Monday, March 30, 2009

Kennesaw Mountain

I went there.
I saw winding roads
and ridge backed hills
the locals call mountains.
The ground was all red clay
and the creeks and rivers churned
like bloodstreams of coffee and cream.
It rained a constant drum roll of rain.
There were minnie balls and artillery canister
bored into the wood of the trees
and once there were fields 
littered with bloody butternut
and splintered Illinois bones.
The land is a battery
holding the charge of marching boots
and railroad currents of human electricity.
There was human bondage 
and internecine defiance 
terminally opposed at dead angles.
It rained a constant drum roll of rain
that sprouted Easter threads of Jonquil
in the scrimshaws of the eroded earthworks.
I saw the will to union 
blossom at the bottom 
of shallow scratches in the earth
meandering in lines,
receding from the Snake Creek Gap
past Kennesaw and Peachtree, 
south to Atlanta.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Man of Many Visions

Here's the thing.
I'm in the Philadelphia airport.
Somebody has smeared shit
all over the stall where I'm pissing.
Real class.
My piss is gold and smells like Bushmills.
I am finally whole.
I am finally strong.
I am a man of many visions.
I am a man of many visions 
you don't want to know about.
No matter what you think.
No matter what you say or try,
it won't work out the way it was planned.
It's okay, though,
most of the time.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Manhole buttons on an asphalt sleeve.
Big leaf maple doublet and gold leaf breeches.
Green lichen ruff round the neck.
Rosebush brocade 
draped over garbage can hounskull,
the dented sides muzzle holed with rust.
Telegraph bird flicker awaits the filling of the feeder.
Thistle seed dot and black sunflower seed dash.
Send out the message.


Two Gold Rings

I see a pair
of gold rimmed 
black panther's eyes
in the permanent darkness
of my head.
Watching and ambivalent 
when I come.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skull Frequencies

It's Molly 
talking to me
from the deepest gash
in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The a. m. radio station static
and muted trombone hum
make the words opaque
to my tired ears.
What are you saying?
It has to be you 
because I'm afraid of everyone else
in my skull.
I saw the diagram 
of the severed dog's head
and your distant cycle
deep in the earth's magnet
bobbed on the surface 
of my lake's memory.
What are you saying?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Onesome, twosome, threesome.

I've got the severed dog's head blues
I've got the voice of Philp Gregory in open G.
I've got Julie and Brent dry humping in the corner booth.
I've got an invitation to threesome.
I've got to stay home next St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's In The Post Intelligencer

Newspaper boy says 
he's not coming around anymore.
He said that they can't afford 
to print the daily news
just so I can do the junior jumble
and check the sports page daily line.
Apparently nobody wants hire an escort
or sell a rusty lawnmower 
or print an obituary 
enough to keep the lights on nowadays.

The newspaper boy didn't say
he's not going to come around
because it's not true.
There is no newspaper boy
He didn't come around
he never told me 
what I told you he said.
There is however,
no more newspaper 
for the reasons I said
there was no newspaper boy
and he didn't come around.
I do like junior jumble 
and the sports page daily line, though. 

Eat At Home

We few
we little band
of brothers
from different mothers
sing into the microphone
of the rain and the wind.
We fans
of the fan club
with no fans
trip the lie fantastic
on a microwave stage
covered with ants.
This one
likes to stay home
and watch the sun
turn to snow and ice
eating tuna salad sandwiches
while the guitars grow dust
and the skin of the drums
dries up and cracks.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Walrus Was Paul?

Twelve Bar Hustle

They all liked him
in my time.
They all liked him.
The girls liked him.
The guys liked him
and they didn't understand
but the guys liked him.
They liked to watch him slide.
He could never spike a person
but he could always bang the whole gang.
Oh yeah.
It seems to me
I'm getting older
and I'm getting on,
and my ex wives got all the records
but I know all the songs.
But after all, could it be
you're gonna bring my baby to me?
Is it you?  
Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?
I've been down
and he's been down 
but he just sings,

"everyone, rock on.
Oh baby, rock on."

In my time
we were electric children
underneath the bebop moon 
and the mambo sun.
Even though it was all
a twelve bar hustle
and with your Les Paul
you were corkscrew and small,
life's a gas even though it doesn't last.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Red Beans

Simmering beans in a pot
do the slow boil shuffle.
The kitchen is so quiet
you can hear the biscuits grow.
Become the hum 
of the basement furnace 
in the warped tile
under your feet.
Stop running.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Necessary and Proper

