Every Poet is a Dog From Hell

Every poet is a god,
Every poem is a dog from hell,
Every kind of poet will imagine
tremendous things of themselves,
A mind assassin on Tuesdays,
A wordsmith in summer,
A gift to nuns in winter,
A Buk hater,
A Hemingway worshiper,
A John Fante satirist.

But you know you are better off sensing the warmth
Of their white fire when they sneeze in a big loud crowd,
Or when they finally leave the room to take a leak,
Or when you watch a quaking pigeon die from impact on a window sill,
Or go for longs days on end without penning a single miracle.
I have seen wooden bar stools with better spirit.

These poets have become a retribution,
They will take your wives,
Take your food,
Take your dogs,
Take your clothes from the line.

You see those crassly damp confusing lyrics,
And haikus and epic epistles,
Fishes in the sun slowly cooking up a wicked stench,
And you question the sunrise,
You frown at fat babies,
You demand a refund at a reading,
And start a fight with another woman’s lover,
On the road back from church.

Nobody tells you to prepare yourself for such an apocalypse,
For a broken sewer on the next street,
For the beautiful nonsense that they will peddle,
They sign a book cover,
And read into a tiny mic,
They drink some sparkling water,
And clear their throats,
And read some more.
And then ask if you were blessed by this,
As they drink more water,
Rise up and walk,
They will say,
Go and sin no more,
They will say.

But nobody will tell them,
To dive into a handmade noose,
Or to never return to that city,
Or to do as their brothers have done:
Go to night school in the cold,
And get a laminate diploma in Insurance.
Because telling a man he lacks that flair
Will assume a private gift of one’s own holding,
An able mastery or a very good fabrication.

History will show,
These feats have never been done without spilled blood and
broken bones,
Except by some rare errant idols,
Who had to first die a public death,
And because a man’s demise will make something special of his
alive struggles,
We tell him it smells wonderful,
It will heal the deaf,
Perhaps it will better with age,
Perhaps it will better with death.

Maybe we need these clowns,
For how then will we know the extent of our own dying,
If dead men do not wash-up ashore on occasion?
The million plagues happened in the 80’s, and 90’s
These here, are the end of days,
Red fire skies of burning sulfur,
White veiled men on horse back,
Burning crucifixes,
Absentee gods,
Sons sleeping with mothers,
Explosions breaking the earth,
Dogs eating dogs.

Every poet is a god,
Every poem is a dog from hell,
We are just here to die in your sleep.
Let us pray.



Theoretical frameworks,
Too many karmas,
Too many fetishes,
I am now apprentice to my colonizer,
Things unknowable coming to boil,
A desperate wickedness,
Things you cannot tell just by
Looking at the smile on C. Columbus.

Gently we waft,
In this grasping staging of academia,
Acid heads,
Blonde heads, Bald heads,
Black heads, Block heads,
Color heads,
The small clock on the university wall,
The gospel of a slow kill-joy agony,
A moth punishes self against the florescent,
This misery is generous.
There is bluestocking magic,
And white-fire professors,
And airborne Academese,
And la de da things.

In this dandy room,
I am tortured,
Drunken by bad luck.
Fenced in by airheads,
Blockheads, Baldheads,
Copperheads, Cokeheads.
A briny ocean of University heads.
Empty receptacles impregnated with textbook smarts,
And bluestocking magic,
And white fire,
And higher education,
And la de da things.

In this white room,
Slow match to freehold,
We will do anything for a reward,
Belittle the yellow-teethed yokels who will never know the
Vegetative stupor of academia.
Given the chance, every man is a god,
Tempered as he thumbs up,
A posse of yes-men,
And brown-nosers,
And cornfield rats,
A white collar militia,
Ready to jump in a mad frenzy,
Ready to kill for a pure belief.

And because hope keeps dead things twitching,
We are here for lucky breaks,
For that sweet gravy,
The standing O,
Onward to fringe benefits,
Onward to climb ladders and psychometric tests,
To do just like our fathers have done,
And mothers,
And graven images,
Such bottomless horse sense.

Things we do to kill death soundly,
If we must die fast,
Then we must do it in our Sunday best,
With the right sprinkle of irony,
So that when those holy fingers come blaming,
It will be said that we tried too,
A million tries,
We bloodied our knuckles,
Played the field,
Burnt red candles,
Any and all.

