Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #147: Phantoms and Shadows


monarchs of the western slopes
sedition's right to a mind at rest -
we gather together -
the last glimpse of evolution's darling
conquests, out of the mouth of babes:
i went down to the restoration,
prisons of vast consequence,
kneeling in carnage blown
by want of turbidity,
total departure from the other ten percent,
self-interested but creepy,
roughly bled into, but moderated
by the winds of paranoia,
you know the song,
the perorations of a 15 pack,
pack of knives, pack
of thieves, pack of
all the gemini drift of frozen
rivers in your midst:
smoke descends, you
wish for the last time you knelt
and the feeling wasn't mutual,
the halves were knotted
in embrace of where you stood
before the unidentifiable knocks,
the lonesome instruments of healing,
bigger than religion,
as psalmists overtake the competition &
gaming in the night
greases the soul,
the granular vessel that was your meter
& rhyme, now fades, now
lists, and the coracles
of fate
are circling.


Saturday, January 17, 2009


I almost posted this for Sunday Scribblings pilgrimage prompt: an old faux translation of Neruda's "Galopando en el sur."


The convent's tongues are quarantined
In the corridors of Malleco
Camped in the wash of time
The air verdant, electric: pristine.

Stones triangle the regions of heart
An aviary south of the quiet sea
Water written in earth
Perdition down a long saffron land.

You leave us in a flood of tears
A jaguar flood - eternal
A horse in flight - pegasus
All the seas in a flood of disillusion
Lost and reconstructed
In september dreams
In movement through rushing time
In the shadow of horse and dream

Call the shadow of your dream, silence
Find joy in the region of lost hearts
The grand solitude of ocean draws nigh
In the corridors of Malleco.

a wild deviation from Neruda's "Galopando en el sur"


Every night beside me...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #146: Pilgrimage

i. Estuary Shroud

Rana walked in the afternoon heat
Teardrop leaves, gold dust pollen at his feet
Shiva rumbled from his distance
Dreams of wet
The silent ones are listing

Why the long ache
Why the congenital speak
Why the inverse proportion
Anvil interpretation
Acetylene meadow
Coffin estuary
Shroud upon the noun

This is classic denial
Deaf leper at the crossroads
Kensington Square
These yellow hands
Feel the cartilage
Lose the bone, separate
Cast from crown
Wheat from chaff

Call the day this
Giant heart, this blowing
Wind, this diligent pearl.

ii. Artemis

Virtue rescinded
I see what essence is
At the brink
Of an eye
The blue gate,
A sand wall and 30
Bodies: compost for the chinars
Between here and Sangrama
They said,
“Come here for the beauty
And the chinar trees”
But come too for a taste.

Four big chinar trees standing
In the middle of the lake
Blue under the shade of centuries,
Lapis for the eye and throat.

In the midst of saffron fields
The place where Zoon was singing
Sona lank and Rupa lank
Which of the four will she cut, who
If any will she spare?
Paydar dreams the lake
Out of the dream of revolutionary dust
His mother a different blue than
Krishna’s veil at the lying gate.

The next day, 40 feed
The roots that will not wander
The blind eye at the Azadi Hotel


iii. Native Morn

After the midnight cries,
Over the river’s deep,
Sediment of love’s ruin;
An archer’s list—
Shocked by day
Stunned by wood
Flamed by fire risen.

From the lowlands
I stagger:
Fog mutes desire and hope,
Ancient crimes fallen,
The book of days—

After the black river
There is another
Woven down your back


By the cries.

Old chair on a shattered porch—
Moon’s loins,
Scattered eyes
Of night’s vigil.

Climb this tree:
My limbs, yours;
Yours, mine;
Ours, time has
Made revelry
Of loss.

iv. Druids, these revealed children

Druids, these revealed children
Blue umbrellas in the high blaze
Wandered through the plaza de las islas
Came to rest against white stone,

An old man the youngest boy,
Squatting, thighs to calves,
Shower shoes, green shorts and tee and
Someone’s heart broke
This afternoon of orphan time,
Tiny Buddha in limestone shade,
Sister lying prostrate in the heat,
Lifeless, eyes open to searing blue.

Mother wayfare broods,
The bottom of her belly—copious—
Stars fall in the lap of he who wanders
Heart razor-wired to memory
Crossing dreamland, crossing shattered, crossing
The last stitch of time
These gathered ruins
These splattered lives
A boy whose syllables sing the song of 46:

Sundays with fathers missed?
Pennies in his mother’s pocket?

Gather him, gather you
Riverbound, this one cool and
Clear. Gather. Cool hand upon his brow.
Gather. Birdsong in his heart, gold
Sun in his mouth. Count toes, count fingers—
Map the caverns from you to him,
Undertow of privation
Fields of weary, this weary world,
Worry world, worry.

