. 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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chat With a Stranger



You:
     stranger
     pale-faced man of the evening
     i like your style and your silent stare
     don’t ever hide that shit from the light
     ya dig?

Stranger:
     i do look pretty pale in this lighting

You:
     aint that the god’s honest truth
     but aint nothing wrong with that among this world

Stranger:
     my skin is so smooth it reflects the white light well

You:
     don’t let them tell you otherwise
     don’t let them take from you the one ounce of
          courage you have left

Stranger:
     lol

You:
     that is the sound of anguish and agony, rollie pollie
     the sound of your agony crushes my spirit
     i am at a loss to feel hope
     i am wandering beyond MY own courage now
     in territory unfamiliar
     among faces i do not recognize
     scream again, pale friend
     scream those words

Stranger:
     are you writing a poem?

You:
     the night magic
     that’s what this is
     that’s what i call what you do
     the teacher, the pale rider
     the couch surfer
     may i pose a question?
     do you own those walls behind you?
     come alive, man!

Stranger:
     nope

You:
     do you rent them perchance?

Stranger:
     I do

You:
     and the trash receptacle
     do you have ownership over it?
     look alive, petersmith!
     the one against the wall behind your shaggy gruff
     who among you owns it?

Stranger:
     it belongs to the city

You:
     look alive, pandle eyes!
     it’s time for you to come to the aid of your country
     to step for once from the burning ash of your life and
          become a new seed

Stranger:
     you are thinking too big, man

You:
     step with me, king fish
     take hold of the truth of the gold in your heart

Stranger:
     start small and grow

You:
     follow me to the pallid regions of denial
     let’s let slip the notion of our parents

Stranger:
     is it really pretending?

You:
     we are shifting in the womb of infinity
     you and i
     the brothers pale, they called us
     in the reign of the Third King of these lands do we sleep
     whose women we take as wives and whose children
          they pour forth from their inflated bellies

Stranger:
     i think saying we are not connected is pretending

You:
     i’ve moved on
     look alive, smuggler
     it’s not time for sleep
     those days are gone
     like the chords that connect us

Stranger:
     lol it’s about time for me
     sleep is vital

You:
     no
     the cords are gone
     the chords silent
     we are not connected
     no
     we never
     were

Stranger:
     we are all the same

You:
     you are a fool and a braggart
     now you must suffer this injustice
     or move along and make some other act of contrition
     someplace else
     where gods and men sup from the blood of the land
     like cook's they meld our minds to do their bidding
     and you and i

Stranger:
     only men think they are gods

You:
     well we were never connected
     you and i and the gods
     we ARE different!
     and always will be

Stranger:
     what is different?

You:
     separated by time and by death
     the pale rider and the jean king

Stranger:
     these are all made-up words

You:
     one from the badlands and one up to no good
     you see the disconnect, gene handler
     we don’t even recognize each other anymore

Stranger:
     time and death
     this is what we know
     but it is only a human concept

You:
     two brothers cut from their mother’s stomach bile
     puked into the life
     the brothers pale and slinger
     the handle brothers
     diligent but never suspect

Stranger:
     life has been interrupted by obsession with control

You:
     whippin’ dicks and dirges
     making the moon move from its own perch
     to touch the lips of the lady love and mellow her the fuck down
     ya dig, my pale bride?
     clumy malloon of the cityscape
     that will be your moniker from now on
     the yellow malloon always sad but never going anywhere
     the baffling stares you’ll get
     the haunted telephone calls at 3 a.m.
     the trifling days gone in a mad wind

Stranger:
     what are you on, man?

You:
     i can’t answer you with any answer other than
     life
     madness perhaps
     but nothing else
     the drug of conception is enough for me

Stranger:
     life is the only answer i accept

You:
     the mescaline of my mother’s breath
     the domain of her contagious love affair with the
          man who became my father
     you know her
     young charlie in charge
     young blanket mascot
     young pale wolf
     asleep at the wheel
     as life struggles to crash and crush you
     the headlights golden on the golfers living the mad life
          you never could
     clench tight your butt cheeks and put the gun in your mouth
     tonight aint gonna be just another saturday night, ya dig?
     you ol’ rat turd
     you pale dog honey suckling
     doing the due diligence
     keep alive, brother
     keep sharp
     keep your eyes and your wits and prick stiff
     the board that breaks will be the board of your downfall
     you with me still, stinger?
     i need your heat to keep me warm
     this train aint driving itself
     GOTdamnit, soldia’
     blow some smoke and let’s chase this trail

Stranger:
     i’m trying to figure out your direction

You:
     to the darkness only, stevenson
     to the trail that brings me to my own tears
     the southern boy at the bell stops whistling the slow sad
          tune of my existence
     he lives here with me
     in the darkness
     whereto we must ALL go

Stranger:
      so are you trying to convince me to go to the darkness??