The moon's lamp is on.
In the shadows of the parked cars
Frankie the cat is eating a mouse
in a few quick swallows.
Why am I thinking about
the Commerce Clause
of the U.S. Constitution?
It gets its power from
the Necessary and Proper Clause
also known as the Elastic Clause
"The Congress shall have Power
To Make all Laws
Which shall be necessary and proper
for carrying into Execution
the foregoing Powers,
and all other Powers
vested by this Constitution
in the Government of the United States..."
Necessary and Proper.
John Marshall stretched it way out there.
All the way from
McColloch v. Maryland
to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Necessary and Proper
implies a lot of things,
like regulating commerce.
"...with foreign nations,
and among the several states,
and with the Indian Tribes."
Necessary and Proper
turns up the volume
on the Commerce Clause.
Gibbons v. Ogden
sunk Robert Fulton's
steamboat monopoly.
Don't ever antagonize
the Commerce Clause.
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States
smashed Jim Crow flat
on the interstate.
The Commerce Clause.
Necessary and Proper.
These words expand and contract
with the passage of time.
United States v. Morrison
slapped down the Violence Against Women Act.
That's Rehnquist for you.
Why am I going on about this?
It's Necessary and Proper, I suppose
and words do live and breathe
and words are the soul of meaning.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Several species of reoccurring dreams
have been visited upon me.
I am receiving installments 
where I am on the Korean peninsula
riding a train and looking out the window at the countryside.
"Parts of Spain look like this," I think to myself.
One installment awhile back turned out not to be a train 
but a series of screens and projectors 
set up to make me think I was on a train.
I don't talk to anybody, just walk around.
In the last one I was standing in the DMZ.  
How did that happen?  
I think I'm waiting for instructions from somebody.  
Then I wake up.

There's this other dream I keep having 
where I drown in a tsunami.
It happens just outside of Nahcotta, Washington, 
on the Long Beach peninsula.
Another peninsula.  There you go.  
I see water just coming along up the road 
like it has somewhere on land to go.
It gradually pours in everywhere 
and starts washing everything in it's path away.
I'm swept off my feet and pulled under, 
all the while thinking, 
"Wow, so this is what it's like to die." 
Each time this dream happens, 
somebody different from my life is there.  
It could be anybody.  
There's no discernible reasoning 
behind who shows up.  
Friends, enemies, 
people I've seen and never spoke to, 
are all just as likely to show up. 
Whoever shows up 
is always consumed with panic and distress.  
I spend my last moments trying to be calm
so whoever is with me will stop being hysterical.  
While this is going on, 
I think about what kind of selfish bastard I am
to fake being at peace and calm 
with what's about to happen to us 
only so they won't upset me.
Then I wake up.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's Like That For Me Too

The Great Collapse

Lee and Jay
found a bench seat
from a Volkswagen van
in the marsh
between our subdivisions.
Lee and Jay
came from Oakwood
where the houses
and the cars
were much bigger.
Lee and Jay
worked very hard,
they lifted the bench seat
from a Volkswagen van
into a tree.
Lee and Jay
worked for days
to put the seat
high up in a tree
so they could look down
at the rest of us
and spit.
Lee and Jay
sat in the tree
drinking Old Milwaukee,
gobbing at us
when the Great Collapse happened.
The bough broke
and strapped in
to the bench seat from a Volkswagen van,
Lee and Jay
fell out of the tree.
We saw it all.
We came from
Pioneer Heights
where the houses
and the cars
were much smaller.
We saw it all.
because we just watched.
We just watched
Lee and Jay
from Oakwood
work very hard
because we're from Pioneer Heights
and we don't like to work very hard.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What About Bill Evans?

Hard bop is no kidsgame
and it will lead to stronger stuff.
What about Bill Evans?
He had to climb so high to hit those chords he died.
Lefties will do that, I'm told.
They do however make interesting transitions
on the low end.
He was a ghost in his own lifetime,
moving among rhythms darker than blue.
Bill Evans could cook up so much color 
out of shiny black vinyl
at the other end 
of the needle.
Block chord road block
on the scalar approach 
to the summit of mainline zen.
They say Bill's habit was a problem.
Maybe it was 
but he had to, 
because you can't 
pull true harmony from nowhere
unless you're almost there yourself.
The piano is nodding in the corner.
It's no kidsgame, people.
Everybody Digs Bill Evans.
I do, 
Don't you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Is So Meta

I grew up wireless radio
in the age of television.
Little sister and I listened 
in our beds on summer vacation nights. 
"Does it sound like he's saying,
Lucy and The Garbage Guys?"
The a.m. dial on the clock radio
and the file o fax flap of the minute digits
was enough.
Hit parade 45s were lessons 
in correctly noting the passage of time.
"Listen sister, 
the beginning of California Girls
is the flight of stairs 
leading to the start of the song."

I grew old wireless in the digital age,
drinking whiskey in basement rooms
lit with glowing vacuum tubes
chasing after the sound of car radio drums.
The radio has always been with me.
It never turns me down.
And we just drive around 
and around and around. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Don't Sleep

There are spans of hours now
that I spend awake at night
crowded out of my own mind
by decades of trouble.
If I do manage to fall asleep
I find myself at the bottom
running right out of my shoes
from the hurt and the vengeful.
I see the log chains breaking
on timber cars crossing the trestle,
and log trucks smashed like soda cans
from steam frosted, school bus windows.
I hear the sobbing curses 
of the tired and emotional
ranting behind the bedroom curtains,
growing in volumes of complaint
and libraries of bitter invective.
The night becomes an impenetrable singularity of regret
localized in my aching head
and I don't sleep. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Re-Make, Re-Model

Among The Tens

Got that early morning Lucy Show glow.
We're basking in the warmth of the monthly heat bill.
Got the Treniers Go! Go! Go!
We're champing on Girl Scout cookies striped like tigers.
Got the nuthatches aruging in the hedge outside the window.
We're listening to Flash, Luke and Shawnie.
Got the radio on if you simply must know.
We're Too Beautiful Too Live.