In the jazz room they went
With bubbles near the ceiling & gold
Lava lamp lights flashing “peace”
Between the smoke trails &
Rainbow zingers towed
Grasping dreams behind them
While the nuns played guitar
In the church on the hill
Where the grass was cut neatly
& the flag pole stayed solid,
Buried into the stone with
Centered historical certainty.
But that was all past,
When bingo and the Banana Splits
Tore the early afternoon open.
When we dreamed Star Trek
Flights along with our sewer rat, cop, and
Who grew up dreaming they´d live enough
To eat well one day, maybe even
In sunny Miami where the kids could play
Baseball in green fields & the walk
To school the longest yard they´d ever face.
Where war would be over & done
& the world would move progress
Into a lunar future, protected &
Dreamt by scientists first worked out
Somewhere in California.
Khaki pants and solid arms
Thick fingers & a thick Bronx way with words
Were what I got instead.
Death & crazy took my teens.
Blow & blowjobs left on back seats
& manic smokes in Crandon Park
When high school purple met
Silver moon deep in the mosquitoed
Night where palms wrestled with stars
& Steely Dan soundtracked coke stories
Filled humid nights
& we could only watch
As death and crazy claimed
One by one for their own:
T. for murder, T. fell off a bridge and drowned
Along with 4 of her friends,
M.´s teeth fell out from crank
And now needs a liver transplant,
And C. dies with a needle in his heart,
M. still works at the garage where his lungs are
Filled with paint and breathes through a tube,
While F. lays tile and hunts South Beach for
Girls a third his size & half his age.
Now Babylon & Ukraine
Fill Kentuckians and New Yorkers with terror
Where rotting gums & jobless benefits
Get slashed with no objections
Except Jesus will ring his
Bell and we´ll all come tumbling in-
& wars are now set for lifetimes
& fear the only message which resonates
& most are shorn of peace dreams or peace pipes
& Sundays are dying alone
& somewhere deep inside a locker
Sits another massacre, routine, waiting
With its two best friends
Leering muscularly atop the whole country
Threatening to bribe the millions
To goose step together, hey! Over here!
And lay those toweled head motherfuckers down
Cause you know
Death & crazy are all we got left.
Death & crazy´s all we got now.
Along the hatch unfastened
Were the grimy squeezing of hate
Oozing themselves to that metallic
Doorway we closed behind us every time
We finished dinner or came home
Rested after a serious talk & good meal.
It corroded on the edges first, yes, then
Followed you back to bed
Where you would lie on your back
& the rich itch to kill dropped suddenly
Like a single hair on your forehead
Or some sting of a small insect
Inside your pants leg.
You slapped it, you scratched, you
Might easily rub hard to flow
The blood in the right way
But you´d been bitten & that wasn´t
Going away soon.
It is always there & the beginning
Of the Fall.