Friday, December 07, 2007


Yes, I mean no. It's not a confirmed done deal, but as we were all standing at the CP Metro, Dana said it was as good as a done deal. She said this with confidence.

Late, it was after one when we left. In bed by two. I was up at five. Awoke from bizarre nightmare, couldn't get back to sleep.

I too, am energized, given the fact that I am dragging butt. My head feels like it NEEDS to explode for clarity and relief, et cetera. No energy to suffer Georgetown tonight, sorry. Inertia will keep me in studio working, but it's pretty nasty out there. Was sleeting about mid-day.

Bought some varnish today, some paint, and a few more canvases.

Hope to hear from Matt soon...

If not, I'll be seeing Dana probably Wednesday to pick up paintings. I can't believe I bought that second one. One for Sue. One for me. Poor for the holidays. Scratch our tentative holiday getaway to Massachusetts.

Oh well, Dana deserves.


Friday, November 16, 2007


Birds of prey
eat bugs of gray

Birds of doom
for you make room

Early bird catches the worm
if late he makes you squirm

Shoot a bird if you don’t mind
a sure sign to heal the blind

Birds of a feather flock
Together they destroy your clock

Birds of prey
eat bugs of gray

Birds of doom
for you make room

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV }


But then, I am no military expert. As the facts
themselves reveal, it can be said
I know very little about
almost anything I aim
to declare.

Just ask the silence...

[1995, Washington DC ]

Friday, November 02, 2007


Plunging into the proud once bold steel spokes of Wheeling
on a boast, leaving self-identified low-brow intellectuals
thick on their heels, disciples of mediaplex back home
to guzzle odd beers, to call forth warm meals,
shutter fashion clues and scatter candle wicks,
cascading ambitions, creeping years and shell-soaked
beltway snobberies if not outright fears
only the duty-stoked people of paper bountiful
& class swearing beautiful can celebrate or poke
without laughing out loud
(Must calibrate gross weight or reluctantly take a dive...),
to increase their distance from the nothingness crowd
lost to brutal calories and raw educations
that rarely matter. Sometimes freedom
of choice is just a cigar.

The boy scout giving good turn a bad name
squats two seats away from the shadow's flame. To this end
I am greeted by
icy gray broken asphalt gristle patched with frosted gray cloud cover,
stuff of gray twigged mountain peaks and frisky billboards, soaking up
mere strands the soot life left to the rights of man in sixty year exodus,
sealed in a book mapping tough cookie Norwegian painter Edvard Munch,
(recently purchased in Washington and also found in local library, with lime)
to his destiny of soul-watching inched in regional nee personal strife,
the contact spy, the imperfected feeling magus,
the mystic's eye bent to March Madness
and the gnat gusts of George Mason's run
smack past the heavily brokered UCONN largess
predicted here on this page at patriotic halftime
with the same breath as "Pop Mike, Pop Mike" fun
veers the seer from Connecticut Avenue to Main Street
invoking play by play off the curve, via broadband, the long hike,
the voice of God dead or alive voting one sorry syllable at a time
with these heavy feet, with these heavy heavy feet
chanting "Long live the Mountaineers!"

Early thoughts among leafless trees recall jobs lost on a dime,
mantles of black gold from ancient burial grounds that fed
the former veracity, stolen with a few strokes of ink and power
of law but that's sparing a crime, spoiling the climb (social)
more shame in responding to a coal miner's lament
however sublime. Ignorance is egregiously polled,
and tallied like a certain hour where uncertainty takes hold
but will never sop these wet K Street cement trucks
with an exchange value that will surpass the damage of
wasted years looking for evidence of American life elsewhere
among the stark solar systems and pigeonholes of our enemies.

This rambunctious exile with single wave of arms deal
might have dropped anchor in Cumberland, M-D
some many miles franker (with escalating gas prices) still to the east,
instead, in exit from the nation's capital in the land of Nod,
brave hardly but where art thou hididen in tattered cards,
revealing seven maybe eight convalescing spirits,
as thy wholesome West Virginia Left Bank energies
emerge among fading old mills and abandoned
century old cigar warehouses,
nail factories and one fairly new hockey arena
skimming along the once mighty Ohio River
banks and bards, shanks and shards
like some Indian giver (that old tale)
ignorant of industrial bed safeguards
perfectly, perfectly American...

and I too, have come to recapture Victorian Wheeling metaphor,
ripped from ancient headlines in the days of Zane and Fort Patrick Henry
speaking the spectacular language of oldest and largest—
magnificient suspension bridge still in use, American Legion Post #1
recalling the 1940s, the unvarnished glories of the Capitol Music Hall,
where thy current president—Bush II—delivered another Iraqi hoot
hosted by the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce such as it is,
(commerce by all indications is not the city's strong suit)
before whizzing past in the familiar ironclad motorcade
black to the gills, in tight with street throngs of mere dozens
confused but supportive of Orwellian nation-building doubletalk
(a mere handful of detractors showed up with predictable signs)
hurrying to greet proven Pittsburgh past any sad assassins
hiding in the vacant ruins of the stunted and the shade
just two short days after my own arrival,
recalling former feasts of this harsh Steeler Nation
now in fester.

Victory to explore this old house of Wheeling,
home of some thirty thousand souls nested in the airy hills
to examine the lost fortunes of free elections and free speech,
to score on the fading linebackers godwilling for minimum of one year,
axiom by axiom in a tutelege of the expatriate, I am after all, a city boy—
saith the tainted poet, painteth the awkward painter...
Drawing upon the strength of history wanting a chance,
success and sure loss of dead weight left in the District of Columbia
where special populations prove numbers are anything but...
(absence of voting rights, questioning the dance)

But just as the petty thief draws near,
there is visionary hope in new places, new perspectives, new choices.
Infrastructure—civic, civil, and yearning awaits.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV }


As in a quick call to battle arms,
the season to the helpless
never seems right. Nor flush
the snares of dog pile charms
do much for the victim's
keen hindsight.

It's not so much that language is dead
past praise and heckle and anybody's guess,
but we haggle over price and strength
of our mountains emotionless. . . .

As the first verse is repeated for good measure.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV ]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yes, it's true, nearly two years after its publication, and despite the dissemination of forty or so copies among a few friends, family members, and strangers beating off the night, I have come to accept the fact that I write in such a powerfully dull way as to render this special class of improbable bibliophiliacs completely and utterly devastated to the point of unleashing their inner mute upon the very grains of sand upon which I stand. Now, I have not given this book away to just anybody with a cap size or a big gulp to spare, but only to those who pleaded, cajoled, and, if cool beans are a good source of protein, threatened my well-being for a personal copy of this collection of visceral sweat and tears, bloody for the twenty-five years it stewed in the making, usually a signed copy, and usually accompanied by some petty insolence that they loved poetry, or some such glad-handing gush as that.

The heartbreak of the silent rejection, notwithstanding, my book, The Silent Cull & Other Mechanical Ideas, Collected Poems 1980-2005 is not your usual book of poetry, but is four hundred pages of seething political arrest, and I use the word "political" and "arrest" in all their usual connotations plus a few more that I insist are both political and arrested within the pages themselves, banking on subtleties of style and insight that are only coming apparent to the ill-prepared general public in these, our own spectacular terror-driven chaotic times. Well-minced words are a swallower's delight, and this book rarely portrays paradise, or other romantic follies of the past or future tense of mankind, but in its own galloping way tackles the physics of time and thought itself.

But this blog entry is not about describing the book. It has been aptly described elsewhere.

Here I wish to fan myself with those few words of praise, or words of any kind that have wafted my way in the context of this inpenetrable book. The following paragraph was sent to me by a local artist, a young painter of some early renown, still in his late twenties, named James Coleman:

I really like the book man, I read it out loud to Christie at night when we go to bed, they say the baby can hear it and its good to read to him, but I dont know. I really love it man they say if you reach one person, blah blah blah, well thats me. I can sit on the roof and smoke a cigarette, lay in bed at night, damn i would even take it to the beach. It flows it pulsates, it moves me. Im not kissing your ass, I have no reason to. Just wanted to give you an honest opinion, and for whatever reason, it speaks to me. When I read it I feel like I did when I was in college smoking opium and reading boulbelaire or at the coffee shops reading dylan thomas, thinking I should start a fight. What I am trying to say is that at this point in my life your book works for me. Great job man, Im not a literary figure or even a good writer but just wanted to tell you. If I see you and I am drinking and tried to tell you all this, you would think I was full of shit.

What can I say? For all the silent pretenders haunting my crude ambitions, this single boast is just about the most stirring string of thoughts an old poet, fat on the failures of inertia, far past his gameface prime, could ever hope to absorb.

Thanks J...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I. Avenue of the Americas

Who killed the hippie prep post-paranoia
preamble program where kitchen prophets
diddled themselves to famous quotes,
humpback quotas, and honorable prices sucked off
the mainstream poisoned ingluttonous, proud to be American
pubic? Was it Delilah Day strutting around in Great Plains
of economic theory gone sour like toadstools anonymous some mediocre
Prince of Peace was fed right before bedtime,
incensed, begging for more and more frequently with gutter regards
to her thousand and one Iranian tales leaning on the elocutionist’s
thug-tight polish sausages still unkempt but at least
Europe wails on about tiny hotdog explosions
and the absence of Mr. Monroe’s lost doctrine Cuba defies, Afghanistan
survives.....oh say can you see Beirut as revelation in the flesh,
endangered pigeons dancing in the eyebrow of Khomeini like sweat on
a burning Bush left to shake down the nations,
floods of panic warriors taking to the hills to defend
k-rations and dead ideals—
no new ones available.

II. Safety First

Did every new model doff Costello Elvis eyewear, uranium flags
sewn by prisoners of groundhog conservatives composing
fly-away pinstripes and swearing off fashion
for fifteen full and pepsident minutes until the xeroxed
Andy Warhol coughed and made it ‘real raisin’
enough for all turds of all race rats and cat classes from Cleveland
to Willacoochee, from DuPont to Berkeley, from La Crosse to Corpus
Christi, from Vincennes to Window Rock, from Boise to Times
Beach, from the Columbia Pipeline stealing from the rich to give to the rich,
from dead sunglasses and bricklayer entry level pocket positions
to call on the name of our holy hardware to save us
from the Law of Spic and Span Soup Flies? Incorrigible navy buoyancy
tests failed to shock the 80’s into an alternative issue,
so a new Neo-Manic emerges for the year 1991, for a blast,
whipping out scab groin vexation, irritated fort
albino annoy boy sandles forked exchanging kickoff boot fingers
and skinhead scissors that touch the spine of every real American band, braids
for starch to scorch brotherhood hypocrisy with gangslang goulash ‘stop
on a nickel nuke.’ The cities are purple
now ripe with renaissance resistance, cool cocks for kingdom’s cum,
AIDS an irony blanket, a bingo butcher passed around like
a snooky smile baby kangaroo. NYC has pissed one more
rat factory cursed infection, harDCore Washington—
the murder capital of America where bloody black as night and black power
have merged into one long filthy look into the confusion coersive
power drips sloppily into the sludge bucket decency secretes as remnants
of thy will be done, thy will be done.…

III. Buckhead and the Symbolic Mode

Why did the FDR lock up all the yellow bodies he could smell a scandal
hidden beneath five thousand years of eating raw fish and turning
out sensual art for the masses to mourn? Was Huey Long really
the enemy of the old cripple or could Ezra Pound spell
“encyclopedia” in forty-three languages and conjure up images
sick and disgusting to Mussolini’s headwaiter, St. Elizabeth’s no
prison but just a stopping place to feed the whales,
hunter agony curling the breasts every beauty bounces beneath
the best literacy test available in nightowl zones, corporate zions
offering zany dough illusions, nimrod solutions,
virginity restoring money back operations while
the punks go off to college to crucify
everyone but themselves…who
killed off purposes? Who authorized
this moron-anarchy, capital publishing,
stay-at-home-buy-’em-in-the-bleachers Ted Turner America’s
Cup Runneth Over sold by Soho into Egyptian slavery, walk
don’t talk or stare-at-my-supple-body nurf axioms
anyway? Jack London and his klondyke
pussy widowers and northern territory aristocratic devotion
to the weak and petrified? Why do the rich get richer
and the poor get more numerous? Is this really a poem
or can this page be classified as the answer to the eternal
quiz show dilemma, do commercials really sell soap?