You:
     you know this, young farcical
     i want nothing to do with this said darkness, male lion
     i want only to be reprieved
     to say the struggle is not in vain
     you little sailor!
     you have never felt so alive, have you?!
     you pirate of the purple hearts of life

Stranger:
     i have not

You:
     when you speak, i am cursed
     i hope you understand your power, little midriff
     you’ve awakened a sleeping devil
     he sits heavy on my fingers now
     giving weight to what once was airy and free

Stranger:
     how did i do that?

You:
     the curse inside of you of course
     of course there is a curse
     you knew this but did not divulge
     you like a creeping cat crept past my downed guard
          and into the backdoor of my soul
     you are a pest
     a feline pest
     pale as the ether
     the blanket bastard
     the blue blanket bandit
     walker of the filth
     child progeny
     i loved you once
     a love now gone
     you gun slinger

Stranger:
     what are you trying?

You:
     we met in the night
     always remember

Stranger:
     are you trying to get into my subconscious mind?

You:
     always
     you
     will
     always
     be
     the
     pale rider

2013

.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cloudless Dreams



These cloudless dreams
are what?
Fixin’ to pour hot thunder down o’er Ol’ Keller’s place
up in the hills,
Full a’mirrors n’shit, bout err’time you turn ‘round
somebuddy’s waitin’ with a hatchet,
Bettin’ all else they can fix it,
And false reflections strip away all that’s er’been good,
The ideal man is me,
Cream trimmins on her red drapes,
That bush burnin’ round her well talkin’ radio speak
and singin’ some pin drop lovely swells,
Skin folds and flesh,
Meat folds and turns that pretty lil’ head,
She dun meant to be mean,
Cougar’ll growl ya right up that there tree,
Crown’a butter in the muddy sky,
Tie a rope round her insides and lower er’on
down underneath the ground,
Where she’ll sweat,
Sleep as sound as any ol’ thang,
Let’s whisper instead of give up the ghost,
Daddy heavy hoofin’ in them six penny work boots
upstairs his bear’s claw sharp as sharp,
Gonna milk me tonight,
Feed my blood to the porkers downtown,
Watch ‘em, o’God, roll snake eyes and wear my
clothes home to Uncle Hung Me Nots,
Give me up to the Jews to cut,
No way that ol’ man gon work me like a bitch
this time ‘round no way,
Not ta’night,
No sir.

12.10.2013

.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Called Her Dainty and She Never Forgave Me



Her clothes smelled like Louisiana,
Like her bed in that shabby ghetto apartment,
The intertwined spices of her world:
cat litter, shampoo and
     the previous night’s just-add-water
          mix of instant mashed potatoes,
The hour late and the airport an abandoned shell of bright colors,
An empty cavern of modern architecture and fluorescent lights,
Red-eyed passengers wandered aimlessly in a haze of jet lag,
     of solitude,

She was somewhere in the stars,
     lost,
A plastic bottle of cheap vodka between her lips,
Ruddy in the reflection of the business class window,
Until in my sweaty hand my cell phone buzzed,
     suddenly,
And I knew that,
For at least a little while,
Her feet were once again on the ground,

We drove through the darkness towards the city –
A densely glowing constellation sprawled at the base of invisible 
     mountains,
A wall of negative space marked where the stars did not sparkle,
Joking,
Laughing,
Her breath muddy with alcohol and lust,
Intoxicating to my senses,
My own skin warm,
Waiting eagerly for the moment when we would touch,
When she would share the taste of that jet fuel vodka
     in the mixture of her saliva with mine,

The open road of my wonderfully lonely boyhood behind me,
The teasing in those desperate months of longing
     now gone,
She was in my space,
My Denver nest thawing in the shadow of the Continental Divide,
The ear of her soul as open as it ever was,
Listening,
Yet my confession never came,
The shape of my heart remained unrevealed,
Lost thoughts,
Foreign words to my tongue,
     buried under the weight of fear,
My feelings denied,
Her heart forbidden to enter,
My lips with permission to kiss her hello,
Only,
To kiss her goodbye,
And to never speak of how badly I missed her,
That all important meaning of her presence in my life,
The joy in her smile,
Her laugh,
A heavy and unknown consequence,
With the ability to alter our course,
Those few hidden words,
to her,
to me,
     and then she was gone,
A turbine engine in full throttle over the Kansas plains,
A vapid smoke trail and a memory,
So that even five years later I find myself
     still struggling to admit the truth of those days.

