August 14, 2016

dont take a flasher at Low Moor

wait for something better

let the hill slow you down,

let gravity do the work

feather your independent

make a nice easy joint.

center your reverser

be ready to move quickly in either direction

long gone  engineers left me

these little truths.

I think of them still,

each time I do my tasks

their bodies live again

through my hands on the brake

and throttle

Most importantly, when your vision is blocked

by the cars you are pushing, look

down at the shadows they cast on the ground-

the shadows will tell you how close you are

to making your connection


July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016

Spelling World Backwards

July 15, 2016

He picked up a large rock and threatened the Jimmy John’s pizza delivery man with it, then jumped in the guy’s  car and drove off. He is back in jail.



Speeding across the plains, existential  electronic

traffic sign reads “You could die in the blink of an eye”. “13 traffic deaths this year’

A church sign reads “55 million babies killed since 1975. God forgive us!”

“it’s only turned up to 100 percent”

motherfucker that is as loud as it goes!

“no  it’s not! I’m just jammin’ there’s nobody around here

just ghosts….I’m bothering ghosts? Come and jam with me…”

“Motherfucker turn off everything and wait for me! The landlord called three times,

says the neighbors are complaining about the loud music”

“that was just this punk kid, I saw him at the picnic, he’s from that age that doesn’t like rap, they like

that anime  shit, He’s a fucking retard,  he just wanted me to blow him cuz he’s gay and I said no and now he’s snitching me off to the landlord? what the fuck? and you’re on his side?

Motherfucker if you don’t turn that shit down {I hear Project Pat bumping in the trailer)

they’re gonna call the cops on you! Do you want the cops  to beat the shit out of you? The landlord’s gonna kick you out of that trailer, you’ve only been there one day!

“they’re not gonna call the cops, besides if they come I guess I’ll just go with them. I don’t see why you’re taking their side, if they’re gonna kick me out, you might as well come over and we’ll turn this shit all the way up and jam like a motherfucker! That’s all the more reason!

Shut Up! I’m doin’ the thinkin’ here! Now I’ve been talking to your caseworkers and the landlord,

as your father I’m telling you to unplug everything and wait ’til I get there, I’ll be there in three and a half hours, I don’t want to drive two hours and find out you’re at the police station! Either that or walk down to your old place (they’re tearing down the trailer court, first it was February, then it was “spring”, now it’s “April”), I know it’s cold but you either gotta be quiet or get the fuck out of there!

I let him sleep for several hours after I got there, even went to the casino to kill time time

I’m thinking of all the things I’m going to lecture him about, how the caseworker vouched for him to the nice old landlord who was going to give him a break even though he’d been in prison, and how he just blew his chance at a nice clean place to live and screwed over everybody that cared about him– maybe it was the kid that the landlord sent to tell him to turn down the music? He’d seen him before at “the picnic”, mentally ill “clients” get treated to a picnic once a year, and Russ saw him as a peer, a fellow “retard” who had no business telling him what to do. I recalled the landlord, “I sent my maintenance guy over and Russ told him to “Eff off!”.

Finally, head full of coffee and nicotine vape, I wake him up, 35 dollars poorer. We go down to the “new” trailer at around four twenty in the morning, I open the door and get a whiff of weed, my eyes fall upon what could only be described as a white trash sonic arsenal. Mind you there is little else in this trailer. I knew he had all this stuff but here it was in a pile,  Two acoustic guitars and a customized electric with a body shaped like a whale. A small electric amp hooked to a filthy Yamaha keyboard, a professional grade microphone in case one wants to do some rapping, a good sized equalizer with lots of settings, two old Bose speakers, a subwoofer, and many little home theater type speakers yet to be hooked up. Wires everywhere.

He had also hung up his artwork, surrealist stuff, pretty good, his latest are a couple of nudes– women in frontal, frog like poses, by this I mean arms and legs sticking out and bent like a frog laying on its back, one with black hair and one with orange hair, with pronounced “bushes” of pubic hair matching the hair on their heads.

For the first time I smiled- he was only celebrating in his new home, with the only things he had,  in the only way he knew how, piles of cigarette butts everywhere, empty beer cans, and this mountain of sonic armament. Oh yes this was a scene of a crime. A crime against .. landlordism, or something.

In the old Mexican neighborhood, nobody cared about the loud music, they had some of their own,

What kind of asshole owns a trailer court anyway, with a mentally ill  “maintenance man”?  I began to see Russ’s logic.

The caseworkers often have a “gee whiz” type attitude when you ask them for advice or some sort of insight but this guy was different. I wanted to have Russ hospitalized, get him under control with different meds, but “I suppose they only take the worst ones now”. the guy on duty says “Good luck, there’s a waiting list– even if you are raving and suicidal. Such a great system we have huh?”

