Note: There are pieces in this book which I have recently published here, and pieces I published here a longer while ago, as well as some pieces I've never, to my recollection, published here. That may bore some, or many readers. But I am saying different things with them than I did before, by the way I have ordered them, as well as with some slight changes in capitalization of letters.
Well, without further adieu, here is "Echoes".
some Soul selects the long-haul solitary walk along the freeway,
coughing and swallowing itself by the fields. it is a sticky substance.
its doctor friend chuckles.
sid’s light is rapidly fading.
his vapid Soul stretches everywhere,
nobody’s watching as
twilight shades the lidless eye,
and sid begins to look alive.
sid swallows his Self within himself
‘til he walks amongst people,
and regurgitates in public, and the mess
tells him how to behave.
no one waves.
he doesn’t wave back.
one day he met a girl and began this procedure,
spilled himSelf out at her feet.
before the mess could lecture him, she scooped it up
and ate it.
she spat it back out.
he was lukewarm,
whisps of smoke from a candleflame
clumsily dodging a breeze,
clinging to itself.
guess he felt cold.
heroes and villains and fools
sid peels reflections and shadows.
he is peering into the meanings of things
and looking at open, empty sky.
he is still staring.
he did not choose to lose his grip on the world,
good fortune falls, and fools
always seem to know where to stand.
you look dead, sid,
standing on a corner,
hands at your sides,
staring and storing your life away,
looking like a poor man
who wants to be left alone.
Simon summoned supper
while his brother Sid sat with him
he’d wanted to saw the legs off the table
so no one could sit under it.
he’d thought of stashing the plates and the napkins
so everyone could make a mess.
he would carry the chairs to the lawn—
let fortune fall on everyone—
but it was an arid evening.
in the end he simply sat and ate with Simon,
as no one else had come.
in the room full of broken things
nothing quite matters anymore.
nothing is ever fixed.
nothing ever goes wrong.
disaster doesn’t exist.
mementos are discarded and lost
in piles of mementos.
scars flake off and regenerate
and he bakes with them.
you are sleeping, dreaming down your yesterday.
i stand invisibly in your dream. it’s so nice
to have your brain to ricochet my silent screams.
i sense movement.
as you roll over in your bed i slip in close
and whisper. you ignore it.
i’m glad we have this understanding.
i really don’t owe you for tossing,
and you still don’t know me.
a shiny shirt appeared in his basement,
glinting in the dusty light from above.
sid raised his arms,
slipped his wrists through the sleeves,
and it fit just right.
now bless your bitter heart
for finding sid’s shiny shirt
and fishing in it
on one level:
a poet dies young,
the ghost dropping in on its older self from time to time.
on another level:
a poet dies young,
realizing an omnipresent poetic eternity.
poets floating boats across the great expanse
finding friends and cronies,
poets floating boats across the great expanse
year into year
i searched for the pearl.
yeah, it was everywhere.
poets floating boats because
they love the long journey.
they’d travel forty years in circles in the saini
provided it was wet.
poets floating boats across the great expanse because
life in the click of a locking door—
cold static bliss in the bereavement of meaning,
bidding farewell to the moment, embarking on eternity
naked and eating potato chips,
pushing past salt-swollen lips in blue light in one of suburbia’s
polished off with spanish olives. you’ll eat from this jar
‘til you sleep.
pimiento e n ded
g r e e n
she was dead
in her rocking chair,
hiding in the dust.
are all that grow these days.
and climbing vines.
surfing the web,
an infinite blue sky
and flying machines
that flew twelve feet.
oblivion lives on the lake
looking in at the little things
that used to be so big.
the king of the poetry underground
has many fans he listens to intently.
they sing his praises, raise his banner,
push his throne as it slowly rolls to extinction.
as olives roll off of the table
and pickle juice tickles his toes.
his fans cry out, pleading to have their praises heard.
the prince of the poetry underground
will not hear them.
his father never wavered, never changed his way of playing the tune,
he craved the same-sung praises so.
he died with his reward, the Lord of His Dark Verses.
