I LIE WITH IT

james_wright

 

The Old Lady says

I have anger issues

And I agree

That I let shit piss me off

Why? I don’t know

And I don’t care to analyze it

Because I’m absolutely certain

I’m justified in raging

When something outrageous occurs

Like when some asshole doesn’t use his blinker

Or has the unquestioned last word

About everything and informs me

That everyone over 40 votes Republican

That’s the kind of shit that drives me crazy

Like the fat-fucks that listen to Rush

Limbaugh and the other talk-radio nuts

Those good-ol’ ‘Murakins who buy

Up the multinational corporate dream

That somehow allows them to rant

About sacrificing for God and Wal-Mart

And borders that don’t exist

As if our soldiers die for something

Besides the almighty dollars

Collected and spent by the drones of the world

Maybe that’s a little harsh

A wee bit over the top

Or maybe not

Usually these moods tailgate

Events like the oil geyser greasing the Gulf

Of Mexico or the death of another friend

Which happens too often after fifty-plus years

And is easily amped-up

By four or five beers

Because then I’ll tell you what I really think

I become the cynical prick of wisdom

After a few drinks loaded

With pot-shots and a witty chip on my Dick

Hugo sized shoulders

A wanna-be Jimbo Dickey

Drunk as Dylan Thomas lying

On the stage streamlined as my old friend

From the east end Dickie D

Powder monkey of the edgy grin and gritted teeth

Mocking the sins of the working class

Clowns who know they’re fucked

Yet living like Zoo-Looney kings

We’re such silly-assed trash-spoiled

Gotta spend it sons-of-bitches

And I think that’s mainly why most often

I probably get mad

Crazy-mad as my dad on a Lenny Bruce

Roll like a Twainy Wilde-man

Who doesn’t want to play along

But is not sure of anything anymore

Are you? Maybe the monsters were wrong

Their songs too full of violence and sex

Delta blues and barbecued pork

Loins screaming at me to eat

Art the satiating lie that whispers

Truth and makes me think

I’m not the only sad sack

Of declining testosterone

Perched on the branches of despair

Orgasm and lunacy breaking down

Believe me I’d rather not be Wright

And I’d rather not get angry

But count blossoms and blessings

My preference for breaking

Has always been into tears

 

          for James Wright and Quinton Duval

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Thirsty

full moon

 

drinking

outside after dark,

moonlight glints

on a pint

of Jim Beam

poured to

overflow

a shot glass

quickly tossed back

fast, down the hatch,

only wasting a few

drops on cold-wet

fingers licked

warm to burning hot

all the way down,

another pour, spilling

more—enough of that shit—

the pint grabbed,

the neck wiped

and tipped back to lips,

a nip, a pull, followed by

a two-to-three-swallow guzzle

till old Jim’s empty-dry

and full-high as

the moonbeam

flashing on tumbling glass

whistling overhead

to thud, thunk, crackle . . .

or score a tinkling crash

landing—hoots of laughter

that fade with the squeak-

twang-bang of a screen

door slam, muffled

voices clammed up by

a deadbolt clacking shut

as crickets and cockroaches

share the night dirt

crawling on the ground

through weeds, someone

grunts on hands and knees

blind as his thirsty love

for moonshine—that glow

of whiskey.

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EQUINOX

mallard pair

According to the calendar

it is spring, and if

the songbirds are to be believed

trilling in the afternoon sun,

I could shed my coat

and pleasantly agree, but

the cozy on my can of Rainier

beer and the glacial receding

of the snowbank still here in my yard

resists the 39 degrees warming

me at the rate of defrosting

anything in a walk-in cooler. I guess

this typical breath of spring

reminds me of other March lions

I’ve known (one below zero

fifty years ago) and scratched

behind the ears, tried to

fluff into a sun-baked lamb

that kept kneading me with its cold

claws and flashing those fangs

in the maw of its long-dark throat.

This black sheep has just one more

week to break out of the icy coat

its worn for the last five months

and lean into its springy-ness,

lighten up, for Christ’s sake, embrace

an Easter a naked Buddha could

contemplate. Patience, presence:

it’s difficult to be here

without tomorrow or yesterday,

the way the mallards dabble,

tip and preen, under cloud or sun

on the quiet river channel,

flipping beads of water

that catch the rays of light

reflecting the shimmering surface

like fire against the trunks

of cottonwoods along the bank

and whose limb-buds remind me

of what’s blooming ahead,

the promise of old dreams come

back and true to my desire

to recreate this day into bright greens

moistened warm by April showers.

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at lundy’s house in providence

jcpenney pic

which isn’t a house. of course. and most everything is shot. in black and white of course. and it’s nothing like your house. this heartbreak i mean. which has everything to do with the elopement. and nothing. to do with you or the writer. which obviously means it has everything to do with both and with some kind of blue forgiving. but little to do with the artist’s canvas. or the goose-flesh model posed in only bra and socks pointing at his cock. still one should take off her shoes and eliminate body hair at the door. nothing but heartbreak piled on the floor. along with one shoe. three strap-ons. a leash and rolled newspaper. two orange feathers. the writer has written off cocks but the artist insists he needs a swelled head. blue veins. you on your hands and knees. a tabula rasa blue vanity. paint dribbled and dabbled along the spine. of a book. lips whisper. open peds dispenser. providence. pump handles. blue balls roll down the hall. forgiveness maybe. but she’s never enough. always posing. getting drunk. and leaving with someone’s jack.

