notes on the silence

notes on the silence
who among us will denounce the silence
call us all to see it for what it is
break it in order to admit hot-doggedly
what is obvious to all who ask

what minister of true will do us a fervor
& preach to us—no bullshit—us children asleep

will the prophet patiently hold his breath
or hers no longer
& dance real words
under glitter-balls twisting
@ the club valdosta

oh we know the harrowing must be done
the words are eager to be eaten
for to replace old silent habits

the first among them being
your bitter suckling of fear
as if it were your lover’s thumb
the locus where you only imagine
a consoling deliverance to valdosta

you say you want to
stand on a box & cry
for help if nothing else

me, I say lots of good that will do
the true is coming anyway
so you better know now
how the silence must be broken


Marcel’s Prayer

He got deeply-held grocery eyes, him.
Pleased, he had went roughing round.
He fill him stomach, my cousin.
He BM my rightful challenge.
He chop the “Where I Pine” over and again.
Queasy now, him all and miraculously
Halfway there,
And we his A-OK stripped bare.

Me center.
He open what sack-a-dust?
“He so afraid,” said son-of-five to
He favorite shaking door.
He words of fuck cuss.
He nodding: “Where me clean, me, eh Mike?”

Him running.
He who found ornery needles
Through fingerings
Semicircular and withering.

The drunk slash asshole
Fukkin the concave-flung zoology.
Bustin jackets dear, more than
Any discovered weakness.

“Quickly climbing,
she yields,” says Mary,
traveling her, goddamnit.

Follow the free-granted,
Feral, and un-buried life:
Not of, but between
Buncha drinking cousins, them, singing:

Gone away for me cruising out on
daddy’s half-heard Road again.

We went on down

img_1291-1We went on down to the Audubon Zoo
and they all axed for you,
they all axed for you,
well, they even inquired about you.
The monkeys axed, the tigers axed,
and the elephant axed me too.*

We walked on out searching for the chimpanzee
and there she was staring straight at us
eyes moist with questions marked on slate walls
plat du jour beefsteak chops with potato mush
and a choice of desserts. I think I’d have to go for
the apple surprise. Wooo.

Making choices for elephants is not work,
a nasty moment of doubt may wrench your gut,
like gauging the locomotive’s speed
as it rumbles toward the crossing
bells clanging horns blaring
your partner yelling
go for it, paddy, go for it you whore
yeah choices can be nasty like that
but you have to deal, connive,
do what has to be done.
It’s the figuring out what the what is
that’ll get you every time.

They are waiting for you, listening
for your footsteps pachydermal
on the greasy street, slicksterland
the old warehouses blazing light
art galleries and boutiques
trendy eateries and bookstores
where a man in purple rags waves
good-bye to all that has gone.
Tough skin, gotta have it, baby.
Thick as a jail door.

When they hear your footsteps,
they drop back in the shadows
gawking as you stumble home.
They do not ax you nothin.

*This is my best recollection of the opening lines of the Meters’ “They All Axed for You,” one of the few songs song I can pick on the guitar (on a good day). The others include: “Iko-Iko,” “Carrickfergus,” “The Times They Are A-Changing,” and “The Lass of Aughrim.”

Ballad of Nobody

The songster has forgotten the lyrics, so he begins:

Sorry, there was a problem following, so try again later,
is the way this ballad kicks off.

The boy wakes up with a start.
A noise outside his bedroom window:
Clack-clack. Clack-Clack.
Clouds spongy with rain hunch
over weary trees speechless in the dark.
The clouds soak up the light of street lamps
they reek of the turpentine refinery down the road.

Manny he could not abide
The rankling odor, no.
So he left us.
He left us alone thereafter.

On my walk to the bank this morning I did not see any dogs. I did not hear any dogs barking. I did not see any cats, or birds. In fact, the only animal I saw was a smoker in front of the corner bar. I turned to face him and say bonjour and saw that he was lost in a reverie. Smoke curled from his barely parted lips. His attention seemed to be focused on the rain cloud passing over, but his eyes were glazed and unfocused. What was he remembering?

Manny he could not abide
The rankling odor, no.
So he left us.
He left us alone thereafter.

What Marie was doing all this time on the corner?
Stretching her un-dressed arms out wide like some
maternal jesus saying christ on a crutch, Manny
what did you think was gonna fuckin happen?
Your trouble is, you never contemplate

the delicious violet-tinged ends
only the neckties strangling
choking the robbers at the Jade Outlet Store
where we hung out one summer, so long
so long before we slid down in our seats
on the train to Port Bou ticketless
and dreaming of this cat who refugeed through here
on his way to a terrifying destiny rich in deeds
back in one of them wars one time
before my time. Our time.

Manny he could not abide
The rankling odor, no.
So he left us.
He left us alone thereafter.

And Marie she shouted into the rafters
berating the huddled figurines
bearing loaves of infinite silence.
Yeow, yeow, she wept. Yeow, yeow.

Manny he could not abide
The rankling odor, no.
So he left us.
He left us alone thereafter.

And she stood there alone munching off
that box of fried chicken we awarded her
for that crazy kick-step and and the roundups.
KFC’s a prize worthy of any saint
even saints do like to boast.

Manny he could not abide
The rankling odor, no.
So he left us.
He left us alone thereafter.
He left us. Alone.


Found poetry, Classifieds Dept., No. 2

Need baby beds, toys, etc.
Also yard stuff like rakes, tools, etc.
Also stuff to build a fence with
so kids don’t wander.
Free or cheap.
Call Moe. Between 6 and 9 pm.

(Verbatim, more-or-less, from The Great Speckled Bird, c.1970.

Maybe not the Greatest Generation,

but many did see.