i have a friend named bobcat. he.s a character. how can i explain ?
the man spent a good chunk of the last few years on a mountain,
by his own description, watching helicopter clad sheriffs watch him
tend several acres of marijuana crops. that.s fine. he offered me
a gig but i couldn.t forget that sound i never heard – – rotors chopping
wildly, as a heavy set older gentleman stared down over mirror tinted
lenses, mouthing a muted warning thru artificial wind.
as i sit, typing these words; i wonder what a world i would have entered
had i taken him up on his offer. two scenes come to mind.
when i met bobcat, he was the shiesty organizer of a local poetry event
in rural oregon. i was only passing thru & my crew observed, with mildly
horrified amusement, that bobcat was running a rather shady competition.
years later – he called me from a washington state hotel room, where he
was hiding out from police and a girlfriend with a violent grudge. i pictured
him huddled against a wall, staring out the filthy window of a balcony door
and watching our sun drop into the sea. he told me he lost 90 pounds of
canibus when the girl he loved called the cops.
i.ve since heard a few more details to the story. back then, i called my
lawyer friend and threw bobcat a couple pieces of non “legal advice”.
where am i ? at the moment, i.m sitting at merchants of Reality – a particular
point in time / space located in the San Francisco SOMA in the united states
of america, 2012. it is tuesday, july 24 at 3.40 pm and i.m told the sun and
mercury conjunct in leo, tomorrow.
i believe, as do many physicists, that every decision made by particles
in our universe splits reality and creates a branch in space / time. i also believe
– which may be insane – that we can choose to travel, at these moments of
branching, to other worlds outside of any known dimension.
this is where our story ends.
i never offer him any thing any more when he comes around. the bobcat prefers foods
that are not available. often something which might almost be found around the corner,
up the street; but, which today remains peculiarly absent. how are you doing ? what do you do ? time traveler. hooligan. wastrel. drug addict. my friends are doing things now.
getting their music in super bowl commercials and movies. making songs & videos i hear about from other people, people who have never met them – who don.t know i know them.
i appear on the internet now, my work discussed by people i.ve never met, never even heard of. this month i was written up by a hip hop journalist i used to think was famous.
people i know from school are appearing in newspapers and internet blogs for writing,
for directing, for starring in television shows. actors i learned acting from – appearing in my favorite television shows, their books reaching number one on bestseller lists, the washington post, new york times. once i saw my own record appear higher on a top ten
list than an album by an idol of mine. i used to think something about the opinion of critics.
used to believe winning an award meant some thing other than you made money for
somebody. when i was six, i wondered why we couldn.t go back to the barter system.
i live there now.
Liquid: a fluid theory
from what i.ve heard, when i was four i almost
pulled a boiling pot of spaghetti on my head.
my friend sp told me this happened to someone
he knows. the burns across his chest formed in
to scar tissue & a story for the ladies.
i spent years re-imagining and retelling my self
the story – what had & hadn.t happened.
i reached up toward our stove, grasped the pot
handle, stumbled; water and steam tumble into
the fire which flares up and slaps down on me
collapsed to the floor — hot metal, scalding water,
half cooked spaghetti, and the burned boy.
bill came in – just in time to stop me. “baraka,
no.” he sat me down at the table and told me
a story, then set the table & called my mother
in for dinner; where they spoke about the office
and the lawyers each had suffered through.
it must have been the tesseract – from a wrinkle
in time, which later allowed me to navigate a route
back through that story. entrance to a new saga,
out from the distant stories of my father and kid
napping; a door cracking on its hinges with terry
on the other side & his screams for my mother
to let him in. locks, padlocks, hinges braced;
locks i didn.t know the name of closing our
apartment door, even as no one was trying to
get in. we received few visitors. my mother,
the type of woman to sit at home. privacy was
a form of security – as was knowing we were
poor, even after we didn.t have a right to be.
at some point we entered the middle class.
but, upper middle or lower ? or middle middle.
the most boring and worst option, within our
suburban ghetto. later, some of those kids
would grow up – wheaton became the town
of filipino restaurants, colombian food,
cuisine from argentina; little shops, all of them.
& wealthy, if not hip, suburbanites might trudge
across town for a quick bite. but growing up
there was only wheaton mall & teenagers from
the right part of town would hear parental
warnings to stay away from the fights there;
once a boy was murdered in pumphrey.s park
for his jacket and his shoes, so people said.
they changed the name. every so often we.d
hear stories of murderers just up the road
or down the street. not a dangerous town.
just a neighborhood, with a few haitians,
some ecuadorians; catholic schools, parks.
i came to catholic school in the third grade.
it was years before i had a black girl in my
class. college years. i wore a uniform a lot
growing up. these days, if some one says
“dress to impress” i don.t show up. as far
as i can tell, my parents spent double on
my brother.s high school education what
they spent on mine for all of high school
and college combined. and we went to a lot
of the same schools. but i guess we always
knew we were poor, and i know my parents
worked hard every day, and maybe bill
clinton did something right.
i don.t make money. i watch it move
around me and rarely grab after it. i went
to school with a lot of money – money
that never learned to shower, or who
did the minimum to get by; money that
did or didn.t want you to know about it.
private money, secret money, foreign money.
dollars and yen wandering thru the mall.
i guess i don.t know what money is. growing
up i thought i was poor, thought i was in a city;
waiting til i grew up so i could do what i want.
now, i do mostly what i want & i realize i may
have had more assets as a child than i would
possibly hope for now. in other words, if you
could go back far enough, you might say that
i was liquid.
lightning hawkins [i]
i am an american hip hop rapper. here are a few stories.
yesterday, riding my bike thru an unfamiliar neighbor
hood, i came to a peculiar intersection. as i coasted
towards the light ahead, a red blinking hand-warning
countdown switched to an unexpected familiar image:
the brave go-ahead walking white man. creature of habit.
child of society. civilization.s son – we think we know
what to expect. we.ve come to believe we know our uni
verse. most days, knowing something is good enough
to make it true. but are any events un significant, eventually ?
the other day – as i came to a crossing with my wife,
we saw a woman laughing with a young man on
the corner. when we approached more closely, we
found the woman holding her bloody mouth and
calling out for a lost tooth. we stood alongside her
and her friend with a collective dazed expression.
when we reached the other side of the street, we heard
screams – a young man howling, “oh, no – no . . . no”
while his friend shook left to right in confusion or dis
belief. the five of us formed an incredulous line up
outside of the sugar bar. some one struggled for words.
