Hauntings

who knew it had a name

a definition

                 a condition

This “Existential Crisis”

now that we realize the cause, what’s the elixir to exist… through it?

Is living with the effect like a terminal illness you endure until Death relieves you of the burden?

See how you’ve been

changed… by it

morphed into a stranger… by it

lived with the new rage simmering like hot soup burning mouth and tongue, keeping a constant fire searing your belly…by it

I’ve watched tolerance wane

Begged hope not vanish

Felt kindness measured out in even doses when once, long ago, the bottle was full for the taking…

Seen patience with the mis-truths of others skip like smooth stones glancing off the water to bottom at river’s edge..

Questioned what I know to be true in the denial of others deemed closest…

Once, I’d always stay, accepting blame…begging for scraps and inclusion at every table 

Now, doors slam and I slip away quietly without fanfare …or if hurt enough by perceived betrayals, bang pots and pans, bring in the steel drums, opening the word-valves,  relieving pain’s pressure

while the sharpest knives are kept at the ready to cut ties of friendships, I seek the stranger in the mirror, demanding that she be returned to me…to my world

a small skiff left by the wayside

Crashes into the rocks

Soon to be another sunken vessel

Weighing heavily into lapping waves

 

                 

 

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charlie

welcome to the world

of kings and men

in varying states of distorted thinking

a planet crying out for help and

madmen who have forgotten compassion for humanity

welcome to a world where you are loved

where you will find your place and follow a bloodline

rich with heart and love for others sharing this path on life’s often

rocky roads…

know, above all, that hope will be your salvation

that your footprint on earth’s sands will be uniquely yours

carry in your heart a great capacity for love

and care for all living things

know that your humanity can know no bounds..

i love you, dear grandchild with all of my heart…

welcome

you are loved…

 

 

 

 

 

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you start dying slowly-by pablo neruda

you start dying slowly

When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime, to run away from sensible advice

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a time to mourn

such a time
with each passing of
our peers, these musical landmarks
and heroes
defined our youth
leaving us with a roadmap connecting the passage of our lives with a lyric, a line
a verse or that memorable, amusing or
even annoying encounter ….
and that one particularly magical show, never to be forgotten..
we were blessed with the good fortune and a love of this music
that brought us to this industry’ s door and accompanied us all through our many journeys along youth’s way..
now we are whittling away at our memories.. like old shavings
they fall to the ground in bits and pieces          amid our shock and disbelief at the sheer volume of the loss of our musical heroes–and friends—- this season….

we were there, yes ..and now           we too

are here….

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letter to fante’s ghost

dear dan

at nineteen  circa early 70’s    a displaced island girl came back home to venice for a short visit   questioning home   deceived and wounded again by love     and searching

still searching     for the place and time that might settle and define her

as she walked her dog up brooks ave     past the straight satans’ den

sandals crunching through the remains of broken beer bottles   over trash-lined gutters–   more trash than she remembered–    you barreled out of a dealer’s front door and into the street

plowing straight into her      bummed a smoke, chatted her up and convinced her that you needed a ride back over the hills to the valley        was she game for an afternoon of adventure?

the pad might’ve been mom n ‘dad’s casa in the suburbs       and the bedroom, that of a son    old enough to know better    yet too old or too fucked up to still be livin’ at home with the folks

the floor was hardwood    the room trashed    and her spine ached from the beating it received beneath you during your version of lovemaking     the bedsheets on the rumpled bed were too filthy to be on       or in    and she was warned not to touch   or read    the scribbles on the lined paper amid the books    crumbs and chaos

afterwards    we stumbled, high as kites        you opened the door of the family garage     dragged out an old rusted-out chopper      and after ten minutes of sputtering and smoking and the grinding of gears     you wheeled it to the street,   she hopped on the back of the old harley    and onto the nearby ramp of the 405

to this day, that terrifying 125mph ride in the fast lane was her first     and last   ride on the back of a motorcycle   her screams to slow down or stop     disappeared into the wind  as your whoops and hollers grew more maniacal by each passing minute    her arms and shoulders numbed from clinging so tightly around that beer belly  spilling over those funky jeans of yours    yet you yelled and yelled and laid on it        like you were happily speeding into death’s arms      and a welcomed       hell

