No sudden darkness, no curse, but a slow black curtain falling, almost like being born again, my mother said. And the next day: surgery, to fasten the retina, like wallpaper, back to the frazzled optic nerve and satisfy its hunger for impulse and clear astonishment of light. When I saw her after, I felt like I was catching the sun in an intimate moment. Still drowsy from halothane and smelling like blood, she slid off the hospital bed toward the bleached bathroom. The bruised eye beginning to focus the first wave of vision with the bandaged removed, the angry slivers aligning to the raw unmediated glare while I held fast to her and we both stared until it hurt.
FOR ELIZABETH BISHOP
You should have seen me today among the sea anemone, burning. I was all the rage—impulsive immolation, mundane emulsion of liquid cinder and drowning fool. Life’s at times this frantic blood and ache— It passed— the moment, and moments Later—dry and spent as a dead pressed drop of rain—I forgot what had held me under and what had held me up.
he dreams he has come since childhood. first, his hand held tight in the pin-prick palm of a grandmother who speaks only of mending socks. later, he returns on his own. the price of coffee inked on his forearm, his high school sweetheart’s name tattooed across his wrist. he is always in the same plaid trousers, the same white t-shirt, reading – prague is in love with bob. every year, there are the names: suzanne, william, enrique sanchez jr. every year, someone other than him is supplied for life with ben-gay, cold & sinus tablets, or a silver four-door hatchback with power locks & windows. from his seat in the back of the studio he has begun to question god; he wants a list of written reasons on why some find their way to the stage & why others are merely applause. in these years without answer, he feels he’s grown old. his lower back now aching, his feet more unsteady, his heart so weak, he fears it would burst at the sound of his name. _____________________________________________________________ THIS POEM ORGINALLY APPEARED IN Johnny Depp Saved From Drowning PUBLISHED BY PERMAFROST PRESS.
Was it not given to us warm months broken into summer on butterflies woven into your fragile eyes you laugh amid the mud beaten by even-tides’ angry waters with the smell of garlic now houseless in steamship rooms and seas with bottom fish exhaust sings in engines belching of children. So it is we live alone with unopened coffin amid a sea surrounded with the sick outstretched over blackened stomachs of the poor box bed springs rent clothes and once-soft garments cut in fringes like the pious Jews as lightning flashes congealed eyes and whores weep for love. Mexico’s token of births and deaths not even reported (like aliens) you eye caterpillars in the moisture of bread insects now spread honey jam from the tables of the rich whose horoscopes lie star-folded in wishing welts, first class soon we shall leave the Vera Cruz. You, Enrico, empty of cowboy hands your pocketed volume hid in the pea-jacketed suit hover by swells and a lightning storm hammers justice in a glass of tea your twig legs open between steerage as you breathe in salt water smelling all flesh of tropics a rental of an Inca exiled who will never beg guitars.
Ginsberg I’ve given my thousand per cent and I am solvent. April 15 1994 I am in the black. I couldn’t lose a penny in the Potomac. Ginsberg when will we end the tax war? Go fuck yourself with your employer mandate. I am psyched what can I do for you? I’m ready to open up your markets. Ginsberg when will you be angelic? When will you put on your clothes? When will you look at yourself through an income bracket? When will you be worthy of your million Liddies? Ginsberg why are your libraries full of books? Ginsberg who says India wants my eggs? I’m sick of your beating off in public. I can go into the supermarket and sell what you need with my good looks. Ginsberg never mind perfect you can only sell what’s perfect once. Your Rockets are too much for me. You made me want to be a beat patrolman. I didn’t start the argument to begin with. Burroughs is hawking Nikes but it’s all a lie because they couldn’t even get the shoes to stay on his feet. I’m not being sinister this isn’t a practical joke it’s a poem can’t you tell? It’s 1994 and you’re still trying to come to the point. You are loquationally challenged. Ginsberg I know you know what you’re doing that’s what bothers me. Ginsberg to hell with the plum blossoms I got money growing on my family tree. I read six newspapers twice a day I subscribe to murder trials. Ginsberg I feel sentimental about the Freedom Fighters. Ginsberg I used to be an Eagle Scout when I was a kid I’m not sorry. I drink wine coolers every chance I get. I sit