Baltimore days, part 2

the rooftops of Highlandtown…
the helicopters…
looking out the windows
at night
down at the rat garden…
my job at Sam Goody…
the bus rides
through the neighborhoods
to the harbor….
passing Gay St.
overthrown by porn shops…
Patterson Park where
I would go and
attempt writing the
last issue of Journal of Thought…
the Patterson statues…
remembering chanting japa
in the house…
the sweetness of the place
in the daytime when the
lights were out and the
blinds mostly shut and
just a little sun coming in…
that computer in the dining room…
Dharmaraja with his numerology program…
what was it, August?
no September, if I recall correctly…
the excitement…
the brotherhood…
my mostly screaming poetry
competing with College Park java machines…
Dave M’s Lord Jagganatha, Baladeva, and Subadra…
his great care and attention to detail in
dressing and worshipping Them…
Kara calling him “Shutterbug”…
my first night moving in…
sleeping in that big bed on the top level…
the music out on the sidewalk…

. . .

Baltimore was crazy
and driving us out of there
without our knowing

a lot of anger
on different levels

coming out
in different ways

. . .

I was happy
to be in good company
perhaps too happy

in the group
I most readily
assumed the role
of jester

it was hard to turn off
at times

this landed me
into trouble

I placed
myself in range

. . .

Dave H.
and I would
have great phone conversations

by the time
we were living in
the same house
(later a small, cramped room)
we were at each other’s throats
what happened?

“you changed” he would say
meaning: you’ve changed
into someone I can’t respect anymore
you’ve let me down. this is why I treat you
the way I do

I could argue what he knew of me
through phone calls wasn’t all of me

it’s like a couple making the rash
decision to get married
or move in together —
I brought the ugly mantle pieces
and the couch that clashes

perhaps other personal problems
of his own blended in
and while he was looking to me
to be one of his stable role models
I was acting like a goof
letting him down
fueling his resentment

I worried for him: his anger
was escalating, getting the best of him
sometimes he would be
crouched down
holding his head

what the hell was the temple
going to do about it?
they who would hardly notice
they who would say –
just dance it off during the morning program

. . .

I was asked to write an article for Cass & Craig’s zine
I titled the article: “Malice and Chains”
a play off of Alice in Chains (who I really liked at the time)
Dharmaraja’s best joke ever
was to say they made a typo…

by the time it came out in print
it read “Glenn in Chains, by Malice Burns”

Dharmaraja, you bastard!

. . .

these Indian gentlemen were some serious cooks. their breakfasts would have me knocked out for three hours afterwards. those off days when I didn’t have to go into the city, I’d wake up just in time for lunch to get knocked out all over again. Indian food still has the same effect on me.

one time they made us cake and ice-cream; we got so high off the sugar, we laughed uncontrollably for 45 minutes straight.

. . .

years later, I’m visiting Casey in WV. Chris and Dave H. just so happen to be there. we sit at a table in Govinda’s and enjoy a little reunion.

we are each cheerful and laughing.

we move on
let go of misgivings
and stretch our imaginations
to reach the inconceivable
teach the unbelievable
speak the re-speakable
repeat the delete-able
erase white marks on a white table
tell your
English teacher her red marks
are blemishes
that you are
fully capable

to this
vermin shoots
out her mouth
as answers
not translating
into anything streetlight deadening

blinded shifts of grueling
hardening shells
labeled work
stitched into moral fibers

liquid mirror behooves you

cut me some slack
pain in arm heart-attack serious
as a heart-attack
laying down taking a nap
across train tracks

perfecting a perfectionist side effect
this pays tribute to
days of B-more
up and down the map
Lombard and Pratt
that’s where I’m at
check it check it out

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