IV. Creative Loafing And Other Tax Deductible Weather Patterns

Boho is dead! Poetry is dead! Ditto the poets!
…their mouths are full of boiled salted peanuts, ears of cob-roasted corn
stuffed in auto-eroticistic voices in from mainland factories,
broken excuses the sparing questions stiff, pockets in handle—
carry on Jack Nimble, piss
your unfettered mind away in cheap detective stories about man and god and war,
piss your unbuttered ambition away to rewrite the bible for MTV, piss
your Nielsen numbers away and tarry with the Ramones
in marchfest thimble standards, refusing to party hardy
with Il Dulce and Sicky Wifebeater where Mentorism
is rampant in the minds of the mindless, dark ages, and neon cages,
John Cage, John Cave, Nick Cave, and no cave, living
for the bookstore; Henry Miller! my old dusty friend! the stomach’s
losing out and I can’t seem to borrow, the new craving for passion pit
panache prize yarns and cystic fibrosis cushions my latest act
of imaginary sedition beggars not worth the cotton I’m wearing,
but then I read a fortune cookie yesterday that said I would never
think another thought without first counting the cost
orgasm brings to the homeless who steal a glance at the White House, but
then we all can’t be married to our work & know better than they (the safe),
the passive worth of strangers who serve
and will be served on a silver platter plateau
than those who steal zero from itself. First silence, then the flood of agents,
then postmarked bodyguards for the worthy famous filibuster sleeves
populating the risk of record vinyl, oy
Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, hip Corso
“where have all the visions gone
long time America?…”
slip it in dear—
part it here, don’t forget the mustard, erase words
ugly pimplexiproblematicist in heavenly heat quacking
candid fear of fornication offering complications by proxy
or pale comparison to last night’s doubt
and the cruisers
who snatch their talk boxes
and pump them half-full to fool talent
scouts from the Bronx, pretty
pink tourists carrying the card & earring vendorships
laughing in high bank notes left in grandfather’s will be done
and attaché unions of the newly post-Kerouac free,
the wise and sexless. Author’s Note: What I mean is—
that special creature who sees neither male nor female,
nor considers the game itself a matter of faith.

V. Aging Where Exposed to Temporary Eye

across the sober horny husk of Jersey night
sour rhythms snap a vulgar breath in two on orders from my feet
and I recant the last mile of hard nail poetries—
there is no breeze catacombs offer
to return the gesture & who is there
to remind me of social stares? Finally the fix of friendship
buries its own in the same hole seabreeze whores love a token chance
in the midst of a crowd of strangers petrified green too cold to bark
enema grips or nothingness sores plucking their lungs
from fairy tales great and grim
left in our daily bread paychecks and variety packs
of wolves and fanny plantations, oh Ginsberg go home!
eat a damn spicy onion from Georgia, not the sweet one all
have been waiting for, for those days are tucked away for now¬—
our feet hang on a line
a quote we commit as our own salvationary process
no new innovations can caress
no new insights into kaddish are made available
by the tiny presses
that liken us as to their own,
furnaces well-stoked with mindworker autojerk crowds
lip their motives
and I bow in recognition yet move circulatory
on past open doors closed to drafts, because!I refuse to confer, blood…
blood, blood, blood cells attacking
hair fashion pugalists
hung out on a dare
missing major poet tripping Denver says Rothschild, his mammon-saint,
this holy August. I hitchhiked all the fucking way
to Big Apple Momma Sucka My Explanation cos I am punk
just to chat seriously about coping
with this emerging generation of wild-haired cats
hung out on a bet, not yours but you know who…yep
who took all our Jobs and spoke to us in whale! Holy granoli
Americo-Russo whale!

VI. I Am—Pronoun City

no new purposes in this wertimer clan
the old issues not stale enough to use
as newspaper headlining spunk
fishwrapper glorified shipwiper stunt & punt quarters
no new intellectualisms
junkies or jeepsters, clunkers or keepsters
death rates by opulent characters
hung out to lie cockstill but hardly sure
to sacred students
crab telephone users
resisting another strike against him and her
mayhem in fashion-wave restaurants
bills toppling yet another pay t.v. eros
rights to America banned
episodes fragile famous poet busy
tired removed costly insiders only
need apply
necessary credentials shaved & groomable beards know
who I’m complaining about
with American
Express card you baffle me
now that you knocked off a few salaried
positions, gave speeches to the adoring zealots
now you don’t have to but you do, so don’t
tell me you’ve done it all when all you’ve done is
crack parking zones with Chrysler

[ 1983, Washington DC ]

Monday, October 08, 2007


"There are some people one loves best,
and others whom one would almost always
rather have as companions."

—Henrik Ibsen

          Throw away that awful ticket stub I said. None of us
here need that can of starch. We know by heart
the meaning of fuss. Baby and the Pacifiers
are playing a gig at the Bistro to start.
Roaring inclinations.

We worked out long wars, healing our oyster eyes
with the sweaty breath of evergreen night.
That Lebanon dirt. Manic contours
agreeable to random odor,
magnificently kite.
We knew we couldn't write about
it so we danced.

The proud crystalline swans of our age,
obscuring shades,
sex and stereotype,
wars and rumors of wars,
strikes, balks, and numb nuts,
say hello every sort of way,
wrapping like a nursing maiden’s delicate hands
around the seat of our desires,
our strategic pyres,
in place of inspirational jeep: glances
just aren't enough glands.


              She handled
my buttocks and its karma,
so tight and competitively elite,
as I cracked the bloody march.
New Wave Morals.

Immediately I loved her, pledged
a plowboy's pitch acoss the pink passage
into backyard frenzies. I mulled eloquently
to myself, caught in a whim of fashion,
if I might ought caress the knotted warchest
she portrayed. Her boyfriend's face
I don't recall.

Baby, the pacifiers,
and our wormlike mirrors
responding like thoroughbred
strangers caught in the loosening moods of dawn
were mere constructions of belief.
I worried about my nature to be
direct and innocent. It drove
me to silence.

We never traded namesakes alive.
My boldness froze in cockmassacre
and toes, I twisted & smiled
acres and acres of wilted smiles
planted deeply tapping
her punk nerves sponsoring
my soaring terrain.

Her ravishionary spherical absolutes
aroused my superior being,
those victory moon bavarian breasts
(honorarium of the beasts...)
provoking the shape of things and substance,
my superior being shy,

I danced. She rubbed her baubled paws
again along the fine tight lines my crib
drew against hocus evening shadows,
showing there can be no pretense
denying afresh the vital statistic,
no silly discourteous cocktease
stranding scalps and flirting
humor, hunger, hoary
religions that the idle
refuse to prosper.

          We easily could have
made each other blank members
of a riper version, gambling
on last night's cruise into sane
Richard Hell's visitation,
a vanity cruise highlighting
winning girls wearing nothing
but furs,
idols and onan. We became the idea
and did.

And I felt our mutual flash,
hornspun and cursive,
realizing the mediocrity
a poem of words
beginning of the world
tigers and baboons
thunderbirds and the dung beetle
biting off more than a scientist
can chew,

open clash,
the meaning of her friendship ritual.

She and He
Rocking to and from
in pop style punctuated punk
continuing to
rock to and from
her unannounceable tokens
sheer succulence
well pronounced
shocking my demands on reality,
to and from, rubbing
my arm, now as important
as any zone
I could hope oversimplifyingly
would release me. Graceful
dancer bombardier
balancing virtue
and free baggage. Likelier
choices bait our laughter.
Especially in a gig
of young punk artists

She felt herself.
Above the arms of her date.
The three of us knew the heathen pains
of fate which haunt
heaven and the pawnbroker's
pavilion. And
white hawkish sweaters
bulging through nervous nicotined
smoky husks
in the Bistro late hours.


A form of rural perfection, Avondale
Estates, Georgia, hitching a ride to meet Ginsberg,
the Big Apple gizzard, it’s a scorcher, my balls sweaty,
hair down to my chin blondie, no Avondale mistakes,
no women to crack my halo or burn their bras,
hugging, sucking, tucking rugged red clay
construction sites bare to eyes without scruples,
New Worship cornerstone erections in latter days, oh thanking
nine heavens for seven elevens and the beliefs of Hippocrates,
and a beveled glass art-factory, original, vaginal, marginal cool
Georgia State Highway Patrol office, town of Avondale
protected from itself by gunpowder deterrents, thanking
God of Billions, the courtyard sports manger silver lining
flagpole, vacant of colored cloth, yet commands slaves
of the Texaco Star, guts holding down the fort,
stocks and bonds and spies, oh thanking
the Amoco Boy—our unwilted concern
while I beg to swallow cold fountain water kept
safe in your keeping—heard on the radio, the Heat God
killed eight suffering unair-conditioned zekes in the state
of the Cracker last week. Then I left the road one more
time before setting sail with my nearer to thee Eagle Scout thumb.
Left to get a Big Mac and dry fish sandwich. Left
me with fifteen cents and only 873 miles
to Manhattan where I hoped to share my book
of dead poems with a famous asshole.

[1983, Atlanta, GA ]


You are The Hierophant
Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching. All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors. The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


              Oftentimes we cry
When they capture the smell the unborn skeletons
Smell as they lie in placement, too subtle to object
To the reasons for delivery.
Hurry sweet fragrance before I pass into sleep
At the cut of their knife, before they chain me
To a nest.

Twig by twig
We build a language, answering
As a rule the call to exception, a fig
Leaf or two, or
Isn't he big?

They took us as fools
And pried us free of our questions.
Someone we knew?

Soapy skinny dipper Deborah sober.
Unconcerned prankster.
Don't you see that she blushes with conformity?
Manager of the year?

