Category Archives: Free-Range Verse

The Air of Crows

Silhouette of a bird sitting on a tree branch during full moon. Crows at night.
Photo by Douglas Henrique Marin dos Santos on

A misty green jungle glow
leaves me melancholy high
at mid-morning sigh
the curtains in the kitchen
hold back the ashen stare
of this cell block
with eighty tiny windows
and hands reaching out to pray
for the immoral justice to fade,
fade with the orange gassy glow
of another wet night
of multiple ampersand weddings
and lonely shuffles beneath creaking porch lights …
and I cannot stop thinking of the wandering crows
in those tiny black clothes
and how they blow through the air and into a fractured face
when the hobbling world is overworked or tired
as I light these mystic candles all alone
the mantle missing pictures of all the seas
of you and I at the shores of blue water space
and it’s blessed to imagine
the days we are tightly knit together
our lives wrapped around each other
like newspaper on fish, like wings on wheels
and it’s fun to play life with you
for without you
this game is already over
and I am merely a wedge
stuck beneath an open door
letting all the air out
forever and ever.

Red Rubber Concerto

Person wearing red hoodie for red rubber.
Photo by Sebastiaan Stam on

Beauty is in baskets
lying all over the world
a tumbler of goodwill
a shot glass of decency
lined along the bar
of distant scars
the marathon jubilee
pounds the ribbon strips gray
across bridges
and country lanes
laced with the structure of Big Brother
Nostradamus and Orwellian patriots
rolling pool balls across the lawn
whilst Beethoven wails to the sky
life is but
a red rubber concerto
kick your ball to the stars
feel the pressure of toe on geometry
and you wonder about the girl living in the cube
the colorful cube before your eyes
and you know she is ocean beautiful
you know she is fun in the sun
Morrison dialogue falling from her lips
Kerouac’s beautiful dynamite
stripped raw from the bumper of your guts
and you envision
ancient Mexican sunsets in her arms
her peeling back the clock
and making you feel alive again
not a fool, but a partner of comfort
turning counter-clockwise
in the twine of a misshaped reality
and you try to cradle every tombstone
in your aching arms
pulsing with sweat
but you’d carry every burden for her
just to make her life
a bit more comfortable
when all she wants to do is cry
so when I’m coughing up all the pain
I feel the beaches of my angel’s city
call to me and say
come join us again
for another red rubber concerto
witness life
witness love
witness the fall of my American dream
come wear your name badge
the golden flask pinned to your chest
the prick that draws blood
the tag that identifies you as the big log
we drink oceans of breath
but do we swallow
the meaning of life
or do we just spit it to the shore
and watch it be pulled away by the wet arms
of a burdened destiny
full of secrets and closet lies
and I want to be lead away
not on a leash
but on a touch
to sincere eyes
and a head of hair
that smells like some dreamy garden
and the click click
of this oily phantasm
draws sand paintings on my tongue
and I spit the dryness
the emptiness
into a dirty space of asphalt
always looking toward the sketches in the sky
with the hope for new hope
with the setting of the sun dial
the bright hot eye in the sky
beckoning at me to arise
and live another day
even when God’s spinning wish list
is torn in a storm.



I went to the place of high sands,
the place of paper wasps swarming around my heart
looking to sting, to puncture another hole
in my already bruised organ.
I walked among the hibernating cottonwoods
and the mulberry bush lapped by the setting sun
I saw a great owl rise quick from his post
and the noise and speed startled me, really startled me
like a pan noisily collapsing atop its pile in the cold
of my romance novel abode gone sour
every niche cold and silent
every breath weeps lonely
and I cry out for childhood again, dumbfounded
and swimming in the hopes most likely false
and it kills me inside
wants to make me kill it all around
tired of this everlasting ache
constantly welling up, then subsiding
welling up again, never subsiding
as I try to ignore the complications of human existence
as that bird outside my window
takes a kamikaze dive into the crooked steeple
the church bells toll
toll through my soul
golden gongs of everlasting love
echoing of destiny derailed
and the sands of time don’t spill quick enough
it’s already all flubbered and flucked
and I want to get off, get off, get off.

