Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye Kodachrome

That was me then as now
plus & minus the 1963 Tijuana Thunderbird
parked forever out where the pavement meets the sea
& the girl who stuck around like hepatitis
with a fistful of loaded fingers
& a shady zip-code
We were right there for a minute or two
but the colors started to fade
even before the snapshot was developed
& that thin shadow filled her shoes
& I cut my hair
& drove north with the radio cranked up loud enough
to drown out the promises that never quite made it
The winter sun like a yo-yo
above the coast road & my eyes like
a million empty beach parking lots
Turns out forever wasn’t such a long time after all

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The revolution will be slept through

I got yr cold blue sky right here
locked in above relentless broken waves
              even colder now that the sun’s
climbed halfway there
                              your blue eyes in black & white
unblinking inside a two-way mirror
              broken glass
                              ripples in a tide pool
the way winter strums your veins
              ain’t nobody gonna shine yr sneakers
& the ragged one legged gull
                              picking at the carcass
                                                of a beached sea lion
knows something you ought to know

Monday, December 27, 2010

Loose Change

Ain't nobody gonna shine yr sneakers

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing

If I had a quarter
I could bounce it off a rainpuddle

playing a little woe-is-me for comic effect
keyed in on a month of monsoon drizzle
& empty pockets

fearing the inevitable “maybe”
on a Blank Monday

              The wind goes there to sleep it off
                                                dreaming leaves of sand
                              rustling on Xmas Island

& it’s like an endless Mardi Gras
                              if you can get there
              even if just for a minute or two

the rest of the time it’s like
crawling up the Pacific Coast Highway on a
broken pair of legs
                                                in the rain
              on an empty Sunday afternoon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mung Taco

1001 reasons why
the bastard offspring of Emily
Dickinson & Arthur Rimbaud
                              grew up to be a cross between
              the Dude & Charles Bukowski
or is it a cross between Jacques Cousteau
              & the Wu-Tang Clan?

Last night I watched the moon
wash up on the beach
in the rain
                              the blonde sand exhaling

I figured the evening star is jade
              a deep green edge
with which to
                              benchpress the winter sky

the way it rhymes with the Pacific deeps

those big kelp shoulders & monsoon eyes
promise me the company of the lost

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Breathing Underwater

Apparently there is a difference
she calls out their names
tracing the veins of each

sea   /   shell   /   glass   /  flame
              like divine scripture
the rain tipping the
              sky into the sea-
gray pavement
              begging for more

All that glitters remains
& the least of these pulls a
blade through the tide-
pool silhouette
she cradles in her cupped

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Trout Mask Replica

i.m. Don Van Vliet

Bow your eyes & head
to the duty of the dead

Friday, December 17, 2010

True Romance

for Dale Herd

Who knows what it is
divided three ways
& konked out beneath the
palm trees hovering
wearing their (own) heartshaped vibrations
like silk

& standing at the velvet gate
slashed by x’s
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
they ask, as well they should

I paddled out at Staircase anyway
late in the day & no one else in the water

Staircase is closer to County Line
& Heavens is closer to Secos

father, son & holy ghost

late & early & in-between

legendary inside somebody’s neural tapestry

I didn’t realize there was blood
all down the side of my face

Someone asked me how I felt
& I said I feel fucking great

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All the burnt kelp methadone in the world can't keep the weather map from insinuating its telepathic rhyme scheme

It’s quiet on the water
my mind goes

and the rain
mist inverted
on the sidewalk

arches of silver

must I always lead you there & back again
invariably whispers beneath the pier
the name of time

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last Chance Luau

The pineapple express derailed just
west of Samoa
the wreck could be seen on weather maps
along with associated
i.e., The Road to Xanadu
the leaves all golden now, feathers
as they fall, the lace-like skeletons of butterfly wings
                              like irony was the first mistake
taking the scenic route was the second
              the third was the black & white camouflage
                                                of her yellow polka dot kimono

Nikola Tesla conceived the earth as a conductor of
acoustic resonance, what about the ocean?
what about those high-heel huaraches?

I can’t tell the difference between the sky & the sea
knee deep in the parking lot
peeling off a wetsuit in the rain

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warp Factor

She got the silver & I got the smoke
backing into a 100 year echo
& the blonde waves so green & dense w/foam

What color was it different
all lit up in 3 & a half languages
behind dark glasses, darker
eyes, empty windows…
She used to say it that way
Our Lady Queen of the Angels
now & then on Wilshire
Blvd six blocks from the beach

I wanted to sip from the bloodshot sunset
tattooed on her ankle but idolized as something
clumsy & tropical

like a preconceived notion of fate
drenched in neon

Monday, December 6, 2010

No sense in being a poet if it's the same as being a citizen

Through the window a dust of gray light
spilled like a map of South America
out onto the sand

tipped on end like a shadow in the eyes of
reeds that bend beneath the weight of a threatening sky

a shallow sky & all the essential appliances

leading you past the gradual arrival of the tide

The rainy beach pavement stretching from here to Nagasaki
the bells & the shoreline split by a cold wind off the water

& long after it’s gone you can still hear it
rattling in the palm leaves
like dice games on the ocean floor

Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Ops

for Jimmy Dunagan

The countdown (backwards):
The Jewel of Denial
The Breeze & I
A Man at the Table
              didn’t necessarily look like Joan Crawford with a beard
Francois Villon

“A man has got to know his limitations”

different names for inconvenient body parts

There you are
& there you go

“thine true heritage”

beneath the indisputable California sky which I know you
depend upon as much as I & gaze up into it when nothing else
makes sense
                              as thankfully so little does
              cloudy or clear

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Number Four & the Number Nine

The tides repeat themselves always
the same but different

That diving seagull doesn’t make me think of
everything I’ve lost―
it makes me think of everything I
never had

for a minute

(named after a Chinese elephant)

Next to nowhere I prefer this slab
of beach concrete

doo-wah-ditty dum

Giotto dips his brush in red
paint & in one continuous stroke
draws a perfect circle

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Steel Trap

The blue sky rakes the pavement
littered with palm trees, surfboards, & footseps
going nowhere but with an
at-risk determination

& there’s a dark blue green
fish tank aura
              extending from Santa Cruz, down to Malibu
or maybe Bora Bora to

I don’t know but I’m sure of
two or three things
each of which are water soluble

The days drag on, up to a point, like dengue fever
any minute now
& the beach folds in on itself
              like a kind of wet sand origami
with wings

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BOLINAS POEMS by Jim Carroll

