Good morning America, Where Are You?
Now that the buck has stopped
The jig is up
The well done run
Dry your eyes. You’re done.
The party’s over the game is played
The bad boys took off
With the cache.
Now that the buck has stopped
Where are you?
What’s your place?
What’s really on your mind?
Now that the buck has stopped
Did you make the right choices,
Sacrifice the best of times?
Can you remember your kid’s last season?
Who won, who lost, who’s behind?
Good morning America.
The drug of distraction’s worn off
The cocaine high of overvalued
Done gone good-bye.
And this downturn, this turn down,
This big big disappointment, bummer slump
Might just be Nature’s way of cooling us off
Cooling us down – all that dough
Rising and rising making us feel
Super, natural but you know she’s the boss
Nature had to cool off!
Man! She was feeling the heat.
You have lost and
I feel for you
All that hard work and
Faith in The Street.
There’s a knock knock joke
In here somewhere
Something along the lines of
“How many Investment Managers
Does it take to screw…”
Or was that greed I heard knocking
Your knees back there?
The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics
“All that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allen Poe
I: The dream within the dream within the dream
What is it, Ferlinghetti,
Taking star turns in my dreams?
Strolling in front of cars
Haunting alleyways, stairways,
Bars? Beating moth like flitting through
San Francisco’s sex fraught avenues? In North Beach
Where XXX marks art and
Nasty commerce collide, intersect Columbus,
Telegraph Hill, Jack Kerouac Way.
You are fog whispering in from the sea
On another sunny day.
“There’s a breathless hush on the freeway tonight,
Beyond the ledges of concrete/Restaurants fall into dreams
With candlelight couples/Lost Alexandria still burns.” *
Ferlinghetti’s words sink, weighted
On the business end of an invisible fishing line,
Dredging last nights’ dream to surface, gasping for air
Shivering like some catfish
Eyes bulging, wet lake water dripping off its scales.
The knife of memory slices open
That dream, finds me on haunted streets,
Instructing small boy:
“You gotta go to the Ferlinghetti school. It’s totally rad
and completely cool.”
II: Ferlinghetti Makes an Appearance
Phantom audience shouts: “Higher! Higher!”
Egg the poets on – after all, they’re not on the wire.
Higher? We spin the memory wheel until there’s my father
Strolling through his own Coney Island
And there he is again winning a goldfish
The clerk hands it over fish circling in plastic bag
Big Daddy pretends
It’s all for the kids.
He needed to win like that fish needed water.
III: The Poet Reconsiders
Is the skill of life just keeping on
All the gears oiled, the doors open?
Even if the past keeps drowning and the knifed open
Dream fish still swims around?
In dream theater Ferlinghetti arrives.?Was it the Regal, the Royal or the Metreon?
I rise to make room for he who started everything
Got the wheel of poetry turning, broke
Open language, letters. Vaporized
While he drifts
Haunting my dreams.
- from “Wild Dreams of A New Beginning” by L. Ferlinghetti
FALLEN LEAF LAKE
Wind whispers through Bishop pines
in secret sun dappled spot
We lie surrounded by pennyroyal and dust.
Sap drips in dark rivulets
I take your hand, seek your lips.
We are alone but for the sound of
Pine needles drifting to the forest floor.
Lake water laps licks at the shore
Melted glacier cools
The heat of high summer.
A breeze spins
Circles around us.
The sky: cloudless
High altitude blue
Sierra in July.
- Appeared in “River Sedge: University of Texas, Pan-American Press: Vol. 18″ and “Seeking Center,” Two Bridges Press
Ode to Cecil Bruner
Tangles of cobwebs woody thicket
Catches sweaters, scratches hands.
Dull bundle invites spiders, small birds.
April warmth coaxes tiny buds
From dry joints. Pale pink brightens limbs
Like little Christmas lights
Or the silk rosebuds ringing the collar
Of a child’s pink leotard.
Making Love in an Empty Apartment
Across the courtyard, late fall (crisp air, windows shut against the chill),
Making love in an empty apartment, a couple
I do not know. I pause, on my way to work
Wonder why with the curtains packed, the boxes shipped
The dishes wrapped, the furniture sold or donated
Japanese Maple Tangka
Leaf upon leaf, dense
Paper-thin petals sheer as
Shadow behind shade
A bouquet of fine tissue
Green delight for tired eyes.
Birdlike notes sing through quiet Quarter,
Echo off ancient cobbled street.
A mynah’s hopeful love call.
Man whistles, long coat buttoned against late fall chill,
One note running up and down the scale of his hearts’ desire.
The singular music follows him like sunlight breaking clouds.
Lost in fog’s waterfall
We snake past Laguna Honda
Where Philip Whalen -
Bohemian, beat, Buddhist
Priest, lived his last. Wailed
“Put me to rest
On a bed of frozen raspberries.”
In the anthology we are reduced to type, temporal roommates –
Lovers, partners, perfectly bound by glue, string and fate.
We are a case of two who were designed to meet
No simple coin toss, but a coup, an editorial feat.
Torqued – for Richard Serra
The artist designed a change in the atmosphere
Went above our heads where
Towering shapes are safe harbor, a cave
Or, depending on your worldview,
The looming giant spaces skew
Too close, not enough air, or space.
Who dares the first step inside
To walk the barren landscape?
Who skirts the edge,
Afraid to enter emptiness?
Lex and 67th. The corner luncheonette — 1940’s décor. I’m
Sipping an egg cream, fizzy sweetness, afternoon half-light,
Back on that swiveling stool, enveloped in your presence.
You were SO big — and talking. Always talking.
