First Love

First Love

Do you remember the days we ran together

those days bruised knees strong legs

those days kissing behind your cabin

hearts pounding love engorged?

Your lips cherry strawberry and holly

I pale boy waited outside mouse quiet

you run slipping on maple wings

embracing you say forever love.

Forever what’s that?

we parted in sadness and hope

forward reality caught our souls

in the wars our father fought.

Ignorance blew our minds

a mottled ocean separated us

bullets flew through the green thickets

my first birth a baptism of fire.

The Loss

The Loss

 

Charlie’s Place sat isolated on a side street.  Next to a train track which is traveled rarely by anything resembling a train, generally it’s used as a path by smokers heading over to the Smoke Haven Cigarette Store, 2 packs for seven bucks.  For some crazy reason I thought I would enjoy a Saturday night at Charlie Patton’s bar.  It turned out to be a futile trip.

 

The bar was small, smoky, and crowded.  The stools sitting at the bar were full of old men wishing they were somewhere else, somewhere over the rainbow maybe.  The tables were gray with red stools perched on each side.  Each of those stools was occupied by a young hoper.  Youthful tavern goers were hopers, hoping they could leave with someone.  Each one wanted someone to hold, to love, and carry them away to utopia, a place none of them ever visited.  It was just a place to be hoped for.  Utopia lies in the mind and nowhere else.

 

I didn’t cross the threshold of Charlie’s Place.  Instead I shuffled my way to my old truck.  The night was not good to me.  Since Mandy’s death the night became my enemy, alcohol my friend.  There was no reason to keep the charade going.  I just wasn’t interested in moving on with my life.  I preferred the muck.

 

I mentioned Mandy’s death.  It was years ago when pancreatic cancer stole her away.  My dog Fred was flattened by a car and Bagles simply died of old age.  My drinking increased after those tragedies and all the tragedies preceding them.  I couldn’t stop drinking and CSH told me I must stop working.  My last paycheck lasted three days.

 

Perhaps the biggest tragedy in this bizarre life was me.  I was a tragedy waiting to happen and happen it did.  My old Pontiac long ago died and was buried in our local junkyard.  My mobility, my self esteem was buried along with that old rusty pile of metal.  None of it matters now.  You see I have written my destiny in cheap whisky and in foreclosed houses mostly filled with the homeless and the forgotten.  I say without the need for compassion that I am one of them.

 

If something can be learned from my story it is that the world has always been a mystery.  Along with the world the possibility of an afterlife is more of a mystery.  No one knows what lies beyond our graveyards, perhaps just more graveyards a thousand lifetimes of graveyards.  Is there a dimension beyond the three or four we have?  I saw what I saw but who’s to say I am not crazy.  Who is to say that the things I saw were nightmarish hallucinations.  I know that I lost a battle with myself and that comes from my own weakness and only mine.  It is what experts call the internal locus.

 

The struggle to live is your struggle.  You own it.  I hope with what’s left of my mind that your struggle leads to better results than mine.  Humankind can be humane but that my friends is up to you, you hold the injured bird in your hand, let it live or crush it to death.  Let it live.

 

 

The End

The South Rising

The South Rising

Seduction in America nothing new

time in a barrel of Georgian peaches

cotton in Alabama covering naked ass slaves

we know nothing’s changed

just the faces and names

in the fields of Vietnam

deserts of Afghanistan

bootlegged strapping black boys

each and every one.

I’m Sorry Arthur Shoemaker

I had a friend many years ago though his name wasn’t Arthur Shoemaker.  The name I invented for his privacy as well as mine.  Arthur passed away several years ago without knowing his impact on my life, both spiritually and intellectually.  We were friends, but before I could tell him how much he was loved, he passed.  I am sorry Arthur, but I offer now my very own eulogy to a man that I loved for his simple joy for living.

 

I’m Sorry Arthur Shoemaker

 

  1. I’m sorry you were born into a dysfunctional family and felt the hard burns of detachment throughout your childhood.
  2. I’m sorry for the indignities brought to you by your stepfather and a mother who closed her eyes to your abuse.
  3. I’m sorry for your inability to be loved and to love during your youth. Your detachment from the herd of social conformity can only be blamed on your intelligence and individuality, nothing else.
  4. I’m sorry that the hatred and vitriol that eats at our brothers and sisters of the world made you cry so many nights.
  5. I’m sorry you never met a woman to share your mind or your need for children. It was a loss that nothing can replace.
  6. I’m sorry that your lack of belief in a God has caused emotional trauma in your life, but know this, goodness comes from within and not without.
  7. I’m so sorry that you and I did not know each other in our college and youthful years. There is so much we share.
  8. Finally, Arthur Shoemaker I’m sorry you’re gone. Debbie and I miss you beyond words.  My sadness eats at me each time I think of you.

The King

The King

Tell me something new about the skull

smelling up our house on the swamp.

Can he screw every black man walking the earth?

Can he screw every vulnerable child fighting his war?

