murder

November 3, 2013

This is  a review of my book, ‘murder’. I did not write it though I will confess that I had something to do with its existence. (Unfortunately I cannot discover who wrote this wonderful review.)

The book is available as a free download at feedbooks.

 

Review: murder by David Halliday

David Halliday’s murder is one of those great little books I’d never have discovered except for the internet. It was originally published in 1978 by the now defunct Coach House Press, then again as an ebook by Wonderbeams before they closed up shop at the end of 2001, and now David Halliday has released murder into the public domain.

Murder is a series of poems telling the story of a murder and subsequent trial and lynching. Yeah, I said poems. Don’t flinch and imagine this is a book in Iambic pentameter packed with e’ens and whences and e’res.

David Halliday is not that kind of a poet.

Halliday doesn’t mince words, he uses them with the precision of scalpels. He’s tough and honest and a little cheeky and raw in places. He writes the essence of the world in all its delicate ugly humanity.

Every word is deftly placed, sometimes down to its physical location on the page, to evoke the story Halliday is telling. Each poem is a finely wrought link in the chain—the killer stalking his victim, the police report and investigation, even the victim’s identification of her killer (“No one heard. No one listens to the dead.”) through the culmination of the trial and a mob stringing up the innocent man accused. (“a french girl pointed to the flag pole the mob unraveled him and hung him from the top where he waved in the wind to the crowd”)

The meat of the book is devoted to the trial; there are sketches of the jury, the media circus, the attorneys and the judge. (“Hammocks of flesh swinging below his waist skin melts sliding down his bone stocking overflowing in his shoes.”) Witnesses give testimony in their own poem-scenes and some of the most compelling moments are when Halliday turns to the spectators, the people for whom the trial is a kind of post-Roman Colosseum where justice justifies blood lust. There is the old woman who thinks, “these problems we all go on about are just a social disease,” and the cub reporter whose buxom neighbor masturbates him while he sleeps, the flasher wrapped in his flag, the murder groupie in her black satin jacket. These people are all redolent with their own sins and the carnal and carnival atmosphere of execution reinforces the Christ-like image of the wrongly accused man on trial. (“x flower child root bound barb’d wire head band”)

The rule of law in Halliday’s world is decaying. The plaster of his courthouse is crumbling and the paint is peeling. There are cockroaches and flies and bats in these hallowed halls, and while justice is miscarried to appease the appetites of the crowd, a cat is “laughing like a gatling gun.”

As I read murder, I keep returning to the idea of violence as entertainment in modern life. The killer sees his victim in the terms of a film. “I thought you were my leading lady,” he says. The witnesses watch the attack and later entertain the spectators with their evidence. There are reporters throughout; they are outside the courthouse with their cameras, inside reporting on the trial, they are there for the lynching.

In the end it is just a tiny injustice in the world. A single woman raped and murdered while a crowd watches, a single innocent man hanged from a flagpole. A single killer goes free. The people drift away, the spectacle is over. The TV cameras are packed up; there’s no more blood to be had in this place. If there is redemption, too, in Halliday’s narrative, it is in this: in a world where horror has become a commodity packaged to amuse, there is still innocence and hope. “two kids were flying a kite tugging at the moon with the wind.”

I wonder, if the innocent man wrongly hanged is Halliday’s Christ, what sin is his blood intended to wash from our souls?

A note for readers: The physical form of the words on the page is important to Halliday’s work. I had to set the font to the smallest size to get the full effect of the layout when reading the .epub on my Nook. I had no problems with the .pdf on my computer screen. (All versions seem to have an extraneous page 8: “Click to edit this text.”)

murder3 murder4 murder5 murder6 murder7 murder8 murder9 murder10 murder11 murder12 murder13 murder14 murder15 murder16 murder17 murder18 murder19 murder20

 

I love Leonard Cohen but he doesn’t exist. What does exist is a mask. I love Bob Dylan but even his name is a fabrication. Like Zha Zha Gabor. (She must have made that up.) Kierkegaard created other voices for his ideas. And he was a philosopher, not a minstrel. Our whole notion of soul is a series of layers. Even the voice in our head speaks to us with an accent. So where is reality in all of this.

…………………………………………..

