Tuesday, August 28, 2007

San Francisco chronicles, Day 1

I'm an inveterate wanderer of San Francisco's neighborhoods. It's my favorite summer pastime - grateful for the cool, dry days and grateful for the many local coffee houses, restaurants, parks and oddities. Farley's on Potrero Hill, Jumpin' Java on Noe (in the Castro) for the wi-fi obsessed, It's a Grind on Polk Street are some of the many stopping points for a day less stressed.

And for those of you laboring under constricted budgets, I'll leave ramblings from my own discoveries. It is still possible to eat well under $10 in SF and I'll show you how. Burmese in the Mission, Hunan in Chinatown, pasta salad on South Park.

Bookmark, return, and enjoy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

no title possible, no. 7

what price do i pay
for a liar
a thief
a gentle man

i spell remorse
letter by letter
sounding the vowels
tasting the reasons

swim slowly
through these confusions
or tread upon the water

what end is salvation
for i hear that
comfort lies there
but don't know

while the sun exhausts
clothed in the gray
that succumbs to night

what price can i pay

don't slow me down, try to catch me i don't think
you can, i'm bounded down my alley ways, sniffing
to the boulevard where beamers fly, caddies finned
in '59, bullet snouts consume the air, burn the wind
if you can

or try to touch or solve me, resolved as i am to
chasing cars, wrapping me a future with a clarity
or try to mystify, arouse the streetsome lads
shaking down their quarters, begging down old

or try to stomp with me, i've got flying in my bones
wail with cats for nightwise treats, packaged
with my happiness in mind, got treacheries enough
lecheries enough cause a house is never just a house
or a home

don't slow me down, i have a nose for those with
needs, willing to accommodate my pockets, eager
for a dose of intellect, tanned didactic intellect
proustian bare intellect, every consumer's ideal
cause i work

sincerely, a bargain for those who wonder, wander
read their labels carefully, invest their hard earned
for the benefits of medication, make a totter at the edge
and i will give a balance to a life down spiraled, wired
cause i adjust

for life

underneath this day, some thing's gone missed, but
my foot taps reggae, sand songs are come, confused
as they seem lost, drifted here to my special place
where i snuggle coffee brews, swirl a bit of mystic
mumbo jumbo for the fans

wait, they are expectant, looking as if i could compose
oracle pronouncements, life altering hymn tunes
snap my fingers for electrical fires, thunderous clamor
eager faces, oh-ing faces, rapturous vapid faces

but i'm slyer than they know, tapping a sleepy foot
slicing words from the adulated air, groping for the
combination that will make more fame, etch me high
in the fog crust from the bay, i'm wired for their boorish

hooked with annealed hooks, sharp dug in my skin
fitting me for some raw work, i'm running with the jackals
chasing glory with a mongrel pack, hooked for the rush

what will you do for my slurpy kisses, a bit of second-rate
passion, is there any thing you haven't lost, thrown away
into our compost affair

still hoping, drifted child, befuddled by the phantoms
that cross your path, asking you but never needing you
ever the disposable option

i may be forgetting you, again, as you blur, dissolve
and i'm drowsing, fearful you'll leave me faded, loopy
and careless

rather think i'll forget you

Friday, August 24, 2007

the father

promises are made, between fathers and sons
as the womb grows closed, ear pressed to heart
waiting for the tides of birth, the clamor and newness
shuffling strangers move across the shifts of day
bringing and awakening, crowding flowers cut in prime

here where the torrents move incautiously, troubled
by the anguish felt beyond the wall, curiously gray
strangely green, permeable to foreign wails of losers
in this game, of life's shortcomings, its bitter reprisals
permeable to safety, to loss, to all things a father
would defend to a son

he makes his mantra, does this man, drawing little
mystical protections, muttering small spells, small
bargains for a pact to give him life, this sleeping son
a raw father stricken with some new clarity, subject
to a new unwritten code that unfolds with light's speed
and binding

he endures this wait, near blasphemous as eternity
seized and blocked as minutes toll, sluggish bites of time
and dictates his promises, to the passers, to the angels
to the demons, who may remember all his sins
that he gives himself, like men have ever done
for love

