Category Archives: Memory Scrawls

Ghost Mints


Winter’s weight and dust galore
Eyes heavy in the pain of dawn
cheekbones ache
whiskey madness takes its toll
on an ever-building mint bridge to heaven, scars, delusions
I’d be cutting the lawn
if there were a lawn to cut
I’d be drinking soda drops and pops
if I wasn’t a ghost
such a ghost
walking through walls
wading in the stalls
I might be painting the fence
if there were a fence to paint,
the barricade is metal, so rusted
stained with the sweats
of dashing immigrants
this mind so invaded
where are you lumber lady now?
on the seven seas forgetting
fornicating the sailor boys
as I drown in cold crab legs
you flag hags
put your pink slippers away
and start another war
be careful
you kings of New Hampshire,
you Queens of Albuquerque
do be careful.

Weird Upstairs Walking Guy

Weird walking transsexual guy with long hair in trendy respirator mask.
Photo by Anna Shvets on

There is this guy see
who lives upstairs from me
he’s the weird upstairs walking guy
walks and walks
but he never says hi – until today
he looked disheveled and bruised
hair all a muss
toting a bank bag full of money
and I’m wondering what all the walking is for
floor to floor
he walks and walks
till a quarter to four

Is he shooting darts
or is he shooting junk
is he hiding a decapitated head
in a hand-carved wooden trunk
has he stashed away the body of Cinderella
takes her out in the deep of night
combs her brittle golden locks
until she looks just right
props her up on the couch beside him
as they munch popcorn
and watch “I am Sam …”

Or maybe he’s a Buddhist
with incense and candles
and lots and lots of fluffy pillows
he kneels on his straw mat
and bows to the sun or to the moon
or to the neighbor beating his dog and grandma
with a pinecone and a bat

I always see him solo
never with a mate
and I wonder what his story is
what is his twisted tale of fate
how old is he
how much does he weigh
does he believe in Jesus
or follow his own way
what does he think about
when he drives to Albuquerque
does he play a Steinway
or toot on a green bottle flute
enticing the charms
to rise from the ashes buried in his carpet
does he drink white wine or red
what does it mean
when he screams like that
is it merely bad dreams
or frustration bubbling to the surface
in the form of dragon fizz and warm oil

Does he watch Regis and Oprah
and maybe Dr. Phil
or does he watch the motion on the ocean
three vodkas and three pills
is he a menace to society
or one of the popes
does he smoke razor blades
or psychedelic dope
is he a war veteran
or a homosexual
does he eat pot pies
or filet mignon
is he French
or is he Irish
does he have nightmares
or fairy tale dreams
does he have children
or maybe a wife
has he attempted suicide
with a rusty fruit knife
has he called on Allah
to save this bloody world
or does he sit back and sip martinis
whilst smoking Izmir Stingers
not really giving a damn
about his brain anymore

All this I wonder
but don’t really care
I wish he would just stop walking
and leave me to my Russian bear
the one that looks me in the mirror
and says…
Please don’t stare.

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.


left human eye highlighted by a stripe of illuminated yellow for nine verses untethered
Photo by Ruslan Alekso on

Nine Verses Untethered

mindless and blind
like seven mice in a grinder, palpitating in rhythm to the chagrined man stuck high in the trees on Michigan Ave., trees of glass and steel penetrating the clouds like a needle copulating with the airy blue

a jumper at the precipice
Chicago oil and steam below, a great sea of fluttering beings all wired on something mindless blind like cats with no eyes, eternally hopping from this and that with no real solid goals in mind, taxi exhaust floating up and stinging his eyes, his nervous wife at home in Arlington, pacing the floor, biting the blood red polish from her nails, clenching her thick pale lips wondering why why, why, why did I move to the suburbs mom? Is Darryl Ok? Yes mom, he’s fine, he’s at work watching the Sandpeople

he closes his eyes and lets the wind suffocate him
the medics scrambled up from their lounge chairs dropping their Long Island iced teas, the sirens and the lights came to life, and they rushed to the scene, his body had bounced from the roof of a car, broken glass, spatters of blood, the smashed remains twisted freakily near a front tire, a mass of chattering folks gathered all around… Darryl, you forgot to close the door his mother screamed from some distant vision

his wife drinks a martini and smokes a fag in twilight
the ringing of the phone breaks the big silence shrouding the American dream and she lunges for the receiver, her hands shaking, her drunk head reeling and angry. Darryl! where the hell are you? I’ve been waiting for two hours!

