Curiousity killed the cat.

It also invented the wheel.

So, the only question is, How many lives do You have?

Very Untitled

Why did Bonnie and Clyde cross the road?

Because anthrax hadn't been invented.

Why were Bonnie and Clyde mistaken for a chicken?

Because every day is Thanksgiving.

Clyde got a call last night from Bonnie. It was long distance.

He said, I can't hear you, my music's on too loud.

I'm a one-man S&M machine.

Even when I'm a thousand miles from myself, I can still put a cloth over my mouth.

One day, when I was a kid, my mother removed her hand from my thigh and said, Son,

When you see a wounded animal, get the hell out of it's way

I said, Why?

And she said, Because it can't possibly win.

She was sleeping on the sofa at the time.

I once caught my dad panting over some panties. I quickly took a photo.

Was he wasting anyone's time? I don't think so.

My dad was the musician Phil Ochs. In his final years he would always sign in for gigs and open-mikes using the name John Train.

John Train. He clearly wasn't writing young man's poetry.

I would like the space between myself and others to be in the form of a flower in a flower-pot, on a window-sill, with the sun coming down on it.

Did he inherit his father's disease? I don't know.

He once said, at a gig, I don't have any regrets. My kids will not talk about me when I've left the building.

..................................................John Train


Why Doesn't That Bracelet Fall Off?

Green river of dune season and a packet of black stars

when her mouth flies by like a freeway of blurred oil refineries by a lake of suspicious black fish

the bedroom paved with willow-grass and baking bread

which licks the butter from the day's sharp teeth of grandpa's sailory motel

a motel in lisbon is jacobin turtle

today's lost buttons jangle in the pockets of an autumn flower

rainfall into a hat driven over by a cartload of piglets and cheese-cakes

carrying a box of guitar and tom-toms into his asteroid ears

hair of straw blinding his eyes from the disgrace of seperation

and his brother bent over his mother like a grand piano in drag

she won't apply to the night for custody of shredded children

we learn to walk by using our eyes

and the mechanical ballerina rotates in the corner

and the unplugged stereo system screams like the sun

the sun which burns like aluminum skyline

as we file past the sugar bowl of giants in leopard skin tights

the five jack-hammers of his hand and the breeze

of golden knives in sudden rendezvous

to make our peace with the secret furnace

fishing the river in black star

arms pulled up by a passing cloud




We Have Everything!

It's morning shift at Safeways, home of the plastic fern

Dave's flown in from Baltimore and thinks it is his turn

To flog this ship with his mighty whip and stop it from capsizing

There's a big hole now in Frozen Fish, cos John's gone deep-sea diving

So Angel's pulled from Floral, it's enough to drive you crazy

For wilting Frank can't work with plants, and a doctor's note that says it

And then to make sad matters worse five Mexicans call in sick

They're off to march for workers' rights, but how's that gonna fix

Our problems with the cooler, and the rich from getting rich?

It's not the time to fight for rights, when badly we do need 'em

says Sue the brown-nosed checker, can't their church just feed 'em?