I love her and them, dare I choose
Or should I if my mantra
Is wrong? Kangaroo said it.
Xerox sighed then replied:
Lists are for opium users
Who forget that mercy is a gift of

[ 1982, Atlanta, GA ]


I. Some kind of joke
The year is nearly unimportant. Zinc is in pattern,
but I can only purchase my thoughts on even numbered
days. Poor, acquainted more clearly
with a poor folk’s rag theory
than with the possibilities awaiting
to be chosen, I swear on a stack of paperbacks
I ain’t no fucking prophet…
but a walking man walking,
walking without bail and rolling on past
damp December, born into debt,
a free state, and a slap upon
the cheek…
born to choose, born to hesitate,
free to lose in storming screaming success,
my swelling head tossed off in oft repeated duress,
and designated on some long lost Monday
to openly investigate.

          Standing straitlegged slowly trusting
flagged caper hornstone corners of civilization spry
beneath mystical but outdated electric streetlights,
I glance briefly at an old bank’s perpetually
still digital clock, no Big Ben but my party-line
glands assure me neither am I,
knowing sugar sweet well there is no time
to lose, nor time to gain before the sign of the whale
registers its final pleas, its aim to seize
our weakening eye. With an addict’s frazzled wisdom
I stray eagerly to my left in search of the missing kingdom…
but tonight there’s no answer blowing in the breeze.
So I grunt and gesture with a shrug to my right, no saints
squirm there this time for me to unabashedly offend—
And fear staggering the city waves chaste throbbing membranes,
a flesh-scarred sky’s the limit, and good taste obnoxiously spawns
cactus-eyed vendors winging unabridged versions
of security said solid, safe, and sound, mockery
advertizing plain the new plastic rosary,
dutifully opening mixed oral bags
of sleek promises…

for the influx of staring strangers to see.

But reliable inside sources,
alias the missing link to downtown centers of faith,
have warned warm the wires of each thicket brain
that back in the gymnasiums, where these mongrels
eat and sleep, their closets are packed full, and
their children can’t weep. Bombs still burst in air,
crippled marriages identify our modern stare,
this sublimely decent thing called the love blind
chills us helplessly into statistics we can’t keep,
below or above these rats in the heap.

Past irregular self-annointing, some distant star
dying happily ever after, calls after our illicit kingdom,
junior high language suicide squeeze, pimplexiproblematicisms
at work, tourists who rob you, rape your wives and daughters
and sons, distorting the shapes of seasonry.

We live in our own ashes,
Elmer’s glue, crockery, satisfaction,
strength in numbers, baseball fevers and career
goals of seventeen, twenty-six, forty, twenty-two,
twelve, thirty-three, sixty-five, and one hundred plus one,
the age of consent times the age of pure reason,
career goals, blanket insecurity, student loans,
Eden punchlines, or don’t you get it?

By the vastness of our viscera, we were sitting straitlegged
and reading a book of tall sayings.

We’ve been given an inheritance—
horizontal hangups, vertical revenges
oblong fantasies, firm nothings, horns of
plenty firepower if little else remains.

Tortured teenage codes string and amplify
tricks the tribes roll thinking each one of us
brave new worlders or fast track miracle workers
willing to beg to be or maybe not be born
or put to death, typecast for the camera eye
in sweaty bedroom recoil, sunshine victims
of some heartless exchange, hanging limp
along some prairie pirate’s dense fog

like ivy-spined surrogates on dangling red hinges,
and then out goes the call into the gunshy sprawl,
advantage windows grow dark for revolt
so that others can snottily bolt across
airwaves and minds and habits
of the next great gall, the generational stall..

The year is better left to experts.
Bread is without leaven.

II. Just shooting blanks
Miners vote on a new contract burying new hopes,
the beer and peanut years in full swing. Microchips & glib smiling
innuendos rake across drunk on purple mountain’s majesty and cope
in dimly lit plantation halls of liberty wiring sick hunger’s mope
this night of origin, rags and stain, but lewd whispers are begun
again, again the whispers begin to spin planetary Cain,
and the poets wither behind the scenes,
grow crass anticipating the sun
without names to call their own quiet men into reign.
          No one knows us better than the eyes.

Let us undress,
in vague rooms undress the issues,
before the scornful but bulging flies
of them repressing and unjustly revealing
nothing less nothing. Let us cleave unheard of
to a more explicit syntax of behavior,
apochraphally vital to the performance
from inkblot to living score.

The holy remain holy.
(The ugly remain ugly.)

           "!#%&*!!@?...*&#$&?!!!" Typewriter quarrels
of the List Generation pop pop pop pop
invalid as flapper skirts and whey, as they become
the Make Me Famous Right Now Generation, a cash crop
diamond duster storm hailing romance to new recruits
on laser beam technologies with hope in pocket series grift,
yet we still clamor in the riots of self-incrimination,
fall daddies, makeshift straw babies, and tons of
critical mass on display here and there
if not everywhere the bell quit tolling.
     Egg on the face is America’s new centrifugal pay,
slops the chemical preacher, our new oral robber baron,
digging tunnels at sky wages to build superhighways of moral decay,
utter relief the failure to consecrate him pope of the new plot.
"We are the Blank Generation!" snarls punk Richard Hell.
“No—we’re Generation X! No—the 13th Generation,”
script others out to grab a pissful of job benefits while it’s
still available to young energies soon gone the way
of the two parent family.

The poet stands on ceremony to greet the four horsemen,
germ attitude left on vagina leaf doorsteps,
vanity fizz, ostrich cocks squirting
all over the faces of freedom
in Great Warrior hypes,
word blockades, bush brides half-busy,
cube juices, perfidy in the talkshow toiletrooms,
permanent sunglasses, icebox follies, and river ram rookies,
to greet not with a handshake but a suicide pact—
stiff cumbersome shapes oozing last night’s wrestling elsewhere,
bottomless crotchpots, intellectuals for hire, unavoidables,
Vichy drownings, culture mice and blue moves,
we of carriage amass. The poet stands on ceremony
to question the audience, but

where is she tonight Bertice Berry?
the latest shore Sir Walter Cronkite?
and Monroe’s Doctrine? Will Blake’s reservoir?
is that bra Oprah wears made here in America?
where in this mix and match morality is Custer, is Malcolm?
or Little Orphan Annie’s favorite paradox? And
where is Castanada or Bob Dylan—
when you need them most?

And all mysteries marked old science burned in market
squares, reveal wastebaskets filled with spunk,
ladders stored inside a blue trunk,
and lessons learned according to the whistles
of collard greens, undeniably brutal.
Each one visited, each one verified,
leaves you with this realization:
Just one of many darwin, darwin,
build me a ship
to harvest the horny ones who wear
a rusty hook in an upper lip,
fished between mad rushes through sermoned turnstiles
and holiday pay. Sitting, picking gristmill nose,
my feet fidgeting below the antique davenport,
the subject of malediction was deep and forty plus two months
dry, but I knew the impossibility of never aspiring to try.
Deeper into despair I dug, deeper, deeper, deeper,
hoping for a holy hug, a keeper, a keeper,
as beautiful as beauty can excel,
a sleeper, a sleeper. And then
it happened oh so suddenly,
like a twinkling in a cobra's eye,
a weeper, a weeper—I became a leaper of crass mockings
when I saw she was a sweeper, wearing those plum red
stockings with the reign of terror, seeping, seeping
pantomine from her sheepish toes a rocking…

"Loose parables are the worst on the market," smirked the loan officer,
just before denying his own role in ridiculous matters.

III. The new gladiators
Forced perception seen galloping,
turf course on the course of analytical geography clicking,
memoirs of Mesopotamian mapmakers interceding,
Each-factors lobbing soft curveballs against false
summer leagues, clay heroes, Earth-ghetto,
Government property, convicted mercies,
catechisms still warm in the oven,
stern but frivolously exposed. Painkiller street
versions working faintly kicking up dust and deliverance,
mere swings among cliffs and men minding the store,
booking recommendation, audibly secure. Swift,
nautical excuses milking witless the full court presses
and the pure in fashion. Triggered by current events I endured
this frying pan reflection with the ease of a Great Sham Pain Whore,
grabbing gusto from cheap lists, checkout counters, black thickets
of rabble and ruins, and I won’t say I never got burnt
or charged a woman with equality.

      (When circumstances change,
usually so does the hand that feeds them.) Galvanized
doctors scuttle the dead and dying rich in revealed range,
hooking centerblock experience windfall, chrome river beds
and sex sweets simmering on the back burner, surf bitters
sent off on waivers to the crowd of generic ritualisms,
battle ax comfort, prototypically. Are still the poets dead? Caught
in the kitchen rush or pillows they trust?
Am I? I am—American Punk.

Am flying basement brittle,
born toy deep below windless bedrock walls,
loopholed behind Miss Nye’s ivory white picket
fence with pimpled vow spelling out breath withdrawal
symptoms, swearing on myself as the preacher
of procrastination, predestined powdersprings
of mirth. Yo! American feeble, I'll lay
it right here for you—I’ve traded
my bible belt for a spiked water spout, pampered
steel, and absurd corrosive wordslinging on the half-shell,
not pearled oysters like the sea king, but shysteristic shards
from the dark, shattered windowpanes reduced to broken nails
airwave hell has pounded! I stagger into your neighborhoods.
I fear no evil. Danger Zone is the marrow, my bone. Danger
is poetry dancing in the nude in spite of the weather.
Words are only words, purpose is only purpose,
and life is only the value of a dollar? Liquids or solids?
Conversion or vice? Best laid plans of nuclear fission or ice?
I am one who has bargained to dismantle language,
the earth’s crust, sanctuary or bust! You there
neatly dyed in the polymorphic suit
have no monopoly on public prejudice, the nest, or the brute..
Nor do I, a white nigger sold on the welfare time stings.
But isn't it okay to do that in that space only?
(When circumstances change, usually so does
the silent serpent dancing.)

By the vastness of our viscera, we were slumped down in bedrock
and whistling a tune to the enemy. After cursing the opening
stage fall into Piccadilly’s eternal pocket, a loose economy
of patches, rashes, rigged ashes, and a day at the races
we cornpone preachers illegitimately have borne,
and after a handful of carnal conversations
with every trisectable phantom we bleed ripe and rosy,
I felt bundled with bald omens gripping campus
corpus the very base of my throat. Relentlessly
educated and clever to a tee, teepee, and piss,
they in codified glee teased me for lack of natural speed,
the sterility of this secret once known as my seed,
even to the ox-point configuration of my wondering
if scrubbed in suds of motion perpetual,
might ancient tree tigers spring the molested eccentric
from here. And the more I wondered, floundered, blundered
for le mot juste, the more I exposed some new cheer,
a sudden reversal to revere, I would die a near death,
killed cold caught living the ultimate sequel.

IV. Lipstick stains on demand
Stones coat the industrial lips of desert dwellers,
encyclopedias the outboard teeth of the urban devout,
one thing certain, another quite sure, with or without a celestrial shout,
the answer to an off color riddle is a joke to kill time
ill in its innocense still clinging close to American soil
in bremstralung search for the algorithm of flowers,
primed for another confessing, another blessing
in disguise. Truth in advertising—
      Angels can’t french kiss.
      Stony goats ploughing
the city, raise whole fig cities
well-spoken, and billy
goats gruff.