I got Russ safely back into his old about-to-be-torn-down-but-don’t-know-when, trailer and fed him a Hardee’s Monster biscuit, his favorite




 It seems to me, and his older brother Matt agrees, there seems to be some overkill in keeping him chained up and in solitary confinement. Usually he calls us, or tries to, incessantly until we, or I finally acquiesce to the high phone call cost. Now he doesnt try; either he is severely restricted or his mind has been altered (even more) by the weeks of solitary confinement.
Time in the “shoe”, SHU 103, “special housing unit”, ADSEG (administrative segregation), aka “The Pink Room”
6/22 called all the lawyers  Monday
6/14 stayed in read book Tuesday
6/15 showered    suffered   Wednesday
6/16 stayed in saw Dr. Competent Thursday
6/17 stayed in new charges in old court Friday
6/18 went in yard got shot from pretty lady Saturday
6/19 stayed in relaxed
6/20 called lawyer
6/21 stayed in
6/22 stayed in postponed
6/23 showered
6/24 showered
6/25 stayed in
6/26 stayed in
6/27 stayed in
6/28 went in yard showered suffered prayed
6/29 stayed in Hearing suffered prayed
6/30 stayed in
7/1 vvvvvvvv fire hearing waste of time!
7/2 stayed in slept
7/3 stayed in
7/4 stayed in
7/5 stayed in
7/6 stayed in watch dude get hauled off to padded cell
7/7 out of pink clothes into orange jumpsuit
7/8 requested to go out talked to Dad
7/9 stayed in rested
7/10 showered
7/11 read book
7/12 stayed in
7/13 stayed in
7/14 showered visit saw Dad
7/15 moved to BR IANO didn’t get commissary
7/16 showered ate 2 breakfast 2 lunch
7/17 moved to mod
7/18 Hearing?
Him: Did not want to let me talk to family on phone so I wrote “lawyer”,
“stayed in” means refused to go out one hour a day for shower etc, so they didn’t get to put me in chains
Me: Damn, yer just like Bobby Sands!
Went to Medical, found out one of my group home workers went to be a cop.
  his brother thinks no matter what we try we are doomed to fail because of his intransigence/obstinance, but my idea is we may in fact fail, but there must be some thing we can do to make him more comfortable in the short run, something better than solitary confinement- even if he “prefers” to be alone, this is ridiculous- I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in thinking that negligence/cruelty has occurred,  or doubting that in the end he is responsible for his own behavior, etc. Is there anything that can be done to slow this process, this railroading job? I mean think how it looks to a layperson, when your son’s attorney ‘s office is at the jail but you are turned away by a cop who doubles as receptionist behind bulletproof glass, who daftly proclaims, “”She doesn’t have to call you back”.

I’ll follow this up with a call, after the holiday weekend-

(prison fight :  “You wanna ugly me up?”)


again thanks for your time,

Theyre tearing down my trailerpark while I’m in it. I will never forget.









“That trailer was his world”

perfect piece of toast by Russell Peters

once i caught the scent of the perfect piece of toast

Jesus must have had Mary Magdalene pop it down

into the brave little toaster

i threw the brave little toaster away
he was jettisoned like S.P.O.C.K
to be re-engineered into a soundwave

 1/ so since he is now at this moment receiving proper meds and in a “safe” room under watch, it doesnt rise to level of abuse, ignoring all

I get a dream where I’m like a regular person
And I talk and act right and do normal things like travel to Egypt
And then I wake up and my thoughts are all jumbley and I can’t talk right and I’m just a piece of human filth

parents of severely mentally ill worry about this all the time too

  1. 3/ petty crimes he committed while off his meds for weeks- started a fire,tried to assault a cop & a judge- insane, yes. Unreasonable? hmm…

  2. 2/ that went on b4, yet not allowed visitors tho I did so as recently as last week,& he also competent now to stand trial for petty crimes

  3. 1/ so since he is now at this moment receiving proper meds and in a “safe” room under watch, it doesnt rise to level of abuse, ignoring all


  1. because working class ppl who have lived the business side, the inside, of a jail cell see things differently than someone who’s “seen” it

  2. made “pink room” sound so benign, I know it was to comfort me but I had to blurt,”i know you’ve seen it, but have u ever been a prisoner?”

apparently my mentally ill son is in solitary and can’t have visitors but he is sane enough to stand trial, since “the bar is really low”

tfw u go to the advocacy lawyers on behalf of your son they tell you solitary not so bad the “pink room” has “a window & some padding”

Sometimes telling your story, to as many workers as possible, is the only revolutionary thing left you can do

  1. Still in solitary, been weeks, but now has the requisite psyche drugs so he can be “competent for trial”, 2b herded into prison

Him: “I thought you gave up on me”. Me: “Nah, that’d never happen”.

  1. de-unionized,working for non profit monopoly corp for shit wages,small mental health outreach team fights tidal wave of rightist bureaucracy

  2. The PACT Team are the real heroes of the fight for mental health care on the streets of Des Moines

prisoners as criminals.

