2 AM Swim At The Sunset Cliffs, by Charles Carreon
Pizza slinging done for the night -- After-hours Budweiser consumed. Close the back door. Silent dark streets, ocean roar off to the right -- Japan, China, Hawaii, over there. Beach condos, occupants asleep. Dark waves rolling in. Walking down the sidewalk damp with mist, My shadow goes first before me, then behind, slave to the nearest streetlamp. Cut down from the well-lit cul-de-sac, Squeeze between a wall and some barbed wire, Follow a sandy track to the base of the cliffs. Dark, calm sea, a slopping wet hugeness Clawing softly at the shore. I strip and roll my clothing up, Wade into water black as pitch. The sandy shelf tips sharply down I feel like a pencil about to roll off the edge; three or four steps And the wetness closes over me, limbs floating in a threatening womb, Fathomless, pulling, down, down, deeper -- Appalling to the inner ear; I try to float, abandoning effort, weight, and thought, but I can't Do it. Clearly I see a gleaming knot of twisted iron. That's me/it's death. Back in the land of the living -- My wallet, My pants, My glasses. I'm wet skin. Walking with shoes on back to the travelall. Down the freeway under serials of arc-lamps.
There was a man who had a band And a pocketful of sand He took my hand And in my eyes He looked to find Another kind of mind there
It was an Ahi Sandwich moment A real tantalizing torment to realize we'd never make it to the moon Might even work until we jerk Upon the end of the hangman's rope Ah you could hope Like the fellow at the Owl Creek Bridge Never to wake From the last dream
All Along the Spine of the Siskiyous, by Charles Carreon
It's a soft-focus night, moonless and mute. Truck-light on the freeway filters through gentle rain drifting from the mountains, cloaking the valley.
In the upper reaches of the valley, a southward-running ridge, a finger of forest reaching into the drylands of California. Winds stream by, Stirring the tall trees, Bearing a harvest of clouds. To the north -- coolness and moisture. In the south -- valleys filled with dry grass. There is tension between the two. They lie next to each other, all along the spine of the Siskiyous, everything touching, licking each other with tongues of clouds. In the morning, The fruit of their love is fresh-fallen snow.
A tiny man of flesh and bone Wandering over the frozen dirt That glitters with countless crystals Of frozen water, Will gaze about him and Beneath him And discover A lack of tethers, A great silence ready to respond With echoes only to his any word. Tree bark, lichen-patched stone, Blades of dried grasses Rimed with frost-- One need only forget To be utterly lost.
Residing on a spinning ball We cannot depart from But only fall into, We forget the cliff, The abyss of no experience Into which we will tumble When death pulls his abrupt And exceedingly impractical joke.
Nevertheless, all rise, The sovereign lord appears, Speaking eloquently with Ten million warming rays To bathe, caress and possess All the numberless creatures Born of boundlessness.
Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves, by Charles Carreon
(To the Tune of "Rhymin' and Stealin'" by The Beastie Boys)
Well, drivin' Buddhists crazy's what she's all about, Talkin' so straight that they have to shout, No sweet muffin with a daisy in her belly, She's never once been called Cin-der-elly. Liberating mystics of their counterfeit money, They're chokin' on their bliss, lookin' pretty funny; She got sixteen Siddhas on a dead man's chest They're smilin' like their hopin' that she'll do the rest.
Plum crazy girl -- goes straight thru the ceilin', She'll keep talkin' till they cap her -- She's rockin' and reelin'. Rippin' at the reins -- breakin' down the gate She's got your wagon, it's a jail break, She's got the warden with a sock in his mouth And she's headed for the badlands way down south, Breakin' out bandidos from their stinking jails They got no badges and they're off the rails. They're loyal to her They're loyal to fun, And they got her back When she has to run.
It's Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES.
There ain't no words to end this story. She's bound for freedom, fame and glory, With hell on her trail, With God payin' bounty They'll hang her in the middle Of Bumfuck County,
Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES.
Well they say she took out for Apache country, That there was smoke in the sky and very dusty, Thunderheads risin' and tumbleweeds rollin' The priest locks the church and the bells start tollin'. And every now and then the children chant The magic words that their parents said they can't, Hopin' and prayin' Singin' and playin', Feelin' so naughty That they just gotta say it,
Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ambu Baba and the Forty Thieves Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES Ambu Baba AND THE FORTY THIEVES
[Nature has an unerring weapon for controlling her children -- sex. The mysterious attraction of one body for another can never truly be fathomed, rather it is the sea upon which all human beings are borne. As a young man, troubled very much by the emotion of attraction for beautiful beings and things, I became quite worn out with the insistence of my own impulses. Perhaps in an effort to dry out my relationship with attraction, I created this Borgesian poetic essay extolling lust as a scholarly pursuit. Somewhat tongue in cheek, yet lovingly crafted, it is a work that I enjoy to this day.]
An Atlas of her body would be a thousand volumes long; Though sages might ponder it for centuries, taking notes and reasoning, They would never agree on their findings.
If an atlas of her body were composed, those who perused it Would become filled with wanderlust. Their eyes would become glazed And they would be useless for all else. If they were prevented from setting Out upon their journey, they would Simply fade away, undone by a dream.
If, by some miracle, an atlas of her body Were found amid the ruins of some Ancient city, secreted away in a casket Studded with jade, wrought of gold, Wonder would spread over the earth Like a cloud of golden dust; There would be found hope In the hearts of skeptics.
If, by examining the intense and unyielding light at the atom's heart, It might prove possible to discover an atlas of her body, Many would strive to focus their sight so finely, Thinking blindness small price to pay to find one's hand, at last, Upon the Book, though yet unfree to read the page
Of all that set upon the quest, none return. Perhaps they gain calamity for all their pains; Perhaps each one is overwhelmed by the vastness of the task, And turn aside to set their eyes upon some smaller prize.
For a certainty many are lost, Steering under strange stars for so many nights, Disdaining charts where all such hopes are false, Attending to the weary waves, losing track of days and nights, Wandering endlessly, while we, Left behind, are still waiting, Waiting for news, waiting for our Heroes to return, Waiting and hoping for that dreadful treasure, the Atlas of Her Body.