POETRY BY LAWRENCE TYLER



POEM FOR LARRY GOLDBERG

I was driving down Maxwell Street
Last night, Ďbout 10:30 P.M.
The hot dog stands, and tacos
Were jumping, drug deals
Going down
And Iíll be damned
If there wasnít a medium sized
Black dog, eating a can
Right in the middle
Of the street.

Now, I can pass up
A bum, a beggar, or a thief
But a dog eating a can
Is too much
For me.

So I got out of my car
Ran over quick as I could
Gave the dog a dollar
And told him
To get out the goddamn streets.

I canít stand seeing a dog
Eating a can
No matter how hungry
Even on Maxwell Street.

(Originally published in The Anti-Mensch, May 1996)
(Also published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)


HEY COOL

Black high top tennis shoes
A printed long flowing dress
Some obscure sport jacket Ė blue
Floppy black hat         a nine-year old girl
Out-cools you
What good is it to be twenty-two
So far beyond anything, anyone
Ever knew
When the child doesnít care
Knows more than you

Holding her fatherís hand
Skipping to Sunday-church
She is happy, couldnít be better
What is it she knows
You have lost, forgotten
Never knew
When cool is nine
What are you to do?
Tequila-shots, beer chasers
Cartoons-unread books
Are no longer cool

So you artifact-it-out
Drop the costume, the look
Take time to think
What am I to do?
What is the meaning of life?
Nothing Ė I donít know Ė survival
What is the meaning of life?
Love mankind Ė a godly life
What is cool to truth?

Nine-year olds buzz in the moment
You Ė know Ė must do Ė more
You Ė drop Ė everything
From the moment of Creation
You re-consider your point of view
Every         thing         is         cool

(Originally published in The Anti-Mensch, May 1996)
(Also published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)




REFLECTIONS FROM THE RAIN FOREST

Now
Donít you see
There are three inches
Between me
And a tall pygmy

However we wonít
Use the word
For the people of the forest
The Baka
Donít like it

We have much
In common
I live in a city
Of towers
The Baka
Live in a rain forest
Trees tower over them

Their skin is dark
Mine, light
But the Baka
Donít care
About those things
So why should I

I used to be taller
Yeah
I know itís hard
To believe
Iíve shrunk
About an inch
And a half

For the Baka and I
Our height
Does give us
A point of view
Not all appreciate

So you see
The Baka
And I are brothers
And for all you
Tall people
Be happy
The forest towers
Over all of us
The Baka
Know how to live
In this forest
And I
Am no longer discontent

I know how to live
My life
So let us sing
With the Baka

Itís true
We are short
We are brothers
We are one
In the forest
On this earth
In all our cities

(Originally published in Hammers No. 2, 1990)
(Also published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)




IF VINCENT VAN GOGH HAD ROLLER SKATES,
HE'D BE IN HEAVEN BY NOW


Fools, fools
A man bought
One of my paintings
A yellow one
A cool thirty
Million dollar one
Who said
The Japanese were smart

I wanted to paint
Leave something behind
And now you
Make movies
Write books
Sing songs
About me
Poor, poor Vincent -

Fools, fools
Don't you see
If they had -
If I could have
Painted, neon lights
Streets filled
With ominous delight
I spilled my brain
On canvas
I lavished my guts
For you to see
It's life, it's light
Enthralls all

And here
In heaven
We wonder
Why -- why

(First published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)


UNTITLED


Saw a woman, all black and blue
O so proud, of her new tattoo
Hiding her beauty, behind the graft
Skin deep, no matter
                    just a fad

I'm too old to get it, though suspicious
For once I had a ring, O so pretty
Designed myself/ made to order
My ring possessed me
                    I couldn't bear it

I threw it away, garbage that's all
And while I did miss it, I knew
I could always, have another made
Unlike the tattoo, that never
                    goes away

Under your skin, demanding more
Bigger, better, till you give in
Get another/ braver, more real
Possessed by beauty/ grafted
                    all the dots inked in.

(First published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)



DID YOU EVER HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND

Did you ever have, an imaginary
Friend, when you were
Seven years old -
I did,
Did you ever outgrow him?
I didn't.

I stopped believing
In imaginary people
At sixteen, seventeen
The problem with those
Relationships, sometimes
They continue
Even when you
Don't believe in them
Anymore.

