True Believers

“This is going to suck!”
Are you old enough to remember when
this expression was unused, unsaid, unknown?
Claude Rains was still performing on Broadway.
Long before the Dixie Chicks, before Marlon Brando.
Women still wore girdles.
Men were used to seeing hair…down there.
I call them the good old days.
I instantly hate anyone who says “suck” to mean awful.
In my generation, suck meant fine. Knock yourself out.

All Latin writers, Argentine and those from Tijuana,
write about death, killing or otherwise. Lots of funerals,
lots of joy, and lots of sadness. Americans on the other hand
pride themselves on dying alone. There may or may not be grieving
but there is rarely joy. American funerals are full of misery.
In many cultures, the Irish, the Balinese, for example,
there are festivals, there is fanfare, but not here.
Everyone dies. As the poet Derek Walcott said, There’s
sometimes more pain in an American pop song
than in all of Cambodia.

My mother told me she couldn’t attend my father’s funeral
because she was afraid if she did, she might not come back.
When I meet a woman, I figure I have ten seconds to size her up.
She’s either a gold mine or a mine field.
Could be a fount of information: smart, steady, and fun. Then again,
she might be explosive: sassy, sulky, desperate, and easily provoked.
She might snarl, bark, or snap, like a dog. But, will she bite?
I prefer to keep my distance. Never enter her back yard alone. Stay calm.
Mother told me not to let one lick my face. Never pet one without her okay.
Clean up after taking one for a walk around the lake.

I always go into any Cathedral I see. I’m not cold.
I don’t want to pray in somebody’s garage.
These Protestants and their rented spaces.
I don’t want to meet in someone’s wet basement.
Lectures on Camus. Acoustic guitars. Fellowship.
Stale donuts. Calls for donations.
What’s the point of religion if anything goes?
No, I like grand structures, wooden pews, and stained glass.
That’s what I go in for.

No Man’s Lands

Franz Kafka was said to have been suspicious of all utopias.
Boy, me too! One wants desperately for the world to improve
but one grows increasingly certain that any improvements
will come despite the efforts of self-advertising do-gooders.

The progressives with absolute certainty always fuck it up
as they strive to get there first even when it means killing
the competition. It is always a knife fight. In their effort
to get you to acknowledge their accomplishments, they will

cut your tongue out, they will blind you, they will snap
your neck, and tell you they did it for love. This is what
progress is, but they don’t adore the individual as much as
what they have done. Now, they demand their reward.

Women respond to the suntanned look of a man’s face,
as he walks in the door. It triggers primitive memories.
Men returning from war. The look of the kill, from the old
days when men hunted and women stayed indoors.

Only whores sported tans. This was why a lady always carried
a parasol or an umbrella, to protect her lovely complexion.
A woman was masked and guarded, so when her noble husband
returned, all bloody and hysterical, he could be sure she was his.

The children scream and ask daddy if he has something for them.
Mommy screams, too, but she doesn’t have to ask what daddy
has for her. As the Koran instructs, patience is made a virtue
by men forced to leave their adoring women behind.

I can’t think of anything more worthwhile than killing Rommel;
come to think of it, I wish I had been the man who did it. I said
the very same thing when I first read Joyce’s Ulysses. I said, “I wish
I had been the man who wrote that book.”

I have instead spent my life doing nothing. I can’t even say for sure
that I would know Erwin Rommel if I met him in a bar and he was
kind enough to offer me a drink. All I could think to say for sure
is that everyone I know is enthusiastic about the Tiergarten.

I can’t say I would be able to quote a single line of Mr. James Joyce.
All I know is that T. S. Eliot dropped his pince-nez in his cauliflower
soup as he reached for the parsley while dining at the Ritz. I’ve let my life
get away from me. I have never even seen “Cats.”

If I saw Mr. Rommel in an alley, dead or alive, I wouldn’t know him
from Adam, but if given the chance, I might introduce myself. I’d go,
“My name is Laramie, a combination of Larry and marry me. Get it?”
It would hurt my feelings to hear Rommel reply, “Fucking asshole.”

