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Wesley Hsu


Future Perfect
All That Cheese
I Shall Vacuum Cat Hair No More Forever
Get Me To The Church On Time
You're Sacked
Orders to Evacuate
One Short
What You Do
King of the Soi
Cheese
Stands to Reason, Doesn’t It?
Hopewell
Valentine
Nightlife
Greed
Movement
Indulgence
Fear
Recovery
Thirty, or Not Where I Started From
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Surviving the Shift
Bombs, Away!

Future Perfect

My friend, take a deep breath, turn off the TV
I can help you if you listen to me
The future's bright, and I can show it to you, for a price
Just for my expenses, you understand, this isn't about money
Look, I'm being nice
I'm letting you in on a something called
The future, it's bright; it's brilliantly millions of things
Tasty, painless and funny
And you, you look great in the future
And your future girlfriend is a drunk lingerie model
With an ass like a pants mannequin, who collects comic books
And drinks straight from the bottle
Your future mobile phone will do your taxes and shit
Every stock you buy today has already split
In the future
Look, I know it's been a rough couple of weeks
Tell you what, we can clean your brain of memories that are depressing
So every morning every coffee is unexpectedly refreshing
The future's bright; I can prove it; I have evidence
Here's photograph of future you,
Walking out of your better house to your better job
With an air extra confidence
Your hair's shinier, and you're taller, you have 20/20 eyesight
Where did I get this? You gave it to me
This is the dream you had last night
Haven't you been talking about the future for years?
In your childhood drawings, your high school journal
Future this, future that, well now it's here
Or almost here, it's very close, closer than before
Focus on my voice--that's the key
Hate today, love tomorrow--that's the door
The future's bright; trust me, it's true
I traveled through time just to come and tell you
The bottom line, which you may find pleasant
You have no choice; men like you can't live in the present
I should know, I've watched you try
One month ago, Sunday afternoon, 4 o'clock
Almost raining; gray watercolor sky
The air smelled like magnolia
She handed you an umbrella
So you could make it to 7-11 and back with your cigarettes still dry
Do you remember? She squeezed your forearm and smiled
And just like that, a perfect moment in time just passed you by
But forget her, she's gone, the future's bright
Present becomes past, I say out of mind, out of sight
Now give me your wallet; now give me your hand
Forward forever Futureland
You'll like it there, I promise
My friend
The future's bright, like fire, like desire
No arrival, no end

All That Cheese

Come on babe why don't we grab a bite -- and all that cheese
I'm gonna wash my hands and tie my bib on tight -- and all that cheese
Hail a cab I know a dairy spot
Where the feta's cold but the Romano's hot
It's just a dining hall where there's a nightly crawl -- through all that cheese

(Skidoo) -- and all that cheese
(Hotcha) -- and all that cheese
(Ha ha ha) -- and all that cheese

Brush your teeth and grab a silver fork -- and all that cheese
I'll have the macaroni with a cube of pork -- and all that cheese
Dip my bread inside a swiss fondue
I brought an Alka-seltzer and some Lactase too
In case the lactose test is one you can't digest -- from all that cheese

Melt some cheddar on my onion stew -- and all that cheese
Right up here is where I store the blue -- and all that cheese
Find a knife and then pull up a chair
We're gonna cream the crust with a camembert
Because your soul ain't free until you've tried the brie -- and all that cheese

Oh, I wanna see the waiter grate a lotta parmesan
-- and all that cheese
Oh, I'm gonna finish with a cheesecake and a side of flan
-- and all that cheese
Show me how the milk will curdle
Oh the saganiki ain't a hurdle
Douse the fire and let's retire
From all that cheese

And all that cheese
Come on babe why don't we grab a bite -- and all that cheese
(Oh, I wanna see the waiter grate a lotta parmesan -- and all that cheese)
I'm gonna wash my hands and tie my bib on tight -- and all that cheese
(Oh, I'm gonna finish with a cheesecake and a side of flan -- and all that cheese)
Hail a cab I know a dairy spot
Where the feta's cold but the Romano's hot
It's just a dining hall where there's a nightly crawl -- through all that cheese

Oh, my diet's done
But oh, I had such fun
With all that cheese
That cheese!

I Shall Vacuum Cat Hair No More Forever

It was you who absolved me for stealing you from your family
By choosing me with your tiny six-week mouth
Biting my finger first through the steel cage while your sisters lounged
I named you after your first illness, a vaccination that nearly killed you
While I waited in the lobby reading JD Salinger's memoir of Franny Glass
Who had lost the will to go on because her family was hopelessly mired
In that upperclass East Coast sort of disorray
Punctuated with suicides and Ph.Ds
And right there was you, tiny kitten with an IV drip
Trying not to die from the medicine of Humane Society
I've told that story, because you lived

That was 1996; I bought you because I knew no one
But I could still play god to orphans and surgical widows
New Year's Eve you disappeared, and drunk at 2am
I tore apart my tenement, upending futons and closet boxes
Cursed myself for open windows; cursed you for your size
Taped flyers up in the corridors, waited for you in my bed
I've told that story, because I found you

Punishment for my first away vacation was urination
On the velvet slipcover chair, of course
Reaction to being drugged and dragged to Thailand was worse
But maybe the smell convinced the customs agent to
Wave us through without papers, or maybe he was just Thai
I don't know, I've told that story because it's funny, because it's true
Just like I tell people I had to buy a better vacuum cleaner
Because of the white hairs that fell from you

I don't like how the story ends
I don't know which doctor to not believe
Don't know why you stopped eating, which part of you failed acutely
Whether Friskies was too salty, or the mosquito spray too frequent
I don't know
Any more than why you chased the geckos but ignored the hamsters
But I know I didn't want to say goodbye through a cage the way we said hello
Waiting and hoping that you might once more lift your head to bite my finger
Don't you know me, don't you know me?
Six years ago I waited for you, right here
While they tried to offer me a different kitten
Because you only had a 50/50 chance of living
But I said a coin toss always makes for a good story
And besides, Franny and I have it all worked out
Don't we

I choose you, I choose you, I choose you

Get Me To The Church On Time

I'm getting married in the morning-in about twelve hours or so
And already the laws of gravity have changed on my tuxedo
This used to be the only suit I ever looked forward to wearing
Lovely, isn't it? Thai silk measured by an Indian tailor of some reknown
Sewn by Burmese women chained to sewing machines in Chinatown
This is my pan-Asian party uniform, my one line punchline
"Black tie? But there are no black Thais," was always funny
Probably becase we were already drunk on looking like adults for once
At least until we got drunk on wine, which in this suit was every time
Our immaturity percolating to the surface like sweat
As we panted and scraped our leather souls on the parquet
Chachas, conga lines, macarenas, YMCAs
The ritual dances of the overfed white man proving the tailor was right
When he said this dense knit London gabardine was worth a few dollars more
Knowing somehow that by 1am our knees would be scraping the bathroom floor
Of the JW Marriott as we delivered by final bon mot of the night
Cleans up nice, though, doesn't it?
Indestructible, like my ballistic nylon luggage, like my steel watch
Adventure gear I bought in my 20s to be dragged bulletproof through the monsoon
Now my suitcase is packed with pressed shirts suitable for hotel dinners
On a Conde Nast honeymoon
Look--shockproof, waterproof to 100 meters, Swiss precision
Telling me I'm getting married in 11 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds
I'm getting married in the morning; Rome as I know it is about to be burned
As irreversible as a nuclear war once the switch has been turned
Elderly relatives have been launched from their silos
And are already airborne over the sea
Scraping the last bites of cake from their plastic trays
Their warheads set to arm when the seatbelt lights illuminate
Riding gravity's rainbow towards the Church of Ground Zero
Where I stand in the middle wearing my tuxedo
Playing the fiddle like Nero
Ten years ago in LA I stopped at a red light around 230 or 3
When an SUV full of drunk women pulled up next to me
As one licked the glass of the backseat window suggestively
The driver motioned that they were looking for a place to party
And if I had alcohol, which I did, that they'd follow me home
I was single at the time, 22 years old and living alone
With a queen-sized bed and box full of condoms nearing their expiration
I had a bag full of marijuana, a pretty good stereo
This was the moment for which I'd spent all of puberty in preparation
And I choked, I mean I panicked, I hit the gas and turned left
To this day I don't know why I would spit in the face of a personal miracle
Maybe there's something terrifying about seeing the endpoint of your fantasy
When your feet reach the bottom of your sea of possibility
I'm getting married in the morning
And my tuxedo is feeling a little reluctant tonight
As if dreading its first exposure to a priest or sunlight
Afraid that its fragrant past might cause a stink
So I think I'll put it on one last time
And take it out for one last drink
Together we can say goodbye to those so-called possibilities that only exist
When you're thoroughly single and thoroughly pissed
So I'll see you all at the church, on time
To confirm a left turn which is older than wine
And let love clean the stains that the dry cleaners missed

You're Sacked

I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go.
What?

Please clear out your desk by the end of the day.
Today?

Try to see things from the company's point of view.
Which is…

It's been a tough year for the industry, as you know.
I know now.

There's been a global downturn in response to terrorism.
Terrorism?

We're more than happy to give you a letter of recommendation.
Thanks.

We have to make the most out of our assets and resources.
Which I am not one of.

We're sure you have a bright future in this field.
That's very inspiring.

This wasn't an easy decision for us, you know.
How reassuring.

We feel that this is the best way for all of us.
For you.

You didn't do anything wrong, it just wasn't the right time.
When is the right time?

We appreciate the contribution that you've made to the company.
Apparently you don't.

We hope that we'll have a chance to work together in the future.
How's next week?

We've learned a lot from our time together, and we hope you have too.
I've learned one thing.

You'll be missed by everyone here.
No, I won't.

We have certain obligations to our shareholders.
Can I call them?

Try to focus on the positive aspects of all this.
Which are?

It's never easy to let good people go.
How courageous of you then.

We've arranged to provide you with a small severance bonus.
How small?

You'll always have your memories.
Yeah--of this day.

Think of all the experience you've gained here.
And the time wasted.

Understand that companies go through natural periods of expansion and contraction.
What?

Please return your ID badge and passcard to Human Resources.
Okay.

I hope there are no hard feelings.
Keep hoping.

Realize that we took a chance hiring you.
I took a chance coming here.

You always knew the risks in coming to work for us.
Apparently I didn't.

We've both benefited greatly from our time together.
You've benefited.

The current circumstances are simply beyond our control.
I don't believe you.

Surely someone with your talent should have no problem finding a new job.
Don't call me Shirley.

The anticipated revenue streams simply haven't materialized on schedule.
Shouldn't YOU be fired for that?

There were some unforeseen complications in our development plan.
Your development plan was shit.

I hope that we can still be friends.
Were we?

These are hard times for everyone.
Except you.

This downsizing is taking place across the company, not just here.
Oh, well, thank god.

Your department, unfortunately, was something of a failed experiment.
Your department created mine.

Don't take this personally; your position is being terminated, not you.
Ok, that's the stupidest thing you've said.

This is as hard for us as it is for you.
I stand corrected.

Maybe in a few years, when the economy turns around, who knows?
......

On the day he was fired, Human Resources gave him a large cardboard box, into which he placed the following objects:

1) A handmade enameled brass coaster, which was on his desk the day he arrived, presumably abandoned by the last person who sat there, and which he used daily to catch the condensation from his bottle of ice water.

2) A cd-rom containing the contents of the hard drive of his computer from his previous job, including the writing samples which had secured him an interview with the ceo now firing him, as well as 8 megabytes of pornography he had downloaded and forgot to delete before asking the tech department to burn the cd-rom and which he now cannot delete, nor separate from those same writing samples.

3) An empty glass vase which was delivered that first day, full of pink roses and yellow tiger lilies trimmed with asparagus ferns and baby's breath and adorned with a card wishing him a great first day and signed by his girlfriend, whom he didn't realize until later was actually sending a loud colorful signal to the other women in the office that he was not single and to back off.

4) A black cotton jacket, worn to protect against the over powerful air conditioning, but which failed to keep his hands from becoming dysfunctionally cold by 3pm every day.

5) A small tabletop wooden frame with his name written in it in block letters, marking his place at the table of the mandatory seminar sponsored by his company shortly after his first day on the job, and which he snuck into his bag afterwards and placed on his desk hoping to incite conversation with his then strange co-workers who might be amused and impressed by his bold pranksterism and casual irreverence for hotel property, but which no one ever said anything about, not once.

6) A jar of honey from the oriental hotel, bequeathed to him by a departing superior whom he didn't know well but was seated conveniently near to, and who was also a foreigner and thus whose departure should have made available a work permit, but for some reason, didn't.

7) A plastic novelty cup in the shape of kenny from south park, originally filled with sweet ice tea and presented to him by two women from client services in gratitude for helping them write headlines for an anti-dandruff shampoo ad, an unexpected gift which he initially interpreted as exceptional generosity but later understood as their uncertainty to his actual status as a full-time employee.

