doug draime | five poems

Walking On Water

I walked into the Wabash river
fully clothed
up to my waist,
drunk out of my mind at 16. I thought
for a moment there
that I could really
walk on water.
My friends on the bank
of the sand bar, screaming
at me to
get my ass out,
that someone
had called the cops.
But 12 bottles
of Miller High Life
and a half pint
of Jim Beam
had set me on a mission,
sent me over the wobbling edge
into some kind of insane spiritual probing
of elated intoxication and power, and
uncontrollable fits of laughter. Kenny threw
a rock that hit the water
just to the left of me. Then Vic
threw an empty beer bottle,
that I had to duck
to avoid from smashing into my head.
And I just laughed and
laughed and laughed. I have yet to see
the moon and stars
quite as beautiful and mind blowing
as they were
on that night. And I looked up
and laughed hysterically at them too,
just before the cops got there,
when I made them walk into the river to get me.
I laughed and prophesied their doom
all the way to the county lockup.
But the view of the night sky from the
barred jail cell window wasn’t
quite the same.

Drunks & Convicts

We heard the bloodhounds in the
distance. The report over the radio,
said the convict escaped from
the county jail, where he was being
held for three murders upstate.
And was hiding somewhere
in the thirteen acres of cornfields
a few blocks behind
our house. My grandfather loaded
his single shot 22 and went through
the house locking doors and
windows. He told me to get my
Daisy pump action bb gun and sit
by the open window by the
back door. And as he started to walk
through the house again with
his 22, we spotted my father staggering
up the back steps, drunk again. My grandfather
leaned his head down, spat tobacco juice out
the window and whispered to me:
“Shoot a couple those bbs in his balls, just for
the hell of it.”

Jerry From 13th Street

There was the perpetual
Pall Mall cigarette
hanging from his mouth.
And he was always
picking on kids
smaller and younger
than him.
His wooden leg and
foot clanged and
rattled as
he walked. It had happened
when he wa twelve,

trying to jump
into a boxcar
of a moving train. Two of
his friends had
made it, one chickened
out. Jerry miscalculated
his run and came up
short, reaching for the edge

of the boxcar’s
open door, and the motion
of the train pulled
him under. Somehow he was
able to keep one leg
free, with the rest of his body,
from slipping under the
steel wheels. Every kid
in the neiborhood
was afraid
of him, every kid but me.
To me he was just a pimpled-face
fat kid with a wooden leg.
One day he was coming
down the alley
with a couple of his friends. I was
fifteen, but already well over
6 feet and a solid 175 pounds.
He and his friends were
maybe sixteen, overweight,
and a couple of inches shorter.
They were all three smoking
as they passed..

Jerry sneered, flipping his Pall Mall
at me. It hit my t-shirt and
bounced to the ground. They
stopped and were laughing,
calling me a
dumbass and a son-of-a-bitch.
I didn’t say a word, I just
quickly walked right up
into their faces. They were
startled and
took a step backwards.
My uncle had lost a leg in WW2
and I knew what the
weakest part
of a wooden leg was. I was an
arm’s distance away
from Jerry, who was
lighting another cigarette,
still sneering. I turned my body
slightly and kicked
his wooden knee.

He seemed to fall instantaneously,
tumbling over
to his left,
in a barrage of yelling and
clanging. His friend, who was
standing to the right
of him, took a step forward,
as if he was going
to take a punch at me. I swung
wildly, hitting him
somewhere around the
collarbone, and I was winding up
another, when he turned
and ran down the alley. The other
kid was faster,
passing his friend easily.
I watched them run
out of the alley to the sidewalk.
Jerry was still yelling and crying
on the ground, begging me
to help him up. I told him I wouldn’t
help him, but that I would
call his parents
when I got home. I left him laying
there crying, as I jumped
over the next door neighbor’s fence,
I walked across
their backyard into mine, went into
my house,
called Jerry’s parents and
told his mother that
he had had an accident and
was in the alley. My dad
overheard the conversation
and asked
what was going on.
I told him I had just kicked
the ass of Jerry from over
on 13th street. He laughed
and said it was
about time someone
cleaned that bastard’s plow.
That was the first time
I ever drank a beer
with my old man,
but not the last.

Dying Light

O, yes, the weight of dying light
caged in time is:
war, disease and death.

Let religion and philosophy
sort it out, the poets say.
We’re more concerned
with those little nuances. The
delicate wren on a sagging birch limb,
or the color of the stains
in our underwear
after a night of drinking
and killing ourselves like
Buk or Hem. The networking
thing is gonna make us all
famous, our web sites and
blogs will change the world
as we know it. We declare
the realism of our self-consumed
lifestyles. We proclaim the right
to elitism, we encourage
complacency, as long as it’s
very vague and lyrical. Why should
we stand up and speak out against
war and hypocrisy? Why should
we take a moral and compassionate
approach to our work?. Come on,
we’re poets! Get real. We’re all
doomed to embers anyway.
Lets ride the bomb down, lets
savor this beautiful agony. Sing of
our solidarity, laugh our way to
oblivion. Why rage against the
dying of the light, anymore?