Countdown to creation in a bloodless dream,
from freckle to dimple to raids on an echoed melanin
scream! War orphans giving brain jobs until the gurus flow
like tap water, strategem shanks oily, vigor evaporating
from applied lakes and likes of youth, its constant sentence,
irreparable articles of clan, standard mystifications,
capital gains and losses deductible on tax day
blitzing the eager populace—

both the naughty and the nice! It moves right along, profunct!
It proves right nor wrong, profunct! We’ve never known
such maniacs as are stepping out tonight! Inform
the settlers along Perception Coast! Welcome! The Apocalypse
arrived! Test the Wisdom of Our Ages! Science the foul boast!
The beast of the west strikes in combat the best of the east.
I glance at my watch, tear it off my wrist, and sling
it into the fireplace to watch time fly. I lift
my glass to toast the rally,
the tally of the lion and the lamb…

Look to names.
Discover the science of naming.
Thou Art Identity, pure scatterings beyond proof.
Extension of thought arrangement, syncopating magnetic
snorts scorning the stubborn who enslave decency, capsized
by unannotated gust time after time in rural crisis,
quotients unresolved, contrived interpretations
the natural vacuum of sanity, moral gravity—its purse.
Polar explorers. Deep Space interlocutors. Asians.
Textiles. Marijuana. Mantle cracks. Crab claws.
Crab canons. Some others. It’s natural to be picky,
but can we afford it?

     Our pavilion sky full of holes. Daily howls
ev’ry torquing wind, and still lost, the new leader. Yet near
the imaginary borders of the laws of grievance, gossip
of the groundhog is heard: Abandon with care!
Abandon if you dare! Abandon the false bridges
surfacing here and there! Take note mild peoples—
through the hustle of hysteria such maniacs are gaining ground,
their shadowsuits black with the ascendant
soot of these times…Extreme examples are easy to appraise.
Young woman found murdered behind the poet’s house,
her breasts lopped off. Unnumbered unappreciated boys of noise,
appendages stuffed down their throats unable to cough. Poisons
like appliances in every household via the public works,
and yet the reality is clear to those questioning chaos.
Systems are not at fault—weak people are.

           Yet, we hold these truths
to be self-evident, embracing yesterday’s clay pigeons
the pig and the horse suffer different betrayals,
different raffles of the soul, and still survive
America’s whale busy purifying
the belly of Man.

V. Pentecostal tilings of symmetry
Crude nihilistic memberships are dying in vain,
drying up, strung out, near blind, culture moles digging disgrace
near the edge of fallow smoky canyons, fast lane epitaphs
carved like focal point pock marks along castaway
sandbox minds, taught in tune, initiating
the ruse of roses never rising from the schoolgrounds
where rude encyclopedia henchmen improvise a flair for inertia,
ironclad alibis, and pray the maxim of death for ware gain,
whispering bitter nothings to a nothingness crowd
of fractiled etymology, knots in the family tree
an affrontary to the wet harridan pulling
at some shrill vice-infested despair,
a full-time job no First or Second or Fifth Amendment
can protect from the flippancy or the unfair flipside of regret.

Spitting into songs of the textbook ocean,
the switch is made as she slings off her dirty blouse,
popular semantics, and skilled treasons against ancestors
just to dive beyond the salt licks her genomic wounds
manufacture in a fit of common failing.

Rich in veins of cobalt kick,
marigold bronzed breasts heavy in holding patterns
      glisten as the polite sun welcomes
her stable heritage, the broken symmetry of an oral history
evaporated on a whimper and a scowl
as she cups the left mound in geological stare of indifference
pulling the nipple in passage from time
to space to what’s happening theatre
and the surplus of poets from the missing homeland.

The farceur of fame jiggles the lock becoming the only
preditor to seize her, rape her, eyes of glass now telephone poles.
I am hiding near the trees. Against the orange cliffs. Yet I hear her,
breathing hard like the winds of approaching war. She sucks
rabidly, standing waist deep in the burnt
Pacific, her prized parcel of promise
in her hands but not in her mouth.

She lifts the other fan to her expanding pinched lips,
soon strictly well-endowed, a product of milleniums of misery,
memory and the angles dark sky must embrace to survive,
her fingers lightning talons of revenge. I am the intruder. She falls
backward into hooks of icy water, solutions of surface tension,
scaling arms, balloons, flags, sentiments, in surgical precision
as pillaging grey seals fly off the rugged corporeal coast
of the Isle of Modern Man’s Fatal Flaw
as observed by me alone before I am struck self-conscious.
Rumors are true. I am neither poet nor pilot yet have no choice
save to sneak a little closer, a little closer to the edge
where to strike the bargain of loneliness
with sampled voice is to strike a blow
for Our Lady of Contrapuntus.

She is ancient, numbers fail to register her complaint.
     I am quite young. Not quite a virgin.
Discharge came unusually easy for me, watching the hag,
my psychological deficiency preventing normal orgasm
unless excited by strange and gospel experiences. I never
ejaculate with my wife, even unto raw, bloody pulp,
but I love her despite my ailing loins.

      She farts along thy escalator,
ranting more nothings, but scarcely aloud.
And be warned—company policy invents the turn
of the century as a chorus of clock rats exploiting
public transportation rise up through the cracks
in the system they believe defiled them, humming
a hymn to frontal lobotomy, fully automatic.

Even unto the end of the world.
      Obligating no one to spare him,
a gentle steed is seen strolling green pastures—
the city of Washington with nature cooperates
as steady reminder that power in the mainstream’s
a slick chemistry and wave function few can manage
over time without heat at steady interval
and periphrasis. His name is Lom, the bard of old news. Erudite tattooes
slip into the mind saying, “Long live intergeographical solidarity!”
I laugh, identity stripped, crawling inside my skin, worms in toil.
“I am the victor! I am the scholar of my crimes!”

Vivid explanations and kisses unfurled,
flags hiding the limbs of functional anarchy. The end.

Welcome wild citizen! You have just ebbed. It says so
here in the newspapers. Enter familiar rubu. A walking fare walking,
posed as functionary, thinking of excuses for seeking shelter
in the deadly rain, rain to row row row
your boat, I am with sistrum, and borrowing
the loose mouths of twelve thousand unpainted virgins,
neither male nor female, the question of the hidden scale,
who sing…no no no no no no no no…we protest against
this swindle of bones. Vultures feeding on stars and stripes. But then
      who would have guessed that old Henry Miller, limp cock
in hand, would remember the limping scorpions
hitchhiking across yellow deserts, offering
bizarre flogged, sterile, franchised explanations
coupled with pity wampus wedding expectations
of a generation fickle and prostrate,
fondled beyond all recognition,
decayed blurred frankness
the new master race,
the state…

Castrating pawnbroker peace an election day disposal,
savage purple the color of their eyes! Spirit Misers.
Unstamped caprice. Voices that need attention—
(A very slow thing to conceive, never mind
the inconveniences. They are said to be
temporary and forgettable.)
Here lies a gifted reader.
Here lies a civil servant.
Here lies an ancient myth.
All rise to Sane Revolution!

"Sane?" the Great Crowd grubbed in vain.
Facing the radical Middle Class mingling in makeover,
we know rainbow truth is easier to swallow than weaponry lies,
and we suffer clear hope that all this America trashing will stop on a dime,
okay with you this time? Clear it with the boss, whatever it takes,
the season, the reason, better than one thousand lakes
of irony, of skin, of skirting the fickled flames,
the shoe is on the other foot this time, the brakes
are set, so embrace the flower, forget the roots.
      America the Quick has forgiven you.
      The poet takes off through the alley—
lunch is probably on the table. Bologna and onion
sandwiches, a Macintosh apple, a Black Label beer,
the tongue of near champions unmoved by promises,
fear, of a better life in the country where chaos theory
speaks louder than words on cold poorly lit soapbox or page.

Meanwhile, I squat starving, naked, hysterical, once removed,
cheering the baton unshifting bravery twirls as it’s passed,
as it’s passed from me to you, as it’s approved
by me by you until each spectrum of prophetic light
peers forward from the sixteenth note of our past
to right each wrong in homeward flight. Amen.

[ 1982, Atlanta, GA ]


1. If Albert Camus Had Taken a Train
Dead on arrival. The announcement shook the cold audience from their lethargic gaze. Still hiccupping for comic effect I returned to the dark alley to cover my tracks with stiff kisses. Snow is often poor evidence in this part of the city by order of law. Dirge slander prevailed over the rising costs of blueberry sympathies, prices were scalloping, less similar to the mollusks than the verses I used to sing in Presbyterian school to the potatoes all rotten my ex-wife liked to fix two meals a day, thrice on Sunday. Violin music had ceased to amaze the child in each of the misguided hipsters filtering in and out of our house still claiming to be interested in the same pasty things as the sober. Petty interests in common house pets came first in the squandered lives of these new urbanized aristocrats. Misplaced affections in my book. Vowels and pronouns in hers. Rodent fashion splashed heavy gray green bile, or is that thick gangrene bile (the light is fuzzy here in the taxi or maybe my eyes are simply taking a five-fingered discount on daylight savings time). Puffy zetetic faces spank this tree giving shaded responses to analytically buffed sophistication, and frankly had produced nothing but cracks and wise acres among this bull generation of raw couchspeak junkies. Because a mass upheaval across the globe would center these writers no more or less prepared to correct the sanitation problems facing them than an appearance on the Jeopardy Show during Tournament of Champions’ week could provide, a select few of them joined the local Guestlist Gestapo, went undercover into the nightclubs of each one’s own promised land of little return on their investment, and broke into happiness. But it was all a joke somebody said. Nobody really smiled. Yes, they would win points as bullies and defenders of the amorally elite, alas, becoming the worst opportunistic sort of chivalrous cheesetasters, but I bolted, hired a planteater, and left the fluids to fend off the fleas themselves. Even a vacation to the heartbeat of Somalexia proved a miserable failure. Lot’s wife, renamed Bra Lynx, for marquée value, changed back into flesh and blood chattering some nonsense about the salt of the earth, smoked oysters, and a nauseatingly competitive game of canasta. As a final splash of artistic flimflam and a vigorous distaste for symmetry of any breed, her Betty Rules blouse was ripped just above her left breast, some say for show of course while others chalk it up to sheer coincidence and a matter to be discussed at the weekly Me Too meeting. No clue as to the culprit though. Some literary cowtow from the other side of the lunar tracks had licked her there in the rip for three weeks straight, she smiled without ironing boards. The inspector sent her straight to Sisyphus.

