Monday, September 21, 2015

Poetry will ruin your life

some of us many of you
love poetry as blackboard
and no chalk, toe nails and back flips
through a bent H
and screaming rocket calculus
as numbers pounding at the door
when dinner arrives,
"fuck you and your attempts to
define poetry, you are squares
and remember

too many of not enough of the rest of the city
believes parades are for them
if it's the third tuesday in a leap year
on a day named after a Norse god, goddamnit,
but some of the majority of the slim pickings
have opined
that newspapers are dead to everything
except the bottom of a
bird cage so therefore
poetry is the attempt to make language
an even crustier clump of cliches and dead mackerals,
line breaks
needed plaster casts,
similes that cannot find a soul mate,
genders and pronouns
unpronounced by married
inspite of the loneliness
that finds you like
that helicopter spotlight
that very night when
you slam your poem
across the side of the head
of a famous coot
who rhymed
like a trained seal
when the fish smells like
The Star Spangled Banner.

Every single every other of us still standing if not sitting or what have you
sigh and don't regard poetry at all

but poetry absorbs all this
what ever hoarse voice and harsh verbs that choose us,
guitars ,harmonicas and bicycle bells
are the sound track makes that big racket
against the black night air,\
the big black board scratched by stars
and smeared with
ashen tears as spirits rise and voices cry
and finally something like a song
of loss emerges and our hands come from our pockets and from behind our backs and we raise to the
nowhere that is our idea of heaven
and mourn the loss
and remember the joy
and write a poem in
between a toss of the dice
and a the release of breath
that it's always closing time
on the planet that rumbles on , spits out gears, shivers and quakes with it's organic mechanics festering
the ground with spores and seed,
gas tanks go dry
and there isn't a dry eye
with so many miles still untrod
and sleep coming over us all the same,
cooing, eschewing the rules and agendas,
crooning a lyric, a word of every  song
you knew only half the stanzas to,
it all says
that it's time to rest,
it's time to come home
it's time to become the poetry
that was your pulse
and is now your name
when someone
new decides to get good and pissed
and full of themselves
in the life they find themself in.

partly snarly

when i sneer
all the leaves

i've raked up
and pressed

between the pages
where they deserve to rest

just scatter in a rank breeze
and scatter again

along the path and lawns
where i first saw them.

so i rake them again
and i snort some more

and do so until
no one sees the sky.

today's weather is
leafy, partly snarly,

with a 20 percent chance of grief
and night and morning black clouds

that will make the neighborhood
a sight worth seeing

if you were a gnome
under a bridge

loading a gun.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Paragraph Poem

Smoke alarms in the center of the night shift gravity with the shovels full  of noise as the cat knocks its plate of dried meat off the balcony, to the driveway  below,  where helicopters  scour the ground with beams and  pools of light  that scurry up alleys and over parked cars,  there are cans rolling into the streets,  shopping carts  slamming into mail boxes, this is where everyone wants to be,  tight and napping at the beach in a corner room,  over a dumpster,  next to chain smoking neighbors. Nothing to but grumble, shake my head, seek your hand, mumble, light a candle and curse the darkness. 

And just as the night seemed to blink it's last straining Thoughts of fun and give in too its darkness, its warm, heartless interior. 

Parties across the bay, patios that hug shore line, planks that Stick out like chins needing to be slugged with a hand that closes and hardens into the instant weapon that comes in handy as it reaches and unstrings the Japanese paper Lanterns that light up the hard, wet, sand with frantic, dancing light, fireworks, boats on the water, enjoying the music, no one takes tickets in the middle of the bay, there are other things we still aren't done talking about, snore as we might, dream where we may . 

Your news of your mom dying two years ago after the phone was shut off and mail gathered at the front door, in a pile, under the slot, addresses of advertisers selling shares in futures no can see anymore, You hold me and kiss my hand and wonder aloud when the next set of fire works goes off  following the next thing the cat knocks over Complimenting a contrapuntal groan of guitar from stereo on the patio someone was just pushed from to the hard, packed, cold sand below why it seems to be still in the apartment, the air not moving, the dark of the room disturbed only by a Television screen that throbs with images of abstracted passions, sleek icons wet with desire that seems a burden in a time when there is always knowledge, a good guess, of how much time there's left to play with the toys you already have, 

I wonder too, and whistle something that starts off as Charlie Parker and winds up a Sousa March, There are only so many days left that really have nothing to do with Shopping, I say, the cat grunts, spits something up, the fire works stream cross the bay, flames burst from the explosion and engulf the patio deck the rocket it, screams from the balcony, smoke alarms in the middle of the night, screams, electronic bass and rap assuming a burnt tinge that colors the holiday, I kiss you, I wish I was kissing you, wherever you are, there are lives that haven't touched me yet, nothing breaks the calm waters, and no oar violates the lake surface. There is only noise, commotion, a city consuming itself, lurching into the next decade, empty as a can.

