Something is wrong
I don't feel alive
There are strangers around me
They know me they say
I hold my hand steady
Then they steal my knife
The room, it starts spinning
Take three pills then five
Like, look at these stripes
Like tigers and zebras
They're pouring out from
My magazine pages
The guy with the windows
Surrounding his eyes
Is talking of mushrooms
And rainbow-tipped fingers
Like, feel the room glowing
Smothered in warmth
The pulse of miasma
She pukes on my coat
Who is this person
Staring at me
I look at him closely
I can't seem to see
The mirror is cracked
The towels are growling
I walk to the crowd
And everyone's laughing
Their faces are twisted
This guy, he has trackmarks
Where have I landed
Broken bottles surround me
Recycle your anger
This buzzing infects me
I hear a sound, screaming
Is that an owl, man?
The buzzing gets louder
The clock won't stop ticking
The TV is static
But no one has noticed
Look, I can't stay here
I have to be home
Please STOP that buzzing
I can't fucking think
The knife, someone's playing
A game with his hand
He might lose a finger
But he don't understand
Dumb, you ain't sayin'
Like, my tongue is tied up
It's bound by precision
Just open it up
We're kissing, we're screaming
We're knocking, we're broken
We're hoping, we're humping
And there went the padlock
Something is burning
It might be the couch
This guy just keeps popping
His pills and bugs out
Look at him dancing
On the table, no pants
An upper, a downer
Then a few more perchance
Where the hell am I
And how did I get here
Who are these people
And how do I leave?

Epitaph of Another Beautiful Tyrant

The King died just yesterday
The masses huddled at his side
They tormented him to death
They're happy that now that he has died
They lust for blood, they lust for him
They lifted him, they threw him down
They clamored for his end to come
They gave him then his thorny crown

The King died just yesterday
His kingdom halls are empty now
The annals of his court remain
His heirs will not remember how
He held himself in times of pain
His armies marched across the earth
The huddled masses loved him once
But revolution killed his mirth

The princes cried, they held their tongue
The dukes spoke so wearily
The music died, the songs replied
That now we all must drearily
Accept that endings come in time
Purchase hope from rum and gin
Lift a bottle to the sky
And say without a hint of sin:
The King is dead
Long live the king


I'm standing in the window
I see your shadow crawl
I hear the sound of angels
And Lucifer, the fall
Feathers of the seraphim
Halos made of light
Dust and danger rattling
Fields of fallow blight

Quarrel with the quarrymen
Hold the sacred tune
Keep a gold harmonica
Silence will come soon
Purchase some security
From the renegades
The revolution will begin
Upon the barricades

Sweep the streets in irony
Knock on the mayor's door
Slaughter dreams of sailors
Upon the killing floor
Bottles lined on the window
I can hear you cry
The blood, it runs in circles
Humanity shall die


Look at me when you look away
Mimic a limerick's lie of life
The sky cracks and we waltz
We waltz
We dance and drink to my demise

Look at my gravestone
See the crucifix at Kerouac's
That could be me up on that cross
Jesus, think of all the times
That Kublai Khan and Mr. Darcy
Imagined hypnotism and discourse
And force-fed their respective Eisenhowers

Stutter, shimmer with the oboes
Buddy Holly wants his face back
Melt back in with Anne Boleyn
Guy Fawkes hates your stupid hat
Hunger like a mouthful of
jingoistic banjo bangle players
tigers tearing rajahs new beginnings

Spit atop the Eiffel Tower
With Carl Sandburg, Arthur Rimbaud
David Copperfield, Leonard Cohen,
Mengele, Daisy Buchanan,
Jeff Foxworthy, Northumberland,
Odysseus, Jack London,
and of course, Jean Valjean

this here

Alas the world, it comes undone
Alack the thunder heaven sprung
Aback are taken seven sons
Seven systems, seven suns
Seven prisons, seven Huns
Several sentences and puns
Pi times two divided twice
Never shall entwine, entice
Advice to all and none to hear:
Please remove your outer ear
Plus and minus pants and coats
Bras and shirts and oven coals
Hatred envy lust and gloom
Panscendental panic rooms
Pumas maul and make their name
Miasma and must and pain
Words that blurt their layered Danes
Hamlet, omelet, all that jazz
MacBeth and his unholy spazz
Candid armor, harm her, man
Plan to pan her play and hand
Huh, believe it? Yes, I do
Cancel cancer! you can too
Varnish furnish earnest harness
Dead old wives and mist will tarnish
Burn, burn, old Isis, through
Ahab has no use for you
And Abraham and Isaac too
Live alone and read the news:
Hammer, scythe, angels? nice
Number litter lumber lice
Sandwiched in-between your vice
And life that likes a lively price
As slithers in a sudden light:
What the hell did I just write?

