Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Afternoon TV

The common caw
Of get involved with me
Rubs the entanglement ropes
The wrong way
And the puppet strings break
To free-fall flying through
What used to not be illusions
But palpable beads
Of crystal, the world 
Bounced up and down 
With somnolent echo
To efface the frack congress 
Of slack lackey flacks
On your behalf,
The ludicrous madhouse
Of plaints real
And remembered
In your vast entitlement writ
Of complaint
To steal everything outside
Into the hole you had to climb
Into, unrecognizable
To yourself
Just in time for a fade
Into a sunset no one sees
Or doesn't want to,
Your suffering neglected
Because it is taken on
For the collective, so they can
Look away
Or look so closely
They can't see what you 
Don't want them to see,
What you can't,
Librarian caught
In a classification scheme
Fit for priests 
Where emotion was spared,
Now needed 
A river of tears
As the sea recedes 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Carmel Mission

I break the silence
With these words of love
As I broke the bread
Of silence
So long ago
In these echoing halls

When we were one heart
In all but name,
Touch, kiss,
The sacred word
Flowed between us
Beyond words, beyond God,
The place we knew
But could never land

So we landed here
Our pure white wings
In service to suds
And feathers and lace
And each other,
The look of learning
In each eye,
A key to who we were
And will always be.

Books of symbols compromised
By the lack of proximity
To us,
Lace all that is left
Of our hands
That should have touched,
Our silence that was wasted
On no kiss.

But that is the way
Of the pilgrim,
To find in absence
What would be too much ...
What you are right now
A hundred miles away
In my very core.

So we continue
Where we broke off,
Waves that never stop
Reaching the shore.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Another Carmel Apartment

There's a rainbow on the sea
Where our Penelope
Awaits her invisible,
Her pinned shot fading
In his cell
For posterity,
Still glistening
His might-have-beens
Of dream,
The descriptions of home,
Bedsheets flying
Due to clothespins,
Car returning in grey
To an empty garage
In glory every day.

Does he stand on the gangplank longing?
Or does he know all this
Will end
Only when the knot is tied
To dock
And not a moment before,
No matter how tremulous the waves
Or uncanny the shore.

There are houses, now,
Encased in mist,
Lost in their views
From the hill,
The love inside
Too vulnerable
To be spied even with
The drapes flung wide,
Would-be widows at windows
With eyes that only mirror
What they see,
Eternal grey
To pierce again from sky
Another rainbow.

It only appears
When you least expect it,
Like the ghost horizon ship
That stays away from port
Dredging and dumping
In menial breath
Some black stuff that holds
All its value
In arm hurl and sinew
To serve it
At a reach

From where hearts are open
To receive,
By hearths that make quick work
Of it
In the name of things to burn
And share
And never run out
Of the need to share
It all.

The person there
Becomes whole
In the fire
Of give and take, 
Of nothing really,
Just a wish
That they would know,
In this case, the sea,
The impossible road
That lends itself
To nursery rhymes
Where serpents rescue nymphs
But goes silent
At the truth,

That no one rides
Its scales,
The heart is always
Somewhere else,
Frozen like an ice chunk
Under glass
Waiting for its maiden
Who will claim it
When the tide returns
What treasures the sea
Some rope, some kelp,
A handful of shell,
The things that stay
In sitting rooms
Memories of loss
And distance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


Western Union announces the birth of our daughter
29 years too late
But we're ecstatic anyway
Having finally left the sea
For desert shores
Where sun reports the afterbirth
To infinity,
Our carcass heaps
Happy as a dream
And still in a way that can only be
If each lives inside the other

It has been a long day
Of striped harlequin watching
And compliment fishing
With the denizens of Purple Town
Who huddle now like we once did at bonfires
And make babies like balloons
To scream into indifferent skies
The glee of their disquiet ...

But that was many years ago.
Our cold hands never really touched,
Our eyes never locked despite
How much our fingers shook
And pushed whatever bilge came up
Back down. 
The sun just glazed the rinse repeating days
With radiance for tears
That never seemed to end 
And never really appeared.

What is left of what never happened 
Is in what did:
A father's love, earth placed here
To contain it,
So he can be the one who climbs the cross
Like crows the sunrise for love.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Grief Trading Eights

How can the separation bring you closer?
The pain of love
Makes you see love
Is not pain
But a feeling 
That flows beyond all walls,
The very feeling
I came here for

And now I know what it means
To love what you don't get,
What you had.
Unbearable grief is the only way
To feel
The love
We are.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Jazz Baby

From Dirt for Sale, written August, 1991

Too many troubadours and no legitimate leader,
But the jazz baby can almost fly on his blue wing.

Every dream is owned by some unholy conglomerate,
But the jazz baby skreeks like the birds.

Rotted tyrants hold the Earth and its entire people hostage,
But the jazz baby will grab at anything he can reach.

The jazz baby hears in church bells things we'll never comprehend.

Every day more furniture is put out on the street,
But the jazz baby has a taste for everything left behind.

Discarded masterpieces float in the sewers,
But the jazz baby looks toward the blue in the skies.

When he looks at you, he smiles right through. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Elegy for Jesse

What many would consider to be the greatest tragedy, to lose a son, is equally the greatest treasure, to know in my life the true meaning of his life.

The streets are too soft.
Forgiveness comes too easily.
The people of the sun are unredeemed in this world.
We cannot hear their screaming,
As they move past us like shadows,
Who think their pain isn't real.