Thursday, August 23, 2007


i smile at funerals, some times, and take the opportunity to
ponder, oratory selections, incomprehensible chants of celibate
men, wearing wool, clouded by perspiration, strange under

dressed with rumor, gossipy under-breath speculation
and struggle beneath the weight of an old man spent
travestied, spilling woozy memories in no order, some

you can see my steps in the turned dirt, deeply printed
but i don't stagger from the obligation, or from the misspent
hours, can't grasp grief, its fluid saturation and don't offer

we have no preservation, of the old man, the tales he gave
keep no account of his children, forlorn or wondrous
have no record of his conquests, years of chasing passion

where do we hope to be, at the end of this day, after
casseroles are eaten, kisses profused, handshakes barely
done, when night's long confrontations are begun

ethel merman, show biz, and i some times smile at funerals
i've memorized company, long passages that form the eyewall
protect me from this strange ritual, unexplainable

do i seem appropriate, grappling with the distance and
discontinuity, offensively bland, no register of tearsome
blather, playing comedy, playing all the parts with my

or i could juggle yellow balls, red bowling pins, direct
the limousines with checkered flags, as i ponder, reflect
is this the end he would have chosen, if the choosing
were not the end

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

from the urban storm, #2

avenues cross streets cross alleys cross boulevards
cross lanes with a mathematica grid intensity
always leading me some where, often abstractly
cause i am digitally challenged, make the eye of my
own storm

and find this problematic need for order, for graphic
awareness a 74 degree down side of urbanity
narrow tenacious shuffleboards for holding houses
with some order, but suitable for graffiti's laminating

my aim less forays find comfort in the shadowy
back paths, in the gray blue shimmer snorting hip
in the minor lapses to disorder, lesser theater
abounding behind the laundries, take-out palaces

i can ride the wafts of mandarin surf, dim-sum
eddies, skim upon napolitano sauces, capered for
the benefit of tourists, in the wakes of schools of
anchovies, salt-encrusted parchment

is wholly proper for lessons in voice, huzzahs and
oles, boogie steps against their brickey sets
suitable, you can be sure, for canaries not long removed
from cages

wholly proper for funeral attire, gathered for its appeal
to neon, its timeless propriety, its barking self-awareness
classic cuts by givenchy, temperance rules by dior
wide or narrow, always recognizable

and it will all begin in cleveland

Monday, August 20, 2007

from the urban storm

noise random fluid spiky and punctuated, but i have a deadline
scheduled outage when i trivialize into an after noon's downtime
scheduled for musing, perusing, for crossing legs on the avenue
for critical contemplation of the passers by, dissection by astute
analysis, separating layers of fashionista wargear by designer
social impact, sexual innuendo, power grabs of talon shoed diva
addicts, for shaded eyes squinting in the hard day ultraviolet

he's gone, that on-the-road replay, hankered for a cafe
menu reading highway burgers, off-road fries, reading
small-town shakes, habanero chiles for some sparkle in his eyes
toss corn husks from a pickup truck will get him honey brown
muscles, fade some of that desperado mural from his back
he's gone tired from cat-night prowls and sloppy whiskey
edgy gets exhausting when i listen to the mini-rants and
maxi-expositions, gets smirky with stale tortilla chips
whole-food salsa, caloric overload

what will i remember, 37 days down this road, or just
37 hours after all the clamor has moved away in a volvo wagon
bundled tied crammed, holding all the fruits of a dumpster
dive extravaganza

holding the little shelter i'd picked from odds, from ends
a lean-to constructed outside your comfort zone, uninspected
largely unsuspected, not yet finished, reviewed for code

what will i remember, 27 minutes after a shower and a
shave, calvinized, mordantly determined, pungently prepared
with pheromonal scents

somewhat diminished.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

dedicated to K

leave me rocking, little jackey, back back where you belong
no room in this room for tepid conversation, not while i've been
memorizing zola, understanding things gone wrong
grasping for some sort of revelation, though i've been
snoozing since the dawn

you give a shaky start to any morning, snatching words
before they're done, finishing my songs with your clattery
beat, making false soprano in a karaoke style
how can i grasp these hardy words, these rough and spooky
old time words, if you're so determined to stomp
and jazz

