Bonus Zone
"Sun goes down, night comes on—what is left when life is gone?
Oh, my Lord; oh, my friend—do we return back to the end?"

                                                            —Nights of Stone
Something For YouKeepersPoems
  • Long
ProseBonus Zone
          

Long





Playday

A song upon the greensward we will play
To praise the breath of life this warm spring day
'Midst blossoms and the tender green of shoots
The songs shall shrive us to our very roots

We'll wake to ecstasy the living lyre
And burn all thoughts of 'morrow in the fire
That none can see but all can testify
Shines brighter than the sun across the sky
But our sun will stand still this mad March day
To hear the heart of beauty which we play
On strings that never break, nor need be tuned
A melody to wake the listless moon

We sons and daughters of the only One
Who set us here before time had begun
Now naked 'neath the staring sky above
Will dance and sing and trade this world for love

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At The End

At the very, very end of it all
Of the wishing and wanting
Wondering and waiting
At the end of regret's last lie
And love's last promise
At the end of name and face
Of eye, ear, mouth and belly
Arm, hand and finger
As dark light fills the world with fog
And the rosary of days finally snaps
Scattering memories into the far corners
Like beads of nascent quicksilver

At the very end
Life's last, loveliest gift
Will be to start out
Once again
Wearing nothing
But the heart of a child

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The Next Thing

Fog blows into the Triangle
Fat and dark over the rooftops
Higher up, white plumes redden
And fade to pastel pink
As the sun slips under
The edge of the sea
This day yields to its night

Jerry is ten days dead
Readying myself
I try to move on
To the next thing

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Fat Angel
(for Jerry)


The tail of October
Nights cool off
The fog tastes different now
Like wet, black leaves
When it leaves for good the rains will begin
Washing the summer of '95 off
Of the roofs and the walls
Out the spouts and down the gutters
On into the sea

You died at midsummer
When the fog is friendly
And smells like the round, blue ocean
Clouding her babe from too much heat
Was there too much heat for you?
Our dear fat angel
Opening a door into
The sunshine daydream kingdom of heaven
For all who had ears to hear

Fat angel
Up there under the lights
You always seemed to grow smaller
More compact, human-sized
A friend we all knew well
Who just happened to have
Lucked out
Certainly not anybody's captain
Or savior
It's gonna be one cold, bleak, empty Christmas
Over in Oakland this year
Ghosts of the parking lot will howl for an encore
The years will answer back as best they can
And memory, kind memory
Will pick out the shiny times
As always
Handing us back so much more
Than the dreary truth of a photograph

One time I saw an angel with no wings
Dark-headed, shining, bowed down
Under the mystery sky
Poised in the naked air
Fifty feet above your head
Listening in for a minute
While the music played the band
When I turned to look again
It was nowhere to be seen
November's knockin' on heaven's door
Come, Samhain!
Bring us the time to tell
The stories of our beloved dead
And with our heart's memory recall them here
Into this living circle

Now is the time to remember
And then move on

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Beloved Child

I asked the Lady in the flame
If there was time for me
To finish what I have begun
'Tho late the start might be
To link the music with the love
Before I do pass on
I asked the Lady in the flame
How much, before it's gone?

I asked the Lady in the well
How long my me might last
Lit by the windows of the days
As future turns to past
And would I have the time it takes
To rhyme this melody?
I asked the Lady in the well
How much is left for me?

The Lady in the well replied:
Enough, but none to waste
Best be about your business
While you still have songs to chase
The Lady in the flame just laughed
Then turned to me and smiled:
I've always been beside you here
My own beloved child

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False Step

Been along that way before
Not so steep, not so tough
But a moment's inattention
And a bad luck sliding stone
Spilled me far down the mountain
In a shower of dirt and blood
Clutching hands
Digging heels
The world shrunk down
To stop or die

What force of fate or nature held me
There at that curling lip of heaven
Mouth of the day opened wide
To take me in forever?
Cloud-streaked sky
Screaming gulls
And the boiling blue surf
Eight seconds below

*

My oldest friend
Came by to visit me
He couldn't stay too long
Having urgent business elsewhere
But he left this little stone
A souvenir-a keepsake
To hold him in memory
Until we meet again
On the side
Of some other mountain
Further down
Some other trail

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Bone
(for Allen Ginsberg)


Like bone inside the skin
The miracle of consciousness
Awakens again each instant
Here within the mirror
Of the Big Eye
Here within the realm
Of Time, Space and Death
Comes something from beyond
The vanishing point
It has flowered
Inside of Time
And sent its taproot deep
Down into the center of Being
Here in the breath
Of this instant
We spin forever:

The bone
Inside the skin

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Orange

All along the watertops
Shrinking into crimson
As the supple day expired
An even blue line into the horizon
Deeper and deeper as dusk drops

I never asked you what you wanted
I only asked you
What you had to give
In that narrow room
Pushed up against a young girl's story
On a perfume night in August
When the moon dript down like yellow wax
And there was only one way to go

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Hangman

Where do they find them?
Where in all the good green fields of Earth
Do they find human beings
Who will kill someone they don't know
For money, without even the tawdry excuse
Of combat or police work
Stone cold prearranged
Snuff-you-out-like-a-wet-cigarette murder

What do they look like?
These men whose day's work is killing
Do they volunteer or is it done by lottery?
What are they thinking as they carefully
Shave away the chest hairs for the electric stethoscope
And strap the rabid killer in?
Do they feel powerful, godlike, agents of the State?
Do they feel anything personal
Toward this helpless human being they are about to kill?
Who is the sadistic monster here?
Who the brutal criminal?

And where in the name of simple sanity
Do they dig up the goddamned witnesses?
Do they advertise in the same tabloid newspapers
That slaver and drool over all the small, sickening
Details of his death?
How his face turns blue, then purple
And his strangled tongue protrudes
Fear-filled eyeballs rolling back
Into the sockets of their skull
As the mesmerized audience
Stares and cranes and leans over the railing
To procure an unobstructed view
Of the proceedings
Who is the sick man here
And where is the justice?

The moon sets-the sun rises
Another day frightens the sky
At San Quentin the fans suck
The last traces of cyanide
From the green octagonal room
Out through the short red-lit smokestack
Into the chilly morning fog
As the latest in a long line of human sacrifices
Is delivered to his human gods
The hangman picks up his black lunchbox
Turns in his gun
And goes home to a warm bed
And a willing wife

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Redtail

You don't see them often
In San Francisco
They hang high
Riding the sky
Above Mount Tam
Along the smooth Pacific

they don't miss much

But this one was
Driving around
In the flat gray day
Right above the Mission
As if she owned the place
She was certainly hunting

something

What do you eat
My airborne friend
Here in Saint Frank's city?
I hear there's a lot of
Small game
Down in the South of Market
The winos might be tasty
But likely a tough chew
Maybe go for the
Art Crowd
Soft, young, white
And slow enough to catch

The Mission junkies
Won't even notice
As hard brown talons
Seize deep
Into the back of the neck
But forget the whores
They bite back