SMALL MOUNTAINS
1-
Rats smiling for a photograph without saying cheese can be taken the wrong way.
Time losing the sight of its hour glasses when getting old is nothing new.

A psychedelic mushroom eaten in lieu of a straight life diet is not always a clear choice.
A non-believer cursed out by the pedophile priest might also be a priest.

A miner pulling a pickle out of his pants when going down the shaft is not always hungry.
A psycho in the barn might talk to himself so he won't go crazy when slaughtering the animals.

2-
Any metaphor can be minted for perverts to pour out of the tea if served in the wrong circles.
No mind is a priceless diamond for Zen purposes that can never get lost in itself if uncreated.
Rain has its own apparel to undress in when it's on the line.


Everything accidental neither walks nor falls when it happens by chance.
Pardon the tabla players if they can't stop playing when no one is listening.
The evangelicals can seem normal when they are really crazy.

All seekers of emptiness must pass through life with nothing to show.

Before any worker taps out,
it would be wise to look back at his past
to estimate how far away
he is from the factory front entrances
that he reached out for
when he went out the back door for good.

3-
These rosy cheeks
are the apples
we live for
in our appetites.
 
These mortal candles
are the light
the local merchants
would carry
if it weren't
for the Sabbat
casting a shadow
on it.

4-
Life is a joke
and death is even funnier.

If you live forever dreaming
you can also die at any time
in your sleep.

5-
Into the pelts,
into the drizzle,
and into the proverbial Chinese wall,
that's where everything white turns into
people play
when keeping score.

6-
Not everything in the water can be fishy.

The so-called lucky ones either read the New York Post
for the sports section or wrap their fish in it.

The one thing about the weather
is that it will change, even if it's
always the same in Los Angeles.

The one certainty about life
is that we see things too late
even when we see them in time.

7-
Some say it will be better caulking tomorrow.
Others would rather be sledding uphill.

In the afterglow of meditation,
there's an asexual link
between causality and suffering,

If the marble steps in D.C. led away from
indignity, the feet of a would-be saint would
have no eyes to pray to see
only good deeds.

8-
Pardoned
by obscurity,

even a miser
can be moved
by animal signs.

If the uninvited guest
who stole
the Brillo pads
washed the dishes,
maybe he also stole
the forks.

The languishing is a song
where the day stars
touch the limbs
in the wilderness
and the drugged
sleep alone
in the trees.

9-
We must perish
in academia
when we publish
our thoughts.

Into what is a national holiday
when the frogs,
at a parade, can either be marchers
or spectators?

In the hyperbole of the times,
a wall can't hide
from those escaping.

10.
Flowers and weeds,

the bumps on the road,

the granite on the grates,
 
and the soldiers at war
pinned down
on the hill,
where I once
wore a Roman loincloth
when confessing to the Lord
how easy the war
would be if I were a general.

11.

I'm not alone
eating hay
in the cow fields
just because no one
sees me.

I'm not in the bubble
whenever a child
breaks someone's balls
when bored.

In Gettysburg
the ghosts moved
through the woods
like squirrels
looking for their nuts.

When the church bells
rang the loudest
the deaf,
who knew how far
to look up at the sky
for a sign to obey,
were the first to learn
how to sacrifice
everything for nothing.

12.

There's no singe in the fire
when the crows gather
in the fields to cry foul
about the ballgame.

Some fans would rather be stranded
on an island than find no standing room
for those who are already left the field.

There are no real flowers
in paradise, even if the flowers
die there if not watered.

When young lovers walk
under the boardwalk,
the way they hold hands
spares them from getting ketschup
on their bathing suits

When it rains on an Easter parade it never stops raining,
even when the band removes their uniforms
and the spectators put back on their hats.

The world always elects itself
when it's worried about
what's unknown.

13.
 
The old still wear their hats on their sleeves for the religious holidays.

The lonely side of the desert hides in the shade so no one can see its tears.

It never just turns green when the grass gets cut.

Too many incumbents never get tossed
from the ballot
even when their party leaves no choices
for the dying.

Inner cities fight through crime waves
to live there while drowning.

