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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

JIMMY REED HIGHWAY




Saturday night
and everybody gotta be somewhere
or thinks that they do

I'm okay bein' nowhere


but if I was gonna be somewhere

I'd be rollin' down that Jimmy Reed Highway
take out some insurance
an' let 'er rip

the spirit moves

when you've nothing to lose
barreling full throttle ahead
ignoring all the warning signs
til you crash and burn
that's a tough way to go out
but a helluva ride

when the last person who remembers you dies

so do you
some romantic bullshit maybe
as Brando would say
I'm committing slow suicide
but it's better than the alternative

and the world is screaming

NO NO
we can't be lost 

And Hitler is still waiting

outside the gates of Hell
twiddling his thumbs
they've tightened up their immigration policy
as in some other places

I've played host to The Devil incarnate
masquerading in female form
his favorite disguise
according to Elvis
and my own observation

but love was easy when it was

like a jackhammer penetrating your indifference
like a lumberjack chipping away at your resistance
like a finger on your trigger
like a ditch digging its digger
like Humpty Dumpty humping all the king's horses
like the Queen Mum humping all the king's men
like a congressman with a coke bottle up his ass
like it's so damn funny I forgot to laugh

ah, but those good times

they don't last
and you're just a momentary blip
on the radar screen of existence
headed for that crash landing

no survivors

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

LOVE POEM



Always hated fukken Valentine's Day
cuz you had to git all dressed up 
and show up wit a box of chocolates
under youse arm and 
take her out to dinner
and da whole bit
when what you really wanted to do 
was stay home and watch da basketball game 
in your skivvies
and to make matters worse
a couple weeks later
she ain't even wit you no mo!!!
what kinda deal is dat?

think I got out just in time man
what wit dis war between da sexes
dat's raging today
HEY
I ain't gonna study war no more
so why would I need 
some old battle-axe around???

now I be watchin' da game
and poppin' dem yummy chocolates
into my own face
finally catchin' on
finally wakin' up
to da realization 
at long long last
just how sweet life can be... 

when I'm in love wit me

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

MAKING ROOM



He was a big deal
in his chosen field
passed away suddenly
is all the obit would reveal

below was a place for comments

and condolences 
you could leave online
most from peeps I didn't recognize
they knew him professionally
all business ya know
I knew him pre-professionally
I knew him from the front steps
of the schoolhouse 
a bunch of us 8 year-olds
gathered round 
listening to him chant:
am I crazy...am I silly...
will I eat a pic-a-dilly
he was on a roll
improvising his own nonsensical rhymes
that still make me grin today

in our little movie theater
kids shouting witticisms at the screen
his voice leading the charge
we were forerunners of the Rocky Horror 
audience participation phenomenon 
(no matter that it was 
Singin' In The Rain playing)

so amongst all the somber comments
and long-winded condolences
I wrote simply: 
John will always be remembered,
to those of us who knew him from childhood, 
as the funniest kid in our class

not so good a thing
of course
to remember the dearly departed
from that far back
it means you're close on the heels
most likely

I still don't know
what this life is for
but maybe the best we can do is to
fire off a few clever lines
then get off the stage
(always leave 'em wantin' more)
to make room 
for that next joker in line 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

THE PARADE NEVER WAITS










In honor of the Blood Moon, I'm sharing a freebie with you from my book: Last Tango In Timbuktu.



Shelter along the cove
palm fronds fretting in the wind
sun beats down
eyes flutter behind darkened lenses
no secrets revealed

Dancing in the courtyard
summer smoke and gin blossoms
arms akimbo for kabuki
no tangos
or wild gang-bangos
for the faint of heart

Along the beach lovers entwine
like snakes that strangle their prey
love me a little
love me a little more
I'm not a lollipop
I'm an all day sucker

We take no prisoners
nor photographs of these encounters
for pride is like a ride
on a lizard's eyelid
the shutter clicks
when you forget to smile

Beyond the fire coyote waits
eyes burning like binary stars
in the morning he will escape
with a piece of your soul