All prisoners are political prisoners.

  • he was lucid, seemingly, but btw sentences the eyes closed; a crazy grin, trillions of tiny linked ironies flashing by just behind the lids

  • Brave he seemed,on vid screen in chains,”a high risk inmate” w/ bright purple jumpsuit,they’re giving him right meds now tho still isolated

  • Polk County Jail surely the class conflict-iest place in Iowa,All hi tech like an updated Dept of Motor Vehicles,but w/ undercurrent of rage

I started the fire to send smoke signals to my brother.

I beat the hell outta that cop, he wanted to sell me for 3000 dollars, or 3000 something.

They brutalized me in court, I yelled at the judge “This is MY courtroom, not yours!” and three big cops who were stacked and ripped took me down and one put his knee in my back and crammed his thumb in my ear and crammed my face into the carpet. I should sue them for police brutality. They brutalized me for beating the hell out of that cop.

 I did “ultimate Tai Bo” on that cop”, (does  rotating fist “punching bag” motion)

Have you ever seen him before?

“Yeah, I married him”.

You married him?

“No, no, I mean I conducted the ceremony for him an his wife, not that I ‘married him'”.

Where did you do this?

“In my mind”.

Well if you married him in your mind that means it didn’t really happen.

“It happened dad, quit trying to tell me it didn’t happen.”


Guy Debord: Beyond the Society of the Spectacle

July 22, 2015

Southern Nights


The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.

– Guy Debord,  Society of the Spectacle

Yet, let us add that the accumulated capital is that of the Subject who has become a total image, immersed in a world of information where reality is nothing but a copy of copies. One of the first texts to begin a critique of representationalism, of the production of reality out of images: a world where Plato’s Cave becomes our only reality, but one that is itself inverted, one in which the shadows on the wall vanish into the wall and we follow them into the darkness. This is the Society of the Spectacle. Sitting here at my desktop peering into the screen of my computer, or momentarily lifting my iPhone and peering at the face of my young daughter as she talks to me from a city hundreds of miles…

View original post 1,540 more words


June 11, 2015

what would it be
for me
to be
really me?
i cant say cuz i never will be

first thing id do is kill my watcher
throw his bones down in devil’s holler
under weeping willows amongst the cattails
in the moonlight grinning like a dog with two tails

cant spend my life jacking off in jail

I made it to Webelo,
I was a Cub Scout.
I had a niece who was older,
tried to get me to work through
my little merit badge projects
by half-assing everything.
She was prescient,
last I saw her
she was working at Jack in the Box
and pregnant I believe,
it was after all the Summer of Love

snake eyes

June 8, 2015

rolling snake eyes

you gamble

bet the max

frowning as you left the casino

slots played

hail crackling on the sidewalks

green skies, lightning

and the car started bucking

check engine light

and you had a hot chick riding shotgun

barely made it home in the rain

then fucking in the hot tub

a bad reputation

is better than none

puke my guts out

June 8, 2015

Puke My Guts Out

when I pass by Holiday Inn,or when I go to the townor when I go to Missouri for any reason,or see a copI want to puke my guts out.when I put on a wifebeaterand go outside in the heatI want to puke my guts outI puke for people who like their jobsI puke for real estate agentsI puke my guts out for personal responsibilityI puke both ways before crossing railroad tracksI puke for Karen CarpenterI puke for Barry Manilow and Ron Paul, togetherI puke for American IdolI puke for Wal MartI puke for Harley DavidsonI puke for sportscastersI blow chunks at speeds approaching nearly 180 mph for NASCAR,I hurl for Hillary, barf for Barak, and ralph Nader,I puke my guts out for SundaysI puke for rodeosI puke for barsI puke for gunsI puke for the death of ironyI puke my guts out in the name of home improvementI puke for televisionI puke for the power and the glory,I puke for America

archives (pre 2010)

June 8, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2009

my bank blows its brains out and gives itself the gun

in these days

when writing seems like fire

talk can’t be tolerated–

television is dead, advertisements

don’t work anymore, there’s nothing

to really desire

Engineered voice,

I’m tired of you acting like it’s me

who doesn’t really understand

such that I can’t tell you what I really think or it’ll cost me,

that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

the way I’m supposed to think like you

even after all that has been,

with just a wave of your robot hand

you want me to act like the past was erased

like we’re both in this together

or like somehow life had to do with your morality

and I crayoned outside the lines

You’re In The Army Now

You’re in the Army now

You’re not behind a plow

You’re diggin’ a ditch

you Sonofabitch

you’re in the Army now!

I had a little daisy dream

that with all the military hoopla

going on, the local Army Fort

would expand and buy my land

at a premium price, it would be nice.

My son explained to me

(because he has these visions, see)

That I was already on the Fort.

In fact, the Fort encompasses

the whole area, even the airport.

