Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Poetry Makes Me Coffee

Poetry -- who uncannily looks like a friend of mine who lives in San Jose, comes in.

"You're writing terrible poetry." says Poetry.

"Yes, I do." I say.

"Are you doing this on purpose?" asks Poetry.

"I don't know." I lie.

"Hmmm." she says. Poetry looks around the kitchen. "Would you like some coffee?"

"That would be very nice."

"Ok." says Poetry. She gets up and starts making us coffee. "You should cheer up."

"I don't feel depressed."

Poetry looks at me with her beautiful hazel eyes. "You should cheer up."

We have coffee and she tells me about how other poets were cheered up, throughout history. I'd like to make love to Poetry, when I'm in a better mood, but her phone rings musically and she has to go -- there are many writers who need her more than I. On her way out, she kisses me on the cheek.

Poem - Bar

lies as precious as rhinestone
cast over the floor of the bar
sown night gap after night
the door opens and all look
without turning your head
through red eyes
how are ya paul frank joe
don't ask

the police have come
girlfriend is banging aurora

Poem - To the Place

you go to the old place
situated in a lonely valley

not a lamb to the slaughter
nor fools gold rambling

if you go look for the drunk
who slept in the barn he is gone

he left incidentals
rotted with bird droppings

he could be in needles
he could be in a library

he could be crossing a stream
not wet at all this time

or laughing medicated
stoned high arrested shot stabbed

burned lost forgotten to all
except to your own eyes

that now see above tree branches
in the form of a mute 'X'

*

you feel an apple
in your barn jacket

you take it out and eat it

----

Bennett Valley

Poem - days a steady rain/ no hiding from it

days a steady rain
no hiding from it

sky the color
of dull aluminum

each fence post
ink black

straw nods down
sleeping on wet earth

scrub oak dark
on mountain

---

Winter Solstice
North County, San Diego

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ching Tzu Says "Ah!"

Chung Tzu comes in, through the sliding glass door all rainy. It has been raining for about 36 hours, uncommon here.

"What did you want to tell me?" he asks.

"I don't remember." I admit, drinking cold coffee.

"Ah!" he says.

"But it was something good." I remind him.

"Ah!" he says.

"You'd have liked about half of it, I think." I assure him.

"AH!" he says.

"I--"

"AH!!!" Chung Tzu yells.

"But --"

"AHHH!" Chung Tzu exclaims, and he goes out the back door, with his robes a-swinging.

Into the rain.

Poem - last night interview dream

last night interview dream
job title: running the sun

not too hot
nor too cold

raise it lower it
i had no related experience

spoke movingly
about growing green things

down here
on earth they listened

called me later

i got the job

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poem - boring as hell you & me

now we are friended
online

what amazing possibilities
lost now found

boring as hell you & me
it turns out

Monday, December 13, 2010

Poem - like a light in this place

from the bar last call

walking home in the lions den
of 3 am sunday morning

saturday night whim
exhausted

promises decayed
failure or dark irony

then i see two lovers
just sitting holding hands

like a light in this place

-----

Lower Haight Street
San Francisco

Poem - Doings of a Serious Crow

i

serious crow

on a lamp post

haight & baker

accepting the music

of buskers

ii

serious crow

flies to the panhandle

and a pretty girl

gives him sandwich

just a pinch from

her pretty fingers

o lovely girl

iii

serious crow

to a funeral watching

out of one black eye

a white coffin

rock up the steps

of a white church

the body bumping

softly so you can't

almost hear it

iv

crow back

to lamp post

at haight & baker

buskers gone

stale food and a ticket

and a magazine

w/ cigarette butt

caw caw caw

says crow to

muscular fog

and crows black eye

sees me

Friday, December 10, 2010

Poem - Clayton Street

pearl gray morning

i walk on clayton street

i know the cars the sidewalk

i know every shining window

i am the path of the mind

now going up over rooftops

from city to mysterious sky

into unknowable air a bell tolls 12

back to earth i hear

two students talk about girls

and smell the toke

a cab cuts through residing thought

an electric bus passes

a motorcycle goes

the postman is at the gate

----

For Evan and Fonta
12/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poem - The Mountain

no mountain climbing is worth it
unless your heart breaks halfway for how big the mountain is
and there is no confession to ease it
simply is

night falls and you feel lost
you can't go back
you must wait for the dawn
to see where you are

it isn't worth it unless you pray then
and there is no comfort because
you see how small you are to
mountain

fate flickers like a candle
you reach for faith like a sane person
feels for light or a rope
or a map

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Poem - Morning

thanksgiving day

my words have failed me
thank god for the failure of words

i'm sun
i'm the pool cleaner mechanically going about
through a dreamy shadow
under water

then of this reveille
a bird cuts through the air

black phoebe to the best place
in the backyard

----

november 25
escondido

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poem - Venus Rises Over The House

venus rises over the house
suddenly everything holding onto
i let go of
as naturally as a sigh

i feel less weaponized
and how thru a whole bust life
i honed
my edges

day makes it seem
i never thought these things

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Joe Stalin Helps Me with the Crossword Puzzle

It is a sunny, pleasant morning in Newport Beach. Joseph Stalin and I are drinking coffee on the patio, and we are reading different parts of the newspaper.

"The Pope!" says Joe Stalin. "How many divisions does he have?"

"He doesn't need any divisions." I reply. "He's the Pope."

"I've KILLED men who dared to even THINK about speaking to me that way!" says Joe Stalin.

"What way?"

"The way you are talking to me right now!"

"But you asked me a question!"

"There you go again!" yells Joesph. "I don't want the TALKING after I talk -- I was making a STATEMENT."

"OK." I say, and I start the crossword puzzle.

After a few minutes of silence, Joesph Stalin throws down the want-ads.

"We'll hang all the capitalists with a rope -- and they'll sell it to us!" he proclaims. He sticks his thumbs into his belt loops and looks at me.

I keep working on the crossword puzzle, it is very hard and frustrating. And I wonder inwardly, what does J.S. mean? What does the rope represent? Why a rope? How much rope? When would this hanging take place? What does the hanging, or 'hanging' signify -- literally or figuratively, or metaphorically? etc. etc.

"Well!?!" says Joe Stalin.

"I'm sorry, you told me to not interrupt." I reply. "But now that you asked, what is a 7 letter word that starts with an 'A' for the clue 'Alike: Twin'?"

Stalin thinks. "Hmmm. Try 'Achiral'."

I try it. "No."

"Acmatic?"

"No."

"Adenoma."

"Now you're guessing."

Stalin throws all the papers into the air and I hear them cascading down the side of the balcony. "ALL THE TALKING MUST STOP!"

*

About a hour later Pope Pius XI comes by, after playing golf at Pelican Hill. He's in a good mood, tan, serene, he mentions he shot an 83.

I think Joe is going to go at him for the pope thing, and I wait for it, pretending not to be hoping, but Pius and Joesph talk about baseball, and the Giants.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Chung Tzu Has Had Enough of Me

Now, at mid-morning, I am doing things. Chung Tzu is here, and I am trying to ignore him.

Bread needs to be sliced. I cut the bread with a knife.

"Oh!" says Chung Tzu. So I cut harder.

A mirror needs to be hung. I get a screwdriver and I drive the screws into the wall.

"My." murmurs Chung Tzu. So I drive the screws harder.

A cabinet should be repaired. I get out the hammer and some small shiny nails. I hammer away.

Chung Tzu has had enough of me. "Tisk-Tisk!"

"And what?"

"I've seen what you're up to --you use all your tools the wrong way tools should be used! You use a knife like it is a knife, a screwdriver like a screwdriver, and gracious! A hammer like a hammer!"

"And how should I use a tool like a tool?" I ask irritably.

"Well, right now, I certainly can't tell you. But I do know you're hurting them all. Possibly you should just stop what you are doing."

Chung Tzu leaves.

It is quiet when he is gone, very still. My feeling are hurt. I look at the knife, the screwdriver, and the hammer. I arrange them on the table, and I reflect on what I was doing.

"I'm sorry if I have been hurting you." I say to the knife, the screwdriver, and the hammer.

