Sunday, November 22, 2009

bad people

the following were initially poems i wrote about my early profession working in homeless shelters for street kids, but they make good stories. it gives you a very small shard of what it was like to go to work everyday for years, and how you end up missing the fucked up part of reality when you go onto a more normal life. i miss all that crazy shit, i miss all the crazy little lunatics.

one thinks he has cancer he is 18 he is a great fighter the first day he came here he fought a guy bloody and shook hands with him after he shakes my hand and laughs as i kick him out into the night

another says a cigarette doesn't mean she wants to marry me or wants to do it with me but she will be my friend she will share her research with me she wanders the halls all night talking to herself like ophelia, at lunch she is told to hand over the dish detergent so she drinks it and blows bubbles out of her mouth and everyone laughs but only partly because of the bubbles the other part is victory

and another understands chemistry instinctively but school is boring and its better to wander under the night high on whiskey he is occasionally wise when he can't sleep tries to draw pictures with his eyes closed he shows me "hey look, there's you"

another, his mom was murdered and he tells a woman worker if anyone messes with you, i'll protect you he swells with pride when i shake his hand like a man you can see it in the way he walks away

one has a good sense of humor she smiled when I called her sunshine she was raped in the park but she would rather leave town she camped by herself in the woods which very few people can do she does her best to be strong it might not be enough

and another stormed downtown with no shirt or shoes and threw a bike through the window of city hall on a January night he gave half his lunch to an old man who played a drum for change on the street every day he sprayed shaving cream all over the hallway but when i yelled who's gonna help me clean this up he came out and helped a gentleman of the old school

another has everything wrong with his body it needs four injections a day and they don't help enough so he walks very slowly everywhere when i snuck his diapers into his room he insisted on the principle of his dignity and offered an explanation for his trouble how he had to live with this horrible body

she didn't know my name so she used to call me hey mister one day someone put bread in the juice jug and when she found it at dinner she screamed high and furious and stormed around growling and hissing at people like a feral cat it was a little too much she had a happy laugh a little crazy but delighted

he is obviously inbred he smells of shit no matter how often he bathes he is barely coherent when i told him he had to leave and why, for really a pathetic reason he grew angry and frustrated and he couldnt talk. on his lowered face, despite his anger “leave me alone, leave me alone” i saw frustration and confusion his mind wouldnt do what it is supposed to do and despite banging and punching walls when he left he suddenly turned and hugged me and said “sorry guy” and would not look at me because he was almost crying

another is indeed a great man he has a bad temper, i watched him pick up in each hand a bike and smash them together because he couldnt use the wrench when some of the brutal ones wanted to kick the shit out of a kid with glasses he stood in their faces, you wanna fight someone fight me but i never saw him raise his hand against a gentle soul later he told me i used to get beaten up everyday my mom said no fighting so i would take it one day i came home with blood and bruises all over my face she asked me what happened? i told her you said no fighting. she said: tommorrow, go fight. and i never stopped since then

she was a serious cutter deep red lines running up her arms playing hacky-sack in the summer with a t-shirt on she drew a beautiful picture i insisted go up on the wall it was dark and brooding pencil all shaded a simple land of hills and simple trees piney trees and oakey trees it was drawn by someone who understands the love of forests she had no one a few months later after she'd gone i heard she cut up her face and body and was in the mental ward

they met in the summer and have been in the most blissful state of love ever since. they share one thing in common, that neither has any clue about anything. they often have nowhere to sleep no money, no food, no drugs not out of any particular tragedy its just that they dont think about such things. begging for change they look at you and smile graciously, as if they were prince and princess when the boy finds outlandish clothes he wears them and the girl always giggles you might see him walking up the street with a styrofoam crown from a tv crate and her holding his hand and smiling they cannot keep welfare appointments because they have no sense of time they have been kicked out of homeless shelters for being late, they have been arrested for taking food when they were hungry "but i couldnt afford it!" watching them walk down the street one realizes they are not aware of traffic lights, private property, public property, business hours, and everyone is always mad at them and suspects them of deception to which they smile graciously and ask them for money

another is charmed by jokes and will giggle like a little girl when I kid around with her she says she is afraid of only 3 people once she broke a girl's face with her bare hands and afterwards told her to "sit pretty" and the girl sat just like that until the guards came

