Archive for 1992

To Continue Serving Our Customers

19 Nov


Pied Piperettes


1. First Light

He used to take advantage of me, at first. You had to fight. He was not mean but dominating. You had to fight. He would push you to the edge, point to it and laugh. He respected me for fighting, for my philosophy, my thoughts, and strength of my resolve not to break, and for my earnest heart in testing the reality he designed.

Me and X, or X and I developed a very special relationship where our friendship meant more than a job, sex, or even punk rock. It meant more than anything else I could think of, and I am good at thinking up things I just cannot touch. We used to hang out all night and we would just talk the paint off the walls. We'd still be talking long after the buzz of the evening had left us alone. He'd tell me about his experiences and I'd tell him about mine. In a situation like this you meet a lot of good paragraphs. Some of them remain your friends for life, and even if you can't remember all the words, you remember the kink.

When he saw me he was always real happy to see me like I was his next meal or the wedding of his fat daughter. I'll never forget this feeling he brought with him; one night we were walking along the broken glass and concrete mirrors and he said "it's almost like a movie, right." He said, "You know, a man meets a friend only once in a lifetime." That stays with me like the hiccups, even better. That quote is a great quote. It made me feel good that I had reached that height of wandering friendship and wondering humanity. It sealed the envelope, the blue envelope I carried in my back pocket as a reminder of the years he would never be near again.

2. Mental States

Most of these guys just need somebody to really chase time with them. I think all these guys can be reached if you know how to show them new suspense. Big Business throws all rejects from society into one pile and that's the ugly part of it. And only the mercurial survive. I've seen men lose their minds. Good men. Intelligent men. I've seen these men being chewed up alive, men losing their minds right before my eyes. After suffering conditions over and over again these sane people eventually become insane because of the degradation they recognize others find in themselves.

Many times I have cried, I'm not going to lie to you or to anyone else who thinks about why I am here and they are where they are. I have swung at the air. I have felt sorry for myself. It's not easy to be independent to continue serving our customers. As far as snapping, I've learned too much to snap. I can't really diagnose my own case, but I'm angry now and again. I've got a temper that's really bad, enough to scare the crows away. That's sort of new. Anger. That's the only thing that shivers me. Suppose I'm angry at the world. I might be sitting here talking cool and collected but...

I'm scared of myself at this point. Some of the things I had to do. I have busted people up, people close to me, people dear to me, people I've had to defy. I have begged, borrowed, and stolen the empty promises of others who act as if they hold clues to the upper deck, but let's face it, I didn't get this way climbing along the rusty rails of empty halls. And the anger that I have inside me, or still hanging from my shoulders makes me nothing more than a blue collar girl. I dance and gather stuff to line my pockets but I just snapped at one of the girls in dance class because at this point I'm spitting angry at the world, and she was just standing there, naked, dripping wet hair, no makeup but still looking prettier than me, and I'm no leftover shoe myself. But yeah, I'm climbing up and I'm looking good. It's all of that need to say that I am somebody that burns inside my belly. You're not going to walk over me. I'm going to survive. I'm fighting. But I'm fighting 'cause I'm angry. I'm scared of myself 'cause I wonder if I get up there one day will I be vindictive? Hitler was once in a homeless joint. This is the stuff that makes Hitlers. I hate to say it.

3. Poetry Is An Invasion Of Privacy

I want to feel better
So l write a poem
I don't care if it rhymes
If it's offbeat
Or misspelled
I just want to write a poem
So l can feel better
A poem is supposed to have moving images
Which stirs the senses
Well, the only images I see
Is blackness

Choking hands
Neck and mind braces
Starkness. Images that required reaction. That's what photographer Morton Hundley and I were looking for in October 1986. I had recently started a job as a social worker for the Homeless Services Unit of D.C.'s Downtown Cluster of Congregations, an ecumenical association of 24 downtown churches. He introduced himself to me, and offered to buy me a cup of coffee. I said okay and the next thing I knew we were looking at these pictures he'd brought, nicely tucked into a satchel that was worn and tattered around the edges. His pictures were black. I had to cry, and so I just got up and left the shop without looking back.

