March 18, 2005

The ghosts of a different dream are singing

--by Patti Smith

I keep trying to figure out what it means
to be american. When I look in myself
I see arabia, venus, nineteenth-century
french but I can't recognize what
makes me american. I think about
Robert Frank's photographs -- broke down
jukeboxes in gallup, new mexico...
swaying hips and spurs...ponytails and
syphilitic cowpokes. I think about a
red, white and blue rag I wrap around
my pillow. Maybe it's nothing material
maybe it's just being free.

Freedom is a waterfall, is pacing
linoleum till dawn, is the right to
write the wrong words, and I done
plenty of that...

-- by C.X. Hunter

I stole anything useless
made my lair in the basement
diddled the junk
on the floor in the closet
listened to show tunes
on a wooden radio
licked the dust from the windows
hid from the crow
hid from the bluebird
imagined bugs in the plumbing
dreaded the ring
of a big black telephone
feared I might be related
to a family of monsters
went without sleep for
fourteen years

The Professional
-- by Joe Maynard

"That's the good thing;
about my profession,"
she said
putting her hand on my arm
while her other hand
palm up
with lipstick clad filter
sandwiched between her index
and bird finger
like a smoldering
"All you have to know
is how to use the phone."

Poem for Paulie
-- by David Roskos

the snow is so peaceful
when its falling,
covers up the garbage.
I looked out the window
of the church after the
meeting last night
& thought of Paul B.,
He's dead due to a shot
he took in the arm
on a rooftop in New York.
He said he knew the needle
was infected, realized it
a second before he sunk it,
just had a gut feeling,
& and said FUCK IT.
He died in the VA Hospital
in full-blown dementia,
lesions on his skin,
pockmarked face --
snow settles on his grave.


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