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+ Michael Jose Morales Arriola + Shimanta Bhattacharyya + Christopher T. George + David Thornbrugh + William Taylor JR + Frances Le Moin + Marrissa Ranello + Sam Smith + Dee McMahon + Paul Davidson + Jesse Freeman + Lynn Strogin + J. J. Steinfeld + Josef Lesser + Mark Farrell + Matt Fallaize + Jervis Martin + David Trame

TOUGH GUY POETS

You know who they are
They appear in the same magazines
Like hired bounty hunters
From the old frontier

No one is spared from their anger
Their words serving as bullets
For the mind.

They fill the small press magazines
Like sardines crammed into
A fat man’s mouth.

They talk about eating pussy
As if it were a vitamin supplement
Though their women might snicker
Behind their backs.

They do a lot of fucking
With the typewriter keys
Which translates into a lot of shucking.
Oh they look tough enough when
You meet them face to face
Strutting their stuff at city bars
Half-way into a drunk
But when they sober up
They’re little more than failed cowboys
Who were never invited to the shootout
At the OK Corral.

3300 CLUB

she sits alone at the
3300 Club
an Irish bar in the outer Mission
wearing wrinkled clothes
and pulled down hose
gives new meaning to weather beaten
sitting alone drinking staring
no one caring
her eyes fixed on the bar room
mirror looking like a pallbearer
back from a funeral

FOR NEAL CASSADY

You left your blood behind
on a cocaine stained railway track
down along Mexico way
Your bones cold as an unlined overcoat
drifting the sea in an unmanned life boat
You rode life to the end of the line and back
leaving behind a legend of words
to masturbate the mind
The death certificate read ‘General Congestion’
but the body burned in flames
and the Beat marched on
you a finely turned sports car racing the
back streets of America from near and far
leaving your mark behind like skid marks
on the back roads of America

MRS. AMERICA

Looks like Madonna

Fucks like a robot

IQ of 100

Took home economics

Has parenting skills

Says, Yes Dear

And means it

Doesn’t mind you going out

With the boys

Complains only to herself

Never has a headache

UN TITLED

the thought control police
pay me an unexpected visit
chasing me through one way streets
placing nets down below
when they see me on the roof
of an abandoned hotel

they want me alive
I’m no good to them dead
they chase me up and down the
fire escape like keystone cops

there is no eluding them
much to the amusement of the alley women
munching on potato chips and sipping beer

at night they get serious
and bring in the big guns:
Bob Dylan and Arrested Development
Meat Loaf and The Grateful Dead
and should I somehow find shelter
there’s Joan Baez standing on a ladder
with no middle rung singing Amazing Grace

When I make it to the top of the mountain
I find a giant condo on top of a dinosaur’s nest
and while I don’t like the look on its face
I can’t bring myself to look down below
at the sight of the men with their torches
and flashlights looking like village idiots
in search of the son of Frankenstein

STRETCHING THE IMAGINATION

  Ex-barfly
  ex-drunk
  diminished Don Juan
  kissing the pages with my words
  No stash graying moustache
  watching Larry Curly and Moe
  down at the Last Picture Show
  Head gears in reverse
  going back in time
  pork loin roast and sweet potatoes
  roasted on a fire of jazz
  here alone tonight
  dancing with my nerve ends
  feeling like a tightrope walker
  walking a high tension wire