That's where Jesse chose to be,
Enjoying his stay
In the trestles and the drains, in plain sight
Hiding places, the overpasses,
Squat homes owned by kudzu, 
Alleys colder than the truth 
Spanging coin from the wits of his guitar
And spent his spare, never-wasted time in 
Loaded club rooms where his monk-robed friends 
Gathered as men to watch football and other slow suicides, 
Or in his well-tuned blue Suzuki with his beloved country bride
And adopted feline Weenie of the streets.
He was living his dream
Of complete self-sufficiency,
People were too easy to hurt otherwise
If reliant on their kindness in any way.

He made heroin cool again in Lynn,
Slept on its beach in fisherman's ice,
Carved up his arms for the unbelievable kick of it,
The kick of jumping off the roof
Got him locked inside a fine rubber room and orangeade
Institution of Higher Crazy, where he shared
His joy at Pops the Sailor
And the usual cast of characters he spent his time
Befriending, learning from, but mostly being amused,
Like a moth to the light, forever flying,
Forever learning how to find love, or, rather, apply it
To the unbelievable darkness at hand, inevitably a broken soul,
Someone lonely.

With, just as inevitably, a guitar, 
As in Witch City Salem, where he made his living 
From humility. Or in the City of the Queen, 
In whose service he always wound up, 
Fighting a well-intentioned army 
For the right to be free, to make his living from the street, 
The closest thing to natural we can find. 

And in many rooms he was alone, actually scared,
Tho' you'd never see that behind his Negro-level cool
That always relayed everything was 'ight
No matter how much you'd fret, he made it feel better,
Laughed at it before anyone else got a chance,
Jesse, old goat, wise philosopher,
Master of the bad-ass Geronimo Effect,
Who would rather share himself
Than win another war, the old general who 
Saw, finally saw, the most hardened of souls
And made them all better, for being true,
His impossible glee 
In bleakness unimaginable
For weeks, months, years on end.
He'd shrug and laugh, and, to comfort, say
"Anything is better than that damn shelter, son 
Almost as bad as the Gideons. They're the worst."

He was born high, in fact, at some faster vibration,
Some immediate knowledge of what God wants
His Children to do, full of cartoons, complete designs,
More life than a roomful of people, a Saturn of aliens
With lives like our own, in ice cream frequency detail,
Everything, in fact, included, all plastic toys were filled
With stories and tunes and sound effects, a soundtrack 
Constant as bird song.
And Jesse was a bird, just a little higher from us, 
Looking downward in love and wonder
With his ever-present cry: "Light!"
Which was joy,
Which was life

He would only consent to work for the birds.
As a boy, with a vision of his dream home
In McAlpine Creek Park, an old tree house 
In the woods, he saw as his key to freedom,
To grow green beans and peas
You can eat off the vines, to turn wood
Left for dead into doghouses for the poor,
And in time he became a scrap metal entrepreneur 
Who took only what was thrown away
In subdivision dumpsters 
And made it his own,
With the freedom from 
That he insisted upon,
To be an orderly with the blessed elderly, EMT, team leader
In the free people's union, and then be mechanic,
Roof mover, tattoo surgeon, 
Flying to and fro so effortlessly, as his heart not the man said
And you know who the man is,
The same one you once were and will be again
But this time, thanks to Jesse,
You will know how it feels 
To give love 
Without condition to his friends,

He rose to his station to wash the dustiest feet,
Menial to the mendicants as always,
Shaman of the streets, who did not believe
He was any less than anyone, or more ...

                               But his sunny orange turned blue
When he discovered he felt much more than the others,
Expected them to act more like the Children of God, 
Disappointed at himself to be disappointed by them, by us, 
For the humanity he chose
To experience, in the guise of a bird, a spirit of rising
From the mud where he played long after others had found
A warm bed and clean sheets to live their lives asleep.

And as the world prepared their Sunday night faces
For another round of dreams
He went out to demonstrate his love.
As if he knew when he was gone, we'd finally feel it.
His Passion was on Brookshire, a Roman chariot
For a distinctly non-Roman messiah
With a Jesus guitar for a cross
On a roadside Golgotha 
In a chord of God
Our song, not even knowing. 
He insists we must be joyous
At this time, even inside this ribcage prison, 
With a love only violence can show,
Where all I didn't know
Or couldn't understand
Came radiating through 
The angels and their wings
On the darkest of nights,
Like so many he remembers,
So pitch black he could see the birth of light. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Only Tears Allowed are Tears of Joy

Jesse McCulloch Sigler, 8/23/91 - 11/27/22

The death of someone close 
Is not always a bed of roses,
Sometimes it's a highway crucifixion
On a Jesus guitar
At a roadside Golgotha 
Whose chord of God
We sound with our song
Not even knowing,
Merely joyous inside the prison,
As he insists, with the love
Only violence can show,
Where all I didn't know
Or couldn't understand,
The love at the center of the gift,
Black chariot and doomed messiah,
Winds back to teach me
What love feels like
As time solidifies.

And a most decidedly non-Roman Christ
Holds me strictly to happiness
In all that is left,
A few scraps of Metallica
From a happy metal scrapper 
Who would only consent
To work for the birds,
Whose dream home was a tree house in the woods ...

Ah but it veers into tears now
For the people he touched
And left no choice
But to accept him as he was
Walking round in circles
Over the mistakes you've made --
That toughest of pills to take
Has been waiting in my cabinet
For a long, long time,
Why he chose to set his joy
In the places people weep of
Trying to forgive, trying to understand
How bleakness unimaginable
Could spring such hope each day,
How those the most heroic
Had the fewest laurels of all...

I rested in his cool,
Though twists and turns unfathomable
Amid his constant laughter
Of compassion there to share
For we always knew, no matter how
Far apart, our hearts
Were one frequency of love
That came from that familiar place
That gets included here now too somehow
However thrown out with old sketches
To the lowest toy chest 
In the earliest room.