Nine days later. I don't remember writing this. Did I steal it? Somebody, ANYBODY, HELP ME PLEASE, IS THIS YOURS? DID I TAKE IT FROM YOU? I'M SCREAMING. ARE YOU STILL THERE?

Polyglot Wittgenstein

04 Feb

Quarrels I brought to authorities
for which I was fish-bowled,
such as when on a calculated whim
I gave a vow, a pledge
of allegiance

of one thousand collard green symptoms
pratting particular a peculiar persuader,
outstretched paw netting loudly,
preaching television sainthood
out of the fish’s mouth.

The bum prophet,
returned his mistress much more
than killing her son for a sign
the ages had dealt in blow of scripture,

and Wittgenstein never forgot me, either.
Under the sun nothing knew less
than that camera I took on sound advice
lathering misquotationals without clue.

The ultimate passage from logic to freelancing
specialty wisdomatics flying northward
toward the bear and glad tidings,
moonlight red infrastructurally

correct as by law and by prostitution,
the victimless philosophies of cold
and behold, cash and flash, pairings
of quick understandings still stamped.

The minds of many who died not hungry
reads the line separating this from that.
And ample enough soup to go around the world
save the stupid revolutionaries fumbling

the galls and testicles of good people
of every race groping a deep graze,
too simply fool-ruled to use the best,
the rest, and not be buried in treasure.

Justice in summer foliage falls between
cracks both the lion and the lamb spring across
where boo-kings crush meanings from life,
dream wreckage and Wittgenstein snorts fair.

In catacombs mighty hair warriors take leaven
bread beneath waters covering young history
unexplored, lost yesterday down grammarian spells,
even Stephen could not vouch for, nor Paul

in his vest of holy trousers turned inward.
Stretched bloody naked and attractive,
mosquitos did never squat where lovers sweat.
But Wittgenstein took me shoulder first, I cleared.

My throat hollow where men before me came never before,
and I felt like new names nothing forbade, not especially
the weak, the calm, the floored, nor the wronged angels
sweeping up avenues long given over to party politics.

Seasons twisted upon each other and friendship convulsed.
Open arsenals recoiled, the serpent's head spit glass,
broken, images priced like art invested no plumage whereas
stock sold steadily until there were no other dead issues.

Bull edits charged emotional terrapins as runners
of illegal slow, dull, unimportant feet, dry glands
purposely banded as one, vehicles offering last rites
mankind waiving, inner harbor city lights removed.

Yet Wittgenstein never operated under served piffle,
could repair ugly scar tissue booking redress, obviously
lip-synched trade favors; in return the mantled box thumb
thugs ruled left to rights, or rights to be left

alone or without someone else's aloneness combined
to equip equations and co-efficients with unreal numbers
numbing outsiders, error friendless but with plenty
of food and street wisdom, meaning to write a book.

Where we all appear placed happily eager to be.
What to be is all in time and flesh is time.
Or trips to the Milky Way vacate shun or be shunned.
Like Uncle Sam's son colorfully primed for United States.

But where did Paine fail to speak his mind?
His friend broke off penal envy for the sake of
forsaking oven roaster birds war bred but blowing
off that same wind Dylan wore, a weatherman's cap.

Did any effort die by the hand of any clock?
Management problems rope eye emblems shattering mock success,
taxing poets improperly prospering, the plainclothesmen's plan X,
and optimums of the classes, share in Baalam's bra,

key pimped pragmaticisms perplexing the raw multitudes Freud
slew, licking time's dragon multiplied and automatically
disguised, guilty, as such a single atom prays au natural,
financially secure but fearing assailants silent

enough to warn miracles to cease and weapons to flourish
inebriating reason, samples exposing undecided votes,
serial mirrors helpless to utter a lie saith the surveyor.
Gather all flocks, mathematics, onions, ash or else!

That these feverish linear progressions plummet to bedrock
cup, and yet deliver a single soul from eternal damnation
boning up conquerors of Kierkegaard and worshippers
of the last breath of Wittgenstein I’d shouldered enough.

[ 1992, Washington, DC ]


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