Monday, August 29, 2011

Broken silvergreen sentences sustained by the lyric instability of wet stones blinking in the foam

She was stapled like a cloud
to a corner of the sky
the color of beach pavement
              & I was a wine-stained tombstone cutback
as ominous as a shadow
              falling across a bead curtain
                              in another room

The sunset glass made it a perfect setting for
a soul session with the drainpipe crew
& we danced on the string of a tropical memory
              as she always preferred something euphoric
a tidepool with a fuse in it
for example
                              lit & sputtering
as long as it left a scar

I was as the wind whispering like sand
              across the pavement
& she was a refrigerator full of adrenaline
                              rippling in the dark

Friday, August 26, 2011

Darker Than You

There is lineage & there is volume
& the hollow sound of the parking lot
reflectingly damp
might pry the turquoise from your gaze
launching tears into the waves
like a Mexican alarm clock

That’s just how the Grecian urn crumbles
& I spend the rest of my life in a Polynesian igloo
on Beach Hill, studying
The Obliteration of the Self
As Evidenced in Wittgenstein’s
Surf Almanac

              (a zen masterpiece
                              for windchime & pavement saw)

& although I have no idea what time it is
late & early
              the orange girl in the sea-mist bikini
gathers kelp blossoms
                              somewhere beyond the reef

where I would love to take you some day
but there has to be a reason
each stares down through the other
looking for a way back

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

As rivers, flowing down, become indistinguishable on reaching the sea by giving up their names and forms, so also the illumined soul

A winter’s day in August
dark overcast & damp
flailing about in the murdered waves

How can we not be dark & light & blank
98 percent of the time?

Bells in the tide all the way from The Odyssey
to the latest issue of Surfer’s Journal
& back again

                              a circular pattern

always somehow reassuring

              erodes even the heavy duty concrete seawall
in time nothng more than sand in your sneakers

              a dusty trace of haze in an otherwise
                              empty motel swimming pool

catching a pale neon glow off the
              Upanishads like a puff of smoke

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Death Rides a Horse

i.m., for Jake

The great animal
    having fallen
his massive head thrown
    to the ground
The midnight eyes
    when the light’s gone
reflect the
    heaving silence as
death takes hold
    & kicks to gallop
thunder in the hooves
    like the shuddering
stop of the heart
    & we go where
the breath goes
    when it’s gone

Friday, August 19, 2011

Underwater Camera


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

“Outside, the offshore wind was rising.
The choppy sea at the foot of the street
reflected crumpled light.”
(Ross MacDonald)

Ornamental pavilions of rust
consecrate the shoreline
caught in the glare of fishscale chrome
as far as the eye can see

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DEAR OXYGEN: New & Selected Poems by Lewis MacAdams

Just released by University of New Orleans Press & now available from Amazon.   Get yourself a copy pronto.

MacAdams is essential.

"Dear Oxygen is a vivid lyrical romp through many tender shared realities, vestigial memories with poetry’s departed great ones (Whalen, Corso, Dorn, Jim Carroll) invoked here as well in heart & ear.   Marvelous love poems, and poems in the company of friends.   Conversations and meditations.   Historical nexus Bolinas beckons and is a site of Outrider survival.   MacAdams’s eye is sharp, his ecological consciousness astute, as he bucks the heartbreaks of modern man and takes on reclamation of the Los Angeles River.   This is a welcome collection, so needed in these times, with a shout out of gratitude to the editor Opstedal who gets it just right.   It is indeed the air to breathe."

“Completely absorbing history of a wise and chivalrous relationship with water, land, and humans.   Intimately heard and phrased.   Ardent, wild, and tender.   A thorough romance with truth.”

“The day doesn’t pass, 45 years since, but that the poems, person, of Lewis MacAdams are by my side.   Art, spirit, heart and wit – classic simpleton’s job: ashes underfoot, misfitted for all but beauty’s smiling sanity.... crazy honor’s faith.... wonder’s fate.   Speech good.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Strumming the valves & hinges

“I could feel the weight of the wave in my head as it moved”
                                                                                    ―Dale Herd

The mystery of a late summer morning
threaded with fog
enough for you to kick up the highbeams
on your Manson lamps
burning a hole through all that damp nothing

There’s a reason you can sit that still for
a minute or two it’s real nice when we can
both suffer like that
              adrift in the River of Souls
tidal river
                              ocean shore
I woke up & I was a black man but
why was everyone calling me “Blondie”?

