for Virgie

by the river

there’s a path

i bring her

coffee in the

morning and tell

her what the

day will task

at road’s end

i find her

home with little

dead flowers by

the door of

her secret world

no one sees

her no one

knows there are

many others that

walk through it

alone and never

say a single word

they smile and

sing and pray

the most melodious

and magic noises

from two toothless

lips do come

the black sparkle

in her eyes

uplifts the sting

in my own

pain as she

croons just for

me darlin’ never

lose your light

Becca’s ballad

yeah i’m still at the Gold Digger bar

past 4 am i party hard

slammin’ vodka laughin’ loud

jeans dirty scratched up arms

cigarettes all crushed and ground to the ground

i wear sweat socks with my heals

my man left me for a smack smoking whore

i’m pissed as hell and i don’t know my name

the welfare office cut off my game

during the day i beg for change

and once a month i take three trains

only to have my kids’ foster mom

cancel again

my daddy whupped me and put me on the streets

my momma left him but didn’t take me in

and the clean women from the west side

got a cold fire in their heart

at least my babies are fed

and i’m not crawlin’ on my knees

i guess i lost the social worker bet

the cops they picked me up on Tuesday

they said i was running in the street naked

i ran out of my calming pills

and my doctor said no more refills

it’s ok i understand my face’s a little dirty

my skin is really tan

the boils on my face

kinda’ turn you off

but it’s fine by me

my God above keeps watch

your stinging words against me

are flowers in my crown

i know my kids will grow up strong

and i did the best i could

the court judge calls me unresponsive

a cruel and evil ma’

he don’t know what happened

in Kentucky when i was a baby child

but it’s ok at least I have some common sense

i’d rather let my babies live

than drag them down with me

i never done nothin’ right in life

but i give thanks for my strength

and take pride in the pain

dying between closing arguments

luck

smitten

with few steps

happy with the

choices i have made they belong to me

unpopular turns delinquent alike

options were mine

judgmental

endings

are

just

that my

conviction

is steady all

ready to go come the wave of infernal

positioned to strike with white hot venom

for mercy and

dripping with

bloody

hand

seventhirteen

and then the YHWH said I told

you so the vampires suck my mind clean but there is nothing that

the blue cannot repair when i get

the itch beyond repair the bones of rapture sidewalk dirty o hosanna mercy

my unto you split tongued brother me

thinks that behind all the churches Eve was framed pass the roller holy

shit i now see the world is

beautiful float float float among the brick the sign the pain the red

rider gives me a lift brother what

you say John it is i who is ugly pardon me sir i

am your mirror antiseptic dirty test don’t

beg in front of my cathedral go next door boy next door boy

next door the Buddhala idols clash with

the golden walls of mirage purpose Vegas you say i guess let’s get

away oh yes brothers yes the young

of evermore fodder for the dirty lust i must i trust i shall

be cleansed the flock will not be

taken Satan must not win but he would go play poker what you

say yes he can 7:13 ok roller

square dice baby pierce the bribes of common let the goat go to

the edge don’t let the innocent crumble

et ecce mulier

omnipotent dawn shawled in gray and pink delicately kisses her on her scarred forehead as it rests against the bus bench advertising the most prestigious real estate agent in town while seven nylon bags each with a logo from a market or a high end store warehouse her last prized belongings one ragged blue Nike sneaker and paper cups filled with grime a broken clock and red wires

militant she is in body in mind she could be anywhere beyond the stars when she smiles the image in her eyes reveal the fires from hell in a most delicate green other times she sings in laughter and waves hello across the sky to the graces never seen by human eyes the locals with finery of wear wonder why she’s there and crown her as a public nuisance not meant to be part of this community there is just too much of a great divide between her prophecy and their brittle decaying reality

look the lawmen arrive she’s more despised and made to carry her belongings down Dolores St. and then the dusk with iron claw he comes and she can’t run away from the hand of fair and righteous rule the goodly people have unanimously decided through tax forms and priority that she must go away the jury wash their hands for the people have spoken and so she takes her fate with a tired brave face not understanding the hate or what she did and where it got her

for three days she’s placed on a hold prodded with instruments of scorn and judgment pleading for her thirst to be mollified she’s forced to take bitter pills as the keepers of the places gamble on her kismet now she’s subdued her gown is sheared down to her contorted waist lacerated feet and hands are tied to the bed of loveless nails for the sake of the most upstanding people’s protection system

