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Jay Frankston

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Little River, CA, US

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Died in Venice

by

Jay Frankston

"Died in Venice"
On the Piazza San Marco
surrounded by pigeons without wings
while the bells rang all around
and the Gondoliers dressed in black
steered flower-covered gondolas
through the canals
under the Bridge of Sighs
where I, so high,
died in Venice.

"Died in Paris"
Street urchins sailing
paper boats in the gutter
The Seine carrying the body
floating face down in the water.
The Eiffel Tower rising
like a huge phallus
from between the legs
of the Arch of Triumph
under which burns
the perpetual flame
of the unknown soldier.

"Died in Geneva"
riding a horse that threw me
while playing a game
of justice and injustice,
caught in my ideals,
victim of my compulsion
to juggle emotions
and fight windmills.

"Died in Budapest"
a hole in someone elseís past
through which I fell,
trying to reach for the hand,
the memory of she who is long gone,
dragged down into the hell
of the ghettoes, the camps,
the ashes of loved ones
I never knew, who didnít
die in Budapest
but elsewhere.

"Died in Madrid"
at the hands of Basque anarchists
who took me for a gun-runner
while I was trying to change the tire
on the car I had rented from Avis.
"Died in Madrid"
of a heart attack
on the horns of a bull
who saw my blood,
redder than my cape
while the crowd, stunned,
rose to its feet and in one voice
shouted "Oleí!"

"Died in Amsterdam"
among the Van Goghs
without even cutting an ear.
Died of envy of the talent,
the pain, the genius,
the spark of insanity.
Died under a starry night,
among brilliant sunflowers,
calling out my brotherís name
"Theo, Theo, where are you?"

"Died in Bali"
on the island of the turtle
died of enchantment, of ecstasy
during a trance dance
where the Gods, chewing the beetle nut,
descended upon me
and showed me the magic mushroom
in their eyes so wise,
so wise, I cried and died
in Bali.


There are Days

by

Jay Frankston

It sits and stands
and laughs and dances
and wraps itself
around my finger
And the spool unwinds
and pours itself out
splashing pictures
on the ground.

It gets into my hair
and makes them into dreadlocks
and pours Jamaican music into my shoes.
It pushes and tickles
and shoves me around
and switches my shirts,
my ties, my socks,
and plays games with me
of which I donít know the rules.

It walks and flies
and gets in my eyes
and gives me visions
of yellow corn fields
and a ladybug waiting
on the tip of my finger.
A single drop of dew
glistens on each blade of grass
and the sun licks it off
and smiles.

It runs and hides
and calls from far away dreams
so many years ago
when the circus was in town
and the mime with the sad eyes
offered it to me like a rose

It chuckles and claps
and horses around
turning my life into a rumpus room
and nothing I can say
can make it go away.

There are days
when the wind lays down for the sun
and children make children
of us all.


Trains

by

Jay Frankston

There are trains that can make you remember
and trains that can make you forget.
There are fast trains and freight trains,
and never get up late trains,
trains that hiss and screech to a halt
and trains that never stop.

There are trains that weave
in and out of crooked mountains,
over bridges, through tunnels,
and then stretch out for miles
on unending plains.
There are tunnels of the mind
where train whistles blow,
trains of thought
that go against the track
and pass our windows every day.

There are railroad crossings
where people wave
and others where people salute.
There are trains that belch out smoke from the past,
iron horses on which the fare is life itself.
There are trains that leave no tracks,
that criss-cross each other in geometric patterns,
in Picassos and Miros and Bracques.

There are trains that have no windows
and donít seem to be moving at all,
abandoned railroad cars
in railroad yards, at locks and crossings,
where the tracks are mined.
There are trains that can take you
to Auschwitz or Dachau or Treblinka.
There are trains in bombed out railroad stations
waiting for passengers.
There are trains where hoboes
make their lives meaningful
by spending their time traveling.
There are trains that crash through our windows.

And then there is the last train.


Crime Doesn't Pay

by

Jay Frankston

I came upon a traffic light
at a crossroads somewhere in the desert.
I could see the horizon
for miles around
neither building nor tree
blocked my view
Yet the light was red
and it went through my head
Now what in the world shall I do?
Shall I meekly submit to this robot cop
be proper and obey the law?
Or force the issue and be daring?
So I went. What the hell? Who will know?
The citation came in the mail some days later
for going through a red light
an instant photo was attached to the ticket
and the fine, to my dismay
was well over two hundred dollars
which shows that crime doesnít pay.


