Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Last Car That Parked Here is Still Missing

Everything is tumbling past
a steel guitar I had at first thought
looked like rain

The trial of true redemption slips a little
in the Chinese transliteration
                  skimming the silver
                           torched by blossoms

         a way to compensate for those
                  seasick mermaids on horseback

not to mention Thor Heyerdahl, Sister Aimee Semple,
& Miki's lush beehive?

Your brain seems to be on an extended vacation, a sea cruise, maybe a world tour, including every empty parking lot from the Forbidden City to Tierra del Fuego.  Factor in the long way around & you just might make it back by suppertime.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

What's Your Metaphor?

The wind sings Malaguena Salerosa in the cypress
like a ghost mule dragging The Cantos
70 foggy miles up the coast
                  which is Latin for "Take two aspirin
                           & call me in the morning"

A point of entry & return
minus the charm of a doubt casting its shadow upon
a working hypothesis all camera-ready like
neon scribbled into a spoonful of wet sand

but dependent upon a parallel vocabulary
& the shuffle of glass cards on the horizon
swamped out as the tide pushes in
                  tilting parking lots
                           down towards the sea

Sunbleached chrome & I told you so
wearing rose-colored goggle & a heat rash
alternate routes to the same conclusion
because it's not always merely what was said but
the shape of it that matters

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Parking Lot Sutra

The shadow of your heart
wrapped in tinfoil
discovers a new use for gravity

just a little something to set alongside the
octopus in the bathysphere

What is it divided three ways?

Leaving no doubt as to the intent
(painted green)
& reaching for frequencies beyond the pale light
just to prove that I can & do
as often as you

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Drop C Tuning for Steam-Driven Guitar

The azure reticence of your
waterproof mascara
         knocking down the
                  auguries of innocence
                           in rusty tidepool sessions
plus a flicker of wings maybe
                  a synthesis of custom chrome
                                    & bad timing

The light doesn't lift
                  anymore than the dark
                           & if I had a hacksaw
I'd play you a tune
         retreating to the pulmonary root
that rattles within a sigh
         every time you
                           shake your hips

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chapter & Verse

for Pamela

In an empty beach parking lot
                     it was either midnight or high noon
                                      shimmering in the haze that
          filled my sunglasses
                                                 & broke the sky
like a 2nd floor window
                                      w/an ocean view
I figured that when it hit the ground it
                     left puddles on the sidewalk
                               you'd have to swim to cross
& the riptide would drag you all the way to
                     a city full of windows
                              & sinister acoustic distractions
like the time I read a street map of Oaxaca
in the eyes of the tamale lady
         w/cormorants slicing the sea mist into quatrains
                              on the shadow side of the jetty
trading the eternal luau for the
                     warning label I never read
because you're the one who hesitates a moment
(to be sure)
        & I am 180 degrees of nothing-comes-easy
                     leaning into the wind

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Continuously Variable Transmission

Stars over Monterey Bay

the moon in a black limousine

& I'm not sure but the light could be
         sharpening itself on the edge of
                  1001 dark nights of the soul

                                     & now it's me
standing face to face
                  w/someone that looks like
the you
                  I never knew
                           gazing into my eyes
w/the same blank stare that
                  launched a thousand ships

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Burden of Proof

The clouds are breaking apart
the sun slips through
the floor needs sweeping

Identity plus a teaspoonful of consciousness?

The real mumbo jumbo

I knew I must have been blessed
because I managed to step in every puddle
between here & Beach Street

Ask for what you want
blink & it's gone
who knows where it comes from desire

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Make a List

for Edward Ainsworth

1. A slice of slanted sunlight
2. A black cat bone
3. Palm trees parked beneath halos
4. A tide book from 1998
5. A quarter-mile slab of pavement from the Pacific Coast Highway
6. 29 tons of beach sand
7. A wetsuit allegedly blessed by the Pope
8. Beer for breakfast
9. A Marine Band harmonica in G
10. All the money I never had
11. A nine pound sledgehammer
12. The Hollywood sign in braille
13. A switchblade purchased from Joe Lopez in the playground at
Saint Monica's High School in 1972
14. Thin veil of mist suspended above waves
15. Dark passage veering off the reverence
16. Something about her eyes when she turns away beneath the
stuttering neon sky
17. Wet sentences
18. White knuckles
19. Mexico City Blues

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Temporary Tattoos

Thug Life, aka "The Poems"
          for Duncan McNaughton
I tried translating the inscription but
my Latin is rust & my eyes are blue
& if you read The Cantos backwards
it sounds more like a harmonica 
than a chainsaw does

Half Past High Noon
          for Noel Black
'The Code of the West
has the same zip-code as
the Heartbreak Hotel

Spahn Ranch Dressing
          for Ed Sanders
At McNeil Island Penitentiary
in the early 1960s
Alvin Karpis taught Charles Manson
how to play the steel guitar

Saturday, September 1, 2018

High Noon at Medicine Beach

Pale turquoise in the shallows
gets deeper the farther out you go
paddling thru rusty tidepool sessions
w/trembling Spanish interiors
never learning to ask why

as it would be the Ocean's view of itself
glass beads, tinfoil & mother of pearl
assuming you can pick & choose yr demons
a Tijuana version of Chinatown
sublime & unreasonable
like Thursday morning wrapped around a
self-conscious 12-pack in the fridge

& you can shrug yr hips at passionate accidents
if you want
giving all that has been taken
as you might expect a mist of revelation
spun from aluminum samples & a variable compression rate
welding pink shadows to laundromats

& so lifting the dimestore glitter off the tide
wings of pelicans feather the surf
crashing the beach gate grillwork of
sea foam, sand & kelp
& whatever else it takes to download the shop manual
under ideal conditions

