From “Ginsberg Rolls Over,” the latest book by Douglas McDaniel

West Coast Storm Warning

The world’s end wind
is just a frantic curtain call
of polarizing sun, oceans
rising before the fall
The world’s end wind
is you, watching TV,
swearing me away
as if tea and Tiffany
were a mortal plug
I know I’m going mad
The world’s end wind
is shaking sense into the house
The world’s end wind
has blown me off the tracks
The world’s end wind
puts the cat in heat asleep
The world’s end wind
is you on a bucking final horse
breathing sweet acetyline

What Would Water Do?

The water would run to work,
but turn, gone amok at the work corner,
toward the One-O-One
to drink a red eye and puff a smoke
in the early morning Ra
The water would pick up
trash along the way
but wait for more force
to finish the job
The water would arrive
on time and unplanned,
feeling out each empty
bottomland space
since every handmade
space is disorganized
The water would percolate
in the apocalyptic heat,
catch the wind
and go fly a kite
The water would commit
murderous rage and recede,
unpleased, unsatisfied,
moving on the moon

Thankful for the Tankfull

I thank the sky lord
for clean water to drink
I thank Tom Clancy
for providing so much
damn PR for the military
industrial complex
And a special thank you, too,
to the clown in his flight suit
sky bombing us in his dreams
And a special fuck you to
the apocalypse for being
such a damn Good Book
and making it so hard
to get clean water
in Beiruit
and for the passing
of fluids through
his oh so cool
heliopadster suit
And thanks for a hole of hot sun
stretching toward the East,
causing a bubble that burns
little words into a diplomatic urn,
and thank the world
for what the devil would do
His imitation is your mastery
as the nations fold and unfold
and the bailiwicks bawl
about the rule of law
And thank you money for your energy
passing over the world like a green cloud
being and for hell being all filled up,
by the counting of your digits
Thanks a lot for my sanctuary box
Thanks, thanks a lot
Gift thanks to this gift, this square
where I stand with my porridge
and my cash register or gun
Oh, so much thanks for this taste,
for melancholy and sleep
to keep me not so much
sane but at least in a state
of palatable paranoia
Thanks for allowing me
the rather obvious conceits
of always wanting more
and giving me a way
to step out of the circle, hey!


