PLEASE HELP BLUE PRESS STAY AFLOAT

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sky Dive

burned out abandoned
in muted tones) Light which is palpable
(whispers in the palm leaves)
cement rotting into the sea) The Ohlone said
“Dancing on the brink of the world”
meaning here (The tattooed sand
the ocean stretching out past forever (not even the
feather of a doubt (written like thunder
in her eyes

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Numbers We Left Behind

w/Death’s hand upon his shoulder
desperation & the obscure grave
                                                                                  reduced to TV time

                              the armor in the rock
                              the blood in the tulip

& twisting in the pencil rain

              The red neon script I read backwards
              the death of rubys & dark emeralds

                              out there beyond the ruins
                                                & the bells of St. Kahuna

Monday, December 29, 2008

Beneath the Radar

The beach already dark
& the wind

riding in with the tide

Five pelicans
                              swooping in low over the waves

Pelicans possess some kind of ancient wisdom

“Conspire to invent a world”
                              (William Carlos Williams, out of context)

What would Joanne Kyger say?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Rooms of Open Sky

                    (for Pamela)

The horse itself is motion, the
study sequential
                                                each freeze-frame a figure
of what flowing
                              passage
                                                (walk, trot, canter)
                                                                                  contained
upon a shock of color
a grid engraved
                                                no longer abstract
The depth of perception
                              is not reserved for the eye
alone
              Listening you can
                              hear the sound
of hooves
                                                drumming in the brush stroke
_______________________________________
The pattern spans whatever the heart
              tiled texture & image
                              Shimmer steps through
is not only the eloquence of saying so
across the variegated colored squares but
in time a
                              place you know by hand
& so memory
on the right in blue dots balances
              the flat photo of a fence left of the equine
figure
                              to document this dance
--------------------------------------------------------------
The appaloosa turns her head
GRACE
              (“to be born & live”)
& so the mare’s clear eye, the long
                              muscles in her spotted neck

falling past a turquoise & crimson
chiaroscuro

              dancing at the edge of memory

graceful as soft
                              diffused light
              touching shadow

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Down three blocks then over two & across the vacant lot

These clouds
                              (chrome-plated)
gathering rain & bits of string
from the roadside
                                                as did St. John of the Cross
before he rusted out

                              Halos of evenfall
                                                in doll-like syllables

                              every numberless number therein

                                                neither light nor eyes reveal
              & from where darkness
                                                I know as well
                                                                has wings
                                      is thus hovering

                              & gray like sheet metal whispers in the tide

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Eternal Company

                    to Patrick, Micah & Sunnylyn

I’m always there
except when I’m not (there)
                              just a sweep to be swept aside in the
general tumult & lull
The zing-strings of what must be forged outright
into shapes of color & tinted glass
                                                but The Winter Palace
                                                                (whatever is left of it)
you had every right to believe & indulge
                              ―an act of kindness? a pun?
                                                an Elizabethan getaway?
                                                                something to do…
Against the raw twilight I’ve got
this turquoise parking lot,
                              a bottle of hunger & some Mexican hardware
& though we recite Verlaine into the drain-
pipe
                                                our wrists are strong
                                                                & the night
when it gets here
                              will be true

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Telepathic Taco Wagon

                    an xmas miracle

Tequila, egg nog
& an infamy burrito
for breakfast

An early morning disappearing act

“No room for us among the dead in the
burnt mountains, not yet anyway” (saith Leweye)

nor rainswept where I recite the 242 choruses
straight from the book of my dumbass dreams
& thank whatever precarious

Peeling a wet ten dollar bill
from the pavement
at the corner of Ocean
& Water streets on this
the feast of the nativity

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 73)


I wanted to go home with Joanna and wreck some things…I don’t know why her friend didn’t like me, but it was clear she wanted me gone.   To that end, she drug Johanna outside to a cluster of golf carts around a late-nite pork and beans stand, dishing out staples to drunk and dazed Odyssean home-bounders…a few young black bucks sat idly in their carts, very familiar with Johanna and her friend…I stumbled over and got her just enough on the side to ask her if she wanted to come over…she had downed a couple of aquardientes and like lightning in a snowstorm she laughed…and I knew then that I had a chance…but not tonight she said…I asked when and she gave me the location of her employment, the Tropicana Beach Club, and said she’d be there any afternoon at the outside bar…and I saw that smile slide into something dirty, standing in the moon of lights…I wavered off with a kiss to her cheek and began what was becoming a routine walk home, bopping along under a palm tree prosidy…I thought of Johanna and I thought of Ramona and I thought of guilt.   I may have felt some, but I didn’t let it ruin the inky stroll homeward…I went to bed spinning on the heat and tar of Los Angeles and dreamt of myself blowing poetry, and Johanna blowing me…

Next day was Sunday, and I thought long and hard about going to see Johanna.   It tainted my day blue and crimson, so I paid homage to the King of Literature by shacking up with Whalen’s “On Bear’s Head” and writing poems.   I kept thinking of Ramona’s teeth, her perfect strong dentals white as light….how often she flashed them, and how it made those around her stumble…I do be turned on…yes.   But it was by the blackness and pink privates of Johanna, counter to the mouth of Ramona that got me breathing hard…It left me in somewhat of a quandary and so I sat and soaked in it, waiting for tomorrow…

Monday I put on the swim trunks and running shoes, tuned the cd player to Dylan Albert Hall Concert, and leapt from the beach back door into 242 choruses of sunshine, breezy palms, and lone mangroves…I reeked of tender reveries and ghastly acts of love.   It was a good half mile past where I usually turned around, so I was sweating profusely when I reached the Tropicana…

-Michael Price

Day to Day

One place as good as any
a creased spine & blank
words filling every page

              the Taj Mahal, Hermosa Beach,
                              Crater Lake, Haleiwa,
                                                the Sea of Cortez

vagaries of innocence

              an only ritual

or vengeance
which taps the silver
las palmas

& nobody knows your name

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Out of Reach

One mirror staring down another

A mirror of flesh & bone

A blank sheet of concrete
fluttering in the cool sunlight

catch it later on the playback loop
                              beneath a sky imported from
              another dream

Monday, December 22, 2008

All Fish Go To Heaven

Steam spray tossed
              up across the sand
a rail of jazz
                              from the pipes
              & crushed cinderblock

Windwaves (a Chinese dragon tattoo)

I’m tumbling inside a washing machine on TV
                              with God doing the voice-over
              bumming a smoke

There will be a silver snake
              wrapped around yr wrist
in the ruins
                              darker along the sand & beach
              concrete where the sky is
carrying a shotgun harpoon
& a book
                              a Bible (dark) or poems
& like the hammer of dreams
descends beneath the lamp
at street level
the skeleton of a Tibetan trumpet
mumbling drizzle
              noodle precipitous
                              dank wherewhithall
                                                Jack of Diamonds
in the raw damp serpentine
of sea-mist dawn

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Only A Movie

Should you expect
the weight of the tide shaped exactly like
a winter sunset
but Tiny spells “virtue” with an “F”
a Grecian urn balancing on a hat pin
where our final option is always the first
to go as the plot depends upon
a beached harpsichord
played upon by Thelonious Monk
in top hat, wetsuit & tails

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Double Down by Michael Price

We can’t live long
Without beauty &
The red hues of
Descending light

We take some part
Of the infinite
Noir night
With its true truth

Its great swan
Of hurled hope
& we lay down
to weary sleep

For eight years
Of trying for naught
We dance we fuck
We make whitening

Expressions we eat
Desire & shun taking
Our medicine we are
In fact wrong

About the way we see—
Our lust driving our right
Action into wrong
Desire It’s an easy
Long hour to get lost
In And we do

And do I wish
It was saffron &
Red dreams for
The large bloc of blood

Ignorance in the middle
But it is finally
The middle way
Which will free us

Dressed in western
Clothes our future
Burning ground
The pyre of the Midwest

Seeking always to go
Lower like water
Blind purpose to kill
Or fuck or play

The odds are we destroy—
Dead city void of water
High in wind “some
Parts of the world

May have to be
Abandoned”
It comes too soon
Like anything else

                        -Michael Price

FROM CHANSONNIERS by Patrick Dunagan




FROM CHANSONNIERS
by Patrick Dunagan

A tender lyric sequence like a tight-rope walking tuba band performing without a net 20,000 feet above your tired eyes.

