PLEASE HELP BLUE PRESS STAY AFLOAT

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Predicting the tide

Three & a half birds on the high wire
& the song they sing like
Eric Dolphy meets Django Reinhardt
in a rainpuddle
on Front Street

My smog blue eyes tainted by
THE OCEAN BELOW
& the prevailing winds

My heart stained by the blood of orchids
perhaps, but still ringing up the zeroes
discovering something in the somber tone
I never carved in your alabaster breakfast

so adorned with footsteps as it was
content with the legend of parachutes
& spiritual abuse disguised as Himalayas

to open a door of torn paper
draped over the pale azure pressure chamber
& Japanese surf rarities floating like fingers
lost in a caress from which we provoke
these sordid blessings & the voracious discontent

of our sometime resolve

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Last Car That Parked Here Is Still Missing

Drawing a blank at the
drive-thru taqueria & confessional
where you might learn the finer points of suicide
flapping in the wind like Neptune’s trenchcoat
at twilight
throwing shadows past the Valhalla trailer park

I always thought there would be a
dark blonde solution
with easy shoulders & a troubled past
partly because of the way the sidewalk lets go
& palm trees strum the rain

but then the dead don’t shimmy in the
stained glass display window
& the fogmist like a leadweight
holds the pier in place
when everything else is falling from your
bulletproof kimono
& guitars bend like uncharted constellations
in that darker place behind your eyes

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Outside the Drift

Your fingers are like hinges
without doors

raised in this vicinity
as were the Nocturnes
                              left like a tear in the
              rearview mirror
                                                (the legacy edition

a series of dreams as yet unresolved

a gullwing fadeaway

semi-clean with a decent bump to the surface

              There are stones that whisper
              underwater
                                                like flames

                              waves that speak a rainy esperanto

blades of sand that murmur along the shore
or up over the beach concrete

folded neatly over the horizon

dissolving in a mist of haze

like a pelican w/headlights
storming the edge
Our Lady of the Perpetual Swamp
              & Hammered Tin Nasturtriums
lifted, exposed
              stepped on outside the Moby Taco
as I light a seaweed cigarette
                              to your devout indifference
              when the moon splits in two
above the moist & midnight pavement

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka

My favorite xmas poem is by Robert
Creeley, from his book 30 Things

XMAS POEM:   BOLINAS
All around
the snow
don’t fall.

Come Christmas
we’ll get high
and go find it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ocean Blues

The moan of a rusted harmonica
bending palm trees in the fog

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Hazard to Navigation

Cairo – You always have a very smooth explanation.
Marlowe – What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?


Up until now the way the rain
explains your seaweed
mascara
                              by means of an endlessness
              with dual exhaust
                                                & a deep blue yonder

as the alluvial counterweight
in capsule form
would endure such revision
              since anything that
                                                pure exceeds mere
                              redemption

The balance in trade to tip a hand
already played the risk inherent in
              the glittery parts I meant to steal
& meanwhile it’s still
raining as the tide slips away
                              & the coast road
              reels us in

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Written on the Waves

The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain
That looks so many fathoms to the sea
And hears it roar beneath.

                        ―Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4

Silver, emerald, & neon.   This time they’re real even as they dissolve & the moist aura that follows them unfolds.   You see I know.   I’ve been here before, & other places as well.   Each as empty as the other.   What you bring with you & what you leave behind.   When the smoke parted & you descended from the steel palisades I realized you probably were right.   All that unrecorded whomp & flutter, the fishhook cigarettes, the bended knees & cracked radiator hoses.   It’s just that simple & as long as we’re here we might as well pretend it’s where we were headed all along. No matter where we are I will always be exiled to a soundproof cathedral beach where the tide plays Topsy on a drainpipe & the light is always almost halfway gone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paint It Turquoise

I see a red door painted black
& a line of cars trying to find a parking spot
down near the pier
plus or minus the dogeared bootleg surf
I could strum with my eyes shut
Today I sold a copy of
How To Win Friends and Influence People
along with a copy of Helter Skelter
which I thought made a pretty nice combo
I never read the first book
which probably explains why I have no friends
& no influence
I did read all about Manson & had a couple of
bad dreams but I don’t think I ever
killed anyone & when I get to the
bottom I stay there
behind the wheel of a ’65 Ford Ranchero
my eyes like pins
stuck into a pair of voodoo RayBans

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saltwater Tango

A dark green occasion beneath
a second-hand grapefruit sky
steeped in heavy breathing
& a kind of bloodshot euphoria

just as when you flip a coin
I always call the darkside
faded slightly turquoise
a look-the-other-way leap
from your cadillac balcony

but to scroll thru
a long line of sunsets
& stagger beneath the rain
like wasted palm trees & Mexican clarinets

sunsets like pearls dissolving in gasoline

lit up the pavement & wet sand
before you turned away
w/eyes like undersea
to reconcile the distance

& the time it takes
inside the shattered chrome seepage
that torqued the beach
w/residual winterized cables
& wrecked veins
embalmed in damp manifestos

semi-tropical & hyperextended

designed to lull you past the coma
because a pair of fog-colored
sunglasses this morning plugged
you into a dime bag of silver linings

as these empty parking lots repeat themselves
so often in fact
& contrary to the haze
reminding me of what you never said
but understood

the way an inverted whisper
rakes the silence
like a ripple on the surface
of a puddle

at the bottom of the sea

Saturday, December 12, 2009

He Gives It Up

I am slapped upside gutwrenching zeal
& epiphanies

as the sincere numbers of the heart
measure not abstraction merely but
blood & knuckles

yet with the altered light falling in thru the screen door
I swear you look like a ’56 Chevy convertible

parked in the rain

Works in Progress

 
Not So Famous Poets I Have Known

Where’d I Put My Shorts?:   A Buddhist Novel

Lines from Townes van Zandt Songs That Make Me Cry

The Sign of the Blue Flamingo

Beach Pavement:   A Metaphysical Study

Three Whores & a Bucket of Beer:   A Memoir

The Book of Stains

Friday, December 11, 2009

Water on the Moon

Double Down
Breath’s journey into sleep infected by too many cures still doesn’t mean we’ll spin the residual jolt gone hollow where your silk-weaving eyes torqued the lyric vibe.   We found our way out by the light of your cell phone, the indigenous lord have mercy, & painkiller grade Tecate.   As soon as you realize where you are it’s where you were & there’s no going back.

Liquid Assets
The sand plunges beneath the waves here.   Tidepool mirrors exaggerate the emptiness of the washed out sky.   Plastic bottles tangled in dried out garlands of seaweed & copper wire adorn the water’s edge.   This is either the beginning or the end of something, take your pick.   The light is fluoresecent & saturates the beach so that there are no shadows.   Underwater you’ll find the shadows of those that have drowned & the light is turquoise like the windows of a Mexican church.

Somehow Lifted
Drifting through the drugstore parking lot aching for a little voodoo face-time I had assumed the role of a no credit editor of silence inside a forklift catalog of sunsets.   A hybrid Day of the Dead tattoo fading into a sunburnt shoulder.   I could still feel the kelp-bed tremors & cold knuckles, the blue press blob & ringtone resurrecting a phantom pain.   And then I remembered that I always wanted to end a poem with the word “polyurethane”.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ancient Music (on vinyl)

1.
The same turning back the same
parting of the reeds

              2.
              The tide that sang
                                          gregorian rap tunes
                              to the seaweed

3.
The flawed turquoise
that stained the glass
perfectly clear

              4.
              The stone
                              ocean smooth & dark

5.
The smoke ring
              on your finger
as though it was
              a bell to mark the promise
                              monastic in the hollow
              of your eye

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big Wednesday

Bullet-proof sunglasses
& a pair of suicide huaraches
in the rain
on Epiphany Street

like your own private endless summer
when it’s 30 degrees of
winter on the coast
right down to the bone

anointed with wet sand
& a dirty blonde alibi
as you kneel to pray before the
kamikaze hood ornament

riding in on your pulse

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RSVP

The swaying shadow path of palm
trees that we had to navigate
with our eyes shut

the same dead-end alleyways

across that line the tide set later

descending

slips past or through the arcade
of subdued endurance
I figure holds the predator’s
remorse
like an invitation

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Concrete is Epic

The swell is icummen in

That first feather of light
my confessional in rusty blue-
pink haze & the blur of recognition
cold as I make my way

with a nod to the North Star
(aka Polaris, or the Pole Star (a
monkey’s head the emblem of the
Mayan god of the pole star