In Old California opinions were divided
when falling off the ledges and gold
was chugged down
like cider
when the Mexicans crossed
the border again.

Height cannot be translated as something French
as long as the Statue of Liberty still
stands for
immigration.

For every rat on a ship, there are rigid captains
that return to port without laying any traps.

Military deployment has no ammunition
for those who can't sharpen their knives
at home.

14.

Sometimes it's too late to be early.

There are war wounds
soldiers get
that only civilians
can recover from.

The commies will soften
their doctrines
as it drifts
in the sea clouds
rather than live
for another day of hell.

In Old Russia the peasants would
spit on the flies
rather than admit
they no longer believe
in the underworld.

The Moscow oligarchs tell us
they no longer read Tolstoy anymore
to find out if the monks
are faithful.

In the tundra,
the traveler who
walks on ice
might never
see an Eskimo
without falling down.

The flatterers say
there is no such thing as happiness
unless you can smartly pretend
to be happy.

The unseen things in the night
are like the fingers of a thief
pointing up from an empty grave.

The snow-banks in our yards
are merely the flowers
we once watered
in our garden.

15.

The ancients used the stones
to see who is coming out
of their caves bleeding.

In Old Vienna
we could have said
the words
no one would say
and got away with it
if we spoke English.

We came into the night
as strangers to the music
that once was only heard
in the castles of our ancestors.

We could have given up
the light for
the so many costumes
that still fit us.

The golden years come through the storms
as zealously as a Talmudic scholar
turning for shelter to the Old Testament
in the desert.

When it snowed
its silence covered
the streets
without ever saying
much about its childhood.

16.

It's always gray in November
when there are no more flowers
to genuflect on and in the woods
only the hunters are pleased with themselves
when wearing orange vests.

A thick smoke
in the throat
becomes a metaphor
for country life
in a log cabin
for those being reborn,
weather permitting.

The daytime outdoor chain saw sounds
are just as natural as the nighttime sounds
of the crickets, who knock
on the wood of the coffins
just to spite the tipsy crowd
who walk home alone
after the last call at the bar.

A would-be thief or a skier
 in a ski mask, on the street,
gives me directions and politely
thanks me for asking.

When the rain stops
in Manhattan,
there's always hope
a subway token carrier
will remind us about
the jugglers who
never dropped anything
but needed an audience
to verify this.

Sometimes we are ashamed
to lose our minds
when we take a wrong turn
and the nostalgia we once
couldn't live without
becomes as taxing now
as following in the footsteps
of a father we never knew.

17.

What light
in the shed
is no game
to win
without being punished
for losing?

What right afternoon
is there
to read
about the quiet
without desiring
something less Proustian
but more Hessian?

What penalty should there be
if a high school football coach
talks down to a parent of a child
who refuses to play ball
and the parent clips him?

What mass public shooting
would make us say
with a straight-face
guns are not the problem,
people are? 

18.

Fragments
as rituals,
spreads as lines
that don't dry
when the hours
change hands and
the journey home
takes  longer
than the journey
to leave home.

From yesterday's
cathedrals to today's
mud holes,
some maybe tolerable old priests are facing
their most vulnerable worshippers
with their dicks
swinging in the wind
after years of overlooking
abuse and neglect.

19.

In their blindness
the gulls see only
the forbidden fruit.

In their sloth
the oxen
ring the red bells
only for the ranchers
they hate.

In the biblical rain,
the holy of holies
seek no shelter
for the illegals
crossing the border
by pretending to be
hiding behind a wall
that doesn't exist.

20.

The tedium of yesterday
sleeps for life
in today's
overcrowded prisons.

The incense
of the gods
smells like shit
after calling out
the words that vanish
when spoken as blasphemy.

The same stones that once wept
for Socrates are
no longer the same Greeks
who speak with the dead.

21.

There are only the rumors to believe
about the industrial navigators
who fucked us in the middle of the night
by grabbing hold
of the barnacles
they stole
while at port
and then selling them later on
for the pseudo-sex pleasures
you can only get online.

22.

The china in my heart
can't stop
tossing in its sleep.

The silence in the dawn
can no longer dream
about talking.

The firs in the forest
cannot see how
the branches are painted white
by the darkness.

