Thursday, August 26, 2010

sweating in the belly of enola gay

in the dream last night there was a chain of us, almost,
making our way along
a very deadly, high-mountain pass.
it was dark night with ominous clouds even darker
obscuring, maybe, a moon.
slowly my eyes made out
that this narrow path was
crumbling here and there beneath our feet,
and all was long shrieking plunges
into painful death, below.

i could never see my companions.
they were heard, but lost
in the dream somewhere behind me.

somehow, voices
confirmed that the sheer wall to our left,
against which we quaked and shimmied
with careful terrified steps,
was aglow.
so this sheer cliff face
had been helpfully
if dimly illuminated,
but to the right lay the precipice.

... it was a nightmare, anyway,
with or without allegory.
the terror drowning my lungs
and giving my sleeping limbs
the tight skittish fear of death
was real enough,
and as i stopped to examine
an especially perilous patch of
disintegrating mountain pass before me,
my eyes adjusted quite well enough
to see an old man, clearly a tourist
wearing the garb of a spaced-out new-comer,
come around the bend
much less carefully than I
and approach
this almost comically obvious,
parlous unstable section of Mount Fear.
he appeared to have a kind of
witless, tottery, cartoonish walk.

he was a hapless
retired american and here he came,
looking up at the sky
and around him in vacated wonderment,
to the many pitfalls of Doom Dream Mountain.
it all happened so fast and real...
and me with the dream shackles
binding me, could only manage
a sluggish warning of "Sir..."

there was a tragic misstep or three as the ground broke apart,
and he wheeled
and tottered and was very soon grasping
at the solitary spindly tree
that grew at the tip of the deadly outcrop.
his terror lashed out,
his stiff body cracked
with the whiplash greed for life,
his eyes flared with
a whimper and a look of childish helplessness,
his throttled cries wounded me as the cries of
a dying person who expects help from you but will get none
should be expected to wound.

the doomed retiree faced me and held on
with his old arms, and his eyes,
staring, held onto me.
they were slanted almost,
and i don't recall whether i continued
to feel both the surprise
and yet the old calm, practiced contempt
for his peasant vacationer's stupidity, or not.
i was mostly preoccupied with
my guilt.

it was very basic calculus i performed in deciding
not even to try to help
the old fellow.
My dream-body was too important, my dream-life too precious.
the terror was huge in me
and i looked at the maddening crumbling ground beneath
that no sane hiker would ever venture across,
and felt much less than heroic.
what careless suicides
these hikers are, i thought.

the old-timer whose time had come did not make noise at all
while he stared around wildly,
conserving his energy
in those last bleak moments of life,
petrified by fear of the movement that little calls
for help would cause.
To plead was to kill himself.
that has to be
one of the most frightening things possible.
like a cloud of death angels surrounding my heart
i could feel what he was feeling
as i put him out of my mind
and considered how to make my way back down the path,
and not forward.
even in the hull of my own
death-dealing machine
i am afraid
and guilty.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fancy pants McGhooan

Fancy pants McGhooan had a face
round and perfectly smooth,
upsettingly smooth but bright,
like the fully distended moon whining in an expanse of blackness,
no—a gizzard of blackness,
in dimness worrying about the higher development
and organic liveliness of
other, more watery planets...
or else quietly just being handicapped, just sitting there grinning,
with somewhat more life than an arid, floating rock,
a look of mystery contentment on his mug,
troubling and inspiring to behold.
..who could say?
Some said he simpered.
His was the globally recognizable moon-face of
Down's syndrome.

The moon is lovely you know, I seen it,
with such perfect smooth lines,
with its frozen gaze saving you for a few minutes from the
stabbing-wound of knowing other people just like you,
from their jaggedy corners,
their hostile insecurities and limitations,
from the sadistic factory-work of human-being.
The moon is a thing you love deeply without ever knowing why,
unlike other people, which are things we know why we must love,
but seldom do, deeply.

The full, bright, dead moon
is inscrutable but utterly worth pondering,
unlike the living people, who tend to be
tasteless and static, alive yet dulled and elemental and predictable,
and never ever thought of at all, or thought of too much and too much of, by themselves and a neurotic,
clingy sort of self-serving way
and By others when by themselves, but only then
and rarely when together.

