Archive for the ‘The Silent Cull And Other Mechanical Ideas’ Category

My Only Book Review

16 Oct




Nearly two years after its publication, and despite the dissemination of forty or so copies among the few friends, family members, and strangers beating back the night sweats of literary intent, I have come to accept the fact that I write in such an outlandishly dull way as to render this special class of improbable bibliophiliacs completely and utterly devastated to the point of unleashing their inner mute upon the very grains of sand upon which I stand.

Now, I have not handed this book away to just anybody with a cap size or a Big Gulp to spare, but only to those who pleaded, cajoled, paid for in the case of some of the more deep pocketed critics, wished for, promising a review each and every one of them, and if cool beans are a good source of protein, threatened my well-being for a personal copy of this collection of visceral sweat and tears, bloody for the twenty-five years it stewed in the making, usually a signed copy, and usually accompanied by some petty insolence that they loved poetry, or some such glad-handing gush as that. Notions of the silent rejection, notwithstanding, The Silent Cull & Other Mechanical Ideas, Collected Poems 1980-2005 is not your usual thin volume of contemporary poetry, but is four hundred pages of seething canonical arrest, and I use the word "canonical" and "arrest" in all their usual connotations plus a few more that I insist are both canonical and arrested within the pages themselves, banking on subtleties of style and insight that are only coming apparent to the ill-prepared general public in these, our own spectacular terror-driven chaotic times. Well-minced words are a swallower's delight, and this book rarely portrays paradise, or other romantic follies of the past or future tense of mankind, but in its own galloping way wraps itself in the contemporary physics of time and thought itself, tackling its author as much as the culture that spawned him.

But this entry is not about describing the book. It has been aptly described elsewhere.

Here I wish to fan myself with those few words of praise, or words of any kind that have wafted my way in the context of this inpenetrable book. The following paragraph was sent to me by a local artist, a young painter of some early renown, still in his late twenties, whose first son was to be born on my birthday (the second of my friends whose firstborn sons arrived likewise) named James Coleman:

I really like the book man, I read it out loud to Christie at night when we go to bed, they say the baby can hear it and its good to read to him, but I dont know. I really love it man they say if you reach one person, blah blah blah, well thats me. I can sit on the roof and smoke a cigarette, lay in bed at night, damn i would even take it to the beach. It flows it pulsates, it moves me. Im not kissing your ass, I have no reason to. Just wanted to give you an honest opinion, and for whatever reason, it speaks to me. When I read it I feel like I did when I was in college smoking opium and reading boulbelaire or at the coffee shops reading dylan thomas, thinking I should start a fight. What I am trying to say is that at this point in my life your book works for me. Great job man, Im not a literary figure or even a good writer but just wanted to tell you. If I see you and I am drinking and tried to tell you all this, you would think I was full of shit.

What can I say? For all the silent pretenders haunting my crude ambitions, this single review is just about the most stirring string of thoughts an old poet, fat on the failures of inertia, far past his gameface prime, could ever hope to absorb.

Thanks JColeman...

As Long As We Are Naming Names

20 Jun

I found this lovely stanza from a poem on the delightfully cute but thoughtful blog operated by someone tagged with the equally cute but thoughtful name—Kirbanita. Damned if I don't wonder what she could tell me about Gabriel now.

And who was that elegant feller,
They said, in the shiny gear?
The things they said about Gabriel
Were hardly fit to hear.

I must say, those four lines rank up there with Genet's lines about the soldier who is to come.

Jack London's Hundred Years War

06 Oct


Young Jack London


The name Jack London conjures up dreams of the Great Yukon, ferocious wolves, pernicious gambling, alluring dancing girls, and an occasional drunken and bloody bar brawl, timeworn icons of the American taming of the Wild West, and a progressive poltical mind. The common response most casual readers hibernating in the dark, dank literary caverns of America to those rugged writers who lived life as if it were a program of perilous escape and beaconless frenzied abandon, is exemplified by the enduring myth of Jack London, the turn-of-the-century adventurer culturally transformed into a mild sedative for rambunctious boys. A fanciful string of Walt Disney films depicting the tumultuous capers of an innocent lad bent on civilizing his fellow outdoorsmen has enchanted the eager hearts and minds of anyone who ever dreamed of rubbing two wet sticks together to warm themselves and their pals, or to roast a marshmallow and a wiener on a cool October evening without the usual convenience of newspaper, lighter fluid or a half-dozen matches.

