Categorypoetry

kelp

k

we all saw them nobody can ever take that away from us we saw what we saw not remembering who saw first or who insisted pull over get out not one of us will forget the first thrill the first image the awe the amazement

on the top of a bluff maybe a hundred feet above the water the air was clear the mid-day sun behind us the view spectacular the scattered white tips of the gentle undulating waves sliding over rocks

collective nouns for harbor seals include bob colony crash harem herd knob plump pod rookery spring team

we bantered settled on bob because that’s what they were doing what must have been one two three hundred of them just floating suspended in the waves for those few moments nothing else would have felt more sublime how lucky to witness the meditative wonder the oceanic grace

whose idea was it to get the binoculars?

the lizard of Tarsus

t

somewhat inspired by Jim Grimsley‘s play, The Lizard of Tarsus

there may still
be a lizard
beyond the pail
in the dark
beyond the…

(i’m not going
there again
anymore saith
the grim
hemophiliac
playwright)

J. never did
come back
to the fold
after all that
furor and frenzy

still
the peasants
wait
for his
second word

here’s a clue
for you all
the lizard was Paul

the shortest distance (running up that hill)

t

I’ve thought about suicide once or twice…
I’ve thought about suicide a few times…
I’ve thought about suicide a lot…
I think about suicide every day…
say, if only I could, oh…

my birth
happened in the now
which means it’s happening as I speak

my death
will happen in the now
which means it’s already happened

I am born
I write these words
I am dead

I made a deal with god
I got him to swap our places
been running up that road
been running up that hill

I am borne
I wrote those words
I am dead

I made a deal with god
I got him to swap our places
been running up that road
been running up that hill

thinking about burning a bush…
thinking about a burning bush…
if only I could…

this poem wasn’t inspired by but borrows from a Kate Bush song, “Running Up That Hill”

there’s a man

t

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
boom, we die

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
a dud

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
boom, he says

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade floats up into
the sky

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade

there’s a man standing in front of me

there’s a man

Key West Lyric

K

my head is smoldering
on the hipster beer porch
after this morning’s hot yoga class
in the garden of Gehenna
otherwise known as Key West
aka the laryngoscopical paradise

lacking a sufficient harborside view
I am content admiring
the evaporating condensation
from the glass on my table
well it’s not mine really
I’m just harboring it
in the shape of a long
dong and silver
skinny cock

what more can you say
meaning can I say
than that
then that
and no it’s not
a Rhorshack blot
a Horschak plot
it really is a rooster
I block you not
it must have jumped up
on my table from the sidewalk
the previously clarified table
when I wasn’t drinking thinking

Key West is
a white boy rapper’s
fantasy fest
of tropical spew
brought to me by
Emcee Cous-Cous and His Berry Band
reverb set to eleven
the sons-of-conchs
won’t stop hocking
their empty no trespassing
craft booth Cubacabana ice cream
transgender hot dog
contemporary tattoos
in baked Bahamian accents

if it will make the thumping stop
soothe my bleeding eyes
sink the Santa Cruise Shits
derail that wonk train
I’ll take one of those
fry-grease-paint sunset
fuck you pink tease shirts
you know the ones I mean
the ones with the mermaid
on the back
wide-open parrot legs
pissing in a sidewalk cup

earlier on the beach
not thinking of Neville Shute
I dared myself
to write a sentence or a poem
using the word parallax*
and now I think I’ve done it

* the apparent displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object [Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. 2019.. Web. 13 Jun. 2019.]