2. Man Ray Eats A Sandwich Without Mayo
Looking for law and lawn in all the wrong places cannot and should not be compared to reading Dostoevsky on a summer’s day hoping to learn something useful enough to turn a dollar inwards via capitalistic coup, unfortunately for our heroes in transition. The lips galore move in a salute to Assassins Anonymous and the work they have done in the urban areas south of Detroit, a hapless ruin. Only Sophie Glass and her boyfriend Jackfred Wilson dare stir slightly the limbs agile photographers keep. (Enter past tense with gusto.) Every aisle thick with scores of rag gossipers on high horses broke rank regardless of the lack of ventilation in the tunnels. Finally in a call to arms, Sophie thought she alone heard a loud shriek like a message from the other side. “The word’s already been given, and you’re not getting it again!” Anticipation slurred the speech of all those who broke bread with the fishmongers on strike. The bluff was not taken. Anticipation dropped off the edge like Columbus should have, said Sophie, forgetting that her glass ceiling changes into diamond almost anywhere near Tom Paine she tries to shake down. Concluding their mutual witness of such namby-pamby plethora, Sophie and Jackfred shattered the dark silence with a rapid succession of sleazy infrared shots. Again the audience gasped in harmony with the pitter patter of visual demands made on each one of them as justice prevailed in the form of New Legislation made into Flesh and the two ventriloquy photographers hacked through the vines of cozy confessions this New Law required, no questions asked. Remarks of this type and talent would surely redeem them from the tight provocations their spouses dutifully employ as a mechanism for financial equality, thought Sophie in a more serious mood. Certainly at the very minimum, for household maneuvers. Sounds good? Wrong! A twig snapped and she then remembered her own husband’s final words on the blur just before she shot him completely nude, stiffy, all four and a sixteenth inches in paw straddled over a picture of Sophie Glass as a young child. Betraying her professional cool she would use these words against him posthumously in a court of law. “Kafka my darling, I need to use you, abuse you in every way, so please don’t stop talking and writing to me in your own chosen obscene way…please don’t lock me out you bastard!” They buried him in a small justified plot without fanfare, and the wife and boyfriend, greeted by a farewell gesture in court, received nary a token of affection for there was none save for the magnificently catered spread next door across from the kennel where life was cheap and these killer sandwiches were cheaper.

3. If the Shoe Fits
Tables and tables of tables and tables of tables of tables tend to forget to properly package the birthmark of their creator. This oversight will be rectified in the next edition by the egg plagiarist fat with knowledge only an actress requires. Please remit this coupon, he adds, with full payment. “Get it right the very first time,” prunes a sassy Gertrude Picklesimmer, an old friend and a recovering gene along the lines of Epidrome the fanatic. Ethiopian cuisine draws her in for a late night haranguing, her favorite activity, clothing optional, teeth required. In another chapter, curtsy Jane Getz, the Amway doll with unimpaired bust from East Anchorage realizes in a fit of high seriousness that the thoughtcrime she’d committed during her afterdinner phase taken in L’hotel Egmont was simply not curable by enforced comparitive thinking classes, if she was to remain an American Doll (unrelated to the Picklesimmer neurosis.) Quickly, she fell to the grass, pulled off her panty-hose in two swift movements and tossed them to the young Republican standing by in a selfless gesture for party unity. She gave out a loud sigh, and with her exploding right hand smeared her lipstick across her pretty face, her pushy left hand tugging at the rope she had obediently placed around her thin orange neck. “Oh forgive me father for what I am about to forget.” Then, withdrawn, she joined the stereo people, who took her life savings and doubled it on the troubled market, bridging the gap between the moderate liberals and the far-right wing tapdancers of the Reagan years still crying out for a fresh look into the morals of those less crowded by the ennuendos of the straight & narrow electorate. All that’s needed, dictates the Leader-at-Arms, is a simple majority of those who have the right to vote and swear that you’ll vote with your pot bellies this time, Kid Scissors, and yes…“you, George, may sit at my right hand, and you…”

4. Persuasion Is No Longer Possible
Dead on arrival! Thunk. The Plague Syndrome. Fear. Ugliness. Filth. Sterility. It seems we wait for crocodiles to defile us, suck us into the Mississippi while both Twain and Truman sprout buffalo wings in hopes of a superior, more incestuous vision to supply our air fragile economies with invincible Whitmanesque nurses, naughty to uncoil our moated homespun turmoils wielding killer drugs and boy killers and further relate them to the Final Quest…getting laid in a grave six feet over or under, multiplying the fast game of infinity by zero and dust over idea. Rationality gives no suck to thirsty camels. Neither beckons them homeward. Should we survive them, a brittle postulate hardly seems a hardy substitute for love in a two-way window. Here came the Beatniks with not a single plan to boil. Then the Hippies home of the shaggy truth in revolution. The Discognitos where sweat said it all. Then the Punks where boredom and displacement took a place at the table with the rest of our problems, unmasked. Then the Preppies (always primping close by whilst all the others storm in uninvited) proud to be rich and beautiful and well-spoken for. Then the skinhead revival where hatred and gentrification meet its maker. Then rush in the angriest of the angry, the Rappers, civil unrest the Messiah. Then the Ravers about nothing nothing at all. And this parade of the horribles just in my lifetime, tracing merely the high profile movements, topped out, each genre pilfered ozoning subgenres like anything else doping a molecule to spare. Change, eh? Here they came in thunderous herds to lay blame at my feet, and I welcomed them as a variation of myself. As contrapunctus night steals the hit playlist the swelling rhetorical voices all suggest the same fluctuating plot, the same arguments of straw woven into myth and mirth similarly disposed, seamless and useless except as a fashion quirk projectory flying loose in the machinery of the next breath and acceptable on that gut level in private until watching the Eternal Clock the staid gentlemen of the silver-tongued coif just laugh into a gold box guaranteed to mock us concerning this sanity of despair. The enemy.

5. Turn That Goddamned Television Off, Snotty!
The wars in Africa have passed into the streets of our nation’s capitol right up my doorstep. Riots are eating up all the quality time spent with our children, our flowers, our bitterness. Contact sports traded a hundred and forty-four thousand future draft choices of the free for instant contact death. Ringing in my ears! Reclusive, guzzling beer, awaiting my murder, humming the hymns of great speckled confusion. Yes, I’m sick and I’m tired. Proof is the existence of having to defend the fact that I’m not brown and beautiful, nor white and rich, nor yellow and well connected, nor blue and better off, nor green and cuter still, nor purple and well-hung, nor pale and a whiz kid keeper, nor any other multiple choice identification rite I can’t inhale because I’m just a poor freckle from a town far away where red-winged blackbirds reign upon the bloody marshes of a dull gray past. Dead on arrival! Ringing in my ears! This icon, this city of Washington tucked away like a puckered nipple between two states is the center of my attention span, the bloodshed of boys, and I shall fear no evil, though I walk through the valley of inconvenience and misunderstanding a glass darkly. Astonished I lie down in black pastures to annointeth my role, to scour the enigma off my soul. I choke on my resistence. And jump head first into deep waters to pluck out a thumbless axiom. There is no comfort. To survive I must so choose, and I would then call my publisher if I had one, to rub myself raw, to loosen myself from sterile explanations. Soon comes the resurrection, the comic moaned. I will just kiss my wife gently on her wrists. And pray that America wakes up from her synthetic nightmare in time to realize that street violence belongs in the mind, not on someone else’s pillow case. “You must be able to enjoy the phallic.”

6. Help Wanted
Thinking is plural. We often do when our mirrors fog. Scores ago, in the quaint southern town where we first roamed the wild plains of youth in crass innocense, a young Aunt Charlemagne once scolded us, slapping our collective face, for an expression we’d just muttered without zip code or return address. In preparation for what we later grew naturally, a masquerade if anything sweeter came between us. Aunt Charlemagne was eight years younger than her sister, and less a threat to our ambitions as a kid without wings but this isn’t news. we admitted to preferring the sting of flesh when perpetrated by the younger sister; in fact we became attached to the violence young lash in their early twenties could foster all for our sake in the multitudes of shapes and thrusts of uncertainty principles everywhere anytime to the clue of making of the fodder of joy. Of course began the impossible task of finding that enchanting angular, gripped and primed, ripe for the plunge into theory and advance, who, inspired by control, feels no hounding shame in dominating le masculine urge with whatever is the most accessible tool available to our struggling leather saint and his epistomologic quest back to the founder of his words. This is news we said.

7. Out To Lunch Naked
I recanted publically. But this repentence tasted of kerosene and five unidentifiable culprits laughing behind grotesque clay statues of stool pigeons in drag, still figgering on three icy fingers their dormant appearance to contrive. About forty seconds earlier, which seemed like forty looks, she had asked me to unhook the strap prize of her feminine apparrel. I complied without question except those few which lingered like injured love tigers silently against my tattooed chest. My graceless blurtations spinned calculus webs glory spat back into the wind no wedding bells could seduce, by golly intrigue enough during that honest infidel period of my own due process. I intuited precious unspoken dignity when a single scrapbook neanderthalic blazing emphasized a year, like sun time, like gestation, like God in heat. No underexposed image would ever be too painful, ever too explicit, choices could never be too exacting. In this accelerated culture it’s uncouth hurray to deny our vulturous past or that its predicated smell of shame was that of fire, odorless, tasteless, but raging in gymnastic marble color, vast unmentionable hues of pit and passion. Only my credentials can whisper its name—burnt cosmos. After her fruitbox heaviness secured its diplomacy, a dress of bulb-white linen fell to its gifted position upon her kindling fuss, a flesh frothing with evidence of crude conviction, of unpublished zest, lasting heat.

8. Bring Us Another Round Of Abelard
Then there was this other game turtle. She in her early eyes dark with nuance, stretched like a vanquished dancer among gargantuan fates making breeze her garland through mahogany-silk hair and other dazzling inspectables. I pulled at the arbitrating cloth, brilliantly keen in brave foul textures of the sexual armistice. The fair. The frantic. I immediately compared these symptoms to those I’d experienced with quick lather & ecclesiastical bubbles when dare I remember how fear touched herself there among the sweaties. Tightly I drew at her dress until the static pressure flushed both of us, gazing into her aura, unphotographed wormholes of beauty crushed into shapes and color escapes, clutching with a long-fingered paw my prepared destiny, my meager knowledge, my Himalayan heart where monks have stormed. She kissed me about the pointless cheeks, and grabbed my hair, then my unproven mouth, each probing tongue wet like childbrain songs long since dormant. Finally I exhaled, and reached for her marshmellow clowns with one numbing touch. I had to go for the reckoning, had to press for that unknown limitation, neither expecting to give nor receive any sweeping social advantage, only impulse. “Enough!” she sharply directed, and I quickened to a freeze, embarrassed by her familiarity of the rite. Her anger tasted of its own 120 proof. I dismayed and shuffled from the now chilly room, never to return until I had come of age.

[1996, Washington, DC ]


Done orally, done
I trust no one, which means
I trust every pun
To narrate beans.

No smoking.
No matches.
No naked lights.

Talking e.e.cummings
(Girlboys may nothing more
than boygirls need...)
And freedom is a break
Fast food.

[ 1982, Corpus Christi, TX ]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Part I. Memorizing Each Postulate By Morning
I am a panic of NONE.
I am a race of NONE.
I am a language of NONE.
I am a religion of NONE.
I am a law of NONE.
I am a God of NONE.

