Posts Tagged ‘power’

Let's Not Get Carried Away

01 Sep

I enter this tent
baring arms to the thief,
charting threads representing fresh marks of superiority,
a knotty fugitive, sparing no friend, no city,
nosing for booty, until its nose is bent.

Gritty bitter but better nerves down,
this soldier grows bolder whisper by whisper,
proving with scientific uncertainty,
this early 21st Century gown,
unravels from his master's spool,
a dark-eyed blue clown.

Obama the handpicked emperor,
wobbling village sector nefarious
smudges past ink spillage of his own 1980s
still feeling like yesterday will never arrive.

Ignoring the Reagan Years
except when hurling rocks against them
clowns, one show at a time, the Baltic seasons
drew nexus from the hidden years themselves
bunched among hallowed groundswells
of odd manners
like putrid oranges on dirty carpets
sickly sweet among the street gross
standards of contemporary
inspection and high alert.

Fortunately, this old branding
knuckled us the gist and viscera
to strike through any earlier bromide kills
the long dead rope of imagination collapsing
youthful nights churning on digital promise
sealed haircut pretense looking for the quick thrill,
that ample insight, this sudden urge.

Live not a judgement call, but a hard fast slider
licking the dusty ranges of home plate,
we, swinging for the fences
(those few of us who had both
earned the right
and still revered the mighty
and ubiquitous American sports metaphor
generally missing among the tragically hip).

Damn that! Yes Almighty, we the poseurs.
cheering art world outliers. Punk of the year,
bored, drunk, fagged, foul, frank and disorderly,
many of us by nature, others by chance, a few
by intelligent design. We had copped
to the idea that we were nothing
but youth wasting on the bones
of youth. Many would perish
like cunning sundown poets
hurling soup kitchen lines
past the eager and the vaguely forewarned.

Nothing is more rooted in uncertainty
than the brash certainty of youth. Torn oscillating spirit
between nature and nurture, the driven scorn
and the sluggard worn, we dare now, after all
these scantily clad years to remember, not
that we ever forgot, but that we were born,
as generations are born, to stride onward
synthetic, owning the lucid task,
framing imperfect the flaccid context,
alienation the fallen piazza.

Flower power and victimology 101,
the vain hope, the crude struggles for distinction
generating enough peer memory to matter
somewhere somehow something like that
because precisely one proud
and princely thing was certain (recalling our
prior words just now) back then, and that was
we knew we had our bright eyes sullen
and our frank fists founded
on some fair future with all its revelations
ripened to emerge.
And in these trenches
where junior jackboots coughing
and lacy fetish brassieres bumping begged to differ,
on our tongues the frequent riddle
of turnabout is fair play, we also spoke
to a society still girded and burdened in spades.
The poem, the street sheet, an army of one
to come. First bounce in black magic
marker calligraphy on pink
bathroom wall
in Corpus Christi, Tay Hass, we
again whistled a sudden work of literature
within days of that fog-inspired scrawling.

A broken beast, velocity learned,
alternate receiver comes limping but dangerous
into our ancillary cage snapping all records
for glory and shame. Such was and is still
my quantum luck with immutable timing.

[ 2010, Washington DC ]

U.S. Voltaire

06 Oct

My country tis of thee
admits the Army shielded wild Barbie,
offers regrets to the French, reports the WASHINGTON POST
sometime in the 19 Eighties. Lurid tales we seek as truth. Late
blooming never the sole criteria for liberal v. conservative failure—
lying wide-eyed tribute on Federal district sidewalk,
some sunbleached sign of the elephant,
Reckoncharmers sigh, chalk up another marble, another
favorable position, another power lunch then a movie, maybe
an opera composed for three. "Who needs the Americans?"
a bald-headed Indonesian policeman indulges in politics,
the American way of democracy retracts yet another remark
now sold as antique jewelry to Easter chicks. An obese femme,
garbed in African swank wearing three wristwatches on each arm
waddles with her two sophisticated poodles, one named Adverb,
the other No Way, each tugging at its chic fluorescent
(check for spelling and decimal point errors)
lime leash, no shifty stereotype here, just eyeballing
like primitive intergalactic astronauts
the obvious. Sensing a sneer I duck
into a clothier's for a fresh pair of socks,
and a swim. Mine stank of summer
syntax. War famine was next in line.

