alan britt

 

MARLON BRANDO

Fool me once,
fuck you!

Fool me twice,
I’ll buy an island.

 

QUESTIONS

So?

So what?

Why do you talk that way?

Why, indeed?

Why is it when men reach a certain age,
people around them appear to be dead or dying?

What’s the purpose of your question?

Why does that streetlamp appear crippled
while shedding its light of skim milk?

Why do you annoy me?

Why do you nudge me from peaceful death?

Why should I care about you?

Why, indeed?

 

RELOCATION

Pine boxed & cellophaned
for the new building’s high-
rise expectations but
something tossed as
garbage that should’ve
been soap fresh from the
shower ’cause soap lingers
on the tendrils of thoughts,
tendrils like pasta dangling
from a corporate tower in a
corporate city, corporate
politics, & suddenly a new
age is upon us like a neo-
Medieval leech’s bloody
gauze.

 

JACK BRUCE

Jack Bruce’s anaconda bass
fueled the late ’60’s. He also
sported one of rock’s great
voices: “White Room,”
“Swablr,” & “Politician,” to
name a few (Government
Mule). But Jack nurtured
Eric, blended Ginger, &
sang his ass off in what
some call the best
rock’n’roll band of ’68 &
’69. Not too shabby for a
bass player, eh, Sting?

 

DESPERATE SOULS

And that’s the beauty,
the annoying rub of sulfur
against our emotions.

Got to get ready
for the four aforementioned
beasts
of solitude
to destroy three pecans
asleep in a sandwich bag.

Get ready,
they say.

But that’s easier said than shot
from a gun,
easier than electing the committee
elected to vote on the shot
from the anonymous gun
in the first place.

Easier than anonymous souls
evicted from anonymous dumpsters
in Cleveland, San Antonio,
Toledo, and Philadelphia.

I remember Italian hipbones
as if they were last night’s
extended dream of impossibilities.

I remember her bones
like warm candle wax.

And that’s all I remember.

You know, the last thing?

No, not that thing.

Well.

We entered stained tarps
that housed the infamous Lobster Man,
though I didn’t make a connection then,
my fatal mistake.

And so I wander,
as you do,
and you, and you,
and you.

Wander all hours of the morning
across Davis Island
overflowing acetylene guitars
with roots
ripped
from amnesia.

These roots, jellyfish tendrils
that flirt
like a blue-ringed octopus juggling
souls on the verge.

Verge of what—
who knows?

But, on the verge
of something, surely,
on the verge of something.

 

AMERICAN PIE

Understand, you’ll pay dearly
for a safety deposit box protected from flood,
politicians, and the telephone company.

Oh, yes, this is the land of the wealthy.

If you’re poor,
all your artifacts can be eaten
by a hurricane with a familiar name
such as Henry Ford, Richard Nixon,
Bill Gates, Jr., or J. Edgar Hoover.

Fortunately, if you’re rich,
history often corresponds
to your fondest memories.

 

EARLY SPRING RAIN IN MARYLAND

1.

Outside in cold drizzle
a robin hunches
inside a bare maple,
indistinguishable from knots
and elbows of branches
except for his tawny orange vest
below a canopy of mud feathers.

His orange light vaporizes
before it hits the ground.

2.

From the dripping eaves
white orbs hang in long rows.

Their tops fill with magnesium light
as their dark bottoms yawn to earth.

3.

On the concrete patio
a perfect set of rounded wings
with contoured shoulders
covered by moth fur.

Upon closer inspection the wings
blown over to reveal
an empty seed case
from a nearby magnolia bush
now exploding into flamingo beaks
upturned in unison
above the silver grasses.

 

CONCRETE LOVE POEM

Her coral soul’s corn silk tresses
rippled by a chilly July wind.

Her humid voice, scorpions
the color of walnuts.

Her bronze torso, reticulated python
sagging from a cool branch
of black tango.

 

JOINT

The joint’s a lionfish
of irony,
fins ablaze,
daring hypocrites to defile
its lofty existence.

I didn’t inhale,
says the President,
as he crunches
another Big Mac.

But lionfish linger
near the top of the food chain
snatching anything that moves
or anything that pretends
to move someday,
anything that enters
the brain before the brain
has a chance to think,
anything with a silk guitar
for a sail,
anything with doubts
(common doubts)
but anything
anything at all
that resembles
straw light
cascading a basement’s
black megaphones
tilted 36 ° east
of Eden,
or somewhere,
say, downtown
Portland,
give or take.

 

TIME

My body has a clock
that often measures time
according to mechanical methods:
water clocks, brass clocks, sultry electrons,

but, tonight, beneath thick
Autumn darkness, I await the
midnight train about to vibrate ten
billion crickets between September’s ebony thighs.

 

SNOWING

Snowy split-rail fence presses
feathery mortar into the creases
of a farmhouse window.

