Saturday, July 11, 2009

Champion Dreamers Of The World


The Second Time
Jack Shellac’s Art Shack
Jim Champagne!
Pirate D
Past Argentina, Over Water And Hills
Everything Began Across The Sea
While The Rest Of The World
Until I Woke Up In Surprise
Into The Stratosphere And Back
The Zeppelin Affair
The Miracle Of Science
Dream Machinery
Next To An Ocean
Dream With Mexicans And Floating Lions
The Elevator Music
Stamp Collecting
A Dog In A Sock
I Have Imagined And Now We Are Real
The Flowershop Quartet
Burt Ives
Snappy Pete’s Ankle Complete
A Loving Heart
Sister City
Hubert Faucet
I Wonder Where You’ll Be
Bob Hope
Toad Ricky Returns For A Waterfall
Up And Down The Sides Of Mountains
Love Again
While Rain Fell
Down By The Factory Crumbles


See how she lives, now that it’s Christmas
and the lights are strung across the roof.
Her house blinks with colored bulbs
and it makes all the satellite dishes
on her roof seem to jump. I walk past
at night on my way home from work,
after long hours of the assembly line.
It’s a relief to see something out of
the ordinary. I just can’t understand
her need for so many satellite dishes
unless she is the eyes and ears
of the world.

The Second Time

They decided to wait until winter to cut at
the blackberry bushes piled behind their house.
When January set in across everything, the vines
would shed their leaves and snake back to burrow,
then they could cut them and rake the ground and
turn it into a garden in Spring. It would be good to
have it gone. In August they picked ripe berries
to make their last ever jam and pies.
Early in December, snow fell, but they were going to
wait a little longer. The vines tangled in the cold.
Wearing double layers of clothes, Elmer Ford
marched up and down the hall, ringing a bell.
This was the morning they had all been waiting for.
Children came running through doors. Outside, they
fell around the frozen vines and sliced at them with
rakes and wooden swords. Elmer even tied a rope
from the bumper of his Model T and dragged roots
out of the ground. That’s how he dislodged the tube.
It was plowed out of the earth like a bomb, it sparkled
as something golden from Mars in the weak sunlight.
Elmer’s children were making drum noises on it with
their rakes and weapons when he got out of the tin
car and made them stop. He examined the steel hollow
tube and he found letters on it, underneath the dirt and
weeds. Already one of his sons had discovered a silver
door handle on the side and he turned it open. The hiss
of steam threw them all backwards, they stared as a tall
man stood up. It was him, it was Abraham Lincoln.
He put on his stovepipe hat to shade his eyes from
the glare of the twentieth century America.
To get his bearings here, in a ruin of blackberry vines
fifty years after the war, he cleared his throat and gave
the Gettysburg Address again.


They made some mistakes in the past.
In the 1950s they used to fly over deserts
near highways or flash by in the night sky
where small towns grew. That’s how they made
their presence first known. Shooting through
the air in their silver glowing spaceships,
disappearing at the blinking speed
of light, but people took them
the wrong way.

Films were made about them
landing and taking over with
superior technology and weapons,
frightening powers unheard of.
Since then, they’ve decided to
become more careful on this world.
They seldom use their flying saucers
leaving them covered by tarps
in garages. Now they prefer
to travel by car, it’s easier that way.
In blue Pontiacs they coast along
the highways at midnight
driving beneath the stars.

Jack Shellac’s Art Shack

The cameras were rolling, filming him
as he lay the thick paint across canvas.
He had a running commentary going,
something about how beautiful camping
in the Appalachians is. The leaves,
the swaying trees and purple lakes
the haunting call of the loon.
He made a joke about not paying
the trailer park, leaving in his
Winnebago early before the ranger
woke up. While he began adding
a deer to the rippling edge of
an alpine lake, there was a crash
and a boom-mic swung wildly.
Jack’s banter ceased abruptly
his ashen face stared in horror
at the approaching sight.
A bear walking on its hind legs,
eight feet tall, panting, slobbering
and slashing its claws and teeth.
It fell over Jack like a shadow
and the scenic painting stuck
to its hairy back while
the TV crew retreated
leaving cameras fixed
on the grizzly.

Jim Champagne!

