Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This One Time (written in 2001)

"Well," I said to myself more than to Steve, "this must be it.
This’s gotta be the place.”



Steve just looked at me kinda funny as we pulled to the curb,
then he looked away and said, “Yeah.”



The car stopped shaking, just like a beat up vibrating bed
in some shitty Reno motel room.



All alone when your quarter runs out.


And somehow I just knew: it was gonna happen today.


It would start the second I got out of the car and walked up the stained cement stairs to the chipped black and tan door. 

As soon as I rang the doorbell.


Steve was looking at me again, measuring me really, but trying to make it look like he was popping a zit in the mirror, or
rearranging his greasy dark hair under his stained and smashed out black felt hat.



It was no use, I knew. Call it a gut feeling. Intuition.
Fucking unavoidable. Whatever.



“So, you coming?” I asked him, even though I could tell there
was no way he would.



He looked at me for real. Just for a second. “Why?” he mumbled, moving his eyes quickly to his hands at
the bottom of the steering wheel, “You know these people,
right? You have dealt with them before, ri-i-ight?”



“Yeah-- okay, okay,” I said, cutting him off. “Message received loud and clear. You just keep thinkin’ good thoughts.”


Then, all in one motion, I swung my body to the right, pulled
hard on the door handle, and as the door went flying open,
leaned my way out of the car as it was still rolling to a stop.



"Here we go."


In just a few steps my hand will be reaching out for the cracked off-white plastic button of their dangling, rusty doorbell.


It reminded me of a snail’s eye hanging there. A fucked up
snail’s eye.



Broken. Dangling.


One, two, three. Up the steps two steps at a time in my beat-up K-Mart™ winos.


The snail's eye hanging, red and white wires creeping out of a
jaggedly cut hole in the lumpy stucco frosting of the porch.



I heard Steve start the car up behind me. I rang the doorbell.


"This is it," I kept thinking. "This is it."


I could hear footsteps behind the door, getting closer. Muffled.

Then a sound. A small kid shouting in another room--the TV-- what was that?


“Hey, it’s me,” I said through the door. 

“Gary? Hey, Gary,” I muttered, rapping lazily on the door with the back of my hand.


The floorboards made that distinctive creak: a human weight
on the other side of the door. 
I could feel it under my feet, through the floorboards of the porch, through the doormat.



"Maybe they’re looking at me right now," I thought, staring at the dark domed glass of the peephole.


“Come on, come on…” Rubbing the palms of my hands up and down the sides of my burgundy corduroy pant legs.


Was that sound the chain lock slowly being undone? What the hell was taking so long?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Papa's Hands

hands like hard-ridden saddles
weather worn and tanned
a red near cordovan 
nearer to the sunset-lit red cliffs
ancient river rocks now standing alone
where he grew up where he was a boy
old old Mexican man selling ropes
and telling stories of getting robbed
by Billy the Kid

hands like massive slabs

dense muscle scarred and scabbed 
too big for most things
but nimble and agile 
in ways that seemed impossible

hands like sandpaper 

infused with tiny shards of coral
but warm and kind to a tiny 
person animal 
metal part fragile paper

careful tools to be used 

in a thousand varied ways
in the oil-scented garage workshop 
spotlessly clean yet cluttered 
parts and manuals bulbs and screwdrivers 
needlenose pliers magnifying glasses

hands that had already handled 

things too big for just one man
under the unrelenting 
New Mexico sky 
alone with the dogs 
and the fear-filled eyes 
of several hundred 
head of cattle

Negative Enzymes

your face is a hole in the ground
and I'm not stepping in it

nor am I filling it with water

or soil or anything like that

I shall pay it no attention more


the yelling, yeah it's a little hard to take seriously

but the sentiments are sincere, sincere and exhausted

we both know we're good at stripping other peoples' wires

what new do we gain by re-enacting it?

your mother is gone, soon mine will be too

one less person who, beyond having the bandwidth, actually cares

whether we as fucked up, amazingly creative, 

people will actually do better

than just survive, beyond 

not stabbing ourselves with knives

causing our own bodily distress with all the lies

we tell in silent whispers every minute of all the time

your eyes didn't show any kind of surprise

your gestures seemed slow and rehearsed, sadly tired

so familiar, so nostalgic

so hungry for this damaged routine

I fell for it, just like with my mother

raised my temper, then my voice (or was it the other order?)

