Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Last Tango in Shangri-La

Sound Check
The late afternoon sky was like something
Miss Montana 1979 spilled on her bikini
out near the ice machine
at the Sea Garden Motel
in Pismo

Under the Influence
The light was all
                  nickels & dimes
                              dancing across the pavement
inside the sound of gears grinding
                  just a block from the beach

Adjusting the Float
                  The sunset haze
                              reaching for the
                                          pulse of the tide
            with compression dings
            in silver mist
                              propped against a chainlink fence
it was like the Ark of the Covenant
dissolving in a shot glass
all smudged with lipstick

Monday, March 16, 2015

In the depths of the purple sea

A chunk of beach concrete
            & a small carved jade
to set against the weather
                        anywhere but here

Like a whistle in the dark
when no one's listening

There's an underlying lie that begs to
difference when in fact all's
too precious to matter for more than
a fractured second (if even)

& the song comes round again
on the sunnyside of a failed rhyme
that I know you know could be
rescued at the last minute by a
simple misplaced syllable

Now it's only this slanted light & air
                "Hello my name is Mustafa"
                "I come from Cairo"
                "I came to fix the pipes"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Keep the Change

I walk like an octopus
across the parking lot
bathed in gray-gold sunlight
while asthmatic palm trees whisper
like tumbleweeds in a refrigerator

It’s Sunday on Earth

I’m burning matches beneath the tidewater
architecture & shattered pipes
drizzled in turquoise
with mudslide tremors & gaited horses

& contrary to the haze (my legacy)
the ocean’s inlaid chrome is all lit up
like a kamikaze hood ornament

There are more direct roads to bliss
I’m sure but I’ve always preferred the
scenic route

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It is what it is

Pale shadows bump & grind among damp
palm trees & their muffled voices…

“How many candle-lit beach scenes does it take
to pry the lid off your Peruvian kimono?”

The sunlight filtering down thru the
everpresent haze.

The Colonel told me that I had eyes crazed from
a thousand years of killing whales.  I took it as a
            compliment & put on my sunglasses.

The sky was scrawled with lipstick
& I was burning matches to keep warm while
reaching for your hand because you know
we’re both alone.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Say My Name

What happens is the way the weather changes
or the sun sitting a few inches higher in the sky
bending back along the wings of 3 pelicans
gliding above the surfline…

A fistful of sand & a rippling curtain of mist
is about all I’m going to need for the forseeable

PART TWO (later that same day):
The collected writings of Chuang-Tzu
balancing on the broken neck of a tequila bottle

PART THREE (whenever):
A skate wheel, an avocado, the nape
of your neck & all the crooked numbers left
            on the table like weighted dice

1) That’s you speed-shifting on Mulholland Drive
2) That’s me in the headlights

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flower of Michoacán

Tap.  One, two, three, four.  Tap.
Everything is light & dark.
I should give a fuck.

"You have evidently mistaken me for
someone who gives a fuck."

Tree fern.
Sea shell.
      3 yards of the finest silk.
                  21 miles of pavement.

Ocean W A V E S .

Tap one. Tap two. Tap three. Etc.

If your tongue swells, your vision gets blurry,
or if you have trouble memorizing The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
it may be the sign of a serious side-effect.

If you experience chronic feelings of euphoria,
or start walking funny
seek medical help immediately.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Revelator Blues (A Valentine)

for Pamela

A sunset sky w/vinyl upholstery & tinted windows
parked just above the ocean horizon
You can see it from horseback
on the bluff where the seabreeze strums the barbed wire

Possessed as time
a furious passion
            rattling in the eucalyptus
like the ghost of a previous expense account that
neither of us ever knew

It all comes down to a loaded deck of loteria cards
unfurled like a scroll of waves in your dreams
where I speak to you in a cardiovascular language
whispering the sweet nada that you know & I know
you love to hear

Monday, February 9, 2015

50 Shades of Turquoise

A grip of dreamless blonde sand
& all the indulgences wrecked on adrenalin & perfume
drenched in corrugated steel.
                        The sky & the streets slanting down into the sea
                        just like me
                                    in advance of a cold breeze off the water
                                    that has knives in it.

You need not fear the Eskimos drinking Vietnamese coffee
nor the waterlogged legions of the dead leaving their damp
footprints on the concrete.
The beach is lit with votive candles in glass
            jars painted red & the damp pavement breathes
                                                the same air you & I do.

Draining the color from telepathic neons
the tides answer to a mythology
older than the gravity that sleeps in every stone
cobbled along the shore.
                        Something we don’t understand & only half believe
although you would probably dance to it if given
half a chance. 

                        We hit the road for Malibu or Damascus I
                        can’t remember exactly which.
                        A pharmacy in Chinatown, fish tacos in a parking lot
                        near the beach.  Redemption wasn’t in the cards.

                        Stagelit streets descending as in Tangier, or Todos Santos,
                        or an Albuquerque by the sea.

                        We slept on a stone floor in El Rosario
                        awakened in the dark by the thunder of the surf.

                        I may have been reaching out to you
                        with two or more hands
                        at that very moment
                        bending like a spoon to the flame.

A heel of sidewalk groaning with albatrossian hang-time
bedecked with seaweed brocade.  A surf manual
translated into Church Latin.  Chop suey w/a Spanish accent.

Straight from the bottle that stuff
lingers like a puff of Papal smoke.
So promulgated between tides.

There was sand in my ear & a million reasons
the air was seasoned with saltmist & car exhaust
            & your heart was like a flotation device…

The road north was just like the road south
only played in reverse.  I rolled in at
twilight feeling like Cortez—a real killer. 

Nothing had changed.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

(Je Suis) Charlie Don’t Surf

I swallowed some seaweed laced with
30-weight oil then
pulled out my guitar & sang Allah Be Good
launching into a prowling mambo
like Chuck Berry on Mexican radio

I got religion somewhere between the
second chorus & the freak-out section
but I gave it away to someone who needed it

I was still dancing when they took me home
Bonnie Moronie, Be-Bop-A-Lula, Twist & Shout

I said we have to spill a little something here
in honor of the dead

You handed me a can of Diet Dr. Pepper

You were wearing a t-shirt that resembled the
Pacific Coast Highway
awash in sunlight & doom
& I was replacing riptide intervals of shattered glass
w/the silver-green ripple sound 
of eucalyptus