SLAVE DRIVER REPENTS
Sorry I came off so wrong--
Should have believed you all along.
The aches and pains were real, I
Believed that you made up a lie,
To get you out of doing work.
(Any boss can be a jerk.)
JUICED ON HYPOCRISY
Barry Bonds: man who bested
Henry Aaron in home runs;
Barry Bonds, who never tested
Positive to juicing guns,
Won't get in the Hall Of Fame--
Asterisk beside his name
On record books. But folks forget
The greenies Hank could easily get.
And Babe was just as prone to do
Anything to take him to
A record. Didn't Germans, then,
Have something called amphetamine?
Pull down the moral flag unfurled
And focus on this fucked up world.
I had a swimming coach who gave me amphetamines once before a race. He thought it might help me break my own record that I'd set two years earlier under another coach. This was back in 1963. I didn't think a thing about it, took the pill, and missed my record by 4 tenths of a second. The coach wasn't my college coach who was a Christian Scientist who didn't even want me to see a doctor for a knee I messed up in a practice. He'd rub it out before practice and meets. My college coach's idea of speed was oranges and horehound drops. The coach who gave me the speed most likely wanted to look good with me breaking the record. I never took speed before competition again. I had a friend I met in Mendocino who was a long-distance swimmer in his college days who took speed a few times before his meets. He said it didn't help him swim any faster, he just didn't get as tired. The steroids Bonds probably took, didn't make him a better hitter. Steroids can't help with the hand/eye coordination you need to be a good hitter. They might have helped his reflexes--but no doubt helped him hit the ball farther. Give me gordo Tony Gwynn, any day.
Is this what Marx had warned about?
You can't convert the capitalists?
In the end, no help no doubt,
Despite that every lib insists
Some capitalists can do some good.
Oh yeah, they're for brotherhood.
I believe that I deserve
Everything I get:
The ball; and every inside curve
I got pitched has set
My mind to know that communism
Is a diamond, without flaws,
Perfect, pressed, a precious prism
Evolving from the natural laws
Of history--charging us to be
Dead or everybody free.
NIETZCHE'S DEAD, LONG LIVE NIETZCHE
The pleasure and the pain for me,
I peel off and still remain
Indifferent to the world I see:
A world of suffering, starved and slain;
Nothing changes, nothing's right,
Gracie Allen, say good night.
I don't want to lose my job,
I don't want to lose my wife;
If you can promise you won't rob
Me of them, I think for life
We'd no longer need ignore
The feelings that consume us now;
That means secrets are in store--
Meaning we start planning how
We'll get away with spending time
Together, and nobody knowing
What's going on--like it's a crime,
One we work to keep on going,
We could be friends and more.
How many secrets can you store?
My honey's going out of town,
Asking me if I'll be good;
I'm too old to get around,
Fidelity is understood.
Forty years ago I'd be
Chasing women happily.
Oh lord, getting old's a bitch
When you're cursed still with the itch.
Think of you most every night
When I lay me down to sleep;
Caress and kiss and hold you tight,
Precious moments that I keep
On remembering, 'til I fall
Asleep and let you go and I
Wake next morning, then it all
Begins again, a thought, a sigh.
A SONNET TO VERBAL DIARRHEA
A situation has come up
At work that's driving me to drink;
On coffee breaks, we have a cup,
You dare to make my dumb heart think,
Taking time up in my mind--
Not to mention every day
We get together where I find
I always have too much to say
And talk non-stop without a breath--
Not knowing if I make much sense.
I'm sure I bore you half to death.
Four "I's" I (five) could condense
To one if you'd give me a sign
I (six) could think you're mine.
POETIC LICENSE, LYING POET
Not living it, I'm writing it--
All concocted, I couldn't see
Ever going through this shit.
I take small parts in it to be
Credible when I tell stories--
Priming pumps for tasteless glories.
Arthritis--we all, maybe, get.
We'll have a shrinking brain for sure.
But Alzheimer's is what we sweat--
Like Sir Hamilton's Aaron Burr:
Drops your pride like nothing can--
Slow bullet under one's brain pan;
Unnoticed by the finest scan--
Nothing for which you ever plan.
Float like butterflies around
My mind providing me delight.
Some might land and I rebound
To their touch that's soft and slight.
I pay attention--lose my cool
And fall in love like any fool.
WAL-MART SMILEY SPECIAL
The kitchen now is full of flies,
Venus catches nary one.
I don't care if Venus dies,
This lame dependent's done--
Fly-trap off the Target shelf
Who couldn't catch a fly herself.
I won't feed her any more:
I don't need another chore.
GIVING UP IN THE PROMISED LAND
I've got enough, ready to go;
Oxycontin, morphine, and
I'm certain it's enough. I know
I will reach the promised land--
Where no one's there to ask your name,
And no one there to lay on blame.
I haven't taken time to think
About the subject: evil.
Had I the time I'd soon as drink--
Or be pushing for upheaval
Over powers that be who make
Life so rotten, for goodness sake.
In fifteen years we've found no one
To split us up--we've hardly tried.
For good reason, a metric ton
Of temptation couldn't hide
Or bury ones love for the other
Although we fight like sister/brother.
But it could change at any time--
And if it does, another rhyme.
THE KINDNESS ON THE STREETS
When you get old, you barely fret
About the little things;
It doesn't matter you forget
What a nearby neighbor sings
Just as long as they stay sweet--
If they don't, live on the street
Where folks care for one another--
The Nazis can't get to a brother
Or a sister, the street defends
As best it can, the homeless waif
Against abuse that never ends.
Can't say that the streets are safe
But safer than when being stashed
In homes where old get trashed.
I'm too old for any hopes--
I'll settle for a beer;
I'll toast Mullahs and the Popes
Who don't bring any cheer
To those they're bringing solace to.
I'll find the cheer in this here brew.
I'd like to see you one more time,
Before I say my last goodnight--
Salt, tequila, bite of lime.
Get naked then, if that's all right;
I can't forget the times we had--
And what we had was never bad.
Good in fact, with some rough spots--
Memories, though, connect the dots.
The path was frazzled broken threads
That led to drinks and feel good drugs;
Leaving the damp of strangers' beds
By morning light with silent hugs:
Path to dead ends, alienation--
Living for a warm sensation.
I could tell some horror stories.
To tell the truth, I think I should,
About mistaken failed glories--
If I were dying, certainly would.
Right now I can't bear the thought
Of telling anybody I
Was so stupid that I bought
The dealer's and the lame ass lie;
Trusting too much to the fates
While thinking I was doing right--
Thought I'd pass through heaven's gates
While hell was only thing in sight:
Still hoping I will get away
From ever facing judgment day.
Cramped by rhythm, stuck in rhyme,
I'll never get it out;
There's too much, I haven't time
To even think about
The form it takes, as long as there's
A ramp to take the place of stairs.
My income stinks,
I've failed as a human being;
My doctor thinks
My picks perverse;
Says I've little chance of seeing
Ten more years--if that at all.
And damn, those years are going to crawl.
None of these are mantrams--
Chants I make to realize
A world beyond the tantrums
I throw down in rhythmic guise.
It's all relief--I seldom dwell
On any story that I tell.
Good to find somebody who
Lives through being a black sheep, too.
We talk. I've seen her wipe a tear--
She's glad, I think, to find an ear
Of someone who can understand.
Asian, 50. To hold her hand
Is in my dreams: but do I dare
Reveal to her how much I care?
Her kindness drops me to my knees--
She has strong hands that want to please.
(Although your culture made you one
Too kind to down the rising sun,
Please, never apologize to me
Unless you've hurt me purposely.)
