Friday, March 30, 2012


The drab gray carpet of the BART train with its worn former-sparkles and chaffed-to-slick patches. A high-pitch squealing marimba shriek wakes me up through the Transbay tube. I’m dreaming of power saws and a version of Escape played on an old Casio that goes: “If you like huevos rancheros…” It’s exciting stuff. The seat next to me is scarred with a few jagged tears, maybe from a knife, or more likely just the sharp parts of somebody’s belt. I’m delirious. Nothing matters. A crinkle of static blurbs from the speakers overhead, speaking of delays and blood on the tracks, or something of the sort. My head’s a can of refried beans. My heart’s just a fading temporary tattoo on my wrist where razor scars used to be. Bleariness is the most of what’s capsizing me, that and what feels like a hole being drilled in my stomach with a 6-inch bit. A rumble stirs and plops through the car. People stand and sit with headphones on, giving their attention to a made-up empty square of public space that stares back at them like a reflection in the window, the silver grab rails the only thing that seem to be holding the standing ones up. I am slouched. I am dismissive of everything going on around me. We are all underwater, way below it, rocketing through a tunnel cut far below the surface of the world. There are pink dots in the carpet, which are better than elephants. I close my eyes and rest my weary head against the dark window.   

            I am growing tired of my whole Jekyll-and-Hyde act, just like trash accumulates in street-side shrubbery. FDR on mailboxes, too. Pickle factories that aren’t hiring. Halfway through with giving up, one person this night and another sucker in the morning, just a peripheral character in my own life, dusting the lazy work of spotty clouds. Face it; the sun’s too bright most of the time anyway.        
            Primordial sap gets its due. Homage paid to grits and sausage. Xeroxed happy-birthday cards. We can do better than worse.          
            Coffin Joe’s on the make. He’s banking ‘em in like Sam Jones, hanging around in Lucky Penny territory late at night, and prowling moon-faced through rain in swaying dooms of love. The affectations of a dead dog with the manners of a chauffeur on a break, he’s coming to terms with a sartorial crisis. Courtesy’s like a cousin he’s never met, and just keep off the grass, okay? About a snowball’s chance in hell that his kids will grow up normal.
            I’ve started splurging on toilet paper, purchasing the good stuff: blue-label Charmin brand. I now look forward to my bowel movements, reveling in my time spent not only on the pot, but wiping afterwards. No more strands of thin-plied sheets stuck deep in the crack. No more itching in the ass crags. Just soft and smooth wiping from here on out. I’m settling in for the long haul, and nothing about my days is done.
            This kid? Well, he’s shot dead with a pack of Skittles and an Ice Tea. The sound of helicopters above is worse than a symphony. We trade sleep for twelve-hour shifts, and it comes to this. Well, this is really the mashed liver of things. Let’s not chop onions over it, though. We’re not through with putting bullet holes in innocent people. Rough stuff. Get the news from the classifieds. Take the city’s temperature at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. We’re meddling with sociopaths in riot gear. The goon squad’s on the mend. We’re only not taking prisoners, and if people get grouchy there are peanuts to pay. It all reeks of bad Chinese food. We’re speaking into the mic but the thing’s gone dead, like the kid-- the one with the Skittles and the Ice Tea.   
            Strumming lines, sunk worried, bested at being wounded, creamed, and it’s like toast that’ll never burn all the way through. Dented pillows. Passed to the war-old years. Chomp--suit, dog leash, stubble-- we run. Shapes that’ll never take. Cleaned ovens shuttled through delinquency, half alone, half unmindful. The rain wakes you up without much trouble.
            Get the storms gone from drains, pluck a rued note from Gore-Tex. We’ve got missionaries out in thunderous regions where closed-casket faces that’ll never stare again lie prone and don’t age. We aren’t hasty in undue diligence. We are commonplace. Over the bucket, plug the hole, and the flow of money will flush out the rest, senders cut unreturned. Vast, the massacre makes promises we can’t keep from keeping. Faring well enough, plowed to nuisances, the bugs imitate the window’s slashed shadows. There’s a gone here that’ll always be a stay.
            Everyone gets to be a rose picker. On a day like tomorrow we’ll plan what today’s done doing. Vines clipped and curtailed, sweltering, and there’s a crunchy loss there that goes stopped until it screams, “Potatoes!” Don’t worry about honeycombs, lobbed grenades, or the sweaty crunch of berry weather. The usual is unheard of. Cooling it does the job of working out, unless you count the tired squandering of slashed tires and boysenberry stains. Vats of courage dump on the famished, and we walk with limps until the stars count us.
