when the word first came it

sounded like a rumor

one of those stories like

christmichael gettin caught asleep by cops

who beat him to death and threw him

in the san lorenzo river   then

the word became flesh and went among us


drove by scribner park throwin stuff  they called us


cunts and scrotes            they’d yell take a bath and hit

you with a bag of shit             nobody

thought of gettin the cops             we were

outsiders           acid heads and food stamp nomads

we were a winter plague of panhandlers      we

were meat that season


walked up and down the railroad tracks with flashlights

it was worst when the bars closed

buffalo john got beaten

to lumpy shit with a bat     i came

home to my campsite and found it all

cut to pieces         my sleepin bag and

five years of poems gone


paraded by daylight with canes

with sunglasses and bandanna faces


raped crazy brenda on the beach and

came tryin to buy acid

so they could rambo on the dealers    we

started campin together    goin home before midnight

in fours and fives

the story got around

that they were cops’ little brothers

the story got around

that the merchants association had

hired them to clean up the mall

stories got around like truth wasn’t bad enough


posted flyers sayin

“bums and hippies beware

ninja revenge is everywhere”


came to the free kitchen

shovin people around


were local boys      and so nobody

ever thought of gettin the cops      until the night three


went cruisin

with a bazooka made out of model rocketry parts and pvc pipe

they shot the first longhair they saw

on the river street bridge with a binaca bottle full of carbide

he nearly lost an arm        he wasn’t one of

us     he was a cabdriver       and so the cops and the

press got involved     the word


got into newsprint     the wheelman

turned himslef in and named names

they were all buff mercenary wannabes         reporters

were all over the place for a week

buyin us coffee      writin us down           the paper got

letters sayin don’t ruin these young futures

over our sorry asses          they got suspended

sentences after their parents paid off

the victim       the story was over so

the press went away and left us with


all that wet scary winter


—from Hell Soup: the collected writings of Sparrow 13 Laughing Wand:  Manic D Press