Curse of Human Events (Genesis 3:7, etc)

Mean lady tricks naked man and world is tossed to the flames of perdition. Sound familiar?

Adam suddenly found himself naked in Eden and desperately managed, through the alchemy of hurried and botanically uninformed Bible illustration, to affix a leaf to his privates.

Then Adam and his recent, painfully procured wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  But the LORD God called to Adam in a manner that calls into question His credentials as an omni-thingy. “Where are you?”

“I heard you in the garden,” Adam answered, “and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

“Who told you that you were naked?” God said in another very early instance of His lofting loaded questions at us and then calling lightning and fire down on our puzzled asses. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

“I would remind the Lord that ‘from’ is a preposition and subject to the usual nattering rules. And the woman you put here with me—she’s trouble, god.”

“Capital G!”

“Right.  Sorry. This otherwise very attractive lady whose creation for some reason necessitated, despite your reported omnipotence, the painful and bloody non-surgical ripping away of my rib? She gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

“What is this you have done?” the Lord thundered, turning to the woman.

The woman was seen to gaze indolently about the garden for several minutes. Then seeming to start at a sudden sound said, “Oh. What?” 



heavenly jeweller misplaces crimping pliers

Hungry Pigeon Eating Bread

A multi-colored pigeon
filthy and ragged
as the interior
of an old metal trash can
flutters effortlessly
about the breakwater
the milling sunlit tourists
loose a cascading shower of crumbs.
Pigeon lifts his arms
and moves away
when his cockeyed startled side-glance
sees the indistinct silhouette
of approaching danger
He has about him the look
of a living thing
teeming with disease,
a pandemic vector
to whom God has given
the gift of flight
Good idea -
these jewels of His creation
are plague magnets.
Let’s stick wings on
and see what happens
The feathers on this specimen
are sickness-stiffened.
He flies hither and to,
inhabits the vast spaces
of our blue cathedral.
When he comes to ground
he cants his face
sees something
and lashes at the sidewalk,
strikes like a maddened, staring idiot
at a black raised splotch
on the cement. He’s eating
I guess; my staring 
makes him defiant.
‘I am naked, filthy.
more prey than predator,
unless my own prey be this
ancient wad of gum I am obliged
to labor over
with you big shots watching.
I crap in mid-air.’
After every strike he looks at me
with crazy umbrage eyes
as if to say ‘What!’ What!’ What!’
or ‘So what!’
Very defensive, this one
Spinning, toiling, glaring
the effect is
slam! ‘What!’ slam-slam! ‘What!’.
Nothin’, that’s what
you idiot bird slash miracle
of not-terribly intelligent design
Stop looking at me
between mouth slams
I’m not vying for your raised spot
of blackened gunk
nor judging your frankly
embarrassing lot
in the present realm; woops.
you can fly
enjoy that with my blessing
we top the food chain
and, yes, are tied to a chair
with the surly bonds
that pilot wrote about
bound to the Earth
and in thrall to your buoyant
brushes with Heaven
God has made you
the venerable center
of our sleeping lusts,
Flight the ongoing winner,
100 eons at Number One
in the Twitching Soma Hit Parade
I will, though, forgo the gift of flight
if I may also forgo the need
to nourish myself
by slamming my mouth against
filthy concrete.

what if he’d known

Tokyo from the air

He struck out in the direction of home
the hushed scuffed aisles of the grocery store
first he pulled his red car out of his colorless garage
the grey junk hung and jumbled there
said he was going for cereal and a razor
there is no magic in that shopping list
no depth to plumb nor glyph to puzzle over
he really was going there for cereal and a razor
Raisin Bran Crunch, a Schick with aloe
he started up his dumb red car and sailed away
heart-racing, unbridled, stars a-twinkle
and switched on the little radio

How to explain and why to explain
it’s been years since he needed the company of men, or man
years uncounted (about 20) since he could endure
the vibrant chatter, the cutting blank
the bright self-ignorant line right down the middle of everything
commercial jingles and artistic gestures
Lichtenstein-dumb and warm with the glow
of puny self-satisfaction, an ossified frieze
ecclesiastical complaining gets one nowhere fast
that there is nothing new under the sun goes unmentioned
he just wants the puppets to see the strings
and say a word or two not hauled up from a khaki past

One afternoon he stares through a streaked windshield
and longs. California sun strikes the glass like a match.
wind-blown families people a littered seaside lawn
mingle easily as phantoms, and as without form
picnic tables, happy summer sun, bovine cliques and claques
a beachfront birthday party for another tween
his untenable terror of the other grown-ups there
roots him to the bucket seat
all this tired glow, all this roseate gift, the dizzying chances lost
look at the fools, what news can they bring
professional guys with graying temples drape their arms and laugh
seen through an arc of wiper smear opaque and bright as frost.

