Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marie Leveau~The Queen of New Orleans

Scrawled on her tombstone~

her eyes
lit up with fire
for the dreams
she entertained...
seems something in her
knew already
just how well
they'd burn

burn they did, yet burn they do
this Creole Goddess
free born

to the clever Marguerite
and the planter at her feet
who with his lust
purchased her chains, his
now to wear and to rust

and the French Quarter girl
named Marie
dug at roots from an ancient tree
til the spirits in the night
acquiesced to her light
granting her every plea

galleg and gris-gris
they trembled yet flocked
to see the spirits
and the secrets unlocked
in dragon's blood ink
her veve was adorned
her magic was real
and not to be scorned

to the dance, they cried, "heal"
the condemned, they cried, "save"
the priests, they grew fearful
the desperate grew brave

her snake she called Zombi
which apparently pleased
and the fright it incurred
was merely a tease

the unchallenged Queen
of the Congo Square scene
has long since passed on
her magic long gone
her legend like that of a dream

but on nights
just so certain
when the moon
meets the wind
the waves of Pontchartrain
rise up once again

she still walks St. Ann
with a dress made
of white
her tignon furled seven
til nearly daylight

then the crow takes its rest
on the tomb cold and still
watching them wish
maybe, she will

May Shel Silverstein forever be cursed for writing his horrid song "Marie Leveau"
as if A Boy Named Sue hadn't been bad enough.
Marie was not ugly but quite beautiful, and though she had her faults as do we all, she was and remains, The Queen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Listening In The Still

it's not how long we live
nor even the how or why, as
these things become obstacles
to the simple act of flying

i can't be her nor him
or another me
any more than today
can be yesterday or tomorrow

when you walk through the woods
can you read between the pines?
lie down on unclaimed earth,
trace the fallen maple leaf on your heart
and let it go?

can you dip a single finger
in the smallest of forgotten streams
and listen to it's thoughts?

we are too noisy, too wanting
too full of cluttered thoughts
that are the tax on emotions
we can never square
based on results

the passing geese
let the changing seasons
tell them when to fly
and where just happens

while the braided trees
forest deep and silent
are content to be no more
not wishing to be clouds

so take the grocery list
from next week's dinner party
and with those old love letters
put all on the last log burning
boulders to ash

and just be a breath
listening to the North-wind's call
telling us our plans are a truce
already breached
and our regrets
a contract with ghosts

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Til Death Do Us Part

                                                (my kind of woman)

Guns or knives, Butch?
I don't wanna shoot with you, Harvey!
ok, knives it is
(Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid)

I know the rules say
one in the chamber, but
that could take all day!
so let's do three
and I'll go first
cuz I love you so much

she shaved her legs last night
and this morning,
I rivered my wrist with her
dirty blade as she seductively
licked her lips

I didn't mean to boric acid
her Cheerios-
it just looked like sugar
and she recovered

and after she put that bomb
in my car last week,
she took the car at two am for milk
just to prove she loved me
-but I had already defused it

who knew ebay even sells
poison lipstick
or that I could buy the anecdote
on Amazon, but of course
neither worked

and when I bought all those sleeping pills
to forever silence her rage
I took them myself
but then she hit me with the hammer
and woke me up
and we're both fine, now,
cuz we're in love

kiss me my darling,
hold me my dear,
but with one eye open
one hand on the trigger
and 911 on speed dial

yes, my sweet
let's love each other
to death

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Music Plays

i'm this
 but just now, i'm this

Manhattan is a big cage with invisible bars
where diversity reigns among ruins
of many a small world, in a cosmos,

the scarfed and shaded actress walking her dog
hides in Central Park among the beggars
and thieves
while the number crunchers on Wall Street
deal from the bottom, unaware
of Harlem homeys, pissing up their turf
just to the North

and when the sun goes down, Broadway
comes alive with limousines and caviar
while the heroin addled hookers
come out to gambol
just a few streets south

The UN does their dirty deals
not far from where the Federal Reserve
counts our imaginary money

and then there's me
down on South Street
where the water leads away
trying to make sense of it all

life is music, I think,
for some, a five string banjo
all knee slappin, 'backer spittin

for others, Brahms, Mantovani
or a trip down Moon River
where violence, is a spilled drink

rap, rock, country or pop,
it can define, conceal, or muscle
who we are

I've used Kanye, haggard,
and even Schubert
to bluff my hole card
when the game got hot

but the truth is,
I'm just an easy saxophone
to a composition unwritten
high, then low
mournful and drawn out

just a man on a rock by the water
feeling beyond the boundaries
trying to make sense of it all
as the music bleeds

Thursday, October 18, 2012

RAMBO XVII (Doggin The Poet)

I wasn't looking for trouble at Carol's Diner
just a place to shake the chill.
But trouble came to breakfast.