So that…fancy pants McGhooan…
is a pretty sight to see:
glowing like the moon
with a serious learning disability,
unable to comprehend
Only what is useless
…this being a quite useful disability
…as his boring orbit continues on,
Beautifully unchanging,

Fancy pants McGhooan is what many call a retard, with drooping,
gaily colored plaid pants
that are usually unclean by the standards
of those with real jobs and earthly faces, and
it's probable that
he's much happier than you.
i saw him on the bus
years ago,
beaming innocently across the aisle into the faces of the barren bodies
whose sad orbit brought them
daily back to work,
while he rode around,
Simply enjoying the thrill of public transit.

Crap in the form of Man, or, Shit-Man, Despoiler of the Planet or, Poohpooh on the prowl

i have seen you creeping and strutting down
the halls of Hell’s highschools
and I don’t like the looks of you,

Your father would not acknowledge my father on the street.
Your pa’s a judge, a state senator, an engorged butcher-flea
and a member of various Boards,
he is a prison camp pimp,
a nighttime reaper and swallower of fat.
He sells gristle to the poor
at great profit.
Your mother smiles weakly, placidly,
and disguises the rank patriarchal ooze
that brings you in and about this world
using her lotioned kleenex and lots of fruit-rollups and juice-boxes,
hiding from herself the obvious fact
that you’ve grown up to be
a slithering shithead and a boorish
punk with none of the manifest promise she hoped would make you different
from your father.

A bumptious swagger topped with a brutal leer,
i see you as a well-tailored ape,
a spiritual asthmatic worse than myself---
a scientific oddity whose tumid ego is fused
to his head like an unseemly goiter for all to see,
weeping and emitting the vile gas of mindless pride,
Confidence existing for no reason
other than the heinous pleasure
that dimwits enjoy, through being
entirely physical beings and
failing to perceive a universe
Crawling with honored horrors and a billion
unrecognized, unloved forms of beauty,
truth, goodness and the like,
failing to know even their own precious exalted bodies
which breathe in so much of life but
sweat mean futility and narrowness.
You take too much pleasure in the meat
that hangs from your corpse and your life,
in meat-appraisal.
Yours is the plain and vicious pleasure of an idiot stoning frogs
trapped in a great puddle, all day long,
while bloated mosquitoes
roar their approval,
or of the infant’s static delight in attention---believing it is
as charming when it creates a shitty mess
as when it glows and giggles:
that’s what your pleasure amounts to,
you marrow-sucking white wampum-dealer.
You should have been a potato.
I would buy you at a propped-up price and let you rot in the sun,
or slice you into slivers and boil you in oil,
then feed you to the poor.

Eventually your casual deadly vanity, your slavish self-worship and
your stance on race issues
and the redistribution of wealth
and such shit will rip you open.
At that point there will be more cheering than tears among the angels.
You have never cried over anything but the gimmicks of Hollywood,
your own fitful idea of self,
and the death of your fat dog.

But reason, temperance allow me to see that I can’t escape you…
you will hound me
until I learn to accept with grace
the loathesome lurch of muscle-bound dandies,
your shiny-toothed insolence and pack mentality,
the chattering stench all your gatherings provoke,
the smug slatternly sanctity of the women who willingly consider themselves yours---
until I accept the whole
Order of the Popular, Gastronomic and Sharply-dressed Philistine;
No i cannot escape you and so I will linger and ambush you,
lie in waiting
with key-weak fingers and a strong tongue,
ready to spread on you
a thick masterful revilement….
or to be your pal,
Churl, my friend, because you must have something I want
or i wouldn't dislike you so…

…which is foolish and just like
the remedial little toady in me,
but the point is that you are a gentrified milquetoast popinjay
and among the differences between you and I are
the fact that I have no wish to drive a nicer car than the next pottering mammonist
and never had a scintilla of respect for a president
except Reagan when I was eleven and Satan nearly had me in tow,
Singing in his beautiful jellybean voice,

…And there’s this: when I wish I was black
it is not for added virility or athleticism or rhythm,
but some extra, super-strength conviction
in what is currently, at best, only
a middling desire to mau-mau every
stupid and heartless white man i see.

An Ode to Friendship


I have friends who only call when they want to get high,
and I love them,
and friends who find it distasteful to look me in the eye
and I distrust them.
I have good friends who,
wish me to stay away from their girlfriends,
and girlfriends that want me to be their friends first and perhaps only that--if they’d just consider it soberly…

But I have so few friends
that just let me be, acknowledge my essentially grotesque nature and move on…
to trust that I will return this trust;
The friends that listen
to my twaddle and my profundities
with equal interest,
where are they?
They scamper away like thieving little monkeys, I’ll tell you,
with the cheeses of my heart stowed in their fanny packs,
bent on gossiping
and dragging my shining name through the rivers of selfish pus
that form their
dry, ephemeral,
daily awareness of things.
To my fragile, even baby-bird-like psyche,
all friends are never permitted to be
more than a predictable disturbance,
like flight turbulence,
or a temporary but amusing fit of flatulence,
like a congressman's record-entry statements.

