Archive for January, 2015

Split Focus

January 31, 2015

There are so many problems
we don’t even know
from immune deficiencies to dystrophies
and they who got ‘em
have all the too typical too
hangnails and itchy assholes
leaky bladder and stuffy nose
it’s easy to reduce a man
boil him down to his essence
of wheelchairs and leg braces
receded hairs and eyeglasses
it’s like that social media meme
I see about cancer
it says something like
Many of us want
sunshine on a Sunday morning
clean emission automobiles
food on the table
responsible law enforcement, but
a person with cancer
only wants one thing
to not have cancer
like and share
if you know someone battling…
but I don’t see how this can be true
people with cancer
don’t want comfort, security or sex
they crave not
a bowl of popcorn and a halfway decent video
maybe I’m wrong
maybe getting cured is all they want
I don’t believe it though
there’s more to a woman than her disease
it’s possible to want
more than just one thing
as it is possible to care
about more than a single cause
my first world problems
do not blind me
or make me indifferent to
other more pressing concerns
I can be furiously outraged both
by the oppression
of women
in Islamic theocracies
and that a movie
on Netflix instant streaming service
plays in the wrong aspect ratio
that’s how we work
it’s problem management
we can scratch our butts
but not our cancerous rectums
if you disagree
then do not adjust your set
sit in the dark
twiddling your thumbs
humming everything is fine except
just one thing


Drunk Piss

January 30, 2015

Endlessly calibrated
overly adjusted
downward trajectory
flow into bowl
clear water she goes
splish splash
ain’t no bath
except onto the rim
onto the floor
up the wall
spritzing the roll
side to side
splitting streams
both fire
off the mark
with but one dream
dead center
to rejoin
straight on
down the drain
there is no making it
even when it’s the sewer

Global Goating

January 25, 2015

Weather vanes spin inward on man
always at the center
like the goat in the middle
of the circle jerk
bleating its terrible ignorance
as the gleets of white rain
settle and insinuate
into the wool

Gentrification Then

January 21, 2015

Only now
do they cry and kick and swing
swimming against the inevitable
they sat silently
willingly in the cage
as the winch lowered it into the sea
swaying over the depths
splashing down
into a self-silent womb
of their own complacency
grinning half-wits
staring glaze-eyed in foolhardy security
from their square little domiciles
at the predators circling
smelling blood
the desperate sweat
of the cash poor
and suddenly to their stupid surprise
the gate is lifted
the sharks are in
and they are out
flopping fish in the cool dawn air
they gasp and accuse
point fins
and burble chants of horrible abuse
all along the years the signs were clear
evictions, rent hikes and house flips
half-million dollar shit-holes
sold on subprime mortgage loans
the great housing market swindle
collateral debt obligation shuck and jive
short sales, foreclosures
deferment of blame onto the impoverished
acorns weeping from the eaves
collected happily in baskets too big to fail
and five years on
they pretend it never happened
as if the banks would give up the game
reverse the direction of capital flow
cease to feed the rich
and stop killing the poor
the pendulum keeps swinging
lower, ever lower
Poe’s blade seeking evisceration
the severing slice
to spill the piñatas guts across the waters
plenty of tripas
for the rising landlord class to swallow

The Perseids

January 17, 2015

Alcohol into me like a meteor
into the sea
the burn, the strike
rising steam
the shock, the wave
rolling through
never to break
it devours the shore
drowns the city
scouring away life
the dead swim in ruins
bob in the mad froth
left to dry
as worms after the deluge
carrion for scavenger chickens
pecked clean
until only bone
in tangled crisscross piles
the remains
on the beach, in the streets
the morning after
depression in the wreckage
despair for the future
such a loss
the scale, the weight
bearing down
the unrelenting sickness
screaming for medicine
breaking the seal
the twist, the pour
the need for more lost rocks
a thousand streaks in space
coming home
my friends
my goodnight lights


January 15, 2015

As if handling art
for the surgical jobs
we donned cotton gloves
white clad hands
plucking stacks of placenta trays
off the heating, stomping, chopping
thermoforming machine
small plastic tubs
emerging endlessly
as if by peristalsis
along the conveyer belt
precious bounty
never to be caressed by skin
laid gently
fifty to a pile
two hundred per cardboard box
sealed, shipped, delivered and opened
at another end of the work force chain
I could only imagine
where they all, individually
came to birthing rooms
where new lives would begin
in blood, in shit, in pain
in labor to grow up to labor
like me
producer of placenta trays
their name says it all
plop in goes the organ to the dish
plastics and organics
inter-reliant, co-dependent
nature and manufacture
and then it too
has to go
via post or otherwise
on the road, through the air and over sea
into makeup factories
producing more products
feeding the market
high end, expensive smears
destined for the medicine cabinets
of aging rich women
who think they might regain their youth
by mashing its essence
into their varicosed hides