My 100 favorite Bob Dylan songs

1. Ballad of a Thin Man
2. Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. Blind Willie McTell
5. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
6. Like a Rolling Stone
7. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
8. Isis
9. Just Like a Woman
10. Love Sick
11. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
12. It Ain't Me Babe
13. Positively 4th Street
14. On the Road Again
15. Desolation Row
16. Spirit on the Water
17. Romance in Durango
18. I Want You
19. Tangled Up in Blue
20. Mr. Tambourine Man
21. Goin' to Acapulco
22. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
23. Boots of Spanish Leather
24. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
25. Visions of Johanna
26. My Back Pages
27. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
28. Gates of Eden
29. Blowin' in the Wind
30. Shelter From the Storm (live version from Hard Rain)
31. Queen Jane Approximately
32. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
33. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
34. Simple Twist of Fate
35. Chimes of Freedom
36. From a Buick 6
37. Maggie's Farm (specifically live at 1965 Newport Folk Festival)
38. Idiot Wind (live version from Hard Rain)
39. Temporary Like Achilles
40. Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence
41. Obviously 5 Believers
42. You're A Big Girl Now
43. John Wesley Harding
44. Hurricane
45. Highlands
46. If You Gotta Go, Go Now (Or Else You Gotta Stay All Night)
47. Masters of War
48. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
49. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
50. Outlaw Blues
51. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
52. Thunder On the Mountain
53. The Times They Are A-Changin'
54. Absolutely Sweet Marie
55. Who Killed Davey Moore?
56. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
57. Talkin' John Birch Society Blues
58. Mississippi
59. Sara
60. Jokerman
61. Only A Pawn In Their Game
62. Girl From the North Country
63. Tombstone Blues
64. The Man In Me
65. I Shall Be Free No. 10
66. One Of Us Most Know (Sooner or Later)
67. Rainy Day Women #12 and 35
68. Talkin' World War III Blues
69. Lay Lady Lay
70. With God On Our Side
71. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
72. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
73. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (this should be ranked higher, actually)
74. Spanish Harlem Incident
75. 4th Time Around
76. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
77. Dreamin' of You
78. All Along the Watchtower
79. All I Really Want To Do
80. Mama, You Been On My Mind
81. Oxford Town
82. Subterranean Homesick Blues
83. She Belongs To Me
84. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
85. Talkin' Hava Negeilah Blues
86. Everything Is Broken
87. Forever Young
88. To Ramona
89. Not Dark Yet
90. Quinn the Eskimo (the Mighty Quinn)
91. Cold Irons Bound
92. Silvio
93. When The Ship Comes In
94. As I Went Out One Morning
95. Pledging My Time
96. Meet Me In the Morning
97. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
98. One More Cup of Coffee
99. Corrina, Corrina
100. Dear Landlord

i don't remember writing you

crumpled songs delight the children
hate that you can see my brain
life like limericks dance and tremble
hope you heard my glowing name
look at me you pointless warrior
i can heal your broken pain
let's remind ourselves of anger
let's deceive the clock again

search yourself for truth and taste it
understand we were not one
laugh with all the other liars
escape with me to see the sun
ostentatious lords will preach it
lovers will reject the sum
and as you protect the pavement
i must then protect your son

turn the pages turn them forward
hopeless strings of petty lust
bustle to the bus-stop banners
earn the sailor's only trust
regard what you could have done
learn for what your mother fussed
gouge the temper of the stranger
run away from this you must

query: could not you be me
could not i have then been you
could not yellow be mismanaged
could not squires sing the blues
hardly harrowed is the sparrow
hurried hateful and with clues
hurt the ones you love the most
and then you will also lose

africa has touched my soul
africa calls to my ghost
rhythm mother of my knowledge
love me mother love me most
jungle desert mountain meadow
i must touch her ivory coast
sunder sanction savior sandal
i am evil's only host

rust is lining on my car door
saws and drills burn in my head
ample apples and demeanor
left me with a numbing dread
long for langston and for dylan
leave your thoughts inside your head
boast and blame the bumpkin bangles
bleed from poison and from lead

