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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MAKING HAY




I'd like to be mysterious
like some I see who never
respond to comments
but just let you wonder who they are
behind the brilliance of their pen
and though my heart is not exactly splayed
upon my sleeve
it's still up there somewhere
waiting to be played


I'd like to lead a hard life
in the Appalachians
and see what kind of verse would
well up from my underground
all blackened and irredeemable
like a coal miner's fingers

I'd like to freeze my ass off
on the ski slopes
somewhere in the Rockies
and then warm it next to the fire
in the lodge with the sound of
tinkling glasses and laughter

Someone said that a poet
is a whole world
inside of one person
choose your words
and your worlds carefully

But then there is me

I'd like to be the proverbial
traveling salesman making hay
with the farmer's daughter

And I can hear you say
I KNEW something like that
was going to come out of you

That's exactly what she said too



Monday, December 7, 2015

THE BAG



I

Here's the deal
either everything is aware
or nothing is 

Besides me that is


Oh, that's solipsistic...

but not totally
cuz I'll acknowledge you
and only you
as I know you are reading these words
AT THIS VERY MOMENT
(and that makes me psychic)
and it makes us intimately connected

So I just wanna know...

how come you never call??? 

II


I noticed an author advertising her book

as being a "clean romance"
I guess that's one where
nobody gets into anybody's pants
a kind of never ending dance
where everybody goes back home
and takes a cold shower

But real life is dirty

so very down and dirty
and I don't mind you dirty little girls
and boys
as long as you quit
making so damn much noise

III


It's really quite simple

though the philosophers have tried
to make it mysterious

Either you go on

(the part of you that is aware)
or you don't
and therefore no one should be afraid
of non-existence
if it really existed that is
the complete cessation of all

joy

pain
angst
bullshit

would really be quite good

but sorry to inform you
that for that to ever be
then the opposite (you and me)
would have to never have been
don't you see
and it's a bit late for that

The cat

is out of the bag
for ever 
and ever 
and ever
and he's shitting
all over the carpet
as we speak
the sound of the universe
misinterpreted for lo these many eons

It isn't OMMMMM

my friend...
just a cosmic
echoing
MEEEOOOW!







Sunday, November 22, 2015

ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF MY NEW BOOK: LAST TANGO IN TIMBUKTU



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Last Tango In Timbuktu by Tim Schaefer

Last Tango In Timbuktu

by Tim Schaefer

Giveaway ends December 01, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DEEP THOUGHT # 17



FRIENDS DON'T NEED TO BECOME LOVERS

TO CONTINUE BEING FRIENDS

BUT LOVERS NEED TO BECOME FRIENDS

TO CONTINUE BEING LOVERS

Friday, October 9, 2015

ONE MORE DAY



In the shower
the soap slipped from my hand
it was a new bar
and heavy
and it struck my toe
and a sharp
intolerable pain
throbbed through that sucker
for 30 seconds or so
along with the sudden epiphany
that what we woefully lack
as a species
is the animal instinct
that might have forewarned me
(not to mention Janet Leigh)
to steer clear of the shower
'stead of standing there
clueless
and letting it happen
(as with most things that happen)
cuz ya know
I'd have been okay
with being dirty for one more day
but we never know
so
we stand there
proverbial lambs off to slaughter
looking like Goofy
at Disneyland
and let it happen

Thursday, October 8, 2015

DEEP THOUGHT # 21



So often
the mind has deserted the premises
long before the body
as the body stands there 
robotically mouthing the words
"YES, DEAR"

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

U



She says that U owe her
now
in her decrepitude
cuz she carried U
and popped U out
and later on applied the rod
in her blind and righteous way
and U've got the scars
as a badge of honor to prove it

She didn't know nuthin'
'bout raisin' no babies
but then she was a victim
of her old world culture

And now U owe her

I never even met mine
'cept briefly
on that first day

I wonder if she even looked in my eyes
or just said take him away
my fate already sealed beforehand

She didn't owe me a thing
save to hand me off to someone
who would pick up
where she left off

But U owe her
don't U know
for reasons
only the angels can fathom

And U will go
and do your duty

As if there were some conceivable way
this late in the game
to kiss it and make it all well














Thursday, September 10, 2015

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE




He only had time to read
while sitting on the can
stolen moments here and there
for a minute or two...
but one day
when he was really "backed up"
he nearly finished
War And Peace

All things even out in the end


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

BOOBY TRAP


I remember at age seven or so
sneaking peeks through these girdle catalogs
my mom had around the house
and being slightly titillated
by the models in there.

