Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Selling a Kidney on eBay

for Duncan McNaughton

Two is extravangant when you can
get by with one (the moral exception
explained by Dennis Hopper in a
TV commercial I never watched
flickers like a blue wing in a blue
sky.   Singing the blues.   Blue Hawaiians.
Deep blue sea.   I was standing on the
bluegreen steps of the Tsunami Palace
smoking a turquoise cigarette―
actually I was smoking two of them
while marveling at the symmetry of it all.
You were carrying a blade that looked like
a silver gull wing & I was stirring my
tequila with a nail.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Barefoot Resolve

A point of entry & return
bells in the surf
w/wrecked shorebreak throwdown rips
crumbling in the parking lot
lulled into degrees of difficulty
where I always find her standing there
in high-heels
explaining the arc & derivative
with reference to
perhaps the stolen El Camino
while regarding floatation
“Byzantine,” I said
by which I meant like Hart Crane in a fez
& you can leave your shoes on

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 91)

Stoned for an hour:   Laughter, Song, and writhing around on the floor, unable to control our glee…Then we got ready to go.   Oscar and Jon put on their best tropical shirts, David did nothing.   I cleaned up the act and prepared my defenses—I would be the only honky—and would have to explain my every action.   There would be critics, both at large, and in my area of expertise—the sexual cormorant—with his distended colornary diatribe…

We arrived soon enough.   Parked alongside 50 other cars of all makes and condition, sharing the shit-box gene.   The wedding was in full sswing, that is, the reception was, the party in action…Of course we missed the ceremony in our reverie and that seemed to be just fine with everyone.   There was a punta band and through the air coursed the scents of poetry and eros…I was ravenous and giddy and looked to head straight for the food tent, and for the second time since I arrive in Corazol, I walked into a scene dominated by sweet old women…but now, young girls rand about the pots and dishes great and small, and a line of Belizians ten deep, chattering away like it was Carnival…there were little rumpkins tearing around in mini-suits and dresses, screaming and shrieking, joysmiles broad, men in cowboy hats and boots, bolo ties, and wildly colorful shirts…women in white lace dresses and formal gowns…then another slice in Wednesday best, jeans, t-shirts, baggy shorts, hotpants, shortskirts…bring me a bowl of burning gold!   I turned to David, “I’m so hungry man!”   “Yeah man, me tooooo…”   And soon enough, so efficient those dear old ladies were, I had in my hands a plate full of beans, rice, carnitas, corn on the cob, and fresh hot tortillas…a veritable Cop’s portion!   Enough to simply smother the paranoia and uneasy edge of the powerful cannabis…and Coke in the bottles! to bring back swell memories of the ‘tween years in sugar and madness…David and I sat down to eat while Jon and Oscar made the family and friend rounds…it became obvious that their Family was held in high regard, as I watched the faces of their acquaintances light up in Oscar and Jon’s presence…from planting true oaths in their pasts, they had their dad’s respect and also the wild streak that painted everyone curious…They both worked it beautifully and took stabs at their beers allthewhile…that food I had in from of me was rich and bold and delicate…and around me I noticed how small and pretty this world was, green and desolate both, balmy and ordinary, like Longmont Colorado, just good folk and simple motives…and there I was, somewhere between Monk and Ed Ruscha in my guayavera, sandals, jeans, and smiling white face…I raised my coke with David to bride and groom…I laughed out loud with the pearls of poesy…

- Michael Price

The Mockingbird Is My Nightingale

for Pamela

I dreamt I heard a

I dreamt you heard it

it made you laugh

I looked at the alarm clock
it was 5:05 a.m.

I said The mockingbird is
my alarm clock

What are you talking about?
you said

What mockingbird?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No Matter What

A bus ticket to the end of the world
(Swamp City exit corner of Ocean Street &
Wipeout Ave) the circuitous route
“ever runneth in to the self-same spot”
& so the self-devouring serpent
that in my dream was more like a self-
devouring hula hoop
wholeness, totality or infinity
rolling downhill past the Medicine Man’s
Drive-Thru & the woman in the iron bikini
who knew things nobody else wanted to know
she said Deception is good for the soul
which I took to mean the prototype
& to lay it down then inside a nice
little 2/4 Mexican-German oom-pah beat
w/sand blowing across the concrete
anticipates a rail of silence
& the broken valves of the sea

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ALTOON'S FROG by Duncan McNaughton

And since some of us depend on "The Poems" I am pleased to present the latest from Blue Press, ALTOON'S FROG by Duncan McNaughton.   Mysterious & droll & brilliant, I have come to expect from the great McN.   Here's a little sample:


