poems

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.

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.