Wanted to let those of you whom occassionally swing by that I have had a book of poems accepted by Finishing Line Press. Contract freshly signed/ink drying. Certainly will keep you posted on publication timeline & promo events! Thanks for reading---whomever you are, wherever you are.
"The blood-jet is poetry,
There is no stopping it."--Sylvia Plath
Monday, June 13, 2011
Everything’s In No Particular Order:
The LSD journals
(a couple of pages)
Because we had irreversibly clogged the toilets in both bathrooms and because our cigarettes and joints had burned holes in the expensive couches that had come with the unit (so weird, to call your living space a unit), because we were too loud and the nine-to-five neighbors had had to call the cops one too many times at all hours of the night (and day for that matter), for these reasons and more we were evicted from Pleasant Carrier Estates. Two months earlier we'd been thrown out of unit 122. We’d only been given a second chance in another condo three buildings down because Jonah's uncle was the head of the association. Unit 522 was identical to 122, except the Berber rugs were grey and not brown. But after a particularly loud, acid-frantic night we were rounded up like exotic zoo animals and escorted from the property by a couple of cops. They were both wearing those creepy rainbow-tinted sunglasses that look back at you like Darth Vader. One of them kept his hand firmly on my sun-blistered shoulder while me and Jonah's uncle (who stood cross-armed and sweating through his suit) watched my four roommates lug ugly, dented suitcases and fat, ragged trash bags onto the narrow sidewalk that ran in front of the rows and rows of harsh, identical homesteads.
All that separated the buildings were stiff pubic patches of grass, grass whose relationship to itself had been long ago bludgeoned by pesticide. I didn't have anything to take with me. Two nights ago I'd stuffed everything (which wasn’t much) but my favorite sundress and a few pair of raggedy thongs into the cracked leather suitcase I’d found sitting next to a trash bin near the bus station downtown and hauled it into the Pacific. I waded into the grim grey waves with Sexy (her real name was Sadie, but of course we called her Sexy, which she entirely was) cheering me on from the moonpale shoreline. Dark saltwater souped around my thighs. Soon I couldn’t see Sexy, or anything really. It was me and the big fishy cauldron. What was left of a fifth of Vodka glinted in my right hand. My left dragged the appropriated suitcase like a small tugboat behind me. I muttered lines from Sylvia Plath poems to the humid air. I felt like I was pushing toward an abyss. What a man must feel like just before he enters a woman, loitering between the humid tremble of her thighs, knowing that somewhere, deep deep inside her, below the sweet pink whorls of silkflesh, sharks wink and sway, sharpening their teeth on bleached bones. At some point I let go of the suitcase. It didn't sink dramatically. It didn't even float away---it just bobbed, dumb as a buoy. I could hear Sexy calling my name. Her voice was a lazy damp echo, a string of familiar notes tripping through the fog. The fucking suitcase didn’t move. Suddenly I felt a hundred paper cuts all over my legs. Salt was settling into the scratches I'd earned climbing a fence the other day. I was a pro at sneaking into shows. Before security could get a good look I'd vanished into the buzzing succubus of the crowd. Poor Sexy was still calling, her thick slurry voice hitting at a worried tone. I sloshed blindly toward the shore, but not before toasting to my small material sacrifice and finishing off the bottle. Finally the stupid suitcase started to inch away. It looked like a little brown coffin.
I waited and waited, blood zinging and blooming, while my roommates, fantastically hung-over and probably still hallucinating, wrenched themselves in and out of the condo with their things. I was glad I didn't have things. I was also sedately grateful that the cop had his apish red hand fastened to my shoulder; I couldn't get away to help anyone.
Pleasant Carrier Estates had been fashioned into a lush suburbia on the outskirts of San Jose. The whole place reminded you of a tooth-whitener commercial. For some reason the grounds were armied with small plots of fake tulips. The persimmon-colored plumage was so lifelike that you (full of jungles and electricity, writhing at the height of your acid trip) were sure, entirely convinced, that they were real. To be positive you got down on your knees in the dank, squared-off garden-patch in front of your neighbor's glowingly clean and groomed condo (they hosed the siding every weekend; if you happened out of the door while they were working they would bare their teeth at you, meaning, of course, to smile) and pushed your face into the vaginal slits of the tulip heads, inhaling so deeply that clouds were vacuumed from the sky and sucked into your lungs. What you smelled was the horrifying stench of rubber and polyester, a deep affront to every Technicolor hallelujah nerve ending in your body.
