Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the barmaid, the cook, and me

I'll park here
Not there
Because some distance is good

The little clouds
By congress
Drift aimlessly
Above their defeated gods
Knowing they belong inside
the banished
blind beggars at the fish gate

Following karaoke friday
Sweet sixteen saturday
Heartbreak sunday

it's Just nothin monday
The barmaid, the cook and me

Seven giant screens
Babble to no one
As the insane meter spins

The scrambled trail of cold stools
Ignore me
To a spent court

Grabbing one of the insolent bitches
I drag her feet
Make her mine
Conqueror at last

The barmaid
Is friday's dirty glass wench
Because damned if real talent
Would pull a monday
Wasting spilled shirts
And tight ass wiggle
to loser tips

This one's talent
Knew another generation.
Yesterday's glass slipper
And sneaked peaks
is now a damp basement
where the empties are stored

Her tired grey eyes
Have seen a thousand me's
And we both know it

The cook
Is just a kid on his way to nowhere
But only the barmaid
And i know this
And we keep silent

A good cook
A real cook
Would pirate the slow
Like bullion
To spend later

but he buys basketball fame
With lazy quarters
and even in this
She takes five to beat him
And pounds his stardust glory
to shreds

Cheeseburger and rings
Cuz it's safe
and he broods to the kitchen
like it's ten years
On the rock pile

She snickers
Snaps her gum
And opens me another Bud

When neon sleeps
He'll lay on his single bed
in momma's house
Ankle over knee
Hands behind head
And be something other
Than a cook

When neon sleeps
She'll peek the kids
Pay the sitter
And light the days
Last cigarette
When she stopped feeling

When neon sleeps
He'll wonder
Of the barmaid and cook
Wishing he could heal them
For on a monday night full of leftover nothing,
These three broken soldiers
Shared a common trench


Monday, March 22, 2010

This Fella

Here's the deal

There was this fella, see
kinda shiftless
the wanderin sort,
in his mind and heart, mostly

and so anyway,
one cold winter day
while the world did algebra
he clumb under a fence
crossed the county line
and hitched a ride on an
old freight train.
all clammer n rust.

Now this fella, see,
he didn't know where he was going
only knew where he'd been
and to him
that seemed the point

after a dream or two
he whistle woke up
and so knew he was comin to somewhere
and somewhere smelled like river

so with a leap and a shout
out he goes
a tumblin and rollin
plummetin to the edge of somewhere

after a dust off, he took a walk around
and found things most peculiar;
no laws nor sense of laws
as far as he could tell
and all the tomorrows longed only
of yesterday
and all the yesterdays
hoped for impossible tomorrows

after pokin around some,
he found himself at the intersection of anguish and laughter
and with squint eye and curled lip
he let himself be drawn
into the unkempt neighborhood

now all the doors to all the houses were open
as were the windows
and this one would go to that one
and that one to who's
and who's to his
and hers to whoevers

well this here fella took a liking to it all
pretty much right away
and he too began to visit his and who's
and sometimes hers

there were always five or six in every house
sometimes the kitchen
sometimes the living room
-well, you know

and there was always a back door
if you opened it
and few cared to,
you would see a man lazy-boy hangin,
newspaper reading to Gunsmoke
blazing a trail to the past.

or maybe a woman
baking cookies for the church bazaar
while kids in sandboxes
grape juiced their white t-shirts,
and dogs chased chipmunks.
-that sort of stuff

but danged to hell, they couldn't see you!
Matt Dillon can shoot the wings off a fly
but don't know nothin bout passwords,
and good thing, too

well anyway,
this fella got to knowin these other fellas
and these other fellas female fellas
and before you knew it
he was a whoever
without ever knowin he wanted to be one!

and before you knew it,
all the little houses became one big house
with many rooms
and crazy locks on broken doors and curtains
with feet in fuzzy socks
toeing inward from underneath

now for a wanderin sort a fella
used to whims and riding alone

on broken dreams
this was quite a pickle!

