Flowers of Dawn
A yellow moon over the rooftops—striking in silence—blue sky, dark and twinkling—stars meld into street light—alleyways cluttered with bottles clink | a cat howls in summer heat— water washes away the smear | bleary-eyed and broken, I stumble among dust bins and sediment of the living—crowned with a halo—spirits | God and Whisky—the One and the Same. Showers of dusty moonbeam create a fedora of night—a cap of dawn—a screw.
The sun rises— wrinkled | bloody sky | the whirr of a circular saw grinds its path on wood—plank | Bang! Bang! nuclear splashes ripple alcohol headache |—air full of harps, angelic choirs—Ave, Maria! | choking, dumb rattle of death wakes me.
A rooster | strangled by the roar of automobiles | a cop drags cars through the crossroads—my mind | the Altiplano—the drifter’s horse and the gunslinger on L-dopa | brought to a stutter—plays cat’s-cradle on twisted fingers and angry gut | a dog’s hair—a pint of Schnapps, a fifth of Port | cold rinse, spin dry.
(Rotted flowers | wait on euphoria—the downhill slide | a dark, slow suicide. But, that’s OK—I’m doing alright.)
New York Blues
Thoughts like empty waves at train stations in the bleary morning daily commute of metal coffins, grasped by pall bearers—conductors | engineers who seek the high road
to Mecca, Freedom’s Tower—and points South.
(The Metro sinks to the depth of the burgeoning skyline—traces ghost lines to hug the rails of a fat dollar bill and a hungry New York Times.)
Later—in the City | after hours backroom handshakes
—up-stairs of the delicate-essence of a Broadway
mesmerized—by the rhythmic rumba of mermaids,
jungle kings—a two-faced opera star,
Times Square, great white-wail-revival of Pinocchio
—in the place where Debbie once did Dallas.
Wheels turn | street merchants spot travel-weary marks,
their craving heightened by jet lag—Air Bus itineraries,
hotel check-in no sooner than 4 | wait in Central Park,
buy frankfurters under yellow and blue Sabrett umbrellas,
say hello to America’s first “black” President
—Clinton in Harlem | played saxophone
and pandered to the poor—broke the ice
for the real thing yet to come.
Stand on tenement streets and suffocate on squalor
and urban blight, the rattle of inner city life
—America of loss | seasonal workers
off the desecrated farmlands of Uncle Sam’s broken promises, soldiers, war-torn, tired—crushing opiates, strained through cotton wads, bottle caps and dirty syringes.
(The lost souls of the last generation, waiting for economic collapse, that all men may be equal to Wall Street’s greed and indigo shirted night.)
Neon billboards radiate Yellow Cab taillights,
wet streets reflect pastiche on storefront windows—
mom and dad sit in coffee shops and cafeterias waiting
—for the USA—ABC—CBS—and NBC Fall Lineup.
A Dust Bowl Poetical
A shadow falls across your eyes, hides your smile—obscures the wine of your laughter—intoxicates with lies—an oil spill in Dakota and a river of arsenic in Colorado | your particulate scented skies.
American writers spoke the language of poets—their words filled with chronic humor | bypasses of indulgence—veneers of briar and wicked wisdom—smacked of blasphemy—smote both the gods of Israel and Greece—bathed us in baptismal fires—western ingenuity, raw guts and willpower—talked about the future—a rolling land—but didn’t prophesy destitution.
The wheels of progress, the great interstates slicing up the promised land—trucks and boats and trains, crisscrossed the USA—made commotion—endless enterprise and prosperity—lots and lots of cash —the smoke settled and the winds picked up—there was nowhere left to sow seeds of discontent—except to obfuscate the truth ::a wooden cross burned, a federal building demolished with chicken shit and diesel—a church in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi torched—teenagers arrested—white supremacists, uncontested.