The unfounded map
of existence
can't give us back our eyes
when we lost track
of all the years it took us
to see again.

23.

It's on the back porches of reason
where the suburbs evolve
into the summer's breezes
that can explain itself even better
if it wants to now
smell like something new
that's just been delivered.

24.

If  let out
of a dream
to live again

in the bronze waters
of Miami,

your night runs
may be
on the beach

so those posing
can smile again
when humanized.

25.

Stigmas freeze.

Feathers cling.

Before the red ground

are the songbirds

and the albatrosses,
 
and the heavy rain
of the lovers
waiting in bed
for another day
to bring in the sun

while the man
brings in the wood
for the fireplace.

26.

With seals adrift.
With dogs as greeters.

With a thousand prayer wheels
for the circus goers to discard
in the backrooms of the circus.

While the nocturnals in orange hair
turn to the dawn as if

disenfranchised
from their childhood camps,
the elders dance around the fire
and the crazies keeping preaching
to themselves.

Whereas in the labor force uprising,
the once tenured workers
must work things out in their factories
to win back a bigger piece of the prize.

27.

Sand
is a shell
found
in the half-bitten
heart,
where the migrants
eat outside in
the rain
and dry themselves
in their own
blood.

A sickle
is the wand
a traveller holds
when he must forget
that he can't
ride the shaft
forever
without carrying
too much of the load
on his back.

The assumptions are
seminal
about so much
of inner-space dispersing
and how uncertain
are the divisive memories
of others
when it comes to such things
 as dates and places.

28.

Everything
about Butte
that sees itself
in the past
has become
more toxic
than its mountains.

No one sits for too long
in the dark corners
of the earth
when waiting
for their time to pass
without first dying
to know.

With so many fingers
pointing at Gettysburgh
for respite, the pores
of a divided nation open up
again for the arms
of the evening mist.

29.

The air in Montana
has no teeth
for its virtues
to digest.

The gold and willows
and prayers have
hidden in their loins
those living forever
as mortals.

The western winter greens
cannot touch the light
without turning it off.

30.

Everything leads to nothing, even if not possible.

Death is not a dream if awake.

Maybe playing with guns is a game if you win.

A memory of the Lord will fade itself every night.

31.

This is my bed
where the roses
can't smell the night
and its thorns
refuse to be a crown
worn by the loser.

This is the last hour
where the stream
can't tell
if it's coming or
going.

This is our small world
where every friend
could be the stranger
who stabs you
in the back.

This is our corpse
we have lived with
our entire life
until we become
spiritual again.

32.

You can always
be alone
in the company
of others.

You can always
turn away from
the angels
if you are good.

But if you shout
you still may not
be heard.

If you stand
near the heather,
you still may wonder
who will care
if you are there.

33.

Cold voices,
                     plastic armbands,
the one-armed bankers
with their Alpine stones and
monocles,
and the black moon
at peace in the slopes

while looking out to the sea
when it snows.

34.

How removed I am
from my childhood
               daydreams
when I look out
from the foothills
of the Himalayas
and am struck
more about
what I  left behind
than what I gained,

and wonder if I
can ever bring me back
from a strange land
a moment or two of life
so I can start over
without being reborn.

35.

Sand falls
through the cracks
of time
during the seasons
when so many
forget their life passwords,

and the expedient
world travelers
who want to
reach for so many
octaves in their
ride for identity,
turn over the music
of the day
to give them some
mild therapy
for dying with
their lids on.

36.

The Bardo streams
amid the sandy bones
of hope,
tossed aside
in the blind city streets
where the undead
search for themselves
in the rubble.

At the lunatic borders of the sky,
with its many transient moons,
the illegal lights of shame shine
on the migrant's pulse to no avail.

Feeling for the cypress hands of winter's thoughts
in the toxic shakes
of the heart, there's a flat world
that flutters in orbit.

Yet in the stillness of the messianic night
the needy ask so little of themselves
even when the stars run under the spotlights
like wine uncorked on the Bowery.

In the cello player's Spinoza-like movements,
the sounds of the creaking temple doors
break through the enigmatic Tarot-like prayers,
as the halls of reason are streaming from
all the inner fears of nature.