He had the smug look of a constipated Brian Dennehy
with a fat MGM contract signed and sealed.
Me? I was the pouty Rambo, lost in a world not my own,
just makin my way from one shit-hole to another,
tryin to hide my battle scars.

I hadn't showered or shaved in four days
and I needed coffee. Destiny, I suppose.
Carol's, Marla, me, and him.
The perfect alignment.

The little bell on the door rang as I entered
and everyone looked my way.
Everyone that is, except Marla, in her drab
olive green skirt, who had long ago
learned not to hear the bell.
And him,
His thick eyes fastened firmly onto Marla's grease stained ass
as she made her way with the tray.

I knew immediately
this was no love affair.
This was rape and disdain.
But I also knew to mind my own business
so I hunkered down deep in a corner booth

The sign at the edge of town had said,
so I kept my pen sheathed,
my notebook tucked in my rucksack
But he knew. I could tell he knew.
And that I knew he knew
Marla knew too.

I heard his fat boots scuffling, but didn't look up

"Just passin through?"
I didn't answer
but I could see his buttermilk smirk
reflecting off the spoon

"I asked you a question, Drifter. You deaf?"
I put the spoon in the coffee and stirred slowly
Marla was popping her gum
as she came to my rescue.

"Leave him alone, Sheriff. He ain't doin nothin wrong."
Sheriff Dickhead turned slowly to Marla,
looked her up and down with that shirky grin of his,
like she was the morning special undercooked

"I'll decide that. Don't you have a floor to mop?"
I heard her mutter, "asshole" and watched her tiny heels disappear.

Marla meant well, but you know how that goes.
I couldn't help myself. I pulled out my Bic
and clicked it slowly.
Carol's went quiet.

"I guess you didn't see the sign, Longfellow.
We don't like your kind around here.
Finish your coffee and move on.
Hear me, boy?"

I holstered my pen, wrapped both hands round the cup
and looked through the window
at the light snow falling.
"I hear ya just fine."

Marla was smiling and I knew that was rare.
Sheriff Dick walked toward the door and tossed a dime
next to his empty plate. As the door closed,
Marla called after him, "Must be payday."
everyone laughed.

Marla apologized and offered me free breakfast
but that wasn't my way.
I left three dollars for the coffee
and threw three more by Dickhead's plate
before tippin my hat and ringing the bell.

That should have been the end of it
I should've left, I know
But instead, I crossed the street
found a bench by the park
and pulled out my notebook and pen
blew on my hands
-and began to write
while watching Marla through the window.

It didn't take long before the puke brown Olds pulled up.
"I thought I told you to keep moving."
I glanced up without a twitch, at his fat arms
resting on the window frame
"I'll be gone in an hour." I muttered.

"By God, you'll be gone now,
or you'll be writing in my jail cell."
I looked at Carol's
Marla was at the window looking worried.
What was the point? It would only make things
harder for her. And besides, the moment was gone.

He followed me out of town at a snails pace
noticing in his rear view mirror
Marla waving to me from the sidewalk.
I smiled.

That should've been the end of it, but it wasn't.
Marla had seen to that
She had framed the poem I had penned then slipped her
without him noticing,
and posted it just above his table.

After that, he was everywhere I went.
ubiquitous as broken sorrels
at a Wisconsin yard sale.
Yellow polyester
in an Arkansas Wal Mart.

He dogged me to Seattle
a winery in Lodi
a shanty in New Mexico
the bordello in New Orleans
and a tiki bar in Tampa.
everywhere I went, there he was
like a pimple on my ass
just waiting for me to plagiarize,
mock the union, curse God, mis-spell,

The last straw was when I jumped off a boxcar in Baltimore.
and there in the freight yard, he stood, arms crossed,
chewin that wad of gum and smiling all Dennehy.

I couldn't take it anymore. I stowed away to Tanzania
changed my name, learned swahili,
found work in a cocoa field
and wrote at night neath the dim oil lamp.

Then one day a safari came roaring through
and there he was.
sitting on the jeep's hood with his elephant gun
loaded for bard

Some friends sidetracked him by telling him
there was some endangered shit just three klicks away
and I made my escape to Tibet

Sure, the life of a Sherpa is lonely
but the views are great and Sheriff Dick
had eaten way too many of Carol's biscuits
to ever climb a Mountain.

