the LA river

Looking at the LA river

now, smelling it

more than I can see it.

There’s a pigeon

down there, drinking

down there, bathing itself

in whiskey and piss—

probably blood even.

Who knows really?

It could be the purest water

in the world, but I guess

only a choice few

will get the opportunity.

While the rest of us

get coffee, Dasani

and whatever else

man feeds the birds.

L.A. River

Like Wicker Passed Round Midnight’s Mass

I dare not blame the 14 Hands

for feelings I have felt

Where midnight and I meet

the moon’s shadow can’t dispel

In daylights saving grace

I justly feel that I have felt

like wicker passed round midnight’s mass

each hand is doleful dealt

Call me crystal and I’ll make this clear

Call me crystal and I’ll make this clear

The world’s your oyster, won’t you be a dear?

Remember us, when you’re famous

Such a dangerous manifestation

Bite the bullet trigger happy kid

They said break a leg behind closed eyelids

Opportunity, don’t blow it

You’re a shooting star, now show it

Call me Ishmael cause I am drowning quick

Wailing never got you through the thick

What more could we ask for?

Through closed doors

Another kid’s born in the grave

By the third day he’ll be saved

Another wick is burnt too late

Just one more spirit and you’ll feel great

Wipe the Chalice, next in line to drink

Every word has meaning, child

who’s never’d time to blink

that old hotel

Each drive cross country

I’ve laughed, I have

Cried

Sang

Danced

Purged

Prayed

Lost and

Loved.

Etcetera,

etc…

So if you decide

to drive across state lines,

could you do me a solid?

Stop in Fayetteville.

See if that old hotel

is still standing,

the one I first told her I loved her,

—bedbugs and us—

before sleep took her away

and that cheap wine

nursed me tender

til morning’s

cruel light.

But how will you know

that old hotel? Well,

it’s just like all the rest now

I’m sure, remodeled to dust.

Another ghost among the many,

love’s whisper in the wind.

—karma’s a bitch—

I woke up today

glad that I did

with crippling

back pain and

Tylenol fix

but as I sit here now

heat pack in place

hardly able to walk

drink without chase

—karma’s a bitch—

but I’m glad I woke up

if just now to say

I’m glad I woke up

regardless the pain.

Just the right amount

Just the right

amount of whiskey

can make a poor man rich

and a rich man poor

it all just depends on

who’s asking for more.

Cleanse

You should cleanse, she said.

Pouring my whiskey

neat

Well that’s what I’m doing, I told her.

Giving me a knowing glance

that one’s on me, she said.

And this one, I told her

is on them,

pointing at our reflection behind the bar.

She thought that was funny.

Laughing together

was enough.

affliction or redemption

What’ll it be

said the man

on the stand

to the reflection

looking very grim

sunken eyes

of redemption

come on come on

choose our next addiction

this time though

be aware

aware of my remission

I know I know

what fun is there in that

hell why don’t we find out

it’s either or perhaps

I’ve given you the right

that now I’m taking back

the will to fight the urge

I know that’s what I lack

so taking down the mirror

with no one staring back

the man poured the reflection

with ice into his glass

he calmly took a sip

one more than another

and when the glass was empty

to him it did not bother

just one more

thought the man

understanding his reflection

it’s up to you to choose

affliction or redemption.

the drink and the man

It’s not the drink

that kills the man

it’s the man

that kills the man

like an unbiased observer

the drink is just company

waiting for the man

to either come to his senses

or drink a little more.