Table of Contents
Here Comes Everybody
A Short Woman
Petunia’s New Pants 


(in memory of Gary Austin)

Part I
Here before, gone now
Leaving behind more friends than enemies
They form a line, archiving memories of Funnyman
Archiving for who? Whom? His wife and daughter
Have their own memories, fresh as doom, closer
Than an oxygen mask, louder than the last breath rattle
Of a Funnyman descending the stage one final time. Clap.

Part II
Are they all angry – these funnymen? – their livers all rivers of bile,
Hearts stopped by grudges in re: too much drink and too little fame,
Little men these funnymen. It will all have been different 25 years before,
A different scene : theater as empty as a hospital hall in the early morning,
An archive of downed 12-oz. budweisers and spent marlboro reds, dead.
Change happens even to men in the glow of laughters born of ire.

Funnyman has the last laugh.
Exits the theater on April Fools.
We hold breath, waiting his triumphal return
Rumors of island paradises, a gig with Elvis.
Funnyman funny still.  Clap.


Here Comes Everybody

Here comes everybody
With their everybody shoes
And their everybody head
Will you, won’t you,
Please be my friend?

Here comes everybody
Asking you to like them
Telling you they like you
Sending you to a site
With a concurring view

Here comes everybody
Duck! Or get some on ya
Have you read this, seen that,
Heard that my cat went splat?

There will be a funeral Monday
Right before the March on Boo
Duck and cover, lover
Or you’ll be everybody, too.



There are no trees except the palm tree
No bushes except the one with red flowers –
I’ve forgotten its name.
I can taste this morning’s coffee – still – my hand
That held the cup is swollen, aches.
There are no chairs except the one in which I sit
There is no wind, only a slight breeze
There are ripples on the surface of the swimming pool
The breeze is not causing the ripples.
The sun is out – it warms the concrete underfoot.
There are three birds on the wire above my head
Small birds. Sparrows? Now there are two.
There is no music except the nortena music
Coming from a worker’s radio beyond the fence
There are no smells except chlorine and my smells –
The red flowers have no scent.
There are no movies, no TV, there is one book
Starting Over by Dan Wakefield, which has a turned-over page 23.
There is no starting over
No past except the third bird
The future never arrives.
I’m here. Present.


A Short Woman

Short. Not tall.
Short? No, never.
Her height an emotional lever
A see saw. You see her.
She saw you coming a mile away.
Sometimes you can view things most clearly by looking up.
Or know they’re not worth seeing, not at all –
Height is a delusion of the tall.


Petunia’s New Pants

“These should fit you,” says the young white guy behind the counter at the mission store, Although it weren’t no store, more like a charity, but Petunia figured they called it that So’s you could pretend you like a customer making a purchase, not some ole beggar, Street scum, getting raggedy shit for free.

These slacks is nice, Pet thinks, says it aloud. She likes the cut and the pleat and they is Brown – her favorite brown, cocoa brown – with a white stripe. “If those won’t fit you,” Says the white guy (Wade ) frowning. “I don’t know. Petunia weighs eighty-nine pounds Sopping wet. The cancer. Her new cocoa brown pants was owned before by a young boy. Petunia is out her skanky gym sweats without thinking, Wade blinking, looking away. Pet’s legs are bony, twisted, two ropes of jerky on top her tarry sandals. The discarded Sweats – black with dirt, holey – in a pool at her feet.

“Sweet,” Petunia says, pulling the slacks up to her washboard waist and holding them so, Happy at how they look. “Merry Christmas to Pe-tun-i-a.”

“Sharp,” says the old white man at the books place on Spring.
There was two whites there with gray hair, one nice the other not.
“Don’t you need a belt?” says Nice. He asked you things ‘stead of telling you.
Not Nice wouldn’t slip you the bathroom key (like Nice did) even if you cried.
“I’ll buy you a belt for them,” Nice says. “Come back at five.”
Pet’s smile is minus three teeth. “Jest gimme the money honey.”

The lights is some bright overhead. Pennants of light. Light flags waving at Petunia,  her grinning up from the alley next to Bar Zero. Lying back feeling she ain’t never felt this happy, this free. Lying back bathing, bathed in the light. It’s how you knowed it’s Xmas in downtown LA, Silas Management turn on all the light. Petunia isn’t hungry, thirsty, she don’t hurt. Pet ain’t sad, mad, lonely or afraid. God He look across now not down. Petunia’s flying, floating, soaring on money from Nice. His shoulda-been belt sprouting wings. Hoo. Whee. Petunia keeps flying, cain’t no Death Man take her. Whee. Free.