Tag Archives: acceptance

…of a Failed Artist

my tears are those of a failed artist

my heart beats like the muted hum 

of a speed bump 

on top of a hill

my aches are those of a body un-worn

and worn out

seeking to stretch its limbs and flesh

across the space of time

always searching for the right moment

to dance

or just take a nice walk

running has ceased to exist

the only mad-dash is in my head

thoughts reeling

like the uncleaned movies

i could not make

the dismal drips of paint

i could not splash

all brewed in some slight

retardation of a brain-soul

that simply may have been 

too smart for its own good

or too dull instead where it should

have glimmered, have spawned

at least a dozen bright memories to 

be shared and recalled

as opposed to a handful of ‘dusty almosts’

that face is the mask 

of a king forced to wear the mask

of a jester

no

the face of a man

unable to face himself

because although he may have been 

a foot ahead of the others

when they finally arrived

he was unable to move

and he stayed in their dust

when their feet 

peddled

up that barckled mountain

splinters heaving back

into his eyes

that’s why they’re red

it’s not from his passion

It’s from his pain

when angst has no outlet

it eats itself

like a stomach hovering

over a stone cold prison floor

empty

or a malnourished child

dead before noon

but the hunger in an unrequited man

lingers forever

with the nausea

of a failed artist

or the shadow of a man

whose cast 

has grown tired 

of its subject

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“I simply feel that the kids in their 20’s today try to model their lives on the surfaces of people and ideas that simply appeal to their basic desires and fashionable politics. They are flags in the wind. They have no real convictions or substance, and they are easily manipulated – but so is everyone else. Regardless of age. But if the youth are so innovative today — what have they given us besides social media and a ‘hip’ corporate culture that breeds apathy? It’s Orwellian. I mean, we’re all Boxers at the end of the day, really – or the best of us are. Some of us are Clovers. And a few of us are Benjamins. That’s me. I know for a fact that life will never improve or change. And I accept that. But I don’t have to accept my misery on the inevitable journey to the grave.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  — St. Claire Mulligan, Tremors

..On the Inevitable Journey to the Grave

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Anger

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They’re shipping knock-offs to Haiti.
(They forgot to send me.)

Somewhere across the ankles of the Atlantic beneath a sign for second-floor SUVs and torn up pink-slips, un-housed and dispossessed eyes peer through the gates that protect the imposter goods.
Officials cringe
when the boys
eyeball
the sneakers
that fell from their boxes like frozen feet that had been cut off and tossed out the back of the truck, sprinkling the broken boulevard like raindrops on an ice cream cone.
A cop lobs fake Nikes at a pensive boy with a Veteran’s limp and oversized coat. He laughs as the boy hops home with two left shoes and the cluster of police cruisers split into a compass of blazing sirens
each car
thinking he was the
North Star.

A red scarf emerged from the dispersing crowd.

This crimson-caped man’s
mad-dog
hands
clutched the air around him in freak-spasm night.
He lost his shoulder and dropped his jaw foaming at the mouth:
And a sound fell like a flame that had been fanned from the deep well of an executioner’s oven.

Ship.
Me.
To.
Haiti.

And the
blisters on the balls
of his feet
cut through the thick rubbers he wore and eventually rooted him into an eternity far beyond slums or beaten down blocks or inner city apathy.

Ship.
Me.
Or.
Shoot.
Me.

His fingers crawled like worms sprouting over a dead soldier’s bayonet. His scarlet fever snapping in the breeze like a matador. He waited to rotate in the barrels of the city’s finest. He just hoped their bullets would be as bright as he was.
An old woman shook her head and said to her husband, “That boy is crazy. Too much anger. Ain’t gonna bring em nothing. Bad for the heart”, she said.
He blew a kiss as they whisked by into their steeple.
He’d never be this again: a tsunami in the drone of the limping ghetto night.

For blood
is less likely
to boil
as we
get older.

…So I ask you have we truly hit the end, the rusted sediments, the ancient depositories of whales long dead and barnacles who swamped and sucked to stay alive?
Just a school of fish trembling, tremoring, and trying maybe that’s all we are: A school of fish, doomed.