From day to day
I take away
Something for tomorrow;
I have to say
I always pray
Your words will bring no sorrow
Because I take them as a tease
On which I build my fantasies.
TO MONICA FROM BILL
Don't come in and bend my ear
Unless you get down on your knees
And satisfy this feeling here
With a slippery salty squeeze.
You're dumb and boring; needy, too.
What else would I want from you?
No one's told me what to do
And ever made me do it,
Unless that someone would be you,
Then I suffer through it--
Because I love you, need you so
Much that I can't let you go.
I'm stubborn, stupid, I need love
When it's you I'm thinking of.
I'm a rake, just want to taste them,
Spit the pit out, walk away.
For their sake, don't try to waste them,
And choose them carefully every day.
A cherry here, a cherry there,
Finding cherries everywhere.
SONNET FROM A BAFFLED MAN
I think any woman would
Suit me fine if she could be
Satisfied in what I could
Do for her--long as she'd see
What I want: I just want peace.
Zero fights. I'm counting she
Won't become domestic police--
Spying and hostility.
Excitement, though, she'll have to get
From someone else, I'm dull as dirt--
My thrill's a somber silhouette
Falling for a nimble flirt
Who sets my trapped libido free
To savor sex's jubilee.
74288912366 & ALZHEIMER'S
Remembered number is my sign:
Eleven digits. When I forget
Those numbers that'll be the time,
And a sign it's time to let
The body go, brain filled with plaque--
This number isn't coming back.
Apostrophe counted, big A has
Eleven ASCII characters;
My eleven digit razz-ma-tazz
And my mystic caricatures
Are devices to beat the threat
Of ending up a drooling pet.
MY FATHER KNEW A SAINT
BUT, THEN AGAIN,
MY FATHER WAS A WEALTHY MAN
God and law says it's a sin.
Kevorkian was a saint--
Like my father's Doc, can't win
Doing what he did, but taint
His future taking pity on
A dying, suffering man, now gone.
Suicide's ruled illegal
For the simple reason--
Back when all the regal
Types needed, for the season,
Folks to plant, harvest, store--
So, who but them had any more
Reason to option suicide?
Church and state would then decide
No one dies by their own hand--
Scheduled dying is all State planned.
Frank, a favor, get up and talk
Twenty minutes, maybe more;
Maybe less. We used to walk
Together back from your shop floor
Up to my desk and my upright--
Suggesting things for me to write.
You told me stories left and right;
I worked on them 'til late at night.
Tell one on me, if I did good,
And for my sake, tell them no lie--
Mister Roger's Neighborhood
Was not the place that got us high.
Frank, I'm checking out. My brain
Is now impossible to explain.
She'll only come if I will take
Her in my arms to fly away.
Every night I lie awake.
I think of her most every day.
But then again, I hardly know
The distance that she wants to go.
And fairy tales like these don't come
True--least not where I come from.
Fuck owners, owners, owners.
There's no difference 'tween the means
Of production or the boners
Kings hold over castle queens--
Telling them what they can do.
No one owns me. God, fuck you.
SONNET TO A HEALTHY WOMAN
I lost a love, she went to bed
With another man for fun.
I felt I might as well be dead:
I had to be the only one.
I couldn't kill myself because
I'd hopes that we'd get back
Together, same as ever was,
Spending our lives in the sack--
Coming up for food and air;
Working just enough--get by--
To sustain that musky lair.
For another chance, I'd die--
I'd teach myself how not to care
And be a man: one who could share.
LETTER TO RICH AND LIBERAL FRIENDS
I'm comfortable in another world--
You with all the money
Who fear the fascist flag unfurled,
Ending times of rich and sunny
Days that mean prospects are gone
For you. And I descended 'til
I reached a world of massive brawn
That is rising up to kill
Your privileged self: so are you in?
Are you going to back a change?
Do you think that you could win
A world that has become so strange?
It's not so strange when you look at
Class struggle--take my word for that.
No one likes a writer.
Husbands, wives, despise them worse
Than their last one-nighter
Who lightened up their wallet, purse.
Self-centered, selfish; never do
Anything you want them to.
I could go on, but what's the use?
Writers thrive on such abuse.
Unfulfilled to point of being
Careless with my life;
There's too much that I've been seeing--
I'm going to take my knife
And cut a piece off, barbeque
It up, and invite you over, too.
To change the world, a sacrifice
Of such immense proportion
Will mean more than throwing dice
We roll to change our fortune.
Like snake eyes, when playing craps,
False prophets always score the saps.
I'M IMMATURE FOR MY AGE
Sixty-five and immature,
Still trying, trying, trying.
No matter my age, I try to lure
An interest into sighing
Softly, sweetly, in my arms,
Submitting to the ancient charms.
Corruption in Iraq conforms
To the lawless terror done
That's coming down to uniforms:
They either kill or die in one.
Insurgents pay for pictures of
Dead Iraqis in ING
Uniforms. The captors shove
A student in a car to be
Dressed in uniforms to die.
The scum-bags getting their reward
For pictures of a tragic lie
Should be beheaded with a sword--
And probably are when they are caught
For the lie insurgents bought.
The insurgency in Iraq pays for every Iraqi National Guard (ING) soldier killed, who the insurgency considers collaborators. All they need is a picture that proves it. Gangsters, not insurgents, are kidnapping young men, often students, dressing them in ING uniforms and killing them--then taking their pictures. They take the pictures to the insurgents and collect a reward. On the other hand, the sectarians have been known to dress in the uniforms of the Iraqi police, drive SUVs with the official seal painted on the front doors, and get away with pretty much anything.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH GEEZERS?
I still wish a woman would
Take me up to heaven--
That being one that springs from wood.
But I've turned sixty-seven--
Just an old man dreaming of
A horny geezer's carnal love.
I never cared if someone liked me--
It's been easy moving on;
Unless a woman who has psyched me
(Hung, and quartered after drawn)--
I'm a sap, I fall in love
When a woman drops a glove.
I've been needy, insecure,
And women easily take my breath
Away, especially those who're sure
I will love them half to death.
Haven't found a woman, though,
Who ever liked to see me write.
Perhaps hooked up because I'm so
Handsome, charming, not too bright.
Last claim's true. I've made choices,
Despite advice that I've ignored;
At odds with more experienced voices--
Saying don't go overboard.
I still take on the wildest ride
With the unexpected bride.
Homely face--engaging eyes,
Breasts that heave a lovely swell;
Your filmy skirt on shapely thighs
Are all mixed with your lovely smell
And I can't get you off my mind.
Beauty's boundaries: cramped, confined.
Beyond your face it's where I find
Glamour's a guide that's running blind.
Not quite pretty--eyes engaging--
Rising swell of breasts breathtaking;
That's the beauty when you're aging--
Over calls you once were making
About what's pretty in another--
Your judgments did no more than smother
Potential for a love that's strong
When choosing beauty came out wrong.
She worked all the Charger games--
She had a margarita stand;
Nice smile and remembers names;
Tequilas were of every brand;
Sweet and pretty: drinks and her--
The drinks were strong--like her were tall;
Besides the mix and ice, she'd stir
In conversation--men would fall
In love with her. Her husband, though,
Was her prince, she'd let you know.
She wasn't quite a Charger girl,
Pretty, though, with doctored tits;
Served margaritas and she'd swirl
In sobriquet's with mix and hits
Of tequila she'd upgrade
With sexy lips and whitened teeth.
Kicked your ass, that lemonade
Driving sane men to bequeath
What's in their pockets to one who
Didn't need the job, she said:
She'd married well, did not need you--
She'd rather have your tips instead.