& at the damp insistence that
stretches the pavement out to the beach
a step defines entrance even as it fades
so near in every direction

who you are or pretend to be
abandoned to a lesser vanity since the
phrasing of these relics will transform
each forgotten detail reclaimed

or perforated as your own bloodstained
silhouette & I can’t take you any farther than
the rain riding in across the water
bouncing quarters off the drop edge

of your heart

It was raining all night

Watching the surf from the deck waves getting bigger flooding the downstairs I had to drive my mom to an appointment I was behind the wheel of a beat-up 70s Dodge van my mom was in her robe her hair in curlers she was timing the drive she had my alarm clock we drove over mountains & thru the snow (later I got emails of thanks from the hitchhikers we picked up but I don’t remember picking up any hitchhikers) I had a job delivering photos & blueprints & I was waiting in line to pick up a packet of photographs listening to other people’s conversations when the lady 2 people ahead of me in the line picks up the stuff I was supposed to pick up so I ask her about it & she says that she works for the company I was supposed to deliver the stuff to but I was so late & they needed to get the photos pronto I tried to explain about the snow & my mom timing me with my alarm clock but that didn’t seem to make any sense & she rushes off into the parking structure I’m walking there myself when I meet Jim Jarmusch who is really tall like over 7 feet tall we talk briefly then I’m looking for the Dodge van (this is a very new parking structure almost like a cathedral or a prison all vaulted smooth concrete & dust) I see the lady who took my delivery racing out of the structure still pissed at me I can’t hear out of my left ear & I think it’s because of the high surf surge that flooded the downstairs I look at my legs & see that my tan line is at mid-calf which I find very perplexing Jim Jarmusch walks by again he’s speaking to some small lady with dark hair I say “Hey Jimbo” & he says “What’s up?” & I’m still astounded by how tall he is when Magic Johnson & Kobe Bryant walk up & greet Jarmusch like old pals & Jarmusch towers over both of them I say “Magic you’re 6’9” right? & Kobe’s 6’6” but Jarmusch makes you both look like little guys how tall is Jarmusch?” Magic says he doesn’t know & Kobe says “He’s one big motherfucker” & laughs – I’ve got the keys to the Dodge van but don’t know where I parked it so I just toss the keys & ride off on a bicycle thinking my mom’s gonna be pissed when I show up on this bicycle to drive her home from her appointment thru the mountains & the snow

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Company Business

Lunch at a big picnic table outside somewhere in SoCal.   Pamela, Sunnylyn, Micah, Patrick & me.   The place is a cross between the old Venice pavillion & the old Santa Monica mall.   We’re all talking, eating, drinking beers.   Sunnylyn is wearing glasses, black RayBan Wayfarer frames but with clear lenses—one of the lenses is cracked (the left one) & has been repaired with some scotch tape.   Patrick says poetry readings are pointless, “nobody listens & nobody knows”.   He gets very agitated about this.   I say something about how it doesn’t matter, “The Poems” are all that are important, the audience isn’t even an afterthought.   Patrick leaves the table, walking stiff-legged, pumping his arms in a Frankensteinian rage.   What’d I say?   Pamela & Sunnylyn are concerned.   Micah is amused.   I’m confused.   Patrick tries the doors of an oriental rug store but they’re locked.   He lurches off so consumed by supressed anger that I’m afraid his head might explode.   “Don’t worry,” Micah says, “he’ll get over it.”   I remember then that I am scheduled to read at Beyond Baroque.   I don’t have enough money for bus fare so have to start walking now in order to get there in time.   Heading off I notice that I’m barefoot.   I wonder what happened to my shoes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Seaweed in Spanish

for Cody

The seamist split the sun in two
above & the dead sang mariachi songs
to the beat of my heart

locked in on the wrong zodiac
dialing all that glitters
on the shadow side of the jetty

bought & paid for with a blade of
indulgence

as I have been so fortunate
to apply the laws of addiction
suitably framed
layered in auras of violet
like the night

trading the eternal luau for
a Martian tailspin
at Desolation Point
leaning hard into a sunset slide

the Lotus Sutra on your sleeve
versus a beach break full of crucifixions

tipping back into the tattooed smog

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Liner Notes

The past & future Romance on Durango Beach
w/wings & sinister acoustic distactions
sunlit & dark & like the time I read a street
map of Guadalajara in the eyes of the tamale lady

on Wipeout Avenue

a broken tooth smile inlaid among perfect shadows there

& the drumroll shoreline to back me up
because there’s nothing else I can string out past
the fatal recognition that jumps the
gap between what I want & what I need

Dreamed I was teaching murderers how to whistle
kept hitting that same wrecked vein
w/cormorants slicing the sky into quatrains
against the silvergreen ruins of a eucalyptus cathedral

sinking beneath the sand

Monday, November 30, 2009

LYRICS BY LEWIS MACADAMS


And so the poet says
"140 million light years isn’t that far to swim /
when you’re looking for a lover".   These are roadhouse blues for heartstrings & streetlights, a mix-tape loop of smogged-in desire & loss from the city of Bent Angels.  The playlist is 15 rock solid poems by MacAdams with a brilliant cover painting by Ed Ruscha.

5.25” x 8”, hand-stitched.   $10.00 from Blue Press.

Pier Pressure

for Lewis MacAdams

All the hours spent watching
pavement turn to sand
& the lights at Echo Beach
burning out one by one
to find yourself tweaking
in a dry bone arroyo
at half-past doom
wearing a pair of elevator shoes
not sure but that cement
clouds don’t crumble

& the wind it sounds like

as seaflowers rake the sky

the mileage & the desecration
of that compromised velocity

a scratched-out name
in the Book of Hearts

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Morning Twilight

5:15am it’s 68 degrees out
side & the Santa Anas are kicking
in the palm trees
I’m somewhere in southern
California sipping coffee
on someone’s patio watching
the static electricity sparking
off stars set deep in the dark
sky (deeper at this hour I imagine
& raw from dry winds (a tin
can tumble across a stretch of empty
pavement (headlights on the
Ventura Freeway & the heavy
self-conscious pulse of morning
searching for something to be
thankful for

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Floater

I was nodding out over
20 pieces of silver
in Ensenada
beneath somebody’s
bleached-blonde
volcano
with bloodred skid marks
& a stolen surfboard
while a skeleton
hand drew tiny x’s on
a bottle of Carta
Blanca inside a
throwdown neon
sunset
planted in leaning
whispers that fill cracks
in the seawall
running parallel to
tunnels dug into the sand
by beached pianos
at land’s end with
knock-kneed bamboo
windchimes rolling their
bones in the surf
as I paddle out just
that much closer
to nowhere

Thursday, November 19, 2009

El Vacancy

Drawing a blank then
where a sloe-eyed madonna
performs a striptease to a recitation of
the Communist Manifesto

the swaying palm trees keeping time

like the rail of banjos at
the Needle Beach Medicine Show
reading west to east
w/poems tacked to the walls

the inventory & the pace

shattered chrome & clarinets
knocked from the loop
w/a bent trailer fin

buried in dry leaves on the bottom of an
empty swimming pool
at the Deep Blue Motel

a shadow in the window there
doing the wah-watusi

as one untouched by tears

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shadow Surfing

Violet indications lean into the sand
& a tear perhaps
so carefully placed there
dissolving like the Tijuana Slough
into a turquoise sacrifice
on a gray marble slab
w/veins etched in rust
but suppose we
skip these persuasive
crucifixions & shattered clouds
to defy the grace bestowed
as only a remnant remains
turned inward compiling
an index of beach pavement
for eyes like crushed beer
cans on the darkside of the tide

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Audio Witness

The early morning fogmist
dark from the Pacific
dragging a blade thru the sand
like a 90 day suspended sentence
in rainbow colors
w/a beard
only to fall one day beneath the wheels of
El Paradiso I said like
John Keats robbing a liquor store
w/a speargun
drenched in the pale sunlight
you left in your sketchbook
                                                salt milk foam
                              & the seepage
in thin blue cables
                              as if to sign the confession
              in invisible ink on a sheet of concrete
crashing like an abalone scrap-iron accordian
into a pool of stained-glass violins