Poet Jim Carroll, who died in September 2009, moved to the small counterculture enclave of Bolinas, California in 1973 and lived there for 5 years.   Bolinas during that time was home to a remarkable number of poets, including Joanne Kyger, Lewis MacAdams, Robert Creeley, Duncan McNaughton and Bill Berkson, to name a few.   Of his time in Bolinas Jim said “I was a total recluse, just using the landscape”.   He was also attempting to kick heroin.   The 10 previously uncollected poems now published under the title Bolinas Poems were written during this time.   They offer a lyric window that opens and shuts on a landscape that is both external and internal.   These are tough, beautiful and essential poems by one of the purest poets that ever snapped off a rhyme.   (Available from Blue Press.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Bride of Frankenfish

The shadows in this town are all wrong
              but what does that say about the light
stalling out in the heavy ocean haze?
                              like me I guess another sea creature reciting
              the tide chart confessing to everything
                                                pure blue turquoise & slanted
              green sea beach pine logistics
as they pertain to the drum machine in the pavement
                              set alongside the spaghetti western sky
              like the jewel of denial

Monday, November 8, 2010

Live Acoustic Rust

Traffic out on the El Camino Unreal

              Waves down at the beach

Wind in the palm trees…

                              I thought it was applause

                              I thought I should take a bow

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Summer of Our Discontent

Wild Pink Yonder
The roadside palm trees turning gray in this light
              smogged & eternalized in my poems

The Premeditated Answer To A Question No One Ever Asked
like a low-fi sledgehammer in your veins
desire overrides even the purest abstraction

Chapter & Verse
A rip in the fabric of time
                              through which angels pass
& gods so old no one remembers their names
              or phone numbers

Reading Ecclesiastes Through Binoculars
I spend these days like a foreign currency
                              no clue as to the exchange rate

Friday, October 29, 2010

Always a step or two behind the slant of violet tides where even now you cultivate the rust of dreams

The fact of the water’s
the point & click corpus deliciti easily dazzled
(PAINTED luminous
                                                but tilted
              Aztec steps
              buried under-
                              the sky
                                                & the shore
of a certain age
                                                Desire as perhaps the way
                                                she literally walks
rendering the lyric equivalent
                              I suppose the pavement in
front of Taqueria Las Palmas
                                                                begins & ends
                              as the tide measures
the difference
              which between the two
is all that matters

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seaweed a go-go

I was talking to you she said (in the rain)
& so what color is “kind pity” I wondered
as precious tears lit up the sand, the wave break,
& the Indonesian bikini scorched by 1000 sunsets.
It was Tuesday in the palm trees
floating away on silken waves the color of

She said she said         all lit up & floating away
her cupped hands inventing the rain said
& the light in the palm trees scorched by
precious tears the color of Chapultepec
in the rain         Who says we’re not bleeding?
kind pity rakes the sand         I was talking
to you.   The cold green steel surging beneath the
pier, wave breaks in the line-up washed in foam
the color of Indonesian milk glass, I wondered if she
said “silk ass”      (neon lit the beach
precious jewels in the sand

1000 sunsets, give or take, & washed in foam
floating away beneath the pier like retribution

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chewing on the Foil

Midnight lights up the ambulance in your veins
tunneling through the ozone

anorexic palm trees that genuflect on the pavement
suicide priests on tropic balconies in the fog

with blonde wings out of forever
                              slapping up against the concrete sky…

Transcribe it light or dark, almost pink, fading
the way my heart does as these rocks juggle the tide

raining power chords down upon the jetty all
x’d out in the wet sand of your eyes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nothing but a shadow on the sand

It’s raining at the beach
                              flickering           ocean smooth pebbles
& the consequence
                                                a deeper blue regret
prolongs the pantomime Q&A session

                              ala Rimbaud, or Spiderman

& every memory a scar
being 10 months into a habit yet clear enough to
catch each tear
                                                before it gets here

if you want to know where you’ve never been

Light succumbs to its own listening
              just as the burden of that mechanism
is reduced to breathing marks
                              scored on the beach pavement

              where I dodge silver bullets aimed right at my spleen

                              Keats called it negative capability

& I watch each wave flickering
              as in a grainy gray snuff film

currently playing at the bottom of a rainpuddle

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taco Tuesday

A lot of nothing fills in the blanks.

Dreamed last night that my body was covered in poorly rendered petroglyph tattoos.   It was disheartening.

Fog machine working this morning.   Streets look like a scene out of an old Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman movie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Luna Tiki

It was only the breeze I guess
gargling a harmonica on the beach at
                              perched on an elbow of concrete
The shattered plate glass implicit in her
mortuary gaze
              The I didn’t ask & she
never told me latitudes
                              ripening in the blue smog later
slowly grinding her hips
              inside an adrenaline kimono
                              on Pico near Omar’s Tacos
something no one will ever remember
or forgive

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blood on the Remote Control

Dealing lost time on the moon in
someone else’s shoes
could put a dent in even
my own sunbleached eyes
                                          & by 3pm the fog
somehow shuts down the sky
                              though it’s still warm

“Earthquake Weather” they
used to call it
                                                when I was a kid
                                                                                    in L.A.
The distance from there to here
                                                                  I’ve decided
is what lifts the dimestore glitter off the tide
sworn to faraway eyes & a few choice tears
like drifting sand in the Paleolithic diorama
in your head

& I said take a walk with me
              ten thousand years from now
like it was yesterday

Thursday, October 14, 2010

G-Force Twang

All night another day
strumming the coast highway

I left a crease in the mirror
to save my place

while out on the beach
each wave folded into itself
closer than that hazy distinction might imply

the homage of incessant obligation

crushed veins & all the immaculate details
empty the rain from violet tubes of sunset
into unanimous tidepools
spiked with silver beads
strung out along insect balconies

beneath the bonsai fortune palms

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That Beatnik Spirit Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

While the US did nothing about the USS Cole attack
bin Laden read a poem about it

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not for Nothing

Whatever’s lost, strictly from silence
& a weary fuck you salute tapping the jugular
L   o   o   k       A   w   a   y
The rocking hips, the dark, the
long lost field of poppies in thumbprint neon
On the left bicep―a wave inside a circle
                              Inside left forearm―“The Poems”
              Inside right forearm―a nautical star
All of it gone & this one as well
never so gently
the other side of the beach
not even the charm of a doubt
w/midnight wings of albatross
befeathering the heavy coastal haze

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stuck in an Elevator

Moonlight sun-
shine prying mist from the habitual swamp
of me trying to ace a corner of eternity

Egypt doesn’t work in this translation
Babylon, maybe
like a trial balloon

It was all a dream
like a haircut
Sister Morphina in the wraparound tide
taking the acid bath for all los sinners

