Sunday, July 28, 2013

We ain’t going nowhere

The Pleasures & Pains of Opium
A stained-glass ’64 El Camino
parked in the temple driveway


            staring into oblivion

                        oblivion stares back

            (it should have been a stained-glass

Just Add Water
nasturtium                       Plants eat light.
tree fern                            We assume they know
poppies                             what they’re doing
the bonsai palm…          but they don’t really
all bending in the           care whether we do or not.
sun just like                      Would you?
everyone else here

Taigu Ryōkan
“The sun sets behind the mountains
But I remain in the darkness, too captivated to leave.”

Friday, July 26, 2013

True Romance

This seaweed tequila takes me back, I said,
I can taste the winter swell.

Sea-stone green.  Dreamsicle orange.
A silver blanket of ocean mist.

The Garden of Earthly Delights like a bottomless
cup of coffee
looking for the pulse of Punta Baja.

I’d say keep your sunglasses on & lose the accent.

Tincture of opium is recommended, she said,
a Coleridge-in-Malta situation no doubt.  Back
in the carbon era
she would have been named
Muriel Nitrate & the long paddle out a
true measure of desire.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Red Tide at Muleskinner Beach

I could tell you about
rags & bones & the turquoise all-nighter

            the grace to be thus plundered

            divided by the square root of ground zero

                        The bag man’s alibi
                        quenching a global thirst
                        sounded bogus to me

Gazing out thru the portable window
I keep handy just in case I need to make a
quick getaway
            a running leap into the arms of gravity
                        splashing headfirst
                                    into a spilled drink

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Running Water

The suffering begins here.

Okay, that’s enough, start over.

                                    OYSTER MUSIC

A concerto for strings, woodwinds, brass & chainsaw.

            How about wet sand, seafoam & pearls?

            underwater acoustics
            execution style

I’ve got a discount ticket to the Floating World
( Ukiyo, 浮世, not to be confused with La Belle Époque
or a Saturday night in Santa Cruz )

Some kind of fleeting enchantment
Some kind of intrigue
Some kind of evanescence
Some kind of fuck up

            (payable upon receipt)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Speaking Into (not Thru) the Sea

Bubbles remain pinned to the breath
& within every rime & breeze
whispered across the
ivory concordance of foam

            syllables of Passage yet to be charted
tending to collateral & insistent
                        as blooms delineated by the wind when
            you were otherwise detained
                        beneath the pink pearls & rusted machetes
                                    of yet another guacamole sunrise

            & every shade of gray that falls between the handmirror
            & the beach with gleaming gunmetal tides
                        scrolling distraction while bearing witness

                        each bubble rises to the surface where it pops
                        freeing a word

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Fall of Saigon

The whirring of a helicopter woke me.  Could be it was just the ceiling fan.  Like in Apocalypse Now.  In the version of the opening scene that I play in my head there are choppers, palm trees, napalm, & Morrison crooning psychedelic “This is the End…” – but they’re the palm trees of Venice, & the view out thru the venetian blinds is of the Hollywood sign.

The word “helicopter” comes from the Greek helix (helicos) meaning “spiral” & pteron meaning “wing”.  This makes me think of Hermes, the Greek god of literature, learning & science.  He invented the lyre & the flute—but he is also the god of thieves.  While the wings at his ankles were never reported to be “spiral wings”, I always figured that he served as a kind of eye-in-the-sky for Zeus.

Here it was just a police helicopter, evidently looking for someone or something.  Searchlights strafing the backyard.  The neighborhood dogs started barking & off in the distance I could hear sirens approaching.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The first one’s free but I’m seeing double

That haze of blue sunlight might have
chipped the tooth of some god
or seagull
but it doesn’t keep me from
skipping like a broken needle
beneath palm trees swaying to a tune I can’t hear
 (there’s sand in my ear & a million reasons
the air was seasoned with salt-
mist & car exhaust & your heart was like a trampoline…)

I said I’m looking at the sky
as though it’s a homemade television set
balanced precariously on a lost horizon
curving soft & rounded like your bare shoulders
tumbling in a cement mixer

& I must enter again the cathedral of vaulted Pacific 
steel buttressed w/seaweed
& foam
            if only to reap the questionable karma
echoing in an empty 24 oz. Tecate can
smeared with lipstick

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Poet as Scenario (A preliminary map of the Metaphor)

The road north was just like the road south
only played in reverse.  I rolled in at
twilight feeling like Cortez—a real killer. 
Nothing had changed.

               There were candles, as I recall,
& a window painted black
                           reflecting the end of not this world
but the next
like a soundproof San Bernadino
in the cradle of Nowhere
or the eucalyptus alleyway
& the steps to the beach below?

On the corner there’s a little dive called The Island.  A string of tiny yellow bulb lights, like xmas tree lights, are hung over the door which is painted red.  There’s a small sooty cactus to the right of the entrance, cigarette butts & bottle caps in its thorns or spikes or needles—whatever you call them—& when shadows fall against it you can almost hear a sigh.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Partly Sunny w/a Prevailing Sense of Impending Doom

The remedial breeze
shuffling thru the gate like the Perfect Stranger

A probable wavescape perceived
tho we lack the pragma of diagnostics
preferring the simple relays of the short con

Roaring water roaring
in my head
                        leftover tropic storm surge
                                    in one ear / out the other
there was never any doubt

We park in the spot reserved for those wounded in battle
Order hepatitis cocktails at the Seismic Lounge
I need a surfboard shaped like my life I said
The waitress hands me a speargun & a dose of drizzling fog-
mist from an early Sunday morning in July
so promulgated between tides

There’s blood in my eyes
& a loaded question coming my way
any minute now

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Or so I’ve heard

A deep white blue haze
translucent        an orchid made of galvanized steel
                             & beach glass
                                                      doused in gasoline
                    offered to Our Lady of the Vanishing Point
wet sand
bottlecap                    leaning against the seawall
morning glory                                  putting a dent in Mexico

We defy gravity but that doesn’t mean we don’t fall
                        just to convince ourselves that we still exist
sort of

broken hearts, pocket cemeteries, torn pieces of black silk
tumbling in the shorebreak
                        as the wind shifts & the lights come on
                                               & we tiptoe thru the kelp grove
like a tractor             hauling a 20-ton blue valentine

waltzing Matilda all the way 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Repeat After Me

The Inventory (within eye-shot):
1.  Venice BAMBOO Calif.
(in script) on the longboard
2.  Royal Quiet DeLuxe
3.  Pacific Coast Highway
4.  Heavy Breathing
            (also of the process so inclined)
5.  A History of Violence

Tracing the shadow of a gull on the sand or
pavement                  end of Tokaido Road
Bend, Oregon                       spot on scarlet
Santa Barbara
            roosters crowing across the
Mexican or Guatemalan rooftops
in the vague care of palm shadows, leaf shadow
night of the lunar eclipse…

Pacific Overture

The dragon in the waves is our
connection to the East

The East is west of here

Monday, July 1, 2013

Torching the Pier

I should be paddling out now
into the tropic blue glitter
instead of dancing across Ocean Street
in a pair of broken huaraches

I’ve got a ticket to the sleaziest night imaginable
& it’s got your name on it

I will dive into the darkness of your eyes
& never come back

Meanwhile meet me in the alley behind the taqueria
I’ll be carrying a tire iron
& a surf manual translated into church Latin

We all have our dirty little secrets
& even if we don’t we can always pick up a few
along the way