Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Season in the Rain

A Season in the Rain

There are no subordinate clauses
in Frankenstein's Monster's discourse

(embedded possessive)

Ozymandias say
windows tiles statues
all beneath the sea

Person seen walking
along tombstone shadows
red trees the green lawn

silver estuary

Hammered silver tray
the magnetic ducks asleep
rest zone between storms

No weed no brandy
austere diet no coffee
bought expensive boots

Ten drops of brandy
in an empty pot vial
lovely clouds and gulls

Bag of frozen peas
some rice and an onion slice
it's enough for now

flag snaps incessant
how fiercely the cold campaigns
to conquer the earth

Trees move great limbs in the wind
storm clouds follow on
who's calling outside?

classic cold front

window in the wind
hail teletypes on old glass
snow low in the hills

Cold back east threatens
apple blossoms fields of strawberries
that thought it was Spring

The atmospheric river
emptied onto the coast
Ghost faces appear
in overnight graffiti
Mudslides evacuate
the burn scars
of the Loma fire
Peaking at flood stage
boulders and mushroom-
shaped islands
ten inches in Ben Lomond
downpour at midnight
firemen come up the staircase
dead end valley
trapped in cars
moving in two feet of water
moving in water

the river in the sky

Endless torrential rain
I walked to the Port in the storm
forty foot whale washed up
in Alameda
towed to Angel Island
for post mortem dissection

Two musicians
from Tower of Power
late for a Yoshi's gig
hit by an Amtrak train

The young lady
drove off the road in the rain
and into the rushing creek
up in the sliding hills
her car later found empty
her window broken out
the creek rushes on to the Bay
corpses there are at long last found

Blasting at midnight
how insistent the train cries
to bed to new life

Creeks are swollen
Berkeley hills grow greenly
more rain on the way

The lawn behind my eyes
feels worn and sore
I try to stay awake
ahead of my tidal wave
eyelids of indica indigo

The Big Top

Asleep under a vast
crazy quilt canopy
in the middle of a circus tent
Trapeze practice far overhead
I hardly notice them anymore
I'm opening a beach umbrella
against a torrent of
the sun vitiates
everything that doesn't grow

I screamed into
a screen door
my eyes pulverized
into a million flies
or flies eyes
This is nothing you
would choose to go through
picture windows shattered
into DMT crystals
The prismatic infrastructure
of a glass ant farm
life forms advertised
in lurid comic books
compartmentalized in classroom
a million flies and screaming
Beelzebub writes his name
on the blackboard

Her feet are like
invading armies

He's a mean old cuspidor

clouds propel me far away
far out of this world

January dreams

Walking on hometown Garfield street
area that is also a precipitous hillside like Berkeley
Look down from the sidewalk to a backyard
familiar from my youth
I decide to jump down and walk out
by the front gate to Slade street
a lark of a short cut
As I scale the perimeter I see it is quite a drop down
on a sheer exposed rock face, no real foot holds
but I have a Peter Pan lightness
like gracefully reduced gravity
a euphoric descent
I trace the old paved path on out
past the old well-kept New England house

Tightness in my breast bone
tell someone who asks to see
I inhale jutting out my ribs
and the normal protrusion
expands out into a phallus-shaped
light switch under the skin
that flips down seeming to solve
the problem

About some sort of pleasure cruise
on a fairly large ship
We dock while below deck
and I have to ascend to exit
Climb stairs toward main deck
they end in a series of ladders
as logical and impossible
as an Escher drawing
few hand holds
People climb up behind me
and I stand aside for them
then clamber down again feeling
That I don't have the where-with-all
to complete the strenuous climb
Then I find stairs but they seem
to have no exit up top
Looking up into sunlit sky light
the gleaming fixtures of the upper deck

pine tree soft sunset
moon sliver and evening star
tonight's totem pole

In the swirling visage
of a stranger
I picked out a face
I used to know
back when we both
had faces
Now we're trapped
in the trees

Fragment from a sprawling complex dream
about leaving a place where I had been living
in some small yet urgent hurry
in the company of an older comrade
I have to return for some purpose
 and I find myself driving in a car
as a front seat passenger
with an unknown younger woman
She is in some sort of fugue state
or has lost her good judgment
She begins driving uphill
across the lawns on the UC campus
with lots of students all around us
I frightened by the likely outcome of this
police or collision
so I wrestle the wheel
and control of the pedals
fro her to halt the car safely

