierce the underbelly of
pregnant mother clouds,
called into the lives of old friends in new places,
if only temporarily,
to be a new soul,
a spirit belonging to the constructs of revelation,
called to the end of the road,
only to find that the road has no ending,
the open road is always open,
and the pursuit thereof is eternal,
marred by mortality,
rubber on the soul,
eating away the miles of our existence,
a burning fever that cooks the very blood within us,
drives us to insanity,
to the open road,
burning,
burning,
burning,
like the smooth cypress wood of that old house by the levee,
whose destruction by fire so long ago
in the madness of youth
permanently sealed the borders of Canada from us –
forever.

9.2010


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Austin

One more stop before heading home...



Austin is burning,
hipsters toasting on blankets in the park,
blue jean shorts so short
    the pale precious silk of soft vaginal lips are on proud display,
a scooter gang rolls up under electric power pseudo-offensive blitzkrieg,
pushing kick-stands down with Converse,
wiping the road grime from their nonprescription glasses with
     tissue found in low slung shoulder bags,
we are strewn willy-nilly,
blankets and bodies and bottles of wine in the grass,
fixated on the white screen before us,
twenty-somethings worshiping life,
in love with art and music or the idea of,

A chestnut haze cascades from on high,

concentric circular crown glowing at the apex of guardian moon towers above,
warding off the criminals and dissolving Andromeda,
authentic beef burritos sizzle somewhere nearby,
little Juanita calling from the trailer,
Hola, amigos!
Venga y coma!
her mother stirs authentic Mexican sauces in the cramped confines
     of their tiny kitchen caravan,
Juanita lives this life,
lives it and no other,

Austin is burning,
every vintage shop and resale thrift store turned to soot,
the tat parlors seared like the permeable ink of their countless customers,
credible vegan meals burnt to a blackened crust,
organic hot tamales and hamburgers at the downtown farmer’s market
     mix into ash blown from the saxophone of a troubled middle school musician,
the greenbelts emptied of their homeless,
endless trails of joggers juiced on natural runner’s high,
an ongoing parade of sports bras dancing in various colors and shapes,
determined citizens deterring body fat,
unified by this unmistakably unique plateau city,

We bathe naked in the clear springs of the arroyos,
unconcerned with who might find us,
because no one cares,
not in Austin,
a tennis match is in heat nearby through the trees,
kayakers fish the deeper currents downstream,
an Armstrong army of peloton bicyclists whip by on the bridge overhead,
urban bats sweep low to clear the air of biting insects,
echoing to one another to retain friendships forged in flight,
in the distance, past our sun-touched skin,
erect high-rises skirt the horizon,
beautiful blue glass,
they catch the sun’s hard rays and throw it back into the world,
exploding and on fire,
burning,
Austin is burning.

7.2010




Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tulsa

The trip is winding down, but not the good times...

Tulsa is burning,
her emerald spires rising out of the tepid ash of industrial smoke,
an oasis of culture bleeding into the Arkansas River,
grey rain running down the penthouse glass,
down the windows outside our Irish pub,
down the soft features and full lips of a Lebanese woman,
her dark hair pressed in knots against her temples,
we dance in women’s underwear
     and swim in children's pools,

Oklahoma fourth of July,

bigfoot in the bushes,
fireworks ablaze in the low-lying thunder clouds,
Cedars asleep in the stifling heat of the parking garage,
flip-flops in my back pocket
     and barefoot on the dance floor swinging girls to hip-hop beats,

Wallflower'd and one more mixed whiskey,

a pearl of sweat runs down her jaw line,
untamed track it slides down her neck and past a thin collarbone
     disappears into the fabric clinging to her slippery skin,
the temptations of Tulsa,
that permeable boundary of translucent shimmering strength,
our eyes are pepper-flecked with madness,
like zombies intent on the consumption of flesh,
like lions freshly bamboozled by tranquilizer darts,
like sharks,
where there be blood in the water,
in the throng of flashing lights and hammering bodies,
blood in the water,
dirty feet I wade back in.

