Sunday, March 27, 2011

flashed fiction: the arroyos in march

Road-dusty stranger walked into the bar, parting smoke-clouds, wearing the scent of green grass in the miasma of the less than holy. Stepped to the bar, leaned fresh smiling face across to crumbling Bess behind her old mahogany fortress wall. For a quickflashing moment, she felt the emerald stir of the sixteen-year-old beauty she'd been all those years before, inspiring the dreams of boy and middling, pufferied man alike. But her dormant green to the stranger's green was another story altogether: he called out with nary a smidge of lust, and she felt no need nor desire to conquer. Brother to sister and back, if any context was called for at all.

"What'll it be," to the stranger. Feather-light breezy voice she hadn't heard from her lips in ages. With it the ache of days long thought dead.

"Water, my sweet."

"In this hole? Step to the well outside, if it's water you want, don't you think?"

He smiled the sweet green grass back again: new mown hay, full moon over a hayed field, saltcedar sweat on the skin, glistening. "Company's better in here."

"Is it now?" Just a touch of flirtation in the question, but playful, bird of prey flown the coop. "I don't know you from Adam."

Brotherman smiled at the reference. Lovely irony in the ear of that beholder.

"True that, sister."

sister plunked at some rusty heartstrings. "You know we ain't exactly the welcoming kind here, don't you?"

"I've been told. I don't take much to gossip."

"Knives and broken bottles ain't exactly gossip, fair man."

Fair man chuckled. Sweet Bess wondered if anything could get a rise out of him. With that thought a heartrending ache pierced palms and feet. She staggered for a moment behind her wall, kept her feet. Drew the glass of water, set it before the stranger.

"Another glass, if you please. Empty."

"Something to chase it?"

He smiled again, the sweetest fall aspens burning. A smile that could light centuries, she thought.

"Something for you," he said.

"My lucky day. I don't get many." She set the empty glass beside his.

"That's a shame. That sixteen-year-old heart was big as any full moon I've ever seen."

The words were meant as a gift, she knew it, but they pierced her side like the sharpened blade she kept behind the bar for the Saturday night ee-jits. That second babe she'd given up to the Fist of God, dark hair on olive face sleeping in death's hold from the ready, not even that pain had pierced as deep.

"Brother, I ain't never - "

"I get fuzzy feelings is all. Sometimes I'm off, more often, well, so many of us have been there."

"Your heart been to the grave already, too, brother?"

"Give it time. I ain't special. My travail's bound to come."

She had no idea what to do with all this talk, all this mirror in her face, all this sudden ache to live again. She glanced at the empty glass. "I don't see no canteen by your side there, strangerman. Snake oil, perhaps?"

"Drink up," he said.

"Mighty light, from what I can see. Can't shit a shitter. You oughta know that."

"Plenty more where that came from, girl. Drink your fill."

Crazy as it seemed, she half believed the man, half wanted to reach out and drink deep. She was damned tired of all the world she
could see: she'd long felt it was time for the blind man's reach.

"This miracle water got a name?"


Three quail fluttered in her chest. She wobbled as she reached. Tears mixed with the joy that wanted to do its dance.

Mama raised her better, but she let it slop all down her front, flashflooding creek running down the arroyo of her breasts.

Drank three, she did. Gulping through the rain of tears, she fingered the rough hand that lay on the bar.

"Like to take some home," she whispered.

"More than welcome. Got a whole truckload. But - "

Sour taste in her throat. "Oh, now we come to the scam. Samples is free, but now - "

"Easy, girl. No scam. Just one price, my sweet."

The green grass in his breath calmed her heart again.

She surprised herself with her answer: "Anything. Anything."

The stranger smiled a rainbowed sun her way, tipped an invisible hat and slid the glass across the dissolving mahogany.

"Exactly," he said, as he backed away, the rush of spring flooding all the precincts. "Exactly."


Friday, March 25, 2011

poem: your wonder begs

Crudder Movie 2 the Girl in pink
shining shimmy in the quatrains

the wetlands rolled back to the times

of plenty, asking forgiveness

granting nothing but tender mercy

Caledonia in the frozen foods

acquaintance asks for little else but

piddly lost fevers

crimes committed in the hearts

stories whispered in the toll booths

of despair, cranking our way home

this was a shadow best left

in the cold, your wonder

begs the question of sovereignty

when the voice cries

to the last tomb

you ask for blessings

crepe myrtle blossoms

migrating down the

Naugahyde chakras, a veiled

reference to the patchy fires

the seeming confessions,

the brown hands of worry

the quicksand devastation

in the cruel stains

you grant not the least

of your enemies. Pink girl

was a prescient one, she

saw the flames converge,

her talents fading

by the sides

of your messianic

glory. Tilt the cross

back homeward, bring down

the dark empires

the fallen angels

castaway intoxicants

minding the beasts

the call into morning's






Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Epistle to the Plebeians

Rototill Dillwether, he of the neo-agnostic Plebiscite Twins, left his backwater glade, the better to proselytize the ill-tuned, dubiously derived, and arrogantly sniveling Hollywood cast of thousands better known as the Juniper Circus. An aeronautic enterprise given to flights of fancy, poetic license, and - the temptation to dissemble notwithstanding - ribald arson. Documents, stately homes, regional clapboard monuments, billboards up and down the north/south busyways, apple strudel at the Cherokee Inn after a particularly conflagrationist night. Roto was badboy on the Juniper naughty list, and they on his. The predictable sparks sent most bystanders off to the alleyways or, at the very least, the drive-in out the Montel Highway. For those not of the Tony Robbins set, Stewart Granger in pithy safari garb beat hell out of the downtown fireworks.