Third quarter done, I headed to
The can to drain my lizard.
She came my way, how do you do?
Crowd must have been a blizzard--
Ignored me, gave a young man five
As she passed him, wordless, knowing
The rendezvous was still alive--
They thought they had a secret going.
Yes, they'd something going on--
I did my business in the john.
She's a woman with the looks,
Patience and an agile mind;
She knows how to keep the books--
Any man, in her, would find
She could take care of herself,
And care for you in every way.
She pulls tequila from the shelf
And mixes up what makes your day.
Margarita princess who
Likes to do it any way
You like it--does them just for you.
Her margaritas taste as good
As any margarita should.
Rescue me. Who hasn't heard
That coming from a desperate voice?
Could be coming from the bird
Riding in a late Rolls-Royce;
Or one packed in with the spare
Smuggled in providing kicks
For a man who doesn't care--
As long as she keeps turning tricks.
Could be a woman with someone
Who determines everything
And wants to know just what she's done
That day to earn her wedding ring.
Rescue me could be a song
That Aretha had all wrong.
GARDEN OF EDEN
Freedom to feel, feel good:
Some say we have to earn it.
That's bullshit, it's understood,
You neither earn nor learn it.
Freedom to feel good's the right
Of human beings, a natural need--
Tragedy we have to fight
Authorities until we bleed
Before for we feel good and come
To senses where we started from.
JOHNS AND FRANK
Look beneath the paint, Frank.
Look underneath the paint.
Jaspar Johns you have to thank
For showing everything that aint.
Red, white, blue conceals beneath
It's colors a sorry state.
You resent the flag for teeth
That bit you, of course you hate
The flag for all it's arrogance.
Jaspar Johns had felt like you;
Beneath the paint he takes a chance
To let the newsprint bleed on through
To let you know it's one pipe dream--
Beneath the flag, the people scream.
In the fifties, the abstract painter, Jaspar Johns, painted a series of American flags, over newsprint. He was making a statement that things aren't as they seem.
I work in a computer college and the art on the walls is from abstract artists such as Koury, Miro, Kandinsky, Klee and others whose works are so abstract, they wouldn't offend. I work in a proprietary school, in San Diego on top of that and we don't want to offend our students. The state isn't supporting the college.
One of the paintings that was hung on the walls of a classroom was by Jaspar Johns--one of his series of American flags with 48 stars. He painted it over a collage of newsprint. Most of the newsprint is so obscured that you can't read it. But standing back from the painting you can see faces that come out from the newsprint, and they are all tortured or haunted faces. However, one piece of newsprint that clearly bleeds through is a header that reads, "Pipe Dream."
This reproduction of Jasper John's flag offended one of our students and he or she complained. The founder of the college, Coleman Furr, brought the painting around to the front office to see if anyone wanted to buy it. The college must have paid at lot for the reproduction, which was over hardboard, and it almost looked like the original--albeit a smaller version. My wife, who was working in the front office for the financial aid department, gave him 2 bucks for it. I hung it in the room where I write. The first time my friend Frank saw it, he made a snide remark, suggesting I'd sold out to some degree. We've been friends for 35 years.
When we first met he was a union steward at a factory in San Diego, and I was a wannabe revolutionary poet. He thought I was nuts, but we became friends because we both hated "the system". The capitalist system, that is, that buys its government. Frank had battled its management in a factory for 30 years. My father was a capitalist, a small one, in Alaska, who owned and ran a hotel in Anchorage, still the biggest in the state. He advised me to go into teaching because I didn't have the "heart" to be a businessman. He might have meant, because I did have a heart, because some of the stories he told me about how he got where he did were nothing to be proud of. When I got back from college and told my dad I was now a Marxist, he asked, what flavor? I was into Trotsky at the time, who wrote a book on terrorism. A few years later, when I took a course on Marxism from Kenley Dove (Google him), I left Trotsky for Lenin, who denounced terrorism. I took that course 45 years ago--I'm still a Marxist, not a good one because I'm no intellectual and I'm hopelessly lazy.
Here is the rhyme I wrote about that Jaspar Johns painting a few years ago which I sent out on the rhyme alert...
I have a print of Jasper Johns--
A flag that flew with two less stars.
The paint's on newsprint. Goings-ons
Are bleeding through the stars and bars--
It's back page news hung on my wall.
Nothing's laid out black and white--
Nonetheless she says it all,
Old Glory's just not feeling right.
Nothing's certainly what it seems
Beneath the patriotic paint--
It tragedy or silly dreams.
The stars and stripes conceal complaint
From haunting faces looking back
At me here sitting smoking crack.
And like I said 3 years ago, I wasn't smoking crack when I wrote this rhyme. But I think most of us might as well be, considering the thought we've put into what is really going on in this world. Americans aren't stupid, they're just misinformed. The Internet is changing that, I think. But watch our government try to control the Internet content. I don't think they have a chance. Pandora's Box is open.
SONNET TO THE OPENING DAY
The national anthem began--
The crowd rose cheering to its feet;
Not a patriotic man
Like Frank, remaining in my seat.
A trained bald eagle flew the skies;
When she sang of their red glare,
Seven red rockets sparked surprise
In the crowd, and everywhere
Tears were shed, but there was more--
Four F-18s, from our Marines,
Roared above and shook the floor
Of the stadium and our dreams.
We didn't stand. That wasn't us.
The folks behind, incredulous.
My friend Frank has season tickets to the San Diego Charger games. This year on opening day his wife couldn't go with him because she had to be at church for a special occasion, and Frank invited me to go with him instead. The game was at 1:00, Frank told me to be at his house by 6 in the morning. I arrived 10 minutes late. He said, "You're late." I said, "You're Mexican, what do you care." We've been friends for 35 years, I can get away with it.
We got in his pickup and drove up the street to meet his son Frankie. Frankie lives on the streets and likes it that way--as long as he can stay buzzed. Frank's wife Juanita won't let Frankie near the house because she thinks he's a bad influence on Frank, drinking-wise. That's why we had to meet him up the street. Frankie had a shopping cart which he loaded in the bed of the pickup and covered it with a tarp to hide it because they won't let anyone in the stadium parking lot with a shopping cart.
We went and had breakfast at Rudford's on El Cajon Boulevard and it was full of regulars--most of them old-timers. The waitress was our age, tough and salty, who didn't take any shit. Move it, she said, when she was adding an extra setting to our table.
Frankie didn't order anything. He and his dad and I have breakfast together every Sunday at El Comal. Frankie never has any money and I buy his breakfast and a beer. Gladly. His intelligence, wit and compassion mixed with an orneriness that's incredible has always won me over. I've known him since he was 14 when he used to come help his mother Sandy do the house keeping at a lodge in the mountains east of San Diego. At the time I was working there as a maintenance man at $2.50/hour--replacing windows, fixing toilets and dealing with garbage. Frankie's mom introduced me to Frank, who worked at Solar Turbines in San Diego, 60 miles from Julian. He's since retired from there after 32 years as a dispatcher and union steward; divorced from Sandy after the strike in '75 bankrupted them; remarried to a union activist (she's now the union's president) and lives in City Heights, aka East San Diego, about a mile and a half from where I live.
Frankie didn't order anything because I think his dad has been getting on his case about me buying him breakfast every Sunday. But Frankie said he was having problems with his stomach and didn't feel like eating. I wasn't feeling that well myself, and I couldn't finish my breakfast and Frankie finished it for me. Frankie would do anything for me and is always offering to wash and wax my car or do yard work. But my wife won't let him around the house either so we're going to have to wait until she's out of town. Did I mention Frankie has a mouth?