These overly-sentimentalized adventure flicks tickled the boyish imagination. Usually told in first person, the stories gave courage to those of us who cowered before the barking voices and effective forces of pounding fists offered by the local neighborhood bully. Introspection by the hero of our stories was always light-hearted, boyish, somewhat protected from the beastly nature of beastly men and women. American film. Always a happy ending.

As George Orwell pointed out in an essay written in 1943, London is one of those rare writers of genius like Edgar Allan Poe who enjoy a more prodigious reputation outside of the English-speaking world than in it. While Poe is critically respected both in England and France, the author of Martin Eden has been greatly admired by German, French, and Russian readers.

Orwell points out that Lenin's widow described in a short biography she wrote of him, of how she used to read stories to her husband on his deathbed as he lay paralyzed. On the day of his death she was reading from Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, but he was put off by the bourgeois sentimentality of it all. The last words Vladamir Lenin ever heard were from Jack London's Love of Life.

Obviously, Lenin was initially drawn to London's political writings. He remained an ardent Socialist, and, as Orwell points out, one of the first American writers to pay any attention to Karl Marx. His reputation in Europe is mainly founded on another of London's books, The Iron Heel, a remarkable book of political prophecy predicting the rise of Fascism. London understood that when the working-class movements began to take on expansive dimensions and appeared to be taking over control of the world, the capitalistic class would hit back. And until Hitler came fully into his own, most Socialists imagined Marxism would simple swarm over the earth without a resistance.


Martin Eden by Jack London

In London's book, Martin Eden, the protagonist, Martin has weathered a poor working class upbringing‚ his playground was the dirty streets of Oakland in the first years of the new century‚ his pals scrappy street fighting lads like himself, his girlfriends coarse and profligate. But Martin Eden was looking for a way out. As a dedicated merchant marine, he accepts the challenges he places before himself with gusto. Voyages upon the harsh high seas for eight months of the year before docking off on extended furlough took their toll.

When back on the hill he stayed with his sister and her husband to the ambivalent reluctance of everyone involved. Robust yet uncouth, ignorant yet yearning for knowledge, Martin is introduced to a young middle class socialite named Ruth. She is the eternal rose, the effervescent source of beauty and redemption who lights a brilliant flame in young Martin. After hearing Ruth read from a collection of Swinburne's writings, our young feisty street punk, the brightest and the strongest grubbing up from the ribald and murky bowels of nothingness is transformed, in a sense, baptized by the fiery spirit of literature and fine perfumeries Ruth brings to him, and certain chariot wheels of grace for Martin Eden are set in motion. The brittle romance is charted very plainly by the author. Resolving to educate himself, the slate of middle class values and structures make their way into the agenda of the young Martin in search for a group of people he can call his own. Burning the midnight oil, abiding a strict schedule of three to four hours of sleep per night, Martin Eden first feeds his intellectual starvation by devouring the classics. After several alternating tours of duty at sea and in the mimicked words of the masters he consumed, he begins to write down stories of his adventures, pouring his soul and sensitivities into pages which began to mount into an inhuman pile of rejection notices.

His relationship with Ruth began to sour when it became apparent that she was unable to comprehend or suffer the intense struggle against the gods of moral and intellectual responsibility he was grappling with and would continue with until a victor had been proclaimed. Her father and his political friends were hopefully tied down to ineffectual status quo methods and arguments. Their condescension only fueled the young aspirant until a chance meeting with a group of revolutionary anarchists and socialists invigorated his spirits briefly. Before long even this more edgy crowd, edgy to be sure, but just as pompous and pre-occupied with status within the ranks matched only by its endless wordplay dishearted him. Yet he still believed that there was more to life than all this useless rhetoric and senseless destruction-oriented propaganda caught up in a war of words rather than the toil of sweat, blood, and tears. Undeterred, young Martin Eden pressed on.

jack-london-stampTime, however, began to wither the young author's compulsion. It seemed an impossible achievement to gain access not to the wisdom of the sages, which he knew he already possessed but to the class of people who upheld the rules and vestiges of that wisdom. After his breakup with Ruth in a mutual dissatisfaction of personal tastes, and a hasty exploratory expedition to his old neighborhood gang, Martin decided that only the posturing fame and accompanying new fortune society bestowed upon an exciting, freshly discovered, trailblazing young writer could sustain his intensifyingly deceptive thirst for social and intellectual acceptance. He begins to write more earnestly.

When favor finally arrives, the newest bon mot on the literary scene is quick to discourage the usual fare of bandwagon jumpers, those who had rejected his pieces only months before‚ now clamoring for more, more, more! Noting the irony, he held to his guns when certain editors insisted on seeing any manuscripts still lying around, manuscripts already once rejected by these very same editors. More truth was dawning upon our young adventurer.

