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by Bill Myers


women who have been crippled into those beautiful positions
who dance to themselves and turn like a room around us
women filled with sleeping angels
who need a non-industrial jesus gone bad
women who are everyplace to go
who never forgive me but forget anyhow
women under sleep's dark and silent arm
who leave my angel damaged but lighter
women on payphones in the weather who write in great big purple lines
women who smile with an automatic clarity simple as blue
and obscure as clouds
women who stumble photogenically away and then back and then away again
women who sleep sideways in facepaint and feathers
and give tying one on a bad name
women who wear expensive stolen things
women with kissy shadows on drowsy mouths
who want to be with everybody everywhere all the time
women who walk in the dark with a knife locked open in their pocket
women who quote god a lot and deny they're haunted
women for no music who make the darkness itself visible
and are surrounded by that kind of light
women with memories too old too fight off
women who secretly echo each other with dreams of breathing
women who stare at their dreams until their dreams stare back
women somewhere between zen and zero and a dialtone
women who give uncomplicated kisses in the appropriate sex
women as still as paintings in the dark
whose fingers wander in their pockets over broken keepsakes
women in dark armchairs who are studies in abusable color
women with silent tendencies
women who toss on a burning couch
women who crouch in twilight like a church
whose thighs tremble in their sleep
women who speak their power words and leave handprints in heaven
and footsteps in hell
women like a cross through which the wind blew freely

women who droop in blue flannel shirts in this o'clock or that
women in bare arms and calm diagonals
women who lean against a blue china sink
as the doorknob turns in sweet-smelling dusk
women who make mention of themselves as of a mystery
who say "this is poem #9 of my life"
women handcuffed to jukeboxes and swirling outward
in tiny doll-like movements
women who shake madly in their sleep too fragile and darkly blessed
women whose scent scatters into the world overhead
women who slide down tongue-like into the marvelous hollows
of the neck, before rising again, fresh faced and determined to descend
women who sprawl in approximate erotics and murmur the politics of lace
women imbedded in parks and fountains or locked in a grid of days
women who laugh through their hair and say "F is for kitty"
women with breasts the color of eyelids that ache without passion
women who lean into the dark and bleak etcetera
who are the property of angels in white-on-white workrooms
women released into silence, naked and whispering, only to
find themselves suddenly floating between two hands
women fallen in fields that lean and unlean around them
women too young too grim and too mystic
who move with unrecognized music
women who know the soft collapse of lovers into friends
women who have been bruised with kisses
women slamming in the vastness like anything but clockwork
women who hang their feet off the edge of the bed so they won't dream
women who are sleek and kissy and make love like an act of history
women with skills that have no name
women with tattooed hands who drop ashes in books and then close them
women who laugh at clowny art
women for the dark asking
women until the kissing quiets down
women drenched in light who move so boy-and-girl-ingly
women who sink into crowded years or linger if you choose to go backward
women in the quiet and quieter days they've turned to
women in the big whispers
women who know the code of dark space between bodies
women with secrets humid shoulders keep
women who sink into themselves like the memory of another
and they are all of them
women in the beautiful untrue who are both someone and someone else
women with no sign left to X-out the heart
women I have kicked in bathroom doors for

this is for anyone
who ever went to heaven
and came back down
with their eyes and ears bleeding
this is for anyone
who's ever known
what everything meant all at once
and then decided
that it was never worth knowing
this is for anyone
who believed in the mysteries
that gave way
like a rotten shoelace
on a stinking shoe
this for anyone
who's died too many times
waiting and believing
until there was hardly anything left to kill
this for those to whom
death came so often
it became more meaningful than life
this for anyone
whose spirit keeps searching
in disbelief
long after the mind
has rolled over
and gone to sleep
in this
a different dream