It began to expand, further than

I could heretofore understand, such

that in fact wherever I stood,

say, back at Fort Leonard Wood,

in basic training in seventy five

to this very moment as fighter jets

roar low and rattle my windows,

as my camo fatigued neighbor obsessively mows in his Guard clothes

and regales me with Iraq desert tales

when he sees me out waxing the car

in the driveway

but I don’t ever have anything to say,

because he’s a fucking moron,

and even further back

when Mom worked at Barksdale Air Force Base

down south and it was “sweet potato pie” and “shut my mouth!”, all

this time and within all this space

and even before I joined the Army and after I “left” it,

I was and am still in the Army.

mississipi backwaters

In The Mississippi Backwaters

Piscene cats winnow, lurk

in shallow murky chasms

propellers splay weeds, water above

near a place where there can be no life.

Hesitate, the fateful bite

leads skin to be stripped

to some palate’s delight

a throwback white bass

suckermouth badged with flyhook scar

warns through opaque green haze:

“Don’t taste the fruit that plunks down

from a world light years

and two feet away!”.


In the Year of Tet

she lost the baby in that cartoon bathroom,

sitting with her head in her hands,

wishing she were a seagull.

I thought Venus could never fall from this sky.

But Earth came up to meet her!

In a dream, Ho Chi Minh is packing rice bags,

shooing flies from a red mule’s twitching nose,

sending the vanquished home.


water boy

Persimmons bend, supple swings

frogs croak, locusts rub wings

dusk settles in firefly light

Ozark hills are dark at night


Implosion of meaning

the past is smashed

hate your boss,

love your family, trapped like rats

in a cage, lonely and dependent

and free

free to give your money back to the boss

free to give money to your wife

free to give money to your bloated insurance agent

free to give money to Wal Mart’s toothless


free to join the Army and go to Iraq

unless you’re too old then you’re

free to fight the war at home


what I learned today

Thing One-

Patriarchy valorizes meaningless manual labor in service of inequality, that is to

say in support of gendered capitalist oppression.

Thing Two-

The so called “education” process splits working class solidarity by introducing a

sense of inevitability and fatalism with regard to “professional” vs. “vocational”

career tracks, in the goal of making the subordinate class accept inequality as

timeless and unchanging.


the blue acid

two hits no more

I tell you

everything turns blue

houses cars trees

people whatever

you got all blue

I was driving a forklift

which got reaally small

turned blue of course

my boss was blue too

my wife at the time

got blue

and so small I stepped

on her

a blue splat yuck

neighbors got blueness

I beat up my father

inlaw he was a blue blood

saw a blue pig

oinking down the road

with blue cherries on top

I punched a kid in the face

he said you’re fat

I said pow

you’re blue fuckface

he cussed a blue streak

in wal mart

I saw a young boy sitting in front of an LCD tv drooling, on an overstuffed chair,

gazing at a video of the song “Shout at the Devil” while an older boy “played” a

mock electric guitar which somehow controlled the stage pyrotechnics on the

screen. There is nothing left to say about this incident, only to record it.

the man from Eastern Europe

The man from Eastern Europe

hawking scented soap and nail care

products in the mall,

since Reagan made Gorby “tear down that wall”,

asks to see my hands,

tries to sandpaper my nails

but life in the vortex

of capital made me bite them off

After Meaty Bites: An American Tale

Jonah’s wife Sally believed smoking pot helped her communicate with God. In

fact, sometimes she’d giggle to herself in mid conversation with her husband, and

would explain that God had made a comment on whatever Jonah was rambling


Sally lost her license as a practicing psychologist for the county, having gotten

mixed up with an overly zealous religious patient named Jenny Parker. The pair

had taken to organizing seances and using the “power of the Lord” to cast spells

and drive out demons from patients, and the county authority just didn’t


The town of Agency had seen its main industry, Meaty Bites, a dog biscuit factory

with a plastic injection molding subsidiary, fall on hard times due to overseas

competition, and there had been a big layoff. The church minister said, “It’s time

to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and not play the ‘blame game'”.

 With that, Sally had taken on some side work through the church and a local

private counseling agency to help supplement Jonah’s meager income from

working at the local grain elevator, filling rail cars with corn and soybeans,

running the huge augers and grain dryers and spotting rail cars with an ancient


Jonah sat half stoned at the controls of the big machine, staring out across the

waving cornfields, thinking of his wife’s Mansonesque

facial expression of the night before. That certain gleam, no, a twinkle as they

say, of perfected madness in the green eyes; a hint of Elvis’ crooked grin, no

wonder he felt as though he must follow her anywhere.

