Wellington Station

Wellington Station

I saw you across
the commuter aisle
twitching and huffing
at Wellington Station.

I, too, am a loser
in the war. I lay
down my sword.

Set my auto alight.
Left it a funereal husk,
just a memory
to the challenges
of sunny October days.

Be still, my brother,
my angel of anxiety.
I see you gasping,
reading the news,
oh so careful
about what you touch,
what we all touch.

We meet in common
places of terror, our
shared communiques...

Oh veteran.
Oh war lord;
I lay down my arms,
I comply, I let go,
I ride smoothly
into the inner-city
bowels of tension
and glittering dreams.

Then I will take on the attire
of Napoleon's three-pointed hat.
I will curtsy, bend, that is,
into the sweet reflection
of what a peaceful city
wants to be.

The war news is hard,
ubiquitous as pearls and steel
and mobile phones.
My train runs silently,
beneath the stars and stripes
of all conquering heroes.

The Bunker Hill spire
is muted through glass
running by in the opposite,
direction. I descend
down the catwalk
of morbid hell. Silence
encloses me in a weightless
pipe of dread.

I am a monster.
I confess it all.
Just this, please,
after this night,
on the battlefield
of Boston,
will you let me
safely caress
my love, my sweet
daughter's face, or,
anything else I can keep
perfect or sane
for a whole rail yard
of days.

Let me retreat
with my bag of games,
my pen, my spear,
my telefrantic machines.
Let me walk, just one more time
into the target valley
of technology.

And though I will breathe
the very microbes of hell,
through pile drives, tunnels,
lost wheels and poisoned wells,
the endless botched catacomb
of the world you made:
Oh Wellington, allow my return
to Corsica, even Elbe, I will allow.
Where I can be at peace.

With who? Myself, at least,
as I wait for the night
to fall upon your victory.
If Napoleon could stoop
this far into the refrigerator,
he would have become
a suburban monk like me.

~ Boston, Massachusetts,
written October, 2001,
for the commemorative book of poetry,
and includes the following two related poems ...


Have you considered insuring your personal airspace?

Image by Max Ernst
And Now for a Few Notes on Watching the Watchers

The other day I was in this coffee house,

 which I won't tell you the name of, 

and there was this old

guy in there who had the look. 

An older gent, who looked at me blankly

as if he hated me from behind these dark sunglasses. 

It was kinda creepy. 

The only way I can describe it is it reminded me

 of the stoic baseball manager stare.

Then I noticed the person I was looking at 

was merely a reflection of myself. 

I was staring at myself.

I had the stoic manager stare.

People stare from behind dark sunglasses a lot,

and one supposes it might be because they are


Or it could just be a fashion thing.

Nobody smiles in public anymore, 
or so it seems, 
behind sunglasses.

That's most likely because the times are so hard,
and perhaps many people who stare blankly
with the stoic baseball manager stare
because they didn't like baseball, 
or, simply don't have jobs,
 just lost their homes in some financial,
 climate-related disaster or all of the above.

 Or they are voyeurs.

But most of all, staring is rude.

It's a kind of surveillance.

 A really, really crude kind of surveillance,
but surveillance nonetheless.

It needs to be turned into something more productive. 

People need jobs.

Cuts down on staring time. 

But staring skills could be better employed.

You could, for example, 

right now (operators are standing by) apply

 for training as a remote flyer of drones. 

That's staring on steroids.

Since the best and brightest of our generation

have determined surveillance society

is good for the economy,

and the encouragement of drone technology
is all of the wave, let us consider where the jobs are
 ... staring at a screen for drone technology.

First and foremost: It's the best short-cut
there is in the motion picture industry.

I know this because of my own experience
in film and television and motion pictures.

Fortunately, even as I write this,
 my life story is pieced together
 as some odd duck shot on the public
patois of surveillance society for posterity's sake.

 We are all pieced together this way. 

Or, we can be reconstructed that way.

We all have a legacy in film to be pieced together. 

To produce a full movie,
all you need are the necessary security clearances
 to obtain this productivity en masse.

For example, I have appeared in such films as "My Left Foot by the Laundromat," "Photo Radar," "Coffee and Cigarettes by the Convenience Store," a very Jim Jarmusch-style series of daily
sequences, and "Leaving Las Vegas with Less Money in My Pocket Than When I First Arrived."

Numerous bank, library and national monument documentaries.

