poems

Trump or Drumpf, Whoever He Thought He Was

America a country of immigrants with the exception of the Indians,
An indigenous race of color that a Trump with a red cock of hair
Would hate anyway; he would give them blankets filled with
Smallpox and deny it; if women complained Trump would accuse
The women of bleeding; Trump is an abortion of a man who would
Place women behind bars if they were seeking to get rid of a baby
Seeded by a rapist; Trump was also an immigrant
But he would never admit it; how long has his family been here
Financially raping the workers of America? Trump loves the words
‘you’re fired’ if he’s the one saying them; we the people of the American
north are firing Trump from the presidency which he will never attain,
which rhymes with stain because he would stain that office with his red
cock hair and red cock face and eyes glinting of hatred at all of those
people who hate him; and also the people that love him; Trump has no
respect for anyone; he only respects money, his business, which he started
with a small loan of one million dollars. I say that with sarcasm because
Trump never fooled me; I have always thought he was a red headed jerk
Whose lips only lied when they were moving; Trump was a man who
Made a mistake when he thought he could become the president;
Any woman would be able to tell you he will never succeed because
We the people of the United States of America have Fired Trump in the name
of every man woman and child who has ever immigrated to this Indian land.

You Get What Anyone Gets

Please click the image above or just click here… if you want to donate for Joe’s medical expenses. In times like this we all think, “I wish I could do something to help.” You CAN help, and here’s how: donate to the Joe Gouveia Recovery Fund to help with bills during this fight against cancer! Every dollar helps, so no donation is too small. Please keep Joe in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your support!

For José Gouviea

Outside Club Passim, before the show
the reporter asks if JoeGo will give her
a ride; he nods his head, throws his long

leg over the Harley, and says, “Let’s go.”
And she does, but she doesn’t let go; she
holds JoeGo tight around his waist as the

engine roars and he whips out the back alley
onto Brattle Street. I look at my watch and
see that the show is supposed to start in 5

minutes and wonder if they will get back
in time. In time. In time. We’re all running
out of time but most of us don’t think about

the short lifetimes we live; we live as if it was
going to be forever. 30 seconds before the show
starts, Jose rolls in, the reporter is laughing and

even after he stops she clings to his waist. “It’s
over”, Jose says to her, and she looks at him
and she knows she doesn’t want it to be over.

None of us do; who doesn’t reach a period in time
where we think we want to live forever? But
then time has it’s way with us, like a masochistic

brutal policeman with mace and a club, beating us
until we cry out, No Mas, No Mas, but still, when
the cop turns away, we stand up, brush the blood

onto the road where it belongs like an oil patch
waiting on a sharp curve. Jose rides out alone
after the show, cranks the gears with his toes,

faster, faster, faster, he can’t go fast enough, he
can’t write enough poetry to feed his hungry soul,
but he will ride and write until the bike hits the

patch that he left on the road and goes spinning
wildly out of control. This is the big SLIDE, he
thinks, and then he wakes up in the hospital.
“What am I doing here,” Jose says, “I still haven’t
written my Ode To Life,” as the doctor walks in

and says, “I have bad news,” but Jose isn’t ready
to hear it. He gets out of the bed, rips the IV out
of his arm and puts on his boots. Jose is walking

outside to get his Scoot, looks around, and there
it is, standing up on one wheel, still and silent, there
is a woman dressed in Black sitting on the sit and

she crooks her finger at him, says, “Get on”, and
Jose sees the Bike pointing upward and says, “Is
that all there is?” And she smiles and says to him

as she takes off her blouse, “You get what everyone
gets, Dude, You get a lifetime.” Jose hops on and
the Babe holds him tight as they disappear into the sky.

Bullets

Listening to the news about the broken
bodies in a school, I was waiting for my wife
not taking anything for granted.

have we gone too far, are there too many of
us, a behavioral sink, that we turn on each
other, gun in hand, weapon in hand, innocent
eyes burning with blood, tears in my grey beard

when I was a child I was afraid of different things,
there were no gunmen at our schools, in our shopping
malls, in our universties, at the movies, even Batman
can’t stop the shooters, silent, secret, worms turning

in their minds that are invisible to us until
the bullets fly, the bullets fly, our children die
can we ask why, what is it that makes the pressure
wrap around someone’s mind, that their hands wrap

around the guns, lovingly caress them, pull the trigger,
pull the trigger, only the gun loves him back, when the
blood spills on the tiles in the halls and classrooms of
our schools, our streets, how many guns are waiting

silently in closets, drawers, attics, calling out to the worms
in our minds. Have we had enough, is it time to find
someone to hold and love instead, keep the guns silent,

silence, the silence of death has come to our lands, in our
hands, we have spun a web of death in drive-by streets,
even the quiet towns where this cannot happen have been

shattered by gunshots, no headlines in Dorchester, at least 20
children a year, drive-by, little bodies bleeding, this hole in
our souls bleeding 911, 911, 911, the number of death is not
666, the year of death is 2012, for the children who will

not walk again, not play again, not laugh again, not play
with their toys, as they huddled together hiding from
the shooter, some children said, “we just want to live until

