Tuesday, September 30, 2008

El Camino Motel

                              for Pamela

Didn’t matter that the midnight
breeze had a Roy Orbison accent

              that the rape & murder van parked out
              back would still be there at sunrise
                              the windows fogged on the inside

nevermind the deliberate seawater
(as color & texture) circled by thirst
              as I guess anything versus the consequence

trancelike steeped in heavy breathing

just as the wind slid past the royal palm

                              a dark green occasion that left holes
in the air & drizzled the room with whispers that
crushed your lips

Monday, September 29, 2008

Anywhere Near

Under a second hand grapefruit sky
dropping the nickle into the side pocket
opens the neon window
              I’m not sure but that cement clouds
              don’t crumble like my
              nicotine deprived neurology
                              a wall of Chinese diplomats
                                                & the Three Graces like a trio of
                              out-of-work exotic dancers

I can’t tell you why the music’s so bad

              landslide train wreck torpedo run
the waves detonate on the reef like
                                                    plus kettle drums, trumpets
                              & scrapmetal castanets
                                                                palm trees all strung w/piano wire
              & adhesive tape

                              against the mist
                                                                you bend to fit
                                                waltzing w/the kelp

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Elective Hostilities

The illusion chooses
John Wayne’s fuck you swagger
into the dust
                              There’s a reason for everything
in a random kind of way
              down at central casting
                                                anything but
                              flapping around out there
                                                                Everything lost
                                                or found
              steering the blue sky toward the decoy
                              & the idea behind it
                                                changing from one minute
              to the next
                              a kind of roll-yr-own addiction
              from which these inventories of
                                                beach hardware
                              rattle in the haze

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sticker Shock

Know your
enemies as you
know yourself

seems like a humungous waste of time

“know thyself” is pretty cool but how will you
ever know for sure?
It’s all anyone can do to keep their
name off the menu

You can always move to California
learn to zone-out on a Spare the Air Day
flip a coin & call the darkside
circumstantial death doing a Joe Cocker imitation
out at the far reaches of yourself
zonked on a dime bag of Drāno
as you accept the Sylvia Plath Tasty Bake Oven Award

“ker-plunk” makes a hell of a lot of sense
no matter what you think you know

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 58)

Together we were criminal and victim holding the purse between us, pulling with great starvation until finally the strap broke, the friction ceased, the adrenaline overcame the chemistry and the break was final—I was inside her and she had me locked.   The worm was inside the barrel of fresh red apples.   We were actually signing a five year deal at last from the negotiating table—the bed being the oldest of negotiating tables—think King Arthur, Henry the 8th, Cleopatra—and straight to the inking…incarnate, somewhat groping for a truth and all this magical finality!   But, I must say, what startles me even today, as I go back and to this, for the life of me there was then not a thing remarkable about our consummation, in fact it was extreme in the ordinary and I felt no particular lifting, no elevation of thought or feeling and I wish it had felt more like having jaundice or tick-fever…at least more immediate and therefore more gratifying—in some peculiar way I had dedicated myself to the job of immortalizing Ramona, to bring her to a new poetic Elysian pitch of feeling, perhaps appearance—that I could somehow replicate her physical beauty with one of emotion, a noumenon based on visions and dreams that come into us without the aid of a nose or an ear or the peepers and certainly not on the tongue where we were creating something quite different, something akin to a flesh fire via the french kiss, an alchemy replaced by physics, alchemy like poetry in which the writings tend to be obscure and difficult to understand—this too was hard to understand, given the buildup, that sex would be so anti-climactic—and with the end, a pull-out orgasm upon her stomach and hardly the hint of one for her—and all sensation had left me.

I felt like sixty fistfights.   We were drunk...we had come so far and gone nowhere and in coming found that somewhere we were now not going anywhere...I was nothing more than a runaway Frisco dud discovering for the first time that poets are running out of things to overhear and master-write...experience was becoming the ten-second buzz...hence the lack of spiritus in the sexus...there was nothing to do but drift off into the inky sickness of a rich, too rich’s said that generosity is the giving up of your demands & the criteria of your demands...and here I was demanding “love” was moving with the same speed and drive as any hatred I could think of, mine or otherwise...something appeared to be wrong in this but I was too necessary being evil and recovering from break-open heart to see it with much aplomb...a bed, the woman, a boozy haze, cigarette taste everywhere, and the poet riding atop his great demands...there was slippage and here I guess it meant sleep...self-deception needs the idea of evaluation and a very long memory...

