MIKE GOLDEN

THE GHOST VOTE
For Robert Frank

Sometimes it seems like there's a competition to see
who suffers the most, suffers the hardest, suffers the worst. . .
Sometimes it seems like we wear our pain
like a neon sign blinking on & off
outside the window of a dingy hotel room
on the other side of the tracks.

There's a whore in the room,
it could be you, it could be me,
but if you look too closely
at the object of desire, all the scars
illuminate the insignificance of the cries
begging for light, begging for love,
begging to promote whatever vested interest
we're interested in at the moment
our attention focuses and snaps
the pictures we carry thru time.

Some are still life-goes-on
of moments that no longer express
the eye of the image of the storm
blowing up from the Gulf of Memories
we no longer care to relate to.

Others are young and idealistic
seeing the future with the long-term POV of a novelist
just following the engine of voice
into the dark formula of the screenwriter's plot
before the medium changes
and there's no longer anything to compare
masterpieces-aren't-what-they-used-to-be with
but that generic check in the mail
still lost somewhere over the rainbow.

The mentor knows they may not leave the dance
with who they came, but recognizes
ethics are only situational, and happiness illusion,
momentary hysteria, pickling the brain
and tickling the clit of all (hu)-man-kind
as it masks the fear of the empty mirror
in a hall full of hollow applause
winging its way out the back door
up to the mountains
where we all know they kill innocence
like they killed Che
every time the ghost vote comes in
before death has a chance
to do its dance naturally.


SHEEP KNOW

Can I crawl
between the lines here?
Forget content
this is about context; the
dichotomy
of separating
from
the
herd
in order to
build
community.

Answers usually lie
somewhere between
contradictions
challenging fear
while trying to make it
home
safe
at the same time.

Even with the window of opportunity
open
I don't wanna make a career
out of asking Who killed JFK?
MLK?
RFK?
or Who killed d.a. levy?
either.
But would never deny
the impact
the political trifecta
had on me
or the mirror
the young poet's death
provided me
in order to see
my own choices
before I made them.

Not that I expect
to be able to choose
from the only Lotto
we're all going to
(like it or not)
win
on the day
they call our numbers.
Even thinking about the odds
of getting through
is a young dog's game
that eventually turns
into the compromise
of seeking immortality
through art
or losing the self
thru love
of witch's brew.

If it makes all you
wannabeats feel better
I won't deny
Ti Jean helped insinuate me
with the unbearable chops
of my individual
but I still don't wanna be
part of any remember-the-beats
cottage industry.
Even to save the squares.

Boddishatva philosophy
makes a lot less sense now
than it used to.
It may not be SC(spiritually correct)
but I don’t wanna wait for the assholes
to be enlightened
before I get out of the shitstorm.

Got to move to the next
manifestation of whatever
nth stretches you
or become exactly what
you're railing against
is a strict law of manure.

Sheep know
it's not enough
to be committed
to movement
so they pick their spots
freeze in their tracks
hold the line
repeating the shtick
not the mantra
over and over
gets them into a heaven
where they find out
they can't even get a cold one
anyway, what's the koan,
there, lamb chops?

I would say
piss on, not in
the polluted mainstream
but it's already full
of that and worse,
these lies designated to
get to the next level
or at least hold
your pissant position
in the face
of the overwhelming odds
you'll ever beat the House
for real.

Sheep know
what looks like a score today
is just a bone
empty of marrow
tomorrow,
and there has to be an alternative
to the alternative
that doesn't reek of Godcop.

I have questions
about the karma
I would have liked to have asked
Rudolph Steiner
but I'm sure he'dve used up
so many lifetimes
coming up with answers
I wouldn't remember
the questions.

Is there free will?
Or just the illusion
of free will?
seems to be
the major question
of all existence
yet no one can deny
it's a moot point.

You
don't
have
to be
a fatalist
to believe
fate.

No matter what's been said
to the contrary
I don't take
The Warren Commission
personally,
do you?

But everytime I hear a newborn cliché cry
everytime I smell fresh cut grass
or kiss the sky
everytime they say only kooks believe
there was conspiracy
I'd rather flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
then join in singing
the party liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine:
bah-bah-bah. . .

Even though I know
it's the only way
not to burst a blood vessel
laughing
hooting
crying
over the herd's karma
the herd's fate
the herd's lot it seems
is to eat their lies
over and over
without asking
why every day is hard
except yesterday?

But what can poor sheep do?
Fight City Hall?
Can't win! You know
you can't win!
so it's no sin
to pull the wool
over your own eyes?
and
everybody sing
all at once, now
children:

bah-bah-bah. .


The Editor-Publisher of Smoke Signals, Mike Golden ended
the 20th century working on assignment covering the King family’s
attempt to reopen the MLK assassination investigation for, among
others, Vibe, The Source, The Oxford America, Code, The Woodstock
Journal and was a commentator on Court TV’s coverage of the King v
Jowers "unlawful death" conspiracy trial, and has just finished Been To
The Mountaintop, Went Over The Edge, a novel set in Memphis during, and
30 years after, the MLK assassination. His recent book The Buddhist
Third Class Junkmail Oracle,
on the art-poetry and mysterious
unsolved death of the last poet put on trial in America for his
language, Cleveland artist-poet-publisher d.a. levy, is being developed
as a feature film.








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