Saturday, August 11, 2018

M'sieur Tarzan Buys a Record Player

Wrecked on telepathic feedback
behind the wheel of an awkward silence
leaving skid marks on the needle
whenever you drift past your
favorite tune

but bent listening to
those jungle drums
& sawed-off guitars

a real toe-tapper that
lit up the hit parade
ten thousand years ago

& the consolation prize...
wind in the eucalyptus & other voices
versus the exhaust note of a '56 Chevy
rattling the sunset windows of
los kahunas

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Me Too Neither

You re still testifying at the Trial of the Century
one hand on the Manchurian Surf Almanac the other
describing an arabesque

& so the sky tips back into the redolent haze
a powder blue upholstered barcolounger

I tune in to a concerto for cypress tree & fence wire
a virtuoso of the plastic saxophone
the dented fender (blue w/rust)
steel drums            DIMINISHED CHORDS
a mandolin could be mistaken for a cement culvert

An early morning windchime sonata
w/clouds drifting in on a river of Liquid Drano
measured in intervals like beach tar
but only when the heart drops like a pelican

Parenthetically (I said)
you are the needle in my wing
& like a broken string on the 
fortune teller's banjo

but there's a place we can go
bypassing the relays
a place just outside your comfort zone
where the last black lagoon under the sea turns blue
& the fog echoes in silver

This day is beginning to look like Oscar Wilde in a bunny suit
The windows are halfway open
I'm reading a book about the Opium Wars

The rust-colored sun dips into the turquoise sea
& the ancillary bikini dolls confirms
Love's transcendence as well as the bitter after
taste in the classic sense

& like trying to parallel park a backhoe
out on the mainline at rush hour
(which should have a certain metaphoric appeal to
anyone w/an extended playlist)
her tiptoe tango sets fires in the kelp grave

Friday, June 1, 2018


A short set of 12 new poems published by Repo Press.
Buy Now via PayPal.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Love is Not a Dream Returning

Allegory as Evidence
Metaphor - not a brick wall but as a transparency like
window glass & can you sometimes see a refection?
R  E  C  O  G  N  I  T  I  O  N
"The Poems"
light & shadow distributed among undersea flowers
at dawn or a little after
(Rimbaud at Malibu)
that articulation
a genetic predisposition to vowel sounds
vs lead-based grammar
but the music intrinsic
valves, gears, & hinges as rhyme could be Memory
of phrase or Image & where/how it turns
is that
but say it like you mean it
a spillover from the Higher Mysteries
Her eyes are the color of bourbon
in a glass
w/the light streaming thru it

Monday, April 2, 2018

Mexican Hat Trick

A choir of seagulls vs the shattered
vocabulary of April
revealing a heart that resembles a bus wreck
just outside Truth or Consequences, NM
where I could be carrying a specimen jar containing
a butterfly, some broken seashells, & 6 bottlecaps
mementos of X-ville Beach
& all of it boiling down to a
3-day nocturne vs a lost weekend
with The Pentecostal Blues playing nonstop
on subliminal radio
but you're not there to push the buttons . . .
Come Wednesday I'll have tears in my eyes
so I'll drive blindfolded & miss seeing the 
palm trees genuflect
as the sun skids along the edge of the ocean haze
like wind in the cypress vs pushing a tractor through
quicksand I said it's a catchy tune but
can you dance to it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

HIGH NOON by Noel Black

In these new poems from the author of Uselysses, the code of the west gets the rewrite it so sorely needed, but probably never wanted. The streets are deserted except for the rodeo clown driving by in a beat-up Honda Civic singing "Do not forsake me oh my darling," and all you can do is sing along.

Order your copy of HIGH NOON now.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Drama in the Safeway Check-Out Line

As if one could discuss the
of clouds
& score any points
with the rank & file...

Watching TV with the sound off seems like a
good idea right now

(A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect?)

Torch aloe
Pipe wrench

& a tangle of nasturtiums
cascading over the seawall

"I would have died there if I knew where I was"
The irrevocable left unspoken as contrast

Shall we dance?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Silver Orchids

for Pamela

Waking in the night
I can hear you
& it's a warm breeze
like the 7 sleepers of Ephesus
an offshore breeze
bending sea-green eucalyptus
& my heart
decked out w/palm branches
& wind chimes
muscle memories
& orchids
rare orchids
shining like silver
hit w/sunlight
but only when you let me see them
in your eyes


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fake Blonde in Red

A wind opens the door
the beach at Topanga
Mount Tamalpais drifting in the fog
the road to Dakar

It's the cool wind
coming in off the ocean
at dusk
the hills are on fire
I'm thirsty
this is an interpretive dance

O by the silvery light of tide pools
I often think of the
tear-stained pavement
of Todos Santos
         Hawaiian Mythology
                  & all the names that are
                           crossed out in your address book

                                    whoever you are this time

& so tumbling down the Odessa steps
           filmed in black & white
your pearls, your Mexican silver, your troubled past
assuming a pale shade of
                                variegated turquoise

but like alleyways 
         near the beach
                  held in the grip of
                           a sunset aura

the burgundy nail polish
was a dead giveaway

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Organic Traffic

I guess I should remember the
name of the photo-engraving that
hung on the wall there
next to the door
& the way the light came at it

Was it raining?

It was autumn, briefly,
I could feel it in the light
but preempted by winter too soon
carefully set at a certain angle slant
among bird shadows in the cypress grove

I wrote the song they sing

Monday, January 1, 2018

Exit Velocity

      Guarded secrets & lug wrenches await
            like the memory of summer rain

"This must be the place where St. Francis tamed the wolves"

                        It doesn't matter
                                as long as you
                                        stick the landing