The weather forecast called for clear sunny skies
And there was not a problem--
not a worry on my mind,
And looking up at the morning blue
there wasn't a cloud
not a single cloud in the sky
And it looked as if--
as if the words, "It's a beautiful day,"
"It's a beautiful day,"
were actually true.
But then, out of the blue
like a car accident
a sudden illness
or a drive-by shooting
black clouds raced in
and suddenly the sky grew dark
and a strong wind blew
just before the rain--
a cold rain came pouring down.
And I found myself caught--
caught in the rain again.
There was no place to take shelter
couldn't find any refuge
no structure, no arms of another.
All I could do
was to stand there
and take it --
take it like a man
or, as best--
as best as I can.
And my clothes stuck
stuck to my skin.
my shoes in a puddle.
my mind confused and
And all the puddles
made a stream
and the stream turned into a river
an the river turn into a sea
a turbulent ocean of panic.
my eyes couldn't see--
couldn't see even two feet in front of me
And there was no explanation
for this current situation.
only that I was caught
caught in the pouring rain
Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you
Sweetness breathes lightly beside me tonight,
Honored lips, color red with kissed delight,
Forgotten songs stir, and play with desire's intentions,
And smiles take on new meaning.
Embellished words in silence, almost spoken.
Such moments were gone before we even got started.
Smiles cruelly broken,
crimson fell dark.
Sweet songs lied
and we were left to die,
in suffocating times.
Love banished and tenderness a crime.
Like the Catholic priest who thought he had mastered
sexual intercourse by studying the Vatican Manual,
everything you know about economics you learned
by counting frozen mackerel on your husbands fishing
Likewise skills acquired driving the kids to subzero
hockey games and reheating Tupperware containers
of leftover meatloaf, will stand you in good stead when
it comes to shepherding ten trillion dollar budgets through
Congress or advising the President how to reorganize
Experience is no laughing matter.
Next comes metaphysical certainty.
God made the world in six days and doesnt want men
Your whiny hog caller voice sounds like poetry, at least
to the Puritanical base who love your manly fortitude.
Then theres the school teacher glasses topped by the
librarian beehive which go along nicely with your plan
to solve Americas energy shortage by pipeling the National
Parks and obliterating the polar bear.
In the same vein, blasting moose in the back forty qualifies
you to negotiate a political settlement between Shia and
Sunni as well as head the Six Party Talks to denuke North
True youve never met the head of a foreign power, but
the Russian coast is visible from Alaska and you read about
Jack Shellac in the funny papers.
And just like the notorious Bridge to Nowhere which you
opposed then favoured then came out for and against,
we know you will apply the same sensible decisiveness to
health care, mass transportation and illegal immigration.
So God speed, Sarah.
Dont let the liberals and media deflect you from your divine
mission to save the nation and spread creationism.
Tokyo, Saturday, 09/20/08
Photo: Man on a Rhode Island beach, September 2008 jz
A slick pullout from the local paper. Ads on tv.
Its July. Its August. Summer sales time. Back to school time. Time
to buy a new backpack. Get organized. Get connected. Be successful.
Look. Its the Big Bang. Its a Black Hole. Its our 37th Annual Summer
Liquidation Sale. Here come Adam and Eve. Here comes the Scientific
Revolution. Here comes Happy Hour. The Hydrogen Bomb. Our
Fireball End of Days Summer Blowout Extravaganza.
Its September. Its October. Fall Sales Time. Political campaign season.
Time for Super Buys on Luxurious Leather Sofas. Time for electoral
buffoonery. For Swiftboating. Instant Rebates. Red-baiting. Time for
flagwaving. No monthly payments. Fag-bashing. Lazy-boy recliners.
Time for wedge issues and code words. Dressers and Queen-size
Days are getting shorter. Dead leaves cover the ground. Are you
unhappy? Dissatisfied? Well cheer up. Because its Harvest Sales Time.
Record Breaking Savings. Heres an aluminum patio set. Theres a
Revolving Door Ad. Try our Cocomo bamboo place mats. How about a
sex scandal? Nothing down. Some toxic tabloid rumours. No interest.
A totally dishonest distortion. No payments for fifteen months.
Its November. Its December. Election Time. Christmas Sales Time.
Theres lies, untruth, half-truths, false accusations. Theres colored lights
in the malls. Theres questioned loyalty and kneejerk patriotism. A Jesus
manger scene at City Hall. Hate-speech and McCarthyism. Check out our
rock bottom prices. Dont miss out on reverse victimization. See our Back
Page for Special Power Buys. Try our money politics, collapsible laundry
sorters, fear mongering, fully loaded Subaru.
