On the Road to Satori – Boz Berzerkely



Boz Berzerkely


in Berkeley I found
a companion
for the road
a puppy—Boz
I called her
a little terrier
with big paws
a tawny snout
they said was lost
could I take care of her?

in New Orleans
after a few weeks
of little food
the steady drone
of highway and
rattling boxcar
I caught her
as she tried
to sneak off

her shoulders
hunched ready
to run whenever
I wasn’t looking

I caught her eye
she stopped
turned back yipping
wagging her tail rubbed
up against my leg and
promised to be
the good

I knelt
as she licked my face
“good girl—good girl”
and scratched her ears
set my thumb back
to the road

when I turned
to look again
she was gone


On the Road to Satori – Koch




the weather
is bound to clear up by Florida
I think as I sit in some sterile diner:
what New Jersey must be like all over
eating pie a-la mode and black coffee
a-la Kerouac


I stick out my thumb and say to myself
“I’m on the road and all I’ve got is time and that concrete ribbon
to guide me to Heaven” (in some metaphorically eastern way)

Florida will be sunshine and palm trees
maybe by Friday if the rides come quick
and I don’t find me standing on a highway ramp
for eight hours like that time in Chicago
with Koch

I partnered up with Koch
on a previous cross-country journey
just outside of Reno for the ride back East
we watched the Northern Lights in Utah
braved a blizzard through Wyoming—
after all that—ended up in Chicago
stranded in cold freezing rain

no mischievous grin
from those Chicago drivers
only that hollow
go-to-hell! look
and the finger

or Looky-Loos rubbernecking
the freaks on the side of the road getting drenched
“ha ha, who left you out there anyway? and why don’t
somebody get them out of the rain? and don’t think
I’m gonna give you a ride!”

finally in Florida—the weather is beautiful
on this December night or November (I think
it was actually October) the moon bright
filled with white billowy clouds
drift across the sky in time-lapse
so I feel like I’m floating in twilight
on a ramp near the 76 Union Truck Stop in Jacksonville
I sing to myself:

“Old Jack on the road
how many places
many people you’ve known?

Old Jack
he just answers
“It’s Heaven
my son
my son”

The Carnival – A Wagon Full of Empty


A Wagon Full of Empty


a wagon
creaks down the lane
towards a house
on Maple

the horses toil
in sweat and froth
as children gather around

“Tin!” grandma grabs at her apron
charging into the parlor
calling up the stairs

“It’s here!” she calls
“Why aren’t you coming down?” gasping
“Lord have mercy!”

Tin Horn rushes out of the bathroom
“All right Grandma” he rubs at his face with a towel
“I’m coming!”

“The wagon’s here!” cries baby Horn
his sister Filo (short for Philomena)
hustles him away from the door
“The wagon! The wagon’s come”

Tin Horn passes his two siblings
puts on a shirt and calls out “Over here!”
he approaches the wagon with

“Are you Tin Horn?”
the d-driver speaks under his breath
with a stammer

Tin Horn jumps on the running board
of the panel van that is somewhat like a milk wagon
(only empty) and swings himself into the front seat
“Can we stop?”

“For what?” the driver
sh-shouts “We ain’t got all day!”
“The neighbors want to see the wagon!”

“Ah! Ya seen it once
ya’ve seen ’em all!” he spits
as he whips the lead horse with a snap

the wagon turns onto Main Street
“We’ve got Wally to pick up and Orly
and that friend o’ yourn
Chew? He’s comin’ too ain’t he?”

“So what’s the hurry?” Tin Horn thinks out loud
“It’s not even nightfall
just hot”

the wagon lumbers
along magnolia covered streets
and the rhododendron sculpted lawns
of forgotten Victorian mansions

on the edge of town at an old farmhouse
the commotion starts all over again

“My you’d think
no one’s ever seen
an empty wagon!” gr-griped the driver

pulling the horses to a stop
he calls to the next rider
“Get on quick!”

no sooner has Orly
sprawled into the back
than the wagon drives on
his fan club left waving in the dust

at the next stop
Waldorf’s people rush towards the wagon
fifteen strong and counting

“No time to stop!” the d-driver yells
“Get on now!” the wagon yanks forward
leaving Wally in a heap
next to Orly

down the road
in the dusky sunlight
Chew Lin Fat’s is the last stop

it is a huge hotel-restaurant-in-one called the “Forbidden City”
only there are no guests living in the hotel
just the workers who man the kitchen

but don’t worry;
despite the name
the only thing served is Cantonese cuisine

Chew Lin is standing outside as the wagon pulls up
and is on and aboard without fanfare
the driver mumbles and grumbles
for nothing else to say

a yellow moon rises
in the dark velvet sky
vapors float around the wagon’s lamp
in dreamlike

(To be continued…)

The Carnival – Tin Horn


Tin Horn


Tin Horn stands on a deserted city street
strewn with the rubble and chaos of war

empty storefronts yawn like the gaping mouths
eye sockets of bleached skulls lining limestone cliffs

in the distance
he hears
a clock strike the hour

a voice calls out
“Hello” softly

he reels in his step
he must be dreaming

stooping to pick up
a piece of paper that floats to the ground

he reads words
smeared and smudged
written in a terrifying scrawl

“And look at you boy
gone crazy in the night
barking at the moon

and look at you boy
you are lost”

he pauses

“You have thrown
every anchor
of Saving Grace

and you have cut the lines!
and my god!” he reads
“Oh my god,
you’re still lost!”

