Their tankers and
What bankers stand
To lose if ships should make it through
To bring the prices down for you.
A shortage? Shit.
Shortage they love.
Comes down to it,
Push comes to shove,
Imperialists take what they need;
What they can't, they cut and bleed.
I've seen iron scrape the earth,
Pipe black smoke into the sky;
Money getting money's worth
From land and labor it can buy
To sell again for profit and
The oak no longer has a stand.
He can't see the problem's US,
Setting boundaries, sucking dry,
Starting up an exodus--
Poor folks walk, the millions fly
In the guns protecting those
Who drive and wear the fancy clothes
And live in places where they're free
Of inconvenience, misery.
Underneath a broad-leafed tree
From where she hid she heard him cry,
Mama, oh, they're killing me--
They killed my sister, mama, why?
Stop them mama, mama, try.
The morning break. I let my mind
Go where it wants to go,
Without the fear I've left behind
My fingers, having moved too slow
Beneath a press so obsolete
I'm thankful I'm fast on my feet.
When the break is done I'm back
To the rhythmic drumming--
Fingers fly within the slack
The ram gives up in coming
Down with tons to shear or punch,
Fingers it would like for lunch.
Quotas filling up the racks
With parts bound for Brazil,
Or any country that attracts
Little shops like this to fill
Orders for the parts to build
On expectations unfulfilled.
Those who sold the people out
And had to run, or end about
Six feet under for the crimes
They got away with countless times.
They run or end beneath the thumb
That's going to hold down local scum,
From the penthouse and the slum.
Oh, America, here they come:
Those who tortured, started wars,
Promised glory, turned out whores.
Bags are filled with all they'll hold--
Purist drugs and finest gold.
Packed and running all they're worth,
Here they come, scum of the earth.
Civil war. I wish that I
Could say you couldn't justify
Civil war. I stand accused
Of being one of those who's fused
A bomb delivered to the hands
Of militants and firebrands.
Civil war. So many die.
So many others standing by
Them--all together, broken, bruised,
No longer let themselves be used
By a class whose wealth expands
On profit margin it demands.
Civil war. I'd have to lie
To say I wouldn't crucify
Businessmen before they've cruised
Off to hideouts getting boozed,
While their mercenary bands
Fight in distant battlelands.
Civil war. The banner's high--
Red star on a cloudy sky.
Cranked up bikers, kicking ass,
Thunder from the underpass;
Mellow mystics kicking back,
Space out on the Zodiac;
Rich, who blew it, feeling blue,
Kick around for things to do;
High Sierra scenery
Calls hippy aristocracy;
Starving artists draw remote,
Value what their works emote;
Thinkers, on the other hand,
Judge their work as meanings stand
Upon each other--so complex
You wonder how they handle sex;
Dancers come and waltz through chores;
Pimps arrive to work on whores;
Housewives doing best they can
At bringing down another man;
There's a john who takes no wife
Who'd likely crimp his shiftless life;
Father can't make up his mind,
He feels like he's dropped his brains,
And mother never did unwind
From going through the labor pains.
Only thing in life that pays
Are salvaged goods from yesterdays;
Rich kids with good looks and polish,
Waiting, eager to demolish
Anyone who pays the price,
And, oh my god, it feels so nice.
After them there comes a saviour,
Setting standards for behavior--
Modeled so to set the stage
To usher in a brand New Age.
Writers try to sweep them all
Into a movement with a call
While others cloaked in mystery
Will work alone on strategy
So they'll survive these terrible times
About which some just make up rhymes.
A woman slipped away to hide--
From her knees she heard the guns;
Without a sound the woman cried
For her daughter and her sons,
So afraid that no one runs.
Soldiers, in their rage subdue
The village--special soldiers trained
By the U.S. to pursue
The village kids. The bullets rained
To leave the footworn paths bloodstained.
Atlacatl sacked and burned
Mozote in El Salvador--
It's said a legend has returned
From a distant past and war:
Atlacatl's come before.
But he's boss. At least my boss,
The hostess is the boss out front;
Neither one I like to cross:
The cook is hot shit--I'm his grunt.
Hang on people, hang on tight--
It's another Saturday night.
Groan? Not us. No, we're all smiles.
You can pack them in the aisles.
You groan? You groan? Not a one,
Bussing tables' so much fun.
They're lining up outside the door;
We only have two minutes more.
Emile over-ordered so
Be sure to push the escargot.
