Reflections on traffic

traffic sucks – it’s woven into

the fabric of American life

like caraway seed bagels

and yacht rock. Chanel perfume &

the Doobie Brothers. All taken

for granted and running in the

background. The

streets will soon be taken over

by self-piloting tractor trailers.

And urban hipsters on

robotic hoverboards

will vie for cramped automated

space in inflated tiny houses.

Put me in my container

now. Sail me out past the

Continental shelf and sink me

alongside the surplus WW II

jeeps, & 45 automatic pistols, no bone

to pick or soul to sell.

The last exit ramp is blocked by a

wildfire, and there  is no way we will make it back

to Kansas City tonight.

Fix Spring

Of all of it, God, fix Spring first,
It is far too long and
the miserable April rains are a lot to
slosh through on my way
to the Farmers’ market.

Are you talking to God again,
You old agnostic, she says to me?

You barely observe Christmas,
And now you want a fix for Spring,
You’ve some nerve…

You should be asking for peace
In the middle east,
not a clear path to the organic radishes.

You should be asking about the state
of your soul,
You believe in a soul don’t you?
You old Radish

Screen door 1971

Screen door – I miss you.
I miss your frame,

your spring,
your hook
your eye.
Man, that’s a door
for the ages.
Hang it outside in the
storm and wait.

You won’t keep out the drunks,
or the memories.
Or the dirt from the past,
or the gravel dust from the road,
or the bad blood or
daylight.
You won’t keep out,
Aunt Laura.
But you do a
good job with the
 insects.

You allow the first breath of
spring to waft in across the
mud porch.
How they slam you,
you damned old
green, painted – bastard.
But after midnight
I close you gently, old relic
from 1955.
You creak
like petrified bones headed for the
graveyard.

In the daytime, I’d let you fly
fast and hard – wood on wood.

The day I left home
I closed you for the last time.
I was smoking then
I had a suitcase
from Montgomery Wards,
and a  half dozen 8 track
tapes.

You Locked behind me
as
I drove the Ford Fairlane
north
out of town.

anger

Don’t stay angry for too long,
you can be mad for awhile,
that’s the way of the world,
we were made to be that way,
we were made to stay,
pissed off for 2 or 3 days,
not much more…
… in the end, there’s no room
for any of it.
Forget that swindler who
resurfaced your driveway.
Forget the woman in the red Audi
who cut you off on the freeway.
Forget the guy from Corporate
who outsourced your job to Bangalore.
Forget about cell phone overage charges,
And the price of bottled water,
…unless they mess with your dog
let it go.

God, you’ve moved your moon

God, you’ve moved your moon,
and I was the last one to see it go,
but I had nothing to do with it,
you probably decided it was in
the wrong spot all along
you probably wanted to…

…push those tides in the another direction,
after all, who cares about the coastline?
Fragile, my eye, it’ll wash away
in another hundred thousand years
screw the migratory birds too
they were more trouble than they were worth
give them space, they’ll find somewhere to nest
where it’s warm – the New Yorkers do —
it’s called Miami Beach.

To hell with the dolphins, what good are they
to the people in Cincinnati and Tulsa
and Paducah, it makes no difference in the Great End!

After all, we are all just casual victims of circumstance
aren’t we? We didn’t ask for any of it…

yet, here we are, misunderstood and praying for daylight
huddled under blankets and
hiding in the backseat of an ’85 Buick
as the great 21st Century manhunt thunders
through the Streets like those Pamplona bulls
…stay ahead of them if you can fella’
it’s a young man’s game — not for the
old and rickety…not for the faint of heart
you are but a step away
from death by horn or hoof.
So phone the Vicar, let’s get to the bottom of it,
write a poem, write a song,
Garcia is long gone, we’re on our own.