Ever notice how democracy has become a fraud? Take Bette Midler,
who, like the Obamas, despises the poor, loathes the people of West
Virginia and is not ashamed to say so. Hates them as do all the rich
because they are needy and inadequate. The rich feel superior.

This ‘America’ crap is over. The rich despise the American people
and would be happy to see them wiped out by the Chinese, or
at the hands of Arabs, in an act of terror, or in nuclear war.
Our leaders hate us as Hitler once despised the German people.

After killing African natives, the colonial armies returned to Europe
to murder its own civilians. Trench warfare and concentration camps
were perfected in Kenya. Register this truth; face it if you can.
These facts shouldn’t dissuade you from your plans to quit smoking.

Viewed from Above

Boy, do yaks look sad.
They remind me of my rich friend
who built a yurt with marble floors. How about
that fellow on TV from Malibu who put a Teepee up
in his backyard?
Americans want to escape the calamity of the modern;
they yearn for the authentic. Our women want to be squaws
and our men want to be brave.

The exotic is erotic, let’s face it. The great sexual fantasy
today is to have sex with a stranger in a ski mask. Americans
pay to shout racial insults in practice booths at once thriving
music schools. They shout hate. They use primal language.
They urinate on the floor.
They laugh to animated scenes of public hangings.
Men get their pictures taken carrying corpses.
They hold plastic heads of their enemies and giggle.

That’s comedy. That’s fanfare. It’s fun.
They pay to shit into the mouths of their teachers.
It’s an initiation rite, ancient and artistic.
Like fucking your mother while wearing a Nixon face mask.
People pay good money for it. They mortgage their houses.
They drink turpentine.
They gargle with battery acid.
Now that there are no cars, they want to sniff gasoline.

The rich pay to be carried on the backs of sherpa to the top
of a Mount Everest. They shit all over the place
and descend. They throw money around.
They arrange to fuck monkeys.
It’s the American dream not to be American.
Our women shave and pretend to be little girls.
Our men shave and pretend to be little girls.
American prison guards place leashes on their prisoners.

It’s called a dalliance. It’s a musical. It’s a show piece.
Come now into the basement. Step right down.
Scaly, the man who smells like a fish, is in charge.
The magician holds court in the men’s room. You
can’t miss all the women in army boots. They’ll dance
on your grave for a fee; they’ll step on your balls for a fortune.
They will make you eat caviar. Butter that’s been beaten
by hand is flown in fresh from France.

The great capitulation is at hand.
The eagle has landed.
They start cutting at the nape of the neck.
They hang you out of dry.
They’ll ask if you are a patriot. They’ll know
you’re trash if you say you love your country.
You’ll never eat lunch in this town again.
Steven Spielberg will ignore your calls.

What’s Left?

What’s nostalgic for a rich person? That’s easy. It’s living in the past.
Living off of yesterday, living in the afterglow of defeat. Waiting
to die. My rich friends excuse the Gulag. They laugh at Solzhenitsyn.
They agree with Stalin that Mayakovski had to go. Why not Osip, too?
Why not Pasternak? Death to the traitors.

They were happy when Stalin finally got Trotsky. If there is anything
the rich want more than power, it’s death. Death to the running dogs
of the human race. 5678, who do we appreciate? The rich I know
would make great prison guards. They are puritans without a theology.
They’ve already sold their souls; now all they want is some cleavage.

They are disciplinarians, Calvinist gestapo, ready to topple brick
edifices onto prostrate losers. They love to administer emotional
punishment, too squeamish to shove objects into women or to kick
men in the balls. They’re fine with poisoning their rivals and those
who disagree, or refuse to smile. Others are told to avert their eyes.

They scorn human rights and laugh at the US Constitution. Multi-
millionaires would make brilliant executioners. They want all enemies
of the people dead. Unless they are illegals, whom they love; my rich
friends need cheap labor. They hire a veritable army of desperate people
to wait of them hand and foot. “Hey, hombre, I’ll take another hotdog.”

