Tuesday, February 28, 2006

There Comes

He sat beneath the willow bush, gnawin on the soft things sproutin in all manner of greenly composition. Quick clever fingers findin the crawlies 'n the young'uns. Snatch, shake, shake then the tastin of the glory of the livin. Waitin, he was, for the callin.

'N the callin came, yes, lawdy, yes. It came all strong. It came all fierce. It came when ole ma sun was quittin her evil ways. When the evenin winds wrought up their darkliness. 'N he knew the answers, all. Knew the prayerful things that set the ways to glory. For he was bound, he was, to know that song.

He was but a shadow, shape-shiftin, dancin his movin dance. Feet spryin over leaves in his witch-fell way. Twistin 'n spinnin like the hungry smoke. Spittin torment 'n sayin pain. Breathin up some madness for winter sleepers. Til a chuckle 'n a chortle caught 'im up. Broke the spellin that wrought the call.

For t'were his granny bright, his granny all load up with her granny ways. With her baskets strong, 'n filled, they were, with berries sharply sweet. With butter breads 'n honey just aready for the soppin.

But there's come a wrongness into the world. Casted on the meadow, on the playin brook. Growin where the laddy sleeps. Givin strongness to the sly, 'n a hunger too.

A hard 'n bitter wind came a'dryin out the soft. Turnin dust 'n turmoil in the fields, desolation to the goodly places. Seepin poison in'ta berry bright, 'n in'ta laddy ways.

Now granny hears the bees no more, nor tastes the spring's own milk. Nor breaks the spellin of the call. And none can say where sits the laddy, agnawin.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

once, upon a time

there lived within his garden, once, upon a time
a man of quiet, singular and unsubstantialed
in communion with the aphids and the otters

growing for their mystery all manner, form
of buttery flies, cantakerous and shallow
creatures that ate his father's shallow breathing

respecting neither boundary nor edging placed
for keeping back the wilder ness, the phantasmic
intrusions bent on weeding round his roses

he grew within his gray and amber eyes
a rioting of spores, within his charnel lips
rapacious germinations unmarked or catalogued

and with the dawn he placed his stones, correctly
compositioned, accurately sized by the
predeterminations of the lunar tides

consulted, with the mid day sun, old prophecies
bought dearly from the gypsy moths, paid
with peonies cut in their full blooming

but with the tiring of the sun, comes into
its shadow, into these failing perishments
into the apprehensive gardener, all

the pests of places not his own, of
unfamiliar odor unfamiliar taste, of
poisonous and unnatural proclivity

for there lived within his garden, once,
upon a time, a man of virtuous intention
who grew within his heart a blight

Thursday, February 23, 2006

broken somewhere

he walked and skipped and stumbled, broken
somewhere, ajumble somewhere, wondering
why the poppies came up orange

why the day came up short, regretting
another bed, another tangled blanket
hurling memories in the dark

but he was a careful man, collecting
pieces of a tidy and meticulous fall
from room to room to room

shining window glass, smoothing rumpled
things that slow the hours, slow the
fingers across the table, tracing in the dust

he'd forgotten, where he'd been, where
he'd told his father sometime in the night
that all broke things found heaven

there'd be place enough, some uncluttered
corner where he could rest, close
his eyes until he knew his way again

he'd gentled down expectations, loaned
desires as he was pummeled through the
mornings, forgetting how to keep himself whole

just another page, on another shelf
sheltered from the sun, marked with
fades, marked with serial cancellations

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

a cross-legged man

i saw a man, cross-legged, sitting
by my garden gate, and wondered
why he'd thrown his shoes

why they lay all tumbled near
my radishes, near my radicchio
strange weeds in a garden proper

why i'd let them root, give
disharmony, let them try
their unsubtle nature on my figs

then, curiously, he tugged, twisted
fell up, off, socks cross-woven
baring toes, pummeled me with disbelief

there, and there, they lay, giving
discredit to my oregano, disfavor to
my cumquats, distraction to my peonies

would I water them with my night
time seedings, guarantee their organic
nature to my thistle laden lilies

i had no extra breathing for this
cross-legged man, this cross-pollination
into my perfect fecund flowered heart

