RESPITE

The architecture of summer comes
in the form of the  perfect temperature
for your clothes
and the ideal lighting from
the window which is totally open .
So, you can light a cigar
smoke it in a dream
and  hear the swish of far away traffic
play on your pleasure zones.
Pain is on hold
Momentarily
And there is nothing to do
Except write about it.

GROWING DOWN

The belief of childhood is that
Clarity is attainable with age, that we
Will know it  eventually, so that we
Can bask in its glow, and braced with certitude,
Wear a banner of  unwavering attestation
On our sleeve. Be grown up. A god. That it’s good.
 
Who knew  the tedious, aching
Places grownups live. The sharp uncertainties
To which they are subject, the moans they
Are prodded often to voice?
If I had a choice, it would be to stay far away,
live well  in my unknowing ,  and  breathe  in
my garden of silliness.

EPHEMERA

What do any of us leave when
we leave this world except a
blemish, that is, a smear on the face
of Time that may appear further along
in the sphere of  someone else who recalls
its authenticity in the form of say a word, an
image, a remark, a posture of body that enters
likely by Chance thru a corridor of Memory in
association with other factors  or none
and then passes on again without us really
having had anything to do with it at all? We live on
despite ourselves in pieces and our fame,
justified or not,  prevails.

MEMO TO BILL (for William S. Burroughs)

( William S. Burroughs 1914-1997) 


William Burroughs

Voice

Of the afflicted

And the stoned,

I met you

one summer dawn

In a back alley on rue Ste. Catherine

Where a blonde Danish boy read passages

From  Naked Lunch to me

As I was easing my way down

From a tab of Blue Cheer LSD

Circa 1968.

We sat on black iron –grated tenement steps.

In the new light

A cat moved about

Below us.

I recall your prose clearly

Crackling in my brain,

The images searing into it

What otherworldliness this was!

Stranger still than the voyage

I was returning from.

The impression has remained for forty years.

I saw videos of you today

on You Tube

Sad and eternal

In typical proper suit and

Tie

And fedora.

“El Hombre Invisible?”

Not!

You cut quite a figure,

William.

You outshine the other boys.

I have tried to read all your books.

They tax the mind.

Today,

Of course,

We’re tired.

We like Harry Potter.

I know your appeal to me.

Beyond the brilliant prose,

It’s –

The thick-tongued St Louis delivery.

The silver cynicism,

The gangster authority.

You waited

Four months after brother Allen

Crumbled into Buddhist dust

Before leaving  us,

Too.

I hope

you are good now

In your dry bones,

Stoned still,

and

Free

Of

The  Ugly  Spirit

Past.

(July , 2008)

DEDICATED POEMS (for Anne Sexton)

                                         

Your ambition bird will fly on for eternity.

TOMORROW’S PROMISES (for Anne Sexton)

What beckoned,
What called
must have been stronger than
blood,
overriding
Stale argument.
I imagine
a black rose

Pungent
Irresistible,
A circus barker
Promising
marriage
and
Peace,
A stepping down.

LADY ANNE LEADS  (for Anne Sexton)

Anne Gray Harvey
You touch me plenty,
I’m stalking your ghost.
You,
of the Greta Garbo mold
Sold me on the dark plunge.
You make it look so easy.

I love your words,
though
“Love” is too mild:
They eat at the core of my
Obsessions.

Even if we are family
I would steal your gift
In a heartbeat if I could.
Your casual utterances
And kitchen talk
Make me weep,
Your bullets that go down
in Technicolor.

Why did you get with A.?
Was it for the Sexton?
One day,
lost in a cigarette haze
you couldn’t help yourself.
You queer witch,
You know you always
Needed it.

We were born apart.
Time made us strangers,
You and I.
You’re gone somewhere else now,
The much desired place
While I’m still here
Dying to find out
What you already know.
Is it fun and games?
Is it still hell?
Anne,
I do hope you’re well.

 

AMANDA TODD

Amanda Todd

There is a part missing

We will never understand

The space inside and the space

beyond

The way the signs collide

If there are any signs at all.

She was her mother’s favourite

A child as fresh as a meadow’s breath

With aspirations and infatuations

that made her death

 

One of those the Fates intended

To fall into strangers’ hands

To be marked for her simple manner

The way she loved and the way

She danced.

 

The vile reaches of a vacuous public

The product of a bankrupt estate

Ripped at this flower on a constant basis

Until not much was left to chance.

 

She withstood their brutal plundering

In the shadows of the human touch

A martyr for what is decent

In an age of much mistrust,

 

She trusted

 

The lies hurled by rabid children

Against her reputation and grace

wounded her once too often

Touched her in a tender place

 

And caused a commotion of feelings

To rise up from her core.

She eventually succumbed to the bleakness

She could no longer endure

 

Yet not until she had relayed her story

In a most public domain

Did anyone go out of their way

To try to understand the pain

Of the ages

 

The plight of the young

The mysteries of a hatred

That is with us so strong.

SAYING GOODBYE

I wait for the summons.

When it arrives I comply

And enter the chapel.

I sit like a king removed

listening to the thin silence

Draw me back into the

The mysteries  and wonder

What artwork to expect fashioned

This day by the devil’s mouth,

what shapes will the body of

the snake take on , whether pointed,

or curved like punctuation, or rather

coiled almost seamlessly into an O.