Roto, in this latest of rampaging incarnations, had a mad Mae West crush on
Apostle Pablo, waxing and waning all "fell off my ass on the way to 'Mascus, now I'm back here to KICK some ass, I don't care who's in the way, get them Jerusalem boys out in the Gentile streets, don't give a damn if I wash my hands first." Big Mamadoo pompadour, greasing the keys of his Hammond like Solomon in a trance fired by at least half his naked troupe of globally collected harem, Roto was not a man to be dismissed lightly, you kicked him to the curb at your peril, a lesson learned the hard way - once - by Dr. Fish: PHD doctor Fish, though even that Phud was suspect, who the hell had a damned Phud in chiropody, anyway? Sassy Fish had a mouth on him, far too Babylonian elegant for old backwater Rot, a classicist in the ways of Barbary anthropology, which is to say, pirates, but little miss sassy weren't no pirate, now was he? The elegant beeswax candles might burn all night round his cushy Victorian table, but old Rot knew the rest of the story, the bonded apprentice mama, cushioning her feathers in the back rooms of half the magistrates in the Oklahoma Territories, it don't take a divining rod to find that kind of freshwater, now does it.

Round Two of the Roto-Sassy mah-jong tussle went something like this:

"Other way around, son." Typical Roto-jibe to the decked out Fish, should they ever meet in downtown Trilby's infernal noon. Infernal for Roto, mind; sublunar Fish was seldom without his midday parasol, a limb of Satan to prowling Rot if ever there was one.

"Gas it, old man." Fish, no longer a cod to be had, unschooled in the ways of deference to near-madness. Unschooled due to his own proprietary interest in the lunatic cohort. You might call them birds of a feather, but that would be damned insulting to the aviary.

Rot had his big-ass Jerusalem Bible as weapon of first choice, but Infantryman Fish was not without the bayonet blade of his incisive ferule: "You don't think I trot this bit of dandy candy out solely for your disapprobation, now do you, Old Man?" Pinned by a smart-ass Eastern-schooled chiropodist (Methodist to boot), old Rot was not long for the streets of Trilby: swamp frogs were congregation enough, given to full throaty approval on those fullmooniest of moony nights.

There may not be much in the passing plate, but it sure beat hell out of being publicly trodden underfoot.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

poems: emperor clothes

Back at the factory, we've been "extracting" poems from the gradoo of discarded books, funky tech magazines, dog fancier mags, and the like, in search of the poems that are always there. These are some of the ones I "found."


Is a revolution quite possibly unlike
Any you’ll
Within easy reach?
If you’re doing it
For the first time,
Do it right.


10 fans, or the
Dream of


Scrimp on parts, but
Kick ass
Now with
The brakes on.

[Include your city of residence]

I love the truth:
Things are looking grim.
At some point, someone will wake up.
After all,
Vulnerability isn’t just limited to the clouds.
Every single one of us
Folds as soon as possible.

[White-socked feet]

Horse steps, so its thoughts were of him.


Perched on the arm
The door across the hall was
A fax machine,
A tangle of wires,
& a boot that bobbed impatiently.
To be precise
The sadness
Was so low he couldn’t catch it.

[Ellsberg’s soup]

should be
Persons / Not a girl:
How’d you like to call me a boy?
I could see a barn—solid Quaker farm folk
Was it any wonder
Love is a muddle
Naked & plaintive
On the paper in her hand—

[Dear Prudence]

Thanks, fellow pilgrims: a chance thee loves me
A can of hash, a contented son, devotional books
Kissing Firbank on the refrigerator
Still & cool
First visit, first married,
Farming was the last thing
I had to tell you . . .


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

poem: can she tender

(Former student M2 dropped the excellent first line, I kept on riffing . . . )

I am no longer the mother of beyonce &

I miss her,

sashaying down the thunderdome,

pinstripe jeans, genetic

explosions in the plissery places,

galvanized wounds

in all the sister places I

fancy down the first base

line: i ask in the abstract,

mostly Tuesday and Thursday

schedules, fiddling for the vagrant

dimes, issuing proclamations

in feral time, ignoring

the obvious psychometrics,

the caliper ways,

divining the watery festoons

in the diamond halls:

see can she tender

refuge for the biggies,

the joneses, the vagabond

teriyakis: she were your dream

before motherhood gathered you

in its frenzy, a cobalt blue diadem,

an emerald footsie toe-slam

sephardic stream.