poems by greg mcghee



          she is listening to the radio wearing a black dress
         and shawl lost to her inner thoughts drinking her morning
                                     kate's faded blue eyes study
           a photograph very frail thin and stooped she still
         capable of fierceness as winter slip into spring looking
        at the old yellowed family portrait at the center is
      military officer with decorations standing by him old man
      wearing a vest and two well groomed young men stand by him
      in white dinner jackets the young women are dressed in the
    latest fashions
                                kate has been drug in taverns
       all around the town of paterson n j her face wrinkled
      by years of hard drinking the officer in the photograph
    die of heart failure the two young men were killed in a forgotten
  war the old man die she cannot remember why the lady's faded from
her life like a long forgotten summer day her black locks are gray
  now in the photo she looks so young she is one with the atoms
and the plants in a timeless universe as past and present blend
together in the wilderness of her life a ship a drift in a sea of
     daydreams filled with the smell of sausage fried onions and
    sauerkraut sizzling in grease rising from the blast furnace
     of her mind in the haze of cigarette smoke from ancient pine
      forests cast in pewter filled with morning sunlight
    of dreams
                                 kate worked in a city laundry
         for 30 years and now play bingo at the church across the
   street in the autumn of her life.
                 / paterson, nj, 1993

                            the angel

         the night passing into a television as angel think about
      cut himself with a razor early on eerie morning he feeling
   dehumanized losing his grasp just cruising in his van his mind
  is burning the air is filled with smoke his face is blank he
losing himself in a desert of madness fill with hallucinates
                       of a man eating monster that has a gravely
    jersey accent and wear black lace up boots he blink his eyes
   in disbelief staring dejectedly at oldsmobile that pass him by
  his old van wheezing in a cloud of blue smoke   dressed in
 a leather motorcycle jacket and leather cap with dark sunglasses a
half smoked marlboro in his mouth he squatting in a burned out building
 in n y c feeling like he turning into a statue fill with terror
                             living in the litter strewn ruins of
   a manhattan tenement   with a cracked facade and broken windows
   as drool is running down his face making him look like alien
                                light up other marlboro in a lonely
  east side diner around 4 am he is writing poetry on old
     white lined paper about punks with spiked blue hair and skinheads
        he sit over endless cups of expresso then going back to his squat
        laying on a white mesh blanket covering a steel framed bed all
      he can hear is silent as grainy grayness surround his hollow face
    vacant eyes as coldness fill his bones his body is gaunt and rigid
    then his body shuddered convulsively it will not respond to commands
from his brain to stop sweat run down his face he is mumbling incoherently
his thoughts all jumbled and mix up praying to god tears trickling down his
 pale cheeks chain smoking playing with  his dick he grab a razor the
voices are telling him to cut it off but he race out of his place
      and jump into his van and ride into the city night
                      / paterson, nj, 1993

             dream time washington dc in 1984

passing a quart of beer back and forth sitting on a wall looking
at the cars moving up and down 14th street he talking about his
ex wife marxist class struggle anarchy drugs bitching moaning
he did time in ohio and virginia in the joint 24 months each
time he talking about a pill head he known when he was in jail
life on the streets dudes we both know the bottle empty we both
walk off into the night i end up studying washington dc from
the roof of 1345 euclid street feeling anger and sadness inside
of me burning the city lights in the night outline the monuments
archives museums the whitehouse it seem to me this place is the
high altar of the money ministers the power popes who run the machine
the ruling class thinking about a friend who got his 30 day pin from
aa he has been sober that long my mind rushing down the years seeing
other folks i have known with drinking problems turning over odd bits
and pieces of information year in year out workers laboring in anger
on spanish land from dawn to dusk on private owned farms communist dream
of a worker state a government in which all members share in the work
and product the anarchist dream of no state or government just the
people will  april 4 1931 the second republic was born general union
of workers and the anarchist led national confederation of labor
1936 the popular front of the left july 18 19 the military rose in
rebellion nationalists rightists conservatives defense of the historic
privileges of the catholic church monarchists and the fascist party
in 1939 the republic fall in a bloodbath of a 3 year war in 1949
the last guerrilla operations were dissolve november 20 1975 the
war ended general francisco franco die and tonight i stand on a roof
in washington dc studying the night
                          8 4 93

