Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
A Gypsy Cab Author Caught In A Texas Milky Way, A Letter Poem To M. Meursault
for Bob. M.
Mark the first page of the book with a red marker.
For, in the beginning, the wound is invisible. - Edmund Jabes
And so it was I entered the broken world to trace the visionary company of love.
- Hart Crane
'A man of many false starts...'
- Opening line from the manuscript spoken about below.
Mon Cher Marcel Meursault, homo viator **,
tumbleweed rumor, post-war roamer,
son of Cain, Biblical stain in from desert storms,
Petrochemical companies flare just cross the highway, multi-lane signals of Mammon Cathedral in the Wasteland, it's neon void promises a Velvet Jesus, a Velvet Elvis to a desert kingdom of the far flung, you being one of them, now home from the war in exile before and after, returning to the beat up but beloved truck that also tells a story and leaves a stain. Black puddles beneath write the names of God:
Jake, his slow breakdown while breaking into those stately mansions of the godly rich; hard lessons of earnest Private Dodge wanting approval and love ill sought from the gold-toothed, refugee Drill Sergeant Tomaso, late of Liberia, a wannabee Jehovah with too much power over America's young game boys shipwrecked onto military shores.
This tale staggers. An overly educated veteran of the Iraq war driving his bondoed cab - the 'Great Spackled Bard' he calls it - here and there in Texas edge town perimeters of Mammonopolis where the money is compelled to dirt roads, back streets one would never intentionally drive if not for need of money forcing a military jacked, peg-legged hobo's freedom of sorts, shattered leg below the knee ignominiously left in the sands of the Shahs to make mutually agreed upon brief commitments with strangers to destinations ending with a discharge and a fare-thee-well.
Between nocturnal addicts, the usual after hour customer, arrives the graveyard-shift nightly migrants; Waffle House, respite rituals of grease and gravy, the Medusa-wigged anorexic waitress with echolalia loudly repeats every order to the ash-tipped cigarette cook, a stubbed butt on a busted lip; she repeats overheard conversations at dirty tables, customers politely pretend not to hear the gossip-large confessions of littler lives pasted Hopper-like to the diner windows glaring reflections without error there where the only self-reflecting going on is the scribbler in the pink booth perversely taking it all in, thinking, feeling, penning it down in notebooks looking for himself in those echoes with your stolen shades on, eternally cool in his capacity to tolerate what you call 'the great densities' - immense absurdities de le quotidian.
Love them. Love them all, even those monolithic chemical companies, those justly reactive radio heads, their words blown out of cab windows - 'the wind blows away our words' - heard all the way to East Coast night up on the roof under the orange sky holding your manuscript in hand, flashlight New York City, words discarded or dragged screaming from a passing car compelling compassion, curiosity, hinting a calm eye in the center of eternal return's static-pitched dispatch to the corner of Crackhurst and Waffle House and back again, all 'amor fati'. The eye observes, swerves to miss the Mexican kid chasing the ball into Same Ol' Street ('same as it ever was' - David Byrne) , notes it with caffeine amphetamine laced and traces 'the visionary company of love'- stubbed cigarettes, sputum maps coughed and spat.
Indeed. Chase that company, chemical visionaries, down streets missing a few teeth, the bent antenna unfurls a remote prayer flag from coldest Himalayas fluttering, flung from gypsy cab windows, wordless hiccups of eventing into the oblivion of the obvious - flutter-flap ancient technologies of cloth strung holey in bleak majesty, gesticulate, pleading 'Mercy' for all the species, eventually our own, obliterated by human tracings. In another Buddha tongue:
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
GONE, GONE, GONE BEYOND,
COMPLETELY GONE BEYOND-
Keep going with all this, the other bric a brac. Three-legged dog pants, knows only that scented tires owe him a leg up in the world. At least one. All opening lines are strung up years ago when you were that freckle in 'Father Bob And What The F*ck Land', all the books (never false starts) read and to be read written since then and now and to come during the insufferable hours, forlorn miles in the merciless cab all jib jab flap and flutter real voice about poor human choices which even at their worst vote for visionary company in those universes revealed even in glittering Texan and Iraqi sand.
It is so brilliantly human to find the diamond in the sh*t.
And no need for genius which used to mean something but not any more.
On with the boring center line endlessly dividing though broken on purpose suggesting a way to veer. No guide needed here. Fear is the drive shaft, and longing turns the wheel.
Damned good you are inspired then amidst progress's smoking mirror, like Blake, a wake-dreamed jeweler mining away in-breathed while sucking those cigarettes and lovers, the endless hash browns, along Texas highways and byways waiting for another dispatch to Bumf*ck and Divine.
The psalmist says it right, no matter the blight:
'Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.'
I await another dispatch prayer for the far flung tracers.
**homo viator means, man the traveler, man on the way,
the latin name Gabriel Marcel uses to designate the human species
especially modern, now postmodern man.
After Folly - An Aging Poet Addresses One Who Wanders In Mountains Remote
'Now I've broken my ties with the world of red dust;
I spend all my time wandering and read all I want.
Who will lend a dipper of water
to save a fish in a carriage rut? ' - Han Shan, Tang Dynasty, China
There's a hairy Moses in the distance counting pocket
change to give to the ferrier, coins that fit the eyes.