Welcome to New Orleans
-- because no one leaves the Velvet Gutter
If you got 20 bucks and a car
You're a fat cat in New Orleans
Welcome to the premier Scorpio jail town of the South
City of dreams on a return trip from the spine
A city that's right in between a Jones and the Nods
Welcome to the city of a thousand and one Imbeciles
holding their harmonicas in the wind
City of old bathtubs, plaster lawn madonnas and mysterioso-belles
The city that will put hair on your chest and lipstick on your ass
Welcome to the city that's been waiting for you
like a pile of old clothes in a corner
Welcome to the city of negative capability
Home of the Dada-Rama and temp resurrection
Where decadence is just one more form of public transportation
City of the Cheap-Ass CBD and the Historical T-shirt quarter
City of Food Stamps, Sausage, Crack, Go-Cups, Wicca, Mudbugs, Merliton,
Damaged Angels, Stolen Bicycles
and the most beer ever spilled in a street
Welcome to the sweaty post-retro paradise of the world
The city that wants to give you a big muddy kiss
when you're stripped down, wet, and shaking
Welcome to the city that wants to smell you up
Welcome to the city that will put its magic hand in your hat
Because New Orleans is a just beautiful woman on a lazy day
With her dress blown up to her nipples
So --
Welcome to New Orleans
-- and lose the watch

Play with me New Orleans
teach me self-defense
when I'm broke down drunk and stumbling
give me that crazy love that belongs to no one
and gives everyone a nervous breakthrough
make me sit for hours with an unlit cigarette
and then light me up
slow and lazy with a flint and wick flame
Play with me New Orleans
and give me this day my mania from heaven
lead me to bars where I can drink for free
teach me to please the spirits inside and out
and to give back to the gods those spirits
which were so rightly theirs
and which I so wrongly drank
lay me down by distilled waters
because I need unlimited water and lots of it
lay me down naked on couches and floors
in front of a box fan
with my right hand on a full deck of smokes
and my left hand on your thigh
Play with me New Orleans
I'm your poet toy
Get me drunk but don't feed me
Take me home when you don't need me
hide my clothes but let me keep my bicycle
kiss me on the lips when I'm unconscious
write something pretty around my nipple with a felt-tip pen
before I wake up and wonder "where the hell am I"
and what direction am I facing
leave me a note I can't read
in your own handwriting
straight from the now
Play with me New Orleans
I don't care what you do with my cock or my ass
Leave me with a big gorgeous bruise on my pubic bone
I'm your bitch I'll do it in the military position
teach me to cum all the time
and then teach me not to cum at all
Play with me New Orleans
Heal me over and over again
And then make me crazy all at the same time
Wrap me up in your shabby charms
and give me your garlic morning kisses
Wake me up to fuck me
and then go back to sleep
I promise I'll stay up for years
Just to watch you and think about it
Play with me New Orleans
Make me dance in empty buildings
and set fires in crowded streets
take me through your nosebleed alleys
and your secret gardens
Leave me lovely and shoeless for miles
Until you come looking for me again
Play with me New Orleans
Improve my pool game
and my lovemaking
Improve my drinking
and my drug taking
make me try some really bad combinations
Like Acid Beer and Robotussin
Play with me New Orleans
In the tailgate party of the divine
You left me stoned and staring into nowhere
while Jasmine flowered around me the driveway of the infinite
just give me one more flat-line blackout
and let me rest my cheek in the cool perfect curve of the absolute
-- Absolut Vodka that is
Play with me New Orleans
Because I always need someone to play with
And you're always around
So play with me New Orleans
because I can't call it quits
I can only say I'm going to

somedays I just want to suburbanate somewhere
order a complex coffee drink
and study something that doesn't matter
but makes me lots of money
until I'm nothing
but tiny bits of identity
on a little piece of plastic
floating out there
somewhere above the limit
sometimes I want to leave behind my gyrating destiny
and my beautiful dark shiny soul
hit the razor wire and get on the other side
Poets sit around like old men
wondering what life did to them
too many friends
too many mutations
too many changes
that didn't change anything
all those millions of lines
bludgening the page
make even the beatitudes sound menacing
but when I have no sign left to x out the heart
I just let the rain come in
in between here and when I left
and I lean against bare windows
under a sky that can barely float
and what's left of me
floats down and further down
beyond any dream of knowing
and I smile with an automatic clarity
simple as blue and obscure as clouds
drifting in place under the twisting stars
and their alchohols
lighting my cigarettes in between the whispers
until all my drunk angelics overflow
into fevers and prayers
evaporating my life
into a long long dream of rain
and slowly filling what's left of me
with the real truth from the moon
for whom my body
is such a dangerous church