I wanted to be the one to smear her rust-colored lipstick

knowing what it all was going to mean

& her eyes were wet stones
cobbled at the edge of the sea

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tap Dead Center

Facts like the late show
burning out in sunset colors
including all the dark mist lifted from
strangled candles
& I thought reliquary
the disparity which makes
her hyped crucifix glow in the
dripping alleys of consecration
& from the sleave of midnight
solicits obituary bells

not that I’d tank the hallelujah
alongside a bloodstained cadillac
but with damp ocean eyes attend
the shadow of her native tongue
& map the tropic of every barefoot pirouette
landing like Ensenada pavement
torched with neon
shimmering the way the tide does
inoculated by milkfed needles

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hula Roach

Alone as now feeling like a dented fender
I buzzed my way back thru 19 beers
defining the way the fog reacts
on both sides of a loaded steel guitar

She was waiting for me when I got there
her name’s Epiphany
she was wearing a Peloponnesian bikini
two sizes too small
              & it’s like a contest winner’s tears
                              starting fires at the bottom of the ocean

for a split second there it’s so beautiful
                                                                        nobody notices

but one remove from the look away tango
& my lungs pump sand beneath the pier
cradled by the drizzle tide like Saigons of
parkinglot disdain & lamentation

hoisting the amphetamine pez dispenser
in the elegant wreckage of yet another
bloodred turquoise sunset

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

20 Fathoms Down

My ancestors used to eat their cheerios
out of a bowl carved from a human skull

that’s what made surfing The Cage so tasty
in the early 70s
                              in Venice

              The all night girls
              out on the boardwalk
                                                I figured they were the
                              daughters of memory
& of course I had to take up with the one that
              had eyes like a page torn from a
                                                                        stolen book

She translated my tattoos
& stuck her tongue in my ear

              We spent that summer on the PCH
                                                two objects, in motion

speed-shifting past the cemetery

                              I kept one hand on the wheel
              & the other between her legs

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Listening to the wind skip like a broken needle

The 4 walls of scattered clouds
                              stapled to an abalone sunset
              & the concrete steps to the beach below

A not quite parallel universe
              versus a jingle-jangle breakdown where you cave in to a sort of sleep

                                          To be subsumed

She said, “I hate to say I told you so” & then she did
                              Ear to the ground as if through channels hollowed out in the mind itself

Part of my mind is an old scratched & warped Stooges album
                                                the other part is an impossibly flawless wave
              one you can ride for 300 miles

                              the last part is entitled “The Neon Palisades”

              Dark sky (via telepathy) darker water
                                                                i   n   d   i   g   o       t   i   d   e

                                                                She turned & began to
cascade vertically on the wet pavement

                                          but a pale twist of smoke before the flame jumps up from the
                              dry grass & dead weeds
pale fingers, scattered clouds, abalone palisades
spilling like concrete steps
                                                                              into the sand

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system

Before anyone got here
a kind of disease
just not as impetuous

One returns to
a clumsy mortality at best
              & ankle deep
as it was still possible
                              (like the LXXXI Canto printed on a grain of sand)
to leap from the edge of yourself

                                                ie, the beer bottle window ledge balcony

but blue blue water cut w/white foam
              (as the seagull said to Obysseus)
Leucothea, submerged
                              prayer flags whipping in the winds of chance

in the wind, anyway

expecting all that is oblivious
& tender

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sneaking a Drink w/the Tiki Blonde

I remember leaving in the middle of something
my shoelaces were untied
& my throat was dry.   It may have been Saturday
morning.   I had memorized the way the dog barked
at 2 a.m. on a moonless night.   The sky dark the
pavement still warm.

                                                If I had a gun I
couldn’t wait to use it.
                                                                Blank pages in the
              Jim Nod Variorum,
                                                a picture of the Tupelo surf
hanging from the rear view,
                                                                      empty beer cans
                              rolling around under the seat.

The last day of summer lasted 3 months.

The light squared up between tides.

I was alone in the line-up.   It was always “locals only”
which meant god wasn’t invited.

There was a cloud parked on the horizon.
I thought it looked like an albatross drumstick
marinated in phosphorescent kool-aid.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glass Beach

A variegated bloodred silver
bending late & early autumnal tides
sparing me a memory of the future as it never was


                                          (some blank Sunday
              tilting like a benediction


i   n   c   i   d   e   n   t   a   l         m   u   s   i   c
                                          (for accordion & diesel guitar )

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The beatific druggist of 1804

another bottle washes up in the cemetery
a bottle etched in the sand of someone
they stand like that in the dark
in the glossy village
I ordered the napalm, por favor
the young assassin spends Friday at the beach
ladies night in the palace of thunder
out on the porch the fly-strip is waving like a flag
sometimes it's one song bleeding
lifting a finger to her lips a sound gathers
at the intersection of 23rd St. & Hiroshima
delivering roses to the sky
all over the map of Tuesday in a black Batman t-shirt & shades
that's my aura

Friday, September 17, 2010

Needles on the Beach

1/ Once Steve McQueen gets hold of the 12-gauge pump shotgun in The Getaway all prior theories of prosody turn into a thin brown fluid of some sort.

2/ Dr. Strangelove, on the other hand, should be seen on a double bill with The Manchurian Candidate & the collected poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

It might lead to some mirth.

3/ The last time I had mirth it came with an ankle rash.

3a/ Insert here a vision of St. Jude carrying a water pistol & a framed photograph of Pearl Buck.

"I don't know man, my heart got lost in transit."

I read "lonely" ocean when the word was "lovely"
(must be something wrong with my eyes, but then, why not
"lonely ocean"?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleeping on a Dime

...dark blue (& heavy)

went out of business some time during the Pleistocene

playing the Biographia Literaria Blues, part 2
on a seaweed guitar

we could hear it coming from the rusty side of the cypress grove
just me & her
& Blind Willie McTell
                                                                in the shallows
              not far from a secret break I call Tombstones

Dive into the sand & come up with a handful of rain

              there is no center / there are no edges

other nights & days & not much left over
pyramids in back of the ocean
                                                porcelain, concrete, linoleum
                              no longer there

knowing what time it is by the way she turns her head
in the light just so

& the shadow in the rear view mirror is Hollywood
I suppose

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Field Guide to Unconsciousness

Be assured there is a ghostly presence
              whatever the hell else is going on
something imaginary & for keeps
rocking the glow-light
                                                & the exposĂ©
lazy (lysergic)
              darker than thou
You claim your ancestors are carved jade
                              (plastic) & oceanic
              but no rain any minute now
The streets all warped in the sun the
darker it gets
              a circle of water on the water
Ventilator Blues, The Upanishads,
                              Thug Life, aka “The Poems”
              you could hear the needle when it hit
& the bells & a seacolored urgency
spilled like blood on the sand
                                                agate, jade, quartz
                              aforesaid by Circe
I cut down the alley
              the eucalyptus leaves knew my name
                              carved in oceanic jade darker than the
plastic debris that lined the beach
                                                Anyway it was summertime
              beyond certain flowers
                                                                & damp
with the light misquoted by broken eyes
                              carved from the ocean haze

