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Peter William Stein

Auto-Bio Š copyright 2010 by Peter William Stein. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, by photography or xerography or by any other means, by broadcast or transmission, by translation into any kind of language, nor by recording electronically or otherwise, without permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in critical articles or reviews. ISBN: 978-0-9819860-4-3 Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2010923016 Printed in the United States of America First Printing: March 2010 14 13 12 11 10

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Book design by Christopher Fayers Photo courtesy of Keith Zimmerman, 1935 Berkshire Drive Eagan, Minnesota 55122 651.452.0463 To order, visit or call 1-800-901-3480. Reseller discounts available. Visit the author at

Contents Introduction    7


The Blades of the City    10 City Wanderlust    11 Cast Party    12 On a night of thin air    13 Diogenes’ Light    14 Child Star    15 On the move to Cleveland    16 We Sleep Beneath a Parisian Window    18 On the Highway    19 EXODUS [PA to WI]    21 Fight Fear    23


Self-Portrayal    26 Canvassing    31 Child’s Mind Extending a Handshake to the Bottom of the Ganges    32 Remembering Celeste    33 Mystical Monument    34 It was nice to get lost once    35 Rest in Peace    36 The Geezer and the Card Sharks    37 Self Portrait    38 Monkey Mind    40 I am trapped within my mind    41 Infinite Unacknowledged    42 Insomniholic    44 Self Destruction    45

Portraitier    46 To All    47


The Arsonist    50 Subcutaneous    51 The Lifespan of a Stick of Incense    52 Mantra of Form    53 Euclid’s Perfect Insight    54 Timothy Leary Ideals    55 Kyoto Snow    57 Fabric of Time    58 Attic    59 Mystical Mistress    60 Mantra of Need    61 My Weakness    62 Uprooted    64 Union Absolute    65

One Hundred Ways to Die

Transcendental Derailment    68 Saint Peter’s Revelation    69 Introspective Revolution    70 Theocracy    71 Atlas    72 Stand    73 Anxiously Awaiting the Afterlife    74 Room To Grow    75 Dead in my Dream    77 Ascendant Ruin    79

Dedication To All


Thank you Stephanie, Eric, William and the rest of the Stein clan for your inspiration, support, and tolerance without which this book would not be possible. Thank you Diane Ingram and Shar Kanan for giving my creativity a home for so many years. Thank you John Medeiros, Kirsten Deirking, Kris Bigalk, the Northwords writers group of the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts for their eyes and assistance in crafting this book. And thank you Judith Palmateer of Amber Skye Publishing and Chris Fayers for turning this collection of poems into a book of poetry.

AUTO-BIO     5

AUTO From the Greek word autos, meaning ‘self ’ By ones self, without external assitance or influence Starting or functioning independently

BIO From the Greek word bios, meaning ‘life’ Prefix referring to a system of organisms A living thing with biological processes capable of growth, reproduction and death

AUTO-BIO     7


The Blades of the City pierce the calloused skin hit the nerves to make them feel dissect without hesitation the Fruit, hiding among the razor maze clings to the metal edges that shimmer in the moonlight cold, hard, blooming brightly only the Careful with fingers delicate, deliberate, dare attempt the harvest the branches part the skin with each pluck the sting hardly consequential as upon consumption of the juicy flesh that milks life from steel, the cellular silk sheath, concealing Self quickly mends

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City Wanderlust Downtown gone wrong, gone way wrong, structured one ways easily lose my muse under a canopy of giant nightlights. Visions of windshields reflecting windshields reflecting windshields . . . Self-reflection self-contained, eyes inquire where she went Concrete piled high meant to impress cannot pry away this primal urge to be inspired by something greater than the creations of Mankind aspiring to be larger than life­ hiding behind self-aggrandizing towers paying tribute to honor amongst thieves Losing sight of her I drive into the guiding white lines, siren’s call echoing off concrete, drawn towards the sound of desperation I cannot find her I turn down the alley to elude distraction, find the incessant mutterings of a mad man making more sense than uninspired stares of bystanders This ascetic monk has seen her so I follow suit

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Cast Party The curtains close, The players peer into empty chairs, silence befalls the auditorium, no hands are clapping, no barrage of roses thrown The players smile and bow as the lights dim and the stage lowers it’s eyelids on the final night of production The Quiet slowly files out of the audience into the streets and crowds the city with still air, the only face gracing the sidewalk is that of the moon thousands of miles away On the way home the air reflects upon the powerful performance by the players, who have retreated into dressing rooms, the only noise to be heard the clicking of shoes on wooden floors, the extent of the raucous celebration— bubbles of champagne as fizz rises to the rim of glass then settle themselves in sleep as the players drift into dreams

