Poetry for Strangers: Transient

Last Stand at Rothko Chapel

Brigands!
A ship of murderous loony scallywags
Swooped down from the asphalt clouds above two days ago,
Firing materiel: Bullets, exploding cannonballs, and banana peels
Captain Sharon Keller, waving her scimitar at the helm, cackled
Ted snickered and guffawed and tugged his ears

The crumbling ramparts of our peace-mongering fortress won’t last
We are transient
We’re doomed
We have nothing to eat but nettles
So it doesn’t matter that William B. Travis and Tommy Lee Jones
Have turned their muskets on each other
You stole my chicken, Travis bellows, mad-eyed,
his purplish tongue dangling from his lips,
but Jones responds with a war cry–Awwwooooooooo!—and charges. Mercy.

I’ve had a vision of the future, Barbara Jordan says to me,
tapping the handle of her machete against the stone restlessly
As we hunker behind the turrets. True North is no more,
It’s packed it up and gone home, she says and begins inking
a proclamation to honor our dead

Kris Kristofferson hands me a mandolin and tells
Me to put down my bazooka.
Let’s go out singing, he says. That’ll show ‘em.
Molly Ivins bangs on the bongos, Dobie takes up the pan flute
And into the wasted, raging lavender sunset lifts our melodic clamor
As the drones drop grapefruit bombs around us

 

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Transient

Poetry for Strangers: Aroma

astro hobo

poetry is the supreme burrito
a cheesy meaty linguistic combo

a book is a spaceship each page a wing
the tales are supernovas exploding

the plumber’s wife took over the shop
waiting for the other penny to drop

revolution came bright and redolent
the women stormed the walls of parliament

I am not my father the princess said
I am a rebel I paint my face red

the jewelbox held the note from the baron
his love had flown like a southbound heron

the truth is in a rusty wheelbarrow
down the dirt path overgrown and narrow

 

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Aroma

Poetry for Strangers: Crepuscular

the barmaid was mistaken for a saint
her halo was crepuscular and faint

the spies inspected the muddy footprints
war on sweden suddenly made good sense

the baker thought of his grandmother when he poured gin
she had nurtured juniper bushes in her garden

palm trees casted shadows on the church doors
high above circled the hungry condors

the arson expert shuddered as she spoke
the jury heard how the flames first awoke

alligators waited in the magnolia trees
for the golfers to shank one off the fairway greens

while chopping carrots the playwright was struck
by the poetry of banal good luck

what wonders we live caught in candlelight
flickering is our brief time but so bright

 

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Crepuscular

Poetry for Strangers: Dignity

nostos

they found the long lost little iliad
but historical errors are myriad

was achilles really drunk when he died
shot ten times by paris, undignified?

i doubt priam jitterbugged on the shore
with helen outside the tent of nestor

a bizarre use of achilles’s few hours
counting the kumquats in the trojan towers

odysseus stared at troys unfelled walls:
“I’m sick of this shit, honor can suck balls”

surely the trojan horse wasn’t painted
with pink polka dots? the whole myth’s tainted!

that epic ass agamemnon claimed only he
could make troy great again by burning the city

is it just satire by aristophanes?
or is life a circus of absurdities?

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Dignity

The Beatles & the Christmas Miracle!

The Beatles & the Christmas Miracle!

ACT I

At NEMS, Brian’s office.

Brian: All right, boys, here are your schedules for the week.

John: I can’t read this.

Paul: Put your glasses on.

John: On what?

George: On dasher! On dancer!

Ringo: On Stupid!

Brian: Please pay particular attention to Friday’s booking: Litherland Town Hall, a Christmas concert for the fans.

John: Our funderful wans! I just want to huggle and kiss all of them!

George: Even the dirty ones?

John: Especially the dirty ones.

Brian: Now, boys, it’s very important you show up on time for this concert. A producer from Granada TV will be there–

George: Sizing us up?

Ringo: Sizing me down, more like.

Paul: C’mon, Ringo. Short jokes are cheap.

John: Ringo’s not cheap. He’s a Starr!

Ringo: Aw, shucks.

Brian: Have you rehearsed your Christmas songs?

Paul: Oh yes, Brian. We’ve got lots of good traditional fare: Mossy the Moleman–

John: God Pressed Ye Fairy Gentleworms–

George: Hark! The Barrelled Angles Swing!

Ringo: All the classics.

Brian: Boys!

John: Toys!

Paul: Goys!

Brian: That’s quite enough.

John: Don’t get huffy. Where’s your Christmas spirit? Oh wait. Sorry, Mr. Epstein.

Paul: Don’t worry, Bri. We’re old lags. We’ll knock it out of the shark.

