Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Money Has Died

I was in the basement
with a book on alchemy
and a bag full of ivy.
That's when the call came in;
the money has died.
"What do we do?"
I asked.
They told me,
"Go stand on the sidewalk
and bang this drum
until they grant sainthood
because the money has died."
The money has died
and from here on out
it's all in black and white;
watching cakewalk and silicon
while the green arounds us wilts
and blue above us boils.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Funky Shoes

Gonna take a ride.
Gonna take a ride.
Gonna see some.
Gonna see some.
Popcorn in dog shit.
Popcorn in dog shit.
Play on.
Gonna take a ride.
Gonna take a ride.
Gonna see some.
Gonna see some.
Popcorn in dog shit.
Popcorn in dog shit.
Play on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prayer For The Gunfighter

I'll say a prayer
for the gunfighter
armed with a holster
filled with stones.
He rode into town
low and lazy
in the saddle of the sunset
with the changing wind
at his back.
I'll keep in my thoughts
those eyes that never meet mine,
always searching for a place to hide,
one step ahead
of the hanging party's gallop.
He looked into the chambered weirs
of the tourist fish ladder
and remarked to his sister
that the life of a salmon
is nothing but everlasting struggle.
He would know
having gunned down so many ghosts
only to have the sky in his head
burst with the faces of countless others
all taunting him to draw.
I hugged him goodbye
as he rode out
continuing his flight
along the outlaw's trail,
free and clear
from the voices of the mob
and the gallows pole.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Like Italy

The usual things are happening;
awesome and not awesome.
The usual thoughts are not happening.
I can't find that badger hole
in the tall grass of my memory
down which I hoard the hurt
of every perceived failure.
Bedtime comes earlier
and dreams are filled with
dogs and cats and horses.
My shoe is untied
so to speak.
Every time I kneel down
to shore up the knot
it's a boot soaking in
gentle waves of Mediterranean ocean,
like Italy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lost In The Trees

In the out of the way
we sit and watch
the sea planes
and strollers
pass this porch
on a warm June evening.
The soft drum roll
of the rickety rocking chair
serenades a mute storm
roiling behind forest brown eyes.
There is a conversation,
there is an arugment
there is an endless roar
of mouthless voices
but the few words spoken
are measured breadcrumbs
leading back
to the one
who is lost
in the trees.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Quaker Guns and Thursday Tennis

The doors open on the East Greenlake Express.
I step out on to the sidewalk at Third and Marion.
There's a guy in a hospital robe with a fishing pole in front of me.
In a basso profundo voice he bellows, "Anyone who loves to play tennis??
Thursday tennis! Thursday tennis."
I tell him that McClellan sat with Army of the Potomac
outside of Washington D.C. for months believing he faced
a Confederate force three times the size of his own.
He called Lincoln a baboon in letters to his wife.
When his pickets scouted the forward batteries
of the rebel lines, they found them abandoned.
The supposed guns were actually logs.
'Quaker Guns', they called them.
Good name. I like it.
He wasn't listening. His eyes were pinned up the street,
waiting for the next bus.
"Anyone who loves to play tennis??"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Take Once Daily

Every morning
I take in the sails
after the night's drift
and drop the fifty milligram anchor.
I see scullers oaring through the cut
and I can hear the hoary cackle
of the men who put out to sea
on the land and never returned.
The jagged edge of the loathsome knife
is growing dull with each dose.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One Party Town

The season's light is changing.
The view of the bay is strobing
through the cracked supports
of a crumbling viaduct.
My spine is resonating
and black cars keep pulling away
from the hole in the top of my head.
This one party town
filled with solid gold money
is building a greenhouse
on sand and wobbly bones.

Friday, June 5, 2009

In Evening Slowly Grey

In evening
blood orange stained cuticles grip
the hemorrhaging garden hose.
Under the horse prancing dog
the high tide of the sky rolls in.
The world is dying
slowly grey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Twenty - The End

There was no cell phone reception way up in the Mogollon Rim. There was just darkness punctuated with dancing beam of Dave’s flashlight. He voiced his anguish at the loss of his stash with savage howling and curses. Billy could be heard too. He taunted Dave by imitating Gollum from The Hobbit.

“My precious! My precious! Give it up, Man! If you’re seriously jonesing, I’ll let you have some of my methodone.”

“We gotta go back! We gotta go BACK!” Dave came out of the woods aiming his flashlight beam right into Rich’s face.