close the door and unleash the windows, those biting
flies have gone to bed, then we can feel the summery
flavors, taste the rain coming down our way, but
if your newest resolution is to knock my fame
down south to oakland, where the ships are black
and the streets lay cracked

if you're determined to gather nickels, like a huckster
on his game, then leave my fame here in the sunset,
sheltered by our grinchy fog, go pout your way to
richmond where the dim-sum's fried in oil
cause my head's all full with bits and bytes
ready for the page

neal's been whistling be-bop, thumping me to torment
channeling his coleman, blaring like some radio
infested, gone deranged, how did he leave his new york city
how did he make the midwest plains, plowing through
the corn

jackey boy sit on the floor, let me see what's in your eyes
i do believe in esp, some times fortune is speaking plain
send me confirmation that the years won't bend me down
rob me of the clamor that swirls inside my brain
and let me go

Friday, August 17, 2007

my corner

backed into my favorite corner, dreaming pizza dreams
goat cheese frolics on a bed of pesto, drizzled to a whole wheat crust
up against this yellow wall, artsy and articulate, but i don't
drink mocha, or sprinkle chocolate, don't find satisfaction
with my nutmeg freshly ground, i am so spellbound
draped in nonchalance, jagged with pretense smelling you

across my little haven, where memories hunker chatty
bring their faux fantasy to idle near at hand, occupying
that empty chair, filling in the blanks of an after noon life
gentle before the sunset, shaky and insensitive in the dark
i am so raw, playing the risk game from my corner
pounding out some drivel, every day chasing fame
in spurts, ragged with pretense watching you

will you play my game ?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

strange summer days

strange summer days, click your heels, snap
your fingers if your drift is toward almond milk
chai latte, wonder if the mango left the tree
of a civil estate, a worker's paradise, wonder
bout cold war benefits discarded, crammed
bewildered when the tele heads protect their own

but dancing down on haight, out of sight of
a golden gate, we can find a protest suitably
directed, agreeably choreographed, meaningful
in that old time ziggy way, come two step, back
step, swirl your smoky swirl, as if your misadventures
end on a monosexual note

wrap my falafel with unrest olives, pasty humus
uncooked for goodness sake, or we may digress
for guatemala ain't a people state, and i need kindness
in my life, let me strip the strife out of my life,
spread these shoulders for some burden left behind
yes, i wear my zeitgeist t a little large, cause the
message needs to have its say

any where we sit, we can rap and tap, take the checkers
out of the box, you were a mongoose in another life
said the reader, palm in hand, tea shaking softly
at the bottom of your cup, and lead a mystical
existence, and draw the squares for chess here
on the street, reopen the salvation, cause the goodwill
don't understand

tame this unsweet confusion, babbley on haight street
jazzy in the spring, hippie come june, a shelter for the
derelict, congested by the ill-wind pollen that seems
to float aimlessly, fanciful in its equitable distribution
harbinger of a free market come and gone
gypsies and wiccans, warlocks and gnomes
mercenaries demobbed on tatooine and restless
for a fight

strange summer days, jerky quirky days, tootin' for
jesus, singing a little praise, and don't put sugar in my
smoothie, even if it's brown, non-commercial fructose
sucrose, gel-caps filled with vitamins, protein powdered
fine, cause i'm aiming for some purity, some surety
the deck is new, crisp and eager for the game, so shuffle
deal and place your bet, something's on its way

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the under stander

got it, understand it, finally
hard day rays, shifted directly from the sun
like to laze down on my knees, cooking
this 4pm like a cholesterol bath
yes i am a fool, sitting here in the raw
smiling to the passers by
nodding sympathetically, licked
by poodles, snarled by dachshunds
juggling counterfeit quarters
another attention grabbing ploy
of which i have a few

senorita with your samba, his feet are
far too big, so obvious in his j c penney
his graying bvd's, chasing cadillacs
just for a laugh, would he wash their windows
fawn and pawn, wax the hood, senorita
there's a place in this production, small
enough for your minor talents, if you
can twist, toss a tune or bewilder
the strangers on the street

i am a fine collector of oddities on their prowl
a great respecter of the hurly-burly
aficionado without equal, bearded ladies
snake-tailed suitors, palmists dressed
with funerals on their mind
so cross your ankles, as your mother once
advised, and save some charm for another day
i have your future well in hand

but my company's not yet set, there's a spot
unattended, cause i have it, understand it
know the starts and stops, the jerky in-betweens
my subtle contemplation has given me my due
while i soak this adulation, lathered by hurrahs
stomping crowds demanding more
we have our game to play, senorita
loving me is never free