Friday, November 13, 2009

Liquid Assets

The sand plunges beneath the waves here.   Tidepool mirrors exaggerate the emptiness of the washed out sky.   Plastic bottles tangled in dried out garlands of seaweed & copper wire adorn the water’s edge.   This is either the beginning or the end of something, take your pick.   The light is fluoresecent & saturates the beach so that there are no shadows.   Underwater you’ll find the shadows of those that have drowned & the light is turquoise like the windows of a Mexican church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Double Down

Breath’s journey into sleep infected by too many cures still doesn’t mean we’ll spin the residual jolt gone hollow where your silk-weaving eyes torqued the lyric vibe.   We found our way out by the light of your cell phone, the indigenous lord have mercy, & painkiller grade Tecate.   As soon as you realize where you are it’s where you were & there’s no going back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bird Symbols

on Alison’s birthday

One day a year
the past speeds up
& tomorrow’s shadow
jumps out ahead of you
& you really ought to
set aside that pack of
Lucky Strikes
for a rainy Tuesday in
Buenos Aires
where the music of a
steam powered guitar
sounds like a great white shark
chewing on a late model Buick
which to me always seemed
closer to the truth than this
feather climbing
into the pale blue heart
of a brand new sky

59 and holding

for Nettelbeck on his birthday

The trip was worth the colors
24 ounces for $2.10 & a seagull’s wing
cutting the cord
California skies shipped in from
Chicago via southern Oregon? (Yeah,
I don’t know how we got here either)
Mainlining ‘The Poems” in a vacant lot
born (or borne) to this debris littered
chronicle w/broken mirrors like
broken bottles all the way to the edge of
another tear-stained tattoo
burned into the lucid pavement that
still manages to catch every
step you take

Friday, November 6, 2009

Modelo Especial

for Miguel Price

Just that I swam through
miles of rippling concrete
w/effrontery & a ‘68 Impala
in storefront episodes
(for medicinal purposes only)
cosmic buttons & tattoo redundancy
occupying more of my narrow attention
sent to St. Project’s rag special
as it were The Day of the Locust
between sips of swampwater & the poems of Hart Crane
when a guy walks in w/a duck under his arm
a wild surmise on the replay
"Whoremones & whore moans are
two different things?"
It’s all this early morning darkness
& wind-tunnel foglight
that has me doing a barefoot tapdance
right out the door into the wet sand of
Hollywood not unlike standing outside the
Del Taco in Ventura on Chinese New Year
in the rain

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ROOM SERVICE CALLS by Sunnylyn Thibodeaux


An absolutely brilliant lyric dance with all the humor, intelligence, and heart that are the trademarks of Sunnylyn Thibodeaux’s poems.   This great book is a miniature tour de force assembled for our instant & everlasting wonder.   When ROOM SERVICE CALLS, will you be ready?   Maybe you can get yourself a copy, you’ll be glad & made wise if you do, from Auguste Press.

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 94)


I could feel my whoremones raging in the belly…I relaxed with great vigor and the convertible ride through light and action brought back the sweetest memories of cruising the streets of LA with the poet Lefty Hyerdahl in my ’68 Impala, me in my Giants hat, he in his Dodgers blue, both in shades…all the post-Angelians looking at us like Frisco Queers as we sped by in that run-down bucket of bondo and verse…

I put away all my effontry and put matchsticks between my eyelids for maximum optical intake…We obviously had no agenda, just the mild feeling of our slashing movements and the continued cannibus we smoked like Vikings, passing from front to back as our heads turned to watch a pack of women samba by, street vendors hawking the parts of the sow, and my favorite bacon-wrapped hot dogs…it was a city, by God, and this city wanted to stay up late…Oscar parked the rig and we humped out onto the well worn sidewalk, briefing ourselves on degeneracy in order to corral some female admirers…we had landed in an oft-tracked borough and the first club we came to looked promising enough…it had a line ten people long and each time the door opened to let someone in or out, the great rush of hot air and noise, a breathless cocktail, would intoxicate our mouths and eyes like manna…finally, after 20 minutes, we were ushered in by the bouncer with a dent in our change purses…the immediate let down was a collective grunt…the place was a hovel, and wall to wall Mexico.   Being assuredly cooked, the last place I suddenly remembered I would want to be when this stoned was a claustrophobic, windowless mansoup with very little English speaking to speak of…most of the women wouldn’t speak a lick of my native tongue, and my Spanish was only good in light, wind, space, sand, sea, or six foot waves…I was doomed to sip drinkies and hope that David would feel my pain, while Jon and Oscar got busy (and they had already picked out their conquests)…We put back Jack and Cokes and looked around like fuckheads, caught inside, rolling in the green room with no rudder…It was clear that San Pedro had spoilt me, for in the small beach town, everyone was looking to make it, where sometimes, and as you will see when I get back there, a woman comes up to you with nothing more than the intention of taking you somewhere to take a few pumps…but here, back in the ditch we were in, it just got more crowded, more tight, and more boring…

- Michael Price

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Screensaver

The stain of persepctive
exonerates marathon recitations
of the sea & sky

just as rain is buried in the ocean
the variegated murmur of dark branches prevailing
& the bells (if we take the time to dissolve
              against the pink skin of pelicans & gulls

So much the better that we held our breath then
seeing how that shadows fell
to form the skeleton of a
Mayan temple
in a crevice of the tide

The wingspan derivative
in twilight steel like
tuning the fencewire
beyond the widening reach of wet sand at
Needle Beach

where these inverted footsteps
were meant to lead you

Monday, November 2, 2009

Somehow Lifted

Drifting through the drugstore parking lot aching for a little voodoo face-time I had assumed the role of a no credit editor of silence inside a forklift catalog of sunsets.   A hybrid Day of the Dead tattoo fading into a sunburnt shoulder.   I could still feel the kelp-bed tremors & cold knuckles, the blue press blob & ringtone resurrecting a phantom pain.   And then I remembered that I always wanted to end a poem with the word “polyurethane”.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Smog's Vibrant Gown

Half remembered, half
forgotten shapes of haze sustained
by one-way tickets & the wetsuit
drying on the back fence.   The light
may have been toxic but it was all we had.
Washed out colors aligned beneath
an offshore breeze studded w/gulls
“Nothing else seems to matter
when you’re plugged into the wave, esse”
said outside the 2 Mile Surf Shop in Bolinas
oddly similar to what I heard on Pier Street
Hermosa Beach circa 1974
(odd only because I remembered it)
hammered the glass portal (green
glass & the mirror avatar pulling the
sand out from under your sneakers
as a stray blade of sunlight cut away your shadow
like the mythic veil & the precision you cultivated
stolen from a timelessness that got lost in the
details.   The rusty bluewhite sludge an emblem of
the general decay perhaps the air around
Pompeii (for example) as your eyes (a darker
shade of diesel mist) replay episodes of
handmade palisades shimmering above.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thin Air

We could be crashing from nowhere to nothing
spilling out into the street
damp now in the fog so that
the pavement shimmers like wet sand
at dawn

& it’s easy to see you
still there with your shoulders turned toward the
watery haze that
leaked from the Tropicana Liquor Store & Board Shop
pacing yourself that way a memory in the wind

as the low-frequency neon in your wrist throbs to the beat
of an antediluvian twist dredged from the tidal swamp
that floods your heart

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hostage

Her eyes held a slice of moonlight
just long enough to throw it back
into the sky

& the visible damp in the bending mirror
as translucent as it is opaque
rising & falling in the roll & ache
of the swell

all deep green calypso as might
restring the breeze anointed by our
several interpretations

swept across the pavement where
diesel whispers flawlessly thread
the beach eucalyptus

& the silver bridge to dreamless sleep

Friday, October 23, 2009

Plastico del Mar

for Nettelbeck

Before the miracles & the toxic aftermath
the synthetic profit & loss
drowning in equations no one ever bothered to
sleep it off & start over
but akin to the unrelenting appetite a near surgical
disregard infects the primal dissolution of the tides
whereof the memory runneth not to the contrary
these are bottlecaps that were his eyes

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Postcard

The cracked mirror in a corner of the violet sky


dusty palm branch shadows with tropical phrasing
in the sand plunging beneath the waves
(a souvenir





as its only purpose is to be
forgotten

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 93)