This Life we Live

by

Jay Frankston

This life we live
is like a field of flowers
and when we are young
we roll on the ground,
smell the grass, watch the ants
and pick a few red poppies
for the color of it.

This life we live
is like a hall of glass
where we see ourselves
reflected in cascading mirrors
and canít find our way
through the maze.

This life we live
is like a bed full of dreams
where everything is possible
just by closing our eyes
and wishing it.

is like fly paper
where the glue is habit
and procrastination
and insecurity

is like a hurricane
tossing us around,
high winds pushing us back
to unforgiving parents and lovers

is like a roller coaster
of highs and lows
where the happiness seems so short
and the depression so stretched out
it wraps around us like a spider web
and we feel it in our hair

This life we live
is slow at the beginning,
days flow like summers on the beach
and next year is years away,
then it accelerates, the pace increases
and we try to keep up.
And before we know it
itís all behind us
and in the photo albums
of our memory.

This life we live,
bread from the oven
of the great mother,
kneaded by God
and baked by our parents,
is warm and fresh and crusty
and we feed on it and die.


The Light of Your Being

by

Jay Frankston

In the cave behind your eyes
thereís a fire pit
and wisdom rises
like smoke from a smokestack
at the top of your head.

There, at the soft spot
which was warm to the touch
when you were a tiny baby.

There, where your motherís kiss
absorbed the sweet smell of birth
from the fuzz at the center.

There, where your soul
entered your body
when you were six months old,

The light of your being emanates, radiates,
and illuminates the aura that surrounds you
and makes you visible to flowers and trees
that put on coats of many colors
to acknowledge you and celebrate
your indispensable presence
in this world.


THE APPOINTMENT

by

Jay Frankston

Death doesnít come at a convenient time
like a period at the end of a sentence,
the amen at the end of a prayer,
or the bell at the end of class.
It drops in on you unexpectedly
while you are eating or watching a movie,
an unwelcome guest
for which there was no seat at the table,
a power outage that turns off all your lights
and ends your existence on this plane
to the dismay of those who loved you
and wanted to have another chance to tell you.

Death doesnít walk a straight line
or stand mute like a solid brick wall.
It zigzags and dances at your wake
allowing you a brief glimpse of the mourners
assembled in celebration of your life
before taking you across the rainbow
to eternity.

Death doesnít mourn or grieve,
no tears of sorrow from the great beyond.
The reaper separates the wheat from the chaff
freeing your soul from its earthbound shackle
and letting you soar free and undefined.

Death doesnít recall your moments of joy or sadness.
Nor does it place you life on a scale
to sing your praises or bemoan your failures.
It opens the pores of your being
to allow your essence to mix with the ether.

MY EDENLESS GARDEN

by

Jay Frankston

Of all the things I have collected
coins and stamps and comic books,
beaches and tans and beds to sleep in,
days of wonder and rays of light
songs to sing, to learn and remember

Of all the things that I have gathered unto myself
in the years of rowing on the river of life,
the lessons, the dreams, coins of the realm,
the endless hills that turned into mountains
the top of which I have yet to reach

Of all the things that I have harvested,
success without end,
a basket of unanswered questions
and a plate of mixed emotions,
thereís never been so rich a yield
as came from the love that grew on its own
in my Edenless garden.


THE VOID

by

Jay Frankston

Without stars
the sky is a pit of black tar
and the earth is suspended
in the void

Without the sun
flowers wilt
the skin mildews
and children cry.

Without the rain
rivers dry up
tongues parch
and the buffalo roll in dry mud.

Without fire
the hearth is cold
rubbing hands
over empty ash cans

Without love
neither fire nor rain,
neither sun nor stars
can fill the void
in the human heart.

ACCOMPLICE

by

Jay Frankston

The trucks came rumbling down
the Paris street at night
You stood at the window and watched

Uniformed French militia men
jumped off and fanned out
disappearing into the houses
As lights went on, floor after floor,
and screams were heard
and pounding on doors
"Dehors! Dehors! Tout le monde dehors!"
Out, out, everyone out
You stood at the window and watched

They were dragged out of their beds
and out of their lives
in the middle of the night
men, women and children trembling
wearing the yellow star
sowed on to their coats
with a handful of belongings
in cardboard suitcases
You stood at the window and watched

They poured into the streets
from building after building
shoved, pushed, herded, beaten
neighbors, friends
Frenchmen one and all
both pushers and pushed
abusers and victims
"Vite! Vite!" Hurry! Hurry!