What to give him, he me, my
Pockets too were empty—

My eyes. Here: take my eyes,
New and old,
The palms of your hands,
Cat’s eye, tiger, steelie

Etch your circle and let fly—


Monday, January 12, 2009

Los Exquisitors

A trio of exquisite corpses, from the Instituto juniors y yo. ECs, for the uninitiated, are collaborative poems: write two lines, fold the first down, and pass to the next poet. We wrote six altogether, and drew one as well (not the above illustration; for its attribution, go here).


Young man said what he said when he said—
But, did he say what he meant when he said what he said?—
Or was it just an argument,
Bloody argument, bloody imbeciles reeling
Sun rises on the Reign of Terror
Don’t think about the meaning
(I wish I could punch you!)
“Green eggs and ham” mixed with “post secret”
The name is green.
Not the eggs mixed with a secret.
Possibly the eggs cooked by Shawn’s mom
Or a rotisserie chicken cooked by his dad Don
Juan, the cavalier rotisserie man,
A Father without legs, without arms, without
Train kept a-rollin’
All night long
They howl and scream and die and love
It’s truly terrible
That was quite a scene
She fed off her nemesis
The food of hate
She hates that food
But eats it anyway.


A peek inside, you or your charm,
The place of horrifying
Of mesmerizing
Thoughts unseen like night
There is a coat-hanger fetus
On that old computer
She was standing at my door
A jigsaw puzzle not completed
It is not as done as you are
It saved itself
With time it all became clear
Patience is a virtue
The virtue of vultures
Circling the latest corpse
I don’t want to stop
So let there be rock
Let there be light
Let there be “free will” with retribution—
The summer of 1997
Was two years before all the madness
Ever started happening
It wasn’t all madness
Or maybe it was, just depending on your thought—


The corpse next to me applies makeup
And next to her there is a corpse with a headset
At night you rub against the coffin fodder
And only the occupant of the hearse is
Perfectly human
Well, that’s up for debate
The crusades should’ve done their job
If they did a good job
The job was not well done.

[tribal exquisitors: ldm, adt, er, cm, zs, cn, pmb]


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #145: Organic / Cinagro

“Morning full of bobble to you, Mr. Fish—and to all your forty-two little fishies.”

Mr. Fish was looking crabby: I hadn’t seen him this bereft since the advent of the Awkward Sneeze.

I’d been to early morning mass, sung my penance, and was full to the brim with goodwill and excess. You’re wondering what the latter has to do with goodwill: I can’t help you: my belly’s full of communal port: I’ve got it bad and that ain’t good, you know? Believe me, you don’t want me to go all George Bailey on you. I’ll just stick to the back story: angels in the belfry, angels in the parking lot down on 5th and Clime. Little angelfish at that.

Do fish sleep? Do they want to? Do their little fishy mamas have to keep fishy-barking at them to get into their organic cotton fishy-jammies and brush their fishy teeth and floss their fishy gums, and are those organic cotton fishy jammies blue fishy flannel or orange fishy flannel? Is Sendak their favorite organic fishy baby monster story or is it A Hole is to Dig? Can they even read down there in all their organic wet-fishy wet-fishiness?

Yes, 42. And, no, it doesn’t. Not in the least—or, not anymore. It used to, but then it got tired, very inorganic. Very tired: as tired (and inorganic) as Mr. Carmine Fish is crabby, and that’s before you even asked me what happened to Barnaby and Garson and all of yesterday’s oopsy doopsy folderol.

I just won’t have it. I won’t have it at all. It’s beyond fishy, it’s beyond poultry, beyond nectar, beyond all the entire collected works of Hula Kavula. It’s down to your very last organic cotton towel, but don’t panic. If all your options are blown, you know what to do: call Bob, Organic Bob, Bob of the difference between organic symmetry and long lost palmistry, Bob of the noodle in your soft dark—organic—place.


Monday, January 05, 2009

The Tarot Self

Taking Ms Alister's cue:

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


3 Shadormas

New year at the Insituto: something easy to ease back in, no? Shadormas on wry.


ampersand over
dose, these still
born treats ask
never to be told the truth
over this grim rainbow


hasta grow:
the invisible
line between
here & now
the fruit of all endeavors:
chocolate frenzy


migraine, did you see
the way she
moved through the
faire, the inexplicable
bend of her daily


Friday, January 02, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #144: Poorer, los pobrecitos

I’d hooked up with him outside the downtown library. Couple of gorphs gave us a pair of bus transfers about to expire. By the time we left the town meeting, we’d impeached the asshole president, rescinded the vagrancy laws, voted for chartreuse M&M’s, and come out unanimously for the old Elvis stamp, instead of the pretty boy stamp tapped by the postal yokels.

