Thursday, November 18, 2010

Discovering the Presence of Beauty for the Temple of Man

Tony Scibella greeted me the other night
on the dawn threshold of a dream,
Said: How’s that poetry thing working out
For you? I was high
over Taos and told him everything
was fine, fine, that I’ve known Her for over
30 years and I still get all tongue tied
in Her presence, my
heart races
my feet swell, I’m
docile and feverish, both, my
mind becomes a circular firing squad
of Catholic boyhood images.
At times, cold sober, I
feel like the most stoned Western
ever filmed—
I asked him what he was doing, he
said just smoking, dreaming, walking
the beach, I go to Hollywood Park
and win everyday.

I asked him: Tony, are you and Stuart myths?
He said, I don’t know about him,
But I am and I know why I am where
I’m at, at
Any given moment.

I told him I thought
Stuart Perkoff had an assortment of mini-
gods running through his veins, that
his human love stories could never compete
with his romance with the Muse,
Our Lady of Venice, spirit-sister of
born tricksters/
Lover to human poets.

I said I’m always getting turned
on: by
a meteor shower high over the Pecos River,
the elongated summer of September, with
its dry soaring highs and star power nights
where the Milky Way looks like
grace on black velvet,
by the Kid in America sipping
brandy coffee outside the Suicide Room,
by hearing Alphabet mouths
speak Love is the Silence in
dreams of
autumn waves on pale
dawn beaches.
By Frankie’s center ring--

Scibella said it best:

For it is a mad quest
This poet gig
Ridiculous if you choose it
Doomed if you don’t

It chose me, Tony, and you
helped lead me through the mindfield of self-
deception and broken blossoms
of prayer and promise until we
uncovered beauty
on this landscape of sighs—
and she sang like Aretha Franklin.
Emoted like Brando.
Was as silent as John Cage.
Cursed like an Irish Priest.
Exploded into the existential border
mayhem of
bad whisky Peckinpah,
her guns of September cradled
in the revolutionary doomed passions
of Zapata;
she did the bars in the badlands
with Venus,
she flowed out of Miles’ horn like
a death row butterfly,
and in the end, beauty,
was as elusive and mythic as
Zapata’s white horse.
That’s why we craved her. That’s
How she revealed herself
To us.
Jimmy, Frankie, Tony, Stuart, John, Philomene,
S.A., David, Larry, Ed and everyone who taught
me that beauty is
always more than dream deep.

--John Macker

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Alaska's Flag"*

Mad helicopter gunship
a hair's breath above timberline
thundering over tundra
dead flat out ahead,
a drunken pale faced war dance
of serial wolf hunters, arctic whoops
and weapons, singing:

the gold of the early sourdough dreams
the precious gold of the hills and streams

a mythic creature bounds
across the forget-me-nots
into the hills of deep snow,
the midnight sun illuminates
no longer territorial governor spends a life-
time separating in her mind
from soul,
while down below
the epic chase of lobo the tragedian.
Her tattoo reads
"death from above"

the forty-ninth state.

*Alaska's state song

Trinity Site Dream Bomb for Joe D'Alessandro

To get there drive down I-25
past Albuquerque, stop at Mas Tequila to
watch the Juarez pole dancers, pick up
the hitchhiking ghosts of Gregory Corso & Johnny Cash,
take a left at San Antonio,
trigger's edge of desert time, to the
desolate virtuosity of the
Jornada del Muerto
with its flat occult sunsets &
morbid sense of irony.

At ground zero
where the spring wind strips you of everything
but your virginity,
bomb has lost its bellicose boom,
has bottomed out as boogie man,
Doctor Bomb
who took a Hippocratic oath to kill,
has become alchemist of blissful peace.
No longer dances afoul of nature
behind the mushroom eyelids of the dead,
no longer enters eternity like a
defrocked priest,
bomb used to be the devil's passionflower
at dusk,
in cantankerous desolation, dust
devil's moaned Corso's name as he de-
bunked bomb on his famous broadside,
when bombs in America sprouted like daffodils &
dogs barked at unearthed midnight bombs.

All that's left is dream bomb & its shrieking
shattered sunset bloom of deep sleep smoke,
we are its mirror.

We've been to the edge & the edge is us,
dropping these sweet pages from the womb
of bomb
on unsuspecting
green earth.

*this poem was included in S.A.Griffin's traveling
"Poetry Bomb Tour Of Words", summer, 2010.
Many thanks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monsoon Season

I'm lying on the floor listening for
the distant thunder,
sounds like deep songs,
like old friend's voices milling
around the cosmos,
their chairs scraping
in the El Chapultepec bar.

The heat lightning of revelation strobes:
LA, Denver, Albuquerque,
old outposts where flashes of
inspiration became
epic burns and the smoke
drifts beyond all proportion
under these
black gloved clouds.

memory, not as mellifluous as camaraderie
but I can hear them
there is more than
echoes and ashes dancing in time
to see or feel
or praise. The
changing features of the sky
can alter life and the lightning

so close,
burns holes in their names
as the standing rain fills them
with an unforgettable beauty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crossing -for Todd Moore 1937-2010

He sits outside smoking, drinking & breathing
In the corpse sweet smell
Of the Aztec earth. It is pitch black,
Mexico, the hard pure universe of
Night & death

Mangas Coloradas,
imperfect winter tool of the
astride a good pony
the rare snow last night spitballed
sideways, frosted the organ pipe,
each flake disappeared in his hand
before it could declare its
individuality, a
brittle irony
not lost on the aged chief.

despite the hoarseness and dust furies
the droughtscape,
it’ll be time to harvest the macho dark
magic of the mezcal
eastern slope of the Chiricahuas.

