Sunday, February 24, 2013


Nighttime. I turn on my laptop and log in and start to read the new news and blues and see what screws have come loose now. Instantly I start to get a dull headache as the room starts to fill up slow and bittersweet and steady and unstoppable with exhaust fumes of destruction, exhausting fumes of pure corruption, the brainkilling carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms of a country in dangerous and serious mental and emotional and physical decline; empire of the slum. The news is always bad. A deranged pornographic kaleidoscope of ever-more-insane hysteria and pain and madness and stupidity dances crippled before my disbelieving wide analytic eyes: abortion killers, fun-damn-mentalist Bible-bashing blowhard bastards, fuck-the-country wannabe-secessionists, uncompromising progress-blockers in every legal and artistic and sociological arena, nigger-haters, gun-lovers, government disbelievers, hatefueled true believers, gaybashers, invisible everywhere-lurking terrorists, crosswaving self-loathing ugly female senators throwing out impotent legal bills of gynecologic fury from the unfucked cunts of their religious insanity, and always the never-amended-or-mended Second Amendment bullet ballet argument, militant militia mania, they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead ideology, and everywhere the rank dogpiss ammonia smell of corporate madness and hatred seeping from every clogged societal pore, madmen at the country wheel steering it over the financial cliff of evil and psychopathology, herding us into the deathcamps of global warming and absolute final solution consumerist stupidity, and yes we see the tempers and temperatures in the country are escalating, too late to scale back, we know you, we own you, we know how to control you, and long as we keep you overfed and braindead and preoccupied with fads and gadgets and new apps 24/7 365/365 you won’t even look up as you bump into people on the streets as our inaction-encouraging distractions gain traction in your dopamined brains, reward chemicals for another Facebook message, a last lost look at your ever-receding hairline and humanity and ever-increasing gut and hatred and confusion, we are your new and last and weary gods, we are the new emperors who wear no clothes but the ones we design and sell to you, we are the new insane kings and fuhrers of all inherent evil, the hierarchical stupidity of the human race never went away, it just disguised itself in the sheep’s clothing of a young wolf country born ready to be betrayed by all within and its own unbending arrogance and incomprehension, a dying country with no pride, no principles, no societal cohesion, no neighbors anybody knows or cares about so let’s just line ‘em up like sitting ducks in some new weekly ever-occurring school shooting and have the NRA talk about the DOA as if they were AOK and say well, we need to sell you more guns to kill more people because we’re all in one big open-air insane asylum shooting gallery now, automatic rejection of semi-automatic gun control, of course the blood and bones and brains of dead kindergartners don’t concern us, we have a war to sell here, the war on Americans versus Americans as the maniacs at the top laugh and yelp in mad dog glee from behind gated communities of infinite stasis and decay and death, pounding their fists on sturdy mahogany antique tables at the hilarious sights of a country lost at sea and drowning steadily, from sea to shining seizure, but no seizure of guns, can’t ruin the fun, got to keep them killing each other brother and mother and father and sister and cousin and missus and mister, north versus south versus east versus west versus good versus bad versus ugly versus right versus wrong, and it never ever stops even for a second, throw some more coal on the ire, a bit more racism, a bit more religion, a bit more homophobia, a bit more abject stupidity, we need a vagrant vapid bill or two to attack that uppity nigrah in the White House, yes the White House for white men, historically, we don’t want to see the changing population demographic numbers, the election flagged our flaccid erection, our country club is shrinking and being powerless is calling, we’re fighting tooth and nail for all the shit we don’t even care about anyway, no miserable person like a rich person, as a nation of vapid teenage narcissists masturbates on cam for bored hiding middle aged men and every bloody body just tries to stick their head in the sandcastles that will effectively be ejected from the historical record by time and tides that wait for no man, kill an illegal immigrant for Christ or sport or fun, it’s all the same to us, just another underground video for the sick kids to jerk off to before it goes viral, their parents watching sexy pathologists easily solving crimes and righting all wrongs in the unreal world, restoring justice and sanity to a meaningless existence, the bad guys are always caught, but there are funeral pyres of the death of dignity and human decency and privacy burning ever-brighter in the clammy consumerist night far as the tired pain-reflecting eye can see, the slipscream of the Bush legacy, Bush, the