And, lo, there was a bird
outside the picture window
of the living room
where my father-in-law died.
It was a day of peace
I was entertaining a friend
with dinner in the living room,
and the bird was
just being its bird self.
It had nothing to do
with what happened
to my father-in-law
in that living room,
but being there
made me think of him
and whether in some way
he was in the bird
and looking in
on the home of the life
he left behind.
(Photographed in Brisbane, California in September, 2020. See my other work here.)
On New Year’s Eve
I always get weird.
I think about my failures,
for there’ve been more of those
I think about my wife,
her gentle, enduring beauty,
and about my life
and how it’s going to unfold
in the next 20 or 30 years.
If I have that long.
I’m closer to death now
than I ever have been before.
So are you.
You know that, right?
Every little day
closer to the big sleep.
And when mine comes
I hope you’ll be at the party,
a big party,
for I will have raged against dying.
Raged hard, obstinate, and fiercely.
Hell, I’m fighting death now.
I mean, aren’t we all?
I’m fighting it all the time.
Because it’s going to be 2020 in about 12 hours,
and, you know, I have shit to do.
The blade runner time
didn’t start this year,
no flying cars,
but we have more artificial people than ever.
Many of them are running our supposed country,
So I’m sitting here, smoking,
waiting for the demons and imps,
the ones I usually hold at bay,
to come beating down
the walls of my mind
and demand their Christmas presents.
The bastards, they think
because they have a place in my head
they’ve earned a place in my head.
it’s all about me,
but it’s all about them,
and how I’m going to try again
to evict them by drowning them in eggnog.
skip through life
and look good
the moon is the vampire
because the sun is afraid of the dark.
Be the moon.
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®?
wherever the corporate types go
for overpriced ink and free heart attacks…
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…
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…
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.