Oh, I know you smile
It's quite one thing
To have an imaginary
Relationship -
It's another matter altogether
To argue, complain
Carry on with someone
You don't believe in and,
Never existed, in the first place.

I wouldn't have bothered you
With old problems, neurotic fantasies
Except - she has come back
This time it's different
I'm not seven nor sixteen
Reality is easy for me
Such a peculiar circumstance
Wouldn't be worth mentioning
But she wants more
Than the old ways.

I mean, she doesn't
Just talk to me
She interferes, takes action
Not against me
No, my friends are being
Affected - by my wishes
I can't explain.

How can I have an
Imaginary friend
Who takes real people
Seriously, not just me.

I would ask her
                    to go away
As she did once
But I know
I would miss her
                    terribly.



UNTITLED

Is the mirror delusional
Thinking it's you
As you step into view
When you walk away
Does the mirror despair
Having lost its
Train of thought
Nothing to see nor hear

Is the mirror all ego
Thinking it's you
Presumptuous to a fault
Believing its point of view
Is all
Taking its cue
Depressed over nothing
Waiting for you

(First published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)


UNTITLED

We are awashed in words
Drowning in song
And the music
                    tells us something

What I don't know
                    is the meaning
All the words are not answers
We have thrown away the questions

I did not ask for this world
I can't stop the songs
                    and the music
Is a drowning, a dying, a meaning

                    and I said
Singing is not sufficient
Music is not dance
Our world is adrowning

(First published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)



UNTITLED

When a brown-haired beauty
Slashed her blues cross my eyes

I stuttered, hey - hi
Regained composure, taking offence

Hey hi
How deep does the blue go

When a brown haired beauty
Took offense, my meekness too bold
Whatdaya do 'round here
Her blues demanded
Criss-crossed mine

I'm waiting for conversation
Did you say something
Or was that telepathy

The brown-haired beauty
Her blues wearied, left mine
Tacked east, green eyes for affect

So long, see you around

Heyhi

How deep does the blue go

(First published in Urbanations Vol. II, 2004)



PUNKS AND ASSHOLES

I don't care what color
your skin is
How poor you are

When a twelve year old
Kills another child
he's still only a child
If a fifteen year old
carries a weapon
he is a punk
if he uses it
an asshole.
ladies and gentlemen
tonight,
let us draw the line.


for David, JJ, & Lee

(Lawrence knew he might die and leave his friends behind, he was already starting to miss them. He felt like he was holding us back and things would be different when he was gone. He was also wondering if his life of poetry was worth his sacrifices and how it would weigh out in the end. -ed.)

Not one thing tells your body
how you feel
a little soft-shoe in the morning

and you're off to the races
singing a tune - doesn't matter
if you're worth a lick

the jamoaks are loose

a little soft-shoe
a move or two
your body knows

is all perfection happy?
is a small cup as good as
a jug

that's the trouble with nuns
never drink from the jug
line up all the jamoaks

two by two

I can't sing
my soft-shoe only works
in socks

the jamoaks are loose

and
I am running
with the gods.


MILWAUKEE JOE

(Most of his friends did not know where Joe was after his stroke. JJ & Lawrence visited a bunch of nursing homes looking for the guy named Joe who played chess. They finally found him. Joe occassionally worked for JJ after he found he was sleeping in the back of a car - ed.)

Did you know Micky & Minnie
all knew King Kong who was
a second cousin to Bushman
and Donald Duck could sing?

So I recently found out.

For me, Milwaukee Joe, crazy Joe
was - is a performance artist and
if you would follow his chess-man
mind fine logic you could go
with Alice and the puppets
through to someplace very few
knew, and all Milwaukee Joe's
friends could not find him
hidden away, rumors of death,
hidden away in a nursing home
and jeez - he came back
when JJ said poetry
Milwaukee Joe remembered

a smile and a cry

mostly I remember grins
I was just along for the ride

and when JJ slipped him a five
          "We'll be back. We'll be back.
            Jesus,
            what can you do,
            what can you do.
            It's only right."

and all those street times
Milwaukee Joe everywhere
always pleased to be there
            'hello
            don't forget
            Mickey & Minnie'
and a logic so true
you always knew
a hidden truth
in Milwaukee Joe.


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