Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
when i walk no one cares where i go
i’m as free as a ghost here.
i am unconventionally winged and i have been stuck in amber
three thousand years of fog and sun.
i read of a king. the king of ireland when ireland had kings;
he proved to be persuadable.
it occurs to me that i have worshipped
vice and called it character
attempted alchemical madness
with dylan thomas as defense
and everything i touched permeated
hind sight beholds
the time i’ve spent
tried to defy
there’s nothing to fear any more
(that was not a pretty sight)
what is genuine is much quieter than that
in the middle of the highway it pauses staring
through the night
with wolfish eyes
it’s not nothing.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
i can be satisfied. i can be very easily satisfied. i ask for no grail no relic no alchemical magic. cigarettes, filtered, yes. coffee. yes. a beautiful joint. yes. one of those pills that stills the shaking, that frenetic haunting rattle? okay, yes. a glass of what you're having, cabernet sauvignon? oh yes.
an honest tongue. yes. an honest face can satisfy me. i can be satisfied. my curiosity leads me. i follow my hands where they insist on going themselves. i can be satisfied. it's easy.
i can be satisfied; i do not require much technology. a revolving record collecting incense ash. Love, 'forever changes.' oh yes i can be satisfied.
an honest tongue. yes. an honest tongue can satisfy me. finding reflected in someone else my own insistence on the truth. i sleep in my blue slip, in that precarious balance. between my naivete, folly which dylan thomas would insist i keep, insist that i not grind beauty down to dust, for 'wisdom is folly, love is not", and that determined Keatsian part of my heart that demands, almost petulantly, the truth.
'for beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
i sleep in the balance, not feeling alone, feeling satisfied
Arthur Lee has taught me a lot about love.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
i do not intimately know the wind; i do not know its various names and only occasionally its origins. the wind and i met anonymously, as in the coatroom of a dark restaurant; we recognized one another immediately as strangers of old.
it can be a gentle nurse administering something cool, calming for a fever that seems infinite as space and deep as time. or a punishing hot hand slapping blood into your cheeks, hot hot hot; and nothing before you but more melting asphalt, steam rising into suffocating air. unpredictable wind; i take what i get. so i lay down this day, to hear its news.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
each day. open like a nautilus, strong as a square nail. not a relic you'd find in the sand but something surviving dawn to dawn; picking up its feet to drift with the tides and trusting that it won't be ground into the coral or tossed onto a ragged rock.
life in the sea, so precarious, whether you're a seal or a fish. always outswimming the encroaching jaws of something bigger. sometimes predator and sometimes prey, but always attuned to the nature of the moment. porous as a sponge, recieving the wisdom of the split second. it tends to suggest action.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
time has told me you're a rare rare find. a troubled cure for a troubled mind..nick drake
and time has told me not to ask for more. someday our ocean will find its shore.
so I`ll leave the ways that are making me be what I really don't want to be.
leave the ways that are making me love what I really don't want to love.
time has told me you came with the dawn, a soul with no footprint, a rose with no thorn
your tears they tell me, there's really no way of ending your troubles with things you can say.
and time will tell you to stay by my side, to keep on trying 'til there's no more to hide.
so leave the ways that are making you be what you really don't want to be.
leave the ways that are making you love what you really don't want to love.
time has told me you're a rare rare find, a troubled cure for a troubled mind.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
so alive in its preoccupation isn't it? her wheels are turning.
i reach over through time to try to touch her because i understand. her wheels are turning.
no vapid smile. her jaw is clenched, can you tell? she is biting down on the most bitter truth she's been awarded lately i think
still resonant in her strength.
thank god it is not always necessary to paste on your brightest smile for photos.
thank god we always have a choice, between the truth, and a lie. some of us couldn't lie even if we tried. her eyes like glass. if she tried to make them smile she probably couldn't even swing it. even swilling absinthe in montmartre and watching petticoats fly can bring your face to this state of total granite disillusionment. lautrec himself said:
"i have tried to do what is true and not ideal."
and i think this is wise.
