Sunday, October 19, 2014

MY MOTHER'S MOTHER

had the most dour and frightening face on a woman that I have ever seen. I never saw her. She died before I was born. But there was this picture.

I'm told that later in life she was known to jump up and grab onto the meager outcropping of a doorjamb in some strange Southern Gothic rage, and hold herself there aloft for as long as she could. Grunting horrifically, no doubt. When my older brother was a baby, she was once seen standing over him with a big kitchen knife.

Years prior, her first husband was a self-taught lawyer whose Jefferson County, Alabama notary public seal by happenstance rests at my elbow even now. He was murdered by an insane coward who struck from behind with brass knuckles lying in wait at the edge of a revolving door when my mother was a child. The murderer never did pay for his crime. In my early twenties, I seriously considered tracking down his descendants and exacting some approximation of justice.

I really don't know much about my mother's mother. She had dark hair and looked Irish. To me she was the older, weirder Mrs. Hyde version of my mom from one photo alone, unhappily posing in a chair with my older sister in her lap. Sadly, everything she ever was got boiled down to that one picture for me, and the hushed tones that I heard whenever her name rarely came up.

I confess, subsequent to feeling the occasional nameless rage, I do wonder.


CLICK THE LINK
TO HEAR THE PULCHRITUDE:
https://soundcloud.com/stewart-kirby/my-mothers-mother



Friday, October 17, 2014

31 POEMS





















SLEEPPEELS

When heads spin
whispers begin--

whirlpools pull--
fist fits sift--

funneling thunder lifts--



CIRCUS MAXIMUS

One hundred forty-four elephants
and seventeen gold chariots
led each by eleven lions
outsize sound in stampede.

Drunkards' blood-lust cries goad
as the heads of assassinated criminals

bouncing, wince

and tens of thousands of open mouths howl.
Vendors' spices burned lessen stenches;
played sausage link entrails
ignited

explode

in screaming conflagrations;
slaves running in rolling iron cages
jab at large exotic animals
amid the bellows of the butchering
and the butchered,
the continual metal clang,
the rabble's urges for murder.

Tittering intelligentsia tip raping headsmen.
Mock sea battles
waged with the Coliseum bathed
in morning shadow
last till dusk, when

severed hippo heads

like lifeboats
bear dead men.



CARNIVAL OF THE SATYRDAY

A little blood-red fellow
too old to be a cherub precisely
but certainly smiling like one
and with fine young horns on his head
appropriate for a kid
spoke in a high-pitched sneering voice,
"I know where we can get some whores."

And great rejoice. Party favors flicked.
Oversize head dancers in the figures of

Chaplin
and
Hitler

performed a sort of leap-frog.
"I don't care to set foot outdoors."
One of Van Gogh presented a huge ear,
cordially intoning, "Take this object."
Red carpet party favors flew.

"I don't care to pay."

A waterwheel float churned dirty bones.

"These whores pay you!"

Party favors blared.
"Are you ready now to see the whores?"

"I don't care to yet."

The carnival resumed the march.

  

CONVERSATION WITH ETERNITY

For the writer there is only
the blank paper page,
the empty screen and blinking cursor,
the conversation with eternity.

When the words work well,
no high can top,
everything clears,
nothing is ugly,

bolts leap,
all times merge,
hairy early ancestors
fall to their knees

and skyward howl.



INSANITY SEAS

Set this sail to insanity seas
we'll row large rage to the larger age
where that manslaughter is this man's laughter
and you'll fathom what we're after there.

Leave the monkey with its money
weave away from uniformed uninformed
we've a ways upon the waves to ride
reach each new view with swift lift.

Let these letters unlock fetters
sound ground awaits unweighted
there's a vortex in the vertex
savor the flavor and favor the saver.

See the clever lever within
seethe no more inside your skin
then you and I will be quite glad
though when we leave they'll say, They're mad.



SLY WINK

Some of me best times
'ave been 'ad
wenchin' an' 'orin',
as it were sir, aye,
wenchin' an' 'orin'.