And they left in the trucks
swallowed up by the night
Never to be heard from again
You stood at the window and watched

THE FOUR WINDS OF DISASTER

by

Jay Frankston

There are no innocents in this world of fire.
We feed our newborn children
the poison we grew up on
until their pristine souls are muddy
and the tadpoles of hate
germinate in their bloodstream
and they begin to look for an outlet,
someone to blame for whatever ails them,
someone to push, to shove, to strike
for the pain caused by the world
screaming in our ears.

The North wind carries
its Teutonic claim to supremacy.
The East wind fans the fires
of the temples of Jerusalem.
The West wind seeks advantage
from those who cannot hold their own.
And the South wind lays down
and pretends nothing is happening.

The earth is shaking
and there are no innocents anymore.

THE VERY LAST ROSE

by

Jay Frankston

It was the last rose,
the very last rose.
It had beckoned to me from its thorny stem
and allowed me to pick it,
vase and glorify it
as it opened its petals to smile at the sun
streaming through my window,
filling my eyes with its beauty
and flooding my heart with joy.
And I watched it daily, gently changing hue
till its charms were spent
and the petals fell, one by one,
like tears on my floor.
And there was more than sadness in my heart.
There was grief.
Because that rose was the last rose,
the very last rose
and there would be no others.

A CALL TO ACTION

by

Jay Frankston

Where are the hippies of yesterday
who burned their draft cards
and chained themselves to the gates of the White House?
Where are those longhaired, dope smoking demonstrators
who shouted "Hell No! We won't go!"?
Where is the "counter culture"
who sought peace and brotherhood
and raised the level of hope for the rest of us?
What happened to the brotherhood, the sisterhood,
the activism that brought us all into the streets
to protest an unjust, uncalled for, disastrous war?
Have they all gone back to the fold?
Do they march again to the drummer's beat?
Are they selling real estate? Insurance?
Margin buying on the stock exchange?

I call upon you, hippies of the sixties and seventies
to rise again from your long sleep,
go down into the streets
and shake the establishment once more to its senses
that peace may have its day
and, with hope renewed,
we can all live our lives without shaking.

THEY'RE OUT THERE

by

Jay Frankston

They're out there you know.
They're still out there
on Wall Street, on Madison Avenue,
walking around in business suits
white shirts and ties,
carrying executive briefcases.

They're still out there
in offices, in board rooms,
around conference tables
making deals, making money,
making mudpies
with their head in the sand.

They're out there in first class
playing games on the stock market,
gambling their lives without knowing it.
Better still, knowing somewhere deep inside
that they're on the Titanic
and it has already struck
the iceberg of their overindulgence.

Don't wake them up!
They don't want to know.
The boat is sinking.

GOD HAS LEFT THE PREMISES

by

Jay Frankston

GOD has left the premises.
He has moved to another galaxy.
He left a note for us on the mantelpiece.
I'll read it to you:

GOODBY! I'm leaving. I am really disappointed in you.
I gave you a world full of beauty, with sunsets and dawns,
clouds and stars, flowers and butterflies, colors and sound.
And what have you done with my gifts?
You've become greedy.
You are obsessed with your possessions always wanting more.
You feel innocent and righteous
but you know what you must do and you don't do it.
And you know what you mustn't do and you do it.

You ignore the poor, the sick and the downtrodden.
You make excuses for yourself. "I need the job".
"I have a mortgage to pay". "I'm too busy"
or "I haven't got the time".
You manage to blame "them" for all your ills.
"Them", the politicians, the corporations,
the blacks, the Jews and Wall street.
The other fellow in any case.
And you are blind to your participation.

You spoil the air you breathe
and defecate in your own garden.
You travel far and wide to massacre women and children
and blame me for not stopping you.
You wreck havoc upon the world
and ask me for help in restoring some order from your chaos.

Goodby! I've lost faith in you.
If you manage to survive your abuses,
if you come to your senses before it is too late,
I may return to your world
and bring back the Hope you have squandered.

THE BUS

by

Jay Frankston

I got on this bus when I was still in diapers.
I didn't know anybody
only the woman who carried me on.
I grew into a boy on her lap
looking at the other passengers
and the scenery out the window.
The bus made several short stops
and I nearly fell off my seat.

When I got a little bigger
I got a seat of my own and held on
as the bus careened around corners
and several passengers fell to the floor.
There was no clear destination
but the bus made a number of stops
and some people got on and others got off.