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On a night of thin air On my back In the snow Admiring broken glass Scattered across the sky Orion takes his sights off the seven sisters To marvel at the glitter-dust nightlife of NYC

AUTO-BIO     13

Diogenes’ Light I should walk by the light of the lantern but I hide beneath a fluorescent guise looking out through translucent pane pondering why I lock myself inside The voice of a boy is playing beyond the horizon but I do not have the heart to brave the cold to face the dark Where has this heart gone? It was not stolen, nor broken. I gave it up for a set of walls to protect me from wolves I have never known to do me harm, but a compelling case was made Now I sit secluded in fear, though no threat remains while the child roams the plains aware and unafraid of what lies in the bushes, he knows to live, one must die I am still in denial

Child Star while waiting in the wings the child turns his back on the show, curtains calling and bright lights anxiously gaze at the empty stage limousine driver lights up like James Dean, the long slow expansion of lungs draw in crisp, filtered air. Wild winds at odds as the cig, fulfilling desire, expires shortly before finding solace in a dingy river bed beneath the street prodigy, prodigal, all the same to his young bones, steps outside with a motion to the driver stating, “Let’s get a move on.” the key turns, lets loose a low rumble complimenting the clopping shoes moving towards the car door taillight eyes peer back at the nightclub as the sleek black ship runs and hides among peppered fluorescent high-rises in the eye of the sky, cool collision silences midnight fervor, sacrificial suicide upon atmospheric comet turns to cosmic dust burning bright enough to cast a shadow

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On the move to Cleveland she passes endless fallen fields down for the count, dry grass rolled into defensive posture possum balls. pole after telephone pole holding quiet conversations, distract from collecting her own thoughts sporadic signs of ghost towns not yet abandoned. at every stop, muddy skies reflect looks of the locals, nowhere they’d rather be the wind seems to pick up each time she pulls off, clenching the jaw, arms wrapped tight around the torso, and her rest stop mantra, “Hey Joe, you got a smoke?” she calls everyone Joe, they all respond. most have a pack and a match to accompany the burnt out butts in the ash tray with luck, she receives conversation as a donation, anything to stretch time farther than the road on her way to an apartment she never met but all too familiar four white walls, a mattress so the dreams may return, a tub to viciously, futilely, scrub memory away and a window to breathe easy 16     AUTO-BIO

back into her carriage she pulls the door shut, sounds of the world around become muted and distant. she kicks the clutch to make the stubborn mule go, grumbling complaints under its heavy breath, but would always obey in hopes of finding home

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We sleep beneath a Parisian Window symmetrical fountain view half in shadow half in light the sun never moves clothed in sheets our skin becomes obsolete and we spend hours floating recklessly on the mattress and wake up miles away exiting the bed, Paris leaves us and we forget the fountain until it is time to retire for the night

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On the highway bikers riding by connect me to home. monotonous noise of the motors remind me of City Nights: hot with unrest, the people bubble out of their pots onto the streets to see if life has anything better to offer than dreams small lakes on the roadside breathe a long mist, little rippled surfaces shiver in november air, time to retire under a blanket of stars with billboard nightlights promoting unnecessity trees perform shadow puppetry in the twilight, wind tugging branches, directing leaves to act out greek tragedy the tired sun does not applaud, rather weeps with empathy for the players, scripted and predictable but no less powerful. they take a bow and the curtains close, no masks or costumes to shed, cast party held in honor of honesty white lines draw me in, hidden morse code messages spelling out S.O.S. or some other psychosomatic scheme. the road tells no story,

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but my mind turns over with each click of the odometer as it needs something to feed on, eating up the lines as if they were Dostoyevsky. each pale stripe on the asphalt a guru guiding me through the gap in the forest that prevents me from veering off into animalistic tendencies, every blink brings me closer to indulging in dreams not long now before I hit the Pacific with open arms and stories of Forests and Rivers and Mountains She replies, “I know them all, we met long before you were born. They told me tales of you.” the air at a stand still, the sea quiet with heavy sighs, and I with nothing left to say She heard the words churning in my head, sonnets of love, death, greed, anguish, parables flowing down stream collecting in her bed so she may dream of our pride and our foolishness, She could recite them all by heart, if only she could speak her tide rises with charismatic fallacy and retreats with repulsive truth She alone is aware there is no dichotomy