Aye an' ye might say I was
"reelin' from the rum"
ev'ry blessed time
as it were sir,
ev'ry blessed time.
Things get worser when I'm aware.

Why, ye should've seen me last night
bloated with the sweet rum--
a big, belchy tick I was says I,
bloated with the blood like,
such is the pretty picture I must've cut.

So, says I again,
some of me best times
'ave been 'ad
wenchin' an' 'orin'.



HOW TO HONOR THE DEAD

Once after I stopped my car in the street,
walked back to the one behind,
and without a word
inserted my fist in the driver's face

I got back in,
parked in the lot
and walked across campus
to the room where I sat
waiting for students to drop in
for writing help.

I remember thinking,
Here's one for the cosmic camera.
It's easy for people to talk about restraint
when they don't have a choice.

Even now, electric Celtic warriors
on foot and horseback roar behind me overhead,
flanked by two calm Druids.
It's true what you hear.
Sometimes your best friends
are the dead and the unborn.



WILDSONG

This poem is a quest:
it seeks clarity, adventure,
both journey and result
it records finds,
boosts the next leap,
helps me see my hand
in the great world dream,
that wisdom is the only wealth,
the only power
power of self,
when I see a monkey in a suit
I see the co-assistant night manager of
nothing,
a child with a paper badge.
The purpose of the group
is protection of weakness
through illusion,
all groups overlap,
sidetrack,
delay,
every day a hunt for wisdom,
new contentment hunt.
Civilizations neither rise nor fall,
only individuals are real.

This poem bristles like fire:
red hot,
white hot,
stiff, jagged,
drunk with battle joy it struts,
a poem of fire,
wildfire,
scorching the sky with
wildsong.
It thirsts for the blood of the city,
it hungers for the blood of Rome,
whose soft scented senators
receive its piss
on headless bodies,
this poem lines
these skulls with gold.



LIMESTONE-LACTATING STALACTITES

drip echoey, magnified drops...
P    o    o    l    s    l    o    o    P
the world dragon sleeps...
George sings
While My Guitar Gently Weeps...



SPELEOGENESIS

With more neurons in our minds
than stars in this galaxy,
firing synapses connect
like divine fingers,
lightning and leder,
stalactite to stalagmite,
Revel leveR...

The jutting speleothem
seeps minerals,
lengthening itself,
leaving minute
calcite deposits
where water drops...

If the creation meets
the source,
a column is formed...

The greater the fall,
the mightier the column.



THE HEROISM OF HEDONISM

conjures wolfish doggerels
in sacred games and festivals of atonement.
The plow of evil pushed
tills exhausted land
and the tallow taken underground
lights cities beneath Vesuvius.

A hero shall emerge:
as a blade baptized in a bed of fire
in ceremony shaped and sharpened,
a severer of shackles,
he is the bane of formulaic observance.

Pity the conqueror or praise
but stand not in his way
lest panthers' claws
and chariot wheels' grind
pin mockful notes on dying ears
frozen in the ash of agony.



ODE TO VLAD

Seated at a table in a field
forested with shower-makers,
he hears his dancing guests
sing like morning's poultry torn.
Streaming, the sun slides
higher in the sky.
Land moist as biscuits
sops honey.
From spear-shot spigots
shoots his cup's red tap.


NIGHT CYCLE

When the night cycle reaches zenith,
flowering begins.
The key to flowering induction is
a healthy growing environment
of uninterrupted darkness.
Height, branching, maturity,
all are maximized
in the greenhouse
underground.

Uninterrupted darkness.

Kill the males,
keep the females.