When I got to be 25
I shared a seat with a lovely young lady
who sat on my lap when the bus got crowded.
And crowded it got.
What started out to be a peaceful ride
through the countryside
turned into a donnybrook
with passengers fighting over seats,
pushing people into the isle
and sometimes off the bus.

The scenery changed
and the pastures turned to concrete,
the trees to skyscrapers
and the sun was hidding above the smog.

By the time I reached middle age
the space I was occupying was less than one seat
and I was pushed and shoved on all sides
by angry passengers who were jealous of their space.

The woman who brought me on
got off at a truck stop
and I struggled to keep my composure
in the crush of the crowd.

When I reached 60
the situation became unbearable.
The bus lurched
and took sharp turns at increasing speed
moving so fast
that what was outside the window of the bus
became a blur
and I got car sick.

The isle was packed body to body
with wild-eyed people
who could not understand
what was happening to them.
The bus was barreling along
and everyone knew this could not continue
but no one bothered to look up front.

THERE WAS NO ONE IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT.

I USED TO CARRY "I LOVE YOU"

by

Jay Frankston

I used to carry I love you
in my childhood
and blow it like soap bubles
to my mother sitting on the bench
in the playground

I used to carry I love you
on my belt
like a toy gun in a holster
and shoot it bang bang
at the friends I didn't have

I used to carry I love you
in my satchel
together with my school books
an autographed picture of Lana Turner
and a poem by Alfred Tennyson
and I took it out
when the girl with the blond curl
walked by me in the hall
between classes

I used to carry I love you
with the picture in my wallet
and wrapped it around
the lamp post at night
waiting for the one
that didn't show up

I used to carry I love you
in my mouth
words I was hungry to say
to her, to you, to anybody
who would listen
and I'd open it
hoping the butterfly
would flutter from my tongue

I used to carry I love you
in my heart
knocking at the walls of Jericho
looking for a door, a window
a crack in the ceiling
praying the walls
would come tumbling down

Now I carry I love you
in my dreams
and take it dancing every night
when the moon is full
and the streets are empty
in the twilight of my life

And as I've carried it
it has carried me
and covered my canvas
with splashes of color
and put sugar in my coffee
and syrup on my pancakes
roller blades on my feet
and wings on my days
to soar above beyond
and be free.

HEY JOE!

by

Jay Frankston

Hey Joe! Don't fight that war!
You don't really know what you're fighting for.
There are men around a table
in a secret room somewhere
and they have stocks in this war.
They've invested so much money
it cascades like a stream over rocks
along the banks of corporate profit
from the needless manufacture of killing machines.
And it flows down the Capitol
where Republicans and Democrat
are washing their constituents along the shore
and playing tic tac toe with us
and through the levees of the White House
where some crazy idiot smiles
and shouts "Let's Roll!".
And it thunders over generals
who need an army of soldiers,
you and me,
to fight the war on the shores of Tripoli.
Is this really worth fighting for?
Hey Joe! Don't fight that war!

THE VILLAGE IDIOT

by

Jay Frankston

Do not mock him
the village idiot
who runs naked
through the church of our beliefs,
our prejudices, arrogant convictions,
unyielding demands and placid acceptances.

Do not mock him
the village idiot
who breaks the glass
we toast each other with
and drinks the wine
as it flows from the barrel,
the blood of Christ,
martyred Jew
who believed in love,
the God of us all.

Do not mock him
the village idiot
who dances over our freshly covered grave
to release the laughter
from our buried body
so it can rejoin the ethereal soul
and laugh for eternity
at life . . . the biggest joke of all.

Do not mock him
the village idiot
who sings the praises of the unworthy,
the virtues of the sinner,
and the magnitude
of the smallest of us.

He knows truth
and his reflection can be seen,
village idiot, in your mirror.

AN INVITATION

by

Jay Frankston

I'd love to take you to Paris
and show you my home town.
I'd take you to Notre Dame
the Eiffel Tower and the Bastille.
I'd take you to an outdoor market
and let you hear the sounds
and relish the colors and smells.
We'd sit in a cafť
and watch the people walk by
and I'd see it all through your eyes.
It would be fresh and new
and exciting.

I'd love to read you one of my poems
One that I haven't read in a long time
one that came to me at night
from some unknown cave
at the bottom of my being
from some hidden drawer
in the chest of my life
from the birth canal of the great mother.
We'd sit and listen together
and I'd hear it fresh and new
unsoiled by endless repetition
and relive the excitement
of the birth of my poem.