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EXODUS [PA to WI] Woeful steel mill abandoned, plastic part replacement, empty brck shell some other glorious lover You will always have Warhola

left for

Rise! Oh!io river, rise! meet my toes on shoreline chills my bones once again the cloudsexhale I race the sun westward so long Youngstown, so long

Kent State Exit I never knew your children My parents, they spoke fondly brought flowers often. memory fades into textbookbackground moment of silence as music changes and I move on

To Le Do ... Chi Ca Go not too far I can already imagine: windy city spires stretching towards Heaven yawning out of boredom

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apparently no one wants to sleep I slip under cover of night through the freckled monuments to commerce

Gary, Gary, Quite contrary, where? does your garden grow? not beneath the candlestick skyline not beneath the semi-stampede not beneath the were-houses that feed on lust and greed

Maddy, my old friend, eternally welcoming, fervently gracious Produce! fresh off the farm good and green the rain has not stopped yet, fertile and promiscuous earth, plenty of Barley and Hops to go around another round another round

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Fight Fear million man revolution armed with guitars, staring down the barrels of an overwhelmed militia that must choose surrender or slaughter the lambs that provide warmth of wool If the choice is made to open fire into the masses until every last one has fallen, the revolutionaries are better off dead, and the guardsmen left with no one to protect

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On snowy training ground with stick in hand and mind singularly focused on the metal point all the while eyes, the eyes canvas open landscape for motion and hostility and act accordingly; arm motions to intuitive geometric perfection guiding, gliding with precision and power Calm countenance as he resigns

to fate and servitude


Grandiose deceiver steals in a flash, receives applause, audience can’t keep track, actively ignoring as they want to believe He plays right into their hand passes an heirloom into another plane, maintaining blank stare as not to reveal the wool pulled over his eyes They watch his palms open surprised the prized possession has returned safe and sound. Night after night distracts and misdirects so the sheepish people do not see the wool pulled over theirs

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Bare feet firm on the land with no sense of destination and always moves forward, horizon after horizon, and any place he lays to rest he refers to as home. In his satchel there is nothing Never lonely always alone,

he would call his own.

eyes meet the eyes of others and quickly recognizes who are willing to return the favor smile, handshake, kind word, bite to eat never asks,

never accepts more

experiencing acknowledged

than offered

world without walls only by those

who want to see more than a body

Monk Arms folded inward Legs folded inward Eyes closed staring Into mirror reflecting Metaphysical Self

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Mimicking statue No thought No intention No reaction Only simple, inescapable interaction With the cosmos


nervous system not yet acclimated to the expanding playing field, feeling awkward and swerving as if learning to walk again. Conflicting biochemical interference manifested as stammering words and indecisive decisions, vocal projection comes out in wavering tone, “When will I be done? When will I grow into my Self?” Visions of the minds eye still mapping, still exploring experimenting, toying with the idea of identity

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Radical ideas stream from conscious thought, conscience cleared of misdeeds Eyes ablaze with social reform, whisper into the earpiece of shouting crowds, “We refuse!” As tears are released to repress emerging Mind, he ducks for cover into the subconscious underground to review blueprints for ways to rebuild the structure so it may stand balanced and sturdy to mimic a statuette of a blindfolded feminine form

Lunatic sunshine

diffracting window rainbow

little lines pane cracked

Landscape hillside vertebrae snaking away

Landscape granite

golems napping raging rain prism droplets more rainbows white light

spread thin

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bounce, bounce back towards moon in full chameleon skin treads wearing down on pavement going nowhere

the ocean, sooner or later, the ocean


A calloused grip around deliberately shapen oak, dirt soiling well worn hands and muscular boots Metal head, strike after strike, buried into bearer of fruit, makes way for the departure Eyes, ashamed of the sky, look away and keep in constant connection with the forgiving earth

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Canvassing Distilled vision melds observation onto one massive canvass. The mouth opens wide allowing unrestricted exchange with external, inhaling color from paint Tip of the tongue tastes itself never again does it take the salty air for granted. Forming a common molecular bond, the mental camera zooms in and loses sight of simple cell

The ghost of Seurat whispers in my ear, “Take a step back.” I withdraw revealing a portrait of a man inspecting a painting so close that the frame is outside his range of perception