Friday, August 28, 2015


This is a note about the notes I've written
 concerning the notes you couldn't read
after I passed them on to you in the hallway
between classes or walking past your table
in the lunch room where they were piles of
wax paper, odd meat, bad breath by the current.

My favorite music was accordion metal
with according to guitarists fretting their futures
in commodities they can't scale, is the sort of jamming
that is performed in alleys behind banks while they're robbed
and getaway cars crash after they peel out from between
narrow streets to pile on traffic islands
after they note, still in their ski masks,
the song of the sirens who's only lyric
informs them that George Bailey or the plot
where they'll be buried
wait for them, patient as a vacuum.

Different ways of getting to the same point
is a math problem divided by two coughs and
multiplied with a stuttering attempt to retrace
the footsteps, tire tracks and litter trail
that bring us to the prime number
that makes or breaks how the day eventually turns out,
four cars going four different directions
at an intersection where the traffic lights are out and there are no police around to wave anyone
the right of passage.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to suck

Watch Miley Cyrus Disguise Herself, Ask People What They Think Of Miley Cyrus:

'via Blog this'

         Jimmy Kimmel Live sent Miley Cyrus, punk-pop twerker and occasional singer, out disguised a  reporter named "Janet" to talk to the man or woman on the street what they thought of this tacky broad, Miley Cyrus. Kimmel, of course, has another on going segment called "Mean Tweets" where famous folks are asked to read the awful things others have written about them. This is a variation on a theme, but it's a smarmy presentation, a cheap laugh. It is, I would hope, the tipping point where audiences have grown weary of Cyrus's self-display and demand that do something worth paying money for.

  • This bit , in effect ( and intent,I suspect) is a mockery of the famously anonymous "man/woman on the street" where there is every sophistication that they are out of the loop, unhip, square, stupid for not being up on Miley or the tacky antics she engages in. "Mean Tweets" at least involves celebrities who are famous for their work over everything else and acts as slight curative for the deluge of celebrity obsessed bile that crowds out a smarter discussion of popular art. Cyrus is becoming like celebrty bile herself, famous for being famously tacky and making her fame the formost part of her public identity. Perhaps she will find another way to remain in the headlines once she stops being percieved as cute in any manner; perhaps she'll go back to work, act, do stage work, write and record songs that can surprise us and makes us thank the lord that the insanity of youth had left her. Something similar happened to Cher when graduated from the relentlessly iirrelevant chains of her Sonny and Cher days and lit out on a film work where she did some memorable work, as in 'Silkwood", "Moonstruck", "Witches of Eastwick","Mask". 

  • True, her years as respected Hollywood actress were short lived and she re-morphed into a species of professional celebrity shill as she pitched products on cable TV stations, but there is at least a time when she did work even naysayers , or at least a good many of them, had to tip their hats for the fine work done. Not that I really care in the larger scheme of things, but i would hope that if Cyrus ever graduates from being a sideshow freak and makes the transition to the ranks of "working artist" in endeavors intended to be judged on their own terms, that she has a good run and so avoids being a  Danny Bonaduchi for all time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Unitl it ends

You didn't slam a door
nor get angry with minor yelps
of neighboring dogs
so sad in their kennels,

the streets are covered in leaves
that have curled and turned
many hues of ceasing to be,

there was wind from a window
that kept you cool when
no one was watching,

the phone rings
and it rings again
until it ends,

and silence
is the only thing
there is
to be angry about.

It’s Not Like We Never Smiled Again

It’s not like we never smiled again after the bricks came through the windows and the secrets of the garden had become either dark smoke or something worse and chewed over at that.  There is no pleasure in seeing photos of past lives in present tense neighborhoods, there is the way a chin is caressed by a fingertip slightly familiar both to the touch and to the memory that has fingerprints and scuff marks on  its imagination.
We grinned, rather, turning our collars up to the cold and damp, victorious as battleships rusted an  in shallow waters that are ports that have derricks burning away the stars and turning every flashlight and lamppost glare a swirling corona of diseased aromas that seep through the tarp that separates the refusal to awaken with the sun and the urge to rise from the bed when the mist settles on the lawn and bring flames to the parties that began the year with lost accents and scribbled notes on damp napkins.
d retired
Needless to say, the palms are damp with expectancy, the tongue swells and cannot utter a groan or a wish. And then the screen fluttered, a sudden swerve of lines becoming something like swerves seen on highway signs telling you how typical this road will become in even the longest run-on sentences.

