Thursday, May 28, 2009


cant write anything
cant be with you
just a moment of weakness
not supposing anything

cant sleep
long night
bad dreams
bad dreams

how pathetic

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bar is in a Good Place

The bar is in a good place, on a quiet cobblestone street where there isn't much traffic and a funeral home across the street. There's also a hotel overhead, in the same building. You'd be surprised how many people attend a funeral, and then walk slowly to the bar to get drunk. The funeral home is definitely great for business, there's no shortage of stiffs out there, or people about to become a corpse. And the hotel also helps, of course, lots of traveling salespeople come down in their shirtsleeves and they trade business war stories and future plans. The business war stories and future plans all sound the same, all over the country, in every pub attached to a hotel next to a funeral home. Sometimes I almost interject, and tell the talkers this, but I hold back. Meanwhile, the mourners circulate between various tables where folks are dressed in somber colors, the tables loaded with baskets of popcorn, beers, and deep fried fish. They're laughing, or smiling, eventually, getting into high spirits all the while there's a body they know, a few hundred feet away, in a box.

Poor Phil's
Oak Park, IL

He Loves You So Much

He loves you so much, he orders another drink as the bar cheers the basketball game.

Another girl hangs on his every word, one seat over.

Am I running out of paper? Good! Most lines are deadly excuses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

At the Bar

At the bar, I remember you from your glasses that remind me of how dissatisfied García López de Cárdenas was when he was bamboozled by Hopi Indian guides who tried to kill him and his expedition by taking them overland in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold, but instead they found the Grand Canyon.

~ or ~

At the bar, I remember, you, from your glasses, that remind me, of how dissatisfied García López de Cárdenas, was, when he was bamboozled, by, Hopi Indian guides, who tried, to kill him, and his expedition, by taking them, overland, in search, of, the fabled Seven Cities, of Gold, but instead, they found, the Grand Canyon.

Walking Around

Kicked out of the house, I walk around as if in a dream. I feel like a sleepwalker. Nothing seems real. Then, like a far away radio transmission, I can hear two voices talking.

"One raindrop is worth 50,000 chairs. Red chairs, to be exact."

"Really? I didn't know a raindrop was that valuable, red chairs or not. How do you know this?"

"Oh -- it's been tested. We don't need to go on about that."

The transmission fades out a bit, as I walk slowly past a upstanding looking two story house with wide tan shingles on it. The house has a faded American flag on a faded American flag pole, by the front door.

"How much would a drop of rain go for in Geese?"

"About 24 Geese to a raindrop."

"Wow. I had no idea that Geese were so expensive!"

"Well, you know, the Geese to raindrop ratio has skyrocketed on the exchange. It can't be helped."

I pass a park, and under the trees some kids are throwing a ball, but I can't figure out what the game is. It doesn't look like any kind of game - just repetitive throwing of the ball back and forth, with a considerable amount of laughter for no apparent reason. It reminds me the time I was living in the Mission District, and I watched this kid play with an old shoe by throwing the shoe straight up in the air, and watching it fall.

"How many battleships to a raindrop?"

"Oh, I wouldn't know."

"Why not?"

"You really don't trade battleships for raindrops. It simply isn't done!"

I wait for a long time to try and cross the street. I wait and I wait, I get sweaty just standing there in the sun, listening to the cars, seeing when it might be safe to cross. For awhile, it seems this time will never arrive -- I'll always be on the wrong side of the street, never ever be able to make it back to my apartment, a block and a half away, on the left.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Less Words

I think every serious writer gets to the point, where they start using fewer words. I mean, when you start writing, you try out all kinds of wonderful words, in all kinds of wonderful combinations, like a kid on a swing set. You play in the playground of words. Then if you write enough, you realize that you don't have to use so many words...I mean, you can, but what's the point? Sometimes, not describing is fortunate -- being overly precise is a bummer for the reader.

Writing itself is amazing! I create out of literally no substance, from these symbols, a thread that is followed, leading to who-knows-where? I may aim to create one thing, out of nothing, but it changes for the reader. Amazing! Why add more words, beyond getting the engine of imagination & possibility running?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Speakers Hum

The speakers hum, they have nothing to play, no music, so they hum quietly. You almost can't hear them. I read Richard Brautigan, work a bit, let the speakers hum. I wish I was enjoying reading more, the stories are good. But I'm kinda tired of all this shit.

