Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Blue So Pale It Tastes Pure White

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

harmonicas & clarinets

broken bottles

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

& the song they sing

as those initiates of Delphi
or Malibu
w/drizzle & circumstance
(except for the tunic)
park along the coast highway
to read the future in the glassy tide

w/greasy blonde vibes aligned
& the spill-out beneath leafy night
to the glow subscribed

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 82)

“Ramona, te amo.   Quiero ser contigo.”   Over and over again I pleaded.   She was more silent now, but for me it was a need to know…”How you love me…you sleep with fucking negra?”   It was nothing, it was nothing…I could hear myself saying…finally she said, “I have to go,” then “Goodbye Michael”

“Ramona, Wait, when will I talk to you again?"

“I don’t know.”   And then click.   Jesus A-hole fuck.   My head contained storms.   Typhoons.   And prinkum-prankum desolation…I had done it again…the Richard had done the talking and the gods of taxidermy we’re laughing it up…the Richard talks only in cunny, and nothing else…you have made choices and some of those choices are answered in pain and misery.   I was come a smeller, all smoke, gammon and spinach…damaged properly.   I writhed on the bed, thrashing at my stupidity!   I walked out into the living room and sat down where my mom had been watching TV, and definitely listening to my woes…I let out a huge sigh and shook my head…”Well, did she dump you?”

“I don’t know mom, I don’t know…can you tell me why this always happens to your only son?”

“You should stop going out and begging for it.”   She was chuckling at me, all the while commiserating, but chuckling as she always did at my recklessness, my fickle snotty inanities…”Ah, well, she’ll take you back…just give her some time to cool off…a woman needs the artic when a man is unable to stifle his squeaker…” Leave it to mom to hit the humor key when I needed it most…

Now the mind storm began in earnest…she would not speak to me again.   Better yet, she would come to the island and then not speak to me again.   Maybe get a boyfriend, then see me, then never speak to me again…I could sense the tumble up mornings, the dark and Ramona-less wakes, sad skies and try-on smiles, food flavor-less and drinks suicidal….I was in for a melt and I could feel the heat…her words were still walking down my throat for a swipe at my heart when I realized I had been watching the tele for six hours…I had to get away because it would eat me and eat my heart, that fucking tele and it’s cloning machinations, it’s greed and lust, it’s vanity vanity vanity…and the only way I knew how to free myself from it was meditation, the holy dharma, the reading of sacred texts, which could cut tendons, vexation, and phantasmagoria…the triple jewel of Buddha Dharma Sangha…just to read those words carries more merit than a thousand hours of public television…this is what the swooning romantic hours had brought—ache, and real hurt, whim wham and sorrow…and I was fixed in it…

-Michael Price

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eyes in the Sand

Isn’t it just a kind of abstract passion
to disregard the loop the sky
when you drive your pickup truck
off the end of the pier?

A narcotic thump that separates the
timing of your lips
& total surrender

Tipping back the flamingo bottle
lit from the inside
knowing all the while that
death is out there
welding pink shadows to laundromats

as thin sheets of silver occupy
your once & furtive tiptoe collapse

tucked away beneath the idea of it
swamped out as the tide pushes in
like a Diebenkorn cheat sheet
slicing the weather & tilting parking lots
down toward the sea

a late summer bend in the palm trees
              sand in drifts along the curb
w/sunbleached neon buried in chrome
                              handwritten on the waves

Monday, July 27, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 81)

Now I was fucked good.   I figured I’d fly by the seat of my pants and wait, meanwhile ask the I Ching about it, which I had become very established in doing of late…and I didn’t get a whole lot of time to think about it because in fact the very next morning the phone rang and I jumped at it hoping like ten Dharma conducts that it was her, Ramona, saying “Hola Amor, Como estas ninito?”   And as it always is when you got two irons in the fire the black telephone hell was true and it was her saying “Hola Amor, Como estas ninito?”, coming on pure and deleterious and flirting like hell…I really NEEDED her to tell me she had fixed her ticket or was coming to the island soon…I needed to get out from under the madre load, and be single, international, improvising, and most of all, recordable.   I needed meat for ink and pulp…I needed world for guts, for audible singular conspiracy theory, for final act magic show…

Instead, she asked the question “So, who’s new girl in San Pedro?”

