Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deep down in the groove

for Lou Reed

From the lounge act’s raucous
to the last chance tango
across the bare concrete
You were there
when I wasn’t
& I needed that then
the way I need it

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Autumn, Rilke, & the First Winter Swell

A scrap of paper tumbling across the pavement
driven along the gypsy string breeze

I wonder where it’s going
                                                where it’s been

but then doll-like syllables
falling  past the lark & seagull sky
painted in colors I couldn’t begin to describe
distracts me like pebbled glass
in what appears to be a peep show mosaic
they should sell tickets to down on the pier

Summer was very great but now it’s gone
& I’m holding on as best I can
when I should just let go let the surge take me where it will
fog spilling in from Japan on a satellite hook-up
preempted by a late-breaking tide

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Don’t Know What Love Is

I had cut the deck to the Ace of Tentacles.  Don’t look back they say but we always do.  The road to Playa de las Palmas was arduous.  I was riding the clutch & she was commenting on the tuck-and-roll upholstery. There are things that are meant to be whispered like seafoam across the sand & I told her so. We had been running on fumes ever since we crossed the border, & we’d gone too far to turn back now.  It’s late at night & it starts to rain.  Windshield wipers slapping like a metronome keeping time.  It’s difficult to see in the blinding glare of oncoming headlights, but is that Janet Leigh hurtling through space towards the Bates Motel?

Monday, October 21, 2013

14 Movies : A Sonnet

for Edward Ainsworth

The Wild Bunch
Cisco Pike
Vanishing Point
Two-Lane Blacktop
The Getaway
Repo Man
The Long Goodbye
The Last Detail
Blade Runner
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Dog Day Afternoon
Big Wednesday
Apocalypse Now

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Like a trick you can do w/an ordinary deck of cards

The spaceship touches down
on the bluff above the beach
but I’m not worried I got
1) a machete in the car
2) a bottle of pharmaceutical grade tequila
3) & you
looking like Ava Gardner
in The Night of the Iguana

Today is Thursday but it feels more like Taco Tuesday
diving into a puddle of wet sand
& surfacing like the Jack of Hearts

while stolen shoes & a hand-carved contingency plan might
alleviate the symptoms
we’re still hollow-eyed lifers
testing the water on the last coast on earth

& we’ll be here as long as the gods keep sending us these
postcard sunsets signed with love
which is something you find reassuring somehow
but it’s not that kind of love

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Something for the girls back home

Waking up on the bottom of a swimming
pool just in time to take a little siesta
if it wasn’t for the thunder of your eyelashes
& the fierce undertow at low tide
stepping off the sunny side of your gondola
onto concrete damaged like Mike Tyson
or me
w/a bloody nose & a greasy blonde
beneath a sky melting like a box of crayons
in the Painted Desert

That’s what made surfing The Cage so tasty
back in the day
The resurgent blue cut with foam
could be your formal invitation to
death by drowning
& it would be just like
dying of thirst in a monsoon
riding in on the shattered chrome drainage
of a single tear

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alien vs. Predator, or The Last Days of Disco

She was there when I got back & it was easy to see why she stood sideways with her sisters in every snapshot pasted into her family’s photo album.  The engines in her eyes were designed for another purpose, one that had yet to be exploited.  Her neon lip gloss gave every word she said a luminous presence that made me think of lights along the pier on a foggy night.  She claimed her mirror engaged her.  It was the kind of dance St. Vitus could appreciate.  I responded with a pipeline tango to music performed by a surf punk band called Horse Latitudes.  My shirt got torn in the exchange of pleasantries.  Love is not a dream returning, she said.  A puff of smoke dissolving, leaving a feather-shaped print on the wall, like the shadow of a wing in flight.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Two Wave Hold-Down

The steam-driven calliope churning underwater. 
Bells in the kelp grove. 
A slab of concrete rotting on the beach. 

I’ve got a hymnal full of the stuff. 
All tricked out & rationalized
like a full-metal bikini swamp anchored to the reef
            slowly swaying like a grass skirt beneath the waves
                        with hand-carved flames
as a classical rendition of the same war of attrition
ripples the mainline stem
to float the memory
of bended knees & cracked radiator hoses
                        on the rusty side of the cypress grove
                                    where the tide plays Topsy on a drainpipe
which is never enough it seems nothing ever really is
you had to be there
from the froth of Ocean crossing
to layered transparencies in the book of the evening sky
& I suppose the appropriate body art
which highlights the memorial slideshow
that begins & ends
right here

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rust never sleeps

Numb w/the relentless details
you could bounce a quarter off the sky
or break an eyeball in a Mexican stand-off
w/the Three Graces
which is reason enough to invoke
Tethys, Amphitrite, Kalypso,
& various lesser sea nymphs & mermaids
cascading vertically on the steps
of an extended vacation
sharpening a southern accent w/a book of Latin
verses & a coping saw
mumbling like no one I know
on a streetcorner in Venice Beach near Sherman Canal
saying “The Egytians built the world’s first
canal almost 4 thousand years ago”
a fact that inspires visions of the pharaohs carrying shovels
& walking sideways
& who knows what desire sleazing up w/the late
afternoon breeze stirring the dust in yr brain
like a black pajama death wish shuffling through beach sand
which could be a
heroic tragic flaw if you’ve got the lungs for it
but with pinpoint hollow eyes reading Ecclesiastes
thru binoculars
in the grip of your own personal endless summer
with all expenses paid
except one