Monday, April 13, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Take me home to Jigglebox

Sorry, Paris. It was real. And it was fun. But it wasn't real fun. I'm going home now. Back to my own web site, my own home page. Long neglected, she needs my loving care. Seriously though, folks. Thanks for following this blog. But with the end of 2008, I decided to leave Paris Hilton, close up shop and indeed return my energies to So, if you enjoyed the writings here, there's plenty more where this came from at The Jigglebox. Do drop in;-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dream Home Joshua Tree

photo by Tom Kennedy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mathematics and the Poet

Combat ready poet (2002)

[With fore and aft excerpts from "Charles Bukowski Screams from the Balcony, Selected Letters 1960-1970"]

"There is always this sense of futility and disgust that you have been hammered finally into something which you do not want to be, and as long as you are conscious of this.. you are going to be pretty generally unhappy... This is sad but it makes me glad I've written a few poems today... I do not want attention. I want myself and they are tearing the arms of my mind apart."

What now for the poet?

Will the looming crash kill him too?

Will the mean needs of food, clothing & shelter

(Buzzing gnats to the soul who wants only to write)

Finally do him in as the suburbs empty out?

In the neighborhood of his sister's rental house

(The bank took her home in March)

There are sad signs

Abandoned pets wander streets as

One in six houses stare mouth agape

Empty windows reveal empty rooms

People driven out by


Unlike many, the poet was good at mathematics

But found he cared much more for feelings

Pursuing the latter doggedly in poems and prose

He clocked two decades of pen & ink

For pennies

For mathematics, as with a woman scorned

Shadowed him bitter

Confounding success

But Lady Mathematics is busy this December

Busy as Santa and all of his elves

Busy as a the lone Grinch with a grudge

Busy taking

Turning out dogs

Pounding REPO signs into unmowed lawns

She's readjusting the equation

Taking more from the middle than ever

Calling it vital measure

To save the banks and auto makers

Pounding out badges and guns and truncheons

Hiring more police from the pools of newly jobless

More police to protect us

From ourselves?


From the Joneses

You know, used to live next door

Slightly higher credit rating

Cause enough for righteous envy

Now living with the kids in a minivan in the Wal-Mart lot

Possessions packed pathetic in rooftop marshmallow box

Now Mr. Jones has dreams riddled with desperation

By orange arc sodium light of sleepless night

He tacks down the list of questions that plague him

Recalling a long-forgotten equation

From Mathematics was it?

No, English

The five W's

He has answers to none

At the party goods emporium

Mathematics is a myth

Recession pure charade

In the festive aisles it is the Eighties again

The poet dons dozens of silly hats

Affecting appropriate accents to please his nephew

Eight and suspiciously serious for the

Mardi Gras and Pirate booty aisle

The boy finally cracks a smile

When from the myriad colors and themes

The child chooses army junk

The poet refuses

Explains why

The child persists

So the poet extracts a promise

If I buy you this army costume, will you promise

Never to join the military when you grow up?

The boy agrees

In the parking lot

With the battery dead

The boy gets a lesson in how to push start a car

Back at sister's house

The poet gets a lesson in




The boy's father, it seems, may soon join the army reserves

Having exhausted other options for saving the family

Somewhere in this poem

Somewhere in the middle

The poet had occasion to wonder

If perhaps Mathematics

As busy as she is

Had forgotten him

That he might breath a sigh of relief

She hasn't

He won't

Like a loan shark

Like a mafia don

Like a terrorist

Having failed to kill him

Mathematics now hunts his loved ones.

Poetry seems so pointless now

Like an adult promise exacted from a child

Not to go to war, not to die for nothing

Poetry is futile

Don't believe it, brother. - RSM

"Poetry must be forgotten; we must get down to raw paint, splatter. I think a man should be forced to write in a roomful of skulls, bits of raw meat hanging, nibbled by fat slothy rats, the sockets of musicless staring into the wet ether-sogged, love-sogged, hate-sogged brain, and forevermore the rockets and flares and chains of history winging like bats, bat-flap and smoke and skulls ringing in the beer... The fact that the poets of the world are drunk is a damn good indication of its shape."

[Fore and aft excerpts from "Charles Bukowski Screams from the Balcony, Selected Letters 1960-1970"]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving Prayer that says it all

Bless you, William Burroughs, for this fine prayer that gives me a smile every time I hear it this time of year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dentata Morbidium

With thumb and forefinger flanking larynx
Feel the essential pulse that
With its quiet promise
Buys us everyone those things most ethereal
Most important, least tangible

Bouquets of time like wild columbine blooming
Sonnets of serenity and space fathomed
Chocolate boxes of surprise and wonder
Rings of love boundless
Feather beds of dreams

Now picture shooting rat poison straight into your neck
Imagine killing all the little children inside you
Each a cell a-dancing
The dance of regenerative life
Killed with the poison of neglect

At the speed of blood a-pumping
Nowhere in the body is far from the brain

But James!
You gulped down death with every swallow
Never mind the candy necklace of myriad pills
The 30-packs of Milwaukee's Best Ice
Never mind the endless chain of hand-rolled unfiltered smokes
Never mind the dope, the coke, the codeine cough syrup
From crooked docs cross the border

Your head was full of bacteria, brother!
Full of madness not intangible nor untreatable
But easily extractable!