I decide not to cut, drive screws, or hammer for awhile.

*

When it is getting dark, Chung Tzu comes back. He sees the tools on the table.

"I'm sorry." I say, and I look down at my hands. "I see I don't know how to use tools right."

Chung Tzu smiles, and gives me a bear hug. "Ok, Brother. There, there."

The first star of the night rises.

-----

Dedicated to David Given Schwarm

Chung Tzu Fishing - Me Thinking

After the sun rises, I'm walking on the trail that loops around Back Bay. Around a steep bend in the track, I see Chung Tzu with a length of string and an old piece of wood. He has part of the string wrapped around the wood in the middle, but I don't think that he would ever catch anything -- it is comical, there is no hook.

"Good morning!" I say.

"Good morning!" says Chung Tzu.

"Going to go Fishing? I don't see you catching much with that!"

"Going to go Thinking? I'm sure you won't catch much your way, either!"

We both smile.

We both look at the vast expanse of Back Bay in the morning, and the wind comes up.

----

For Camilla

Friday, October 29, 2010

Building the Tower

morning sun shows
sugar under my fingernails
from making ice-coffee

dr seuss hypnotizing
the kid with songs & all kinds
of happy messages

well, how did we do? great!

if you want to build a tall tower

that stands in place, be sure to build it
in one solid place!

-----

October 29

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lao Tzu and Every Leaf in the Forest

Lao Tzu and I are sitting. We are sitting on a rock.

"I want to help others, but I am never sure when I am interfering, rather than helping." I say.

"Every leaf in the forest does not know it's name." says Lao Tzu. "But they all fall."

I watch the wind blow and I see the trees slowly shake. I want to believe each leaf that falls free and twirls in the air, decides to let go.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Poem - this morning tigger becomes a genie

this morning tigger becomes a genie
and has the magic to solve everything
but tigger discovers that the power of wishing
isn't everything without love

all of this wisdom
contained in a tv cartoon
on an ordinary monday morning
before 9 o'clock

i catch myself saying
'look! see? i'm starting to see!'
but i still don't love enough
and i keep at the wishes

oh to realize like tigger

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poem - but look

i go to the vintage cars
on display down the street

there is a light rain falling
and i am early all the cars are not there

you can't look at them yet
explains the nice lady

i would be disappointed but look

i have an angel by my shoulder
60 stories tall &

as bright as
a star

how nice

.

.

.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here are Some Random Numbers for Today

7 20 7 95 38 78 18 39 64 23 10 4
94 20 84 6 11 21 98 39 98 38 79
12 40 92 17 94 83 17 65 89 23 88
44 48 50 6 96 8 95 83 38 49 11 53
34 85 26 63 52 10 100 98 10 44 92
18 6 58 64 11 36 56 61 78 97 99
70 92 8 13 17 66 38 48 72 49 95
85 34 55 90 55 4 74 97 54 30 50
22 27 71 77 29 81 38 7 88 66

Have fun!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poem - rain drops/ down

rain drops
down

fuzzy

i'm immune
to it

i shouldn't
be

here is this
cloud

fresh from
sea

full of sprinkling
things

memories old
anger

notes from
the oldest

man in the
world

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Poem - now today is like an open ocean

now today is like an open ocean
hovering before your eyes like a bird

the rocks are gone so is the tricky harbor so keenly aimed for
such is the grandeur of the mind

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poem - that is the way it is

disgusting hard messy
crazy fruitless
fucked up

do you like it
you must be crazy
or a bastard

sitting in the sun
with no real problems
being sad

in the other room
hear someone say
dick dick dick

dick dick dick
dick dick dick dick
dick dick dick

that is the way it is
it might feel better
or worse

-------

To Me
10.12

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Well

A sheaf of rain hangs over the hills, or a dark crows wing of rain falls with raindrops on raindrops riding piggy-back. It is 11 o'clock. Dishes were just finished in the sink and garbage must go out, water falling from the sky, or no.

I was thinking about Peter Shaffer, the playwright, though I do not know him personally. I am thinking of him now again, as I cast the bucket deep down the well of my mind like this, feeling for water and possibly something unexpected when it comes up.

Down goes the bucket again, it falls a long time. The sun is out. The bucket comes up. I remember remembering someone I met a long time ago, who I've heard lives in Alameda. I think about another person who works at a big bank now.

I know we're all connected somehow. So wish me inspiration, fame, money, a good lay, water at the bottom of my well. I'll give you crow rain, cleaned dishes, taken out garbage, and Peter Shaffer, and something else from the well.

Christopher Smart

For I am not without authority in my jeopardy, which I derive inevitably from the glory of the name of the Lord.

------

– Jubilate Agno -- Fragment B, 1 - Christopher Smart

Friday, October 01, 2010

Poem - memories and recollections

memories and recollections
points in the darkness

oh look at them
so beautiful

bright scattered out
getting smaller

millions of them
all narration

you can navigate by
but don't believe in them

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poem - i can see my son/ watching the show

i only hear the tv
when it is one room away

i can see my son
watching the show

bathed in blue light
he laughs when it laughs

and jumps
to the explosions

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poem - i have a pond in my hand

i have a pond in my hand
fish live they look happy
with no worries in the world

my other palm is over the water
and makes nice shade with such
smooth water how could we be unhappy

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poem - the strokes/ of a silent bell

night was clear
like a noiseless bell

it tolled again and
again the hours

but unlike last time
i wasn't counting

nor was i not
counting

the strokes
of a silent bell

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poem - the wonder i see

big jet off to japan or chicago
look at that plane pull for the sky

catching the morning light
through the mist -- go go go

so straight so shiny
it can't exist or be made

the wonder i see
senses i previously was blind to

now shows me of what i lost
and what i have

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Poem - Untrampled

we are not right
we think our needs will heal us
we think our wants will give us happiness

contentment is not chained
nor can it be gathered like any gathered thing
that is why it is contentment uncontainable

and we know this
we were born knowing this
and this is why we are what we are

yet we resist and we burn
to take daylight to a war or the moon
from a starry ocean night to a tomb

words thoughts ideals plans
brief as they are pretty as they are
saw the wide world & said they owned it

our mental defects
are so much lesser and poorer
than any deficiency we ever thought up

.

so the imperishable
comes back after much ruin and denial
untrampled by beginning middle and ending

----

9/12/2010
for Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius

Boethius - Song VI. -- All Things Have Their Needful Order

For to each thing God hath given
 Its appointed time;
No perplexing change permits He
 In His plan sublime.
So who quits the order due
Shall a luckless issue rue.

---

From "The Consolation of Philosophy"
This is the seed of the AA Serenity Prayer

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Poem - but it is here

moving out of my dead time
i understand a little of what you taught

there was no way to impart
this comprehension & you knew it

all that could be done was to suggest
over and over and give out clues

hopefully or not hopefully there'd be
some kind of impression

but still learning does not stand of anything
and impressions are voids to be filled

when we look fondly at what we have learned
and see there are no gaps at all

everything is naturally complete to create
uncreated completion

now i have strayed out of words and thoughts
but it is here

words and thoughts cannot describe anything

those who do not understand will say it is secret
or impossible to know

but like love it is here

----

for LTR

Poem - what comes to your mind

in the middle of the night
what comes to your mind

when i am naked and
unguarded i see clearly

all these things
i have had before

you cannot keep them
but they come again

i awake and i know
if i abide

they too will be here in our
short time

the new song is not
freinds are gathering

the house arises
there are no new places

nothing has been lost
but there is the fear of time

like a jewel that can be broken
in a clock that can stop

you who fear like this
a spot of rain just fell

is it on your left of me
or the right?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Poem - of the river & the sea

do you keep doing
the things you've always been doing?
so am i
as summer is almost over and fall
begins the fall

being in a new place old cartoons
sound charming
and there is no mist or overcast
until 7 am

full blown day

the barge has
moved it's black bar down the bay
i feel soon
when fall is in full swing
it will be at the mouth

of the river & the sea

----

Back Bay
Newport, CA

Friday, September 03, 2010

Places With or Without My Love

I've never been to Kornsjø.

Or Stolipinovo.

