Monday, May 30, 2011

Found Poem in U.S.S. Newport News Guest Book

Do any of you know Stanley Pilot
who died in T-2 that night?
He was a good friend
and as a matter of fact
he was the one who taught me
how to play football.
No one would tell me much until now.
I was 13 when he died. I am 44 now
and a veteran myself.
I have found his name on the wall.
Please any information from some one
who knew him would be
gratefully accepted.
Thank You All
for what you have done.
James D. Burris
Former SSgt, U.S.A.F.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I saw something burning on my chest
And I tried to brush it off
With my right hand
But my arm wasn’t there
The soldier said.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

COFFEE NERVES of the Times

Suppose my wife, if I have a wife, wears boxer shorts. Or my sister, if I have a sister, eats ragweed Maybe my son, if I have a son, kisses goats and my best friend, if I have a best friend, dislikes me. If the mayor of my home town, if I have a hometown, thinks about feet in the town square on Sunday mornings, or the Librarian in my home town, if I have a home town with a librarian in it, fondles a picture of God dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger in church, if there's a church in my home town, if I have a home town; would I drink coffee? How fast? How much?

The next question is, if my wife, if I have a wife, stops wearing boxer shorts, or my sister if I have a sister, stops eating ragweed, or my son stops kissing goats, if I have a son, or, assuming I have a friend to begin with, the friend stops disliking me and the mayor of my home town, if I have one, stops thinking about feet in the town square, if there's a town square and, if the Librarian in my home town, if it has a librarian stops fondling the picture of God dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger in church, if there is a church, how would this effect my coffee drinking?

Now if the Librarian in my home town, if I have a home town, if my home town has a Librarian, or a library for that matter, finds something better than God dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger even if she isn't from my home town, and has her own home town. But if she doesn't have a home town and kisses God as Arnold in a church in a town that's the closest thing to a home town, but isn't a home town to her, or she moves to a town, that if it could be a home town, would be? And if the church in that town that isn't her home town, but could be a good place to fondle God dressed as Arnold, if there is an Arnold, would she? Or she finds a substitute for church, assuming there's a church in the town that might be her home town, if she has a hometown, if she suddenly starts wearing boxer shorts, would she be my wife, if my wife wears boxer shorts, if I have one? Would I stop drinking coffee?

Suppose there isn't coffee. Would my wife even think about boxer shorts? Would the Librarian in my home town, if I have one, fondle God dressed as Arnold, if there is one? If there isn't, would she still imagine there is, or would she go to church if there is a church and not think about it? If there's a substitute for God dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger, would the Librarian think about that in church, if there's church, or outside the church in her home town, or my home town if we live in the same one, if we have the same home towns with churches in them, or not?
Suppose my wife knows there isn't any such thing as coffee, even if there is? How does this affect my relationship to the sun? Does it come up, or not? If there is a sun to come up, will I go back to coffee if I gave it up, even if there isn't any?
If I don't have a wife, would the Librarian have a substitute and would it be boxer shorts. Maybe my son wouldn't kiss goats because I wouldn't have a son, assuming I'd have a son with my wife. But my sister, if I have one, might still eat ragweed, and yet, she might not, if I didn't drink coffee. Or if the Librarian didn't find a substitute, would her thinking about a substitute effect my coffee thinking, if there is coffee, or a substitute for coffee? Would her thinking have anything to do with how much sugar I put in my coffee, if there's sugar? Would the sugar substitute part of my thinking about coffee and if that could change my relationship to the Mayor of my home town, if I have a home town with a mayor in it, would it, and would I?