We got down to the stadium around 7:30, and the RV's were already lined up to get in for a spot when the stadium parking lot opened at 8:00. Frank wanted to get in to get a handicapped spot close to the gate closest to his seats. Frank has a number of ailments--asthma (he thinks from working in the factory for 30 years), 3 heart attacks, and his legs are in bad shape, probably because of his heart. And he also eats and drinks too much. He still has the biggest heart I know of, something my mother loved him for. He brought her flowers in intensive care 5 days before she died, breaking the hospital rules. He made her smile then, as he always did.
We got a good spot in handicrapped, and had a few beers. Around 10, Frankie, dressed in his blue Navy Air Corp jumpsuit, unloaded his shopping cart from the pickup bed, and started making his rounds to pick up aluminum cans--and get fed barbeque and a drink or two. Frankie has an engaging personality, and he's treated with respect unless it's like the time he was jumped by skinheads when he was panhandling. He's not afraid of anybody. He's self-educated and used to read voraciously until his eyes went bad from alcohol poisoning.
Frank walks with a cane, very slowly. So it took us a while to get to the club, where we got the best seats in the bar overlooking the crowd arriving for the game. Frank's season tickets are in the club section, $185 a piece these days. Frank was treating me and I wasn't going to let him buy anything. We'd brought in margaritas from the gorgeous wannabe Charger Girl margarita lady who had a stand outside the bar. She made the drinks strong for a better tip, but they were also cheaper than what was sold in the club. She had been so generous with the Grande Marnier for the "Cadillac Margaritas" the previous season that her supplier no longer stocked her stand with it.
We had a lunch of polish sausage, which we also bought outside the club--2 dollars cheaper, but still 5 dollars more than if you made it at home. If you're paying $185 for seats, an $8 polish sausage is adding insult to injury. So I brought in the $6 dollar ones. Frank held our couch seats next to the window, and watched the action for a couple of hours.
This was opening day, the Chargers against the Chicago Bears who had gone to the Super Bowl last year. The Chargers, who had the best winning season last year of all the teams, should have played them in the Super Bowl.
Usually, when Frank has taken me to games, we wait until after the national anthem has been played before we take our seats. Frank is no longer in any condition to be standing around, but sitting in the bar until the kick-off was not a good idea, so we took our seats before the anthem was played.
Everybody rose except me and Frank. The singer was fantastic. It was opening day, after all. Half-way through the anthem, they released a magnificent bald eagle that circled the stadium twice and landed on the trainer's arm just as the singer got to the words, "the rockets' red glare". That's when they fired off seven red rockets into the air. The crowd went wild. The song ended and there was almost a hush, but then 4 Marine Air Corp F-18s from the "Top Gun" air base at Mira Mar, five miles north of the stadium, roared overhead. The crowd went crazy again, and there wasn't a dry eye in the stadium.
Frank and I didn't plan it. We didn't talk about it before, and we haven't talked about it since. It just came naturally. He doesn't respect the flag because, as a Mexican, he's been treated so badly. Me, I'm an idealist. I don't believe in nations, I think they're bad for the planet's health.
If Frank and I weren't such old geezers, we would have gotten the shit kicked out of us. This is San Diego after all: Mira Mar "Top-Gun", Camp Pendleton, North Island where they train the Navy Seals and have a submarine base, West-Pac headquarters and the Navy ships that anchor here....
The people behind us could not believe we stayed seated while the national anthem was sung. Their comments, made loud enough so we could hear, were about how proud they were to be an American, and how that eagle circling the stadium had brought a tear to their eye. I have to admit it was a sentimental sight.
The Chargers beat the Bears. When we got back to the truck, Frankie had half filled the bed with crushed aluminum cans, enough to keep him and his dad in Vodka until the next Charger home game. Frankie had a good buzz, had eaten well--barbeque and shrimp. The Navy jump-suit he was wearing worked well, he said. He also had two unopened bottles of booze, the 750 ml variety, of tequila and vodka. He said he found them in the bushes. Heh, heh, I think he said that for my benefit--not wanting to alarm the white boy.
Two who met came close to love--
Suffered silence as they sat.
He was shy with little of
The gift of gab and couldn't chat.
His was her second language and
She struggled finding words to say.
While his mouth was filled with sand,
She did all she could to play
With the other's native tongue--
But love they felt was left unsung.
They dip into a world of warm--
It doesn't matter what it is;
Reality will take a form
Far from what is hers or his.
That reality has its charms
But far from one another's arms.
Drink enough, or take enough--
And you'll be missing for a day;
You don't pretend you have it rough
But you have nothing left to say
To anybody--and never did--
Peculiar even as a kid.
Six lines of rhyme: you think they're worth
The time apart? The time from time
That your attention's given birth
To another six-line rhyme
Is hardly worth the time apart
From the ghost who has your heart.
Before the kick-off brought it on,
The fans were driven wild:
(Another house in Baghdad's gone--
A mother's lost a child.)
Before the game 4 F-18s
Screamed overhead--manned by Marines.
What does it take to drop the dope
You take to make you feel better?
I've got to say there's little hope--
Those feelings become a fetter:
Nothing stops you feeling good
When dope is in the neighborhood.
People think I'm crazy,
Saying what I do.
They know for sure I'm lazy--
But some, and maybe you,
Think I might just have a plan
To convert the capital
To benefit the common man--
It's of and by folks after all.
(I'm hoping nothing's asked of me--
I'm still as lazy as can be.)
I READ THE NEWS THE OTHER DAY
A quarter of teenagers think
Meth will make you feel good.
The rest must just be out of sync,
Lying, saying what they should.
Just a quarter? Makes no sense--
Of course you feel good on it.
Focus should be the consequence
Of meth, and all the crazy shit
That you might do when it's abused.
And until the world is right,
Meth's a drug that will be used
To feel good; stay up at night;
Take bleach and toothbrush to the grout;
Keep awake the sniper, scout.
Ah, mental pain: the worst of all--
Delivered by society.
Suicide's the only call
(Heard even in sobriety)
You will hear whenever things
Are all about what judgment brings.
Then again, when you can't die
And wish you could? This rhyme's a lie.
THEY KNOW YOU KNOW: REVELATIONS 9:6
They know how to keep alive
The one with information;
Along with torture, you'll survive--
By then, small compensation.
You live for what you have to say
About the ones who you betray.
WE'RE ALL AFRAID
You feel that you don't have the guts,
Doubt even your intelligence;
Depending on: if, and, or buts,
Straddling the proverbial fence.
Your politics are lefty light--
You may never get it right.
Writing lots, she doesn't care:
It's not making money.
Still, she does more than her share--
Don't deserve the honey
She's giving me when we wake up
That she puts in my coffee cup.
She knows me well, like inside-out,
Those eyes of hers express no doubt.
My woman boss who I call Sarge
(Military, and cracks the whip),
Is, and makes the Mission large.
I would never give her lip--
Unless it's one I placed between
Those softly I have never seen.
I have to say those eyes of hers
Touch the nether hopes she stirs.
You're getting old,
But act as bold
As you did in younger days.
You're not as keen,
And you've been seen
Tripping over simple plays.
The dreams you had are nearly gone--
To hear you talk, they're all still on.
But should you give them up you may
As well say, fuck it all, today.
I have a friend, a geezer now,
Who built some houses, way up north.
Now I'm trying to figure how
I could manage to put forth
The money that could let me own
One of his creations I
Would love to make as my own home
Until the day I come to die,
Living there until the end--
Loving every minute, though.