fathoms below an epileptic azure
that stretched out like a sky above us
and it was a sky
a big huge Kansas sky
walking with a four-way hit of '72 windowpane under the tongue
my 2nd trip
my friend's 112th
with a different patch of cloth on our jeans
to remember each one
jeans that would eventually become an avalanche of patches
we walked almost a mile
under the light scattering in fine grains around us
down parallel ditches left by parallel wheels
through fields of wheat that lean and unlean around us
and then away
until far out into the fields the world itself leaned away
past the abandoned farmhouse
that sloped steeply toward a shrinking creek
which was spanned
by a huge train trestle of old rotten wood
shabby and immense
rocking in the wind
we clambered up the creosoted pilings and wrecked bracings
to piece of plywood nailed four feet below
the rafters of railroad ties
we timed our trip to peak with the train
we could hear the whistle for hours
flat echoless infinitely long
each one closer and stronger
always almost just arriving forever
as we floated under a scintillating clutter of colors and clouds
that simply hung there with the sun
and the faint and hallucinated moon
we were grim and mystical and young
we leaned half-in half-out of our bodies
out into the plain air glittering with echoes and etceteras
out into the world where the rest of us is half-buried
far enough out so that even reality would never lead us astray
and we waited and we just kept waiting
while the scenery gently billowed around us
with persuadable landscapes
and good honest old-fashioned pscyhedelic fun
everything was echoing its shiney multiple into everything else
which is another way of saying we were trailing fucking dopplegangers
we were evaporating a sequence of silhouettes behind us
a psychotic counter point
with halos of white-noise surrounding our hula-hooping pineal gland
where the mind no longer blinks it stares
until we shook tensely with hysterical anticipation
the mind perpetually slurring into a high speed chase of its own
until the train swept overhead just four feet above us
and everything was swimming with dust and noise
it was gorgeous and immense and black and mechanical
smelling of burnt oil and steel
the sun going off like a photoflash between the boxcars
shaking the bridge itself apart
a reality so deep it could drown whole insanities
as if the bridge itself would float off in pieces
while the world around us fell apart
every structure--mental and otherwise--wrecked into a useless beauty
we trembled to be there and laughed psychoticly
and it was a long long train
and I've tripped since then:
orange sunshine
pink insanity
green goddess
purple microdot
zero blotter
black magic
pink flamingos
starway milky way
lucy in the sky without diamonds
cellophane angels
white blotter
Fritz the cat
brilliant suns
peace sign
tweety bird
lucky charms
rainbow bridge
purple triangle
pink floyd walls
mac donalds golden arches
purple barrels
white blotter
smiley face
orange gel
moral destroyer
ohms speaker acid
ant acid
santa claus
number 3
desert storm
red stripe
american stripe
gold keys
white blotter
dancing test tubes
chemical man
green gel
pac man
woodland critters
silver streak
red clown
white blotter
Mr McGoo
Disney tickets
mickey mouse
mickey from fantasia the sorcerers apprentice
calvin and hobbes
porky pig
clover leaf
white blotter
bart simpson
sally simpson
running man
road runner
olive oil
Alice D
celtic shields
pink sperm
blue sperm
white blotter
red lips
happy meal
square meal
black, red dragons
blue, purple elephants
hula hoops
black pyramids
alice in wonderland
and whole lot of white blotter
and it's been a long long train
But you know what? It's never been quite the same.