Ma Joad’s great grand daughter

mud

coolness

green cricket

calls to the soul

primordial waste

spirit shredded woven

in the skin of the leper

i’ve become night hangs loosely poor

lacking luster my lady shoes not

good enough to walk the sidewalks of the

chosen fools who speed holiness away

my gown humble with the dirt of work

hands clasped in riot darkly hid

elbows turned upright gaping

for fluids of defeat

social sunshine glares

upon my lips

without a

tragic

face

try

mighty

sinner smile

at least look to

the west of Hope street

and the pillars under

the court house of the fake lights

at the steps of public health signs

and with divine encrusted begging

bowl nee five dollar coffee paper cup

we ask again tonight and through the day

for gentle rain across my face gone

away with sorrow full with blown

out stars gazing through the soul

of infant time and sin

seeped through secret holes

in skies hazy

with sanguine

guilty

stain

sa
photo courtesy of Hélène – Willow Poetry

HAMP, unplugged

Photo mbrazfield

last night hope shone once

her dreams of home laid to waste

unlucky salt dash

*HAMP= The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is a government program introduced in 2009 to respond to the subprime mortgage crisis. (Wikipedia)

Carol

Carol was trying to find a few cigarette butts to gut out to make a whole cigarette although she wasn’t a smoker she’d sell them to her neighbors in the tent next door for fifty cents with her thin arms and micro wrists she’d toil for a couple of weeks to raise enough money to go to the flower store on Los Angeles street and buy her parole officer a single rose or sometimes two or three red carnations i had met Carol while i was in high school at that time she was in her thirties she befriended me at People’s Store asking me about my perfume on account that she liked it i was a young punk and i told her that i wasn’t wearing any and walked off Carol stood there looking confused but the guilt gnawed at my chest and i could feel my ears turning hot and red i told my friend to go home and i walked backward a few steps toward Carol as i turned to her i mumbled at  her that i was sorry for blowing her off and offered her my snickers bar she lit up and said thanks kid but i’d rather have some of that beer you have in your back pack i froze and denied having anything in my bag although i knew damned well i had a bottle of Daniels i didn’t like beer we both smiled knowing each other’s truth in bullshit every now and again i’d go looking for her with water bottles canned food and the occasional AJ note if i could spare it we talked about DTLA and Skidrow Carol laughed and i watched her and then she started to tell me about her family out in Virginia Carol had been a victim of many unspeakable things my relationship with Carol lasted for about three years or so her sanity was remarkable but as time went on  it became unbearable to watch her sleep during the day in the summer LA heat her legs were encrusted with months of dirt and when i stared long enough at the splotches they were almost artistic or hieroglyphic in a way i stopped visiting for a few months to reckon with my own demons when i returned it was during spring time and Carol did not recognize me i found her on the corner of 6th and Wall squatted down bare footed picking peas out of a tin can with half a label that read Springfield by her feet was an old pill bottle that read Retrovir a few cigarette butts and a mangled how to live with HIV pamphlet

los soles no miran

en tu fiebre duermes cada noche

reina de la orilla del mar

gritas y pateas a tus soldados

cuando te quieren llevar

a tu palacio en los altos de esta cuidad

tus mandos sin fuerza

tus joyas sin brillo

y tus zapatillas de seda

solo son heridas de la vida

Norma del Reino de Guadalajara

que haces en mi ciudad

perdida de noche

invisible en los días

la luna no brilla

los soles no miran

que tuyos serán los cielos


os sóis não vêem

na sua febre você dorme todas as noites

rainha da praia

você grita e chuta seus soldados

quando eles querem te levar

para o seu palácio nas alturas desta cidade

seus controles sem força

suas jóias maçantes

e seus chinelos de seda

eles são apenas feridas da vida

Norma do Reino de Guadalajara

o que você está fazendo na minha cidade

perdida à noite

invisível nos dias

a lua não brilha

os sóis não parecem

que vocês serão os céus


the suns don’t see

in your fever you sleep every night

queen of the seashore

you scream and kick at your soldiers

when they want to take you to your palace

on the heights of this city

your orders without power

your jewels dulled

and your silk slippers

they are only wounds of life

Norma of the Kingdom of Guadalajara

what are you doing in my city

lost at night

invisible during the days

the moon does not shine

the suns do not see

that you will inherit the heavens

Sarah

Moon, forgive my
untender truth
your soft light
cannot fertilize
like the Sun’s atomic
beams blazing on
my barren scarred
womb where there
might be hope, still