thirty summer

carving words out of willows

Month: May, 2013

On technology

Cold brewed coffee
and dry-hopped infused ales.
That is what we have come to.
No more truck stop coffee
and domestic housewife beer
for America.
No more atlases on road trips
and no more MTV.
My America is being replaced;
machined into Machine Culture.
Our cigarettes are even electronic now.
Country music uses electric guitar
and Techno uses MacBook Pros.
The nature of it is that it was predetermined
by Cyber Punks and network tunnels
and corn farmers
using GPS to plow and harvest.
We allowed the world to
metamorphose into this
and all there is for us,
is to take it in
like medicine
and cardinal sin
and just accept
that the future will defeat us
like the cell phone
defeated the family.


Stale —

The sky is covered in dark clouds
and my mood is a mirror
of rain to come and thunder
like worms across your vision
twisting in front of your pupils
and you try to blink it all away —

Coffee at 6:57 pm
and I’m surrounded by mountains
of synthetic things
covered in the latest fashion
and skin stretched over skulls
sipping iced mochas
and staring at their iPhones with blank
“what time is it” stares.

All the beatniks have been replaced
like recalls from factories
by these Mario Bros. mannequins.
wearing fancy mustaches
and shitting out nothing but
drivel and they tip their fedoras
like a trained monkey —
one that smoke expensive cigarettes

All the beatniks are now gone
and the scene has become stale.
There is a black chalkboard
hanging above the counter
“Palace Live” it yelled at me in carved
yellow and pink
chalk lines.
“Sat June 1st” and under that
“open mic.”

Maybe I’ll read some
for this new ugly group of writers
maybe I’ll toss some of mine their way
and see if it sticks.

I doubt it though.

The sky is grey
and my mood is grey, cloudy
pale and out of focus.

My Queen of Camelot

A bus ticket, a left hook to the jaw.
You were long brown faith in a blue Corolla;
I was 3 day stench and a traveler’s hangover.
The hotel room was our castle
and we were a French couple in Paris
drinking bottles of wine and watching the sun rise –
smoking cigarettes on the 3rd story balcony
overlooking the courtyard, watching people get ready for the day.
We sat there for eternities watching the world go by –
barely clothed and in love –youth of desire –
and now, 4 years later, we’re married
and today is our 1st anniversary, as husband and wife.
I love you, my Queen of Camelot, my Guinevere.

The mysterious flower

Let’s describe the petals
as being the most vivid, silky red
and the long stem
as green as your eyes
and let’s, for a time,
imagine that the leaves
hold all our memoirs
knowing our youth and innocence,
and the stamen, our deepest desires.
Let’s pretend that the bee
only knows what sorrow
the flower has ever known
and that it is responsible
for its chastity.
Let’s look upon the flower in awe
as we wonder what to call it,
and write a thousand songs
of love and yearning
of it, but leave them all

*Dedicated to and inspired by my wife and our talks before sleep.

Jazz in May #5

The music in May has been good to me.
All that Jazz just hanging there in the air
as I try to figure out what I could do next.
They follow me now, Buk
just like they followed you
and just like I’m following you home.
The music is different though, I could
never write with Classical, too much noise
and crescendo scares me when I don’t pay attention.
The whole thing has become electric
where you get discovered by blogging now
and barely ever have to go to slams or coffee shops
and read and read until someone feels your pain.
It isn’t electric typewriter as much as it is
electric chair.
I do it to Jazz. I let it reap my fields as the sun rises,
as the sun blinds noon lunch commuters
and as it sets and poses for the camera like a porn star.
This has all been good to me –
the music, the songs, the photos, the days –
It’s a full brass sound now and the room dances
and my fingers dance.
They read me now, Buk. I just hope I don’t dry up,
waste away in a gutter and run out of words.
To paint images on a computer screen –
easier now and it sings now with
these crazy devices like auto-correct
and we have built-in thesauruses so
all our lines look better like mascara better
and painted-on lipstick mouths better
and people say things like “that was deep”
and “you have it man, I love how it flows.”
And in some ways that is ok too.
We are on that new wave, man, that new avenue
where structure isn’t bound by flowery phrases
and gravestone-like sonatas.
We get to do it and we get to do it hard now
and we get to tell everybody about it
like some sort of poetry smut book:
“50 Songs of Shaw”
Where you get to watch me
put each word into its place
each begging word, bound and gagged.
The music of May has been good to me
and as long as they keep
beating those skins, smashing piano keys
and thumping that low E,
I think it will be alright.