Beauty

 

Staring at the blank canvas waiting for Beauty to rise, to pull back the sheets and show me her nakedness. I want to peel back the snow white gesso and feel her eyes on the tips of my fingers. I am the hunter, my brush a knife. I want to slit open the perfect belly of her goodness. But always there is a flash of light. The cameras of the paparazzi. Always Beauty on the event horizon. Waiting to show us her black hole. Always the tease. The stripper with the scent of the hunter on her. Eternal Return. Exploding into a new universe. Hiding in the jungle of experience. Camouflaged as reality. I put down my brush, paint sadly sliding off the ends of the bristles. I am sick of these little universes I create. I want to paint a stained glass window so perfect that I can smash the glass, look behind the shattered canvas and find the source of its light.

 Forgotten Lovers

 

Sex is awful

April 22, 2013

 

Sex is awful when you’re too young. Its power over you is tyrannical. It can be devastating. This combined with one’s naivity and innocence make for a dangerous brew. This is a story from my book The Bicycle Thieves.

13a

The Crush

Judy, Marcus’s younger sister by a year, sometimes sat watching television with them in the O’Reilly basement. David didn’t know if she was pretty but she had an unsettling affect on him. Anytime she was around David felt butterflies in his stomach, and his mouth going dry, and a certain weakness in his knees. As much as Judy’s presence made David feel uncomfortable, he missed her when she wasn’t there. Sometimes when Marcus wasn’t looking she would rub her leg against David’s. When she was doing this, David would pretend that her attentions were having no effect on him while at the same time praying that they would never end. David did not know what to make of all of this. He couldn’t talk to Marcus about his sister and certainly couldn’t talk to his own sister. In truth, he didn’t know what to do. But in his heart he knew that sooner or later something would happen. And he was afraid of what that might be.

David loved to listen to Judy laugh at his jokes, loved to watch her shake the long black hair that ran over her shoulders. He wondered what it would be like if they could be alone. Maybe they would talk, just between themselves and not in the crowd that always existed at the O’Reilly household. Maybe they could be friends. But David didn’t like to think about maybes. It made him feel queasy.

On afternoons when the boys were playing horseshoes, Judy would watch, cheering David on. Marcus would tell his sister to shut up but when his back was turned she would smile at David, running her tongue along her braces.

“You shouldn’t talk to your sister like that,” David said when the two boys had taken off for Apache Burger. Marcus had a yen for a strawberry milkshake. Marcus was always hungry.

“Why not, she’s my sister,” Marcus said shrugging David’s remark off as inconsequential.

On one occasion Terry was playing horseshoes with the two boys. He pointed out to Marcus the attention that his sister was paying to David. Marcus complained to Mrs. O’Reilly that Judy was bothering them. Judy stomped off, banging the back door as she entered the house.

David was no longer in the mood to play horseshoes.

“He’s got a crush on your sister.” Terry pointed at David.

“Do not!” David protested.

Terry laughed and taunted David. David turned and flew at Terry knocking him to the ground, and kneeling on his arms.

“Take it back,” he cried, raising his fist above Terry’s face.

“Okay,” Terry cried. “Just get off me! My mother’ll kill me if I get this shirt dirty.”

On hot days the O’Reilly kids would wade in the huge outdoor pool that Mr. Marcus had constructed in the backyard. One day as Marcus and David sat watching television, Judy came down the stairs soaking wet with a towel wrapped around her. She retreated to the back of the basement in a location where only David could see her, and changed. Did she know that David could see her? David tried not to look but he couldn’t keep his eyes off her long and slender boy like body as she slipped out of her bathing suit. Her nakedness tied David’s stomach in a knot and made him feel sick.

“Let’s go to Apache Burger,” Marcus suggested. “I’m hungry.”

Another day watching the Loretta Young Show in the Marcus basement, Judy sat with her leg slung over the arm of a chair. Marcus had gone to the corner to buy his mother some ginger ale. David was delighted to finally be alone with Judy but he didn’t know what to say.

“She’s beautiful, don’t you think?” Judy said referring to Loretta Young.

“Ya,” David replied. “I guess.”

“I wish I was that beautiful,” Judy sighed.

David’s mouth went dry. He wanted to tell Judy that she was beautiful, that she was much more beautiful than Loretta Young but the words wouldn’t come out. Upstairs Mrs. O’Reilly dragged herself across the kitchen floor and called down to Judy. Judy’s face was wrenched into an ugly glare.

“Why did she have to get pregnant! Don’t I have enough to do?”

Judy stomped up the stairs.

One morning David sat in the living room waiting for Marcus to come out of his room. Marcus stumbled from the kitchen, a bowl of corn flakes in his hand, and still in his pajamas. Mrs. O’Reilly called him from the basement where she was doing a load of laundry.