Let me tell you 'bout my friend
Who it seemed would always go
To extremes to cover bases,
Take care of the little thing,
Looks into the hidden places,
Sees that no surprises spring
Later after last nail's pounded
Through the trim and cleanly set;
A detail man who's anal, even,
Most careful man I've ever met.
Meticulous, makes you believe in
Someone who makes comforts fast:
A house he's built is made to last.
They're checking politics to see
If you have culpability
In something that has just occurred.
If they're leftwing, in a word,
You've a snowball's chance in hell
Of surviving what they tell.
STILL LOVE YOU
I think more about the world
Than I ever have of you;
Every flag that's been unfurled
Makes me think I have to do
Something 'til they've all been burned.
Don't think, silly, you've been spurned--
You'll always have a part of me
That no one else will ever see.
Cut the comfort talk, let's fuck
Though you're nowhere near my age
And right: my dick is one lame duck--
But you provide the will to stage
A final flight before I die.
So touch me there and help me fly--
Your fingers bound to get me high.
That's all I want before I die.
We all want the same thing, right?
Peace and justice, happiness?
Is that why we decide to fight
To get it? And we make a mess
Of things because we don't know how
To get what we all want right now?
FEY DAY BY DAY
Telling you to stay away
Until I write one more cliché;
Running short of things to say
I beg you back so we can play.
Asking if it's Friday yet,
You'll squeeze out the daily grind
Day by day, until you get
The weekend off, but still you find
There's still work that's up to you:
The car, the yard, the honey-do.
DAMN YOU, ALICE COLEMAN
I'll tell you what you did for me:
I'm doomed to melancholy hope.
You told me there was poetry,
Leaving out the slippery slope--
Descending arc of alienation--
Where poets go for inspiration.
This one is to my 11th grade English teacher at Mission Bay in San Diego. She assigned a poem to write. I had waited until the night before the assignment was due to get on it, and I didn't have a clue. My folks had an anthology of English poetry and I looked through it trying to get an idea. I read a poem I liked, "Ode to a Louse" written by Robert Burns inspired by an event in church where he saw a louse burrow into the scalp of an attractive woman sitting in the pew in front of him. It amused me so I stole it. Except that I substituted words that fit the rhythm and changed the title to "Ode to a Spouse". I had a wry take on my parent's marriage. It was easy to write, but I felt I was cheating, stealing. My teacher, Alice Coleman, liked it and tacked it up on the classroom cork board. Later in the semester, she had me read to the class a short story I'd written for another assignment. And when I graduated, she wrote a letter to an English professor she knew at the college I was going to attend, asking him to look out for me. I got a C- in his freshman English class. I never thought about writing until ten years later. I've always had doubts, well founded (C- after all), but memories of Alice's encouragement have kept me dishing out the doggerel. I've cursed her ever since. To be sure, I had a crush on her, and wonder if she is still alive. Do a Google on "Alice Coleman" +"Mission Bay".
I'm still stealing. The line, "Descending arc of alienation", I stole from a talk I heard 40 years ago given by a man named Don Hamrick. But I don't think he would mind.
San Francisco's stealing time
From the southern sun;
Its fog is forging every rhyme
The surfing coast has done:
San Francisco summers chill
Will mug the greatest surfer's thrill.
Monks fight for peace? Democracy?
Taking their cause to the streets?
You can't escape the irony
When the military beats
And tortures peaceful monks
Like they were rabble-rousing punks
And sweep them off the streets and pen
Up their monasteries then
Describe them as threats to the peace
Of a nation ruled by police.
TONGUE TIED STUPIFIED
I can't speak but just a word
Of Spanish--even if I could,
Not much more of me'd be heard
By this woman to whom I would
Confess my love on every day
There was--and nothing else to say.
She flirted with him 'til she found
He was falling hard for her;
From then on, when he's around,
Politely she would just demur
When he suggested something close
To being a relationship;
Softly she would sip a dose
Of distance so he wouldn't slip
On the dreams he had about
A woman he can't live without.
A GOOD BOY IN THE '40s
Conversation never was
Something I could do because
I grew up as seen, not heard--
A good boy hardly spoke a word.
KRUPPS HIRED HITLER,
SO WHO HIRED BUSH?
IKE WAS RIGHT.
Easy. The industrialists,
They hired "W" to survive.
The war machine imperialists,
Who were in a major dive,
Hired him. O.K.--elected
Someone who could be expected
To supply what was neglected--
Bush and friends were well connected.
I'm writing for the freshman class--
Ninth grade's 'bout my level.
Writing for the cabin class;
I'm writing to bedevil
The sophisticates upstairs
Where people primp; where no one cares.
Besides: haven't smarts to write above
The heads of folks I simply love.
SONNET TO CAPITALISTS
Capitalism. Gordian knot.
Cut it and you'll see the end
To the problems we've all bought:
No longer nations to defend,
The drugs, the drunks, crime on the streets,
Whores trolling aisles on a bus;
Decadent rich and corporate cheats,
A real end to "them and us".
No wartime tragedies to mourn;
Employing fewer civil police--
The social monsters won't be born;
Cut the knot, the pain will cease--
We'll have to put up with the joy
Instead of violence they employ.
J. ALFRED LIVES
Should I whiten them or not?
I'm not too big on vanity.
I even miss the drip of snot
That's party to humanity
Peeking from my nostrils those
Days pollen interrupts my nose.
I'm nobody, don't attract
Attention with a classy act.
I'll think I'll let the dentist be--
Too much effort, besides the fee.
MODERN VAN GOGH IN WORDS
I have a friend, pure genius--he
Can write and sing a song but gets
Nothing for it, except to see
Us raised to glory, but forgets,
Next day, what he engendered when
He sang the song that wrenched our guts.
He often comes around again
And sings another song that cuts
Across the lines dividing us
From one another--then he's gone,
Hopping on another bus
Leaving sometime early dawn.
He never has been one for fame,
And fortune's just another game.
FEMINIST DOG FANTASIZING
Not a woman I think of,
I would mind to spend an hour
With her, naked, making love
(Though never could deflower
A virgin saving it for one
Who wants to be with her for life.)
But every hour that I've done,
Could never get back to my wife.
I'm a dog, I fantasize,
I yearn for someone else's touch
That I'll never realize.
Don't think I am asking much--
Everybody here on earth
Has fantasies that can't give birth.
I've never made love to a virgin. (Maybe the first time, but my girlfriend's friends told me otherwise.) I lived in Mexico D.F. in a boarding house back in 1980. There was a woman who lived there too, who was attracted to me as I was to her. But I didn't want a relationship, I just wanted to make love to her. One night after wine we ended up in bed together. But I didn't know she was a virgin. We were lying in bed near naked, each asking the other about themselves because we really didn't know one thing about the other. We both were horny. She was wet and told me that this was her first time. I couldn't do it. She had a crush on me, I wasn't in love with her. She needed someone who loved her to pop her cherry. I got out of bed. But the right thing to do would have been to give her tongue. I wasn't much of a lover. And sadly I know plenty of women who would no doubt say the same.
I'm a dummy--I've been duped
So many times that I've lost count--
Never mind times I've been schtuped
From behind for some amount
Of cash that seemed to disappear--
Bringing someone else queer cheer.
No one ever has the nerve
To come out with the truth
Unless the truth is going to serve
Enough to satisfy the sleuth
Who triumphs finally in the end--
Else, they'd rather stay a friend.
Did Laura ever give a clue
She caught me looking at your butt?
She caught me and she told me, too.
She said, as I walked by, just what
Was on my mind--she's gorgeous, no?
Caught red-handed years ago.
DIRTY OLD MAN TALKING
You're too goddamn old, don't start--
Especially if the woman's young.
