Mars Needs Actresses
There again on an old movie
on late-night TV, those familiar blue eyes
and spattering of freckles across her nose!
Karen Allen, whatever happened to her?
And where did Ellen Burstyn go?
Did Roseanna Arquette vanish from her Beverly Hills home
leaving “Croatan” carved on a tree trunk?
After starring in all those DH Lawrence adaptations
did Glenda Jackson jump in a time machine
and travel to Mexico with Ambrose Bierce
or simply join Neal Cassady for a walk in the desert?
I miss Debra Winger’s funny nose and crooked eyes
as well as Margot Kidder, Molly Ringwald,
Penelope Anne Miller, and Adrienne Barbeau.
Maybe they’re cruising the Bermuda Triangle
on the Mary Celeste or sunning on a tropical beach
with Jimmy Hoffa. Maybe they took part
in a secret, government project
at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard or hijacked a plane
and parachuted over Washington state with the ransom.
When discussing why aging actresses disappear,
the simplest explanation is best.
UFOs! Alien abductions!
Mars needs actresses!
Two girls chalk a mandala
of green leaves and pink flowers
on the asphalt by a BART station.
A skinny kid with a Mohawk
carries his guitar into the sacred circle
and screams a Clash song.
A woman with a book of poems follows
but a homeless drunk pushes her aside
with a twenty-minute rendition of
“Suck my black dick!”
Welcome to San Francisco – sacred mandala of art and culture
refuge of stylish lesbians and Prius taxis
where a North Beach dog accompanies
a park-bench sax player with barks and growls
and the godfather of Chinese Tea
cajoles his patron over tiny cups
of Pu-Erh and High Mountain Oolong.
At the Zen Center a cholo jisha
with soul patch and baggy jeans
carries incense for a black-robed priest.
Panhandlers give high fives and broken-toothed smiles
to passersby who travel sidewalks that glitter
like the Milky Way.
San Francisco, whose lifeblood is money.
Smell it on the gray-haired man
who wears a twenty-year-old blond like a Rolex,
the kind of woman who’d turn her back
if I said hello.
Still, traces of old San Francisco remain.
Plodding up Powell Street Laura Linney
smiles at me while gasping for breath.
San Francisco, beautiful dream on the verge of self-destruction
where prices are not just steep but obscene
where restaurant bills shout, “Suck my black dick!”
and rents sell your mother into prostitution.
San Francisco, an escape from corporate America
affordable only by the masters of corporate America.
San Francisco, I love you but
only the rich can find refuge here.
Theory of Meaning
Insight turns its back on the predictable
(the cop show endings and fast food flavors –
all chase scenes, convictions, and high fructose corn syrup).
It faces the hot wind of entropy
blowing from the infinite space of wild ideas,
where Wanda’s promiscuity rides a unicycle
and the federal deficit scales an electric fence
in a blue raincoat. One false step
and meaning dissolves into gibberish
Is there an archipelago of meaning
each island surrounded by chaos
or does it lie in some massive continent?
Explorers go to sea in sloops and mystic caravels.
So many shipwrecked on city sidewalks
bumming change and arguing with imaginary rivals.
A few bringing gimmicks and gadgets
return to heroes welcomes.
simply disappear from our horizons.
I imagine them, their bliss complete,
on some new shore of understanding
The departing weekend
leaves a vague hollowness
like a mock chicken dinner
that strange concoction of gluten and MSG.
All my chores and obligations
completed. Cleaning, shopping
the practices and workshops,
that never-ending poetry reading
all rhyme and no meaning,
and the clogged roads that raise
blood pressure while wasting
The alarm will ring at 6:00 AM
to synchronize me with the gigahertz cycle
of American business.
My emotions malnourished
reaching for empty breasts
Vince Gilligan’s Island – an Alternate Breaking Bad Theme
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale.
A tale of a rich meth cook.
They found a spot upon his lung
That had a deadly look.
Walter White was a high-school-teaching man,
His body gravely ill.
His insurance was too cheap they say
To pay his doctor bills, to pay his doctor bills.
The chemo started getting rough.
His cookies he did toss.
If he could not bring in some cash.
His family would be lost. His household would be lost.
To pay for those big doctor fees he started making speed.
And Jesse too
The DEA and his wife
That wheelchair guy and Skyler White
In this mass of greed.
So Walt became a drug kingpin
With Hank Schrader on his tail.
He had to launder cash somehow
Or he would go to jail.
When Tuco tried to muscle in
It looked like Walt was done.
I don’t recall how Walt escaped
‘Cause it was season one. It was season one.
The bodies started piling up.
First Gabe, then Jane and Fring.
His catchphrase, “I’m the one who knocks,”
When Walter pulled the strings, when Walter pulled the strings.
Jesse started flipping out
And filled Walt’s home with gas.
Then Skyler took a kitchen knife,
Kicked Walt out on his ass.
I watched it every week, my friend.
The show ran quite a while.
A six-year run on AMC
Must make Vince Gilligan smile.