Stomping My Feet on the Ground

18 Feb

it’s cold in here,
out there,
i stomp my feet
on the ground,
trying to regain
but there is no
to be had
when your
feet turn to stone,
when no longer
know how to move,
when no longer
have any steps
left to take –

it’s not about
the cold,
or the warmth,
or the lack therein,
of either –
it’s not about
really –
not any more –

we listen
to the sound of
we get used
to the sound of
gunfire off in the distance,
out past the woods,
and vast desert
the gunfire in
in buildings,
alleys and along
tree-lined avenues,
in Dallas,
in Sandy Hook,
in San Bernardino,
in Glendale, Arizona,
in Muskegon Heights –

we get used to
the gun shots,
the puppets on long
dancing and screaming,
reciting polemics
and using fifty dollar
in a ten-dollar an hour
world –

it’s a sound bite,
it’s a news flash,
it’s an abomination,
both sides,
all sides –

the rhetoric
of redundancy
keeps offending
my skin
and i stomp
my feet
on the ground,
trying to regain
trying to regain
to regain something
that feels
a little bit
accomplishment –

The Echoes of Sheep

18 Feb

sitting at the end of another bar,
in another town,
another place without form, or style,
or grace –
another time,
before now,
after then –

an old television flickers
in black and white,
all the faces change
over time,
all the echoes slowly die,
and rise,
and fade –

(hello, yes dear…it’s me again!)

i watch snakes bathed in red and blue
coil in the tall grass –
they peer toward Washington,
toward towers built on the backs
of the beaten down and destroyed,
built upon forgotten dreams of a better place,
dreams of a higher road,
a higher realm –

God and country, angels and saints;
all forgotten now,
all left behind in dumpsters behind liquor stores –

if only to be color blind,
if only to be held at arm’s length,
but this is my town,
my place,
and things are more than a little fucked up –

sorry mom, but that’s the best way to put it –

i used to be a poet,
drink in hand,
witty retort dripping from my lips,
now i push a mop and broom,
my ideals lay a little closer to home –

let the snakes keep slithering toward their Valhalla,
and i will stand ready with pitchfork in hand –

paper bag – henry

22 Jan

paper bag

i drag
my past around
in a paper bag.
a brown paper bag.
the kind of paper bag
those in the low-rent
corners of Los Angeles,
and towns of similar size,
hide bottles of cheap booze
and crushed dreams.

sometimes i sit on cement curbs
and watch airplanes fly
policemen in beaten police cars
look up
and watch

late at night
when the tv
no longer
holds any interest
i stare out the window.
across the courtyard,
on the second floor,
a lights clicks on
and a black man lights a cigarette.

there is a tree
bursting through
cracks in the asphalt,
sprinting up toward
a decadent sky.
the tree has green leaves
and thick branches.
a child stops to stare,
his lunch stuffed into
a brown paper bag.

To his Own Beloved Self The Author Dedicates These Lines – Mayakovski

22 Jan

Ponderous. The chimes of a clock.
“Render unto Caesar … render unto God…”
But where’s
someone like me to dock?
Where’11 I find a lair?

Were I
like the ocean of oceans little,
on the tiptoes of waves I’d rise,
I’d strain, a tide, to caress the moon.
Where to find someone to love
of my size,
the sky too small for her to fit in?

Were I poor
as a multimillionaire,
it’d still be tough.
What’s money for the soul? –
thief insatiable.
The gold
of all the Californias isn’t enough
for my desires’ riotous horde.

I wish I were tongue-tied,
like Dante or Petrarch,
able to fire a woman’s heart,
reduce it to ashes with verse-filled pages!
My words
and my love
form a triumphal arch:
through it, in all their splendour,
leaving no trace, will pass
the inamoratas of all the ages!

Were I
as quiet as thunder,
how I’d wail and whine!
One groan of mine
would start the world’s crumbling cloister shivering.
And if
I’d end up by roaring
with all of its power of lungs and more –
the comets, distressed, would wring their hands
and from the sky’s roof
leap in a fever.

If I were dim as the sun,
night I’d drill
with the rays of my eyes,
and also
all by my lonesome,
radiant self
build up the earth’s shriveled bosom.

On I’ll pass,
dragging my huge love behind me.
On what
feverish night, deliria-ridden,
by what Goliaths was I begot –
I, so big
and by no one needed?

V. Mayakovski, 1916

unapologetic in meaning

29 Dec

unapologetic in meaning

what does it mean,
she asks
and i smile and laugh
and leave the stage without uttering
another word –

it is saturday or thursday
or the day before next,
stuck in a time between
the movement of a broken
second hand –

what does it mean,
she asks
standing next to me
in the back of a room
next to a wall covered
in faded posters
and notices and
8×10 announcements  –

it is a place,
a building,
a church or a store or something
more ambitious,
something unknown or unknowing,
a bar – perhaps,
where drinks are free
at least for the moment –

what does it mean,
she asks
sitting next to me
on the step of a brownstone,
just before midnight,
in a town by a river,
across a valley
yet very far from
an ocean (vast)
filled with silver fish
and drowning whales,
warming under the glare
of a sun suddenly at war –

i turn to her
as if to speak
as if to say something
something truthful,
something less than a lie,
but my tongue does not move,
my ears fill with sand,
trees bend under the weight of a sudden wind
dogs bark at ghosts and black widows
and i almost stand
as if to leave
but the weight of it all
turns me to stone & i
fall slowly
to the floor –

