Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the Gears

We were there
on either side of history
as if anyone cared
one way or another
tripped up by
ambitions we never had
losing the same things over
striding & heartshaped & bent diagonal
violet grains of flame (w/all
vaporous tunings

the plumes

certain words, footsteps

that much closer
for all I know
& not much more

squirreled away in the green ruins
of some future we ducked out on
in a past life we can’t even remember

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scuba Walk

Under the banner of nowhere
snapping like nights I left behind
desperation just keeps you
coming back for more
all of it measured out w/an eye-dropper
but love’s ragged
knocking at a door in the sea
a door that never opens
put the words there
swept away as it is continuously
to fall as delicate as a sledgehammer
against the pale plateglass
twilight which then rains down around you
in a million or so jagged pieces
shredding the opulent ocean air

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rolling Out the Cement Carpet

We could sit here & watch the
smoke drift
out over the water
as the waves crash in beneath
it in prophetic
shapes lifted
from Hokusai or Gauguin or
Miles Davis
& a skeleton hand could reach in
to light your
cigarette at just the
wrong moment say when we’re
doing a tango to the blare of
an ambulance siren
or listening in on the voice of
God echoing
in an empty 24 oz. Tecate can
smeared w/lipstick

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Remember the Question

The cormorant knows your name
& there are cities of diaphanous
concrete that have yet to toss their
shadows against your eyes

              fluorescent palisades you
              leap from time & again

                              & the consequences

                              alternate routes to the same conclusion

                                          like music to my eyes

Pale turquoise in the shallows gets
darker the farther out you go

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Laguna Floater

A fish taco versus a bag of cheetos
& some pills

quicksand in a bottle

The Ruins of Time

              (you have to walk backwards
              to get there
speaking the words of a lost psalm
of silence
              mapped out on the milky gray
twilight sky dropping down
                              just outside the reach of these
numb leaves & blossoms
heavy with your own dented vocabulary
              glowing in the dark
                              at least for the time being
& being who we are
              inside this restless indulgence
transforms each tear into blue sky dust
soaked in bleach

Friday, July 25, 2008

Plastic Flamingo

If you listen close to Hawaiian slack-key guitar
you can hear the soft whisper of what could be
a mudslide 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

puts the fear in your black low-top sneaks
* Chuck Taylor All Stars *

              Charles Olson
              Charles Atlas
              Charles Bukowski
              Charlie “Yardbird” Parker
              Charlie Chaplin
              Charley Varrick
              Charles Baudelaire
              Bob Dylan

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

              Adios, farewell, goodbye Rosalita
e.g.        See you later, Henry Miller
              Aloha, Tijuana

I said I’m just having a little fun, mother…

& I kept the harmonica on ice

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reading the Tide Chart w/X-Ray Glassess

What Drifting on a Reed is all about
but with a heart like a flakey cell-phone signal
& a 100 mile detour

All night seeing sun spots & the moon in profile

from E-flat to C-major
from disappointment up, around, down, & back again
with your picture on the cover
& a prayer flag burning on the porch

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Connect the Dots

I was born in a snowstorm
in the tropics
raised in a shotgun
shack on the tideflats
w/all the plastic spoons
a child could ever want

You don’t have to get
lost to be lost, my
mother told me, but I
wasn’t there

The movie rolled on endlessly
all my scenes were improvised
I don’t think there ever was a script

I missed the tsunami by only a few inches
& fell down on my knees inside the
4 walls of passion
w/the windows open
letting the dark seep in

like an amphetamine nosebleed

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Say When

The waves all blown out late in the
day w/the wind & that
              precious blue reflecting
back off the dark
              the surf zombie rolls
                                          across the sand

              Another exercise in planned
              obsolescence as when that big silver
              bird rides the crease in my
              glassy blue eyes & you
              pirouette like moist lips…

                              The sunset’s crystal torch inlay
              backlit w/flimsy pink
                                        rustling (above the beach
                                                                                    like a suicide note
                                                      written in braille

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Handful of Candlelight

A banjo is tuning up on the horizon

a more distant sky
you repair w/a little wire
& duct tape
before you dive right in

the night the tide broke & made you cry

balanced on the edge of a quarter

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Up For Air

I wait on either side of the river
              near the railroad trestle
half the time & half again
                              an egret gives me the
because I know there are only
              a few steps from there
to the beach
& if you keep your eyes peeled for
                              syringes in the sand
you’ll get there
in a snap
              to look out across the
shorebreak its muffled roar
seeming even more diminished
                              this time
& the fog (like me)
out there trying to decide where to go
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Beneath the water there’s more
              that’s about the only thing
I can be sure of right now but
then again I could be