The day is fine, all the trees and bushes are bursting with new green leaves. The sunshine is amazing, air so soft you want to cry. Even a car or two on the road, passing, sound like the music of the spheres. We've arrived at a point in time where nothing can be ugly, every trivial thing has the potential to be beguiling. And so everything is, but I'm bored.

I think the speakers humming symbolize a deep subconscious psychological truth. But as to what it is, I don't wanna know. I should unplug the fucking speakers, but I don't.

The Factory of Love

They have a Factory of Love there, the family that lives downstairs, and I suppose that is one effective way of doing it. Things run like clockwork, down to the minute. Cheeks kissed, meals made, naps taken -- outings into the yard, the park, the playground, the zoo. Once a week off to the Supermarket, then to the second hand store. Mom and Dad's happiness is a bit weary, but genuine, I never hear them quarrel. Running and jumping the length of the flat commences promptly at 6.30 AM, with some laughing, yelling, and crying. The kids beat each other up the right amount in their naive bright-eyed way. Engines in the mind turn -- things start up, settle down, and start up again like shifts coming and going...night comes, and the Factory of Love is glowing. It all winds down by about 7.30 PM when the kids are in bed and Mom and Dad watch a bit of TV in the living room with the shades drawn. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

News - Opium 8 .print is Out!

Today is quite the day for news! I'm happy to report Opium 8 .print is out. I'm even happier to report it has some of my cartoons in it. Here are some reviews, over at Word Riot. Steven Heller mentions Opium 8 in his blog. More about Steven Heller, here. Everybody seems to be liking it, probably the most mind-blowing, enjoyable Opium so far -- and the earlier ones were damn fine. It just keeps getting better, and better. Go get a copy, today!

News - CM Evans Poems & Illustrations in Beatitude (1959 - 2009) Golden Anniversary issue

Latif Harris and Neeli Cherkovski have co-edited the Golden Anniversary Edition of Beatitude Magazine. This magazine has appeared on and off again in San Francisco since 1959, when Bob Kaufman, Allen Ginsberg, John Kelley, and William Margolis founded it, and the publication helped launch the careers of many aspiring poets.

The latest issue, running about 500 pages, includes poems from the Beat's and from newer sources -- even some of my poetry and a few of my drawings, I am told. Originally they wanted to go to press in January 2008, but there was some delays, so now it is supposed to go to press soon. It may be published through, or with the assistance, of City Lights Books.

I've got my fingers crossed that we get to have at least one run. I'd feel chipper to see my work with some of those towering Beat poets and writers -- you know, with my stuff smaller and off to the side. We'll see.

i clean up messes

i clean up messes
i can't help myself

if it is really fucking gross
i have to do something about it

even if it is moderately messy
i have to tuck the corners in

and ironically i am not a "neat freak"
my own apartment is a mess

but it is my mess while i
clean up for others

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Plumbing Menace

I'm the kind of person, when I have a plumbing problem, it usually is a serious one involving lots of water. My first disaster was when I was just out of college, at my parents house. One Saturday morning I get up, and take a shower. When I go to turn off the hot water, I notice when the valve is almost closed, it gives a bit -- the nob feels spongy. So to make extra sure the hot water is off, I twist it so it will be tight. When I do this, the hot water nob gives away and comes out of the wall. Suddenly a torrent of hot water is firing out, drenching the room. I yell and run naked out of the bathroom, down the hall, into the living room. "WATER!!" I scream, and my dad leaps out of the armchair where he was quietly reading, newspapers going in all directions. That is one image that will be with me the rest of my life, how he pelted from the chair as if the cushions were spring loaded. He runs over his sports page and out the front door to the water valve and shuts the water off. Turns out my mom and dad knew the hot water valve was "giving" a bit, but they didn't think it was a big deal. Then I came along.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

4 AM

I woke up at 4 AM , and I was trying to rectify Christianity (and other "major" wold religions) with Buddhism. I do this from time to time, it is my hobby. I was reading some far out mystical Christian thinking from the 2nd century B.C., when I realized that I do not need to qualify anything, against any system of spirituality. There is no contrasting -- all mystical, spiritual thought -- if authentic, is driving to the same place. To try and align them, relative to one another, is stupidity.