Ramona was gone the next day.   She had a running lie going to Lionel that put her by herself on Key Caulker and that half-truth had a shelf life that was up...she was gone on the 9 o’clock ferry and with her went the soundtrack...I was noticeably blank and what passed for thoughts went something like this: vajra, kundalini, turkey-neck, naka, fear of loser, breath, and dirty mind always...This second goodbye ushered in a period of two-weeks where nothing happened.   The blasting furnace of new ideas and beauties was still...I was simply “hooked” into the machinery of romantic love...some dumb and caustic tale that I blithely took notes upon margin-like...Ramona and I passed emails back and forth and continued to plan on her leaving Belize en-route to Ecuador—Guayaquil capital city home and fantasy port-town where we could be together on something way south of a timeline & there would only be getting to know her beautiful mother in the academic twilight some Sundays and Saturdays where for the first time in my life I would’ve traveled to a far-off place alone on my own lyric journey to be with everyman’s siren fueled on naphtha and Latin hip energy...that was what kept my days like prison-slashes on a cell wall, and in between great dives into the ocean with my mother and the boys, I kept Ramona alive...underwater, like outer space, could be opium, could locate your mind, its nowhere-ness, not the brain storing memory but the heart, breathing compressed air and drifting along currents and ocean crayon-box colors of fish and coral, unreal moonscapes and bubbling life in every glance, Morey eels snaking and curling in a current, retreating on our approach, a nurse shark kindly laying on the floor of mother ocean and like a monk, allowing one of the dive masters to pull him in and roll him over like a dog, stroking the grey belly and beckoning us all near for a turn at it…the constant small truant school of yellow-fins that followed us for the entire dive hoping to grab some of the chum carried by the guys to attract barracudas and large groupers of twisted grown swirl sides that taste beautiful—the grouper—a fine fish to eat as I would find out in a few days...I could feel myself glowing underwater with a blue contract being written out of this break from my old turnabout city married life, this blue oral promise between the sea and me that was only possible because I was literally being re-born in a vast new chamber with both mothers there to guide and protect...

-Michael Price

Sunnylyn Thibodeaux/Patrick Dunagan Reading on Sept. 30 in SF

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rolling Tide Retread

a Godzilla versus Ecclesiastes kind of a day
                              phantom tears in the
              mirror-image eucalyptus
                                                gravel in the tequila for

Iron Man, Ahab, John Donne,
Mustang Sally, &c
                              ―a Tarzan meets Predator situation
with a four barrel carburetor,
              flowmaster, dual glas-paks,
the left hand of God,
                              & a bent moon

There are lights on the pier the
              exact color of a 40 oz bottle of pacific steel

These are the days of magic fire-wheel-type
                              shaped like a sealion cigarette
              set against an apple-red sunburned horizon
                                                you can trip & fall over
                                                                if you’re not careful

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Retrograde Luau Blues

a, b, c (resistance is the purest form of
Morphine I thought would be a wonderful
way to stop smoking
but then the weather gets so heavy it’s
like Santa Harmonica at high noon…

Anyone can play ping-pong with memory
what I want is your hula hoop halo
& the promise of a delicate angel
w/clipped wings
washing her panties in the bathroom sink

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wrapped in Cellophane

Pump-driven shorebirds
exfoliate the breeze that taps the pavement
perched on the shoulder of California.
The flags flown, the motor cooled, the bad
haircut following you past the metaphysical
cantina with that linoleum aura.
Canned musica & piss beer & a history
of slow death seeping into your sneakers.
You are past pretending that a chunk of silence
could fill a swimming pool with sand
beneath a twilight spun from gold threads of nothing
with the moon wearing a tiki mask
catching that grilled glass ripple off the tide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Almost There

The sky
bends to drape the pearl
ink of yet another
lost summer
                              & it’s not just the angle of the sunlight
but the dusty feeling in your heart

rusted-out pieces of metal
twisted into seashapes
dragging along a 12-ton abstract longing

the abandoned porticoes of retrospect

ashes & palm trees

peroxide tar-pit mouthwash
for those too wasted to do anything but

Monday, September 22, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 57)

Back in Fido’s bar at midday it all didn’t seem to matter too much...she had that crazy momentum of being twenty and ravishing with a bad nicotine habit but the body of a supermodel and an ease in keeping it that way...and because what happened over the next twenty four hours was just more of the usual I won’t bother to waste words...we couldn’t bed together till the following night, which was going along like any given guess, and that’s precisely when we decided to leave the bar and take a walk down the beach…a starry night, moon sliced and we walked out on a lone pier that went at least 100 yards off-shore...chosen for just that reason...most of the piers had their boats or small buildings and were either gated or occupied but this one was empty...We sauntered out in the Jesuit manner, careful to escape notice yet full of ourselves and our mission—

