Monday, June 30, 2008

Folding Chair

everything has gone wrong
my brain is a limpet mine
I'm going to bed
going to bed
wherever that is


Greenbelt radio
plays a tree tunnel song.
They all come out.
They all come out.
Into the Juneshine.
I see them sway
in poppy petal
summer dresses.
I watch them splash
on the shore
of the neighborhood lake.
They ride and skate
past me like motorized
They all come out.
Under the arms of the acorn
I wait to buy a popcicle
and swim in the tides
of cell phone conversation
and chimp squeals of
wading pool children.
In the sun strobe of the
acorn's leaves
I know I don't belong.
I don't belong
to the Juneshine sun.
Rain or shine
I can't forget
every mistake,
every doomed beginning
every sad ending
every bitter realization.
They all come out.
They all come out
to embrace their world
and remind me
I'm not one of them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cracked and Raving

I am a liar
and a thief.
The village idiot
pate topped
with stolen graduate
gown and mortarboard.
The spineless confidence man
with the purloined monocle.
I medicine show
through cane stalk
fields of sleeping people
desperate to buy
I am the stain
on the mark.
The smear
on sidewalk;
cracked and raving,
split in exponents,
and buying
everything I'm selling.

A Gentleman Ranker

Tourniquet up
and scale the bayonet fences
Today we yomp,
cut loose
from pillory post
and singing
the forced march
Our cardboard shoes
are lined with reasons
to run,
to move,
to bear the weight
of the mind's ordinance
and heavy armor.
Pick it up, sunshine.
It's a long way
from truth's
line of departure
to the hell of nowhere.
Each grim waypoint
will trace
great circle routes
over rigor mortised
happy endings
and hopes
tandooried charred
beyond recoginition.
Chin up, cookie.
It's better to pack up
and march
holding the wolf's tail
than it is
to have one's hair
washed with lead.


Not threesome.
Not twosome
but onesome.
I wanna be onesome.
Not there.
Not everywhere,
but here.
There's so much
I shouldn't learn.
So much 
I shouldn't try.
But I do
and now
I don't know

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Go To Hell and Hallelujah

My mind is crowded
with images of elderly,
or dead
The world is telling me
this is their time.
This song
by Firewater
written by Todd A.
may be a catalyst.

So Long Superman

So long Superman
Got a suggestion for ya
Check for kryptonite before ya
Try to break a horse
Hey, ho, here we go now
Pulling onto the freeway
Just like any other weekday
Except there's no remorse

Cause I'm gone
And now nothing seems to matter
Traded in my silver platter
For an empty plastic tray
There was nothing left worth waiting for
The kids burned down the candy store
And I'm waiting for a train

So long, Superman
I'll light a candle for ya
Say a prayer when California
Falls into the sea
L.A. I never knew ya
Goodbye, good riddance to ya
Go to hell and hallelujah
You never meant much to me

I don't care
Where the track leads I will follow
I felt like Lou Ferrigno
Tearing at the seams
I couldn't take that town no more
A whole world I ain't seen before
So I gave up the gravy
For sweet obscurity

So long, Superman
I'm taking a vacation
I'll miss your medication
It helped to ease the pain
I'll see you back in Reno
Outside the Grand Casino
In your old El Camino
Singing in the rain

No plans
I go where the machine goes
The past is a placebo
Dissolving in a drain
I sleep beside the railroad tracks
No more rent or income tax
I've got no fixed address now
I'm waiting for the train