26 January 2017
(Wake with heart pounding)

Manuscript Found in a Bottle

The silence stillness
and night were the universe

unrelieved by phosphoric sea brilliancy

Violence of the simoom

The sound of a vast mill wheel turning
the simoom came with a chaos of foam
those below were drowned in their cabins
only the Swede and I survived
I was thrown into rigging
of a chiaroscuro ship
from an imaginary other world
At last only I was alive
no need to hide
no one sees me

Stupendous ramparts of ice
towering away into the desolate sky
and looking like
the walls of the universe
Antipodal strait
through ice precipice
We race to our ultimate cataclysm

The girl who ran off the road
into the creek was found
a month later twelve miles away
two miles into the bay
I wonder if she travelled a little bit
every day

because of my strange way
of looking at things
twice consigned to the nut house
I'm pretending
police go by
on the highway
red and blue lights
in the new year's rain

Exposed gold in Oroville
a tear at the edge of the sky
world's  tallest dam
past capacity
gash spillway toppled
inundates model train villages
a matchbox housing bubble

San Jose aflood
Towns cut off in Big Sur
saints stranded in monasteries
One of the last
drive-through Sequoia
could no longer
stand the storm
lies down at last

Confessional Poem

During five o'clock mass
the sky fell down around us
walking down street afterwards
sneaking a leak in some hedgerow
I scratched my new black boot
a tomahawk in the dark
marked that furtive move
One week old buttery leather
from Tasmania, you devil
nearly $200
My confession:
I found $100 five twenties
rolled up and rolling on the ground

it had a store receipt
might have been traceable
to the unfortunate customer
maybe could have made him
 whole for the holiday but
it was cash on the street
My old rationale
if God wants to give you money
he can't write you a check
seems untidy
The other $100 boot
came out of my own hide
the boot that didn't get scratched
after Mass

I transpired on another
earth-like planet
a pioneer to see if life
could be sustained there
it turned out to be
more hostile than expected
more toxic than imagined
the irreversibility
on lost tributaries
of fate

There are few tales if any
that we find as secretly
poignantly tragic as our own

Folk Lyric

With this lamp I can again write poetry
with the pen I can again
delineate liberty

There's no lamp, there's no poetry
No light at night, no electricity

There's a curfew now
instead of liberty

With fresh clean air, access to water
good food is life's necessity

The air and water must be checked
for relative toxicity

Food is never enough and will never be
the fields and seas are beaten
when it comes to food
there is one rule
You must eat and be eaten

No one is pure no one alone to blame
But all share in quilt's complicity

her dog began to tremble
when the hail
was coming

An asymmetric motorcycle
stopped for me
get in the side car

long story cut short
we got separated
I came to  earth
on an old barn roof
where I was used for ever more
as a folkloric weather vane
the next cartoon begins
before the last image has faded
when your battle is over
they award you a plague
engraved with your name
in the form of a perpendicular

Walkabout in Tasmanian boots
my books all turned to smoke
long ago
fanciful colored records
I still have store
Muddy Waters Mary wells Eartha Kit
miraculous folk songs
disappear on the vine
Only the wind remains
scarecrow with a cigar box guitar
a little star
on the edge of singularity
like a tea tray in the sky
Growing things overtake
the nominative real

Hours have passed
days have passed
I wake up
still dark out
how long have I slept?
the rain still rippling the puddles
the rain still stippling the puddles

February Dream:

Leaving my pad I run into the new guy
 in the apartment next door for the first time
as I open my door.
He is a younger white guy
blondish hair, bland, non-committal
as befits the awkward situation
I tell him to call me Ray
and he replies that his name is Stephen
I tell him that actually
 my given name is Stephen
meanwhile there is someone else present
in the corridor with us
not involved with us a cleaner perhaps

my thoughts erode in aero-space
time offers no shelter for my ideas
today the paint store
reads only pain

The girl who washed away
was found where the creek meets the bay

Majestic clouds
send the cold wave winds
forbidding you
to look at them

January-March 2017

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