The planks of the pier were old and grey and loyal to the sun and the salt water fading by the former and soaking up the latter—our clops upon them both sententious and age-worthy, hers delicate and shilly-shally and mine sore of purpose—and sure we reached the end and laid our bodies down to peer up from that pier at the stars and the moon and the dark pitch steeling with Bodhimind’s vast action—we were happy & alone—and to my delight the mechanics of the loins were operational as was my predilection to show Ramona, which I did to her embarrassment—so I chose to leave it all where it stood.   It was standing.   ALL WAS STANDING.   OUTSTANDING.   Some say I was like a proven pony pump.   The problem may have been a function of time as I stood there bedazzled above the matron of Night honor, but no clock halt decrease in blood flow along and in my trainful-of-heroes cock would have me—not a minute of hesitation and I was over-confidently down between her legs abandoning all repartee and smiling through her walls and lapping vaingloriously at the seam in time feigning to be desperately in love, opening my eyes enough to see her head more akin to her chin jutting up in the air at the point of leaving, leaving behind all hang-ups, missteps and strap-ons...leaving her body for a moment only to be brought back in wonderment to the question at hand, the question of my staff of life and whether it was flying its red flag and believe me when she pulled me up by my ears to her mouth where I was greeted by that lovely tongue in my esophagus I could feel the hardness, the bold and vital firm repose of my cockateel and she reached down in the spirit of cooperation and gave it a couple honks before guiding it slowly to the intimate Ramona Santiago de Castilla...

-Michael Price

Light shreds itself

Everything here
is tilted down toward the beach

        parking lots, pyronauts, rockslides,
        mermaids, mariachis, telephone
        poles, shape-shifters, dogs,
        dope fiends, seagulls & surf zombies

“I go there for the music”

piano tuning up in a tidepool

              guitars strung w/seaweed

drums buried in the sand
(only to further the
                              variegated complications

the surface of all I see
lit up from inside

the derivative haze

a watery page in the Bible of Whomp

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chasing Shadows

A fish called Earle
actually he’s a cat with the coloring
& disposition
of a seagull
swirling around the sky
of the kitchen floor

so Lefty (the other cat)
slaps him upside the head

This is a simple algorithm
played out when parallel
universes intersect

The dog sleeps through it

I open another beer

two & a half sets of eyes
watching me watching them

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sea Tone

Armed with a 12er of premeditated Mexican beer

this night drops like a lead pelican

across the time & distance that annoits us all

in spirit if not blood

sipping the blank stare that will outlast our

wingless flight

into the iron teeth of the surf

Friday, September 19, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 56)

Ramona hadn’t gotten any less spectacular—a mouthful of bared teeth smiling—Michael, como estas?? look good...
I had her in my arms off the ground
—cuando tu lloves?   (When did you arrive?)   What a surprise and que estás haciendo?   Cuantos días estás aquí?   The spanglish was pouring out of me, our lips were finding a public meeting and between us too was the return of that natural excess of energy that went into fucking or art, like an ode to fucking by my brother in lyric Macky Plume that genius oh did I want to be fucking and hearing the beautiful ode traveling the venice canals of my outer ear enroute to the inner seven times restored exilir
—I...—she tailed off in embarrassment of not being able to speak the English in such a state and turned to Kitty who answered “she got here a couple hours ago and is staying a couple days”
--Fantastico, Ramona este es bonita!   Que estás haciendo ahora?   Can we go eat?   Drink?   Bebidas?
--Sí, sí, vamanos al cantina, mi amor...   The purr, the purr...When I think of the Hindenbergian efforts my youth entailed dreaming up a woman like this one in my arms...
I thought of something my dad had said to me long ago when eminent nuclear war was bothering me... he said “Sometimes it is necessary to get in the Dragon’s pool and the Tiger’s lair...”   He also said, “ah, the Russians couldn’t knock a sick whore off a piss pot, so don’t you worry too much...”

But drinks already?   Sure, act in the world of danger with fine sensibilities, never take your eyemind off the focus of correct and compassionate action...sure, consume the poisons but keep the antidotes of sense and faith nearby...walk the edge of a long picket sword, remain in the sights of the sniper but remain aware, aware of Ramona’s archetype trouble, that pretty girls make graves—that above all else—refine the mind and await the time...for it is said that when difficulty is entered into with delight one forgets one’s death...and that is what we are all running around in circles from...silly death...the blackest of cocktails, the black Russian, the Dark and Stormy, tar, bile, night, suicide...refine the mind and await the time...regain your camel...