Jaded, jeopardize the heart--
Every chance you have's far-flung.
You'll never satisfy a dream
When you're depending on a scheme.
Doing good? (Could be better.)
Are you happy? (Is there more?)
Understood, the cheery letter
Coming from the party whore
Who took the office, most suppose,
Represents those money chose.
DEMOCRACY IN THE WORK PLACE
At best we get it once a year,
Sometimes every two. But four
Years apart, the moneyed gear
Up to choose the biggest whore
To represent their interests so
To keep the system's status quo.
Gorbachev lost his job when
He wrote the Party should, back then,
Let workers elect the management:
Perestroika. Away he went.
Most selfish person ever was
Lived growing up in poverty;
She couldn't get enough because
She never had the surety
She'd have enough tomorrow when
She had five, and rest had ten.
Buyer beware. Don't be stupid.
Lovers, try to play it smart--
Stay clear of the cherub cupid
Whose arrows perforate the heart.
A place that suffers cheats and dicks,
Bullies, gangsters, dirty tricks
All mother fuckers in the mix--
Has a world of hurt to fix.
SPYWARE, VIRUS, TROJAN, WORM
Buying protection for the bugs
Reminds me of the streets;
Protection often bought from thugs
Who made the bugs their software beats.
My wife hangs with balls of those
Who ignore the danger signs.
Every chance she takes she'll close
The conversation with the kinds
Of explanations that excuse
The choice she made that left a bruise.
NAG COMPLAINING WE DON'T TALK
Right. It's all my fault because
I broke another of your laws.
That's why there's no conversation
I can get my head around;
All you say's an accusation
About another lapse you've found
By me, of course. But why not let
It go 'til we get out of debt?
No one's honest, no one cares--
When jonesing on a habit.
They'll deny to you it's theirs.
Quick like a bunny rabbit,
They're fuck you over, take what's yours--
Gambling or the drugs and whores.
Every time you speak to me,
It's another order.
You're nothing but a freak to me
Standing at the border
Telling me that I can't cross
Unless I let you be the boss.
We argue, yell. Be told, she's hit--
Fifteen years together.
I still love to squeeze her tit
And taste her smell of heather.
I've never known a smarter bitch
For whom I've nursed this nasty itch.
She loves me back--thanks to cupid--
I'm good looking, dumb--not stupid.
While she forgives me my mistakes,
I sweep up the dinner plates:
In an hour it's all over--
We fall back in fragrant clover.
This rhyme is a gross exaggeration so I'm taking my wife off the Rhyme Alert today, to be safe. Let me say that Katheryn has never broken a plate, the spats are far and few between, and I'm not good looking. But our friends do call us the Bickersons.
Thirty years ago, having just broken up with my wife of 15 years, I had to get out of town and I crashed at a friend's apartment in Oakland. I had my sleeping bag and slept on his living room floor. I was going to stay there a week until I got myself together. Right, I believed in miracles.
My friend helped me find a job washing dishes at Le Bateau Ivre, a restaurant in Berkeley (http://www.lebateauivre.net/test/Review.html) on Telegraph Avenue. After I was at his apartment for the week that I'd begged of him, he told me I could stay with him as long as I liked--which turned out to be 2 years. Being a one bedroom apartment I slept on the living room floor in my sleeping bag, but accessorized the situation with a foam pad which I rolled up every morning and stashed behind the couch with the sleeping bag.
My friend was generous, and I say that without irony because he never asked me for rent until I worked my way up from dishwasher to a waiter at the restaurant. I was sending a good chuck of my wages to the county of San Diego for child support--my wife and 4 kids were on welfare. We had lived in the mountains east of San Diego, and had been on welfare for a time when I couldn't find a job. (The long hair and facial hair didn't help.) The first job I had after college was as a welfare worker for San Diego County. So I still knew the ropes, ten years later. They put me in Jerry Ford's WIN program and got me a job working for 2.50/hr in an ornamental iron factory 20 miles down the mountain. There, I punched a time clock to cut, bend and twist iron which was welded into racks and shelves, and spiral staircases for the well off living in Country Estates. Under the WIN program, the government paid my employer half my wages for hiring me from the welfare roles. But $2.50/hr wasn't enough to get off of welfare entirely.
When my income tax return came, Welfare deducted it from our welfare check. I protested, since they had already deducted my gross income from the grant--it was double dipping on the part of the government. They held a hearing. Someone came down from Sacramento to be the judge, the county sent a thug to represent them, and I represented myself. Turns out that the welfare department's representative was a woman with whom I'd gone through four weeks of training when I was first hired by the Welfare Department. She didn't recognize me. I reintroduced myself. And I won my case. They let me keep the whopping $300 tax return. Enough of that boring history, let me get back to what I'm getting at: heather.
The name of the restaurant, Le Bateau Ivre, which means "The Drunken Boat, comes from a poem by Rimbaud.
Written in 1871, it was the Howl of it's time...
Jerald and I were perfect roommates. Neither of us was particularly sociable, though we could be in a pinch. He was neat. I was neat. He taught me to be neater and sit down to take a piss to eliminate the mess of splatter, errant drips and lousy aim. He ate cheap and healthy (while I was spoiled by the cooks at Le Bateau Ivre). He liked to read and I liked to write. We were both tolerant, even respectful, of each other's eccentricities, and in my case, lack of common sense.
One evening around 8 he came home laughing as he let himself in. I was at the coffee table pounding on my portable. He had a small bunch of brush in his hand. Small purple flowers perked up the slim, prickly branches. Still laughing, he said, you're not going to believe this. He shoved the flowers under my nose. Smell 'em. I took a big whiff, and he was right, I couldn't believe it. What is it? Heather, he said. (Callunas Vulgaris). I'd have to be more vulgar than I've already been to spell out what the heather smelled like.
I knew a girl in high school named Heather. She put her head on my lap to sleep late one night driving home from Disneyland where we'd gone for senior ditch day. I had a crush on her, but too shy to try. She became a Mormon. I saw her at our 30th high school reunion, and she was as kind and sweet and pretty as ever.
It was the first reunion I'd been to. I wanted to have a steady job, at least, before I came to one of Mission Bay's reunions. I'd just been hired at the job I still hold, not exactly a big success--or even a small one--but at least I could answer the question, what are you doing? And the liquid courage I quaffed before I arrived to the event smoothed everything out. The reunions were always organized by a woman named Diane who I had dated in college after I had broken up with my future wife.
Diane had become one of San Diego's more successful commercial realtors. Her friends in high school called her Bohunk, an ethnic slur. But everyone loved her. She had more balls than most men. She jumped off of the end of Crystal Pier one night, a 30 foot drop, egged on I think by her surfer buddies. Or maybe not, she could have been showing them a thing or two.
Crystal Pier had, and still has, cottages on top of it that were rented out, and that's where Heather lived with her mom when I took her to Disneyland that night in '64.
She would have made a man of me,
She had bigger balls than most;
She could have taught me to be free--
So free I'd never have to boast
About accomplishments to feed
My ego, and just let it bleed.
The expression, "let it bleed" comes from Elvis. The recording studio wanted him to sing separate from his back-up singers because their vocals would bleed onto his tracks. He said, let it bleed.
Why pay for a therapist
If you're going to lie?
They can't help without a gist
About what makes you cry.
Then again, can't trust the shrinks
When their jaded judgment stinks.
When I was 22, and this was back in 1965, I made a single visit to a psychiatrist. I was curious and had the naive view that psychiatrists were like gurus. A relative of mine was seeing one, and I'd asked her to ask her psychiatrist to recommend one for me. I wasn't disturbed, unhappy, but definitely different, and I wanted to talk to a guru.