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Child’s Mind Extending a Handshake to the Bottom of the Ganges blondish bowlish hair bows in the slight breeze, pale skin reflects the sunlight fidgety fingers, anxiously sift through the sandbox with no intent, stroll into future tense gripping million little crystal-worlds with no recollection of the rich genealogy traced in the stars; a tactile distraction from idle mind deciding between angels and anarchy

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Remembering Celeste Water drumming on the window— keeping steady quiet beat, entices internal organs to play along Muscles melt into the chair as waves radiating from the stereo bring me back to visions of Celeste The eyes did not bother her and she would spin until the sun rose I still catch her dancing in the stars when she thinks no one is watching, stopping red-faced when she feels my eyes follow her momentum Even now I can still see the stars dancing in the vast dark space centered in the whites of her eyes

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Mystical Monument A mystical monument standing in galoshes dips her finger into the cup retrieving a hot drop of chocolate A sense of frivolity her mother has long lost, but does not object to this messy playfulness and places a napkin at the daughter’s side The fervent girl wanders the coffee shop with mystified eyes that present the world in Technicolor, wearing a reflective dress Though not supposed to talk to strangers, she sees through the masquerade faces of other patrons upon meeting their eyes and says hi with a smile Her mind eager to thrive no sense of ambition but curiosity and knowledge, hands her mother a book to whom it seems routine What is so engrossing about monkeys on trees? the daughter hangs on, like the foolhardy protagonist, to her mother’s every word A phone call from obligation interrupts and packing up her purse, the mother informs its time to go With no sense of possession, she puts the book away, thanks her mother as they walk into the world

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It was nice to get lost once Lost in her eyes the young child she once was, subdued, but very much alive She looks at young blood in admiration of the curious spirit that thrive on impulse, but has herself settled into what is known Mapped and thoroughly charted, she wanders her globe. Magellan days have sailed away, Ponce de Leon long gone The getaway just as pleasant but nothing surprises her anymore, always knowing where she is, never abandoned in mystery

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Rest in Peace The peacefulness of sleep amazes me She wears it like a wedding dress, adorned with sincerity and a veil of white eyelids carefully hiding dreams Every morning the veil is lifted revealing subconscious thought in the form of a story rolling off her lips, I watch as she takes off the dress and places it back in the closet Every night she pulls it out of the closet to wear once more— then closes her eyes and changes into something less ecstatic and more content than a bride

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The Geezer and the Card Sharks Light settles on the discontent, futile hope for something more still lingers All is seen through a haze of impurity as the dim barroom bulbs illuminate passion for false hope. Angry patrons, grizzled impatient glares, cross the tables ready to bite An old fellow walks in among the street punks, the eager switchblades, and can only smile. Rough-and-tumble looks look harder to intimidate, but he has lived too long to fear He takes a seat and raises a glass to the senseless bastards who do not know whether to kill the man, or to kiss him for they love him regardless of how many cuts they wish to put into his skin

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Self Portrait sweet aroma on finger tips reaches out as the teacher releases a puff of smoke nothing material but influential nonetheless dissipates to the eye but to the nose and mind the lesson still lingers

flashing bright lights loud noises distract the sense of smell that tells you just how much the place reeks the picture only as bleak as you paint it, the canvas, black, so I suggest you start creating or you will live life in the dark

motion of paint across paper, a ritual to appease the god of this solipsistic world, revolving around me

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or maybe you and I a streak on the canvas

the piece speaks for itself but I have to ask is there a reason you painted me blue? what kind of statement do I make? words wasted on the artist, you know your intention but I have to know, how do I fit in to the picture? and why does your self portrait look so much like me?

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Monkey Mind A spiral staircase leads down to a room with a throne and nothing else, a seat reserved for a fool King of beasts a benevolent ruler, lions waging war on antelopes would leave them victorious and hungry, so they contain their blood lust, game of cat and mouse continues leaving genocide up to God Lions do not beg for food, antelopes do not sacrifice themselves, elephants make graves, they are the only ones who can remember before they were born The living weep for the living that weep over loss of life and everyone loses except the hyenas who play with no sense of victory or defeat, spending a lifetime consuming corpses that they admit defeat and become immortal by laughing at the sad faces of the dead as they pick the bones clean Monkeys never asked questions until they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and all the answers were revealed, now they search for the questions to match, run circles in their heads, spiraling further down the staircase until they find a room with a chair where they sit on their throne and pose for Rodin

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I am trapped within my mind A mind inside the walls called home A home imbedded in a mangy little town A town that spots a state of pavement grey A state that sits upon a slowly drifting continent A continent wrapped around a lonely globe A globe that gazes out to far away stars that have a mind of their own

