Friday, February 25, 2011

A ripple thread creasing the tide

Whither goest, poet,
aging in the night?
Your songs circling
the globe the only goal
you’ve ever known.

―Lewis MacAdams

Dragonfly tapping at the windowglass
―my father come to visit?
These are the wings he would have liked to own
when he was human
              Two baby hummingbirds
in the Japanese maple―
                              one died

lost things

Now I have forgotten
what I thought I knew
outstanding warrants aside
I was always operating at sea-level

I had memorized the tide charts
& the name of each detour
on the road to the land of the dead

It was raining
or it had just stopped

When I woke up I was
still wearing sunglasses
& there was sand
in my sneakers
For Alison
(A birthday poem that’s either
8 months early or 4 months late)

I remember the
first time you
ever smiled
you smiled
at me

Thursday, February 24, 2011

There Is A Door

Morning, noon & night
Three sides of the same coin
              The light in the dark
              The dark in the light
              plus one more…
turn the page         Look Out!         the moon & you
                                                                  are both lopsided
(a shadow carved in marble,
granite, steel, ink

surfboard sleeps in corner of room
the light & the dark of it
gas heater performs a little Erik Satie
at 3 in the morning

who I am at 3 in the morning
is made out of glass

Inverted abalone shell iridescence
on the surface of the water four hours later

the sand is just as cold, just as deep
in the shallows, just as restless
endlessly rocking
drizzle.           splash.           trickle.           blink.
(   This is an
              H   o   m   a   g   e   )
kelp blossom.
Beer can

                              There’s a door that’s halfway open
yesterday it was halfway shut

              in six different languages

all fucked up               D   E   S   I   R   E

It’s dark in here & either dark or light out there
              darker underwater & customized
gray pavement, crushed velvet
                              except for the ritual
string of pearls

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shootout at Taco Nachos

Bad vibes from the nada blue eyes
              jungled up with a runaway hula doll
in a medieval double-wide just outside
the city limits

                              adrift in a cigarette sky

only there to memorize the Lotus Sutra

in español

              The incumbent resolve
scrolls from sessions forgotten in the
neon repose of her tides

                                                  w/decimals in
transit distilling that luminous
              & therefore questionable smile
tunneling out of the dark
                                                  towards you
as the sirens approach

Monday, February 21, 2011

Limited Playlist

Connor Batwing
Sweet Baby Jane Nemo
Ali Baba
Mr. Moto
Pliny, the Elder
Jimmy Slant
Abigail Nightshade
Jalisco Ocean
Ellington Ellington
Atlas Prozac
T. Horse Gomez
Kon Tiki
No Way José
Taras Bulba, the Movie
Mustang Sally

Saturday, February 19, 2011

World Domination On $3 A Day

The morning stalls out on
the song of a redwing blackbird

across the busted up alley that drops
down to the beach

Sky falls over the edge

the waves gargle a rainy esperanto

              except for the noise the beach is quiet

you do not understand

                              The heart of the sea is silence

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Skintight sunset camouflage a tangle of flames at the bottom of the sea, rocks older than the survival instinct seashell madonna surfboard in a bottle

There’s a cool breeze mixing it up in the eucalyptus
trees that line the street
wherever you might be burning the candle tonight
a half-breath away from the bamboo windchime, the
vacant lot behind the taco stand, the walk on the beach at
low tide when you’ve been reborn
a thousand years from now
A northwest swell is on its way bringing waves 2x overhead to the more exposed breaks.   By midday the high tide will slow things down.   The evening low will see reef and seaweed exposed as the sun sets.   Winds light & variable, with a possible offshore breeze in the morning.   Prepare to duck dive as some beaches may be closing out.   Water temp will be a cold 53 degrees.
I could never add as fast as you could subtract
              every ripple on the surface from Steamer Lane
to the beach at Hokkaido
                                                & back again
as it is customary to 180 off the halfpipe
                                                                in another life
this one, for example
              where I stumble across the parking lot
                                                carrying a surfboard & a flashlight
                              in the early morning rain

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meat Pie in Paradise

The pier was all lit up like
Mortuary Day
the word on the street was
strung out along insect balconies
like drifting sand in the Paleolithic diorama
in your head
                              & the light in the palm trees scorched by
precious tears the color of Chapultepec
in the rain
              The rocking hips, the dark, the
long lost field of poppies in thumbprint neon
                              never so gently
                                                the other side of the beach
along with the cosmic convergence of 10,000 seagulls
& you behind the wheel of a darkwater Chevy
              a case of Tecate in the back seat & enough gas to
make it half way there

Friday, February 11, 2011

Industrial Sunset

Her lips were the
color of
wet sand

Pouring gasoline
on the skull mound
“the flames could be
seen for miles”

I hid my
eyes behind blood-
shot RayBans
as she sang Tiny
with a mariachi
& the red dust
at her feet

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk: A Gustonbook

Years ago Patrick Dunagan & I staged a mock fistfight in the middle of Valencia Street one night in San Francisco.   I remember that it was a very honest response to an agrument we were having on the sidewalk, a logical extension of our mutual stubbornness, as well as a performance piece deisgned to shock the other poets we were walking with.   The transition from word wrangling to fisticuffs was flawlessly communicated between us, as if by a kind of empathic telepathy.

There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk: A Gustonbook could be said to be an example of empathic telepathy. Essentially it is a daybook made up of short sketches of verse, prose & quotations all of which contemplate upon, explore & respond to the life & work of painter Philip Guston within the context of the poet’s day to day ruminations, inside & outside his own head.   The deceptfully easy loooseness, the feel of space (displaced), & the rime of the unreasonable, simply stated, catches air, making relevance almost an afterthought, & therefore GRACEFUL.   It is the kind of guided tour only a poet can take you on.   Such generosity is a rare.   “Believe the lie the myth isn’t”.

More at Post-Apollo Press.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Attack of the 50 Foot Bikini

Tapping the static sky (tap
tap) opens up
six feet below the
pacific coast highway

rhythm & blues & red tide

broken glass wrapped in a blanket
“still trying to pronounce your name”

n   a   t   i   v   e       t   o   n   g   u   e   s

you can know & not know

besides the waist to chest high surf
& the plume of mist that drops
like a sledgehammer
on the pavement (sing it)

doo-wah ditty-dum, ditty-doom

paddling back to the
hard luck land of turquoise
to look for you

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Because I used to be a bodhisattva

You can always drop me a line
with a hook & then wait
              You need not fear the eskimos
                                                drinking vietnamese coffee
nor the waterlogged legions
                              of the dead leaving their damp
              footprints on the concrete

You’re always welcome here
              even when I’m not

                                                as is often the case

I’ll meet you half way

              with an empty bottle of Cuervo Gold
& a stolen copy of
                              The Diamond Sutra
              strapped to my leg
                                                                like a loaded .45

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mug Shots of the Rich & Famous

I said, Snap off a piece of this & save it for
later, then made a u-turn at Devil’s Slide
just because I could

              father, son & hungry ghost
all blue, all silver, all dipped in goat milk
                              afraid the phone might ring
              in the middle of your daily hallucination


The late afternoon sparkle on the water
the surf swamped out by the tide
you can’t know any more than that

Insanity Cruz, California

              you are the sand in my sombrero

just a sad, busted up time, I know, & nothing
that can be said makes any difference
so I’ll say it anyway

& sign up for lessons at the gas station
bending like a single blade of grass beneath
the weight of a thousand shadows