Media fills my mind. I drink websites. I breathe emails. I stand in line for
the latest ipod. Everythings moving. In play. Everybody wants everything.
More and more. Right now. Anybody can do anything. Everythings really
important. Nothings real. Nothing matters.
Its January. Its February. Theres white nights. Tremendous savings.
Im trying to understand. Time for our Everything Must Go After-
Christmas Final Clearance Sale. I read McLuhan. Do I need 70 percent
off prehung French doors? I study Mao Tse Tung. Test drive a fuel-
efficient SUV. I listen to Newt Gingrich. Arrange for a No-Obligation
In-Home Free Demonstration.
Whats happened to organized religion? Is your hair-dye causing cancer?
Whats gone wrong with music, medicine, responsible journalism? Come
on over. Paris was partying hard at a Vegas club. Pick a payment. Think
outside the box. No sales person will call.
Its March. Its April. March Madness. Easter. The Final Four. Hanukkah.
Time to hit the Winter Clearance Sales. Time to defend freedom. Buy a
snow blower. Bring light to the darkness. Buy storm windows. The white
Time for our Incredible April Fools Mix & Match Spring Spectacular. Buy
a gas barbecue. Receive absolutely free, a guaranteed money-back
targeted assassination. Get a Home Theatre Full HD Plasma TV. Choose
either domestic democracy or a hard-line in-your-face foreign policy.
Its May. Its June. Time for vox populi. Time for our Pre-Summer One-
Time-Only Spectacular Blowout Sale. Time to level with the masses.
For hand-trimmed sirloins. For honesty and openness. Delicious center-
cut pork chops. Headbagging and offshore rendition. Time for healthy
outdoor living. For fake compassion and phony glad-handing.
Who wants to see how sausage is made? The blemish on Miss Universe?
Dont worry. Go shopping. Dont miss our Fabulous Giant Out-the-Door
June Inventory Sale. Take advantage of our intolerant religious ranting.
A 24-Pack of Coors Lite. The disappearing rule of law. Fifty percent off
Tokyo, Friday, 09/12/08
Oh say did you see
the Obama's democratic acceptance speech.
his acceptance speech on TV?
There was the unlikely candidate standing solo
behind the podium
With the media focusing only on "the historic moment":
the first Afro-American to win the nomination
of a major political party.
It was all set in such a perfect picture-fame
a stadium filled with screaming Obama supporters
Behaving more like exuberant fans of a celebrity
than voters for this presidential wanna-be.
There was patriotic white and blue plastered everywhere
Camera angles trained on his two cute kids
and his attractive wife with her darkie smile
And white-haired Joe Biden
all cheering him on.
As Obama spoke
And I too drank from the Kool aid cup
the words that Obama served up in Pepsi Stadium
He inspired like Kennedy,
Dreamed like Martin Luther King.
And I thought the best line--
the best line of his speech was:
"We had --
We had ENOUGH."
We've had enough of the past disastrous 8 years of Bush, Cheney and their crony friends.
We certainly have all had enough, haven't we?
Just look at the war in Iraq
America' position the world
and the economy.
Obama's speech left me with hope
However, I have more hope that Obama can inspire change
than any change he can actually deliver.
To quote: "Change doesn't come FROM Washington,
it comes TO Washington."
And it hasn't been in a very long time
a very long time--
even if only for that brief time during Obama's speech
I became less cynical--
less cynical about America
and about the future
For a brief time, I could feel good.
And If Obama does win the presidential election
Whether his is an Afro-American or half-white
His real job as President--
President of the Untied States of America
will not be that of Commander in chief of the Armed Forces
but to make that good feeling--
that good feeling of change and hope--
and make that good feeling
they rise up--
rise high up scraping the sky.
City after city,
Testimonies to expanding population
From afar, high-rise buildings appear as peaks--
peaks where heaven and earth should meet.
But up close, they are just, just compositions--
compositions of glass and gray concrete.
And the mountains
they too rise from earth towards the sky.
But instead of our scaling--
our scaling to new heights,
we prefer to look down.
We are willing to settle . . .
settle for picking up pennies--
only the pennies lying on the ground.
The constant stream of headlights invades--
invades my eyes
like sharp razors in the night.