man who toppled the twin towers of reason and sanity in America and turned the place into Jesus-loves-guns-and-madness-and-droneland, they say ignorance is bliss, but really, ignorance is a blister bursting the bubble of every citizen of America in its own painful way, free dumb of speechless with nothing to say, as our already-old kids educate us as to how to use some new stupid app on some new stupid gadget, and it takes too much effort to get angry and rebel, but why would we rebel against comfort anyway, and what would a revolution bring, meet the new boss same as the old busted flush, flush that shit down the toilet of history, no time for retro utopias anymore, just stick our snouts in the televisual and internet trough as the sky fills with holes and carbon gases and we don’t know what to do but at least we have an excuse for our nameless faceless fear, we don’t know our friends our neighbors our history or anything about the ultimate mystery or beauty of life, we have nothing to live or die for, and the levels of carbon monoxide are building in my room, my lips are blue cyanosis my prognosis and mass hypnosis and mass psychosis are my diagnosis, who the fuck are these people and how did they get so fucked up and why am I here, why am I reading about this still filling myself up with their alien madness, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this anymore, I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS ANYMORE I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE, I don’t know why they let themselves be led, not with a whimper but with a big bang of psychic electricity and had-enough-bullshit sanity and grace and humanity, so before my brain can get any more beaten and battered and bloody and bruised and used and abused and confused I switch off the laptop with one last somehow burst of energy and go to see what time it is and it’s morning I have been lost in cyberspace or someplace wearing someface somehow somewhere and I go for a brisk stiff early morning walk down by Lake Michigan and stroll along the pier by the Loyola dorms and stand looking out onto choppy waters on a wet rainy morning and spit words of swept-away nothing out into the mocking natural void and look to the event horizon and a beautyfuel red ball of sun starts to rise to illuminate the new natural day slow and sweet and steady and unstoppable and therapeutic.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Esther is Jewish
The People of the Book
She has dementia
Never stops talking gibberish
Apparently in her day she was
an avid reader, it was all she did
The other day she was sitting
in her wheelchair in the
activities room of the
assisted living facility
I work at and she was reaching
across to try and grab a romance novel
from the table in front of her
So I went to hand it to her and she looked confused
Not taking it from me initially
I smiled and asked her if she wanted it
She squinted and smiled weakly in confusion
Said yes and took it from me
I went off to help other people out
for a while ducking and diving
here there everywhere and nowhere
as you do in that busy environment
When I came back later on into the room
She had taken the book and torn it into pieces
throwing them on the floor all around her chair
A pile of broken hearts and snapped spines
and dead lines and permanently demotivated characters
And as I sighed sadly and picked them up
to consign them to the dustbin of literary history
I thought well, Esther's days of
romancing and reading are
definitely long gone

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Wayne’s an ex-military
Resident with dementia
In the nursing home I work in
Can’t remember his old rank and it doesn’t matter now
He sleeps fully clothed and laughs when you wake him up
Tells you he slept well and undresses easily for you
Ambulatory amiable full of life and smiles and weirdness
Pulling his cellphone TV remote control from his pocket
Toilet splattered with ill-aimed nocturnal diarrhea
Not cleaned by lazy careless housekeepers
The nurse tells me he shouldn’t be here
Because he’s violent but the place is new
And the owners are trying to fill it up
With nothing but well-paying residents
Not a single race but white in sight
Except for the caregivers of course
Apparently Wayne tries to punch or elbow you in the face
If he gets agitated, his home caregiver quit
Said she couldn’t take it anymore
That old American military violence still
Lurking ready to surgical strike
He grabbed me the other day by the arm
When I was trying to take him to his room
To change his diaper and he dragged me along
Giving me my marching orders
I wrestled my arm free, smiling blandly
Cos you can’t take any of this stuff personally
And told him to please let me go soldier
Which he did and a moment later
He was back to abnormal again
His usual confused constantly-laughing docile state
And I got him changed and on his nowhere way
He tells me he never saw any combat, thankfully
But he definitely caught some family friendly fire
In the inescapable bloodsoaked battlefield
Of genetics and the bad luck of the physiological draw
Turning his flickering brain to quietly dying nothing
Combat radio signals across the minefield of life