8) A bottle of mouthwash, which despite its daily post-luncheon use still failed to adequately reassure him that he was attaining the oral hygiene standards set by his male thai co-workers, who seemed to brush their teeth every twenty minutes.

9) A 10-ounce plastic bottle of an orange-flavored soft drink that features a one-eared blue cartoon kitten as its mascot, which was given to him during the brainstorm session for its product launch, with the understanding that he would drink it and therefore better understand how it should be marketed to thai children age 8-13.

10) A novelty pencil, carved from the branch of a tree and left on his desk on the morning of a buddhist holiday by someone in the office anonymously, whom he at first thought to be a secret admirer, until he noticed the same pencil on the desk of several coworkers, and which has never been used because its irregular shape precludes it from being resharpened.

11) A small round convex mirror, purchased from the auto parts section of the department store and affixed to the upper right corner of the computer monitor to allow him to see people behind him, specifically certain young women, as well as those two graphic designers he always secretly believed were mocking him.

12) A manila envelope containing a dozen photocopies of his us passport, the image of which was required at the bank every time he exchanged his paycheck for cash, and which contained 37 tourist visas that claimed improbably that he had visited malaysia every thirty days for the past four years.

13) A fake, laminated us dollar featuring a topless woman in the place of george washington, which he received in exchange for the seven euro entrance fee at the strip club in stuttgart he visited with the german client who wanted to show him a good time, intended to be used in lieu of real currency for his first tip to the naked dancer in front of him, a butch german woman who kept trying to catch his eye, but whom he carefully avoided looking at because she was just horrible and he didn't want to touch her, even with someone else's money.

14) Sixty-two business cards accumulated over three years of meetings with clients, potential clients, suppliers, and regional office employees, each one bearing a name he could no longer attach to a face or an occasion, each representing a moment he had to awkwardly apologize for not having business cards of his own without revealing the embarrassing fact that without a legal work permit the company refused to officially verify his existence, despite their contrary need for his participation in those meetings.

15) A copy of his father's first published book, documenting the history of technology in china, the inside cover of which bears a photograph of his father shaking hands with chinese president jiang zhemin, the sight of which continues to arouse in him conflicting feelings of pride, disgust, and envy.

16) A pair of headphones he bought for listening to internet radio but which proved useless because his computer had no sound card, but which he plugged in anyway as a sign of protest to no one, and would occasionally put on just to reduce the impression that he was listening to what people around him might be saying.

17) A bag of special rice from the thai rice foundation that is somehow superior to regular rice and was therefore suitable as gifts to all employees for chinese new year, and, according to the card, representative of his nourishing, sustenance-providing role in the company, but which he never took home because he regarded rice as something that arrived pre-cooked and in its raw form was as alien to him as space rocks.

18) A stack of paystubs with the name of his girlfriend, a thai national, printed fraudulently as the recipient, which would therefore prove useless in any kind of lawsuit in labor court seeking severance pay.

19) Twenty unopened packs of yellow post it notes, eight blue lancer pens, three exacto knives, an extension cord, two staplers, six new whiteboard markers--three red and three blue, four reams of printer paper, a roll of bubble wrap for his girlfriend who loved to pop bubble wrap, a two-meter usb cable, and the key to his locked roller cabinet, inside of which is a soon to be rotting and now unremovable mayonnaise and tuna fish sandwich, because, well, because fuck it, fuck them, fuck this job.

Orders to Evacuate

Aboard the SS Capricorn, passengers are instructed not to touch the sea
It's printed on our daily blue-lettered Star Cruise itinerary
We are not to flick our cigarette butts, or dispose of rubbish overboard
When we drop anchor at Koh Samui, a ferryboat will take us ashore
Where a taxicab can drive us to the beach, where if we so choose
Having absolved Star Cruises Inc of any liability
We may dip our naked toes in the shallow surf
But otherwise the portholes of our narrow cabins are bolted
Waterproofing us against the ocean

The life vests are bright orange, the official color of things going terribly wrong
The SS Capricorn is white, the color of everything totally under control
The hull gleams white, the walls and the window trim
The Swedish captain and his pressed uniform immaculate
The bannisters get thicker every year with new coats of white paint
In places last year's drippings have solidified like cave minerals
Even now dark-skinned men in white jumpsuits
Dabble with paintbrushes at the corroding lifeboat supports
Erasing little spots of cancer that have eaten through
In this way you could say the SS Capricorn is alive
Growing millimeter by millimeter of white enamel
If you cut her, she would bleed rust
In the wound you could count the rings of white crust
And guess what year she was forged from 50,000 tons of ore
Baked clean of impurities, then decked with the bones of young spruce trees
Decorated with aquatic-themed upholstery, karaoke and legal slot machines
And christened with a tax-free Panama registry

I am just a little nauseous, seasick I suppose
Funny how sea sickness never happens when you're swimming
Or watching the water from land; only when you are dry at sea
Feeling the primordial push and swell of the ocean breathing silently underneath
While observing something unnatural, like a cabaret show or a blackjack dealer
Seasickness is pretending you don't feel anything
Cheapening your memory of twenty million years ago
When your ancestors first crawled forth from the water
And grew dizzy on the sand

The steward gives me a small white pill
Instructs me to climb to the highest deck and stare at the horizon
Which despite not even being real, will save me
Although composed of nothing but water and air
Because it holds perfectly still, it represents reality
So I grip the rail and focus on a distant cargo boat
Wondering if there are sailors on board staring at me for the same reason

And just then, the sea herself whispers to me a better solution
"Take communion with me" she says, leading me aft to the ship's swimming pool
Where a piece of her ocean body has been imprisoned and tamed with chlorine
Displayed for our amusement, shifting back and forth in saltless rhythm
The water calls to me and I step in, sink, rise, settle
O--Floating there in the seesaw tilting
Suddenly it is the ship that is rocking, not me
Not me, I am united with the orphaned poolwater
Sloshing back and forth in time with the massive love of its ocean mother
She's rocking her lost baby to sleep with gentle gravity
And I'm no longer seasick, but at one with the sea
Liberated in the cradle of the SS Capricorn
The biggest piece of rubbish ever cast overboard

One Short

Mr Secretary General, diplomats and delegates of the United Nations, and ladies and gentlemen:
We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought grief to my country and brought grief to many citizens of our world. A cowardly, premeditated act of mass murder which took the lives of innocent corporate accountants and selfless American stockbrokers, not to mention about a dozen illegal Mexican busboys whose deportation will now never be completed. It was the heartless destruction of billions of dollars of valuable downtown office space. It was a vicious attack on our way of life, our precious and fragile sense of entitlement, and most importantly, on the global perception of the great American Cock.

For those of you who may have forgotton, the American Cock, also known as Americock, has long stood tall and firm as a symbol of enduring freedom and the fertility of capitalism. It represents the promise sought four hundred years ago by pilgrims fleeing the chafing chastity of the Old World who rammed their ships ashore to penetrate the virgin land of the naked and savage Indians with the seeds of swelling Christian civilization. Let us never forget that it was our founding fathers who had the paternal wisdom to endow its citizens' with the right to carry guns, so that private property could be protected by triggering a lethal blast from a long smooth metal barrel, and to legally declare negro slaves as 3/5s of a person, so as to even the playing field. These men gave birth to the American Cock on the basis of our inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap-penis.

For centuries the American Cock has endured, nay, it has grown in both size and reach and influence, as our foreskinned forebearers parted the soft folds of the fertile land and thrust forward our expansion to the cervical wall of the Pacific Coast. Our American ingenuity laid the tracks of the great railroad, squeezed the gold from the Californian mountains, and impregnated the soil with cash crops like hemp, coffee, and tobacco.

We have since erected enormous cities swimming with tiny citizens who shoot along tight tunnels in streamlined mass transit trains, or drive big cars through the conquered wilderness along straight highways lubricated by subsidized petroleum. It was our deep-probing oil drills that first pierced the yielding earth to render exposed the precious treasures of long-sealed fossil fuels. Our cathedrals spire into the sky like an stiff finger probing towards God, who miraculously inseminated the virgin Mary with the sheer will of his love that we might all enjoy eternal ecstasy.

And above all tower the greatest of all manifestations of the American Cock, the steely-caged skyscrapers that poke into the fluffy white clouds, carrying upwards through its veiny elevator shafts the seminal activity of commerce. The business of America is business, after all, whether profiteering from the inexorable rise of stock markets or creating the computer hardware that keeps the whole world firmly plugged in. Ours is the culture that has penetrated every foreign market, our cuisine the meatiest that you can shove into your mouth, whether it's a two-fisted burrito or a cheeseburger that smears special sauce all over your face. Our grocery stores are bursting with servings of obscene sizes; from gallons of frothy milk to long Krispy Kreme filled eclairs, from footlong hotdogs to dozen packs of extra-Jumbo eggs.

Who else could celebrate being the world champion of sports that no one else plays; or hold out against the logical beauty of the metric system; who else takes its right to fatally pollute the planet as a matter of soveriegnty, or absolves itself from international criminal law? Who else has the adequately large penis to block out all awareness of the rest of the world, including the authority of this assembly, which of course we created? No one but America.

One year and one day ago, four phallus-shaped American jet airliners were hijacked by members of a terrorist organization and used as weapons of mass insertion to slice into, soften, and ultimately cause the complete ligamental failure of the otherwise rigid World Trade Center towers. Their catastrophic collapse circumcised the skyline of our greatest city, robbing us of the imposing length and girth of our proudest erections and replacing them with the burning sensation of watching our gleaming white monuments wither. Even worse, it burst our maidenhood of contentment and intruded into our womb an awareness of the existence of other nations and their cocks. This violation shall not stand.

September 11 was a hard day. A very big, very hard day. The lives of many virile young men were tragically cut short. Never will I forget the sight of the fireman's helmets littered among the smoking rubble. I swore that day that the blood of those martyrs would not be wasted, that their blood would engorge our resolve and collectively form a pulsing heatbeat of vengeance. Surely enough, our great nation swiftly mounted the full force of its military arsenal, our great long naval ships, loaded with eager seamen, burst out of port and charged towards the Black Sea. Rocket after rocket, bomb after bomb was unloaded into the very bowels of our enemy, who had foolishly left their back door open for total retaliation.

Today Al Qaeda has been completely emasculated. Neutered and limp, they have been driven back into their caves. The war at home is being stroked on all fronts: unnnecessary civil liberties have been snipped; swarthy minorities have been laid under surveillance; and our remaining skyscrapers have been securely sheathed in a layer of added protection. And I am proud to say plans are underfoot to erect a new World Trade Center, a massive 200-story tower of caucasian titanium with a hollow tube running up the center through which we will be ejaculating fireworks every Sunday evening, and showering the Statue of Liberty with glowing white sparks. It will be beautiful.

But today a new threat is rising. As we speak Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction, both nuclear and chemical. We know this because we think so. More importantly, there is nothing left to destroy in Afghanistan. Our ballistic missiles remain upright, rigid and ready. Rifles are cocked, tubes have been loaded. Our entire military remains in a highly excited state of alert, and you can't just expect that to go away with a cold shower. We need a target, preferably a non-consenting one that we can pin down, expose, and really have our way with.

Ten years ago my father castrated Saddam with a full-scale invasion that pierced his armored divisions and spearheaded through his front lines. The legacy of my administration must be no less impressive. I am here today asking you for your moral support for this unilateral, personal, and violently aggressive assault on the sovereign nation of Iraq. We have the equipment; we have the stamina. In this most crucial endeavor we must not, we can not, we shall not fall short. Saddam Hussein is a big pussy, and I intend to fuck him while everybody watches. Only such action can restore completely the bruised but infallible American Cock to its rightful and mighty prominence.

I thank you for your attention. Good night, God bless, and God bless Americock.

What You Do

1) I am a humble servant to my people; an icon; a sage. My impending passage into the hereafter and its implications becomes more unspeakable with age. I provide the birthday on which corrupted construction projects are immovably due; and spur the sales of Christmas lights that decorate the boulevards in the Thai red white and blue. I am the face of money, my dog the face of charity; legally pristine from human flaw; my voice the hand of the father which stills the coup de'tat. I composed the anthem that agrarian children sing; I sanctified the saxophone and showed Elvis who was king. I traded down my Mercedes-Benz for a Toyota, so the rich could see their icon of greed shatter; but in the end I only set the example for those who are powerless to make my example matter. My reach falls short but the message is true: I lead in spiritual silence--it's what I do.

2) Leadership. I still prefer my Mercedes-Benz; it matches my particular attitude; as do the US-made fighter jets I operate skillfully at low altitude. My impending promotion is a hole in everyone's lips that sleeps comfortably beneath scrutiny; as opposed to my dog whose every promotion plays a role in national security. Don't bore me with foreshadowings of funereal sorrow, don't you think under this facade, I too know pain? If only one time you could see me laughing, laughing in the purple rain. In time you will love me, I'll find a way through. I will leverage my position--it's what I do.

