Friday, November 30, 2007

Pilgrim's Progress

I remember the old days,
when it took some effort
for me to insult people,
when I had to think
for a minute before
I could do or say
something offensive.

I used to be a nice guy,
I was always polite
in thought and act
and everyone loved me for it,
deemed me charming, chivalrous, suave.

Nowadays I fart a lot
and pick my nose at dinner.
I stare at people
with an ugly stare,
pick fights with the nicest people.
Every other word out of my mouth
is "fuck" or "bitch" or "asshole"
or "fuck you, you asshole bitch."

Still some people love me.
They know that with them
I'm joking when I say
they've got shit for eyeballs
and piss for blood.
They think my farts
are a quaint manifestation
of my grand eccentricity.

As for the rest of you,
I'm being truthful with my insults.
My manners towards you are atrocious
because I just don't care
for you.

But when you see me
glaring at some nun
as I piss on the sidewalk
in the late afternoon
or early evening
in the middle of a crowd of people
just getting off from work,
don't feel sorry for me
and don't hold your heads up high with disdain,
thinking there's something
wrong with me.

Just remember
that in a better world
I'd be a role model, a saint.
I'd be the guru with bloodshot eyes,
the oracle with a six pack
you turn to
in times of need
and in times of trouble,
the one who'll tell you
where you can go,
who you should fuck,
and where you can shove it.

And as you walk through the wilderness of this world
let my frank words and ways sustain you.
Let them be your bedlam and your vanity,
your guiding light and your exquisite confusion.

Because although you may end up
smelling just as bad as I do
you'll become truly refined,
truly wise,
and truly bright,
and this world will be a better place
because of it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Portrait # 15 (for Stephen Ciacciarelli)

The first detective in a cast of thousands
doing time considering all the true masters.
Through the convergence of forces one creates the first
brownstone skyscrapers while subway trains diverge
and disappear completely in subterranean snowstorms.
You live by sounds and images. The East River
sends you messages you turn from pictures
into words and back again. The world runs us over into cover,
tears the eyelids from our eyes. You take it all in, standing
out in the open like a bridge, defying both gravity and friction,
the time which will always be lost.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Portrait #41

To stand forever in the middle, or be
part of the usual episodes of amnesia.
Time in the dark, I find stones to throw, like words
spoken in my sleep. You can’t be afraid of thunder,
though I, at times, fear for my public image.
It’s easy prey for change, not being safe or
secure in a world of falling water. Sterling
silver cups, journeys up or down the river.
The meaning still isn’t clear, though in the end
it doesn’t matter, chance being of stronger substance
than intention, and swimming a way of life.

Portrait #26

This is for the space between words, the slow fall of mountains
leaving the remains of giants. There are wars we remember
that took place in our back yards, days when we thought
we moved backwards. The storyline has only been suggested,
through hints of color, and weather mentioned in passing.
Connections are left unclear, as in dreams you forget,
and people whose faces you can’t see but whose breath
you can hear and almost feel. The wind used to take
its time in coming, used to hide only to catch us unawares,
keeping the doors shut tight in uneasy sleep. The symphony
it brings rises slowly to an epic pitch, and falls, without shattering.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

World War III Will Start in the Minds of the Deprived and in the Hearts of the Depraved

lost in an ocean of shit
I'd gotten myself
in a discussion
of Fascism
with an ex-Army man
from Chicago at this bar.
He didn't like the way
the word got tossed around,
having something specific in mind.
I was trying
to throw the meaning everywhere,
from politics and law
on down to the Oriental practice of foot binding
and the excessive use of make up
by women who aren't hookers.
All the time my eyes were
on the barmaid's hips which
were squeezed into these tight black
spandex pants.

I knew I was too drunk
to be talking about anything
and too drunk to be
about anything but sex.
I also knew I was
too drunk to do
anything reasonable about it,
so I paid,
gave the barmaid a nice tip,
said goodbye to
everyone and

I got home,
walked upstairs,
and threw up
all over the books
on the floor of
my room.
There were some
good ones there,
some of which
I hadn't read yet.
I picked them up,
wiped them off
with a dirty tee shirt,
threw the shirt in the trash,
and went to sleep,
ready for nightmares
filled with Nazis
and no women,
all because
life is too short
to be spent
looking for
peace of mind.

- Jose Padua
Originally published in Big Cigars issue #1, 1986.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I’m in Love with Hustler Magazine’s Honey of the Month, March 1995

The way you spread your
pussy lips and lift
your right breast to
lick your nipple like
an autoerotic slut
makes me love you
that much more.
When a woman looks
as wet and hot as you
there's no need for
poise, elegance, class,
the ability to speak
seven languages fluently,
and an understanding of
the dynamic involved in the transition
from early Renaissance to Baroque art.
Next to you the subtle beauty
of a Vogue fashion model
looking off toward the horizons
of some distant city
as she takes a drag
from a Dunhill cigarette
becomes nothing but
a pretentious, flat-chested,
save the whales,
save the rain forest bore.

You're the woman I want,
the woman with beer, tobacco
and blow jobs on her breath;
the woman who's too
horny to care,
too drunk to make me use a condom,
and too sweaty to make me spoon with her
the rest of the night;
the woman who'll take me home,
fuck me, then ask me to leave
before I'm able to find both my socks;
the woman who doesn't need to hear
the words "I'll call you"
or "j'ai un grand crayon, Isabella"
and what's more doesn't want to.

You're the woman I want to marry,
the woman I want to bear
and raise my children,
the woman I want to grow
old and fat and bald with
in a fourth floor walkup
on First Avenue and Second in Manhattan;
the woman whose underwear
I want to see lying
on the floor in the morning
with a few pubic hairs
stuck in the waistband
and an odd looking stain
that I just can't resist from sniffing.

If you are coming down through
the narrows of the East River
past the Con Ed plant on FDR Drive,
please let me know beforehand,
and I will come out to meet you as far as
Avenue D and Tenth Street.
- Jose Padua
Originally published in Pink Pages, #9, 1996.