Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jesus-Fish Tacos

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 88)

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

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

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

- Michael Price


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

Friday, August 28, 2009


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

a breath away from lights out
in twelve languages

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

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

where I don't find you

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

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Dead & the Dying

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

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

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

swamped out as the tide rolls in

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aforesaid by Circe

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

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 87)

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Michael Price

Monday, August 24, 2009

After the Flood

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

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

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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Velvet Fadeout

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

w/broken bottles, coral blossoms
& stone

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

against the corrugated sunset

Friday, August 21, 2009

Skating the drop edge of yr heart

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

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

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

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

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

5.   The sky dark the
pavement still warm

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 86)

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

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

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

- Michael Price

Less than a mile from here it all turns to glass

The ocean pulse   /   blood in my head

brings us that much closer

              clinging sea-vines & blossoms
                                                pearls reflecting
                              clipped wings

              We pressed our lips against
                                                the rare petal’s secret

                              naked beneath the flames

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Named After Clouds

Lit up like the entrance to an underwater neon patio

a silver lining with a troubled past

e n t r a n c e d

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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drumming on the Lid of the Tide

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sketched Out in Blurry Sacrificial Neon

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

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

rocked by waves the
karmic loop
La Paloma
& flamencoid strings

sleazy but essential

Falling down stairs didn’t spill a drop

& I kept my sunglasses on

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 85)

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

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

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

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

- Michael Price

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tiki-Head Gear-Shift

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

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

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

Nothing adds up

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

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reflected in a shallow, faded pink nevermind of concrete

A dark, rose-tipped lament
in the heart’s house

              the approval process for
              a sub-prime future exile

all bliss azul for the jailbait
in rubberband bikinis
              who don’t even know they
stepped out of the 1st book of
Ovid’s Metamorphoses

              I was given to coked-up knuckle games
              shaving while looking into a picture of
              Walt Whitman
              & singing my poems in sideways latin
              to the abalone sky

while Our Lady of Wet Sand
swims downstairs wearing a
black t-shirt & a pair of Ray-Ban
night-vision goggles

She had erased the past as well as the future
set fire to her board in the parking lot
& broke off a corner of the sky just to
prove that it couldn’t be done

              I could only sit there & stare
              at a stand of eucalyptus
              shimmering in the sun

              to me it looked like the broken
              silver blue surface
              of the sea

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 84)

I further demanded that Ramona meet me at the Radisson hotel in Belize City on the coming Saturday to talk face to face and settle the matter in a physical manner, rather than as so much of our romance so far had been, specifically in aire and epistolary smoke and mirrors…it was the act of a desperate man desperately chasing his 20 year old tropical exotic beauty fantasy in the real world of dirty streets and sweet clean technology…she responded a day later in English and it went something like this:


And that was it…it was the goddamn poems, an honest Latin explosion, temperamental, tough and rapid-fire…it hit me like a Bombay fornicator, right in the heart gut, right in the square I…and I was unable to deny the truth of it or unwilling to lie to myself, these wonderful things I had planted…black seeds, black soil, black dawn…growing the black urge to blackalate, to blink black, to ball black…there is dark and there is black…I had both/I had one and the other, close the eyes dark, open black, mind black, fantasy black, skin on black, masturbate black, dip the clutch, the songster that is blackbird, black Michael, after coal fatigue, black as a cunt, dark and stormy, ham darky cox, night shift, ‘we would darken him’, dark as the inside of a cow…all pitch and wail…get the dark, dark as a pocket, cop a dark ‘un…INK, yes, like INK, inky southern Californai darkness…blackness….it would be some time…it would take some air…it would require terrible patience…but I would put things black together as best I could…

