Brahm’s Requiem

03/07/2010 - Leave a Response

In the stunning suburban church

the orchestra delivers the goods

The choir swoons

The soloists soar

& the whole beautiful thing

goes on & on

But all the time they’re playing

my eyes keep sliding over

to the stained-glass window

where the yellow-haired angel

is staying the hand of Abraham

The angel’s hair curls upward in an S

& his wings are red

Abraham is surprised

He was all geared up for this

& Isaac his son is looking down & away

clearly traumatized

as his bare white torso & legs

are bound by red rope

& you want to stand up

in the middle of the church

walk over & reach into the window

& tell him: It’s cool It’s cool kid

This is just a lesson your Dad had to learn

about faith & obedience

See? He’s putting away the knife

The angel came in the nick of time

God was just kidding! Isn’t that great!?

It was just a test! A stupid stupid test

& your dad passed

& as you cut him free you realize

there’s not enough room

on this window to tell the whole story

How Isaac will never be able to trust his father again

How Abe will never be able to meet his son’s eyes

How the town will talk about the man

who took a blade to his own son’s neck

& meanwhile the choir & the orchestra

& the soloists are going on & on about

how when the trumpet sounds

every faithful servant will be spared

Death where is thy sting?

Hell where is thy victory?

& in my mind one finger on my left hand rises

& points at one of the most horrific stories

in a book full of them & my mind says

There

It’s right there

Don’t you see?

Everything you need to know about god

is on that window

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FLIGHT OVER HOLLYWOOD

03/03/2010 - 8 Responses

It happened on one of those crazy roads

that snake up the Hollywood Hills

where James Dean had his knife fight

at the Griffith Observatory

We parked at a scenic overlook

to watch the sun dive into the ocean

like a perfect hillside pool

& this tanned body builder in a tank top

had a Styrofoam airplane

with wings about this wide

He launched it up into a vortex only he could feel

& the space fell away

as it rose above the valley

then somehow looped back

He must have plotted

its course to perfection

for it curved home on invisible currents

& he snatched it effortlessly

That would have been enough

but as we moved in to admire his craft

he slid back the transparent canopy

& showed us the pilot:

a tiny white mouse with pink claws & red eyes

& all the way to the bottom

down the steep & deadly roads

that skim the edges

of those crazy hills

I wondered about that mouse

What was the flight for him?

Sheer terror

or sweet transcendence?

Or something only small things can grasp

when they are loved & kept & freed

by crazy gods

& flung into the sky

Gareth Dickson–Superb Ambient Folk Music from Glasgow

02/24/2010 - Leave a Response

Nicked Drake – Road (Nick Drake) from Gareth Dickson on Vimeo.

GIVEN NAMES

02/24/2010 - 4 Responses

I have two sons I gave them names

& crooked laughs & skittish brains

& marked them with my absence & my hopes

I sang them songs & called their wrongs

& tried to show them all the ropes

& failing that as all men do

I cooled their fevered brows

& rocked them through

the nightmares that all went away

& came back in the middle of the day

I talked them down off edges

& heard their shredded hearts

& taught them what I know of endings & of starts

& from this dimming vantage of my years

I know I spared them neither love nor tears

I am no wiser on the way

than they on any given day

& all the wars I led them through

have won us what: I couldn’t say

& looking back upon a fading land

that I have failed to understand

I stand as someday they must too

& wonder what it might be like

to meet them somewhere in the night

when we lay down our shields

& all our duties done

in the gathering of fathers & of sons

where we have no more titles only names

where we are made of what we choose

& what we take & what we lose

For all our differences & shame

we’ll meet as men who are the same

& there as they have never done

these aging men whom I call son

will call me by my given name

SPELLS NO

02/19/2010 - Leave a Response

I’m blowing smoke rings
& my son says,
“Can you do an ‘N’?”

-4/5/85

KNOWING

02/18/2010 - 5 Responses

She told me she put

the stillborn baby

in the freezer

in plastic wrap

right next to

the aluminum

ice cube trays

& then she almost shrugged

like Oh Well

Where else was I gonna put it?

& this old woman

this mother of 8

whom I had known

for 25 years

became a stranger

just like that

like someone

taking off

their favorite mask

& I thought

If I don’t know her

who do I know?

DUDE. THE MUSICAL

02/08/2010 - Leave a Response

ACT ONE

A BOWLING ALLEY IN LA.

THE BOWLERS BOWL IMAGINARY BALLS. EVENTUALLY THE SOUNDTRACK OF THEIR STRIKES BUILDS UP A RHYTHM AND THEY BEGIN A SONG…

BOWLERS CHORUS BEGINS THE BEST FUCKING OPENING NUMBER EVER:

IT’S A GAME.