Escargot are garden snails
Baked in shells they drench
With garlic butter, never fails
To make you think this place is French.
Should that Mr. Mack come in,
Please don't serve him any drinks;
Betty, you can handle him.
You know how the nuisance thinks.
I know how he thinks, all right;
I think he wants to handle me;
One more crazy Saturday night
Is what this night is going to be.
But while we're standing here, oh please,
Don't count up the calories:
The cook is jumping on the bell.
How do you want it? Medium well?
Soup or salad? Blue Cheese? Ranch?
Any plastic but Carte Blanche.
Saturday, when the parties peak,
And everyone eats out,
The trick to it is not to freak
Whenever bosses shout.
It's OK, the boss is smiles
As she seats them in the aisles.
I won't get but diddly squat
For a lousy tip.
O.K. Fine. Hey, thanks a lot--
I'm used to getting zip.
Betty's up, so where's she at?
These warming lights are hot,
Betty better end her chat
Before my gravy's shot.
You expecting me to serve
This pile of crap? You got some nerve.
Can't you get the gravy right?
The skin on it looks watertight.
Touchy, touchy. He should try
To see if he could satisfy
The one I'm waiting on out there--
I'm waiting on a hungry bear.
TV's blasting at Khadafi,
Looking like another war;
Customer's don't like the coffee;
And I'm stuck with this Auto-Chlor.
I can see the war right here;
I wish I had another beer.
I sent people home last week!
So slow it wasn't funny.
You could hear the floorboards squeak.
Who made any money?
If no one is eating out,
Who's making tips to brag about?
Who's got money these days to
Blow it on a weekend out?
Tonight I've got the ones who do,
And so the girls are freaking out:
Tonight I really pulled them in--
I give up, you never win.
Is it my imagination
Or is that face my double?
A down-and-out relation
Who needs to shave the stubble.
I think I'll check out Playboy's boob
Then find out what's on the tube.
Would you look at that and tell
Me why the planet's gone to hell;
It makes me wonder what to think;
I think I'll have myself a drink.
Is it my imagination
Or did I say a double?
Excuse the aggravation,
I hope that it's no trouble.
Hey! The world's a terrible mess.
Don't know why I bother dress.
No longer any place to go
But TV or the radio.
Mama asks, where did she fail?
Me, I'm waiting for the mail.
Is it my imagination
Or did the beat just double?
I'll find a mellow station
And listen while the rubble
Piles up outside my door--
Don't get around much any more.
Hey, another day's gone by.
I'm so happy I could cry.
Hang on people, hold on tight:
Crazy, man, it's Saturday night.
Late last night I saw a fight;
Someone cheating on his wife;
She stormed in, punched out his lights,
His girlfriend running for her life.
Last night's one she won't forget,
Never again with him, I'll bet.
But tell me how the window broke.
Never mind, don't want to know.
Looking like I'd better smoke.
To fix this up I'll have to go
To town again for window panes
Then get busy on plugged drains.
Nothing's going to change before
They lose what makes them rich:
When no one serves them any more
And together we can ditch
What takes advantage of us all:
We're either unemployed or crawl.
Our image of ourselves is such
A monumental view that we
End up losing serious touch
With others and reality.
Things tend to slide for we believe
That nothing slips from webs we weave.
Portraits carefully done would be
A realistic way to see
What's going on around you when
You've lost perspective once again:
What do I do? What do I think
Of her right now? I saw her wink
At some guy going by the line
We're standing in, her hand in mine.
Something you remember well--
No beginning, likewise end,
Something on which you still dwell--
Something that you can't defend
While it repeats itself each time
You pay for someone else's crime
When sins of parents visit us
Down through generations--
Forgiven sins if you'll discuss
Your parent's deviations.
Stepping lightly in their shoes
To get some quiet, tiptoe views.
Truly balanced biographic
Views look in and out;
Written down, they're photographic
Someone you know well enough
That you get into deeper stuff
On him or her, experience they
Had with you, revealing what
Is precious to you; what you say
About them, be it praise or cut,
Shows us more about you than
A story just about you can:
We didn't know it got so late;
She wasn't home on time;
Her father who I came to hate
Would make my honey feel like slime
Beyond our kiss at her front door.
He started calling her a whore.
I felt so small
That I could crawl
Through a needle's eye.
The dream so vast
I felt at last
That this was what it's like to die--
The fear of being all alone
And God as nothing I have known.
What's more natural than to fuck
When passions run so high?