Thursday is a big event for me
it starts at noon
and ends sometime late saturday morning
If I hadn't fallen down the stairs
and sullied myself
I'd still be at it tonight
but sometimes mental incontinence
is not a good thing
I was saying things like
I want a blue drink
I want a green drink
and the last clear memory I had was
a dim voice down a long dark hall
saying--don't drink that
so I was being belligerent with a big guy
It's the kind of thing that happens
when things are not happening well
and I'm the king of things that aren't happening
I kind of came to
when I was fucking my neighbor in the flower bed
beauty strikes deep
and then truth chases her naked across the street
someone called the police
but they said it was a domestic matter
and that's what I like about New Orleans
you can chase your girlfriend naked across the street
and not get arrested
and in the morning you can talk about it
to someone who knows what you're talking about
but I move in a magic circle
with magic friends
and I know
that god has pulled us out of the hat
to entertain a world full of people
who don't know the trick
and no matter how many steering wheels
go to sleep in our arms
we always wake up
in our own cars
in our own clothes
in a city that's still on a map
with a phone number and an address in our pocket
we've all got powers that no one knows about
and even when they're weak they work
but my best days were spent
in a crossfire between a coma and a photoflash
long slow afternoons next to a girl
with makeup on her panties
and all her cruelties mysteriously spent elswhere
I don't know where
so don't interupt me
sometimes my only goal
is not to let a blackout last
for more than 10 seconds
and sometimes it's two days
before I find out my car keys were in my shoes
I'm 44 which is 17 in Yoda years
It took me a long time to figure out the trick
because it's not just one trick
we need a suitcase of tricks to get by
but it's hard to catch yourself in the middle of it
that's why we try catch each other
because everything has it's own velocity
sometimes it's vertical
and sometimes it's earth speed
which is undetectable
but static is like a glaze thorn in my head
and sometimes waiting in a room is unforgivable
and I'm tired of writing
I'm bored
I'm armed
I don't feel like talking
I've smuggled the secrets out of the bad place
but I'm not sure whose side is who
so I'll go down any street
just see what's there
because it's never a walk
about what's here
it's always about what's there
and there's some guy talking on a cell phone
with an audible dial tone
and he's saying
" I'd give you a ride in my jet
but it's in Columbia right now"
so maybe if he came in on a donkey
with palm leaves in his beard
I'd give him a free drink
but that's the moment when suddenly
god becomes temporary
and I realize
he's not fucking with me
he's just being stupid
and it's my own personal Heck
so maybe it's not going to be great
maybe it's just gonna be crazy this way
who cares
so much for philosophy
it's all gone soft
and this's gettin too close to heaven
I need to take a break
I might be bitter
but I'm not pissy
and we're gonna keep on getting crazy

