Where you gonna be when the fug come down,
Dancing in the dark or getting out of town?
What you gonna do when the matter breaks down,
Exploring that place where a verb becomes a noun?
I garden without gloves.
When I pull weeds,
thistles warn me how deep
and strong the root, how much
tool I need, leave me reminders
like the trowel tells me when
to stop with a blister torn
on my palm and then marks my
refusal for weeks: a lesson
like the thirty-two-year-old smear
of graphite born inside my elbow
when Todd and I learned the danger.
Somehow there has not been time to mourn.
Crying comes snatched
between the doing and the done
in the traffic jam
There is no Poetry in the Yellow Pages,
not in Las Vegas, not anywhere I’ve been
and down in the casino the sound of money
the cha–ching of payoff a siren song
anchored by the clink clink clink of dreams
I think you would be more charitable than I,
but nobody here seems to know your name.
I have riven derelict
nothing to share but me
and my good cheer
Wondering how to be
understood how to know
when the simplest
rhyme walks the finest
Distracted by the mechanics
between vibrating perfection
and crazed multiplicity.
Today music comes a flashing saucer
of accuracy, but remember the dark mystic depth
of graven plastic imbued with magic
singing caught in embraceable malleability
releasable released unseen ringing penetration
hard as sapphire hard as diamond down
the acoustic alley every captured moment
with its dearest farthest path marked
by a circumstantial architecture.
This is how I first heard your voice.
Tell me, Allen,
when did they change the righteous anger of the dispossessed
into the misplaced expression of discontent?
Was it in 1967
Was it 1980 or 1992?
I have seen the flying wheelbarrow of fate
tumbling through the air toward my windshield.
Absurd hope springs from our loins
nurtured by equally absurd belief
to inevitably flawed reality
and sometimes the lucky live,
for a while,
our voices our silences balanced
between ability and arrogance like our visions
our fears sometimes too close.
I’m thinking about Betty Shabazz and Geronimo
Pratt and I almost break
with the war and the killings and the riots rushing back, the waste
of compassion and courage, even the days
I don’t remember of HUAC and your youth.
It’s the sound of one hand laughing,
the voice behind your head.
Gentle Prophet riddling equally
the roofer spitting nails piano mover earning piles
gun runner with nerves tucked carefully in the fenders.
Gay Hipster whose shy smile reassures
the electrician and his wire-worn teeth nurse
who must usher us over the trembling hands
and the wistful lip of the boxer whose shadow
we have wagered uncountable tImes.
Poet of subtle curiosities
celebrating exploding pistils and anthers
of humming cunt and singing cock, Yes Master,
you have answers where distinctions end
in wetness and joy and ecstatic cries
jazzman of the verb litany of the body with its trail of failing parts the verbs slowly
give out to knee to eye to liver to pancreas to heart the beating heart the breathing
lung to be the least sighing beat to prostate to prostrate to ear the humming the
singing to soul to spirit each loss till to wave is the last lingering fingering to linger
waving wavering in the lingering pain to tongue to lip the hum up and down the
frailty of the spine to finger the waves of pain and pleasure till the last failure of
verb to imagine when imagination has nothing left to memory no remembrances to
feel no sweet round tingling balls no swollen shimmering clit to semen to smegma
no come no dreams of coming to nipple no lost hope of touch no ultimate kiss to nose
the avocado coffee smell of sex In no more improvisation and Out not even loneliness
is left to chest a lonely rhythm within the beat a flaccid crowd with no encores left
in them heading quickly back to the gaming for one more chance at the big score
the money the car the girl all chiming a call of missed revelation already forgotten
in the glowing flashing night of continuing to verb to reverb to stick to mallet to
brush the sweet drum of life your exhortation
Half man, Half bear, Half alligator, nowhere but this wild America would be big
enough for you and your legend of Tripster Road Warrior Rapper, lover of beatiful
young men and their beat beating beatiful bodies waiting in lamps — wait — high
enough to see their chest curled hair, dope smoking Reagan outlaw, Shaman
Levitator of the Pentagon, Nixon Enemy of the State not the people, humbomming
with Elvin, reboppin’ with Jack, riffing with Neal, writing the history of the road as
the roads were built. There were times when this buddha rose smiling in the sky
taller than Paul Bunyan wilder than Pecos Bill ornerier than Mike Fink Buddha
Rose my Buddha Rose
and life changes.