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lost in bologna

he thought he was dancing, lost
in Bologna, tap tip tapping while
he swayed clumsily in the piazza

brown splotched hands moved
in a caress, lazy moths of veins
fluttering and floating, excited

winter detritus clung laughing
to his uncared shoes, brown and
starved for his affection

toe heel tap slide point turn repeat
around the birds gaggled, in dismay
the intruder brought his show

socks fallen upon gaunt ankles
thin sticks on a sterile tree
slavishly living in black and white

a circus of dissembling consonants
clack clacking without vowels, respite
our sideshow tumbled at the end

with eyes struck grey, bewildered
by a failure long unexpected, gawking
primly at a man who loved the night
Winter and Bourbon

coffee turns to tea when
winter hits the kitchen window
turns to bourbon softly

when rain gets hardy full-up
with ragged breathing, sad
heroes line the salty walks

he knows the road went somewhere
yesterday, but never went the route
he could remember choosing

it slips away, he falls behind
crinkly photos, unframed cryptic
stares that promised goodwill trophies

unremarkable sadness, second-hand
he leaves at his table, piled on
plates of take-out taken in

smudged fingered things are scattered
between his footsteps, between his
broken sweater and veiny feet

but he had his notes, written with
bold block letters, written with
exactitude, leaving bared no doubt

and so the day began, while mushrooms
grew beneath the roses, caterpillars ate
the aphids, ate the cautionary tales

he'd made to tell his children, to
shape the danger that kept him
sitting by the laundry door

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I was meant, I think, to be an accountant. But I have one blue eye, and one brown eye. And my hair fights me every morning. So primarily, and secondarily as well, I will never find cpa behind my name. When grandmother searches my papers, she won't see a comma followed by letters of distinguishment. I foundered in shame and confusion. I tried to learn Italian, but I wasn't Italian. I tried picking apples, but always fell from the trees. Then, oh my, oh my, there was for me a revelation.

I was 11, and facing failure at every turn. Fearful of a future wholly ignominious, I sat beside my gran-papa's bed. Waiting for the dawn, and gran-papa to wake. And when he opened his eyes, he took my hand and said, "Let's go buy you a cello. You're going to be a great cellist."

Of course I was relieved that it wasn't to be an accordion.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Muni Diaries

8:53am. There is a redhead two seats back. Awful shoes but good eyes. Seems a shame, really. That particular seat’s always been a bit iffy. It’s a tortured path, I think, being a red. But then ...

8:56am. This driver’s been a failure. Too taken in by the fancy, tempered glass one might think. A bus is a magnificent machine, no doubt. The harmony of its parts, the solidity of its chassis, always inspire. But a driver must remain rooted, don’t you see? But more on the driver later.

9:02am. As omens go, one might be dumbstruck. Two rows forward, but across the aisle, sits the 9th stop Child. Quite punctual, actually. Obsessed by yellow - but that’s well documented. A veritable archive of post-modern, neo-bohemianism. It’s assumed there are parents involved, but Child is still waiting. Well.

9:05am. The 10th stop is not without interest. The bus stop sign is hanging in Fancy Amy’s boudoir. She’s always been a romp, sweet sweet Amy. The day her daddy cracked the sidewalk with his sledgehammer is part of the 10th stop lore. Aunt Genevieve now takes a new route to the grocer. She’s an unforgiving woman is Auntie. But we wander......

9:07am. All passengers turn away from the 11th stop, for the tragedy is still too recent. All but seat 13, left, window. Black hair, eyes, shirt - more than that would be speculative. Small toes, fine hands, loves butter beans. It’s a shame, really. And black hair looks quite resolutely at the 11th stop. But, after all?

Six layers of paint painstakingly applied to the chassis. The invoice says it’s Italian. One can’t ask for more. Tires: Cleveland, in the fine state of Ohio. Turn signals: that’s a bit complex, actually. Wiring, lens, bulbs, switch. A simply marvelous bit of work that’s often overlooked. Red might go on and on, but then that’s Red all over again.

Steering column: with hesitation, Chinese. The invoice has gone astray and it’s not stamped. There’s a tawdry tale for another day.

9:10am. Back row, left, aisle. Mousey with pricks of brilliance. Wan, fidgety, who lapses into and out of reveries on chaos theory as applied to Cat Stevens. Too profound, by far, for the average rabbit. Bland, dissimulating eyes. Simply voluptuous lips, which has been a sign since Lana Turner’s daughter did her deed. Indeed.

Windshield wipers. They caused a three day strike when the shop foreman made his famous discovery. What a scene! Yes, they’re glamorous. Yes, they’re virtually works of art. But all in all! The stuff of passion?

9:11am. 1 seat behind Red, bit of a pug nose, discrete close ears. Smile that would’ve been ´wry´ in other days. Nasty pancreatic cancer. Quite regrettably unknown. Just born to tango, born to crush hearts, melodramas; beatific.

