Category: Poetry

Slingshot Vagina Dream

I go naked in a suit of glass
While all around me
Men in jagged metal hats
Have 16 penny nails where
I have only fingers
Ship’s anchor thighs where
I have frightened and fragile knees.
The women here
Have diamond teeth and
Slingshot vaginas.
My Kansas
Is a narrow gulch in Bisbee, Arizona
Peopled only by characters
That I myself made up
They live in all my stories and
There are no sharp edges in Oz.

[from 1999-2000]

© Rick McKinney


Your lips, four
Mine, two
Outnumbered I maneuver
Move into position
Take your flank
And with my teeth render you rigid
The meat of your high left thigh in my mouth
You grunt
Half naked on your belly
In t-shirt, arms outstretched
Jeans and panties yanked down cuff your ankles
Trapping you twice
You let your head fall and with it your hair
Resplendent falls, sweeps thick carpet
You see me behind and beneath you and sigh
Let your eyelids close as my nails rake your back
Clutching your shirt in both hands I pull
Cutting off the air in the soft tissue of your throat
You gasp as my teeth find the meat of your ass and bite down
Without air you weaken
Your arms buckle and you let your torso fall
Surrendering your upper body to the floor

© Rick McKinney December 2006

Save All Life

An idea is a powerful thing.
You have the seed of the idea of being well in you.
Trust that idea to carry you daily.

Going nowhere. Doing nothing. The world is ending.
I challenge you to show me where and how I must interact,
Where must I thrust my sword, parry a thought, carry an idea.

You fill your days with distraction.
I cannot act. I have no traction.
I am up to my armpit in shit all day,
Riding a stupid one speed bike to the hardware store
To buy a tube of plumber’s putty to plug up the shithole
So that when you come over you can shit in my boat.
Home is a safe place to take a shit.
Everywhere else is a locked bathroom,
Fucking inhuman humans.

I wanna skin and eat your goat.
You goat fucker, you.
I have resentments.
Vain dis-contentments.
I have a blister on my boiling pride, grist for the mill of me,
For the hill of me, over the hill, wandering stupid pedestrian will.

He turned off the television and expected beauty,
Wisdom to fill the smashed vacuum tube of him.
No words came. No game. All and ever after shame.
Fame flipped him the bird and went sailing.
I hate my life. I love my life.
I write to dump the skull fucking trash.
Take out the trash of you.
Into the vacuum of television
You dumped your trash into my consciousness.
I don’t want it.

I want a new drug. I want a new soul.
I want the world bought and sold.
I want nothing. I want nothing. I want to be left alone.

I hear you found a new leader to rule you demo-cratically.
I hear the Krauts are happy to be rid of Greece.
I hear the feast is on, the fast flight into mad melting night.
I hear the chickens have plucked you gizzard empty man.
I hear the tin can tango telephone bore more bad news to the front.
I hear he takes it in the rear.

The other night with cucumber and fresh grapes I made a fool of myself,
Made a needle prick prick of myself.
I made her wonder why,
Made her question her resolve in..

Leon. Jesus.

I moved tables to get away from the psycho end of the world banter.
I moved tables to escape talk of suicide off the golden gate.
I moved to write.
I moved to try and find something positive to say.

I picked a fight with the woman today
Then hung up on her when she tried to fight back.
I am an asshole.

My mother taught me how.

I feel bad for brushing Leon away.
But I had to.
One can only handle so much psychic hammering.

Don’t bury your head in the sand, he says.

Harriet didn’t look so hot.
She looked mildly unhinged.
She looked unbalanced.
She looked as though she were about to cry.
So when she told me I looked good,
I didn’t immediately respond that she looked good, too.
I had to think about it.
She’s a lovely woman, but tonight she wasn’t glowing.

Jack went away and left a vestige of a woman behind.
Jack went away and left us all behind.
The dumb and the tragic and the snarly fight-picking assholes.

I don’t like being an asshole.
God grant me the serenity to quit being an asshole.  

It occurs to me that Save The Earth is too abstract for people.
If current environmental indicators are to be believed
We gotta find a new way of selling Earth salvation.
How about this:

Save All Life.