“Jesus!” he cried. Marcus put the bowl of cereal on the floor, slid it under the couch, and stomped out of the room.

David sat alone in the room for several minutes. Except for the roar of the washing machine in the basement, he couldn’t remember the house being so quiet. When Marcus returned he turned on the television and fell onto the couch, forgetting all about the cereal.

“Go wake up, Judy,” Marcus commanded. “My mother needs her.”

“Send one of the kids,” David muttered. David resented Marcus’s tone.

Marcus smiled.

“They ain’t around. She’s upstairs sleeping. Sneak in and tickle her feet. She hates that.”

Reluctantly David climbed the stairs to the bedrooms. He felt like a thief moving down the hallway. Never having been upstairs before he was not sure which room was Judy’s. He checked one room after room but each was empty. What if he walked into her room and she was naked? What would he do? Ever since that day he’d seen her remove her bathing suit, David couldn’t get Judy out of his mind. I should go back downstairs, he said to himself. This is all wrong. He entered the last bedroom.

Judy was lying in bed. A naked leg hung out from under a bed sheet, dangling over the side of the bed. David’s mouth turned dry.

“I should get out of here,” he muttered to himself but his legs would not move.

Judy began to wake up. David took a step toward her. She rubbed her eyes, sat up in bed, looked at David, and screamed. David ran. He ran out of the bedroom, down the hall, down the stairs, out the front door, up the street, up his driveway, into the backyard, and hid behind the hedge at the back of the lot. And waited.

“What have I done?” he kept repeating over and over, tears running down his face. “I shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have looked. I’m going to hell! I’m going to prison! God, let me disappear!”

David waited and prayed.

“Oh, God, I’ll never go near a girl again! I promise! I promise I’ll never do nothing again.”

Hours passed. As the sun began to set and the shadows stretched out along the lawn before retiring, David slipped into his house and up to his room. And waited, laying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Each minute seemed to drag on for an eternity. He heard Chico barking out in the street. Maybe he should go talk to Terry. But wasn’t it Terry who had taunted him about Judy having a crush on him? He couldn’t bear to be taunted again. David saw images of himself being dragged from the house and thrown in a police cruiser. He saw Judy on the sidewalk with her father, pointing at him. He heard the jeers and laughter from all the neighbours and then the weeping from his mother, and the look of sad resignation and disappointment in his father’s eyes. And then he fell asleep. When he woke the next morning and heard his mother vacuuming downstairs he knew that his prayers had been answered.

 

murder. the iconic word for an act so heinous. Always it is Shakespearean. When I wrote the book I included the poems called elements. This one is about air. They are whimsical.

murder2t

…………………………………………………………………………….

elements (1)

someone sucked

the air in held it

and then pushed it out.

each spectator took his turn.

some pinched his nostrils

some honked

some wheezed

some used cigarettes

to fill the air.

everyone was moderately pleased

that they’d been given the chance to breathe

until a pungent sound

a rose

from the corner

of the courtroom

where a little old man

had let his diet play a tune.

 

 

The Death of Lou Grant

April 9, 2013

 

The Death of Lou Grant has done very well for itself. Originally it was part of a much larger piece of work. But I got bored of that expedition. And settled for this short run.

I have created books that I felt sure could never be made into movies. The characters, scenes, themes were surreal bordering on animation. I felt that so much of American literature (as opposed to the Latin American writers) was 2 dimensional. It had become a genre driven fiction. And it bored me.

I still enjoy reading The Death of Lou Grant. Perhaps you will too.

The Death of Lou Grant SMALL

award finalist

…………………

A Drink After Work Hours At The Brass Rail

It’s all so brief. Life. A mere glimpse. I was going to say a wet fart but that would have been tasteless. You think moths have a short life. God, we must seem like moths to the sun. And you can’t appreciate how brief until you are at the end. A long weekend would seem an eternity. Does that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that I feel like I might have missed it. I was out there in left field waiting for that sky ball when the guy had laid down a bunt. Jesus, I’m hungry. You get like that at the end. Hunger, appetite, that’s what makes us human. When I think of the last moments of Marilyn Monroe, I get a raging… I can’t help myself.

You’re probably wondering why I’m meeting people in bars all the time. Well, at the Corporation, that was pretty much our mode of operation. We met in bars to interview for jobs. To hire, to fire. To go over ideas. To marshal our thoughts. To brain storm. God, any excuse to have a drink.