I don’t know.

Death’s needs hold sway,

It’s odors must speak sweet

And fill up the air as in a stable

Or a house of ill –repute.

My back arches like The Thinker

Elbows grinding into tops of thighs.

The light is weak.

Then I jut vertical to open

To give the babies passage

And kick back.

They rush to oblige, creating

A symphony, besides, dropping

plop plop into the drink.

I think, that is enough.

But no, wait, I was wrong,

Another comes along to

join the song.

And yet, another follows.

Oh, my! I sigh, I must’ve had too

Much for dinner.

One day, I vow, I will be thinner.

At least, I’m lighter.

And now the party’s over.

Time to tidy up.

That’s less fun but has to be done.

Scroll down.

The white pages, the tugs and pinches,

the moustache all coated.

Fingers probe, scoop up the soil.

Acknowledge it’s the wet season.

How much to stem the flood? This

Is becoming drudgery! Pad after pad.

But look how bright we’re getting!

Maybe another roll will do it.

Finally, yes, here it is: unblemished. Pristine.

Not a hint of muck. Good as new.

I stand. Roll up. Buckle tight. Proudly,

Focussing down, I lean on the handle

And with sadness wave my goodbyes.

BLOCKED

You feel  like a promise.

So you step up to the table

where  you face

instead

a wall in your

forehead

and

every impulse buried

under a carpet of snow.

And

still ,

there is a need that works

like a constipated machine.

After a while

You think, well, nothing.

Maybe this morning it all went swirling

down the drain like hula hoops.

And you panic.

In time,

Words  do come, in fact

pile up like the newspaper

Saying nearly nothing.

It is getting dark by then.

The afternoon is tired.

It’s winter, remember.

There are days like this

There are days like this,

Lots of them.

W H QUESTIONS

Press your finger
Feel the pain.
It’s not right
Until it comes again.

The wash of yesterdays
The fields of blame.
They never let you
End this game.

You stand up to it
Mouth in clench.
Never resting
On any bench.

You laugh and dance
You work the crowd.
You don’t much worry
If you do it loud.

And then you retire
To your cell and ponder
Where and when and how
You wonder.

ROUND AND ROUND

The situation is
I am living inside a hat
But I’m not a head.
What I am instead
is hard to say.
I have fallen
to reason
Today.
Everything is as it always was and it won’t go
Away:
The rain pelts the window into pinkness.
What can I do:
Hide inside a cabinet,
Sleep,
Exercise my options?
There is not one good measure that can alleviate
the general disquiet.
Sit in the middle of it.
It will pass.
It will return

ALL TRAVEL

ALL TRAVEL

All travel is aspiration
Toward The Perfect Place
The Golden State
Ease
luxury
Disappearance
Limitless space
A remake
Asleep or awake.

   DUBLIN (JAMES JOYCE STATUE), IRELAND

                            FOXROCK, IRELAND

  BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND

                EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

  PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 

                       KLISH, CROATIA

  NEAR SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

                 BUDAPEST,  HUNGARY

GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA, U.S.A.

         IMG_0646  LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO, U.S.A.

  NEAR TUCSON, ARIZONA, U.S.A.

  ANTIGUA

ON BUKOWSKI

ON BUKOWSKI   (1920 – 1994)

Massive stomach

Face full of pocked marks

Red oily skin

A clown’s nose

Cigarette, unusual brand, fixed to lips.

 Bottle unmistakable in hand

The wobbly drunken battleship

Of a man,

A throwback,

The ape as poet.

A Hollywood clochard,

He negotiates

The sunny sidewalks and piss- stinking watering holes of East L A

Expounding on whores and misery and booze,

And the” sissy poets” he he likes to call out.

‘They just don’t get it’ he slobbers…

 

This night

The poet is beacon.

Megaphone in hand

Bukowski  slurs the message,

Dead eyes

Encrusted in something still human.

Sinking into the sludge,

Leaving us his suicide note in

 Black and white.

 

But…

 

 it is not enough.

Sadly.

 It is just not sad enough.

Poems are never as sad as they should be,

Life is always worse.

Look around,

Liars,

Look around and tell me

No.

IF YOU WERE MINE

If you were mine

I would advise you

To wear your skin

Like a window

Lightly and transparent

Revealing

A hard flower underneath

Cultivated thru discipline.

You are just nineteen

And you relish all eyes

On your surfaces

A radiance that sings

like the sun.

What glory to behold

For a moment in the day!

But you can I know

Feel the harsh reaches of time

Already clawing from close- by.

Don’t deny

that you can

And if you can’t you will

be shattered.

So be wise

Be wise and be kind

And find

A  centre.

CURIOSITY BREATHES

Why trouble yourself?

It will just be over and you will say:

Was it worth it?

Any of it?

The memories will not even be enough

To keep you aloft.

They will be muddled and dim,

If anything

Inviting derision.

Why bother?

Because…

Because what else is there to do?

There is a drill in my head now

And I can’t escape it.

Oh, it stopped.

Oh,it started again.

Okay,

What next? a telephone call from hell?

I am tired of talking to robots.

I am weary of playing the clown.

I can’t help you.

You can’t help me.

And yet…and yet

What else will there be?