Friday, November 13, 2009


so these trees coming up out of the street they buried under twenty feet of concrete and call it heaven. somehow all across this blue planet, these thousands of miles of oceans, all these mountains, these immense mountains cutting into the air, out of all these thousands of firs and alders and pines, down in stinking jungles and across plains of golden grass, some twisted old men and women play games with human lives, the dreams and hallucinations of politics. we little infants squeaking month to month, like fat little mice reaching for the sun, dancing on the edges of the slavery of millions, down there making shit, in corridors of service-based industries and factories and mothers making dead wages to feed dying mouths, we whine and bitch why not enough wine, sex, love and fame for all of us? and these chess players, talking over the arrangements of human lives as if they were sticks in the earth to be uprooted and shorn apart on a whim, politics is the arguments of inmates holding court in an insane asylum with no guards.

look at this power - to do to people what you want - a butcher knife in a thousand heads. repeated forever. rebels die. remember that. survivors hide in sewers. we citizens of the empire sneak around trying to fuck ourselves into paradise, and yet so much death lies on the living, and so much living lies on the dead. we are building something but no one knows what (but we have a lot of good ideas while the world burns down) and the gods know, in their genitals are all chaos and creation, all bird babies and predators feeding. so much of politics has no heart, my heart has 1000 caves, all twisting down there in the dark of aortas and pulmonary veins and in each one is a fairyland of blood cells and a breathing mystery in heat - but in one cave is an old woman who mutters around a dying fire. and in her magic springtime she predicts nothing but more of the same and all theories are crazy to her. she sees the rising of new animals and the pyres of old ones. one day she will just - stand up - and shake us all off like flies - the intifada according to the palestinians - and they should know - no one has been more murdered than they by machines.

so many ideas of how to improve an animal chaos marxism, liberalism, conservatism - and worth no more than a kid's drawing of a sunset. and we say to hell with science, as if it made all of us violent and killers. which it didn't. science like a sweet girl holding a rope to the light, and we just asked her if she could make it rain diamonds. down in the caves of my beating heart she built astronomy and climatology and oceanography and told me why genes dance in a spiral and why gravity paints light into suns and someone interrupted us with 24-hour news networks. i had wanted to ask her if she could make trees talk and before they dragged her off to build iphones i heard her gasp yes.

so fuck politics, man.

seriously, fuck politics. make politics sex. make it be fertile and pregnant with a thousand new lives. politics kills people, you know? it kills them in the dark places, in the back alleys where no one goes, it kills them downtown, it kills them in the suburbs, in the small towns of weekend nights with nothing to do, where no magic lives. it kills them with predator drones and no love for stars. we were born and had it explained to us that our sex was a basket case while they built factories making plastic daffodils and named themselves geniuses. and now i see a million iraqis in an attitudes of death, a dragon with a hundred mouths underneath all that armor, don't he wish he were saturn making music with his lights instead of twisting us into skyscrapers?

and this little kid - a small dancing ball of light - comes to turn and face - look at this - a garden of dead bodies, piled up in a black wetness of life upon life upon life and what are you going to do about it? be a small edge cutting itself on a new kind of uselessness - such is politics - help us build a tank or a nothing or a new way of boring a hole in the heart of your mother ah maybe its too much to ask of you after all to stretch your arms wide like a mossy god and have a rebellion of daisies and black eyed susans?

is it?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

the moon

the moon is a gleaming island,

to which people will one day swim. the moon like a grandmother, dancing around in the night above us, waves to you and me and says i wait for the day of your coming. and when we sail the small sea to the moon, we see our home way down there like another place, and we see the stars are many and the darkness deep. this moon is part of us, its breaths watch the earth's breaths, it has kept us company all these long years through many fearful nights, casting a light in the dark.

the moon, maybe, loves us and the earth. one day we shall build houses here, if we are good, and the moon's heart will be warmed by the aimless chattering of human walkers like new birds arrived in an old place. and we will begin our journeys into the great ocean from here, and painters will draw with familiar love of the dark grey seas of the moon, they will say mare tranquillitatis (sea of tranquility) is where i'm from, or i miss mare imbrium (sea of rains) where the land is bright.

maybe there are winds on the moon that are good for sailing with translucent sails drifting across the maria like explorers of ancient worlds and the awe of new strange wildernesses will make us mythical again, and maybe we can build little circular towns snug in the bellies of small unknown craters, and the moon will laugh and say remember you used to live down there on the earth and we were strangers then? how i called to you in pale light all that time! how we wondered about each other!

and our children will roam the grey soil and maybe (who knows?) learn how to fashion certain kinds of silver flowers that can grow in the moon's earth, and we bring fireflies that make gleaming honey and they will come to address the moon as mother and she will tell them of being companion to the earth all these millions of years, her stories of sunstorms and all the shooting stars she saw falling and dying in the earth's hair. how the moon herself was once a great wild fire who cooled and froze into a grey serenity and wondered about the blue of the earth and all the strange little growing things running and swimming and flying on its skin. and this will be our astronomy then,