Saturday, July 30, 1994

Intangible Instructions, version 2 and a half

There is always the desire to return. The tail of a blue fish emerged from her fingers, his arms were fins. Memories floated backwards in time to listen for the vestigial singing river in the dry riverbed.

 I never wanted the plane to land, but the Andes rose like a white dream to punctuate the sky. Faith in miracles. Here, Pizarro slept. There, Blake saw God in an apple tree. Time flowed backward, lined up like the homeless, like the basureños in makeshift houses along the Apurimac, or in Tijuana. Lined up like the locked eyes of death into the burning future on several continents.

Myth: I carried a new gift of life. In the end, memory fails. Conquistador y amor. In Quito, the snake dancer from the selva cursed me. The bridge at San Luis Rey failed me. Coltrane’s sax defines qualities of night but the doors are locked. The six-legged nightmare rides on the smoke. Ask me what this means, I cannot read history written in the smoke of the victor. Say that in Dubrovnik, Darrio City, Bagdhad, Blake’s London, or L.A. burning. Dante’s seventh circle.

The descending fog envelops our feet. A warning call clearing the double-vision down the canyon past temptation. A gorge divides water from water, brings it together again. Except in the L.A. river.

Do you know how to soar down through the dilemma, both following and leading? Counter-clockwise dance. Remembrance, resemblance. Which direction does the vortex choose? What carries us on and on? The child’s face buried in the moon’s path. White ravens wander through the empty streets of Cusco, Moscow, San Francisco. In every voice, in every mirrored face, the bell toils for them. We speak with our hands. The gift of hands offered language to the children.

She stored apples under her bed. Illicit money whispered in the palms, Feel me! The teeth of graveyards are built on this foundation: the tail of the 20th century rendered in the useless orchestrations of Oppenheimer’s regret. The eagle keening. Living art in empty sheets. Riderless horses. Where is Schrödinger’s cat? Pandora? The blind mouse sleeping on the back of a dead bird dreams of angels. Clear the shelves of omnipotent windfalls and quantum malignancy. The marriage hearse reinvents the mother. Death reinvents the mechanics of fear. Open the box. Not.

Fear of the scent of money, fear of poverty. Fear of the phone in the dead of night. Fear of not enough time to read the face inside the eye of night. Fear of repeating the past. I said I stayed in my dreams. Memorized floor patterns, but specific moments never came.

The hunter flame burned celluloid memory. Hopperesque scenes shot in black & white. The desire to return embedded in the fear of fear. Fear of not growing up. Fear of control. Fear of growing up and not being in control. Or of growing up and being in control. What if I ran away and no one stopped me? That moment of star-crossed thresholds.

Not saying, Now I lay me down to sleep. Saying, I see my future as nothing, becoming nothing. Becoming the breathing of the open door. The thrones of angels. Fish with the hearts of men. Each belabored breath blinded by the light, I open my eyes. Looking forward, looking back. My erotic dreams littered with scorpions. Carpe Diem. Descend with eyes open wide, like Beatrice.

Do you remember when we danced face-to-face? The way your mouth opened into my darkness. Blame it on Beltaine. Just a little more time. I wanted him out of my vocabulary and into a room with no walls. We swam to the ceiling. You flew into the light, grew fins.

We needed to rearrange definitions of speech, of forgotten rain. The dance continues. Kiss me while the bones of humanity learn how to sleep in open doorways, and eyes learn not to see.

They bathe in the streets where privacy is closest held, yet farthest away. To suckle memory. Whose tongue in my mouth? Por el loro, he said. Van Gogh’s sunflowers weren’t gold enough in the city of bankers.

I held a namesake lover who cried in front of Vincent’s Self Portrait. But my arms weren’t strong enough to hold back his madness. I thought of Rilke. Raucous words escape the phosphor screen, take flight, flock to the trees. The computer is the 13th muse.

Fear of his thoughts. Origins of a code tracking down my thigh. What I ought to have said. Or, if I said too much. Fear of my thoughts. Fear of the telltale beating of the apple heart. The heart of a stone beats once every 1000 years. Fear of finding the naked dawn descending the fire escape, each step of light defining the canyons of man. Fear of the raven on CúChulainn's shoulder.

