Archive for disreputable characters

Dispatches From the Front

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2017 by beautifulimposter

The traffic signals are glass and plastic jewels
Smeared across the windshield
Cheap and gaudy ornamentation suspended
In pools of bruise purple black nighttime sky
While constellations of headlights form and dissolve
Stars afloat, hovering above the slick pavement.

Constant motion, vibrations, humming
Complicated rhythms of hands on wheel,
Feet on the pedals tapping Morse code gibberish
Underpinning radio hiss crackle
Disembodied voices, music, things forgotten
Things remembered by halves, rising and falling
Beneath oily waters, yet never quite breaching.

Bodies come and go, vague shapes
Defined by rustlings in the black,
Faces floating ghosts, masks smiling, grim, in between
Conversations drifting currents around rocky shores
Incomprehensible yet demanding, insistent
Inviting, but the address is lost, the directions
Seem to be in a foreign language.

He’s not really here or there, out of phase
The dial tuned just out of sync
A whole world of in betweens
Caught in the middle of point A to B
Möbius twisting, the cat forever in that box
Tires spinning out forever, still in motion
As a billion moving pictures flicker past.

The stories gather like storm clouds on a lazy tongue
Thick, pouring out in streamers of blue smoke haze
Littering the floorboards, curling up at the edges
Leaves and old photographs
Pinned wriggling between dime-store paperback
Yellowing pages, leaved through, well thumbed
Favorite passages recited prayer beads.

They aren’t his stories, those dried up long ago
Back when his tongue rusted to the roof of his mouth
He just gathers, stitching them together
Her shy smile to his lonely fumbling
Their boisterous revelry to his towering silence
Fingers calloused from needling onion skins
Piles of manuscript, instruction manuals for disused objects.

No rhyme, no reason, dispatches
For disinterested commanders,
From no mans but his land, a pilgrims travel guide
The points of interest among drifting bodies
Sliding past upon the sidewalk banks
The living, the dead, the dreamers
All with stories waiting to be gathered.


4am Still Life

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2015 by beautifulimposter

Walking in from the stale smoke
After hours part of the night
Stung by antiseptic fly buzz
Fluorescent light, thin as the coffee
Face as creased as shirt half untucked
Pork pie hat askew
Fag end ash dripping onto chipped Formica
Legs jackknifed beneath the counter,
Another late night wreck
Waiting on the sirens.

Peach polyester day glow dress
Plastic name tag drifting
Just beneath third shift wince smile
Aching back, dogs barking
“What’ll it be hon?”
Litany mumbled around loudly chewed gum
Sagging dish rag wrung out
Violent electric blue eyeshadow
Highlighting bruise dark bags
Carrying bills, three kids and deadbeats.

Blue plate nothing special
Everything wearing grease patina
Illusion of healthy gloss
Washed over still life desperation
Dregs and bottoms
Late night last rites car key cigarette lighter fumbling
All the pieces that float to the top
Commiserating in code
Bellies full of disappointments
Along with rot gut whiskey.

A hard luck story
For each busted down face
Weary slow jazz horn whining
Through hiss and pop radio crackle
Incidental music for accidents
Draped in cheap three piece
Salvation Army toe tagged suits
Rag tailed nighthawks
Perched all in a raggedy row
4am still life picture perfect
Rogues gallery disreputable characters
Heavy handed groping
Towards the crack of dawn.

A Room and A Chair

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2015 by beautifulimposter

There is no conceivable measurement
Of the distance between where I am
From where I saw myself
A gulf of time and regret
Bad decisions and inaction
Old ghosts and fading memories
A scattering of busted toys
Tumbled about my feet, littering the floor
Around my chair.

Music plays faint and scratchy
Popping and hissing through the dusty silence
Voices that never fade out
Crackling reminders spinning out and on
Needle cutting tracks out of my fingerprints
Smudging bloody over skin
Smears of bright color across sepia
Twisting smokey though amber whiskey lense
Choking down fire to bitter ashes
We all do fall down…don’t we?

Rags and feathers
These instruments of faith and sex and God
Right, isn’t that how the line goes?
I was beautiful in my brokeness
But you twist yourself into those shapes of damage
And it sticks, limbs twisted
Into driftwood gnarled water carvings
Bones have memory and are hard to untangle
Too brittle, snapping under the weight of scrutiny.