The days here now are cold and polished
the gray sky like some sheet of ice dangling from the
clouds like membranes all pulled apart
everyone flying south
and I just want to go north or east
to feel her breasts press against my chest
as she goes down on me in 4 a.m. lust,
the sands of time, the sands so smooth and arched
trickle down with gravity
filling in all the spaces
that I’ve stepped in before
erasing me, erasing me from the palette
all color blank and void
the purity of her pronounced speech
fading to a cold, silver shimmer
sand and shotguns
blasting me all away
to another day
where my memories do not thrive and poke
where my past no longer plays magistrate
eternally swallowing the key
if I knew not love I could triumph in life’s wars
not knowing love I would be without a soul
where do I go
without a soul
I do not know.

When life has ended at the midpoint
but you are still waking up,
still breathing,
what memento have you become?
what cherished scrapbook do you yellow within
what guts are you released from ever so violently
wicked violets leaving purple bruises on the hands,
on the cold glass of winter dusk,
on eyelids heavy with sleep,
on dreams inked by the utterances of self-depravity,
lost in all the spaces melting together that crush
crush me, crush me, crush me with charity
and the goodwill of electric casual sex.

I am the canvas stretched and splattered,
splattered with the annoyances of modern artists
of cave dwellers
bar dwellers
bedroom noise dwellers
and the sinking feeling you get
when you break a bone
and you are all alone
and starve helplessly
gnawing on carpet fibers in your very own home
but no one is really home
the doorbell is disconnected
the knock is dissected
the blessings never resurrected
like Christ tied to a goal post
and everyone kicking the shit out of Him
just because He is who He is.

Everyone gasps at his philosophy
he is such an atrocity
how can he be allowed to live
mumble the Pee and Em
as they read from the good book
and hate and kill just the same
behind turned heads and silver tears
candy is the only one left on Earth to me
and even sugar is drifting away
sometimes it seems
though not entirely elegantly true
throw me another bruise God
wipe my face across the broken glass once more
kick me breathless
beat me senseless
stuff me back into the womb
and cut me away
why won’t you save me for another day?

And everyone walks on eventually
can’t stand the sight of me
so what is my reason today
to breathe, to walk, to slide away?
To put on shoes
or arise from slumber
I’ll only be smacked around
with a piece of jagged lumber,
a beer spill down the shirt is cold
and I want to be washed away to a bar in Denver
hyped up and comatose
with a drink in my hand
and a smoke plastered between my fingers
talking to the broken bodies of bones
who pass by me like nuptial ghosts
and I never rode a hotel bicycle in a wedding dress
phoning cock-throbbing villains
fleeing the scene like sand
carving away another piece
of forgotten history, tucking it neatly in a pirate bottle of glass.

The Marbles of God

The marbles of God
Photo by Vlad Alexandru Popa on

I felt the breath of God in Santee
by the shores of Lake Marion
the spiders like aliens
weaving webs the size of quilts
white and silk tapestries of insect thread
jungle creatures with big, black eyes
and I looked to the sky
overcast and clouds a boiling
the wind blew through the treetops
knocking the leftover rains from their leaves
the brush as thick
as terminal cancer in the lungs
and the lonely breeze
whispered help me please
as I walked on down the road

And the green was everywhere
the breath of God cooling my veins
and I strain
to find meaning in every pulse
I strain to find meaning in my mind
my dreams
my sleep
my pain
my rage

And the deepest green was still everywhere
the chalky tracks of the dirt road
looked like baby powder
on the tires of my burnt-out ride
and I ran
I ran up the road
into the tunnel of trees
the verdant canopy of angels
God’s leafy cherubism
cradling the path of my life
and I ran down the road
back into the sun
breathing hard
And spitting blood
and I preached to the stones
the sky
the trees
the weeds
the birds

And it felt fine beneath the cloaked sun
the fireball veiled in churning clouds
it felt good for a change
to be amongst the rural world
the rural South
the old man rocking on his front porch
just breathing in the vapors
of heavy vegetation and peace

I rolled with the marbles toward home
ice chips in the eyes, the work of romantic elves
destiny forever on the dash, beyond the cracked windshield.

The Undecipherable Want

Undecipherable money worship.