3) Leverage. I made a few reinterpretations of democracy to ensure the Republic survives; like purchasing a mandate from village shareholders with million-baht bribes. Call it an update of constitutionality; don't you know a free press is bad for investor morality? I keep the country moving forward, and the opposition uninvolved; transfer ownership of my monopoly to my maid and consider the conflict of interest resolved. I'm a CEO, like George Bush was. Now that's an example on which I can follow through; tell people what they want to hear and deny the rest--it's what I do.

4) Denial. You don't know me? But I'm a captain of the new economy of exploitation, combining my father's legacy of slave labor sweatshops with computer innovations. I underpay 50 university-educated web designers to sell virtual diamonds around the credit-card world. And pray my racist Lebanese father never uncovers my half-Thai bastard son born from a Patpong bargirl. I'll kill you if you tell him--he would bankrupt me if he knew. Only his ego can scare mine--so passing my misery to others is what I do.

5) Misery. I sell it. I fake it. I work it. I earn it. I tried. I love you. I hate you. I meant it. I trusted you. I lied. I serve your self-hatred, your latent self-abuse, your loneliness, and remnant Darwinian urgencies; I invent sick upcountry water buffaloes and grandparent medical emergencies. Nightly I am crucified for the sins of your unrequited junior-high crush; my bleeding stigmata nailed by your repressed, punitive, delirious rush. I beg you to slow it down when the wound runs dry; with pills I speed it up to make the pain take wingand fly. Maybe I like it; maybe I'm just pretending to. The possibility absolves you--that's what I do.

6) Absolution. I travel long distances to fuck young girls. Really young girls. Girls that remind me of girls that I wanted to fuck back when I first realized that I had to fuck everything in the whole goddamned world. Unleashing the pain of living for decades in a tortured, civilized state of not fucking is my new goal. My whole life revolves around fucking the next one, hoping she might slowly unclench the furious masturbating fist of my soul, finger by finger, each one the pop star, the magazine pinup, the lab partner, the co-worker, that schoolgirl pedestrian, that friend's daughter, that niece, every girl in history who conspired to not fuck me. I live the dream angrily, I binge, I purge, I grow old grasping at flesh that's new. I live above the law of averages--that's what I do.

7) Averages. I reassure you that AIDS is a myth created by prudish society; and for that matter heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, lung cancer, and fatal obesity. I am the patron saint of the Bangkok lifer, those addicted to commerce-based gender; men whose better angels have naturally surrendered. I went AWOL in Vietnam and perpetuated my own arrest; I get confused easily in cinemas and make up the rest. A lamprey latched to the only place that would pay me to write, I suck and swallow and suck and float on the collective beliefs of other disillusioned bloated whites. Belly up I ride the crude with my damned and motley expat crew; I thrive on low standards--that's what I do.

8) Low standards. I imitate Raymond Chandler and enshroud my hard-boiled detective in urban fog and noirish mists, I mean I write the same bad book over and over and pretend I'm Bangkok's patron novelist. I polish a common life of sleaze with improbable artistic equity; I give men urinating on limes in go-go bar something reassuringly heterosexual to read. I have slaughtered a thousand mature trees for paper pulp; convinced myself that I'm the head of a cult. I have built a website shrine to boost my internet egoboo; I have furnished mansions in the sky with my delusion--it's what I do.

9) Delusion. I wear hats, and mug for every photograph with the same nitrous oxide smile, I wear hats, and prove that even Celine Dion anthems can be defiled. I wear hats and pretend I'm Coco Lee, just shorter, and older, and uglier, and more annoying, and less famous, and you know--with a hat! I wear a hat, and read the weather, and present awards, and show up at parties a lot; I wear hats and host the events that no one would attend if there wasn't free beer on the spot. I wear hats and release CDs that no one buys for only 200 baht. Oh, and don't forget I have a website too! I just never shut up about me--it's what I do.

10) Never shutting up. I guess that's me, the one who complains the most; usually in the form of anonymous letters to the editor of the Bangkok Post. My contributions to culture and society? I make fun of the girl in the big hat, drink the free beer, and leave. I've never written a novel, even a really bad one set in go-go bars; no, I dropped out of grad school and enjoy low standards writing commercials for Mercedes-Benz cars. I'm a whore, I'm a slug, I do nothing all day; I covered my rent by hiring lawyers and suing rich men for severance pay. I write film reviews that no one, not even my friends want to read; dance on the borders of lese majeste and call it poetry; and offset my repressed lust for bargirls by downloading Japanese pornography. I want to be famous; I want to be rich; I want to be king for a day; it's pathetic, it's true. And so I rant into open microphones--and why not? It's all I can do.

King of the Soi


I'm awake. I'm awake. She is asleep. But I'm awake.

In 1952, under the leadership of President Dwight D Eisenhower--who had an affair with his secretary,
Kay Summersby, but who was never impeached for it--Congress authorized the construction of the
US Interstate Highway System, to be modeled after the Autobahn built by the recently vanquished
Nazis, to connect the nation's cities with 42,794 miles of federally standardized pavement, two lanes
minimum in each direction, 1,653 miles of which connect Houston, Texas behind me and New York
City in front of me, each lane exactly 12 feet wide, and every mile a rectangular green reflective sign
crafted by federal prisoners, 61% of whom are incarcerated on drug possession charges, ticking off
the miles like a giant national clock. It's 3:55AM.

Speed limit 70 miles per hour; 340 miles to Memphis, I can't do the math, or remember the map, or
see anything past the halogen reach of the highbeams or the thickets of old growth Southern forest.
It's only halfway to Manhattan and I'm...I'm...awake. She is asleep. There is nothing to see in this part
of America. Nothing to photograph. Nothing to eat. Nothing to remember. She has the luxury of
believing me when I say don't worry; put the seat back; I can drive all night.

Trust me.

AM 3:56 on the clock. AM 540 on the radio. AM. Ante Meridian. Amplitude modulation. Volume.
Volume The 2001 Chevy Cavalier has 68.5 cubic feet of interior space, how loud is that, Radio Man,
can you fill it? Try. Am I lost? No. Am I confused? No. Do I feel that the Christian values and traditions
that made our country great have been cast aside by the liberal elites of Hollywood and the devilish
rock musicians that occupy the airwaves? Not really, no. Jesus can help me? Really. Can he take the
wheel and drive until we get to, say, Tuscaloosa? No. All right then.

The US highway system carries 84 percent of the commodities delivered nationwide. 91 percent of all
the miles traveled by US citizens worldwide are done in private cars. In 1992 I was twenty-one years
old and on every fourth weekend would drive 830 miles or 15 hours non-stop between the University
of Texas and the University of Illinois to spend 36 hours with my girlfriend because I have two testicles
which produce 1,200 sperm cells per second each and could have sex seven times in one precious
day and two precious nights and it seemed like a deal. How did I do that? Who was I? Who am I?

Oh yes. She is asleep. I can drive all night. I've done this before. Trust me.

4:24 AM. AM 610. News and commentary. Focus on the Family. The truth about the United Nations.
The sovereignty of the states. The New Federalism. The true Jews. The kind of calcium your body
can absorb easily. The secret of magnetism and its effect on pain. The lowest rates on insurance.
Every year motor vehicle crashes cost the US economy 113 billion dollars in emergency services,
medical costs, property damage, lost market productivity. In 1994 I drove from Austin to Niagara Falls
with a woman who would later attempt suicide in my apartment by taking codeine pills and a bottle of
rum and who lapsed in and out of a coma in the intensive care unit at Cedar Sinai hospital as I
explained to the doctor that we had just broken up, and two days later she regained consciousness
and told me, "I heard what you said. Don't flatter yourself, it wasn't you."

5:13AM. AM 1260. The Federal Income Tax is unconstitutional and funds the secret military wing
that's hiding a crashed UFO in Nevada and using alien technology to spray us with chemtrails that
addict us to cancer-causing consumer products sold by multinational corporations that use Masonic
imagery in their logos. …okay…

Between 1995 and 2000, 250,575 people died on US highways. In 1996 I drove 502 miles from Los
Angeles to the Grand Canyon with a woman who then refused to get out of the car and look at it
because of something insulting I had said about her work ethic 160 miles earlier, in Flagstaff. In 1999
I sold my car for $1500 and bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the world, (break) only to find
that in the backseat of taxicabs I would dream of this, of somnambulating through the sea of swamp
and trees, riding the right wing radio waves through scary redneck America, treading Eisenhower’s
Autobahn to the edge of darkness, identity blurred by motion, sleeping without sleeping, remembering
everything.

I’m awake.

Cheese


The blue outside my window is still just international water
But the captain's electrified the seat belt light so we snap our trays down and sit upright
As our economy classroom prepares for land, flight attendants take their stand
Our ears pop like champagne corks celebrating our loss of height
So stuff the peanut wrappers in the air sick sack and tighten my belt as the screen fades to black
The wing dips down the sunset’s warm I’m tapping my pen on my customs form
Do I have anything to declare? What do I have to declare?

Well it's been six thousand miles of driving on the right, skylines by day and high beams by night
Oceans west and oceans east and the great lakes in between
Waves of grain in amber fields crosswalks where to pedestrians yield
Watching for cops who won't be dropped for a bribe of two fifteen
Nat Sherman cigarettes lit with paper matches, pints of Guinness with handicapped access
Passing cars tattoed with September's flags
United we stand, united we rant, united we forget Afghanistan
AM radio declares war on them all, and yet even now it's the food I recall
Despite the hype it's the cheese that sticks with me
God bless America and the cheese that’s still in me

Hollywood been gentrified off the map, Times square times three with a two story Gap
Khakis to match a white collar style of crime
Only the scientologists remain, tow-headed lampreys on the sharks of fame
Where the YMCA is the last sitting dent in the chromed hood fender of rising rents
And the multiplex shows one blockbuster a day fourteen times
The new subway station is a passing sight for tourists in cars
Or a new place to smoke cause you can't smoke in bars
Or find free parking anymore north of the boulevard
But as the meters wait for a cool hand Luke and the wax museum exhumes the Duke
It's the cheese that embraces us in--reacquaints me with diet of Los Angeles sin

Who cares if the downtown deco and the beaux arts past
Are three years more historic than when I saw them last
When behind the glass door is a hot cheese fix
McDonald’s is now selling fried cheese sticks
On the side of a number two meal (as if two cheeseburgers didn't quite seal the deal)
There's a hot glue gun of melted mozzarella
Or the Pantry breakfast, oh yes, after Saturday’s last call drinks
Three egg omelette to land on when your intoxications sinks
And the satin sheets of folded cheddar, tell me you don't feel better
When you can drive home drunk through the cool dry night
Cheese stuck in your teeth and a smile as your umbrella
Beach trip nacho chips plastic pool of hot cheese dip
Peppers that burn the cracks in your dry Thai lips

Onto Las Vegas, that alien spaceship landing site
A thousand points of light, and not one charitable intention
Excalibur knights, pirates and volcanoes fight for the short span of your lucrative attention
Capitals of Europe evaporate like a circus mirage that flows by the dancing waters of Bellagio
And Tuesdays is no cover charge at the Crazy Horse a go go
But don't touch the dancers or they'll break your knees and the barfines are all arranged illegally
For three hundred dollars later, in a taxicab --the two-drink minimum means a twenty dollar tab
Casino air conditioner adds oxygen for free but the ATM adds on a three dollar fee
That the bank knows you'll always pay ‘cause “What's three dollars but a drop in a bucket of quarters”
Says the Jersey housewife with her ass on two stools raising her glass of whiskey and water
Hypnotized by the red Corvette rotating slowly overhead
Trying to forget her reflection in the mirrored ceiling of her Tropicana hotel bed

But for me it's the cheese that hits the spot, a cascade of grated American is the jackpot top
On a boardwalk bacon cheese dog from hell or shredded on a taco at Taco Bell
The neon gets confusing after six hours of complimentary boozing
--I know they’re trying to loosen up our blackjack bets
And I say a stomach of cheese is my safety net
Until the steak breakfast is served at dawn and breaks the spell
As we set off across the desert spent of cash but rich in history
There’s bag of combos on the cooler in the passenger seat
Even now it's the cheese that sends us flying --in the city of sin the cheese that keeps us trying

Now the desert air hints of rust and sage down the canyon path of the Wells Fargo stage
As we drive in the heart of Texas, the capital of Mexicans making minumum wage
The Lone Star republic still holds its shape in the form of ashtray souvenirs that manifest destiny pushes
And the flags are as sprawling as a west Texan's fears of losing his guns to the lobby of queers
Who would squander the legacy of John W Wayne and a family of scrubby little Bushes
Pawn shops and porns shop dwell side by side for truckers who need a quick resupply in rifles or tits
Whichever makes you feel alive or gets you through a six-thousand mile cross-country drive
Just grip the civil liberty you wish to survive and stroke
Three years of Hustler that I still haven't read, dildos bigger than a baby's head
But it's still a wheel of cheese I'd rather poke

