From A Poet Who Writes About Sunsets To The Poet Who Sings Songs Of Anarchy

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I just wanted to say,
I appreciate your meter,
your diction,
your quest for love,
your dream of life,
your freedom.

The sun has set on this world
hundreds, even thousands of times,
while I have been here alive,
and I have seen it.
I have seen it in the desert,
and over the mountain valley,
on the endless prairie,
and under the sea.
I have seen it on the city street,
in the humble town,
and over the suburb sprawling.
I have seen it everywhere in this country,
and in countries abroad,
but it has been far too long
since this country
has stopped and looked to the east
to watch the sun again rise.

The much faster of the two spectacles
and perhaps from some vantage points
the less brilliant or overall interesting.
That calm before the storm that never quite comes
as the yellow light builds on the horizon
until there is a hint of sapphire and crimson
just before the dawn breaks
and that glorious fireball goes high into the sky
like nothing ever happened
and before you know it,
there it is,
it is day.

Yes, it happens so quick it is hard to capture
beyond that deep feeling
a feeling maybe of reluctance,
but usually of hope
of another day,
a new day rising,
a fresh start,
a clean slate
that beautiful cool air
and the brightness of daytime.

These are things that usually are slept through
by most
and maybe ignored by all others
But, you young lady
manage to capture it all
all of this grand moment’s essence
in your simple songs of militance
between the shouts of a demand for change
and the rallying of a non-violent unification
of the people across the land
against their oppressors
both political and circumstantial
I can begin to see
the morning light

We all know the sun has set on this empire,
this corporatocracy,
this hundred years war in the Middle East,
this Wall Street,
this Ferguson,
this military industrial complex privatized prison system,
the fracking,
the deforestation,
the developers,
the privacy encroachers,
this biased media,
this drug war,
this sexist, homophobic, racist patriarchy,

But up until now,
I think most of us have just been wandering in the dark.

Your voice, though,
so clear now
it’s youth and feminine vitality,
it’s individual diversity
bursting over the megaphone
encouraging and hopeful,
compassionate and ethereal,
the words distinct
in their embrace
of those who thought they were powerless.

I see it now
and I am enchanted.

You are the voice of the new day.
You are the sunrise we have all been waiting for.

Let us all be so lucky to hear your poetry.
Let us learn to speak it ourselves
and carry it in our hearts.
Let us not sleep through this moment of glory,
nor forget where the sun set last night.
Let this revolution, you speak of
be quick like the sun’s early morning northernly climb
and its day be especially long
and full of tomorrow’s bounties.
Let us all together now,
find this new paradise
more balanced
and with equality
far away from the evils
of yesterday.

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photos are of protests taking place in Los Angeles in response to the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the grand jury’s decision not to bring his killer Darren Wilson to trial.

From A Poet Who Writes About Sunsets To The Poet Who Sings Songs Of Anarchy

The City of Lost Angels

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This city is Bukowki’s turf and it’s funny to have forgotten that important fact. In light of this realization I can feel his ghost stumbling home from the bars or chasing after the pretty young girls. But what has more of an impact on me is the characteristics of this city that obviously made the man such a brute.

Take a limping walk to Skid Row and you’ll see the makings of another Great Depression. It’s happening, even if you didn’t know it is happening. The tent cities are growing every day spreading throughout downtown LA and the tenants are more than just down on hard luck. Their faces are bleeding with the remnants of two hundred and fifty years of the man beating them up. The hard drugs and cheap alcohol no cushion for their forgotten bodies finally collapsing under the weight of this grand machine we’re all sinking in. There’s an estimated 70 to 100 thousand of them too, larger than some of the smaller cities I’ve traveled through. They don’t have much left and what hasn’t already been stolen from them will soon be lost when the police come to kick them out for the month’s third routine raid.

Walk a little around the surrounding neighborhoods and you’ll find the black man, or the white man, or the Chinese man, or the Mexican, who all at one time built railroads and worked in our country’s industries, now passing their aimless days testing door handles on cars to see if they’re unlocked or walking down the middle of the street hoping to be hit by a drunk driver passing along towards the freeway.

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Some even make it down to Venice Beach where the game is a little different. For the price of a good knife you can sleep on the beach piled in with several travel bags and all of your most prized belongings. Some campers even pair together for protection from the elements that merely a sleeping bag can’t provide, setting up temporary communities where trust is hard to come by.

Then during the day there is an audience and even a boardwalk stage to perform upon. Both travelers and static dwellers and more established retailers hustle their flow often handing their product to unsuspecting vacationers and demanding that an exorbitant amount be paid without much true words being exchanged. Several musicians are Bob Marley’s cousins and everyone needs sixty cents for the bus line home, though the track lines are visible on their outstretched forearms.