This particular bar was the Brass Rail. Tacky. Cheap beer. Women who’d open their legs for you. After they finished their cigarette. And one more beer. Bad lighting. Sometimes you’d get up in the morning and look across the bed at someone who looked like your own mother. That’s what I heard. Not that it ever happened to me. Once. It happened once. She was someone’s mother. But not recently. Most of the patrons were guys. Poor bastards on their lunch break. Hoping for something to happen. Hoping more that it wouldn’t. Just leave me alone with my beer. Who wanted to face something new. Sometimes there were strippers in the bar. Afternoons the strippers mostly sat at tables and drank like everyone else. If you were lucky they might put their hand in your lap. That’s what I heard. There was a kitchen. The food wasn’t too bad. Ted and I were having burgers and fries. The place was known for its fries.

TED: I heard some stories, Lou… (giggling) …anecdotes… you don’ t have to tell me, Lou. I really mean that, Lou. It is certainly not something I have to know. Everyone should have…

LOU: Get to the point, Ted.

TED: Are you seeing a shrink?

LOU: I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that, Ted.

TED: So how’s your golf game, Lou?

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: I don’t play golf, Ted.

TED: What a coincidence, Lou. Neither do I. Not since the Celebrity Tournament when I hit Maury Reese with my ball. It wasn’t my fault. (God, these burgers are good.) The guy takes a size 9 hat. I mean he’s got a real melon on those shoulders. How could you help but hit it.

LOU: Didn’t Maury die?

LAUGH TRACK

TED: Complications, Lou. Doc said that his heart was ready to burst at any moment. He could have taken a spell while driving home in his car, or taking the elevator, or just…

LOU: You gave Maury sugar, Ted.

TED: He was unconscious. (You shouldn’t talk with your mouth full, Lou.) How was I supposed to know that he was allergic to sugar?

LOU: It was a sugar cube, Ted. He choked!

LAUGH TRACK

TED: So, Lou, are you as looney as they say?

LOU: You don’t want to know, Ted.

TED: I want to know, Lou. Honest.

Lou looks around to make sure that no one can hear him. He leans toward Ted and whispers.

LOU: I hear voices in my head, Ted.

TED: Well, that’s not so bad. We all hear voices from time to time. I heard voices the other day in the grocery store. Something about my car being parked in a handicap zone. Everyone heard it. You can’t believe those people. Making a mountain out of a… There was no one using the space, Lou. Besides. How can you be sure those people are handicapped? A sticker on your windshield doesn’t mean you’re handicapped. I could make one up myself. Not that I did. Would.

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: It’s the booze talking, Ted. I hear voices when I’ve been drinking too much. They are voices that I don’t want to hear. Voices of someone called Harry.

TED: A relative of yours?

LOU: No.

TED: Is it Harry the security guard. Nice fellow. Did you know that he has this amazing collection…

LOU: I hear the voice all the time. Sometimes when I’m having dinner I can hear the salad talking.

TED: You never eat salad, Lou.

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: I hear his voice when I’m driving to work in the morning.

TED: I like to listen to tapes on my way to work. I’m learning French. Parlez-vous francais. You should try it sometimes, Lou. They say that your mind is still working, even when you’re asleep. Sometimes I like to wake up in the middle of the night. To find out what I’m thinking.

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: This is scaring me, Ted.

TED: (giggles) I told myself the funniest joke the other night.

LOU: With murder in our hearts, the only sane man is the porter at the gate.

TED: You drink scotch, Lou.

LOU: Do you own a gun, Ted?

TED: A gun!

LOU: You must have a gun. Considering how…

TED: Ah, Lou. I’ve got to get going. I just remembered a date I had with…

LOU: Ted, sit down!

TED: I’m sorry, Lou. I’m just not good at this. This kind of talk. You should talk to Murray. I’ve got to go.

LOU: Get back here, Ted!

LAUGH TRACK

TED: Please, Lou.

LOU: Listen to me, Ted. The wife wants me to seek out professional help. I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that hearing a voice in my head isn’t normal. It’s a trick. I’m supposed to be having a fantasy. If you’re pretending to be someone, that someone shouldn’t be having psychiatric problems. That should be the litmus test for reality. This is my test, Ted.

TED: I was never good at tests… Who are you pretending to be, Lou? Is it one of those… role playing fantasies.

LOU: One. If you’re feeling pain than you’re real. Two. Lou Grant is feeling pain. Three. I’m feeling pain as Lou Grant. Therefore I am Lou Grant.

TED: Well now that that is settled, I’ll be off.

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: Ted!

