thirty summer

carving words out of willows

ode to the 35 cent coffee that got me through

caves fabricated out of sour grape memories
dark coffee stained on Formica counter
in truck stop in early February morning
outskirts of Koontz Lake, Indiana.
the wall-eye beg for summer
the trees beg for summer
the snow like ash covers doorstep and car corpse
smoking and chugging and rolling over engine
like raising the dead and the sun is violet violence on the sky.
and when you look close, it makes white earth blanket glow like diamonds
and melts like mascara tears and it smells like a sharp cold ethereal battlefield.
thinking of the early long mornings
with pen and paper
and 35 cent diner coffee — lighting rocket fuel
and how some of us will die alone.
ode to the 35 cent coffee that got me through.

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long poems

she asked me
if you can make long poems
She only knew of short ones
I told her
you can make them
as long as you need
to tell a story

Jazz in May #4

Free style musical verse
over the sound of piano, fuzz-box guitar,
rumbling fat bass and a steady rhythm
painted by the high hat and snare brush.
Songs without words
when all you need is the noise
to tell the tales
and all you can do is feel
the swell and it pumps and flows.

Its hard – a hard fight
to stay with it and not get carried away
with the Jazz in May.

Each song is a story
each with its on protagonist,
antagonist
and plot
and sometimes the protagonist
and antagonist
switch sides
like a double-agent orchestra.
And that is fine.

It make it better
in fact
when you can hear a plot-twist
without words,
when you can fall in love with
a music without words
without structures
and without boundaries
and you can let your mind improvise
with the piano plot device,
the guitar car chase sequence,
the bass line lifeline,
or the trumpet
and you can really blow it out with them.

Its hard – a hard fight
to stay with it and not get carried away
with the Jazz in May.

You should allow yourself
to get carried away with it –
with the Jazz in May.

Silver Spoon Sonatas #1

They really are trying to raise the dead –
these new kids in the coffee shops, street corners and parks
with their thrift store sweaters and garage sale shoes,
with their thrift store sonnets and garage sale soliloquies.
Another Shakespearian poem floats by in the river of
Shakespearian poetry and
this one is in the style of Frost, of Longfellow or dare-I-say Kurouac.
And the propagators of these lines wear funny little mustaches
and greasy, black framed glasses without prescription lenses
and sometimes without lenses altogether.
I’ve seen these creatures in action
in cafés in Texas, furrowing
their brows over the next rhyming couplet
and trying to find their niche just like all their little
would be friends – who all want to be individuals and want to express
themselves through the word — through
the same word that the starving writers of the 80’s did. Through
the same word that the beatniks snapped to in smoke-filled B&W photos — through
the same word that Ginsberg fellated his lover over — through
the same word that came for all the generations that
they pull from in their so-fucking-suave styles that define themselves
antiques on stage, wearing vintage table clothes and lampshades for dresses —
poodle skirts and saddle shoes were never sexy —
sweater vests over flannel or dare-I-say denim was never sexy —
And how they try to really pound it out
like they have seen it all, heard it all and, fucked it all
when all they are are little pieces of classical emulation
looking for the next faux-inspiration or just a copulation
but they haven’t been through it, they haven’t bled it,
bore it, whored it and snorted it. They are just fragile porcelain
on stages with box guitars and a mic and a few words that rhyme
like the sparrow rhymes or like wind chimes rhyme.
But, I don’t write in A-B-A-B and I don’t write “woe is me.”
There is no meat in that. You don’t see what your eyes want to see,
when you write like that.
When we ask why the stars aren’t green
or we are forced to phrase it exactly how we mean
with words that go exactly where they should
so that they rhyme in time just the way we thought they could
and we limit ourselves to couplets and strain
our brains with the drain on the main rephrane
when we lack the limits of limitlessness structures and
foreign concepts of verbal architecture
we break down and actually limit ourselves all the more.
Its not in the the words we create on paper
but in the way we let our lives write those words —
let our memoirs paint those images.
In order to know how to really get it out,
you don’t need fancy cigarettes from Belgium
and you don’t need deck shoes and long boards.
and You don’t need $7 soy caramel lattes with whipped cream.
You need heart ache in May after you found out
your brother was fucking your girlfriend.
You need a gay uncle that died from aids in the 80’s.
You need another that bought the farm in a Methamphetamine run.
You need homeless nights on park benches, pulling swigs with the bums.
You need death in a gutter and rebirth of religion after years of
slander and sabre-rattling and slaughter and songbirds.
You need to be left in the desert or stranded in Milwaukee.
And if you can’t find beauty in any of these things
then you aren’t looking for the word
you are just emulating it, poking the corpse
of someone else’s world with a stick.
“Nothing’s so lurid as haiku-detat on sidewalks in white outlined chalk,
all I’ve got is this ink smeared lines.”

*This is a rough response to a fellow writer’s approach to the Hipster culture and how they have invaded that one true sanctity of the poet. Not many can say they are able to recall the smoke-clouded, dark-lit rooms anymore and not many who experience tragedy seem to want to write it out anymore. The silver-spooners are taking over, sadly.
**The final two lines, quoted aren’t my own. They are from the song “Crowquill” by the band Circle Takes The Square. All credit goes to them.