If I put this substitute for sugar, if there's sugar, in my coffee, if there's coffee, would this change my wife's relationship to boxer shorts, if there are boxer shorts, if I have a wife? And if I do, would the mayor stop thinking about feet in the town square if there is a town square in my home town? Or if he isn't in my home town, if there is one, how many sugar substitutes, if there's sugar, or sugar substitutes, would it take him to think about feet somewhere else, if there is a somewhere else with a church and a Librarian with a home town. Or there isn't? And finally, suppose the Librarian doesn't live in that home town, but if she did would she sit next to the Mayor in church, if there's a Mayor to sit with. And would the Mayor confine himself thinking about feet on Sunday mornings, if there are Sunday mornings to confine oneself to, or would he go back to the town square that may or may not exist?
One final, final question comes to mind. If there's no Librarian and no Mayor, or the Librarian can't find a substitute, if there is one, for sugar, or Arnold, or sugar substitute, would it affect how much coffee the Librarian drinks? And would the fact that the Mayor doesn't exist mean he might have become my wife, assuming she wears boxer shorts, if I have a wife? Or would the Mayor, who doesn't exist, be the friend who dislikes me, and would the friend stop disliking me or would he stop thinking about feet in the town square if there's a town square with ragweed for my sister if I have one? Or would the goat my son kisses, if I have a son by my wife who might not be, eat the ragweed in the town square that may or may not be if I have one, if my coffee drinking stops, assuming of course, that there's coffee.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Selling the Farm

The Democrats know the rats in the cellar, but they dare not set the trap. To rid America’s reverence for the Father, the Son, the Holy Buck; and its wand waving war mongers, this party, let unconstitutional acts run amuck. And they’re still leaking. See 8-1 Supreme Court Ruling on Search and Seizure.

A new and revived party? A hard sell at the pump. All the flag waving, snorting, turf-treading on the original state of slavery, the smell of war, trim to the eye, fat to the pulpit; may not park Othello at the gate. The only “change apparent” rattles in the jobless pockets from Oshkosh to Gary, to Miami, San Antonio and beyond. The Legislature, awash in somnambulistic hustle, enmeshed in the land of Oz, sleeps with itself, and prays not to be found out before the casino closes and the band stops playing. Rockets red glare boils the Great Plains, the purple mountains, the valleys and the rivers it will consume forever, if not in body in spirit. The smell of old blood and orchids wafts in the committee rooms and the buzzards hold the combination to the safe.

It will take more than a whisper, a prayer, and a promise of thereafter with America’s heart hooked to the exhaust, the blurb, the wasteland, the clicked, the botched, the collective idol, all devoid of hindsight, clever, and bleak of wonder. It can be done, certainly in no short order, but it takes, without steroids and magic, courage to trap the rats and lock up the clowns.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I know the dingy rooftops, the dirty blinds, the porch barbecues and left over beer can nights. I know the bar keep woman leans in, leans out, and bitches about Angie being late and her boyfriend’s fucking and the drugs and how she’d go back to Pittsburgh but… I know the long smell of bar room morning beer and I see the bar swamper get off work and the empty bar chairs on the late art deco dream gone sour. I see the homeless bare-chested, bald 35 year old black shorts man standing in the alley chewing his lip like he’s really waiting for somebody or something.

I know the young woman crossing the street carrying two plastic bags in her left hand who has the word NICE written in white on the back of her red shorts and I know the clean cut middle aged guy is following her and I see she picks him off when he crosses behind her and slips in the parking lot to the left and she tries the door to the Laundromat and it won’t open.

I know the dim tattoo parlor walled in serpents, flowers, swords and butterfly dreams and the playboy tee-shirts hung in their own particular silences and I know the maid getting off work from the Holiday Inn with fatigued and hopes stuffed in a shopping bag and I know the cab driver shaking hands with the yellow cab driver in front of him hopes for an airport, a Miami, a ride to make it all worthwhile and I know the vacant streets of spilled beer and lamb chop dreams and I know the tired pizza tossing man and the tee-shirt salesman and surf board boys and the old Italian barefoot wrinkled man whose long legs are getting skinny as his butt walks his Styrofoam cooler with ice and beer to the beach and I know the fat girl who casts me a wary glance at the light when she pushes the X street button. I know her from lost bedrooms, tangled sheets and distant radios in the night and I know the cold men drive by to somewhere jobs about kids and malls with assorted specials and down payments and I know the thirty plus guy to my right wants this bench and or wants to talk to me or ask for money and I know the sun cooks the Florida brain by 10:30 A:M.