BE AT LESSON, BEATLES SON

Down here
in the ark in the dark,
the cell of steel celestial,
mausoleum ad nauseam,
I'm paler and I'm Vlad.
This is where it all comes up,
this is where it all goes down.
I travel canals,
change channels,
through ventricles pass landmarks-
upper level,
lower level--
aqueducts to cells--
in this hemisphere,
hemp is here.
Across the mind,
lid-lightning flashes--
in illumination's wake,
blood rains,
brain floods,
accelerates this vessel,
pounds this temple.
Hear all creation make a point--
enabled ennobled
by woofer and tweeter,
no measured step is out of joint--
I hear a siren
and I want to metre.
From injured to inured,
with the taking of a j.
Through Vishnu vision
and Osiris iris,
illusion's confusions
clearly eyed
scatter dried.
The vision is the quest,
the form is the content.
No destination exceeds being.



WOTAN

Wotan
for wisdom
sacrificed an eye.
Wotan the One-Eyed God
reigns supreme.
God of fury.
God of trances.
God of poets.
God of warriors.
The One-Eyed God
is the Phallic God.
His ravens
Thought
and
Memory
traverse the world,
return to Wotan
ruling on His High Seat,
whisper All Knowledge,
while wolves wait
at his feet.
First Earth,
Inhabited Earth,
Untamed Earth,
these three women
are Wotan's wives.
On an eight-legged steed
the Sly One rides
through air,
over ocean,
on ground.
The Reaver's rage
knows no bounds.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat
the Bearded One waits,
waits until the Final Battle--
Ragnarok--
gathering the greatest warriors.
Wednesday is Wotan's Day--
Odin, variously known--
steadfast on the icy peaks,
hard, grim, wild--
All-Father Odin,
Inventor of Runes,
shaman of shamans--
madmen invoke his name!



OPPENHEIMER QUOTING THE BHAGAVAD GITA

A big white black-eyed goat
sprang from the center of the circle--
the power of stillness pervaded--
the rearing goat hung,
swelling self-lit
in devastating silence--
we did not know what we had done--
then the cloven hooves
crashed upon the rock:
"Now I am become Death,
the destroyer of worlds."



SONG OF A SHADE WITH A RED WINE THIRST

I was working at a factory
having Napoleon-like crowned myself Educated,
assembling bike racks full-time temporary,
knowing my girlfriend and I would be gone in six months
and that the factory was heading for Mexico soon.

One guy had been there ten years. He was thirty-seven, always wore two t-shirts,
never bathed, stank like a stockyard and didn't like the Beatles because they weren't American.
There were a lot of Lao workers. Most were nimble, quick, good at ping-pong and
hot for break-time hacky sack. They spoke Lao among each other, laughing, the older women acting snotty.

When I got there at seven the smokers lightly stamped their feet outside,
and the dark early cool mornings passed with coffee still buzzy from the night's smoke and drink,
but clear and aware, energetic and enjoyed. I stood on a wood block to hit my calves with toe raises
on the assembly line, thinking about the night's writing, talking shit with the boys, laughing, until it was first break, donuts and more coffee, no longer buzzy, actually enjoying the lowly old workday mostly alone.

I didn't like feeling sorry for the people I saw who let themselves die by the hour.
There was a fellow who talked a lot about how he'd be a cop,
a prim little guy of forty sporting a tight white crewcut, accusatory eyes, and a sneering hateful whine who
picked up the trash.

There was a fat blob of crap who sat on his ass all day
in crisp plaid and a clean Cat cap sporting a phony bark
that sounded like bad Edward G. Robinson, see.
How he got that job I don't think I want to know, see.
He sure as hell didn't earn it by working.
There would come a time when I would say,

"How about some of that bareknuckle boxing you've never done in your life right now, liar,
I'll be your sparring partner, liar, let's go out in the parking lot and try some of that
bareknuckle boxing right now, let's go."

And he would not face me, but scurry to his car, scurry home to his mommy, in whose house he lived.
After lunch I was let go. Not fired, he said, sounding like
a very meek Edward G. Robinson.
I had been provoked by his abuse of office title.
I enjoyed humiliating fat boy and his sycophants in a great big scene
the doomed workers no doubt quietly relished,
and I enjoyed those mornings,
the coffee and the cold,
the stories and the banter and the bullshit,
the hefting and the musing,
getting paid to gear up for the night's fun--
for the song of a shade with a red wine thirst.