Never visited Nagaland, or gone to the banks of the Rivière Soliette.

If I could listen to the Seufzer-Galopp, while driving on the Arbuthnot Road, while talking to a blonde about the 1911 Tour de France -- specifically about the close battle between Octave Lapize and François Faber -- would I be satisfied? I'm sure someone has had this conversation in such company, and they were happy.

Or I could figure out which Richard Doyle had come close to listening to the Seufzer-Galopp, while driving on the Arbuthnot Road, while talking to a blonde.

Or I could guess from Kornsjø, Stolipinovo has had a few people who have been back and home again on the way to the Rivière Soliette.

The moon is the same here, and in Nagaland. And whatever version of the Seufzer-Galopp you listen to, I'm sure it sounds the same.

With or without my love.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Poem - even if you want/ or even if you don't want them

what have i forgotten
many things wiped away by this day

but money lives in the past present
and future

a deadly responsibility
this business of having things

even if you want
or even if you don't want them

but don't be fooled and say
it is money's fault

Poem - all is before 1st light

mist hanging low & blue over the back bay, lights twinkled from a far off barge over silver water

all is before 1st light: the barge was black and questions died away,
thoughts caught off guard were annihilated

----

Back Bay
September 1

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poem - watching it snow

i

towards death

trembling hands
opened the bottle

it was a long walk
to the store & back

this is what you wanted
and nothing more

harming yourself

a face in the window
watching it snow

ii

months later

you can still see

every single falling
flake

iii

there is a part of you
a part of all of us

where it never stops
snowing

Friday, August 27, 2010

Poem - every time/ i watch dawn get started

here i sit again
before the dawn
on the third of four terraces
all others asleep below

i can't help but
marvel at the sky
dark blue yet
hinting of the coming light

the sun will rise
above a series of silhouettes
of the mountains
behind me

dewdrops surrounding
will become
a bewildering maze

and most will awake
to an ordinary day
in a given place in a given
moment

i am
stripped of this every time
i watch dawn get started

-----

August 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Poem - who is burdened with more than what they can carry

old pictures showing my tracks through the heart
stabbing reminders of past joy scattered over an unmade bed
the bed begs to be made so i fix the sheets

later i'm walking in a garden that is not mine
here i can see to the heights all the possible paths i might take
some trails are good some are bad

it is the choices at the start of a new journey that are bright
but otherwise there are things you cannot know
who is burdened with more than what they can carry

------

For Mel

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Poem - over the boats

gone all month
but i'm good i suppose

my arms surround
a perfect circle of empty air

the light is lifting strong
off reflections from the waves

back bay newport beach
this is where the bluffs rise up

this is where my heart rises too
sun giving a new day

over the boats

Friday, August 20, 2010

Poem - risk

marine killed by an explosion
a youth who became a man

risk

concerned neighbors sent extra milk over
and a patriotic flag



when he came back
he's anywhere but here

Poem - on the train home/ we laughed

in love i see you and i don't know who you are
i know that i will never know you totally
but why be insistent -- has anyone been able to have anything
in such persistent questioning

we danced under the moon at buckingham fountain
and the lights changed color
as music played

"I got rhythm, I got music, I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?"

on the train home
we laughed

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Poem - a figure who is already there &/ watching you enter the door

you are dragging me into the room
by my hand, please stop

my arm was rigid and crooked
but i let you lead me, it is comical

people see this as a salute, or as a
declaration, for you this is help

my hand is not there it never was
i am someone different

a figure who is already there &
watching you enter the door

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Poem - always coming/ always going

each moment
is like a wave

coming in
going back out

dragging us
or pushing

it lulls us to sleep
then to be awake

always coming
always going

----

River Forest
8/14

Meeting God in New York

Before I woke up this morning, I had a dream I was standing on a sidewalk in New York. I was near Chinatown, in Lower Manhattan. Grime & gum on the sidewalk, the old brick buildings stood, the stray bits of trash. For some reason, this hip guy was walking towards me -- when I saw the figure, I knew I was waiting for him.

It was God, coming into my life again, and this time he was disguised as a young, streetwise punk. When he got close enough, he had a tough friendly New York grin on his face. The kind of smile I'd seen all over New York. So I wasn't afraid when he was close enough to talk to me.

I woke up. It was dark and 5.30 in the morning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poem - they always meant well/ didn't they the grown-ups

i decided as a child
there was something to find

had to be something
because adults were crazy

they always meant well
the grown-ups

i had no idea mature
was to be a big dumb old kid

Monday, August 09, 2010

Poem - the horror/ of efficiency

i'm killing
ants with
bait

so last night
i dreamed of
thick lines of
ants going
from the
door

thousands and
thousands of
them all hungry
to their
deaths

the horror
of efficiency

who was the
genius who
cooked this
stuff up in
a lab

they're great
at what they
do these bugs
don't have
a chance

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Poem - &

he was hooray for you
hooray for me
hooray for this
hooray for jesus christ
all together in this bar
all together with more drink
and he wouldn't stop
until he was seriously
hooray hooray hooray
down off the barstool
to the floor to the bouncer
to the curb / cop

&

when they stuffed him
in the back of the
squadcar he convulsed
like a fish i could hear
him screaming "You're
all a bunch of F--ing
worthless pukes."

the baseball
game came back on
and i watched his
abandoned last drink
sweat

Poem - he looked

he looked the way a drunk looked
he took pride in this denial

he thought he was like a sordid champ
even like a writer about to do the best work

he brought paper and pen but he did the crossword puzzles
to not think about anything

left every night by 11 the same way
in & out through the side entrance or back door

it is a bad dream for a dreamer who thinks
they still dream

Poem - One Typical Night Awhile Ago

bad men looking for
beautiful women
looking for bad men

i keep my eye on
the clock and the
clock doesn't give
a goddamn because
it is a clock

dwelling in the clasp
of imagined or real
missed opportunities
rolling along like
one drink after another

i have a smoke
i see the fingernail moon
i don't want to go
back in but i do
there is nothing else
to do when you
are at this

-------

Poor Phil's
Oak Park

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Poem - i love you

i love you
but the love does not come from you

i see it is
the love in me to care for you or for anyone

so i can't lose it
like you can't lose your own love inside

and if you love me
with this in mind we'll be loving true

never believe
i can take it away from you by going

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chicago

I was interested to discover there are several places named Chicago in North America -- Chicago being a derivation of the Native American construct ''Chi-cau-qhu', which was a widespread catch- all for a kind of flowering wild onion, or herb. One of my favorites I visited recently is Chicago, NV. It was founded in 1877 by Emiline Roquefort, who established the famous silver mine "Delight" in 1876. Regrettably, in 1879 Mr. Roquefort shot himself with a pistol during an altercation with Bart Blanchette, who was a native of Chicago, IL. Another Chicago is located in the State of Maine, by Bett Crossing. Civil War buffs will probably remember the battle there, fought by Union General C. Marshall Skilling at Patch River Bend. In Chicago, in Maine, vistors can get a good view over the Patch River if they choose to climb to the heights along Telegraph Street. From the downtown and a numbr of quaintly restored shops & historic buildings, you can see the steeples of Benchley Church, in the village of Sorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lady of Oak Park

Every day during the summertime, I recognize a lady who goes to Scofeild Park at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Under the trees, she plays checkers by herself near the war monument. The war monument is under renovation, but it does not seem to bother her. If you see her, the woman does not look unhappy in the least -- she won't talk to you, she's not there. I think she's in 1958 with a boyfriend, who moved to Canada just before Autumn. When October rolls around she waits in the lobby of the Oak Park Arms retirement home, for a letter that will never come. Tomorrow will be another day.

An Author, a Book, and a Librarian at the Library in the Morning

i.

It is a beautiful summer's morning in Oak Park. I put on a nice soft plaid shirt and grab a copy of my smallest, thinnest book. You have to start somewhere.

"Hello." I say, at the library.

"Hello!" says the librarian.

"I am an author." I say.

"Cool!" says the librarian.

"I live here, and this is our community library. It is a very nice library!"

"Thank you." says the librarian.