Friday, September 10, 2010

Air Pocket

Slip into something uncomfortable

a stunning halo effect

              steeped in heavy breathing

                              before it ever starts to glass off

w/obituary bona fides & a burnt spoon

as you haul your silhouette

              thru the quicksand nativity scene

                                                into the blue sparkle

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The use of sunglasses to induce invisibility

Dark blue turquoise & slanted
littered w/pages torn from a bootleg
catalog of sunsets
                              but all of it built w/pieces of colored glass,
smoke, peacock feathers & mandolin strings
HYPNOTIZED by a single
                                                rusted-out palm tree
                              rattling in the wind

& it was light or dark out there
w/the air transparent & buzzing the neon sand
as I would expect nothing more than the measured pulse
of the tide to pace my own uncertain heart all this time
although maybe just a half-step behind

& the beach is tilted in the fog
                              like a bikini in the refrigerator
              sweating out the last day of summer

Monday, September 6, 2010


The sand shifts beneath the wash of waves.   I test the water, thinking of all the shadows I had to step through to get here.   What about the hall of mirrors between my ears?   Just another attraction at the deserted amusement park that wears my shoes.   A slow sky bending back over the ferris wheel, the loop, the bumper cars, immaculate greenery, weeds, broken glass, gold teeth, Pompeii, Hermosa Beach, TeotihuacĂ n, a whalebone cello w/barbedwire strings, barefoot eucalyptus spiderwebs, warm beer at 3 in the morning, & all of it thereby assembled like an ancient alphabet.   The steam-driven calliope churning underwater.   Bells in the kelp grove.   Greek astronomy.   Lee Marvin.   A slab of concrete rotting on the beach.   I’ve got a hymnal full of the stuff.   All tricked out & rationalized like a full-metal bikini swamp shimmering in the dark.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

There’s a UFO up there

To me it looked like a
big-ass Cadillac convertible
customized in Martian chrome
alien & illegal I suppose
like complicated recipes for day-old bread
needle haikus
a homemade neon telescope
an intergalactic helicopter distilled from the
bluish silver-green haze
tied with a pink ribbon

the sky sort of drifted away
while the coast road just got heavy

something to do with the
Jetsons-go-surfing architecture
& the time of day

plus the cosmic convergence of 10,000 seagulls
maybe two or three more than that
wheeling in a great feathered vortex

the ocean flat from here to Okinawa

every greenish silver-blue molecule

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spahn Ranch Dressing

At Terminal Island in the 1960’s
Alvin Karpis taught Charles Manson
how to play the steel guitar

Friday, September 3, 2010

On a Wing (Frozen Pipe)

It’s an onshore wind that sweeps the beach clean
as the sun goes down & I tip back the last Corona
in my sleep before the fog slides over the water
the way the Sirens always did in The Odyssey
& armed w/cigarettes & fear I pull to the
side of the road to let the ambulance pass
I wake up at 5am the fog is chewing up the
dark I can smell the ocean spilling in thru the open window
I visit Joanne & Donald who are living on a massive houseboat
                                                a triple-decker Donald calls it
              Joanne says they’re sailing it to Fiji soon
                              Everyone speaks Russian in Fiji, Joanne tells me
She is bestowing great wisdom upon me
              I know this is true becuase I can’t understand any of it
as I’m leaving she hands me two books
              The Tropic of Concrete
                              & A Streetcar Named Virgil
I wake up & go back to sleep
cleverly step to either side & the machine tumbles past
just like Lew Welch said it would
                                                shadows in grass skirts
strumming the pavement (when I woke up I realized
              that the law of the jungle
                              has the same zipcode as the Heartbreak Hotel

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Drop Ship From Hong Kong

Nautiloid Reef
The sun reaches down thru
twilight eucalyptus

I told her I thought it was worth about
a half a minute of silence

nailed to the shadow of a palm tree

The Flipside

Wet sand, beach concrete, neap tide
              & a kind of melted plastic Buddha-Land

Don’t Look Back
A late summer fade in velvet

Long Gone

She wore those suicide pearls
              & I was about halfway there

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rocked by waves of nightshade turquoise

The moist, dislocated air
bought & paid for w/an ounce of
ocean haze

leaning into each wave

explains your eyes filled w/broken mirrors

like you had someplace to go

your heart like a sledgehammer

& the long way back across the sand

Friday, August 27, 2010

And you’ll never hear surf music again

It’s probably summertime on Mars
where the fog settles in & the surf is
more like a smear campaign than red dirt
in your sneakers.
                                      It’s always 1974 in L.A.
the red tide smells like blood
& I’m not old enough to know any better
stepping across dead things on the beach as seagulls
carve up the smog.
                                            I’d rather be conducting my own
private Monsters of Poetry jam session in my head
instead of worrying about money 24/7 but that’s
just how the Grecian urn crumbles these days.
If the halo fits
                                  get yourself a golden crowbar.
Some folks get their kicks reading the clincal assessment
me I 360 off the Tijuana pipe collecting silver spoons
& if they don’t bend I weep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Psycho Killer

Assuming that a pelican’s wing can tip the sky on end
              as the wind skips
                                                like a broken needle
                              across the rippling pavement
your fingers strum the edge of a blade
Beneath the waves
              bajo de las olas
w/a flooded carburetor & a busted tail light
c   o   r   a   l       g   r   i   e   f
reflected in rain puddles (your eyes)
your eyes

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Depending on a thread of smoke

The morning was schooled in logic
              expecting money in the mail
& bleeding all over your prescription
                              printed in invisible ink

I tried translating the inscription but
              my latin is rust & my eyes are blue
& if you read The Cantos backwards
                              they sound more like a harmonica
              than a chainsaw does

Dark sunglasses, blue toenail polish, & a
              string of iron pearls wait for you where
the white sky bends into a turquoise fadeaway
                              an inch or two above the palisades
              which just like you is swept by an epic indifference

& she reads the sutras in braille
              her lips pressed against each syllable as she
counts every bloodred nail in the sunset

Monday, August 16, 2010

Through the Air Vent

The opening act was a Hawaiian ukulele klezmer band
from Tibet
                              the perfect address for a tombstone
              powder blue w/rust discoloration
                                                                a bumper sticker so faded it’s
now the ghost of a message
                                                a leap of bad faith
                              torn paper so much like broken glass
cobwebs & tidepools & rocks that blink when stared at
tenderly collapse
                                                & you sail away on an iron wing
scorching the counterfeit bottle of pills left on a shelf of
sea mist
              a shelf that dissolves at your touch
& like sunlight tuning up inside a drop of water my eyes
ping-pong across the strings
                              destined for harmonies usually reserved for
a punk guitarist with epilepsy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thrown From A Rooftop Downtown

