go ask Alice lazy as a caterpillar blowing smoke into the curtains I see a sky full of third eyes and "hope" is the thing that flies away and lays a white shit on my shoulder— while the patriots fight and die in Afghanistan I'm lying on a bed of dreams growing shoots and vines into the walls wondering what it's like to be a starving yogi,eating only a palmful of grain every day till you're all skin and bones and beautiful brilliant shining eyes that see the true reality— and while the bodies pile up to feed the madman's itch while they throw saints and Buddhas into the prison-industrial complex I say to the old bearded fuck with the stupid hat Fuck you, Uncle Sam you're an old whore going blind in the rich man's broken sunlight. idle hands I hear the seconds tick from my watch on the nightstand as I lie in bed doing nothing at all. doing nothing is what I do best. high school cheerleaders are good at bending over and I'm good at doing nothing. sometimes I talk to the faces on the walls. or I sit by the window and stare out at the parking lot. sometimes I go for a walk and give the finger to complete strangers. so if you see me wandering the streets lost and lonely be a good soul and offer me a goddam ride outta this place. cherry blossoms don't know what I'm doing here as the clouds swim through blue sky it's good to drift through life whether you're a cloud a whale or a Bodhisattva and you can ponder the meaning of nothingness till your eyes devour the Hiroshima sunrise it helps when there's nothing around but screaming insanity and angels falling from the sky on broken wings and times like these there's really nothing left to say but OM.
Cibola Sleeping The Bears never came. Last night, charcoal gray sky Filled with stars, more stars Than the eastern skies allow, Watched over me as I climbed toward Clearing to piss into the stillness Of cool night at 3am, Fire burnt down to embers. I took a deep breath, Closed my eyes, tried to imagine In the great emptiness, where I was, Where I had been, where I was going still, What I had left, what I had to go back to— I listened for any rustling in The 1.6 million acre darkness beyond The woods, ancient, tall, breathing, Looked into my tired soul, I faded like falling stars in their stare.
A Confession An overt flash of a sudden crowd, no solitude keeping us under false pretentions. That shimmer in the darkness from those eyes that widen with each word, that falls from your tongue and rests at my feet. The last thing any of us need is another round of drinks, that we drag together with end of the month scrapings. Again we remain closed, as another murmuring of questions is on the cards, pulled from an incomplete deck. Singular street lights make double shadows, which hide me from your temptations. allowing me to mask that frown that you trigger with each sentence. I escape that slow pendulum swing, that once again, fails to hypnotize.
Ragged Angels Young ones in small rooms chasing the poem chasing the story going crazy starving for something they cannot name. Drunk at noon and midnight and four a.m. Young angels wandering hard streets with desperate eyes angry and in love lost on the edge of nowhere. Beware them. They are vast and magic as the moon soothes nothing as the sun burns their eyes as the sidewalks lie hard cracked and unforgiving beneath their holy feet. They are explosives meant to shatter you and keep daggers hidden in worn notebooks which you will someday plunge willingly into your own heart. They need nothing you could ever give. Heaven means only the right words spilling from their hands. This is their salvation all they ever desire. I know them. Beware. I was once among their host. Advice for Cannibals First of all, no one loves you, so don’t expect many social invitations. Bar mitzvahs weddings birthday parties — pretty much anything where food is served — you can forget about. No one wants to be reminded of your regular menu especially when they’re trying to eat. No one loves you, though you are occasionally good for a laugh if some joker is feeling funny and wants to crack everyone up at your expense. Of course, no one is really surprised if those people end up gone a day or two later and you walk around town all greasy or gnawing on long bones. You can forget about women, too, unless we are talking ingredients. I’m sure you understand. So you’re going to be lonely. That’s fine. Stick to your task. Fulfill your purpose. Full pots and roaring fires sharp knives and axes will be your companions. You were born to your nature and that’s how the universe likes it. I cannot speak for the others, but I will not blame you for long gazes at people enjoying their lives. Your regrets may be profound and connections must be taken as they come. No one loves you. You know why. Might as well enjoy the feast.