  

REDWOOD BURL TABLE

Wild with roots, a Gorgon head:
my young eyes cogwheeled at
the tangled waist-high mass riverbar trucked
and my squat mallet sent thick flakes like
flack off my checkerboarded chest,
hints of burl beneath the busted rock
stuck in the dirty redwood,
till the giant's clubbed wart clean of stone
gave a milled slab set rickety
on two paint-thick sawhorses,
wobbling in the pull of the screaming grinder's
wire bristles spitting back the loose punk wood.
Renegade spiders ran, nooks invaded by the violent metal wand
and brushed sawdust left the surface clear
for belt sanding before subjection to the stages of the orbital.
When the meaty red cross-section doused gleamed
and the scrubbed rings' fluctuating bands rippled,
torched edges blackened shone silver
where the blue acetylene tip had spread,
and set on the knotted legs of a less charred base
the finished tabletop
took center stage in the showroom
for your more and less impressed tourists,
whilst in the side yard my grimed thumb
spun a bowl.



VISHNU

Slumbering delighted
the world-dreamer drifts alone
partially submerged
partially afloat
upon a lake of lotus without limit
above and below a pillared heaven

The sun grows
the whole world withers
wind spins into cyclone
and cyclone into fire

The spider respools its web


IF LIFE EAT DEATH

Hieing to the wombed hill
Mid yip and yirr of Baalists beery
We woozy skirmishers
Wambled past the whippoorwill
And gave a girn to gimcrack,
Bedaubed in wizardry and woodcraft,
Riled rimers, with pyretic vim,
Barmy each pant and peck,
We salivating songsters,
Scragging victuals along the junket,
Raw wood thrush and songsparrow
Our stark beefsteak.
Rooty wolfberry
Sopped the Bacchic balladry,
Blackish the scape,
Our mockery beneath Varuna,
Till to indigenous ziggurats
We did sorn the shadow lords,
A measly chiliad of bubbling keeves
Ripe for us to batten.



WEIR EXAM

Floating in the wetsuit nets of light cross my mask:
refracted through the choppy surface they waver on the rock
as the hollow rhythmic hiss of my mouth’s breath
pushes through the tube–strange stone shapes
pass steady in a narrow view–arms forward
I fly streamlined toward the sandbagged pickets
where the scouring current tears away the riverbed.
Over a developing hole wedged rock taps the lonely aluminum,
raised dust glints fool’s gold, dead grass collects
twigs between the bars and undulates decaying in the cage.
I work my way along the trap. No salmon are inside.
Bloated faces pushed forth by my imagination
watch me slice my way upstream like a gill man in the Amazon.


INTERVIEW WITH A TRIBAL LEADER

Saved from a blue clay mudslide by a Horse Mountain potstop
we rescheduled, and when later came, there he was, looking just like on TV
where I’d seen him talking on Bigfoot and so looked him up in the phone book.

My buddy Eric couldn’t make the drive a second time
but my other buddy Tom could and he was there with a Camcorder catching
Jimmy in his chair and the back of my already balding head.

It’s weird to see yourself in a tight Humboldt T-shirt interviewing Jimmy
after all that hassle when in the first five minutes you realize
the show sort of lied and Bigfoot is a subject where maybe

you know more than he does. Great tribal leader, full of all kinds of stories,
only he hadn’t seen anything and wasn’t really sure. Probably TV
just wanted an Indian. If he pulled off his head and showed a

Bigfoot inside I would not have been surprised, but on the outside
he was eighty-four years old and told us of the time when he was a kid
talking Hupa in a cherry tree eating cherries and some George Washington

of a teacher jabbed him with a nail on the end of a stick to make him talk American.
He told us how to leech acorns and showed us pictures of the Deer Dance.
I told him the interview was only for me, and Tom, it was just something we wanted to do.

Back on his deck before we left, looking at the river, he said his mother told him
one time she saw four of them come out of the forest to swim,
a male, a female and two young ones, and they swam till they saw her and left.




