One Summer Morning
One summer morning
there was a thick coat of ice
in your embrace, which
I continue to feel about twenty
summers and counting.
I did not welcome
that experience, but I would not
give back the good times
for all the gold in the world.
One summer morning
I was on top of the world.
My heart dripped with passion
and I immersed myself
in the aroma of your love.
There was no thick coat of ice.
I reveled in every morning
and fell for the rhythm of your
touch. Your dark eyes comforted me.
I could never imagine such
a better feeling. One summer morning
winter came early. Perhaps it was
your way of not dragging things
out, of making things simple for me,
who yearns for the glimmers of light,
of hope, in the darkest hours.
The howling dogs on this summer
morning, remind me of my own
howling for all the loveless days.
Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Not From Concentrate
When she left him temporarily we would
cook breakfast and get the bus to Liverpool
browse the CD racks return to an evening
of wine the Devotional videotape phone calls
smoking and racing up the stairs sharing
bath water then after lights out she would
creep into my bed hands heading under the covers
and concentrating on pleasuring herself
knowing the effect it would have on me
as I came to terms with the fact that
the orange juice was not from concentrate
and the vodka was distilled not in Russia
the sound I could hear was my pounding pulse
and her minute gasps of breath
Ethics and Aesthetics
if you really must kill children
then leave the corpses arranged
exquisitely, like you are commenting on
time and nonentity, not just throwing away
a few sacks of meat
or show us that throwing away meat is all you are doing,
but do it so you show that meat is all there ever is
in living children or in human reasons
kill the brats so we know that meat is all there ever is
to believe in, then as far as i’m concerned
you’re a good human being
Robert Frost Loves Yoga Pants
You should write more like Robert Frost!
There seems to be very little about nature
or warm New Hampshire walks through
Indian summer’s beautiful embrace. You
should be more like good ole’ Frost, he
says so much and I believe he’s classically
trained. You should be able to look out
your front picture window (as you type)
and see the birds sing ( cukoo, cukoo).
You should watch the icy rain wash away
the snow as you think about cool meditations
on a warm beach while doing yoga. Quick!
Breath in the Robert Frost, breath it into
those lungs of yours, Then you should have
a nice vegetarian meal with other friends, who
in turn are all wearing yoga pants and
super tight tank tops. You discuss beauty
and nature, you discuss fruit juices while
your testicles all snug and tight in those
spandex but most important is that we chat
about Robert Frost. You should be more like
the old white head of poetry, we need you on
the side of eastern sensations.
A Buddhist prayer to change you!
They Are Not Friends
Colorless memories of
slapping ass with the
bony girl who’s crack
addiction led her to peddle a
death that would not even
leave skeletal remains…
Yesterday, she cried
when you gave her 40
bucks…a salary of escape
to worlds of nothing; only
minutes that lived inside
a tin-foil pipe.
Tomorrow, her life story
might be on the obituary
page— not a long tale, but both of you knew
this when your uneasy liaison was
formed; however what happens
twelve hours from now
Today is now…your search
for companionship involves
a whore with six teeth missing.
Trying to convince herself she’s human
but understanding her Cinderella redemption
has been accumulatively lost over years on the street.
One day at a time lives
in recovery books and
twelve step programs…
But sometimes…even the day
ain’t worth living.
Everything is Addressed
everything is addressed that needs to be addressed.
everything is stamped with the american flag.
everything is u.s. postal service friendly.
no anarchy symbols.
no “to larry king” from “anna nicole smith’s ghost.”
everything is straight line unwavering sane.
no room for misconception.
no room for boo hoo waa waa dirty diaper ego.
look at all that white.
no scratch-n-sniff stickers.
some people are offended by those.
“oh, so you think my nose needs something NEW
to smell??? motherfucker!!!”
everything is being dropped with graceful hands
into the anonymous slot.
I will probably die for this.
we made love
in every state
mini shampoo bottles
spraying the bags
made love at all
leaving three dollars
for the maid
Scorched Scalp Policy
Larry knew he had to do
something about the head lice.
even the barflies,
the rancid meat and potatoes
of his sex life, didn’t want
a man constantly itching his scalp.
after a night of Southern Comfort,
Larry doused his hair in kerosene.
he placed a bath towel on the back
of the Barca-Lounger
so as not to ruin the upholstery.
secretly, he congratulated himself.
such forethought rarely came to him
sober, let alone after night’s drunk.
he leaned back in his chair,
flicked play on the Devon porn
and lit himself a Doral cigarette.
Later, ensconced in the burn ward,
head and torso swathed in bandages,
he took grim consolation
it could have been worse.
he could have had crabs.
Fast Women and Slow Horses
my father always claimed
fast women and slow horses
would be the death of him.
it was only pancreatic cancer.
he also advised me to stay in school,
that I wasn’t suited for manual labor.
he was a little closer to the mark
with that one.