Christmas, please let us live until Christmas,” for some
death will take the place of holidays, bullets will take the
place of holidays, little boxes, little boxes, lowered into

the earth while people cry, throw their Christmas gifts
onto the boxes, then cover them with earth, shed tears,
shed tears, what is it that makes a person steal the days
from others, stealing seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks,

weddings, bar mitzvahs, Confirmations, in this school in
your town, your children, our children lie dead in their classrooms,
no more lessons, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks,

it is just quiet, the quiet of death, dead children, dead children,
throw flowers on the children, there will be no more lessons,
no more lessons, until we all learn the secret of why this happens.
No headlines in Harlem, no headlines in Dorchester, why why
One child at a time, one child at a time, one child at a time

“They had their entire lives ahead of them” the President said, but
it is over, it is over, innocence is gone, like other countries where
gunshots ring out daily, we have joined the rest of the world,

the rest of the world, the rest of the world, the rest of the world,
where innocence has been lost. Drive-by, walk-by, run-by,
gun in hand, gun in hand, gun, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot

shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, we have joined the rest of the world.

An Ode To My Batterer

You did it over a period of years. I don’t have
quite the same amount of time. You did it
methodically, it was prolonged spiritual
agony, you wanted to make me tiny,
to shrink me beyond that, then melt
me into an even smaller piece. I cried, I miss
trusted my friends, my parents, even myself,
then I was gone. I left, then came back when

you promised things would be different, then
left again. Again. This time I stayed away, yet you
have come after me, time and time, time
and time again. This time you have
caught me, a beast painted into
a corner. The mistake you made was
not in cornering me, but in coming
into the corner with me. Now I have
you. I don’t have the time, I don’t have
the patience to make this last, nor the will
to sustain it. This is my fury. I will lash

you to the chair. Where do I begin, a finger,
a toe, the thumb, no, not the eye, not yet. First
I will stick a pin under each fingernail, the pin
which makes you scream the loudest will
be the finger that gets cut off last. A finger, a
thumb, the big toe, a pin in the pupil
of the eye. A scissor snip of the lip, a razor
cut on the cheek, an eyelid gone. I can’t
understand what you are saying, there goes
the left ear. One spike in the left calf muscle,
a hammer to the right kneecap, water in
the face to bring you back to consciousness.
It is amazing how much punishment the body
can take, another finger, the other thumb,
when you scream this time I will spray
ammonia into your mouth, that mouth

that inflicted such pain over years, maybe
now you’ll scream with your mouth shut
when I set your hair on fire. I don’t think
I have the heart for this, I can’t
go on, even if I burn my hands
in the fire of your hair, now is the time
to tip your head back,

cut your throat.

It’s not over
for me, you fucker, at night you

come to me in my dreams.

Junk Dream II

The dope calling to me again, junk sick, dirty
money clutched tightly in my sweaty palm, I find
myself in the subterranean apartment of the Troll.
The shelves that lined the stone walls were filled
with bottles of blood, a name on every bottle. The
Troll takes a bottle down as I walk in and I ask
what is up with this. He answers,

“This shipment of heroin came in mixed
with the blood of dead junkies; nothing
gets wasted except for our lives.”

I hesitate as he fills an eye
dropper with blood and hands
it my way. Ask if they used
the blood of junkies who had died with AIDS.

“Of course,” said the Troll, “but it’s
only the blood of junkies who died
of overdose; we mixed it with lemon dope
but no lemon juice is necessary. The acidity

of the blood boosts the high.” The sickness
fed my urgency and I watch as the blood
from the dropper disappears
into a metal spike plugged into my vein,
wait for the rush, watch my name
appear on one of the bottles as the Troll
moves his old wooden wheelchair
to the next customer, eyes yellow
with desire, who walks in the door.

“You’re gonna like this,” is the last thing
I hear him say.

