This is one of the many crank rant poems I used to enjoy writing when the combination of coffee and cigarettes had sufficiently charged me and reinforced what my ego demanded a clean and sober artist must be in order to be interesting, expressive, a hat full of cornball gestures: the personality I'm trying to project here is, please note, fictional and the intimations of wild things having happened with serio-comic consequences are created from whole cloth as well. This might blow my reputation as a poet who recounts hard living in funny and bittersweet couplets and rhythmically charged lines that simulate the rapid eddies of a Freddie Hubbard solo. Well, it might threaten what street cred if I had a reputation more expansive than friends, estranged drinking buddies, a few associate professors and members of my family who like what I do no matter what it is I put on the dinner table. I make stuff up in half the stuff you'll find in my various chap books, anthologies I've been included in, the various blogs I fill with words that yammer and shriek a loud, if vaguely articulated discontent.
Discontent with the skin I'm wearing, more than likely, as this current sheath is wrinkled, getting flabby and the joints ache worse than the linger effect of losing whatever person, place or thing that truly mattered to your existence. But don't think this a dishonest poem; I disagree with the notion that poetry in this age requires the poet to expose their darkest don't-tells. Poetry will not change behavior and will not make you feel better about being a shit heel; that is what therapists are for.
This , I think, is worth reading for the same reason some recent science fiction movies are worth seeing because the computer generated animation sequences are as spectacular as the stories that justify their use are insipid. This is honest poem because the attitude, the language, the tone that waivers between confirmed don't-give-a-goddamn and the congealed frustration that threatens to become something louder , vulgar and violent. They ring true for me and reflect those days a time ago where going insane seemed a viable an option as any young alcoholic artist and poet could choose. Thankfully, I have survived the logic of the heated impulse and stayed around long enough to enjoy a more modest means of getting to the point. --tb
The rocket's red glarehow drunk could be getbefore we began tolook attractive to theflies that buzz aroundour heads ,againstthe broad strokesof redand henna coded cloudsthat set the horizon on fireas the sun sinksjust a tip under theblurred line of the planetwhere earth and skyare a duothat play one masterful rondoafter anotherone of us stands upto God and hiswhispering minionsthat he is tired ofsuffering the resultsof a good ideagone to bullet bursts
and fist fights over the change left
on cafe tables.
i raise my head from my palms,stop studying the waymy shoe laces arecoming untied,i gather a sense thatthere is more to lifethan gas , food and lodgingbut would settlefor any thingbecause i hadnone of the aboveand no love for curbsand the drainage dreamsthey inspire,i ask"IS THERE AN ARE ART SHOWCLOSING SOMEWHERE TONIGHT??"the other one of uswas stilldrinking as he careened up the street,one side to the other,all the billboardsshould read "tilt","LOVE STRAYSAND STAYS ARID"he yells at a passing bus,i laugh, Jesus what a jerk,i will take the busand play music in my skulluntil it comes,i will be serene and leanon the vernacularthat's so spectacularwhen I'm in the bagand full of mean remarks,i will behave,i will be silent,nothing will upset me,i am invisible on the bus line,but even as my mantrais uttered and foldedinto a vest pocket of the soulover where the heart still beatswith what remains ofmy sense of my self andvirtues beyond thebulge of my wallet,a car approachesthrough the intersection,it veers closer,i sing to the streetlights,the fixtures on the power lines,the car slows down,i'm on the twelfth chorus of "Cherokee",something breaks in my lapand then I am wetwith waterneither painful nor holy,the car speeds awayinto the slim v perspectivethat runs right to the water's edge,i am wetyet am i blessedin such a state,i hum another chorus,my lap drenchedwith tap water andbits of burst balloon,and now it's darkafter eight pm in Julywhen the fireworks go offfrom the end of the pier,where i wanted to beto make a phone callunder the rocket's red glare.