We took out of there without any time for reflection…I had just witnessed a small town wedding in Mexico with hundreds of family and friends and hadn’t had much of a sentient thought…not one mention of the simple love, and slow-cooked vibes of shared mirth…not one word because I was robbed of my native sense by sensimilla, for a man and his steamer are not easily parted, but mild paranoia and thoughts of sex and hasty pudding?   It’s what I got, not being a habitual user, and I suspect if one is one, then it’s myopia and distended gall-bladder for life…you miss things, ‘sall I’m saying, sometimes even the joy and wonder right in front of you, replaced by the thunder of your own thoughts and laughter…and If I started to dwell on the Ramona/Johanna accord?   Forget it…the post lunch lull dreaming of fucking them both and quite possibly being in love with one and a half of them too was daunting…The Monte Carlo moved into the dusk.   We were a wreck, less the minus tide of our shared good karma…I was going to go with this thing, from plague to pogrom, even if it meant burning a village near Chetumal and fleeing in a pair of boxer shorts from the black death…the car zoomed down a narrow asphalt bi-way through all kinds of flush green and fading light miracles…palms, calla lily, arum lily, pig lily, Bonsai…thick air and golden sky turning all shades of pink…and the crappy Kraco stereo blasting New Order like some nearby and rugged Isolation theme, Jon letting out howls of laughter, and David and I in back thinking none could die who we loved with this free intensity…and then we came upon the border crossing, with all sorts of signage warnings of Mexico and Fruits and checkpoints…as Oscar slowed, he and Jon talked of some quick plan to get us across error-free…apparently only 3 chaps per vehicle we’re allowed to cross at one time…So Oscar slowed down the Carlo and Jon jumped out…we roll along right through the checkpoint with a wave of the hand (must’ve been the flames, I thought), while I watch Jon walk through the walk zone and then climb right back into our rig without missing a beat…and away we go for Chetumal…we stopped at an ATM where I was coaxed into pulling out 200 US cash to help fuel the evening, and pay back for the plane ticket and hospitality gifted me earlier…and we hit the streets of the city…God a city and a city under the influence of Mary Jane…my successful adaptation to real urban life hand-to-mouth hung in the balance…what waves of mania and fury that much light and motion brought after two months of island fever, like opium talking through anxieties, what urdes and folly all this might produce…I was digging it most supremely…it was a gift from the groin…

- Michael Price

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fiberglass Jungle

I cut myself on the edge of the fog

blood the color of cigarette smoke

I have 37 cents & a pair of sunglasses
compromised by darker subscriptions

offshore music

broken silvergreen sentences
mapping the the tides to China
& back

to consecrate the eucalyptus

sustained by the lyric instability
of wet stones blinking in the foam

scattered like loose change

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vision Discount

Pollo del Mar

Ornamental pavilions of rust
strung with skeleton lights
at the bottom of the ocean
only a few steps from where we
share a burnt bottle

The Roman empire built & destroyed
in a day & the whistling silence
out on the porch

the Merovingian kings & their Mexican beer

Mississippi weather on the west coast
brewed in a Polynesian swamp
with diminished returns
caught in the glare of fishscale chrome

as far as the eye can see

& dreaming it backwards so that
her fingers braid nasturtiums to the chain-
link fence as the sun rolls along the dull
watery edge of a horizon you’ve
visited perhaps one too many times

Friday, October 16, 2009

Draining the Pool

Surfacing beneath the pipes
the language of dreams reduced to
three chords & you catch yrself
singing along absent mindedly
Lefty Stordahl, Kon Tiki, Jimmy Slant
& the Gasguzzlers
people commit suicide every day because
they’ve never seen star-
light on the waves (oceaning past
the dealers & whores at Beach Flats
restoration of the needle
yr reflection on the surface of a burnt
spoon like the face of Jesus on a tortilla
& the halo effect leaking out to
stain the pavement
in front of the all night pharmacy
cradled in the perpetual glow of
a kind of sunset neon you
could build a religion out of

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Through the door

for Ainsworth

It wasn’t long before
I saw her again her
hesitation
invites you to share in the limitations
of its desire
forged signatures
suicide tickets with the usual
consequence & valerian scripture
something you never learned to hide
a heaving rack of surrender
but deliberate like the parable
written in braille
on the darkside of her thigh

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vaporized

The rustling shadow palm
meant nothing to you
the numb strands of light
left to fade on the monsoon balcony
patiently waiting for your reply

Beach pavement stained with the
blood of fuchsias
petition the tattooed letters on your wrist

neon aquarium tremble weed & drizzle
waist-deep in the sand
explain less than these random calculations
set to winged reflection

1. Lair of the white powder

2. A feather of concrete crumbling into the sea

& even if you can’t remember later
the meaning of its silence
seeds the passion of your denial

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vapor Lock

waterstained, light

where fingers briefly
touched (pages

floodlit Mexican parking lots
sequestered

seacolored eyes
I carried to the liquor store
& back

(another time the same
amped eyeshadow & disregard
beckoning from the meth house
across the street

like a submerged
flamingo orchid
set on fire

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vapor Trail

It’s a property of the autumnal
haze that erases the sky above
pockmarked, hollow-eyed surfers
pondering The Lotus Sutra
w/redwood stringers glassed-in
& diesel sand driven beneath the foam

Some way to reply in the dialect of anemones
True Hollywood Fiction
places to go
things to do
the stems & wings of distraction
at the Karmic Swap Meet

Sunlight absorbed in iridescent
reverberation
every step you take
sinking deep into the underwater pavement
a ripple trail of maybe neon fading

like Godzilla rising from the waves

to bench press the tide

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Upon further review

In the black & white noonday streetcorner alleyway slanting down to the beach…you saw, although you may have misremembered, (excuse me, thought), perhaps the harsh sunlit splash, (sunlit something or other) flattened the scene so that in silhouette says I “These indestructible subtelties” ― “Seeming subtle & indestructible” ― as was Robert Mitchum’s upper lip in Out of the Past.   The future scratched into a dented fender of sky above the sea & without the benefit of the Dalai Lama’s advice, you are resigned to sit by the swampwater swimming pool expecting something better, while a sea swamp veneer accentuates the screendoor chiaroscuro the tattooed hula doll has learned to ignore.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 92)


…and guffawed to the winds “It’s 2000 in the middle of the world!”…I thought of my prayers to God in my early years…there were none.   So I begged the Gods of pick-pocketing to see that I would be safe later in the slut hunt of four art-forgers, given how high I was at this moment…I re-read the friendly letter I had memorized since birth and set to work finishing my food in record time…David, however, was too quick for me, with food running down his chin laughing and slurping and finished six bites in front….

“C’mon man, let’s go find those cherry blossoms and get ready to ride into Mejico…” I said, “No shit, and with some good luck we might slay some land speed records with our flamed Monet Carlo with Jacked Ghetto top and furry dash”   Such revelations were beginning to elevate my dirty inner selve and David too it all with his contagious laugh…”ahhhh, shit mike, yer fucked up man…fucking miiiiiiiike, man…”

“Ah, Daaaaaveeeed, I am a so-so chemist but take me to Mexico and I can charm my way up vaginas with qualitative analysis, centrifuges, and forcepts…”   That one floated like skunkweed smoke right over David’s head…and right into Jon and Oscar, who had a trail of bridesmaids three long when they showed up…they said “Spanish spanish creole, Spanish creole creole”

“Ah, huh, Spanish Spanish creole English slang creole Spanish…”   I of course did not understand a word, but the girls and David loved it, as they were sparkling and smoothing to their every utterance…butter and jargon…

“C’mon guys, lets get to Mexico before dark so we can see our feet in front of us…” “Yeah hermanos, vamanos pinche jotos!”   I chimed in with cursed espanol…“Okey Dokey, let’s go then” said Oscar, leading the way to the Carlo as if it was the Princess of Prussia…I stopped and did my compulsory military service, taking in the great big fiesta, and Jon yelled at me to hurry it up and get my ass in the car…me vengo me vengo…

- Michael Price

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All my friends are lowriders

The deep rain returns
in the lift & sway of palm trees
rocked by waves of nightshade turquoise
sustained by the vanity of shadows
that don’t register on the pavement

& like the warning label I never read
tipping the beach gate grillwork of sea mist & stone
to approximate the tone buried in murmurs
against a forsaken neon-lit watusi stomp
giving all that has been taken
shatters the glass pages of a narcotic hymnal
you thought you knew by heart

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Medicine Show

I woke up just as the silver airship was
landing on the water

A seaspun gypsy disembarked
swimming ashore
her pale breasts & burnt pink nipples exposed

Her lips painted a rusty
green kelp methadone color

There was a crystal rosary tied around her wrists

She had been here before had
actually never left

When she speaks her voice makes me think
of a saxophone piercing the tide
the bell & the reed
but the signal kept breaking up & I couldn’t
understand exactly what she was saying