A Bright Blue Light

For Mary Haut, March 29, 1913 — March 24, 2003

Mary flies
over the Carpathian Mountains,
she is back home in the Ukraine.

She startles when the nurses
surround her in the hospital bed
ask her if
she is all right, they tell her

the heart monitors were going crazy
back at the nurses’ station.

Mary smiles and says
she wants her money back, the vacation
was over too quick

and they ask her “do you know
where you are?”

She says “of course I do, I’m at
the hospital now,”
as one nurse checks
her blood pressure and the other
gives her medicine to stabilize
her heart beat. “Next time
don’t wake me.”

Mary shuts her eyes. She isn’t going anywhere
yet. She remembers
flying over the snow-covered

mountains, how warm
the wind felt, the sky was
a bright blue light. She was breathing,

falling into it when the nurses
woke her, shook her from the sky.

Flashback

for Mary Esther

Which lifetime was it when
we first met? Did we sit,
stunned by each other, the look
in our eyes, in a country glen
with the sound of our horses
jingling the reins, snorting
as they broke into full
gallop on a Sunday afternoon,
all the farmwork done, or was

it another time, chariots, pyramids
the two of us watching the finishing
touches put on a half-beast, half-man
called the Sphinx, you turned to me,
pressed your hand into mine and
said, “they will remember us long

after we are gone, the creature will
stand when our names are forgotten”,
or was that us, on a hillside sitting
writing poetry to each other, you
beautiful, older, the morphine coursing
through your system, me, a bit younger
dazzled by your darkness, I was Robert
Browning then, you Elizabeth, our
love not forgotten nor our names

this time. There are two
young peasant children passing
flowers together after church, eyes
locked in hypnotic embrace, the church
is empty now. We are still sitting
in the love seat, it is this lifetime and both
of your cats are watching us, my arm
is wrapped round your body,
and I say, “this will be one of
many lifetimes,” and you laugh,
tell me you don’t remember anything
from the past, yet there is something. Then we kiss,

and we kiss, forgetting everything.

The Butterfly In The Box

I will take care of you, said the man
to the butterfly. I love you like magic,
he said, and all I want is a small
bit of the powder from your wings and then
I shall provide

all the things you should have in this
life. Only a bit, said the butterfly, of my
powder for such rewards, and the butterfly
was flattered, as the man touched
a bit of dust from each wing and the butterfly
soared that night. All was well and the man took
her in when she touched down and showed
her a mighty metal home. Here, he said, when
you are tired, is where you may rest. No
one, nothing can get to you here, with
the exception of me, and I love you so
all will be well. Tonight, before you sleep,
I would take a bit of your powder between
my fingers. This is all I ask and I will always
be there to protect you. The butterfly bowed
her head and she had misgivings deep in her
heart but put them aside and said, take,
take of my powder,
and he did.

That next day she did fly yet she could not soar as
high and she tired more easily than other
days. She was happy to have a fine metal
box to rest in with her good man beside her
yet her heart felt that something
was missing. There were many days and times,
and he brought her

many fine things, always taking, always
taking a bit more dust from her wings. A voice
cried out within her and she whispered
to the voice, Quiet, he loves me, I must give
my share.

Flying became hard, she was in
the box more and more, she had many things
but there were times she was lonely
in the box. The man had his own life
still, and was not always there. The day came when

flying had become very difficult, and she
asked him for a bit of her dust
back because she could not clear the
lip of the box. This I will

not do, said the man. But I can not make
it out of the box, the butterfly said, won’t
you help me out, after all, you love me, do
you not? Yes, I love you , said the man, you
will be safe, no one can get

to you now. Suddenly the butterfly
was frightened, the small voice
inside was screaming and she tried
to rise. The man smiled as he

closed the lid of the box.

The Angels of Gloucester

In Gloucester, the angels come together
in hospitals, churches, kitchens, they laugh and cry
in each other’s arms. Once they were dirt
whores, carried by the winds of bad chance

into dark hallways, virus-strewn streets,
offered themselves to wasted men and other
cracked demons to buy death on hard-time payments.
Their spirits forgot the words to the ancient

sister songs and their children were ripped
from them. Cramped and alone, these women
cowered in dark basements, fell to their knees before
lesser gods in hell’s hotels, died and were

burned, their ashes swept away with a bitter tide. Everything
changes. They become sisters, walk an ancient path now, join hands
at signs of trouble, hug each other’s children, knit
their families into hot strong blankets with threads

of prayer. The men watch.