And then there are the Christians who are spookier than all the rest. Usually they are made up of several young high school aged cult-eyed women who draw you in with some new age twist like fortune-telling or tarot to stay relevant, and don’t mention anything about God until enough time has passed in conversation and their audience is starting to check their pockets for their wallets, wondering how much they’re going to have to pay. Then a spooky calm falls over the girl’s expression and God’s eternal love is all they can talk about. They get fanatical and when I try to walk away they stop me so that they can bless me and save me from my sins.

I can’t even escape it in the bars which are mostly clubs where either the Cali bros or the Hollywood understudies are chasing after women who look not a day over 21 yet more in control of their lives than most people I’ve met even twice my age. The men swarm these sirens as they pass through the entire odyssey in sweeping intensity of perfume, subtle make-up, gym fit forms, and gentle smiles. Then they stand off against the walls of the bar playing their pan flutes, snapping their fingers like jazz hounds, and counting how many phone numbers they conned. The whole thing turns to a dance scene as the DJ cranks the psychedelic rock tunes and then the 80s classics begin as if Brett Easton Ellis hasn’t taught anyone about trends.

Even at the dive bars where the swingers spend less of their leisure there is the constant influx of bad seeds with hidden flasks held to escape the high prices and other designer drugs, typically the acid of the future like sassafras and MDMMA, to extend the buzz. These drugs, mixed with the stoneage that everyone is on creates a vapid world where social centers are subdued, cliquey, and everyone is alone slobbering through their own individual seizures. These soul-seeking individuals slowly become the ruffians of the dark and they spend their late nights exploring mysticism in a depressed, egocentric way, often digging darker even though they desire what we all want, to feel light and full of dream. Surprisingly, god is here too, even in the darkest corners. From their conversations, I gather that these cult makers and practitioners of witchcraft are also stuck in the anachronistic belief that there is a god or a special life meaning given to the human race beyond the simple joy of friendliness. They reveal feelings of being betrayed when I tell them that they are God and we’d all be better off listening more closely to our own hearts rather than what some halfwit spiritual leader muses upon.

But what rings true out from the heart of it all is the depression that haunts us all, that we are not what we are supposed to be and that something out there is better. The grass is greener on the other side. This mechanized hustle and bustle working better than the tanks you’ll find in Ferguson to keep every person I meet down on the ground. Everyone hates the techie, the new certificate holding yuppie, and if there was more time for empathy, we’d have a serious class war on our hands. One that might actually go somewhere.

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But the designers of this city thought of that one too, and as they starve the residents (and even the surrounding counties) of food and water, they take away all affordable shelter which makes everyone so driven into the workforce there is no time for reflection.

And so back to Bukowski. Where would he fit in, in all this mess? I’ve seen his ugly mug on the street corners just released from jail and ready for another break from sobriety. He asks for a quarter but he looks worse off than before. His lapse into the more brutal realms of humanity has led him down crooked streets, inspiring an entire generation to be just as miserable. His hospital bills are running high from all the bar fights, and his days as a barfly have left him desperate, with no hope for anything other than anarchy.

His photographed image taped to the walls of several bars I’ve frequented. I share a drink with him and reflect on the place where free love has finally died and a West Coast greed I was previously unfamiliar with has taken its course and won.

There must be a reason besides the good weather that so many actual cults (Manson, Yod, Hubbard to name a few) have found their home here. Perhaps it’s a continuation of the gold rush which has turned to silicon and hyperspace. Or maybe all of LA is built on an Indian burial ground and it’s curse is that no matter how sunny the weather is its residents will never experience true happiness. There’s too much competition to let that be the case.

But all the same, the canyons, the ocean, the mountains, the art, the murals, the poetry, the culture, even the Disneyland-like hipster attractions, and the infinite palm trees have a beauty that doesn’t exist anywhere else I’ve been. These other things I describe are just the dregs. And the dregs are what follow me everywhere, where ever I go. I’m used to them by now and I see their hidden poetry.

But for others who are not as aware, look to the streets. The dregs are growing. We can no longer ignore their desperate cries for help. They are everywhere. See, we’ve reached a breaking point and it’s about time that the whole populace does something to change its direction. Because right now the whole country is hurting. And there’s no place it’s more obvious than the state of California, especially in the city of LA.

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The City of Lost Angels

Big Sur in the setting sun

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I watch an astral chakra-like orb erupt from the setting sun over the ocean and I want Big Sur to offer a standing ovation. Instead it stands there humble and majestic. The fog at its shoulders adding air to its mountainous earthen body. But still dormant all the same. The fireball to its western quarters turning the rest of this paradise all shades of orange, pink, and purple with its verbose volleys of natural energy, being thrown every which way. And this mountain lies still its own diverse network of patterns, gullies, and rock beaten frequencies unchanged. You’d think this rolling back of daylight into nighttime would rattle even the thickest of wills. But no match for this mountain rushing with all its own land mass back into the sea in a giant glorious sweep of might and fury. The ocean crashing at its feet and the fog continuing to roll in over its head covering the whole body of it all while dark continues to deepen and night continues expanding forward onto the horizon giving cloak to hulk to mountain to hull and shell to sea and earth and heavens all over again once more.