"Look what I have here! I'd like to give the library a copy of my latest book. It was written in Oak Park, and it is about Oak Park."

"Oh." says the librarian. "We don't accept book submissions to the library."

Being ready for this, I say, "Well, it is a library, isn't it?"

"Yes." laughs the librarian seeing the irony. "But still, we don't usually accept book submissions to the library." The librarian thinks. "But there have been exceptions."

"Who would know about those exceptions?"

"Administration, on the second floor."

"Thanks so much. It was nice talking to you."

"You're welcome!"

I talk to the nice people in Administration, and then, in a cafe, I give my book away to a pretty girl. This was the beginning of my Library, which I guess is not a library at all -- where books are accepted, where people don't know they are a branch of my Library, and if they give my book away to anyone else, it makes a new branch.

Or, out of my confused thinking, I remember one of my heroes, Richard Brautigan, used to hand his poetry out on the street, the work attached to little packets of seeds. I have no idea what I'll do.

ii.

When I get home, I decide tomorrow I'll go to the Oak Park Historical Society & hide one of my books in the bathroom.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Starts to Rain

i.

Once dreaming about a book I was reading, now working where my old office used to be in the side basement room. The house is empty, save me and what I need to pack. I cannot quite capture the dream. A friend and I go to a thrift store called Brown Elephant, I need a tie for a meeting tonight. In the dream last night I was in a meeting. I pick a tie out and an old National Geographic for $3.50, but I can't go to the meeting because of a deadline. The dream is completely gone now.

The sky darkens, wind blows, rain scheduled never comes.

ii.

If I had time, ideally I'd go to Scofield Park and look at the trees and see if they reminded me of anything about my dreams. There is a deadline as real as a dream to be done. The deadline changes like a dream. The dream and the deadline are the same. Looking around, I think I am more awake when I am asleep. If I dream tonight of going to a meeting after getting a tie and an old National Geographic magazine from Brown Elephant, that would be fine. Or the dream meeting in the dream would be interrupted by a dream dream deadline that changes in the dream like a dream.

It starts to rain.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joe and Pianos

Joe lived alone in the house his mother and father had bought in Oak Park, IL. Joe was 52 and had never been able to make many friends.

For many years, Joe was an aspiring writer of gags. Usually he wrote every day after having a glass of milk at the cafe. Often it was about pianos. Joe wrote:

Goes to show you, some musical instruments can go bad and get you when you least expect it. Today, a piano attacked without warning from the back of a piano moving truck at Harlem and Home Avenues, about 40 miles per hour. There was just a split second for a driver to hesitate a bit on the accelerator, but that was it. The piano hit the pavement with the flash and crash that sounded like the start of an epic Wagner concerto & the mayhem commenced. Ivory keys exploded, strings and sharp pieces of shaped wooden piano guts fighting with the cars as they ran over the thing. Renegade stand up piano took out 4 cars and a motorcyclist in 30 seconds flat. Not a few people in Oak Park will go home tonight and look at, say, a harpsichord and wonder when a seemingly innocent objects will SNAP.

He sat there for a few minutes, looking at what he wrote, tapping the pen to his teeth. Joe tried reworkng the writing, because he couldn't figure out why it was funny.

He fed the squirrels. He came back inside. The great piano attack story wasn't funny. It wasn't even true.

At about 11 PM, Joe tucked himself in.

He had a dream about naked ladies playing pianos. He blushed. He had no paper handy in his dream to write about the ladies playing the pianos.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To the Other Shore

You are on the shore of a river. The sun is out, and there is not a cloud in the sky. Where others should be, in the brightness, they are not, it is just you & I. You are wearing clothes as if to go boating -- white slacks and a white loose shirt. You look dapper and at ease. At first I do not recognize you and I hesitate to intrude, to go back into the shade of the trees. But easily you look up, and you say "Hello, I remember you, how have you been?" Just fine, I say back. We look at the water, hardly you can look at the sun on it. But there is a gladness to it, a fierce happiness in the glare. Understand he and I were somehow inside, and outside the light & we both comprehended this without necessary comment. How do you feel? I asked. "I'm fine, better than ever. Be careful what you tell, I don't want you to give the wrong idea about how good and easy it was. I think I'll be pushing off to the other shore, it looks good there." Image passed before my eyes, stronger, yet dimmed. A paddle dipped down, then two in a stroke while the oarlocks sweetly creaked.

July 12
2010

Lines

i.

In looking
at others and
imagining anything
you are stealing
from them --

do not do this.
It is stealing.

ii.

There is no
jealousy in
true spirituality.

iii.

If there is
division, then
it is the product
of one's own
deluded mind,
which is the self.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Poem - come/ with me

come
with me

don't face
empty rooms

the apartment
is packed

look

sun will keep
coming through

day and day it will
touch the floor

right there
in that spot

so lovely

you had to move
to see this

-----

Lombard Street
Oak Park

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Jim-dandy!

He learns, from the internet, how to open a wine bottle with a shoe. Jim-dandy! But he doesn't drink anymore.

Poem - even asking/ if it needed to be found

even asking
if it needed to be found

meant it was here
all along

playing idly
like imagining clouds

and what they
resemble

a dream boat
a person
a place
a name


-----

Just before July
Oak Park

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Poem - mysterious beautiful/ moment

evening of
past storm
hundreds of fireflies

orange sunset
mysterious
beautiful moment

oh yes
the speaker
then is silent

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Poem - i count

i count
people
cats
bikes
money etc

assign them
stories

but these
are
just me
going on
about them

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poem - night

night
rooms full of trees and houses
the river was in the hallway
going down the stairs

Monday, June 14, 2010

Poem - June 14

for Francesco

my grandiose plans are just that
we should all strive for moderation

if i do achieve my fair share
then i have failed to abide in the portion

so i beg of guidance for joy
in meditation of doing

simple love
in a world full of striving

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Longest Journey

"The longest journey
is from the head
to the heart."

-- Ravi Zachariah

(Not much to write, but overheard & appreciated.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Today is Today

It took:

4335 days to get here.
Or 374,630,400 seconds.
6,243,840 minutes.
104,064 hours.
619 weeks.

11 years, 10 months, 14 days.

And now, for the next series of things.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hooligan Loses to Unitarian Temple

One winter night, I have a few drinks and when it gets late I decide I'm going to climb the Unitarian Temple. Not a huge climb, but an historically significant piece of architecture, irreplaceable as other famous structures, like the Golden Gate Bridge, I think. Yes. I take off my flip-flops and put on a pair of hiking boots, good for climbing. I walk down the dark midnight sleeping streets of Oak Park checking now and again to see if I'm being followed because I'm up to no good, but nobody cares. When I get to the temple, I see climbing it would be a bitch -- if you've ever been there, the walls half way up are 20 feet of blank cement with no footholds. Plus when I go around in back, I almost fall over a homeless person who obviously does not want to be disturbed by another drunk idiot. Reluctantly, I walk back to the house.

SCORE:

Unitarian Temple: 01
Nostalgic Hooligan: 00

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poem - Poem to the Interpreter

i knew this wicked smart guy
who told me about how the world would end
i minded the time the world didn't end
years later i can still see him on the beach
he seemed to be happy and also he told me
he was dying of prostate cancer

----------

Strand Beach
La Jolla
2003

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poem - Three Things

Z.

big thing
no gifts
just seeing
what was there

or bigger thing
seeing what
was never there
never could be

L.

back to dreams
not remembering
they are dreams
being so serious

the waterfall or
the mountain the
garden they all
tremble like music

Q.

big thing gone
dreams gone

still here
pleasantly

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Poem - if i reside/ in a love/ and a gratitude

i dream
of a
soft night

we were together
walking on
a beach

and i said

you don't exist
i don't exist
the beach does not exist

all that is real
is desire for things
but this is okay

and i thought

if i reside
in a love
and a gratitude

more than me
more than you
more than a whole world

and all the
precious things
held in it's thrall

there could be

* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * *
* * * *
* * *
* * *
* *
* *
*
*

an ebb in this hurt
this longing

and i knew

we are all
naturally orphaned
from ourselves

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Poem - Osel's

"Last night
I had a dream.