she must have really loved him. i don't think i could ever ask more of someone, than to try to do what is true and not ideal.
the truth makes us all so beautiful when it illuminates us with that completely encompassing, totally impartial light
the curtains open in one slow creak of cable, dusty red velvet draws back to reveal all our folly. and all our promise, we're not hopeless, not hopeless at making some beauty & happiness, never
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
the kingston trio, sometimes. peter, paul, and mary on their sunny yellow cover, who knew mary was such a babe? joan baez and her luminescent doe eyes. songs about the bombings in hanoi. and cat stevens,
(may all our voices lift in praise)
buddha and the chocolate box. he makes it so easy, to choose the greener path.
Monday, July 20, 2009
give up. just sleep in the mud. just sleep
inching like the living dead toward a blurry dawn with indistinct features; could be a grimace, could be a smile. could be another day at the park. ocean park, its water always the color of the reflected sky. silver sleeping with eyes closed beneath its dense blanket of fog.
perspective is a telescope and i have to jam myself into its center, bones and all, stay forever. make a moment of clarity expand to encompass all time. like a bird in the estuary, diving beneath the surface and then returning to the light. so, a moment of wet and cold.
it's just a moment of wet and cold. the sun'll dry you right off
Saturday, July 18, 2009
stuck in amber; improbable, but true,
immovable, billie locked in her position of grief
with no possibility of a new beginning. the needle swings its arc, drops on the first song. one more tired revolution around the sun
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
in a starchy scratchy floral confection, i never would've picked it myself
but there you are
lacey socks on but my legs wont cross
daintily at the ankles
i won't sit still
can't do what i'm told when i simply cant
and i never believed in being seen but not heard until i knew how it felt to love silence more than words, and knew how it felt to see truth being told without speaking
so my mouth it is closed but my mind never ceases
and i dont believe in growing cold in your fear and waiting for disaster to appear so i let myself sink back into the feeling.
and furthur back into the feeling
time is two eyes across from me. when i let myself look it ceases to exist entirely and gets out of my way
to let me live
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
relentless and wild
on top of me
it's all coming down. it's coming down hard
remember the old adage?
'it's coming down hard'; it truly is coming down hard
on top of me
i open my entreating mouth so that i might fill it up with rain
and never speak a word again but only trickle condensation
feel cloud matter slipping from behind teeth
i think it would be an honest thing to do, an honest thing to be said from me to you:
no words, free of sound
i might rain all over you and let you stand in the haze, let you ponder the aged old refrain
let you feel the weight that only i draw near to touch, that only i would take the time to introduce myself to
it could all come down on you
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
dried and dying carnation
i've been waking up to broken petals in my bed
dark and bloody red against my purple sheets
i dont know where they came from, floating round
in my dreams i speak another language, older than the languages that we together know, mine counting hardly for anything; your coin is worth more than my own to me
this habit will make me poor, i expect
very poor in the long run
but i know i'll wear it willingly
and make it mine
you've never minded my silk scraps anyway
never minded my frayed edges
tired beyond time
in my dreams i speak another language; silence, and eyes. it's easy to be fluent
to be eloquent, in dreams
it's all as mysterious as time
a bloody flower forming that long line, across a pale mouth
Friday, July 3, 2009
i might have said no had i been able to say no, but most likely not, i rarely say no
cant struggle stifled by my own weight, the weight that i feel especially in summer; a freeing and a dooming responsibility. To do, to say yes, to succumb
open entirely like a lens and receive
II. i am not being made a fool of if my soul is still free, if my heart is still free to me. but my heart isn't free to me, not really, so i am a fool indeed.
this has been my state perpetually. i'm sure it'll continue, i'm very rarely free, there is a weight i have long known and it seeks me
it continually seeks me; i have always known the feeling
of being its prey
but that's my life. i suppose it's okay. I bleed as do you, and as does he. i turn my face to hide my face and close my eyes so as to see
i wish i understood
i keep my turquoise in my poison ring, to make me strong, for
it's a wonderful woman that's strong,
but all i can own to is doing the best i can.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
that my heart can feel free of that heavy weight that has been pressing down upon it for an inexorably long time, an unspeakably long time
sheets crackle like paper, isn't it lovely how
why begin now why begin now
edith piaf would not stop now, edith piaf singing. there is a morning feeling,
one that no one ever could wish to leave
climbing up the orange tree
and on it grows
my mind seems to love to return to these things.
