trouble in the bubble jungle: diary of a punkrock poet

11 poems - 2000 to 2007


no poets were harmed during the making of these poems

i am the cat in the box


i am the cat in the box
trapped in someone else’s question mark
but i’m clever, and i drink the poison
and with my disdain to drink anyone else’s
half-glass of bullshit
and my magical powers of scio te ipsum
i convert it to vinegar in my gut
in the corner of the box i take a piss
the acid burns a hole and i crawl out
 now i’m loose and growing my teeth 
i’m chewing thru random wires, inverting map legands
i’m issuing blue ribbons for duct-tape inventions
i declare this alley, these loose bricks, burnt newspapers
this pile of ford pinto an institution, i declare it sculpture
i’m blocked all downtown rush hour madness
for emergency poetry yard sales
with freelance daredevil authority
i’m joining random counterculture revolutions
to meet pretty girls and collect free bumper stickers
i’m doing the neolithic antihero freak-show-bar-hop
                                i’m performing human folly
                (i was there when they invented slam dancing
                i know how to give and receive love)
i’m washing my face with industrial strength mask remover
my survival is hop-scotch thru the mainstream minefields
                                my youth is eternal
                                                                and full of piss and vinegar
                i lost my label, my brand name, my serial number
                took a giant academic sized dump, flushed and it was gone
                                i’m existing without a guild
                                                without a publisher
                                                without an em-eff-ay
                without a pepsi grin, a juicy ass to kiss, or a walmart handjob
all these towers of glass standards, these glass monsters, these glass hammers
looking down on me, scolding me
                you can’t bend spoons with your eyeballs
                you can’t play piano with a baseball bat
                you can’t wear your hat as you please
                you won’t make any money writing this crap
                don’t expect us to take you seriously
                                                bite me
yours truly
the cat that
pissed all over your box
2005, edited 2021

stuff colliding with other stuff

i believe in friction
                                and static
i believe in the almighty
hustler of big-bang nine-ball
a dangerous little bastard
a peter pan with a napoleon complex
who answers my prayer with plagues
floods, warrants for unpaid parking tickets
i believe the mailman is an astronaut
who brings me small bits of red star theory
from raging red stars
coupons for shiny high-tech sci-fi gadgets
lots of glossy photos of ed mcmahon’s handsome face
and a steady supply of hate mail
from some planet called
                                   final notice
i believe george washington walked across the delaware
                and jesus christ had wooden teeth
i believe in karma, so i buy candy bars
from every kid that knocks on my door
always return my shopping cart to the proper
                shopping cart return area
always say please when i tell someone
                                                to fuck off
i believe in birthday candles, time travel, sidewalk chalk
lemon flavored cough drops, band-aids, love that never fades
punk rock. clean socks, the pot fairy and the very scary mr black and his
dark dreams
                                i believe in
                                                whatever it takes
                and positive mental states
and the sandwich i just ate, all those pickle molecules
dissolving inside me, powering my pleasure, my pain
putting one foot in front of the other
stomping up and down on my earth drum
                                arcane barbarian heartbeat
                endless song of running-running-running
thru hungry streets scared the no-parking signs will eat me
                                                                like a sandwich
so i never 
i believe algebra
is a small country in africa, but i’ve never been there
                i believe the heart is thermal
burning like downtown heatwaves
like liquor store insurance fires
                i believe the mind is dynamic
racing around blind corners headfirst into concrete conclusions
i believe in thermodynamics


decommissioning a constellation

orion wears his belt a little


never really fit right

always falling down

                a distraction that spoils his aim

he can’t chase tigers with

                            his drawers around his ankles

his ambition

two sizes larger than his stick figure man


much too thin for a warrior

                who can take him seriously?

this raging child

                who haunts the left hemisphere




the bed hurts my back

the sofa cramps my neck, the floor is too cold to sleep on


smoke slips thru a window

                                                                rust drips from a faucet

                                above, jet planes split the sky


                                                                the old man down the street

beats his dog with a radiator hose

                and can’t understand

                                                the holes under his fence


dump trucks smash concrete and steel

                                sirens wail until they run out of breath

downstairs, the newlyweds fight, she screams like radiator steam

                how could you let it go this far!