Cover by Ryan Coffey.
2008.   5.25” x 8”, saddle-stapled.   $7.00

from Blue Press

AMERICAN STUDIES by M.Price & K.Opstedal



AMERICAN STUDIES
by Michael Price & Kevin Opstedal

A short suite of collaborative poems by the founders of Blue Press who prove without a doubt that American Studies begin in Japan.

Cover by Russ Pope.
2008.   5.25” x 8”, saddle-stapled.   $7.00

from Blue Press

Friday, December 19, 2008

The pavement was still damp

Empty red dust sunsets hypnotize themselves

I had to soak them in gasoline

an aloha waltz across the razor horizon
that neatly slices the sea from the sky

but we got bottles of Mexican amber
              albatross enchiladas
                              & plenty of dark places
                              to get to

              walk around the puddles
              of light
                                                reflections of nothing
                              like your eyes
                              transparent for the moment
                                                                & that’s what I wanted
                                                I always wanted
                                                to look right through you

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where'd You Get That Bruise?

The way silk clings to her body after
& the silver on her wrists like
winter on the coast

memorize the dreamless
dark blonde sand

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Wish You Would

It’s easy to fall, that’s the popular belief, but I think sometimes you have to work at it.   To fall you have to let go.

She didn’t want to but there seemed to be no other choice.

“I woke up.   I went to sleep.   I painted the walls rust to match my blood.”   There is forever this delicate balance to maintain?   Then you fall, you trip, or get pushed (accidentally on purpose) like the Roman Empire.

“You have the standard edition, right?   The one with the inelegant stain?”

I was looking for my reading glasses, it was a vision quest.   She had left me a neolithic candle & a 16th century book of curses.

[ The Flashback reveals what we’ve suspected from the start—   she has complicated shoes.]

Horizontal bars of light & shadow on the wall, late afternoon sun streaming in through venetian blinds.   The business with the needle is drawn out for an incredibly long time in a series of tight close-up shots.   It’s like watching a rose blossom unfold in real time.   When the scene is finally over half the audience has left or fallen asleep.

As the day winds down she appears to various people simultaneously;  on the pier, in the supermarket, holding a shovel in someone’s backyard, standing on the highway hitch-hiking with a handwritten cardboard sign that reads “Yesterday”.

The speed of light, something about time travel, a time machine, warp speed, a glitch.   How time got here & where had it been?   The Wayback Machine.   This is a dark place where nothing happens.   This is a place blasted with light where everything happens.   Dries clear.   Never needs ironing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Radio Alarm Clock

I’m down with the mysteries & harmonies of the universe
“You walk in the front & walk out the back”
just don’t fuck with my car

Music lies coiled deep
beneath the sea
where shapes hide what we might or
might now know
                                                And the secret
                              riding on the surface is simply
                                                                a matter of syllables

clouds               a few, scattered near the edge of the sky

wheels               only at rest when they are in spin

takes a moment to dream it right thru articulation

                                                Wasn’t what was said but how

The streets quiet within their colors
morning slanting through

You might think of engines humming beneath the waves,
how shadows crowd the pier, format the text, trim the spine

Dark passage what I said these dim luxuries I needed them

beach motel tango
pussy weather flatline

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reef Dance

I learn to live each perfect broken morning
all of it tipping back a rusted bottle
& sifting thru the top ramen for that last
nickle we already spent in a past life past
caring anymore as time dips your eyes in the
lead-based paint of a sketchy sunrise
where you always manage to find something

you always manage to lose something too
the trade-off as symmetry & a faulty sense
of balance tripping over the rails of the heart

Friday, December 12, 2008

Under the Bubble

Waiting in the rain-shaped
afternoon
              (yr cloud-torn eyes
                              & all that’s left (the
              bell curve swept the
pulse of the pavement
beneath (when you’re not there
                              the broken mirror
                                                Sea Hunt
                              electric No-Doz foam
              in shipwreck colors

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Everything Turns to Water

Drum, possibly dream
              from the froth of Ocean crossing
distills that which pelicans in their wisdom
glide above
                              only to be returned as such
is possible the pursuit seems actually to have
occupied less than the hours
                                                & what else to tell
layered transparencies against the
signage
              one doesn’t ordinarily read but lit up at night
              having traveled this far
                              up from the waves as mist
                                                snagged on telephone poles
or drifting across a parking lot (itself
adrift)
              Not from eyes intent upon
                              nor the blue window light only just lifted
but as the tide
                              a measure
                                                duly noted

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 72)


I was 1/3 pink, 1/3 blue, and 1/3 green and it was high moment to awake out of sleep, poetic reverie, and my very own gov’t issued junk withdrawal...I figured my figures and came up with massive glee, emainating from drunken patrons, who, like me, were adept at the blonde waltz...I focused on the matter at hand…to the only detail that seemed to matter...getting in carnal with this highway Johanna...God was she something to experience...all her magic, grace, mystery, femininity, and intelligence...I was youth in a Jerkin Frieze among a bevy of scamps, louts, tear-aways of all kinds...we were on the back edge of the par quay when the PUNTA music moved in and gripped the throngers...and like a sudden new art movement, Johanna was moving in eighths and sixteenths, with broad sweeping brushstrokes of a lyric intensity and compression I hadn’t seen since the sonnets of Wyatt...I moved my arms in perfect mimesis to the movements of her hips and torso...I sent the orders down to my mid-section to duplicate what my peepers were taking in but the lines must’ve been crossed because what my hips were doing looked like Thomas Eakins up against De Kooning…I didn’t care because the Seagram’s or Jack had oiled me welll...and shouldering my spear I kept at it behind her, running my hands up and down the contours of her hips and waist...the arcs of those lines were fabulous to hold and had a most interesting effect on the planes of my thought...I wanted in the finest sense to behold the perfection of big machines at work even behind evil corporations, big green power plants where infinity and long division were commonplace, behind the ax and behind the wonderful rooms full of drink and electricity where we were just lanky puppets gassing on their exhaustive half-truths......they made us dance for sugar booze and sugar sex and sugar hope while they raked in the dough...

I was dancing best I knew how, which aside from some admittedly good disco moves I had honed in college, was not much for the books...it was hard to tell what Johanna was thinking—judging by her non-verbal communiqu├ęs, I was pretty sure she was considering a late night chance encounter...younger, greater, ever truer shivers were going through her body right in to mine and the improvisation of gadfly minutes was getting better and better with each insane song that was spun...when it came time to Punta I bowed three times to St. Jude and let it rip...

I guess this went on for a couple hours until finally she just walked off the dance floor with just a slight glance over her shoulder to let me know that it was just barely ok for me to follow...and over she went to her girlfriend I hadn’t met yet who had also danced a few numbers with a crazy adept punk man right in front of us...and that lady had absolutely no use for me, shouldering a cold millisecond nod as if to say “white nights in shitty armour”…

-Michael Price

Food for Other Fish

Back on the street (pointing) the
sky sort of breathing
& nowhere to go but over the edge
inside

“by the sea / by the sea”

It took me weeks to get the sand out of my ears

I painted the walls rust
to match my blood
downloaded the brainwash ringtone
& locked the door

Just me & a six-pack of euphoria
“when the bell tolls it tolls for yr heart-shaped
crime against nature” (or something)

When I finally came to I found myself
paddling toward a lone palm tree
stapled to an otherwise
empty sky

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Double Indemnity

I’ve been counting down

every number has its history
from pity to deceit

walking now through the canyons
downtown

“I left all my visionary equipment in the car”

the backstory deleted & the
sun multiplied by towers of glass

(The ghost of an elegant abalone shell abstraction
you’ll see if you close your eyes

              all the details are just reflections)

But dark as the long trip back through
endless constellations
of streetlights & neon defined
to trace that spectral
& return

The graffiti on the overpass says
“Sooner or later
you too shall burn”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rustoleum

Comes a time you’ll change yr name to
Quentin Nemo or
Jalisco Ocean
watch love burn like Bagdad
spend yr days pitching pennies in the tide
the sky ending like memory
drowning in a handful of tears

as perhaps the possession of some future
returned to the changing sand

where we walk away in another language
& slash the wrists of clouds

Friday, December 5, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 71)


I sucked it up, reverently and physically, finished off the Jack and Seven I had switched to, and made my way over, watching her notice my approach from the corner of her eye and doing her best to stay as cold as possible...”black butts make good book ends”.   Again.   This insane iambic refrain was running through my banal mind as I got closer...a last ditch mantra to try to will some cool into my veins...my neck felt like it was fastened in a wooden cangue and my mind was caught in a bad infinity...I was listless and vile and in spite of it all, I said "Hello, Michael," (hand out) "What’s your name?"   Nothing.   No smile.   A slight nod of the head.   Enough to keep me going.   “Do you have a name?”   That brought a sneer...but words cameth:   “Johanna.”

