Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 poems by Ma Rainy

the shards that cuss

my feelings are all hurt
just like the old days
when the rain washed the beer away
and the motels still held their neon close
a rooftop to sit on
the ledge of your hope to lean off
a patch in a swear
a loaded answer
and the moon’s swell for now
just dashes and maroons
my luck’s a raise in the stakes
my harm’s lost in the drying paint
do not fend off what’s wrong with what’s never right
the lack’s what’s never missing for long
another yes to all no
wear a complacent smile while you still can
all of my thoughts are doing 99 years
in all the degrees of a mind’s slaughter
honeyed and husky howls
barnyard manners
I don’t want to be associated with my name anymore
I am slurring through most evenings
I have given up mixers
I am headed for morocco
to be nothing

The Same Old Colossus

Sliced pickles through fear and good tidings
Trickles of kid-like tough
Erased from my permanent record
Eroded spandrels kissed into shape
Below empty gesturing’s cornice
Something penciled-in
A rot without a scent
Nothing to give off or back
Just an afternoon to wait through
To get over
While bad moods pile like dirty dishes
In the proverbial sink of my chances
Heading blindly into oncoming traffic
Or another outbound day spent heading in
Icing’s gone
Nothing left here
The cake

Bless The Dead Here As The Rain Falls With The Last Drink's Hammer

Nothing’s as it seems.
I am only me,
That is all.
Nothing to be concerned
with. Something to trifle with,
maybe. Not
a blackbird ready to
attack. Not
something skyward
at all. That is all.
The buses go by.
Sky’s all blown to bits of gold and peachy orange.
The scene moves on with the leaves.
Life’s a mistake,
but a grand one.
Pay off the piano player.
We’ll escape with a little loot
at least. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Tower To Tumble Through The Trees