i do not mind seeing things through a haze if that is what i do. to me i see clearly. i wish to see you clearly which is a novelty to me, to wish but not to know if my own sight is true
i could only dissolve
into the night with you
three steps backward into darkness that is where we're headed to and let's not return
any time soon
let's not return
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I am not going crazy this morning, the ocean to my right, those crumbling cliffs to the left. i am only tired, so tired. Rusting signs nailed to driftwood posts proclaim quarantine statistics, tired. Train tracks run along the bridge, splintering, creaking, tired. In less tiring times, in our youth we'd climb like fugitives up its scaffolding and inch our bodies onto the huge cement blocks that kept it grounded in the sea. a six pack of something cheap in cans suited then wonderfully. the cigarettes were marlboros. Even then I might have seen, my palms foretold it in their lines: tired. The ground shakes with the passing of the train. No passengers, just unidentifiable freight. and an egret suddenly midflight.
Friday, June 26, 2009
i am proud; my pride won't let myself admit i gave a little bit away
and that the bit i gave left a well in its place. deep dark and blue
but the truth is in my eyes
looking so sad
Thursday, June 25, 2009
her all in blue, my great grandmother
i knew that she didn't belong and that all must lie after a time
sleep is what we all have to do, i said to you
you agreed it was true. you were glad it was true
and it all made me glad for you,
so i sit frightened now.
these days i speak a different tongue, i want to sew myself into the hems of silence,
blow my warmth and my wishes into stones;
i never had a tiger's eye til yesterday. this tiger's eye my mouth: now i need to crush it small, pulverize it to dust to set drifting in my blood, i will be strong
summer solstice come and gone yet only just begun. and i must let that wrap me in its long arms, and i must let that make me feel i have a friend
that there is still the best thing left, the only thing
still time. fibrous and foliated and sometimes, on a good day
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I know myself to be a train wreck now, a train wreck to the core
and i can be in a roomful of beautiful people but still look toward the door
only wanting to slip away to my room and listen to the night moan
i seek a cold and smooth stone to lay my body down upon
to dissolve into the night
i would adore
to be stronger than my wayward, flailing heart
i've got to try
2 Four minutes
I only have four minutes
four precious minutes, fleeting and incorporeal and green
i've just lost three of them in looking out the window and seeing
not yellow daisies, honeysuckle and dead vines
but a different view entirely, in my folly
the four minutes have passed
yet i remain optimistic:
i no longer care about the time. i care only about the song. i care only about the song: the way it aches in my chest, the physical pain of beauty
'When the wind blows and the rain feels cold
with a head full of snow
In the window there's a face you know
Don't the night pass slow?
Sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
Just another mad, mad day on the road
I am just living to be lying by your side
But I'm just about a moonlight mile on down the road
Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones,
I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow,
For I am sleeping under strange strange skies
Just another mad, mad day on the road
My dreams is fading down the railway line
I'm just about a moonlight mile down the road'
the rolling stones
the leaves of the trees in your yard screech low like cellos; it is too dark to know where the narrow path leads, creeping as it does to the right and then out of sight, but that's where you go
a head full of snow: have you a head full of snow? is this the origin of your ghostly glow, your emaciated smile ?
your hands are warm anyway
a head full of snow. it's a feeling i've known (we were all clean and young before we were grown but the nights are cold, and through the smoke we only seek the heat
that we need for our own)
your face in the half-light, the shadow of your collarbone
of course i can only close my eyes,
remember a song
stirring up the stations of the radio. my vision adjusts to find you moving slow, your eyes ignited by a lighter's adjustable flame, beautiful mouth, a perfect bow, and
a head full of snow
i shall lay back on this table and watch the stars explode. and i shall not cry because i am too high to remember how.
