I have seen the great minds of my own mad
generation, lost there on the long road
to find-out, trolling in a dry wasteland
of television idols and false dawns;
of lingering doubts on the new world
order, lolling aimlessly at the trough
of some prefabricated nightmare dream,
where the subtle shimmer of some bright lie
draws even the most ardent activist
for truth into a warm apathetic
mire; of an amnesiac culture
that cannot even raise its voice above
the dull murmur of its own Machine; but
I am not my father’s Allen Ginsberg.

I have wandered out into the somber
night, high on the watered-down and cut smack
of misinformation, finding only
spare hints and veiled clues to the universe;
weak honeyed colored shots of Nirvana;
bits and broken pieces of some grand scheme
to resurrect the spirit of this place;
and in the tepid water of a fetid spring
have washed away only part of the sad
sickness that saps the strength of will, and hope,
leaving only a malaise of selfish
preoccupation with the status quo.
In this stark and violent land I have learned
I am not my father’s Allen Ginsberg.

Against the bleak sunrise of a new war,
the best minds of my generation blink
their startled eyes, like stunned deer in the road
that can only wait, paralyzed, surprised
as the blanket of our greed, frayed and torn,
looses itself from our stooped, weak shoulders
and we are discovered, naked and cold
on the fallow field of our investments;
as the slow, steady churning wheels of death
advance towards us, we pretend deafness,
turning a blind eye, or shifting our stance
so we can imagine there is no cost.
I cannot find a way to change this scene;
I am not my father’s Allen Ginsberg.

31 JAN 2003

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When so much of one’s world revolves around
the search for the inner essence of things,
an attempt to hear the personal sound
or true song of being, what often brings

the most clear and vibrant indication
of something vital beyond the eye’s range,
where the flights of one’s imagination
find beauty in the sublime and the strange,

is the simple sound of nothing at all –
that still, quiet place between the heartbeats
of the loud and exuberant life-force;

There is in that space, beyond the ear’s wall,
a silent sense of motion that completes
each audible voice, giving it a source.

31 JAN 2003

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Instant Gratification

Yes, these are the times that try a man’s soul,
when platitudes from saints and holy books
seem flat and stale, the semblance of control
blurs hopelessly each way a person looks,

and a sense of overwhelming, dire need
(mixed with a loss of temporal guidance)
comes over the waiting mind; it feeds
like a piranha, in a frenzied dance

rending the flesh and bone into mincemeat,
then is amazed that there is nothing left
upon which to satiate its cravings.

So self-absorbed, living only to eat –
creating a sad universe bereft
of a saving grace, or things worth saving.

30 JAN 2003

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After the Opening of La Fiesta

Laughing and stumbling
like sailors too long at sea,
who suddenly must realign their gravity
to the stillness of shore,
like conquering matadors,
their legs still weak from the thrill
of their toreador jousts,
they returned through the door,
propelled by the smoke
and musky fire of consumed mescal,
their voices filled with the gaiety of life,
exuberant and freed from any commitment
to coherence.

And around their necks,
like Jacob Marley’s shackles,
the emptied shot glass souvenirs
announced their arrival –
not as chains forged
through a long and meaningless life,
but rather a triumphant rattling of swords,
proclaiming yet another victorious challenge
to the still sober.

And then,
with a quick stumble to the waiting stool,
one lights a clumsy cigarette
and laughs,
tossing a collection
of imprinted plastics and colored string
on the bar —
“We came, we saw,
we just had to have one in every color.”

09 FEB 2002

This poem was written after hearing of the adventures of two friends from the local bar who attended a gala opening for a new Mexican restaurant in town. Free Sauza shot glasses, appetizers, and margaritas were consumed in abundance.

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Dances with Whales, Winces with Dulls

At one time in my life, I experimented with writing my own cut-up novel. Heavily into Keroauc, Ginsberg and Burroughs at the time, heavily into mind-altering additives of several varieties, spending late nights in cafes discussing Gertrude Stein and Pound’s Cantos and drinking espresso while smoking Galouises. Or something like that.
Anyway, for anyone interested in some early 1990’s Beat Literature, here’s a sample.