Hank, If Ever I Were A White Man

Twilight finds me a white man again,
in a bit of a pickle.
And in this painful occupation,
In this second skin,
In this adopted sepulchre of mine,
If ever I prospered well at this classic treachery,
As I do sometimes on my evening prowls on the fish market street,
Where I finally become something truly magical,
I would think upon these fine things:

That somewhere outside this vile black skin that I once owned,
Lay the vast riches pledged by a white Jesus,
For his white nation,
For his brethren with white intentions,
And pink ears,
And big beating Caucasus hearts.

Hank, if ever I were a white man,
I would think upon
The golden liberty that I now abide,
This music in the amber sunset air,
That easy existence.

I would think upon
My Anglo-Saxonness,
The milk and honeyness,
The red-bowed high tincture.
The snowballed social capital,
The ancestry websites,
they know me well.
I am sure I would be ten percent Cherokee,
A third Welsh,
A Norse miracle,
And some other fine viral strain.
I would appreciate,
The bones of my fine ancestors that lay coolly in some field
in Lubeck or Lisa or Tuscany,
By a bragging sea.
Somewhere where blooms and laughing kites rule the skies.

Hank, I will see this vile black people
for what they are in this world,
And I will stand sentry,
I will be all of it,
And none of it.

As I quietly abide this safari society,
Their uproars.
Their fracases.
Their poetry slams.
The loud black man.
The angry black woman.
Their solid grumble with all that they are handed,
The comic relief they supply,
And the other black things they will exhibit,
A way to cope with the agony I designed by hand,
The disease they represent,
An antidote I’ve buried in the ground.

I would recall the silent healthy joy I abide,
From knowing that these here monkeys once called me god,
Sniffing my scent.
Offering me that red beating Negroid heart,
Looking to impress.

Once they cringed with fear in my shadows,
And worse still, in my company.

And that even though I now
pull a big wooden oak cross in the streets,
With my thick sins on its stretched wings,
And bear a leftover evil invented by my slave-owning lifeblood,
I will bless my powerful memorial,
My iron fist,
My blue prints,
My prepaid grace,
My framed vanity.

Imagine the life of me
if one and all were indeed one and the same.
“Equality is expensive”,
I saw on a restroom mirror,
Such steaming wisdom,
Such beautiful melody,
Such ball of white light.
To giggle at the way they exist,
Their chemical dependency,
Their uppity attempts,
To marvel at that fine black reaction,
The ghetto-ness that leaks,
These things hold me in high regard, you see.

Hank, I am baffled still,
For days on end,
Within spitting distance at their very odd aspects,
The black gums,
The black lips,
The wide nostrils,
Their errant hair.
The thingification of a people’s humanity under kings,
Their heroes, and gods, and devils alike.
It is my saving grace,
This powerful contrast.
This utter and complete blackness of a man,
It is a refreshing thing.

But it is not a puzzle, I tell you.
It is god’s silent trial of the bigness of my white heart,
And the texture of my white faith.
And I silently thank him.

Because to exist like a leper,
Is to be black,
On the wrong day,
To be a situation on a cop radio,
A rough garnered obituary on TV,
A red octagon riddled with big bullet holes,
A brown corpse melting in the sun,
A hoodie on a scarecrow,
A cancer on a nation’s plain white tees,
A cold bland woman at the end of a noose,
Slurs from a dusty red van,
Oh, and remember the star-spangled banners —
And the other such commodities that tickle an entire race.
Alas, those things that were always good to me, for me,
Are the things they grovel for, even now.

Because by virtue of a careful scheme,
My stars pooled on the white side of hell,
But I am meek, I tell you, meek.
This clout would be carcinogenic in black hands,
you just watch.
Oh, how damaged the world will be if all of us,
In principle and in skin — were black.

If ever I were a white man,
I would say the word,
Before a restroom mirror when they walk out.

Into my pillow,
When it won’t count.

Among mates.
They know it,
I know it,
We won’t say it,
But for our own damn grace.

