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Looking Out A Plastic Castle
Sappy Crap
Author's Note

Miscellaneous Poetry

Looking Out a Plastic Castle


Copyright @ 1996 Tom Davidson


We have certain things in
common:A need to be
different -- i'mportant(but
grunge : Punk :: house : Disco
)and --

Grey. Everything
izzalways grey and it's been done
(did i/ seen i/ heard it's fun),
but the camera angles are slightly skewd
and we can't read it but we need it
so we feed it 'cause we're rude
so have you got it (get it? not it), 'cause we
need it all right now and need
we love and tenderness and God
oh God we need you God, you see
can't fit Cobain on a crucifix --
shotgun Santa wasn't he?
Just do it did it just say no?
Learning fast to take it slow,
bungee-jumping, channel-surfing upside down.
Can't complain, can't even frown
o'course, 'cause all our shit
is old and grey and microwaved:
we're lazy lost and lonely loveless
unwashed unlearned unpaid unsaved,
but so was Wally Cleaver back
in 1960, overdosed
and living in a microbus --
so we can't say we got no future,
say we got it bad the most
'cause if he made it why not us?

Still, we've come a long way, baby.

All the great causes Your cancer is your victim;
are casualties of the New World Order's
all the great clauses coming around.
Sex is grey is drugs is grey is
saves is graves is raves is grey
and black and white and red is grey
and little unborn babies grey
and school is grey and cool is grey
and God and USA is grey so
hey now nanny nanny hey now now,
what'cha gonna do when they hoe downtown?

on the rocks

It's raining, and she's watching it
out the window, her fingertips stuck against the glass,
her jaw stiff, biting her lower lip
beneath one twisted lock of unwashed hair,
as she tries to lose herself in a techno CD
and forget about Mom's new divorce and cafeteria food
and Barry and the unopened calc book at the edge of her bed,
about her last Tarot diagnosis (the Falling Tower, reversed),
and quarters for the dryer downstairs and global alienation,
her nails tapping to the backbeat, almost enough
to make her move. But it's not quite there,
so she pours herself a tumbler of Absolut and Mountain Dew --
shaken, never stirred.


midnight on the playground
semiotic tag myself and me
catching all the little symbols
yearning ollioxenfree

low seventy farenheit a february night
still in my navy london trench
posturing like it was black
i balancebeamed the playground bench
of rounded logs set inches back
so each step was a tiny fall
and i thought it was symbolic

one two three four and we thought it was symbolic

there was a pair of welded rings
where ten years old i stood at helm
warp nine-point-eight around the swings
and engineering two decks down
the firemanspole on the sandy ground

and you know it was symbolic

they in high school were a place to sit
if not passed up for the tire swings
and kiss a flushed date for a bit
and talk of autumnsunset things

one with the stars at one with me

but in years and moonlight later seem
a small infinity in iron
when i watch for deconstruction there
lurking in the toppled tire
and realize you can't say anything
or risk forgetting what you mean

which was a good epiphany for the price
which was nothing which was nice

its your turn to be it your it
your turn to tag its your turn be it
and yes this is symbolic

i had my choice of ways to get down
the cargo net or the firepole
or jumping off the merrygoround
or sliding through the tire wall
or climbing down the ladder there
and i -- i took the ladder there then
despite myself i had a thought
and i thought my thought
thought my thought was symbolic
and i had been symbolic

onna one anna two anna one two three

40 Days

Tommy is a maying
for the Snow Queen
reaching into the snow
and pulling her out
feet first but no
ruby slippers or
fishnet stockings

She asks for my soul and
each and every time I think
that I am a better person than I am
she laughs and throws her hair back

She cradles me between her breasts
and if you listen really hard you can
you can hear Mab sing about the Fisher King
how the moon o' old
lands on the tree tops
splat like a broken egg

My head is spinning
so I painted a red swirl around
dervish me whirling me
I cannot be here I cant
I cant be here again I cant

Humpty Dumpty off the wall
and into Marys garden
it rained for 40 days but still
the horses had a party
the 40 knights couldnt put him back
in the church or the family
so they fried him for supper and
drank some wine to wash it down

The Snow Queen says this to me:
no prizes for predicting rain
only for building arks.


I sit squinting out the dirty window
restless conversations chirping through my mind
I have to get out of this town
the people here confuse me
a light grey rain smears the spotted panes
I am the elven king the woodsprite the bogeyman
I am not crazy
same time dinnertime
meatloaf and potatoes
same as last Tuesday and the Tuesday before

El-Azariyeh, nee Bethanya

Liverpool wasn't too impressed,
so now they're all out listening
for new Seattles (tm) anywhere,
taking polls in _Spin_ to see
where everyone's the most depressed
so they can build an album there.

Ohboyohboy re-renaissancing
reminiscing re'nimateds
poking open open chords
to find the underculture. Ha.

