Thursday, April 29, 2010

Water on the Brain

You learn to reconcile
              the pretense & the vapor
steeped in heavy breathing
                              on El Camino Surreal

as well as the tuning fork halo effect

              to reconvene a feather of concrete
                                                when all that shattered chrome
                              ripples the mainline stem

& you recognize too late
              your reflection on the surface of a burnt
spoon like the
                              face of Jesus on a tortilla

with redwood stringers glassed in

              & diesel sand driven beneath the foam

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

COSTANZA by Bill Berkson

A three page poem that hinges upon a visit to the Getty Museum & the portrait bust of Costanza Bonuccelli by Gianlorenzo Bernini that the poet never gets to see.   There is an amazing Cendrars-like song quality to the poem, to my ear at least, with historic shorthand digressions & lyric somersaults.   A brilliant work.   Also included are Berkson’s “Notes on the Poem”.   Available from Blue Press.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poem on my son’s 28th birthday

It’s somewhere around
five o’clock
in the morning I never know
what time it is approximately

Acme Tuna fog bank whistles doom
& entanglements

You might remember wind in the
leaves (eucalyptus) talking

the voice is familiar

but when a stranger looks back at you
from the mirror you say “Okay,
now what?”

it’s a valid question

& we already know the answer
you & I

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Negra Modelo

Beach break, point break, reef break,
wet sand,
a two-way mirror set-up,
dented fenders,
Los Poemas,
infinite space like a cement kimono,
money, jobs, or the absence of such,
the evening news (ignored), beans & rice, musica, paintings,
standing still & walking,
breathing, not breathing,
movies, the weather, the sky, pulp fiction,
dogs, cats, birds, trees, rusty harmonicas,
the internal combustion engine,
the sutras, the phases of the moon,
clouds, rocks, pornography,
a drink of water at 3 a.m.,
busted surfboards, & lost sunglasses
gafas de sol
a mess of gulls flying in low over the yard at sundown
does there have to be a reason?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Filtered through a bend in the haze

The bare alabaster thigh
seen through binoculars
falling as it falls
waking up on the dark side of Paradise
& you blame Biblical contradictions

She who goes blank & whose veins yearn for

An inch of bliss versus
viagra xanax valium codeine

sounds like a weekend in Vegas

But a greasy blonde redemption
                              excavated from a swimming pool
full of sand & the hacksaw blade in her
                                                swampwater negligee
              just to convince you everything is forgiven
or forgotten
                              waving a white t-shirt on the beach at minus tide
or on Ocean Street at high tide
                                                like an annotated list of painkillers
              tossing their red-gold grapefruit shadows upon the
                              gates of a dissolute
                                                7th heaven


Monday, April 19, 2010

April 20th Reading in Half Moon Bay

Critically-acclaimed short story writer, including
Early Morning Wind & the recent Dreamland Court (from Blue Press)

Author of more than 45 books, including
Wild at Heart

Reads from his recently-published novel,
Windward Passage

20 April
7:00 pm

At the HMB Harbor
270 Capistrano Road

Beach-Glass Window

Naked as a brick wall
              at the bottom of a bottle
walking in on flames like Mayakovsky
                              with a dog named Snake Eyes
                                                & a gas station map to Nirvana
                              all expenses paid
                                                                except one
playing Terraplane Blues backwards on a seaweed guitar
dodging tombstones & tribal umbrellas
pulling the silk over your night-vision RayBans
the sky dipped in bleach & everything I heard
when I wasn’t listening
down to the long gone flutter in her soul
                              all true love & a six pack of cough syrup
I should have paid a little more attention to the possible
side effects
              like notches cut into a whalebone harmonica
                              & the broken glass in your sneakers
                                                                when nothing works but your heart
                                                tumbling across the wet pavement

Saturday, April 17, 2010


These thirteen poems patiently invent a primary language of intelligence, grace, & expectation.   Whatever dances around the next corner, the light & the dark of it intertwined.   Clear as a bell jar ringing on the ocean floor.   Get yourself a copy from Blue Press.

Friday, April 16, 2010

All drizzled in turquoise

I always find you sleepwalking the pier
inside a skintight layer of smog
like the invention of desire

a tiptoe entrance in sexy shoes
I don’t pretend to fully comprehend
even though I do

like barbequing a cadillac el dorado underwater
a little bit of Paradise I wouldn’t trade for all the chrome in China
although the grass is greener & smells like gasoline
translated from the Latin for “take two aspirin
& call me in the morning”

The shipwreck tattooed on your shoulder is
trying to understand what went wrong
& I’m drifting downstream
w/my sunglasses on


Thursday, April 15, 2010


Smoking a cigarette in braille, walking the
plank, making snap decisions…
one last tango like a black tar reckoning
on the pier at high noon
& I suffer because my heart is crooked
like the tide which makes the same sound
that you do when you're bleeding

I have learned to confess to all the
unspeakable crimes of the future
so that my soul is like a light burning in the refrigerator
even when the door is shut
& Marlon Brando dead these many years

last seen bumming cigarettes & plucking a barbed wire banjo
on the steps of Eternity which is just around the corner
from Paraguay

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Forget Your Hat

She was standing there like a pyramid on the moon

two, four, six, eight, & a quarter

It’s all about the music

parsed in sonic platitudes along the gypsy string breeze
where the least silken but reed brown greens of her
kelp-lit eyes serve hamburgers to martian refugees