Dances with Whales, Winces with Dulls or the Diary of a Former Establishmentarian

from “The Secret Undertown Ministry”, copyright 1994 by John Litzenberg

Homespun Masquerade and Gravity Pushman are speed-balling down the road singing songs about cowboys and colored people get ready set go go dancing in the streets of fire of love of broken dreams and poor new drainage talking speaking enunciating emphatically delineating points of light of interest (no rest areas) of the triangulated divinity school students and children of the lesser goodness gracious in their defeat may move but the mouth just runs and runs and runs like a Timex or a good woman who takes a licking and either leaves while she can or comes back for more every three days and keeps on ticking like a time bomb or so like clockwork oranges and lemons and taking a hit of XTC, say their second album, the one before they thought they were the Beatles …

and dreaming in his mushroom cave the hero wastes his seed in fantasies of wife beatle-ing deaf and mute he signs the hidden messages found on the Abbey Road album cover and swears to me, like my cousin did when I was six, that Paul died of stomach cancer. So who’s the McCartney android that does all of Paul’s best songs and tells the world why the best band in the world had to break up and marry Linda Eastman and Yoko Ono and divorce Maureen and Patti?

Beats the hell out of me. After the Marharishi tried to convince Mia Farrow that she was more than a woman they all stopped smoking from his hookah right before Grace Slick decided to immortalize the original Generation X bimbo in a song about roadkill.
Homespun and Gravity laugh, look at the fuel gauge and see rollers in the rear view mirror.

Yeah, just like Willie Nelson, David Crosby, O. J. Simpson, and Dolly Parton all know, you can’t outrun the bust.

Hide it swallow it put it under the seat or for Christ’s sake shove it up your ass you crazy fool – I mean the fear that’s on your face ’cause it’s obvious from the way you part your hair or the way your eyes are set in your head or the loose screw under the dash that’s given up holding in its gut or the glove compartment and it’s just like hand in glove, as they say in the penitentiary blues and it ain’t Tiny Tim tiptoeing through your tulips anymore and Bubba, I mean brother, I mean brother man, I mean sir yes sir just moving it up the line, boss man and you aren’t just tall, I mean to tell you, friend, the fat lady is leaving the stage drenched in sweat and last year’s model of Tammy Faye is running down in torrents between her sponge caked boulders and you can see her Boticelli clear as day ’cause she’s done singing and boy, you’re signed, sealed and delivered – ya estuvo, mi amigo.

Steel blue under the campaign hat between the short cropped blonde on blonde and cleft chin and a voice that seems to rumble from the ground like whispers along the San Andreas says:

“Boy, you realize you’ve got a busted taillight?”

Gravity’s rainbow shucks and jives like Bojangles on liquid L speaking in silver tongues and promising whiskey depth and saccharine lightning:

oh yes sir we were vandalized at a motel
burning motor madness
deep in the heart of Texas chain saw
Alice’s Restaurant Massacre and I swear
on my Wounded Knee, officer,
we’re just trying to get home safely so as to
and otherwise fix
the problem you have in your fine judgment seen fit
to inform us of
after putting to bear
bringing to focus
and otherwise pulling into line
your outstanding powers of observation
which have brought to light, uncovered,
and otherwise given us the benefit of knowing
that our taillight
as you so ably stated
is busted . . .

To which, after the trooper had trooped along his merry law-enforcing way, Homespun replied, “and luckily, my friend, we are not.”

And as the superhighway stretches solid smooth sliding into the shimmering sunset, the two seaworn saltsick sailors smile, and slip an eight-track tape of Vaughn-Williams Second Symphony into the player.

Gravity’s getting heavy, says the one; the other laughs and replies, “Yeah, well I’m getting pretty sick of that Homespun’s shit. You ever notice when you drive through Memphis, Tennessee that one out of every six drivers is white, and of the seventeen percent of drivers who are, shall we say, negative melanin concentration challenged, about one in five of those will admit they have friends among the other seventy three percentile?”