Chicken enchiladas, queso con carne, a spoonful of mole
Sliced jalapenos on a nachos supreme plus a dozen warm doughnuts from Krispy Kreme
Grated cheddar on a three-alarm chili bowl
The Continental Club's got swing music all night long
But the band says Monday's a non-paying gig as the drummer takes another Shiner Bock swig
And accepts my invite for a burrito after this song
Texas Texas serenades you eastbound out of town
A yellow rose memory apropos of the best cheese around
But New York New York is a pot of gold at the end of an interstate and a tunnel rainbow
So let’s skip Graceland, press the gas and go

You see last year Manhattan lost its two stiffest fingers
But the world trade in hip and the stiff upper lips have an urban resiliency and linger
Call it pride, or something deeper--Fifth avenue hasn't gotten any cheaper
You call that a sale? 8% tax plus 15 for tip; parking costs more than an out of town trip
Empire State elevator ride costs nine dollars cash for a view of Wall Street after the crash
The ground zero dust is being sold by the pound
As proposals to erect a new penis makes the talk radio rounds
And yet for me it’s the cheese that’s golden gilded on a toasted bun
It’s the cheese that proves the city stands and that the terrorists haven’t won

Roast beef red as a baboon's ass with a slice of nutty holy swiss
A folded slice from a Harlem brick oven tapwater crust that New Yorkers miss
When they dare to step off their island
Pastrami marbled with fat, corned beef reuben with provolone
Veal parmesana in breadcrumb shell served by a Corleone
Cold cut tongue so rare that it shares its own taste
Drippy pickles, brown mustard and all the napkins you care to waste
Oh Big Apple, big big cheese, you’re the pot that melts on potatoes with ease
I’m a fat expat who’s coming home to roost with the other winged rats like me
So pigeonhole me as an obese Yank, who plays the fiddle while economies tank
It’s my vacation and I’ll do what I please--I will celebrate what’s remains of us with cheese

Wheels touch down in my adopted continent of lactose intolerant citizens, city lights in sight
Hit the ground with eight more pounds than what I packed on the outbound flight
And this extra weight makes me glad I paid for a wider seat on EVA
So I could sleep as we crossed the line between the fish sauce of tomorrow and the cheese of yesterday
Soon I’ll be chained to the treadmill of my Asian weight-loss insecurity
Running at dreams of camembert served with tea and a french bread crust tarred with brie
As my last photographs of dairy life are aged into memory
I’ll choke on the air at the Ploenchit Fair and I will have something to declare

America the deep fried you’re a finely aged wheel, savory sliced or spread for appeal
Your values are absurd but you’re good to your word when it’s no holds barred in a capital deal
And when the refills on coffee are free, despite my complaints I can’t help but agree
That it's still the curd that makes me say--I was lost but I found my way
God bless and save the USA
America, my appetite appeased
America my homeland of cheese

Stands to Reason, Doesn’t It?
version 2.1

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and
another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those
things which were written in the books, each according to his works.”
Revelations 20:11

GROUND FLOOR--Don’t even talk to me about going to hell. Don’t bore me with your
debilitating anxieties about God seeing your unclean thoughts; Don’t waste my time with your
scrapbook of crimes or the price for which your soul was bought.

What, did you touch yourself on a Sunday? Covet thy neighbor’s fine, fine ass? Defile your
body with whiskey and grass? Please. A human state of mind, soaked in semen and wine,
there’s a billion of your kind at any one time, so get in line and make way for someone with a
VIP pass. Did you start a nuclear war? Blacken the skies, poison the seas? Unless your
name is Milosovic you’ve got nothing on me.

When does the express elevator leave, praytell? Check for my name, cause I’ve got a
reservation for the basement of hell. That’s right Level 7, Eternal Torture and Ostrasizing.
Here’s my card…I work in advertising. Advertising! Counsellor of Fraud, Sower of Discord--I
did it all in the name of our Lord. So step aside, I’m the baddest man in town. All aboard for a
one way trip, going down.

SUBLEVEL ONE--The Greedy, the Money-lenders, the hoarders and squanderers. Look, it’s
our clients, for whom it paid to so well advertise products in every package size. There’s the
brand managers from the petfood division of Nestle. They thought cat owners feeding fish and
rice instead of Friskies was nothing short of tragedy. “How can they think that fish is a natural
cat food?” You mean, aside from ten thousand years of history and the cat’s own attitude?

“How can we change that, get in their heads, rewire their circuits to use Friskies instead?
Organize some focus groups, draw up some storyboards! Tell them our new formula is more
delicious than before. What if we gave them a free cat brush with the five kilogram pack? Or
made crunchier kibble and called it a teeth-cleaning snack? It’s tasty, convenient, nutritious--
these are the facts. How can these people still cook for their cats?”

Our research indicates that our average target consumer is a 26-year old Malay Buddhist
woman with half a university education and 2. 3 cats. Qualitative interviews across five
nations in six languages suggest that well, when push comes to shove, the ingredient
apparently missing from cat food is…love.

Love! Why didn’t we think of that! Call the factory, let’s make love. Packets of love gravy,
pictures of love, kittens being tickled, specially formulated love crystals in the kibble. That has
to penetrate their perceptions, mustn’t it? Stands to reason, doesn’t it? No wonder we’re all in
hell. Hi guys! I assume the rest of your company are all here as well? Must be short of office
space in this part of town. So enjoy your stay but I’ve got to go…down…

SUBLEVEL TWO--The Gluttonous and Lustful. The boozers and the eaters, and sex-
obsessed--basically the Thai middle class and every expat I’ve met. Our beloved consumers.
Did we bring you into this mess--you whose insecurities we tried to address? So we used sex
to sell you a few things--it always paid. And you believed dandruff was why you couldn’t get
laid? Whoops.

I suppose you think we went too far, telling you that a Mercedes was more than just a car.
That crap about German engineering, and status, and raising the bar, your penis looking
bigger with a three-pointed star? You fell for that one. You deserved what you got. You could
have fed a starving village with that five million baht--but no, you’re here, in hell, with me,
exiled forever from the driver’s seat. Well, maybe you can lose some weight in this heat. Keep
in touch, see you around, and don’t feel so bad--I’m sure it only gets worse further down.

SUBLEVEL THREE--Bearers of False Witness.The iniquity den, all manner of corrupt leaders
of men. CEOs who cashed in shares while their employees were sacked; fashion models who
think they can act. Most of the world’s governments are here, I think. The Burmese Junta, the
CIA, and Bernard Trink. Seen any good movies lately Bernie, which you don’t understand?
Four stars for Suriyothai? Memento was badly done? A Knight’s Tale was top ten for 2001?

Y’know, I thought you’d be upstairs with the rest of the sleazy troglodytes, but I see you got a
promotion for pretending you could write. Well, at least you meant it, you were retarded but
sincere, whereas I never believed in slogans the way you believed in your leer. So, gotta go,
there’s a lake fire in which I must drown. It’s in the basement, come visit next time you’re
down.

SUBLEVEL FOUR--Adulterers and whores. No bargirls here, mind you--they were just doing
what they had to do--but I see tobacco attorneys, military scientists, and all the rest--doctors
who got rich giving bargirls big breasts.

I could get off here, I’m more than whore qualified, since my ambitions to write novels
commited suicide with that Coca-Cola rut, when I was their native-English-speaking
copywriting slut. Hi, I’m Wes--I reads poetry at some caf? but my love for art won’t get in our
way. A calender hyping oversweetened beverages--sure! I don’t suck cock--yet--but I’ll write
your brochure. Advertising, sellout of mortal renown. Who else is left on the train downtown?

SUBLEVEL FIVE--Telemarketers, televangelists, and most of Thai Rak Thai. There’s Mr.
Thaksin, depressed and alone. Eternity with no signal on his AIS phone! How is advertising
worse than what these guys do? Just because we pitched for them and Orange and DTAC
too? Okay, justice goes around, comes around. What rises must converge and take the
elevator down.

SUBLEVEL SIX--Murderers, mafia, and boy bands--there’s a weird mix. Westlife, BoyZone,
N’Sync too. Forced to write their own songs for food. There’s Duangchalerm Yubamruang
and his assasination crew; there’s the Prince and his bodyguards and his little dog too. Oh
dear, did I just insult the royal crown? Who cares? I’m in hell with the Ronin Keating, and I’m
still going down.

SUBLEVEL SEVEN--Last stop, PR and advertising heaven. The moment where capitalism
went wrong, the horse that your addiction rode in on. Advertising. Say it loud and there’s a
jingle playing, say it soft and it’s a CEO praying. Was it such a terrible way to make a living,
emotional manipulation without social merit? The free market still stands to reason, doesn’t it?
Ow! Guess not.

Look, tell the devil we’ve got a great idea for a new Tourism Campaign. We’ll survey the souls
still on the earthly plane and take market share from God with a first-quarter gain. Ow! Watch
the pitchfork! Product lines! I’ve got ideas for a fast food tie-in. Figurines, spicy fries, strike me
down if I’m lying. Shit! Just kidding, local humor, say why do we have to call it “Hell” ? New
name, new logo --“Middle Earth” might sell. No? Been done? But trademarks don’t apply
anymore. Trust me, I know a great corporate lawyer up on Level Four. Whoa, is that the lake
of fire I read so much about? You know your brochure’s too long, but there’s great word of
mouth! I tell you, some timeshare cabins could really liven up this dump. Wow, I can feel that
heat--what, you want me to jump?

"Then the Lord will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the
eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing
to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite
me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not
look after me.And the damned will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a
stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? And he will reply,
Whatever you did not do for one of the least of my brethren, you did not do for me.”
Matthew 25: 37-45

Hopewell

The waters of Eden used to drown these plains
When the year began with the end of the rains
Where spectacles fogged with the steam of green tea, and not with the soot of industry
There was a time, there was a grace, there was a moment of amber freeze
When the road was a moat and silence was a boat and a startle was a sneeze
And the thirst could float, and the trees could vote with their arms upheld in the breeze
The water underground was softer than sound and languished with ease
As the farmers up top used to let it all go, let it all flow
Let it run unseen to the sea

When did canals see the side of the wall, was the rise of the tides the beginning of the fall
Does a river in a straitjacket fail to thrive, or do the needs of a city still keep it alive
Like veins of blood reined from plains of mud will the cardiac arrest when the flow gets stalled
By the cake and the crumble of crud, from the urban sprawl of a free for all
Will the heart get nervous when no city service scrapes out the cholesterol?
But at least it was water, the sons and daughters of the sea, in between the debris
Even the filthiest orphans have the the clean embrace of memory
With a toilet flush or an ice cube crushed there were garden plots of green
And the blessing of the rains were enough to run our city blood clean
Cause it would flow it could go we could row our way to work or to home
In the rains it was high in the drought it was low and it could seep like a poem
We could push our way through when the cloubursts grew into gray
And we could let it all go, let it all stay, let it all wait another day

And to die in an accident on the busiest street in town was to drown
When suicide was just falling down and saying "Let it all go, let it all flow, let the water rush in"
Let the blood of the city crown the blood of my sin "Let it all go, let it all sink let my body find the earth
"Let me clog the great heart, let me do my part, let me at last find worth."