the CHP who after miles and miles of chase    finally got your attention     asked if you had a deathwish        your reply was, “why yes,  officer, i do”      to which he answered   “well do it on your own time, not with the life of this girl hanging on for her dear life behind you, asshole”…

my brother /friend sent me a copy of your death notice  via al   a translated  italian obit from europe   where you LA poet/writers gained the bulk of your notoriety and fame

i have been blessed and cursed with these memories….an odd, unpretentious life    wrong place at the right time     right place at the wrong time…..slices of heaven and potential gateways to hell

farewell mister fante…you almost took me with you that day   on the 405    heaven or hell..i hope the journey took

you whopping and hollering    loudly   toward the end

 

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letter from a wise old woman

Shadowdance

“I’ve chosen to pick up favorite pens again instead,”  she wrote me.  “It’s the visciousness and cruelty of our current human condition. My choice now is to remove myself from these insipid, whining children of the night.  I experimented for a year, using my nephew’s face and a pseudonym as a twenty-something poet instead of using my published real name on this cyber-horrific plane.  This experiment brought me exactly what I suspected: the pretentiousness of the mediocre child critics, who’s altars to old writers they’ve never met or lived around are splintered with the weight of old bones .  I have lived to 72 years, have spent my life desiring the approval of the poetry men of my generation, and have learned many things–the most important thing to remember is to not read the reviews of the nasty and insipid—ever.  It will never assist in the progression of your writings, or help your words roll off…

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heat

the rings and realms of dante’s hell

have sprung through earth’s crust        flame and fire    licking             every   surface of august            like a thorough lover

humankind and wildlife alike

hunger now for release, moisture

a cool drink       release

and a dip in any refreshing

unpolluted                body of water

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recalling the nightmare

at the time

it seemed like a good idea…

reconnect with relations long abandoned

try finding forgiveness for the shattering of my life

and find the energy to let go

of the toxins that bleed memories in and out to this day…

a twenty-plus year journey of sickness and panic

needs to come to an end before death’s hand reaches…

putting it out into the universe is just as effective and

less painful,  i’ve been told…an easier road than the fork i thought

i needed to take and travel ….

my blood and theirs will always flow though veins

co-mingling whatever brand of crazy that

we have been damned to endure…

but, sadly, i’ve realized that

i cannot place myself into their lives

without the shadows of evil lurking around every word..

the spoken and the unspoken of the past is too complicated…

so to the universe

i beg

let me forgive to

release the darkness from my soul

as i walk away

with my life and the love

of the remaining family i have created and

chosen

 

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beyond a horizon

billy sat beside me like the old days on an old, busted, green pavilion, piss-smelling  venice bench watching the gulls flyin’ into another sunset above the wide span of empty beach

i’m broken and sick now from too much livin’ here , he said i shoulda come up north with you and settled in some peaceful redwoods thirty  years ago when i saw the signs instead of believing that so cal could always redeem me keepin’ me here, thinkin’ that venice would always open her arms and hold me… instead, here i am with needle marks scarring my arms and feet, needin’ at least a beer or two with my morning fix just to keep the demons away…. dumped now outta my rent control shack into livin’ in my car, and chained to a place i barely recognize but for this sky and the memories… but, ahhh….  what a life we’ve lived, he said, staring off…and now, we’re all dyin’… i watched his right foot drummin’ the pavement  a million miles an hour it seemed, tryin’ with all he had to keep the inside opiate ants from crawlin’  up his calves… yeah, billy…what a life it was….we’re all just barely hangin’ on by a thread and remembering what we can day by day…what can i do to make it better?  aw, you don’t have enough as it is, much less enough  to be takin care of my ass too, he mumbled…you got your own to worry about…ol’ billy will be alright…..write me somethin’, put me in a story or one of those poems you usta write…think of me and say a prayer i make it outta here alive someday… who is gonna save us now, he whispered as he hugged me goodbye and staggered a bit as he headed toward speedway as the sun dipped beyond the horizon… yes, my friend…the clock is tickin’ and the answers ain’t comin’ to me either…who is gonna save us now?  salvation don’t come easy to us–it never has— and its kinda late…be well and i’ll see you next time…probably right there, on the other side of that horizon…