Fading slowly to cheap unintelligible gibberish
Orders from central command torn to pieces
By dementia shrapnel lodged in the assaulted brain
We have ways of making you talk total garbage
Won the existential battle but lost the cerebral war
And there is no way he’s going to get evacuated
From this
Now or

END (2.39pm, 7/17/2012)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Late morning in Starbucks on N Sheridan. She sits by the window, drinking, eating, planning, fanning out her evolving thoughts across the table for idle introspection inspection. Ageless early 20s. Shortish dark-brown modish self-cut-and-dyed hair, straight from the successful home hairdresser fashion lab. There is a delicious twinkle in her glasses-clad chameleon-color beautiful eyes as she says and then sees what she thinks about things, reflected back in an off-kilter refracting Celtic mirror, turning stray thoughts in her mind behind those sometimes-knitted-in-bemusement brows, curiosity killed the categories once available to and defining her past present future. Visiting Minnesota just isn’t the same or home anymore, the Mississippi is just a puddle next to the great elegant mystery and stationary heft of Lake Michigan, she’s glad now to get back to her true home sweet home, the Windy City. She came to Chicago as a grateful foreign member of the Midwestern student diaspora, studying the past, taking chances, making changes, meeting strange and interesting or weird and wired new people, wide-eyed and wild-hearted and drinking it all in, smalltown frown to big city big girl smile, all or nothing, noting all, devoting time to study and dance and drinking and basketball, far far away from the naïve girl of her youth, tectonic plates shifting in her life grinding against each other and splitting off to create whole new future countries of infinite possibility, continental shifts and drifts from MN to IL to A-OK, family ties stretching over roads weary of separating distance, muted summer dreams of sibling homecoming, shooting her presence quick sharp and gone again into the Minnesota old home territories by stealth bus trip under cover of mission-obscuring night through Wisconsin and silent public dark, tidemarks of where the Mississippi used to reach to in her dreams receding under summer droughts of waterkiller education, cracked mudtracks of youthful expectation, storms of confused coming-adulthood post-collegiate tears never enough to fill a thimbleful of the lost liquid of hometown black hole suction, the MN gravity pull never strong enough to hold her and her unconquerable ambitions to know it all and more or less, knowledge sponge, mind stretching and growing nimble and muscular with concepts and precepts long-way removed from hometown arguing with the state fair Godboys, a religious education in moral depths and theories of relative existence, good and bad and black and white and right and wrong and write her jazzlover song, soulseeker, bluestweaker,I love it I love it I love it can’t get enough of it, played sax in high school, sweet thing it’s just a singswingthing, Heaven-11, sometimes the books speak and sometimes they speak with forked tongues twisting old views and fables methodically into something new and exciting and revelationary and revolutionary and evolutionary strands of Minnesotan rebirth, they certainly know it all and nothing don’t they, all those hierarchies of knowledge and pain and aggression under progression, tell me some more of your old-worldview-reinforcing swept-away-soon stormsong, I see the coming cleansing scholastic fire, the sweeping away of the lies, the capitalistic furies and harpies, the rumors, the suppressed histories, the vicious female mysteries, teach me it all and more, I’ll throw your dead dry bookbones up into the air and laugh as I explain the new unprecedented patterns they fall down into, hieroglyphs of tradition and sedition and new raw deal invention and suppression and resurrection of human dignity and grace and sanity and my new iPhone makes me just like them I wanna help heal the world hold the world in my loving arms and balmy charms and make it all alright again make the people tight with each other it’s the way it should be you know, don’t be so cynical, the mass of people aren’t so bad, they’re just confused deluded protested and planned against and the Occupy movement has its moments but there’s a goal-sullying class divide there, the bohos versus the blue collar street people, anarchists, homeless, jobless, money-obsessed-goal-free, void of the strictures of middle-to-upper-middle-class entitlement dramas and dreams of the perfect job they were promised since privileged birth, I don’t know, it’s just a mass debating point, just a thought or two, it’s all there to be played with or played for, all or nothing or something like that, and I don’t know, really, and nor do you, so let’s just finish up this coffee and go out into the ever-appealing-or-appalling early spring sunshine and say goodbye to idle unsurprising nothing-solving chattering classes in coffee house discourse and catch some rays there’s still a million things to do so I’ll catch you later on the other side of the new born breed takeover.