THE JAZZ PLAYER

by

Jay Frankston

I walked up the steps
of the brownstone house
past the kids who were reading the funnies.
The woman stood by the open door
and handed me the key.
I climbed the stairs
and gave it a shove
not knowing what to expect.
It opened on a room with blue walls
and chintz curtains
on a make-believe window,
with a bird in a cage
hanging from the ceiling
which you could only see in the mirror.
The black man stood in front of it
a horn to his lips
and his cheeks puffed up like a blowfish.
He wore an old coat with torn pockets
and the music came out of his sleeve.
Empty beer cans and bottles of cheap whisky
lay on the floor by the mattress.
But in the mirror, big as life,
a huge audience roared with delight
and tried to touch the drunken old horn player
whose life was wasting away
on the second floor
of that 125th Street Harlem
Brownstone house.

THE CURSE OF THE POET

by

Jay Frankston

The musician walks down the street carrying his guitar case and everyone he passes nods and smiles. They acknowledge his music and ask him to play. It doesn't matter that they've heard his song before. They'll hear it again. They won't wait for him to pull out his guitar. They'll ASK him for his music and thank him for the gift.

And here is the poet walking down the street with fresh new poems in his notebook, like crisp iceberg lettuce, and everyone inquires about his health, his garden, his plans for the summer, but no one asks "Have you written anything lately?" or "Would you read us one of your poems."

One in a while he corners somebody, like in the cartoon of the man in the isle of the airplane with a gun in his hand, and all the frightened passengers with their hands up and the man says:

"DON'T WORRY EVERYONE. NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN. I JUST WANTED YOU TO HEAR MY POEM."

And maybe he gets to read a poem or two once, maybe twice and that's it. It's the end, the poem is spent. That's all the life it has. It's not much more than a stamp on an envelope. One mailing and it's cancelled, obliterated. It sinks into oblivion.

And the wretched poet walks on, with mouth gagged, and poems stuffed in his back pocket, jumping around like jumping beans, seeking to breathe the air, but stifled like a sneeze you hold on to, or a cough no one wants to hear.

YESTERDAY'S HERO

by

Jay Frankston

I was 12 years old when I got my first ax.
Fifteen when I got my first chain saw.
I was young, and strong, and proud.
My father took me into the woods with him
and showed me how we could tumble those giant trees,
lash them to ropes and load them into trucks
driven by men who, like us, were pioneers
in the remaining wilderness of the pacific northwest.
Axes would swing and chips would fly
and chain saws would buzz loud and long
under the tall canopy of leaves
a hundred and fifty feet overhead.
The noise was interrupted now and then
by the shout of "TIMBER",
the cracking of the trunk at the base of the giant,
the whistling of the fall,
and the massive thump as it hit the ground,
the reward of long hours of hard work.
This was followed by a hollow silence
throughout the forest
before the resumption of intense activity.
We were men then. Real men!
I was strong as an ox.
My skin was tight and red as all outdoors
and no one asked me my age
when I ordered a beer.
I was part of the crew, a woodsman,
a lumberjack right out of the movies of the 50s
respected, admired, a hero of sorts.

Then someone went into the forest
and counted the remaining trees
and everything changed.
What was good became bad.
The hero became a villain
and everything turned upside down.
I never grew to understand it, and if I did,
I couldnít deal with it.
My life had leaned too far in one direction
to be felled in another.
I am much older now and I drive a logging truck.
I no longer stick my head out of the cab
and smile proudly at my cargo.
I try to protect myself behind rolled up windows
from the curses of people
who curse under their breath
as they see me drive by with, they say,
a litter of dead trees on the back.

What I was made to be proud of
I am now made to be ashamed of.
And the medal I won
for bravery in action during the war
remains in its box at the bottom of the drawer.
It is no longer the measure of my worth as a man
and I feel as though my life is for naught.
I have been used.

And now, toward the end of it,
no one is there to acknowledge
the houses that have been built
with the lumber from those trees I felled
when I was young, strong, and a hero.