The shrink I saw wore cowboy boots and smoked a cheroot. He put his feet on a footstool as he listened to my story. He was a little different himself. I trusted him, as I foolishly tended to do everyone, and spilled the beans. I told him I liked LSD, believed in free love and was a communist. He didn't have much to say, or enlighten me in any fashion, and I never went back. But the psychiatrist did contact my parents to recommend that I be institutionalized.
Fortunately, my parents were more enlightened than he. Before my visit to the shrink, when I was 21, I'd told mom and dad I'd taken LSD and they asked, why? Since they wouldn't try it themselves--I offered--and the experience was impossible to describe, all I could reply was, why do you drink? That was a lame comeback, but it did stop them in their tracks. Years earlier when I told them I was a communist, my dad, smart as anyone I've known, asked what flavor? He apparently knew them all and didn't want to see me getting in trouble with the government. He was disturbed when I told him I was a Trotskyite--in 1905 Trotsky had written a book extolling the revolutionary benefits of terrorism. Trotsky renounced it before he joined with Lenin and Stalin to stage the October revolution in 1917. Lenin and Stalin were always opposed to it. They said it made the government stronger and it scared the people. Duh.
But I never told my folks about the free love thing, they would have freaked. And rightly so. It's gotten me in more trouble, besides hurting others, than either drugs or Fidel.
A COWARD'S CONFESSION
When I was young, they didn't care
What I knew, or who.
When I was young, I didn't dare
Say as much as boo
On the phone or in my mail;
I was paranoid.
Now that I'm old and turning frail
I become annoyed
With kids afraid to stand behind
Those standing up to government;
See the system's lost it's spine--
A paper tiger Satan sent
To dupe the young to make Him last.
Satan guarantees a blast.
(Forgive me Pete, for pandering.)
The aside is for my atheist friend, Pete, who gets turned off by my references to god, the devil or soul--or any other manifestation of, as he puts it, hokus-pokus. Pete--poetic license.
Satan is to both Christians and Muslims, the source of evil. The Great Satan to Islamic Jihadists is, of course, the United States.
There're all kinds of blasts these days--from white lines to IEDs.
Mao, the Chinese revolutionary, called the US government a paper tiger--a specter not hard to defeat when people get over their fear. Not likely anytime soon.
The problem with Muslims, our government feels, is that they are opposed to usury--loaning money for interest--a cornerstone of capitalism. Our government, the NSA that is, has been working for decades to get the Muslims to rewrite the Koran to bring it into the 17th Century. That's when the King James Bible exorcised usury from Christian scriptures around 1600. But the Koran hasn't changed since Muhammad dictated it to scribes in the early 600s. Oh well.
SHE'S NOT TALKING 'BOUT HER BROTHER
You'll want to tone it down, he said,
You'll get us all in trouble.
It seemed he saw the man ahead
About to bust his bubble--
The one providing him a life
That's free of struggle, safe from strife.
She wasn't one to suffer rape.
Was not about to shut her mouth.
Toning up she got in shape
While he heads for shelter south,
Hoping, when shit hits the fan,
He'll not be dragged in by the man.
Friends he had, he'd chosen well--
She shot his solitude to hell.
South, is where he wants to be
While she fights for liberty.
This is my last rhyme alert from Coleman College. If you want to continue receiving my rhyme alerts, email me and let me know.
Lying in bed the other night I had an epiphany. Actually, it was more like a DUH and a slap to the forehead. I shouldn't be sending the Rhyme Alerts from work. What have I been drinking? It could get me fired. I'm so naive and delusional I thought that my rhymes were, ahem, so good that they will someday make the college proud--despite the fact that the founder of the college is a Republican, albeit and atheist. He still comes to work everyday at age 82 when he's not spending his money traveling with his honey. But he's Scottish, he doesn't spend his money much so he's at work more than the upstarts and slackers alike would prefer. Not to mention that Coleman is hardly a liberal arts college. What was I thinking, sending my shit from school?
I love working here, been here since 1990. I started out as a student--they hired me as technical writer (they couldn't find me a job so they gave me one) and I joined the faculty in 1991, part-time and worked into full-time. I learned about the Internet from a student in 1991. Put up a website in 1994, a year after the WWW debut, consisting of my rhymes and I've been adding to the site ever since.
If I lost this job, I'd have to go to work. So there won't be any more rhymes coming from coleman.edu. Email me if you want to continue getting dogged by the doggerel. I'll make up a new list from home and put you on it.
I expect this email may come as a relief to some of you who couldn't say, stop already. But that's part of the reason for it.
Those of you who have written me about rhymes to your liking, don't email me, I'll put you on my list--unless I hear otherwise from you.
It's all about YOU--
Protest it's US;
Forgetting that two
Are riding this bus:
When you're choosing every road
My choice morphs into an ode--
You say, choose--I'll see you later--
We're not together, alligator.
THE ART OF WAR
Love smart women, 'cuz I'm dumb;
Need 'em strong because I'm weak;
Truth be told I like to chum
With women who don't break and freak
When the situation's ugly.
Stand behind this stanza smugly.
This will be the last Rhyme Alert I send from coleman.edu. Those of you who want to continue getting dogged by the doggerel 3 times a week, email me and let me know. Those of you who have been emailing me needn't bother, I'll add you to my new list from home.
I read "The Art of War" in 1969, after it was recommended to me by a man named Marion Pettie. (Google him, detective Jim)
Pettie came to visit me in Mendocino, CA. in 1969. He was the founder of "The Finders", a curious cult which had a commune near Washington D.C. He was looking for the head of a disbanded commune called Harbinger that I had lived in, in Lake County, CA. from 1969-70. The commune hadn't lasted long. It was started by a man named Don Hamrick who claimed (to me) to have worked as a contract worker for the FBI, CIA and NSA, in that order. But not exactly willingly. Hamrick was a "good" guy. He "disappeared" after the commune was driven out of Lake County. Marion Pettie, who came to visit me after the commune broke up (and I'd moved back to Mendocino) was looking for him. Pettie had been around the CIA when it was the OSI in the '40s. He told me that he had been a driver for 4 Presidents. Pettie's wife worked as a secretary at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Maryland. He offered to take me to visit Langley, if I'd come back to Washington with him to check out the Finders. I didn't take him up on it. Google The Finders.
Anyway, The Art of War is a Chinese military manual written during the 6th Cenury by Sun Tzu. In it, Sun Tzu advises armies to make the enemy think they are strong, when they are weak; and make the enemy think they are weak, when they are strong. That's where the smugness came in, in the rhyme. But truth be told, I've never been strong.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Everyone's your enemy
In a certain way;
They all want hegemony
On the grounds we play--
Playgrounds, countries, all the same--
Control's the essence of a game.
I don't use ten-dollar words very often--mostly because I don't know many. Hegemony means control on a grand scale.
Games People Play was a pop-psychology book published in the '60s. Game People Play was also the title of a popular song in 1968 written and sung by Joe South who recently died. His lyrics were better than the book.
I see women: good sense hauls.
I must be thinking with my dick.
Women have me by the balls.
My imagination's thick
With women, and it's crowded there--
The women won't let good sense share.
My hopes speak a horny prayer.
HERE COMES DEMOCRACY
People getting too damn smart,
The Web's dispensing knowledge;
The Government's deception art
The spoiled rich have learned in college
Isn't getting past the kids--
The governments are on the skids.