Fair wind and a calypso beat
requiem for the summer's heat
magic spells and voodoo dolls
and dead men smell no tails

Crumpled napkins with lipstick traces
pedal to the metal
heading for open spaces

The parade never waits

Waves pounding the shore
echo the emptiness
phone abandoned in its cradle
like a waif on your doorstep

Staring into your breakfast bowl of Wheat Chex
you are reminded that you are back to square one
standing pat while the river of dreams drifts along in your eyes

Mata Hari
Harry Caray
Howdy Doody

Peewee Herman
Ethel Merman
Punch and Judy

It takes a village
to conduct a really good orgy

Will you stand vigil here
or will you run with the pack
into the black heart of the night?

Already you see the men are restless
and the horses nervous with laughter

The time is ripe
and you are no civilian
in this war

Assemble your brigade
we strike at dawn



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ALONG THE PATH



old couples
meandering through the park
make me smile
though I'll never be fifty percent
of that kinda awesome twosome

peeps with pooches
the more the better
movin
stoppin
sniffin
make me smile
'specially when they choose me
to spontaneously lick
(the pooches not the peeps)
when I happen along
though all the lickers
I've known up close and personal
have slurped their last of me

 speakin of which...

young couples 
with strollers
movin along the path
always conversing
animatedly
about somethin
cuz they've got a lot goin on
in their world
make me smile
though no one's ever called me "daddy"
'cept a couple of floozies
back in the day
along the way
along the path 
I choose to walk alone 
but in my solitude
there's still some gratitude
still some reasons
every day
to smile

cuz it finally hit me ya know
that when I pop outta dat bed
each mornin
and still be hangin
round
still upright
and not uptight
that it's only by The Grace
it's only by The Grace
it's only by The Grace
say it again
it's only by The Grace
so come what may
I'll always find a reason
don't even need 
a freakin reason
to smile 



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT



The story has been told before...
our intrepid host stops the film
described as a dream of dark 
and troubled things
for lively discussion with experts.

Essential questions we ask about life

while confronting truths
that didn't fit in with our holiday schedules.

When all hell breaks loose

as the Reptilians in the balcony
begin to shout: Bring on the crazy cat clips!

A hush falls over the assemblage

as the Lizard King's voice 
reverberates through the hall: 

Life, as you know it, is a dirty fairy tale...bittersweet at best...when our time comes, we'll drive electric cars, support compassionate causes, abolish pay toilets, and live in elaborate 
communal herpetariums! 

You grieve for irretrievable things

your whole lives long
then wax philosophical
uselessly
in a joint like this 
when that's really the long 
and the short of it

Then slowly, one by one,

as the realization sinks in,
the peeps begin to rise
and file out of the theater
in a sad and dejected looking way
as a series of crazy cat videos
seemingly endless
careen across the screen
for those still insisting upon
their full money's worth.
  


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

SHOUTING DISTANCE


To kick off the new year, here's a freebie for you from my book Last Tango In Timbuktu 

The rain came before sunrise
in steady sheets
like the one I was trying
to pull over my head

I was just out of a dream

where I was whispering into the ear
of a woman who seemed to be
 my counselor
or confidante
a dream where I had speculated about
the sex of a pencil

It was long
a real woody
and it could prick you
when it's sharp
no wait...erase that

It was worn 
past the last hurrah
like a space ship
in the shape of a cigar

(And when hers was worn down to the nubbin
Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven)

It made so much sense to say
that I am my brother's keeper
but of course the other side had just claimed
that we'll get you to the promised land
in just a little different way

Let us fly and make our own mistakes

don't need a hand or a handout
of course that's the way where
crash and burn
 is followed in sequence by
oh shit
oh well

The rain had no intention
of letting up
as dawn's curtain lifted slowly
the new year now within shouting distance

And in the dream I was giddy
as I breathed into her ear

that I didn't know whether to laugh
or to cry

The culmination of a lifetime
of fledgling flight

Don't be concerned
if I crash and burn









Tuesday, December 26, 2017

THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF LIFE


Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

As we stand on the cusp of the new year, I'm in a reflective mood...so here's an encore presentation that I know many of you have not seen before that addresses what I'm feeling...and am always feeling to some extent. HAVE A HAPPY!