And as I understand him less and less
I feel released, to get it at last,
What he did for those he loved,
Which was everyone
Without condition,
His unblinking smile
Into a gaping hole,
A darkness so perpetual
One could witness the birth of light.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Contrast of Light and Boysenberry Vine

To be a poet
With no time fr'it

In obligation's constant pull,
Something I agreed to

So unable to

Except for the bend of

Angering my way

Morning chores
As bells,

Evening chores
As prayers

And the numb
Unending plea

From every building

While songs await

To share the sentience 
Of birds

Who seemingly belong now
To another world

As I look through glass
With occupied eyes,

Rag in hand,
Daring to clean.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Variations at Sunset

The imagined sun is no less real
Than the one we worship
But the hawk that comes close
Is more familiar.

We who make the least etheric goods
Can afford to think our thoughts are less,
A quotient of air, a gradient of nothingness,
For what imprisons us we're proud to possess.

A father dominates his daughter at hoops
But one would never know,
Nor the meaning feet deal to a soccer ball --
How heavy in the material must holiness go.

We savor and wait for the pink
As ideal at the end of the day.
Is it real, we ask, knowing it's physical,
Colors still stable to unbelieving eyes.

How dimly the world of thought
We come from filters in
To the neighborhood of hard-edged forms
And children spiraling with glee.

The blue light dog, with a tennis ball 
In its snout, can only smile
At how we've made things simple,
Impossible to transcend.

Gift of the Balsamic Moon

We are limits, not bodies,
Punctured by edits ...
That's the way it has to be;
The thing's not real
Unless seen
In all its glory
By those eyes on every side
Worrying death to infinity.

What we call the real
Mere movie
To a ghost projector 
Who slips the loops
Through dust-mote light.
The proprietor hums
As the audience turns
Stone and blind.

I have always known this,
But now ... now
Its sound is a purr
That soothes the background clouds
To sleep.
The birds wake up,
Try to sound like it,
That is, like me.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Old Playbills and User Manuals

Consciousness starts the machine.
Is that really so strange, so new an idea
As we'd dreamed?

When we sleep, the world ceases,
As even the golden books
Of lies attest.

As we rise the next act lifts
Exactly as the program indicates.
We install instantly,

Can look but better not attach
To the backdrop that we're not.
Everything is for our benefit.

How, then, could word not reach 
That we are God?
Pages I look through in vain.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Chill After the Show

The night has cat eyes,
Thousands pounce the windshield 

As the cars move through space
Under the whole's baton 

That swings in my mind like a lantern,
As if to music already there

And the cars would appear
Without my eye.

The mad clavinet that plays in my head
Overtakes their sound

For the feeling of gold
Beyond the Norm's sign. 

It must be open all night
As they claim,

How else could each booth tell its secret
From a room I have never seen?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Confessions of a Short Attention Span

I'm a shapeshifter 
The frequencies ...

Now I wear 
A mustard 70's 

And am observed 
By those I've noticed,
Looked at by eyes

I can't see through,
Unlike the moment 
Before ...

But a moment further
I have Billie 
Holiday from the Black Trumpet PA

And I have her 
3 AM voice,
Always someone else ...

And now the Hell's Angels 
Have taken over 
The pool ...

And Aung San 
Has gone
To jail!

Each thought is a leaf 
I pick and exist
Inside of

If I have 
A place
At all -- 

The all must always 
Be nothing, 
Must even close its apertures

To send tiny packets 
Of universe
Kaleidoscopic with light,

A light that imprints its thoughts 
On the sky 
As time lapses,

The shutter closes,
And the bulb of lived experience
Flashes in a wink

That captures
The afterburn 
Of what is natural:

Everything indistinguishable,
Compressed into some middle
Of a love sangwee,

Not the blessed separation,
That thing we asked for,

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Balance Exercise

When I'm in the other room 
I am not real to her.

I don't live in her attention
So from her field have been removed

Only to return
With an offer of coffee

Fully materialized, 
While the real I 

Pauses briefly from chasing clouds 
In a balloon
To ponder on whether she'd need
Some love. 

So I sense in this way who I am,
In absentia.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Alienations of the Free

The art of the adept 
Is the skill with which the truth
Mixes with the lie

For the truth needs companions
— It's lonely in the cold
Without gods, words, tastes shared

And the dual always waits 
With a loaded pistol aimed 
At whatever heart aches

To get through the smoke
Of a morning where nothing
Is left to chance,

Everything's explained, or
Everyone thinks it is at least,
The bare table that's been left for us:

The coffee is bitter,
Berries sour,
Tastes that can be shared ...

How can you survive
When it's sweeter for you
Than for others?

Friday, November 11, 2022

Senator Fetterman*

Senator Fetterman
     doesn't exist.
We created him,
            you and I,
Out of wholecloth

Their latest model
             the same
As what we wish
      to experience:

The joy, the anger,
              the pain
And thus remembrance 
      of who we are
And can now peel away
      for a newer one,

A different ring
      of the true tree
Forever growing
      without a single
Idea of separation

To change the future
Those limits
     bounding ideas;
From beyond they
    scarcely exist,

Who they talk 
    as President

When everybody knows
                there is no
                   for I am
In charge here,
    of everything.

* Refers to John Fetterman, an android replicant of the type immortalized in the "Minions" cartoon series, who cannot form coherent thoughts yet is claimed by mainstream narratives to be Pennsylvania's newest US Senator, having beaten a beloved celebrity heart surgeon in the 2022 midterm elections. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Taste of Sour Grapes

The black ocean
I never knew I desired 
Comes cajoled from a cloud
Of my thoughts in another room

Forever plotting out
What I will do,
How the needle will move,
Always touching true.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Elon as the Good Reptillian

This green room is a hologram,
I sway around in space
And conjure with my thoughts 
What I thought I heard him say:

We live inside a game
Of our own design
(Though we still blame that pesky AI).
One of a million universes

We must choose
With our thoughts
And our actions
As the frequency rises

To shinier lakes,
More iridescent cactus,
Source for the shamans
When they manifest jaguars

Because the Amazon's so vast
The old computer can't keep up,
So it lets 5D 
Sift in with the wind ...

