Wicked Sense

Cold outside on a sunny frozen day.
I’m told it’s going to stay that way,
at least until I warm
up to the idea of being
just a man, just a man.

Got no future.
I wish for no more lifeless nights.
Days are short now.
Winter has a wicked sense of time.

January is like a novelist
who never read any poetry.
It goes on and on
hoping it can go somewhere
besides where it always was.

Spring is like a trickling mountain stream –
full of promises cold as ice.
Nice if you can wait
until everything comes true
and you, yes, you become you.

Got no future.
I wish for no more lifeless nights.
Days are short now.
Winter has a wicked sense of time.

C#m7 /// // Em /
C#m7 /// Em ///
A /// D9 ///
A / E7 / B7#5 ///
Gm7 /// F#m7 /// B7 /// ////

Dm /// A7 ///
C#m7 /// C9 ///
B7 /// A7 ///
Dm /// A7 ///
C#m7 /// C9 ///
B7 /// A7 ///

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More True Than True

I have someone who
might solve all my problems
who might save my soul
without costing me arm, leg
hand or broken jaw
who guarantees success.

For generations
for half my little pilgrimage
for consciousness’s half-life
I’ve entrusted my trembling
to one who says, ‘Be not
afraid of who we are.’

Who has someone who nails the dream
who plumbs sincerity
who fries fish freshly, who seems
more true than true?

I have someone who
can call on all of nature
who will believe in me
even if nobody else
has any idea how
to turn disease to health.

When breaks unformed morning
when guilt and scorn are empty
when first pure drink pours
just before she says, ‘hello’
moon and sun partake
of sacramental casserole.

Who has someone who nails the dream
who plumbs sincerity
who fries fish freshly, who seems
more true than true?

Wishes at day’s end
come out like cockroaches
they want what can’t be seen
like stars in storied constellations
not deserving of
but accepting satisfaction.

[5/4] A6(ii) //// Bm7(vii) ////
[5/4] D7 ////
[4/4] B7(ii) /// GMa7(iii) ///
[4/4] A6(v) /// Bm7(vii) ///
C69 ///
D69 /// E ///

[chorus][in 4/4]
D6 /// ////
D6 /// G# A //
F#m11 / D / C#m7 / G#m7 /
DMa7 /// A ///

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The world is hardly fair
but wildly beautiful.
Love takes a bite
but turns a fool
into a carny king.

I grew up in the squalor
of the usual class.
Strumpet of predictable
stress from trying to
reach the next step.

I filled one pocket
with goldish silverish
effort mixed with form.
The other was cold
like the end of the world.

Finally a day comes
temperature above the slim
consciousness arising
out of knowing that time
says hello friend.

Now climb a tree
descend into the basement
press the trigger of
the pistol of knowing
you are just a boy.

Back bent and listening
to the way the forest
of people in the city
will fix all problems
and clear the way.

Since the since of since
after the aft of the fore
drunk on the stretched-out cloud
at zero miles per hour
per feeling per stop
per tremor per now.

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Who She’s Going to Be

My daughter long lost
to deadly domestic warfare
and decades of strife
called me Dad the other day.
And I could live another
hundred years to find out
who she’s going to be.

All the years I lost
to separated fatherhood
her being all alone
my being a lost mongrel
her needing a little answer
to my giant question –
who she’s going to be?

Will she scrape the bottom
of the barrel to find me
covered with mud from
monday to sunday
just some level of geology
in time measured by
who she’s going to be?

I’m sorry my girl
but I’m not sure what for.
I didn’t know what to do
to keep you in my nest
in my safe embrace
in that warm place
you created for me.

I would give up half
of my cobblestoned life
to put my flat feet on
the street where she lives
and tell her don’t worry
it’ll all be okay, hey,
who are you going to be?

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Consider the Where of Here

We are all of us
parts not wholes
See yourself as
a leaf on a tree.

If we are in touch
stress waters us
troubles fertilize
changes occur.

What happens is
more than a possession
of the individual
pounded by waves.

A day of weather
a moment’s genes
a word decided upon
shivers and flies.

I read a book
looking in the mirror
the plot abandonding
rules like time does.

Love takes a bite
the flavor a need
to take another from
some other century.

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To my friends

on this site.

I am not the same

I have crossed a couple of bridges.

Sorry to be pulled

into the insides but

that’s where it is.

