Sunday, May 29, 2011

poem: boutique your geisha

armenian chocolate boutique,
your geisha's showin', cher,

ample feedmill severance pay:

if you squander the wander,

you'll sit tight in the afterwhey,

all cuspidy spiders dancin

in your eggy egghead.

it's the simple that matters,

as your garage sale mentality

grows beyond Aristotelian shugga-shugga,

that damn Archies song ain't half

as bad as we all used to think

(when we wuz thinkin'),

& the old roll down Old Canton,

whether flip side or not,

whether tethered or retro,

whether solid or golden ass

shining out for all the world to see,

is a conundrum we so seldom get to meet

in these psycho killer daze of

wampum and wanderlust,

beaver cleaver tentacles

in the 7 Rivers of June

we all partied for, canvassing

the willow tribes,

jejune prophecies mis-

calculating these Five and Dime

custardmongers, fabricating

the essence dolls,

accentuating the fervent

halls of dim sum catastrophe:

apostrophize your damn name, son,

it fits the calcifying calculus

of your eternal flame.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott Heron (April 1, 1949 - May 27, 2011)

I spent a couple of hours this morning with Tia Elena on South New Braunfels Avenue, running down some ancestors at St. John's Lutheran and Hermann Sons cemeteries. These are enjoyable enough excursions, both in the search for specific gravestones and in the delight of finding names that are now plastered on street signs around the city (this morning yielded Probandt and Walzem). Sometimes, as it turns out, the search is for the absence of a stone: I spent a good bit of solo sleuthing a while back, only to discover that one of the said ancestors was actually reposing in an unmarked grave. The fact that some family members had gone to the trouble of exhuming this great-uncle from a farm outside San Marcos, just to bring him down to his unheralded repose in Tres Leches struck me as quite odd and, knowing my extended family's predilections, somehow unsurprising.

Elaine always makes for good company, what with plenty of good stories and a vibe we seemed to have grooved into ever since she took me in for a few months after a fire in an upstairs apartment destroyed my downstairs apartment on Joliet Street, all while I was away that evening celebrating my 23rd birthday. Lovely "present" to come back to. Today's search was for some Alberts and Nauscheutzes: all found, with background stories filled in as we pulled a few weeds, tossed a few stones, or sat in the shade, backs to a pair of stones, wondering why Carlos Nauschutz dropped the "e" in his name. Upon our quick visit to her parents' plot, I pulled some weeds from around her younger sister Jessie Marie's stone. Jessie Marie died at the age of three, back in 1930, and was referred to as "the little green fairy." I know for a fact that this was a reference to a series of differently-colored fairy books that were popular in my mother's and Elaine's childhood, but it was fun to needle Elaine a bit with the competing fact that "
la fée verte" (the green fairy) is also another name for absinthe, the alcoholic spirit attributed by some to have distinctively psychoactive effects.

All this by a most roundabout way of saying that, as much as I enjoy Elaine's company and her family stories, they are largely about people with whom I, despite their being family, feel virtually no connection whatsoever. This was not the feeling I had, however, when, after having dropped Elaine off at her house, I heard on KRTU that Gil Scott Heron had died yesterday at the age of 62: the very same GSH whom I had featured in a facebook post just this past Wednesday, his name popping up into my lint brain out of nowhere. As dj Joan Carroll spun two GSH tunes (both featured below), I was filled with a deep sadness and a familial sense of loss.

I'm fairly sure I was introduced to GSH during my senior year at Harvard, when I spent a fair number of evenings over at Craig and Phil's room, both of whom amply expanded my musical chops via a veritable musical appreciation course the likes of which I've only seen one other time, with friend Steph, as we (Steph and I) trolled the discs of Nick Drake, the Waterboys, Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," Al Stewart, and, of course, the mighty Van Morrison in his post-"Brown-eyed Girl" incarnations. While I had grown up faced by walls filled with a couple of thousand albums in my mother's record collection, C&P brought forth an avalanche of music that had never made it up on the childhood walls. This was the jazz course: Miles, Chick, RTF, Di Meola, Hancock, Billy Cobham, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, my first forays into the Dead, and plenty of Steely Dan to boot. As I say, I'm pretty sure that the top floor of Lowell House was where I first encountered Gil Scott-Heron.

GSH was an interesting anomaly: highly political discourse wrapped in a decidedly crooner-esque voice: a crazy - and very groovy - collision of sounds on the box. When in 1994, I made the fateful decision to sell all of my record collection in preparation for my relocation from New Orleans to Moscow, Idaho - with the delusional inner assurance that I would eventually replace all my records with their corresponding CDs - I'm sure that was the moment GSH went on out of my life, save for the occasional pop-up in recent years while surfing my new record collection, better known as YouTube.