Oh wonderful error!

I dreamt that here
In my heart,

golden bees were making
honey

and white combs
out of my old forgotten failures.

I bow to the bees and the honey and to all
our old forgotten failures."


-------


From the "Unnamed Book with a Reclining Buddha on the Cover"
by Osel
1999

Monday, May 10, 2010

!

Thus..........











.........the Rambling Taoist paraphrased, quite nicely, from a delightful May 10th post from blogger Ta Wang.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Poem - For Jack

pictures of you when a youth
on fire life drugs writing making it
the photo 15 years later
a bitter old man very lost angry
my heart aches for this as much
as it surged when i saw good time
laced with all the crap that won

when i see birds remote and high
like your dreams floating in a sky
i can only look and wonder
many glad in seeing it because
it will never be touched
carried on winds of no name & no place

i bow and pray to the earth
first for you
and then
for all the rest

Poem - silly innocence

what a thing
kept from the misery
of your own hand
by silly innocence

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Poem - The Clown on a Bike

i've taken to sleeping when i don't wake up
i write poetry when i am away
6.22 am on my bicycle i see the moon
in morning blue powdered sky

i can't resist repeated metaphors
like you i tell the same stories over and over
we all get the place like a broken record
that goes round and round

when you think you have a grip on things
you'll think you're a sane person
but you're just another clown on a bike
all we have is what we do

------

For the Suburban Fellowship Center
River Forest, IL

Monday, May 03, 2010

Poem - a monday morning

i watch you sleep
your phone hums ceaselessly

what could people want
of you right now

barely 8 am PST
a monday morning

you almost wake up
but continue to sleep

the phone hums again
and again

Poem- but part of you will never ever/ forget

1.

in the night
with the other wanderers

looking for something
that didn't occur to you

didn't know was wanted
until intoxicated

you'll never get it
this way

knowing this starts
to hurt

so drink more and hope
you don't remember it tomorrow

but part of you will never
ever forget

the star high in the sky
making this place so dark

2.

morning is here
last night was a dream

the bells of the old mariners' church
are ringing

the light on the wall
almost touching crumpled sheets

ring bell ring
last night was a dream

----------

For "Crazylegs"

Detroit
May, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poem - promise yourself/ you won't be so reckless

i hear the lawnmower
after i smell wet cut grass
mixed with fresh weeds

i heard the mower but
didn't hear it

earlier today i looked up
at trees full of leaves

strange to see so much
when you know you'll be gone
in a few months

makes you wonder about time
and how you wasted it

promise yourself
you won't be so reckless

Poem - (a rockstar/ lingered inside)

new york
just after winter

art opening
on the edge of chinatown

a line
50 people long

they waited
to catch a glimpse

a rockstar
lingered inside

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem - but then a day came/ this very day

"Only the lonely
Know the way I feel tonight
Only the lonely
Know this feelin ain't right..."

Only The Lonely,
Roy Orbison

------

that's right baby
i held on lonley
but then a day came
this very day

later

the moon was still
the moon
flying up there
in a perfect night sky

Thursday, April 22, 2010

News - The Oak Park Taoist Primer


Every once and awhile I publish a book. My latest collection of writing, The Oak Park Taoist Primer, is up at my shop The Refreshingly Obscure Online Mercado at CafePress.com. The OPTP is a collection of Taoist stories that were written from 2007 - to the present, located in and around Oak Park including such scintillating personalities as Lao Tzu, Chung Tzu, Horatio Nelson, St. Francis of Assisi, Roy Lic, drunken cowboys, bums under a railroad bridge, Here, and Stove Parts. I did not mention the pretty girls, squirrels, and snow issues that are also discussed. I'm happy the way it turned out, my copy is going to arrive any day now.

While you're visiting my online store, why not buy a coffee mug, sticker, or another one of my books? Or another book of mine, more tantilizing than the first? Or one more book, to absoultely satisfy you? I'm sure you'd be pleased.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Big Drunk Guy in a Tweed Blazer

A big drunk guy in a tweed blazer makes friends with me and says he is drunk. He then tells me emphatically that people in England are EFFING IDIOTS, because they drink their beer at room temperature. I laugh at that, because ha ha ha what can you say to that? BWA HA HA HA HAAAA!!!!, he laughs in return. I smile politely. BA HAAAA HAA!!, he laughs again, grabbing at cheese and crackers -- he stuffs them all into his mouth in a great jumbled wad of food. With crumbs falling down his chin and blazer, he suggests a toast to all the Vices in Life, and so I agree -- to all the Vices in Life. After he is gone, my wife comes up and asks who my new friend is. I don't know. Wait, he comes back for more champagne. THE GODDAMN GLASSES ROUND HERE ARE TOO EFFIN SMALL! he exclaims, holding the plastic cup to the light.

-------

Downtown Open Studio Night
Escondido, CA
2006

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poem - i wish i spent my/ $8.99 on/ candy

i get a gun magazine
guns!
bang!
BANG!!
fight fight fight

protect yourself
from the bad guys
like going back
to cowboys &
indians

but this time
it is serious &
people are gonna
get put in
a grave

i throw out the
gun magazine
i wish i spent my
$8.99 on
candy

-------

Spring
Oak Park
April, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

Poem - adventure time

adventure time
with tom & jerry
oh the simple life
of kicking your foe
to death

don't worry
how can you get upset
over cartoon creatures
being all fucked up
besides

------------

George: What is wrong with that crazy cat?
Wife: Oh George, don't be mean to that cat!

Later

Wife: You BAD CAT!
George: You want the neighbors to think you're CRAZY?!?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Problematic Short Stories

Problematic Short Stories
no. 1
------------

I feel like I should write something, after looking at the fishbowl.

"Do you want ribs for dinner?" I ask my daughter Phoebe, over the phone. Phoebe say yes.

Soon I'll go to the store with my son Daniel -- he's 3 years old and has Grandpa Licata's stubborn streak.

Problematic Short Stories
no. 2
------------

I should have gone to the store by now. Danny sits on the floor and eats goldfish crackers, the "flavor burst" kind. Betta fish are small eaters.

I'm watching the Betta fish swim. The wind blows my white cotton drapes up in a slow huge surge, whenever they sail upward I'll think about a scene from "The Great Gatsby".

The kids need to be fed. I don't want to be thinking the same repetitive literary images from the Great American Novels I've read.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On This Morning He Said to All of Us

Now, after many years of practice, on this morning he said to all of us, "It is so nice to be involved with other people!"

Beautiful statement. The walls have fallen, the lies undone, the struggle finished. No poise -- Ego and Willpower on the wane, rooted out.

What remains? You and the rest of us...some practice the path, others do not. No matter what, we all are involved with one another.

As long as we practice together, we will not be alone. We only fail if we stop trying.

Inks - MOST NOTES

Poem - i'm sure as he works he knows/ they can hear him

the sun is out
i hear a man drilling
into a wall of the refurbished
house next door

he says
"hello!"

nobody answers
so he drills some more
and the shadows move a fraction
down the side of the house

he says
"hey guys?"

indistinct response
the drill is switched on
i'm sure as he works he knows
they can hear him

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poem - The Devil

"Ya know, my Daddy used to say every man's got a Devil. And you can't rest 'til you find him... but if it's any consolation to you, you have put a smile on my face."

Top Dollar
The Crow

is it true even
reflected in a movie that
we all
have an ultimate foe
personified in this life

people forget
his name was translated
from
'the adversary'
when thought germinated
of such a thing not new

the book of job
tries to explain why bad
things
happen to seemingly
virtuous people but i know
i am not virtuous

many believe the
devil has a hand in everything
from
the bedroom to
the store to the church
even in their faith

(i don't know/but

i avoided a thing
for such a long time and
built
a life around this denial
until i knew i would
never be free

it had to be located
then looked straight in the
eyes
without shirking or
making any kind
of flimsy excuse

i know the devil is me
thinking the devil is
a foe
urgently to be eluded
bargained tricked lied
or destroyed

i'm looking at him now
and he's looking
me
nothing much to say
because there's no fight
fear or admonishment)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poem - barely shackled/ to this waking life

for P. Irelan

they had to get at your heart
so they cracked you open like a hammer
to the portland vase don't worry it can be
glued back together with hardly
a scratch

what are the alternatives anyways
you could die like generations did before
unmolested but the good news is
it wasn't raining the day they operated
and you don't remember much
before of after

they helped you walk
the treadmill keeps the coffin at bay
now after months you're going
report about those strange places
you traveled to in delirious whimsy
barely shackled
to this waking life

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost Spring - Hilarious Tears

"We might get published." I say to Chung Tzu. Lao Tzu is in the background, sitting quite still.