The novel, Jack London insisted, was an attack on individualism, the fierce individualism of his era. Being aware of the needs of others, of the whole human collective need, Martin Eden lived only for himself, fought only for himself, and, if you please, died for himself.
Suddenly all the wares of the world are at his feet. Old cohorts quickly emerge from the cracks of endless walls he had never been able to tear down with either his bare fists or the restless but youthful energy rolling off his tongue. Now his words were famous. Now everyone understood. Now everyone wanted to be his friend. Jack London was a born rebel whose manipulative personality demanded the immediate gratification of his contradictory wants. His dialectic of appetites wore on without a synthesis of satisfaction. He once confessed to wanting to drive forty horses abreast with the thousand strong arms of an army. He was a heavy drinker. He died relatively young.

Martin Eden is London's most autobiographical novel. His early death at age forty brought on by his excessive bouts of drinking and exposure to the elements is foreshadowed by the character, Eden, who hurls himself into the ocean depths in route to a tropical island he had recently purchased. Although I am aware of no supporting evidence, perhaps this book is where the poet Hart Crane derived his idea for his own self-inflicted drowning some twenty-four years after its initial publication.

The novel, Jack London insisted, was an attack on individualism, the fierce individualism of his era. Being aware of the needs of others, of the whole human collective need, Martin Eden lived only for himself, fought only for himself, and, if you please, died for himself.

An irony of the book resides in the fact that it is the only one of London's fifty books that his publishers, Macmillan, has kept in print in a cloth edition for seventy years, while it has invited the most chafing criticism from the profession as being too pessimistic, denigrating capitalism and self-improvement and ambition without providing any alternatives. London was confused with the hero of his book.

Turn of the Century Writers

Turn of the Century Writers

Indeed, Martin Eden is a clean read, swift in its situational currents and colorfully determined in assessing the problems the individual faces in his exodus from the battlefields where intellects clash and flesh recoils in a never adjourned meeting of forces. To stand headstrong on a frozen tundra against the elements or to bob just above a watery abyss to test the very nature of controversy, measuring the bonds and covenants between life and death, is an event reserved for the rare few who dare engage with full intellect both the demons within oneself and those within the society in which one struggles to comprehend.

In his time Jack London lived and died as a striking contrast to the Horatio Alger and more recent Ronald Reagan myth of hard work, love, success and respect. Whereas Alger inspired, London depressed the readers of early 20th century America. The simple fact is that one must find solace in the tribes as they exist, that one must have faith in the unlovely, seemingly mechanical society in order to prosper. We exist in time and place simply to count out measure until we evolve into something else, hopefully better equipped to face ourselves as we really are individuals marooned on a island surrounded by a sea of hopefuls.

Find a copy of this book. You are probably someone he has written about. A century later, we find little solace in realizing that Martin Eden's impassioned plea for a more redemptive manner of living still remains part and parcel of the ageless quarrel all religion, art, and politics seeks to address: can we really help ourselves once we know who we are?

Mortifier II

02 Mar

As in a quick call to battle arms,
the season to the helpless
never seems right. Nor flush
the snares of dog pile charms
do much for the victim's
keen hindsight.

It's not so much that language is dead
past praise and heckle and anybody's guess,
but we haggle over price and strength
of our mountains without emotion...

As the first verse is repeated for good measure.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV ]

An Interruption: Time Stretchmarks

08 May


Time Stretchmarks


BUT SUCH IS TIME and perfect timing, off time, under time, in time, time and time again, sloppy time, never enough time, Miller time, tea time too.

Neat time, time in a bottle, my time, the time of my life, in the life and times of Uncle Joe Stalin, time to shape up, time to get a job, time it all the way to the bank, time to take it to the enemy, tell me when it's time to get married the fifth time.

Shallow time. Shag time. Sane time. In the time it took to drive a bus off the cliff on a Seventies cop show, that's show time. For the third time today I needed time. Time to go to the bathroom. Time to shit or get off the pot. Time was when fun just cost a nickel.

Time this. Time that. Time warp. Time tunnel. Time is where the heart is. Time enough to think of a good response this time. Time to grow up. Time to eat and run. Time to suck the chrome off that bumper crop of party time. Time to beg the difference.

