Glittering Afterthoughts

All that glitters…

Womb

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This morning hums blue and pink
White waves wash me out like pastel steam
And we breathe in the soft smog
And nibble on beach town paint chips.

Let’s sink into the sand like driftwood monoliths
and soften our rough edges.

A din erupts from the stucco jungles behind us
But if you don’t look then they’re not really there.

The ocean murmurs like a womb…

I’ll rub salt-water in my eyes
and eat handfuls of sand
and wash it down and let my tongue prune like rubber against my squeeking gums.
I’ll fall asleep and let the sun burn me
And when I wake up I’ll rub sand in my hair.

It’s getting louder.

I’ll jump into the ocean and hold my breath and let the waves tumble me like a dirty LA laundromat.

I’ll walk barefoot on melted ice-cream sidewalks and take deep breaths under the pier with my eyes opened wide.

I’ll wash up on the shore and laze in hot tidal pools and play with sea urchins and dead jellyfish.

I’ll cut my feet on blue coral and let the blood sink in pools

I’ll let anemones sting my shins.

Tires screech like hot-footed elephants

A sea-gull is pecking at my toes.

The car is hot.

Let’s go home.

Seethe or, Breathe’s Antithesis

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Lives that stifle like shudderflys in steam,
Let’s drive back the sea.

If leaves could dream we’d crunch them with our feet,
Destruction’s for the meek.
I need these things.

Thoughts left limp under overhanging cliffs–
Feelings come in waves,
There’s something in the caves.

To each and all I’d crumble and fall
With forgiveness just an arm’s reach away.

I stumble
I bumble,
My followers are humble.

I’ll tumble down mountains for a view of the City.

I’ll paint your face with streaks golden and green.
Our streams are unclean.

The after-birth of dreams
Blue-green jeans
Cookies and cream.
We’ll sell God by the ream
And thoughts made of steam.

And we’ll pump the smell through corridors
To keep them wanting it more and more.

The sun’s slanting rays fall on
Hungry crowds
Like a blood-light
Filter through Crimson clouds.

Lives that rumble like the Queens of machine.
let’s breathe in steam…

Let’s drown with Kings.

Breathe or, Seethe’s Antithesis

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Lives that flutter like butterflies in spring,
Let’s cling to the trees.

If light from the stars could show us a path
Then maybe this place wouldn’t seem so bad,
And maybe the things that were left undone,
Would vibrate in silence like a cold winter’s sun.

And if things left unsaid were mists in our head
Then our souls might unfold like cold winter’s robes.

But things left unsaid,
And things left undone,
Still beat in our hearts
Like an old drummer’s drum.

Lives that shudder like butterflies in dreams…

Let’s sing to the breeze.

Let’s pluck at the strings.

The Pilgrimage

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We climbed out of the ocean, squirmed up the frowning cliffs and jumped into the bushes while big-breasted housewives tried to menace us with red lip-stick botox scowls.

With heavy hearts we laughed in packs of threes and fours trying to light the desert on fire before our boredom could stifle us.

We crept at the feet of Titans and squeezed our way through dusted mountains and cried under granite boulders while the cold sun crept across a pastel sky.

With eyes full of fear we strove across sallow plains and leapt over white rivers that were too hot to swim in.

We came in cars and motorbikes and buses and coughed on each other the whole way there.

Amid hazy foothills we shuddered in green and blue trailer parks and tried not breathe too deeply.

We descended on the White City and scratched runes into the sides of monuments until the street lights came on…

We huddled around the Obelisk and exposed our flea-bitten torsos to the North!

With souls unhinged we roved up the cold coast like wild lap dogs and nipped at each other’s heels.

We reached the altars of Industry and crumbled through the alleyways before a cold sun could ricochet through the mirrored mazes of violent skyscrapers to catch us in our most desperate hour.

