Poems by Leo Liebeskind

Woodstock

I can see the tambourine melting, flames

 flying from the frames of

  Wyatt’s palms

   as he wrestles with personal pianos

    wrung with whisky stains

     and oldened wood,

      whispers running wild,

       wicked, wet and withstanding

        triumphantly like trumpets

         parading Broadway at sunshine’s

          dreadful peak-a-boo,

           clouds siphoning droplets of golden purity,

            blissful extension of an idea,

             as Aaron

              is somewhere

               in the gutterous trenches

                of guitar string re-structuring,

                 plucking with Platonic precision, with

                  only the good intentions

                   of his left and right hands,

                    but possibly too much friction,

                     imaginative figments frying, fingers

                      sizzling on a hot, hot iron,

                       spun ‘round, topsy and turvy, wavering

                        like the water flow through the Chem-Ex

                         that I

                          am keeled over

                           in front of, worshipping

                            on hands and knees,

   ribbon microphone and measuring

    machine in hand,

                               matching in color but

                                clashing and crashing in timbre,

                                 texture, and torrent, too much

                                  to pick apart,

                                   as only feelings of fulfillment

                                    could possibly be left to unpackage

                                     with the cool water sounds of

                                      harmonica breakage simmering

                                       sweetly, sweating and bloody but

                                        drenched in double forgiveness,

  drought,

                                          doubt, a washed out notion

                                           of the cleanliness and clarity

                                            it takes

 

to tie up

two loose ends in order

to become tight.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Minutes

5 minutes.

Waiting once again,

the burning oil hits

the faded lamp.

The yellow platform is rusty and

caked with the dirty scum

of the bottoms

of the people’s

feet, and we all know

there ain’t nothing good

there.                                                                       

 

4 minutes.

Café Bustelo and his

silver harp start to play away

my blues. Good sounds

are radiant with vibratos after

long walks

through the underground.

A young woman in black and gold strobes

having too much too drink smiles

mercilessly, but she’s grasping at sincerity. She

fishes for something, but

two fives are all

she’s got.

She feels bad ­­­– then

she realizes she needs a 20 spot

back home, and her brain goes

elsewhere. Guess

she’ll have to go home

dry now

‘cause the next train “to Manhattan” departs in

 

3 minutes.

Black clad fellow

whistles by, chain round his neck

looking shiny but tacky.

He’s antsy, flying high

off the walls like a kid in his first bar in a foreign city. Bustelo is

singing the Kinks now as he plays his metal honky tonk machine;

“Waterloo Sunset” and it’s perfect timing as

my mood has merged

with the peak subway hour, just before

deep nightfall

when the waiting

gets too rough. He looks like he rode in

from another time on the top of a Buick

and nobody sees ‘cause it’s too many years down the line

but damn

he’s making me feel like a kid again,

two of my dad’s VW Golfs ago

on some road escaping

and we caught a good moment on

the radio

and I’m singing along and

now I’m lost and heading straight into

 

2 minutes.

The whistle is

in the distance now, rumbling in

towards the clearing, our path back

to the center of

the loin, where

we can make our stay for a

hot second.

I am on 14th street, and I’m in

my dad’s old car on the highway somewhere, and Waterloo

Station, all at once. It is

a happy feeling. I’ll be sad

to have to go.

 

1 minute.

The people are anxious to move on.

The groove is on the tracks that are rusted

but hold a strange sense of elegance,

history,

like Bustelo.

They skipped the count

now, but unlike the rest of us

he isn’t rushing

towards

 

0 minutes,

as the orange letters signify our victory

over the obviously devious

city government

and its transit authority. Goodbye stranger,

man from the cover of Aqualung. Please

play your love songs

all night long.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Clowns

dim sum tuesday

noodles in gravy

(save me)

 

i’m waving to the waiter “hi”

(i think he sees me)

 

sometimes i’m patient

but today i’m feeling

needy.

 

too many

 

misplaced possessions

lost concessions

sometimes i perish quickly

and then drive my car

straight back to heaven.

 

things  are getting heated now

the band is playing twice as fast as normal and i’m forgetting what normal is

the world is my stage

but

this basement room’s a tomb

 

doomed.

 

cold walls and colder glances from strangers

but your eyes are warm and

blue, entice me!

 

i’m wondering whether it’s all worth it

device me. you’re bothering me

and it’s worthless.

i’m squandering

any chance of excitement now. wandering

down the aisle like a tumult, somersaulting

saltined green beans and idaho blue jeans hand in hand

it’s a love potion

 

nine lives and the time flies

it’s a love poem

it takes time to make time baby

and not every line has to rhyme

as long as the melody

sits.

 

right and wrong are drag casual

technical and beyond factual

and back when they wrote the rules

i was too busy studying the gospel

to understand the difference between what’s real and what’s actual.

 

lawrence told me neon isn’t a color.

 

i laughed

“the answer isn’t always in the make believe

sometimes romance is brief.”

 

lawrence says i should stick to reality

but in the end we’re all drastically dissident

and who really gives a shit about the difference between staff and faculty?

 

my faculties are waning. my head

is in pain

pills can’t save me now!

front end first to kill what hurts

but it only gets worse

 

scrolls of crimson ribbon

elaborate chiffon

turkey drippings

thanksgiving is gone the indians stole it back from the from the british

dr. pentagon found his sixth sense so he’s quitting

drown the rest of them

 

i’m winning!

i’m sitting with the big boys now

‘cause daddy said to milk the kowtow

he was right, you know. they love you when you’re down

i’m the sad clown (pull my strings

and i’ll shine for you)

i’m the lost sound (clap your hands

and i’ll lie with you)

please don’t sacrifice me to the monkeys

i’ve got a burden on my back but i ain’t no junkie

i’m poisonous

but i’m good for you

i’m the river’s edge when the dogs come out

a mean dream cast in shadow

the lights are low for the curfew —

 

it’s not personal.

 

mary dressed in drag tonight

comes out in green and yellow lights

hidden by wisdom.

hiding her wisdom

she’s a vixen.

skin like ivory

eyes wide and fiery

dark red hair droops down to the ground like it’s slowly dying.

she sings like the wind on a cool, mellow morning

thin and hollow

a whisper in an otherwise silent dream.

for a brief moment, i recall a time when i was a child

and the sky wasn’t so bleak. 

The moon was fading fast as I waved her down.

Silicone sirens billowed out across the hardtack floors,

where mystics and vagabonds lay peacefully on open beds of sheet metal and good vibes.

It was chilly, but summer was still fading into winter with no fall in between.

After a few minutes, the years had gone by before my eyes.

One stop on the subway and suddenly I’m 15 again,

close to something, far from tragedy,

drama un-begun, hopefully still to come.

 

then i remember my headache and i’m lost again

swimming with the chinatown fishes.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

One

 

Here today,

Here today.

Where the green grass grows

Only you can say.

Greener still are the stops on the subway,

So green, so green,

Like the thoughts you’re inciting.

I’m inviting you to but you can’t listen.

You have two good ears too, but

There’s something missing.

 

The fishes would all swim to you if they could,

They surely would –

Look at how the world curls before your amber eyes.

You told me you felt paralyzed.

I held back tears. I said

That I can empathize,

And I wasn’t lying.

Please try me.