-Michael Price

Maybe Ocean Street

painted luminous by seastones
& candlelight
                              some deep transparent green
              shadow that claims
                                                the serrated idea
                              of another junkie sunset
              along the edge of the sand
                                                & silver foam
bleached blonde vato language
              & a sea breeze to hear it through
mists of Golgotha all Santa Cruzed & dim
                              will rehearse your eyes against it
impenetrable as the movie version
                                                now playing at the Deepsea Drive-In

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Surface Impression

On either side of your wanting
something (like a book of matches
in a pyro’s dream

              whatever the reason

                              motor noises, wing flap, wind
              in the eucalyptus cathedral
                                                as one would be compelled to
                              identify a piece of music

when otherwise brained by the
ocean fog which is a fate spelled
              in the tattoo on yr ankle

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 55)

It was the next day I when I wandered home from a morning jaunt into town for a breakfast from Estelle’s that my mother told me Ramona had called from Kitty’s house and was looking for me...of course it had been almost a month of broken and time-running-out on the phone card calls from her, in between her excuses for being holed up (no money, dependent on Lionel for food, housing, and pocket cash)-- she was plaintively missing me and trying to figure out when she was flying back to Ecuador, where we had formulated I would rendezvous as soon as she could debrief her mother and figure out a place for me to rent...she kept telling me there was a problem with her boleta (ticket), that the aeroplane was full, (lleno), and I couldn’t get what exactly she was trying to say but felt certain that she wasn’t doing everything she could to make her escape...and then did it dawn on me that I was dealing with A BEAUTIFUL AND VAIN TWENTY YEAR OLD? Wasn’t I no more than an astringent string-instrumented troubadour roaming downtown San Pedro high on his image of visiting geisha houses and soporifical extras... always marveling at the way she brought all heads to attention, my Ramona, who had arrived unannounced and with surprise and was sweetly trying to find me, ostensibly to “get naked” and finish the dream of horses and consummation that had eluded us packed as we were in our malfunctioning demimonde, coming on the heels of bisexuality and immaturity good bad or middling sardine can days we had in late December

I ran out of the house as fast I could going in the direction of Kitty’s front street 200 square foot store at the end of the block not far from the Victorian Blue library of donated used and worn books from travelogues and departing tourists...I knew that Ramona would be there because Kitty spent almost all her days in that store selling trinks and wares from mainland Guatemala and Honduras, pots, rungs, hammocks, idols, beads, paintings, coffee, raiments, fissure glue, rain sticks, meat-stags, fan enjoyments and lampshades or sashes...Kitty had a little business that I suspected was funded by her mother who had been quite successful in her field—herbs and traditional healing & medicines—but no matter cause Kitty spoke fluent Creole, the combo native tongue—having gone to school in Belize since she was small…I often watched when unsuspecting hitters-on-her watched dumfounded as she conversed with a local in what amounted to jive hip spanglish...From a short haired bleach blonde Angel face came the tough sound of a vato language catching the big chief—man it was cool—

Ramona would go there because the two of them had met during the Hurricane that was Keith, Ramona vacationing with Lionel and forced to stay put while he traveled back to the mainland and her and Kitty meet and become instant friends, and made fellowship not chaos, out of chaos really to make something lovely out of flying wind and rain and some degree of terror, six feet of rising waters holed up with Hassan’s family’s condo, actually the first meeting really of Al and Kitty and their ensuing silly romance of bad communication and jealous minds...I laugh thinking of Ramona trapped inside a natural disaster, unable to take in her dosage of sun--water she would not want to take in more than a pint in two days, instead would drink various juices, coffee, and cocktails paired with twenty two cigarettes per 3 hours...TV on constantly but not on the news but MTV where she could keep abreast not of the hurricane’s approach but of the newest clothes in the Lenny K video...I keep saying to myself, “Do you have defensible space?” and thinking not only of natural disaster but of my own mental space of dreams beauty, this very thing I was running towards down my good beach, surrounded by useful desperation for even a lean bull has it in him to rage around...and I was thinking of Ramona in a hurricane and inside that condo she lived in a world of common presence, one of mundane survival replete with suffering and fear...what we were in now was a world of expedient release, where gateway Amor and everything but the sense of smell was sweet and promised detonators, ready to discharge the tropic unguents of female presents...and I knew that we would not make it to the queer world of true reward, where it would simply work for us to live, work, and copulate freely, grow old, and die with a bliss unknown to sell-out mankind...A new, attractive idea if I’d ever had one...