I am a panic of ONE.
I am a race of ONE.
I am a language of ONE.
I am a religion of ONE.
I am a law of ONE.
I am a God of ONE.

I am a panic of ALL.
I am a race of ALL.
I am a language of ALL.
I am a religion of ALL.
I am a law of ALL.
I am a God of ALL.

Part II. Crossing the Equator With Dirty Weapons
I am a panic of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a race of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a language of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a religion of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a law of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.
I am a God of 40, sixty-four million, over thirteen billion served.

I am a product of HERE AND NOW.

[ 2007, Washington, DC ]

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Yesterday's gone to sleep
waiting for her husband to return from the plant
where soot finds its way into his very dignity
clothing his shame in layers of insult too twisted to recant.

Yesterday's alone with child
sitting in the backroom of the artist's studio
where he will pay her to reveal her very dignity
painting her memoirs in colors her husband wouldn't know.

Yesterday's grown to hate
all men and women who killed her husband and child
with cathedral bells buying and selling her very dignity
knowing nothing could ever be reconciled.

(Many years later)
Yesterday's shown no favor
declaring the artist serves no one from inside a jail
where neither mind nor beauty can save its very dignity
blaspheming birth as eternal blackmail.


My country tis of thee
admits the Army shielded wild Barbie,
offers regrets to the French, reports the WASHINGTON POST
sometime in the 19 Eighties. Lurid tales we seek as truth. Late
blooming never the sole criteria for liberal v. conservative failure—
lying wide-eyed tribute on Federal district sidewalk,
some sunbleached sign of the elephant,
Reckoncharmers sigh, chalk up another marble, another
favorable position, another power lunch then a movie, maybe
an opera built for three. “Who needs the French?”
a bald-headed Bronx cheer indulges in politics,
the American way of democracy retracts yet another remark
now sold as antique jewelry to Easter chicks. An obese femme,
garbed in African swank wearing three wristwatches on each arm
waddles with her two sophisticated poodles, one named Adverb,
the other No Way, each tugging at its chic fluorescent
(check for spelling and decimal point errors)
lime leash, no shifty stereotype here, just eyeballing
the obvious. Sensing a sneer I duck
into a clothier’s for a fresh pair of socks,
and a swim. Mine stank of summer
syntax. War famine was next in line.

“Why apologize with regrets during a great afternoon like this?”
goofs some vital standby officer of chimera, blowing sweat
through a polished bugle, a bugle he found in a garbage bin
outside the Pentagon fringe, and lapping in the express lane
at an ice cream cone, dual unnamed flavors, the eyewitness said..
“It’s not like it’s the end of time!”
says another, posing with a cardboard zipper,
bound for political access,
ever the angry gay blade strapped for cash.
Name must remain anonymous and rash
during our lifetime due to a computer foulup, a crash
or a chip off the old block where we rolled drunks for rock
bottoms and banquet foam, but fate in a handbasket is cruel
inking sad where they fell prophecies the way it explains the rule
coz if’n I read my cards correctly, foul play’s not even considered
an alternative lifestyle to those breeds, nor of troops,
and three squares configure scales too fussy
off the calloused side of the thumb
to blame Dick’s dog. Or Tom Paine.

This is America the Beautiful Swan type—
Juggling outside chances the ugly and faint of bosom reject
this effort at grip, open cells and prickly pears, the perfect girly
woman waiting & knocking on wood for the perfect agency to invent her
peeling to reveal another strata, another compass, another grim
act of nature striking pose off nuclear physics and mortuary skim
poised to strip down the hungry Brass Madonna’s wet clothes
and heap fixes of a linear paraphenaliac’s basic whim,
quite sure broad’s the bored way straight to the center swim
upstream even less funny to that green collar’d fraternity crate
looped within those smoking porkbarrels squirming close to the edge
locked in greed-conditioned theocratic boardroom halls gull gray
pun free spinning within an enriched whiskey culled earshot
of others grinning just like them. Where am I? unbuckled
shouts the penny-wise pope, pouts this poet looking trickled
in this momentary picture of modernized rot without
a bull’s eye shot at decent wage or freedom to decay?
“Show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a dollar!”
This I heard a bum in the busy street to holler.

Jazzy corporations sing of their due
far more frequently and sanctimoniously
than revealing their own larded backyards
girded with jargonistic creeds,
painting the bones of the working breeds
set free by a law whose spirit’s in shards
never to open a door for the beauty of fair gain
where responsibility evasion suits up bringing bitter rain
the tears of whole industry cuts.

Escaping to alien sands
to other sites as working class soldiers toss crumbs to children
in hopes of a better day.

This is America the Ugly Duckling hype—
Felonious jungle gyms set in concrete, shrieks & blood, billions
of half-baked beans, energy levels, kilowatts raised on special G-forces
bilked to protect her shining shores from feigned foreign invasion
a trick of fate which seldom shakes the rich guard of daylight,
and wicked lines around city blocks fumbling for hot checks
and balances in nothing but heinous expenses, flesh floating a kite
chasing pale the rider stale. But the foray descends as nocturnal
homes in flight beneath shrill wraps of free lunch gain
produce social overbite.

[ 1998, Washington, DC ]


In Greece range many goats and peasants, old ruins
slide seductively up next to you, your tour bus seat
wet with the perspiration of tourism’s ego,
and they whistle down your neck, inviting
you in for a closer view, a bottle of brew
and a native look into your purse-string
mentality. You remember not
the peasants of your own dry, arrid backwash,
as you sneak past Ptolemy’s submarine intelligence
and sail the high Mediterranean cheekbones
of a beauty which will never be yours
to sell or inspire. You claim powers
separate but indivisible. You caress
a sweet lamb’s woolen sky
a moment at a time, you tell yourself—
and then off into the next war you race.

Rome is a lion’s den of passion, and there is none
whose impeccable beauty matches it in all of her body,
where genius and vassal alike marched headfirst into the eye
of her borrowed king’s sun. Bartering for a love
you had read about in the film industry trades,
no choice was yours but to puff up your sex toys
mouthing lewd colors, and fall into
the same paragraph Mussolini
wrote Ezra Pound in a fit of angel tenure
stalking slow explanation with nine hungry prisoners
to feed—Copernicus and Galileo and their crippled sister,
people carrying people to the rope of regret.

To fly to fair London where English is still spoken,
you spare your very finest silk underwear odes. The clock
reminds us there of social stares where poets play
guitar and the children can’t weep. Iced tea
and words like export, involvement,
and the king’s divorce, provide the stranger
the wide gulf most manic voyages through instinct
bled back through ages Blake, Wordsworth, Auden
forgot. Cool safety is a damp trial in the pit
of drizzling pomposity, ambitiously full of
fresh opinion armies where Johnny Rotten
would spit the fat sickness, repayed
by urban privacies and a charming public laity,
fiscal socialist agonies the sulphur of St. George.

Tradition is bought pennies on the dollar, witnesses
gathering on the White House Lawn wet their pants
in Murder Row relief, outlining your latest hit list
no longer the sounds of Roberta Flack or Marvin Gaye,
but of takers of the routine shortcut driving the herd
deeper into the jungle, brain waves and assault weapons
spraying powdered milk, shoving shy rain mosquitoes
into the grave not even George Washington could defend.
Measuring sick thespian vacancy with the same
motley precision a syringe injects its fistful of spitfire,
some other dead prophet—Martin Luther King—rolls over
squashing the maggots he fed in trenches of glory, privacy
oh privacy and the black nothinghood gangs littering
our scared and scarred streets, denying reality’s heavy lip
thus clings like a sea-dried ghost over the forefather’s city
washing in the blood of not the lamb but the wolf
where statistical impulses anxiously numb

rob the same paragraph these interrogatories rib.

[ 1995, Washington, DC ]


I was deprived of power as a child, said the balding
eagle to the claims department, his breath
on fire, and his hand on third base flying
homeward, relieved of duty

and pitched into another shift on a close call.

Woman’s intuition is that a man should do it,
evidently another lost cause, his death
to prove nothing but the release
winging it to spare us his fall.

Pop crackle. Moonsong.
The efforts are worn from the chest,
splinters of glory dancing in the fireccaves
nearer to thy loins than lions in the wind
and the murmurs of generations
never savvy to the wisdom
of peppermint slaves.

The choice of ironing the only shirt in town
or swinging with the slugger’s club
parches a few tongues, a brain
and a bodyguard on leave from art school,
the video drones loving the effects
much more than the call of DNA—
but denying it in fashionable cliques
of gestation. The metal clown

“Woe, woe, woe your boat , mintly down the cream,
wearily, wearily, wearily, wearily, wife’s a butterbean!”

Home court presses, visitation rights,
the metal clown chirps.

[ 1996, Washington, DC ]


Sitting around on high
discussing bankruptcy plans, we are paralyzed
by high-priced beauty battering us in piles of magazines.
Loosely kept secrets and cleavages strike the pose
just like the cowboy song says—there’s no other way. Our kingdom
crumbles the same way burnt toast, virtual memory,
and a livid lion’s den melting with envy
struggles to remain in vogue,
new foci vain and too hip but in a well-measured pain,
the American struggles of hard work and meritocracy
(resonating in quicksand of the celebrity crush)
shortcircuiting the way we’re taught to reign.

And as the familiar bell of gasoline slips into the morning
welcoming me skewed and priceless, no longer the surveyor
with chains and maps and plans and rods,
or fine instruments bound to the circle,
straight lines, or schools of sweat,

I dig into the vision light scatters across the wallpaper,
a pastel Monet, and irises rising into profile
like soldiers guarding the soul, where the only death
here is imaginary and immune to the newspaper
or the streets where yet another rape is spun
(where details are withheld as purposes)
of business because I don’t own a gun
and this ain’t no comic caper
of the shapes we’re in.

Victims are a dollar a dozen. Inflation stealthly bites
into our proverbs, but have you noticed how well dressed
the common poor are these days? Fine cars, fine threads,
fine guns, fine beds, fat to the gills, but still no ease comes
to our revoltutionary heads still hung in dry nooses
conjured up by witch doctors of the dead,
mouthing words no longer built
but retrogressed.

The spies are elder foils for demons of hatred and pith,
luring a whole generation, maybe more, ever down
the path thermotaxis where juice scales weighted
(baby don’t wanna be no social experiment)
are meant for no one, not even these
heavy-laden with rubbery myth
of the thirteenth generation x—

Fall out! Fall in! The message the same,
eating into the muscle life buried within our name
under cheap shelter shaping the unknown,
until we give the victorious word, undressing
with dowried care of an innocent Brahmin calf
the issues done especially for us, inspecting, undressing
the fevers, draining off the pus infecting, suspecting
keen the trajectory our souls must make
without blame

and finding the circle of fate is God cubed,
we erase mere tangency with yet another claim
of superiority complexes and the fake
inferior rugs our interior has tubed.

[ 1993, Washington, DC ]


To write the epic of the world
in a few words or less
(in one word or less)
is the method
of Cameo Kidney,
an unfanned philosopher,
a basic star streaker,
a stunning safety soldier,
hiding in the cloak closet,
chaffed but unashamed
that English is the only
language which capitalizes
I while several capitalize
the pronoun—you.