One by one, as the cars keep racing by,
But their red taillights remind me--
only remind me of the days--
the days of my life
which have already passed--
so quickly passed by.
And when I look up, every cloud that I see
every cloud's sliverlining is just another--
is merely just another shade of gray.
the night of Nothingness is all--
is what I see.
And there's nothing beyond--
nothing beyond what only appear to be pin holes--
pin holes of light in a black sea.
Finding comfort in nothingness
With no need to believe--
no need to believe in anything,
no need to believe in anything.
Don't tell me why YOU should be the next President.
I don't care if you are young or old,
a man, woman, black, or Hispanic.
Just look around,
the world is in a friggin' panic.
Damn straight! We don't need another "leader,"
a so-called leader,
another four years of taking this country to hell--
to hell in a basket.
Don't tell me about the God damn War,
whether to stay in Iraq or to withdraw.
Don't tell me that unless we somehow win this thing,
terrorists will be knocking at our doors.
No more raising red alerts,
No more spreading fear,
cuz we're not buying into your story--
into your bullshit story any more.
And don't tell me about God.
Don't fill me with "God Bless America,"
and that "We are the greatest country on earth."
And don't wave no flag
of red, white, and blue in my face.
Because every group has their own piece of cloth
Whether it's green, yellow, black or purple
a cloth to display their cause
or their faith.
The last time I looked around
the world was blue and round
and we are all brothers and sisters--
brothers and sisters of this puny planet
we all call Earth.
Tell me how you're gonna do it
Tell me your plan--
Your plan for all the people having enough to eat
and clean water--
enough for everyone to drink.
And don't tell me that global warming is to blame.
For the devastating hurricanes,
massive floods, colossal forest fires,
We're not all stupid,
You don't have to be Einstein or Al Gore to figure it out.
Look at the friggin highways and the rush hour traffic.
I wonder why
if everyone is in such a rush then why --
why aren't the cars moving
instead of idling in long lines sitting still?
Meanwhile, oil keeps pumping
and blood keeps flowing.
To the you the truth,
I don't care if cars run on corn
or on horse manure.
If we are so addicted to oil,
tell me how we are going to kick--
kick this bloody habit
So tell me
tell me how--
how you plan to make the air and the oceans clean.
And show me that you've got some guts:
I want hear the plan
for kicking the oil producers and oil companies
in the nuts.
And don't tell about how we are so "Free."
Don't point to the Statue of Liberty.
That you've got to take your shoes off
if you want to go see.
And don't tell me about our strong economy
because I don't want to buy--
I'm not going buy any of your crap any more.
So many things to do!
Just don't tell me that you are going on vacation
in the Pocanos Mountains,
to relax for a couple of weeks.
Tell me the truth
tell us how--
and your plan for setting a new course.
How you are going to make this ship right.
But most of all, I want hear YOUR plan--
YOUR plan for getting us
Sam DeGrande only thinks about himself.
He doesn't care--
He doesn't care about anyone else.
And Sam DeGrande only talks --
only talks about himself.
Sam DeGrande begins every sentence with "I"
and ends in "me."
And whatever the topic.
he claims to be--
he claims to be an authority.
And no matter the story.
Sam DeGrande has a greater glory.
Sam DeGrande will try to impress you.
He has a lot of stuff.
He's drives a new red car,
and he is quick to tell you its sticker price.
And how yesterday he bought a new 50 inch flat TV,
and asks you come over to see . . .
but not really.
And Sam DeGrande smiles--
smiles hearing someone else's misfortune,
more icing for his own self-adulation.
And Sam DeGrande lives true to his creed:
It's all about me."
And do you know what--
what is sad?
Is that people--
people like you and me listen--
listen to guys like Sam DeGrande.
And you know what--
what get's me mad?
Is that people like Sam DeGrande
are the kind of people--
are the kind of people in this world
who get ahead.
Sam DeGrande only thinks about himself.
He doesn't care--
doesn't care about anyone anyone else.
And Sam DeGrande only talks --
only talks about himself.
Photo: Who needs gas when Tokyo has Velo Taxi service. August 23 jz
Someone tell me
tell me what means "free"
cuz if this--
if this is the land of the free
this doesn't look
doesn't look much like freedom--
much like freedom to me.
One day, I went to see the Statue--
the Statue of Liberty
first, everyone has to--
has to go through
Standing there in line
Standing there like--
like a lost sheep
But I can't--
I dare not even bleat.
