Friday, May 20, 2011

NIGHT TRAIN


for Phyllis Hyman

What distant cry is this,
what drifting moan,
whose tasseled scarf
of turquoise colored notes
caresses the dark arms
of dusk?
Then floats and trails,
rippling silver as scales
or stones awash and
polished in a sonic stream
that bobs the head
and taps a tempted toe.
Wends sibilant seduction
in its flow,
vanishing
towards the morning
like a dream.
Phyllis,
your whistling lips
pouted with flair,
and slowly brushed
the naked neck
of night
with a sound,
hi-hatted in harmony,
that soared.
Your short solo
of hard earned air
dipped and bewitched
as it fluttered;
a kite
tugging on its cord
that too soon,
broke free.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PSALMS 98.5 FM

5 Send shoutouts to the DJ upon the mic
upon the mic and in the voice of an Emcee.
6 With turntables and the sounds of scratching
give mad props to the DJ, the GrandMaster.
7 Let the crowd roar, and the fulness thereof;
the club, and they that dance therein.
8 Let the dancers clap their hands:
let the strobe lights flash together
9 before the Almighty DJ;
for surely he cometh
to rock the house:
with a righteous rhythm
shall he rock the house,
and boost the bass with EQ.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

THE BOOK OF RHYMES

From Jump street was the Rhyme,
and the Rhyme was with the Creator,
and the Rhyme was the Creator.
It was with the Creator off the break.
Through it all lines were spit;
without it nothing was spit that has been spit.
In it was Flow,
and that Flow was the rhythm of all peoples.
The rhythm echoed in the silence,
and the silence could not subdue it.
There was an MC sent from the Creator
whose name was Rakim Allah.
He became an Emcee to manifest that Flow,
so that through him all might hear.
He himself was not the Flow;
he came only to manifest the Flow.
The illest Flow that gives pulse to all parties,
that rocks the place to be.
He blessed the mic, and though the mic was blessed by him,
the mic did not recognize him.
He came to those who were his peoples,
but all his people didn't feel him.
Yet to all who did feel him,
to those who recognized the Flow,
he gave the ability to bob to the beat—
beats born not of a live instrument,
nor of a wax record or a crossfader,
but born of the Creator.
The Rhyme became flesh and kicked it among us.
We therefore check the technique,
the technique of the one and only Emcee,
who came from the Father,
no joke, to make the mic smoke.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

THE AUDUBON IN YOU

Your egrets land after the sun goes down,
whirling on the evening wind
wide as the smile of a winking woman,
whose lipstick is a deadly sin,
yet shines like an Archangel's conscience.
Your egrets are long-beaked,
fish the cloudy marsh of your conscience,
they do not eat like Herons,
their hunger will not be sated
by any multicaloric act of contrition.
Your egrets are sacred, but will not sit
pretty on the head like
your grandmother's Sunday hats.
Your egrets caw as they claw the water's skin,
caws sharp as the teeth of a tiger shark.
Your egrets are not an endangered species,
they rise plumed like geysers in moonlight
and multiply like mathematicians from MIT.
You recall the words that hatched
many of your smaller egrets
as they surround your squeaky bed at night
with their rapid knee-high cries
Your biggest egret tosses its head
like a woman you never asked to marry you.
You sometimes wonder as they
strut about in their long-legged gait;
how they fly so far on those thin white wings,
how they maintain such perfect memories,
why you feed them so religiously every night?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

THE DANTE IN YOU

A rose
blooms from
open throats,
moves through tongues
pink and purple,
meaning
rising in yourself,
but beyond you:
shrouded forms
spiritual as mist
floating across a river,
variables in
an equation of flame.
A psalm
swirling sideways,
notes taken or not,
silence taken
advantage of.
Because prayer is
a tongue trying
to trust lips and teeth,
cowed,
yet called
by rising or open vowels
to Amen,
you hear the hymn
of her tattooed ankle,
arched eyebrow
and scarred lip.
You believe
exquisitely as a long kiss
in all the ways
Tongues can twist
and wonder if
the molten music
of your mouths
can be held
as Communion.

THE O’HARA IN YOU

You want No Limit,
which of course means
you are standing in front
of the Borgata’s poker room
waiting for an open seat,
as G.S. passes by;
and it’s a Thursday
(which is her Monday),
and she is walking as though
carrying something heavy
(albeit not in her hands),
and you think you hear her sigh,
and recall Lonnie
(whom she might not know)
not Lonnie who was always
pawning his wedding band
so he could feed the penny slots
or Lonnie from The Hill
who always seemed to be
half a slice short
of a sandwich,
but Lonnie from
'Lonnie's Lament'
(and here she
cocks her head and
wrinkles her nose
saying "Who?")
mostly because whatever blew
his rain so sideways
inspired John William to put
a saxophone between his lips
and blaze a lamentation
which matches
her Monday motion,
a wistful grace
with piano lines almost
lengthy as her legs
and a bassline that
plunges like her hair
when she combs it
into a black Niagra,
which she can't know
makes you wish
you could spend
the rest of your days
naked and trembling
in a wooden barrel,
falling forever through
its obsidian mist.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE BASHō IN YOU