37

The face of snow
has no years
for all the mountains
muted like mimes
in their solitude

and all the pilgrims
who perished
as naive believers
of fairy tales,
who could only
believe in happy endings.

38.

The garden flutes
play on the WH lawn
to pull the wool
over the sheep.

The haters march
with armbands
as reminders
of their nativism.

The tormented
 immigrant children
locked in cages,
cry out to be saved
by an America
turning to its bad side.

The face of a country
can't blush anymore
from shame, if its leader
is not sane.

39.

The grayness hides its secrets
in the unpictured slums
of misfortune,

where the sandman
kneel at the cathedrals
for the lonely
and where only the blind priests
go onward from there,
with so little wind
at their back

and so much uncertainty
in front of them.

40.

The sound of the spokes
in the evenings,
the standbys
for the future language.

The hogs
in the winter light,
the buzzards
close-by
when the hungry
leave town.

41.

The broad sterns
coming off
the cargo ship
in an unfree Havana.

The lavender pylons
turning up the hours
of the Doric cylinders
in a downfall.

The central decks
coming off
the sea hands
in their back shifts.

The sherpa spheres
circling back to
the steppes
and the low headstones
in the limp parts
of the loin.

42

Racist wiretaps
plastered into
the city halls.

Priestly almonds
shelled on the heels
of worldly missteps.

Barge trolls
for the sharks
to return things
to the past.

Harbors
in the weeds
to test the water
for its passage.


43.

Unmapped tourist roads
for rabbits and co-eds
in pursuit of luck.

Suburban fires
for yards to be maintained
rather than for its shrubs
to be trimmed.

Walking calls from the NYPD
to hear yourself
when awakened
to wolves.

Brown borders on plateaus
that even Neruda
won't translate.

44.

Rails across the backs
of slavers forever
leaving their track marks
at the station.

The senators forever
growing fat on the forked roads
of democracy they walk on
in pairs.

Nothing in the blood
sails without your stomach
forging its own memories
of childhood.

For the rose worn in error on the heart,
for the fear that holds the thorns in place,
for the church tolls that never stop and
for the children pushed off the ledges
by their perverted saviors.

45.

Through translucent meridians
to the front of the boat
and the back of the minefield.

The booby traps amid the causeways
that carry pain away in loads
from the free zones.

For the stewards
poring over the copious bonding pacts
to find new masters.

For the just time in the Zohar
when there's
nothing new under the sun.

46.

The red daggers of success
bleed from the skyscrapers
when the wind is brain-dead.

The muck turns to beans
for the homeless living
in the dark when the city
withholds its resources.

The fallen war veterans
turn over again in their graves
when it gets too noisy
for the night to let it sleep.

Somewhere in northern New Jersey
there's no stink or futility
when the civil service truants
toss their ideas
into the schoolyard bins.

The deplorables raise their hands
as gargoyles, when responding
blindly to a beastly orange-man
playing Russian roulette
with the world.

47.

The skin that's removed
from its insular soles
are your daydreams.

The ashes
from death
falls off
the limbs
of those
unaware
of their fate.

The breaths
of
the walls
you climb
grow hands
to paint
a pretty picture
of you
when you never
wanted to be there
but still was.

48.

Your lookout
at the sea
calls for more
than just hiding
in the shadows
to be unseen.

The seasonal beaches
also call for you to relish
in the shade
the passing hours
you can't understand.

The rubber boots
for mud season
calls for your blood
to go deeper
into the dark
to save itself
from always
giving away too much
slack.

49.

The limp emotions
 hurt the most
when on the lam
across the painful moors
of solitude,

where we carry
the fog in our facial tics

and no longer
recognize ourselves
when disguised
as the tiny creatures
we are unwilling
to see again as
our truths
remain ahead
in the distances.

50.

The dregs of imagination
drowned in the river
that was never dredged
from my system.

The sand of the snakes
fell unripe
from the branches
with no more art
to hide behind its
fruit.

The treads on the wheels
of the passing time lines
breakdown
in its sleep
rather than go back home
without any excuses.

51.

Your outward sea-like
blueness
masks no purity.