Chain of Keys

On a bruised lip pillow
a dream of keys
makes its visitation
through the tall weeds
of night.
A house of boxes
on the side of a hill
and a vanishing friend
gives me a key.
"This house is the
music of my memory.
I must evaporate
so look after it well."
Now I wander through
the stagnant rooms
past the hammered dulcimer
and the lidless cow's eye.
Past the cancer ravaged corpse
of the dead superhero.
My blind soul and unknown heart
are inflated with gusts of terror
and puppet stringed with strands
of dread.
"Do you like jokes?"
says the ragged visitor
stiff arming through the door,
"beacause this one's on you."
Streams of people from
unfamiliar tributaries
rush into the house,
Run to the center,
crowd the thalweg,
and push me out.
Now I hear
the snare crack of the door slam
and see windowed eyes burn
with entitlement and contempt.
I ghost the sides
of the square box house
sanding my useless hands
with tiny cuts.
They infect with doubt
and swell into split skin boxing gloves.
I punch a hole
into the wall
drain the art and life
from my right hand.
Upon re-entry
I am burned
by the wreckage
of my situation.
The people have left,
returned to some
other laughing shore.
Every window and door
is forced ajar
and sideways sheets
of furious rain
shred the frail foundation.
I run panicked and searching
through every shrinking room
for a set of keys
to close the doors
and lock the windows.
A set of keys to keepsafe
the music of a memory.
Each key
on the age worn ring
I find at the top
of the last hour
is unfamiliar,
and as useless
as I.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flags of Confusion

My heart
is a tiny drum
snare brushed
by hummingbird feathers.
A ringing ocean.
A turning tide.
It puts in the time
starfish splayed
and clinging to the
rocks under the
surf smashed sun.
When it was young
it murmured sad omens
of long black hours
when it would not
have hands to hold
the reins of words
that turned the world
into flags of confusion.
To plant a seed
in the heart of my heart
I have to hide it
in the untouched corner
of the sky.
All that lasts
in the middle of my middle
is a story
about a laughing schoolbus,
a rusting tractor
and an angry woman.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Morning Like Every Morning

Drawbridge span
the garbage stream currents
of the ship canal.
My eyes are littered
with reeking tears.
This is a dream.
A dream that returns
every morning
to yoke the dreamer
to the unleaded air.
A dream that returns
to shove its ashtray
tongue into
the ground glass throat
of my heart.
A morning like
every morning
of a dream that
shoves my unblinking
face into the landfill floor.
I migrate
down the pigeon shit sidewalk
past the malt liquor zombies
spitting grey mucous at the
yellow morning sun.
I migrate
to a Constantinople
of dead steel filing cabinets.
I migrate
so that I can do my part
in this dream
and help make
more rivers of garbage
to parade down
the storm drain
into my life's
dying canal.

Monday, June 23, 2008

1st Ave South / Georgetown

Kctock, kctock, kctock...
flagpole morse code
spills over
the diesel stained stand
of oak trees.
Above us
a twisting smear of solstace raincloud
dyes the salmon gutted sky
bullet gray.
Deep in Georgetown
the longest day
pays the cover charge
and takes a
back seat
at the rockabilly hangings.
In the pomade oil slick
the black banged bad girl
tumbled slowly down the steps
her whisky glass breaking
like amber blossoms of flak.
Graffiti ribbons of
t.v. yellow Les Paul junior
strangle the empty streets
and tired factories.
Brown bottle microphone shouting
pings like sonar
against the delivery truck's
rusted carcass.
The people who came
are here but gone.
More tiny glass flak blossoms
and falling bad girls
slowdance stagger
and backyard vomit
as the amplifiers
get put away.
It is always late here
and there is no time
but the flagpole
keeps on playing
my S.O.S.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Dim Downstairs


all right.

Down in your basement

with the stereo on pills and needles.

Look at all clean dirty people

shakin' down the early hours

shooting the rookie

straight into the blue highway

from the roller coast

to the smoke of your soul.


all right.

Punch this one up

and watch the pupils


Nobody gonna tell you

what to do.

Nobody gonna tell you

when to stop.

Time to take.

Time to take back.