Twilight darkens a crooked trail
of raccoon foot tracks
straight to the woodpile.

Snow-covered cars
creep like white slugs
over the nearby road.

 

HUMID NIGHT

Jasmine chokes under thunder’s armpit,
licorice lips inside palmettos create
vibrations older than Zildjian,
jasmine jalousies,
eyelashes like viceroys dodging
warblers, mantises in three-piece suits,
& toads on reconnaissance,
armored jacket secured by one brass
button breathing jasmine, jasmine,
jasmine.

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

I have joint pain.

Pain in the joints?

No.

What then?

No joints.

 

AUSTERE AGE

We live in an austere age
where white verbs are coconuts
out beyond the breakers.

Two drops of indigo.

Cicadas trapped inside bird bones.

 

DISCOURSE ON REALITY

Music is a state of reality that exists
outside wherever we are at any given
moment. But, it’s bizarre! Of course,
it’s bizarre. It has to be. How else
could it navigate the cavernous sponge
tubes of our imaginations without
tripping over Great Walls, Iron Curtains,
crematoriums, and white picket fences
of conventional wisdom? How else
could it resist fainting at the sight of
thievery at highest corporate levels thinly
disguised as preferentially Presidential,
or some other such nonsense. When you
say it that way, I suppose. But that trumpet
just sounded like a toucan! Funny, it
reminded me of a swan.

 

THEORY OF ABSOLUTES

Like ticks we absorb culture.

Wishing we were Donne’s flea
but instead
cruising deep-fried drive-thrus.

Like ticks we absorb culture.

 

FLOOR TILES OF VELÁZQUEZ

From the royal floor tiles of Velázquez,
receding with scent of myrrh & cinnamon,
to “Runaway” by the great Bonnie Raitt.

From the first nipple to be disfigured
from the first statue celebrating nudity
erected in antiquity.

That’s when the apple, infested
with hope, arose each morning
like “The Angel of Montgomery.”

That said, the moment that hisses
like a match, the moment that escapes
imagination while juggling heartaches
& finally slams her fist
against the medulla oblongata.

Flannel logic intervened & from
there it’s been a brutal battle of wits
& dimwits, dimwits & wits,
a thresher culling corn from scornful
cobbs, or distant relatives like owls
perched on either shoulder depending
upon where one looks & how
one mistakes a myopic alignment
of planets to determine human evolution,
& how the hell that is, I’ll never wrap
my brain around.

 

ODE TO BOBBY

The first Beat poet,
Robert Burns—
you think?

Early Buk, Ginsberg,
Ferlinghetti,
Corso or Preston?

 

TURN SIGNAL

If the square root to the infinite power
of burnt orange staining a ladybug’s
wings, male or female, no one knows
for sure, but one thing’s certain, those
wings fan embers at the bottom
of a derelict corncob pipe.


                  ♥               ♥
                         ★

                ♦

I spun the lighted tie rack at 5:45 am
again, today, scooped ice from your
windshield before heading for elysian
fields & the incurable Ozymandias
puffing ring-tailed monkeys from
Philadelphia incinerators crooning
the good old days, yes sir, the good
old days.
I turned right on red, I think, or red
on right.

Who the hell knows.

 

CRACKED UP

Guilt is like a bridle.
It swings you
from altar
to altar,
then swings you back
to the conventional feed bag
of wisdom,
leaving reptilian glyphs
on terrazzo floors
that tell you
where to bury
your discarded life
once you’re ground down
beneath a ten-inch heel.

Beyond that
I’m a complete moron,
but a moron
by choice, I say.

So, let air conditioners,
and cats,
and Egyptian streetlamps
vibrate a blood
so thick
so humid
that the raspy tongue
of an Italian grandmother
creates quite a stir.

Jesus should protect us
from eating flesh,
from eating life forms,
yet we dine
on his soul
at regular intervals.

I feel toxic love
for the white and gray cat.
I feel her solitude
like a sponge
through my shoulder blades.

I’d too carry
the weight of owls
and rats
in my dark pupils
if I could.

Governments lie sprawled
beneath a full moon.
Confederates sleep
against sheds and overgrown barns.
Crickets
with bones of mercury
rattle in unison.

A single ball
penetrates a thick door
killing Jennie Wade instantly
as she bakes bread
for her family huddled
in the dark cellar.

The only civilian victim
of Gettysburg
flies to her death
like a torn and bloody swan.

So it goes—
dog clippers rattle their teeth,
Norway maples sprout
emerald parachutes
for the new spring,
while Bob Dylan
in the kitchen
laments middleweights and Methodist bells.

Until, finally, guilt curls up
like a mummified millipede
dreaming
inside the black hole
of an arthritic carport brick
supporting one corner
of my chilly universe.

 

 


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