“Get away from me asshole! Where’s that axe. If you try to hit me again I’ll split your skull open.”

“Did I do that?” Wow, I’m sorry… but you threw away my STASH, man. You had it coming.” The tone of Dave’s voice bounced around from wonder at the effectiveness of the punch he landed to Rich’s mouth to anger at the tossing of his stash to finally, outright pleading. “We gotta go back, Rich!” I can’t be out here without holding SOMETHING!”

“Yes, why don’t you all just go back.” Robert the ninja minstrel interrupted. “Why don’t you druggies just go back to where you came from and leave my wife and I in peace?”

“But what about the fire? What about the police?” Rich asked, surprised at the sudden change in the attitude of the ninja minstrel couple.

“We can’t get through to them and I sure as hell don’t want to spend the rest of the night seeing or hearing any of you. You’ve nearly killed yourselves and us once tonight. Just get the hell out of here. Just go.”

Rich grabbed the flashlight from Dave and began indiscriminately picking up the charred camping gear. “Come on Dave, come on Billy, let’s go.”

“Fuck yeah, let’s get out of here.” Dave was eager to help if it meant getting back to civilization and getting back on the nod. “I don’t even know why the hell we decided to do this in the first place.”

“Because I’m dying, asshole.” Billy answered. Billy offered no assistance to Rich and Dave. He walked over to the hood of the Jeep, braced himself and retched violently. “Too much to drink,” he gagged. “It’s not good for me in my current condition. We should probably get me to the doc.”

When they finished picking up what they could, they climbed inside the Cherokee and pulled out of the damaged campsite. Rich rolled down the window as they passed Rob and Andrea’s campsite and called out, “Thanks for your help. I really appreciate you just dropping the whole thing with the cops. You guys aren’t so bad after all.”

“No we're not,” said Andrea. “But you are. All of you are bad people.”

As they left the mile marker campground and made their way down the Forest Service roads back to Show Low, Billy got sick again. He rolled down the window and heaved. When he leaned back into the passenger seat he wiped his mouth and smiled, “You know what? I gotta say that was a hell of a lot of fun.”

Monday, June 1, 2009


“NOOOOOO!!!!!”  The shriek came out of the brush on the opposite side of the campground.  It was so sudden and mournful that everyone was jolted for a split second with fear.  They all stood rooted to the spot, heads craned in the direction of the disturbance.  The return of Dave to the campsite was an explosion of loss and violence.  He had been watching the desperate fire fighting operation from his hiding spot in the darkness.  When the flashlight beam illuminated the tackle box, his muscles tensed and his jaw clenched.  When Rich hurled the tackle box into the forest, he sprung.

“Goddamn you motherfucking son of a bitch, my stash!”  Dave came across the access road in great strides, heading straight for Rich.  His right arm already cocked and his fist clenched.

“Huh?”  Rich simply stood there with his mouth slightly open.  The realization that the ninja minstrels were dialing 911 had deflated him.  He had pulled himself together in the mad rush to save the campground and the forest.  The adrenaline surge that powered him through the disaster ebbed out of his tired arms and legs.  Rich didn’t have anything left for this next disaster.

“My fucking stash!  I’ll KILL YOU!!!”  Everyone watched Dave as he strode up to Rich and punched him squarely in the jaw.  The female ninja mistrel named Andrea cried out as Rich went down on his knees.  Dave had delivered a solid blow.  Rich's mouth instantly puffed up.  He spat out a healthy stream of blood.

“You fucking nut!  Go ahead and kill me.  In a few minutes we’ll all be on our way to jail,” Rich groaned as he staggered to his feet.   His challenge fell on deaf ears.  Dave had gone right past him, flashlight in hand, through the brush in search of the tackle box.  

“I found some, Billy! Billy, help me goddamn it!  Oh Christ!” Dave had disappeared into the dark forest.  His disembodied voice could still be heard, wailing like a tormented ghost as he searched for his stash.  Dave’s histrionics were profoundly disturbing to the ninja minstrel couple.  

“Oh my god Robert, that guy’s a junkie!”  Hurry and get through to the police.!”

“The phone’s not working.  I don’t think there’s any reception out here, Andrea.”

Billy lit a cigarette.  His face looked wraithlike in the glow of the lighter.  He exhaled in the darkness and started after Dave.  “I’m the junkie, lady.  That guy out there is just fucking crazy.