Two doors away I sensed her presence and it was then that her tan self was half-angled out the door looking the opposite direction towards the library and I accelerated my already unreachable reach and made the ten feet in no time at all, and she turned east into my southern ambling and the enfilado was complete, Ramona and I were back wrapped in arms and sweet lippy locked in a thirty foot valley of ether recognition and breaking days....At that moment I was aware of Auturo Bandini’s proclamation “Tonight, the women die.   This is the hour of decision. The time has come.   My destiny is clear before me. It is death, death, death for the women tonight.   I have spoken.”

What I was thinking was tonight we copulate, tonight we bury the chainsaw, tonight with my working organs & her working organs and some kind of willing suspension of the corporate model for regaining one’s camels, for quietly Ramona and I would regain our camels and sleep, sleep in the world of silent light...

-Michael Price

Open Water

The wound of a kind of silence
the homage

folded across the green beach ghetto

muffled voices

against the blood (a hesitation
as if the means of justification pledge
something other than these simulated
faces (I’m walking in circles on Front
Street near the

under the Slowtember sky

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Source Medium Detail

You rewind the
mystery of where we
pretend to go just as one thing
leads the other into the next

beneath yr bullet-proof negligee

where stars fall like pills
into a glass of Mexican amber
burnt offerings to the Ace of

I saw myself in another language
the unconscious effort
& darker than several radiant

slow numbers reserved for the
benediction & processional
live streaming video
from beneath the waves

Monday, September 15, 2008

Parts of Whatever

Inside a perpetual narrative
swept away by the tide
down the street & around the corner

Your seaweed bracelet, my fog-lined coat

The air sliced by pelican wings
(a ring of breath is all that’s left

footprints in the smog

sunset all blood-red pink & liturgical in the cypress

a sip of smoke, a darkwater oath

I gave only that which I could not take

& rinsed myself in the tender distortion
of parking lots near the sea

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 54)

So I says---Rafe, is the asshole a self-cleaning organ?
This question knocked him back a foot or so from my already invaded personal 2 feet—HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I never thought about it man...HAHAHAHAHAHA...and those the fakest of HAHA’s, loud, I mean loud so that everyone turned and I felt stupid for asking but then again Rafe was proof to my belief that no, the asshole was not self-cleaning...otherwise he would have stopped getting himself all over himself and everyone around him years ago...ah man it was like waiting to watch your own funeral...what Rafe needed was to get in touch with the auditor of the auditor of his poor heart, ask a few leading questions and then get down to the business of clearing out the files, starting with the folder labeled “goatee”...
--Hey, I’m thinking of traveling in Guatemala, moving around a little, seeing some ruins, some sights, you know, man...
Was Ramona in Guatemala at the house of Lionel’s parents?   Would I see the sometimes seen touch of green when the sun drops into the ocean?   I could certainly see it, see it both as a chance to hone my Spanish and to gain some miles for my tender neophyte self who’d never been further than where I was standing at that moment, which was really an existence between a sleep and a sleep, in a semi-comatose state watching the parade of the word and the cross...
---yeah that sounds like it could be a good know this girl I told you about (I had filled him in on Ramona for kicks) is living on the mainland and she may be in Guatemala right now for the, my friend, (those first crude feelings of friendship) t’would be good for me to get myself out into the coffee flats of the Unknown to see a little beyond mall-america and the good ole popular republic of Boulder...and I can practice my Español with you—where will we stay?
--You can find places for dirt cheap, man, could live with a family and teach English to the kids, get meals, have a real experience, man, you know?
--Yeah, I says, it sounds great...
I gave this tall order to Rafe because I liked the idea enough but knew that too much time alone with him could jeopardize the four immeasurables—love, compassion, joy & equanimity—and leave me dreadful and strange even to, better to stay amongst my kith and kin, work my sliding effect strut along white sand beaches with friendly passersbys and the tangibles of knowledge and beauty like a painting...and the breeze in Belize had an x-ray quality to it, its constant wearing away of armor until raw selves take home cool refreshment from the land of sky blue waters...Rafe would wear down other resistances, other ego imperfections but I was no Bodhisattva yet and those would’ve proven too much to deal with in a useful way...Ah, I sing my line in falsetto!   However I managed to get free of Rafe was how I was beginning to see that belly philosophers and their like hedonists were looking for avoidance of pain through pleasure—seeking and in his naturo-ballistic way, Rafe was only interested in doing the same thing, for however much he talked of “being down” with Eastern philosophy or religion, he was only interested in so far as to how much “interested” could bring him in terms of goods or pleasures...just like overeating is a form of stealing...