So they paved paradise and put up a traffic jam Sukhumvit flows to Sukhumvit slows to
Sukhumvit grinds to a halt
While the remaining canals choked on permanent dams
Of debris and detritus that was nobody's fault
In the bumper to bumper was a new neighborhood
Of newspaper readers on their idling car hoods
Or leaning against the vibrating bus, dozing off in the still
Of a settled cloud of our own slow kill
And we sang out between the puffs of a smoke
Let us all go, let us all free, let us slowly evoke
Something else
So they put plants in the median then blocked out the sun
With a bridge that would span the miles
Eight stories high qualifies as the sky to the people who walk with their feet on the street
Or step into a bus that wallows in gusts of carbon fumes that are not consumed
By the six months of rain or the fried plantains of the street grills that add to the heat
And the weight on the lungs of the doomed
Here in the land of smiles

The gift was movement, a contant speed
A rhythm that rocked like a Japanese clock with hands of arrow rockets
The quenching of an awakened need
And the heightened sight of fresh air flight over the kitchens of wealthy pockets
The gift was a view into the backdoors of the few who had fenced off their way of life
With morbid thirst our eyes could burst into the city still unknown
The peeling paints of embassy walls, the hair of the ambassador's wife
The groomed fields of polo heels, the shamed empty lots overgrown
Hotel beds and their rumpled sprawl whose languid nights used to be above it all
Were television now for the transit masses
And the peek of a shower or the rooftop flowers
Softened by the blur of twelve miles per hour

And the rich cried out through the soundproof glass
That the future was raising up the poor too fast
And they said take it all down bring it back to the ground
The priveledge of height is to never be found
By the eyes of the street level caste
And somewhere in the soup of the city-light glow
We were given again a feeling of flow
As we cruised electric over the park of cars, sealed safe in our jar of air conditioned gain
We could almost unclench we could almost relent we could almost let go of the strain
Were it not for the torture of the memory of water
That we couldn't bring into the train
And the rain remains outside, where it drips off the tips like a falling petal
And falls numb to the street where it fades on the heat of a taxicab's idling metal

There's a button behind glass you can break
That stops everything But you must commit to what you press
And no one's willing to clean the mess
Of interrupting city time
Your bloody palm remains to confess
The scarlet letter of your crime
Of stopping the people from their appointed rounds
To the temples and markets on the outskirts of town

And just for the record you cannot see through
To the grounds of the preperatory school
For girls on Chitlom road.
Where a high hard wall blocks curious looks at the lives of white-shirted girls
Because as a naked dancer on ya ba hooks will insist to the rest of the world
The privacy of a young girl's fort
Remains strangely sacred to the penal courts
And the thousand high voices that hold up the wall
Sing like Jericho soldiers bringing on the fall
Of the tower of Babel that eclipses the sun
From the starving grasses of their groomed Verdun
Singing "Let it all go, send it all back, cause our minds can't fly
When a trainful of eyes wanders into our sky
Make it all go away, bring us back the long days when the sun would set lower down
Let us be young, let our whims be flung against the needs of the workers in this town

There's a monument just up north, of a concrete failure that was once set forth
To make a highway and a train fly off the floor in a bundle of speed above the poor
But the river of money ran dry
And the remnant scar is a bridge too far, a stonehenge of stone supports
That hold up a phantom of a dream deferred, of missing accounting reports
As you drive on past you can trace the rise
And fall of a ghost of enormous size
And say a prayer for a good intention

And if you took it all down every brick to the ground
You could built a new wall that went all the way around
And unleash a flood of invention
When the monsoons come and the waters run to the walls with nowhere to go
Until the rising tide drowns what the streets had dried in a silent homecoming flow
When the buses all vanish in a gurgle of bubbles and the cars lose their urgency
And the orphaned puddles in the stagnant klongs are absorbed by a blue family
And we all have to equally share
The housing at the top of the stairs
The commerce that lazily floats
On a silent traffic of wooden boats
And the train would remain but a little further from the sky
With its view of everything wet, and its promise of evrything dry

And I say let it all go this ridiculous notion
Let it all fade in this blur of motion
Let it all drop let it all die this idea of what
We can see and what we can't among virgins and sluts
Let the walls all crumble let our brown eyes stumble
Let us share our vision of redemption and derision
Let it all fall let it all fade let us burn down the wall
Let us all walk slow through the urban sprawl
Let us all swim let us all drink let us all stand tall

Valentine

Valentine was a man
of the cloth of a new god they called christ
back in the day when christ was a man
and not a curse or an institution

Valentine was a doctor
of unnoble birth, of herbs and potions enticed
back in the time when doctors were men
and the best cure was absolution

from a man of the cloth, who believed in a god
that was younger than the empire's wing
from a hard pious mind whose soft virgin skin
was older than the pagan spring

Claudius was an emperor
The cruel, second one, centuries down the timeline
About three chapters flipped in the ancient history book
There's a footnote with his image

Claudius was a loser
Of the fights he picked to buttress his sense of bloodline
About three out of four of the battlefield wagers he took
Were a shame to his patrician lineage

The thorn in his side was knowing that size matters much in the legacy of a king
And so he brainstormed forth an unholy writ that his enemy was animal mating

Love was the problem
His soldiers fell into it and then they drowned
When they emerged they were soaked in devotion
To some women who sent them letters

Love was a weakness
In a soldier who paused as he sacked a town
To look over his shoulder and sigh with emotion
At a memory that was tenderly better

Than the object of war and the thrust of the blade for the glory of the holy roman
Than the growth of the map in the oral tirade of Claudius' phobic omen

The law was passed
That soldiers could not marry or even date
They could rape as they pillaged if it was on the way
As long as they stayed unattached

Unions were annulled
Widows emerged not by death but by fate
As bachelorhood descended like a swarm that slayed
The vows of a perfect match

So before they enlisted to be send to the fields for an undistracted war
They married in secret in the dusky woods consumating on brambled floors
Valentine was a man
Who understood the pain of forbidden belief
Serving a saviour before the birth of its church
In the ashes of the crimes of Nero

Love needed a plan
To carry the letters and to play the thief
And marry the lovers in the midnight lurch
And carry the cross of the hero

It was Valentine who followed god to the stifled cries of the love denied
And to love brought sacrament to soldiers' hands and to law his emperor
defied

Claudius did not know god
Or any love that showed its open eyes
When Valentine was pushed at the point of sword
To bleed at Claudius feet

An emperor can't spare the rod
Lest mercy wash the ugly truth upon his perfect lies
To the face of Valentine he asked a single word
From high upon his seat

"Why?"

But the humble doctor did not respond or even look in his direction
But at the married couples who hadcome to fill the gallery's every section

"Why indeed," he said,
"Pave the roads with cobbled stones
Or teach a horse to never look aside
Or measure a men by maps."

"Why proceed," he said,
"When your eunuch army falls to bones
With no new sons borne from their brides
Your empire will collapse."

The face of Claudius stayed a frown as his bitter thumb turned spitefully down
And Valentine was carried bound to a tall wooden stake in the heart of town

And the lovers wept
As the doctor took and moment and wrote
On a slip of parchment he had saved
Before his hands were lashed behind his back

And justice slept
As the guard took Valentine's folded note
An epitaph for the doctor's grave
As the torches were laid at the foot of the stack

And scrawled in black were words for kings and all their fellow flawed:
"If a doctor priest can die for love, then a lover can live for god."

Valentine had no idea
Of pantomime stardom on sepia film clips
In the sandbox deserts of Hollywood lots
When babylon was entertainment

Valentine had no career
Depriving women of their satiny slips
In venetian boudoirs of thickening plots
Of lusts beyond containment

From a man of the flesh who leapt from the bridges and blew kisses from a dapper dash
From a velveteen mind of a teenage heart that left its poems draped like a silken sash

Valentine was not
These things
At all

Nightlife

Bangkok: It's a Friday night; I'm looking for nightlife, in the city of light
The air feels humid like it's full of stuff;
I just changed shoes cause my soul feels rough
And full of bounce, a little spring in my step;
I'm thinking Cowboy, Patpong, or maybe the NEP
But that's later, later, we'll take the high road first;
put the best foot forward and move on to the worst
What can we do, where can we start the night;
meet me at the Wall and we'll grab a quick bite

I hear Jawa's playing down at the Half Moon Street;
songs about bargirls to a rock and roll beat
It's a well-lighted place, bring the kids and the wife;
but why listen to the songs when you can live the life
I'm looking for nighlife, and not the spectator kind;
I got all day to sleep off any trouble I find
I want beer, I want girls, I want drugs in a cup;
I wanna vomit on a whore when the sun comes up
All right, take it slow, just ease on down;
we got a bucketfull of choices in this crazy ass town

I'm looking for news, I'm browsing through METRO;
They got some story on a decade that they now call retro
Here's some pictures of a party that I skipped on a hunch;
with the same damned people that I hated last month
Where's the listings what's the scoop where's the club scene at;
I'm so sick of that bitch in the big dumb hat
Or the half-Chinese that like to throw little fits;
I can't believe I really paid a hundred Baht for this shit
Stupid English writers are so easy to despise;
wait, didn't I used to write for these guys?
Never mind--forget the rag, it's a drag, I'm a stag;
Papa's got a brand new bag
And he's looking for nightlife, oh hell it's eleven pm
Time to roll, time to go, time to get off the phone;
put on my last clean shirt and a spritz of cologne
Hail a cab to the curb and we're on our way;
and take a ride to the Red Bar on the RCA

And then we cruise, nice and slow, down the street of strobe lights
A thousand girls in white shirts not a falang in sight
This is good, this is fine, I think we made a good choice;
Menage of disco music seems to sing in one voice
Saying "This is the nightlife, the river of dreams,
so let down your hair and let your fantasies scream
I'm hunting for high life, I'm trolling for High So;
Spaghetti strap dresses that are about to let go
Of a shoulder of a princess with the pristine skin;
with her friends in a circle that we can't break in
What's up with that? What's the deal? Is it something I said?
Now she's walking on my and she's turning her head
And there she goes, never mind, the night is still young;
Red's just the tip of the RCA tongue
There's a well worn-road down to Route 66;
Ok, who can speak Thai so we can talk to these chicks?
Who cares, there's a special on the Royal Spey;
take it with us in the taxi and we'll drink on our way

Cause we're looking for nightlife, it's 12am;
And Delaney's is rocking with some crappy Irish band
And O'Reilly's is dead, but we'll stay for a beer;
or maybe five and some fries, til our next move is clear
I'm thinking Patpong, what the hell, cause I'm kinda sorta drunk;
I need a girl who mind that I'm a pissed out punk
So we take a short walk to the night market side;
take a leak, sneak a peek at the girls inside
Push our way to the stage but there's no room to roam;
when are all these tourists gonna fucking go home?
Grab a cab, take a stab, tell him soi Nana;
Meter Meter Meter Mai pen Rai Kap Khun Krap
We'll just get one off the street, come on, hurry up quick;
we can come back later for the meat on a stick
We're at the G-Spot, the Twister, and the Carousel;
Drink for you drink for me, and your friend as well
You can worship at the temple of the bargirl wat;
when your pocket's got a stack of crispy grey baht
That girl, or her ass, looks familiar to me;
did you ever date a girl named "23"?

I'm looking for action, but it's time to go;
maybe make a quick stop at the Nana Disco
This music sucks, I want some hip hop and trance;
life's too short to watch these fat guys dance
I'm looking for girls here on Soi Cowboy;
but all the best looking legs all belong to katoeys
Don't even go there, she's a muscular thug;
and don't feed the elephant and don't eat the bugs
I think it's time for Soi 4 and some serious drugs

I'm looking for nightlife, it's 2am;
and we're shaking with the gay boys butch and femme
With the Tapas DJ laying down the groove;
and the kamikaze ice lubricating my moves
I feel good, in fact I think I feel great;
might be the full tab of E I just ate
I like your shirt, that's a really nice fabric;
can't you feel all the beauty in this rhythmic havoc?
I'm really flying, are my feet on the ground?
The bass is like silk being woven all around
Come here, all of you, and gimme a hug;
I really love you, man, and it's not just the drugs
Or maybe it is, I don't care, cause you're my best friend;
And this city is a ride with and endless end
And there's music, and it's coating my mind;
Hey what's with the lights, is it closing time?
I'm still riding, I'm still flying, don't make me get off;
don't let the world turn hard when my eyes are so soft

I'm looking for nightlife, it's 3am;
And Lucifer's throbbing with the hell condemned
We're on fire with the flesh of the late-night folk;
cooling down our E engines with a whiskey and coke
I see tourists, and hipsters, and spike haired gays;
I see bargirls and students and the shades of grey
The whole floor is a wave that goes up and down;
to the time of a techno into which I drown
I need some water, I need to unclench my teeth;
I'm looking down from the upstairs at the life undreneath
My legs hurt, but I can't stop moving;
My body can't quit while my trip's improving
The club is closing? What? But I'm in too deep;
It's a Friday night--I got two days to sleep

I'm looking for nightlife, it's 4am;
and the Music Café's full of women and men
And we're talking and we're drinking amd pretending to listen;
to the holes on the high of the drugs we're missing
And the beer pours down into endless cups;
as if the tide could delay when the sun comes up
I'm coming down, but I'm almost drunk again;
I love this town, because time is still my friend
I can't see too straight but that's just as well;
any girl out this late's gonna look like hell
And so do I, so do we, we're not looking so fit;
my cologne is smoke and my clean shirt's shit

And I'm still looking for nightlife, it's 6am;
and there's one last stop--the crème de la crème
The gutter, the draincatch of the Bangkok slop;
a secret little disco above the noodle shop
And so we stumble and we crawl up the unmarked stairs;
to the womb of the dodgy to the sleazebag's fair
Where the lasest of nights comes to hide from death;
armored in the mist of our boozy breath
And time stands still for a frozen frame;
as the last of the damned play the pick up game

Of looking for nightlife, cause it's 8am;
my skin is salt and my throat is phlegm
There's nothing between me and the sun but that door;
as unkind to my head as to the face of a whore
And I'm glad I'm alone, this is no moment to share;
maybe one last stop on my way back to my lair

I'm looking for breakfast--no I'm not;
my lungs are bleeding and my voice is shot
I'm looking for a showerand a bed, and an unplugged phone
I'm looking for the opposite of nightlife--home.

