Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tequila & Lime

Batten down the hatches honey
Get a hat for bats
Watch some golf pornography
To reinforce the facts
of the matter, of the thing
I heard you say that time
There’s no good reason ever
for Tequila without lime

Make me check my balls honey
Make me clean up on the tee
As Jesus comes right through the walls
Between your perfect knees
I still remember all that shattered
All those things you said that time
No such thing as a good reason
No Tequila without lime

Let’s get down to practice honey
What yours is and mine might be
What pollinates those pretty blossoms
that don’t have any truck with bees?
No question that I do remember
some scattered things you said in mime
C’mon, there’s more than plenty reason
for Tequila without lime

It’s up to you, you know it honey
You smell like maple, go down like mead
Were you from a world I know
You might be just the bloom I dreamed
But then again you need things too
and dreams are not victimless crimes.
Which gives us an excuse, a reason
for Tequila with our lime

Sonnet for Giants

Castilla believes his redeemer liveth
& Romo is not illegal no matter
that he looks the part, and he doesn’t mind
not being the closer.  Closer my God to thee?
Don’t get too close or someone might shoot.
Shoot like one standing his (or her) guard.
I only use my gun when kindness fails
(personally) said the booby dispatched
from the municipal booby hatch. 
Hatch O my darling eaglets to see what
our ancestral dinosaurs have wrought
from sea to shining sea.  Listen with
dignified awe as their angelic blue jets
deafen all the redeemer’s creatures here below.

Giant Pentatim

When I wasn’t watching and bothered to think
of them, which was not much, the thought was
this team is just not that good. When I was
watching, the thought was, maybe it is. Maybe
they are.  I guess we know how that all turned out.

Lovelock Sonnet
            . . .  with Chris in mind . . .

Love can lock you down or out and so what
can we do about that, honey?  Take impulse all
the way to some misdirecting Tambourine Man? 
There is such misdirection in the atmosphere
we seem to share.  It reminded me of listening
to Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Mudhoney
covering Townes on Buckskin Stallion driving
the western shore of Lake Yellowstone.
And then there were the Upper and
the Lower Falls.  Sometimes we fall by
accident, sometimes by grand design.  I fell
for you like a child, something burning in the fall.
The Burner aeronauts in Lovelock had yet to crash
their private planes into the desert plains of Nevada.

Dear Iris,

You don’t know me but I know you, kind of,
reading your poems while Wyoming through guess where?
Wyoming!  in Yellowstone if you really need to know.
Last night sharing fire and beer with splendid young people
from my home town, Grand Rapids (Michigan
if you really need to know).  Talked of redwood and trees
and I didn’t have to tell them but did
that the Giant Sequoia in Yosemite
are not the coastal Redwood south & north
of San Francisco where I live now &
even in San Francisco in the Arb in Golden Gate Park
& just now in Yellowstone sprinkle
read “sequoia sempervirens” & want to thank you
for observing the important distinctions.

Dionysian Sonnet

An expert says you should feel it, feel
a thing accomplished and controlled.  Kind
of like revealing yourself to Dionysian Love. 
I promise to feel accomplishment!
And control.  Control, do we truly need
doubt in the presence of that many already
too many?  Control? Control? Are you there?
Oh my dear, Control has left me swinging
in the wind as the old hanging stories go.
Have I control of my desire for you and your
sweet self?  And by self I do mean, really, your
inner beauty, as expressed so expressly
by your shapely hips, and O! the swinging of
your apple-ripe breasts and that lovely thing
lying and inviting, just a short distance, below.

