To Clean Up My Act

 To Clean Up My Act
How do I decreep myself?
Always leaping from the dead president's
opera box shouting wild eyed liberties
to the snoring audience only to hide
in the burning barns of unkind farmers.
I long to dance at the V.F.W. and wake
to the sound of plastic bells, to punch
the clock like Joe and Louie, lugging
the news with scrambled eggs all over
my teeth, but along the smell of burning
whale flesh fouls my sleep and every blear
eyed bum about the streets is Abraham
looking for a tenth; if not normal,
at least happy, to motor behind jet
shopping carts down the stainless aisles
of meat foods, nodding to the asparagus
and the butcher's wife as well, to breeze,
a flawless specimen through auto‑inspection,
but to me the grid heart roads gag
a sigh of sexy green moan and only the naked
trees reach wide enough for their share
of the sky; plod and tromp, go and stop, left
turn right, asleep at night, a rational,
dependable, completely regular fool am I.

Paracelsus Walked Along the Forest Floor

 Paracelsus Walked Along the Forest Floor
and heard the evening's many mouths
chattering in the twilight. From the crown of the oak,
the sunset's final gold spilled gently
gracing the low mumble of the moss.
He knelt reverently before the oak;
his gilded gripping roots clutching the soil and high up his crown
spreading for the wind's mingle and the last lights of day.
"A king is a king" thought the alchemist.
And a fine veil of rain drifted across the plant life,
glowing the yellow bulbed flowers yellow
and far off the darkness lay close
to the soil creeping in and around the plant life.
The old man ran his bony fingers
through his hair and gathered moisture
there as an odd creature stepped into
a silver stream of light.
He had hairy thighs and a long
sharp tail and his hoofed feet
scratched at the dirt.
He doffed a gentleman's hat and said,
"You know me old man,
 I am He that isn't."
And the old man knew
or thought he did and said,
"You are Satan."
And the creature laughed
a boyish laugh and kicked
his hoofs about,
"No, old fool, no, I am Pan."

What’s urgent, is that

 “What's urgent, is that
a certain dignity is maintained,
if you will, a degree
of taste, amidst this decline
of quality."
  "The fall
of romance, really."
"Nothing less," she agreed
sipping sherry
(The black-tie bartender smiled, having secretly spit in her glass.)
"I feel
it," she said, "as if
it were a gravity on
the truly creative
of the world."
"The difference,"
he said, "is in the choice
between the tawdry
and the elegant and that's
what separate the classes
and, of course, Money."
"Yes, money," she said.

O elegant image

 O elegant image
nation, come back
again in shades of blue.
I'm a fool for
you only, o leather
stocking, casey
jones and tug
boat annie
too. Inventing
skystar sub
marines and
global ben
zedrines, I'm
a fool, I'm a fool
for you only this
is no joke, the
of your inventions
breaks my singing
heart and I long
to lay in a green
lyre laziness
and ballad your ladies,
your baseball
and bombs.

State Song

 State Song
for the honorable William J. Higginson
Bordered by rivers east and west, the Ramapo
Mountains to the north and the Delaware Memorial
Bridge to the south, home of the nation's best pizza
and poets; too many pinball and linoleum counters
to mention and these are the boardwalks of heaven
where kids in cutoffs drop coins into flashy
electrical altars, flipper slam balls to light
the eyes, ring the buzzers, bells of televised
death struggles as the coasters careen
over an ocean whose percentage of sewerage
is exceeded by none in the world. Here in Jersey
were happy as pigs swimming in shit and have
metal detectors checking our sands for a quarter
and even beyond to the Turnpike's Vulcanic dream
where the majestic Pulaski Skyway pulses
against the orange sky of flashing fire,
O Kansas eat your heart out, Missouri show me
better and California we manufacture the blonde
bleach which glorifies your beach's bums.
Sayreville, New Jersey's the home
of the Hercules Chemical Plant, New Jersey's
the home of millions of plants, so love us
America, we are the Garden State.

Crossing The Hall

 Crossing The Hall
to the common john, yellow
light, white brown‑lit tiles, face
to face with an old wall. How many
before me, standing here pants a bag
zeroing in on this ceramic wall all
bronze green with the passage
and have jiggled flipped and zipped
it all away; a timeless gesture.
Tired, beaten, bent back me
scrubs its hands and lamenting looks
to the scratchy mirror and there
completely unexpected, my face all young
and hopeful, like finding Marian
in the garden mourning the loss of me
before rows of wet blue flowers.

New York air’s aggressive slow

 New York air's aggressive slow
creeping, creeping through my hair as corrosion
creeps through cranking pipes and creeping
through the work week I rise with Monday's
shadow of a bomber on the land to Tuesday's
come and gone when Wednesday breaks the work
week's back and snap till Thursday's
counted cash and all is panting Friday
Friday's strutting street night blue
and sleeping all the live long afternoon
till Sunday comes and sordid
organ tunes come drifting
through the window laughing
time, lamenting Monday.

21.6 Violent Acts Per Hour

 21.6 Violent Acts Per Hour
On 3rd Avenue, a ragged man
stopped, turned
and lifted
his fists as if holding a pistol
and fired three imaginary shots
through my face in dead earnest.
I walked on by, leaving
some part of myself, back there
in the street, blood
streaming from my head;
dead in his own private television.
For every minute
of human history the dinosaur
reigned 40 years
and far from here
on a snow covered tract
the Pentagon lies silently,
love in ruin;
   a star of stone.

The Electoral Process

 The Electoral Process
The masses are gangrene
and gaseous, vague
twisting sad and turning
round to swing
"the bastards," mumbles
stumbles grabs
a stick and stalking
wants some more
more and lost
it shakes
its heads
to cry and
sees a single figure
rising through the static
a man...
the promise
of a man,
banjo pure
and clean
as smiling snow
white like a brand new bed sheet
a president
articulating frustrations
into laser points of anger

In The Bunker

 In The Bunker
With the press and senate
pounding down the door,
it was a time for close friends.
Careful eyes, close hands,
cool as a stick of Airwick,
Kissinger said nothing
as red digital
ran through Haig's brain
Little Nixon
filling his awful hands
with tears, prayers
and snot.