Sandra pays a couple of ladies to clean the house, while Mario brings
in a team to cut the lawn. She pays them by the day, not by the hour,
and doesn’t give them benefits. Instead of retiring, they’ll starve. Sandra
says she likes having brown people at her beck and call. Since childhood,
she has grown used to comfort care. For twenty bucks, she demands

a twelve-hour day from the little men and women. Thing is, it’s a form
of sightseeing, leftism. Spending a whole half hour in Havana, attending
demonstrations, playing journalist…it’s like paying a Sherpa to carry you
up Mount Everest. It’s a hobby for the idle rich, this pretense of wanting
to be a brother or a sister to the little people.

It’s a bit of posh-washing, this business of caring. Limousine liberalism,
champagne socialists—whatever you choose to call it—offends human
consciousness; it’s like dressing up in a Nazi uniform and claiming not
to be a guard but an innocent bystander. Those set for life are disgruntled.
They are so unhappy with the service. They can’t wait to get away.

Restocking the Aquarium

Who said, ‘I began with a swelled head and end with swelled feet’?
A research project for nineth graders. No doubt there is not enough
Rich poetry, but we can’t all be man-haters.

She wrote of the maniac’s sperm. What our poets need is wise blood.
Aren’t they all dying to get rid of their dark spots? I am.
By the time they’re through with Christmas, we’ll all be Jewish.

The good poets come from communities generally under-represented,
in particular Indigenous writers, writers of color, 2SLGBTQIA?+
writers, and writers with disabilities. Professor Pocahontas in drag.

Out to lunch with my editor. Did he just wipe his mouth on the curtain?
He just wiped his mouth on the curtain. He’d editing my new story,
“Beyond the Proscenium,’ on the death of Tennessee Williams.

Robert Lowell says the Aquarium is gone. I ask where. Are the brave
in hiding? Or has servility become our mandate? There will be a reunion
at 8 p.m. at Royce Hall for alumni of the O.J. acquittal riots.

Poor Delmore. If there ever was a maniac, pace Rich, it was Schwartz.
One thinks of Saul Bellow crouched behind that car, neither waving
nor drowning, as the great poet and critic carried out his trash and fell.

There’s a man to hate, Adrienne, if ever there was one, sperm or not.
An insane asylum rolled into one. A Jew who felt out of place at Harvard;
unwelcome. He smelled like a bear in a yarmulke.

Poets should be denied tenure. Edmund Wilson, Susan Sontag, and
that hated man, Gore Vidal, said so. They were all against writers
going into hiding. It is one thing to seek comfort; quite another to cower.

Someone loved Sylvia Plath’s daddy, even if it wasn’t she. Who knows?
He might have been just right for Adrienne Rich, that sour puss in flippers.
She hated Matt Dillon but loved Kitty. We all learned to kill from Gunsmoke.

Their Own Worst Enemy

What do my rich friends want?
I know the women want silk stockings.
I know the men have their eyes on a new Porsche.
Do they think Cuba makes fast sports cars?
I know they like penicillin.
Some have expressed a liking for yellow condoms.
Do they prefer Jewish doctors?

Set for life, the rich are all on dope. They lie and cheat. They buy
stocks in IBM and napalm. They freeze $30 per pound bags of coffee.
For them, having money is an attitude, like AA’s 12-Step program.
It’s a pose. It’s a kind of therapy. They like being loaded but feel
guilty. Seeking money is an insult to their intelligence.
They don’t want anything for anyone other than themselves.
There’s no sharing; wealth is a form of wish-fulfillment.

They’re not citizens; they’re not self-starters; at best, they are
observers of the human race. They have charge accounts. Stalin
would have had them shot. They’re comedians. They are not
stand-up guys as much as stand-up comics. Instead of working in
strip clubs on Sunset Boulevard, they should charge people to watch
them getting dressed. People would pay to see them in tuxedos
or Nazi uniforms. They could dress as Mao’s trusted executioners.