No one ever watches the clock hands move anymore

No one ever watches
the clock hands move anymore.
It’s all digital now
with big blocky letters
or fancy fonts
on smart phones.

No endless cycles now,
no plans built
around twelve hour

just reminders
and pop ups
and alarms
and checking calendars
and Facebook tells you
when everyone’s birthday is
and all you got to do
is click a send button
and they get a generic
Styrofoam message
that acts like a sincere

“Happy Birthday,”

when in all actuality
you barely even know
they breath air.
We all know it was forced
and yet,
we still do it.

Everything has become
We sit hunched over
our keyboards
staring endlessly
and scrolling
and scrolling.

Waiting for people
we hardly care about
to tell us
what they are eating
for dinner.

And we complain about
them posting
pictures of their
kids in bathtubs.

We complain about a
digital revolution
as we perpetuate it
with each

There is dignity
in logging off

as there is
in owning an
analog clock
with a face
and an hour hand
a minute hand
a second hand.

Thoughts after a few good hands of poker

There is a

sweet embrace of the cool air
trying to stave the hunger of heat
As May dies into June’s arms.

Drunk on nights like these
with random voices yelling into the night
and I had a few good hands
at poker
won a few pots against friends.
Easy game, no money involved.

It’s nights like these
when the darkness stretches on
and all I know is
the glow
of the halogen light bulb
painting a soft yellow
across the room.

A few barking sirens
and the noises coming from
the bedroom as she falls asleep
watching television
and I feel as though
this is alright.

Life is alright.

My persona
used to be that of a raging being
putrid disdain for too much for me to recall.

I used to be that maniac Atheist
yelling back. I used to carve swear words
and song lyrics into my folders
at school, listen to Marilyn Manson
and discuss faux-paradigm shift wet dreams
with the sophisticated types,
only to find out that
we were the suffocated types

There was nothing new, no break through
so real that we would break world ideals;
no revolution created, just a whole lot of
empty words and miscreants misbehaving.

I fell short of that wet dream
just like they all do.

Now I sit at a computer screen
understanding that I
am just a man

and this is just words
on paper.

Read it

All the people
trying to be poets
trying to write it
and never knowing
even how to format.

Their stanzas are
all wrong,

Their lines
all run together

like paragraphs

and you are left
to sift through the rubble
of structures
and the architecture is all

You only hope that
you are reading each


the author

But the thoughts
I have
aren’t bitter

for I know that
they are at
trying to
write it out.

At least the words are there
of the fact
that it might be written
on coffee-stained


read like
a bizarre energy
cutting the quiet of the moon
like a coyote
with mange
in your living room
just sitting there
licking itself
at midnight.

Clinic blues

There is this guy
sitting across from me
at the 24 hour clinic
in Canyon, TX.

He is on an oxygen tank
and I am reading Bukowski
while my wife
fills out paperwork
and she’s on the phone
with her mom
asking for family information.

While I read
and she asks questions
the guy on oxygen
occassionally let’s out
this strained painful
yawn like
a dying dog
in the August desert.

He is on his last leg
and his oxygen
creates a rhythm in the room.
There is a news segment
on tv about radicals
British soldiers
in the streets of London.

We are killing each other
and hooked up to
artificial means of living.

The yawning is more annoying
than Fox News
and their flapping heads
as they solve this
and the rest of the
world’s problems.

At least the rhythm
from his oxygen tank
is nice to listen to.


Like cucumbers
and brussel sprouts
for lunch
I am revisiting
in words.