In fact, I think it deludes us, this discursive investigating...this faith VS this one. You have found your "vantage" point...but in actuality, you have marooned yourself on an island. From your isolation, you think -- how does this relate from other? How is A from P, different? How can these systems be seen as the same?

Systems don't need to mingle. They're all the same, in the deep core. They all ultimately reflect the endlessly giving, inexhaustible fecundity of the Universe. All authentic traditions speak to the intrinsic blissful limitlessness of externally appearing phenominon. You don't need to try and create a pie-chart or a waterfall diagram, in fact, this only makes things more confusing. Give up on labels, and wrestling with them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Try Going For

Try going for _________ when you're done asking for help from the outside.

A. Taoism
B. Zen
C. Baseball
D. Buddhism
E. __________________
F. All of the Above
G. Not Insisting on Anything

Sewage Minutia

Rain, and a 6 foot long, 5 foot deep trench with 6 feet of new 6 inch sewer line. The 80 year old clay 6 inch pipes were crushed or inundated by roots -- almost completely obstructed. More rain. The Village of Oak Park says they'll inspect on Monday, so the trench has to stay open, with some plywood on top. For some reason, the excavator has to stay here too, on the lawn. On the other side of the lawn, a mound of earth 5 foot high, glistening in the rain. The neighbors next door had to replace their whole sewer line -- about 15 feet, going down, by the foundation of the house more than 10 feet -- I don't know, cost them $10,000.00, probably more. Getting this fixed for 3,800.00 is quite a nice deal -- the original clay pipes are good out of the house to about 15 feet. Routing the mess originally, the plumber found rags, wire, wood, roots, hair, sanitary napkins, mud, and all kinds of dense built-up filth. What about wire? The plumber laughed. Probably a string of fake pearls, lost a long time ago.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Here One Day, Gone the Next

There was a big tree -- it was to one side of the front of my house, growing in the grass median the Village of Oak Park owns. At about 1.15 PM a tree trimming truck and a chipped rolls up, and without ado, the crew cuts the tree down in about 25 minutes. Here one day, gone the next.

But What About You?

You want to insult me, so you say I'm from "white trash". I was sired from a family of "hillbillies". La! Couldn't be further from the truth. I'm from a white, middle-class, northern Californian city. I have a fairly liberal education, in the humanities. My mother's side of the family is German, Bavarians who immigrated to St. Louis. My father's side of the family are Welsh, coming from Wales, to Ireland, and then to Canada. With this in mind, you could say I'm a "no-good sheep shagger" -- that is the typical cliche insult to the Welsh ancestry. With the Bravarian -- you could call me a "Kraut" or even a "Papist".

Recent history, most of my mother's family worked for Anheuser Bush. So you could look down your nose at "blue collar workers". Most of my father's relatives were farmers, housepainters, and innkeepers. But it would be a stretch to call me a "hick" -- nobody on father's side of the family has farmed in about 100 years. My father's father actually got an engineering degree from Cornell University. I imagine you could say nasty things about being from people who lived in Pittsburgh, or Indiana. You could try to mock me as coming from people who lived in the Midwest.

But what about you? I think you're so close to being a bigot and a racist, an unapologetic bigot and racist -- it is exteremly ironic with your own family background, and the bigotry and racism they had to put up with. You should be ashamed of yourself. I've heard your comments on Mexicans, Poles, and Chinese people. I didn't take them seriously, how could someone like you actually be a bigot and a racist? The rest of your family never talks this way.

I guess if you're angry enough at someone, making racist statements and bigoted comments is acceptable -- for you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

he "broadened" his mind

he "broadened" his mind
and ego lived there
like a southern planter
with many slaves

it rains

it rains

i see one
little bird
in the sky

going up
going down

reminds me of
surfing and it
looks fun

Oak Park

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thinking About Alice in the Sun

You're home. It's amazing you're home. It's also amazing that you don't feel safe. It certainly is funny, that feeling of not being quite safe. You felt safer when everybody around you had rifles, pistols, grenades, and mounted .50 caliber machine guns. You felt safe, because everyone thought the same way, and could react quickly if there was an attack. And there were places to dive into if a round fell close. Things were so fucking absolutely fucking fucking crazy, it all started to make fucking sense. And then, one day, you were home. Sitting quietly on the edge of the bed. Hello, new ugly me.