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pearl Dive

Eucalyptus, nasturtium, fern shadow
on the palm lined sidewalk beneath
4½ birds on a wire

abstract Santa Cruz

as w/the unimaginable
taking a turn
a day late

the planet tilted in such a way
felt but endlessly in the mind

The knock-kneed angel of
Lighthouse Point
a black silk afternoon
in her eyes
would send me out
for wine & road maps
& I’d return w/workgloves
& Mexican beer

& falling through her peek-a-boo kimono
I’d tell her everything she
didn’t want to hear

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Long Way From There

Laid bare
what the mind
expects to see
as possible―   approximate starfish
              windy sand drift
                              alternate stones

beach blanket burnout

I don’t expect to
do anything about it

              (sleep, pretend to be awake
briefly, go back to sleep)

moon, cloud

(The Pisan Cantos)

self-conscious palm trees, organic
beer cans, the Painted Desert,
there are doubtless others

A monumental blue segue
                              into absolutely nothing
              w/the TV on all night

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Church Key

Another time I smuggled a truckload of
the obvious into Edge City, soaking up gasoline
beneath a seamless 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.   You had already demolished
a season of sunsets in your eyes & I could feel the
heat of each one sinking beneath the broken
pavement buried in whispers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

36 Chainsmoking Buddhas

I preserve the memory of things that
never happened playing a little surf
harmonica to appease the gods of the sea
on out beyond time, the throne
& respectable sleep

Maybe it was Death that rolled
that bottle under the bed & got me
all woozy thinking about thinking
& whether or not I should slash my
wrists with your aura

Something profound something
HUGE (hidden by the tide
& a 20,000 foot buzz like thirty six
chainsmoking buddhas out on the porch
just before it rained holding forth most

eloquently behind the tiki mask the
moon wears when I’m not looking

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

American Studies

                  for Emily Dickinson

Pick the one who knows white horses
she said
as one might escalate the drizzle
& the bend of Mexico’s coast
towards the nearly sublime
sand & asphalt alleyway
that wanders between the winds
of wolves & men…I woke up speaking
Spanish with a lisp
to the shadow of a French girl
in Hanoi’s red-light district in my mind
I pointed left & walked hard right
there were darker places to go to
I thought, but Cleveland wasn’t
one of them & I ended up
in Pittsburgh where I had a son
& three reasons to stop cleaning my
rifle (plus two more reasons that
I kept secret & a old pick-up
truck I drove all the way to
Jackson, Wyoming in a snowstorm
so white it bent glass into an awkward
silence I never did figure out
how to break

-by Michael Price & Kevin Opstedal

Monday, July 14, 2008

Not Otherwise Dreamed

a fat lip, a bloody nose,
sticky indifferent kisses
made me feel pure for a few
but the art of falling down
was the only thing I could
really do well & I kept my
sunglasses on

Sunday, July 13, 2008


It feels as though my brain has liquified & is sloshing up against the inside of my skull.   People pay good money to feel like this & here I am getting it for free.   This morning’s all about the fog & thin drizzle, drin thizzle, damp & eternal-like.   I can step between the rain drops if I shut my eyes & think about something else, but it’s a long way from here to there, & I can’t find my shoes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fool Me Twice

You might think velvet w/a silver lining
falling down stairs (didn’t spill a drop)
a long tunnel out from when impossible
hydraulic palm trees in the empty parking lot
inoculate a feather of drifting fog
just now starts to dissolve
The sea-breeze strumming the wires
No real choice but what darkens the blood
seven miles from the vague notion that
there ought to be twenty one steps from
here to the beach (there are 32) & nothing
follows you across the wet pavement
except a few rogue rain-drops & the
Lankavatara Sutra like a chainsaw throbbing
in the ridge-bone above your left eye
& whatever else was stashed among
the needles & pearls that define this
early morning ocean light

Friday, July 11, 2008

Let It Go

Not quite voices
in the street in the dark
near dark

All Souls (in halftone)
made me want to hide my
sunglasses & invade Cuba

I’m feeling the pressure
in my veins & I’m cutting notches in
my arm to keep track

