15 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Days 10-15

10. (There's No Accounting For Taste)

In spite of the insistence of the whippoorwill
there will be those who,
out of misguided nostalgia,
remember a season the way it was portrayed
in some movie, envisioned
by a camera and an eye
that lights the sun just so
to accentuate the cleavage of an actress
whose name will fade
as quickly as her natural hair color
and the leading man's virility;
and the makeup covering her freckles --
that reminder of her first lover,
a teenage boy in the backseat of her father's car
who, in his passion,
could not manage to play connect the dots
before the night was cut short
and blood on the upholstery
would be a reminder
of awkward hands
and an over-exaggerated post-coital description
in the boy's locker room the following Monday.


Maps and calculations;
Spring makes for far scanning eyes.
Lists and computations,
accounting for past blind spots,
for presently unseen predicaments.
The world is a pathless wide open land.
The road is waiting in the soles of these boots.
The compass points West.
Dreams run South.
Down river, deep in the mud
there are roots sunk
that have the mark
of East bound tributaries
and of West bound capillaries,
carrying this blood and this water
back to the by the dirty sacred river
where all life began.


We brought our defeat with us.
Buried deep under the continental shelf.
Packed it along with the obligations we carry.
Only the gods truly see
and appreciate the irony.

13. (Whore's Bath)

Non-habitual habit.
Careless concern.
Consideration of the crucial bits.
This is no dry ritual; this
is the meditative contemplation
of each act,
there is more to feeling human
than the comfort of others.


Talk matters less
than the silent exchange
in the conversation of hands and eyes.
Memories passed in the manner of touch.
Woman is man's sacred mnemonic --
soft and warm and firm.
In all the public spheres,
sectioned off in desperate windowless rooms,
the pale, the old, and the afraid bellow
speak of worlds past
that no one remembers
except for the suggestion off ghosts
hiding in the peripheral vision
of prophets passed out drunk
and saints whose optimism has sunk
and in the unknowing laughter of children
who see but do no understand
that god is a dog riding on the shoulders
of that madman
who wandered into town giggling
with a mouth full of maggots and dried blood.

15. (Recorded Conversation On The Topic of Foreign Policy)

"You have to choose a side!" The old woman spoke
upset, her voice exasperated, unaccustomed as she was
to confrontation in this, her most specious knowledge.

"Fine," I said. "I choose everyone else."
The powers and dark principalities
will have none of my soul today.

Location:Cincinnati, OH

09 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Days 8 and 9

8. A Wise Man Once Told Me To Plant Roots in the Bluegrass

Cincinnati, misnamed
and misunderstood, is hardly kind
to free wandering folk.
Losantiville stretches in my dreams:
the bustling Germanic blood,
the desperate rattle of street car fantasies.
Taciturn and cultured
beneath a thin cynical veneer
and hues of eternal comeuppance,
it is hard for me to stay
or know precisely what to say
when all the little building blocks
have been ground to dead polluted dirt
and that which you label character
comes at a price determined
by the market cost of a pound of flesh.


Fast breaking spring arrives
with summer on its heels.
Somewhere farmers are praying for rain
and hoping their prostrations
are not overly answered.

Red breast wrestling a long piece of straw.
Sparrow picking seeds out of the dirt.
I remember corn rows no taller than my knee
and the grim determination of old men on bar stools
while the agri-barons sat in comfortable chairs,
counting coins, and watching the market

waiting for the best time
to open up stores of grain
that no hungry man
will ever eat in leavened bread.

Location:Cincinnati, OH

07 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Day 7

7. Ashes and Dirt

Cool spring mornings,
waiting for the scent of new dew
and the rustling sound of deer
waking from sound sleep in the brush.
Spent campfire coals
ashes left from hours spent
pondering nothing but the stars
the goodness of a warm fire,
the grace of a soft bed roll
and the redemptive power of water
set aside for morning ablutions
in the sacred washing bowl.


06 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Days 5 and 6

5. In the Kingdom of Insects

Merge / Diverge.
Sink into the rising sun.

Out of sacred kisses
come golden wings.

In the kingdom of insects
the sparrow is a god

not to trifled or contended with.
Trees sprout new leaves

and the fruit bearers prepare.
Instructions for the new season

are delivered on the westward wind,
translated by trees, by rock,
by itinerant blades of grass, by gurgling rivers.

In the kingdom of insects,
the mayfly is a phoenix,

and all become illuminated
in the convergence of a new day.

6. We Are Ours

That which binds
is not described
by mere geography.

These lines, this distance,
this temporal space,
just arbitrary lines --

demarcations of a landscape
painted by someone else
in the absence of the familiar.

Taloolah sings in dreams.
Amber sun rays break through
fractured glass.

