Thursday, September 3, 2015

No Shoes No Shirt No Service

The wind kicks up late stirring the eucalyptus kool-aid
is one way to say it
though my head is bent on the rhyme implied
which is sure to change someone's tune

& so the practicality of what is said to the poet
not necessarily set to music because what
is music? other than the measure of syllables or breath
vibrating molecules of air & at what frequency
in the mind when words are not read aloud
still renders a tone & rhythm & shape
as much in image as sound or whatever claims that

          As for me I'm convinced it all has to do with the
                    bubbles in Mexican glass
                              fucking with the way perspective
                                        grinds against the grain of perception
                    but it only makes me thirsty

Digging the breezes as they go
          steeped flowers & devastation
                    "slow kisses on the eyelids of the sea"

                              I seem to be practicing reverse meditation
                              not even to see the way the mist hollows out
                              strumming the drumroll sand

You could ask who's voice it is this time
& remember how the guitar came in a step behind
& there were puddles in the street reflecting the
sunset sky you couldn't see but could feel shimmering

& though you're sitting very still
your shadow is dancing

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Casual Mythology

Exculpatory Evidence
Can anyone ever really give or receive a "blessing"?
Confessing my tattoo
Fuchsia, nasturtium, cypress & eucalyptus
Show me the way to go home

Low Tide Low Life
That was me then as now
tunneling to the beach by way of China
singing I Shall Be Released
& checking to see how much is left

No matter what you say or how you say it
Wind rippling thru the Venetian blinds
rhymes w/the potted palms imitating Samoa
tossing shadows like spare change across the
sidewalk outside the Kung Fu Taqueria

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Learning to Live Without the Survival Instinct

The gray-white blue sky isn't exactly shimmering
above the beach where
seagulls dive into their own shadows

It can only happen here but only when I'm watching

A quick glance back over your shoulder
& the moment is no more
                                                 is gone

"Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder" (quote from

I can pray but I probably won't
as memory frames it
briefly for you or for me or some other guy
who doesn't know any more than we do what any of it means

The poor sick cat in pain unable to move
the vet injects a lethal dose of pentobarbital
the labored breathing stops

It seems I'm not such a tough guy after all
bringing sad broken Earle home in a cardboard box

We'll bury him out back among the nasturtiums

In the dark of the next morning I thought I saw his shadow
moving with that distinctly mincing step thru the living room

bright green eyes flash

then are gone

                                                                                  22 Aug 15

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hart Crane Sleeps with the Fishes

Not the Dark Rose but the CHRYSANTHEMUM

sea anemone

an illustration from The Western Book of the Dead

You ask me who do I consider to be the greatest surrealist of all time
& I say Busby Berkeley

Surrender the spilled drink

put a fork in it

The earliest maps show California as an island

Hazy blue afternoon laying flat on its back
beach pavement running all the way to Yokohama beneath the
variable shade of bonsai palms and tortured rhododendron

Sea monsters represent the Great Unknown

sashimi tacos, two for 5 bucks

"The most fearful of monsters is a well-known friend
slightly altered" (Kobo Abe)

Variations on a theme that is itself always different
always changing from one measure to the next

Does it sound familiar?

Would you care to dance?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Air Guitar (8 & 9)

Torching the pier with
Su Tung-p’o, Mayakovsky, little John the Conqueroo
& the Jesuit surf team as light filtered down through the
sweet summer smog
& Mexican rock & roll made the sidewalk crooked
on a re-direct from aliens who were handing out popsicles
Ocean Park the summer of 1975
& I was wiping the rain from my drugstore RayBans
like Rimbaud at Punta Baja
The sky blue ’64 El Camino had a backstory that would
make Coleridge weep into his sharkskin wetsuit
with trouble in mind blues tipping the pagoda stool
I wonder where the sea breeze goes
when it isn’t here?
She said Love is not a dream returning
beneath a sky the color of a sea stone
drenched in corrugated steel
I need a surfboard shaped like my life I said
She hands me a speargun
& a dose of drizzling fog-
mist from an early Sunday morning in July
so promulgated between tides
There’s sand in my ear & a million reasons
the air was seasoned with salt-
mist & car exhaust & your heart was like the T’ang Dynasty
edged in rust & Mexican turquoise
bending like a spoon to the flame
It’s always summertime somewhere
                                                            June 27 - July 14

Monday, August 3, 2015

Air Guitar (6 & 7)

