Esse Quam Videri :
The siren’s song bleeds forth through tenement crags:
the plaintive wail of mad dog penguined Perseus,
hunting down in ancient rites street Circe and her rabid whores.
Along this path, this street of more than visions bust wide open,
broken alcoholic remnants sing their way through chartless waters,
their beatless feat marauding innocent tattered papyrus
(who will play the amphitheater tonight?)
in dreams of sessions with the kings.
No Nirvana at each or any egress here, yet here the many ways are becoming:
the way of light, of fire-bombed boarded sanctuary,
of semen dreams and sweat-stained prophylactic idols;
illuminated cubes of frozen water stained by grease and yellow sticky air;
petroleum distilled and consumed by combusted, rusted alcoholics.
Pupils of the raven cult and pots-flesh with the ague of morning slip the steps –
the eightfold path – and leave their standards dog-eared, tattered, spiral-bound and out of context.
Across the way, in sheds of glass and steel and concrete linoleum we exchange choruses –
like cardboard heroes of America’s pastime or faded glues of philately –
I’ll consider swapping one of Shakespeare, two of Marlowe, maybe a faded and torn Goethe
for a single mint G.B. Shaw or Aristophanes.
What’m I bid?
Some lukewarm geezer cat expands, and presents in trade a wisp of the Marquis de Sade –
‘Stella’ badly improvised or ‘Nigeria’ backwards.
Hardly hearty, hurling hardy-har-har hauntings
in language that recalls the Septuagint,
if not in content then in form,
our twisted Greek-inspired language compresses life
into steps of seven and its halvings.
The spirit of darker men with darker pasts slides smoothly off the windexed glass.
Who will hear, and who will know the difference if we, careless, mutter
tempus fugit or reducto ad nauseum?
Where is your champion,
cut from pagan games we liken to our ritual dances?
Death, where is thy tag?
thy who is it?
and beat the time and tabulated circumstance
for whom the olly-ox is free?
This place exists, but oh, where is it?
Trust an atlas, or go visit.
Who walks these naked, hard, forsaken, bliss-infected, dead-end streets of time
and space and each? ‘Tis Perseus again, in winter’s cap and caftan
(each enclosing like memory’s hard and bitter lovers).
The Father Quest, the Mother Envy, vagina lust and penis frenzy,
copulated in Circe’s graven image while Tiresias looks on,
flaccid and overcome with bored secrets.
Tanked (entanked) we plexi-flex our sinews and synapses;
breathe our last condition exhalation then replace our ears with diaphragms
of extra-chambered artificial percussion;
The drums of my sonic perception have received the mark,
VU needles driving through the flesh of my waking self and scarring the inner child
with rhythmic tattoos.
Later, hands with nimble digits, dexterous in equal tasks:
(nicotine embalming, flower picking, moist and sticky sweet oh shall we load the pipe again and inhale dreams of lethargy and ends-of-clocks and magic lantern slides in Ginsberg’s etchings on the skull?)
seek sweet release in telephone’s substitution code –
a number for a name for a face for a person for a bag for a few more dollars.
How’s my credit, slick?
This time exists, but oh, when is it?
Trust chronology, or visit.
The siren’s song surrounds us as we, restive, banter;
lined on sandless beaches seeking something, nothing, waiting.
Grins through crooked lips as officers of peace and oxymoron
seek their secret seeker out among the pelicans that form our ranks,
quaffing salted tears and sucking in the saltpetered herrings at our lips.
Nueve uno uno?
Who has summoned from the magic circle spirits of authority
by chanting the mantra of tardy rescue?
Ladies of the evening, biology, chronos, and welfare wrought, bring forth
their solid wombs of sorrow in mid-morning, or at any and each time the call is weaker.
How our sweet Aegean island beckons yet repels the cyclops who is ruler in his own blind land!
Who has heard the rasping, muted chorus of the dark,
when Perseus claims his pyrite fleece and we become lambs?
Choruses are still exchanged,
like cards on Federal holydays that cannot be delivered;
like blows that turn to kisses in the light of Armageddon;
like oxygen that unites with Hydro’s fire and then is drowned,
gasping for air or the last of a cigarette.
I’ll give you Jonson, hard to come by as the Beckett,
hard as nails
Speaks unfettered, bound and packaged for the holydays
in sweet, suggestive, sullen streams of soft, seductive slavery.
A homeboy (mind exploded from an implication) wreaks his private havoc on a world
that blind says, ‘now I see.’
Reversed names become institutions while the real school swelters
in the carbon frost of glazed and bitter days;
Perseus and his Father are One, the myth of becoming has ceased
to believe its own symbolism.
This me exists, but oh, who is it?
There are more than empty halls of rooms that dream of exits,
each and any and all times of passion,
reaching out once cold and malevolent fingers
in the massage of ivory of hardened plastic of brass of wood of fate.
Solomon sings the sirens’ song with technical prowess;
none of the notes escape the wise man save for each and every one.
Liar, lyre, parts afire,
can you bring me wood that’s drier?
the sirens’ song –
but he’s got
the changes wrong.
This is a poem that I wrote while in Boston, studying to become a jazz Musician (LOL). Composed a day or two after Miles Davis died, I like to think of it as my Jazz Impressions of “Prufrock”, or daring to disturb the universe that is professional musicianship; wondering why we do the things we do in the name of artificially inseminating a culture. I also was thinking of writing a longer piece, like “Howl” or “The Wasteland”.