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hungry man blues

mobile-home

i likes it in the mornin

and i takes it afternoons

i eats it after supper

till my honey-pot she swoons

 

i bangs the pots

and i opens her cans

swaller all she’s gots

or all she can stands

 

cause i’m a piggy daddy

and mama loves to cook

i bellys up to her spread

and it’s lip smackin good

 

then i flops my big ass

back in that easy chair

full up and outta gas

nothin on but underwear

 

my baby brings me a bromo

reclines my lazy boy

serves me her sweet cherry pie

i devour with sloppy joy

 

i’m her hungry sugarman

and her prowlin salty dog

when she asks for my pork

i slaughters her hog

 

i could end this nonsense

by shuttin off the lights

won’t worry bout the mess

cause we’ll be up all night

 

lickin our fingers

and suckin on bones

her meat’s so delicious

i eats all till it’s gone

 

yes, her meat’s so dee-lucious

i eats it all till she’s gone

 

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NO REGRETS

HeadstoneOldCemeteryBoston

They’re a waste of time.

Admit it.

 

You fucked up,

Naturally.

Trial and error,

It’s what we do.

 

Hopefully it won’t be

The last Row-Day-Oh

If you’re lucky.

Your last waltz,

 

That last dance,

The last best

Goddamn chance

At anything

 

Is here, now, so take it.

No fucking regrets.

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crown thy hood

heritage hall

over the transom

under the porch

he lost his balls

she lit her torch

 

the rats scattered

the seeds are sown

another privileged

asshole is born

 

most likely white

american too

a prodigal ticket

to the land of the few

 

security devices

six figures of shame

censor the media

welfare’s to blame

 

over the scaffold

under the skin

dark children ache

in the shadows of men

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LOST HORSE RETURNS

rolling-stones

Like a Rolling Stone

she strode to the podium,

her ponytail swishing,

black eyes snapping,

she reared and nipped, flashed

teeth, her tongue-tip licked

her lips before she spit

out the poem that ignited

the dry grass in the dead field,

turned the corral fence

to charcoal poles

and sent the stallions stampeding

for the timber, lathered

and ecstatic, penises

batting against their thighs.

She nickered and stomped,

would not be denied.

Her nostrils flared.

She felt the wind in her hair,

and the audience wept, shattered,

found their feet and hands—

wild horses couldn’t drag her away.

She could not be bridled,

and the only saddle she’d wear

she carried in her bones every day.

 

for Sheryl Noethe

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GREAT APES & MONKEY BUSINESS

blue horizon

I don’t know about you, Joe, but I
try to be clever in most conversations:
swapping stories with the warehouse-boys
at work, or talking rock-n’-roll trivia
to my teenage sons; bullshitting friends
I don’t see as often as I’d like,

and (always) when I sit down to write.
I read other poets and admire
their cleverness, surprising details,
a whistling ability to keep me laughing
while they walk me through the dark.

I’m not impressed or entertained by poems
that hinge upon a studied knowledge of the classics.
That kind of cleverness usually bores me (or pisses me off)
like an inside joke I have to learn to get –
a goddamn research project –
when all I want is an honest song, bloody & lusty.

No one farts or fucks in those literary cantos,
though the allusions may be there
if you’d care to explicate & analyze:
“Apollo’s swift sword cuts the wind.”
And here I am being witty again

at the expense of my academic brethern.
I sit in the cheap seats & take pot shots
at those fair-haired, hard-backed-first-edition
canon-ites who’ve made poetry what it is today:
un-common, incorrigible, & aloof. Balls I say!
Poetry needs more beans, more bananas & more beer.

Gimme a Whitman, a Bukowski, or a Jim Harrison
poem, something earthy or dirty with guts –
like a foxy Jimi Hendrix tune. Let it swing & scream,
let it prance & wink, make every syllable count.
I want it to bury me like my father’s death.

That’s the poem I want. Clever or not,
just make it real; touch me; make me sweat.
I want to remember what you can’t forget.
I want to feel it, I want to breathe it,
I want to bleed it & believe . . .
that somehow I am this poem.

– for JimBo & Joe Mama

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SLEEPY INN

motel wall

working again

trading your life

for money

delivery

driving and stopping

picking up and dropping

plotting your route

watching the clock

traffic lights

braking for the oblivious

idiot behind the wheel

on his cell and listening to

Dylan watching the river

flow, now, you sit eight deep

in the left turn lane

on Broadway waiting for

the green arrow

 

when you spy an older woman

shuffling along the sidewalk

in front of the aging brick

motel across the street, circa

1950, her right arm extended

to feel for wall, door, or

window air conditioner, whatever’s

solid, her makeshift handrail

every other slow-mo step

her fingers or palm touches then

pushes off, her left arm tightly

cradles something in a paper bag

to her breast, as she reaches

her room door cracked open

she disappears in the dark

 

when an ’86 Chevy Blazer

pulls into the lot

then backs into the first

diagonal parking spot

off the street, quick and slick

like he’s done it a time or two

a couple with handicapped plates

the driver gets out, shuts

his door less than six zippity-feet

from the motel room

he enters without much trouble

doesn’t look back

his biggest handicap

appears to be obesity

 

when the passenger

door opens and a woman

slowly slides out

he’s already inside

she closes the door to feel

her way along the Blazer

coming around the nose

you note the glazed belly

of her zip-up hoodie, lime-green

and her blue pajama bottoms

with white silhouettes of

bunnies and carrots

but her feet steal the style-show

those zebra-striped zipper-

slippers make you smile, say

oh, baby, you know what I like

 

when the light changes

you drive away

assume she followed him inside

to continue their day like you

just trying to get to some

kind of social security

as soon as you can

if you’re lucky enough

to make it that far, maybe

there’ll be a Sleepy Inn

with cable and a bottomless pot

of Boyd’s in the office

some retro accommodation

your age where the women

outnumber the men

two to one, and all the ice

you can scoop is free

where they’ll run you a tab

for liquor, put it on your weekly

bill, and deliver till midnight

any day of the year

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