 I have been a star walking
down the street and driving up and down
what seems like every road in America.

 You get the picture.

All of these films about myself are in pre-production
since nothing bad happened in them.

Unfortunately, great stories need conflict. I went to the Twin Towers a few years before 9/11, but that

film, "What the Bleep Do I Know About the Location of the Restroom," also is lost to the dustbin of

history. Another short film,"Cleanup on Aisle Three" has some comedic value, but short films don't

appear as fodder for theater matinees anymore.

Anyhow, I lack much conflict in film. Terrorists get all of the play these days and I'm not a big fan of

the genre. News media outlets, purveyors of such films, with tight controls on the hype, distribution,

serializations and so forth, like them. They get big repeat business. Horror films and fear-based stuff

is big business. Bigger than sex, in terms of theme, I suspect. However, as a long-time film critic, I

find this trend most unfortunate.

Still, it's a booming field, especially if we consider the future prospects of drones. Oh sure, the

blessings of such technological miracles come at the expense of the sanity of many individuals, but

look at the bright side. If every inch of the earth, every town, city square, park or, hell, blade of grass,

were under drone surveillance, it would force job creators to hire millions, perhaps even billions of
people to process the information.

It's good for lawyers, too. A whole new field of privacy law would need to be considered: personal air space. Could take a century to adjudicate. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't even been able to update the 1872 mining law allowing individuals and corporations to plunder federal property for
valuable minerals, despite the ecological damage to such lands beneath our feet.

I'll bet personal air space isn't even being considered.

I have my own mind on a film called "Bang the Drum Slowly in Personal Air Space."

 It combines baseball and horror into one big basket.

 It starts out when one of these airborne, dragonfly-esque,
nanotech devices comes toward me 
and I swat it with a baseball bat. 

I will do it mercilessly, 
with that stoic baseball manager stare.


Do You Know Me?

Night basement
alley sweats
meet on
the fashionably iced
mountain resort street.
Our time together
is the fate we keep

Strolling circles
bone to bone,
the Maker is making
our Time together;
Time that bends
with the wind.

We got silly with sin.
You played a game,
puckered and stroked
and waved me home

You know where I live,
and lived with you I did.
My penny price
was a plastic flower,
and poetry …

Magic in a broken
bottle of vitamins.

William Blake
kissed and ran,
ran and kissed.

Albion’s son took
safe harbor
in the box canyon's shadow
of mountain and mist;
Lingering there in early
afternoon cold shade;
and in the darkness,
howling at his phantom's
fire by electric streetlight.

His mind got quiet
out there, somewhere.
She saved a single
scrapple of soul,
petting his dry skull
as the river ran by.

He starved her,
got sorry later,
and fell in love.

Creek water ran
through their veins
and cleansed the salt
from his tear-duct dreams

They matched steps,
and in stepping claimed heights,
then showered to be sanctified,
then wined and dined, borrowing
on Telluride time ...

He wept and feared
and feared what she wept.
He wrote up a list of his faults,
or fell dead asleep trying:
Pride, shame, manic moods,
moments of empty bliss.

She pegged
her donkey
to a target,
sealed it
with a kiss

He was stunned
by the beauty
and purity of this.

From "Angel of the Avenues," a book of poetry by Douglas McDaniel


Want to Be a Bard? (Highly Not Recommended)

During the day tether down

your poor lonely lost soul

to the sandy shore

At night: The light. The Light!

Leave as the sun sets

Make like a bird and fly

in the direction of any wind,

talk to everyone,

feel every thing,

no matter how scary

because you fear not!

No matter how much

you scare those fiends

in the night, no matter

how creepy you are found,

follow each sound high or hollow

with your freaky Gnostic prescience

Be beyond all that fucking science!

They just don't know.

They just. Don't know.

They. Just. Don't. Know.

You know.

You. Know.


~ Clancy's, Scottsdale, Arizona, July 17. 2017. 9:30 p.m., as the night's monsoon storm was moving in



Four pigeons
by the whirlpool
coodling up chlorine

Flying life, safe as ginger
in a cabinet,
extrapolates lifespan

The wingspan
of swimming pool pigeons
is dependent upon supply,
depth and demand

It is to the good fortune
of the young chicks
that their short necks,
soft beaks, cannot
reach down to drink

Six poisoned pigeons
find survival in the short-term
risk at the swimming pool lip

Later, they will plummet
to the floor of the cooing
concrete cooridor

Anonymous slaughterers
break off with the wind,
bleached and careening


Bull Run Fire

Five miles east

wind in my face

and the fire plume,

a violet volcano

Five miles east, but close enough,

the white wash coat of burned juniper

forcing the Saturn in the nostrils,

Hackberry Mountain, fizzling out

in a downpour, monsoon downdrafts

blowing ash into a many shouldered beast

We went home and made a list

of what we would need when

the call for evacuation came,

craving a disaster to bring

the memory awake, the dreaming down.