The woman on the pay phone
was asking for Jim Champagne.
I overhead her as I walked past.
Jim Champagne, that rings a bell
I thought, but I couldn’t remember
why. Apparently he wasn’t there,
I would hear her shouting,
“Well where is he?!
I have to talk to him!
This is important!”
Later, sitting on the bus
and watching the world
pass by the windows
I thought about where
I heard that name
and then it came to me.
There he was
on a choppy sea
maybe the Atlantic
trading military secrets
for fish.
Jim Champagne was
a trained spy seal.
He wore on his nose
specially designed radar
and carried plans
and real estate
inside a waterproof tube.
But Jim Champagne was
in trouble, she was calling
to warn him about it,
the Coast Guard,
they knew everything!
The oysters were bugged
in that seafood restaurant!
By now, Jim Champagne
would be swimming
against the undertow
and Gulf Stream
with all the forces of
America after him.

Pirate D

The last freight train
features the lonesome tickets
and empty pockets of Pirate D
who sold his gold treasure map
and gave up the ship one day

The sun shines no more
for the one eyed parrot
asleep at the wheel again
and the tumble weeds
push him along forever

Past Argentina, Over Water And Hills

The famous American showed up at the Little Java Circus
and the crowd cheered. They had seen him on the silver screen,
they had watched him wrestle lions and break crocodile jaws
in Hollywood. Safari dressed, he flexed in pale spotlight,
took a rose from a girl and played with a big mangy cat,
snapped a whip, holding a chair. Then when he was done,
he bowed and was gone to the circus owner’s trailer door.
He banged on the rusty steel, shaking the walls,
demanding his $10,000 performance fee.
Quick out the window, into the night
a bottle of wine still left on the table inside,
the petrified owner ran for his life.
Past Argentina, over water and hills
into dark clouds of jungle where he could
never be found.

Everything Began Across the Sea

I always think of your English eyes
it’s a long time I’ve walked up stairs
paced by the brick fireplace
chosen words so carefully
you must go to sleep to meet me.

Everything began across the sea
Hampstead Heath and Rolling Green,
the raining top and moving spirit
hills slouching on the way to London.

Silver and stone gray memory
learn from the passing of trains
checkerboard pattern of fields
glowing going back to where
it all started with your breath.

While the Rest of the World

She can tell our story
with art and words
while the rest of the world
is in the dark

Let her tell you
what she sees
open up to her view
she can reveal
she knows what’s real

While others say nothing
she has a light
and the talent to live on
down through the ages

Until I Woke In Surprise

I tried all night to listen
to the rain on the rooftop
like a Japanese painting
the quiet water sound
seemed to never slow

It wouldn’t stop
until I fell asleep

Then dreams appeared
black and white movies
I was living in another world
until I woke in surprise and knew

Into The Stratosphere
And Back

If I’m not here
then I must be somewhere
you weren’t paying attention
and maybe there’s a reason
I needed to leave

After all that time
being hypnotized
eyes like jellyfish swimming
into the stratosphere and back
they land sunnyside down
at the Goodwill store
and become old records
waiting to be heard

The Zeppelin Affair

He fell in love with a zeppelin
a big dream about a flying machine
they told him you’re making a mistake
she lives in thousands of miles
she’s pushed by the smallest wind
she’ll be here and gone
why can’t you see the obvious
tomorrow she’ll be in France

But he was excited in New Jersey
to see her again in the morning
moving so quietly as she got closer
the same thing happened in the film
I guess something went wrong
he reached out and she burst into flame

The Miracle Of Science

The first sign that he was getting cold
it was 90 degrees in the middle of July
and he outdressed the Eskimos
drinking a pot of boiling coffee
and he never felt the warmth

Ever since he returned from Venus
not even his wife knew him anymore
nightmares waved every night
the miracle of science
had to be used to
connect him to her

Dream Machinery

There’s no reason to sink
any further underneath

We had our inventions
the aeroplane
motorcar, highways
the Empire State Building

We controlled electricity
technology, industry

We saw the universe
from telescopes on mountains
everyday we were getting closer

As long as I can remember
we desperately reached out
at the furthest thing away

Just like any broken part
of that dream machinery
let it go if
it doesn’t seem to work
trade it in for something
that will


Grocery shopping
all the rows of food
carefully and colorfully
displayed for buying
frozen, dry, or add water
being poor doesn’t matter
there’s a price for every dollar
and a sale on the 4th of July
it’s the American way
there is so much to buy

Also take a look at housing
where you can afford to live
a little gets a place with bars
a million gets a white palace
what makes you worth it
what’s your salary
where do you work
how many know
who you are?