Yet from rotten root to gums to blood
The wretched stuff went rampant

No more time like wild columbine
No more sonnets or surprise
No more boundless love nor dreams

Bad teeth killed you dead.

But "Death not ends it," Jim Morrison said
Maybe so
But severed - yes
From me
From us
From all who loved you

From all new friends and opportunities and light
From all I opened up to you
By inviting you into my world
After first descending in yours
Like the film about the gynecologist brothers
One following the other into morphine addiction
Knowing no other way to reach his identical twin
Than to follow him in

Down the rabbit hole

I miss you terrible
Come back!
Return Lazarus James!

Together we will check into Betty Ford
You can run rings of Jamesian logic round the nurses
With your colossal IQ and sardonic dry desert wit
We will fly to Oaxaca
For no other reason than it has a funny name
And on the way to the surfside palapa cantina
We will stop at La Dentista
and shout "Pull them all out!"

A blood bath it will be
But a damn fine affair
Our own oral menstruation
All that evil bacteria
All that single cell madness
Will leap from you
Like a million toxic fleas
From a dog on fire

Suckers for pain
We will rub the salt on our gums
Then knock back fine tequila and
And toothless, proudly suck the limes

Because the only absolute in this life
Is that death separates

So we will drink hearty me James
Because no vice could ever kill
A colossus the likes of you

It took and enemy more insidious
Hiding there in plain sight
Smiling at us
Smiling through the mirror at you
Rotten to the core

Imagine shooting rat poison straight into your gums
Blue chemical toilet treatment

I think of New Zealand poet Janet Frame
A mouth full of dead wood at age twenty
Got her eight years of electroshock hell
She got off easy
You got dead

Dentata morbidium

Or perhaps this is all just bullshit
The imaginings of a deluded poet
And a well-meaning nurse
That really it was your mother who killed you in the end

I'm back in Bisbee now
A year and some months hence
Sitting a stone's throw from One Arizona Street
Where last night I peered in your bedroom window
My palms warm on the flat cold glass
I sat by the the fire pit we made together
Sat on your back stoop
Summoning conflagrations from the storehouse of time

It's all there still
Cleaned up yes
Made nice-nice for the benefit of real estate
But our bonfire energy - ha!
That will never be doused
Let the buyer beware, eh?

My first thought was to buy the place
But you left no will
And your mother who you say despised you
Pinched rich and bitter with empty hunger
That oft comes of too much money
She took it all
The alleged millions left by your father
Still in probate when you died
Right down to your little house

And at one hundred fifty thousand
It's too much for this poor poet
With credit like a napalmed jungle
It might as well be a billion

But I can dream!

Which reminds me
Of the little game I've been playing with myself
Denying the logical source of my recent ear infection
That long dead molar
Too long awaiting the money for root & crown

Tomorrow I will walk into Mexico at Naco
Have Martinez yank it out

They still let you keep your pulled teeth in Mexico
I will keep it then and clean it
Glue it in my art car
On the alter I made just for you

I will give it a name
I will call it James.

- copyright Rick McKinney 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eat your heart out Bill Bryson

I hear that Bill Bryson's admittedly quite humorous tale of his half-assed hump of the Appalachian Trail is about to be immortalized on the big screen. Do I sound jealous? I might be, if not for the occasional letter from a reader such as the one below. Every time I start to feel a little down about the obscurity of my own Appalachian Trail tale, something magical happens. This time, the magic's name was Sara. Thank you, Sara. You made my day. And you will continue to make my day whenever I take a moment to reread your lovely words.

"I've been enjoying Dead Men Hike No Trails, reading in fits and spurts, hiding the book from my bosses who don't know I'm heading to Georgia in March. (I haven't finished your book. But I'm about half a bottle of wine in and feeling a little spooked...) Your tale is intimate, and thankfully so, because who better to tell about how much I've savored this read, than the author? And how often does the reader, especially an anxious one like myself, find it necessary (let alone possible or comfortable) to write the author?

"As your words walk through my home state of Massachusetts and my obnoxious roommate yells around the kitchen, I have my haven of the book and my music. When you wrote "transfixed by Radiohead's Pyramid Song" I gasped and physically threw the book to my feet. That was the song playing on my iPod. So in whatever event coincidence is, whatever forces bring music and reading and dreams together, I appreciate this otherwise superficial connection with you. Thanks for making that possible." - Sara Haxby
(Read Sara's blog!)

Give someone you know the gift of the freedom of six months in the woods this holiday season by picking up a copy of Dead Men from independent booksellers, or from the author at should you desire an autographed copy.

Also, if you have read Dead Men Hike No Trails but not reviewed it, please take a moment to say a few words about it purely on the level of did you enjoy it, did it inspire you, etc, at, a vendor I'd much prefer to see readers buying it from than the big corporate A-hole-a-Zon.

Thank you. -RSM