Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some of Rick's poems....

OK, here are a dozen or so of my poems. Most of these - though not all - were written for a college level poetry class. Here I learned that poetry is not my forte, though I like my stuff. And I get it. So tuff darts, amigos

Splitting Hairs

I’m not one to split hairs.
D’ya think?

Nor am I one to strain out
a gnat and swallow a camel.
Or am I? (At least a toe?)

And I’m certainly not one to
hold something against you.
But I could be.

“Please,” you say, with a giggle,
“Hold something against me.”

¿Estamos Listos?

It’s what she
used to always
say when we
were done
eating at a restaurant.
I could never remember
what it meant,
my Spanish limited
then to carne adovada,
and combination plate.
I always thought she’d said
“almost listless?”
and wondered if I was.

She meant
“are we ready?”
As in are
we ready to go?
As in are
we done?
As in are
we finished?
As in are
we through?
She asked me for years
until finally I got it.

But by then it was
too late. By the time I’d paid
the check, left the tip, and walked out
into the chill evening,
she was gone.

Si. Estamos listos.
“Uno mas tequila!”

Immolation: The New Girlfriend

Memories of searing pain
and months spent in
the burn ward
stay the hand, stop me
from bending down,
striking a match,
and setting fire
to these fuel-soaked bridges
at my back.

February 6, 2007

Backing the truck out of the shade
into an early sun
flaring over the Sandias.

Breath floating around me
as I sing along with Jerry Jeff
“down the road in a cloud of smoke.”

I laugh at the comparison –
I’m driving toward a desk gig
Not running from the city.

My Life to Date

Steering wheel on this ’58
’s got about six inches of play,
so you need – as it drifts
off left or right – to spin it back.
Forget the suicide knob.
Just do your best to keep going
down the center line.

Trailer Park Dreaming

I got my electric bill today
and it doesn't bode well.
I have a little cartoon
going on in my head
of dollar signs with wings...
flying away from me...


…and I look like that little rich fat
cartoon fucker on the Monopoly game but
it’s OK cuz I'm rich and
I got all these cartoon babes
flocking around me – like Betty and Veronica – and
we've got that little silver
shoe token packed full of coke and
we're just driving around and
around in circles like
crazy fuckers in the little
silver roadster token, passing Go
with our top hats on,
collecting $200,
pickin' up friends from that crappy little
trailer park on Marvin Gardens and
driving them over to
the big red hotel on Park Place and
partyin' like we own every
goddamn property in town,
electric company and all.

The Shovel

As the words were tumbling out of my mouth,
I looked down at my foot
resting on a shovel,
about to dig a hole
from which I’d take
a long


They lived on a farm of sorts,
someplace in Iowa.
Her dad was an Allstate agent and
at night he’d come home from work,
take off his jacket and
drive the tractor around the field,
in his shirt and tie, dress pants and wing-tips,
like Eddie Albert on Green Acres.

She was oddly mortified
when he would drop her off at school.
Her father in his Brooks Brothers suit –
The other kids’ dads in their hayseed overalls
and feed-store gimme caps.
These men, with their Protestant work ethic
– good Baptists all –
had been at work for several hours
while her father,
the Catholic insurance agent,
was just rising.

Category 6

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live on
the Gulf Coast or in Tornado Alley.
In my eye, storms are le petit morte;
the closest I can come
to experiencing the divine
and still retain some chance
of ditching death.

You’d see me on the evening news,
I’d be that cloud-crazed bastard
strapped to a Key West light pole
at landfall, video camera rolling;
or in a beat-up station wagon
chasing twisters
beneath a foaming green Arkansas sky;
or defiantly striding
the Corpus Christi seawall,
surfboard under arm,
as the storm roars in,
furious ru’ach driving thriving power across the beachfront,
going through cars and mobile homes
like Godzilla through Tokyo.

So I guess it’s a good thing you and I
never got together.
You, you’re such a perfect storm.

