on a metro station in paris

city of darling love, bridges and the seine

marble goddess who stands on opera house doors,

i pray to thee and command thee – “give her unto me.”

*

how adorning is yr marble face

oh statute of Venus

oh pain – oh statute of David

how the lines on yr face tell me so

*

the clinging vines of yore

make their way through brick entrapments while

the red and pink hues beyond the clouds

tell me my toilet paper mind

i pine for thee

*

epiphany for Chuck

how glorious of my love to show his long forgotten tanned face

in our forlorn coal miner’s town, where we shivered and drank warm meadow teas in the winter months, and soon after filled our cups with those same leaves and a bit of brown liquor to unnerve ourselves when the betting got bad.

of course, the dog days of summer had long passed, and the bitter cold had settled on the mountain, reposed with snow.

What then, could have been said?

Some of us still bitter, and others like the cool summer shirts of Whitman, waltzed and danced on the brimming consciousness that was to be, and could have been.

And like the golden myopic shrew, our time was cut short, and we passed unto divinity.

An exchange of words, echoed into the starlit moon danced sky,

love was once here – and bid thee adieu!

Whither thou goest, my wanton girl, my archaic Holy brother in the Divinity of Days Gone By?

longing for the one with invisible flowers donned all about

who shook no bed, but made many nights.

and all the evenings spent on Park and Belleview, where the road met the sky

leaving no lonely nights, no unturned stone, only the right amount of yalps and yahoo’s

hurling toward Kansas, with the smokestacks peering over our right shoulders

the bitter night once shook hands with you and I and said unto thee

Love was once here.

Holy Sunflower and The Two Tongued Cat

When she came to the door, she looked more tired than I had ever seen her before.  Her blue eyes seemed to sulk, but she somehow maintained a glimmering sign of hope and joy.  I never knew what to expect from her, and this evening was no different.  I had driven three hours to Port David, Maryland that evening; a quaint quiet town, that was dead in the winter.  The only two buildings on the street were a church from the 19th century and a bar that housed the winos and the folks who didn’t find God in church.  I was there with my brother, who like myself, found solace in this empty town when everything was falling down around him.  At the time, we spoke often and had made arrangements to bring ourselves here during the week.

“Hang on a minute – I think I hear her coming up.”

“Right, well, I’ve got someone meeting me here too.  A few friends from home I haven’t seen in months.  They won’t bother you.”  He said solemnly.

He had a deadly seriousness about him at times and was right about many things.  I must have waited for over two hours.  She had a way about her that one never knew when she would come through the door, but it was always surely later than she expected.  Fondling in my breast pocket, I felt around for a pack of cigarettes and then realized how I was short a few dollars.  Always coming up short, I was well aware of my predicament.

“I’ve made it.  Here.”

She then playfully tossed a pack of Camel Straights across the end table.  The room was dim, and the mirror was hanging loosely from the shitty drywall that was covered over with countless layers of paint.  It was then she appeared like she always did.  I did not hear her come in and no one could tell when she was leaving next. Never knowing what to fully make of me, she grabbed my wrist and squeezed gently as she found her way into one of the bedrooms.  My brother was sitting with his legs crossed on the balcony patiently waiting for his guests.  I followed her into the bedroom after a considerable amount of time and some mental contemplation.  She had made herself comfortable and kicked her shoes into a corner of the room.  The ashtray was full already, and she made quite the scene emptying it for me.  Peering into my bag lying on the floor she spotted a bottle of Wild Turkey.  One never knows when they might need to cool their head with a drink, especially in the dead of winter in an empty town where there are only two working buildings.

“Hmm…Back at it again I see!  Pour me a glass.  The drive was long, and my legs are tired.”

She leaned against the mirror and smiled at me.  As if she had gotten home from work, kissed the children goodnight and was waiting for me to climb into bed with her.

I meandered into the kitchen and fumbled around the cabinets.  Despite my frequent trips to this motel, among many others, I could never find the rocks glass.  Pouring some ice into the glass, my mind began to wonder about this turn of events.

“I’m afraid that isn’t enough.  Make it a double.”  She looked at me again with the sad long eyes standing in the door way between the bedroom and the kitchen.  When she walked to me she was wearing a blue and purple patterned night gown.  Her holy geisha night gown, with flowers and patterns that made her shine bright in the morning, when she sat up in bed and looked out onto the world when the sun was just coming up.  I thought for a moment about how her blonde hair and flowered dress made her look like a sunflower.  I waited and continued pouring.