                accidents keep their appointments

                                                                shadows make sharp threats

and the mind inside the self

                pays no rent


meet link

i am
manmade man, titanic oil rig, titanium drill bit
hands like two pitbulls barking at small purple flowers
still exploding at my seams
still learning how to double-stack my disasters
i am a question mark in the middle of a desert
so unanswered
so lonely, kicking rocks across history
i resemble a certain shadow
in a certain light, in circular dreams of doubt
(i think, therefore
 i am thinking)
spirit of mud, blood, sugar, battery acid
flesh-trapped adrenaline surging in racetrack oblivion
i am supercharged caesar marching to war in all directions
a grinning gun barrel, smiling sharp weapon
laser guided misconception with a unibomber shack-like-mind
a body bag declaring victory
and i am frightened of your fear of me
i am dumbstruck witness of universe
i am the sensitive beast singing thru sharp teeth
transforming static and trash into artifacts
calculating atomic miracles
into sunrise
and starlight
                and awe
(i am ocean-sized imagination
ideas as big as blue whales
but my mouth is a fishbowl
much too small
for large aquatic mammals)
i am translucent, reluctant and lurking, searching for purity
in plastic bottles, flat screen resolution
the big bean burrito, hot dates, cold fusion
nightlights and white noise machines
in mood rings and remote control, easy affordable
disposable salvation, i want to feel satisfaction
                dripping from my chin
i am not the epic of creation
just another genetic explosion with a curse
lost and also found 
the greatest and most dangerous distance
between two points
                i am not 





monsters in the parasol
an avant-garden party
regular john, regular betty
we dress appropriately
sombrero sunglasses black tie
straightjackets and snowshoes
everybody laughed
everybody cried
everybody tangled up in plaid
god is in the radio
he wants his apple back
i say give the mule what he wants
we were born to hula
and heaven isn’t hell
(banjo solo)
blang-a-dang-a-dang, a-dang-a-lang-lang
flang-a-lang (tic-ah-tia-ah) twang
flick-a-flang-a wah-wah-wang
plucka-ting plucka-tang
plucka-plucka ting-tang-twang-a-lang
and a dang-a-lang-lang-lang
better living thru chemistry
everything tastes like toothpaste
except toothpaste
bobbing for apple cider
in a bathtub full of gin
everybody sinks
everybody swims
we cut out naked throats
singing songs for the deaf
the lost art of keeping a secret
it’s the feel good hit of the summer
quick and to the pointless
and we can hear no evil
smell no crime, just leg of lamb
hotdogs and spam
someone’s in the wolf
and the blood is love
monsters and hipsters and mules
life’s a peach right down to the pit
and heaven isn’t hell

i imagine (a train to steamboat springs)


i want to fall in love with a woman
who eats eggrolls for breakfast
a woman with cool blue polish on her toes
dreamcatcher earrings and a roadrunner tattoo
a woman so fearlessly fucked up
she spins me three hundred and fifty-nine degrees
to the left of fucked up
a woman who bathes in punkrock and beatpoetry
the pixies on infinite repeat
maybe a crazy leftwing hipster animal rights activist
wearing leather birenstocks
someone who compliments my own odd behaviors and contradictions
someone who makes me forget my own neurosis
for an hour and a half
always orders apple pie, but only eats the crust
i imagine we meet on the train to steamboat springs
at first she thinks i’m dangerous and ugly
but i talk my way out of it
we argue halfway intelligent, childish and mystical
the impossible possibles
of fate
(people meeting people on trains, on cloudy days
along epic rivers, traveling together
but not together, but together all the same
                (don’t shake your head at me ((fate))))
then fall in love just passed frazer, as we hit the turn
at the silly hat convention
we split a beer
and then a room
make lots of spontaneous saxophone disaster
sleep till noon
and eat eggrolls for breakfast

