Thursday, November 1, 2018

Drop C Tuning for Steam-Driven Guitar

The azure reticence of your
waterproof mascara
         knocking down the
                  auguries of innocence
                           in rusty tidepool sessions
plus a flicker of wings maybe
                  a synthesis of custom chrome
                                    & bad timing

The light doesn't lift
                  anymore than the dark
                           & if I had a hacksaw
I'd play you a tune
         retreating to the pulmonary root
that rattles within a sigh
         every time you
                           shake your hips

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chapter & Verse

for Pamela

In an empty beach parking lot
                     it was either midnight or high noon
                                      shimmering in the haze that
          filled my sunglasses
                                                 & broke the sky
like a 2nd floor window
                                      w/an ocean view
I figured that when it hit the ground it
                     left puddles on the sidewalk
                               you'd have to swim to cross
& the riptide would drag you all the way to
                     a city full of windows
                              & sinister acoustic distractions
like the time I read a street map of Oaxaca
in the eyes of the tamale lady
         w/cormorants slicing the sea mist into quatrains
                              on the shadow side of the jetty
trading the eternal luau for the
                     warning label I never read
because you're the one who hesitates a moment
(to be sure)
        & I am 180 degrees of nothing-comes-easy
                     leaning into the wind

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Continuously Variable Transmission

Stars over Monterey Bay

the moon in a black limousine

& I'm not sure but the light could be
         sharpening itself on the edge of
                  1001 dark nights of the soul

                                     & now it's me
standing face to face
                  w/someone that looks like
the you
                  I never knew
                           gazing into my eyes
w/the same blank stare that
                  launched a thousand ships

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Burden of Proof

The clouds are breaking apart
the sun slips through
the floor needs sweeping

Identity plus a teaspoonful of consciousness?

The real mumbo jumbo

I knew I must have been blessed
because I managed to step in every puddle
between here & Beach Street

Ask for what you want
blink & it's gone
who knows where it comes from desire

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Make a List

for Edward Ainsworth

1. A slice of slanted sunlight
2. A black cat bone
3. Palm trees parked beneath halos
4. A tide book from 1998
5. A quarter-mile slab of pavement from the Pacific Coast Highway
6. 29 tons of beach sand
7. A wetsuit allegedly blessed by the Pope
8. Beer for breakfast
9. A Marine Band harmonica in G
10. All the money I never had
11. A nine pound sledgehammer
12. The Hollywood sign in braille
13. A switchblade purchased from Joe Lopez in the playground at
Saint Monica's High School in 1972
14. Thin veil of mist suspended above waves
15. Dark passage veering off the reverence
16. Something about her eyes when she turns away beneath the
stuttering neon sky
17. Wet sentences
18. White knuckles
19. Mexico City Blues

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Temporary Tattoos

Thug Life, aka "The Poems"
          for Duncan McNaughton
I tried translating the inscription but
my Latin is rust & my eyes are blue
& if you read The Cantos backwards
it sounds more like a harmonica 
than a chainsaw does

Half Past High Noon
          for Noel Black
'The Code of the West
has the same zip-code as
the Heartbreak Hotel

Spahn Ranch Dressing
          for Ed Sanders
At McNeil Island Penitentiary
in the early 1960s
Alvin Karpis taught Charles Manson
how to play the steel guitar

Saturday, September 1, 2018

High Noon at Medicine Beach

Pale turquoise in the shallows
gets deeper the farther out you go
paddling thru rusty tidepool sessions
w/trembling Spanish interiors
never learning to ask why

as it would be the Ocean's view of itself
glass beads, tinfoil & mother of pearl
assuming you can pick & choose yr demons
a Tijuana version of Chinatown
sublime & unreasonable
like Thursday morning wrapped around a
self-conscious 12-pack in the fridge

& you can shrug yr hips at passionate accidents
if you want
giving all that has been taken
as you might expect a mist of revelation
spun from aluminum samples & a variable compression rate
welding pink shadows to laundromats

& so lifting the dimestore glitter off the tide
wings of pelicans feather the surf
crashing the beach gate grillwork of
sea foam, sand & kelp
& whatever else it takes to download the shop manual
under ideal conditions

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Date with Gravity

The final option is always the first to go
& I'm bouncing quarters off the sidewalk
among the sacred pyramids & taco stands
while playing the part of the eternal
red-headed stepchild
carrying a leatherbound volume of broken concrete
returning to the one true original premise
from which there is no escape

Once you felt just that pure I know but time
chips away at your carbon footprint & your dreams
are nothing more than a landing strip for seagulls
exhausted from hauling the rusted sky down the coast
day after day these many years while you keep score

We all want to say goodbye I said
& like a wine-stained tombstone cutback
w/a kamikaze crossstep
you tread the needle's spine
before dropping into a full metal bikini slide
dragging your knuckles in the sand

Something no one will ever remember
or forgive

Saturday, August 11, 2018

M'sieur Tarzan Buys a Record Player

Wrecked on telepathic feedback
behind the wheel of an awkward silence
leaving skid marks on the needle
whenever you drift past your
favorite tune

but bent listening to
those jungle drums
& sawed-off guitars

a real toe-tapper that
lit up the hit parade
ten thousand years ago

& the consolation prize...
wind in the eucalyptus & other voices
versus the exhaust note of a '56 Chevy
rattling the sunset windows of
los kahunas