Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 6



They rolled and rolled
and with every rock in the road, they pitched into the air
and tumbled back down.
To and fro
round and about.
She stopped noticing after a while.
Like the gentle rocking of waves
the prairie lulled her to sleep
bump by bump
tucked tight into Tatu's armadillo crook.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 5


Lula Del Ray
maybe twelve years old if anyone had bothered to count
wasn't sure what to do with herself
now that she was properly free
to do
whatever it is
she liked.

You couldn't walk to space.
She knew that much.
Certainly not on her spindly legs and tender feet
grown soft from years aloft, surrounded by tiny-flowered wall paper.
So she did the next best thing
(which is as you know
so often the next thing you think),
she spindled and shimmied all fingers and toes
up the stem of the biggest dish she could find
and sat
dangle-legged right on the lip.

The quiet red nose-lights at the tips blinked dumbly at her
out of synch
and she watched the
tumble weeds tumble.
It wasn't quite what she had imagined
all this.

Rugged, certainly, she had been expecting.
But this was just hardened clay.
Empty dips and valleys,
mountain cracks
twice-warmed with
of lava (she assumed anyway, that lava was at least around the corner).

Just a distinct sense of gotten-up-and-gone.

Nothing to see,
no hot-bellied lizard scramble
nor sugar puff mouse jump.
Nothing to see but.

A big tumbleweed.
An enormous tumbleweed.
A big, enormous, brambly, leather-skinned tumbleball
all covered in wiry hairs
headed straight for her.

it sent the dish spinning wild.
Tossing her up up up





till she saw it.
It was faint, hidden behind some clouds, but she saw it.
She was sure.
All the hidden junk and mess she was after
the waves that had shuffled across her eardrums so many times
the constellations full of noblemen and archers.

But lip-split-quick
she was yanked down back the way she came.
Before she could even remember to be afraid
she was back on earth
floating above the ground
in a nest of bristles and leather and sweat
bathed in something that could only be described as
the sweet, earthy musk of freshly chewed grubs


Bat-eared, rat-eyed, elephant-trunked and turtle-shelled,
other little girls of weaker compositions could be forgiven
for fainting at such a savior,
but not Lula Del Ray.

She had other issues to sort out.

She hopped down out of his arms, scowling
muttering half-curses about
desert sloths
near round knocking kids into the ozone.

The Armadillo tipped back on his tail shaking with laughter.
"I knew I'd catch you."
“You could’ve killed me!”
He laughed harder.
“Relax. I saved your life. It’s no big deal.”
"I'd sooner die than be indebted to an Aardvark."
"What's your name?"
"Mine's Lula."

She explained to him about the tiny house
The New Baden Brothers
and the sad, aimless rotation of their satellite home.

He told her stories of wild adventure
exotic locales
swashbuckling and monkeyshines.

About how he had seen the whole world at least twice over
from the suboceanic volcanoes
to the frigid Andes' peaks.
And in all his time
he had never once noticed
a couple of cowpoke (inauthentic or otherwise)
strumming away
in outer space.

But they both agreed
that didn't mean they weren't real.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 4


until all that was left
was a little girl
alone in a little house
with no little fire
no little newspapers
and no little smoke.

All that was left
was to head out yonder
(as the New Baden Brothers might say)
into the noon-hot dust.

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 3


No one was around to cut her down.
And she didn't mind it so much, really.
She didn't really have anyplace to go.
No plans. No friends.
She was happy to stay suspended, electric--
shot-through with the words of the world.

She knew all kinds of things thanks to the wires.
Like the capital of Mongolia (Ulaan Bator)
the atomic weight of tungsten (183.84 g·mol−1)
and the number of Emmys won by All In The Family (22).

She also knew things she thought maybe she wasn't supposed to.
Not secrets, exactly.
Not exactly.
But fractured half-thoughts
and muddled glimpses at
shapes without sides or curves.
It was a mess
and it made her want to scream.