Phrases like “How long has it been?” and “Beautiful!” were exchanged between us.  Perhaps a kiss on the cheek and a graze of the hand was customary as well.  It was then when I realized that there was no point in going home.

 

I don’t know how long it had been, but in a few moments the evening was gone.  There were two girls and another fellow among us.  My brother was entertaining them with marijuana.  The smell was pungent as I sat cross-legged on the couch.  They passed the marijuana cigarette among them and listened to music from the radio.  The yellow haze floated and lingered for some time and I watched my golden Sunflower sip her drink and smile at the boy’s laughter.

“Sunny.”  I motioned for her to come sit next to me.  I was detached from the moments around me.  We watched as they puffed their joint down, and she sat with her head resting on my shoulders.  Her legs were pale but full and were bunched up beneath her.  Sitting in her nightgown, cupping her glass with both hands she carefully sipped the warm liquor like nectar.

I often thought of her when things were going bad at home, and I assume she did the as well for she was here, and not where she belonged.  I remember lying my head down, and it felt full and heavy.  In a groggy dream state, I rolled over and saw her reflection from the bathroom mirror.  There was no noise coming from the rest of the place, and I heard her soft voice and saw the shred of light peeking out from the bathroom.  The phone continued to ring, and she continued to answer it and pull the cord into the bathroom and sit on the sink and talk lightly.  Morning came slowly.

Those mornings were full of pleasant surprises.  The sun rose over the bleak water, which was almost black and full of ice.  You could see the bums traveling on their self-proclaimed highways, stumbling and cursing at God.  Their dull gray caps and ruffled jackets were pulled tightly over them as they balanced themselves between the train tracks.  I drug myself from the bed and faced the glass sliding door.  Pulling open the shade I saw my brother and one of his girls sitting and facing the sun as it rose.

“I must get to bed.” She said slyly.

He rose up from his seat and murmured: “Alright.  I will follow you up.”

Long nights here were always harder here because the morning would lead to broken hearts or a deep dissatisfaction within one’s self.

“Sunny, you ought to wake up.  Look here darling.  The sun is climbing fast.”

She lied on her side facing me with eyes closed, as I stood staring over the river.  It reminded me of all those nights in Paris when I would get drunk and smoke cigarettes on the fifth floor of the motel, only to chuck the empty wine bottles out the window, counting the seconds till their fall.  And realizing how sad I must have made her when I was out for so long.  She lay crumpled on the bed, wilted and tired.  I brought her a glass of water and sat down on the side of the bed.  Glowing and bright, her golden hair was strewn all over the pillow.  I wondered if I would ever see her and her geisha nightgown, lying in my lap, holy and broken, but somehow still maintained.  I got awfully sentimental and blue.  I hated leaving and had done it enough times to get used to the oncoming feelings of doubt.

She shot up and looked at me.  And rubbed her eyes slowly.  Her legs were long and crossed at her ankles.  Golden and bright from the incoming light, I noticed her staring.  I saw the look in her eyes as if she had to tell me something.  Before she could speak I made my way onto the balcony again.  This time she followed me, with great haste.  I sat down and buried my face behind my cupped hands and lit a cigarette.  Sunny had found a seat across from me and put her legs up on my lap, and watched me with admiration as I took the first drag.

“I knew you’d be in love with me still.”  She said matter-of-factly.

“Yes, yes, of course, I would.  I don’t think that I might ever not be.”  To an unmoored man like myself, those words dripped off my lips like sweet honey.  I felt a deep pain because I knew they were true.  I would always find my sunflower, crumpled up in bed, from month to month, here and there, whenever things got bad enough.  But there was some solace in that thought, as well as a deeply set wound that would never quite heal.

She shook me and decided that it was time to go.  I waited on the porch as she packed her things.  She slinked to the door and looked at me with her sad but yet glistening eyes and faint lips which perked up when she smiled.

 

The next few weeks bled on, coupled together with hydrotherapy, continuing education, a trip to a warmer climate, and still the phone did not ring.  It was then that I spent the next few weeks writing, and making observations of those around me.  I spent some time down town where the white folk refuse to go after dark and continued to draw upon the experience and the wealth of knowledge from those left handed bums who sipped their wine from paper cups.  They sat in their awe under the bridge and called out for 97 cents.  I thought about going back home then, it was a lonely time and had gotten over a terrible sickness.  Then, like a shot in the night, I heard that the Two Tonged Cat made his way back from the West.  He was hung out to dry, and wallowed in the Mexican border, robbed stores of liquor, shacked up with a woman of the night for platonic reasons, and drunk the cool air of the night.