Then, a man in a fat uniform points down
and tells me--
tells me to take
take the shoes off my feet
And who am I--
who am I to disagree?
After all, we must protect
protect the symbol
protect the symbol of freedom--
the symbol of my country.
now standing there in my stocking feet.
I realize that whole world is on perpetual red alert
ever since 9/11, 2001
when 19 fuckin' fanatic jerks
armed with box cutters and passenger planes
could be convinced in the name of Islam
that they could bring America down
the day the terrorists actually won.
Cuz look at me now
standing there with no shoes on my feet
And I dare not say what's on my mind
As I shuffle
shuffle through the line
on my way to see
to see The Statue --
The Statue of Liberty.
And the shoeless person standing next to me
has a gleaming gold crucifix
A bony dead Jesus,
his arms out-stretched
hanging from a thick gold chain
that man has around his neck.
And a white T-shirt which reads:
in bold red and blue letters;
"Jesus IS the way."
And looking at the way things look now
as we shuffle in single-file silently through this line
my eyes spot a soldier standing guard
and I am reminded that a war--
that a war still drags on.
And I wonder
I wonder in 2029
0r in 2009
I wonder who--
who is going to give a fuck?
And they say--
And it crosses my mind
they claim in a couple of decades we will have a man on Mars
But my question is will we find peace--
will we find peace on Mars?
Cuz we ain't looking for it--
we ain't looking for it here
Photo: Lotus plants in Shinobazu Pond, Ueno, Tokyo August 18 jz
Hey, I'm not planning on stocking up early on canned goods
Because there isn't going to be a revolution in Washington come this November 2008
United we stand
Divided we fall,
because everyone is only looking out for themselves
it's no wonder that things are the way--
that things are the way they are.
Just look happened to Rome
And what does Barack Obama or John McCain promise us this fall?
Yet another shopping mall.
And every mall
from sea to shining sea
and between mountains majesty
will have a place--
a place to buy your cake
Both dudes are going to tell us about how ours is the land of opportunity
The greatest country in the history of man
And how God thinks that we are so great
Meanwhile people are dying--
are still dying in Iraq
And there are people are starving
and killer diseases like AIDS around the world are rampant.
And looking the other way
It all doesn't' sound very Christian--
It doesn't' look very Christian at all to me.
So don't worry
There won't be any revolution come November 2008 to mess you up
United we stand
Divided we fall
Just look what happened to Rome.
And what does John McCain or Barack Obama promise us?
Yet another friggin shopping mall.
On the hot and juicy topic of gay marriage
Conservatives are pushing for a change in our constitution--
Marriage as defined by God
But any mention of God by either candidate
touches a raw nerve with me
because what God is all about--
what God is all about
is just Love and Peace.
Obama and McCain are sure to bring their differences to light:
1 Obama is at best a flip of the coin. While McCain has the wisdom of a senile goat. The run for White House 2008 providing the story-line for a modern-day adaptation of the Biblical story, "Unable and Cain."
2. True, Obama, if elected, says he wants the boys and a few girls to come home from Iraq in "x" number of days, while McCain will order them to stay and fight for 100 years.
2. The Obama thinks national health care sounds good in theory, but has no financial paper to back up the plan. McCain says go fuck yourself--if you get sick you figure it out.
3. And on the issue of illegal immigration of the 10 to 20 million illegals in the country, nobody really knows; and nobody really knows what to do--except which form of amnesty to choose.
4. And on the issue what's on most Americans minds--the prospects of lower gas prices. I can only put it this way, "Lower gas prices my red white and very blue ass."
But don't start to panic.
There won't be any Revolution in Washington come this November 2008.
United we stand,
Divided we fall
And what do these two politicians promise us?
But another shopping mall.
guaranteed to have a place where you can buy--
buy your cake and eat it there too.
And this is what the alien-- the alien said to me:
"I am fascinated by this planet of yours.
Tell me human, what are these?"
I said, "These are trees."
And "What is this?"
It picked up some dirt from the ground
and handed it to me.
"That is earth," I replied.
"Why do you fight--fight over it so much?
Why can't you just share it?"
There's so much --
as far as the eye can see.
I laughed, I guess--I guess you really are new around here.
We call that greed."
"And how about this?"
"That's a stream--water. It's the stuff that keeps us--
keeps us alive."
"From space, your earth is blue, did anyone ever tell you--
tell you so?"
"Yes--Yes. The earth is blue.