he tears up the paper and screams: “No!
No!” he stumbles around a corner running

a crowd of faceless people
their clothes tattered and bloody
emerge from the ruins of a cathedral pock-marked
by mortar shells

he hears the voice again
Hello” this time with a sense of urgency
“Hello!” yet, it is as soft as the flutter of a dove

the crowd raises their arms in unison
they point at a tower
with a huge clock hands frozen

Tin Horn!” they call his name!
“Tin Horn!” they speak in a soft babble murmuring

Tin Horn!
The time! Check The Time!”

out of nowhere
the voice he’s heard becomes a dove
and lands on one of the hands of the clock

time stands still…and so does Tin Horn

he turns pallid
an incomprehensible grief consumes him
and he sputters like a child:

“I have searched through books
and scoured the ink on printed page
and have I found an answer? no
I could not find one there

“And I have tried to catch the rainbow’s end
in hopes to find

a pot of gold but only found a bucket of illusion”

he trembles with an unspeakable sense of loss and sobs
groaning in his sleep

(To be continued…)

The Carnival – The Anthem of the Dove




Walking down streets and empty harbors of the city;
I look for an answer; one is nowhere to be found.

A sound reaches from behind broken storefront windows
a sound that echoes in the emptiness:

“Hello,”—a voice soft and gentle.
“Hello, what are you doing here?”

But, I have searched through tome and printed page
to find the answer to that question; I found nothing but despair.

While words fell like curtains from the page in candlelight,
I’ve found nothing to guide me.

And I have tried to catch the rainbow in my hand;
for a pot of gold— knowledge more than riches.

A barren dream is what I earned—
a cauldron full of wishes—a worthless treasure chest of emptiness.

(A dove flew past my window in the morning.
It cooed a song, a soft ‘hello’.)

And tho’ I felt the sun warm roses yellow on the bough
in the distance I heard thunder.

The dove became a hawk;
and the thunder tolled (and answers hadn’t found me);
I saw a searing wind that burned the leaves off every thing,
and left nothing.

The Carnival – Phantasmagoria




“Are you OK?” Wally is shaking Tin Horn
the driver is trying to ignore his rider’s jerking and kicking
in his sleep

“Aw he’s alright.
Just let him sleep it off” he sh-shrugs

Tin Horn shakes himself from the grips of the dream
“Where are we?” he looks around and tries to regain composure
he growls to compensate for his show of weakness

Aren’t we there yet?”
he smacks the driver on the shoulder

“When will we be there?”
“Soon.” the cabbie flicks the whip ever so slightly for the lead horse
to step up the gait

all five men are rocking to the rhythm and sway of the wagon
as it ambles along a dirt road outside the halo of the city lights

in the distance—

there is a glow above the horizon
there must be a city just beyond the summit

as the wagon pulls over the crest of the hill
they come upon spotlights crisscrossing the night sky
and a Ferris wheel

a hubbub of excitement
sprawling across the landscape

it is a carnival

an illusion of lights and mirrors
gawking wildly in a swirling careening
idiotic phantasmagoria of mayhem
in the nocturnal countryside

the wagon stops inside the confines of a farmyard vivid with noise and excitement
strings of lights draped across creosote darkened electric poles
glow the night

the driver ties the horses and leaves; Tin Horn must fodder them
“See ya later!” Wally calls out running after Orly

Chew Lin stays behind
“What are you waiting for?” Tin Horn asks
“Just waiting for you.” Chewin’ shrugs
“I don’t know my way around.”
“I’ll be with you in a flash
I’ve just got to feed these beasts.”

the two walk the horses
to the livery

(To be continued…)

The Carnival – Airplane Mahogany



Airplane Mahogany


children gather around the wagon
light from a power-pole illuminates the side panel
it reads:

Airplane Mahogany
The Greatest
Carnival On Earth

on the side of the van the words scroll in giant golden letters
on a swirling background of mountains
crystal peak snow-caps and shafts of light
on a carnival in a green valley

…quite a sight

“Look at those kids staring at an empty wagon
like it was full of something besides DREAMS!” Tin Horn shouts
over the noise of the carousel

“Step right up folks for the Most Horrifying Geek Show
in Human His to-reee!” a barker is calling in the marks

Orly bites the head off a chicken
spits it out into the crowd and parades on the platform
preening and flexing his muscles
he dances a two-step
and bows

the barker continues his call
“Nothing more horrible on the planet!
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Come watch this so-called human being
digest a live ALLIGATOR! IMPOSSIBLE, you say?
Come SEE FOR YOURSELVES! Step right up folks
for the Most Horrifying Geek Show
in Human His to-reee!”

the night fades

it is the next day—
Wally Orly Chewin’ The Fat and Tin Horn
watch the sun come up

“Break down those scaffolds!” the foreman yells
the wagon rolls by they hop on

“Let’s go before the morning EXPLODES!” cries Tin Horn
the driver turns and looks at him over his shoulder

“Giddyap!” he c-calls to the horses
…and off they go

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