IT’S MORE THAN A GAME.

IT’S A SPORT.

BUT IT’S NOT JUST A SPORT.

IT’S HOW YOU PLAY IT.

IT’S HOW YOU ROLL.

IT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD

IT’S THE PATH OF THE SOUL!

GUTTERS & STRIKES!

THAT’S REALLY ALL IT IS IT’S

GUTTER AND STRIKES!

IT’S REALLY JUST SHOWBIZ IT’S

GUTTERS AND STRIKES! GUTTERS & STRIKES! GUTTERS & STRIKES!

THE BOWLERS GO BACK TO BOWLING AND THE SPOTLIGHT S FALLS ON THREE MEN SETTING UP TO BOWL. THE DUDE, WALTER AND DONNY.

That rug, man.

I know, Dude.

I loved that rug.

And they peed on it.

Who peed on it?

Shut the fuck up Donny.

The Chinaman.

Communists?

No, Donny. These were thugs. I doubt they had…you know…affiliation with…Maoistic…in the purist sense of the word.

Walter, what the fuck are you talking about?

Yeah, Walter. What the fuck are you talking about?

NOW THE BOWLERS BEGIN TO DANCE ON THE LANES. BEST FUCKING CHOREOGRAPHY EVER.

GUTTERS AND STRIKES!

ONE DAY YOU’RE SNUG

AS A BUG IN A  RUG

THEY PULL IT OUT FROM UNDER YOU

THEY ASK FOR THE MONEY

THAT THEY’RE OWED FROM BUNNY

SHE’S JUST A SLUT WHO FUCKS WHO SHE LIKES!

GUTTERS AND STRIKES!

That rug really tied the room together, did it not?

Yes, it did.

And they peed on it.

Donny…

DUDE:

WHAT IS A MAN IF HE AIN’T GOT A RUG?

SURE, HE’S GOT A DRINK AND A GAME AND A DRUG.

BUT HE AIN’T GOT A RUG.

IT’S A RUG THAT IS SOILED.

IT’S LIFE THAT HAS GONE OFF THE RAILS

IN A WORLD THAT IS SPOILED.!!!!!

DUDE JOINS THE CHORUS LINE OF BOWLERS/DANCERS FOR THE BEST FUCKING SOFT SHOE EVER.

GUTTERS AND STRIKES

DUDE: I REALLY DUG THAT  RUG.

GUTTERS AND STRIKES

DUDE: IT TIED THE ROOM TOGETHER.

AND EVERYONE KNOWS YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU LIKE!!!!

DUDE: YOU’RE MISQUOTING THE FUCKING SONG, MAN

WHEN YOU LIVE A WORLD

FULL OF GUTTERS AND STRIKES!

WALTER:

Hey! Dude! I got an idea. The OTHER Lebowski. The MILLIONAIRE Lebowski.

CHORUS: GUTTERS AND STRIKES!

JAZZ HANDS AND FREEZE!!!

BLACKOUT

YouTube – Bill Evans – “Peace Piece”

02/08/2010 - Leave a Response

YouTube – Bill Evans – “Peace Piece”.

The pianist on KIND OF BLUE.

THE NUMBERS

02/07/2010 - One Response

The wasted cityscape below

has more abandoned homes

than any budget

could afford to tear down

So they rest there

the way we all do eventually

empty of everything

but memories

The calamity has trickled 12 stories up

to the high-rise copper tower

with all the empty offices

Gleaming smiles with missing teeth

The lawyer has no admin

just an outer room where

we set our coats on chairs

It looks like people have melted

leaving only their outerwear

Behind a sparse desk he sits

& explains the concept of bankruptcy

It is important that we grasp

the numbers

the difference between

Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

I don’t understand

He explains again

I still don’t understand

& he gets mad

You’re not listening he snaps

I give him 3 pieces of paper

my expenses

my assets

my debts

You’re missing a piece of paper he says

Your income

I have no income I say

He smiles & says

O yes you do

I haven’t had a job in 13 months

You have a pension & unemployment?

Yes

It takes half my pension

to cover my family’s healthcare

Because I have a pension

they cut my benefits in half

Out of that they garnish

my ex’s spousal support

If I do any work

they cut my benefits altogether

I am broke

in debt

underwater

& about to lose our home

You call that income?

Outside the high window

Detroit is bone cold

so we sit in his small office

as if we were trapped

To him this is entirely routine

You had a severance? he asks

Yes & I tell him the figure

And where did That go?

It was the thing he did with his mouth

after he asked that question

That was when I decided

to fire him

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO EXACTLY?

02/06/2010 - 2 Responses

I sit reading next to a woman with a cello.

Why exactly?

Because people will listen to my words.

Why?

Because they know that

sooner or later

she’ll have to play.