These: the qualities and acts of Real Friends as I suspect friends are in the business of possessing and performing:
Number 1. The generous passion of Listening
to others and believing fervently for minutes on end
that those Many Words are often meaningful, and specially meant for us
and beg our respect and quiet,
accompanied also by those keen looks of affable concentration
that signify deep attachment and curiosity,
or just attentiveness

---but only the the Real Words---
rather than our chopped gibbets of the
stammering yammering impatient ego
meant to
impose on quiet space and fill it mercilessly
like dim arrogant radar pings
with constant, dull self-exploration and
a bouncing of the theme back toward oneself, always oneself,
in every confession a question heard.
(I rub my eyes when watching others talk sometimes, trying to erase the image of snakes casually flinging venom into one another’s ceaseless yapper,
and of evil, conceited children
miming the barren techniques of marriage or congressional debate.)
we fucking talk and talk,
many of us, rarely listening like nice people.

Number 2. Though it’s a cliché, having the spine to tell
me when I am a low bastard and maybe why, precisely

Number 3. Avoidance of the gentlemanly urge to
bugger one another---formally or from behind---in matters specific to reputation, sex and money.

Number 4. A determination to keep one another’s ego from dominating in a senseless, negative way, in many cases called “giving advice,” and less often referred to as a sleepless indulgence in a philosophy of solipsism.

Friendship sometimes is
contentment being a rubbermaid, a receptacle for other’s excess, overburdening thoughts,
placed there confidentially in the form of the rant and the interminable whine,
the myriad insecurities, furtive fears and banal resentments
that comprise the good friends’ deepest concerns.
Friends trade bitterness like baseball cards, but always value their own bitterness much more.
Again, though, we must agree that this symbiosis is
in a very capital way
also the peace of being an asshole, indeed, of embracing
the inner stampeding asshole without
worrying too much about being loved,
of knowing that one’s own bosom chum is hip to one’s own
self-involvement and pretense,
and doesn’t recoil too much, observably.
When you offer love to a despicable cad, that is
the greatest friendship.

The saddest thing about most friends, mine at least,
is that they can’t match
the open-hearted brilliance of my own friendship,
they cannot approach it, you could say,
for it is like the glory of Zeus,
Great God of Lechery and Release, when
He gave the Olympian phallus to the grape God’s mother, Semele:
It is so brilliant, my loving friendship
leaves them flaked and burnt…!
I mean to say, partly, that in the eye of many of my friends
Glimmers nearly always as a faint enduring pulse
the past rancors and contempts
both my awkwardness and my goodness
has formed in their hearts,
and I have trouble loving them because they will not forget
or accept my elaborate foibles and charms more often.
They forget too much
that I am meaningless and unworthy of their spite,
somehow they have been misinformed that I matter.

Empathy is rarely rewarded anymore,
save with a sneer and a kick to the groin.

Friendship is a simple usurious exchange
not hard to comprehend,
feign or avoid
and yet it is with exquisite craft
made a mess of,
and eagerly lured into alleyways
and brutalized,
again and again.

….when that gloomy bitch, Romantic Love,
whom the informed recognize
as only the chemically enhanced,
sociopathic, yowling, terminally ill older halfsister of Friendship,
constantly racing about
with the glittering hypnosis of sharp knives in her hands,
when that villainess happened to thrust her greasy bosom at me one year recently,
I said:
“get back you trite, soul-crimpin' scoundrel-beast,
you fickle fucking harpy,
I already have enough warts and wounds
to disgust the lepers,
and untricked and haughty I laugh at you as I laughed at the children who laughed at the poor children in grade school for wearing parachute pants beyond their fashion. I laugh at you from above,
and my spit takes days to reach you.”

Where, instead, is Friendship?
I prefer the thing.

For the Troops

Just where would
you like me to support you?

What if I held and patted your hand,
and told you some ghastly official lies,
about planes that can take down giant skyscrapers
merely by flying into them,
or about black muslim snipers
gone conspicuously haywire,
or anthrax attacks reeking of fake melodrama and
military-grade chemicals?
I will tell you outlandish myths
about the evil of foreigners
that would offend the reason
of a half-educated toddler,
and then order you to go kill such toddlers
in support of my myths.

