Map #169-1 Theme: Dude, Where's My Karma

1. "La Puerto Del Diablo" by RD Armstrong.

Estoy triste hoy

La luna sonrie como un gato

y me estoy ogando

como si estuviera amarado con a stone

as if el Diablo

abriera la puerta del infierno

y me estuviera chupando

dentro del vortex.

Que lastima!

Tengo un palo pero

no marshmellows!


The Devil's Door

I am sad today

The moon is smiling like a cat

and I am sinking

as if I am tied with a stone

as if the Devil

has opened the door to hell

and I am being sucked

into the vortex.


I have a stick but

no marshmallows!

© RD Armstrong

From "The San Pedro Poems." $6 Available from Lummox Press, POX 5301, San Pedro, CA. 90733-5301


2. "Magdelene's Rooms" by Georgia Popoff

Elixir of moonlight bathes the room blue

The first man I laid beneath

was Orion

strapping in a winter sky

A love that has never left me

Other women's men come to me

to rest against my ample skirts

to glean healing

Other women's men claim to visit

because they

need my magic

The momentary mystic dwelling in my kiss

The pillows abundant

and blankets layered

muffle the closing of the door

Other women's men

leave a black sky overhead

An ardent hunter's moon

burnishing gold into my many bracelets

© 1997 Georgia Popoff

from Coaxing Nectar from Longing, (Hale Mary Press, Syracuse, NY)


3. "Recycle Your Emptiness" by Steve Ramirez

An empty fortune cookie

is a scary proposition.

Especially if you

'think too much,'

because you'll find that you've

supplicated yourself before the alien

Gods of Fortune,

whispering the sacred mantra

'¿Que Paso?'

but they've looked you over,

smiled infinitely mysteriously

and replied

"Tabula rasa, baby.

Tabula rasa."

The pessimist

grasps the concept of planets misaligned,

a bad moon rising and a dartboard

abandoned in the corner of a dusty office

to wait for the next budget meeting;

they've written the book on

the Law of Conservation of Happiness,

because happiness isn't created or destroyed,

it only changes form

passing among the land-owning elite

with occasional detours downtown.

The optimist,


realizes their fortune

simply reads,

"…in bed."

© 2000 Steve Ramirez


4. "Dear Joan" by Jimmy Smith

Dear Joan

In order to get to you

I first needed directions

then the willingness

to practice the unscrupulous stuff

required by all who wish to enter

and cross the River Styx

Although it seemed harmless at the time

and your visage was inextricably

entwined with my memories

I found that you had been so loathsome

while you were alive that my immortal soul

couldn't catch up to you in the afterlife

without some serious funky behavior on my part

that I'm just not willing to do

at this time

see you in the next incarnation

your pal


© 2001 Jimmy Smith


5. "" by Rev. Wyrdsli

Can I call up God and get my karma report?

I keep looking for his (hers? Theirs?) Web page -,,

Does God have a 800 number?

I want my karma report.

Am I black and beautiful or blood stained red karmically bankrupt?

Have I done enough good in this life to take a second mortgage on my soul, or am I still paying

off Satan for stealing gum, smoking pot, dropping acid, listening to devil music and wearing

black t-shirts to school when my mother said she didn't want me looking like motorcycle tough?

Am I forever damned for the abortions I allowed and abetted?

And what about all the pets that have died in my care?

I've left more women that cared about me than been dumped - I'm not bragging, I'm worried

about my karma account.

Is the five years I spent with that satanic cult minimized by the nightmare they put me through, or

the damage they did to my life?

Do my studies in magick and mysticism make me a para - angel?

Do I get points taken off for not having sex with women that were clearly willing?

Do I get points for letting people walk over me and manipulate me? Sermon on the mount, is all

that for real? It doesn't stand up to skeptical scientific testing. For all the Bibles and churches,

they don't have Jesus on video tape. It could all be a shell game.

Do I get any points for the mace, the guns and disrespect dished to me from the blacks? I sure

wish I could ask my abolitionist ancestors.

How about my ex-mother-in-law threatening to kill me when my ex-brother-in-law got the

mistaken notion, in a drunken rage, I was beating my wife?

Where can I write to get my karma report? I want to check it for errors.