The Speedway at Edmore

She was heading straight for Edmore
& the races at the Speedway there
She had the top down on her T-Bird
Michigan wind in her hair
She had her cap set for a driver
The one she met that one time at the bar
That bar with a deck out by the river
He said that she should see him race his car

Oh that mean old Speedway in Edmore
            Where those stock cars slither through their turns
            Hear that souped up throaty roar
You can taste the tire burn

That was what she was intending
She’d never dreamed that she would go that far
Not only all the way to Edmore
But just to see some redneck race his car
Her own sweet neck was more the hue of honey
Her T-Bird robin egg soft blue
She bought it when she had some money
And way too much of nothing else to do

            Repeat Chorus

That nothing else had drove her kind of crazy
& she wasn’t fully sure he was the cure
But it sure beat getting soft and lazy
Of that she found herself quite sure
It may have been his dreamy eyes
& how he kept avoiding hers
The way he stroked his longneck bottle
It’s just a thought, but it occurs

Repeat Chorus

She wondered later how she’d done that
How she ever let it go that far
But then again she’d never had a redneck
Not even one who raced a car
Afterward, her heart was doing the racing
Splitting lickety in her breast
She’s made her mistakes, we all have
But this one wasn’t quite like all the rest

            Final Chorus:

            Oh that fine old racing course at Edmore
            Where a heart can slither through its own peculiar turns
            Let go its own sweet throaty roar
    & you can taste its honey blossom burn

The Broncos in North Platte

Why do the girls wear halter tops &
Lucinda Williams hats at the game in Denver?
Of course, the camera will find them, fast.
The WiFi at the Country Inn is not
acceptable.  I do accept it though because
all I’m really needing is to post a score
& pay some bills & both can wait upon
a significantly stronger signal.
Impossible you say, but you have failed
to explore the full potentiality of
the goodness of wherever it was I bought this
carnitas & the ‘9ers to follow.  (They lose.)
Salute with me the inheritance of the sisters Stroh
& regret their fabled malt’s descent to Milwaukee.

Scooter Sonnet

Informed informants brought a scooter
to the park and turned it into officers there.
Those officers sure could scoot.  And they
could consider themselves found property –
a form of found poem if no poet reports it
stolen. The officers were not investigated
even if several found poets were. 
The Giants beat the Cubs by five and
the officers claimed victory.  But everyone
knew the poets really won.  Fer Chrissakes!
The Cubs only got two hits!  The poets thanked
all of us for finding one more lost
poem of loss and rediscovery & embracing
the true métier of life in a baseball universe. 

Toad Sonnet

Toad was there and so was I and so were you
and so was she.  She was more beautiful than
I ever remembered and you were just as
beautiful as you were when we were in love.
He could drive he could.  Drove the track like
his father and brothers before him and I always
had to wonder what you thought.  Never thought
to even wonder why you might have thought it.
And what did she think?  Hard enough to remember
what I did.  My father’s Dodge Dart skidding
off the track on the way back to the Cascade.
Me on a mission that had neither merit nor name
and never quite died thereafter.  I remember.  I remember.
I even remember not even remembering who I was.

Sunnyvale Sonnet

The truck full of soft drink left and she
went with it and then the telephone rang. 
The truck had rolled and so had she.  I should
get there but I didn’t have the car.  She did.  But how,
how I kept insisting, could both have rolled?  She didn’t
exactly know but I should get there if I could. 
The tide had risen remarkably.  In fact
it was just out the door and waving in.
I was worried, there was every reason to be.
So her mother and father and I went to
the back door and the next wave came
rolling down the mountains from the other side. 
It was most disturbing.  I was most disturbed. 
It did not seem like it could end very well, at all.

Friday, March 2, 2018

It has been a while since I posted poems on this blog.  In fact, those posted today date from Spring 2014, already four years ago.  I had just read Elizabeth Kolbert's unnerving The Sixth Extinction, making extensive notes as I read.  The first longish poem "The Bottom of the Sixth . . ." in this post is based on those notes along with my continuing encounter with Veronica, the character from the earlier "Prairie Elegy."  

As with that one, any number of phrases and tropes are purloined from some of my favorite folk-rock and Americana artists.  As with "Prairie Elegy" a Discography follows.  

The Bottom of the Sixth allusion derives from my fondness for baseball. Readers who remember Philip Roth's The Great American Novel may recognize the reference to Terra Incognita.

(There are two earlier shorter "Bottom of the Sixth" poems, which somehow provided an avenue to the longer one, following.)

"Prairie Elegy" still follows today's post, as far as I can tell.  If not, select 2016 in the right side margin if my tales of Veronica amuse you.