- Michael Price

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Look Out Below

Gassing up the Swampmobile I’m slogging through incoherencies like tears, every step or wheel, Hermosa to La Jolla, back to Venice, Point Dume, Hammonds Reef (I wouldn’t recognize nor would you now, waking up in Santa Cruz thinking it’s Mexico, or Japan, & the fog reaching in through the window all parlance & midnight, all palm tree & dust, minus the beach at Golgotha, from a distance I decided was acrylic & stained by my presence).   The warp of road subsequent where you would expect a mist of revelation spun from aluminum samples & a limited playlist (to reconvene a last finger of cypress within a wavering dance thru machetes & blue light aesthetically arranged beneath an off-brand palm tree stigmata
                              gone from Kon Tiki shadows
                                                giving all that has been taken
                            the blank of hearts, the ceremonial grind,
                                                                the shoreline sounding
                                                along the edge of your breathing (veiled
                              as beads of hammered steel
                              beneath the waves
                                                (not far from that place we never left

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 83)

What seemed like brick and mortar days passed in a slow succession of ticks…I tried to keep chaste and proper, sit twice a day, and work on I Ching Repair…I laid low, refrained from calling Johanna, and with sly cunning, whipped myself nightly.   The tropics are one tough place to be alone with heart hurt because of the lack of distraction…beach, drink, or TV…I meted these out to myself in small doses, working discipline with books and the cushion, and solitary snorkeling forays in front of our house, where I saw many sea horses and an eagle ray in the 5 foot shallows…Somehow this felt like the cursed lower Hells, and I cold feel the hot poker of change nearing my personality as I begged the Sage for a reason…Why was I always on the losing end of lovelorn dementia? What vexations could I expect to escape? In the back of my mind were the admonitions and deeds bestowed upon me by Vinnie Bend back in San Francsico—his direct transmission sitting mantras, his insistence that I stop fucking my ex-wife in SF, his deep hypnotic suggestions that I focus on my practices, those of spirit and letters, and rid myself of so much lust…would it be enough to help me turn a very long and blind corner?   Could I bail out of the Dirty Machine?

I waited for the phone to ring and checked for emails to come…the former was desertedly silent and the latter showed up after three days…I had sent Ramona a long rambling teenage email first in English and then Spanish when she said she couldn’t understand the most of the first…I pawed on and on how I had been waiting for her to break with renaldo and get her plane ticket to Ecuador…how I had eschewed my plans for San Francisco, lost estados unidos, and basically, changed a fundamental aspect of my character—that of having to stick to a rational, job-holding plan by free-floating, cheating the government by claiming unemployment and having my old roommate and good pal Ben Laver sign and deposit the checks so that I could pay my bills and spend a few dollars here and there…Also, how I loved her from the first mention of her name in Fidos, before I even laid eyes on her beauteous form…how I had endured the humiliation of knowing she was sharing the very body and spit of herself with the old paramount…

- Michael Price

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Zero Effect

Love’s ragged knocking
at a door in the sea
shredding the opulent ocean air
put the words there

that much closer
for all I know
& not much more

dancing through the turquoise
& the hard luck land of crimson
sunset back to Holyweed just
to say “adios” one more time

                                                  blank spaces like
                                                  this all over waiting to be filled
                                                  in with words

Insoluble gray-white vistas
              returned to silver, to smoke
dependent upon a parallel vocabulary
                              the shuffle of glass cards
on the horizonless horizon
              that later you can’t deny
hardwired to the pavement
                              driven down
into the sand

a skeleton hand reaching in
to light your cigarette at just the
wrong moment say when we’re
doing a tango to the blare of
an ambulance siren
              & it’s like listening to the voice of
God echoing
                              in an empty 24 oz. Tecate can
              smeared w/lipstick

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peel away your reflection, step into the mirror

A point of entry & return within that
broken dissolve of mist & sand
collapsing upon cold sweat & diesel

the lush conclusion they charge you $5 to get a look at

otherwise delicately confused

not even the charm of a doubt
where once was parked a garden of
broken glass

as you might walk the plank like Dr. Strangelove
in top hat, wetsuit & tails (never so gently
the other end of the beach
birdsong splashdown riptide cutback

all of it reduced to a puddle of warm breath
lying there on the pavement
just waiting for you to fuck it up all golden-like