SALTWATER
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Always On
 
The lion reared its head and is now sleeping on the trail
and it dreams of wild fruit all raw and uncovered in the real
and it dreams of me and i am laying under blankets of skin
and i lay dreaming in the voice of friends
 
yes i'm gonna love you till you're real
till you are inside of me and i feel the things you feel
yes i'm gonna love you till you're gone
always on
 
why should I train my eye on such high flying fruit?
why can't i settle for some moments though they may be few?
i am dreaming of a love i'll never find cause it's deep within the dark
and my hands are flying black with sparks
 
yes i'm gonna love you till you're real
till you are inside of me and i feel the things you feel
yes i'm gonna love you till you're gone
always on
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Charm
 
the circle is loaded
like a spinning typhoon
it's the first day of fall
in this cool air applause
skinny arms and all
 
how soft her scarf smells
cigarettes and camomile
her hair like a teenage song
unearthing swarms
alien and warm with charm
 
i feel summer sweeping out feel myself freezing like a water spout
 
darling of the shadow skull
where memory hides
waiting for the sight of charm
 
the glass is high filled up with funny fumes
and it brings a comfort that will soon consume
fill up this ragtop rising from the dumpster
for i am leaving soon and i'm trying hard to say that
 
everything that's green turns gold
i am touching her and she is touching me we're null
 
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How the Ranks was Won
 
on the first day the ranks was filled with the men from o'borrow hill
on the second day the west wind wailed and the men threw up the sail
on the third day the chilly breeze was an iceberg in the sea
on the fourth day the setting sun was a sign that the day was done
how long till the ranks was won?
 
on the fifth day they danced their feet top the cabin where the major sleeps
on the sixth day they crossed the line sweetheart men child and wive
on the seventh day the ranks was calm but a calm don't last for long
how long till the ranks was won?
 
look out, look up child
and feel that wind upon your back
a little secret on your back
so now you know just why we left
 
long day when the ship was found a young child saw it run aground
long walk down an empty beach to a ladder that climbed and reached
long stretch of his cabin neck when he rose right on the deck
long look, and then it comes,
and that's how the ranks was won
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One Note Pillow
 
This is the day that pain falls away in the afterglow
bright like the sound of the gulls passing round above and below
you are are in tune a shelter of fumes as you cast out your long net
and hold it all above a one not pillow and let it go
 
so you're on fire and the contents of your cage expire
all of a sudden you're floating about
and as you rise you send signals to the sky
i see them from where i lie though i can't really say who they're for
 
i'm around just a round empty sound filled with common sense
and i roll and i drape around your shoulders like a rag on a fence
you are are in tune a shelter of fumes as you cast out your long net
and hold it all above a one not pillow and let it go
 
so you're on fire and the contents of your cage expire
all of a sudden you're floating about
and as you rise you send signals to the sky
i see them from where i lie though i can't really say who they're for
 
it's for someone like a light to a light
and it twists on itself like sky on sky
you mean just that you mean it
to anyone so strong
to think that smoke signals 
have to be sent to someone
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Valencia
 
in the hallways and the alley
in the freeway and the rut
they stream through 
the oak trees and food trucks
on any afternoon or evening 
in the parking lot or the strand
i'm sure they know where Valencia stands
 
so Valencia sweet talking
through a field of laughing gulls
is like the thin profile of a summersault
i call her when it's over
she says "i'm tired of this job"
and we go stroll down the great boulevard
 
"do you see her in the street she's so beautiful and loud?"
"yeah, she's a capricorn"
"i hear the last one faltered, broke his neck upon her arm"
"she's with a new one now"
bits of speech fall on the floor
deadly, landing on the floor
bits of speech grow arms and roar
deafened in the young dumb roar
 
little italy is built all up inside the brain
of all the patrons of the White Sage
the dress is always changing 
but one thing is for sure
that conversation's always the cure
above their heads an airplane writes in contrails in the sky
"oh how you look so small from most any eye"
i think it's laughing with them
or at them, i'm not sure
either way, it makes a good picture
 