I sit on the bench in front of Holiday Inn and watch a Japanese couple walk back from the beach with a live crab in a plastic bag. I see the waitress left the mustard and ketchup on the table in front of the Blue Parrot Lounge all night. I know the morning dim tattoo parlor walled in serpents and flowers and swords and butterfly dreams and the playboy tee-shirts hanging in their own particular silence.

I know the beach is on its way to extinction and I know no there is no one else besides my wife. I know what the TV promised and I know the President and I know about the naked boys shot in the head and plowed into the sand and I know the about Pilgrim’s Pride and Co. who slam chickens against the wall for fun for hatred and just plain boredom and I know they rip chicken beaks off because life is hard and they’re mad so they spit tobacco in the chickens’ mouths and I know KFC Colonel Sanders wanted to run for VP with George Wallace.

And I know the barrel bellied gray haired blue trunk sneaker man who’s almost just like me walking with uncertainty to the beach and I watch him turn back to see if he knows where he came from and I understand and I know the echo of beach voices, the far off sounds of half conversations and the overthrown beach balls rising in the sun and I know the tanker silhouette straight out to sea, at one and half nautical miles waits for its shot into the Everglades and I know the gay club on Miami Boulevard right down the block from where the cruise line CEO got shot and drove his car into the Miami Sub wall around the corner... I know the club used to be the 4 O’clock Club full of pink and baby blue suits. Motown, rock, do wop dreamy nights and I know John McDonald got drunk at Baja docks and tossed his bottles in motel windows on A1A where books flew high and became best sellers.

I know the two black dudes sliding by, the short one thumbing his cell phone, are killing time and looking for something and I know the Korean with the beard who just walked by this stone bench is not the same Korean who cooked me a Korean breakfast in the American Diner in Wyoming.

And I know it’s easier to drop a bomb than switch to hydrogen although they both can do the same thing. And I know piles of dead children are cheaper than gas pumps and I know the whole shooting match is a front, a key to the collective trough and all hands are out…And I know a beautiful woman and I know the ant crossing this sidewalk at my feet is a bigger hero than Shaquille O’Neal, thank you very much Shaq, your numbers up complete with cheeseburger and an order of fries six bucks plus, along with Jay Leno who ran out of jokes a long time ago along with O’Reilly and the Shoo-la Goons, and I know my God’s not dead, how about yours but who is it anyway? And I know we train our children to shovel bird shit out of computer cuckoo clocks and I know there is no time for the word because we must forget to remember to forget and we have the drugs for that too.

I know the blond umbrella boy selling green umbrellas is going to be in the movies or on TV and I know I can’t have anymore Panelli’s Deli Zampino and Cheese sandwiches but I want one and I know the waitress with the wary eye has an ear for words but not a good ear and I know that’s Palmetto dung, not bagel garlic under the forks in the drawer because it’s Florida and I know enough to wash the blackberries from Chile now that Allende is dead and I know the bathing suits on the Argentine tourists are the trap and I know the TV doesn’t want you to read the credits because you’re in a hurry but did you get your French Canadian Surf burger today and I walk past Splish Splash Surf Shop, Liquid Addiction, Pink Pussy Cat, Blue Parrot Lounge with Key West Dining across the cattywampus from Bikini Bob’s with its Oh Boy the wild dream neon night and I see the trickle belly men and I see the girl walk back to the Laundromat and I read Cross Country on her red shorts butt and I think she works in the Laundromat when I walk by and see her on the Net and I know the blubber bellies and the skinny bunnies and the wikey wikeys.

I know because I stand in it, to be it, to hold it, to touch it, to smell it, to follow it, to eat it, to make love to it, to make love with it, to dance in its ads and I watch the girl walk out of the Laundromat and run through the traffic to the beach and throw up her arms and laugh and her girlfriends laugh and I see them laughing and the traffic runs by and the sun boils higher… I know because…I know.