Some Play On The Words Greatest Hits

JM Littenberg
Some Play On The Words Greatest Hits
Hack (Allen Ginsberg Tribute)

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by Everquest.
Searching, with glare strained red myopic eyes,
flying aloft fiber optic spines,
liberated from the corporeal cells of your world
to become infinite, anonymous, living spirit!
Yet, in effect, motionless.
Locked in stasis,
frozen in front of screens
or behind the wheel.
Driven to distraction by playlists
on the way to jobs that promise nothing but the next paycheck.
And they give nothing in return,
save their bodies and their time,
or lives,
either way, it doesn’t matter, I want to take you in my arms,
squeeze out the pain,
wash away the stink of dirty blood,
and teach you how to love.
My People (Do What It Takes)

The daily wake and bakers
The morning, noon, and night pill takers
The bent behind their desk hip flask fire drinkers
The after class gas huffers
Acrid bloody monsters
Burnt out husks following the wind
All the people on the street alone
purposefully talking, who don’t even own a telephone
The uninvited
The whispered about
The blessed, catching the AM Express
The brilliant frantic scrawling
The narrative drifters
The urban dog walkers lost in song
The shut in
The cast out
The long gone
The freaks so far out there isn’t even a word for them yet
The chronically fucked
The had just about enough
The despised
getting together
throwing a party in the street
not even caring about the cops barreling down with orders to break it up
360 BPS

I am
my friends
and the rest of them
struggling to keep up
drowning under the weight of too much stuff.

spilling out the Internet with autism rocking always-so-much-fucking-more
falling off the bloated shelves of strip mall super stores
stuffing full kitchens, beds, baths and beyond
straining, groaning closet doors.

Racing down manic caffeine spirals
dizzy with excess
texting, tripping, driving way too fast
speaking in tongues, dripping
spitting out half chewed trash
never stopping except for Stopping Class
coming soon, just you wait
shh, grab a seat in the back…you’re late.
Still The Ghost Laughs

Still the ghost laughs
Beware queer child
Before the door flung wide
Revealed, reviled
Verdict lying in wait, waiting
All this time
Hate, hating what they cannot define
nor dismiss
The open space between what’s mapped and what exists
You live on the cusp of it
Wearing masks
One day they’ll come
And you’ll be dragged away in chains when it’s done.
I’d Love To Sit and Chat

I’d love to sit and chat
Listen to your advice and “just relax”
Reclined on the sofa
Midday lips around your hookah
And talk in lazy tones about this and if and that
Our days, the prices paid to disobey
Unhurried, in the now, knowing
Reading by feel the cracks in the lies
And maybe how we make others pay to fill our pantry
Despite our best effort
Because the system, shit, and radical monopolies
Because you can’t spend all day gardening but you got to eat
Because you can’t spend all day hammering and nailing
Molding, placing, sawing, sowing, erecting ceiling walls and flooring
But you need someplace warm and safe to sleep
When it rains

I’d love to sit and chat
But I have like maybe twelve good hours this week to do all that:
Piles of laundry and dishes and groceries and cooking and cats
Regular meals to take with all those acquired over the years vitamins
And eke out a foothold to climb up the triangle
To meditate and stretch and breathe
To exercise and write-it-out and visualize
And read up on the holy word spell dripping off the specialists lips
And friends and the never ending links they send
Goddess bless ‘em
And click on it until the hunt to get well makes me sick
Searching with glare strained red, myopic eyes
Because there’s only me to blame if I don’t try
To eke out a foothold and climb up the triangle
And read the news
The real news
Written on the back of burning toilet paper
Strewn screaming from the mouths of passing eighteen-wheelers
Caught in the gears and ripped
Shreds stuck on the high dry bramble flowers
Kindling fires on the side of the freeway
I pick up the pieces and make a map
To find my friends and people like them
To conspire to create some space out of the petrol filled air
To knit a home from the marrow sucked dry of broken bones
To thwart your words
So that the hurled slurs fall short
And rain sweet tintinnabulations on the roof
Like a Caribbean steel drum
Stars on our heart
We build our own sun
Chimera shinning in the glare
I’d love to see it ‘til it’s done.