Settle down pilgrim,
The thought in books
Will one day wish
To be experienced.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Apartment in Carmel

The apartment in Carmel,
     I remembered it

I even remembered the names
     of her parents
Who were still there
    and still, however vaguely 
Remembered me
    when I tracked them down
Through identical floorplans,
    unmemorable numbers.

It was the location
    I recalled
Across from what is
    no more.

They let me look in
    on her museum,
All the broken pieces
    of youthful expression
The perfect coda
    to their disappointment,
The unredeemable pain 
    fathers feel.

I missed the flight
    from Indianapolis
To be silent in the kitchen
    with its ticking clock.

There was no need to assist her
    or apologize
When she inexplicably appeared
    and we hugged
In the death grip of nothing
    between us anymore --
There never was a chance
    to even save her

And the fact all this was never real

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Another One for Sylvia

The druids are still skin-walking,
       birds still aligned in flight,
She was as they are except
       we weren't her,
Could never understand
       the basics of her plight,
Still it went
       just like she wanted,
                          with all her
Careful what you wish for

She went famous in excess
      of all that we keep bottled 
Like a humming refrigerator 
      in our morning prayers
               of domestic bliss,
Everything clean, everything loved
               and pulled into perfect
      as if
               that's the way it always
                        should be
In the dusty fields of harmony light
      where our being resides.

Any move below
                             a choice of
Unfathomable love. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Song of the Orange Pepper Farmer

The first few cautious steps
Into 5th density,
Where the mind of the pepper
Reveals who it is,

There’s exchange of ideas
Instantly, without a wall,
The will bequeathed
Whatever it wants

Your brain is an earth 
Of mighty rivers
Beyond your vapor form,
All-embracing consciousness flows 

As thought that continually unspools 
The toroid to its unified thread
Always from a central point,
The point where you are exactly

In this moment of blue 
Spilling out all
The secrets you thought you knew
But never once came close

Like the comments section
For the press conference 
Announcement read
In the wake of what later occurred

Not one of the posters
With their well-thought-worn theories
Able to call correctly
What the future holds.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Daily Commute

The guard at the door
     between sleep and waking
Will acknowledge you, if you'll 
(Though even Google won't 
     give his name),

But it's a hard lock
     at the gate,
Top secret what goes 
     on there,
Save some fragment

Teaching Assignments 
     to chew on
In the waking hours,
     in those moments
When the veil's still
     full of holes.

The moment you pass sleep's
What went on there
     is over,
Whatever cities 
    you've toured,

Whatever heights 
    you've scaled,
Whatever plans
    made for you
In waking hours
    to execute

Go through without the glitch
    of your knowing,
They are like sand 
    collapsing instantly 
Except as anamnestic

There are no rules up there 
    as rule us here
(The part where I ink
    what disappears).
Too much impossible 
    for the veil 

Not to be kept taut
    by this slave
Who kindly waits
    for my word
To go back to what I know,
   who I am.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Still Life with Surfer

For the Taygetans

Reality creates itself on a wave
Thundering to shore,
Belief so strong
It is so.

The tongues encircle as they tumble
In a roar, to overwhelm 
The others
With their love

As a final giving gesture,
With no last word.
They grind to answers,
The destitute truths,

For there is no other
To share,
The wings reach up the beach
In flippers of foam,

Gather light as tumblers turn
From the effect of
Every perspective
Elbowing in

For the sake of each passion,
As extension to their care
-- The others are jolted,
Driven away

In an almost-white pillowed buoy
That floats away to sea
For the archives to reclaim
As the distance

Between yourself
And what you see
Lengthens instead of being

For the mirrored dimensions
To become one frequency,
One shared sovereignty
Of being,

You, me, or both, together,
The lens of everything peers in there
Like the sun through
Magnifying glass 

That spills out over the water
As light just beyond the truth,
The purity of your frequency,
Its utmost confidence –

You must know it
Before you attempt
To harmonize
With everything else.

Otherwise your answers
Are found in other’s notes,
And we don’t know
What to do with them

So we fight,
We take stands
In order to divide
With sordid fisticuffs

That won’t cease their cruel
Unforgiving blossoms
For the sake of a truth
That can't bring us together

But can be hurled away
With an instant of inattention,
A lack of the slightest notation
Of how the tyrant stays.

There are plenty of waves
In the sea,
The ones you ride with,
The ones you know

Arc higher, more
Fibonacci in their curl
Of a natural order
Humans always get wrong.

The surfer surrenders
To another day,
Taking the last wave in
Like a golden ray

In this moment
That shows how there is
No time,
As suddenly

The water is still
And electric blue
As it apparently always has been
And forever will be.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Anachronism of Place Names

The rats are on the beach,
Mayonnaise in the bottle,
The hills of San Berdu
Another Golgotha

For Christs to pop like mushrooms
And pimple the rolling lavender
Where sacrifice is sold
For the sake of the Romans

Where all roads end,
At the Vatican Library specifically,
Where the books of truth are held
Against their will,

Sequestered from the world,
The copies destroyed, fake records left
In their wake like mosquito dander
After the blood is taken

To seal a precious few
Of the too, too many holes
In non-existent history,
Where themes would otherwise skirt away

From the story made for applause
Not accuracy,
To cordon off, in this case, the heady days
Of rebellion into surrender

Evangelicized as the good news
Of military conquest, as when Titus had
The zealots his followers killed fished out
Of the Galilee, for example.