We blame scenery for our hunger and still we see each other thought one of us is not here in the room or any room the other of us has yet walked into. Fading into nothingness is over rated until it happens at last and there is little remaining of what was assumed would always be there but an outline made of mote and mascara.
 The vanishing becomes the light of our eyes blinking quickly to see all there is even faster because the watches and the clocks are set an hour ahead and no one knows what time it really is .
 Why does this take so long? The longer we talk the darker the light becomes, soon every window will be opened and there will be music of marching bands pouring into the opaque neighborhoods that is the hit parade of a movie we saw and mistook for something that happened in this life we shared from opposite places on the map.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

For a blue moon

For a blue moon
who wouldn't cut off an arm
and hand crammed
in a coat sleeve
and pant pocket
too tight around the skin and
veins that pop up
like large roots
in old trees,

For a blue moon
you need an eye in each head
and be fast enough
to catch your profile
in each mirror
you walk by
up that hall
that emerges in every dream
you have about walking
through the woods,
the canopy of trees over head
and the light of the house
at the end of the path,
the open window,
the stars over the city,

For a blue moon
we have
lawn chairs
at night
on the lawn
while the fireworks
rattle and boom
in the distance
across the bay,
one chair remains empty
and the other
one of us
intends to sit in some day
depending on
which of us remains
when the eulogies are read.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

From the top of your head

Jill Moon, 1952-2015
 Jill Moon, the woman I loved more than nearly anyone or anything else, has passed away. This is a love poem I wrote for her back in  1996. It says it all and has nothing close to how deep our friendship was and how deep the loss is and will remain. She was 63 years old, a painter, a set designer, a college professor, a loving mother,  a glass artist, a wit, a smart person who loved beautiful things and interesting people. I love you, dear Jill. --tb)

From the top of your head
flowers grow that I’ve never seen
in the nature of my asking
the meaning of this thing, so beautiful, the wind.

The wind in all uses highlights
the shift of your hips
leaning against rocks, the meaning of this,
the earth, the mother of the deals
that have us eating out
of  the hands that pick the roots of your hair
that goes on growing like flowers on hills
with all the houses we ‘ve  never lived in.

A clap of thunder is applause enough for pausing
to smell the turpentine that revives the hem and haw
of  the wood under our shoes,
rainy nights are ovations and the trance
of  still looking into your eyes
where I’ve always seen them,
on pyramids, in circles,
thirsty yearning.

From my hands comes ruined meaning
about hammers and nails and the holes that made them,
I’ve stared at your face on the ceiling all night,
water flows where there is no resistance,
insistence makes me forget and remember your names,
every center has a heart
and every heart is broken.
Into your face    t
    all roads split down the middle,
    the wind is a whisper
and a rustle of notes
    coyotes cry
    in the wake
    of our progress,
    so beautiful, the wind,
    and water rolling
in circles, in circles, in peace.


He wouldn't change his mind
so I mailed him a brick and a rose
postage due, of course,
because the wind had gone from my sails
and I was stranded at the bus stop
with no token, after dark,
falling asleep to the barking of dogs
behind a fence.

I wouldn't apologize
so she sold my books
and record collection
to a man who specialized
in another decade's glory,
I cried under her window,
I sang her a song
written in schemes that rhymed
and plots that didn't,
I cannot be sorry
for invisible gestures
committed while I spoke on the phone, I explained,
hooking my thumb on a belt loop
when I mentioned nothing
what you thought it might
when I mentioned
"cake" and "bombast" in the same sentence,
but you gather my hats all the same
and toss them to the oak tree
that hangs over your roof,
one hat per limb,
one duck bill spinning toward the gutter
where leaves burn, as if on cue,
or my, what shall I do?

The government wouldn't straighten its spine
and walk a straight line
nor speak something without qualification,
so we held our breath
and took on horrible lovers
who would take our money from our wallets and purse
after we are asleep ,
we buy things we don't want
on the basis of a cute photos of grand kids on cell phone galleries,
we get in the car we stole
and drive to the edge of the map
after which there is only the tile of the floor below us,
checkerboard pattern and spread out newspapers
where the cat takes his craps,
this world
gets so much larger
the more we complain,
there biggest box
contains the largest emptiness.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Life in America Up Until Now

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 goddamned 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.