Like someone dropping a neon ice cube into a
virgin bloody mary
& the streetlights snap on all at the same time
a virgin bloody mary is a bloody shame
I’m offering you 20 miles of empty pavement
Ralph Ellison in camouflage coveralls
a single fin balsawood toothpick surfboard
& my love,
                              for what it’s worth,
              after you take that step
                                                & the next,
                              I mean the one after the last
where you’re still waiting for the rescue mission
that never got the call
              & the sky seizes up the way your heart does

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Clean Up On Aisle 9

Words written on a widescreen sheet of paper
                              flickering like my heart
              tying to maintain a kind of equilibrium
                                                when I should just 360 into a freefall
                              running down the molecules
                                                                        like a tropical dust storm
                                                in the middle of the ocean

clouds cut from the same damp cloth
                              spill their guts to a girl named Squeaky
              who folds up the beach
                                                like a piece of aluminum foil

Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Toes Over

Strains of an offshore zydeco riding in on the waves
                                                Not many Cajuns in the line-up
              the jetty painted by autumnal tides & the moon
                                                tracing the brush strokes back to
                              a purpose, a meaning
                                                                          I can only guess at, I guess
& cash in on seven deadly sins plus one that’s really beautiful
                              like driving to Chinatown
                                                                                  for tacos
hypnotized by the pearl you wear around your neck
                              embalmed in sea mist all summer long
              with nothing but a plastic spoon to dig your way out

great music at three in the morning

              palm trees bending to drink from your cupped hands

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And then they were upon us

I can feel what’s left of my brain
rattling like small change
in a beggar’s cup
the chill of a dying summer in the air
sea tangle, smoke, maybe wings
twisting in the grip of the tide
dark hollows, salt cold water, waves, plumes
you had that “let’s get hammered” look in your eyes
              a moderate southwest swell
                              turning to glass when the wind shifts
& a skeleton hand reaches in
              offering you a bite-size morsel of concrete
                                                the first one’s free but I’m seeing double
skidding past a blessed yet
                                                                sleazy euphoria
                              whenever you tiptoe through the tidepool
hung up in the middle of the wrong
                                                                              audio mixology
as fog drops the shade on a flawless wave
                              on the way to something humongous

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Talking Pipes

A handful of vitamins & a beer for breakfast
              seawater, sand & motor oil for lunch
                                                I don’t remember if I had any dinner
                              I don’t remember how Ezra’s IVth canto ends
but the palm tree still bends beneath the weight
              of all that ocean colored haze as I
hide my eyes behind bloodshot RayBans
                              trying to decide whether I should
crawl beneath a rock or hop in the Ranchero
                                                & floor it all the way back to Venice
                              in reverse
                                                                A last meal on the bottom of a
swimming pool, everything went turquoise, & the next
thing I knew it was Roman Polanski Day
              veering away from your discordant shadow
& the puddle of bourbon pinned to your negligee...
                              300 miles later we bought some tacos
it was Tuesday, or something,
              & I hadn’t eaten in a year

Saturday, August 7, 2010

57 Cigarettes

I was busy lunging into focus
bending spoons against a wall of rain
& when I turned she was standing there & her
eyes were chrome replicas of the chalice
exempt from the rigors of consecration

Target Practice
That arrow in the heart
wasn't lodged there it
was just passing thru

Love Buzz
The heroine was on heroin
as was the hero
She's wearing her atomic kimono
& he's at ground zero

Thursday, August 5, 2010


That ripple of neon, a tarnished mirror
smeared w/lipstick

a lump of lord have mercy & vapor trails feathering out

damp ocean eyes

a strange case, in black & white,
hitting the beach or what’s the use

damp shadows in the fog

              the Cosmic Burger, the Moby Taco, the
              24 hour drive-thru pharmacy & delicatessen

                              I’ve been here before, I said, but not like this

confusing rabies with rabbis

the buddhist rabbi, the chain-smoking vegan yoga instructor
& her dog,
              the murderer watering his lawn,
                                                the neighbors said he
kept mostly to himself was very quiet & smiled
when he swept the driveway

but you wore the eucalyptus nail polish anyway & the smog
& the pampas
                              w/room for paranoia & glorification
              the next in line & the one after that
a bowl of chili, a cup of coffee & my next tattoo

              The night slips away
                              the day turns to glass

a love affair w/opiates

damp ocean eyes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jesus Wrecked My Stuff

A heaving death slab of water with a door in it
              like something cut away from your heart
& broken wristwatches & gulls
                              running across the cement
at the mercy of spider webs spun with silver thread
              or gold thread carved from Mexican teeth
with dreams of Tahiti in the rain strung across guitars
numb with the relentless details,
                              the bloodred pink flamingos, the crosses for sale,
the coast highway bending like smoke
              beneath bikinis & mudslides
& we’re hollow-eyed lifers wrecked on the steps of
                              an acetylene sunset burning itself out now
              above a spoonful of wet sand

Sunday, August 1, 2010


What is the use of talking and there is no end of talking
There is no end of things in the heart.

                                                                  —Ezra Pound

The sky turning from rose to rust, from rust to glass
the way it is in the blood
              The way it is in the purple blood of a fuchsia
if it was bleeding onto the pavement
A drizzle, a stain, a bruised puddle
                              lit by the torch that nobody carries
The one with wings, & the other
assigned to a darker place
              where crystals grow like chevrolets
& I’m sipping from a bottle of sand reaching for another
                                                                                  seaweed cigarette
like the shadow of a wave that has yet to break
                              as the voice-over in rainy esperanto evaporates
from the iridescent scartissue
of one last kiss

Friday, July 30, 2010

Like a Giant Microwave

All that dark turquoise spilling over
& the beach bent out of shape on the other side of the
jetty plus or minus the sharkskin wetsuit
              just as the shadow of a wrecking ball reflected
in mirror shades demolishes your lo & behold
stranded somewhere in the middle of a three day
nocturne like a light burning in the refrigerator
                                                even when the door is shut
the way steep parables in the blood
                              assume the pitch of desire
at the cobble of beachbreak foams
              & the risk implied as the dropping tide helps
speed things up like a black tar reckoning
on the pier at high noon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Abba Zabba

orchid     rust     bell     splash     dark     under     haze
ocean     concrete     drift     shadow     seaweed     rain
acetylene     reprieve     rippling     altar     switchfoot
tulip     star     cloud     fiberglass     Topanga     drainage
Coppertone     silk     amber     Mexico     blossom
wire     smoke     apocryphal     ringtone     blade     sunset
gasoline     sand     phantom     thunder     engine     twist
Martian     tequila     flames     rocking     mirror     transport
cutback     whomp     drizzle     iron     breath     Santa Cruz
taco     vapor     guitar     haiku     needle     buzz     clutch
submerged     damp     silver     watusi     tidepool
turquoise     motel     bubble     fever     thrust     tears
neon     detour     stomp     rattle     blood     fuck