11.17.09

.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Romance Novel Suicide



Josephine Virginia Renalt leaps from the edge
in a tattered blouse with her shoulder bare.
Duke Heinrich Lamar falls behind her
his chest could be pillowcases of concrete and
golden bronze.
Josephine’s hair dark and long and curling like an
octopus waving goodbye.
Duke Heinrich’s pink lips are the
plump, moist lures
of the angler fish guardians of his delightful tongue.
They are both caught in the wind and swept away in different directions.
Passions
and love
and sweat
lost typeface to fall like rain peppering the neighborhood
with the litter of raunchy sex and candle-light grammar.
Each page torn from its spine
and spilled
into the night air
into the yellow street light crop circles.
The cell phone tower winking a seeing eye red.
Sleeping bulldozers in the wreckage below
mangled rebar and doors that open into
emptiness.
Underwear on the helicopter pad.
Footprints in the wrecking ball dust.
An empty bourbon bottle catches photons that have travelled
from faraway stars.
Catches them and doesn’t care.
The journey of a single particle of light leaving its
host
on the other side of the ever-expanding universe.
Through the cold distance of space.
Past the worlds of our story books and the stories beyond our imaginations.
Past silver clouds racing against a pregnant moon.
Past your cold white chest rising and falling
and breathing.
To end in the thick glass of an empty
Kentucky bourbon bottle.
It’s snowing a romance novel.
And nobody cares that the stars are alive in the bourbon.

10.18.2013

.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wedding Poem


The Gardener smiles with those heaven sad eyes
as a tall skinny man swears off his ties,
Commits himself by the oath of his office
     with a firm conclusion to the single life.


No passers crying foul as these atoms collide,
The creation of a new element herein implied,
Ring-bearer bring forth the chalk
     and mark this one down on the Periodic side.


It’s in the salty air from Lake Ponchatrain,
Word of a new soul that bares the Cedars name,
Just as a bum washes up on that beach
     the New Orleans Registrar files a fresh claim.


Still a man with soul is not yet a soldier,
As a man with a pile of pebbles does not have a boulder,
We learned from the Gardener that life is a bitch
     one holds by the horns in attempt to control her.


Yet our old hero made one solitary mistake,
For love is a trap as much as an escape,
Under the burden of too much weight
     even the strongest heart can suffocate.


He held Dylan too close to his chest,
And though the old man thought this was best,
When his son’s new wings fully opened above
he broke his father’s heart…


     and left.

8.2009

.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Things We Pass Down


I carry my father’s curse,
His guns,
Two dead dollops of heavy wood and black iron smooth,
A noose around my waist – my neck,
Cracked leather oiled to hide its age –
The obscure years of his twisted vigil,
Fleeing that gloomy night when his own father’s birthright
     became his,
Now mine,
The disfigured ghosts of the men who bore my blood,
Dark long snake’s moustache
     and receding hairline,
Sunken cheeks and the yellow teeth of a devil’s smile,
So far removed from my own cluttered maw that
     the mirror reveals two souls –
The lost children of my disenfranchised consciousness,
Aloof on the open flats of life,
The lonely desert
     and absence of any invisible lines to lead me home,
My spirit torn in two,
I am my father’s duel sons,
Apt to use these pistols to destroy us both.

10.10.09
.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Untitled Road Trip Poem


Dust clouds lift in the distance,
Gray and solid,
Larger than imagination,
Now no larger than my fist.
Or is it a mountain?
Mountains?
Fingers and knuckles,
A ball of veins and flesh,
And bone.
It’s the days I’m counting,
And the miles,
Consumed in the small dust plumes
Stirred into tiny existence
By the heavy padded feet
Of the red elephant beneath me.
She is my home,
Ever-moving.
Her neck my balcony,
Her long under priced tusks my lawn,
Her haunch my pillow.

There is always dust in the distance,
Always something I cannot see through,
Or around,
Or even understand sometimes.
And the ending eludes me,
Frightens me more than death.
Well, perhaps that’s a lie,
Though I have my doubts.
Still it’s hazy in the cloud.
It settles so slowly
There’s a chance you’ll miss its presence all together.
Expecting to see your eyes adjust
Only to look up and see that they’ve adjusted.
The meaning:
There are no words for the meaning.
The feelings go undescribed.
The emotions are left untouched, unspoken.
Chance to die?

I’ve lost count of the sunrises,
They were all too far in the distance anyway,
Too covered in dust,
Their glory stolen by conceited mountains.
Their illusions of the future,
Their ever onward call,
Their knowledge of what’s beyond the cloud
Has always alarmed me.