Look away.   Total disinterest.   She wouldn’t look at me...le vice anglais.   Le vice white.   “What did Black say to you” I stuttered, laughing uncomfortably and nearly apologizing for my weirdness...She started to show the faint upward curve of a smile at this one, as if her and Blackie had shared the juiciest bit over on me and there I was, capsized in a sea of evil with thousands of years of very major imbalances tipped in my favor but knowing inside that karma had a higher hand over these things than politics or shift-shape morals...ah, a vale, a refrain, an alibi....”Would you like a drink?"   We were right up to the corner of the bar and she finally said "Baileys and cream"

Huh.  That was a new for me, had heard of drinking Baileys in coffee, but with cream?

"On the rocks?”

Incredulous.   I told the bartender to make it a Baileys and cream on rocks and a Jack and Seven and inside I'm thinking, Jesus—two Dylan song birds—first Ramona and now Johanna.  Was I headed for some elegant, eloquent choice between the lies, the truth, and the pain?   I fiddled with money in my pocket and thrust some on the bar top, the girl behind me, sitting on a stool five sensing the scene…I made a great presentation of this Baileys and cream on the rocks ...she was totally non tactile, taking the drink from me with no overlap of hands or fingers, no skin on skin not a minute too soon or too late, just smooth smooth manipulation of the "lets pretend" school of theory and panel door wisdom…

Johanna, meanwhile, took nickel sips from her drink while I asked her stupid questions, answering in shakes and nods mostly, causing me to pick up the pace of my drinking so that I might bury my head in the nearest ass and be done with chunky motions...I wondered where the sozzled wisdom and beginners luck I had grown so accustomed to was…In the face of black beauty it was nowhere to be seen...However, just when I had reached my often ridiculous limit, she surprised me by speaking.  “I'm going to dance.   You can come with me if you like.”   Literalism.   I liked it.   Pars pro toto…saying vamanos to my 36 selves and following what I now saw was a really blythe and beautiful visage, as I said, mall white, and smooth with nary a faint line suggesting underwearables of any kind...She moved through the crowd in a historical critical rational manner...

And the humpty dump dance square was moving, nearly ablaze...Johanna fluidly made the transition from pedestrian to spectacle, not missing a single beat...it was as if she was more at ease in motion, whereas I could be caught enjoying a more sedentary repose not quite showing off my junky dance moves...but in this situation there was no choice but to chase a sudden breakthrough, keying the cipher of uncertainty as to where it all might roll to, hips rolling, yes, there were hips rolling when spied down through my tropic goggles, rolling like danger, like aspirin in the palm of the hand, high crack laughing here, this wonder woman moving like water running down a pane of glass...and nothing to do but slide in behind her and behind every action she was about...

-Michael Price

The Opstedal Ultimatum

I just walked in
& walked back out
staggered on the steps

whoever I was going to be
had left the building
before me

My eyes went turquoise
it was genetic
as were the midnight RayBans

& the long road back

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Built on Sand

She said I said yesterday
Don’t open the window unless you
mean it

Sunset lament (in the shadows)

The sky over the central coast has been
closed for repairs today
& her heart is Point Blank Baja
as performed by Jimmy Twang
& the Hitmen

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Sinking of the Sushi Boat

Cloudy gray granite w/sparkles in it
stars or windows (seen from a great
height) two-way mirrors

headlights in the fog

I was driving nails into seawater
trimming stones at Ryoan-ji
raking the pavemnt in Santa Cruz

all the reasons for & against

slip away from pale fingers,
windswept airplane glue, dark
palm trees with darker church bells

chopsticks carved from martyr's bones

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Out of the Ashes

Someone (minus
shoes) driven
under the
influence

Monday, December 1, 2008

Desert Sky Beach

Wearing sunglasses Death
is more about dying
that spells doom
in Samoan

What to look for & where to go
makes as little sense
but then w/ritual percision
slicing the silence

you could drown the Reaper
in red wine & still make it back
w/a black skull cap, a bottomless
beer can & Mexican shoes

Here it’s all low grade thunder
& residual blues (harmonica
& dulcimer tuned to the tide,
tacos at midnight

elusive reasons to breathe
(room for two where
we’d boomerang & decline
w/our blades laid out

for all those doomed to follow

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Long Time Lost

slow skies (pressurized)
every claw, tentacle, hoof, wing
& fin

I realize that I have crossed the
Mississippi River many times
in my life but always at around
38,000 feet

hum click wash
flesh & bone
water above as below
(slosh) The Hawaiian Shell Band
& Revival Corps

nevertheless tormented by
in-flight static interference
as the scene shifts
to what & whenever
eternal distraction
we seek

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anyplace West of Here

Reaching for the ticket that
represents our
escape & return
through night skies full of light
& dark like you
as if to initiate
& learn to wait where
the heart may have stumbled
(the weather will change
prophetickal
streaked w/dark wings
& underwater landslides
a dark silk torch curtain
reading east to west

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Blank Space Where A Title Should Have Been

Falling water, ice crunch, delicate
bones of frost (miniature cantilever structures
all crystal & light

numb to the touch

in the cradle of a day
suspended between this one & the next

even the dogs know the way home

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Say Whatever You Want

landscape) rolling green hills,
bottles of wine, tall
trees, lots of
civil war dead buried hereabouts

“They died with their surfboards”

              & it’s still November on earth
in buckets

I left my sense of balance on the
west coast
                              only my inherent
              perpetual, stubborn
sense of loss
remains

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not A Palm Tree In Sight

Some kind of movement
transit
from left to right
in circles
wheels, wings, rails
we have left one place
countless others
but the arrow doesn’t rest
it gets delirious
emptied of entrance & decline
more & less
                              taken (the claim)
              unspecified
                                                blades full of shadows
                              yet ascend

(enroute Santa Cruz to Washington DC to Maryland to Virginia in 36 hours)

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 70)


There was a telephone but I didn’t have any numbers to call...something black and blue was coming for me, something like a big ol’ fucked up ass......I was already nostalgic for Ramona and I knew that was an ominous sign...As ever, I made the week with little trouble and the mother returned home disenfranchised but aglow...and that prescient day on the beach loomed like the odor of bella donna...oat angel black sex vox...what was I in store for?   I felt, unlike the general tourist population whom were impotent and doomed, like I was surging, picking up some vast energy from the slip-sea and preparing for some translucency on the make...Congruent with this perception, I decided to sacrifice a golden orb of vanity to the latent altar within...I gave it all up...everything except for Ramona...but that would all change soon anyway...I wouldn’t have any choice.

The Place, a new bar on stilts over the water, was full to brimming with people doing their best Dintjan, moving here and there; some dandling, some just seeing things out ...but it was a festive and pulsing mob and we all got down to dollar belikans and free shots from the barkeep... soon enough, Black was stringing together the latest rap and dance crazes and we all found ourselves reaching high and bouncing sex-mad in the middle of the floor...I could feel Crystal wanting to do her sad little hot grind up against my hips…there was a subtle competition always on between her and Ramona she wanted bad to get me to drift, play a little, push the Gregorian limits of proper¬ty... I wanted no part because, to be honest, I wasn’t attracted to her one lousy bit…In fact, I felt sorry for her...I could see the pain she carried fathoms away...and this drove her mad…I’m pretty sure she didn't like me either, but she wanted nothing so badly as to lure me to bed and literally fuck me to pieces...There she would have her reward...So I just mime danced everyone else...and so it went…

Lenny, the fuck brained pissy English party captain whom I always saw in a state of entire disrepair, was mad with moves and gusto that night...And the drinks would flow like the Thames when he was in the house with his pilot roomates...Lenny was alright, befriending my mom and her friends with no slobber, just candor...dancing the Paddington frisk or the Tyburn jig, he was a dancing dog shirtless and soaked with sweat and booze... I watched him with his mad Mick and Banjo, with a nose broken by this fist of a queer cudgel in a previous life...I stood there and basked—in my mind rang some twelve bar blues with the din of a hammond organ...I was high and ready to find the way to blue...