Time to take back a bite

from the bottle

and ornament the 

little red light eyes

hung in pairs of peers

walling the dim downstairs

and knuckle slicing open the 

tired corners


the same old bag.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rhyme of the Former Mariner

Johnny Mac 
got the sack.
No gold watch
or series ring
can ease the bite
of failure's sting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Easy Mark

It can never be enough.
It can never be enough.
The sleepwalk lust of addiction drives you
to skin pop the wasted ground
for mainline crude.
You tell yourself
birthrighted lies
while you watch
your lifejacketed children
jet ski burn the sky
and the future.
It can never be enough.
It can never be enough
there isn't enough.
The lend lease world
you girdle with asphalt
and inseminate with
lost the connection
and can't get you high.
You will shake
backseated in moneyed sweat
and molar cracking waves
of craving.
All that's left
are withdrawl nostalgia daydreams
of excess
and the sweet smug feeling
of having too much
while watching someone else
claw the nail blood ground
for none.
Goosepimple Detroit chrome
chopped out the lines
of grade A,
American greed.
You came to the party
pocket lined with empire tribute
and mad for it.
You were an easy mark.
it can never be enough.
It can never be enough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Daily Invasion

the eye of yesterday
blued sky
cataracted white
the next morning.
We walk
measured steps
from the honeycomb
to the notebooked fields,
holepunched bruised
by daily invasions
of boredom.
Shake, honeybee shake.
Dance me a story
of a boy who felt
the stings of your kisses
with the pound of surf
drumming the Long Beach
into his jaw.
Hum me a squaredance
to a place where
the sunflower sways
and arms uncut
blossom fingers
to catch
the grassy trade wind tide.
World of this world
you get so far
from me
each passing day.
If I trace
the snail's
silver thread
through the gears
of routine
will I find you
waiting for me
in garlands of sand
and robes of saffron?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Smile of Wallingford

Hello smile.
I didn't expect to
see you beaming
down the mossy cracks
of Sunnyside sidewalks,
past the ivy arms
of Good Shepherd garden,
right onto 2nd avenue
and up the stairs
on to this bird feeder porch.
It's so good
to see you
and be with you
if only for now
and not always.
This hot coffee,
this oven-warm brioche,
this lake blue sky,
this poppy petal smile
baptize my Saturday
in sunshine.
Now I can feel
the orbit pull of
Greenlake Park
reaching down
the asphalt veins
of Latona and 65th,
base coach windmilling me
around 2nd and out to
the 50th Street crosswalk.
"Come spend some time with us."
The shy russian girls
flashing those dark pearled eyes.
The chimpanzee squeals of
goose dimpled children
ice cube floating in
the red roped swimming beach.
The sad train harmonica
of the wooden indian folksinger
dime store mounted
in front of the paddleboat dock.
The sloe gin log roll
of the sun worshiper turtles,
craning giraffe necked
to watch the scullers
slice the plane of the lake
in half.
Hey smile,
we can stop off
at the pub
on the way back up the
stone sidewalk
and drink cold draughts of
ambered beer
poured by a pillow cheeked,
short-haired girl
with a crooked smile
and a true heart.
When the violet hue
of evening dyes
the sky dark,
we can sit
on the porch
while Howlin' Wolf plays
on the player
and ask each other
why we don't
spend more time

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Concern of Knives

When I pass from view
all that will be left
is my debt
and guitars,
stringwound bound
with coagulated
That's the only way
I know how to play it;
index sanding my first
finger into the notes.
Here in this hiding city
I sell my time
to a concern
lined with knives.
Each day
I remember to come back
from gentle oblivion
to this pincushioned
My mind and I
marionette stagger
the obsequious
We know ennui
and it counts out
ruined pennies.
Roll the calendar girl
and you will
the fading
of my smile.
I can't believe
all of the things
each year brings.
Ant hill dung beetles
march into the temple
of paper,
gelded eyed and blue.
This is the way
we taste the bit and yoke
under the rolled over sun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Spine of a Passing Dream

Amphibian clock radio glow
irrigate me.
The night noises dim
the ring of toybox guitars
and finger cymbals.
A sobbing visitation
shakes the walls
of my curtained eyelids.
Looped spliced tears;
let down girl cries
dog years
in these tiny hours.
I hide in the spine
of a passing dream
reaching over rivers
choked with mercury
and sorrow.
The falling feeling
pulls me through
the dead mattressed
out into nothing,
seeking nothing
until I hang,
ribcage box kite framed
above the bloodless
under otherworld.
Here my words are
sand scubbed by
undertowed regret.
I am tree rooted still
with shame
finally quiet.
Finally quiet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Growing Things