2005

.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Dark Music


My skin skips o’er my bones at the promise of a better day
His voice shaking my shoulders like a man waking
These dreams aren’t mine anymore
This sadness floats away from me into the clouds
Rain on the wind
Music
The sounds of an accordion in the brick alleys
Long skeleton fingers tickle the piano’s ribs
Blues and blacks under her eyes
Blood on my knuckles

The melody floats along the ceiling like smoke from a house fire
Lungs ache with the drowning taste of her name
That elusive F chord
Over time my crippled hands fall into themselves
Frozen vices that will never forget how it feels to take a life
Who can forget the sounds of her voice
Rising to meet silver wisps of tunes bitter and grey
Of a sorrow so still deep within her soul
The dark music
The long day

She was told to be home before the lamps were lit
And so she goes

9.30.2013

.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Headless Girl in the Woods



The arroyo stands silent in contemplation as she gets undressed,
drops her blue jeans and pulls off her shirt,
long reaching ferns hang over the creek,
her belly soft and pale,
the green canopy and the cliffs above,
her shoes muddy from the climb down,
this hidden valley in the city,
apartments somewhere,
careers somewhere,
her toes leave dimples in the damp moss,
a carpet of pine needles,
a collection of grey boulders,
somewhere a man throws a frisbee to his dog,
somewhere the street lights change,
all lost to the fertile canyon,
filtered out by the trees,
she rolls her panties over,
a last stitch of clothing clinging to a white waist,
purple triangle,
she pads across the ground and waits,
ten seconds to put her hands on her hips,
the arroyo leans in,
holding its breath for her,
her curves in the camera’s curved lens,
a  jealous eye blinks,
she’s been caught,
a naked girl alone in the woods,
but not by the city somewhere,
by the rocks,
by the water,
and by me.

3.16.2010


.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

For The Madness



When I found you naked and still weary of being
     touched
          were you concerned then of the Sins of Man
Stricken deaf your cheeks bore footprints of blood
Your pale stomach a road map to interstellar
     neighborhoods
          beyond our reach
Were you burned in last night’s fire
The Dakotas clutching photographs and stuffed
     animals
          while rubber hoses snaked between their flannel knees
               and Dad’s throbbing blue balls
Read the story of your spine to me
     and count all the days of your life in a single
          breath
Waste nothing you stretched your growing frame into a woman’s
     skin
Faced yourself in the mirror every day and watched
     your breasts
          for hours
The axe falls heavy, does it not
     when the wood is ripe for the blade
Lying there like you did in the brambles amongst
     shoe-vine and
          white-tip’d clover
I couldn’t help falling in love with you
For the madness flows both uphill and down and the
     woods go on for days.

04.2013


.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Name


Were you the ghost that jumped in front of my car last night
Shaking my old grey beard and the beads in my ears
It aint that truth be found
But that promises be kept
You mist in the shape of a specter
Playing the harmonica on the front porch
And rattling them chains

My broken heart was swept up with the moon
When the moon was thrown out
Sounds like an old lady’s short high heels on the linoleum
Opening doors and slamming cabinets
Calling my name
But my name isn’t mine anymore
Lost in the cold silence of space
Drifting eternally

It aint that truth be found
It’s that progress be made
I still think of you when everyone else is asleep
And where the wind blows
Over meadows
Over sad canyons wide
Does it blow through your hair
And when it does

Do you think of me?

9.30.2013

.

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Honorable Death


The city is on fire
Speaking in the tongues of mortar shell explosions like
     the strong but soft voice from a burning bush
Pillars of salt
Pillars of smoke
Black columns ethereal snake skin twisting their hidden heads in the clouds
Distance and desert and the hell of rock and stone
The scorpion bastard
The empty palaces of sand princes
Mosaic tiles of a multi-colored Muhammad in the lavish
     corridors murals
          and dust angels dancing in the sun
               as we crack those empty ghost-less tombs
Cutler in his thick-rimmed issue prescription glasses
     blue smoke falling heavy from his puffy lips
Smiling and passing the fag
A row of sand-brown helmets and a moment of
     rest
I keep Chora in my pocket where her half-naked Polaroid
     is near enough to the body part that misses her most
A minaret in the courtyard
Black helicopters low overhead like a loose bowling ball bouncing in your
     chest

I
am
a reluctant Moses
Older than these boys
     and fearless in a way they cannot understand
          because I have lived a life and they have not
Because they dream of Tennessee hills
Because they dream of fast cars
     with engines
          and stoplights waiting for green
Because they dream of parents and
     brothers and
          sisters they aren’t quite sure how to be separated from
Because they dream of city lights and taxi cabs and hustling
Because they dream of swimming pools and not these
     dried ceramic remnants of Jihadist get-togethers
Because they dream of fishing trips
Because they dream of roller coasters
     and movie houses and
          popcorn in the mircowave
Because they dream of dad’s textile company and
     the position he’s reserved waiting for them
Because they dream of wedding rings and a husband’s
     never-ending comfortable obligations
Because they dream of the seed within them
     with an eager desire to multiply and inherit the
          earth
Because they dream of colors other than the browns of this
     land
Because they dream of hunting deer instead of men
Because they dream of not being the hunted

Where
as I
I only dream of war
And the taste of it
And the sound of it
And the death
So like Moses
     disinterested but responsible
          I shoulder my rifle and am a rock for the children of men
I will wrestle with the serpent
I will displace the angel’s hip
I will silence the lions
And
     I will be the first to push my spear
          under our Savior’s ribs to pierce his broken heart
For when they cannot face their trials
These boys
They look into my face
And I
     into the horror
War is blood and water
Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.