7.2010


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Minnesota

With Lake Superior in the distance...


Minnesota is burning,
Gone are the Somali slums that mark the border of the Twin Cities,
Ashen vagrants in overpopulated housing projects,
Traditional red cotton saris
    
     become wandering flamingos lost in the morning haze,
Asubuhi njema, rafiki,
No, friend,
Not so good a morning at all,

The same downtown as everywhere,
A descent into Hell
    
     to bring back the Mexican holy grail,
Smothered in beans, sauces, cheese,
There is too much white in this black boy rap,
Street-side battle dispersed by heavy horse hooves,
Pissed off cops,
Water leaks from the roof,
One more spilled drink on the ground,
She opens her legs and reveals her painted tiger,
Hipsters even here,
Same downtown as everywhere,

We bathe like Romans in the north country,

Canada so close,
Loons call and are hesitant to give up their rights,
Swimming in reflected stars,
The constellations shimmer and are gone,
A crackling fire,
On the ends of our cigars too,
Cedars barks and chases off into the woods,

He’ll be back,

There are wolves out there,
And Minnesota is on fire.

8.17.2010


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Detroit

A lightening storm in MoTown...


Detroit is burning,
and no one will notice,
no one’s around,
an empty metropolis whose desolate rain-filled streets

are limbs blue with a pulse too faint to detect,
architecture abandoned to Motown’s ghosts,
our footsteps echo off the boarded windows,
closed for an imaginary season with no end,
echo off the growing puddles,
and are swallowed by the dead night,
one solitary light blinking an angry hopeless red against the clouds,
far above us where no one looks,
a last vestige of memory,
calling home the lost denizens,
signaling the rocks of disaster,
defying the decay,

Detroit is a vacant shell,

smoldering in the after-effect embers of an inferno whose fury

sizzled out long ago,
the concrete skeletal remains of a once regal beast,
the Ritz-Carlton and the MGM Grand but shadows of a former glory,
one a haven for the few travelers who dare to

wander those deserted canyons of corporate greed,
one a jingling nightmare whose dazzling maw ensnares the oldest

destitute grandmas and grandpas –
drying them of the little life they have left,
beacons of the void,
stunning structural remains that refuse to belly up and die,

A claw of lightening scratches from the sky,

jagged brilliant lasso,
it bites hard and quick at a radio antenna above a lifeless office tower,
thunder explodes in our chest,
a warning,
not even cities are safe,
from the greatest to the least,
the world freezes in a single resplendent snapshot of glamour,
it seems brilliant and illuminated,
awakened from the dark,
so that even the rain drops sparkle and are jewels

thrown against the sidewalk,
for but a moment,
a priceless second,
an eternal dream,
shattered,
thunder rattles our bones and punches us in the guts,
the world becomes black,
the streets once again swell with wasted rain water endlessly eroding

this place from existence,
one solitary light still blinking an angry hopeless red against the clouds,
waiting for them all to come back,
steady vigil on the horizon,
the song of some lost lover,
but this city is dead,
no one’s around,
and no one is coming back.

7.2010


Friday, September 3, 2010

The Adirondacks

Upstate NY...


The Adirondacks are burning,
tree by fur tree and every fine and quaint thing nestled in
     the crooks and crannies of those picturesque mountains,
a fiery river of boiling syrup singes the tourist towns
     filled to the brim with
wood carving dads,
antique moms,
and slender high school daughters with tanned skin and overly
     attractive legs and breasts,
homely families who flood these valleys when the
     cities begin to swelter in the summer time,
abandoning their concrete caverns filled with
     designer sofas and marble table tops and sleek hardware,
a still and silent tomb awaiting the return of life in the fall,