Strange Tequila At the border crossing from Mexico to the US, I stood with my filthy backpack in front of a customs guard. He scrutinized my face without expression, and said, “Will you please take that off and place it on the table in front of me?” Instead of terror, I felt a Yoda-like calm, though I knew my two tequila bottles filled with psilocybin honey would soon emerge into the harsh desert light, clutched inside the guard’s imperious grasp. He extracted the first bottle from the damp underbelly of my dirty underwear and squinted at the grainy bits of mushroom heads and stems floating in viscous soup. “This is strange tequila,” he said. “Yes,” I agreed. “It was a gift.” Technically, that was true. A man had given me the bottles at a Palenque campground, because he liked my energy. I left before I had the chance to prove him wrong. My energy was like a two-year-old child’s crayon drawing. Yet now, stoic and self-assured. The border guard shoved the bottle back inside my pack and pulled out my cannabis pipe. “I suppose this is also a gift,” he said, but his voice was gentle, inquisitive. “I hope you haven’t used it.” “Of course not,” I said. “I just like the way it looks.” He nodded, thrust the pipe back into my pack and smiled. “You can go now.” I hoisted the load across my shoulders, gave him a jovial wave, and strolled back into the country of my birth. A pockmarked sign above read, “Welcome to Texas.” So many miles to go until Wisconsin. Good thing I still had my strange tequila.
This is Your Fork in the Road Cain said “Hey, Bro. What’s that noise?” Abel looked outside and didn’t see his end coming. How many murders since then? We’re surprised every repetition. If Cain could take it back, would he? He’s the first villain, the O.G.s’ O.G. Flawed man.
Those Days In those days, Everything was new, The smell of fresh green grass, And spearmint... We sat outside, Listening to AM radio, Transistors, playing top 10 hits, Or baseball games. At night, we watched the stars With wonder, wondering... Death was far away, And love was just The way we lived. Laughter all the time, Embracing what was seen, Never fearing what was not. Anything could happen any day, And in those days, Something always did. In those days, We were living the dream.
PARENT-TEACHER NIGHT Leave early, Beat traffic. Sit at your desk, Grade. 6:00: A few parents in the hallways; None come to your room. 6:15, 6:30, 6:45. Much grading. 7:00: a woman enters, Along with a girl— One of your students. The mother asks How she’s doing; Fine, fantastic (she has an 81); Love having her in class (she barely talks). 7:15, 7:30, 7:45— Over the P.A.: Parent-Teacher night will soon end; We hope you had A productive evening. 7:59: stand by the door, 8:00: lock it. Driving home, Remind yourself To tell Melissa That it was nice Meeting her mother.
Insectopia It’s a country one only hears about when there’s a military coup or a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, or when the bird flu crosses the species barrier to humans, but it’s where, after the clock wound down, I ate a picnic lunch beside the grave of the patron saint of outcasts and rebels, and later, wearing a knockoff of Kafka’s barbed-wire halo, I climbed the steps carved into a hill to visit a holy spot once reserved for virgin sacrifice and now a gathering place for toothless old women in babushkas who believe it’s bad luck to ever kill a ladybug.
Ragged Angels Young ones in small rooms chasing the poem chasing the story going crazy starving for something they cannot name. Drunk at noon and midnight and four a.m. Young angels wandering hard streets with desperate eyes angry and in love lost on the edge of nowhere. Beware them. They are vast and magic as the moon soothes nothing as the sun burns their eyes as the sidewalks lie hard cracked and unforgiving beneath their holy feet. They are explosives meant to shatter you and keep daggers hidden in worn notebooks which you will someday plunge willingly into your own heart. They need nothing you could ever give. Heaven means only the right words spilling from their hands. This is their salvation all they ever desire. I know them. Beware. I was once among their host. How It Goes The girls in their pretty dresses protected by desks and distance from the dumb, eager boys and the old letches with their books and chalk and dandy dreams, heroes of past seduction and then the hallways packed with no one wanting to be there and the girls in their pretty dresses and first-try makeup lipstick bright and shining sometimes sad often laughing these queens of every imagined romance objects of hard desire and all the old men in the teachers’ lounge heading home to old women or empty rooms while the bright, clear day becomes dark and soon is years past and years more gone and the girls in their pretty dresses try to remember the good times of their glory and maybe laugh at the awkward boys who wanted them way back in the day with no thought of the old teachers who watched them come and go and come and go until they finally died as the girls will someday die and be taken to the last place in pretty dresses with one or two left to think about nothing but home and a late lunch a cat to feed and what they might do tomorrow who might be around to do it with and maybe something about the day after that