Sally had secured a contract with a private firm called Outreach Ministries to do a

seminar at the Legion Hall entitled “After Meaty Bites : Coping with Change,

God’s Plan for You”. It was envisioned as a counseling service for laid off Meaty

Bites workers and a channel to recruit new members in the local church. whose

flock had been dwindling over the last two decades as young folk migrated away

from tiny Agency toward the bigger towns.

sally and her friend Jen set up a booth at the Hog Rally near the Christian Biker

tent. The annual event drew hundreds of bike enthusiasts, and had its own code

of ethics, no feminized men, no politically correct liberals, no socially

conservative types who object to women showing their tits, and no disrespectful


The first time Jonah met Jen she was wearing a T-shirt that read “Whip me, Beat

me, Fuck me Like the Filthy Pig I Am”, a silver cross dangling from her neck,

cigarette smoke vaporizing as it navigated the curls of her hair, in a crowd of

drunken fat bikers and guys with Harley Davidson T-shirts who had no bikes but

did have chains dangling from thin wallets.

Sally was in her element, handing out flyers, promoting her seminar at the Legion

hall, as the preacher at the Christian biker tent boomed his message of

redemption and salvation in the background.

Sally and Jen and her two boyfriends, Jack and Bill, decided to meet at Jonah

and Sally’s place for an informal get-together.

When Jen drove in her little red Saturn, Jack and Bill crammed their big bodies

into the back seat, because Jen was conscientious about hurting one or the

other’s feelings by having one ride in the front seat with her.

Jonah had been a little apprehensive about Sally going off the deep end ever

since she “layed her hands” upon a slot machine at the Indian casino and prayed

for a jackpot which never came, and Sally attributed the result as a message

from God that “too many evil spirits” were “in the air” there.

Upon arrival at Jonah’s modest double wide, the group gathered around the living

room coffee table in a circle as Sally read from the Bible, joint dangling from her

lips, punctuating each verse with a toke.

Jen then began to speak softly: “OK, everybody, take a deep breath and let it all

out.” Sally blew a cloud of blue smoke as she exhaled. “Now, we all know what

time it was when we came here…..and when we leave….it will be an hour or so

later…but it will still be now. Let your thoughts settle… on the pauses between my

words….you see, time is the only constant, as the Lord says, ‘I am the Alpha and

Omega, the beginning AND the end’…you see it is always now…you are the

same inside as you were when you were a child of four or five years old…and

you will still feel the same inside when you are eighty… time is always now…we

are here to speak with a spirit…

the spirit of an aborted child, who would be twelve by now… a little girl,

Daniella…with her Daddy’s eyes, and a pure heart blessed with the Holy

Spirit…Daniella , are you there?” Sally’s voice responded, in a little girl’s falsetto,

“Yes, Mommy I’m here, in heaven…” . Jen excitedly breathed “Oh honey I’m so

happy to talk to you..I’m so sorry Mommy aborted you, for she was eaten up with

sin and crystal meth, and she didn’t know if you were Bill or Jack’s..can you tell

me what color are your eyes, honey?” “Silly Mommy!”, Daniella intoned through

Sally, “things like that don’t matter here! I’m perfect, as is everything here in

Heaven, our physical forms are beyond your description there in the mortal

world! Just know that I’m happy and complete here as I dwell in the House of the

Lord. You see, our Father has many mansions…”. Suddenly Sally’s voice

cracked and returned to “normal”. “I lost her”, she said, “It was just too much

strain to channel such a strong spirit, ugh”, she sighed and slumped onto the


It was all too much for Jonah. “This is bullshit!”, he blurted. Then he felt the dual

glare of Jen and Sally focusing on him.

“Jonah, you obviously have a Demon in you!” Jen ranted. “Jonah, get your ass in

the bedroom, now!”. Jonah froze like a deer in headlights. “Jack, Bill, c’mon, let’s

pick him up and carry him to the bedroom. It’s time to kick some demon ass!”,

Sally exhorted. Soon Jonah felt himself being lifted up by Jack and Bill on iether

arm and Sally and Jen each took a leg. They carried him to the small master

bedroom, and tied him to the legs of the bed, spread eagled, with baling twine.

“OK, everybody out!”, screamed Jen. Jonah found himself lying on his back

helplessly, as Jen mounted him, her silver cross dangling in his face, her hips

bucking in a sensual, provocative manner that gave him a tingle in his groin. He

then felt her weight on top of him, and smelled her cigarette breath and felt the

slime of her makeup smudge his face as her hair flailed wildly about his head.

“Oooghaboogamoogily woogily!” she sputtered, spit flying. “Ahmagashingafari-i-iih,

Hooha!”. Then she abruptly sat up. “It’s gone”, she announced loudly.

He didn’t hear the crash, but when he returned to his senses in the hospital his

boss was screaming, “You’re fired! You cost us 172,000 dollars when you ran

that engine into our new silo! And almost killed two guys working in there!”.