And I ask you, how could I know he had flying monkeys?
But summon them he did.
I had just written a story in my tent, stepped out for a pee,
and there they were, descending on me
in the smoky moonlight
fortunately, the yeti are thick up there
nocturnal and love flying monkeys
So I lived another day

But that didn't stop him. He summoned his mistress,
The Snow Witch of The Yukon
(whose tits really were cold)
I should have known it was her right away
when she signed up to climb
for she was dull as moon glow
and had that pageant smile.
-The mark of The Beast.

Just below the summit, she turned to me
pulled some paper out of her parka
and said, "Here, read this,"

The altitude had made me careless
I only glanced, but damn near went blind
from the dull poison there before me.
I quickly pointed to the sky
"Hey, Look! Flying monkeys!"
When she did, I pushed her into a deep crevasse
and shoveled as fast as possible

But it's no use, he'll never give up
so I'm laying down my pen, burning my notebook,
and moving to Syria to become a freedom fighter
if he follows me there
I'm blowin his fat ass away.

If MGM sues me
so be it.
I owe it to Marla

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lovin On Baker Street

the ceiling fan was limping round and round,
creak and clack, not close to whirl
like a crippled dog tied to a stake
no longer caring what it's tail was doing

"Mmm.....that was wonderful, Lover."

on my back, hands locked behind my head,
I ignored her, but wondered,
did she call me lover cuz I was?
or because it was easier than keeping names?

from across the street, Wally's tavern
was flashing red neon code through the window,
painting pretty pictures on the wall
as a lone moth scrambled to decipher

like a wave from an Indonesian earthquake
I felt her stir, subtle, but rolling in my direction
and her cheap perfume slithered
across my face

"you asleep?" she purred
which is the only question you can actually
give a lie to with silence

one syllable, two letters
but my mind was writing an epic

how could anyone sleep with that damn worthless clock
playing bass to the crippled fan until the whole thing
became a freight train that never ends
while Wally frantically signals
that a wreck is imminent?

i wished i had lied

I wanted to smell my fingers to see if she was still there
but my head was using them and when I told my thigh
to keep it's distance, I found it too uncaring
to escape

sirens and lights screamed passed the window
in search of a felony and the moth flew over
to investigate

there was just enough streetlight
to make out her red panties slung
over the straight back chair left over from the 70's
and suddenly, I knew why bulls hated red
and took the dagger

i looked down at the lazy wave
making it's way to Hawaii and spoke
cuz i guessed it was my turn

"What day is it tomorrow? Tuesday, right? Don't you have to work? Yes, you do. You should get some sleep."

I answered my own questions like chocolate on ice cream
so it wouldn't lead to more

it worked, she grunted but said nothing

a half hour later, the seas were calm
as I insanely wrote songs
to the clock and fan marching band
while the sirens and lights returned
still searching for the wreck
i was hiding in cacophonous quiet

Wally turned off the paint machine
and the moth looked lonely, sad,
and trapped against the filthy window
as I finally smelled my fingers
to find she was gone

we both had suffered long enough
so I opened the window and out he flew
then the door for me
for I was too tired to fly, and too selfish to fall

she won't miss me in the morning
or hold it against me next week
for this is the way
of lovers and moths
down on Baker Street

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Trip To Somalia

When I got the letter from my cousin, Abu Abdiallah, I was overjoyed.
Cousin Dude, the letter said, the opportunity of a lifetime, it continued.
Free grog and good times! the letter proclaimed. Just as seen on TV!
But act now, it's a limited time offer that won't last.

How could I refuse?
The Motherland and my pirate ways
were calling me back to Somalia
-and besides, the factory was talking lay-offs

So I grabbed the first schooner pointing East
which happened to be the Vanderbilts, who happened to need a deckhand.
-hee hee, silly rich people

I was a little rusty, so for practice, I raped the old bag and keel hulled her dick of a husband
before setting them adrift South of Bermuda.
I was amazed how it all came back to me, like riding a bike,
or rolling a joint.

Finding Somalia wasn't hard but cousin Abu's friends weren't too keen on a pirate named Rick
wearing wranglers and reeboks and sailing a pink boat called The Carnation. So i grew a beard and changed my name to Hassan.
In no time at all, the pirate Union #487 approved me as they were short handed and gave me sandals for my reeboks which sucked in salt water anyway.