The chariots rode into town
blaring trumpets
and waving spider webs
like white, cotton kites
and the soldier watched the cheering crowd
all smiling with blood on their teeth
and scriptures dripping from their curled fists
and the soldier felt as empty as wind
when he jumped off the back
and made his way through the blistering crowd
their eyes vacant, their hearts rattling with ice
everyone was like a bee sting
clawing and banded amber jewels
wearing spears and hammocks on their backs
in which to swing above a lazy flower
before the dark stones fall from the sky
and Jesus is riding a missile
spreading handfuls of love dust
across the widening gap of mankind
and he plants the point of the missile
right into the dirt lot of the Cactus Gin
a splintering roadhouse joint
on a desert road
a long, spindly caramel kiss
warmed and running
across the bourbon asphalt
the mellow yellow of factories
glows like a foggy harbor veiled in red velvet
and the broken bulbs of the Cactus Gin marquee still flash,
the craggy edges are crusted black
the little heartbeat light
flickers like a sick Christmas tree
and inside…
floating malnutrition
backward evolution
noise pollution

And the son of God ordered a whiskey
and smiled at the people he created
as they danced and fought and loved,
cried and laughed and ached…
to the slow grind of a melancholy jukebox
and he brought with him an angel
one with a rhombus head
and stunted wings
and the angel was singing the grief
of all she suffered on her leash
and a weepy guitar began to groan in the corner
Jesus was singing a song about peace and love
and the congregation began to throw beer bottles at
and Jesus spoke into the mic…
“Oh great. Here we go again.”
But he took the blows with harmony,
nibbled the glass between his teeth as he sang
weaving tanglewood hopes through the vibrating cave.

And the madness began to settle
as he curled before the window
the soldier was home but shaking
he was upset about the killing he had done
his wife a dozen miles away on sleepers
the children were slaves
the plays were robbing their minds
of any moral foundation
the madness had spun out of control
to the point of consensual acceptance
like morphine in your I-V
the slow drip of horror shows gone real
and fishing down by the river
was no longer notated in the wired almanac
as simply two boys and a bucket of worms
a shingle thatched roof
crowning a famous whitewashed bait and tackle shop
glows in the background
like a slice of warm care
or apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top
cinnamon showgirls lifting their skirts
and squirting you with a city sweet…
that’s life with those eyes,
what is this undecipherable want?

Firefly Eyes

Firefly Eyes

There is order
There is disorder
There are purgative drugs
And there are clouds to sleep on

It was a day that was easy to dance to
It had a beat
and a really good rhythm
with the angel ship standing there like she was
some great gift slipped directly from God’s palms
and she didn’t even begin to sing
she just stood there 
a microcosm
a star
a California thread
beating down my doors with her eyes
and a long highway lust 
stretched as taut as the yellow line 
from which she had just begun
the long-toed tip toe
with valleys of grain
whipping by her temples fast as light
and she waved goodbye to her scar tissue
as it flew out the window
and died in the past
for now all she had before her
was the whitest milk
and the blackest nights
snuggling a cold mattress
reeling in the chill of it all
as does he

My chorus ran through the checkpoint
my liver was aching something fierce
on that Arizona wideband
that Calypso horizon swimming like a fish
across the rusty pinnacles sprinkled with salt
and I dreamt of snuffing it and devil tattoos
calling to me from the other side
and I begged for the lush
of some green island adventure
with vodka and bright vegetables
canopies on wheels
and jalopies with no steel
a theater show for the man on his homemade bed
peering out a broken window
watching all the wealth rain down on him
and he was indeed the meek
and all he wanted anymore
was to inherit the Earth
she being queen sun
and he being king moon
and he would lay out carpets of stars for her
so she could step over the puddles of empty space
ever so elegantly and precious
like a newborn baby
kept clean and pure 
behind a bell jar of kaleidoscopic glass

He stepped on the white, feathery scorpion
and it played the tune of a harp when it squealed
and he wondered if he were in Heaven
rolling snake eyes and sin
across green velvet lawns sprinkled by the belch of a 
crisp hose
he pondered fame
he pondered glitter
he pondered perfection
and the price you pay
for not living what you feel
when all is a cool, light, tapping reverberation
and your soul feels as empty as some wicker basket
beside a raging river run dry
think of the music inside you
think of what smells good
think of letting go
and feeling for once
with that wrecked soul

He was playing a baby grand
cigar crunched between his teeth
the whole of NYC bouncing around in his eyes
and he looked around at the clean carpet
and all his plush interior
and he felt as dirty 
as a slaughtered lamb
he was too cold to think
and too hot to cool down with ice
he was wrapped up in all the fornication
society was performing in front of him
and he climbed out the window
and started to fly
like some great bird
startled free from a bush
all around the world he soared
like a rollercoaster of flesh
and all he saw was her
standing there with her small feet
planted firmly on the long, yellow line

