Thursday, March 24, 2011

simulacrum

Reflective of issues I deal with on a daily basis, some enumerated below, many not.... I am a professional who hates corporate identity. I am a consumer who rails against Wal-Mart-ization. I am a spiritual person who resents organized & intrusive  religion. Can I be these things at one time? Can I be more than one person? Am I digging my own burial vault through trying?

* * * 

Smelled upon breath is

sweet bottled optimism

swallowed, pasteurized

chemically-born mask

translucence over eyes grants 

sight as though a veil

a shelter velveteen-tender

demeanor muted, certitude paled

a stimulating simulacrum

this aftertaste of life

about my spirit a phantasm

flavored of doubt and paranoia

from assorted petty annoyances

it cradles like a shroud of

sumptuous cashmere

proud rococo styling and

foolish notions held dear-

ideas, ideals and influence.

The motion of a hand

a finger’s minute twitch

yet no movement felt

the air remains unmixed

mind ponders signals 

dealt and ignored, transfixed

then legs turn about-face

brain racing over un-issued command

in its stead the field animates 

jaw muscles skulking to 

upturn, cannot withstand

craggy smile pasted over cracked lips

presenting to existence

a vision neither wanted nor real

structure with soft plastic outside

and innards of limpid steel expands 

and ripens into a plenary prison keep

buttressed by cruel homilies

spirit inside sits petrified

waiting in vain for resolution

in a self-styled sepulcher.

Monday, March 21, 2011

alkali soil & raw flesh

Encased 'neath skeleton chalk rock,


crooked with crags pressing into my sides


gnawing jagged scars deep in naked skin


but I’m comforted by the pain and then


molasses warmth creeps into my muscles


legs at first, then trunk and arms


the numbness seeps, seducing with charms


and I lose the memory of living in a body,


I’m a packed up heap in a dried-out hole


no moisture here to tickle my lips


nor to guzzle, chug, even halfheartedly sip


parched dusty desert terrain squeezing


out memory, sense and mission to maintain.


Alkali soil and raw flesh in chemical collision-


I reach out to stretch with arms restrained


but I only eke a fraction of an inch


before my body starts to jar, spasm and wrench


then sags, slumps and gives way to nature,


a sacrifice to the noonday sun


and the hungry whimsy of nighttime creatures.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

express service


Amazingly enough I wrote this while driving- you guessed it- from Waco down to San Antonio. That route is one of the ugliest in the state- nothing but empty rangeland, truckstops and porn shops in between towns. I felt like it was a healing experience to concentrate on anything besides the "scenery!"

The title comes from the first sign I looked up to see at the exceedingly unsightly gas station where I had stopped after I wrote the poem.
.
 
* * *

The country song

drones on and on 

I-35 from Waco

down to San
Antone

and I think as I steer

thoughts that soon interfere

with the faith that I left

in a warm mug of beer

'
neath the neon of the sign

winking crisp, winking fine
 
on and off, a short circuit

like these thoughts in my mind-
 
circling 'round- little rats

gnawing tunnels through the slats
 
of the bed that's my head
 
rotting wood knocks it flat!
 
If I can't stop the vermin's' tear

with some poison  or some dare
 
I'll succumb and

out my head they'll race

without so much a care!

Wink the patterns of the neon-

frequencies I'll never be on-

hypnotize me like a magus

so I'm happy as a peon.

In this life, to find purpose

we're the rats and they're no worse 

off than we- driving distances,
we're driving our own hearse.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

most precious thing

Her body sags in my arms

trickling sick with blood.

One hand in an ersatz wave

as if saying goodbye

to a most precious thing.

My joy, my desert flower, 

My breeze at midday

now crumpled, coated red;

wilting to the world.

Did you listen to this on NPR?

What matters so far? 

What matters in a world turned ragged and hard?

Did Fox News show you this? 

Drudge or CNN?

You will not see the picture, 

never ponder who’s sinned.

Never held in your arms

your most precious thing

stained brown, clotted and drying.


So far there’s been nothing

but heartbreak and regret, 

fired Peter Arnett for reporting in

with the real dividends of a war

that’s seen little liberation yet.


Your collateral damage

Was my most precious thing

now six feet in sand

but entombed in my memory.

You did say you came

to set her free.

Does any future or freedom for me 

matter more than her today?

* * *
I saw the above photo on a BBC website one morning after the initial attacks in Baghdad in 2003. As a father it sickened me to think about being in the same situation.

Our media does us wrong- this photo was from an American wire service, yet I saw it in no U.S. paper I read. Found it again on an Al
Jazeerah website. I think in the video game, news-at-10, rah-rah way we are presented the current war it is all too easy to forget that the Iraqi people are not monsters. Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator whom deserves whatever fate shall befall him. He victimized and exploited the Iraqi people. Now his fate is sealed. Buts is ours with him?
 

machine gun

Martyr has a machine gun

a magic wand trained on the man,

aimed at the head, arc of destruction planned

for the mark with the wicked hands,

who winces through blood-blind visions

staring and stammering,

quixotic pupils straining to scan for

nonexistent paths of escape.