We baptized ourselves in the salty mechanisms of brilliantine souls and when we reached the steps we couldn’t stop our bones from clicking like marbles down an empty hallway…

Exhausted we fell down at your feet and tugged at your skirt.

You closed your eyes, and your mouth opened wide, but all we heard were coyotes yipping on the high plains of Nebraska…

The Fringe

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Out of the Corners…

                                                 I hear cigarettes crackling under moonlight shadows

                                                 Firewood crackling on top of salt deserts

                                                 Sparrows crackling under-foot.

        In the Wake…

                                                  I feel glass splintering

                                                  Deep warmth

                                                  And washing-machine thoughts catatonic.

        On the tip of my Tongue…

                                                   I can taste ugly words

                                                   Desperation

                                                   And stagnant air sticking to the roof of my mouth.

        In the forest…

                                                    I smell wolfish intention

                                                    Blood

                                                    And pine.

        In the Margins…

                                                     I see black and white sighs.

                                                    Glittering after-thoughts

                                                    Geometric auras.

The Fringe. A white desert, illuminated by starlight reflection. Rocks are scattered here and there, soaking up light. There’s music in the background, but it’s hard to tell where it comes from. A man and a woman lie flat on their back staring at the same blue and white constellation.

(Trumpets!)

They face each other, speak, but their words are muffled.

Man:

How did it happen so fast? We can’t go back now, but then where will we go?

Woman:

I can’t hear you–what is it you’re saying? You’re scared? This is what you wanted, but where will we go?

(The trumpets grow in volume)

They look at each other– and, as if they can hear each others thoughts, they lay back down flat until the trumpets fade away with the starlight. Darkness.

Spires

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The moon stammered behind glowing clouds. “There’s no pajamas where were going!” She cackled— and the night cackled back if only for our sakes.

Death-rattles, paranoia, burning stomachs, nausea, a head rush— We stepped into the night and hid under archways, praying for rain.

You stole a glance on the sly, and when I looked at you all I saw was gray-eyed desperation and the simultaneous exhale of one-thousand sighs meant for God.

Alone at night in a sweat. I swam against the cold rushing air and closed the window and contemplated spires for hours until the neutered sun surfaced behind purple mountains.

We’re underwater, “Isn’t it time to come up for air?”— you look at me like you don’t understand and I’ll pull your hair but you won’t move— when I come back down you’ll be limp and I’ll breathe into your broken nose in vain.

We’re ready for bed— our make-up is in the drain. We’ve washed it off our faces. Why don’t you recognize us? It’s because we’ve lost our color wallowing drunk in side-ways glutted streets and fucking in the alleys…

On my knees crying and praying to big silicon gods and bleached blonde hair, there’s nothing here but aftermath and the shaky baby footprints of Genesis. We bow our heads and regard the soiled flowers of the gutters with city-night flickers of sobriety.

 

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40’s and Chocolate Bars

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40’s and chocolate bars and butterfly wings
and whispers so soft you can feel them trickle like marmalade and hot water down your spine
and cold nights
That dripped in big fat spaced out rain drops and tangled our hair while we shouted at strangers out of the window of a moving car.

It hurts to walk in the mornings.

We laughed and fed pizza crusts to pigeons only because we thought they had finally made it home.

But what about the doves?
And about you?
And what about I?
And what about the millions of things we say/said/did and the things we forget?

The feeling comes in waves.

My toes are always wet but I’ll never get in,
I remember dreams that I can’t forget.

You’re always there in rain and in a look…

And what about snow and lilies and white sun-light and sun-burnt angels?
We scrambled over broken planks
And choked on saw dust.

I am pink.
A King of pigeons…

I cough and you cough back.

Je Est Un Autre

The Flood

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Big Sur, California

I

At the greatest meetings of land and water
At the confluence of dreams
In the bosom of cultures
In the seams,
In the cracks of time,
In the dry desert,
In the alcoves of your heart,
In the gray of god,
Suburbia is kicking and screaming and wants to go home,
After one last family picture.