Your legacy — a love of food and strangers.
Your headstone is a mess, daddy-o.
Requiem for a Dying World
Crouched figure folds into black chador
Four wooden crates balanced on bent back
She takes the steps into the Old City
One by one as mosque call pities
Men from shops and homes.
She does not pray inside the Golden Dome
She does not sigh or moan.
War Rant – Staying Sane
Alaina says she wants more passion
Andrea quit reading the morning news
Yvette sees “The Devil Wears Prada” –
Twice – her savior is in fashion.
Ghazal for Baiji, Goddess of Chang Jiang
Ancient lore recounts I was born with a princess’ spirit, a princess with a dream,
Of a chosen love, not pre-ordained. I lived on beauty, on dancing, in a dream.
I was re-born in slender dolphin’s form. Followed stars, planets, a moonbeam
(I refused the ugly suitor; my parents drowned me – this was no dream.)
Across continents I journeyed to the Yangtze, a river so rich, so very pristine.
Immersed in pure waters, I sang and swam and loved – this is not a dream.
The only key to the beach house is missing. Shari flips over pots and pans, tosses papers and magazines. Her appointment with Maya is in twenty minutes.
A parrot calls, a mynah clacks. Reggae music wafts from next door.
“Jason!” Shari leans over the edge of the veranda railing shouting at the ocean, where her husband is swimming. Her voice diffuses, trumped by birdcalls, hedge clippers, radios, and the pounding surf.
Yesterday, Jason bounded into their casita, breathless. “I met Lorene, a French woman -down at the beach. She told me about Maya – an Indian woman. You’ve got to meet her.”
Nine-fifty-five. Shari hurries down the dusty hill to the bridge, leaving the casita unlocked. Her feet slip in the new leather-soled sandals. Checking Jason’s chicken-scrawled instructions, she repeats aloud: “Cross the bridge. Turn right at Calle Julio.”
“Why can’t we just go to a hotel?” she’d lobbied, back in Minneapolis. “With three pools and a swim up bar.” “No way!” Jason was vehement, insisted on renting a casita. “We’re going native,” he asserted. “It’ll be fun, Shar. We’ll shop in the tiendas, buy fish straight out of the boat. No screaming kids. Margaritas on the veranda.” His lime-juicing pantomime and clown-popping eyes won her over. Now she curses the casita, and Jason. If they’d stayed in a hotel she wouldn’t have to worry about losing the only key.
Girls Night Out, Zeek Magazine
Rosh Hodesh Sivan was breaking my heart. Every day since last month’s full moon shone metallic on the bay, little shards of light had been disappearing, darkening in the sun’s changing angle.
Every day, my heart grew darker too, as if it were intent on keeping time with the planets. Could my girlfriend have timed her exit so exactly? I wouldn’t put it past her, not with her passion for all things astronomical.
When Jackie dropped the bomb two weeks ago, I was thrown off guard – like a wobbling planet with no axis at all. All day I’d been flitting about, excited to celebrate our seventh anniversary. I couldn’t have been happier. I’d found the love of my life. By the end of the night, my mood tanked like some start-up gone south. I’m in love with Annie, Jackie said as I was tearing the wire frame off the champagne cork. Her project leader? Talk about a buzz kill.
Now, here in the park, celebrating the Solstice and Rosh Hodesh (if you could call what we were doing celebrating) I cannot for the life of me remember why I didn’t stand my ground. I just listened, stony faced. Looking back, I guess it was because I really believed her. I was at least old enough to know that once the train of love left the station, there was no stopping.
Better Days, MacGuffin Literary Journal
In two days – that is – Monday morning, I am due in court. I’ve just spent the better part of today building a desk for Justin, my oldest boy, and wondering what I’m going to tell the judge.
It’s dusky now. Shadows of cypress trees against the Japanese screens fade out like the last frame of a gauzy French movie. Camille leans over for a kiss. A drop of water runs down her shoulder onto my cheek.
“Vit! Vit!” she implores in ‘that’ voice. ‘That voice’ had brought me to commit a multitude of sins. I kiss her neck on the way to the shower, mussing her fresh chignon.
Paris Blues Redux, The Chaffin Journal, University of Eastern Kentucky
You never know when destiny will run up, smack you in the face and change the course of your life. Unlikely as it may sound, I ran into mine near the accessories department in Printemps, my favorite department store in Paris.
Things were not going well, and this trip was meant to cheer me up. The novel I’d just spent four years on, an international kidnapping caper complete with international intelligence, smart detectives, politically correct heroines and sensitive men, had been summarily rejected by the New York agents to whom I had submitted and I was having, to put it mildly, a crisis of confidence.
Deep within the halogen lit labyrinth of the museum, swirling masses surround an astonishing collection of Renaissance paintings. Colors and shapes, wide, tall, thin, and short coagulate like amoeba under a laboratory microscope; gather, nod, disperse; gather, nod, disperse, on and on for ten hours each day.
Intense light and shadow freezes Celeste in front “Judith Slaying Holofernes.” Unlike the others, she does not nod, disperse, but rather searches Judith’s vengeful face, tracking the power in her hand as she slices Holoferne’s neck with his own sword. Blood drips down in thick rivulets. Judith’s face is resolved, determined.
The Liquake hosted reading at the Commonwealth Club tonight fed me all sorts of fun facts. Did you know that Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath” was banned in the 30’s? Did you know that Sutro, of Sutro Tower fame was Jewish? The talk tonight, just after National Banned Book week was well timed. Oh, yes, and banned books are on people’s minds since learning of S. Palin’s banning of “Daddy’s Roommate.”