I was leaning on better and better odds mostly because I was playing outside their reach anymore, where betting on better or worse wasn’t part of the schemata, rather a GRACE...dismantling illusions, delusions, contusions, profusions, attachments, fears, sorrows, opinions, desires, hopes, expectations—yes that area of grace was one I was keenly more aware of...not Art, tho I live it, Art has no existence as veracity, as truth...rather it’s an expression of the beauty of suffering and suffering is still well within the realm of the aggregates, the pushers, the fakers, the dying...I am beginning to want out while being capable of being joyous ‘in’ everything—out of trouble, out of relationship, out of [the fear of] danger, out of context, out of touch, out of reach, out and out entirely while remaining “in” in the wisest alchemical sense, hard to explain, but BE those concepts so there are no longer concepts!   Kill Concipere!   Get this—‘concept’ is nothing more than birth and birth leads to death [FEAR] without birth there is not death—to be outside of birth and death—conceit!   But how?   Can this be?   Without birth no consciousness.   No.   One can get beyond being born and dying.   One can be the Arhat but better to wax Bodhisattva, help all reach nirvana—gloriously...

-Michael Price

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nothing Left to Die

The gravel truck you drove thru my
dreams last night
              along w/the not quite brutal
light that nailed the angel fish
& the 6 packs & binoculars
rooted in static

                              tuned to shoreline
reprisals where water & sand fill in any
gaps in your attention
lulls the ethereal merchandise
              I left in the dark for fingers to find
& learn the impalpable
                              minus the silver lining

a more formal poverty
to exhaust the delicate narcotic
of our perforated resolve

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stereo Bailout

              I would confess to
                              signature distractions
              in jade & cloudy
                              agate pebbles

                                                breath in seven languages

              & 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
would have me dive from the balcony of a
Cadillac into a spoonful of wet

Friday, September 12, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 53)

So Rafe could speak almost fluent Spanish and he was using it with everyone and whenever he could...and I, half-tongued from raunchy thought Spanish teachers in high-school, tried to ebb the brain peristalsis come on from that new language panic of new place new face syndrome...same as trying to talk to Ramona for most of my words get their real meaning in poetry and the stout twine of my dad’s voice--how mine now sounded like his in my ears --crest-fallen, egregious, and thin but more than that, the feeling of slippage when you’re in a dog town small talk bender with a bore, and you’re thinking the end of the world, 1997 but it seems song is nothing but slippage but it’s that sinking and helio-tropic tractor-beam lock of a dud hounding your sensibilities away from verisimilitude and somewhere towards mass production and false flatteries...

As I looked around there were people lined up getting familiar, to themselves and to me, and my eyes rolled over them like a glissando, a slide by each guffaw and cherry bomb outburst, many a soak-sheet drinking game and pick-up in progress…Rafe talks to me in his affected “hey brother”; “that’s cool” kind of way making everything he hears or reacts to “cool” which makes it not cool, makes it banal, makes it a waste of words to bother...and Rafe he’s a traveler, one of the ilk who follow Dead shows, who ‘splay their wares, kick the cloth rock and do LSD...he’s been to Seattle, Santa Barbara, Tuscon, Vermont, DC, Portland—rock and gear shows, crafts fairs, art marts, a super brigand of left super economy, like Renaissance Fairs and Dungeons & Dragons—Ah, Spiritual Irritation! Raph’s seen the hustle in money, the disadvantage of night, the over-under of his next score—Raph was running on and I was fading—but he did get on a subject I was happy to consider…he was already being bounced around in his efforts to find lodging that he could either work for or trade for...Peggy’s Hi Lo Hotel, owned by the Texan sisters, couldn’t run him and his insufferable mouth out of there fast enough…I knew he would be angling to find out if he could stay at my mom’s house, could feel it coming like headache in march, so I went further ahead to cut him off at the humid pass, telling him—my mom thrilled to be living completely alone now that she’s the joy of unruffled mind and unemcumbered by marriage license...on her own, Rafe, and man is she beaming with joy in her own house...
--so she wouldn’t be cool with someone living there?
The Fucker.   This quick dentist of the soul.   Atrium hanger.   Mute in a sunbeam.   Dirty mote...
--Naw, see thing is she doesn’t take well to a stranger’s Rafe, and I don’t know it’s really none of my business...her house you know and I’m squatting myself and with no ceilings and the noises humans are apt to make in the bowers...lime trees, prisons, you know what I mean?
--that’s cool, man...I understand how it is...