© Rev. Wyrdsli


6. "Palmistry" by Deena Hardin

The light was dim but I could see her eyes,

will never forget them: pale green

and traced with black-

far, far out to the side, like a cat-

head wrapped in multi-colored scarves,

layer upon layer, a Gypsy turban,

her thin smile deep burgundy.

She took my hand, palm up,

leaned over to peer at its lines-

I could feel her cool breath-

proclaimed long life,

short first marriage,

disastrous second marriage,

love of my life on the third

but he would die too soon,

leave me bereft, to die

bitter and alone at eighty-something.

This must be a joke, I thought,

let the others waiting in line

have their turn; but I got back in line,

changed my look a little,

slapped that hand down, once again.

She peered closely, straightened up in her chair,

told me that I knew my fate.

Especially at thirteen, this was an unlucky pill

to swallow at a simple Halloween carnival,

left me wishing I'd bobbed for apples instead.

© Deena Hardin


7. "Lost Sheep" by Michael Levy

When - oh -- when did humans lose their innocence,

My - my - how sophisticated they look,

The mirror reflects the designer image,

When did they misplace the sight of themselves,

Rule makers,

Rule breakers,

Turn them hither and thither,

Only to find the same face,

Lost souls - lost time,

No shepherd to guide the lost sheep.

© 2001 Michael Levy


8. "Omphalos"* by Martha Kirby Capo

*omphalos: worldwide symbol of the center of the world

** bindu: Sanskrit "drop, symbol of the absolute"

Ever have we

Been ever

Shall we be

Never are we

Seen as what

We are the

Watchers of all

Worlds guardians

Of ancient

Ones dreaming

All existence

Into being softly

We breathe and

The bindu** moon

Wonders at our


© Martha Kirby Capo


9. "The Meade Avenue Disaster Contingency" by Robert O'Sullivan Schleith

me & jennifer

we got ourselves a plan

for the big one

everyone talks about-

it is part of our prime directive

it is not an apocalypse response

it is not an escape route strategy

it is not an over-reaction

to when the meade avenue bridge

over the 805 collapses.

we each live on different ends of meade;

when the bridge finally gives way,

we will be staring at one another

from opposite sides of a huge crevasse.

I will be on the west side, facing

otay, san miguel and the other mountains

I will be relaying damage reports

from the bay-side of the city.

she & gabriel

have been rehearsing for the inevitable,

shouting their guerilla poetry

across the urban chasm of university

ave in hillcrest

we have been out shopping

for our earthquake- preparedness

kits, they will be vintage

1960's metal lunchboxes, of course;

they will be well-stocked with all the

essential provisions,

each kit containing:

1 "just-like-a-real-rock-star's" acoustic

microphone- one's pink, one's blue

and I got dibs on the pink one;

1 walkie-talkie aka the "other" batphone

(roger on that latest dish report, batgrrl- over)

1 8X12 color glossy

(hey, this town'll be crawling with media);

1 copy of the PSl official spiel,

should the destruction be so great

that we are compelled to do a last Last Sunday Slam;

1 large package of Jet-Puf marshmallows,

for sustenance;

1 pair of shish-ka-bob skewers

for the marshmallows, of course-

(can also be used as personal defense

should someone try and steal the marshmallows);

ok we are all prepared, we are like boy scouts

(damn that's a bad analogy)

we are ready for my first damage report;

first from the west

"hey jennifer, you should see downtown,

everything levelled except for that statue of don diego- over"

then from the east

"hey robt, that statue of don diego has always

been up in del mar, at the fairgrounds- over"

then from the west again

"hey jennifer- looks like we've done slid aways north-

this is cool, this so cuts down on my commute- over"

she is still unclear on this concept

of plate tectonics

til I reframe it into a paradigm to which she can relate:

the plate is connected to the faultline

the faultline's connected to the shockwave

the shockwave's connected to the canyon

the canyon's connected to the backyard, etc. etc.

oh she totally expected this from me,

since most of our plans have involved

singing fragments of hokey children's songs

to one another.

"hey batgrrl, it's a brave new world out there, let's roll- over"

© Robt O'Sullivan Schleith

from DriftWood Highway 2001 Poetry Anthology