"you see them in the street she's so beautiful and loud?"
"yeah, i see her skin in the clouds"
"so you'd be the fire that she is dancing round"
"i'd be a light that she's found"
bits of speech fall on the floor
deadly, landing on the floor
bits of speech grow arms and roar
deafened in the young dumb roar
 
i'm gonna wash out all the wet fumes and the boredom of that jealous stare
meet me with your 2 eyes, wet eyes wide open, so i know that you care
i would adore you like a blunt tool to destroy it
play a dumb coward shouting, crying, to annoy it
i'm gonna cross out all the wet fumes and the boredom of that jealous stare
or maybe i should just catch a ride to the shore 
 
in a lake house in the summer
with a key under the door
i know, i go sometimes to escape the roar
valencia is swimming
out naked in the lake
with the birds brimming and
the water snakes
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Deeper Feelins
 
 
deeper feelings covered over
like concrete and rain
like a good friend to come 
or someone to stay
deeper feelings in the high tower
next to the plotted park
where you stay
all safe away from harm
 
away from harm
its nose, so cold
whispering a kiss of nothingness
time will relieve you so
but can't wait forever, 
no,
you don't have to say i do
you just have to try
 
 
deeper feelings in the showroom
deeper feelings on the floor
deeper feelings on the bathroom tile
waiting for more
and in the newest conversation
with a raincoat on your arm
deeper feelings covered over
all safe away from harm
 
away from harm
its nose, so cold
whispering a kiss of nothingness
time will relieve you so
but can't wait forever, 
no,
you don't have to say i do
you just have to try
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Irene
 
The neighborhood is lining up again
the local food bazaar filled to the brim
The sky, a grey light drizzle but quite calm
Pedestrians stream home before the storm
I'm a dot
A particle, free
I'm waiting for the surge from the sea
the wind picks up
and brushes down the track
each raindrop, a pinprick on my back
and so i stop by brother mark's
to stay the night with friends
 
i pour 4 whiskeys on the rocks
he cooks beneath the dimly lit kitchen clock 
all the while we talk of hurricanes
back in houston then - canoeing in the rain
laura drops
her finger in the sauce
she says it's good for all of us to eat
so we stop
enough to hear the knock
swaying branches and raindrops in sheets
tapping on the top 
wrapping us in breeze
 
the night i spend sleeping on the floor
in and out of sleep - a room with no door
the tree outside projects a silhouette
and bends back and fourth like a blade of grass
i'm up 
so i walk down the hall
i watch my friends sleeping sound
and i stop long enough
to spread my thoughts around
 
i awake to the sound of breakfast bells
so i guess that means the battery held
we take a camera down on the street
among the limbs freshly cracked at our
the air is clean
the trains still at a halt
the boarded up windows on the block
sit so serene 
the calming aftermath
the entrails of the midnight bath
and of course we're holding hands
or at least thinking like that
 
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Saltwater


on the landing there in the slip stream
on the sweet beams of by and by
I am standing in the wet dream
of a giant in the sky 
and i wonder does it enjoy me
like the fresh fruit on the street
that leaks the sweetest nectar
and then spoils in the heat
when waking, i feel a terror
of the memory of night
for a second, only to loose it
for my eyes can't bear the sight
so i look to you, my only real friend
brother ishmael 
commanding the view from the crow's nest
on a ship setting sail
 
capsules of blue and gold
weave themselves round me
billow! billow!
they cover my eyes
they keep me satisfied
 
I had a friend one time
he packed up all his things and he left
us behind
and i still can't tell you why
 
i remember him most clearly in
the moments before the flash
and i wonder if it was me or him
that set in motion the gash
and i question how could i get so
close to such a cold heart
and i question if the cold heart
was in me from the start
ishmael, you are the reader
of every man in every sea
and i'm sure you could tell the story
much better than me
cause all i see is honest confusion
and this is truly heartfelt
i'm like roshaman's woodcutter
in the trees waiting for help
 
capsules of blue and gold
weave themselves round me
billow! billow!
they cover my eyes
they keep me satisfied
i had a friend one time 
he packed up all his things and he left 
us behind
and i still can't tell you why
 
weather is the ether
sandbags and salt
towers of grey matter
thundering a cough
the fingers of a tall moan
a howl that can't be heard
keep on singing, bird
 
the cayman islands
are just islands
where men come and go
and the wood on the pier
must be replaced
every few years or so
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Long Shot
 
