Six Poems by Patrick Mackay

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Jack Spicer and the Loyalty Oath

“The testing of a University faculty by oath is a stupid and insulting procedure. If this oath is to have the effect of eliminating Communists from the faculty, we might as logically eliminate murderers from the faculty by forcing every faculty member to sign an oath saying that he has never committed murder.”
–Jack Spicer (Response to Loyalty Oath)

The mark of man is made by his act,
So you didn’t sign but you went down
The dark alley of value that was exact.

You went down pen-wise, you went down at
The communist hunt to destroy the crown,
The mark of man made by his act.

Loyalty to a poet is what he is, not where he’s at,
No matter that the world cast him to drown
In the dark alley of value that is a trap.

You take a stand and then you hold its fact
In pen, and in your heart, and your sound,
Like the mark of a man made by his act.

And no matter the idiotic Sloan-Levering Act,
Or the law that’s gifted that will take you down
The dark alley of value for its rap,

There, in the never-ending spirit, no matter map,
We will our way to feeling so we’re found
Rather than lost in the whole claptrap,
The mark of the man is made by his act.

September 1, 2013

Howl Obscenity Trial Notes

“…who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists,
and screamed with joy…”
Howl

When the customs officials seized Ginsberg’s poem
Ginsberg was seizing the ass of Orlovsky
While the agents searched the cache from London.

The sympathy was great for Carl Solomon,
But the poem was greater when sung off key
When the customs officials seized Ginsberg’s poem.

And after an espresso in the Mediterraneum
Nothing was better than this surging in the country
Like the agents searching the cache from London.

Nothing was better save sex driving strong
As they arrested and cuffed Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
Like the customs officials seizing Ginsberg’s poem,

Or how it exploded into a poetic nuclear bomb
And words blew the ears off those in Six Gallery,
Like the eyes of the agents searching cache from London.

And when West Point got it for reading for their men,
And Judge Clayton Horn decided it was redeeming,
The customs officials would seize Ginsberg’s poem
While the agents grimaced at the cache from London.

September 4, 2013

Emotional Rescue Over Baffin Bay

From the FM flux twitches wave shake through
In shivering glissade down arteries,

The channels a-tremble techno cross pollination,
Shoots static and then settles on Emotional Rescue,

“Tonight and every night” up my femoral,
The frequency shuddering out cerebellum

To bloom muscularly illuminated art transcendence
Headlong lyrical beckoning into liver,

Sieve music like protein synthesis,
The words in the airwaves invisible

Through my skeleton flow like a child,
Like reverb blowing up a bulb, my marrow

In flexible spiritual four-time, its interior tissue
Dreaming last night through red blood cells

Word-working adjectival love alive as the Stones play
Cymbals wishing pulse breath through heartbeats,

My eyes fixed upon the ice flows of Baffin Bay
Thirty four thousand feet below, no way out

Of the hallucination save the music, the slow
Realization that the most beautiful thing would be

To crash into the freezing white beauty in this refined instant
Crashing through my intercostals the nerve-shake

Of raw truth, my eyes point blank into the snow,
My ears point blank into my soul…

At death we are all music, at death we are all…

September 31, 2013

Before an Asylum

Mid breakdown I take a break
To watch the gulls pick through the trash

And smoke a cigarette while I figure out how to term this,
My molecular structure shivering in a last act,

A curious glory in the whole shake,
As if I have been cast out to earn this.

Like random neurons fucking up the message
The gulls are beautiful as the ash

Floats from my cigarette to the cement,
My moment of respite with a pause that’s jazz,

Cause I don’t know what it is in my broken,
Is shattered like the window in the alley,

My truth the cracked glass that is my own secret

That none can say in the mania of the city,
Wringing out the purity of this perception.

But I am on an edge of unique unknown, soul-cracking knowledge
That is breaking out past the vacuous fake

Provinces where everything’s perfect,
Past hell and the heaven of material, past all age

Keeping us in time, past the particular deception
Of the law. And I am quiet inside as I defect

From reality and into a private delirium
Where story is physical and an acute effect

Unseen by stupid dilettantes of art
With their exorbitant sense of perverted illusion.

I know the fall of the heart
Like the liberty inside an asylum wall.

I know after I will be stricken without inclusion.
I know like the gulls eating trash that I will

See this fall deep into the refuse of truth until gold
Shivers through me quick like an ash flick

And I pick up the phone to call the cops on myself.

August 7, 2013

Through the Eye of a Needle

Chaos displaces the day like an earthquake
And everything misfits without time.
Around the city the stop and go traffic

In engine-blur graffiti and broken sign
Shivers in the bright deluge of oppressive heat.
Like the broken windows in the alley, blind

Shards of dissonance are jagged then dissipate
Through the erratic yet incessant media
Hooked up to a randomness in the air

As if a static most vitally confusing reality
Has inverted in the patchwork the horrible idea
That we are the prosthesis of the machine.

Somewhere someone is trying to put I love you
Into body so it can feel. Somewhere a radio
Is hooking like a prostitute the sound of you

Taking on the leviathan in the wires. And somehow
The earthquake is more lovely than stillness
And the falling into the wreck is like how

Two people might hold themselves in a wind.
The air is thick and beats the black gum on the pavement
So the desperate can read people’s mouths in Braille

And you want to put your fingers into saying
When we speak we will pull out our guts and say all
The things we must before leaving.

Visceral, the metallic glints cut out their diamonds
And the sprinklers on the lawn save us seconds
Before we give up for the day trying

To put our earthquakes through the eye of a needle.
The world is shaking in its most loving way,
Our hours have been dashed, the minutes and seconds

Shudder and ask for our hand. You feel all
Of it plummeting through you like thread
Going into your head before you sleep.

August 23, 2013

Lush Piece

As I am waiting for the woodpecker to go through the line
So the entire Western Grid goes down

I watch the jabber in the ring with wood like a Cardinal
Smashing his head up against religion

Until the whole makes sense. Like I will
Smash my face into communication

Until I’m fine, or find my love’s Western Grid, the sense
Of every word going down in the country

For a woman. Or until we get real words
That are as dense as Chengdeit,

As free as Estonia, as lost as keys, as lawless as the Congo,
And as messed up as believing

You can’t steal back a pure chunk of want that we all want.
But he is earnestly pounding away like I am wrong, so

Dreadfully wrong, because he’s building a Morse
Library for the blind

And will be filling it with the musical force
Of an increasing gravitational singularity,

That will suck not knowing how to fuck or think,
Suck flaw out of living, suck the nut out of viewers

Like me from going down Grid way, suck the flaw of reality
In acute observer disturbance from a drink

And stop them dead cold. The alley falls silent.
I am a foreigner to myself. I have plenty of time.

As you can see my passport is up to date. I am
Traveling on vacation and won’t be here for long.
I have only a woodpecker to declare.

August 24, 2013

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About Patrick Mackay

Patrick Mackay is the author of ten volumes of poetry and one novel. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and was accepted in the UK's Ambit Magazine for the Freud Issue. He has won Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train's Short Fiction Contest and has also been chosen Best of the Decade in The Hawaii Pacific Review. You may find Mackay's work on Amazon.

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