GATLING

What a thrill it is to spin a Gatling gun!
The looks on the faces...while the faces last...
Eye-to-eye before the whirling metal sun's
Perforating punches blast the dancers back...

Enjoy a morning cup while meat bits cartwheel.

If they wish to pray, just leave them knees to kneel.




BODIES        

A man waits in the woods,
back to a tree,
wide-eyed, silent.
There are bodies in the ground.

A sleepwalker screams,
sockets bleed,
a hawk lights on a headstone and feeds.
There are bodies in the ground.

Maggots wriggle in the trash.
The afternoon is overcast.
A muffled door slams.
Upstairs,
a curtain winks shut.
There are bodies in the ground.

Shadows shatter streets,
a rotten wind sweeps.
Trees bend like backs
jammed all around.
There are bodies in the ground.

Axes sever.
Soil absorbs.
The sleepwalker falls into a grave,
and the hawk follows.

A man waits in the woods.
Back to a tree.
There are bodies in the ground.




WHEN THE KILLIN'-TIME'S COME

I may not seem partial to the things which ye so desperately clings
but one thing's fer sartin,
I'm...
gonna...
kill ye...
gonna ram m' blade clean through to the hilt
good, solid an' strong in ye--again an' again--
an' again an' again an' again--
I'm gonna cut yer bleedin' gut wide open--
stick yer neck--cut, here--here here here here here--
slash yer skull, an' rip out yer 'eart, an' yer liver--
gonna drive m' big shiny knife wamwam quick like so in yer sockets
an' slop up an' down amid yer mushy gore
aye, an' stomp ye to the pave--

when the killin'-time's come.

 

SAIL AN ALIAS

When I feel Doom mooD
That is when I Word roW
There I go in Deep speeD
Rabid in my Wolf floW
I shed the Animal laminA
I shed the GoddammaddoG
To release the Droll lorD
I turn the Revel leveR
I like to Moor a rooM
I like to Fool alooF
There I drink my Regal lageR
Then how Me leer 'n reel 'eM
I see No evil live oN
Though I Lived a deviL
Where the Pools looP
Without the Flesh selF
In Sleep peelS
Reviled I deliveR

Resume, museR




RETURNS

The arm is pulled
The tape turns
The arm snaps back with a cold loud clack
And the blade cuts the tape like a Guillotine.
These are the sounds of the Tapeshooter Model 100
Which is to a Returnsman what a chainsaw is to a logger
Or even a blog to a blogger. I call mine Charlene.
Charlene’s so sweet to me.
She’s like a slot machine, this book store my casino.
In the inner sanctum: “Mornin’!”
“Mornin’!”
Couple of glances and grins from the coworker. She’s a lifer, like half of the rest.
Arm pulled, the tape turns, and snaps back with a cold loud clack.
We are now officially at work.
“Bring anything for lunch?”



MILKING THE BACK

Thick vat glass added fresh back size
bobbing in brine like swollen legions of buffalo tongue
and the clerk would hook the one Grandpa let me pick.

At home we’d unwrap the massy package,
I with my fork, ready to poke.
Grandpa’s deft prong freed embedded gravel bits

whose frugal removal fueled our maracas.
Then he’d heft the back to sheets of wax paper
where for half a day it dried before it was applied.

I’d watch the pungent juices ooze as if alive,
seeping the way a beached whale weeps.
When it was time, Grandpa lifted the back

like a butcher with a side of beef,
squeezing loose the yellow milk
into a foil pan at his feet.

Now I am an old man.
You can’t find fresh back anymore.
I have no idea why we did all that.   



I AM THE FATHER

I am the father of agriculture
and monumental architecture.
I am the father of astronomy
and the calendar of rites.
I am the father of writing
and genetic manipulation.



See me dreaming
in gilded flesh-eater glide
caught by seventy-two accomplices
flung into the diffusion zone
and carried here to spring
fecund with accomplishment
embanked upon this foreign shore.