She was a local rep for some of those companies--
ya know, kinda like the Avon lady,
only she sold girdles.
And back then business was booming.

Yeah, it was all about being the best
you could be,
even if it wasn't the real you.
And girls wore "falsies" too,
which were bras that made you look
bustier than you really were.
And it was all okay because
most of those bouffant beauties
were't going to let it all hang out
with anybody until after the guy
had signed on the dotted line
and then he got what he got
and too bad if he didn't like it.

And then the girdles went the way of the Edsel.
(And if you've ever negotiated a girl
out of a girdle
in the back seat of an Edsel,
then buddy you've got a whopper
of a classic tale to tell!!!)

Yes, the smell of weed and liberation was in the air,
and ladies were only too happy to slip free
of the bonds of their latex booby traps,
though it caused many to have to come to grips
with who and what they really were,
and furious dieting commenced throughout the land.
And some overdid it, and that gave rise to Twiggy,
who ate like a piggy
but brought it all back up again
and that was the rise of the "supermodel."

And now, back to our young boy and his story!

A few years later I discovered what
the primary function for the girdle really was,
on a blind date where she was tucked inside
one of those things (I knew she was in there somewhere)
and she let me touch her up top all I wanted,
but though I tried, there was no way in  hell I could have ever
peeled that second skin off her--it was so tight--
and that was just the way she planned it.

So I don't mind tellin' ya, son,
that in The Battle Of The Sexes,
I was on the front lines!







Monday, August 24, 2015

SAILOR




Imaginary Garden With Real Toads














Chasing tail lights
your dream in the rear-view mirror
still disbelieving she isn't real
when you know you were there
the same as you are here

low buildings ramble
under the scimitar moon
as you murmur
sail on sailor

recalling how you used to feel so awkward
inside your own skin
until the revelation
that you were the observer
and the observed

and you try to hold onto that now
as you navigate the desperate grey streets
wading into a maze of strange gazes
knowing they don't have a clue
like when you
pored over some verse from a poet
you knew little about
other than you'd both been married
to the same woman
trying to gain some inkling
as to what the attraction might have been

laughter spills from open doorways
where music numbs
a thousand coexisting ills
 just as alone in a crowd
as you've ever been

reflecting on this life
a fairy dust landscape
of mirage and illusion
you feel so invisible
you could lean against a wall
and disappear
like a moon getting sucked
into a black hole
never again
having to face the sun

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

BAM!



I saw a guy walking along
with his head buried in his phone
and I thought he is so distracted
that he's gonna get hurt
and I got so distracted watching
the guy who was so distracted that...
I walked right into a poem

At this bar a young woman
scurried toward
the ladies room
she looked so upset
like she could barely contain it
and I thought you know
all told there must be more tears
being spilled on that toilet seat than pee
and then BAM...
I walked right into a poem

I staggered outside
now fully cognizant
of the gravity  (I was looking at the moon)
of the situation
aware that at any time
and any place
it could happen
cuz poems
are lurking everywhere
ready to swallow me up
like Jonah
and I might never
ever
find my way out again
until that whale of a tale
gets regurgitated
onto some poor unsuspecting wretch
like you

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ONE DAY SOON



I had a coupon
for some Grey Poupon
but the wind snatched it
and whisked it away
now I spend my day
stopping strangers
and passersby
asking...WHY???

They just shake their heads
and walk away
but one day
soon
they will understand
that what they just saw
was the piteous onset
of the final straw

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

THE NATURE OF COMPASSION



I.

Let me put it to you this way
(or maybe put it to you that other way)
if you send a donation
I will send you back
a picture of a
dirty looking child
I cut out of a magazine
to give you a
warm and fuzzy feeling
while my hand is groping around
inside your pocket

(And she's slipping
and sliding
lend her a hand
cuz she's slipping back 
into burger land)

II.

I don't swat flies
I give them names
I'll admit it's sometimes
difficult to tell them
apart, but you look
for little distinguishing
things, birthmarks and such.
Oh, and in turn for sharing
my cozy pad with them
they reciprocate by
eating the dead skin off
my face and body.
That's why my skin is
baby bottom smooth
that and the dish washing liquid
I use, of course.
I regret that I could never
have the same kind of
symbiotic relationship
with another person.
I tried. I offered piggyback
rides, but my passengers
usually balked when they
found out that time and time again
the destination was my bedroom.