-The business suits are all on time here.
-Unless less siphons to more, more or less, then all of them are out of it.
-I would it were so, but for the time it would take to believe it were is a ploy not from above.
-Not like business as such usually suits.
-Or as likely it were so, strictly during business time.
-As I see what I do not, for a most unpleasant taste arrives as-is.  
-Or it is as its "is" is an "is-not."
-Not a word as a yes would never do.
-Ever the time it plucks a real live doll from the clam house.
-And not the world’s clam, too.
-As any shucked oyster might tell.
-In that sneaky place where the good lord split us all, perhaps a moan suffices?
-Not a place’s claim to lay, as it weren’t, and the bold traces of a skysail’s wind e’er do show the lost the loneliest way to golly about their lollygagging business, as per the unusual escapades of what do show faces less than worth saving.
-Or do they not, or just not?
-Just. What a solipsistic belch to wrangle to the sawdust with the stench of. A narcissistic proposition snared in a preposition’s bind. And do justice’s mirrors show what’s just, or what just is? Just being the margin’s right to be out, with or without wit, ended touched just a touch with just’s minor wrongs. Just? I pray differently from the norm, if the norm’s just is as you tell it.
-I tell none but what is, as just or not, allowed or slaked for what thirst devours first. And to be not solely as just seems (well-known fibers of being, yes, I’ve staked juicer claims to be dry) for precursors of a seedier sort, weeded ere they’re wed, and trumping those tapped-out well-water blues.
-Justly so.
-Not a working order’s say, if I shall have mine.
-And so in saying there is a will’s “be done” to contend with.
-Ah. It cannot be overlooked. I dare speak it, therefore it is.
-Reflect, damn it!
-A damn’s only insurance is what it lacks. Don’t be forewarned too easily. You might mistake today for tomorrow, and in doing so lose what it is to what might just never be.
-Easier traded away than done.
-A keeping’s try, at most. And what little’s left shores up, steels away, and moonlights as a snake-fearing gardener. We almost were what we excrete, while wasting’s still closer than away.
-There is a biplane droning away in my safekeeping, for the thoughts I do not have do replenish an endless supply of newer news. Some of it treks sadder tracks than any thought’s train, sure. But reasons stand to reason, for man’s is a surer thing, as laughter or slaughter show, if not just sky-blue trades to a worrier such as I.
-Mandrake in your coffee again?
-A cluster of crumbs from crumbling clouds is all. And races are what we never get off to.
-Speaking from one or for one?
-A win away from placing, that’s all. A poser’s poster boy. Routine’s practiced hold on events. I am less tattered than what appears. Do me all favors to return whence I came, with no longer a whence to go.      
-As to dust, we are in it and of it, and we all perchance do dust, returning always, and to some we reappear too, just as dust does, to be wiped away over and over. The upkeep’s the thing.
-Tomorrow always knows, does it not?
-What today would could yesterday allow tomorrow to be without today’s say-so.
-Alas, another refrain’s rife tickle. So, justly or no, is this the mood of hate?
-Love’s cursed twin. Yes. Go on. Assuage my most minor opinion. In the twist of parallel sky motioning a journey’s yet, yet never to be, just yet.
-Not a thing to be counted on, wearily to go where nary a long-toothed among them has gone not ere the devil’s take gets counted out.
-Not on?
-Never. I swear it were never a cursed word of mine that dangled as would Damocles’ sword over whatever events might pass for current, now. Oh, but for the mangled wreck I leave behind, area code and all, with only my topcoat left to cover it, maybe some galvanized shiny steel thing in the poorest parts of the machine-bright city to count on. Just a dial tone remains. Maybe some popcorn.        
-Who left to phone?
-Just phony simulacra, the ephemera of lost modes of communication, dropped calls and lost voices going unheard all of a quick eternity. No basics to get back to. Nobody to call or return a call at all.
-To bet heavy on the undercard and go light on the main course.
-Would it be less appetite to whet in light of less-heavy entrées? Or could we milk what’s suitable from the grains gained of coarser entreaties?  
-Loss bemoaned’s still not spun to win one’s only one, is it not?
-Be it as a haggard disposition’s surface may arise in the doldrums of another’s prize.
-Purse loather.
-Loathing’s lover.
-Nothing’s all, is all. Let’s not agree to be less agreeable to whatever clumps and dents our personalities might take. In the clearing stands a boxer, or perhaps a woman of bounded sorrow.
-Turn the trunk, burnt from branch, into a totem to scream your lullabies to. Your clearing, my dear hoarder of thought, is not so clear.
-And if I may not?
-Go on.
-Well, then in the stoppage time of my life I extend a hand like so. Dexterous. Surely as sure as a shake’s firm grip’s less than shaky. Which brings us to ponder why sometimes there is a buggy.
-Aye. At some time. At some point in it. A driver. A paid attendant. A backseat voucher gone to misuse. And to what expertise do we draw the curtains on days unlike these?
-To any but our own, I take it.
-The unimportance of not being less than truthful at most of all times, whilst eating crow as well, or merely just not as well liked.
-Hold thy tongue. Here cometh thy one true love.
-Gilroy the stinker? By jingo! Thee speak to a ruined landscape.
-Yet one that still speaketh.
-All to a withheld account. I’m wont to be shushed at best. 
-Be shy. The wind reeks of an untoward scent.
-One too common to my whiff, though uncommon as they come. To suffer so by my unfortunate nose, if it must be smelt all would know by whom it was dealt.     
-Cork thyself! The horrid whiff nears.
-Whilst we drink a draught of silence we shall squeeze our nares tight.
-God’s wounds. Thy voice be drowned.  
-‘Tis zounds, my baddest of asses.
-Part with this babble and live a day to babble once more.
-Noted with what is duly left in my temper, these lips shall persist in being tightly pressed.
-How now. Here cometh the one of rank.
-Silence ‘tis forever held, by thee, by me, by all parties whose foul stink never let us let freedom ring…

Monday, July 28, 2014

Suicide Note #1,073

This time it’s not for real. I’ve yet to run into Louise Brooks in real life, but in black & white? All the time. The problem? It’s in the typewriter’s ribbon. I’m sure of it. The previous pages were held in check by a checkered future’s chances. This page, as it slings its way into existence, borrows little from those lachrymal and disparate diatribes. Something comforting? My mule’s gone to Moscow.   

