Archives For poem

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

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

Jackie

Jackie-ing
Jackie
reading Jack
Ker-o-uac
Black Jack Bouvier
Parlez-vous … français?
jack be nimble
jack be spry
jack jump over apple pie (with Iowa vanilla ice cream)
Jack Tar
jack flash
Jack & Jill
(Kris & Keven
All good children go to heaven)
Jackie & Jack
How about Thelonious Monk and Jimi Hendrix on the same stage?
Are YOU experienced?
Not like that, Jack, not like that
What would Monk say
About Monterey?
!@#$%^&*()?!
Wild Thing
You make everything…groovy
Sock it to me

Chinatown, KL

Orange-clad monk beggar

Pot-in-hand winding

Through crowds, wailing

Complaining not of poverty

But of some existential trauma

Howling to the storm above

And foreigners pushing by

For some form of unknown

Mercy

 

His twisted foot sister

Purple headdress crying

Insanity and screaming

At feeding tourists

Drunk with madness

Barking, spitting

A sneeze, vocalized

“Ah…” she says – spits –

“choo!”

 

I realise as I watch this drama,

This procession of performers

On an all-too-real stage

Winding before

My hungry eyes

That there are no mountains

Only very large piles of rocks.

 

Typhoon season in KL’s

Chinatown

Sounds of coughing, rumbling

Sickness in the

Polluted air

Vagrants well dressed

Asking politely

For a break

Tourists seated outside, sipping

Beer, watching them,

Sober muslims

Working, wandering

Smell of something vaguely

spicy in the air

alongside incense

Alongside car fumes

Over shallow sewers

Roasting duck and chicken

Nuts burning

Too many colours to name

Kinds of fabrics

Boggles in the mind

Faces covered

Limbs hidden

Smells and sights combined

 

Morro Bay Market

Brown arms and white chest

Thoughts fleeting like footsteps in the sand

 

Morro Bay in fall

Red leaf dusk streets

White topped rock

Cawing harbour evening

 

Sitting staring out to sea

Pacific blowing salt inland

Waves rising mightily

And crashing deafeningly

Again and again

And again

Jellyfish washed up

Sharks prowling under piers

Dolphins bouncing around

If you can see it all.

I can’t.

 

Trading strawberries for grapes

And two peaches

At the market

On Main Street,

Looking down at the masts

And hulls and eating pecans

And blueberry granola.

So fucking sweet.

 

Sunset packing into 1952 Chevy

A pleasure for peaches

Picking for plums

Fruit give-away,

Gather ye round!

Two bucks for strawberries

Two bucks a pound for heirloom tomatoes

A buck a piece a bunch o’ beets

A buck pound o’ pumpkin