The First Avenue headline
punched me in the eye.
We're Colder than Siberia!
Basic black will be in
this season
for the death
of summer.
It suits me
but I worry
about the
huddled basil
the reaching tomato starts
the crawling squash
trying to be
in the garden-bed
front yard.
The angry sky
and refrigerated ground
sing in key
with my glass half empty
but the growing things
need long lighted days
and warm still mornings
that walk through late May
through the door into June.
Don't die, little ones.
Nothing here is promised
but every day
I watch you
and keep safe
my dying thread
of hope
locked in
the veins
of your leaves.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Game Three

I love
lovely awful town.
I love
pretty shitty city.
Who wouldn't
want to
be regaled
with alcoholism
and fossilized halitosis
by ghosts of idiots
while I try to Philip Marlowe
my way
another perfect disaster
and a Celtics loss?
Hey you.
Fuck you.
I'm not
your goddamn bus
walking your
pathetic version
of a personal
Bataan death march.
I'm here
climbing back into
the only thing
I have that's mine;
The Peloponnesian War,
The Big Sleep,
Time Out of Joint,
Dead Souls,
The Bell Jar,
The Guns of August,
Richard III.

Piss off.

Pericles has left the building
with his smaller piece of stick
and ostracon pebbles.
he left me here
to entertain you

since I cannot prove a lover
to entertain these
fair well-spoken days,
I am determined
to prove a villain
and hate the idle pleasures
of these days.

Ramp it down.
Steady on.
Leave it.
I'm not
in the mood

I don't care.

I don't care.

I don't care.

Red Lights Flashing

Every time 
somebody says
it better,
I give 'em 
the conch.
Like now...

When I see the red lights flashing
I grab my coat and head for the door.
Yeah when I hear your plates go crashing
I know that I can't see you anymore.

Poles apart (stop steaming!).
Artichoke hearts in a pot.
Mr. Clean doesn't mean to be mean.
Oh baby, maybe we
were never meant to be (playacting scenes)
from a movie with flashes
that's name is "Marnie."
It will never last forever
so don't allow the bananas to freeze.

'Cause I see the red lights flashing.
The horse that I backed 
must have been wrong.
One too many toasts
with rose-colored glasses
on a trip to the coast,
filled with practical jokes.
We must have cracked a false dawn.

I see red lights flashing.
I see red lights flashing...

Jessie Hartman - 1996

Dance Lesson

We syncopate
duck and feint
as the
days seep
into years.
I remember
a dead November
standing outside your car
when our years
turned into mintues.
Our dance requested
a steady lead
but the position
never got filled.
Where can we go
when the only thing
that can be said
is "I'm sorry?"
So now we sit opposite,
each holding up their own
of the wallflowered
barn dance wall.
When you cut in
and asked for this dance
I scuffed my shoes
on the strawed floor
and sorely mumbled
that I needed
a lesson.
We laughed
while we stepped
all over each other
but when the bruised music
ended, we did too.
So when the day is used up
and the work is done,
I walk the road
under my flat feet
right past the garlands
of lights
the sweet G chord whine
of the big barn
and the dancing inside.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Those Three Stripes

Girl wonder 
and crowbar magnets
strip the skylark orpheus
down to the fleshed bone.
Those three stripes
on saturday night whites
flash and pout
croon and smolder
awe and shudder
in the stagnant stage
pond of his thought.
This large red stripe
and frown 
are mine.
A lot of nothing 
is going down
and time drains
while our
little prince 
goes contrapposto
and waits for the wind
to blow something to say
into his sheep-eyed brain. 
They wanted Barabas.
They wanted Charles Ponzi.
They wanted cultural revolution
and they want 
those three stripes.
They will take him
down the slender path
tearing his bright blue jeans
and shredding the ligaments
of his regal ignorance
until his black currant blood
clots in the lungs 
of the harbor island soil.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Argawarga / Get Smooth