(I wrote this one an hour before my boss and I had to announce that the company was laying off half the department, every one of whom had been there longer than me.)
To Those Laid Off

It’s like an old ship rope, hot and tarry,
is being pulled through arms and legs
and bowels. Wrapping around neck,
pulling you down with the interminable
weight that comes of living a life.
And then a sickening to the stomach

unlike any you’ve known.
For me it is easier. You’d think.
I’m not the one who is going, nor
am I the one who is telling you
your job is gone. But my joints still
turn to water. I’ve been there.

I’ve watched the Death Angel
floating past cubicles with a
paper scythe. I’ve seen her
touch the shoulder and beckon.
Calling another, yet another soul
to their faithless reward.

But you’ll live. It’s like losing
a lover you wished would just leave.
The rending pain of separation
is still there, but inside you
know you’ll be happier for the loss.
It was a stupid job anyway.

Peaceniks: A Dream

We both knew him, though you
were the closer friend.
His legs, begged by Bedlam’s regime,
lie in the aftermath of abuse now,
a twisted, ineffective still-life.

We could no longer stand by and watch
as this tableau repeated itself,
though so filled with passion,
our stony eyes – as if struck
by Moses’ staff – burst forth in springs,
and voices of former mimes dissolved
in temblors of emotion.

From high roofs we shouted pleas
for an end to this war. From windows,
howling through bullhorns,
we begged peace from fellow beggars
who had none to spare.

Still, it seemed something was being done –
some cause was effected.
I awakened late, but with a sense
of purpose and accomplishment
as though any of this
had actually occurred.

My Manifesto

I wrote this a few years ago when I was doing online dating (which is, incidentally, where I met my darling Allison.) It was in response to women who said they just "like to have fun" or they "liked to listen to 'good' music."

I HATE the following:
1. Fun.
2. 'Good' music.
3. Chillin' with my so-called ‘home-boys.’
4. Sunsets
5. Long walks on the beach.
6. Short walks on the beach.
7. Walks.
8. The beach.
9. Walking in sand.
10. Running in sand.
11. Sand.
12. Sandpaper
13. Girls named Sandy.
14. Pecan Sandies.
15. Sandwiches.
16. Sandals.
17. Sandalwood incense.
18. Santana.
19. Santa Claus.
20. Cats claws.
21. Subordinate clause.
22. Holding hands.
23. Clenching fists.
24. Fighting the good fight.
25. Fighting the bad fight.
26. Getting my ass kicked in a fight.
27. Fighting Texas Aggies.
28. Fi'in to fight.
29. Women who love too much.
30. Women who love too little.
31. Women who love to be little.
32. Women who love to belittle.
33. Men in general.
34. Teenagers on principle.
35. Peeps that be hatin' on me.
36. Cats who love dogs.
37. Dogs who are oh, so smug. (Though, oddly, not smug pugs.)
38. Dogs in cars.
39. Dogs in bars.
40. Dogma.
41. Greyhound busses.
42. Greyline busses.
43. Busted busses.
44. Busted flat in Baton Rouge.
45. Headed for the train.
46. Feelin’ near as faded as my jeans.
47. My genes.
48. Mutated genes.
49. Vanilla Coke.
50. Chocolate Pepsi.
51. Mariah Carey.
52. Tippi Hedron.
53. Stream of consciousness (Un-less it’s about me.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Older brothers, whats going on there?

I think David was the oldest of the Carradine brothers. What goes on in the mind of a guy with two younger brothers? The lines on his face would indicate not only more years on this planet but perhaps some harder living all around. I wonder what his relationship with his brothers was like. Did they see each other often? Did they call each other on the phone to talk about shit? Hmmm..I wonder.
I'm calling both of my younger brothers tonight.

"When you can snatch the pebble..."