I want to be the Yoda of cash
--feel the money Luke
I want a little vodka grace and kisses to fuel the chakras
I want to see my hands when I dream
I'm tired of all the cautious sorcery
I want to trade in my righteousness for an ashtray
or some other famous mystery
apocalypse is the only game I'll play
or I won't play at all
it's a repetition of unpredictables
a vacation from explanations
just one big fat whatever
designed to be erased
so I called on the saint of self destruction
I pushed the joy buzzer in the funhouse
and got caught between floors
in a chrome and glass elevator
with a post-traumatic tele-pathetic
tune-in turn-on and beam me up
stomp-down king-daddy eye of god
I wanted to go to Hollywood
but this part of the plane doesn't go there
I just want to take a gradual look at the beautiful
I don't know that there's a god out there
but if there is I'd appreciate her help
I always imagine her to be some kind of lock-down goddess
like the butter lady on the butter box
I just want to get stupid up in california
roll up a left-hander
and revolve right back into the fucking wack-fucked primal fucking ooze
no clock no phone no light until I'm done
that'll put a nice little slant on your DNA
--don't do it if you want to keep it
but I can't hang on to everything
I'll just keep it up until
my ability to see patterns gets a little too amped
and everything gets so omenistic
I just keep thinkin' about it
matter of fact
I'm afraid that something paranormal could be putting its
landing gear down in my naked neo-cortex even as we speak
but it's not gettin' done by my head
because I'm not thinking
I'm not learning
I'm remembering
I'm enlightened
but I don't know how correct I am
there are maps of the enormous
submerged in every moment
and when they perpetrate the brilliance
and I want it all to be stupid
because I'm amazed by how assured everyone is
such a beautiful collection of faces for each other
fresh young minds in a fine young world,
yeah, that'll last about half a block
it's all the strangled hysterics
of a culture emptied of its magic
a people whose rituals no longer resonate with the unseen
sleep walking in that bare oblivion
something so furiously empty it's always been devouring itself
a blast pit mandala in a circle of souls
on an empty night that became empty afternoons again
angel of oppression
I know who I am
I've been saved all-to-hell
by a phone voice on hold
and I've been looking through a window
propped open with a clock ticking down to zero
and I've been slamming the receiver down relentlessly
tell me what's art so I can stop doing it
how long will my soul have to be inside out
before it can be outside in
I can feel my reflection
move like a secret equator
around one of my immensely dangerous selves
angels fly away from the blast
but I can't to say which one is coming
and which one is going away
I got a whole precarious sartori situation goin' on
I still have a language
I just don't have the words
and today no longer feels like any day
matter of fact it doesn't feel like anything at all
It feels like one of those days in between days
first beginnings are always the same
always in excess
there isn't much more
so let me go on
it's 3 in the afternoon
and I'm drunk as fucking mardi-gras
with a bunch of strangers who love me
and I'm losing my shit
to a sad song on a jukebox
in a bar I don't even know
I'm just in it
and I know that the fate that left me here
will come back to pick me up
this city is temptation at it's finest
and sometimes you got to put a hole in the wall
just to see what's going on
no bad about it
I've had strange environments before
but I'm safe in New Orleans now
just bring me presents
and call me daddy
because time flies when we're having fun
and it stops when we say stop
but time just keeps passing us by
and doesn't talk to anyone
and we can't say stop
we can't say anything at all
and time never turns off


"the loneliness is sating" -- Rilke
I think too much
My mind is constantly banking
from thought to thought
in a long graceful slur
toward a more distant orbit
swarming with the mystic and insane
and floating among the rusted spines of angels
but my mind is a beautiful engine
that will always take me places
even long after it breaks down
there's an aloneness that comes with intelligence
but it's not an emptiness
it's a solitude that fills everything
and there's a terror that comes with knowing
but it's a terror without paranoia or conspiracy
and there's the pain
with great knowledge comes great pain
but that great pain
is constantly stretching its fingertips
across the skin of great pleasure
in the most beautiful
and most final form
of S & M
but those whom the gods would destroy
they must first drive mad
those whom they drive mad
they must first haunt
those whom they haunt
they must first talk to
and the tongues of gods
speak in all things
both great and small
and all things count in big amounts
but those who've been destroyed
are no longer haunted
-- to those who've been destroyed
the voices simply talk
and so we're left somewhere between
the answers that gather
and the answers that float
always drifting sideways
between the past stretched out
into a gray light behind us
and the future falling away
into that invisible and uneasy space
of silent and mysterious escapes
but even when we
release the old ghosts from old places
and allow all things to be right
We still slip in a thin vapor
between the constellating sky
and the crystallizing ground
between the stars they say are above us
and the so-called dirt they say is beneath us
I don't really know
I just keep talking
I don't know if I'm a guru
a little down on his luck
or a street clown with a limp
going broke on decateur street
truth is
I'm probably still slipping
somewhere between the two of them
so maybe it's that moment between an unplanned kiss
and the moment you think about it
or maybe its that moment between
that one thing
about how you're both really different
and the other thing
when you're both really drunk
we're nothing but mirrors of each other
but until you've seen a thing empty
you'll never know what it's filled with
the eyes are the window of the soul
if you don't see what you want in the window
go inside and ask