Molly liked the couch.
Despite our attempts
to condition her to
appreciate the comforts
of the pillowy dog bed
we paid too much for,
she made it known
to us that a
final decision
had been made.
Non negotiable.
She preferred the couch.
I liked it too.
This was the post
from which our dog
would keep sentry
over the mundane affairs
of our suburban street.
Loitering cats would evoke
a high pitched whine
and unwelcome kneading of
the rose red couch cushions.
Darting squirrels touched
off panicked revolution,
clog dancing back and forth
over Bean and I,
barking and drowning out
I think even now
my thoughts of squirrels
make her memory
explode into a fur flying
dervish spin.

Stop it Molly,
or you're off the couch.

Wanna treat?

That one worked better.
Nothing worked
when the occasional
barrel chested dog
was paraded
down the sidewalkless
in front of our
westward picture window.
Molly would go
completely argawarga
I remember the low growl that
came in to being
on rusty train tracks
from the hum of silence
to a Pratt and Whitney roar.
Her coat would porcupine
like she licked a Tesla Coil.
Get smooth Molly!
Get smooth girl.
Bean used to say.

I sometimes go argawarga;
my heart and brain sling
fists of needles at each other
until they can't be touched
like that porcupine
except this time
he's climbing
an electric fence.
I need to get smooth
or I'm gonna be
off the couch.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Along Elliot Bay

I walked north

from the West Edge




spring spoiling

cold fronts.

The clouds

were rushed

like cigarette smoke


while the 

street dust-deviled

plastic bag kites


payday loan leaves

through my steps.

I don't know 

who I am


my dream's smile

is a bright

radio station hello 

to your every morning.

Knowing this,

I have to tell you

that the love 

pushing the wind

is every unfinished


lived and died,

never finding


or strength 

to sing

the truth

to anyone.


Crow and Robin

Bus stop girl.
Don't speak.
This wet morning
when the snails hang cold
from every chlorophylled green leaf
and the clouds stretch wrinkled
like a grey bedspread
in every lifted direction,
a drama unwinds.
Perched on the sag
in the phone line tightrope
sits the 2nd ave crow.
Against the monochrome gloom
of the sky
he is as menacing as
the benbow black spot.
With predator patience
the crow listens
to the robin's morse code
its nothing dark eyes
on the maple treed nest.

"Weep! Weep! txori txori txori..."

Mother's wings flash and she veers in
but the crow is marble slab still.
The spotted eggs partner up
in the slowest slow dance
with inkspot magnet eyes
augering through the seconds
and into their shells.

"Weep! Weep! txori txori txori,"

and then as the crow leans into
his picadore dive,
two chickadees
streak in like angry ball bearings;
whistling frantic invective
and spitfire determined
to join this frightened mother
and drive off the shadowed
With strings unseen
and movement so slight
the crow drafts up,
away and high
to a towering cedar masthead.
This will be their finest hour.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Primary Domain

It should have.
It should have been
a superlative day
but the sky is a river
and it carries dark
currents over the
skin of the land.
The racist and the alphabet
went someplace
where they would
never bump into each other.
The alphabet got cleaned up
and took the bus home.
The racist wrote a letter to me.
There are stars and bars
and convertable cadillac cars
waving through the plaza
of our American cousin.
The joke the racist sold me
is strung with bullwhip stings.
We are not reconstructed.
We are not well.
The march to the ocean
has reached the shores of June.
Green creeping spring
has left the freezer door ajar.
Every handshake is cadaver cold.
Every kiss is ice cube numb.
On the grand campaign platform
strings of humming bird thin lights
jump rope swing to the beat
of the wind.
The television bleeds
through the front porch window.
From the outside I see
the first past the post.
He thanks the kin
and unkind
who chained them there.
I blink and watch
my jaw move side to side
in the afternoon window's
smeared reflection.
This time.
This time I'd like to be
proven wrong.
This time I'd like to
find a reason
to believe
that a happy ending
isn't a ghost story
a schoolyard joke.