suspend your hopes from daggers darling
sustain your lyrics from my love
listen to my symphonic movement
release your didactic dove
lasso lines of laurel lombards
put on now a silken glove
put me then on your misfortune
give me then a little shove

hunt your hyphens hate your hangers
hundred hands of huns rejoice
have it happen historic handles
hulls of ships have little choice
guns and ammo green and orange
have naught but a passive voice
leave me with your tongues of fashion
ledgers and a lost invoice

signs are sticking from the highway
hierophants have failed me still
lurking lurches swerve with fervor
i feel like you just want a thrill
stop with all your malcontent
i miss the fields we once would till
underneath the oaken midnight
where the crow would never kill

touch me please and give me patience
kiss me while you walk away
stand as two on ocean shorelines
tell me that you want to stay
monuments of nothing matters
where the gods of yore do lay
live with me and let me move
along the silent gleaming bay

pipers play so rats may live
ants crawl to the building stair
knives are known to scar my psyche
and to steal my curling hair
come with me and tell a tale
of how you never once will care
for affections of another
as i set my flowers there

graves, glimmer, remorse, divorce
all together shout your plea
slaves, sliver, hoarse, discourse
remind me of the great queen bee
knaves, silver, horse, distort
everything you want or need
hey, listen, don't report
and please recall, you called me


I'm looking out the window of an old hotel
Something here is rattling, can't see too well
The breeze is rolling in since the heater broke
The wind begins to flutter on my lover's cloak

I recall some ancient melody, a wind-swept song
The words are flooding to me, but they're all wrong
A pen becomes a dagger as ink becomes blood
As sand mixes with water and converts to mud

I closed my eyes in hopes of finding some inner glow
Discerning unreality and unearthing what I know
Distorted highways rolled into my closed eyelids
Mountains can't remember me or what I did

A bandage wraps around my porcelain wrist
Salvation hammers amnesty in parting mist
The lists of history begin to burn with force
I scream my poems to the wind until I'm hoarse

I wake unto a waiting sky of green and gold
The wanderers and wonderers have bought and sold
The dreams of ancient mariners and railroad flats
Slaves in shackles, daughters to aristocrats


I know a dark gypsy
Who lives a sad life
Cutting holes in tents
With her silver knife

I know a sweet singer
Who lost her tempo true
Tapping out her memory
Melding, melting hues

Brass and percussion
Strings and then the bass
War and repercussion
Jacks and then the ace

I know a euchre player
She just makes up the rules
Humming to her matchbook
Testing iron tools

I know a lost angel
A nova of the night
Bursting in the sky
Tangled up in light

Brimstone and thunder
Smoke enshrined in lye
Serpents and surrender
Reverence must die

The World Without You

The sky was orange, unrelenting
The wake, the waves would swallow hope
In the breeze were vulture's feathers
In the trees, the hangman's noose

With regret, my heart is quaking
With distaste, my friends rebuke me
So the soldier plans his chaos
So the liar joins his court

Love has flushed the cheeks of strangers
Love has washed away from us
Yes, they seek my hastened ending
Yes, they reek from hateful rending

Oh, but naught could e'er effect me
Oh, but naught could burst through stone
Until you broke my inner sanctum
Until you burned my cottage home

I see you dancing with the jester
I see you dancing with your smile
Know that I destroyed your ticket
Know that you are black and vile

Death to all who have disciples!
Death to all who feel no pain!
Can the world go on without you?
Can my life remain the same?


As I sit before this crackling fire
My thoughts return to her, to her
I know that she will never love me
I know that it will always hurt
Crimson splashes on the mountain
My blood trickles on the tracks
Then the poet shall be martyred
Then the priest shall march for war
My heart aches for her mere presence
Her fingers pressed against my arm
My lips brush angelic wholeness
Her heart, tha-thumping, glowing hot
The stars that hide in her blue eyes
The oracle slides into a dress
Shoes creak against her floorboards
It was the last I'd see of her
And now the plucking of steel strings
Or the caw-caw-cawing of the crow
Or the sight of burning money
Or the drought of thought surrounding
Or the open smell of sewers
Or the drifting clouds and storms
Or the thunder of true wisdom
Or the purse-strings of a lord
Yes, these and all such wonders
Mundane within the Father's eye
Remind me of the Once we had shared
Remind me of the Then that died

