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
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
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 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
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.
Tag Archives: Kerouac
The Tepid Hemorrhage
I am an anonymous donor
spreading my seed of grief across the world
and I might as well be blind
for all I see is black,
the rubber room menace
rotating on some wobbly wheel
and my gifts have all been opened by other people
and I sit and watch in a pile of gold paper
remembering the uncle who shot himself
the cousin who shot himself
the brother, who someday may shoot himself
And all the bleeds will flow like thick wine
and pool into an ocean
where God Neptune will pierce me with a sharpened shovel
and all the angels will laugh at God’s biggest mistake.
And this all a malenky bit sad, isn’t it?
But what is joy without sadness?
It does not exist.
What is love without loneliness?
The deeper the isolation
the brighter the kiss …
time stretches out like a river
vastly flowing over the rocks and the limbs
crushing flowers with a wet fist,
numbing hot legs braving a dive
and where will I be tomorrow?
In a treehouse with a shotgun
or in a bar with 11 empty shot glasses before me
or on a dancefloor with a whore
or alone in felt-like desolation
sipping at the tears in my wrist
or clapping for the might of the clouds
or then again
nothing at all.
Bear with me bears of the forest
for I cannot get a grip on yesterday
or even right now
stone sober and burning
and while someone is making wishes
I am losing my mind
another notch in the bed
another twist of cold morality,
things could always be worse
and so, I’m not positive,
I don’t need to be today
I am bleak and writhing in the fuel
the dirty fuel casting spells of the tepid hemorrhage
and I ache relentlessly
for my heart is an inferno
into the electric sea
and you will see
who I am meant to be.
I met Edward Abbey at the sand dunes,
but he was already blown away
I met Miller at a French cafe,
but he was already blown away
I met Kerouac on a railroad car,
but he was already blown away
and I met me at yet another airport,
but I was already blown away.
The bleed pile of my grace
is wiped away with a red rag
and the doctors can’t patch me together anymore
so many holes have I,
so many disturbing dreams
and polarized realities,
my only sanctuary is to drown in paper and words
pictures and photographs
and electric men pumping bullets into nameless
Today has been fried bologna on burnt toast,
water and pills,
ashes on my eyes
and the sound of her bellowing in the background
and the weird upstairs guy snoring through the ceiling.
What new ache will tomorrow bring?
What will I be forced to swallow
into the hollow grave of my soul?
Elvis in Atlantis
I saw Elvis making crop circles in Atlantis
From the window of my pink wooden house
Rattling pigeons lining the lip of the rain gutter
Squawking at the wash line
Strung out in the strata of the bleaching sun
I hung out in the window frame
Smoking Camel Lights in a T-shirt
Watching flocks of black angels
Soaring above the leafless treetops
The bourbon reek of the ocean
Rolling and foaming across my
Tilted square of freshly-cut lawn
My radio zoomed into Prague DJs
The red pin of the dial pointing magnetic North
Tangled fibers of cotton
Being spit from slits
In my favorite vinyl tablecloth
Rings of coffee stains
Remind me of where I have been…
It was the sway of electric light September
A lonely hovel of a home
Basking in the sore stomach of life
Miles from nowhere
Seconds from everywhere
The typewriter clicks banged off the walls
Steel drums clattered in the distance
Monkeys tossed pineapple bombs in the graveyard
And all was merely a flicker of time
Bottled in a piece of cherry-lemon rhyme
My Christmas tree bent and dried
Presents left unopened
The jagged shards of ornaments
Looking like fragile teeth
Ready to take a bite out of me
Whenever I passed by them
On my way to the bathroom
To load another razor
To scrape away my senseless charm…
It was in the grocery store where I saw her
Standing in the long line
With a bottle of all-natural apple juice
And carb-friendly yogurts
Cradled within her arms
She smelled like dirty peaches and chai
Broke and fragile and hot high from behind
Her zodiac leggings tight and cradling ass
One strap of her orange top sliding off her dimpled shoulder
She turned for a moment to cast a psychic, random smile
Ocean water eyes from another world aglow
A premonition of a wife to be
Then watching her fade out the sliding doors
As I plunked down thirty dollars
For beef steak, potatoes and mounds of pasta
And I dropped them all for love
And followed her through the jungle
Hoping she’d lead me to a crystal ball
Or Kerouac’s meditation mat in the woods…
And when I raised my head up off my table
The vinyl stuck to my face trying to keep me down
I realized I was dreaming again
The jagged teeth of the ornaments
Grinning wide, making fun of me
And I went into the kitchen
Turned on the light above the sink
And went to work making a poison stew
While listening to Prague DJs spinning
songs about screaming for help.
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Lights and Dreams and Time
Author’s Note: The following is a bit on the personal side, and contains some slightly mature elements, but I decided to share it because love is so important in these times of so much hate.
Overdue Christmas lights still burn in the night next door
Bluish-white tantrum twinkles like stars splattered against the pitch
Another year flows behind us like an endless river
Another month, another week, another day, another hour
trailing off like vapor from an airplane
slowly dissipating like a wound
swallowed like a slug of water or wine or pennyroyal dreams
“Read some Kerouac
and it put me on the track …”
Wishing I could burn a little brighter now
Wishing the broken heart road
wasn’t so bitter and rutted.