I never listened, regardless…
his wisdom rarely extended
beyond the flat end
of a liquor bottle.
now as I near the end
of my second decade of factory work
with my own whiskey bottle
acting as the yardstick
by which I measure my
I know cancer will kill me
I just don’t know
what my children will
remember me by.
the lingerie girl straddles the bar stool,
gyrating her ass on my lap,
hand dropping down, caresses my crotch
a tingling moment before
she makes a dismissive grunt.
the guy over there,
she gestures down the bar,
gots a cannon between his legs,
holding her hands a foot apart.
I’d been fucking his ex-wife almost a year.
my best friend, Buffy,
has been fucking Strang’s current girlfriend
for as long as he has.
which leads me to believe
Bobbie Strang can’t be too well-hung
if his woman is high-stepping
with a guy nick-named Buffy.
I’m best friends with a guy
who goes by the name of Buffy,
and if I’d been a bit more gifted in the pants
she would have kept
her goddamned mouth shut
in the first place.
In The Abode of My Cat’s Eyes
i see nothing in her eyes
she presses and stretches
her claws to my chest
i am nothing in her eyes
and as the sun
in this small room
i can see
i am nothing
in the abode of my cat’s eyes
It’s New Years
a bad cough.
year & the
The Music Is Still the Same
the music’s still the same
it’s just the walls are louder
the tones and vibes are bouncing off metal
rather than brick
which makes the sound louder
rather than dense and muffled.
the music’s still the same
it’s just the world is getting bigger,
more hollow, changing into a huge void
where the tiniest bit of truth
sounds like a thunderous volcano.
it doesn’t take much anymore
because there is not much anymore.
i love the gulping sound
red wine makes poured
from a big bottle thru
it’s thin neck into my glass
like a fish gasping for air
bigger the bottle the better
small bottles make me
fearful they will empty
before the job is complete
bringing my fish of pain
to the surface
intensifying my anguish
instead of drowning it deep
within a sea of amnesia
the understanding man has arrived to foreclose you.
it seems you’re way behind on your payments.
i can’t even afford underwear that fits, you say
as the understanding man zeroes in on your belly button.
i truly do understand your predicament, the understanding man nods
but it’s time to cash in your chips.
the understanding man pulls out a large safety pin.
he proceeds to prick you.
your body deflates and the understanding man shoves it into a bottle.
the understanding man made the mistake of going home right past me.
since i too understand your predicament
i trip him. the bottle in which you flounder
flys into my hands. i run down a dark alley
to a shed. in the shed is a bicycle pump.
i pour you out of the bottle and onto the floor.
i bicycle pump you back to where you were
when you answered your door.
i put an ace bandage on the hole the understanding man pricked in you.
thanks, you say, i owe you.
next time don’t undo the chain.
but he looked so understanding! i was compelled to open the door.
be wary, fool, i smile. learn to ask questions.
the understanding men are all over the place.
they are in your hair.
they are in your drerams.
ask them many questions.
sooner or later their facade will disintegrate.
the understanding men pat your troubled heads.
their palms are oily.
the shuffling that kept you awake?
the last deck on earth.
i don’t know if the cards are marked.
one helluva game, though.
the weather gets cold and your favorite tv show shivers.
understanding men reload.
nobody wears a watch anymore.
when does knowledge mutate into instinct?
two humans felt a kiss coming on.
they stood up out of the herd.
their eyes swam synchronized.
the understanding men glued tse tse flies onto their skin.
the town crier is on his last fling.
all just might be well but can anybody truly be sure?
that town crier once was more specific
but the hot desert wind got sand in his thought process.
For years I thought that
talking to the Gods
was an exercise done privately under unforgiving
Ridiculous unrequited prayer
done by staring at old, cold books – with mean small print
But then I discovered
just ain’t it at all
God can be found in the ‘thank you’ voice of the guy
at the counter in the supermarket or
the quietness of a a stranger’s parking lot smile
the rattle of weeds across a dry summer Mojave
watching my unfettered fingers jump jump jumping
across the computer keys
deep in the middle of typing three hours worth of unscrubbed truth
God, for me, has turned out to be a conscious choice – a self-evoked experience
Another Day In Paradise
The clouds this morning driving over Topanga Canyon
To my new phone room job
Were a white cotton tablecloth against Big Jesus’ pepper blue work shirt
And, as I left the coast driving into the hills
The fog lifted
And I gulped my coffee and – for a change – turned off my radio
(seems that slick George has decreed that enough is enough and that these heathen towelheads will soon morph into a unilateral desert oil stain)
And – always proud to be an American – I tell myself, ‘hey it’s all okay’
I’m breathing in and out – rigth here – and I’m free white and over twenty-one – right?
While my precious National Security guarded by a man who’d think nothing’s wrong
With flaming out a few hundred-thousand babies for the small price of a 68% public approval
Sure – no pain – no gain – right?