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bonzo Boulevard

The morning edition is
light filtered thru fog-
mist from far out at sea

Blank City beach
(a special kind of emptiness they
ship it in from I assume Mars)

seagull liftoff

I might not see my shadow on the
sand there
later in a blue dust of haze

ear bone, brain bone, thin juice bone

all of it clear darkwater turquoise
w/aloha pipes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thicker Than Water

’56 Chevy
The glory of the past is what
pushes against the future―
rust then in the mythic sense
speaks for itself

Here you are now in the
fog dark morning
Wherever you’re going
when you get there
(as it is all blue all silver
& orange) in someone
else’s shoes

What It Felt Like
A return to that
the nature of which
is essentially

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 49)

At exactly 12 midnight I put on the headphones and climbed back into Lotus with “Redemption Song” cued up and rolling, for on one of our majestic 3 nights together Ramona had, in a gratuitous move of skill and nerve, gone up to Bareleg Rummy, the Fido’s B talent entertainer and asked him to play a song for Michael, and then returning to my confused look she took me in an embrace to the dance floor which was eerily clear, and Rummy started in on a beautiful and surprising rendition of Marley’s most internal song, really along with Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” and Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” one of the GREATEST lyrics ever penned, and Ramona and I just locked time space and deliverance into our mulatto press...I couldn’t believe she was telling me this would be our song because this song had been my song ever since I listened to it three or four times in a row in the back of a car headed from San Diego to Huntington Beach with an angry couple up front driving my then girlfriend and I back home after a double date night out that turned ugly when the babes in both of them turned selfish and pouty and then erupted in class-action screaming right in the middle of a club making us all run for cover... the guy kept playing Redemption Song over and over in some mad pique of genius cause it put me in a darling cocoon in the back seat and somehow eased him and shut up my girlfriend’s obnoxious royal maintenance this song stayed with me for the ten-year interim and became almost a maritime soundtrack in my heart and which also had been played over and over since my arrival in Belize not only by me but by most the locals was a kind of adopted soul anthem...

So I was awestruck with that eerie feeling of things, too many things to be coincidence, things being somehow contained, fated, so that you’re left in the arms of some goddess on the middle of an empty dance floor under a palapa roof in sweet air bath night, “won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom, it’s all I ever had...” and the ego lays down its hammer, the last nail having been driven straight through the heart...

That’s where I was then, and it’s where I was midnight Christmas day... Regardless, I cried.   I cried and cried and cried.   Maybe I would lose my melancholy if I stuck my head in a fast-moving automobile...but this wasn’t melancholy rather it was triste, something that just falls out of the sky when the sun touches you...attached to your vision even when your god rides off on a bicycle or pisses on the wall with utter’re left with your triste like a sun spot, fouling the reception of signals from the muse...Here in Belize I was to test my moral resistance against beautiful women, the vamped foe of writer and poet alike...

And all the while the task of both is to keep the terrific alive, to live always in the various, to make the terrific even more terrific, to pledge idealism to nothing but live only terrifically, think only terrifically, die terrifically...the seed only of the terrific need be tilled and nurtured...women can be varying and frequent degrees of terrific, but terrifyingly so...

-Michael Price

Memory Burn

Beneath the coastal fog
drab recombinant DNA
a radio situation

“tune in, shut down”

what it was to   /   is   /   past the
“dream these things twice”
Birth of a Fuck-Up wouldn’t
no doubt wonder why

a spoonful of regret
w/a rocking beachbreak
left you standing in the parking lot
like a jerk
against the corrugated sunset

Monday, July 7, 2008

Endless Nada

Crossing the last street
tipping shadows in your wake
the other end of dreams
wings of pelicans feathering the surf
like goddamn phantoms of angels
crashing the beach gate grillwork of
sea mist, sand & kelp

wet sand

packed like pearls
smuggled in from submarine realms
of rust & ruin
Andalusian hypodermic needles
broken bottles, coral blossoms & stone
where we never set foot
but linger a while

within these calculations
set to winged reflection

lair of the white powder

as a downwind palm tree
darker than pressed rose-petal headphones
skates the drop edge of yr heart

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blonde Chainsaw Libretto

                                        for Leweye

The streetwise tenor
bends your heart
two ways in the waning
belief that things still
rattle in the heat of
moon-blend architecture

A shaft of Mars light
hits the spitted walkway
unrolling before you
alias anything you please
naked stone dancing into sand
like a well-lit tractor

threaded w/lotus blossoms
around the neck of the one
that got away even after
she said she didn’t

