Mink Trader

The wagon wheel dumps water and covers tracks and makes a jarring sound
carrying its cart, its cargo dripping and spilling on the street, nails and bullets
and razor blades; and I’m riding shotgun with a shotgun looking for victims,
but my shotgun’s full of puns and dumb jokes, so all I do is kill you with apathy.

Steaks were sizzling, the moon was dancing; I was high, celebrating Canada Day
in Canada. There were elk and moose burgers too. I was so peaceful I fell out of a tree and into your lap. But still you looked at me like I was a strange thing. And that’s why I looked strangely back.

These are just words. The sun is blazing. Time is crisp like a suntan. I have a watch collection bigger than my wrists. This song plays on repeat, I turn it off when my ears dissolve. You know it’s not easy being a poet in 2017 when the Internet can do it for you, but I do it for me, each and every little fade away jump shot brick off the rim. Film at eleven. In your arms in heaven; in my head a mess.

I took a photograph bath, woke up inside out. I drank my wine and made my joke, and got my laugh… then slid to the left. I would say I’m a slider, but I wouldn’t be the first one. I would say I don’t feel bad, but I’m not that good at lying.

In science books, in pictures of the Earth, in all the colors, I fade into a blur.

I tightrope walk over coals. I do a swan kick on broken ice. In summer I jump into the pond. But in winter I do too. And that may be my Revenant. My sacrificial bear. The nails in my hand, my handiwork a coffin, choked on
too much talking.

Walking into a bear den with a coat of meat.

I wore a coat of cheese and got eaten by mice. You smile in my face because my teeth are white. I’d be lying to say it doesn’t feel good captured in the disco light. Trapped by the shimmering sheep dreaming of me, jumping through quivering skeletal bones, they make a macarena sound. We all dance alone.

Although the dance floor’s crowded and there’s always somebody tapping your shoulder… I can’t just stand on the wall. My fire rages harder when the weather gets colder. I’m a simple soulful Norseman with itchy fingers. Train whistles enchant, but a city boy with pleats in his pants don’t know how to do the hobo dance.

It goes one leg, two leg — soon got no legs.

Privileged and pouty, I’m a mound of tacky. Trail packs of snacks tackling Mount Whitney… Mount Whitney? But I never even knew her. Hahaha. Watch out for the cougars. In a lean-to tent the walls caved in in a swirl of color and falling apart pixels. I took a picture of my grin because it was as wide as the room it was taken in. I was taken. Just 14 and stupid as heck. The baby was mine, but grew up somebody else’s daughter…

There’s a type of orange that isn’t a color or a fruit, but a little other thing, a mood, a small stain on the fridge when you cleaned all day. A sunset obscured by a fog.  It’s the specks of dandelion that never gets blown. The ice cream cone on the sidewalk and the crying baby next to it.

Won’t this train whistle ever stop? It’s like a non-stop Billy Jean Nintendo game shooting clay pigeons out of a sinking ship. I was one loaded quip from spilling my drink. People curse false Gods, I flick off the real one, that jeweled smile parting clouds like a hockey referee.

It was the case of the disappearing coffee table. My first mystery. My first romance. But it was just college and too much to drink so she thought she’d take it out by writing ‘you’re an ass’ in the wood but she spelled it with Z’s because that’s the lasting impression she liked to leave. I see her from time to time but I’d rather not say because her name is in the papers…

How could I be made of such sail but so tired from rowing?

My state is made of so many letters it leaves me scrambled. California. It begins with a coastline and drifts with poppies and sunshine. Her myth is mighty but I know her intimate secrets. To others it’s an angry epithet, but she’s always Cali to me.

I dream lavishly of leaving one languid lyric that repeats in an eternal echo that reaches some shared secret space to melt my membrane maybe. But, baby, if I make you cry along the way it’s because you can feel, it’s real, and in this world of detached stimuli its realness is the only thing you still want, and crave. And when the walls Nick Cave in you can still look for The Cure for different Strokes. But it’s not behind The Doors or The Wallfowers. (Oh, goddamn, I get so close to Bjorg-ing myself sometimes…)

My mama said I’m a ray of sunshine — I’m a death ray of moonshine. But I loved her nevertheless. I love the orange glow. Afternoons with nowhere to go. Drenched in a liquid state, stuck in a bliss unconcerned with the algorithm. I remember hopping back fences now I’m parking valet. I still skip down the hall.

The world is young. And the young are strong. And the old say it’s foolish to believe in such things, but I believe in such things. The ephemeral blessing of not giving a fuck.

Just because you can’t catch it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

There is a saying somebody says, but I don’t remember and I don’t care. In the dark I’m typing blind. And the pins are already in the doll. So let’s all cough down on sleeves. Oh right. That might have been it.

