my civil service job

like the taste of a mint

melting on

my tongue, the day

drifts away.  one phone call

from a man who lost his

job and wants his final

check.  his employer

is broke,

I hear this twenty times a day.

the next call from a

woman who

is obviously

insane, looking for another

lost soul to draw into

her web.  blah blah blah, hang up.

between the calls my fingers click clacking keys

I type virtual words into

an electronic nowhere


I trust to hold

them.  answer the phone, hear

another story of a person's life

being destroyed by

a swamp

that eats

the working poor.  desperate voices

come through the phone

looking for help that does

not exist, looking for fairness in

an unfair universe, and

existing only as bits

of electric potential in some

computer somewhere in between

silence and

the still uncounted stars.

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poem for pia

other people's poems keep

running through my


like rusty freight trains

across the Minnesota prairie. other

people's knees

are bending

to touch the floor of someone

else's chapel, to pray to someone

else's god. other people

see and touch

you, lick your lips

and kiss your toes. other people's

fingers -- perhaps they are your

fingers -- hold brushes


beautiful things with bristles

plucked from a pigs asshole.

somewhere there is art, beauty,

youth, women who bleed and men

who jerk off...

a place where they all smoke cigarettes

and get drunk

and make love

like horned mammals... but not here...

here, the smokers are dying of emphysema

and syncope, falling to the floor,


their damaged brains


their hands

and the drinkers are old and sick with ruined

livers and bad breath... the lovers are

the worst of all, a horror of wrinkled skin,


and lubricated death

no wonder I listen to other people's songs

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another poem about the sky

I walked south on mcknight road

this morning, following orion

the hunter who has a sword


his dick should be.  the sky was crystal

with stars

like nails driven into blue painted


I knew the big dipper was following me

behind the reaching

branches of oak trees and furry red pines.

it did not matter.  it occurred to me that

americans spend

way too much time trying to sell each other

ointments to make their

dicks larger and their girlfriends more sexually

compliant. they would be better off looking


the stars...

but then what do I know.  I almost missed my


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hope is the last one to die

I am falling falling falling falling....

how can I catch anyone or anybody.... 

the ground is deep with roots and rocks, fossils of gigantic lizards and

all kinds of dead things buried, but deeper, there is

rock, then lava....  so what angels

can hold up these broken things???  my hands are wrinkled and time walks

through my head like one of those

giant man eating lizards....  I can stand

upside down on lightning bolts that lace the sky with fire....  I can stand on my

head and whistle dixie out of my asshole....  the moon is my oyster

and my lobster too.... the moon is

my six pack and my whiskey...  there is not time for love anymore... when

turtles pull their heads in and the city of new orleans disappears

in an ocean of mud and misery.  my heart is a handful of mud...

my brain is a wilting sunflower and a hurricane of tendril winds.... my eyes

are dirt made transparent, angry and insane for now.... soon nothing

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a prayer for forgiveness

I went fishing


on the gray

bay. the mountains across the way

were blue as cheap paint


clouds hung low, as usual

above the ragged pines. I

dropped a line

as instructed and soon caught

a rock fish (red snapper). the guide

told me that fish

was 40 or 50 years old

and would make a good meal. I was tough

and did not bat an eye

as I watched that fish die. now, years

later in all my watery dreams I see

that beautiful old fish, red and pink as

any rainbow,

thrashing on the plank

bottom of the aluminum boat. I see its

bulging eyes and the desperation

of a living thing beyond all hope of life.

I am now an old man

and soon it will be my

turn to

be a fish out of water, gasping

for a dying breath.

forgive me

for taking that fishy life.

I could have survived

on bread

and left that glorious fish undead

in the deep cold water

just a few miles southeast of


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Going Home on the #12 Bus

The sky beyond broken buildings slips


the thighs of evening.  A low-rent

Batman locks eyes with lover boy (or

lover girl) and feral cats eviscerate

field mice


his look.

The bus driver studies bible prophesies

and figures the end is coming soon.  Last

summer, he cut two fingers off with his

table saw.  For a while there, he thought

the end was coming


Batman distends as bumps in the street

massage his cancerous prostate.  Lover

girl (or boy) looks out

the window

where roses bloom in the snow.

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 Personal Poem #186

The newspaper cries and

bleeds on the


of my cooped up life. The

Twentieth Century stumbles to

a stuttering close


only religious

nuts seem to notice

or care.

I am a key clicker.

I am a button pusher .

I bask in waves of mauve

and electric blue light from

the television screen.

My eyes blink green

in glowing idiocy.

I am a servant of the silicon

over-man. I am an educated

monkey, obsessed

like monkeys

in an old-fashioned zoo

with rubbing shit

on the bars

of my cage.

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The Mental Cases

The mental cases

and brain


citizens sit

in the food


Somebody is taking care

of them, at least for now.

They talk to themselves and

to the table and one

gesticulates wildly while another

says softly to people



"whodayou think YOU are?"

I don't

have an answer

for him.

A woman about the shape of a giant

watermelon eats half a sandwich




She ignores

the mental cases

but she is looking




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Breakfast in Las Vegas

Swirling ribbons of sand,


wisps of snow, sift across the

shell-shocked floor, swift as

swallows.  Hungry melodies

wallow in the mist.  Lips


the fist of

a desperate darkness.

Lights hang from the balcony

where gold bars gleam in flickering


Ice cream women

with lips

like glass, smile.  Behind them, the choir

sings a meaningless, scientific song,

the slot machines blink like many

colored angels

  and frozen birds chirp like

tinkling bells.

Night shift workers sigh

and white fire

falls shimmering from the




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Insane Robots in the Mega-Mall

Insane robots with porcelain eyes

sit in the food court and

sip diet soda through red-striped straws.

They probably cannot see

the flames reflected in their eyes

and in the greasy tears

that fall on hamburger wrappers and fries.

A television is bolted to the wall

in the corner


on it, insane robots are dancing

and whirling like tiny tornadoes

across fields of artificial tulips and daisies.

Numbers blink green on the cash register

screen as calculators calculate

and women with bloody lips lick

salt from the gritty tile floor. Stars blink


spider-web skylights

as needles fall from high broken places


pierce porcelain eyes.

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typing in el segundo

the mountains

tiptoed across the



icy clouds


to each other

about the mutilation of

time. my fingers became lobster claws

clicking clacking keys.

red contrails dimmed the sun

the mountains kissed

the yellow

layers of smog


road raging drivers

sat jammed

in traffic on a freeway that



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