She handed me a Mexican guitar
its twelve strings still vibrating
like the tears that creased every face
she had ever worn

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Threaded w/blades of sunlight

They would have you close your eyes your
hesitations dragging stunned wings through
a sky of crushed glass & you
if you’re there
not turning the wheel of outrageous fortune
but sold into sleep like a random hate crime

Such precision succumbs to overwhelming
caution then as the piercing cry hoisted
like an ambulance lingers long after it has gone
echoes in the trembling hum of a fish-bone tuning fork

so that your lips betray a pale intent excluding
hoof prints in the wet sand & tide pool silhouettes

as I can see the both of us in a not-too-distant
prospect sidestep reels of smoke at the iron gates
doing the old limitations of mortality waltz
right off the end of the pier

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Selling a Kidney on eBay

for Duncan McNaughton

Two is extravangant when you can
get by with one (the moral exception
explained by Dennis Hopper in a
TV commercial I never watched
flickers like a blue wing in a blue
sky.   Singing the blues.   Blue Hawaiians.
Deep blue sea.   I was standing on the
bluegreen steps of the Tsunami Palace
smoking a turquoise cigarette―
actually I was smoking two of them
simultaneously
while marveling at the symmetry of it all.
You were carrying a blade that looked like
a silver gull wing & I was stirring my
tequila with a nail.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Barefoot Resolve

A point of entry & return
bells in the surf
w/wrecked shorebreak throwdown rips
crumbling in the parking lot
lulled into degrees of difficulty
where I always find her standing there
in high-heels
explaining the arc & derivative
with reference to
perhaps the stolen El Camino
while regarding floatation
“Byzantine,” I said
by which I meant like Hart Crane in a fez
& you can leave your shoes on

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 91)


Stoned for an hour:   Laughter, Song, and writhing around on the floor, unable to control our glee…Then we got ready to go.   Oscar and Jon put on their best tropical shirts, David did nothing.   I cleaned up the act and prepared my defenses—I would be the only honky—and would have to explain my every action.   There would be critics, both at large, and in my area of expertise—the sexual cormorant—with his distended colornary diatribe…

We arrived soon enough.   Parked alongside 50 other cars of all makes and condition, sharing the shit-box gene.   The wedding was in full sswing, that is, the reception was, the party in action…Of course we missed the ceremony in our reverie and that seemed to be just fine with everyone.   There was a punta band and through the air coursed the scents of poetry and eros…I was ravenous and giddy and looked to head straight for the food tent, and for the second time since I arrive in Corazol, I walked into a scene dominated by sweet old women…but now, young girls rand about the pots and dishes great and small, and a line of Belizians ten deep, chattering away like it was Carnival…there were little rumpkins tearing around in mini-suits and dresses, screaming and shrieking, joysmiles broad, men in cowboy hats and boots, bolo ties, and wildly colorful shirts…women in white lace dresses and formal gowns…then another slice in Wednesday best, jeans, t-shirts, baggy shorts, hotpants, shortskirts…bring me a bowl of burning gold!   I turned to David, “I’m so hungry man!”   “Yeah man, me tooooo…”   And soon enough, so efficient those dear old ladies were, I had in my hands a plate full of beans, rice, carnitas, corn on the cob, and fresh hot tortillas…a veritable Cop’s portion!   Enough to simply smother the paranoia and uneasy edge of the powerful cannabis…and Coke in the bottles! to bring back swell memories of the ‘tween years in sugar and madness…David and I sat down to eat while Jon and Oscar made the family and friend rounds…it became obvious that their Family was held in high regard, as I watched the faces of their acquaintances light up in Oscar and Jon’s presence…from planting true oaths in their pasts, they had their dad’s respect and also the wild streak that painted everyone curious…They both worked it beautifully and took stabs at their beers allthewhile…that food I had in from of me was rich and bold and delicate…and around me I noticed how small and pretty this world was, green and desolate both, balmy and ordinary, like Longmont Colorado, just good folk and simple motives…and there I was, somewhere between Monk and Ed Ruscha in my guayavera, sandals, jeans, and smiling white face…I raised my coke with David to bride and groom…I laughed out loud with the pearls of poesy…

- Michael Price

The Mockingbird Is My Nightingale

for Pamela

I dreamt I heard a
mockingbird

I dreamt you heard it
too

it made you laugh

I looked at the alarm clock
it was 5:05 a.m.

I said The mockingbird is
my alarm clock

What are you talking about?
you said

What mockingbird?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No Matter What

A bus ticket to the end of the world
(Swamp City exit corner of Ocean Street &
Wipeout Ave) the circuitous route
“ever runneth in to the self-same spot”
& so the self-devouring serpent
that in my dream was more like a self-
devouring hula hoop
wholeness, totality or infinity
rolling downhill past the Medicine Man’s
Drive-Thru & the woman in the iron bikini
who knew things nobody else wanted to know
she said Deception is good for the soul
which I took to mean the prototype
& to lay it down then inside a nice
little 2/4 Mexican-German oom-pah beat
w/sand blowing across the concrete
anticipates a rail of silence
& the broken valves of the sea

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ALTOON'S FROG by Duncan McNaughton


And since some of us depend on "The Poems" I am pleased to present the latest from Blue Press, ALTOON'S FROG by Duncan McNaughton.   Mysterious & droll & brilliant, really...as I have come to expect from the great McN.   Here's a little sample:

AMANITAVILLE

Here is a piece, of
the black spoon,
I have broken off
in order to show you
what you will need
to forget:
hold onto it,
she’ll ask for it
when you get there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pale Rider

                  for Jim Carroll

So it ends with the murmur of
brooding guitars
beneath the bleached-out horizon
drowning the vacant room left
exactly as we found it
where we traded fear for numb surprise

between the two the lesser majesty

chemical dings in the Upanishads

We ask for nothing but a blank page
& the rest maybe wingless
but true enough
the death of poetry like the death of anything
leaves an empty page
white as the sky right now above the beach
like where we were from the beginning

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 90)


I was thirty and one years…I was finding out what was in man…it was Central headquarters of an America I had never seen…the onus of my little catholic great grandmother of Denver and her small squeezed world of guilt and effusions…”51” pieces of shame on old Julian Street in Highlands, that was all I had to compare to…and it did me good stead because I could feel the crazy disconnect between one slow and one furious world, these two boys and their great ancient mother in this small town with palm trees and dirt roads and small houses…I was digging my own garden and watching the sea for the green flash…hearing the great birds of the tropics whose calls and songs were so much melodic compared to the harsh bickering of the magpies outside my mountain youth window…

So I sat there and smiled so deep inside for my good fortune, my luck in being privy to a new thousand looks of beauty and my present six companions:   Jon, Oscar, David, Old Mother, Old Mother Friend, and my disquisitive mind…and then Old Mother got up, and Old Mother Friend did to, and she informed Jon that she had to got to her sister’s house to get ready for the wedding and would see us all there…and with a few slow movements and the passage of time, she was gone…and in almost the same stroke, Oscar had the stereo on, speaking in cryptic parables and loud as hell, Jon having requested some punta music…It was killing the moment, and stony David requested some of the music I had played on the boat while diving…so I dug out a cassette tape of New Order and Oscar rolled the big one…

And we flew.   Flew to another place completely.   Here were the frontal truths, the rear truths and the rare truths…Bizarre Love Triangle came on, Jon and David had memorized the lyrics on the boat!   Oscar was floored, never having heard early Eighties New Wave with a poet’s lyric…We traveled inside that song on a talkative laughing spaceship, passing the joint and free-disassociating at random…within that song’s breadth I took endless naps while Oscar wrote biochemical theses on the breeze warbles…Jon and David just kept screwing their faces into pure mirth…we had an 18 year old high going, where a hue of tenderness and endless possibility free-ranged alongside joyance everywhere…the guys felt completely connected to a honky and a song…music’s power had once again shown it’s mettle, bridging rugged space between race and culture…we laughed from deep in our guts and became hermanos for this earthly life…

I was so high I thought I had died.   But then how to explain the Belikan beer and the dying sun oranging through the west window? Or how to account for the Monte Carlo’s Flames for Christ’s Sake?   How could you explain that?   This was most certainly prelude and/or harbinger—the chariot of dangerous…We were going to ride this flaming automobile into Chetumal to our hilarious demise…one on a chameleon gift of vivid erection, like a contact high from the King James Bible…

- Michael Price

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Hummingbirds of Tierra del Fuego

for Alison

Hummingbirds as big as squirrels
their wings a blur as they migrate north
along the spine of the continent

They are worshipped in the Brazilian jungles where
the Amazon sometimes flows backwards

echoes in Ecuador leaving Peruvian footprints

They say if you sit among the ruins of Machu Picchu
alone at twilight
you’ll learn how to talk to lizards

this can be useful knowledge if you ever run into a
busload of iguanas in Chile

like the hummingbirds they never sleep
& their eyes are like obsidian mirrors buried in
the sand at Tierra del Fuego

Thursday, September 17, 2009

MAYBE OCEAN STREET


Thanks to Michael Price & his Airstream International poetry factory for heroically cranking out Maybe Ocean Street, a set of a dozen of my poems, with sidebar poetical debris shaking loose from several, all carefully printed in a very fine hand-sewn edition.