Garrulous explications paint the anecdotes

he expectorates like the gore that drips

precariously from swollen lips- they undulate-

saccharine incantations, meant to negate his fate.


Barrel lording, unrelenting,

gazing on fresh lacerations,

mark genuflects, articulates

praises to an astral savior-

split lips spit his requisition-

pleas for forgiveness, for restitution

mindful all the while he’ll receive no reply.


Barrel lording, unrelenting,

mind decoding the difference,

the distance from adoration to hate.

His daughter frolics to mind,

all summer afternoons and pomegranate rinds.


Her reaction, seeing him die...


Wicked hands drop the machine gun.

The wand holds magic no longer

for the martyr who marked himself.

perpetual care 'til the end of time

Written partially from a fascination with the slogan of an old cemetery in McLennan Co., Texas... there's just no way, in this humble writers' opinion, such great care & attention could ever be given the amount of time advertised. What is "perpetual" anyway, if not an untenable promise? So I decided to find out what kind of care might fill in for the overzealous marketeers.


* * *

"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time,"

says the faded-out printing

on the ramshackle sign

tombstones guarding the

grown-over paths- names chipping

slipping silently to ground

yielding to twin wraths

of time and circumstance.

Empty beer bottles

strewn about blazes of stickerweed and thistle

prickly points of cacti replace

the sign's exaggerated epistle

water pooling stale, teeming sick with larvae and disease

affairs foreboding wafting despair

to the very canopy of the trees.

Intaglio of Jesus invaded

by blue-green moss

life blooming on dead stone savior

hanging limply from crafted cross

all anonymous residents now

corpses and fertilizer for

the forests and wilds

feeding from the spent decades

a landscape and era free of charades.

From the heavens rain down

distant recollections of a chime:

nature keeping covenant

'tween ghosts and sounds sublime,

"Perpetual Care 'Til the End of Time."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

god on its head


Newly dedicated to Gov. Scott Walker in WI & those protesting his autocratic policies.

* * *

Tipped torved

concrete rock-hewn

head in sand

island-man erected

god in graven image in 

hand-selected granite

encased perpendicular

eyeballs ogling horizon in

indifferent malediction

moulded of stone 

with taunting stare-

the swaggering sneer 

and stoicism dare-


We can turn the god on its head!


In a turmoil of one-thousand hands

a cacophony of 

hard-charging fingernails

cracked to the quick

boot-bottoms, sinew

and walking sticks

fixed at the base

and the idol will tumble;

teeter reluctantly-

molasses on the soggy grass-

but undulate under 

our weight en masse

together we make the tyrant humble-


We can turn the god on its head!


Cheer the convulsion

and the peal of pebbles

chipping in all directions

howl at the detonation-

an unruly hedonistic orgasm 

of ascendancy-

a clamor of heights unheard

join with me-

bloody your fingertips

embark to heave-ho

cold stone will puncture,

bruise our skin below

but we will hoist

in heroic travail

new era of extrication

without fail-


We can turn the god on its head!






This all started when I watched a Discovery Channel docu on the statues on Easter Island. One of
the giant heads had been toppled at one time. It lay on the ground and didn't seem so 
miraculous in that position. The archaeologist on the program surmised that originally the great 
heads were built as spiritual figures but eventually came to symbolize the power that the higher-
status islanders held over the lower-ranked islanders. The wealthy built taller heads that grew 
more and more elongated- a very phallic statement. The more I look at the situation in which our society has placed itself, the more I see gigantic heads erected with a "mine is-bigger" mentality. 

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

church


My grandfather lived to be 97. Throughout this time he was my father-figure, role-model & constant friend. This poem is about him but can be expanded to mean THE Grandfather, God, or the sacred masculine if you prefer. Pa displayed many of the virtues I think of when I think about what a man should be. I like to think the god is something like him.

The choir, by the way, was made up of rabbits.

* * *

I went to church

last Sunday morn

thought not a pastor spoke.

The only choir 

gnoshed oats with teeth

and did not sing a note.

With my grandfather, 

I worked on the sabbath

but did not suffer sin.

His sermon rich, 

entwining hope

with stories of where he's been.

The pews were plastic

no need to kneel

and neither of us tithed.

We talked as men

on equal ground;

a sense of respect and pride.

Nobody swooned

and no one prayed, 

nobody bayed in dread.

There was no shouting

nor threats of hell, 

the hour was never more sacred.

I went to church

last Sunday morn, 

I did not find it odd-

between Pa's voice

and the joyous work

I felt the hand of God.