NAUSEA

I felt dizzy today. I never get dizzy, I get nauseous, quite often, in fact. It comes from a place beyond my body, I won’t say my spirit but in that vicinity, and it travels inward and out at the same time. It tells me I might not be living, that part of me, a large part of me, is dead. And I walk around as this semi-corpse as if nothing is wrong and I say all the appropriate things and do all the necessary things even as I feel the need to vomit out disgust, (not despair) closer to rarefied revulsion, on my fellow passengers in our postcard voyage toward doomsday. And then I say why bother, it would just be a waste of fluids. Then I might eat a peach or tickle myself, or get to bed and steel myself against the impending darkness. I don’t have actual nightmares, but instead the dullest dreams imaginable that make me believe hell must be elongated boredom, an eternity of waste, a state of  neither pain nor pleasure nor feelings, and I must in the dream scream to get me out of this place. Of course, nobody hears me, mainly because everyone else is screaming the same thing, all silently in an orchestra of futility. The bars in my dreams are made of paper, yet I can’t leave, for some reason, I cannot relieve my sickness, my nausea. It is as if I were born to it, and I must survive. And always coiled in an anger that I do not discharge. I should have been…I think…I always thought I should have been a killer, maybe for profit, a gangster. a hitman that everyone admired for his smooth delivery. I imagine there must be a sweet cessation of pain at the point of murder for the giver as well as the getter and I could have taken either side enthusiastically. Kill or be killed. I would be comfortable in. Alas, it is too late for that! I am too old to whack anyone. And what follows in this confession? (It is bad form, after all, to inform that one hides a killer’s heart.) Let me add that I could blow away the human race in one breath if incited. I am a human atomic bomb. I should not be trusted with the Nuclear Code. As for this prevailing spiritual desolation, it is apt to inquire into a remedy, no? Is there one? People live with incurable illness all the time and do not resort to violence. It is perhaps a test of machismo that makes me think I can do the same. All manner of disturbance can be regulated to the degree that it is bearable. Most of us inhabit a frontier space between sickness and health. anyway. I might just be entertaining a mild cold as far as spiritual sickness is concerned. I might just get over it, in some future life, perhaps. Suck it up. As they admonish in the military. Am I that weak that I can’t take a spell of spiritual desolation?  Do I have the right to whine as a civilian? Yes, the questions, yes, the recriminations that go on, that never end, that latch onto each other like train cars, with no answers, no solutions, no sense. Until I realize the absurdity, that nothing is answerable, that our lives are made up of only question marks, not even periods, other than death, and the realization makes me laugh and laugh and laugh, and I am still laughing when I have my fatal heart attack.

THINKING ON BUKOWSKI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bukowski

I’m not as bad as I think I am, and

I’m not as good as I want to be.

I don’t think you’re that good either,

Actually,

Though people love you

 Even as you scorn them,

Revere your sickness

And you secretly don’t believe

They do.

And I keep coming back

To your poetry

Wondering what all the fuss is about,

Wanting to appreciate the magic

I think I’m missing,

And see sleight of hand instead.

Shaking my head, I put the book down

And I say to myself that

A drunk 10 year- old could have written that,

And I feel jealous of this 10 year-old.

Your words don’t touch me, old man.

I can appreciate your naked cynicism,

I’m a cynic too,

But I get hate for being one and

You get accolades for it.

I’ll keep going my own way

Hoping maybe something will turn over.

And I guess, if I’m being honest, believe

We will meet in a bad dream one night

And have it out.

ORDINARY GERMANS

Why ordinary Germans became killers

During the Holocaust is something

I have thought about.

There are books on the subject.

There are a number of reasons.

There are probably as many reasons

 as there were killers.

What is certain is it takes a certain mindset

To be capable of murdering indiscriminately

Humans you don’t know, have never seen,

Have nothing personal against.

Yes, there was a process of brainwashing,

But one does not brainwash an adult quite

That easily.

One does not excise the emotions and conscience

Of adults to this degree in such a short time.

Everyone knows one must demonize

The victims,

It happens in all wars, always has.

Except that the ordinary German killers managed to murder

Large numbers of humans up close, often face to face, often

mothers and fathers holding their infants, any of whom were

Never a threat to them personally.

That requires a true lapse of empathy.

What could they have been thinking, feeling, seeing

When they looked later at their own children?