Sky blue bubbles bear
our most sacred promises,
carried across to one another

on waves of music strummed
in the light of a permanent new day.

Location:Cincinnati, OH

04 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines, Day 4


In a dream -- bushes overflowing
with open pink roses. Streets lined
with arrogant orange poppies.

On certain days in late Spring
the low sitting storm clouds
emulate the mountains
that never cease to call out to me.

The ground is rising up against us,
cutting back, clump by ruddy clump,
the bits of dirt we lay claim to.

The garden must be tended to
or the weeds will bear out:
leave the acorn squash open
to legions of insects with names
we forgot in a drunken stupor.

Asking the snap peas is no help.
They are passed out like Saturday night barflies
in pools of spring rain.

The roses will out
and the bushes are rich.
The thorns draw blood,
and the petals want more.

Next time the hand will be just as eager
and forgetful of the previous letting.

Their beauty draws us
like trees bend towards the sun.

Location:Cincinnati, OH

03 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Poetry Month, Day 3


Today is not the day.

The sun rises so smooth, too,
seamless in a crisp morning,
embodying the image of divine clarity.

The day winds on, alternates between
dragging and rushing,
the edges of each minute
sewn together like burlap sacks.

The mind wanders on --
more lazy than frenetic,
the way an eye glances over
and releases the body
of a long ignored lover.
By mid-day, there is no point,
not to any of it.

He meanders through his memories,
through days and moments past,
a ghost haunting his own life.

There is no satisfaction left
in the watered down whiskey
or in the thought that somewhere,
on the other side of the wall,
there is something great and beautiful
waiting for his eyes to capture it.

Location:Cincinnati, Ohio

02 April, 2013

Losantiville Lines: Inclination, Poetry, and Song

Your Sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. - Joseph Campbell

All I've ever really wanted to do is write poetry and play music. -- Me, in a conversation with Amanda

April means that Spring might actually be here, and that, shortly, summer will arrive. April also means it's National Poetry Month. And while I don't generally need an excuse to write poetry, I have found that it's useful for me to take advantage of said Month to write Poetry.

A few years ago and under a different blog title (Fictions of the Dead Machine, for those hearty few who may have been reading me that long... and if you have, Gawd Bless Ye!) I decided to write one poem a day for the entire month of April. They weren't all good poems; but that's entirely too subjective a standard to judge anything by.

The problem with holidays, set aside times of the year, and months dedicated to this or that or the other is that we, as a culture, tend to misunderstand the purpose of said holidays, seasons, and sometimes arbitrarily chosen spans of days. Such days are not so much time keeping tools as they are mnemonic ones; they are part of The Long Memory, and one of our connections to it. They have become reasons for percentage off sales and the regurgitation of traditions and rituals whose actual purpose (mnemonic) has long been lost to the hobgoblin of habit.

When I decided to write a poem a day before, it was mostly because I was afraid I was losing something something. I was still writing -- at that point, getting paid for it -- but there was very little poetry to it that I could see.

Time and Distance have changed some of that perspective.

I have long been aware of the wonderful and terrible blessing it is to know what you want to do. There hasn't been a time, since the age of 10, that I haven't wanted to write. There hasn't been a time that I wasn't around music and wasn't enamored with it. Much of my memory, like most people's is fueled by music. That all I've ever wanted to do is write and play music has helped provide a certain filter for things; I was able to eliminate a lot of options that others may have seen as plausible (My Dear Sweet Ma always thought I'd make a good lawyer or social worker).

But that also means that I have been doomed to, on occasion, engage in preoccupations for the purposes of making a bit of money here and there. Some people call that having a job, or... Gawd help them... a CAREER.

For me, it's always been a damnable distraction, contrary to my nature, my purpose, and at times, my happiness.

But even so, I must remain aware that there is poetry and music in it.

1. Crawl Inside

Find the light deep in the belly.
Home is the place where the sun always shines.
Outside the window,
gray cityscapes stretch immense --
monuments to pale sensibilities,
altars upon which we spill the blood of children.

There is music in the pocket of the sun;
rhythm is reflected in new Spring Moon
from the light in your eyes.

Taloolah sings through strings
forged from precious metals
and ancient dreams.
Her voice is yours,
and it echoes in my ears.


Dream of Spring and dread the impending summer;
speak of stowing away the sweaters, the long underwear, the wool;
spend long minutes staring into mirrors,
wondering about laugh lines, sagging skin, and back fat;
resent objectification and miss being the object;
hair color, wrinkle cream, the right car, the right light;
graze on salads and sparkling water while the scent
of ribs on the spit and cold beer waft in the wind;

dream of spring.

Days idyllic that never were; imagine a once upon a time
when your first thought of the day was not
Not Again...

Location:Cincinnati, OH