Archive | August, 2013

John Steinbeck/John Lennon

14 Aug

So this guy in a shirt, a real shirt, with buttons and starch on the fabric, shows me The Herald; points out an article about the Israeli ambassador to Peru found naked in his Peruvian backyard tied to a chair in broad daylight with an apple between his teeth. So I go, “Yeah, ok.” Then he tells me John Steinbeck and his ex-wife were found on the front lawn of a house in Monterey in broad daylight tied together by their pubic hair. So I go, “Takes dexterity.” Imagine. I am a Yankee. He is a stranger. So he goes, “Those writers all drink too much.” So I go, “I’m a writer.” And he goes and backs off.

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Pacific Grove

14 Aug

Agate and stone blue
Pinch vision ‘tween pine
The bay of Monterey
Ignites in blue.

The sun stilted forward
Ten more milligrams
Arced like a dun fable.
Invisible glass on the surface

Breaks in the slop of surf.
Twill pants of the fish folk soaked.
Tangled bird lines.
Mackerel silver skinned knuckles.

Wharf boards woofing with
Sea dogs, lions salty with
Dog’s whiskers, eyes, smiles.
They ache for a taste of it.

Acacia saffron yellow
May pollinate the roiling surf.
Pinch vision ‘tween cloud
Snow today licked Fremont’s peak.

Bulletproof

10 Aug

I must pack she thinks, yet she’s been packing all day.
Knits and wools, darkness, sieves,
clean chonies, chonklas, hair shirts,
memories, blood oranges, tampons,
cat hair, a suede jacket: every piece
of downy fringe she ironed
individually. Bereft
He must think I am made of clay

she thinks and, They are all mad!, anxiety intractable.
Would he give me a chance to say it?

She wonders. If the plane falls from the sky, then what?
She imagines falling ever so slowly, gently,
a smile at her lips, wicked wind, her skirt above her ears,
the sound romantic. But the landing, well now
that would be difficult, wouldn’t it?
Brittle, sound hollow, sounds deathly.

He may shoot at her like a coyote
Bulletproof. But no, not really.
How many times has she told him that
loudly? But the voices, or a voice, his voice
internal, what do they all tell him? Can’t distinguish.
Misinterprets. Is it a sex or gelatin?
Woman or a frog? Cruelty or reality?

Time is coming now but ever so slowly.
Cruel time, runs out, leaves her here alone.
She’s waiting for this time to come, still waiting,
yet it’s not here yet. End of winter, a spring,
all summer, not yet here, as hours creep,
minutes break down and cry.
I must pack. Silks to undress by,
alchemy, fever, whispers and diabolical regret.

Fighting Irish

10 Aug

I don’t really like Irish soda bread, so I am unwilling to make it for this Sunday dinner coming. My drunken sister is a pretty good baker, but she has no cast iron skillet and I’ll be damned if I’d let her borrow mine. Her daughter, worked in that strip club, had a baby last November that isn’t white, God bless his little soul, and that whore of a girl never did learn to cook .
If what you mean when you say, “Just like mom made.” comes from a box, if truth be told it’s the reason I never liked the stuff, dusted mealy white, crust like asphalt, parched raisins goin’ down the throat like tight little balls of tinfoil, nasty stuff, that. Can’t make a proper bread, them shanty Irish, no! Yeast’s for beer, is it not?
Ma’s dead and gone, rest her soul in Jesus and as I say, it was a box she’d open, cigarette dangling from her lips, ashes fallen where they may. My other sister is a lesbian, and won’t be comin’, not to dinner; I’ll ask forgiveness for that later.
Good bread for a summer’s day. It really shouldn’t have sultanas, as is right to call the fuckin things, not raisins, like some stoned Californian. Myself, I’d likely have more appetite if it wasn’t for the digitalis, but my heart leaks and races as if the accelerator were stuck under an impractical shoe to wear to work. Raisins, sultanas, prunes, I like the none of them.
As I type this with the stink of cabbage on my fingers, I think of my Da and his quasi-benevolent breath on the back of my neck whenever I stood in front of the stove or sink; whenever I had my back turned. As a child I thought a pound of flesh was a euphemism for his manhood, the kitchen not really a room but a dungeon of tepid, slick dishwater and never- believed promises.
He was cremated and thrown off the San Mateo Bridge. And yes, he was already dead when we did it, the spitting rain mixing with our crocodile tears.
I find myself in the kitchen still, perhaps by choice. I rub bacon fat into my skin at night to plump up that which clings to my weary bones. If I dream I no longer remember. I think, though, of clean sheets, soft and thin smelling, and towels that would fluff if we had the money to not hang them on the hempen line in the relentless sunshine. The digitalis effects both my sleep and my appetite.
The acts of cooking and eating. In the dark, I could do. Blind as well, I could do it. If I wanted to I would do it. I need no recipes. It’s a habit now. It all tastes the same.
If there’s art in the kitchen it’s the table setting. The ritual of lace upon lace, hair -thin filigree falling as graceful as snow, almost to touch the Sabbath floor, swept hard, brilliant and quiet.
Yeast is alive. So are the herbs on the sill, the mewling cat. I don’t notice them. I wield a sharp knife in preparation for the Sunday meal all expect and I resent, with the bitterness of chicory. Would that my brother- in -law got a job? My cousin the cop stop smoking dope? To find myself a matriarch, does this make me a goddess, a martyr or both?
It’s yeasted bread they’ll get. The sponge is rising so I am given a respite to type. I should think about going to mass. I need so much more than forgiveness today!
I’ll rest my head here for a brief few among the cool flesh of potatoes, turnips and onions, the scent of which is the only thing in this kitchen that remains sharp. No wits, no knife, no chest pain. I close my eyes. The church organ plays. Bach. How would I know that?
I wake. I’ll not be seeing my grand- nephew tomorrow. I don’t know what he looks like and I’ll not be finding that out tomorrow. My drunken sister and her enraged husband ruined their daughter, and I had the gall to say so. A goodly number of Hail Marys hasn’t turned that around. The pair of them will be here to eat though, married in the eyes of God or the statutes of the Health and Welfare Code of the Republic of California, whichever is the quickest way to get to eternity. Is there a law that says ye gotta be sober to get divorced?
Maybe if I hadn’t been such a bad student. Mouthy and inattentive. If I remember my dreams at all, they involve school. Flunking algebra tests because I hadn’t attended any classes, lost in a foreign corridor, on a strange bus, burdened with textbooks. I was ruined before I got to high school.
There’s a 10 o’clock mass at St. Benedicts. I’ll bow head my while the meat cooks alone in the oven. No one knows me there. Bless me Father, I don’t understand sin.