Greed

Greed
Is deadly sin number seven
The rude presumption of being driven
To ask for more than what god has given
A whole box of donuts, a minor wife
Stock options that sponsor your laziness for life
Time
To take a shit in every village, and buy a souvenir
From every barefoot village girl enlightened by your leer

So they held the senatorial elections, but they uncovered some irregularities there
Some votes were apparently bought and sold and as a democracy we're obliged to care
As if there's some real difference, between choice one and choice two
As if the people's mandate means reforms are coming through
Since when was a bridge between the lowest and the high
The epitaph of pampered men who are more Chinese than Thai?
But it seems like something we should all talk about
Or think about to sort it out to kill the shdows beyond our doubt
That it should tickle our outrage and not just our throats
With the threat of a dry weekend--oh god, not that!
Is that really the hardest part, is that the heart of our fear
That a nullified election means another Friday without beer?

See I think so, I know so, I can hear it in the moans
Of the honorary alcoholics that I counsel on the phone
And that's greed, see, the gullet that beckons twice
For the sating swallow of state sponsored vice
There's the outrage, there's the unforgivable crime
That the city of night could repress our good times
For once--
For one night
I know greed, greed is a friend of mine, and senator, you're no greed
Or maybe just the shallowest kind, the garden variety
That we illustrate in dictionaries and frame behind glass
As an example of something we're not

But I know what I am, who I work for, and why
It's more like seed than greed
Seed is the money that we're trying to raise from the fats cats that fly
Seed is the brand name that we're trying to plant in the dirty minds that buy
What? Nothing.
In a starving world we make nothing.
We have nothing to offer, nothing for sale, offices that design the perfect nothing
But it's worth millions if we color it the right shade of orange and green
And auction it off, sight unseen
It is a company we keep and no one's losing sleep
Over our impending options
That will line our pockets with dust of gold if we prop up the lie long enough
And so we all get paid to assist the delay, to keep it erect and fluff
Come on, lets go
Take a deep breath on your knees and blow
Oh, that's greed

We are the pushers of ones and zeros arranged in a trademarked combination
We are the eaters of resource pies and and sqautters at consumption station
A sweet tooth's handy when life is candy
Liquor's quicker and I'm taking the path of least resistance down
Liquid methadone oils the corners of my optimistic frown
The hitbox stats feed us endless fact, that ice is nice, and our target demographic is oh so young
So let's clean the teen scene of their monetary steam through their sugared dreams far flung
Please take a moment to read our flyer
Would you like to become an affiliate?
Mentholate my mouthwash with a minty hint of spearmint white
A pill of cool that marks the skin of the room within my bite
Sticky and viral, pricked with a spiral, let our poison work its art
It'll penetrate your skin, infect you within with a dew drop sink to your heart
Pull my loose thread and drop my buttons, strip me of my buttoned up look
Stay for a drink while I peer at your pink as you wriggle on the end of our hook

What I mean is this
Do you see a difference between my gluttony and my greed?
How I take more than I want and then pretend it's what I need?
When we take the high pay and become what we do
Well, we could all teach those senators a thing or two
About
No longer fearing the men we're becoming
Or how fast we'll catch him at the speed that we're running
Toward the forced sobriety of election day number three
A collective pretense about the face and meaning of greed
So re-acquaint me with my pillowcase, take the alarm of snooze
And I'll dream about money on a day without booze

Movement

I'm doing my laundry by hand, or rather by foot
Stomping the cloth and suds beneath a cadence
Of dance
Making grey wine from the grapes
Of my daily advance
Between my toes and my towels is a small white shirt
That you wore overnight
In the bed that I have not yet made
Because its rumples and folds remain
A monument
And it seems that this shirt that could still smell like us
Like that moment your mouth made its silent proposal
Shouldn't be underfoot
Giving up its precious flakes of your dust
to the spiralling drain of bathtub disposal

This clubfoot clod, this Nazi stomp
This is not the way we danced
When the house lights came up and the drugs faded down
And the scurry of revelers left the floor wide open
Like a gap in time for those like us
Who talked with our fingertips
And sank to our knees
And took turns keeping our eyes open
So the other could see
The other one trusting
Both of us turning clockwise against the colors
Directing the very air to stop
Awaiting the judgement of sunlight to drop

I know your arms, the elbows and the wrists
The angle of your chin when the seratonin hits
The five different ways you say nothing
The six preset stations on your car radio
And the order in which you browse them
The silvered hairs that you deny
The speed you type when you try not to cry
And which photos don't do you justice

Daylight softens your face like butter
So I pull closed the curtain and slow down the shutter
And snap a colorless photo of you
By taking a picture
A flake of your mixture
is captured for me
One that won't be watered down
I can firm up the lines that box you from behind
But in the failing light of our slingshot nights
You develop as a blurry
A diagonal flurry of sepia bleach
As if staying in focus were a promise to which
You were not quite ready to reach

Did you make me an offer that I couldn't hear?
Did I feed you a sympathy that tasted heavy?
There are passengers and there are accidents
Houses built on surface tension
To which the slightest movement is fatal
This is what I can't do
This is what I can
Knowing what you don't want is a start
But not a plan
And so we didn't improve
But confined our dance to its boxed-in circles
You let go of the wheel, I spoke in music
So we surrendered the verdict of regret to the angels
That held our eyelids shut
Because we couldn't move

The small white shirt is empty of skin
The image of you and the sunlight within
Aging gracefully in my photo album
Inexorably fades
As the probability of improbable us
Turns a darker shade
When the true impact of your failure to steer
Carries you past my habits of fear
As the laundry rinse brings and end to our dance
And time moves against our window of chance

Indulgence

The sun also rises, across the unshirted backs of two lovers still spooned
like human quotation marks
Still broken and soft from the release of last night's punctuation
She takes his arm and breaks from the harm of believing in a moment of comfort
And studies his face for a lingering trace of his heartbreaking hesitation
To her full-bodied offer to be more than just a degree of his weekly streak
of heat through the strobe lights of midnight ecstasy
For how could it be that her fingertips on his temples rubbing slow backwards circles
During yesterday's TV could fail to erase his greed about freedom
But his eyes as they open remain out of love
And wander, wander from her shoulders to the view outside the window
Towards some future afternoon with who knows who
And they beg patience, patience, those eyes
Be with me now, but don't rush the climb
You've got my attention now give it some time
Just indulge me

The taxicab stalls in the traffic and rain on a gridlocked bridge where the cars are a train
That's been wrecked in the drive towards progress
And the cab driver has neither time nor change for 500 baht or a quick
exchange at the bookshop just on the corner
So she tips him something obscene, and remembers a day when she was only sixteen
And she couldn't afford such dismissals
But there's a buddhist blessing painted white on the ceiling of his car
That speaks of a fullness of hope, and a poverty of flesh and says feel some
Gratitude, gratitude, girl for your life that dodges the raindrops at my expense
Attitude, attitude--your small change is my big break
The cash you forget is the merit you make
So indulge me

Her boss calls a meeting in the rectangular room that's been a coffin for so many pitches
And the ashes of VC cigarettes still decorate the emptiness of his voice as he says
There's gonna be some changes in the salary ranges
Another rain delay in our rags to riches
And some business book trash talk about sharing the sacrifice
Or spreading the pain
So she nods in team spirit, having abandoned the wait
Long ago for the IPO and the flavor of better options
Scratches her pencil across the page of her notebook as if she were
Sketching his voice in gesture of jest
Etching a seismograph reading, or an EKG or a polygraph test
As he tells them the pay cuts are only temporary
That I'm taking one too
And that we'll all see this through
If you indulge me

Now later that night on her second or third drink
Just as she thinks that with her hair still smelling like rain
She'll never get that compliment she's earned
For trooping through a day with these complications
When the drunken man clutches her arm
And tells her straight to her breasts that she's beautiful, well
It's no consolation
So she throws down her money before he offers her any
Cause it's the last humiliation
That this blurry philosopher with a head of stone
Could reach for her lips and find there a home
If she could just indulge him a moment of grace--
Forgetting his face as she picks up her pace towards a taxicab parked in the street
Checking her change she closes the door
She notices a young girl silent at the opposite window
Skin dark and dirty like the smoke and coffee stains of honest conversation
The girl holds up a mangled clothes hanger that dangles a row of fresh white flowers
Wreaths of prayer that look clean as new shoes
Doesn't say a word but just nods without blinking
Declaims with her eyes what the whole city's thinking
But from another point of view

I am nothing without your mercy
Your preganant pause, your fingers on the coin
Your memory of hunger that my silence enjoins
I am the drunkard infused by your strength to refuse
Without your disgust I'd have nothing to chase
And I would die on this stool from attrition
I am the great white boss in the great white suit
Commited to my suicide mission
Without your loss I cannot win
Without your money to punish I have no discipline
I am the taxicab driver whose change for a fiver
Is borne from your fear of the rain
I am your lover ensconced in the morning sheets
ith my pretense of not seeing pain
I am fed on your lust and unspoken commands, I am propped by charity
Of your unmet demands
Beautiful, beautiful you, I am the life of the city
Appropros, I suppose of your endless ability
To indulge me.

Fear

--Prelude
Oh thank you, Unnamed One
For my voice, cracked
That it can shudder, racked
With confession extreme
Until your hands on my cheek
Cleanse my throat with the heat
Of a love supreme

--Loss
I nailed you to the wall in a photograph in some ironic attempt to show
that if your eyes, alive, are an epitaph
your face crucified is still appropos
Of nothing
Recall the frantic mist of my whispers
Diamonds of ache and puppy drool
Your needs chained beneath languid skin
Rusting madly for a sky
You and I were everything

--Insanity
There's a thread in my head that's been aching to break
Just waiting for the next blunt trauma of coming awake
And when it snaps I collapse through the floor
Into my basement where god used to live
When he moved out, he was so kind as to lock up the door
And buttress the rafters so they wouldn't give
It's been fifteen years trying to fill that room
I've fed it books and people and scientific evidence
Shat and spat and thrown fire at his tomb
Invited entire cities to take up residence
Cowered in the attic corners I cover my ears
Singing my fevered lullabies of eternal fear
God has left the building
God has left the building
This room is so big

--Parents
For the first time ever this year
My Christmas present to you
Cost more than
Your Christmas present to me
Those silk boxers were a mistake, as was that fountain pen
And the single malt Scotch
Because a man of your age has chosen his briefs and ball points
And cognac for life
This time it's different-- an antique Chinese box
Entombing a breath of ancient Ming
A voice, a timbre of Dynastic air
My wealth and taste, my adulthood, my life
Should be better than a Master's degree
Later at the airport I wait for you to say something
But instead you give me money

--Failure
The Internet
Is officially out of money
Please clean out your desk and go home
Thank you for playing

--Impotence
I cannot write poetry the way you do, the way you just do it
Letting your jaw go slack, and drooling in patterns
Across the electric canvas
I call you nature because you abhor a vacuum
And because when I stop wanting you
You start kissing me on the lips to say goodnight

--Memory
What remains when I forget the joy of helping strangers find their way, the rhythmic drown of dancing until the new blue of day, the flavor of fresh seafood and the stiffness of new shoes, the earthy station of friendship, the childish thrill of a room with a view, the velvet aroma of port and the peaty musk of scotch, the flavor of new words, the pliability of a cat napping on your crotch the greedy victory of receiving a letter, the aqualine trill of a first soprano the stereophonic gentility of rain, and the dark sweetness of an Oreo the warm mud of sunshine, the soulful orgasm of uncontrollable laughter, the posture-lifting mirror-reflection of a good haircut, the looking at of photos after the primordial lure of the campfire, the forgiving embrace of a familiar bed, the huggy cush of warm, clean laundry, what remains if I forget? the infallible miracle of birth, the omnidirectional resistance of pool water, mind and body unclenching of drunkenness, the new wealth of a clean car, the unplaceable nostalgia of a stranger's perfume, the immobile fortitude of the heavenly bodies, the silent lushness of houseplants, the versatilty of language, the enigmatic Brunelli float of a tossed frisbee, the fantastic compactness of small calculators, the softly bumpy travel of small boats, the unedited truth of dreams, the color of a crowd of people, what remains if I forget?