When you go out, you feel better with that small pistol in your right hand pocket. It is a stupid little pistol, not much for defense, but it takes the edge off -- you don't feel absolutely naked. You have a handy dandy knife too, hidden, but ready to rock. But you're home, and nobody thinks to bother you much. You know you bother yourself. Your mother will never know you almost killed her the other morning, when she was doing the laundry, and accidentally bumped the door. It wasn't you mother then, it was the last roadside ambush you were in, but you caught yourself. You closed your eyes, ready for that first huge motherfucking "THUNK" when the roadside bomb was triggered. Rather than putting a knife into mommy, you silently butcher half of your mattress. Not that bad, the fucking thing is old & you flip it over and nobody knows about the big ragged holes you made.

You go see Alice, she still looks like a cheerleader for all those years back, when you were kids. Alice makes iced tea in the afternoon and talks about things and you listen, and for some reason her words are very soothing. Alice knows what to talk about, and what not to ask you about. She understands, she's traced the star shaped scars on your upper arm, chest, and neck. When Alice did that, you braced yourself, you wanted to cry, but you didn't turn away and you didn't stop her. You and Alice go down to the park, look at the water, see a kiddie flick with all the mommys and babies excited to be in the dark watching a big glowing screen full of sounds and colors. Alice lightly holds your hand, her fingers caressing the pads of your fingers. You find yourself feeling normal, thinking only about how Alice looks in the sun. Tall, blond, beautiful.

In the movie, despite everything, you realize it all might turn out okay in the end.

Monday, May 11, 2009

let's be brutally honest/ for once

let's be brutally honest
for once

you didn't try that hard
you never did

you relied on me
for the cutting

the pushing loading

all the heavy lifting
and pointless tasks

take this do that
go here go there

you got used to me
and soon you wanted more

more and more and more
and more and more

and more and more and
even that wasn't enough

more lifting more tasks
all of it never enough

ultimately unsatisfying
offensive to you

the things we do
the games we play

buried in self hatred
and denial

we lost you

we lost you
asked you to do things
we wouldn't do ourselves
killing people
blowing things up

we lost you
i see it in your face
still so young but used up
wrung out
expended for whatever

we lost you
we can't get you back
sent you far far away and forgot
what it takes
if you ever came home

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thank You

"I'm getting into the habit of saying "Thank you" to everything that happens to me."

"Thank you!" says Chung Tzu.


Potshot Sez:

Lucky dog!
Old shoe!
Pile of shit!
Cold water!

The Family Below Me

It is strange to live alone, in a flat, over a relatively normal family. I can hear them. The kids start running around after 6.30 AM, every day. The boy, older, is the fastest -- his sister tries to keep up, but he's always faster. I hear them bumping up and down, up and down. Laughter, some crying. More laughter.

It might be that way all their lives, who knows? The mom and the dad laugh, someone strums a guitar in the living room on Saturday mornings. I've never heard dishes breaking, violent words screamed at the top of someone's lungs. Never felt the house shake when two bodies are locked in combat -- no pushing, shoving, threats.

I know things aren't perfect, the littlest one has a rough night every week. The boy walks around the yard smiling brightly, but his fists are tightly clenched if you touch any of his secondhand toys. The toys are his. His little sister mimics his territorial urge. But she can't do it convincingly, she's still too small, too young. It makes her confused.

Oh functioning, loving family. How will you change? What will happen next? Jobs lost, jobs got, promotions, school projects, some arguments, a sprinkle of girlfriends and later boyfriends that will shoot through, abide, then most will be gone. On to the next thing, then the next thing, college, leaving home. Starting your own relatively normal, loving families. In one or the other, there might be a guitar that is strummed on a Saturday morning, singing like you always did.

traveling alone/ west

the face
it smiled

the pen
it wrote

the food
was eaten




the pen
kept writing


the face
stopped smiling


hotel rooms

long nights





traveling alone

Friday, May 08, 2009

Try Being Angry

"What are you doing?" asks Chung Tzu.

"I'm being happy." I say, angry.

"Oh well. Try being angry, then."

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Welcome to Odd Day!

So what is the date today? 5/7/09. Whats so odd about that? Well, the interesting thing about 5/7/09, is that every number in today's date is an odd one. This combination of all odd numbers in a given date happens only 6 times, any century. Ron Gordon explains it all, in a funny way. He really likes these Odd Days.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Good, the New....

