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San Juan de la Cruz

 

. . .  “who studied . . . St. John of the Cross . . . ” [i]

 

 

His aloneness in a dungeon

Imprisoned in cruel Spanish cell

Con-tem-pla-tive and silent hell

Meditative knees he fell

Light and dark thus intertwined

Lead to poetry sublime

Ecstasy and agony

Suffered his cross

In crucified reality

Found the light

In deepest darkest night

The obscure night of the soul

Forever in eternity be told

Mystic poet, mystic saint

Love never stained or taint

Patron saint of mystics

San Juan de la Cruz

Sacrifice and detachment

Sanctity and holiness

Embraced Christo Rey

 

 

 

who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Crosswho studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross

[i] Ginsberg, Allen. “Howl.”

Saint Francis

“I love St. Francis of Assisi as well as anybody in the world.” Desolation Angels

Once a sybarite youth and reveler
Dreams and visions and change of heart
Lepers and beggars fevered new start
Francis set to restore his Father’s house
He threw and flung church gold away
Bernardone beat and locked he stayed
Francis turned from father’s ways
And stood there humble, pure, and bare
He wed himself to poverty and fast as fare
To gain heaven nay palace but by hut everlasting
He preached and lived non-violence and reconciliation
Mysticism, holy vows, chasten, tonsured, unshaven
A poor and meek monk and brother
Lover of creatures, creation, and creator
Sought spiritual experiences and lofty visions
Contemplation and stigmata and the Christ in crucifixion
Compassion and forgiveness
Francis was a man of action
And taught by his deeds and sanctification

Tristessa

Tristessa
Black tresses
Dirty dresses
You mess-a
Mucha lucha,
Muchacha, señorita
Esperanza
Junk is a drag
“It is a way of life.” i
Just ask BOOL
No gains, all loss
(Not everyone as smart as old Harvard Lee, anthropologist)
Junk is called junk because it is junk
“They all looked like junk.” ii
Hope is gone, Esperanza
Replaced with junk
Sickness
Hopelessness
Tristessa
Junk is a drag
Junkies are a drag
Goodbye peachy coffee complexion
Black satin hair
Madonna ways
Adios, Tristessa
“ . . . I don’t like what it does to people.” iii

i Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. xxxix.
ii Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. 25.
iii Burroughs, William S. Junky: The definitive text of “Junk.” (New York: Penguin Books. 2003), p. 59.

Of the Beautiful Alene Lee

It was Paradise Alley so long ago
In the alphabet downtown east
Lived a subterranean in clouds of strong dark tea
By the name of Alene Lee
San Fran or New York City
Names, places changed but ‘tis the same
Heavenly Lane and hipster games
Pillow talk and pushcart walks
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
He was young and drunk and jazzed
She younger and cool and sweet
High cheekbones and velvet slacks
She was brown and blue and black
Nineteen fifties USA
What would mother, sister say?
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
He was sad
She was sad
Angels, seraphs, poets mad
Poor back courts and gray sheet pads
Love was doomed
In urban gloom
Modern, new, small, and thin
A writer writes of soft rose light
Of the beautiful Alene Lee
Of the beautiful Alene Lee

Fracas is a Bar

Fracas is a bar
I live not far
Oh, the place is full of history
Involving many a cop and car
A big melee comes to memory
About the night
Of the smashing fist fight
In the parking lot
And not a little but a lot
From near and yon two hundred folks
Online zine screamed and spoke
The place shut down
With nary a frown
But soon reopened
Sharply spoken
About hush-hush dollars
And boy, folks hollered
Things calmed down
In the town
But now new plans sprouted and touted
About kicking things up
While I in my cups
On sleepless nights
Rudely waken
To shaking rafters
On tired morning afters
Weakened and ashen
Flying open the shutters
Bad words in my mutters
Till one summer eve neon light bulb appears
If you can’t BEAT’em, join ‘em, my sodden young dears
Be there on ladies night or open mic
Sign the petition to reeve up the bikes
Next year when lease is expired and died
To quieter shores will I swim on the tide
Safe behind rich landscaped lawns
Leave downtown and its cool little town thorns
To hell raisin’ Hanks and wild young pranks
Call on Bruce, baby, for two river rent
Maybe, baby, mine is all spent

Gangsters in the Cadillac

Big beautiful black
47 Cadillac limo to Chicago i
Dreamboat in the fast American night
Ball the jack all the whitewall way
Zooming steady 110
Car thief 500
Speedometer breaks
Coyote Nowhere
Nebraska
Iowa
Angel of Terror
Fender cracked . . . bender
Rods gone
“I can’t stand it any more, I can’t look.”
Down on the floor of racing horrors
Fears of crash
Hid in backseat
Chicaga
Muddy heap
Unrecognizable
Broken boat
Time to get out — fast

i Kerouac, Jack. On the Road: The Original Scroll. (New York: Viking 2007),. p. 322-340.