Here is a piece, of
the black spoon,
I have broken off
in order to show you
what you will need
to forget:
hold onto it,
she’ll ask for it
when you get there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pale Rider

                  for Jim Carroll

So it ends with the murmur of
brooding guitars
beneath the bleached-out horizon
drowning the vacant room left
exactly as we found it
where we traded fear for numb surprise

between the two the lesser majesty

chemical dings in the Upanishads

We ask for nothing but a blank page
& the rest maybe wingless
but true enough
the death of poetry like the death of anything
leaves an empty page
white as the sky right now above the beach
like where we were from the beginning

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 90)

I was thirty and one years…I was finding out what was in man…it was Central headquarters of an America I had never seen…the onus of my little catholic great grandmother of Denver and her small squeezed world of guilt and effusions…”51” pieces of shame on old Julian Street in Highlands, that was all I had to compare to…and it did me good stead because I could feel the crazy disconnect between one slow and one furious world, these two boys and their great ancient mother in this small town with palm trees and dirt roads and small houses…I was digging my own garden and watching the sea for the green flash…hearing the great birds of the tropics whose calls and songs were so much melodic compared to the harsh bickering of the magpies outside my mountain youth window…

So I sat there and smiled so deep inside for my good fortune, my luck in being privy to a new thousand looks of beauty and my present six companions:   Jon, Oscar, David, Old Mother, Old Mother Friend, and my disquisitive mind…and then Old Mother got up, and Old Mother Friend did to, and she informed Jon that she had to got to her sister’s house to get ready for the wedding and would see us all there…and with a few slow movements and the passage of time, she was gone…and in almost the same stroke, Oscar had the stereo on, speaking in cryptic parables and loud as hell, Jon having requested some punta music…It was killing the moment, and stony David requested some of the music I had played on the boat while diving…so I dug out a cassette tape of New Order and Oscar rolled the big one…

And we flew.   Flew to another place completely.   Here were the frontal truths, the rear truths and the rare truths…Bizarre Love Triangle came on, Jon and David had memorized the lyrics on the boat!   Oscar was floored, never having heard early Eighties New Wave with a poet’s lyric…We traveled inside that song on a talkative laughing spaceship, passing the joint and free-disassociating at random…within that song’s breadth I took endless naps while Oscar wrote biochemical theses on the breeze warbles…Jon and David just kept screwing their faces into pure mirth…we had an 18 year old high going, where a hue of tenderness and endless possibility free-ranged alongside joyance everywhere…the guys felt completely connected to a honky and a song…music’s power had once again shown it’s mettle, bridging rugged space between race and culture…we laughed from deep in our guts and became hermanos for this earthly life…

I was so high I thought I had died.   But then how to explain the Belikan beer and the dying sun oranging through the west window? Or how to account for the Monte Carlo’s Flames for Christ’s Sake?   How could you explain that?   This was most certainly prelude and/or harbinger—the chariot of dangerous…We were going to ride this flaming automobile into Chetumal to our hilarious demise…one on a chameleon gift of vivid erection, like a contact high from the King James Bible…

- Michael Price

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Hummingbirds of Tierra del Fuego

for Alison

Hummingbirds as big as squirrels
their wings a blur as they migrate north
along the spine of the continent

They are worshipped in the Brazilian jungles where
the Amazon sometimes flows backwards

echoes in Ecuador leaving Peruvian footprints

They say if you sit among the ruins of Machu Picchu
alone at twilight
you’ll learn how to talk to lizards

this can be useful knowledge if you ever run into a
busload of iguanas in Chile

like the hummingbirds they never sleep
& their eyes are like obsidian mirrors buried in
the sand at Tierra del Fuego

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Thanks to Michael Price & his Airstream International poetry factory for heroically cranking out Maybe Ocean Street, a set of a dozen of my poems, with sidebar poetical debris shaking loose from several, all carefully printed in a very fine hand-sewn edition.

If you want to score a copy (edition is limited to 100 copies), you can send $10 to Michael at 2032 Bluff Street, Boulder, CO 80304 (his email is

Remembering Jim Carroll

An appreciation by Lewis MacAdams in the L.A. Times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll, dead at 60

              “it’s just a feeling I have at times
              I want to live until I want to die.”

You were my horse
when I had none.

And I salute you
my brother.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Parish Cruz

                  for Micah Ballard

The bones of sunset dipped into the
tide shallows & the rocks there imprinted
with scripture of some sort
graffiti that predates any known language
or wireless reception

Some see a self-portrait in every possible cure
one god or another to pin to the sky above
but light me a candle & pour me a drink of
something darker than that bloodstained
cough syrup of the Chosen Ones

& nail the chrome to the lip of a deeper silence
beneath residual sacrificial debris, the wasted
palm trees aglow with a cheap mortality
tied like us to revolving shadows & empty psalms
that echo endlessly against an exhausted windswept
amen you can almost hear now & then

inside an empty 24 ounce Tecate can
smeared with lipstick

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


A new rock solid poetry mag out of the thin air of Boulder, Colorado.   Edited by Jeff Chester & Michael Price (with a great silkscreened cover by Evan Hecox) the mag features works from Joanne Kyger, Patrick Dunagan, Jack Collom, Eileen Myles, Noel Black, Micah Ballard, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Adam DeGraff, Jeff Chester, Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Kevin Opstedal, Christina Fisher, Michael Price, Derek Fenner, F.A. Nettelbeck, & Duncan McNaughton (also a cool little illustration on the last page by Donald Guravich).   You need to get a copy, it really ties the room together.   I expect if you emailed either of the editors ( , or they could tell you how much dinero it would take for you to purchase a copy & get it mailed to you.   It's worth it.   We all need that mainline shot of "The Poems".

