by Kurt Lewis

Hip Ears

When I was 17 my buddy and I decided to give each other tattoos. We went to the art supply store and bought India Ink because we were told that's what you should use. It probably took 2 or 3 weeks to actually finish them as we worked on them for an hour or so once or twice a week. Remember - these were created with an ordinary sewing needle with thread wrapped around the tip to hold the ink. I would jab the needle into his shoulder again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and there was blood. When it was all done his said:
T.V. Land
in rather crooked script tilting up and to the right.

Mine said:
Hip Ears
but also had a very cool musical bar with random notes just below it.

He was the better artist and I benefited.

A couple years later I went to a tattoo parlor and the guy told me he'd give me what I wanted if I let him cover up "Hip Ears". I relented. I've always regretted it. I always will regret it.

Things today aren't as they should be.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She Can't Get It Off the Floor

Pushing ahead.
Marching forward.
Uncontrollable urges.
Reverse thinking.
Bleeding ulcers.
Formidable blasphemy.
Pitiful drinker.
Shameful loneliness.
Bloodied lip.
Methadone normal.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Tortured headlights wash the street outside this bus, and

I ask the drivers out there:

"Are you frightened?"

"Are you angry?" (you look murderous)

I feel like I'm lacking blood; my

eyes throb behind swollen lids.

It would seem I have two choices:



I'll take either, I decide, as the bus

leans slightly to the right

and I exit into the darkness.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'll tell you something else...

This depression flowers,
then bends toward
as if it were the sun.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Fluid (s)

Together we move in fluid charges.
Together we discharge fluids, moving.
Together charging, we move fluids.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This part is easy.

lips a little numb and i'm hungry and theres a bad taste in my mouth but here we are at the easy part. sweet jesus the pink jelly lamb dont hit the sidewalk aim for the bushes please blend in be dirt. sorry yo but thats all there is except the epiphany that blinds the drunken bum on the street in san diego walking the walk and begging for hope and answers as well as nickles and quarters. grappas grappas what the fuck is it all i know is it burns and its not like any wine ive ever had but it brings the rented epiphany into sharper focus before i return it to the piss filled gutter. lips a little numb and i'm hungry and the bad taste isnt as bad anymore and we are still pressing our faces against the easy part. theres a certain bebop theres a certain flow theres a certain accent here and its not good and its not bad and its only what it is and the rest really doesn't matter when you take a moment to think about it. blend in. be dirt. invisible friends in bad places feeling so much pain so much physical pain so much emotional pain i want you to stop. stop. stop. stop. this part is easy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Amsterdam 1991

I watched a little cat die
on the Leidesplein
in Amsterdam. It lay on it's side, it's
tiny chest sort of... popping.
It was so horrible.
Nobody noticed,
but a few yards away
the lights on the canal were like
neon serpents
writhing in wonderment
just below the surface.

In Bamberg we smoked it
and forced the hate from our stomachs
while my husk lay paralyzed
beneath a shower of vomit.

In this world I am anything but whole.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Have you ever tried heroin?

Tied off and shaking, the spike breaks when I punch it a little too hard and hit the bone. My blood forms a bouquet of crimson roses on the linoleum floor - the drops blossoming without stems. My partner's long white beard hangs heavy with perspiration - it dips low toward the knife scars and the bullet scar on his belly.

"Kurty, I think I shot too much. Sit here with me and make sure I'm okay."

My blood flowers have dried up now - brown and wilted. The pain is all gone too, because I rammed that broken needle straight to a main and pumped it good. Sailing along quietly. The scarred man just died and left me alone.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sky Burns Blue

I lay back beneath the sun,
and enjoy its burn
as the liquid leaves me through my skin.
The thunder of its light is
packed in my ears,
the sound
packed in my eyes.

The white, hot and red disc
is the sun, and it
remains brave
in the clouds and blue brilliance.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

An Ode to Charles Bukowski

Drunk Like Charley

Summer is almost gone, and everything will be dead soon.
No more green, just
ugly brown death smeared onto the ground, and in the trees,
and all through the air. And I'm all alone.
I'm all alone again, and
my head hurts. I wish I was drunk.
I wish I was puking, pissing my pants, and spilling
snot out of my nose drunk. Drunk like God.
Dead drunk, drunk with dread-
dead dead dead drunk. Drunk like
Charles Bukowski,
drunk and alone and drunk.
Drunk enough.
Just drunk enough to blow my fucking head off.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Looks vast, but it ain't.

I presumed my soul
was vast
but it's not.
Not more
than a cicada husk clinging to the inside
of my chest cavity
next to my left lung, also small
kinda shriveled
from the cigarettes and weed I smoked
so many years ago. I heard many lung cancer patients quit
I'm afraid. Very afraid.

I presumed my soul
was vast
but now I question the existance
of my soul.

Shrunken yellow vastness of a naked soul

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Minneapolis After the Army

It’s not like it was:

Whining about not having a woman while I was drinking my thirteenth beer and lighting up the hookah. Living in a collapsible shit hole tilting down toward hell, with my ear to the floor listening to the screams of the two little black kids as their drunk daddy beat the shit out of them, shouting:


My eyes clenched tight. Needing and begging for sleep, but it never came.

Back in the day, with Michael the junkie (he had a beard of twisted hemp) getting sick in a bucket and thinking he was going to die because he shot too much. But at least he wasn’t drunk. Thank God he wasn’t drunk- Smashing things up in the kitchen, shouting vague obscenities at the sink and the cupboards. Really just lost, and wondering what it was he was doing there on the blue tile, bleeding

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


dilaudid. six of them for free. small, peach colored, solid lines. side one a, side two 2. crush, cook, filter and bang it home. interesting bruising - purplegreenyellowblueblackred. spreads like oily poison. spreads cold and hard through the bicep and across my chest. alone. frightened. alone and alone and alone. alone in a hotel room with my sweet peach pills. what if i die? my wife and son wont know for a few days. overdose? what? that's imposssible! have you tried it? it's worth it for the bruising alone - really quite beautiful. one day this is what i'll do. i promise.

washington dc in the cold, cold springtime

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

28th Floor Chicken Salad

28th floor and the shades are pulled back fully chicken salad sandwich on the way and I’ve had it before once twice three times maybe four it’s good I suppose it’s good I guess it’s good it’s really really good for a chicken salad sandwich that is. It comes with potato salad. My mother is the real world my mother is the real world my desk drawer holds something interesting and I forgot about it until now it holds something in folded paper and it burns red yellow blue to black ash and the odor is unforgettable undeniable unhideable and it makes you smile it makes you smile until the fear touches you on the forehead and it burns like a little slice of ice a little slice of ice that slices into the frontal lobe like honed steel. Boney fingers wrapped around the icy hot honed steel as it slices deep into the gelatinous lobe lobe lobe. Sweet jesus sweet bleeding jesus I’m an angel and my blood is sticky blue yellow red like clear honey syrup it’s there for you to touch for anyone to see and to touch and to piss in. My wings are so dirty my wings are cracked and nicotine stained they don’t really work just hang there limp like my soul like a dirty rag tied to the end of a pine board sticking out of the end of a Silverado on interstate 95 going 77 mph. By god by jesus by the blood of the pink jelly lamb hanging out the window on the 28th floor in Alexandria, Virginia zip code 22312. No sun. Cold. Icy. Icy. Pink blue red green frozen dreams spill out on the walkway. Home. I’m home at last.