Thursday, November 27, 2008

A whisper in a dotted cloud

A whisper in a dotted cloud
that is over your head
as your hat flies off
and starts to sail the
way of all your wishes
to be at the sea near the waves
that is damp with salt water air,


Cold air on the river front facing Toronto
in our California skins
though Michigan is the
state of our birth, our claim
that rings for all the time
our friends remember our names
when it comes to saying that we just got in
off the road on a long trek through the valleys and mountains
of a country
defined each mile by the brand names on
bulletin boards, cars and bran flakes,
Detroit remains
tall buildings and
the widest streets anyone could die on ,


It seemed that all clouds formed over the river
and came from the north
and stayed with us State side,
where the heart of the neighborhoods
were filled with coughs
and stutter from basements
where jazz blared into the cushions of white supremacy,


I throw flower petals
into the river,
and the garlands drift on the wakes of
freighters a hundred years fueled by
colder examples of life
burned into the tanks of
our station wagon couldn't trace
with all our maps and
anthology of hazy directions from
farmers in one-silo towns
who think anyone passing through is hungry,
in need of a old truck to buy,


I think so much for dotted clouds,
so much thinking, there will be casinos
in a writing that makes sense of its words,
make them march, yes , march,
and I shall smoke in my dreams
after the dreaming is done of coming home
and there is only
the dreaming of dreaming itself,

there is no sleep in these early pages of the novel
that is nothing but a skyline
amid the details of a river and
a glass city that faces a wind that
whistles up the nylons
and down the high collar necks ,
wondering about
who might have been here first dreaming
of these terrible orders of cars and train tracks
full of wagons of TV dinners, palettes of magazines, toys,
counterfeit money coming back
to California because
California is always hungry and
land gives itself over to
families that remember less
than insanity allows and takes away,
all the habits that stop feeling good,


all the silence only a knock on the door
and the landlord's eye
give you as you wipe your feet again


in panic at the little things when it seems
that you're in between two worlds, fingering
the membrane
that allows you to hover over
great industrial mistakes,


you are the dotted cloud
whispering instructions
on the breeze of a stale vibe,


you are the god of this world that saddens you,
every last gust of air on the last floor of the first
building you rode an elevator in
is a trace of tears cried in blackouts that is the rain
that washes away the sins and stains
of this earth,


dotted clouds
on the rail staring at Windsor
on a street where there's a giant iron fist
aimed right at the heart of the water front,
sing with praise,
sing,
oh yes, sing…

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lessons from the Seventies

It’s love that breaks
against the rocks

and not foam nor water of any kind,
it’s a baptism of irrigated contempt

that makes the horizon
burn in black static p1umes.

Stained cotton from
every beach front window.


We smoked joints
in the guts of the canyons,

the mired trails
to the sea kissed shale.

All the blues from
Chicago knife fights
and gunshot histories
are folklore all the kids destroy
with their breathing.


Even at dinner time,
forks are next to plates whose owners
wonder what’s eating their neighbors
with all the strange phone calls
about what’s going on the beach.


The armies of the night
couldn’t scare up a quarter
of something to decent for all
the beaches America has landed on
in search of someone to talk down to..

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This goes without saying

Settle your accounts
with dimes and nickels
gripped with fingers fickle
to what they'll touch
as this life is one long vacation,
Too much grinning
station to station at the drainage rivers
famous for graffiti forests
and villages made from
refrigerator boxes,
there's little to laugh at
when it rains and the water
finds the incline of least resistance,
men in wool caps and fingerless gloves
stare from under the newspapers
and regret the distance
between we on a seat,
on a rail
going out of town
and the calloused knuckles
that becomes the fist
that challenges the skyline
for the right of way,

I shed my clothes
on the side of the tracks
to walk with the ties
until I collect a discarded
suit of random pants, jacket,
shoes that don't match,
crusted with motor oil
and pressed with convoy tires,

I take my money
and burn until there's
only a felonious ash,
the match tip takes to the credit cards
that burn black as they melt,
Lay me down
on gravel fonts
with a belt around
my waist
and have my head tilted to the right,
just slightly,
As if there was something
you'd just said
I might want you to repeat.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Father comes home from Chicago

Father stands in the front door
Where he greets you with the sound of
Rustling plastic, candy or a toy from Chicago, you think,

Your mother whistles at him
Between puffs of a cigarette
As he stands still, hands behind his back,
She smiles as he looks down at you
On the floor with toy trucks and
Plastic soldiers with teeth marks
The size of the scars
On the face of the moon,

