A Last Toss

And if I asked you
yet again
would you hold me
would you still refuse
knowing what you know now
would you still care not

would you tell me
your mother
you man
your woman
your principles
your god
your gut
whatever was in the way
this was a moral dilemma
this was a rock
and I was a hard place

would you snuff
the urgency within me
pinch it out
spit on it
shred it
consider it
emotional stew
mumbo jumbo
hobo magic
and not your problem

I have strength
for a last toss
if the rope doesn’t
reach and catch
the water will drown
the flames will engulf
the wind will hurl me down
the sand will bury me
my soul will fly away.

Less Than A Butterfly

I’d like to eat some eyes
scalp a head or two
napalm New York L.A. or Kankakee.
When my guts are brick I’d like to throw them
at the window pane of America
because I’ve been sucked inside out and I’m delicate
about fences housing projects barbed wire
welfare gross national products unemployment and my crotch.
Sensitized inside out to the color of Elsie’s pure products
I’d like to put hand grenades in milk bottles
so corn flakes would rip their heads off.
I’d like to defoliate central park so it would look like home.
I’d like to deflower new jersey (though it’s been done)
I’d like to denounce kansas
make window bricks from red neck georgia clay.
I’d like to suck on root quiet
settle the dust
sleep and not get up until soft was waiting for me.
I’d like to move and move and move like a dancer
out of Harlem out of Watts out of the south side
from uptown to down or the other way around
from Appalachia Soweto Dachau Main Street.
I want to get out of the hills
out of the towns
not be the buzz in somebody’s ear.
I want to be yes when my little girl wants
all fingertips on skin
honey and bees in a beech tree
a coral burst that puzzle blends part of a spectrum
electric then magnetic
a wave that crests and crashes on the beaches of america
and sucks the sand down deep.
I want to be a face not pointed at with baseballs.
No more grease paint, wet canvas
or peanut eating crowds that leave after the elephants roll over.
Spin a web so I cannot see the sun
but I will not lie down waiting to be stung.
I don’t want to be less than a butterfly.
Let me sing braids and ribbons without ropes and burning nights
and the smell of flesh curling up to heaven
as tears fall down like wheat before a sickle.
Give me an icarian chance and I will melt or fly over a mirrored humanity.

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vet on bench

Vietnam Reblues

Dereliction of duty on my lover’s lips Cheap wine, marijuana and old sex Saying softly commitment Loudly NATIONTIME Smells like pampers and bad plumbing.

Vietnam was brown with a Buddha face Laugh quick ‘cause you’re dead already black.

Peace symbols and afro picks among glassine glaze and apple wine.

War was well war until a bullet in the back then it became one less lung Sweet Jesus precious air.

How’d they know I lived there F**king letter What the f**k is a draft board Motherf**kers Lottery my ass They sure did All the way to Vietnam That doesn’t sound bitter Does it.

What agents are you smoking Some known others unknown Reagents on both sides Lies and camouflage should sleep together since they piss with the same penis.

Johnny got his gun What did I get Except a dose and a case Needles all around Drink up.

Oh say can you see Sweet Land of Liberty for thee I sing.