I was getting hurried and restless for the return of Ramona and I could feel the urge in my loins to drive French horses, black stallions, and rare ponies to and from my shed...So Black, Crystal and I got out of there and scrambled to Barefoot Iguana’s, to the giant disco where there were scores of night creatures moving the precious question of why, breaking down their resistances and urging each other on to greater infamy and shame...and we couldn’t get there fast enough...weaving through the front door coming in all of us sizing them up...color, size, drunkenness, habits, stance, pose... twenties of them, writhing and gesticulating, everywhere an ocean of parallel funk, hands going over thighs, smiles contorting once recent sad faces, drinks in hand sweat, jungle colors, ventilators, flip flops of small feet on the floorboards, a pisskopped dj screaming inanities over thumps and rolls, the somes and the fews and the pieces of everything always sin, always human, always just THERE...movements of rapid take-off, quick crashes, and every psychological malady...It was more than just flesh and carnal couplets, glee and escapism—it was burglary, larceny, and attempted rape...this was heavy duty ignorance, and I was game.

I was now standing half short-wave in the corner watching it boil, looking for the glad-eye of my blue bender, the hear and smell of the law and averages of the human condition...Trembling like a breeze I could feel my ears having enough and I could feel the absurdity of the white man on an island...I began writing my note in the sand in my head “what little distraction possible present disappearing vapor in heavy air...”   Heavy.   Heavy brown.   Heavy rain clouds and Heavy wet.   Malt Liquor.   And Bailey’s with cream.   On ice…

saw her come in with another.   They were both dark brown, chocolate brown, Belizian girls...black girls.   I was all cock and breeches...steady in my gaze but not honky obvious...she was dressed in all white cotton from neck to mid-calf...beguiling innocent, pretty, like a Japanese paper lantern...Her body was aglow in some taut athleticism and her moves were like a thousand spy movies...sly, mysterious, measured and noble... Here I was, with the Ramona medal, 1st prize, and I trembled at following my restless eyes...sensing this, Black, giddy from gin, approached me in mid-gaze to find out what I wanted to drink AND who I was looking at...”that chick? In the white? You want me to hookitup for you braddah? Here, let me talk to her, find out what she is”... “Naw Black, it’s cool, I’ll get around to it...”
“Aww man all you boys say that man, that’s liquor for flour man...I’ll go and talk to her for you, see if you can buy her a drink...cool?” “OK man but I’m going over here, looking away, playing it cool, lime in my beer, watch the dancing, ok...that’s fucking embarrassing man...” “No, it’s the way it goes in Belize man, just let me take care of it...” I assumed the worst, waned and swayed, and tried not to watch as Black strolled most casually over to the woman and got right in her ear…I half-laughed aloud to no one but the gods of surgical anatomy and figured what the hell, it could only be what it could be...and it wasn’t long before Black was back at my side smiling wide and hempically, a man of genius, “Allright this is the deal...she thinks you’re cute and she wants you to buy her a drink”... “You’re full of shit Black, she didn’t say anything but ‘what the fuck does he want’, ‘that fool?’, shit.... “No man, I’m telling you, she wants you to come over and buy her a drink...she likes you”... “Black what the hell did you tell her?   I saw you laughing it up with her, probably said, ‘hey baby I’d like to get in your cottons but my honky pal over there seems to have his little sights set on you...whadaya say can he spend some money on you?   Free drinkies lady...”   “Man, you got it all wrong...I’m working it for you, man, for you, see?   C’mon, get over there and buy her some liquor and quit talking to me”...

-Michael Price

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nailed Shut

These mornings have since
turned back

ambivalent

restrained

as would be marked by
steps that follow

late & early the
path of resistance

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cost Benefit Analysis

the carnival atmosphere) despair
next to nowhere, in the shade
wondering where the money goes
when there isn’t any

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Measure

When last I heard you
screech in the night
like Little Richard

your body pulsing
in my arms
like a star on the horizon

your crepuscular eyes shut
in the mud of my heart

now I remember
now I remember

You could make death look easy

Go ahead, make death look easy

I've lit flowers for you
in Gethsemane

Saturday, November 22, 2008

PARISH KREWES by Micah Ballard


A great ESSENTIAL collection of poems by Micah Ballard.   I've read most of these lyrics in manuscript over the past year or two, but it's a rush to have them so splendidly packaged & cleanly presented.   Solid all the way through.   Get yourself a copy NOW & be stoked http://www.bootstrapproductions.org/

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fifty More Miles

She had a 6x9 glossy of the
              Wichita Vortex Sutra
                              along with 2,500 dips
              on the store rack in my brain
Woven leaves, thin fiery air
                              within lucent domes
“Under the green and golden atmosphere”

pavillions, parking lots
sidewalks I thought would take me somewhere
“gracefully relinquished”

              Fog holding to the coast
laudanum plus desultory metaphors
                              zero gravity & ghost trains
              in the 32 chambers of my heart no less
                                                with last ditch Hail Marys

              warbling in a darkness all their own

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 69)


And then I wrote this poem to Ramona:
It’s never a fair man
Who keeps his woman & also
The ugly ones on the side

I had plenty of regret for my transgression, but like my knowledge of rods and furlongs, short was my wisdom concerning the basis of my lustful variations...but I had no particular idea how to circumvent this grief and guilt that seemed to accompany any enchanted pueblo mission of desire...at least for that set of moments, because Sharpe was gone, it could rest.

I can’t swear to anything that occurred during the next few weeks for I was living in the belly of the whale.   There was a recondite beauty to this, for I saw boredom and my sitting and their adventure of ideas...I saw my mother day and night and I saw ten versions of the Green Flash...the sheets and towels and clothes we soiled flapped in the tropic breeze outside my window...I wrote poems at the dining room table for a few hours a day, nux vomica in hand...I drank Coca Cola and Belikan...I thought about Ramona and I practiced masturbation...the mystery, the intrigue, was a forever moving target...”the universe is a lady,/holding within her the unborn light.”   I picked up books wherever I could find them...my mother had done a random job on the folks numerous books when she left the house on sugarloaf, and I was a bit surprised to find the likes of Erich Fromm and ee cummings amongst romance novels.   I dug into these with a torrid abandon...Fromm was a good bridge, looking back, because he wrote about the neurotic little boy clung to the mother whose later love relationships were sloth by the bolt...

For the first time in my life I was ready to make a real sacrifice...and I don’t mean a compromise but real sacrificial offerings placed on an altar during the full harvest moon, under the duress of double indemnity and a life not quite lost on a train, with viles of songbird blood and the beheading of blank sonnets...I’m talking about looking deep inside and asking questions that ring like death penny bells in the mind’s eye...Why am I so torrid?   Why do I suffer so at the hands of the beauty?   Why did I fear losing my parents, esp. my mother at night?   Is it normal to see red?   I vowed to do something for the first time in my life..I sat and gave away the matriarch....I prayed for help in curing me of walking leisurely and casually into bad love relationships with mother-subs...I began to think ‘one more’ despite knowing I was going to have to see Ramona to the end of the line, and maybe that stop was the graveyard...a seaside Ecuadorian beach cemetery with doctrines of meditation and antagonistic schools of scholars ready to deconstruct my pathos......I was ready to get fixed...And so I wrote the greatest poem of my first 31 years during a week when my mother returned to Texas to see her parents…

I was sleeping alone in the ceiling-less house and waking up to the ocean and off-shore breeze with no Ramona and not a shred of evidence that she would pass before me again...that Monday was the first day forward of the rest of my life...dreams were coming powerful to me and I recorded them detail by detail in my journal...which I then boiled down to the root causes and wrote in bold all caps FEAR PRIDE ANGER JEALOUSY LUST AVARICE GUILT SHAME ...some life it was turning out to be ...something had shifted deep inside with the physical departure of my mother, and when I let her go in the mind, there was change singing in the electricity in the walls, mezzotint messages pierced my hangovers from drinking with Said and Kris and I had the old magic poesy going for my days...I ran, that is I took runs down the beach in nothing but a pair of shorts with a Russian Sun beating down upon my skin and the patient Polish breeze fanning my radiator, keeping the body’s engine just cool enough...I thought of Ramona when I passed Ramones, that time I had come upon her in that first of our three days together...I looked out across the ocean towards Belize and sent my thoughts to her, sustained in my determination by fatigue and fear of science and logic, which were always telling me to study the mechanics of happiness ...but I wanted to study suffering and I ceded my vainglorious homage runs to Ramona...some naked ideas that kept me out there for half hours until I could take the heat and athsma no more and would head in for a shower or out for a dip in the sea...Shaking my hair dry after the water thinking “today is the greatest...” with giant waves of heavy guitar panning across the horizon.   As a matter of fact, I was alone.   But I didn’t care.