Back in 1994 I was asked to give a speech about the Internet at the college where I taught. I was the lobbyist at this proprietary computer school for the Internet since 1992. When Mosaic, the first browser for the WWW, came out I would bring in my computer, external 14K modem, and a phone line, and hook it all up, and dial up my ISP account to show anyone who would have a look. The school was slow to pick up on the Internet's potential, until it began proving itself as an advertising tool--Web pages, that is. We still hadn't hooked up to the Internet by '94 when the college hosted a 3-day affair on everything computer related. They asked me to give a speech on the Internet.
I hauled in my equipment and hooked it up in Hopper Hall (named after Grace Hopper who had actually come to Coleman to dedicate it) where I gave my speech to about 70 people. I showed them Mosaic, telnet, ftp and archie and gopher, the last two being relics of the past, but which happened to be the first search engines.
I was so excited about the Internet and its potential that I blurted out that the Internet is going to bring democracy to the world, maybe even the United States.
Soon after my nervous presentation (in '94), the NFS (National Science Foundation), a government organization which oversaw, supported and had funded the development of the Internet, handed it over to big business. Bingo: ads, spam, porn-sites and pop-ups, no pun intended. Before that, there was no way to make money off the Internet. I do believe Al Gore had a hand in that deal, but I haven't been able to confirm it--I can't get Al to return any of my calls.
OH WHAT A NIGHT
At 17 she's told, MS.
Now 36, she's blind--
In a wheel chair. God bless
Her heart--she's gentle, kind
And beautiful--smart as a whip--
Hears more than the sighted see,
Slowly slipping from the grip
Of muscles losing liberty.
We went and saw the Jersey Boys--
I took her hand and set the stage.
She relished every note and noise
She heard from people now my age.
That tuneful night she showed me more
Love of my age I missed before.
Sinking into solitude,
Slipping off to hide;
Curling up to think and brood
About the rising tide.
Trusting you to question me--
That's what love's about.
Trusting you will set me free
From any fear or doubt
When I raise another point
About what goes on in this joint;
When I say what I think true--
That what I say won't bother you.
Trust you'll tell me what you find
Is going on within my mind.
Holding on to memories that
Will make me feel good;
Grasping to the hopes that sat
On what's misunderstood.
Oh my god, my friends were right,
I go through this every night.
There is not a chance in sight.
THE FIRE NEXT TIME
Just relax and put your mind
On something other than your ex--
Imagine what you're going to find
When you set your thoughts on sex.
Quickened with a warm embrace--
The heart pumps to a nether place;
A smile, a kiss, tongues touch and then
The only question left is when.
Lose your clothes, embrace once more,
Lay your bodies on the sheet;
Kisses everywhere before
You surrender to the heat.
Pre-cum, nipples hard on tits,
Stroked between the finger tips.
Slippery hoods on hairless clits;
Tea bags squeezed between her lips.
A finger slides between the fold,
Another follows it inside;
Fingers curl around to hold
And guide the penetration's glide.
You slip and slide 'til passions come
To leave you with an after-glow,
While the nether regions drum
Out surges still left down below.
Who's more crazy, me or you?
That's who wins, you lard-ass fool.
I'd soon as die today as do
Another day beneath the rule
That's kept me down so long that I
Think today's right day to die.
Your derision drips of drink.
Liquid courage, I would think,
Helped you roll those bitter words
To spit while help picks up the turds.
THEM AND US
You deny us there're two sides,
You describe a pyramid
That the corporate system rides
To keep the thought of two sides hid,
Like when they bust a union shop.
Employees told that unions suck--
Anyone can reach the top.
Union leaves, and clean suits fuck
The pretty ones, the loyal ones;
And hardest workers when it's time
To bonus up another dime.
SAN DIEGO BURNING
I'm writing as the county burns,
Businessmen licking lucky chops;
Employees, pupils take their turns
At joy: day off. And plucky cops
And firemen earn overtime.
All day long reporters shine.
Cynical hopped onto this rhyme--
Hypocrisy has found its spine
From the conflagration: shifts
Attention from the coming grifts.
The system loves a crisis where
Business profits with its care.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance here in San Diego on Monday. He read from a script written by the beings in charge: the mayor (a Republican), two conservative Republican county supervisors, the fire chief and country sheriff (Republicans, no doubt) who had "briefed" him. After reading the script that updated the disaster, he put his arm around Mayor Jerry Sanders and said the State and Federal Government would give anything San Diego County needed. Next up to speak was County Supervisor Pam Jacobs, a blonde, pinch-faced, attractive 50-something, whose district was being devastated by the fire. She began her speech with a come-on to Arnold, saying he'd put his arm around the mayor promising him the moon, and asked would he do the same for her? Yuk, yuk. Arnold stepped up and wrapped his steroid limb around her, and nuzzled his forehead into the side of her head. Anything you want, baby. No, he didn't say that, but he did what I described as San Diego burned. Ah, the Giuliani jig--with sex appeal.
I think Iraq has jaded me--
I don't feel a thing.
Fire burning to the sea
And I hear angels sing.
Gabriel, I think's the one
Who holds the note until it's done.
According to Islam, Noah became the angel Gabriel, who recited the Koran to Muhammad. With the resources we have, and the fire over, San Diegans are going to do 10 million times better than the Iraqis, 100 thousand times better than the 3rd world.
TO A BUDDHIST'S INVITATION
TO COME INSIDE
I'd be a beggar in your favor
Adding chaos to your nest
Carefully stocked for warmth and flavor--
You don't want me for a guest.
Then again, your discipline--
In the interest of my soul--
Could show this wastrel what's within.
Rap on your door's a beggar's bowl.
THAT'S MY STORY--I'M STICKING TO IT
Friends ask why I'm still with him
After his abuse;
They think my future's looking grim,
Ask me, what's the use?
You know, it's hard to find someone
Who feels the way you do.
We fight and argue, when we're done
Our differences are few.
We're miserable the times we fight--
Lately all the time;
The world's not treating us so right,
We're stretching every dime.
But our views on life are so
Close, it's hard to give
Up on him who seems to know
Likewise, what it takes to live.
Abuse I get from him's not near
Anything I get from work;
Reason's for it crystal clear--
My boss a full-time jerk.
So I think I'll stick with him--
I haven't got much choice;
Otherwise my chances slim
I'll ever hear a kindred voice.
THE PRESIDENT'S MEN
Existential monsters: Boo!
Springing from the bushy plants!
What's it take to stand up to
Whatever makes you shit your pants?
Get a grip, if they exist,
It's only in your mind;
Even when your pants are pissed
And your courage's been maligned
Get a hold of yourself when
Frightened by the kingdom's men;
Get a grip, get help from those
Who'll be there if it comes to blows.
THE PRETTY DON'T GET TOLD
I have to say your teeth smell funny,
But sweets, I love you still;
Maybe you don't have the money
For the dentist work to fill
The cavity that makes your breath
Reek of rotten smells of death.
FAUX DYING FOR LOVE
Don't call on me when I'm not there,
But touch me when I am;
Don't call on me when I don't care--
It's hard to give a damn
When your princess self is sick.
I know I'm sounding like a dick
But you want love? Then work for it.
I'm tired of your helpless shit.
Oh, baby, baby, work for me,
Please kick in to set me free
So I can feel the world out there,
And describe all that I dare.
GETTING NAKED FIRST
He undressed her. Old men love
The first time soft in silent awe;
Sat on the bed, hands reached above
To unhook her filmy bra;
He took her panties to the floor
And slid his hands back to her hips;
Gently squeezed her ass before
He turned her naked, put his lips
To her belly, pushed her away;
Stood up, undressed. She watched and smiled--
On her lips her tongue would play
While the old man stands beguiled.
Stepping from the pile of clothes,
He cupped her heat as fire rose.