TED: Lou?

LAUGH TRACK

LOU: I have cold sweats. In the morning my pillow case is soaking wet. One night I cried out Mary’s name.

TED: Mary’s name? Why would you do that, Lou?

LOU: The wife was pretty upset by that. Once I interviewed a fellow in prison who claimed that he had painted several masterpieces. When I asked him where he kept them, he smiled and pointed to his head. Everything is in the head, Ted. Why am I hearing these voices, having this dream? I am not alone.

TED: I never dream, Lou. I get too excited.

LOU: Millions of people are dreaming their lives away. Fantasies. Dreaming about winning a million dollars. Dreaming about becoming famous. Dreaming about getting that girl. Dreaming as much as they can, trying to find some reason for staying alive. Ted…

TED: Yes, Lou.

LOU: I don’t want to die, Ted.

TED: (giggling) Oh, is that all it is? You can’t die, Lou. Unless they cancel the show of course.

Spinning in a dryer

April 6, 2013

 

American culture is a collage. Not only of ethnic backgrounds. But also genres, eras. It is endlessly interesting like clothes spinning in a dryer. Who knows why. This poem is from my new book, “My Hair Is On Fire.”

……………………………

ALICE WAS A HOLE

 

Alice was tied to the railroad tracks. Her legs spread like fence posts. Who thinks up these ideas. She should have been falling down a hole. I can still see the world collapsing around Buster Keaton.

 

 

A piano wire in his fingers around her neck. And pop goes the top. Of the champagne bottle. Everyone laughs and tips the help. I couldn’t help but wonder how you practiced something like that.

 

 

Moe was always so smug when he stuck his fingers into the eyes of Curly. Curly who ended up hanging in a closet. Like a recently pressed suit. A professional hit, Larry said. Moe wouldn’t do something like that.

 

 

The undead rising. Zombies. Started by Jesus. All the Christians wandering around so sure of the purpose in life. Looking for the Boston Tea Party in the Garden of Gethsamene.

smallI must make a phone call

 

 

My Hair Is On Fire

April 1, 2013

Shot like a man out of a cannon. My mother almost died giving me birth. Head was too big. Doctors’ thought I might need braces on my neck. Crawled through the first centuries of life. When I was twenty my hair was down my back. Orange and dusty. I felt like a god. Beautiful and outrageously vain. Standing in the Kipling Station. I could have stood there forever. When I stepped on the train I was 40 and everything picked up speed. The last decade has been like a long weekend. My eyes are watering. And my hair is on fire.

smallMy hair is on fire

Fresh Release. New ebook. My Hair Is On Fire

Then Terry died

March 24, 2013

I was almost a beat poet. Liked the whole idea of sitting around and listening to the chatter of voices. the patter of spoons in coffee cups. the bongos. and the almost endless and vaguely mystical poetry that filled the air. like sweat in a locker room. but then Terry died. Though I wouldn’t find out for twenty years. And rising up to read I realized that I was afraid of heights. And immediately began falling.

The poem here is from a book called The Baltimore Catechism. The book is free but if you hurry you can get it for half price.

SMALLremembering freedomSMALL

…………………………

DIARY OF A WHITE VIRGIN

 

through the cracks in th

e wall i can hear the small talk rambling

on in the hall;

shelley looked so frightful

when her bronze boy lover left.

he left slamming the front door

but the house was mute and deaf.

i was smoking a cigarette

that put me on a wing – torn curtains drool upon the

streetlight shadows

an old oak drooping bent

over a hollow like’\

an old man begging for care and

then forgetting

why he’s there.

 

i tried to sketch your portrait

but you stole my rock.

 

a roman circus passes my way

eight days after friday;

candlelight

unknown voices

soar to flame

so i go dreaming down the street

smoking

drinking

sucking.

 

the grass is smoke

upon the factory’s heat.

all the walls flee

you’re not impressed by their rout.

 

breeze caresses the flame.

 

rubber careemed off the street

black shivering beds

sighing with the roll and scortch

magic dawn flushes,

the fury of the night stalls.

 

laces of my boots cry

that its someone to pray to.

toothless sun laughing at me.

walls are closing floor rising up.

i want to go up and touch your face.

dust drained from his skull.

the caution signs r blind

perfume swallows the air.

 

silence bleeds.

 

TIMBRE yells the vet

before he mends the old hookers

falling crotch. lovers separate

& crawl into marble rabbit holes.

i saw the hardwood melt

down upon your face.