L is for the way You look at me

photo by Janet Tappin Coelho

photo by Janet Tappin Coelho

Summer nearly two thirds gone
the doomed ninnies running down the shore
as any hireling might in a Don Henley video
sea beats anciently under ancienter sun
somewhere through the glare Hubble gawps at nebulae
it’s all of a piece
for all the thumb and drang the body of salted water
is clear and busy and simple
a cheap sheet of foil turning and pitching
Someone, Roseangela, exultant with fear
arms raised in fear, motherfear, the oldest fear
Her kid is in the water and electricity approaches for its own reasons
‘Get out of the water!’
so saying, Rosangela is struck down in the shallows
Her son is fine, let off with a warning; he was never the lightning’s theme
a photo taken by happenstance captures the instant
if not the transfiguration, which is concealed behind a pickup truck
eyeblink shows the lightning absent its Special Effect
a drizzling-down of death
suggestion of cupcake sprinkles delivered by the swollen mitt of a gourmand
or aluminum dust in a bolt of light
You don’t know where the fury can be stored
you can’t let the fury seep out or rush out
that is its own mayhem
a daisy chain of damage
someone could get hurt.
but this fury is anyway as frail as you please
the chemical fury has outlived the Furies
and no longer serves a useful function
is but temporary and earthbound and inconsequential as a dryer sheet
despite squalls of sorrow and raging headaches
there is no ledger or other illusion of mathematical redress
Thor, or Odin, or whomever thins the herd like an angry drunk
then offers succor
then offers someone else a seashell by the seashore
what is this damaged Superthing
that waves us like dolls
gives us lower case babel, organ donor cards
and a sacrament the size and shape of a tiddly wink.

Walking to the car in heavy weather
you see the trees frowning
they know something about the mom knocked down
but they’re not saying
The burning sparking split of the tree limb from, what,
the torso?
Torso or neck
These dumb living things have no faces.
You call that living
Is that a neck
The crowded flora know the vacuum
‘Don’t warn us, stand stock still
in your annoying floral pretense.’
What good the warning that keeps to itself
These magisterial plants, 1000 years old
stately living wood
and lofted Mariah Carey ‘here i am!’ arms
under the surface they clutch the earth in fear,
root system a panicked paw clutching for dear life
what are they afraid of, what are they not saying
if the tree which knows in its sap what awaits us
if a twisted ‘mighty’ oak having famously sprung
from the cartoon acorn
all that matter pulled out of the system like abrading taffy
if that tree is scared enough to clutch the soil
with a wooden panic-paw
what chance do we have
I remember in 8th grade Mr. Crowley said
Aluminum comes from bauxite.
“Picture that aluminum box,” he said,
and it worked
but that’s one of the last pieces that fit.

Plague christians and the Second Flogging of Christ

JC Has Had it with You Assholes

Christ died for these weaponized clowns, too. In the July 28 New Yorker a brief and darkly humorous tale is told of a bunch of angry conservative folks in Oracle, Arizona who had convened with cameras and signs and spleen to scream at and harangue, and film themselves haranguing, a bus full of scared Central American kids who would reportedly be arriving this day on their way to a youth home in the area. This would have followed the kids’ 1100 mile escape from the abject terror and sadness of home. The fleeing kids, new to our loudmouthed Land of Promise, would have shelter and food until our courts decided how best to dispose of them. The Arizona Republican State Legislator leading the angry mob that day excitedly tweeted to his followers the arrival of the yellow bus, and the gang of grown-up assholes lustily descended on it, hollering and pumping fists and screaming at the rattled kids that they weren’t wanted here. It turned out the Republican, Conservative (anymore read ‘Christian’) State Senator and his posse had charged instead a school bus full of local kids on their way to the YMCA. When our gifted public servant, the State Legislator, BOASTED to a news reporter present that he’d seen the fear in the kids’ eyes through the bus window, he was deflated to learn he’d terrorized the wrong little ones. Dang!