“It’s like this,” Homespun says, “it’s all about family values, and when I say that, I mean family of humankind values. And what exactly are those high-faluting all-fire important values?”

Krishnamurti said we don’t really love our children – his evidence: war, poverty, destruction of the earth, hatred of each other.

“Where have all the Jennifer Flowers gone?”

Gravity sits for a minute, then responds, “You can bet they’re not growing on Neil Bush. And further, more importantly, can we talk about family values while sipping whiskey, dragging off a Klan-supporting tobacco company’s products, supporting the death penalty, referring to quote lesser peoples like insects, I mean, wasp, jigger, bugaboo, kike, spic, wop, Polack, politician, commie, leech, redskin, honkey, whatever?”

I saw a new beer ad, man, and it said: Are you tired of that alcohol-related headache? Of course, they were pushing non-alcoholic beer or some shit like that, but if they really wanted to help, if we really were interested in family values or the betterment of the human community or any of that other bullshit that people like Rush Limbaugh and George Bush and Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and Jesse Helms and Bob Dole and every other person that thinks that by appearing to be moral on the outside while hiding a rotted, corrupted core that seethes with the maggots of racism, classism, old made-by-exploiting everybody who wasn’t looking money, if we were really interested in saving the quote youth of today or whatever the slogan-promise-action committee-neighborhood awareness-media focus-issue that means Willie Horton or Willie Not Get Elected we would say: “Tired of that alcohol-related headache? Then put the fucking bottle down and stop buying our product, man, because we’re killing you, we’re destroying your minds, your homes, your country, your world, and you’re paying us to do it, you goddamn morons!”

“Yeah,” says one sailor to the other, “that’s a beautiful sentiment.

But what about all those lawyers and psychiatrists and lobbyists and career politicians and otherwise unemployable bloodsucking spirit-draining soul-killing bastards who’d be lined up around the block at welfare services looking for food and shelter and a little bit of spending money?”

“Well,” replies Gravity, “you’d have to tell them three things: one, man does not live on bread alone; two, if all the world were bread and cheese and all the sea were ink, and all the sky were cotton candy, we’d never be able to distill vodka; and three, if a hen and a half can lay an egg in a half in a day in a half, a cat is like a sidewalk because neither of them can play the piano.”

“In order words,” Homespun laughs, “you’d tell them to get jobs that create rather than destroy?”

“Yeah,” the first sailor replies, “that’s about the size of it.”

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Polar Extremes

To say that the pendulum swings too far,
and spends too much time stalled at either end
(having somehow got stuck, its bearings fouled),
leaving great holes of time where reality

is distorted, and the continuum
of the necessary and the sublime
seems to be warped and far out of balance,
hanging at the frayed end of a tensed line,

is putting too fine a point on the thing.
In those vast stretches of space when the weight
passes (so rapidly) from black to white
it is that the grey escapes one’s notice.

While in that seeming free fall, gravity
does not exist. And then it bounces back.

29 JAN 2003

One of my favorite Robert Service poems describes perfectly the state of ADD. It’s called The Men That Don’t Fit In. After reading the bio of one of my new friends, Live Journal user ohsister, who stated that the word bi-polar was too limiting, I thought I’d write a poem that speaks to some of the issues for those of us who are manic-depressive, bi-polar or otherwise challenged by the presence of both sides of the Tao while sometimes losing sight of the whole…

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Random Thought for the Day

I believe that the disappearance of the true Left Wing in the United States of America can be dated accurately to the first time that Colonel Harlan Sanders thought to split the chicken into three breasts, making smaller portions, more servings sold, and effectively decimating the distinction between Fascism and Communism. Although first introduced in 1939, Kentucky Fried Chicken did not begin its campaign of ideological subterfuge until approximately six years later – thus timing the elimination of the Left Wing (and its political effectiveness, despite the subsequent “Red Scare”) with the rise of our World War II ally, Joseph Stalin – a prime example of Right Wing consciousness.

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