Friday, July 23, 2010

Street Legal

Something swims out of the diluted plasma
of the western sky, (pink
is the new blue), the answer to the question “Why not?”
on the tip of my tongue, 96 Tears,
THE LONG GOODBYE, a skatewheel, a
pelican, the silhouette of a smile
                              in the backseat of a murdered-out Chevy Malibu
& the rusty nail that makes my heart jump when you
slide into a barefoot tango that carries you smack into the vanishing point
& beyond
                        where you sleep standing on your head, counting the
              money you don’t have
                                      w/a picture of what drowning really looks like
tattooed on your instep

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Wanna See You Bellydance

Velocity is absolute the
various & the abbreviated
shattering like church windows
just before it rains

the surf like a slow train strumming
diesel strings bent across the spine

as if there was a chance for escape but that’s
another tape measure shot on a scale of one to ten
the way sunlight slaps the wet sand

I want to see it turn the same color as Ensenada
tied to a kicthen chair beneath a
                                                single bare low-watt

                              that has a happy face painted on it

& you’re eaten up by shadows so it’s hard to tell if
you’re there at all
                                                humming softly to yourself
              combing out your eyes
& getting all emotional about the crease in your bourbon

Strange how easy it is & yet you still manage to sweat it out
I mean fold up like the corner of a velvet painting
in a cheap motel

Monday, July 19, 2010

Snake Eyes

Latin Jazz
All the Mexicans were speaking Italian
but the coastal haze kept my eyes blue
                              just a fogdrift slide-step from here
              perched at the water’s edge
                                                w/a slow death compass blade
                              & a one-track mind

Sign Language
The silverplated drizzle pawning your unavoidable
trophies while the knot of your heart
disappoints the witnesses threatening twang & climax
when the money’s gone
& the neon residue beneath your fingernails
lights up every hopeless caress

Late night double feature
A Fist Full of Dollars, and
For A Few Dollars More

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fuel Injection

My heart rattles like a sick whore
& my head’s nothing more than
a pebble skipping on the surface
& it’s all surface

The deep dark is everywhere in
varying degrees
like a trampoline in the buffer zone
                              the arch of whatever
              littered with dark white Modelo cans
                                                falling thru the lemon
                                                                              jello sky

                                                gone gone gone

              It’s as the man said
              there’s nothing left to die

& back on the silver side of your creepy rebirth
all the precious little chosen ones google your name

I never thought I’d become a bitter old man
but then I never thought I’d feel like I was going to pass out
in the supermarket checkout line either

I’ve got $3.98 in my pocket

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Church of the Open Sky

With day-glo highlights
like those
ancient psychedelic images
that bent your eyes
a handful of dead brain cells ago

out of the blue & into the damp

“True Prophesy” in metallic blue paint
on the side of a dirty white Ford pick-up

Rosecrucians? Hare Krishnas?

whoever they were they had a long way to go

& Our Lady of Easy Virtue boils water on the beach
as you clutch yr one-way ticket
& the wind conducts a symphonic interlude for circular violin
& ukulele banjo

klaxon horn

ambulance siren

& a choir of ballpeen hammers

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ride of the Valkyries

I’ve got this green
baseball cap
w/a Yater
Santa Barbara Surf Shop
insignia sewn on the
front & on the
back along the bottom edge
is embroidered
“Charlie Don’t Surf”
which is a nice touch for
them what knows
but the real kicker is that today I
looked at the label
inside the hat
& it read
“Made in Vietnam”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Found A Reason

I got lost in the surfonic
angel of mercy sounds
(you had to be there)
eyes like cheap wine on windy tincup streetcorners
                              Pacific & Windward
              Venice & Lincoln
                                                Ocean & Wipeout
It took a long time to learn how to swan dive into a
spoonful of rust
                              & Mexican rock & roll kept the sidewalk crooked
all the way to the beach & back
              lifting a pale blue eyelid to the suicide drumroll
carrying a dinged-up waterlogged surfboard
                              past the head shop on Pico
w/bongo windchimes knocking in the late afternoon seabreeze
              buried in the sweet summer smog

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Man w/Two Left Hands

Reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards
in Samoan or
sweating out the final chapter of what turned out to be your life
when nothing simmers on the lid of
the fog & the long paddle out
undone by those wet kisses
& your heart
wired to the ping-pong ball that bounces on the horizon

“borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God”

not to mention the barefoot parking lot

The skeletons of beer cans the
tears on velvet set alongside your last dollar
                              in the dark (but not dark enough)
              where blossoms unwind like serial killers
& I rob the shadow of a liquor store w/a squirt gun

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dance Like a Robot

You pretend you’re available but then
you are so precise
& as perfectly timed as a spilled drink

or those letters you write so
carefully that no one can read them

& the long arm of suicide reaches in
at 3 in the morning laying down impossible odds
but I just don’t know...

put a dollar sign on something when I die

fading into the night of another day
a stomp-down Book of Dreams starring
              Jimmy Reed, Tsongkapa, William Carlos Williams
& the Lighthouse All-Stars

Paradise goes thud
topped with garnished wages
& black silk bourbon
taking a bite out of the porcelain

like an African blonde wading thru the seaweed

& the wind kicks up off the water
slurring like a wrecked gull

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No Place Special

Working my way down to absolute zero
is a full time job
plus the weight of a couple fluttering

sort thru whatever’s left

on the perimeter

lit by the torch that nobody carries

television test pattern tape delay
“the name of God”

It’s kinda late for an early grave

slip a cake of Sex Wax in my pocket
embalm me with seawater

but since seawater is probably already running
in my veins

better make it tequila

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pissing on the Sidewalk

One night you remember the sink full of ice cubes
& the screendoor chiaroscuro sectioning every loose molecule
of moonlight
              & the Tibetan Book of the Dead stencil kit
                                                spread out across the bed
the way chopsticks circle eternity on the map of her hips
& a seagull swims thru this poem at the wrong time
                              but it all happens so fast you
forget to load your stun gun
sweating on a circumstantial street corner in Santa Monica California
like an orchid with a bloody nose

              It might hurt but it’s awful pretty she said

                              20,000 leagues beneath the parking lot

                                                where the shadows of palm trees sway
                                                behind my sunglasses