Exponential dreams of sirens scream in prime numbers, the mellifluous sax, the real voice of street corners. Notes bleed from the page escaping a shipwreck of blood. Fear of blood enters into it, another equation. Fermat’s theorum the day before his death.What the raven whispered.

Fear the exponential division of prime numbers. The audience dreaming of an audience dreaming. Fear the agony of doors destined to be reduced to numbers. Fear the stairwells destined for darkness, stolen lives, stale smoke. On bulkheads facing the sea, and in stairwells facing dark alleys, fear the semen trapped or not trapped in translucent orbs, a tangible sign on all the continents.

 The bridge becomes a flamenco skirt for the moon. Whose father swam in the Amazon with the piranha? Who wears the moon’s mask?

Learn to describe doves, the twin orbs of a woman’s ass. The lover’s hand under my dress. No mermaid’s tail. Then the cunt. When I said love, I got religious. Learned to walk, then crawl. Desire silences the guitar strings with scissors. Think about post-modern love deconstructing beneath city clocks without hands. Orgasm is closest to art. I didn’t mention syringes or T-cells.

No need for voices from the void flung like arrows. Or the bell tower of the heart’s drum. What are we willing to accept? The clichéd rose asleep on the piano lid. Maxwell’s hammer descending in slo-mo. Kennedy shot again and again. Some are not yet dead. Others were never really alive. Fish trapped in the sheets. The approaching storm delivered in monotone. Or in natural speech.

Bukowski, dead. The TV channel-surfing in an empty room. Think of random blue noise as a way of life. Intangible instructions. Love’s fascism, asleep in a pool of blood, wants touching, stroking, punctuation. The restless sky mounts the moon.

When will blood learn how to become stone? Was it better than anything, walking on the moon? Were we ever in the garden? The endless pit? One thing is certain: Night is neither noble nor sacred; her indifferent legs are open wide.

1994, 2002

Sunday, July 17, 1994



I got the blues so bad, gotta get outa this town
The bluesman’s done gone and turned me down
Had a man in New York, another in Leningrad
Two more waited in vain for me by the canals of Amsterdam
When the bluesman turns you down, it’s more than bad
It’s pathetic. No need to leave town to find the blues
It’s got me here at home, right where I am
These blues have got me runnin’ around
The bluesman’s done gone and turned me down
And when he comes over to fix my brakes
I get lost in his naked hills and then I hesitate 
Maybe I’ll tool on down the road, go to Bolinas
get outa town just to save what’s left of my pride
Instead I feed him blackberry pie, pretend it’s all right
No need to leave town to find the blues
The blues’ve got me at home, right where I am
When Sonny plays the blues birds fall from the sky.
Is there nothing between us ’cept my imagination?
Maybe I’ll fly to Spain, I might go to Prague
I wanna say, “Take me for a ride, we’ll go whole-hog,
we’ll go dancin’, yeah, dancin’ in the rain
These blues have got me runnin’ around
The bluesman’s done gone and turned me down
I was too slow on the uptake, she who hesitates
is lost, that’s why I’m sittin’ here all alone
with no single man to call my own
What can I do but wait, dream about him all night long?
Or is he just another man who’d do me wrong?
No need to leave town to find the blues
The blues’ve got me at home, right where I am
I’ve been dreamin’ of scorpions & snakes
stung by the tale of his kisses, been staying up late
just to keep from dreaming that same old song
I neck with a bottle of wine, biding my time
take his kid blackberrying on the back roads of my mind
These blues have got me runnin’ around
The bluesman’s done gone and turned me down
I wanna feel his lips on my harmonica 
wiggle my hips and slide down his trombone
But he’s talkin’ to his new woman on the telephone
We’ll never make sweet music and a brand new song
or go dancin’ in the rain in Forestville
No need to leave town to find the blues
The blues’ve got me at home, right where I am
I like the way his mouth slides down that Mississippi harp
When he smiles at his new woman, it damn near breaks my heart
I got the blues so bad, don’t wanna be hangin’ around
These blues’ve got me runnin’ ragged into the ground
singin’ the place names of blue: indigo midnight prussian delf sky
I got the blues so bad, I gotta get outa town
The blues’ve got me at home, right here, right where I am
And I can’t ever sing him this sweet, sad song           