© Rick McKinney
July 2, 2012


Housewives like to chase me with vacuum cleaners

This time it’s my sister
She doesn’t mean anything by it
Just cleaning because
Cleaning gives life meaning
Which is more than I can say for me
In terms of purpose and sometimes cleanliness

All this cleansing rain
Insane-making by day
Dreamy by night

There was another housewife
(there have been a few)
Who manic, chasing meaning
Drove me from her house
Her vacuum nipping at my heels

She and her husband were once my friends
Swingers who threw erotic dinner parties
Tongues on flesh
Baked garlic on french bread
Red wine and brie

Waking from such nights was always hard for me
I could spend all day in bed
Nursing hangover, dreaming, moving the pen
But for the vacuum

My friends’ house was a faerie tale castle
All minstrel and myth and madness
It was fantastic really, a Shakespearian dream
Maybe the vacuum died
I don’t know

For one night the wife
On hands and knees
Hoovered a hundred Xanax
And the castle
Left unvacuumed
Ate itself

Who could remember
All the vacuums that
Consciously or unconsciously
Have rousted me from sleep (a misdemeanor)
Or writing (a felony)

I do remember well however
The day Anna in full hausfrau mode
(Flipped from previous night’s debauch)
Blasted me out of bed with
Her screaming cleaning machine

Any vacuum salesman would agree
A good vacuum will do far more than sweep debris
A vacuum’s roar will stifle great heaving sobs
Even suck up screams in screeching solidarity

Science tells us
Nature abhors a vacuum
I’m not too fond of them either

But given the chance to go back in time
I wouldn’t run from Anna’s vacuum that day
Instead I’d pull the poor women into bed with me
And with the flick of a switch
Remove the scream of desperation from the air
Change the tone
Make it a moan

Give the woman some small reason to go on
More, I imagine, than a vacuum can

For a little while anyway.

© Rick McKinney Dec 17, 2008

Dog bowls and ash trays

The last time I stayed to eat
over at Bog’s
he grabbed a butt-loaded cup
he’d been using as an ashtray
and washed it out
to serve me coffee with
he’s a one-fork, one knife
one spoon kinda guy
but he likes the company
when occasionally I hang out awhile
and sit on the floor like tonight
in his house without furniture
and shoot the shit
our voices echoing around the place
mine wailing consternation
over women or the cops or whatever
his cackling pirate-like, a laugh
and the shuffle of his feet and tires
as he maneuvers in his wheelchair
with bum legs and hands full of dinner
which tonight comes to me in his dog’s food bowl
for lack of any other dinnerware
“Dog bowls and ashtrays!” I thunder in my Tom Waits voice
”Everything’s comin’ up dog bowls and ashtrays
and sweet Lorelei wants a ride
and it won’t cost you nuthin’
just hear the siren call and
she’ll take you straight into the rocks.”
Bog doesn’t know about Lorelei.
You’re German and you don’t know about Lorelei? I ask
and he says oh yeah, the chick on the Rhein
and I say bingo!

So I turned a pretty woman down
and when she asked me
why she’d never seen me
arm-n-arm with a woman around town
I answered that women
never give me their phone numbers
until they need something from me
like a ride
like tonight’s note
delicately written in the “dearest” terms
on the back of a Hershey’s wrapper
and left on my driver’s seat.
In all fairness
I will readily admit that
I too have an ulterior motive:
I want to be alone both in my car on the way
and in my luxury hotel room in Phoenix
and besides that, sweet Lorelei,
you don’t know it
but we’ve dated before
your name was different
but your siren-song
it gives me shivers
so familiar
so frighteningly familiar..

So it’s dog bowls
and ashtrays for now
hardly very glamorous
hardly me at all
but the company is good
and things can only get better.

© Rick McKinney 1999

Something you rarely get from women

I’m not using my body right now
so you can play with it if you want to.