i have a glass of wine a cigarette and the rolling stones
and i peer through frozen eyes, hear through a wall of snow
(as do we all, i know, because we all have felt the pull. along the narrow path, that's where you go)
to calm a feeling that is stronger than your bones, that threatens to grow darker than your immeasurable black pupils know
a piece of carnelian, cellos, a head full of snow
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
a casualty of spring
note my four paws finally come to rest, my full, speckled tail does not wag and
the foolish, rattling pinball machine of my heart stills and ceases those deafening, breathcatching beats
so unruly and reddening to my unsuspecting cheeks!
'how they once plagued me,'
laughs my dreamself
'i was so in love then'
Saturday, June 6, 2009
despite various ominous sightings,
of hunting birds, a swoop of vultures, a black cat staring
at me through my window,
my own doom all spelled out for me by candles;
despite all that i know that i'm willingly walking
in the direction that tugs constantly
at my limbs
of course i am
have i any choice?
a rhetorical question,
the answer is no.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
by the cigarette in his mouth
by his mouth as he'd sing
driving north on the 1
to his house
in the heat
glasses secured with dental floss
fingers tuning strings
i miss half my heart
tucked in his glove compartment
half my heart
next to a carton of disintegrating chesterfields
half my heart loyal to our love only for the classic
only for each other
only for the summer
my compass points irreversibly toward
still the north star, still the sun
still the brightest thing i've ever seen
still my best friend, still my only friend
still mine and
the best thing perhaps ever to happen to me
still half my heart
inclined to make a sketch of him and not for the first time, it is
enigmatic from the start, dark eyes like coals, that conscienceless gaze
(a guiltless gaze, so unconcerned ...!)
i'm nearly inclined to pick up a hairbrush
and start singing
of how he was
partly hidden by shadow
absolutely criminal in his first impression
leaned back in his chair, arms limp at each side like a junkie, smiling vaguely
as if transcending
immediately recognizable as a night owl
pale, anemic, thin-wristed and mean
a crown of thorns i wear round my chest
every time i move i bleed a little
he's a rebel
Friday, May 29, 2009
summer found me grateful that the river was stronger than me, it quelled my fear and allowed me not to speak:
adrift on my back for the moment of peace it could bring me
i found seventeen to be more acidic than sweet. now i noticed every snakeskin curling on the highway, the wheeling vultures; my heart felt the pain that the prey feels, the signed
sealed, delivered, and doomed
torn to shreds in clear view and borne away by claws, i was the dirt and gravel road beneath your old trucks' tires
the dust on your dashboard, the dust on your mirrors
that first love should feel like death indeed
it certainly felt like death to me
i would have been his wife if i had been so lucky; more likely i would have been his whore:
sam cooke's paramour
it seems a harmless dream til the needle drops
and the crackling and dust give way to him:
a voice known to bear powers incomparable, as persuasive as the sliest teenage lover, sweet and understanding, only he promises
to soothe my soul
if it takes all night long
time doesn't mean much to him; he never wants to sleep
and there is nowhere he would rather be
conjured from dust to stir up the coals in my chest
some smoke then finally a flickering orange light
only those conjured by dust can do it
it takes all night long
a silly girl would play with her hands in the dust, but a wise girl keeps hers clean
and i know what sort of girl i endeavor to be
a heavy gaze from blue eyes cannot move me
i know that behind it lies nothing but ash and nicotine
i know now how it feels to be impossible to please
and i am not unscathed
but who could be
on the table beneath thin fingers only dust
from behind teeth only words
made of dust
i feel so old, my soul sifting away
borne by the wind, dust
Sunday, April 26, 2009
directed like tides by the moon
i loved you when i still thought that you were pure of heart
this theory i now must
you are not the boy i was introduced to
years ago, i don't remember by whom
you wore your vietnam vet ensemble
and i began a long history of loving you
now it's all as bitter as the limes
on my grandmother's tree
you're drinking cheap whiskey and
smoking in the heat
only the songs you bring
and not the things you do
drudged through the mud and long awoken
from a fleeting reverie