At some point, definitely later, maybe five in the morning, you sucked at something, at the pink teat of the sun, wanting for your mother, for real tulips, and tears came boiling, and you suddenly knew that the birds you heard trilling were not real singing birds after all but piped-in birds, and the pipes lined the sloped roof of the condo, slinking like thin silvery snakes above the mute robot gardens. The tulip’s only advantage was that their throats would never be cut. By then all you could smell was the sad broken fume of plastic, and it became part of you, little shards of soulless plastic running your blood like bad cells, little chips of cancer making their way, waiting to become whole, to encase your fragile frightened bones, and you curled up in that dirt bed of fallacy, such lovely falsehood, and sobbed to know that you were no different, no more real than the fabricated tulips; you cried hotly and achingly as a little girl late at night in bed, full of your mother's sorrow and your father's rage, and then the thin faced neighbor man was hovering over you in his glaring suit and his mouth was telling you something about the cops being on their way, he'd had it with you goddamn freaks, this is it finding you passed out in the flower bed, and his mouth was a cage and the dogs had been let out snarling and sweating but you were not afraid because you were already torn to the bone, riddled with bite marks: you were not afraid; the tulips blew their fumy breath at you. By the time you started to come nauseously, hellishly down from the two tabs of Jesus Christ you'd dosed, just when your spine began to tingle and stiffen, it hit you that the cops were gone and your roommates had wandered off. It occurred to you vaguely that you had no place to go. You dragged yourself three miles (some kind of zombied-out Rainbow Bright) to the bus station and bought a one-way ticket to Santa Cruz. The ticket agent seemed to think you couldn’t speak English.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
NOTES FROM YOUR 60TH BIRTHDAY
Last night I could have letdown
into your lap but the room was numb with ice
clinking people shining at each other purposefully
Seven again or maybe six with sweaty curls
I could have lowered my body into your smoke and Old Spice
the way you lower a book whose spine is too loose to rebind
You could have held me but there was an explosion of acid
laughter and the forlorn smell of Christmas wreaths
women with heels like vampire teeth
Remember shredding your cigarettes
curls of tobacco on tiny pale feet hidden all day behind
the heavy red curtains book-in-lap the only real road out
Fucking cat you hissed as she hit the wall
remember her monthlong limp and how the orange light
of the hallway terrified me like a kidnapper or a distant country
Years years ago in your summer brown arms on good evenings
those hard ropey brown arms seven or younger and still almost safe
I descended not onto you but in
THE MONDAY YOUR FATHER DIED
There is nothing left of that morning
except the naked rage of phones ringing,
your mother's stumbling words.
Come evening you couldn't help but look
for him in the dim unmade calamity of the bedroom,
creaking softly down the hallway, on the cold back
porch where a half-empty Coke can flashed in the leaving
light. Everything the same but his empty chair and place
at the table and the crowded silence that evening without his music
(no guitar-weeping lullaby) booming through the walls,
climbing your spine as you bent heavy over homework
with a dull pencil, math a sudden foreign language
untranslatable on the page while your brothers tried
in the orange light of the livingroom to play without
disturbing the throbbing distance between them
and your mother locked behind her bedroom door.
He'd been found on the floor. And your sister
who was nine dressed her dolls in mourning clothes,
colored a white gown black with magic marker
and made sure her doll sobbed quietly
until it was time to wrestle into a pair of thin
pajamas and tuck herself in and in compliance
with this fresh bludgeoning you, the oldest brother,
took yourself like a child by the hand and lead
your new ghost down the hallway to say goodnight
to your sister who was biting her lip not to cry
in the dark and patiently then you put your small brothers
to bed in their crumpled day clothes, told them everything would be okay.
Down the long hall your mother's door was a shield drawn
and from that you turned away. To this day.