Just like Geronimo
I can’t take it anymore
I know at the airport
we can get away

Next To an Ocean

Fishing now
for broken hearts
where loneliness
most hurts

When dawn arrives
swept up in tide
they catch
on silver hooks

Dream With Mexicans
And Floating Lions

In big wooden cages, the lions floated ashore
and they broke out of the surf onto the sand,
angry and looking for food. Their roars carried
all the way from the sea up to the town.
We turned from the cliff, I held her hand
tightly and we ran to look for shelter.
The houses were all locked and boarded up
except for one and we hurried for that place.
Maybe we could hide down in the basement
where the lions would scratch but couldn’t
get in. We ran up the path, almost safe,
when suddenly a family of Mexicans
pushing a piano and moving furniture
blocked our way and we tried to explain
but they couldn’t understand our warnings,
our hysterical shouting and pointing
to the ocean.

The Elevator Music

Elevator Music
the sound you hear
like angels going up
off of the street
out of a broken heart

Don’t think about where you’ve been
now you’re going to a better place

There are buttons
sparkling on the wall
and the sound you hear
will help you
make your choice

Maybe pick someone on another floor
go together onwards to another door

It’s a beautiful dream
everywhere there are ways
no matter who you are
it will move you
if you want it to

Stamp Collecting

If you’ve ever thought about being a detective,
considered it a life of black and white glamour,
intrigue, your own beautiful secretary taking dictation,
gunplay in abandoned warehouses, and a sultry widow
paying you twenty grand for curing her woes…
then think again friend…
Sure there are moments of all that
(once in Tuscon, I helped a woman
get a piece of corn out of her teeth, and
I shot a racoon in broad daylight in Yuma)
but looking back on it, I wish
I had continued with my first love,
stamp collecting

A Dog In A Sock

The pasty cream walls were filled with bullet holes
the sergeant scratched his mutton chops and sighed

The only witness to the crime
was a dog in a sock


There’s nothing like finding yourself
lost in a fog and a spinning clock
with the road serenaded by cows
in a hundred clouds
in shoals of barns
all alike in the night


I live in green
I eat flowers
I stand around
watching the clouds
or watching the ground

I Have Imagined
And Now We Are Real

You’re in a little boat
my hands are about you
then I put them to water
and we row upon our dreams

I love you

Can you count the colors
when rainbows have tears
in their eyes
so happy they cry

I love you

My heart rides a cloud
we have found each other
I have imagined
and now we are real

The Flowershop Quartet

For a time, I went there for flowers every day.
Being in love was connected to all those green smells
and colors. It was juicy warm inside too, the windows
steamed tropical wet, the gray city snow backed away,
turned into slush in the Spring doorway. A bell welcomes.

The four girls who work there play jazz.
It’s the perfect sound for searching through all
the hemmed petals. Though daisies are all I could ever
afford, wrapped up with Thelonius Monk, tied with
white piano ribbon, from hands like these, daisies
become the very breathing air in romance.

They knew what I was there for, smiling back of course,
maybe I said so one flushed afternoon. Anyway, it was
the obvious courting of a songbird unconnected to
the peddling darkness sinking the rest of the country.
Someone in love must ride with angels. Laying in flowers
to flood with. When I stopped going, they knew.

It happened on the street when I was deep in only myself,
trying to forget. The four girls of the flowershop caught
up with me at last and reminded me not to collapse. They
had seen how I could be, it filled them to have me be that
way. Out of the black cases and old boxes, they took
gold instruments and right there shook jazz again.

Burt Ives
Televisions All Over The World

Burt Ives, the legendary folk singer, recently became
the first musician in space. 120,000 miles from Earth,
cramped into a bullet shaped capsule, Burt tuned into
Cape Canaveral for a report. Televisions all over
the world showed the scratchy picture of Burt Ives
looking pale and horrified. Someone at Houston Control
cut in nervously and asked, “Burt, could you play
My Green Teeny Bopper?” Millions of people
watched him hopefully as he struggled for
his guitar under the emergency oxygen supply.

Snappy Pete’s Ankle Complete

Problems with gravity had reached such proportions
that people couldn’t walk. Their ankles gave out in the
pain of air that was drooping trees and pushing clouds
down. People began to crawl again, others slithered
on the ground, some returned to the sea. In cities,
there were brightly lit stores all around the padded
sidewalks with overbearing salesmen dressed in
tartan suits. “Come on in and get your ankles repaired!”
their voices graveled out of American flag draped
speakers. “You have to walk everyday, trust your
ankles to professional care. Free knee inspection
included…” Snappy Pete was just like the rest of
them, ranting and raving on two minute TV
commercials. “Snappy Pete’s Ankle Complete
is more than a store. We’re a friend to your feet!”
His store flattened itself over the wreckage of
the Ravenna Bridge, down the ivy hill, easy to fall
into. Unhappy people went in slumped, then came
out later with the plodding determined steps of
Frankenstein’s invention.