I knock at your door and you answer. We smile hellos and I tell you it’s time to take a no-time at-all trip to Paris near New Year 2011 in praise of its architecture and history and people and art and atmosphere. You agree and ask me how we’ll get there at such short notice and without baggage or tickets and I smile widely and say it’s never a problem to take a trip with your mind across the ocean. I grab you by the head and heart and hand and within moments we’re undertaking a faster-than-Concorde speed-of-soundless transatlantic voyage through the air. It’s a warm night and the choppy beating waves below in the dark calligraffiti a neverending series of half-curlicues onto the water as they crash on blindly to nowhere in particular with no goal or need for justification of their aquatic calisthenics. We fly invisibly under planes and over boats and indistinct quick-passed landmasses and islands and hear occasional curious gullcries and tiny human voices crying out in the speeding-by blue-blackness. In no time we are in France and over very early morning Paris and we glide free as laughing vertiginous birds as we fly round and drink in the endless loops of natural beauty the place eternally has to offer. The breathtaking Eiffel Tower is lit up like the world’s biggest Christmas tree and morning is slow-breaking behind it, the sun peeking and poking and peering unconquerably through the darkshade metal struts and bringing with it the scent of a coming new year’s hope and dreams and promises. We land and begin to walk and think and drink in the beauty of the scenery. Vendors hawk newspapers using tough throaty Gallic shouts, passersby throw down Euros for blues of news or butter-dripper croissants and strong hot refreshing awakening coffee, and cooking smells of a million delicate cuisine variations meet and mingle delicious and transient in the hungry grateful air. The city is coming out of its short nightly hibernation like an unseasonal butterfly from an esthetic cocoon and it spreads its eye-stunning multicolor wings in all directions at all times and in all ways. The stereotypical phantoms of accordion music ring faint and pleasurable in our foreign ears as the soft mellifluous French tongue cracks the silence of the morning and sets the city ablaze with a million catch-up tales of the day and night before, a million cellphones ring in staccato communicative satellite rhythm, streetwalkers and nightcrawlers disappear like scorched vampires at the first true blazing razing rays of the invasive intolerant sun. Light bounces back from blank reflective foreheads of building, windows open, blinds are opened, half-clothed people yawn and squint into the day, lovers untangle, showers wash off traces of spilled love or partying from the decadent hedonistic holiday evening before. The commingled gas-guzzler noises of cars and buses and motorcycles and trains and clank-and-clacking trams start to build to a sullen omnipresent inescapable roar on the narrow-compared-to-Chicago busy streets and alleyways. Half-understood signs ecrire en Francaise, la langue d’amour give us no clear guidance or direction at all but that doesn’t matter, we have the unflappable compass-direction accuracy that only a fantasy tripper can offer a city and its sights to be seen. People sit outside cobblestone-flanked cafes and eat baguettes and gulp down gossip or news and coffee as cyclists buzz unheedingly by. We stop and buy some food and laugh and smile and happily watch the new day go ever-faster by from our seats next to a reflective tourist-curious window. Stores of all shapes and sizes are open for business, as we wander round the retro socialist utopian dreams and visions of an ancient and wary and slightly wary but never fully jaded or defeated people, liberte egalite fraternite their ecstatic tripartite motto, one for all and all for one. We are everywhere and nowhere in Paris all at the same time and have no map or timeline or reality anchor, so we rush this way and that, back and forth, up and down, round and round, close-crowded arches and statues of ancient French heroes of all descriptions everywhere we look or walk. Then we’re crossing the River Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral is looming up into gray gothic inescapable view, its