"The good, the new, comes from exactly that quarter whence it is not looked for, and is always something different from what is expected. Everything new is received with contempt, for it begins in obscurity. It becomes a power unobserved."

-- Feuerbach

compiled by Maturin M. Ballou

Monday, May 04, 2009

Unknown Bear Story

One of the best bear stories I've ever heard was told by -- I think a co-worker? Gosh, this bothers me...who told it?

Anyways, when she was in her early 20s, she'd go camping from time to time, to get away from the routine, and have fun. On one trip, amongst her friends were two guys who were bothering her a bit, so when it came time to go to sleep, she took her sleeping bag away from the fire, a good ways, so they wouldn't bother her.

In the middle of the night, she woke up for some reason. And then she realized WHY SHE HAD BECOME AWAKE. There was a huge grizzly bear standing over her, in the almost pitch blackness.

"I would have run, I would have screamed," she said. "But for some reason, I was completely paralyzed. I was so scared, I couldn't even breath."

And what did the bear do?

He sniffed her, from her feet to her hair -- she could feel the bear's breath through the sleeping bag, because the bear was poking his snout into the fabric -- going SNUF SNUF SNUUUF SNUUUF SNUF SNUF!!! SNUF SNUF SNUUUF SNUUFFF!

Then the bear left.

The next morning, she never went camping again.


No! Now I remember -- it was a dear friend of mine from Pema Osel Ling. Here's to you, N.

Just to Have Someone Around, Other than Me

A large fly gets into the flat, black, buzzing. It goes all over the place, trying to get out.

I live with the fly for 24 hours, watching it wander around, banging into windows and drapes, landing on things. As it searches for a way out, I work, I type, I do laundry.

I'm interested in the fly, and annoyed that it is in the apartment. At about 11 PM, we're both tired, so I turn off the lights. The fly sleeps. I sleep.

Next day, the fly wakes up at about 6 AM and starts aimlessly trying to get out of the flat. After a few hours, it sits next to me. I pity the fly, I capture it and let it go.

Going back up the stairs, with a plastic cup in one hand, towel in the other, I think: I'm so lonely, I kept a fly in my place for an afternoon, night, and morning. Just to have someone around, other than me.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fatherly Advice

(all of this
pushing you away)

but what can i do
for fatherly advice

i go to my best friend's

i need you
but you won't show up

pushing pushing
who is pushing who away

i did this but
you encouraged me

(a non-valid excuse
i know

but screw you)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Prove to Me You Are CRAZY

Prove to me you are CRAZY. That is, actually start a debate with me, that torture is ever acceptable. And please, don't start with the threadbare "ticking time-bomb" cliche. And don't tell me about TV shows where torture works, like 24.

If you are pro-torture, then:

- It is OK to wrap a towel around someone's neck, and repeatedly slam them against a cement wall. Better to put up plywood, so you don't kill them.

- It is OK to strap a person to a board and near-drown someone, 6 times a day, for a month straight.

- It is certainly OK to say you will kill a person's whole family, or torture them, including small children, if you don't get the information you want.

And the sad thing is, the methods described above were used by countries like China and North Korea, to elicit FALSE confessions, for propaganda purposes. And for revenge.

Make no mistake about this! To torture, or not to torture -- here is a place where there is no moral or ethical ambiguity on the subject. You are either against it, or for it.

If you are for it, then I am sure you wait with great anticipation for torture to come to a police station, or prison, near you, very soon. And if pro, probably you fantasize that you will be one of the torturers.

Saving the world, one broken body after another! I pity you.

Chung Tzu - A Harmless Little Error!

Chung Tzu is here.

"How are you, brother?" he asks me.

"Angry. Scared. Frustrated."

"How so?"

"I don't know what will happen next. I'm afraid of losing everything, but I know I will, anyways."

"Well, that's not a bad thing." says Chung Tzu.

"How so?" I ask.

"There's no way of knowing what will happen next...and everything is already lost, because it was never to be found!"

"And the feeling of holding onto anything?"

Chung Tzu pats me gently on the shoulder. "Brother, it is not to be done. Not to be done. A harmless little error!"

Lao Tzu Says:

Now listen to me son!
Chung Tzu is giving you
some good advice!
With your feet on the ground
when the wind blows
you can bend, or go here,
or there, or anywhere!