“Eh?” I said, trying to stall out, not quite believing how fast Krystal had got word to her…”Que me preguntas?”   I could feel the truth knot in my throat, my secret already halfway to the open air of discovery…”you have a new girlfren, no?”   She was asking in the same Isis voice she flirted with and in a flash I thought maybe she was a woman who knew the score, that a dalliance every once or twice was ok, that all men had mistresses, as long as I was dedicated to her well-being and could match her in odorless love and bed friction…she was knowing and letting me know it was ok?   Could she be in possession of that carnal knowledge so soon?   She asked that question again, then again, and all my courage for a vapor escape was gone…to this day I believe that I finally said yes, I was with an island girl last night, blood from my earlier whipping at the hands of San Francisco, blood now in my steeple cock, in this twisting twirling and gut-rot romance triangle, yes, Ramona, estuvo con un amiga negra, yes we fucked, yes, Ramona, this is what happened…

Her young, pistol-whipped venom, the coils of rattle rage that slid through that bad telephone connection from her mainland to my archipelago, as she blasted one after another spanglish stingers…she spent five minutes in telecommunicative invective, letting me only answer the one question repeatedly:   YES.   I fucked the black (as she quite quaintly put it).   Yes I did it.   It’s done.

“No, now we are no longer…I never want to speak you again!   How could you be with La Negra?   Dirty Black Girl!   Disgusting!   You are fucking Asshole!”

“Ramona,” I was failing fast, I was pleading of sorts, “Ramona, it doesn’t matter, you sleep with your boyfriend every damn night, I sleep with one woman and it’s not ok?”   I want to be with you, in Ecuador, you see, can’t we just get our plane tickets and go?   Why are you stalling?

She had stopped yelling a minute to hear me…I had gotten through with the mention of her own infidelity, which I had swallowed…every time she went mainland she was fucking that boyfriend…and that is no small thing…there was a pause and I figured telling her the truth was still better than telling her nothing…

-Michael Price

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Lost Chapter from The Lives of the Poets

Next door to the dude I used to buy pot from in Hermosa Beach in the 70s lived a chihuahua who wore an eyepatch.   The little fucker looked like a tiny nervous pirate, yipping at me when I walked by the chainlink gate & got into my beatup car (a ’62 Pontiac Tempest), with a lid of panama red in my pocket.   I’d drive the backroad down thru Playa del Rey & up & around back to Lincoln Blvd into Venice praying that the cops wouldn’t stop me for the busted tail light & the expired tags.   I had long hair that hung down past my shoulders in those days & everywhere I went I carried a copy of The Complete Writings of William Blake (Oxford Standard Authors edition).

Friday, July 24, 2009

PRETTY VACANT, Lew Gallery, 2009

I just received copies of my little boke Pretty Vacant published by Lew Gallery (a sideline production of Auguste Press which is orchestrated by Micah Ballard & Sunnylyn Thibodeaux).   It's a limited edition, only 50 copies printed, & I dig the raw, old school, mimeo-like elegance of it.   All honor & gratitude to Micah & Sunnylyn.   Gracias.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quicksand in a Bottle

So Stunday enters history in the
Hollywood-Baptist style, a bubble in
a mile of milk, yes yes
(only available on vhs).

I paddle thru the fog
outside & inside
& “drowning in a sea of love”
(the way Tom Waits sings that line)
spilling coffee, expecting nothing
caressed by the half-forgotten shadow
of a palm tree. We can no longer submit to

a compromise so inconclusive
to rake the valves of sunset
with your picture on the cover
& a prayer flag burning on the porch.

The sky reflects the iridescence of the sea
or maybe it’s the other way around as both are painted
with a deep rumbling that only gets deeper until it’s
buried within a dull but persistant hum you can tap
into any time you feel like it, but then again who
would ever want to do that, besides me & the sea-stone
I carry around w/me which will either bring luck or
weigh me down so that I’ll sink straight to the bottom
like your own mystic denial
littered with empties.

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 80)

Pulling a face of complete exhaustion, I kissed her and tucked my nose and face in around the nape of her neck and fell off the earth…Ah, Morpheus…”They dream only of America”…Yes, I think Johanna dreamed of America, of making it up North with a guy who could come over every part of the twentieth Century…the white deluge…the conqueror of sleep…the man that rolleth over after finishing…Yes, I could feel the soft spot forming between us, right around the mind’s alley and through the back door…I liked this girl’s toughness and her quick mouth—completely polar to Ramona’s waif femaleness and youth…Johanna had age and brevity and some imprint of the wine of youth, bound to tell me stories and meet me halfway…something I was beginning to feel like the Ecuadorian wasn’t up to…

I dreamed tiny mezzotints in a drowsy numbness of middle-night with an occasional hard on, but we slept straight on through, past my mom’s early exit for diving, then lazily nudged ourselves awake until we were right back into good and hard fucking, this time with the covers thrown back using all available light…man it was like being bombed on Teamster’s liquor—kool, wet, and just the right amount of time—yes, the vaunted morn’ BALLING, with a fresh quart of night pee built up in the bladder applying pressure and elongating the reach of the Dick into a Richard…I went for a good while before I moved down and ate her pussy, sending her into rising exclamations of “God Save Me” and “Ka Kaw Kaw”…It was twenty minutes back on the horse before we both came off, gasped, and called it a night…

