poems

What I See From The Balcony At Moore’s Way

For Diane who finally rests in peace, May 18, 2000—written in Moore’s Way
Recovery Center at 23 Duncan Street, Gloucester**

I’m looking at her room now. She was disappeared
by something, none of us knows what it was. Some
think it was her disease. Others
think different. I’m looking at her room. The shades
are drawn, her door is locked. No one can see
in. I’m looking at the ocean from the balcony

next to her room. The sound of seagulls. A man walks
on the pier. Fishing boats at anchor. An island with
grass, a few small trees. This is the view from her room.

I’m looking at her room now. Thinking of her. I hardly
knew her. Saw her once at an NA meeting. I remember
even though it was months ago. I was quite taken
by her. I was about to ask for her phone number yet I decided
to wait for another time. When I get a sudden impulse

to do something, I’ve conditioned myself to wait. I acted
on impulse for over three decades, never hesitated to take
that first shot of heroin. I’m looking at her room.
It is still empty. She has been disappeared for a week.

Her car was left behind. Did I say she walked
with a limp and used a crutch? The crutch was
left in her car. She had a favorite pair of shoes. One shoe
was still here, the other is missing, like her. What God

turned it’s back for a second, busy somewhere else, when
she was taken? I am looking at her room now, wondering
what it was. What was it that came up behind her, beside
her, maybe inside her and took her out? There are many

of us here. Waiting and praying. When I think
of her I think of baseball, laughter, long brown
hair, the twinkling of a smile. I never really
knew her, just watched her walk, said hello, smiled

when she smiled at me. I’m looking at her
room now, a prayer resting on my tongue.
For me she was a light walking,
walking around Moore’s Way, something I could

believe. Everyone here is like that. I’m looking
at her room now, looking for the light, waiting
for her to reappear, say it was just an accident, a
lapse of faith, but everything is all right now, I’m

not disappeared now.

I’m still looking at her room. She hasn’t come home yet.

**When the staff at Moore’s Way opened her room, they found her body— her spirit had flown.**

The Bicycle Ride

She thought it was a beautiful bicycle
knew she wanted to ride it
gently touched the tubing
hard carbon steel
wrapped her fingers around it
stroked it
then threw her leg
over to straddle it

It felt good between her legs
she pumped
the pedals and began to move
her seat felt a little uncomfortable
with the newness of it
she wiggled around on it
till it fit right

It was better than she remembered it
doing it outdoors
somehow doing it indoors
in front of a tv set
just wasn’t as exciting

pumping furiously
wind blowing her hair
sweat beading on her face
and dripping down her hot body

She became lost in the riding
and could feel every bump
every ripple
faster and faster
and throwing her arms
into the air
she screamed out,
“Look ma, no hands!”

An Ode To The Kids Who Tried To Steal My Bicycle, Failed Miserably, And Wrecked It At The Train Station In Gloucester

Grey. Not the sky but the bicycle
left locked. If the iron rails might
talk, or the crosswise snitch, or the bicycle
be gifted with tongues, a broken
mouth cursing from a beaten frame
warped by shod feet, the rider
could know who to hate. The lock

was too good for these shrunken
minds. A good thief takes
or leaves it alone. Fools frustrated
by their own limits kick, bend,
render the bicycle useless as
their wits. Grey. The night

hiding reptilian idiots in frenzy
spending the remnants of their
fury at their own ineptitude destroying
what they cannot take. Greased
hands, they return home to parents
who plan to deny them sooner

than anyone can see it coming.
“Boy,” the father thinks as his
son walks in the door, “the best
part of you dripped down your
mother’s thigh.” Grey. The bicycle
lock won’t be the last obstacle

to defeat these bastard children.

Death Trippin’

written at Worcester House of Correction 1982—83

Late last night I scored a bag of dope
When my spirit is low it gives me hope
I emptied it into my faithful spoon
But it sparkled like the stars in the evening’s noon
I thought for a minute that I was beat
Shot it anyway and leaped to my feet
My heart was racing, couldn’t catch my breath
It wasn’t smack; it was crystal meth
I’m not complainin’, don’t get me wrong
Just rushin’ like a jet stream, comin’ on strong.