smooth dog fish

s

the sea lion swims
in tiny circles
of apathetic and
unknowable rage
resignation
against the smooth fluorescent
swimming pool blue
concrete
or is it cement
I can never remember
the fish dog flips
flippantly
flipping
whiskers up
huffs it’s baited breath
whisper bark
the breadth of
the twenty-four-seven
lighted aqua chamber
(everybody else has long gone home)
circus rung
prison lung
that’s one smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooth dog fish

untitled (still the breeze)

u

dry, dry air, moss, lichen, pale green, grey-green, sage, gnarled, twisted branches, dusty, olive leaf, olive berry, olive (the color), aubergine, (purple), sword leaf, star-shaped, shifting, drifting, swaying, trees, branches, leaves,

the deck I’m sitting on, with it’s 6” wide boards is the color of beach sand, the common kind, sand cliché, picaresque (I think), that table and chairs there a crate and barrel picture, stabbing leaves pointing to the sky (beyond the Walker Metal® railing), the sky is sky blue, the sparse, slowly moving white clouds cloud white, cotton white,

brown grass out there, in the view, under the trees, through the trees, deer brown, foal brown, mustard brown, not brown,

hummingbird,

breeze, distant highway sounds (distant highway), bird sounds, chirping sounds, buzzing sounds,

yellow, mustard yellow, mustard yellow (not dijon), hot dog yellow, a falling leaf, an occasional falling leaf, over there, over there, a fence, fence posts, fence wire, over there, lines and angles, green-grey round post lines, evenly cut posts, over there,

seven golden leaves artfully arranged on the deck, all face down, dead leaves, the shadows of (other) leaves on the deck more alive, fluttering, alive, the shadows of the black rails, dark parallel lines, contrasting,

my feet on the table, coffee table, metal table, Walker Metal®, the sofa opposite, the couch opposite, the metal couch sofa, the white upholstery, the black pillow, the black pillow with white lines, black and white shapes, my feet, crossed, my feet crossed, my ankles, my dirty feet, dusty feet, the lines where my sandals were,

distant barking, a caw, flying insects, still the breeze

Invocation to Pork & Beans

I

I call to Carna, Goddess of pork and beans,
Bringer of health and strength to the physical body,
Defender of children and other human beings,
Lord of the Vital organs,
especially, the lungs, intestines and heart.

I call to Carna, also known as Crane, Sacred Witch.
sworn enemy of screech-owls, vampires, rapists and cads.
Protect our bodies from violation,
ravishment and desecration.

I call to Carna, also known as Carradora,
Una Strega Buona,
Free us from guilt, shame and the chains of silence
that we may open our hearts
to the wonder of imagination and creativity,
and to the experience of joy,
which is our birth-right.

on the nature of coincidence

o

on the morning of september 11, 2001 i looked at the clock (digital) on a wall of my kitchen to see the time was 11:11

i then immediately heard behind me the ‘tink tink tink’ sound from my phone indicating a voice message had been received

i did not hear the ring tone of the arriving call because my phone was programmed not to ‘disturb’ me before 11:11

the call came in just enough time before 11:11 that i was not disturbed by it’s commencement

the message left by the caller ended at exactly 11:11 which is why i heard the three tinks

on my 11th birthday i played a game with the neighborhood children in which i was a crazy character named ‘leventy ‘leven

i ran and jumped and fell and ran and jumped and did cartwheels and I feverishly repeated the words, ‘i’m ‘leventy ‘leven! i’m ‘leventy ‘leven’ while the others tried to avoid me

my friend stephen adams died in one of the towers

these events must be related and so they are

eggplant ashes in the dust bin of his story

e

sad plum—
a passion of fruit,
alit from
his palm
his pain

a few whispered words in the looming air
lavendar
sorrow
grief
regret

a teeny, tiny, tinny, toy piano
goes plink
plink
plink

The View (from here)

T

Screaming motorcycles
encircle my house
triggering a fear
of the dangers of
daring to be young
again.

On top of that
all the birds
a round here
are refusing to
co operate.

I remember leaping
over the handle
bars and painting
the street with
several inches of
my fore head skin.
(I did not say
fore skin.)

The She-Male House Finch
inserted it’s face in
the bird feeder (w)hole
where it stuck
to comical effect.

One motor cycle
in particular
sounds like a
dentist’s drill
while the others
drown it out with
their incessant
shift ing.
(I know that that
doesn’t make sense.)