“he almost got hit by that car.”
a man stumbled drunkenly out of the street and into
shadow. millie stared onto the avenue at an event that
had not occurred. my wife has a keen eye. once, she
noticed – from across the street – an unconscious man
with a bleeding head wound. this was a man who
had been ignored by many average samaritans as
they stepped around the growing pool of his blood.
the ambulance had trouble spotting us until i stepped
from the curb to flag them down. but i digress. i meant
to be speaking of space and time. in cities it can be
difficult to get any space. one time, we left town for
a drive south – turns out, one of the things i married
was the drive to central california. it.s not too far, as long
as you can see the coast. in this case, we headed down
to san diego for some reason; meeting a few new humans
– we have the baby sickness. i guess i.m fascinated any
time i get to achieve some kind of communication with
a nonverbal creature. as if humans only used our words
to lie. i sometimes think about going back to a better
time. used to feel i was born in the perfect moment,
but what if everything wasn.t already decided ? if there
wasn.t a word for everything – what if you had to say
what you really meant ? from what i.ve read, there are
only a few original alphabets. once someone figured
out we could communicate with writing – it wasn.t too
hard to agree on that idea. i got poisoned early on
with the written word, not that i.m complaining.
still, we were on this drive down south – an arbitrary
cartographic designation. heading down south in our
blue monstrosity, and we crashed with a generous
friend. she lent us a book we.ve since given away, by
a man named lightning hawkins. holy fuck, we read.
lighthawk [two] the bang
i.m supposed to say we.re speeding along but
the car.s old and both of us are more cautious.
so we.re heading back north and the singer on
our shitty radio sends out static-y messages of
love to lightning hawkins as we.re reading from
his book. the singer.s a lady. she.s tired of time
traveling, but we just started so we.re pretty
jazzed. and we.re learning about the shape of
the universe and mapping out multiverses every
few miles, sometimes skipping around chapters
but mostly i.m reading, interpreting, and then
diagraming with [the Suspect] as solar flares and
singularities open up thru our worldview to let all
the light in. everything we.re reading makes
sense as though we used to know it already.
somehow this book confirms my childhood.
it lets me know i haven.t been lost. we begin
learning a little more about balance in our
world; in conversation, mirroring truth out of
singular and communal experiences. nano.
macro. einstein – rosen bridges. decades
old global discussions on god.s gambling
habits. a question posed: what if we are all
god.s imagination ? it.s no fun to know every
thing. and as the veil falls, we.re hurtling
further down our own path than ever; as if
we.ve been running on a track, arms tied
and blind folded – calling out for a hand as
the cloth fell from our eyes. minor obstacles
melt into the distant past. we discuss odd
and fantastic events from our week end
journey. childhood stories – the same ones,
different ones. what are we learning ? it.s
like a mushroom trip; seemingly impossible
to write every thing down, always coming
out in fragments. a venn diagram: universes
of decision points criss crossing through 26
dimensions. strings raveling within infinitesimal
cell membrane. quarks. the stuff of dream and
electron. chaos theory dictates that merely
observing our world affects the outcome of an
experiment, preventing us from ever measuring
with exact accuracy.
the butterfly knows nothing of its hurricane.
a song lyric, “out of chaos comes order.”
we realize artists have been sending us
messages for years. the sky is large. we
are microscopic. tiny particles blink in &
out of existence on impossible paths, by
passing the logic of our dimension.
whatsoever we believe becomes real.
the book ends with a plea for artists &
philosophers to return home; spiritual
inquiry, political action, questioning of
science and logic. somewhere under
neath the nations of europe, white clad
experimenters attempt to reenact our
universe.s big bang, creating a blink in
time and resetting the clock of our world.
we have to stop them.
i want to get into the crash, but first
i need to tell you about my wife; and
possibly my habits and practices of
the past several years. at some point
in the last decade, i set out to discover
or manifest a ritual process for non
physical alchemy. i have witnessed as
artists transform pain into inspiration;
idea becoming meme as a human
passes into legend. once, i stood on a
green hillside and wished to escape
earth. we.ve found our way backwards
thru story, our minor enclave of radical
projectionists – always seeking fortune
from truth. and so where to begin ? allow
me to introduce [the Suspect].
V. [before the bang]
“all the rap stars get shot
– it.s perfect”
– Lady V
i.ll tell you about the bang in a minute.
for now, let.s focus on what almost &
never happened – the greatness we dream
for ourselves on lost alley-walking nights
and mornings without breakfast; at the parties
we never go to but used to dream of, places
you were invited to after you stopped wanting
to be there . . . i.d never join a club: remember
those moments we accepted magic into our lives
– even and especially when it wasn.t there –
if i tell you we survived the crash, would you hear
an echo somewhere in your thoughts of maybe we
died. my mother used to get into accidents, road
sign, truck, bruised forehead, cracked windshield;
totaled. blue nova, black nova – red light, stop light.
we got in a couple accidents on the road. most common ?
leaving our car in the way of someone.s blunt object who
smashed the safety glass on our windows and took what
they could. lars found feces underneath her door handle.
i remember the worst thing one actor said he ever did,
when i went to school with him, before his bestseller
came out. antics and semantics amounting to how far
you can take your act offstage – okay tobi, we rolling ?
let.s get this captured. we remain here as razor tips;
to leave a mark. neither are we swords – i.ve heard cuts
through to bone; this beat of our heart – the bang in
your eardrum. i could tell you we survived, living
epilogue of victory and the conquered . . . the avant
garde of ironic factory day labor – now, legal:
this job is repetitive. i don.t mind
the work but the job is repetitive.
this is not a complaint. i got plenty
complaints but i don.t mind the work.
if you don.t mind the work, a little
repetition is okay. if you like your boss.