If you want to score a copy (edition is limited to 100 copies), you can send $10 to Michael at 2032 Bluff Street, Boulder, CO 80304 (his email is littlehorsemodern@yahoo.com).

Remembering Jim Carroll

An appreciation by Lewis MacAdams in the L.A. Times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll, dead at 60

              “it’s just a feeling I have at times
              I want to live until I want to die.”

 
You were my horse
when I had none.

And I salute you
my brother.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Parish Cruz

                  for Micah Ballard

The bones of sunset dipped into the
tide shallows & the rocks there imprinted
with scripture of some sort
graffiti that predates any known language
or wireless reception

Some see a self-portrait in every possible cure
one god or another to pin to the sky above
but light me a candle & pour me a drink of
something darker than that bloodstained
cough syrup of the Chosen Ones

& nail the chrome to the lip of a deeper silence
beneath residual sacrificial debris, the wasted
palm trees aglow with a cheap mortality
tied like us to revolving shadows & empty psalms
that echo endlessly against an exhausted windswept
amen you can almost hear now & then

inside an empty 24 ounce Tecate can
smeared with lipstick

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NEVADA STATE LINE


A new rock solid poetry mag out of the thin air of Boulder, Colorado.   Edited by Jeff Chester & Michael Price (with a great silkscreened cover by Evan Hecox) the mag features works from Joanne Kyger, Patrick Dunagan, Jack Collom, Eileen Myles, Noel Black, Micah Ballard, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Adam DeGraff, Jeff Chester, Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Kevin Opstedal, Christina Fisher, Michael Price, Derek Fenner, F.A. Nettelbeck, & Duncan McNaughton (also a cool little illustration on the last page by Donald Guravich).   You need to get a copy, it really ties the room together.   I expect if you emailed either of the editors (chester_jeff@hotmail.com , or littlehorsemodern@yahoo.com) they could tell you how much dinero it would take for you to purchase a copy & get it mailed to you.   It's worth it.   We all need that mainline shot of "The Poems".

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 89)


Corozal was nothing like San Pedro.   It was a rural town with a bay full of San Francisco green water…coral and sand were absent from this side of the peninsula…at least from our vantage point, which was a quais-outdoor bar with picnic benches under a dilapidated canopy and a more proper inside bar with cheap tile floor, all open and dirty and great…Oscar was older-brother quick to have the first round in our hands before we even sat down outside…a nice touch of the elder states and cocksman…

We were trying to greet the Mexican wedding with a huge armory buzz, taking the hi-jinx and matrimonious air and running with it in a flaming vehicle, and rollicking in the festivities of port and lamb and beef and fish…and old grandmothers with sweet grins and beautiful little girls in white dresses shrieking and playing games…but first, we were these men on picnic benches in a rotten bar near the green water drinking yellow beer one after another and talking of women and parties and marijuana…vacation highs all around…braggadocio and cocksword tales…the guys laughing at my expense but me with fat pockets of patience…no problemo…for I looked around at where I was, took stock and issued immediate dividends: I was no where I would have guessed in two hundred eons…I was sitting with four real dudes on keen consequences in a central American country, drinking Mexican vacation Corona, looking at the verde waters of the bay thinking Nebraska, cunnilingus, and compassion…boddhichita, dhupa…pliny and thinking yes, yes, I am here in this place and I am beginning to understand that I am twisted tight with the Ramonas and Johannas of the world, these beauties of a dark hue…but mostly I had a sense that I was alone and it was profound…It was calforic…an exercise that was strengthening the mind…I saw clearly that I was still caught in the stray web of desires, but I was beginning to see the soft lines of an escape hatch on the very floor of my tremblings…I was relating to these men with open cranium and open heart…we felt youth in our tongues as the hits of raw carbo pop, drive down in the seat of our beings, into the stomach where beer is gladly accepted and honored…and before long, through the devilish isis of my eyesis I was a getting a drunken…Jon David and Oscar were right there too…so it was with wayward future thoughts of Chetumal City whores that we siphoned off the dregs of our sixth beer and piled back into that fucking Monte Carlo and headed down some slinking black highways to the house of Jon and Oscar’s mother, just minutes from our bar…

We had made it just about tea time, as two little old women sat inside the white cottage decked like an American dream, just like any country’s little old women, all Catholic and dry with heavy onus of white cross eyecast everywhere, simple and dead, dressed up like midwest America…their mother a sweet quiet penitent woman, sworn to Jesus, sworn to a life of denial, sat there with an older apple wrinkled moofy and their tea…the now of them so simple and narrow and fixed…and here two boys, sons of a murdered dad in a drug deal gone bad, and their widowed mother, nobody knowing how wild these two would still get, following their dad’s footsteps to an early grave…David had leaked to me that Jon was packing, some coke he was dealing and not wanting anyone to know…but I could tell the brothers were doing anything and everything elicit they could get their hands on…and Oscar had a fondness for the white, so Jon kept it quiet…and this quaint little scene, two poor belizian old women having religious tea with two sons home and two strangers—one gringo—and the drunken energy of an afternoon six beer buzz…I said my hellos as I was introduced and Jon talked and hugged sweetly with his mom…Oscar lived in the basement room so they simply exchanged the pleasantries of two who shared a house…we sat down on the couches and I just tried to keep up with the Spanish and watched the fruit ripen…

- Michael Price

Ultra Sonic Chopsticks

The humid smoke
dull heat & haze
have zapped, that is
sapped me
of all precious bodily fluids
except one

it seems I’ve assumed the role
of third base coach
on a Buddhist softball team

but you must learn to
carefully maneuver yr way thru
erratic hinges like
the day Superman
murdered God

modeled on the time
honored tradition
of sweat & nails

altho none of these guys
knows how to wear a hat

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green Pipe (Ventura)

A grip of tidewater
taught me more about
nothing
than your bloodstained
hands against
the smog-
filtered light

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Boom Boom Boom

Driving down the eternal 101
w/the Lightning Man
in my head & the residual
hellhound
on my trail. Pulled into
Santa Barbara at noon.
St. Barbara is the
patron of artillerymen
& bombers. Her mysterious
connection with lightning.
Lightning Hopkins.
I drove down
to the beach. St. Barbara
is venerated by all who face the
danger of sudden
& violent death, but
can she carry a tune?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jesus-Fish Tacos

The street is powder white right
smack in the breeze
late afternoon
w/leaf green shadows in the margin

jungle brocade of thatched palm leaves
bamboo strangle vines & nasturtiums
all under a smog dust that lights up
behind your eyes it seems
like beach concrete ringing
in the sun
a soft blossom
the color of hepatitis

as though we could skim
the bliss off our inherent failure like
mist sheering the sky from the pavement

& veering left into a crumbling wall of fog,
graywhite sapphire & milk-fed steel
reclaim the witness you carved
into the drumroll sand

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 88)