What if I held your head and poured the boiling sap
of blind patriotism into your ringing ears,
with an assurance that the people
you killed yesterday are fanatics and savages,
and those you’ll kill tomorrow
would have stoned your middle-school daughter to death
for enjoying pop music or
the casual fellatio she has engaged in for some time now?

Do you need the support of my foot in your ass,
for going on a
mercenary mission to
lands where you do not belong and are sure to
mess things up to the
point where your host will wish upon you painful and
lingering death?
You didn’t know they had swords still,
in Mesopotamia. Swords for decapitation.
All that shit the army told you about them being
primitive tribesmen somehow
didn’t include mention of their ferocity
in settling scores and re-establishing manhood
under occupation.
when the thoughtless are made headless,
that is symmetrical warfare.

Yes, I think you do need me to lean on,
now that one of your legs has been
exchanged in Ramadi for a fine
steel and polymer get-up,
now that you have had time to brush up
on your history,
and are feeling ill.
Hoo-ah Hooey!

The Ogre Vespucci, or,
America the Purply

And the clatter sanity made when it scrambled from the room,
with vanity and cruelty biting and snapping at its
heels and pummeling it with a cudgel,
filled our tinny, cauliflower ears.
She could not stay long,
as our emperor is red-eyed crazy
and our people hopelessly subjugated
to the merest of his
Lunatic whims and prejudices,
such as cable TV and hip hopscotch
and vast child abduction schemes
run by intelligence services.
Already we had witnessed the broadcast rape and murder
of our collective pride,
during the election.
We watched the gleeful sadism in their sick little eyes
as they snatched the presidency
and encouraged us to think it mattered.

America sure is something.
Yes something like a cave-dwelling monster
that demands continuous sacrifice,
of many things:
Not of virgins and strong men, any more, because along
with slavery some pleasures had to be surrendered, but instead
the sacrifice of humane and
universal impulses wherever they have
the sniveling, trilling temerity to occur…
And, still to this day, massive animal sacrifice, of quadrupeds and fowl, to feed our
blubbery bellies,
and of dirty, shrunken foreign bipeds to provide
labor ever-replenishing and scarcely compensated,
yes, sacrificial bipeds who drag their thin bodies across
bloodthirsty deserts just to prepare you
a cheap and wasteful breakfast;
just to stoop in your fields.

“Give me animal products and lazy Mexicans”
bellows the monster, while engineering space laser programs for
the protection of the fanatically rich.
We in the real world must fear the Beast’s need
for perpetual target practice and
submit to his taste for products
made by the sweaty little palms of the underdeveloped world at 1000% profit.
“at least a third of my calories will derive from miserable birds and mistreated cattle, the global lawn will forever be patrolled by lantern-clutching niggers in full battle-rattle,”
--- such are his unsteady and insupportable decrees.

We must be careful, now that sanity has been chased into the night, bleeding from her eyes and ears, nursing an ass
full of shrapnel and semen.
The monster is feeling his oats and is drunk
with the power that grows from designing a nightmare
tailored for all and resisted by none.
Oh, he has stumbled, there go
the Empire's Masonic Twin Towers and the estate tax,
Oh, he is paranoid, several amendments lay gasping and disemboweled…
Oh, he wants a snack, look out in Haiti, beware, Venezuela,
My, how he seethes, in his delirium blaming monkeys for AIDS
and Africans for African famine and these civil wars
that can go on for 40 years but never for a second fail to provide
Diamonds and cell-phone bits
for the diseased pleasures of the West,
as his monstrous and cynical system soaks up
the earth’s moisture and drains it of life.
Beware the ogre, he is
the Pursuit of your Happiness
and the Standard for your Living.

Flight of the Chickadees

Editor's note: this screed was written shortly before the Day of the Tragic Events. The subject matter has gotten much worse since then.

They are all getting back and flitting
near the moat, the residence hall desk monitor:
Klackety klack
Not one not in black.