The salt of lizards we long for so much
Turns out worthless, a pestilence,
A yeasty scent, though nothing else
Can compensate the victims, us.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Mantis 1

Why are cars insects?
      No one has said.
Our frame of reference
      So limited

We look at wings
      On the windshield 
Grooving to an Allman guitar
      As some mechanical

Construction, something children
      Could find a pattern for,
Instead of what it is,
      What exists outside our world

In the cozy dirt
       Where the impossible,
Because invisible,
       Seems easy.

We suck all their sugar away
       But they love
Like we would
       So it's OK,

No one is here anyway,
       The mirror is only a light
And we live like them
       In the shadow

Jumping from reed to reed 
       Through unpredictable breeze
By way of foraging
       As they, they

Watch from above
       And below
On their idols
       Because innocent.

They hover over.
       That's how they fly,
Aware of all life
       As we see nothing.

Their subtle hum is all 
      The subtle hums,
Transparent wings and the palms
      Are one loving murmur.

They are the Gods because 
      The humans won't be.
They control the world, you know,
      Those buzzing invisibles.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Reunion Tour

Nobody could ply the funk like Josephus,
The way the bass line
Aligned with clipping-nipple guitar,
It slayed them all, the lions
In the dance halls of Rhodesia
And the Roman amphitheater circuit
From Syracuse to Biscayne Bay.

The surrender of the flames
Occurred most every day
When the beat had rested
To let the mess convey:
Turn the butt cheek over as
The beat of the heart enlarges
And overcomes your own.

The sacrifice of Sonny and his beatnik disciples 
To the electrical equipment,
The stellar crosses and stars,
Saved your day, as you recited
The lyrics as real and incoherent
As being hit by a car
With someone else's journey

That seems to stop 
At the same beery dives 
As your own does, 
But it never really 
Stops, that is, for you,
Groupie to its nurture
Of harmony.

The blessed testimonies
Are pre-realed 
For the delayed
Tape hiss effect
It has upon us:
The wanton dancing,
Exhausted hands

Giving it up,
Our lives,
For encores
That will echo like amplifiers
50 years on,
As if to save the messiah 
And his headband benediction,

His salve of sequestered nickels thrown 
At his blistered scribes by some force unknown, 
Only the goombahs and the hangers on,
The martyred skeptics
And viper dreams on
The other side,
All one and the same

In maintaining it existed, the way,
The hope, the glory, in giving over
Your heart, your soul, your body
To what is not you and never would be,
A few notes strung together
Are pearls to web your cell
With what, someday, might be

The prison to which you will graduate,
With golden bars and unbreakable locks,
At the high end of eternity
To keep you safe like artillery 
Pointed your way, just in case 
You've remembered
You are free.

Monday, October 10, 2022

The Secret Holiday Lines

The waves seem to let you 
     let it go,
It swirls up sideways,
     pretends to dissipate,
Rolls in again
     with orneryness intact,

The echoing roar
     of what we would call ego,
The cry of the victor
     and what was it worth,
To say you are real
     and of experiential value,

What was nothing
     to anyone else,
Full as they all were
     of the not-your experience,
A froth you had to somehow
     conduct to the shore

To the peal of 
     gull whistles
And the shrieks of
     wet children 
Still caught 
     inside the rapture,

Would it matter
    how you bowed
As you whisked
    the veil away
To what was hardly
    seen anyhow?

You were part
    of the story
That made us believe 
    in the lie
Of who was included
    and who was denied,

What facts were grafted
    from air
And who was made
    to disappear,
Mere loser to the dramatic turn
    of surf,

The story they want
    in the face of
The theme you live,
    that survives
The names replaced
    and buildings swapped,

The tide that swirls 
    around it
Is some old poet
    given wideness of berth
And ample moon
    for baying, 

But a distant background 
    just the same
To the ruling belief 
    that stands
In stark relief
    and takes

What you'd call your life
    and flings it like dead daisies,
What never really moved
    from its vase
And has been in your
    secret keeping

From time immemorial 
    just waiting for your eye,
To see yourself finally,
    as large as God 
And infinitely 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Another Anything Goes Friday

Memories at daybreak
Are a calling cup
Filled with the dusty pulp
Of knowing
And yet, enlarged, not,

A glorious salve
To smooth out the proceedings 
Where the loop just keeps repeating
Our ship cabin stay where
The Flintstones played 24/7

And forgeries hung on the walls
To make us happy
At all the sadnesses of life
In red and gold
And savage silver

As if all that glitters
Is not paper
And won't burn
In the rectory
Where lamps are turned

To inspect with prayer
What isn't there,
The mobius of opportunity
Morphed into the common weasel 
Rasping after every final bite.

So the fashion models
Like all things pass,
Even this moment
Where the earth is just a runway
For the many worlds to playact

Untold ancient themes
With endless stellar races,
Like South Park said,
Protected under the veil 
Of skeptic,

The impressionable child
Who never had the chance to wish
That what obsessed her head was as much 
As a branch of the brush underneath,
A sprig of grass ... er, weed. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Truths of the Half Moon

Forever the black hole 
Forever the eyes

That make it real,
Not because they believe in it

But to experience
What comes next,

The stories they remember
From books long closed, 

The already known
Somehow hidden.