I’d love to sit and chat
but I can’t because this poem took up most of the morning
And spat out a shrill early warning
The clocks ticking
Any second, any second now the pain will come
And the laundry and the groceries and the bills and the litter and the meditation and the yoga and the revolution will have to wait ‘til later to get done
Blessed later, mythical later, panacea goddess of the well and able
Always there to greet them on the other side of whatever vacation, setback or sick-day they’ve taken
And yes I know again for me later will come
But come late, too late for me to salvage all the things I’ve begun
For later ain’t as soon for me as it is for some
And sometimes later finds me searching back over millennium
A million miles and horizon lines
Behind heat shimmer mirages dancing on desert feet
Bent on burning hands and knees
Sifting through the sand
Searching for my keys.
Reasons to live

To give and receive love
with my…
their pets
and all the creatures I will find dear but have not met yet

To tend my garden
and think new thoughts
To see plants shoot up in the spring
Endless summer days
The leaves changing color in the fall
Snow falling from a pregnant white sky

To be in love again
To love myself again, first
To learn
To recover
To laugh
To forgive
To try and understand
and maybe once again, to help build castles in the sand
the midday heat and grit between our teeth
salt and water
touching your skin
and feeling electricity

I am everything, and as such I am nothing
But I am also my body
Hungry, lazy, tired, cold, hot and sweaty, manic up all night thinking about lines and inflections
Or early morning gotta get up but not right now heavy cat petting sessions
Or just content, shut the flea mind down, post-meditation quiet reflection
I love you for the flavors, sights and sounds
Oh the places we go
But you know…
You have hurt me like a scar that won’t heal
Pitted, red raw
I love you but I can’t look at you too close
Ok, I’m just gonna say it —
I take my glasses off before I look in the mirror
I keep my back to the wall when I’m naked because I’ve been jumped by my own reflection too many times
Beat to the ground
Scraped knuckle asphalt skin
In pain, crawling, limping, picking up a stick to lean on, calling a friend in tears, I need a ride home

I know now-a-days we are all supposed to be so proud of our bodies
Love our bodies
Because, yes!! That’s the most radical thing a trans person can do in this culture!!!
So I try, I really do
But it becomes just another boxing match with my head
Singing me to sleep with songs of what could have been
But never will be
Because I was never asked to decide
Because I couldn’t quite jump off that cliff
Because I was scared
I was twelve years old, and I was scared
I knew what was coming
I told myself this was it
Now or never
Either way I’d be an exile

The question was:
Do I get to keep my mother’s warm hands, stroking my hair, touching my face, making me eggs just the way I like them
Do I get to keep my father’s strong arms, lifting me gently from the back seat and placing me in my bed still sound asleep
Do I get to keep the quiet comfort of my dog’s understanding eyes
Do I get to keep my family?
Or do I get to leave with my body?

And I know this doesn’t make good copy
Does not sit well at all for a member of a radical, trans-fabulous organization
But I’d rather be hung by my own people
A traitor
Then slowly choke on the rope that’s been hanging around my neck
The rope that’s crushed my larynx and constricted my breath
Until I can’t even speak, only croak
And I can’t fill my lungs, only keep from blacking out
Though sometimes my head hurts so bad that blacking out is the same thing as a cradle made of angel wings
Hold me as I fall asleep to harp strings and the singing of angels

I wake up every morning
And I smile —
Twenty-four brand new hours before me
I vow to live fully in each moment
And to look at all beings with eyes of love —
And I try, I really do
Laying in my soft bed
Under warm covers
Bathed in morning light
The cats crowning my head
But every morning there comes a point
when I look up from brushing my teeth or open my mouth to speak
And I feel it
The rope around my neck
Pulling me back
Back into the angry teenage room I escaped
And the silent vow I didn’t mean to make —
To never again smile with the open, sober joy of a child
I’ve twisted, contorted, struggling to free myself
But now I’ve gained the grace to accept
All the days
The week, the months, the years,
All the decades it’s been in place
Until the rope and my skin are the same thing

But I’m not the same
I’ve learned, I’m learning to balance on this tightrope
Between the past — which cannot be remade
And the future — which cannot be controlled
I’m learning to love now
I’m 41 years old
And I’ll tie no more ropes around my neck
If you want me you’ll have to catch me
And feel my wet hot breath against your chest as you tie the knot

This is the truth
I stand before you naked
Take me as I am
Or leave me be

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