The artist's space.
Ronald Reagan at Altamont - Dec. 6, 1969
Look at all these Commies,
these children of the flower.
Thousands of soiled and lazy urchins, I ask you,
where are their fathers? Don’t they know our daughters
embrace Nubian lovers in daylight?
Pregnant out of wedlock, drunk on wine and high on the reefer,
they twirl to the dissonant tones of the long-haired freaks on stage.
General Electric will not stand for this.
There’s no escaping the aroma, the pungent stench
of their fornication. The authority at this abortion
nothing but leather vested ruffians swilling beer and cracking skulls,
descending on their prey like raptors.
These beatniks necessitate another Bloody Thursday,
maybe then they’ll keep their sweat stained chests away from mine.
I want neither your peace nor your free love, brother. Your generation
needs to feel the sting of the rod, which your parents
have too long spared you and your psychedelic siblings.
I wonder if Brezhnev has these problems in Mother Russia? Are there
uncombed radicals protesting his breadlines and Siberian gulags?
My eyes burn and my lips and mouth are parched,
there must be a drink stand around here somewhere.
You there— yes you in the burlap skirt, let me have your tea. Sip it?
Your Governor will drink it as he pleases.
It soothes my throat, but oh, it’s so bitter. Is this not Lipton?
Why are my fingers tingling? My spine feels alive with butterflies.
Look at the colors rise to the sky. Trails like cosmic rainbows.
Have we been nuked?
Your face, it’s melting, poor girl.
Is this the awakening they ramble on about?
Is this the end of the Gipper? Floating into
space before a sea of miscreants.
Where is Nance, where is Mommy?
Lamentations of Dingo
Spare some change?
Just need a few bucks to get into the shelter,
after I get my dosage from the clinic.
That’s why I came here to Portland in the first place,
methadone as far as the eye can see
and dirt cheap black tar.
This place is heaven, man;
utopia, Shangri La, the Garden of fucking Eden.
I’d heard about this place while I was squatting in Oakland.
Hopped a boxcar outside Santa Rosa and headed up
the coast. Met my old lady Cassie outside Corvalis. She was selling
ass. I told her I only had a few bucks. It was love at first sight.
That’s her over there, with that gnarly brindle by her side, old Chewie.
That dog’ll tear you up, you even look at her, man.
I got him off a crusty in Olympia, traded him a half gram of hash.
Me, my old lady, that’s all that dog cares about. Loyal and true.
Blood is thicker than water, brother.
Nah, I haven’t seen the rains yet. My buddy Strawberry
told me about them. Said the summers here are
beauty unparalleled, but the winters, man, the winters
are a bummer through and through. Talked about summer
amnesia: you forget how shitty the rest of the year is
cause all you’re seeing is sunshine. But I’ll
be alright. I like the cold, the wetness, gloom incarnate.
I come from Denver and a long line of
sons a bitches. Daddy was a biker, used to beat my ass just for fun.
Had a clubhouse with some other jokers over there in Commerce City,
‘til one night they fucked with the wrong Mexicans and them cholos
left Daddy and his brothers gutted and bleeding.
Had to have a pillow shoved under his shirt for the funeral
cause there weren’t nothing left of his insides.
Mama wouldn’t let ’em have a closed casket, even with Daddy’s eyes bein’ swolled shut.
Me and Cassie,
we probably gonna settle down here in the Rose City. Might have us a few kids.
She had two brats, while she was still in high school.
Ditched those little fuckers as soon as she turned eighteen,
hopped a train and headed west.
Told me her Dad was always grabby, getting too close for comfort.
I told her we go back to Ohio I’ll gut that bastard myself.
Ain’t right, brother, a grown ass man touching a child.
That’s some sick shit.
P.T. Barnum on Devil's Night
I am a carnival barker
feasting on chicken necks,
surrounded by Buicks and Pontiacs
engulfed in flames.
The Detroit River runs cold— icy blasts of wind
And heat from warehouse furnaces
tornado around me, the cherished work of
arsonists and thieves.
My dwarf General Tom Thumb
shivers in the night,
his cigar bounces between
This whip is useless,
it can't tame these beasts
more wild than lions,
winged like dragons and twice as fierce.
Henry Ford can't save us now,
with fires growing brighter
than an Edsel’s headlamps. They see us in
Dearborn and laugh.
Once, the world was quiet.
I made a fortune on Swedish sopranos
and Fijian mermaids, now my flesh
is singed by automotive embers.
A night of mischief they say,
but the world wants to end.
I'll see it out in a top hat
and tails, shouting
Jumbo! Jumbo! Jumbo!
Murder Four, Spring 2017
Crow Hollow 19
About the poems: Last Fall I had the pleasure of being Managing Editor of The Pinch Literary Journal. I enjoyed getting highly caffeinated and coming into the light-filled office while everyone else was teaching, and listening to Jurassic 5 and the GZA while working on my writing.