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Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Tony Scibella's Birthday


Happy Birthday to Tony S.


I was a kid in a dying america that heard the voices of the lady

I was lost in a tangled kipling jungle book of rhymey words like

a wild Mowgli taming jungle beasts as if I had forgotten my own humanity

only to fall against the sword of my ancestors just before the pearly dawn like

the dying gladiators of the lost generation

who never wrote a letter to Rimbaud

never sent Proust a birthday card

never cried for Zelda in her asylum

never drank Cuba Libres til sunrise with Papa

never were aware of their own condition

but they left behind hunks of moldy rye bread

that dropped delicious crumbs

that moved the wheels of my infant stroller

until I could walk among words of my own assemblage


Dickinson seemed terrified of future terrorists that she named with a

cunning predictability from her solitude that I always wished for her to list

them all that I might know them from my hope for future solitudes

that I secretly yearned for so nervously

as I shook hands with J.C. Oates in hopes something would rub off on me

I never knew what terrors were until I stood before the world with my own

words formed into broken lines of redemptive pleas for forgiveness


I lived during the Venice beats time, during the Temple of Man time

as I built my personal temple of doom I read their words and wept alone

because I was more deeply involved in the territorial warfare that was

blamed on gangs but won by realtors and new home buyers

I am friends with Tony's words as they comfort my travel worn soul

that finds it harder to hug the Venice shoreline than in the past

when it seemed a perfect fit even down to the decadent pier

of Pacific Ocean Park that stands gloriously intact in black and white photos

but was full color jaggedness for my youthful frame as it glided and collided

between it's mortally wounded obstacles hidden from under the late

breaking waves of the peaceful pacific ocean womb with a rocky breaker

placenta that birthed dreams into new reality new vision new voice

newest voice of an old muse that always brings me home like I have

only known homelessness and prison while the world knew something else

I am learning slowly catching up slowly healing slowly

Pacific Ocean Park is long gone beneath the jealous waves of modern conformity


My name of names no longer adorns the fallen walls of

demolished shower facilities where I would lose and regain

my faculties over and over again leaving gifts in abandoned

shopping carts owned by the real immortals of no worldliness

known on this plane of reality by talking fast to their

telephone totem pole messiahs asking for shelter

from the words that drop like truncheons on their

methadone skulls running in a primordial frenzy

like chastened goonie birds in full flight from reality

seagulls proclaiming them as kindred spirits as they

leave their mortal bodies behind like stamped out

cigarette butts clutching tattered clothing lined

with free newspapers from beyond baroque's front stoop


Scibella, Perkoff, Rios, Taylor all beat this path wide and large

as I stabbed and fumbled through drunkeness punktuated by

opiated amphetemined coca senselessness that made moments

feel better as the big picture got worse

as I won a two way ticket to the big house

more times than should be allowed

as the ghosts I left behind in

Chino, Vacaville, San Quentin, El Reno, St Cloud and Santa Rita

wonder what lottery screwed them over to give me winning parole

numbers I could not lose alone


alone is how the numbers leave me on Tony's birthday

as it is honored by S.A.'s words that honor me in unison as

Iris nurtures my manuscripts as Shira gives me shelter

as Bucky, Doug, Rafael, Al, Luis, Mike, Frank and S.A. give me support

when I was young I was told the only thing greater than friends

are pallbearers who love their burden as if it were weightless

I have so many gifts I would never dispute the existence of any god

that gives them to my atheist mind turned mad

as I walk along in the caffeinated rain

down echo park blvd to the bookstore that lies between

the temple of man and the house of spirits

I walk with the ghost of ishi as he leads me forward

as he tells me what it was like to be the very last one counted at the end of the longest line

Ishi becomes mortal as I walk

Ishi takes my hand to lead me to the truth

Ishi says "I am only the last wild Indian in books,

In truth I lived inside your heart all this time as long as you didn't deny me

because there will never be a last of anything"

together we share mashed acorn and skip stones across the echo park reservoir

from the boathouse to the duck infested island as Ishi says laurel and hardy are immortal spirits

that move silent movie pianos up and down the stairs like happy cherubs

instead of depression riddled Sisyphus symbols tortured by the new Hollywood CGI God


Ishi speaks words so good and pure they honor all the best words

of a greatness in purity ever spoken by anyone

(Ishi leaves but tells me to look for him on Dia de los Muertos on Olvera St.

Ishi says he will be the one dressed as a pre-Colombian skeleton)

I am in love with the ancient words of Ishi but they are the most modern words I have ever heard or read

it gives relief to me that I may not speak so well

I may not write so well

but if I can just pour it forth as pure as I can

then the sacrifices that you made for me might have more meaning tonight


Happy Birthday, Tony

I might have met you in person had I not driven so fast all night

across great divides with criminal intent and a trunk full of deliverance

I might have shook your hand if I had heeded

all the words that echoed off of the mountains

from Colorado to the jetty off of Venice during sunset

facing the last glow as it disappeared past purple Santa Monica's

I might have been your friend if you had lived longer, who knows?

I might be your friend now if you would have my humble words

inside your tangible spirit of eternal poems

they are all that's left of my connection

to the dying gladiators of all the lost generations before me_