Tuesday, January 31, 2012

clock radio


those were the days when time didn't matter.
hands on glowing green
"Blue Car Heaven" now lives on Butterfly Lane.
so how does 'today' exist? decades later?
in one second! (And what does "Heaven" look like
now? perfect teeth? blond curly hair?)

the physicists fumble around with such questions
and time, however trivial, oh sure, there's an
explanation, but how many people can do that
kind of math?

and the sky will have its many moods, to satisfy
eternity and life cycles, faith and fragility, the nervous twins
one forever seeking the other on a continuum.

and the unforeseeable is in play, as always,
but now with more potential for discomfort.
just how many people will scream, "blasphemy" because of
the science? It is an unpredictable number.


always point blank; reality is unforgiving,
and the rules were written long before this latest incarnation.
all the temporal energy is focused on intimate tissue;
ripe; and seen for only two seconds.

(the closing window of time, closing even before you knew it was open)


Monday, January 30, 2012

how to make a soup sandwich


I had a stroke. Not the traditional medical sort.

I heard the death rattle all those years ago; earliest
self-sign of a brain on the very brink.
OCD and the suicidal undertow. How does a boy
read those coded clues?
mental illness, my forever companion, swaddled
in society’s denial; treated like a stench to follow me
each day of my time, trailing the walking corpse/ breathing shell
(already decomposing?)
Did you really want to annihilate me?

All those years barking at a television camera:
passing for normal. My paralyzed brain hidden in studio lights
behind pancake face. A living artifact. You old war horse.

“Cue the son of a bitch.”
“Talk! You ancient queen.”


At dusk, the birds are old men crying. I embrace the sound.
night’s approach. (purple fingers squeezing away the light)
Thank you Lithium for the gift.
Thank you for saving my life—hanging only by a flimsy filament—
one thread—
on the decided approach to the great mystery of “muerte.”
Death by inert gas: the sure thing. Done deal.

My goodbye? the oxygen scoured from my lungs and vessels.

So many years in brambles and nettles. Bloodied. Beaten down.

I am still on the move.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

food master


tired of alimentary processes
pestering me, I no longer want to eat.
how beleaguered I am of the constant
pressure to consume, digest, eliminate.

(a mess/ literally)

one mess uniting us all. [consider that amount of shit]

—so I imagine surreally—just a pill. (a tiny one)
like my Hydrochlorothiazide, for blood pressure,
the size of a baby aspirin.

I imagine, among the many fantasies:
the one pill in the morning,
and I am sated.

-- with no additional worry.
that's it.

nothing more. No more wasted time chewing cud,
the endless chomp, chomp, chomp of eating.

no more "what to do for lunch?"

And most important?
the whole process ends there. Consume the pill and
the push of nutrition is immediate.

[—All of the unpleasantness of digestion—
the 'too hot' broth in my esophagus.
the gurgles in my mid section.

the fetid garbage
(meat, plants, pasta) moving beneath
my belly button, pushing toward the anus—]

esophagus to anus. esophagus to anus. over and over
the never ending alimentary canal/ ceasing only at death.

Enough. finished. one pill.
no fuss. no mess.

It is strange then: to turn back to the plate
of lunch—of lunch!

I do not understand [or like] this world.

I have no plans for dinner.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

consider the sunny day

When human rubble sits on faraway fields.
Bodies and parts of them
scattered as a child would leave playthings on the den
the after-Christmas floor

A bounty of bodies; reality not terrible enough
over the span of time
to usher peace
Aortas still split. Guts fly
as teeth clench in distant meeting rooms.
Power and peace divided on tables.

When women are crowded behind the alley entrance
mission doors.
Their lives and babies’ lives
eviscerated as the wolf undoes a sheep in the night,
with only the moon to watch.

The carnage still not enough
to halt the scatter of bullets in the streets
or the viciousness that releases them.
Orphaned infants scream with forever-bruised hearts
while we deny under sunny, azure skies.


Friday, January 27, 2012

certain knowledge

A glance sideways on your frame
catching my eye
in that shape.
An eternal chasm between sculpture
and what will never be.

The frame of you
and me.
Soft screams in carefully chosen words;
the noise of knowing 
a bereft gut.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


the memory of my
boyhood suicide attempt.
my father looked at me
told me I looked 80.