Time to cut the mustard. Time to pick out a receiver downfield. All the time in the world. Time to wipe my ass with a timely hook and refrain. Timex time. Time to cash a cheque. Time to win the battle but lose the war on drugs. Time it took six women to satisfy each other's curiosity in a dark room over lunch time. Time to kick the bucket.

Time to write a novel about time. Time to brush her hair the same way her sister used to brush hers, timing each stroke to the beat of time. Time to draw a conclusion. Time to mark a certain number of correct answers to the incorrect questions with a number two pencil.

Time to give up a lost cause.

Time to shut down the chicken farms along that sparkling river. Time to read the classics in their original language. Time to make lunch bags sing before our children race off to school. Too much time on my hands, not enough too keep my feet warm.

The time it takes to build a universe only to have it collapse in your face is nothing like the time I helped Aunt Mardis rip through a chocolate cake in the olden days of French ascendency.

It takes time to learn to ride a bicycle. Time to reap what one sows. Or maybe not, this time. Maybe that time is instantaneous time, time accurately remembered. Time to sing before she swallows for the last time that nasty pill. Time to harvest a generation. Time to swallow before you hang ten. Time to look before you cross.

By the time it took to dig up the Erie Canal times they were a changing. It's not about time, it's about attitude. By the time I get to Phoenix many husbands won't have time to take out the garbage. The driver swore to the witness that he didn't have time to stop. Time takes a holiday but time never vacates the premises.

Time laughs at odd moments but time never bargains with the Devil or leftover sandwiches. Time is that which doesn't kill you. Time kills that child inside only to seemingly reappear later.

Time is a long, cool woman in a black dress. Time is kinky. Time paints by numbers. Time is a disease of the pancreas. Time is a pretty heart-shaped tattoo on Wendy's breast in some window in Times Square. Pi is a variable in a timeless equation.

Time understands all wounds. Time wounds all heels. Time is an asset. Time is a pain in the ass. Time is only as good as your next biological movement. Time is the needle in the haystack. Time is secondary but don't tell her that.


Too Much Time

Nothing like a good time in the sack to make time fly. Time has no fear of flying, but Erica and Henry both knew what having a good time was about, and it was not about time, but the enjoyment of time. Grown-up time.

There is no such thing as time travel today, but recordings keep time in ways none of us truly understand past its fetish draw, but time was when a fine time was had by all, double time, life plus time. High time that boy got a job. Time the unfortunate child born without legs who beats a faster smile than you do.

Observe that same child pursue time into measuring itself with old technologies in a world that presumes time can't reverse itself while it can so readily repeat itself dipped in statistics. Time is a two-way mirror. Time is a dirty joke, rain, and the annual flooding of the muddy Missisippi.

Time is nothing but what you or somebody else makes it, except when it's game time, and don't try to tell me about how much time it would take to make the timeless world safe for timelessness because everybody knows it's all in the timing, even though most of us are suffering a bad sense of two timing.

There's never enough time to transcend one's station, especially when mobile. Time is far too formidable a friend on feverish afternoons to let stand in the cold rain without knowing that time sometimes stands still without your assistance.

Without time on my side I perish with the daffodils. Time is a time-honored sport everyone must play in order to graduate. Time forgives. Breaking rules for time is not always a bad time, but does require timing it just right. Time scars. Grab the moment to make time while others bargain, losing time to others, until another time comes.

Time is a stiff upper lip in a compromising position. Time defers to gravity, but for one writer, time is nothing but a madcap schemer bought and sold on the installment plan, money paid back over time, but then earning time for Old Doc Destouches who didn't live long enough to get mixed up in time, time and time again, was a thankless time.

Time is a nightmare to Klaw's girls who prefer time raw and risky more often than their less time-tortured sisters. Time dresses up for special guests. Time is the major importer, exporter of stolen goods across state lines in situations where time is barely legal. That's time standing in the shadows, losing her shirt to timeless romance.

Time is nobody's business but the rates are skyrocketing. Time is colorless, odorless, tasteless. Time left is time right on time. Time left to itself is useless. Time blows tall buildings to the ground. Time grounds water tables and small asterisks into dust bowls older than TIME ITSELF because time is the wind in the sails of marginality until time itself stops.

April 2000, Washington DC


18 May

Means Of Production

Means Of Production


Originally posted Sun 18 May 1997

The next day fallout...

[ootmop = owner of the means of production]

"recalcitrant (adj.) 1. Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of
authority or guidance."