poem: an otherwise peaceful gravel road

29 Dec
another dry hot day
               here in the desert
a ribbon of black slithers across the vast
                flat basin
coils of heat rise
                waves of life
fingers of hands raised to heavens blind eye
we sit quiet in shade built by man
a clutch of old abandoned buildings
clustered around a railway station
                no train comes
                or goes
                no settlers arrive or disembark
                no cowboys and Indians at play

a fat black crow sits atop a railing
                covered in thick veins of rust
he cries at me
caw, caw, he says
caw, caw indeed
at nightfall the sun will vanish
yet temperatures will remain high
a dry thick heat
                maddening in its way
wraps across the skin of man and woman
a body drops at the crack of a gunshot
i drag a lifeless form to a grave carved
                from yearning flesh of Mother earth
a  steel blade from a shovel scraps against dust

ashes to ashes, we all fall down

morning begins to glow in an Eastern sky
children sing and dance in faraway towns
mothers lay down with strangers
a car disturbs an otherwise peaceful gravel road

stupid simple mind

14 Dec
there's a buzzing in my head
tiny words
small words
words causing trouble and confusion
and violent revolution

there are words in my head
i keep hearing
this ringing
words bouncing
telling stories and lies
and painting pictures i'd rather not see

dancing and displaying
the quintessence of life
and laughter
and love ever ending
amen and good-night
here comes the thunder
here comes the nightmare
elephants chase down cobblestone
tap shoes clicking and clacking
and clacking and clicking

and these miserable words
fragments of institutional abominations
i am nothing
but a sentence
a comment
a thumbs-up
or like

you have mail!

yeah i remember
yeah i'm not so old
yeah i have memories
and reflections
migratory birds pass overhead
ants continue to march up hills in single file

and this
interminable echoes shatter
(my brains been splattered)

i can't turn down the noise
i can't face down the fear
i can't complete

and you...
yeah you
look at me
click clack
elephants, elephants
at ...CLICK
and i can bear the gaze
of those who dream of walled fortresses
and convicts
and exclusionary politics
kill the elephant
kill the donkey
kill the last great white warrior standing on a hill

i keep my guns handy
because sometimes words
tiny tiny
are too much
for your stupid simple mind

poem: in this Starbucks

29 Mar

there is too much noise
in this Starbucks
too many voices screeching
in this Starbucks
too much sameness
in this Starbucks
same drab jazz bullshit symphonies

in this Starbucks
there is a long line
in this Starbucks
people cut from similar cloth
in this Starbucks
they queue without question
in this Starbucks
buy the same items each time

in this Starbucks
i use the free Internet
in this Starbucks
cruise for willing partners
in this Starbucks
download hardcore porn
in this Starbucks
write poetry about nothing

in this Starbucks
a girlfriend once worked
in this Starbucks
she’d blow me on breaks
in this Starbucks
we’d fuck after closing
in this Starbucks
she left me for another

in this Starbucks
my world comes and goes
in this Starbucks
i make change for the bus
in this Starbucks
homeless people piss
in this Starbucks
drug deals occur daily

in this Starbucks
sometimes i work
in this Starbucks
make false comments
in this Starbucks
pretend to be someone else
in this Starbucks
realize my life is beige on beige

in this Starbucks
a man greets me
in this Starbucks
speaks incoherently perfect
in this Starbucks
screams about the meaningless of life
in this Starbucks
finally buys a Venti Mocha Frappe
in this Starbucks


righthand angle of a continuous curve

22 Jan

righthand angle of a continuous curve


blunt trauma press –

20 Jan

righthand angle of a continuous curve

Somewhere in California Jack Henry sits on a bar stool waiting with the patience of monuments, it’s not necessary to know what or who he’s waiting for – that’s his damned business. Jack Henry writes with the passion of an addict about to inhale and the insight of a loner out on a desert highway looking for a ride. In ‘The Right Hand Angle of a Continuous Curve’ Jack Henry continues to seek solace in the memory of the women he never really knew, didn’t really want to know, and a few he knew too damn well. Jack has no qualms about drinking alone, accepting rides from strangers or sleeping in unmade beds. Sometimes it’s easier to just not give a shit. Sometimes it’s easier to stand out on the highway alone . . . sometimes you find a piece of writing with the urgency of a lover about to fuck, and sometimes you get fucked. On the continuous curve Jack Henry’s driving, there are no emergency exits – buckle up.

available at some point in 2012…

prose: maid’s day off

16 Jan

Maid’s Day Off

Mary lived at the end of the hall. The only chance I had to speak with was the night she shot her husband with a .357.
Continue reading

prose: temporary vice

27 Dec

Sara shook my hand with a firm grip and apologized for a cold hand.

“Well, it is 20 degrees out?”

“Is it? Really?” She seemed genuinely surprised or faked it well.
Continue reading

poem: the shallow graves of those left behind…for the 99%

24 Oct

the shallow graves of those left behind
police wander around
wait for instruction from a man in high tower,
a tower covered in ivy and privilege
and a spoon of silver still resting on a lapdog’s tongue –
Continue reading

poem: east of where i stand

7 Oct

my brain fills
with scattershot landscapes,
tumble weeds blow dead
across long flat rivers of black asphalt,
trees and shrubs bend from a ceaseless wind,
dust carves veins atop dry clay river bottoms –
Continue reading

poem: lost in a myth of my own creation

7 Oct

there’s a scar on her back
and I wonder
is that where the magic starts?
Continue reading

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