(Somebody lend her a hand
someone lend her a helping hand
cuz she's slipping back
yeah she's sliding back
into burger land)

III.

Such a wasted effort
you ringing my doorbell
and I don't feel guilty when
I don't answer cuz sometimes I do
and I am polite 
and I even accept your literature
and look at it some just to see
if you might have changed your tune....

nope

and I don't feel sorry for ignoring you this time
cuz I know you have a quota
of houses you must visit
with documentation and all
to maintain your good standing
so it's not like it's necessarily
coming from the heart
like the cops at the end of the month
working to fulfill their quota
so I see them chasing down cars
who went two miles over the speed limit
like frogs waiting in ambush for flies
you'll be a little lighter in the wallet
cuz that's the game
buckle up and buckle under
or pay thru the nose

(And she's headed down
that slippery slope
again
sliding back
into burger land
back into the kingdom of 
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
and in the morning
I'll awaken her
with a cattle prod)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

INVISIBLE MAN








It was getting harder 
to detect my image in the mirror 
as anything recognizably human.
I wasn't disappearing, exactly. 
It had been years 
since the last attack.
Making matters worse 
I came back here to write this
and forced him to drive 
to parts unknown.

Do you remember the wreck scene?

I went kind of nuts
and took a baseball bat
to every mailbox on that road.


I still do not have a clue as to what my mission is.
But it was a good thing I wore what I did.

He thinks I'm the bad guy 

but I am merely part of the process.


To wit: 
we were sitting around 
one evening after tea
cutting the air with farts 
and exotic bird calls
when suddenly it hit me
that each of us is going to 
get his nut in his own way
no matter should 
aunt Gertie disapprove
(right, my little droogies?)  


The next day I waylaid myself 
over the head with a hammer.
How do you think it happened?
I spend a lot of time 
on social media...
do the math, dipshit.


One of the nurses banged
on the door. 
They ran about a million tests. 
You don't want to know. 
And then, people started falling,
And then...nothing.


You're fine. 
Drink some water.
I transported myself 
back to that summer.
I'd stood against the back, 
right by the exit.
I'm putting an end to this, I said.
I smelled the smoke. 
I thought it was romantic
in a demented sort of way.


You know how the game is played. 
Catch me if you can... 
but be advised
I've still got that hammer, man. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

POETRY LIVES !




Imaginary Garden With Real Toads





They said that poetry was dead
because most of its superstars
were similarly indisposed.
But they never figured on you
and they never figured on me
to breathe some life back
into that exquisite corpse.
So fix me a salad, Caesar,
for I come to praise poetry--
not to bury it.

Poetry works for the way we live today.
It's bite-sized and makes for
a handy snack, when even the
Cliff Notes version of War and Peace
is bound to give us indigestion.

Prose stands on the corner
and waits for the bus.
Poetry glides by in a pink Cadillac convertible.
Prose beats around the bush
for chapter upon endless chapter.
Poetry says get to the point, SUCKAH,
I haven't got all day!
(If you hold your breath waiting
for the epiphany in prose,
you WILL turn purple.)

A poem has weight--
either heavy or light--
and a poem has depth,
having welled up from somewhere
deep inside you.
You can tell by the way
a poem sits upon the page
whether it's something you
want to sit with.

Poetry is highly individualistic--
no two snowflakes, and no two poems
about snowflakes are exactly alike.
Failed poetry, at the very least,
assists in perfecting one's
trash basket set shot.

Here is a sure-fire formula
for making a poem...
On a sheet of white paper
place several black dots
at random and varying
lengths from one another.

The dots are now your periods.

Connect the dots with words
and you have a poem.

Many of the world's most treasured
works were created in just this manner!

It is incumbent upon the poet
to tell the truth--even when
his truth never really happened--
and even bad poetry is good
when compared with a political speech.

As Gregory Corso said,
"Poetry is the opposite of hypocrisy."

And that's the truth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

TO THE TEXAS GUNMEN




By now you have discovered
much to your chagrin
that there are no virgins--
only Joan Rivers 
(far from what you had imagined)
and you are trapped with her
inside this little room
where she is telling you
every rude and biting one-liner
she ever came up with
on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on 
throughout eternity
if need be 
until one day
a light will switch on
inside your head
and you will grin from ear to ear
at long long long long long long long long long long long long 
last
as you are finally beginning to grasp
The Cosmic Joke

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BALTIMORE BURNING

  1. Imaginary Garden With Real Toads



Unfortunately
meaningful social change
has always been accompanied
by great upheaval
and unrest

because

Unfortunately
polite entreaty
doesn't seem to effectively
 gain the attention of those
 entrenched in the
 arrogance of power

and

Unfortunately
from Bunker Hill
to Selma
to Kent State
to Watts
to Ferguson
to Baltimore
the pattern has always been the same

and

Unfortunately
when voices
(the voice of the people)
fall upon deaf ears
the decibel level must be increased
to a level that may cause sharp pain
in the eardrum
to a level that will make them turn
grimace
and glare at you
like an angry parent
and say at long last

ALRIGHT THEN...
WHAT THE FUCK IS IT YOU WANT?