I'm cruising down to the convenience store to pick up some beers
with the words of my spiritual master ringing in my ears:
You must give up your worldly attachments if you want to advance.

Pulling into the lot I spot a raven-haired goddess
riding in with some biker who looks like
one of the lout-infested Vikings in that credit card commercial.


While he is distracted inside,
I whisper in her ear: "What's HE got that I ain't got?"
And she says..."He's got...a big...HARLEY!"

So I hop back into my car,
resigned to worshipping her from afar--
but my master is adamant on this point:
You musn't worship something that could give you an STD.
And I'm supposed to give up sex--
or at least not enjoy it, if I want to be enlightened.
And I must atone for a life of living fast and loose,
in order to extract my neck from this karmic noose.

And I must be engaged with the great mysteries of life,
as I ponder why the weather girls on the Spanish channel
are always hotter than all the others...
and I am picking up a Christian radio station
on my television: POSITIVE, ENCOURAGING, K-LOVE!
It drowns out the regular programming on my PBS channel.
And I'm certain that it's some kind of sign from the cosmos--
but why pick on a nice Buddhist boy like me?

Heading home, I see Kerouac on the corner,
trying to wangle a ride--
he's been standing there since 1955.
But hard times have fallen on vagabond scribes,
as "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"
gave way to One Night In Paris.
But he's picking up some extra jack
writing the direction labels on shampoo bottles
in his stream-of-consciousness style...

Once upon a time in a Ford Galaxy
far, far away--I whispered empty words
of love to Suzie, and Lucy, and Betty Jean--
until...VOILA! Fourteen years of coming
home every night and saying: WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Thinking this is it--the happiness that had eluded me--
as the prime of my life slowly...slipped...away.

As did she.

And I can see my mother and me
standing on the platform
as the train roars down upon us--
she is running away...again.
And it is said that boys grow up
and seek out their mothers--
and so it was
that I chose one
who would RUN.

And I tell my master it's easier
to give up your worldly attachments
when there's little left to lose.
And there's something about being done
with the greater part of it that turns you young.
And you find yourself saying WHATEVER
and you come to understand that it means
accepting things the way they are--
and you think maybe these kids are on to something
as they shrug and turn back to their internet porn.

And yet, here I stand, crying
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?
But Alfie's too busy scoring
to offer any kind of reply,
though he seems to be saying heaven can wait.

So I just want to know...
can there be any compromise
for one who is other worldly, yet worldly wise?


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

COSMIC JOKE

An encore presentation that speaks to our times

The point
is not to point out
this injustice
or that
and rail
and wail
and flail
or send those angry missives
through the mail
have at it if it floats your
rubber ducky
if it makes you feel better
 to care
just be aware
that injustice is EVERYWHERE
you haven't been singled out
(snort some o' this up your snout)
be a fundamentalist
if it turns your crank
let the preacher take
your money to the bank
you're still missing
the fundamental point
that this world we've created
you and me
is a topsy-turvy
absurdity
a game one can only win
if not taken seriously
that sounds like a contradiction
(now you're getting warm)
you don't react to absurdity
you don't respond to insanity
with a jerk of the knee
just laugh along
with the other inmates
of the asylum
who've discovered the
cosmic joke
play the game
for all you're worth
but don't take a life
or give your life
(settle down with your wife)
this cheaply
alone in your room at night
putting together that explosive device
and when you've blown yourself
the hell off the planet
and your soul is streaking
back to that place of
clarity and light
you'll say oh you
stupid
silly
sonofabitch
you fell for it again
and all because
you missed the point
of the game
which is simply to remember
that you're playing one
and that later on we'll all have
a good laugh together
and go back
Jack
and do it again