Nothing like the glass to straighten your hair
And give your eyes that demonic stare
Just then this chump knocked at my door
I let him in; he was lookin’ to score
So I turned him on to a cotton shot
He started sweatin’, a heavyweight he’s not
He said, “What the fuck man, this ain’t junk”

I said, “you’re right dude, but it ain’t bunk
That’s crystal meth that you just did”
He was runnin’ around, just flippin’ his lid
I guess he’d never done any real speed
I thought it was righteous and he agreed

We hit the streets and started to stalk
Flyin’ high on this eternal walk
Everything was closed; the streets were dead
But the electrons were dancing; in my head

Two days later I came back down
After raging around that goddamn town
Now I was lookin’ in earnest for some smack
My mind was blown; I couldn’t get back
Then I saw my connection walkin’ down the street
He was just the one I was lookin’ to meet
Handed me the bag; said it was real fine shit

I cooked it up and then did my hit
It came on slow but I reached the height
Hey, who the fuck turned out the light
I’m sinkin’ fast; am I gonna die

Who gives a shit; I’m gettin’ high
Some people think I’m on a real death trip
Well, I am tryin’ to give this world the slip
You think I’m wrong; do you have the cure
That’ll fix this pain in my heart for sure

One thing I know, Heroin’s the best
For nullifying the hurt that’s in my chest
And if one day I find death’s sweet sleep
Just dig a hole and bury me deep
And if you’d like to join me in my tomb
You bring the junk, I’ll make some room.

 

 

High Hopes

High Hopes

while in Worcester House of Correction, MA, USA, 1982-83 from the book Poison Pen, Flower Day Productions

Just passin’ through this goddamn state
and don’t ya know it’d be my fate
to get popped with fifteen pounds of grass
Into Worcester House they placed my ass
All because someone dropped a dime
Everybody’s tokin’ but it’s still a crime
I was just a merchant but I’m doin’ time
in steel and stone writin’ perverted rhyme
You think this country would take a tip
and legalize that shit and finally get hip
The weed is here and it’s here to stay
Millions are smokin’ to brighten up their day
They got red bud, green bud and Columbian gold
America’s lit up, both young and old
People are smokin’ all over the street
Even cops are stoned while they walk their beat
I know plenty of farmers growin’ that cash crop
and there ain’t no law that’s gonna make them stop
Where there’s demand there’s gonna be supply
And one-third of America’s gettin’ high
They can lock us up but not the smoke
Right now there’s millions just takin’ a toke
And while I’m here just rappin’ these tales
On Boston Harbour they’re unloadin’ bales
And there’s barns all over filled with that green
And dealers out hustlin’ to make their scene
Now when I get out I’ll be ready to roll
I’ll smoke a few joints and light up my soul
And there’ll be the day when we’ll all be free
So stop on by and cop a buzz from me
The Lord made weed so we all could fly
So love your brothers and sisters and get them high!

Hospital Birthday For Mary Esther

Hospital Birthday For Mary Esther

We didn’t plan it like this we were ready to go
to Maine but instead they gave us the mainline

From Urgent Care to Emergency and they made
promises they failed to keep but my beautiful

Mary Esther made it through it all it all
with the help of her smuggler husband

Who always Loves her no matter what

no matter what
no matter what

So we sing Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you surrounded

by plastic Happy Birthday to you

the poet doesn’t know what to say
the poems don’t say it all

Mary Esther’s car
Mary Esther’s car

I didn’t get to drive it in the EZ pass lane
I didn’t get to drive it on the road to Maine

Mt. Auburn Mt. Auburn
We sing this to you

You’ve screwed up the meds
so screw you too

Mary Esther Mary Esther
I love you so much

Mary Esther Mary Esther
I thrill to your touch.

Happy Birthday Mary Esther
I truly love you

I don’t know what I’m doing
all alone in this house

It is nice when you’re here
not there not there

Happy Birthday My Love
You’re sweeter than the Dove

Perched on your window
Perched on your window

I can’t say much more
I’m not a word whore

I’m hoping you come home soon
So we can laugh like a Loon!

To my baby on her 71st birthday
Swaddled in chains on September 17, 2018

The Flower Days

The Flower Days

In the beginning
………….there were the flower days
………….they followed the days of heroin and hypodermics.

It was a time of cleansing
………….the sweet smell of the burning grass
washed away the stench of old cookers
………….fish-hook hypodermics
………….and selling myself to old men
on the streets of the worm-core Apple

Suddenly it was like Tinkerbell of the Peter Pan story
…………………….had finally appeared on my window-sill
…………………….and dropped the magic on me

……………I flew that night
……………we all did
……………we danced the Woodstock even before it happened.