-Michael Price

Prelude to Subterranea

Yeah the water’s cold
              & it’s deep too
& I’m down there right now
                              doing the stomp
              beneath the rippling shade of
the kelp & the waves
that take me back

              & down the street from there
                              the hammer falls, the drum
              beneath the pavement, the
                                                tropics in blue
                              just when you stumble
                                                                & the fog lifts
                              & the wires that hold you
snap back into a standard pulsing
              rhythm none of us understand
or really listen to anymore

                              an inheritance from other
              less disconsolate ceremonies
                                                recorded in neon

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Under the Edge

I could engrave this day
w/a scrap of rain
              & dueling beer cans
but the flickering celluloid sky
                              ain’t feeling it

The painted waves here give me a place to hide
if I want it while the strings
              of an expensive magic
                              draw me into the open
a simple gift, if you will

as such two fingers of tequila
& a heart as black as midnight Ray-Bans
can take one to the edge
& back again

                              the way this jungle of details
are reflected off a mirror

or maybe right through it

to the ruins of a forbidden future
where poems are made of stones
& the wind

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 52)

Around this time along came a gringo on one of my single nights at Fido’ of these guys that comes with a personality like a dog and a white roebuck, one whose solo mission is to seek out the caste or genuine and latch, lamprey-like and leer on about something he finds cool that is not cool….that six beers in you don’t mind or somehow can’t mind and he’s on his best social skills so you’re getting a toy that works once and then breaks...He went by Rafe, had hippy long hair, and the standard issue facial growth above and below his mouth...He was from Santa Cruz and did not belie his beatnik rootage...flakey, crystallized, gilled with bullshit, five percent sidelight, and a penchant to never shut up about his life, his doings, his revelations...the type who tops every one of your stories with a similar but better bigger more unbelievable version, as if nobody had ever tried to explain this nonsense...However, I suddenly knew that Rafe, whom I figured had always been dismissed by all with deliberate scorn, would be part answer to my Ramona riddle...and Raph had a piece in this, big mouth run on mind and all, so I put up, endured, and laid back for the strange blanket of truth about to be pulled over me...Rafe with his slight feminine body, his always bare feet, the jewelry made of crystal and wire that always hung from his neck (mind you he would sell you any piece off his back and that’s how the tiny fucker made his way, that and bartering…

The others were introduced to him, meaning he was the one to get in someone’s space and make his name known and I could tell right away when he met my mother she put him in the same category as the mosquito, the vermin, the slave of the lamp...she hadn’t a soft spot for the foolhardy, nor could she suffer the fool, my mom, for some reason could only put up with very few certain animals of her choosing but the rest of the strays would get nothing...but also p’raps she could sense a shyster and had no patience for someone who wanted something from her and was willing to go to any length of made-up small talk and strategy to get that eventual this state you tend to cease to notice things...both as swindler and as receptacle...and because of the fact I was guest and wardee of the mother, she felt directly this threat that Raph would pose, whether it was for a place to crash or some sort of long-term passive bullying treatment...Raph was endured by us all it seemed that swampy night in San Pedro... existing on the five envelopes of mystery, grace, love, style, and wisdom, and all at once remembering the concubine theory, for it works amongst strangers and knowns alike, that there can always be peace in any kind of household given each knows a place that is unique and outside of frozen food, electric toothbrushes, pension plans, jackhammers and situation comedies...or the unholy wildcat trinity of the sax, dirge, and early fall...

-Michael Price

Acid Tune Up

A riot of discordant violins in the treetops
maybe a couple of cellos

the kind of music you can only dance to in
a pair of tire-tread huaraches

falling like a thunder-colored domino theory

wearing infinite space like
a cement kimono

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Five Point Four Percent

I don’t know about
point & click poetry
              although I can
                              pound the keyboard all
blood & breath
              listening in on the
5-string banjos of
              perfectly out of tune
                              & my heart is shattered
by this & other things I’m sure I’ve
forgotten by now & Pamela steps
              out of the shower
derailing freight trains
                              & causing landslides on my brain
a breath away from lights out
              a dark Mayan crystal in her eyes

Monday, September 8, 2008

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 51)

So at this point I had to decide whether I was going to stay in Belize, jettison my return, stay for Ramona, put-off Colorado and a homecoming job search with ends dead and deaf to lyric...If I went home it was to face winter and a tail-between the legs reunion with a childhood place, old friends I loved, and a head still beat with a pitchblende radioactivity...San Francisco, Ex-wife, Family, polonium rays of culture shock and dissonance...Stay in Belize and collect unemployment continue to continue a relationship with my maker reaching levels of friendship and was crossroads, complexification, and I needed intelligensia, enactors, and most of all, I cried and this outloud   “Why Ramona, did you not come with wheels?”   There I was drunk on the light, drunk on the air, the music, the sea, and drunk on Belikan too, for what to do, for an inability to enact good, but drink some nights away because it was the nights where I’d say “It’s not very leggy in here!”   If Ramona had wheels!   Or a thousand legs!   The superior person has a conclusion...mountain is where one kills the self, but sea is where the will is whet, the sea writing down what it’s saying now 30 minutes during howling wind and the X roads and where to go—go back to kill the self or remain past the eighth day of January and forego my aeroplane pass and extend a sense of the unknown, cull some wisdom from the realm of silent light, defer to this desire to possess Ramona—and back in the house I began sit again, worried but silent prostrated, thinking of the sage and what the sage would do, how I might be looked upon by the Marrying Maiden or the good-hearted approach of a humble practitioner...

