Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Saturday, August 30, 2008


To establish 'character':


Friday, August 29, 2008

Knotty Wood Panel

A tribal African

Cricketer's rolled sleeve

Raging hawk, owl chick

White stallion's muzzle

Broad-faced flop-eared goat

A crazy man's face

Getty Mountain

Human clusters children the place

Floors, walkways, marbleize, monumentalate.

foot-arches, extenuated hams,

Require the sitting, the terraced concrete stream bed.

Sculptural rest beneath the re-bar stalks --

Sheaves of them -- hung with bougainvillea

Whose bright effloresces till one's breath breathes pink.

One ages up the stairs; on down, oasis.


graffiti : graffito : : photiti : photito

Imago: Moi


Friday, August 22, 2008

Getty Garden

Sheaves of rebar, fifteen feet high,

Differing widths,  moptop flopping,

Cascade-curving, ridden by bougainvillea

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Breaking Fast

Ten miles from here to there.  Ten L.A. miles.

Passing cars, fast.  Trailing cars, fast.

There: warm late morning, reservoir-cupping hill.

LAMILL Coffee Co.   A simple menu of great sophistication.

My mouth pursed at the waitress, grilled her,

Prosecutorily, and reluctantly ordered safe.

Ate along with B, who swapped bites of my perfect eggs.

With her polenta mixed with butternut squash,

Candied pecans,  and mascarpone.

My smooth, very potent, iced coffee.

My mouth pursed again.

Central Casting


Family, two families, of 5 or so people.

Daughter, 12-ish: balloon-shaped, green, festive, dowdy chiffon dress, cowboy boots, hair in German-style pretzel braids.

Father, 45 going on 65: thin jaw-burns, bowed back, extra weight.

Cosmopolitan hub. Rural, very rural, folks. Alaska? Dakota? Manitoba?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Living The History

America's doubts: its policy wars.

Korea, Nam, Eye-rack.

Let America The Small be great again.

Guilt Throwdown

I daresay I bet I'll think

It's a sad day for you when you turn

Your back on me, the last person

I'll ever see! So what I'll have the tubes?

Who'll really feel worse then?!

Live with it, big shot, breathing on

To the haunt of my sobs

The guttering and shh of the machine!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Getting older by the week's hours

Feeling stronger every Monday's seconds

From the inside out, the clock's

Old, wise, fucking good

St. Vitus

New Year's Eve, December 31, 1969. Four of us in my car. Rick and Gloria and Laurel and I. On the radio comes Credence Clearwater. 'Fortunate Son'. All the complaint -- Nam, draft, social class, social stasis, social disease, post-adolescent ghosts, bad luck, bad breath, bad karma -- shot through my arms and legs into a drive-by dance, into a shout-along, into a full-body poetry. Me 'speaking' it. 'The whole world was watching'.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Little Church In The Square

Can you direct me to the Protestantized Judeo-unitariarian-panentheistic-taoist congregation?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lasting Fashion

Tattoos: you wear bad taste on your skin.

Piercings: you wear bad taste through your skin.

Thoughts: you wear bad taste beneath skin.

None of this goes away.

A Sober Accounting

Nothing satisfies the budgeteers except poundage and thickness and heft and faux-intelligible density.

If it looks substantial, it must be so.

Oh. And numbers.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The New Young In The New Century

Here's a clear trend that's solid to my old eyes.

The young have veered to things the old would not:

'Graphic novels', 'body art', 'D.G.'

Images, not words, which makes this prophecy (critique?)

a whisper, not a slap, a joke, no charge before the bar.

Before, cartoons and animation were for kids. Tattoos for criminals.

Now, no one can read (or wants to) -- just be jarred, marred, en garde.

The Athlete

In Boston, I didn't run; I could have, just following the green streetcar past Fenway toward what was then and still might be 'The Big Dig'.

In Chicago, I didn't run; I could have, just taking a streak down Michigan Ave by the Trib. I was that close, but instead had a deepdish broccoli pizza, waited an hour to get it, too, and it was terrible.