10.10.2013

.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Slick Trails


She slips like loose heat through his torrid memories
Cradling his sad existence in her outstretched arms
Pulls him in against her burning flesh
To search
     out the sound of her heart in the bellows behind her breasts
A stiff nipple in his ear like the doctor’s stethoscope
With an emerald ring
     against his jawline she fingers the tight chords of his
          neck
Where the blood boils in a mad haste to keep him alive
Tunneling through spent muscles to provide the strength he needs
     to push against her
To lift her by
     that fragile rib cage which guards delicately her lungs
Her hidden voice in those nebulous caverns
Like soft lips pressed to satin to subjugate her shrieks
Moaning trumpets in the dim light
Crawling along the avenues of his contorted spine
She climbs the nooks and crannies of his body
Counting the endless drops of his sweat
Until the
     numbers are like stars and
          there is no way to tell anymore
               which beads come by perspiration
or by the morning dew
or by tears
or by the slick trails left by her tongue

10.29.2012

.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brother Clark Feedmire



She strokes my busted knuckles with the tip of her wet tongue
How is it that you hit so hard, she asks
I throw my hand with horror in my heart, I say
Born of slippery shadowy things in the dark corners of my childhood
Those distant years when I slept on the soft stomach of a black prostitute
Her pink fingernails in my hair
The stench of stale milk at her breasts
Train platforms at the edge of town at 3am
Gunshots in the madness
Brother Clark Feedmire breathing heavy into his harmonica on the radio
My daddy met a preacher in the Can
A panther who had strangled his own wife and kids
A God-fearing man
A soulless husk
I killed him, he told me
Holding the broken fingers of his swollen fist against the plastic divider
Wrapped in prison gauze
Days before they killed him too
The county
And the state

She settles down on top of me
Her eyes blue
Kissing me with blood on her white teeth
The taste of cigarettes on her lips
Kings of glory and the sweat of slaves
Trappers wrapped in furs and men who dig for oil
Preachers and prisoners
Our clothes on the wooden deck outside
Her hollow chest
Dogs barking ceaselessly in the night
We chase one another in some other man’s bed

What kinds of things do you dream about, she asks
I smile because I have not dreamed in a long time
Madmen cannot be trusted to keep secrets such as those

06.2013

.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Remember Sliders




Remember Sliders,
I’ll tell my kids one day in a letter written on brown Chinese parchment,
Remember when they had finally jumped back into their own world
But because the gate creaked like it once hadn’t
They turned around and jumped through that fucking portal instead
And were gone again
Sliding through the multi-dimensional alternate realities of existence
Little known to the majority of the world
But certainly known intimately and profoundly sad by a few
Always the possibility of home
Always the promise of a better place
Always the cry for peace
Please God, if you can even hear us anymore
Please God
Send us back
And end this madness
Remember Sliders, I’ll say to my kids in that letter
Because Daddy lives like them now
Slipping through the many lives of a single human life
Daddy is like a Slider
He can never come home again

9.30.2013

.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Night John Tart Fell From the Roof




John Tart held with his fingers the crippled crumbling brick
The orange dust valleys and dells of his fingerprints
Cum-colored sweat and brillow bush head hair
Ferry the dingos
And chase the kangas off the golf course, lad

We climbed on top of tubas
And round bass drums white paper stretched tight
And snares
And dented trombones
And strings for wood delicate and finger prone
And the chalkboard with the dick chalk drawing
And the air conditioner hanging half way in and half way out
And the rows and the columns
And seats where sat asses cotton and pleats and the militant young bones of our boys and girls
We climbed to the roof
And we defiled an institution by dancing to the enemy’s anthem overlooking her shoulders and the stars

John Tart’s thighs worked like pistons buckled to his baseball catcher’s cup knees
A smoker’s heart
A tub of guts
Spider webs in his lungs
The lips of an eagle
A brain paralyzed by fear
Were the engines that drove those pistons through a dimly lit tunnel under the city
Dead men and ghosts called like cats through the steam pipes
Haunted sirens sounded in the black expanse behind my flash light
Whisper press on press forward ping sonar bats in flight

Ever’time I talk, you cry, he said
I don’t rodeo no more, I said

Too dangerous, he asked
I jus’ don’t love it no more, I said

He let go
And the bricks that fell after him
To land heavy on his empty chest
Were like the words I kept inside, always wanting to be said
Hurling themselves from my heart
After him
Because after all
They were his anyway.