The Bottom of the Sixth in Terra Incognita

The gentlest of taps on a tired shoulder & then
my broken heart misses its best shot at killing
me expediently. Baseball in Terra Incognita
always a dubious proposition and it seems
like only me and the players and tired old
timers with rheumy eyes who can’t see
too good anymore and maybe haven’t
even in salad days when they never ate
salad anyway. Just the beasts of the field they
subdued by killing them. Unimpeachably, one
way to do it. I was there to see the Rupert Mundys.
I remember them Mundys, Veronica announced
unannounced. I emerged astonished beholding  
heaven and earth as never quite before.

What in heaven and earth was SHE doing there?  
Hadn’t she dumped me at the Bison Paddock? 
She said she thought she might find me there
where the buffalo used to roam. She was the kind
of girl who could say things that weren’t that funny.
She could be a bit of a coyote, skin the honey
hue those imminent Sioux wore emanating up (and down)
in quest of their few remaining bison. 
She even had a bow to slay the umpire when the call
went wrong. As it inevitably would. But killing
messengers is release and not reward and now
they have instant replay in Terra Incognita anyway.
Besides, they just might have been looking for us.

We weren’t much of anywhere but the end of the road
near Dinosaur on US 40 where Phil Roth Field casts
its luminous glow. When the PA played God
Bless Vespucciland it seemed like a good time
to go, it wasn’t that great a game anyway
and she had made an already sumptuous camp. 
She used to tell me scrumptiously sounding things
and so I had remained a sucker for her & her
kind, firesigns and all. There was her tent and she
told me I could sleep in the bathos of my dreams.
It still was tied in the seventh we later learned.
But O! the bath I took in the end. It reminded me
of what I remembered from Bab edh-Dhra.
Reminded me of what can happen in the morning.

In the morning we went looking for the frogs
that won’t outlive us. Boys throw stones
at frogs in sport she reminded me but
the frogs die in earnest. I never threw stones at any
old frog and couldn’t hit the broadside
of a barn anyway, I told her in adamant retreat. 
And that time you barbecued their tiny legs on
Pheasant Ave. NW? What rose from those ashes?
A taste for flesh and fire, I suppose. As usual
she had me and all I could remember were those
haunches of Buffalo we would never taste again.
She wasn’t going to leave me. She wasn’t going
to leave me alone. It made for certain difficulties.
We agreed to let Bion and his cynical diatribes be bygones.

She built a fire and told me about Homo
diluvii testis who witnessed the Flood
as a salamander. I thought we had won
the war with the Newts. But Froggy went a’Courtin’
& Molly Mouse was the hat check girl, and we
hung our hats on desiccated Pinyon boughs and hoped
the fruit would not fall too far from our tree. 
The great serpent in the sky spoke with a tongue
just as forked as The Great White Father’s. Promised us
the land, the vista, and assorted ancestral
properties. It was all as confused as what I
learned in school. She seemed secure enough
in the facts of the matter. We had only begun.

She taught me a saying: camels often sit down
carefully, perhaps their joints crack. I do and mine did
so it seemed a wise saying if only from some Terra
Lingua Incognita. Then we got down to
a terrifying taxonomy. She insisted, I say,
she insisted, I was the last megatherium. 
I ain’t one of them Camelids! I cried. I protest!
Them are those pigs and hippopotami,
them deer and giraffes and cattle. 
Them goats and antelope. Look! In Big Wide
Wonderful Wyoming they call the pronghorn
goats but that’s not what they are. Not taxonomically. 
They’re not even antelope! Not taxonomically! 
I’d never been so shocked. She used to love me a lot.
And only because I was the last of the megatheria?

So there we lay, melodizing laylike on
the lay of the land and the lines it drew before our
weary aging eyes. Not much to go on
is there? she reminded me and then
I had to micturate. OK, go ahead, piss on it,
she taunted me. You don’t know squat and don’t have to either.
Not my fault, not my fault, I continued in protest.
I didn’t punch them doggies. Or them megatheriums.
You do squat to shit, don’t you? she continued. 
Each of ours will all but certainly bear careful
examination by the planet’s next species’
analog for anthropologists a few hundred
million solar rotations hence, she foresaw forcefully.
Dig it. You know it will and so will they.