Glory to Allah! That first year was great!
I traded up from my Sears hunting knife to a real cutlass, and then later for an AK-47 with a feather trigger.
But they took away my bullets when I accidentally shot off the ear of Abu's sister during a drunken beach orgy-but hey! It still looked cool slung over my shoulder and got me lots of babes.

The first few months they kept me on the B-team, kinda like junior varsity, but it was cool as we snagged a lot of yachts and got home most nights to write ransom notes, smoke hookah, get blitzed on khat, and fuck poor girls. I could offer a girl 5000 shillings (about 3 bucks American) and she'd fuck like a monkey all night long. It sure beat the factory.

But about the time I made the big leagues in the Gulf of Aden, the boys were getting over ambitious.
It's one thing to grab a Liberian garbage scow, it's another to take an Iranian weapons smuggling ship.
To say the least, things got hairy, the guns bigger, and the chasers more determined.
One day, as Captain Saleh was looking through the binoculars and salivating heavy, I turned to Abu.

"Um, he DOES know that's a Russian oil tanker, doesn't he?"
Abu tried to hush me, but it was too late. The Captain turned and sneered.
"Is the American GI Joe afraid of Russia?"
I was thinking, well, fuck yeah! But they had all turned to look at me now so I had to save myself quick.
"Praise be to Allah! Allah is great!"
It took a second or two but finally a big cheer went up. I had long since found that such a proclamation could get you out of a lot of hot water. It was like saying, "Hi, I'm Bob and I'm an alcoholic."
Once you knew the code, you were in.
But the Captain was shrewd. He raised a wary eyebrow and scratched his beard, so I shouted something in Somali. Everyone looked puzzled but they turned back to the prize on the horizon.
Abu whispered to me, "Why did you declare jihad on their prickly underpants."
I just shrugged.

It turned out I was right. Half of us got away, the other half never will, and the ship shot us to pieces.
Captain Saleh blamed me, of course, and let everyone know.
"It is the American Swine! he has cursed us with his fear and unbelief!"
I wanted to say, "Er, no, Dickweed. You took a knife to a tank battle." But instead I said, "Praise be to Allah!"
No one cheered, and then some wise ass said, "Are we even sure he's Abu's cousin? He could be a spy. Has anyone seen his birth certificate?"
Oh great, I thought. Birthers! Just what I need in the middle of nowhere with an empty AK-47 and my Wrangler patch showing.
They didn't kill me, but they took away my card and gun and I was banished from their reindeer games.
It was just as well as we had pissed off a lot of people by now and the jig was up anyway.
I had to sell my beach villa and Vette (as if there's a Texaco in Hobyo anyway) and now I'm sleeping in a tent by the harbour trying to hitch a ride back to Detroit.
And none of the locals will talk to me, not even Abu or his one-eared sister.
Pleasure cruisers are very rare through here, and they never leave again anyway, and Saleh took The Carnation in place of my life which I found prudent to agree to.
I figure there's a pretty hefty warrant out for my arrest back in the states if the Vanderbilts ever made it there, so I guess I'll brush up on my Spanish, change my name to Pedro, and catch an opium trader bound for Mexico. With any luck, I'll be in Acapulco by spring, and running a cartel by fall.
"God bless the Pope!"

Friday, October 5, 2012

November Huntress

as gazelle, first year and free
bounding the wild Serengeti
I flitted the forest flora as lover
in search of a first
real heartache

she the huntress, I the prey
the indigo and emerald butterflies
rose passion to the pearl sky,
chasers to the zenith moon

as Corelli, she played
the strings of her bow
mistress to the morning
peach on early horizon

the arrow it flew, her shot so true
struck, I fell
to the receiving earth

my heart pierced through

"Why? my lover, Why?"
I cried, as life beseech-ed me,
hold on, tender innocent!

to me she raced,
her husband as well
through thorn, thistle and brier
while sparrows sang my dirge

"Grieve not," the plump orange
spoke to the sobbing
toothless pumpkin
knelt at my side

"He should've known better
than to light beneath your tree"

in my final dying gasp,
limbs twitching
on autumn's kaleidoscope
leaves, clutched now
so dearly, I implored
with my final breath

"You fucking idiots!
How was I supposed to know
it was the opener of deer season?"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chester Plays