I look my age
even in a good light.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the sweet bird is singing

must be honey in my mouth
so sweet, and I love it.
(but as daily sustenance?)

this is the weight I carry; the albatross of my lifetime.
no more
too much, too sweet

(brain on the very brink)

can this little taste of arsenic in sour milk
save me from myself?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

night of lightning

unique as it may seem in the moment, it will return, and so on.
my night of lightning
on a Kansas prairie (only I remember) -- bolts up and down for hours;
repeats in this Century
looking down on Temple Mount.
Jerusalem is a long way from Kansas City.

take a glass light bulb -- put it on the floor, lit (aglow),
and then step on it. though the
bulb will go out -- look at the shards of glass
and visualize the pieces as still lit.

zoom out.

now, see each illuminated piece as an event in your life to come.
find the way between
the glowing, shattered pieces.
you’ll be fine.

have a valid passport and don’t get stuck in New Jersey.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

moon (1998)

That old girl won't run anymore
and it breaks my heart.

Moon, I see you forever
in one orange second on that beach.
Not even the Pacific is as blue
as your eyes.

The sea swallows huge gulps of air

But you dance on the edge of dreams
twitching in your legs

You know the way to eternity.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Crazy Birthday

It is my birthday.
I’m going to cover every inch of my body
with strawberry jam.

I will then shave myself
from head to toe until
I’m bare-skinned as a newborn.

Afterwards, I plan to walk
through the neighborhood streets --drawing attention, perhaps.

(nude man, strawberry jam)
But proud.
To be alive, nude
and absolutely delicious. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Song One (last song)

in the end, isn’t this world just an excuse- 
for potential’s half-open purse?

one imagines so.
 but your voice from the grave is hope for the alive world.

we are rapt; 
we sing, so quietly
sotto voce
“Shepherds in the fields of ivy 
-- abiding --
-- preparing --
In excelsis Deo

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Song Two

Oh to be an 'upside-down' snowman.
I saw one on the news.
Years on television,
Often asked if I miss it. --- I do.
There was a time, 1981, when
I sat above the main studio at KTVY now KFOR
in Oklahoma City
---a special viewing room, where TV shows could
be observed in person, but from a glassed-in perch.
Alone, in the dark - looking down.
-I imagined it back in the ‘50s!
Oh that day, above - in the perch, I felt such power
(my youth).
So lucky to have a job. So lucky to have a skill.
Almost had to pinch myself.
This is a man who loves life.
This is a man who will fight to stay alive.
This is no last stand.

This is a man who lives in grace.
with small, bold steps.
..I’m so grateful for the snow, in case I fall.
..because --often-- I do.

(I will walk on Carl Sandburg's "cat feet.")


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Song Three

Mistah Kurtz - he dead

  • T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men,” borrowed from
  • Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness”

Snow dog and I walked the icy asphalt.

Scary for an Old Guy. The Old Guy with a trick leg.

Arriving in the white park -- we heard the muffled snow.


-- Angels from the realms of Glory.

Further now, still singing

still beckoning. The Old Guy knows the Angel voices.

Yes. One note. And All the notes, in unison.

Seek the great desire of nations

In this realm you will find not one.

Gloria. Gloria. Gloria.

he lives. but is sick, now.

He understands nothing -- Thirty-Dash


Monday, January 16, 2012

Song Four

The (revered) poet / gone.

- then plural.

So many honored ones / gone.

and then, there are the others -

who carry no fame, just flame / flown, as well.

Ambivalence. Don’t we all carry it on our backs?

The middle class has disappeared.

Not a single sidewalk out. For the rest.

And a bum like me? I have not a penny.

Not one. Not a cent to my name.

The doctors ask me to rest, now.

I’ve been told to find tomorrow. "Find tomorrow."

The others (the ignorant others) want me moving.

And there is the reality:

My actual survival. I bow my head

now. I will pray.

And I expect so very little. shitty tiny world.

This awful Earth: misery ‘does’ love company.

I’m not playing your game. Enjoy your pain.


I am going to count clouds and pet my cat.

Speak to my dog: who is deaf as wood.

I may decide that it is all too trivial. I think it is.

‘Earth spin’ will continue: until it finally ends. And it does.

meshuggener - from the Yiddish

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Song Five

Make no mistake about it

the Earth has turned away;

it does so every year

on this decided day; a confused soul, self

(.. and I'm lost in the snow ..)

I know these days.

I have seen too many Januarys.

Though so much is dead;

we plumb what is alive!

when I was but a kid.

this was a favorite week.

Even decades flown,

the 'years of glory' keep.

But this year, I stand in awe

of the ones who -- wear this month -- a loose garment.

Effortlessly. It is too heavy for me now.

A weight. A wet wool coat.

Universe, I beg; just get me through January. Hope.

-and destroy the vicious muse!