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

to Michael Chabon, where ever you may be

adventure, misadventure

like all our great adventures, it began to fail as soon
as heel touched ground, toes pointed forward
our determination alone was a sliver of doom
awkward threads that refused to intertwine
but aren't we ever warriors? bold in execution
flawless with a keening wail toward triumph
until, of course, we start the race, push
ourselves away from a starting line beclouded
an imminent danger disguised

like my lovers, docile in their ambition
knowing without knowing that i'm a cause
too lightly undertaken, too fragile for a world
that lives and breathes, and sigh with their
understated aggravation, half perplexed, then
half bemused, plodding with a wonder of it all
they must believe too deeply in a thing
that speaks to hardier souls, gifted with
the possibilities of life

we keep some precious memories, not all entirely
true, constructed for the preservation of a friendship
blurred with misadventure, our great adventure
they're tithed in careful increments, swallowed
like a wafer from the hand of god, we keep them
as we hang above a chasm, dug spoon by spoon,
word by word, forgetting years entire, those unseemly
days, blustered through and unmanageable

how can i see myself clearly, or as you see me
a shape-shifter with miracle in hand
a promise-maker, carrying happiness and a future
on shoulders misaligned, or as a passion, some how
meant to bring fulfillment, to erase the void
but i can find deception where ever i can sit, rocking
in the sunset, stumbling toward the dawn, carrying
oddities that somehow find their home in the
stupor of my wake

like all our great adventures, bold princes hand in hand
shooting stars across some neon firmament, we careen,
the artful dodgers come to renew a pact we'd always
misunderstood, a mobile repository of trust, anticipation
destined to be as elusive as we ourselves, mad for glory
and it all began to fail, as soon as heel met ground, fist
was raised, as your eyes met mine and i could search
for the falling of the leaves, the passage of our summer
and the end to come

Monday, August 13, 2007

John from Cincinnati, HBO, 2007.

What can be done, my most faithful of readers, to bring about a renewal of my favorite series? Employing techniques learned from those scalawags in the Weasley family, it's come to my dismayed attention that a loss of nerve has occurred at HBO. Wiccans, demonists, soothsayers and gris-gris masters, please heed our call!

It was a gas, this 4 star series.

jimmy, was james only yesterday, suddenly fluid
found out by an uncasual observer, noncasual suddenly lusted
but only after borrowed flannels, worn gray t's had
found their way his way, bringing some other person's way
into his life

his soft face was acquiring definition, by this round
about journey, by this most involving circuit of clothes
taken, given then worn in his idiosyncratic wealth of
stolen style, a waking paradigm of writer's block
on soft exploring feet

peeping warily from his covers, fleecy downy covers
shaggy in the morning, powerful and somber, wondering
who was sleeping darkly, nestled like a wounded chick
burrowed for some newly driven heat, needing
no attention

nearly panicked, then nearly smiling, still uncertain
of his accomplishment, of the rawness of this just-birthed
day, perhaps a newest birthday, circled on a calendar
lauding of his bravery, boasting like a bag from abercrombie
flush against his leg

creeping warily from his covers, startled by his naked ploy
whatever it had been, whatever its resolution, eying posters
won in nameless games, photos spying on his bareness,
protesting his unawareness, so he searched for j crew boxers
with a sigh

what was the fascination of that mirror, hanging loopy nonchalant
grabbing silvery reflections, curved distortion of an interloper
curiously exploring a domain he'd never seen, sniffing scents
that sprang unbounded every where, department store products
hastily guaranteed

sleep had not released him, fully, wholly, still wanted him
and the slow rhythm of the mystery deep cocooned, what would
emerge, what sort of butterfly would wind its way into his life
into a garden barely tended, expectant, green and fertile
what sort

jimmy, only hours past a james, gave breathing lessons to the
hobbyists, this suburban prince, candy lipped thief, fully lost
fully mesmerized a stranger type of morning, waking in a zip
code outside his own, then reaching for a cotton blanket, his
heart's own nest