The Christian Right. While assayers of the political culture gently shake their heads in reproof at the unfortunate lack of Christian Charity in the deeds of these dipshits, it’s necessary to be reminded that these murderous dirt clods are not just faltering in the presentation of something as meaningless as a brand; they are lavishly and ruinously failing as men and women of Jesus Christ, the reported Savior of a good many of them. These individuals, presumptive believers who Know Christ as a personal savior but can’t themselves be bothered to be even passably impersonal saviors, Know that Christ is the King of Kings, Know that Christ was killed for All of Us with whips and nails and a final spear in the guts, Know that Christ awakened from Death in a Turin-sponsoring blaze of radiation, Know that Christ rolled an enormous boulder away from his own tomb, Know that St. Thomas jammed his skeptic’s hands into Christ’s ragged wounds and yelled in panic. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Old Jerusalem actually houses, in a sealed inner sanctum, Christ’s reported tomb. You can tour the Garden of Gethsemane in broad daylight now, and with very little chance of Roman guards barging in to violently and unwittingly fulfill a cryptic promise.

The stirring wonders are archaeological, historical, and actual, and are being sullied by the damaged Lilliputs who have kidnapped Christ, pilgrims who frequently board their own buses and are hauled around the holy land with their jaws open, their eyes misting. their hearts fluttering like open books, heads bowed in necessary and spiritually justified attitudes of humiliation. Whatever you and I believe, the Christian lives by these truths, moves easily in the realm of the improbable, God-sanctified milieu of Christ’s Passion, His miracles and His self-abnegating mercy. How then to explain these pious jackasses coming home from their heart-instructing Christ junket to rush like raving idiots with their placards and cameras at a bus full of frightened CHILDREN, kids running from real monsters with real guns, running from real death, running from all that is familiar to them, sprinting 1000 miles just to live.

These kids arrive in our finger-waggling Christian nation and find these f***ed up fake-christian assholes running at them with their overfed yaps open, yelling in anger. Our Christian Right; spoiled bitch christians (lower case) who see mercy as a marketing tool.  These pricks are no more believers in Christ’s resurrection than they are in Felix the Cat’s magic bag. If they’re not fakes they’re grand-scale morons.

There comes a time when dithering needs to be set aside and the Wantonly Stupid addressed in the indecorous language to which their bold, projectile inferiority obliges us. The christian right, and I’m talking about the rancid political label here, are neither. They are engaged in the sort of bullshit that used to so enrage Christ He would trash the money-changers’ tables in the Temple and churlishly send herds of bewildered pigs in their thousands charging over a cliff. Can you imagine being a flogged and bloody Jesus and having died for THESE PRICKS?! I apologize on their behalf for the second flogging, Lord.

Dear Confused Public Servant/Phony Christian. Stop riffing on the Bible and go buy yourself one – or swipe one from the Gideons next time you’re hooking up with your buxom lobbyist pal.  It’ll be that white book with the zipper under the alarm clock on the bedside table. I recommend the red-letter edition, where your Lord’s words are helpfully highlighted for the benefit of you raging dumbasses who are evidently unfamiliar with His marching orders. If you profess fealty to the Son of God (that is, Jesus Christ, whom you solemnly invoke without blushing) DO AS HE SAYS. Christ’s undiluted command to help the poor is not symbolic, is not hip culture-speak for situational compassion, doesn’t nod to the tax code, and couldn’t give a shit about what lame assholes are sitting in their lushly appointed D.C. offices making self-advancement decisions. You venerate Christ for having allowed himself to be beaten, scourged and crucified to death. FOR YOU. Remember? You think that was easy? In Gethsemane He actually asked to be let off the hook. “Is there another way?” You don’t think there was another way, Christian public servant. There was only the impossibly painful way. You believe that in His Glory, Christ gave himself over to be horribly beaten up and tortured to save YOU. So what’s with all your foul bullshit?! Are you insane or stupid? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE KIDDING, ASSHOLE? You’re not fooling Christ. Leave the kids alone. It’s not a voting bloc issue, not a legal issue, not a tax issue, not a resources issue. It’s a New Testament issue. If your reply is ‘No, these scared kids are going back to Central American murder and mayhem just as soon as I can arrange it!’, tell your pastor you are leaving the Christian church because in your ‘reading’ of the New Testament (red letter edition!) you made a mistake and didn’t know you would be asked to sacrifice convenience, tax monies, government resources and effort and all this other worldly crap to help kids threatened with death. Christ spoke very plainly on these issues; WHAT IS THE ******* CONFUSION??!!

These fools are not Christians, literally or colloquially. They are Tacticians. The conservative movement famously made Christ the hood ornament on their war wagon some years ago in order to wave into the tent those folks who would otherwise have seen no reason to join a party that nakedly put the individual above the community. Good Christian people signed on, many of them of that economic stratum the Republican Party anymore uses to clean the soles of its golf shoes. In an instance of Genetically Modified Politics the ‘Right’ have reverse-engineered Christ into a proselytizer for American success, despite His straight-faced warning that a camel will squeeze through the eye of a needle with much less effort than it takes a rich lobbyist to enter Heaven (red letter!). Look it up. Matthew 19:24. I say this not to slight the rich, who have what they or their forbears have rightfully earned, and that is as it should be. It does point up, though, the unusual fact that the Republican party’s spiritual leader had His own qualms about the monied citizenry to whom the Republicans owe their everything, and whose overweening liquidity fuels the Right’s lobbying efforts against the interests and well-being of the less fortunate.  These lying (or stupid or both) revisionist Christians have formed their own Council of Nicea and are editing the Word on the fly to their own beige, simplistic, cash-accruing designs.