Then there’s them shivers.
Those nervous shivers of love and loneliness, and then there we were, eating coleslaw and catfish right next to a big clean window, and then all these people pouring in — regular folk in caps and orange jackets and I heard the talk about motorcars and hunting and other mad things of the world.
I looked at her from across the table. I had known her for two years but there’s still times I get nervous. I demand too much perfection from myself when it comes to matters of love. I have all these thoughts and feelings and sins and regrets all flowing around inside me like cold streams — sometimes hard to uncork my emotions. Other times I just fly without any sense of personal censorship. I’m abridged one day, the next day I’m at full volume. It’s not only my burden, but the burden of everyone orbiting my sun. It’s a scar of guilt that never fades, an unwelcome skin I can never shed.
We went back to my apartment and played around on the couch a little bit. We tried to watch a movie, but they all sucked. I’d turn to look at her after about 20 minutes in and say, “Do you think this is kind of stupid?” She would agree, even if she didn’t.
We did that three different times. Then we gave up on that, discussed the meaning of the word feckless, and then she disappeared to the bedroom.
I found her there naked in my bed and I was totally surprised by that because just the day before she hated my guts, in theory, I guess. I have a tendency to go off on selfish rants — my head gets all hot and chuggin’ — like a muscled-up train — and I do and say things that would break anyone’s heart. I heard Pat Benatar bitching in my head the day before — some siren song from hell, but maybe really more like my own conscience kicking me in the balls.
Anyways, there she was like I said, naked in my bed, waiting for me. I stripped down too and crawled in under the covers. We embraced, held each other. The warmth was amazing. Everything else that followed was amazing. It’s always amazing with this one. Two years straight and it still feels like the very first time I touched her. We drifted off clutching each other tight. Then we turned to sleep, our asses touching, the warmth of her back like a campfire. I listened to her breathe as I looked up at the purple stars of pretend.
She always helps herself to my frozen waffles in the morning. We have hot tea and look out at the wayward cats on the patio. She still looks beautiful. I feel like I look beat up. We work hard on interjecting joy into the worried spaces of our lives. We can laugh and love amidst our troubles. It’s hard, but it helps, I hope. I can see her fall into the worry. She instantly knows when my mind slips. We love through the damage of whatever disorder of the day I am.
We drove to the city, that city being Nashville, and got some sandwiches. There was football on the TV. The joint wasn’t very busy and I’m pretty sure I said something inappropriate about asses. I always do lately. We’ve breached that gap, her and I — her being the one with the beautiful Sonic Ocean Water blue eyes across the table from me. I watch her eat and her mind is grinding, and I love her all the same, all over again, every day, even when it hurts. We always come back to each other.
“There’s no scoreboard,” she says.
We drove over to a big bookstore, and I went the wrong way. I got confused. I’m new here. I don’t know where I’m going — but I don’t drive into cement abutments like I did in Amarillo where some god blowtorched my mind daily. That entire town was like a cement abutment. The bookstore was busy. It was packed with chatting birds and owls. It’s a big store filled with aisles and aisles of books. I could spend all day there. I get lost in the shelves and the spines and the titles. It’s sort of our place of peace and solace — in times of love, in times of fear, in times of worry. In times of me under the volcano.
“Mam,” I called out loudly to her in the literature section, like she was some stranger in my way, to make people wonder — “What the hell is going on? Is he some kind of jerk?”
Wit and comic relief bubbling over like pea soup slowly coming to a boil on the stove. I ebb and flow. I’m like the ocean. I rise and fall and crash and then calmly lie there, yet ever unsettled. She’s like a river. She’s strong when it rains and moves forward with purpose because she has to be, even when she can’t be, or is too tired to be. She flows around the bends and over the stones. We meet in the end at the estuary under heaven. We flow into each other. Our waters mix and make one. Hands locked, we tangle in love.
We drove out of the city after buying five books. I missed the exit to our town on the outer limits because I was all jived up by her beautiful face and a black Camaro steaming by. I had to go 10 more miles and then we were in town, and we went to the grocery store that I don’t really like. I may have kissed her in the car. Her lips were cool and wet. My heart pounds when they stick to me.
“I love you,” she reminded me.
She’s a bandage to my wounds.
We went in for pot pies and pizzas and the other things she had on her list. I wandered off a few times. I saw her in her red coat from a distance. I saw her talking to a woman I didn’t know. I don’t know anyone here. She knows everyone. I’m the stranger. I have no name here. I’m unrecognizable. But she sees me. She sees me like an X-ray. She knows my ins and outs, she knows my heartbreaks and faults. She’s my angel in the frozen-food aisle. She’s my lover at the dairy doors. She’s my princess in the meat department.
We load up the car in the cold and I already miss her because I know she has to leave to go home. But it was a good weekend after all. I cherish those good weekends. We break, we mend, we carry on. That’s us. That’s always been us. It would never be the same with anyone else. I would have been knifed already. I guess in some ways I was. But none of that matters anymore. Love begins and ends with her. We kissed again in the cold.
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
She clutched me at some point during this day, shook me a bit.
“Know that I love you,” she said. YOU.”
That one struck a chord. Then I fade.