Old roads are built on old rivers, it occurred to me,
and that maybe she was getting a little big
for her very attractive Venus Project hemp britches.
Maybe even backtalk will soon be proscribed
here in the ever-later Anthropocene?
Lord make me an instrument of her piece I pled. 
Besides, I’d just been fifteen days under the hood.
You ever tried that? Ever talked to trilobites,
belemites & ammonites the size of wagon wheels?
No way to leave her company, seeking outsized bones
 . . . seeking the strength of her line . . .
seeking that which only Wonmug and Bloom might have. 
Requisition Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea,
and steal their orders? Go in our own skins to find incognita?

Roam the forests aboriginal, unexplored and undisturbed? 
Assume the aspect of le Mayne, traverse the Ohio?
Dragoon some Algonquin and Iroquois, beat Jefferson &
Lewis & Clark to the Devil’s Punchbowl.
See what we might learn about espèces perdues?
Get our kicks in Big Bone Lick? Wouldn’t that be
a dose of sweet satiety. Stand up as Oop did
to Wonmug and Bloom in the eternal
machine of time. Lavish our care on trace fossils
left by the Little People who exterminated
the dangerous Witch Buffalo with horns sticking
straight from her forehead, all for the cause
of Paleontology in Kentucky, fueled on 
Bourbon demonic as Barbados rum. 

Better to drink instead from the lees of
Cuvier’s cuvee of extinction. It hurts down here
‘cause we’re running out of beer but
we’re all gonna die someday? Aren’t we all
after all, “capable of violent tremors
& eruptions”? Don’t we all want to pop
up in Paris like a mushroom? I certainly do!
Not me she replied, artfully tart as fine hard cider. 
She confessed to preferring Florence. Always had
a thing for Florentines. She was lovely
as the Lily of the West and I feared her
betrayal. Maybe you want to talk about
Proboscidea? she went on, predatory
glint in her amber eye. Maybe you want to see

l’animal moyen de Montmartre?
Get it on over transformisme v. evolution,
see Lamarck as our missing spiritual link,
feel the Beagle upon us like the direct
revelation of a higher power much as
Alfred Newman did? Not everything is impossible,
she went on. Not everything is
“an affair as unlikely as levitation.”
Things got scary after that. She told me about
the tests of the Foraminifera. They look like
beehives, braids, bubbles, clusters of grapes, and
beaded earrings of the sort Chris makes.
Alvarez examined his from Gola de Bettoccione,
and he for one knew his uniformatarianism.

Knew his ammonites & rudist bivalves. 
Even the quartz was shocked. And then there was
the Crater of Doom, and the fern spike and the
Strangelovian Ocean. The Nautili, the chambered ones,
(we’re all gonna die someday as Kasey might sing).
Building a more stately mansion for either
of our souls seemed about as far-fetched as
the Midianites there in the Crater of Doom.
There in Chicxulub, coinciding perfectly with
the boundary between the Cretaceous and
the Paleogene when and where non-avian
dinosaurs suffered hundred percent losses
as did the terrestrial Enanthiornithine &
the aquatic Hesperornithine birds.

Then and there at the bottom of the fifth.  
The very thought brought sadness to my heart, as though we
might not ever stretch for a seventh, hoping
against dubious hope, even willing to settle
for a date with the devil himself, push the old Nick
over the precipice like the pious shepherd
at Dob’s Linn. Disregard the signs of mismatch
for as long as we might until we encounter
for our very own selves the “My God” reaction
as the paradigms suddenly shift and the ground
we could have sworn is solid drifts at our feet.
Come to personal terms with neocatastrophism
as conditions on earth change only very slowly,
except when they don’t, watch as

Rationalization convolutes as
contradictions accumulate, watch in
stunned silence until a finally perspicacious
prophet for our desperate age calls a red spade
a red spade and reminds the spellbound
that graptolites turn out not to be hieroglyphs,
even as we look for ziczac in
environments where it brooks no human,
nor even biological, origin. You are your own
Nemesis, Veronica told me as though it
were a consolation prize. As I am mine
and all of our kind are all of ours. We have
done it to ourselves and if you want me

to hear about it so we together may indulge
a worldly fantasy of having told the truth
in a truthless world, so be it. You remind me of Ruth
among the alien corn, was all I could think to reply.
We are neither of us going anywhere, not even
in pursuit of espèces perdues. I think the game
is over and not because it’s been delayed by rain. He who
has no name said a fire not a flood next time,
she agreed. So there we sat in a dead draw
in Terra Incognita and waited silently,
watching a senseless sun fire the bluff
to the east from its impersonal house in the west.