in my condo for days on end and interact with my Sega. When I go to the mall I buy the kids Orange Julius and instruct them not to come here to get laid. My mind is made up everything’s peachy. You should have seen me reading George Will. My stockbroker thinks I’m perfectly right. I don’t need to say the Lord’s Prayer. I have mystical visionary cosmically vibratory flat-out pure good luck. Ginsberg you keep your hands off G.I. Joe when he gets back from Haiti. You’re not addressing me, you’re undressing me with your sim-ill-eyes. My emotional life is not run by Time Magazine. My intellectual life is run by Time Magazine. My emotional life is run by one of the leading indexes plus three per cent and my political life is run by the Columbia House Records Club. My obligations to the Columbia House Records Club are very serious and because of the Columbia House Records Club my stamp collection is very serious. If it occurred to me that I was Allen Ginsberg, the last person I would talk to is myself. Asia is just better organized than you. They just pawn off their old-time religion on you so you’ll sit around trying to make sense of it while they laugh all the way to that bank of yours they just bought. My national resources are a matter of public record, thank you very much. References available upon request. Did I mention my stamp collection? I have abolished the coca fields of Panama,—even while I’ve saved the oil fields of Kuwait—the poppy fields of Afghanistan are the next to go. My ambition is to be President despite that fact that FUCK YOU ALL I’M A CHRISTIAN Ginsberg how can I write my shopping lists in your bitchy mood? I will continue like Christopher Columbus every shopping trip discovery and conquest I won’t just sell you what I buy on my shopping trip. I will sell you my entire shopping trip. Mark your calendar. See your travel agent. Buy my shopping trip. Ginsberg free Leona Helmsley. Ginsberg save Bob Packwood. Ginsberg Menendez and Menendez must not die. Ginsberg I am the Keating Five. Ginsberg when I was two Father took us to Republican Party Conventions they sold us peanuts the starch felt like steel the men were puffy like cartoon superheroes and the women didn’t say much at all the Hilton floors were alive with family values. Ginsberg nobody calls it war anymore. Ginsberg what they do call war nowadays is just good business. That’s why The Wall Street Journal nowadays reads like a combat manual. Most of the problems have taken or will take care of themselves. Look at them Russians. That’s a problem that took care of itself, that went from being very, very good business to being good business with milder threats. We were wondering about the Chinamen ‘til they sprung a big zit in 1989 granted they popped it with aplomb but adolescence is an unstoppable force and the Chinese culture has clearly arrived. Them Native Americans and them big black African-Americans—again, clearly these are problems well on their way to taking care of themselves. Ginsberg I know you think it’s all quite serious—that’s what bothers me. Ginsberg you’re not meant to get impressions from the television set, you’re simply meant to believe it. Ginsberg of course it’s correct, it wouldn’t be on television if it weren’t. Even Paulie Shor wouldn’t serve next to your queer shoulder in this man’s Army. “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” isn’t just for poets anymore.
Saying no to your father
is no easy machine.
You were never good at
There’s no kit for this.
You must go and scavenge
parts, not knowing
what salvage you require.
Broken things work best.
Shards fit in ways you wouldn’t
predict, and sharp edges are
expedient. This machine
can’t ever be childproofed –
keep your young ones penned
elsewhere. You are another
story: you must run it yourself,
you must touch it and you will
bleed, a tedious sacrifice. Small
price, though, to say no
and no and no. Run it alone,
then with a friend. Rehearsal
is crucial, but you’ll never
use it. Once it’s built, he won’t
come around anymore.
He believes Heaven is anything you want you can do anything you ever wanted to by gaining admittance I mean suppose you always wanted to break All the commandments But you didn’t Because you wanted to get to Heaven So now you’re floating on a cloud and you see a guy you known and hated I mean he stole your job your wife your kids your life So POW you shoot him with the gun that magically maybe even miraculously appeared in your hand Because you always wanted to give him one right in the head Even assuming he was the biggest A-hole in the world he somehow got to Heaven and I can’t imagine even for one minute that his dream scenario was catching one right between the baby blues from a bum like you who couldn’t even hold on to a job