Saturday, October 1, 2022


The linear lines soon blur incoherent ...
Happy harmony of dog bark
And the hunting gear
Of upturned bird cameras
To what can't be seen,
The merciless jets
Caterwauling in curlique
Thick spumes of exhaust,
Writing lines
No less comprehensible
Than the ones I write here
Except people camp out
Sidereal to the street
To decipher what's seen in the breach,
Scattershot scattergraphs
In blueprint skies,
Blue angels scrape the firmament
For sighs
From the otherwise occupied
With their private vibes
Willingly suspended
For disbelief
In the old and immortal
Killing machine
That threatens the drums
Of beached ears.
We would beseech them for mercy
If it wasn't so family friendly
Death from above,
The bulk of the skies untouched.

The city is blanketed
By strings of smoke.
The God of War groans in his sleep.
His Thunderbirds puncture the seams
Of impassable sky
With the verve of unhindered
As the white clouds
So light
Would merely float away.

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Divine Humour in Being Wrong

I am not a poet,
That is just some resonance that afflicts
When the Earth gets too much
And people too little ...

But there it goes again,
Breaking that old 4th wall --
I can't escape that I
Or the larger circle of I's

The lack of which
Is the real
Reason I cry.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Tale Told Again

All you are is the other,
Who is always your mirror,
The place you go to, the why.

You are here for no reason 
But to leave your seed 
On the part of you 

You don't recognize
And cannot say exists
Except as the place you go, the why.

The Tale Told Differently

The collective has collapsed
As if it ever was,
The rasps of glass like razors
On the waters, where everything flows for us,
The understandings and agreements,
The sense the world was mad
(Present company excepted), 
The thing we go to
That just keeps rushing in
With its storm brew
To puncture our make-believe,
Relieve the torque of the lies
We told to feel at home, in this place
Where such lies were understood
As the barter and trade they were,
Seagulls croaking, the brightest lie
Was the coin dove down for the deepest,
And so many fell, to the impossible place
One couldn't escape back to the known.

Miracles came, though, with the sun,
The local flora, it is all too easy
For the birds to fly by, the berries
To come through the ground from heaven,
As if it was any different than this,
For there is no loss of resonance
In the thoughts of hibiscus, the banana 
Pepper's unspoken koan to us.

Still it is unknown, where it goes,
Where it came from, what
Inconceivable force rules it;
To the one at the table, holding cards,
There is not much in it for them 
To have faith in the endlessness of endings,
In the fact of rapture, the elasticity of myth.
It's all too much to show one's hand,
Which is not a hand at all, that's what's difficult:
Silence intimidates the invisible.

One never knows how strange the familiar becomes,
And always how familiar the strange --
We are waiting for you to wake up,
Hurry, soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Voyeur of the Inward

The process of going from knowing
All there is to know
To knowing nothing
Begins with the decision
To only be oneself.

And if the waves are calm
Still they tell of an external war
Hidden out of view,
Beyond the convoy of glistening ships,

Something marked, for here, now,
In bas relief, a drama,
Melpomene rising in the flaw
To right a wrong committed against all,
The sides impervious at the gate.

Voyeur of the Outskirts

The ringer of doorbells and spontaneous odes
Cries for the necessity of arrival
In pigeon-toed inward turns 
Where you had stepped before, the unfamiliar center
Brandished with talc for your own white-gloved inspection
Of what you suspected but suspended in disbelief 
Your sangfroid as they twisted on the spits of all trades,
For something acknowledged in the vast warm night
Instead of suppositions and defenses, the deafening roar 
Of denial, the removal of the plastic sheets 
To expose what isn't there any more, no loquacious host
To steer away the hostility with a stiff breeze
Or drink, the anchors aboard that weigh but stay in closets 
Gutted for memorabilia, the sharp reminders 
Of our short stay above board, in the white 
Open where nobody cared, and it didn't 
Make a difference which side you chose, 
No one would judge you for not knowing, 
They just sat there satiated with the hum of life 
As it moved through their shivering timbers 
That conflate fact with rapture, dream state 
With waking nightmare, without lucid witnesses 
To prescribed perfections any more, just the usual 
Assortment of odds and friends
And a few with actual lives, meaning hitched,
Thus eternally dream deferential.

The shop worn disequilibrium haws.
Who do you assuage? Who do you claim?
Which one of us is guilty more of ignoring the other
At every decision point? The fault's 
Not in ourselves but in the stars
We ignore at our own peril, for no one else
Can hear their voices but you, disbeliever, transgressor for fun
On their sacred rites, always a play
For murder when you can't make them go your way. 
If they're that stupid, you say, of course they don't deserve
To live.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Conversations in Words

On earth as it is on Venus ...
The forge circumvents the altitude,
The cerebral poor long for their adjustment
Of the outer world
To brave the homeostasis like a tribe
In name only, or, really, a feeling
Of something beautiful, because it is true

Tho all that remains is the memory of laughter
And a small-still voice trying to form the words,
Which turn out to be as unimportant as
Tickets to already transcended dimensions,
An expiration point, that is, nothing real
Except for the ever-present attention
To what is no longer desired,
What desire once created, the red letter remnant
Of some flame that made its way through
The spiral-folding passageways of brain
On what you may say was a journey.

And if the thought was yours, if only
For a moment, the feeling that you own it lingers
Even after it no longer has a structure,
Whatever parts it had, fallen away
To re-imagine somewhere some other
Moment of desire, in construction site debris,
Some life spark pulsing the ethers
And the comforts of the visible
Never disturb what is not said.

We are raving mad, by our own definitions,
That fail to capture anything, every flaw we condense
Bears repeating in the breath and in the act
So we may see, in unraveling again, what we could
Almost piece together by ourselves,
Not by reaction, but prescience of discomfort,
What makes our temperatures rise,
And what we find cools us, the relief
That scarce exists without the pain bearing down
Without a break.