"Why apologize with regrets during a great afternoon like this?"
goofs some vital standby officer of chimera, blowing sweat
through a polished bugle, a bugle he found in a garbage bin
outside the Pentagon fringe, and lapping in the express lane
at an ice cream cone, dual unnamed flavors, the eyewitness said.
"It's not like it's the end of time!"
says another, posing with a cardboard zipper,
bound for political access,
ever the angry gay blade strapped for cash.
Name must remain anonymous and rash
during our lifetime due to a computer foulup, a crash
or a chip off the old block where we rolled drunks for rock
bottoms and banquet foam, but fate in a handbasket is cruel
inking sad where they fell prophecies the way it explains the rule
coz if'n I read my cards correctly, foul play's not even considered
an alternative lifestyle to those breeds, nor of troops,
and three squares configure scales too fussy
off the calloused side of the thumb
to blame Dick's dog. Or Tom Paine.

This is America the Beautiful Swan type!
Juggling outside chances the ugly and faint of bosom reject
this effort at grip, open cells and prickly pears, the perfect girly
woman waiting & knocking on wood for the perfect agency to invent her
peeling to reveal another strata, another compass, another grim
act of nature striking pose off nuclear physics and mortuary skim
poised to strip down the hungry Brass Madonna's wet clothes
and heap fixes of a linear paraphenaliac's basic whim,
quite sure broads the bored way straight to the center swim
upstream even less funny to that green collar'd fraternity crate
looped within those smoking porkbarrels squirming close to the edge
locked in greed-conditioned theocratic boardroom halls gull gray
pun free spinning within an enriched whiskey culled earshot
of others grinning just like them. Where am I? unbuckled
shouts the penny-wise pope, pouts this poet looking trickled
in this momentary picture of modernized rot without
a bull's eye shot at decent wage or freedom to decay?
"Show me a capitalist, and I'll show you a dollar!"
This I heard a bum in the busy street to holler.

Jazzy corporations sing of their due
far more frequently and sanctimoniously
than revealing their own larded backyards
girded with jargonistic creeds,
painting the bones of the working breeds
set free by a law whose spirit's in shards
never to open a door for the beauty of fair gain
where responsibility evasion suits up bringing bitter rain
the tears of whole industry cuts.

Escaping to alien sands
to other sites as working class soldiers
toss architectural crumbs to children
in hopes of a better day.

This is America the Ugly Duckling hype!
Felonious jungle gyms set in concrete, shrieks & blood, billions
of half-baked beans, energy levels, kilowatts raised on special G-forces
bilked to protect her shining shores from feigned foreign invasion
a trick of fate which seldom shakes the rich guard of daylight,
and wicked lines around city blocks fumbling for hot checks
and balances in nothing but heinous expenses, flesh floating a kite
chasing pale the rider stale. But the foray descends as nocturnal
homes in flight beneath shrill wraps of free lunch gain
produce nothing short of pathological overbite.

[ 1998, Washington, DC ]

My, How Rich Your Text Is

06 Feb


Living With Jack


Leave the bastard. Kick him out into the fruity liaisons of territories still in contention. That seems to be all Jack can produce of himself. Man I grieve knowing all the potential Jack holds in his little finger, and could possibly manage into greatness, yet he continues to fuck up. You can imagine how stunned I was, the first time we ever met, when he remarked out of the blue in priceless gravity that he wished he could be like me...

I now suppose he was right, once upon a time. I am me, he ain't.

That was some strong detail you suffered, dahling. Jack is a real ass, I'm sorry. Frankly I love you, not him, although Gene Wilcox and I were just watching Jack coordinate a video shoot we made back in the day, blah blah...and still recognize the power of Jack's presence...