At the unemployment office, the clerk, a middle aged lady named Fran began

telling him the procedures for application for benefits. “One of the new

requirements is that you complete a career counseling course, paid for by the

state at no cost to you. The only one we have available is this “After Meaty

Bites”, where they teach you how to cope with change and maybe even get right

with God.. I see here the employers report says you are denied benefits because

there was the smell of marijuana in the locomotive cab, and you tested positive

for THC at the hospital, is that correct?”. Jonah bowed his head and softly


There he sat

Old and fat, there he sat,

in Hy Vee eating greasy breakfast

leaning big gut over tables hobnobbing

with the blue hairs and grey beards

my old, retired union steward who I last saw

in a convenience store in 1989

whereupon he accosted me

regarding my behavior which he’d heard of

from his friend at the Elk’s Club

about how I kicked open the door of his friend’s house

and threatened to kick his wife in her fat pussy

if she fucked with my kids again, “Is That CLEAR?”

because his wife was the school counselor

who accused me of being on drugs

and if I had nothing to hide I had nothing to worry about

because we were new in town

and my kids came to school with holes in their pants

and peanut butter sandwiches

and anybody with any sense had moved away because of the farm crisis

and after my unannounced home visit

she never fucked with us again

though the fat old union steward told me

he would remove my name from the active seniority roster

upon which I told him that was okay

as I had found another job anyway

Longpoint: the Remembering

Tall prairie grass is a good hiding place;

beyond the reservation, in the lowlands

freight trains pummel high iron,

flash past automatic millionaires–

the Indian casino, woods, broken glass,

behind enemy lines.

Buckboard wagons

splay the weeds,

ditchwater spatters rocks,

the river sparkles , arcs, testifies

its jagged vision.

An anointing:

a watering station, smokestacks snort,

the fireman grins, blackface

Steaming iron horses

watered, like dirty flowers.

pistons scrape and squeal

buzzards feast on doe carcass

pitched in the ditch by cowcatcher

Here metal , flesh return to earth,

centuries pass like celluloid

through projector windings,

flickering tokens

of remembrance,

along with spirits,

and Tara, with its feed store

and Ontario, the grain elevator

and Jackson, swept up by a twister

in ’85, lost souls, witnessing

dark territory

in dark territory

there are no signals

only the remnants of Grand Junction

the implement dealer owns all the land

the drivers use speed

to eclipse loss

on the Lincoln Highway

the Great Emancipator

used to have Burma Shave signs

but we wouldn’t know about that now

My office used to be in Denison

says the old driver and I’ve heard

his story twice over, he owns

an apartment building

works for minimum wage

lines grow deeper in his mindless face

we talk to hear the sound of our voices

make sure we aren’t already dead

though we occupy space together

we are not “we”,

I don’t look at him because he doesn’t

interest me, I am polite

he and his town

have bored me since 1982

you got virgin midget wrestlers

rails and ties,

soybeans, corn and beer

and some old heartbreak,

Randy Weaver in hiding,

gun nuts and deer in the headlights

in Denison, death weighs heavier

than in other Iowa towns.

It is where dreams die with people

most acutely–

Eleven Mexicans suffocated in a railcar,

dying to get into a meatpacking plant,

they became packed meat.

Then there was the suicide that was ruled

not a suicidethe

boy that walked out into traffic

rather than go to Iraq

three days after his brother died in Iraq

the townfolk made the coroner

change the cause of death to “accidental”

so as not to mar the hero’s funeral

with inconvenient fact

gun love is death love is pig love

Are you afraid

to burn out least?


between commercials.

Old friend,

gun love is is death love is pig love

gone to the well once too often.

Buckets of humiliation with holes–

it’s all our fault,

fear for your job,

fear of being alone,

fear of being raped,

fear of losing your gun,

gear of losing your fun.

Is this how deep a fetish goes,

langour in the earth’s loam?

yes, a mission…

realer than the real ever was,


“Aspire no taller than the grass”– Sylvia Plath to her children

I am touched

paint peels from asphalt

rain wets my tongue

my body is irresponsible

machines click and whir

no sanctuary now

my history in fetters

nothing left to do

but lay down my tools

If Thine Eye Offends Thee

We have a situation here

and I’m no nattering nabob of negativism,

but something beyond the pale has transpired in the yard.

She was full blood Indian yet her name was white

she was the first to be wrestled down after a fight

it was brown skinned arms and legs flailing

as beefcake farm boys in black jackboots

showed her who was boss.

The Spirits told her to do it,

to pluck out her eyes

because she couldn’t bear to see

the things she was seeing

and the feelings she was feeling

when she saw them.

Don’t linger on the part where

she squished and burst them in her hands

when you replay that scene in your head,

it’s just too awful, please.

Lot’s Wife

feel the salt

becoming me

freezing me in time

like wormwood

the chemistry of awe

struck, now I am stone.

Grains of memory

fall from my eyes

I hated to turn that corner


stolen from johnny pain

once every whipstitch

she went chicketyboomin’

doing a firewalk

over her backstories

He Bought the Farm

The red mule bucks

and snorts in his stall.

