Posts Tagged 'slam'

Slim slam

I can’t write when I swim, or when I carouse. I tear the paper when I write jumping. I might be able to rap and jump, like a you-tube rapper, a beat-box poet moving hands and mouth with buh-boom buh-boom carrying the scheme, the meme, but I would not be able to wrap presents. I run on, I run on, a drooling metamorphosis of words, the emulsification of phrase, syllable, wash and rinse, rinse and repeat. The run on sentence is subject to excoriation, rejection, debate unless it spins and boils, illuminates the percolating words upward to break/ upwards to break/ downward spilling/ arcing into the coffee cup. The wrinkle of coffee as it twists, delivering itself to ceramic, hot to cold, black to sweet, hand to mouth, mouth to whiskered face, whispered fate, plucking strings like lutes, plucking eyebrows, plucking laughter out of air, the bewildered eating of words that stink that see that fall off the pickle barrel off the modern drive to derive meaning from every sneeze every wrinkle every scrap of skin, the lathered parchment mortifying wrinkled flesh, fresh breath, final breath simplifying the exponential function of language repetition and the canning of fresh fruit every summer since language and cans first began.

After hours

I can do math, but I cannot remember the name of my second child without saying the first child’s name first, and sometimes the third child’s as well. I can rise up singing, and I can fall flat on my face and what do you think that means? Do you think it means I miss you? Do you think it means I am drinking in the attic, naked and out of my mind, do you think it means regret? Do you think I care what you think?

That is all I had to say to you tonight and that is a better conversation than many I’ve had without you since I don’t know when. Truth – I am not drinking naked in the attic, playing old Tom Waits songs and chain smoking, and if I was, I’d be enjoying it and not worrying about you, or your dumb dog – how is old Blue, anyway? I guess he’d be older than dirt or dead by now, older than dirt and sitting outside that tavern where Sheila sang every Thursday night, Cry me a river and all that. There was a tavern, there always is, and one night, after midnight, I left that tavern, you sitting on a stool tapping your cigarette pack against the bar, leaning in to tell something funny, something sexy, something completely full of shit to a woman with apricot hair, and her name was Jennifer, I think, or Juniper.

Then suddenly twenty years or so passed and I’m back visiting, expecting that the old place was torn down and replaced with an oxygen bar or sushi or something, but it’s still there, only place in Clearwater where folks are still allowed to smoke. Changed the city limits so the Blue Elvis Lounge is just outside of jurisdiction, smoke still hanging over the pool tables like a heavy fog. Patsy Cline’s ghost has rubbed the bar smooth and shiny, the lights have been blue in here for 50 years.

After midnight, the tone in the Blue Elvis Lounge changes. A sea change – old smokers going home to an early death, young smokers filing in, throwing themselves into the sagging booths, setting up mikes, opening the doors, skinny young men in straight thin pants and their pale girlfriends. And once upon a time there was a tavern, she reads, this young Sheila, whose name is Colleen, and then Travis and then Brynn, and they slam their words together and smoke, slam their words together and smoke, until after hours and then they leave, on little cat feet, and continue this conversation at all night coffee shops, same as it ever was.

(Prompts — assorted song lyrics. 15 minutes.)

Newt Gingrich Hears a Who

Note: I wrote this in 1995, according to the label on the bottomless box of notebooks. Put it in a show that summer. Got praise and heckling, both. Now, of course, they know we are here and take every opportunity to demonize and endanger us, attack and destroy our families. It is discouraging, the anger and disconnect tearing our country apart.

I’ve left it as originally written. It is a slam poem. It is intended to be headlong and breathless. Try it out loud, if you’ve had more coffee than is strictly recommended.

The basic indigestibility of language makes a tummyache in my mind, rumbling through the major intestines of word mind, his words so bloated and ugly I want to cleanse the space between my ears. Some nights after the 10 o’clock news I see on my dream screen the old stars — Hedy Lamar, Zazu Pitts, Venus and Mercury, and I don’t think about menopause, Newt Gingrich, poverty, nerve gas terrorism, bald-headed babies, California submerged, gun control or breastfeeding, breastfeeding.

I have been more at ease serving dinner to a room full of homosexuals than I could be with New Gingrich, what kind of a name is Newt for a right-wing fascist reactionary who would body slam all us unlike in the mosh pit of public policy? We should blow him out our collective chute, eye of newt, tail of frog.

Come on, Newt, we’re ready for you, boy, every last one of us, every airborne body word and brushstroke heretic, every excitable alluring transsexual, every Priscilla, every unwed mother’s son, every happy knick-knack closeted queen, every cracker jax prize, every femme butch butch femme leather dyke Victoria’s Secret funnybone-electrifying one of us.

We will grab you by the heel spurs and baptize you in the waters of our barbaric naked celibate fat-free offerings, we will dazzle you, Newt darling, with possibility. We are extreme. We are educated, we wear bobby sox, we eat lox, we’ve got you paddy-whacked baby so don’t be so raw-boned thin-skinned, we will return your brutality with strong medicine, kindness, vitamins, redemption; Parsifal’s body in our kingdom of blood fears. We know how to suffer and we believe in peace, bitch, so come on Newt, break out that gold lamé, the one in the back of your deepest closet.

Hello, I’ll be your waitress tonight. Newt dear, you look ravishing, who’s your date? Priscilla? Well, she’s a looker, hon, for sure.

 We’ll be in touch, Newt, don’t worry. You’ll see us in those W2 forms, we’ll be worm farmers, blacksmiths, we’ll wear three-piece suits, nipple rings, Dockers, cell phones and pacifiers. Your third eye will see us in dusted movie dreams, your sleeping vertebrae will know that whether you dance with destiny or the monarch formerly known as Prince, we’ll be in touch.

Priscilla, can I get you a toothpick? The fish is bony tonight.

I see Newt clutching his chest in a field, having an anxiety attack, the gravity of this language offends, this offensive language, but after all it was us us us under that spreadng chestnut tree, how far from the tree do you think we have fallen, whose children do you think we are?

This is all the fault of higher education, you know, playing doctor, playing soldier. We are the unsung. We are here, do you hear who we are, do you hear? You’re turning such a lovely peagreen, can I get you some Pepto, some milk of magnesia, I knew these high fiber words are hard to swallow, your intestines are flopping like a TV with a busted horizontal hold, your guts striped as a zebra and all you can hope for is hangtime, honey, hangtime and the epiphany of slam dunk, and the truth is we all know white guys can’t jump, at least not white guys in the black and white world of white guys like you.

Will you hang with us, Newt, our visions, our other cheek, our negotiations and love songs, we will not refrain, you have heard us on the jukebox, we have greased your bearings, played hymns in your churches, sold you Italian shoes, written the books that have slept with you on redeye flights, we drank the milk that does a body good.

2001 is not far away, and we here are in orbit, the satellite signal we send will crescendo not us/them but us/us, pink-cheeked and brown, products of love, of turkey basters, of rape, of carelessness, we are us we are us, we are bubble reps, Christmas presents, lord Krishna, lord Jesus, lords and ladies in waiting, in ruins, in paradise.

Lordamercy, Newt, can’t you see, you are one of us, not automatic, not semiautomatic, you are everything I detest and yet you belong, like parsley, like cornflakes, like psycho surrealism, vending machines, Haagen Dazs, ghosts, druids, drain openers, Zuzax, Rolodex and the gum on the bottom of a carpenter’s shoe. We are loose, we are mortal, we are eternal. Don’t be a drag, Newt, do be a drag queen, put on that corset, you know the one, you look so pretty in pink, let’s put the stress of chronic cultural disease behind us and have a party, a party to us. 

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May 2020