Odes to angry & sad young men.

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARANOID
DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT BEING FOLLOWED!
(East Village, New York City — 1987)

As the crowd pushes me upward
from the darkness of the underground,
a mild panic begins to rush
through my veins yielding
torrents of sweat that race
uncontrollably over my
forehead and chest.
With just moments to spare,
I hasten to tear off my tie,
roll up my shirt-sleeves, and
complete my disguise with
the darkest of shades and
the meanest of scowls.
At the surface, my head begins to
reel at the stench and sight of
unwashed urchins and broad-smiling
ne’er-do-wells with extended
palms seeking tokens, cigarettes
and loose change.
My already shortened nerves are
obliterated by the blasts of
Buick-sized radios carried by
junkies and peddlers of items
discarded by me the week before.
Looking about with hesitancy and
anticipation — I shriek and recoil
in horror and disbelief:
the punks, thieves, beggars and
schizoids are chasing me now!
… Boom — Chiga-Boom,
Chiga-Boom-CHIga-Boom-CHIGA BOOM!
Once home — saturated by disgust
and relief — I retire to the
tv-room with scotch and soda,
and eagerly await the new report
concerning those who were
not so lucky.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, 2005)

SURVIVOR.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His alcoholic mother has breast cancer;
and his ‘dad’ left long before
he was born.
Living in a trailer park
has its perks: no one really
cares if you stay out all night …
or for days on end, for that matter.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His sister is an ex-whore;
struggling to stay ‘clean’
so she can keep her job
as a cashier at Wal-Mart.
Her loser live-in boyfriend is
a ‘good-for-nothing’ …
a fucking bum who
won’t even bother to recycle
bottles discarded in garbage
receptacles or containers.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He gets beaten every other day
at school; and slapped once-a-week
at home. He’s used to it: doesn’t care
anymore really, but he has recently
begun carrying a switchblade to see if it
can be a deterrent … like going to war in Iraq.
He dreams of getting a handgun, and is hoping
that someone famous will one day pimp his ride.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He takes his HIV-meds when he remembers.
Life is a sweet mixture: sometimes ‘heaven’,
and oftentimes ‘hell’ … depending on the ‘high’,
the sex or the lack of either (or both).
A neighbor-punk called him ‘faggot’ once …
He just smiled … causing the asshole
to run in haste and fear. Who cares?!!
It’s all temporary anyway; what with
global warming, nuclear threats, serial killers
and terrorism .. and those fucking ‘super malls’.
His favorite posters in his room are pictures
of victims: from the second world war, from
natural catastrophes, from terrorist attacks …
anyone who reminds him that he is one of
the lucky ones.
Doesn’t matter. For the moment anyway.
At least that’s what he thinks when his
mom blasts the old disco hit “I will survive!” …
the one time in a blue moon when he
sets himself down to do his homework.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …


(from “Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world”)

HERITAGE? RIGHT!

Heritage … right!
So what has your generation
really passed on to me?!!
A set of identities that often don’t fit;
a world riddled with standardization,
wars,
lies,
plastic reality-show idols,
virus,
global warming,
uncertainty,
and all too easy access to drugs …
(that sweet salvation that ultimately enslaves).
Sure, I respect what you worked for:
a sense of potential, and the
personal freedom to express my
‘right to be me’.
But what the fuck does it matter when
individual isolation in an
out-of-control jungle presses me
further inward than you ever were?
I won’t give up today’s cyber-existence;
but sometimes I really do envy your
‘Good old days’ …
Heritage … right!


(from “Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world”)

L.A. HOMEBOY

Hey Homeboy!
Ran into Faith, your woman,
up in the barrio last Saturday.
She wanted to know how her ‘homeboy’ is.
I told her you was still doin’ time.
Her ma won’t let her write,
but it ain’t been the same, bro’.
Little Julio’s started dealin’ crack,
and she’s two months pregnant.
When I asked her if the kid
was yours, she started cryin’.
I didn’t know what to do, man;
so I put my arm around her
and mumbled: “You gotta keep the fai …”
Then I stopped, dried her tears
and smiled, while sayin’:
“If Homeboy was here, he’d tell you
to keep the baby, Faith.”