Sodden compassion lacks dignity. I’ve been sore with more. Unless less were to become more. But it never seems to in the experience that’s been mine. But I have none that is otherwise. What cannot one do? Be humble and try to keep moving.

Strange memories on this nervous night in Los Angeles. Something comes tumbling, troubling from the streets. Mariachi music wafts up from a car stereo: a steady rhythm to fall into a trance to. I dry my socks in the open window, and some guy’s got the Eifel tower painted on his balcony wall. The buses make their noise and wheeze by on the street six flights down while a man in a white cowboy hat sells carne asada from a barbeque stand on the corner. A nun escapes from a rundown apartment complex and crosses herself at the light. The stifling drone of a helicopter’s whirling flight Dopplers back and forth in a smog-smeared sky. Nobody’s paying attention to the laws. A giant crane is stalled above a church like some lunatic god gone fishing. I lie back and stare at a palm tree that’s got nothing but wilted, white fronds to show for itself. The tall buildings gleam almost downright resplendent in the afternoon’s hazy sunshine, their windows like shiny scales of some ancient reptilian thing petrified for a brief eternity here where I just so happen to be doing my existing for the moment. I’ve got sunglasses on, a salmon shirt with silver buttons, green and yellow argyles, and a powder-blue suit jacket that smells like a girl I used to be in love with. My head’s all mush and strangled courage. I’ve got nothing to do but wander and get drunk; and that seems a suitable enough proposition for this here battered bunch of hurt. There’s no way in or out that I don’t got. There are no accordions left around these parts. The hat’s on the bed. The taxi lights have all gone out. A fly’s joined the party in through the window: another paying customer to witness my doom and disposal. Cussing out everything and handling nothing very well. There’s a detour sign in my heart. It reroutes my hopes and tells my love to take a left. I’m sure there are guts I’m in need of. I’m sure that I might not ever get the hell out of here. There’s violin music coming from the room next door. Two ladies who know what’s better left not done and then done again, I suspect. An airy moment to enjoy in this temporary abode between what’s gone and what’s on its way out.

I am not thwarted by inanition. There are more prevaricating forces at work than just some mild lassitude spelled by indifference. The choices I don’t make keep piling up, behind and ahead of me. I am hemmed in on all sides by stagnant gulfs between decisions.   

And so it is that I teeter back on my heels, reminisce, attempt to hold on to fuliginous memories that haunt me like some Murfreesboro barkeep with whom I am forever never settling up my tab. My mind steers steadier than you’d imagine, waylaid and rollicking over this rocky terrain.

I remember mother, aging as she was, bandy-legged (or was it bow?) delivering soup to the tenants, the one’s in need of caretaking—or perhaps they should be considered boarders—, all of whom were left less well than the drooling palaver of their situation should’ve conscripted them to. Radios scruffy and crackly with overuse, piping out dreams hot and cold for rapid consumption. “How’s that?” is the belated refrain that wanes sluggishly through the shrubs of all my tenses: presently just the past. To the patois of children go the lowly and crushed, and I am forever dour about the clemency of the surrounding troops.       

Fooled to the common errands, I root about for bunchgrass before the gardener arrives, stymied to concoct Maileresque advertisements for myself in this back-soaking humidity. I am lost. The butler moans irreverence from bad spaces in the universe. Crayons heal themselves, wrapper and all. I am snagged by some common Falstaff into blame’s verisimilitude. Nobody home? Well, I believe mother would have lurched, albeit steady and subdued, like some bibulous funambulist arching towards blurred pit stops on the way to hell—or gasping with a sudden fall’s terror, perhaps. But I’ve forsworn all hindsight peeks, at least until every notice has gone to further.