I parked the already rusted six month old cruiser my mom had bought alongside the other clunkers and golf carts at the airport—a mere twenty feet from the “terminal”, a temporary mobile trailer with brown siding and some janky wooden stairs…looking out on the two single blacktop lane runways, I had to chuckle—this was a one-camel town for sure…Jon and David were there with tickets, and we quickly loaded onto a small puddle-hopper…this was my first plane-ride in another country to another country!   That thought was not lost as we nailed the take-off and soared above turquoise plates & white sandbars…meanwhile my real fear of crashing there and sinking to the bottom, that, any blue way you cut it, would be a black and cold grave to die in, was palpable in the six square feet of cockpit room…I sat next to the pilot and could count the number of nose hairs in his right nostril…it was pretty strange to be aloft in this small craft, like a small car or a flying burrito, with only a thin skin separating you and turbulent air…Jon and David were high, giggling at me and sharing Belizian secrets, watching the great gringo marvel at the all-too-common small plane flight…but that couldn’t stop the slender, rarefied, and beautiful scene that was unfolding from my shotgun position…the dashboard dial and gauges spelled out the relative calm of the machinery…It was so loud you felt yourself seized with the desire to masticulate anything—knobs, dials, glass, safety card, sun visor—and the same tall words kept pushing up from the stomach to the lips:   Death now?   Death now?   It couldn’t be helped in a flying machine…I tried talking to my bleary-eyed companions but it was so loud and they so stoned that soon we just laughed and looked down…

We were flying into Corozal en route to a big wedding where I would know no one and be the only American…without neglecting the gathering of whores and drinks…oh, yes, there would be those too…what lay ahead of me I wanted so bad I could bite…and forty minutes of flight time had brought us to the end of the road, another tiny dirt landing strip, the most impossibly small target in the history of Literature…our goddamn plane went right perfectly down that strip…in the net of my nerves reached the hand of marvel as we bounced down that rickety gravel path, in complete Central American control, passing the terminal, a miraculous shack, with ten Belizians or Mexicans waiting by crumpled cars and tall grass, finally doing a six point mechanical turn and coming to a smooth stop where we deplaned, as different men and certain warriors…And waiting in a roof-cut and flame-painted early Eighties Monte Carlo was Oscar, Jon’s frontier older brother, with a smile like Texas and the wiry deftness that also marked his little brother…the family resplendence was uncanny…”Ehhhhhhhhh….what’s up dudes?”

Brothers hugged, then David, and Jon introduced me to Oscar, and I was give the same deep hug of greeting…within the curtain of insects, we had our welcome!   We piled in that black threnody missile and sped off V8 style, laying dust in our wake and seeing cold cervezas on the waterfront…

- Michael Price

Epistrophy

Disposed the long hours
sight unseen
reels of smoke at the
iron gates
              as maybe scarred with breath
                                                like taco tuesday on a friday
                              Monk & Coltrane in the air
              while feathered shadows
                                                out there
                                                                deal seeds & mushrooms
                                                bottles of dark fogmist
                                                                                    sand darker than that
                                                salt milk foam hissing
                                                                                                      prophetic
                                                who fails, who escapes
                              knocked from the karmic loop
                                                                whatever is going to happen
                                                                                              like it already has
                                                                              to what purpose then
                                                a late turn in the drop
                                                                explaining less than that unwritten
                                                                equation
                                                                        with palm tree silhouettes
                                                                carved into the sunburnt sky

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mega-Millions

A thunder-colored floater
                              wearing infinite space like
              a cement kimono

a breath away from lights out
in twelve languages

machines beneath the waves
just offshore
attended to by crews of mayan or aztec mechanics
who keep it all rolling

smokestacks hidden in the kelp
spitting plumes of sea-mist out across the sand
& up over the coast highway

where I don't find you

              sunset in a parallel universe
                                                scrawled in crayon colors
                              on the wrong side of a cloud

              & I’m holding on
                                                only so that I can feel it
                              slip away

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Dead & the Dying

At the post office yesterday mailing off some books.   A tiny frail old lady stopped on her way & looked up at me thru age-frosted eyes.   “Did you hear that Ted Kennedy died last night?” she asked.   “Yes,” I said, “I’ve heard”.   She nodded, lowered her head, & slowly walked away.

The dust of galaxies beneath our feet or in the sky beginning to fade behind the wheel just as we crossed the border

among subtropical flowers & rotting
concrete
                              low frequency eucalyptus bulldozers
              & self-conscious strands of seaweed

swamped out as the tide rolls in

w/wrecked shorebreak throwdown rips
                              crumbling in the parking lot
              lulled into degrees of difficulty
                                                                                  layered in rust

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aforesaid by Circe

Keyed in on the “adios” angle with just enough devout paleolithic hallucination to keep you semi-honest.   Not always merely what was said but the shape of it.   A light wind moving the top of your head around inside the bones of moonlight.   The beach road humming like a wire.   Hydrostatic.   Whatever you say.   Motherfucker.

Thin sheets of silver occupy hairline shadow fractures the same way a tear leans up against your cheek.   Every dream worth it’s weight in crushed velvet.   Wet sand from here to forever.   Your brain seems to be on an extended vacation, a sea cruise, maybe a world tour, including every empty parking lot from Tierra del Fuego to Santa Cruz.   Factor in the long way back & you just might make it by suppertime.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 87)


“So I don’t know where he’s at…I don’t ask and he don’t come around here so I’m fine with it…he won’t live long is he’s doing what he was then…he did give me a beautiful girl…and I do love him…just not my man…”

I told her my story about the dude on crack.   She concurred.   I told her that her story was one of the bravest I had ever heard…especially for a woman, to leave with a child…make her way…I suppose it happens daily on the face of this vast planet given the levels of woe, stupidity, and cruel men doings…but her story was the first I had heard direct, and with a grace and acceptance I found positively inspiring…I mean she didn’t hate this man for his obvious wrongs…just took it as a meting of life in bitter doses that would not be permanent…she could smile, laugh, and be sad about it all in one single emotion…remarkable, yes, to be compassionate before selfish…in this sad, non-interior world of vain green jade, “I want to be relevant and interior…”

Yes indeed, relevant…As moved as I was, my dirty heart kept on beating to that sultry tune selfishness, while my pecker lured me into my next adventure…

It was a Saturday afternoon when I was down at the Tres Amigos with my Mom…we had come in from our second dive of the day and were drinking cokes when Jon and David showed up ready for something, and that something smelled an awful lot like trouble…stoned to gills, giggling like teen-heads, something up their sleeves, tho’ they had none shirts…the ponied up to the bar beside me, one per side and simultaneously put in my ear something like the following:   “Hey man, you want to go to Corozal with us tonight?   We’ll go to Chetumal and get girls and party!”   (Jon’s niece was getting married that night)   “We’ll go one hour in the plane…we already bought you a ticket so what do you say?”   Jon had an older brother rumored to be wild…swift and crazy, he had lived on the island a few years back and wooed many a white girl…my mom’s friend phrogee (yes, pronounced frog-ee) had tried to make him a few years back, even at almost 40 years his senior…she had told my mom, “I don’t care how many year apart, as long as their 18”…pax vobiscum I say…ouch.   I mulled their proposition—how could I pass up such a chance for unknown revelry?   A beer would go down smoothly now, so why wouldn’t twenty more later that night?   I also wanted to make the experience of a prostitute, and I thought Mexico would be as likely a place for that to happen as any…strip clubs meant fuck clubs and the coco meant the bull with not a bother on him…”Yes, I’ll go you pinche cathrons, what time do we leave?”

“One hour” they said in unison, “so meet us here and we’ll head to the airport in 40 minutes…”   My mom just laughed and said “hey, sounds good…Chetumal isn’t so bad…it’s Mexico with discos and lots of cars…”

“Done” I said to Jon and slid off my stool.   I paced it home along the beach and once there slipped into my best guayavara shirt and trusted bluejeans.   I was going to get the whore in me wet, take the two red-eyed sisters of lust and desire and fuck myself into a black corner of the night I had never before seen…

- Michael Price

Monday, August 24, 2009

After the Flood

Stranded inside a
pink dust of haze
              shaped like a sealion cigarette
                                                & the long tunnel out
No real choice but what darkens the blood
she said
                              & whatever else got lost among
impossible hydraulic palm trees

but the sky tipping back
              as the sea could be a hinge
how we got here
                              ever the underwater arcade
reason enough to skim the surface like
an amphetamine nosebleed

to interrogate the barefoot pavement (a
two-way mirror set-up
& the consequences
              alternate routes to the same conclusion
shredding the opulent ocean air

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Velvet Fadeout

Her eyes were
Andalusian hypodermic needles
smuggled in from submarine realms
of rust & ruin

w/broken bottles, coral blossoms
& stone

Hacienda Mexicana in green-
glass (or
the smoglight made them so

against the corrugated sunset

Friday, August 21, 2009

Skating the drop edge of yr heart

1.   The lemon blue sky
              sketched in beneath
                              a moon that’s always full
              like the parking lot at Paradise