His friend with Titanic eyes dreams of leather whips,

strong hemp rope, and hand rolled cigars.  He fancies

himself an otolaryngologist

with the sweet smells of strange fruit lulling him

into the dark halls of insanity.

Such is the Fascist auto pleasuring

his rocket of autocracy.

Warriors

Warriors

Ugly?  No one argues

with old ones in the camp.

Of what use are we,

growing creases and fault lines?

Not forgotten, not forgiven,

not named, we stand

crooked and unformed before

young painted warriors

riding horses made of graphite.

We are your future ghosts.

Our wisdom will haunt you.

You will repeat us.

Warriors never remain warriors.

Ugliness

I

Some wait to find

meaning in living.

Not me I wait for snow

to bury the meaning of life

along with my companion black dog.

For it is he who bites my life

draws the blood of reality

a vampire

who chases me by night

never greeting or retreating.

It is the black dog

no one knows.

II

I am the ugly man, the guy passed by on the street without recognition.  Do you know me?  No.  Do you care about my broken spirit?  No.  I am the breeze which whips through an unknown forest, invisible and dismissive to trees and bramble bushes.  I walk the streets of a war torn city and cry when babies cry for suckling.  I cry when dissonance visits my homeland but no one hears.  Do you hear me?  No.  I place myself on the altar of social acceptance and stoned to death for free thought.  I am dead yet I continue to walk through doors, through green lights, and kitchen lines.  I am the ugliness of imperfection.

III

A city is vacant yet people live in their tents, boxes, and sleeping bags.  Unshaved men gather around a barrel of flames to warm hands gnarled and unclean.  Unclean spirits dancing in the dirtiness of freedom are hungry with palms up and the stigmata of need brandish them.  They are the silent voices of the world.  Do you hear them?  No.  Each marble has a hole in which to hide.  Do not take that away.

IV

Young, lost, angry, poor, with a monkey on his back.  Boy junkie makes one last call to a drunken mother.  She is too stoned to answer, the boy waits until jail lights dim into blackness.  He chews at his wrists like a rat chewing off a trapped foot.  Bleeding out, checking out, junkie boy gives no thought to the games people play, the cuteness of wealth, millionaire dating shows, or the pseudo saving grace of Jesus Christ.  God watches him, he watches all you know, but sits flatly on his ass to see the glazing eyes and the flooded blood red floor of a urine-smelling jail cell.  The Holy Ghost checks himself into a Marriott in downtown Chicago.  Martinis are half priced after six.

V

A child of the universe deserves

more

adobe home blasts blood on your floor

mother

rubble pile gulping coughing

war

tank whores and gruesome memories

breathless

dark riders in the night hunting always hunting

children

time will never be on your side

death

wrapped in a neighbor’ rug

lowered

to dust to dust to dust.

VI

Black night snow licking

at my toes

daddy’s dead.

The trees bend in reverence

for his passing soul

his corpse still haunts me

quiet and still like a Quaker’s prayer.

I watched six men labor at his coffin

tugging him to an empty mouth

of dirt and snow

I still cry today for my naiveté

I did not know the man

my creator and chief.

I bow now in reverence of his dream

mine to keep like a flower

in an ancient bible.

VII

Takers and givers, that’s what it has come down to says the big fat cats sitting in their leather office chairs.  “Yes, takers and givers,” Says a man with hand rolled cigar made by a poor worker living in squalor on the south side of Havana.  “Takers and givers,” He laughs like he just invented the idea, but he didn’t.

We are shocked that someone would treat their pet cruelly.  The woman with a rope tells a cat owner “The cat must go.  I can clearly see every rib in its fragile body.  It’s starving.”  The world is starving.  Where is the man?

A good Christian would not kill a doctor who performs abortions.  A good Muslim would not kill a city full of people.  But a good Ayn Rand lover without a flicker in his brow steals money from poor school children, old people, and the down trodden in his land just so he can fly first class.  Ayn Rand was an asshole worshipped by more assholes and the wind continues to whisper across the tombstones of all her victims in Texas, Kansas, and Mississippi.   She was a global asshole.

A rusty haired man with puckered lips is the ugliest of ugliness.  Women fuck him with hope of nabbing a piece of his multi-million dollar meringue.  What has he given to his Christian friends?  He has pulled the trigger of insurrection with the help of fat people with teabags hanging from their sun hats.  They use words they don’t truly understand in a world they don’t truly understand.  Nationalism has killed and continues to kill the blind and ignorant, all for a loaf of bread or a bowl of rice.

There is no God because a benevolent God could not sleep through the mass murders of his children.  God is just another rich man’s game, a game of human checkers being knocked off the table spilling a glass of good whiskey and momma’s cookies.  Spill blood not good whiskey is the goal of the so called anti-Christ.  God is the power of man to control another man.  God is money.  I have no money.

VIII

Standing far away

the world looks good

shaved and showered

clean cut and blue

If you stand on a canyon’s edge

words escape you

the awesome and impotence

beyond your power

thus is the god of my soul

I am amazed at a million years

a million tears a million wars

still I stand as the Monarch

flutters proudly from flower to flower

my thoughts are wind

I am god.