(I no longer want her near)

-there is a stench on her breath.
-the World can smell it. But I refuse.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Song Six

Vibrant on that day; he told me-

- in a dream? No, in reality. He spoke on the phone -

the last day.

“I love you.”

My true hero: My father.

My ‘stern and steadfast’ father.

He said, “I love you, Super.”

(He always called me Super.)

(He was forever clear: “I love you, Super.”)

Lowell; The Bright, Bright light; and he said it.

Within hours, he was dead.

I knew then;

in that first horrible moment.

I knew ___________ And would never forget.

--- Never to hear “Super, ”

never again in my Earthly span. ---

never again my appointed and actual name:

- Not like he said it -

And so I miss it -- I miss my youth. Miss ‘the days.’

Those days.

“Super, this is your Old Man.”

“Super, ... I need to talk to you.”

“Super, I will see you again.”


(Lowell, you will not see me again. Not on this Earth.)

- but in ether? -- beyond the Seattle gloaming?


at the Eternity Door --

The final door.

You will find Daniel Bruce Slocum. Discover me standing as before.

with my curly hair, with hazel eyes -- eyes just like yours.

And the muse with one last word --


Friday, January 13, 2012

Song Seven

songs are fading;

a prayer book is near

-- etched cover --

Tehillim. Interlinear translation.

The Psalms

the salve


saved? ...No! No!

(...no ___no...)

...an answer for the Old Guy?

we don’t know; we won’t know

until the appointed time.

clearer now,

as Seattle clouds

roll in.

he knows ( ... He can see it ... )

It is clear in the gloaming,

unchanged by atmospherics.

Meshuggah. Goodbye Jerusalem.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Song Eight

Angels from the realms of Glory -- departing; Godspeed.

(so deserted; the pear tree — my fruit tree. Where is the fruit?)

where is the hope?

-- the bees are gone --

-- the season having flown --

(where are my Hostas? Where are the ferns with tiny leaves?)

it is the dead of winter

barren landscape resurrected for you fifty some-odd times.

in winter, some things die!

(yes, I know.

I just needed to hear it from you.)

wind blows through the January husks

--- the wonder we see in summer ---

Fallow - now. At rest.

We find birth, again; on some raw, new time.

in that span of time. (oh, the fuzzy math)



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Song Nine (the first song)

life is very hard
You know underneath skin, muscle, and viscera --
you will find guts. Same for all. For the holiest religious ones.
(the Popes) For the Movie Stars; park bums.
-- for the bums like me --
For all of us know fear. All of us see hair on the crotch.
All of us stream gas, fetid breath, vomit. life is very hard.
But we are ALIVE!
measured not by years, but verve. pure verve.
That is alive.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

drowning in Puget Sound

And then you are in the water. The immediate bodily response is hyperventilation, a gasp, like the wind being knocked-out of you; and it goes downhill from there. Your body knows something is wrong. Blood flow changes; pumping vigorously at your core, less in your extremities. Within minutes, the heart is beating very slowly and lung activity is diminished. You know you’re in danger and so does every cell.
In fact, your skin will actually begin to turn a shade of blue and that will intensify as the minutes tick by. Moving your fingers, arms and legs becomes next to impossible; like your whole body is wrapped in strapping tape.
You might aspirate some water, taking the brine and liquid straight into your lungs, but soon your throat seizes near the vocal chords and slams the airway shut. Obviously, this is not a good turn. No oxygen is entering your body. Even if you’re one of the few who has a limited spasm of the throat, the amount of oxygen is diminished to almost nothing.
The whole thing really deteriorates now. Panic requires energy and it’s just not there.
Consciousness, at this point, becomes iffy. Reality fades and is replaced with involuntary sleep. Your throat may relax; the choke-hold goes away. That’s bad news because water is freely flowing into your lungs.
You’re breathing water much like you did air, but in a blue sleep; and the heart beats for the last time. It stops.
And then you go away.


Monday, January 9, 2012

the bet

what of this shall pass?

the famous poet once whispered in my ear,
"there is muscularity in risk"
to which I add, in pain, in fear
in danger.

would I choose the passing
of the very essence of my being;
flowing into a familiar river of dark?
the muck I love and wear so proudly. you muse.

you old war-horse; carrying the knowledge
of starving children, cancer death, holocaust,
the stink of a cadaver. the shame of the unspoken.

do we embrace the Phoenix symbol? the rise from ash?
the celebration, the unevenness, imperfection, decay.
pure glory, so unexpected.

taxidermy eyes.

had I actually bet against myself?

had I counted on a yellow death?