It has been shown that empathy is inborn, those who

Lose it become aliens, sociopaths.

Are we to believe that ordinary Germans were either of these?

Are we to believe they were robots?

Are we to believe that we would not be capable of these same acts?

TO ANTHONY BOURDAIN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Bourdain

He made us laugh

He drew us in

He left his imprint

On our screen

And then he was gone

One day

By his own hand

One early summer day

In a French hotel

Anthony Tony

Chef and seeker

Bringing love

And food

From disparate

Locations

Into our lives

We miss those CNN

Evenings

Those recipes

For brotherhood

With cultures

Around the globe

Those sparkling dishes

And easy conversations

You had a rare talent

For empathy that

Broadcast to viewers

What tragedy

That you end this way

Who might have

 Seen it coming

We hope you are in

A better place Anthony

Rest in peace

Friend

THE TRUTH ABOUT AGE

This is a sign of old age:

It is a sense that you have

Seen it all before. There is

Nothing new under the sun.

The repetition freezes you.

But, of course, this is all bullshit.

You know this to be true. Yet

You may cling to that false message.

What you need is adventure,

Which may be had even sitting

In one place. Each moment is actually

Brand new and there is no such thing

As age.

HATE CRIMES

Hate is

Love is

Many hate hate

Many love to hate

Many more love

Is hate an absence?

Perhaps it is a force

Equal to love,

Or greater.

It elevates those who hate,

It consolidates them.

Their muscular spirits

Laser in over a target

And act.

It matters not who or what

But that it be destroyed,

And to no end

Other than the act,

The one.

And what results

Is cried over

But not understood.

Do we hate the hater?

We do,

Which causes more hate.

Hate is as old as the earth

Itself. It is survival,

Dominace,

No one will destroy it

No one will change it.

It is

Everything man stands for.

HUNGER INDICATES LACK

Hunger indicates lack.

Hunger for anything, really,

Tells us we are incomplete,

 

 Our anxiety requires some state

 In order to be at ease.

 

This constant

Unease is the root of invention,

The cause of civilization.

 

 But humans hunger

 For what result?

 

Temporary satisfaction

And then on to the next

Quest.

 

And so it goes in constant

momentary aspiration-frustration.

 

Religion assuages some

Love can too.

Yet the heart of this matter

Is even more mysterious:

 

We hunger to cast off

Our human form,

To become

Someone else, something else.

 

Transformation is the end game.

We are sick of being human,

We have exhausted our possibilities.

WHAT HAPPENS AT NIGHT

What comes up from the depths Is not invited.

The cold hard facts from the ocean’s floor arrive

as a host of information

like gate crashers at a  wedding

to remind the bride and groom

that sores fester beneath their fine clothes,

 

and secrets linger in dusty hallways,

bones  decomposed  in some forgotten room

undisturbed by sunlight.

 

This pale hand of guilt operates to tweak the

functioning machinery of day

so that

We are laid bare and picked apart,

 subjected to voices speaking in bewildering tongues.

 

The faces of night reflect in mirrors manipulated by

an insane projectionist, a sort of god of randomness

 

And

If there once was a whole man he has been  splintered into shards

swirling in flux under our lids.

We have slipped from brave front to the helplessness

of the dead.

 

The night examines  wounds,

 packages of grief  pulled from corners and dragged to centre stage

 that may set hearts thudding and terror to spring.

 

There is no armour strong enough to protect us

from ourselves .

THE FIRST DRINK OF THE EVENING

Margarita,

Your 4 syllables thrill, they chill me.

You are a celebration,

 a marching band down my throat.

Your lips, satisfyingly salty,

Then comes the squash of lime

Joined by a sweet liqueur.

They dance deliciously

To the overall

Tune of the agave,

Oh, agave!

Blue agave

Desert notes that brace.

I can finally breathe.

Margarita,

You are always fidele,

I am never put off.

You settle me

I need more, more of your cold love,

My dear.

I must trick out fresh cubes.

Second rounds, please.

THEN WHAT?

The grim spring of my old age

April May is a time to be born and

I sit there like a plant expecting the sun to shine

in the rain..

Where to find comfort in this world? My mother

died long ago. I should dig her up. I should

hold her close. I remember the comfort I

felt on her lap driving down the street, cars splashing us.

 Maybe if I still smoked cigarettes. The first drag

and I was a baby again. Just thinking about

it made me start to cough.