From “Ginsberg Rolls Over,” the latest book by Douglas McDaniel

The Secret Life
of Booksellers

I have no idea when I wrote the book,
That is, I don't remember. Sorry,
I was asleep behind the cash register
And genius, dense as cobalt
resides here, breaking the glass
shattering forgetfulness,
And I can no longer distinguish
The borders of commerce, art,
And yes, conceit
Masters of accident and intention,
the labored conceits of high words
timed for ill effect, for pens
warmed up in hell, for swords
thrust in God's eye, as the rivers
run thirsts for blood,
mocking heroes, making
heroes of mockery
During the program,
the light goes through
Numbers one, zero, zero,
zero, Oh ... One, again, One
I stay low beneath the sun
running a game in my head ...
Look short, lean on the high side
trust is a gap-toothed old friend
real or imagined as concrete blocks
on the walk roll on to forever
Cheese steak, Philadelphia,
never liked the place, though
I've never been there, but in the long drawn out
portal of impairment there are those I've met
who taught me not to like the place
They were no morning doves, blasphemers
or cowards or other kinds I can relate,
mostly just commercial power dogs
blind to trees, my tears, my river
of grotesque memories to which
I fill in my familiar streets
Manic miss, the mourning missy mists
as the sun comes out as I learn
everything I have believed
since I was a child was inexact,
not exactly wrong, but incomplete,
a pyramid of obscenities,
between the brick and eye
I cannot delete
The older you get, they say,
the less you know
Orange blossoms die
in the drying sun
One zero One, One zero One
But you can ignite your morning sock
with a drink of chlorine to ignite
adrenal glories, borderline stories
since the gory truth of the matter
is I need scatterbrain automobiles
of desire to burn up the road
in order to get out of my own way
Progress is personal that way
Hip quirks of commerce, commerce
of caffeine, piped-in music to drain
into the ears, the mouth, the throat ...
Benjamin Franklin is dead. Capitalism is
fascism outside the box of the electorate
and all that remains for the taking
is democracies dropping dull
as the thirst for beer, cigs, cokes,
loads of little pills, drowning out
any chance of waking
The other day a storm came
and left puddles in the parking lot
and then some guys came by
and washed the water away
Six hundred miles of the Colorado River
snakes it's way toward oblivion governed
by the rush toward clean dish harmony,
Washed cars, flushed toilets, fountains
Of pressurized glee
It rained that night and it was not enough
to feed the liberal arts retreat
I got robot leanings
I crave firm meanings
but I'm not a very good robot
and it gets me blue
though I've rediscovered my
A-dee-dee in your certainty,
your bricks and blocks,
your methods of narcotic
information, your great ideas
for getting lock-step
with the cityscape,
your clean machine
your hearts of vogue
disclosure, opening through
my donut hole of despair
This is not enough
Somehow, I don't end
up screaming out during
this naked lunch along
the narrow channel
you provide, narcissistic bastard
of bazillion rooms for an empty house,
A roomful of vacuous shelves
And now that Dan Brown has co-opted,
made corporate all disbelief,
the endless cosmic paradise of history
is elusive as the facts of nature
we no longer need to disprove
as the physical universe
shelves the metaphysical self,
and the shadow people squeeze
this lemon dry, leaving only
the seeds on the tarmac
for birds to eat up,
for birds who can only squawk for answers,
birds to serve up the shallow
surface of a simmering deep dark well
that appears to be nothing but
a cast of inbreeds gripping for power
Revolutionary monsters,
collectors of Hebrew letters
chained up by white knights
who scoured the Holy Lands
for relevant riches
for an ever-present dream
Yes, the world is replete with guitar stars
and assassins capable of spinning
schemes to make us feel better
Then comes clever wordplay,
then comes prosaic pop,
then comes the heightening
of the humdrum, of novelty
of pathetic little stories,
wrought Beatleesque
as we test the business end
of this busted bus, for young bucks
worth singing of
If my brain is a factory
churning up dread, then I wish
I had a camera for those
brief moments of ecstasy
when I am the real me
reverent, at Fenway
Stephen King is multiplying
nightmares by the boxcar
and conservative talk show hosts
roam free on the pricey shelves
of liberty
How do I not wake
in tremors of fear?
The boatman loads
a gunny sack
The boatman is prolific
in waves and waves
The hearse is an alliterative
anticipation of the worst
Shakespeare drums up three sermons
based on new product by Paul Simon
Garfy yodeled, icons deconstruct
Late in life, late in life
doling out snippets
for old yups
Great artifice
served up like
cold cuts
a generation so far
from their overrated riots
in the streets of the 1960s
they can barely crap over
the latest name-brand smash
Fortunately, Neil Young does
remember, a lonely man doesn't
need him around anyhow
and each time I enter your aisles
the need diminishes for the media mad
toggles for what used to be
known as chaos, but now
is regarded as proof
the liberals were wrong
I know too much
I'm a stone face,
an Edward R. Murrow
without winking …
Can't even drink rain,
quit drinking
The broadcast is leaking
City life is the poverty
of seeing the poor bleached
white boy on the magazine
stand, sinking
At night it's different,
the open desert
(now that's a funny one)
goes on notice as missing
Closed in, safe, hot burn
bags of bones
The bookstore is a parking lot
for words
And at night, body part theater
passes the time while my
little ark of verbs lie in wait
as a final sacrifice
for the final fire
I am cloud cutter,
a palace of clutter
sifting around for words
that, when I find them
die again, whitewashed,
on a parking lot for words
I am the sheet
that keeps us cool
your protected dark
is my sanctuary,
our secret life
I am the dim prize fighter,
clunked down dung, dumb in
memory as the asphalt gets
titled and I fall back
the hill to you
I have eyes that wear down
from wondering

Thoughts Written on a Canyon Map
During a Coffee, Bidi and Piece
of Some Kind of Prettily Made Bread
While Gazing at a Hummer-Covered Parking Lot
at a Gentrified Suburban Republican Bistro

I charted this course
with a red string
on a map of black chalk
The roads are many,
the final choice, new
I climb up the cafe canyon
walls to get a better view,
to see over the trees
and see my way to you
Having returned like Prometheus
to my city in pretty chains of light,
the rains have stopped like Porches
braking in the sun, which burns,
big and bright, drying this coffee stop
tabletop with its eviscerating truth
Gathering force, moving toward
the majestic and mysterious,
the merely merrily whimsical
snowcapped peaks of Ouray,
just a day away, as Latin horns
are piped through soccer moms
in sweatpants and motors purr
Is this city immune to war?
This cream of violence
rises to the top
For what they eat and taste
and buy and like,
they will not stop
Mechanized sweet, sweet soap,
the umbilical sword of the clean,
is the last potable hope
of water for the healing
and giving peace a hearing
And while the danceworld cult is searing,
I advance across an asphalt clearing:
In my heart, the key is just the start,
this language of escape
is now my art