. . . i.ve been spending my days at the factory with
a trick shooting bartender, the sculptor, some few
graphic designers & recording artists, this lady
masseuse – wayward artist traveling days, hop
in the car, partying in the eighties with unknown
rappers turned hip hop stars, bare breasted gun
-wielding desert kidnappings, psychedelic
whiskey-dosed photojournalists, mind altering
powders and pills, farm grade pharmaceutical
plants, gloves and masks, inhaling toxic mildew
& i heard this story about a local rapper gone big
who had a concert or a show in San Jose, an hour
from his hometown. in absence of clever detail;
all i can remember is “he didn.t even know
where he was, it was so great.” lemon out.
VI. [a stranger.s dream]
pagan. anarchist. communist. heretical playwright.
they changed the rules about smoking in the streets,
but were our streets ever ours ? i was too young for
neighborhoods and cafe culture. our front guard
bohemians became millionaires as my friends kept
getting hit by cars – perhaps an egg, raw, boiled,
or rotten ? we found even non-objective acts of
throwing – a successful weapon. there are no minor
digressions from a locomotive train track.
we speak of aesthetic like a beautiful woman i
married long ago. nothing unintentional.
we seek meaning: i remain in the crow.s nest, reading
these words aloud to my wife so she won.t leave.
when i speak of my self, never know how many hours
i.ve spent not bragging aloud at the blessings in our
basket … perhaps a motif – the end of my joint falters
and goes unlit. my orange lighter. what some would call
a cherry forms itself on the burning end of this glowing
ever-warmer cylindrone. above all, know your audience.
physician, heal … because i just want drivers to stop
colliding with my people and for cops to not murder
us in the streets. most everyone i see – except police –
clearly gives no fuck about me, or absently
wishes me well on the way to something better.
statistically, when did i become a target ? my generation
is burning out like a once lit cigarette – what i once called
a flaming death stick, like a car is a two ton death machine.
we idolize and r(e)ulogize spent candles while drivers run
us down in the streets. every artist i.m close to in san francisco
has been hit by a car. we haven.t started carrying rocks yet:
opting to start with eggs. once – i stopped in the street, when
a sports utility vehicle accelerated towards [the Suspect];
planted my feet and raised my half empty glass juice bottle
as time slowed itself & i prepared to hurl a weighted projectile
into the windshield of an oncoming automobile. i don.t think
i.d ever time traveled before without music. every decision
made, particle or human, opens another branch somewhere.
which world will i choose ? where am i ? somewhere science
keeps trying to make a bigger bang and i.m in a studio in
san francisco, internally, interminably burning; lit joint after
joint – the papers and lighter come from a store up the street:
a sad market. check the sign. the lighters are plastic, manufactured
in connecticut – the fuel in my pocket arrived here on a truck from
the east coast. at least the green is local.
if you.re reading this, you probably think it.s fiction. once upon a time
people wanted writing, bought and paid for. this is before we wrote the lie
of reality – before politicians all looked the same like pretty boy actors,
sound bytes, clothing specialists, and camera make up. still – we got pictures
of the holocaust, if you want to see it. pictures of enslavement, scar-crossed
terrain & the dark eyed indigenous, neither american nor indian. some guy
told me he existed in his own bubble, on a pedestal untouched by sacrifice –
as if that weren.t the american dream. wrapped up in the unread unstarched
pages of our constitutional manifesto – i always say, “we” – when referring
to the imperial enslavement of my people.
oh, i sound crazy now.
i always employ the first person plural when i remember how many ways
i.ve benefited from the rape and murder of my people.
i shit inside – and outside, neighborly san franciscans plastic-bag their dog shit
to throw in garbage bins as the hungry multitudes descend on dumpsters & trash
troves to dig out a little food til they can sleep. a dream burned out like a once-lit
cigarette. a dream color copied and repackaged in a newer, cleaner carton. a dream
whitewashed and resold without the image of the broke-backed millions who planted
someone else.s crops in their soil of imagination, tilled, reaped & harvested a dream;
til someone wrapped up and sold a stranger.s dream back to them and bought their land
up with the millions, and planted the story so deep it could never be told.
VII. [the phantom limb parade]
the phantom limb parade of human frailty at my window is unceasing. artists
on couches, freelance street journalism, corner vendors seeking investment;
hookers on the rise outside the accordion shop – according to Karla.
me and my dumb phone. i took a walk several times outside of consciousness,
pacing beyond city space. champagne alleyways, minorly avoiding charges of
public indecency, disturbing the peace, public intoxication, indecent exposure,
public urination, soap boxing, rabble rousing, slander, plagiarism, treason – &,
barely – resisting arrest.
we have incurred wrath, inspired ire. our memoir histoire bon vivant.
rain soaked london, un petite peu du jour a paris, eight hour meandering
along the city limits of amsterdam, pure ice cream on a stone bridge in
basel, switzerland. street art i.ve never seen in barcelona – somebody.s
blood of portugal in my veins; capo verde, the green cape. a loose
association of physical journeys on foot, across and outside space and time.
how so ? some would say he.s on drugs: caffeine, dopamine, epinephrine,
testosterone, adrenaline … estrogen, pheromones, chocolate, alcohol, nicotine,
tobacco … marijuana, THC, MDMA … fiberglass, sugar, endocrine … LSD,
psilocybin, hip hop. music makes me high. our favorite artists never existed
in the first place – collective genius, blunted & the future; survivor –
name thyself. our idols wear masks, emerging rarely from shadow,
tireless unknown; mammoth & invisible. my heroes die of poverty
in hospital, championed by lunatics & hounded by behemoth
corporations. once, Tesla claimed a floating electricity cloud
removed him from the forward flow of constant time.
we douse our truths in alcohol so they will burn.
