Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Skipping a stone across the River of Forgetfulness

Anslem Hollo, 1934-2013
I am slapped upside gutwrenching zeal
& epiphanies
as the sincere numbers of the heart
measure not abstraction merely but
blood & knuckles
yet with the altered light falling in thru the screen door
with the sad news about Anselm
making every shadow that much heavier
as I remember the depth of his laughter
as though gargled deep within a well of souls

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Weight

salt cold         sea roads
oil slick
a thin feather of cloud
that seems to have fishbones in it
            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
folded into the waves                it’s that easy
rainsqualls              in the back of my head
throbbing engines                adrift                    hovering
tracing your family history back to gray whales
& the scene of the crime (Malibu) a blank space
you can return to although you can never go back

            the coast road crumbling beneath yr wheels
                        the palm trees & ice plant & carbon monoxide
            settling in for the long haul now pelicans in formation
                                    plow their way thru the redolent haze
& what do we do now? you ask & I answer
We wait

Monday, January 21, 2013

Burnt orange & compensatory

She was standing naked at the window
next to a small Pembroke table
upon which sat my keys & my wallet & a candle
            because it was midday & the sun blasted intense
light down from a sky that was impossibly
high & blue
                        & all I could see was her silhouette
as if cut from a book on the Black Arts
if you need me to say it
            sharing a seaweed cigarette there is
sand in the bed & beach tar on the soles of our feet
                        music drifting in from the other room
Patti Smith or Mingus
                                    I couldn’t say for sure
there were damp shadows in my ear
& the Coleridge I read that morning I found it to be
                    like the punctuation marks I chose to ignore
in my copy of the Tao Te Ching
            which I forgot to mention was casually placed
on the table between my wallet & the candle “This is a
still life” she said & I thought yes, this is still
            or at the very least a 60/40 split

Friday, January 18, 2013

Out to Lunch

The phone rings & there’s no one here to answer it

I shave while gazing into an empty mirror

No questions are asked & no answers are offered
I was reading Ovid
trans. Rolfe Humphries
every blank page
Indiana University Press, copyright 1955
renewed in 1983, All rights reserved
bubbling up from cracked pavements
& rattling around inside the faded colors
of an old instamatic snapshot of me & my sisters

standing next to a two-tone 1962 Ford Mercury
in the driveway at 1211 Venice Blvd
when I was maybe six or seven (Les Po├Ętes de sept ans)

cursing softly under my breath
my hair red like the rust that never sleeps
“The Poems” already bubbling up from the

cracked pavement
I would take you there
but it is an address that no longer exists
& who knows what ever happened to that car
embalmed in yellowgold light

Monday, January 14, 2013

Risk Factors

We can look up into the clear
sky       it’s pearl-colored though not as
mysterious as it should be
this time of day
photographed by Robert Frank
The unexperienced streets
seem somehow lighter than the
concrete and asphalt they’re made of
& there should be a wind but
there isn’t
The steam-driven sunset is waiting
to go to work on you
with a samurai sword & a road flare
(I suspect that only makes sense
west of the PCH)
The foam that washes across the sand seems
lit from the inside         just like you
maintaining radio silence as you check to see
how much is left
like fainting Desdemona of the Andes
wading through the seaweed
& maybe the mist parts like a beaded curtain
& nothing is revealed

Friday, January 11, 2013

Name that Tune

Suppose I let you see my dark side
for only a minute
the boy I was & the man I’m pretending to be
cradled by the drizzle tide like Saigons of
parkinglot disdain & lamentation
in saecula saeculorum / Forever (& ever)
hoisting the amphetamine pez dispenser
in silhouette against the green concrete
                        to be set alongside the rectangular blue
slab I suppose represents either the ocean
or the sky
            a thin red line diagonal to a scribble of turquoise
& what could be a disemboweled Buick
                        sedan bleeding rust onto the pink stucco wall
            of a one bedroom rental just steps from the beach
The girl I met there
            how was I to know that she would be someone who
looked like you?  whispering like a mist of rain
across the midnight pavement

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Zorba's Last Wave

The moon is full but hidden
behind a mass of rain clouds
            a gift from a storm system that
            was born in the north Pacific
                        & traveled across many miles of
                        open water
just to pelt the sliding glass door
as hindu windchimes
carefully ennunciate every syllable
                        the salt spray the stuttering neon
            & the slow fade
bending harmonicas in the dark concert hall
of the heart
            to be buried beneath the waves
                        3 miles from the Venice pier
Guitars slashed by wind & rain the mariachi version
            heavy slow rustling of palm leaves
the bead curtains & smoke rings stashed in the trunk
                        of a stolen El Dorado
as if you were born the day I died
I leave you the bad habits of my father
            along with several that were all my own
wearing dark glasses at the dinner table
                        but it was only to hide the tears I
couldn’t explain even if I wanted to

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's Only a Movie

The soft grainy shadows flicker-
ing above & within a slice of
inverted glass (my
            the light the haze filters
like falsified documents
& on the beach I’m keeping count
of each wave
                        measuring intervals & calculating
wind direction & velocity
            intuitively stumbling from sand to
concrete my god how many times
wiping the rain from my drugstore RayBans
like Rimbaud at Punta Baja
            or maybe it was Lee Marvin
darker than I remember
waiting to speak the lines that were
written for him
in a language he no longer understands

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Golden State

She said she left God
tied to a kitchen chair
in Tijuana
& who was I to question that assertion
The sun sank into the waves as always
& the night rose as always from those same waves
having learned all the prophetic songs
reworked into rhythm & blues
with a sound that was dark like silver
& I can feel it even now
racing through my veins
We slept on a stone floor in El Rosario
awakened in the dark by the thunder of the surf
The wings she sprouted every night while she slept
disappeared at dawn
She was a day crossed off the Mayan calendar
& I was staggering across the wet sand
shedding fish scales that
glittered like silver coins in the mist
I found her chemical attributes enticing
& she offered me a spoonful
The first one’s free but I’m seeing double
& inside fish tank auras & the distinct rattling of shadows
one rain drop per diem
For every door that opens, she said, another closes
as in a biblical remix her green lipstick & deep
burgundy nail polish an homage to the blood of
martyrs that have yet to be born
to follow in the footsteps of her sisters
transformed into iguanas as she speaks of them
We hit the road for Malibu or Damascus I
can’t remember exactly which
a pharmacy in Chinatown, fish tacos in a parking lot
near the beach
where we watched the gulls in flight turn silver
as the burnt turquoise sky
plunged into the sea