Now just two years shy of turning 60 myself, I find 62 to be way too young for someone to be moving on; these days, I pretty much feel that "too young" is anyone under 80, and that number is nudging on up to 85 at this point. Tia Elena turns 86 this December, and she is still one young and feisty whippersnapper.

Peace to Gil Scott Heron and all the young 'uns. We (all) still plenty groovy.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

poem: banana sweet

(DiMartino for openers . . . )

my past few days have been

, tofu on the down
low, mary on the rompy

waves, strutting her

mother of god oompah loom
love ya boy,
tango alley all

tingly in the mangos

severaling the times we

passed this way, all

eva diva,


outclassin' all the competition

angling for the rain

sampling the z's,

rumbling down the mylifes

the trace be tracing all

the traces, lipstick,



eternity brothers, the sisters

outsmart the needling

rain, judgment day

gains her tether

you might as well

boogie all night

& we can use,

& we can say,

& we can bride the day

with sassymissy doseydoh,

a salamander friday

salamandering the footstools

prince of peace in

the corners, countdown's on,

sugarbaby, you might as well

check your math & join

the party, my extra credit ain't

worth the sun risin' &

I ask you, feelin' lucky?

seekin' plenty?

masqueradin' for pleasure

or just for the down &

out, my treble bells will

treble you on out down

the line, & seekers will

salivate the fine line,

regaling the left behind,



the derivations of all

pissy pompy



Saturday, May 14, 2011

poem: apogees falling

I saw two men kissing, she
saw a desert
fiery caravans of them willing,

Saharan spirits,

traumatized vocals,

knotted cords bristling lunar

throats, a vision

of your fading

across the Taos scar,

up out of Pilar,

brown haunch of Georgia's

iglesia in your rear view

mirror, sensible shame flooding

the arroyos, castaway shame:

dreams risen from

Jesuitical slide rules,

calculations of the godhead,

peregrinations of a sashay

the likes of which only

Moses may have seen,

carefully now, you

on your Hanseatic quest,

apogees falling while Impacciatore

sidles up all nappy &

sings us all to sleep,

quivering in our wretched

seasonings, on the verge

of the next verge


the next &

the next, mistle-blooms

all Tosca, the fact that

I am following

commemorates nothing more


the herald

that you missed.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

poem: the backyard cosmos

sidescraping firmament
navigating the inroads

left sizzling down your

western ways

it can't be real, the way

you size out the leftover

gams, the absent follicles,

the damsel in distress fairy

tales we tell ourselves , waiting

for the bus, waiting the quizzical

way we mention yesterday's

artesian memories

hollow out that cave down

the eastside, baby, the fishy-found

aftersweep, Mardi Gras debris

in your hair, starshine

sensibilities, brides of the candysquare

rubydolls, i ask you: been to the emerald

lately, felt the sweep upon

your skin, skedaddled

down the raspa-heavens,

the trailertrash prom

nights, Ihopping morning prayers
them be the feet

you wuz dancing? Shebop

down the aisle, sister,

cement your future selves with

the abandon you expect in

the prettyways, your tolerance

for passion still sizzles the nights

still gallavants the backyard cosmos, still

amps the ramps,

apes the homo sapes,

articulates the particulates

nano-seconding the corollaries

expounding the capillaries

sounding out the phonetic

cavalcades of the cautionary,

revolutionary, coparcenary

kisses of the second round -


Friday, May 06, 2011

poem: dairy queen on skinny

vigilante hamburguesas, now
that the moon mystery's been solved,

young striplings down the alleyways

vagabond desires, handmade

visions, big bertha rockets all

in a row, glance beyond the certainties

gather the surfing starts

ease past the belief

that abundance died in the precious

sapphires of your drowning heart,

flight past the infant dreams

the major motion picture you call your

life dustballing the finest wines,

arrogant scenery my lord god

blisters with her last cries,

april-smothered, the kissing stranger

rides once again in the split-second

glimmer of the heron's eye,

sample the tastes of the

fishy book, fishy menthol-riddled

flounder mamas

the numbers endless as the moony night

Miz Rain looks tired,

the semblance lingers

we ache for the down time, we

chase the thinnest of filigree dreams

augustinian falconian fais-do-do

I'll be your cajun

theologian, you be my

ragin' scepter-wielding

dairy queen on skinny blades

saw-busting snapdragons

of the last brigade

the tiniest of tiny tinny

rills, cascading down the ripple

bends, after the knowing kiss,

this maple grove accentuates

the p's and q's,

tuck your napkin, baby,

lips be the taste of real,

the sound of tawdry,

the blast of the annotated

bible of

the rampant heart -