it's 7:56 on a second floor Sunday morning in New Orleans
I lean back in my chair on the balcony
bottom of my feet up on the cool metal rail
just cool enough to let me know I'm still alive
and my body is still warm
and the sun shines on the bottom of my feet
just hot enough to let me know
that my body has cooled down
to the heat of life and not death
just enough to let me know I'm back
in the world of warmth and light
tiny birds
shadowed but not quite blue or black
snap erratically through the air
swinging their tiny yoyo lives
around that invisible string
whose other end is firmly looped around god's middle finger
my left ball rolls down
through the huge rip in my shorts
slow and easy
until it touches down on the cold metal chair
and draws back up
into the persistant warmth of the body
skin and hair still damp and sticky
from two days of fever
and hallucinations
unconcious and alone
I peal off my shirt
and let my belly buddha in the sun
let the sweet beeze
from the top branches in the trees
lift away what's left
of two days of urinous sweat
five times I've had these fevers
unconcious in a bed or on a floor
for days with no one around
waking thin and weak
shaking like a baby
and I know what the earth is doing
she's been getting me ready
she's preparing me
to undergo
a complicated alchemy
where I won't have the words
or hear the voices
and I won't see the hands
or feel the faces
and she's teaching me how to die
the way it's always done
my first fever came when I was seven
and when it was over
my eyes were blurred
hearing numbed
the finger tips
moved without me
and after that
came all the other crazy fevers
fevers in flophouses
and rotten rooms
sweating it all out
uncontrollably soaked
in purities and impurities
ruining sheets and beds
while the real part of me abstracted itself
into the world elsewhere
branding my mind with visions
and then there were the biochem fevers
the bad acid that left me cramped and shaking
fingernails cold an blue
and the good acid
that took me out of my mind
and then took my mind out of my body
and left me float on that invisible blue tether
fragile as a kite
in the electric current
of this collosal universe
where faces fade into smoke
and the smoke fades into twilight
and the twilight fades into deep space
as the stars go out
one at a time
and then suddenly all at once
as it all falls into the void
but after I had gone there once
every journey back into this world
is somehow more
than just being born again
and somehow less
because a fever is a starship
that burns the spirit for fuel
but God's just getting messy with me
and he's made me the poster child for spirtiual birth defects
freshly awakened from that burned out vision
but everything
that didn't quit kill me off in this world
left me more insane and airborne in the next
left the rest of me more alive
in that unbearable grace
across the street an old lady is pushing a cart of groceries
her body is frail and wieghted down
she stops for a moment
looks up at me and we both nod to each other
and when she lifts up her head
her smile just floats in the air
like a little girl
and for a moment of no particular time or length
I see her face as a young woman
and the humanity of it all
overwhelms me
and I have the great tears inside
until I feel my left ball on cold metal again
and I realize my balls are still hanging out
but sometimes
it's like that
I'm with a friend
or a total stranger
and we both nod at the same time
about anythng
or nothing at all
and what it is
doesn't matter
it never matters
all that matters
is that we both wanted the other to be right
at the same time
everyone wants to be the exception
but there are no exceptions
the years go by in the billions
and we don't
I'm not saying this because it happens
I'm saying "this"
because many things happen
and I don't want the answer
I don't need to know the answer
all I need
is something
that will make me stop asking the question

in a goodbye to some rare blue
our sleep is taken out of context
floating quietly in place without us
beneath our dark and silent arms
any dream of knowing
winds aimlessly away
under the twisting stars and their alcohols
aching with unfinished happinesses
our eyes are slowly filling with a drowned light
the old photographs overflow and endure
the old dream of dying
alone in the weather
beneath the pursuing forms
the moon sings lightly in a black sleepless dress
as it leans against a bare woman
swaying down and farther down
beyond any dream of knowing
just let the rain come in
in between here and when we left
an old photoflash will empty the heart
as it shrinks back into place
and the days will grow roomy
which is just "too bad"
in a long line of "too bad"s.

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