armies running through streets of blood waving winebottles bayoneting and fucking virgins
or an old guy in a cheap room with a photograph of Marilyn Monroe
many old guys in cheap rooms without any photographs at all
many old women rubbing rosaries when they’d prefer to be rubbing cocks
there is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movements of the hands of a clock
there is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it blinking in neon signs in Vegas, in Baltimore, in Munich
there are people so tired so strafed so mutilated by love or no love that buying a bargain can of tuna in a supermarket is their greatest moment their greatest victory
we don’t need new governments new revolutions we don’t need new men new women we don’t need new ways wife-swaps waterbeds good Columbian coke water pipes dildoes rubbers with corkscrew stems watches that give you the date
people are not good to each other one on one. Marx be damned the sin is not the totality of certain systems. Christianity be damned the sin is not the killing of a God.
people are just not good to each other.
we are afraid we think that hatred means strength we think that New York City is the greatest city in America.
what we need is less brilliance what we need is less instruction
what we need are less poets what we need are less Bukowskies what we need are less Billy Grahams
what we need is more beer a typist more finches more green-eyed whores who don’t eat your heart like a vitamin pill
we don’t think about the terror of one person aching in one place
alone untouched unspoken to watering a plant being without a telephone that will never ring because there isn’t one.
more haters than lovers
slices of doom like taffeta
people are not good to each other people are not good to each other people are not good to each other
and the beads swing and the clouds cloud and the dogs piss upon the roses and the killer beheads the child like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone and the ocean comes in and out in and out under the direction of a senseless moon
We have everything and we have nothing and some men do it in churches and some men do it by tearing butterflies in half and some men do it in Palm Springs laying it into butterblondes with Cadillac souls Cadillacs and butterflies nothing and everything, the face melting down to the last puff in a cellar in Corpus Christi. there’s something for the touts, the nuns, the grocery clerks and you . . . something at 8 a.m., something in the library something in the river, everything and nothing. in the slaughterhouse it comes running along the ceiling on a hook, and you swing it — one two three and then you’ve got it, $200 worth of dead meat, its bones against your bones something and nothing. it’s always early enough to die and it’s always too late, and the drill of blood in the basin white it tells you nothing at all and the gravediggers playing poker over 5 a.m. coffee, waiting for the grass to dismiss the frost . . . they tell you nothing at all.
we have everything and we have nothing — days with glass edges and the impossible stink of river moss — worse than shit; checkerboard days of moves and countermoves, fagged interest, with as much sense in defeat as in victory; slow days like mules humping it slagged and sullen and sun-glazed up a road where a madman sits waiting among bluejays and wrens netted in and sucked a flakey grey. good days too of wine and shouting, fights in alleys, fat legs of women striving around your bowels buried in moans, the signs in bullrings like diamonds hollering Mother Capri, violets coming out of the ground telling you to forget the dead armies and the loves that robbed you. days when children say funny and brilliant things like savages trying to send you a message through their bodies while their bodies are still alive enough to transmit and feel and run up and down without locks and paychecks and ideals and possessions and beetle-like opinions. days when you can cry all day long in a green room with the door locked, days when you can laugh at the breadman because his legs are too long, days of looking at hedges . . .
and nothing, and nothing, the days of the bosses, yellow men with bad breath and big feet, men who look like frogs, hyenas, men who walk as if melody had never been invented, men who think it is intelligent to hire and fire and profit, men with expensive wives they possess like 60 acres of ground to be drilled or shown-off or to be walled away from the incompetent, men who’d kill you because they’re crazy and justify it because it’s the law, men who stand in front of windows 30 feet wide and see nothing, men with luxury yachts who can sail around the world and yet never get out of their vest pockets, men like snails, men like eels, men like slugs, and not as good . . . and nothing, getting your last paycheck at a harbor, at a factory, at a hospital, at an aircraft plant, at a penny arcade, at a barbershop, at a job you didn’t want anyway. income tax, sickness, servility, broken arms, broken heads — all the stuffing come out like an old pillow.
we have everything and we have nothing. some do it well enough for a while and then give way. fame gets them or disgust or age or lack of proper diet or ink across the eyes or children in college or new cars or broken backs while skiing in Switzerland or new politics or new wives or just natural change and decay — the man you knew yesterday hooking for ten rounds or drinking for three days and three nights by the Sawtooth mountains now just something under a sheet or a cross or a stone or under an easy delusion, or packing a bible or a golf bag or a briefcase: how they go, how they go! — all the ones you thought would never go.
days like this. like your day today. maybe the rain on the window trying to get through to you. what do you see today? what is it? where are you? the best days are sometimes the first, sometimes the middle and even sometimes the last. the vacant lots are not bad, churches in Europe on postcards are not bad. people in wax museums frozen into their best sterility are not bad, horrible but not bad. the cannon, think of the cannon, and toast for breakfast the coffee hot enough you know your tongue is still there, three geraniums outside a window, trying to be red and trying to be pink and trying to be geraniums, no wonder sometimes the women cry, no wonder the mules don’t want to go up the hill. are you in a hotel room in Detroit looking for a cigarette? one more good day. a little bit of it. and as the nurses come out of the building after their shift, having had enough, eight nurses with different names and different places to go — walking across the lawn, some of them want cocoa and a paper, some of them want a hot bath, some of them want a man, some of them are hardly thinking at all. enough and not enough. arcs and pilgrims, oranges gutters, ferns, antibodies, boxes of tissue paper.
in the most decent sometimes sun there is the softsmoke feeling from urns and the canned sound of old battleplanes and if you go inside and run your finger along the window ledge you’ll find dirt, maybe even earth. and if you look out the window there will be the day, and as you get older you’ll keep looking keep looking sucking your tongue in a little ah ah no no maybe