Your beach-like
crab-eyes
in the low-tide
heats up the kitchen
with recipe's
from your nocturnal past.

On the rubber mats
of the future,
on the waves crashing
against
your nature,
on the inevitable landslide
in the dark waters

all the children
have come.

52.

All flowers are not red.
The sky is not heaven.

The foreign stones
are not the only steps
where time has no end
to bring back
the lonely gems
of your childhood.

Your geometry lessons
are not the lines
everybody stands in
when they must
cross over to their dreams.

53.

A language
of psalms,

a cloven tree
of throbbing stones,

the shivs
of sorrow,

and from down
the road,

the luminous meat cans
being kicked by
the millennials.

54.

Firewood has no spare bones like ribs.

The snow does not spread easily
like butter on a sled.

The world has no business sense
of its history.

Even if I took no nourishment
from the wind,

I could still run
my fingers
into the ground.

55.

Imprisoned in my desires
when there's no escape
from my prison.

Glad to be hanging around
the branches
of winter's oaths.

Happy to read
what I can't
write about.

56.

Chisels
from yesterday's
mills.

Gruels
from yesterday's
corn cribs.

Torsos unnamed
from yesterday's
eye test.

Ergots
enclosed in the elms

of yesterday's night posts
leaning against
the stupas.

57.

Pathless tides,
deceit,
margins, and
shadows on the Pallas
columns.

On the pine tar
visions of Job
sticking it to the ground
forever.

58.

For something so imperative,
the locals redo
the Spanish eaves
in their ranch houses
to hold back
the pious,
who pray to shut down
all the frontal parts
of town.

Inside the paper mazes,
worn thin over time
because of their legal strategies
with the shooters
tunneling their way
through Tennessee
to land where the toads
burn their gold and where the flint-heads
can fit into any horny society that rubs
against their jockey short members
before any of the outliers jump out
of the wind and into the muck
like the young ones do when
learning about
the growing pains
from a Faulkner novel
just by living in Mississippi
.

59.

Recess presumes there's an end in sight
to playing ball.

All the sins of Catholic are forgiven
by the masses if they are not lustful.

Istanbul has a photogenic way
to remind rogue tourists
why they don't remember
taking pictures of what
they thought they were taking.

Alone in the Botanical Gardens of Jerusalem
might give you an Adam moment
to desire Eve.

Dealing cards with many friends
betting on you
might explain why
you don't know yourself as well
as Socrates said you should.

Even in Alabama, you don't have
to speak English
to understand the truth.

I might know Melville much better
if I was also after a whale.

The most callow youth
join the Navy to become men
by hoping to get their sea legs
if wetting their pants.

What I love about living in squalor
is how many others also think
they are better off
because they can easily hide
their dirty laundry.

60.

The greener the grass in the cemetery
the more the silence grows
louder.

Someone old sits unrecognized on a park bench,
who is the composer Gustav Mahler,
and no one passing by talks to him even when he starts
talking to himself.

Russian history can be forgotten
just as easily as vanishing clouds
can be forgiven.

During the heat wave
one noticed the reason
the dead were buried so quickly
without a pastor officiating.

On some nights
not even the full-moon
acts crazy.

As far as things go in the mountains,
there are no dead hikers reborn
on its tops.

There are no takeaways older women
get from selfies that children don't get
from a baby doll.

Believe it or not, on Halloween
some unmasked tricksters
will rob those wearing masks
just as a prank.

61.

Once upon a time
the forest wore a mask
not seen in the dark.

While the mongrel's coda might not exist
for the everyday poker players,
it exists for the card sharks
pulling rabbits out of a hat.

If we are never sure of the weather,
at least we can be sure of killing
a deer during the hunting season.

The bumpy roads in France
have foreign names.

Beware of buying socks for the weary,
the black market will give you no refunds
for turning back the clock
for lost time.

62.

For the mission to never be over
the end must always be in sight.

If I could sing I would not be a bird
who can't fly at night.

If I would confront my detractors,
I would mention how seafaring
and earthquakes and playing soccer
can relate to buying pearls
in an emergency.