there’s a rainy funeral near a grassy hill
his pieces lay in an expensive box, the wife sits stone still, her eyes looking straight ahead above and beyond the casket as it is lowered down into the ground, and one by one the people turn and slowly walk away, disappear into the trees behind the wet grassy hill, like ghosts from a previous life

the padded cell was comfortable but lonely
she arranged invisible flowers in an invisible vase, she checked her invisible watch and then darted to the small wire laced window, the sun was dropping quickly, so this is winter in Madland she thought as she looked down at the red scars ripped across her wrists and the doctor pushes her wheelchair slowly along the path on the cold grounds, he points out the ducks skating across a near-frozen pond, they’ll be gone soon he whispers in a dirty breath, and puts his hand down the front of her sweater

an unwanted ache is born beneath an August moon
she tries to stab it with a nail file, and they rush her away, a mad fever takes her hand and drags her to a lightless room where she stews in impending doom and has dreams of being killed by a pack of witches with brooms

a long coil of mercy strung tightly around her neck
strangles her in nightmares and dark prophecies, images of her husband pecked full of bleeding holes, stabbed gently with shards of glass by an angel lightly spritzed with a wedge of cut lime and she bows down in grand finale within her cell and squeezes the tortured mind out of her head. she is mindless and cold upon a silver tray and her soul ponders how God looked away from the atrocities of her life, her husband’s life, their life together so quickly ruined by the madness of an unloving world too caught up in the gains and percentages, too caught up in selling every single freaking thing that there was nowhere left to go for free and everyone striving to be plastered in perfection, a glossy glow about their faces, a finely cut suit clutching the flesh and bones within so that when you walked you were admired for being so fashionable and beautiful and perfect and everything that mattered came from within a clean window on some fine street in some fine city where life is real and pumping and let’s forego the little children in Snapwood UK who go to bed with nothing in their bellies whilst Pa pistol whips Ma ‘cause he ain’t got no job and he’s frustrated to the point of inflicting bodily harm upon the one he fell in love with so many centuries ago when his blood was comatose in a hidden vein far beneath the rock of Planet X and the leaders of the free world step up to the microphone donning their $3,000 suits, smile into the camera and tell us how wonderful life is and how much more wonderful they’re going to make life for us whilst Bobby Blue stares into a nearly-empty refrigerator and curses the piles of bills and bleeds over his laundry list of worries that come creeping up from the shadows right when the sun rears its ugly, fiery face down upon the world, he swears at his trap, calls it all crap and beats himself with a rusty chain

cornflowers dripping wet in the sky
Jesus passed her a joint as they sat on a bench in a golden-green park like Oz far up in Heaven and she asked him why the world was so mindless and he just smiled, shrugged off his Shroud of Turin and said: I don’t know why, I’m too high.

A Tussle with a Tassel

I had a dream in the opening creaks of dawn today that I was getting ready to graduate from high school again. In my dream, the colors of my cap and gown were white trimmed in gold. In my real-life graduation, the colors were green and gold… I think. I don’t really remember because it was eons ago. I had attended a Catholic high school my last three years because I had been a bad kid in regular school and kind of got kicked out. I guess it wasn’t because I was bad really, I was just maladjusted. I didn’t fit in. But truth be told, Catholic high school was rougher than regular high school. That’s just what I needed.

The point is, because it was a Catholic high school and a relatively small class of less than 100 people, we had our graduation ceremony at a godly chapel on the campus of one of the local colleges. It was some sort of long-standing tradition. I suppose I didn’t really care about that. I hated high school and was just so ready to get it over and done with.

Moving on, I guess it was only fitting that my final act as a high school student turned out to be an exercise in my own misplacement in the world. After I accepted my diploma and began to stroll across the chancel, I reached up and struggled to find the tassel that I was supposed to move from right to left. It never occurred to me that performing such a seemingly simple act would have turned out to be my penultimate high school kick in the crotch. I was mostly concerned with the damn cap completely falling off my head and then everyone would see my messed-up hair.

Like I said, I had reached up and I was feeling for it, but I just couldn’t find the damn thing. I could sense the breathlessness in the gathered crowd. I was immediately struck with panic and what I really wanted to do was just run, run, run and never return to society ever again. But that would have been impossible. Everyone was watching, everyone was waiting. And then, as I took nearly my last step at the come down point off of the chancel, I found that damn tassel and flipped it to the left. It had slipped to the very back of the cap somehow. I was relieved. The crowd was relieved. The saints and demons etched into the colorful stained glass of the chapel were relieved. The whole damn universe was relieved.

That was my graduation. While everyone else was happy, excited, and celebrating the coming joys of their surely bright futures as they gathered on the perfectly manicured lawn outside after it was all done, I had had a tussle with a tassel. That is my memory. That is the little burn scar from my 18th year of life that for some reason really sticks out to me. It shouldn’t though, because over the years I have collected many more missteps and scars – much thicker and deeper ones. Such is life, I suppose.