Sunday, August 12, 2007

supper at the greyhound station

supper at the greyhound station, momma leo's quiche
contemplating benches, and the scratches, and the tears
rips of conversation, salty tangy air, but supper
has a special place in that box on main at 3rd
steel containers for possessions, numbered for
a final count, tripped with locks that eat your quarters
coffee black, grim determination for her apple pie

as we listen to metroliners, feel the wheels criss
cross in frenzy, hisses at the pumping stations, curses
for a carburetor made in saginaw before the war
and some passion for departures, eager medleys of
hello, grabbing kisses by the dozen, broken daisies
and a wish for better times, cheesecake frozen
boxed with plastic, cardboard warnings, red and white
what a supper at the greyhound, rare as rain

i favor khakis for these outings, pressed with just a bit
of starch, creases favored by our army, worn by
previous owners, maybe gifts beneath a tree
but i find my treasures where i can, find my dimes
left at the door, cause i'm saving for a ticket, first class
without return, been dreaming of another town, filled
with people never seen, an oasis down the highway
running true and straight and under rainbows
that know my name

hop a stool, sit at the counter where you'll hear
ole leo sing, snippets cut from country records
arias of italian stories, sad songs born in gray kentucky
edged in sooty grime and lost reflection, grinning wide
as the missouri, syncopated and in rhyme, minor
keys have been her favorites, or a booth cleaned
every morning, plastic cushions and stainless forks
paper napkins stamped with smirnoff, breakfast
and a whiff of 90 proof

let me while away an hour, plus or minus some hello
let me chatter to the auntie, bleached with curious
shades of spring, learn a tidbit about the aphids that
could ruin the county fair, i can cross my legs, pontificate
act a fireman, tell a tale, for you'll never find a better place
to see the world or make a friend, let me read your palm
your aura's strong, as we go dutch treat, down here
on main at 3rd

Saturday, August 11, 2007


he's sure to have secrets, that brown haired boy
sitting in his hunched and sloopy way
crossing and uncrossing pale tufted legs
showing thready bare, garnished with rips
his pants found somewhere on a dollar rack
and i believe his thoughts go rolling
sometimes bouncing awkward unfinished
what does he know ?

we share the worn wood floor, scratched
splotchy but cool to my toes, warm to my
wintry way, endless in our confined place
bound by walls some other day threw
comforted in our minutes together
and i try to imitate his senseless dishevel
his abstract layers of joy
what does he know?

saturdays can be jealoused up by mondays
free form hours, dangerous pasta lunch
in unfiltered sunlight, reading neath
unpatched ozone, dreaming at the bottom
of the open well that reaches straight to heaven
grasping angel feathers from their drift
pesto green, squid ink black, aioli cream
we share a few glances

i sell my secrets, unfiltered, unearthed like
truffles, or leave them strewn where i sit
loll on corners, someone to catch a gaze
cross a speculation from stranger eyes
i lend them if you have none, or they've gone
forgotten, bedside tables collect them randomly
noting our indiscriminate hours, compiling lists
readable by the public, serial

what does he know, staring left, wrapped
in some moody angsty thing, hacking into
kerouac, driving studebakers, tuning old v-8's
pbr's in jersey, mad dog in maine, this
otherworldly fella, but we could go chemically
enhanced, rouse something outside these walls
or we could sit, and i'll forget
and so will he