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Planet Tortilla

Not until we moved to California
in the seventh grade did I come
to appreciate the tough delicacy
of the tortilla in its myriad forms.

Mom mostly made them layered
in enchilada casseroles covered or
rather smothered in orange cheese,
lubricated in canned vegetables.

One of my first jobs, and maybe
the best, was at the one-man market
on Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara
where my boss Tom trusted me.

Across the street, up some stairs
in a yellow stuccoed adobe house
was a garden of delights where I was
inititiated into the temple of the taco.

The mother manager was friendly.
The daughter servers inspired lust.
I never saw the dad in the back but
he was the angel Gabriel at the grill.

Three to a plate on a bed of rice
toasted, red and chewy like oats.
In hot bites small and cautious,
meat and maize blended like lovers.

Not knowing the names of the chiles
all I can tell you is that they filled
the dense head and opened up spaces –
green like oases, harsh like swearing.

I’d go there before my evening shift
at the cash register selling sandwiches
of tasteless egg and turkey with cans of
cola and fanta with chips and jerky.

And I would stand by the window watching
the casa where customers leaving would
wipe their brows and laugh out loud
promising to return mañana.

Since then decades ago
across several wide continents
those mouthfuls have stayed with me
to clear my transient head of bland fog.

How do we get, we ask, from the basics
to the heavenly treasures of our senses
daily crushed, cut, pounded, simmered,
and fashioned for the thankful?

We follow the righteous recipes
handed down from higher up and long ago,
elbows on the table, eyes only half open,
mind aromatically elsewhere.

There were decent places to eat
in Austin, San Antonio and El Paso
but they were all resurrected shades
of that house of verde and rojo …

where before and beyond hunger
mortals were and still are transported
to the spinning, spicy, transcendant
Planet Tortilla.

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The View and Feel from Teen Calif

Nostalgic in high desert adulthood
I was in my hot tub this afternoon
Water still air veins moving
I jerkily recalled and relived
Mesa Lane beach after lunch
Water slapping my seal sides
Sky as sizzling as imagination
Five plus mixed decades ago
Nixon was the goon president
I was just gonna graduate
The army didn’t want my damaged
Kidneys or my stony attitude
The same view of the world
That kept me out of government
Agencies after I got a degree
Seeing through the smelly fog that
Greed and violence were married
For time and all eternity
Like prophets took their servants
For sex, pregnancy and labor
And made out like godly bandits
Lying out on chaise-lounges
On the white sand in Acapulco
Far from what they had done
To the females they’d salvaged
From the boney cliffs of war
Fleetingly shattering teeth
Before I was born to wake and
Climb up onto the south shingles
Ninety three million miles
Below and a couple of hundred
Dangling feet above Henry’s
Dirty paradise covered with
Kelp and jellyfish dancing
To the lively afternoon
Peace of bluesy reconciliation
Between falling exhilaration
And body temperature saving
Room for the whole dire future
Grabbed at by institutions
Looking for an analyst seeming
To sense the self-conflicting
Separation between salt breeze
And sweet raw tomorrow
And the day after.

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Left Undone

This year
is another poem
suggested by a kiss
then another one

When did it begin
when did it end
when is the word
set on stun

semblance of tears
verging on numb

October the month
filling the mouth with
truths approaching
lies unstrung

There you were not
always but ever
leaning and being
leaned upon

My two lips kept
leaning in and down
forehead and then
where stories spun

Somewhat could have been
colleagues or weekends
of speculative talkative
foreplay undone

Too much california
not enough sleeping bag
the obvious heard
the saturated left

This year
is another poem
suggested by a kiss
then another one

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Getting Up and Not Losing

Rubbing the eyes
I got up listening
to Howling Wolf
with stiff coffee
the sun waiting
me too
for the bridge.

Yesterday’s bread
with cheddar is good
but it keeps falling
when it goes in the oven.
Most things are better
then sped up.

Since you asked
what’s new is the odd
turning normal
then exploding.
Thinking back I
only spent
a few days.

On a game board
I drew with crayons
my rules specify
not losing
family members
memory or
how it ends.

Going back
and forth between
poetry and math
is like diving through
cold waves then
on hot sand.

Rubbing the eyes
I got up listening
to Howling Wolf
with stiff coffee
the sun waiting
me too
for the bridge.

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