In the absence of any real recording, please tickle the tip of your finger for me. Tell me a thing you need to whisper. Lick my third eye like a lizard… Another mountain is eaten by humans. Let me ski on the slope of this crumbling civilization >> snapping filtered-fine Chablis decanted symphonic Instagram wine.

I want to do graffiti on my shower curtain.

I want to be the ringleader of my own circus show.

I want to not do I.

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Jeff Goldblum

We don’t want to look at ourselves
so we look at our selfies
I want to get drunk, old and wealthy
mail me checks to the Florida keys
be chilling with my cat Monkee
pull his tail he gets spunky
pull my tail I get funky
the crunk be stinking up my teepee
remember me from the Stinky B’s
lyrically little loony cuz’ I got no chills
dude in the back in the espadrilles
pour me a glass I’m gonna spill
run ’round real fast like Benny Hill
motherfucker don’t know I pay my bills
and dues I got dudes in the cruise
and the Earth moves so smooth
it’s like Mikey J doin’ a moonwalk
that cartoon talk don’t fly in the real
like blooms of gold hold onto my pole
baby doll I’m outta control
misfit with a fifth of Titos
and a big fat wad…

It’s Independence Day
Oh My God (3)

in a maze of waze…

with these dot dot dots… emojis… impassioned texts…
torrents and streaming tweets… screaming bleeps…
a holy terror of interconnected never there… never aware…
forms a fog… deforms our perceptions… our emotions
stare at a mirror reflection… filtered through a million pixels
even a trillion pixels you never get a real picture
I eavesdrop on my own thoughts… my iPhone’s unlocked…
I live brave and foolish… do stupid shit for the likes…
It’s a brave new world with the same old assholes
But another model… with some tinkering… a new me…
I’m all about this season’s upgrades… blue eyes new kicks…
from flip phones to hovering drones… smile for the camera clicks…
My panorama fills every frame of this stuttering eye…
I’m remembering this memory as it’s happening…
In this maze of waze I’m glad I stumbled into you…

Bad Marge

Mary was sick of her name so she started calling herself Margaret because it was the only name she could think of that was worse than Mary. So when people yelled out on the street for Mary she would just spit on a nearby wall, even if it were a window that was there. One time she spat right in some people’s faces that were trying to enjoy their pasta. The woman had a noodle hanging from her mouth as she stared at the long drip of saliva proceeding down the glass.

Margaret wanted to be bad because good was so boring. It’s not even like she had a good cause like a molestation or a broken home, just boredom pushing her to do the delinquency that gave her the name that followed her everywhere: Bad Marge.

When she got Bad Marge tattooed on her shoulder her mom had a minor heart attack. Nobody would know until years later that the blockage began back then. Well, this could never be proven, but Mary knew…

***

Jean liked to paint her lips bright red and go to the Red Tavern on Saturdays and tell people her name was Roxy.

Roxy also wore safety pins through her leather jacket.

Jean gave it all up when she met Pete.

Pete wasn’t a guy she felt like playing with.

***

I would have written earlier but I didn’t where to send the letter…

***

Stephanie was from Tunisia. Her skin was the color of cream. She had a laugh full of teeth and we drank wine until the record skipped. She only went by Stephanie, that I know of. We saw each for two seasons and almost through Halloween before she got sick of Denver and decided to move closer to the ocean.

We were supposed to hang out in Tahoe but you know how that goes.

***

I started calling myself Jacob in my religious phase, when I hung out on Venice Beach too much. I had started a cult, two friends, and my girlfriend’s dog. She wasn’t really my girlfriend, just a girl that hung around a lot that I loved in a sunny 17 year-old way. I was too dumb to know what having a woman meant.

Jacob had a telescope he looked out before going to bed. Every night he had the same thought, there must be some kid on one of those points of light looking back at me. I lost Jacob around the time I started on the methadone.

***

Lauren told me she thought love was a cheap word people with no imagination threw around. Last I heard, she was married with twins. I wondered if she told them she loved them.

Lauren left one night after tearing down a concert poster. It was college so you know the type of poster.

We were both young and full of too much passion. To this day I don’t remember which band it was, but I remembered I liked the poster more than her.

***

There is a stretch of highway they named after Patricia. In non-drought years there is a drainage ditch that has frogs in it. If you drive slow with the windows down you can hear them croaking. People say Patricia had that kind of voice. Later on I learned there never was a Patricia.

***

I got the nickname Captain Telegram because of the way I set up my stories. I had a real obvious way about me, I suppose, a predictability stout enough to earn a nickname. Well, people only called me that when I was drinking. When the spirit is a-hold of me I have a tendency to pontificate and get on with myself. Captain Telegram is always right, even when he’s wrong. He can make something out of nothing.