"Oh my!" says Chung Tzu. "People like to read about things they've already realized, even if they don't think they have accomplishment -- or any special qualities."

I spy a faint smile on Lao Tzu's face.

Chung Tzu and I walk to the store.

It is almost spring.

+++++

When we go into the supermarket, Chung Tzu grabs me, and he says, "OK, young fella. See here! You're onto something, but remember -- you can play with an old stick only so much! If you bend it too far, it will go 'CRACK'. Don't crack the stick!"

"Are you saying TAO is the OLD STICK?" I ask.

We're standing in the produce aisle, and Chung Tzu laughs so loudly, holding onto his gut -- the whole store stares at us like we're maniacs or bank robbers.

He recovers and wipes the tears of hilarity out of his eyes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poem - Almost spring

for Peter Marti

Almost spring
On a bright day
Not cold at all
People are tapping
Fixing raking building
Playing loud
Mexican music

I see a cut stump
Oozing sap like
Blood it shines
In the sun
I wonder if the tree
Is not dead &
Will magically
Grow back

Maybe it can I think
As I walk to the store

Maybe it can

---

May
Lombard Street
Oak Park

Greg, Me, and Andy Warhol


I dream Greg and I are at Andy Warhol's studio in New York, it is about 1972. From the long windows, I can see a tea-colored autumn day. After we check out the scene, Greg turns to me and he says, "Man! Andy Warhol definitely has the "15 Minutes of Fame then I'm Gonna Die Because I'm Already Pretending to be Dead" thing going on." I see Andy standing far away wearing a white wig, dressed in black. With nobody near him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

WE CAME TO FIND YOU

"Hey, honey. A weird thing happened today at the store. I go in there to get milk and whatnot, and everybody felt like talking. Shoppers, people who worked there -- today we were all in this great mood. We must have chatted about things for about 20 minutes -- nobody was in a hurry in this huge store, people talking in line at the cash registers, in the meat isle, produce, wherever you looked, everyone was talking and having a great time getting to know one another. When I left, everyone said Goodbye! See you later! It was like we were all best freinds. I drove home feeling great, I still feel curiously great. Am I going insane? Am I dreaming? Then, coming in with the groceries, I see all these silver banana shaped things cruising in the sky. Each one has gotta be 200 feet long, polished like chrome. You can hardly stand to look at them, they are so bright & beautiful. Looking at them, all of them up there, was not upsetting in the least. You'd figure I'd panick, but I was glad to see them. And as I was unlocking the door, I think I heard this voice, going through the minds of everything that walks, jumps, or crawls, in this whole world of ours, and it said, to some funky psychadelic synth-mech tone: WE CAME TO FIND YOU: NOW YOU ARE NO LONGER ALONE: YOUR SUFFERING HAS ENDED: REJOICE!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poem - time is short

there is just a hole
no wait not a hole
because a hole is something

saying it is a hole
implies missing or void
so what isn't it

or not nothing
&
not something

.
.
.
.
.
.

i lost it i found it
i lost it again i found it
night & day

i promise not to be
too mad or too bothered
time is short

lucky we all are

Amazing

This morning I don't feel like it, but I have to go into the DMV (here in Illinois it is called "Secretary of State" to confuse you) and renew my car registration. Naturally, it is raining. As I've written before, whenever I have to do something important and potentially unpleasant, it is always raining. I miss the exit, double back, find the place. The parking lot is half full, a good sign -- I was expecting to have to stand in the rain outside for about 20 minutes before you even get inside. As I park, I see a few shitty drivers troll the lanes between parking spaces, numb, lost -- only seen at the DMV -- go figure. One car next to me has the alarm going on and off every few seconds.

It rains harder. I get out, open my umbrella, get my papers -- I see there is no line to get in. Inside, there's no line to the people who ask you what you want and tell you where to go. Amazing. There's no delay to pay the casheer. Amazing.

I'm outside in under 4 minutes, total. Reopening my umbrella, hearing the car alarm still wailing in the distance, I look up at the sky & I say "Wow! Thanks Universe! I can't believe how easy this was."

As I drove home, I heard a roll of thunder & the rain kept falling into rainbow slick puddles.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Poem - of this

getting to know anyone
is to terrorize yourself

but i'll get to know you
if you won't hurt me

i have not given up
i was just going to sleep

i missed you and thought
of this

it does not bring you
any closer

Why?

The phone rings. Caller-ID says the call is from Omaha, Nebraska. I know no-one who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Therefore, I grab the phone, and I say, "You know, whenever I get a phone call from OMAHA, NEBRASKA -- I pick that call up IMMEDIATELY!"

The caller hangs up.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Poem - look kid here it is sorry to say

your designation is not unique
with the toilsome mindless extent of time
who you is so used worn out
look kid sorry to say
you are like a beautiful goldfish in a
isolated fish bowl only one person can see
but dang you are sooooo beautiful
cannot be replaced

me too


-----

Right Before it Started Raining
Oak Park

Friday, March 05, 2010

Poem - winter is going to be OVER

winter is going to be OVER
no more falling SNOW
no more glittering SNOWFLAKES
it will be raining TOMORROW
no more SNOW

I WANTED
MORE SNOW

3/5/10

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

one time i saw marc in metitation

one time i saw marc in metitation
from the expression on his face

i was convinced without doubt
that ego is as real substantial

as a theater stage or a puff
of smoke

Poem - so i am/ cautious/ in both/ lives

diamond sleep
takes me

a million
facets

brilliant
leading me

into universe
after universe

all stuffed
into 6 hours

or even
less

if we are
unconscious

to our ultimate
nature

what is
the difference

between
diamond sleep

and waking
life

so i am
cautious

in both
lives

Monday, March 01, 2010

Poem - living on modified aphorisms

living on modified aphorisms

"every dog has his day"

but when THIS DOG has his day

it will be a grand parade

;-)

Robbing Banks

Imagine you were taught to rob Banks. You were rigorously trained to take any kind of Bank, anywhere in the world, night or day. And for several years, you were sent to far away places, doing just that. You were good at what you did, and you never wanted to harm or kill others, but some Bank heists didn't go off as planned, and people got hurt. Sometimes it was unavoidable, but you did what you were ordered to do, and you were praised and promoted. You found that you were very good at robbing Banks, and it was fun. The people that sent you told you how important it was for you to rob Banks. Then one day, Bank robbing was declared completed, they sent you home. You find yourself surrounded by family, freinds and community -- but what you do best is forbidden. At home, robbing Banks is illegal, but also is seen as unethical & even immoral. On the outside, this seems to make sense, but on the inside, there is a problem. When you drive by a Bank, sometimes your knuckles get white as you grip the steering wheel, because you think, "I could take that Bank. I could take it all by myself and they'd never see me coming or going." Your freinds, family, and community don't understand what they did to you, what you were asked to do, and how you did it. It dawns on you that you hate everyone a little bit, and even yourself secretly, because of this. 20 years old, you should have your whole life ahead of you. But all you can think about is robbing Banks. Because nothing else for the rest of your life will be so memorable and intense. You feel bad. Even scared.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poem - 8.8

"Although the Richter Scale has no upper limit, the largest known shocks have had magnitudes in the 8.8 to 8.9 range...."