you've always given your love away for free
because the nature of our love was that
it belonged to you and me
exchanged between our lungs like smoke
young pretty things
you gave me smokey robinson
i let myself sing
and so did you
the tracks of our tears
Friday, April 24, 2009
and long abiding
i think of my love for the dark
how it hides and also does not hide
because it obscures the speaker
but gives its words
their own lives
and brings silence with it
the sort of silence that serves as a vast backdrop for
the soft screeching of crickets and maybe the quiet
crash of the cold
numbing when i dragged my feet through it last night
i was patient because i knew that it was right:
all the stars would arrive
in the darkness everything looks like the sky, like
the record player i hear crackling in my mind
the way it spins itself into a revolving universe of black wax
somehow manages to conjure
and i am his fool once more
Thursday, April 16, 2009
as you are headed that way
and i've been going this way for some time
i doubt we'll meet again in the spring as we once did
pressed upon by the santa anas
nearly naked in the heat
i doubt we'll ever meet that ropeswing again
at least i doubt our hands will curl around it at the same time
our feet wrapped around the knot that trails through the water
as it sways
as it has done
as it does despite the fact
that every time i feel the sun touching my shoulders
or my hands
i think i cannot stand it
it is too much like you
too much like the way you touched me when we both could understand
why it shone so bright
Monday, March 30, 2009
he arrived in the springtime
the mysterious visitor
and no one knew for how long
he would stay
even I couldn't say;
he was the mysterious visitor
to me he was a diablero
skulking in the night
head bowed, itching to run
with the eyes of a coyote
smile of a wolf and
the translucent incorporeal body
of a spirit in the dark
of an enamored Leo lover
the mysterious visitor
would sink into moments of
impenetrable narcotic fog
he once sang a song
and it sounded to me
as if he were singing
his own lullaby
(diableros run wild and free
they do not know family)
I always saw him as an orphan boy
until it became apparent
that he was a loved boy and not
a lost one at all
I think he preferred
to be the mysterious visitor
coming and going
appearing and dissolving
back into the panorama
in a smile
as he slinks away
3/29/09. The First Day of Spring
you are sleeping on the couch
and I am watching your stomach rise
up and down
i like the way your feet are curled
your hands rest one atop the other
over your ribs
and your socks are mismatched
it makes it so easy to see the child in you
i had begun to think no such child existed
in you or in me or in anyone else
but now i see that i was wrong
in your sleeping face
the curl of your eyelashes,
so blond as to catch the light
your freckles form a wonderful topography
so many places I'd like to go--
to the child's place I thought I could no longer see
It feels like the first day of spring
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
i thought of it all day and
i felt it all day
and i recognized it
and i knew it very well
and i recognize it now, it's the twist in my center, it's the lightheaded panic
panic because i am realizing
all over again as if never before
since the day before
that it's all disappeared
i've known so many boys; but i've only ever known one you
sometimes the guilt
overwhelms me like a huge and freezing wave
but if i let myself fall under it
all the way into it
i would surely never reemerge
memories permeate everything
everything's sodden and sticky with memories
we seem to have touched every fucking street in the city with memories of us together
and that is something that i can do
so i'm leaving and thank god
it is so
i want to be born again free
in a different city with
a different life
free from the dregs of our love
i know you would think that an absurd thing to say
but i have to go away because
i really cannot stay
and don't desire to
i want to be born again free
because with this i really wove my own net
i really set my own trap
it's an embarrassing fact
one of many many embarrassing facts
born again free!
beneath a hot spring sun, free!
in the cold ocean at Tajiguas beach, free!
in my own bed at night, free!
in my own mind at last, free
from a calamity of my own design, free
to have a new start, free
free at last
Sunday, March 8, 2009
but not the alone of the women
painted by Vermeer
quiet in spirit, loyally looking
to distant land
or the letter at hand
i am the alone of
a solitary seal
a dark shining smudge on the surface
but also the alone of Isolde,
for Tristan is dead.