In London, I didn't run; I could have, you know, around those nifty canals at Maida Vale above what's Little Cairo, just curved the streets, I could have, like Arabic, and with a bit of huff-and-puff, gone down to the Arch, gone further to the public loo in Harrods, one UK pound per entry. But I took the sooty Tube.

San Francisco, I was there, but didn't run, just stepped up to the girders underneath the Bridge, but the access lines were far off, and if memory serves, a guard or two preventing Kim Novak from standing as close as she did in Vertigo.

In New York, I didn't run; sure, I could have done that if it hadn't been for the cordon set up by police and more police for the GOP. The cyclists got arrested mere days after I saw an Arthur Miller play. I'm safe.

In L.A., I didn't run; my daughter's school had scheduled rooms and very few slots, and in missing her appointment, a bureaucrat told us to come back in twelve days. Ten minutes off, you'd think that time was gold, and here I was with a burning desire to burn and pillage and shave heads and shame whole family honors, so you'd think I'd have the get-up-and-go to run, but instead we sat with iced teas.

In Portland, I didn't run; I could have, but we only planted ourselves a day in place, and drove around that whole northwest of the state, through Salem to Corvallis to Eugene up McMinnville and Astoria and, well, back. Drank coffee, touched the Spruce Goose, sat in a pine grove around a seashell altar built to the Mother of God, and ate croissants, but never broke 3 mph on foot.

In Tucson, I didn't run; I could have, but I'd have had to rise at 3 a.m. for favorable heat. By 8, it was in the 80s, a triple-digit noon. Don't get me wrong, the Beaver Cave in the Desert Museum was cool, but cramped, and the thunder storms that broke at night refreshed the glass-partitioned restaurant. But who can run with a spoon and stoneware bowl? Instead, I stood barefoot on the cool tiled floor and thought tai chi.

Vehicular Aestheticide

The Cadillac SUV: grotesque like an athlete red-faced with steroids and stocky with ungainly bulk.

An insult upon an insult.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Earthpath, Starstreak

Nine stores down, she ensorcelled a lover by the Donna Karan.

Being young, he was illiterate of his Chinese tattoo.

Had she a sister, the sister's hankerings would be removed
just so by the revolve of the zodiac.

His sense of beauty, aesthetic, stemmed from mommie and movies,
'mamas', Ma Sheila, the Great Mother: same. At the point of satisfaction,
he just knew.

Thin, chocolate cigarettes, shoulders, each person laughing
with the tambre of a personal loneliness.

This woman, who are twins, they're myopic, so have four shoes
and eight eyes, forty cuticles, one for each Arabian Night.

Reading 'The Future'

Not a professional, but a poet.

Not a kibbitzer, but a cackler.

Not a survivor, but a transcender.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Old Salt

Unbelievably squinty, that Popeye, he dead of corncob and Olive Oyl and Sweet Pea and spinach and yam.

For Now, Calm

The papers are filed.

The docket is set.

The opening's heard.

The witnesses called.

The evidence shown.

The court notice is taken.

The defense demurs.

The court stipulates.

The plaintiff objects.

The counsels approach.

The jury withdraws.

The judge recuses.

The case mistries.

The justice reviews.

The trial's re-ordered.

The judgment is reached.

The appeal is sent.

The certiorari is granted.

The ruling is made.

The precedent's set.

The order is kept.

Face Fiction

Fitz looked at her freshness not looking at him, but, he felt, ordained for him: one can fall in love with a face.

About her face, now in three-quarter profile, he failed in about-face, he drew in sympathy with the curvature of the ear.

After cunnilingus, he washed his face with a mechanic's abrasive soap so that no one will know where I've traveled.

When she withdrew and did not appear again, he couldn't look his own way, he had defaced himself, even in mirrors.

The feeling would resurface, as do an archaeologist's tells: slice the end of a mound and layer upon layer would produce findings, create the sense of history.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fuckin' A

Statistics gives to math its 'connotative' range.

Expletives to English, its 'zero': the needed filler, oath.