Quiet Lightning Performance @ The Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco (9/2/13)


That time I forded my own embarassment for the amusement of others.


I Want Real Dreams

I’ve become more and more allergic to pleasantries
Perfumed poetry turns me off
Instead, I want words that stink
The words must arc like sparks from a broken electrical socket

I like best the flowers which grow in the wet earth over septic tanks
I don’t know from what fabric dreams are woven
But I want real dreams
Ones that rest in the palm like a woman’s breast
or a hand grenade

New Moon

The moon is growing a new nail.

The sun has disappeared. You turn around: the moon is there, following, without saying a word, modestly and patiently imitating the sun.

The moon has come back on time. The man was waiting anxiously in the shadows, and his heart is so happy that he can’t remember what he wanted to say to it.

Large white clouds are approaching the full moon, like bears heading for honey cake.

The dreamer is exhausted by looking at the moon, which has no hands to show the time, never, ever.

Suddenly, you feel uneasy. It’s the moon going away and taking our secrets with it. You can still see the end of its ear on the horizon.

Triumph of the Defeated

And now that the sun has mistakenly appeared
flooding these gloomy corridors with cautious optimism
and calling a merciful time out on this perimeter of torture
how about taking a little break
to wring out our suffering and hang it up to dry
like one more garment on our fainthearted clothesline

the truth is that pressing needs
even our passions
always end up twisting us out of shape
that’s how our smugness and pride are hobbled
-which we mistake for strength-
or conversely swell like tumors
it’s how our hate and love crystallize
-which we mistake for weakness-
into this stony manichean topography of the heart
it’s how the flimsy flakes of our pretenses fall away
leaving our abject anger raw and exposed
it’s how the eyelids of our self-pity open permanently
and our gaze becomes an unwavering merciless sword

there are dead at twilight and dead in the heat of noon
some who set and some who rise like the sun
adolescents whose last smile held all their faith in
       life and more life
young girls who bore a sacrifice they named and
       suckled Continue reading

The Monk who fell in love with the sky

There once was a young monk who had secret ambitions of becoming a writer. His problem was he felt ashamed to tell anyone about it, so that each time somebody would ask what he had been up to with his time, he held his tongue and after a few moments, pointed toward the sky.

This was a trick his master had taught him. When you are confused, his master said, just point to the sky and nod as if you were on the brink of something profound, like enlightenment, or something.

The monk was generally speaking a loyal monk, and so he listened to his master’s advice. And although the monk did in fact write many things, anytime someone would ask to see what he wrote, he would keep on pointing up to the sky just as he had always done. Anyway, he reasoned, it didn’t make sense to tell people ‘I have been writing’ unless he was writing at that very moment, that is, unless he was writing all the time, which was something physically impossible to do and to talk about at the same time. Yes – the monk thought to himself without actually saying – there is such an enormous difference between the writer being and the writer doing.

So it was that the monk gradually grew ashamed of wanting to be a writer, and he never did learn to think of himself that way. Not with in any reasonable assurance, at least. Not without his master or his master’s gods getting all upset about it and berating him in his ear, as if there could be toes to be stepped on in such things.

Then one day, when his master was away on a long journey and he had the entire temple to himself, the monk gradually tried to write, out of boredom mostly. He wrote so much that very soon there was no ink left, and he absolutely refused to go to the market without having some excuse or other for which to buy something.

And so it was the monk never wrote again, not that it changed all that much in his life per se: Over and over again, whenever people spoke to him he bowed his head and went on pointing to the sky. Truthful or not, the monk had to admit that the sky was a true master.

The Difference between Screaming and not Screaming

is when you find yourself face to face with the cashier
at Rite Aid after waiting two hours in the check-out line

it’s the moment when you’re all soaped up in the shower
and the hot water turns off,

when you’re clean but not quite clean
and the cashier looks at your Boca Burgers, as if to say

‘tonight the sunset is going to be a hoax / the sky will break free at last of its weeping clouds / lagging behind them / like a child with so many fists full of unspent tears’.

time is suspended suddenly, as for terrorists at the airport,
and you don’t feel like waiting in line any longer

       blame it on the air
       avid and unchanging

the water starts back up again, and your mind tries to take flight like some halcyon bird cramped in a sextant of smoke and mud and you understand that by anyone’s standards you are probably unlovable,and that the air is a meth lab you will carry with you wherever you go

       blame it on the sky
       compelling as a river
       blame it on the sun
       empty beet-faced pretense

it’s too late to turn back,
you’re face to face with cashier number four
and she looks at you, towel-in-hand, as if to say:

‘You lost your core back there someplace / I watched you move today like a slow-turning clock / and what’s more, it might rain later and / your heart is sticking out a little / better tuck it in / so it doesn’t catch cold’.

       each day is going to be like this:

there will be no windows or exit strategies, no train to leap across the abyss where the bridge is down. instead, you will wake up in a cave larger than the earth, shuffling along, unsure whether or not your eyes have opened, just in

       time to make your final purchase.

The Difference between Swimming and Drowning

is the moment when you order an iced coffee
at a restaurant that doesn’t carry any
almond milk and you know full
well you care about this far
more than you’re supposed to, because
for one thing: Syria, and because for another the frantic
cooing of the neighbor’s parrots the night before that kept you up
until five in the morning like the soundtrack of some panicky premonition,
a pattern of plumage filtering in through the clouds and the sky, form-
ing a friendly reminder that all love is love in the dark, that insomnia
will transform you for so precarious an eternity that even your pride gives way
and your prophetic heart turns to rubble—so that each branch of this pine tree
resembles the tired arm of a retired acrobat, who is sad and stiff
and tired of waiting for someone to clutch at night
to sleep in her once flexible embrace.