In that moment of absolute clarity, I knew things were turning around.  There was, of course, a few girls who had helped keep my bed warm, and rested their head on my arms.  I made no mistake of falling in love, despite my best efforts the first time.  The Holy Sunflower, made up like a goddess in the night, was off in some nearby air base with some army man.  She wrote me, and I do not recall the details.  It was as if she had begun to weep, and pulled her heart from the page and wrote in a hurry.  “In New Jersey, living on an air base – write soon.  Be with my aunt in a few weeks.  Until then.”  I wrote her back and sent her a hand-drawn picture of her undressing in the mirror.

The night was cool, and we had word that all the boys were back home with their respective lovers.  What a hoot it would be if we could gather them all, and pass the wine around once more for old times’ sake!  It would be just like Joint-ville-le-Pont, and the girls would woo their boys, hang tight around their necks, and we would roll cigarettes and shiver until the wine hit our bones.  The Two Tonged Cat was waiting at the bus station with a guitar case in his hand, a cigarette stuffed between his teeth, and a shaved head.

“Brother” I embraced his look and grabbed his arm.  “We need to make it out to Ontelaunee tonight, the boys are home and their all waiting for you there.”

“Let’s get movin’ then.  Truckin baby.”

We sat for a moment, in the back of Freddy’s truck.  Freddy, tall and handsome with blond hair, he sulked and slinked on the bed of the old Ford.  The Cat sat cross legged in the bed with his gear.  He used his army roll as a bit of a rest, and pushed it up behind his back and looked as if he was home.  He pulled out a large bag of tobacco and began rolling himself a cigarette.  Freddy and The Cat were brothers of a sort, some celestial bond, for anyone who saw them said they had the same eyes.  Freddy worked at a plant, his dark skin, and worn grey pants made him look ten years older than he was.  He pulled long drags from his butts, and made a half smile smirk that could melt the heart of any girl.

Freddy’s tall demeanor demanded attention.  He always had a girl hanging around his flat, all kinds of breeds he brought up, and some of them he really loved.  I remember many nights spent there, before The Cat arrived.  Freddy would bring his lady out from the bedroom, and she too was golden and fragile.  He waltzed them out from the partition, and danced in the living room.  They bounced from the walls, and sitting solemnly in the corner of the room, playing cards with Chuck, we’d smile, and wish that we too had lovers so bright and young.  Chuck sat with arms crossed, and the nights would be cool, and wearing his cap he would deal the cards from his crooked fingers, and puff madly on a cigarette that made him hack.  We’d look around and see the drab flat, held together by two kids, who spit and fought many nights.  They’d wake up on the floor and kiss until they couldn’t stand the sight of one another.  It went on like this for some time.

Chuck was out in Philadelphia, becoming a well-renowned psychologist of sorts, and with no place of my own, Freddy brought The Two Tonged Cat up to his flat with the intentions of staying there for a while, making enough money and then hiking the Appalachian.  I still hadn’t received any phone calls or letters, but continued on, working late nights and coming home to drink stale coffee that was warm and bitter.  The Cat looked like hell.  He was busted up and had a long journey from the West.  Many of us thought we wouldn’t see him for another three years, but he got out on some business of “unstable emotions” and “not bein’ able to kill or be killed.”  We knew he would find his way back to the heart of it.

It was then, that I knew the tide of things had changed, and the little Hamburg town would be shaken up, and changed for that moment in time.  For when I walked up the narrow and broken stairwell, I had the same feeling that I got before things were going to end – a new a fresh feeling, poised with a sense of overwhelming sadness.  The door was ajar and Freddy sprawled out on the couch, with his long handsome legs thrown about, laid cool and untouched.  In his teeth, he clenched a cigarette, and his sexual prowess was unbound.  There was no woman living there, just the Cat.  He was on the opposite side of the room, undressing by the window.  It was then that I found myself a seat on the vintage electric organ, and began fiddling with the tobacco stained keys.  The room was quaint and plain, but when the Cat arrived, his delusions spread across the walls like a terrorized schizophrenic high on LSD.  There were mad paintings, done on poster board, some burned and stained with ketchup.  The Two Tonged Cat was fond of his visions, and posted them about the flat with no other intention then to stop for a moment and gaze at his work.  He groped himself in front of the window and promptly crawled to the roof.  The late night haze was setting upon the tired coal mining town, and with a howl he woke the neighbors.  Stark naked and half crazed he ate up the moon with a single bite, and shook his arms at the fast cars passing below him, and no one blinked an eye.  For we knew he was sad, and we knew how things would end.

