City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Category: poems

Cracker Identity Politics

What’s the difference between
solidarity and intersectionality?
One Big Union and a Master’s.
Otherwise, we wear the same masks.
We are people, plural,
differences manifest
as one.
Lester Bangs wrote,
“We will never agree on anything
as we agreed on Elvis,”
but we never agreed on Elvis,
or Lester Bangs.
We never voted for Trump,
but it only took a minyan.
Do you identify with
those who identify with
Eugene Debs,
who wrote that the most heroic word
in all languages is
revolution
*,
and does your revolution
dance with Emma Watson,
or only Emma Goldman?
Brocialism, the working man’s Branarchism!
(Black flags fly forever, ask any
Raiders fan.)
Solidarity and intersectionality both mean becoming someone else’s struggle
without becoming someone else.
We’re never more radical than radical
tolerance. The rest is reverie.
Both sides do it,
but only one side owned slaves.

* New York Worker, April 1907

untitled (Bodies #4)

sometimes
you’re so real
that I can almost
touch every
word
I never
told
you

The Amboy

Snow falls on the Barrens
Fog shadows the shore
Waves breaking in winter
like Martin Brodeur

San Francisco’s organic
The Saint is dirty
San Diegans take the 405
We take 130

Walt Whitman is buried here
Jimmy Hoffa is deeper
Lukoil may prefer it here
but Citgo is cheaper

South Jersey’s all Philly
North Jersey’s New York
In Central Jersey the governor’s
belly’s all pork

Here there be mobsters
There Mummers move
Often in coffins
old 45s groove

Come on everybody
I get around
Meet me tonight
on the wrong side of town

In Amona

Amona.jpg

return somewhere you’ve never been
like from a dream you’ve never had
surrounded by the world you left
an outpost of tomorrow’s time

where days are numbered, means reverse
Exodus outnumbered 700 score
a reconstructed temple mount
the occupier counts

outnumbered outlaws colonize
recovered memories of others
in Amona caravans canonize
razor-wire pilgrims

Photo courtesy of Yair Aronshtam. Available via Wikimedia Commons.

Full Employment

we wanted
solidarity

we got
William Darity

 

Hippie Ghost

Timothy_Leary's_Dead_(movie_poster).jpg

Timothy Leary’s dead
no I mean he’s
really dead
cold
the way you turn
from me
when you
light up

Timothy Leary’s Dead poster courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Sixties

if you went to a
Zed Leprosy concert
you weren’t really
THERE
man

far out

do you remember the
moon children
with poppies in the
tanks of their
eyes
wide
mines
colonized?

was I you
were you me
were we what we were

who owns this past
if it wasn’t ever
ours

Revival

we bury our differences
in the beat
until we’re
gone
obliterated

the world is a mask
a drug

we dance until the
moon comes
home

Words of Love

Words of Love.jpg

Raza told me
I could seduce any woman
with the words
there will be two moments in my life:
when you walked into my life
& when you walked out of it
two moments
a beginning and an end
only why must everything
end?

Cass Elliot told me
if you love her then you must send her
somewhere where she’s never
been before
two ways to the Buddha
words of love
& the open road

every beginning has an end

what Raza meant was,
eventually she won’t
come back

The Ballad of Billy Chan

the most American guy I ever knew
was a Chinese guy named Billy Chan

moved to Tarzana when he was two
loved In-N-Out Burgers
spent weekends at the mall
wore John Lennon glasses from
Sunglass Hut
all year round

wrote a YA novel about a
serial killer who
took a cheerleader home
to his basement
& tortured her
before the hero rescued her
that no one would read
I told my roommate
who told me
your friend’s psychotic

we went to writers workshops every Wednesday night
in downtown Westwood
run by a screenwriter in his seventies named Bernie
who had never sold a screenplay
and his friend Bob from Brooklyn
who introduced himself every week as
an old friend of Boinie’s
and who never wrote
but just sat there
until eventually we stopped

Billy knew a girl from high school
he called The Shrew
he never told me why
talked about her nonstop
went to Tijuana one weekend & brought back a pair of
brass knuckles & a whip
told me he would use them to Tame The Shrew
I told my girlfriend back East
who was horrified

I went home with him one weekend &
we met The Shrew
at the mall
went to a matinee at the multiplex
“Cape Fear,” the De Niro version
she was scared at one point & went to hold him but
he was scared too
he was weird with her later
maybe he liked her more than he knew or
maybe he hadn’t tamed himself yet

two weeks later he told me he was joining Campus Crusade for Christ
because of a hot blonde
he never mentioned The Shrew again
we met up a few more times
he was becoming serious
about Christ
one night I asked him how many blondes
were in the Bible
to be a jerk
& he started counting

I saw him one more time
when I was moving back East
& he was being baptized
in Catalina that summer
I told him my flight home
was on Sunday at noon
he said, Oh well, I guess
I’ll never see you again

& walked away

God bless Billy Chan
& God bless America