your will is your own

as mine is mine

kicking holes in the speakers

don't make them louder

everything dying away from you, 

from us, not really dying 

but doing a life-saving 

job of pretending

withering then 

escaping into rest

into a world that shines with light and acceptance

that shares, loves, and makes friends with

our reality more like a martial arts movie

all bursts of air and violent shifting

gestures honed

slices rendered 

economical

with minimal exertion

causing damage, sure

there's history

a traceable lineage 

of secret societies 

carefully killing people

under the guise of refined art

no more than your face empty

where a hole used to be

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

La Virgen de No Recordar

the terrain is so familiar particularly in the near unconscious state you find yourself in now who knows how many hours since your last stop or a drop of water quenching with a scream which runs through your entire muscular system like a full body patch of shade stumbled into like a nearsighted mirage up close all over you sudden like a panther hard to remember that time now conditions shifted to such a more extreme magnitude magnified to a scale familiar in the abstract only previously suddenly currently a painlessly burning reality mechanically lifting each foot and barely remembering to try to maintain balance to stay upright to try to remember that inherently humans have one leg slightly longer only slightly shorter than the length of an exhausted breath exhaled partially through your nose mouth and eyes if your senses can be trusted and let's face it at this point who are you even talking to right now are you in a shower or is that just the weight of the sun on your scalp your back the backs of your legs one only slightly longer the other only slightly shorter than the other that can lead to walking in long long long loping circles hypnotically drifting like the most graceful trapeze artist swinging endlessly from one perfectly lit silk-wrapped bar to another and who can even remember where it was that you were hoping to arrive earlier when you were departing originally your cracked lips moving but only your last motivations escaping

My book is out now from Punk Hostage Press.

Available from CreateSpace.com

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

21st Century Metaphor Prison

"...imagine all the people..."  -John Lennon

drawn entirely in negativity

wired like a waterlogged cell
minimalism as soul crushing device
form and function blended into a
fluid plastic weapon
like the base unit human
cost-heavy inhabitant 
the energy unit
tattooed and mutilated
the gun of a rich man
unbalanced human tragedy
some would say to hide him
inconspicuous ward of an
unnamed privately run unit
rather than Walmart poor farm
$5 belts for your convenience
dressing pods less 
discreet than you'd imagine
today is a jazz jam gone wrong
too drunk too high too gone to care
the day so young and cold
you'd think it was less than 
25 yrs old
so bright and unfocused
scattershot geniuses
drawn into negative trips
a man who had the strength
lived it out in the public world
shot down in the streets
too big to be swept up easily
instead made martyr in the
questionable clouds of American rock
the mess we all made together
a decade and a half smeared in the
whitewash of gov't dismantling
they thought they got us
snuffing out the stars 
in a generational sky
they made a newer
stronger monster
we mourn sure
but we're just too young
we the moving
won't be contained
can't be stopped 
by anything but death
or his ugly younger sister, age
my whole world is coated

in the iridescent sheen of
other people's lies
wondering about the future
could be a pessimistic fantasy
first class pass to isolated mediocrity
but don't you let them
don't you dare let them

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Listen, Claire

If you have nothing
left to offer me
then yeah
don't call me

until the next time

you feel like shit 
& no one in 
your shitty world
seems to give a fuck 

I'll still be here

loving you more 
than Sparks

Operation Kinky Blankets

I don't wanna
know your name
I don't care
I say that over
and over again
I say it
I don't care about your
haircut your pants your ironic
sweatshirt mustache face-plant
your naked flesh revealed
in hope of temporary Nirvana
the flashing hope in your eyes
at least some white flashes
of light inside your eyelids
every once in a while
head tilting back in ecstasy
some black stitches
inside your bottom
lip hanging loose in shock
after such a fall
happening like children
toes curling into myth
off the bed and onto the dirty carpet
I understand your paranoia
but still want you naked
all over my fantasies sweating
writhing like a jerk-off
on the shiny cold hood
of any number of overpriced
hotel rooms the champagne
arriving too late
and all you heard them say was
pain yes pain again
I don't wanna wreck your vision
or upset the apple turnovers
already in session
in league with a whole league
of lonely wolven travelers
John Lennon fans each one to
a man a woman a consenting
adolescence spent wandering
the horny back seats of
America radio light the only
chance of survival the station
signal like your memories of
virginity distant fuzzy and not
quite in line with what's outside
the fogged up windows
flashing lights and the knock of metal
flashlights on glass
I don't care who sees me naked
erect like standing stones
cold with every tooth chattering
red and blue
flashing like a disco
they don't care about our notions
our expectations or our truth
they only know if they feel sympathy
and people like us
make them root
for the bad guys winning
if only while naked
pried like a pearl
from a desperate backseat
wound tight in confusion
shirt balled over my crotch
I don't care I say
hair a deadened tangle
teary eyed and ready
I don't care


Monday, December 02, 2013

PICTUREPLANE - "POST PHYSICAL"

Untitled 2 (Written in 1995)

"Simplicity without simpleness," I think,
then: "Simplicity without boredom
is more of the pared-down moon
than we are

Satori, I mean
in the breath of stars are
the magic peaches of jazz
and honest laughter"