I would think that for many people, high school was the highlight of their lives. For many people, I believe, high school memories are pleasant ones filled with friends, good times, laughter, dances, football games, parties, trips, dating, etc… Not for me. I was never involved in anything because I just knew I would have made a fool of myself, and those bastards would have jumped on that opportunity and torn me to shreds. And you may think I’m a psycho, but I actually burned my high school yearbook in our downstairs fireplace at the brutal Colorado house in the foothills where I lived. I just kneeled before that hearth of red brick like a monk and watched it flame up, curl, and finally turn black and tumble to ash. I don’t know why I even had a yearbook. My parents must have gotten it for me because it surely wasn’t something I would have chosen to have on my own.

Anyways, enough of that. I think this post was supposed to be about a dream… Yes. The dream.

In the dream this morning, I was getting ready for my graduation, and I was terribly anxious because I just knew, knew, my cap was going to fall off and I’d be made fun of… Again. So, in this dream, I was madly scurrying about in some cabinets searching for hairpins. I needed hairpins because I wanted to have them with me in case I needed to pin my cap to my head to keep it from falling off – which is really stupid because I never had hair thick enough to pull something like that off.

I was searching and scrounging and scavenging for hairpins, and in the process, I was making a huge mess of everything because I was just tossing stuff everywhere, like in a cartoon. My mother was in the dream, and I recall she looked really worried about me as I was just flipping things about in search of hairpins. It was as if she already knew I was going to have a very rough life and there was nothing she could do about it. She knew she had bred a cuckoo. That’s the look she had. The dream ended when I finished shoving everything else back into the cabinet and it was such a disheveled mess in there and that bothered me and I hated leaving it like that, but I did. I just closed the cabinet and then I woke up.

Fast forward umpteen years and at this moment my beautiful wife is gathering the laundry and clanking dishes. I’m madly typing away at my desk. I just finished my coffee and Greek yogurt sprinkled with granola and soon I will down my daily dose of prescription medication and head off to the gym. I didn’t need high school for this. What a painful waste. I just needed a chance to be what I wanted to be. I never fit into that small rectangular box that I sternly looked out from in that burning yearbook. I never will properly fit – not like they want me to.

Mutual poet rant upon a muzzled moon

The mutual poet and I wrapped our scars around rainbows like barbed wire cuts of rust wrenching the tears from the colored spine like lemon juice or the salty water from a baby’s crushed ice face. The mutual poet and I stayed up all night, for three nights, maybe a week, we couldn’t sleep, but a bit at twilight and the sun shook us from our slumbers and we blotted it out with a big patch of dark cloth the color of blood running from a split-open heart on some cold boulevard by a bar after a bruising breakup over loud music, cigarettes, and rum.

We ate nothing at breakfast and sauteed bullets for dinner; he wandered around in a daze mumbling things to himself, forgetting where he left his lit cigarette and I followed in his footsteps, perfect synchronicity as he did one thing and then another, rapidly changing gears and always mumbling like a freight train feather with a bad valve and he had a poor sense of concentration, his brain like a steam-whistle screaming away at 5 o’clock but five o’clock comes every 17 seconds or so; was this the end of it all? the great melting mind (and Joejack if you hear this, you’ve been there before but now safe in the bosom of the valley far north) — you will all hate this, say I am a tantric rip-off of some dead so and so … so … no love in this poem? love in every poem, even the most seething verse and the darkest string of words was once spawned from love and it is our gift to stitch them together in the ocean quilt with sawdust and bone.

But back to the mutual poet — he once put something in the oven, fell asleep and then woke to the stench of burning food and a choking cloud of smoke, he once put a gun to his head not really knowing if it was loaded or not — pulled the trigger — wasn’t that time.

Just trying to get back from wherever I came, haven’t had a home in centuries, no place to dwell with any decency, no place to settle in for the long haul; different doorways trap memories behind them, too many doors and different floors, and some places are filled with love and others filled within silence and fingernail scratches on the wall from just trying to remain standing and well the boo-hoo girl went back to white dinosaur in a green car and she should be happy there, then again she’s happy everywhere.

The moon, mutual poet, was muzzled pink tonight, hanging there like a faded ruby with bruises and the clouds all around it were like melting blue butter and black-eyed whipped cream, the brutal stars and stripes puffing away on another hand-rolled cigarette and the monkeys were swinging madly from limb to limb as the warm river rolled by beneath another freeway to another kingdom of fractured lives slaving away, day after day, to barely get by as strangers manipulate the development of their children’s minds and fights roar out of control and another head is buried in a wall.

They buried the mutual poet on Good Friday 1913, yet he remains with me here today; his motions are my motions, his forgetfulness and inability to speak coherently are traits we both share, but if he was here and I was there, would it make any difference at all?

Well goodnight Joejack. I picture you laughing at a sad movie or crying while watching a comedy; do you know a guy died in your house? — the one with the long hallway — it always creeped me out, but if you think about it, we are all walking over someone else’s bones. Goodnight Joejack.