Scattershot, we're scatterpunks;
it's Scattergories anyways:
he be she be we be BBs.
(Bang! the plastic rifles say.)
Truckstop coffee, black berets,
angst and heavy backbeats --
history just can't be bunk;
we're playing all the repeats.

on the road to Buffalo

90S 271E down arrow to Erie PA
Willoughby OH has a green eraser
left of my bus for a watertower
blue lodging warning 12
different gideon logos all the same
the bus passes one mile marker every 63 seconds
I have counted
the unthawed trees brown fuzz through greasy panes
I seek America
in Buffalo NY in the embrace
of a girl I hope I love
and in the dead grass outside


The boogeyman comes when you're six years old,
fingernails scratching at your closet door;
and you cling to your blankets, trying not to slip
down into the boogeyman's grip.

But a few years later he doesn't come anymore,
and your fears contract into something cold;
'cause compared to the terror of that boogey breath,
everything left is just a little death.

Summoning Calliope
(and other common cantrips)

The pen demands my blood tonight,
some mumbled sacrificial rite,
or nothing flows and I can't write.

Something in me feeds on sorrow,
stokes it, strokes it, or tomorrow
I'm struck dumb by my happiness,
unable somehow to express
how I feel when I'm all right.

Seems like I was only fifteen,
blinked and then was pushing twenty --
lost my chance, I missed the exit
for my shot at fame and plenty.
I don't know where all my time went
(don't know where I spent my money),
and when I joke with friends about it,
seems to me it's not that funny.

Eenie meenie tekel upharsin;
was I Jehovah's bloody calf,
or picked by chanting Druid children
to give poor Stonehenge one last laugh?
Maybe I burnt out, maybe I slowed down,
maybe my pit crew really were the pits;
a rest stop stopped me cold
and now I'm feeling old
and I'm wondering if I should call it quits.

Still, I'm scared of silence now,
and I need to hear the sound of the pen.

But the pretty ladies out there
won't stir their pretty heads
for a single, pretty, pretty line --
one pretty, poesy line of mine --
a second longer than I'm dead.

If it's all polyester from this moment forward,
if living is all that I've got to work toward,
if I drove through the desert to conjure my Muse
and came out past empty and running on fumes,
then no matter how brazenly I dare presume,
I'm not being very much use.

Mr. Fix-it (You've seen him on TV)

Hey there mr. fix-it man,
i wanna, no, i gotta know if you can
fix-it all up spic'n'span,
find it in your master plan and

Hey there Bobby
sleeping in the subway
joking with the junkies
looking for his own way
to the place where the marigolds grow
and Susan and her children seem to know
that God's in the Easter basket,
God's in the air,
God's in the resurrection,
God's in your hair

Who can fix it if not mr. fix-it?
If not mr. fix-it, no-one can.
Who can fix it if not mr. fix-it?
We got no-one else but the fix-it man.

And see em on the streetcorners
slipping out of straitjackets
working for a dime and
handing out pamphlets
they believe and they know that it's so
and telling you is saving you if only you'd go
but God's in the street mime,
God's in the prayer,
God's in the caterpillar,
God's everywhere

What if mr. fix-it heard?
What if mr. fix-it learned?
What if mr. fix-it cried?
What if mr. fix-it died?

Hey there preacher
stitching up his sermon
picking out a parable
to make his point
he understands that He knows what he sows
but he doesn't care 'cause He knows that you know
that God's in the Sunday mass,
God's in the teacher,
God's in collection plates,
God's in the preacher

But we've all seen dear mr. fix-it
we've believed in mr. fix-it
we all need our mr. fix-it
(where the hell is mr. fix-it?)


Some satisfaction's in radicchio mousse
and crystal goblets of chablis,
some joy in cappucino chatter --
and though I try to cut it loose
and act as though it doesn't please
me, I can't help but let it matter.

I wish I knew I knew I know:
if you race them for the sunset,
you're running from your shadow.

Just after ten one Saturday night

The phone is ringing downstairs for Andy,
just back from one party and heading out
already to spend the night at some girl's house,
and he sighs as he tells his ride to wait,
it's his, since only his friends call this late.
He grumps at the sweet voice at the other end,
saying that no, he can't join her for a movie
because he's already heading out to Jen's,
but maybe they can do something tomorrow, okay?
And he comes upstairs to borrow five bucks or so
'cause you're not going anywhere tonight, anyway,
and as he runs for the door it sets off the phone
and he yells that he can't get it, he's leaving,
saying God, why can't everyone leave me alone?

Makin' Glue

The old masked man in the white hat
looked behind him to his smilin' woman
and tipped his head to her,
twin six-shooters spinnin'.
He clinked out through the dust,
squintin' down the narrow avenue
at the crowds 'round the new depot,
flickin' up his weathered brim and
ringin' a jar with a cheek of tobacco.
He drew fast
and fired.

His aim weren't what't used t'be,
but he got lucky and was
perf'rated through each temple.
When the man in black
came to collect,
he held it was a durn shame
to see a legend done die
like that.