[8. fury of sound]
he wrenched the needle from the gramophone
– edward gorey
anybody want to brag ? the most dangerous radicals
i know are in toronto. how long has sex been a weapon ?
we no longer fear how far we.ve come; our largest projects
remain too small to hold us. what are the odds ? it was all
a dream, as the man said. this week – our visitor merely
added an element of much un appreciated chaos.
my publisher told me to write more & my father told
me i don.t know how good i actually am at what i do.
is it time for the stories ? dazzle jazz in denver, colorado
– this is fucking poetry – the broken glass, cancelled event
at a classy bar; mic stand swung at that shiny car.s rear
window in drunk driving atlanta. wrecking mics onstage
with the usual superstars, shadowed by fame.
all the lights – spot and lime, dim & red; smoke
filled chamber blessed in tinted glass, somebody
ask where i got the SWAT helmet from …
for the first time in my life i.m not lonely.
i.m surrounded by artists, which i.ve heard
my friends dream about for years.
if some of us create for other artists, others for
the rich, & many channel their work thru crowds
and across multitudes; where are we in this landscape
of fanatical craftism ? gear shifts, fixies, & velocipedes;
we ride places and eventually arrive somewhere – right ?
how long til you get discovered ? i.m famous online. how
long after being in someone.s house do you begin to snoop ?
how long did i keep praying after my belief quit ? eyes
closed looking for god on the floor. when the policeman
told me his story of doing blow off a yacht, i was a little
unclear – want to know what i wish for ? should we talk
about film ? yeah, i.ve seen scarface.
yeah, yeah – that was bad, murdering a guy with the chain
saw… some real shit, pulp fiction – get medieval. thing about
the dark ages – jus primae noctis, king.s privilege. forget it.
dead language. it.s rare, but humans spontaneously combust.
sometimes people catch fire, inexplicably. heat, preceded by
sound. lighthawk, send your meme out like a rocket ship.
we believe ideas become eternal.
[end transcript 8.]
minnesota lightning storm
i.m hit. my girl pinched
my hips to see if i still
exist. i think not.
we could start with a minnesota road stop, or the super high way.
possibly a flash back – driving solo down the winter interstate after
my last friend abandoned our tour. or we can start with these movies;
how the albums became film as pictures turned to music. never had
much trouble coming up with names, or words for a friend who laid
her dreams to rest. i sent a letter to my friend – every one ends up
on the cutting room floor. eventually, you.ve got to edit.
but where to begin ? the new moon rose high in the crown of
the metropolis, shining – like who on top of this ? the greatest
emcee in the world sang a hook called if i ruled the world and
didn.t get to spit a verse. is this irony ? make an offer.
a born again hooligan only to be king again.
if you knew where you came from, would you go back ? had
there been a destination – would you have gone in the first place ?
we saved up, put ourselves to work, and drove across the country
to watch america.s president on jumbotron; or, in case, to dismantle
something. only when necessary. damage and i tore down some fences
on a new york beach. we went to see the greatest emcee in the world
and somebody tried to force us on different sides of a gate, channel
us between metal barriers to chain & cage us into a concert without
water. failures of capitalism. names and practices.
now that i escaped, sleep walk awake. where am i going off in to a carnival
wonder land … waiting for a plane or walking to some meeting with the guy
who could get me a ticket. hand shakes, artist cards, business cards, flowers &
greeting cards, letterhead, stationary. what do you dream of ? casting couch,
locker room – fantasies handed to us. what do you dream ?
women, drinks and fortune. clothing. cars. what are you wishing for ?
first you get the money. then you get the power. everybody fucking
loves pacino & so do i. watch your lit candle for the dying heat.
thirty seconds of marley on a small screen in black and white. a dead
girl singer vomits in her own mouth onstage without missing a note.
she swallowed & got back to work. there.s no business like – the show
must go on. i was the big bad wolf in a gray suit at four years old, foundry
lutheran day care. i was a shepherd in the third grade & on my mark.
we killed em at the altar when i played inn keeper. when did you
begin interviewing yourself about a past that hadn.t happened yet ?
an only child, stalking himself with an imaginary camera – if only
some one were watching. i work with a small publishing house,
printing single copies of sad books for beautiful people. ironic
writing of tragic protagonists in dimly lit rooms. old timey songs
we posted up along the superhighway when our radios went bust.
all i wanted was to sell like 500, be a ghetto superstar after my first album –
blunted. we used to rock parties in college. our comedy show gave my mother
coke flash backs and banished her to the out skirts of my art work. i made this song
one time about why the stars always shooting up, and played it for my brother; but
my dad heard some thing different and told me to turn it off. my mother hates
the rhythms and my father only heard the curses. my brother.s ten feet tall;
my brother is wise.
my little brother is big. my big brother.s a genius. my brother.s eight years younger.
my brother was born on my due date, and vice versa. alexander – my brother – is a black
belt, a wrestler. my brother is coming to visit. there.s a ninja coming to get me.
when i was young, some kid saw my family and tried to convince me i.m adopted.
on the road, when my friend fell ill and dropped out – or got sick & quit – i called
a few people who could maybe take his place and caught a break, with jami. one
time, jami told me about smoking crack. we all eighties babies like AIDS and crack.
i asked her, jami why would anyone smoke crack who knew about the eighties ?
jami told me, because it.s awesome. and, before i go on about the crack motel on
my honeymoon; i.d like to say – perhaps, inappropriately – that i.ve taught enough
women about blow jobs to be considered an amateur philanthropist, clown, comedian.
not a health care provider. now, listen – we didn.t intend to end up at the crack motel;
what we actually did, was: we got a room across the street; which was nice. well,
the room wasn.t nice, but it was nice to not be at the crack motel.
as for the best wedding celebration no one saw ? i love you.
