Saturday, September 10, 2011

Outside Damascus

Todd Boyd

—Todd Boyd, Sacramento

I try and stay positive in the light
But if you give me enough night
I travel through time and space
And it doesn’t look good for me or the human race.
I think wise thoughts of the wild west,
How cowboys loved a campfire
And how they dreamt of the girl who was a prostitute
Living in the closest town
And one who would actually kiss him on the mouth
Or listen to his stories while they got dressed.
Not like the fancy women who came west,
On buckboards they came into town
Went to church and put bouquets on boothill down
The ones who got married and widowed so easily.
You had to wait for them to become prostitutes
After their good husbands got shot down

The dark always loosens me from my moorings.
Brings me nebulous fantasy, funny ideas
Jabberwocky and whoring.
Where I wonder what heaven would look like,
Something I’ll probably never see
And what kind of death—
Something I’m guaranteed.
What about hell would be different
Than all the time spent here on earth,
What would happen if I never spoke to another person,
And only wanted to differentiate between scat and bird chirps.
What would life be without my fixes—
Coffee, whiskey, wife, and responsibility.
How much alone could I really take.
How some say democracy lives,
But continue to love oligarchy too.
I’m not against poetry per se,
Cause I write it.
And not against love neither,
But love? Only love,
I love love,
But only love?
Later, when I’m dancing salsa
Everybody is my lover.

My dream goes on and tells me
How far I’ve drifted
From the shores of Madagascar
On a dark night,
Lit only by a lantern light,
Flickering across the faces of lepers
On the only raft of my escape
Down in the water, circling sharks,
Waiting for me and my horse to come into the water,
It’s fine they say, the water is fine.
Don’t be afraid.
The water is fine
Don’t mind us. If not you just your horse would be ok
Preventing me from reaching my heroine on shore,
Another prostitute with a castle behind her.

I’m sorry, I shout to her
But I guess I’m never coming back from this one.
It’s been cowboys and democracy
Riding along with lepers on rafts,
And what’s with all the prostitutes hanging about.
I want something, don’t know what.
It’s some sort of psychological crap,
It’s better to have a good horse than a lot of education.
That’s what I’m thinking.
So I tell the sharks, NO WAY


—Todd Boyd

Outside Damascus, on bare, low-lying Mt. Kassoum
Which some people in California would call a foothill,
They say Cain killed Abel here.
Later, Mohammed stood in that same spot,
Said he wouldn’t venture down
To the lush green Damascus oasis below
Because he only wanted to be in paradise once.
Since then, Cain's offspring
And followers of Mohammed’s have made a mess of things,
Pure and blood simple.


—Todd Boyd

Part 1

I was taught not to kill,
Not to die, not to lie
I was taught not to harm, not to maim,
Not to try and make you crazy,
Not to be cruel.
Then all I saw even though it was just make-believe,
Was killing Indians, killing crooks,
Killing japs and germans,
Killing jews, killing for land,
Killing for honor, killing for revenge,
For defense, for personal gain.
Killing for entertainment.
Then I turned seventeen
They told me I could kill
If the right person told me
And then they told me who the right person was.
They said I could kill for the right reasons,
And then they told me what those reasons were.
For god, for country, for family, for self-defense, for self interest.
Whether it be snake or enemy, deer or jap, coyote or commie,
The weird, or immigrant,
The wife, or sea.

I wanted to kill as much as it took
To make this country great
And rid of nuisances.

I wanted to die even though I was taught not to want to die. To kill
For my religion, for my family, for my government
Because it was for them, I should and would.

So I went off to Troy again and again.
Because there were a lot of monsters in the world.
And I was one of them.
A Gordian knot, an embrace of chains,
Of my religion is me, I am god,
My country is me, I am my flag,
My self defense is me, I am my own self interest.
I am the monster, I am the killer of monsters.

Part 2

It was a soft middle-class principle.
Weepy, childlike naïve to believe
It could be otherwise.
The way of the lord,
The way of the Buddha,
Or the way of the anarchist.
I was taught to believe in miracles,
Taught to believe the lost can be found,
Paradise achieved,
The right and good thing rewarded.
I was taught to be honest,
I was taught to read between the lines of the ten commandments,
The million reasons,
The fine print
Under thou shalt not kill,
No one ever sees.
Caught between the sirens called jesus,
President, flag and arbitrary rules of law,
Ragged hard edged visions like that,
Juggernauting the space between happily heading homeward bound,
And weirdo, psycho-babble half-truths
Only Poe would understand.
My soul adrift, like flotsam
Embarking always into the unknown.
Now a rational man, wrapped in sheep’s clothing,
I am Ulysses
Camouflaged, ready to kill, to maim
All one-eyed monsters,
While trying to get on to Penelope, who has been waiting, waiting
Patiently with hope, trying to wind my way back.
She is my hidden secret and the only real love I’m allowed to keep.