II

Drunken prophets,
Cardboard signs,
Valor-ruined men.
Purple Violence.
Croaks, dirty beards, glassy eyes — I saw them scaring pedestrians with used needles on their way to the movies.

III

The last great walrus who ever lay bloated and sick on the shores of Big Sur,
Where hast thou gone with thy deliriums thou drunken hemorrhage?
You came to me pox-faced in a dream and we listened to waves and camera shutters.
Believe me boys, believe me, leave me. aye. aye. aye.

IV

A hot crimson sun sets behind crystalline geysers.
A snake rubs its ribs against dry branches,
Thunder crumples.
Black leopards cringe in unison.
Storm clouds follow the sun.
I feel the first trickles of the flood
As streams of water glide over my bare feet.

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Delilah

6

Something was nipping at our heels. The night was sticky-black and it dripped in big fat spaced-out rain drops and tangled our hair so all we could do was laugh in the back seat with our heads out the windows as somebody drove us to the next chapter while we looked for the stars. We howled and people howled back, we were both alone and had another larger man between us. We felt each other through the filler and I knew you were my reason for jumping into this stranger’s limousine– Chris Ball, he claimed he could get us into the Cosmos. Your blue hair matched the neon desert lights, your slender arms were speckled with crooked lines of tattoo poetry and on your forearm was a swallow– your skin was a high-strung canvas stretched across a skinny frame. You played with your lip-ring while you told me about how  you worked the black jack tables at one of the casinos, you told me you knew Chris Ball, you said you were friends, you asked me where I was from and I asked you back and you said “here?” and I didn’t understand. Chris offered us pills and we took two each. After a while my nose began to itch but I felt better. I looked over at you, sunken into a black leather armchair letting your head move with the little bumps in the road.

“Call me Chris.” He handed me a card from the front seat with his name on it and some official sounding title, he said he was a club rep, I didn’t really care, but he could be funny sometimes, even if he was only faking it. I was glad I left Jack and Mary and hoped I wouldn’t have to see them back at the hotel. She said she hated names because they never did anyone justice and I agreed and we decided not to ask each other’s names but I felt like I knew her name, and it was Delilah, I never knew anyone named Delilah, I wonder if she gave me a name? I think it’s better that way. We pulled up to the front of the casino and poured out of the stuffy car, we followed Chris Ball as he led the way to the club on the second floor. We went straight to the front. A bouncer put a hand on his chest and stopped him, Chris Ball said something and he came back with another bouncer and he was let in and we followed, the bouncers stopped me, Ball and I made eye contact, he kept going deeper into the club with Delilah trailing behind and I stood there for a second before turning around, thinking I’d get some free drinks out of sitting at a black jack table. I always met people at black jack tables and if I left at the right time I could more or less come out even with a few more drinks in me.

I lingered outside the front for what felt like fifteen seconds, Delilah came back and grabbed my hand, it was cold, all I wanted was to go to her art-decked studio apartment and listen to her inflection-free voice mixing with indie records. She pulled me towards the entrance “Hey Joe,” she said to the bouncer, smiling. “Hey Ashley. Is he with you?” What an ugly name, Ashley. I acted like I didn’t hear it and after dancing with her for a little while it went back to Delilah.

She was water in my hands. After we danced we went back to Chris’ table. I ordered a drink and paid the waitress. Delilah was on the couch next to Chris Ball with her head slung back like in the limousine. She was tired and breathing hard, I took sips from my drink and ignored the dancers behind me, Chris Ball would get up occasionally, or shake hands with someone, or pull a girl closer, or order more drinks—I stayed in my chair and took long sips from my drink pretending not to watch her chest heaving up and down. We sat like that for a while. I ordered a few more drinks and listened for them down inside me. We all got up and careened our way towards the entrance, we got back in the car and made our way to the front of the hotel through a whirring sea of faces and glittering purple chandeliers.