-- USGS

to ride an 8.8 earthquake
you wouldn't like it

you'd hear a roar like a freight train
100 stories tall coming straight on

the solid ground would be roiled
as if you were in a heavy sea

a shaking would be so severe
you would be blown off your feet

furniture and other objects are flying into you
as bodies
ricochet off the walls and floor

and all you can do while the shaking lasts
is to lay wherever you are and try

to hold onto the ground
while the house or building above you

most likely collapses crushing you to death
in a few seconds all is dark

if you are still alive after the first shock
you dig out full of blood

as far as you can see will be ruins
screams and a horrible smoke

you sit there coated in dust choking
hearing trapped people cry for help

the buildings begin to burn
incenerating anyone alive in the ruins

what is it like to come to the conclusion
that earth has no feeling for you
alive or dead

but then at the same time earth!
we come from you and go back to you

that is all there is

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Poem - but enough of this

after coffee in the late afternoon
we walked to the top of the hill
not a big hill and you were breathing heavily
and farting and i laughed and i said
did you ever think it would be this way?

i wasn't talking about you or me
but charmingly a story of years ago
you told me about an older poet & when you
were young how slow he was
when you wanted to get to a reading on time

more farting more lame jokes HA!
up the hill we go hey look at that pretty chick
almost to the top of the hill
i know you'll be okay while time time time
calculates death to both of us like a wolf to rabbits

but enough of this
up the stairs into the snug house
the evening is here

-----------

For Latif

-----------

Latif sez:

"oh how very kind you are
remember your madness
is the cornerstone of your kindness
and your sanity
is not different from either
it all has names or words
and similes metaphors
moved along on syllabic oars

our language is so precious
whether sacred or tesars hiding yet
we're gonna get there you bet

give me tears of laughter

Namaste"

Poem - in her endless sleep

what was it
i had it i lost it --

oh yes
msnbc headline today

"Big Quake Question: Is Nature Out of Control?"
jesus h christ on toast

a question posed by one of us
when we are ALL clearly

outta of our minds
with things death and killing

big earth shrugs and things
fall down

earth below us here billions
of years before puny us

and we ask what is wrong with
the mother of mothers

when she stirs a pinkie
in her endless sleep

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

i still/ now

i still
now
can't
stop being
thankful

this
make me
a
stutter-ing
fool

:-)

-----

for Latif
ha!

i've slipped nothing/ is obvious to me

i've slipped nothing
is obvious to me
anymore

is this the original state?

i don't take my boots off
when i come in from the snow
i don't close the door

i mourn cuddly reason

i lack being sure being satisfied
knowing what i am doing
i can't sleep

-------

now i take my boots off
and i close the door
so here things do change

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poem - then i wake up and/ i suppose this is true

another voice speaks
early in the morning

"if you're having trouble
with a woman

you can speak to trees
when it is dark

dark trees will give
excellent advice

when you have trouble
with love"

then i wake up and
i suppose this is true

Friday, February 12, 2010

Poem - phone rings @ 8 am

phone rings @ 8 am
always @ 8

i leave it
in the other room

if i sleep by it
i dial people

in my sleep

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Poem - still is/ still/ silent/ silent

i don't mean to be selfish
this is why i'm selfish

i don't intend to be angry
so i am mad

i have no wish to be a "me"
therefore i am a person

everything out of control
is out of control

anything maintains quiet
is quiet

still is
still

silent
silent

Sunday, February 07, 2010

This Fact Is - or - That's Pretty Close

He heard someone say, "If you live like an animal, you're going to die like an animal. If you live like a criminal, you die like a criminal. If you have hate in your heart, you'll die holding onto that hate & it will follow you. Better to right now to live like a human being trying to be a kinder human being, and you can at least die like that. You may agree or disagree with me on this, but agreeing or disagreeing doesn't matter, in this regard. You may or may not take vows to practice like a human being trying to be a kinder human being. But the vows in themselves don't matter. This fact Is, just is."

Ching Tzu laughed. "That's pretty close. Close. You got the impersonality of the concept across, I think. But remember, to some people a Car is a Car, but to others there's a BIG difference in "Car", between a brand new bright red Lamborghini and an old 1967 Volkswagen Beetle."

Poem - lone sock/ no mate

i'm sweeping
picking up
vacuuming &
cleaning cleaning

while people
behind me
make new
messes

it is like
death and
taxes

inevitable
new disorder
is established

when does it
ever fucking
end

i find a
golf tee a
golf tee and
i don't play
golf

when did
i ever grab
a golf tee?

where does
all this fuzzy
filth come from
gathering
in every corner

& then the
rent is due
hows the rent
fine here is
your check

back to
the papers
the scattered
stray legos

orphaned
stranded
animal cookies

lone sock
no mate

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Poem - from somewhere/ far away you/ recognize me

let it chomp
let it growl
let it cry

then let it go
let it run
let it fly

oh thing
how i love you
whatever you are

i cannot classify you
i cannot keep you
you here & gone

from somewhere
far away you
recognize me

Poem - Birthday Poem

we have a thomas
what will we do with THOMAS

where will you go
what dreams will you dream

boom!
cry wiggle and grow

drive mom & dad crazy
with your play

and some day we'll sit back
and say "THOMAS", he's the one

-----

Feb 02, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Poem - no need to go on

dirty chili
virtual golf
broken manual typewriter
snow
a joke written in pencil

no need to go on

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fortune Cookie

Ordering chinese food, I got a fortune cookie, and this is what it said:

"The Paradox of any Loving Relationship is: If a Woman does not Hate her Man on a Certain Level, the Relationship will not Last. 10 22 33 45 68 21"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poem - the faint star has set

the faint star has set
no

there it is
hidden in the branches
of a tree

i go inside
walk up the back stair

please
nobody hear me

nobody hear me

Poem - know everything is fine

i wake up in the middle of the night
stay up in the middle of the night

i watch my 3 year old son sleep in his cot
know everything is fine

outside it is velvet dark and cold
like an obsidian mask

-----

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

News - CM Evans Cartoons in Dear Sir, Opium .print 9 & McSweeney's "More Things Like This"


News, news, and more news -- belated news, but worth mentioning. I have a cartoon appearing in Dear Sir, a wonderful online lit-zine, edited by Sandra Huber. I also have cartoons in the McSweeney publication, "More Things Like This" -- a sweet coffee table 4 color hard-cover book that details and expands on the cartoon show "Lots of Things Like This" that was installed at apexart in New York City in April of 2008. And last, but not least, Opium Magazine was kind to include some of my cartoons in the "Mania Issue" of Opium Magazine .print, issue no. 9. Opium Magazine, online and in print and the LDM's, still going strong. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest & wanted to publish my work. I do appreciate it.

News - CM Evans Cartoons Being Updated Again

Here's some changes: After an unintended hiatus by being obsessed almost exclusively with writing, I'm updating CM Evans Cartoons again, a few times per week with new work. And I'm also updating my cartoon blog "HP Lovecraft Might be my Paperboy" that is associated with it. Drop by sometime.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Poem - 12/25/2010

i heard someone say today
they were happy
and there was no elaboration
on why or how or if it was
with this or that
i didn't ask because

they felt happy
everything else remained
beautifully unsaid & in fact
we are free to imagine
any kind of happiness
so free as that

it might be a new job
an old lover finding a friend
a day that started bad but
ended up good or
remembering a moment
that was thought lost

so precious is the state
when you realize you are happy
you might see
we're all happy all the time
but we can get distracted
and
think we're sad

Monday, January 18, 2010

Poem - materials

i.

when he takes a walk
he brings a pad of paper this time
because he knows he'll think of something
and to not have a pad of paper
is kinda like going to hell

he goes for his walk
sure enough he thinks of something
takes out the pad of paper
and has no pen to write with

ii.

when he takes a walk
he brings a dark felt tipped pen
the very kind of pen he likes the best to write
because having a pad of paper and no pen
when a thought comes up
is kinda like going to hell

he goes for a walk
sure enough he thinks of something
takes out the dark felt tipped pen
but has no paper to write with

iii.

the next time he leaves the house
to go out for any reason he brings pen and paper
to prove he can learn from his mistakes
and everything is fine
he's out there he's got his materials
he won't miss a thing this time

as he goes about ready to capture a thought
he has no thoughts at all
not one goddamn concept story or poem
not even a goddamn limerick

Poem - in my shoes

for my son, Daniel, 3

i have coins in my shoes
i have plastic farm animals in my shoes
i have dominos in my shoes
there are legos
oreo cookies
gum wrappers
hotwheels cars
toy robots
tv remotes
cheetos &
small rocks yes

all in my shoes

Friday, January 15, 2010

Poem - as useful as

i miss you
but i was to you

as useful as
a typewriter

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Poem - and i have even more to learn now

why does disapproval last for so long
it seems stronger than everything in the world
even outlasting the capacity to love
only a fool would not give up

but the motion to love
so subtle and absolutely prevalent
cannot be argued against
cannot be quenched

ok then we'll go on down the road
i guess it ain't as bad as it seems
i've gotten to know all about love
and i have even more to learn now

plus there are dishes to be done
laundry begging to be folded
stories to be told & fond lies
to be said

--------

For Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poem - for 42 years old

my hands look old
and i observe the gray hairs
why do they only show on the left side
of my face?

dripping dripping as i hear
for a january thaw all sun out
tomorrow 40 degrees
for 42 years old.