—Todd Boyd

She got up every morning, 3am,
To feed her pigs and fed her chickens too.
Drove from Santa Rosa to her Adeline Street Café
To serve coffee, fresh bacon, and eggs
To maritime workers of the Oakland Port,
The hard hats of Schnitzer Steel and the railroad gangs,

All those who spend their bone, muscle and hope weary days working along the Oakland Mole and Port Authority.
Her red-headed daughter drove a red corvette, made some watery coffee, took the orders,
And while every man knew he wouldn’t see anything better for the rest of the day,
Carol’s red headed daughter knew how
To keep the hardhats away,
She simply said she was going to be a lawyer.

When change comes, change comes hard and fast
Down there working off Adeline Street
Where the Oakland Mole meets SF Bay
And the business of America ebbs and flows.

Damn those fucking trains, Carol would always exclaim.
When train after train brought the crossing arms down
Blocking her entrance at least twenty times a day.
Though all the men complained if they had to wait
While the train rumbled slowly past,
And the building rattled and shaked
It gave them an excuse to always be late,
One last time, try and make a date with the red-headed daughter,
Now she says she’d rather be a poet.

When change comes, change comes hard and fast,
Down there working off Adeline Street
Where the Oakland Mole meets SF Bay
And the business of America comes and goes.

My job took me to some other place
Where time rolled on, and
The hustle and bustle slowed their pace
Until I returned to Adeline St. three years later,
There was a new overpass built across the railroad tracks,
Be careful what you ask for, I always say
Now there were no more delays
So no one stopped anymore at Carol’s café.
Trucks lumber across overhead, cars never slowed,
No one notices the boarded up place.

When change comes, change comes hard and fast
Down there working off Adeline Street
Where the Oakland Mole meets SF Bay
And the business of America closes and flows

I asked someone who might know
Whatever happened to Carol?
Carol said fuck it, no one stops here anymore,
The redhead, she had to quit,
She wrecked her vette
Got knocked up by her nigger boyfriend, she said
I guess she wasn’t going to be a lawyer or a poet
She was gonna be a mother instead.
Too bad a nice ride like that
Should have a better end than that.

When change comes, change comes hard and fast
Down there working off Adeline Street
Where the Oakland Mole meets SF Bay
And the business of America ebbs and flows

Then in '89 the big quake came,
It changed and changed once again,
Railroads merged, businesses went bankrupt,
Coffee trucks moved in, took her place
So now if you want a cup of coffee, fresh bacon, or eggs,
Someplace loud to sit and wait,
You won't get it like it used to be,
As Carol’s red-headed daughter
Pulls up in her red corvette,
So you can tell her
You always wanted to be a lawyer or a poet, too,
But a father, that's ok too.

When change comes, change comes hard and fast
Down there working off Adeline Street
Where the Oakland Mole meets SF Bay
And the business of America ebbs and goes.
Change always brings memories,
dust, rust, and history.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Todd Boyd

If you get rid of all us coyotes,
Shoot us dead,
Hang us on fences,
Run over us with semi’s,
What’s all them rabbits gonna run from,
And who’s going to chew up the dead silence.


Welcome to the Kitchen, Todd! About himself, Todd Boyd writes: 

Retired. So if I’m not writing, over-thinking, or over-playing my hand, which I do trying to get into everything I can touch, like a three-year-old, I’m either wanting to sleep all day like my dog or circling like a shark looking for swimmers to play with.

Pension Plans as Bait. I have enough pension plans that probably make me one of the most hated people in the western world these days, hated by both fucking stupid anti-working class Tea Partiers, who don’t think I should get anything for my trouble or by fucking stupid communists who don’t think that anybody except the proletariat worked hard or long enough in the dirt of the good earth to enjoy it as much as I do.

Activism. Sometimes I miss being out in the streets supporting all the just but hopelessly futile causes I once believed could be solved by appeals to reason only and not by revolution, whatever that is.

Spiritual. Yes, I define myself as a spiritual being because there’s really no life in just (only) believing in yourself no matter how much attention/notoriety you get. Or how little.

Political. I think people like to say they believe in democracy but deep down they prefer oligarchy.

Driving. I’ve been taken on some long rides and I’ve driven some too.

Love. Everything else about me can be summed up by my dedication to the belief that love, as important as it is to me, still doesn’t require intelligence, planning, or vengeance to survive.

More. Anyone can get more if they want more by listening to “The Voice”,  Access Sacramento, Internet Radio, Say La V show, Sundays, 4pm, or Monday, for the early risers, 4am and/or go to None of this is for true believers.



Red Sunflowers
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Check out D.R. Wagner's new Photo Album #1
on Medusa's Facebook Page!