EULOGY FOR MR.
the mailman started to talk about death;
today his job was going to kill him
he said with the same good-natured tone
he usually used when he asked
"How are you today?
You doin' all right?"
On the average,
I think of blowing myself away
about three times a week
on good weeks,
on the bad ones
I'm glad I don't own a gun
even as I think about buying one.
Am I depressed? I don't think so.
But I'm not sure. Consciousness
can be heavy baggage to carry
on the old dharma trail.
Monsters you thought were friends
rise up out of the shadows of the past
like Supermodels strutting the runway:
Here comes the ever-popular Betrayal,
followed by the always abundant Abandonment,
but don't look at Rejection like she's finite;
the Muse is moody
the Moon has her own problems
and tomorrow you could be a better deal
than the one she's kissing up to today.
You never know which way the wind will blow
which is why I've decided to deliver the eulogy
this friend who's no longer speaking to me
asked me to write for him years ago
when we were going to scam the polluted mainstream,
do big magic together; pull two-headed rabbits
spitting forbidden truth out of the hats
he made & sold to the swell-headed gliterati.
It's nothin' personal; deals go down
where even chumps fear to tread.
I'm just tryin' to be prepared
in case one of us checks out
before we have a chance
to get together again.
So, Yo, listen
Ex-friends, lovers and partners,
lend me your ears, not your money,
for I have come to bury the shit
before it buries us first.
I don't do trash, won't dig up the stash
behind your back, but I've never been accused
of bein' nobody's PR flack either.
God's been blessing the lies too long,
the habit's become a cancer
we're addicted to, afflicted by
incarcerated in. . .as the time
for action becomes permanently
past tense passé
When he was younger this Mr. Deal
fancied himself a noble outlaw,
an artist closer standing up
for the pipedream Justice,
like some Seventh Avenue Robin Hood
out to save the trees of Sherwood Forest
from cutting too quick to the quick
15 years later, where the system,
the fucking system had the nerve to bust him
and just like a latter day Cagney,
"Rocky went yellow for the boys," boys. . .
He'd be good, Oh he'd be good, he'd be good,
he promised them,
freeze-dried meat before his time,
but still a survivor in their game
cringing just out of reach of those memories of
the glory for the glory he once lived by.
He was the best salesman I ever saw
but this eulogy is unneeded since the day
he bought their line; he wrote his own
when he swore he'd go straight.
But a promise is a promise is a promise. . .
now we're square. . . tomorrow
or the day after, or the day after
we'll both be gone
without ever having
pulled off the big one together.
Maybe next time? Unless
I said that last time?
TIME. . ."
The sharks are back
Everywhere I go
they're swimming around me.
Even ran into one on the subway -
he gave me his card,
shook my hand,
told me who he was
as if I didn't remember
he once took a fall
kept his mouth shut
(Like I'm doing now)
Hard to do for a friggin' genius, baby.
Gotta swallow, gotta eat the ego.
It ain't no big thing, a pipeline to God;
any asshole can get one.
He should know
as Don King always says,
"only in America"
do big guys owe little guys
to leverage the deal
they won't bury them
for their advantage
unless they get greedy.
Which is why he'll back any deal
I have on the table; if I have the first half
he'll come up with the second half;
No strings, no egos, just nooses
he swears the artist can swing by
whichever fuckin' way the artist has to
swing by - don't matter to him, he understands,
was once an artist himself,
had his own big band,
and played the hot hand horn, baby,
racing with the moon
behind Vaughn or Snooky
or one of those cats
but that was then
and this is business he's talkin'
'cause he can smell
for sure I smell green
"What're you into - up to
(no name he can remember)
these days? Still running
that newspaper? I got five now
myself. UN sponsored,
of course they don't understand
they don't understand
how else ya gonna get 51 million in paper
in your pocket
(no name he can remember)
What're ya up to, into
And then hands me another card
before I get off the train.
Maybe it's true
they can smell the blood
before you even know
you're the meat on the fire.
Years ago, I heard this Polish director,
at a film seminar
talking about his success after Anna:
"When I am in Poland," he says,
"I swim with the sharks.
I come to New York.
I swim with the sharks.
Then I go to Los Angeles
and there are nothing but sharks.
the third time you swim with them
they become your friends."
An Editor, journalist-essayist-columnist, novelist-short fiction writer, painter, filmmaker, and award winning playwright & screenwriter, as well as a poet, MIKE GOLDEN was the Editorial Director-Publisher of the now dormant SoHo Arts Weekly (1984-1987), and since its beginning in 1979 has been the Editor-Publisher of the lit-arts journal Smoke Signals. He has written for, among others, Film Comment, Rolling Stone, Between C&D, The Paris Review, Spy, Spin, Outside, The L.A. Weekly and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. His book on the art-poetry and mysterious death of Cleveland artist-poet-publisher d.a.levy, The Buddhist Third Class Junkmail Oracle has been featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition (5/19/01), opened The Nuyorican Café's 1999 Staged Screenplay series, and is now being developed as a feature film with Producer Forrest Murray (Bob Roberts, Five Corners, Spitfire Grill, Denis Leary's No Cure For Cancer).