• Paco – Biarritz



    across the Charente | the gray Opel follows the coastline to the Spanish frontier; San Sebastián | Paco remembers those days gray; his memories in black and white—photos | it is not unusual

    the family on holiday; driving through France, across Spain and Monte Carlo along the way | stop to visit Rosin | on the outskirts of Biarritz  ::Rosin was beautiful, a pale flower; stricken with infantile paralysis; immobile | the doctors said she was blind | but the mother swore she saw the child’s eyes follow her around the room; sitting comatose in a wheelchair | Rosin reminded Paco of a sad rag doll

    at the spa, the huge swimming pool for rehabilitation | bottom painted blue; but reflects the sky a monochrome Ansel Adams | in a young mind (again the black and white | photos kept in family albums) | a great sky full of clouds | all the way to horizon

    high on the slope of sparse grass; a plain | white cinder block pool house; chain link fence keeps out unwanted guests | a soda pop machine, dull red, oxidized by the sun, marked with familiar white letters; Coca-Cola | same green bottles; same dark liquid | quickly forgotten sadness and drink in the sun with Joaquin and Arabella | wait for the parents; their interview with hospital staff

    return home trip stop at festival | drive through Bordeaux; catch the closing act | fireworks in the sky | a face illuminated in sparklers; flashed high in the air | “the Father of their country”—(Joaquin explains to the baffled boy) | sees George Washington on an electric dollar bill floating; in the French carnival sky

    ::Rosin died at the age of seven | in the care of aunt Celeste | the Bronx; cold winter of 1957 | the family on transfer to the base at Newport News | Paco remembers; the mother spoke to her sister in New York | hung up, held his hand as they walked from the phone booth | across unpaved red-dirt Virginia; a country store parking lot | “Rosin murio” she moaned | inside the car she started to cry | they all cried

  • A Rooster Trilogy – Morning’s Chanticleer

    Morning’s Chanticleer

    in a narcoleptic moment of reflection ~ a dirge


    as the sun pushes the grey mists of morning across the sands; currents rush into the houses; down | windows accept an invasion; brisk | thickets and blankets of pillows and light; dream catchers | apparitions bleed into twilight; a shadow lingers past the night

    to touch the grey; I reach | to clasp the mist; I feel | to hear the whisper; I strain | energized by sadness; tears of waking disappear the night | a figure blocked by sunlight; a voice from the stairs, a face in the clouds | wisps of morning obscure the marsh; there! in the sunlight—you vanish

    please don’t shake me from these slumbers; delve in shallow breath | let me rest in my wanting; sleep | for you have beat me long enough; let go | I never asked for this; the tortured memories | my life waits for endless roads

    ::the ocean is a wall that blocks the current; the sun explodes the night; long but the days are shorter | a life deferred is a life lost

    was I your servant or your muse? deadlocked | a flight to the Seahorse Nebula on Orion’s back; a walk on deserts with Don Juan—peyote visions | mescal; delirium tremens | pink elephants; ahor | a flashback to those good ol’ times! taste the cotton mouth; spittle washed down with Orange Crush

    ::into the sun; Icarus mourned but not forgotten; burnt—all future flights canceled until further notice, damn! I missed that plane; the Jefferson | but gained a button for my panic

    aged men on limestone walls; frescoes | they look with wonder; admonish the lame | war was never meant memorial; eyes ravaged by sight | shadows hide the pain; veneers | tears hide the anguish; cheers! | we drank to the living and smote the dead! of this pain there is no end | repeat: of this pain there is no end | only the vapor of fading lamplight

    prisoners grapple with bars; clutching | “Any day now…” they cling to the words of a vagabond; a child’s cry | a thief robs the house but leaves the night-light; on | a couch stolen; a sleep disturbed | empty pockets haunt the evening; derelict drifters and wanton wolves | wharf rats scuttle the harbor; hungry

    ::Mt. Shasta is a cold and lonely bitch in winter; trains spot run | it soars above the tree line; frozen—sun mottled | wake to the sound of a rooster’s crow; ka-doodle-doo! | or was it you that I heard? hallucinations sneak past the gates

    ::a wise man once shared his dreams; said

    I can’t even think
    to remember,
    tho’ I know it
    was something
    quite clear.

    did I hear your voice
    on the mountain that day,
    or morning’s chanticleer?