I was six years old at the circus
and my grandfather wouldn't get me a balloon
I wanted; it was crinkly and purple and
all over shiny gold and I loved it
but it cost nearly as much as my ticket again,
so I whined and whimpered and refused
even cotton candy and elephant rides, until
finally he gave in.
Only problem was,
I wanted to tie it on myself
and in my need I guess I did something wrong
because I turned to show it to my mom
when up it was gone past the highest flags
and I've never trusted a circus again.
When everything leaves me,
where does it go?


ever noticed how in movies
it's always raining on funerals
or when the private eye is solving
down the city sidewalk

ever noticed how in movies
it's always raining on the future
or when the lonely man is running
to stop her at the station

but here in real life
it only rains when it gets wet
and you can see expectant people
kicking the puddles in revenge


The man in black,
all dressed in white,
shimmied down the aisle --
his spurs clanging one by one --
and knocked at the gates.
"I do," he explained,
and they opened.

He was ready.

He had St. George's sword
and the Holy Grail
and a special shield
he'd bought on discount
from Friar Tuck.
He had taken all the vows
and sanctified his jock-strap
and filled a vial with
the Pope's bath water.

Michael was ready.

He had come by boat,
rowing ashore near Babylon
and gripping his cross tightly
between his legs,
crying "Hallelujah!"
so that what he did with the local whore
would be forgotten
in the sight of the Lord.

He had come with a horn
to huff and puff and blow the walls
but the maitre d' below him
at the top of the wall
gave him a tour of the lobby,
asked for one worthless little thing,
and then surprised him by
letting him come on down.

He'd found the road there easy enough,
didn't have to ask more than two priests
before he could see the well-paved
yellow brick road
over the rainbow
all the good intentions stretching
off into the sunset.

He'd braced himself and knocked politely
because his mother'd told him to
be sure to make a good first impression.
Turned out he didn't need the horn
or the sword or the grail or
even the special shield
(though they'd be honored
to accept them, since it was His birthday).

The grail made a great birdbath.


it should only be possible
to lose something once
but when i told her that
she laughed like she knew
something i didn't yet

and she said there's an island
smothered in the southern seas
where men and women
flot some and jet some
washed up by their similar storms


i have been three months in my parents' house,
A leech, she says, my stepmother, nothing but a worthless leech
and I won't have leeches in my house anymore --
my dad says i need to find myself,
need to apply myself harder; the jobs are out there, tom, and
when I was your age I was much younger, and
we all understand but you need a kick now and then --
and that's all i'll ever be, she says --
and he tells me tom, you have so much potential,
and if you're not doing anything useful today
why not work out a little and mow the lawn.
Everyone calls me cold, uncaring,
and it's ironic because i care about anything,
care about Racism and Bosnia and Nuclear Disarmament,
care about my Family and Country,
care about Politics and the Deficit and my Ex-fiancee and that
that you can't ever touch, can't ever fix,
that big looming Problem that hovers at the edge of the World
and teases you, calling you names until you shriek and
shriek and shriek and shriek and
twirl, just spin in place until Everything is
swirl and stars and shaking grey dizziness
and you can deal with it now because
you don't have to, you can't see it, it isn't
your Reason because you can't fix it, right.
And you can only care so much, only have so much energy
to waste on the sunday paper that
you can't bring yourself to care about anything --
and so how can you wake up all rip-roaring
knowing that anything you do today isn't going to help
anyone except yourself. So you think great thoughts
while interviewing for a spot at chuck e. cheez (tm)
and enrich your mind away
and consider going back to school in the spring
and learn how to melt with a minimum of fuss.

In Three...

The brains are spattered all over the chrome,
one small clump dangling from the red-stained grille.
The girlfriend is here, being tense and irritable
rather than shrieking and hysterical because
she's seen all this on TV so many times
that it's easier to pretend it's Channel 2 at 10.
There are two cops on the scene, one with his hands full
redirecting traffic away from the corpse
and making sure that none of the gawkers get too close
(not that they would anyway, since they're all content
to take pictures to show they were there while
standing far enough back to avoid infection).
The trucker, meanwhile, is explaining to the other one
that he was driving through on green when this body
came stepping off the shoulder and stood there,
looking bored, until the head disintegrated,
while the the guy from forensics is skimming
through a typewritten note, nodding his head
and writing down "suicide;" he looks over at the pacing girl
and decides he'd better tell her
before the news teams get there.



my room has 1 poster 1 calendar 1 painting
2 inspirationalphotographs
1 essayonthelifeofchrist
and 4 hand-drawn maps (northwestern Middle-
Earth, Ranke, Pern, and Boundless Mallorea)


it is 6x8 and has 1 4x3 window
0 doors 1 showercurtain
1 dresser 1 desk 1 computer
1 rotatingfan 1 stereo 1 clockradio
and 4 paperboard bookcases



white room with a beige chair
blue light from the tv set
one hand stroking the long remote
making sense of the scrambled stations
the other stroking something else
where what might just be one perfect
breast or possibly a door-knob
is slowly being turned by what could be
a Picasso squiggle of a man


like mimes or like newts
pressing up into it all
he grinds his tattered nails
against the invisible walls

are you like us within it
the belly-yellowed airtight dome
looking out a plastic castle
cross deserts of shit-stained stone

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