We do not meet.
We do not speak
like a commercial
(everybody loves television)
Scenarios are entered,
Percentages are weighed.
The odds are waived out
packet by packet,
bit by powdered bit.
The babies balance
blonde on blonde
reel by real
not reaching not no not never not
in America not in japan stillness so profound
it draws attention like the last stillness too
quiet I need to be there triangulated by beauty
and being you across the room like a split
photon knowing as I blink or wink reverie
waving roots new raving matchflash ginvision
pixellating pixellatio like storms from the west
what is it you want to tolerate what is it
you want to sweep temperament or technology
where does the shoulder strap and the garter
thumbs in the belt the spandex pants how do I
keep from falling down how do I fly the art
of the yawn tool against death I will fuck you
and fuck you with my fingers and tongue knee
and nose and when I have gone limp with life
and trying and living I will draw my self out
for you like a Valkyrie a Houri a Suffragette
I do wear gloves
when I pull poison ivy:
not cotton garden gloves,
a big bright dangerous chemical green
hazardous handling set of gloves I quarantine for weeks.
Long sleeves long pants heavy socks old shoes and still its patterned leaves
etch my closing eyes days after, notched moebiously
in spiral sheets of fear.
in a Christian Country
and there’s no Profit to be made.
You’re in the hall with Janis and Jimi.
The young people touch the Pearl red hem
in quasi-religious worship.
They do not know the List of Sacred Duties,
the Lost Souls of Desire
we needed like
we needed you like
we needed the Pablos like
archived moments nearlined
over years on salty call past
leaves of beautiful young men
under vietnamn parking lot mercury
football floating in green summer
safety off like the blind self trying
to learn without blowing up stay
with me stay
I believe no sound ever dies:
that Coltrane’s skirling brilliance
the bar-room mirrors of Detroit
the barred plate windows of lower east side pawnshops
the control room glass at Englewood
the spotlight speculared bell of Miles’s trumpet
Monk’s ebonied brilliances
till insinuates itself even between the leaves
of grass of Bennington and the bougainvillea of Barbados;
that Billie’s voice
ripped and sliding
off the edge of the stage
Spreads sinuously through the night
wrapping your soul in gardenia garlands
Seeks its own level cresting hopes and canceled dreamers
wandering in search off
into the bellies of lovers
singing the genital surety of touching
knees rounded Over breasting Tones of desire
the way many kinds of lips meet in ever more modulating
ecstasy Lady’s voice feeding through vagina throat
bends of Day
and life Off the needle’s tip
beads of sound spray
like a misplaced stream of urine
into pusher’s pockets sapphire bits
of pain wandering forever past the forbidden doors of Birdland;
that the Miles/Jimi jams of legend sing from the 8th Street Ladyland
basement across the years to Robert Johnson and John McLaughlin to the electric dreams of Bach the electric signs of deaf-mute dreamers who feel the fire vibrating in their bones the burning sighs rippled and stippled in a savage dance of sound like hurricane rain
on the indistinct
border of ocean and breath the unknown wail
of once and future wings beats with the sound of centuries the agave
aquamarines of struggle and shakes and staggering;
Mingus and Mitchell
our love takes many forms battered
in harmonics of loyalties signaled
in multiplexity of fates
each shining through the Mingus pimpness bird thief of darkness
rumbling over our weaknesses
as pain like Pink
raises the Noise floor
till you can no longer hear yourself and you
but refracted by the unknown laws
of space where sound vibrates
even through the vacuum
even through the void
each of us leaves
your voice still
across the Olentangy
your absence rings
like a resonant cavity still
Standing like a Wave
Copyright © 2010 Michael Vander Does