JERRY GARCIA.December 2016


Photo by Jeff Sirkin



They climb up the slide

and down its stairs.

Buzzing children

chant half-songs and whines.

They play while I lie,

eyes sandpapered raw

stubbled cheeks

shirt stained.

I dream of the cold sea,

milky stars above

black depths,

floes and bergs.

I scrape ice crystals off the bow

ice flakes onto black water.

Nose cold, I drop my oars,

my teeth clenches under bitter sky.

a child’s tune chimes too loud.

The parents wince at my

depression on the grass.

They pull their children away from me.

On top of the slide

a 4 year-old girl calls

“King of the hill!”

I lift up my body

to be her father.


| top |

*** ** ***


As our world compresses into stone

fires undulate her rim

like a red remnant of coal.

I just want to feel you slide

over my body like a silk sheet

weighted with sugar and salt

splattered by tropical storms.

I just want to entwine our fingers,

knuckle to knuckle,

and let our joints resolve

to one heavy piece of universe.


| top |

*** ** ***


We piled into brother Joe’s

’57 Bel Air,

Sea Foam and chrome,

two-toned with white fins.

Vinyl seats, fluffy dice.

A large steering wheel

counterturned to the boulevard

away from our house and its

white calla lily hedge,

its finely edged


Green like Easter,

straw swayed

along the roadside

in vacant lots

of abandonment

and undermined growth.

We drove 27.8 miles

to the San Fernando Mission.

Parked among pilgrim cars

pitted by dead gnats of travel.

Quietly entering adobe brick,

mother put a white-lace doily

on her head

sprinkled me with water

from the fount of sinners

and asked God to bless

her gloomy child.

Then she supplicated

on cold stone

at the altar

of Junipero Serra.

Beeswax and shellac

touched my senses

like a sneeze

while the mission bells

tolled redemption.

Through funnels of light

dust motes fell.

A fidgeting boy in short pants

pointed a Michelangelo finger

and called me

the devil.

When it was time to go in peace,

we left under a roost of pigeons

begging from terracotta tiles.

I saw that boy stumble

and scrape his knee

on jagged mission rock.

Wings fluttered

with a turbulence foreign

to the everyday repentant

in Sunday go-to-meeting clothes.

When I laughed, the boy showed

real tears and a crow cawed disharmony.

That is when I understood

the holy water.


| top |

*** ** ***


Intoxicated Mort

times his steps

but not in dance rhythm.

A fastidious man

of no emotion

pocket protection

plaid button-downs

welder’s mask glasses

Sheila thinks he is


Leggy Sheila

too much with the frenzy!


hairdoed pink


breaking wind

at Emily Post

Sheila tempts Mort’s time

from circuit boards

and digitization.

Mort watches

Sheila demonize

city streets

and rage at pretty girls

in pink satin dresses.

Stupor, trance and hard-on

masks Mort’s sense of dread


They dance

her black polish

tapping against his chest.

He waves

her fishnets

like a flag.

Tantric fascinations

glow from toes to horn rims,

as the waveforms

that were

his only existence

flicker unattended.


| top |

*** ** ***


Let all the air

out of your lungs.

Let a Spanish Guitar

arpeggio from your head.

Let it counter-beat the voice

that assails you.

Scribble on paper.

Make eye contact

to show that you care.

Nod as if to agree.

Rock on your feet.

Pretend you are on a yacht.

Make a mental grocery list.

Don’t look at your watch.

Think about Gina Lollabridgida.

Envision butterflies

surrounding any person

who passes judgment.


| top |


Jerry Garcia
is a poet, photographer and filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies including The Chiron Review, Askew, Lummox, and Slipstream Magazine. He has written two books of poetry, the full length collection On Summer Solstice Road (Green Tara Press 2016) and his chapbook, Hitchhiking with the Guilty (GND Productions 2010.) He is a past director of the Valley Contemporary Poets
and former President of Beyond Baroque’s board of trustees in Venice California. He has been a producer, editor and post production supervisor of television commercials, documentaries and motion picture previews. Jerry lives in Studio City, CA with his wife Becky and their poetic dog, Japhy Ryder. For more information visit


To download a printable PDF version of this page, click here.


| top |

December 2016.JERRY GARCIA