"Guess what I have" he says , and presents the package,
A box wrapped red and blue, a yellow ribbon,
The vestibule is noisy with color,
You stare at the package
And wonder what it was he said,
Who is this package for,
Why are mom and dad dancing at 7pm
To music you don’t like, singer full of gin.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A ribbon around the heart of the world

The white people
have gone crazy
in the back seats
of All American cars
looking for the sex life
that fell between the cracks,
meanwhile screaming the rudeness
of Romantic love
that finds them
hung-over in court
too early in the morning
of a business day
where they'll tell the Judge
that it's only rock and roll
and that there was something in the way
the singer dropped his "g's
and a manner
worth noting when the guitarist
grabbed his whammy bar
and that all they did was taking
Creeley freely and pile into
the four-wheeled remains of a rumored prosperity
and drove into
the running gag reflex of the night, down a blvd.
filled brand names and bored cops,
cruising to get "some", to find "it"
and where "it" lived,
a slobbering example
of failed bonding
locked into habits
where even as their language of outrage
is bought
and shredded
in magazines
whose pages stick together
just as they did
in the parking lot after last call,
harassing the cocktail staff
that's going home,
they'll stick to principals
familiar and vague,
like that song whose words you never memorized
but tried to sing anyway, with a hushed secret at the core of the chorus
Saying that love is somewhere
just around one of these thousands
of and that it'll shake your hand
if you drive long and far and often enough,
if you've the gas
to complete the journey, the journey
Celine dreamed of while lying in bed,
staring at ceilings, concluding
that his language of outrage could only
describe the surface details of wrong turns,
that it had been bought and sold in a tradition
of literature that speculates about how wonderful
our lives might have been
if only the dream hadn't ended
when we opened our eyes,

Our eyes are constantly
getting used to the dark
absorbs every inch of brick
in parking lots
behind buildings and under bedrooms
of others who've made
their peace with
the sameness of the night,
the radio blares
more guitar solos
emerging from the
static of stadium
drums and strumming,
crazed cadenzas
whose neurotic notes scurry
and cleave to a neuron receptor
and keys a change
in the brains chemical balance that changes
the language of what the nights' really been about,

But we remain where we are,
white heterosexual males bond
by nothing more than
the chain sawing motion
of jaws lifting and falling
on the pillows and
sofa cushions in
desert motels
in time to the pans of a camera
on the silent television
where it's nothing but a wall full
of clocks telling
the time in
three separate
time zones while
temperatures are mentioned where
anger and rain mix in the fields
and valleys of economies
based on pride,
some abstract grip on selflessness that
needs no sleep
as do the bodies in this room,
dead to the world when the
engine blew, when the gas ran out, when
the last drop in whatever bottle of
cartoon labeled beer vanished on the
buds of a tongue
whose thirst could not be slaked by?
promise of fortune or even
water, pure and free of lies,

We sleep in shifts until
our time here runs
out on us,
until the phone that rings
everyday for twenty minutes on end
stops finally and leaves
the house quiet
from stairway to attic to porch,
with only the whir of the
refrigerator engine
starting up
and filling the stale,
stale air that
used to carry
mean jazz, drum boogie,
scratched riffs of declarative guitars,
the frets of God announcing
a life worth inventing in the notes
that passed through the room,
the boredom,
we realize in frozen moments
that any excuse for getting
out of the house
is a magic trick
that's performed after
they've shown you
where they've hidden the mirror,
"language is the house
where man lives",
let us say
that this life is
like being a fish
that cannot describe the water it swims in,
endlessly at 3AM
when only the coffee at
the 7-11 has the
aroma of anything
real enough to make
us think of getting
out of town
with one suitcase
and a bus fare,
next to a god-damned big car,
five shoulders
to the wheel
and no one able to drive
between towns , from carnival to still spot
where ever we could
pitch tents and trailers
and set up Ferris wheels that
would rattle against a
large scowling moon
hovering over
Modesto and Turlock
on dry August nights
when dollars are
grimy with mung from
many a farmer's and mechanic's hand,
power chords slice through
the speakers, destroy the cracked dashboard,
your face is slapped
with a power
not your own,
it comes down to something
that's a secret
that even The Judge won't cop to it
before he lowers his voice,

"The beat goes on,
the beat goes on,
the beat goes on,
the beat goes on…"

We can do better
this far away
from our past,
we have something
we've turned toward,
a light in eyes, a sun
that shines a light
those blades of
grass and long
stemmed flowers lean toward
even when clouds
and the stammer of fire eating transistors
sizzling from car windows distort the
image in the minds' eye,
I see a city where we come
and plant our feet on lawns
where we can sit
and plant in turn
new seeds, ideas
of a future worth having,

let's lean into the sun,
into the sun,
ride bicycles into the sun
on the road that becomes
a ribbon around the
heart of the world.