We are suckers for cloud coverage, spotty and transient as it can be. A teal, like baize, that swamps and lurks and spindles and then fades to a clumpy pewter. Surrounded. A glimpse or a wink’s twinge. Melted butter baked into pastry soaked golden by sharp javelins of sun. And it is I who tend towards scurrilousness as the crepuscular insects arise. Waiting. Shod softly to barefooted times. When the room wages war on bits and flecks of nostalgia locked holy and away in motes and beams of distraction, of television’s warm glow. We are dirt sprinkled and spread over the beveled, shiny, marble lid of a coffin. The spit of the world is mine to swallow. A slim share of sky. A rough-hewn burst of cloud bottom scudding through. A latticed groom over sleeker shapes, and the stalled company of being between spaces: ever longing for never.

Drapery’s thick folds hold illicit memories, ancient and arranged, pulled to rest, and at times reined in to gaze at restful moments.

Mother’s queries would trim the lard from the most brazen of the boarders. I (the “who” who is meddling in all dramatis personæ) attain reports nightly of what that business previously entailed. It is lapidary, it turns out, and its tides are the cheer of blame and turnstile humor. What mother held closer than breath was the cloying rant of her inheritors. “It’ll steam you some, son,” she’d chance in the rout of her possessions. A scuffle of dreamy buyers, a spill of droopy silver ringlets from a formerly regal head of yellow curls. Top light. I have forever been returned to sender.  
A keeling sigh palpitates from the room next door. The two ladies are ushering off their farewells, blighted with a balmy sort of pleasure that comes from balancing pleases on the edge of a razor. Soon the music dies down, as do they, and all context returns to its usual forms. I hereby absquatulate from the race of all things, abjure all sentiments and concordant instructions on what it is to be alive, to be a slight wince among those who cultivate food and raise animals just so they can consume them—  those who believe that they own things.

There are no rafters left in my drafty torment; only the crumbling sliding-dovetail joints of my ruination remain, along with some wind-lofted pages ripped from a King James Bible. I do not wish to lead any person to believe that I will just up and Bojangles my way away from these parts. There are ants between the tiles in wait of wayward crumbs. The windows haven’t been washed in 18 years. I’ve forgotten what rain sounds like. Mother would tell me to just be kind to myself, to go about half-flummoxed and a bit drunk, remembering the different names for flowers and insects, clumsily drafting and rearranging whatever’s sulking its way through me; and I’d take her cliff diving now, if I could. Maybe all the way to Dover. But I am all out of feeling like home. And I am just dashed against the rocks for all my trouble.Only a shredded tie and a torn panama left to take care of, to notice or appreciate. I’ll take it. I will. It is probably just another fall to be wrecked at the end of. For all matters at hand I am just a rattletrap scream barreling down the tracks on a clattery old steam locomotive forever headed through smoky tunnels of what it used to mean to be me. The hour’s grave. All the roads are closed. And for me? Nobody knows. And nobody knows.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Of Nets And Webs

“You can have all your days. Just let me have the nights, and maybe the mornings too. Imagine, if you will, two colliding elliptical galaxies wrapped by a string of blue pearls. That could be me, or even, I dare say, you. Let’s make a list of things we’re scared to think about and then burn it. Take Vic Serf."

“What’s the matter with him?”

“He’s probably wishing he were back in Roanoke, in 1999, smelling the stink of bar rags and Rolls Royce aftershave. No. Further back in the pantheon of higher-ups, the runners of the show, and weak with it too. All the way? Surer than ‘83’s flip of the switch, the one that turned this whole god damn monster on.”

“Yeah. And he’s thinking, ‘Leave me alone. I’m working on my forearm shiver.’ Or something like that.”

“Wait. I mean, wait. No. Wait. What’s not the matter with me now? What next? What now?”