At first it was the Window-pane
………….the four-way Sunshine
………….the Owsley Blue Acid
………….and they sang to us to “Love the one you’re with.”
……………………..And we did.

We didn’t know that it meant to love ourselves.
…………But we loved you with a passion.

…………Getting high was the quest for God.
…………Getting high was sweet love in the mosquito-dusk.
…………Getting high was old friends
…………………….in the soft-afterglow of the moonshine.
…………Getting high was the sweet smell of hemp
…………………….in the cloud-mountain morning
…………………….back at the commune.
………….Getting high was the scent of She slipping back
…………………….into the sleeping bag with two joints rolled
…………………….rolling acid on her tongue
…………………….and she kissing the power-hit pungent smoke
…………………….deep into you
…………………….the sweet organ honey from the night before
…………………….was the perfume dancing you deep into each other.
There could be no going back.

Who would want to?

Then the nightmares crept into the dreaming.
………….We would dream awake.
………….Flying on crystal meth for days.
………….The loving ended.

The fucking began.
………….Seven days later we wondered when we had last slept.
Pulling away from each other as sweat poured from pores
………….and blood spilled from our genitals.
Searching and running crazy from one damage to the next.
Faces eaten by drug lust.
The dealers cutting the dope with screams and rat poison
…………..as the needle boys slithered in snake-skin soft.

Getting high was sucking strange cock
………….in the cobblestone dawn of the Big Apple.
Getting high was the brown-breath of rotting teeth
………….calling from the mouths of children.
Getting high was hiding from the face of an Alien God.
Getting high was she
leaping into the air with blood running
out of her nostrils and ears
and screaming for someone
to take the shot back out of her vein
when no one could.

Getting high was seeing her die and not being able to stop.

Getting high was lockdown on maxi-tier
someone slipping a joint through the bars and
after you smoke the pinner
…………..peace and love and all that shit
your cell-mate asks you
“what would you do if I set you on fire
……………………while you sleep?”
Getting high was hands shaking
sitting on the shitter in McDonalds
dope in the cooker
you drop your vial of clean water
and draw up the water from the toilet
to shoot the dust of lost dreams into your veins.

Never dreaming it could end like this.
Never dreaming angels could die and blow away like dead leaves.
Never dreaming that the alleyways would be home to so many.
Never dreaming that hospitals, institutions and death
………….demon-sighs in the night
………….past lovers becoming hag-bag legions pushing shopping carts
………….genius poets screaming rhyme through Haldol haze

praying for electro-shock to take them home
……………………………….would become acceptable facts.

Never dreaming that you could dream again.

Even the old mean didn’t want us anymore
blown away powder-boys and girls of the sweet sixties.
Dead leaves burning in chemical piles
…………..on the heated grates of cities that should have no names.

Some of us still remain
………….to tell tales of how it was
………….and how the times of light became darkened.

We only sing these tales
………….like tellers of old because we are compelled
………….by what was once an Alien God.

Come sit but the fire and we will sing you a song
………….of how it was.

……………………..They were the Flower Days.
……………………..In The Beginning.

What If — A Zen Proposition

What If — A Zen Proposition

What if I never bought another book in my life
What if I was married and happy
What if my wife died while I was married and happy
What if I read all the books that I bought
What if I was married and happy
What if I died while I was married and happy
What if I jumped into a car and drove around the world
What if the car ran out of gas
What if all the things I feared came true
What if all the things I liked came true
What if my poetry was loved by all
What if no one would buy my poetry even though they said they loved it
What if all the comics in my attic burned in a big fire
What if all the superheroes in the comics jumped out to put out the fire
What if my office wasn’t cluttered with things I don’t know
What if the fire spread to my office
What would I know if I forgot everything
What would I know if I remembered something
What if everything I remembered made me sad
What if I meditated on my sorrow
What if my sorrow meditated on me
What if my wife saw me in sorrow
What if my wife asked me to meditate on our lives
What if my wife ran away with her thoughts
What if our house had glass for walls
What if our house had people living inside
What if everyone in the house ran away
What if everyone in the house came back to get me
What if I ran away from everyone who loved me
What if I ran away from everyone who hated me
What if I took myself too seriously
What if I just sat down to meditate
What if I fell asleep while I meditate mindfully
Would that mean I had lost my mind?
What if losing my mind was a good thing
What if gaining myself was not
I could go on and on with this
What if I stopped right here?

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.