To be born in my manger,
made affluent in three gifts
by strangers harried from afar,
is the feeling faked everywhere
in the shadow of my birthdate—
and you break out the best dishes
saying, “Your book, if as a canvas
is an ugly painting hanging in all the wrong places.”

Generations of chalk
revile the science of gestures
nicknamed virgins coax to their brow,
laughing and lampooning
Einstein’s stepchildren
God was forced to allow.

To kiss them where muses lick,
begetting secrets we shower in song
(Tormenting earth for five months…)
eagerly selling dark matter to the sun,
dead idol Beelzebub’s a cracking
jokes at the keeper of the knots
“home of the label”
spinning report card eyes
to recall laughter understood
in the vernacular to be fatal.

To accept each hand in marriage
as a lion among the woodpiles
lost on timeshared tee-shirts
admiring the sundown of business
& extreme video conjugations
counting numbers without commas
calling names without numbers
dealing cards without names
shaving beards without cards
booking definitions

Fermi solutions with redlights
poke through.

[1986, Washington, DC ]


Quarrels I brought to authorities
for which I was fish-bowled,
such as when on a calculated whim
I gave a vow, a pledge
of allegiance

of one thousand collard green symptoms
pratting particular a peculiar persuader,
outstretched paw netting loudly,
preaching television sainthood
out of the fish’s mouth.

The bum prophet,
returned his mistress much more
than killing her son for a sign
the ages had dealt in blow of scripture,

and Wittgenstein never forgot me, either.
Under the sun nothing knew less
than that camera I took on sound advice
lathering misquotationals without clue.

The ultimate passage from logic to freelancing
specialty wisdomatics flying northward
toward the bear and glad tidings,
moonlight red infrastructurally

correct as by law and by prostitution,
the victimless philosophies of cold
and behold, cash and flash, pairings
of quick understandings still stamped.

The minds of many who died not hungry
reads the line separating this from that.
And ample enough soup to go around the world
save the stupid revolutionaries fumbling

the galls and testicles of good people
of every race groping a deep graze,
too simply fool-ruled to use the best,
the rest, and not be buried in treasure.

Justice in summer foliage falls between
cracks both the lion and the lamb spring across
where boo-kings crush meanings from life,
dream wreckage and Wittgenstein snorts fair.

In catacombs mighty hair warriors take leaven
bread beneath waters covering young history
unexplored, lost yesterday down grammarian spells,
even Stephen could not vouch for, nor Paul

in his vest of holy trousers turned inward.
Stretched bloody naked and attractive,
mosquitos did never squat where lovers sweat.
But Wittgenstein took me shoulder first, I cleared.

My throat hollow where men before me came never before,
and I felt like new names nothing forbade, not especially
the weak, the calm, the floored, nor the wronged angels
sweeping up avenues long given over to party politics.

Seasons twisted upon each other and friendship convulsed.
Open arsenals recoiled, the serpent's head spit glass,
broken, images priced like art invested no plumage whereas
stock sold steadily until there were no other dead issues.

Bull edits charged emotional terrapins as runners
of illegal slow, dull, unimportant feet, dry glands
purposely banded as one, vehicles offering last rites
mankind waiving, inner harbor city lights removed.

Yet Wittgenstein never operated under served piffle,
could repair ugly scar tissue booking redress, obviously
lip-synched trade favors; in return the mantled box thumb
thugs ruled left to rights, or rights to be left

alone or without someone else's aloneness combined
to equip equations and co-efficients with unreal numbers
numbing outsiders, error friendless but with plenty
of food and street wisdom, meaning to write a book.

Where we all appear placed happily eager to be.
What to be is all in time and flesh is time.
Or trips to the Milky Way vacate shun or be shunned.
Like Uncle Sam's son colorfully primed for United States.

But where did Paine fail to speak his mind?
His friend broke off penal envy for the sake of
forsaking oven roaster birds war bred but blowing
off that same wind Dylan wore, a weatherman's cap.

Did any effort die by the hand of any clock?
Management problems rope eye emblems shattering mock success,
taxing poets improperly prospering, the plainclothesmen's plan X,
and optimums of the classes, share in Baalam's bra,

key pimped pragmaticisms perplexing the raw multitudes Freud
slew, licking time's dragon multiplied and automatically
disguised, guilty, as such a single atom prays au natural,
financially secure but fearing assailants silent

enough to warn miracles to cease and weapons to flourish
inebriating reason, samples exposing undecided votes,
serial mirrors helpless to utter a lie saith the surveyor.
Gather all flocks, mathematics, onions, ash or else!

That these feverish linear progressions plummet to bedrock
cup, and yet deliver a single soul from eternal damnation
boning up conquerors of Kierkegaard and worshippers
of the last breath of Wittgenstein I’d shouldered enough.

[ 1992, Washington, DC ]

Friday, September 21, 2007


Originally published on December 12, 1999

It was a Ginsberg quote: "The Beat Movement was never meant to be a rebellion. It was meant to bring in a new consciousness. The middle-class, who were rebelling against Mother Nature by destroying her ecologically, made us out to be rebellious."

And also, when remarking on how Laura Miller had trashed his "Grammatron" in the NYTBR, Mark Amerika complained that she had set up a "false binary" and "unnecessary either/or oppositions", and then proposed that we simply open our minds to a variety of styles and possibilities within any given framework.

So to answer your question, allow me to say that I too am weary of this plethora of binary constructs that attack the imagination in exactly the same way the media controls operate. In the US, the race issue is always put to the people in binary form, but everybody knows (except those on the hot button payroll) the issue is both simultaneously more simple and more complex than it's presented in the media, but the media elite and the political hacks milk the same anachronistic cow day after day, and very little ever changes except we continue to lose perspective with this increasing concentration of the THEM VERSUS THEM dichotomy.

Crash writes—I'm with you on this—it has always been a quite useful method of control to set up artificial binary conflicts to keep people angry at each other and to keep them blind to the true problems—Burroughs always stated that in order to truly challenge a system you have to move outside the constructs of language which is grounded in the binary system of control—of course this also leaves out most people who are unable or unwilling to approach a work such as the Burroughs books—so where should we go? I think a very effective means of challenging systems is to attack the discourse upon which they rest—language for me is the key to power—not just spoken or written dictum, but also the language of images that are broadcast and plastered everywhere.

Levi-Strauss pointed out how in primitive myths the mispronounciation of words and the misuse of language were considered to be very dangerous and very powerful methods of disrupting the system and the coded language that they used as their base of understanding, and power. Is this not even more true today—when it seems that we are ever so more dependent on words and images to define our perceptions?

Is not the mass medias almost a form of magic in most peoples lives—turn the TV on and the tribal stories are broadcast from the hearth of your living room and the smoke signals of info are distributed to the family—turn on the computer and miraculously we can fly to any part of the world—just among our small group—when was the last time one of us spent a whole day in which we didn’t recive some kind of mediated input (books, magazines, radio, tv, film, internet, etc).

What power is there in producing transgressive materials that seek to wreck havoc on the codes of the dominant culture? I don’t know to any degree of clarity, but I wonder if the many people who have pointed out that when we engage in straight binary resistance to the system we are only reinforcing that system, I wonder if they have a point—that is to say, that in resisting the dominant culture straight on we help them to define themselves and to point at easily recognizable, definable, and soon to be specularized deviants who can be set up as the new boogeyman. I know I’m rambling a bit here—but what do you all think?

Gabriel wrote— It's a blood given that corporate giants and political hacks are ruthless sluts. It’s in their ideological DNA. But why should that stop anyone with enough guts and stamina to be different, to risk it all, to tear down the walls of a slum, and build afresh, a new way of thinking; no matter how we cut the ideological cake trailblazers can't afford to be whiners (see Henry Miller's Cosmological Eye). Of course everyone wants to be the hot new thing, if only to themselves, and if they fail, they usually become grumpy old whiners accusing the system of foul play.

But then Cobain and Steinbeck chose very different paths to avoid the pains of their success. Ghandi could have been a very rich man, he declined. What's wrong with making money, if one spends it well. Bill Gates is a jolly liar as his testimony before the US Department of Justice in his anti-trust litigation is proving, but he has frequently said that he doesn't believe in leaving amassed fortunes to heirs. If he spent enough millions on truly changing the landscape of certain depressed areas, why would not his taxations of those peoples and organizations that COULD afford it, be forgivable.

You see, there are so many complex choices presented to us, but we stumble around and usually end up either goofing along picking up a few addictions which insult our biology and agenda for happiness, or else we opt into nosing the grindstone a slave to production so that we also pick up a few addictions that insult our biology and agenda for happiness.

The key, as a few savvy Greeks agreed, was moderation in all things. But few of us (and I’m one of 'em, unfortunately) can't learn to implement moderation in our lives because we are ruled by addictive personalties, and as Tolstoy (modernized) put it, it does us no good to beat ourselves up over one addiction only to have another two or three rush in to take its place. Whether we're talking substance abuse, laziness, addiction to work, sex, well hell, you know what I mean, it's all the same problem child within us.

Good news is that when faced with a ruthless giant, nature seems to transform us into thinking we’re a giant killer. Not too long ago the Internet founders (a cluster of old hippies and nerds) threatened to bring the world together in a non-commercialized free-spirited community. Then Mammon got a whiff of what was happening, and started pissing in the pond. Well, we can't stymie that but we can work like hell to keep the original spirit alive, and do what we can to advocate the world we want, never flinching, but rather calling for a cease-fire to all this whining.

I don't mean lay down your intellectual arms and join the enemy, but simply to accept the challenge of David & Goliath, forge partnerships, or lessen one's sights at directly competing, but more often than not merely supplementing the bullies, by carving out a solid niche from which we embark upon that brave, new world, regardless of who is watching, who is following, or who gives a flying carpet ride one way or the other.

Books? Yes, more books are being published than ever before, but are we any closer to changing the world, if indeed that is the stated goal of the persuaders?

Crash writes—niche carving is a very good method of slicing into mediated realms (hey Manus, I’m starting to sound like one of those video game players) and setting up zones of operation (much like Gabriel has started here).

Gabriel wrote—Writers have never had more freedom (despite all the Internet porn busts smelling up the coffeehouse) in history. Recall Voltaire, Rousseau, running for their lives, hiding in exile, poverty, and scorn save the intellectual and financial graces of the few. We artists (if indeed we are artists, and not simply poseurs seeking escape from responsibility) in the west now have such an accelerated vision of freedom, we think we are living in especially perilous times, and in the supertechnological superpolitical sense we perhaps are, but we have also never been more free to express ourselves (no artist was born guarateed fame, riches, or readers).

Despite my own yearning to burst out of my skin to trumpet the last charge on a world corrupted by its own sense of infallibility whether originating from the right or the left, capitalism or marxism, I am convicted by my own sense of limitation, not always imposed from the outside, but often enough a consequence of my own choices, and those of my genetic bearing. How can I blame someone else for that?