architecture and intimidating demanding presence awe-and-vertigo-inspiring, the kind of unbeatable incredible human monument that makes you want to let out a whoop of joy and amazement to loose streams of pigeons and maybe even concrete-cracked gargoyles from the building’s nooks and crannies to fill the startled sky with the crack and beat of their adrenaline wings on the fearful winds of escape and hiding. We think of the hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo’s misshapen 1831 creation hidden high in his belfry, sanctuary and safety beating deep and rhythmic in his hunchbacked bellringer’s heart, and what a lovely Esmerelda you would make, with the garlands of his doomed love braided into your gypsy hair, and we talk of how Charles Laughton’s 1939 monochrome-clad performance as the poor misfit was the ultimate representation of his pain and anger and ecstasy. The day has worn on into late morning and we stop for a refreshing overhauling glass of fine French red wine from the Bordeaux region in a stylish bar, examining the frescoes and neon arabesques of verite décor on the tres chic walls, before setting out again along to the Musee de Louvre on the Right Bank of the Seine, 1st arrondissement, 218 years of art history and mystery and wealth, where you have been dying to go since we first arrived. We marvel at the shopping mall glass skylight outside the Louvre, La Pyramid Inversee, a construction that makes us reflect on Egypt, and we go inside. The Pyramid outside mirrors the Egyptian collection of art and antiquities inside, and you, potential modern Isis incarnation, feel mysterious affinities tremble in your beautiful brown flesh at the half-buried half-dormant racial memory of some far-off era as it swims towards the contemporary surface before disappearing back down into the Stygian evolutionary depths of time and chance and insoluble heritage mystery. We disappear for awestruck contemplative hours into deep gazing at the paintings of the art section, Rembrandt and Caravaggio and Vermeer, and of course da Vinci’s enigmatic damsel, Mona Lisa, whose eternally celebrated small half-smile cannot hold a candle to your own beauty, which is so hot I am surprised it doesn’t cause the day to curl up at the sides black and crisp like a photograph held over a negative flame. I could imagine your smile or personality hung there among the all-time greats to be marveled over by a million lovesick tourists a year. We are truly lost among contemplations and ruminations on artistic revelations and artifact arty-facts revealed to us in our thirsty-for-knowledge ignorance which is not bliss, and we lose all track of time and space and place. Before we know it the place is closing and we bid the greats of the artworld a sad fond goodbye and make our way out to the Champs-Elysees and walk along there for hours, talking of past and present and future, saluting L’Arc de Triomphe’s majesty and myth and might in the dark. The 2011 holiday season theme for lighting les Champs-Elysees is Tree Rings, with many of the avenue’s horse-chestnut trees being encircles by a beautiful ring of neon firelight, and the reflection from the synthetic glow in your dark smiling eyes is a stunning thing indeed, a warm vibrant constant loop of circles of joy and seasonal esthetic bliss and purity, the most beautiful sight in all Paris, incomparable illumination, kilowatt voltage overdose, and I feel as turned-around as the huge lit-up blazing Ferris wheel at the end of the avenue, pleased and proud to be with you here in my overawed imagination. But morning is coming again and it’s time to go. You complain a bit but know I’m right and then off we go again as the fading Eiffel Christmas lights losing their battle against sunrise bid us a fond electric farewell. In the blink of an eye we are back at Lake Michigan again, and in our building, and it’s still dark here, the middle of the night. You thank me for a wonderful minds-eye bird’s-eye view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I say you’re more than welcome, we can go there or anywhere anytime, there’s much more to see and poetry flows like red ink waiting to be spilled in expression through my release-screaming veins. I kiss you once, a goodnight-cum-New-Year’s kiss, and then I am gone but not forgotten.