I followed him unto the roof, and slid down against the wall.  He spoke of dreams and Mexicans in California, along with the girls who he lived with.  His mother could not take him home, and the world was slowly fading about him.  When the Army told him he was no good, he found a home among the destitute, and like an arrow shot from the heart, he plodded his way back into the gloom.  Without a word, he knew he was as good as gone, and laid up on the aching roof, and shook an angry fist at God.  Beloved, once beloved…

Moments later, he crawled back into the place, and rummaged in the cabinet for a large saucer.  He poured himself a cup of tea and lapped on it while deeply inhaling Parliament cigarettes.  What a sight, to see the Two Tonged Cat naked and starving, while Freddy’s sexual prowess shadowed out the night and made dark incantations on the walls.  The talk of girls flowed as quickly as the beer, and the night became dross.  The bright golden Son who shook the walls of San Diego to El Paso was now on the floor with no intentions at all, but to drink until oblivion.  His books were drawn out all over the floor, and with a pocket knife he cut out Picasso paintings and slapped them onto the walls around him.

“God damn. God damn.  It’s all so gorgeous, and awfully sad.”  The Cat said as he stared into the blue-eyed man with a guitar in his hands, misshapen and full of sorrow.  There were no gold pictures on the wall, only Blue Boys and deranged hollow eyes, and like a whisper, he was off again.  How Golden and Holy it was then.  When Freddy had beautiful girls dancing while Nico blessed our ears with words and song that adhered to our soul… “I’ve been losing so long.  I won’t do too much dreaming…” and when they smiled and drank from the cup of ‘morrow!  With the bright-eyed girls who smoked marijuana cigarettes on the bed, and embraced the ebb and flow of the sweet summer nights, when Freddy came home covered in sweat and glistened.  When Chuck and I would play cards and hold for the chance to see one more beautiful dance, or a glance that would proclaim, “All is well.”  How Golden the Summer was, when Sunflowers stood tall and unbroken, holy, and untouched.  Ah, you were the best of all my days.

To a Sunflower:

Sunflower, you make believe piece of work.Holy on Earth, with your golden pedals for hair.

Shine bright for showers are upon you and the time is now to be Golden.

There will be time, as in all things, to grow old and wilt with sadness. 

Be Holy and Golden with your face,

Do not be plucked from the ripe Earth

And put on display for men to lust 

Or women to swoon.

No man nor woman could appreciate,

Nor child behold a Sunflower in Spring.

Oh, how bright and Holy it was –

Ah, Sunflower, the best of my days.

Waitin’ for the Sun to Rise

The Holy Goof is off to New Mexico!Shot out like an arrow from the heart,

And all the girls of ‘morrow 

Wait to be called on again.

Oh, do you know that I still retreat to the mind when I ceased to exist?

Where you wore geisha nightgowns 

And drank my whiskey until you cried.

The phone calls came every night then, and the Holy Goof lived in dreams and nightmares!

We were awfully golden then & beloved.

And believed in most anything that dealt with Plutonian love and stars.

Who then shall we call now?

When there is whiskey to be drunk, and tears to be made?

Ah, Sunflower in yr nightgown who shown in the night on my lap,

Spill love as freely as you did then even now, when all is lost. 

Holy Goof, keep on!

For it is you who make me feel, even now, among the bleak afterglow.

machine gun honey pot

the year of our lord [1999]

HOW ABOUT THEM, how about the man –

Whitman, Poe, the dreams and scrapes of all that jazz, that sad tone,

this is all a gas, a ruse, a pursuing for a bruising as they said in their BOOK

you know, there is not time, there is nothing left.

all the girls and their hollow eyes, shaking continuously

writing home, shaking, hen pecking, there is not TIME!

and there goes I, the cool headed cat, who thinks in numbers

i am no child, i am the washed up shit, who still thinks he can drink bleach with the rest of them

i have nothing to offer, Whitman, Poe, who shook the universe one thousand three hundred and one

times, and who came out of it all, with nothing but a book, a man, and a dollar

there is mother and father too, who look with disdain out on the bleak world

and the ones who drink turpentine and LSD because YAHWEY, JC, HOLY MAN IN DRIPPING PAINT told them so –

ah, when it is all said and done, what will be left?

the earth rotates at 147 miles per hour.

i who wakes up and shits, and schisms, crawls to 5th and Park

the machine who drives man mad, who calls the girls and creates sadness

long overflowing lines of past sense, past tense, rhyme schemes, syntax. enjammed

thoughts and readiness, overflowing from the fountain that called you and i to the inner circles

and found nothing but Moloch and the god of wine, drinking it deeply spending time in the

thoughts (of man)!  drunk on gin, and lime juice.  prunes to help with the rotten

thoughts!  And then, what more can we say, for we have said it already, with our four men of time.

shaking 20 hours a week making ends of time, snipped in half, wrote, begotten, man Is holy in milk.

prose, the rose garden of prose, to which there is no escaping, washing hands 56 times a day

to rid ourselves of the writhing, dry, encampment of all the lives who have once enjoyed serene minds

to this, I am sorry, to this, I will write you.