Turns out the sage said oppression and the abysmal to my later query of a possible outcome to returning to Colorado...meaning I based my life-move on chance for the first time in a sun-colored moment and I could do it within some corridor of humor both within and apart from the 3 lords of Materialism...I loathed the lord of form yet I revered Ramona’s blythe curves...I damned the lord of speech yet I often left bold cries strewn about the wind’s vacuum...I thought little of the lord of mind but of the tropics...the tropics are made on waiting, joyfully in golden light cleaving to illumination...One learns to wait and watch when in striking distance of the equator...the equalizer of day and night...with Ramona from that erogenous zone Ecuador, I thought of her lain, propped, leaned up, lotus, corporate sit, triangle posture, thunderbolt and cow-face posture, her walk on my back, virginal missionary, cogra pose, standing cunnilingus, flat-backed half-limp fellatio, and the dead pose otherwise known as corpse posture...Ramona never coming back oh Sage!......Despite all this, and given the sage advice from previous and the ornery resolve to get at it, neglecting the hinge and bowstring, the crane needn’t show itself on the high hill of my mind...I was staying.

-Michael Price

Empty Waves

Glass spun into a thread so fine
reminding me of spiderwebs & the high-wire act
which is the virtue inherent in any vice

two zeroes plus one more
& nothing happens
stumbling like a tear
for Sweet Jane, Iggy Pop & Typhoid Mary

Quinn the Eskimo & Bump the Night

Earl the Girl, Shady, Gnarls, Flea,
Little Horse, Dutch & Blaise Cendrars

a boatload of Kubla Khans

two four six eight & a quarter
spinning wheels of morphine-like
fingers falling against your cheek
before rolling the dice that come up snake eyes
every time

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Whereabouts Unknown

Best to kick for speed then drop
into the bowl for those longboard
carving runs just as the sun jumps
above the treeline & the quiet is
lulled into degrees of difficulty
w/only the roll of wheels to
sketch where we’ve been all this time
like streets of faceless sounds Anasazi
or Polynesian strum the crosshairs
of territorial spraypaint as would
adorn the caves & ritual snake-runs
of pleistocene or neolithic
proportions layered in rust
or sand out near the eternal edge
of things resigned to
smog bombs of neglect
molotov cocktails for two
& the swaying bamboo chorus
like a seashell clearing its throat

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Sun Also Sets

Whoever you thought you were
standing on a stack of tombstones
& change your precious meat-shaped
dreams to shots of tequila
against whatever you really are
pumps the end-of-summer haze
that drops in to crease your heart
& drag the blade across
Aphrodite’s wrist (plumes of mist
              flying back off the feathered
                              lip of the wave like

Friday, September 5, 2008

Call the Number on Your Screen

seawall.   beach concrete.

I often think of the tear-stained pavement
of Todos Santos.


LEAVES (a pile of scrap iron
dropped off a cliff)

I thought so.

rockslide drum solo

wrecked shorebreak throwdown rips
& dreams.

A chunk of silence
crumbling in the parking lot.

“It’ll all cave in on you eventually”

silken seas, cold crystal flames

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Deep Cover

surreal ukulele chords
knocking around inside
a dreamless state you can
maybe trade for
El Hamburger
or the distant memory of rain

you give what is taken

drowning or dying of thirst

to stagger the pulse of the surf

or learn to walk the plank like
Dr. Strangelove in a wetsuit

blasting through a wall of
stained-glass air

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Man Overboard

My smog blue eyes are intact
so far so far
but I don’t know for how long

the road eats up what little sense remains

a blank sheet of paper torn in half then half again

not that I’d complain…
the slight bend in her feelings is enough to
make me rebuild my carburetor

into something like the Pyramid of the Sun
at Teotihuacán

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

At Books & Bookshelves (8/26)

Bill Berkson & Kevin Opstedal


Steel pier road kill

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blue Xoam

The dark window in the
green wall & the crucifix
& bruised knuckles
& sand

harmonicas & clarinets

broken bottles

postcard sunsets set on fire
in chambers of the sea
w/mermaids in seaweed bikinis

& the song they sing