One more taboo nature's struck
Down, by a gentle cry.
I can't say this taboo's done
A lot to spoil a couple's fun.
But then there're taboos stronger than
You'll ever be--you'll shake;
You'll learn that you no longer can
Be so glib that you can fake
It with taboos that never let
You get away with sliding by;
Taboos everyone has met--
Taboos that will never die:
Ones that never let you gain
Your peace of mind when causing pain--
You can tell us you don't care;
You can say it's empty air
And it don't mean a fucking thing;
But we can hear the hollow ring
And we can see the shattered lives:
TABOO--human race survives.
I didn't hesitate. I mean
I changed myself and situation
I'd found myself one day--a scene.
I had to change, since no vacation
Could escape the contradictions,
Double binds and weird predictions
My life became before I knew it.
Lame excuse: What can I say
And lamer saying, Screw it.
The fact is I woke up one day
Smiling, seeing it all fit:
I don't have to do this shit.
What did I do? What can you do
When a strange day's hitting you
Between the eyes? Your lights are out
And on again. So bright--no doubt
About it. I had to change.
No more cowboy on the range;
Cowboy with the John Wayne grit:
You don't have it, you ain't shit;
Or riding off, a good deed done,
You're looking for another one.
Fantasies and clever fictions
Pimping, pumping clear addictions.
Inside, outside, it's the same.
The world inside is one that came
With what's out there and what they hide.
For a change I took a side,
Realizing, as I crossed,
Those who hesitate are lost.
He knew everything there was
To know about survival when
There wasn't any way to cause
A change to suit new lifestyles then.
40's, 50's, it was hard:
Burning midnight crosses jarred
Peace of mind on your front yard.
A rebel, but no stopping him--
He'd laugh, he couldn't help himself.
He liked the 60's, chances slim
The abs would last long on the shelf.
But it was easy getting by,
Warm and fed, and keeping dry--
Nothing to it, apple pie.
His wife and he, snug as you please,
Lived up a drive, back in the trees.
Open house, a weekend night:
Bodacious. Bold. And he'd invite
Their friends to share his sauna bath.
From their front door, ran a path
Beneath the trees out back to where
You faced some flesh and pubic hair.
His friends were straight and some were hip;
No problem. Everyone would strip;
Peekaboo stuff was laid aside
Those nights with nothing left to hide
Except our safe Victorian fears.
Redwood sauna: several tiers--
Seats, hot to naked fannies when
It wasn't cool naked then.
Some were fat and some were slim--
I figured some were old like him.
But I'm embarrassed now because
I'm seeing now how green I was:
For no one on his sauna's shelf
Remained as youthful as himself.
Teacher, Preacher, Story Teller,
Poet and a Nurse,
Met up in the Sea Gull Cellar
Bar-room to rehearse
Lines to insights made to save
Someone close, becoming brave
But foolish--or to reach someone who
The world was starting to unglue;
Reach those beside you in a chair
You'd touch, but worried no one's there.
Teacher talked of herself first,
Showing us how we could trust
Each other when we shared the worst
About ourselves and self disgust.
But then we took an oath before
A word went out the Sea Gull door.
Teacher takes no chance
Condemning any living
Soul caught in the dance
Of life and death, it's all bizarre--
Makes no difference who you are.
Poet's seen them come and go
So far away they'll never get
Back to where they were or know
How they'll pay a karmic debt:
The Poet there is thinking we
Should write off debts--be karma free.
Nurse is thinking there's no way
To heal any injured mind;
Seems no matter what you say,
Injured people have to find
The way themselves but words can take
The pain away the times we break.
And Preacher breaks as often as
A person can and still be whole.
Maybe what the Preacher has
To do to look into a soul--
Come apart, break down and reach;
Practice perfect, Preacher preach.
Story Teller on the ridge;
Here on earth to wonder why;
Breaking with the heritage:
Misty past, her humor's dry.
Not afraid to burn a bridge,
Once it's crossed, to touch the sky.
Sea Gull Cellar in the air,
Fantasies and light;
Absorbing stories people share,
Teacher tells us, write
An allegory representing
How you see yourself presenting
Viewpoints that are all too real,
Views written so we'll think and feel
We lived them too, and living still,
Live life on the page we fill.
Nurse wrote of a kind of brother
Using Nurse to fix
A come-down just like any other
One got when you mix
A lonely Christmas Eve with booze--
A gentle squeeze wrings out the blues.