"My home is so--so dry," it said with a tear in its eye,
before adding, "You are so lucky, you have so much
Water, trees, earth and this heavenly blue sky."
"But...But it's not a rocket ship, but not a flying saucer, or however you got here," I fired back.
"Well space travel isn't--isn't all--
all that it's cracked up to be.
I haven't seen my friends for light years
And all the time away is very--
very lonely, " it said with a strange look in it eyes.
Call me what you like, a weirdo or whatever
But I can tell a pick up line, even--even one coming from an alien.
And I'm pretty sure that you--that you would be as curious as me.
Wanting to know whether the alien were a she or a he.
But in this case, I wondered
I wondered if mattered
if the sex of an alien really mattered--
matters at all
I mean, after all,
aliens are very different--
are very different from you and me.
And I can't call
call what we did--
did there in the woods that day that we "made love" --
that is was "making love" per se
But I DO suppose that you could call--
you would call it "sex"
because it was--
it was a most pleasurable two-way event.
it said it had to go.
I didn't even catch its name.
And there I was--
and staring up at the green leaves
up in the trees.
Thinking that was one--
one weird dream.
And it was, for sure, the first alien that I had ever seen.
Never before, not even in my wildest--
my wildest of dreams.
And I must concur, like others have claimed, it's body was entirely green.
The green, the green was like the green crayon in the Crayola box, the color green that you never, never need.
And the creature was short, shorter than me
And thin-- thin like I used to be.
We had this point we had something in common--
this alien and me.
But it's eyes, its eyes told so much
Its eyes were big, black, round and sad.
Sad, like any creature, like any creature so far away from home or lost would be.
And when you are alone--
When you are lonely
I guess all you want to do
all you want to do is indeed--
is indeed to call home.
But instinctively, I wondered if the alien meant--
meant me harm
Wondering if it were hungry--
if it wanted to eat me.
But we had already exchanged words, so it was my turn--
my turn to lay down my fears.
And I began, "Since you are an alien and I'm--
I'm just me, I think we should exchange some information
about each other,
get to know each other a bit better
if you know--
if you know what I mean.
"So Alien, tell me
what... what are you doing--
Don't you have places to go--
and other galaxies to see?"
And this is what the alien-- the alien said to me:
to be continued . . .
I remember that day,
I mean how could anyone--
how could anyone forget
forget meeting a alien
Because meeting an alien isn't something
isn't something that happens every day
I remember I was hiking in the mountains
And I was--
was all by myself
I was following a rather obscure path
Otherwise, you might say that I had--
had completely lost my way.
And I must have thinking--
thinking about something else,
because when I looked up
An alien was standing--
standing right in front of me.
And you can imagine how much--
How much seeing this alien absolutely must have shocked me.
And I froze--froze dead in my tracks
the alien standing there, in the middle of the path
in front of me.
Who wouldn't be afraid? The fear of the unknown--
The fear of the unknown frightens all of society.
But I was even more afraid--
more afraid that what if--
what if this alien had brought along a few of its alien friends.
Being outnumbered by aliens would be even more terrifying,
wouldn't you agree?
So my eyes scanned the scene.
It was just then, when the alien said in a soft but intelligible voice,
"Don't worry, I too--
I too am quite... quite alone.
Then the alien--
the alien said to me
So earthling, what do you think--
think about me?"
I figured I'd better just tell-- tell the truth--
I mean what if--
what if this alien were smart -smart enough to read minds.
So I said in all honesty, "Well, you do look a little peaked,
You are a little green--
green around those gills of yours, if you know what I mean.
In fact, you are the strangest creature that I've ever seen.
to be continued . . .
Well, it ain't me, babe. I may be nuts but I'm not taking Zoloft or any other of that other prescribed mind altering shit. But I've got to say that this world is getting more nuts, don't ya think? Perhaps it's the summer heat. Perhaps there's simply too many people on this puny planet. We can always blame it on Bush, or global warming.
But it doesn't it seem like more and more people are taking these wacky drugs like Prozac and Zoloft these days--some 19 million depressed people. When the patient comes in the see the shrink and says that he feels "goofy in the head," doctors can easily come up with a diagnosis of some sort of "mental disorder." And they prescribe a pill. My father who was no doctor, and in fact he never finished high school, diagnosed people who acted "funny" quite accurately, stating "You're an asshole!"
These trendy drugs used for treating depression are in class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)--drugs like Prozac, Celexa, Paxil and Zoloft.