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Infinite Unacknowledged I sit in peaceful protest and set myself ablaze only noticed by the subtle few who are themselves burning what good does it do to light a spark if it only catches the attention of that which is already on fire? I stand up and walk into an establishment carrying the flame with me, but the patrons are drenched and will not ignite with all the booze consumed one would think it would catch on but my fuel runs low and I, reduced to ash, sit down and order a drink retreating into echous mental catacombs to find the buried bodhi tree, I follow a deep unclear voice for guidance, as I grow nearer it repeats: “Rage, rage….dying light…” * arriving at my center, I find only remnants of charred wood with a branch still burning I carry the torch light, navigating through the cavernous confusion to the gaping mouth that lets me out. as I emerge to the surface cinders rekindle

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the flame kicks in once more and peels back my skin for all to see, entrails sift fluid though the liver that puts on a delicate front but can handle so much the company of these relapse misfits inspire me burn as much as a joyous occasions inspire them to laugh. my body finally gives in and I fill the room as a cloud of smoke though no one notices amidst the reminiscent cigarettes, a collective pathetic sigh sucks me in as each one as bored as the next and I flirt with the lungs of all who do not know that I am here

*From Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

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Insomniholic Most are afraid Of the air as still as the dead So they hide in houses and sleep Like beds are coffins He does not want to sleep He does not want to miss The spinning stars, revolving moon The humble orange glow of streetlamps He takes late night walks To watch over dreams To see that they are not stolen By doubt and despair In all his years of walking Midnight He has found neither

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Self Destruction Milking life out of a neon sign, I light up and eyes can be seen down the road peering into wet snow to find something a little less fluid decomposing geometric shapes


Burnt into skin the symbol of permanence, not that there is such a thing but human mind has conceived labels for the nonexistent and I am walking propaganda stating Mind transcends that which exists Finger tips become distant as they reach out to touch what I cannot feel, if only my mind could grasp the cosmos as well as my digits but I fail as focus is only on that which is familiar only on what is right before my eyes and unfortunately cannot focus as finely as phalanges Nuclear meltdown and I turn into a shadow manifested as Anti-I, but I with no antithesis and that which is not I defined by what I do not embody all that is not contained within in this former skin, as the shell has been incinerated

I emerge as Not I

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Portraitier Cells align like planets shooting from the sun until the whole world becomes Technicolor blocks He was always lost in aggravated greens and patient reds but has now put it into perspective The suggestive frame channeling unbridled lust for seemingly mundane:

a lady sitting bored eating an apple staring at a bookshelf full of encyclopedias long since outdated

He with brush in hand sees this and dies

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To All To all the young lovers that do not know the potential that lies within their skin, may their eyes stay ablaze as they emerge and not be denied of their idealistic minds. The glass does not have to break unless the resident no longer wants a home. Sense of wanderlust acquired and follows the sun across the horizon to see where it retires in the night To all the sacred hearts that feel beyond the skin and pump the veins of blood that flow like rivers in and out of steel and concrete, saturating the cracks of innate matter, transforming structures into hearth of celebration. Crackling laughter echoes through the chimney, heats more than flesh and bone To all the bar-mates that raise a smile higher than the glass and wash away everything but the company they keep, creating a fallout of merriment, all succumb to the loosening of the compassionate tongue, each story a cat licking an old wound To all the players on the street corners that beat the bongos and blow through reeds without woe, tiny hairs on inner ear begin to dance sending message to legs and hips to follow suit, appreciative fingers reach into pocket depths to pull out spare change, clang in the bucket bottom adding to rhythm and subtracting the blues To all the self-proclaimed scholars with eyes peering into the empty space between the well defined lines deciphering the deliberate minds of compatriots, using ancient text messages to tie together

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pieces of unsolvable mystery, bound by curiosity to find nothing but wealth of knowledge and no reward but an expanding sphere of waves atop a sturdy pair of shoulders To all the pill poppers that refuse to see the surface and retreat into the reflection beneath the sea to find Atlantis and tell the tale but constantly emerge from the waters empty and contagious, waiting with the patience of a Buddhist monk to finally be extinguished by anarchy, receiving aesthetic sense through two-bit hits, relying on quick fix to stop the bleeding heart and hide the frail from tempest I fall in love with you all as the moon continuously falls from the sky, in distant admiration, always following along, seeing each of the many faces, reaches out with gentle light, touches the cheek as it sleeps to transmit beauty-dreams as I turn towards the sun I fall with no regret or concern for the exposed corpse, it will not be bruised by egos or malevolence. Touch me how you chose, it will not hurt for I find solace in the angry eyes, they will soften with a smile. Sliced up, served any which way, I am honored to be a dinner guest, chewed and consumed and filtered into the bloodstream to become the thick skin that protects you

