Monthly Archives: August 2015

Stone and Diesel

I am a woven belt made of wood.
I am a haphazard circuit board.

I am a shirt made of fish hooks.
I am a train trestle made of lampshades and ax handles.

If you meet me by lamplight
keep your acquaintance brief and your own lamp low.

Worms are fish food only if find them.
There are bible verses in the soil too.

But I seek the metallic taste of the Other,
those dark truffles of stone and diesel.

Chelan Summer

I stand on the ridge above the fire.
It’s an angry patchwork quilt that consumes the sleeper.
A prop plane flies low overhead,
dropping a bellyful of red silt — food for indigent dreams.

I walk the riverbed, now dry and covered with leaves.
The cobbles bow their heads, the oak trees preserve the past.
Beloved! You have closed your second eyelids
with the dipper birds and moved on.

In town. A small room above the bus station.
Migrant workers sing softly next door.
Outside the asphalt is soft-skinned and runny.
Tailings of summer in Chelan.

Hemingway Writes Bob Dylan

Mama is downstairs.
She is making voodoo medicine.
I am out on the sidewalk.
God damn government.

Look out junior.
They are coming for you.
See that alley over there?
You better go.

Watch out for the guy
in the fur cap.
He runs a street con.
He will try to give you
eleven dollars for your ten.

Don’t be an idiot.

Golf Ghazal

Get a grip, I cry! As if the club were just a wayward thought.
Rectify, stand tall, don’t sway and put away all stray-ward thought.

A Canada goose sells sodas to those beside me waiting.
I could read all of Melville and still have time for Shaw, he thought.

My knees dream of distant lands, of pounding surf and black pearl sands.
My hips are locked in sorrow, my butt sticks out despite my thought.

Seattle is nice this time of year, blue skies and soft lake winds
and women in pleated skirts so short they mess up all your thought.

Enough! I cry, drawing back my swing. Damn them, if I hook it.
And drive it square into the goose. Birdie! I cry — a happy thought.

The Bridge of St. John

A handful of dice are thrown on a table. Perhaps they spell Disaster!
Perhaps sparks from wildfires can provide punctuation.

Burning through preserved trees and stuffed horses,
the fire searches for what is real, for what has a rind and is meant to burn.

Stray bullets ricochet off of armadillos.
I am walking in a field of IUDs pulling the faces off of pigeons.

It is a fine day for a hanging! Thirteen protesters lower themselves
off of the St. Johns bridge like glabrous and forbidden fruit.

The day comes to rest in a spray of small birds at my backyard fountain.
Bathing, laughing; Nepali women at their washing.

The finance minister leans away from his computer.
The veins in his neck writhe like a sea serpent.

Working Man’s Keef

King David of the ’53 Fender Telecaster,
(you even lost your own Absalom)
dancing naked in the moonlight
with a huge hard on,
a rasta headband
and a cocaine-fueled grin smeared across
a face as rutted as ten miles of bad road.

Keef of the hard-muscled seaman’s hands,
swinging your Micawber around
like an electric harpoon,
always looking for new, blood red intros,
new ways to reach back into the gut bucket blues,
hauling them through Muddy Water’s Chicago,
through Merle Haggard’s lonely and broken heart,
following Chuck Berry’s stolen horn lines,
riding five simple open tuned strings,
out into your own spooky garden of soul.

Life is a wild animal, as you say,
and you are going to get mauled.
You can’t control it.
So you might as well fucking enjoy it,
learn from a few greats,
stick to the basics
and try to add something new.

And if you run dry,
try reading the bible for phrasing.
or snorting your own dad’s ashes.
(like Jesus said,
let the dead bury the dead.)

So what if Chuck Berry
punched you in the jaw for picking up his guitar?
Wasn’t that a fair price to pay for stealing fire?

Every honest rhythm guitar player
in the world owes you.
So when the white tunnel light
comes for real, please tell them to wait
until you finish those
last stabbing double stops
on Jumping Jack Flash.