My "imitation poem", based on Kenneth Rexroth's


Deep drowsy Shade under the broad leaves,

The dusty plain far below dim with haze,

Picking flowers--bush clover, gold banded lily,

Bell flower, wild pink, while a mountain cuckoo

Flutters about, watching me and crying,



Cool sequoia quiet of your mountain shack

Long meadow trails and youthful ridges

We compare plant notes: owl's clover, sego lily,

Mugwork, azalea. Now your're gone,

bivuaced in Yunnan, documenting

the world coming apart at the seams.

My "whatever goes" poem. I wrote this while listening to Leonard Cohen's, Joan of Arc.


While Hearing Cohen

a procession of bodies
bronze eclipsing gods
begin walking through my mind
at first
and that feeling-
my heart breaking the concrete floodgates
on the levee
with giant fists, in a rumble of thunder.

I am enough even
as I burn away
to nothingness
to have started
all the wars in history
warmed all the cold lovers
called up all the springs lilies.

love and destruction
have always been
such inseparable bedfellows.

can you let this world have its way with you? within you?

as if you were a stage
big enough for everyone who's
ever lived, or will,
to stand on.

Joan of Arc
in a cab heading downtown
the soft hands of gods
turning the knob
watching her
from the rear view mirror.


Personna Poem

Somme Days

(on the life and death of Jean-Francois de la Barre)


moonrise, sweet like Cleopatra's milk

and the river lapping it softly off

the white oak gunnels

of my orphan's barge.

Night herons cried-out in the canebreak

and a reluctant sun rose

from the misty banks of the Somme

on that day, near the ocean, in my unfulfilled youth.


Now, a dozen lifetimes later

my tongue still wanders in my mouth,

not sure if it belongs there,

since they cut it out.


I refused their blasphemy

they stole my language

and made me a nightmare

for all those they could not touch.

facing St. Vulfrans' tower,

beneath gargoyles, spitting great tonges of stone,

I knelt on the smooth cobble

and mouthfull of blood, a vampire,

even more the mob's monster now,

bloody, atop Vatican's virgin

rapist, of their holy ghost

the old witch hunts still smoldering

like wardogs in their minds, and

the executioner's axe

gleaming in the morning, poised

to take away all we had discovered.

my friends today don't understand:

life was swept away then

as easily as cutting winter wheat

with a sharp sickle.


They cut us down

To protect their pilgrims, command their kings, give life to their lies...

they say we are lost without their savior,

we, the heathen disbelievers

because blackness burned in our blue eyes

   our knowing that we were fossil children,

ape offspring, awake one hundred years before Darwin

we discovered this, our true lineage,

and it tore us from our culture,

a terrible coming and such freedom,

that noble ladies flung aside

their prudence, and mounted the north wind,

if a bastard could feel pride class was meaningless.

the youngest amongst us refused

to tip their caps the the passing crucifix.

a rebellious warmth swelled

in the minds of the proletariate.

the world teetered on a knife's edge

I was thrown to the Church's maw,

Voltaire's Dictionary burning

next to my headless corpse.


Still, a bloodly sun rose and

children continued learning,

beneath the pregnant moon, to

feel their animal pleasures again.

In alleys and doorways mouths whispered

an ecstatic science

calling in a new day,

that would not arrive soon enough

to save me.


They say there are men who define

the times they live in...

...more numerous, are those

who are taken from the sun's fiery company

becuse they were born too soon.



shaking, rattling, inhale

I drift into the faithfullness of sin

my life, an unemployed shambles

dialysis of the 100 proof night

falling apart is always only a few breaths away,

I don't care who you are.


for those unable

to turn around addiction,

speed is

and antidote to choice.



                                                                    "Los Tropicanas"-Eduardo Carillo 1972-73


late late-thirty

dead tired

that painting

changed my life

by the time I turned the key

in the front door

the whole city looked like art



There is an unmistakable geometry

to a fistfight.

The squaring of two bodies

parallel lines of eyes

like fire. like lead. like death.

and it caught my attention

as I ran. a double take. stopped.


Really? That? Here?

Nine miles back

panting, sweating, blood pumping

becoming an animal for this running.


Cautious. Tree-shrouded,

I watch the spectacle unfold.

Unsure if I am witnessing

a moment of violence

or something premeditated.

Something teenage. Required. Contrived. Painful.


I consider how little I know about this world

about people younger, or older, than myself.

The boys, in grey jeans. T-shirt. Tank top.

Evently matched.

Arms: two-by-fours

with hammer fists.

Jeering at each other like

two drugged brothers

put up to this by older, more powerful players.

No hatred. But a willingness. A readiness.

To do harm.


I spy on them through the pines

as they shuffle in the dusk's dust.

A boy and two girls play the audiance

throaty taunts.

Three juvenile picadors

barbing a young bull in the ring.


A quick, clumsy swing.


The unique "thwak"

of fist-hitting-face

and my stomach turns

in disgusted fascination.

Why didn't he dodge?

Why no recoil, followed by a roar

and an ugly counter punch?

Choaked laughter. Grunts. Instead.


Now I'm watching Fight Club

Grand Theft Auto. Gang Initiation.

A macabre cartoon of violence.

The car completes the scene

parked body-lengths away

spilling the sounds of some other city into the forest.


The other boy finally responds

landing a heavy blow

and they both go down in the road,

a thrashing tangle of limbs.

fist. face. blood.


As I turn to slip away

I discover a feeling of relief:

clearly this is a show

there is no smell of fear or bloodlust...

...and disgust:

this is violence. premeditated. reguired.

The logical curviture of a trap

that neiher boy will escape.

Because in the future

this obligatory brawl

will inevitably deliver them

to the last man they will ever

lock eyes with.

That one who will take their life.

Becasue no matter how they pretend,

on this country road,

they were calling death closer

with every second.


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