Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Jesus! I Paid Money For This!"

For Allen Ginsberg - 1980 Recital, Bisbee, AZ

Sitting on a hard-backed folding metal chair
with today's sour lunch roiling
in my intestines,
I can really appreciate you Allen!

Wanting nothing more than a healthy shit
in a reasonably clean toilet,
I sit here squirming in pain,
marveling at the similarity
between my bowels' discomfort
and the sight of an aging faggot
masturbating his senses
with a queer rhythmic rocking
and twitching.

The Port-A-John outside
this deconsecrated church where you vomit
inane repetitious pathos
offers no sanctuary.
It has no lights
and some men don't care where
or on what they piss.
Much like you I'd say, Allen.

Perhaps my gastronomical distress
will produce an appropriate applause.
Perhaps this pain will be worth it
when a thunderous stinko fart claps
its response to your performance.

Now THAT would be a poem, Allen!

OK - I can see the torches being lit and the rope being knotted into a nice noose. Get over it. I wasn't a homophobe then and I'm not now. I was less intimidated to speak my mind back then, nor wasI afraid to use language that only those who were actually what was being named could use. This was written on the back of a paper plate on a Bisbee sidewalk shortly following Ginsberg's recital. After I destroyed the restroom in the Hotel Bisbee, actually, with a stench that probably still lingers today. The black bean burrito lunch consumed in some aging hippie granola-crunching restaurant nearly killed me. They probably never read the warning signs about washing your hands. But back to Ginsberg. Yes, I know how he strode like a giant acress the literary stage. He was the originator of rant as literature. Who am I to argue with the critics? There was a slate of poets that weekend. Two stand out. Ginsberg - who completely disappointed me - some poets just shouldn't be allowed to read their own work! Jared Carter - who blew me away. Then a bunch of others, some of which became famous - or as famous as poets tend to get these days. To be honest - I think Ginsberg himself would have liked this poem. If you are offended - sorry. If you like this poem because you think it bashes gays - you're an idiot and you didn't get it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

a Jigsaw haiku

An ecstatic child
gleeful for a snowy morn,
memory’s treasure.

I have been playing with a poetry challenge suggested by the blog - Poets Who Blog - called Jigsaw Poetry. Looking for a creative kick start I have asked friends and family to suggest words. I ask for 10 total to put in a poem, with everyone suggesting anywhere from one to ten words. One friend from high school who just reacquainted through Facebook suggested 'ecstatic, snowy and treasure. ' here is a little haiku using them. They will reappear later once I have a full ten (actually I have three sets of 10 already!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

God's Awful Judgement of Sodom

Perhaps, I am told, it is me
Out of step, out of time,
Lost in a world changing
In increments too large for me
To accept willingly, spiritually,
Increasingly morally.
Call me a dinosaur (if you think it correct),
Anachronistic or reactionary, but please,
Leave me to cling to the values, the beliefs
Lovingly taught by my parents
Yet, I think, appropriate still in this new age.

In the course of time and society's seeming advancing decay
New attitudes and profligate behaviors
Chosen by a burgeoning licentious species
Obsessed with their libido
Rear in assault upon my beliefs, my values,
Reaching even further to my children,
Enjoining them to reject my teaching
Clamoring for me, my progeny, to accept
Tenets repulsive to me, to my ancestors.

Tyranny engendered of this new politic
Heeds little opposition, yet,
Intuitively I know preference is simply choice,
Not justification for parading peccant behavior.
Kindling for a cleansing fire will be found
Inevitable when conduct and rectitude clash!
Now, for my fathers, for my children, I will reveal
God's awful judgment of Sodom.

Read this one carefully. Look at it. See the Gestalt. Understand the argument. This is a specific style of poem but the reader must discover it. It is OK to disagree. In fact, that is the point of the poem! If still confused, contact me and I will give you the key.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Final Dream

The gleam of sunlight on fresh fallen snow
conceals a lone broken syringe
at my frozen feet.
Ironic imagery, I think, for
seven years lost in alternating
pleasure and pain,
eventually numbness.
Even the bite of winter wind
fails to break through
and the blurring world becomes
A fantastic kaleidoscope of color
And light.
Across the park the old woman
feeds bits of burnt toast to the pigeons.
Death, albeit belated, has finally come
I think, for me, and I hope
I do not startle her in her daily
life giving ritual
as I sink into my final dream.