Joy Riot

5 Aug

Grimalkin takes off her clothes on the hot second story. More fires burn. Old fires burn still. Shui Lightening complex, 5005 acres. June ABCD misc complex, 4080 acres. Gallery Basin with Indian, nobody knows. Iron, Capps, Mariposa complex 26000 acres, seven percent contained.
Listens to John Fahey play so sad and slow, dead from drinking long ago, outside of Cambridge, Tacoma, Jersey City abandoned railway tunnels hiked in bare feet.
She loves him more than thirty years worth. The blossoms have faded, the sun is setting. She places her hot hands on his thighs; knows he’s the best hung in Monterey County. She’ll take it, all of it, again. No money, dirt floors, she doesn’t care. What’s to keep her here, smoke and salty sand?
Black thatch. Some gray. She thinks what a wonderful package it is. She will do him, right. Lightly brushes the sinew seared old arms. Always black on brown deep, deep eyes. Remembers the first time and the times in between.
Some years it burns more. No brush cleared. Bushes ignite even as coyotes whelp, prickly pears pop, singes cherry, apricot, walnut orchard. Ranchers cuss, piss on their barns. “It’s no good!” “How do you like them apples, Ma, pussy whipped again!” Yuppified fucker with a gas powered mower hit a rock that sparked the blaze that burnt the house to the ground in four minutes flat. One dog trapped, two cats missing.
Grimalkin calls the fire dept the testosterone squad. Mayhem and tragedy, that’s how they like it. She just wants to fuck this man, hush, just him now. The years that she’s gone cock crazy she can count. Went as long as five years in between once.
Apologizes only to the one daughter that doesn’t approve. Wants Ma to stay in the kitchen, behind a desk, in the drivers’ seat. Not in the backseat blowing some golden surfer.
Legacy is now platinum. Sirens. He sleeps still, fleshy lips parted. Touches the lips with the tip of her tongue. Straddles him. Strong hands grip her shoulders, push her down, slipping into the same old madness, danger, ardor, secrets, velvet, chocolate, silver. Piquant, but not too.
She thinks, “ Nobody can hold this man. No woman; certainly no child.” Wildfire. Pulls her in close with those remarkable hands just to push her away again. Tries not to spook him, a stag in some forlorn canyon where it’s always twilight. Never slacks his thirst because he thinks she’s poisoned the well. Wiley. Twice he slapped her with an open hand to the face; cold cocked her one Christmas Eve. Another because she was cock teasing a redhead. She never could resist gingery terminal hair.
Remembers the boys that turned to men if and when she fucked them. Remembers the men not afraid in their own passionate lives, few as they were. Always admired someone living their life, taking the consequences, joy, sorrow. Cinnamon or gunpowder? No cowards, no feeble spectators!
She always forgives legacy man. He’s deep inside, touching her brainstem. Air in the room lights on their skin like it wants to leave the neighborhood. Copper blood smell of a house on fire. Reflection of flames in the mirror, under the bed, across the street. The astonishment as tracts ignite, floor plan by floor plan. Ten all the same little boxes, tacky on a hillside inferno.
Grimalkin and her man are silhouetted. The strings on the guitar sizzle and snap. It’s snowing now, blanketing their subterranean lair. Their hands stained with sooty soil, they laugh and laugh, lick and lick. She whispers with all the air left in her lungs, “A dirt floor can save your life.”

Baby Loves Chocolate

5 Aug

I am having an affair with a troglodyte. Scrumptious.
Hairy and reedy. Harry and read-y.
We read. His name is Reed.
We eat. Apples and oranges.
Bacon, rashers, fluffy scrambled eggs.
Bacon rashes. Back rash. We scratch.
Hairy fluffy eggs. Apples and fluff. Lint.
Orange lintels. Lentils and gravy.
Orange baby back bacon.
Oh baby! Eat, baby, eat.
Scratch, baby, scratch. Yellow onion and saffron.
Grits with honey and fresh Irish butter.
Gritty yellow butter. Languish fluffy.
Baby fat bacon. Orange pekoe tea with honey.
Butter my back, baby. Languish and scratch.
Cottage fries from scratch with gravy.
Read the tea leaves.
Harry is coming!
Peeking over the lintel. Screech!
Screech and throw hot bacon, wet lentils, tea leaves!
Screech again! Hide!
See Aphrodite and her troglodyte. Sumptuous

santa cruz

5 Aug

saint cross pink neon
panties showing with a glimpse
of rusty nail, boys

taoist wedding on the rocks
ripple for the queen of cups
the king of cauldrons

san lorenzo meets the sea
on lacustrine air
otters daughters sons and breeze

jesus brings a candle and
the devil now knows
it’s light in the reliquary

chocolate malted surf
a million used to mean more
says west cliff baby boomer