Sunday, April 10, 2016

Say What You Will

Say what will
when we park on the hill
and forget to turn our wheels
toward the curb,

Our clothes are damp
as we stare at the stars
in a drizzle from clouds
passing over the moon,
downtown is a vision,
of a city of jewels,
white, green and red lights
embedded in leviathans
poking the black sky
like they were hungry fingers
seeing how taut the skin is
before curling into fists
to be shaken at a God
who says nothing
but Words neither of us have heard,

I miss you tonight
and cannot or
will not think of you
not here arguing for
a better seat
an elbow to my ribs,
My heart remains
where you placed it
after you took it
along with my breath,
you made my blood rush to my head
from the mountain top
where we’ve watched
the sun set and the moon rise
for half a decade of
coming and going,
kiss and groping
between jabs to the ribs,

I think of you
driving all night
with your keys
still on the hook,
your car
still parked
with a week of groceries
in the back seat,

Yes, I said
let us worship
at the altar of our talent,
let’s be humble
and create reasons to be
something other than
the anonymous
expiration dates
that lurk and loom
and wait for us
to make promises
we didn’t mean,

Your silhouette
is unseen and
next to me always,
the way you slept
changed the way
I toss and turn,
I say your name
without opening my mouth,
the moon breaks through dark clouds
and it begins to rain,
the water beads and glistens
on the lens of my glasses,
the world is little else
but a ghostly white radiance
when the light is allowed,

My fists unfold,
you touch my head
and ask for some gossip
as I wait for you to kiss me
but then there is only
the dark air surrounding
Where you would have stood.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rag Basket

When the swing goes over the top
so that the universe is turned inside out
like the glove you left in the vestibule,

I will drop the disguises
and the basket of cleaning rags
to follow you to the end
of the next sentence you speak,

Days turn into years
with all this scenery skating by,
our hair turns grey
just counting our change in the check out lane,
angry weed clusters break through the asphalt
when we return to the car
with our bags full of grace,

Half of what was purchased
was an expectation of tightening the screws
on a platform of a reasonable trance,
the other half being
aware that neither of us are dreaming this dream,
our eyes are open, wide as a camera lens,
noting what has gone and what was replaced,
the grey dirt that gathers
in the rain gutter,
the leaves that carpet the walkway,
the paper torn on billboards advertising
places to visit,when money permits,

You say you'd prefer the sunset to daybreak
and then ask
why I am always yawning,
my bones ache,
my knee is weak and creaks
with the rhythm of the city as it
battles the music I want to hear,
car horn vs saxophone,
air hammer body slams vibraphone,
sunlight meets horizon,
the night is better
when there are no dreams
to give it scars.

Cecil Taylor In War Time

Nothing fits the cadence that 
quits before a fist can pound 

hard ivory blocks for truth 
that is both black and white 

and a chronic wash of rifled tones
flying in formation around the
shape of your head as you forget dreams
and addresses of friends you need to call,

drums lay it down, high hat , snare rattle,
a road that takes you out of town

to further reaches past the beaches
and downtown corners where you
cars and their screeches
as they stop for pedestrians
chatting up phantoms with
empty cell phones, wasting
minutes as they cross,

fingers building and knocking down
chords and melodies to the rhythm

that has ceased to be a way to move forward
and is now a quaking way to meet
the man in the moon,

piano jazz in the thick of cocktails
that muddy the distinctions between
a screaming blues sting
or the sideways , shard -ridden
gray-hued murk of Dachau's
lost voice and string quartets,

a music that's constantly waking up
in night sweats, angular and hallow
in the chest,

are there shadows dancing
with one another as this
music plays? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The night gives you magic

The night gives you magic
you can see between the leaves
that cling to dead limbs,
the city is a profile
that leads with its chin,
night birds sing the songs of chimney ash

and cinder fireflies spiraling  in hot red-yellow streaks
before vanishing into the black tarp,

the blues harp
moans from the window
in a house set against a mountain side
that is getting ready to rain,
but it is always raining in my heart
when your lights go out,

a small notes tells me
that you've gone for the night

and maybe the week
and that leaves me
staring out the window
through the screen
at  clouds and madness
that is a rime of light
cresting over all our business

when the city pulls up the
covers and reads
the word by flashlight.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Where to walk and where to sit

the grave yard
would be
an obvious place for me
to drop by
for some hours of the week,
more friends
than ever have their names
engraved in the
last place they’ll every park,
the history of every kiss
and hours of
speechless joy
is going increasing
underground and
soon to be forgotten
as witnesses to where
you and I have have
tread fall over like
bribed boxers,
fall like ships
off the edge of
a 13th century map of the earth,
take on a sleep
so deep in dreams
of black ink
that even the word
is an over statement.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Woe be gone in song
of the wandering violinist
as he moves among
the tables, annoyed
as bows the neck
at the haircuts
that bob and shake fists
to his melody
of two Black Forest Lovers
beset by a pack of wolves.

Bristles are the cuts
on the head of this throng,
he bristles himself
and often longs
for a seat
nearest the podium, starting off the evening off right,
on the mark, on time,
a tempo  to  signify the
romance of his moods.

Yet his songs are too sad for
his present crowd,
they like it in chords
that blast and clash the anger of gods they
can't name,

Their rhythm is violent,
not suited
for violins
and the sentiment they exclaim.

The kids want to see Industrial Cities
slip into
boiling Great Lakes
as a backdrop for a riff   on
the E Major scale.

Yet they're all stuck,
they by blizzard and
the need to eat,
and he by hunger and
the need to pay rent
every thirty days,
and together they make
the best of
the love lost between them.

They sit, listen, and gnash their teeth,
while he plays frantic cadenzas,
dreaming of applause and kisses from
the balcony from men in tuxedos
and ladies
in long white gloves,

Together they
 make music t


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Another Side of Long Distance Calls

"...religions are beautiful because of the strong possibility that they are founded on nothing. We would all believe in God if we knew he He existed, but would this be much fun?..."

-- John Ashbery

Somewhere along the line
something was said
that made
an awful lot of sense.
an utterance so
stable in verb and stance
that my head jerked up
as if on a string
moved about
by a cruel master.
The guy who said
was smiles
for miles his white
teeth could blind.

William had his glass at the tip
of his lip
as though a toast
were to emerge from
his studied gestures,
he repeated
his wisdom,

"Jesus lives in a house on
the moon
and he can't go outside
because there is no air..."

The table spun just then,
three fast fandangos,
and in the swirl
three thousand or so years of
thinking came undone like
badly sewn stitches across
the seams of thin, historical clothing,
every fig leaf has fallen
from our shoulders and

Philosophy and faith
are seen finally
for what they are
through the bottom of
William's bar glass,

a little man in a corner
holding a wet paint brush.