out the back way was just Gunsmoke, PTA,
and damnation shot full of holes by preachers
with big black bibles.
and the way to the front door
was a bump and grind
against all the new who's comin in
to meet the new whoevers
and wannabes

didn't seem like no hurry anyway
as the others accepted him
cuz he made a pretty good drink
and rarely blew his smoke in their face

the house seemed thin on whoever's
and he told a good yarn or two
or so they said
*wink wink*

so's one day this here fella notices
that he's damn near invisible.
he can walk through the house without anybody shakin his hand
or asking for a story
and some forgettin they ever knew him.
and most of the others seemed distracted.
by the newer whoevers and hers
and howcomes and whys.

so he starts workin his way through the maze of rooms, see,
toward the front door.

oh, a smile here
a pat there
an elbow to yesterday

but strictly cheshire

and before he knows it, this here, fella
this whoever
this grinning fool
is at the front door
and looking in
he sees no one looking back
just blended voices
and laughter
shielding folded notes.

takin a moment, he leans,
cuz he likes to lean
and does it well

looking at his drink,
he raises it for the last swallow
but pauses
and sets it down
knowing the last swallow
should never be had

it never really was his party
and welcome long ago flew
on the wings of hot buttered seagulls.

lighting his cigarette,
he tries the door.

it opens easily
to quiet

for a moment he thinks to go back
for a moment he thinks to slam
for a moment he thinks to leave it open
just in case


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


See how they look at me? Like blind mice looking into a blind mirror.
Except the mirror isn't so blind.
"Doesn't he know we're at war?" they mutter to themselves over and over as they saunter past in holy disgust.

Yes, bastards. I know. I know.
It's there in the pride of silly sweethearts and on the brow of heartsick mothers. It's there on the front page and in every barber shop, saloon and bankrupt whorehouse lining this filthy town.
Yes, bastards, I know as well as you.
But I ask you, dumb bastards,-do you know of Belleau Wood? Were you there in 1918 as I lay bleeding and crying out for a death that wouldn't come?
Did you run to my cry and cringe to my blood? Would you like to see my back, where the bullets went in and never came out?
Yes, I thought not.. well fuck you all who think me irreverent.
Let me ask you this, bastards, have you seen my wife?
No? Well, me neither.

So much for pride and heroes, and good riddance as well.
Heard it told, Birmingham, or some other such shit-hole with some other such asshole.
So listen up bastards, -do you hear me? if here and now I find solace in the dark, comfort in the gin, and rest in alone, then leave me be. I've earned my misery and hard way.

Except for her.
She doesn't look at me that way. Her eyes speak another language, and my own look back because they can't help it.
She's different. Not silly and stupid like those phony birds that gather in the market and chatter endlessly.
She comes here alone, like me, and I think mostly for the music but who knows.

I watch her move, sway and lose her mind to another place far from Baker Street, and I find myself wondering where it is and if someday I might go there.
Always a pleated dress and I find myself wondering what might or might not be under it. She doesn't wear her hair like the others, either. She really doesn't do anything like the others.
Sometimes I catch her looking at me over her glass as she drinks, and I suppose she catches me as well.
It's always the same. Four glasses of Zinfandel making for a perfect timepiece to a tapered mood.
I've thought of buying her a drink, but I haven't. I've thought of joining her, maybe talk to her, maybe walk her home-wherever home might be. But I don't.
I imagine her the finest dancer if only she did and I could. But we don't, and probably never will.
So we come here alone, together.
I try to leave before she does just so I can watch her walk away. She traces the brick work with her fingers both high and low as if inspecting for flaws but I think she just likes the coolness on her skin.. Her feet nearly dance as she remembers the music and sometimes she glances over to me, dipping her head sideways and smiling across the street to my lean against the lamp pole. I keep my hat pulled low so she can't see my eyes but I think she knows, as I blow my cigarette smoke into the empty street and echoe of silent music.
Maybe, I wonder, she has a husband in the war going off to find his own Belleau Wood. Or maybe he already has and this is just her way. Maybe she's not all there; not quite right and that's why she looks to me.
Perhaps there's a sick mother she cares for.
Hard to say.
But together, alone, we find warmth and rest in the music, comfort in the drink and acceptance in each others eyes.
And on Baker Street in 1942 with a steady rain falling, maybe that's enough.