Sorry about the repeat picture at the bottom. But hey.....CAIN IS DEAD! Holy shit on Thursday!
Found hanged in a Bangkok hotel room, Jesus!
"My name is Cain, I mean no harm". And then he would promptly kick living dog shit out of ten cowboys. The television series Kung Fu was a staple in the Deniston house along with half of America.
My wife, Janet just called to tell me the news. I love her. She called and said, "I have a Moonpie ALERT". (Hey Rick, how cool is that?) Anyway, I'm saddened by his passing and I'm puzzled about why he would hang himself. (Did he?) I see David Carradine on T.V. doing yoga and meditation and shit so why off ones self? I guess only he will ever know for sure.
His brothers must be devastated, I would be. Bye David.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Martin: Then and Now

We are often asked -- generally by haggard-looking women with a string of fluffy-headed children -- what Martin looks like now, and where he might be found.

Here is Martin as he looked in 1976, and as he appeared recently on television.

More homely women

Brigitte Bardot.

On matters of poetry...

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

And you, my father, there on sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

These are two of the six parts of "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas. This poem has often been referred to as 'The Rage" poem, in fact that's how I found this work on the net. The line "wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight" best describes how Rick and I grabbed our youth. Good or bad, broke or flush, the experience was almost surreal and could never be repeated. Now comes this period of our life when we pull back the reins and attempt to seek answers about the future. We know the past, and the present is a strange place, knowing the old life is gone but the mind could scare the hell outta you in a heartbeat. The present is also strange because we've not done this! Every minute is new. We both have the wild imagination to dream about the future but 'this day' is new stuff for us. The future looks good over the horizon for the two of us but I can assure you, we will NOT go gentle into that good night!

Post script; I have no idea who the guy is in this photo, I just liked the picture.
Following is a fantasy conversation with an old love -- my first love. The conversation never happened, but I'm including it here because it relates to the next post from me about how and why I wound up in Germany. The name of the woman, "Becky," is changed for reasons that may someday become apparent. Also, the conversation takes place in a rowboat on a lake in Austria. Not that that has anything to do with anything.

“When I was five years old,” he said, “we moved from Canada to Rochester. Total distance less than 300 miles. It might has well have been around the world.” He took a pull on the bottle.

“We were plunked down in the middle of the city, in a heavily Jewish neighborhood. The other kids thought I talked funny. I said ‘zed’ instead of ‘zee’. I said ‘running shoes’ instead of tennis shoes’. People couldn’t understand my accent. That and the fact that my mom and I were Baptists, and my dad was a German. Add to all that a name like Raab-Faber, and I just didn’t fit in. But after a couple of years, I started to make some friends. I learned to speak American. I was feeling comfortable.

“Then, one day when I was in third grade we packed up and moved to another part of town. A fairly suburban sort of area. I was the new kid again. And again, with that name that for some reason no one could ever pronounce. Some of the kids in the neighborhood had dads who’d been in World War II. This was twenty-some years after the war, but there was still a lot of anti-German sentiment. New things to deal with too. Like, I didn’t know how to play football or baseball. It took a couple of years, but eventually I started to fit in, started to feel comfortable, started to make friends. But then…

“In the summer after fifth grade, we moved again. Way out in the suburbs. It was a brand-new subdivision, which should have been a bonus. Most of the kids in my neighborhood had come from the tougher parts of Rochester. A lot of Italian kids. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but it was just different worlds.

“Almost all the kids in my sixth-grade class had grown up together right across from the school. Riding the bus was about the only thing that saved me from daily ass-whoopings. Again, the problem with lack of any sports abilities came up. And the name thing still. I was an outcast. I met a friend there though who was even newer than me. We became inseparable, and in the seventh grade, we began developing reputations as class clowns. In eighth-Grade we were actually popular — somewhat.

“Then came ninth-grade. We were the young punks in school. We didn’t have any classes together and we hardly knew anybody. Two months into ninth-grade, my friend moved back into the city. I was all alone. But I tried to make the best of it. I was growing my hair long. I actually got to wear some relatively fashionable clothes. I began to think it might be O.K. In fact, Bonnie Abrams, a girl I’d had a crush on in eighth-grade ran into me in the library one day. She seemed really interested in me. She wanted to get together! Wow! I went home that day on top of the world.