-Michael Price

Full Tilt

1.
The dark reaches
              & the sky bends

The wind rattles dry leaves blown
              clattering over the pavement

Everyone’s got their own personal escape route
              so why are my hands shaking?

A tiny blue window opens
              in a corner of the lagoon

Vast chevrolets cruise the horizon

2.
The stage is set with plasticine angels
resembling nothing so much as
those faceless inhabitants of dreams
who carry messages from deep in there
where the dreaming’s stored

One of the last of the
rainy day women
trudges through the sand

& light fills the air

the air which is slashed by gulls
in my poems

3.
From emerald & steel waves
                              clawing at Asteroid Beach
beneath a chrome-plated sun
              gnarly prows of bituminous ruin

Out along the jetty
              made entirely of the volcanic rubble of dead stars
the scuttling spider-shuffle of red crabs
                              makes a sound like dry leaves
clattering over the pavement

From the depths of a fatal buzz
              wicked day-glo visions thresh the foam

―the waves charging
                                                like horses
                                                                into the sand

4.
The sun drops like an incendiary pearl
into the wildly churning sea

There is a certain grace
to the inevitable

it soars in on seagull’s wings

it wheels & pivots

& I am bent
into a stupor of rare depth where
silver airships dock

hey hey

loading up
on the chosen few

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alternate Route

Banging around in the night cocoon
1971 is still smoking pot somewhere in
Santa Monica, either that or
swilling cough syrup in the S.Cruz sand
w/a ziplocked future
& a miniature speargun

in the fog

& like the fog we drifted up the coast
scratching our names into the mist
in a broken breeze on a broken street
with broken kisses that kept us tied to
slow-water inconsistencies swept beneath
as one might park the damp pavement
on a cliff above the beach

resigned to what we dreamed was true

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Underwater Ballet

I had some other place to be.   There were complications―
the rooms were too large, the stairway too steep, the walls
were caving in around me.
I had a rope-ladder in order to exit via the window
which was only about 3 stories up but slanted out at a 45 degree
angle over the rocks & the sea below.
Halfway down the ladder I realized how ridiculous all this was.
I stood in a darkened parking structure smoking a cigarette.
A woman approached me to say that she didn’t need any matches.
As she walked away I noticed that she had a tail like an alligator
dragging on the floor behind her.   In Mexico I
looked down from a stupendous height as a group of children
gutted & skinned some kind of water buffalo.
In the room next door it was a rainy morning in Seattle.
A naked woman drank coffee from a very ornate antique cup
made of a mysterious metal that changed shape as she sipped from it.   It was distracting but I still wanted to fuck her.
I was accused of a crime I knew that I didn’t commit
but the evidence was so overwhelming I began to
question whether I had actually done what they said
& inexplicably forgotten all about it.

“Moss Landing, no I mean Mussel Shoals”
I kept confusing the two.
I had a job shaping boards at a surf shop in Ventura.
My skin was coated in a thin layer of fiberglass dust.
I had just won the Nobel Prize for literature.

I’ve never had a dream in which I could fly.
I know that many people share that dream of
flying bird-like high above the earth.
The closest I get is a kind of levitation
where I rise up only a foot or so above the ground
in an upright position
& with an extraordinary amount of effort
manage to glide forward for a few yards before
dropping back down onto my feet.
It’s a very difficult & exhausting exercise
& although I must have dreamed it hundreds of times it
never gets any easier.

I’ve had dreams in which others fly.

Sometimes they sprout wings & take to the sky,
other times, wingless, they just seem to
swim through the air.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Test Drive

The lasting legacy of CASH
(vapor) among other wisps of
NADA de la Cruz
spilling over the pink
end-of-days
into a dusty shade of
gray (morning for a moment
then a pure pacific blue later
slicing the day in half

2.
What I think is veins of sand
                              plumes in the heart
              marble light hook grooves
                                                older than the sky
              beneath the pavement

3.
The prayer flag caught the wind
& held it there

as a rare species of tropic
something-or-other
settles in for the long haul

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 68)


We took ourselves into the open air of night once golden sun now silver moon...Dean had lined up a swanky hotel room just down the beach through some family connection, and we informed the women that we were heading back there, with their approval, to wind things down, leap without leaping from anywhere and sleep off what was sure to be some kind of hangover...The place was dead empty.   Sharpe found his night clerk connection and the girls and I made words in the lobby and felt some relief when he appeared again with a key and a grin... “top floor for the guests, nothing but pomp and circumstance for us tonight...” “Woohoo” said Candy, flashing me a sly grin and grabbing the gymnast’s hand in ascending the stairs...we piled in a large square room made of Mennonite wood with two queen beds right up alongside each other and a tiny table and lamp in between...we were in the interval between idea and action...no booze, no smoke, no television...

I guess it was New England obvious what we were all there for and from the way the girls jumped to the respective beds (me too Dean too), there was only one thing left to do: kill the lights.   The gymnast threw her legs up over her head and smartly closed the wall switch with her toes, leaving the room hued over with a tender wooden sadness...all clothed, we slipped under the bed sheets and the hands got handy, mine finding Candy’s bobbins under the undershirt, quite smashed in by a coarse lace bra...she in turn took turns at my buttocks and back, stroking and scratching just enough to get a hair-rise on the neck...this was accomplished under the bedclothes to ward off Dean and his solemn games of ducks & drakes, who’d love nothing more than a live porn played out in a circle of clucking admirers…Meanwhile he was getting his dong serviced by the gymnast…and dear Candy was ready to move on...my mouth was slowly having hers and moving down to the her myrtle hedge with a smooth and slick shift into masticulation...she was in agreement to a full extent, pulling the covers up over her head to create a safety ¬cocoon around us, and keeping the probes of Sharpe seeing white..I earnestly gave her privates a good whipping... the torrents were swollen and I was up to my ears in a tropical cocktail of our making...it wasn't long before she had pulled me up to her again and quickly returned the gesture, sliding down my stomach with the perfunctory treasure trail teasing, ending up with a mouthful of cock and creating all kinds of physics, from action/reaction, friction, vacuums, etc...

To the melancholic this would seem melancholic, but it was an action attuned to the vast, and my part of the action/ reaction principle was the latter, my reaction being a quickly manifested batch of the glorious semen, whipped from my exploit and deposited into the insides of candy's mouth and throat ...I was admittedly fast, coming off the Ramona failures...it was a relief to spill my guts and look at my actions without tremor...but it was rather fast and I had to believe that I could muster more compassion for Candy, making a strong go at it later, which I explained to her, that I needed some rest before I could build up the enemy, being a much advanced old man in the boudoir and knowing it ...shame...I had a powerful urge to sleep…next door, the still active Sharpe and gymnast circus was in full swing, which at this moment featured Sharpe on top, the gymnast in some rather crab-like receiving position, and him taking deep and long strokes into her...But I was exhausted and quickly fell into a deep nod…and the thought of fair innocent Ramona rolled over me like putrid fever...This jarred me awake, eye wide, motionless, disorientated, with the usual reaction of silence…and the room was quiet and asleep, the gymnast snoring slightly, and Sharpe turned away in a fetal position towards the dark other half of room...at these moments there is no cerebration, some ripped mind caught a-wares in stupor, from tragic dreams, sysyphusian, and strange, into a room that bears no marks of familiarity, wanting to lull backwards into sleep...But erection! I had one! The dreams, like death, extraordinary for their recuperative powers...Candy, candy...To awaken her I slid my hand down to the pussy...and she awoke and demanded that we French kiss...soon enough I had myself inside her, stroking smooth and slow, thinking “to love is to die” all the whiles inventing my future, my favorite escape, my fucking...and dying little deaths each time......Eat candy:   Sugar baby.   Marathon.   Fun dip.   Big hunk.   Sugar daddy.   Fuck Candy. Faster.   Look to your left.   See Sharpe through the solid black air.   Notice his enthusiasm.   Keep fucking.   Shift down into deep ignorance with a heavy rocker arm.   Become furious.   Don’t finish.   Roll off.   Say some sweet guilty things in the ear of candy.   Slip away.   Jujubees.   Jujubees Jujubees...The insidious red Sharpe told me the next day that I fucked like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland…and I laughed and said he fucked like Bella Lugosi…

And off we went in the morning—girls one way, men another...to my bed I crawled and that was the last time I would see Dean in this blown down spring...and I couldn’t have been giddier about it—his plane left the next day for the states and the two women were leaving together that afternoon—and I couldn’t have been blitzier...I really couldn’t have been even if I was being eternally blown in the summers and the brightly dressed pastel colored boys and girls with chalk piece smiles were showering me with Maker’s Mark, Parliaments, Raybans, cocktail ice, smoke and sideways glances...these are the things I dreamt about that morning, spellbiding and sidewinding from tequila backlash and damn near sicko-ness...and rhythmic guilt that came and went like a stiletto in the ribs, saying Ramona, give me all your Ramona you motherfucker, and I reach down my throat towards that heart and try to pull her visage and there she is plunging the blade in towards my spleen and back out and in again at the other lower vitals and it’s seeing situations as they are you howl and howl at your stupidity and your one-eyed monster who says “we have to learn in order to unlearn,” the cunt when all I needed was the Practice of Purification, hence
1. The power of regret
2. Power of the basis
3. Actual application of opponent forces &
4. The power of resolve
...instead I woke up in my dream drumming on bamboo, calling the tortoise, eating jade mushrooms, plucking the lute, summoning the Phoenix, and drinking from an alchemical crucible...