job openings in reno


a neon disaster
all these rhinestones scattered across the street
distress signals
a cocktail waitress losing her grip
with staples in her lips
pouring bottles out
taking strangers in
rum and whatever
pussy and whatever
blackjack, cocaine, etc
a skydiver in high heels, lingerie paratrooper, freefall china doll
(and the hills like
pink and purple elephants
reflect the sharp splashing
of silver dollars crashing, hitting the pavement
or so much glass
from a 9th story window
echo and
all these rhinestones, gemstones
polished beads
sparkle and glitter, fake silver, scattered- flung- tossed-
spilled- dropped- rolling and flowing, down the gutter gone
a recurring nightmare
a revolution that spins the mind
forever and whatever
bright neon

abstracting the fatal

a dozen silhouettes gather on the crest of a hill at sunset
to say goodbye to a friend – means nothing
the flickering of television boredom
                a bonfire in the rain
                the dog-less dog collar in the left turn lane
a young girl tightrope walking on the shadows of telephone poles
sings a song that sounds like static 
and means nothing
the name of this place is last resort, which means
it’s warm inside and the light is soft, reflections don’t reflect
too harsh on beer-soaked tables, where stranger huddle
                blowing rum flavored smoke rings
lamenting over broken tools, bent nails, empty beds
then stagger out darkly seeking the nothing that resembles anything
                zombie faces in arcade windows
                forgotten linens hanging dry collecting dust
                words at the end of a letter, talk to you soon
                                                                stockpiles of nothing
a world of collisions, abandoned baby strollers
 skid marks in the left turn lane, radiation from our own maternal sun  
means nothing
a broken tooth, bullet holes in the drywall – nothing
buddhist monks on fire – this poem – nothing
the homeless man stranded on the island between 
two rivers of traffic want to stab at nothing, scream at nothing
wants to clarify - picnic on a runaway truck ramp!
                did you hear what i said!
                i said picnic on a runaway truck ramp!
i stand now on the crest of a hill, a small flaw on an otherwise
spotless sunset, digging for words strong enough to resurrect a friend
but everything that crosses my lips
                becomes mist

poem written on the back of a chinese take-out menu


i found god in a bowl of chinese mustard
he was just sitting there shimmering and grinning the way large bowls of mustard sometimes do, i was so innocent back then, so virgin, so plastic, so unaware, all that changed when i dipped into his yellow heart, sweet at first it burned raw brain babble into biblical boil, heat swelled into hallowed hell, i, inflamed, lean back into synaptic-back-snap-back-flip-eggroll-dip oblivion (damn, it hurts to think)
                and floated there for a yellow minute
weightless in foreverness, then slapdash back into body knots, rapture dripping like enigma, snot dripping from my chin into little fire puddles on a chinese take-out menu slash chemical sutra slash star chart


art walk


the painter stands with his back to the street, canvas clean, palette ready, eyes closed, he will paint this day purely on sense of vibration

the bush makes a bushing sound, blue beads run down drip over the easel edge, trip over the curb, streets fill with matter, gods and goddesses and godless smog, come travelers in groups of two or three or one, come shy glimpses of latino girls washing windows behind lavender curtains, come millions of particles of sun, come children who giggle and chase and hide behind parked cars, come traffic
stop and go, rage and release, scream and peel-out, dizzy black fumes, truck-exploding thunder of urban rhythm, boom-boom tick-a-clang tick-a-clang boom-boom tick-a-clang tick-a-clang boom-boom, all pink and green zig-zags

the painter leans in

music and aroma blend and travel, thousands of impossible flavor-sounds collide, raw as caribbean ska and honeydew, a boy makes big catcalls with his soda straw, grabs the painter’s arm, twisting streetlamps into teacups, sidewalk into skyscrapers

the city leans in 

malinda! malinda! don’t forget your shoes! bright orange strokes scream up up up from stretched faces in open doorways, laughing boys storm the alleyways with skateboards and soccer balls and grandmother’s shopping list lost in their pockets, and the heat, so much hard yellow heat
no shade but the shade you make, the painter paints a tree right where he stands, slaps blurry green leaves on the limbs and suddenly there’s a breeze, suddenly a crowd surrounds the painter and the painter draws a crowd around the crowd, faces like flowers drinking sun and shade, amazing layers of city, amazing! a painter!

the painter opens his eyes, sees his work for the first time, sees what we see but sees it without surprise, this day is complete, he packs his brushes and colors and steps into the painting
walks right into the painting
walks three blocks
and turns west