tagNon-Erotic PoetryMy Psychotic Brakes

My Psychotic Brakes


When I was born,
the Chicago mafiosos threw a baby shower
though we'd already left
for California and then Oregon,
never to return

When I was very young,
or when I was very sick
I'd take time with my grandparents
in their calm, civilized home
strolling about the pioneer cemetery
that's full of vibrant oaks and magnificent tulips,
learning to play chess from my architect grandfather

In early high school,
I saw a bright, charming guy
named Steve Hathaway get in a brawl
with a skin-head newcomer with a contemptible air:
but Steve might as well have fought a wall
and by some bloody strange American way
no-one stepped in while Steve
acquired scars he carries to this day

Later, I fell in love with Chelsea Tower
(a VERY :D voluptous :D
and rather sweet girl
from a very, very poor family) ;
I wrote her poems,
bought her jewelry,
and my stepmom would help me
choose me the most beautiful flowers
from our country estate;
Chelsea especially liked
the purple bearded irises,
but for reasons I'll never understand
she chose another boy
with far less money...
and who in other ways didn't impress me

Loving knowledge but hating the rigor
and brain-washed depressiveness of school,
I refused to go to college
but soon quit my rank job as a grocery clerk:
I had lots of money in the bank
but grew weary of never having lain with a girl
and sick of my whole profane American world

So I'd sit on a scarlet up-holstered chair,
listen to our parrots and tear my hair
hour after hour after hour
(don't know if you can imagine the terror)
from dawn to dusk
getting up only occasionally to eat
Swedish hard-tack and cheese

I wanted to drive somewhere and be free
but was afraid the car would fall apart on me;
I'd jump and start at each unexpected sound
thinking the world was coming unbound
(I'd read an article you understand about
how the American H-bomb had destroyed an entire island)

Emerging out of that abysmal time,
I spent a lot of time at the used book store
owned by the eccentric and wonderful Aaron Ashurst:
he owned a cabin out in the woods he was trying to sell
complete with deer, dragon-flies, and a well

I held a poetry reading amid his shelves
which was well-attended by among others
the cubist artist Walt Evans,
the German Mrs. Runii and her children
and my good friend Chris Brown

Afterward, I bought us all a picnic lunch
from the local french restaurant
and a couple of bottles of champagne
I'd earned over a couple days...
and we drove in a car
(I don't remember which)
out past the ranches and potato farms
until we were in the wood's september arms

And we stopped at a simple, forlorn structure,
ate venison, asparagus, and lobster,
and the bubbly went to our heads,
and Chris and me talked about improvements
and a sort of Christian commune

and I attuned myself to destiny
and the trees and sage hills spoke to me
and I understood,
and I saw colors and symbols that
weren't there at all...
a purple dragon-fly buzzed past my face
and my beloved grandpa told me
to love, to struggle, and to behave
from out the depths of his Talent grave

In the dusky cabin,
there was a library of "hippie" books:
"Dharma Bums," "Be Here Now," "Jonathan Livingston Seagull,"
"Walden" and "On Walking" by Thoreau,
(the latter I stole and have to this day) ;
I wanted to buy the property
and had all the insanity and the money,
though live there I'd have been unable

Fortunately, I knew nothing of buildings
and on a second visit my folks
(falsely as I now know)
convinced me the foundation was unstable

I'm unsure why I'm writing this today:

there are other things I could say,
like how I fucked the lithe, slippery,
sweet and joyous Chrissie Lycan
in the back of my Ford Taurus
wanted us to marry and move to Paris...
but drank too much on the wrong night
and she called me to say it all just wasn't right

And so I cried...
but then drew her picture in charcoal
again and again for days,
and when I started crying again
I'd roll a joint and get blazed

And it was beautiful and unimaginable
how she danced in my head
in colors more sweet and fertile
than any to be seen in Paris

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