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 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.

Paco – Fire Trucks


Fire Trucks

In the French countryside, Paco waited while the mother finished whatever old-wives’ business she was tending to with the local mamie. He stood in the driveway, playing with a toy Greyhound bus the father had brought him from the U.S. In the distance, the stomach wrenching wail of a fire engine’s siren raced toward the house.

Surrounded by tall grass way over his head, he couldn’t see where the truck was coming from, but the sound filled the boy with a terror he couldn’t explain. It reminded him of the air raid drills he often heard on the Army base.

At the time, he was stupid enough to believe what his brother, Joaquín, had told him. On the Rue Avignon, they watched a fire truck speed by. Paco had never seen a fire brigade in action, and with the simple curiosity of a four-year old—and the utter faith in an older brother’s ability to know everything—he asked, “What is that?”

“It’s a fire engine!”

Joaquín’s excitement over the noise of the truck was electrifying. Paco asked, “Well, what does it do?”

“They go to your house and burn it down!” Joaquín said, deadpan—not a laugh, not a snicker, not a smile.

That day, waiting for the mother, Paco could only imagine that the blazing red truck was rushing down the road to set somebody’s house on fire, maybe even his own home in the village. At that moment Paco felt what might have been that very first sense of ahor, (ah-HAH-rah; a horror), the unexplained dread that continued to plague every dark corner of his life from that moment on.

Originally published on: Oct 15, 2014

Gather Wood


Gather Wood

(A Dirge)

go gather wood for your fires boys; gather wood to burn | don’t pick wood that’s wet or rotten, or it will not burn  ::the cherry trees stand withered the orchards bare and dry | the grass parched and dying from a scourge sent from the sky

the leaves eaten by the sun; the water line is clear | the lake is showing rooftops of a town once disappeared  ::it rains and rains for days on end; so the fires burn out | the sun shines from the sky; suddenly it’s a drought

there’s flooding in the valley, chaos in the hills | the roads washed out by the creek that once ran deep and still | the river swollen to the banks, the farmlands turned to swamp | the city center’s four feet deep of a rage that just won’t stop

the government is sending troops and sandbags by the score, but the angry skies won’t listen; tomorrow—another storm | the national guard stands ready with its soldiers and their guns | but the thunder’s roll is louder; the battle has begun

Written during The Southern California Wildfires and The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993






Riding in a taxicab in 1954, from Cavignac to the Army base at Boussac, France, Señora Carbonero listened patiently to the driver. He was complaining about the flying gravel from passing cars showering against the taxi’s windshield. As predicted, one especially heavy hail of rocks shattered the windshield.

Rosa and her son sat stunned, motionless, as the glass broke into a thousand pieces.

“See? You see what it has done? Merde!” Cursing and gesturing wildly the driver stopped to clean up the glass from the front seat. He then drove on, still cursing.“Fils de cochon! I knew eet woode happen!”

After awhile, his attention focused once again on his fare.

“You speak French, but you are not from here?” He winked at Rosa, noticing her supple tan. He ignored the rushing air that blew his hair wildly and caused sparks to fly from his lit cigarette into the back seat.

“We are from the islands. But that is not a matter for your concern.” Rosa tried to ignore his remarks, swiftly brushing the flying cinders from the driver’s cigarette off her son’s clothes.

“Ah, but madame, you are such a beautiful woman. And so young! Your husband?”

“He is in the US Army. He is here.” She spoke brusquely. “Aren’t you going to replace the window?”

“Heh heh. These things are not done in an instant, madame” He downshifted, cornering onto the Rue Albemarle. “First I must take you to your dear husband… then I can take care of le auto. Et bien!” he said, with a curt nod of the head.

After they reached the entrance to the base the car stopped. The mother paid the fare, then led the boy by the arm past the guard shack, where she showed her papers to the guard as he waved them on. Struggling for her son’s attention, she had to drag him through the gate, because through it all, Paco’s eyes never left the hollow cavern of the car’s cockpit and the shattered windshield.

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