Great thin-legged clouds spiderwalk

their way across the purple ridge,

purple with weather; precious things

shake in their cupboards, forgotten.

Lightning pounds the mesas,

the wind pushing down in atomic bundles

of white orange flasks of violence,

a curtain on the sun, a dirty window of light,

a blowout of compressed desires

pressing the sky, re-animating us


Dying Satellite (Was/Not Was)

And so like Icarus with wings
breathing of Promethean fire
stolen from Zeus
cast down from heaven
a Satanic star tumbling
through the void
this mixed red and green lit
metaphysical mixed metaphor
tumbles down to Earth 
for the laughing hilarious
amusement of all who roam
all who crawl on dirt
all paying good money
for a public fireworks display
all those never understanding
this will be they someday


My Last Cigarette

Hear that sound?
Jackhammers at eight a.m.
jumbled Jesus is all I am.

May the desert sun
dry my tears for the salt
I am worth.

Oh, holy ghost
in the machine:
Why do the heathen rage?

May they be sorry
they did not kill us yesterday.


For Tramps & Thieves (Steal This Song)

At a memory place called the Spirit Room
See the mining town slip off the mountainside
See the day go long in bikers attire
into the Saturday gloom as the vultures stare
and two birds return to their tenuous wire
after a crazy night in Jerome, Arizona
two art thieves with their hair on fire

Tramps & Thieves are playing tonight
Smell like an animal, it's quite all right
We'll find our shoes in the morning light
Tramps & Thieves are praying for sight

Hard to explain love with a difficult dame
May the desert sky dry our tears for what we're worth
She dropped off the shelf from my savage breath
then broke into pieces now I'm lonely to death
I howled out loud hoping it would fix itself
then leaned into love songs with bass for breasts
then sold my guitar at the pawn shop or at the bar
Took the train across the country but I went too far

Tramps & Thieves are playing tonight
Smell like an animal, it's quite all right
We'll find our shoes in the morning light
Tramps & Thieves are praying for sight

Me chasing her, her chasing him
I beat 'em all off with a stick
but I'm not made of tin
Tried to write a poem
but I typed it with mittens
tried to write a book
but it's already been written

(guitar solo here)

The girl, the witch, is gone for good
though you might see her wandering
a mystical waif in your neighborhood
Gone underground gone for good
How I long for those old creosote sounds
Pile-driving guitar and Southwestern twang
of cactus and trees and reasons for singing
of desert beings only out for the evening

Tramps & Thieves are playing tonight
Smell like an animal, it's quite all right
We'll find out shoes in the morning light
Tramps & Thieves are praying for sight


Down the Road from Crawfordsville

Somewhere at the end of the road
Down where the railroad used to go
In her trailer she slept with a frown
Trying to stare her demons down
The statue of libertines came around
The wolf had already walked the town
I wrote poetry without much sound
Except for a laugh
from all of the dumbing down

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the broken motor man turned to stone
like Apache copters a'rotoring on
and wagons circling from raging clowns
they argued the point
till the town burned down

Though they paid the rent
for ten dollars a week
the world was shred
by wolves among sheep
as smokes he borrowed
he burned to keep from weeping
and anhydrous ammonia
came up from the deep
and she worshiped her stars
when lacking sleep
while pine needles fell
in symmetries at her feet
before the dogs all howled
in the morning light
down the road from Crawfordsville

They all got a book out
about self-proclaiming,
about water-board wording
and daylight savings,
burning bushes, barns,
the hay needle's laughter
about the unicorn dying
while the Republican Party's
secret headquarters
has gone to rust
down the road
in Crawfordsville

Yeah, down the road
from that tiny Ta'Iowa town
a pig farmer named Lester
is happier than hell
He's driving by
with a sleeping hawkeye
his parallax view
can tell no more lies
and the good book sold now
to the controverted
stands in the way
of truth's memory
of the local sounds
in Crawfordsville
Cardinal square in sharp-cut corners
the coroner croons with each hard winter
turning summer waters cancer cluster bitter