                                     When it’s your dice or mine, all
or nothing,
                          that she be there in all her splendour
(Charles Olson) reminding me of how warm the pavement could be
         at night in Ocean Park the summer of 1975
                  released on your own recognizance . . .
A damsel in distress drifts past, unseen,
her sad tattoos & pedicure,
3:45 p.m., back of Taqueria Vallarta, knowing every step
including the slide & pivot & exactly where that might take you
         as sunlight filtered down thru the sweet summer smog
on a re-direct from aliens who were handing out sun glasses
                  & Love is not a dream returning she said
It will never leave us when it goes
“Do you know at the offering of which libation
the waters become endowed with a human voice
and rise and speak?” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)
From the beach it looked like Victory at Sea conditions out there
Sky the color of a sea stone cradled by the drizzle tide
Everything wet, trembling, waiting for you to make the next move
The haze of smog that lingered in yr veins
all summer long when the seaweed was in bloom
& you were bending like a palm tree in the breeze
I still have the photograph & the scars
& the silkscreened cover art in full color
(even black & white)
The light the air as yet unbruised
They call me Pagliacci but my real name is Mr. Earl

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Air Guitar (3-5)

The hand is quicker than the eye.  Okay, but
what about the speed of thought, the swift-
ness of emotion, the sudden recognition--
in a flash it’s gone.  “Fare thee well . . . ”
Sky the color of a sea-stone
drawn with blue-green T’ang Dynasty crayons
somehow rhyming with the remorseless passion I’m
attempting to skate through
The light the air as yet unbruised
was silver sometimes was emerald
but from torn canvas spilling rust
revealed to us the numbers of the heart
arranged as if by chance
& so we strike another match & pour the amber slow
because it is the only dance that you & I will ever know

Wet sand          beach tar        seaweed           
silver           emerald          rust         & salt mist
“It’s only a head wound, Ma”
(nothing that can’t be fixed w/a little nail polish)
darkwater             sunset                albacore   
Your eyes like neon burning in the streets of Tijuana, Japan
broken glass         sea foam                 
T’ang Dynasty cigarettes soaked in gasoline
“Please list your name, address, & permutations”
Cormorants in their feathered robes huddled on the rocks
above tidepools edged in rust & Mexican turquoise
“I can drizzle & quake with the best of them”
shark tooth         bird shadow 
flower of Michoacán

Sometimes the mist drifts past like a great whale
other sometimes it’s more like a Martian landing party at 
        Oxnard Shores
MORNING TWILIGHT        in letters 20 feet tall
The roadside ferris wheel & opium vendors with
trouble in mind blues tipping the pagoda stool
The light the air as yet unbruised
was silver sometimes was spraypainted with Paleozoic graffiti
to explain why the ocean is wet
The process of dreams without language
to bridge them from the reef to the shore
reflecting stones like clouds etched in glass
the wet pavement too much like the sky this time of day
but from torn canvas spilling rust
revealed to us the numbers of the heart

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Air Guitar (1 & 2)

It’s always summertime somewhere
& you’re walking back from the pier in someone else’s
Tijuana tire-tread huaraches
beneath a sky ripped from the tide book soaked in gasoline
& though our hearts remain pure as sunbleached pavement
we all have our dirty little secrets
& even if we don’t we can always pick up a few along the way
just to say Love is not a dream returning
& this is where your heart knocks to break
as if it was me tapping at the glass
& little John the Conqueroo lit a pipe
like Lopez at the Waimea
on a re-direct from aliens who were handing out cough syrup
as sunlight filtered down thru the sweet summer smog
The light the air as yet unbruised
with vinyl upholstery & tinted windows
transports me to Ryoan-ji via iambic pentameter
& the Tijuana Sloughs
What about the speed of thought the torn canvas spilling rust
crepuscular Vermeer albacore bottlecaps
w/antediluvian puddles (poodles?)
Her darkwater pearls & Mexican silver
folded into sand swept by foam
reminds me of how warm the pavement could be
at night in Ocean Park the summer of 1975
released on your own recognizance . . .
& just as in the tragic relationship between flamingo & flamenco
the truth kind of sneaks up on you like a perfumed cigarette

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Morning Glory, Beach Glass, & the Deep White Blue Haze

Your sins (those
that are secret & those that are less so) are
quite lovely this damp mist-laden morning
Transcending the particular
whereby generalities are permission to mediate invention
itself transcendent
I’m thinking of Rebelde Radioactivo (1965)
by Los Sinners
as well as the dark silver of the sand this time of day

dark blonde I’d say
a dark
blonde                        streaked w/tar
set alongside the heavy green glass of the tide
warmed by small fires buried beneath stones underwater