Andy keeps pace at his tavern,
what pace there is where most nights black bears outnumber drinkers,
but where camaraderie is as forthcoming as the uncountable
     stars displayed by the Milky Way above,
we drink whiskey shots with our bearded river guide,
a veritable Zeus on the rapids of the upper Hudson,
swap stories with middle-aged motorcyclists down from
     the white-washed world of Connecticut,
roll grass with our friends in a bunkhouse whose cedar walls
     once kept cool the town’s only ice,

Irritating black flies assemble in anger against our bare legs,
the trail is demanding enough,
over-crowded pines and downed trees left uncut to trouble our ascent,
we scramble over boulders and across boot-sucking bogs,
as many natural barricades as a path can possess,
up the spindly back bone of a temperamental Mt. Marcy,
playing hard-to-get with each new hidden deterrent beneath her
     swaying skirt,
the highest point in New York,
until the trees become shrubs and the shrubs only rock,
and there is no point higher to place your next step,
lonely mountain steward overseeing these heights,
awaiting our turn to ask questions,
only there is nothing to ask,
just the immense conundrum of such stunning beauty as
     fading green peaks disappear into the distance,
and all of it is on fire,
the whole world is burning.

7.2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Manhattan

A trip into the maw...


Manhattan is burning,
the doughnut pub’s palatable pastries set afire in a blazing inferno
     of round rolling inner tubes decorated  in multi-colored sugars,
chocolate cream filled sprinkled glazes of twisted cinnamon,
smoldering police cars dressed in the drab of yellow taxi cabs,
incinerated underground pool halls awash in the flat fluorescent tones
     of muted green lights hanging from the bottom of the floor above,
where Chinese children proselytize their tiny golden bodies bent
     backwards over the edge of a billiards game -
American thongs on proud display,
cross-bike motorcycle gangs in the street riding tricks for
     unconcerned and inconvenienced New York City motorists,
we were always searching for the perfect slice to sooth what seemed
     like a never-ending absinthe daze,
that one pure sugar-cube flame as blue as the blinking light atop
     Rockefeller Plaza,

Manhattan is aglow with the cat stained orange tongues
     of a maddening blaze,
our curls and such honey bee hostess,
her stamen invitation at the open window drawing to her hive
     wayward worker bee’s tired from too much travel,
magnolia blossoms ink stained decorations on her arms
     carved into her soft skin like an architect’s ultra-modern master floor plan,
the subway trains, like mechanical worms emitting white hot sparks,
     are alive beneath our feet,
sending gentle vibrations up the building’s pipes to tremble
     our uncovered flesh where it sits at ease on a cold toilet seat,
high-heel pumps and Vermont cheese,
erecting flagships in Shanghai and cornerstones in Beijing
     where rest the thrones of handbag kings and queens,

Brooklyn is a mess of still-smoking embers once brownstones for
     hipsters and private detectives,
her tortilla factories lost shells of burned metal covered in guacamole,
     spicy sauces, a bean paste and fresh chicken,
three bedroom apartment that fits in my closet,
the folding kitchen table-top and the head-height book shelves of playwrights,
     poets and master Hungarian smut directors,
the guitar shimmers,
the lost checkerboard memories fading even now in a haze of local fog
     too thick to allow thought,
the tall, skinny one whose paper-thin legs address the space with discomfort,
bend irregularly at the joints,
weak wrist joints and wet hair,
Brooklyn’s finest,
a hop, skip and a jump from here to NYU,

Manhattan is over-trodden by the soulless boots of insensitive sunray soldiers,
sidewalks become molten concrete rivers,
drivers shout out with incessant car horns as they ride the undulating
     heat wave that melds rubber and tar in a Venetian blacktop canal,
gondola taxis and angry delivery truck boatmen,
we eye the Central Park lakes with envy,
barred from entry,
catch a lift with ten thousand corporate runners beneath the leaves
     and share in the winner’s spoils absent being winners,
just a couple of kids passing through,
high-slung backpacks laden not with cooking pots and folding knives but
     with pearl snaps and perfume,
survival gear in the big city,
burning all around us,
one nonstop drink at a time.

7.2010