All brains, even fucked up ones, have neurotransmitters--the chemicals that nerves within the brain use to communicate with each other. And, for your information, as these neurotransmitters travel across the space between nerves, they attach themselves to receptors on the surface of nearby nerves, or attach themselves to receptors on the surface of the nerve that produced it. The neurotransmitters are supposed to be taken up by the nerve and released again (a process referred to as re-uptake).
The "brains" working in the drug companies figure that an imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. These SSRIs drugs work to alter the neurotransmitter, serotonin, in the uptake process.
But I look at the world much more simply--according to various bell curves. The more people there are, the more nuts there's going to be. It's a statistical reality. Thus, the more assholes there are out there, too. As the late George Carlin aptly put it in his classic 2006 HBO special "Life is Worth Losing" -- "People are fuckin' nuts. This country is full of nitwits, assholes, fuck ups, scum bags, jerk offs and dip shits." Now that George is gone, I wonder who is left to tell it like it is.
But I myself would rather take a hit of LSD 25 once in a while for my reality check. Besides, on this trip, the world looks as it should be--all shiny and bright. And your jaw is tight and you're grinning like the Cheshire Cat in Wonderland. So what's wrong with that?
Someone told me recently that he has just started taking Zoloft. Now, he acts like R.P Mac Murphy in "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, after they gave him a lobotomy. I guess Zoloft is not the drug for me.
Photo: Bon odori summer dancing in Iriya Minami Park, Tokyo July 19 jz
Photo: Bon odori summer dancing in Iriya Minami Park, Tokyo July 19 jz
"That's my Bush" managed to outdo himself. In his parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit "My Bush" said,"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter," punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock.
Amusingly, but in a very sad way, America has lost its lead as "the world's biggest polluter" under George's tenure, yet another way that America is no longer #1. In this case, it is not because the United States has reduced its pollution but because the booming Chinese economy is now spewing out even more GHGs than the overly polluting American economy.
Bush also had another embarrassing episode at the Summit in which he addressed the Italian prime minster in Spanish. "Amigo! Amigo!"
Tanabata festival. Near Asakusa, Tokyo. July 12. jz
Everyone is a star. photo: Gaijin Butoh dancer. Tokyo. July 6. jz
Following a quiet trading day in Europe, poets in New York
opened sharply lower. Early losers included such perennial
favorites as William Shakespeare, John Keats and Robert
Frost. Analysts attributed Shakespeares almost 30 point drop
to rising petroleum prices.
Readers just cant afford those long gas-guzzling tragedies and
lengthy energy-burning sonnets, said one poetry strategist. They
want shorter, more efficient poems. Poesy that gets right to the
point. No more verbose fuel-wasting descriptions and voluminous
low-mileage character development.
Beat poets fared somewhat better. Especially after meeting
earning expectations – America Ive given you everything and
now Im nothing – stock in Allen Ginsberg rose steadily through-
out the morning. Jack Kerouac, also went up. Kerouacs ultra cool
philosophy of draining other peoples batteries by hitch-hiking,
panhandling and borrowing money struck a warm, responsive
chord with many cost-conscious investors.
The New York School had a tough day at the office. Following
an over-night downgrade by Harold Bloom, John Ashbery
quickly tanked. Even confused but enthusiastic support from
Oprah failed to revive confidence in the once high-flying word
master. Frank OHara joined Ashbery on the dip. Nervous Nelly
investors, wary of OHaras dogs breakfast full-after-burner style,
unloaded the manic bard right from the opening bell.
Shares in l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poet Lyn Hejinian also took a tumble.
Readers are bailing out of l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poets, explained one
analyst. The metaphor crisis plus the rhythm crunch are forcing
folks to rebalance their portfolios, jettison the more cerebral,
darkly emotional stuff.
Eastern European poets fell victim to the same trend. Czeslaw
Milosz, Joseph Brodsky and Paul Celan were particularly depressed.
Said one unidentified spokesperson: Readers are sick of those
bitter old buggers. People are looking for poets with genuine upside
potential, much happier, fuzzy stuff than barbed wire, Gestapo and
As for emerging market poets, Li Po and Tu Fu came flying out of
the chute before taking a bath and ending the day with a 15%
hair cut. Even a late afternoon bounce by several deep-pocket post-
colonials and handful of wordy Indian large caps failed to keep the
visible minority poets above water.
The days biggest winners turned out to be the quick, punchy poets:
Basho, with his terse mind-blowing Haikus; Bukowski, the master
of inebriated minimalism. Both did surprisingly well in what turned
out do be a decidedly choppy, highly volatile trading day.