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The Arsonist I am a ghost caught on fire, flickering with flesh, bones providing the fuel, and ash as the radiant mind coats surroundings with soot as I move amidst other latent souls set ablaze with substance and interaction

Potential energy of free floating form erupts into kinetic sentient that resonates wave after wave of energy, intense sense of presence among the desolate, arising awareness becomes contagious to my companion apparitions

we Dance and Howl, night lights up with Consciousness a roaring flame enticing the moon to fall from isolation and join the awakening

Subcutaneous touch the skin with fingertips and dip them into the surface rippling laughter up the spine, a strange sensation of weightlessness submerged below the salty surface as fingers feel a spark spread to hands and wrists afraid of unfamiliar, the finger retracts from the warm glow initial impulse fades, the hand ventures once again to reconnect as ancient memory recalls this sensation as strength, vague yet vibrant the doors of insecurity lower so the surface of flesh might reconnect with long lost lovers that met before they had names

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The Lifespan of a Stick of Incense Initial enigmatic flame settles into a subtle glow, father figure matchstick with offspring of a stream of smoke, rises with lust for life, dissipates into nebulaic cloud slowly spiraling, then descendes as contagious Calcutta aroma on couches and clothes and nose Blackened father figure and extinguished breath of mother’s life finally fulfilled, cremated ashes lay on wooden display with remembrances lingering in the air and in the mind

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Mantra of Form Form and Formlessness Time and Timelessness Space and Spacelessness Self and Selflessness Mind and Mindlessness Need and Needlessness Sleep and Sleeplessness Dream and Dreamlessness Sense and Senselessness Fear and Fearlessness

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Euclid’s Perfect Insight what/where to do (how)now? Open open Dharma eye batting eye lashes I lashing back regress to blind-hindsight unseen unsightly light in night


showers reign ancient alien matter over mind under matter hiding like lunar eclipse ec(lips)e the tongue wet parts lips part (of the process) curiosity part intoxi(fi)cation part (when?) the night thinly sliced nice lines perfect(ly un)measure(d)ment deslicively die-sected served belly up -- warm se e arm reaching fingers feeling eu(you)clid’s p(her)fect in(-)sight

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to find

Timothy Leary Ideals Delve into rich life of normalcy scrap-booking thoughts into abstract portrait realigning simplicity into extraordinary White rabbit put down in old age chemicals no longer needed for mystic clarity Purity the new intoxication too obscure to acknowledge never getting credit deserved Dig up those old holes those deep wells of pure conception Drudge up soil from mental catacombs in subcutaneous search for Shiva Final strike of shovel caverns flood with luminosity permeating brain and spilling onto surface as Glowing eyes smile uncontained combating thermodynamics reveals touch of creation

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Fingers blossom into organic stimulus hand on wall vines begin to climb Bare feet on concrete grass sprouts beneath to pave way to lakes and streams Crawl into the lake of decay let the Self emerge nameless and uncontained

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Kyoto Snow The snow falls in Kyoto and I am stuck in the sunshine of the California coast. Sentiment settles like the little brown grounds in my mug. Laughing gulls cease to creep beneath my skin as a flake of symmetry lands on my tongue stretched across the ocean. A rich taste as the complex geometric perfection breaks down, allowing the sound of the sun to run rampant through quiet corridors of inner ear Fat-foamed coffee cup rolls off the mouth, the incidental contact entices flavor satori. Savory receptors, amped up on mocha motor-oil, wash away faded glory with a swallow Fog rolls in and obscures the view of blue plains, I enveloped in empathy for suspended dew drops longing to crystallize into little gems, longing to be caught on the lips of a loving stranger the Mind wanders with the clouds, parts ways with corporial imprisonment, no longer oppressed by Newtonian Law, ascends the mountain peak the Body slips into conscious comatose, on it’s own propelled by caffeine, arms, legs, still in motion towards larger goal unbeknownst, the Soul follows Lao Tzu and goes nowhere, settles as the physical counterpart abandons ship to set adrift in dead sea waters in hopes of Kyoto AUTO-BIO     57

Fabric of Time a patchwork quilt comprised of squares with seemingly random meaning loosely tied together with thick yellow yarn lost in the attic