Time passes like a razor
Slicing paper thin, peeling a rind
Of blank tape, spooling out
In meaningless ribbons just waiting
For a random spark
Something hungry to move from me to nothing
Faintly flickering orange greedy tongues
Leaving an empty chair
In a dusty room
With a scattering of busted toys at its feet.


The Song Remains the Same

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by beautifulimposter

Mumbling song lyrics like prayers
Ten “mercy seats”, ten “mr. jones”
Counting starlings on power line rosary
Taking wing into slate blue sky
Subtle chord changes lingering sustain
Accelerator pedal distortion
Echoing click heel working girl rhythm
Metronome hips keep strict time.

Sting quartet stringy hacking cough
Medallion hacks huddling around the cab stand
Grubby blue collar blues whine
Back broken, heart broken
Recepticals of midnight confessions
Shabby scarf surplices muffling
All the lonely heart hymnals
Saint Harry never got to write.

Night hawks flying the ragged edge of dawn
To roost in sweaty low rent flats
Neon angry buzzing lullabies
Johnny Walker harmonizing with Johnny Cash
Tears that taste like amber, or maybe Alison
The aim can still be true if a bit unsteady
One hand full of longing, the other spanking the monkey
Spirit and seed both spilled useless
On sheets of music crumpled in desperate fists.

Low down and dirty grumble
Thick tongued, tied up tightly twisted
Every golgotha tenement tower of song
Spilling Babel chaos harmonics
Babies crying mother’s hush
Lover’s legs play slow waltzing violin
Rising up into the purple bruise metropolitain sky
Choir seven million strong
Belting out the hooks buried deep in the flesh.

Everyone knows the words to this one
Singing along as soon as lungs met air
Making up the bits not known by heart
Maybe finding the harmonies, or maybe not
From cave mouths to cathedrals
Rushlit halls to smokey beer light gin joints
For all the changes, minor falls, major lift
The song remains the same.


Blood Stained Shirt

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2015 by beautifulimposter

I wish I was a character from a Tom Waits song
Rumpled and whiskey soaked
Populating seedy dives
With a billion stories tucked in the creases
Along with a battered postcard
Smeared with tear stained ink and a bloody thumbprint
Nothing but a busted suitcase
Full of rusty odds and ends
Spilling from a clanking calliope ribcage
Trailing smoke, wheezing into the bell
Of a dented trumpet
As I hold up a lamp post
Playing a broken fingered waltz
Out into the thick sticky fingered air
The stubbed out fag end of Saturday night
Tom cat howling to the moon riding tatter sail clouds
Pork pie hat low on shifty brow
Forgotten new years confetti spangling the brim
Another lost and broken
Street corner preacher
Fumbling out loose change
Or just fumbling with myself and hungry wolf grinning
At the corner girls gleaming like razor blades
Just as likely to cut as to kiss
Leave me bleeding out into my alligator shoes
One more Romeo
Fading out into the disreputable shifty eyed dawn.


Hard Currency

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2014 by beautifulimposter

I’ve a pocket full of leaves
A series of dreams
Scribbled out along the creases
I’ll make a book of them someday
Stitch the pages with spider thread,
Put it under a child’s pillow
A gift of autumn and magic.

I caught your breath
Pulling the strands tangled
Between the grave cold fingered air
Twisting them up in smoking skein
I’ll put it in a merchant ivory box,
Hold it for you
Just in case you run out.

I’ve been gathering rain
In old china cups and mason jars
Holding on to the tired clink
Of busted wind chimes
My fingertips rub rust
On bicycle frames and wrought iron fences
My coat tails drip the dusty wings of moths.

The ghosts of train whistles,
Coal throated wheezing
Live beneath the clapboards
Of my chest
Piercing the nighthawk diner stillness
Mumbled boot heeled call
Conjuring gypsy rag folk
Up out of dust.

I am stranger alchemies
Formulas sewn into the seams
Built of coat hangers and sideshow canvas
I’ll tell your fortune for a nickle
Sell you forgotten words for a dime
Slow shoe shuffling,
“Step right this way folks”
I’ll be two counties away
Before you notice I took
All the good spoons.

Off on my heels
Vagabond trip tramping
Waking up grumpy trolls
Plucking shadows like apricots
I’m the one
Living in the corner of your eye
A twisted magpie hoarding
The pennies of thoughts
Small change,
But there’s no harder currency.


Voices of October, Lust, Heaven, and Disrepute

Posted in Poetry, Spoken Word with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2014 by beautifulimposter