-----------

Oak Park
Winter, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010

Linji Bunny

In the backyard, I made an imprint of a Buddha in the snow today. When I walked inside and shut the door, I looked out and saw a bunny run through the yard and it decimated the imprint in a twinkle. Imagine that Linji, the bunny must have seen Buddha in the snowbank and ran & killed Buddha!

-----------

"Students today can't get anywhere: What ails you? Lack of faith in yourself is what ails you."

Rinzai Roku

-------------

Oak Park
January, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Goodbye, John

During my trip to San Francisco, I found out that John McGuinness, a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen for a number of years, was killed riding his motorcycle. I met John while working as a counselor at a summer camp in Northern California. Then, as in the tributes I've read about him, he was smart, funny, generous, and caring. He had an irrepressible smile and was great with the kids he counseled -- I think John was one of the best summer camp counselors I ever worked with. Above all, he was a unique and wonderful person, he carried this through all the days of his life.

John died in early September -- September 11th precisely, riding to work. Like many motorcyclists, he was splitting lanes due to slow traffic -- in most states motorcyclists are allowed to do this because if you don't, the bike will overheat. It can be done safely, but there is a degree of chance. You're hoping the automobiles ahead of you are paying attention as you approach them, and they won't do anything crazy like pull towards you as you pass, or even throw a cup of coffee in your face because they're pissed you're on a motorcycle and somehow winning a contest on who can get through traffic faster. Eventually through riding and close calls, all motorcyclists get to know one certainty: anybody can crash. If you're lucky, you'll be around to crash more than once.

I had a motorcycle accident. Too much speed around a blind corner to find a tight turn ahead. My braking put the bike into a shimmy. I was thrown off the front like a spear, landed on my helmet, saw the asphalt grinding past my face shield inches from my eyes as I slid on my head. The motorcycle was damaged enough to be a total loss, I shattered my wrist. For quite awhile I longed to get another motorcycle -- motorcycles are as fun as they can be dangerous. But when I heard that John was killed -- John who has ridden motorcycles constantly his whole life -- I realized that I'm never going to ride again. If John can get killed on a bike, I don't stand a chance.

Living near Chicago, in Illinois, a state that doesn't have a helmet law, every time I see a motorcyclist out on the road without a helmet, in cut-off jeans, no jacket and flip-flops, I get a chill up my spine. This was before I knew about John's accident, John who rode smart and with the right gear and the proper helmet. Now when I see someone doing something stupid like this -- riding without any safety gear whatsoever, with no conception of what it would be like to fly off the bike and hit the asphalt at 50 miles per hour, I think I might cry.

But one of John's co-workers summed it up, saying, "I feel that John, with his energetic, forward-looking nature would not want us to brood too long, but to send him our most loving thoughts." So John McGuinness, I'll miss you, I send to you and your family all my love, and like the song goes:

We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again
Some sunny day....


------------------

Dedicated to John Edward McGuinness
December 14, 1963 - September 11, 2008

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Poem - and after that

for Paul Maddalena

-----

look over there
with me

look over
fields surrounded
by muted hillsides
when it rains
the church far away
normally a dusty
peach color

glows radiantly
bright pink
standing out
while about ready
to fly away
from such
drab
surroundings

i think
when it rains
god must go over there
and do something fun
like
to serve free ice cream

and after that
take a nice long
nap

Poem - in the end this journey

try to get it right
comes out mangled flat
lopsided

plan for all contingencies
something happens didn't
see it coming

like everyone else go through
a period of embarrassing
prolonged settling

get along down the road
down the path but it
never seems to make any
difference

but in the end this journey
is much more than we are
prepared to accept

--------------

for

Jim Sorrells
English 4A
May 26, 1987

Sunday, January 03, 2010

In the Tenderloin

In the Tenderloin, there was a transvestite named Queenie. She was a statuesque platinum blond, a buxom 6 foot 6 inch girl that was 230 pounds of pure, unadulterated menace. Rumor had it she was the neighborhood drug distributor, for the Hells Angels.

She took a liking to my friend Lewis, because he'd go to the same bar Queenie did, night after night. She considered it her job to protect him, because in Queenie's expert street opinion, Lewis was so skinny & wearing glasses -- he'd never last a minute unless everyone knew he was her responsibility. This estimation was partially true, but Lewis has this uncanny karmic ability to float like the proverbial duck through any kind of rough situation Lewis (or a duck) might get into.

Which is why he got along with Queenie -- she was violent, drunk and half crazy. Lewis asked if the Hells Angels kicked her out when she became Queenie, she said gruff baritone "Once you're in, you're in forever. They don't care -- just never fuck up!" Then Queenie would take Lewis under one of her giant biceps and pat him so roughly and fondly his glasses would fall off. "You let me know if you ever need the Reds to come here and settle any situation for you." Queenie never called the Hells Angels "The Hells Angels" -- it was always "The Reds".

A few months later, Lewis entered the bar and saw Queenie in the corner, looking poorly. She was in a sheer metallic lame' dress, mascara melted, her hair looking matted. "Queenie, are you okay?" asked Lewis. "No, I'm not." said Queenie in her gruff loud voice, "I'm fucked up, and none of these useless fucking cocksuckers will help me out! I want to go home. Take me home, Lewis." "Sure thing." said Lewis, wondering how he'd get giant Queenie, drunk, in her lame' dress & 6 inch gold pumps to wherever she lived. "C'mon! Lemme lean on you. It ain't far fer Christ's sake!"

They managed to get out the door of the bar, and onto the street. Queenie was swaying, and each time she leaned on Lewis, it was like a ton of bricks. They crossed the street, walked down a alley, and there was a side door, ajar. "Those fuckers!" said Queenie. "Always trying to rip me off. We gotta go up." "How many flights?" asked Lewis. "Three." said Queenie.

Somehow Lewis and Queenie managed to negotiate the three treacherous flights of back stairs. When they got to the top, Lewis tried to open the door, and found it was locked. At that point, because Lewis had shifted his weight, Queenie collapsed on the landing, shaking the building. My friend found her purse, and extracted a wad of keys -- after the 8th one, he got the door open. Somehow he managed to drag Queenie into the flat, and flop her onto the couch, the only place to sleep in the place. It was 4 in the morning, and he was done with the task. Lewis wanted to go home, he wanted to get the hell out of there. He paused.

Under the swaying lamp, he looked at Queenie, dead passed out, snoring. Lewis smoothed out her dress, so it looked right -- took off her shoes & put a pillow under her head. More explosive snoring from tired out Queenie. He watched over her for a few minutes while the snoring calmed down to a smooth, even inhale and exhale of breath. When she seemed settled, Lewis tiptoed down the hall. As he locked the door behind him, Queenie began to groan like she was going to vomit, or die. Lewis got home to his own little apartment 4 blocks away, tremblingly tiredly unlocking his own door he fell into bed and remembered nothing for a long time.

Lewis didn't see Queenie for a few weeks. One day he heard she had overdosed a few days after he had helped her get home. But in life stories like this, nothing is certain. Queenie could have decided on the spur to leave for someplace else & get a new start -- Vegas, LA, Phoenix -- and not bothered to tell anyone.