dead mans corner

she doesn’t approve

that I turn over the page corner

on my well thumbed books

from

Hemingway

Kerouac

Bukowski

Fitzgerald

Hunter S Thompson

Wolfe

Robbins Tom

now aging books

would prefer I use a book mark

I tell her I don’t think those cats mind

its not as if they’re gonna

come round

knock the door to complain

issit?

kerouac’s dead baby

like all lost orphans

I had dreams of glory

not being snatched

dead of night by gypsies

mine were more

treading rails with Cassidy

high trails with dharma bums

Hemingway’s confidant

listening to tall tales of war

more women than bottles

learning romance & time

with Tom Robbins strange loves

Hunters phone listener at 3am

far enough away to live free

close to the deepwater edge

letters from Bukowski

not a drinking companion

so I’d never get bored

whoring with the ease

pleased easy with Chandler

peeping in that American hour

one time friend Ellroy to the fore

anything but the mundane

the here & now

where I was stuck

waiting on the call

we were in Pamplona

there for the feria

to run in the cold mornings

finding the courage

amongst the bulls

touristas & hemingway fans

I’d found an apartment

leased for the week

& late one afternoon

refreshed by beers after the run

I was mooching around

listening to the sounds

of the Spanish at home

& looking over the internal balcony

I saw her over the way

a black beauty in a white bikini

just as she saw me

we smiled & I turned away shy

she called hola & waved

just as my then girlfriend

came to investigate

not a week after

a fairground gypsy had told her

we would not be together long

I could have saved her silver

told her that myself

& today the black bombshell

was reinforcing that message

estábamos en Pamplona

estábamos en Pamplona

allí para la feria

correr por las mañanas frías

descubrimiento de coraje

entre los toros

touristas y abanicos hemingway

Yo había encontrado un apartamento

arrendado para la semana

y tarde una tarde

refrescado por las cervezas después de la Carrera

Yo birlaba alrededor

la escucha a los sonidos

de los Españoles en casa

y revisando el balcón interno

La vi sobre el camino

como ella me vio

sonreímos y giré lejos tímido

ella llamó hola y agitó

como mi entonces novia

vino para investigar

no una semana después

un gitano de parque de atracciones le había dicho

no estaríamos juntos largos

Yo podría haber salvado su plata

dicho ella que yo mismo

y hoy el obús negro

reforzaba aquel mensaje

peace on the boulevard

ting ting ting of the church bell

there on the corner middle of the fork

where one road drives deeper into town

& the other begins its meander out

I get up out of the bed slow & go sit on the steps

smoke a cigarette outside so’s not to wake her up

the street sweeper eyes me as he places carpet

by the drain to channel the water down the gutters

taking cigarette ends leaves papers from the patisserie

this early ghost world of he & me is soft black & white

we are become the same as hobos of gare de nord

sinking into part of the brickwork unseen by others

the pissoirs galoise black berets Picasso Hemingway gone

& I flick my end into the swirling drain disappearing down

nod to the sweeper time for me to go

return to another time & place of working for money

bills to pay no more play writer in exile

I must go & wrest her from sleep

break our dreams no more peace on the boulevard

Hem & pamplona dreaming

The first time

I came over the mountains

& there to greet me

was an eagle

as indifferent to me

as I was in thrall to it

I was with my love then

& all of this was new to her

Hem was a line on a dress

while I understood his calling

within two days

she would know me

brave if but foolish

romantic in deed

not thought

or cowardly runaway

we placed a red square

around his statue neck

went off to drink to st fermin

vanquishing the moors

& to new lives come the dawn

Being 14

finding

Mondrian

Van Gogh

Dali

& ffs the impossibility of Pablo Picasso

Hemingway

Bukowski

Rimbaud

Hunter S Thompson

& sex

all of everything

mind body spirit

Zen koans

music on the radio

albums in others’ homes

never enough to eat

taking all in with each breath

the world spread as smorgasbord

walking from place to place

feeling the pavement

as the images freewheeled

across the sky

& nobody understanding the why

the boy was how he was

third world Europe

I’ve eaten at Hemingways in Faro

sipping my beer

& wondering how much

ole Ernie would have loved

the purple bougainvillea

framing the door

the blue jacarandas in the square

placed a red bandanna

around his statue’d neck

at the start of San Fermin feria

in homage to the man

the battle of the moors

before running before the bulls

gaining my own Pamplona scars

living to tell the tales

Hem’ came from the first world

defined by modernism

yet seeking in our ancient ways

its own elegant sophisticated

third world ways where

we cannot be modern

his own home truths

wars, women, eternal life

defining himself

by not being us

taking what he felt

he best of the old world

into the new

Hems’ game

facing the threshold of fear

in true hope of knowing yourself

finding your one nature there

running toward the explosions

fire

testing courage on life’s litmus

& if we understand that notion

we see his end in poor context

what to do

when the excitement ends?

for age will take its rivers course

the numbing living brings

is it better to be the floor sweeper

watching the world trooping

in & out

or be those seeking adventures

creating the mess

making the floor sweeper to weep?

ernie h.

ernie said to never

tell anybody anything

& that certainly held true

when I was teaching

nobody wanted to be told

anything

but they do want what you got

the effect

of the learning

without the effort

please

& if you show them

they can tear that down too

the human capacity for

crapping on your hard work

can never be underestimated

people want what you have

but putting the effort in

like you did

in getting it

nobody wants that

I didn’t tell you any of this

you already knew

Ok?