            Fans of liking, it’s a fad that’ll always mistake itself for an important step in the domination of our instincts, but, just as well, we can take tests that show the reaches of bellowed sorrow. Fill in the bubble completely, though, so they won’t mistake your tears for resentful rage. Shakes of what was her, she’s not slobbering through the alleys anymore, disrupted, jostled to life’s merchandising, and she don’t do what she ought to, not now, not anymore. The bird’s been flipped. Over your time’s a bent rail, and being nice wears on and off all the time. Machines do not dream.
            I can’t shake it off, wonderful enough to be forgetful of who it was I was the night before, or playing roundup with telephone calls, drenched shoes evidence of wandering in the rain, mostly dressed still in bed, mostly splotchy and cotton-mouthed. We miss each other and stay away, filled with bees, and the way it wasn’t and the lasting goes. Find a new day to be somebody in. A hollow thing emptied of burnt straw, a derby hat squashed by a cement truck, a nap that washes the spin from staying. We strain and striptease sadness, and it’s a blue-red mark in the bottom of a foot’s arch, and peddling, and ants taking shelter from the rain, and a fortune cookie’s fortune cut in three. I can’t dance it away.              
            Broken doorbells, people who never answer, and the newspapers pile up, and the weeds take over the lawn. Somehow praying is optional. Leaving absence behind, though, is not. Busking dopes with aerophones, shirtless organ grinders, capuchin bottlers juggling avocadoes, charros riding high on somebody else’s charm, and one last white-coated pitch for all the fallen angels. Judy’s been punched, and the suckers are left pleated and soaked. Resting takes the care from what’s well. Kimper all of my drapes, please. The coffee’s on the stove, eggshell weak, and the valves of nuisance are jammed with wonder. “Have at it,” was what the grocer said to the mustachioed emperor tamarin, adding, “We are strong with harvested dandelions.” There is no coat of winter left to cover the shivering arms of summer. Great grays and watery silvers leak through. I am going in through the window.
            A flounce, a stab at it, a jab thrown lazily, and the lamplighter moans through a bullhorn, “Don’t worry about better or worse, grazed, looked over, it’ll be so can-openerly, proper and stalled. Disguised in all of the above. Nourishing so copasetic, just here, gloves we wear, just there, eyes closed on the age, brush your teeth with soda water, oh sweet canopy, nature’s left us, do, do, do, do make it bussing me off the table, saltwater dreaming of taffy, bad as blunted, it’s to see, short but not stunted, don’t yes your cares, don’t heart-heart the urgency, belong, you can dry all of your walls, stand behind two-foot tall, in the yellow of the shadows that’ve come and gone before, red makes blue in your eyes, match my drifting ways with a bottle of kerosene, let’s set our socks on fire, make the centipedes roll back up in a ball, and then the you that sees me makes all the fish drown, frittering on and away.”  
            Sizing me down, street slopes, swamped lulls of curve, gowns of gardens gone, plumped and pillowed, where the rattlesnakes are herded, in a troubled couplet of sun and glow, slimming the fits that get old-soda flat and tired, bounced to backwards stations that roll and fuzz, hand-delivered bubbles, scratched-felt specialty stores, a fly’s piss worth of hope and a cranky mallard blocking foot traffic along the winding way, rolled chumped and chucked to a changeless curb, it’s sort of under the dirt, here where beauty’s animals are chowing down half-past sundown, and trespassing comes and goes with the territory, scapegraces prowling loose, and it is we who check the sidewalk’s cross-lying strain relief grooves for cracks with empty unlocked treasure chests where our hearts should be, adapted to corruption, satori-like, Blaked, and pounced on by paradise’s hounds, in the burden of a doubted life accepted, glummy, bent over to wheeze abstractedly, plastic and porcelain, bopped to the inscrutable to combust, a prescription for a sad marrying, equanimity touching on a cackle, interesting to a blamed minimum of a crawl, foured and squared in a round, round, round, round world.            
            Sallow, caught in the end, typing trouble through heavy crossfire, it is something that dunks and is uninteresting, and it is pleasing to the ear, and it is cool to the thought. It is sorrow. It is rich with belly. It clams up with a crammed nuisance. It bites. It won’t heal well. And so, go over, tone by tone, the way inscribed words take a left at the intersection of comfort and boredom. It lures and tacks the walls. Behind the pictures go the words.
            For now I’ll guess dough back to flour and water. Traced into a trance. Ever to let, ever to stay vacant. Where the will goes. Where the heart strays. How the razor scars. It’s the dark’s blessing. Caved in and free. Scooped out and flipped over and out. Outwardly kind. When we had longer smiles. While we were as young as that. Added down. Seventeen’s gone. All along, just a grip to go, gone. The scrubbed rough face of a bell that’ll never ring again. Time’s spent. Get down without it. Get down up past crowded freeways. Gunning for another road to fall all the way down.