--God
Read the book again if you have to, it has no weight on the shelf
Everything you shit is made of food you chose yourself
Try another woman, you're getting closer to the day
You earn your selfish orgasms, and so do they
Move on, work harder, fight
Listen
Until you get it right like the 25th time you heard John Coltrane
and the first time you hrad the prayer behind the pain
And that those high notes that reached
Heavenward, and grazed the edge of screech were not accidents or flaws in the musical laws
That a broken blue note, like a cracked reed, like a cracked voice, or a split lip like a facial expression
Breaking was the language of the penitent heart, the mind surrendered
the sobbing sorry artist crumbled before the voice of god rendered
the cry for help, the shivering shame, the unspeakable gratitude
for the life inside that pushes clear,
the eternal chance to be free from fear

Oh thank you, Unnamed One
For my voice, cracked
That it can shudder, racked
With confession extreme
Until your hands on my cheek
Cleanse my throat with the heat
Of a love supreme

Recovery

We've been taking drugs and sips of wine
Sniffing the mirror in small white lines
It's New Year's Eve and Tuesday never comes
The music's deep and the water's cold
But the fireworks always reach this hole
And this southern beach already reeks of rum
The native girls are a brown skin blur
But the flirting phrase droops into slur
And we crawl along the plastic path of trash
As the ravers piss in the shoreline foam
And the lasers miss in their skyline poems
And we end the year that we've spent alone
With a high that dies when the sun comes home
Into the crash

We're collecting girls for body parts
Dating down aisles with a shopping cart
Moving up a half step from our magazines
Vengeance on our past through vice
Stretching latex we roll the dice
Hoping no one can place us at the scene
A cold sore fired across the bow
Brings theory into here and now
And how it was you might have got that rash
As your second decade starts to wane
There's something lost with each partner gained
When each one links you to the chain
Sounds like freedom but it sinks like pain
Into the crash

And we're buying every toy in sight
Cameras that can see at night
Saving blurry revels for old remembering
Cigarettes mixed with a bernaise sauce
SIM card swapping in a telecom toss
Bribing cops with the pink face of the king
We all had jobs on the internet
Flying high with our options set
Flushing out our senses with a wad of cash
Tipping girls on the drinks we spent
High rise views that raised our rent
Burning the bibles of the penitent
Toppling over the rails we went
Into the crash
Into the crash

But…
It's arriving through a package from overseas
From Manhattan streets that weren't filled with ease
It's a memory that's faint
Of the healthy lives of saints
And of desert air that didn't make us wheeze
From the battles with our lousy diets
That quicken death in every way
And the mourning of our ambitions
That got lost along the way
Recovery is coming, to the BKK

It begins deep within our blood
Our western lungs crusted with crud
The resistances created
When the germs assimilated
Into organs that can now survive the flood
From the filthy Song Kran water wars
That we now know not to play
To excessive antibiotics
We know now to turn away
Recovery is coming, to our hearts of clay

It will erase the fact that you were fired
It will calm the debts your habits sired
Take your spending down a notch
Slam your laptop on your crotch
And freelance out the skills that got you hired
From the classified and online ads
Where you send your resume
To your lawyer who is filing suit
For three month's severance pay
Recovery is coming, to our idle days

Press on, press on,
The New Year's legislature
Let our childish hungers be rent asunder
By the resolute angels of our nature
Press on, press on, press on

It's in the shadows behind the bargirl's eyes
It will dampen the fire between your thighs
If the pleasure from their pain
Or HIV cannot restrain
Then without a job at least you can't afford those lies
But the feast of lust untethered
That indulgence never sates
Will infect its ugly odors
On the loved one who relates
Recovery is coming, after three months' wait.

It will hold you, sober as a stone
A terrible Tuesday, for which you will atone
The alcoholic river
That's been poisoning your liver
Will dissolve the pylons holding up your home
But the friendships that can post your bail
Which lies have not delayed
Will toast their cokes in empathy
And pay cab fare for AA
Recovery is coming, to your hairs of gray

Your addictions to pharmacies and grease
Have left you short of breath, nervous, and obese
The days of caffeine wired
Sticks of nicotine on fire
Have your twisting heart about to lose its lease
And when the downers cannot cancel out
What the uppers have to say
The broken head must now invite
Cold turkeys out to play
Recovery is coming, on the seventh day

Press on, Press on,
The New Year's legislature
Let our childish hungers be rent asunder
By the resolute angels of our nature
Press on, press on, press on

It's as close as you're prepared to start
To shake the rust from habit food and heart
Just one cold shower
Of our higher power
Can moderate our worst extremes apart
From the storage bags of discipline
That Sin City can't decay
A memory of competence
At doing what we say
Recovery is coming
Recovery is coming to the expat way

Thirty, or Not Where I Started From

When did it ache to break into run, when did heroics pass by unsung?
Why do I fear the man I've become? This is not where I started from.
Bells and drums and horns and whistles, mark the cadence of the march
Step in time with the musical missiles, through the hunger of thirty's arch…
(beat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9--)

Rhythm of language beats the time/ Rhythm of tragedies reach for me
A moment of happiness breaks the rhyme/ A moment of silence shakes the tree
Days approach when I turn thirty/ Hear the bells that toll for thee
Suddenly time's in a terrible hurry/ Darkening math to mortality

You are my spiritual shadow/ High is the price of the spiritual me
Decades lost in the spiritual shallows/ Short on thirst in the spiritual sea
People around me acting all grownup/ Turning down drugs for a longer sleep
Passing up nights where the alcohol's thrown up/ Playing at house in a castle
keep

I hear/ the bells/ alarm/ my dreams/ the week/ has gone/ so fast/ it seems
The bells/ they warn/ my friends/ have wed/ we toast/ and sing/ to mourn/ the
dead

Here comes the spiritual shadow/ Dressed in white she's emotionally free
Dressed in black in the halls so hallowed/ Legally bound in security
What comes next in the life of the mammal/ Passing on genes in the chemical horde
Taking on chances less of a gamble/ Closing our eyes as we're falling towards

Death (1:57)………….(twitch)--

Mother gave birth when she was young/ Mother fell sick when I was three
Mother passed on while everyone hung on/ Pressing our flesh to the cemetery
They told me that god was watching/ They told me that she were saved
Touching my head with the best intentions/ Proving that roads to hell are
paved

The bells/ they shake/ the sky/ tonight/ a child/ he dreams/ of an/gels flight
Your hands/ are cold/ your face/ is white/ why can't/ I pray/ to die/ tonight

Nothing from your book gives me confidence/ Or separates the bones from the blood of dreams
Nothing has been entered into evidence/ That heaven is the home for the love supreme
Nothing I inflate is sufficiently big/ To occupy the spotlight in my adolescent stage
Nothing is uncovered when I push the dig/ Or duplicates my mother when I start to age

She was my spiritual shadow/ Wrong was the church's spiritual creed
There's no god who could act so callow/ Turning our grief into virtual greed
Riding my bike through the neighborhood darkness/ Trying new foods and philosophies
Making new friends in a moment of weakness/ Waiting for a colorblind society

Lured away by an out of state college/ Soaked in beer and denied parole
Cracking at the spine of the book of knowledge/ Faking my way to a paper goal
Packing it west, the direction of sunsets/ Desperate beauty by the desperate sea
Playing bad odds for a screenplay upset/ Feeding dead trees for the photocopy

The bells/ they clink/ of coins/ and cash/ I'll whore/ my skills/ and write/ a smash

But there's no rhythm in a pandering shoo-in/ There's no truth in the art we ruin
Register bells have a mass but no music/ Life is short and it's time that you seek

Love (3:50)………..down….up…1,2 (breath),3--

Once upon a time on a roller coaster/ Something with brown eyes looked at me
Nailed to my head in a memory's poster/ Axes cracking at the frozen seas
One of them waited for my overnight arrival/ Pressing her lips to the stationery
Lying to herself as an act of survival/ Pushing her curves in geometry

She who kept my name as a story title/ She who used my bed as an easy chair
She whose matinees were my only idol/ Raining on my face with her long black hair
Bouncing me off of her hard edges/ Plaguing my body like a case of flu
Pushing me over the cliffside ledges/ Flying high and falling down arriving at you

You are my spiritual shadow/ Slow is the growing of a spiritual me
You arrived at the moment I had no/ Memory of the woman who abandoned me
You can be my virtual angel/ Bury my mother in the hilltop glade
Take my hand and we'll cut an angle/………Into the parade

A society trade/ Of freedom for shade/ We'll merge all our days/ I'll carry the weight
As we dance away/ I'll promise to stay/ If you never say………. (5:28)

What remains in the album of history/ I've grown tired of chasing the mystery
There's no secret to my relationships/ Sometimes we just fuck up--think about it
We're not here to guarantee security/ I love you in all its sincerity
Everything dies it's just mathematical/ Why should I pretend to be exceptional

Twenty-nine years have taken me this far/ Wish for health on the tail of a shooting star
You can't prove that god is the enemy/ And I can't say that god's not inside of me
Why does love depend on fidelity/ Why do songs depend on a melody
What does worth have to do with utility /Why is birth the start of futility

Should I make as much as my father did/ Ask around and see who gives a shit
I'll never finish writing my thesis/ That's okay, 'cause no one would read it
Poems are written by fools undercover/ But only god can make you a tree lover
Spare their pulp from dying from screenplays/ Leave LA and make earth a greener place

Cross the sea, and find an apartment/ Find new gods in temple compartments
Listen to the sound of one hand clapping/ Feel the weight of your life happening
Lower your mass in velocity traveling/ Compass spins direction's unraveling
Numbers lie and so does society/ Why waste time perfecting anxiety

You have been my spiritual shadow/ Decades wasted in the spiritual shallows
Long has been the battle of my belief/ Take a plunge into the deep relief
Now embrace the man that you've become/You're not supposed to be where you started from
Grab your joyful noise and start to march/ Through the welcome door of thirty's arch

Bells can ring and say almost anything/ Ring the bells and let's say everything
Will that marriage stay strong forever/ Ring the bells and pray for vacation weather
Does my mother's soul go to heaven then/ Ring the bells and give her some wings then
Rhythm beats out the years that are killing me/ Ring the bells and let's face it willingly--go!

Symptoms of Withdrawal

April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead, mixing memory
and desire …
--T.S Eliot

1. Welcome to April's very clean world
Where the upright vacuum properly rips
The cat hairs from the carpet's grip
Like plankton free from anemone
Its swirling gutsy brush eats in a rush
And farts a purity unfurled

April's heavy metal condom box
Is now a coffin with an epitaph
Of an HIV test last month passed
Restoring April's fluidity with viral virginity
Unchaining her will from the tinfoil pill
And restoring the threat of uncovered cocks

Leaving April feeling clean and dry
While the lilacs press towards the springtime sky

But that's okay, that's all right
She kicked out the winter after their last fight
And spreads eagle in the middle of the bed at night

2. Peek underneath April's hairless upholstery
Sniff the sponge on her sudsy squeegee
The kind intersection orphans sorely lack
April draws wetly across her window pane
Erasing unclean drops from her view of the rain
Drumming upon corrugated metal shacks

Chill your ears inside April's vegetarian crisper
Check the firmness of her unpeeled fruit
The clarity of her noodles, the moisture of her root
The liquor is frozen, the salad tossed
No fingerprints melted in the Scotch bottle's frost
And she pretends not to hear the ice cream whisper

"Kiss me lover, I am fatty depravity"
To the molecules of pastrami in April's cavities

But that's okay, that's just fine
She surrendered the sacraments of blood and wine
And communes with the soybeans on which she dines

3. April's air conditioned fishbowl squeaks to the touch
Her plants are pruned of errant yellows and brown
Stains are soaked fluorescent until they drown
Her cat shits into a box of mountains crushed
And is torn of dander by a daily brush
She'd vacuum it directly if it didn't squirm so much

Her chemical cabinet, reduced to special occasions
Pre-rolled joints rusting madly for an excuse
Only paroled when company requests abuse
Her bong water's lighter than English tea,
The pipe clear of resin like a young artery
In the heart of an upright vacuum's operations

Heated by the insomnia of trying to unwind
Perspiring, she whetts for an altered state of mind

But that's okay, she'll resist
The memory of the Fall is enough to insist
That her sleepless Spring must still persist

4. I visited April in the neighborhood of the poor
And stood there humid as a recent shower
Reaching for April like a hothouse flower
April can and April May, tune my June with her angel eyes
But April will never sleep alone,
Until her memory atones
For what it meant when March walked out the door

April is the cruellest month,
Breeding lilacs out of the dead,
Mixing our memory with desire

April is the longest month,
Eating books instead of bread,
Fixing our weakness with a wire

April is the hottest month,
Smearing powder on our heads,
Nixing our history with the fire

But that's okay, this will pass,
Symptoms of withawal are a blessing to our fast
Pull back, pull out, put a lock on April's gate
There's a penalty for withdrawing early
And a penalty for withdrawing late

untitled

Your…pretty hand…is moving, delicately gripping,
The knob on top of the shaft,
pulling to the left and to the back
Shifting the engine into gear,
injecting fuel into my fear,
Because I know you're blind in one eye,
and your perception of depth is awry
But it's your car and I can't drive,
because stick shift's never been tried
My driver's license, I've been told
is only for the right side of the road
So I hold on as we hit fourth gear,
close my eyes as you start to steer
And cut in front of a big red bus,
that really wants to run over us
But I suppose that you're doing fine,
left and right across the white line
I guess that things they could be worse,
and that this free ride's isn't my first
And I appreciate getting a lift,
I just hope I survive the shift