Hop ping limbs
like ladders
the Tom Boy Finch
refuses to look
me in the eye
accusing my
slothful style
of deferring Spring.

All I ever wanted
for christmas was
the pride of a
bloody lip and a
gaping (w)hole that
once up on a time
was my two front
teeth.

A scourge of thirteen
neck and fist tattooed
Alien Starlings
wearing Ray Bans
threatened to take
every thing I own
before turning away
on mass (as) they
changed their
collective mind.

That gear box scar
runs from my old
neighborhood under
Bob’s Big Boy buns
all the way to
my present left hand
thumb which was n’t
protected by my
sixties style
white helmet.

Hammering, jammering,
blinking and blanking,
the god damned!
Chickadee Task Masters
are shoving all my
best ideas in to
someone else’s
chimney.

They aren’t even real–
meaning authentic–
meaning tangible–
meaning dirty–
meaning real–
bikers–
just paunchy dads
drinking Foster’s
“Australian for Beer”
in cans.

I think I’ll stay
in side to-day

unless that
Miniature Hawk
comes back
with my
glasses.

Waiting to be Paid

W

for Robert Earl with love

In the beginning was the word
and the word was Rob’t Earl,
a live wire from the streets,
a direct hit to the heart.

Word be,
he be cool, be cool,
he be hot.

A warrior of the human kind,
he declares his ‘legiance
with a scarf of calico colors
on a Monkish head.

He be cool, be cool.
Word,
he be hot.

The vamp of Hunter St.
is an elegy
spilled in cursive neon blood
on the sidewalks of our minds.

He be cool, be cool,
he be scat,
he be one cool cat.

Those who read him
are sure to note
the blackest of cats
is a panther,
sleek, savage, satin and ready,
looking for prey
but not really wanting an answer.

He be cool, be cool,
he be hot, be hot,
he be gee be,
he be bop.

Pandemonium Hexagram

P

three baby elephants
in a sandy desert pit
— the receptive earth above —
stirring up dust and dirt
a contained mayhem
running nilly willy
trying to escape

unaware of impending
danger from above
— the arousing thunder below —
thirteen toothless
Pteranodon!!!
fly circles over head
with a plan of attack

the image is Pandemonium

untitled (empty)

u

fountain mist
bare feet
cold metal rail

empty sky
empty tree
empty nest

a drifting headless duck

empty words
empty mind
empty heart

Grace

G

She stands out there for the world to see,
her undecided right arm raised
against the ash grey sheet,
neither beckoning nor saluting,
four stubby half fingers
mocking the wave you might prefer
to have seen.

I can hear the river outside,
over there,
behind that stone wall,
surging, soaring, roaring,
flushing, rock and rolling,
over the steady electric hum
behind me,
the stainless steel elephant
deciding whether to charge or
sink to it’s knees in silent grace.

There is water on the wood,
stain on the concrete
and a shine on the surface of
that tarnished lady
as she finger paints
steely fractal greeting cards
against a  colorless sky.

How did she get that rusty patina
and peel’t skin and those
dark circles ’round her eyes?

How long must she mourn
in that starkly public way,
summoning nothing or
signaling no-one or
high-fiving and diming
anyone who cares
to look?

Fruit Lady

F

In her previous life
she held up the roof
of a high school gymnasium.

She misses the sneaker chirps
and the thap, thap, thap
of bouncing orange balls
less than she enjoys
being upright in the sun
bearing only the weight
of an imaginary fruit bowl
on her upturned head.

With her sculpted
muscular arms,
slender, hip-less torso
and pubescent boy breasts
she looks more like
a young Heracles
than her Brazilian Bombshell
name sake.

Her primitive serpentine shadow
lengthens with the day
as the sun slowly etches
bronze and orange age spots
in streaked lines across
her dark brown metal skin.

Forever frozen in profile
walking a Junkanoo two-step line
she sings through
finger-thick lips
her Caribbean song to the sky.