Saturday, February 1, 2020

I Heard You Paint Houses

The key to the motel room was a metaphor
rhyming with the allegorical sunglasses

which may be the point of it all

pointing due north

An ounce of nightingale
versus banjos in the eucalyptus

which I took to mean the prototype

& to lay it down then 
         w/a little 2/4 oom-pah beat
                  spinning the wheel of outrageous fortune

                           like taco Tuesday on a Wednesday

but knocked from the karmic loop
         whatever is going to happen
                  like it already has

& all of it leaning up against yr mind
like a bulldozer
leaning against a feather of mist

Sunday, January 5, 2020

HOW I MET JACK BUSWOLD by Stephen Emerson

Here's what the poet Ed Dorn wrote about Stephen Emerson's short stories in 1982: "Steve Emerson notices everything. At the center of his style there is always some detail which, when uncurled, reveals the story in its veins." That statement holds true with Emerson's latest, his first book in over 30 years, How I Met Jack Buswold, a new selection of nine short stories now available from Blue Press. Get yourself a copy today!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

They Call Me Pagliacci but My Real Name is Mr. Earle

All that I no longer am
yet carry w/me
an inheritance left unclaimed

         half buried in the sand
                  half washed away in the tide

w/I suppose Oceanities of misappropriated
                  shadow wings on the waves?

         Only the tender caress of oblivion
                  can take the guesswork out of mercy
                           is another way I could have said it

but if I was talking to you I
wouldn't have to say a thing

Thursday, December 19, 2019

After the Gold Rush

The sky its azure reticence
(azure residence?)

between rainstorms

The Dark Rose in her bed of thorns
pinwheels, springs, pendulum ghost shapes
& in the space between molecules
a tractor gracefully rusting

as I said to the lady behind the counter at the
gas station mini-mart
             a name that means "gift" in Greek
                     in mythology a sea nymph
                             geographically a mountainous region north of
                                      the Gulf of Corinth home to the Dorians

I said "Descriptions should always be misleading"

"Whatever" she said

             In French "d'or" means "gold"

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Shelter in Place

Trying to get as far away
from myself as possible
without leaving the room

Knossos, Chichén Itzá, or Zuma Beach

counter intuitive measures
& the bongo relevance
if only to put the proper
looney tunes spin on it

Polite Society:
They bare their teeth to show they're friendly

Nothing to lose & nowhere to go
but I can't be the last to leave

That doesn't explain anything I hope

The itch in yr sneakers too

Beneath the Panamanian moon

Sunday, December 1, 2019


There's no place I'd rather be than
half way there
         walking like a Peloponnesian
                  as though it might cure the common yearning
                           love leaves in its wake

         The audio clip ticking like a waterproof watch
         from the T'ang Dynasty

                  A sun tan neatly folded over the
                  balcony of my heart

& sure you can pretend that you see your reflection
in the polished blue mirror of the sky but
it isn't yours
until you give it away

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Cashing in on the 7 Deadly Sins
Trying to build a banjo out of
used car parts & a lost weekend in San Bernadino

Jimmy Reed & Ida Lupino
Listening to the wind skip like a broken needle

Motive & Opportunity
I could swim thru all that you spill I said
but drinking from a puddle
at the bottom of the ocean
wasn't the only way to
express my thirst

Friday, November 1, 2019

You'd Better Have a Plan B

The onshore breeze as articulated by
Big Sur windchimes
         at 4:19 in the after-
         noon the
                  sunlight coming in at an
                                                autumnal slant

         Did you notice? I didn't until just now
                  the surging ocean waves paved for sunset

My troika was pursued by wolves
but I do have an assortment of acrylic paints
& the gravitas of an Obi-Wan Kenobi or
Baba O'Riley

         tripping the light fantastic they used to say
                  practicing eccentric breathing
                           scanning the dial for the sound of gulls
                                    insinuating fate

It will either inspire prophetic dreams
or leave you stranded in a dark corner of yr mind
begging for more like I said to my gal Sappho
the first one's free but I'm seeing double

Friday, October 4, 2019

Where Have All the Payphones Gone?

The Wizard of Oz wasn't a wizard at 
all, but a little guy named Oscar who
had a glass eye & a knack for the short 
         knocked around Venice Beach w/a hunch-
back named Vera
                                 operating in & around a phone 
booth outside the Fox Theater on Lincoln
Blvd circa 1971 or so

A few years later . . . no where to be found

yr guess as good as mine

I moved north to Half Moon Bay in '76
the phone booth went away two decades after that

The Fox Theater was converted to an
indoor swap meet which
is pretty much what it was
any night when the lights went down
& the screen lit up
& a drowsy numbness was dealt out in dime bags