Out of the tumbled water logs, they built themselves
a house of trees. Slung like carp, its wooden lines
fish-tailed with seaweed, dried and brine. So close
to the ocean, up from sand, hightide waves
masqueraded as a lawn. On a stormy night,
they are guaranteed starfish visitors.

A Loving Heart

Her nightgown caught in the wave of the wind
this late at night. On the balcony, sitting there,
overlooking the rest of the town blinked in lamplight
she stares, if that is the word, really she looks far
beyond. America isn’t even a thought tonight.
As usual, her entranced life has been brought to
this place once more. There are stars. She forgets
which one is Mars. Someone told her long ago,
it’s easy to find: it’s as red as a loving heart.

Sister City

Sister City walks with the land holding skyscrapers
and shopping malls cupped in her hands. Her long
legs take her in one step into the sea. The water
climbs over her, as she flows down and her dark
hair floats around her, swimming with her hands
above the waves. She carries the city across ocean
and plants it on the shore of another continent.
The buildings left like sand castles, softened by
the clouds, she goes back underwater.

Hubert Faucet

Hubert Faucet, champion dreamer of the world
walks on his own stares on a carpet unrolled
wearing a vaudeville show

In the spring, birds fly a crown
he will set up court on your lawn
hush the city
turn off every out-of-tune sound
ask that all traffic stop
cars and buildings bow
the ground is felt and
flowers taught to grow

I Wonder Where
You’ll Be

Since I can’t see you
in daylight
I search for you all night
in my sleep

…dreaming you were a talking seal
I touched your face and you said hello
soft water eyes you’ve seen me
…dreaming you raised wings
to fly a hundred miles per hour
I learn the touch of your hands
…dreaming we found places
with safe walls and windmills

When day arrives
the morning takes up the sky
I go to work to walk up stairs
for the cost of living I pinwheel

Then night falls
I go home and close my eyes
I wonder where you’ll be

Bob Hope

One night, he called the operator, forgetting it was late.
Of all the people in America, sleeping or somewhere
involved in the dawn, he wanted to talk to Bob Hope.
“I don’t know his number, I’m not sure where he is,”
he said. “He might be in Hollywood, or maybe it’s
Miami Beach.” The operator paused not so pleasantly.
She hated this part of her job, she was just waiting
for her next coffee break. “I’m sorry sir, but I’ll need
a destination. There are names in every city in
every state that are the same.” He listened and
sadly sighed. Millions of Bob Hopes, lost in crowds
of any town, cast like Halloween masks afloat.

Toad Ricky Returns
For A Waterfall

Toad’s legs turned bicycle wheels
for a long time they spun miles
first the sun then the moon sailed overhead
green eyes star guided riding towards dawn

Morning bird songs filled the sky
the dew on the hills made silver oceans
flowers schooled like fish waking up

Around the corner the road folded
and cupped a puddle in the middle
Toad’s eyes glimmered the thought
riding straight through the splash
putting water into air
and maybe hanging
a rainbow there

So he sped up his pedaling
and got low over the handlebars

A couple rabbits saw it happen
the bicycle submerged in a wave
and Toad Ricky was gone

Up And Down The Sides Of Mountains

He was reckless, he walked on roofs, on the tiles
and blue shingles, next to old river gutters filled
with rain. She watched him from her window cut
into the eaves. “Stop doing that!” she said and her
windmill voice proposed, “You should be in here
instead.” Opening the rainbow colors of her
curtains, he saw her leaned heavenly in the sun.
That was it, he was falling. He took the steep last
walk past the scarecrow of television antennas
to where she smiled, flowerboxed out over
the window ledge.

Love Again

The planets groan
love has come again
so hello I call
from miles away

This is not a game
show your fidelity
I say what I say
and I don’t lie

Colored rainbows
make heart pattern
just like a child
I want to smile


The same way
grace the day

Start like a motor
turn the sail

Put your energy
into the making

While Rain Fell

While rain fell
to say hello
in water
on your skin

the ancients built
to carry dew
to the needing

I am learning
weather is teaching
with summer lightning
all around you

Down By The Factory Crumbles

Down by the factory crumbles where the river
sweep washed a little higher, a little lower for
year after year, she stopped to read the rusty
tea leaves cast upon the shore. When you are
made of such as this, you think you may last
forever. Concrete will turn back into sand,
while ivy vines make veins through relics plans.
She came here everyday to play, until she grew
old enough, found love and moved away.

writing: allen frost compiled in 2003

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