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,
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.
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,
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
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,
won’t be great or even passable,
until people like these,
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.
Down in San Bruno, California
there are renegades and vampires
running gun and overrunning every street.
There are always women in the crosswalks
shepherding their invisible children
to non-existent schools.
These women drink hard liquor for no pay,
because that’s their little piece
of The American Way.
Their husbands and wives are all off at war,
there is always a war,
and they never know where the war is,
who the war is against,
or if their husbands or wives will ever come home.
This just in:
The Defense Department and Bar and Grill
just announced nobody from San Bruno, California
is on active duty in the war.
They lied to their wives and went drinking
in the next town over for several months
because their invisible children
are easy prey for vampires,
make too much noise when they die,
and they couldn’t face it.
San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, California 2017
This is our country now, this is our lives.
I saw a flag on a house
that does not usually fly one.
An elected official lives there.
I voted for her, hell yes.
I’ve voted a shitload in my life.
I voted the last time,
the bad time
when the change we wanted
is the worst we could’ve imagined.
And I’m standing there
looking at this flag,
and the dog’s looking at me.
And I’m pretty sure
the dog’s asking “What in the FUCK did you people do?!!”
And, you know,
I love that dog,
I’ve known him for years,
but I hate the question.
Because I don’t have an answer,
and I’m not gonna like
the answer that comes.
(This is a real photograph, not staged, proudly taken in Brisbane, California on November 12th, 2016)
I am broken
and I have been for many years.
I’m not some toy
you can take back to Hasbro
and say “This fucking thing is fucking fucked up.”
They would laugh at you
and I would too.
I am not a toy.
I am a man.
And I hurt,
and I love,
(I love more than you know),
and I rage.
And I love you all, you are my life,
you are my Jesus,
but I am broken.
And I don’t know how to fix me.
bear with me.
The doctors are coming in
with long, sharp stainless-steel tools
and they will probe me
and figure out what’s wrong.
There might be blood.
(Brisbane, California 2016)