Crazy Chester
always wanted to be in the Boston Pops
even after he found out it wasn't a barbershop quartet
trouble is, he didn't have a musical bone in his body,
wouldn't know Tchaikovsky from Jerry lee
and his ability rested somewhere
between Alfalfa and Barney Fife

fortunately, though, he had an uncle
who knew a guy who owed a guy
who knew some guy in Alabama
so off to the audition he went
taking his off-tune banjo along

making Chester check his banjo at the door,
they led him to a room full of a guy
full of chin rubbing and screwed shut eyes
who said he knew Chester's talent at a glance

Chester looked down at the two sticks
covered in pool table felt
duct taped on the ends
and to say the least,
was a little disappointed

the republican looking guy
leaned back in his fat leather chair,
gave Chester an upside down
backhanded wave, and said,
"Go ahead, Boy, Play."

well, Chet slapped them two sticks together silently
as the goatee'd guru looked up to the ceiling,
hummed, and waved his arms before jumping up
and exclaiming, "Wonderful, Boy!
Simply magnificent."

it wasn't exactly what Chester had hoped for
and the Tuscaloosa Tiderollers
wasn't exactly the New York Philharmonic
but hey! ya gotta start somewhere, right?

on concert night, Chet inquired as to
where his seat was, and was led
to a metal folding chair, just behind the curtain
"But I can't even see the conductor from here?"
the clip board lady with loud heels and lips
pursed tight as her hair, replied,
"As good as you are, you don't need the conductor.
Just bang them sticks together every now and then."

the janitors watched from their broom crutches,
laughed at first, then debated
if they should tell poor Chester
it was all a joke and he
the donkey with a tail pinned
on his nose

but no one said anything
and the music played on
while Chester sat playing the mute sticks
in the shadows,
just down the nose of the symphony


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Lover's Kiss Never Kissed

my life was crazy then
as a young man's should be.
I'd cashed in my three cherries
packed up my old car
and aimed for Texas

but lacking spurs and a stetson
Texas just seemed big and lonely
so I turned my pony towards Florida
just because it wasn't Texas

out of gas in Tampa
and ninety-cents short of a dollar,
I looked up an old friend
with a couch
and took a job at ABC liquor

one day, as i
stocked scotch for
retired magicians
and mad dog 20-20
for those that never
learned the trick,
the beer man came in

"man," he said shaking his head,
as he paused and leaned upon
the wheeler of beer,
"you oughta see this chick
over at The Duke!"

"Oh, yeah?" I kept shootin
the price sticker gun,
but listened

his words grew Popeye
to the telling

"I ain't shittin ya, Dude,
prettiest thing I've ever seen."
then he tipped the wheeler back
and headed for the cooler

now, I have a lot of respect for beer men,
so after work, I stopped off at The Duke
for a cold one, just to see

and there she was.
the beer guy hadn't lied, and in fact,
hadn't done her justice

if there was ever such a thing
as pure perfect physical beauty
it was right here, in brunette
and blue jeans, and in her smile
as she brought my beer

the bar was quiet, so we talked
then i went back the next day
and talked some more
then the next, and so on...
her name was Pam

we went out
clubs, dancing, dinner, a movie,
I met her friends, and she mine
and I bought her things
with money I didn't have
just cuz I wanted to be a part
of her beauty

I bought her a pair of black pants
which is still the best thirty bucks
I ever layed upon the altar

but never did I kiss her a lover's kiss
though desperately, I wanted to

oh, we held hands, she sat on my lap,
there were hugs and gentle kisses,
just never the lover's kiss

because I was afraid-
afraid her lips were too pretty for mine
that her perfect breasts and
moist treasure
could never really be given to me, and
afraid she was saving those things
for someone better, whom
she hadn't yet met.

and even though she gave me no reason to doubt
and in fact, I think encouraged,
i was afraid to bet what I'd already won and lose it
on what seemed to me, as the greatest of long shots

I've always been insecure,
always thought myself not enough,
but even more so then
and especially, with her

so when spring came along
and a day for leaving
I went to see her at The Duke
to say goodbye, and I guess hope
she wouldn't let me

there, in the bar, in the kitchen,
she hugged me, then held me tight,
told me how she'd miss me
and kissed me softly

and when she drew back,
I watched her wipe
real tears that were falling

I should have been Cary Grant right then
forced her lips with my tongue,
carried her off to Kilimanjaro
or at least,
tell her that I'd never leave
-and i almost did

but then i looked down at the cutting board behind her
and noticed the onions she had been chopping
so instead, I forced a smiled,
turned, and walked away

I never saw her again
and we never wrote

that was thirty-two years ago
and I still don't know