But you’re more interested in the brake fluid. Quite so. Silky, dark, exhilarating. Unique counterpoint to the brake lining. Together, the perfect union. Yin and yang. Soft as the old tale of the fallow field and the locust eggs. Lest we wax too nostalgic, let’s return to black hair, seat 13.

Navel is an innie, so there’s no defining quality mid-section. Feet: good arches. Disdainful of underwear yet knows the value of nylon.. No known allergies. Embraced by a sadness that shakes, that gnaws. Yet somehow has determined the diameter of all the moons of Saturn. Black hair would love ferociously if not for all these stops. Rightly discounts the Big Bang Theory. Infinity and all, you see.

The Child’s soft cheek touches the window - cleaned nightly by a first rate crew. A dancing in the aisle, song on its sleeve crew. Child’s hair falls limply, hiding an eye. Lashes, lashes for days. Barely a lobe, the ear has barely a lobe. Tiny nose, very, very still, looking past Red. Child is a dangerous Child. A voracious chasm. The cleaning crew has placed a wicked bewitching on the bus. What a dark dance they step. Toe, heel, tap, pirouette. Short breath, shallow, quiet breath.

9:17am. 1st seat, aisle, and older than 1st seat ever wanted or thought to be. Spots, brown spots on the backs of the hands. A tiredness, silly, silly tiredness. Buzzing. Some goodbyes to go. The vinyl seat’s quite nice, actually. Comforting, grey, agreeable. All you need is love, love. Love’s all you need. Humm. Til the end. Top notch cleaning products on this bus. Nepal or Tibet? No one would ever know. There was a boy, a strange enchanted boy. Oops, melancholy, old morose melancholy. Concentrate on the driver’s bald spot, dear.

9:21am. The newcomer hesitated, sat next to pug nose. 5´8", 7-1/2 shoes narrow, 28" waist, 20/30 right eye but 20/60 left. Genetically predisposed to blah blah blah. Newcomer sang for dinner; waltzed for dessert. Dissed, or dissertated, for a martini. Cracked eggs for cognac. But chose Pug nose, who couldn’t translate Hegel into Mandarin. Or make a perfect soufflé.

Oozin´. Pricks of precocity might be more accurate. Twitches in the shower, played piccolo at age 2. Memorized the Paganini repertoire at 11 but moved on to Abba. Ostrich eggs at Easter? Save that thought. Newcomer once determined that the speed of light has been variable but forgot why 2 hours later. Mum was obsessed with the cabalistic references in Gilbert and Sullivan (but rejected as a thesis topic at Kinshasa U). Ah, the twisted wankings of the world.

Driver was a good ole boy, before he schizzed a bit. Would’ve been hardly worth mentioning except for ´The Incident´. The air is like blood, you see. Full of invisible organisms, coursing, doing, leeching, eating. He’d often wondered just what they were eating until he gained ´The Sight´. It was an awful gift, ´The Sight´. Because, you see, he then knew.

Unlike lesser buses, this bus was endowed with tempered, corrosion-proof springs within each seat. What further evidence does one need of the heights to which its creators aspired? Heights never again achieved, for much was lost, wasn’t it?

9:23am. Row 5, aisle, left. Ex-looker, now ex-tended. Epitaphial; exact. Mocked rabidly the lunching set. Often lunched ON, our ex-all. A tipsy, topsy morsel of declining flavor. Something like denatured holy water. What IS the point? More questions, sorry, than responses. Ex moved the East Village a bit closer to Alphabet City, back when the sun was warmer. Sang a fine set of Victorian torch songs, but with a perturbing mélange of ambivalence it was noted.

Child is quite smitten with Ex. Child has ever been the undoing of undoers. A wizard once secreted amber around a nose hair from Janice Joplin as a token for Child. Hoping for protection, undoubtedly. Ah, hope. Sly, backstabbing hope. The slope that slips. An escalator stuck in reverse. We all know the sort of that wizard, now don’t we? As Ex well knows, when one’s thighs get simply too large, that’s all she wrote.

9:27am. Slouched. Bit of a slink as well. Very back, right, window. Stop 2. We all know that neighborhood. Veritable haven for crouchers. And as if we need yet another petit-four, it was found to be the most prosthetically-challenged as well. One really must love studies. Where would we be? But, then again, where were we? It might be supposed that the butter was left out of this cake. Why not go one stop further and suppose that the eggs weren’t separated? Or, gee, golly and gee whiz, that the flour just wasn’t sifted? Harsh! Folks can be so harsh. Beneath that slouch is no cake at all, but a peach cobbler. A twinkle in Julia’s eye. Sweet, flavorful perfection.