I remember the shower being especially good, with clouds of steam and mist rising of our tall palm skins…we made a nice display of washing each other thoroughly and locking tongues some for good measure…Johanna left that morning amid a feeling of general anesthetic applied to a forgone conclusion…She knew and I knew that we would see each other again, but that I had some Ramona business to attend to—or maybe I would just move it on over and forget Ecuador…It wouldn’t be that easy, cause I could tell that my strong fear-backed driver would stick to the stunning beast Ramona…

- Michael Price

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Downpayment on Eternity

I never knew if she needed
God or money.   Maybe
she just wasn’t sure.   We lived
together for a while on the
coast south of San Francisco.
There was not much money.
I would stop in at the
supermarket & steal a loaf
of bread or some cheese.
We drank cheap wine & cooked
beans, worried about money,
fucked & took long walks
along the beach.   I worked a
shit job at the local hospital & wrote
poetry & read a lot.
Eventually there were
a couple of kids.   She said
I was their father.
It seemed plausible
although neither of them
looked much like me.
There was a deer that
bedded down each night
outside our bedroom window.
In dreams I tried to climb
inside the deer & look out
through its eyes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Live from the Wetsuit Lounge

Test Drive
A pure pacific blue later
spilling over the pink

Slight Return
Flapping damp eyelids
on Bleach Street where the traffic stutters
luring you back
to seawater with a snake oil chaser
penciled in beneath the architecture
of unconditional surrender

Medicine Show
A neon blade of sunset
paddling through your brain

Friday, July 17, 2009

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

Comes a time you’ll change yr name to
Sweet Jane Nemo or
Jalisco Ocean
but with an ounce in reserve say
like a Grecian urn balancing on a hat pin.
Our final option is always the first to go
skintight sunset camouflage
                              a tangle of flames at the
bottom of the sea
              rocks older than the survival instinct
a seashell madonna
                              a surfboard in a bottle
a vintage Malibu convertible
black as the sun crumbling in the fog
the way fog crumbles above the surf
I mean right as the wind shifts & pelicans
haul it all away.   In the water all I can see is
reflections of nothing
like your eyes
                              transparent for the moment
              & that’s what I wanted I always wanted
                                                to look right through you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Accordian Hangtime

XXIst Century
time tunnel guacamole
fuel injected w/a candy smile
on Ocean St.

where go-go sitar guardrail narcosis,
                              Hollywood percussion
              & green shadows preempt the
                                                undercover swamp rider

Back here at Motel Nowhere it’s all
fiberglass roulette & hula roach orchids

Ali Baba in a banzai mask

diving from some kind of monsoon balcony

like a heartshaped rockslide
rattling the sunset windows of
los kahunas

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 79)

It’s funny that, rolling over and breathing heavy, I knew that I wasn’t going to feel to beat-up about cheating on Ramona, because it was hardly two years prior when I had my first major bout of infidelity… after too much drink and proximity to a sexpot redhead in the city, a friend of one of my roommates at the time, I ended up in bed with her and held her off through the night, but gave in to my usual morning drive and mounted her with a small amount of hangover verve at 5:30 am…And at the time I was somewhat under contract with a woman I’d been seeing for a year…SO, I decide to make a bawling admission of the slip to her, I guess in fear of losing some security we had built up despite our complete lack of common bond, and this brought a month of distrust and payback and was viewed by my mentors as a childish and wooly thing to do…”Why did you tell her?”   (Insert Let sleeping dogs lie, don’t fix what ain’t broke, what you don’t know won’t hurt you)…

So I had this reference and could go the route of the mentors, who then were high bandits of larceny and dishonesty—I.E. would steal the wine at their own poetry readings—and tell Ramona nothing, riding out the chance that Crystal hadn’t seen Johanna and I together in preemptive coitus enrapturosous, dancing a jig in the house of Hustler…I could even counter any accusations by further lies and half-truths, therefore digging myself a private little eight sufferings, the six sufferings, and the three sufferings…”We see people who lose control of themselves, taken over by strong defilements…”   Alas, would it be virtue or negativity?   I didn’t know at the moment, but I didn’t feel the strong, dyspeptic guilt in the stomach telling me to spill the guts or else…”there is nothing to fear in the three hell realms, save the mind itself”…I could lay there exhausted and pine about Karma…but I wouldn’t be breaking the heart in quite the same manner…no, the small hope loops were getting smaller, and I was acting more and more on nerve with each passing day…