Sailing through centuries-long rivers of evolutionary bloodfire for a brief terminal stop on the North African shore of perfect female possibility. Lineage and heritage swimming through tributaries of attraction and sweating brown flesh distraction to coalesce in five foot three of giant playstorm, sandswarms, eternal beauty inviolate, time will never erase or violate or annihilate the sharp-focus careful-brushstroke image etched onto the grateful retina of eternity. A circus of unknown unexperienced animals, tortoises and crocodiles and cobras, African heritage natural icons and anthems to freedom subconsciously absorbed and reproduced free of right-now American behavioral strictures. Flooding season in the artistic heart of Rogers Park, schoolwork screams dying down to relieved thankful sighs, the red earth scholastic desert trekked through, cool studied words of poetic poignant poise of bittersweet teardrinker reminisces. Electronic communication crackles through the cinnamon-tainted painter’s air, second takes on half-baked half-concealed cookies and cupcakes, parallel playnight, childhood analogies, progress into regression personal artistic obsession and character-laws lesson, clothed in black with Jackson Pollock Rorschach paintgunsprays, sartorial nightmare feverdreambubbles, dreams lighter than all air, black hair, artgirl lair, emotional shellslayer, fervent orchid prayer to a gathering of all the luck of the world in one place, it’s the music I put on when I need nothing to listen to, noiseless sonics leaving their environment utterly undisturbed. Bemused semi-fascinated grin, bubbletrouble sketchily etched onto a sketchbook fetched through self-conscious arthide, lost art, found art, round-the-heart-wound art, sound wound round the artheart, artforming, brainstorming all the colors under the brainrainbow, brainbow to nobody, standing on the brow or bow of a ship made of papyrus and Egyptian sweat and inspiration, perspiration pays, psychedreams, Jung Turx, outdated mental tick the boxes for a readymade pathology cure-path. The boat borne on the meaty swift bloodbeat under the transparent inchoate skin and opposite sexswarm. Enigmatic dark retinal coalburn quietfire lifefury, blacksparkle oh-no-go-show toenails, orangesock lookyseefail, freefall, nightwall, stopfan, tiny words floating above bubbles impatient to be free of the page, purple fingernails atop hieroglyph digits inscribing internal-stormstate-describing cryptic runes of styleburn calligraphy, calligraffiti, call it graffiti, American Egyptian Guyanan colorloops, flamelick honeysun skin with brown vertiginous nipples, alien breast scene, Nile rivers and valleys of infinite valuable depth and fertile beauty and purity, allcolors from paintbrushes rushing down over young heartonsleeve body to rainbow-streak the prickling flesh, stark sharp juxtaposition of wet pink lily of sex and brown molded bodyfire, shocking contrast, Valley of the Queens, Isis portrait, Ra shining smiling down on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, treasure of the pharaohs, the sun finally setting on the oblique pyramids of Rogers Park dreams and then down the wooden hill for an unexplored hurricane of tomorrows. 10pm-12.12pm, 12/8-9/2011.


FRIDAY TIGHT (11.08pm-11.16pm, 3/23/2012, one take straight through, no revisions)

Hamilton's Bar
Corner of N Broadway
and educational drunkenness
Early in the night
a half-hundred empty seats
patiently awaiting a
thousand boozelubed
drunken Friday evening
dreams to be
Various ages
Various dipsomaniac stages
Excited promising sound
of the dancestorm
beginning slowbuilding
Back bar open
Soon dozens of partiers
Hoping of hopping on a pleasure bus to
nowhere but
Back and forth and up and down
A million TV jetsets
broadcasting unintelligible
various sporting
screams from the ceiling
of little sensible but
the scores of college
basketball or nothing at all
Currently underemployed
whitetop waitresses wait distressed
and circle and stalk like
tip-starved great whites
Fresh flash of college flesh
Flush and gush of beertap
Watching idly the passersby
archetypes arty types
partytypes legpartertypes
The night is young
The night is well hung
between daycrowd and
nightshift ready to clock
in and sing and swing and
raise a glass to the
University of Life in passing
sensurround and another round
and round and about and
Mine's a Guinness