-Michael Price

Artificial Horizon

 
                              telescopic underwater haze
-----------------------------------------------------
              a sand chorus falsetto
                                                fading into the
                              fine lines behind your
                                                                fever dreams
-----------------------------------------------------
                              Mexican hubcaps
-----------------------------------------------------
                              a harpoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pipeline Blues

You can follow me there but you’ll
have to find your own way back

tiptoe across the broken bottles

The air waves woven above
in cloud-colored silk you
wear to camouflage the
puddle of smoke rippling
at your feet
                                                (something I heard
              tumble {through the
                              pages of a book
                                                bound in concrete}

Nothing so quite so pure
dark (knocking at the kitchen window)

                                                feathered acetylene
                              gloom & havoc

an adrenaline-fueled lullaby

              (like listening to you bleeding

Monday, November 10, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 67)


Let there be doom and rain and recon, I thought, as I climbed into the junior high needle spray of the shower feeling a thousand tiny pricks of clean hitting the back...I could hear Dean talking but only making out few words I had no idea what leaps he was making...I feared for my life, my new randy and ribald life...now to describe here how many phone calls he made in an hour’s time would be terrific and strange but I can’t do that because it was many, in fact, it was at least 7 to one hotel and then the next, transferring to dining rooms and talking to Belizian waiters who had no idea what Dean’s hack spanglish was meaning......I made myself choke down a Belikan while he just kept working the phone, and I felt that old feeling of a big night on high, a party with loads of girls, cruising amongst all the freaks of a Friday eve in a small town when suddenly the night breaks down and the key figures vanish, the libations run out, the drug wears off and you sink into a trembly swoon of letdown when the best cure is immediate and lengthy sleep...”Price it’s not looking good...they said they’d be at Capt. Morgans eating with the parents but that we should meet up with them after that...but the bobbysoxers are hiding...No one can find ‘em...I’ve called all my contacts and no one’s seen ‘em...let me try the hotel and then we’ll see if we can mess up some party favors.”

I had heard that we could get some from the dealers who hung in the shadows near Fido’s...because we would need some kind of chemical booster to make us explode from the center...we were weak, stupid bastards writing our classic work for all of night draggers, those who want something, anything bad enough to deny the sense of the body which asked to bet let down gently after the sun/beer/wind and wave of today...be kind to the vessel for it takes you places...cherry...apple...death.

Dean had reached the females at some resort restaurant by describing them to the waiter, and to my growing fascination, had arranged to get his water taxi connection out of bed and in his boat to pick them up and deliver them to Fido’s dock......so we tripped our way down the beach moaning and laughing at our miserable possibility...Things are as bad as we think!   I was particularly bent, dragging tired authority and simple manners along with my weary legs and red scalp from old tropic helios and somehow it was beautiful, that Dean and I, two miscreants on different paths, found ourselves in Central America in the year of the mother up to our old tricks of chasing drugs and cunt...It was warm as any healing bath and I was starting to feel home and the guises of a wonderful project, the study of my very freedom... I was on overdrive test burn mode, docking near Fido’s to try out my burgeoning drug theory, eager to feel that whore rush of X and be awake and alert and not have a mind that agrees and disagrees but one that deals in raw pain and cooked pleasure… Sharpe, with his cormorant distensible sense, found the connection lurking behind a tree just down from Fido's...

“only drug I got is coke man”   No coke for us.

We both retreated from pharmaceutical dreams and resolved simply to get boracho and let the fermented anthropogenic hearts of our women dictate style, geographic location, temperature, background noise, and ferocity of said previous copulation visions...So we went straight to the dock and watched the single blue lighted skim feather darkly into the dock and off-load candy and the gymnast in a two drink minimum stumble.....and if the girls seemed down (because they were) then our fatigue did nothing constructive to change that condition and we started, as it were, on the wrong foot by asking them where they wanted to go, showing our lack of planning and ingenuity and furthering the burgeoning opinion that we were not mighty senses put upon sensuous bodies but numbskulls as narrow, bigoted, conditioned, anxious and tawdry as the men who made us...

Taken by all this misery, I suggested Shark’s bar two docks down, where we could avoid the noise and skullduggery of clubs and start in on our demise to get it over as quickly as to become vital, make merry…with ideas failing to materialize for anything else, my offer was accepted and we made it there just slightly looser than the previous minute...”Four Shots of Tequila and four Belikans” I said to the sweet woman barkeep who recognized the inescapable glow of vision in my request... “Price you remind me of James Caan…but for now let’s concentrate on turning this cold engine over, huh girls?”
“Whatever you say is fine with us”
“Right, and here’s lime and salt and bottoms Up you navy seals...” Four shots went down gullets and gasps of fire breath concluding along with Sharpe’s whoop and gurgle, girls swallowed the poison down better’n us, I a red-faced resolute man with just enough fire to cease yawning, ditching at that very moment any remnants of obscure dread and instead firing up the intense desire for something deep with candied candy...Dean was thinking the replica and we all had about enough gas for a few more shots and a beer or two, which were administered in relative obscurity while behind music drove fast with boom boom and everyone’s hands touched unabashedly each others’ bodies...it reminded me of singing melancholy ballads on a snow eve in Boulder drinking red and missing city friends for no reason at all...We had gotten past the prelims, all of us, and now it was time to do what was wanted epistemologically—that is, fuck.

-Michael Price

Kind of Turquoise

I just now woke up an hour ago
spilling out of lousy dreams into the
dark

The last of the rain signaling
from beyond the treeline
                              like Eli Wallach
beyond the reef
                                                where even I would just
                              throw in the damp bandanna
                                                                the sunset flaw
              the brick wall of endless sky
                                                & a few lyric tire-irons

to resolve the pearl-driven tooth of midnight
as yet unclaimed

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Smog Lines

When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo spotted the brownish haze of Indian fires hanging above the hunting grounds of Southern California, he gave the name Bahia de los Fumos (Bay of the Smokes) to what was either the bay of Santa Monica or San Pedro.   Four centuries later, on July 27, 1943, under the front-page headline: CITY HUNTING FOR SOURCE OF GAS ATTACK, the Los Angeles Times reported the fourth assault of a “smoke nuisance.”   A year later, on September 18, a new word passed into the local lexicon when the paper, using an expression common in Pittsburgh, referred to the bronze pall as “smog (smoke and fog).”

An itemized list:
1 BUSTED SURFBOARD
9 ALLEGORICAL ALLUSIONS
12 RUSTY SIX-SHOOTERS
4 SYRINGES
7 EMPTY CUPS
3 TRUCK TIRES
56 TOGGLE SWITCHES
19 CROWBARS
278 HEROIC COUPLETS
                              & a particular moment otherwise collapsed
among the pale faint water-flowers
                                                that pave the memory

I ended up with the bent spoon
& a lifetime subscription to
the sky over Hermosa Beach

              (some lives are meant to be
              w a s t e d

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 66)


It felt like some kind of temporary uppercut knockout that one stumbles from at around six thirty a.m., when the sounds of big Al willing the day to work emerge…but no, as I rolled over and knew by that drowsy numbness and thick head I was in trouble—I knew even before Dean made it down to warn me to rise that pain is the constant companion of pleasure...but we did our best to abate, taking motion sickness pills, a Mexican form of Alka Seltzer and two Ibuprofin and gulping them all down with as much bottled water as we could stand...this is why, when you feed it pills and exilirs, the ego becomes a terrific monster...!   So we made coffee, talked a little with Judy, checked the radio, gathered our tanks of air, regulators, fins, wetsuits, stocked two coolers full of icy Belikan all the while Al and Rear readied the boat out on the dock, warming the two yamahammer 225’s to run fast and sure, Dean and I taking every chance we could to sit on the beach and come alive...