Brian: Well, I hope so. It would be a pleasant Christmas surprise if we could get some exposure on Granada so maybe Decca will give us–

All: A record contract!

John: Mal! Let’s get the van loaded up.

Mal: [nods, starts picking up equipment]

George: C’mon, Mal. Think for yourself.

Paul: You can’t do that.

Ringo: Not a second time.

 

ACT II

In the van. Mal’s driving.

Paul: Oi, John, what’d you get Cyn for Christmas?

John: Do you want to know a secret? Nothing, yet. I was thinking I’d draw her a card or something.

George: The personal touch.

John: Hopefully it’ll lead to a personal touch, if you know what I mean, eh?

George: What’d you get Dot, Paulie?

Paul: Don’t call me that. She likes lilies, so I got her a necklace with a lily on it.

Ringo: She’ll lily like that.

Paul: Well, can’t buy me love.

George: But you can rent it.

John: Mal! Are you asleep? Put some oopmh into it! We can’t be late. We’ve a very important date!

Mal: Sorry, fellas. The van’s fresh out of oomph.

George: I didn’t bring any extra oomph.

Ringo: I’ve got plenty in me trousers.

George: Well, go on then.

Ringo: Me other trousers.

Paul: Slow down, slow down!

John: He can’t go any slower!

Paul: Do you see that?

John: What?! Tell me what you see!

Mal: Oh no! [brings van to screeching halt]

George: What’s that?

John: [squinting] Where?

Ringo: Nowhere, man.

Paul: In the middle of the road! It’s… it’s… It’s a blackbird. Let’s go look.

[standing around a blackbird in the middle of the road, hopping around]

John: She’s got a broken wing.

George: All she needs is love.

Paul: There, there, little bird. Take this broken wing and learn to fly.

Bird: Chirp chirpity chirp chirp chirpity!

John: And your bird can sing!

Paul: Let it be, let it be.

John: C’mon, little bird. Don’t let me down!

Paul: Did you see that?

John: What?

Paul: Sing something, sing something!

John: You sing something. She love you.

George: Yeah.

Ringo: Yeah.

Paul: Yeah, all right.

[Paul performs Blackbird as the bird figures out how to fly again and flies off]

George: Thank you, Ringo. That was wonderful.

Ringo: It ain’t easy.

Paul: What time is it? Brian is going to have his knickers in a right twist if we’re late!

John: Some folk need their knickers twisted.

George: Some folk make a good living twisting other people’s knickers.

Paul: [looks at watch] Good golly, Miss Molly!

Ringo: What folly.

Paul: We’ve got to hoof it!

John: Mal! You daft git! Let’s go!

ACT III

[Litherland Town Hall stage, curtain still drawn. Brian is standing there, fists on hip, tapping his foot, fuming. The boys pour in]

Brian: Yes, well, I knew you would do this.

Ringo: [to the others]  Act naturally.

Brian: Oh come off it, lads. Say the word. Say the word and I’ll be free.

Ringo: Free as a bird?

John: What’re you going on about, Brian?

Brian: You clearly don’t want that record contract. Why else would you be late to such an–

John: Important date?

Brian: Ask me why. Tell me why I try. If you can’t be on time to such a major event–

Paul: Wait. We’re getting better all the time. Besides, it wasn’t our fault.

George: Not guilty.

Paul: We saved a bird!

Brian:What? Where?

Paul: We did it in the road.

Brian: I don’t have time for this. The audience has been stamping their feet and yelling for the next act. The Grenada producer is still here. You’ve got your Christmas numbers ready to go?

John: Yep, Oh Holy Blight.

Paul: I’m dreaming of a Blight Christmas.

George: Silent Blight.

Brian: [sighing] Fine, fine. Go. I don’t care anymore.

Ringo: Don’t worry, Brian. It’ll work out.

Brian: How? How will it? You’re an hour late and you keep making dumb jokes?!

Ringo: I don’t know. It’s a miracle.

[the Beatles take the stage and perform a perfect, rocking version of “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)”]

Brian: My god. Ringo was right. A Christmas miracle.

[A black bird lands on Brian’s shoulder]

Bird: Chirp chirp! Chirp!

Brian: Oh my. Oh goodness.

Bird: Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!

Brian: What is it? What is it, little bird?

John: [hollering from the stage] Mistletoe! Give him a big fat wet one, Bri!

Brian: [Brian looks up and sees the mistletoe over his head] He’s not my type!

Paul: [to the audience] Thank you all very much. We’re simply having a wonderful Christmas time. We’d like to tell you, from us to you–

George & Ringo: Happy Christmas!

John: So this is Christmas!

Ringo: Good night, everyone, everywhere.