Sweet Amy dreams in Coffee, wears boots and is a painter

Sketches sketchy locals in chalks upon the pavement

Arranges 19 coffee-cups into a global statement

Used to wear black lipstick, still don't know what that meant

Fiona at the register is Norman Bates in drag

She hides behind her glasses, and a cool Adidas bag

And she doesn't like it when Trampo Steve refers to her as dad

As he slides another love-note onto sad Maria's chair

But it's not in Serbo-Croat, and she really doesn't care

That Angel's lost her eye-shadow, and that Luna's lost her fans

She used to work at Merrill Lynch, good money in her hands

Once voted high-school beauty, now rots in also-rans

Sticking half-price labels onto dented sell-by cans

Then Charlene Crystal shatters, wet tears on aisle 9

When Pete strolls by with Angel, as if she were his bride

But it's only to the mess-room, to swop some DVRs

For they share a love for wrestling and 1950s cars

Pete with 15 years in Meat has left his boat at home

He loves slasher movies, especially when he's stoned

He says, I'll see you later, but he would like to bone

Sue Woo Loo from Kiosk, it thrills him when she phones

Her mom in Beijing every day, fearing the unknown

Sue Woo is at the gas-station to buy a single rose

A year's supply of Playgirl and a gallon of No-Doze

She almost hit another car whilst reading On The Road

Bu her mind must stay on red alert as the Lotto scandal grows

But first she calls Fiona to secure a friendly ride

For Fred who's not returned to work since his great-great-goldfish died

Which is hardly fair on Simon, who's new and can't deliver

Enough soggy chickens for the deli-boys to sliver

But the news Fiona gives to Sue is sure to make you quiver

Her husband says, and this is grave, but surely he does reckon

Un-Homeland Insecurity has done a background check on

Said who works in Sandwiches, and Moe, our store detective!

But since they both are blonde and gay we reckon that's defective

Far more sense to dig in deep to the dumpster that disgusts us

For Fred has not been seen alive since the famous meatloaf rumpus

With Ric, the Swedish foreman, who drives an Astro van

Don't think of dreamy Abba think right of the Taliban

Tho he signed the card for Tony Dish, when he was sentenced to the can

For checkboook fraud and smashing doors, in a dark time of his life

He did get his job back, but not his pregnant wife

Who still comes in for coffee, and Amy loves those twins

She's done them both in oils and says that when she wins

The Lotto she'll adopt them, their mom and her are lovers

Both still think of Toe when they're hot beneath the covers

Plus Amy thinks of Crystal, and Crystal ponders Fred

Who always dreams of Angel who has Frank inside her head

At night the whole damn workforce is sleeping in one bed

Then it's morning-time and the hungry swine invade the busy store

With carts-full for the moneyed crew, and pockets for the poor

Then a sudden call for Tony, to wipe vomit from the floor

He says, "For Dave to clean it up, is that against the law?"

Then Fiona says that Brian says that Said says, then pause

another deadly feud's ensued behind the sliding doors!

Two refugees from New Orleons, and one has pulled a knife

Store-bacon brings his baton down as if they were his wife

And a tourist from Connecticut runs screaming for her life!

Then Fred who's not been seen for weeks strolls in and says, How strange

That two grown men should duke it out then call it Real Change!

Even grim Maria laughs, slow-fingering her note

Curious to what the handsome man in baggy trousers wrote

And when no-one's looking, she slips it in her coat

On aisle 9, by Crystal's tears, Mohammed's on the ground

Shouts, "Allah is Great!" Angel's eye-shadow's been found!