But Red can sniff a peach from far, far, far. Climb a tree, pluck, pluck. A heartbeat. Slouch could be just a slurp in the road. But no slurp is our slouch. Nay, voyeurs and voyeuses. A scald of the tongue; a stab in the entrails. Cramps, lay-em-down-in-the-road cramps. Night sweats and nausea. Love, or leave.

Triple Pisces: sun, moon, rising. A dark soul, soft fingers, flat tummy. Tight, ouch, crunch butt. Oh-la-la. Narrow nose. Rruff-rruff calves! A tongue to tickle your tonsils. A skim of the surface of Newcomer.

Newcomer put the ´F´ back into fabulous. Cross your legs, all lookers, else look away.

9:31am. Stop 7, please sit, stay, settle. The seats are all magnificently the same. Absolutely no need to scamper or scurry on this bus. The springs have not sprung. No tears, discolorations, squicky, gummy yuckies. No invasive malodors. One may nestle into this so perfect cocoon; give way to its zen-tasmic higher plane. One may sit, stay, settle. Stop 7, hereafter nicked Norm. Height: average. Weight: average. Coloring: average. Eyes: average. A reverser of time. Forgotten before seen. Missed before done. Cause without effect.

What doeth our Norm? Our phantom? What does a Norm, who can pass unseen, invisible? In and out, over or under? Fingerprints so undistinguished that they’re not distinguishable? What, in the wide world of opportunity, would a Norm do? Baker? Butcher? Candlestick maker? If Norm doesn’t reflect in a window; if Norm isn’t captured on sly, oily video cams? What if Norm is an illusion, albeit a forgotten one? A whisper gobbled by the wind? If we could remember just long enough to remove the mask, what, gentle reader, would we find?

We may well be tempted to rhapsodize on spark plugs at this point. Miss Lee was actually thinking of spark plugs when writing Fever, it’s been recounted. But a crisis, a splinter under the nail, a screech of a suffering blackboard, a pustule inside the nose, a --- where was I? Oh, yes, a crisis is ... mmm... maturing. Yes, quite. Maturing. And it’s to do with Red. Our Red, for a bit of narrowing. Red’s about to kick it, keel, arrest, grab the big one, de-fucking-cease, as Mama Mangiotti used to say. (Back when) Ploop! Over Red falls, right into the aisle. And what a chain reaction this starts! But we were percolating new chirpy jingles bout spark plugs, now weren’t we? A corpse in the aisle is so mundane, anyway. Quite best left til later lest morbidity set in.

There is in Spain a plain, one can complain. The vanilla beans are rather hardy. But where were we? Oh, yes, Child.

Sticky things, are children. The cans and the can´ts. Baffling. The shoulds and the not-evers, dizzying. The mightn´ts, shouldn´ts, couldn´ts, mustn´ts, somewhere near the square root of pi. Ambulatory near-critical-masses are children. White sharks in shallow water. Cobras hiding under your bed covers. Oof!

9:40am. 7th row, right, window. A teller of tales. A bringer of unbrought things. A deranger of the mis-arranged. (But oddly, not the mal-arranged.) Hatched, no doubt, from an odd egg. Not browny-blue like the other eggs but a discombobulatingly periwinkled orange. No proud parent saved that eggshell, one may be certain. Nor was 7th row, right, window hatched last night. Forget everything you may think you know bout orange eggs - all rubbish. All the delirium of nursing orangutans besotted with their own grade A, though hardly homogenized, milk.

Deviating. Norm once wrote a tract ¨Selfless Observations on a Peony´. A sequel, it seems, to some musings by Pontius Pilate. The tract was wrapped in tin foil, probably to evade radar detection, and coated with super glue. As a final touch Norm drilled a 6.66 meter hole in the N.E. Greenland icecap, pushed this life’s masterwork to the bottom, and sealed the hole. We all know WHY one would do such a thing but the WHERE is rather bewildering. Whether the act of being selfless, or the chosen peony itself, caused this rigmarole, is not known.

Angst! What a tough and manly word. A butchy-boy word. Each letter oozing machismo. Grruff! Rrruff! A pull-in-the-stomach, puff-out-the-chest word. Angst! But even angst pales next to carburetor. The weak swoon; the strong are gripped with hair standing fervor. Raise the flag! Stand at attention! Aaah, egads. STOP!

I’ve missed my stop.

Ole ma sun's done her slidin, down neath the grass-greened hills. I hear jolly singin, fillin up a lad's sweet voice, somewhere a-leapin over the willow trees.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

News, oh readers. 'The Parable of the Boy Who Figured' has been accepted by Convergence for their Winter 2006 publication, as well as 'The Pastor's Tale'. Ooh la la.

