Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Push to Play

I tripped over my first bloody nose
& landed here
                              49 years later
beneath a dark sky getting darker
              clabbering up to rain

& I played that clawhammer ukulele
like a champ
              just so you’d know what it feels like
confessing to crimes I knew
nothing about...

& you were like a brain surgeon
                              smuggling a pipe-bomb
              into my most cherished memories

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The B-side of a once & future flashback

Sunlight spinning like a quarter on the sidewalk
It’s high noon or a minute after & I’ve
never seriously considered a
swan-dive into a spoonful of Drāno
but you never know…

Fear of failure?   Why should we be afraid of failure?
We fail so often here         & so gracefully

CLUNK   /   THUD   /   SPLAT

A Musical Interlude
East of the Sun (West of the Moon)
as it segues into
(I’d Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China
Encore:   Expressway to Yr Skull

                              Roar splash gurgle crash

              (a leftover drop of seawater in my ear
              soundtrack to Moby-Dick imagining Ahab as a surfer
              with a mess of clouds racing by overhead
              as in a timelapse tableau punctuated by gulls & the
              occasional airplane carrying a cargo of Ishmaels
              all waiting in line to use the toilet

That was then / this is later

The nautical star tattooed on my right arm
was supposed to keep me from feeling so lost?
standing at the corner of Beach St & Wipeout Ave
near the latitude of Tacos Locos
under a clear blue sky that just won’t quit

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seismic shift with top-spin

Whatever happened to the Brahmin that
explained the proverbs to me?
                                                name of Rimbaud?
The light remembers darkness
              remembering you I guess
& the 16 vestal virgins
                              I never doubted
                                                retracing the steps taken
brutally distracted, but never bored
              spilling a glass of water
                              on the bottom of the sea
it means         something         the
way the tide swept you up & the light
              & it makes you want to change your name
                              or the color of your hair
& out there you learn a different way to say it
                                                a different way to walk the walk
right off the end of the pier
on St. Tarzan’s Day

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Don’t You Want To Forget Someone Too

The moon falls on California & wakes you up…
A tourist from Sacramento just got shot out in Beach Flats
but you don’t know that yet
              you don’t even know what time it is
because you’re halfway through a dream of swimming like
Leander on a moonless night & you’re just about to drown
                              & you’re wondering what that would feel like

but the moonlight crashing in through the window
wants to take you someplace else
              although that doesn’t explain the dancing iguanas
& every footstep wing-flap fin-splash between here & Ocean St.
drifting, set to music, choreographed,
                                                like a rail of Tibetan banjos
                              abandoned in a kelp grove

& the siren’s song is just the ambulance
                                                racing down to Beach Flats but
you don’t know that as that piercing howl dissolves the iguanas
& the moon shifts just a fraction of an inch bending
shadows like iron bars across the bed

Friday, March 16, 2012

I would not feel so all alone

It’s raining every where you look
& someplaces you never even thought of

drizzle / drip / splash

I’ll take the leaky lifeboat
              couldn’t afford the luxury liner anyway

SS Compassionate Wisdom, Ltd

                              like damp footprints

My wetsuit stashed behind the seat
              surfboard in the bed of the Ranchero
as I cruise down the coast looking for the shit

Windshield wipers slapping like a metronome
              20,000 leagues under the sea
with Capt. Nemo & the Rhythm Rockers
              ripping through a classic
                              surf instrumental version of
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beachniks on the Veranda

The ocean breeze sounds like a
cross between a cello & a harmonica
played through a diesel engine
rumbling down a lonely stretch of the
coast highway on the next-to-last
day of summer
                              & you’re riding shotgun

or maybe it was me
getting all Proustian about bamboo windchimes
& the sunlight hitting the beach at a
45 degree angle

                              just another notch in the pavement
              for the japanese mariachi drill team
                                                that sets the tempo here

              “It’s all about the music”
                                                even when it isn’t
                              although I’m not really listening
as the sun flares out like a feather of excess acetylene
& you do your little grind for me

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cocktails with Gravity Girl

I was swept away by the blue sparkle
              where I learned to surf by candlelight
snap decisions broken in half by a misjudged floater
                              on the wrong side of the jetty
embalmed in sea mist & foam
              like skid marks left by the sun
still visible above the horizon
                              & where we live it’s wall to wall ocean
                                                like the flipside of a death wish
retracing the zig-zag path that runs from the
drop edge of a mild turquoise yonder
to the Mexican silver on your wrists
as I picture you now standing out at the edge of the
                              pretending you can see your reflection
              in the polished blue mirror of the sky I guess
or contemplating something as soft & effortless
as a phantom pain
                              you never notice
              until it’s gone

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Older Mexican production line worker says “Muy frio”
Yeah, it’s cold I say, pulling on my smock, hairnet & face-mask
I’m part of the sanitation crew sweeping, mopping,
        swabbing out toilets
all under the watchful eye of what must be a million
surveillance cameras (“Always keep moving” the Filipino tells me
“they watch with the camera everything”) & the plant is vast
giant machinery roaring nonstop attended to by minions
in face-masks, hairnets, white or blue smocks
sycophants ministering the needs of clanging metal

Yes it’s muy frio outside but in here on catwalks above the
the heat crushes whatever air is left in your lungs
it’s cooler in the cavernous aisles between pallets of supplies
        20 feet high
where I push a dustmop across the concrete floor
with forklifts zipping around flashing their lights
        & blasting air-horns

& I just keep moving inside the sweat & ache
as the sticky sweet stench of the candied vitamins that are
        produced here
permeates the sinuses so that you’ll smell it & taste it
        for days after you
say fuck it all & limp to your car without so much as an adios

the roar of the machines still ringing in your ears

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not To Be Sold East of the San Andreas Fault

I live in the nation known as the Pacific Coast
where the sky sometimes is like a polished spoon
& the tide rolls in to keep my eyes blue
even when I’m not thinking of you & the barefoot
palm trees are tweaking parked outside the
Apocalyptic Taqueria a block from the beach
where the ocean is rocking itself to sleep
& on a clear day you can see the Great Wall of China
ticking in the sun like a waterproof wristwatch
& you can count your blessings if you have any
or shut down in the neon haze that invades
the parking lot & changes the way you think about
moonlight rusting on the bottom of a rainpuddle
(for example) even when it hasn’t rained for a month
& the sidewalk is stained with the blood of fuchsias
& the light gets heavy thinking about it         seagulls
crash & burn but the cameras keep rolling & you’re safe
behind dark glasses waiting for the fabric of time to unravel
like a Mars bar melting on the lid of your heart

Thursday, March 1, 2012

To approximate the tone buried in whispers

“This morning I saw a coyote walking through the sagebrush
right at the very edge of the ocean ― next stop China. The coyote
was acting like he was in New Mexico or Wyoming, except that
there were whales passing below.”

                                                                          ― Richard Brautigan

tumbleweeds on the tideflats? Deer tracks
in wet sand
                                                had to scrabble down the steep
arroyo to get to this beach
              Nobody knows this is         this is nowhere
disappears at high tide but there’s a sweet left breaking
off the reef
                              drumroll mists & shimmering sea-dazzle
              voice of now         whispering through you
wave pattern carved into every grain of sand here
                                                & Coyote grabs his board & paddles out