Thursday, June 27, 2013

Blue Genes


My genes shatter on these rocks,
Swirling around in the turbulent currents
Of my scattered thoughts,
Spilled down my sides,
My seed wasted in polluted waters
Leaving only the broken glass
Of abandoned dreams
Tearing me up inside


My life is a word
Whispered in the dark
Not ruled by rhyme,
But plainly spoken
By plain men
From the rude corners
Of my world,
Where young men
Gather at night
Faces illuminated
By flickering
Theater lights
Or cracked
Yellowed window shades
Hotel rooms
Where shadow dancers
Dance to each passing
My fingers weaved together
Like old friends
Linked to crude
Phrases of hope:
Tits and ass
Aching in me with lust
Mingling inside of me
With things I cannot
Put into words
The voices of young men
Echoing in my head
Like madness


The glass gleams
So squeaky clean
I see no glass at all.
And have to touch it
Each time to make certain
It is really there,
Leaving a thumb print
Of my touching
As if from a crime,
I see my life outside
Full of lust and lack of luck
A loveless love child
Struck dumb
Locked up behind
This window
Of shame


I tell Susan, I’ll stop writing
It is an empty threat
I cannot stop –
I would be like ceasing to breathe
I walk wet streets this morning
Looking for answers in the fallen leaves
Each brown-veined face
Pressed against the pavement
Like a glued penny,
Impossible to pickup only ponder,
I read these leaves
The way gypsies do tea leaves
Finding no truth in them.
Why do people have to choose between
Love and romance,
Art and sexuality,
Susan and what I write
Her head full of theories
Text books from which
She interprets the world,
I am just a figment
Of Freud’s imagination
A collection of impulses
I can never resist
Writing and breathing
In a continuing flow of life
A wet day pinning me
Against the background of my life
Just one more fallen leaf
For people to ponder
And read,
My life pressed
Between the pages of a text book
Just a memory
Of an impulse
Long forgotten


I grew up a Paterson child
Locked in a Straight Street
That ran from park to river,
The stone wall too high to climb
On one side of me,
And the slope of a river bank
Too steep on the other
Me, a struggling three-year-old
Clinging to tree trunks
While stepping over the shards
Of shattered booze bottles,
Drug dealers barking out
Their wares
Like newspaper boys,
Each delivering a headline
Of high hopes I was still
Too young to understand,
My mother clinging to church doors
Crying to find them all locked
The face of the Virgin Mother
Scrawled with street gang talk
As I peered into the fountain
As Holy Mother’s feet
Searching for coins I knew
Other small hands like mine
Had already plucked out
My hands rising from the water
Wet and empty.


I couldn’t keep my fingers off the cash
Once I saw my uncles put it in the safe
Grandpa when alive had let me snatch
Coins – even dollars – from the dining room
Cupboard, pretending he never put them there,
Some of his sons got beatings for taking less
Perhaps he’d grown too old to terrorize
The young the way he once had his own kids
Or simply forgot where he put things
If indeed he had put anything there at all,
Such as store keys or eye glasses,
Though years later I think of it as love
As with tie I bought him with newspaper
Delivery money other men might have
Hidden in closet or trash,
But he insisting on wearing it daily
Until it wore out around his neck,
The stripes fading under splotches
Of motor grease his finger prints left
He was even buried in it
With me afterwards sneaking downstairs
To the safe where my uncles buried
Grandpa’s cash,
Taking away all I could carry
For the long trip west
And my long anticipated
New life without him.


I was born out of a cactus
Inch-long needles up my butt
My fingernails could strip flesh bare
In one swipe.

My mother had flowers for her head
Pink and white fading
Whenever the sun got too hot
Or high in the sky

I never knew my father
Although mother called him tall
With the most handsome
Green face she’d ever seen
And needles so long as to
Knock your eyes out

Then one day a wind came
And blew him away.


I wasn’t even high
When we threw pennies
At the stone people
In front of Paterson’s City Hall,
Just tired,
As tired as the town seemed
Like a pool of muddy memories
But of which I could
Barely draw recollections,
The old Fabian theater
Rotting in ruins,
The Garden reeking of
Bank deposits instead
Of old film,
Vaudeville giving away
To performances of greed,
Alexander Hamilton installed here
When he envisioned this a city of silk,
Banks barricading the city center
Like jail guards,
The faces of each building
Crying tears of bird shit.
I miss Woolworths, Grants
Kreskes and John the Bargain stores.
I miss the Stop the World headshop
Where I always left my head
Getting myself high on the fumes
Of incense and joints
Other people smoked,
I miss the moments when
Me and Hank, Pauly and Garrick
Met in front of city hall,
Each of us waiting for a different bus
To take us in a different direction,
Us finally paying tribute to the stone mayors
By bossing our pennies as their eyes.


Early morning streets reek
After second shit
Blank, hot, wet
With me coated in donut sugar
From a night-long
Love fest with grease and flour,
High as any junkie on caffeine
Addicted to a work ethic,
Worse than any drug,
Too weary to dance or drink
Or think of lust,
Though the click of my heals
Over glistening asphalt
Makes me ache for love
Loneliness linger inside my head
Laughing at my lust
No cure for the common cold in me
As I watch the whores pass,
I make donuts not money,
I explain in vain,
Too weary to give chase,
Too broke to pay for what
I cannot catch,
Feeling every bit of the death sentence
Birth pronounced
A ticking clock inside of me
Waiting for the moment
When I run down
Feeling dead at 37, instead of
57, 67, or more
living life at a rolling pin
rather than a rolling stone
me and Bob Dylan
hiding under manhole covers
living out our dreams,
both of us always careful
to pay the parking meters.


They come and go
Injecting a hint of summer heat
Onto the frosty snowy beach
A striped stranded beach tent
Made prisoner by frozen sand
Overturned lifeguard towers
Testifying to the assault
That has taken place here
Even the row boat, upside down
Rots from lack of care

Overhead the gulls cry,
And come up empty,
Picking again and again
At the corpses of empty shells
That litters the beach,
Flipped and turned so often
like perpetually toppled grave stones

The vacant boardwalk hums with
The music of crashing waves
Moaning and groaning wood,
Glittering concession stands
Tinted winter gray
The empty amusement rides
Like bones of dinosaurs
Just dug up

The rising tide drags in
Pieces of drift wood
Red and white deflated balls,
Wax paper wrappers
From salt water taffy,
And occasionally,
A twig of green
Hinting of spring

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