-Michael Price

Monday, July 13, 2009

Borrowed Time

as specifically I called when you weren’t there

when knock-kneed bamboo windchimes
along with a badly tuned mandolin
conspired to hijack my otherwise delicate sensibilities
              dusted green submerged
                                                                rationalized into silk
like an excerpt from
                              Lao Tzu’s lost thesis
                                                on oceanography

              & the long way back across the sand

where you & I knock down the
                              auguries of innocence in rusty tidepool
long flowing sinking shorebreak
                                                w/trembling Spanish interiors

                                                                & a kind of rumbling indifference
                                                you could build a religion out of

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In the Word

After more than a decade of corresponding
& trading poems I finally met the Bad Ass Poet
& his wife when they visited Santa Cruz

We hooked up at a dive called The Alley
on Pacific Ave & together plunged thru the
beer & tequila to “The Poems”

He had a little fun needling me about this
numbskull who had referred to a
magazine I published as “one of the best
journals to come out of New York”
an obvious insult since I am so hardcore West

After a few more tequilas the Bad Ass Poet
told me that his favorite of all Bukowski’s
books was The Roominghouse Madrigals
“Me too,” I said, “I’ve read that book so
many times it’s held together w/duct tape”

we had a drink to that

& then another

as we were brothers
in the word

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Life Underwater

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

A spoonful of regret
w/a rocking shorebreak
left you dancing in the parking lot
against the corrugated sunset

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

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slow Fade

It’s not about what you have but
what you’ve lost
& the sun sliding down the silk sleeve
of a sky the color of boiling kool-aid
                                                                w/a seacloud halo

bought & paid for
w/a spoonful of Martian sand

Pnuematic petals
threaded w/blades of sunlight
leaving this
distance between you
& every other light in the crash
ing (look
your little heart tumbles) glare
                                                                just now starts to dissolve
                                                                into blue blue nadas

An ocean breeze competes w/the
traffic on Hwy 1 for our
eternally divided attention

Breathing in the damp twilight
fog is like unraveling a rain puddle
in your sleep

Monday, July 6, 2009

I have lived along the frayed edges of a practiced distraction

              For what one has lived
              is what otherwise
              deliberate gesture
              taps the heart
              back of an abandoned Shell Station
                                                (signed, Louie Louie)

slipped between shadows that strummed the pavement
when the wind died down & the sky
turned a kind of bleached blonde color
that stained our eyes

                              relayed along the rusty curve of sunset
                              like a convoy of razor-pink flamingos
                              & stolen hubcaps                all gone now like
                                                                                it never happened

        & the wind whispers like wings in a dream
        as a darker, more subdued idea of time
        takes hold, inside

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crossing the Border

First the land gets dark, then the sky, & then the water.   This is how it works.   You turn the page & walk the line.   Dark passage veering off the reverence.   Revelation still a kind of threat with the light streaming through it.

From drownpool carnage to neon inscribed I kept the level gaze intact.   The least silken but reed brown greens of kelp-lit eyes & secret watery extensions were my guide.   What daydrums of cypress parse in sonic platitudes along the gypsy string breeze got snagged in high tension wires before I could ascertain the categorical echo.

Phaedra & Zonk & Proserpine in a vintage nightshade Mustang w/dual exhaust burning up the highway south.   “Apply your confessions carefully,” said Phaedra, “we are always 20 miles away.”   In telepathic shadows relay the bounce & jungle-vine lattice, the screendoor porchlight windchime & derivitave lament.   Just as descending fog aced the parking lot I turned away & back, to Proserpine, to the motive for escape, & from there noted the stain that blessed the curse.

A path of leaves & yellow grass only there to be tread upon littered w/jewels (the dust of galaxies beneath our feet or in the sky beginning to fade behind the wheel just as we crossed the border).   Dusty murmur of ragged palm trees attending & whoever they were they knew my name.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Torn in half & half again

I left with dripping steps up the ruined concrete stairway back to the overlook parking lot, heard that heel of sidewalk groaning with albatrossian hang-time at the cobble of beachbreak foams as of this moment accomodates the rain (inside) reels of nowhere besieged.   Not to hold abeyance with sunset hardware & a grip of dreamless blonde sand.   Descent of bituminous fog.

From here it’s a clean shot to the ramshackle tenements of Shangri-La steeped in ruin & candlelight, all the baptismal vestments, cheap sunglasses & bent metal rust warning signs graffitied into obscurity.   At the car door to perform ablutions pouring water from a plastic gallon jug over my head before peeling off the black neoprene & throwing on t-shirt, shorts, shoes, sweatshirt against the chill rips & blades of cold air knifing the damp.   Who did it matter what incumbent gloom attends with plumes of mist tuning E-strings in the eucalyptus.