congratulations to the whole world.
the worse thing that happened – apart from that crazy driver, was
[the Suspect] went looking about a ride and got cast as a whore.
to the craigslist driver who almost killed my wife on our wedding day.
information travels at an alarming rate. semi trucks are known for this
as well. i don.t know the exact algebra, but i remember pushing an over
heated saturn sedan in the snow storm as white obscured all road signs &
lane lines – without snow chains & running low on gas, in nowhere oregon.
this – some while before i got a call from [the Suspect] asking me back
to California. as it happens, that oregon blizzard drove me and dunce
into the bobcat.s lair – several bottles of rum, pitch dark kitchen
fights, powdered 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, and
the bobcat throwing fifty dollar bills in the air to watch them fall.
dunce picked them up from the floor. have i mentioned the bobcat
has a number of head injuries? or that he.s never on time – often he.s
off by weeks or more on any & all predictions. what.s left ? the saturn
died, our honeymoon in yellow stone, that minnesota lightning storm,
and an unwritten poem …
[after the crash]
til all carbon burns and turns into star burst,
we gon stay iller than the dog in the bar(n)
hurting far worse. what kind of farm is this ?
– [ ] the Insomniac
after the crash, we lived. after the crash, [we died.] we didn.t crash.
Happened was [the Suspect] was driving & it was a crazy trip. we had
manifested the impossible so many times society started closing in; but,
i know the power of a thought so i might have been more careful with
mine … i could feel an accident ahead. should i mention the cops ? okay.
what kind of farm is this ? herbal
medicine. keep the doors locked
if the cops tell you let us in.
cops were stalking us. fuck it,
it.s boring. enough to explain,
the man lied about what year it was
to fuck with us. nuff said. that.s low.
hey fuck it. you can die anytime, so he ain.t stay bugging.
who steady thuggin ? i can carry my weight, mother
fuckers cancel tours when they headed upstate.
somebody said he deserved to die because he had on
a hoodie. and he was black. put on a song, the horns
cut you. someday when we won. i remember gizmo
on the street in brooklyn, who i chased down to give
him all the money in my wallet, because he spoke only
in rhyme & he was me. the ghost disappeared in day
light and when i saw him on the stage it was me. some
one built a home less man mansion and i saw myself
inside it. i was there – center of a birdhouse, up cole
man.s hand carved tree in an art gallery by my school.
my nigga called me from a hotel room straight tripping
on how he lost a hundred pounds, made victim. turn back
around, who stacking now ? i saw myself in every story
and there i was, anywhere i went. microphone testing.
check, again – some die forgotten, memories lost, they
bodies rotten; still writing letters for a governor.s pardon.
ain.t love with no hardship. summon yo godness:
ability to respond and the honest. often a bit player
in someone else.s story – the old chinese man who
trampled amy when she went out on daisy.s bike.
cast a spell. the boy artist on haight street who flickered in
broken phrases and spasmed til a dollar came out. which
all seemed so familiar. lock your doors. these mother fuckers
ain.t seeing me. and got trampled at the cross walk around
the way recently. the most disturbing – to watch my own
reflection; we have this way of unnerving people.
praise allah. you got a couple hands, better raise em up.
someday you won.t say as much or have energy left to
maintain a fuck. we died without crashing and split – how
many options, in any direction ? i swear we passed through
a spot too small for that fucking car and made it to the other
side. made a mistake and i.ma pay for it later.
[the Suspect] tells me i took her driving hand, held it
to the wheel & said; we.re going to make it. and we
came through. lighthawk taught us a spell you can try
if you like, but we didn.t use it. we just decided, held
on & went. sometimes you can feel the split.
someday every vibration echoes in another stratosphere
at one point i wondered, when would be the best
era to return to ? when did i first yearn for the birth
of language – what memories must be tucked away
under your medulla ? have you listened to the reptile
in you ? what does sapiens say to neanderthalensis ?
until the day we disappear.
[villains or heroes]
villains or heroes
who the devil made more ? got your eyes closed
looking for god on the floor.
– blind kobe
the spell is chaos, manifesting randomness. for example – through numbers.
07 – 89 – 09 – 88 – 04 -35. this one for my homies and fellow strangers, as
follows – in no particulate order: granular material. strung theory.
9 billion. ten thousand. four. a hundred. ninety nine. seven trillion. twenty six.
ideas thick stacked on top of one another and strung together, fluid bonded like
a string of blow jobs at interstate rest stops along highways across the continent
of north america. introducing our cast, and then some – these are no preemie
madonnas. a mad cavalry; stirring awake, cauterized into experience.
the bobcat is a blond dreaded mexican who lies. eighty something year old boobs
mcgillicuddy helicopters paramedics out to her shut down brothel hotel for fun. by
the way, i.ve never spent a night in jail so why start with alcatraz ? anyhow; some of
the comedians left town – new york, los angeles. bones the blues man lost a family
when he went to play his horn in amsterdam. conrad could never find his eye. and
blind kobe wanders. the insomniac appears from time to time. we listened to pine
apple liberation in the hours before dawn and spat rhymes across porches under
twilight. there.s a hole over london. world war two was no joke. & none of them are
jewish, they.re all russian but they say they.re jews. my neighbor got her knee melted
to the sidewalk. victor.s gone and he has cancer, but he.s fighting it. the bird man is
gangsta. baby killer, the little dyke emt – but i.ve seen emt.s do shit in the street, you
wouldn.t believe. (or maybe you would.) i met babyteeth at this party in portland where
some chick wanted me to rhyme about doing her. every so often, you got to get nasty.
scattered blow on a kitchen table. favors bought off a smile or a fuck.
flavors of betrayal from a girl whisperer – the poet took a razor to her arm
after i wouldn.t touch her. buying a balloon full of lettuce in an unfamiliar town.
