ornette coleman::oedipus rex

and sight–i used to see a lot of things unfolding when i looked away, like faces caught in emotion in cigarette smoke from someone’s cigarette when we were sitting on a bench and me looking at the clouds, or a something that might be a sprite or maybe a demon coming from the shadows cast by a chair i was walking by, anything. the world just kind of jumped out all around, like a kaleidoscope all about what i was focused on. the subway, i remember, was a nightmare, all these forces struggling around me, and i would look and there would be a gum wrapper twisted on the ground, a businessman staring at his shoes, a grimy bar handle. it didnt feel real, that’s for sure, it felt like comics, each moment captioned. except no one was looking cept me. nothing wanted to be looked at but had to be felt. it was like noise, just a lot of noise like when you turn a radio in-between stations or that fuzz shit on the tv. i remember i liked to stand around trees, they glowed, they were smooth. but even them had murmurings whispering away in my mind, dancing around my eyes, made me want to lie there forever just breathing. there was never what i would call peace—it was just some things were broken and some things were smooth, flowing. it was all these stops, you see, like i couldnt stand being around traffic, all that wasted energy, i couldnt see anything like that, i had to go to my room, lie in the dark, listen to my aquarium running, stare into the dark. yeah. i made sure no light could come in, that way i couldnt see nothing, there was nowhere to focus, nothing to scream for attention when it wasnt being seen. that way i could feel things and i wouldnt have to look, wouldnt have to be scared of what i might never see.

Listening To John McLaughlin

And yes, there was a corner, and i stepped around it and there was the sickly yellow light falling around Feline smoking a cigarette looking straight into my eyes like she knew i was coming. i didn’t move a muscle in my face, played it cool, like i knew she knew i was coming. bummed a cig from her and flowed off of our last conversation, talked about angels, i remember that kind of shit, forget her name, just call her feline cuz she’s got those sharp kinds of looks like cats give you when they’re not sure whether to sass you or to run, and i say how i thought at first she was an angel standing on that corner with the light and that hair, standing there like she was gonna save me. ‘from what,’ she says, she’s got my hook, her pupils measuring me up like a camera, i can feel her watching somewhere inside deep as if i were standing on that corner in a tv on a stage in a coffee table somewhere in her childhood home with a shag carpet and the freeway sounds billowing from just past the hill like an ocean, and i say, “save me from spending this night all by myself and ending up on my couch listening to my neighbors spitting.” but now she’s somewhere else, looking at the other side of the street, and i listen to a cricket singing in a crack by the curb. then she smiles and looks at me again like she’s decided something, it makes me feel like an open wound, and now i know that she’s waiting for me to say something so that she can let go and spend the night with me and that i won’t try to hold onto anything because she knows instinctively in that mother-goddess heart of hers that when an understanding passes between two people, a sharing, someone’s gonna try to hold onto something, and i pull on my cigarette and i smile, into her eyes, i let her know that i’m following her, that i’m not going to run away from what i’ve already shown, that i’ve already let go of everything and that i could walk away right now and go home and lay on my couch and listen to miles davis and my neighbors spitting and that either way, i knew, she knew, that we were beautiful together


To make pictures from,

these pebbles in the order

I feel. Hours in the sun,

mom cries, pulling

at her air, where

is your father? I know,

I saw his face filling

with blood–

with stones moves

my voice. Listen.

The bearded man, he tries

to tear out my emotions,

how are we today? I watch

the clouds, how they would look

in stone. I throw up

in the bathroom, remembering.

Grey is safe, my heart

is black and red.

I kneel, drool spilling from my mouth,

see the hollows of my eyes in the water.

I stand, break the mirror, rocks are

my fists. Listen.

The nurses they come, mom watching

her TV, stuffing the phoneline with her tears.

All the drugs make me distant.

Where is your father? He is dead,

I scream, Dead.

I throw stones at the sky,

listen to them fall like rain in the trees,

like bullets, like blood.

Lines In The Concrete

I graze my tongue among the cracks on the floor like braille;

I love the jagged experience of chaos. New suns spring past

the window, pitching shadow bars across the concrete. Cards? the guards

sometimes ask, hunger in their eyes for escape. No, today the ants have moved

right here the dirt and it is changing, yes. Pavement wrinkles

like water–bugs fitting their transit to its ruptures–

and I sit–for twenty years I observe–like an alien–the light running by

in rectangles—ashes and dust and grime shifting –my mouth growing

dry behind my beard. How I breathe to understand the life that breaks

beneath my feet! And still I have no roots. And still my mind

wanders–even as these sordid sensations make me hard.

You Taught Me How To Eat

You taught me how to eat

by growing me to hunger.

You drifted by, fins spread,

until I was man enough to frighten you.

fishing fingers,

crossing mouths,

we have broken apart,

and now you are gone.

You split in the rebirth of a sun.

I reeled on the beach of time,

swollen with new breath.

I chased your memory with wine.

Now I walk the earth

as god swam the sea.

I loved one fish

to feed myself.