There were times

There were times
often coinciding with the end of an eight hour studio shift
when I would listen to the radio late into the night and drift
lying near motionless on the floor like a sedated madman
blowing cigarette smoke up towards the broken ceiling fan
paint stains on my clothes from all those abstract years
of city sound and landscapes that still buzzed in my ears
and out beyond the window past the fire escape ladders
tall cranes would cast their ugly shadowy gallows
along the graffitied brick and timbered warehouse walls

There were times then
when all the world but me was silently sleeping
and not even the birds had alarm called the new morning
I felt alive then as if electricity was coursing through me
as if the needle I had long forsaken had once again been
and found my vein and wrapped me in its calm serenity
a bright red bikini sunset throbbing with Rothko intensity
Kathy, Jack, Frank, Sylvie, Jerry, WB and Charlie B with his lowlife cheap tricks
on the road down the coast cruising in search of mind bending kicks
Florida, Arizona, Tijuana, the famous coast to coast bar crawl

Yes, those were the times
but we knew they weren’t to last, we sought our separate ways
Bill to Kansas, he said living there was a helluva lot cheaper these days
and less violent despite the stash of guns and ammo he kept
for hunting and shooting and for clearing his debts
or killing tooled up rednecks when the day of judgement came, we’d joked
in letters and on postcards that kept the fires of friendship stoked
Kathy and I to New York until that mess of crazy didn’t work out
Jerry and Frank to California’s Laurel Canyon hideouts
Jack the jazz-fuelled wanderer, well, he was in it for the long haul

And those were the times
when we honestly believed we would change the whole goddamn world
when we marched with Anti-Vietnam War banners unfurled
from Greenwich Village to the Golden Gate Park
from Washington DC to Washington State we left our marks
on celluloid, vinyl, paper, pavement, tenement, in space
on canvas and Polaroid Andy caught almost every angle, every face
and blended fact with his fiction, his pop with his art
but it was all too much for poor Sylvie’s heart
the talons that clenched, the babes that bawled

Yet those times were
and forever will be indelibly tattooed upon my subconscious
in psychedelic dreams tripping with a lyrical lusciousness
and it is why I lie here with poetry and jazz and art alive within me
here on this apartment floor motionless and carefree
the voice of the late night deejay a lone performance
at this very minute, this hour, this life of mine, of no real importance
I am lucky to have dodged death’s unholy harpoons to tell my tale
like Ahab and his godforsaken avenging whale
these lines I think, I breathe, I gift, I scrawl.

 

for National Poetry Day:
https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

 

Advertisements

The Old Man and the Sea

I visited Ernest Hemingway’s house on Key West last year and bought a fridge magnet as a souvenir. It didn’t make the fridge but has instead attached itself to the shelf bracket next to my writing desk. I have reblogged this post from artist and writer Luke Otley because he has done such a great job with the likeness. The quote on the fridge magnet reads “Good writing is true writing…” The same can be applied to portraiture. If you agree why not pop over and give Luke’s drawing a like. Here’s my fridge magnet and Luke’s Daily Sketch.

 IMG_20170625_193316

And by complete coincidence a friend posted a link to this beautiful paint-on-glass animated version of The Old Man and the Sea on Facebook today. It was made in 1999 by Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov. All these coincidences are making me feel like I am in some sort of weird inspiration loop.

MY TROUBLED MIND

19243672_1302997093131608_1718529070_o.jpg My attempt at Hemingway. Nice to be drawing again after moving into a new place. A3, Charcoal

View original post

Vanishing Point

Will you join me chasing asphalt mirage pools

Where ibis bathe under bald cypress wings

Dripping old men’s beards over palm fronds.

 

In Jefferson County –

 

Dragonflies crisscross the two lane blacktop

People live out here in these swamplands

The roadside mailboxes are giveaway clues.

 

So many perspectives –

 

Pylons cut diagonals through the pine stands

Poles carry their electric charges to communities

Florida state troopers prowl like stealth bobcats.

 

In Leon county 10am –

 

The sun rifles between bare upright plantations

Shadows and lights flicker a silent movie dance

A flipbook fantasy of my moving milescapes.

 

V-shaped formations –

 

Journey ends at the last but one intersection

Gas station central on highway twenty seven

I throttle thru and set the cruise control to max.

 

Vanishing point

 

IMG_20160814_100706

Lover’s Key

Beyond the covered decking

Quartz white crystal sands

Sparkle in the Gulf sun –

A line of rainbow umbrellas

Shield the beach goers

With their wheeled cooler boxes –

Stand up paddle boarders

And selfie stick young women

Lounge in the shallows –

Cloud builds from the south

Mid 90’s heat dips to bearable

Miniscule flies bite my ankles –

Along the shore Bonita Springs

And in the distance Naples rises

Like a mini Manhattan on the sea –

A cooling breeze blows through

Tourists disgorge from the free bus

A family prepares to leave –

I don’t have to do anything

Maybe read or write or draw

Clean air filters my thoughts –

The seagulls make the most noise

Circling and squawking their calls

Ever watchful for opportunities –

 

Beyond all of this the pelicans dive

They fill their shopping bag bills

With lunch from the fresh fish counter.

IMG_20160812_135756

 

poetic dichotomy

I rescued a wasp from near certain death at my own hands
– an arbitrary spur of the moment act of compassion
which changed nothing other than my own perception of life
– saved me dealing with the murderous taste of contrition.

Henry Alberto was the eldest son of a family from El Salvador
– determined to finish school he refused to join the local gangs
but they came for him after his graduation and 18th birthday
– shot him dead in retribution all within the same ghastly week.

I could have swatted the wasp and left its body to whither
– annoying buzzing unpredictable stinging nuisance that it was
and besides, there will always be another to take its place
– this random act of killing is disturbingly too easy.

Luis Padillo was a Navy chaplain caught up in rebellious carnage
– as sniper bullets flew in Venezuela he tended to the dying
selflessly risking his own life to offer soldiers the last rites
– death is the choice of the devil in our subconscious.

I took a soft cloth and trapped the wasp against the window
– the power of the executioner, finger on the trigger,
resisting the urge to squeeze the living juices from its body
– hostage released on the whim of the freedom giver.

Henry Alberto’s mother cradles the photo of her dead son
– overwhelming grief consumes her troubled refugee existence.
Father Luis Padillo may or may not have ended his days in Florida
– I have no idea how we should end this deathly poetic dichotomy.

PicMonkey Collage2

(two images that came my way this week – The iconic Priest and the Dying Soldier by Héctor Rondón Lovera from 1962 / Henry Alberto photographed on his graduation day and held by his mother Juana, taken by Patrick Tombola for a Sunday Times magazine article about Central American migrants fleeing poverty and gang violence to Mexico and, with luck, America).