S   l   o   w         g   l   a   s   s
all green all gray & prehistoric
                              lifts up & crashes in on itself
dark white foam along the jetty
              a lifetime measured out in moments like these
carving across the face of a Tijuana pipe
like bending silver spoons in your sleep

Friday, August 12, 2011

Spanish Antennas

Time stops & starts it doesn’t matter
who you are or where you’re going
you can drink beer & watch cable TV
until you forget your name
& the early morning fog sits on the pier
              in full lotus posture
                              smoking cigarettes
w/Dalai Lama bumper stickers attached
              It was all so real I wanted to
                              set fire to my shoe laces
I said Love makes the sidewalk crooked
              I was thinking of you
but it was a secret
                              a tape measure shot
I never knew where it landed
dark motel room throwdowns w/plenty of ice
If you’re in the right place at the right time the
sunlight sparkles on the waves like the face of an
unknown god who speaks only the language of gulls

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From Now On

Most of the time I don’t want to know how
              old I am or how much money I don’t have
El Segundo in flashback loops to Santa Cruz
                              by way of the Ventura pier
              bloodstains on the water-
                                                damaged map of my feelings
& thumbing thru a book of matches
              choking on the wind that’s coming in
off the water while a pale neon memory floats
                              between your ambient denial & the
watery edge of forever
              where the mirror bends & the pavement
as yet undefined begins & ends
                              LEANING AGAINST THE RAIN
                                                Jimmy Reed
                                                William Carlos Williams
& some clown waving a psychosomatic flashlight
              from a swimming pool filled with a million dollars
in IOUs
                              I guess there is a resemblance but
from now on I’ll take this stretch at 85 mph
              with the windows rolled down & the radio tuned to
a steel guitar version of
everything you always wanted

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Proximity Effect

“Bring me my Yater Spoon, the eight-six”

WANTED:   Unlimited Everything
palm trees in the wind
wave wash foam bubble seashell pendant
mother of pearl

the meaning of time

plaster stucco Mediterranean-style Mexican facades
I swear would crumble at her touch

sledgehammers in the fog

The ocean slipped past the window just now
nothing can be done about that
Hawaiian music.   Souls returning damp from
beyond the foam...

I wouldn’t take western mysticism too seriously
the Wisdom of the East likewise
depending on the time of day
& who is or isn’t listening.

One step in any direction
& you’re someplace else entirely

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The reading, that was...

Two hours in commuter gridlock 880 traffic to Berzerkeley.   Joanne & Donald waiting at Moe’s, having just arrived after a 45 minute walk from the vicinity of Shattuck & University where, for some mysterious reason, they had parked their car.   We strolled down Telegraph to a little Thai restaurant for beers & food & the latest news.   Then back to Moe’s though we were nearly a half-hour early.   Pamela & Joanne browsing amongst the books.   Donald & I talking to Owen & drinking beer.   A typically small audience trickled in, notable for the absence of “the eternal company”.   I guess the company ain’t that eternal.   About 12 or 14 listeners, certainly enough to bounce the truncated iambic off of.   Owen intros, Donald reads first.   I’m taken by the Canadian vowel sounds rounding off the sly Edward Gorey effect (as Pamela noted later) of the incandescent prose pieces of Blue Chips, then nailing the early rhythms that carry the poems in World at Large.   Altogether a great, solid reading.   Thanks Donald.   I stepped to the lectern & read, alternating between California Redemption Value & Drainpipe Sessions, tossing in a few loose poems just to keep it interesting (for me) as I could hear the miles of surging silence that ate up the lyric intentions that have relentlessly eclipsed anything as prosaic as reason.   Two perhaps interesting out-takes:   1. After reading Walk on the Wet Side I read it again in the voice of Ezra Pound, 2. The spontaneous applause after I read Liquid Sky.   It all went okay I thought, but who really knows, or cares.   Surprised to see Alasatair Johnston, Tinker Green, Christina Fisher & Cedar Sigo there.   We all hung around yakking afterwards, but Joanne & Donald wanted to get back to their “small coastal community in Northern California” rather than moving on to the traditional post-reading bar gathering.   Pamela & I drove them back to Shattuck & University so that they could retrieve their car, & we headed on through the night time traffic of 880 for the hour & a half trip to S.Cruz & a final beer & sleep.   I had dreams that were like random chapters lifted from an abridged version of The Golden Bough as interpreted by Iggy Pop & The Stooges.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Muleskinner Beach

I knew I must have been blessed
because I managed to step in every puddle
between here & there
counting ju ju beads & every mile
like chapter & verse, i.e.
the Seaweed Sutra internalized as
“What do you want me to bring back
that you haven’t seen before?”
& the crab crawl duckwalk
off the end of the pier
meaning more at the moment than
any near rhyme in retrospect
as one could tip the light entanglements
with a chorus line of drag queen mermaids
performing a modified can-can
in the kelp grove just beyond the reef
dissolving like the Tijuana Slough
into a turquoise sacrifice
on a gray marble slab
to defy the grace bestowed
as only a remnant remains
turned inward compiling
an index of beach pavement
for eyes like crushed beer
cans on the silver side of the tide