last named storm

it is amazing how,
in the end, we thought about it,
so little – we were
…too busy reading
tawdry paper-backs on
hot summer afternoons…
lounging by the pool,
on powder blue,
chaise lounge chairs,
the ones you bought from TropiBreez
for $499 ea. Plus shipping,
and slathering each other with sunscreen,
…too busy sipping
pineapple rum,
and too busy playing old
vinyl, Joni Mitchell albums,
on your 1968 stereo,
and playing board games,
at the clubhouse on Tuesday afternoons,
to hear November sneaking up,
to care about November sneaking up,
behind us — like a Brooklyn wharf rat,
we — too self absorbed to care,
thinking that if we quit smoking,
and stocked up on drug-store vitamins,
and cast a vote for president,
we’d be fine until the next decade,
but then it was November,
all of a sudden,
…bleached out, rung out,
dried out…November,
let’s drink one more
let’s toast the passing,
of the last named storm.

tax time

Naked
and afraid?
Who, you?
me?
Not a chance
dig your
pink painted toes
into the sand and
file the extension.

Then kiss me
like we have no
real chance
of going home.

It’s a two and
a half hour
flight to
Tegucigalpa, so
call up the relatives
and pretend
there’s a new investor
named Ferdinand
and he’s burning
cash like there
is no tomorrow.

Just kiss me
again and
say if there
is such a thing
as real love
you’ve found it here
on deadbeat beach.

In a week we will
be on the bus
to Choluteca
drinking warm beer
and laughing about
the last check we
left for the
landlord.

The Upper Keys bagel poem

after all
the skiff is still upright
the shadows have
hastened away, and
you and I are upright
as well…
and waiting for the next
thing to happen
AS we wait for the
quiet of mid-morning
to slink in like some
old washed up
guitar player,
like some has-been
drugged out rock star
like some careless,
busted, fishing guide.

We wait until the traffic slows
on the OS Highway
so we can walk up to the
bagel shop where that
guy named Nigel says
he has the best damned
bagels south of Brooklyn
but you say he hasn’t got
a clue as to what goes
into a bagel
you tell me that he’s
too self-absorbed.
You tell me
there is not
a fucking
bagel
worth
eating
south of Cape May, New Jersey.

We eat our bagels
in peace – on the deck
of the best damned
Brooklyn Bagel dive
in the Upper Keys.

You wave to
some driver in
a furniture truck
barreling
south on US 1
you tell me, that
he’s driving too fast
and in the end
it’s all just another
accident waiting
to happen.

 

dry land sailor

write me a little
poem
a day or two after I die
that’s all I ask,
just type it up
on some borrowed
copy paper from
the back room at
Ryan’s Irish Pub.

Type it on that
Olivetti typewriter
that I keep
oiled and ready
on the back porch.


no need for
something flowery
make it a little
gritty,
think:
the Missouri River
at flood stage
and

Just
think:
Rock Island, Illinois
think:
Brockway trucks

think:
St. Paul, Minnesota and Kansas City

Or don’t make anything
of it,
just keep it inside of you
and call
the El Cortez Casino
where you know I would go
when the chips are down

when the spirit is free
and

say to them…
be on the lookout for a
roulette hound

a dry land sailor

a hundred dollar millionaire

the dogs are all you can bet

with any success

“you damned dry land gambler”

you told me that lots of times
so why not
bet heavy on the long-shot dog
I’ll look for you at
the Palm Beach Kennel Club

 

Morning star

get up at half past five

take a shower

don’t smoke before breakfast

walk down to the water

watch Venus set

wait for sunrise,

remember Venus

…she’s been there for so very long

write it down…

she’ll be back …you might not

it’s your 22, 356th ride

it’s the day before the big

job interview,

so you’d better

drink a coffee on the porch

with the hound

write a poem if you

have one in you

play Chopin

and

remember it all as best you can

it is moving past you…

in tiny pieces

like lightning bugs that

flash in summer heat

… don’t drive too fast

don’t drink too much

don’t ask for trouble

check your BP at that

machine at the market

don’t text message anyone

just keep to yourself…

…but

drive out to the casino

before the end of the day

and drop 20 bucks

into a slot machine

and hope for the best