They are into death. They invest in real estate in corpse country,
just north of Malibu. They’ve already bought plots for their pets.
They have reserved seats on Neptune, the death ship, scheduled to carry
their ashes out to sea. Pol Pot would be happy to dig their graves.
Castro would be happy to piss on their caskets. They love to tell others
how much they care. They drink imported wine. It’s a matter of sipping
mint tea with parsley toast and faking compassion.

The rich hate all signs of poverty and failure. They loath magnificence.
The American manifesto of greed is a suicide note written by Bugs Bunny.
They call on the country to commit Hari Kiri. They want to turn Arizona
over to the Navajo. They want to give Mississippi back to the Natchez.
They tear down statues of soldiers from World War I and WWII, while
erecting statues to Charles Manson and other homicidal maniacs. They
teach their children to fake racially motived rape.

We don’t find fault with America’s youth, so full of promise, so full of hope.
The young at Butthole College in South Dakota have learned that paradise
on earth can be found in Bedford Stuyvesant at three in the morning. Those
gentle giants in California’s high security state penitentiary are misunderstood.
If you are nice to them, they will be nice to you. They should be allowed reruns
of Gunsmoke and the Addams Family. They stab their enemies in the anus and
not their internal organs as a sign of respect and to spare them heart-ache.

Pass me that box of Ritz Crackers, won’t you? I don’t remember well what
a large rum coke tastes like. I’ve heard it’s the color of brandy. I know they
go well with Lucky Charms. It’s all about the Confederacy. Democrats are right:
Jim Crow was a drunken Indian. At last year’s reenactment, the union president,
Walter Armstrong, was strung up. Their top general, C. Wright Mills, got shot.
J. F. Kennedy rose from the dead. We are at a crossroads. They have got to get
people to see that Senator Robert Byrd was a member of the Republican Party.

They hate themselves and, along with that, they hate their country. This is
lost on world communism. Reds in China are rabid nationalists. Stalin had
his soldiers die for their country, not Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin.
In England, the Labor Party is filled with fat lords knighted by the Queen.
Only in America do leftists call for the defeat of their country in war.
They did so in Vietnam and they did it again in Iraq. They spit in the faces
of soldiers and have called for the mass execution of their own countrymen.

When Geronimo Fought at the Alamo

My friend Sandra brags about going to bed with horny felons.
She picks them up while working in Watts and Richmond. She
prefers brothers who are on probation. She plays rough. She has
a thing for a lawyer who is married and races around town
in a restored Datson 240Z.

They order martinis and culotte steaks at Taylor’s on Miracle Mile.
He calls himself Raymond Chandler. Sandra looks for tall fellows
with big dicks, but if they try to choke her, she turns on them. She
wants to stay in charge. She threatens to send them back in prison;
she’ll call their parole officer. White power.

Women should bare their breasts. Men should get down on their knees
and beg. There is no end to minority talent. Talent scouts now occupy
the White House. From Ike Turner to Al Sharpton and beyond,
to the founding fathers of human goodness and beyond, all the way
to Huey Newton and the invention of Kwanzaa.

The full story of America is to be found in the birth records of American
cities. It is recorded right there what the American people find easy to forget.
The Black Panthers in terms of bravery and compassion embody goodness.
Sandra finds California prison Marxism an afro-desiac. She finds black
cock consoling.

She plans on watching the country go up in flames from a nice restaurant
on Russian Hill. When the revolution comes, she plans on moving to Malibu.
Her living room is decorated with posters of Ché Guevara and the Rocky
Horror Picture Show. Mick Jaggar’s lips drooped down on her wall.
and she kept loaded pistols in the hall.

There is no one as sexy as a café latte-colored guy in camouflage,
smoking a joint. She’d like to lie across Castro’s lap and get a good
spanking. Like many of the women in her poetry circle, she once envied
Monica Lewinsky and fantasizes about Bill Clinton’s Cuban cigars.
She told everyone Patty Hearst was a nymphomaniac and giggled.