randy


road.
impossibly there that car
i can avoid just keep moving
it freezes like a deer
don’t. stop. there.

bang sky flying silence.
slowly slowly it turns and turns
no ground beneath its black wheels
aerial dancing seat over wheels over seat
it is beautiful but should not be there

silent acrobatics i look up
from the ground
and sound is switched on
cars yelling and people screeching to a halt
don’t move why not?

the frozen-like-deer is dented and smeared
and she does not know what to do does not know what to do
don’t move oh my god
but i can’t get up
something
isn’t
working

wails and flashing lights a big white box arrives
and randy is somehow there
look at this look at that don’t close your eyes
why can’t i stop shaking
randy looks sick but why
they cover me and lift me and set me down

randy says i’ll go with him
doesn’t ask permission
and jumps in with them and me
look at this look at that don’t close your eyes
wails and flashing lights
white box moves too slowly

i
go

methodical voices not alarmed
not understood
but recorded computed slotted into place
questions abbreviated into statements
by their reckoning i am not there

numbness i can not see them
body owned and manipulated by others
strange pullings
wet sounds
methodical voices not alarmed
saying this probably won’t work

again i go
but wander back after a time
because
because
i am curious

strange smell bad taste
strange room focuses itself around me
nobody greets my return
strange woman in white
gets the man with the unalarmed voice
and trustworthy manner

he tells me what they’ve done
and why
foot to hip, plastered and wrapped

and then
family mother brothers
saying stupid things
and not-my-father who thinks he told me so
fuck off i think but he doesn’t know

the white box man checks on me
where’s randy

patriarch asks what I want
and I tell him
and eventually it is so but that is much later

now i get metal sticks to hold and use
in lieu of leg
i am rolled out

later i see randy finally
his always-worried eyes still worried
even smiling through some unknown hurt
perhaps the world’s i don’t know
how are you doing

i can’t tell you
how you were the only one of them
who did something
who showed me what a friend does
who didn’t have anything better to do
or a post to watch that was more important

where are you
now?

For long missing friend, Randy Goodman. You know what this is about.
16 January 2011, Los Angeles

nuclear family


when you were alive
you were the nucleus
at the center of a fabulously complex atom
that formed a molecule distinct, unique
indestructible

or so we thought
but perhaps nothing is so lasting
and you ended
energy transferred to other states
unfocused and lost to the system

chain reaction, fission
collision and disintegration
subatomic bickering
as like-charged particles repelled from each other

even the tiniest quark believes
the universe exists for its benefit
and each one of them
is correct

18 January 2011, Los Angeles

her


the picture shows a different me
a different her
from any i well remember

she sits, smiling but wooden
this is not her
i stand, smiling, bespectacled
this is not me

no. she is tall and robust
rustic and domestic
food, household chores
the care of sons, daughters, cousins, sisters, brothers, grandchildren
this is her

this chair-bound person is not her
this man is not me

ninety-nine years she counted
bereft of her life’s labor and love for seventeen of those years
eight of her nine siblings having gone before
she finally laid down her head
in the care of a daughter

she who taught us to swim
who took us to markets
who made the spaghetti and brownies that will never be matched
who sheltered us, even though we didn’t know it then
who almost never remembered our names, for there were many, many children
who never left behind the ways of the farm on which she was raised
far to the north

this is her

25 January 2011, Los Angeles

A Bad Week


It’s a bad week.
First, Joan died.
Strange Joan, who once, in her long-ago younger days,
Met Jack Kerouac in a diner.

Larry found her, dead, in his studio.
He had brought his mother
To show her the place.

Now, Larry, who may as well be my brother, is in the hospital.
Jessica, his daughter, says he may have a had a heart attack…
A while ago.

Steve, Jessica’s boyfriend and my brother, was beaten up.
In a movie theater.
For asking a guy not to text during the movie.

Heela, friend to us all,
Says any day now
All our money will be valueless
And to invest in Iraqi dinar.

And it’s only Wednesday.
Shit.

4 February, 2011, Los Angeles

Broken


“something’s wrong,” the thought intrudes
and sits as if to stay
then cocks its head and looks amused
and waits for me to say,
“oh, really? And what would that be?”
but I already know
that more was broken, on that day
than we would ever show

broken, yes, I must admit
with scars that will not mend
because it was impossible
that it should ever end.
and yet, with shattered, scattered bits
of both our misplaced hearts,
we’ve each assembled just enough
to make do with these parts.

but now, with souls that are not whole
we seek for what we lack,
and hope that somehow in this way
we’ll find a passage back.
some way, a path, to love complete
without remorseful  sighs.
“Something’s wrong,” the thought repeats,
“i see it in your eyes.”

19 January 2011, Los Angeles

the third tone


[my homage to the little known fact that when two pure tones are played together, a third tone is produced, which is the difference in the frequencies of the two original tones. And, perhaps, meaning something even more.]

a stray note wandered, lost in thought
across the starry night
and silence met its plaintive voice
for no sound was in sight

across the vasty deeps it thrummed
a wave through aether stirred
a dimly heard harmonic call?
imagination, blurred?

a wave, perhaps somewhat like me?
a voice, a note, a sound
some other tone to mix with mine!
and so its thoughts went ‘round

a voice at last, it came upon
a fragile thing at best
the errant note made harmony
for wasn’t that its quest?

a fragile start, but soon resolved
into the shimmering chord
of voice and timbre unrestrained
of joy and bliss that roared

Into the void it flooded out
the purest sound dispersed
vibration filled the empty space
as joy and light traversed

the purest sound, yet something more:
for newer notes appeared
three, then four, and on it went
infinity, unfeared
11 January, 2011, Los Angeles