But better yet, you're very close to seeing a new tale of the Lad. So close your eyes, think good thoughts, and come back to this very site very, very soon.

By the Bay

Friday, February 10, 2006

No smilin lad should lose his slidin ways,
His slippin 'n jumpin ways,
Afore the blackberryin's done.

Afore the road's come to its endin
Ole ma sun's done all her laughin.

I'm'a fell down grievin, deep
In a black-foul place where
Nought but sorrowin rules.

Dreamin'a my smilin lad.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gentle readers, I thank Argotist Online for accepting one of my poems for their review. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this online publication, please see http://www.argotistonline.co.uk/index.html. You will be introduced to some first-rate, even world class writers.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I am ... been ... undone
I am ... been ... felled
Yes, been fallen
I am ... been ... unread,
Listening for my father's voice
I am ... unsaid ... been unsaid
I have no remembrance of my father's voice
I have no ... touch of his voice
I am ... been ... uncaressed.

My father is a made-up thing
A spectred, fabuloused thing
A concoction stewed in my undoing
He is an unwinged, casted down
Fellen, unstrung phantasm
Is my father
He is a glamour, a gollem
Breathing ... dust ... that ... haunts ... me
Is my father
I am ... been ... undone.

I am ... been ... tricked
I am been sorcelled
I am been unwoved
Enstrung by foul weavers
Caughted, fraughted, stoled
Yes ... I am been stoled !
Thief - a thief has grabbed and nabbed me
Hid me, put me, stashed me
Undone me and lost me
Throwed me, I was an unworthy steal.

I was ... unworthy
Listening for my father's voice.

Unthought, unlaughed, unsmiled
..... ghosted by the wind.

I am ... been ... undone
I am been envoided, en-nihiled
Enchasmed, ruptured, fractured
And my father is a made-up thing
Of found, discarded stuff
Grasped, glommed, glismed
Ferocious, fierce, frenzied stuff.

By the Bay
'Undone' has been chosen for publication. Thanks to the great crew at the Andwerve Literary Journal for their selection. I'll republish later this evening for all you late-comers to the blog of blogs.

By the Bay

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Tale of the Magicked Lad

He was a shufflin fool, he was. A weaver of confabulations and mystics. With an ole cowlick bouncin higher'n a magpie's tail. 'N he talked a silver talk, full of whisper flutters. He could magick fresh yellow butter 'n bright purple berries. Yes, lawdy yes, he was a treachery, was this lad.

Ole trader-lady Gertie saw the lad a-comin, a-whirly giggin down her lane. She scrunched up her eyes all tight 'n careful gainst the dust that child astirred. 'N she barked 'n she yelped, "Halt your commotionin', laddie. I've apples 'n turnips 'n honeys to sell. Shiny 'n sweet, lovely to eat. Back, laddie, back to the wild-erness with ye, now."

But he was flarin' the scents, all sugary, all fair. Spyin' eggs brown 'n speckled, temptin to his ways. Breads baked up 'n callin' his name. Cinammons, nogs 'n wines deep 'n urgent. Our Gertie, trader true, mistress to none. Our Gertie, womanly-wise but ma to none.

"I've'a run through the hills, over stone, over trunk. Gentled the rain 'n golded the sun. But nowhere in all the hid places is anything so fine as your suppers, Gertie. And so a-supperin' I've come." Now our lad started singin', 'n dancin' his tunes. And he laughed, arms a-flyin' round Gertie struck still. He scampered, 'n skipped 'n he wove spells all bindin'. Bringin' rustles 'n smokes from yesterday places. 'N he watched our ole Gertie, like a daddy his lass. Til the endin' said, 'Stop'.

Then, like a tinkle 'n whistle 'n chime of a bell, called a voice, called a girl barely high as the table all fruited. Called a girl all a-dancin, silly with joy. "I'm Gertie, I'm Gertie, I'm Gertie I am. 'N there are paths to be followed, 'n clouds to be watched. So come on, lad, let's go where the goin's a-callin'. Bring your apples, 'n honey 'n bread hot with butter. Bring your feet all a-leapin', your darklin' ways."

Now when winds just a-rustlin', 'n the birds gone asleep, come the voices merry from places forgot. Come the voices of our shufflin lad and his Gertie sweet.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


To the Tanglewood Review for their acceptance of "The Pastor's Tale" for publication in their upcoming edition. Faithful readers, you can re-read this tale here on 'Peter, in Search of Pan'. Today. Without waiting.

By the Bay
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