IN THE ULTIMATE POEM FIRST AND FINAL

letters combine to align in arrangement which reads
not just across left to right or right to left but forth and up and down and back

all making sense
no space omitted
it all interacts
inside-out
diagonal

form and content match
and the letters take shapes which in turn comment
missing nothing
texture
color
senses over senses

and the poem is thought

and the thought is matter

and we walk in the poem

and we breathe in the poem

and our hearts beat the poem

and beyond all language

the poem ex  p  l    O              o
                   l    O          O
                                  O      o           O               O
          O     o         o                  o              o

    o     o                  o                    o          o              o                o

  o       .    o  .                d               o             .       .              o                .          .

.          .                     .                                e      .
.     .          .                              .          .                                   s





A BRICK IN A BUSTED SET      

He watches a brick in a busted set.
The leak hits his head in a steady drip.
His hand holds a can without any beer.
Just sits, and stares, in a moldy old chair.




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LOST COASTER NOV 6 KMUD




https://soundcloud.com/stewart-kirby/lost-coaster-nov-6-kmud




Meet Zen Mendosa, a SoHum resident who blogs about his life making and marketing redwood coasters by day, and constructing by night his people-powered contraption for an annual three-day race. When an alien who takes on celebrity guises reveals that ancient technology deep underground has corroded, entered the biosphere, and threatens the structure of the universe, Zen learns he must convert as many people as possible into Hippies in order to save reality itself, but has a hard time focusing on the project and gets sidetracked with girlfriend problems.

Tune in from 5:00 - 5:30 on the first Thursday of every month
for the seven-part series
on KMUD 91.1 FM Garberville







https://soundcloud.com/stewart-kirby/lost-coaster-on-kmud

Saturday, October 4, 2014

ARMY OF THE MIGRANT TRIMMERS


















Ever construct a pontoon bridge out of friendship bracelets? No, I didn't think so. That's because you're not in the Army of the Migrant Trimmers. I know it the same way I know a good 20% of them wear Capris. Wear Capris like Doris Day, and with beads in their beards.

A more petulant and lazy army you never saw, the Army of the Migrant Trimmers, but the Birkenstocks they slip on with straps unaffixed jingle, jingle like the spurs of Festus, and on sheer body odor alone they've won many a battle. "Ha ha!" they say like Nelson every time. Except when one of them says it like Bullwinkle, and then they get all sidetracked.

Usually the Army of the Migrant Trimmers has a guy with dreadlocks who shaves the sides of his head bopping around barefoot with a tambourine assuring everyone that the women did get a ride, and should be on their way over any time.

On learning this, yeah, the response from the opposing forces is generally some kind of a series of predictable guffaws. Until, that is, the ladies show up. A school of piranha has a lot to learn from a handful of trimmer chicks with Fiskars...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

THE FIRST ELVIS

Before it was Earth, the planet started out as a fantasy locale.

Originally the colonizers were visitors wanting to recreate, recreate in both senses of the word. Before genetically-engineering us from preexisting hominids as easily as we make glow-in-the-dark cats and test-tube sheep, the original visitors were romping around in cosmic feng shui.

Megalithic architecture all across this small blue island we call home imitated that of far-flung times and places for them. Eventually to the visitors, pyramids were basically strip malls. But when first found, before it was a colony, the planet was a playground, a global Disneyland open only to an intergalactic Elvis.

The first Elvis sat on a giant stone throne staring at the stars and sometimes shooting at them, occasionally recalling how first stepping through the inter-dimensional door gave him that fresh-from-the-package rock star feeling. The hugeness. No doubt about it, the first Elvis was huge. His head was huge. With commensurately far larger cranial capacity than ours. Plus double rows of teeth and big dark eyes that looked like built-in shades. The first Elvis was ten feet tall and bulletproof and distributed largesse wherever he went.

No, he didn't invent civilization.

But he did popularize it.





















TRUE,
I DO HAVE OTHER STORIES STARTED,
BUT LET'S JUST NOT TALK ABOUT THAT.

MORE,
MAYBE...