Gemini Genocide

January 12, 2015

“Hold back!
You must hold back!”
the doctor cried
she was a sympathetic sort
rare now
in the field of obstetrics
the large plain faced clock
on the wall read
four to midnight
below it
the countdown
in days, minutes and seconds
“I can’t,”
the mother sobbed
“It’s coming.
It won’t stop,”
and the little head crowned
out of the shadowed corner
stepped a skarpretter of the state
his eyes widened
beneath the hood’s slits
protocol at this stage
was precise, crucial to Law
punishment for deviation severe
once the shoulders cleared
the newborn had to be swiftly withdrawn
“No,” the mother howled
it was like a lone, lost wolf
the skarpretter thought
“I am so sorry,”
the doctor said, resigned,
and the baby was pulled
into this world
the cord was cut
Mother reached out
“Please,” she begged,
but knowing the time
the doctor passed infant
to skarpretter
who grunted
a frown concealed beneath his mask
and also a tear
it had been so close
so damn close,
but the law was the Law
“Time of birth,”
the doctor stated flatly
“June 20th
Eleven fifty nine
the doctor paused
needing a moment
to get her emotions under control
“… and forty seven seconds,”
the baby’s arms and legs
twitched about
in that involuntary way they do
the last one
he told himself
for another year
cursing the damnable stars
he said
“By the power vested in the state,
thou shalt not suffer
a Gemini to live,”
and with a quick deft motion
the skarpretter twisted the neck
the light crunch
of the babe’s weak spine
was almost inaudible
under the raspy breath
rising from the bed

Party at the End of a Rope

January 8, 2015

We are programmed
to both
help and hurt
to assist those in need
lend a hand
give a boost
that part
is our better nature
but we have a worst
to shame failure
mock the injured
kick ‘em when their down
this dichotomy may seem
naively simplistic
feeble minded even
but it is also becoming
increasingly clear
this division
is the division
that divides our politics
left and right
bleeding hearts and bloodless beasts
for it is only one party
that applauds
when a politician’s policy
on the uninsured
is to let them die
who would let the poor starve
steal the worker’s voice
force rape victims
to birth the rapist’s child
and permit torture to be conducted
in our name
it is one party
that stands up for hurting
that rises to inflict pain and misery
a party of cruelty
a party of predatory hoarders
angry cheapskates
and degraders of humanity…

I’m not going to tell you
who they are
I won’t be naming names here
you’re bright enough
to figure out who they are
and when you do
if to your horror
you discover you are one
that you vote for these monsters
well then
you can either stop
and accept that you’re a bad person
or fucking kill yourself

The Veneer

January 6, 2015

In the Los Angeles rain
I drive
one of six hundred forty four thousand
parents all forced into it
by a broken school district
devoid of heart and student transit
from within my calm Mitsubishi bubble
I look out
through the eyes of a cop
the eyes of a frightened piglet
for all around me
I spy hate and rage
hulking brutes hunched red-eyed
over steering wheels
tires screech on dampened tarmac
horns blast open discontent
brakes squeal hostility
car doors slam
fists pound the dash
as blades furiously sweep across their vision
it’s a war
ready to break
at the mildest provocation
and like any trained monkey in uniform
I expect the worst
the horror of sudden violence
all these responsible gun owning civilians
are everyday so capable of
beasts of malice and blood
rearing the next generation on it
as the frustration of parallel parking mounts
as windscreen wipers’ rapid rhythms
beat on in sync
to that of their maddening pulse
the vein throbbing at the temple
capable of bursting
as sure as they are
it’s all terrible to behold
the thin veneer of polite society
is a frost upon the dirt
held at zero
on a warming planet
the icicle of Damocles
begins to drip
and it is best seen here
where a lack of public services
erodes the patience of the people
as they scramble through a hectic morning
helpless, rushed
attendance records, grades, tardy slips
and their own jobs
on the line day after brutal day
I drive
I see
safe and warm
I turn up the heat
I turn up the music
I close my cowardly cop eyes
exhale, pull to the curb
switch off the ignition
and walk my son to his door
to the crossing guard I say, “Good morning.”
as I pass
we must maintain

Smelling Blood

January 2, 2015

We were downtown
there wasn’t money for anything
I had a camera
an old one
you had to rewind the film manually
a small hand crank
it would go round and round so long
you’d think it would never end
at one time
it had been grandfather’s
up until 1994
but now… then
it was 1999
and downtown Los Angeles
was on the verge
more major change was coming
so I was documenting
walking around and snapping shots
was a virtually free activity
and we needed those
especially ones
that got us out of the house
as I was taking aim
at an old hotel sign
two men approached
one in a ratty dun sweater
more threads hung loose
than together
the other was small
he appeared prepared for back-up
as his large woolen friend stepped to us
“Fancy camera,” he said
I looked at the thing in my hands
old and beaten
an off-brand I’d never heard of
a rewinder that blew its spring
every time it was used
“You’re kind to say so,” I said
working on framing
waiting for the light
“Last week,” he said, leaning in
“Some woman was down here
with her fancy camera
three guys dragged her up to that
fourth floor,” he pointed
a jaundiced nail up toward where
I looked through the lens
“Threw her ass out the window,”
he sneered
“Cool,” I said,
“Could you smell the blood?”
“Smell it?” he asked
“How did it look?” my girlfriend asked him
“The splatter pattern?”
“It was right here,” he said
alarm spreading across his crusty face,
“Where we’re standing.”
“Oo,” she said, “Right here.
Take a picture of the sidewalk,”
I did as she asked, always,
“We’re making art,” she said
“Do you want to be art?”
I directed the camera his way
“No, no, I just thought I’d warn you.
We got to go,” and they high-tailed
it was great fun
it turned out later
when I went to rewind the film
there wasn’t any in the chamber
I’d never loaded it
there wasn’t money for anything
there wasn’t money for photography
but we weren’t disappointed
we knew it was better that way
the day, the story, the memory
all of it