Bones of constant regrets
Bones of dreams dreaming in nothingness
Bones of all the bodies in all the wars in universal time
Bones of rotting bones
Bones of fine white dust
Bones of John Wilkes Booth, decaying in Mary Lincoln’s nightmares
Bones of black bodies hanged & burned in Mississippi in the 1920’s to cheers
Bones of politics
Bones of rituals & ceremonies
Bones of Hannibal preserved in his own shit & blood
Bones of hipsters still hanging on every word of Nat Hentoff
Bones of Indian babies burned to death by the United States Calvary
Bones of rats jammed in walls in tenement apartments across the rodent world
Bones of all the horses who ever ran the second race at Hollywood Park
Bones of the dogs from hell & A Season In Hell
Bones of all the lies in all the mouths of all egos since The Ego
Bones of promises never kept
Bones of fragmented nonsense, which attempts to alter unalterable spirit
Bones of remorse & guilt
Bones of mountains & rivers & oceans
Bones of Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat
Bones of one solid brick shit house
Bones of whales on the butchered shores of slaughter
Bones of happenstance & bones of circumstance
Bones of desperation & hate & misery
Bones of angst & pathos
Bones of the stagnant & polluted air between you & me
Bones of Thelonious Monk’s dead cat
Bones of situations & occurrences that never were
Bones of a butterfly in the eye of beauty’s release
Bones of anger & fear & betrayal
Bones of Sigmund Freud’s dominating mother
Bones of eagles hidden behind a dark cloud of sorrow & mourning
Bones of Edgar Bergen’s talking wooden people
Bones of finite spiritual concepts
Bones of Dylan Thomas perpetually lamenting the coming of the night
Bones of the monks of Tibet under enslavement & Chinese torture
Bones of limits & bones of borders
Bones of all forms
Bones of you & bones of me
Bones of the mansions of our decadence
Bones of temptation & disaster
Bones of the vertical & horizontal
Bones of afterwhiles & laterons
Bones of tears shed for nothing that is truly real
Bones of The Little Prince still looking for love, but there are no bones of love
Bones of greed & gross gluttony
Bones of flapping hands, without a clue, at the dawn of day
Bones of Mickey Mantle limping into home plate at Yankee Stadium
Bones of all languages & bones of The Tower of Babel
Bones of coffins & concrete
Bones of the smoldering ovens at Asti & Flossenburg
Bones of bleak apologies made at the altar of emptiness
Bones of Al Jolson in black face
Bones of mystics & bones of prophets
Bones of America’s Reconstruction
Bones of Walt Whitman chanting electric in the hospital wards of Washington, D.C.
Bones of gamma rays & bones of gravity
Bones of injustice & tyranny
Bones of mushrooms & bones of LSD
Bones of The Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey, still mauling
Bones of 40 year old land mines still maiming & killing
Bones of the give & take of flagrant pointlessness
Bones of time & bones of space
Bones of everything forgotten that never was
Bones of compensation & lost wages
Bones of shattered & malignant dreams
Bones of peaceful swans swimming in a pond, but there are no bones of peace
Bones of Socrates pulsating crystal remnants of hemlock
Bones of compromise & bones of malicious thief
Bones of abstract threats thrown at the face of pure innocence
Bones of Lenny Bruce still satirizing hypocrisy
Bones of poems sharp & penetrating as a dagger plunged in the heart of darkness
Bones of tragedy & bones of suffering
Bones of Marilyn Monroe’s finger pointing at her murderers
Bones of parasites & bones of blood suckers
Bones of tulips once blossoming under a kitchen window
Bones of frantic chaotic movement & bones of voices detached from sound
Bones of deception & those eyes you couldn’t read
Bones of rage & stupidly
Bones of sacrifice & bones of the absurdity of martyrdom
Bones of curses which only curse the curser
Bones of diamonds & bones of gold & topaz
Bones of all the pimps & whores & junkies in downtown Los Angeles
Bones of burden & responsibility
Bones of Lord Byron’s fist smashing through his plaster walls
Bones of hunger
Bones of starvation
Bones of huge black hawks flying in other dimensions
Bones of Ellis Island & bones of Alcatraz
Bones of heroes & bones of cowards
Bones of one hand clapping, but there are no bones of silence
Bones of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn & bones of Becky Thatcher
Bones of sarcasm & one-upmanship
Bones of Descartes & bones of mechanistic interpretations of nature
Bones of mud & rain & snow & wind
Bones of Romans & Mongols & Vikings
Bones of censorship & bones of blacklisting
Bones of the broken heart of Dalton Trumbo
Bones of universities & bones of education