Saturday, April 25, 2015

WAVING AT THE WIND



Now you may think me daffy
and ripe for the loony bin
but I see women
walking through walls
and waving at the wind

On the other side
I asked her
if she might be inclined
to show me how she does it
before I lose my mind

She said uh uh
you can't do it
I hate to spoil your fun
but my head is harder than yours
and that's just how it's done

sometimes I sit up late at night
and o'er her words I mull
'bout the vagaries of the sexes
and the thickness of one's skull

my life's the same
I'd have to say
'cept for downing a spot of gin
when I see those women
walking through walls
and waving at the wind 





Saturday, April 18, 2015

THE PLOT THICKENS



It has come to my attention
as it does from time to time
that I'm much fonder of plot driven
narrative than characterization that goes
on and on and on and on and on and on
and in the end what are you left with
but the same pathetic slob you met in the beginning
in the same place in his life
only he's had some slight epiphany
or not
like all of the postmodern gunk
I used to wade through
hoping against hope
that SOMETHING would happen
anything
but in the end it just ends
and you're left feeling cheated
the way you feel
at the end of a love affair
cuz in the end that's just how it ends

up in the air

so why do we always want more than
what's possible
riding off into the sunset
everything neat and tidy
just give me something messy
The Big Bang will do fine
and I'll keep myself busy
picking up the pieces

Anyway here's what I made away with from my most
recent excursion to the public library's used book sale:

THE PARIS REVIEW BOOK OF HEARTBREAK,
MADNESS, SEX, LOVE, BETRAYAL, OUTSIDERS,
INTOXICATION, WAR, WHIMSY, HORRORS, 
GOD, DEATH, DINNER, BASEBALL, TRAVELS
THE ART OF WRITING, AND EVERYTHING ELSE
IN THE WORLD SINCE 1953 (and that is the title)

750 pages for a damn buck
cheap thrills
goddamn cheap
and there's Updike
Nabokov
Capote
William Burroughs
Ezra Pound
Ginsberg
Mailer
Hemingway
Henry Miller
and Stanley Elkin
whom I've always liked
just to name a few
and did you know that John Updike has a poem called
"Two Cunts In Paris"
oh
and I also picked up Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac Of The Dead
Stephen King's The Long Walk (lotta dead folks in there too)
and Ian McEwan's Saturday (which I finished on a Monday)
and God I swear that plot is so incidental to McEwan
(HE SPENT SEVENTEEN PAGES DESCRIBING A GAME OF SQUASH!)
but I waded through it anyway
I stuck with it cuz that's one of my flaws
giving the benefit of the doubt to
most anyone
till they prove me stupid

which most eventually do...

And I know I'm relinquishing
all claim to literary snobbishness
by telling you this
but I'll guarantee ya Scheherazade
kept things lively and moving
and just like that Persian king
I'm still here
after all this time
starry-eyed and hanging
on every word
with childlike wonder
(or naivete)
waiting to find out what comes next



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

WILDLIFE




Free from the distractions of shame, your body moves
like undulating waves on an oscilloscope.

Time stops in mid sentence like seagulls obliterated on the horizon.

Your perfume is like a soft breeze wafting down from the toxic waste dump.

Do you think the bees sit around all day 
ruminating on to bees or not to bees?

Your breath is like that of a bulldog in heat trying to
scramble over the neighbor's backyard fence.

It's dank down here in the dungeon, waiting for the dragon
to be draggin' his ass back home.

You slink round the barrio like a Siamese cat,
and you listen to Dylan in your leopard skin pillbox hat

I never drink pale ale with a paleface, for fear of reprisals from the Indians.

You drift among the wildlife with their tattoos and their scabs...
 then you come back from the beach full of sand and the crabs.

She had a cleft palate, but it worked just fine for mixing colors.

You roll your eyes like Dionysius  taking in the graffiti on the crapper stall wall while stopping at the gas station to ask for directions to Syracuse.

