Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Year Mom Went into Rehab on Christmas Eve

I flew into Bob Hope International
and stood in the loading zone
under the sun with my bags
for an hour.
I called again.
No one was home.
I took a cab.
The house was empty.
In the living room
a fat Scotch pine
tilted awkwardly in the corner
ornaments still in boxes stacked before it.
I went back outside, sat on the front steps
and lit a cigarette.
Neighbors passed by
on bikes
walking dogs
conspicuously not looking at me.
I lit another cigarette.
My dad rolled up
to a plaintive squeak
as his front tire rubbed against the curb.
He walked towards me across the dry patch of lawn
Where’s Mom?
She’s, uh, gone.
She left?
No. I took her somewhere.
It was bad timing
Sometimes it was really bad timing
Are you hungry?
We walked into the kitchen.
A half-frozen turkey sat stabbed in the sink.
A wine glass lay broken on the linoleum.
Potato peelings stuck like band-aids to the walls and countertops.
Let’s go out.
At the Denny’s on Sepulveda
I ordered the Grand Slam Breakfast
(because they serve it at any time)
and said “Merry Christmas.”

Is that the same guy?

Drinking beer and flipping through the channels
I saw him on the Food Network
He had written a book about being rich and on drugs
in the Eighties
He got famous
and was now on teevee
tasting and judging the work of famous chefs
I always wanted to write a book and get famous
but if I did you wouldn’t catch me on a cooking show
not sober, at least.


“Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,”
he roars
oblivious to all around him
his careless verbal violence
frightens passersby
they cross streets
avert gazes
I see him everywhere
hair askew
buying his privacy with anger

Friday, August 22, 2008

Walking through Pioneer Square

Goofy toothless smile
matching mad careless cackle
only had a dollar to live on til next Monday
he sent it on an airplane
made of jet black snow
he’d rather quit with nothing
than go on dying slow

Looking over the railing of the boat this morning I saw

Someone lost a scarf
perched soggy and forlorn
clutching the ferry’s edge
silk bright orange and green
like the abused gaiety
of a dress worn home
the morning

Friday, August 15, 2008

I got nothing

No. Nothing.
no poetry
no poetry
no poetry
I’m not able
to write poetry

News I heard about a woman I used to work with

Her baby died
She had just returned to work
from maternity leave
first day back
daycare called and told her
Your baby isn’t eating
You should come
When she arrived
already in a panic
she saw the ambulance
Her baby was dead
They did not know why.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ants in my pants

I poured my soul into it, you know, for the art.
What a crock.
It’s all a crock.
The job, jobs, any job,
All that matters is eating and beer.
Societies existed,
states thrived
art flourished
despite the fact people fell sick and died.
We’re ants,
we’re all a bunch of crawling, scrambling ants
in an impossibly complex nest.
The stupid things we must do to live
are mind-bogglingly complicated
and useless.
Calculating adjusted gross income
Choosing car insurance
Excel spreadsheets.
Yaba-daba-doo, coo-coo-ca-choo
Hello Magoo, how the fuck are you?
Blind as a bat? I’m still working for that rat
at the quarry
and then there’s Joe Dimaggio
Where the hell has he gone?
That’s another story.