At least three tightly-clad body types,
each indistinct in that uniformly vacuum-wrapped way produced when
insecurity buts against a pandering to the loins,
they glide and stamp about in tight skirts and stretchy flared pants,
and overcoats of glamorous manufacture,
they shine in the cold of autumn.
against the cultural backdrop of normal non-Greek girls,
they are outstanding,
like nuggets of golden corn,
gleaming in ordure.
A gamedays' gross disappointment
has fueled their frenzy full to a
strident uncontrolled silliness
by this point,
packs of plump and anorexic banshees
shrieking through the streets as
they return from floating about in
impenetrable class nuclei,
from on high heels
presenting steady and disdainful resistance to all
but the most reassuringly groomed stock of fat-headed Anglo-Saxon princelings…
Klackety klack all in black
Thrusting and busting out

In clusters of three they
seem alien, an ethereal race with
impeccable taste in
the art of the unvarying face-paint
and unremarkable dark clothing,
interminably exchanging peppy stories, defamations and
hydrochloric rumors,
one hears, and
radioactive plastic plans
in a shrill, hoarse, lazy luxury tongue
made snappy by the cheap beer sloshing in their
well-nourished pouchy guts,
parading with urgent, forward-looking walks and gestures,
backs rigid and arms folded in some
dull protective fear before their
paraded schizoid bosoms,
scarcely noticing anyone not
similarly about their business and chatty

The demimonde, the attaches, the satellites,
the herds of kept women,
these minglers mixing and mating with kappa sigs and sigma chais and sometimes a lowly pike or unaffiliated athlete:
they blister the air with badinage
and in their drunkenness scrape the pavement like
they have hip displasure,
wiggling their lactose-rich bottoms with
a sense of invigorated and privileged idleness,
practicing distraction and mirthfulness
and anything to please
the men with the khakis and bullwhips and expensive cars
and hooked penises and minds squirming
with mean little lab-rat desires—
Young courtesans indifferent to the masses and the unmade-up,

Waiting or longing for their dates,
their dashing granitic caravaners,
who constitute an exclusive race of martian suitors
Broad and yet narrow,
symmetrical but uneven and unfair,
who come choking on their crude clannish jokes.
Their sniggering is malicious
and they often speak of genitals.
Still on safari, still keeping the red man down,
still plashing angrily in the bay of Pigs
they come in a ceaseless belching flow of
the bulkiest bandwagons,
Durangos and Expeditions, Escalades and Grand Cherokees,
Trail and Forest Blazers,
seating up to seven scions of
reliable commerce and more than middling prosperity, each,
Neat, aggressive, drunk---leaking
the salacious charm
of the southland’s gallant ways…

Ready to spend money and time with boredom, as if fun were
a continuous burden
interrupted only in a small way by classes and forced nearness to the
grubby non-Greek,
as if fun were taking too long
for these patrician pups
arrayed in fatigues of caps and khaki
Kappa khaki pie
my burly posse do or die,
gonna Bustya in the Eye

A grotesque clay-footed dance performed by rich ciphers in drab costume,
filled to their gills with the awfullest swill,
these whelps of the mentally limp
and criminally heartless
Master Class.

The revelry is unforced,
it is easy.
there are established and precise methods for
dissipation, oblivion,
for the nightly torture and sacrifice of notions like
humility and decorum:
There’s a certain bearing
of wretched genteel over-confidence
one is obliged to maintain
as he reels and hoots
with the royal belligerence of first-string cornerbacks
at the women of his clan,
and of course, at pedestrians,
and from a secure distance, niggers also.
The bearing is easy enough: it relies mainly on alcohol and dressing in a collar,
in collared shirts of
nauseating girlish pastels that demonstrate
their preening, unassailable manliness,
or a specific style of pants that tend to sag and
expose the wallet,
and this bearing depends
a lot on---derives its ludicrous prideful essence from---the formal claquing,
supportive, throbbing gestures
and verbal huskiness of one’s litter,
or entourage.

The womenfolk have a line they will never forget, and seem never to tire of:
it goes, “Whoooo!!”,
which in piety they blend with another favored, incredulous
ejaculation about O, their God, over and over.
As much as mixers, blackface hazing, a clothing codex, the theft of lawn decorations, Carnacus festivals and other
ritual manglings-together,
these fits of vigorous weekend drinking
and spasms of collective brawn
epitomize and gild the sparkly drama and precious pageantry of Greek Life,
Kappa khaki pie
Gonna bustya in the eye

A war with the suicidal Arabs is coming,
but the duty and post of these flushed young sauce packets
is on the dance-floor and
by the keg,
and in learning Business and Broadcasting,
bolstering american privilege and the
Power to say when and from what altitude
and I can be a fucking homicidal idiot if I please.
And though we shall bleed blood while
they may only hemorrhage dollars
and stock value,
still, in their hearts, flags will wave,
and the rhythm of Baghdad’s bombs
will pump in their frantic, loosened legs,
and then—tottering wildly with the canter of the well-stuffed---
they’ll retire to their hives to mate
in webs of smoke and clouds of beer,
fat with product,
bleeding black into khaki, air into stone