9.2013

.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thoughts Born In a Dark Cafe Booth




There is madness afoot,
In and around the corners you always seem to fail to look,
Where nothing is stirring but life still exists,
Perpetuation,
A continuation of things that passed before,
So someone screams and you think you hear a passing wind,
Some detail of your story has been corrupted,
Mismanaged,
And you’ve deviated from our society’s heathen systems of corruption,
Perhaps finding what matters,
Perhaps dabbling in love even,
From whence you were born,
Swimming unevenly in the soup of your parents’ bygone ideas,
Love that demands a satisfaction,
Grounded on the inevitable truths of selfish malevolence,
Hardcore violence,
Insatiable sexual satisfaction,

Does any of this make sense?
Make for you a veritable timeline with which to judge your own,
A sample of the perfect imperfections in your ghost,
The marriage of haiku and iambic pentameter,
In which King Henry’s insanity is overpowered by the notion of his mortality,
A simple three-line thought served lukewarm,
Spat from the crimson mouth of the prophet himself,

There is madness afoot,
Up under the blankets where your toes meet and your skin tingles,
Where life sizzles and seems to have meaning,
Infatuation,
The misinterpretation of historical proof,
You can’t help but claw his skin and beg mercy for more,
Some aspect of your vision failed to pass,
Beyond salvage,
And you’re left – lonely flesh and bones in a graveyard of perspiration,
Maybe even calling home,
Maybe even the words “I love”,
So it is given the time you’ll die,
Following in the footsteps of your faithful parents beforehand,
Love that merits every pain,
Founded in some kit fox lie of a black man’s card trick,
Following his hands,
Everyone needs a little magic in their lives.

7.2010

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Road's Conclusion



For one final time, I closed Jack's book on
the auditorium floor next to the stage
     where we were waiting for Dylan.
I fled New York for Denver following the footsteps of Paradise,
not knowing the road beneath me was the original beat home.

And there I was alone in my fascination of
a newly discovered musical consciousness around me,
opened to me by my lonely quest for miles
that led me to sit at the feet of a rock and roll legend.

What was this need to be impressed?
I was caught in the illusion,
swaying to the rhythmical current of the crowd all
lost in the sounds that were alive to me for the first time,
out on those same streets,
the inner workings of a magnet that Jack surely felt too,
finding Denver a stop-over that could not be avoided in
the long list of American wonder.

We all wanted to dig this place, yet up until now,
the only digging I had known was Seamus Heaney's.
Jack taught me the confinement of that dream.
I finished his book and woke up realizing
that Bob Dylan was a real human.

4.12.05

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Lamp Shatters




You asked me to spend time in your red hair
With our joints clacking like the piano in your mother’s bedroom
We collapsed
Aging
Reminding our tired hearts that we are still beautiful and still young
     and GOTdamnit there is so much left to learn

She must be cooking chicken tonight
     while we fuck on the maroon carpet in the foyer
The kitchen
Through the wall
Smells like dinner time in October
Her kid always running somewhere
     probably made three years ago in a similar position to
          the one we find ourselves in

Knees on the hardwood
Bones in the empty television screen
She holds me like a cigarette and breathes me deep
Deep
Into her lungs
We weep together like tortured children enslaved
     to the masters of Future and Time

Who could find us sleeping when the moon is full?

You are my breath and the length of my spinal column
You are electricity and you dance like a devil along my fingertips
You are madness and thirsty
     and we survive the night by feeding to one another poison
          from the tips of our tongues
Blind love
The wild rage that made you bite your lip
The lamp shatters to orgasm

09.2013

.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Almost Home



Lay her down in the river’s weeds
And let the warm water carry her home
Close your eyes
Let not the unbound tears escape
Her home, you see, is around the bend
And we must forge on upstream
You and I

Leopard’s eyes and Cajun lips
Your song is spread with the high fiddle
A dissolve in my throat
That proud moon wanking in the night sky
I pin a kiss to your lapel but find
     only skin beneath my lips
She drifts away from our fingers
A slow torn apart
Young and as beautiful as the stars
Home in a very short time
Her mane spread like discarded oil on
     the mirror’s surface
That shimmering flesh