“Well, it does seem that another sucker-bait blonde’s got me on the hook. This time, or even next, or would that be all the times before?”

“Let me tell you.”


“I tell you what. I remember Siskel and Ebert on TV, sitting with a few seats between them in an otherwise empty movie theatre, screaming at each other, just like my parents.”


“And, about once a year I go down to LA, get a cheap hotel room in one of the seedier parts of town, the same hotel where Raymond Chandler spent a few dark nights contemplating suicide, and I drink gimlets and pound on my typewriter and smoke a carton or so of cigarettes, and think about Raymond Chandler a lot and I take myself out to dinner and I walk the streets and look at things: all that old neon and the faded movie palaces and glorious heights of art deco buildings and the longing and drag of skid row’s gloomy abodes. I stay about a week. And I’ve never got bed bugs from the trip. Not even once. And I haven’t jumped out of any of the hotel windows yet either.”  

“Well, for me, in my case, it’s starting to look, or at least seem to me, that I’ve been dawdling around in the same crumby rubric for too long now. And maybe? Maybe’s a really thin reed to hang your hopes on. You see, it’s been such a long, lean time since I’ve enjoyed sitting across a table from somebody and staring at plates of Chow Mein together. Hell and heck and all the mugginess between. Sing me a song of sourdough, up through the Klondike trail of ’98 or around the Pantages theatre circuit. And sure you can say stuff like, ‘A bunch of the boys were whooping it up, etcetera, etcetera.’ But that won’t cut it. Just another machine cranking out form letters. A remaining balance never to be spent. Something unlikely in the swarf of troubling metal splinters that keep spewing from the cut of my jib. Nothing burnished. Nothing remaining.”

“I’m hungry. Let’s make some coffee.”

“Sure. We can talk over it. It’ll add steam to our gestures.”

“Plagued by Technicolor dreams, and then waking up to history tossing its empties out the window. All of it pointless yet necessary. Shrugging off to more Modest Mussorgsky territories, in the lap of need’s want. To whom it shall never concern, express-written, told-on regards pass more bottles through the war-torn strife of up-yet-not-quite-at-‘em concerns.”

“Nary a worry, lady.”

“In the meantime, some sustenance. At last.”

“I was on a stroll just this afternoon, through a park. I benched myself on the lee side of a slight slope. I watched. The TV antennas planted on the rooftops like crossbows. A diving thing gone hidden to a swale, fields of lavender and bone-white palms rustling in adamant gusts, tennis balls crammed into the diamonds of a chain-link fence, a sign reading, ‘No dogs allowed on athletic fields.’”  

“What do you make of it?”

“Well, you see, our brains are not made to understand the concept of time. We want linear ways of looking at things: beginnings, ends, the stuff between. Time doesn’t work like this. It just is. The start is the finish, and all the stuff between too. In order to survive our brains had to adapt to see things in a way that would allow us to continue on with some type of order in the chaos, so as we could craft our own reality in a way that made sense to us, that helped us make sense of the world around us, the one we suddenly and constantly seem to find ourselves existing in, over and over. Just to acknowledge this is something incredible. To overcome all of our limited senses (which are limited for a reason, as we couldn’t survive without the streamlined way our brains let us experience things) and doubt about what’s really happening in this pale-blue-dot of a place, and somehow acknowledge that we’ve only got these limited brains constructed over millions of years by survival-of-the-fittest evolution just like the rest of our appendages and innards; and that they only allow us to have these thoughts and render us incapable of seeing the world and time as it really is: infinite. All we can do is use what we’ve got, and see things like we do. But, I don’t know, perhaps we should also keep it in the back of our little brains somewhere that what we experience is just a tiny piece of what really is, and accept that there is no way to break out of this hardwired way of experiencing things either. Maybe this is empowering in some small, strange way. Anyway, these are the sorts of thoughts that keep plopping into my head lately. You can’t prove any of it.”

