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O Yeah!

It wasn’t so unusual his drinking
most of the afternoon,
so when Ma would send me,
I’d go to the bar & take him out the back.
It was always nip & tuck
getting home.

When he’d wake he’d try to thank me & barf all over the sofa.

Out of work for years & broke,
he’d booze on credit, do odd jobs for the bill.
Sometime he’d take me along,
the cab of the truck smelling of piss & gasoline & I’d hang out the window for a whiff of fresh air.

After I turned 13,
he taught me how to hold a cue / how to make a perfect bridge with
my hand
even more stable
if I’d let my nails grow.

He showed me how to grip its knob with just the tips
of my fingers
how to make long, slow, decisive strokes /
how to hit the balls
dead on.

We’d drive around, from bar to bar, making matches…

o yeah, we’d say
coming away with cash
he’d count in his lap if he weren’t too drunk

On other days,
he’d take me to other bars where I’d sit on his knee & pretend to be
someone else’s little girl

& if a man would buy him a drink
I’d let him touch my breasts
& If he’d give him twenty bucks
I’d go out to the truck
take down my pants

O yeah! they’d say
going up inside me

O Yeah! O Yeah! they’d say
their bodies quaking

O Yeah! O Yeah! O Yeah!

Jim Talks About Coyote Mask

For Jim Allen who owns the gift and knows its powers

I can’t believe she’d want to give it up.

Bad vibes, she said.  Too dark.
Or some such nonsense.  I think power.

The dancer with the cunning tongue
mesmerizing rattlers, toads and puma alike.

I picture him totally out of control

head wagging
frothing at the mouth

his goatee flecked with spit
smacking his lips and licking his gums

terror waiting
out of reach

ready to snatch away
your kill.

No wonder Zuni
treasure tales of his treachery

why he’s mascot to despair.

Bobbing and weaving he circles
all eyes follow

he’s been known to tease, to change his shape, disappear
appear again

there are those who’ve seen him dining at the finest tables
blessed by the most elaborate churches.

My neighbor recounts the time in the desert
when she waited to be rescued from the cold and Coyote took her
to his den

fed her a meal of free-range hen
then mounted her

turning loose a tantalizing truth she’d been forced to hide for years.

Did I say

he holds the lever
turns it at his pleasure

singing yip-yip-yip-a-we

The Woman Whose Skin’s

slick as a snake
running naked through the trees
a kid under each arm
looks back
smiles her gap-toothed smile
ducks behind an elephant ear
never to appear again.

From every corner of the town
women rattle cups
stoke-up stoves
send plumes of smoke racing
like horses their daughters can ride
skin against skin
into the hills
where the warriors wait
dangling lucky rings for them to grab onto.

The woman whose skin’s slick as a snake
slides along the bank of a quickening stream
sniffing out clams, frogs and the nests of salamanders
stopping for a breath when the sun slips behind the horizon
and her appetite’s sated.

Last night she slept with her sisters in her father’s house
tuned her guitar
mended her mother’s gown.
Last night began the waining of the hunter’s moon
someone harvested a lamb
carved a pit from the trunk of the largest tree.
The man will soon return and the door will close behind him.

        must I leave my home
wear a new name
lose my luck
never speak out again

That same night
having rested long enough
the woman whose skin’s slick as a snake
turned slowly in her bed
stroked the kids coiled close beside her
then packed and left in the last of the dark

There’s An Urgency…In Them

They’re simply holding hands as the bus moves slowly up Aribau but there’s an urgency in them & she leans into him & kisses his eyes one by one & they are deliberate kisses & he pulls her closer & the light is up for his stop & she knows he must leave & she looks away but he pulls her close again & pauses at the door & looks back & they wave to each other & he stands in the street & they wave again & the bus pulls away & she still waves & the bus picks up speed & she keeps waving & looks down the deserted street & back & we are past the next corner & still she waves / like a tried swimmer short staccato strokes of her empty hand.

Two Drunks

The big one with the bloody eye belts the little one who runs away but the big one chases him waving his half empty bottle of cheap red wine & drags him back by the scruff of his neck like a chicken to be plucked & the little guy tries to sit quietly but the big one keeps railing at him & swatting his head for emphasis & someone goes for the cops who are in the station at the side of the plaza but they refuse to join in & merely watch from their little window & someone else tries to separate the two but the big one yells & spits & takes a swing at him & falls in the street where he belches & farts & when he can stand he digs out his limp dick from his stained jeans & tries to spray the crowd but instead pisses a short thin stream mostly down his leg & when he sees his partner has disappeared he starts off too with his open pants screaming at the top of his voice that we are all ass-holes & sons-of-bitches & no doubt some of us are & other choice Catalan insults which I cannot understand but some do & applaud & cheer & he turns & flicks his tongue & a dog barks at his heels & he tries to run but keeps tripping over his trouser cuffs & falls again & sits in his own dim light & stares off down the street & hangs his head & weeps.


There’s a woman with gleaming blond hair who plays the Viola & distracts
the most attentive audience &

a young girl with auburn curls & able hands who fillets the chicken’s breast
just so & the hooker

who knows what she will do & what she will not & the woman who sells
bananas & could care less &

another who chuckles when you cannot pronounce the names of the wild
mushrooms but will let you sample her tomato &

pay later…& the woman who sweeps in her orange jump-suit & whistles
& smokes cigars & Nuria who runs the photo lab & will give you a gift

if you’re unprepared & won’t if you’re not & Erica who has found a home
with the nuns & panhandles for change &

the rest will cut you off on the stair or at the counter or through the door &
when you offer a seat on a crowded bus…will smile &

decline & don’t wonder & don’t object . . . they have a plan & share the
rules but not with you…especially

if you’re a man & suspect & haven’t declared which side you’re on or what
you will bring to the part or contribute at home…

Marc Chagall @ Center Cultural Caixa Catalunya – An Exhibition

“…To me, art is mainly about a condition of [my] soul” M.C.

He’s the horned goat in red robes with his Cheshire grin, the trout that
swims above the marriage bed, a chicken chasing a Rabbi home.

He’s the violin that plays the funeral, the cow that gives green milk, the
clock that marks our time.

He’s the husband & the wife adrift in midair, a Shofar trumpeting Rosh
Hashanah, a loafing Hassid called to prayer.

He’s a gambler with his foot in his mouth, a drunkard pissing against the
fence, Jacob battling his angel.

He’s Abraham with a knife at Isaac’s throat, a lover stroking the skin of
his beloved, Job frozen in despair.

He is, in fact, all that he has gleaned & pressed to his breast & wrestled to
the earth & tamed &… reluctantly released…

There’s An Old Man At A Bus Stop

There’s An Old Man At A Bus Stop

Boots buffed. Gray hair neatly dressed. Slacks formal & pressed.
He stares at nothing in particular…a spot in passing:

the lady & her poodle  coed with briefcase & helmet   the sun reflecting
passing traffic in the windows of Fincas Forcadell…

He’s folded his arms across his chest but is not defiant rather, content &
lost for these few moments…to contemplate his horizon through

clear brown eyes / content to wait for that certain bus which he knows
will be coming soon.

The Beach-Two

The Beach – Two

He lay next to her eagerly oiling, in fact, massaging, No! caressing her pliant
breasts as a lover might in the privacy of their special place but here on the
beach in the sun & for me alone like

attending a volcano or the birth of a painting or like celebrating Eros in
August with a pick-up band playing “Sugar – Sugar” on the sea-wall &
another couple wound together too &

no one close enough for me to scent or kiss or fondle or chase into the swells
where the gulls are diving & kids are surfing their way back & no one seems
to care whether I’ve come or not.