PLEASE HELP BLUE PRESS STAY AFLOAT

Monday, December 26, 2011

El Camino Unreal

I could have knelt down & kissed the
broken concrete
steps to the beach.
                              I should have known she’d been there.
The caption would be
a dark motel room.   Her yellow polka-dot kimono
was like a crime scene listening at the window.
                                                I might have driven her there
                              & back.   Or paid for her bus ticket
                              down the eucalyptus alleyway
                                                                into the neon eyes of the sea.

Friday, December 23, 2011

GREEK TO ME by Michael Wolfe


The classical Greek remix that underscores these poems serves as both a reference & a backbeat to the lyric resilience of the poet’s voice.   Time is a measure, as is timelessness, & Michael Wolfe’s wristwatch is also a sundial.   In these verses the light in the dark & the dark in the light create a stunning chiaroscuro, leaving you with the feeling that you’ve returned to a place you’ve never been before.   Get your copy from Blue Press.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Make a list

an ounce of winter sunlight
a black cat bone
palm trees parked beneath halos
a tide book from 1998
a quarter mile slab of pavement from the Pacific Coast Highway
29 tons of beach sand
a wet-suit allegedly blessed by the Pope
The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen
a nine pound sledgehammer
a Marine Band harmonica in C
all the money I never had
the Hollywood sign in braille
a switchblade purchased from Joe Lopez in the playground at
              Saint Monica’s High School in 1974
thin veil of mist suspended above waves peeling over the reef
a dark passage veering off the reverence
something about her eyes when she turns away beneath the
              stuttering neon sky
wet sentences
white knuckles
Mexico City Blues

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I’ll take you with me when I go

Heavy breathing with
irrefutable evidence
                              laid across the ruins where in other sentences
              if truth was beauty it is again
but who will be there when the bell rings?

              Aloha blue highlight reels played in reverse
              on a surface of crushed aluminum & wet sand
              as seen through seaweed & a pair of drugstore sunglasses

got the green flash
got ocean eyes
got the rip tide silhouette tumbling in bronze

                              Waves are heard & felt
                                                                            but here even the concrete
                                                ripples beneath our feet

Monday, December 19, 2011

Going Native

Talk of (California) poets
Jeffers
Bukowski

              Whalen, Snyder, Welch claim a piece of it

The only true poet of California is
Joanne Kyger

(William Everson might have known this
but I never got the chance to talk to him)

A   r   c   h   e   t   y   p   e       W  e   s   t

”There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by
experience.   And then there is California.”

                                                                        ― Edward Abbey

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Alchemist

TOPANGA RED - You remind me of someone I used to know down in Laguna
DUDE THE OBSCURE - It could have been me, my DNA’s all over that place
TOPANGA RED - Somebody must’ve changed your name though
DUDE THE OBSCURE - Those things happen I guess
TOPANGA RED - It doesn’t bother you?
DUDE THE OBSCURE - Naw, I know who I am most of the time
TOPANGA RED - Just a subtle change in phrasing turns everything around doesn’t it?
DUDE THE OBSCURE - Especially if you sing it in Japanese
TOPANGA RED - So you’re just staggering in the dark like an ex-champ in over his head?
DUDE THE OBSCURE - It all comes down to seeing what you’re looking at
TOPANGA RED - You mean hearing what you listen to
DUDE THE OBSCURE - I have lived along the frayed edges of a practiced distraction

Friday, December 16, 2011

I meant to tell you & now I never will

“California is a tragic country - like Palestine,
like every Promised Land.”

                                                          ―Christopher Isherwood

The late afternoon wind comes in off the water
quite possibly bells
                              ringing somewhere
as you & I turn to stagger
                                                back across the sand

& your soul (if it even exists
I couldn’t say if any of us for certain but
something in the air anyway
besides this damp gray compression of sunlight
reaching down to rap its knuckles against the waves

But it’s night now, nearly night
& the invocation is a rocking number
conceptually challenged
the irrevocable left unspoken as contrast
spanning the pure instruments of sunset
on a street that was named for
1000 hungry ghosts

& meanwhile no one knows us
                              or who we might have been
had the sun lingered just a split-
second longer
                                                above the edge of the sea

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Geography of a Neon Fadeaway

If you listen close to Hawaiian slack-key guitar
              you can hear the soft whisper of what could be
a rockslide out at the edge of your neural system
              but is more likely just a wrecked hula girl
scooping out your brains with a table spoon
                              The waves all blown out late in the
              afternoon w/the wind & that
                                                precious blue reflecting
              back off the dark sheet-metal sky

It was summertime & nothing was easy except you
& the Tibetan Book of the Dead way you parted
              your hair. It made me want to barbeque my
surfboard & confess to crimes that hadn’t been
              committed yet. The light that held you was like
lemonade in a can
                                                while the black silk resolve
in your eyes would send me out for wine & road maps
& I’d return w/workgloves
                              & Mexican beer.