Miguel clocks in for half a shift, still planning to fall sick

But still can't fix the cooler, says he's strained both his wrists

And when Ric stares icily, he just rubs his crucifix

Dave the Slave from Baltimore is captain of this ship

But he's running to the bathroom and it isn't for a shit

His bong's inside the cistern and he's gonna take a hit

To help steer this sinking ship thru another 10-hour shift

Yuppies file these aisles for miles, yet they never will discern

From the bleary eyes and the mannered smiles, all the passions that do burn

Our workings and our playings we know they'll never learn

How completely half-assed customers are the least of our concerns

In high-life low-pay Safeways, home of the plastic fern

We don't get time for funerals, so we never get to grieve

We can't afford vacations, we look at photographs of trees

And if you want a pay rise, put padding on your knees

So everybody's quitting, but no-one really leaves

So if you can't find the chutney, sir, please don't look so stern

You can just drive out this lot and make a sudden turn

But we are here for many years, and every day we learn

What it is to love and laugh, in the land of the plastic fern





The Stranger

I don't subscribe to theoretical strangers

The erotic confidence boutique is a head requiem

Greatness gets rough on the ave and cops be moody pine trees

Deep boots wrapped in eye-brows with customary precision

The 'everyday' wrapped in cellophane by a jet-black traffic-light

The his and hers kitchen of union jazz gospel

The lemony mothership wine-house organics

The quality jewellery cunt-juice

Where bohemian savages seek medals in the burnt remains

peering thru a cell-phone of mirrors at a bonnet on a sandwich

A lame studio of untested bridges driving a car thru a CD collection

Where the warrior children of Malibu spit on anonymous reality

And Columbus-prayers open the unsafe light

Oriental rose of neighborhood dolphins

New toys of urban conceit burning in a hidden fan

Foreclosures in troubletown

Malice in Blunderland

Bubbles of re-treads, retirees flogging their male nurses

The Governor with a box of slaves under each arm

Pays a visit to the kaleidoscope underwater hospital

The holiday magic of last-minute turtle evictions

The democracy of laser hair removal, as sung by Fred

Pride weeps on the dance-floor like a study on genital herpes

The empty store-fronts the same as the malls

Shelves packed with pornography of every color, are we there yet mom?

Lots of cab-drivers claim they are resteraunts

Because lots of metal fences have children called Naomi

She was clearly 18 or older when she tied it to the rafters and called it home

I met her in the jig-saw of her own lake

A haircut of boulevard cups and a white belt of eyes

Lovers spiralling into silvery magazine kinetics

Veterans sucking each others wounds with see-thru pipes

Dead Kennedys, Grateful Dead and then Death Cab for Harborview

Snoopy Dog. And lacy ribbons surrounding the window where we kiss

And how the glass felt cold and clean to our lips

The world's oldest joke about pornography:

Hey dad, is this going to fit in our living room?

Yes son, I'm afraid it is

The friendly festival of big lies

A box of animals carved from discarded sawdust

Everyone in Home Depot speaks aluminum Turkish

Your tree-branch complexion and many-armed chauffers

Your jagged porcelain of pressed door

With it's hinges of hope

& your criss-crossed string of white furniture

Lost in a blur of Japanese errors and camp-fire excuses

The large, faithful doorman of your overcoat

Crystalline celebration of a false start

Karl Marx can't fill your dreams unless you're a lesbian

A re-modelled wow wails from the bus-stop

With her aprony chest of revolving travel

And Western drum of underwater book-learning

Clears the neighborhood of deluded highlights

That t-shirt looks way too tight, let me help you take it off

Stoned owls, talking by the troll

Thanks, but I can eat that at home

My only interest in porno is in their use of the airbrush

I think that's a light on in your corridor

The off-limits imagination of your sixth customer

Gambling the dillema of white curves

A straw is faster than a cell-phone

My pet monkey sitting on Bill Gates' head in the wizard prison

& replacing his mother's apple with a marzipan statue of some serious pie

Walking Hamlet head in hand through Class Discovery Park

Staring down Lincoln from the cheap seats

Helping Jesse James to hang up the picture

Of a smart bomb next to a suicide victim

Thru a village of adopted children

And the wondrously hairy coconuts of war

Down Unrepublican Road

Past the teenagers on Pine Street

To discuss the Golden Age of Greek philosophy

With a woman who loves having sex in the forest

And then I'll work the set-design for a movie

Called...'Slowly Fisting Heaven'



The Sunday Times

Rich kids weeping in the college-slums of Venezuala

Chambermaids riding into bedrooms on the dappled bones of fame

Oil-workers with bristly fridges succumbing to desire

& the streets filled with lawn-mowers

Keeps me a green lake all night

Driving 5,000 miles into the shoes of fashion

3 wishes, on another man's rug

Too many Swedish holidays

The new fins are over, and the odd end of the red plunger

Will be a decade of coal-minerly ear-rings

Holy Grail weather-shift

Sigmund Feud removing the dead skin from his heels

Killing the teddy-bear, in a pyramid of quarters

A West Coast 101 in hunger

Sports commentators speak poetry

But the pictures spoil everything

Now Frank and Alice think TV's a camera

And they're putting their fathers' footsteps on trial

So it's another marathon inside a tortilla

Too many people talking management

2 drown in a metal barn called Asia

And then snow is the country of our rented tents

Everyone's stopped wearing wrist-watches

Well, why do you need them, if you're just doing what you're told?