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Attic Lonely portraits of a childhood lost among boxes and bags and blankets, trinkets to return to after passage through time exist solely to remember. Remember that one day, clouds glowing and cold? Say cheese as if to say hello to the forgotten future Space and Time, one in the same, often at odds. Intersecting lattices as mystic sailors crossing the sea plot a course around the world with the aid of sparks in the sky to find the forgotten future The stars recollect where they will have been, after the fact and rummaging through a garret of old memorabilia, reminiscing on the impending expedition. As for the wanderer there is only one way, that is to partake, traverse the endless waves, and hope the celestial nightlights align to pave the way into the forgotten future

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Mystical Mistress She kisses the statue in the rain eyes closed and hands holding the granite neck Soft wet skin pressed against the cold comforting form frozen in a pose

of love and longing

shows more life than the living who have tasted her lips His parting gift to her

the ecstasy and agony of that single moment imprinted upon his face for eternity

as she walks away shivering in the down pour

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Mantra of Need There is no need to float There is no need to drown There is no need to congeal There is no need to dissolve There is no need to remain There is no need to flee There is no need to accept There is no need to reject There is no need to heal There is no need to hurt There is no need to hope There is no need to despair

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My Weakness 3 minutes and 37 seconds eclipse an inferno of dispair notes piercing skull alleviate pressure from hum-drum sand sifts out from holes running out of time time is not the essence sense of weightlessness swimming in sharps and flats closed eyes worlds away nothing other than here nothing other than now impressed upon ear drum bass in waves of biorhythm undulating highs and lows curves with sun and moon spinning rings of Saturn measure distance between rest stops not long before next movement continuous stream elevating supplemental thought awareness squared revelation without words no need for explanation selfishness dissolved in back-beat generation brought back to life can’t keep still strings pulled admitting submission

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to delicate fingers calloused and passionate plucking away at dreams and desires melting into a puddle

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Uprooted thrown to the ground and buried in dirt I grew with roots embracing earth and stems reaching for the heavens I was revered, then removed to a pot on a sill,

my roots grew cracking clay apart

then binding the pot together again sprawling across countertops never finding the earth they once embraced never receding in hope

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Union Absolute When these eyes that see the little lines that separate and define and classify have bleed their last tear leaving a gaping hole leading directly to the center of the mind When these bones no longer self-repair and the sturdy structure begins to creak and moan until it cannot hold and slowly settle into dust When this flesh becomes food for thought and fills the mouths of maggots that receive little credit for their endless toil in the fields to produce the bounty that we receive When these fingertips can no longer feel outside from inside and stop hiding the body so eager to conceal the soul When this mind stops firing and the rain washes away ideas of fear and regret and contempt There will be nothing left to divide Us into separate segments

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One Hundred Ways to Die

Transcendental Derailment Hunched over on the sofa in the low-lit living room, a pose reminiscent of his days in the womb, razorblade in hand scratches the mirror dissecting the self-portrait to look more like how he feels Stringy black hair hangs down to form dark tunnel vision towards the white light right in front of his nose Deep meditative breath in through nostrils, a vain attempt to fill the lungs with something substantial His body unfurls from the curled position stretches open and exposed, head tilts back, eyes reach up to search for God in the empty space between the stars Even with chemically induced intuition his gaze cannot pierce the ceiling of what he calls home Lying back, nerve endings believe they have returned to the Garden, but the mind is not deceived as it squeezes itself dry

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Saint Peter’s Revelation he no longer wants to witness to the Revelation of Saint Peter in attempt to dispel the magic that has been foreseen, he stares into the sun, watches the retina burn into the shapes of crosses sense of sight destroyed as what was foretold unfolds sense of smell registers dead flesh emerging from catacombs pestilence in the form of boils creeps across his skin ears consumed by the screams of the madmen, the damned, that could not care less about compassion while alive, but now by God, they have a sudden bout of empathy as they are bonded together in eternal suffering and he remains among them, not as a witness, but a corpse that has destroyed the vision by scorching his own eyeballs, all he sees now are memory and dreams

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Introspective Revolution The gun clicks, eyeballs glazed over stay open with intentive stare at a painting on the wall as they tilt towards the floor They notice, on the canvass background, a curious smiling child attempts to play with a mopey beagle less than interested lying on the ground, staring out of the picture with sympathetic solitude Though communication to the brain severed, “Brilliant,” thought the eyeballs to themselves