This…job of mine…is boring, positively aching,
These daily tasks just nullify my day,
recombining words in a way that pays
Moving from this window to that,
recycling noise into new format
Illuminating perfect shades of red,
to light a fire in consumer heads
A piece of mind you can buy or lease,
faking news through a press release
Recommending restaurants where no one cooks,
reviewing movies stolen from books
Killing time from a life of art,
with the bullets in a Powerpoint chart
Recalling days when my words were clean,
And not a ghost inside the machine
When the nights weren't plagued by doubt,
That every keystroke sold me out
And I guess that it could be worse,
there's a wad of cash in my purse
And I don't mind feeling adrift,
I just want to survive this shift

My…president…is a moron,
and has declared war on,
Everything that I've come to support,
and the rare wisdom of the courts
The son of the center right,
who sees a thousand points of light
And thinks that drilling should resume,
to defend our need to consume
And that Kyoto is utterly moot,
when compared to our right to pollute
And that the drug war still can be won,
as long as alcoholics can carry guns
So I hold on as the blackout rolls,
across the evenly divided polls
As the big dams kill all the fish,
I still believe that despite my wish
That execution's unusually cruel,
even for a fossil who will never be fuel
And I know that it could be worse,
and that it's only a four year curse
That politics are a moment's drift,
and that the left will survive the shift

This… ground we stand on…is shaking,
a soft crust quaking,
The monuments crumbling into crypts,
The day the Richter scale finally tips
The foundations cracking at the base,
Rooftop debris giving gravity chase
Crushing our bones like proverbial bugs,
answering our question as Atlas shrugs
That the truth straight from heaven's gate,
is that our nations float on plates
And our house of stone has a liquid core,
and that our oil drills don't reach the floor
And as the broken glass finds it way to the sand,
We'll search the scriptures for the hand
Of your favorite god who doesn't care,
Any more than viruses unaware
Of the falling apart of the heavenly soul,
when the earthly center cannot hold
And I know that it could be worse,
Than an ambulance instead of a hearse
And civilization will ride the rift,
I just hope the city survives the shift

Your…pretty hand…is moving, delicately gripping,
These sleepy fingertips of mine,
waking me up from time to time
Knocking my nightmares our of gear,
Whsipering light against my ear
Dreaming a change inside my mind,
And weakening appetites left behind
And when I sense my sleep's improved,
I detect the world invisibly moved
And then I see that the way you drive,
Makes me quite afraid but quite alive
I see that money is a form of time,
And grand ideas don't need to rhyme
And that even massive presidential blunder,
Won't pull the true republic under
And that the grounded ways your fingers flirt,
Have compacted firmness to the earth
Most of all, it could be worse,
When a muse like you occupies my verse
So I'll accept that your hand is a gift,
and that I've already survived the shift

Surviving the Shift

/>

Ok old timer, so you've been here longer than I have, without a doubt
-think the sores on your lips are something to be proud about?
You've got stories about traffic before the expressways, Hopewell before it was Hopeless, Baiyoke Palace before it became the DTAC phallus
But before we cut open your liver and count the rings, let me tell you about the night I met the king.

That's right--the king
Oh I don't mean His Majesty Rama 9 or any of those other boulevards
I don't mean King Tut or King Crimson or Elvis Presley
No, I mean another. This kingdom was mine to discover.

Bangkok. Oriental city. 2544, in the year of our Skytrain and Lord
Downtown, somewhere in the twist of sois and tuk tuk mist, between the seasons of wet monsoon and thirsty tourist
I was midnight-navigating the fine line between deadly sins number six and seven, through an alley lined in crocodile leather

Looking for a pot to piss in, I found a wall to lean on deep and dark in a parking lot and took my shot through a doorway where I saw some neon light winking out from the smoky end from where I heard…music.

Urban sounds, outer worldly horns, reaching around my limbs like tractor beams made of clove cigarettes, pulling me through the door and onto a hardwood stool at the vortex of a swimming pool of voices.

There were all colors of lights and all colors of people, cats in feathered caps and elevated shoes without a trace of velcro. I mean it was a room out of time, a place out of space, the end of some tunnel that reached the other side of nightlife, drum and bass.

I was squeezed between a sober Turkish sailor and an Eskimo on a bender, and a seven foot nubian woman wearing a tight white T-shirt that said "Atlas the bartender."

"Where am I, ma'am?" I asked but she answered me with a margharita glass full of cherry vermouth and dry ice, glowing like the end of a menthol 120. Pulled me in close with a finger full of rings, unbuttoned the top of my shirt and said,

"You are in the court of the King."

"The King?" Well I know he plays the saxophone but damn! Atlas shook her head, put her hand on my cheek and pushed my gaze aside past the Eskimo at a man of indeterminate age.

He had a face pink with booze and droopy with sorrow, swirl of hair that was desperately trying to add up to something. I would have picked him out as the poorest man in the dome, a man who buys his last beer with coins and says fuck it I'll walk home.

But Atlas said nuh uh that's him--that's the man.
"You're looking at the King of Kafiristan."

Him? Owner and proprietor? Not a chance. He had a dirty purple shirt with the collar buttons missing, not even tucked into his pants. I sat down next to His Majesty and put my glass next to his bottle and said, "Don't let me interrupt your cirhossis, but do you happen to know when this bar closes?"

And he said: "There is no time, once you drop out of the race. When the sun goes down here it becomes noon some other place. Be everywhere, swallow your ecstasy, fire up the all-night disco open in your memory.

"I see you doubt who I am. Wherefore is the empire of Kafiristan? Well I was born in the land of milk and honey paid with mother's middle class money, and I tried my hand at angry art, which the women in development tore apart with formula. So I boarded the slow boat, economy class, and traced the footfalls of warriors past who pulled spices from the earth and jewels from the nebulae.

"But to tear the land and its people asunder means to weep like Alexander when there are no worlds left to conquer. And silk suits couldn't shield my body from dessication, nor nights of young skin fill me within after I emptied myself of motivation. Oh I tried my hand at charity--noblesse oblige, conscience clarity. But a poor man made rich just refills the niche with new servants that he thinks he's earned. Leafs the church walls in gold while the prayers of the poor are burned. Money is energy acquired, it cannot be created or destroyed, only spent over time like grief or desire.

"So created this--candle in the night that draws the wicked and the wakened, to pay time for a delay in the path they've taken. My gathered spoils are just a lamp of oil worth only what light it can spark, even as money makes music in the dark."

And that was it. That's all he said, turned his head and faced the music fading into shouts.

I paid Atlas a hundred baht tip and found my way out to the street, the same puddled path, the same curbside rail, the same snake of pavement eating its eternal tail. The flower children and aging courtesans still hawking their same pain, but now with a strange new voice murmuring like the rain:

We are the soldiers of the last crusade; burdened by money someone else made. Outside the walls of your fat drinking temple, we are the infidels armed with suffering examples. Our kingdom is a melody to which you dance and pay, the narcotic you crave for wisdom's delay. Money is the woman, money is the man, for us the orphans of Kafiristan.

Bomb's Away

The following is an excerpt from a notebook discovered in the Tora Bora caves in eastern Afghanistan in the winter of 2001. They are believed to be the final writings of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.

December 4, 2001. Ate mutton. Cleaned rifle. Thought about making new vaguely threatening video for Al Jazeera, but then remembered video camera won't work until that idiot Mashtoob gets a hold of a head cleaner cassette. Note to self: next time order Sony 3-head TRV-900. Night-vision feature might be useful.

Barbara Walters still not returning phone calls. May have to settle for interview with Christiane Amanpour, which is okay I guess. Anyone but Larry King. Note to self: Kill Larry King. Make list of other insane Jews no one likes whose death might be good PR. Miramax? Disney? William Morris Agency?

Another day in Tora Bora
Tora Bora holy wara, fortune teller read my aura
Tora Bora Fauna Flora,Tora Bora when it rains it pouras
Bombs away

--An Open Letter To The American People, Third Revision:
Asalam and congratulations young soldier, private with the Benjamins, private enterprise You'll get a medal for poking my ribs with your M-16, too bad Rumsfeld can't order a million Silver stars, that cost a thousand dollars each, it just might give US Steel a new lease
And give you somewhere to go when Time Warner declares peace.

Kind of a let down, isn't it? After all that hoopla, the garish little flags, the warhawks' new clout
How proudly you polished your boots the day they shipped your unit out!
Did your mother call your uniform handsome, did you marry your sweetheart just in case?
Are you anxious to visit Pattaya, where you can fuck yet another race?

Don't pretend your blu-eyed wife or sister loves her fellow females
Always afraid of the other woman, the newer model available at retail
The tighter ass or the bigger tits that come sashaying down the street
Distract your attention with a chance to cheat
Woman, don't tell me you haven't had those bloated days,
putting on your fat pants, your fat dress,
Retaining water on the PMS Express
What do you say to the bitch with the better handbag? Viva democracy?
Like hell--more like blonde bombshell--away!

Between you and me, girl it's been way too hot to wear these Taleban stitches
This turban serves no function, and yes this beard itches
I hate it, and yes I'm allowed to insult the beard when I'm talking
Just like your high-heeled Farragamo shoes are no good for walking
But you endure the pain because it gives your average calves an illusion of length
And accents your Clinique nail polish, in metallic colors with protein enzymes for strength
No white shoes before springtime, no basic black before nine
You wear your religious rules, and girl I wear mine

I wasn't always a soldier, like those corpses that cling to their Kalashnikovs over there
Got a degree in management and economics at Abdul Aziz U class of '79 , not that you care
Neither did my dad Mohammed, I was the 17th son of his wife number nine
Not that I was neglected--that bullshit is your attorney's defense, not mine
I mean let's talk about the rich boys gone insane in your part of the hood,
Remember John Dupont? Shot his baby-faced jock lover, pleaded insane because he could
Shoulda shot OJ, saved us all a lot of time
The Trial of Two Centuries--double celebrity crime

Surprised? I live in a cave but not in a vacuum, I can read, I've used a fork
Back in the day Al-Quaeda had offices in Detroit and New York
We used to cruise down the boulevard in a prototype humvee
The downtown discos were just oiled with money in 1983
And then I paid $5.75 to catch a Friday showing of "Willow" at the Cineplex theater
And four bucks for a Coke and box of Good and Plenty, which was neither
I know Val Kilmer can't act; like everyone else I wanted my money back
You know! You were there, I saw you throw popcorn at the screen
We were all learning what to spit and what to swallow at the age of eighteen
Now last year in Kandahar me and the Taliban made a bonfire out Warner Brothers videos
What have you done lately to stop Ron Howard? Yeah I thought so.
Don't you wish you had the courage to say
Box office bombs, away!

See, you're no stranger to my kind of hate
Your hegemony punishes those who deviate
And yet who goes on shooting sprees, or bombs the clinics, or swastikas the synagogues?
Who hasn't dreamed of blowing up banks or gunning down Christian demagogues?
How dare you cut me off in traffic, or turn down my credit card, don't push me another inch
My homeland, my right to exist; I'll kill you Cantor Fitzgerald. I'll hang you Merrill Lynch.
I have hatred to spare for every Jew on the island--don't you? No?
Well what if your pistol shot our jumbo jets not bullets, what if it was that much bigger?
What if your second amendment glued your finger on the trigger?
Don't you know on September 11 somebody somewhere was laid off, downsized, divorced,
And holding a whisky bottle in his hand, was with me in spirit, when I gave the command
Bombs away!

You should thank me--I tested your weapons for free, put a feather in your army cap
I helped saved Amtrack, and put the postal union back on the map
I warmed up the Russians and Chinese at an unprecedented pace
I saved Rudy Guliani from career disgrace
Hell, I made you believe that stockbrokers go to heaven
And admit it--wasn't it even sweeter when the Yankees lost game 7?

I also destroyed due process, exposed your racist hate
Freed the FBI to terrorize, the CIA to assassinate
I clothed you in a million ugly T-shirts, and ten million ugly flags
I stole the toenail clippers from your carry-on bags
I taught senators to sing in unison, which politics couldn't do
I brought back shitty country music and Lee Greenwood too
But my legacy, my parting shot, my final gift of hating
I gave your moron president a 90% approval rating

And he's yours, all yours, until 2008--think about that
But you'll have your Christmas, and your cheap gasoline back
And you will live long with your vaccinations and clean tap water
And eat irradiated steaks from mad cows slaughtered
And believe that the ugly, the dark-skinned, and the poor are your equal
Because you all stand in line for the next Star Wars sequel
So please--memorize those violent solutions, polish those righteous guns
And pretend your civilized universe can't come undone
Until the moment your rage redefines what it means to be free
On that really, really bad day that turns you into me
And in some half-assed white-bread way, you too will say
Bombs, bombs away!
Until then I remain, yours truly
Osama bin Laden

Tora Bora
Tora Bora blood and gora
hate the movies with Pauly Shora
Tora Bora, burn the Torah, what's in stora, I'm so sora,
Can't take no mora
Bombs…away!