Doctor William S. Sax and Bird of Paradise

Doctor William S. Sax and Bird of Paradise
Faust Part Three
Sad Catholic childhood as dark nuns weep in rain i
And Saint Thérèse turns her head
Vanilla pudding and snow swirls dust Milk Street ii
Brown banks of Merrimac muck
And child ghosts and fantasy
Sax hides in darkness (Round Midnight)
The Shadow
Under porches
Count Condu below evil Castle
Castle Hill, Snake Hill
Fury river roars white horses of the apocalypse
Nightmares and cotton dress and apron strings
La mort and gentle flaky apple pies iii
Terrifying poems of inky night
Lenten March and candle wax
Grotto and Stations, memories and dreams
Goodbye soft innocent books of childhood
New Hampshire sorrows flood tear-soaked sea
Thérèse showers roses in eternity
The Lord rose on Easter morn iv
A new tone springs from Dorsey’s horn
Tragic roses crown your hair
Cherry blossoms once a year

i  Kerouac, Jack. Doctor Sax: Faust Part Three. (New York: Grove Press, 1959). p. 34.
ii  Ibid., p. 25.
iii Ibid., p. 81.
iv Ibid., p. 244.

Young Charlie Parker

“All you need is one person in your whole life to really be listening.” i

Young Charlie Parker
Lester Young, Charlie Parker
Chu Berry, berry, young Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker from Kansas City
The swingiest, stompingest this land’s city
Shoot’em up cowboy city
Gangster city
Nighttime city
Charlie original
Charlie natural
And they once laughed him off the bandstand
And that broke his heart
But he hoboed out
In the last years of the Great Depression
Boxcar ride
Chicago to the Apple
And made it to the home of happy feet
The hopping Savoy
Put the pots on
And then some ii

i  The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats: The Beat Generation and American Culture. Ed. Holly George-Warren. (New
York: Hyperion, 1999), “This Song’s for You, Jack: Collaborating with Kerouac” by David Amram. p. 123.
ii  Crouch, Stanley. Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. (New York: Harper Collins, 2013).

Lobster Tail in Downtown Red Bank

Lobster tail in downtown Red Bank
A big lovely lobster tail sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar
Takes up the white cardboard bakery box tied with red-and-white- bake shop string
Nestled in pristine white bakery paper
Layers and layers of light flaky leaves shaped as shell
Crisp to the tooth
One crunchy bite
Fresh sweetened rich French cream oozes out
Another bite will set you right
Next bite lightens up this sad old world
Lobster tail of great price
Will knock you on your jass
One is enough
But two is outta bounds
Count Basie, outta bounds and fly me to the moon
And before you know it
You’re swinging at the bake shop in downtown Red Bank

Howls of 9/11 Attacks

Howls of 9/11 attacks
Moloch skyscrapers stood looming monstrously large
Crowning the shining Battery of Manhattan
Two planes crashed south and north towers
500 mph
Screeched morning sirens through city streets
Ignited jet fuel fireball syringe
Apocalyptic overdose
Raging inferno, heat intense heat 2500 degrees Fahrenheit
Four winged horsemen
Terror, waken nightmare, hellish hallucinations
Heavy black mushroom squibs
Giant ash avalanche
Cascaded down Wall Street
Rained near Whitman’s Bridge
Wailed back to Hoboken and Weehawken
Wailed over the Hudson to New Jersey
Wailed in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island
Jumped off screaming rooftops in bright clear sun
Anguished, hysterical
Cried seraphim and cherubim
Firefighting angels
Twin towers collapsed by suicide river
Broken bodies
Left broken hearts
Shattered dreams
Released broken spirits
Mountains of idiot destruction
Melted steel and rubble
Cemeteries covered in Dostoevsky dust
Burned alive
Crematorium smells
Workers fell, jumped, leaped
We the people wept
Bended knees in cathedrals
Twisted metal beams
Exploded yellow red glare
Planes burst in blue air, over and over and over on television screens throughout the world
And in minds
Sage poet, to whom weeping came easily, you died in time
We felt your salty tears
And lost fragile flower power