that is not the prince’s curse.
he ponders deeply every rhyme and style
into which he wanders,
lost in love awhile, with its bright young flame,
until he sees it flicker, sees its weakness flutter in the breeze,
and listens to the whispers of other ways taking shape.
today they praise. tomorrow they won’t be found.
an interested one will come, and sing and play along, and add some notes.
a new wave of guests will flow to the scene, flooding the prince’s halls,
and dance to the tune of a grand new delusion.
a million variations will drown the theme, and carry it, gleaming,
up the steps of the basement,
and slipping through the crack in the door, deposit it, gasping,
on the shore of the main stream.
i’ve hung up my delusions, and
it’s cold in here.
wine and reasons,
sinking in a basement full of coins and rust.
where is the life we’ve been living?
--vanished in the reasons.
where do we go,
at the vanishing point of the past chapter?
all too well.
so many moments of our time changing hands.
we’re gaining tolerance and losing heart.
we’re working on seeing it from very far away,
trying not to worry about the moment at hand.
these words garnered glory,
so i think i’ll just repeat them.
every great chapter
has its crappy sequel.
not imaginative enough to change it,
not knowing what to add,
we must subtract.
now we can’t rebuild Rome,
so we’ll seek another throne.
so we went south,
and found one made of porcelain,
though we’d thought it was marble.
I did not drown the page with words.
I loaded it with bullets.
--and I’d been playing with the thing for quite some time I mean I
didn’t just pick it up and shoot it off and say it’s done. I dropped the bullets
in their chambers, one by one. i lifted the gun, pressed the trigger,
blew a hole that sorely missed. i missed the first six, seven shots,
the eigth shot even wider still. these first eight shots
i fired blind, and felt a pride i did not know
i felt until I opened my eyes,
and found that aiming helped.
I guess you thought they were pills, though.
you swallowed them all at once,
hoping to get high or low or gone.
and barely waiting for the effect,
you turned to me and demanded a refund.
I had none to give.
you shivered. said it was cold.
and then you gently went to sleep.
I slipped away another year.
i’ll vanish if you want me to go.
just close your pretty eyes,
and call me rome.
come aboard the pillow balloon.
it’s time for closing your eyes.
you’ve been playing while time has flown.
now the pleasure has up and gone.
everyone else has been growing wise
to the truth through the light you have shown,
washing out your disquise.
come aboard the pillow balloon.
your dreams have left without you.
it’s time to put the sky away.
no doubt you’d
love to get underway,
and that ever loving dying day
has all the excitement of a whisper,
or a kiss about to happen.
we are the drunken whispers of change,
walking the streets of our suburb,
wishing an end would sweep us away
with the glass at our feet.
the change has come.
not quite miraculous, but it’s happened.
we see the improvement arriving.
we see ourselves later,
so we walk away anyway.
they are trying to call us back.
let them try.
the sky is shedding tears again,
but at least they’re warm.
water falling from our eyebrows—
maybe this is what it feels like
when the soul and the face
drunken whispers of change,
floating into the horizon.
sink another to the setting sun.
now we’ll float to where there are
flourescent lights and packages of food,
flow to the checkout line,
ignore the cashier’s suspecting stare,
and saunter back home.
we’ll slip inside, pop a package, flip on the screen
i was a star.
now i’ve stolen a car.
i’ve got to go. i’ve got to know
i’ve sealed myself in with my freedom,
i was going to steal away,
but am convinced now that
it wouldn’t take.
and as the road ahead
returns to dust,
i guess i’ll just
play the poet again.
where went the lost years,
looking like a demon,
drunk on hope,
hung over despair?
a dissolute poet
in the gray side’s moral prism.
prison is for fools who shoot the rainbow too long.
Sid and Simon sat together, looking like they owned the place.
and they were still shooting the rainbow.
sid had a knack for pressure points even simon hadn’t known about.
they had it good right now.
sid had discovered he didn’t need the medicine anymore.
they would stay here until ordered out,
then go and do it all again.
but they were getting older.
they knew that time and age persuade.
so they would drag their tale to a fabled ending,
and let their pasts fade into wisps.
here lies the prince of the poetry underground.
with both eyes
has shrugged itself off in the night.
gradually reverses the effect.
what reheated epiphany keeps us today?