We trade another larder dream
For a dream uncompromised
By dreaming, the agreements it entails
To move things forward, not stay
In the paradise bluff, with its frozen honeybees
Watching the dust float, as if that's all
That is not there.
We wish to see what can't be seen
But mash that up with our privileged views
To show our seeing cannot see beyond the prison
Outside self, where the instinctual fails 
But that is all there ever is to guide us, 
To navigate the pauses from silence to silence 
To share a memory of noise
That may be imagined, after all, that's the nature
Of dream, what one wants
But doesn't know, a reaching in the void
For what must be found there, whatever treasures
Show they leave no greater clue. The dust
It swirls away and gets on you

But only when you're bored of being the same,
The servant to the nothingness, the grand pollination
Where the ends are theoretical, means misunderstood,
The only thing worth motion is the reaching
For what is missing, and still is missed 
On the other side, but you, you go there anyway,
Through the haze that comes to take the place
Of what you never knew existed when you reached.

The outlines of a voice, clairsentience, a feeling only
As thoughts fill your mind like tidepools fill with eddies.
Whose thoughts are these, you pry, but no one owns
What you possess, what you cannot try to hold,
You wear the role but it soon escapes
To other dinner theatres for other tragic soliloquists
To quip anecdotes of it ...
                                           It was not you anyway
Though you found yourself in sympathy,
Which is the same as being the same as, evidently.

Curious these antediluvian ingots, for my babies
To glow in gold amber, so the throes of birth
Do not fall so precariously on the elders,
Who don't know, and, therefore, suffer
The flex flux indignities of flesh, the dream of innocence,
Denial of loss,
The passing land tide time lock dilemma
That unhooked the bitch dichotomy, 
The Throckmorton method unheld,
The Dewey radical solution for the citizenry in refuge,
No small turning, this asp, this melon, and the jungle rhetoric
Of storm overtakes the village, encumbered
By a monstrance, for visage and complete replacement sheets
And ebony seats for the bonafide keeper
Hanging on to the furniture like grapes to an addiction,
The swell is swirling up nocturnal grab-knots of silence, tho
Gemcoats quail before adversity -- hull'oer floats of daisies
Registered at the wing where complacent lookouts gleam,
The tower that looked in on magic dust and crag weed
In its sweep of the seas, still unfamiliar, though we all
Want to die there, aye.

The ash of high chimney bequeaths black feathers
Of coal and tar and weathered strip pokered
In a local quasar where the sole McKechnies vie
For sober drinking rights, the rites of sin, of gin,
Of Sprites mincing wise amid the backdrop
With the flowers of condolence and almost love.
What we take in indulgence we fork over the stake
That the heart would have taken, an overwrought heart
Too bent out of shape to be breaking --
And all at once we are rhymed to the corpus
That knows all is part of the one, if a part is not
All of it except in the seeing that,
Due to our condition, we are absorbed to wave
Replacing energy with images
That can be believed in, no matter how cruel
Or untrue.

So we still linger at the gate, frozen in memory
Of what came before, what we never did remember,
The gate of mercy, where shame stays behind,
The gate to the invisible we don't believe in
Because we never have seen what we never created,
We needed to be prompted, sold
On its constant risings, along the New Jerusalem bridge
Cantilevered upward into deepest, densest fog,
The rainbow of our seeing embossing that
On the for-love-is-covered cloud, sound and fury's
Replay of theories, countervailing tendencies,
To yearn and remonstrate with the worst and best of them,
The Indian givers and holdup takers, bleeding a red queen dry
In the sunshine-starved environs of hubbub Wyoming
Where angles of mercy swerve among adjunct cars,
The kind that could be spinning out a pattern in a wheel
You've never seen, never even known to have existed
Except as one more obstacle blocking your way
To the alignment of world and eye you've been trying
All these decades to achieve, munificent sinner,
Shaping the play to your story
Because it's the only story.

Friday, September 23, 2022

On the Beach with Athena and Dionysus

It's no longer the beach,
It's become the sea,

Locked rest rooms along the way --
The grass knows I am human

And appreciates I try,
Though our strict roles keep us

Striving to be fair, apart in equilibrium,
With our one good side weighed, of course, 

In our direction, for it's what you put forth, 
The slick voodoo jive juice of your uselessness

That determines your worth,
That lifts your jib to the cursed cruise

And your presence occludes,
Gull feathers at your shoes.

All the words that come in from the surf
Find a frequency free in chaos to choose --

The waves increase in ascendant light
Though the worlds of the wind are still harsh,

Waves piling spirals to the ground, they rise and fall 
With a tentative figure of your shape, your resemblance 

To the whole, the ever pull 
Of what may not be the moon at all.

The gentle observance of sunrise
Brought to the gatherers

Awe at what translucent morning
Calls forth to be forgiven

When the sun shines from the east side,
Where terror and prayer are more direct,

Even now as old rigidities stiffen and give way
To new water where whispergrass was a myth,

Or at least give respite from the hard harrow bore,
The tall fraternization order

In the constance of alienated affections,
For the benefit of wolves

Per the playback of evil v. good,
In the awl of embrace, two beats of a heart, 

Testing with terrified fingers the balance line
At an equinox dance

Some salty fall so long ago
It seldom bothers anymore

What one did to enthrall,
What the temperature gathered

To the humble numb circus
Of a kiss, englobed with becoming

And beautifully appointed
To the ultimate life force

Of the irregular zeal of warriors,
So the dance offers its sustenance,

Its chance at contrast
By choice.

So the waves make their motions meaningless
As we make hay of our bitter disappointments,

How they steam under the clambake tarp
With ancient rock philosophers on fire 

In the pit, where your cherry cloth hangs so tender
In the brine of what doesn't kill us doesn't quite 

Heal us either, but no one is counting,
No one remembers,

The waves take jurisdiction
Over your thoughts, and recent scenes 

Turn only to these pufferbirds, the one
Burns into one as contexts shift.