-by Michael Price & Kevin Opstedal

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where You Been

                  for Pamela, again & again

Some day we’ll count our blessings
that is
when we have any
we’ll count them
in the water-barrage of born again tin-types
or midnight raffle chicken countdowns

Strange shoes for a sandy day
& a handlettered telescope
doesn’t say much beyond the oblivious

The octopus has three hearts that
leak out through its manifold
& set fire to the seaweed

I’ve seen it but I don’t want to talk about it

In the bump & grind of the shorebreak
we’re all food for other fish

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Flying the
flag of our fathers

red white blue
& shit-stained

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 48)

Sketch January Belize

Main street one street front street Fido’s with palm trees sky behind color wheel breeze Women the greatest smiles the Look, twice, thrice, and two three young mid old women the kindest smiles you ever saw Sand paved one-way tight three quarter leg pants No hesitation Sun or Breeze of Grey cloud...Oh bring me back to the tight ear line Belizian Sirens!   Town square, white catholic church always out of place brick courtyard on corner phone booth till late lone girls calling out their boys and then the row of vendors selling everything from jewels to oranges to hot affairs, stray dogs circling, golf carts, a truck, a bigger truck, screams and runnings of kiddies, five bikini girl touristas, like atoms colliding from all directions and I walking through it unnoticed and scarce...

This was how I occupied my days, those when I wasn’t out on the Godly sea doing Scuba with my mother and the guys, I spent laconic afternoons on the beach street recording my thoughts and pithy observations while sipping a Coca-Cola or sometimes a Belikan depending on how the sun was hitting...there just wasn’t a whole lot to occupy one’s time on the tropic isle, no movie theater, no mountains to climb, gone were my allies, my ancestral mountains which could ease the mind and prevent boredom by their rock-edge and snow green opulence, no pinion pines, mesquite, alligator juniper, cat-claw mimosa, lechuga or mountain and banana yucca...just sand lonely streets, stray mutts, copious sun yellow pure and bald blue rooftop...such nakedness at times felt more terrifying than the furious business of the cities like gay San Francisco where I was allegedly killed on a dozen occasions...and my only pals were drinking pals Hamid and Jesus who I only saw at night and usually while drinking...and despite the occasional bike ride or walk with my mother, I was on my own in clean edge imagination and all I could think about was Ramona...

This was proving me an unreliable, even a nervous and slipshod interpreter of the strophs and antistrophes of vacation observation...I could think only of random field screws, boat-travel Odyssean love, cabin or bungalow life...and Ramona’s blythe form haunting it all... Oh but my whinings in the meditation tears in lotus, my mute dark sometimes zombic walkarounds...and all of this while I was supposedly happy and wonderfully in love: “The clarity and beauty is immense right now 9:07 am Tears Libre...”—Christmas eve...I had an erection in the middle of the night and felt relieved...yesterday was full of great moments full of clarity and love for Ramona...remembered halfway thru her words “don’t forget that I love you” and I realized in a samadhic moment that it was the Sage, My Guru, the Universe that loved me and tears filled my eyes like joy pools...

Just that far gone

                    for Miguel Price

We could sit in the
meditation end of your vintage
Airstream International
& watch Glengarry GlenRoss
at 1 AM drinking warm beer
while conversing in rhyme
but we’ve already done that

I could show you how I snare
words from the thin shake & bake air
like the time I rode a tsunami from
Santa Cruz to Denver
wearing a pith helmet
on a 50 foot Yater spoon

to find you sweating over a humming
Smith-Corona Electra
behind an ever growing wall of books
with squirrels sleeping in the
swampwater air-cooler

right where Joanna left them

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

For Anselm, Jane & the Shape-Shifters in the Backyard

“The Poems” done buckled under
a line of coke
              that wasn’t there
we had other fish to burn
                              & imitation basmati rice
a medium mushroom jail cell
              we shall escape from
                              in time

Diesel heat in Colorado
              but already skating my way back to
California in my head
                              carrying along with me
Crime School, The Bhagavad Gita,
Aloha Blues

& a little leftover Ezra Poundcake

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

At The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, Colorado 6/29/08

Jeff Chester's Curse

Our courage breaks
      in a black wind & dies
on Pearl Street
      I thought of ears that were
shell-like & deaf as
      flagstones piled high as thunder
in a bowl of tortilla soup

When the little girls go
      grass-green hollow
beneath their tattoos
      it makes you want to
rewrite the Upanishads
      under a burning bridge
on the only road
      out of here