Women, Captain Telegram might say with a finger pointing to the ceiling, are the embodiment of perfection — except when they’re not. Captain Telegram would act like it was something serious to contemplate. I don’t know where he comes from.

***

Like I said, I would have written but I didn’t know where to write.

***

Last I had heard you were a waitress in Portland.

And you went by Mary again.

Food in a Box

I promised you a garden and a bird house,
but the birds never came, and neither did you.
And the newspapers landed on the doorstep
with the thud of a third war.

They’re working on a machine that can record your dreams.
I’m working on a dream that is worth being recorded.

Waited in line for an oil change.
Nobody gets out of their cars anymore.
Everybody’s waiting for bad news.

The guy cutting my sandwich never looked up.
We both watched the knife slide through 21st century bread…
breathing in the plastic as my credit card swipes right
like an old Tinder flame without a last name.

If it feels like we’re in a civil war it’s because we always have been…
I live in Los Angeles with the YouTube stars and Has Beens…
We’re born into News Feeds and start building our own aquariums…
From delirium we form customized holograms and emoji hearts…

And I got one I can’t send over the airwaves.
It lives in my chest and weighs a ton.
And it’s up to me to carry alone.
Through the war and the digital displays.

I can read a book on the dock in Barcelona but still my Spanish
collapses under one como estas? from bonita oros de Felicias
(this is where you laugh)
I could put on a puppet show, but still we’d never know
who was pulling the strings. Sometimes I think I’ve died,
and this is just a dream.

(Violins and humming and maybe an Icelandic chorus?)

This is where everything changes. This is where as an artist
you make a bold, big move; if I was a singer I’d scream
like Mick Jagger; if I was Jackson Pollack I’d drink a fifth
and throw my shit at the wall. But I’m me, so you never know
what I’m listening to at the Aerosol Ball (by the Felice Brothers).
And I can make these inside jokes all day.

Because art like life is only interesting in the surprise.
It could be a fresh snowfall it could be a flood.
It could be flowers for your birthday or stepping in mud.
My life is a long staccato series of sunset and sunrise.
My life is a full metal jacket rifle…

(this is maybe where the drums come in)

And if you could make any dream come true… would it be the one
where your bed is a magical raft you can float to the stars on
and space isn’t cold at all, and the wind blows through her hair,
and the moon isn’t made of cheese but made of music and melody?
Would it be that one?

I once thought it was impossible.

Because we’re vestibules filled with medical edibles and hentai
we unravel in a scramble for safety from bombs that aren’t falling
flirting with the comic because the drinks were free
my blimp read art of star what a fool…

(put in sounds of a jet flying overhead… trust me)

You wonder if it’s cosmic…

You found my diary and looked for a TL;DR
We took our drinks underneath the lemon tree.
Jumped from an open window with Parachute sheets.
My scarf flapping in a downloaded wind hangs me
from telephone wires like old Nike Cortez
Diamond Opal Imperial Topaz…

This hot air balloon has no fight with the wind…
I blow toward the sound of your voice saying my name.
My heart is filled with helium and makes me talk funny.
I take my photo in a booth and eat my food in a box.

 

img_2470

Today

All day I spilled coffee on myself.
All day I cursed Donald Trump.
All day I missed my girl.
All day the world was against me.
Or maybe I was just an inch behind and a second late?
Maybe at the beginning of the day I never did wake?
Maybe this world never did even exist?
Wouldn’t that suck?

I saw a man yelling at a newspaper stand today.
He was screaming about the news, I suppose.
That’s all of us these days. But he didn’t have any shoes.
He was singing a tune. I didn’t know the song.
He wasn’t there long. Then I was gone.

I was in North Hollywood mailing a letter.
Side by side a Home Depot and Best Buy.
Across from a Boost Mobile and wrong directions…
like a white reggae band. Just humming.

the mountain becomes a sea as time
gently rubs everything into liquid
my face becomes a photograph
as my mind hides everything.

Go on written on my arm
Tunneling ant farms
subway getaway

I was in
the valley

today

41 and an hour older

The ambulance came wailing little letters turned into words and rainbows fell
into colors across streets where the chimney sweeper forgot to sweep
I come naked into the semicolon semi-sober; 41 and an hour older,
I’m not from Illinois, but I can make noise, California boys like me smile
at the sunshine little wiggles when the night comes tickling the middle,
drinks are spilling, the gentle laughter filling up the bar makes me nostalgic
for when I was sixteen throwing pitches at the batter and interest rates never mattered I’m Amsterdam-bound lathered in lattes and lackadaisical attitudes
dazzled by the star splattered happening above my love 24 karot shinning
like a universe spiraling disco ball style into the future and my cares
drifting away like fleeing life rafts from a sinking ship
I hop on a rat and float to shore.