I thought I’d get me a tattoo of fog
              the way it looks riding in across the water
& onto the beach
                              the last day of summer
              & you’re standing there beneath it all
                                                with your seaweed & pearls
the sky dark, the pavement still warm

Friday, December 9, 2011

Was you ever bit by a dead jellyfish?

MIRROR SHADES
Not light, not dark, but in between
& proprietary
              just as one thing
leads the other into the next
I gave only that which I could not take
              walking in circles on Front Street near the beach
under the Slowtember sky
                              bleached blonde vato language
& a sea breeze to hear it through
              on either side of your wanting something
whatever the reason
                              will rehearse your eyes against it
all lit up like an Ensenada drug store

BO DIDDLEY’S BEACH PARTY
Versus the relentless chiaroscuro I’ve got a flashlight
              & a lifetime subscription to
                              the sky over Hermosa Beach
Versus the wild pink yonder I’ve got a full-scale replica of the
              Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan
                              lifted from the blood red turquoise
                                                handpainted on the waves
Versus an avalanche of steam-driven guitars
              I’ve got a minute of silence
                              wearing infinite space like a cement kimono
Versus you just sitting there
              waiting for me to say the wrong thing
                              I’ve got another chorus of
                                                Cowgirl in the Sand

PLASTIC FLAMINGO
Aside from the fact
                              or because of it
              the light falling
                                                against the water or the
sand or pavement I thought was
              our self-fulfilled prophecy
left on the beach for the tide to find
the virtue inherent in any vice
                              stumbling like a tear
(silken seas, cold crystal flames)
& the calculated risk her silk & lace describe against the
smooth continuum her skin
                                                                insists upon
                                                to be random & percise
unaffected by exposure even
              as those reclusive inventories
                              in the hollows
              parallel to bent strands of pearl indulgence
snap back into the standard pulsing rhythm none of us understand
or really listen to anymore
& down the street from there
                              her shadow falls like a hammer
                                                but the flickering celluloid sky
                                                                                  ain’t feeling it

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Name of the Rose

There’s nothing there & back again
every darkwater syllable gleaming in the sun
as if the last breath of someone I never knew
Thus did I assume the vestments
                                                air, water, fire
You could see the stain of the martyr emblazoned there
the stigmata & whatever else is left undone
              just follow these damp footsteps
                              (wings too heavy to be of much use)
thumbing the concrete pages of some self-help book
              like the Dhammapada or the New Testament
                              originally written by the women of Thebes
She said she knew the difference
              could recite the tide tables from Genesis to Revelations
& every blood type from rose to rust
                                                drifting out now past the reef
All that silver & jade drizzled in azure mist
an ounce of nightingale versus banjos in the eucalyptus
swept from the pavement
where my brain caves in to Hawaiian music
              like Herman Melville in a grass skirt

Friday, December 2, 2011

(They call the wind) Cholita

Wet sand from here to forever
                      and what’s mistaken for a dark white piece of the sky
                      lots of air the ocean the
Places along the way:               highway wrapping around the coast-
1.   Moby Taco                               line assumes a shape a memory
2.   Desolation Surf Shop                   panoramic & in technicolor
3.   Sunset Liquors                       my dreams are seldom black & white
4.   Brew, Chew & Spew               every footstep, wing-flap, fin-splash
5.   Medicine Man’s Drive-Thru               & a rogue bit of cumulus
6.   Tidewater Auto Body                         strung with piano wire
7.   Tiki Time Hawaiian Burgers
8.   Snug Harbor Gas & Go                       kelp blossom
9.   Pacific Pipe & Forge
                                                                          Beer can
              Their flowers
              kiss death                         (gray pavement, crushed velvet)
              on the eyelids

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Needle Beach

“Out beyond the harbor, where the road runs along the beach,
I even lost the feeling of being on land.   The fog and the sea
seemed part of each other.   It was like walking on the bottom
of the sea.   As if I had drowned long ago.”

              ―Eugene O’Neill, from Long Day’s Journey Into Night

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”
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
a heaving rack of surrender but deliberate as the parable
written in braille on the darkside of her thigh
& even if you can’t remember later
the meaning of its silence feeds the passion of your denial
with the usual consequence & valerian scripture
sustained by the vanity of shadows
that don’t register on the pavement
tipping the beach gate grillwork of sea mist & stone
to approximate the tone buried in whispers