Women, gentlemen, thieves and knaves—the poor, the huddled masses—come drink the waters, but don’t take too much—it isn’t free in the land of Evian and Nestle. And as the aquifers dry up and the creeks flow with algae—come join us as we march the last mile to freedom—to make our country great again, look the Constitution in the eye and say, you fail! we know better, and the best comes at a price.
“Don’t say we didn’t warn you,” the voice of reason says—when the crows come home to roost and the homestead’s abandoned, the crops left rotting and migrant harvests left untended—living wages deemed for losers and healthcare for the hopeless—let’s break a union, work for less than the minimum—and claim the battle won.
(And the rivers took a toll | and Sunday Football paid the price, and no one asked the question: “How in hell will we survive?”)
In a narcoleptic moment of reflection ~ a dirge.
As the sun pushes the grey mists of morning across the sands, currents rush into the houses—down | windows invaded—brisk | thickets and blankets of pillows and light—catch dreams | apparitions bleed into twilight—a shadow lingers past the night.
To touch the grey, I reach | to clasp the mist, I feel | to hear the whisper, I strain | energized by sadness, tears of waking disappear into the night | a figure blocked by sunlight—a voice from the stairs, a face in the clouds | morning obscures the marsh—there! in the sunlight, you vanish.
Please don’t shake me from these slumbers | let me rest in my wanting—sleep | for you have beat me long enough (let go) | I never asked for this—the tortured memories | my life waits for open roads.
Was I your servant or your muse? | a walk on deserts with Don Juan—peyote visions | mescal—delirium tremens | pink elephants—ahor | a flashback to those good old times! taste the cotton mouth spittle—wash it down with Orange Crush.
Aged men on limestone walls—frescoes | they look with wonder—admonish the lame | war was never meant memorial—eyes ravaged by sight— tears hide anguish—cheers! | we drank to the living, chastised the dead! of this pain there is no end | repeat: of this pain there is no end.
Prisoners grapple with bars | “Any day now…” they cling to the songs of a vagabond—a child’s cry | a thief robs the house but leaves the night-light—on | a couch stolen—a sleep disturbed | empty pockets haunt evening—derelict drifters and wolves | wharf rats scuttle the harbor—hungry.
::a man once shared his dreams.
Corpse on the River Ganges
Streams coalesce—levitate | tunnels navigate conscious channels | a bloated fetus floats in a mercurial reflection | clean the Ganges with antiseptic—kill all the fish | and there you were bathing—drinking it all in.
Soup kitchens and meth labs | a road trip to Reno | too far beyond the Great Divide to be concerned with the articles of faith—the doers of good works and the lame | the second act of the Apostles—illuminated and sold to the bookmakers at the House of Poggio.
Nickel-plated dimes spin on platforms | policemen in riot gear just off the train from City Hall, handcuffed and shackled in irons and leggings—yoga pants and stirrups—lambs to the slaughter in woolen balaclava | dragged across cement tiles and mop water to the juggernaut | the High Priest of the Righteous—and the Law.
(In Trial of the Century, Suspect Prescriptions Go Uncontested by Local Authorities | a pharmacist arrested while performing due diligence. In other news: The Druggist Prescribed the Coke—parents blame bad seeds for children’s behavior | medical cannabis drives dementia patients wild.)
Seductions awaken in the night | snare the naïve in hospital beds | sent home prematurely—to cold water flats uptown in Harlem—before the sonic boom of gentrification. Eyes closed and pregnant | nostrils intoxicated by the smell of grease in hallways—doorways to the morgue | a doctor’s declaration precedes birth—Cause of Death: Poverty. A corpse on the River Ganges—mission aborted.
Pablo Cuzco is an American writer of poetry and short stories. He spent his early years in France and Germany with his family. In his teens, he traveled across America, guitar in hand, writing songs and jotting memories along the way. Now living in the Southwest with his wife, he has time to reflect and share those stories. This is his first publication. You can also see more of his work at Pablo Cuzco …in My Mind’s Eye