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

the fortune

i will soon be gone, if those
waves come to shore
fallen, and i won't get back
on these feet

you once said that the
shore meets the sea, some
now that i've told you
that i'll soon be gone,
any words for me

some things are best for
children, small tears
drying flowers still on
their stem,
bedeviled, perhaps
half eaten

he's been watching me,
squarely, evenly, without
reservation, or do i need
to remind you, that i'll
soon be gone

stairs don't always lead
where they should, just
steps that follow steps
no higher, not high enough
and though i try, it
still escapes me

or better for a child, some
things, whispery sad songs
juggling balls in stardust
watch me until tomorrow
not much longer

and i'll be gone

Monday, August 06, 2007


tell me, what i need to know
is there a yes
somewhere a no
as i wait
for the dawn to red
and the rain
wait for a wind
wait for the fall
tell me, as the hours
walk on by
i can sit, rocking as i do
drinking mud brown whisky
laughing, as i do
back and forth, waiting
for a yes
or a no

ah, marriage
requested, required, thieved
simple and sunny
every ceremony a blissful affair
but why can't we be contented
with slowly ripened peaches
crushed pomegranate seeds
bleeding out their juices
feeding to our satisfaction
oh, no
frenzies of deliberation
nurtured written memoranda
frilly little scalloped dresses
followed by sessions of avoidance
analysis, at 200 an hour
all in preparation for

sweet mortgage, bundles of indebted
joy, yapping like puppies, festive
festooned, but why not relish chocolates
rare, quite dandy, scrumptious on our
bed of roses, melting like our hearts
dissolving into hormonal excesses
not unlike

for a day, or several, collapsing into
years, or several, embroidered with
addenda, footnotes cavorting with
legalistic jargon, printed finely on
recycled paper, leaving us caught
by our wrangled complications
and if only we'd bought truffles
black and earthy, uprooted

i like to sing at weddings, in my
fitful tenor, nurtured at the finest
institutions, schools of arcane knowledge
peopled by the best, leisurely in great
stone halls, whispering with some plots
of future greatness, dinner two by two
fueled by lines of credit, platinum
i'd say, and i like my merlot purchased
at auctions somewhere in france
bottles from a duke's own vine

ah, marriage
de rigeur, at the clubs and on the
grasses, greened at early dawn
tennis with the champions
hobnobs at the links
gin can be your savior
if you only toe the line
so meet me at the wedding
lobster's on the plate
cake is in the oven
or have i come
too late
who ?

who stands there knocking
shushing out secret little whispers
some sly traveler, gone lost
may be distraught
who thinks i have some trust
to give

or brings me some sort of
who doesn't know those days
have all been used
since scattered, here
there, left on slippery roads
some where away

rap rapping, and i hear a shuffle
of anxious feet, soft and
unprotected feet, brown from
a prying sun, where fog's
been burned to mist, frail

oh tap tapping, jumpy and gone
out of rhythm, on my uncared door
paled down to colorless wood
cut out of an ashen tree
howled out of a neighbor's grove

let me sip my pinot, sparkled
frosty, begging on this summer
clad day, wisdom sloshed in paper
cups, never to be recycled
it gives me slabs of poesy

such persistent lack of syncopation
rowdy on my steps, spying on
my garden path, slinking with
anticipation, memorizing stone by
stone, where i sleep in autumn

how can i write my memoirs, knowing
some one stands outside this door
full of thoughts not of my own
a stranger, a beggar, a thief
or a liar, come to plunder all i

but i have a place where none can
touch me, take from me, where i am
cherished, and adored
or have i simply

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

an extended haiku schmaiku

you have a perfect life
hot house
flush and power
but you don't know
have you looked
for me
here in indiana

i see no end, can't see those steps
that finally take me somewhere
out beyond this summer heat
blowsy and yammery on a tuesday

you have certain expectations, cross
legged, brown ankles, shiny knees
creases by your mouth, nearly erased
from the fullness of those lips, i'm tipsy

no sugar here, sugar
i traipse around from wall to
wall, blinded by a shimmery sun
frying eggs out on the sidewalk
a 100 if it's 50, said my pap

and if i told you dreams, every
morning at first light, would you stay
go out tending to the roses,
blather with the hummingbirds
going silly and running on the grass
would you

some things a man won't say, even
when the shadows hunker by the bed
can't say, living where his daddy
loved, hardly laughed, hardly
sang with raw and yellow whisky
can i

you can picnic at the johnson pond
may be i'll croak to an old black toad
work some mystery in to your day
though you dance with spirits
go round and round, and forget
to sleep

this is my life, waiting for your smile
back and forth, caught up with wonder
breathing as the corn goes ripe, yellow
and silky, tall as soldiers waiting for
the rain

there's some magick still, here
in indiana
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