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Big Sur in the setting sun

Smoke, Fire, and Fog

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This morning I watched the fog roll in off the ocean, expand over the bay, and traverse the hillside like an invisibility cloak transporting us all into the spirit world with ghostly wonder. I felt the sadness in the stillness when I looked at it from afar behind a closed window, but once outside in its embrace I felt its potential for casting magic, the full moon already set and the sun not quite over the horizon though gaining momentum, the whole scene ripe for a vision. In my half awakened stupor I light a block of palo santo wood and a stick of incense for vitality. The sunlight begins to break through and for a moment I breathe out huge funnels of smoke and behind it what I expect is fire. There is a gift in this rebirth, this revolution in the fog, the dense vapors passing over me and soaking every living thing in its wake. There is the insight that every day is temporal and this reality a shift in perspective from dreamworld to the living. Ultimately, the trick is being able to lessen the instituted divide between waking life and the wandering dream body. But I already know this from my own studies and I think to myself about each time I have been faced with the metaphysical transportation through a cloud and what it has offered along this trip. The animal spirits found in Crater Lake and the dreams of giants up on Shasta. I laugh a little that perhaps the next time I find myself in the fog again drifting so deep I will finally have the balls to take the leap and attempt to fly. Perhaps my dream body will carry me higher up into the sky. And my vision will take me to a place deep inside myself and closer to my own being than I have ever been before. The invisibility cloak wraps around me tighter and I and this city, still blowing smoke and fire, we all disappear.

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Smoke, Fire, and Fog

A Poem to the Cosmos

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Two years ago, I was in New Orleans under the same full moon in Taurus that will shine tonight. I was at the end of a long prolonged break from the reality I had spent two years creating with a very special past loved one. New Orleans offered a change of climate while I sought to sort things out. It was also the first travel on which I sold my then newly published, hand-bound collection of short stories. I thought in a little over a month’s time the Mayan world was going to end. I felt accomplished that I had met at least one of my main goals: “publish a book before the end of the world on December 21 2012”.

Now we’re all under that Taurus moon again. And I am for sure on the road again. This time it’s a little different, though. Similar in that I seek a change of climate and new horizons, but there is no concrete heartache this time chasing me further onto the highway. This time of year has always offered unparalleled struggles, from the phone call notifying me of my closest friend’s suicide to the time I got attacked in my own home at the last show of the first Dream Oven. But each year these struggles have served to teach me and out of the darkness comes the light.

Since that time in NOLA, the Mayan world has gone and ended and I’ve survived into the new world to tell its tale. I’ve felt the cycle of death and rebirth a thousand times. I’ve brought its power under my wing. Learning everyday from my own finite nature. Watching the sunrise and sunset and growing stronger. At 27, I stand before you a wanderer. A man much humbled by the height of the mountains. Challenged by the length of the ocean. Encouraged by the depth of space. And stupefied by the sublime flagrant colors found everywhere at anytime. But I am no one and I continue to be honored by the presence of everyone I meet. Poets and architects, dreamers and psychedelic zen lunatics. The high rollers and the absolute dregs.

I stand here now in San Francisco on the opposite shore of this country from where I was born and look back towards the rising sun towards the east towards all that I came from and I think of my return visit to that old New Orleans full of magic only a few weeks or a month away. I stand here now and I wonder what further prosperity awaits me on the other side.

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A Poem to the Cosmos

Dia de Los Muertos

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I had a Kerouac day. Started out at City Lights, but Ferlinghetti wasn’t in to give me the keys to Big Sur. So I had a drink or two at the bar next door (Vesuvio) and smoked a jazz cigarette with the bartender in the alleyway between the two. I felt the beat of the moment and thought of Cody and how we used to do wordplay in our car rides across the country in the early years. Before long my vision had taken me to Mission Street and I woke up with drumsticks in my hands, a skull painted on my face, leading a troop of dancers through the Dia de Muertos Parade. I was the resident incense bearer, magic maker, and poetry soothsayer. Soon I was surrounded by friends and we stopped off for more beers under the red lighted BAR sign talking to the local bums and reminiscing on the road. Serious abundance and puhala all around. Today the night seems long. And I feel grateful that this is actually a Kavanaugh story, so I don’t see the ending involving a gutter or me lying dead drunk on some beaten apartment floor like Kerouac would. Instead those drums keep driving me forward, further, into the night, beating rapidly with their fervor, a right to life.

Dia de Los Muertos