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toxic compassion

one

the latest word is that positive living translates as       better living and extends the longevity of one’s precious life….

in order to achieve this, one is told they must eliminate and purge themselves of all toxicity and negativity        be it in food, water,  pollution    in  broadcast news reports or unpleasant things in general ….

but especially, purge the worries and stresses about things            purge the mindless acts of some fellow humans       the funny “things “that have we and the world spinning out of control right outside our front doors….

two

CHANGE!  YOU MUST CHANGE, THEY SAY.  YOU MUST CHANGE HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE AND WHO YOU KEEP IN IT  IN ORDER TO LAST LONGER!

CHANGE!  YOU MUST CHANGE IN ORDER TO BEAT THE ODDS THAT DEATH HAS ALREADY STACKED AGAINST YOU!  PUSH PUSH PUSH ALL THE NEGATIVITY AWAY FROM YOU!

CHANGE!   CLING WITH YOUR BLOODY STUMPS TO LIFE’S RIM AND RID YOURSELF OF ANYTHING THAT’S IS UNPLEASANT OR DIFFICULT BECAUSE ITS BAD FOR YOU!                                     ( it will kill you)

LIVE LIKE THIS AND YOU WILL SURVIVE!

three

in this life, we have surrounded ourselves with madness              and happily  chosen its crooked, rain-slicked  paths instead of the alternate   straight and narrow highways

we’ve held hands with the other crazies        (who are just like us)

the depressed and troubled   the pretenders and the man-children     to the artists and dreamers             those often suicidal     and to the lost and bat-shit crazy

we have giggled wildly while tossing wildflowers from the garden       scattered petals from the perfect scarlet rose to create a thing of softness and beauty    for love    with them       have  skipped and stumbled, cried hysterical never-ending tears with them           and, always, they waited for us too…….waited and worried for our safe passage back when we’ve  been lost for awhile, a little too long    in a dark wood or two….

we’ve climbed up from the benthic depths and raced skyward  with those most beloved:

the artists, the madmen and women      the loyal who know us best      our fellow humans, our chosen blood      the creators we’ve known, those who have run the entire gamut  ………..the brilliant       terrified to cease or fail, they all have tasted on their lips the blood     and the struggles      day to day sometimes        trying hard to simply remember to exhale the precious breath they didn’t realize they were holding…listening to doubt’s voice in their head, wondering aloud:  is it over yet?  is the Muse really gone?  is this the day that i will……….stop?

four

with insight, we have shared and melded their like-mindedness with ours  gathered them close         shared with them our deepest secrets and fears       because   we speak the truth and of the unspoken things         we know that they too understand balance of this honesty in life.              we have loved and cared for these humans           in degrees          in the present and in the past

danced and doe-see-doe’d with them across hardwood floors and soft talcum powder  sands      we’ve hollered and screamed with them—and, later, on their behalf, at raging thief rivers       at killer waves on beach fronts      stood with them in the silence of  blessed mountaintops      laughed til we’ve cried til’ we’ve peed    shared in the beauty of a tender garden, while a lost voice of silliness still whispers behind every leaf…

soul-exchanged and heart filled, we have cared and been cared for…changed roles as the drainer and the drain-ee             always have managed to survive, bond in tact        strong, yet disconcertingly tenuous….

five

the new sad  rule is to eliminate ‘toxic’ people from your daily diet, including all of the aforementioned

another cruel blow to compassion for others!         

death laughs, shakes his whitened skull, and with his bony hand, turns to his dusty chalkboard, and adds another hash-mark         while we turn, face the red-brick and mortar wall and slowly                            bang our remaining hearts              repeatedly          against it

(AND THE MADNESS)

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