He dropped the porcelain figure on the highway
it was crushed by large wheels and scattered amongst the tacky asphalt and cryptic road kill
so he knew now it would be a mad journey
to hell and back
with an English girl
and an American man
and he rolled her on the dandelions
in some London park
and they ate squares of cool, orange Jell-O
making glasses out of them
and seeing the world through a
wobbly, blood-stained sepia glaze
the antiqued film made them sentimental
the statues and cobblestone
had a look like one would find on Mars
not the planet,
but the god’s personal person
and he pulled out a slide
and the world was indeed an orange hue
and the English girl 
and the American man
never wanted to leave London in the summertime

And he steered his teary-eyed red rabbit
near Joseph City, Arizona
gunning it hard toward Gallup
and the museum 
of green pharmaceuticals
but the meditation gave him a vision

Like a small film painted on the cold, white wall of a
motel room
and this particular film taught him about writing letters
and the waste of getting wasted
because he knew the angel would return
in one form or another
and she’d be happily holding out a plastic platter
filled with jars of glass eyes swimming like fireflies

Castaways, in some bruised Irish sky.

Red Star, Blue Plate

Red Star, Blue Plate. An image of space with a mix of red and blue.

Who am I but silent scream
who am I but dizzy dream
drifter in the daylight
mummy in the night
who is there to make it right
right, right
what is right
what is wrong
don’t know what I am thinking
a long, broken song
running through my head
nerves all a twisted and surreal
neon is lightning
pauses are thunderstorms
solid becomes liquid
liquid becomes melting
shaking becomes catastrophe
big orange bombs bursting inside of me
knuckles red and dry
burning sensation in the eyes
what is happening
changing yet dying, again and again
living, not breathing
every morning a train wreck
every night a balloon ride to space
every dawn a handshake
every moon a distant plate chock full of unanswered destiny, a van driving north, south, east, west – sunset seeker, mountain keeper, a drizzle, a fog, pounding my head wondering where it all went wrong – all gone, gone, gone

Red stars and atom bombs
gas globes spinning in the heavens
dripping flawless arms of colored smoke
the sun startled the blue plate awake
a dinner of history set in stone
a playground for the mastodon
a curtain of pure beauty
out east somewhere
far from the roads
far from the buildings
far from the dust storms
stinging at my skin
the aroma of beer
and cigarettes
illuminates the interior of the vehicle
as I sit
in sun-splashed happy horror
the moon dangles there up high
in its casket of deep blue
a lone pearl
cast from the string of space
an ivory stone
embedded deep within the sky’s bruise
spinning motions all around me
wash machines and black tires
crazy drug laced eyes
peering deep into the belly of a dirty tumbler
the earth itself
spinning motionlessly
and there’s some sharp-edged wedge
stuck deep in my back,
deep in my neck
cutting off the circuits
that make others human
and I taste like anti-freeze
spitting out the thing
that clogs my veins

But I am merely choking on the memories of LA, blue dead Vegas, the frozen North, the lava islands
where the cars run roughshod over grooved freeways slick with oil and the sweat of the sun, great mighty machines boiling over in the dense sense of pollution and crimes, dying down on Vine, the lepers and the shark-skin suited monks wiping their wallets on the palms of dirty phone booths, palm trees swaying to the pop music of this pop culture in a pop-ignited fury furnace with its breast nestled gently against the shoulder of the Ocean Pacifica

Jesus tries to pacify me
with a hamburger and a Coke
it’s a Christian monopoly
with Buddha playing pieces
priests raping babies
and sinners serving soup
to the poor, the homeless, the disheveled
presidential nominees
and silver-spooned dynasties
racking up the big bucks
while single mom sells a suck
the price of everything keeps going up, up, up
while my means keep going down, down, down
proud to be an Amorikan,
proud to be starving
and losing the fight
give me a library card
so I can check in my brain
throw away my umbrella
so I can drown in the rain
stop walking,
you better run
this heart is stretching its seams
this heart is stopping
at the end of this dream

Red star, blue plate
alarm clocks are boiling over
as I am about to go to sleep
one more nail to pound
one more tear to stop
time to say goodnight,
it’s heaven-o-clock at the terrace plunge.