    I know how easy
    dreams are broken
    when out of thin air
    they appear.

    Originally published on: Dec 9, 2017

  • A Rooster Trilogy – Doc Martens Sambas and Cigarettes



    Doc Martens Sambas and Cigarettes


    eyes—stare down corridors; blank at walls | linoleum tile and sterile góndolas; black wheels, rubber and steel | attendants in white—concise therapists; probe density | evolve solutions, misconceptions; life is a cherry, hard pits and sour

    you roll the dice, draw lonely highways; search night’s crooked roads | creep with silent tires on gravel; lakeside—moon bright overhead | stars fall; winter follows | life is a carnival; bright lights and sorrow | magazine covers and bubble gum wrappers; idol talk and a 50 cent rapper | children play dress up; line up at school | lightning and thunder; clap  ::an omen; just before you collapse | leaves you shaken—eating disordered; flaking skin like a moth in the flame | the sacred cows and the sacred vows spoken | dreams goals and values; broken | swear words promises, spit in rage—bridges burned; freedoms chosen

    ::tho’ life doesn’t run like the wind; it takes a miracle to win | delusion and grand devices don’t matter; you give up on one and wait for the latter | stand at the threshold; desperate and worn | stare at disaster in a garden of thorns | linen bed sheets; newspapers torn | from bums in the alley you swore to protect | social workers and bachelorettes—community college, nursing degrees; tuition paid by the blood of your sweat | “Doc” Martens, Sambas and cigarettes

    is it real or is it fake? the dealer on the corner won’t negotiate | cars drive by and curbs draw lines | street cars trolley to the end of the line | your room with a view, your isolate—fortress of solitude; heaven’s gate

    ::that crown of thorns becomes you; emptiness surrounds you | the sound and the fury of midnight’s crash; it’s only the garbage men picking up trash | the rooster crows and daylight reckons; the morning sun dries the clothes you slept in | dreams like plastic melt in the sun; you’ve climbed the ladder to the top of the rung | your rat race; run

    the seasons come and go with the years; time drifts by like boats from the pier | paper trails fall from the sky; conspiracy theories drop like dimes | and all that noise about freedom’s chimes; rings hollow, like a bootlegged rhyme | the seasons come; the seasons go | the whistle and hum of the tightening rope  ::don’t it all just go to show?

    Originally published on: Dec 23, 2017

  • A Rooster Trilogy – Flowers of Dawn


    Flowers of Dawn


    the sun rises; blurred and wrinkled | sky the color of pink; blood | the whirring spin of a circular saw; grinds its path on plank | Bang! Bang! nuclear splashdown; alcohol pools wave headaches on | music fills the air; the sound of harps | an angelic chorale sings heavenly music—Ave, Maria! | choking throat and dumb rattle of death; a harsh uptake; wake-up!

    ::a big yellow moon rises over the rooftops; striking | awe in silence; blue sky dark and twinkling stars | meld into street light; alleyways cluttered with wine bottles; clink | a cat howls in summer heat; rushing water washes away the smeared light | bleary-eyed and broken, I stumble among dust bins and the sediments of the living; crowned | with a golden halo of spirits; God, and Whisky—the One, and the Same | dusty showers of moonbeams glitter | a fedora of the night; a cap of dawn—a screw