I have to deal with recalcitrant support staff on a daily basis, and I don't expect it from a fellow billing professional. Yes, you own the means of production. I own the means of producing the potential of work and, thus, money. No love lost over your inability and/or /unwillingness to conform to my schedule yesterday; however, don't criticize your client or his middleman. Sure, there's a time for criticism, but contract negotation is *not* the time. Understood? Are we still in this together?[SET]

We are "still in this together" as far as my word has taken me, and as of this writing, that translates into one thing and one thing only: I am waiting to hear from you on the status of the IAG job. That job and that deal. Beyond that, we have nothing but the same quarrel I observe between us, as stated in Saturday's memos. And that is all I have to say on the matter at this time, in order to ... oops, you just called and want to come over to play, and as a weak link or a good leader (a polemic no doubt open to debate), I said okay... [GT]

Postscript On Skills, Puppy Mills, And Petitioning For Redress of Grievances

17 May


He's Got Skills


We had decided to launch a web design business. I had shown initiative and a certain level of flair as a designer in these early days of low bandwidth and high expectations. I needed a sales force. The always debonair Steve Taylor was indeed a force of nature, but the looming question was would he find this business partnership something he would take seriously enough to apply some of those "looking good selling ice to Eskimo" skills.

My own brother Clyde, a home and commercial roofing magnate in Atlanta, after six months of prepping me to run a new satellite office he wanted to open in the DC area, went silent, just a few weeks before, and I had sensed something was fishy, and that this "opportunity" was not going to happen for me. Clyde finally answered his phone that morning, and acted as if nothing was supposed to be going on between us although just a few weeks before this was to be a life-changing transition for both of us. Finally, I pressed, only to hear him say to me, wryly, without apology or irony, that he had just bought a boat. Yep, I knew it. Clyde is the type of person who obsesses and is always churning over the details of a new financial strategy, and was doing just that for months on end with me until the tell-tale silence two to three weeks before.

Steve, my closest friend at the time, was also given to similar mystifying behavior. I knew Clyde's to be pure selfishness, down to the last atom in a Heisenberg count like any achievement oriented American businessman because that's what it takes in today's guttersnipe environment. Mr. Taylor however, was apt to opt for degenerative spiraling for what seemed it's own sake, a nasty habit I knew salted my own basket of fries from time to time.

That background bring us to this rather muted exchange between Steve and myself, though the poison of past experiences was bubbling just below the surface tension of events real and imagined, traded calmly via email on Saturday, 17 May 1997.

GT: I know we can do this web design thing with great rewards, but there are things to work out and follow through upon. With the three of us wanting the same thing at the same time, the world doesn't stand a chance denying us. I am ready. BUT IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? (Moody Blues 1971), So your early morning enthusiam about getting together early this afternoon is already waning?

What usually happens is that I’m making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I’m frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time.
[TaylorS] If I mentioned getting together early this afternoon, that was at a point when I thought that the Help Desk would pull me off Saturday coverage (a previous, months-ago commitment.) As is, I was required to work until at least 5pm today as you hint about games in the park, and suggest we can't brainstorm if I drink.

GT: Whoa! That would be a first. SET dropping by to pow wow without drinking.

[TaylorS]—Point withdrawn.

GT: But I've been needy all afternoon thinking it would be great to have a confidence builder named Steve Taylor in my orbit, but as typical, I seem to be on my own with every personal tragedy always in some queue, while others seek out me as a close ear over and over again. Perhaps you feel I let you down the other day, but I didn't.

[TaylorS]—I don't feel let down. Your work helped solidify a reputation I was already building with a reputable media contact. Maximum respect to you. Every thing you do at Howrey or wherever is your own autonomous call, but not every thing you do is self-edifying, gratifying maybe, edifying no, and that's all I tried to point out.

GT: Sue just called, and rushed in with consoling voice to comfort me in what she knew was an agonizing afternoon after that Clyde bomb. Very sweet of her. She was there this morning. She heard my side of the conversation and she knows Clyde first hand and why I had to finally tell him what I told him.

[TaylorS]—To hell with Clyde.

GT: But I understand, Steve. If you don't want to come by, simply don't. You know, I'm too cynical to beg. Do drop by when you feel it convenient. Blah, blah, blah.

[TaylorS]—My main concern with stopping by is bike time. I would rather not put my [currently] less self in the line of traffic fire for too long.

We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let’s get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It’s wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I’m feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.
GT: Okay I got that garbage out of the way. Uh, where does that leave me? Oh yeah, standing smack dab in the middle of your maybe. Bottom line? I think we can discuss formulative details if you leave you own neuroses at the back door, and I leave mine there too, and we talk real talk and real turkey without bombast.