“That night my dad asked me how school was going. I said great! He said “Well don’t get too used to it, because we’re probably going to move. A month later, and we moved to Albuquerque. So, now not only was I a freshman in high-school, but I knew absolutely no one. My mom had made me cut my hair before we moved and bought me some ‘nice’ clothes so, now I looked like a major-league geek. The kids in New Mexico didn’t like people from back east and so I was a hopeless case for the first couple of years.

“By the time I was a senior I had made friends though. I hung out with the Freaks at school. We were the school rejects, but we were there for each other. I met my friend Vance and we got along really well. I was really, finally fitting in and things were looking good for me. But guess what?”

“Your dad was going to move again?” Becky responded, fiddling with an oar.

“No. No he wasn’t. My parents were very happy in New Mexico. About three months before graduation, I went downtown and joined the Army.”

“Why?” she asked. I sat back, put his hands in his pockets.

“Because, for all my life, whenever things got comfortable and I started to fit in, we moved. I’ve never learned how to deal with a relationship — friendship or otherwise — all the way through. Never learned how to cast seasons to the wind. Never learned how to progress. When graduation was looming, and we weren’t going anywhere I did to myself what I’d had done to me all my life — I moved.”

“The point being…?”

“I think that…” I paused “I think that when I met you, when we got together, that you made me feel comfortable, made me feel like I fit in, like I belonged with you. Instantly. And those other girls I hit on? Linda and Debbie and Laura and Shannon? They were because I kept expecting our relationship to end somehow and so I had to move on to new relationships. I obviously wasn’t moving anywhere. Not till Uncle Sam said so. But moving was the next logical step in the progression of fitting in.

“That’s why I’m having such a difficult time with this whole leaving thing. This is what comes next, and yet I know that I want to be with you.”
She looked at him and nodded. Something else came to his mind.

“Y’know, before we moved to Dachweiler, I was really heavy into speed. I was partying too much and having trouble staying awake at work. I had been wishing out loud that I had some whites, and this guy I knew turned me on to X-112. That shit Dave makes his Rocket Fuel with? I was getting maybe four hours of sleep a night. Just burnin’ non-stop.

“The barracks we were in were really old. None of the locks worked, so we had hasps on the doors. I had just hung a big old bicycle lock on the door and neglected to tell anyone the combination. We started getting a bunch of flak about room inspections and I rebelled a bit; refused to make my bed, or clean my room. Nobody knew the combination, so nobody could inspect it. We lived in somewhat subhuman conditions in the first place. There was nothing to take any pride in. I had a funky old gray metal bunk, a broken wall locker, my little refrigerator, and a bookshelf I'd made from stolen wood and cinder blocks. The walls were filthy. The whole place was suffering from about thirty years of nineteen-year-old boys living away from home. I had all this energy from the speed, but never applied it towards keeping my ‘A.O. squared away’ as they say.

“One day I just locked the room permanently from the outside and used the window. You know.... that could be analogous of my life if I took the time to work it out. Locked the door and used the window. Huh. That was it. That was about the time that I sort of checked out sanity-wise. Locked that door. Forgot the combination.

“I'd had that dabble with the whites when I was state-side. That was nothing. I was moving headlong into some deep territory, and it started with that X-112 crap, and went on to the Mandraax and the acid and even some heroin. It really fried my brain. It’s days like this. Moments like this with you, when I take that lock off the door and look in that ratty room of my life. It looks like the almighty shit-hammer of Thor came down in it, and I just have to shut the door and lock it again. Some days… some days it’s just a whole lot easier to use the window.

The Best Minds

A few days ago was the birthday of Poet Allen Ginsberg. Vance and I weren’t big poetry guys back then—unless he’s holding out on me—and I didn’t really even hear about the beat poets like Ginsberg or Ferlinghetti, until I was in the Army. Nonetheless, Ginsberg’s famous poem, “Howl,” has a beginning that reminds me of us, of me and Vance and all of our friends… most of our friends. But, then, I guess every generation feels the same way.
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…"
In retrospect, maybe all we were was a couple of typical 1970s teenaged kids. Of course, whose to say what would have happened if our minds hadn’t been destroyed by madness…..