All I need is a surfboard & a flashlight I said

but I forgot to add tacos & a river of tequila

the flipside of a dream I’ll never remember

if only to say adios one more time


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Step into the water
it’s over your head
like Chinese astrophysics
cut into a billion little pieces
& you’ve got to put it all back together
w/dental floss & duct tape
before the cops show up

bloody nose, black eye, busted tooth

I don’t know why I felt so pure

The long drop waiting for the light to change
& this defines you better than I can
your heart & the catchy tune it plays
when we finally get to the place where the shoreline is shaped
like surrender

anything pure silver & the thread that holds it all together
stuttering in the mexicatessan where your velvet reflection turns blue

It wasn’t in the clouds that you’d hang 10 on a teardrop
w/your self-concious pearls in the fridge & your smoke rings
nailed to the neon sky


Friday, April 9, 2010

Dark passage veering off the reverence

She was going to dye her hair the color of the
Chevron station on Hwy 1
                              but we drove past it
              beer & poetry in the backseat
                                                sex crimes donated to science

We peeled out into the midnight camouflage
the broken white line read like morse code
                              stars flickering like japanese lanterns above
              nails driven like rain into the pavement

She smoked my last cigarette at dawn & fell asleep
so quiet, I wondered if she was still breathing
& I watched as the first rays of sunlight touched her face

my pale blue eyes invisible behind stained-glass RayBans
like church windows
                              beginning to fade behind the wheel
              just as we crossed the border


Thursday, April 8, 2010

In another century or three all is forgiven

With dactylic precision Malibu Barbie steps down from the
confidential joy ride & confessional
with dripping steps up the ruined concrete stairway
back to the overlook parking lot & that
heel of sidewalk groaning with albatrossian hang-time at the
cobble of beachbreak foams
to hoist a steel-clad piñata with ropes of sand & skatewheel
tremors & when it’s over there’s still a flicker of wine-colored
silk to hold abeyance with sunset hardware & a grip of dreamless
blonde pavement

I drew a deep breath & made the following introductory speech:
1. Sitting in the dark       5. Proserpine
2. Trickle, trickle              6. Yonder
3. Blink                                  7. “Dwelling secure in the hollow ship”
4. What say ye?                 8. Mumbles
                                                9. Except she meant every word of it

& the sun was a votive candle in a red jar balanced on the horizon
where telepathic shadows relay the bounce & jungle-vine lattice,
              the screendoor porchlight windchime & derivitave lament
& just as descending fog aced the parking lot I turned away & back
to Proserpine

to the motive for escape

dusty murmur of ragged palm
trees attending & whoever they were they knew my name


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A lemonade somersault in the diorama

The sign read DRIFTING SAND
& who among us could resist
the zing strings & archaic filter-tips
to exfoliate like bent pieces of moonlight

                              tempting a nylon wall of silence

              in surfadelic beer can huaraches…

Whatever is going to happen as though it already has
              dark with turquoise bleeding pink along the horizon

I could just make out the slow waves breaking all glassy & clean inside the fog.   Paddling out, the fog thickened around me, & the muffled crash of waves.   I was spooked but pushed on.   As I positioned myself on the shoulder, little fish bumped against my neoprene encased legs.   I could easily die here, in the fog, alone, sitting on a fiberglass plank, bobbing like bait in the rocking green water.   It wouldn’t be so bad.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

A book by Patrick Dunagan

In Saturday’s mail was this great new little boke by Patrick Dunagan, Her Friends Down At The French Café Had No English Words For Me.   Truth & beauty, what can I say…like clicking on the highbeams on a drive through the dark night of the soul.   Dunagan knows where he’s going & he’ll tell you when he gets there.   Sit back & enjoy the ride.   I read the boke once & then again, the second time reading aloud because there’s the music you hear in your head & the music that’s for the ear.   It’s familiar territory for me, “for several years you listen / the voice is lovely / even listening wrong you get the head / by way of the heart” , which I swear sounds like something Dunagan & I have discussed many times over many beers.   “Life for / the living of it desperately / needs for every poem to / exist”.

The book is “printed in an edition of 100 copies & privately distributed”, which I guess means you’re shit out of luck finding a copy.   Published by PUSH, SF/NY, but I don’t know who or what that’s about.

Leadpipe Tango

To walk the streets of forever as they slope
down to the sea was all I wanted.
Palm leaves mumbling in the wind.
Chumash boxsprings.   Faces carved into obsidian mirrors

as if any proof was required.   Anyway you didn’t have to follow me there to read the soft sky repeating itself above & the drumshots & jangling guitars that harken & decline with knocks & pings in the terza rima.

Everything is as easy as it sounds
                              although it may result in liver disease
& while you’re looking for a way out you
                                                might want to reevaluate those
              labor intensive auditory hallucinations

reciting the uncut diamond sutra

relegated to a vicarious redemption
along the floodlit street that cuts like a wing into the
damp night air


Friday, April 2, 2010

Let There Be Lithium

An unanswered prayer filling in the
blanks of your eyes
like a slab of beach pavement
under the spell of the obvious
              but like a dent in the silk brocade
slipping past the sobriety checkpoint
                              a fuck you salute in Japanese & a
              can of Tecate like a grenade
heart-rendered & redefined as
a million reasons why you’re standing at
death’s sliding-glass door
                              with a crowbar & a sunbleached alibi
              floating somewhere between apprehension
& Tijuana
dipping into saltwater archives
dedicated to an irrevocable turquoise sky
excavated from the prevailing haze
stapled like lipstick to a postcard sunset
soaked in gasoline


Thursday, April 1, 2010

DRINKING & THINKING by F.A. Nettelbeck

Outrageous, sad, funny, courageous, this collection of a dozen poems is pure unadulterated Nettelbeck.   You can peg him as a latter-day beat, an underground hero, a mad wordsmith, a booze-driven shaman, but all that really matters is that this man is one hell of a poet.   Get this book & set fire to your mind.   Available from Blue Press.