They are here for the show,
The whole encounter filmed

For mock posterity.
It is only to record the count,

Without which we would 
Otherwise not escape.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Shimmerings while Driving

The agreed-upon illusion frays:
The real life beckons beyond the box ...

And the voice, as experience turns to knowledge, replies
"You have always been Drew Barrymore."

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Walk Back from the Bank

Even the graffito has become light language.
All systems are here, now, as this one
Is done, gone, in the emulsifying reach
Of Luna X19.

To draw you a picture:
A bevy of mothers converse as they nurse
Their rainbow ones in late lilac sun
And pools ya-hoo to the barbecue gas,
Leaves dangling to extract the irrecoverable,
The irremediable being, prompted to oblivion
For the sake of the masterpiece
From the wool of the rule.

Mariner's Cove, so they've called it,
And now it's home, in numbers, to everyone 
That certain gray of blue mood
And window views on pelicans
And crows unnumbering
Our equations whole, the coiffed containers
And safety razors for the unkempt hordes 
Who stay here aquiver, tumescent, divorced.

The crew is at the door, their eyelash-lit car,
Readied for cleaning, the unalloyed
Domesticity pleasures, so now I must go
To fold shirts, scrape proteins, iron slacks,
Distribute the gas and the rivers, receive thanks 
From the vegetables for peeling their brains
Like any atrophied bride
Who sees the reward in the act:
Not the arch support or the crow racket.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

On the Fringe of the 5125

What do you know
     about the old poems?
That they flowed like lochs
     and glowed like candles
And told of what is now sand
     and what can be recovered
At some uncertain return of wisdom?

The blue ones remember
     but aren't telling --
The light observes
     to be observed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

View from the Stalls

No one cries for freedom
     more than the free
For they only feel the branch
     that holds them to the tree
Not their flight
     against the sky.

She can't see
     the currents that guide her,
How easily they came
     from her mind,
Which is not, of course,
     her mind at all.

That would be the branch,
     stiff and willful,
Despite the bending
     of the laws,
That there is something here,
     anything at all.

Patriots Day with the Block Island Poetry Society

Jim Plunkett returns in the arms of angels,
One thing we will never see,
Focused as we are
On defeat and victory.

                                        But the sea cries
With you, whatever it is 
When you've lost your grip
(Not that you've ever had one).

The holy null is pulled through
Computational Napier rods.
The deaf recreate Aboriginal tongues
With sound alone.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Silence of Hanna and Jessica

The rain had its way 
And said all it had
To say, and none of it
Got through 

But the look of the cat
Resentful, at its indomitable 
Will to fall, and of all 
We never wanted to hear.

It seemed, as it dropped,
More beautiful,
A meaning that caught us

To tell of those I've hurt
And what I'd forgotten,
How there is no escape
From a storyline

Where every gun 
That is shown
Smokes on its own

And the only actor
Is me, backgrounds
Rolled away, tape
The only evidence of people,

The other characters who,
After they've forced me
To kill them, cannot possibly 
Have ever been.

No magistrate
Can look at my scars
And say that they
Are healed.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Of Neptune's Songs

There's unrestrained joy in being someone else
Though it is more hotel than home,
The hermit crab shell from 1750
Embossed with a name that's familiar,
And the tavern serves real grog
And the pewter shines like it can't anymore.

Everything is imagination, the entire encounter
With the props and sets and characters
Who walk through our camera eye
As we frame, frame, frame 
And brighten and dim
At the margins

Until eventually we become
What we see,
The thing we have looked at so long
It has, by gaze alone, gained value,
The worth we've taken from us
By way of service.

Starchy Middlebrook Recoils

All I recall
Of my dreams
Are unremembered scenes
That violate every law
In the material world.

I am always amazed
At your unwillingness 
To investigate what's possible
Whenever you believe
It can't exist.

Nostalgia for the Bad One

We break the silence like bread
To share more meaningful times

Of torment and lies 
Every moment we touched,

How we miss that, what we learned,
The laughs we had.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Conversation at Bauer Park

Weary in this latest of hot afternoons
We toast and wave goodbye to fire 
And all its assorted combustibles

That ebb and flow at the end of time,
Early September, a weariness of palm trees, 
The bone-deep crispness of magnolia.

The ocean loosens the desert braids,
The San Berdu plumes, as the sand pits are
Ready now for their final exhalations

And the molecules break, the spark turns to ash
Turns to smoke, and the afternoon thinks about
The smokiness of tea, the dankness of tulips,

As the winds commence from both sides,
The infernos' and those of the unforgiving O,
Arms joined in holy eucalyptus waving.

The fire has won. The park 
Is deserted. Everyone has gone home
To their families. Except for me.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Change at the Lake

"A new day dawns 
For the Golden Arches
In the Golden State"
Sez Mama Bear Apologetics
From behind the Robin Hood 
Private Community Gate
Above the slips ...

Or at least that's the way we
Remembered it
At the Mission Inn Bar
Of Presidents
Pretending Amelia Earhart 
Was still here
And the bankers weren't
In prisons underground.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Beloved Companion

The Not Love is what is rare.
People spend lifetimes
Creating it from air
As a gift to others,

As precious as nothing else is,
For everything else,
Is sturdy, automatic.

What is this strange, fragrant thing
That takes pale aim 
And breaks down
As we look at it

In whatever light we have,
What is made available,
Which is always too much
To hold even its shape.

It disappears
As all life on earth
In new earth 

For new dark seeds 
Of what is so hard
To believe, even now,
Can be real.