And I am the alone of the
child with nothing to hide--
all is now in memories
in runes and incantations
in fables and in old songs
of love & innocence
all is now in ash and rubble
and I am all alone
why bother hiding it
with two summers gone by
a young lady might take to
the oldest tears yet
i might take to my bed of pain
these are not unusual songs,
though they can be very long
we all once knew a child
and now scarcely know a man
we all once knew a girl, became
a woman by her own hand
I've only tried to be brave, and good,
to love the best I can--
we all have killed things
hoping greener shoots would
grow to stand
what I cannot now allow
is to wish or burn or dream
my dickensian boy is smirking along streets i've never seen
and his hair is still as gold, as gold
as it has ever been
no o. henry lying open though that doesn't bother me
I need no such thing
when I cannot let myself
sing or lean upon that song:
i can't believe that you're here
knocking on my door
well it's been so long,
been so long...
Thursday, March 5, 2009
the memory of you knocked round the frail beams of my house
like frightened knees, like wintry trees
exhausted by the lonesome cold
my house of cards
of clubs and hearts
of diamonds and of spades
collapsed easy, weak by design
and in times of joy
of reminiscence i find
my heart is fast to flail and contract
to give up, to give in and to be pulled back
into inferior arms made of nothing like love
made of guilt and of half-memorized tunes
aloneness is my lover and i wear him like a cloak
and he understands the desperate need, insists that i must leave
the heart will start to warm in me like the kettle on for tea
all clubs and spades will admit peaceful defeat
free to sing
to sing songs for my family
without singing aloud so as not to be heard
sweet songs of love that don't require words
we are chains of blood and bones and we are
blossoms of spores
i am chained to them by a ribbon as old as earth
if i could hide my house behind a labyrinth hedge
from the storm that drips dismal, heavy in my chest
if i could spin in a teacup beyond here to something surreal
my house sturdy in its peace
and my heart something like healed
oh who can truly know what they would do
if their sweetest and most painful wishes did happen to come true
who could know which way that creek might turn
i wont be the fool that dwells in old spells
when the truth is the ribbon
is old as the earth
Monday, March 2, 2009
When I was a little girl I enjoyed mixing concoctions. My friend Daniel and I thought we had mystical powers; a primitive variety. These genetic gifts of magic could be nurtured by drinking cordials of tap water, food coloring, and confectioner's sugar. "This", I would say, "Is my witches' broth. And it can turn anyone who drinks it into a third grader, old enough to play on the big kid's playground, with the three-story jungle gym."
Fifteen years later I look at the big kid's playground and see dehydrated scrubby grass with a swing set plunked onto it, as if dropped like an anvil from the sky. I see it as a place where I was once harrassed by the City of Lompoc Police for having no shoes on while perched on the swings (it's not illegal, you bastards). Also, upon recollection, the jungle gym is not nearly three stories. It is, in fact, just tall enough for the impact of a fall from it to put you in an L-shaped cast for a couple months. An L-shaped cast that makes ones skin itch so badly that forks are often lost in it, recovered when the cast is cut open with a saw and a scrawny and flaky mouldering arm revealed.
What a joke the big kid's playground was. And yet to Allison, aged five, it was Mecca. I could play kickball or go look for gophers, those most adorable rodents! I could try to track down my leprechaun, whom I had lost the week before behind the 'B' building. I once tasted native California ant sitting on the grass at elementary school. (Spicy, like pepper, but not unpleasant.)
Most days after school Daniel and I would walk back to his house, which stood in a cul-de-sac of houses all stuccoed deplorable shades of mustard and drab fatigue green. The blue houses were not blue like the sky, I noted, or blue like the color of my Roger Rabbit doll's eyes (my favorite shade at the time). They were the blue one would expect a sadistic dentist's scrubs to be.
I always looked forward to going to Daniel's house. He had the most marvelous Zoo Books, for one, and he also had a host of amusing toys. He had lizards and snakes made of plastic so hard one could be concussed by them. He even had a little slot machine that would spit quarters at you in a mesmerizing deluge of wealth. Generally, though, we preferred to play outdoors, for Daniel's backyard was a world of great wonder.