If a marble salesman knows the cost in building a church,
he should also know for the 'true believer'
the only happiness can be built in a dream.

Yet, if it rains and no one is home,
there are no excuses for you to try
and make amends for not having one
in the first place.

63.

It flies as the shape of the wind
from the anthills,
when there's a loss of crumbs.

In bed with the tulips,
our backs never grow straight
when turning over to embrace
other lifestyles.

On the waterways of mild recovery,
the commercial buzz won't deliver
the free news that the future
may never come.

Before the clouds sing again in the city,
we can relieve ourselves in the vacant lots
where the snow is the only pure thing
no one snorts.

The declamation I gift you on Christmas
has no hanging fruit to pick off the tree.

When I'm in the woods, nobody tells me
to keep off the grass.

When asked by my men friends if size matters,
I looked down from the top
of the Empire State Building
and saw how involved I could be
in things that don't concern me
if I were a few inches taller
and had a bigger brain and more juice.

64.

The feathers blew off the steam,
so bring on the mountains.

The crooked nails were bitten off the boards,
so take the cole slaw back to the shed.

In the reddest halls in town,
there's no satisfaction
in the sanity clauses going around
all the circles when choosing clauses
a
nd vices to fill in for when the roof leaks
and the heavens never materialize
.

65.

Time never moves alone
outside
without sounding the alarm
over its sleep.

Maybe what's forgotten
can't be remembered.

Maybe what blows
back the wind into our faces
is nothing more serious
than the dialing up
of all the ill-will
we face every day
from demogues.

66.

Support is only fodder
when the seasons
can't change
and we walk all year
with a limp.

Nothing is a miracle
if a prophet
can't afford
to be seen
if not there.

Whatever is borrowed
from the past
can be returned
to its infancy
if the world gets
nasty and ugly
and no one
wants to meet
any more strangers.

67.

So it goes up North
when the dead
stick their necks out
and become the undead.

Whatever is hidden in the snow
becomes the trash that strains
any eye test with false comparisons.

The notion going forward
among the nature boys
comes away empty
with any mercy team
on the trail
that stalls
when the stars
can't see itself
slipping on a night
that's rigged for
the way the deer
look so sleepy
when talking to themselves
only in places like
Maine or Vermont.

68.

The green menus
to match the counters
for a busy diner
once seemed to be
a pretty good idea.

But the cheesesteak gyros served there
reminded the patrons of
the hazy streets in Baltimore,
where one could get a glimpse
of the future by just talking to the
defrocked priests
who still had an appetite
for the past.

If all lies have some truth,
we could hold a raffle in a bar
and argue all night
if that was really Johnny Cash we heard
on the jukebox.

In place of suburban truths,
the numbers we have kept in a safe
never lie if packed into the shiny hearts
of the inner-city and if anyone else
could just turn around their life
to see us getting closer to the best news
coming from as far away
as across the Atlantic.

69.

The game played outside
on every corner
shaves no ice off
the player's face
in the winter.

As forever in showbiz,
the passive streets crack
in the early stages of the signs.
There are also roles to not dress-up for
when turning to another opus
and not having a spare ticket
to pull out of the hat at the last moment.

70.

Once you get out of a hole
you can take a hike
to correct yourself
as a target, even if you
wind up in sanctuary city
and don't speak Spanish.

But you better believe
it takes a normal person
to be tethered to a sadist
without screaming in pain
for more thoughts
than resolutions.

71.

Wine is a white river
no one sails on
in despair.

A sea-horn is a muted sailor
when the brass takes the world
out of its mouth
so it can say what it can't
get out of its head.

In the marble hills
of a Pentecostal burial,
the chips of rebirth are buried
in the shallow graves
where the forgotten names
of the young hunters
can't crawl out of the woods
without hearing the gunfire.

72.

Hauled off a pennant
for all the folly
above the facial lines
of middle-age angst.

Ripped off a slice of dirt
for it to be carried cheaply
on the backs of others.

The bark of trade
as an illogical-wind
for barley and cotton
to find its own bags
to soil for the futures
of commerce and culture.

For the odd one driven home
from all the black adders
to the flood without turning
his well-being into another
safety object of loneliness.

73.

dyspepsia