Down the road from Crawfordsville
"climate is dead" for the motorhead,
fertilizer falls from the fire-up sky,
we need not ask for the season of why

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the maharishi's prayer is for a limo
in need of more corn-fed gasoline
and up the road: the Wal Mart roadkill
is churned up dust from that shuttered
restaurant full of crap for the ghostly haunt

Down the road from Crawfordsville
that old shack is burning still
with bushels full of Monsanto seed corn
breaking your teeth on porky porn
as the Synergy trucker waves goodbye
but even with buckets full of energy
we want heroes, well here are three
with eleven cups of free coffee, cigs,
some sanity for satiety, a kind kinda
Fire Safety Week society
for squeaking toys and dogs
to run free

Down the road from Crawfordsville
there's good folks out there, out there still,
while the eye in the sky is scorching 'em dry
they don't even ask the reason why
since loose lips sink ships, Holy Reagan cow!
The washing machine's roll is terror, Wow!

But the tenderloin's pound is a tender drum
of country folk who ain't ho hum
Can you hear them tommy tum tums
of the super farmer's food taught, like magic,
by a hand-held Fibonacci sequence tool

Down the road from Crawfordsville
the Big Box trucker armies
broke 'em up bad,
so forget those things
you learned in school
about how Frodo kept the ring
and the Golden Rule,
about how mega Hertz
made German tanks,
cause techno Teotihucuan
gives good thanks
at the dinner table, to the cops,
to your loan at your banks

Just let it roll by, let it fire its blanks,
'cause down the road from Crawfordsville
you can still greet the sun in sacrificial light
and the morning moon will come a day too soon,
so swim with the shore you supper fools ...

Down the road from Crawfordsville
worms from the air get carved up, cool,
the super farmer's just awe right
'cause disinformation is far outta sight
and William Shatner just plain lied

to those poor folks in Riverside
and east to west the buffalo returns
to beat the dust from the Bible belt's urn

Down the road from Crawfordsville
a bard's lament is the ever-giving quest,
despite the wormwood, yer guns, yer tongue,
you'll give great thanks when mourning is done,
when her sacrificial second sight is Mary singing
about storms to come, about enough blood to drown
the terrorists of shock, awe, the dumbing down,
just can't avoid the daily bank scam man
who hits the train station burned to the ground
and the bump in the road will kill you if found

Meanwhile the ranch gets saved up the road
from Crawfordsville, where sileage choppers
look like haircut machines by day, E.T. by night,
like giant Sandworms harvesting spice,
and the golf course tanned Dan
is a thousand miles away, tinkering
with puppets to sway, like bobcats
shot and killed and made into hats,
the collection plate is eternal
as the frightly nightly news
the heroes go on despite these views
when asked how she feels she sighs and says,
"Peaceful," she says, "and peaceful is nice."

~ Ames, Iowa
Note: The first private meeting of what would become the Republican Party came when Whig Party defectors met privately in Crawfordsville in February, 1854. The meeting was to lay the groundwork for the creation of a new political party. The first public meeting was held in Ripon, Wisconsin one month later.


This is Your Facebook Page Bursting into Flames

Match to match, tree to tree, soul to soul,
disembodied faces roiling into a roar:
This is your Facebook page set on fire. 

Coffee house man. In his black danger shirt.
A style set alight in Cambridge and San Francisco.
Distant and divisible. Locked into his spacey game face.

Day traders with caps on backwards.
Facing each other at a table, but not seeing,
talking, an electrical frenzy feeding.

Headphones plugged in.
Tommy knows where to put his cork
as more vacant ghosts enter each door.

Crew cut hipster male in a tight T-shirt
walking up and down the caffeine freak floor.
Waving his arms. Speaking to the invisible ether.

No one calls for the men in white suits.
No one says this is the quickening,
the fall of the robot on his auto-pilot throne.

Pressing all buttons! Pressing all buttons!
Faster fire faster fire! See and Say toys
pressed into weapons for desire.

Help me! Help me! 
Look at me! Look at me!
Immersion is art is affirmation,

One faces suicide as one faces toast,
another's salad has done and gone soft,
another selfie's on a yacht and you want it to sink.