At Frank's on Thursday night we drink Pyramid Ale
and condescend to each other in simple language
hardware store employees feeling the slap of "loser"
and humming with George's homegrown

Head-down loss and lostness
shrugging the pain back into the gentle valley
you left in my mattress

it's already a year
since I lived in a ghosthouse
with your furniture
and all my stars died

Yellow rose blossoms
and a faint bloodstain
in the cotton blur of sheets

Cathartic always sounds like "lethargic"
my cocoon now a Chinese finger trap:
the toilet paper rolling
toward the end of my life

Tired, poor and confused
I buy a new pair of shoes
do a Fall dance to the end of things ripe 
and sweet with chin juice

Lone trumpet pinches
the ass of my typewriter thoughts
and sends me stumbling bumbling

into your time with nothing
but a shadow full
of rocks and 
some broken beer bottles

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

COIL - "Backwards"

COIL Day / -2 + 1 = ∞

when it is both an immersion 
and a stripping away 
to sit alone on a chair 
of Chinese plastic 
facing a window 
without being able to...

Oh, so many things!

"It's in my blood!" 
Jhon Balance screams out again today
with an intensity that few have 
particularly among the dead
drunk sacrificed from a balcony 
onto cold marble below
his last pie dropped from such a height yet 
still cooling on the ground
spread out now 
like the contents of a handbag 
now to the multiverse
another tiny ripple sent out 
his truly meaningful echo
defying age by sliding the web 
being immergent for so long 
you actually become part of it
in physics we call it momentum 
it is momentous
my ability to be alone in my room 
with a dead man 
with a couple of dead men
everything backwards
crooning grinding out magick 
electric channels max'd
cold sunlit spaces pictureless and worn 
out with white plaster lumps
scars built up from all the years 
of sleepers and stayers

now mine I fill it with boxes 
of things I drag along 
and share
Sleazy's invisible fingers 
still make it happen
push Jhon further
samplers whirring
dipping like songbirds 
like night birds lurking
these lines keep coming 
ebbing up to me 
like tentative kittens
all tiny faces 
filled with innocence 
hunger and rage 
tiny razor claws and teeth

to spend so much time alone and working
dedication to a practice mad 
bent toward delusion creation
thousands of kittens ripping 
piercing the worn denim of my legs
ever more kittens and their chosen 
soundtrack is all pre-written pre-recorded
flute haunting the call 
of a silhouetted bird 
with sheening black feathers
giving a moment's union
still dug in and
underlining the alone of this

Monday, November 25, 2013

From a Napkin Drawing Made a Few Days Ago


Purple Blinds


COIL - "Where are You"

Unconventional

cross a whole bunch of lines
grains of sand built up under toenails
mild discomfort expands rapidly
as you finish making scraping boundaries
shadow already catapulting past
gets to the point where you're just breaking backs
hopping from line to line and flying
trapeze style over the flaming remains of social convention
that word makes me imagine a whole auditorium filled with your type
it would be noise canceling itself in a conference room near an airport or pier
you wouldn't need no steenking bodges
go on you know you want to cross another one
break down your own neck
deal away your own deck of morality
claim everything and own nothing in the name of youthful vanity
toenails longer than they should be
dark grains almost like jewelry in the tender folds between
nature's own pixels displaced
constantly stimulated and simultaneously constipated
assessing what the conventional limitations might be
in order to race through them a screaming nude attacking
society's negative hang ups
our tiny shriveled shame exposed
pants pulled down we try not to cry in front of them
destroy the other person's face and head
use a blunt heavy object if possible
repeat a forceful downward striking motion
once dominance has been established
I guess this is it
where the horror sets in and poetry can't
this is my turn to take my own advice
eat my own lunch blood up to the armpits
made up of smoldering remains myself
head caved in melon
hot and rotten from the sun
so we won't have to look
watching my own face fold again
crossing some lines some might say
right as rain to wash wash wash this
hard to focus on criticism from this position
cross some lines and break away
bolt for the fence they may not shoot
the black metal of their guns
just something else glinting in the dark

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lovers

one of my favorite moments with you 
is always yet to come
you bring the fire 
to its biggest point
imagined actualization before 
actual thrill-filled realization
mounting the roller coaster together
side by side 
if only for a night
a day confused 
by wind and breakfast
on the table
yr phone & my phone 
left sitting neglected 
unattended
we hold hands 
listing in subtle hangovers
our quiet loving talk 
a deck shuffled 
seamlessly together
between sips of mimosa