Nowadays everybodys wound-up, ticked-off
on-edge or out-to-lunch.
Thats why Im premenstrual, postmodern,
semi-conscious and fully rational.
Why Im in-line, out-front, on-message, and
But Im not old hat, yesterdays news, under
the weather or over the hill.
I keep on-message, in-the-mix, in-the-loop,
My media are wireless, paperless, pointless
If it bleeds it leads.
I love car wrecks, train wrecks, natural disasters
and man-made catastrophes.
But right now Ive got an Excedrin headache,
turf toe, a carbon footprint and a flat fourth
So I guess I better stop and think, cut and run,
bait and switch, cap and trade.
But it all depends on what I bring to the table,
how much is on my plate, whose ox gets gored.
George, its too bad what happened. Because
you were a wonderful father, a great guy, a
terrific colleague and a fantastic human being.
Anyway George, were going to miss you. Now that
youve passed on, passed away, kicked the bucket,
are getting your shoes shined in a funeral parlor.
Yes. There you are. Six feet under, eating dirt,
pushing up daisies, talking to God, dancing with
Goodbye George. But please keep in touch, give us
a call, dont forget to write, remember us in your
Tokyo, Friday, 06/27/08
Its raining and Im wondering where I should put my
money now that the Presidents reign is coming to an end.
This country has everything constantly shifting the blame,
prophetic voices inside bedroom walls, flying saucers on the
White House lawn, staging a saloon-front apology while
bowing and pretending to take responsibility.
Heavy clouds cover the real thing somewhere behind the
Bullet trains, mysterious orange lights, hard wind bouncing
off enormous glass towers, the late night strategy sessions
with Jesus Mary Barb and our Heavenly Father Himself.
China lay behind Japan as a first presence when suddenly
giant bats filled the sky, he knew the left-wing media were out
to get him, corruption and money politics hiding ten thousand
years of rich cultural history – the actuality –
guiding his decisions following 911: Mission Accomplished,
his stubborn stand on pink elephants, little green men, the bid-
rigging and systematic kickbacks, political wisdom flowing from
Scripture reinforced by an irrefutable gut feeling.
Things are tough but I can still make money on wheel chairs,
riot control gear, cash in on if youve got it flaunt it: WMDs,
he knows Saddams gottem gut feeling, yellow cake, attacked
by huge purple raptors, lip-syncing National Apology Spectacles
to protect life-time companies from massive criminal prosecution.
Yes his Presidency is coming to an end zigzagging across Europe
Iraq Afghan victory parades the alien abductions to Zenon and
Pyongyang stored for his Presidential library doctored tapes hidden
from prosecutors three years suspended sentence his head turns
on his neck somewhere a baby cries…
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/22/08
It just doesnt stop. The Japanese wear June as a badge:
no holidays, constant overcast, suicides stopping crowded
morning trains – drip drip drip. Thank God for gun control.
Darkness, then gray light, then sticky blowing mist.
Everybody hunkers down to watch rental DVDs. Last month
a ritzy Osaka restaurant got caught re-serving left-overs.
The president bowed and apologized on NHK.
A ballsy U-boat captain glides under the stormy North Atlantic
inside a womb of silence. Last week somebody jumped off a
hotel roof. The president said she was shocked. Then a stupid
old bugger drove his car into a crowd of first-graders. Through
his periscope crosshairs he watches a fat Allied convoy.
The president blamed her employees. He claimed the kids were
mocking him. He fires his torpedoes. An employee blew the
whistle because the president is a greedy old blood-sucker who
bullied her workers.
The rain never stops. An ambitious meathead tries to reach
the top by pounding sides of beef. Mould grows in bathrooms.
A high-school student strangled six rare swans. It blows along
in humid horizontal sheets. On surveillance cameras, one
drunken salaryman was caught bashing the heads off tulips.
Officials were shocked. Retired salarymen are called sodai
gomi. The ritzy Osaka restaurant went bankrupt after many
irate customers cancelled their reservations. They sit around
their living rooms watching tv baseball and getting in their
wives way like big bags of garbage.