THE FRONT LINE

by

Jay Frankston

Hitch a ride to the front line
on a jeep, a tank, a troop carrier
Bring your sun-glasses and your camera
your fear, your adrenaline,
your congressional medal of honor,
C-rations, Q-tips, band aids,
blood plasma, double-strength aspirin,
and a joint, yes bring a joint,
an exocet missile
and several rounds of ammunition
some letters from home
preferably with pictures,
a message from Garcia,
an "Iím proud of you Son"
with a handshake from the President
the commander-in-chief.
Bring a six-pac of beer,
a penthouse magazine
and the score of the football game.
Bring a telegram from the war department
with a "We regret to inform you. . ."
Bring a monument, a war memorial
and a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.
Bring shoe polish, a gas mask
and a high-school diploma.
Bring words of encouragement
from the folks back home
at the pentagon, at the war factory,
at the movies or the local bar.
Tell them Iím doing a job for my country,
Iím a good American, a patriot.
Bring a laxative, under-arm deodorant,
penicillin, and the guys from M.A.S.H.
Bring a prayer from someone
who still believes in God.
Shoe polish, bring shoe polish.
Oh! I said that already.
"Gee Mom. Iíd like to go home".
Bring Bob Hope. No! Never mind!
Donít bring Bob Hope.
Bring nostalgia and the girls
from the Stage Door Canteen
An American flag,
bring an American flag, a big one
like the one we raised on Iwo Jima.
Bring an artificial limb or two
just in case, you know,
just in case.
Bring a return ticket
if they arenít all sold out.
And bring a where the hell am I?
and what the hell am I doing here?
And something, please bring something
that will stop me from shaking.

THE MOTHER

by

Jay Frankston

She takes the seeds from her womb,
scatters them to the wind
and sings to them, the Mother.
And the wind lifts them high
above fields, above fears,
takes them round and round
then lets them fall.
And flowers and trees
and children grow from the earth.
And the sun shines upon them
and makes them blossom.
And time watches,
counts, and waits for them
Around the corner
the panhandler stands
with his hand stretched out:
"Spare any change, Mister?"
Thereís Vietnam in his head,
and the blades of the helicopter
keep roaring in his ears.
And the children duck
at unexpected times
as if they could hear them too.
But itís another war they hear,
the one that follows
the one thatís ahead.
And they know, the children,
they know
that it will take them
and bleed them
and drop them from the sky.
And the Mother will scoop them up
and return them to her womb
and refuse to give birth again.

DIED IN VENICE

by

Jay Frankston

"Died in Venice"
On the Piazza San Marco
surrounded by pigeons without wings
while the bells rang all around
and the Gondoliers dressed in black
steered flower-covered gondolas
through the canals
under the Bridge of Sighs
where I, so high,
died in Venice.

"Died in Paris"
Street urchins sailing
paper boats in the gutter
The Seine carrying the body
floating face down in the water.
The Eiffel Tower rising
like a huge phallus
from between the legs
of the Arch of Triumph
under which burns
the perpetual flame
of the unknown soldier.

"Died in Geneva"
riding a horse that threw me
while playing a game
of justice and injustice,
caught in my ideals,
victim of my compulsion
to juggle emotions
and fight windmills.

"Died in Budapest"
a hole in someone elseís past
through which I fell,
trying to reach for the hand,
the memory of she who is long gone,
dragged down into the hell
of the ghettoes, the camps,
the ashes of loved ones
I never knew, who didnít
die in Budapest
but elsewhere.

"Died in Madrid"
at the hands of Basque anarchists
who took me for a gun-runner
while I was trying to change the tire
on the car I had rented from Avis.
"Died in Madrid"
of a heart attack
on the horns of a bull
who saw my blood,
redder than my cape
while the crowd, stunned,
rose to its feet and in one voice
shouted "Oleí!"

"Died in Amsterdam"
among the Van Goghs
without even cutting an ear.
Died of envy of the talent,
the pain, the genius,
the spark of insanity.
Died under a starry night,
among brilliant sunflowers,
calling out my brotherís name
"Theo, Theo, where are you?"

"Died in Bali"
on the island of the turtle
died of enchantment, of ecstasy
during a trance dance
where the Gods, chewing the beetle nut,
descended upon me
and showed me the magic mushroom
in their eyes so wise,
so wise, I cried and died
in Bali.

WHEN THE POET SLEEPWALKS

by

Jay Frankston

Iíd like to invite you into my poem.
Please take off your shoes!
There are lines on both sides
a rhyme and a riddle
and a door at the end of the hall.
In each of the rooms
the guests are asleep,
the soldier in the arms of his war.
The farmer snores next to his cow
and the customer next to his whore.
Thereís a man in pajamas
heading for the bathroom,
the poet is barefoot and sleepwalking.
This happens a lot
and when the moon is full
he sometimes walks on the walls.
Then forgotten words fall out of his pockets
and arrange themselves into a poem.