Celebs at the Beach

I strain myself to get a better look,
A good long look at what is promised
To be the view of a lifetime.

I’m not a stargazer; I gave up my dreams
Long ago. I’m a starfucker. All I want now
Is to look up someone’s skirt or down someone’s pants.

I want to see something that’s been getting
Star treatment, something powdered, coifed,
And well-oiled. Not just a piece of meat left out to rot.

I’m looking up to people who are admired, not down
On them like a lousy snob. I’m into worshiping at my idols’ feet.
I want a glimpse of what really counts.

Will she offer me some of her urine? That’s what I’d like to know.
As a temple worshiper, I’m ready to be touched by the Divine.
I’m willing to stand all day in line with my tongue out.

We are becoming like India, with starving people picking lice
Off each other’s backs. Tent cities, befouled by waste and the stench
Of death. People sleep in the nude covered in their own shit.

The stars like the gods above live nearby, in glass palaces
From the hilltops where they can see. They can throw the gristle
And the carrot peels to the monkeys from their back porches.

Down below where their worshippers live it is hotter.
Our stars, it is said, are cool and they want to keep it that way.
They listen to Lou Rawls and snap their fingers.

One star it has been rumored descends from the highest point
In the city so she can speak to the people, those deemed
Ready to hear the truth. She says in no uncertain terms: get out.

The people are not enlightened. They are lost. They are themselves
Part of the pollution, adding to and not alleviating the grotesquely
Poisoned air, water and earth. She calls on them to be exterminated.

And now finally there is peace. The stars come out again. The ladies
Remove their tops and bottoms. They levitate. The men, erect, expose
Their masculine glory, freed at last to do as they please. Everyone is dead.

Peripheral Visions

They’ve outlawed torture because it doesn’t work,
but they forgot to tell my little brother.

I went to Madrid and wanted paella but all I found
was frozen pizza.

I traveled to Saudi Arabia and knew exactly what I wanted,
but found the road to Mecca closed to outsiders.

Americans claim to be welcoming. The kids in Tibet cry “hello,”
but when the Chinese visit Brooklyn, the kids shout “fuck you.”
It’s the only language they know.

The kids in Harlem are no globetrotters. They’ve never
even crossed the street.

Their female teacher doesn’t wear underpants, but her neighbor,
a man, wears panties. They claim it is the children who have a lot
to learn.

When the infants say they are not ready for anal sex,
their teacher makes them sit by themselves in the corner.

The six-year-old is sucking her thumb is told in no uncertain terms
to remove her thumb and find a boy to satisfy.

We’re heading for Broadway to watch a play with the provocative
title, Rotten. The actors throw tomatoes at the audience, after checking
first to see how they voted.

Righteous indignation supplants despair. Feeling superior sure beats
finding fault with oneself. The world is so stupid.

Diversity works like this: first, we take over. Children of the Empire visit
and are told they’re wonderful.

After the bombing, we legalize gay marriage. Napalm in the morning,
but the bathhouses are to remain open, announces the Pentagon spokesperson.

The President is trans. Her name is Annabelle. The debate question
she couldn’t answer was how it is she manages to look so fabulous.

She bursts out laughing and then begins to sob. After a break,
she gets a standing ovation.

It has been announced that everyone in the country lives in one city,
Houston, coast to coast; ZIP codes may vary.

Why bother with different names like L.A. and Atlanta. The whole
country is one big Houston: the bars, the malls, the adult bookshops.

Now that it’s been outlawed, kissing between men and women,
there are fewer lawsuits. There is no population growth. What have
we learned? Men can’t get pregnant.

Houston, Illinois has higher taxes than Houston, Texas, but New York’s
Houston is the worst. People there no longer keep addresses. Their
official residence is in Puerto Rico.

I was born David but call myself Dawood, Princess of the Desert.
I like getting my nails done. What I hate is driving in the slow lane.

And my husband likes to slap my ass. I won’t go into it. First,
he bites it.

I feel diminished by modern life. The lifestyle is belittling.
How can I develop an ego? Start by killing a mosquito.

People come to Memphis seeking Elvis. They leave having made
fools of themselves. Elvis did not die in vain.

The train leaves out of Union Station at three. Get yourself a paper.
The toilets are certain to be broken.

I never wanted anything more than love. That’s why I’ve come.
You’ve come to the wrong place.

She may be rich, but she is bitter. She wants the nurse to wipe
thrice not just once.

If only my mother had been well taken care of. She lived ‘til 93
but could have made it to 105. I’m suing. She died on the way
to the hospital.

I just want love. My lips are luscious. My dick is huge. My nails
are dazzling. My bum is plump. What the fuck is wrong with me.

Bride of the Sky

It was her nose that caught my attention,
But not as a prim thing with a small IQ to match.
It was something grand like a tropical toucan.
As the poet’s jar engulfed by rugged Tennessee,
This nose was more a presence than an object.
Her green eyes though were not jungle wild;
They took me to places like the Warsaw ghetto.
I think today of her as a thing of art, because like a carving
Or, even more, an engraving, her features seem immortal.