& like a shipwreck in a bottle the sky caves in & the tide rolls out
& the horizon sharp as a curved blade held to the throat of sunset
shimmers like a thin line of bluegreen neon lip gloss

while everything else looks as though it’s reflected in a hubcap
at 200 miles per hour

Friday, July 2, 2010

Closing Theme w/Residual Twang

The sky was all bleached out
there was glass in my sneakers
I had to walk all the way back

The power of one
plus one more
              like a volleyball full of sand rolling across
the ocean floor
                              I was looking for my harmonica
at the time
you can take it as far as you want
                                                Tierra del Fuego
launching a boomerang into the Bermuda Triangle
& her cigarette like a torch when she laid back on the prayer rug

1001-plus dark nights of the soul
bought & paid for
                              a tangle of seaweed
                                                complicated dreams

                              a 30 page haiku
                              w/a limited slip differential

& a vision of the Pacific Coast Highway
like a wall of water
w/a door in it

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Some late & early morning
fog on stilts & the
backstage pinwheel orchestra
pounding out the 445th chorus
of Heartbreaker
& if you consider how life here has
become like a polished chrome
quaalude at the bottom of a swimming pool
then you’d hike your skirt up for me
when the sun drops like a shot bird
pulling the mist over your eyes
which are still the color of bourbon
in a shot glass
held up to the very last ray
of pale gold sunlight

Monday, June 28, 2010


Just as tears tumble through
those shipwrecked eyes in the mirror upended
like a subliminal Hawaiian vacation
so that it’s Ventura last night or
Santa Cruz on the other side of
Pacific Pipe & Glassworks
              (I recognized the bloodstains later
              in the flimsy morning fog)
Imperial Beach
                              the dark side of the tortilla
an elbow of sand bumping up against
a shoulder of concrete (Malibu)
I love the way you hold Gethsemane between your breasts
when you say “Maybe” & the psychosexual resolve
              arching the spine of sunset
the shadow of a neon six-pack swinging from a
quicksilver pendulum blade
as all the groovy reasons w/sticky fingers & glimmering
repeat themselves
                              on the wet sand at minus tide

Friday, June 25, 2010

LO & BEHOLD by Joanne Kyger

Wow.   Lo & Behold is so terrific, I am blown away hither & yon & back again.   The poems are simply brilliant & w/the exceptional drawings by Donald Guravich the whole package catches air like a 360 rip off the edge of the tsunami that never arrived.   Pamela really digs the boke as well, she says “wonderful” & “inspiring”.   (Wonderful is such a great word―wonder full.)   Lo & Behold is the first volume in the Voices from the American Land Series.   You can find out more here.

Surfin’ with the Astronauts

for Joanne & Donald

This small beach town is big enough to get lost in
to disappear the way the fog does
(around noon)
                              & the sky leans in with its lo & behold
& the parking lot goes boom
w/the switchfoot chicken gods of the tribal
surf crew anointed by needle & ink

The Dragon in the Waves

                              The Orient Express

                                                confused us

I’ve always leaned more toward a punk taoism myself

Every day in the year condensed to
every year in a day
mockingbird, crow, seagull, starfish

Where else in the world do redwoods & palm trees thrive
side by side?

The clouds roll back in around sunset the fog
pushes the sky aside & it’s summertime on the central coast

The black lady behind the counter at the liquor store
always asks me how the surf is out there.   I don’t know her name
& she doesn’t know mine

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Satellite Reception

like a bird spinning in the
dark of your eyes explaining the need for sleep
a vicious morphine cycle of truth like beauty
w/Keats & a bag of seashells

                              Breath is interesting I said
              doesn’t mean any less so
                                                entering that space as treasure
                              some other time

which is here balancing on one foot in front of the firing squad
changing your name to Abigail Nightshade, Atlas Prozac, T. Horse Gomez, or Connor Batwing & with the fog hanging just a few miles off the coast I swear the sky is bruised & I keep hearing the opening chords of Black Sabbath playing Iron Man in my head when I paddle out & the moon puts a dent in the tide

Monday, June 21, 2010

Temporary Tattoo

So easy to tough it out
searching for that heartshaped
tsunami like hand-carved flames
clinging to a lopsided survival intinct

& you want to lean over the piano
punching holes in the rain

knuckles of moonlight
street junk bingo
a seagull flying backwards

I waxed my board
I navigated the slanted pavement
I lit fires in the kelp grove
              underwater with a homemade
              banjo & a flashlight
                              sad like a broken wristwatch
I know so much about nothing
girls with turquoise lipstick
& names like Diptheria, Typhus, Encephalitis
tiptoe across my spookier thoughts
in rubberband bikinis

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gone (an orphaned quote)

O fahter, fahter
gone amoong

O eeys that loke

Loke, fahter:
your sone!

Friday, June 18, 2010

We can’t live in the present forever

The pressure of tides
                                                an iridescence
              ocean sunset in a trance

You sing I
count syllables
                              the air just flips
                              & dies

& in the distance maybe you can see
Rip van Heyerdahl
                              on the deck of the
                                                sinking whaleboat Kon Tiki
              signaling with a flashlight

The streets here all detour to the land of Nod
              or simply evaporate
either way returning us to the one true original premise
                              from which there is no escape

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dissolving Pearls in Gasoline

The blue sky sifts down
thru the grillwork haze
to flatten the beach
& the waves kinda
whisper an indifferent
“adios” that just hangs there
somehow unresolved
making my knees ache
with the implied denial
like when you do that
seagull strut across the parking lot
rattling in the 32 chambers
of my heart
& I spent 20 years tracking down that
line in The Cantos
& I drove all the way there
& back in 36 hours
& my eyes were blurry pools of blue
static interrupted by 57 cans of Tecate
confessing the sunset pavement
the ocean dark with the blood of fuchsias
& the day I was born
& the day I found out
& the day my father died

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A man walks into a bar carrying an octopus

Stranded beneath twisted palm trees
sipping at the pale sunlight that
              tunnels thru a thin layer of smog
to light up roses & pelicans
                              wrecked on adrenalin & perfume
knowing the indulgences
lifting the cloud cover
                              several tons of damp
                                              not to mention sun tan lotion
excluding the fish-bone tuning fork
halo effect
                              ROOMS OF OPEN SKY
& the ripple trail in Latin
landing on water
              as one could summon bare puddles
collapsing into their own reflections
like the relics of a failure you could never surrender
to traffic rituals
                              or fevered lips
stung by salt spray lifted from the marathon tide
              steeped in heavy breathing I thought
like a Japanese wrist
                              caressed by a silver blade

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bong Water Babies


How is it your reflection precedes you?