So we left the house of prompt service and Big Al steered the vessel southward towards with rear and Dean both nervous for the reef and Al’s tendency to see poorly and drive quickly...but we made it to our dock not too many down from my mother’s house, which I espied as always from the water because of its glitter silver tin roof that stood out like a skinflint among masters...we were picking up Enrique the diminutive all-skill local who would drive us, guide us, master us, bait us, and cook for us as well...he was a soft and noble heart...he took over the boat as if it were his honored captain father and I felt a sense of grace and manifest destiny colored brown and repeated God send you nine beers or fish if you prefer so happy was I whose hangover was replaced by a feeling of well-being on open water with the breeze as warm as napalm and Dean now handing me my first beer right in the plain sight of his dad which I couldn’t really believe but old Al, he and his offspring were on vacation and beer it would be...but 8 a.m.?   I picked up that bottle and gave it a couple silent kisses and laughed and said to Dean next to me in the fore of the ship “son of a bitch.”   We clinked bottles from top to bottom in what had originated as a Sharpe trademark and braced ourselves for the open ocean which was fast approaching via the cut...I put on my headphones while the front of the boat bounced many feet in the air and crashed down on the back of every wave with a resounding thud, making much communication near impossible …

And I could tell hereof quite a number of things, amusing and remarkable though they were, which transpired on that boat that day but suffice it, in the interest of short wind to say that we A) drank all the beer B) Dove for forty minutes and speared ourselves about ten fish C) Had a beach cookout masterfully created and located by god guide lost at sea abandoned island in sun with beers while big Al bone-fished in the straits within eyesight and D) Deep Sea fished out about twenty more pescado of all variety... making for E) an incredible and exhausting day trip...when I finally rolled home at five thirty and showered, all movements like the walk of an elephant, sure and perfect, the bed in my east facing ocean view room felt like the other side of...Valium.   God did I pray that Dean would fall down and not get up, find his own sweet bed and displace the drive to lay and conquer…and the house being empty of my mother, seemed to be holding me in its arms allthewhile sighing and closing out the grey dusky light of obstacle...three ceiling fans whirred and groaned their Sisiphusian fate, the breeze did its work on the curtains and the somnambulant angels were drifting down on my black horizon...I was falling and falling and falling...never had I been so relieved from a day’s drubbing...

And there was Ramona, whom in all my reverie had faded some, eyes open and dim, then closed she came upon me—words are not the experience and most-so in the drowsy claret of exhaustion. She was prancing in front of me in the now legendary sarong, turning and turning, towards me, away, then back, stopping to her whimsy while I stumbled along boracho and with half control of my movements, losing her into the distance, the bleak future...I couldn’t catch her, much less my balance nor my wits or the particulars of joy, it was sheep, dip and barnacles, molasses, carnival, the guts of New Orleans, Dreams, dreams, all of it!   I stood smiling halfway in the door, it was surely a dream, I must’ve drifted off into some near-real self-luminous cognition and a hunger for something rousing my wits, lifting my boozy carcass to the front door where I couldn’t really see and I think I was naked, yes, this was one of those naked dreams and my teacher was at the door, Rishi, and in the distance I could see a dovecote full of what appeared to be lusty ladies, arms and legs and breasts in their skin and moving with a break-beat audacity...and in front of me there he stood, with his alms bowl, tattered cloak, and blu-blockers, the venerable Dean Sharpe...it was the devil I saw, and there was no dream, only a cold reality buttressed by the pivotal face of him, and my dumb visage staring back in disbelief...after a day like that he was there, bright-eyed and smoked. “Price, you ready? Huh huh huh huh...C’mon Price we gotta harumph harumph man, y’know, these ladies are out there waiting for us somewheres!”   I had been backing up as he naturally stepped himself into the house, smiling, I think, at his unbelievable audacity, rather tenacity and stamina but did I wish him gone at that moment and I wry-smiled it back at him—“Amigo I’m spent like easy mexican pesos against the dollar man, I’m fucking tired… Jesus are you serious about this?   I’ve been hallucinating and am sure delirium tremons are due to arrive any minute...couldn’t we do this tomorrow night?   Aren’t you tired?”   “Price man, I’m so worked too, I haven’t even slept, not a wink. Al put me to work cleaning fish and digging holes when we got back.   Those chicks leave tomorrow morning so this is our only night Price, this we gotta do...C’mon, take a shower and I’ll call their hotel...”   “I said I’m dying here brother...and enlightenment doesn’t mean dying you fool...”   “Price get wet while I do some reconnaissance and find them bitches...”

-Michael Price

Monday, November 3, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 65)


Dean sharpe was rolling.   His usual reluctance to talk sex with strangers was fading away with the daylight…I ramble as explicit as possible to see what might happen, like bending the switch of oak to breaking point…and finally I was called on my cunning by the gymnast who deftly dared me to run the length of the dock in nothing but my skin with a very public audience of those present plus the boys at the bar who watched with Marlon our every move...having a certain tenacity and tendency towards drunk and disorderly conduct, I ,without thought of injury, peeled down to nada and bared my half hard cock & peeled down the dock at full sprint laughing laughing laughing…a merry sprint and damn if I wasn’t fast too, all drunk and nekkid, with that unfortunate piece of ham slashing back and forth on the thighs…and that had everyone in glee stitches and laughter, accumulating this quite rare experience, not remembering that pain is inherent in the process of accumulation…quite really all I was giving them in long-hand was later pain for these moments of inebriated slippage…I got back and re-clothed and we spit our drinks in merriment…

Not ten minutes later Sharpe humming “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do” was up and walking off with le gymnaste down the beach on a slow jog, arm around and head tucked in like old Santa Monica birds towing a fifties evening stroll and Candy staring at me with those big eyes…We know so little of each other but the ease of my rum tongue so fantastic in its hinges up and down and stuck out with gesture and fodder talk...god damn it was time for the language of courtly love and time to bring myself closer to Candy which she must’ve felt too and we slid into our own opposite direction saunter arm in arm...and be pleased it was only a few steps into it and she had made for my mouth with hers, skin pretty as snow, and we made solid the inevitability of tomorrow night’s fucking…Sharpe was back from his saunter, and it was clear we had a plan for the morrow night…we wandered back to the bar at Mata Chica as we had reached the curfew of our 10 year jun¬ior little virgins...so we fled after feeling up the girls a little during farewell like seven and sevens and two great streaks in craps.   Dean guided us safely back to the compound where we swapped stories and dreamed of top brass before going to bed sloshed and all grinned up...

-Michael Price

Medicine Show

A flock of bonsai seagulls
hauling stormclouds up the coast

The punctured waves plunging
(as behind the eyes looking
back

to peel apart distance & isolation like this

dreams, even

on Bleach Street where the traffic stutters
luring you back

or seawater with a snake oil chaser
penciled in beneath the architecture
of unconditional surrender

like a neon blade of sunset
paddling through your brain

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Slight Return

The way the rain talks out of the
side of its mouth fogging the mirrored
sky
              a perfect imitation of which
in surround sound might keel over
                              or take a nose-dive somersault
              from the edge of your
heart where you’ve been spending
a lot of time lately
                              pitching tears into trampoline ashtrays
              dovetailed against narrow gray
                                                alleyways flapping
                              damp eyelids as washed out palm tree
              shadows (pale as anemic puddles)
                                                                strum the pavement

Saturday, November 1, 2008

There Is No Now

varoom, clunk, kaboom

End of Part One

drizzle, flame
PRESSURE

somewhat unlucky raincloud thud

Part 3
we surface before dawn
like inverted cathedrals

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hamlet with a Hangover

A transient claiming to be a
covert military operative from Australia
was arrested Monday on the Westside because he was
drinking from a full-size beer keg and trying to sell
beer to passersby.

Someone called 911 after reportedly seeing him
drinking beer from a Mason jar
and urinating in the bushes.

Police searched his belongings and found about 20 grams
of psilocybin mushrooms and a
Camelbak bladder with more beer in it.