I've been hiding
in this bag of bones
in this dream where no one comes
to wake me up
so long so long
chemical inversion
smiling like a blacktop cause my mind made up
 
riding on a long shot and the future's loud
 
giants surround me whispy in the den
like ice aged animals my foreign friends
we all go feed under the halo
wise eyes meet great white grins
 
riding on a long shot and the future's loud
do you hear it? do you see me as i really am?
can you tell me from the crowd?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PHOSPHORESCENT BLUES

 

 

My Buddy
my buddy, out on the train tracks
he is a friend somehow
I don't know how
we used to spend
(we used to spend) our time together
that is a reason to be friends
we used to spend our time together

the women of the street bring their carts to the center of town
the clatter, the mouth
the bark of an old market
bare fruit
my friend he strolls about for the ripest one
the taste on his tongue
all the pleasures of the earth

stop and ask him what he wants
he can't tell you, but
he can hold you like a scale

the station is an empty hall is an empty ride
I call it mine
the nose remembers
the smell of old graffiti
the end of conversations
the waiting in silence
and my buddy, out on the train tracks
he is smiling back
through the window of an old passing subway car
I beckon him and he tips his brow
as if to say somehow he remembers too

stop and ask him what he wants
he can't tell you, but
he can hold you like a scale

we are laughing upset
moving the halls with colorful figures
and stray dogs
and movie light flickers

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Kid
look at us in the morning too tired to get a shirt on too tired to get a raise
listen up car, start, get ready to go
put me on your shoulder take me where you want
like oh my god i'm here, i'm not
we used to build cities out of old plastic blocks
and at the end of the day
we'd tear them down for fun
now we've got to build a solid structure to stand on
now we've got a second set of teeth to take care of

and i am your second skin
i'm here to take from you your thoughts

i am the strapping young son in the second grade
my teachers think i'm quiet cause i do everything they say
they talk; i play with puppets by myself in my back yard
while the other kids tramp through the woods,
toy guns around their arms
ask yourself, ask yourself and i know you'll come up dry
when i still wake you up at three AM for no reason
i am your second skin
i'm here to take from you your thoughts

look, stop, take a breath
my mother says
don't forget to turn the light off when you leave a room, son
no, I'm not done yet, there's wet paint upon my hands
and I shall never finish up
i'll make myself no man

The Observer (by Adrienne Rich)
Completely protected on all sides by volcanoes
a woman, darkhaired, in stained jeans
sleeps in central Africa.
In her dreams, her notebooks, still
private as maiden diaries,
the mountain gorillas move through their life term;
their gentleness survives
observation. Six bands of them
inhabit, with her, the wooded highland.
When I lay me down to sleep
unsheltered by any natural guardians
from the panicky life-cycle of my tribe
I wake in the old cellblock
observing the daily executions,
rehearsing the laws
I cannot subscribe to,
envying the pale gorilla-scented dawn
she wakes into, the stream where she washes her hair,
the camera-flash of her quiet
eye

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Avignon

oh, it was a distance 
from my house to your front door
but i walked every evening
and i met you where you were

and now we take a tally 
of everything we see 
i add it up for you 
and you add it up for me
there is a room, a new seat at the table
it's ours to fill it up to fill it up
i wish that they were here to see us now

this weight is round
and loaded with hard thought
this weight is on my chest 
and i know just what i've got
there is a room, a new seat at the table
it's ours to fill it up to fill it up

i wish that they were here to see us now
they would barely recognize us
on the front porch of avignon

and if this bed should be unmade
and the dishes off the shelf
there have been many others much older than ourselves