This room here trimmed in black-yellow sunlight
broken glass of angelic origin
bits of rotted cellophane, colored paper, foil
fishing lures? a panorama

plate glass           regarded physically as
beach glass           supercooled liquids rather than
stained glass           true solids; a windowpane
safety glass           a mirror, a barometer, etc
art glass
water glass

(all of the above shattered)

the inner mind, the hidden heart

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Catch & Release

I drove 500 miles
just to dive from the
edge of your pure white bliss
into a spoonful of
broken concrete

Beach Parking

baby moons

Picturehorse Heaven

Like unkept promises
whispering in the palms
the day John Coltrane discovered
he was Jesus’s son

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cheat Sheet

They’re eyes were silver
listen (if you can listen                     Take the Bend
indulge me that
“…millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams,
somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls…” [Melville]
v   e   l   c   r   o         t   e   a   r   s
spinning                 1.
wheels                   you think of one color & then
of morphine         another (color) the sky
                                  a cement slab w/wings
on the beach
too cold                 2.
we are                   bells & snapshots (assembled)
ships                         3.
                                 “They eyes was silver”
& eventual plumes of mist

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Antiseptic Tank

From over yonder the traveling
circus & the seagreen mermaid
w/smeared lips & tequila earrings
These are the days of thread & gravel she
says like Mexican hula stripes on the hood of a
suicide Chevelle
                              All that tell-tale signage & reprisal
              you know? Furious windchimes
                                                made of fingerbones & glass
                              hang from the palomino sky
& just a step away from your tambourine
balcony the tattoos & clarinets
rattle palm trees in arabic w/bended knees

Monday, June 7, 2010

SPINNING THE DIAL by Edward Ainsworth

It is as much the story behind the story like the pipes of redemption, with the crackle of old vinyl or the pop of a damaged CD, yet lifted from there in this extended set of short poems sung to the static of a heart beating right on time.   The goof & wonder of it as the lyric segue preempts the contraband cell phone while the clincal diagnosis takes 12 steps back, turns on a dime, & queues up Louie-Louie on the iPod.   Spinning the Dial by Edward Ainsworth is available now from Blue Press.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

Blue sky floods the beach here
each perfect speechless afternoon
exiled to the paisley shade beneath
inevitable eucalyptus fishscale blades
where crystals grow like chevrolets

It might be worthwhile to interrogate
your own shadow which stands like the
ruins of a temple to a forgotten god
even long after you’ve gone

& I’m sipping from a bottle of sand
reaching for another seaweed cigarette
like a poem I know by heart
as the light falls & I gather myselves
from the psychosomatic air

My Uniform (from the ground up):
black low-top Converse All Stars
skater shorts (baggy)
Yater Surfboards t-shirt
St. Christopher medal
RayBan Wayfarers (black
like my heart)

Friday, June 4, 2010

DEJA VOODOO by Kevin Opstedal

Rimbaud wrote “Romanticism has never been properly judged.   Who was there to judge it?   The critics!” as some other gleam exchanged all that undulating out from under anything that pure.   An industry tradition.   Any future depends upon the past & the vague rhythm of a kind of narrative that outdistances the lyric.   The thread exonerated as an attempt to claim that place where nothing is revealed acknowledges the grace of having been there at all, minus the euphoric hardware.   The catch & release method of poetic composition taken then to perpetuate a self-conscious revival, the B-side of a once & future flashback.   I could say that it’s all about the music & that would be but approximation.   The measure nonetheless is to take a seven page poem in a single breath.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Birth of the Cutback

You got the silver, I got the chrome
& a gallon of gas in a can

She Rode In On A Half-Shell

toes on the nose

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Report from the Dawn Patrol

The surf was very great
w/a primo left
clean as the day
Jesus got his ticket punched

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mr. Zog’s 3-Month Weekend

Woke up to a
                              thin layer of fog
              in a pack of Marlboros
                                                w/a beer can shadow
                              & an unpaid electric bill
only to thread out later
in the blood shaped afternoon
              all staggered & camera-ready
beneath scrap-iron windchimes
                              rattling in the eyes of the perfect stranger

Once you felt just that pure I know but time
              chips away at your carbon footprint
while your dreams are nothing more than
a landing strip for seagulls
                              exhausted from hauling the
rusted sky up the coast
                                                day after day these many years
                              while you keep score

              like a true revolutionary
behind the wheel of an awkward
                              silence leaving skid marks on the
              needle whenever you
                                                drift past your favorite tune
                              like the moon in a puddle of
                                                kool-aid on the beach
              & I guess it’s that euphoric
                              drumroll the wet sand remembers best
where your heart’s
nothing but a ripple trail of maybe neon fading
                              against the incandescent haze

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smog Alert

More than a few
having several edges
garnished with feathers
& cracks in the pavement
luring you back

“The weather will change”

sapphire emerald ruby chrome

in the damp

La Playa Negra
beneath the street
or in the sky

a thermal inversion
(your lips against the glass

smeared across
an 8x10 glossy
of the deep blue sea

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Huntington Beer Dance 77

Wrecked green shorebreak
throwdown rips & dreams
              catching the grilled glass ripple
                                                off the tide
                              the shadow of a rainstorm
                                                                twisting on the sand
I feel relentless, I said

meaning like a steam-driven guitar on the
darkside of the beach

coral blossom
drifing sand
broken glass
sludge                   the offshore winds of time
gull wing               & your acoustic alarm clock

Never underestimate the luminous dial, she said
as the credits scrolled down into the flickering green


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Zulu as Kono

As if you could ditch your own pale shadow
the way a snake sheds its skin like parking your
reflection in a tidepool mirror & walking away
down a deserted stretch of highway beneath

a cloud that wanders like a rust-colored palomino
eclipsing the drugstrore window the low ceiling & the
feeling this has happened before like timelapse blossoms
unwinding in your pinned eyes

but lost in a dream
say one that features Patti Smith, St. Augustine, & an orangutang

in a motel room outside of La Paz

Thursday, May 20, 2010

To reconcile the distance & the time it takes

Cross Reference
Diesel sand
driven beneath the foam

Plus & Minus
I can trace the slow
dance within
the shadow palms like
the Mayan alphabet
random & damp
w/blue walls & a questionable
need for whatever
conspicuous sense of
balance bends the pavement
to its own inarticulate

It’s later than you think
but four hours earlier than that
in Samoa

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Measure

for Pamela

Out past the glass wall of thunder
in your veins
caressed by the half-forgotten shadow
of a palm tree

hauled away I guess too often
by the light & the waves

              I mean the streets

& the disinclination

                              a realignment of
              the flowers of Oaxaca

could tip the measure
when the sun is cut in two by the sea
& the Hollywooden pulse of
sunset recurring as in a loop with your eyes
like gulls wheeling above
a herd of nightshade appaloosas
the day that you were born