I wish I could add more to the record but I'm not only tired, I'm on the tail end of an 18 hour drunk. Gene, who thinks, argues thinking he is, but ultimately agrees that I, not he, is the baby Jesus, whatever that means, is still here passed out on the couch...


Kinetic Christ

03 Oct

I was deprived of power as a child, said the balding
eagle to the claims department, his breath
on fire, and his hand on third base flying
homeward, relieved of duty

and pitched into another shift on a close call.

Woman's intuition is that a man should do it,
evidently another lost cause, his death
to prove nothing but the release
winging it to spare us his fall.

Pop crackle. Moonsong.
The efforts are worn from the chest,
splinters of glory dancing in the fireccaves
nearer to thy loins than lions in the wind
and the murmurs of generations
never savvy to the wisdom
of peppermint slaves.

The choice of ironing the only shirt in town
or swinging with the slugger's club
parches a few tongues, a brain
and a bodyguard on leave from art school,
the video drones loving the effects
much more than the call of DNA
but denying it in fashionable cliques
of gestation. The metal clown—

"Woe, woe, woe your boat , mintly down the cream,
wearily, wearily, wearily, wearily, wife's a butterbean!"

Home court presses, visitation rights,
kinetic christ's the neurophone the verifier,
the metal clown chirps.

[ 1996, Washington, DC ]

War Orphans

23 Sep

In Greece range many goats and peasants, old ruins
slide seductively up next to you, your tour bus seat
wet with the perspiration of tourism's ego,
and they whistle down your neck, inviting
you in for a closer view, a bottle of brew
and a native look into your purse-string
mentality. You remember not
the peasants of your own dry, arrid backwash,
as you sneak past Ptolemy's submarine intelligence
and sail the high Mediterranean cheekbones
of a beauty which will never be yours
to sell or inspire. You claim powers
separate but indivisible. You caress
a sweet lamb's woolen sky
a moment at a time, you tell yourself—
and then off into the next war you race
a long way to go for economy's sake.

Rome is a lion's den of passion, and there is none
whose impeccable beauty matches it body for body,
where genius and vassal alike marched headfirst into the eye
of her borrowed king's major sun. Bartering for a love
you had read about in the film industry trades,
no choice was yours but to puff up your sex toys
mouthing lewd colors, and fall into
the same paragraph Mussolini
wrote Ezra Pound in a fit of angel tenure
stalking slow explanation with nine hungry prisoners
to feed—Copernicus and Galileo and their crippled sister,
people carrying people to the rope of regret.

To fly to fair London where in spots English is still spoken,
you spare your very finest silk underwear odes. The clock
reminds us there of social stares where poets play
guitar and the children can't weep. Iced tea
and words like export, involvement,
and the king's divorce, provide the stranger
the wide gulf most manic voyages through instinct
bled back through ages Blake, Wordsworth, Auden
forgot. Cool safety is a damp trial in the pit
of drizzling pomposity, ambitiously full of
fresh opinion armies where Johnny Rotten
would spit the fat sickness, repayed
by urban privacies and a charming public laity,
fiscal socialist agonies the sulphur of St. George.

Tradition is bought pennies on the dollar, witnesses
gathering on the White House Lawn wet their pants
in Murder Row relief, outlining your latest hit list
no longer the sounds of Roberta Flack or Marvin Gaye,
but of takers of the routine shortcut driving the herd
deeper into the jungle, brain waves and assault weapons
spraying powdered milk, shoving shy rain mosquitoes
into the grave not even George Washington could defend.
Measuring sick thespian vacancy with the same
motley precision a syringe injects its fistful of spitfire,
some other dead prophet Martin Luther King rolls over
squashing the maggots he fed in trenches of glory, privacy
oh privacy and the black nothinghood gangs littering
our scared and scarred streets, denying reality's heavy lip
thus clings like a sea-dried ghost over the forefather's city
washing in the blood of not the lamb but the wolf
where statistical impulses anxiously numb

rob the same paragraph these interrogatories rib.

[ 1995, Washington, DC ]


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""