Friday, November 13, 2015

J. de Salvo over at the Oakland Review blog has written a review of my new collection of San Francisco Bohemian tales from the Reagan era, Poison and Antidote. Check it out.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

From Florence to "Frisco"

Fail-safe sun, bridges
and layers of time.
Wariness—we’re not all
Sweethearts here, either.
Rather cautious, taciturn.
“Shining our little flashlights
in your face.” Bay people,
peninsula people, half in,
as if poker were
our sport, sport.
One foot in noir
and the other
a surfer boy.
“You can’t be
from California,” she told me
a long time ago,
“you’re not blonde.”

San Francisco

Friday, July 24, 2015

Marine Layer

An eerie rayon rhino madly
rams any yellow armor,

airs his dry rinds
down here. Night falls

heavy on San Francisco.

San Francisco

Photograph by Debra A. Zeller.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Brautigan Streets

I close my eyes and try to walk the Brautigan streets of San Francisco, knowing full well that they’ve been sold to Silicon Valley for some time. It all started when they knocked down the oldest bar in town to build a prison block of cement condos as part of the Coca-Cola ballpark for that baseball team that no one had ever heard of before they accidentally won the World Series. Now they accidentally win the World Series every other year.

            Still, I can only sigh at San Francisco’s protracted suicide. Sadness and trespass and pride. And my own worst emotional flaw, nostalgia. Brautigan left me the streets but I did nothing to keep them clean. I expected poverty to do it for me, to put up more of a fight. But San Francisco, too, was complacent, unconcerned, and weak. Even now, it’s probably looking the other way while its pockets get picked once again.



Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Art of Combustion

Plain as the stone on your face.
Row your safety to napalm
notes, afraid as flame shrinking
from water ‘n’ crackling for air.

                                    There is a life
in chemical reactions. Raw materials
colliding, combusting, and accruing
sedimentary corrosion.

                                    Moving elements collide,
redefine neutrons in an atomic closet, abide
in particle performances and material matters—
The touch

                        Of Mark Pauline’s fingers,
caught between machines
and the nature of unstable
science’s elemental tenements,

                                     both positive
and negatively charged.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Glare of shoosh"

Glare of shoosh,
Din of protest, personal
and urgent, meaningless
shrieking babies. They know
life is miserable. But we learn
to smile, learn to love the living
hell in our loins, the dull ache
of solitude in the circle
of those who claim to have our back
and tell us we are not
fat. I am a fat fuck
,on an airplane, dreaming
of skewering the tiny larynx
of a baby with a prickly
plastic fork—unrepentant.

Munich-San Francisco, in transit

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Survived By

Heart strap
thread of renewal
blood through a mucus membrane
stop. it don’t stop
thread through a needle’s eye
wet throng of need
don’t ever stop
need, the relative
            pronoun implying possession

in the boom box
strung over shoulders
resent rhythms
life’s train
            don’t derail
            dare not stop
            taking ways


Sunday, April 12, 2015

"The view"

The view:
A point
Of turpitude

Perception. Heightened

Guerrilla / Indian
Visits the Vatican

A stylish


W/ doom
At dawn


In mission:


And away
                        We go.



There / not there
The word of place
Locus located
Tales collated in Lotus
Land, related
To others as in a grammar—
Locution forgetting particular
Placements for continuities
Associations inter coining
Phrases nor ever setting
Faces read through clouds
Moving across an interior sky


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Santa Maria Novella Station’s soft
Fascism: barricades, budella
Della tu’ ma’, bunkers
soldiers shouting through cellphones
at unlistening travelers.
Everyone runs from the trumpet
the mayor’s thugs shove
up our ass. The city’s visiting card:
a boot stamping on a human
face for eternity, Florence,
Your humanism is the worst sham
A travel agent ever sold.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Coming up on St. Patrick's Day at St. Mark's English church in Florence: I will be reading, accompanied by drumming, sounds, and music!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Now that I have seen Boniface"

Now that I have seen Boniface
In his niche at Orvieto
Along the solitary thread of Italy’s
Appennino, of Pasolini’s imagined
Homeland and its search for the meaning
Of material history, of Dante’s “serva
Italia,” anyone’s date for a buck…

Now that Edward Snowden’s
Contribution to free speech
Has been eclipsed by dirty
Cartoons (of the prophet’s anus)

And Nietzsche has eaten
His own feces in the absence
Of a living God, and the best of us
—in this first world bubble in which I travel—
are only marking time

‘til things get better, putting
our faith in struggles so personal
they are all but invisible
on the outside—even in Orvieto
on its tufa-stone island
high above the floodplain of the Paglia

like a rudderless rock lost
in a sea of millennia, all
its secrets sunk in caves
hidden beneath the day-
to-day business of business…

now that I know nothing
shows on the outside, nothing
is real—between the intention
and the act—I’m more or less happy
to lay down my belief
in the concept of “a future.”