We met in Paolo’s car on the way to Rio, a local favorite.
She sat in front and I right in back behind her.
I had already met her nose.
I couldn’t help myself and reached up to
Touch the nape of her neck as a way to say hello.
When we stopped and got out of the car,
She approached and whispered,
“I like the hand on the neck.”

What a thing. The only time in my life
I have loved someone’s nose.
We fucked all the time but she didn’t want anyone
To know. I was only 23
But felt freed from the unknown.
Had it been another time and place,
We might have had a go, but we let things flounder
And blew the chance of a lifetime.

Marian had had giant soft tits
And that is all there is to it.
She wondered aloud if that was what
Had drawn me, as they had attracted others;
She recited men’s comments.
I’m sorry, my love, it isn’t your chest,
Not even your beautiful green eyes.
It is that majestic nose, the beak of an eagle,
The bride of the sky that did it.

Picasso had almost got her right with
His cave-dwelling ladies. She had the same angular
Breasts and a grand Baroque ass.
She was cross-eyed, too, and carried that nose
With its high-arched bone. What he got wrong were the feet,
Which were not like the Spaniard’s lumbering ladies,
Gigantic, but small. He hadn’t caught
Her skin color either, which was pale and creamy, not gray,
Coffee or gravy, nor that most modern of hues, blue.

She’d had a searching mind, a sly smile,
A wicked, charming laugh—almost a cackle.
She was a little crazy. She used to bang
Her head against the wall, and, she said,
Did it because she felt worthless. She could be
Cold and hyper-critical, snobby and dismissive.
She was capable of violence. She once
Punched me in the stomach and made
Me double over.

We lost touch. I saw her, though, sometime later.
She was down fifty pounds.
She kept her nose and her sexy laugh
But her thighs and marvelous ass were gone.
No longer ancient, she had become modern.
She was sleek and sickly like T.S. Eliot.
She was a ghost. She’d once,
This Maria Depew, had Eliot’s appetite
For things; now she bore his sorrows.

She still had her nose,
But she had dropped her beguiling smile.
I knew then and there that something was irretrievably lost.
She was thin and less than lively.
She was no longer Rubens’; she belonged to Modigliani.
She was brittle and, I could see a mile away,
No longer interested in me.
I went to our friend from São Luís, who shrugged:
“Some toucan prefer Venezuela.”

Stop the Forest Fires

I have a mind to cut your neck.
There are no apples in this poem;
not a lot of mist either,
save for the spray of blood
that decorates the corridor
from the slit in your fatty flesh.

There’s an ugly image for you.
I’d call that gratuitous
violence; far more so than
blowing someone’s head off.
Cutting flesh is surely harder
than setting fire to a charger.

Kaboom! Ratatattat. These
sounds belong to a different era:
no doubt sounds familiar to Al Capone,
when killing was done neatly,
corpses were left to rot intact.
Now killers eat their victims,
not only burying their enemies in the ground,
but climbing down in there with them.

We’ve become violent.
Everyone tries his best to be
kinder but decides meaner is wiser.
Being nice won’t get you far;
pursing one’s lips won’t get you past the bouncer
and without that, you can’t get inside.
Better learn to kill.

Lady Gaga (I saw her) praised
Hillary for being made of steel,
a tough broad she is, ready for anything.
That got my attention. I thought, wow!
She’s even better than Marie Antoinette;
she‘s offering fans two slices of cake, not one.

But the violence stays because it’s fun.
If you can’t bring yourself to do the deed yourself,
at least you can watch.
Americans love a close-up;
it’s the only way to see death.
Let’s look together.

Meanwhile, the apple tree is hibernating.
The little bears are sleeping through the season.
They’re waiting for the killing to stop.
Their eyes are misty; they’re tearing up, in point of fact.
It’s not easy seeing your mother skinned alive.
Where are the park rangers?

A Geography of Friendship

We are approaching new
terrain, the darkened forests
left far behind. On the right,
one eyes a drop of several hundred

feet, enough to give one a sense
of a leap into the marvelous. Like
tourists carried by nimble Sherpa up
Mount Everest, we hew to the face.

As in mating season, on a spring break
in the tropics—disease-free on
crushed hopes—one has yet to
appreciate the ecstasy of lowered

expectations, trained not from birth
but adolescence to cry over
spilled milk. My heart is hardened
now, calloused like bare feet,

from sleeping around, too much
of a good thing too soon. I know
now that it is too late. Yet.
the show must go on…and on,

from try-outs in Boston to
final curtain just outside Philly,
not by the mighty river, but inland, by
the topic of cancer and the ominous

threat of extinction. You’re
going to be huge. Your life’s a road trip
in a bark canoe strapped to the
back of a locomotive, riding

that caboose for all it is
worth, a tale spun like a tornado.
The engine far in front is fueled
by a revolution of tenderness and

left crushed by the burden of
appreciation. Thanks a lot. I cry.
Learning to be offended comes next.
On one’s high horse, you’ve got a taste

for torts and high tea. One mustn’t
raise a finger as one takes in what must
be hard for others to swallow. Someone
is on the line. Hold for the precedent.