 

Poetry for Strangers: Eudemonic

in remembrance of things blast

she is a leaf trembling in the north wind
on her the time traveler had will depend

we chased shadows through the masquerade
while the navy bombed the promenade

it’s all about war and peace and wizards
pierre used magic to fight the blizzards

i am eudaemonic spake the prophet
come on the meter maid sneered get off it

he found the future in an iron cup
foxed, tattered, torn, bent, and slightly ripped up

marriage is love luck song faith forever
an eternal circle binds the ever

 

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Eudemonic

Poetry for Strangers: Relevant

the relevant inquiry is what to do
with time not spent singing with the cockatoo

the room was spacious and clean
a perfect killing machine

reality is the last thing people want to know
said the preacher in the shadow of cannery row

dust in the air suspended
marks the place where monkeys offended

I lived my life in the spaces between lines
I am that which is not, the air between pines

but what if we’re robots the philosopher twittered
tell me where I can get lubed the bartender tittered

this is the truth then the old sister said folding up her habit
joy is a thorny old flower you have to reach out and grab it

if you treat life like a puzzle to be solved
love must factor out logically uninvolved

the sun was caught in a pounding rain
it’s all sacred and it’s all profane

For more, visit Poetry for Strangers: Relevant

The Beatles Meet Camus!

John: Ahoy, mate.
Paul: Watcha got there?
Camus: It’s a giant boulder.
George: We like rock too.
Ringo: Yeah. Rock. Haha.
Paul: Why are you pushing it uphill?
George: It’d be a lot easier the other way, you know.
John: That’s why we rock and roll, not rock and push. I’m dead lazy.
Camus: There is always a philosophy for a lack of courage.
Ringo: Ouch! He told you, mate.
Paul: Let’s help him. C’mon, lads.
John: You go on. I’m not.
[Paul and Camus push at the boulder ineffectually]
Camus: The absurd is lucid reason noting its limit.
Paul: That’s deep, that.
George: So what you’re saying is there’s nothing more daft than pushing this rock uphill?
Camus: Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.
John: You’re entirely bonkers, bloke. But the best people are.
Paul: I know! Let’s turn our amps all the way up. It’ll create a sonic blast and it might help push the rock uphill.
George: You mean rock the rock?
Ringo: Rocking the rock will roll the rock? Or roll rock rolling– I’ve confused myself.
John: You’ve confused me. All right, let’s hear some of the rock and roll music!
Paul: One, two, three, four!
[The boys blare Roll Over Beethoven at full blast]
John: Roll over, Big Boulder! Or Camus will keep singing the blues!
[the rock slowly moves uphill]
Paul: It’s working!
John: Reel it, rock it, absurdity! Rocking is absurdity too!
[With the rock at the top of the hill, Camus is impressed]
Camus: At this point of his effort man stands face to face with the irrational.
Ringo: We’re not the irrationals. We’re the Beatles! [Ringo punctuates his joke with a loud ba-dum-boom! The sound quakes the rock, which dislodges and rolls downhill, toward the Beatles and Camus]
Paul: Run for your life!
George: Help!
John: I should have known better!
Camus: To understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion!
Ringo: Turn away faster!
[The boulder comes to a stop at the bottom of the hill; everyone is out of breath.]
John: Sorry, Camus. We can try again.
Camus: Not a second time.
Paul: Bye, then! Don’t be a stranger!

The Beatles Meet Sartre!

The Beatles Meet Jean Paul Sartre!

Sartre: Excuse me, waiter.
John (disguised as a waiter): Oui, Monsieur?
Sartre: This soup is cold.
John: Oh no! That’s outrageous!
Paul (disguised as restaurant manager): What’s going on here?
John: He says the soup is cold.
Paul: The soup is cold?! That’s outrageous!
John: Your face is outrageous.
Paul: I’ve had enough of your backtalk. [hits John]
Sartre: Please, if you could just–
George (disguised as a cop): What’s going on here?
John: The soup is cold!
George: That’s not a crime.
Paul: You snitch! [hits John again]
George: All right, enough of you lot. [arrests John & Paul, exeunt]
Sartre: My soup is still cold.
Ringo [in wig and dress, sits at table]: Oi, Jean.
Sartre: Who are you?
Ringo: Don’t you know your own girlfriend? It’s me, Simone.
Sartre: Talk about bad faith.

The Beatles Meet Che Guevara!

 

John: You say you want a revolution?
Che: Si, Senor Moptop.
John: Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
Che: Let the world change you and you can change the world.
John: But when you talk about destruction, you can count me out.
Che: The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.
John: Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right?
Che: We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.
John: If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you, brother, is you have to wait.
Che: The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
John: All right! All right! All right!