Political rage. Monkeys in a cage.
The narcissist echo going ping ping ping.
The troll leaping out like a jack-in-the-box,

Eternal documentation for our verification.
The anniversary meme bounces back
like a bad dream. What were you thinking?

There's a rumble in the hacking.
Is this Rome for the sacking?
The lit-up void gone paranoid for peeping.

The click-per-minute pace.
The ache in your back
as the moment is breaking.

Disembodied avatars burning brown
as fake news reels as real news keeps faking.
God is the cyborg but God is just joking.

You sit still so long you can't take a shit.
A leader who will take us all down
just for the clicks.

~ Douglas McDaniel


Of God and Garbage

Mountain Dew container
rolls free along the road
in the hot Sonoran wind
Going tink, clink,
Plucky and determined
Heading up
the down lane
With courtesy
to stop for the light
as the summer breath
stalls for a sec
Then moves again
as the rambling goes on ...

By the year Twenty Fifty,
at this crunched pace,
it will make
the Mogollon Rim ...
Returning to the mountains
from where it began

God loves
the tenacity
of the aluminum can


9 Trumpidor

On 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as "a tyrant", leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just to be arrested that night and to be beheaded on 28 July.

The tyranny of the son
arrests the tyranny
of the father, who arrests
the tyranny of eternity

I am the punisher of the son
I irradiate the wind anhydrous
So no one smiles, no one cares
no one dares to challenge me
and no river meets the sea

I am the revolution
to dissolve the ancient regime
and blood soaks the land
and lies dissolve reality

I am the fear of the wreck
as we wreck ourselves

I once was a painter
and I put on the helmet
of Cortez to conquer
the land with golf courses

But now a balancing woman
looks over her shoulder,
naming a guillotine date
for me

She is pitiless and swinging free
as my fun house mirror mind
is cut loose
from the body of the world


Going Underground (for William Blake)

Let us all retreat now into the secrecy of poetry,
into the pedestrian road rage of incomprehensible symbols,
into pages white burned pages black, into rambling mangled encryption,
away from a world rendered remorseless of mad made up words,
just as the morning blues-hued crows squawk to each other
for no reason other than to announce, "the fool is here,
the fool is there, the fool in the clouds is everywhere."

And if the dog has howled, 
then is promptly disemboweled,
then let us read the entrails as real history.
It comes from below, like thunder so we know
the lingering echo of the empty minded sound
is the most profound mystery
of the poet gone underground

Does he know from where it came,
as a bargain with his shame,
from me, and most certainly not her,
maybe him or not him,
from the stomach or the groin,
from the heart but not the brain,
from the sunshine on the hot moon,
from the mirror of private imagining?

Get out of the way! 
Get out of the way!
Get out of your own way!

Down, down, down we go, down we go, down we go
into the immense pinprick of angels set to wandering,
beneath the surveillance of prying sick society
to save ourselves with muffled ringing bells
made of murky meanings, dual and dark,
from the molten core, a sacred fire,
a revolution that starts at home


Bank American Blues

The pedestrian road rager
sat down and listened to the deaf man,
can to string to broken cracked can man,
confessing he worked with Steven Spielberg's dad
in 1957, when they were drumming up plans
for a main frame computer program
to undo the earth, the heart, our American home,
from Huns to Hunstra, who came to a Southwestern
desert, house-built by the mob, dreamed up in Vegas,
to the compromised creosote landscape
of horny toads and rattle snakes nabbed
in trash cans, tumbleweeds built up
along fences, a witch hunt for the wilds;
He who came to town for General Electric,
He who died on a Sunday afternoon
in a small plane crash in New Mexico,
flying back from the East, when Gee Hee,
very shortly thereafter, gave up on taikos
and the remaining Promethean games
games to come, working for golf putter
designers, golf coursey hunters of the bank
of American dreams as I now enter
the sleek confines, the cat box catcher
of red and white walls and fixed furniture,
with not much blue anywhere, not much else
but blue type spelling "Bank of America,"
lots of beeping noises, alerting the authorities
of the dangerous Danton armed to rob you,
with his big ass damn scary pen, strange
and haunted, shell-shocked eyes,
home loads of red, charged off years ago,
in overdraft fees that should be given back
to the people you croaked, the dead peasants
you croaked with check systems given out
like blankets to nineteenth century Apaches
to gather accounts made up of less than zeroes,
for third-party collection companies,
as the wind cries Mary ...