What disaster kills the pain?
bad fortune accrues, and fools
build tolerance to the smell.
what disaster blasts the shade
just long enough
for us to be found
by a savior full of grace
A dream that keeps the dead awake.
my shade becomes me:
shadows fall, and fill the night,
and i can’t call, and say three words worth speech,
nor dance worth a damn.
yet i’ll try the night of gentle give-take, talk a hundred thousand
milliseconds, make it worth your while,
even if i have to lie eloquently.
i don’t frequently lie, so it might be difficult.
i know that life is nothing but death in less offensive clothing.
i know that all you want to do is watch it undress.
i was a loner when i walked in here.
i’ll be a loner when i leave.
wild wind blows.
rose bush wants to shake my hand.
letting my name fade.
“grandpa always said, ‘just throw it in the ground, it’ll grow.’”
it was autumn in july.
i watched a fire with two women.
mother fed the fire.
i hacked and hacked and hacked at the larger pieces
with a dull blade.
“just throw it on the fire,” grandma was insisting,
“grandpa always said, ‘just throw it on the fire, it’ll burn.’”
i used to tear all the books out of my bookcase and put them back in
two or three times any given evening.
i don’t remember what i did with that old bookcase…
we play in the field.
we pray in the yard.
this house does not burn down.
sirens and i.
silence is a key.
silence is a lock.
i’m a small time ghost.
i’m a ghost of a ghost.
which dream will i remember tonight?
i don’t usually
play the delusion
of doing the world a favor,
but i was tired of being the ghost
of the ghost who used to take dream deaths
with a smile.
i fall in a heap.
i stay there.
the floor smells like years.
we are never who we were.
“so what’re you going to do with that?”
maybe if i stick this poem under my pillow
the poem fairy will pay me a visit,
and counting the 32 little cavities, deny me the dime
i’d dreamed it was worth.
she uses her poems like dreams,
to deal with previous days.
everyone has front row seats.
she’s waiting for critiques.
he uses his poems like knives,
to flay the skin from the fruit of his soul.
it’s a little like mine.
this plane flies.
is a peach.
watch for pits.
this cloud floats.
jet planes on descent
slice like speeding lovers.
i use my poems
her whole world reads like a fairy tale.
but her evil stepmother and her fairy godmother
both shoot up.
and prince charming was no help when one of her glass slippers
shattered at the stroke of eleven.
and she would’ve taken her pumpkin carriage home,
if the driver hadn’t gone in search of better fares.
now she’s walking home, and this fairy tale ends
at the end of the trail of blood,
because at home, someone has recklessly lit a cigarette
and fallen asleep,
leaving her home in cinders.
very few on their way to The Wizard use this route.
the scarecrow was bored to tears,
just watching the long and winding
yellow brick road
stretch and bend out of sight,
without a passing friend or foe or fancy.
everyone thought he had brains made of straw
and a back made of steel,
just a fool with a simple task in a field of weeds.
he half believed them, as to his brains.
the other half was false, and that was painfully true.
and so he wallowed watching the road
and sunsets in skies bereft of crows—
at least he was spared the nuisance of pecking
and their noxious cries.
and from time to time he spared a glance
at his sleeping friend who would not wake.
he saw the rust accruing.
That was it.
he needed to break free of this.
he needed to be torn apart.
he needed to be lighted, and face his fear of death.
he needed to be knighted with a broomstick.
but first things first.
maybe if he jumped and swayed incessantly
he could rip this cross from the ground,
tip it into the road.
there was about to be some traffic,
travelers looking for gold.
hopefully they’d look down before tripping.
flowers grace the
what’s within this edifice?
what’s behind its pretty face of
bricks and mortar?
hearts on fire.
hearts in water.
heads in a glass.