Bottom of the Sixth Discography

Paul Simon, Graceland, Warner Brothers, 1986
Bob Dylan, Good As I Been To You, Columbia, 1992        
John Eddie, Who the Hell is John Eddie? Lost Highway, 2003
The Chad Mitchell Trio, Reflecting, 1964
Southern Culture on the Skids, Santo Swings, Estrus Records, 1996
Well-known Degenerate Laramie Musicians, “Roamin’ through Wyoming,” Responsibility No One Dare Take, @ 1977
James McMurtry, Live in Aught-Three, Compadre Records, 2004
New Riders of the Purple Sage, New Riders, MCA, 1976
The Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Brian Setzer Orchestra,  
     Hollywood, 1994
The Hollywood Argyles, “Alley Oop,” Marginal, 1960
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 4 Way Street, Atlantic, 1971
Kasey Chambers, The Captain, EMI, 1999
Peter Paul & Mary, Moving, Warner Brothers, 1963
Desmond Dekker and the Aces, “Israelites,” Uni Records, 1968
The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet, Decca, 1968
Leonard Cohen, Live in London, Sony, 2009
Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station, Arista, 1977

Bottom of the Sixth

Maybe that higher power has got its own
self a little too high.  (Many fey wise jokes on
4/20 and Easter being the same day
in the local news.)  And how wise may we be,

O wise ones?  We procurers of all good
bad and arguably ugly on a fine
Saturday baseball afternoon with wrap
around games and plenty to smoke if that

way your pleasure tends.  Or trends?  The trends
are not so good.  It is the bottom of the sixth
somewhere in baseball land.  And also in
this our Turtle Island home where too many
run far amok amid distressing dreams of
dead brothers, grandparents, and big old tortoises.

The bottom of the 6th, continues
The lady scientist believes in God so it all might
seem to be at least a little bit justified.  Did the
Lady Eve believe in He Who Has No Name?
Even when He didn’t, at least not quite yet then?
Then it was that that sweet toothed serpent
wormed his way in.  He was a He, right?  Isn’t
it all the fault of some gender specific male
who got a little indeterminate at some point.
Bless his pointed little head by all means.
And then point your own little head where it doesn’t
want to go and get used to the idea that it is
the bottom of the sixth and that even your own weird
little genes will not likely survive the seventh extinction
no matter how important they seem to you, at the moment.

Routinely Oblivious

There are those, I have heard reported,
who report immediately as though they are
there.  Which they are, as far as I can tell.
I am not one such.  I, routinely oblivious, still remember
Nonesuch, the label where we of limited income
could buy for two or three dollars putatively obscure
classical music.  Albinoni, for example, sublime
keyboard compositions from the Italian Baroque.

Also a very fine St. Matthew Passion which
Gary Rillema reported from Married Student Housing
in Laramie, (2016 Land), to his parents that he was
listening to Handel’s Messiah on a Sunday nowhere
near either Christmas nor Easter.  Nonesuch, as such, also
for some folk musicians, as was that Vanguard.

Setting Picks

He thinks he’s King Crimson when he can profess
to hate a baseball team.  It’s easily done,
you just pick anyone, pick to provoke a Sabbath
of discord.  Better than religion, one supposes,
although supposing can get troublesome somewhere
down the line.  Bottom of the sixth.  Nobody on,
and setting picks is a foul in certain contact sports.
Pick your poisons, you honorable combatants in
competitions with uncertain rules.  The rule
of the variously pissed off pisses on all kinds
sticking around.  Kind of the point.  So more than kith,
so less than kind, and there we go again.  Kind? 
Kind of
 like an entry
                     in the ungulate division. 

