Poetry Scrap

Folsom Blues

Sick of all this sensible living
30 year mortgage on a house in Citrus Heights
Because it’s halfway between both parents;
Seated somewhere suburban nowhere
Where four abreast at intersections
We idiot wiener dogs sit
Lolling our tongues at red lights
In heat and daze,
valley of a thousand prisons.

Poetry Scrap

Smashing walnuts with a berry stained fist
Under a shade tree on top of an apple hill
Grapes ripening not ten feet from the table
In the California foothill sun;
I’ve just been inside tasting wine.

I haven’t dreamt for five nights now
A sign that we’re traveling and good things
Are happening generally when the sun is out –
This lunch of mine cost $3.89
which included two heads of garlic
for cooking with later

Day Off In The Bay

Diagonalling an August fogdawn Union Square
to catch my “Richmond train” to meet Oso
in Berkeley; A sopping morning,
muddled garlicsmell lingering, cab honks and
that ringing from the cable car lines

Earlybird tourists huddle miserably on a cable car
while the Ritz bellhop dances from leg to leg and
Vickie’s tit-i-quins pose unashamed;
Against the glass wall of Macy’s mannequin army
pressed against the glass, fourth story
waiting for orders from Winged Victory

each man, each girl shuffling off to service jobs
I beat Caffe de la Presse (a waiter
Signals 10 minutes til opening)
and settle on a formica coffee bar where I sit
Watching drip drops on Kearney as bundled smoking singles
shuffle by, going to work slowly as possible
and a tourist in shorts comes in reminded his wife
“The coldest summer I ever spent…” with a frown –

I sit typing, breathing in steam from my coffee.
In Berkeley freshmen waking bleary to a full sun,
In Paso they’re shaking off wine-overs
In LA another smog day, San Diego my poor sleepy staff
sit fiddling at their marketing meeting

Down a dead end Hillcrest street
Top floor of a pool and spa complex
An apartment sits empty, a little breeze
Blowing warm through the windows we left open


Reading about school standardized test performance this morning, I was reminded of the time when our school took the state aptitude funding accountability test or whatever the heck it has. The signifigant aspect was that this was a group test – we didn’t even put our names on the answer sheets. I can remember just flailing at the thing, not even paying attention to the questions, sometimes just making squiggly patterns on the Scantrons instead of even trying to figure out the answers.

Like many screwaround moments in my youth, I learned a lot from this instance.

What I learned is that, without proper motivation, you’ll never get a proper showing. Oh sure, you’ll get the sheople to come along, the ones who will do it just because. But you won’t get the people like me. You see, the thing of it was, nobody ever told me what I was doing this for. All I knew was that here was this test and we didn’t, no couldn’t put our names on it, and we were supposed to take it seriously. Are you kidding me?

Poetry Scrap

Tree Climbing at Lunch

lunchtime hiking Penasquitos creek trail
Ferragosto in Italia
spring reeds grown high now baked by California
dessicated beyond brown and into grey
the trail diving into sycamore shade
coming out in full honey sun and green
brambles underneath those grey reeds
a light wind reminding me of trails hiked,
words written, wine drank/drunk/drinken – my life

– I come to my sycamore
leafy matriarch in full summer
those syc leaves, all velvet bellies
I walk to her trunk, pound a few times
standing on all those years of dead leaves
she’s made her own soil there
spiders and ants swarm last year’s leaves,
so many ants marching up and down her trunk
over gnarls of fungi and peeling bark –
I take handholds on either side, a deep breath
and leap up to her first saddle.

Poetry Scrap

First at the market

A bit spiderous at the market, eight appendages snatching up
Fresh basil and heirloomers, squash blossoms
Raspberries and peaches
Some smoked fish, a French white baguette still over warm
A beautiful bouqet to top it off
Green beans leeks lettuces onions and garlic
Walking away the church bells are bonging away
And the fiddler has a big grin for me
As more people are pushing in, businesslike,
Grousing, grumbling, militant vegans and other
Morning frowners but I walking away
In the thick fog which I hope lasts all day so
I can drink wine and have smoked fish sandwiches
at 1PM Comfy and cozy in the dull white
light of my porch, I am smiling


I was writing about jokes this morning, considering the exclusive nature of jokes. Know what I mean? The typical joke is a poke at them. It’s hey look at the absurdity of them, and it’s implied that you and I are above them as we laugh away.

My question is : Can you tell good inclusive jokes? I’m not sure you can without making fun of yourself, and therefore this is what making fun of yourself does, it’s the holy secret of self-deprecating.

In making a joke or telling a fiction, something must be torn down. Either you tear down the world or you tear down yourself. The holy thing is to tear down yourself.