What is, is.

The thatchy thick straw and manure

mix heavy in my shovel,

stick to my boots like Iowa will.

The windmill creaks, moans

to acres of treeless nothing…

hours drift into days,

months, years.

No more Mr. Lounsberry.

He died on the road

astride a John Deere.

They auctioned off

his tools, he became

part of this barren earth

already dead…

no more canning tomatoes,

or carving watermelon

shooing flies in the heat

while the kids played

by the spoiled creek

no more in awe of the galloping

jackalope’s ears

floating low like wings

over waves of stunted cornstalks,

impotent furrows.

What Old Men Do When They Tell Their Wives They’re Going to Walk the Dog

Old men come down to the depot just to see what’s still therethe

switch lock, the train orders, the dispatcher’s chair.

Yellowed papers hang from clipboards of a grander timewhen

the Rock Island Rocket ruled the main line.

She breezed through town at a hundred miles an hour,

with a hearty “Highball!” from the man in the tower.

Picks and shovels once held by artisans of track

now stand covered with cobwebs in the gandy dancer’s shack.

All that remains is a weathered shell, broken shed

and dreams of legends in an old man’s head.

On Capitol Hill

she told me he shined shoes

yes, the shoes of mighty men

in big offices of mahogany and leather

and she left a note for him to come by when he was able

although she didn’t have a phone

her door was always open for him

although he was married to someone else

it made no difference

and although he didn’t have a car

he did come, and there was bliss

amid the crack smoke and diapers.

The Freedom Pimp??

The Freedom Pimp rides in a solid gold Lexus

with Yokohama tires and a 9/11 nexus

with his plastic money he can’t wait to sex us

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s got a twin towers fetish bigger’n Tom Brokaw’s ego

he makes a big wide loop from Central Park to Ground Zero

he wears an NYPD hat and thinks he’s a fuckin’ hero

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s got a Glock and a Kel-Tech that he uses with impunity

he collects bumpin’ bankroll in the land of opportunity

he takes pride in doing a service to the community

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s the Freedom Pimp

When his bullets blast it sends the stock market soaring

he never gets tired of his warring and his whoring

things never make sense but at least it’s never boring

He’s the Freedom Pimp

He’s the Freedom Pimp


before they went to the card, 1988

Ofiser Frendly

Ofiser Frendly wares blak shiny shoes

and a big shiny baj on his unform thats blue

He says if sum one trys to give you drugs just say no

if you see sumthin suspishus just call and let him no.

Me and Bernie tryd to tuch his gun

but he sed no it mite go off and hurt sum one.

The teecher thankd him for cummin to speak

and sed the PTAd lik to have him nex week.

Daddy lost his job at the meet paking plant

and sed he was tird of bine gas with the chanj bak from food stamps.

He broke ten windows in our howse

I dont know why

but he lookd lik he was about to cry.

I aksd him to be nic and play by the ruls

after all thats what Oficer Frendly sed wen he cam to my skul.

Daddy sur was acting funny that day

he fild the car up with gas and drov away didnt pay.

Ofiser Frendly cam noking at our door

and he wasnt kwit the sam as he was befor

He took Daddy away to jale

Mommy had to call Grandma for munny for bale.

Daddy sined a paper sane hed bin iresponsble in the past

and for too yeers he wouldnt rite any more bad checks or steel any

more gas.

The skul cownsler started takin to me

she said you can trust me Iv got a mastirs decree.

She sed peenut butter and chips wernt too nutrishus

and aksd if Mommy and Daddy were on drugs and I sed no

Id call Oficer Frendly if I saw anythin suspishus.


After Brandishing A Kalishnikov*

I’m going singlejack wobbly

they gave me a lobotomy

put me on Prozac and left my autonomy

Orwell paid a visit, then Kafka and Stalin

read me Oedipus Rex, and Freud came callin’

as nothing more than friends to me

to say I was my own worst enemy

Now doubletime trainee, pull down your pants!

If you tell the whole truth, we’ll give you one last chance

to avoid the fate of Sitting Bull and Geronimo

or bake in a cage in the sun at Guantanamo

We need to see what’s going on in there

so we can get you placed somewhere.

Being true to one’s self is its own jihahd

yet easier than having to answer to God.

* ‘to the millions of oppressed in the world, Bin Laden is a hero, and posters of him brandishing a

Kalishnikov are everywhere”–Newsweek

My Last Bad Year

O Osama, please fly a plane into my building!

A fly in the ointment of hegemony you are!

Something’s awry with the desiring-machine, went haywire

The milk of human kindness went sour,

the product of false desire.

May I die of consumption?

Osama, take me! Take me! Take me to Heaven!

More than the air was conditioned in there,

in those buildings you erased on nine eleven.

The women I date don’t wear scarves, see.

Bought a Suzuki but they wanted Harley.

I’m nothing to them but a Good Time Charley.