[TaylorS]—That could happen.

GT: This Clyde thing is synchronistic fatalism at its most timely. Let us learn from that fiasco, and invent ourselves properly. And another thing. Answering machines (despising my own voice) somewhat intimidate me, as does writing e-mail seems to intimidate not a few others. I know I come off rather sarcastic at times on the box, but I don't really mean to sound that way, nor do I wish to impugn your work habits, especially at the jobplace. What usually happens is that I'm making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I'm frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time. I apologize for any and all.

[TaylorS]—Thanks for clearing that up. understood.

GT: Okay you just called and it seems we are on for this afternoon. Great! Let's make it mean something. With all this defeat in the air, I feel like shit, real nasty run down my leg and up again shit...

[TaylorS]—We're on.

GT: And I also realize I grow a little short and disrepectful of you at times, and really don't want to continue down that path, but indeed you should start measuring up at the plate, and I think all will be just dandy between. Let it be said you and I are not my brother's brother...

[TaylorS]—Hey, I've certainly started to scorn youthful hubris in early-twenty-somethings, so I can see from where you are coming.

Earlier, this is what I posted to Sue:

What was not mentioned in that note to Peter was, no, I am not expecting SET to stop everything to focus on OUR project. We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let's get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It's wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I'm feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.

Change The Subject Darling Before The Finish Line Is Egged

05 Apr

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg


Allen Ginsberg, whose raw, angry verse epitomized America's beat literary movement in the 1950s and '60s, has untreatable liver cancer, his friends and a spokesman said Thursday.

I'm surprised that there is no transplant maneuver available for such a famous, and no doubt moderately rich, bastard such as our poet laureate from Patterson, NJ. Or at least close to money. Surely there was more to the poet's general health than a bad liver.

Given the nature of this post, I suppose I should step into the batter's box, and tell my own Ginsberg story. I have two, actually, a long phat one and a short all too familiar one...

Originally posted on Sat Apr 05 08:25:18 1997

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 ]


15 Sep

My street name is Gabriel Thy,
and I am the last of that sorry generation
which begat muster hanging from a tree.
If I got to choose I'd aim to be a diamond needle
or a tadpole analyzing the science of absorption.

"I believe in Glenn. I believe in what he's trying to do."
(Helen Miller of her husband)
But beyond sanitized analytical crumbs, I require
two minutes of God talk, said a child from Africa
writing to ask the hand of Dana Plato
in marriage. It looks like they shot
the goose. There goes the neighborhood, and yet
at bottom, she was overly sensitive,
ripe to a sense of failure and doubting the bet
forcing her to dither a test of her courage.

To the east there appeared an unsightly
contagion of broad punk buildings,
loathsome in their uniform demands and raiment. Scars
of unmanicured lawns and maimed rose bushes
perpetuated the myth that all landscapes
are, if not created equal in the eyes
of the juke box next to a young woman,
return to the scion-infested fuss upon
which they were erected.

Equation Needed: a child dies, goes to heaven
almost automatically. Most adults go straight
to hell for chasing choices in a very uncatholic fashion.
                                 The dilemma, the devious business
of growing old, more sinful,
what percentage, no,
what are the odds that child A will reach full maturity,
even middle age, and still retain the gift of God?
Child B?
Child C?

"Sounds like a John Candy flick," smiled Charlemagne,
wet between the ears. Old McDonnell Douglas
and his flying machine is dying with the words
"only two elephants to a bunk." He used
to be a traveling preacher, traveling on fish sticks,
a golden calf muscle, a disposable literary
technique reeking of the after-effects of a gorgeous
feast, crapping in the diaper of the damned.
Some friend you are, with your ceiling fan
broken. "Vile Geezers, Ode to Benny Hill!"
snaps Wilcox, the Greek exhibit
stranded with the white girl in yellow
pumps on the hood of some candy blue
'76 Camaro LT, questionably butch
as racy as the car, buckles, and tires.

The Perpetual Fan says, "I sweat. I am nano nano
perspiration machine. I eat sweat eating
vanilla ice cream, and the psychic
rendering of memory, one man per invasion,
because whatever choices you make are bound
to become wrong choices after a while,
over and over. Curious bump on the back of the head
no matter whom she slept with because the global anatomy
sounds like a broken record never to fade from the language
any more than hitching your wagon to a falling star,
an exploding star, a star with mammories,
fairy dust wits, a star collapsed in upon itself
like a furious black hole Momma

everybody née everything reminds me of somebody.

[ 1995, Washington DC ]


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