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

stud.

responding to the call
of a warm summer night,
the muscled youth surveys the
streets from his oakland stoop
with the vigilance of a vulture.
he soothes the heat
pervading his loins
with beer and cigarettes,
and gyrates to rhythms
from his sony walkman to
intensify his baiting scent.
at the passing of each female,
he extends greetings and suggestion —
lastly to a haughty one who
requests that he kindly ‘drop dead.’
the youth throws a kiss and laughs
in sport and self-defence,
until he spies the adoring stare
of another boy, and yells:
“what are you looking at, faggot?!!”

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

DOG DAYS.

On dog days,
when nothing goes right,
impatient young men grumble
that the gods are
not on their side.
Their pursed lips
may boast indifference
but tell-tale scars
of self-abuse underscore
the misery of defeat.

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

experimental dental school

PEER GROUP HEROES.

To inner-city true believers,
average is the ugly consequence
of weakness and error —
their idols being tv immortals,
and greatest foe time.
Suitably, peer group heroes
inspire the less visible
with eloquently-layered lies —
and not once disassociate
mask from morality.

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

boxinggloves6

BOUNDARIES.

Peripheral lines
in my psyche
and yours
dance and intersect
with agreement
and understanding.
But crossed
boundaries
lead both
dogs and nations
to quarrel.

(from “Three-legged Waltz)

skateboard-bane11.jpg

skateboard bane2skateboard bane3

adamjanuary2015-2

(poems and photography by Adam Donaldson Powell)

Private moments.

"RAW", oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.
“RAW”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.

winter 2015a

PRIVATE MOMENTS: HOMAGE TO CHICAGO.

october winds lick at my shirt-tails
like a cat eating ice cream;
but the cold only encourages my oblivion,
for it is emptiness that I seek.
dead to the sirens rushing corpses
to their moment of truth,
and limp to the prey of wayward housewives
shivering on shadowy streets,
I desire only to be alone with my private moments
until the romance of despair numbs
my failed ambitions and consumes my pride.
and like all truly self-sufficient men,
I once again return home … alone …
to celebrate the birth
of winter.

winter 2015b

foggyday

Dreamtime.

Still photo from Marina Abramovic's film "The Scream", republished with permission from Ekebergparken's Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic's film "The Scream", republished with permission from Ekebergparken's Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic's film "The Scream", republished with permission from Ekebergparken's Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic
Still photo from Marina Abramovic’s film “The Scream”, republished with permission from Ekebergparken’s Scream Prosjekt / Marina Abramovic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Twilight Comes.

When twilight comes and consciousness sleeps in,

age-old echoes from prehistoric times begin to hum

Ego’s cradle-song .. first with low, dark-brown

cello tones which cause bone-marrow to tremble until

it flows, and then with high, glossy, unheard shrieks

which can only be made by angels who mean to provoke.

In time, my uneven breathing becomes transformed

into turquoise-colored waves which whip my oversensitive

psychic fortress from sobriety, and near panic.

There are no guarantees that I am ready for the

extraordinary gift that I am to be given:

a glimpse of existence in its unbelievable purity, which

is so personal that I am forced to grab onto

my earthly reality and smash the perfection

into countless, cloudy bits of mirror which rain lightly

upon my consciousness. I awaken sweaty, but not

completely empty-handed .. and I am not the person

I once had been.

Ascension, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm.
Ascension, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm.

Nocturnal Journey.

In the twenty-fifth hour,

as sleeplessness concedes

to Jungian twilight,

the inviolate ticking

of the bedside clock

betrays consciousness

with sinister rhythm.

It is a requiem of

abandonment, whereby

unprotected souls are

magically ushered to the

threshold of time’s end.