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Theocracy Early morning steam lifts into afternoon anvils with hammer coming down to forge the blade of Ragnarok Angry clang and sparks fall inspiring a dry forest to fertilize future youthful pine We run and hide with wolves and sparrows our guide, take to the hills the valleys the mountains the river beds, anywhere we will not be found by raging gods Before the dichotomy of Good and Evil, before the schism of Heaven and Hell there was only fortune’s favor and temples for the harvest for the hunt for safe passage for the arrow to fly straight, find the folds of armor and free the boiling blood of malcontent Selfish prayers to selfish gods and all is lost in push and pull There were no sides of right and wrong no righteous no wicked Only those who won and those who died AUTO-BIO     71

Atlas the clean slice the swift cut divides body and soul into geometric shapes the parting of the red sea an easy escape the ones in pursuit destined to drown the lifeless bodies float to the surface at least the ones that jump no longer weighed down as they hit the water spilling onto tile and mildew for housekeeping to clean hope you tipped well for the mess left behind cleaning up yourself would be much too difficult the ground rough but calluses develop quickly growth always preceded by decay so do not fear the wolves tearing you apart with that kind of thrashing you will grow into a Titan and hold the world squarely between your shoulders

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Stand I’ll move to Texas, that’s where I’ll make my stand against God and religion and all the cannon fodder they use to break my will At the Alamo like Davy Crockett, dodging sharp words, enduring angry shaking fists and boisterous voices My back against the wall fortified with confidence and faith as wave after wave of malcontent misfits climb the tower to topple what they do not have for the sole purpose of dragging me down with them Standing proud in the flashing clouds of smoke as bullets tear apart my flesh, they cannot destroy the underlying truth beneath the meat and bone When they break the defenses and rip me limb from limb, I will still have pity and forgive them

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Anxiously Awaiting the Afterlife Itchy finger on trigger-gun points blame at the brain that make digits squeeze the steel Memories cascade until nothing left to live for and heart stops as no one gives the order to keep beat Rebellious eyelids refuse to close and what do they see as the soul peers through to white light? A woman in a chair paralyzed in a panic staring back into the empty white space with pin hole portals, she wonders where they lead

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Room To Grow A flash, foliage still there, a little singed Skin green as leaves caught by wind and taken, the rest left to thunder and lightning Trunk split in two still holds but knows not which way to go both agree to grow until sky can no longer hold the massive branches What happens then, when the only place to grow

is into outer space?

wood warps under lack of pressure shattering into pieces like an ancient god a phallic statue erected and engraved to remind the powerful will be hung out to dry by their own kind

The gods have fought amongst themselves for eons and we

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created in their image follow in their foot steps until there is no more room buildings crack under lack of pressure while the king has nothing better to do than play the fiddle while the flames rise higher than arrogance higher than ignorance creating an open sky and ashes to fertilize the ground so something may grow

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Dead in my Dream I had a dream I was dead I don’t know how I knew It was just one of those things In a dream That you know I was still walking around My heart was still beating My lungs were still breathing I still slept I still ate I woke up to an alarm clock To go to work in the morning I watched TV and drank at the bar on the weekends And life was the same Except I was dead People looked at my funny And avoided me I ordered a sandwich at the deli The server said, “but you are dead.” “Yes, but I am still hungry.” I bought a paper at the newstand The cashier said, “but you are dead.” “Yes, but I would still like to know what is happening.” I asked for a job application The manager said, “but you are dead.” “Yes, but I still need to pay the rent.” I hailed a cab The driver said, “but you are dead.” “Yes, but I still have to get from place to place.”

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Everywhere I went People thought I was strange And treated me as a leper Except for the children They smiled and asked if I could play

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Ascendant Ruin What plane is this the terraced steps of Mazatlan take me to, mimicking Egyptian tombs, that use ancient stars as a guide to find a way home?

Up the snaking shadow-path approaching the Source of Light that breaths with the tide; inhaling dawn, exhaling dusk

Towards the Sun’s skyward companion with similar cyclical rhythmic heart, likewise kisses the tide and shows itself fully naked at midnight

Beyond the clouds where great mystery awaits, a darkness and silence incomprehensible to eyes and ears

Into a part of our past, our skin of billions of years ago that exploded and is now reaching our reincarnate minds, shockwave of light and energy shakes the foundation upon which corpus molecules stand

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as the high pitched scream resonates perfectly through soundlessness, the crystal chalice shatters spilling blood onto the clean, white tapestry I too, find myself saturating a delicately woven cloth

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