I wake in Madrid
Of the bullet
In my throat
Like live ordnance
In a graveyard
Would you read
My essays if
Written in blue
Transcribed by the
Whore of wasps
I searched for a flaw
In her acronym
Only to arrive
Like a letter
In tennis shoes
Which we called
Sneakers back where
I grew up
Patent offices and airport detention centers
Seeking the new you
Built from the ground
Up and teaching the poor
How to read Lorca
Email by email.
How many tarantulas can you fit On the head of a pin? I managed forty-six once, Long ago, before I went in the army. Then again, it was a large pin. Now, I no longer have the gumption Nor the legs to chase them down And mold them into the sleek smooth fighting machines Necessary to take a crap In the face of Fate. That is a young man’s game And as you can deduce From my glitches and echoes I can do crazy all by myself. Then again, without spiders One does get a tad lonely.
So put on a kimono and come On over to my house, The walls are made of fire And whiskey runs from the tap. I’ll conjure up a new math So Heaven can be a round-trip ticket. I wouldn’t trade this life For all the stars in my pockets. We’ll raise pigeons And name each one Hope Then release them into the sky Covered red-shouldered in hawks. Then when the report Gets in the hands of document control We’ll turn on the invisible ink And the streets will run transparent with tears. How many birds does it take To fill the sky?
Enough to count backwards From Infinity Yet again despite the plentitude Of pulchritude we are subjected to In the world we relent. I’d like to be a ghost anymore, A beginning but no end Passing through and passed through All of us and all of it. When I feel powerless I feel angry. Spare me the ones who want to live, They don’t say anything I haven’t heard before.
Show me the ones mad to die And there you’ll have your novels, cities, Grocery stores, umbrellas, opossum traps, X-ray machines and all of the everything else That we strive for to keep us awake Tasting like a slow poison From an ex-lover whose meatloaf Never tasted so good so we, We just keep shoveling and shoveling And shoveling it in…
Swimming with the tigers
I wave to the sharks on the shore
Steeped in tears the day breaks away
Like a string of pearls jerked from about a neck
Each tiny universe cascading from doom
To rebirth, renaissance daily,
Only the format at our discretion
Unspools over the lips of our smiles
Our ancestors feared falling from trees
While we work for the luxury to divine omens
And the world’s roundness is perfected
In the hungry bellies of soon-to-be saints.
Hoot says the owl
Wide awake at 3 am
As we frolic at the end of the world.
He can finally get some sleep.
I was driving
Home to her
And a warm bed
Don’t have wings
And can be stuffed
Into green beer bottles
So I stop for a coffee to go
But the barrista doesn’t
Know me without her.
What a gift:
Her henna red hair
Draping her white neck.
I stuff a dollar in the tip jar
And make it for here.
Whistle down the bones
Exhausted from gumption &
Multiplying like twin voids
When the go-getters get all they got.
Failing backwards has its own aplomb;
Hieroglyphics of match-stick men
Humped on the back of a black Mariah
Divine a flight through the goalposts
On a crisp autumn afternoon.
The goat well-cooked,
The libations pungent and flowing
Like a crested river in Springtime.
The mountains lachrymose,
The sky pink and fertile,
The woman painting their eggs
And the men plaiting the fallows.
I’ve never thrown anything off a bridge my son said to me fondling the dirty old Heineken bottle he had found on our walk through the woods. It was one of those pure, crystalline autumn mornings when the sun was beginning to round off the edges of the season’s first frost. We were bathed in pure, warming, unmitigated daylight but still his words shook me, sent a shiver through me that felt like an overloaded 18 wheeler Peterbilt rumbling over the WPA Bridge over St. Joe’s crick, its driver in his 13th hour as the yellow jackets swarmed at his fingertips.
It was a lot of fun growing up in the 70’s back in PA. School sucked but summers lasted longer. Bullying was still in vogue and either toughened you up or thinned the herd. We hardly met anyone who didn’t look like us and if they did they moved along in a few years if not months. We threw anything and everything off bridges. And when I say anything and everything I mean lawnmowers, toasters, crayfish, Huffy five-speeds, GI Joes (Kung-Fu Grip© my ass, see you Hell, Soldier Boy…) and lemon pound cakes. If the occasional urchin or incorrigible miscreant crossed our path over it went. Sometimes we lit things on fire before subjecting them to gravity. Not the urchin or miscreant though. We had boundaries but were fierce like some kids were well-raised.
Then one day after hurling a particularly perfect shaman over the rail Cardigan and McCorduroy began an exchange that rumbled through our skulls like a tanker car on fire through a tunnel. Big-time. It was what one called a paradigm-shift back in those days. Should a dream have wings or a parachute?
Diploshevski asked, What’s a dream? And before Herman the German could light his untied shoelace like a fuse and cup his hands as if offering our boy a leg up into the saddle I waved him off and implored Plato and Aristotle to continue their discourse. If I was Cassandra I couldn’t have seen where this was going any clearer. More clearly.
And it wasn’t until that perfect fall morning that I recalled that day of reckoning. But it was like cracking a peanut shell only to find the nut inside withered and hard and inedible. I rued the day we asked questions vowing to only welcome the new day that brought the answers.
I guess it just sucks how much times have changed. I mean, what kind of world is this where a kid can get to be 11 years old without ever having thrown something off a bridge? So we rode over to a bridge spanning a rocky stream and he chucked the bottle. It smashed into brilliant green, glittering shards on the wet rocks below emitting a pop like some tiny universe contracting backwards into nothingness. He was delighted. I was proud. Dreams need neither wings nor parachutes.