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dagoba Scanlines

why does everything we have have to be
buckled into scrubs a handclap of plastic
a more than faster jog 
toward the point where we began 
giving it all we've got a trot 
swimming side by side through the storm
roles rotating like clockwise persons
rowing our arms like oars 
wings of reclaimed wood
cutting into the cloudy darkness 
flying a wind-whipped flag by your side
hovering in queen space over the world lords
astonished and buckled into stratosphere
recreated in a series of nods and snorts
a marbled collection of regrettable moments
presaged and foretold in a complicated ritual
of grunts and sub-guttural exclamations
hearing the scattered voicemails of
a retired porpoise trainer and reggae music impresario
formerly known simply as "Dario"
handclap-sounding cascading bullet fire
punctuating a memory of childhood slights
clotted under sickle moons the hairs from the block tangle
the roots pull up and tear out of the ground
a black and brown sunflower whispering for death
rending the earth of roots and branches
your videos make you seem even further away
my already hungry body digesting itself
footfalls used far too often in relation to the wind
to the descending shimmer of first true rainfall

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time Traveling Retribution

If someone really wanted to hurt Antioch California in 1983, all they had to do was declare a citywide ban on the music of AC/DC. Or Black Sabbath. Or Led Zeppelin. The penalty would be death, of course, but first you'd have your mullet shaved off and your eyes made up with women's makeup and your lips all rouged with shiny red lipstick if you were a man, or as long as this would be both humiliating and abhorrent to you personally, as well as to the general population present to watch and make this a historical milestone in the outlying, socially backward, township. That or make it illegal (under penalty of death) to have a long handled Goody comb in your back pocket, matters not the color. Or a heavy silver chain to your wallet. Or to wear any kind, or iteration, of Harley Davidson thermal shirt. Or bell bottom jeans (yes, in 1983). Or to yell, utter, mutter, growl, or scream the word "faggot". If you really wanted to cripple Antioch California in 1983, all you'd really have to do is outlaw anyone riding a BMX bicycle around town, on the sidewalks or in the streets. And if you combined any of these separate, yet deadly, infractions, the city officials would be given permission to dress you in an outfit made entirely of cheap white toilet paper and spin you around on a flaming wheel in the middle of the most beautiful part of the city park until you puked and puked. All this to add to your punishment for daring, in either direction. For trying so blindly to blend into the pack of Hun-like heathen punishers. In their pickup trucks with spiked baseball bats and branding irons, on the hunt. Or at the biker bar behind the Panther Drive-In or parked ominously behind the Campanil theater, down by the black and slow-moving water. If you, like I, really wanted to hurt Antioch back then.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gimme the Night / Your Job Or Your Life

if you're given instructions for cardboard boxes
don't go knitting sweaters 
for super friends in transit
the wheels on the bus 
touch all kinds of stuff
then you get your gum 
under your gums
and got stuck in front 
of the grand jury
a flurry of events 
and bad decisions covered up
the indecision that led to true contrition 
before a doe-eyed fawn
a pawn eating prawns or were they crawdaddys 
it don't matter a lick really
we're on our own damned way to chilly Philly 
to buy us a cheez steak grilly
that shit wasn't in the written instructions 
the bold-faced compunction
of a zeal rinsed function 
prevention is the zit faced stepson 
of indecision
the trumpet music seems lost 
in a house of mirrors 
just now the fanning out 
notes bounce around the carpeted and wood paneled lobby
when I'm not guessing the age 
of recently deceased loved ones
my real job my one true hobby 
is playing bongos in time with the histrionics
of over-tired mall trapped toddlers 
when first realizing their station their position
and their stance 
it really is nothing more 
than a strobe punctuated 
coconut-flavored smoke-filled function 
a dance

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers - "Stuck in the Middle" (Stealers Wheel cover)

Feel Me?

Contemplate complicate 
coruscate aggregate or confiscate
excuse the ruse of the blues-infused
local yokels crooning nearly yodeled
vocals broken into smoldering tokens
the lap steel can't feel the
downpour of tears in beers 
in unison with venison baskets 
filled with caskets
satchels full of 
vassals sent pounding down 
the stone of crumbling old castles
acting factions expound fractional
stunted bouncing aspects
grunted instructions lending credence
to all of your pixelated grievances

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

too full to resist

this is how we lost
all to a beating heart
uncorked and reaching
wide covered and 
lost between fingers
broad cat sweeps
feeding on grease
dirt into data 
turned away
the sweetest pleasure
eyes knowing all secrets
it felt different deep inside
no answer when held
all the air now smoke
some of us look like shit
the beautiful people 
never seem to realize
the world is a haze
falling into silence
tears in the eyes
another night nearly done
most probably fucked
curious but never talked about
demons and gods
touched and tasted
chances falling toward 
a dark place filled
with great beasts
nipping with curiosity
bow down to the dogs
a kind of warning
ignored by the air
the metal smell of stars
crazy tribe of wastrels
bunched into onlookers
burning shit gone cold
smoke still coming back
'til loveable flesh is lost