How to knit a cell phone

There are no roses for us
but the ones we make
from Japanese paper
made in China, by the way,
that we buy in vast retail spaces
stocked with glue and glitter and ribbon
and blank books of impermanent quality
with which we build volumes
of memory and dreams.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft store, Colma, California 2018

The dreams are for ourselves, supposedly.
The memory is for anthropologists, hopefully.
They’ll see how we were
then marvel at how dull it all was,
and wonder why we wasted our time
compiling scrapbooks,
seeing our children,
or writing poems.

And they will envy us that we tried,
goddamn we really tried,
and that we left behind for them
enough of a world to pity.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft stores….

(Michaels, Colma, California, March 2018. See my other work here and here.)

Ink jets and heart attacks

She ran the dead’s carpeting
throughout the office supply stacks.
She wanted a toy, not pencils nor tacks.
She was bright, shiny cuteness
in an Office Depot®,
or was it an OfficeMax®?
You know,
wherever the corporate types go
for overpriced ink and free heart attacks…

RAW-ElCamino 160-1

(At Staples in South San Francisco, California, February 2016. See my other work here and here.)

Wheel chair blue

He had stationed himself in front of a Grocery Outlet discount supermarket on Bayshore Boulevard in San Francisco. I had just stopped by for some Dr Pepper. I’m addicted to Dr Pepper. As I walked toward him he asked me if I could help him out a little. A little was about all I had jangling loose in my pocket so I gave him all three bucks of it. He thanked me for the money and said he appreciated the help because he’d had two heart attacks and lost his job while recovering from the second one.

“That’s why I’m in this wheel chair pretty often,” he said.

“I can relate,” I said, “I had a heart attack myself fourteen years ago, three weeks shy of my 40th birthday.”

WheelChairBlue 2-1

That look people get when they think they’ve found a kindred spirit flashed across his face, and he started telling me details about his first heart attack. Frankly I had no desire to swap myocardial infarction stories. I still periodically suffer from PTSD because of mine and talking about it has never helped. That shit just gives me nightmares I don’t need. So I told him very apologetically that I really needed to get my shopping done and then went inside the store.

I was in and out of the supermarket with my Dr Pepper in less than five minutes, but when I emerged the man in the wheel chair was gone. And I felt bad about that, because I was going to give him three dollars change from the $10 bill I had just used to pay the clerk for my liquid fix. But I did feel good that our lives had intersected, even if minutes later they probably had diverged forever. I hope he felt the same way. It’s better to know people in a few fleeting minutes and let them enrich your life than to never know them at all.

And I wonder if he wheeled himself out of the grocery store parking lot or walked pushing the chair in front of him. I hope he walked.

(San Francisco, California, February 2018. See my other work here and here.)

A priestess of the check-out line

Nakano laundromat

At a small laundromat in Tokyo

I loitered outside to see how people go.

They were slow.

It was November and they were slow.

But in Tokyo slow is much faster

than what seems fast anywhere else you go…

Laundromat in passing, Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo, November 2015

(Nakano 5-chome, Tokyo, November 2015. See my other work here and here.)

Cupid’s Valentine moon

Tonight the moon was less than full but more than willing,

the kind of moon that inspires killing

lovers, hearts, and alcohol,

this versatile moon can do it all.

And if the moon isn’t worthy, it’s still better than you.

It never killed for a temple or pew.

So sleep your dreams, and dream of sleep.

The moon is never ours to keep…

Tonight the moon was less than full but more than willing, Brisbane, California 2018

(Brisbane, California, February 2018. See my other work here and here.)

Textbook dog

Here, take a minute to look at these photographs of a textbook case of dog. Her name is Allie Anne and she belongs to a friend of mine here in Brisbane, California.

AllieAnne 1-2

There, isn’t that better? This is cheering you up a bit, isn’t it?

I thought so.

AllieAnne 2-1

Seriously, looking at these photos has got to be better than whatever dismal and infuriating news reports you were reading about the fucking moron in the White House who is systematically tearing our country down and apart with his stupidity, ignorance, and racism.

Yeah, I know. It’s continually depressing and hard to summon either courage or hope.

Hey, I know, I’ll look at the dog with you. Let’s be calm for a few minutes and just sit here together and look at the happy dog.

(Brisbane, California, January 2018. See my other work here and here.)

Glow shop

Before my face scraped the road,
I saw a shop that glowed.
I couldn’t get inside,
So the tender ghost without me died.
This freed me to further travel,
And continue to unravel
Secrets that I sought.
Truths that can’t be bought
In illuminated shops,

A shop of glow in the night, Brisbane, California 2018

Found at bus stops,
Or drunk in bars of great divinity.
My secrets aren’t within onyx superstructures of great art,
Or in the meat sack we call the human heart.
So resting overnight I watched the shop glow.
By morning the sun rose so fast
It seemed retrograde slow.
There were places I had to go,
People I had to be.
More ghosts I had to fetch,
And a love I longed to catch.

For decades this place was a bodega (the Coca Cola sign), then a retail shop (the India Rose sign), now apparently it’s a private residence.

(Brisbane, California, January 2018. See my other work here and here.)

The menacing glow

The hope at the end of the year

I wish I could say
the end of the year
will erase all your pain,
make disgraces and crimes disappear,
kill the hatred on sale two-for-one at Safeway,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 80-1

flood the streets with winning lotto tickets,
give us the heart to be ourselves,
let us forego religion in favor of reason,
and install a second faucet
on everyone’s kitchen sink

HisNameIsAll 1-1

from which flows on demand
the finest Belgian chocolate sauce.
But that’s not going to happen.
America won’t get fixed,
won’t be America,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 104-1

won’t be great or even passable,
until people like these,
good people,
sweet people,
American people,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 120-1

are no longer sleeping on
concrete pillows on the streets,
seeing bullets and unicorns in their soup,
and eating manic-depressive tacos
from the labyrinths inside flaming dumpsters.

(Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, December 2017. See my other work here and here.)

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