  reading a racin form over a beer on a paterson saturday new
  jersey afternoon in a tavern smoking a lucky strike
  he go and call his bookie betting on a horse sitting at the bar
 as the rusted mechanical bartender wipe it his money is blow away
 on the wind as faceless wolves chew on his legs they are made of
    goop that stick to his fingers as their shadows clutch at his
    mind with a glass punk who has a blue mohawk and is lost in
    asphalt rivers of alienation as marching televisions are
   coming out from his mind in hi tech neon of his microwave
    corpse smelling like rancid garlic sitting in a room with only
    himself and mirror filled with emptiness for twenty long
   years with out coherent thought he wants to return to ra in
    a sacred ship to the city of the dead with his shatter mind
   in mental chaos from endless beers and trying to get rich from
   playing the horses and trying to escape a monster himself
  stumbling frantically and hysterical through life with patterns
   colors and murmur of his fear
                  his face a roadmap of days
   and nights of heavy drinking red bloated he is lost in his
    delusions of grandeur with voices coming from his jukebox
   of dreams he ran numbers and was a smalltime bookie and got
   into some other two bit rackets that have fall from
    his pale faded blue eyes he broke so he call a barbarian
   loanshark to help him out he will pay and pay to the misfit
   mercenary on steroids or that mutant terrorist will use his
    fists or a bat to get his money back the poor sweet dude
     will keep drinking gambling and dreaming his life away
              / paterson, nj, 1993

                late night dreaming

my skull seem to have an asshole in it and i needed a new
brain this one was fill with bouts of destruction depression
then somehow became cover in last night love cheese of a
jerk off fantasy dream and had a damn chrome helmet on my
head that hide my brain
that was the color of muted november sunlight in this same
dream i was fill with golden waves and then i moved slowly
down a street lost in a silver fog of a crimson soft light
in yellow pools and dark halls at midnight wrapped in shadows
across ruined ramparts in fractured patterns of purple
phosphorescent rippling across my eyes in a flaming
summer sun outline in blues and grays in a rainbow connection
yellows oranges violets indigos rushing through my head
                        now i have a glassface that
on a journey through a sunset of pinks and reds and i am me
again and go through the city of night gentle and quit moving
like a cloud along catacombs of roads decorated with stones
and bones in a darking autumn afternoon of purple heather
and white yellow light fading into blue shadows in the
flicker of a monet across dark towers cover in vinyl
of the lost city of found objects in a cosmic dream cave
of polyester in burning oranges and earth browns neon golden
reds with a thousand points of light coming from a space
age penis on a brilliant graffiti covered wall that is on
the right side of the brain with fluorescent and incandescent
light in a soft glowing palette mosaic of negative space
against a deep blue sky of a new horizons of tranquil
forests as a river run through my face and spray
                        paint come out of my eyes
with televisions of subconscious dreams systems and rhythmic
changes motion in subterranean subways of silent videos
filled with blending vibrations in a strange season of
blue in a quiet time of tv dinners and pink golden toilet
paper in a low pulsing drone of a shining moon of glass 15
minutes before sunset fill with soft light of the city in
a high wind of fear and death
                        with illusion of depth in the
badlands cover in scarlet of temperature climate controlled
modular home of a cyberpunk with a stainless steel skull
with brainrot living his backstreet dreams in a blackhole
this is stuff dreams are made of

Copyright  ©  1995 by greg mcghee. 

These poems first appeared in issues of Jean Heriot's Kaspahraster
magazine, to which greg mcghee is a regular contributor. The address 
for Kaspahraster is:

P.O. Box 8831
Portland, OR  97207

greg mcghee's address is:

183 Redwood Avenue  #3
Paterson, N.J.  07522-1958


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