Old Miner's Blues

My lover crawled onto my doorstep
As hornets swarmed around her face
Trumpets scorned my tainted honor
Pianos warned of my disgrace
The ocean parts, the sky is empty
Save for birds and thorns above
The smell of death is what calls them
They smell the death of my true love

Silence thunders in the chamber
As the beggar steals my throne
The taste of summer fills my window
And on my love, the smell of bones
The glades and glaciers cannot hide her
Nor the totems of her home
Laughter leaves her lips in rivers
As she drops her bloody comb

I had hoped to find her lair
With my guitar, my pack of rags
A knife that gleams in harvest moonlight
Where the shadow always sags
I found her lost within my footprint
Stumbling blindly to my door
She pleaded for my own forgiveness
As she died upon my floor


Traffic jam blues
swerving from
all directions
around Chatanooga
work city in the
crisp summer
comes out to play
round mid-afternoon


Mother Earth
A sea of green between
Which the world seems
To dissipate, axis unresolved
Distorted, out of balance
My universe is swiveling

O, loquacious rivers
Between which sense surrenders
A smirk, a heady wisp
Dancer, pure, and healed
Off the medicine
Turned on to knowledge
Yes, I dig it

I dream of a woman
She must be a dreamer
Her slender fingers tracing
The edges of crisp book pages
Pale, with wit and pain to spare
I adore her razor glare

And yet
She is
By both
And another.

left upside-down

For the young, love comes quickly
rising and falling in
glorious bursts of crimson light
sweat that rolls from
togetherness unearthed and
hold her by the back of head
double untold hopefulness
teaches moisture in omniform
enlightening and elevating as
eyes lock in perfect silence

manic word-storm

I encourage you to be battered
by the open frequencies we both knew
I'm sitting here, bleeding on this page,
hemorrhaging Kerouac as we talk
and your appreciation
is all I need to feel alive

the bridge stands up and shivers
looking into the evening gloss
there's a hard rain and it's
too damn loud and too fast
to see through the windshield

motorcycles dancing, magnetic
attraction to the trees and
a slip-and-slide mentality off
the starboard bough but
astronauts and cosmonauts
are cosmopolitan, cosmologists

hit the gas
we're going somewhere
anywhere that's not here
mannnnn, who cares


Something about the
way the wind
blows the silt into
my lover's hair
on the lush afternoon
meadow of memory
transforms the way
I look at her,
very Mexican,
kind of a half-Spanish
sort of thing
without the lisp

The Death of Heat

Love died on a Sunday in the small concrete pad outside her new place, some cheapskate house across from the university gridlocked in the college scene of the town. Something about the off-yellow siding and her violet drapes told me, in their own gypsy fortune-teller way, that the end was near, left wafting like black smoke out the side of a boxcar, but I, like all the great failures in history, treated the omens as child’s play and considered myself the hungry superior of the divine. Hubris was my sin. Retribution was soon to follow.

As I placed my two bottles upon her floor, one red, one rosé, I noticed that her eyes, those river-eyes that gleamed and washed so brilliantly along the rocky shores, those crags that she surrounded herself with, twin novas bursting in the black of space into the depths of my soul, where only eyes and hearts could decrypt her longing message, yes, those eyes were signaling a civilization long dead and hoping that my ancient, musty spirit could be conjured with the artifacts she had restored. Nothing about her perverse ritual dance should have excited me, and even the taste of dreariness upon her lips was intoxicating to my hollow soul seeking substance. Breathing, the smell of summer sauntering from her crazed floorboards, I found my own way out as I told her, without words, that I would never leave unless asked.

Two prayerful palms found their way onto the message she sent, leading me to believe that all our encounters were simply mistakes, that her perfect smile and too-crazy laugh were just the antidotes to anecdotes and nothing we were feeling was real. A simple gesture of the hand was enough to convince her, more powerful than a stroke of lightning tangling itself upon the rods of fortune, fairness, and fertility. I stood with my bouquet in the warm summer rain and promised to her, or maybe just to myself, that nothing in all the damn wide galaxy of ghosts and souls would ever compare to a breezy walk through the oaks with her, staring at the men in vests and their besotted others, nor the noisy breaks into civilization and cramped cafes that demanded caffeine to bear, nor a quiet bottle of Merlot shared under the dim orange glow of a beat-up midnight lamp.

Even heat must die. So life goes.