girls i stopped from sucking me off in high school, the one who quit talking to me
after that thing at the mall. women storm off and expect you to chase them; some
people like to argue in public. shy artists, awkward performers. wack braggadocio
& new drugs. unnamed chemicals. ras solo brought us to rooms we had to fight
for. shakespeare.s a collector. duo repairs typewriters. who are you ?
basquiat painted, basho wrote. samo was here. a trillionaire attempts
to take over the US military. the richest man in the world. the nigga
round the corner. god. where you at – i spend many days at a studio
in san francisco.s SOMA. if you called me a terrorist, i might deny it.
i work with words & someday i.ll find my homeland. til then, we got
crew. the box makes sound. mah nigga los comes through. the dunce
hoards knowledge. what do you do ? though modest – when possible –
[the Suspect] rocks a party dress, favoring translucence. i am here.
where are you – street corners and sidewalks, recording compounds,
warehouse bunkers. what do you do, for love or money ? [the Suspect]
leaks rum from her left breast; the other, coconut milk. we litter our
city with love and tread public art across private property. amy floats
and sings. damage is a fighter. daisy works her magic as dansch
stokes the flames of evolution. [the Suspect] is a known healer.
we practice our art of transformation, like the monk in flames.
[dreams of stalkers and being chased]
you.re only half a person and you.re gonna die.
– the Lady V
sometimes karla comes around. torchia dreams of being chased.
karla dreams of stalkers. tobi dreams of stalkers and being chased.
today we encountered police in hot pursuit. a large orange bouncy ball
rests against the tire of a fresh new car complete with gaping smashed
window. so many broken car windows – blunt objects, champagne bottles.
Cops Point Guns at Fleeing Man. 6 Police Officers Murder Homeless
Man. Man Shot at Point Blank Range in Back of Cop Car, Handcuffed.
remember to feed your dragon. karla stands on top of the world. torchia
writes. tobi wants to learn self defense. i used to fuck women on top of
each other & give away my girl.s mouth as a party favor. san francisco:
hilly city of no shame. the cops mostly stay away from dangerous crimes.
karla.s a one woman circus. i.m a cross fire hazard. karla.s a street performer.
i stay indoors as mouths get fucked on random corners. i write and record while
bodies are found in alleys. last year a man was stabbed in the street outside my
window and carried off in an unmarked ambulance. [the Suspect] beside me
dreams about i don.t know yet. a street walker told us; if she can.t have sex with
her johns in the bushes, we can.t have sex – or kiss – on the sidewalk. awake, i
dream of [the Suspect]; but, used to fantasize of being chaste. who do you love ?
are you for sure ? we sold the lie of abstinence to africa. we broke even on tour.
we drop bombs and food on the middle east. [the Suspect] parties in my head.
i.ve tried to speak about her with restraint, and often restrained from trying
to speak of her. the cops today were out for blood; and, though i go too far,
i always come back. some days we stand in watch over police; others, we
wish for home. otherwise – i have benefited greatly from studying cats.
most times i lag behind at intersections; claiming space for my family –
a way from cars. that.s the hook. i remember a fancy one that accelerated may
be a foot behind us as i pushed a stroller and [the Suspect] held the hand of two
year old luciana. i did not chase down the car. my mother told me a story of my
father chasing down some kids who threw rocks at my stroller. the heat is on.
you.re only half a person & you.re gonna die. paris was a week of nights and all
too short. this rapper no longer writes confessions, but that one.s free. and i didn.t
intend for my story to be clever, but it got away from me. [the Suspect] rises up
inside my head into a cloud of smoke, consumes me & returns to sleep.
i know the captain of police. i am awake, therefore; i think i am.
stop me before i write again. this is no book, nor cry for help. poet.
revolutionary. scholar. one.s final lesson is to keep his mouth shut.
any treasure falls away in the end. i.ve never lied for fiction.
where are you taking me & what happened to karla ?
who smashed your car window with a bouncing ball ?
why do i remember a similar scene on valencia ?
on the way to somewhere. cops all around flash
light the bushes, and beyond – a fence. as i write
& hear this music of my voice quoted un known
shouting from within; i wonder at our miracle.
my presence in your head.
these thoughts of mine climb
ever up in your cerebrum.
memory as story we tell ourself over and again.
the code in your genes stretching both forward &
back through time. somewhere, nothing is forgotten.
i want to fuck [the Suspect]. i want to fuck [the Suspect] in her [expletive].
maybe i should wake her up. [the Suspect] was born today. she.s twenty
seven. i.m in love with her. repeat – i love [the Suspect]. i want to shout it
from [Cliche]. all the world.s a stage. i wrote a short story called anybody.s
alison in middle school & a book when i was six, but it got lost. the other day,
we pretended not to see a man whose clothes were torn and hanging off him
in the street. an image – me, on a street corner; my wife, unknown in audience.
[the Suspect] origamied on our nest as the pantie-birds fly south for winter.
kneeling on our floor boards, we pray together. sleep & waking. i stand as she
peers into me. fist of hair. lotus and the style of a dog. what have we learned
from nature ? where would you like to take me ? a little death.
why the stars always shooting up ?
why that net worth got niggas caught ?
we want more, when is it enough ?
all four elements lost and ignored
they still be selling it up in the stores
[theory of wander]
rhyme when broken. if you open your eyes
i see my favorite show. i am possibly a citizen
of trinidad & so it.s time to speak with my father.
perhaps i.m going places: wife, meet family.
i told my parents i was ready for babies.
they asked, what are you trying to tell me ?
Saw blind kobe walking streets; tossed the dice,
spoke a spell of chaos. i was broke a minute ago;
now i.m high. second ago i was full – now, i.m
hungry. life.s not a bitch, life is a beautiful woman.
you only call her a bitch cuz she won.t let you get
that pussy. & all i ever wanted was to pick apart
the day – put the pieces back together my way.
say my name. barakanoel. what.s my name ?
grandmaster mumbles. talk to daddy.
what you need? baby, what you need ?
what you need, baby – what you need ?
tell me what you need. baby. how you
doing ? X wrote about this pimp who
would befriend a woman, rob her;
take her in & put her on the street once
she owed him. don.t ask how hard that
makes my dick. don.t ask what i.m not
proud of. who put the pulp in fiction ?
what kind of porn do you like ? the wrong kind.
when i say bad girls, i don.t mean pouty lipstick.
some women like it with their face in the dirt.