 

against a bus stop he leans

with his guns in his eyes.

 

kissed a girl who didn’t want to be touched

manufacture some hate

aren’t you getting kinda stout?

 

don’t you realize yr a self

conceited egg tonight i met

jesus with a bottle of zing in his hand.

a lonely elephant asked me today

if

i was as mirror of discontent.

 

we should all wear pink

and be forced to carry around portable sinks.

 

drenching darkness empress

coca cola clown

onion blood baby

blow me. let me follow it down your throat.

i have sat inside my room

placed my fingers inside your wounds

touch’d things smoother than moonlight,

seen you hide from the cruel dancers.

 

a spider weaves suicide across the moon

t hide the memory of a king

who hung himself one afternoon

one sticky afternoon in the seaweed

beneath big blackman’s beach.

 

spring lingers on

sleeping under the snow.

 

moses kissd all the virgins with rain,

gave them passports,

put them on the cattle train.

 

one must please the customer.

 

DANCE LITTLE LADY

DANCE UNTIL YOUR FEET ARE THE FLOOR

DANCE UNTIL YOU CAN’T DANCE ANYMORE

DANCE LITTLE LADY

DANCE FOR US ALL

THERE’S NO TIME TO BE LEFT AT EASE

DANCE LITTLE LADY WOULD YOU PLEASE

 

my bride stood before me in yellow

she was scrawny

naked

& sour. a tinge of resentment on her breath.

get outta here

i mean would you please leave the room

i wonna think about the love you gave me

but i don’t want to think about you.

 

joann

i can hear my daddy’s poetry

building stand naked

& faceless

sounds of groaning uncles

& their voices.

i met a child in the back of the back room.

she came wearing a badge.

i lifted her latch

burnt her on my minute steak.

 

i announced i was running for god

& everybody gathered around to ask why.

don’t get too close

i couldn’t handle an overdose.

 

close your eyes. you’ll never go blind.

watch the seagulls fly in their cage

broken beer bottles in the grass awaiting a victim.

lonely romeo trapped in her canyon

a wooden waste basket full of crawling hands

a crowd of a thousand breathing

a skinned woman

desks and silver spoons choking

her visions of you have kept her

up through the night.

she weeps like a tyrant.

 

through the cracks in the wall. i

can hear the rambling on

of small talk in the hall.

look at michael trying to apolo

gize with his jokes and his cur

ls and his gift of pea

rls and his lost wor

lds. antiques will replace old ladies.

my grudges she warms like white coals.

– i’m losing the beat.

 

what about the year of 56

when men breathed fire

and men threw sticks.

sweet suffering

January 22, 2013

I wrote this book in the format of Kierkegaard. That is I created the author and let him write it. The painter/poet is a personality that I engaged within myself and met many  times as I visited galleries, art openings, poetry readings. He has suffered much more than I have. I would say that outside of dentist offices, hemorrhoids, and existential dread, I haven’t suffered much at all. From love of course. But that is sweet suffering.

This poem comes from a book, Hard Brush Soft Paint. You can download it for a very efficient transactional fee of … nil.

Hard Brush coverSMALL

……………………………………………………………………………………

Guilt

 One part of the world suffers from hemorrhoids while the other half steps silently into death. One part is on a diet; the other part is losing weight. One part is blind; the other part can’t read. One part has calluses on its heart; the other part has calluses on its hands. My ideas aren’t fit for general consumption. Perhaps my work should be exported to some third world country where they will swallow anything. Turning on the television to a talk show. Someone mentions pornography; everyone laughs. I am seasick. God is the sea is the sky is my stomach rising and diving and screeching in my ear like a gull. Handel’s water music spews out of the tape machine, threads of plastic dripping through my fingers. Our genocide of happiness is destroying the planet. The other part applauds.

Late last night

January 10, 2013

I wrote a bunch of poems about the west. I’m not sure if it was the influence of Dylan’s John Wesley Harding, or the work of Johnny Cash, or the book The Collected Works of Billy the Kid.

This poem is from a book of poems from an ebook The Baltimore Catechism.

…………………………………….

FOUR RIDERS

four riders dressed in white

came into our town late last night.

They had all no good looks

all looked mean

they did things to the darkness

no man has ever seen.

When they left

only their huff marks could be seen in the mud

and the deputy sheriff who was buried with a slug.

Nothing more was revealed

except

the sheriff’s son said he heard them speak

when he was hiding inside a chest

that the next time they returned

nothing would be left.

SMALLTom DewleySMALL

 

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