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Day Glo
day glo, chrome windows
shapes in the clouds
the hungry fish for miles around
upstream jumping out of the water
gills in the air
i've got many people to thank
but i can't write letters
i can't write letters

my friends on the edge of the old grave yard
they sit on the old grey porch
and watch foxes play
a jug of wine
the kind of wine that you don't mind spilling
that you don't mind spilling

well, i fill out the forms and i make my death come slowly
one at a time, some kind of record unrolling
best begin sometime, she said
but can't start until you're ready

yet

i seem to be controlled,
somehow pulled
by fingernails and eyelashes
and other insentient parts
we talk about dreams a lot
she reads her fortunes out loud
i think it's funny and i go stay with her
i go stay with her
and i don't mind dying
when i make love to her

under a wall of sound
a riverbed of clay
the distance between us stays
close but not close
far but not too far away

close but not close
far but not too far away

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Tell
there is no word yet
just dogs barking at the sirens
cold nose and the spring vine
growing green, distant in the sunlight
passing mistakes and neighbors' yards
i drop a lit cigarette on the ground
backtracking, curious

down the old road
tell me that you wanna go

there is no word yet
just a pause in the center target
eating pizza on the city street
keeping up with the high risers
the wind blows up a spray
dead grass and trash moves underneath our knees
we get lost, we have to stay
on the old road
tell me that you wanna go

there is this pot on the top shelf
the little flowers in the basket, they all fall down
they seep onto the bedroom floor
green vines start creeping up your bedroom door
i bring chocolates and iced tea
a radio, blankets for sleeping
we trim them and
we watch them grow
down the old road
tell me that you wanna go

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The Downtown Boys
this is some kind of a vacation
we behave nicely
and sit together like alligators on the beach
like alligators lay on each other
but it means nothing. like that

and there's a commotion in our lungs
arriving sometime
but we don't have the schedule
i guess it arrives when it does

the downtown boys have gone
the streets are quiet, at night
no more yelling in the parking garages
or revving up old classics
no no no more of that

i ate my first meal this morning
it woke me up
i had been sleeping for days
carried away under the canopy shade
i grabbed my sunglasses and my felt hat
and rose seven stories
and rolled my cufflinks back

the downtown boys have gone
the streets are quiet, at night
no more yelling in the parking garages
or revving up old classics
no no no more of that

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We Understand Each Other
all the plants are growing in much faster than last year
with our windblown faces
tan cow hides
discarded laws by our side
we wander on the river
the seeds stick to our jeans
we point to objects
we give them names
we understand each other
we understand each other
we understand

our brains are small and brittle
like wild animals
we save each other food
today we will see god
standing at a booth
leaving money for a tip
our eyes have adjusted
we're just as careless now
we notice what we can
we understand each other
we understand each other
we understand

this is our test;
the palm trees,
the white cement,
the traffic at the school.
airliners fly over
we are at a meeting
dressed in pink t-shirts
i ask you why we came here
you look at me, quiet
and run a finger on my forehead
we understand each other
we understand each other
we understand

and so i sing that sound again

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For So Long Now
for so long now i've been eating from your mouth that my insides are sore and stuffed
for so long now god i know i don't know
i listen, i leave, i break like the twigs on a tree
i know but i don't know
you make me so sure like nothing matters
you make me so sure

we're dwarfs, tables crush us under this blanket in the storm
it's warm and the tin roof above us fills with summer hail
the jungle, all covered in melting ice, our words are there too
they dangle above us like dusty chandeliers in a colonial house
there must not be too many hours left here for us now

midnight arrives and we remember the day we met

riding the steamer away from port
passing mines and bear back workers on the shore
every night we return to walk the black tunnel
and pick diamonds from the wall
sabotage! and since then every moment with you i claw
this world has been a dream
like gently running fingernails along our front porch screen
oh, what have we done but live here naturally
our fortunes are made
tomorrow we carry them home
across that great blue body with fingers tied
in knots and bows and little monsters in our throats
we take them home
for so long now, for so long now,
god i know i don't know

for so long now i've been eating from your mouth
that my insides are sore and stuffed