He also had a harmonica and a wetsuit with him,
both of which are suspected to be stolen

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Handcuffed to Eternity

Morning sun a skatewheel
skipping between scattered
clouds (all dirty white with
violet staining underlit
& you can shrug your hips
at passionate accidents
in soft corners if you want
texting barefoot wine bottles on the
darkside of a Martian beach scene
semi-tropical & hyperextended
with lukewarm seawater filling your ear
like a strand of silky barbed wire
rusting in a tidal swamp
handcuffed to eternity

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 64)


We sped over a crazy hurricane wake terrain of broken trees, small bogs and trash…and we arrived at the resort via the north through the shade of coming night, parked the vehicle, and made for the outdoor bar, which sat next to a pool and upon an enormous deck that had two levels…the smaller level being down almost to the water's edge where green sea grass flowed in the shallows and an occasional fish swam by ...The barkeep was a black man of local youth and natty beard and all smiles and information...not surprisingly, Dean had his name already and he’d been treated well by him

‘Ey man what's going on—through small eyes and with the sandy hep voice...You guys here to see those ladies?—I saw them out on the beach today man...yah...they looked gooooood my friends—and with gracious wink nodding to us and we both saying "laugh laugh laugh...what're you talking about Marlon?   What girls?”—feigning a divine innocence and smil¬ing shit-eaten and coy... "We just came down here to have a beer laugh laugh laugh..." –Aw shit man, that's bullshit, I know you man...I seen you talking to them yesterday...Man you smooth...I know what you’re doin…you want a Belikan my white liars?—“TWO please Marlon and this is my buddy Price—Price this is my man marlon..."Marlon, I says, It's mighty nice to know you my friend, thanks for the beers and how did the women look today if I might ask? Did that fine Candy with the hourglass onions look extra nice?" Sharpe was giggling uncontrollably—Jesus Christ he was doing his Uzi chuckle carved deep with mischief, the laugh equivalent of our shit-eaten grins...-Aw man she had a big sunburn but those coconuts yeah, they be fine...and the little gymnast, oooooh wheeee she had the legs on her bra, you gonna got up in that piece! –“Ohhohhohoho shit, saith Dean, followed by the razzle chuckle, “Did you hear that Price?” “Indeed I did yessir Sharpe, this is gonna get weird...” Marlon said —That's right boys...and lookee here, I can see them now inside the bar there, they've arrived—and sure enough through the glass doors of the indoor bar and pool table we could make out the cut of two young tan women dressed in bikini top and sarong bottom that was so in fashion...”Oh um and yea Marion thank you we'll check you later” and looking at each other smiling large and walking across the wooden deck around the chaise lounge and glass tables, all the while eyes ahead on their posteriors…

So we entered and they turned and we all asked “how are you’s?” and smiled...Nodding Irishly, Sharpe angled towards the pool table and asked if we were up for a game and answering yes, I retrieved some quarters from the barkeep and loaded up that table and racked—Teams: Sharpe and Lydia, Myself and Candy and her enormous tits. What ensued was a drop forged game of truth and dare billiards…We laid it on thick, ducky, and strange and I took the dares into the categories of scat and lace and we all laughed and got drunk and had ourselves a time…

Fools we played and fools we finished ...and it was out into the opposable light to the bar where Marlon had fresh Belikans waiting and the stars said “@ midnight you must return to the compound”, but it was only ten and we were just winding up and the girls were putting back hi-balls of rum like coca cola and we sat just beside the dock on a round picnic table and continued the adolescent shiver and dive game of verbal sexual challenge…

-Michael Price

Controlled Substance

Disguised as a road disappearing into the fog
I was sure of one or two things
neither of which amounted to much more
than a refrigerator full of adrenaline
rippling in the dark

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dead Sea Strolls

Splash Zone
oblique tacoburger architecture
on the edge of the world
sand drifting thru the parking lot
beneath aluminum trees

Deep Water
The Inventory (within eye-shot):
1. Venice BAMBOO Calif.
              (in script) on the longboard
2. Royal Quiet DeLuxe
3. Pacific Coast Highway
4. DEEP BREATHING
5. A History of Violence

No Limit
Back then I drove a Ford Fairlaine
that looked like a pterodactyl
& the western sky was all
wrapped up in string

Monday, October 27, 2008

Residual Sapphire Clouds

Slow blue pale blue aquamarine
Carburetor Blues
smog light haze decomposing
distantly
I realize I’m farther away than that

bluish greenish

SMACK UP (A ROMANCE)

you drag your knuckles in the sand

order the cheeseburger
& 7 beers

dignity

or the best case scenario

heavy duty engines running underwater
offshore breeze feathering the shorebreak

rippling darkwater testimony
as opposed to a sunstroke aqualung
your eyes lit up like an Ensenada drugstore
your pockets full of sand

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chrome & Water

The fragile
off-balance rhyme that buckles yr knees
              the long way back across the sand
kind of ringing in yr bones
                              a surly tango in the parking lot

sunlight grazing on seagrass
              the tide nuzzling up against the cliff
the silver shimmering out there in pieces
                              you can string together
                                                & wear on yr wrist

In the earliest maps California is
depicted as an island
              & as it turns out they were right

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tracks in the Sand

              Tapping in now to the
slurred speech of waves (this time
                              dusted green submerged
                                                rationalized into silk
like an excerpt from
              Lao Tzu’s lost thesis
                                                on oceanography

              I have a shelf full of seastones & shells
                              I picked up off of beaches
                                                from Baja to Bolinas
              & I could tell you where each one came from
                              but maybe it would be better if you
                                                asked them yourself

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 63)


So we sat around, the missus and Dean and Kurt and his wife Joy and talked and mused of Colorado and Big Al would saunter in full of sweat and talking excited like the boy he was and on to further projects but he always called me Price like Dean did, like he was just one of the thugs talking across an even table...”Price what are you doin’ these days?”, with that horsey smile and funny delivery...but he always listened with interest to what I had to say…maybe big Al was a Buddha in roebuck and grit showing us some wrongs that we might do right and smiling that 40 hand horse smile... and while Dean and I secretly planned our meeting with the coeds by individually digging the possible scenarios while carrying on the subtleties of casual idle-speak, it was decided that tomorrow we would take out the boat with Manny, their do-all local guide at the wheel…We’d do some diving, fishing, and beer drinking along with a seaward picnic lunch of some kind... big Al was going to do some bone-fishing and there was going to be a couple cases of Belikan consumed…which could bespeak a certain vanity but like I say when it is appropriate to be abstemious then be abstemious but when the tables swerve just indulge, veil your light and manage to shine…

Mrs, Sharpe would stay at home while the hombres were being hombres, running the two-way radio to keep us in radar range and safe should there be some divine question to ask or freak storm to avoid...we would set out at the red hour of six, ours being a two hour journey… it was decided that I should stay in the great downstairs guest bungalow in order to be steadfast and boot-shined by the time Mr. Sharpe was ready to roust... “In the day of prosperity be joyful”

I could see Dean getting antsy for our now fully-developed plan to travel by four-wheeled moto-vehicles down to the resort where Lydia and Candy were staying…excitement was beginning to get under our skin and we both felt the holy anticipatory rendezvous cum shot lightning in our ears...Dean got up and proclaimed that we were heading out, and by now it was early evening and the birds outside squawked and the light drooped down upon our eyes like great Los Angeles, the hazy dream light and heavy wet air loitering like street corner bums without reason, without soreness, that only southern clamorfornia sundown weeping-hour feeling was out there...this white manila canvas laid over with blue red orange fuchsia and green emotion, oh art, for hell, it's the beauty of beauty of course, getting my gun off this a way or that a way via color, and color being nothing more than refractions of light and this hincty L.A. light had delusional refractions, see, maniacal bendings, light creating the colors but also creating moods that no other light could, you see, because Colorado light for instance is sharp and vivid and lean and there's certain feelings triggered by those qualities ,say, palsy or thrifty-ness or exactitude or patriotism if you live in Colorado Springs...But this tropical light, when it's framed by paranormal Zen Americana hip west coast, it's the light of the melancholy of Coleridge, the grip of Bird's habit,--"Peckinpah’s Light"—

And it's in this terrarium that Sharpe and I set out, removed from the family quaintness and security into a world willed by our base senses…two men showered and ready, seeking poison to earmark the possibility of history in make--we were calculating, cunning, & so on--and so we left...Dean had me on back of another motorized terror vehicle, designed to tear up and go over whatever was in the way…sure I myself used to tear up hills and dales in my youth but here we were reaching for 35 and these Sharpes had all the toys America deemed necessary for the male...and along with sports, this made up the 88% brain matter usage...

-Michael Price