Still Hank,
daybreak finds me among other sins,
A Proud Black Man,
In my own red-letter skin,
A familiar estate,
An aromatic heritage with the rightly largess of princes,
A powerful fisherman’s tale that goes on till twilight,
So that, if ever I were a white man,
These things will boil my very soul,
Consume my vulgar slumber,
Offend my spirit.
I am blessed I tell you — blessed.
These things are delicate troubles.
For in truth, I am black twice.

Thankfully, too,
noontime also finds me among other things,
A Proud Black Man,
In my heart lay a beating black nation,
And the powerful things that are the sum of me,
Knowing all that I now know had I been anything but,
I walk with champion shoulders great,
Pulling a deeper consciousness that cues,
That fine bounce in my forward march,
A glint in my third eye.

So that even though cooked
by the constant fight to breathe,
If ever I were a white man in a pickle,
I would accept with grave humbleness,
To never correctly know
what it truly is to happen outside a blessed skin,
And for this,
I would die a little better,
A little grateful,
A little godly,
In a grave by a bragging sea,
With laughing kites above my stone,
As people nearby take fancy pictures with yellow smiles,
And fat babies run in slow-mo.

Imagine the life of us,
If one and all were indeed one and the same.
And the things we would not abide to be anything but,
The man in a bit of a pickle.

Girl from Guadalajara

Trifling middle seat,
Travesty yellow airplane,
You know, the usual.
A girl with barren eyes sits crumpled,
Exhales fog the glass.
She is soaking wet.
A purple strap bisects her tiny breasts.
Nipples, erect against her top,
She is dying from the general cold.

Barren eyes fixed to oval window,
In shame or something special.
And here, she prays quietly for sudden death:
Santa María, Madre de Dios.
Kissing lips smudge a baby blue rosary.
You see her presence in the window, and she, yours.

Her face shines with tears or something worse.
She owns that caricature brown eyes
Like you only see in a fly-blown magazine.

Like a big dark hole in an empty house,
Where, once, a nice Christian family died in a fire,
She is tempting, she is an omen, she is void.
You see something,
Some movement in that house, some special spirit.
There is an excellent nothingness,
Save the husk of a girl crying on a yellow plane.

She, with barren eyes is beside herself,
Wrapped up, a broken daughter,
A species after your own heart.
And while these other gremlins,
Apply body and soul to the severe task of sitting in place,
While they dance the aisles like motherless imps,
Rubbing oiled stomachs,
Exchanging pleasantries, small-talking,
Gathering bonus miles,
While they chase after mustardy toddlers,
Pressing matters bubble to an ulceration.

You steal glances,
You fester in your little mind,
Stirs and struggles,
Knees brush elbows,
Needs die, float to the surface,
You do things prescribed by a cuero in a blue beret with a fake smile,

This way, you kill time, cook courage.
Until you are whispers away from landing.
Until she has cried herself into a private wisdom,
And the music finishes with a powerful climax.
Qué hora es?
Crying girl asks the time,
A broken watch,
And this much, you fess.
Es hermoso. She says.
You are lost.

She turns to her window,
You behold the affairs of the souls of Kansas City with her,
The white and red strips of drowsy cars,
Snaking about bottomless freeways.
Pinch your knees for nerve,
To utter some manner of astute small talk:
What is your name?
What is the color of your eyes?
What do you think of death?
What is life?

She asks your name.
After three valiant tries,
She tells you hers.
Isabella, a girl from Guadalajara.
New babysitter in a new Lenexa household
Amid some plush white privilege,
And vinyl picket fences,
And 8PM sprinklers,
And interlocked driveways,
And Sunday mojitos,
And things, more things.

Isabella owns strong calves,
She’s been running.
Running to amuse a tickled god,
From a turf war by the Medellin cartel,
Thru barrios to enter a music competition,
From a large vaquero man that loved with fists,
In the rain to catch a yellow plane.

Running from Guadalajara,
Isabella, born one Tuesday in May,
In that birth place of the Mariachi,
In the same house where the inodoro doesn’t flush,
Where her abuela muy loco had gone muy loco in the middle of an intelligent convo,
Born to an unspecial sun-beaten menaje,
With a small stoic padre who desires to outlive his sciatica.

Isabella has never seen the snow,
In days she will.
Without goodbyes, you part ways,
She hunts down a red car,
Breaks into a smile.
You hunt down the husband,
As to the origin of her tears,
You have demons of your own.