Clockhands melt into

surreal images of groping,

disembodied appendages which

pull me down into the

infernal swirling oblivion.

I seem to fall forever;

plummeting past floating

sandstone ruins, through

prehistoric jungles and

at last into a vast galaxy

of translucent emerald shards.

The heartbeats of innumerable

still-terrified predecessors

urge me to scream before

striking bottom, and I

awaken in panic: grasping

for the luminous dial

of my unwitting timepiece.

Portal to Eternity, No. 2 (Oil on canvas).
Portal to Eternity, No. 2 (Oil on canvas).

Retrospective.

Over the decades,

endings muted into beginnings

like swirls of blue-grey smoke

creeping toward alabaster palaces

in primordial consciousness.

There, in the garden of creativity,

the ashes of one zillion charred

impulses rained heavily upon

furrows of expectation,

cultivating dreams with experience.

"Cracking up (Craquelure)", oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.
“Cracking up (Craquelure)”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.

Mushroom picking in the Kingdom.

Barefoot, I stumble through

the forest of the kingdom

without a hint of

either understanding

or danger.

I am on a treasure hunt,

and looking for the mushroom’s

hidden secrets — much

as a naive child

in the age of fantasy.

Every now and then my

beauty sleep is

disturbed by nature’s stillness,

which brings forth the
subconsciousness’

agitating and enchanting

images from places without

time or name.

Behind a fern from

the era of dinosaurs, and out from

under a moss-covered rock,

peers the most beautiful mushroom I

have ever seen,

with a broad red surface

speckled with gold.

I extend my arm

toward the precious find

and pause just

as I am about

to touch it.

The rock has begun to glow

like an emerald:

first with the quiet

intensity of

red hot coal, and

then with the overwhelming

light of God’s eternal love

and mercy,

mirrored in a trillion smiles.

At that instant I rise

out of my body, and

my chakras line up

perfectly while

I look down at myself and

the totality of

human existence from

far above.

And in the perfect harmony

I re-experience life

as in the heavenly periods

in between earthly incarnations,

and all of my daily worries

and obstacles seem just as

dreamlike and insignificant

as a midsummer’s daydream.

I never fully return back

to the consciousness that

I once knew,

but retain a small

portion of the glow that

has now touched my heart

in such a wonderful way.

In my backpack I carry home

not a single mushroom, but truly the

most sought after treasure from

the forest of the kingdom:

certainly, a simple rock —

as a souvenir from

life’s journey of dreams.

High on the red pills (Oil on canvas).
High on the red pills (Oil on canvas).

SATURN’S BLUES.

when the moon is in Fresno

and the sun sets a purplish

haze over early-autumn skies,

the cold winds of Hell

breathe heavily against

the hopes of local heroes

and the women who made them.

farmers stare off into the fields

without realizing, and housewives

pull their young close to their

bosoms – suddenly and

without explanation.

intuitively they sense the onset

of a long and severe influence;

a time of hardship and hindrance

when the faith and courage of

more than a few good men

and women are put to test.

the carousel is out-of-control,

and in the whirlwind confusion

crops will fail, loved ones will

pass away, jobs will be lost

and the simplest of dreams will

be stifled by saturn’s blues:

a mocking nursery rhyme telling

of horror and despair, and sung

over and over again with endless

variations on the same cruel theme.

The devil comes at night time (Oil on canvas).
The devil comes at night time (Oil on canvas).

Spleen.

Screeching,
flamebreathing dragons
soar low over violated
plains of brainmatter.
Fires of fear incite
waves of internal uproar
to sear the ulcerated
lining of delicate
abdominal tissue, while
glowing corpuscles ferry
hysteria into distended
veins and scorch alarmed
nerve endings.
Crops fail, dams break,
control centers malfunction.
Eyelids clamp shut in
retreat from the horrors
of imminent disaster but
optic darkness is cruelly
marred by vermillion blotches –
bits of displaced spleen,
proclaiming realization of
all that was dreaded yet
intuited as inevitable.

PsychedelicAdam