Old Mayan Proverb: To be successful, 
you've got to make some sacrifices along the way.

I once saw Napoleon's shriveled penis on display at a museum.
It should be noted that they kept it pretty cold in there.

Come and sit, my pet, and I will adjust your flea collar.

Put two and two together and you may have more than you bargained four.

Chimpanzees are almost human. And so are you.

Sometimes I think I'm just too nice to you.

Oh lookit...there goes a person I will never know. And another. 
And another. Disappearing 'round the corner. I wonder if it's too late.

Why do some cats eat plastic...why do some dogs eat shit?
Why do we try to put a square peg in a round hole when it really doesn't fit?

If you lived in Denmark, you'd surely be rotten...
and when I'm senile, you'll be the first to be forgotten.

Some days I really do think I'm too nice to you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

COOL



Sittin' out on the veranda
soakin' up some sun
just me an' mah cat
on a cot
on a day with barely a breeze
to bristle our whiskers
lettin' the world go by
me lookin' at him
him lookin' at me
both of us thinkin'
we be two
of da coolest cats around

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WHISPERS





















This early spring has taken me unawares,
a sudden burst of warmth that's disconcerting
to one who's grown accustomed to the cold--
bringing back a sound, a scent,
a sadness I can't explain.

Memories of halting conversations...
a sense of time slipping through my fingers,
and the feeling that there should have been more.

And I believe that I could go either way--
be a particle or a wave,
as this warm breeze whispers "sway."

This exquisite pain,
dormant for too many seasons,
now blooms fragrant and insistent--
trumpeting its arrival
with dopey daffodil dreams.

This ephemeral ecstasy,
that bleeds into agony,
that leads to animosity,
for which there is no remedy...but time.

And your sudden burst of warmth is disconcerting
to one who's grown accustomed to the cold,
and I believe I could go either way--
be your one night stand or shadow you
through one lifetime and the next.
Just tell me what the HELL you want,
for I've chosen the wrong door too many times--
got eaten by the tiger and shat out the other end...
now I must learn how to bend.

And this accursed early spring
brings the spectre of another day,
when love turned on the moment
in a warm wind that whispered "sway."




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

SERIOUSLY THINKING



While in search of
an emergency men's room
in the park
I passed a crow
just standing in the grass
paying no real attention
to me as I came within
a few (crow's) feet of him
and I thought for the first time
that it might not be so bad to 
come back as a crow
ya know
or maybe a starling
darling
just hangin' out in the park
scavenging for crumbs or popcorn
people drop
to supplement my usual
grasshoppers, grubs, and worms
and the occasional roadkill delicacy
my motto would be
Keep Calm And Carrion
I mean what's so great about being human 
anyway
as a lot of us really aren't anymore
and I wouldn't have to go to school
(that's why I wouldn't want to be a fish)
wouldn't sing no sad songs
'bout some fickle chick
who flew the coop
cuz we would mate for life
wouldn't have a buncha mouths to feed
for 18 years
cuz when they get their wings
they gonna fly
(bye)
yeah it might not be so bad
hangin round the supermarket
parking lot and givin y'all the evil eye
and I
wouldn't worry 'bout shit
but you would
as I glide indigo through the sky
like a stealth bomber
silent but deadly
ready
to drop its payload
right on toppa yo wittle head

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DOMINO DANCING


Come dance with me
and we shall be
like dominoes
connecting the dots
to make a pretty picture

No ordinary gal
a femme fatale
raising eyebrows
across the west
(get here...we'll do the rest)
you'll be my Charlotte Gainsbourg
I'll be your Lars Von Trier
directing you to new heights
of abasement
and though you're not Victoria
you'll be my dirty little secret
and sign my binding resolution
with you hands behind your back

I know we can get it started
but can we keep it going
no matter which way
the wind is blowing
imagination is the key
you may have a better one than me
of this we shall see
and come that day
you dance with me
we'll do it vertically
and horizontally
scoring
when we connect
end to end
(hey, that's how the game is played)

So tumble for me
and I'll tumble for you
as dominoes
forever falling
toppling
into one another
merging
and
melting
black and white
dissolving 
into fifty shades of grey

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CLOSE TO THE VEST



When I turn back around
I catch you staring at me
like you're trying to see
right through me
like there's something
you're looking for
that I'm not showing
but damned if I know
what that would be

 trust me
there is nothing

so move along please
nothing to see here

nothing to see at all