Our sex collided like a plane with the towers

Need for need, an exchange o’ powers


the kids are a problem that’s been solvedthey

don’t know what all’s involved

been shouldering their load since birth-

I’ll survive!

all they know’s I’m worth

more dead than alive!


… so take me, Osama

take me to hell…

living in amerika’s just as well!

when you brought down those concrete walls

it wasn’t no sweat off my white balls

back in 1957 is when I began

I fold my money dumbly like a robot man

living out of a suitcase in back of a Rambler

just another dope addicted gambler

drivin’ from Texarkana to Nome,

soldiers and sailors can never go home….

you better believe they’re out to hurt you–

no such thing as bourgeois virtue.

Ain’t no use to wonder whyeven

my doctor don’t care if I live or die!

don’t you get it?

This world wasn’t meant for you..

no one has an opinion, not even a clue

unless it comes from a tv talking head…

Take us home, Osama! We’re already dead!



a female voice response unit

and a male automated greeting

dream of digital romance

the human sweeps the garage

sorting one pain from another

shoeboxes full of miscalculation

pictures that once “meant something”

until it came to the murder of the real


I get amnesia

mutherfucka tryin’ to please ya

you made promises to me

then you pinned me to a tree

then you tried to ram it home

but I split yo’ fuckin’ dome

I get amnesia…

A piece o’ glass come slidin’ past

disconnected yo’ head from yo’ ass

caused yo’ body parts to be rejected

mutha fucka smell like farts-

I need disinfected!

I get amnesia…




a female voice response unit

and a male automated greeting

dream of digital romance

the human sweeps the garage

sorting one pain from another

shoeboxes full of miscalculation

pictures that once “meant something”

until it came to the murder of the real



You know the place,

between the high bridge and the hard road.

The tractors and wagons line the fencerow,

a museum of dilapidation.

Farmall, Massey-Ferguson, a forties Buick sedan,

windowless and brown, weeds shoot from empty


Then come the wagons, the plows,

the steel spokes and tines flake

one atom at a time returning to earth,

a silent reforging.

I know why the man won’t sell his artifacts.

He knows time is not a commodity.

Look out the kitchen window, where the horse is tied,

crabgrass and dirt yard become a time machine–

rogueing the cornrows, he is ten again

and mother is yelling for supper,

dad in his overalls swearing

over a boxful of oily wrenches.

In the long shadows of the tassels,

he paused to catch a firefly.


hot day

the leaves in my gutter

like this morning’s hash browns

crispy , dry, Iowa during Fair time..

the infernal wind even cowers


uncertain tea

While watching the “hearing impaired” captioned news story at my health club, where the

television screens hang silently, drowned by a drum machine laden remix of Roxy Music’s “More

Than This” on the speaker system, there appeared the words “uncertain tea”. This was meant to

be the word “uncertainty” regarding the chances of a space shuttle launch, but the computer

“misinterpreted” the vocal sounding. Suddenly amid the joggers and weight pushers, the trim

young bodies focused on narcissism and self flagellation, I realized that indeed McLuhan was

right: the media has become the message. The television oracle was communicating a deeper,

ancient truth.

Of course there is “uncertain tea”! Reality is comprised of an elixir that defies prediction, of which

we all must partake, or we can no longer be considered alive. And what glorious serendipity for a

lifeless machine to tell us so!


the madding house

June 8, 2015

lotta Madding houses ’round here on the south side, guys comin’ back from Korea

the Madding House sits smack  between Guntown and Drugtown

got a child molester livin next door and a parole officer  to the south of me

 Jose Rios I kept our yellow and green paint scheme

wells fargo didnt take that away I made sure of that my brother

 they dont know who owned the place before 89  but somebody got it real cheap four times I was the biggest fool but so was the bank.

GI Bill Marxist crackerbox little ticky tacky Madding House

Daddy lost the Korean war he dont like women so much ANYMORE  he plays organ at the church he rents the Madding Houses out to child molesters and drunks, says he’d  RATHER RENT TO SOMEBODY WITH A NEW CAR CUZ THEY KEEP THE ECONOMY GOING

Ice raid I saw you up against the wall,  jackboot farmboys in black fatigues mean business

you were freezing in that meat cooler

black is beautiful brown is grand but white is the color of the big boss man

the Madding House Daddy say

straighten up n fly right

he don’t wanna admit he’s gay

workin’ as a clerk all night

Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer

    daddy pumpin church organ, I’m  squirmin in a pew

Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more

     spent all day hammerin’ on the Madding House 

Ain’t got time to fix the shingles

Ain’t got time to fix the floor

Ain’t got time to oil the hinges

Nor to mend the windowpane

Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer

He’s a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints—stuart hamblen

evicted the hippies, didn’t pay the rent

daddy looked at 64 and a half red Mustang convertible

dreamed of hot boys

and I sit alone, with the cat, in the Madding House