So thanks mister president for your most singular vision of
unbuffered, unblemished, unimaginable
I think next year I’ll move to Tibet
I met the meanest bastard starving cat while sitting with a book
Smoking half a pack of Luckies on a bench at Venice beach
He saw me and came up – white – with one green eye and one yellow eye
and a fresh slash on his scarred ear
angry as a wounded wolf he kept his distance
and his look said, ‘feed me or fuck off’
that bench you’re on is my territory
What he didn’t know is that I know desperate too – and crazy – and what emptiness and aloneness and rage can do to you when you’ve got nothing but pain in your pockets and your home is a busted-out 20 year old Pontiac stalled in an alley in West L.A. and the voices in your head are carving you up and killing more of you off each day – and you wake up and drink more rat-piss wine to keep you from instant madness and God becomes a guy coming out of the market handing you chump change toward another fucking jug and fear is your finest feeling and love is dead and all time is dead and even your eyes stink and your gut is bloated with the screaming voices of those you hate and the only sanity can be found in the small miracle of sucking back one more drink –
That mean white cat didn’t know that I’ve been cut too
from the same cloth
The only difference between us is fifteen years and my typewriter
Hitting the Big Time
Okay, I guess now I must be really famous
because this week I’m back in Paris giving a TV interview and talking to this guy
from Liberation Magazine and this girl whose been sending me hot e-mails for a year wanting to know about writing and poetry and this and that – calls me at my friend’s flat and says we have to have a drink together
I’ve never seen her before but when I get to the bistro there’s no mistake: she’s twenty-nine and decked out in tight jeans and pink pumps – and her braless nipples push push push against the pockets of her open silk blouse
And later that night after we’ve spent all that sweaty summer afternoon feasting on each other’s body parts – and I’m back in my room alone – I check my pocket, counting my money – and estimate roughly that when I get back to L.A. at the end of the month – I’ll have a grand total of eighty dollars left – plus loose change – along with the rent due and sixteen-dollars clogging my checking account – and a stack of over-due bills to pay along with other stuff – and I figure that my newest career choice may be to go back to selling cars again or hit another office supply boiler room in Hollywood just to make ends meet –
And here I am in Paris and I’ve hit the big time
Ah fame, it’s a bitch!
Previously published in Dan’s poetry collections “A gin-pissing-raw-meat-dual-carburetor-V8-son-of-a-bitch from Los Angeles” & “Kissed By A Fat Waitress.”
INTRODUCING JAMES DARMAN
i’m tired of places w/ names
i’m tired of important faces
i’m tired of great men
give me a lone cat
give me a wilting flower
give me a broken pen
an empty notebook
a full jug of wine
eggs over easy
and a waitress
who doesn’t know
A POEM W/OUT BEAUTY OR SORROW
in a cold dirty alley
i once called home
there are flowers growing
thru the concrete fissures
between the green dumpsters
and the fast-food refuse piles
someone is trying to fill my shoes tonight
w/out beauty and w/out sorrow
TONIGHT THE STARS
passing so many houses, passing so many doors
so many paths to nowhere, so many exits
and now here is home, thru this wooden door
into these hollow walls , the oak dresser
the marble end table , the cracked lampshade
the stained carpet ,the worn couch
the stars look good tonight, with a half a bottle of wine
BLACK DESPAIR OR EXQUISITE BEAUTY
what is this vessel called home?
this endless river
come to rest
in the Atlantic ocean
or on 2nd avenue
or in the night sky
KILLING THE MACHINE WHILE LIVING LIKE AN ANIMAL
what strange birds; green feathers and white heads
peck the ground and sip at rancid puddles in the yard
raccoons climbing thru the trees off the roof
into the garbage cans; eating yesterdays meal
iguanas frozen stiff in the limbs of palm trees
tongues leering out the sides of their mouths
And now a burping and farting garbage truck
w/ men leaning off the side smiling in straw hats
my wine isn’t strong enough to live with machines
LEAVES SCATTER LIKE BUTTERFLIES
across the driveway
gathering in piles
drunk on the wind
GETTING THE GROCERIES
the sun is almost unbearable
and the birds seem to know it
they squawk and cry above
i push the pedals of my bike
taking up the whole road
the cars honk and wave their fists
and they’ll do this all day long
moving down the road trapped
as i drink a bottle of wine
and fry some eggs and sausage
LOST IN THE GARDEN
i have no home
of park benches, of jail cells
of hospital beds, of hotel rooms
of hard floors, of grave earth
lost in the garden of the night’s stars
nothing but water and silence
some life still goes on visiting
a large beetle bouncing around
in the wind and trees outside
until a small green lizard pounces
no wine today but the wind moves on
a deep frozen river
in my chest
i fill it with wine
and take a long piss
in the bushes
hundreds of birds fill the trees
singing their violent morning song
waking me from my deep slumber
i rise and light a cigarette
and strong wind sways the branches
and the birds scatter
MY MORNING WINDOW
i draw back the curtains
letting in the grey sky
a small lizard sits on
the window sill
he moves slowly away
and eats a spider
i move outside and watch
the neighbor water his gardenias
the wind is blowing strong
i go out to check the mail
there is nothing in the box
black vultures fly above on grey clouds;
aviators in the void : here- then gone