Poet comes up with another
Funny story raising mother.
The Preacher told a story that
Would leave us loving life;
Story Teller smiling at
Attempts at being wife;
Story Teller gets a laugh
From playing someone's better half.
The stories ran and spirits flew
High upon a draft or two.
Teacher says she's glad to state
She's going to let us graduate
From Sea Gull Cellars, on to be
Survivors of the third degree.
People coming from the city,
Come to have a lovely day;
Country thinking what a pity
That so many want to stay--
Wish they'd leave but leave their money
For the local fruit and honey.
City's in the country now,
Having just a good old time.
Country folks can't figure how
The country got to be so prime.
Real estate is getting hot--
Little there that can't be bought.
Gardens pepper country scenes,
Small plots on the Great Escape;
Summer flowers, winter greens
And crawling periwinkles drape
Walls built from the mossy stone,
Marking gardens overgrown.
Folks are clearing weeds to burn,
Enjoying country life for good;
City folks are sure to learn
Of poison oak and firewood
And raising food themselves to eat--
City's in for quite a treat.
People in the country break
Down faster than the city folk;
Country's home for Wasp and snake
And neither one can take a joke--
Natives contemplate the day,
Wait till justice looks away.
Tempting country folks with thrills,
The city won't leave them alone;
Hippies occupy the hills
Way out where it's cheap to own,
Which they someday fence and post--
Happens that way coast to coast.
Nostalgic artists paint the past.
Pictures trace a downhill slide.
Don't know how long they can last--
Painting pictures on the side.
One or other's got to go:
Odd-jobs or the solo show.
Serious writers haunting town
Asking what it's all about.
Little things don't get them down
But still they're never seen without
The world upon their rounded shoulders,
Filed in manilla folders.
Banner Kid is leaving soon--
Late one night somebody shot
His Chevy truck beneath the moon
Because the Kid grew serious pot
He tended naked in the woods--
A threat to minds and maidenhoods
Frank and Sandy moved up there:
The hills were green and air was clear;
Enrolled the kids in school where
It wasn't like it would appear:
It all came down to skin and hair--
A racial kind of atmosphere.
Kids in trouble, they moved down
To someplace they would find
More around whose skins were brown,
Along with that some peace of mind.
Didn't even miss the trees
Or miss the fragrant summer breeze.
Mister Bones. Jim Michuacán.
Slept with his shit-kickers on.
Stood for causes out of sight
But wasn't hip to left and right.
Busted one day having trusted
Some redneck who Bones disgusted.
Cocky Rocky. Funny guy.
Working, pounding nails.
Keeping cool getting high,
But if that method fails,
When he can't take any more
He'll likely kick in his front door.
The Demon's got it figured out,
The left and right, hip and devout.
Hangs around the liquor store,
Trying to figure out the score;
Watch the Demon sneak a drink
To keep his feelings rosie pink.
Country preacher's dowdy wife
Wants to lead a proper life
Remaining true to God's one son
But still get in a little fun.
But her leopard-skin prints impart
Lust to my Jimmy Carter heart.
Story-teller on the hill,
Leading chit-chat with the skill
It takes to make a deeper probe--
Patient like the Bible's Job;
Always working for a cause
That works within the civil laws.
She appeals to her friends
Who've come to share her views;
Stay until libations end.
Stand to leave and pay their dues:
At the door she makes them pause
To listen to the latest cause.
Anna Banana, mother earth;
Just when things go bad to worse,
She comes around and things seem worth
While once again--she'll nurse
The feelings you got badly hurt
Behind some bigmouth's ugly dirt.
Nancy Lee, she loves to dance;
Chase the sun, the stars, romance;
Never minded gossips that
Just show where the gossip's at.
You can bet the gossip heard
When Nancy Lee got in a word
Chewty! Chewty! Energy
Operating on sheer will;
Comes alive with harmony;
Tries to bring it to the hill;
Chewty! Judy's natural vibe
Is something that you can't describe.
Marty barber-chaired on Main
And played a major part
In helping people through the strain:
Barber Marty--total heart:
Things would not appear so dim
After she gave you a trim.
We all know a nurse named Nancy--
The one I knew was shy;
Except when something caught her fancy,
Nancy then would fly:
Now she's flirting, teasing that
Anywhere is where it's at.
And in the country, so it is.
Family ties are all that hold;
Or women who may talk of Ms.
But that's it, about as bold
As any Movement gets out there
Except for storms that clear the air.