It flushed through her daily
coating her insides with shine.
Her high-gloss mind was quick enough that eventually
she knew the answers
before she understood what questions to ask.

But if she could be said to LOVE anything
that glowed inside her,
she loved The New Baden Brothers.

Two brothers of dubious relation
bred from the great wave of Germanic immigration to Texas.
Originally from the quaint town of New Baden -- renamed Freedom
during the great early century German Hysteria --
they put on a downright quaint radio program
(as if there were any other kind)
but after a full day of brain-blasting by hot modern beams
she took comfort in their
sweet, corn-silk voices
singing songs that sounded like a made-up time.
Romantic songs about a prairie life she was sure they never knew.
Songs so fake they got real again.
But what she loved.
What she LOVED.
Whether they were singing from the 18th Annual Thistleberry Hoot and Holler
or White Ben Dunwitty's Cracker Barrel
they always signed off the same way:

"That's it for us now.
We're turning in for the night
and so should you.
It's late. Why are you even up?
Do you know how important a good night's rest is?
Shoot. Being awake this late will kill you right at your marrow.
So this is it folks. One last twang
pinging off this satellite of love we got here
floating round about the stratosphere
humming asteroid lullabies
to help warm up all those frozen comet tails out there."

And then they'd sing.

Bed is too small for my tiredness,
give me a hill topped with trees.
Tuck a cloud up under my chin.
Lord blow the moon out, please.
Rock me to sleep in a cradle of trees.
Sing me a lullaby birds.
Tuck a cloud up under my chin.
Lord blow the moon out, pleassse.

Then pop click hiss.
Then silence.

And she thought –
and she thought –
and she thought –
How big could it possibly be?

She imagined their satellite of love spinning button-over-telescope through space.
eternity, if there was such a thing
stretching in all directions and
here they were.
Stuck in our orbit.
Never seeing all the universe has to offer,
no edgeless twists of infinity.
Just circling, trapped by gravity and momentum all at once.

It didn't seem fair.

She thought,
"I'll free them."

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 2


Lula was child of wires.
Gumming at them from an early age,
fists twisted in spirals
crawling past off-white clumps
of nodes and tangle.
When they dangled in loops
she stuck her neck right through
bringing the it all crashing down
right on the top of her head.

There were always more wires.
At first it was just the dishes,
their thick gray mass snaked around the house
stapled at off-angles in damp corners,
under floorboards or punched through

They seemed to breed, splitting,
two heads now where there was only
just that one
just last year.

Maybe even
each month: twice as many as the last.

"Until one day"
when she was not much older
"she awoke to find"
she was plugged in where she hadn't been before.
“And as time went on"
she found herself wired to the wall in every direction.
Every cord pulled whip-tight
every socket filled.
Strung up like a cobweb.

Hanging there
in midair.
Just like that
for years.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray


Okay, wait.
Once there was a tiny shack with a tiny chimney
that puffed out a tiny puff of smoke
from a tiny fire
made of tiny logs,
tiny newspaper
and lit with tiny matches
by tiny people who were exactly the same size as you and I.
It sat in the middle of the desert. Not the exact middle, but near there.
About twenty minutes by car.
It sat in the middle of A Very Large Array. A very large array of what, you might ask.
Dishes, ma'am. Dishes.
Big, white government-issued saucers
their slanted bowls stretched on angled necks, craning towards the stars,
stealing vibrations out of the sky.
Network Fuzz.
Cable Fuzz.
Hot Spy Channel Jazz.
Interplanetary Gossip.
Waves of information.
All being broadcast
directly into the corporeal,
flesh and blood being
known as
Lula Del Ray.

Monday, November 8, 2010


There's no such thing as a friendly ghost
of course.
Death never feels fair
Even draped in warm white sheets.

Drifting this way through walls
lacking the chemistry to care
you are the same terror as ever.

The rattling of chains
as you lock your bike.
The crashing of pans
as you wash the dishes.
The low boat-groan that escapes
when you realize you're still here.