Portofino, 3AM

The rubber bullets of night have ceased their thrumming against the window

Dreams that wanted to run riot, dispersed to the outskirts of the city

Christ of the Abyss underwater in the Genoese harbor, but not you, not in Orlando

The two cities turning on the axis of old and new prayers

Where you write in skeins of rust, eyes heavy as iron poor blood

All that the Guardia and mall cops have have left to you for the Night Watch

The passwords dissolving in ink and wine

 

 

For Charley

Rapid-Fire

The hardest part is when the river
is too swift and goes underground for days
– Jim Harrison

 

Love me like a J-boat
all rubbery and tubular
whanging through the roil
and the walls and skys of water,
you are my Colorado rapids
running whitewater canyons

It’s been Class V crazy
but I love the thrill,
thrown overboard for you our
velocity pulls us under
and since
rescue is impossible

Will you marry me?

 

 

Day 14, 28 Days of Unreason

Flow Walls

“I took a nap and wept for no reason.”
– Jim Harrison

 

It was more like seeping than weeping,
water beaded on the walls of our dreams

Did we know the quiet of snow’s malice,
Spring’s melt too slow, too sure for imagination?

How it would rise like sleep,
darkness spread in lazy pools across the floor

A cellar that welcomed nightmare
from between the cold stones of its walls

What mother language of night did you know
to wake with a start and tell me “it’s time”

And I again to descend,
in the wake of the flood.

 

Day 13, 28 Days of Unreason

Sowing Teeth

“The mountains are so dominant
that some days the people refuse
to look at them as children
turn away from the fathers who beat them.”
– Jim Harrison

 

We paid the villagers a dollar each to carry our tents and food and water mile after mile along the Dragon’s Back.

The humidity and heat like a backhand across the face as we climbed to a remote mountain fortress on the Great Wall of China.

A dollar. Think about that. They were happy for it – old women and children were less expensive than donkeys. I’ve never felt monstrous before, a Great White Father.

I know the Mandarin for “Foreign Devil”, said with a smile when we paid them. Yáng guǐzi. 洋鬼子

We spent our night in the Dragon’s Teeth.

 

 

Day 12, 28 Days of Unreason

Ping

“Just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.”
– Jim Harrison

 

I’ve got this
ball-peen hammer,
damnedest thing –

Let’s me pound out
tin sheets of stars and love,
bend life into different shapes

Dimple and soften
faces
that were hard as steel

Beat time and space
to the round music
of the spheres

But does each
tiny blow
leave a bruise

Like that ping when a grape
gives way
to wine

Or is it just me again,
all thumbs
and curses

 

 

Day 10, 28 Days of Unreason

Haibun – Gull-ability

“I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow
by I don’t know what.”
– Jim Harrison

 

I, for one, woke up this morning amazed I was not a seagull. Not some Kafkaesque nightmare, because how cool would it be to be a seagull? Tooling around in the sky over the beach, dive bombing fish, surrounding picnickers for a reprise of “The Birds.” Plus that satisfying smack! when a clam hits the rocks from 200 feet. People pay good money for raw cherrystones.

Sure, there was other stuff I was amazed at too. Like how no matter how hard I tried, when I lay face down in the grass inhaling through my nose, I just couldn’t tell the difference between one tuft of sod and another two feet apart. My dog scoffed at my ineptitude, since it is soooo obvious. One sward is clearly correct for business, the other is not.

But back to being a seagull. The flinty Yankee in me (I lived in Boston for 30+ years, so made rank) thinks I should stick the winters out around the Cape and Islands, but so damn cold. Better maybe to head south. A good life picking Mexican out of dumpsters in Cabo.

 

No picnic, this bird
I too, scavenger of scraps –
Cheetos for fool’s gold

 

Day 9, 28 Days of Unreason