We headed down St. Mary’s Street to Convent, and crossed the bridge over the green swill they like to call the river.

“You spell your name ‘Charles,’ right?” said my companion. “I’ve seen you write it.”

“Correct,” I said. I had no clue where he had occasion to see my handwriting. I couldn’t have made ‘Charles’ out of the scrawl myself.

“So, what’s with the ‘Sharl,’ man?”

Latest nosey bastard. I lied: “My mother was French. What about you? Where’d you scare up the name Ris?”

“Dye my mother used on our clothes. She liked that it was short and to the point.”

“I believe the dye was called Rit.”

“My mother couldn’t spell for shit.”

I said, “Admittedly a tough call,” but I was already rethinking the bus ride. Air conditioning was one thing, but air conditioning for imbeciles was another.

“Rit, huh?” he said. “Like that Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind.”

We came to the corner of Convent. I slowed my step—maybe the transfer would expire if I walked slow enough. The 8 could be counted on to run late, and I’d never known one of its drivers to cut me any slack on the two hour grace period. If the ride fell through, I’d excuse myself and opt for a nap at the Saint Anthony Hotel. The second floor lobby had enough mildew to scare away their own staff.

Convent Street dead-ended into the stop on Navarro, a perfect little wind tunnel in the shade of two high rise towers. Half a block further sat the Municipal Auditorium, an old Spanish Revival relict in the oasis of Auditorium Circle, once rumored to have been an island. Bygone downtown royalty used to row over, plant gardens, escape the nearby predatory shadow of the several city blocks known as First Baptist Church.

My dyed friend eyed the two benches on Navarro, both smothered in pigeon shit, as if Jackson Pollock had come back as a gray bird and picked up where he left off. I sat right down on the iron bench; I’d long ago given up any hope of keeping bird shit off my back side. Mr. Ris struggled to maintain the bum’s fiction of being well-heeled, a difficult proposition when you counted bus transfers as a part of your revenue stream.

“There’s usually a corner of the concrete bench that they miss,” I said. “What’s there just seems to blend in better.”

He eyed the corner and smoothed down the back of his unlaundered jeans with his hand, like some demur debutante’s little fidget before sliding onto a banquette at L’ Etoile, the fancy uptown eatery of my adopted people. I had no idea if there were banquettes at the place. I make it up as I go along. If there aren’t any, there should be. I’m sure Mr. Hemingway would agree.

“You’re probably right to hesitate,” I said. “You purposely sit in bird shit, it’s just downhill from here on out.”

A small Toyota pickup truck pulled up along the curb in front of us. Two boys in teal-colored knit tees and Panama hats, towing a big plastic tub of water, always three days behind the pigeons and their rampant graffiti. They hauled out their pressure sprayer and started in at the corner, nary a by-your-leave to the two constituents standing by. Wind out of the north did a fine job of soaking Mr. Dye and me.

I walked over to Mr. Spray. His associate was standing upwind, in the flimsy shade of a palm tree across the street, blowing bubble gum bubbles half the size of his face.

I had to give it to Mr. Spray; he was a dedicated employee of the City of San Antonio. He done ‘em proud. The man standing at his left ear deterred him not at all from his duties as custodian of the streets. I’d seen Westside chicas derail a squadron’s worth of utility workers, but not so my humble fleabag self in baggy khaki pants.

“Sorry to get in your way!” I shouted, into the horrid din of the washer. Blasts of shattering noise, followed by windy silence.

Mr. Spray gave me a look that confirmed my suspicion that, given a double-aught shotgun in his hands, rather than his standard water nozzle, there would have been one less meddlesome citizen roaming the streets of San Antonio.

“What can I do for you, sir?” said my teal-resplendent civil servant. It was my experience that at some point in the 1980s the word ‘sir,’ rolled around in the right mouth, designated a variant of the human species just this side of vermin. Or maybe that side of it.

“My colleague and I were wondering just how one might go about gaining such fine employment as yours with the local constabulary.” I knew the word constabulary would throw him off, or piss him off. It did the latter.

“Fuck off, old man,” said my civil servant.

“Hey, Chuck. 8’s coming,” said Ris behind me, committing the unpardonable sin of a familiarity with my name he had no right to. Chuck, my ass.

I stepped up onto the bus behind Mr. Familiarity, waited for him to find a seat on the back banquette, and darted out the door, just as the bus pulled off. Good Rit-tance, asshole, I thought, and waved to him as he passed by. My transfer would work just as well on the 14, one block down.

The keys I’d purloined from the Toyota truck of my civil servants clunked nicely in the bottom of the trashcan at the corner of Navarro and Pecan, though there was not a chance my demolition buddies up the street would hear it.

We three kings…