Note: This poem was inspired by Poets Who Blog who had a little challenge called "Jigsaw Poem" in which ten different words were offered up by ten different bloggers with the idea of constructing a poem around them. The words were gleam, lone, broken, syringe, seven, fantastic, toast, belated, snow and bite. Toast proved to be the hardest for me, and at the same time the most inspirational as the image of the old woman feeding pigeons gives a nice counterpoint to the junkies descent into darkness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daddy's New Alarm Clock

It's some time around 3 a.m.
when a rustle, soft moan
and sharp cough
sit me bolt upright in bed.

Mom knows these sounds.
She stirs momentarily in her sleep,
then burrows deeper into the pillows.

But I am not connected as well.
I lack the internal psychic bond a mother has
to filter out the transient sounds
a newborn makes at night.

So I listen carefully,
energized with alarm
waiting for another noise,
any noise, to come from the crib.

When I hear my baby's intake of breath
followed by a soft exhalation,
only then can I lie back down
and drift back into peace -
until Daddy's new alarm clock
awakens me again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In You

In you my dreams teetered
on the edge of the wind
like a fledgling stretching
pinions virgin to use.

In you my hopes nurtured
at the breast of promise.
In you my faith resisted sacrifice
on the alter of fear.

In you my heart drank
at the well head of emotion
like a water-starved fawn
finding moisture in a shaded dell.

In you all things were possible.

In you my soul foundered
tasting the kiss of betrayal.

In you I learned despair.

This was originally a 'heartbreak' poem. Over time I came to understand that it can also be an expression of failed leadership. Consider the headlines that reflect fallen religious leaders, politicians and any of the myriad heroes we prop up on pedestals, only to be disappointed by their behaviour.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Loons And I

As crazy as a loon am I
yet unlike loons, I cannot fly!
And when loons fly it seems they mock me.
Ya-honk! You fool! Until eternity!

O' upward would I sailing swing
and gracefully float high,
the clouds like rugs about my feet,
my room would be the sky.

Or would I swim in mountain streams
beyond the ken of man.
Or would I spiral to the stars
and try to know God's plan.

But no, I can't aspiring fly
to where my heart would play
and loons but mock with silver wings
as they pass by my way.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nobody Home

I've been calling you
and getting no reply.

If I was sure I had the wrong connection
it'd be time to quit trying.

The number always worked before,
now the phone just rings.

And if you answer, the number's wrong.
There's nobody home by that feeling.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In Search of Knowledge in America

If you want to know
first you have to push
insist until the clouds tinge pink
behind their eyes watching you.

They won't like it (or you) much -
screw 'em, you need to know
so you push
insist until they grind their teeth and spit
at you hoping
maybe one molecule
of their diseased spittle
will fly into your throat
and make you more like them.

Why do they resist?
You only want to know
so you push
insist until they attack with denial
and subterfuge
dying before you
thinking they prosper and grow.

You only want to know
so you push

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Portrait Of A Woman

Raindrops splashing through the window screen scattered into a mist of fine drops lying on the window sill. Pressing her nose to the screen, the woman looked out of her room into the cool of the landscape and storm. The dry pungent odor of the screen mixed with the cool damp smell of the rain freshened grass and caused her nose and throat to tingle in an unpleasant way that was somehow hard to resist.
The gutter tapped softly as the rain finished its descent, pinging against the sides of the spout. The gurgling water rushing through the downspout began to rise in a cacophonous din of splashing and tapping. The woman listened to it as the mixed odors of metal and moisture brought her to the point of sneezing. Her eyes watered from the acrid scent and the memories of childhood, a time when she had trouble reaching the window sill to press her nose against the screen, smell the odors and hear the rain dancing and singing in the gutter.
Turning from the window, she took a small cloth lying on her bureau and sponged the screen-filtered moisture from her face. She walked slowly out of the room, giving a quick tug to the bedspread as she passed. She paused at the top of the stairs, wishing for a moment that she could perhaps slide down the bannister. Shaking her head sadly, catching a quick glimpse of age, she walked down the steps and through the living room, pausing occasionally to straighten and pick up. Reaching the front door, she went outside onto the porch and stood at the railing. Feeling the rain splash against her face, she lifted her arms in an almost supplicatory gesture, turning her face towards the sky, opening her mouth to taste the rain.
Her clothes became soggy as she stood there and they began to paste themselves with a gentle suction to her skin. Water trickled from her chin, splashed onto her chest and slipped lightly between her breasts to tickle her stomach. Her long hair grew stringy and plastered to her head and back. The woman laughed as the sun broke through the clouds and painted a rainbow across the meadow and trees before her home.
As if the splash of color across the sky were a signal, she kicked her shoes away, ran down the steps of the porch and out into yard and through the front gate. Crossing the narrow dirt road she leapt across the ditch and into the tall flowers of a broad meadow. Dancing and twirling through the soggy grass, she bean to sing as the rain slackened to a soft shower and the sun escaped the clouds further to brighten and embellish the vibrant colors of the rainbow.
Suddenly, she laid down on her back and watched the rainbow shift and shimmer through the misted rain. Shutting her eyes, she remembered how she had once laid in the rain, a shower of long ago, and had lain naked with a handsome young man who had loved her. She smiled gently, welcoming the memory and wished she could see and touch that young man again.
Rain mixed with tears, and she stood. Slowly walking back to the house, her arms gliding silently by her sides in a half-forgotten waltz, her face glowed with the deep warm smile that good memories bring. Reaching the house and sitting on the top step of the porch, she hugged herself, feeling the chill of the approaching evening. The memories, while pleasant, held a sadness and she began to grow cold as the sun set behind the dissipating storm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


