Spotlight: Jay Passer’s “Prelude to the Culling” now available

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Seven Poems from Jay Passer’s new chapbook

 

ORLANDO

it won’t stop

50 dead in Orlando

bear in mind those arms you bear
are meant to defend your freedom
not senseless slaughter of innocents
but it can’t stop
humanity is at population overload
and all-time spiritual low
while munitions corporations keep us force-fed
media dropping bombs
how many films out of 10 where a person doesn’t
get blown away
stop it
“why should I?
I have a right to my opinion!
I have a right to bear arms!
I have a right to be ignorant!
I have a right to be insane,
I have a right to walk into a club and hate on
total strangers!”
it won’t stop
because it can’t stop
until humanity drops the

I
in favor of

we
we’re waiting
we’ll be waiting a long time
but in Orlando the wait is over

 

 

 

 

LETTER TO MYSELF

Looks like I’ve settled after all these years for good in San Francisco. Really there is no better city for me and my pocketbook ethos and slander of the spirit and breakfasting of the apocalypse. I can walk to the wharf and the ocean and back in a day and pretend I fell off a rock and was ravaged by seals. Say I lost my hearing aid and glasses and false teeth and wallet and keys and a shoe like Bob Kaufman and beat up by cops to boot. Eyes crossed out with masking tape and bare-breasted a little paunch after all these centaur years. The computer won’t let me say CENTAURIAN. That thin red line beneath the word telling me wrong wrong wrong. It’s cool here, and I’m glad I was gone for 20 years so I can fully appreciate the native city. I live in the Tenderloin district just northwest of downtown, which is in the heart, amongst the poorest and wretched and broken and flying. I walk around a bunch through the tunnels and fog and graft and endless chatter, avoiding the detritus as best, and talking up the living dead, and numbing down for the warring invisible but inevitable.

 

 

 

 

LETTER TO MYSELF II

I walk through thrum of siren and lurch of earth mover, the pile driver seeking new routes to teeming transplants. Bolting from drought to scathing, from muscle to musical. Market tinsel, fountain bustle. The scent of the streets assails and assuages, grilled beef wafts, unwashed human staggers. Smoke and bright windows and clotted sidewalks and color miasma and small apartment dogs skittering off pulpy hands. In the mornings to climb legions of steps up to Coit Tower either bold sunlight or shrouded chill. I could be in a wheelchair still I’d pull it off. A cylinder loosens in my mind as I gaze past what I know are cold distances over the bay waters. At arm’s length from peripheral vista I sense in the Bridges a fetal pulse. I embrace twin totems. The tourists stream around me as if in speeded-up film. Just another among the multitude of figures painted on the murals in the interior of the Tower. Like some apotropaic shadow. The nights roaming elder states of lucid debauchery, then to hole up in the paint-peeling cubby, listening to rustle and mime of pages. Try to pick up something on the radio. There seems a decline in quality of language or trafficking of futures – I have to draw straws flip a coin or fall asleep to decide.

 

 

 

CITY SAPLING

now that I don’t need anything

it’s easier

 

I wake up

when it’s convenient

 

after

space travel or

a scream in the dark

 

in the finale

I don’t even need

you

 

I dance alone

in my sleep

 

swat nightmares like

bottle flies

off a horse’s

ass

 

I use

street songs for sustenance

 

from sunlight

I fathom

protein

 

while the ark floats

on cloud banks

 

 

 

 

THE FIRE ESCAPE

the men in the lobby sip weak coffee

out of white styrofoam cups because it’s free.

 

in turn these cups choke out oceanic life

perhaps as soon as a week later.

 

these men eat tuna out of a can as long as the label says tuna

and not porpoise or zebra or eagle or Labrador retriever.

 

apathetic as zoo exhibits, they watch the game shows

on a flat-screen TV above the bogus hearth.

 

the men in the lobby, fresh from the fire escape,

claim to have quit smoking for good.

 

 

 

 

STARTING OUT LATE

I’m constipated with

the cries of gulls

and grind of backhoes

 

crashing into walls

falling downstairs

burning the toast

 

it’s summer white with fog

and somnambulant sidewalks

I’ve started out late

 

Broadway garish with neon

promoting kink and sleaze

where I learned to love

 

 

 

 

CALLING THE 1%

what about

a poet laureate for

every Major League

baseball team

 

a painter for the NFL

a sculptor for the NHL

a photographer for the NBA

a filmmaker for FIFA

 

you could switch it up

every season

spread the wealth

support the arts

 

and worst of all

it’d be a sweet tax write-off

for the piece of shit

owners.

 

 

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