Kenneth Wolman’s ‘A Picture From Brueghel’

 

The homing instinct is universal,
it is not the sole property
of pigeons, dogs, and cats.
“Can I go home now?”
But no: why would you want to?
You are not as shit-out-of-luck
as you might think,
you are luckier than Lou Gehrig,
self-proclaimed luckiest man on earth.

For Home
skewed dreamland
never truly owned­­–
The block of houses
along the Jersey Shore–
titled or Section 8 dumps–
eminent-domained from the poor,
handed over by the City,
bought up as tear-downs

to erect no-view-of-the-sea
million dollar condos
Red Roof look-alikes
where drug dealers are As Usuals,
prowl the Long Branch streets
undisturbed by gentrification,
making their heaven of someone’s misery.

Home is a Brueghel landscape
The Hanged Man dangling
from the gallows, Mary Surratt wrapped
in black swaddling.
A high school tramp sashays
through Monmouth Mall,
pendant earrings swinging.

Can I go home now?

Once your home is gone
if you have an imagination
that outstrips fear,
then wonder at the ingenuity
of the created world
and at your ignorance of homebuilding skills,
marvel at the drainpipe snakework
now exposed to light,
somnolescent roaches awakened
scattered in a panic.

Home is where the motherfuckers can get you.
Duck and cover, stupid.
Our first grade teachers and Chicken Little
had it right about homeland insecurity.

No inference or artistry here.
Home is no place to hide.
In the light
in the Church
in the hospital
all are suspended in black swaddle.

God has spoken, his Monty Python self
“Oh, don’t grovel!”
clacking puppet jaw,
the answer to your prayers
Redemption
only if you can laugh
through signs of the times

Brain-dead woman
Parkinsonian Pope
Black Mountain poet
Chicago novelist.
I, none of these, have given my sons my living will
my best piece of poetrie,
to wit:
on the day comes I can’t chew my blubber anymore
put me on an ice floe,
not food for worms
but Purina Polar Bear Chow.

My older son calls me
chatty baseball talk and
then “Okay, the question you’ve not asked”
(his uncle comatose
one month today
self-opened veins
now failing kidneys,
his mother, my Former,
a raging madwoman)
“There is no change,” he says.

Yes there is, for finally
I am thankful.
Stevie Winwood
said it better than I can dream
And I can’t find my way home anymore
either.

James Walton’s ‘Old Falls Road’

 

 

(After R.C.)

 

Old Falls Road, the signs have been removed.

To keep the tourists confused. The secrete

Where dinosaur age mushrooms

Prevail against the odds.

My lips ease off timeless elastic lines,

Blue Danish goes soft in jazz.

Wine becomes warm, we sit afterwards,

Backs against the leaking rock face,

No ancient roar now,

Just the chirpy tinkling,

Of private reclaimed places –

Where a lyrebird drinks.

 

 

 

 

Re Bill’s IRON ARMOUR

That's how to get those sharp creases.

That’s how to get those sharp creases.

Bill Wootton’s ‘Iron Armour’

 

 

That’s how
to get those
sharp creases.

Katherine Stuart’s ‘Wolfing down’

 

Nurture sloshes unseen

into the wolfing-down soil

and our garden grows wildly

food out-competing the weeds.

Its nature wanting nothing more.

Rae Desmond Jones’ ‘In the 1970s’

 

I lived in the ground floor back room
Of an old terrace house when rent was cheap
& the place was full of old guys with a grog problem.

Every fortnight after pension day
They put in their money & I went
Down to the hotel for casks of cheap wine …

That night they’d stomp about
Fighting & yelling & chucking up until
The following day when I’d do it again
Until the money ran out.

That yellow gloss back room was separate
Where I lived with a rusty gas ring
But the ghost was a problem …

About once a week when I was asleep
He’d be there & I’d wake up -
It didn’t matter how many blankets
Or if I turned on the electric heater
It was frigid.
One night I saw a shape
Standing near the door like he wasn’t sure
He could come in so I got the idea
He was a timid sort of guy -
He moved close
To me but he was cold & looking
For a way to get in.

It felt too creepy so I went out & sat
In a warm coffee bar up the road
Then the next day I left – the old men
Were sorry so I told them what
Happened & Carl – a shell shocked
Veteran of the war in Africa – said they
Came to him too because it was boring
& they still can’t talk with Germans ….

 

Re Kenneth’s CAMBODIA

I wake up in a prison bed.

I wake up in a prison bed.

James Walton’s ‘Bathroom Selfie’

 

 

Some old bastard’s moved in

There when I wipe away the shower dew

All Why Is It So hair and no accent

Thinning with ridiculous spread to other parts

The Vulcan hand meld doesn’t faze him

He reaches back the same way

Pushing at the same point

Spreading my nose in a kiwi welcome mockery

Framed by faux verdant art deco

Leaning in to invisibility

The heave ho can’t touch him

No bum’s rush to grapple

And each morning his hirsutey ears are bigger.

 

Philip Hammial’s ‘Steppin’‘n’’stylin’

 

 

Writ on the run: for five dollar you can expect a pat,

nothing more; though I’d amend to:

He took to the wheel like a spider

to Little Miss Muffet & would be larder

if that honking in discreet liquids weren’t so

acrimonious, so hallowed be as we

bid adieu to that death pit tosser

come to haunt us with his threat

of Sacred Amputation (you won’t feel a thing). Fat

& soft now (gone those days of lean & mean) I’ve had it

with sacrifice for the common good while it sails on, the

Good Ship Psychosis with its natty crew of blind drunk

rappers rapping to Mozart’s Seventh. Seek

you more issue? Want to know why

we must to people fly? Why nanny men

must marry themselves? Why

there’s a rent in every skin? Speaking

of rent boys – if you have the floor

you have the knife. What you’d do for butchers

you’d best do for those Mayan kids about to be flayed

by that grumpy priest whose hand extended over time

hesitates to shake yours, & with good reason: They will

be back, the nacoms & this time these harbingers

of Yucatan Astonishment won’t take No

for an answer – Is not

our beest best? Yes, obviously & more

the manor you, & more the mooch, & more

the number that you pick (any number between

one & two) as you flag down a passing rickshaw

& skedaddle, your arrival at Beauty Ponds

perfectly timed: a sisterly pat from Muffet

who in your skin will dance for Xipe.

 

 

Kenneth Hudson’s ‘Cambodia’

 

 

I read Cambodia is full of ghosts.

Actually “Spirits of the dead”.

Are these exactly the same ?

My  head is often filled

with spirits of the dead.

Sometimes               when I sleep at night

ghosts creep out

and I wake up                    in a prison bed

white coats telling me :

You’re not well again.

 

 

Perhaps I’m really Cambodian ?

I shouldn’t read such things

before I go to bed.

 

 

Under the blankets

the dead of night.