Maybe we’re all madmen in scarlet scarves
knowing that shadows don’t lurk or loom
they simply stop being,
cease to follow
when there is nothing but stagnant air and a muffled heartbeat that barely brushes against the skin.
Deep schadenfreude
high as the cotton of a Mississippi nightmare

Ever seen a house on fire in the distance?
You know what every man is thinking?

“How beautiful that fire burns.
I’m just glad it’s not my house.”

(c) 2009, 2010 – from “Lying Meat & other poems beneath the Oil” by Dennis Leroy Kangalee

 

 

 

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So Much Beauty to Offer, But too Ugly To Move

Just remember to write, tuck the face, face the soul

Until the foul
Erodes

Like the million splintered tiny silver angels that floated on that morning when everything changed.

Receive the vision so you may heal the tribe
Write the stories only if you feel the vibe
But don’t outsource your soul

Not everyone
Can have
An Elephant Man

so stay down in the trench and come up just once when night appears
or the day the sun has decided to make you his ally.

 

"A Kangalee Mourning" [photo by Nina Fleck, 2009]

“A Kangalee Mourning” [photo by Nina Fleck, 2009]

*this poem was originally published in the Outlaw Poetry Network

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Unseen Portrait

I realized this morning that I could never have met Mandela after he had been released from jail
Because I was not famous

Just another brown face trying to carve out my legacy amidst rejection letters, poorly written poems, and richly dreamt dreams that try to reconcile all of the sins
of irresponsible men in waiting rooms
and the eulogies for all tomorrow’s children
who, further removed from the gray heaven of blood and electric typewriters,
have come to accept a world where folk heroes are not born
but made
by a media conglomerate
who had no interest in freedom or humanity in the first place

I accept tonight that I will never meet the Dalai Lama,
I am not powerful enough
In fact, I am quite weak –
Too weak

And, as some bird in the twilight corner of the sky knows,
The way my sore teeth concede:
A raw nerve never gets a break
It only gets
removed

*

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A Loser Can Surely Find Time For Love

Poison 42 - A Loser Can Surely Find Time For Love (Dennis Leroy Kangalee) by Nina Fleck
Before that I thought I was just another waking asphalt animal perched on his shaky brick-limb trying to do what it is that rats do to stay alive.

The rats are the true underground.

Hamptons in Harlem.
Condos creeping.
My belly is torn asunder.

They’ve pulled apart the letters of alphabet city.
Don’t mind me–it’s just my feet are getting wet and I never realized I could swim. The Mets are Citibank pets in steel cages.
Plastic surgeons from the west coast have brought their palm trees with them, they’ll be importing the rest of the emptiness later.
They’re sending me to the outbacks, the caves in the dunes where books meet man and clean hands are an ideal to achieve.


Losers
Like Loners
Make the
Best
Lovers.
They have so much to give.

They don’t need me here. Give me my apocalypse and ship me out soon.

I am not sure how long I can carry this battery.

*
originally published in the Lower East Side BOOG City poetry journal, Summer 2012
& included in the chapbook “Lying Meat”

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On Discovering a Poet Inside Me While At a Day Job

Poets toil, poets sweat, poets even steal to pay the rent.

Even a bad poet has an original thought or two–one worth thinking about…if only he could get from under his boss’ foot.

Submission fees.
Subway fares.
Sounds suspicious to me.

But if they done it to Christ they can do it to you. He was a poet wasn’t he?
A carpenter with ideas that were later hammered home-his own lyrics nailed him to the cross.

It’s 11:03 and I’m still here. I’ve lost my voice. I still fear the emptiness. I’m packing boxes, sanding latches, logging on and smiling so I can sing my songs at night.

What Happened to me?
Somewhere along the line
There was a dash I slipped between
Crossing chasms and ugly paper
Nasty train knees and looks of corporate dough;
Somewhere along the way
They locked my soul and took my place
I donned a mask and hid my face
But I sat at the table so I could eat
Beneath the crumbling sky made of paper Mache’
And tiny bleeding nails.

I may die a nobody, I may work as a slave
But I know in my heart there was somebody
Driven
Proud
And brave.

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