 

Maybe comfort is too much to ask.

You would have to be on a permanent drug-high

for that.  Then what? I should become religious

and put it into Jesus’s  hand. Let Him do the

heavy lifting.

What I need is a job where I can help people. Help

them what? Be as dissatisfied as I am? I am hardly

a model for others. I resign.

 

 I am looking outward, which always

causes glare.  I am going to have to look inward.

 

There is no home inside. All the rooms are vacant, dusty,

the smell of old paint, the wind thru broken windows

blowing newspapers around, hinges creaking.

It is like listening to a baby crying without stop for something.

Just need blaring away like a siren. And there is no answer.

Nobody is home. Nobody gives a shit.

The baby will eventually stop crying.

Then what?

 

At my age (72 and a half), there isn’t much room for the future.

Whoever thought I would get to half that number?  

I should be grateful for a full and pain-filled life.

But here I am complaining. I do that well.

I can complain about anything at any hour.

I highly recommend it. It is rather cleansing.

 

I USED TO BELIEVE

I used to believe.

I used to believe when I looked something in the eye I believed it,

I believed it was so. I trusted other things, people.

I was young and needed to believe in the other.

Now that I am old I don’t need to believe anything, not even myself.

Everything has its worth, even lies, and nobody knows what the truth of anything is anyway, so lies are the only things we may go by.

Choose your truth, but never believe it.

I know there are things that choose us, but in the end they disappear.

Nothing survives.

This may or may not be true.

I AM BLACK

I eat on black plates

I eat black food on black plates

I drink black tea in black cups

The sun shines black on me, too.

 

Black sucks in light,

meaning it contains light.

I am the Real Light, it says,

the hard shapes you see in day

disappear at night,

I own them.

 

Black is the color of sleep.

We rest in black

if black so desires,

or

black wields a whip

to keep us out,

starve us from our dreams.

 

While other colors strike poses,

play party games,

black remains serene

like an unruffled butler.

Distinguished

Absolute

A master of circumstance,

black rules quietly.

 

Black is jazz,

a burning saxophone on

the summer pavement,

slow drinks,

sex, easy and long.

 

Black is the dislocated,

sirens blaring to upset

delicate ears,

Police bullets spray,

the city is turned into

a trauma unit.

 

No,

don’t mess with black,

because black has been here

even longer than truth.

She is the Great Mother,

Africa,

the earth

that can swallow you.

 

So,

rise now,

and raise your glass to black,

in Coca Cola or in Russians.

And, remember,

everything goes with black,

it’s a well known custom.

 

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

mysteries, and wonder

what artwork to expect fashioned

this day by the devil’s mouth,

what shapes will the body of

the snake take, whether pointed

or curved like punctuation, or rather

coiled almost seamlessly into an O.

I don’t know.

Death’s needs hold sway,

its 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,

focusing down, I lean on the handle,

and with sadness, wave my goodbyes.

LATE SUMMER

The feeling of drowning in morning light, cloud power and the dreamy skull, the promise of the blues gone forever. In the blonde blondness of the day, the caramel coated summer passing in a slow motion mirror, the trees cheerful as they sink into a yawn. It is a famous present, whispering seasonal traffic, the angle of a sun-splashed brick wall. A cityscape delirium. I exit my closet, blink orange, and I’m there, Sunday Morning by Lou Reed, and I don’t know what to bring to this last gasp of summer. It is a little like being invited to a beheading. How long will it take, will there be neck tightness, bleeding colours? I don’t know. Nobody knows when it comes to transitions, nobody’s an expert. And I don’t want to know. I prefer my windowpanes vague. I hope we can cut to the chase with a sharp blade, avoiding the tangled up telephones, the exhausting positions, the gum ache. I might be doing something wrong. I wish it were not so.

UNTITLED

Everything went dark

The screen eclipsed

I felt for your hand

I couldn’t resist

 

Your mouth restrains me

Your tone is harsh

I withstand your judgement

I stand apart

 

These years don’t matter

When you strike that pose

The distance we travel

Leaves us alone

 

Solitude in the afternoon

The sky wakes up

I wish I could be there

In a slim neat cup

 

I’m going toward something

The wind at my back

I’ll get somewhere one day

Beyond the pins and the rack

 

If this means something

If this makes some sense

You‘re in the middle

Of this whole bloody mess