    Crow! Crow! a rooster crows | in this city he’s been strangled; by the roar of the automobile; the rush of the hour | traffic and a cop in uniform; drags cars through the crossroads; my mind | the Altiplano; the drifter’s horse and the gunslinger | Clint Eastwood on L-dopa brought to an awakened stutter; angst | plays cat’s-cradle; twisted fingers; angry gut | a dog’s hair to bite you; a pint of Schnapps; a fifth of Port | cold rinse and spin dry

    a flower | rotted; ready to die
    waiting on Euphoria; the downhill slide | the Eternal groan—
    and that dark slow suicide   ::but it’s OK
    I’m doing alright

    Originally published on: Dec 26, 2017

  • The Road to Damascus

    The Sunday morning streets are quiet
    except for the sound of the cold pavement. ~a pilgrimage

    they say there’s a place in the
    Sahara where you can buy Jeeps;
    ride into the desert all the way to

    electronic billboards replace neon
    fountains | decorate Souqs;
    vendors entice you with the
    spoils of early morning;
    devil’s horns
    roast goat heads
    fly covered dung heaps
    and kefir washed Shish Barak

    north past the palm circled Camelots
    taxis weave in and out of traffic under the
    towers of Babel through the
    maddened crowds

    enterprising Sumerian chariot drivers
    scribble their fares on clay tablets;
    1,000 dinar will take you
    to the Northern regions
    of Damascus

    urban sprawl and
    the smell of industry
    where concrete underpasses
    open to a long silver ribbon between
    snow-capped vistas and the
    mountain passes of
    the Moab

    there virgins bathe
    in a river beneath the canyons;
    they wave and say,

    you who travel the road to Salvation
    the road to the land of the Saints
    the road to the Sun | where
    Saint George once slew
    the dragons of Zion and
    God now sleeps;

    Originally published on: Aug 30, 2017

  • Through the Eye of the Needle – Future Tense



    Future Tense


    it was a time of firestorm
    of hopes tumbling in despair
    the world had surely passed the cross roads
    the social structure of Democracy come
    apart like the ill-fated dream it was

    weakened by abuse and neglect
    the infrastructure of our politics began to crumble
    undermined by the ravages of a reality that flooded against
    the foundations of reason and hope; in an instant
    civilization’s accomplishments were condemned
    to no more than a mere column
    in the Pages of History

    the land had become shrouded
    with the stench of death; and though many avoided
    the destructive malevolence of the First Strike
    we were left with the deadliest plague:
    the vision of those who survived
    and the insinuations
    implied by their survival

    left to founder on an ocean
    of bewilderment; lost with but a
    prayer; the world was ever
    changed after the War

    – The Professor
    (anno 2035)

    Originally published: 08/06/2014
  • Paco – Messerschmitts and Isettas


    Messerschmitts and Isettas

    The street at the end of the courtyard was busy and Paco was only allowed to go there with Joaquin, who was old enough to fetch long French baguette at the bakery. They walked past their courtyard to the cobblestone street, admiring the egg-shaped Isettas and torpedo-like Messerschmitts.

    Joaquin told him the Messerschmitts came from W.W.II German fighter plane cockpits. Paco believed him. They looked as if someone had taken one of those cockpits and just stuck wheels under it. They had a long glass bubble over the passenger compartment just like the fighters in war clips.

    The Isettas looked like eggs riding on three wheels! The boys knew those little cars were just the right size for them to drive, if they could only afford one. Joaquin assured Paco they cost a million bucks, at least!

    They watched in envy as old men wearing white nylon shirts, pockets bulging with cigarette packs and matchbooks, climbed in and out of tiny doors that opened from the front, like eggs with flip-top lids, or from the side, like a glass gull’s wing. They could feel the groans of the men as they strained their large bodies in and out of cars that were obviously too small for them. Those cars were for boys!

    They were just as fascinated by the turquoise tint of the cars’ windows. They gave the autos an exotic appearance, like fish tanks at an aquarium. How the world must look through those windows! They reveled in their fantasies, bending to peer through the blue cockpits to the other side of the street, convinced that inside, looking out, would have made all the difference.

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