Bones of meadowlarks & blue jays & bones of great horned owls
Bones of the worshipping of idols & bones of polytheism
Bones of seeming death
Bones of hollowed eyes
Bones of crocodiles eating their own bones in the Okefenokee Swamp
Bones of cheap motel rooms & reeking bars
Bones of all prey hunted & seized
Bones of all the planets & stars & moons & suns in all creation
Bones of the crust of earth & lithosphere
Bones of & in the graveyards of the mind
Bones of irreverent testaments & rims of data
Bones of all perceptions
Bones of inner festering corruption
Bones of Pharaoh, King Cheops, plied up on the Khufu ship to the afterlife
Bones of alienation & bones of hopelessness
Bones of the Ice Age & bones of jungle fever
Bones of European-Anglo-American brainwashing
Bones of opposition & bones of separation
Bones of instant gratification & bones of cowering sell outs
Bones of all accumulated knowledge
Bones of physics & bones of robotics & bones of cyber gymnastics
Bones of literary trends
Bones of elitism & bias
Bones of judgment & bones of condemnation
Bones of cornfields & bones of rice paddies & bones of wheat
Bones of T.S. Eliot & bones of Franz Kafka
Bones of James Joyce & bones of Albert Camus
Bones of the old truck tire that hung from the sycamore tree
Bones of hurricanes & tsunamis & bones of floods & tornadoes
Bones of earthquakes & volcanic eruptions & bones of forrest fires
Bones of captivity & bones of shackles & bones of prisons
Bones of shake & bones of rattle & bones of roll
Bones of rappers & bones of scat singers
Bones of Hank Williams & Tupac Shakur in the back seats of their Cadallacs
Bones of the Burning Ring Of Fire
Bones of selfishness & impatience
Bones of throbbing streams of thoughts
Bones of tossing & heaving & swaying down into a vast gully of confusion
Bones of eunuchs & bones of the sexless
Bones of cypress & bones of oaks & bones of weeping willows
Bones of hiss & bones of spit & bones of venomous puncturing fangs
Bones of yearning
Bones of flux & bones of static
Bones of doom & bones of despair
Bones of outrageous utterances & bones of all ideas
Bones of bedbugs & bones of fleas & bones of the beloved cockroach
Bones of dialectics & bones of words flashed in neon across the fallen nation
Bones of Alantis
Bones of submarines & battleships & bones of Flying Death Machines
Bones of Beethoven’s deaf ears
Bones of One Eyed Jack’s fractured hand
Bones of barricades & bones of the bloody streets of revolution
Bones of all the plans of mice & men & bones of calculation
Bones of John Steinbeck & bones of James Dean
Bones of the withered id
Bones of oil & bones of swinish trancelike consumers
Bones of insatiable thirsts
Bones of twilight & bones of dusk
Bones of fault & bones of blame
Bones of tigers & bones of jackals & bones of laughing hyenas
Bones of the splinters in Helen of Troy’s beautiful ass
Bones of the prime directive & bones of the mission accomplished
Bones of shadowy cathedrals & churches of the communion of insecure self
Bones of definition & bones of examination
Bones of heroin & bones of meth & bones of cocaine
Bones of energy & bones of demented fusion
Bones of Nietzsche, in torment, embracing a whipped horse
Bones of computers & bones of televisions
Bones of your neighbor with his finger on the trigger
Bones of the muti-layered assemblies of blindness
Bones of Holden Caulfield & bones of Randle Patrick McMurphy
Bones of Sebastian Dangerfield & bones of Don Quixote
Bones of idle conversations & gossip & bones of pompous debates
Bones of targets & bones of X marks the spot
Bones of Dizzy’’s puffed-out cheeks still blowing the utopian cool of jazz
Bones of luxurious wealth & the ashes of paper money
Bones of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter & of bones of Carson McCullers
Bones of Marco Polo’s intrepid footsteps through Asia
Bones of desolation & bones of used cars in the junk yards of all our souls
Bones of whoppers & bones of wonders
Bones of spin & bones of media & bones of government control
Bones of inharmonious mixtures of foulness
Bones of movie stars adorned like baboons
Bones of Eros
Bones of cultures & bones of civilizations
Bones of Zeus & bones of the heel of Achilles
Bones of theories & bones of results
Bones of continuous toil & laboring in the downpour of sweat & blood
Bones of friends & bones of enemies
Bones of disgust & bones of twisted cruelty
Bones of stone & bones of blowing sand & dirt
Bones of heart attacks & bones of cancer
Bones of atoms & DNA
Bones of vexation & bones of groans & bones of screaming
Bones of pettiness
Bones of gaudy colored statues & bones of altars
Bones of the pit of the darkest darkness, but there are no bones of light

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