There was an old camping trailer full of rubbish and haphazardly constructed bongs that his father had made from plastic water bottles. There was his panther-like cat, Chang, who was unreliable in terms of personality but sleek and majestic, holding court with the opossums that lurked beneath the house. Chang was a pure Siamese, and his meow resembled the cry an old woman might make while being maced. It had a sort of rolling "r", a MRRRRR-OOO-WL. It was a shocking sound and it frequently pierced our little ears because we frequently tried to employ him in activities he did not wish to be involved in. Daniel and his older brother, Michael, would never have allowed Chang to be dressed, but were not unwilling to throw him in the dilapidated hot tub every once in a while to see if he might swim.
Daniel and I were the same age, five, when we met in kindergarten. Our mothers were somehow friends, although they had little in common besides two children aged eight and five. So it was that Daniel and I kept one another company after school every day, and my sister Hillary whiled away the afternoon hours playing Battleship with Michael, his brother.
Daniel aspired to be an expert on reptiles, knowledgeable of every iguana, monitor lizard, and water snake. He also liked sleek furry animals, like weasels, and greyhounds. He had a keen sense of what was most majestic in the animal world, and it was, he thought, the animals most adept at stealing birds' eggs and running quickly on tracks in large loops. I always thought greyhounds were sort of ugly and sad looking and preferred our labrador-springer spaniel hybrid, Molly. Daniel wanted a dog and Michael sometimes expressed the same sentiment. It never occurred to me that they might be jealous of us for having a dog, although Molly was certainly a pet worth coveting. She was energetic as a young boy on caffeine pills might be, she would run around the backyard in endless circles, leaving chalky dust stirring in her wake, and she could have cleared the five-foot fence in the backyard, had she ever tried to jump over it.
Instead Daniel had his mangy cat whom we all so admired, and myriad random reptiles. He would sometimes have an aquarium full of alligator lizards, their tales long and whip-like. Sometimes these tails would disconnect from the lizard if you picked it up by its' tail and perhaps accidentally swung it around a bit too much. The tail would then wiggle, quite sinister, at the bottom of the aquarium for a few moments before lying lifeless. And the lizard would walk around with a stump for some time.
When there were not lizards or snakes in the house, there were still frogs and toads in the backyard, hopping on the grass, croaking fat-bellied beneath trees, and lounging in the dissolving, mossy interior of the hot tub. The water in there would be anywhere between four and 24 inches deep, I suppose, but always with a layer of bubbling scum and frothy something. It was full of water weeds and green rugs of moss. The frogs were in frog heaven. The toads would soak in the tub like fat old men in a bathhouse.
We would sometimes pick the fat toads up and transport them to the bathtub inside by hand. Then we would set them afloat on chunks of Styrofoam. Daniel and Michael's mother never minded. No animal was too scaly or slimy to bring inside. Sometimes her husband was home during the day as well, fixing himself a snack, scratching his beard, and making funny coarse jokes. Sometimes when I would come home, my mother would make a remark about how he was a lazy conniver, that sat on his ass all day, but I quite enjoyed his presence. He let his sons stay up until ten by the time they were seven, to watch Nash Bridges, which made me believe that self-employed, unwashed fathers were clearly where it was all at.
Occasionally I would make concoctions in the privacy of my own home, from the contents of our spice cabinet, which also contained bouillon cubes and little bottles of food coloring. One day I made a thrillingly green cocktail:
"This," I told my favorite stuffed animals, a turtle and a giraffe, "is my latest refreshment. When I drink this I will tumble through space into a different land, where the swimming pools are filled with orange soda and which is populated by Carebears." My friend Aly and I had visited this land a few times while we were on the swings at school and had found it to be superior to this one by far. I drank a sip of the green water and it tasted divine, with tiny grains of sugar resting in a layer on the bottom of the glass that could not be stirred away.