Bloodhounds chasing my mother thru the Louisiana swamplands

Alice's head stuck out of the ferns like a Barbie-doll

A Barbarella-hot necklace of moony starlight

And the big crop college-boy, Atlantis frog

Man killed by Xmas music in factory-garters

Magnificent things go down

Beauty dozing in a Chinese caravan of school-mistress cybernetics

A perfect wig for Roy's authority

Frank says you have to bring your own duct-tape to the all-you-can-meet buffet

If the juke-box is telling the truth

It must be that part of the body

Li'l boy Jesus, with his damp brother perched on his back

Catching a bus out of town, with the other survivors

They all wear dark glasses

My best friend killed itself to get out of the war

I was talking to a man last night in the Cold Heart Tavern

He said, "My job is to make as much money as possible"

So many argonauts, and so many fleecings

I requested he take a hike up his own mountain

And then he told me all children are Bolsheviks

Alice said to Big F, I still like you, but your collage is coming un-glued

Frank said, I'm not coming, magnificent things go down

It was at that point of our NPR-discourse

into the role of punctured eyeballs in contemporary society

that Fred slowly crawled in and whispered "I'm roped to invisibility"

He was wearing high-heels

And they looked like the twin towers on your country's birthday

I could see the drunken fire-fighters clinging to the hairs on my testicles

He was balancing a silvery tray of cream-cakes on my head

One of Fred's famous performance farts quickly cleared the room of virgins

Luckily lucky Egyptians don't play soccer for real

So Frank kisses Fred's hand

A bored game called Frankenstein beneath his hat

& 16 women called Crystal In The Cornfield

Blowing out their candles on a blonde wig

He's buying a condo. Without interest

He's finally stepping up to the plate

Blood creeps into Fred's spooky garage, and a 12-year old in the hinterlands gets pregnant

Aurora calls me from work and says, Did you know

That 8 out of 10 of your friends are wearing the wrong heads?

I said, Yes, but 50,000 rioters can cause a lot of damage

So Fred stands up and says, So this is R. Crumb

For meek and for bong

But we still can't make rent between us

And you're busy clicking channels in the great missile debate

I said, then sell me a pick-me-up of horny pirates

And then give me some boots that are a bakery of flowers

We'll build a house which is not a house

Meanwhile, the boss can give himself an award

For organising a referendum on the use of fingertips

And we'll keep dragging our broken bottles through the clouds




These days, musicians prefer e-mails over phones. It's because someone making disorganised noises can destroy the rhythm. Poets prefer e-mails, because when some-one else talks it often becomes an intolerably long line-break.

It's not our fault. It's just because other people can't focus.


I told my wife I love the fact that the North won the Civil War. She looked shocked. She said, What, more than me?

I tried to explain that they were two different types of love.

But she still suspects I'm seeing someplace else.


Some-one e-mailed me and said, I read your poems so I can find out how men think.
I wrote back to her saying, Well, maybe... but Martin is a pen-name. I'm a woman.

capitalism means never having to say you're porridge

My mouth falls open whenever some-one tells me their real life story

And if my mouth doesn't fall open, it's because they're not telling me their real life story

Anyone can ride a horse for five seconds

Neither a whore nor a fruit-blender be...........................................


The most amazing thing about Africa is Africa is Africa is Africa

The most nourishing thing in any food-store is the people that are going there to buy their food

even if they've not arrived yet, because the store's closed

Love is a rope made of errr

When you see her new boyfriend wearing that white shirt that you left at her place, then you have begun to understand the concept of clan



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