She's not mine anymore.

Nevery wholly domesticated,
her allegiance temporary,
she dealt out affection sparingly.

Pleasing her was difficult.
Complaint was not permissable
and she responded to indecision
with indifference.

With no leash other than love to hold her
she began to wander.
The newness of an unmanaged world beckoned
with a thousand things to explore.

She visits now and then,
curious, yet aloof.
Seeing little has changed,
her curiosity satiated,
she soon leaves.

She's not mine anymore.
She's feral.

Author's note: This is a poem about a cat. It could also be about a few love relationships who passed through my life. If you have ever had cats of the indoor-outdoor variety, you will see some of them in this poem. If you have ever 'loved and lost', you may see your lost love interest in this as well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On The Cliff

Standing on the cliff
with outstretched laughs rebounding
off the canyon walls,
over the train tracks
and into the river.
Wishing for a moment of calm
with upturned smiles reflecting
off a gnarled tree
over the clouds
and into the sun.
Standing on the cliff
with an empty bottle clinking
off the stones
through the weeds
and into the abyss.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Defiant Despite the Odds

Carefully picking her barefoot way
across a river of emotion
she imagines his kiss
and seeks the taste of her feelings
in that moment.
In the midst of the swirling eddy
of her heart's desiere,
she stands her ground
as sensual tides overwhelm
the place she has chosen.
She faces him.
His eyes pierce her with promise.
His touch invites surrender.
No tears reflect the despair
that tugs at her balance.
She has learned to feel the undertow
as massage
and only succumbs to the promise
of reaching the shore.
They kiss
and she doesn't fight the current
that sweeps her resistance away.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Old Mesquite

Even as the snow frosts
the jagged edges of the mountain,
rain fills the valley sky
dancing a flamenco rhythym
on my roof.
I watch the river each day
waiting for the red muddy waters
to swirling rise above the haunches
of an old mesquite, gnarled and bent
nearly prone from previous torrents.
I watch the crows tuck their wings
tightly agains the driving wind,
almost sleet,
but no white flecks appear
to show the effects of winter
on their wings.
I watch the skies.
I watch the river.
And I listen to the staccato bump
of raindrops on the roof
waiting for them to soften
into snow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Out Of Service

There has been some kind of communication
Wires crossed
been have.
W brkn rods aig up

There has been communication
some kind of

The Party of the First Part,
(hereinafter referred to as The Respondent)
categorically rejects the purious claims being made
by the Party of the Second Part,
(hereinafter referred to as The Petitioner).
Contending that differences are irreconcilable
The Respondent denies Paragraph A of the question
and rejects Paragraph B of the message,
submitting for the court's approval
that Paragraph C of the inference by the Petitioner
lacks substance and merit thereby
causing the union to be irrevocably...

There h been
so e kind of
com un ic ti ns
d own...

This poem was written about the breakup between my practice wife and myself some 29 years ago. In rereading it, however, I see a view of today's political climate in the words. In fact, anytime anything goes into a court of law or a discussion (struggle) to determine who is right.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Made In America

My stressed business demeanor surrounded
by the towering white cumulonimbus of Arizona monsoon
reflects in the polished fender of a Japanese import,
the paradox of an image much more,
yet much less than what I really am.

With red-rimmed watery eyes bleary
from long hours, I stare at the portrait,
sensing what is conscealed
behind the clouds' soft facades -
flash flood water, wind and lightning.

A quick focus to my distorted face hopes to find
beneath the clean-shave and tie
a poet's wild abandon.

Above all, I see the image of a father
lacking courage to risk finding shelter and sustenance
for his wife and four children
in verse, prose, and editors' opinions
of what the public will buy.

This is no Detroit image,
but it is an American portrait.