As I sipped my creation I surveyed the contents of the cupboard a final time. There were the shiny foil cubes of beef bouillon, the bottle of vanilla extract, the baking powder, the cylindrical container of Morton's salt with the little girl on it and the saying, "When it rains it pours".
I had never noticed the Morton's Salt girl before but I noticed her quite clearly now and I could not decide how I felt about her. Wishy-washy, I then concluded. At best.
Is that supposed to be salt falling from the sky? I wondered. Salt doesn't fall from the sky like rain. And who is this girl? She looks like some sort of Red Riding Hood knockoff, but yellow, and with an umbrella.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
i sit and listen to the record spin
i've met a couple sweet talkers
but they dont know the shape i'm in
i used to know her well she was a real woman
and those real women get what they want
i used to know him well he was my friend
and we'd talk as we drove 'round the block
in the evening i'm the only one listening
the house is asleep
he's sitting by the fireplace
playing with a bootlace
and trying to catch a glimpse of the stars
and you're sitting on the staircase
pullin' a face
as you drink the cough syrup that you bought from the drugstore darling.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
the melancholy circus anthem
the psychedelic carousel tune
(house of mirrors house of mirrors
100 reflected images of
displaced child on mood stabilizers)
neon has long repelled me
is this innocence lost?
the painted ponies
with their saddles ornate
go up and down but
never run free
jaded carny stole my bow!
i was but five!
the scrambler spun
i chipped a tooth
I imagine a man
with crackhead talons
a few teeth and no joy
though who am i to judge:
"we are all outlaws
in the eyes of america"
my music is the last and lonely waltz
(i just want to be in big sur)
my music the quiet convergence
of a few little notes
the sort of person
who sits alone a lot
with just their mind
recalling thoughts of
the crackling record's buzz
the falling duck feather
the sound of a house
settling into warmth after
a long stretch of
having been uninhabited
the creak and groan
of protesting pipes - - -
the wicked and brilliant
the old pond at the mission
my music is a
sentimental little arrangement
(but who could expect
Thursday, January 29, 2009
we approach the end of the aztec calendar
and we're all going down
a brilliant light of
tangerine and pink
the end of the world looks just like a cocktail from the poolside bar
if i could be assured
that what happens here
would stay here
i might stray beyond the lines
it's not as if i believe in a
and anyway my crimes are not so great:
piled up across from me
they cannot weigh more than
an orange-beaked finch or a small hand grenade
comparable i assume
to the weight of the deeds
done by every girl in my bracket
ruled more be desire than duty,
these are after all the heady days of my youth meeting their technicolor demise
(high on a monument
all lined up to meet
some vibrantly plumed deity)
i only hope he does not physically pull out my beating heart,
mercy, mercy, from the age old tradition!
i prefer the quick blow, the scalding cacophonous explosion,
i'll go out singing,
disappear into the dissolving panorama...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
yet colorful characters linger
spoiled sons some, living alone in little houses downtown
payed for by their parents,
key bumps and cannabis plants,
white lines abundant, they try to get me
to vacuum the floor
but i cannot stand to vacuum
especially when high
the drone so loud it could strip paint with its volume,
always seems an angry monster
feared by cats and dogs alike
and so the carpet stays a dusty sea of blue synthetic
and paw prints
life in lompoc is boring as hell
most of the real thinkers have been sifted from the pot and now only the dregs remain
the smart kids either too lazy
fucked up indifferent addicted or disoriented to leave
and i do not count myself among them
but i am
until i go, until i go, until i go!
then i'll be gone then i'l be gone then i'll be gone
and you shant see and you shant see and you shant see
me around these parts no more
life in lompoc continues as if under a microscope's slide
sometimes we drive to the beach and then turn the car around and drive right back
it is a journey without a real destination, drive there turn around drive home
but the sense of direction comforts us
on the gray days with high wind
driving past union sugar avenue
toward the sea
life in lompoc is brutally slow but never fully stops
i wake early and wish i were still asleep
when the room is dark and everything very quiet
and my head pounds a pulsating beat
i make barely a sound
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