The Bolt House

And then there we were at the Bolt house with
those magnificent twin black walnut trees within a
horseshoe drive where Uncle Harry aka
Jim argued with his father about God’s elect
when he wasn’t selling shoes at that store
with the Xray-your-foot machine
on Eastern Ave., Catty Corner from
Eastern Avenue Xtian Reformed Church.
Right down the street from Burton Street and
a house of another sort where Burt Vander Meer
aspired to a ministry and which his kid and me tried
to burn down, accidentally of course, playing
with matches in the cellar as we might have in any
old house, and failed, although not without trying.

The Higher Power

Spring Peepers, remember them?  Froggy
went a’courtin’, at least in Ravenscroft's 
Melismata version.  Sadly, had no greenback
dollars.  But he sang what must be sung. 
And it all turned out pretty good!  Molly Mouse
was the hat check girl.  Money don’t get
everything, it’s true.  Kills a froggy or two,
though.  And then there’s a person from
Greenpeace all dressed up for Porlock.
Might even talk to her if she didn’t
look like a toad and want greenback dollars.
Darwin spent the Beagle Voyage pretty much
seasick, and still got down words that struck
Newman as “direct revelation of a higher power.”

The pointillism of the Masters

Who would have thought there to be such pink
in so bloodily red white & blue a gallery?
If only we could hit it close, that close, close
enough to seem to have an idea, any idea at all
of what we did or even why it was done.
No such luck. Our kind are not kind nor
in right mind to do something that tough,
again. And what was it and why so tough, again?

A night from now our sun will eclipse our moon
billowing diaphanous plumes against our planet-
bound doomed intentions, hopes, even,
of a safer universe, a place we might see from
a home of our own, from a place we think we live,
where we give surly lip service to our Masters.


It’s enough to make you want to go to Africa,
just like that girl in Johnny’s Camaro.
“How you get up there?” Well, she had jumped.
The bump in the up, nine degrees by the end
2099, so to speak, at least the degrees are in F,
only five in C!  “The frog does not drink
up the pond in which he lives.” At least that’s
what the Sioux said but we all know what became
of them. Maybe the Frogs did it?  Maybe not, eh? 
The worst-case 2100 scenario is only 6C so
don’t we have a degree with which we may
happily play?  Even NASA agrees and even
Texas Christians fund those guys. ACD? 
Look it up for your very own self.

Verdi cries

I draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand
and protect her with my wits from the libel
that she is just another welfare queen.
So was Cleopatra.  Her welfare wasn’t protected?
Time to start rising for the moon! Anubis?
You dare to bring Anubis up? You’d be in
transgenderland! You’d be rising for the moon, and you
might even get there. For the moment, lets
adore Hypatia, sadly done in by good Christians
of the Alexandrine profession.  Fathers, don’t let
your daughters grow up to be scientists!
The dog-faced troops can support themselves.
They’re awful good at making killers.
Not near so good at making men.

Remembering Nam

Happily, we remember the salad days
of American Empire. Strafe the town.
Who are we, or anyone, to judge?
Kill the people.  And embrace as family
the brave fellaheen given helicopters
to dispense napalm. It’s not for me to judge. 
Those were the good old days when you
could get stoned on valium and gin while all
the fine young fellas from someone’s
hometown dropped napalm on someone else’s.
I remember Nam too.  It seemed for a time
a time to forget, but I couldn’t quite. Never quite
forgot how they got out there every Sunday to catch
them perfidious Gooks at their morning prayer.

Movie Review

And so we come to that old sepia of old
New York where the sentient cowboy up
and lead a mirthful parade, but no one quite
dare call it Great. Not like Citizen Kane
or Birth of a Nation or A Clockwork Orange.
Not even Robert Osborne.  It’s pretty good though. 
There are pigs and llamas and ponies leaping
impossibly from a railroad  boxcar.
Bolivia didn’t really look like that.
Or did it?  Does it still?  We’ll all feel a lot better
after we rob a couple of banks.  Won’t we?
Promise?  Adios! Sweet Betsy from Pike
was never any sweeter.  Bingo!
Están Swingles?  Non! que es la familia de la perdiz!