Prelude's tanka


Two rivers twirl by

plum blossom trees shadowed scrim

I see behind dreams -

his singular face, rambling

tossed through midnight's dark petals.




The only war that matters is the war against the imagination


Rockabilly Bob woke up late

in 1988 both alarms ringing

in his Rancho Bernardo tract home

with morning stains on

the pillow from last nights

solidified brilliantined pompadour

created with Royal Crown Pomade

(used by the one and only Johnny Cash)

and undetected scoliosis

without warning

bloomed full blown

his big spine a roving curve

sideways neck stuck

over his shoulder where

LA artist Bob Roberts' tattoo of a 

Rock-Ola bubble jukebox

stands quiet

untouched by sun

next to the curvy gal in short shorts

caught mid-pose in the act of

removing her blouse

suddenly immobile

now who will pick the ripe

California avocados

in the side yard when

they start to fall?

After some discussion over a

cup of coffee

his mom & her neighbor

dragged him out to the car

on an ironing board

the wanted a recreational park

in R.B. so the city council voted

one into the budget complete

with seven baseball diamonds

covered in perfect grass --


Bob's buddy is Bernard Seigal

who moved here from New Jersey

and changed his name to

Buddy Blue he styles

his black hair

like Elvis

and gets cursed out by his

Jewish mother 

in her living room

and plays lead in a R&B roots band

I'd been observing that group 

for awhile


in my inmate hair

pretending I'm George Sand

blowing fragrant clouds

of cigar smoke

through platinum blonde

groupies' faces

they all sneer and make jokes

about Martha's muffin on MTV

and Mojo Nixon

plays his guitar

on the tiny stage while

wearing a hollow television set

on his head when he's not

banging it with an empty

Sparkletts water bottle

to make a point

and Bob jacuzzis with Bernard

in vintage novelty print beach trunks

Bernard used to have a girlfriend Alicia

until she literally

kicked him down the stairs

of an underground club in LA

she popped his eye black

she was his honey gal

who cruised the Sunset Strip

to work the streets for junk

she sent him her worn panties

every week in the mail

to cheer him up --


the San Onofre Nuclear Plant

is built on rolling sand

to withstand earthquakes

unless it was a jolt big enough

to destroy mankind as we know it

tilting the Richter scale

an ungodly shove


like Atlantis


there was a guy who worked

with Bob the Carpenter

building various parts of San Onofre

they used to raffle off cocaine

and cars and once even a house

so one day this guy won an ounce of coke

(back when that was all the rage)

naturally sharing it


coming down with booze & joints

he went to sleep it off

in one of the salt water cooling pipes

and the inspectors just happened

to be taking

an X-Ray

of that particular pipe that day

the sleeper zapped

with a couple rems of radiation

and all the inspectors saw

was a picture of a skeleton

curled in a ball.




He tramps


the boardwalk

rigid soldier

weaving a

straight line to


scabbed eyes

squinting under

salty beach

glare the

buzzing flies

are his cocktail


toasting each other

with solitary


his whispered


fall on silent


their long beaks

buried deep

in the supple

aqueous sand,

lice line

salvation rags

and scum

seaweed bedroll

he tramps the


ignores their

vulgar stares.



Sissy Buckles