Friday, July 15, 1994


All this talk about neutrons and big lies
the explosion of stars and everything is questionable
even the rules-- but what does that matter
when the sky practices pulling on a taut skin
of blue ocean each morning changing it
for the pinholes of stars
when indigo leaks from the quiet summer
splendor of chikory by the dusty roadside  
and the sky is a dome
where Venus and Jupiuter burn holes
inro our consciousness as if there were no handholds
left upon this earth to hang a frail poem without words
at the debut of the first star each night
Venus eclipsed by the moon
Mercury too low on the horizon to see
an alien planet in the evening sky
I want to shoot holes in the Big Bang Theory
because my family spends time in the west
prospecting for musically honest pulsars
to peddle in the miserly warehouses
and bazaars of the spectrum
while I hunt for neutron stars
with my optical telescope
I sometimes nibble on sweetmeats
and sherbet madse by white dwarfs
and red giants
but the turbanned vulture of Allah
took all my dinars and jewels
of the spectrum
and I honestly can't say,
what universe we'll prospect next for dreams
because the radio telescope was reposessed
by the Crab Nebulae of the
Inter Galactic Revenue Service

date? saved 7/15/1994
probably a CPITS exercise
same date as Duncan Garrett poem



I have a friend
He’s only nine years old
We talk about the weather
And the reasons behind our fears                             
In the mornings we pick berries
And wipe away our tears

We tell each other the stories of who we were                           
Blackberries bleeding on our tongues
In those rolling hills where we’ve begun

He smiles at me
With his purpled teeth
Paints the face of the day with light
Rides his bike against the winds                                   
And the river forgets to sleep
The night never begins

We tell each other the stories of who we are
Blackberries measuring the depths of summer
In those rolling open hills we still remember

I want to tell him
No matter what our age
We’re all children deep inside
Still waiting for someone to play with
And the wind whispers inside our ears
Urging us to recount the myths

We tell each other the stories of what will be
Blackberries giving us sweet advice 
In these sheltering hollow hills of our lives

I’m not his mother
He’s the child I never had
I’ve got no one to call father
We pass the time eating blackberry pie           
And sometimes he calls me “Dad”           
Hawks scribe names across the sky           

He imagines the future as a blackberry patch
On the dirt roads of summer leading us back
         To those rolling open hills where he was born


Thursday, July 7, 1994



Who is this beast breathing beside me
Like some long forgotten ancestor
Coming for recognition in the night
To give me new colors for dreams
That continue to shake me from the cradle
Where breathing came from
Beneath the skin of the ocean

rev./saved 7/7/94

Wednesday, July 6, 1994


                           —for JOS
A través de la noche de piedra, déjame hundir la mano
y deja que en mí palpite, como un ave a mil años prisionera,
el viejo corazón del olvidado!
     —Pablo Neruda, IX, Alturas de Macchu Picchu

On the trail to Machu Picchu,
fire opened the door to memory.
Our eyes mirrored the struggle
of the selva’s final story in the cordilleras.

Smoke peddled light across the sky.
Speculatively met us at the pass
of the abandoned fortress, Huaylabamba,
with tarnished masks and season tickets.

Gave us ringside seats—our eyes fondled
the cleavage of the Andean night chained
in firecrested ruby and golden necklaces—
the angry mantle of a campesino’s escaped milpa fire.

Cut off from the wounded hems of snowfields,
and chained to the heights, we dreamed of baptism by fire,
meteors trapped within the smoking mirror of the sun,
and of honor among thieves in this crucible of silence.

We climbed the long ladder of the earth to balconies of the sky,
to draw cool air through Neruda’s wet shrouds,
to firewalk on the coinage of coals and seasoned stars,
and to navigate the adamantine flame of the Urubamba river.

We kissed the secret eyries of crowned solitudes,
we gathered orchids, we entered the shining path to the heart
of the city of stepped stone, we burned poems written in blood
on the intihuacana. We emerged unscathed only to lose faith,

we scattered our ashes to the wind for seven years.
Waited for something—anything—to happen;
perhaps an irrefutable sign from the gods.