Whitman, Poe, Baudelaire, Ginsie, you four men of the honey pot, yr tongues, yr laughing beards

the four faceless honey pot men who would make any boy sad with ill devised delight,

there is no going, there is only GONE, and we, are ALL GONE – now DEAD – in the animal soup of time.

ah, the moon landing, shared cigarettes, Cassady fellows in retrospect,

and you honey pot men, with words like dripping golden sun rods that catch my eyes

put me to sleep, and drink with me in the morning,

i will hang yr heads on the walls of schools, churches and say “THESE MAN HAVE FOUND THE WAY!”

these are the men of machine gun typewriters, who bless my Muse,

who write me until my face is hot –

praised be the holy dahlia lama

praised be i,

for I have not yet found the way.

 

 

one parliament night

Ah, Brooklyn, you are safe nowFor the soulful cat who shook up the doors of countless nightmares is gone for now.

& who should stop you!

And he who made innumerable petitions

To mothers and to the long brown legs of the Locust street girls.

Homoerotic nationalism shook bright on the Avenue –

When the scamp from some desolate father and Brazilian mother crawled on roof tops, drank tea and lit

Cigarettes in his teeth.

Who heard the visions of my mind

While the New York skyline called for all the rest

And did he ever show?

Nay! Come whoever

And stay who may –

For the afterglow of our petty lives

Shines beyond our days,

Our days of naught.

And may you all

Brood and be apart of the Human Race.

in the next life 

Ah, Beloved, who shook my sleepless nights and woke me in the afternoon.
It has come time to write you again –
What would they think of this?

This ultra-sardonic position I’ve come into, and whose to blame?
Shall we compare the Camden train yards to my lusting qualities?

Wailing, hollering, and making motions for your incandescent affairs

To be drowned out by shallow caustic memories of dissatisfaction?
I am an unmoored man, as you have come to know – and nothing has come in the way of emotion.

Such as it were, I might consider myself a moralist, but then again, no.
I see your soft legs wrapped for winter & moreover, I am moved with sadness.

The veneer of time has been made thin, thus, I call out – should you hear me, I would not know what to say in response.
In light of all this, I see you’ve been well & I understand now the convictions of ignorant youthful positions.

Poised with more suitable conditions

and however many months,

I am undone.
Should you find this in a moment of desperation, understand that the paradox of our love was not gilded youth, or unbridled passion,

But two parts of a whole, beguiled by the cosmos, wrapped in time and stuck in space. 

Black Dog in the Sun

I.
Ah, when those days were so close together 

& mother liked to watch 

as we made the world make believe.
Who then, could tell us what would 

become of the misery before us?

Mild paranoia and compulsions 

On the afternoon in mid July.
It has all but over come me now,

When you thought I was down and out – I always came back for more.

A glutton for corporal punishment –

Self inflicted of course.
And whose to say I wasn’t ripened then?

Beloved, who are you fooling?

With those bright eyes, make believe visions of days of yore!
II.
It is only now, 139 pounds of sad flesh, which is being lost by the day,

Have I realized what youth we had.

And we thought it was squandered 

In the golden rays of summer or the shining bellows of winter’s wrath.
Sitting on the hoods of the jalopies

Eating pancakes and fluffed eggs,

Black coffee with Marlboro Red’s to make us older.
Hooting till mid morning, calling the gals, and beer and Shakespeare!

The Two Tongued Cat, his marijuana and silk lips.  

Ol’ Pug who sat cross legged and stared at girls.

Chuck, yr love of girls in bars with legs & yr love for a God who we never knew.
I shiver in my long johns now, when I sip my beer and feel drunk after a few slugs.

When I think of all the wine we’d guzzle and the heavy tobacco haze of a post-haste world. 

Heaven sent, for the world was Gold.
139 pounds of cold flesh

A modern man

Yoked & broke by a post-haste world.