[the Suspect] solves problems like a hit man
& wears her dress as if she wishes to escape.
put your dick away. what is this ? who the fuck
was cleaning the refrigerator – all, this smells like
semen; & someone said: yeah, you would know.
what revs your engine, puts wind in your sails ?
open for business. do you know how many mother
loving people have been fucked at work ? i considered
anthropology, sociology, psychology – to do a study.
turns out, no need – everyone. who.s kinky ?
what turns you on ? put your pencils down.
it doesn.t take much. tell me your favorite thing.
does it have to be a thing ? tell me about a sex
worker who caught love in toronto. tell me a story –
theory of wander; fuck where you end up. walk until
you hit a memory. slice til you find an artery. shoot til
you lose consciousness. fuck until morning.
hold hands and alternate deciding where to turn.
close both eyes to see where you land. gaze in side
your opponent like a partner. put a hand into your
chest. time for a bold prediction. go somewhere.
voting was never enough, was it ? violence un
satisfying. a man can lie to himself for pretty
long; can.t he, tho ? you can only die once.
am i right. anyhow, in the words of
some one else, it.s getting early.
do i dare to eat a peach ?
– ts eliot
heavy petting, cunnilingus, & the fuck. pleasures of
irony inherent; the irony of jerking off in a girl.s mouth.
in the city, i walk past signs: facials – $30. mystery over
shock. let them eat cake. [the Suspect] out there with her
volvo wagon, all love. our sunset isn.t fooling any body
with its fancy name. what a waste. once, i slept around
to have a place inside. some days i am the public library
to a fellow with nine and a half fingers. old friends we.ve
never met on the street. around the corner, niggas sleep
in doorways. what a waste – a young corpse, sticking out.
a bear in an aquarium. the orange fish backed themselves
in a corner away from me. on the street some people ask for
money, refusing food … are you homeless ? you like crack ?
the most impoverished look out for our well being.
did you know about the black goldfish ?
i didn.t know. are you aware the fire department has a boat ?
some times water catches fire. moon shine moon lights as fire
water. i keep writing in the margins of our day with no fire escape,
expecting to fall. the strange man.s hands on my wife. a dim night
in london, fog of your imagination. days assembled from smoke.
the fire pit, all that remains from – once – a house.
ten years since i lived with my brother. lost sobriety
to sobering moments. drinking to the bottom.
they know us in our neighborhood. neighbors and
cops come around when they want something. we
drink from jars and bottles – ninth street for our radio,
polka dots on her party dress. joints rolled and smoked,
playing the same songs over. coffee, ground and boiled;
remaking our story – laughter, tobacco torn from cigarettes,
papers & crutches, cigar leaves. a town of alleys and people
digging for treasure through cracks in the sidewalk.
fruit stand bodegas. fresh faced tourists. ripe women,
drag queens, & doe-eyed young girls. ten dollar rocks,
one gram nugs; full service strip joints and massage.
hot tubs, torn corpses of pigeons, broken toilets;
smears & stains. i sometimes imagine if all the toxins
of our city lifted themselves up and away – chemical
poison run off in waves out of our atmosphere.
if kindness was my only weapon – what if you could
trust me ? if everyone awakened, clear head & of sound
mind; where would it leave our city ? if we tore the
buildings down, could we survive ?
film cowboys used to ride into the sunset.
sunset isn.t what it used to be, living under
neath the interstate. people of the street –
there are no fruit stands on the superhighway,
tho not every body.s eyes search high enough
to learn the beauty of pollution. irony of
no blood for oil … of street names like edge
wood and oak.s end … of free ways: roads ?
where we.re going, we don.t need roads.
[appendix] as in extra appendage. the definition of failure. of art.
claiming our terms. the canibus leaf – sativa, indica. fewer than
twelve people equals not an audience. art: that which causes one
to think or feel. failure begins when you stop trying. cliche – a
phrase rendered meaningless through repetition. hip hop: the
craft of living dope, exemplified thru turn table & microphone –
spray can, cardboard. emcee = the voice. where my dj ?
memoir – stories, remembered. fiction: created truth.
what is pop ? tinted john lennon glasses.
what.s art ? tell me where you.ve been.
andy warhol boxed and filed his garbage.
julie delpy wrote a screenplay where she sold
her soul for art. robert johnson.s cross roads.
another bicycle crushed beneath an expensive
automobile: i.m sitting on the hood. loose ends
in the paper: cops killing, politician smile. care
for your children while i listen to the music thru
my floor. lord, take my soul for wings so i can fly.
as bird and wolf begin to speak their dream
of man by infant in the sea like fish to land
or far away volcano birds above blue grove
where sun falls down on bear & lake beneath
her open moon we held our waterfall within
for breath you shared until we broke onto
this cavern deep in earth no wind escape
your glow when eve approach all light
and warmth i.ll bring to flame tree kindled
bark from branch then hum [unto the night]
the time traveler forgets his past
as he enters a new future.
the first words were hardest. i want
ed to whole you so you would half m
y self. give us more to go by. no one
ever told me we wouldn.t remember
? where we came from . . . wouldn.t
care when we were go ing. back
then everyplace was home. finding
language to describe how she split
momentary order from this chaos:
imagination or magic bringing our
world into perspective like sun set
over cliffside. i recall falling infinite
ly toward name less seawater. eyes
to a night so bright we never
bothered questioning god while
them angels were singing. why
would any body want to be original
but to live for ever. i spend time
with my child most often in thanks
that she made me again after all
these years. we didn.t start
counting the seconds until war
we laid up hanging
out among red wood branches
at the hour of dawn
sleeping. we dreamed of each
other and upon waking i would
pull you into me once more.