Somebody wearing a goalie mask attacks teenagers with a
chainsaw. Rain blows under umbrellas. Two unemployed men
robbed a pachinko parlor. Last summer the ritzy Osaka
restaurant got caught labeling boiling fowl as gourmet smoked
chicken. Everybody steps in asphalt puddles, walks in wet
shoes. One unemployed man surrendered, the other shot
himself in the head. A bankrupt small businessman jumped
off a department store roof. Mould grows under refrigerators
and inside clothes closets. Every day is overcast. The rain
Tokyo, Sunday, 06/08/08
Whose woods these are I dont want to know –
dead computer screens, roaring rusted mufflers,
floating polar bears discarded and forgotten.
His house is in the Grand Caymens though;
far from the chemical eve of everlasting destruction,
way beyond the eye-burning Hell gasses hanging
over the Formless Fossil Void.
He will not see me stopping here to watch his absentee
fast-buck investment fill up with crushed PET bottles,
topless plastic lunch boxes – oily water reflecting
the orange/purple sunset.
The woods are radioactive, dark and deep.
But I have miles to go, miles before the next grimy
Gas N Grub.
Tokyo, Thursday, 05/15/08
Hes promising change. Shes ready to lead.
Hes on top. Now shes on top. He screwed her in Iowa.
She licked him in New Hampshire. He wants a tax cut
to help the middle class. Her husband wants a bj and
a fresh piece of ass. All agree theres no free lunch,
especially the nominee from the other party, the one
who became a hero by getting shot down over the jungles
of Southeast Asia.
Its April. Its May. Hes got more delegates. She accuses
him of inexperience. He calls her callous. She claims his
health plan wont fly. The incumbent President is a
lame duck. His father became President after becoming
a hero by getting shot down over the waters of the South
He was raised by a single mother, so hes got street cred.
Her husband was President, so shes got experience.
His pastor blames white people for black peoples problems.
Shes got blue collar whites who blame black people for
their problems. Would you want one of them sitting in the
Hes talking off the top of his head. She pulling policies
out of her ass. He says he wants to talk about the issues.
She says he should have dumped his pastor twenty years
Old time liberals love his progressive patter. Hacks and
bagmen think shes a winner. Hes attracting idealistic
young people. Shes got middle-aged white housewives.
His wife sparkles with womanly energy. Her husbands a
bad-tempered sleazebag who ate too many cheeseburgers.
Hes on a roll, sounding full of confidence. Shes out of gas,
sounding flat and hollow. Hes cleaning up. She refuses
to throw in the towel.
Tokyo, Thurs. 05/08/08
I want go
go to the land
the land away from man.
Can you see
see all the lies?
People jockying to get to the front of the line
Trying be the first
Chasing after just one more worldly material prize
I hate to break the news
But you know?
You know--we are all gonna die
We are all gonna die
And then, where you be?
And what will you think
About what you did with your life?
And how does all that fine wine
and caviar taste now?
When you are 6 feet
6 feet under ground.
So I want go
go to the land
the land--the land away from man.
Yesterday morning this guy says to me, a nice guy
from Australia, who knows Im a poet outside the Mr. Donut
in Matsubara Danchi, so I suppose youd like to live in the
country beside the rows of double chocolates and Dutchies
with wild boars and horse manure and I said
no goddamned way I hate the country.
I bet you didnt know its the 25th Anniversary of Tokyo
Disneyland because its full of tightassed old boohoos rolling
up the sidewalks at six oclock, another example of cultural
imperialism just as many claim Tibet is historically part of
China, which is why I don’t like Shakespeare either.
I prefer classical jazz, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, guys not
grandstanding worse than Robert Mugabe or Wayne Newton
and now the Pope just stepped onto the tarmac at Andrews
Air Force Base which reminds me of Julie Andrews who
keeps hanging in like the stock market even though oils
gone through the roof and food is turning into a regular riot.
I hope youre not thinking of getting an abortion, he told
the Presidents oldest daughter, thank God its not raining in
Tokyo this morning so the Prime Minister can smoothly pave
the way for more expressways connecting rural voters to
urban pork barrels even though another Olympic boycotts
looming on the horizon.
I wonder if the Pope eats donuts, not like the present Prime
Minister, another sour apple who really put his foot down
during Sundays NHK singalong from Niigata where rice
farmers fiercely lay down the pavement when it comes to
political road construction because they too speak directly
I know policemen love donuts with sailors and hot coffee
but so far theyve barely penetrated Chinas booming fastfood
market even though the Chinese have plenty of policemen
with chocolate icing and strawberry sprinkles just like the
Dalai Lama with his permanent equanimity and Mr. Smiley
Tokyo, Tuesday, 04/15/08