Picture me 1963

carried to the Rambler


madras shorts and penny loafers

me saddest face ever

taken from ones who loved




tin house

cacti with a bone to pick

bottle hanging from my mouth

basset hound transgendered by a misnomer

mashed potatos with pennies buried in them

feeding a bear chips ahoy

cat hanging on the screen door

cricket and grasshopper chorus

Mount Rushmore

Easter dress


cheesy tv in the background

topped with rabbit ears

outlet that I had to investigate

heidi hi ho on the show and tell

the room clear still Ė a picture permanently etched

illuminated by a flash of me

thatís enough


laugh in

civic minded citizens keep the schools closed

fickle finger of fate

nap time out of body

psychologists and tests

cheating drawing the diamond

proof of my genius

Paul and Art and John and Paul

friends of mine

and little bear

Not sleeping

bare floors

fear paralysis

dad darts drunk friends chili dogs and pot pies

mom working nights sleeping days angry

midnight flights to Pittsburgh in the GTO

pretending, always to sleep

corrective shoes lost under otherís beds

in a city far from so called home

One day

sneak down the hill to see the fire

raging apartment building fire escape

snoopy rain boots still connected with string

small steps

stolen dimes


ominous sky industrial landscape cold wind

feeling that you never know whatís next

drunken dad and friends build a swingset in the yard

me reading everything to find the formula

the words to explain the feeling of the industrial landscape ominous sky cold wind feet tied together deep breathing sneaking stealing steel taste of anticipation and twinkies and chipped ham sandwiches

Monday Monday move

St. Louis was tornadoes and special tests and special tasks and special punishments at the special school under pretty Ms. Stanleyís desk

SRA and reading techniques

Cut my friendís hair accidentally on purpose

Shiny red bike and a lame McDonaldís puppet show party with plastic ronald puppets and a small cardboard theatre

When everyone is Ronald there isnít much of a conflict



this time

leaving friends and a dog who bit me

I lied to protect him

crying, playing with a gift a girl gave me

thatís enough, dad said

compliance and corrective shoes

Heads with hearts of gold

come for the summer

Carol King and Neil Young my friends

dead armadillos and back roads in an MG

next door to the television station, fascinated by the concept of transmission

beaming images of my own

stolen silver dimes and turtle pond and the Pruit boys as real friends

Boys let me play

First communion, mary statue dandelion halos

suicidal pastor and the nun the bees loved

too smart corrective shoes and friends with warts on their hands

self conscious my conscience working against me keeping me up nights watching the clock and thinking too much about time not passing quickly enough

Stopped believing in the gift bringing Santa but knew still he could see me when I was sleeping

God was everywhere too and knew my heart

Jesus died for my sins so sorry

stations of the cross so sorry

scapulars and amulets and praying for the death of my enemies

pretty girls with normal shoes and curly hair who never looked dirty and surely slept through the night even if periodically wetting their canopy bed princess and the pea mattresses

Pissing on a mirror to see what it looked like, forever mottled from the shower, image obscured, thankfully.

moving again right place wrong time this time on the radio

know better, this time, than to start that crying shit

down river

New Orleans

east first before the vietnamese invasion

then up river

grain elevator explosion

race riot jailed Gary Tyler

ferry hit by a tanker

cat stevens and the grass roots and the cowsills and jan and dean my friends

crying for nixon watching him feeling his indignation and humiliation resignation better than assassination


Heads with hearts of gold tell me stories

listen too

trying to understand a day in the life and diamonds and rust and why the Vietnam vet cries listening to CSN and Dylan in music appreciation

dreaming of floods and lights and secrets and threats and seeing and knowing too much about everything and glances askance

girls wearing boys bracelets and making out while I find new objects with the proper friction and keeping secrets so serious I am sure I will go to jail

Room full of high priced items and parents who donít ask questions

Mysterious Maltese woman with exotic items teaches her child violin and flute

inspires me to try a rented trumpet for a year smell the lubricant, feel the velvet, open the spit valve donít puff the cheeks Marching Along dogs howling while I rehearse

When Elvis died my first impulse was to go buy all of his records at the store that sold used stuff. Got a couple including Hound dog and Pat Boone doing Speedy Gonzalez.


Americaís Top Forty came on late, after Buck Owens sang about having a tiger by the tale itís plain to see. Still not sleeping, figuring it all out. Hamsters with chewed off ears running through yellow tubes, baring yellow teeth faces smashed against the plastic. Joni Mitchell telling me the truth about love and fear. I hear.

Talking Heads take me to the river, this time in Memphis. Lennonís dead? I am

Gone for years, drowning in New Orleans, awakened by a street musician singing Heart of Gold.