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Goodbye, Dirty Machine (part 89)

Corozal was nothing like San Pedro.   It was a rural town with a bay full of San Francisco green water…coral and sand were absent from this side of the peninsula…at least from our vantage point, which was a quais-outdoor bar with picnic benches under a dilapidated canopy and a more proper inside bar with cheap tile floor, all open and dirty and great…Oscar was older-brother quick to have the first round in our hands before we even sat down outside…a nice touch of the elder states and cocksman…

We were trying to greet the Mexican wedding with a huge armory buzz, taking the hi-jinx and matrimonious air and running with it in a flaming vehicle, and rollicking in the festivities of port and lamb and beef and fish…and old grandmothers with sweet grins and beautiful little girls in white dresses shrieking and playing games…but first, we were these men on picnic benches in a rotten bar near the green water drinking yellow beer one after another and talking of women and parties and marijuana…vacation highs all around…braggadocio and cocksword tales…the guys laughing at my expense but me with fat pockets of patience…no problemo…for I looked around at where I was, took stock and issued immediate dividends: I was no where I would have guessed in two hundred eons…I was sitting with four real dudes on keen consequences in a central American country, drinking Mexican vacation Corona, looking at the verde waters of the bay thinking Nebraska, cunnilingus, and compassion…boddhichita, dhupa…pliny and thinking yes, yes, I am here in this place and I am beginning to understand that I am twisted tight with the Ramonas and Johannas of the world, these beauties of a dark hue…but mostly I had a sense that I was alone and it was profound…It was calforic…an exercise that was strengthening the mind…I saw clearly that I was still caught in the stray web of desires, but I was beginning to see the soft lines of an escape hatch on the very floor of my tremblings…I was relating to these men with open cranium and open heart…we felt youth in our tongues as the hits of raw carbo pop, drive down in the seat of our beings, into the stomach where beer is gladly accepted and honored…and before long, through the devilish isis of my eyesis I was a getting a drunken…Jon David and Oscar were right there too…so it was with wayward future thoughts of Chetumal City whores that we siphoned off the dregs of our sixth beer and piled back into that fucking Monte Carlo and headed down some slinking black highways to the house of Jon and Oscar’s mother, just minutes from our bar…

We had made it just about tea time, as two little old women sat inside the white cottage decked like an American dream, just like any country’s little old women, all Catholic and dry with heavy onus of white cross eyecast everywhere, simple and dead, dressed up like midwest America…their mother a sweet quiet penitent woman, sworn to Jesus, sworn to a life of denial, sat there with an older apple wrinkled moofy and their tea…the now of them so simple and narrow and fixed…and here two boys, sons of a murdered dad in a drug deal gone bad, and their widowed mother, nobody knowing how wild these two would still get, following their dad’s footsteps to an early grave…David had leaked to me that Jon was packing, some coke he was dealing and not wanting anyone to know…but I could tell the brothers were doing anything and everything elicit they could get their hands on…and Oscar had a fondness for the white, so Jon kept it quiet…and this quaint little scene, two poor belizian old women having religious tea with two sons home and two strangers—one gringo—and the drunken energy of an afternoon six beer buzz…I said my hellos as I was introduced and Jon talked and hugged sweetly with his mom…Oscar lived in the basement room so they simply exchanged the pleasantries of two who shared a house…we sat down on the couches and I just tried to keep up with the Spanish and watched the fruit ripen…

- Michael Price

Ultra Sonic Chopsticks

The humid smoke
dull heat & haze
have zapped, that is
sapped me
of all precious bodily fluids
except one

it seems I’ve assumed the role
of third base coach
on a Buddhist softball team

but you must learn to
carefully maneuver yr way thru
erratic hinges like
the day Superman
murdered God

modeled on the time
honored tradition
of sweat & nails

altho none of these guys
knows how to wear a hat

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green Pipe (Ventura)

A grip of tidewater
taught me more about
than your bloodstained
hands against
the smog-
filtered light

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Boom Boom Boom

Driving down the eternal 101
w/the Lightning Man
in my head & the residual
on my trail. Pulled into
Santa Barbara at noon.
St. Barbara is the
patron of artillerymen
& bombers. Her mysterious
connection with lightning.
Lightning Hopkins.
I drove down
to the beach. St. Barbara
is venerated by all who face the
danger of sudden
& violent death, but
can she carry a tune?