We ate
Tore her to the pieces that mattered
The broken heart and mashed
     potato plate lunch on Saturdays
Bleed the black blood
Bleed the red blood
And leave me alone
My dry tongue sticking to the
     cigarette through which my words pass
Tobacco stains under your eyes
She swims with otters and ghosts tonight
With her eyes closed
And Neptune pointing the way

When you find yourself spinning
     dizzy mistakes and choices you could not smother
Warm summer breeze of her voice in
     the flesh and wheat
Those lonely secrets you cannot tell
Remember that snake the river
And know she is almost home

6.2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In Her Snake Skin


She slips around my room in her snake skin
Feathered by the shadows from the
     street light outside.  Suffering
in her love for romance and lust
Her red toes whispering through the freshly
     fallen snow of her clothes
Singing a Rolling Stones cover.  In
slow motion and smoke she spins above me
The red heart of a cigarette like the eye inside of her
Wild Horses humming on her wet lips
This paper doll who doesn’t think
     I can see her crying
Or hear the sadness in those words

This room frozen and dusted with
     the memories of our bodies
Tired of living
     and sliding like sand through our fingers
The smoke lifts and is thrown by the ceiling fan
     into the corners.  She shows me no
mercy
Her naked silhouette on the bookshelf
Her twisting spine
The sweat to
     come

These raptures in the hidden night
The suffering to
     come
When she decides to fall I
     will not be fast enough to catch her.

07.14.2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Untitled Offshore Fight


Krunch and I wait in a constant state of subdued arousal,
the sun rises orange above an average horizon,
it burns the day and the wind is not enough to cool,
day burns down along the candle wick,
evening comes and the sun drowns in a red ocean,
Krunch and I remain,
He curses and stings me with his ventilation,
I listen and grunt, smile and kick back,
clouds gather and usher in an offshore storm,
we meet on the helicopter landing pad as
     rain melts our joy,
He swings a heavy fist at my temple and I beat him dead,
dead until he dies and I'm lying in his blood,
coughing in his diseased lungs,
the remarkable heart stopped,
Mandy alone for the rest of her smoker's life,
dust went down,
nothing gold can stay.

6.2007

Monday, August 12, 2013

This The Split


This the split
Ripped cheeks
Spit from the depths of her tongue dangled dead reckoning due south
Fell from that coarse falcon of homespun words
Cavity of curses
Leapt from her mouth
To his
Glistening teeth sweet breadth of lips wide
To smile
To dive headlong into her throat
Inhaling from that succulent bee’s wax maze inside her chest
Her very air
The lifespan effort of her years
Heaving her gift for him by the rise and fall of those tumultuous castles
Cast in pale flesh
Parapets of creamy stone waving that pennant the pinnacle
     of all of man’s good deeds
Her swollen nipples spoiled school children on holiday
Happy handholds

Rain shower sheets of revelry

Unsavory angles in daylight’s scolding gaze

Become Midnight’s pleasure when tiger stripes from the street light slip like
     satin across the broken trestles of her spine

Full moon birth and baptism and burial

Finger carnival

She bends jack-knife collision on the highway

Throws him through the veil windshield sheets

Broken glass on the pillows

Diamonds around her neck constricting like a high-dollar anaconda

Bystanders gather to tease his empty body

Voyeur boys peeking through the blinds

Pleasing sips from the salt tears that abandon ship to
     dive overboard from her chin

Dear Captain call them back

The night faucet left loose again

Bouncing waves of skin toss tears into the shadows

Tattoos twist under his meaty grip on her hips

Fading dollar bills knead into moist mattress below her white knuckle fists

The morning is still hours away

The boys at the window grow in wisdom

They grow in girth too

This the split

12.2012


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Brush Beside the Sink



You send my skin away
Wrap it around your long finger
High-dive off of your painted fingernail
Slalom ski the rivulets of my joints
Moles like lily-pads float along the surface of my back
But part as you wade through the reeds there
Call my sins from the depths
Red rich water of my soul
Count for me the times I’ve said I’d miss you
But never really did
Toss your head back and scream my name
Put your weight on my chest
Empty your lungs
Leave your heart on the stand beside the bed
Where the yellow light falls
And the empty pages of your leather book lie rusting and asleep
Take your brush from beside the sink
Find your panties on the floor
And get the hell out


11.2012

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day Time Talk


Phil held the steady gaze he was known for,
his instruments choppy in the darkness under his eyebrows,
his upper lip twitching in anticipation
but its movements covered by the broom of his thick mustache.

Jimmy held the gates as long as he could,
and in a ceremony his effort would be commended,
his own eyes were shifty and betrayed him,
despite his resolve a single tear ran for freedom down his cheek.

The doctor bellowed for what he called justice
to an audience that was hungry to see blood spilled.
The doctor had caressed reality
but danced his way into a knot no one could untie.