“It’s like were going outside for a cigarette and saying, ‘Let’s go out and see the world.’ Conniving to convince ourselves that this it, that there’s a whole a lot more going on within us than we’re afraid to admit there really is.”

“Uh huh. And this, this is the place where I do my dwelling.”
“Where’s this this?”

“At the corner of Maligned and Confabulated, just past Remorse, close to Puttering Along, down the street from Apotheosis.”   

“And me here, left dripping with hackneyed nonsense and noiselessness. One eye glued shut. A hole punched in my tongue. Toe hair plucked. The Square and Compasses shaved into my head. A cracked-mirror of a guy.”     

“What happened to you?”

“I was at a Tupperware party last night, and, well, things sort of got out of hand.”


“No. Not really.”

“Forget it. I’m in desperate need of some Big League Chew. But the dugout’s empty. The bullpen’s been battered by the straw-hat-and-beer crowd. Nobody left to toe the slab. Nobody left to play fungo until the lights come on. Nothing’s as swell or as dandy as it once was, or used to be. I’d be sorry about it but I just don’t have the time.”

“You cannot space these things out properly, maybe, for sure, and that’s where you get into the kicks of the thing, the seamy transition from one who moseys to one on whom moseying is lost.”

“Complaining of which, I was out walking around on a Sunday night in the financial district, feeling completely miserable about myself and everything that was happening to me, the horrendous predicament that I found myself in, the whole deal, all of it, just a drag. The vacated buildings and desolate streets. The movement of birds like vowels flickering in some lost guttural tone. Something too-bright and unsettling about the whole thing. People sleeping on curbs, in storefront enclaves, lying tattered and bare as if crucified on the sidewalk. The cop cars slowed to watch me as they murmured past. I looked up a lot. I stared at the smallest things. I noticed the stuff that gets overlooked. There’s no way around or into it. I’m not fit for the sort of consumption that this world requires.”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“Getting behind. Losing. Getting lost. Being alone. Ruminating in odd landscapes of discontent. Attaining stillness without the rub of lassitude. A preemptive strike at the bored, blasé attitude towards life that this world requires of one who wishes to succeed in it.”

“Success is a load of shit-smeared feathers, right?”

“If you like.”

“I do. I mean, I don’t. Like. I guess. I mean…what?”

“That’s it. Go listen to yourself think. Go sit on the toilet and talk to yourself. Take a shower in the dark. Play the same record over and over until you hear it for the first time. I am making too much sense. I’ll stop before the price of derailment gets too cheap to bother about.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“I couldn’t tell you. The good leaked out of here long ago, and we’re all still running from one stage to the next, trying to remember what it was like to act like ourselves.”

“I could use a batting helmet. Being grandfathered into this shit is really a catalyst for dementia and fear—that horripilation and downright teeth-grinding toe-snapping sense that you are not at all what it is that you are, and that is exactly who you’ve always known yourself to be in the tiny subterranean nook of your unconscious that you always seem to be just a shy (or careless) whisper from weaseling your way out of, or would that be into?”

“I ain’t got the foggiest.”

“Yeah. Me too. Notions are for the flag flyers and the welders. Who are we to care about such stuff?”

“Well, we still could, right?”

“Hell, it’s too early. It’s always, always too damn early. And then, of course, it gets too late too soon; and then? And then it’s all gone, and you think, ‘Fuck. I never even got a chance to know any of it very well.’”

“And that’s the bullshit we abide by. The guns we stick to. The hole we are in.”

“Our only worth’s our net worth. Our only hope is to pay our way through our days.”

“I am going to sacrifice myself into an active volcano. Go out with some flare, some dramatic timing perhaps. The Good Samaritans in my head have gone native, and they’re restless as hell.”

“The drop edge of being you. It’s about time.”

“Time? Hell, what do I care about time? I don’t think it even exists.”

“Of course.”