meals of legumes walnuts and
berries. days we passed by the
ocean. knowing no greater joy
than feeding her as we grew
to gether. all told we played
this way forever. where shall
we live today. with out
possession we lost nothing.
tho i give my self a way.
at most those stars were list
ening so we told stories of
the past. before it all be came
so far away.
walking, i spied a
stick, she found her rock. and so
we kept rolling on.
as our sun warmed us
lighthawk taught us there could be
no land before time.
see the moon was always
coming to visit and we held
out all that we had to offer.
she would guide us as our
doula through your birthing
then we feasted on the caul
when it was over. toasting
our new beginning. i couldn.t
find a book on how to love
my daughter well. some
fathers had been swallowed
by the beast they never
thought to tame. we raised
their children also. and they
kept their mother.s name. we
were all of us family. standing
out of the rain to witness light
ning for the first time. there
was no word for heaven. so
i dreamt we were two
suns following each other
thru unending night
she asked me for a story
so i told her of our father
truths too numerous to lie.
with fewer words
we spoke them all.
along this journey
kneeling by a spring
reflecting on the sky
some call this love or fire.
how could i slay my
friend to gain a meal.
knowledge became survival.
we are water and
you taught me well.
i left her only as blood
from the heart. and to
return as winter turns
to spring. the way a tree
might leave as shelter
for some bird in song.
i watched a man stare
far into the sun. until he
never saw again.
when we first sighted snow
his voice was clear and
crystalline. we almost thought
to end our journey there within
the mouth of god. i taught my
son which fruits to trust and
then to navigate the land
among these creatures great
and small. he babbled on
with all along a brook. and
where he fell his sister helped
him stand on mountain caves
and quiet boulders. we sought
shelter from the elements
with/in her signature up on
a wall. no other evidence. we
fast across the desert tho
we feasted at a banquet in
the swamp. our daughter found
awe. while admiring some
pelicans gathered reverently on
the altar of a fallen wood
we spoke softly upon the one
who taught us why and how
once a boy swam by
that shore against his tide and
dropped among the stones.
we spoke with jungle
birds among the canopy
joining them in song
if ever a tree falls we know her loss.
in honor of sacrifice: built for the re
birth while sharing tales of past
walks recalled. our memory is life.
the butterfly beyond cocoon. we kno
where we have been and send our
message for word thru the drum.
some men would seize a tool and
then refuse to aid / i count my
brother.s blessing as my own
and when if ever causing injury
will try to bind the wound. for we
are anybody we have met / tho
some refuse to see ? you drank
the water falling from a stone
and taught me where to place
my lips upon the source of spring
to heal and what to leave behind
or when to bury what may serve
us best another day. while here i
bind my hand to find her wounded
paw and hear a string plucked draw
ing us together for this instrument
our world. she pollen ates my
thoughts and like the bee accepts
one hand within her honey comb.
my queen provides. so anyone near
threatening our hive will learn
the sting and venom of disrupted
harmony. i will not live outside her
mind and wouldn.t hesitate if to re
mind her why i stay close by.
greed becomes the snake
devoured by and lost with
in it self consumed
one mother reached thru
flame to lift her child away
refusing to burn
and if you can.t walk then
dance among the pines with
spine and lung. when chaos
brings collapse in order for
our balance to maintain / we
sing and those who will not
speak may hum a long
with life it self. our rhythm is
the beating of her heart.
survival was the art up on a
rival of a winter.s dark.
we bury our selves til we can
not bear it any more. the heat
we make foretold in flint and
stone. whet stone to flint. and
kindling which killing flesh
might heal a blade. we gather
that we need yet mourn no off
ering beside. no path except for
that which trails behind. in
time: sweet nectars become
bitter. still their comfort can
we find. one stranger we could
hardly recognize revealed him
self my mother.s child. we
gathered by a flame for many
hours til we tired. i held its
smoke within as he departed
from my eyes.
this forest hallowed
hour. her tree strong as mother.s
spine. we slept inside.
behold the one who
pulled a creature out from stone.
we sing in wonder.
the featherless dog or feather
less old man passing along a
great river: floated upon timber
while a pygmy tribe carried an
altar ? slid on rough hewn granite
traveling a burden greater than
the weight of any man in girth
and size. we studied on their
journey how they lashed the rock
to forest branches / dragged it all
along. we heard of places where
the many families dwelt together
and once high up on a hillside we
encountered several others knelt
onto the ground: arms raised into
the heavens / seemed to never hear
us pass. we dreamt of carnage.
distant people starving by the
hundreds with a plenty shared
among the few. on waking: outcry.
near by stirred a great new beast.
we gathered up our young / seeking
new pastures on the mountain side.
a head dress woven tight with ore &
minerals begat those heights of
passion reminiscent of a birthing.
there we did not linger on. each day
our son grows stronger with the care
ful eye his mother knows well. loving
as i could not love myself our clan
swells with the rising tide.
pollen catches on
a breeze and carries it self
cross the plain to seed
with rows of grain as smoke
extends up into night\whose
dark provides no shelter from
the wind some distant voice
who carried flame. still echoes
off stonewall. later we rest
up on a log along the coast.
wolves tore their city
& they hunted down the wolves
until there were none.
i.m told of distant lives across the stars
but here the men speak most of death
and dying. we came up on a village thick
with corpses by the scent. i bid my kin
take leave and built a camp out in the
woods. a multitude began to gather. void
ing my self: i crept back to the flame. we
slept each night. the bears re turned. i
dreamt of creatures in the wood. savage
beasts who killed / now held by cage.
the one had slain a girl.
fat red bodied fish
sang at the stream. i plucked and
knifed them throat to gut.
tho they slept: thru night i stood watch
think ing i had heard some shadow. still
when they a woke un seen i saw them
speak their hunger. waited / weighted.
they slept again. til then i tried to set them
free. each spoke in turn and once more
was re leased.