We got back in Chris’ limousine followed by another guy and a few of the girls that were around our table at the club. I was tired. The girls were anxious, so was Delilah, finally Chris opened a cabinet next to the mini-fridge and began parsing out blow. They circled the tiny limousine table like prudent well-mannered jackals. We had gone up and down the strip twice already– it was nice, everyone was too focused to talk so I looked out the window and counted all the fat Mexican girls with three-foot margaritas and listened to the music, I wish it was Mozart, everything would have been a lot less ugly if we had been listening to Mozart.

And just like that the group was ready for another club. We were headed to Ozone which was the club to go to on this particular night, at this particular hour. I was tired. I had another drink but that made things worse. I lit a cigarette and Chris told me to put it out– I laughed and threw it out the window. We all got out of the limousine, I lit another cigarette while everyone headed in, I didn’t really care that they would go without me, I was ready to walk off the alcohol and head back to my hotel, head up the elevator, sneak into the room, get into bed and hope I wouldn’t have to stay awake until the spinning stopped. I was positive Jack and Mary would be asleep after a night of drunken fights. Delilah came back and had a cigarette with me. She had her arms crossed and shoulders hunched as if she was cold. The wind was blowing her hair into her eyes; she closed them while she took a drag. The ash blew up into her hair. We were drunk, leaning on a wall next to a casino entrance watching people just like us pour in and out of limousines from the 80’s and 90’s. The thousand yellow light bulbs that hung over us left her features shadowless, I kept eyeing the taxis but avoided inviting myself over to her house. Finally, without saying anything, she grabbed my arm and walked to a cab and got in, I followed. She spouted out an address, I don’t remember much of the ride over to her house, I remember her hands being cold.

I paid and we got out in front of a small desert house on the outskirts of the suburbs. She opened the door and asked me to wait outside. After a while a Mexican woman came out and smiled at me and then left in a pale Dodge Neon. Maybe five minutes later Delilah was back and led me to her room, I bumped into what felt like a stroller, she turned the light on in her room and we sat on the bed. She put on the same shit we listened to in Chris Ball’s limousine. There was a half empty jewelry armoire with a film of white powder on the top. The room was empty. There was a box TV connected to a Wal-Mart DVD player across from her queen box-mattress bed. There were a few movies on top of the TV– The Expendables, 2 Fast 2 Furious, seasons upon seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. “So Delilah, whaddayou like to read?” She gave me a look like I was being sarcastic. “Who’s Delilah?” Oh fuck that’s right it’s Ashley. “Sorry, bad joke,” I laughed it off. Her skin was red and patched as she took off her shirt and exposed her back. She had more swallows on her back. She was facing the Armoire and asked if I wanted some, I hesitated but then got up and stood next to her. She went first and I copied her, it burned like I expected but then I felt sick. I sat down for a little bit and then got up to go to the bathroom. I asked her where it was. She said something, I’m not sure if she was mumbling or if I just wasn’t paying attention.

I opened the door to her living room and then opened the next door I saw, it was dark, I fumbled for a switch, it flickered on and I realized I was in a kids room, a beautiful little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes sat up in her bed “Mommy?” Fuck. I closed the door and turned off the light– I went to the bathroom and threw up from the blow. I rinsed my mouth with a bottle of mouthwash and went back to Delilah’s… Ashley’s room. I thought I saw a Bob Marley poster above the bed before she turned off the light and started unbuckling my pants. I could feel she was naked, she kissed me and grabbed me but I couldn’t concentrate. I gave one last effort by turning her around quickly and bending her over the armoire while she pressed her naked body into me. Nothing. The lights went on. She called me a cab without me asking and then got into her pajamas. I got up and put my clothes on and decided I’d wait outside for the cab. I opened the door, I looked back at her, I wanted to ask what her girls name was, but I just said “goodbye.” She didn’t say anything– I closed the door and watched a gecko flitter across the street while I waited outside.

 

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