Crash writes—yes, more books than ever are being published—but what kind of books—i have no problem with the consumption of brain candy—as Manus knows when I just told him about Joe Lansdale’s thrillers. But there is no need to legally pursue dangerous writers or artists anymore—becausethey are drowned out in the flood of product that dominates the market. And who is controlling what is published? What books are advertised—open up any advertisement for a book store and peruse what is put before consumers—walk through your Barnes and Nobles, your Borders?

In the 1960s there were more than a hundred substantial publishers in NYC alone. By 1980 there were only 70; by 1995 the number had dropped down to 15, and presently, through further merging there is only 5! Major publishers and these subsequential others are also tied in with the producers of other mass mediums. Now I don’t mean to sound like I’m crying that the sky is falling down—but this must be disturbing in some way.

True, the market is flooded with books like never before (as well as other forms of info) but what are these texts? Of course once again this is also a benefit to us and others who seek difference. As the mainstream producers continue to narrow their fields of interest and seek to the common denominator it opens up the possibility for very viable and strong niches of operation for smaller more specialized organizations—so perhaps this is a mixed blessing. Are we ourselves cultivating some form of sub-cultural capital—as we are all thinking on these days—what is our true goals in these efforts—do we intend to do something to challenge the hierarchal stratification of society—the mind-numbing mediatized comformity?

Gabriel wrote—Again Crash, when I look around these here parts I don't see this world as one straitjacketed by conformity (although I surely hear and read a lot of noise to the contrary). In the greater populations (putting aside the corporate merger trend which is just the opposite than what is happening in the de-centralized neighborhoods and streets, but I guess we have Debord to explain this cause and effect to us). I nevertheless see cat fights and dog bones between warring factions along every corridor as soldiers of each faction scrawl hard lines of demarcation to help solidify a turf. Bias to difficult, damn near impossible to extricate from the common mind.

*Your Australia may be very different from my America, but when I see a group of folks working and playing in harmony I marvel at how the group has conformed to an ideal so often missing on the street, in the universities, on certain ballclubs, in art snot piss fights, no one simply content to be different hanging on the same street corner or intellectual counterpoint but everyone bucking for superiority status.

Competition ain't dead, and if competition is not dead, how can we also be lost on the mind-numbing mediatized comformity rap? And racial conflicts with their wealth of metaphors are the easiest to exploit. Debord had it right when he said the Spectacle tosses out two opposite claims and watches the skirmish in glee, knowing that the debate will roll on forever while the social structure remains the same. Superiority, that's what straw leaders are after.

That ain't just a white man thing anymore, if it ever was (and I doubt that very seriously, the Euros just won a few wars at a strategic time in history, have gained and lost as a result). I know I'm guilty of thinking no one is my superior, and will fight like mad to prove how wrong I can be. The point is, the stratification of society is just something we're going to have to accept because it is a rather natural phenomenon despite its excesses and inherent unfairness. I agree with Matthew's proclamation of a couple of posts back:

"...abolishing hierarchies is as impossible as abolishing the state. Let's face it—anarchy without hierarchy just ain’t never gunna happen, that's my opinion anyway."

As for "sub-cultural capital", methinks I'd like to see some elaboration on the concept. I'm not sure what you're suggesting. And since I've ranted enough today I'd rather not go barking down a cold trail.

Crash writes—I don't know—i see a lot more conformity than you do—maybe it’s because I view the system (in the US) as encouraging a cultivated form of difference and that its ability to immediately suck up and spit out a clean, sanitized version of anything that may challenge its operations—a simplified example would be punk's howl of rage—short time of challenge—fear from the populace—by 1977 we see punk fashion on fashion runways, London newspapers printing articles on how punks are just part of the family, punk is cleaned, sanitized and marketed—dead before it gets started—it is now just another acceptable means of conforming, albeit leaving the troubled youth a bit of dignity in believing that they may in some way be giving some challenge to the system that they feel has excluded them.

As for sub-cultural capital—it was an off-hand remark actually questioning my own purposes or intents since I believe we must question ourselves—and tossed out to everyone else—wondering if I may not be somehow cultivating a form of sub-cultural capital, a sanitized and safe form of alternative "cultural capital" (cultural capital cultivated artistic and intellectual capabilities that leads to your being valued by elites).

As I said just questioning my own intent—I have a very good friend from eastern Europe who understands resistance to a system in a way that I never could, having grownup in the states where, although they will and do kill people for the wrong reasons, it’s not quite as harrowing and prevalent as the former soviet system)—she constantly keeps me on my toes about some of my *resistance* stances and leads me to question my intent (or as I think she may see it my overly romantic, overly idealistic views). So I guess this was a moment of self-doubt on my part. What do we see as the problem that we should be devoting our attentions to—we seem to be attempting to come up with plans of attack without really thinking upon what we want to change or what we could best effect with our efforts.

Gabriel wrote—Elitism based on phony distinctions is a major problem, but hucksterism is its whoring stepsister. They hate each other, plot behind each other's arched back, spit in each other's intellectual food, kick each other's namby ankles, and attempt to steal each other's cultural graces without even bothering to shed its skin until it's absolutely forced upon them. Both exist across every social and economical class. Both breed mistrust and greed. Acknowledging their relationship to each other however they will bond together to thwart any and all those who stand in their way, that is to say, the vocal non-elitists and the few trailblazers committed to absolute (not to be confused with pre-conceived) integrity.

And they often win their battles against the non-elitists and integriters because they appeal with flattery and spectacular powers in their search for allies among the spectacularized populations in order to defeat these enemies, these straight shooters, these few honest constituents of a better world once taught them in childhood mythos as sacred and worthy but ushered away as the real world ruled by this beast we have just described becomes clearly the prince of all that worships it, and reality replaces mythos as the battleground upon which we shed our blood.

How do we attack this world of theirs, if we declare ourselves enemies of elitism and hucksterism, you ask? We must practice a more honest implemented form of warfare in putting our own personal spins on the solution, that is, we must know who and what we are, playing the humble idiot if we must, the loud-mouthed brute if we dare, but always, always keeping to the mark when it comes to personal honesty (read Henry Miller, enemies hate it when you've already laid all your own dirty laundry on the table, and they can't hose you with it in an ambush) and candor (without the elitism & hucksterism, we must define these values next) but I am still nagged by something Manus wrote:

As I am being my honest self here, I must declare that I could give a fuck about 1) audience 2) viral politics or 3) allies until we here at SWORG have something to show for ourselves, namely, a unified schtick (as GT initially proposed) that gives us a raison d'etre as an active GROUP. My logic is irrefutable when I say that causticness is a necessary perquisite as egotism is a necessary perquisite to ANY activity in this warlock of cyberspace, and that we should not only solidify our reasons for existing, but assure ourselves that, yes, a bit of caustic bite really is the necessary fuel for lighting the fire of collaboration between ourselves, and initiating any engagements with OTHERS.

Gabriel wrote—my visceral response to this outlook is negative running contrary to my hypothetical Boy Scout nature, but I reluctantly agree with the whole of Matt's statement, so I guess I am still fomenting the idea of caustic abruptness (as Landry will testify I'm no rookie rabblerouser) as it is magnified in relationship to my sensibilities concerning false elitism and hucksterism in the SWORG groupthink arena. But I still think the whole concern is rather premature since we have mucho mucho work to do in the chainthinking section of the site particularly since, uh, wait a minute, uh since, in fact, no one but Manus is privy to those earlier discussions which initially brought him into the Scenewash Project. Truth is I'm aware of no one but he who has actually signed onto anything but the SWORG-talk list, and believe me I'm far too jaded with past failed collaborations to presume ANYTHING about who is committed to what at present.

Crash writes—I like your ideas on what we need to do—as far as moving past the abuses of huckesterisma and elitism. And I truly believe in the need to hone and develop a true system of personal honesty—nothing could be higher on my list—because i believe that is the key in my development and that it is also vital in my dealing with others (both my personal honesty and hopefully theirs). As for other efforts that are need here on the website—you are correct in your statement that I haven’t contributed to the Scenewash Project—because:

A) I’m trying to get my thesis finished soI can get the fuck out of this college
B) I’m trying to set up employment so that i dont starve when i do leave.
C) These are extremely important to me, because I do not have a wife who will support me (this is what you stated Gabriel?) or Matthew's very important network of comrades or Landry's admirable corporate job or Rebunk's art criticism gig.
D) So since I will be no good to no one living on the streets (least of all myself—trust me I’ve been there, and while fascinating I don’t really have a desire to do it again). I must concentrate on this in order to become more valuable.
E) But what do you need—I write constantly—ask me I will write and contribute in any way—i will research what needs to be found.

I hope that this is not a problem, but you must understand the situation that I'm in and that while willing to contribute to "our thing" I must keep a check on the very real concerns of food and shelter.

Gabriel wrote—well, Crash, like the tagline goes, think globally, act locally, the cutting edge shimmers, and so drifts the echo, the pitter patter of dangling lost feet...

Here's an example of what I mean about pinning the "tale" on the donkey, getting at the root of one's individual or collective desires in the seemingly vain attempt at rewriting the rulebook of human life on earth. Like much that passes for wit in the spam-o-world, these few lines exemplify a certain notion about human conceptuality, methinks:

Reflections On Life As A Male
  • When I was 14, all I wanted was a girl with large breasts.
  • When I was 16, I dated a girl with large breasts, but there was no passion. So I decided that I needed a passionate girl with a zest for life.
  • In college, I dated a passionate girl, but she was too emotional: everything was an emergency; she was a drama queen; she cried all the time and threatened suicide. So then I decided I needed a girl with some stability.
  • I found a very stable girl, but she was boring. She was totally predictable and never got excited about anything. Life became so dull that I decided I needed a girl with some excitement.
  • I found an exciting girl, but I couldn't keep up with her. She rushed from one thing to another, never settling on anything. She did mad, impetuous things, and flirted with everyone she met. She made me miserable as often as happy. She was great fun initially and very energetic, but directionless. So I decided to find a girl with some ambition.
  • After University, I found a smart, ambitious girl with her feet planted firmly on the ground, and married her. She was so ambitious that she divorced me and took everything I owned.
  • Now all I want is a girl with big tits.

    So again I am prompted to ask, "What does a would-be worldchanging revolutionary like ourselves desire in terms of a workable liberty for all? I hear plenty about injustice and those conflicting wills to power that we loudly boo at every turn of the screw, but I hear almost nothing about this brave, new world we all supposedly desire in our heart of hearts. Even when I do hear of some shimmering off the wall ploy, like Bob Black's "Zerowork, All Play" anthem to futurism now, in a solar system where the 2nd law of thermodynamics rules with an atomic fist, I see an all or nothing approach rather fetching in aspiration but far too reaching in terms of practicality or desirability, especially when much of the labor required to oppose entropy is merely camouflaged as play in a falsifying language, much like "political correctness" operates today."

    * I later realized my mistake in momentarily confusing Crash, an American then going to school in the Midwest, with another of our group, Reuben Keehan, who was the Australian I had in mind when I wrote that response.

    to be continued...