Capitalism, Libertarianism, the zero-sum primacy of the individual who aspires to a monied and exalted Self – these are arguable designs for living that merit discussion and come packaged with utilitarian pros and cons. But there is no Jesus there. You are simply a garden-variety moron if you really believe Christ was murdered so that you could terrorize children on a school bus. And you’re the one who says He isn’t dead at all.  Christ was flogged to death for YOU. Right? Take a page from His book and help the helpless. It’s not terribly complicated, you wanton dipshits.

Excuse me.




Image: CometWhat happens is, as a kid you search for signs of what is making the world move. The central facts seem spooky and you suspect some indefinably freaky cloaked center to it that is not friendly. The hunch is that all this grandness is by its nature momentous and somehow terrible. Well, it’s provably an arc of the retrograde variety. Firm, thrumming, electrified flesh reduces to a spotty beige bag filled with articulated goo, and in the last days the cranial vault houses an increasingly assertive id, discomfiting many. But these are remote, fabulist phenomena. They can’t be named and kids don’t fear them, there is a vague wonder and kind of dread, but nothing as concrete as fear. The Grand Inevitables are in evidence, but as kids we can’t begin to guess what they signify. We drop ants into hot tar and note with interest that they do not seem alarmed. We skin our knees and, denied the gift of invective, scream like maddened banshees. We don’t know we are young and whole, our faculties fastened together with seamless joinery and a sprayed, fragrant patina of skin so form-fitting it seems literally impossible it will ever become the rubberized paper we see on the old and mustachioed. We move somnolently about in the sun and rain and are violable and happy without knowing we are happy. We don’t know we are violable. We’re incautious. A gun goes off and a kid is taken away from the world. You there; you step out onto the street in front of your high school and a passing van clubs you to death, or you are dragged 60 feet beneath a Volkswagen Beetle, as happened to a fresh-faced Happy-Go-Lucky in my high school. More frequently the pattern comes clear during 3rd grade recess. Betty or Amber or Lisa bails off the swing in a high, thrilling arc, her arms windmilling through the blue at dreamy half-speed. While you watch the girl you secretly adore, your half-smiling mouth agape, the little bench dances back on its chains and smashes your teeth. When I was six I was made to understand that the whole of the flat earth under my Keds was actually a round rock, a rock resting on nothing, a rock so enormous that at any given point of contact it seems as flat as a table. It’s not flat and at rest. It’s round and adrift. Adrift. A floating rock amid an endless field of other suspended rocks, unspeakably gigantic, drifting around like debris. Only a floating rock! Our whole ‘World’! 1966. I laid me down on the lawn in our sunny side yard, legs shaking with a pure vertiginous panic, and dug my fingers into the sod. For all the good it did.

Cradle Tune

Cradle of Civilization

My light and my life, my engine, my fuel,
my nearly-teen, in slouching sloth
threw her bikini into the shower stall,
left it in a wadded bunch
of folded, warm and moistened cloth
where dampened floor meets dampened wall
a Smallish Bang of genesis
in activated fold and crease
where microbes programmatically
make thoughtless love without surcease.

To think what dough we’ve spent on drills
and go-carts in the Martian idyll
awash in stupefaction there.
Inspecting stones for flatulence
on shores we dream were slimed and tidal
bacteria would shout and glare
a Walden of the very Spheres
were Dillard left to sing the song.
Amino locked in laminate!
The God we’ve prayed for all along.

“O Life!” we whelp in lumpen lust
to know what is engendered there
for all that we are dumb and doomed
and reaching out for other souls
our robots marching everywhere
in search of Life beyond this tomb
da Vinci and a golden disc
still seek a plane of morning breezes
but here we fair dismiss our germs
or flog them into sandwich cheeses.

Wondrous Martian annelid
your sacrament is Heav’n-kissed,
this your body, that your blood.
-the while our hated spores and molds
define the Earthbound shopping list
we fear the swarming things in mud
that elsewhere beg our dreams to rise
down here on Earth we’re quite afraid
of parthenogenetic life
and see it off with bargain Raid®.