Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Telegraph Avenue Relic

i've walked down this street so many times
that they've set sidewalks over my footprints

even the pavement
is more transient than i am

i remember languages these buildings used to speak
in the stone ages before this century
hello black cat on the psychedelic poster
your green eyes are still following me in their madness
as old buildings resurrect across your path
and i continue my conversations with you

ohlone earth     vaquero earth
student earth for over a century
all these earths would touch the soles of my shoes
if i could step through
they layers of footprints people have put down
beyond the fewer than seventy years
of my own


Monday, February 20, 2012


i want to
get drunk
this halfways water won't hold me
want to
go to the sleaziest alkie bar in san francisco
place even hookers won't go
professional place
watch some guy die of a heart attack on the floor
turn back
to my drink
get ruined my badge of professionalism made
on someone else's death
get drunk after proving
i'm beyond whoredom
drink it damn it drink
now an obligation
as my small patch to hold up
of the vast weight of a professional universe

from Bar Room Ballads (1992)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Year's

on this day of beginnings
nobody cares to begin anything

everybody's automobile has a hangover
all locomotive dreams outmoded

even the confetti has unwrapped itself along the streets
rolled after itself down the sewer grates home to bed

the sun rolls over sick
an icepack of fog lessens the pain

i am out looking for you     new year
all the stores are closed

have you forgotten
all the promises we made each other

last night
when we were both drunk?

from Bar Room Ballads (1992)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lady at the Bus Station

she was about my age
about thirty
about to remember where she was going
unless the going was unpleasant
then she'd just talk
and once she was sitting
you couldn't tell the crank
had put a bend in her back
ruby tuesday yesterday

she started on the kid behind her in line
who was wearing a walkman
and after hearing her chatter he lent it to her
to shut her up and maybe off
she marvelled probably forgetting
that she'd seen the things before
and put it on and sang along
in a voice made raw and naked
by cigarettes and whiskey

she sang through a few songs
and the line got longer
and she looked back at her followers
and looked bored stood up gave the walkman back
and said
i've got to go to the ladies' room
she left the bus left
she came out again
trying to remember where she was going
hoping for better companions

from Bar Room Ballads (1992)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Anticipatory Egg

in the small room     of a tin can
on air wheels made stationary
sleeps a dragon smoking the afternoon
to dreams

and from his snout
in reflected greenness of the room
the simplicity of his smoke congests
and the dreams in the tin room
grow clear

as people walk by the tin can
on a day for a sunny day strut
inspired by the air and the fullness of a life
not all of them want to comprehend
the dragon dreams again
of hatching

from The Troubles (1993)