Just north of the border,
oblivion rhymes with vermilion,
not a soul
was caught in the living act of crossing
just the winter wired coyotes;
now in his seventies,
dreams of one last score,
riding off some Fronteras rancheria’s
renegade remuda
in the dark because
revenge this sweet must
be Mexican, must taste
mezcal bitter on the tongue,
the dusk glows saffron
as the earth rotates lustily
into hard shadow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Todd Moore, poet, 1937-2010

Poet Todd Moore, Albuquerque resident outlaw, author of many books celebrating John Dillinger, passed away this morning in Tucson. He left behind two sons and lovely wife Barbara. We'd been friends for years, following our initial connection as poets. He was kind, gentle, wise, outlaw in spirit, generous, totally devoted to the word in all of its more fiery incantations. Dillinger was his chant, his channel, his obsession, his godfather, his endearing myth. He understood the poetry inherent in the dark side of americana, of Dillinger as pop culture icon, like Bonnie & Clyde, still fascinating sorcerers in the American mainstream mind's eye.
I remember one time visiting his home and writing room filled with wall-to-wall books and the amazing collection of historic knives. The Bowie, the Spanish dagger, you could feel Todd's vibrant imagination run wild all over the blades; they were heavy in the hand like some of his books. Freighted with myth and history. His latest, maybe his best: The Riddle of The Wooden Gun and Dead Reckoning published by Epic Rites. Small press, Tough guy titles. His words, staccato machine gun bursts that fractured the American poetic line sometimes right at the joint, the syllable, are unique in American underground letters. Uncompromising lines are used as switchblades to cut into the corrupt, alcoholic gut of the American Myth. The fascinating girlfriends and gun molls of his vicious mobsters were almost as obsessed as his anti-heroes. As they seductively stroke Dillinger's lethal .38 and coo precocious bribes into his ear, they become as iconic as his gangsters.
His real life youth was full of uncertainty, violence, and adventure.
He was generous as a mentor and one of the most enthusiastic and devoted practitioners of the art I'd ever met. Our first in-depth discussion, in Santa Fe, of course, had to do with Westerns, movies, books, outlaws; more Bill Holden in the Wild Bunch than John Wayne, the conversation always wound circuitously back to the poem. As he wrote in his essay, Machine Gun Dreams: "And if I had to write Dillinger at the expense of Literature, then fuck Literature. See, I wanted flesh and I wanted blood and I wanted dreams and I wanted death all mixed up in a wild desperado stew. I wanted that above all else."
Amen, Todd.
Todd and I met for our last lunch together a couple of months ago in Albuquerque. He brought with him a few books he'd been reading. One was a thick book on the mythology of the contemporary frontier, another a slim volume on Mayakovsky. Another book I don't remember, but his excitement for them, for literature in general, was sincere and infectious. Absorbing Todd's love of books was like loving writing itself. He had a schoolboy's crush on outlaw literature.

I'm selling books on a slow afternoon in the gallery as I write this. An older gent, maybe about Todd's age has just purchased 2 classic first editions of the genre: Turmoil In New Mexico and Violence in Lincoln County. Two titles I know Todd had read. I swear, Todd is here in spirit, just maybe, sharing his vast knowledge of western history with the cosmos, overseeing this transaction; I know he's now out there somewhere, where Heaven is caretaker to wind-swept Boothills and abandoned shotgun shacks, where Dillinger has lived just as large on the edge as Todd Moore's poetry surely will.

Rest in peace, hermano.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We lost old Bill of old age last summer.

first light

I let Diego out at first light,
felt so finite under fading stars,
I heard a distant dog's bark carried
on the breeze
from the village, it
sounded like Bill's bark, a
soulmate I just buried and at that

dawn was a maroon thing of beauty,
the crown of the sun
hurling sparks,
loss became a river that
flowed away from me
and near the river
a coyote yipped a frenzy
of dawn songs

the wolves of Afghanistan must've heard
and replied:
"here are the ruins of war"

loss is mostly everywhere
but dawn
spills its fiery light misted up
forever young
across all the rivers of earth.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On Graciela Iturbide’s Mujer Angel Sonora Desert, 1980

Here is where she enters Mexico.

Black and white photograph penetrates the soul

like a sacrament,

easy intimacy with the eyes, as if my

angel woman, Seri goddess,

boom box swinging

in her right hand, in her left

she’s pulling something hidden

from the rock,

long black

bridal veil of hair

maybe listening to hip hop

or be bop,

hiking down from the mountain-

top in white billowing


her face a hidden

determination to be one


the opposite of

the desert.

She descends sin nombre

into the sun-



Sonoran badlands

where she’ll lose her mysteries

to that rigid overheated ocean

where scant rains fall,

here is where she enters my dream.

This was published by artist Leon Loughridge's DCPrint Folio this year in Denver. Poem is based on b & w photo by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. Enjoy. Peace.