light drizzle
glosses the Boxwood leaves-
her lips

Hair flying
as she swirls away-
April breeze

Iron span
rising across the river-
a bare spine

Waitresses' smile-
splash of blackberry brandy
in evening tea

April night
this meteor shower-
her laughter

rainy darkness-
lingering on her tongue
Licorice

Cowrie shell
shining in her dreadlocks-
The North Star

Saturday, May 07, 2011

THE BUKOWSKI IN YOU

When the last pile of chips
gets shipped the other way,
when your wallet gapes
like the mouth of
a two-coated man prone
on a park bench;
what else is there to do
but stagger out of
the Taj Mahal's poker room
and return to the shadows
of an empty womb,
then curl up like
the last macaroni
stuck to a paper plate?
You sense even the women
cleaning under the tables
and dumping the trash's last odors
wouldn't sweep you
into their dusty pans.
The red deck, the blue deck,
the shuffle machine,
have conspired to
make you feel like
the darkness under
the dealer's manicured nails,
his Rolex stopped to watch.
Damn. Damn. Damn.
Everything you touch stutters.
You can't remember
what singing sounded like
before the Ace of Hearts
punctured your last lung,
can't feel your buddy
tapping your shoulder
asking "How much you down"?
You remember the elevator
ride to your room,
39 floors of sunk stomach
before the white scowl
of a towel spread across
the bathroom floor.
Suppose you were nothing
but a hand towel
in a $49 motel?
Suppose you lived
to lick beads of brightness
from a working girl's back,
but all you had
was parched lips
and a swollen tongue?
That's why whiskey
clings to the bottle,
slight burn in the beginning,
then oak smooth and
polished as an expensive casket,
that's why when
the last card turns,
whatever you hear
sounds like a bullet.
More so if you dig
digging in moist earth.
Even more so, if
you're a not a gardener
or a man in a straw hat
wanding the beach for beeps.
You're addicted to
the dance of the Blue deck,
but also to the way
the Red deck parts like
a pair of painted lips.
You're addicted to
to knowing that even
a gypsy psychic
can't find your card first,
no matter how far she
follows a palm's
rugged grooves
like wood grain.
You're addicted to
knowing the cards love
no one
but the next hands
to hold them.
Is there anything
sexier than
putting it all-in and
having the moment
Morse code thru your veins?
Anything sexier
than the way
desperation's dress
hugs her hips ?
That's why you return,
why you tease your chair
to the table's edge
and post a blind bet,
why you peel the corner
of your hole cards
like they're prosperity's
last pair
of good panties.

Friday, May 06, 2011

May Haiku/Senryu and 7 Word Poems.

Gonna try to keep the momentum I started in April by writing at least 15 haiku or Senryu during May. 30 is too much pressure, but 15 is doable without me having to churn out crap just to meet a quota.

Midnight
meteor shower-
her laughter

New moon-
the unturned
calendar

crow
powerline
Nikes

Fresh snow-
"Taeshaun" dripping down 
a brick wall


Two planes  Two Towers  Fire raining

pinging
in the Beggar's cup-
April rain

Blue buoy
Bobbing in the surf-
my son's smile

SEVEN WORD POEMS

Time to
learn a language.
Her tongue.

Just above
the overturned chair.
Inmate's feet.

Under her
nails. Enough skin
to hex.

Trembling urge 
of this needle-
spill ink

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

THE AL-KHWARIZMI IN YOU

There's an algebra
for all of it:
the windmills
behind the casino
turning their giant Xs
into late night whys,
the moon's curvature
like a midnight calculus,
the tide rising
into the asymptotic
longing of a line.
Even for the arc
of a brand new
table tennis paddle
that your sweaty hand
now grips
or the velocity of the balls
(larger than they've
ever been)
spinning across the net
between your namesake
and your imagination.
Where he,
still a baby
burps and sighs
asleep in a crib.
The trajectory
seeming derivative,
almost always
of the desire.
Two Greek letters
on different sides
of an equation,
each ciphering
the other,
each signifying
an absence
by their italicised presence.
Daddy, Daddy,
don't you know
I miss you,
his sigh says.
He rests his head
on the hollow
of your chest.
Asks when
are you coming back?
There's an algebra
for all of it.
What you've
done with the days
since you left,
what you tried to do,
or might have tried,
had you correctly
solved for all the variables,
though you had
no slope to graph,
no slide to rule them.
A gulf
with no echoes
for answers.
As he whispered
to you once,
his lips are
an empty set now.
Two brackets
attempting an embrace
because kisses,
however long ago,
count and multiply
in the abacus of memory.
Moments that
can only approximate
an algorithm.
There's an algebra
for all of it,
the floating
function of the seagulls,
the breaking
but unbroken waves,
the ghostly geometry
of the foam.
Perhaps even
for how two pairs
of footprints,
non-linear as any equation
whose notation
haunts the horizon,
might solve
all this sand
between them.