--hitch a ditcher’s cart.
plays on words, transparent
illusions. --it makes no sense.
it isn’t deep. just finger painting.
--i don’t understand.
it isn’t profound. just window dressing.
it passes the time in a locked life. not
lifting spirits. not spiraling down
or out. tightly controlled.
he fell taking a leap of faith.
tossed his crown.
pricked his fingers. found
nothing. naked within.
made a new man based on old clothes.
saw his plans fall through.
now he’s back again.
wants to wade into the pool
a rich boy drowns in,
I know you lost a lot of blood limping home,
only to find it was gone, burned to the ground.
and now you’re on your way to see
where The Wizard used to live.
oh Cinderella please forgive Me
for all the good i’ve never done.
and you may burn Me later if you like,
I promise, but for now, please just cut me down
and let Me share this road
for a while.
a thing to think of, think to say,
left alone, it runs away,
but turn the page, it stays and fades,
and molds into the rug
it plants itself in the floor of
life, and as the fabric frays it
grows in vines and intertwines with
he wakes up, and pets
a metaphor, wanders into the bathroom, and
she flashes a quotation mark smile,
tiptoes softly through the kitchen in slippers
something here is simmering like
another opened paper to
dress the issue.
another pot of coffee to
stain the taste.
without a word
or a wave
or a nod.
not a sigh,
not a sound.
not one sign that she cared.
not one meaningless gesture,
which somehow would’ve meant more
than all the years she’d spent in their company.
so life’s a carousel and someone’s pulling on the plug. so
have a cold one hit the wall cool your head.
no one cares what you’re doing tonight either.
tomorrow you’ll be dead.
no one knows what they’d write on your tombstone,
“leave your heart at home unless it can sing.
hang your pain at the gate.
can’t come along.
entertaining demons praised.
dragging demons raised and tossed.
lost souls caressed by fellow lost souls.”
apathetic nurses coaching
couchfuls of atrophy
a mouthful of medicated
makes the sitting sweeter.
switch off the light on your way out.
the river was tainted.
the posture was slanted.
the portrait was painted on mud-colored canvas.
the mantras that hung in the air were out of
no one cared.
they didn’t care.
they shared their selves with other shelf-lifers,
and rejoiced as they
stared into their futures in their toilets.
join the noise.
nick the blade.
in the stove.
shove in lovely little matches.
said nothing is without
its little charm.
harm will run across
he will laugh.
lick the lock
and pick the key
that doesn’t fit so you can
sit on the ashes.
swallow the coals.
this is the essence of life
kills you now.
pose more questions
to take up time.
prick the clock.
swallow the noise,
tasting its protest.
see jagged veins of glass
opened to the air.
it still tells time,
there is no cure for this.
it gets the generic sock-in-the-mouth
it caves. it gives.
it worsens and improves again.
the doctor grins approval.
not all approval, of course.
these things take care, of course,
dream a dream of dreaming.
see the simple things swallowing.
feel days following cousins
cold mold growth.
simple sample of brain stew
steaming a train to places esteemed
with the gods.
goodnight. goodday, simple flower,
towers tell the time.
at what you see. simple is the way that says that
simple is the way, or must be.
towers must’ve walked away.
a poet is not a poet
is a poet is a toe nail swept away,
flame and its shadow.
sit in the box to think
outside the box.
maybe if i put these poems over your eyes
you’ll see me through them,
and walk away.
my muse is like
the man thought me insincere.
he wanted to shove a rose down my throat.
no, it’s not a monster under your bed.
it’s one of my poems, crumpled up.
it’s a little too clean under here.
maybe if i wrote one of these poems on a piece of paper
and slipped it under all those mattresses,
and pocketed the pea,
then we’d really see who’s princess.
sid sighed and said he didn’t see it.
the listeners listened.
some agreed it wasn’t.
the disagreeer’s gave no quarter,
‘til sid’s band handed them dimes.
they agreed agreement among fragments was for wise guys, and
there was no such thing as a fool.
i nipped a patch of lip skin,
dropped it on the ground.
an ant skittled by a minute later,
and skittled away.