i love that.
a line from a song on some crazy mix tape James made
i can just picture the woman speaking
and wish every woman I crave was that kind
and I’m sitting here half in bed at 10 a.m.
been mostly awake since 7
freezing my ass off
in this uninsulated shack
awaiting the warmth of the rising sun
and thinking.
god damn lid-less eyes of the mind
impossible to close
so I’m belly-aching over this invitation
for dinner tonight from this aging closet-case
one Dulton from Del Mar
an emissary from my late teen years
of turning-on every rich queen in soCal
with my accidentally homoerotic lithe Greek body
and my open-minded acceptance of the gay community
or perhaps more succinctly put:
my need of praise
of knowing that I was desirable
something you rarely get from women
until you’ve already laid them
so subtle and guarded are they
so the gay men gave me something I craved
but I never wanted the rest
not even from that Midas-touch geezer
from Rancho Santa Fe with his invitations
to tour the Greek Isles for a damn year
on his damn Titanic yacht
with 40 servants or something
and now Dulton
a voice inside me
(probably from my stomach!)
says “Nice, expensive dinner!
full course meal!”
as I stare woefully at a tin of oatmeal
and three cans of some horrid soup I’ve
been avoiding for weeks
but the other voice is a little clearer
not so subjective as that
an-empty-stomach voice
this other voice is saying:
“Warning! Dull queen!
First boring, then groping.”
and then there’s the plain fact
that the other day I damn near exploded
to Amanda venting outrage and indignation
after sitting through two hours of his bullshit
about this book he wants to write
(has been writing in his head for years)
and how he has an agent, an editor, a publisher
a god damn fluffer for all I know
and all he doesn’t have is THE BOOK.
what an ass
to sit there and tell me all that
knowing well-enough who I am
what I do
and what I lack:
an agent, an editor, a publisher
i hate him
and that about does it
made up my mind
not going
thank you for listening
gee, and you didn’t even get dinner out of it.

© Rick McKinney 1999


like remembering
isn’t always easy
takes discipline
a thing
I possess in odd
and unpredictable
like love
more for one
than for another
and then
lost without it

© Rick McKinney 1999


When you don’t know what you want
you sit awkward on a lot of the wrong couches
sipping drinks with lonely strangers
lonely like you, yes
but unlike you
they know they want you
but you don’t what you want

not very poetic, huh?
and so the telling of a non-story should be
trite and devoid of passion
like so many words spoken
to fill the space where she used to be
the one you left
the one with whom conversation
was never an issue
with whom nothing but the
mostly mute crash of fleshy vessels
could ever matter

like the sense of
blowing it on a couch
in the desert
with a sexy woman
the whole sad episode
doomed by an invisible wall
between you
like that fucking latex dam
the HIV counselor preached about
and that you swore you’d never use

when you don’t know what you want
nothing and no one can penetrate

you are an island


© Rick McKinney 1999

29 Palms

It’s Genny and I in
mid-July in the desert
Al’s Swinger Bar,
29 Palms

It’s Bud out of the can
and black nudes in velvet
on the walls
The sign above the bar reads:
“Official NAACP Membership Station”

There’s a man with big ears
at the bar laughing
a high chirpy howl
and the clock above the bar
is struggling
its second hand slipping
stumbling slowly up to the 12
then plummeting down
in relative bartime

Genny sits slumped low
in the blue-tattered booth seat
beside me to my right.
She is the eastern frontier of my
barroom world
the table the north
the white stone wall and
scratchy window sunshine
my western one.

Out there
I see tattoo parlors
The Oasis Bar & Grill
the orange ball of the 76
spinning golden
an hour before sunset

It’s a scratchy Plexiglas view
of America

a desolate yet hometown
friendly desert town
and the American flag stands erect
in an eastward wind

Genny wants to eat.
Drink!  I say
Prolong the magic of our escape
from the familiar, forested black
top hat inward spiraling
safe world of Idyllwild.

In three days I plan to bid adieu
and good riddance to that place,
to this place, to every place I know,
to trade the old for the new.

But Genny is a dream come true
a rugged, dark skinned beauty
and a voyager
and I have to wonder
what it is I’m thinking
in thinking
of leaving her

and in answer
to no question I’ve asked
she says
“I’ll always say yes.”

© 1996 Rick McKinney

The Visit

like Chris
your eyes are gone now
dust and dirt, or as in her case,
ashes & smoke
you came alive for me
for a few weeks
gave me strength in my
confidence and hope
in madness
and an allowance
for simplicity
you gave me poetry
this time without
no bullshit
just words and heart
like Miller a month ago
you came alive for me
for a few weeks
(he from the bookstore
you, the library)
you came alive
and sat with me and said,
“It’s all right, it’s all right.
You’re one of us, little brother.
Don’t give up, and don’t give her up!
Jesus, you lucky bastard!”
Thanks, Chinaski.
I needed the company.

© Rick McKinney 1997