I'm hanging at the back of the crowd. There's manna
enough for pockets. My Red Sea is long parted but old
Pharaoh's got a new army. Each day is a scrape in the tents.
Prayer and fear is sustenance dragged further out by pillars
of fire. A volcano rumored to be God publishes 'Mandates for
a New Junta', led by a well-bred stutterer (prototypical politician,
it seems) . In odd limbo there trail reluctant murmurers.
That 'Golden Calf 'Incident' was a silly mistake,
an overreaction, but there were agreements made
at the outset, sealed in blood, first born sons threatened
or worse, guaranteed real estate for dairy farmers and
bee keepers, oodles of milk-and-honey futures, money
to be made in hopefully greener pastures. Now it can
be said with certainty, a 'promised land' comes with
big catches - I've exchanged one for another, same
mistake - the barbs are plenty, mostly mistaken people
thinner than scripture loudly staking claims to land
and deity in long meander.
It's a luxury, sure. Some choose to wander. Some don't.
Water is scarce in deserts. Wheels are few but for
chariots of war, not many ruts though there's thirst aplenty,
not the bounty promised before the journey.
A penny for a wet tongue.
I'm of that hung up crowd forced to flee, a victim of unleavened
fate, or is that too Greek a notion? The question begs asking.
Unintended impertinence must be forgiven. That's the theme,
right? the long march of history, that of redemption in time though
each and every has an opinion. Can't be helped. Much to explain.
All's a seeming washed in blood.
How passing strange is life in old age overwrought by
too much thinking. All is not yet lost but merely tossed
and scrambled in this ramble where etymology is everything.
And good boots. I'm then to poetry and books a-sundry,
an attempt to keep a horizon. Above it. Not under but
the dip is soon enough. Humor with others is still intact.
Alone I manage to laugh out loud.. After a life of folly so
much frivolity empties one out. I cry out in the night but
remainder to Silence.
Old friend, I've been reading zen, the 'death poems' and
'Sayings of the Desert Fathers, ' in many ways the same.
These orient. One can still lift a head up amongst the stars
while swatting flies, be silly, for what care stars at all
but for eyes, maybe they're wanting to be seen?
Reading remote poets and prophets purposefully hiding
out to 'draw nigh unto' is ironic, remove the eye of the
perceiving other and it will show up upon the sky, mountains,
all things between, universally; perhaps even TV screen static
between channels links here/now with beyond; easier to
be in subtle presences sublime than these lumps in solidity
which are the material, a hard father's boot-steps on the stairs
just out the door sends one packing, a shy Desert Father
beneath his bed to hide, a wilderness of sorts.
From there I pray,
'Abide with me, Father,
give sons a safer world,
bring them gently into it'.
Many sons are ill-prepared,
'not yet, not yet, ' they bray.
I'm flung further into the fray though I sway up 5 flights
of stairs, long in exile, dizzy with the street, the human
beauty and brokenness there, all those flower pots in
windows, on stoops, the blossoming tree brightening
between darker bricks to truly dwell. It is for me, a shy
son, to see in spite of big chunks missing or torn out,
to remake the world as it always is for angels long to
be bread to dwell in our finitude. To them, then, I am
'the Dude', a daffodil in my lapel, gate of heaven and
h*ll open at the end of the block. I skip forward singing,
'La La La, ' poems a'pocket. If questioned at the gate
I'll blame you, meandering still, granting permission
the entrance to boldly storm.
Between St. Marks and the horizon my fingers still work.
Amir, Prince Of Treetops, Now Sleeps In His Bright Yellow Room
perhaps you are
a bee sleeping in
the heart of a flower
the stone of your
sweetly upon a pillow
your little hands
opening into bestowal
while you sleep
the sun ripens
plums into honey
upon the little
feet of the bee
a child screaming
you carry his
cry to parks
declared war on
yellow and pillows
all plums are
exile yet still
in a shrub beneath
the golden window of
the girl you must
love in secret
you smile and
and the walls of
state and of the
local god are
down truly one
still the powers
that be refuse to
see blood and dust
though the lemon
trees at Ferdosi's
tomb are opening
kingdom of justice
through bitter tears
little bee now
sweeps the little
room of its heart
the muezzin calls
fly away all to each
his dutiful prayers
bee too flies
honeys the feet
of those who would
kneel to be closer
to the Friend
whose Voice is
sweet in the halls
the streets the
friends of the
Friend of Mashhad
they do not know
that the bee up
is busy keeping
they do not know
that the child
sleeps whose hands
are gentle bestowals
one two three
at the top of
**Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.
Anunciación - para César Vallejo y Hart Crane
Llegar tarde para amar
la torre rota
llora su ruina a sonar.
Larga sequía del aire
una vez acallado el badajo.
Sin embargo, una respiración, Trémulo,
Dispersión de palomas miedo.
Anunciación de vigas:
Recuerdo la alegría,
la forma de dominio.
¿Quién tira de la cuerda
Moneda de plata,
renovar en el deseo
la mano el bolsillo de un santo
la oración que regresan.
Pobres de la dispersión de corazón.
Se hincha el pan en
por los muertos
los amantes de pellizco
que se besan
todos los amaneceres.