They loved him for it,
following him like the Piper
because he looked them in the eyes and told them what to think,
that they should trust him without knowing him
and hide in the grey patches of hair above his ears.

Where are we? thought Jimmy's mind
in a world that breathed disaster from a con man's lungs.
He could not stop the rebellious tear,
he protested but his eyes were ready to give up,
his idea of what makes sense
was rewritten on a band wagon driven hard by
a mad scientist in a sharp shouldered suit
carrying an audience with a single ignorant mind.

Jimmy became a new man
worse than the man the doctor accused him of being.
Jimmy stopped believing
because Phil was heavy set, tailored, commanding,
and because the audience cheered for him,
not for Jimmy.

5.2007

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Nakupenda, Sikupendi

A tale written in my second language, Swahili...



Wewe muziki ni muziki wangu si,
Mnashughulika sana wakati wa
       majira ya joto,
Wewe ni baridi mno wakati ni moto nje,
Wewe ni pia safi kwa radi na umeme,
Wewe ni pia msukumo kwa ajili ya safari
       ya polepole ya gari,
Wewe ni pia usafi wakati i am hisia mchafu,
Wewe ni pia chafu ya kunawa nje
       ya nywele zangu,
Unasikitika sana ya kunawa nje
       ya nywele zangu,
Una sana roho juu ya usiku ya upweke,

Lakini, malaika,

Sijawahi waliona ngozi laini kama
       yako wakati wewe ni kusonga chini yangu,
Wakati wewe kupumua kwamba
       moshi fedha ndani ya mapafu yangu,
Na kuondoka ladha ya damu juu ya ulimi wangu,
Kabla walikuwa hapa sijawahi kelele kama
       mtoto mchanga kwa ajili ya kugusa ya mwanamke,
Machozi yangu yalikuwa na maana
       kwa kaburi maiti ya,
Lakini wewe kukamata wale wenye midomo yako,
Gugumia yao,
Na kutumia machozi yangu kukua busara.

04.2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our Itch



Once you bit your dotted skin with canine fangs
       sunk behind lips black,
Where it rippled and burned you snipped
       to sooth the itch,
Through your thick fur you left a trail of saliva
       and the hair matted betwixt,
Whimpering and chasing rabbits but never sound enough
       to chase them far,
The red flesh below your jowls,
Dew claws like Egyptian earrings,
A wet nose at my elbow waiting for your cue to
       accompany Dylan’s sad reprise,
As if his voice were a full moon,
And a freight train was pulling into the stock yard,

But look, ho,
Now I am the madman uncontrolled,
My skin a thatch work of red runways for the
       talons dull beyond my cuticles,
Never a moment in peace,
A mountain range of red whelps, hills and valleys
       along the land mass of my flesh,
When one is satisfied another cries for relief,
Where I cannot reach they cry the loudest,
This body possessed with a devil on fire,
Oceans of insanity breed like rabbits in
       the confines of my skull,
They’ll find me howling at the moon,
And pulling the skin from my bones,

Yet look there,
You’re sleeping so peacefully tonight,
Dreaming away the mysteries of your love and loyalty,
Breathing softly and for the first time,
Soundly,

I have to wonder if for some reason
       God lifted that curse of endless itching
              from your black and white shoulders,
And placed it upon mine,
This misery,
This mania,
This delirium,
But there you are next to me,
Curled against my ribs,
I reach to scratch behind my knee
       raw from relentless fingernails,
And I think,
I will itch for a thousand years
       if I have to
              to enjoy this moment with you.

6.2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Blue Moon Interlude



His was the touch of satin,
soft starling’s wings fluttering on my shoulder,
that brash rogue’s face suddenly towering over me,
each gentle eye a window to the
       penthouse suite of his soul,
an obelisk of light against a low sky
       sprinkling mist and ruddy orange,
Chicago’s son,
the back porch tickler.

He caught me immersed in my texts,
salacious conversations to someone far away,
inconsequential texts,
absorbing and private nonetheless,
purposefully alone at the garden table
       distanced from crowds of drinkers,
projecting a No Vacancy sign in the ether
       above my head.

Still the starling fell from air to dance
       along my bent shoulder,
and there he was,
asking inopportune questions I could hardly hear,
holding his beer in the space between us,
always the glowing clouds above him,
salt and pepper rain drops in my eyes,
his droning meaningless banter,
such tragic dialogue lost on whatever intentions
       he accosted me with.

The ongoing incoming texts began to equal to
       the amount of my building frustration,
this friendly banality,
these pointless words,
o’ dragon from the dark depths of back yard azaleas,
your purpose and significance are together in question,
starling’s warble,
I caught myself thinking that life would get better
       when he returned to Chicago,
that one and only fact about him that I remember now.

5.2.2010