2.   versus the dotted line
I’ve got another chorus of
Cowgirl in the Sand

3.   The wheels of darkness
burning rubber
down the deserted highway
that tears right thru yr soul

4.   slicing in off the rain the
              suicide strums
                              by the light of a blade

4a.   50,000 years give or take
                              a week or so
              down to this scratched out
day on the bathroom calendar
                                                in big neon colors
                              all gone now like it never happened

5.   The sky dark the
pavement still warm

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 86)


To my credit I was both awed and numbed to what she was saying…in a way it was the best thing I could think to hear out of the mouth of a woman interested in me…for it was clear that I was nothing but a cun-loving streaker, someone on the rotgut journey…someone who had some major bush-league insecurity, some mother infatuation and prick-envy…I was shallow and mute, un-fornicated, and loose, a dim prospect for a bun like Johanna…words were Buddhas and I was no word, just concepts and ideas, wispy and proud, nothing of which this deeply lived person could want…so I laughed a little nervoulsy.   And I said “wow, it’s a story you’ve got Jo.   You’re a strong woman to leave and take care of yourself that way…Does he still try to keep in touch with you?"   “I don’t know…my sister said he came by the house once asking for me, but she didn’t tell him where I had gone…didn’t let him see the baby…but, I think he don’t really care…I’m his ‘little girl gone’…

“Damn the crack,” I said, “Cause I knew a heroin addict once, and that was not a pretty monkey to have on your back…but at least it’s not a killer monkey like a crack monkey…Jason must’ve been scary to be around…and you weren’t scared of him?”   “Naw, he was gentle…the crack made him talk a lot but he was never violent around home…He did have some big guns tho’, and I know him and his friends got in a lot of fights and maybe killed people…’born in the night to perish in the night’”…

Imagine Crack.   Imagine speedy kills.   Imagine being borrowed in trembling anger and put on the wooden spoon...what terror, what 14th street halfway house terror it must be…I ran into a guy on crack once sitting in a stoop next door to my SF apartment…he gave me the evils, evil chills, stink eye…I checked my fear into my shorts and smiled.   He softened minutely, just enough to tell me that he had just slipped off the wagon and smoked crack and NEEDED to have some beer to take the edge off…he didn’t want to KILL anyone, naw, he needed beer money so he wouldn’t KILL anyone…he said, “So can you please give me money for beer so I don’t hurt anyone?”   And I fished out a five from my pockets and said “I understand” and went inside my front gate and said three small prayers of Om Ah Hung for the SF street…and all who lived on it…and for my protection from harm…and my good fortune to meet a reasonable crack dude…

- Michael Price

Less than a mile from here it all turns to glass

 
The ocean pulse   /   blood in my head

brings us that much closer

              clinging sea-vines & blossoms
                                                pearls reflecting
                              clipped wings

              We pressed our lips against
                                                the rare petal’s secret

                              naked beneath the flames

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pledge

When I die
& make lots of
money
I’ll buy you
something pretty

Monday, August 17, 2009

Named After Clouds

Lit up like the entrance to an underwater neon patio

a silver lining with a troubled past

e n t r a n c e d

although the telepathic rhyme scheme remained intact.   Still, they wanted some sort of identification.   All I had was my tattoo & a seagreen pebble I picked up off Venice Beach 30 years ago.   It was late in the afternoon & the autumnal haze had taken on a luminous, perhaps corrosive, hue.   Green, magenta, turquoise with pearl inlay, & a kind of pervasive translucent iridescence that only total exhaustion can produce.   There was a crew of dancing skeletons taking a shortcut loop down the alley & across the vacant lot.   One of them must have recognized me because I was allowed to go, wherever I wanted, as long as it was away from there.   I turned the corner & took a step,
              (not quite knowing how),
                                                out past the glass wall of thunder
                              in my veins.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drumming on the Lid of the Tide

Come w/me Blanca I’ll show you the hills on fire
inside the rippling windsound of what birds might think
when we tiptoe thru the ashes.   Smoke in yr eyes
& in yr mind & a taste for pints of amber when you
give me the lowdown on all you thought I didn’t know.
It was great, even though I fell asleep halfway thru it all.
Survival is another way of looking at it.
The dead bury the dead.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Simple descriptions of landscapes
seascapes
                              parked beneath halos
(interior designed by M.C. Escher
resembling a medieval parking structure
paved with clouds
                                                (the salt water sacrifice implied)
              to ride the pulse back & down
                                                                the surging wall of night
                              where you step, turn & dissolve
--------------------------------------------------------------------
& out there beyond the foam
                              across the broken line of the surf
              the sun balances on the horizon
                                                like a bronze coin
                                                                              (doused in gasoline)
                                                                    on the edge of a spoon

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sketched Out in Blurry Sacrificial Neon

I gave it all away
to the knock-kneed angel of
Lighthouse Point

              a black silk afternoon
                              in her eyes
                                                sent me out
                              for wine & road maps
              & I returned w/workgloves
                                                & Mexican beer

rocked by waves the
karmic loop
La Paloma
& flamencoid strings

sleazy but essential

Falling down stairs didn’t spill a drop

& I kept my sunglasses on

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 85)


What I could not stop, however, was the curiosity and pull of Johanna…the hexagonal gallerie of delicious memories black…I was thinking about her, trying to find her relation to the silk skin of my fantasy…Ramona was ready for the runway…Johanna was rough and flawed in comparison, but only on the surface…she moved without any THING, whereas the Ecuadorian moved the ignorant…she literally moved them across the thorns of their desire…Johanna had her many admirers, but they saw her approach, but her appearances, her constancy, her equipoise and poise…

As it was, I gave in and called her up a few days later…Over dinner, she told me some of her life, and it was the stuff of nails and cement…“I have a little girl, she lives in Placencia on the mainland…with my parents…she’s happy there and my sisters are good to her…I have three sisters, all younger than me…I’m twenty-six…”

I asked her what happened to her husband…“He was really fucked up…(sigh), (big sigh) yeah, he was doin’ the crack, aw shit, he was baaaaad, man…he was so good when I met him, handsome, all the girls after ‘im…ah, fuck, he got so bad…Jason, he was after me from the start in Placencia, dogged me constantly…finally I said yes and we got hooked…he was selling ganja always…smoked it all the time too…but he made a lot of money selling…so we had some, a nice house…then I got pregnant with Jasmin…she was born and even Jason high out of his head couldn’t avoid how incredible this baby was…she just has this smile and this charm…from right out of my stomach….never cries, always looking out for her mama…sometimes she’s mom and I’m the little girl…she’s five now.”

“Jason got more and more involved with these bad guys, drug dealers, they were always coming over to the house at any time, so late, bringing girls and booze…they’d party all night and I was cool…I’d stay upstairs with Jasmin and put a pillow over my head to sleep…I was cool…whatever he did…as long as he brought in money…and then his brother and him bought this island…it was small, but it had a house on it, and it came with a boat…so we moved out there and it was better…but then he got into crack.   One day he didn’t come home…wasn’t ‘till next day that he came back wired, had no sleep, brought some really bad guy and a couple girls…I just stayed upstairs and pretended like it wasn’t happening…I shut it out, you know?   And he just got worse and worse…crack all the time…told him I don’t care what you do just don’t be around the baby…and you don’t touch her when your friends are here…and you can screw all the woman you want, just wear a condom…y’know?   I didn’t care…I had Jasmin and I got to be really independent.   I started taking out my little rowboat and catching lobsters, fishing, to bring in my own money…and I did and I got good at it.   But finally Jason got so bad I just took Jasmin and left…went back to my parents…and then I moved here to makes some money, you know, not much to do in Placencia…plus it’s more fun here in San Pedro…need to find me a man, a real man, cause I’ll make a good wife…won’t complain, won’t hassle, I’ll cook and take care of a man as long as he’s honest…he can fuck all the girls he wants as long as he’s loyal to me and Jasmin…”

- Michael Price

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tiki-Head Gear-Shift

The sunlight
              filtering down thru a
bend in the haze
                              does a rhinestone shimmy
              out on the water that
                                                backpedals to Yokohama

the seabreeze makes a sound like an albatross
hanging from the neck of a harpsicord

              pelicans dive into the pavement
                              & come up w/beaks full of hubcaps

Nothing adds up

                              If it ever does I
                                                might get hauled away from here
              in a day-glo blue velvet Cadillac El Dorado
                                                                w/Eddie Poe behind the wheel
                              & a couple cases of opium-spiked Tecate
                                                                                  in the back seat