Updated Dec, 16th 2012
My "imitation poem", based on Kenneth Rexroth's
THE FLOWER SUTRA
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
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 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
from the rear view mirror.
(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,
and antidote to choice.
"Los Tropicanas"-Eduardo Carillo 1972-73
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.
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.
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
Three juvenile picadors
barbing a young bull in the ring.
A quick, clumsy swing.
The unique "thwak"
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...
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.